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I tried many times to start a blog. I never really knew how to start or what I would talk about since it would be open to the world..!

Today, I’m 27 and I just started my second year of my master’s degree which means I don’t have any classes to attend to anymore and that I have a memoir to do. I have until August of next year to do so. Like many of you I imagine, I’ve been in school since I was 5, but it’s the first time for me (at least) to be a full-time student without any classes or seminars… I personally find it uncomfortable et a little bit scary even. My director told me that I will be fine and that she’s not concern about me, my motivation nor discipline, which is reassuring.

I also work at my university as a research assistant for one of my professor and at the sport center. But since, school is out for summer, I don’t really have a job for July, which, again, is not something that I particularly enjoy but I have to learn to live with it in a way. I applied to many jobs and I just got a response yesterday: I have an interview in the beginning of August (fingers crossed!).

So, the question that I don’t have the answer for right now is : what to do with my (too much) free time? I’m already doing house chores, seeing my friends and training 2-3 times a week. I cannot just buy stuff or going to eat out everyday since I don’t an income for myself right now. My husband is working hard everyday and also went back to school so he’s very busy himself. So I need something that I can do by myself that’s not going to break the bank…

So what’s the answer you ask me?

It’s simple really.

I now read all the books that I never had the time for, I go for walks, I’m decluttering our home gradually … and I’m starting a blog. This blog.

I hope you will enjoy what I’ll offer you on Dominique’s ways and that it will help you too to balance all those titles that life gives us : a woman, an army wife, a student, a daughter, a sister, a worker, a coffee addict, a foodie…!

Hello It's me!

 

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Lufa Farms & eating local| Food

A few years back, while in a class at university, we had a video to make as our final project. As a team, we had to present a company and their social responsibilities program & actions. One of the teams presented to us the Lufa Farms. I believe the concept itself wasn’t new but it was for me and probably most of the class as well. Although I didn’t think much of it at the time, I’m now a member of the Lufa Farms program. A few weeks back, I saw a segment about urban agriculture in North America from La Semaine Verte (a weekly French-Canadian program that airs on Radio-Canada) that encouraged me to jump in the action.

What is it? 
Lufa Farms is an urban agriculture program that grows a variety of biological and local produces on the rooftops of Montreal. They first open in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough. 

At first, like I said, I was convinced about the concept. Mainly because it was new and they didn’t have as many pick-up points as they do now. I was also sure that it would cost me more than buying at my usual grocery store. It was maybe the case at the beginning (logically) but these days it’s usually less or the same price than in stores. Of course, you’re not going to find everything all-year-round nor exotic fruits or veggies since they grow local produces based on the season but it gives you the chance to renew with what we used to eat and local cuisine even. So yeah, don’t expect to find avocados or bananas at your local urban farm if it doesn’t naturally grow in your area (aka not my area).

Why the change?
It simple really. There’s a money aspect as well as a conscious effort to do better behind it.

I love food and I love cooking it as well and if you’re like me that probably means that you also like to try different and new things as much as you can. Doing so cost a lot whether you cook it at home or try it in a restaurant. Plus, at some point in my case, you cook so much at home that even in restaurants there’s nothing new to try or to impress you (sorry restaurants!). But, back to the cooking and money aspect of it. Buying produces to eat varied and well-balanced might cost you a lot, like a lot a lot, and at some point, just like me, you might want to reduce those costs. But, how?? Eat the seasonal produces as well as buying what’s on sale – and I mean true sales – or in bulk is usually what is proposed.

The ”issue” I have with it is that in my beautiful area we don’t have many fruits during the fall/winter season (hello apples!) but we have plenty of veggies available like onions, potatoes, and squash. Although everything is pretty much available in grocery stores all-year-round these days, it doesn’t mean that it’s local even during the season. Per example, this week I bought tomatoes from a local farm and delicious grapes from a century-old farm in Ontario via Lufa Farms. If I have never decided to subscribe to them, I would have bought those at my grocery store and they would’ve probably come from California or Mexico. Not that I don’t like theirs produces but those pantries of ours in North America need a break from us so they can hopefully preserve what’s left and refresh their lands, lands to who we ask so much from for so many decades now. By buying local – cannot be more local than that – I encourage my local producers to keep producing as well as local cooking and a better way to eat. Plus, it doesn’t cost more than buying in stores.

