The wisdom of the winter blues.

You’re now ready to start 2016!

January gives you the opportunity to ‘get ready’, ‘pumped’, ‘excited’ to start a new year.

But then the winter hits…and sometimes it hits hard. You might fall again into routine and unexpectedly be affected by the winter blues!

What if, instead, we could learn something from these dark, short, cold months?

Winter is a time to go inward. To reflect, contemplate and replenish. This is the time of year – if you check in with your body’s natural rhythm – that you want to slow down, rest and press the PAUSE button. It is a chance to get more grounded and back in touch with ourselves.

close your eyes

And if think about it this way, we are at the end of one cycle – colder weather, shorter days, darker months – and preparing for the beginning of another one – cooler temperatures, nature revival, warmer sun.

The Wheel of the Year continues its course.

For the first time, Bliss B4 Laundry will run a Winter Wonderland Bliss Weekend! Our winter program will focus very intentionally on bringing your mind, body and soul into balance. We have included programming to nurture these three areas of your being.

And because it’s winter and it’s in our nature to get cozy in colder weather, we are going to stick together throughout the weekend as much as possible!

Join soulful, like-minded women in an empowering and nurturing environment. This winter Bliss Weekend is designed to nourish you from the “inside-out” and to offer you the space to hear what you most need to hear about your next steps in life.


Read more here :

We all want to be happy, right? Learn what happiness is and how to achieve it!

#LiveYourBliss through flexing your happiness muscles!

Why is Happiness Important

by Gillian Mandich – featured at The Social

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.43.04 PM[Click on image above to watch VIDEO: Why is Happiness Important – Gillian Mandich at The Social]

How can you be happy? It’s the million-dollar question that we all want the answer to. Although you can experience happiness in many different ways, it always includes two main components: the feeling of how satisfied you are with your life and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis.

While some of us may have been born with bigger smiles than others, the truth is that we all have control over much of our happiness. In fact, almost half of our happiness depends on our thoughts, actions, and behaviours (the other half is about 10 per cent life circumstances and the rest is determined by our genes). In addition to making you feel good, studies have found that happiness actually improves other aspects of your life, enhances health, and has a positive effect on the people around you.


Science has proven that happiness can be learned through practice and skill development, and the greatest successes come from consistency. Small changes over time will have a big impact on your happiness. Simple, key practices that you can start today to make you happier include:

  • Practice gratitude: Gratitude can significantly increase your happiness as well as protect you from stress, negativity, anxiety, and depression. A regular gratitude practice (spending time each day thinking about/writing down things you are grateful for) is one of the easiest ways to counter the brain’s negativity bias (the tendency to cling to negative thoughts and things in our environment). By intentionally focusing on things you are grateful for, positivity, optimism, and life satisfaction grow.
  • Exercise: Physical activity may be the most effective instant happiness booster. Happiness and exercise are both independently associated with the release of endorphins (feel good hormones), stress reduction, and an increase immune function. Regular physical activity also increases happiness, self-esteem, and can reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
  • Do nice things for others: When you do kind things for other people it increases happiness because it helps spur kindness and generosity. When you do something nice for someone, it activates the parts of your brain associated with trust, pleasure, and social connection.


Gillian Mandich

About Gillian
Gillian Mandich is currently completing her doctoral studies at Western University in Health and Rehabilitation Science. She is a certified yoga and Yoga Tune Up® teacher, co-hosts the health/fitness podcast and TV show “The Holistic Health Diary”; contributes to numerous print and online media including Chatelaine, Oxygen, Sweat Equity, Mind Body Green, Inside Fitness, and STRONG; is a Desire Map Book Club leader, and is the president of the Western Chapter of the Canadian Obesity Network.

Connect with Gillian

Gillian Mandich

Social Media
Twitter: @gillianmandich
Instagram: @gillianmandich
Podcast: The Holistic Health Dairy

Check out The Social:

Having trouble sticking to your New Year Resolutions?…Here is why!

#LiveYourBliss and accomplish your #Goals in 2016 by keeping in mind these great tips by Jess Sherman.


Photo from:

Sticking To New Year Resolutions…. it’s not about willpower

January is a time for setting goals and planning. But follow through takes a lot of energy and motivation. Maybe that’s why, according to Forbes magazine, only about 8% of us are successful at sticking to new year resolutions.

