Blue Blocking Glasses are one more thing that I have recently learned about to help improve the frequency of my migraines. Blue lights can really trigger migraine sufferers, as well as just light in general. I have extreme light sensitivity that is debilitating some days, so when I had read about these and they were new to me, I decided I’d give them a try. I have linked my purchase below through Amazon, and they are around $20 retail.
They are extremely affordable and completely worth it. I work at home, and do all my blogging on my computer so having Blue Blocking glasses are very important and helpful to adjusting the light sensitivity I experience day to day. There’s so many new, different, and unheard of treatments and aids for migraine intensity and frequency. Most I have tried, but when I find something new, and it is actually something I can afford to invest in, I totally do. These have changed a lot for me and I’m very happy with them.
I was invited to Pur Envi Eco-Spa by owner, Anna. It was a great opportunity to check out a Salon & Spa in Ottawa as I’m there so frequently. This spa is all eco friendly. They don’t use harsh chemicals or even ammonia based hair dye. Upon entering, you don’t get that harsh ammonia smell that most salons have. It was the perfect start to the appointment, because with my chronic migraines, the smell from the hair dyes would more than likely trigger one.
Anna and I realized quickly into the appointment that we have a lot more in common than initially expected. Anna informed me that she also struggles from Rheumatoid Arthritis, like myself. After discussing medications and trial & error situations, we found there was a specific reason why I was in the spa with Anna. I’m a huge believer in the universe and it working behind the scenes when you don’t even realize it. This was another one of those moments where the universe clicked for me and I immediately understood the WHY of this visit. Finding people who go through similar situations that you can bounce ideas off of, ask questions, etc. is really special. For me, being diagnosed so young, I always wind up with questions. The fact that Anna was an open book was helpful and I admire her ability to be strong and forthcoming about her situation. I understand the difficulty of it, so needless to say, I was grateful for her sharing her mind with me
Anna has been in the beauty industry her whole life, but had started out in the hairstyling industry. However she had to switch to esthetics as she had severe allergies to perms and colors. Once her health took forefront in priorities Anna decided to start working from home in order to eliminate a lot of triggers which are bad for anyone with Auto- Immune diseases.
So off to a great start, I sat down in the beautiful and comfy pedicure chairs and got to pick my colour. They use Artistic Nail Design polishes and I selected the colour “Uptown” for my toes as it has been my chosen colour lately. It is a Mauve tone, and really great for the winter I think. I have been wearing a sweater from American Eagle lately and it is the same shade.
The pedicure ($65-75) was super relaxing, especially because Anna focuses on having an all natural spa, so all the scrubs and lotions smell amazing like lavender and mint We got to connect and bond over our Auto-Immune disease struggles and get pampered at the same time. She was fantastic at making sure her movements were not detrimental to my usually sore feet, and she made sure to be extremely gentle. The pedicure was finished off with some BCL Lavender lotion (Be, Care, Love) which is an all natural based lotion, organically based and packed with anti-oxidants and vitamins for healthy skin. The Lavender Mint combo is so relaxing and smells really wonderful.
Next up I had an eye-brow wax ($30) using Nu-Free which is a soy-based wax that tends to be less than painful than typical waxing, and slows down the regrowth of hair. When used in conjunction with the Finipil (antiseptic cooling lotion) it can reduce ingrown and irritation, and can help slow the production of hair. The wax was absolutely painless and my brows have looked great since.
While I didn’t have a hair service, I did look into the products they use and the Calura hair dye is all Gluten Free, suitable for vegans, ammonia free, and overall seem to be great hair colouring products. I really appreciate the fact that Anna went to all these measures to create a really health based salon and spa for everyone to enjoy no matter their limits. I am definitely going to get a hair service next time I return. They are keratin based and have absolutely no gluten containing ingredients fo those who have DH and need GF products.
The experience was fantastic, and I have definitely found the salon for me when I am in Ottawa. They take pampering to another level and I was able to feel like a Princess for the afternoon. Be sure to mention my review if you’re booking, and I’d love to hear your positive experiences!
*The salon and spa services were provided to me for the nature of this blog post, but opinions are all my own*
Open 7 Days a Week
Monday-Saturday From 11:00 A.M. until 11:00 P.M.
Sundays 11:00 A.M. until 9:00 P.M.
Mesa Fresca is a brand new Latin Mexican inspired restaurant located in the West End of Kingston, ON.
