Fragrance evolution

For as long as I can remember I have been a scent bandit. At the early age of four I would sneak into my grandmother’s vanity and raid her beauty and perfume collection. I could never get enough of all her Avon products. I’m sure some of you remember your first go to scent.

Mine was Primo body spray and I just couldn’t get enough of it. The smell of Primo brings me back to the age of 10 when I had my first trip to New York City. When I smell a wiff of it flashes of New York in the 80’s come to mind. It is like I just time traveled back to New York in 86′, I can smell of chestnuts roasting on the streets.

 

As I got older my scent tastes evolved onto something as I thought was luxurious. My best friend used to wear Elizabeth Arden Red Door daily. A gift from her grandma she was nice enough to share with me. We felt sexy and older, I’m sure we smelled it too.

It is funny how a scent can remind you of the past.

A day at the beach with the ladies.

Your first prom.

That time when you had that awesome job in the city.

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That kiss with the man of your dreams.

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By the time I had a part time job in high school and could afford to buy my own scents the fragrances that I normally were inclined to buy were more of a clean and crisp nature. I probably wore Ralph Cool until my mid twenties, and I actually still like the scent, but as time moved on it was time to switch it up, evolve a bit more with a scent that works well for me.

For my wedding my bestie gave me a fragrance she thought would work well with me. Who knows you better than your best friend. If they are a true friend they will tell you when your favorite outfit is “tacky” and when your new perfume should be tossed out and never worn again.

She chose for me, Hermes Un Jardin En Mediterranee. While it wasn’t a fragrance I would normally purchase, it’s a bit more earthier with a slight musk, I’ve fallen in love with it and it works well with my fragrance chemistry.

It is light enough for work or daily wear, yet different and enchanting. It makes my old clean Ralph Lauren scent seem boring, and yet it isn’t completely floral or musky. It has light citrus tones and it a bit woodsy and spicy, without being masculine or over bearing.

My husband surprised me with another new fragrance I like that I normally wouldn’t buy. I asked him if he chose it for the name (he’s French) but he told me he actually tried and smelled a variety before picking out my scent (too cute!) J’adore from Dior is more of a muskier scent, but it doesn’t remind me of an old lady or floral garden. It is a very sensual aroma blended with exotic orchids, Jasmine, and ylang ylang. While I would tend to wear it more in the fall or winter it still is a versatile fragrance.

 

If you are looking for a new scent on the market here are a few great fragrances that were launched in 2014 and a few sneak peaks at the up and coming 2015 launches!

  1. Knot by Bottega Venata, Think sweet and musty with clementine and orange blossom undertones. It is a very subtle and clean scent without smelling like soap. It has natural woodsy undertones. Great for spring and summer, think crisp pressed linen dresses and open toed sandals.
  2. Eros Pour Femme, by Vercace, Eros is the God of love, and this feminine fragrance will leave most women lusting for more and the men lusting for the woman wearing it. Blended with peony, sandalwood, pomegranate and ambrox this fragrance is a strong musky scent. This is something for an evening cocktail party.
  3. Wild Glo by J Lo, This perfume is for women who love all things sweet, and that’s what it is composed of. I’m a fan of J Lo fragrances. This one is one the sweet and flirty side, great for weekend nights out on the town or warm weather trips. It is made up of Vanilla, tropical fruits, mandarin, jasmine, and black currant.
  4. La Collection des Essences by Ellie Sab, Gardenia is a woody floral tone. It has the best of both worlds and is great for every day wear.

2015 is right around the corner so keep a look out for these up and coming new scents!

  1. Escada Torquoise Summer
  2. Zac Posen
  3. Shanghai Tang
  4. Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey City Blossom
  5. UK-based niche line Shay & Blue will launch Watermelons, a new fresh green fragrance, in March. The notes include watermelon, green mandarin, honeysuckle, crushed leaves, green tea and vetiver. Sounds divine!

Watermelons by Shay & Blue

What is your favorite scent?

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Winter animals that will turn you into mush

The snow is beginning to fall won’t you come out and play?

It’s always a good idea to dress warm…

Monkeying around is my favorite thing to do.

After a long day a nap is in order.

Sometimes winter gets the best of us.

And all we want to do is lounge around…

It’s not always great hair days.

But it will be spring before we know it.

We can enjoy skipping outside.

Enjoying the garden.

And relaxing outside with friends.

 Embrace the winter, because spring is right around the corner.

Happy Holidays!

