• Why Hydration is a Non-Negotiable

    Confession time: I used to hate the taste of water. Hate is a strong word, but H2O was too plain-Jane for this soda-drinking and Crystal Light-loving gal. My tune has since changed. I’ve ditched the soft drinks and faux juice; I now drink water like it’s my day job.

    My twenty pound nutrition textbook talks about the miracle and medicine that is water. I’ll give you the Coles Notes. Adults are at least 60% water. Water is the main component of every fluid—think blood, tears, lymph, and more—found in the body. It also plays a role in just about every function from digestion and absorption to circulation. Basically, water is a rockstar.

    To maintain hydration, a minimum of 12 cups of water needs to be consumed each day. This 12 cups can be spread over the water that you drink, release during digestion (about one cup), and the water found in food (an average of four cups). So, this will differ if you’re eating water-rich fruit or living off processed goods. That leaves you with 7 or so cups of H2O to knock back. Not so bad, right? You can even enhance the taste naturally with lemon, cucumber, mint, ginger, lemongrass, berries, or citrus.


    Keep in mind, if you’re active, sweltering like a hog in the summer heat, or drinking coffee and energy drinks—both of which can stimulate water loss—you’ll need to up your H2O quota.

    Dehydration is a major league problem. Chronic disease, such as arthritis, depression, high blood pressure, migraine, asthma, back pain, and chronic fatigue, can be connected to too little water.

    Your skin can also act as a window into water levels. Ever wonder why a baby’s skin is so soft? They are close to 80% water in the first year of life. Now, we may not be able to maintain baby-soft skin forever, but dry skin, dry eyes, and headaches can be a sign that you’re running low on H2O.

    I drink around four litres of water per day. This changes with temperature, when I’m biking in the heat, or exercising heavily. I’m not hard-core about hitting this number, but it’s what I crave and how I feel best. If I haven’t consumed enough water in the morning, I almost always experience a muscle cramp during my afternoon workout.

    Have you ever heard someone say that, if you’re hungry, you should try drinking some water first? Well, I’m all about eating when you need to eat. But, water aids the process of releasing and using elements of energy stores. So, if you’re body can’t access its nutrient inventory, it may signal that more is needed.

    When I first prioritized water, I started with what felt like an attainable goal of two litres per day. In the first days of a habit, incremental and consistent steps are key.  I filled a one litre bottle of water in the morning and promised to finish it by lunch. Some days, that meant small sips throughout the AM. Other days, it meant chugging at noon. I don’t recommend the latter, but I got it done. I re-filled the bottle and drank its contents before dinner. I used a Nalgene® bottle with measurements on the side, so there was little math, no adding up cups here and there, and zero excuses.

    When you’re building a habit—make it easy. Your brain will find any reason to do what it has always done. Before bed, I fill up a large mason jar with water and leave it on my bedside table. The first thing I do each morning is drink one litre of water. And, hey! It’s already there and only an arm’s reach away. See? Easy! Drinking water upon rise gets your body, digestion, and bowels (TMI!?) moving and grooving. It also sets you up for a hydrated day. Try it and feel the difference.

    From experience, I didn’t even know I was dehydrated. I don’t remember feeling bad, until I drank enough water—then I felt infinitely better. Now, I never leave the house without my wallet, cell phone, and bottle of water; H2O is the best accessory. 

    If talk of one or two litres seems scary, can you drink one, two, or three cups of water more today than yesterday? Be kind to yourself, but be dutiful. After all, more water means more life.

  • Now Playing: Manatee Commune

    Music. Friends. Dance. Sunshine. Rain. Food. Cider. Love.

    These words sum up the wonderful weekend that was Phillips Backyard Weekender. Unfortunately, they make for a very short and poorly written blog post.

    Phillips kicked off the summer festival scene in Victoria. There were musicians that I was itching to see live—Bahamas, Carmanah, and The Funk Hunters—and others that my naïve ears had yet to hear. The Canadian talent shined, as did the performances from our southern neighbours.


