The "Whiz-ard" That Is Dr. Oz

Following Dr. Oz's Advice For A Year

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We’ll Always Have Paris…


I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Paris 3 times in my life and I’m looking forward to returning again one day soon.  The first time was in 1995 as my friend and I did a whirlwind Contiki tour of Europe.  We came, we saw, we went up the Eiffel Tour and then we left 24 hours later.  It was amazing and left me wanting to visit again….which I did in 2008.  In January…yes January I got to enjoy 5 days of greatness.  Since it was winter, there were hardly any tourists so no line ups for the Mona Lisa, no waiting for the elevator at the Eiffel Tour, no one blocking my view of my favourite paintings at the Musée D’Orsay.   Last but not least, I went for two days in November 2011 – the weather couldn’t have been better, and we walked EVERYWHERE.  I’ll give you all of the tips and tricks for visiting Paris in a very future blog, but I think today, we should remember the victims of the horrible attacks.  We’ll always have Paris.

I do need to do a little rant right now…when people call the terrorists who victimized this city animals, it is really insulting since animals have no guile.  These people are nothing but psychopaths.  If Paris is a city of “obscenity and prostitution” it shows how little they understand about either.  It is much more moral to prevent women from having any rights at all including the basic right of education.  It is much more righteous to rape and terrorize women and young girls than to enjoy a soccer game.  It is far more decent to force 12-year-old girls to marry 60-year-old men than to go to a concert.  It is much better to hate and murder gay people than to accept them for what they are – normal, consenting adults.  It is far more spiritual to decapitate a humanitarian or a journalist than to enjoy a glass of wine at a restaurant near the Louvre. And speaking of that, it is a much better idea to destroy antiquities like the Buddhas in Afghanistan and the museums in Iraq preventing those nations from every re-growing their tourism than to appreciate fine art the way they do in Paris.  Please don’t take this as a condemnation of Islam, but rather a condemnation of the hatred that comes with any form of extremism regardless of the religion.

It is a scary time in the world, however, we all still have to live our lives.  Travel is a way to get a better understanding of our world and the different types of people that live in it. Don’t let a few bad people keep you from exploring other parts of the globe, including the most beautiful city in the world.

Paris, Je t’aime.

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How To Use Twitter Hashtags to Increase Your Traffic

Jill Schneiderman:

For any bloggers that read The Whiz-ard that is Dr. Oz, here is an easy way to promote your blog. Suzie Speaks has a lot of great blogging tips and has a lot of enjoyable general posts. Check it out!

Originally posted on Suzie Speaks:

imageSuzie Speaks began in 2013, and was originally used as online therapy, primarily allowing me to discuss a difficult time I was having in my personal life. I knew nothing about social media – I had a personal Facebook account and a Twitter page that I hadn’t used in quite a while, and I rather naively assumed that I would receive a large amount of views simply by pressing the publish button.

It took me about six months to realise that the biggest source of traffic to a blog, without getting heavily into SEO (which I still find difficult to understand), is through different social media accounts. I created a brand new Facebook and Twitter page, separate to my personal ones, and set about building a following.

In two years, I have had nearly 44,000 views from Twitter, but only have 6,500 ‘followers.’ It’s hardly setting the blogging world on…

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The Sadness of Soft Toys and The Royal Treatment at Value Village



Decluttering means saying good-bye to old friends.  I’ll miss Melvin, Pookie and Pink Poodle, but every once you have to let go of something that you love to make room for more peace in your life.  Ok, that was me trying to be deep.  The truth is, Melvin’s sunglasses were falling off, Pookie doesn’t exist and Pink Poodle may be unimaginative, but I’m also the girl that gave her stuffed animals classic names like Teddy, Pink Bunny and Blue Bunny when I was growing up.  Nothing wrong with being literal.  The stuffed animals didn’t seem to mind.  Pink Poodle was given to me by one of my dearest friends to remind me of the time that I gave myself a really bad bang trim.  She also bought me a giggling, burping beanie baby that sounds vaguely like me.