Montreal French Tasting Les Infideles

Montreal is known for its beautiful cobblestone streets you could get lost on in the Old Port.

Its variety of beautiful French women.

It’s amazing French wine and cheese selections.

And above all it’s amazing French cuisine and restaurant scene.

A great thing about Montreal is that the locals J’adore their wine and you will find a variety of excellent bring your own wine restaurants with no cork fee. You heard me, No Cork Fee! Unlike some cities which will charge you $5-20 bucks wine fee per bottle you bring in.

On the search for a great French tasting bring your own wine restaurant in Montreal these were the the top list.

 

Fine French cuisine meets Quebec products in the heart of the Plateau, the Mecca of bring your own wine restaurants.
There are no menus in this restaurant, only refined propositions varying according to the chef’s inspiration.
Zeste de Folie specializes in fresh ingredients and offers creative fare with many culinary influences.
Bring your bottle of wine to Monsieur B, a French bistro with a warm décor and sophisticated cuisine.
 
Duluth Street is the street of many bring your own wine restaurants if you want to just wing it and explore you options on a more spontaneous trip.
My favorite is Les Infideles, located off of Rachel and St. Hubert. It’s not everyone’s first choice for bring your own wine, but every time I have out of towners visit, mostly from New York City where we appreciate great food and atmosphere both, they go crazy for this place. It is constantly amazing. It books fast especially on the weekends and during holidays and only accommodates under 60 people.
It has a basic setting, yet is always packed.
 
Les Infideles specializes in French cuisine. Chief Louis Legault uses a lot of Québec products, such as deer, duck, veal and seafood and fish, depending on the season. Local cheeses are served with homemade jam and nuts. Their menu also offers gourmet five-course meal specials.
The five course meal is normally around $43 depending on the selections you choose.
You start off with fresh bread and the soup de jour, followed by a delicious appetizer.
I normally choose their scallops with a mango chutney. They scallops are perfectly seared crispy yet moist inside.
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They then bring out a sherbert of the day mixed with rum. While it cools your throat you feel the warmth of the rum, and you anticipate your entree that is about to come.
Some of their entree selections are :
Duck in an orange marmalade
Fresh bison or deer
Jumbo shrimp sauteed in cognac sauce
It is down right delicious. You feel like royalty being served such amazing food while you enjoy your wine or champagne. The best is the service is impeccable. The waiters are nice, not snobby in the least bit and go above and beyond.
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The meals are always cooked to perfection.
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It’s so perfectly prepared you don’t know where to begin, so you take a picture.
The desserts are just as fabulous as the meal. They use local cheeses, prepare homemade chocolate mousse and creme brulee. I’m already craving this restaurant as I write this.
Les Infideles is the perfect place to enjoy a solo lunch while reading a book, a bottle of wine catching up with a friend, a date, or entertaining a larger group.
C’est tres bon!
Bon Appetit!

Bavarian biker’s paradise

Mystical Mittenwald Germany, when I say this town to even the locals of Germany they say …where? There’s a good chance I am pronouncing it wrong, but it is also a tiny hidden gem mostly visited by Germans.

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A year ago my husband somehow turned me into a biker which was a far cry from what I was used to. I’ve ridden in Mr. Softee trucks, limos, managed to steer horse carriages in Manhattan up 5th Avenue in 5 inch heels and a 4 inch skirt. I’ve driven taxis in New York when the cabbies let me, and even hitched rides on the back of fire trucks. In New York I always found a crafty way to get to my destination in a record breaking time.

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I married an outdoorsy Canadian and bam here I am biking my way to lunch and to the store. Dave and I share a passion for travel and adventure. We met abroad in Costa Rica. We’ve drank wine in Spain, climbed the Great Wall, and fell in love all over again in Rome. I normally have a good say in our next trip, but finally I said “Babe this trip is all you.” I said I wouldn’t plan one detail, micromanage or decide any single factor. He decided his dream vacation would be to take his mom and I on a mountain range and bike through Germany and Austria for one week straight. Our flights were booked through Prague where we would first start our biking journey mid June. I began biking on a regular basis to prepare for what I called a hellish vacation. I seriously had to bike to my next hotel and I was only allowed a few outfits?!

As luck would have it, for me that is, a week before our trip Northern Germany and Prague had record breaking rain storms resulting in flooding. All tour operated bike tours were cancelled indefinitely. David was so depressed and too busy with work to re-plan a trip at short notice, I assured him wifey would handle it and off to computer surfing I went. Yep I was planning yet another trip. As much as I wanted to train it to Italy for some lakes and vineyards I had to stay on course with biking, mountains, and lakes to swim in around Germany and Austria.