    Manatee Commune was a delightful surprise. Grant Eadie is the loveable character behind Manatee Commune: a solo pursuit with a fusion of electronic and classical music. He is some parts dance and DJ beats, and other parts drum with a dash of viola. Which, Google tells me, is like a larger and deeper sounding violin.

    His sound is ambient, textured, and undeniably cool.

    Eadie travelled from his home base in Washington to perform on the brewery stage. His dreamy and buoyant set was perfectly suited to the outdoor backdrop and sun-scattered Saturday. His quiet genius made me fall a little bit in love (his Harry Potter-like glasses also helped).

    His debut album is set to release this fall. Hooray! The first single, “What We’ve Got”, is available for your listening pleasure; the vocal addition is divine. His Thistle EP can also be heard here.

    A #PBW post wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to DJ Jazzy Jeff. Yes, he is the iconic DJ seen on Fresh Prince of Bel Air, among many other notable accomplishments. It was a groove-filled set and major childhood throwback.

    Shall we meet on the concrete dance floor next year?

  • Diary: I Don’t Want it Bad Enough

    I’ll let myself sleep in tomorrow because I stayed up late on social media.

    If I can’t meditate for 20 minutes, I’ll just do it tomorrow.

    Writing one blog post a month is at least better than writing none.

    No one reads my blog.

    If I don’t follow through with my monthly intentions for April, there’s always May.

    I’m still doing more than other people.

    I don’t have enough experience.

    No one will know if I don’t practice yoga.

    I could definitely go on. These are only a handful of excuses manifested by my comfort-seeking mind that delay action and encourage stillness. Not the helpful kind of stillness either, like what I find on my mat or with a meditation app. What do they all have in common? To put it poetically—they suck.

    Comfort is quite the conundrum. I seek comfort in habits, long-time friends, and home. All of these can serve me well. Comfort also keeps me guarded, fearful, and unproductive.

    Take this blog, for example. It’s my second launch of The Tutu Diaries. I love—with a capital L—writing. When the words start rolling, time stops and speeds by all at the same time. My commitment to blogging was one post per week. This goal—made for me and only me—was set to establish consistency, but be achievable alongside other commitments.

    I didn’t keep my word. One week turned to two, which became a month long hiatus. But there are only two or three people who read my blog—does it matter?

    It matters because it matters to me. I don’t exercise for other people, I don’t eat healthy for other people, and I don’t strive for eight hours of sleep for other people. Well, that last one is a bit for other people. #GrumpyPants.

    My reasons for not writing were plentiful. It’s more important that I sleep in. I need some down time. I’ll study instead. I’ll give myself Sundays off. These reasons don’t discriminate. They slide in front of blog posts, study sessions, yoga classes, and various meaningful habits.

    That’s not to say that rest, relaxation, and socializing aren’t important aspects of holistic health. They are! Here’s the thing: I know that there is enough time in a week for me to check off all of my to-do tasks and goals. Yet, I find reasons to act otherwise.

    Am I lazy? Unmotivated? Uninspired? Perhaps I’m doing just enough. Maybe I haven’t found my calling. It could be that I’m rooted to a life more stationary than evolutionary.

    The truth is—I don’t want it bad enough.

    That statement may seem icy, but I find it invigorating. Do ya’ know why? Because it’s up to me. No one is telling me stop, don’t, you can’t, you’re not worthy. I’m the only one standing in my way. If I decided (That’s the key word, here!) to want it bad enough, I’d be unstoppable.

    I’ve chatted a lot about the podcasts that fire me up. I listen to one episode per day and hear from awe-inspiring individuals pursuing sport, business, spirituality, and creativity. Sometimes, I think, that’s great for them. However, I’m not like them. I’m not as driven, athletic, intelligent, or gutsy.

    Reality check! Maybe these people weren’t either when they started out, but they wanted it bad enough anyways.

    Two podcasts that shined a light on this subject included Lewis Howe’s discussion with Chris Lee on The School of Greatness, as well as Rich Roll and Julie Piatt’s conversation on The Rich Roll Podcast entitled The Ultimate Hack is Mystery. Seriously, heart and mind blown wide open.