It was more than time for me to give away my soft toys to a loving home.  It was also time to get rid of dishes that weren’t being used, glasses that were collecting dust and knick knacks that were more nicked than knacked.  Where did the 5 cases and one garbage bag of home clutter go?  Value Village.  I have to say – dropping my old dishes and toys off was an amazing experience – they treat you like royalty.  Just stop at the donation drop off entrance and out come a couple of big strong men to take a load off your hands.  All I did was point and I got to have everything carried away.  All of the proceeds from Value Village go to charity and they help keep your worn items out of landfills.  They even take orphan socks – who knew?  Check out to see what you can donate.  Best experience at a charity ever.

In addition to the 2 sets of dishes, dozen glasses, 16 stuffed animals, etc. that left my abode, I also noticed that my building was doing a hazardous waste drop off.  I scurried down with 5 cans of old paint.  Remember, as freeing as it is to declutter, you also should be environmentally responsible dear readers.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get this little project finished.  Next on the list is sorting papers and even I can’t make that task fun and interesting.  I may have to combine it with something a little more entertaining…maybe Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest health advice?  Stay tuned to find out more.

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After reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and learning more about the KonMari method, I have dedicated the next few months to decluttering like I’ve never decluttered before.  Dr. Oz and Marie Kondo are both right – you feel less stress when you have fewer items clogging up your life (and surroundings).

As you can see from the above tower of clothing – this weekend, in between outings, I continued to work on my clothes.  I’m no longer a smugly mcsmuglord like I was last year.  I’ve had to stop saying look how much I’ve gotten rid of you peons and take a really hard took at what I was hanging onto – which Kondo forces you to do.  I had t-shirts from university – granted that was only a couple of years ago, because I’m so young, ok maybe more than a couple of years, but I never wanted to get did of them because they represented some of the best times of my life.  As I read the book, I became aware that even if the sweatshirt and t-shirts go, I’ll still remember everything.  That was also true for some t-shirts that I got on trips when I first started travelling.  I never wore the shirts, even when I was younger I knew that they were Glamour Fashion Don’ts, but I held onto them like a dutiful pack rat.  I’m happy to say they are all gone, along with a whole bunch of other clothes that fit into 4 garbage bags for donation and 1 for actual trash.  For those of you that are curious, and no judgment if you are, here is a tally of my dearly departed clothes:

  • 5 coats
  • 1 scarf
  • 2 pairs of gloves
  • 4 purses
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of boots
  • 1 blouse
  • 1 dress
  • 1 shawl
  • 2 bodysuits
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 13 camis and tank tops
  • 9 pairs of socks
  • 26 sweaters
  • 22 tops
  • 21 t-shirts
  • 6 sweat shirts
  • 1 belly dancing belt

I didn’t talk to my clothes like Kondo suggests in her book, thanking them for their service.  I also played music which she doesn’t recommend.  I did enjoy the process and it’s nice being able to see my colour coded clothes (something that I’ve always done) – don’t laugh, it makes life easier.  I feel like my clothes can breathe, and that because they aren’t jammed together so tightly, maybe I won’t have pilling on my favourite sweaters.  A girl can dream right?  I probably didn’t get rid of enough to pare my wardrobe down to KonMari standards, but I’m very happy with what I kept and don’t miss a single item that I threw out or donated.

The next item on Kondo’s list, and I am going in order, is books.  I got rid of 29 books in total.  Konfession – I still had books from my PR days, a few other text books and a number of books that there was no hope that I’d ever read.  All text books are now disposed of – I realized that I thought, perhaps, that I may refer to them, and guess what?  They’ve never been opened – they sat on my shelf like sad orphans wishing that I’d sold them to another student.

