Week 22 – Cheating for all the right reasons..

Love is a wonderful thing! It’s hard to describe exactly how it feels when you are in love but it’s something the majority of humans, if not all humans, seek! Many factors will contribute to you falling in love but one thing I know is that when chocolate is involved, love is almost inevitable…

Where is she going with this, you ask? Well you see, for a few weeks now I have been realigning my lifestyle! I have been guided by an amazing nutritionist, shoutout to Michelle Vodrazka, and following a new workout and meal plan to reach my goals! In some ways, it represents a significant lifestyle change but it’s easy to embrace when you see results! Now, once a week I am granted a cheat meal and this week I certainly took advantage! Yes, I cheated and it was worth it… My self-control went down the drain and I indulged in a luscious treat until it was all gone! You just can’t fight this type of love!

Week # 22 Challenge: Try an ice cream treat at Chocolats Favoris!

Chocolats Favoris is a chocolate shop that recently opened in Orleans and appears to be a hot spot this summer! Everytime I drive by, countless people surround the shop’s entrance and terrace! I kept thinking: “One day I will try it!” and well that day happened to be last week.

Being a big sister, it seems only natural to want to share this type of treat with my little sister and her boyfriend. Once I had taken the orders, on my way to Chocolats Favoris I went! As I arrive, I see it: “Oh man, why is there such a long line!” It starts outside the building but I decide to wait it out. The line moved pretty quickly and next thing you know you are inside! There you see all the beautiful chocolate displays. They sell chocolate for all occasions: fondues, baking, gift sets, etc. Most people visit Chocolats Favoris for one signature treat however: a chocolate dipped ice cream cone!

Yes, you read that right! Your cone is literally dipped in liquid chocolate… That sentence may sound more erotic than I meant it to! lol Anyhow, it doesn’t stop there. You get to choose your ice cream flavour (ex: vanilla, orange, strawberry, etc.) and for dipping you get to choose from 12 different chocolate varieties:

– Milk chocolate, chocolate-1285928_1280

– Dark chocolate,

– Hazelnut praline,

– Maple vanilla,

– Salted caramel, etc.

Oh but wait that’s not all! You can get a topping as well. I believe they had chocolate pieces, cookie crumbs and a few more options. In terms of sizes, I took a baby size since I didn’t want to go too wild, while most people ordered a Small. They are pretty filling portions since the chocolate is very rich.

If you don’t plan on eating your ice cream cone on the spot, make sure to ask for it in a cup! As I was in line it dawned on me that I didn’t plan this well! How would I bring back ice cream cones? I asked for cups and they gave me a little tray but it was not very secure! I cautiously drove home as to not tip the ice cream over. It was a success, the ice cream made it home safely!

All three of us went hard at work to eat the ice cream and OMG! It was divine! I opted for vanilla ice cream with dark chocolate and could not resist eating the entire dessert. So creamy, so chocolateyyyy.. Next time you feel like cheating, this is the place I recommend!

Isabelle xo


Week 21 – Under attack!

It’s funny how on some weeks my blog post topics just correspond perfectly with my life lessons! Last week, the lesson being: How to deal with being attacked!

First example: I have been fighting a never ending virus and, due to many factors, found it hard recovering.

Second attack, was emotional. Getting to know someone new can be exciting and inspiring! You get exposed to the persons qualities, values and get a glimpse into how they perceive life. In this initial phase of building a relationship, wether it be friendship or romantic, most individuals try to put their best foot forward. As you get to know the other person, you build trust and share pieces of yourself including joys and struggles. Doing so can leave you feeling quite vulnerable and if you entrust this information in the wrong hands, this can come back to bite you! When the confidential information you shared is used against you to make you question your worth and integrity, it is a direct attack on your person! It’s an awful feeling and this is when your self-love and trust becomes your best defence mechanism. You may listen to what is being said about you but don’t let it doubt for one moment the beautiful person that you are! A lot of times, this attack reflects in no way what you have said or done! To the contrary, it’s a projection of other peoples pain and insecurities! How to react to this type of attack?

It’s simple: Fight back with love and compassion! 

It’s not always easy but stay true to who YOU are! Wish the person happiness and expulse them out of your life. If you are lucky, they may even do that work for you. Look at this revelation as a gift, do you really want someone who is hurtful in your life? Ha ha I think not!