Your ability to stick to those amazing health goals you set might have less to do with will power than you think.   

Neurotransmitter are chemical messengers in the body.  Serotonin, dopamine, GABA, glutamate, norepinephrine, along with countless others are the silent “drivers” of our behaviour and mood.  Keeping your neurotransmitters in balance can help you maintain the stamina, energy and motivation you need to carry through on your new years goals. 

Here are a few neurotransmitters to know about, along with tips for sustaining your energy and motivation by keeping them at optimal levels.

Dopamine and norepinephrine

These are known as “get up and go” neurotransmitters.  We need them to keep ourselves motivated, stay focused, and maintain energy.  When they are low we are sluggish in the morning, we feel scattered, overwhelmed, lack drive or motivation, we are more prone to procrastination and indecision and may crave sugar and coffee to keep us going.  If you are low in dopamine or norepinephrine it is VERY unlikely you will get up to go on that morning run.

How to meet your needs: The amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine, found in dietary protein, are needed to create norephinephrine and dopamine.  Meat, fish, lamb, chicken, spinach, kidney beans, soy, seaweed, eggs, sesame and some cheeses are food sources of these amino acids. 


Serotonin is known as our “feel good” hormone.  If it is low we might feel anxious, irritable, negative, self critical, angry, depressed and have trouble sleeping.  If we are low in Serotonin, we are likely to give up on our goals before we even start, finding the whole idea too overwhelming. 

How to meet your needs: The amino acid tryptophan is important for making serotonin.  Foods sources of tryptophan include turkey, red meat, cheese, nuts, seeds, tofu, oats, lentils, and eggs.

GABA (gamma-butyric acid)

GABA is one of our calming neurotransmitters.  Low GABA is associated with feelings of tense anxiety and overwhelm and feeling overly stressed and burned out.  If you are low in GABA, you likely lack motivation and would rather relax with a glass of wine than focus on your health goals. 

How to meet your needs: The best way to raise GABA levels is by using a sublingual supplement.  If it is going to work for you, you will notice a difference within a few days of taking it.

These are only a few of the dozens of neurotransmitters which, when out of balance, affect your mood and energy.   You have important health goals to follow through on this year.  Support your body and mind by focusing on quality, dietary protein, digestion, detoxification, whole, nutrient dense foods and blood sugar stability to allow your neurotransmitters to work in your favour rather than hinder your progress.   

If you’ve tried all you can think of and you still lack motivation and energy contact Jess for  a dietary assessment and let’s get you back on track.  It’s time to feel good.

Learn more at:


Jess ShermanJess Sherman helps busy mothers simplify their lives by arming them with a powerful understanding of nutrition and the body. She coaches parents in dietary strategies that help infants and children calm down, learn better, feel better, get better sleep, have more energy, have fewer sick days, stay off medication… and simply be more resilient. She also helps mothers reframe and reclaim their own health by helping them identify and understand their needs and take control of their energy.

To better help parents learn to take care of themselves and raise healthy kids Jess has taken deep-dive training in digestive health, autism spectrum disorders, biological approaches to mental health, traditional food preparation, yoga and stress management, functional medicine and has become board certified in practical holistic nutrition.

It is her deepest commitment to help mothers relax, become confident in their parenting, and live vibrant lives while also being amazing mothers.

Connect with Jessica

Website / Blog

Social Media
Jessica on Facebook
Jessica on Twitter
Jessica on Pinterest
Jessica on YouTube

#LiveYourBliss by Embracing your Inner Jewels

By Julie Lockhart Thompson

Within each & every single person are Jewels – Jewels of passion, Jewels of creativity, Jewels of love, Jewels of Joy, Jewels of excitement, Jewels of wisdom – the list is endless! Like the dragon of lore; we collect, cultivate & cherish these Jewels within us. Polishing them & building up the pieces to them – making them complete & perfect for us & for the rest of the world.

youre a jewel

Sometimes, if we are not careful, we misplace a Jewel or a piece of one slips away. (We may even give it away to another person to keep safe for us.) Fear not though!

