March 1st, 2017

LD Picks: 13 Tips for Growing Your Garden in Canada

Whether you’re a green thumb veteran or a novice with limited lawn space, we’ve assembled the following gardening tips to give you a head start for growing your ideal garden this Spring.

Gardening Tips for Beginners

If you’re just starting out this year and have a blank slate to work with, or you’re returning to your yard with new ideas, it’s your time to get creative. Before you begin, make sure you carefully plan and design for your space.

  1. Take a walk around to get a feel for the size, soil, light and any pre-existing plants. Tread lightly during your initial inspection — especially if your city had a recent rainfall or has just begun to defrost. Make notes of what you would like to keep or change, and map out a design plan of what you envision your garden to look like.
  1. Take inventory and replenish any tools you may be missing or that need updating. This may include a tractor for efficiency over large spaces, pruning shears, a shovel or rake, pots, gloves, hoses or a bin for your compost.
  1. Know your cool-weather crops and mix up perennials and annuals to make sure your garden will last year-round. Be diverse: mix up seeds and starter plants for the same reason (and to shorten waiting times), and look for edible plants that you enjoy eating.
  1. Check out more tips and how-tos to get started.

Cold Climate Gardening


In Canada, the growing season varies across regions. It’s important to know your 
frost dates before you begin planting — especially for crops that need longer seasons. However, if you want to get a head start and the weather outside is still chilly, don’t worry. There are many guides for cold climate gardening in Canada, with lists of which fruits, vegetables and flowers you can start planting in your region, even before Spring arrives.

  1. To guard your outdoor plants against freezing during the coldest winter months, consider investing in a greenhouse, using raised beds or employing old comforters to insulate containers. You can also plant a winter garden in late summer or early autumn with dormant plants that will have time to take root.
  1. Pick which plants best suit your climate. Winter-happy herbs include: chives, parsley, thyme and mint. Some vegetable possibilities are: asparagus, green onions, garlic and rhubarb. Lavender, figs, strawberries and sage are hardy perennial and biennial options to last the whole year, as well as are some domesticated wildflowers. Find a more extensive list of available options here.

Winter Lawn Care

To achieve the garden of your dreams, first make sure your lawn is in top shape. After a rough season, it may seem disheartening when you’re left with the aftermath of a storm. But taking the time for some upkeep is essential in maintaining a beautiful (and fruitful) yard.

  1. If your lawn is recovering after a cold snap, grab a recyclable lawn bag and collect any debris. If the ground is firm and there is some thaw, rake up dead leaves (this contributes to snow mold) — and be careful of disturbing any growth. Check for winter damage and make repairs to supporting structures or fences as needed. In the future, ensure there is minimal walking or driving over the lawn, since this can cause bare spots.
  1. Learn first aid for your lawn. This includes everything from year-round maintenance like weeding, treating any insect infestations and other plant diseases.
  1. Replace mower blades and shears the instant they become dull. Look for any bends or cracks ahead of time. As the weather changes, take the time to adjust the cutting height of the blades to slightly higher than usual to allow for growth over the winter.
  2. Spot-treat any areas the dog may have soiled, or where weeds have come up. Learning just a few lawn care tricks can make all the difference. Know how to prepare for next winter to avoid any difficulties you may have found.

Indoor Gardening

Not everyone has access to a community garden or backyard — but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow plants indoors or on your balcony.

