Tag: goal setting

Healthy Swellness: 2017 in review

 Best Nine 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, I will tell you I don’t really want to reflect on what’s been a very hard year. But I will because it’ll help me move forward and motivate me to work on making next year better. Up above is my best nine as determined by that site, and yes, there are some great highlights there.

I have been thinking about this past year all week and even I have to admit that there are some shining moments, ones that I let get overshadowed by overwhelming anxiety and stress. When I put some time into thinking about the year, 2017 will be the year that I will remember for these moments:


My life changed for the better by adopting Billie Jean. In February, when an extremely scared hound landed at my door as my very first foster through Save Our Scruff, I had zero intention of adopting a dog. I wanted to foster as that was a way I could help a great organization while also getting some quality time with dogs that I could fit with my schedule. Then as Billie Jean came to trust me and came out of her shell more and more each day, I fell head over heels for her. More than love for this incredible pup, she was good for my health. She helped me to stress less and forced me to have more balance in my life. The truth is that there are days I feel stress and anxiety are swallowing me whole and I want me up feeling as though I’m in a dark place, and yet I have no choice but to take her out for a walk. Her trust, sheer happiness and wagging tail are like a switch for me. I exhale and she reminds me that we just have to keep on keepin’ on.

airplane over BC

I got to travel and explore and make new friends. I don’t believe that if you put something out in the world that it’ll come true…but I’d become fixated on visiting Lake Tahoe, and I was lucky enough to travel there for work and it was as stunning as I hoped. The same goes for Park City. I had been intrigued by this city I’d heard so much about and I felt so fortunate when I got to ski there in some epic conditions and do one of the most incredible SUP yoga classes ever. I visited California several times again this year and fell in love with it even more. More and more, I think I’m meant to be a California girl. Belize has always, too, been on my radar and I was thrilled to go on an epic trip there with G Adventures where we went caving, made tortillas from scratch with some inspiring women, and learned drumming with locals. 

Camping with Billie Jean and Bun

I road tripped all summer long and learned to camp. I spent much of the year focusing on close-to-home getaways with Billie Jean from late spring through to the fall. From a few trips to wine country (including PEC and Niagara) to learning to camp (a new passion for me—and am thrilled about partnering with MEC for some gear I plan to continue to use regularly!), staying in Ontario and enjoying quality time with my favourite dog was perfect. With it being Canada 150, it was great to celebrate what an incredible country we live in and discovering areas I’d never been to like Norfolk County. Besides the fun of camping and exploring Ontario, I’m also giving myself props for all the driving I did this year. Truth is I prefer to be a passenger but feel more comfortable behind the wheel now and even did my first two days at a race track.


I met Charlie Hunnam. Last year, I got to meet Taylor Lautner, this year JAX TELLER.  What can I say, I fangirl hard for some celebs. As a Sons of Anarchy fan, meeting him, I was on cloud nine. I also go to meet Nicholas Hoult and had dinner with chef Curtis Stone so it was a pretty star-studded year. Oh, and I partied on a Bacardi bus with Luis Fonsi (I still love that song Despacito!)


I got to see Backstreet Boys in concert. Yes, I’ve seen them many, many times but it doesn’t make it any less special, haha! Front row at their show in Las Vegas cost a fortune and was an ordeal (lining up so we could nab our prime spot at the stage, ugh) but seeing them in concert makes me ridiculously giddy and happy so it was well worth it. As was seeing NKOTB in concert again. I swear I feel an endorphin rush just reminiscing about it while writing this. I got to make a deep connection with the souls (OK, hold hands briefly…) of almost every one of these boy band-ers this year, yassssssss!

NKOTB 2017

I ran two marathons and cross-trained more. After my longest break from the 42.2k distance, I ran the Chicago Marathon and Hamilton Marathon, bringing my marathon total up to eleven. While Chicago was fine and Hamilton quite terrible, and neither was the ultimate result I wanted, I am proud to have these races completed. A marathon is difficult and a lot of hard training (which I think I forget sometimes) and I have to remind myself that there once was a time I couldn’t even dream of completing such a distance.



