Tag: reading

Healthy Swellness: My Downsized Goals for 2021


I reached only one of the goals I’d set for 2020. And I’m totally fine with that. It was a year when doing anything took what felt like 100 times more effort so I’m really proud of having read 18 books when I set out to read a dozen. For the first few months I was ahead of my goal, and then when lockdown became stricter and I found it hard to concentrate on anything, I fell behind. But eventually I worked on cracking open a book more often and it was such a joy to reignite my love of reading, a pastime I’ve been passionate about since I was a kid but fell out of the routine for almost a decade.

My other goals? Well, I barely got started. I had planned to incorporate more cross-training into my routine, and aimed to do one workout a week that was not running. Instead, other than a few workouts before the pandemic (and a few virtual dance classes during lockdown), I focused solely on running (but at least I ran more than ever, completing the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, and then ran and walked back across Tennessee). Running is what I know, what I can incorporate into my life without a ton of thought, it’s really just easier for me to wrap my head around even though I know in reality I can easily roll out my yoga mat and find a workout online for a yoga session, for one.

And my other goals to eat more veggies and learn how to use my camera? Well, my diet was all over the place last year (I craved comfort foods and nostalgic eats big time, plus I had a hard time finding time to cook so that impacted how I ate as well), and I simply didn’t have the energy to pick up my camera and take an online course.

And while I don’t set travel goals per se (although I did wish last year to go to Thailand and that came true in December, I’m convinced I manifested it!), because of the pandemic, my travel was downsized significantly last year. I went on a total of six trips; four by flight (Vail, Gimli, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and a cruise out of Miami) and two local road trips (to Prince Edward County and a camping trip just north of Toronto at Oastler Lake).

Anyhow, for this year, I just read this New York Times article about making 2021 goals small and gentle. And that really resonated with me. We don’t need to feel bad about not accomplishing a ton right now, living through this crazy time we are all just trying to survive. And they’ll be focused on setting a routine. I already started with including a few things to improve my mornings, and those small things bring a sense of relief in this harsh reality we are living in. Yes, the simple but delicious foamy latte I drink in the morning brings me so much more than just a delicious cup of coffee; there’s a sense of feeling able to take a deep breath and relax even for just a few minutes that comes with this ritual. I think I maybe especially appreciate it since my life has for so many years entirely lacked routine, what with juggling freelance and travel.

So my goals for 2021 will be small:

I will read 15 books—and will do so by reading at least 10 pages a day. I’m building on the one goal I achieved! I tend to go days without reading and then read a ton. But this year I will work on reading just a little each day as part of my routine. I’m thinking at bedtime (although I tend to fall asleep pretty darn quickly once I hit the sack!). I know I read more than 15 books last year, but I think that was largely because I read about four of them while on a cruise for a week. Above are some of the books on my shelf to read this year, plus I’ve got several on hold at the library.


I will make one meatless dish a week. I actually think I ate less veggies last year than ever. I tend to eat more of my veggies as part of my main, but there are loads of easy ways to enjoy vegetables as a side (sauteed green beans or roasted Brussels sprouts are so incredibly simple), so this will be something I can make a habit out of, and it’ll give me a push to look for delicious main dishes that make veggies and meat alternatives the star. Maybe I’ll finally try to make some dishes from this Ottolenghi cookbook; I’ve had it for years and yet have never cooked from it.


I will develop a gratitude habit. I like this idea of building off of the good habits you established last year as mentioned in this New York Times article. It also outlines why reflecting on the past year might seem like a bad idea but that it’s good for you (which I learned when I looked back at 2020). And the first suggestion in the article is to develop a gratitude habit. I have the Five Minute Journal, and haven’t been successful in writing in it daily since I’m often in a rush to get out the door in the morning, so instead as I make and enjoy my morning coffee, I will think of one thing I am thankful for, and take it one step further when it makes sense (say if I’m grateful for the delicious meal I’m picking up that day, then I’ll tip more than usual, for example, or I’ll text that friend I’m grateful for having in my life, both are ideas from that NYT article). This is all something I definitely did more of in 2020, but it was not part of an established routine. The one way I do express gratitude daily already? I do hug Billie Jean and Mya all the time and tell them I love them; I am grateful for them every damn day for the joy they bring me.

Have you set any goals or intentions for the year?

3 Comments January 3, 2021

Healthy Swellness: Getting back to my bookworm ways


I think I’ve written before that this has been a chaotic year. And with it coming to a close soon, I’m going to have to evaluate how to move forward; because my current pace is not something I can maintain in the long term.

As much as this year has been a bit nutty, I have made some somewhat successful adjustments. While it wasn’t a decision I made, but rather just what my schedule dictated, running and racing has been less of priority this year, which I’m fine with for 2016. Another change I’m please about? I decided to try to read more often. I was always a major bookworm since I was a little girl, but for about the last five years or so I stopped reading books, when I used to be someone who raced through a book every week or two. (Maybe I’ve been too distracted by social media? Maybe it’s due to not having a great reading spot at home?)