  1. Container gardening has become increasingly popular for those who live in smaller spaces or are brand-new to growing their own flowers and vegetables. And for good reason: container gardening is a great way to bring greenery and joy into your home with minimal stress and mess. Follow these steps to cover the basics, which include: knowing how to pick pots and containers; sterilization; fertilization; rotating and watering; and choosing the best potting mix.
  1. Start an indoor vegetable garden. Ideally, your plants will have ample access to sunlight — six to eight hours on average — to promote growth. If this isn’t possible, you may want to invest in supplemental light fixtures. Make sure you also determine what kinds of veggies you want to grow. Some require a cooler climate, while others grow faster at higher temperatures (so adjust the thermostat accordingly). Keep your pots lightweight in case you have to move them around to achieve the perfect climate.
  1. Not looking for a big project, but love the idea of growing your own food in the house? Indoor herb gardens are a beginner staple for the kitchen. Not only are herbs incredibly useful when cooking (and more affordable to grow than purchase), but their fragrance creates a fresh reminder of Spring and don’t take up much space. Consider ginger root, oregano and cilantro. Basil is also a popular option as it grows quickly and can be revived fairly easily. Like with all your plants — indoor and outside — make sure you watch the amount of sunlight and water each one requires, nurture their environment and tend to them carefully.

 



February 24th, 2017

LD Picks: 12 Best Ever Homemade Soup Recipes

Snowstorms and endlessly rainy winter days call for wool socks and warm, hearty meals. We say embrace it all — and indulge in these satisfying and comforting soup recipes.

1. Canadian Style French Onion Soup

Sweetened with maple syrup, this update on a savoury classic will inspire soup lovers everywhere. Get the recipe from Simple Bites.

2. Goulash Soup

This tangy, meaty dish is filled with rich flavours and only takes 30 minutes to prepare. Get the recipe from Eat Live Travel Write.

3. Tomato Tortellini Soup with Kale

A healthy take on a pasta dinner, this tasty tomato soup is guaranteed to warm you up. Get the recipe from Living Lou.

4. Sweet Corn Soup

Reminisce about the summer months with these two creamy and customizable corn soup recipes that will brighten up your day. Get the recipe from 80 Twenty.

5. Roasted Garlic and Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot and ginger soup is ideal for spicing up the winter blues and soothing the sniffles during a cold snap. Get the recipe from Spice and Sprout.

6. Mulligatawny Soup

This fun-to-say soup may have been a comfort food growing up, and is creamy and decadent enough to satisfy you all day. Get the recipe from Crumb.

7. Beet Borscht

Make a big batch of this cozy soup to last you through a snowed-in weekend. Easily freeze any leftovers for a quick meal. Get the recipe from Canadian Living.

8. French-Canadian Vegetarian Pea Soup

Celebrate the Manitoban Festival du Voyageur with this vegetarian ode to French-Canadian heritage. Get the recipe from the Fig Tree Blog.

9. Homemade Vegetable Stock

Whether it’s used as an all-natural vegan base to any soup recipe or on its own, put your veggie scraps to use and make your own stock. Get the recipe from The Kitchn.

10. Chorizo and Lentil Soup

Add spice to your soup this season with the heat of chorizo sausage mixed with the heartiness of lentils. Get the recipe from Seven Spoons.

11. Chanterelle Mushroom Chowder

If you’re a lover of mushroom soup, look no further. This luxurious and creamy chowder will make it difficult to share. Get the recipe from Dinner with Julie.

12. Vegan Broccoli and Cheese Soup

A long-standing favourite for many, now vegans can also enjoy a bowl of creamy broccoli soup. Get the recipe from Oh She Glows.



February 22nd, 2017

The Basics Every Aspiring Yogi Should Know

Are you an aspiring yogi? Or perhaps you’re just interested in learning a little more about this ancient practice that’s become widely popular. Either way, with World Yoga Day on February 22nd, there’s no better time to learn the basics — and we can start you off right with this quick overview of styles, benefits and supplies.

Some Common Yoga Styles

Ashtanga

An active and athletic form of yoga. Its literal translation from Sanskrit means “eight-limbed yoga,” but you don’t have to be a giant spider monster to enjoy it. This style is often associated with vinyasa or power flow classes.

Great when: you feel energized, want to move your body, and challenge your mind.

Hatha

Almost every kind of yoga taught in North America is some form of hatha yoga. It’s an all-encompassing word for any physical yoga practice, but in the form of a class is usually something that is a gentle, basic approach to yoga and the yogic breathing exercises, often with no ‘flow’ (or linked movements) between poses.

