Filed under: Random Swellness

New Year Swellness: So long, 2014. Hello, 2015!

With my bestie on the beach in Anguilla

As I’m sure many of you have been doing as well, I’ve spent the last few weeks reflecting on the past year, which has flown by. Even faster than the year before — is that possible?

And I wish I could say I look back at this year fondly, but it’s been a relatively rough one. Many ups and downs and, well, it’s been tough to keep a light heart. So much so that great things that I realize should stand out just seem a blur because I’m just going through the motions and not appreciating them for what they are. I happened to look back on my Instagram account yesterday (I’m @healthandswellness — follow me, do it!) and realized it’s been less than a month that I was on the sands in dreamy Anguilla (where I managed a scary untethered climb down a cliff that absolutely terrified me — but was patting myself on the back for completely, shaky legs and all). And just eleven weeks ago, in Chicago I ran my best marathon. A very unexpected feat that when I actually spend a sec to think about that morning and how everything just came together and how I came less than two minutes from qualifying for the Boston Marathon, I’m astonished and proud. Yeah, that happened. No, scratch that. I did that.

But lately these good moments are being overshadowed. And that happens. And that’s OK; it’s OK to feel this way. All I think you can do is try really hard to focus on the things that are good and that you’re grateful for, until those things and and thoughts are the ones taking place front and centre and things shine a little brighter. And so, if the holidays or the year as a whole has been a bit of a rollercoaster, think of the highs, surely there have been some. Do it with me now. Yes?

For me, I’m proud of running a personal best not only in the Chicago Marathon, but in Around the Bay 30k, Sporting Life 10k, and in the Nike Women’s San Francisco Women’s Half-marathon. I love that I had the chance to explore Texas not just once or twice, but three times this year (I think Frederickburg was my favourite). I had the opportunity to travel with one of my best friends to two tropical paradises (Bonaire, where I truly hope to return so I can get better at windsurfing, and Anguilla. which once again proved itself to be a foodie’s dream).

Anguilla and Ani Villas

In addition to my incredible group of friends, I added a few new friends this year to my life — all of whom I simply don’t know how I’d survive without. I ate so very well with these friends, both here in Toronto and abroad. Work continues to inspire and challenge me, and I was included in a nomination for a P&G Beauty and Grooming Award this year for a piece I contributed to for Glow magazine. And there’s the random fun-ness; I mean, I did happy hour on a helicopter, for crying out loud; I skiied with an Olympian; I went to some great concerts (JT, OVO Fest, Beyonce and Jay-Z, Nick and Knight, ha ha, and best of all, in the freakin’ pit for the Backstreet Boys, eeeeeeeeek! If you know me at all, you know how major that was).

Alright, so 2014 has had its moments…

As for 2015, I haven’t made specific goals, yet. I still aim to devote more time to sleep; a healthy sleep schedule continues to be a struggle for me. For running, I’m gunning to qualify for Boston, but am giving myself until the end of 2016 as my timeframe to reach this goal (I’m giving myself more than a year since I can only manage to try two or maybe three qualifying marathons a year). As for everything else, it’s all a work in progress.

Skip into the new year with me, with high hopes for it being the best one yet. Make it happen.

— Karen xo

Skipping on the beach, Sandy Island, Anguilla




2 Comments December 31, 2014

Giveaway Swellness: Win a cold and flu prep kit from Shoppers Drug Mart



THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Congrats to Andrew P. who’s won the cold and flu prep kit!

Oh, I love autumn. What I like least about it, though, is that it also means that cold and flu season is here. I still have to go get a flu shot — but as you know, even with the shot, you can still come down with a cold or a strain of flu not included in the shot.

Which is why you will want to win this Cold and Flu Prep Kit from Shoppers Drug Mart (valued at $150). Were you a Brownie as a kid. I was, and the motto, if you recall was “Be Prepared.” So make  like a good Brownie and be prepared for this cold and flu season and enter.

The  Cold and Flu Prep Kit prize includes:

  • one $50 Shoppers Drug Mart gift card
  • a humidifier
  • Life Brand Hand Sanitizer
  • Vapourizing Cold Rub
  • Electrolyte Maintenance Powder
  • Facial tissues
  • Digital Thermometer
  • Cough drops

Be prepared this cold and flu season and enter to win!

How to enter? You can enter in five different ways (each way counts as one entry, so go ahead and enter in all five methods!):

1. Email me at with your name and mailing address. Please put “Shoppers Drug Mart Cold and Flu Prep Kit” in the subject line.

2. Twitter: Follow me on Twitter (@healthswellness) and tweet:

I want to #win this @ShopprsDrugMart Cold and Flu Prep Kit from @healthswellness.

3. Comment on this blog post and tell me when you’re under the weather, if you’re more likely to call in sick or do you force yourself to go into work/school? (btw, you should keep your germs to yourselves, people! Stay home and get better!)

4. Like the Health and Swellness page on Facebook and then leave a comment on the wall post about this Cold and Flu Prep Kit giveaway — tell me what you like to eat or drink when you’re down and out with a cold.

5. Instagram: Follow me on Instagram (@healthandswellness), like the Instagram photo related to this giveaway, and write a comment about what you’ll buy with the $50 Shoppers Drug Mart giftcard if you win this kit.

The prize is valued at $150 and the giveaway will close at 11:59PM on Monday, November 3, 2014. Please note that this giveaway is open to Canadian  residents only. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Health & Swellness. If I cannot reach the winner within a week, another winner will be selected at random.


Shoppers Drug Mart gift card

74 Comments October 27, 2014

Giveaway Swellness: The winner of the Shoppers Drug Mart back-to-school kit

Shoppers Drug Mart gift card

Thanks for all of your entries in this Shoppers Drug Mart Back-to-School kit giveaway!

The winner has been chosen and notified via Facebook: Theresa M.

Thanks for following the blog. Psst, probably at least one more giveway on the blog this September!

Leave a Comment September 8, 2014

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