BIG KONFESSION (spelling intended-it’s a play on KonMari)!  I finally realized that I wasn’t going to ever read “The English Patient”.  Bigger KONFESSION – I hated the movie.  I can admit it now, but way back when it came out, it was frowned upon to not rave about the snore-fest, I mean film.  So as a dutiful snob, I went out and bought the book thinking of how sophisticated I’d look reading the book as the weirdo next to me on the subway clips his nails (yes, it happens).  More books than I can write about are being donated to my condo’s library and Value Village.  I thank them for taking space up on my shelf, but now it’s time to set them free.  I feel very KonMari saying that.  See below for what is affectionately known as “the pile”.


Until next time, happy decluttering!

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Driving Miss Daisy, KonMari and Other Things to be Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!

This weekend was a very busy one with Frousin time, Family Thanksgiving on Sunday and Thanksgiving with friends that are like family today.  In between, I also had my fifth and sixth driving lessons and have started to take the advice of Marie Kondo – author of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

Conquering fears, trying to de-stress and decluttering is really what my Dr. Oz journey has been about this year.  Driving is another fear that I am conquering – especially driving in a big city.  It’s an adjustment driving again, but every time I get behind the wheel, I feel a little less Miss Daisy, and a little more like I can do this – I can drive faster than 60 kilometres an hour!  I can do a 3-point turn!  I can drive without running anyone over!  I still have a ways to go and need a little more confidence – don’t we all – but I believe I’ll be ready for my road test in December.  Wish me luck – or wish yourselves luck if you happen to be a Toronto driver.

In addition to driving, I also have spent a good deal of time starting my next round of decluttering.  I know that I wrote many a post about this last year.  Like a Smugly McSmug Lady, I bragged about all of the things that I was getting rid of…then I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and realized that my work has just begun.  The book divides your home into different categories (part of the KonMari method) and suggests that you tackle one category before you move on to another.  You don’t purge rooms – you purge categories.  I’ve started with tops, as Marie Kondo suggests starting with clothing and even tells you down to the item, what order you should do this in.  Some of her suggestions are hooey – I’m not going to say hi to my home or thank my clothes for serving me, but I do see her point about getting rid of things that you no longer love or have no use for.  I also understand her advice about getting rid of things that you may have an emotional attachment to  – the memory will still be there, but the item of clothing or knick knack no longer needs to take up space.  So far, I have a mouton of clothes, literally, that I’m either going to donate or toss.  It’s a lot more than I expected after last year…but it’s been cleansing in more ways than one.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress, with photos.  Dr. Oz will be very proud of me, and in a weird way, it is relaxing.

As it’s Thanksgiving, I should express some sort of gratitude…but I have to say, it’s been a bit of a challenge this year.  I’m always grateful for family and friends, but I think that right now, I’m the most thankful for the life lessons that I’ve learned this year.  Right now, the lesson that I’m learning is that it’s ok to get rid of possessions but it’s also ok to keep what you really love.  It doesn’t seem like a big deal, until you are in the process of it yourself.

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A Day In Amsterdam and Embracing Jet Lag

Amsterdam 1

Did I ever mention that I love to travel?  Europe – all of it, is my particular favourite.  Sure I’ve been to a lot of other places, but there is something about this little continent that keeps bringing me back for more.  Travel for me is pretty stress free (except flying) and lengthy airport stays – a very good thing according to Dr. Oz.  Jet lag, on the other hand, can be really unbearable.  Part of the issue was that they 6 of us took a 5:30PM flight, not a true overnight flight, and we got into this beautiful city at 6am Dutch time – a recipe for my worst jet lag nightmare otherwise known as #firstworldproblems.  There wasn’t much that I could do other than stumble through the day, but me and my 5 other travel companions still managed to squeeze in a lot!