Great when: you’re a beginner, or you’re looking to strengthen your foundational knowledge of yoga and the poses.

Yin

A quiet, meditative, and gentle form of yoga. This practice is generally close to the ground, might involves blankets and pillows (yes, really), and can be held in a heated room. Each pose can be held for up to two minutes, so it’s a great patience practice as well.

Great when: you’ve got some seriously sore muscles that need some love and attention, and/or you’re looking for a thoughtful and restorative practice.

Hot

A term often used interchangeably with Bikram yoga, although there are many forms of hot yoga today including Moksha and Baptiste). This is quite literally, yoga done in a hot (and we mean hot—up to 105°F or 40°C) room, so prepare to sweat buckets and bring a towel.

Great when: you’re ready to get hot and sweaty with your yoga practice.

Some Health Benefits of Yoga:

Improved Strength & Flexibility: You might not be able to touch your toes or hold a plank position on day one, but with patience and consistency you will be able to gradually tone and loosen up tight muscles.

Stress Release & Mental Clarity: Because yoga is so focused on connecting movement with breath, yoga has been linked to relieving chronic stress patterns and relaxing the mind.

Better Sleep: Regular yoga practice has been linked to a more restful sleep in people with insomnia.

Mindful Eating: Research has also linked the meditative qualities of yoga to help strengthen the mind-body connection and increase the physical and emotional sensations of eating.

Lessened Chronic Pain: A regular yoga practice has been shown to have some pain-relieving effects on the brain.

5 Terms Every Yogi Should Know

Before you saunter on into a yoga studio, brush up on a few of the basic Sanskrit words you’ll hear in most yoga classes:

Asana: Used interchangeably with the word ‘pose.’ Each yoga pose is a different asana. For example, Uttanasana is a standing forward fold.

Namaste: It means something similar to ‘the divine light in me honours the divine light in you.’ It’s a way of feeling and sharing that divine yoga love.

Om: A meditative sound, pronounced ‘ohm’ and while the true meaning has been lost to the mists of time, it’s connected to universal energy.

Shanti: Its literal translation means ‘peace.’ Often used as a mantra (for example: ‘om shanti, shanti, shanti’) as an invocation of peace.

Yoga: Union. Because yoga is all about that mind-body connection.

Helpful Yogi Supplies

Ready to sign up for your first class? You can also try an at-home practice before stepping into the studio. Here are some tools to help you get started:

  1. Yoga Mat: There are lots of different kinds with varying thicknesses and lengths. Find one that works for you!
  2. Mat Towel: Great for slippery hands, and even better for hot yoga classes to prevent your mat from turning into a Slip N’ Slide.
  3. Mat spray: Especially if you’re taking a more athletic practice like ashtanga, mat spray can help keep your mat squeaky clean.
  4. Yoga blocks: These are a smart choice if you’re wanting to build your flexibility and need a little extra stability.
  5. Yoga DVD: If you’re not quite ready to practice around others, or splurge on a studio membership, creating an at-home practice could be just the thing.

With these tools, you’ll be able to confidently start building your own practice, and have a mindful 2017. Namaste!



February 21st, 2017

Help End Bullying With Pink Shirt Day 2017

Please join us in standing up against bullying. We’ve partnered with the CKNW Orphan’s Fund for Pink Shirt Day as the exclusive retailer of the official shirts, with net proceed going to support local Boys and Girls Clubs across BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

On February 22, 2017, we invite you to join us in wearing pink proudly! Pick up your t-shirt at your local London Drugs store to show your support for this worthy cause.

A simple act of kindness can have an effect on bullying in seconds. It can make a world of difference.

Pink Shirt Day co-founder Travis Price recently shared his personal story with a Kelowna school of how standing up to bullying inspired an international movement. Back in 2007, Price stood up for a student when they were picked on for wearing a pink shirt – and he is now leading the charge across Canada in creating awareness about bullying and how to stop it.

“When we make the right choice and we stand up against it (bullying), that is when we make a difference in our communities and our schools and that’s when bullying will start to go away,” said Price.