I was lucky enough to be asked to review the Gluten Free menu options from the owners Alison and Andrew. Mesa Fresca takes the term locally sourced to a completely different meaning. The Bar tops, tables and the beautiful barn door decor are all sourced from a farm nearby. The barn door is pictured in a few of my photos and it makes for a really great backdrop for photos.
All of their meat is sourced locally and their produce when they can get it. Many alcohol options are from local breweries and wineries and they also have a large selection of hot sauces for those who like to kick their tacos up a notch. A few other amazing facts before I get to the food stuff — They use Masa Corn flour, the real, authentic stuff which is completely gluten free. They offer Vegan options and the menu is 99% Gluten Free.
The owners believe strongly in giving back to the local community as well as to help business owners worldwide. They have partnered with KIVA: Loans That change Lives and Loving Spoonful Kingston. Two different reasons, but both equally as amazing for them to even consider doing. KIVA is a not for profit agency that specializes in small loans for businesses and individuals around the world. These interest free loans go to change the lives of those who might not otherwise be capable of starting and sustaining meaningful businesses for themselves.
At Mesa Fresca, they have committed 10 cents from every taco sold to help fund some of these loans. Once those loans are paid back, the full repayment value will then be reassigned as a donation to Loving Spoonful here in Kingston, Ontario.
GLUTEN FREE PROTOCOLS
Currently there is not a dedicated fryer, but they do know the importance of it and are committed to eventually trying and getting the fryer issue resolved. In the fryer they are currently frying the nacho chips, french fries, and the Fluatas. The Fluatas are breaded with wheat flour which is why the fryer is not safe. Otherwise, eventually when they do get the fryer dedicated we will be able to have the nachos and french fries. They keep their prep area very clean, and only grill the corn shells on their own part of the grill, all the Gluten Free buns are kept separate from the regular hamburger buns. They use O’Doughs buns for the burger bun options.
Tacos. These come with 2 per order (portion size is very generous!) and the corn tortillas are made fresh. I had the Pollo, Jack Fruit, and Fish Tacos. Hands down my favourite was the Fish Tacos which surprised me as I’m not a huge fish lover. The Fish was seared cod amazingly prepared and it had a great coleslaw to add a great crunch along with fresh Pineapple pico de gallo. This Pineapple Pico De Gallo was out of this world, with a bit of heat, but worked so well together. The flavours were so elevated and this was a really delicious option I would suggest to everyone (especially if you’re not a fish person- I promise you won’t be disappointed!). The Jack Fruit tacos included Vegan cheese also which was very flavourful. For you Vegan folks this is a hit and definitely will satisfy your Taco craving. Jack Fruit is a fruit that tastes just like pulled pork, sweet and smoky, super easy to enjoy especially knowing how clean it is being a vegan option. Sometimes when I know my body is run down I try to eat more vegan based meals to give my body a chance to cleanse and reset in a gentle way and these Tacos are top on my list during those times. The Pollo taco is baja buffalo chicken breast, house made fresh to order guacamole, salsa fresca as well as lime crema. The chicken was so fresh and full of flavour. I really enjoyed each taco for different reasons and I can’t explain enough how awesome it is to be able to taste the freshness in the food I was eating. It’s a very true sentiment that preparing fresh foods makes all the difference and Andrew & Allison really take this seriously.
I also tried two different salads which Alison created herself. The Peruvian salad is both GF and Vegan, so again Vegans can enjoy a complete meal here and not have to worry. Speaks volumes for the owners and how much they care in trying to accommodate everyone who walks through the door. The Peruvian salad is topped with Sweet Potatoes, quinoa, toasted pepitas, queso fresco, and a house made cider vinaigrette dressing. The flavours are very elevated and mesh so well together to create am amazing burst of flavour in each bite. The Ensalada De La Case is a GF & Dairy free salad with leafy greens, picked red onion, roasted red peppers and the same dressing. I certainly enjoyed The Peruvian best as I love sweet potatoes and having a warm salad on a cold day is really a treat.
Overall this place is absolutely fantastic, super accommodating, and has so many options for everyone. They are some genuinely amazing people who love what they are doing and really try to go the extra mile to make a huge difference in what they offer everyone. They put their heart and soul into their food and I believe it truly shows and comes through in the taste, presentation, and service at Mesa Fresca. I want to thank both Alison and Andrew for their generosity and hospitality during my visit. They were very open to learning more about living a GF life and how they can further extend on their gluten free offerings.