Before I get into all of the great things there are to do, I have to confess, I’ve been to Amsterdam before, in my 20’s.  I saw a lot then and that meant I could skip the Red Light District (I didn’t find staring a poor prostitutes fun, even then), the “Cafe’s”, the Rijks Museum and a few other highlights and concentrate on what I wanted to do.  Here is a list of what I did if you only have a full day and a half like I did:

  • Take a Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour to orient yourself, and to be able to take a nap if you’ve just gotten off of a plane.  I totally fell asleep every 3 minutes, but still managed to see quite a bit and get a better idea of where I wanted to go back to
  • Take a nap in a well located hotel (we stayed at the Marriot Stadhouderskade – try saying that 5 times 5) and then go for crepes!
  • Enjoy a canal cruise – it was a great way to see the City since it has over 100 kilometres of the watery little bodies and it’s a good way of killing 90 minutes
  • Go to Vondelpark – very quaint, but don’t spend too much time there – especially when you only have a day!
  • Head Museum Quarter – come on, you know you want to take a cheesy picture with the Amsterdam sign!  It’s really beautiful – take your time and walk around, we found these weird, yet cute “Hello Bunny” type of statues.  It’s a really nice part of the city and great for people watching.
  • Check out the Van Gogh Museum, but just don’t be disappointed, a lot of his more famous works are in the Musee D’Orsay in Paris and MOMA in NYC.  We went at night and there was a huge line up, but it was still better than going during the day and it takes about 45 minutes to do the whole thing if you aren’t loitering.  Not the most exciting thing that I did, but I always wanted to see it….and I did.
  • Last, but not least, it’s important to visit Anne Frank House.  If you don’t book a tour, you’ll find yourself waiting in at least a two hour line and that’s at 9:30.  You don’t want to waste time in line ups, so if you are planning on visiting, PRE-BOOK THIS!!!   Different people have different opinions about the museum.  Be prepared for two things – there is absolutely no furniture – this was at the request of Anne Frank’s father Otto and you have to be able to go up some very steep staircases that get even steeper the farther up you walk.  If you aren’t able to climb, don’t do this tour. The steepest staircase is basically almost a ladder.  I still found it moving even though this was my second time.  The rooms are big, but they could never open the blinds, so it was always dark – they still have the blackout blinds up.  Seeing the diary is also pretty special.  Several people though, found the lack of furniture a little jarring, although it didn’t bother me and this was my second time.

I hope you like my day and a half guide to Amsterdam – and I’m not boring, really – I did all of the fun stuff before…in my twenties when it was appropriate!  Check out some photos below for your viewing pleasure.


What would The Netherlands be without a Windmill?

Amsterdam 3

The Bunny Statues in Museum Quarter

Jill Amsterdam

Wishing that I wasn’t jet-lagged, and that there was a J in the Amsterdam sign.


Canal Cruise

Canal Cruise

Canal Cruise

Statue of Anne Frank

Statue of Anne Frank

You can't take pictures inside, so get a picture of the sign!

You can’t take pictures inside, so get a picture of the sign!

The line up at Anne Frank House at 9:30 in the morning!

The line up at Anne Frank House at 9:30 in the morning!

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Chicken Soup for the Soul – The Real Deal


I made this and so can you.

Yesterday, for the first time ever, I made chicken soup.  My mother sat in the kitchen and told me what to do, because like most women of a certain generation, they just know instinctively how to cook.  They aren’t like me who goes into a tail spin if I lose the recipe.  Chicken soup isn’t just a Dr. Oz approved cure for all colds and flus, although he, like many doctors extolls the virtues of Jewish penicillin, it is my all time favourite food.  My Bubbie made the best chicken soup, followed by my mother.  My grandmother’s special ingredient?  Love of course.

I’m here to help my readers, so I’m going to share the secret recipe to the world’s best soup, but unlike most sites, this is for people exactly like me that have never made it before and who need more guidance than professional cooks require.  Just a warning, I only tried one spoon of the soup that I made, so I can’t tell you if it’s great or not, but I’ll keep trying until it’s the third best chicken soup around.  Nothing can top the chicken soup professionals (Bubbie and my mother).