    Both conversations require a complete listen, but I’ll sum up my takeaways:

    1. Do you want it bad enough? That’s it. You can create the life that you want.
    2. The world is waiting for you to want it bad enough. We have a responsibility to become our best selves and serve others. We all need you.

    Enough talk. Now I must do.

  • How Hemp is Helping to Heal my Skin

    On the roller coaster that has been my skin over the past two years, I’ve dabbled with a number of skin care products. My complexion is naturally dry, so moisturizers are a BIG deal. I’ve recently made the switch to moisturizing my face with hemp oil and the truth is—it’s love!

    Switching up my skin care routine too often is something that I avoid. I prefer to give my skin time to adjust and for the new products to (hopefully) work their magic. I moisturized with jojoba oil for one year with success, but then hemp came a-calling.


    Hemp oil is made from pressing hemp seeds. Hemp is high in chlorophyll—a readily available protein—so the oil is a green colour. I actually prefer its greenish tint, opposed to the reddish hue of jojoba. My acne prone skin is red enough! Hemp oil balances the colour of my complexion.

    Hemp oil ranks zero on the comedogenic scale, which means that it won’t clog your pores. Hallelujah! The scale ranges from zero to five. Here are some other benefits that have me shouting hemp’s name from the mountaintop:

    • A high percentage of linoleic acid regulates the skin’s sebum (oil) production to keep it lubricated (Great for dry skin!)
    • Diminishes redness
    • Supports the appearance of acne
    • Offers a health-promoting, 3:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Antioxidant: prevents or delays possible cell damage
    • Hydrating
    • Boosts elasticity

    Need I go on?

    Hemp oil is chockfull of skin-loving nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, calcium, and essential fatty acids, and its gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) content—an omega 6 fatty acid—minimizes inflammation. It’s edible, so feel free to nourish your body both internally and externally.


    Most products will direct you to keep the oil refrigerated to avoid rancidity. Look for hemp oil that is cold-pressed, organic, unrefined, and ideally sold in a dark bottle.

    Nutiva®, another worthy brand, provides the nutritional lowdown of hemp oil here and here.

    Our skin is like a sponge, so if you wouldn’t eat your skin care products, why are you putting them on your face? Okay, I’m not about to eat my mascara (Although, it is made from fruit!), but the comparison is relevant. Does hemp oil fit the bill? Oh, hell hemp yes!

  • Book Nook: The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck

    If I counted the number of precious moments and resources I’ve exhausted caring about what other people might say, think, or do, well, I don’t think numbers go that high. So, spotting The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck on the bookshelf at Chapter’s was like a splash of cold water on a sweaty, summer’s day. Refreshing, is what it was.


    Since I’m always romanticizing about fruit, and the blog’s main readers are my mom and dad (Thanks for the support, folks!), I will henceforth replace f*ck with fruit basket. (Fruit baskets being something I do give a fruit basket about.)

    A parody to Marie Kondo’s celebrated book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Sarah Knight pens a quick-witted and handy manual for reclaiming time, energy, and money from the things that annoy, in order to prioritize what brings you joy. Seriously, I LOL-ed in multiple public spaces.

    An exercise from this book is to list everything to which you do, or do not, give a fruit basket. The topics include things, work, family, as well as friends, acquaintances, and strangers.  This list can get long, amusing, and extremely satisfying. Here’s an excerpt from my own list:


    • Climate change
    • Animal cruelty
    • Nutrition
    • Getting enough sleep
    • MTV’s The Real World
    • Getting my eyebrows done
    • Meditation


    • Highschool reunions
    • Group photos
    • Small talk (some of the time)
    • Spending money on alcoholic beverages
    • Wearing ‘real’ bras
    • Online dating
    • Facebook

    Everyone’s list will read differently. That’s the point! But, high on most people’s list, and the foundation for this book, is being concerned with what other people think about you.

    I believed that worrying about everyone else’s opinion made me a better person. If I care what he/she/they think, then I’ll be kind, compassionate, and likeable. Ergo, a better person. Right?

    These are admirable qualities, but do people actually like me more for them? Even then—does it matter? Am I happier as result? More importantly, how do I feel about myself when I’m kissing ass, acting without authenticity, or ineffectively hiding an awkward stammer? Not great, is how I feel.


