2017 is fast approaching and I plan to write WAYYYYY more often, but…not post them all. After all, I have to keep you entertained and don’t want you to get sick of me. I have been reading up on how to become a better writer and one of the ways is to…just write. So, that’s what I’m doing, but I want to write about things that interest me like setting goals. Every year I try to set goals that are realistic, but sometimes I mess up, like the one I just tried to do. I set out to not drink alcohol for 7 days. Well, I tried and…lasted 2 days. I like the taste of a good beer. However, I have stopped drinking red wine, which my Man doesn’t believe. He thinks it’s a phase, but I don’t think it is. I actually don’t crave it like I use to when I would start to cook. It’s only been 2 weeks, but still. that’s huge because I would drink a glass or 2 with dinner every other night. So, my new year is off to a good start.
So, this is the time to start setting new goals, but also remembering and celebrating the ones I reached from last year. Here’s a link to my bucket list of what I said I would do before I die, so in 2016 this is what I actually accomplished.
I decided to set small goals for 2017 and here they are.
1) Convince the man to take another trip south in February
2) Organize more fun with friends
3) have my business make $1,000+ a month
4) go on 1 date a week with my man = 52 dates
5) exercise a minimum of 3 days a week
6) read 1 new book every 2 months (that one might be tough)
6) volunteer for a fun charity that supports local women business or the Boys and Girls Club
7) De-clutter my space i.e. clean up my office files, get rid of clothes and shoes I no longer wear (so, if you want some stuff, text me)
8) decorate my home for under $500, includes a new couch:)
9) Do at least 3 things on my bucket list http://lafemmeottawa.com/i-have-120-things-on-my-bucket-li…/
10) and…love myself no matter what happens this year.
What are your goals for 2017?
Here’s to a wonderful 2017!
My man and I went on our annual vacation down south. This year we tried an adults only hotel. It’s called the Riu Republica in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I was told it just opened in June. It was a lot of fun because I didn’t have to cook or clean, but rather just enjoy our time together which we did. Here’s a summary of our week’s adventure.
Was there enough activities?
Yes. The entertainers had games for everyone, BUT…they were too long to wait to play them. They would try to get 10 to 20+ people to sign up. So, you would get one turn and then wait another 10 minutes to play. My man and I did win at darts. He came 1st and I came 2nd. However, this is normal in most resorts. So, if anyone from resorts are reading this, can you please do a max of 10 people. While we want to play, we also want to enjoy the sun.
There was a fun game called Slip and slide that the tourists decided to do. They used one of the tables in the pool, added TONS of water to it and encouraged everyone to get on. Well, most of us did and it was a blast. I did hear though of someone tearing out their belly button ring because there was groves in the table:(
2 days during the week they had a foam party. The pic above is from the event. They played great dance, rock, and some country music. So, that was great.
What was the room like?
One word…HUGE!!! We had a king size bed…OMG, I loved having my own side of the bed. I would have to roll over 3 times just to get close to him. So, you can imagine how amazing my sleep was.lol
There was plenty of water bottles, alcohol, beers in the fridge, towels and pillows.
However, constant humming outside. We were facing east, which was what we wanted because we wanted sun in the morning. However, we couldn’t sit out there because the noise actually hurt our ears.
What was the weather like?
That’s the interesting part. It rained every morning and at least 2 times during the week, but these were HEAVY rain. I took a video to show you, but it’s on my other camera. So, it will have to wait sorry.
What about the food and drinks?
OK, so here’s where I’m a bit disappointed. There was 1 buffet, a snack place, and 3 restaurants we could eat at. The buffet had good food and quite a variety, but the restaurants all had buffet too and not open every day. Only the steak house had sit down menu that you chose from. Everywhere else was buffet. I really wanted a sit down dinner and something different. After all, that’s what it said was provided in the description.
The drinks were good. We had beer most of the time, and mimosa in the morning. One of the bar guys Leornardo made wonderful dry vodka martini’s with LOTS of olives for us. One girl at the pool gave me a shot with coffee cream and chocolate sauce…OMG, that was tasty. We tried the Mamajuana. YACK!!! That stuff will grow hair on your chest, even if you’re a woman!
