Week 9 – Way to Smarten up Ottawa!

Correct me if I am wrong but I do believe that the majority of us look for ways to improve our overall physical and mental health, right? Be it in the form of altering our food intake, signing up to new activities or perhaps indulging in more natural products. To keep up with these health trends, various events take place every year in Ottawa. One of the most popular being the health expo presented by Kathy Smart.

Week #9 Challenge (April 18th to 24th): Visit the Live the Smart Way Expo.

Is this exposition actually worth the visit? YES, I can assure you it is. Depending on the time you have to allocate, you can quickly swift through the few kiosks that interest you most or, if you are like me, you can take a few hours to inform yourself of all the latest health products and services available right here in Ottawa. I left with a wealth of knowledge and felt very pleased having met many inspiring business owners, authors, trainers and much more.

What to expect?

  • Samples!! Lots and lots of samples…You get to try out a variety of new and popular food products and recipes. Many companies handout sealed products to take home as well.
  • Walking: you will be on your feet circulating through the kiosks and although you can find seating you will be standing for the majority of the time.
  • Discounts: on new health products and memberships.
  • Exposure: to a variety of fitness businesses in Ottawa and the most recent health trends.
  • Good time: speaking with the kiosk representatives was really fun. It’s a great way to expand your social network and to meet fantastic people.

To the ladies and gentlemen who enjoy cooking, this may be of interest to you: I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Michelle Vodrazka (see imagepicture to the left) a culinary nutrition expert/coach/personal trainer/yoga instructor who is the author of the Help Yourself to Seconds cookbook. I purchased her book which contains 120 recipes: free of dairy, gluten and refined sugars. Meat lovers rest assured although some recipes are vegan many contain eggs, fish and meat. I am planning on teaming up with a friend to attempt one of the book’s recipes in the next week and will share my thoughts on the book and the final product itself. Needless to say, I am excited!

While speaking with various businesses at the expo, I was offered the opportunity to try new training services which will be included in this blog in the following months. The businesses in question are:

  • EPIC Fitness: Kelsey, one of their enthusiastic personal trainers, explained that this Ottawa business focuses mainly on affordable but high quality personal training services. Looking forward to my one on one.
  • Functional Training Academy: Offers group training programs which imageincorporate exercises using the most innovative workout techniques and equipment for a full body workout. Apparently games are incorporated too for added fun. I am really curious to see what it’s all about…
  • Inner Soul Yoga & Cycle: Want to attend a spin class rocking to the latest music combined with yoga (aka Spoga)?? This is the place to go..
  • Fit Chicks Bootcamps: This one is for the ladies. These bootcamp programs are meant to support you with structured workouts, nutrition advice and overall wellbeing.
  • Orangetheory Fitness: Offers Interval training that will keep you energized during and after your workout. The workouts are developed to ensure your heartbeat remains at a certain level, the so called: orange zone.image

I don’t know about you, but I am intrigued by all of these training options and will make a point of trying them all! Never too late to start working on your beach body right?!

PS: I am working on a video which I will be adding to this blog shortly!

PPS: Don’t forget to follow my blog by selecting the “Follow” button 😉

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Week 8 – City girl or country girl, maybe both?

This week Spring is upon us in Ottawa! In honour of the shift in weather and seeing as how I work with a great group of people, a few of my colleagues decided to spend an evening wandering around the Elgin Street area for drinks and dinner.

Week #8 Challenge (April 11th to 17th) – Part 1: Fun Night on Elgin Street.

I am generally a planner which means I like to have a clear idea of what the schedule is. I bent the rules this time and I have to admit that I had no idea what I was in for. All I knew was that the night would involve drinks, food and a safe ride home. I didn’t have the intention to drink much but sometimes these things just, you know…happen?!