I was looking for a few key basics in my trip

  • A destination 5-6 hour train ride from Prague
  • Mountain backdrops that leave you in awe
  • Clean lakes and rivers for a summer dip
  • Abundant biking trails for all levels, bike rental locally, and day trips we can do on our own
  • Picturesque tiny authentic local towns
  • Easy access to Salzburg  (we had a few days booked there and planned to return to Prague from there)

My great search led me to a few towns we could get to in Germany that were known for biking:

Quedlinburg: A town in the Harz mountains, set with cobblestone streets and prewar buildings.

Meissen: A romantic tiny town north of Dresden near the River Elbe which was flooded at the time. Next….

Cochem: Think medieval and wineries.

We almost went here Rothenburg: Alongside the famous Romantic Road  Rothenburg is beautiful and still has a partial intact medieval city. There are many great bike trails here as well.

There was just something missing, and that’s when I fell in love with Mittenwald. Fresh Alps Mountain air, you can literally bike across the border to Austria, an abundance of gorgeous lakes, tiny local bed and breakfasts, a mountain you can visit, and amazing local cuisine.

 

 At last I had found my biking town!

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The easiest way to get here is to take a train from Munich Germany. Trains leave regularly and its only an hour and a half ride through some of the most beautiful scenery in Germany. The town is very compact everything you need including the train station is centrally located.  When you first arrive in the town you feel as if you have been time warped to a magical fairy tale. All the houses, restaurants, and family run hotels are picture perfect.

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Lodgings book up fast so while it’s always advisable to book in advance, I normally book through bookings.com we did however find extra lodging for my mother in law at last minute. Staying in the town center is convienant yet if you want a breathtaking view of the Alps I suggest staying a bit above town. The walk is easy, it’s only ten minutes into the center of town. A great place to stay is Pension Schwalbennestl. Every room has a view of the mountain and breakfast is included. Rates run about $50 per night.

 

As far as the eye can see is an endless horizon of majestic mountains. I breath in the fresh dewy air and become enlightened by the natural beauty that surrounds me.

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Our first night we took it easy from the commuting across Europe and walked through the postcard perfect town streets. A town so small it’s home to under 7,000 residents, yet so full of life and rich with culture. We passed many fantastic restaurants with live music and cute one of a kind shops. The most beautiful backdrop of the town is the mountain range that cascades behind it.

 Women leisurely shop at the market, men enjoy their pint of beer, and children soak up the sun as they play in the river.

Our first stop was taking an incline up the mountain. If you are afraid of heights I suggest you get past your fear and go up the mountain, but close your eyes on the ride up, it’s a bit scary. Umm are we there yet?

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I’ve never felt higher on earth literally than when we were on top of the mountain. The look out is insane, and the birds eat out of your hand. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic and you can hike along outer mountain trails.

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The coolest aspect is the snow. Even in June while it was warm enough to wear shorts the snow tipped mountain top was gorgeous. I was jumping for joy!

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The mountains are filled with wild flowers that dance in the breeze.

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Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you watch as people trek out of a secret door. I excitedly go through the door and it becomes a dark corridor which reminds me of and episode of Lost. Where ever will this lead me?

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I open a metal door and outside is the other side of the mountain, it’s pretty much incredible. You can even lay in the snow to cool off.

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Before going back down the incline we grab some sausage sandwiches and German beer and sit on a patio watching adrenaline junkies grab plastic service trays and slide hundreds of feet down steep mountain slopes. After much hesitation I grab a tray, drop my bag, and race to the smallest slope before my nerves get the best of me.

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The next day we woke up early to rent bikes for the day. They seemed a little pricey but there is only one bike shop that runs the show so no negotiating. Bikes were about $60 a day, but well worth the price. They were high end mountain bikes that felt like the Bentley’s of bikes. You barely had to peddle and they were so damn smooth.

We stopped at the local grocery store for fresh fruits, cheeses, sandwiches, water, and but of course wine. There is nothing better than seeing a  wine you like to drink that you normally pay $20 for, at only a mere cost of $3.00 Euros!

When it comes to biking in Mittenwald the possibilities are endless. If you are a beginner biker and just want to explore the town, bike to a nearby lake only ten minutes away, or have children there are plenty of biker friendly paved trails. It’s easy breezy. If you are an avid biker the black trails will suit you at very experienced levels. You could easily stay in Mittenwald for over a week and have new trails each day. We chose the blue level which was a few steps up from easy.