Is it worth it?
I’m going to be honest, at first, I thought doing that change would cost me more than just buying in stores. 

It’s only been two weeks now that I started purchasing some of my produces from Lufa Farm. My first basket was around 15$ and the next one (this week) was around 25$. Even though it might sound like a lot for part of my grocery list, I already see the difference in my cost when I compare my costs to those of last month at the same period. Lufa Farms also gave me the chance to try new products that I never thought could be grown in my part of the world: grapes in October from Ontario? Come on! My goal for next week is to buy everything that I need for my meals and snacks.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post (that I wrote twice..) and that it gave you this urge to try your local farms or markets and to reconnect with local cooking!

Talk to you next Monday with some fall activities! 🙂

 

Museum and good food | Looking around

Last weekend was a big one for my social life, haha! Here’s a quick look around to the museum exposition I went to and the restaurants as well.

Friday – Révolution + MKT
On Friday, I went with my family to see the Révolution exposition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. I was a very busy Friday afternoon but it was worth it. The exposition is about how the 1960’s and 70’s changed our ways here in North America and Europe (and probably elsewhere in the world as well). It focused at first on The Beatles and was named after their song of the same name. The exposition truly shows us how social movements can really impact our lives, our rights and our opportunities in general. Révolution is exposed until October 9th (next Monday) and suggest you go take a look at it if you the chance. If not, maybe check your local museum if ever they’re next to host the exposition. 🙂

After that, I suggest to my family to go eat at the MKT restaurant in downtown Montreal. The first time I went there was last year during the MTL à table event (which is coming back next month!!) with my girlfriends. I’m not a professional on food but I do love it and believe it’s a modern twist on Italian food and the decor is just beautiful with the open kitchen at the back of the restaurant. Although my man didn’t like his meal – he chose to go with the chicken but it was marinaded with olives which he hates – everybody seemed to like what they ordered and enjoyed their time there. Like last time, the service and ambiance were great!

 

Sunday – Ginkgo + Love is love
Sunday is usually food prep for me, but this time, it was a girls day with one of my best friend. We know each other since almost 7 years now and try as much as possible to see each other so we can talk about pretty much anything 🙂 So this time, we went to brunch at Ginkgo Café Bar. It’s a new place that just opens at the beginning of September and let me tell you: it’s awesome how it’s good there!!! Wow!! Whether it’s for brunch, breakfast, lunch, dinner or simply a night out – they just got their alcohol permit – just go there, you’ll love it!

We then go for a walk (about 20-30 minutes) to get to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts – yes I went there twice on the same weekend – to see the last exposition of Jean Paul Gauthier that is called Love is Love. This exposition is a presentation of the most beautiful, artistic wedding ensembles and dresses from the wonderful fashion designer that he is.

Hope this has given you the taste to discover your own city as I do in mine!
Have a nice day!

A food journey + Meal Prep | Food

When you still live with your parents, especially with a mom like mine, you usually don’t cook often. She loves her children and one of the ways to show it in our family is through food. Plus, when I was a teenager, I wasn’t the one showing interest in actual cooking. But, don’t get me wrong, I love food, all sorts of food! Since I live with my man, I kinda took over the kitchen. Not because he’s bad at cooking – au contraire! – but I love trying new things and I realized quickly that cooking was a way for me to relax, forget about a bad day and keep going!

Since I live with my man, I kinda took over the kitchen. Not because he’s bad at cooking – au contraire! – but I love trying new things and I realized quickly that cooking was a way for me to relax, forget about a bad day and keep going! So, for the past few years, I’m trying to develop better ways and less expensive ways too to cook and offer good and balanced food. Back in January, I also realized that I was doing something wrong for my body. Like I said, I love food. But, food doesn’t always love me: just by looking at a chocolate cake, I could gain weight. I then decided to use the MyFitnessPal app from Under Armour. It was the most helpful thing I could do for myself. I realized what I was doing wrong with my diet: not enough breakfast, too much food in the middle of the day. Basically, my daily food intake was unbalanced throughout the day and ”made me” eat more than I actually needed. After a few months, I got the grip of it and felt confident to let go of the app and do it on my own! Since then, I eat what I want but with a better conscience about the amount that I eat without restricting myself.