As for  cross-training, I still focus heavily on running but I did work in a bit more variety to my fitness. Dance classes at Dance Life X is something I adored (I grew up taking dance classes and have always loved it). I made the effort to go to yoga classes and through work I got to include workouts such as Pilates, Spinning and HIIT. With Billie Jean, I hiked more and got out into nature more. She’s good for my health in so many ways.

kick back with a tall cold one

Work including some fantastic collaborations. Work has its ups and downs but this year there were projects and partnerships I loved working on: Working with Reebok on content about running and travel. Food campaigns with Loblaws. Content with Dairy Farmers of Canada, including this super fun retro-inspired one (above) and one about the power of protein. Some fun video content with College of Kinesiologists of Ontario. And let’s not forget projects I got to include Billie Jean on such as with Dyson and Marks.


So, what are my goals for 2018…

With just a few hours left in 2017, I see that this year wasn’t entirely without good moments. Looking ahead to 2018, I strive for more balance in my life. While I traveled less this year (which was what I aimed for), I still went on eleven trips and 12 road trips, and the time, effort and disruption to my schedule that caused is simply very stressful and overwhelming for me. I need to work on not overextending myself.

Health-wise, I intend to try to include more variety and will continue to try to improve my running. I think more dance, tennis and Pilates will be key to my happiness when it comes to working out. I will plan on some goal races, but I have not yet decided on which ones. Ideally, I’d like to do one marathon destination race. When it comes to other aspects of wellness, I will continue to work on getting better sleep, drinking more water (I have started to drink a bit more!), and eat more veggies. A little more self-care, too, in terms of keeping my negative inner voice in check. I had a wake-up call recently when a client told me some content beat up on the reader too much, and I realized that the copy was essentially how I speak to myself all the time.

For work, I aim to continue to partner with brands who align with Health & Swellness. I’ve met and worked with several people who truly understand my brand and for that, I’m proud and plan to pursue collaborations with such companies more in the new year.

For this blog, I hope to blog more about my passions. Sheer lack of time has meant I cover some interests too infrequently. I have lots of ideas and things I want to write about, but just run out of time. But if I can achieve a more manageable schedule, you can look forward to more beauty and food posts in 2018 and my ramblings…I’ll try to keep the boy band love to a minimum, I promise!

Here’s to a safe and happy goodbye to 2017, and wishing you an incredible 2018! It’s a year brimming with possibilities!

Karen xo

Lost in Paradise in the Bahamas



1 Comment December 31, 2017

Healthy Swellness: My Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water #evenbetter goal

FullSizeRender (92)

A couple of weeks ago, I challenged myself to get #evenbetter with my running, specifically in terms of improving my pace. And to help me reach that goal, I had a few tactics in mind, including hydrating with Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water, which contains the #powerof50 cranberries.

I suppose I should remind you that speed work is not my favourite. Nor is sweating. But I’ve been down about my pace slowing significantly so my hope was that this goal would give me the push I needed to kick-start my training for a fall race.

During my two weeks working on my goal, the weather was hot, I traveled both to New York City and Sayulita, and life was, as usual, just plain hectic. But having the goal to work towards, as well as clear strategies to get me there, worked. In NYC, having not run in a day or so, I committed to getting out of my hotel before 5 a.m. for a short sprint, and this night owl managed to do it.

On a warm Saturday evening, I was very close to putting off my tempo run, but I knew that’d set me back from meeting my goal, and so I ran just as the sun was setting.

And on a particularly hot afternoon, when I would’ve normally eased into a comfortable pace, I was lucky to have my running buddy with me, and she motivated me and helped get me through this run in which we ran tempo and then fartleks.


Hydration also played a key role in helping me working toward my goal. I’m a heavy sweater so I should hydrate more than I do. With a supply of Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water it was easy to keep hydrated throughout the day since it’s tasty (I always resist drinking plain water as I’m simply not a fan), and the subtle flavour worked well as a drink during my training as it didn’t bother my stomach (always key during a run!). My favourite flavour was Cranberry Pomegranate for running, but I did enjoy having a variety of flavours for sipping when not training.

So did I achieve my goal? While my comfortable pace is still slower than I am happy with, I did learn that when pushing myself to run faster for a shorter distance than I usually train for, I am not as slow as I think I am. When I ran with my friend, she was checking our pace to make sure we were on track and she had us rein in our pace at one point as we were running a sub 5 min/km pace, and that was a nice surprise.


I’m happy to know, thanks to this #evenbetter goal, that I can reach target speeds when I set my mind to it.

Being well-hydrated is always a good idea, so I think being able to enjoy low-cal, tasty Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water set me on a good track both for my goal and my overall wellness. If, like me, you haven’t been able to get on the water train because you find it bland, you might have more success hydrating with Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water.