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There were a few hills I had to get off my bike and push. Most of the hills going up were at the begining so it was easier as the day went on to fly back down the mountain. We chose to do 30 kilometers our first day, and props to my mother in law for keeping up! I felt as if I was in Lord of the Rings, the trails were stunning, and for the most part we barely saw any other bikers. When we needed a rest break we would stop at one of the many clean lakes for a swim.

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 Running out of water was never a problem since there are fresh spring water outlets along the trails.

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Perfect pit stop for a picnic.

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We came across a field of sheep and I had to take a picture of the black one. I’ve always been the black sheep.

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We accidentaly took a wrong turn which led us to the cutest chapel I have ever seen.  We informally renewed our vows alone since we were the only ones in the chapel and gave a little donation for a postcard.

We biked until we could peddle no more….

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and that led us to one great dinner. There are tons of choices to choose from, but the top rated venue earns it credit. Gaststatte Restaurant – Romerschanz, is a family run establishment off the main  town center. The food is local home cooked cuisine at reasonable prices. You can get a seat outside and people watch while enjoying the great food and beer. It is custom Bavarian food with a cozy atmosphere.

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The next day we biked an easy paved road to the Austrian border which only took us about thirty minutes. We crossed rivers and valleys and promised ourselves we would be back to visit Mittenwald Germany again.

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Whether you are an adventure seeker or just want to relax and soak up the culture and nature this safe and charming town will suit your interest.

Nature’s best for cold and flu season.

Is it really that time again? Dodging people on the subway who are sniffling and sneezing. Waking up sounding like an 90 year old who has smoked three packs a day since tenth grade. Yep it’s winter and it doesn’t matter where in the world you happen to live, dodging the cold or flu is like playing roulette.

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Fear not… the cold or flu doesn’t have to be the ends to a busy week at work, a hot date on the weekend, or the end to your holiday parties. There are pharmacies full of pills for every ailment, which actually leaves my head spinning when I attempt to buy over the counter medicines. Do I need flu and cold, or allergy and sinus, or is it a cold and sinus mix? Why isn’t my prescription that the doctor gave me working yet? I just paid $40! Great that prescription the doctor gave me took away my respiratory infection and left me with a yeast infection. Seriously?!!

I’ve never been a “pill popper,” but I’ve tried my mix of over the counters and prescriptions. There has maybe only been 2 times in over ten years that the prescriptions really worked well. Other times the sickness would linger or come back, or even get worse. I have found in my recent years that preventative natural approaches work well, not carry any harmful side effects. For example the one time I took three Benadryls before working a night shift, or the time I took an over the counter which had caffeine in it and then drank a caffeinated beverage. Or the time my doctor refused to give me pain medicine for a very painful procedure, and I self medicated myself with some Tylenol with codeine I had in my cabinet, and I almost passed out on the corner of Park Avenue….classic.

 

I then took another approach which is more preventive, healthier natural daily regimens I do and natural products I take when I start to get sick, and guess what? I haven’t had a real cold in years. No more sinus infections and when I start to get sick, a day later I am up and running again like a champion horse. If seeing is believing, I’m a believer because I’ve tried all types of natural approaches and they seem more effective then in the past when I was sitting in the doctors office for hours waiting for a prescription that took a week to work. I’m not saying never to take a prescription again, and I’m not completely a green, granola, free child, but I can appreciate a natural approach that I find works well.

For Example these different items assist in pain reduction

Here are some of my personal prevenative and healing secrets for flu and cold season.

First of all in prevention of infections we need to keep our bodies hydrated. Water it is something so simple, yet can be easily pushed aside. I see people downing cups of java, then a juice for a snack, wine at dinner, where is the water? Water keeps us hydrated and our vital organs working well. We need it to not only keep hydrated and to have energy, but it flushed out harmful toxins in our bodies.

Garlic has been used for thousands of year to heal sicknesses. While it is great in raw form for helping the body with food related sicknesses, it also acts as an immune booster and has natural antioxidants in its extract. If you want to use it as a prevenative you can incorporate it into your meals by chopping up some fresh garlic and mixing it into your vegtables, cooking it into your soup, or even adding minced garlic oil into your foods. If you are not keen on the garlic smell as most wouldn’t be, there are supplements you can buy which extract the nutrients from the garlic and put them into an oderless form you can take as a daily supplement. I normally begin uping my garlic intake by October and take it until about February .Note: Pregnant women should not take more than 1 clove of garlic medicinally per day, and children often resist this remedy.

