I’m so sorry…

I feel really bad. I have been neglecting my website. It’s not that i didn’t have anything going on. On the contrary. Lots of stuff, but I was writing them in my journals instead of online and also on Facebook.

Here’s whats been going on. If you recall, I created a bucket list and on that list I had to speak at events. So, I took the leap and posted on my facebook page that I was becoming a motivational speaker and asked people if they wanted me to speak at events. I didn’t get a response, but I got some suggestions for place to look. Thanks ladies.

I also sent out an email to a speaker asking her for advice on who’s a motivational speaker and..what does it take to be one. She replied back. She is very busy woman, so I was supper happen. When I first read the email I was  upset, but more hurt because it felt like she didn’t believe I could speak. But, when I read it again, and again, and one more time…juuuust to be sure I read it correctly, she was giving me great advice on ways to help me reach my goal. Thanks Rhonda. She was right. I needed to either have a topic to discuss and answer the question “why would people pay me to speak”. What makes me sooo wow? The first thought in my head was…”She’s right…who wants to hear what I have to say? Why would anyone with a brain whos already successful want to hear me”. But there is this little nagging voice that keeps saying to me…”just keep at it. Write the book.”

I was searching out Canadian motivational speakers when I found an article from Forbes called “There’s no such thing as a motivational speaker“. I was angry when I saw this because I KNOW there are speakers like that, but when I read the article, it completely made sense. They explain that the speaking is the activity and that i needed to find something that i was passionate about to speak on, have a topic that can help people,  then write a book about it, speak at events.

Wow, what a wake up call. I was doing this all backwards. I was putting “the cart before the horse”. In other words, I was trying to get speaking gigs without having a program, a book, or even something to talk about.

Does this sound like you? You hear speakers reach into your soul and you say to yourself “self, I want to do that. Yes, that’s what I want to do.” Maybe its just me who talks to herself like that? That’s exactly what I do…A LOT! I get an idea to do something…like speak and then start researching the idea, but nothing happens because it was feeling like this is soooo much work. I was struggling with finding a speech to write about, how to come up with the points to discuss, but after that article. I feel like now I am on the right path. First I am going to finish writing my book that I have been writing for almost 2 years and see what happens. I am writing it mainly for me as it was a way for me to release my feelings, but if it helps you, then I am even MORE happy.

 

Thanks.

Tina

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Weekly Meal Planning

Weekly meal planIf you don’t have a lot of time or money, then you’re going to like this article. Every week, I usually go and eat pho soup and while I’m there, I prepare my weekly meal ideas. However, I do it with the intention of trying to save money and make more than 2 meals each.  Well, there are some weeks that I do great and some that are not so great. It depends on what’s on sale and if I feel like cooking. It does happen that I eat out a lot, but I try not to because it’s very salty and, I prefer my cooking.

I put together a template that you can modify with meal ideas and what groceries you need. I also put some links to recipes from other people. Next months meal plan, I will be sure to put my own recipe links because most of mine involve using leftovers.

Weekly meal plan and grocery list

If you have other meal plans you wan to share, please add the link or send me the document so that I can post it.

Have a wonderful week.

Tina

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Ran out of salad dressing and found a great one to make with 3 1/2 ingredients

I made spaghetti and have Cesar dressing, but I don’t like cesear and my favorite Newmans Lemon Garlic is alll gone:(  So, I need to make something fast. Naturally I went to Google and found a Classic Vinaigrette. I don’t like a lot of ingredients, but i like flavor and this one has the ingredients I really like.  I would like to have it for at least 6 servings and this one I don’t think will last, so, here’s what I changed:

  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar,
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard (too much Dijon can take over the taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper to taste.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Start with the red wine, then the dijon, and add the salt and pepper if you want, and then poor the oil in while whisking it to make sure it blends. Or you can do like me, poor it all into one container and shake it. Voila salad dressing el Tina style!

To find the original and more salad dressings, click on the Food Network link here. If you have other easy dressings, pleeeeeease share them. While I love surfing the net, I much prefer getting them from my wonderful friends.

 

 

 

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How NOT to Save Money on Business Cards

I am going to my very first Virtual Assistant Conference this weekend. I’m soooo excited. One of the things it said to bring was business cards, but the cards I have are not the ones I want to use. They are my marketing coaching ones, which I soooo don’t want to do anymore. I normally have my cards done by Vista.ca. but didn’t have time.