What about the beach?
Ah yes the beach. The beach was soft and easy to walk on. With the crazy weather i.e. wind and rain it was hard, but we walked 40 minutes each way. We saw the Hard Rock hotel that we walked in to see. It’s HUGE. Not a place for him and I. We like smaller and more outside. This hotel felt like it was a shopping mall. It’s good for some people, but not for us.
So, would you go back?
We payed over $3600 for the 2 of us. It was fun, we met some very nice people, and there were no kids. So, would we go there again? No! The prices doesn’t make up the difference for things that are important to me like restaurants, quiet time while sitting on the balcony. Last year we stayed at the Grand Palladium Punta Cana and it was 2 times the size and cost us $2400. Oh and there was no one selling local artifacts which we liked to see during the week.
I have been spending wayyy too much money eating out, especially since my salary went down as I am no longer acting in higher role. Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy I am no longer doing that role because I was very busy and felt very isolated. I am back working with a great team who makes me laugh and they do things together like coffee or lunch. This is better than the extra pay. However, with a smaller salary I really need to smarten up on the spending. So, the first thing I did was try to find someone who mastered it and while I found a few ideas, they were not exactly everything I needed as they were American. However, I got some great suggestions from Bobbie from www.livinginretrospect.com. One of her articles talked about going through your cupboards and seeing what you have, then come up with a meal plan for 30 days. Yikes!!! I like variety, but not sure I could come up with 30 days’ worth of meals. I also needed breakfast and lunch where she provides great ideas for dinner.
I reviewed my previous grocery bills for the last few months, and no I didn’t keep my receipts. I should have but I didn’t. I looked at my withdraws from my debit account and found them to be way out of sorts. Some weeks I spent $120, while others I spent $60. It all depends on what I had on hand and if I actually wanted to cook, which I didn’t the past month.
The next thing I did was follow Bobbie’s suggestion and did an inventory of what I had in the fridge, freezer, cupboards and pantry. Well, I have LOTS of things I can use. I had things in the cupboard that I wasn’t sure what to do with them like sardines, and rice roll paper. So, now comes the fun part, finding recipes I can make with the ingredients I have on hand that don’t take too much time and not too many ingredients. I don’t have patients for either.
Let me warn you though that finding recipes is LOTS of fun, but it can also be very VERY time consuming. So, I thought I would give you a head start and wrote down a few that you likely already have.
Another important thing to note about me is I don’t ever follow the recipes exactly, but they always seem to turn our great. Just ask my man…because there’s never any leftovers.
One more note, I didn’t write down exactly what I bought at the grocery store, but I do know I went over againJ. However, here’s what do I have on hand to eat in the house to make these meals.
what do to with a Roast Chicken
Rice dishes that taste better than take out Chinese (secret ingredient?)
- I used what i had in the cubbard i.e. rice, and the fridge…left over roast chicken, carrots, zucchini, green onions and 2 eggs. Secret ingredients? I added ½ teaspoon of Sesame oil. Omg sooo good.
Chicken and rice soup
Left over roast chicken, carrots, celery, onion, chicken stock, Italian seasonings and cooked rice (or you can add uncooked rice to your chicken stock and then add veggies after it’s cooked. It tastes amazing.
NOTE: you can make your own chicken stock by simply boiling the carcus after you take off the meat and add the same ingredients above, minus the rice as that’s for when you are ready to eat it.
Thai Curry chicken and rice
Steam and veggies you have on hand, the add 1 teaspoon thai curry paste, can of coconut milk, left over roast chicken, and stir and make your steamed rice as you’re doing this and voila…
Pasta that’s somewhat healthy
cold asian noodle salad? /carrots/green onion/sugar snaps, noodles, (soy ginger dressing)
I replaced a few items with carrots and celery
Sheppard’s pie with ground deer meat (it actually tastes better than ground beef)
I only used onions, cream corn and corn niblets, deer meat and cauliflower to replace potatoes
- Thin sliced apples or grapes/lettuce/almonds (mustard vinegrette)
What I found for Sardines
Note: I’m not sure I’m going to try this, but thought I would post it for you;)
French onion soup
- I like to cook my onions in butter, then add water and beef broth if I have it or chicken stock works well too, then the onion soup mix. I use whatever cheese I have on hand, but the best I found was swiss.