Heat and hot liquids, at the first sign of sickness or as a regular preventative drink warm liquids and try to warm up the body. Viruses prefer to live in warm body environments. The perfect host is a cooler temperature which is why we are more apt to get sick during chillier seasons with the change of temperature. If you have access to a steam room or hot sauna that will help flush out toxins and keep the body temperature at a higher level which will shorten the life span of a virus. Boiling a pot of hot water and adding a few drops of an essential oil then steaming your face is a great way to up the body temperature and cleanse the sinuses and respiratory track system.

 

 Oregano oil, this is nothing that you cook with. You buy it at a health food store and it is powerful! You only need 2-3 drops that is so strong you first need to put a little water under your tongue. Then you add the drops and gargle for 40 seconds before swallowing the water and oregano oil. It significantly alters the bacterias cell membranes and kills it. Most people use this as a preventive during the winter season or for sore throats, but I have found it has worked wonders in colds. The first sniffle I get or a sneeze I begin to take oregano oil twice a day and by the second or third day not only do I feel normal, but a cold never progresses. It’s seriously magic in a bottle and it’s natural! I’m about to take some now.

Ginger has been used in Asia for over 2,000 years aiding in stomach ailments and sicknesses. It boosts the immune system and soothes the stomach. I like to chop it up and brew it in my teas.

Probiotics work by balancing our intestines. They promote healthy bacteria which prevents sickness. If you aren’t into pills you can eat more yogurt, if you aren’t into yogurt you can take a daily pill.

Black cumin, is a savior to me. If anyone knows the joys of having chronic allergies and sinus problems it is me. I’ve had surgery, taking every over the counter, eliminated foods, added healthy supplements, but I always have this congestion! Black cumin reduces coughing and inflammation in the respiratory system. I take two softgels a day during flare ups and it seems to be one of the only remedies to my insanity. It tastes horrible so I take it in softgel form.

Pineapple juice and extract breaks down mucus and congestion. If you have a sinus infection or are a regular allergy sufferer like myself, drinking this on a daily basis will assist in relaxing your coughing and clearing of the throat.

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Placebo effect, I’m sure many will argue on this but research has shown that the placebo affect works. Mind over matter. If my bodies telling me I’m getting sick or I’m showing symptoms I breathe and say to myself no it’s just a little symptom it will be gone in no time. I’m not getting sick. I also do this when I’m eating junk food and tell  myself I will not gain weight, I’m burning calories by eating them, somehow I manage just fine. Anyways the placebo effect can work if you believe it. When you put something healthy into your body remind yourself this is good for me, it will protect me, I am not getting sick and see how long it takes for you to be bedridden again.

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Astragalus, a funny name but let me tell you if you are sick you want this in your cabinet. Astragalus is a class of herbs found in northern Asia that’s been used to treat fatigue and sickness for thousands of years. Some of the plant constituents have shown to be so potent that they’re now being used as the basis for different drugs to treat cancer, fatigue, and subdue ulcers, among other things.

The health benefits of Astragalus

Astragalus seems to work its magic through the following mechanisms:

  • It causes your body to produce more telomeres, a part of your DNA that protects chromosomes from degradation
  • It contains a unique class of polysaccharides which are very biologically active
  • It improves the rate of replication of immune cells called macrophages

Honey, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc are all great to take during the cold and flu season as well.

Don’t let the fear of the flu get you down!

 

Just Be …. the best only you can be

Be the best you can be. I used to attempt to be what everyone else was either telling me I should be, or what I thought others wanted me to be like. The end result didn’t lead me further into a successful development, but endless hours of worry and doubt leading me to be uncharacteristically insecure, confused, and running in circles of what could be and what hasn’t been and may never be.

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In life there will always be someone bigger than you and skinnier than you. I’ve found no matter how hard you try to succeed and goals you may accomplish, most of the time you will want more. It’s like a kid wanting everything they don’t have. This doesn’t mean not to reach for dreams or quit dreaming for that matter, because our dreams and our passions are what keeps our spark for life alive, but learn to love yourself for what you’ve done.

 

Maybe you haven’t done anything you can be proud of, it’s never to late to try. Appreciate the NOW and learn to live in the moment.

Be the best YOU CAN BE.

