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The online community for Intelligent Optimists

To quote my favorite O, One thing I know for sure is that i really love a great mag! Depending on the day or mood, I can get lost in the ads of O Magazine, enjoy the quick flip thru US Weekly, appreciate the neat tips and hints in Real Simple or find a new recipe in Martha. However, those are all the standard finds on the rack.

Check out my new, not so standard, loud and proud, totally positive find…ODE Magazine: The magazine to change (y)our world.

Ode’s aim is to bring a new reality into view, to explore opportunities for positive change in our daily lives and our daily minds.

DRUM THiS!

Do you know how to beat a drum? Bop your head and stomp your feet?

There is something incredibly empowering about the thought of “beating a drum” to me.

My birthday is on the horizon and it is the one day that I can do whatever I want to celebrate an awesome year of living. This year, my birthday wish is to gather all of my friends – all those fabulous people – bare foot and bare handed – Beat it! Pound it! DRUM it like you mean it! in a circle, of course.

And just in case you think I am crazy, check out this lil dude and don’t you dare hold back your smile:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZhAxbAx72U&feature=related

It will be a beautiful day of making music not air pollution; all love, no judgement! Friends far and wide, if you are in Vancouver early October, let me know!

The SCI List (Steph’s version of The O List!)

In no particular order, here is my list of highly recommended shops/ products/ services that are guaranteed to make you smile or make life just that much better. Enjoy!
(Note: this will be an ever evolving and growing list…so bare with me while it is lean to start!)

Gifts of Gratitude
Looking for a fabulous gift for absolutely any occasion? Head down to Deep Cove’s Special Store – Room6 or http://www.room6.com/. Recommended by Nina, I have never left empty handed and always receive rave reviews on my special goodies.

CHiLDREN! Everything and anything for those lil critters can be found at the one-stop-shop: Jack & Lola at their new location in LoLo (lower lonsdale, NVan!). A beautiful store designed with the woman & child in mind – yet another fabulous momprenuer success!

The Best Investments in Health & Wellness
Fully engaging and invigorating my Chi is something I owe to Glow Wellness. Treatments from Andrea Lamont are a wee dose of heaven on earth. She treats me like a child with wee needles and the most wonderful calming sensations while she cures my husband with a fully loaded, double sided session. Regardless of the ailment, Andrea will be our doctor for life!

Live Slow, Die Old – where do you go for your namaste? Yogapod always leaves me well stretched, totally sweaty, breathing deeper and walking slower.

Swimming under the rising sun or dark rain clouds is the special experience of Kits Pool. I promised to never take the Vancouver experience for granted when moving west and a dip in this 137.5m pool is definitely one of my summer time favs!

Pursuits of Pleasure
A rainy day or a sunny day – looking to get lost among book shelves, laughing Buddhas, gongs and bongos – head to Banyan Books! I picked up a “Namaste” bumper sticker for the scoot – how appropro, eh! Can’t wait to go back…

People To Know
Buying or selling real estate (anywhere!) – Patricia Houlihan is the woman to contact. She smart as stink with boundless energy and incredible insight into how to make money in the real estate game.

Fabulous! Good Morning Muffins!

Orange Blueberry Flax Muffins – delish.

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine:
1 1/4 c ww flour
1/3 c ground flax seed
2/3 c brown sugar (note: infusing lavender into your sugar adds a whole new level of fabulous to these muffins!)
2tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

Cut off ends of an orange and cut entire orange (yes, that means the peel too!) into 6 pieces.

In a food processor/blender, process until well blended:
1 whole orange cut into pieces
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1/3 c applesauce

Stir wet with dry. Fold in generous handfuls of blueberries.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 10minutes. Enjoy anytime:)

“As long as your are alive, it is never too late.” – CEO Whole Foods

My Good Morning blog has become a Good Evening blog on this warm, summer Sunday night.

I am admittedly addicted (and quite happily so!) to reading blogs. Those of high performing athletes, crazy business owners or progressive business people, old friends from high school – you name it – i love it. To blog is to be bold, to be true to ones self. There are no rules and no guidelines. It is pure, authentic and more often than not – the real case of goodness.

Check out the blog of the CEO of Whole Foods Market! Friggen eh, Sugar ray – that place is guaranteed fabulous. Every time. No exceptions. But more on my love of Whole Foods another day…

Beneath the rows of luscious, organic produce lies a CEO who is extremely passionate about what he does, how he does it and how it effects the lives of those who he interacts with (employees and customers). John Mackey created Whole Foods as a college drop-out. He was addicted to healthy, vegetarian choices and thought by creating a health food store in his garage he would surely meet a girlfriend! Bottom line, he is now happily married, but has built a life off of a passion for doing what he loves. Admirable, I digress…

I took a few purchases from Whole Foods to watch a young, amazingly talented band perform on the weekend. Their enthusiasm, zest and passion for their tunes was vibrant! It clearly didn’t matter to them that the music industry is saturated with young, budding, hopeful musicians. It didn’t matter that there were only 20 people in a park in North Vancouver listening to them. Because they were doing what they loved and that alone, brought them great joy.

Where there is passion, there is power. Where there is a will, there is a way. I have huge amounts of thanks for the delicious calories I am able to purchase at Whole Foods. And to the Fur Bearing Animals, thank you for sharing your passion with me Saturday night – you rock!