But with my goal of adding things to my life that bring me happiness, I decided I needed to start reading books again. And while it doesn’t sound like a lot, I’ve read about a half dozen books in about the last year, and two things have helped make that happen. First, being part of the Indigo Book Club. While I’ve only successfully read the monthly pick in time for the Twitter party with the author once–they hold it at the end of each month (and I’m typically reading the books months later), having the books chosen for me eliminates that task, and now I always have reading material for when I’m killing time waiting in airport lounges and on flights (but this only works sometimes because I’m frequently so sleep-deprived when I travel that I’m not alert enough to focus on reading!).


Receiving a Kobo Glo HD (thanks Kobo!) has helped up my reading time, too. I’ve always loved having a Kobo to read on the beach (no pages for the wind to mess with and it’s light and easy to hold overhead when lying back on a chaise). It features an anti-glare screen (again, great for the beach), but also an adjustable ComfortLight (helpful when traveling with a friend and you want to read a bit before going to sleep). The Kobo Glo HD can also store thousands of books and so I don’t have to stress about the extra weight in my carry-on (I used to lug six hardcover books to week-long beach vacations). Another major plus about the Kobo? The long battery life. Kobo states that a single charge has up to two months of battery life. If only my smartphone could hold a charge for as long as my Kobo!

Right now I’m reading the lovely Nora McInerny Purmort’s book It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) on my Kobo, but I’m also starting this month’s #IndigoBookClub pick, The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall. This book was a finalist for this year’s Giller Prize, and the Twitter party with Whittall is taking place @chaptersindigo on November 30, 2016, at 7 p.m. EST (chances are I won’t have finished the book on time but you should take part if you’ve read The Best Kind of People and want to tweet and discuss with @zoewhittall).

What’ve been your fave recent reads?





Leave a Comment November 22, 2016

Healthy Swellness: National Read in a Bathtub Day Giveaway with American Standard

AS Loft Freestanding Tub - Lifestyle1


** THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Scroll to the bottom if you entered to see if you’ve won!**

Happy National Read in a Bathtub Day!

I have to admit, I think I’ve only taken a bath at home once. It’s always something I want to do; I save bubble bath products for when I get around to it, but then I never get around to it. I do sometimes take advantage of the luxe hotel tubs though when I travel (less things I need to cross off my list when out of my place, I suppose). But since I’m trying to slow down a bit this year, I’m adding more baths into my schedule, and yes, reading in the tub.

My tub is a standard condo builder type of tub, but I’d love a freestanding tub, you know when I grow up, haha. It’s usually the bathrooms in hotels that fill me with design envy. Soaking in this edgy Loft freestanding tub from American Standard (above) would be like staycationing in the hottest hotel in town.

And while I tend to like modern lines like the Loft, I’m possibly more drawn to the softer curves of this Serin tub. It’s elegant and a little more traditional yet still modern; the kind you’d find in the best spas…

AS Serin Freestanding Tub - Lifestlye1

In my chic cottage on the lake (hey, I’m doing a bit of dreaming here, ok?), I think I’d opt for the Ovale freestanding tub. The curves seem more reminiscent to me of traditional tubs of another era and this traditional look would suit the classic tiles I’d decorate my cottage bathroom in. Plus, it has a deep well so you can fill it up with water at just the right temp, plus, of course, plenty of bubbles…

AS Ovale Freestanding Tub - Lifestyle2

But none of these tubs would feel complete unless you were to have a nice, long, relaxing soak while catching up on a great book. And to help celebrate National Read in a Bathtub Day, I’ve partnered with American Standard for a fun giveaway! Enter and you could win a $25 giftcard to a bookstore so that you can get a great book for your bathtub reading.

This giveaway is open to Canadian residents and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 16, 2015.

Here’s how to enter! You can enter in three different ways (each way counts as one entry, so go ahead and enter in each of the three methods!):

1. Email me at healthandswellness@gmail.com with your name and mailing address (it just makes it quicker for us to send you the prize  if you provide me with your address off the bat). Please put “American Standard” in the subject line.

2. Twitter: Follow both me (@healthswellness) and American Standard (@amstandardca) on Twitter, and then tweet:

I’ve entered to #win a giftcard for books to read in the tub from @healthswellness and @amstandardca. Enter here! http://bit.ly/1O2gRYn

3.  Like both the Health and Swellness PAGE on Facebook (at the top of the page) and the American Standard Canada page as well, and then leave a comment on the photo of this American Standard giveaway — tell me which book you last read in the bathtub was.

The prize is valued at $25 and the giveaway will close at 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 16, 2016. Please note that this giveaway is open to Canadian residents only. The winner will be chosen at random. If I cannot reach the winner within five days, another winner will be selected. The winner’s name will be announced on the blog once confirmed with the prize winner.

But I’m not the only one doing a giveaway — American Standard Canada is as well! But hurry to enter as their giveaway ends at midnight Wednesday, February 10th! They have three $25 giftcards to be won to go towards a book or two to read in the tub. You can find their giveaway on their Facebook page.

Happy reading in the tub! And good luck in the giveaway! Oh, and for more info about product availability and your nearest store location for American Standard, visit www.americanstandard.ca


Congratulations to Alison O., the winner of the giftcard to go towards your next great bathtub read! Check your email, Alison, for more details.


Leave a Comment February 9, 2016

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