Psoriasis, And What You Need To #KnowPsO

I recently attended a blogger/media event on Psoriasis, hosted by AbbVie. As a blogger, I get invited to various and varied events throughout the year, and this event, called #KnowPsO, was extremely informative.

First, I should say that I am not a medical expert, so these comments are from the material we received and what I observed. Second, this event is still on my mind. It opened up how I’m thinking about my health and how important it is to listen to and treat your body.

I didn’t know much about psoriasis prior to the event because I don’t have it as far as I know, but I have heard of people living with it.

We had Dr Melinda Gooderham, a dermatologist at The Skin Laser Clinic , talk to us about the impact of proriasis on those suffering from the disease. She spoke about someone who didn’t want to go on a beach vacation because of it. She spoke about how psoriasis can show up in different forms in your body. And, she spoke about treatments that are available and the importance of speaking with your doctor.

The biggest takeaway for me was the link between psoriasis and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, depression, anxiety, and psoriatic arthritis. The link is because psoriasis is an auto-immune disease, which can result in these various diseases. In other words, don’t ignore psoriasis. There are treatments, and the sooner you see your doctor the better.

#KnowPsO Event hosted by AbbVie
#KnowPsO Event hosted by AbbVie

Psoriasis is a skin condition where the skin cells turn over in 5 days (versus the average of 30 days) resulting in red, patchy, itchy, painful skin. These patches can be small or they can cover your torso. They can be on your scalp, face, hands, nails, feet, etc.

Psoriasis is a chronic condition and it can strike at any time. It’s genetic, so you can’t catch it; you have to have a predisposition to it. It may show up at a younger age, or when you’re in your 50s-70s! It’s triggered by a number of things, including a viral or bacterial infection or a needle poking your skin (like a tattoo).

In case you’re wondering, the difference between eczema and psoriasis is that you can draw a continuous line around the patch of psoriasis on your skin. For eczema, you cannot. Eczema is also always itchy and may wake you up at night, whereas psoriasis does not always do that.

In Canada, about 1 million people are affected and that number is 125 million around the world. Psoriasis can flare up and go into remission, but for many it doesn’t. You can start by applying a thick cream to the area for a couple of weeks to see if you can get it under control. If not, you should see your doctor.

One of the newer treatment options available is a drug called Skyrizi, which inhibits IL-23 (responsible for activating psoriasis). You should see your doctor even if the patch goes away, so you can be tested for related diseases that I mentioned above.

For more information, you can check out these sources:

Canadian Psoriasis Network
Canadian Skin Patient Alliance
Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients

Please let me know if you found this blog post helpful to you or someone in your family.

#KnowPsO Media/Blogger Event
#KnowPsO Media/Blogger Event
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7 Of My Favorite Christmas Cookies – With Links To Recipes!

Christmas Cookies
Christmas Cookies

I love to bake for Christmas! It’s that time of year when I spend a few days in a row baking my holiday goodies. There are some recipes that are always on the list, but each year I add a couple of new ones. With Christmas one week away, I thought I’d share the cookies I made this year, with tips and links to the recipes. Recipes are listed, clockwise, starting with the gingerbread men. Continue reading

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My 2019 Gift Guide and Gift Ideas!

Christmas Decor
Christmas Decor

(Some items shown, from Shoppers Drug Mart and Kitchen Stuff Plus, have been provided to me. All opinions, as always, are my own.)

With a week until Christmas and Hanukkah, here are my 2019 Gift Guide and Ideas. I tried to keep it simple, economical, and include something for everyone on your list – and, I’ve included a few experiences. The guide is not in any particular order or for any particular age, rather it’s meant to inspire you through a bunch of suggested categories for you to consider! Don’t forget to check out my post from last year where I talked about my best holiday shopping tips, here.

Here’s my 2019 Gift Guide:

Gift Guide: On Boards by Lisa Dawn Bolton
Gift Guide: On Boards by Lisa Dawn Bolton

Books Plus A Gift
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Christmas Garland At The Bottom Of The Staircase!

Christmas banister
Christmas banister

This year, I put Christmas garland at the bottom of the staircase and I love how it turned out! As a blogger, I’m on social media quite a bit (okay, a lot), and I was inspired by a friend’s banister.

In the past, I’ve decorated the top of the banister, along the handrail, but it’s prickly. It’s also a bit of a hazard for someone who can be clumsy because it’s hard to hold onto the railing properly. So, I switched things up and decorated the banister at the edge of the treads.

Christmas banister
Christmas banister

Here’s what you need, how to put it all together, and a few tips and tricks.

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 3 Easy Christmas Treats To Make With The Kids

 

3 Easy Christmas Desserts
3 Easy Christmas Desserts

(This post is sponsored by Kitchen Stuff Plus. As always, all opinions are my own.)

It’s the holiday season, which means lots of festive decorations, tableware, and food! Adults and kids love the special desserts that come with Christmas, and it’s even more fun when they’re simple to make and decorate. The important part is being together, so here are three easy-to-make suggestions for home or school: gifts made with brownie squares, puffed rice cereal wreaths, and a tree made out of cupcakes. You can make the base of the treats in advance and save the decorating for the kids. The best part is that it’s all edible!

Brownie Gifts

Brownie Gifts
Brownie Gifts

For these palm-sized brownie gifts, you will need: a brownie pan, packaged brownie mix and icing, mini candy canes, and holiday sprinkles of your choice.

To make these brownie gifts into perfect squares, use a tray like this one, from Kitchen Stuff Plus. This brownie pan is perfect because many people like the edge pieces and, with this pan, everyone gets one! I like the stability and the clean edges of these perfect squares. Continue reading

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A Simple, Elegant, And Affordable Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving Table Centerpiece
Thanksgiving Table Centerpiece

Thanksgiving is a special time of year for celebrating family and friends, and setting the table should be something fun, easy, and seasonal. In the past I hadn’t really spent much time on the centerpiece or place settings for my Thanksgiving table, but this year, I did.