It was about more than just a run.

The Knee Knacker is one of North America’s knarliest ultra-marathons! Covering 16,000 feet of elevation, this race crosses 3 mountains and approximately 50km of crazy terrain. To date, only 1300 people have ever crossed the finish line, but some have done it more than 15times. It has become a race for the die-hard ultra runners through snow, mud, bugs, sweat and tears!

Getting to the start line of the Knee Knacker two weeks ago was something a year ago I saw as impossible. I have only run one official road marathon to date and frankly, was in heaps of pain following it. Running longer, farther and thru the woods seemed altogether a feat too large for this cat. It was the inspiration of watching our dear friend Jurgen Watts cross the finish line that made me dig deep and say – what if I could do that too?

Finishing the Knee Knacker 7hr52min later was hands down one of my top 3 life experiences to date! Training for this event was a massive character builder – each Sunday long run became my longest run ever. I got dropped; I rolled over on my ankles,; I wiped out in the rain; I got lost…but I always finished.

I knew getting to the start line, uninjured would be an accomplishment for me, but I had no idea how it would feel to enter Deep Cove…amazing.

Approx 3/4 into the race. I think I am sort of smiling here…

I learned that you can have thunder thighs and small feet and still run an ultra, if you want it bad enough! I have accepted that I may not be fast, but I will never, ever give up! And I firmly believe that IMPOSSIBLE is NOTHING.

Meeting tons of amazing people along the way who have accomplished great things in life in many different shapes and forms gives me hope for what may be in store for me. I have a new found confidence feeling mentally tough as nails and physically able to do whatever my chubby heart desires. I’m living the dream and feelin‘ pretty darn grateful!

The man who gave me a kiss goodbye every morning and said – You Can Do It, babe!

Also, the co-captain of my race support…I had the best treatment on the course that day:)

A (WO)man’s dreams are an index to his/her greatness!

Thought of the Day: Always Throw A Starfish.

An old man had a habit of early morning walks on the beach. One day, as he looked along the shore, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. As he came closer he saw that it was a young woman and she was not dancing but was reaching down to the sand, picking up starfish and very gently throwing them into the ocean.

‘Young lady,’ he asked, ‘Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?’

‘The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die.’

‘But young lady, do you not realise that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference.’

The young woman listened politely, paused and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves, saying:

‘It made a big difference to that one.’

Oh What a Beautiful Morning! Oh What a Beautiful Day!

I promised myself four years ago when I first landed in Vancouver from Toronto that I would never take these mountains for granted – and to this day, I still appreciate them.
I met up with Matt Brown this morning at 5:45am for a ride. Albeit a slightly early start on a Sunday morning – watching the sun rise over the ocean, riding thru West Vancouver makes it completely worth while. There is something pretty magical about flying down the hills and grunting to the top for such beautiful views. Unfortunately, I don’t think I am fully recovered from the Knacker just yet, so despite the pain to climb Cypress, it feels soo good to be back in the saddle.
View from Cypress Mountain Look Out

A noteworthy aside – Matt is currently training for IMC 2009 and is rather maniacal about his routine! I tried to hang on for a 2 hour ride, while he was out for a 3hr+ ride followed by a run off the bike. Though at times I think he is crazy, his dedication and passion for the sport is an inspiration.

I think 5:30am could be my new favorite hour. The roads are quiet, the sun is hot and the views are amazing. I burned 1400 calories before 8AM! Now THAT is a fabulous morning!

Makin’ It Mine with Jason Mraz

Hands down – one of my all time favorite activities is driving with the windows down, on a sunny day with the tunes so loud that I can’t hear myself sing or my phone ring!

My amazing bro introduced me to his hero and my morning inspiration, Jason Mraz. His new CD – We Sing We Dance We Steal Things is simply fabulous.

Wake up everyone
How can you sleep at a time like this
Unless the dreamer is the real you
Listen to your voice
The one that tells you to taste past the tip of your tongue
Leap and the net will appear

I don’t wanna wake before
The dream is over
I’m gonna make it mine
Yes i… I know it
I’m gonna make it mine
Yes i’ll make it all mine

I keep my life on a heavy rotation
Requesting that it’s lifting you up
Up up and away
And over to a table at the graditude cafe
And I am finally there
And all the angels they’ll be singing
Ah la la la ah la la la I la la la la love you
I don’t wanna break before
The tour is overI’m gonna make it mine
Yes i…i know itI’m gonna make it mine
Yes i’ll make it all mine
And timing’s everything
And this time there’s plenty
I am balancing
Careful and steady
And reveling in energy that everyone’s emitting
I don’t wanna wait no more
No I wanna celebrate the whole world
I’m gonna make it mine
Because I’m following your joy
I’m gonna make it mine
Because I… I am open
I’m gonna make it mine

But don’t believe me…go listen to it for yourself! Just promise me that you won’t hold back when you want to start singing and dancing along… :)

Dare To Be Remarkable.

My special friend Gina recently gave me an absolutely beautiful gift.

(Gina and I after the Knee Knacker, 2008)

It is a hand-made necklace from a North Vancouver jewellery designer named Andrea Waines. I have often looked at her works of wonder and even purchased a few gifts for others myself. To receive one from someone else, I think is truly the greatest gift.

My necklace reads: Dare To Be Remarkable. Kinda hard to sport that and not feel fabulous, eh!