Blog · Health & Beauty

Deaf Leopard …… What?

“Catie you have profound hearing loss in both your right and left ears. You are hearing with the capacity of a 70 year old person.” I couldn’t believe what Dr. Lo was telling me – well I kind of could – maybe I was just in denial. Tears streamed down my face. “You really need hearing aids”.

Okay okay let’s back up the bus a bit here. You’re probably asking yourself how I got myself to this point. To be honest I never really gave much thought to my hearing. As silly as it sounds I kind of just assumed my straining was normal. Despite some people in my life casually mentioning my hearing, it never occurred to me that I was different than anyone else. That continued until I had been at my current job for almost a year. I spend the entire day on the phone and I started to notice I was misunderstanding more and more conversations. I was also finding myself to be extremely exhausted by the time 5PM rolled around. It wasn’t a physical exhaustion really it was more a mental exhaustion – if that makes any sense. So I asked my family doctor to send me to an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT) for a hearing test.

I saw Dr. Shirley Lo at the end of November for my appointment. During my hearing test the audiologist stopped all of a sudden to ask me “Have you ever worn hearing aids before?” YIKES I thought to myself – this isn’t going well. After the test was complete I was taken to another room to meet with Dr. Lo about the results.

And now we find ourselves where this post started off. “Catie you have profound hearing loss in both your right and left ears. You are hearing with the capacity of a 70 year old person.” Dr. Lo informed me that she had never seen results so poor from a person of my age. She told me that I definitely needed hearing aids in both ears and felt that due to my age I would respond extremely well and would be able to take great advantage of the advancements in hearing aid technology. I started to cry. Dr. Lo looked completely heartbroken for me and grabbed me a Kleenex box from across the room – I guess she wasn’t used to this kind of response from her patients.

Every single instance where I had to say pardon to someone or nod because I had already said pardon twice, every joke I felt I didn’t understand, every time I felt awkward in a social situation came flooding back to me. Holy shit I couldn’t hear! Based on my hearing test results Dr. Lo drew the conclusion that my hearing loss was likely hereditary and that I had probably been learning to adapt to it since my mid-teens. She was extremely impressed with my diction and clarity given the level of my hearing loss.

I made an appointment at Connect Hearing Clinic about a month later for another hearing test and to be fitted for my new aids. As I sat once again in that sound-proof booth I actually thought to myself “hmmm maybe they were wrong the first time” knowing full well that wouldn’t be the case. The results were the exact same as the previous test. That day I picked out my two hearing aids.

About a week later my aids were ready to be picked up. The audiologist took great care in making sure I had chosen aids that were suited to my lifestyle and as streamlined as possible. They matched my hair and honestly, it was love at first sound. Since that day, it has been almost 3 months with my hearing aids – I still cannot believe everything I was missing. Coach’s nails on the hardwood floor, the rustling of papers at work, I even heard the rain for the first time in who really knows how long.

Of course there was that part of me, that very small part, that worried what people would think of me once they noticed I was wearing hearing aids. But when I went to my parents house that first day wearing my new aids – my Dad told me how proud he was of me for facing my hearing impairment head-on and I thought to myself “I am who I am” hearing aids included.

Blog

James (Jim) Cordes 1946-2019

I’ve been trying to find the words for this post for quite some time now yet every time I tried to type I had no clue where to begin. I considered not doing it all, just moving on to the next fashion trend that caught my eye or the latest popular culture news that everyone else was talking about.

But then I started to feel like that would be a really shitty thing to do. How could I claim to be living authentically or claim to present a blog that really was reflective of my life if I didn’t REALLY reflect on my life. Yes my life includes fashion and books and essential oils and wellness but as of January 18th 2019 my life now includes the loss of my Dad. One can never be fully prepared for the loss of a parent but being able to write my Dad’s eulogy was the most important honour of my life and what better way to talk to you about him than to share some of my words from his celebration of life:

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My Dad, Jim Cordes was born on Thursday April 4th 1946 in Port Dalhousie. He always found so much joy entertaining us all with tales of his adventures growing up with his younger brother Mike. My Dad’s love of the water began there and continued on throughout his life. He was always happiest at a cottage on the lake or having a beer on the dock of our family home in Harbour le Cou, Newfoundland. As a child Dad definitely had a mischievous quality that usually ended up getting him into trouble. But even has an adult this quality somehow made him more endearing to everyone that loved him.