    The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck isn’t about living without consideration. Knight is explicit: don’t be an asshole. You can give more fruit baskets to what brings you happiness, while giving no fruit baskets to what brings you everything on the other side of happiness, all while being an exceptionally decent human being. That may look like politely RSVP-ing no to that bachelorette party or company softball game, without wasting energy on an elaborate excuse or ranting about how much you hate team sports. Both, of which, can be tempting!

    Obviously, not giving a fruit basket is simple as a concept, but harder in practice. Especially when you toss in work responsibilities, family traditions, friendship dynamics, and societal expectations. Knight outlines how to preserve your fruit baskets with politeness and honesty. She also provides the dishonest and most impolite responses, should you choose to take the road less travelled.

    The energy that has been zapped from numero uno on my list—other people’s opinions of me—could have been used to publish a novel, found a small business, play hospital with my nieces, or re-read the entire Harry Potter series for the fourth time. All of these things, whether profound or ordinary, would have brought me joy.

    To clarify, you can participate in things because it makes other people happy. The point is, it’s up to you to decide which things, how often, and for whom. The beauty of fruit baskets is that each one is arranged differently, but none are good or bad. Except whichever one has cranberries. Bleh.

    For now, I’m pondering about what to do with all of this extra mental space. Oh, the possibilities!

  • Diary: Saying No to Say Yes

    Some people thrive at being switched on all day, every day. I’m not one of the them. Well, I might be, but with extensive terms and conditions.

    In all of my book-loving glory, no is a word that I see often, but rarely use. One of my favourite podcast hosts, Jess Lively of The Lively Show, remarked: “No is a complete sentence.”

    This has been life lesson number…

    Okay, I’ve lost count. But this has been a telling life lesson for me over the past couple of months.

    I am a people pleaser with a great fear of being disliked, disregarded, or deemed difficult. My propensity to please leads to a yes, when I really just want to say—no, thanks!

    I’ve recently devoted too much time to work and not enough time to my education, The Tutu Diaries (Hence the month long hiatus, whoops!), and my sanity. A part-time means of making money lead to a full-time commitment driven by my desire to oblige.

    Of course, I only have myself to blame. No one shook a yes out of me, nor did they give the impression that a no would mean anything negative. I created these false truths and allowed them to steer me down an overwhelmed path.

    I’m happy to help others, but not at the expense of my top values. Some of which include getting enough rest, daily exercise, scheduling time for mindfulness practices such as meditating, writing, or reading, and studying my butt off. Saying yes to work meant that I said no to something else.

    This life lesson is a two-parter. Learning no is hard enough, but learning no without justification is even harder. Even in the process of writing this blog post, I felt pressured to explain my lifestyle. There are people with families who work full-time, study during every second of spare time, and make it work with a million and one other commitments. Am I just a big ol’ wus?

    This brings about two entirely separate life lessons:
    1. Comparison only breeds discontent and pushes for procrastination.
    2. When did busy become such a desirable adjective?

    Studying online means that I can design my schedule. While this comes with major bonuses, it also leads to the urge for explanation. I can’t, because… I put the pressure on to make it work, unless I have an unshakeable excuse. I don’t want to, just won’t cut it.

    I’m also an introvert by nature. So, while I love connecting with people, it’s also draining. The only way to fill my cup back up is to spend quality time with me, myself, and I.

    In the end, it’s all about balance. I could be switched on all day, every day. Been there, done that! Doing so, however, doesn’t keep me grounded or joyful. You can’t give more to one aspect of life, without taking from another. But, balance doesn’t have to be static. Maybe, when I’m building a business, I’ll pour 16 hours a day into work and my sleep bucket will get a little empty. The beauty of designing my—and your—ideal life is that it doesn’t matter what it looks like from the outside.

  • Friday Favourites: Podcast for President

    Can I get a FriYAY for Friday? Here are a few favourites currently putting a skip in my step.

    When I say pod, you say cast. Pod? Cast! Pod? Cast!