In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October, making it the perfect time for college students to come back home after spending six weeks away. We love having our oldest come home to enjoy some warm weather, family time, and great food.

This year, I challenged myself to creating a simple yet elegant Thanksgiving table. We host Thanksgiving, so I had a lot of items on hand already. I added a few dollar store finds and re-purposed some tableware and I was all set.

My daughter and I also printed out some questions (that we got online) about being grateful so that each person could ask one of the group, after first providing their own answer. For example, one question is ‘If you could learn a new skill this coming year, what would it be?’  and another one is ‘What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned this year?’.  Asking these questions turned out to be my husband’s favorite part of the meal (other than the food, of course) and we all enjoyed learning more about each other. Continue reading

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Fattoush Salad – A Favorite In Our House!

Fattoush Salad
Fattoush Salad

Fattoush Salad, a popular salad in the Middle East, is one of the tastiest and most requested salads in our house! As my kids have gotten older, their tastebuds have evolved and cooking for them is a pleasure.

Fattoush is an easy salad that is forgiving in both the quantity and variety of ingredients. If you went to ten people’s homes, you’d find ten versions of this salad! There are so many ways to make fattoush. People refer to it as a peasant salad in that people used whatever leftover vegetables they had on hand to make this dish. I’ve even seen it made using only purslane, tomatoes, and cucumbers, which is very different from the recipe I’m sharing below.

With Ramadan entering its second week, this salad is a staple found at many Iftar meals. Iftar is the evening meal that breaks the fast for Muslims around the world. I thought it would be a good time to share the recipe my mom has taught me for making fattoush.

Fattoush Salad
Fattoush Salad

There are a few things that distinguish the typical fattoush salad from a green salad. The simple green salad has lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Fattoush adds onions, sumac, green peppers, mint, parsley, pita chips, and a dressing of oil and lemon with the option of adding pomegranate molasses. My mom doesn’t use pomegranate molasses, but many restaurants use it for a tangy taste. Continue reading

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‘Go Swimming’: A Mural In The Heart Of Toronto’s Forest Hill Village

'Go Swimming' Mural By James C Jennings In Toronto's Forest Hill Village
‘Go Swimming’ Mural By James C Jennings In Toronto’s Forest Hill Village

(A version of this post first appeared in the August 2017 issue of The Neighbours Of Forest Hill Magazine.)

Have you ever walked or driven by street art and wondered how it all came to be? Well, in Toronto, we’re lucky to be surrounded by lots of intentional, thoughtful street art – and each installation comes with a story.

The Forest Hill Village is the home to ‘Go Swimming’, a 6 by 40 foot black and white mural behind the building at the southwest corner of Montclair and Spadina in Toronto.

James C. Jennings Next To His 'Go Swimming' Mural In Toronto's Forest Hill Village
James C. Jennings Next To His ‘Go Swimming’ Mural In Toronto’s Forest Hill Village

The self-taught artist, James C. Jennings, and his friend were in the Village last fall, admiring the building. The owner, Lorne Rose, overheard them and the they soon began discussing how to turn the blank garage wall into a piece of art for neighbours and passersby to enjoy. The request was simple: a positive, whimsical, cartoonish piece that would make people stop, engage, and smile. And, it does just that!

Ultimately, this mural represents three things: community art, created with humour and meaning, about the world we live in today.

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The Gift Of Being Around Other Mothers

(This article was first published in Issue 04 of Flourish Motherhood, a quarterly and motherly publication sowing seeds of love and faith.)

When I was blessed to become a mother, it didn’t take long to appreciate the built-in community that comes with motherhood.

The first place I met other mothers was at my local library where our public health nurse taught us how to care for our newborns and where I heard how other mothers were coping. These mothers made me feel normal and not alone.

Then, when I took my toddlers to parent-child programs and eventually nursery school, I met more mothers and formed friendships. Grade school, high school, camp, our local playground, and athletic events – all of these places provided me with classmates in motherhood. Continue reading

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How To Assemble A Stunning Cookie Box !

New Year's Cookie Box
New Year’s Cookie Box

As much as I love to bake, I also love the creative process of packaging said baked goods — and, nothing does it better than a cookie box!

Cookie boxes have been around for a long time, including old-fashioned tin boxes, cardboard bakery boxes, holiday-themed boxes, and basically any container you can get your hands on.

But, have you ever assembled a cookie box that contains separate compartments for cookies and other treats? They’re so easy and fun to put together, and the presentation can be quite spectacular. You just have to check Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration!

New Year's Eve Cookie Box
New Year’s Eve Cookie Box

Here are my tips for assembling a stunning cookie box:

  • have a theme. It’s so much easier to know how to compartmentalize and what to include when you start with a theme
  • keep a large shoe box or other large shipping box on hand for special occasions. You can even use in-season packaging, like a wooden clementine crate, or an old cookie tin to which you add compartments or smaller boxes
  • wrap a plain box with kraft or wrapping paper. You can also paint a wooden box, or use a deep dish baking pan. If the plain box is sturdy and elegant, like the one I used here, then there’s no need to adorn it
  • collect smaller boxes and containers from around the house, such as: cardboard jewelry boxes, tins, jars, old drinking glasses, bowls, etc
  • choose boxes that are different shapes and sizes
  • use tissue paper to add color and height to the box and treats
  • wrap cookies in bakar’s string or place in clear cello bags
  • use a combination of store-bought and homemade goodies, as well as in-season fruits
  • if you’re transporting or shipping the box, make sure you have a lid or safe way to cover the cookies
  • wrap with twine for a rustic look, or use ribbons

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