How To Enjoy A Staycation even when the money is tight

Why you need to take that vacation time off even if you can’t get out of town and (how to enjoy it)how to enjoy a staycation, holiday at home,


Half of American workers don’t take all their vacation days.  Incredible.  I actually could not believe it when I saw those statistics.  And it’s not because Americans have a lot of paid vacation time. Lucky ones get 2 weeks vacation a year, and many don’t get any.


Compare that to a minimum of 20 days and up to 30 days a year in the European Union and it’s a real mystery why Americans give back to 2 weeks salary to their employer every year.  Here is a good article on the subject.


If you have been guilty of this sin, because it’s a sin against yourself to not stop work and go out and play, I hope to make you change your ways this year and make the most of your vacation time even if you take a staycation instead of a trip around the world.


The biggest reason to take your vacation days is because it’s good for you.  Plain and simple.  In the olden days, people worked 6 and 7 days a week and vacation days were unheard of for many.  People also died quite young in those days and I suspect many did die from overwork.  (Still happens in Japan).  More on this here


Time away from work is good for both your physical and your mental health, even if it’s a staycation, or vacation in your backyard.

how to enjoy a staycation, vacation at home


Here are some benefits: Continue reading “How To Enjoy A Staycation even when the money is tight”

5 Ways Being Mindful Will Save You Money On Food, And A Bonus

Do you wonder “How can I save money on food and eat well too?  You know it’s good to be Thrifty?  It leaves money in your pocket for what really matters.  There are many ways to save money on food and eat well can I save money on food and eat well

I have made big changes in my food shopping in the past 6 months or so.  I had never calculated how much I spent on groceries until the day I checked my credit card bill (I pay everyting with my card to get points) and saw I spent around $250 a month, quite consistently.  I thought this was a little high and I decided to see if I could find ways to save money on food.

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5 ways to save money on food (while eating well)

Look at how much you normally spend and set a food budget 20% lower for the next month to save money on food.

  • For example if you normally spend $250. a month on food  – excluding cleaning products, toilet paper, etc., set your food budget at 80% of that, or $200. a month.  If you are already spending wisely you may not lower your food bill as much as I did.  On the other hand, you may find you can be a lot more thrifty and still eat really well.

Continue reading “5 Ways Being Mindful Will Save You Money On Food, And A Bonus”

Practice Self-Care: How To Have More Pleasure For The Sake Of Your Health

Pleasure = Self-Care:  It’s good for youhow to have more pleasure, pleasure, self-care, dare, risk, fun, adult play

Maybe you already practice self-care.  You do everything you know is good for your health.  And that’s good.  Do you wonder “How can I have more pleasure in my life?”

But if you are like many over 20, women out there, with a career, a main relationship, kids too, you don’t really make much time for pleasure and fun in your life.  Things to do just because they feel good and give you a feeling of enjoyment.  No time you say.  Too much to do.  Pleasures are often related to the senses, touch, smell, taste.

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Maybe, just maybe, even your sex life is, well, not very exciting.  Your main relationship may also show signs of wear and tear.  You and your Significant Other pass by and are dutiful, but gone are the days of giggling and fun.

Well, I am here to help you change all that. Continue reading “Practice Self-Care: How To Have More Pleasure For The Sake Of Your Health”

5 Great Fun And Exciting Activities: Take Your Summer From Blah! to Ahhh!

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Fun Summer sports just for you to try and enjoy.

How would you like to try some new activities to put some spring in your steps now that Summer is here.  If you already have plans for exciting days for the coming season, this post may not interest you.  Maybe you have a big holiday planned or you are going to the cottage for the Summer.

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If on the other hand you have not yet done much thinking about how you will make this Summer memorable, I have some neat suggestions for you to try some Summer sports.. Most of them will cost you less than $100.

I am really excited to see warmer days because Summer is my favourite season. After a long freezing Winter in the North East, Summer is never long or warm enough for me and I literally organize my life around the weather.

How do you feel about this wonderful season? Are you just planning the same old routine you have done last year, and the year before? When was the last time you tried a new activity?  Have you tried different Summer sports?

Don’t let being alone stop you. You don’t need a partner to join any of the activities I suggest here. The benefit of joining alone is that it will easier to meet the other people in the classes and make new friends too.

You can have fun this Summer without breaking the bank.  Outside sports are also good for your physical and mental health.  Being in nature has a calming effect that counter balances the busy, noisy city life.

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Continue reading “5 Great Fun And Exciting Activities: Take Your Summer From Blah! to Ahhh!”

Ditch The New Normal With Your Health, Love Life And Money

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Stand Out!  Don’t be Afraid, Ditch Normal

I know, this goes against everything your mom and common sense told you since you were a toddler.  Everyone wants to be seen as normal, right? Normal means fitting in, being like everyone else, part of the majority.

stand out, don't be afraid, ditch new normal

Well, no more, at least when it comes to these three aspects of your life.  Because today many people find it normal to be overweight and in poor health, to settle in relationships and to have debt and little or no net worth.


Normal Health?  No way.