Now, I’ve set myself a new challenge in the kitchen: cooking from scratch and meal prep. Most of us would think that buying food that is already prepared or ready-to-go is the easy and quick way to go. At first, that’s what I thought too. But, beware! It’s maybe quick and easy but it’s also (usually) full of salt, sugar, and fat that will do no good for you nor your body. Thanks to my man, a few years back, he told me that I wasn’t doing good for myself and that it was influencing greatly and in a bad way my emotions and energy. That’s when I started to change things in the kitchen. Since then, I cook almost everything from fresh and non-transformed ingredients: sauces, snacks, meat in bulk, smoothies, juices, frozen yogurt, breakfast … That’s how I ended up with the challenge of meal prep on Sundays.

When you type Meal prep onto YouTube, they’re countless videos available to us. But, most of them – well the ones I watch at least – are without explanations and that’s why it felt like it was a challenge. Plus, a lot of them are vegan or vegetarian meal prep. It’s not that I don’t like vegan or vegetarian food, but we do love meat and fish in my household. Adding meat and fish within a meal prep meant to me that it would take more time to do so because of the cooking time needed and I still didn’t know where or how to start with all that food on my counters. That when Healthnut Nutrition YouTube channel came (again!) to my help! A few days ago, she did a video on meal prep for beginners. I finally had a better idea of the whole system that hides behind a meal prep after a month trying to figure it out by myself, haha.

Here is what I was able to cook on my last meal prep (recipes link down below):

Recipes :
–  Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce from Ricardocuisine.com
–  Pineapple lemonade from Trois fois par jour (recipe available in the second Tome only)
–  Smoothie packs for the week inspired by the Ziploc ad on Pinterest
–  Blueberry bars from the fourth magazine of Cuisine futée (sorry, no links!)

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog post and that it will inspire you to try more food and easier ways to stay healthy without restricting yourself. Have a good week!

 

***This is my personal food journey from the past few months/years. I’m in no way qualified to evaluate or propose advice to anyone. Please seek professional advice if you feel the need to better your relationship with food. 🙂 ***

Megabus hell | Life

I’ve worked in customer service for many years like most of us I believe and maybe that’s why I’m a little bit harsh when I’m on the customer side. But, I’ve never had such a bad service! Let’s start at the beginning.

If you’ve read my blog last week, you know that I went to Whitby, Ontario for the weekend last month. To do so, my man and I chose to use Megabus services. They were the cheapest and one of the few to offer that round-trip that weekend. One of the bummers is that their tickets, once purchased, are non-refundable under any circumstances, so be sure that you’ll go where you go with them. You can always exchange them before the original trip. You need to do so by exchanging for another trip within the next 3 months… with additional fees of course! Megabus is owned by Greyhound, a company that offers refunds under some conditions, but didn’t offer the trip we needed. The other option we had been Via Rail train. Although more flexible and almost the same time to travel as Megabus, it was more expensive.

Our first bus was on Friday morning in Montreal around 8h30. That day, it was raining a lot. When we got to the bus second level, we sat down and realise that the seats were wet. The ceiling was leaking. We switch seats, but my husband already had already his bum wet… We then left for the next stop which was in the west-island area. Before we even got there, we had to switch seats again because, this time, it leaked on my head! Other than that, the trip went well and we arrived on time in Whitby.

The ”hell” part of the experience happened on Sunday morning. We left the marina for the GO station to be there around 9 am. We were there around 8h45. The bus was supposed to be there for 9h20. At 9h40, the bus still wasn’t there so I called customer service. My first attempt to contact them went dead because of a weak connection I believe. I called again and took 10 to 15 minutes before I had the chance to talk to an actual human being. I was then told that the bus had broken down and needed to be replaced for the trip which concluded by a 1-hour delay. I asked why they didn’t inform us by the alert system they have on their website. I was told they don’t use it and usually wait for the customer to call them so they can tell them !!!! After some arguments with the representative – I know, they’re not refundable – I ask to be transferred to the department of complaints to left a message on their voicemail. By the way, I feel the need to tell you all that when you call them, you do have the option between English and French… but there’s a catch! The French option is always a voicemail and they say that it’s going to take them between 3 and 4 days before they call you back. The English option will connect you to a person all day, every day. Luckily for them, I speak both. :@ After my call, some of the other persons waiting – between 15 and 20 persons – asked me what the person had told me. Around 10h20, we then finally saw the bus on highway 401. We saw that the bus didn’t take the exit to pick us up!