The best I can be is not doing an easy 40 minute workout that maintains my figure. I know I’ll never be blessed with pin legs like Kate Moss or Cameron Diaz, or large breasts like Salma Hayek, but if I work a bit harder and make smart culinary choices I could be closer to my best.

Here is an example of a friend who with dedication to herself transformed her body in twelve weeks for a fitness competition. She won 5th place.

Sure twelve weeks of eating right, trading in our happy hour or video games for training seems endless, but what is twelve weeks when we live for about 4,100 weeks. Sometimes I get discouraged when my career isn’t excelling in the right direction or at the right pace. It’s easy to get frusterated and give up, but those who succeed know what is is to fail and try again, they know the virtue of patience, and what it’s like to sweat through stress.

After perusing acting for seven years and life leading me in a different direction, I’ve come to the terms I will never be Julia Roberts, or even Tara Reid for that matter. In life you need to know when to call your losses and let go. I’m not saddened by it, it just wasn’t meant to be. (At least in this life time)

At this point in my life as I assess what I’ve already done and where I want to go I have to realistically look at the cards given to me and work with what I’ve got.

We’ve all been given a different set of cards of life, and it’s up to us how we play them. What makes YOU special? What do you have to offer the world and those around you?

Right now these are my cards

  • I can’t speak French, but I relocated to Montreal (Tabernac… a Quebec swear word 🙂
  • I don’t have a “degree” :{
  • I am great with people and have over 15 years of versatile work experience
  • I have no debt or bills
  • I am happily married and crazy in love
  • I have the freedom to try new things, travel, and go back to school

Right now my focus is continuing my education and learning more, just being happy with what I have, and bringing my travel and hospitality experience to the next level in a career field. I hope to find a place in the future where I can help others or animals as well.

I could sleep all day if I really wanted to. I have a small business and I work part time at night. Days where I’m in a tormental funk I could do absolutely nothing, but where would that get me? Nowhere but regret. I should have cleaned, could have ran a few miles, time would have been better spent studying or bettering myself. I love social media. It’s entertaining and it kills time, but when it kills good time and becomes a waste of time, that’s when it’s time to detox and take a step back.

Are we really bettering ourselves looking at our friends hourly posts? Will hell freeze over if we don’t respond to our friends new heels or 500th picture of their baby?

 

Maybe it’s better we turn off the phone or computer every once in a while and do something WORTHY OF POSTING …just saying. I’m guilty of this myself.

Being the best you can be also means letting yourself indulge at times and enjoy the simple things in life. Being the best you can be is living life with no regrets. I write this as I eat sweet potato fries with my white wine flight, but in twenty minutes I’ll be at the hotel gym and pool.

Life is balance. You need both.

These are simple ways you can better yourself on a regular basis.

  1. Wake up twenty minutes earlier. Yoga, read the news, clean, spend more time with your animals or kids.
  2. Compliment a stranger, who you may not like what your complimenting, but they need it. Positive energy is free!
  3. Learning a new word on a regular basis.
  4. Drink lots of water its our vital force.
  5. Make eye contact, connect.
  6. Find a happy place. It might be a game, gossip tv, sports, or crafts. Know how to unwind and relax.
  7. Connect with friends. Be a good friend. Real friends don’t have a reason to contact you, they just miss you.
  8. Volunteer, helping others less fortunate is so rewarding!
  9. Find humor, as laughter is the best medicine and it’s contagious.
  10. Learn to laugh at yourself.
  11. Make goals and check them off. Make 1-5 year plans. It can be work goals, personal goals, or just plain fun …travel inspirations or things you want to buy. But it’s a future plan that motivates you to push forward.

Know your personal pro and cons and deal with them.

For Example: Anger issues/aggressive driving    Food allergies/overly sensitive (though these people never admit it)

Mine are: Dairy makes me cough. It’s not life threatening, and I love cheese, but I have to choose if that slice is worth it. I am so impatient. I need to breathe and relax more. I have OCD. It may be great for me, but maybe not my husband, one thing out of order drives me insane.

Life’s a journey, enjoy the ride.

Appreciate the moments that bring you to all your tomorrows.

Why I love my cockapoo

I am a lover all of animals, but when it came to choosing a puppy I was so confused on which breed was right for me. I did endless online quizzes. While all puppies are ridiculously cute, I tend to go for medium and larger dog breeds. I’m just not a pooch in the purse type of girl. I need a snuggle buddy and a jogging buddy.