Dad met his life partner and our amazing Mom Debbie in 1972. He was absolutely smitten with her and loved nothing more than to tell anyone that would listen just how beautiful she was. They were married in November of 1978 in St. Catharines and celebrated their 40th anniversary this past Fall. My parents were the perfect yin and yang. She was the realist to his daydreams, keeping him grounded and focused while he showed her spontaneity and indulgence. Mom and Dad loved to entertain at home. He took so much pride in the homes they created together. He had a knack for being able to fix pretty much anything, an amazing green thumb and was a genius with the barbecue.

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As Dad suffered more and more physical limitations over the last couple of years it became my Mom’s turn to take over different duties around the house. Some of the best memories I have of my parents were created in the last few months of his life watching them work together to sort out these roles. Dad was an almost always patient teacher and my Mom was a brave and eager student. Every time she conquered something new I couldn’t tell who was more proud, her or my Dad. Mom also took on the role of my Dad’s caregiver. She was always tolerant and encouraging and to the very end made sure my Dad was comforted and secure and safe.

My Dad loved to be a Dad. He was fiercely protective of his girls and like Mom, thought we were the most beautiful things in the world. That was one of Dad’s best qualities. He gave his admiration and love so freely. He never held back from being affectionate or telling someone he cared for them. It was extremely commonplace for Dad to tell us how much he loved us and how gorgeous we were in his eyes. Although in our younger, more awkward years, we may have scoffed at such compliments, we never had to go long without receiving such necessary and genuine praise. Dad worked so hard to give us everything we ever dreamt of, little did he know he did that everyday just by being him.

Many times since losing my Dad I have felt so lost and without direction. Where do I go now? What do I do now without the anchor of his knowledge and his faith in me. It’s like being lost at sea or something…. Feeling as though my sails have been removed and I am drifting further and further without help or guidance. But as I keep moving forward, making decisions and creating new layers of my life I realize that my Dad spent the last 32 years of my life filling my boat with all the tools I will ever need for a truly successful voyage.

My job now, is to rely on what he has taught me, have faith and always ask my self – WWDD (what would Dad do).

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Decor · Home

Calling All Plant Killers

I grew up with parents who are very talented Green Thumbs. Both our family homes boasted beautiful gardens and manicured lawns. You would think I would have inherited their knowledge and skill HOWEVER I am a self-proclaimed plant killer in recovery. I know there must be a few of us out there so I decided to have a chat with Plant Queen Meg Gizuk of Oliver and Rust for some tips and tricks to turn us into full-fledged Green Thumbs.

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Shop owner Meg in her happy place! Photo courtesy of Oliver and Rust.

Oliver and Rust is an upscale lifestyle and plant specialty shop located in the heart of the growing Fonthill core in Ontario. The retail store has been open since April 2015 with a wide array of vintage items, pillows, home décor, planters and a large unique selection of plants.

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Photo courtesy of Oliver and Rust.

Oliver and Rust began as the brainchild of owner Meaghan (Meg) Gizuk when she started a blog under the same name to chronicle the renovations of the home she shares with her husband Trevor. What started as an idea from watching Julie and Julia blossomed into a home décor blog having their home featured in numerous national magazines and online lifestyle blogs. The business of selling pillows and vintage items began in their garage with twice a year shows to a blossoming crowd. Eight years later, Meg left an 11 year career in dental hygiene behind to sew thousands of pillows, and indulge her love of all things plant!