We started the night off at the The Manx Pub. Not quite sure why this location was selected initially, I just know that the person who chose this pub never showed up there which is ironic. It was a small underground place that had a relaxed vibe. With the help of the really nice waiter and one of my colleagues, my signature drink for the night was established. For the purpose of this blog I will call my drink: Grown-up Shirley T (yes I made this name up and yes I am referring to Shirley Temple). I really recommend it if you like a drink with a punch and a subtle taste:

  • 1 ounce of vodka;
  • club soda;
  • a hint of grenadine;
  • a minimum of one maraschino cherry.

We quickly moved from the Manx Pub, which was dark, to find a terrace because it was a beautiful Friday evening. Next stop was The Lieutenant’s Pump. It was not my first time there but I do like the tavern feel of the place. It was filled with people of all ages and the terrace was the place to be. We actually had to go on a waiting list to get to sit outside and although it was crowded and not very comfortable, the service was excellent and I absolutely recommend the pita and hummus appetizers, soooo good.

Not sure who is to blame but we somehow got to the tequila shots and well that lead to interesting conversations. It was getting late, almost 9pm I think and we all wanted to get a bite to eat. We really didn’t seem to know where to go and after walking around we found The Standard Tavern. A few good things to know about this location:

  • It’s a certified green business which is really impressive.
  • The crowd is young I must say, for the most part early twenties.
  • On Friday night, a DJ plays as of 10pm but no dance floor.
  • Six packs of shots are 23$ which I found pretty good.

We left shortly after dinner and got to bed feeling pretty exhausted, I may have to slow down on the shots next time.

Week #8 Challenge (April 11th to 17th) – Part 2: Visit the Proulx Farm during Maple Season.

The next morning, I was not feeling my best but I had an important date with my sister and nephew. We went to the Proulx Maple and Berry Farm to attend the Maple Syrup production tour. It was beautiful out and what a nice place. They have tons of great things for families: Maple product boutique, a restaurant, an animal farm, maple making tour and so on. My nephew was captivated by it all from the horse ride to the animals and most importantly the slide.

My sister tried it first with great success. She encouraged me to try it too. Ha ha well turns out I slide a little too well on that slide, as shown by the video. I left with dirty pants lol

Until next week xox

Week 7 – Light at the end of the ice!?

I have to prepare you, this blog post is slightly more insightful and personal compared to the others. Psychology is a topic that I am very passionate about, it would explain why I completed a BA in this field. Although I feel I have a certain ease with this topic, one element I will admit to struggling with is conducting introspection. I am not sure if many of you feel this way but sometimes it seems difficult to identify the source of certain of our behaviours and feelings. Last week, I faced a situation that left me with no choice but to understand “why” I was feeling a certain way and so I am sharing a glimpse of my reflection with you!

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Life is filled with surprises, some are wonderful and exciting while others can be quite devastating and heartbreaking. I love the idea of “Destiny” and strongly want to believe that we have a purpose in life but unfortunately my logical and practical mind tends to perceive this concept as simply irrational and unrealistic. I have a profound respect for those of you who do believe in this and try to learn from you regardless of my hesitation to believe. One thing I can understand and support is the following motto: “By being respectful and kind towards others, you will attract good people and this will inevitably lead to good things for yourself and all those around you“. It’s a principal that guides my gestures on a daily basis and I am pretty proud of that.

This week, however, I learned a very important lesson. In fact, it’s a lesson that I should have learned a VERY VERY long time ago. Nothing could have prepared me for what happened. I was faced with a reality, a truth that turned my world upside down. It was a form of betrayal I had NEVER experienced before and that pushed me to look for answers. What just happened? How did someone get away with treating me this way? How can I ensure this never happens to me again? This search lead me to a very simple fact. My initial motto has been missing a CRITICAL piece all along. Yes, it’s true that being nice to others is very important, but first and foremost you have to be kind and respectful towards yourself. This is exactly where I have gone wrong not just recently, but my entire life. I am not saying I am push-over in any means as, after all, I have learned to assert myself more and more through the years, but guilt and fear of hurting others is the core reason why we attract the abuse of others. This abuse can come in many forms physical/verbal/psychological and from anyone: family, friend, lover, colleague, stranger, etc. This is why setting boundaries is so important.