Has this ever happened to you? You’re working on a website to create new business cards. You normally go to Vistaprint.ca because they have the best prices, but they can’t deliver today. So, you go to Staples online. You’re having fun creating them, but now it’s time to send them to get printed, but when you go to checkout, there is no choice for Canada? What??? YA! That’s what happened to me this morning. I was on the staples.com and not staples.ca. I spent almost 2 hours designing it and now I can’t use it. So, I call the number on their site hoping they’ll tell me to just go in the store and they’ll be able to print it there, but nope! They are 2 separate companies and don’t have the same cards either☹

So, I print out what I made to try and replicate it. Lucky for me I’m a quick learner and can replicate things fairly quickly. All I needed was the image I wanted, but when I got there, that was a bit of a problem, because they normally want a USB stick. However, the girl was nice enough to let me log into my Gmail account and pull the pic and, I got my new business card set up in 10 minutes.

So, when I go to pay, she shows me it’s $29.99 for 100 cards! What??? That’s double the price of Vista Print and you only get ¼ of what they offer.

Well, no sense crying over spilled milk, like someone use to say.

Here’s what my new card looks like. It’s a bit blurry (sorry about that). I’m satisfied with it, but I liked the other ones much better.

So, here’s the lessons I’ve learned for today:

  1. Don’t wait to the last minute to do business cards, or you’ll pay more and get LOT LESS
  2. Be sure to check which website you’re working on so that you don’t waste time and also, get emails from a company you can’t deal with because they don’t deliver here.
  3. And lastly, don,t spend so much time making a business card. Have a plan first of what you want and then pick out the best choice instead of redesigning the whole card.

If you’re going to be making new cards soon, Vistaprint.ca is offering 40% with promo code SALE40 off cards and other promotional stuff. But hurry. It’s ends May 16, 2017. I just put in a new order for 500 cards for $7.99. Talk about crazy savings.

Here’s to your business and saving your dollars, seeings the pennies no longer exist.

Tina

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What to do with leftover cilantro or mint?

My Man made a wonderful lamb last Tuesday and it was amazing!!! I know I said he doesn’t cook, but he does…sometimes😉. There was a little bit of it left over the next day and I was going to make a salad with it, but….he ate it when we got home from work. Oh well, on to the next idea. We had lots of leftover cilantro or coriander, and mint from the lamb and I wasn’t sure what I could I do with all those herbs. So, what do I do? Google ideas and poof. I found a recipe I LOVE. Vietnamese food. I LOVE Pho soup, spring rolls, salad rolls, vermicelli salad. OMG, I could eat this every day, but I would be a bit broke and overweight because of all the rice noodles.

After going through my pantry and the fridge, I saw that I had the leftover ingredients from previous recipes and could make shrimp rolls or vermicelli salad. I decided on both, but only wrote how to do the rolls. However, i added a link at the bottom for a good recipe.

Here’s what I had for leftovers :

  • 10 small shrimp
  • 1 piece of roasted chicken
  • 30 rice wraps
  • Hot sauce
  • Shredded carrots
  • Lots of Mint
  • Lots of cilantro
  • ½ seedless cucumber (I hate seeds in them)
  • 1 left over roast chicken meat

And here’s what I came up with shrimp rolls and vermicelli chicken salad.

IMAGE

 

Shrimp rolls

3 small shrimps

1 Rice rap stuff

1 Mint twig

2 Cilantro twigs

¼ piece of Lettuce

Small amount of Vermicelli (optional)

4 pieces of shredded carrots

 

1 ingredient Dipping sauce

  • Hoisin sauce and that’s it. Dip away.

If you like the peanut butter one, here’s one you could make with leftovers too.

Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1/3 cup water

 

Instructions:

  • Cut up all the veggies and meat to be in slices so that it will fit lengthwise
  • Rice paper rolls – get a large enough bowl to fit the papers in, and poor very warm water in it. Dip 1 rice paper at a time into the water for 15-20 seconds. I hold it down and swirell them around. Make sure not to make them too soft, but slightly firm so you can roll them. Immediately remove from the water and place flat onto a cutting board.
  • Time to fill the rolls – Place a few pieces of shrimp, lettuce, carrot, cucumber, and if you want a small amount of noodles and a bit of cilantro and mint. Do not over stuff the roll!
  • Roll everything up tightly by gently pulling at the bottom of the roll and roll in the filling. Try to tuck the filling in as you go. I say try because those little suckers don’t want to stay in, but you’ll get it…after 3 tries😊
  • Place on plate or what I did I put 3 in my mouth and the other 3 I saved for work the next day. NOTE: they will stick to the bags, so add a bit of water to the storage bag, or do like someone else said and wrap each one in siran rap. Ah, for me, that was way too much work.
  • For the Dip – – just put the hoisin in small dipping bowl and voila. And for lunch, buy those salad dressing containers and put it in there.