After some arguments with the representative – I know, they’re not refundable – I ask to be transferred to the department of complaints to left a message on their voicemail. By the way, I feel the need to tell you all that when you call them, you do have the option between English and French… but there’s a catch! The French option is always a voicemail and they say that it’s going to take them between 3 and 4 days before they call you back. The English option will connect you to a person all day, every day. Luckily for them, I speak both. :@ After my call, some of the other persons waiting – between 15 and 20 persons – asked me what the person had told me. Around 10h20, we then finally saw the bus on highway 401. We saw that the bus didn’t take the exit to pick us up!

During that time, I was also texting my aunt and our family friend what was going on. They decided to pass by the GO Station to pick us up (I LOVE THEM!). We left around 10h40 to go to the Oshawa train station. We were lucky enough to be able to buy ourselves 2 tickets on the next train for Montreal. We weren’t next to each other and not even in the same car, but it didn’t’ matter. My husband was working the next morning and we needed to get home.

On Monday, the next day, I still didn’t have a call back from them so I left another message on their voicemail of the same department. I also tried to contact the Office de la Protection du Consommateur of Québec without any luck since their lines are always busy and there’s no voicemail or email to leave a message. As of today, I still didn’t have the chance to talk to someone there. Megabus finally called me back a few hours later. The conversation started by them telling me that I left a message at 10 pm and not 10 am. I said that it didn’t matter, what mattered was that I didn’t receive the service I paid for. So I gave them my reservation number so they can verify my version of the event (the bus was late and didn’t pick us up!). They needed 3 to 4 days to verified the bus GPS and to talk to the bus chauffeur to know what happened. To me, that meant I was going to receive a call from them on Friday, maybe next Monday. Boy, was I wrong!

No news. No compensation. No communication.

I called them back on last Wednesday. I left – again – another message on their voicemail.

No news. No compensation. No communication.

I gave the last call today (Friday), the last voicemail. I told them that this was my last voicemail for them and since they don’t cooperate, I will call and complain to the Office de la Protection du Consommateur of Québec and Ontario, as well as sending my situation to the show La Facture. I also told them that unless they call be back soon with a solution, there will be other procedures initiated.

Let’s hope the solution will be resolved soon.
I’m tired of their stupid and childish games.

Now, let’s enjoy our weekend and hope that I receive a call from them on Monday 😉

Back to school without classes | Life

For many of us out there, it’s that time of the year when some of us can’t wait to go back to school and others that couldn’t run fast enough to escape it. For me, summer was always too long before going back to school. Some people might call me a nerd for that, but I don’t really mind. I enjoy school and I still do! I’m actually doing my master’s degree and debuting my redaction year right now. For some of us, summer didn’t really happen either since when you study at that level you keep studying and reading all year-round.

So yes, this semester I’m still at school… but without actual classes. And, yes, you have to pay to do so. It actually blows my mind: how can I go to school without classes, schedules or even deadlines?? I talk to my mémoire’s director and actually asked her that very question. At first, she started laughing. She told that it was totally normal to feel how I was feeling but that she wasn’t worried about me and, when you think about it, she’s right about how I feel! It’s been what, 21 years now that I go to school with classes, directions, schedules, projects, and evaluations on a monthly basis. Nothing really prepares you to keep going when all this is gone except the actual physical school and yourself. I’m actually by myself for everything this time!

That also confirms what I’ve been thinking for a while: team projects doesn’t help you for the future. I understand that learning and knowing how to work with others is crucial in a school environment, but it’s also crucial to learn and know what you’re able to do by yourself. I believe that our school system totally forgot about the fact after school, we are on our own in the work life. Yes, you will work with others, but it’s your pay check, not ours.

Which brings me to my next point. It’s not because I don’t have classes that I have all the free time in the world, oh no! I cannot really know how much time I will need to do my mémoire, but I can try to plan it! That why I’m planning a school-like schedule for the semester to come – we start on September 5th and we stop in December for the holidays. The plan is to do like I was having actual classes and starting to work on my paper at the same hours, as well as for my jobs. Since I work at the same place that I will study and train, it should be ”easy” to stick with my schedule. But I know myself and my own brain. Even though I will tell myself that I start at 9h30 whatever I have planned for that morning, I will also tell myself that there’s no teachers or other students that are waiting for me and eventually stay in bed until too late.

I NEED to find something that will force me to get out of bed.
Anybody have an idea out there?