Bullied in elementary school, Price knows the struggle kids are going through when it comes to bullying.

“I believe we are on a path for a better tomorrow and that is what we have to continue to do.”

Several Canadian bloggers have spoken out about Pink Shirt Day and the impact it has had on their lives.

“The thing about bullying is it can be stopped with one thing: education. People are cruel over things they don’t understand, and we all need to help put an emphasis on kindness education,” said Bree from the Urban Umbrella.

On February 22, 2017, let’s all join together to put an end to bullying.

Buy your pink shirt from London Drugs or online at www.pinkshirtday.ca. Proceeds go towards anti-bullying initiatives across B.C., including Red Cross’s highly successful Beyond the Hurt program where youth are trained to teach other youth.



February 20th, 2017

Quick Fitbit Tips to Unlock More From Your Wearable Tech

Your wearable tech is only as good as how you use it… or so the saying goes. With so many different FitBit models (Alta, Flex, Charge, Blaze, Surge, Zip and One) and options for activity trackers, it can be difficult to know if you’re getting the most out of the electronic gadget around your wrist. The best part? There is so much more to your wearable tech than keeping track of 10,000 steps (although it’s a great goal to start with).

At London Drugs, we are here to help you maximize the benefits with a few tips to get you off and running (or stepping) into a healthy 2017.

Better Together

It’s a proven fact that fitness is more fun, and effective, when you have a workout buddy. One of the best things about wearable tech is the ability to compare your stats and activity with other users. Start a challenge with friends or family by tapping the Challenges tab at the bottom of your app screen. See who can walk the most steps in a day, or who can commit to 5 days straight of getting sweaty. The loser buys the next fun workout class for you both (belly dancing, anyone?), and everyone wins at sticking to their 2017 goals. Check out Fitbit’s user-friendly guide here on how to share your exercises.

Know Your Options

While the Fitbit app has a plethora of useful features like tracking your daily goals for steps, distance, calories burned and monitoring your sleep patterns to name a few – it is not your only app option. There are many other health and fitness apps to give you a more detailed look into your daily habits, and even apps to help you with the ones you’re looking to break. Their products are currently compatible with more than 30 other apps including Strava and MyFitnessPal. Read over their general setup guide on how to connect to these apps here.

You Are What You Eat

If one of your 2017 goals is to slim down, or even just to improve the quality of the food you eat, studies have shown that one of the best ways to do this is by keeping a consistent food diary. Tap on the “+” at the bottom of the screen on the Fitbit app and select the metric you want to manually log (food, exercise, weight, sleep or water). The Fitbit app takes this data and combines it with your activity to give you accurate information on how many calories you have actually burned in a day. The power of science is right at your fingertips, or rather right on your wrist.

Hit Your Stride

People come in all shapes and sizes and so do their strides. When so much of the data you’re collecting is dependent on the number of steps you take, it’s important to make sure that your Fitbit has the correct lengths for walking and running. The easiest way to do this is to measure a distance and count your steps as you walk it. One “step” is each time you plant your front foot. Then divide the length walked by number of steps, and then you have your stride length. Do it again while running to see the difference. To add these to your profile, log into Fitbit’s website and scroll down to Settings > Personal Info and you will find the two lengths under Body Options.

Don’t have a FitBit yet? If these tips intrigued you, London Drugs has various models to fit your lifestyle needs. Visit us online or in-store for more information.



February 20th, 2017

LD Experts: Gadgets to Help You with Tax Season

Our LD Experts are always informed about the latest technology and electronics that can make your life easier. Whether you’re tech-savvy or not, they are — and we’ve got you covered.

On CTV Morning Live Saskatoon, LD Expert Kyle Toms talked about tax season (coming up quickly!) and all the items you’ll need to prepare your taxes this year. Doing one’s taxes may have once seemed like a low-tech task, but Kyle tells us how these tools and helpers can make the entire process more convenient.

Watch the full segment here or read the highlights below.