Indoor Plants for Beginners

The first plant Meg suggested for beginners is actually one that I started with myself – the Snake Plant. Snake Plants can live in low to high light and really only need watering every 2-3 weeks depending on the light you put them in. They thrive on under-mothering (PERFECT) and neglect (BINGO) and don’t require any extras like fertilizer or misting.

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Meg’s gorgeous Snake Plant (center). Photo courtesy of Oliver and Rust.

The second indoor plant Meg suggested is the ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamifolia). This plant is glossy and fabulous! The ZZ Plant is a quick grower and they can get large fairly fast for their low maintenance properties. This plant is also works well in low to bright light and requires water approximately every 2 weeks. Just remember to allow your plant to dry fully before watering again!

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Let’s Take This Outside

The Boston Fern is Meg’s suggestion for a great outdoor plant for us beginners. This super friendly plant can handle sun AND shade and is a great option for making your planters look lush and full. You can even go one step further as most indoor plants can go outside when you know your light requirements. Make sure to ask when you are buying your plants if they are able to transition to the outdoors. However – if you are grabbing plants off the shelf at the grocery store, the staff may not have the information you need so Pinterest, Google, or Instagram are good fill ins for all your burning questions.

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Meg’s lush Boston Fern (top left corner). Photo courtesy of Oliver and Rust.

Tools of the Trade

Now that we have the plants we need to have the right tools to keep them happy! Meg suggests a good watering can and a mister  – whether it be a simple plastic bottle from the dollar store or a lovely leave out glass or metal version. Plants LOVE humidity and this can be difficult to provide especially when we get into winter months and our furnaces are sucking all the humidity out of the air trying to keep us warm.

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Metal Plant Mister $35.00 available at Oliver and Rust

Advice From Meg

Live and learn! Try to not get too wrapped up in the fact that you are or aren’t a Green Thumb. The process is all about learning and adjusting. The great thing about plants is that they don’t have to be a lifetime commitment and if you remember that they can be a lot of fun! Obviously no one wants to throw their money away but in the same breath a lot of us tend to forget how much we spend on lattes, entertainment, clothing etc. That plant you invested in made your space pretty, gave you some fresh air and made you smile when you looked at it. Remember that having a plant die or fail doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t keep plants alive, it just means that maybe the plant didn’t love its spot. So dust yourself off and get excited about another planting adventure!

Blog · Health & Beauty

Summer Self-Care With Jolene Antle

I love the Summer just as much as the next person BUT sometimes I have a hard time adapting my self-care routines to changing needs during the heat and humidity of July and August. My skin becomes different, I’m bored of drinking gallons of water to stay hydrated and the heat waves make me cranky and tired.

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to meet Jolene Antle – an amazing female entrepreneur from Niagara. Jolene is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and founder/owner of Garden City Essentials and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the latest and greatest in skincare and self-care.

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She began researching and formulating natural skincare products as part of her own journey to lead a healthier lifestyle when all-natural skincare and wellness products weren’t as easy to come by as they are today. In early experimentation with botanicals, clays and oils, Jolene discovered happiness in her kitchen and sustainable self-care rituals that promoted feelings of peace, self-love and awareness.

I visited Jolene’s store this past week and we had a great conversation about her favourite products that can help enhance your self-care routines during the Summer months.

Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Water – $44

This all-natural Collagen Beauty Water supplement should be added to everyone’s daily health and wellness regime – especially in the Summer months. Collagen helps to enhance skin, hair and nails and also provides a boost to joint health during many people’s busiest time of the year. The Lavender and Lemon flavor is refreshing without being overpowering and can be added to water, smoothies and tea!

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Onyx Air Tight Containers – $11.99 to $32

Made with food grade stainless steel these air tight containers are the perfect option for a waste-less lifestyle. Take these containers on your Summer picnic or use them as to-go containers when dining out! Write your name on the lid with a non-permanent marker to make sure fellow employees don’t snatch your homemade lunches at work. Available in a variety of sizes. Complete your Summer picnic set with the Onyx Black Cutlery Set for $8.99 and their Stainless Steel Straw for $4.50.