 

 

Keep it all together – Extra | Motivation

People would think that with a journal, a productivity planner and a planner with daily, monthly and even weekly sheets I would the most organized, planned and prepared person on this planet. WRONG!

Of course, I’m organized and I do love my life when it’s planned up to a point. And I do have issues when something planned doesn’t actually goes as planned but that’s for another time. To make sure that I don’t plan two things at the same time or forget an important meeting, I also use other planning tools: a monthly wall planner at home and Google Calendar.

Monthly wall planner at home
I believe I first used a month wall calendar in my bedroom when I still live at my parent’s. I could write down anything I wanted and keep track of everything at the same time. It helped me a lot with my part-time jobs, CEGEP class schedule, friends and family events. At one point, I stopped using it and it ended up in the trash. It was probably not to my decor taste any more or so dirty that I couldn’t erase the marks. At the beginning of 2017, I clean my office at home so I could only have what I need to work and be focused on the task ahead. Of course, there’s also some decor on that table to keep it alive like scented candles and pictures frames.

That’s when I bought another monthly wall calendar at Indigo. The design was simple so I could maximise the space of the wall calendar and I was convinced that it will last a long time because of it. Like my other planners, I didn’t really use it in July and realized that I didn’t really need it in front of me in my office so I changed it to put it next to our kitchen and entry way so my husband and I can consult it for family and friends events. We also write down any work-related event that is out of our regular schedule and birthdays. It’s now more easy to know what’s coming up and plans meals and even the week ahead.

Google Calendar
It’s no surprise these days that someone uses an online or virtual calendar. Most companies now work with them along with our own calendar whether you have a work cell phone or not. I use it for two reasons: If by any circumstances I forget my planner at home, I still can plan on my computer or phone and check if it’s not in conflict with anything else. The other reason is that I can share my calendar with my man, my sister, everybody!

 

So why all those planners and journals and not just an online one? It’s simple really. When I write things down, I remember them better and I’m more prepared for what’s coming. I love being prepared, being ready. It’s almost an issue sometimes because when something doesn’t happen as planned, it’s driving me crazy. With time, I’m getting better at it and I’m less nervous when it happens now. Another reason is that way, it’s easy for me to make sure that I don’t book something when there’s something already and that I can do that wherever and whenever I have or need to.

Hope you enjoy this series with me about how I plan my everyday life and talk to you soon!

I’m on a boat! …was on a boat. | Life

Last week-end, my man and I went to the Whitby Marina in Ontario. A family friend (more like a member now!) owns a boat out there. To go, we had to decide how to get there. Car? Train? Bus? Plane??

We decided to take the bus with Megabus since they were the only one doing this trip this week-end with low prices. The other option was the train – much pricier – or drive ourselves – didn’t think much of it since my man doesn’t like driving.  Unfortunately, it was the worst decision I could ever take. Yes, the prices are affordable, but those tickets are non-refundable and we had the worst service. Our first bus was on Friday morning when it was pouring outside. The bus was leaking on the second level on the seats. We didn’t see it coming when it leak on my head! Lukely, we could change seats – the bus wasn’t full yet. We arrived at destination about 10 minutes later then schedule which is not bad.

The week-end was great and we had the chance to go out on Saturday on the Ontario Lake. The waves and the wind were strong. Perfect for a ride on the Philosophe (the boat). My man and I also realised that when at MArina and on the boat we didn’t have any breathing or physicial issues. We both have knee issue (I had a surgery when I was 17 and he broke his last year) and difficulty breathing with our allergies and the city air. We never really realise the city impact on our breathing capacity before that since we live and work withing the city. We really enjoyed ourselves there with my family. 🙂

The ride to go back thou was a pain in the butt! We paid for round-trip tickets and was suppose to leave on the bus at 9h20 Sunday morning. At 10 am, the bus was no where to be seen. I finally called customer service to know what was going on and the representative told me that the bus had broke down and needed to be replace and so they do. The bus would be an hour late. Around 10h20, we actually saw the bus on the highway but the bus didn’t take the exit to pick us up! I was pissed! We finally made it to Montreal by paying and taking the train. Since Monday, i’m trying to get a hold of the company to get a refund and compensation (aka paying for my train tickets). They were supposed to called me yesterday (Friday) but they didn’t. Next Monday is going to be fun on the phone with them 😉

Here are a few pictures from that week-end and when we went out on the Ontario Lake. Those waves!

