Browsing Tag


Memories of My Grandmother

FAM, self By November 17, 2014 Tags: , , , , 8 Comments

Cheerios EffectMy grandmother and I always shared a kindred bond. I look like her, sew like her, and thankfully don’t cook like her!!! She’s probably laughing from heaven. Always there to rub my back and sing, she would also arrive at our house with a plate of squares in her arms and the intention of doing all of the ironing.

When I was married I decided not to throw my bouquet. It seemed a bit like an archaic practice. Instead, I walked over to my grandmother’s wheelchair and gave her my bouquet. I miss her dearly.

If you drop two Cheerios in a bowl, they will eventually float together and connect. This is actually a real scientific principle called the ‘Cheerios Effect’. People are also drawn together, and yet we often sit behind computers without truly having face-to-face contact with friends, family and neighbours.

Cheerios is encouraging Canadians to share their personal connection stories at, where each unique story will be brought to life with a personalized video of Cheerios connecting in a bowl. I wanted to do one and, of course, it’s about a special memory of my grandmother. Here it is!

Giveaway Alert!!

Please fill out our form below to enter our giveaway that includes a $100 Loblaw gift card and 5 boxes of Cheerios! Full rules and regulations can be found here.

Create your own personalized “connection story” video on and tweet us the link using the hashtag #CheeriosEffect. Canada only, excluding Quebec. Ends 11/30. Good luck!!

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toxic people

4 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries with Toxic People

FAM, health By March 25, 2014 Tags: , , , , , 1 Comment

I’ve been doing a fair bit of self-improvement reading of late and love when the universe send me messages to reinforce the work I am doing. This press release ended up in my inbox and I typically re-write, interview and do loads of extra work to give readers fully unique content, but this piece was so wonderful we didn’t want to change a thing. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Difficult relationships are far more than a nuisance; they can cause anxiety, burnout, clinical depression and even physical illness. Healthy relationships at work can propel you to great heights of achievement; dysfunctional or toxic ones will tether you to mediocrity. When we mismanage relationships, the fall-out affects productivity and quite possibly our ability to advance. Your social and interpersonal success depends on your ability to set the kinds of boundaries that encourage mutual respect. 

Every relationship you have influences you. There are no neutral relationships; each one lifts you up or weighs you down. They move you forward or hold you back. They help you or they hurt you. When you know how to handle relationships appropriately, it will make the difference between a fulfilling work life or one that is riddled with disappointment, failure, and regret.

Setting Boundaries with Toxic People

One of the best ways to deal with unhealthy people is to set boundaries. Healthy boundaries keep frustration and confusion low. Boundaries remind people of what is acceptable to you and what is reasonable to expect from you. Boundaries prevent unhealthy people from taking up too much of your time, energy, or resources – all precious commodities. Be warned, toxic people don’t like boundaries because they want to shift responsibilities according to their mood.  They will not set the boundaries for you.

Here are 4 ways you can set boundaries:

  • Manage Your Time. Set a limit on the amount of time you spend beyond the hours needed to be around teh toxic individual. Rigidity douses the flames of collegiality but blurred lines lead to confusion and frustration.
  • Express Yourself. Reveal aspects of your personality that will reinforce your values. Sometimes it’s a matter of letting people in a little bit to help keep your boundaries intact.
  • Play Your Part. Everyone plays a role: the victim, the brown-noser, the star, the slacker, the go-to guy. Build your reputation, and do it carefully and consistently.  It’s important that others know what you stand for and what to expect from you. Then, don’t waiver.
  • Change the Conversation. Hanging out or working close quarters or for long periods of time sometimes blur the lines. Here are suggested words to say to help you stay focused and away from nonproductive behavior: “Let’s focus on finishing the task at hand instead of the latest gossip so we can get home.”

