Browsing Tag


My Hiking Wake-up Call. It's time for Contact Lenses

beauty, FAM, GEAR, health By July 29, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

Seeing Clearly with Disposable LensesAs a woman and a mother there are a few things that top my priority list.  One is health for the whole family – being active, having regular checkups and doing a mental health scan every so often.  The other big priority I have is to be a well-rounded, confident woman.  My kids need to see that.  I want to be a role model and inspiration.

Sometimes I get a ‘wake-up’ call that I am falling short of meeting my own expectations.  Not long ago I did a four-hour hike without my eyeglasses.  They are cumbersome, steam up when I sweat and make it difficult to see bears and things out of the periphery.  (Only half joking).  A crazy thing happened.  I grew very dizzy.  My confidence plummeted.  I almost fell and tripped several times.  Nearing tears, I made a decision: I have a responsibility to care for myself and it was time for contact lenses.

With glaucoma in my family I have been diligent about getting my eyes checked and was astounded as a teenager to learn that I suffered from astygmatism.  At that time, glasses were my only option and I wore them on and off.  Mostly off.  The frames made me feel as if I was hiding from truly connecting with others, and they would generally end up on top of my head to keep my hair back.  I would play tennis, take dance classes and ski while accepting my distorted vision.  To wear glasses under ski goggles?  Not terribly fashionable or practical.  Prescription goggles and sunglasses were expensive and I always found that sunglasses slid off my face during sport, fogged up and limited my peripheral vision.

I have also been secretly terrified of contacts.  I pass by the drugstore aisles with solutions, lens cases and cleaners and look the other way.  It’s much like tiling a bathroom.  Could I do it?  Yes.  But would I rather never learn because it seems complicated?  Definitely.  My husband wore contact lenses and constantly complained of dry eyes and running out of solution.

When I had the hike experience and after several near-misses with trees while skiing, I knew it was time for contact lenses.  The best news I’ve heard in years is that they now not only fit my eyes but come in disposables. Technology has advanced so much and  with daily disposable lenses, the maintenance isn’t an issue.  As a busy mom, I can’t afford to add any extra time into my routine and this option is ideal.  Less squinting, fewer wrinkles and everyone around me is much safer!! 

For teenagers in sport, Softlens disposable contact lenses are a perfect option.  Though I can’t ever pretend to excel at sport like Kaylyn Kyle does, I do know that as a teenager, so many factors toyed with my confidence.  Insecurity, acne, body image concerns, decisions about the future… As adults and parents we must facilitate making this a gentle time for our children.  This is the time in your life when our kids begin to define a self-concept.  We have come so far in science and are so blessed that teens have so many more resources that we once did.  I’m embracing my newfound confidence as a mother and woman, and am so proud that I’ve taken care of myself.  See you on the slopes!  (I will no longer be the one falling into tree wells…)

 Disclosure: This is a sponsored article from Bosch & Lomb. As always, our opinions are our own.


The Field that was Leveled Through Hope

fitness, GEAR, International, ROAM By March 21, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 8 Comments

Hope Right To PlayIt has been several days since my return from Liberia and I feel as if I am missing a big part of myself.  The kids’ faces and gentle touches to my hands are constantly in my thoughts, and the friendships formed with the local Right To Play volunteers and staff are ones I will cherish forever.  Conversations with Olympians Clara Hughes and Rosie MacLennan motivated me to become a better human being, and experiencing so much poverty with fellow parent Lori Harasem made me play even harder to generate smiles from the kids.

Ben Right To PlayThe adults and teenagers we met had experienced terrible things in their lifetimes with a war that ended very recently.  Some had lost parents and raised themselves.  Most had a loved one who experienced sexual assault.  And every adult associated with Right To Play worked tirelessly to restore hope for the next generation.  Housing Bridge LiberiaEvery day the same volunteers (many had no employment themselves but chose to devote their days to teaching children through Right To Play activities) emerged into an empty space and performed magic.  It was like a slow motion film.  The waiting children would all turn, smile and organize themselves into a ‘great big circle’ so they could begin.  The rhythms of their responses to the leader of the game formed a percussive music.  The empty, litter-filled space had become vibrant and full of life.

Liberia Soccer GameLooking back on the experience, there is one thing that resonates: hope.  Despite dire circumstances in every community we visited, the smiles, cooperation and respect for one another was extraordinary.  I was brought back to the basics of life:  drink fresh water, keep your clothes and environment clean to prevent disease, help your neighbour.  Homemade ToyA young boy bathed meticulously in a large bucket by the side of the road.  A woman carrying a huge bundle on her head picked over potato leaves in a market to find the best choices for her family.  A twenty year-old on a motorbike saw the Right To Play sign on our van and gave me a huge thumbs-up.  It was all about hope.

Women in LiberiaThe new department of women and family in Liberia has made women’s rights a priority and there are billboards against the abuse of women and talking about seeking immediate medical help if you are assaulted.  Those were jarring to see.  But one sign on the side of the road resonated.  This one advertisement was a definition of ‘Mother’: a person who ‘makes something out of nothing’.  That is exactly what I witnessed.  These women generated a meager income buying bleach in bulk and selling it in small bags, buying a case of water packets and a block of ice and hoping for extreme heat so they may sell a few individual bags of water to quench thirst in their community.

Right to Play West Point OlympiansRight To Play has never taken a parent ambassador to a field visit and it was a profound experience.  I felt like an Olympian with the amount of interest directed toward me!  But I was clearly not nearly as disciplined or accomplished – I wasn’t great at playing the soccer games (I fell flat on my face in front of 300 kids and sprained my hand).  As a parent, I felt a powerful connection to the children and parents. Right To Play has everything covered for the children who are able to participate.  Baby Wearing AfricaBut the kids whose parents don’t prioritize play are missing out.  Many parents keep their children out of school to assist with washing or to take a long walk to wells for water.  I felt that not only could I connect with the kids as a parent, but talking to the parents was so important.  Their eyes would light up when I talked of my kids or asked for instruction on making a baby wrap out of a piece of towel.

Clara Hughes Playing with KidsAs a mother and publisher, I can make a promise.  I will never stop supporting the incredible work done by Right To Play. My kids are now playing the games and I intend to do everything  in my power to support the organization because it spreads hope.  And it is clear to me from meeting the people of Liberia that hope is all one needs.

To donate to Right To Play in Liberia, please click here.  No amount is too small.  Every donation will be matched 3 times.  Thank you.