 

Rosemont & coffee | Looking around

I am an affirmed coffee lover (more like addict but… shhhh!) and for the second year I got myself the ICP Montreal which give you the opportunity to try a coffee to a total of 30 local coffee places around Montreal. There’s only a month left to us, participants, to try them all! Today, I thought it was a great idea to talk about the ones that you can try in Rosemont simply because I tried almost all of them (missing one that I’m planning on trying soon) in the same week : Café Pista, Café Fixe and Paquebot Café.

 

Café Pista – 500 Beaubien East, Montreal Qc.

It was moving day for my sister – her first apartment by herself! – and when we were done with the boxes and stuff, we went all together to this little hidden gem of a café (at least for me). The ambiance is like the perfect balance between the calm of a library and the excitement of this borough, like it was coming back to life! And like more and more coffee shops, there’s some tables when laptops aren’t welcome. I do think that it’s a great idea to do so in coffee shop. Although, I often ”use” them for working on projects with my laptop (and simply being surrounded by the smell of coffee), I believe they shouldn’t end up looking like a public library where everybody is in his own world and nobody talks to no one. Everybody seemed to enjoy their coffee or drinks and the service was good. They even brought our coffees to us!

 

Café Fixe – 5985 St-Hubert, Montreal Qc.

I actually tried this one the very next day after I went to Café Pista and even though they are close to each other, they are very different. This café looks a lot more like a restaurant and they do say it on their website that they are a combination of a café and a restaurant with a spanish inspired menu. The food was excellent! The coffee was good but the best I’ve tasted so far. I do keep it in mind for future brunch ou lunch with my sister (it’s literally in her backyard… if she had one), other family members and friends!

 

Paquebot Café – 2110 Bélanger St, Montreal Qc.

Although, that day had a rough start (training + delays in the metro), i was able to make it and meet my friend there. she lives in the area and never had the chance to try it. I do insist that this café is not easy to get to unless you have a car or live near by. I live near the Longueuil metro station (no need of a bus to get there) and it took almost 1 hour to get there including a 20 minute walk. But nevermind that, Paquebot Café was worth it! I will probably go again just for their service and the fact the they’ve installed their plugs right under the surface of the table instead of against the wall! I know, right!? It’s like they know we’re in the 21st century… unlike some universities that I won’t mention… *wink wink*

 

Hope it will temp you to try them or at least one.
Talk to you soon! 🙂

Keep it all together – Planner | Motivation

I’M SORRY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This post is long overdue and here it is!

After talking to you about my journal and my productivity planner, it’s now time to talk about my ”homemade” planner. But, first, a little journey about how I got to the point to actually compose my own planner. Last year, I bought a 2016-2017 planner from Kate Spade New York. It was white with golden polka dots and seems to fit my organizational & planning needs. After the first 6 months, so basically 2016, I realize that it wasn’t the case. Guys, I’m officially unable to function with a full week on only 2 pages. There’s no place on those pages to add anything. There’s no space! Yes, there’s a little section at the back for lists or info that you need to be written down but going back and forth between that section and the week that is concerned is not my jam! So like you might imagine, I start in January to look for the ”perfect” planner, MY perfect planner.

After looking around on the internet and in stores for what was available to us, I quickly realize that what I wanted would either cost me a fortune to order or simply didn’t exists. So I turned – obviously – to YouTube for some DIY video or something along those lines and, of course, I was surrounded by DIY bullet journals. At first, it sounds like a good idea since it’s not every day that would have to write something down in my planner. Some days are actually empty sometimes and apparently, it’s good for us to have days with nothing… So I started to make a bullet journal with a booklet and quickly realized that I’m not an artist. I know it didn’t need to be perfect like you can see in some Pinterest post or YouTube videos but at least it could be a little bit cute, no? So the empty journal now beautiful bullet journal went quickly to the trash – the idea, not the actual journal.

It’s at this point that I ended up on this video. I was amazed and a little bit discouraged by my lack of idea. I never thought about looking for a normal binder that would be the right size. After watching it, I went online to see if the articles that she was using (or similar ones) were available in Canada and yes, they were! Thank you, Amazon.ca 😛

That’s how mine ended up looking and I still do some changes from time to time. That kind of planner is great for that. A good example is that, in July, I didn’t really need my planner so I didn’t use it or update it before the end of last month. The plus is that I didn’t waste paper or space in my planner. Another bonus for me is that it doesn’t require my inner (not so good) artist. Colored gel pen, stickers and washi tapes are my new best friends that take care of that for me, haha!