**This meal was provided to me for the nature of this review, but all opinions and feedback are solely my own**
I’m in need of a savior, but I’m not asking for favors My whole life, I’ve felt like a burden I think too much, and I hate it
-Silence; Marshmallow ft Khalid
It has been a really long time since I’ve had the guts to write a blog so personal.
As you all know, I recently moved from Whitby to Kingston which was a really big change. I didn’t think I had it in me, even with so much support. Mentally it was hard to wrap my mind around even though I knew Kingston was the better spot for me to settle down and grow old in, it was still a little bit foreign. I grew up here, and all my family is here – but in most ways my LIFE is in Whitby. Toronto is also home to me. It’s a strange feeling that I’m constantly going back and forth between which feels like home. I guess they are both home, for different reasons.
So there was a lot of reasons I left Whitby, but a big one was the fact I was in dire need to get back to my roots and dig deep in finding “The Old Erin”. These past 5 years have been nothing short of traumatic, and in turn I have had some incredible changes and emotions. Mental health really took a forefront in my life in these last 5 years and I was under a constant cloud of self hate, anger and depression.
First my dad got Cancer- that was incredibly stressful and really hard to wrap my mind around. I’ve written blogs about that before so I won’t go into too much detail but the struggles of going through that brought up uncontrollable anxiety and panic attacks. It was extremely tough on me personally, I had zero coping mechanisms. Everyone deals with it differently and for me it was really hard to manage. Even now, it is a difficult topic I have trouble vocalizing as it just brings me back to a dark place. If I talk about it I choke up, because it was just such a dark and uncertain time. What is even more ironic is we are coming up on the 5 year mark in 2019 which is considered Cancer Free. Its a big hurdle to overcome and while I am the most proud of my dad, I am also proud of myself for not letting that situation bury me over the years.
In the last two months since moving to Kingston I have really had to learn to love myself again. After being in an incredibly toxic relationship over the course of three years, I was drained of any amount of self love. Toxic relationships truly change you, in the worst ways. I am so incredibly thankful to my good friends who stuck with me even when I wouldn’t leave because I was too stubborn. They loved me and hugged me while I cried and never left my side or did not have my back for one second. I hope and pray anyone else going through a toxic situation has friends to lean on. I would not be alive if it weren’t for those friends today –that is for certain.
I spent years loving someone who did not know how to give respect or love. I don’t doubt for a second that this person did not love me, I just think he was never taught about love and respect. No matter how much I was open about my feelings of rejection and hurt, he was unwilling to look in the mirror and make changes. I was blamed for every problem and told it was my anxiety, or my lack of self confidence. Even though I didn’t see it then, it was the constant criticism that causing my anxiety and self hate. At some point I got lost in the atmosphere and just fell apart. I believed the horrible things I was told about myself, and I punished myself for being that way. I was too skinny, I was too pale, I didn’t eat enough, I wasn’t fit enough. I couldn’t cook food right, nor could I dress in a way that was appreciated. There was absolutely no acceptance of who I was as a person and instead of leaving the toxic relationship I stayed. Anyone who has experienced this I think can understand the feeling of truly loving someone with every piece of yourself and wishing they could love you the same. I would have done anything for this person, and wished every day I would be accepted, loved, and embraced for who I was. I knew if I could just be accepted and loved the relationship would improve. What I didn’t know, was that he was incapable of giving me what I needed. So instead I stayed, and continued to fall deeper and deeper into hating myself. I really felt if I couldn’t get him to love me, that I wasn’t worthy period. I was told so often about what I lacked, what I couldn’t do, how I couldn’t do it, and why I wasn’t doing it right. This went on for 2+ years of constant back and forth. With each day that passed I just wanted to be loved, and with each hurtful thing said to me it just cut me deeper and made me hate myself more. Every day I could call my girlfriends, crying, and wondering why he couldn’t see me the way they did and everyone else around me. Most days, I felt like I would rather die than be alone. As dramatic as that sounds- unless you have been in a relationship where your mind is so controlled by the other person, it is all you think. I didn’t think I could live or breathe without him.
