Week 43 – A shortcut to being healthier, want to try it?

One of the best things about the holidays are the treats! Who doesn’t enjoy turkey, potatoes, wine, sugar cookies or mint chocolate ice cream?! But too much of a good thing, is just that: too much!! Don’t worry, the holidays are meant to be freeing that way and it doesn’t mean that you can’t go from holiday eating to a balanced and nutritious menu! I am really excited to share with you an incredible tool called: Meal Garden (aka) your new best friend!
Full-disclosure: I was granted access to try Meal Garden at no cost, and should you select my affiliate link to purchase a Meal Garden plan, a percent of the the proceed supports my blog budget!

Week #43 Challenge: Get my eating schedule on track with Meal Garden!

What is Meal Garden? is a website which assists you, and whoever you cook for, with following a healthy eating schedule! You get access to hundreds of delicious and easy to make recipes, pre-designed meal plans by nutrition experts, a customizable food schedule and access to all the necessary nutritional data you could possibly need! The recipes are sooo… good!

Meal Garden Recipes: you can search the recipe inventory easily by key words, ingredients or preparation time.

  • Recipe Ratings: Each recipe is rated by a 5 leaf rating system! 1 leaf is not so healthy, 5 leaves is very healthy! It’s totally reasonable to incorporate less healthy recipes in your plan, it’s a question of moderation!

Meal Garden Meal Plans: you can create your own meal plan by searching and adding any breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack recipes to your schedule! If you want more support, you can access pre-designed meal plans (established by the website nutrition experts) in the Healthy Eating Bundle section and choose which one fits your goals!

  • Recipe Bundles: Are pre-designed meal plan categories which include: No Added Sugar, Kid-Friendly, Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan, Weight Loss and more!

MealGarden Customization: Meal Garden is tailored to you! By navigating to the My Profile Section and selecting Diet and My family! You can enter a bit of information which will ensure Meal Garden recipes and meal plans are meeting your nutritional goals and needs! You can enter your dietary restrictions (if any, such a dairy-free, vegetarien, gluten free, etc), your preferred meal and snack frequency as well as you and your family members personal data! This information will change the Meal Garden dietary targets and recipe portions to fit what you entered!

Meal Garden Subscription: To start using Meal Garden it’s very easy! Simply subscribe by selecting HERE!

For 19.95$ you get access and use all of Meal Garden’s tools for an entire year! The best part is that you are not alone when using Meal Garden, you can connect to any Meal Expert should you require further support or have health related questions!

With the New Year upon us, this is it! I am getting a sense that 2017 will be bringing you and your family lots of wonderful new adventures and it’s time to improve our lives!! You can set various resolutions, but one of the most important is your health! This is where Meal Garden comes in, it’s an affordable gift worth offering yourself, your partner and your family!


Week 42 – Last minute gift inspirations in Ottawa!

That moment when you realize that someone’s birthday or the holidays are right around the corner and you have NO CLUE what gift(s) to get! Finding the perfect present can be a really tricky task. Here are the steps I typically follow and find useful:

Scroll to the bottom of this post for a gift idea summary ūüėČ

1- Pay attention: This is my favourite approach since it’s meaningful! Listen attentively to your loved ones all year round, without even realizing it they constantly give you gift ideas! By talking about activities, hobbies or little things they want or enjoy and making note of it, you gradually create a mental checklist of things to get them!

2Go with a staple: If you don’t know the person well or if you want to play it safe just go with something standard. For instance, gift cards for the movie theatre, coffee shop or restaurants are always appreciated of course! In terms of smaller gifts: chocolates, Holiday scratch tickets, books and alcohol (a nice wine bottle or get a small bottle of Fireball woohoo!).

3- Ask them: you can do so directly or indirectly! With my family it’s simple, I ask them exactly what they want! This way you are sure to get at least one thing they will love. If they have no suggestions, you have your work cut out for you but it’s not an impossible task! A more indirect approach is to casually gather information during a day to day conversation! If the person you are buying for mentioned they love skiing, ask them where they typically go “umm…since you are considering going this winter“! Truth be told, you are asking to know where to buy them a day pass!

If you are still stuck, use Google my friend. You can find all types of gift ideas and you are bound to find a perfect option if you plan ahead. Or another idea, if you are patient just go browsing in stores since you can find gifts that way too!

Week #42 Challenge: Visit the Tanger Outlets in Kanata!

Taking the time to do new activities when you have tons of errands is tricky, so I decided to be efficient and integrated my challenge into my schedule. I wanted to get started on Christmas shopping and heard that the Ottawa Tanger Outlets are a nice place to shop!