 

I grew up with hearty life loving Labradors. My roommate had the sweetest Pitt Bull Jasmine, and I once had a pot belly Pug. My husband never grew up with animals and it was almost a breaking point when I found out he preferred cats over dogs! What would become of this relationship?

He had a scary incident as a child with an dog attacking him. As much as I wanted to adopt a rescue dog, I knew our first one needed to be something he could raise as a puppy with a calm demeanor so he could bond with the rascal. I agreed we would get a kitten the same week as the pup. He wanted a Garfield kitty and I drove hours to find him one just a few weeks before our cockapoo was allowed to come home. It was the best decision ever. These two are in love with each other. They clean each other, play together, eat together, sleep together. It’s simply amazing!

 

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At first when I was on my search for the perfect fit for our household I had a few prerequisites:

  • Didn’t shed or shed very little. After living with Labs and Pugs I knew I didn’t want hair everywhere.
  • A medium sized dog that loves to snuggle and jog.
  • A quiet dog no little yappers or howlers allowed.
  • Family friendly for when that day comes.
  • Not prone to anxiety home alone.
  • White or light colored coat.

I fell in love with the Wheaton Terrior. I knew this was the dog for me. It looked like a giant teddy bear.

 

But there is something in that face that is pure mischevious. Everytime I would meet a Wheaton on a walk I would ask the owner  my normal questions. Do you love him? Is she hard to train? I’d always get the same answer, oh yes she’s cute, but she’s a “Wheaten.” They are known to be slightly less orniery than typical terriers, but they are jumpers, stubborn, and get hyper. My friend who had Airedales her whole life reassured me I don’t want a terrier. That’s when I came across forums saying they were Wheaten Terrors. That’s when my Wheaten bubble burst. What was I getting myself into?!

I looked into a few other breeds

The Tibetan Terrier    

Havanese 

and the Portuguese Water Dog 

 

But something was missing. Then I came across a classic hybrid the Cockapoo or as others would call it a mutt.

 

 

 

And I love my mutt! She is the perfect mix. Cockerspaniels alone can get grumpy and snappy as they get older. Poodles seemed either too large or too small, and maybe too smart for their own good. They are also very energetic and need lots of grooming on a regular basis.

These two breeds together was the perfect match for what we were looking for in a dog. Now every breed and dog personality is different, and training does affect how the dog grows up, but in general I love this breed!

I had the first pick of the litter and we wanted a white female. She was the last of 8 pups to be born, which were all black males.

zema

  • She was the runt so she is very submissive yet loving. Cockapoos can range between 15-30 pounds depending on their parents genetics. She was a cross of a first generation working cockerspaniel and a cockapooo (min poodle and english cocker) Her one year checkup weight was a whole 17 pounds so she is on the smaller side. At first I wanted her to get taller and bigger, but after having her a puppy I was enjoying the small stage. She is the perfect size, a large small dog.
  • She can be left alone for hours when I need to leave. Ever since she was a puppy we left her alone and didn’t crate her. Only recently did she start some chewing of a few things (pillows, shoes) but she is in her rebelous teenager phase.
  • She loves to play and run. We have a fenced in acre yard she loves to patrol and romp around. She can easily run a few miles with me, yet in the house all she does is a little wrestling with the kitty, and tons of snuggles and sleeping.
  • She is not a barker. When she needs to go out she waits by the door. If a stranger comes she will do a few barks, but she isn’t a typical yapper.
  •  She knows her basic commands. She even knows when it is bed time and goes to her room at 10pm to sleep.
  • Potty training wasn’t too difficult. We brought her home in October then we had the worst winter. -10 F that lasted from November and snow until May. Thanks Canada. So the real potty training didn’t start until the spring, but now she goes outside on a regular basis and only does her “accidents” in one section in the basement, so I’m not complaining.
  • Her hair, she doesn’t have fur, is so soft and silky. I don’t really comb it, but every few weeks I trim it with scissors and she loves her grooming time. I take her to the proper groomer twice a year for a good shave in the spring and fall. It’s normally $30 bucks each time for a wash, cut, and blow dry.
  • She isn’t aggressive. Never say never, but I could never see her snapping or biting someone.
  • She is independent, yet if I’m home will follow me to every room and nap near me. Her and the cat usually find time to snuggle together.

I am all for saving rescue dogs. If you are able to adopt, volunteer, or donate, its a very noble thing to do because every dog deserves a loving home. Now that I broke in my husband our next pooch will be a shelter dog, but if you need a hypoallergenic dog, I really do love mixing a cocker spaniel with a poodle.

