Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One

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Mosquito Magnet


Image courtesy of camptimberlane.ca

I love the summer – it’s my favourite time of year!  Warm weather – Yipppeeee!!!!  Sunshine almost every day – YIPPEEEE.  Not having to wear a coat HOOORRAAYYY!!!!  Mosquitoes out in full force – Ya…seriously?  I am a mosquito magnet.  One time, after going to a friend’s cottage, I had 41 bites on my legs.  How did I know this?  I was so itchy, that I couldn’t sleep so I counted them.  Another time, my friend and I had a glorious day in Little Rock, Arkansas visiting the Bill Clinton library – LOVE the man!  Anyway, guess what happened?  No – I didn’t get a bee sting – that’s close, but no cigar (a little Monica Lewinsky humour)…you got it – I was out of the rented car at a truck stop and was promptly bitten by a blood thirsty skeeter.  Thank heavens for mint toothpaste.  if you are prone to bug bites like me, it is a miracle worker at getting the itch out.

Last weekend, I went to my cousin’s wedding at a camp near Haliburton (cottage country about 3 hours from Toronto).  As much as I enjoyed the joyous celebration, immediately I was on high alert after seeing bugs the size of birds flitting about.  I am a ‘fraidy cat when it comes to bugs you see.  I know you are going to sneer at me when I tell you what I did to prevent being eaten alive…I doused myself with Off Active (3 applications – love me some deet) and I even had a clip on Off to be doubly sure that the only things dining around me were my fellow wedding guests.  I came home with nary a bite to be seen.  I love the city – country outings make me a bit of a nervous-wreck.  I am about to go on a trip shortly to Iceland, the Faroe Islands (midway between Iceland and Norway) and the Norwegian Fjords.  What does this nature fearer decide to do?  Go on a hike.  Guess where you hike?  In nature!!!! I’m going to be extra vigilant to ensure that I am once again bite-less.  I checked on doctoroz.com for some tips and here are some suggestions if you are like me and a skeeter’s dinner:

  • Cover your exposed arms and legs with long-sleeved shirts and pants.  (Not always possible, but you better believe if I’m hiking, I’m going to cover up)
  • Use a good fan to reduce the likelihood of pesky mosquitoes from landing on prime biting surfaces … you! (I’d feel pretentious carrying a fan around, so thanks Dr. Oz, but this tip is a no go)
  • Keep windows closed with air-conditioning on to keep them out.(Um…hello…I’m trying to protect myself from the great outdoors)
  • Make sure your screens on windows and doors are in good shape. (Good one…if you are indoors)
  • Consider wearing mosquito-resistant clothing that may contain chemical repellents. (Ugly – no thanks)
  • Try to eliminate standing water that can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. (Cleaning up standing water in Norway is not on my agenda for my holiday)
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (chemicals such as DEET, pyrethrum) as well as natural botanical oils, such as oil of lemon eucalyptus.  Always follow instructions on the label, especially for children, and apply in a well-ventilated area.  (Yes, I’ll be bringing Off with me – I can use this one)
  • Avoid being outside at prime biting times such as dawn and dusk. (I’m lazy and am doing the hike at 9:30am so I’m good with this one)
  • Take a shower; body odor can be an attractant to mosquitoes. (I shower at least once a day, so I’m covered)

Well – this really didn’t teach me anything that I didn’t already know, but at least Oz didn’t tell me not to use Off.  

Today, I am grateful that as of July 4th, I will be on a two week cyber-break.  I love all of my faithful readers, but this blogger needs some r&r – mosquito free, of course.  Until next time, I am…

Gratefully yours,



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Don’t Hate the Whiz-ard, Hate the Game


Image courtesy of hlntv.com

I wish that I didn’t have to interrupt my fun summer topic to write about something more serious, but I would be a bad Oz blogger if I didn’t comment on the recent scolding of Dr. Oz at a meeting of the US Senate’s Consumer Protection Panel.  More specifically, he was called out on some of the weight loss aids that he showcases from time to time on “The Dr. Oz Show.”  Oz, himself, admits that his language when speaking about these aids can be “flowery”.  He also promised to include a list of supplements that he honestly believes works on his website.  He says that he believes in the supplements that he talks about and even gets his family to try them but was fairly contrite by the end of the hearing.  If you look at his appearance during the panel, he looks over-tired and stressed and maybe a little in need of his own advice.

