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Month: February 2015

Me, My Selfie, & I

Snap, post, snap, post, snap, post… Sounds like a marching band to me. One fully equipped with cameras and lighting to capture that perfect shot. At a time when online friends number in the hundreds or even thousands and digital thumbs-up are a source of pride, a time when people feel compelled to chronicle every moment of their life and then share it with the world, it’s hard to keep track of what’s really important. According to research done by the Heriot Watt University in the UK, this selfie phenomenon may actually be detrimental to real life relationships.

The selfie epidemic struck right on the heels of the rise of social media websites and messenger apps, first infecting the young and then moving on to adults. I’ll admit, Professionals who believe that selfies are a creative outlet used by developing teens as a way of becoming comfortable in their own skin do have a point, but there can be negative consequences as well. While there is nothing wrong with being proud of your own body, or showing that you are happy with your life, when we begin to rely on the validation we get from social media, selfies become more problematic. An added concern with selfie culture may be whether the ever-younger participants in this practice actually realize what sorts of messages they are conveying to the world through their often suggestive poses.

Along with iPhones, iPods, and iPads we now have ‘selfies’ in a world where more and more focus seems to be placed on the cult of the self instead of on collective goals. We need to shift that focus back. More self-satisfaction may be gained from performing a single selfless act, than from all the likes you’ve ever gotten on a selfie! Let’s try to point the camera the other way for a change, and snap a picture where the main focus isn’t me, myself, and I.



(Photo credit: www.hellogiggles.com)


Haute Nature

GEM would like to send out a big thank you to Stephanie De Gasperis, founder of HUSK, for providing our GEMgirls with a wonderful Valentine’s Day giveaway featuring natural beauty products and healthy treats for their special day. Continue reading to learn find about Stephanie’s take on entrepreneurship, natural beauty, and healthy living.

Based on the lessons you have learned and the challenges you faced, what do you think it takes to become a thriving entrepreneur?

It takes vision, positivity and faith as well as hard work in the form of attention, focus and being present.  I think as women we need to continue to pay attention to self care and balancing work with our home life as this will help keep the passion of your work alive and keep you energized.

Did you encounter any difficulties setting HUSK apart from other natural cosmetic boutiques? If so, what were they? 

I think it’s a fairly new and small industry. Since all-natural is a newer concept and people are more familiar with bigger brands available at pharmacies, I knew it would take some time to convince people that these products are not only a better alternative for our skin and overall health, but effective and truly beautifying.

What impact did your background in nutrition and fitness have on the creation of HUSK?

It showed me the importance of taking care of ourselves, each other and the planet. Learning about many of the man-made toxins that have made their way into our skin care products and our environment was quite eye opening.  When you realize your skin is your body’s largest organ and that everything you put on it has a good chance of making its way into your blood stream, it really makes you stop and think.  Many of these chemicals are new and scientists are just discovering their harmful effects, such as being carcinogenic (cancer-causing) or endocrine-disruptive (changing the way our hormones naturally work). However, when I saw the fabulous things that all-natural brands were capable of, I realized there was hope.

What methods and exercises do you practice regularly which help you create harmony between mind, body and spirit?

I think a more holistic and balanced approach to fitness is the most effective and sustainable tactic for long term well-being.  With work requiring much of my energy, I have found that constantly moving, making the right food choices and checking in with myself every day through meditation, are the most important things in keeping my mind and body in good shape.

Could you tell us more about your favourite green food with beautifying benefits and how you incorporate it into your daily eating habits?

I think almonds are truly beautifying for many reasons.  They are high in the top most beautifying nutrients – such as heart-healthy Omega-9 fatty acids (same that is found in high quantity in Olive Oil) and skin healing Vitamin E.  Because they are rich in healthy fats, they help keep us satisfied longer and provide a sustained source of energy.

In a world where our eyes remain glued to a technological device for the most part of a day, what is the importance of devoting quiet time solely to eating a meal without any distractions?

With so much constant stimulation around us via technology we quickly forget to be mindful and present.  When eating, it is especially important to remember to chew your food.  Remember that your stomach doesn’t have teeth and the more you can break food down in your mouth, the easier you can digest.  This has effects on your whole body.

What was one obstacle in your life which seemed most impossible to overcome and how did you tackle it?

One of the obstacles that I faced was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. I was the only female in the group and I had to make it up the difficult climb. On the second last day, when it seemed near impossible – getting through the hardest part where you want to give up or turn back – I saw the light at the top of the Summit.  The feeling was one of sheer joy, a sense of confidence and accomplishment.


Stephanie De Gasperis founded HUSK in the fall of 2013. As a fitness specialist and holistic nutritionist, she has always been inspired by her own quest for health and balance – and has now created the perfect way to share this knowledge with others. Stephanie is passionate about simplicity, tradition and the beauty in the Earth’s elements, and has brought her aesthetic vision to the HUSK shopping experience. Stephanie has travelled the world to source the cleanest, purest and most effective products for the skin and body. All the ingredients she uses support optimal wellness and positive transformation. Her support fro local producers is also very important, as you will find Toronto-based and Canadian brands throughout the HUSK store. Stephanie and her team have a mission to introduce the very best non-toxic and healthy self-care alternatives for women, men and children so they can lead cleaner, more vibrant lives.

On January 31, 2015 GEMgirls were invited to Roots Yoga Studio for a complimentary yoga session. Roots Yoga instructor Charlene Yeh guided GEMgirls through a gentle beginner yoga class, which included interactive partner exercises and guided meditiation. This moment to relax and unwind could not have been offered at a better time. The girls had just completed a stressful exam period and were getting ready to plunge into a new semester.

Yoga workshop 1

Our GEMgirls had an incredible time.

Here’s what they had to say …

“I’d never done yoga and had previously thought it was just stretching, but the instructor explained its not. It’s about understanding the way your body and mind moves”

“After doing yoga I felt relaxed, calm and happy. I walked away with so many different techniques and skills that could help me when I’m feeling stressed or unhappy”

yoga workshop 2

“I tried yoga for the first time at the Roots Yoga Studio last weekend and loved it! It was the perfect way to let loose and feel more comfortable in my own body.”

“My experience at Roots Yoga was uplifting. I enjoyed spending time with GEMgirls doing something new together”

Yoga Workshop 3

The GEM team would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Denyse Green of the Roots Yoga Studio for providing our girls with this opportunity.

Roots Yoga Studio is ecofriendly and offers a variety of classes seven days a week. The instructors are skilled in classical Hatha, Ashtanga/Vinyasa, Iyengar, Anusara, Kripalu, Keeds and Teen Yoga. Visit www.roots.com/yoga for more information. 

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to remind ourselves that love is so much more than romantic love. Love includes affection for friends, family, the community, and last but not least, ourselves.

That’s right ladies – don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Treating your body with respect and appreciation is the first step towards loving yourself. Show yourself love by eating well and staying active.  Be confident in your beliefs, values, and goals. Use kind words and be positive when describing yourself.

When we are gentle with ourselves, we are more relaxed and happy and more capable of loving those around us.

This Valentine’s Day while you spend quality time with those you care for, don’t forget to show yourself a little love too.