The Universe is plentiful and more Jewels are available for the taking, the cultivating, the embracing & the cherishing. We merely need to take the care, effort & time to once again cherish what is deep inside of us; shining & sparkling & glowing in our centre – our inner Jewels.

Today, Embrace your Inner Jewels!

Make a list today of what makes you sparkle. What are you grateful for in your life? What excites you? What are you passionate about? What do you truly love?

Make this list as detailed as possible & leave nothing out!

Julie Lockhart-Thompson circleJulie Lockhart Thompson is the proverbial holistic junkie: a free-spirited, glitter-toting, tree-hugging dreamer who takes great pleasure skipping, laughing and dancing through life’s puddles. She is a Holistic Health Practitioner, Reiki Master, Reflexologist, Yoga Teacher, Laughter Yoga Leader, Dance Our Way Home Facilitator, Life Coach and Artist. She firmly believes in healing the whole person: mind, body and spirit, and takes great pleasure in aiding people on their spiral journey through life. Join her and embrace your inner jewels today!

Connect with Julie


Social Media
Julie on Facebook

Julie’s Workshop at Bliss B4 Laundry Weekend – February 19-21 at Mansfield Outdoor Centre.

Soul Discovery Workshop: I AM. The deepest, strongest and most powerful affirmation in the English language today. These two simple words are your guide to your true inner self – your soul being. Join me to rediscover and realign with your soul purpose, passions and truth through guided meditation, discussion, reflection and creative exercises. As Marianne Williamson states, “The soul is the truth of who we are.” Rediscover your truth!

Julie’s One-to-One Session at Bliss

Reflexology: Experience the bliss of relaxation and release while receiving a gentle pressure point massage of the head, hands or feet with Reflexology. Working directly with the energy meridians, nerve endings and zones of the body, Julie will stimulate all of the systems, glands, organs and tissues in the body to aid in healing, stress and pain relief, detoxification and deep relaxation. Balance and restore your body to health.

Julie’s Creative Session at Bliss

Soul Stones: Unleash your inner creative Goddess and dance with your soul’s desire! Soul Stones are hand painted stones with an image, word, pattern or design that ignites your soul’s spark and sets your inner child free. All supplies will be provided for you to paint, write and draw your desire for the weekend.

I can’t draw or paint, even if my life depended on it!

I just bought a colouring book. At first I thought it was silly. Really. A colouring book? But I’m always in desperate need to find ways to ‘calm my mind.’  I’ve tried everything. So I decided to give this one a try too. (I actually got really excited when I had in my hand a box of coloured pencils…all sharpened and pretty looking!).

And so the next night I started. I picked an easy one to start. It’s a sketch of a city. One that has large objects and big lines. I carefully chose the colour combination and was very careful not to colour outside the lines (uff! it’s a challenge!). But I managed and I enjoyed it. The next night I did a little bit more and the night after that a little more.


Have I noticed a big change in calming my mind? I don’t know yet. I do find I zone out and I feel ‘I’m here’, in the present, in the moment; much like the feeling I get when I cook.

Sarah on the other hand, paints beautifully. Put a brush or a pencil in her hand and she creates beauty. And it’s through art and creativity that she’s been able to find inner peace and tranquility.


She’s always insisted we have an artist come to our Bliss B4 Laundry weekends to allow other women experience how art can help heal. And this time around, we have found Lynn LeCorre-Dallaire.

Lynn LeCorre-Dallaire is a practicing artist, art educator, certified health coach and self-professed tree hugger! The tree is a metaphor for her life – a life filled with many branches (or passions). She grounds herself in good nutrition and soulfully roots herself in art, to fuel her energy and balance the many branches of her life.

And rooting yourself in art is not a bad idea. I found this article that talks about 10 Great Health Benefits Of Painting And Drawing. The article explains:

“given the various health benefits of painting and drawing, it is clear these activities can be very useful in promoting the welfare of an individual. Aside from improving mental and emotional capabilities, an individual may enjoy improved sensory and motor skills through constant painting and drawing. As anyone can engage in painting and drawing, these activities are definitely worth a try.”

happiness brain

Lynn believes ‘the arts and creativity’ are one of the missing links in connecting our physical, emotional and spiritual selves to a life of wellness and fulfillment. When we do not allow ourselves to be expressive or creative, we close off a part of our soul.