So what do I think?  I think that as a physician, Dr. Oz has a responsibility to do no harm to his patients.  Unfortunately, through TV, print and his website, his patients are now not just in his examining room – they come to him from living rooms all around the world and he now has become the people’s doctor.  I understand, from my years of working in TV, that he probably heard about many of these weight loss aids from segment producers who thought it would be good TV – a quick bang for the viewer’s buck with the ultimate goal of getting people to watch the show and let the content get you hooked into become a regular viewer.  We all love a quick fix and this is what gets people interested in the show.  The reality is, if you do a lot of reading, from Dr. Oz himself, and many of the experts on his show, there is no quick fix.  Take a look at this video about the latest and greatest in weight-loss, Garcinia Cambogia, http://www.doctoroz.com/video-series/supplement-score-card?video_id=3302688594001

Pretty interesting isn’t it?  Bryce Wylde isn’t fully supporting the supplement even though it enjoyed some positive feedback on the show.  What does this say to the audience?  It says DO YOUR HOMEWORK!  If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Don’t just depend on Dr. Oz to be your one and only source of information.  Consult with your doctor.  Double check information on the web.  Be your own health care advocate.  I can tell you from experience that Dr. Oz has a lot of really great information available and it has made a positive impact on how I feel.  He also has some information that I completely disagree with including making coconut oil a daily part of your diet.  For my thoughts – check here https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/cuckoo-for-coconut-oil-no-way/.  If you don’t feel like re-reading it – I can tell you, I gave Dr. Oz a big shame on you (as well as some naturopaths) for ever promoting this as something remotely healthy for you.  

Am I going to give up on Dr. Oz’s advice?  No – there is a lot of good there – I’ve been reading a lot of what he puts out there.  You have to know how to sift through the sensational though to get to the practical. There is a lot of worthwhile information out there – you just have to get over the desire for things to work overnight, because they won’t.  You also have to consider a couple of things if you are going to what Dr. Oz says to heart.  He is a a cardiothoracic surgeon – he had amazing knowledge in this field.  He is not a registered dietician.  He also doesn’t have a weight problem, so many of the supplements that he touts, he has never had to take. You have to take what he says with a grain of salt and cross reference it to see if there is any medical efficacy to what he is talking about.  Without scientific evidence and my doctor’s approval, I wouldn’t try any of these health care supplements.





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Enjoying an Almost Summer Event!




I originally posted something similar to this last Friday and it was deleted!  It was likely a lot better than this version, but here we go…

Dr. Oz always speaks about the importance of family on all of his platforms, from his show, to facebook to You Being Beautiful. I fully agree, that family is so important.  One of the most important members of my family had a special event last week.  My baby niece graduated from college last week.  I was tickled, honoured, thrilled, excited and deeply touched that she wanted me to be there.  I know in her mind it was “just a graduation” but it is a rite of passage.  You worked hard to finish and you did!  You can always try harder, but that’s a lecture for another day.

Let’s face facts, when you attend a graduation, unless there are twins and triplets involved, it comes down to it, you really only care about that one little person walking across the stage.  As the graduates were led in to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance”, I scanned the crowd for my niece and couldn’t see her.  My sister (her mother), her boyfriend and I made the decision while we were waiting to “WOOOOOO HOOOOOOO” as loudly as we could, both out of pride, and partly because there is almost nothing more fun in life than embarrassing my little niece and after all, everyone else was doing it.