    And the crowd goes wild. By crowd, I mean just me, curled up on the couch, sporting sweat pants that I’ve owned since high school, and counting all of the ways that podcasts enrich my life. For now, I’ll keep those reasons to myself. Let’s dive into the sweet stuff with five game-changing podcasts.


    The Rich Roll Podcast
    I’m always touting the greatness of the RRP. Rich Roll is an ex-lawyer turned endurance athlete, wellness warrior, and author. His personal story is one of grit and metamorphosis. His podcast is a launching pad for your highest self with spiritual gurus, industry-shifting entrepreneurs, lifestyle wizards, and experts in nutrition, fitness, sleep, self-transformation, and purpose-driven living. The Rich Roll Podcast was my first love and entry into the world of podcasts. It planted a seed that the conventional way isn’t the only way and sparked a preoccupation with finding my way.

    Magic Lessons
    Elizabeth Gilbert’s recent publication, Big Magic, is a moist chocolate cake. Her podcast series, Magic Lessons, is the fudge frosting. The downside? There are only 12 episodes. The upside? They are 12 truth-filled and eye-opening conversations. Gilbert connects with four individuals who seek guidance on their creative paths. She then dials up a few more well-known craft-masters. Together, they unwrap sage advice to steer these inquiring folks in the right direction. The result? Magic.

    Flip on the podcast and lick frosting off of a spoon—no judgement. I’ll even find you a recipe.

    The Lively Show
    Jess Lively is all about Values-based intentions. Not sure what that means? No worries, I was clueless! Find out here. Her passion for intention-focused living is celebrated over at The Lively Show where she sits down with brilliant and diverse guests to talk possessions, personal habits, relationships, and career. Her mission is to help people become fulfilled by revealing what’s already at their core. Lively is a designer, business graduate, content creator, should eliminator, and guru of change. Superwoman might be her middle name.


    The Model Health Show
    Shawn Stevenson is making sleep sexy. The Model Health Show is a haven for all things health—such as what you eat and how you move—but also the less touched upon topics including sleep, hormonal health, the detriment of stress, and sharpening your mental game. It’s science and research wrapped up in a relatable and real world package. Shawn Stevenson is the author of Sleep Smarter and speaker of this honest one-liner: When are you going to decide to be great?

    The Wellness Wonderland
    I’d happily spend most evenings at a slumber party: wine, pyjama sets, remotely healthy snacks, a rom-com, and belly laughs. Luckily, that’s how I feel listening to The Wellness Wonderland. Hostess with the most-est, Katie Dalebout, shares her intimate evolution and taps into the stories of others on inspiring journeys. WWRadio is girl (sometimes guy) talk about holistic health, body image, personal style, mindfulness, life coaching, and unearthing what’s best for you. Grab the popcorn!

  • Now Playing: Kevin Garrett

    One year ago, I was swooned by the heart-hitting sounds of James Vincent McMorrow. This lovable Irishman and singer/songwriter is responsible for audible gifts such as “Glacier” and “Gold”.

    McMorrow has superb musical taste. Duh! So, my expectations were high when Brooklyn-based musician, Kevin Garrett, opened the show; he surpassed those expectations with exquisite velocity.

    What struck me most about Garrett was yes, his divine vocals and keyboard artistry. But, also his quietness. He appeared thoroughly grateful to share the music that meant so much to him. Really, the audience were the grateful ones! It’s been 365 days and I still can’t get enough.

    Garrett’s EP, Mellow Drama, was released in 2015 and features five magical melodies. If I had to pick one favourite, “Control” would win by an inch. Words from “Never Knock” make it a close second:

    I’ll hide as best I can
    Got this bright idea
    If I show my fear
    I’ll be less of a man

    I’m hopeful that Kevin Garrett will swing back into YYJ. Otherwise, New York has always been on my wish list.

  • Diary: A Conversation With My Excuses

    Hey, you over there! Yes, you. I see you excuse one, two, and three. Crouching in the corner of my mind. Concealing yourself behind that newly sprouted goal and to-do list. You have a knack for turning one restful afternoon into an unfruitful week. You transform rationalizations into believable reasons. You wrap comfortable up in a sparkly package, top it with a gold bow, and call it a gift.