7 Tale-Tell Signs of a Toxic Relationship

How to know? You’re in a toxic relationship when they:

  1. Stifle your talent and limit your opportunities for advancement
  2. Twist circumstances and conversations to their benefit
  3. Chide or punish you for a mistake rather than help you correct it
  4. Remind you constantly or publicly of a disappointing experience or unmet expectation
  5. Take credit or withhold recognition for new ideas and extra effort
  6. Focus solely on meeting their goals and do so at your expense
  7. Fail to respect your need for personal space and time


Field expert Van Moody is the author of The People Factor (an upcoming release by publisher Thomas Nelson) and a motivational speaker who advises on matters related to relationships as they pertain to friends, family, significant others and the workplace.  He is a “People Scholar” who helps others build their “Relational IQ” to achieve success at home, in their social circles, and in business. He may be reached online at

1 Association for Psychological Type International, APTI


Easy Inspired Romance for Valentine's Day

FAM, self By January 30, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Easy Romance for Valentine's Day The continent of Africa has helped me fall more deeply in love this year and I couldn’t possibly set up a romantic Valentine’s dinner without giving a nod to its guttural beauty and spirit.  In February I worked with kids in Liberia with Right To Play Canada and then my husband raised money in August for Canada’s first blood cord bank by summiting Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Throughout the year, our kids’ school fundraised to build water wells in South Sudan. Whish Romantic Table

Typically I am a high-maintenance silver, china and crystal girl. Don’t snicker. But after the 2 trips to Africa, kids’ activities and work, I am rather exhausted.  When my Whish Romance Box arrived I had just attended the kids’ first school musical all about water. The performance talked of the importance of water and Africa was a large component. The boys explained that many families in Sudan are leaving their homes and the wells the school has built because there is a war going on. Wow. Africa deserves a nod, and I am so thankful for how it has touched all of our lives this year. Whish Box

Opening the Whish romance box I was thrilled. They had thought of everything – even menus and a shopping list! Turnkey. Heavy silver plates, cutlery, stunning champagne flutes and wine glasses – all in plastic for easy recycling or re-use. (Hello beach picnic). Chocolates, a pashmina, napkins, vase and tealight holders (with the candles that I always run out of!). In fact, Whish made romance so easy with the essentials that I could focus on the theme and the romance of it all.

So how do you add thoughtful romance? Incorporate bits from your life. It needn’t be as exotic as Africa, but little touches – that this time-saving box of fun gives you – can be tacked on at the end. But if you don’t have an iota of creative juice in your body – you are covered.  Follow the step by step directions, make the (fab) suggested meal and ask the florist for the suggested flowers. The evening will be epic – as my 6 year-old likes to say. But I’m hoping he is referring to something different. IN THE WHISH BOX

I draped a gold and blue cloth I had been given in Liberia over the table in our bedroom. The boys’ two hand carved wooden giraffes kissed at the back of our plates. White flowers and a few stones from the Kilimanjaro climb along with the heart-shaped chocolates strewn on the table finished the look. African drum music was next. We had a beautiful dinner, conversation with depth and given that this is rated G, I think I’ll stop there. Wink.

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post courtesy of All ideas and opinions are our own.


Easy Ideas for Year-Round Romance

FAM, self By February 14, 2011 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

I never get flowers on Valentine’s Day.  I made the decision long ago that I’d rather a bouquet every month for no reason than an overpriced bunch of roses on February 14th that won’t last long.  Really, what do men and women need?  To feel loved and cared about.  Flowers, chocolate and all of the commercial trappings pushed on society once a year don’t always translate into a feeling of being loved.  Why not try some of these ideas that will cost next to nothing but make your partner feel truly cared about?  Here are some Easy Ideas for Year-Round Romance.  Feel free to add your own.