Eventually, at some point things really fell apart and I guess that is the silver lining to this (Cue “Dancing With our Hands Tied- Taylor Swift;; this song is the literal explanation of the entire relationship). I don’t remember the exact moment, or event that occurred. I just remember things starting to not add up, trust issues set in (which surprisingly we never had trust issues, up until the end), and we both just knew it was over. My friend Rachel was there to pick me right up and help me through that incredibly dark time. She was able to keep me laughing, busy, and moving forward. I had to push on, I had survived an extremely traumatic situation, and made it out. The hard part had just begun though. On one hand, the immediate feeling of relief washed over me. To finally breathe, and not worry about being criticized for every single thing I did or did not do was overwhelming. It was a freedom I had never felt before in my whole life. There is nothing worse than hating yourself (from the years of hearing and believing it) and then being left alone by that person. The breakup was mutual, don’t get me wrong. But I still had feelings of emptiness and like I failed because he wasn’t there.
Over the next 6 months I not only managed to move to a new city, but completely start my life over. I have worked so hard through therapy and practise to love myself again. A lot of self care was practised, and a lot of doing exactly what felt good to me was what helped me get past all the negativity that was engrained in my brain. At no point will I ever date a person who shows signs of being abusive and toxic. I can spot the red flags very easily now, and the clarity I have is nothing short of a miracle. I am so proud of the progress I made and how I got here. I am proud of the fact this move solidified my three best girlfriends. You know who you are, and I wouldn’t be the confident, beautiful, loving person I am today without you three. My friends build me up, and I don’t feel guilty for accepting compliments from them. At no point should anyone feel guilty for compliments but thats just how my mind has been trained up until this point. Most people aren’t lucky enough to have one good friend and I have been blessed with three of the best girlfriends anyone could ever need. They all bring different perspectives to my life and for each I am beyond thankful and grateful for. With the help of them, I have been able to build myself back up, and move to a new city. Friendships are incredibly important when rebuilding your self love. You need to have people who see you the way you are and know when you need some confidence.
As I dip my toes back in the dating world it’s an interesting thing. I am almost 29, at the age where I certainly know I want to get married and have a child. Finding someone who wants the same things, and is a good person is the most difficult task. Learning to trust again is a challenge, I don’t really trust anyone is good anymore and I have all these fears of letting someone in, only to have them wind up putting me through the ringer again. I think I am certainly OK with winding up alone, it is not the end of the world. I just feel that the current state of Dating in 2019 is a hot mess, in which no one is clear or kind. It’s been a struggle, but I’m happy to say I can laugh now. I can laugh when a guy wants to say something hateful to me. I’m better than that. At no point have I ever been the person to put someone else down (Probably because that is what I am used to dealing with.), but I find it’s very common. It means a lot of duds, and ghosting. It’s hard to not overthink every single thing going on, do you talk too much or too little? It’s getting easier to just be myself though and the person can either take it and embrace it, or leave. Either is fine, I’m just finally at the point where I am who I am and it’s not changing. I love myself, I am an incredibly good and loyal friend. I will never intentionally hurt someone nor do them wrong. The cool thing is though, when you love yourself, you don’t look for acceptance elsewhere. I am the only person who needs to love me and I am finally there again. Months of therapy, lots of books, and tons of writing. So many of my emotions I was able to write and journal about. Just like this blog here is something I’ve been putting off for a while because it’s just nerve-racking. But it is incredibly freeing and empowering to be able to finally speak out on these past few months and what I’ve been going through. I’m finally able to LOVE my blog, and be proud of the work I do.
I was able to overcome some absolutely wild hurdles, and come out on the other side better than ever. I am thriving, I have great friends, and a family who loves me. 2019 is not off to a bad start..
A proudly certified Toronto gluten free restaurant specializing in Japanese, Thai and Asian cuisine Riz is pleased to announce that they have obtained the Gluten Free Food Service Certification (GFFS) from the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG) for 2015. This certification acknowledges our ongoing commitment, as a gluten free restaurant, to preparing the highest quality of CELIAC safe gluten free pan Asian cuisine.
I have eaten at Riz many, many times. It is always very fast service, with some amazing food not found elsewhere. My usual order:
Chicken Spring Roll
Spicy Salmon Sushi
Dim Sum (shrimp)
Young Chow Fried Rice with Chicken
General Tao Chicken
The menu has such a wide variety of everything you could possible imagine in the Asian Cuisine world! Certified GF and out of this world! I would HIGHLY suggest this to anyone looking to fulfil some Asian Cuisine Cravings! There is free parking near by as well! There is another location of Riz on Bayview, however that location is not certified GF and do not follow the same protocols so I would not suggest going there if you have anyone celiac in your party. The food is clearly labelled GF on the plates, and they have two separate kitchens.