She says that drawing can be a meditative past time to allow us to unwind and ‘de-stress’ in our busy lives. It is a form of self-expression and a focus building skill, as it is engaging. She believes everyone CAN learn how to draw.

At Bliss B4 Laundry’s Wellness Weekend at Camp Kawartha, Lynn will use the tree as a metaphor of life, how does a tree represent your life? You will discover this through your unique tree drawing. In her workshop Lynn will guide you (step by step) in learning to look at nature (a tree) and deconstruct it into simple lines, shapes, and textures using traditional drawing tools. You will not only leave with a simple tree drawing, but also with renewed confidence that you CAN draw!

I’m taking time OFF from the kitchen this September weekend to draw my tree!!!

We still have some spots left! Join us September 25-27 at Camp Kawartha, Lakefield, Ontario.


In September, summer is over and life is back to its usual rhythm… 

Does this sound like you?

You feel pressured to do it all. You work hard and take on multiple roles. You juggle, family, career and social activities.

And more often than not, you feel overworked, overwhelmed and overly committed. No doubt you will be exhausted, anxious and stressed to the max when the holiday season comes around.


Women multitasking, very little time for selfcare

Don’t wait for the wake-up call to make you realize the importance of self-care. 

So, what if you could ‘catch’ self-neglect before it hits you? What if you could learn simple ways to put yourself first? Or learn to re-prioritize your responsibilities so self-care is near the top?

There’s a place to find Bliss…Because Bliss is just so much more important than laundry!

Bliss B4 Laundry Wellness Weekends for Women are meant for women with ‘unstoppable’ lifestyles.

The weekends present women with the opportunity to take one weekend out of their entire year to press pause on their busy life and do nothing but focus on themselves. Women need this – better yet women deserve this!

The focus at Bliss B4 Laundry is to explore mind, body and soul through workshops, discussions, communal cooking, music, social activities and time spent in nature. We always have an amazing lineup of presenters and activities at our Bliss Weekends!

By the end of each weekend you will…

  • Learn how to be kinder to yourself
  • Be more mindful of the areas within you that need attention to achieve wellness
  • Understand how everyday choices (i.e. food, thoughts) impact your mind, body and soul
  • Learn new self-healing techniques and have the knowledge to make healthier decisions
  • Be inspired and motivated by new and lasting friendships
  • Gain the confidence and strength you need to start your journey


Join us, won’t you?

Your soul has been waiting for a weekend like this for a while now. Take care of yourself first so others can fully enjoy the love and support you want to give them! This time let the laundry do the waiting!

Learn more about our September 2015 Bliss Weekend

Drumming, community, Mother Earth: Three words that define Baque de Bamba

I can’t begin to describe and express our immense admiration for the amazingly talented women Sarah and I have encountered over the past year at Bliss B4 Laundry Wellness Weekends for Women.

We have met dozens and dozens of talented women across Ontario – women whose true desire is to be of service to others in helping them reach their healthier potential. These are women who inspire other women and they do it from their heart and with complete humility.

Last year, we came across a group of beautiful musicians. They said they play drums; we wanted drums. It was a match made in heaven! They joined us at our first Bliss B4 Laundry weekend last September and they took everyone’s breath away!!

This year they’re joining us again and we’re so honoured. They have kept busy this 2015. From the street drumming in Kensington Market and festivals all over Toronto, to being featured in the closing ceremony of the Pan American Games (yes! that’s right!). We are just delighted (and lucky!!) to have such a talented group among us on September 25-27 at Camp Kawartha.

Maracatu Baque Bamba is an upbeat Afro Brazilian percussion group that specializes in performing and teaching the spirited cultural tradition celebrated as Maracatu de Baque Virado. The highpowered group was founded by the gifted, Juno-nominee, singer/songwriter and percussionist Aline Morales in 2009.

Through its lively rhythmic synergy the troupe channels the raw force of the drums to create a dynamic percussive sound. In addition to its musical interpretation of Maracatu and other folkloric rhythms from the northeastern region of Brazil (Ciranda, Coco, Ijexa and more), the collective of local artists explores traditions of song and dance from this region.