Jess – you are taller than me (not by much), smarter than me (not by much), funnier than me (hugely), definitely cuter than me (by a mile and then some) – please let me have something – maybe your new purse – as a consolation prize?  In all seriousness (although I am serious about wanting your purse – look how great it looks with my outfit), I just want you to know how proud I am of you, and not just on special days like your graduation, every single day.  I hope that you know that wherever life takes you, that I am, have been and always will be your biggest fan.  You know that you have my support and…
…Love always,
Aunt xoxo
PS – You better not call me Jill ever again : )
PSS – to my readers, in case you haven’t guessed, I am grateful to have the best niece in the world.


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Image courtesy of hesc.co.za

A video with this adorable, heartbroken baby rhino has been circulating it’s way around the web this week – check out this link for more on the story – http://www.sooziq.com/11795/a-heartbroken-baby-rhino-was-found-crying-uncontrollably-and-there-are-no-words-for-the-end/?utm_content=buffer956c8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer.  Watching this poor little thing’s need for comfort and companionship after it’s mother was slaughtered by evil, poachers put a huge lump in my throat.  It was like a Disney movie come to life.  Disney early on identified the hero in the story as the animal, while man was the villain.  People who support poaching either by hunting these majestic creatures for sport (former King of Spain hunting elephants angered me), or their horns/ivory, or even owners and users of these products are the villains to me anyway.  The biggest difference between an animal and a human is that animals most typically hunt to eat or to protect their family or home.  People hunt for those reasons, and I don’t have a real issue with that if it’s done ethically, but does anyone need ivory jewelry or carvings?  Does a man really need a rhino horn to make them more virile?  I think we all need to think at times on how we can live a life that is more ethical, both in terms of the products that we buy, to learning the proper place for litter is not the ocean and treating animals with the respect that they show others in their kingdom.

Rant over….for now.  Now what could a blog about the summer have to do with a rhino?  Well, if you don’t use sunscreen, that’s what your skin can end up looking like.  I won’t go on for too long, I mean we all know that sunscreen is a DAILY essential.  I am quite smug about the fact that I’ve been a major supporter of the sunscreen industry for years.  I wear it daily on my face – 365 days a year and on the rest of me as needed.  If I’m wearing jeans, I obviously don’t use it on my legs, but I wear it on any exposed skin.  I was reading Dr. Oz The Good Life, and they had a few things that I never thought about in their ageless beauty guide.  Did you know:

-You should look for two key ingredients when buying sunscreen – zinc oxide and avobenzone.  I did a check of my sunscreens and they both have them.  These ingredients block out UVA rays – the ones that cause again and skin cancer

-You should put sunscreen on 30 minutes before you leave the house – I do this as I’m getting ready so I’m ok with this one too

-Use enough to cover you – this means a golf ball sized amount if you are going to be out in the sun all day. YAY – I do this too and I am religious about reapplying

-Don’t use expired sunscreen if you have a choice.  If you don’t have anything else, it’s better than nothing, but the product starts degrading after the best before date

-I’m not going to comment on whether to use a high SPF or not – there are so many stories floating around.  I personally use an SPF 60 – I know that it may not do a lot more than a 30, but it makes me feel better.  I rarely, if ever get burns, but you have to be vigilant.

So in short, wear sunscreen – it’s easy to apply, some smell great and some are very absorbent.  Today, I’m grateful that I have been religious about wearing it for so many years.

Until next time, I am…

Gratefully yours,



Dry As Bone or When to Wet Your Whistle



I really tried to drink eight glasses of water, but alas, in the interest of honesty, this weekend, it hasn’t happened.  I’m on my sixth for today.  I’ll keep trying…sigh…but it isn’t as easy as I thought.  I find it especially difficult Monday – Friday when I’m at work.  If I can make every other change and fix so many bad habits, I’m sure that this one should be pretty simple.  I  just feel like 8 glasses of water is an ocean, like the picture above.  I know, I know, #firstworldproblems.  I am committed to 8 is great – my code for drinking my recommended amount of H2O.  I even went out today and bought a 24… of water – what – you thought I meant beer?  Not likely.