NOTE: Trick to make the toast fit the bowl? Use the bowl to cut the bread by using the inside of the bowl it like a cookie cutter.
If you’re looking to find ideas for things to cook and budget friendly grocery stores, here’s a few that I like.
www.Costco.ca (great price for hummus, coffee cream, zucchini, eggs, spinach and mini cucumbers)
www.Walmart.ca (good price on chicken breast and pork)
www.producedepot.ca (best fruits and veggies because they are not oversized. You know, the ones that was injected with god knows what)
Good luck and if you have other places to save money, please let me know. I love to save and try new things.
I had bought some fresh spinach ricotta stuffed pasta, but I didn’t buy the sauce because I was going to make an oil and garlic sauce, but The Man wanted a sauce. However, the spaghetti sauce was frozen. So, what did i do? Look up recipe for something with cream cheese and found this one on Food.com .
It was really easy, but I’m warning you…it’s VERY rich, so don’t put too much on. Maybe add a blop and dip the pasta in it.
Ingredient I used in the house
1/2 of the cream cheese recommended
2 tables spoons of butter as that’s all i had left
poured in 10% cream because we don’t have milk.
pepper….pepper…and more pepper…but not too much.
Spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta from Giant Tiger that cost $2.50 each bag. I used only one.
Also, I didn’t follow the instructions, but it turned out OK.
Here’s what the pasta and sauce look like separate. I know I know, I should have taken the photo together, but as I said before..when the Man is hungry, I just get enough time to take the photo when things are cooking..wink wink.
My Man loves French onion soup that I make. He use to love the one at The Kegg, but after having mine, he prefers mine. So last night I was hoping to go out for dinner, but he asked me to make French Onion Soup. I love the man, so I did, but not without giving him a bit of the biz about not taking me out. For those that don’t know what “the biz” means, it’s teasing him.
The one thing you’ll notice in my recipes though is I rarely use the same ingredients. This latest version I used he LOVED.
Here’s what I used
½ Beef stock (store bought)
2 table spoon of butter
1 cup of water
Packet of onion soup mix
1 small onion chopped length wise. If you chop too small it doesn’t really taste like onion soup, eh!
2 pieces of white bread (whole wheat bread is too sweet for us)
2 square slices of Swiss or old cheese
- Cut the onions into big pieces as that’s what makes the flavor
- Melt the butter on medium heat. Add the cut up onion to the butter and cook for about a minute
- Add the broth and water to the beef stock and water. I have also used my homemade chicken stock which tastes really good too
- Add the onion soup mix packet
- Turn the stove oven on broiler onto high. This is to cook the cheese
- Cut up the cheese into thin slices and make 4 slices. I prefer slices because shredding is a pain, but whatever works for you is fine.
- Toast bread and the use the onion soup bowl to cut out the circle in the bread. You can keep left over bread to make croutons or breadcrumbs. I just throw it out. It’s too much work for me.
- Place the soup into the soup bowls, then place the toast on top, but don’t push it in or the cheese wont melt in the oven. Then add the cheese to the top
- Place in the over for about 3 minutes, but keep looking
VOILA! Your soup is ready to eat.
P.S. This is the first recipe I actually wrote down with amounts listed. I never do because I like to wing it in the kitchen and so far, it’s been OK.
Men if you are reading, this one is not for you…unless you have teenage girls, t
hen you may want to read it.
It’s that time of the month…you know what I’m talking about ladies, period. Some of my friends are lucky and don’t have it anymore, but they have the hot flashes. I still have mine and I don’t mind it, but this time I’m a little annoyed. I bought a new type of tampons called Rexall because they were on sale for 50% off. However, they have caused me not 1, not 2, but 3 accidents!