Percussionist Mariana Palhares moved to Toronto from Sao Paulo, Brazil at the age of 19. Her interest in percussion led her to Maracatu (Afro-Brazilian percussion) at 17 years old. In 2007, when she moved to Toronto, she immediately joined Maracatu Baque de Bamba, founded by Aline Morales (lead singer/director of the drumming troupe). Mari has since become co-leader, teacher and producer of Baque de Bamba, as well as a well known artist within and beyond the Brazilian community in Toronto.

She will conducting a workshop called Connecting through Drumming: Come Feel the Power of the Drum. This workshop involves team work, communication, musical dynamics/rhythmic explorations.

“Using a relaxed approach, we look to help participants feel comfortable with the instruments and get quickly acquainted with the Maracatu basics. We choose to take a more hands-on approach as opposed to lecture style because of the nature and culture of Maracatu. It is learned through the body by listening and connecting with each other, and by feeling the base drums in contrast with the higher pitched shakers, bells and singing. Starting with warm-up exercises, basic stretching and rhythm games, the whole group works together and gets acquainted as one following the leader of the troupe. Drumming brings us together, connects us with our ancestors and empowers and enriches our spirits.” explained Mari.

These women are a true inspiration. Come experience their magic at Bliss!

Energy. It makes the world go round. But what is it exactly?

Energy is

Science shows us that everything is made up of energy. It is neither created nor destroyed. It is the building block of all matter. The energy that composes your body is the same energy that composes the bricks of the house you live in, your car, your phone, animals, trees and so forth. It’s all the same. It is constantly at flow, changing form all the time.

Since energy is essential for maintaining the CAUbnHlVIAAgWcUorder of the universe, it is therefore the life force that sustains us all. As the human mind and body are purely composed of energy, negative energy retained in the mind and body can upset our mental and physical well-being. But if we learn to harness the energy that surrounds us, we will be able to get rid of the accumulated negative energies, and tap into the abundant source of positive energy in the universe. We can experience true healing in our mind, body and spirit when we learn to clear, cleanse and work with our own personal energy fields.

Velvet Williamson Presents on Energy at Bliss

Velvet Williamson; Women's Weekend; Women's Retreat; Bliss B4 Laundry; Camp Kawartha; Wellness WeekendWe’re so lucky to have Velvet Williamson join us at Bliss B4 Laundry Wellness Weekend at Camp Kawartha. In her workshop, Velvet will teach you how energy affects us, both positively and negatively. You will learn how to clear yourself from negative vibrations and turn yourself into a human magnet that attracts all the good life has to offer.

She will take you through a guided past life regression meditation and help you put the puzzle pieces together of what a ‘whole’-istic life really is. Find balance within yourself and your surroundings while becoming more intuitive.

Velvet will also teach you how aromatherapy oils and crystals can help you from an energetic and physical point of view.

We promise you will leave the workshop with new knowledge, a sense of balance and a positive outlook on life!

Hear it from Velvet:

Source: One Mind One EnergyYang-Sheng

Today women are experts at taking care of everyone else before themselves.

Alarming facts:

  • According to a Canadian study, 60% of Canadian mothers feel they simply don’t have enough time to take care of themselves.
  • While 70% don’t even rank themselves among their top three priorities in life!
  • While we care for the needs of our children, spouses, elderly parents, coworkers, bosses, friends, family, and our community – our own self-care continually gets pushed off. We are left unbalanced, unhappy and unfulfilled.
  • Why is this the case for Canadian women? Because many Canadian women believe that taking care of themselves is selfish or self-indulgent.

We have a pervasive belief in North America that taking time for self-care is selfish, self-indulgent or worse yet, that it means we are not busy enough! Whether it be making time for a bath, prioritizing going to the gym, taking a painting class, or making a date to meet a friend for lunch – it is not self-indulgent to care for one’s self. We prefer to see it as SELF-AWARE.

This Video Is A Beautiful Reminder To #LetGo And Live Your Life – Read more here

Bliss B4 Laundry wants to help change these statistics!

Our vision for Bliss B4 Laundry involves reaching as many Canadians as we can with a simple reminder to step back from the busy and overwhelming hamster wheel we sometimes find ourselves on – and instead – take a breather.

The events we create at Bliss ask us all to stand with the squeaky wheel silenced. Just stand and listen. Reconnect. Remember. Rediscover.