So that’s my #evenbetter goal completed. How about you? What small goal will you challenge yourself to?

Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water is a tasty and low-calorie way to hydrate in a more meaningful way. Packed with the power of 50 cranberries, PACt® Cranberry Extract Water delivers unique cranberry health benefits. Visit http://pact.oceanspray.ca to learn more and find out where to buy PACt® water at a store near you.


Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Ocean Spray® via Mode Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Ocean Spray®.


1 Comment July 20, 2016

Healthy Swellness: What are your 3-year goals?

Goal Digger from bellechic.com

When it comes to setting goals, I’ll admit, I falter when it comes to long-term goals. And I’ve found out I’m not alone. In a survey conducted with millenial women, 67 percent find that classic job interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” overwhelming. I know that sometimes I feel like I don’t even know what I”m doing next month, never mind in five years.

With today being International Women’s Day comes the launch of the #3YearGoals campaign. Today, after all, is about celebrating women’s achievements, and empowering women to continue to make strides toward equal rights. So, rather than 5 year goals, which may seem overwhelming, let’s think in terms of 3 year goals. This way we can actually set goals since this is a time frame we can wrap our heads around. (The same survey found that 85 percent of the millenial women who took part in the survey feel empowered to set goals with a three-year time frame and that 80 percent know what they want to achieve in the next three years.)

And what better spokespeople for this #3YearGoals campaign that the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, Chloe, Justine and Maxime, the Olympic skiers who made Canadian history last month by placing first, second and third at the Freestyle Ski World Cup. Three women who obviously know how to set goals and achieving them.


When I think of the next three years. I’d like to set a few goals for myself centred around fitness and travel. For fitness, well, this is a goal I’ve had for a little over a year, and have yet to achieve, which is qualify for the Boston Marathon. I came so close to qualifying without realizing it in 2014 in the Chicago Marathon…and have yet to come that close again since 2015 was a very disappointing race year for me. First step I need to do when it comes to reaching this goal within the next three years: wrap my head and heart around training, really training hard, because I know I can qualify. But it may (will…) call for traveling less often so that I can train more seriously. And I will admit, I am reluctant to give up on the traveling. In any case, since I think I can only manage two qualifying marathons a year, this gives me six attempts to qualify. Deep breaths…I can do this.



As for my travel goal? Take at least one true vacation a year. A trip I don’t have to write about. Where I’m not running around to do and see as much as possible (unless that’s what I want to do!). I know you may not believe me, but the traveling I do is certainly enjoyable and exciting but it’s also tiring. I actually took a vacation last year to Vancouver and it was wonderful not to have my brain constantly thinking about work (that’s the downside of being freelance, it ain’t all workin’ in your PJs, ya know!).



And let’s just throw in a third goal since we are talking in threes right now. This one’s a biggie…I’d like to adopt a dog. This, too, is a goal I’ve had on my mind for awhile, but it’s just not been the right time. I want to be able to have the time and energy that having a dog calls for. I’ve done a ton of reading of what type of breed I’d like, but this was before I became a runner (and so I only chose low-energy dogs). I’ll start my research again. Just no one tell my two cats yet, OK? They’re already stressed out enough as it is.

(edited) Alright, now that I’ve been thinking about nothing other than #3YearGoals all night, I have one to add, and this one is a biggie: In three years, I’d like this blog to be my main focus and source of income. Right now, I focus more on freelance writing, which I enjoy. and do want to continue doing. But to be earning enough on my own little project, well, that’d be major.

What would your #3YearGoals be? By March 2019, where do you want to be in terms of career, finances or school (those were the top ranked priorities in the survey)? While you’re thinking about this, do you want to have a baby in the next three years? 60 percent responsded they do not want to have a baby in the next three years. If you were to unintentionally get pregnant, how would this impact your goals? If having a baby in the next three years isn’t in your plans for the next three years, talk to your doctor about what your contraceptive options are, and you can also learn about some different contraceptive options on www.birthcontrolforme.ca.

Because when setting your goals, you also have to make a plan to help you reach them, and this includes foreseeing any possible barriers and having tactics ready to overcome them (you know what, this goal setting and planning calls for doing a SWOT analysis…ah, so I DO remember something from my marketing degree from Concordia after all!).

So, ladies, let’s do this together. Three years from now, where do you want to be?

Oh, and stay tuned for the next #3YearGoals post to come in the month of April!


(Goal Digger image from BelleChic)





Leave a Comment March 8, 2016

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