Speaking of defending yourself, while visiting the Diefenbunker Museum in Carp this week, our country was under attack and me and a group of 15 friends were stuck in a lock down situation! Which is the third and final attack I was referring to in the beginning.

Week #20 Challenge: Escape from the Diefenbunker!

Now this is no ordinary escape room game! Instead of being locked in one room, you are exploring multiple rooms in the Diefenbunker museum. I can’t go into much detail here of course, but if you are looking for a thrilling and challenging cold war inspired group activity this is it!

In case you aren’t familiar with it, the Diefenbunker is actually an underground facility that was built in 1959 during the cold war. In response to potential nuclear threats, the Prime Minister at the time, John Diefenbaker, requested that this location be built to protect 535 key government and military personnel from a nuclear attack for up to 30 days! Now that this site has been decommissioned, it serves as a museum.

What is an escape room? It’s a game! You are ‘locked’ in a building with a group and placed in a scenario. Your main task is to find a way to escape. You may do so by completing a series of tasks and solving puzzles which will ultimately lead to your group’s escape, or as I like to call it: Victory!!

Where can I play? Escape rooms are available throughout the city. such as:

How many can play? The participant count will vary based on the room. The Diefenbunker Escape Challenge can accommodate 12 to 18 players.

I should mention, the Diefenbunker Escape Room is extremely popular and is booked long ahead of time! Regardless, if you want your chance at proving the world you are clever enough to escape, go reserve your spot here!

What’s that? You are wondering if we made it out! Sadly we came to a sudden death at the end and found out we still had enough steps left! The good news, because of the game setup, you can try again at a later date and perhaps that time it will lead to sweet victory!!

Week 20 (Part 2) – Aim is the name of the game!

Please Note: This week’s activity is sponsored by Archery Games!

Most of us, I think, grew up watching Robin Hood movies! Our beloved Robin always looking out for the poor and using his skills for the greater good. As you may recall, his weapon of choice being a bow and arrow. Imagine if you could be Robin for a day and have your chance at shooting a bow without the risk of getting fatally injured! You would jump on the opportunity, right? Well lucky for you Ottawa has a perfect location for initiating and developing your archery skills and I have the inside scoop:

Week #20 – Part 2: Shoot a bow and arrow at Archery Games!

What are Archery Games? It’s a location where you can meet with your friends to play a set of tag games with bows and foam-tipped arrows. Many compare it to playing dodgeball with arrows.

Who can play? Players must be 10 years and older. You can reserve private sessions for groups of 20 or more.

How much does it cost? The cost is 24$ a person + Hst. For private sessions of groups of 20 or more, the cost is 400$ + Hst per hour (which equals to approximately a $5 discount per person!)

Where is it located? 1860 Bank Street, Unit #3B

How do I prepare? You will be taught everything you need know the day of. In terms of attire, wear something breathable similar to what you would wear for a workout at the gym, including indoor sneakers. However, here are two important tips:

1) If at all possible, choose a long sleeve top. Yes you will sweat more but it will prevent getting bruised on your arms from firing the bows. Most of my friends had shorts sleeves and their arms got bruised quite a bit! They called these their badges of honour ha ha…

2) If you really want to be strategic, wear all black. It’s much more difficult to spot than colourful outfits. Trust me it works 😉

I contacted Brian, the Archery Games Owner, and he helped me coordinate an Archery Game Event with 20 of my friends. This business really strives at making participants feel comfortable and welcomed.

The day of:

Arrive 15 minutes before your game begins! You will have time to pay, sign the waiver and gather your friends. The archery game sessions lasts 75 minutes!

Group picture courtesy of Archery Games

First 25 minutes: are dedicated to instructing you how to use the bow and arrow! Including do’s and dont’s. I was running around during the instructions trying to figure a few things out and missed the number one rule! NEVER fire your bow when empty! Which is exactly what I did when I walked inside the game court.. The instructor was very subtle in reminding everyone not to do this! The SHAME… I am positive that reminder was geared at me and realized I should have been more attentive when listening to the rules. All and all make sure you pay close attention when instructions are provided!