    Sometimes, you crawl out of hiding and I’m not conscious of your arrival until the third Grey’s Anatomy episode. Other times, you strut into view and we walk hand-in-hand away from productivity. Excuses are the ultimate fr-enemy.

    There are moments when the cloudy picture in my mind—made of plans, desires, and daydreams—becomes infinitely clear. I want this, that, and the other thing. I’m also intelligent, hardworking, passionate, and determined. Why, then, do excuses triumph?



    When fear exists, comfortable dominates. In the moment, inaction is the easier choice. But, in the next hour, day, month, or year, this inaction turns sour.

    I used to think that living fearlessly was the goal. Those speakers taking the stage in front of thousands? Those folks jumping from airplanes? Those successful corporate-types leaving their job for a road less travelled? They must all experience life without fear—right?

    Wrong! Whether camouflaged or in plain sight, fear is always kicking around. The point isn’t to act without fear, but to act despite it.

    I know (really, really know) this is easily said and difficult in practice.

    In Big Magic, the vibrant Elizabeth Gilbert shares a letter to fear. When this blog post was near completion, I discovered that days before, when I began musing on fear, Gilbert posted this same letter along with a new fear exercise on Facebook. Universe, you have my attention.

    The exercise: Before writing a letter to fear, let fear write a letter to you. Meet fear like a dear companion and let it spell out why it’s been so loud and persistent. It may be for good reason, or you may be able to talk it down, knowing that the reason is irrational or irrelevant. Seriously, magic.

    Excuse is just the mask that fear wears. Recognizing this, I can peel that mask from fear’s face and ignite a heartfelt conversation. Fear can be our friend, especially when it comes to instinct and survival. Fear is much more unwelcome in pursuits of creativity, adventure, love, friendship, or communication. We can choose—and choose not—to listen to fear’s pleas. We also don’t have to fear fear. It can exist inside of us; it just can’t call the shots.

  • Daily Dose of Health: Blackstrap Molasses

    Our body is a majestic vessel with warrior status. Its sole purpose is to keep us alive. How cool is that!? When we are surviving—but not thriving—our body is persistent in its bid to get our attention. Something that we are, or aren’t, using, doing, or ingesting may be the culprit.

    I procure power from navigating to the root cause of an ailment (#ownyourhealth). More power than—there’s nothing you can do, but here’s some medicine to mask the symptoms. Big claims that this pill/elixir/superfood is the cure for x, y, and z don’t dazzle me, but food can heal from the inside out. To give my body a helping hand, I’ve introduced a daily spoonful of blackstrap molasses.


    Blackstrap is the name for molasses that are derived from three rounds of heating and processing of sugar cane or sugar beet. This results in a darker colour, thicker texture, and higher concentration of nutrients compared to other molasses.

    Blackstrap molasses pack a powerhouse punch of vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, calcium, and selenium (to name a few!). It also ranks fairly low on the glycemic index, which helps to stabilize blood sugar, especially in comparison to other nutrient-poor sweeteners.

    So, exactly how do blackstrap molasses do a body good? Let me tell ya’!

    The high levels of both calcium and magnesium are supportive of bone health and the presence of antioxidants can tackle free radical damage. Vitamin B6 can also help to combat stress.

    Women need more iron than men; ladies tend to lose iron when Aunt Flo makes her monthly visit. The average adult female needs about 18mg of iron each day. Just one tablespoon of blackstrap molasses can knock one of those milligrams off of the list.

    Blackstrap molasses has helped consumers to alleviate pre-menstrual symptoms, such as cramps, mood changes, and energy quality. Its lactic acid concentration has been shown to improve skin conditions, tissue healing, and acne. Hair and nail health have also benefited.

    Psst! It’s also a natural laxative.

    My regime now includes a spoonful or two each day. You can shoot it straight (The bitter-ish taste ain’t so bad!), use it in baking, make refried beans, or sweeten up your oatmeal and banana n-ice cream. I buy this brand because it’s certified organic, fair-trade, and unsulphured.

    I’ll keep y’all posted to any changes that ensue. Backstreet’s Blackstrap’s back, alright!