Entrepreneurship was not what I originally had in mind when I thought about what I needed to do to make my work/life balance come to fruition.
My purpose was to find something I could do that would allow me the flexibility to be there for my family and still have the intellectual stimulation that I REQUIRED to stay sane, while making a few bucks! I knew that I was great at my job in Human Resources and staffing when I worked full-time, and while I was on maternity leave(s) many people had asked for me to consult on a few projects; friends had sought career advice so I thought maybe I could actually make a living at this but on my own terms.

[caption id="attachment_21148" align="alignleft" width="300"]Glowing computer screen CC license timsnell[/caption] It’s 1 a.m. when I look up from my screen. I’d only meant to sit down for a few minutes and catch up on my email. That was two hours ago. I try to trace where I lost track of time - was it the link in an email that led me over to Facebook? The interesting article that led to another interesting article that led me to my Twitter feed or LinkedIn profile and back again?

I ADORE food.  I love to cook.  I’m not much of a baker, but sweets are definitely my weakness. For me, food represents more than just fuel for my body; it seems to play a significant role in my life. Not only do I eat when I’m hungry, I eat when I’m stressed, I eat when I’m sad.  I reward myself with food after a long day.  Sometimes food soothes me, while other times it fills me with a tremendous sense of guilt.  I’ve gained a bit of insight into my relationship with food over the past two years as I have struggled with infertility.  In a lot of ways, food has been my coping mechanism; chocolate peanut butter ice cream has gotten me through some of my darkest days. Food has comforted me, has distracted me, has cured my boredom.
But after I’ve put on about 20 lbs of emotional weight over the past two years, I feel I can no longer ignore this somewhat toxic relationship that I have developed with food.

The holiday season has come and gone once again, I hope you enjoyed time with family and friends.  I was lucky enough to spend the last week or so at a party here, a dinner there and family get togethers that served lots of not so healthy food and drink. It was a good time, I indulged some but I rang in the New Year and now it’s back to business!!

unnamed-2There are many things that can evoke memories of your childhood. For some it is a smell or a song, for me it was a lamp post. I grew up on a quiet cul-de-sac in a small suburb in Montreal. In the center of the street was a small grassy island with a tall lamp post. Any free time whether it was weekends, after school, hot summer days or even in the freezing Canadian cold the young kids of D’Estree would be outside playing.
It was the late 70’s/ early 80’s and we did not have cell phones, video games or even VCR’s. The only tweets we heard were from actual birds.
The only time we used the phone was to call our friends and ask them two simple words. “Wanna Play?”

[caption id="attachment_21058" align="alignleft" width="240"]Abandoned heels at a party Abandoned heels at a party[/caption] I really love this time of year, the lights, the picturesque snow covered trees..and the holiday parties!! Year round I can get away wearing ballet flats or a small pump when I’m dressed up for a party but there are two occasions that I feel a have to take it up a notch,  by taking it up I mean the height of my heels.  Weddings and holiday parties for me are really the only time I’ll wear a heel. The heel height I consider big to most of you might not seem very high at all.  An inch and a half to two inches is really my maximum, and even at that I struggle to look ladylike as I walk (let alone try to dance) with these things on my feet.  I am without a doubt more graceful with my hockey skates on then I am in a two inch heel.  But on these special occasions fashion trumps comfort.  I have yet to keep my heels on for an entire event, I bring backups and part way through the evening have changed into a more comfortable shoe, not as pretty but not as painful either.

[caption id="attachment_21030" align="alignleft" width="300"]www.christinaestebanphotography.com He didn't freak out![/caption] A few weeks ago, I published a blog I’d written about my fight against anxiety and depression. I’d actually written the post a couple of months before it went online, around the time of Robin William’s tragic death. It hung around in the back end of WordPress for a while until I found the nerve to put it out there for the world, or at least the West Island, to see.

The holidays are quickly approaching—count them—2 weeks until winter vacation! Woohoo! BUT that doesn’t mean that studying can completely stop for most high school students since they have exams to face upon their return in January. They are expected to clear their brains for two weeks and relax, and then come back and remember everything they’ve learned since September. These circumstances are not ideal to set up, even the most organized students, for success.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I took our son for his very first visit to the dentist.  I was bracing myself for complete and utter disaster; protest, tears, uncooperativeness, utter mayhem.  I was certain that the scary mask, the loud tools and the bright light would be too much for my sensitive three-year-old to handle. So when the visit went off without a hitch and involved lots of smiles, giggles dentist_logan2and a fluoride treatment to boot, I was in utter shock!