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This is Zema at 12 weeks. She looks the same, oh those sad eyes lol, but is a bit taller and chubbier.

Zema means winter in Russian.

She is 20 inches nose to rump, 15 inches high and 17 pounds.

She moans…a lot. When she stretches, sleeps, gets cozy, she’s a moaner.

She loves eating cat food and playing with the cat’s toy mice.  The cat on the other hand loves raw hides and balls.

The working dog in her, she loves chasing birds and skunks …:{

She is scared of toddlers, she thinks they are some sort of animal her size.

She loves being loved and sleeping.

I love my cockapoo!

 

 

 

Surfing

Surfing, it was something I wanted to do at a young age. To feel the sun warming my skin with the fresh salt water cooling it as I rode the powerful thick waves to the golden beaches. A feeling of freedom and power, serenity and adrenaline.

I grew up in the country hundreds of miles from the ocean so the only surfing I started off with was channel surfing. Maybe relaxing for the mind, but not so productive for the body.

 

In my mid twenties I was in between apartments in Manhattan. Finding a place to crash your head in the big apple is a sport in itself, getting approved by the landlord is another full time job, this led me to … couch surfing.

GOT COUCH?

Luckily I have amazing friends who I could count on hard times and let me take over their small living rooms with my shoes and purses and beauty supplies.

It wasn’t until I was 28 years old until I finally got a taste of my childhood dreams. I was traveling to one of the top surfing destinations of the world, Costa Rica! I found an awesome private surf instructor in Puerto Viejo named Peace. After my first try at surfing I was humbled by the avid surfers and the strong waves, real surfing is no piece of cake. While it took me a few tries to get up on the board and my body felt like cooked spaghetti for a few days after I was hooked. Surfing is a sport where you can go inward, reflect, and excel with practice at your own pace.

surfer

Nothing feels better to wake up to a sunrise and see the perfect swell.

Nothing feels more empowering to ride in that wave start to finish.

Why I love surfing

1) You feel one with nature. Water, sun, sand, air, and wildlife, I can’t get enough.

2) Surfing is a sport for all levels beginners to pro, it’s never to late to learn.

3) There are so many great destinations to surf.

4) It is a full body work out. Mind, body, and soul.

5) Its exhilarating and challenging.

I always dream to go bigger, push myself to limits beyond my reach. Sometimes I get scared, but it is fear which is one of greatest downfalls.

Here are some great surfing destinations around the world aside from the no brainers: Hawaii, Australia, Cali, and Indonesia.

Tofino, Vancouver Island, Canada. Canada’s surfing capitol. It is surrounded by lush jungle and pine with a mountain backdrop. This Pacific coast has great waves for all levels of surfers, but don’t forget your wetsuit.

Costa Rica, a rustic and serene jungle atmosphere where monkeys howl on the beach and surfers from around the world migrate to surf the warm waves with perfect swells rising between 6-10 feet. While the country is small the surfing opportunities are fantastic. You have over 100 beaches, most do not have coral to scrape you up, and miles and miles of perfect swells. The beaches never get too crowded with surfers, and the locals are happy to share their surfing spots with the ever changing tourists. Pura Vida!

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Joe’s Point, Sur, Oman. The Middle East isn’t all about the beautiful desert, it also is a fantastic destination for surfers with its miles of breaks just waiting to be surfed upon.It has a soft sand bar underneath and a ride that lasts over 45 seconds.

San Sebastian Spain, What is a better way to spend a vacation than a destination with a siesta? Combine people watching on the beach with some surfing in between trying out tapas and Spanish wines, this is the perfect mix for a vacation filled with culture, in a relaxing European atmosphere. The waves are not scary, and the beaches are packed with surfers of every level enjoying the waves and the scenery.

Ecuador, another versatile destination where you can surf on a Monday and go skiing on a Tuesday. The people are warm and friendly, and the waters are warm and welcoming for surfers. It is a very up and coming destination that hasn’t been overly populated or commercialized. La Buena Vida is a family run surf camp and boutique hotel on ocean front property with perfect waves. Mix with down to earth surfers across the world and enjoy some fun in the sun together.

Where is your favorite spot? Some surfing spots on my conquer list are:

1) Waikiki, Hawaii. Warm waters, safe reef, and beginner friendly. Great destination for long boards.

2) Tahiti. A classic for both men and women.

3) Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica. I normally swim and layout here, but it looks like a great spot for beginners with an awesome sunset after surfing.