-2 packages of chicken bones (yes, that means that you may have to head to the butchers or try the kosher meat section of the grocery store – that’s where we picked them up)

-i cube of chicken bouillon cube or half of a small package of it (just enough so that the broth turns a little yellow)

-water (duh)

-2 sprigs of dill

-Mirepoix – just a fancy way of saying one onion, 3 stalks of celery and either 3 cooking carrots or 1/3 of a package of baby carrots but doesn’t it sound nice?



-Your biggest pot – I don’t understand quarts – I’m Canadian, but it should be big

Step 1 – Get ready to toss your cookies, because you have to take those UGLY looking bones out of the package and plop them into the pot.  Don’t worry – there is plenty of meat on them to make a great broth. I recommend using a knife to cut the packages open so that your fingers don’t have to come anywhere near those bad boys.  Plop the two packages of bones in as quickly as possible.  Trust me – it’s gross so you’ll want to get it over with quickly.  I looked and I shouldn’t have.

Step 2 – Go to the sink, turn on the water and fill the pot up enough to cover the gross bones up really well.  Put the pot on the stove on high until it comes to a boil.
Step 3 – Get your mirepoix ready.  Wash the celery (I bet some of you think that putting it in the boiling water is enough – it’s not).  Cut the stalks in half.  Cut the top and bottom of the onion off and peel off the skin.  That’s all you have to do – no need to chop it up.  If you use baby carrots, just take out a third of the package.  If you like manual labour, feel free to peel 2-3 big carrots.

Step 4 – THIS IS A DOOZY – THE GROSSEST PART  BY FAR!!!! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Once your bones have boiled, get yourself a bowl and a big spoon because the most vile, disgusting scum comes to the top of the pot.  It looks like foamy brains.  You’ll need to skim off as much of it as possible BUT, reduce the heat to low first.  I know – I know, it stinks and I almost tossed my cookies, and what’s even worse is that I believe that some people leave it in there.  I asked my mother what was in the scum – she told me to stop asking questions that I didn’t want to hear the answer to and to just keep skimming.  I did as I was told and got almost a bowlful of that putrid mess out of the pot.  I sang “Just Keep Skimming”  to Finding Nemo’s “Just Keep Swimming” to distract myself – in my inside voice of course.

Step 5 – Once you’ve finished skimming – pour in the bouillon (or plop it in if it’s a cube).  Gently place in the mirepoix that you lovingly prepped (that’s your vegetables if you weren’t paying attention).  Lay in the dill (I know it sounds a little pervy, but that’s your dirty mind).  Last but not least, put in the salt and pepper.  How much?  Do a shake, shake, shake (your booty).  That’s three shakes of each (make sure it has the top on so that you aren’t pouring either in – you want dashes.  Remember novices, you can always season to taste after, but you you’ll have to throw a potato in to absorb the salt if you over do it (I’m not sure if I’m even right about that, but correct me if I’m wrong).

Step 6 – Cover and let it cook for 2.5 hours.  Yes that’s right, you have 2.5 hours of free time to do anything that you want as long as you don’t leave the house.  I made a honey cake from scratch – that’s a whole other story.  It just confirmed what I already knew – baking sucks.

Step 7 – After the cooking time is over, there is still more grossness, but this is manageable.  Get a plastic bag and use the big spoon to get the bones out of the soup.  Toss them immediately so they don’t stink up the kitchen.  Take the vegetables out and puree them (using a hand blender or food processor), and put them back in your soup.  Wait until the soup is cool enough, then put into containers to freeze or to have later.

Step 8 – If you are going to eat the chicken soup, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.  The fat congeals on the top (it looks like a solid white sheet) and you can skim that off.  Also very gross, and also makes me want to toss my cookies, but it you want soup that isn’t greasy, that’s the way to do it.  If you freeze it, when it defrosts, the fat will rise to the top and again, skim it off.

There you have it.  A step by step recipe – something that I thought that I would never do – ever.  The next few will be devoted to my trip, but I wanted to do this while I still remembered.


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