So, in the last of my hydration series, I thought it would be a good idea to share the signs that you aren’t getting enough…water…perverts.  Here is what Dr. Oz says to look out for courtesy of his hydration handbook on doctoroz.com (my comments are in parenthesis):

  1. Dark Urine Your urine should be clear; if looks like tea when you go to the bathroom, you’re dehydrated. For more on healthy pee, click here.  (Luckily this is rare for me, and I drink immediately if I notice this)
  2. Dry Skin If your body is dehydrated, it will do everything it can to hold onto fluids. Your skin is the first place to be robbed of water. Major indicators of dehydration include skin that is less plump and flexible, sunken eyes, dark circles or dry lips. Assess your skin with a skin turgor test; pinch a fold of skin on top of your forearm. If this pinch and stays up in a tent, there is not enough water volume behind your skin.  (I did the test – it looks like like I have enough water volume – YAY!)
  3. Dizziness When your body is dehydrated, it is harder to distribute water. Dizziness can occur when you go from lying down to sitting or standing. The upright movement causes water to rush away from your heart and brain, which makes you dizzy. (There have been at least 3 or 4 times in my life when I was dehydrated enough to feel faint and only once was this due to heat.  It was periods when I was feeling stressed, not sleeping and drinking too much caffeine – so no, coffee and tea, at least to me, shouldn’t count as water.  Once I had something to drink, I felt better,  but it was a terrible feeling.  Do what Dr. Oz recommends and drink one water for every serving of coffee or tea that you have)
  4. Constipation Your body absorbs water from your intestines and draws moisture from your stool. This makes them hard, dry and difficult to pass. (No comment – if you’ve read my blog before, you know I think commenting about poop isn’t lady-like – just keep this in mind for you if you are noticing anything off with yours).

According to Dr. Oz, vegetables and fruit are important in keeping you hydrated, not just because of their high water content, but because they also may have sodium and potassium.  I eat tons of produce, especially lately.  I’ll just keep that up, especially over the summer.  I don’t know about you, but I think that this topic is turning into water under the bridge.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress but it’s on to something new tomorrow!

Today, I am grateful that a favourite cousin moved to Toronto over the weekend.  I’m sure I’ll be featuring her in this blog again – she’s really smart, and as a dietician, she has invaluable insight into a lot of the questions that come up from my research.  Plus, she’s a lot of fun.  Welcome to TO Gail and Kiwi : )


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Hydration – For Real This Time









It’s so hard to stop making fun of Gwyneth Paltrow, but alas, I must get back on track and write about the true meaning of hydration. According to Dr. Oz, we lose more than 10-11 cups of water everyday – that’s a lot of pee and sweat.  Here is more from the man himself about why drinking – water – not wine is so important:

“Replenishing the liquids your body loses is absolutely essential to look and feel your best. Water helps to deliver nutrients to every cell and organ in your body and clears away waste and toxins. It also helps regulate body temperature, supports digestion, keeps your skin looking smooth and young and lubricates your joints.”  Pretty important stuff!

Since I stopped drinking Diet Coke 2 years ago, I have been drinking a lot more water, usually around 6 glasses a day. Lately, it’s been a little less, but to fulfill the needs of this blog, I’ll drink 8 glasses a day until the end of time or at least try to.  I can tell you, that sometimes, when I drink water, I feel like I’ve had a coffee – it perks me right up – for real.  I can also tell you, that when I don’t feel hydrated, I get very, very CRANKY.  I don’t get h-angry (angry when I’m hungry) but if I haven’t had enough to drink – look out!  I usually drink my water at room temperature, but I heard that it may be better for your metabolism to drink it cold.  Either way, as long as I’m getting close to the recommended number of glasses a day, I’m happy.

To ensure that I’m staying on track, I’ve signed up for Dr. Oz’s Water Works Challenge – and no, it’s not a crying competition.  Here is the link http://www.doctoroz.com/challenges/dr-ozs-water-works-challenge.  I was honest – I only had 4 glasses today (plus 3 teas and 1 coffee).  I’m going to aim for 6 tomorrow and 8 each day on the weekend.  Good times.  