 

Here’s another recipe I found online for the vermicelli salad that looked amazing, but had stuff in it I couldn’t eat like cabbage or hot peppers. WOW, talk about running to the bathroom for me😊.

Enjoy and if you have other recipe ideas for left overs, please share in the comments below.

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UPDATE to Tax preparation – I had to change software

In a previous post called http://lafemmeottawa.com/how-to-prepare-your-own-taxes-for-your-small-business/, I wrote that I had completed my taxes using Studio Press, and I did, but I didn’t send them in. I was waiting for Ma Man’s taxes. So, we started to do them together and…well, lets just say that we don’t see eye to eye on completing them. He has different forms than I do, and investments that I know nothing about. The software would just put up forms and you were to enter information, but you didn’t know what it was. So I suggested to him he hire a professional. When I went to complete the details in Studio tax for just myself, the information that uploaded was not the correct info I added for his salary and I couldn’t figure out how to change it. Nor would it let me remove his details.

All in all it was not an easy to use software. So, the next thing I did was send out a Facebook request to Ladies Who Lunch group asking for a tax expert and got responses, but I wanted them done that day and I know it’s not fair to have some drop everything for me, but I just wanted them off my To-Do-List. So, I decided I would try one more software. The next one listed on the CRA website was Simple Tax, and truth be told, it was..simple that is. It asked you easy questions and then let you select which forms you needed to add.

The only issue I had was trying to find how to add my business income and expenses for my part-time business, but I finally found it. It’s called “Business, Professional, and Commission Income”.

So, good news….I get a refund from CRA. Bad news is…they say 2 weeks, but we shall see.

While I appreciated doing it myself, I think next year I might pay someone again to do it simply because they know what they are doing and well, I was just trying to save money.

Lesson here..Cheaper is NOT always better. You could end up spending more time, which is dollars as well.

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Swapping your winter tires to summer – Make sure to look in the bag!

Today is Saturday, April 8th and it’s a beautiful day, so Ma Man was going to swap the winter tires to the summer ones, when he pulled the tires out of the bag, he noticed that they looked the same as the winter ones. He wasn’t sure they were the right ones and asked me to come and see them, when I saw them I said “those are not my tires”.  He said to go check the receipts for when we bought the car as it had a photo on it. Well, I argued with him and said they didn’t give us a photo, but what he was referring to was the image from the Kijii ad.  I went upstairs and located my car file, which is another important lesson…have a file folder for each item that might need fixing i.e. car, mattress, furniture, taxes😊 so you know where it is if you need in the future.

I found the receipts and it had a picture of my beautiful rims that were originally on my car. My Man suggested I bring the tire they gave us and go to Canadian Tire and ask the Manager to see if they are in the back. So, I went..on a Saturday and…no manager. They asked I call him on Monday to discuss.

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How to prepare your own taxes for your small business

Taxes!!! Are you procrastinating like I am?

I am getting ready do my own taxes this year because I feel that the accountants I have used haven’t really been so amazing at saving me money and I hated having to meet them at their convenience i.e. he sometime shows up late to his own office.

So, it’s mid-April already and I haven’t done my taxes yet. I usually have everything ready end of March, but for some reason, I have found soooo many other things or excuses to do that felt way more important, or fun, like…

  • write this blog post
  • prep dinner
  • schedule in when to have a girls night
  • review Amazon
  • see what’s for sale on Kijiji

COME ON Tina!!! I know, but I just can’t seem to get into it. However, it’s crunch time. I finally sat down on Friday April 14th and read and listened to videos for a few hours on trying to figure out which software to use. I finally decided on Studio Tax. It’s not bad and they have videos to help you, which is very good, but if you’re partly self-employed, they don’t really have anything on that. So, I called a friend who use to work for them and she told me to use the Commission form as it has the income and expenses on it.

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What I am meant to be doing with my life?

