Cute Cat Photos Alert!

My amazing cat Blue passed away Sept 5th and I would like to take a moment to share how special he was. This cat was my first baby, my best friend, and my healer. He was cuddly and comforting and he will never be forgotten. Blue was named after one of my favourite characters from the movie "Old School". When I had him as a kitten, he was so trusting and felt like an old soul. He was kind but tough around the edges. I will miss him dearly. Rest in Peace my Blue.

"Hit & Run"

Have you ever felt something was wrong before you actually knew it?
It feels like a 6th sense.

I was 14, up late one night, talking on the phone to my friend. It was late and NO ONE ever dared to call our house line. They called our teenage phone line that only my sister and I had access to.

ring, ring, ring, ring... ring, ring - no one picked up. Uh oh- I'm thinking my parents will be mad tomorrow.

beep beep, beep beep, beep beep - for some reason out of fear I did not pick up the other line.

scared I felt that bad feeling creep up inside.

ring, ring, ring, ring - my mom answered. I told my friend "I gotta go, I'll call you back later, I think somethings up".  Sure enough my dad comes in, "Care can you go sleep in our bed in case Mark (my brother who was 8) wakes up and wonders where we are?"  "Sure, what's going on?"  I answered. "something happened to your sister, we are going to the hospital, we'll let you know as soon as we can" my dad replied.

The next morning (early) my mom takes me to Emergency at the Peace Arch Hospital to see my sister. "She's really bad Care" my mom warns me. "Her teeth are knocked out, her head is cut open and her one leg is swollen so bad you would hardly recognize her".  Gulp - I don't remember replying, I just took it all in and prepared myself for the worst.

In I go and I remember when I saw my sister all I wanted to do was run and hug her so hard! Everything was pretty covered and she was on a lot of drugs to keep the pain at bay. I asked my mom, but she said she was too hurt to hug. My sister listening to this conversation says "you can hold my hand." So there I sat holding my sisters hand, not saying much.

My sister, my best friend, was hit by a car. A drunk driver late one night struck her when she was crossing the street to go to a friends house. The driver took off and fled the scene. The driver later admitted in court that he thought she was dead - so he fled to save himself. Thanks to her friends (who unfortunately witnessed it), other witnesses, and God - the driver was caught and most importantly my sister lived! The windshield was completely smashed open.

Lauren suffered many many injuries. 41 plus stitches in her head. A shattered leg - broken in 10 different places. Her front teeth knocked out. Road rash all over her body. She also suffered long term injuries - anxiety, depression to the point of wanting to commit suicide, immobility (because her leg was not healing properly for a handful of years), debilitating headaches, and colitis - to name a few.

Imagine being 17 years old and faced with all of that.

Amazingly, if you met her today, she would probably tell you a few things. One is that this is where her nickname "Hardcore Hanna" came from. Second, that she'll tell you this experience was a blessing.

A blessing?

My sister has taught me so much but this is probably the biggest.

This experience allowed her to see who the real Lauren is. Her true purpose in life. Which is really to help others who are struggling, find their way and heal themselves.

So I encourage you to think the same thing - no matter what it is that is getting you down, consider that this trial or set back may just be a blessing in disguise.

My sister and her beautiful daughter and husband (ok he is handsome not beautiful!)

This was my most recent speech at Toastmasters Jan 2013.

Our team 2012 Book Recommendations

If this holiday season allows you the time to settle down with a good book, then this is for you. My team (The Shewfelt McMillan Group) are avid readers. Each year we offer our 2012 top book selections - hope you get the chance to enjoy one or all! 

Lois’s Pick:             
Gone Girl – By Gillian Flynn
I LOVED this novel! It’s quirky and kept me guessing throughout. Not often I can read a full book on a flight, but I finished this one cover to cover going to New York!
Caroline’s Pick:
Unbroken: A World War II Story Of Survival, Resilience, And Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

I didn't know much about this book, but I had read good reviews. The struggles and the redemption of Louis Zamperini in this true story are incredible. If you enjoy reading inspirational stories of another person's life this is one is a must read.
Paul’s pick:
“Helping your child sleep through the night” Joanne Cuthbertson & Susie Schevill
With two boys under the age of 2 – this is the only book Paul has been able to read these days!
Linette’s Pick:
“The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski
Set in rural Wisconsin in the first half of the 20th century on a farm where the Sawtelle’s raise a fictional breed of dog. Edgar is the mute boy who raises them. A few of the chapters are narrated from a dog’s point of view.  It’s a great coming of age story, reminded me a bit of the jungle book. Great story!!
Abby’s Pick:
Fragile Beasts by Tawni O’Dell
Clark’s Pick:
John Grisham – The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
Roz’s pick:
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach
I am only half way through this novel, but am really enjoying it.  It is a funny and touching comedy set in London and India.  It gives deep messages about ageing, family and about how important it is to feel a part of something, such as a family or a group.
Nancy’s Pick:
“Sarah’s Key” – Tatiana de Rosnay
It was enlightening to see how the French Resistance risked their lives to save so many. It was also gripping story of family loss and sacrifice in the war of which  helps me to understand the pain of this era for so many people.