50 minutes of archery tag on the game court: The archery game instructor guides you through the rules for each game, monitors the time and ensures a smooth progression from one game to the next. Hints and tips are also shared during the games to improve your experience! Our group was pretty competitive and everyone really impressed me with their skills! Here is a short video I captured:

The entire group loved every minute of Archery tag! To make things even better, we brought fruit and a cake to celebrate the birthday of a very dear friend of mine! There are plenty of tables and benches on which to sit and mingle after the game which was great for everyone to catch up! In honour of my friend’s birthday, he was offered an Archery Games T-shirt that looked really good! Next Friday night, instead of a movie try Archery Tag instead.

You won’t believe how fun it is until you try it!

Week 20 -Swept into the “blues”!

Please Note: This week’s activity is sponsored by the Ottawa RBC Royal Bank BluesFest!

Music is like therapy at times isn’t it? There is nothing quite like blasting your favourite tunes while driving to feel carefree…or isn’t it strange that when you are going through a difficult time song lyrics you never understood suddenly describe exactly what you are feeling. In fact, no matter what mood you are in there is bound to be a song that will mesh perfectly with your current state of mind. Which makes music a pretty powerful tool, don’t you think?!

Listening to music on the radio or any electronic device is great, but it does not compare to live music. Being well aware of this fact, it seemed only logical to want to attend Ottawa’s most popular musical festival.

Week # 20 Challenge – part 1: View a live show at the 2016 Ottawa RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest

Picture by Desrosiers July 8th, 2016 – Bluesfest

Contrary to what the title implies, the Ottawa RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest is NOT only about blues. Every year, this festival gathers local, national and even international artists in an attempt to showcase their talent. You can find anything from blues, to rock, to alternative music and so on…

Bluesfest is very popular and lasts around 10 days, this year from July 7th to 17th, 2016.

Which artists can I see? Every year new artists are invited to perform which makes this festival a great opportunity to watch popular and/or upcoming artists. A few artists participating this year are: Alessia Cara, Awolnation, Billy Idol, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Sam Hunt just to name a few!

Tickets: Months ahead of the festival you can purchase Bluesfest passes. You can opt for VIP passes which give you the ultimate festival experience by granting access to private washrooms, bars and seating areas. For a more basic option you can purchase a day pass for $73.85 (including taxes and fees) or a multi-day pass if you plan on attending a few days.

Helpful tip: Tickets are still available here or if you are looking for tickets on a specific day, visit kijiji to find good deals.

Location: this festival is located at the Lebreton Flats Park at 1 Vimy Place.

Parking: Now this is tricky! You can reserve a parking spot at the Canadian War Museum ahead of time. If you didn’t, don’t worry you may park off of Preston street or in a downtown parking lot. I arrived early in the evening and was struggling for a spot and ended up parking on Slater Street which was a good walk! In hinsight, I do not recommended parking so far if you are walking to your car alone! I didn’t leave extremely late due to this very reason.

Site: The Bluesfest festival site is spread around the War museum for which the main entrance is off of Sir John A. McDonald Parkway.

  • Where do I watch the shows? Once inside the festival you see the main stage aka the City Stage, to your left and further to your right is the Claridge Homes Stage. Further on the grounds are two additional stages: Monster Energy and Black Sheep. You can easily navigate from one to the other. Make sure to take note of the artist schedules and stage names to know where you want to be at what time! That information is available on site but it is much easier to have a clear idea of where you want to be.
  • Hungry? No worries, food was accessible all over the site. They had Thai food from Green papaya, BBQ from Fitz’s BBQ, Shawarma, poutine and burgers from Fadi’s and much more! For a sweeter option, you could purchase a booster juice, ice cream, beaver tails, fruit fondue and more. Prices ranged between 4$ to 20$ and they accepted both cash and credit cards.
  • Thirsty? They had plenty of Coors and Molson Canadian tents where you could buy beer! Wine, Monster Energy drinks and Bacardi were other options! For non-alcoholic beverage options they sold lemonade, juice and water.

Tip: look for water stations! You can refill your water bottle there for free!

Prior to purchasing a ticket, I approached the Bluesfest Media Team and asked if I could attend as part of my blog. They were kind enough to offer me two passes for the day I requested, Friday July 8th. Was I ever thrilled! Thank you to the Bluesfest coordinators for the opportunity! I would have loved to bring someone with me, but unfortunately since I found out about the second pass the day before, nobody was available! That being said attending the festival alone was actually nice! I talked to a few people and went around the site as I pleased. It was really fun!