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Garden City Essentials Nourished Hydration – $56

Sea Buckthorn and Camellia Facial Serum, our super “skin-food” blend provides a generous dose of antioxidant Vitamins C, E and A to target free radicals, fight the signs of aging and environmental damage and promote collagen production. It will leave your skin feeling soft and nourished without feeling greasy.
You will love using the Serum in combination with the Rose Geranium Facial Toner to boost the hydration, balance pH and accelerate the absorption of oils into the skin. It’s such a perfect pairing that Jolene created a bundle that will save you $10 when you purchase these two together.
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Province Apothecary Radiant Body Oil – $58

Jolene recommends this luxurious body oil for all skin types! The blend of plant-based essential oils quickly absorbs deep into the skin without leaving a greasy film behind. The fresh fragrance of this body oil makes it a great option to use after your morning shower. The avocado oil is rich in antioxidants, Vitamins A, D, and E and omega-3 fatty acids which deeply penetrate skin to fight dryness, dullness, and dehydration (when you haven’t been drinking as much water as you should be – hello patio cocktails).

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Garden City Essentials Honey and Clay Mask – $39.95

Hot Summer months can really dry out your face not to mention more than usual sweating leaves us with pesky blemishes we aren’t always used to. The honey in this mask is a natural humectant – which means it helps to draw moisture to the skin and the kaolin clay provides gentle, non-drying cleansing. Touches of Frankincense and Myrrh provide powerful anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits!

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Consonant’s The Perfect Sunscreen – $45

We cannot stress this enough – every skincare routine MUST include a high-quality SPF. What sets this sunscreen apart is that it is 100% natural and has a non-greasy formula that leaves behind no white residue. With an SPF of 30 and no fragrance it is literally the perfect sunscreen for everyday use.  The best part? This sunscreen has a hint of mica tint which helps to give you a healthy glow!

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Garden City Essentials – Deodorant Cream – $22

Has your natural deodorant been coming up short this Summer? This is the answer! Garden City Essentials Deodorant Cream uses kaolin clay and arrowroot powder to keep you dry and fresh all day long. It is super easy to apply and has a light, gender-neutral scent. It is available in a 1oz jar for $6 and a 4oz jar for $22.

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Garden City Essentials has expanded from a primarily online business, to a sweet boutique and community hub in downtown St. Catharines. Focusing on natural wellness, beauty and lifestyle, GCE offers an in-house created, small batch skincare line, as well as a curated collection of the best in green beauty and lifestyle products.

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Uncategorized

Beat the Heat – Summer Hair Care

Anybody who knows me knows that I love to switch up my hair! I have tried every hair look – short, long, red, dark, pixie and now most recently fabulous blonde highlights. I couldn’t have made these transitions without the help of my amazing stylist Sue Brown. I have been a client of Sue’s for over 12 years and she is a stylist at Fringe Hair & Skin Group here in Niagara.

 

I sat down with Sue this past week to pick her brain for her best summer hair care tips and she even threw in some product recommendations for us!

Go Natural

Let your hair air dry as often as you can. Use a bit of beach spray to achieve the very popular undone beach look! Put down the heat stylers – blow dryers, flat irons and curling irons and opt for working with your hair’s natural texture instead. Sue recommends Joico’s Beach Shake Texturizing Finisher. It creates touchable looks with an amazing tropical fragrance!

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If you love to swim in the summer months you HAVE to make sure you stay moisturized. Throw on a deep conditioner and give your hair a quick braid. It will help to block the chlorine from saturating your hair while moisturizing at the same time! How easy! Sue loves K-Pak Color Therapy Luster Lock Shine and Repair Treatment.

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Protect Those Locks

If you ABSOLUTELY have to use heat tools over the summer always make sure to use a good quality heat protectant on your hair first. Sue recommends Joico Ironclad Thermal Protectant Spray. It puts a barrier between your hair and the heat tool and protects your hair from burning. This product also zaps frizz and static for a full 72 hours!