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As for my daily planner pages and other ones, I did the same kind of research and start trying them when they seem to correspond to what I was looking for and I always stop using them after a week or two. I then decided to make my own… on Microsoft Word. It’s maybe not the best tool for it, but it did the job!

Next motivation blog will be the last part of the ”Keep it all together” series about all the extra tools that I use on top of this journal and planners.

Have a good one!

 

#Food |Looking around

When people look at my Instagram feed they see two things : food and more food! Sometimes, there’s a cat here and there. I thought it would be a good idea to show in more details what I ate and where for the past week. Usually, I don’t go out for food as much in a week but it’s still summer and my man is on vacation this week. 🙂

Poké Bar – 2153 Crescent, Montreal Qc.
Last Wednesday was girls night out with four of my closest friends. We all met back in 2010 when we were studying at Collège Ahunstic in accounting and management. This time, instead of going to the usual italian or fast food, we wanted something more relax and versatile. One of us (not me!) wanted also a place for a good dessert. Another friend find the place for our deserts (see below) and we needed a restaurant not to far from it. That’s when I suggested Poké Bar

Poké Bar 01

This place is casual with a good ambiance for any get together or any reason that require good food! They also have a terrace on the street when it’s sunny outside. One of the plus of this restaurant is that you can make your own poké bowl – which I did – with the protein and veggies that you want. There’s also a few poké bowl options for those who aren’t inspire at the moment of choosing their plate. This options are great by themselves but what we really loved is that you can go out and still eat healthy (or not!) if you want. We loved it and sure to go back ❤ !

 

Zoe Dessert – 2160 St-Mathieu, Montreal Qc.
Zoe Dessert 01
Before our friend mentioned it for our girls night out, I’ve never heard of Zoe Dessert et thé. From what I could find, they seem to be open since May of last year. Plus, the reviews online were extremely positive and the people weren’t wrong about that : It was A-MA-ZING !!!!!!!!!!!!!  They made it look as spacious as possible and the decor is lively and colorful. But, if you don’t like small space, I suggest you order your deserts as take-out and eat outside on their patio.  Whether you a sweet tooth or not, you’ll find a desert for you! I’m also planning on going back to show my husband that great deserts spot that’s been hiding in Montreal.

My choice ended up being an egg-waffle ice cream with mango & matcha ice cream.
It was love until it was over!

 

Pizzeria N°900 –  17 D’Aberdeen St, St-Lambert Qc.
I think it was Sunday that my man and I went for a walk in this sunny afternoon. Usually, when we walk together, we end up stopping at a bar or local spot to take a bit or a drink and then walk back home. So, on Sunday, that’s what we did. It wasn’t the first time we were going to Pizzeria N°900 in St-Lambert. Before I start writing this post, I didn’t even know there was other locations in the province – and even a food truck! – which is great because now I can suggest it to everyone!!

PizzaNo900 01Because it was so beautiful outside with a nice little wind, we sat down outside to eat. My man work in pizzerias when he was a teenager/young adult, he can be critical sometimes of the pizza he receives but at Pizzeria N°900 we’re never deceived. This time was no different with a delicious Margherita pizza for him and a Roasted mushrooms & prosciutto ripieno (looks like a rolled pizza) for me that was also delicious!

This pizzeria is one of a kind and for 23$, we had an amazing service and great food!

 

 

 

Le petit Dep –  179 Saint-Paul St W, Montreal Qc.
Monday was the last day that I could use my ICP Montreal card. if you don’t know what it is, first where have ou been?!, and second, it’s a coffee passport that gives you the opportunity to try 30 independent coffee shops around Montreal. The program is also available in Toronto, Ottawa and 5 cities in the US. (more details on those coffee shops in my next blog).

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to try them all and, like I said, I had one last day to try one last coffee place. At first, I wanted to go to Esquina Bar à café, which located near the Lafontaine Park in Montreal but they announced on their social media that they were on holiday for the week and therefore closed at the moment. So I went to my second choice : Le petit dep. This little coffee shop/convenience store is located in the old port of Montreal on St-Paul street near the Pointe-à-Callière museum. The ambiance is relaxed and joyful. You cannot go there and leave unhappy and that’s for sure. Employee are nice and present for their customer without being too invasive and the prices are right. Even if I didn’t have to pay for my coffee this time, I always look how much I would’ve paid for.