In Partnership with the Gluten Free Food Program I was able to check out La Dolce Vita in Ottawa back in October while visiting my sister. This place was suggested by many people, as well as Jacqui at GF Food Program. I have been working alongside the program for about a year now to help bring awareness to places that may not know the program. La Dolce Vita is in the process of being Certified Gluten Free which is really wonderful for anyone with Celiac Disease.
Located in Ottawa’s own Little Italy, this cute little restaurant is located down a few steps, and they even have an outdoor patio that is above ground. We arrived at 11:30 for an early lunch, and luckily were the first ones there. It was clean, quiet, and smelled absolutely amazing.
To start- this place is 100% safe for Celiacs. As they are in the process of being certified I back this place up to the fullest extent and know many people who have eaten here with no issues. I will not touch on the protocols during this particular blog post as they are safe, so there is no need to go into that. Anyone in Ottawa probably knows this information already, so anyone from out of town…. you are totally safe to eat here!
We ordered a large bottle of San Pellegrino because who doesn’t love sparkling water with lemons & limes? Our appetizer was a delicious Bruschetta dish on garlic toast. The Bruschetta was really delicious- the only feedback I would provide on it is that the toast needs to be ultra crispy to be able to support the Bruchetta. It did cave in the middle of the toast a bit because the tomato juices had dripped through.
What a combo! Wow. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be eating my favourite pasta– Seafood Canelloni. It was made to order, the cheese was crisped perfectly on top, and the sauce was so creamy. Side note- my 1 and a half year old nephew also loved the Canelloni. Kids approved even!
If you know me, anything with goat cheese I am all over. I think I eat a small package of goat cheese each week. Its creamy, savoury, and just delicious. The Palermo really spoke to me as it also had grilled chicken and red peppers. I knew I wanted a lighter pizza as the Canelloni was a heavy, rich meal. My only feedback on this was that there was also mozzarella on the top of the cheese which I was not expecting. I do tend to be dairy intolerant so after eating the Canelloni I wasn’t able to eat a ton of pizza as I had to limit my dairy intake. I respond much better to goat cheese only. It was super hot, the cheese was melted great, and the pizza crust held together perfectly. It was served on the pizzeria style tray and looked very mouth watering. Again, definitely kid approved.
Homemade from scratch Tiramisu. Wow. Can’t even put this into words, but it was so so delicious. The Chef makes the lady finger cookies from scratch and took a long time to perfect the recipe to make it Gluten Free but he certainly nailed it. The creme, fruits, and spongy lady finger cookies were the ultimate dessert. This is a great dessert to stop in for if you need a good date spot and don’t want to bring too much attention to the fact you need Gluten Free (Plus, its so good it will really make a positive first impression of GF if you’re on a first/ early date!)
A bit of a side note, the Chef there also is a fantastic singer… my sister had her birthday party here last year and the chef himself came out and sang Happy Birthday to her!!
Gotta love Ottawa, the city is gorgeous with so many GF eating options. I will be visiting often with lots to review so stay tuned. Any questions email me firstname.lastname@example.org
**This meal may have been provided to me in partnership with the GF Food Program & La Dolce Vita, but all opinions are my own- you always must do your own research when dining out and asking your own questions to ensure your meal is what you want/need**
Here is my Youtube Review of my personal choice of Natural Birth Control. This is a Caya Contoured Diaphragm. Absolutely NO hormones involved. You simply insert this beforehand, and take it out the next morning, or at least 8 hours later. You can’t feel it, in fact, a few times I literally forgot about it. But they work, and if you’re someone like me who absolutely avoids messing with my bodies organic hormones then this is definitely a way to go. If you want to ask more about it, or just talk please email me at email@example.com
I have taken the Depo Shot for years, I had a copper IUD for 2 years, I took the pill, and they all caused various issues. Either long periods, or no periods, migraines worsened, or my skin got worse, overall feeling of panic when taking any amounts of hormones. I have been off the Depo Shot for a full year now and my body feels a lot less roller coaster for my hormones.
I have been a Knixwear Ambassador for about 6 months now and I really love this company. Not only are they Canadian, but they are a completely Body Positive company. They use models of all shapes, colours, and sizes! They keep it real and are such a beautiful company in my opinion. They celebrate ALL women and empower them with products that are beautiful, comfortable, and functional. Finding all three things in one company is wonderful. Check out the Body Suit linked above – it is a new release, and I am so in love!! Use my codes below for corresponding discounts:
Ongoing active code: glitzandgf10 for $10 off your order.
If you’re having any issue using these codes please email me firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.