[caption id="attachment_20780" align="alignleft" width="300"]Image 1 My first on air experience raising funds for the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at age 15.[/caption] I was 8 years old when my Uncle Jeffrey lost his battle with Cystic Fibrosis. His life was cut short at age 27 but characterized by courage, determination and impressive accomplishments including graduating from Dentistry School.

So….I am proud to say that I survived the “terrible twos” that everyone seems to rant and rave about.  To be perfectly honest, the twos weren’t so terrible after all; a few short-lived tantrums here and there, a handful of embarrassing moments at the mall, a little sprinkle of defiance.  But nothing outrageous. Nothing as heinous or gory as I expected.  I have to say, I spent most of my son’s second year waiting for impending doom, thinking, any day now, I’ll be living with the kid from the exorcist.  But it just didn’t happen. I thought to myself, how lucky am I to have gotten away scot-free, avoiding that dreadful, bratty phase that makes you want to gauge your eyes out.

My marriage is over…..what now? Is this a question that you would ever imagine asking yourself?  It certainly wasn’t for me. I never imagined that it would be ME.
I had never thought that my marriage would end and that I would have to go through the steps to a divorce.
I knew this was something that happened regularly, too regularly, but not to me.  I am someone who always believed that I would be in a long-term marriage – sure there are ups and downs in every marriage, but if you had ever asked me 5 years ago if I thought I would end up divorced, my answer would have been a strong and bold NO!

[caption id="attachment_20439" align="alignleft" width="75"]My husband looking fit. My husband looking fit.[/caption] Almost two years ago my hubby decided he needed to get in better shape.  He started looking for different apps as a way to log all his activities and achievements. He decided to try a fitness tracker which were relatively new on the market.  He absolutely loved knowing how many steps he took, how many calories, and  how many hours he slept at night. He would go to bed with this little electronic device which I couldn’t help but tease him about it by calling him a cyborg.  He would get up in the morning and check his stats.  He would study the colourful charts of his activity and would plan his goals for the day ahead.
His fitness tracker really did help him stay accountable.

unnamed-6I didn't ever really care about age... I always looked young, felt young and was often told that I looked like my daughters' sisters! All that changed when I received a birthday card with a giant 65 on it and I thought -that can't be for me!!!!! But alas, I am aging just like everyone else! I'm not complaining, really, I know exactly how fortunate I am to be healthy and actively involved in life. ..  I never forget it. It's just that it hit me- big time - I'm finally realizing that things are rapidly moving in that other direction.
So I had better take full advantage of my good health and fulfill some dreams!

Scars are intriguing and fascinating. Each one tells a story.
Some people's scars invoke a beautiful memory such as the moment they entered motherhood. Others may stem from a more somber place such as war, abuse, surgery, or other injuries. Scars should be celebrated. They remind us of our body's incredible ability to heal. They are badges of honor that we acquire throughout our lives. Many spend a significant amount of money trying to minimize or eliminate their scars. To me, scars should not be erased. This would be akin to tearing a chapter out of a book and still expecting to understand the story in its entirety.

I was never one to preoccupy myself with finding a husband and having babies, not setting deadlines for these life events.
It had always been something that would “happen when or if it was meant to happen”. I was turning 30 and my career in Human Resources was starting to take shape and I wanted to continue to focus on developing that, all the while having a nagging feeling that if I didn’t pay attention to dating someone seriously I may find myself childless at 40. I knew that I wanted a family of my own it just really wasn’t a huge focus like many of my peers. Fast forward a couple of years and I met my now Husband and within 2 years of meeting we got married and bought a new home. The following year we had our daughter and two years later we had our son.

[caption id="attachment_20164" align="alignleft" width="300"]Baby on an iPad Creative Commons license by Tia.[/caption] When my now 15-year-old twin daughters were little, we would pack crayons and paper for them when we went out to restaurants. Remember crayons? I challenge you to spot a kid using crayons next time you visit any family restaurant anywhere. Most of the diaper set will be swiping their ketchup-smeared fingers across touch screens, chewing on their parents' expensive smartphones, playing engaging games or watching videos on electronic devices. iPads are the new crayons and board books.

Over the course of my career I have dealt with many families who were looking to hire a potential caregiver for their parents.  Families are needing respite and are looking to share the responsibilities of care giving with a trained nurse’s aide.  It is important that you select the right professional caregiver for your parent and the following tips will help you.

I recently participated in a 7-day gratitude challenge.  A friend of mine nominated me, and the directions were quite simple.  I had to post 3 things a day, for seven days, for which I was grateful.  I also was required to nominate at least 3 other people to follow suit and participate as well.  I figured this was one of those challenges that would be easy, seeing as in my opinion I am and have always been an extremely grateful person.