Acknowledging and communicating that your needs are just as important as everyone else’s is at the base of everything.

Call it an epiphany, or whatever you like, but this has really changed my perception on things. It really fuelled some kind of fire inside of me, and I know fully well that I will be surprising and upsetting people around me as I start to assert myself more. I now choose to be treated a certain way and will accept nothing less. It is empowering to know this and although most of us have the tendency, to a certain extent, to please others, the key is to remember that anyone who truly cares about you will respect and appreciate you for demanding respect. Any loss along the way is actually a gain in the long run, make sure to keep this mind. You are worth it!

In conclusion, last week was one of the most painful weeks of my life and yet I feel a certain amount of peace knowing I am finally listening to my needs. It is also why I am a bit late with posting my blog post…Ha ha I know excuses, excuses!

Now, let’s tend to business. Amongst the chaos of last week, I did receive a sweet gift. I have never been to a Sens game (terrible I know) and have been wanting to go for months. Well I was beyond surprised and grateful when a friend showed up with tickets to the last game of the season ! Yay… I got to wear my Sens hat.

Week #7 Challenge (April 4th to 10th) : Attend a Sens Hockey Game!

Watching the hockey game live was exciting and all the activities and shows surrounding the game itself were very entertaining. My favourite part being when the people dressed in Prime Minister Costumes to race on the ice. So ridiculous! Who came up with this, seriously?

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Since it was the last game of the season, it was considered the Sens Fans Appreciation game! So needless to say many prizes were handed out which was also pretty awesome. Another thing checked off my bucket list!

Week 6 – Bittersweet week!

Well, well, well… This week started off with a bang. I mean this quite literally too. I was sleeping peacefully when suddenly thunder struck and the impact shook my house! I was now awake and should have sensed this was a sign of worst to come. I just stayed there, in my bed, texting my sister (who is my neighbour) to see if she felt it too.. Clueless as to what was about to happen. What terrible event could take place on a such a rainy morning? Just wait and see!

First, let’s rewind to the previous evening’s conversation:

My sister: “Is, where is your car parked?”

Me: “In the driveway, it’s usual spot!”

My sister: “Aren’t you worried melting snow may fall on it agggaaaiin? Maybe you should move it!”

Me: “Ha ha…That’s true, I will move it later when I head back home!”

Now, fast forward to the morning! Crack, swoosh, silence and then POW!!! All I remember is thinking: “OMG! I did not move my car. Don’t tell me ice just fell on it.” I run to the window and voilà! There is my new car crushed by ice and the windshield is, to put it nicely, cracked in a million pieces! Fuuuddddggeeee…. OK, FINE! my choice of word might have been slightly different at the time. It will teach me not to follow my sister’s advice!

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Anyhow, now that I got this off my chest let’s get to business. This week I was a little uncomfortnable driving around in my rental car, it’s tiny and feels like it may fall apart, which is why I kept my traveling to a minimal. I researched a few events but none of the times seemed to work and so I decided to take my chances and make my way to Landsdowne to attend the weekly Farmers Market!!

Week # 6 Challenge (March 28 to April 3): Visit Ottawa’s Farmers Market!

Since it’s early spring, all the merchants are still located in Aberdeen Square. At this event, you can find all types of organic and/or local food products and merchandise. It ranged from meat, fresh produce and freshly baked goods to artisan soaps, yarn and wood carvings. I love supporting local businesses and so I purchased a few treats.

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Based on this picture, I imagine you can tell that I do love my carbs!! I have to admit I did not get all this for myself! I purchased the Maple Cotton Candy for my sister and the cheddar jalapeño bread for her boyfriend. I love surprising them with little things.. If you are like me, perhaps you could visit this market on an upcoming Sunday to buy something for someone you care for too!

That small jar contains maple sugar… I want to sprinkle this on everything! For movie enthusiasts, I think Buddy the elf would totally support this decision, right?