Tanger Outlets is a North American chain of outlets stores. The Ottawa location has over 75 stores, including a few restaurants to choose from.

Important note: This isn’t a mall, you walk outside to get from one store to another so make sure to dress based on the weather.

I am very glad I went shopping with a very patient man because I couldn’t make up my mind on anything! The worst part is that I didn’t end up finding a whole lot either but I did pick-up a onesie for myself, this has to be the best invention on earth! Yes I realise that I didn’t fully grasp this whole buy gifts for others! I did buy plenty of Lindt Chocolates for my chocolate-loving colleagues and family members though!

Last Minute Gift Idea List:

1- MealGarden Subscription: My top choice as this is a perfect gift for anyone. By paying only $19.95, you offer a year subscription to MealGarden a site with hundreds of quality recipes, meal plans, how to guides and grocery lists developed by nutrition experts. Click here to subscribe.

2- Quality chocolate: Purdys Chocolatier; Lindt Chocolate, Chocolats Favoris, etc.

3-Scratch Tickets: crosswords and bingo are fun options!

4- Books: Buy one of the year’s most popular books.

5- Alcohol: One affordable top wine choice would be Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz, only $14.95!

6- Gifts cards: for the movie theatre, gas station, Bridgehead Coffee Shop, etc.

7- Donations: you can get a great gift and support an amazing cause at the same time! The Breast Cancer Foundation sells incredible calendars for which the recipient could win a prize everyday of the calendar year, the best part being that 75% of the net proceeds go towards the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation!

If you have any last minute gift ideas that aren’t listed above, please feel free to share them in the comments below!

Happy Shopping!!

Isabelle xo

Week 41 – Mix and match singles!

“Ok ok, keep an open-mind” I told myself! When you have tried online dating, blind dates and speed dating, what other options do you have? You can¬†leave it up to faith by hoping you will meet someone when you least expect it but if you want to take a¬†more proactive approach,¬†I¬†think at this point¬†you are basically left with two options:

  1. Join a singles cruise; or,
  2. Participate in a local Singles Event.

A friend of mine mentioned she was attending a Singles Mixer and so that encouraged me to tag along with her.. You never know where you can meet someone special after all!

Week #41 Challenge: Attend the Early Christmas Singles Party!

Pixabay Photo

What’s a Singles mixer? Well it’s essentially a gathering of singles¬†from across the city¬†in one specific location, in this case at Hooleys on Elgin! That’s about the extent of what I knew and figured it could be worth attending! I was under the impression that the event had a cost but it turns out it was free for the ladies.

The evening unraveled in an interesting way! I started seeing someone a week prior to the event which obviously made things a bit awkward but I had made plans with my friend and I was going to follow through! Here are things you should keep in mind about mixers:

1) Art of conversation: this event encourages you to interact with as many guests as you can! If you enjoy meeting new people this is a great option since you can easily start a conversation with anyone! As you arrived, you were handed game sheets that were helpful with breaking the ice and had a great list of topics! I was impressed to see how well these games worked. By playing you also increased your chances of winning prizes at the end! I sneaked out of the event before the prizes were drawn but my friend actually won the grand prize, two tickets to the Sens Game!!

2) Attendees: A group of around 100 people showed up I believe. This event was not targeted to any specific age group. There were adults of all ages from 20s up to 50s! I was a bit surprised by this and felt slightly uneasy as I was afraid I may be sending the wrong message! Maybe I was overanalyzing?!

3) Think Outside The Box: Don’t limit yourself! I spent a lot of time talking with the mixer participants but eventually I¬†made my¬†way to a separate location in the building. There I met really fun people who worked at the pub and even just guests sitting at the bar! I found those talks refreshing since they were playful rather than in-depth like the ones in the mixer!¬†I suggest you¬†explore your¬†surroundings as you¬†never know where you may meet a match!

Would I recommend this event? Yes and no! If you enjoy being social, this is a great way to meet new people! The reason I wouldn’t do this again is because I found it rather draining really! Even though I wasn’t there to look, I eventually lost the ability to focus during conversations and just felt like I would rather be doing something, anything else! You can’t predict who will attend the event but I feel that your odds are actually¬†better online where you can narrow down your¬†love interests¬†based on certain criterias!

Visit the Meetup website for upcoming singles events!

All in all, if you are in the mood to socialize this is a great activity but if not I would stick to going out for coffee with a friend¬†or… just staying at home to watch Christmas movies by the fireplace while you munch on¬†a piece, OK FINE¬†piecesss, of your newly built¬†Gingerbread¬†House!

Talk to you guys soon xo