Are you feeling blah and not sure why or what to do?

For the past month, I have been feeling blah. I thought maybe I was feeling this way because I was exhausted and winter was here, which I am not a fan of. We went on a beautiful trip in February to Antigua. It was beautiful and relaxing, but when I came back I went right back to feeling blah. I thought it was because I didn’t like the way I looked, so I got a haircut, which did help😊 (this is not my new hair, but rather how I feel)

However, when I wake up to go to work that’s when I feel it the most. I feel a heavy heart. I’m angry and frustrated because I have not found work that makes me happy that I can do it daily.  Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for having a job, but that’s just it…A JOB. I feel like I am meant to be doing something else, but what else that is I don’t know.

I was given many opportunities to try new positions with government department. I was a Wellness coordinator and I liked it, minus a few events that made me feel nauseous, but it wasn’t permanent, and I was looking for better pay and working in a team. The one thing I didn’t like was working alone. While I dealt with people, I worked alone. I had no one to go for coffee with, to brainstorm ideas off of, except for the DG, which is not what I wanted to do. I truly believed in the workshops and I loved being at these events because I could see how it helped, but it wasn’t permanent.

Then there was the Awards Coordinator, which was a good position too, and very busy, but that one had way too much isolation for me. This job was mostly about contracts and promoting events, which was fun, but it was not for me. The most painful part about that job was writing speeches. I didn’t have the experience they needed and felt so incompetent and some of the people I worked with helped me feel that way too. This was a big part of the job and I didn’t know it would be when I took on the task. Well, I had nightmares about people getting upset with me because the speech was awful. So I told my boss that I no longer wanted the job and wish to go back to my old job because…I hated it. That was not a way I wanted to feel every day, hating to wake up, crying and not feeling supported.

So now I am at a job that is not challenging, and the people that come to see you are stressed because they are doing tests. I coordinate second language testing for employees. I am a positive person and feel it when people are stressed, so this job takes its toll on my health. I was also working in a separate office and that didn’t help with the emotions. I felt isolation. However, we now have everyone back on the team and it’s much better, and I am back in my old office where there are fun people who like their jobs.

So, the question I am asking myself is “what am I meant to be doing with my life?” well, I don’t know the answer yet, but I do know what I DON’T want to be doing which is working in a stressful or negative environment; being in isolation; doing repetitive work where I don’t get to voice my opinion; not working in a team; having no one to work with on a team; working in an area where people don’t support you or help you; working crazy hours; not being able to take a break and have someone watch the hours you work. That one I hate the most! I am not paid by hour, I am paid to get the job done!

So, what’s my next plan of action? I am going to find something else in another government department. I am going to send out my resume as suggested by my awesome friend Carol, to see if I can deploy to another department where they have opportunities and…do things I value like make the world or the city a better place.

If you know of a department that is looking for someone who likes technical, likes to deal with people, likes training and writing instructional guides, can juggle multiple things, and is willing to learn new skills, please pass along their name to me and I will GLADLY contact them. While I am currently a CR-04, I have been acting in many roles as an AS-03.

Now it’s your turn, if you’re feeling blah, look at why and come up with a small step as to what you can do to change it. Maybe you just need a day off to watch TV all day..DO IT! Maybe your body is sore and need to get a massage, but the hours are during work…DO IT! Maybe you’re like me and need a change of career, write down what you don’t like and then what you DO like and look for work that has those components and then, start making 1 call or email a day. Baby steps is for me the only way to go.

If you have other ways to help with the blah’s, please share in the comments below.

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Goal #7 Declutter – purging…starting with my closets

February is purging month, OK maybe March too because I have soooo much stuff.  The reason I started this goal was because of the book I’m reading called “The Happiness Project” by Grethchen Rubin. If you haven’t read it, you really need to get it. She’s got some great advice for each month. She talks about each project using herself and her family as the examples. I am loving it. In her book, January is the energy boosting month and one of the ways to do that is to declutter your space. If you want to buy it for cheaper, go to Amazon.ca and buy it used. After all, it’s not something you’re going to treasure forever. So, save your money and get it used.

Do you know what purging means?  For some, it may mean puking up what you just ate, but that’s not what I am talking about. I’m referring to getting rid of things you either no longer use, or are holding on to because it might come back, or because you spent money on it. That’s totally me! Holding on to it because I paid money, but the problem with that is it’s taking up space and making me angry because it’s just sitting there.

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