Norm's Pick:
In our fractious time, this book holds guidance for the newly elected US president, as it looks back 150 years to Lincoln’s presidential leadership in the United States. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln is a book by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. The book is a biographical portrait of Abraham Lincoln and some of the men who served with him in his cabinet from 1861 to 1865. Three of his Cabinet members had previously run against Lincoln in the election of 1860 and were considered his staunch political enemies.  This is the story of  Lincoln's mostly successful attempts to reconcile conflicting personalities and political factions on the path toward the abolition of slavery and victory in the US Civil War.

The Best Christmas Gift

Today in my networking group - my good friend Susi Vasseur said the best present you can give your family this year is to be PRESENT!  Funny isn't it... how we all run around at this time of the year getting gifts for family, friends, and we forget that often the most special thing we can do is put down the phone, stop thinking about the money, and BE with the ones you love. Giving gifts of love, laughter, and TIME - by listening to your family are what make lasting holiday memories.

This is what my mom does so well. She embodies the Christmas spirit by loving her family (lucky us!) and making sure we all spend time together. We go to church, we make dinner together, we go for a Christmas day walk (we spend Xmas in Southern California), and we play games - puzzles, cards, Catch-phrase! These are the memories that are so fond to me.

This is a good idea to keep in mind when making your shopping list!

My favourite holiday treat!

                                                                Source: via Colette on Pinterest

Mandarin Oranges! .... I know this is probably not what you were thinking. The beauty of loving these delicious treats during the holidays is that they are also really good for you!  According to "Heal with" there are two top benefits of eating mandarins. I highly recommending reading the full link here for all the details. 

1. Due to phytochemicals and vitamin C in the peel and juice, this can prevent some forms of cancer by inhibiting growth. Also contributes to your health by boosting the "good cholesterol  in your body. However, there were some notes if you currently have cancer to watch for. Read the article if this relates to you.  

2. Considered a fantastic beauty food with vitamins that help build up your collagen (which gives your skin the structural support it needs to look good)

Aside from tasting delicious, these treats are great for your health. If you have late night cravings like I do, these can be a life saver! 

What is your favourite holiday treat? 

Naturally Flavoured Water Recipes

Do you drink a lot of water and sometimes find you need a change? Want to drink juice but don't want the added sugar? Having found an incredible website - The Yummy Life in which Monica nicely gives you a break down of how to make all different types of flavoured water.

One of my all time favourites is Orange, Lemon, and Cucumber water. The longer you let the flavours infuse the better it will taste. If you make a big jug of this type of water - just make sure you drink it over the next couple of days so the fruit stays fresh and does not turn bad.

Happy Drinking!

Fall Back!

Fall is back - you can feel it, taste it, smell it, see it - even hear the leaves falling and the wind howling. All 5 senses are fully experiencing this new season. Just by the facebook posts and updates alone, you can tell people are starting to switch gears. So what are some fun ways to switch into the Fall/ Autumn gear?

Here are my essentials for the fall season:

** Keep in mind I am a financial person and in no way a fashion blogger... haha so my fashion sense may not be "current" -- more reflective of how I feel that day! I admire those fashionista's that make style look so easy!

Scarfs, Boots, & Tights

Source: via Hannah on Pinterest
Source: via Jinbo on Pinterest

Comfort Foods

I'm not sure what is better on a cold day than warm soup with fresh bread or my sisters homemade shepherds pie...mmm. Comfort foods really get me excited about fall!  I'm not sure why, but the ultimate comfort food to me is breakfast for dinner... waffles, eggs, pancakes, bacon, fruit, omelets... it's all possible and it's all delish.  When I was young, my mom used to make us cornbread muffins and she would let us pour maple syrup on them with butter - fresh from the oven! It was such a treat when she made breakfast for dinner and we never complained. While today I like to take a more "healthy approach" and include my fruits and veggies, I relish thinking about those fun times together. So what's my point? Don't let life pass you by with out enjoying these special moments you or your kids will remember for a long time!

DO Yoga & Let Go of your Stress! 

Yoga keeps me sane! Yoga keeps me on the path I want to be on - zen, balanced, focused, refreshed, renewed... I really believe Yoga is a way of life not a "fitness regimen" to keep you looking fit. I find during these fall months my yoga practice tends to shift as well. I find myself holding poses longer, getting into the areas I worked so hard during summer activities. I learned last weekend that Yoga will help you release stress and that stress if left untreated will only lead to illness. So take care of that stress friends! If you need any yoga help go to and try online classes - your first week is free.

How to Save $3,000 a year!

When I was little I used to think my packed lunches were the worst. I would see friends go into line at the cafeteria and think "that's not fair", that looks way better than my peanut butter and banana sandwich! As a kid I didn't have a choice, I didn't have a job, or any money, so how was I going to buy that lunch? Today, as a professional, I have the ability to start my day with a latte, and go for a "business" lunch. I have wrote about the cost of this before in my post Latte Effect. Today, I want to share with you an infographic thanks to, on how to save $3,000 by taking your lunch to work everyday.

Now based on my trusty investment calculator, if you invested $250 a month (which is $3000 annually) and were able to get a return of 7% annually - in 10 years that money would be worth $42,763! Now if you think that's not worth it... I'm not sure what else to say!

Thanks to for This Graphic Brown Bagging Infographic

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