All posts by Heather Balch

Learn to Resolve Conflict Through Communcation

We have all experienced conflict both in work environments and at home. Rather than dealing with these conflicts, we usually let them overpower us and hurt our connections. Have you ever thought that there were things you could do to make yourself a better person to communicate with?

By being open to change and resolving conflict, you can change your attitude and succeed in many aspects of your life. Continue reading Learn to Resolve Conflict Through Communcation

Hollyhock featured on OurCortes.com

By Lilith Klassen via ourcortes.com

“Hollyhock exists to inspire, nourish and support people who are making the world better.”

Once the abandoned site of an institute for Gestalt Therapy with a lone caretaker living on the overgrown lands, Hollyhock has grown into a world renowned centre for deeper connection to the planet and one’s self.  For 33 years, Hollyhock has been opening hearts, changing minds and transforming lives amidst the ‘take your breath away’ natural beauty of Cortes Island. Whether nurturing the soul or the body, walking among the gardens or learning how to gather abundance from nature, you will leave this place transformed. Continue reading Hollyhock featured on OurCortes.com

Tips for a Sustainable Holiday Gathering

By Heather Balch

1) Buy local. Support local companies by purchasing local food, wine, and beer. Not only are you supporting your local community but local food usually has a smaller environmental impact.

2) Use ingredients that are in-season. If you are planning on cooking for your party, make sure to use ingredients that are in-season. They will be fresher, easier to get, and they are better for the environment.

3) Use Mother Nature to decorate. Collect sticks at your local park to put in vases or paint and use them as center pieces. You can also use pinecones, acorns, leaves and potted plants as beautiful decorations.

4) Reduce waste. Send out electronic invites instead of paper ones. Use reusable cloth napkins to reduce the amount of waste your party creates. Properly dispose of the waste your party does create by composting the food and recycling beverage containers.

5) Encourage Secret Santa. Instead of buying presents for everyone on your list, encourage your party to participate in Secret Santa and limit individuals to only bring one gift each.

6) Make a donation. Ask your guests to make a donation instead of purchasing a hostess gift or let them choose a charity they’d like you to make a donation to instead of offering party favours.

And be in the moment. Enjoy each and every moment of the holidays with your loved ones; be grateful for all you have; and cultivate generosity.

Happy Holidays!

 

Invisible Helmet

By Heather Balch

Bike helmets are known for being unattractive, bulky, and constantly ruining your hairstyle; however they do help save bicyclist lives, including mine. In the last two years, there has been an innovative helmet creating a lot of buzz. The helmet was designed by two Swedish industrial designers and is marketed as an invisible helmet or ‘airbag for cyclists’. The Hövding, as it is called, is designed as a fashionable bulky scarf that blends in with your outfit.

The invisible helmet works similarly to the airbags you would find in a car. It has a protective function that kicks in the moment a blunt force occurs to the cyclist. As soon as the cyclist looses stability and beings to fall over, the helmet recognizes this and ejects airbags; these airbags instantaneously surround the head and the sides of the face before the cyclist hits the ground.

The invisible helmet has gone through many tests to ensure its safety. It is CE labeled, which means it complies with the EU safety standards. It also had some of the highest safety rating when tested by a Swedish insurance company. 

Although the invisible helmet is a great and innovative invention, it does have a few draw backs. The airbags can only be deployed once, so the helmet is only good for one use after a crash. This can be a large downside, especially when we look at its high price tag (currently $500+).  

Some also argue that the helmet is making cycling seem more dangerous than it is, while others say this encourages safety among cyclist in many countries where wearing a helmet isn’t mandatory.  

There are also a few limitations to who can use these, individuals must be over 15 and certain hairstyles, like dreadlocks, Mohawks, and afros, are not recommended.  

All in all I think this is a great invention that ultimately makes biking more accessible to everyone. Those who can’t stand wearing a helmet, but who think biking in the city is too dangerous without one, now have this as an option (although not in Canada yet).

And you, what do you think of invisible helmets?