Whether you work in e-files, hire an accountant or do it all yourself, London Drugs has a software option for you. TurboTax is one such option, offering several editions specific to your situation: independent, small business, multiple returns, and more. There’s even an online version if you’re a Mac user.

You can always ask an LD Expert to help you choose the right version for you.

 

Receipts, invoices and so much paper can cause any office space to become cluttered. Organize everything with a scanner like NeatDesk or a Canon to make tax season much more bearable. After digitizing your files, keep them safe on an external hard drive like Seagate.

Remember: save your records for at least seven years!

You can find more tax gadgets to make this season a breeze in-store or online. Make sure to stop by your neighbourhood London Drugs and talk to an LD Expert for the tech advice you need. 



February 18th, 2017

Five Fresh Reads For Spring 2017

Every spring, we strive to clean our homes, smell the blossoms, and plant a few seeds, both the literal and figurative kind. After a long cold winter, we all just want to feel renewed and reenergized, don’t we? At London Drugs, we aim to help with a selection of books filled with original perspectives and fresh starts.

So pack up your parka, swap your heavy boots for light ones (there’s still snow during a Canadian spring, after all), and check out these fresh reads for spring 2017.

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

The author, Peter Wohlleben, is a former German forest ranger and naturalist, and a great writer. He combines engaging storytelling with detailed research to introduce and explain an ecological world we mostly ignore – the vast and intricate community of trees. Did you know they raise, assist, and protect their young? Or that they, themselves, depend on a “wood wide web” of fungi for survival?

You’ll learn more than you imagined possible about our leafy, green friends with this book. What better time than spring to learn exactly how trees survived the winter?

Prepare to never look at trees quite the same way again.

You’ll Grow Out of It by Jesse Klein

This book unleashes the incredible talents of self-proclaimed “geek” comedian Jessi Klein on the awkwardness of finding your place and voice during your tweens, teens, and twenties. The result is raw, unflinchingly self-deprecating, and completely relatable. This book definitely contains adult content, though. So maybe save it for the high schoolers and above in your life.

You’ll follow Jessi’s sometimes difficult, but always hilarious transformation from tomboy to “tom man.” Springtime is, after all, the season of growth.

Jessi also writes on Inside Amy Schumer. Love the show? This book’s for you!

Zayn by Zayn Malik

Even casual Top-40 fans probably remember hearing in March 2015 that Zayn Malik had left teen idol mega band One Direction. Fans know he speaks three languages and was raised, along with two sisters, in blue collar, rural England, the son of a Pakistani immigrant father and part-Irish mother who converted to Islam. So saying Zayn’s life wasn’t always full of the trappings of celebrity is an understatement.

Dubbed “the quiet one” for his reluctance in 1D interviews, Zayn finally opens up here and entirely in his own words. Next, he plans to pursue a degree in English Literature.

Zayn’s capacity for reinvention is truly inspirational.

The Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

Melton first became famous in 2009 with her hilarious, tell-all blog Momastery. This was followed by a best-selling book in 2013. Then, when things seemed almost too perfect, her marriage disintegrated after her husband confessed infidelity. But Love Warrior is about finding true understanding and, ultimately, getting back on your feet. In Melton’s signature style, it’s also a very enjoyable read.

Known as a Christian blogger, Melton shocked many in November by revealing she was in a relationship with US female soccer star Abby Wombach. Talk about new beginnings.

This book fearlessly probes the human psyche. Be ready to go deep.

Two By Two Nicholas Sparks

If you enjoy Nicholas Sparks’ very romantic books, you’ll probably love this one, too. Even if you don’t, consider giving it a chance. Instead of a will-they-or-won’t-they between a man and woman, this book revolves around a father and his six-year-old daughter, London. The dad is Russ Green, a former ad executive who finds himself on a journey more challenging and rewarding than he ever predicted.

Marriage trouble, financial struggle, and the value of family ties mark fairly refreshing subject matter for Sparks, showing new flowers can bud in any field.

It may be a tough read for some, but a few tissues should help get you through.

 



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