I was getting ready to go out for dinner with my man. I had just finished a short workout at the gym, and changed my tampon an hour before. When I dried myself after the shower, everything was good. So, got in my car to drive to the restaurant when I got the feeling that something was leaking. I touched my pants and they were wet. Are you kidding me!!! I just changed an hour ago, and…these are new jeansL. So, I called my man and told him I would be running late as I had to go home to change. We go out to eat and when I get home, again another hour after I just changed, another mishap. WTF!!! So, washed the first pair of pants and undies with soap and now have to wash another one.
The next day, I’m heading to work at 6:45am. I do the same routine, got changed first thing, took shower and leave 15 minutes after I get up. It takes about 25 minutes to get to work, when…oh oh…feel something leaking. SERIOUSLY!!! Luckily I have spare underwear at work from my gym clothes.
I have never had so many issues with tampons as I have with these ones. They don’t seem to soak up much at all. Maybe I had a bad batch, but I will not likely buy them again.
Lesson learned ladies, some things on sale are not always a good deal. You may end up paying for it later:(
“Winter is coming.” I love that saying from John Snow in Game of Thrones. It’s his voice and when I hear it I get chills because…well, winter is coming, which it is here in Ottawa. Which means time to switch summer tires to winter ones, but this year I was trying to find rims. It costs a lot when I need to switch them every season i.e. $80, but if I had the rims already installed on them, the dealer said it would be $40. I still think that’s high, but I can’t do it. I told my man about the cost and My ManJ said he could do it no problem. Woohoo, $40 saved every year. My plan was to look for used rims online for about $100, but people had their winter tires with them and were selling for $300. I tried to see if they would sell separately, but no go. So, during the summer, the fall right up until now, I had been searching on line for 4 rims and I found a few, but because I don’t know what I’m looking for I asked the HONDA dealer what I needed to look for and they gave the rim size to be 195/65R/15. I had a feeling that buying fromt them would be expensive, so when I asked them how much it would cost for their rims, they said….$80 each PLUS taxes!!! OMG, that was the cost of my tires, or pretty close. Well, that wasn’t going to happen. So, I kept looking online in places like Kijij, usedottawa, but I didn’t feel confident in going to buy them. I even found someone online named Pat who was looking for me, but he didn’t find any since the summer. Funny how I found a whole bunch, but he didn’t. Oh well, keep searching. So, I waited and waited until….as John Snow said “winter is coming” and, and it hit. The first snow fall. NOW I had to rush to find them or else we were going to spend another $80 to install and then do it again the next year. NO THANKS! My Man said to look at Costco. He found them for about $53 each, but I still found that high. However, if I calculate all the time I spend searching online, when I could have just bought them and be done with it, I would have saved time and money I could have been making in my business. I caved and called Costco, but they said it would take 2 weeks just to get an appointment and I wasn’t allowed to book the appointment until I actually have the rims in my hand! Seriously!!! So, next option was Canadian Tire. Instead of calling, I went into the store because the snow was on the ground and I needed them NOW…today. Good new, they had 6 of them, so I bought 4 for $270 approximately, but they could only do the install on Wednesday. Well, 3 days from when I bought them is much better than 2 weeks for Costco.
Today is installation day, but there is a downfall from this. They said it will take a few hours. Oh boy, what am I going to do for 2 hours? I don’t really like to shop at crappy tire as I call it. However, there is a restaurant across the street where I can go and write and have a beverage. DONE!
Hurray! Tires are installed and look great, and now…no more needing to go to Canadian Tire. Oh ya, forgot to mention the problems I had with buying the rims and ensuring I get the 1 year warranty on them. Ya, I don’t want to ruin your day or mine. I’m just happy I got my winter tires and rims installed. Thank you Canadian Tire for being fast with booking dates and having my rims available at a reasonable price.
The lesson here is when you’re trying to save money, be sure you know what you’re doing. Ask someone who has experience with what you need. Don’t waste too much time trying to save $100 like I did. If you don’t know the answer, ASK! And….always ask for better price or deal on installation or whatever you’re looking for.
OK, it’s not day 2, because I haven’t written daily about this, but it’s Day 2 with regards to my project of finding what I’m meant to do with my career and I think I have figured it out.