How do I choose when to go? When selecting the day or days on which you want to attend make sure to be strategic. Choose days where you know you will enjoy at least one specific artist. I say that since the music varies quite a bit and you may be disappointed if none of the artist performances on that day are your style. I chose the 8th because one: I was available and two: I was hoping to see Coeur de Pirate, a beautiful and talented French artist!

She was truly wonderful! I was pretty absorbed by her performance and loved every minute of her show! I visited all the stages and caught a glimpse of other artists such as: Ben Harper and the innocent criminals, The Revivalists and Tal Wilkenfeld. Although the other music types didn’t correspond to my taste, listening to them live was a great experience.

Picture by Danica MacDonald July 8th, 2016 – Bluesfest

No matter if you attend Bluesfest alone, with a friend or large group of people, it is a fantastic festival that can be enjoyed by all! The site is beautiful and spacious, the crowd was respectful, the artists very talented and the festival vibe was upbeat, simply a great musical experience. It’s not too late to attend this year, what are you waiting for? Go check out the festival!

Week 19 – Such satisfying delight!

What amazing weather we had this week! It’s so tempting to spend every moment we can outside. I suspect most of you are still working but don’t let that get in your way of enjoying each and every day this Summer. As I mentioned in the Week 18 blog post, we should try our best to take our lunch breaks as often as possible. At a loss as to what to do? Here are a few ideas:

Picnic: pack your lunch and head to a park nearby;

Power walk: grab a colleague and go for a speedy 50 minute walk;

Group Activity: host a weekly lunch event for instance plan to play your favourite sport once a week (ex: last year I started a Frisbee Friday group: each Friday we met in the ball diamond and tossed a Frisbee, it’s a great way to get to know your colleagues);

Solo activity: sign-up to a local gym or fitness location (ex: I discovered a little Tennis Club near my work and purchased a pool membership – I now swim outside at lunch 2 or 3 times a week, it feels like a fieldtrip each time I go);

Play: on a rainy day, bring a board game and gather a group of colleagues to play with.

These little additions to your daily work routine can make a significant difference. They help motivate you and add an extra fun element to a typical work day! I highly recommend you try these if you haven’t already. In fact, do you have any additional lunch activities to recommend?

I initially set out to document my Canada Day Festivities but I must admit that I didn’t plan it very well. It ended up being mostly gym, family and friends time which was great of course! I did try to dress up for the occasion but realized I don’t really own red ANYTHING anymore…

The panic sets in: How to be patriotic without red? 

I start digging through my things:

Closet? Nothing!

Bedroom drawers? Yes maybe this ribbon could work … nope nevermind!

Washroom? Hmmm.. I spot it. It’s a very simple solution, maybe too simple? You know what, this will have to do! A classic red lipstick always comes in handy 😛

White shirt, red lips and sparkly eyes! Just a typical Canadian lady eh?


In terms of new activities, this one is a yearly one and it’s not a complete summer without it. I am talking about one of the simplest and most satisfying activities for people of all ages:

Week #19 challenge: Go strawberry picking at the Orleans Fruit Farm!

I contacted a dear friend of mine last minute and next thing I knew we were off strawberry hunting. I spent my morning trying to call various berry farms in Orleans to confirm that strawberry picking was in fact possible but to no avail since nobody answered. We arrive at the Proulx Berry Farm and ensure we are ready to set out on our berry adventure:

– Water= check!

– Sunscreen= check!

– Money= check!

– Phone and car keys= check & check!

We are ready to go! We make it to the little shop to find out that strawberry picking was not available. Very sad indeed. Plan B it is, off we go to the Olreans Fruit Farm. To our delight strawberry picking was possible and they had fields upon fields of fresh juicy berries!! Woohoo!

My friend displaying the fresh berries!

Parking was limited but with the constant flow of people it seemed to work very well. You pay by the basket and so you can choose from two basket sizes:

2 litre basket – 6$

4 litre basket – 11$

You can fill your basket as much a you want which is why everyone seemed to drop berries on their way out! My friend being the person that she is rescued a few berries abandoned by previous owners. I thought that was sweet ha ha..

It was so fun and now we have more strawberries than we can handle. Warm strawberry crumble with vanilla ice cream anyone?