Because it is during these ‘pauses’ in life that we regain focus. We listen to our heartsong. We reconnect with what makes us truly happy. We heal.

At Bliss Weekends, the workshops and group sessions provide you with the skills and awareness necessary to help you find balance and rejuvenation in all aspects of your life. Some sessions will inspire you to move beyond perceived limitations; others will nurture you with the peace and harmony found in the present moment.

Enjoying a Workshop

Enjoying a Workshop

Workshop Time!

Workshop Time!

Karen BK Chan - Presenter

Karen BK Chan – Presenter

These are examples of workshops we will be offering this September 25-27 at Camp Kawartha:

Mamacare: A Self-Care Framework for Busy Mothers – Presented by Jessica Sherman
When we become mothers we go through a massive transition that is largely unnoticed; just like our little ones, we start up a long and steep learning curve and we grow in ways we never could have imagined. The speed of life takes off and our own needs, our own growth, our own sense of self, too often gets tossed to the periphery. We become exhausted.

The MamaCare framework, developed by nutritionist and mom Jess Sherman, offers a different way of mothering; a way for too-busy mothers to integrate their needs into the daily act of parenting, and reclaim their health by becoming the Chief Financial Officers of their energy bank accounts.

In this dynamic and interactive session Jess will help you quickly and efficiently identify your needs and build a box of tools, from meals to mindset, to ensure you avoid energetic bankruptcy. The MamaCare framework is one that you can take home and make your own, applying it on an ongoing basis so you stay healthy for years to come.

Vision Quest: It Starts From Within – Presented by Candice Gallinger
Many of us seek external sources to fill a void that is deep within. You may look ahead to the future and think “I will be happy when… I get a better job, make more money, find a loving partner, am a size or two smaller….” It can be difficult to experience pure joy when trapped in your mind running through such lists.

As a result, it becomes next to impossible to feel content or at peace in the present moment. Once we are able to truly love and accept ourselves for who we are, we gain a powerful tool to rise above the drama of our mind. By rewriting our limiting beliefs and releasing any feelings we have attached to them, we tap into the parts hidden deep within our heart.

Discover how to follow your own higher guidance system to experience true happiness in the now.

In this workshop, you will:

  • Learn how meditation and the practice of being fully present in the moment can have a positive effect on your health and your life
  • Find what makes your heart sing by asking key questions and listening to the signs from within
  • Gain the tools you need to let go of old stories and begin to write the story of your dreams

Don’t wait any longer! Join us! Take an active part in the movement to change these statistics!!

See you at Bliss!

Go ahead, blame your metabolism!

Are you feeling exhausted and run down? Have you noticed more belly fat accumulating around your waist?  Are you craving sugar and carbs? If you do, go ahead – blame your metabolism!

10-medical-reasons_533x255_57532953 1033337.large

Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. Even when you’re at rest, your body needs energy for functions such as breathing, circulating blood and repairing cells. The number of calories your body uses for these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate.

Several factors determine your basal metabolic rate:

  • Your body size and composition. If you weigh more or have more muscle mass, you will burn more calories, even at rest. So people who weigh more are more likely to have a faster metabolic rate because a portion of excess weight is muscle tissue.
  • Your sex. If you’re a man, you probably have less body fat and more muscle mass than does a woman of the same age, so you burn more calories.
  • Your age. As you get older, your muscle mass decreases, which slows down the rate at which you burn calories.

Here is welcome news: New research shows you can boost your metabolism and get your life back on track by implementing a few simple tricks and techniques. You may have inherited your mom’s slow-mo metabolism, but you’re not stuck with it!!

Michelle Vodrazka will join us at Bliss B4 Laundry’s Wellness Weekend for Women at Camp Kawartha on September 25-27. She will teach you:

  • Reasons your metabolism may not be functioning the way it should be.
  • Common mistakes most people make as they age.
  • Simple steps you can take to increase your energy levels.
  • How to balance your hormones and get rid of those stubborn pounds.

Join Michelle and the other amazing presenters at Bliss B4 Laundry’s Wellness Weekend for Women at Camp Kawartha near Lakefield, Ontario on September 25-27.
Register for the Weekend at Camp Kawartha

Sources: Mayo Clinic