Change In Your Primary Relationship

Uncategorized By November 5, 2007 Tags: , , , 4 Comments

Before babies there was a partnership in which you and your partner were both nurtured and each other’s top priority. Once the babies arrive you may find that they are the only ones getting nurtured! This is a pitfall that is difficult to avoid. There are going to be sacrifices that you and your partner are both going to have to make that you won’t expect. Some advice: recognize that this will probably be the case for several months and try to help each other as much as possible. Your new bond is that of “team parent” and this can strengthen your relationship in ways you can’t foresee. It’s something to go on when you don’t seem to have any time for each other in the first few months. Try to keep your sense of humour intact and everything should be fine.


Mom Groups

FAM, self By November 5, 2007 Tags: , , , , , , 2 Comments

Your Public Health Nurse will probably strongly suggest that you attend your local weekly group meeting, and this is good advice. The group setting we’re familiar with is an informal, relaxed atmosphere where everyone sits on a gym mat playing with their babies and getting acquainted with other moms. If the group is run by the local health unit, there will be a nurse there to answer questions and who will have a scale available for you to weigh your baby. Mom group is an excellent outlet for questions (many of which other mums will have) on things like breastfeeding, teething, sleeping issues and first foods. The age range of the babies is typically from two weeks to nine months old, so moms with more ‘experience’ or who have already gone through some of these things may have good advice too.


Working Together as Parents

Uncategorized By August 30, 2006 Tags: , , , , , 1 Comment

Working Together A Different Co.Remember when mom took care of the house and dad went off to work? If you were like me, that was the context in which growing up occurred. My mom was amazing. She baked fresh bread every week and for dinner we always had a homemade dessert. She kept her house clean and her children safe and held her marriage together with patience, persistence, tolerance and love. Dad was amazing too. Every day he would go to work long hours in his construction trade and was home to eat dinner with the family. On weekends he would take us fishing or hiking or we would build things in his workshop.

Mom wasn’t the Mrs. Cleaver of homemaking though. She was a strong willed, outspoken lady (still is) who did what she wanted, bought what she wanted and cursed every now and again (though only when she thought us kids were out of earshot). Dad went on his hunting and fishing trips without the family; he was not into sharing his feelings, and he was known to have a few drinks now and again.

When I was kid and the youngest of five children, I knew that my parents had it figured out (except, of course, when I was in my teen years, when I was pretty clear they knew nothing). Sure, there was trial and tribulation, they argued, they made mistakes but they provided for us, nurtured us, helped us learn, comforted us and made our home a safe and happy place. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel my parent’s love for me.

As I got older, I realized that my situation wasn’t necessarily common – not all my friends had the luxury of parents who were still married. I also realize that there is little reality in the whole concept of“Doing it Right”. As a parent I have conversations with Mom and Dad about doing our best to raise our children (they are still doing it). They admit that they are guessing and exploring, much like I do as a mother of three, on a daily basis, hoping that it in the end, all will turn out well.And it has. Here I am, the youngest of five children with children of my own.

So what did Mom and Dad do? What made it work? How can I be a great parent? What can we as parents do so that our children, years from now, speak of us with the reverence that I speak of my own parents?

To pinpoint one thing that Mom and Dad “Did the Right Way”, it is the love they create in their home. And again, I am not talking about Leave – it – to – Beaver – Cookie – Cutter – Perfect love. When they argued you could hear them clear across the neighborhood and sometimes there was dinner thrown across the kitchen and bottles smashed. We shed tears, but we always knew there was love. Mom and Dad loved each other. Growing up I witnessed their relationship evolve and grow and mature and endure. This gave me a model of what a relationship can be and set the standard for my own relationships. Even when they didn’t like each other, they loved each other. And that made them successful parents. They worked together as a team. They are still doing it.

Working together is such a simple and brilliant concept – one that is often forgotten in the day to day of parenthood. What can parents do to work together to cope with changes and challenges? We can work together. Avoid isolating yourself as a parent and our children will know that they are not alone. Working together, creating teams and support structures, asking for help and sharing will have us succeed as parents.

Tania Burgi is the mother of three and a visionary. She is the co-founder of Different and a professional performance coach. Together with her team, Tania is out to challenge the norm and leave people inspired. Visit to see how.