Today, I’m grateful that I get to go to bed shortly.  Sometimes, gratitude doesn’t have to be a big, grand thing.  

Gratefully yours,


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Hydration and the Changing Structure of Water



Courtesy of Google images

We all know that we are supposed to drink the standard 8-10 glasses of water a day, but most people don’t seem to do that.  I’m going to spend a couple of days on hydration which is especially important since summer is just around the corner.  I also wanted to write about some fascinating new studies that I learned about thanks to my good friend Gwyneth Paltrow and my personal bible – US Weekly.  You can scoff if you would like, but the same people who judge me for reading a so-called tabloid magazine, are the same people who want to read it when I finish “just to look at the pictures” or sneak a peak at the best weekly in line at the grocery store.  Let’s just say, US Magazine is never wrong when it comes to their celebrity scoops and it is my not-so-guilty pleasure.

I really decided to think about Gwynnie’s latest words of wisdom and act upon them because they were, as always, awe inspiring. Here they are for your reference:

“I am fascinated by the growing science behind the energy of consciousness and its effects on matter,” the newly single Paltrow wrote. “I have long had Dr. Emoto’s coffee table book on how negativity changes the structure of water, how the molecules behave differently depending on the words or music being expressed around it.”

The controversial Japanese doctor Masaru Emoto has published several books on water based on his theory that human consciousness changes the structure of water. One of his most famous experiments involved yelling at rice grains to see the effect that the negativity had.

Paltrow touts his theories in the latest issue of Goop, enlisting Dr. Habib Sadeghi to “explain further.” The doctor, who previously worked with Paltrow on his spiritual weight loss book, wrote a column entitled “Figure of Speech: How the Words We Choose Shape our Lives,” which references Emoto’s work, and claims that he “proved that energy generated by positive or negative words can actually change the physical structure of an object.” (usmagazine.com)

To test this theory, I decided to emulate GP and her inspiration Masaru Emoto.  I took several brown rice grains that are Oz approved out of a box.  I did NOT cook them.  I merely spread 2-3 on a napkin and proceeded to spend 30 minutes yelling at them.  Getting no reaction, I tried again.  These were tough nuts….errr….grains…to crack and I was getting no where with them.  I threw them in a pot of boiling water and told both the rice and the boiling water that they were ugly and their mother dressed them funny.  This finally got a reaction.  The water BUBBLED and one of the rice grains completely disintegrated.  This proved that negative words could change the physical structure of rice and water.  I then decided to play nice or good cop if you will.  I got two more grains of rice and put them on the counter and told them how good they were.  Over and over and over again.  I became at one with the grains telling them that I was proud of their long journey to my kitchen.  After two hours of coaxing a reaction, one fell to the floor, either in gratitude, or maybe it was the gigantic sneeze that I had.  I was complimenting the pepper at the same time.  Please do not try this at home – you may not know your own strength and a piece of rice could fall to the floor causing injury to both you and the little grain.

This was an amazingly gratifying day and I shall be like Gwyneth and go forth and purchase Dr. Emoto’s coffee table book to learn more about all of the physical structure.  Tomorrow, you’ll hear more about hydration.  Today I am grateful that I got to see one of my besties AK.  I also discovered that eating too much really hurts when you aren’t used to it.  Hey AK – next time, let’s just stick to the appetizers – what do you say?  Even though I feel like a swallowed an elephant, I am still…

Gratefully yours,



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New Month – Are You Ready for Summer?



My apologies – for some reason, this didn’t post properly so it looks like I just put a title into my post and nothing else!  Here it is again.


Just a short post today to reveal the topic for June. If you guessed summer, you were right. The photo is courtesy of me – sunset at Santa Monica beach where summer reigns supreme all year round. Summer, is my favourite time of year and after the winter that we had, we deserve a little sunshine and heat.  I’m going to check out everything that we all need to get ready for the season, from exercise to diet to hydration and beauty (and yes, that means waxing).  I’ll see what Dr. Oz has to say about all of these topics and more.  Happy June everyone!