I have been working on a book about my life and my experiences because that’s what I thought I was meant to do i.e. to write a book about my life story and speak about it at events. The book was going to be used as a giveaway at speaking events.
While I was trying to write the book, I was trying to write it the way that the experts were telling me, but I just couldn’t get it. I was struggling with it and procrastinating. My book idea just didn’t fit the way they suggested to write it. I wanted to write my stories in more of a theme of sections like career, relationship, family, money, etc. I had all the stories, I just couldn’t figure out how to put it in the format that they suggested. One suggested put it in a “how to”, but would have to rewrite the stories to fit the “how to” model. Another suggested doing research and having other information from others in my book, but that too felt wrong for what I was trying to do.
So, when it came time to start putting the book together, the experts said to start with the table of contents, but I had all my stories written out already. How was I going to work backwards? The book had to be built around a theme of solving a problem, but I had so many problems of my own that I just wanted to share them with others in the hopes they would laugh, cry or maybe use what they learned to improve their lives. Well, when I did come up with a theme, I would ask a few friends what they thought and before they could tell me, I rewrote another table of content, so i started working on those story idea, but then another theme came to mind and I started on that one, but I wasn’t able to come up with new stories for any of the table of contents because, for me, they felt forced. I wasn’t enjoying the process of writing anymore. I was blocked. I was talking with a friend and she helped me to see that maybe it’s not a book I’m meant to write, but rather a blog about all my experiences, and maybe later, a book might come of it, but for now just to write and enjoy it. She was right. I loved just writing about the experience and not about putting it into book format to meet someone else’s needs. I needed to do this for me first, and that’s when it finally clicked. When I got in my car after leaving work, I cried because it felt like I finally new what I was meant to do. No more struggling to figure it out.
So what am I meant to be doing?
I’m meant to share things with people from my life experiences, but what tool should I be using, that’s what I’ve been struggling with. Well, I think I got it! I’m a BLOGGER. I even love the sound of the title. I’m meant to write, but not in a book. I’m going to write my stories in my blog. This feels right and…I have fun doing it.
So, what will I write about?
OMG, where do I start. I love to write about my cooking adventures thanks to Pinterest, dates I go on with my man and friends, careers I’ve tried or rather jobs I’ve tried and quit, businesses I’ve had and closed or failed at, deals I find and what I really thought of the deal, and the scary stuff about my past and what I did to overcome them, and so much more. I am going to share real life experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly., relationships I gave up on, friends that come and go, family or lack there of, and my health which includes all the above, but also my mind and body, which I have abused a wee bit. Hey, I never said I was perfect. I’m a work in progress.
So, what’s my blog? My name is Tina Lalonde. I’m the owner of the blog La Femme Ottawa where I write I open up honestly about what I’ve learned about myself and life experiences. This is going to be real and raw. I’m scared to write about personal stuff, but I also know that this feels right. If it can help someone else from making the same mistakes, then it’ll be worth it. If you’re going to read it and comment, all I ask is that you be gentle with your comments. This is not a place for people who are not willing to put themselves out there. If you have good suggestions, I will gladly listen, but if you’re only trying to bring me down, I have one word for you..DELETE!
Thank you and please share with those you think will enjoy reading it.
I was searching to find deals for business cards other than Vistaprint, even though they have AMAZING deal for $10 you get 500 business cards, when I came across a deal for t-shirts. I was surprised because it brought me to Kijiji and there was NO business cards, but what there was are t-shirts for $6.99!
I was thinking of getting shirts made for when I speak at an event and want to have it as a give away. I think they would be great to give away or if people want to buy them as well. This company has many great benefits…
- they are local in Ottawa
- they offer Free shipping, even in Ottawa
- the minimum shirt order is $24 for….$6.99 each, and…they go down more if you buy more
- they can help you build a logo or do it for you, but they didn’t say the price
The company is called Ottawa Custome Clothing. Here’s where I found the deal for $6.99 t-shirts on Kijiji. If you do use their service, please write in the comments below what you thought of them and…attach a photo of what you got done.