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Don’t Skip the Snip

Summers are so hectic for everyone with holidays, and bbq’s but Sue insists on keeping up with your regular haircuts. Sun and chlorine can do big time damage over the summer months and it is important to continue your trims – so don’t flake on those appointments! Worried you will lose your coveted length with all those trims? Your hair actually grows on average 10% faster during the summer!

Quality Products Do Matter

Finally, for year-round gorgeous hair Sue always suggests using high quality products. Contrary to what some may think, higher end products are a bit more expensive for a reason! If you are going to spend $100-$300 on hair treatments make sure you spend the little bit more on good products that will help you maintain your favourite look!

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Sue Brown Stylist – Fringe Hair & Skin Group
Blog

Everyday Tips For Busy Moms

This week we are featuring a Guest Post by Jessica, a self-employed Mother of five and Grandmother of two. Read on below as she shares her top 5 tips for navigating the busy and hectic life of Motherhood.

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Jessica and her husband Billy

When we enter the role of Motherhood the hopes and dreams of what we thought it would be like are soon replaced with worry, overwhelm, guilt, and exhaustion. Each of us evolve into the new role in our own way, leaving behind pieces of ourselves that gather dust in the background, while creating the “supermom” we all believe we should be.

As a Mother of five, and a Grandmother of two, I have spent many years trying to create a balance between who I was and who I have become, all while battling crazy schedules, time limits, daily tasks and everyday “holy shit” moments that come along with being a busy Mom.

I have discovered a few tips that I would love to share with my fellow busy Moms:

1. Start your day for you
It has taken me many years to learn to fit myself into the life I have with a large family. Going to the gym is something I love to do but working full time and caring for all these little humans has left the treadmill and weights in a untouchable space. I joined my favourite gym to once again try and make this work. The early mornings are not always pleasant but after that workout, I feel like the day can hit me with anything and I am good to go.

2. You are not alone
Married, divorced, or single from the start, we are never alone. Do not carry that dirty feeling of guilt because you ask for help. Just ask, someone is always there. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I rely on my village and praise them for every moment of breath they give me to get through the next day.

3. Leave it for tomorrow
The dishes, the sticky kitchen floor, the laundry that may or may not be clean (sniff test) will all be there tomorrow! I will admit, I am one who struggles with this daily, and I try and remind myself, it is OKAY if its not finished before I close my eyes hours after everyone else. It will get done!

4. Love on your partner
For those of us who have a partner, whatever shape that appears, love hard on them. When you are tired, can’t remember when the last shower happened, or if you have eaten that day, take a moment to connect with your partner. They will give you that extra boost you need to push on.

Lastly, for the time being –

5. Teach your children
A busy Mom tends to forget they have little humans that once at an appropriate age can help with all kinds of things! It can be as simple as making their beds or wiping down the kitchen table after meals. Not only are you teaching them real life skills, they are also easing the load you carry.

 

Blog

Delicious Summer Reads

Summer is the perfect time to lay out with a cold beverage and dive into a fantastic read!

Here are my Top 5 reads this season:

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On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

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He has a type: all his victims look the same. And they all look like you. Kate returns from a post break-up holiday with her girlfriends to news of a serial killer in her home town – and his victims all look like her. It could, of course, be a simple coincidence. Or maybe not.

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Anna is recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times and spying on her neighbors. But when Anna sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare. What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control?

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When an old friend gets in touch, Sarah Havenant discovers that there are two Facebook profiles in her name. One is hers. The other, she has never seen. But everything in it is accurate. Photos of her friends, her husband, her kids. Photos of her new kitchen. Photos taken inside her house. And this is just the beginning. Because whoever has set up the second profile has been waiting for Sarah to find it. And now that she has, her life will no longer be her own…

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When reclusive writer Leonora is invited to a hen party in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. But as the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new and a haunting realization creeps in—they are not alone in the woods.

Is there a book you think I would love to read this summer? Send me a message or leave a comment below!