To ”test” this café, I opted for a cold latte with regular milk. I then went out – it was too beautiful to be inside – to the boardwalk of the old port, sat down near some fountains and enjoy my coffee while watching the surroundings and the people (Montrealers and tourists) enjoying this beautiful day just like me.

 

La Tomate Blanche (Quartier DIX30) – 9385 Leduc Blvd #10, Brossard Qc.
Last winter, we went to L’Auroch, a steakhouse also located in Quartier Dix30 that belongs to the same proprietors as La Tomate Blanche, an italian restaurant. Since we were in an ”OMG!!” state after leaving L’Auroch, we tought it would be as great at this restaurant and decided to make a reservation about a month ago to go yesterday (Tuesday). Of course, we knew it wasn’t the same cuisine so we didn’t expect the same food but we did expect the same quality of food and service as well as a certain originality or ingenuity in the menu. I’m sad to tell you that it wasn’t the case. I’m also sad about the money we had to pay for it even if I knew the prices before we went.

We decided to go at the restaurant early (around 6pm) in the evening so it wouldn’t be too busy and give us the chance to go see a movie after if we wanted. If I remember correctly, there was 2 tables already seated when we arrived. So, we find it a little bit weird when the hostess placed us right next to one of the table when you could clearly see the emptiness of the place. In the middle of our supper tho, we realized why she had done that – huge reservation coming in! – and didn’t mind it after all. My second surprise was when the (first) server arrived at our table and mentioned to us that they didn’t have a cocktails menu. We love cocktails and try new cocktails when we have the chance. Let’s say I was caught of guard at that moment and didn’t know what to order. I ended up a mojito that was ok, a standard mojito, and my husband ask for something that he had to search online so he could tell her how to make it. The bartender did good since he ordered a second one after. So people, if you go there and you’re a cocktail person, plan it or take something else.

Our (second) server arrived to ask if we had any questions about the menu. I ask about the variation in the pasta plate size and my man ask about the pizza size. Based on that, we ordered the calamari (our usual) as appetizers to share, the porcini ravioli for my entrée and my man took the Margherita pizza along with the salmon tartare (it’s an appetizer) for his. The calamari was a great discovery for us since we’re used to the classic calamari with marinara sauce. This time it’s was a fresh and lemony sauce with a little salsa on the calamari. The presentation was as good as the taste and great to share if you don’t want to feel full at the end of your night. Mine was delicious and still fuming when it arrived at our table. My husband tasted it and find it delicious as well. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for his choices. Like I said earlier, he likes, and maybe even loves, a good authentic Margherita pizza and criticize it when it’s not. Well, there was too much cheese on it to the point that the crust wasn’t cooked enough under it while the crust was almost burned under the pizza itself. Plus, the basil leaves weren’t right since, usually, you would cut the basil leaves and spread them over the cheese so when it’s cooking, the taste is ”spread” into the cheese and the customer can taste it in every bites. The leaves were wholes and only a few times you could actually taste the whole pizza if you know what I mean. After checking online on their website, I realize that the picture of the pizza is accurate: a lot of cheese and whole basil leaves. And the tartare you ask? Unlike the calamari, no surprise there. It was a normal salmon tartare. After, we decided to not even try their desserts and go elsewhere. We tought, there must be a dessert place somewhere in the Quartier Dix30 that not too far from us!

 

Oh and by the way, it was for our anniversary (4 years of marriage) that we went there.

One last thing, I don’t know if it’s my google settings (my account is in english…) or the actual website but I couldn’t find the english version to save my life. Sorry!

 

Juliette & Chocolat (Quartier DIX30) – 9190 Leduc Blvd, Brossard Qc.
It’s Juliette et Chocolat. Need I say more? Haha, maybe a little bit!

Juliette&chocolat 01It’s decadent, delicious, sweet! The ambiance was great, joyful and playful but it was a busy Tuesday for them so the service was a little slow: ”Catch the server if you can” style!

Our order :
– black coffee
– sundae
– hot chocolate with SO MUCH marshmallows
– mille-feuille in a pot

LOVE LOVE LOVE!

They have a new menu and I think we should have eaten our whole dinner here. Less money and sure to love it!

 

Hope you enjoy my food adventure and talk to you soon!