The new normal in America is if you are in the norm, you are very overweight, maybe obese.  Because you are so uncomfortable, you rarely walk or do any other kind of exercise.


If you are normal in America, it means you eat fast food regularly, smoke, eat very little fruit and vegetable and barely know how to cook.  In fact, you also eat out a lot and your fridge has mostly soft drinks, beer, some frozen pizza and other processed food.


If you are normal, you have latent heart problems and or type 2 diabetes, and there is a good chance you will die fairly young or spend your last years in a wheelchair.


It’s become normal in America to have obese kids who slurp on soft drinks, watch tv or play on computer most of the time and are addicted to junk food.  Today’s youngs may die younger than their parents because their bad health starts when they are so young.


Where do you fit in that picture?  If you find that this is a pretty accurate description of your health, you can change it.  It’s quite simple really although it’s not necessarily easy.


First, ditch the junk food.  Invest in some fruits and vegetables. Then, start cooking.  And start walking.  Identify your triggers for eating badly.  Attack them one by one.  Make friends with people who eat healthy.  Make friends with people who walk or exercise and value their health.  Meal planning can help you eat healthier.

stand out, don't be afraid, eat healthy, ditch new normal


Someone said Continue reading “Ditch The New Normal With Your Health, Love Life And Money”

Resources – Recommendations

This page contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through those links, I may earn a small commission at no cost to you, to help me continue this blog

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  1. I use Bluehost Have you ever thought of having your own blog or website, but thought it was too expensive or too complicated to set up?  Here comes the solution: for between $36 to $50 a year (if you catch a special, it’s close to $36. but it always under $50 with my link), including a free domain name the first year  ($15. saving) through this link– It comes with free Website builders, WordPress installed in one click and 24/7 support,from Bluehost.

2. With  $5mealplan, the planning, including the grocery list, is done for you.   If you are tired of trying to come up with interesting, low cost, varied meals for the family, this is for you.   For $5 a month you can prepare healthy, low cost (even gluten free) meals.  14 day free trial – and you can cancel anytime – no question asked.

3. You certainly have heard about Airbnb.  A trip to Quebec city on September 10 and we are using this for the first time.  A full apartment for 3, including a full kitchen for less than a hotel room. Whether you travel for pleasure or work, totally worth taking a look here – By joining, you save $40 ($66 if you also have a work email) when you make your first reservation.,

P.S. we did use the Airbnb in Quebec city and it was more than satisfactory.  $99. a night for 3 bedrooms, equipped kitchen, living room with cable tv, parking.  In fact it was a bungalow, not an appartment on a quiet street, about 9kms from Old Québec city.

4. Emotional Freedom Techniques – also called emotional acupuncture.  Use it to lower stress, to change negative thoughts.  Easy to learn.  Here is a link to a free book (pdf 87 pages)  

5.  More free resources on self-improvement

6. Udemy – the site to find classes over 3,000 different courses and classes – some free, many for less than $20.  I have taken courses on Udemy for over a year  – great as a gift around the holidays too.  Or use this link for more technical courses

7. Naked Zebra is a clothing company mainly geared at the young’ish crowd, but I love their jacket and handbags and I found a couple of neat summer tops.  They also have graduation party dresses.

8. Books, toys, furniture, gifts – this store has it all – Indigo is one of my top place for books.

9. Get gift cards for your online activities: earn points when you shop, watch videos, search the web or answer surveys.  Points can also be redeemed for cash through PayPal.

10. Send flowers to your loved ones, including yourself.

11. Tutorial to start your blog

12. Find what you need on Amazon


Best Tips To Stop Emotional Eating


Best Tips To Stop Emotional Eating and overeating

This post may contain affiliate links.  If you make a purchase I may receive a commission, at no cost to you.  

overeating, emotional eating,


Even without emotional eating , it is a lot more difficult for us women to lose weight than it is for men .Even at 30 and even more so around and after menopause.  And for some a small number of us there can be other factors like an underperforming thyroid.

However, for a large majority of us, emotions are the driving factor that gets us from the couch to the fridge.

North Americans are not happy.  More than 50% hate their jobs.  Around 50% of marriages end in divorce and of those who remain married a small percentage – some say around 15% – are happy.  Over 20% of the population is drinking to excess or using drugs – and that’s only the ones we know about.

This sad state of affairs has created a world where food has become the legal and acceptable drug of choice.  The term “emotional eating” has never been as present as it is today with devastating consequences for our waistlines and our collective health.

Not helping the situation are the gigantic servings in popular restaurants and the millions of fast food places all over, offering what they say is cheap (I’ll write about that in another post, because no they are not cheap) convenient food-like stuff.

If you recognize yourself as an emotional eater, here are some ways you may have fallen into that habit and what you can do instead – must do – to take care of your physical and emotional health and transform your life.

The very first step is to identify the feeling before you reach for the extra-food.  Try to find out what you are feeling at this very moment?  Sad, bored, angry, lonely, or anxious?  Once you have identified the feeling, take an action that will soothe it, without resorting to extra-food, using the tips below.  Be kind to yourself.  You did not start emotional eating last week.  It will take time to make changes in your eating habits.

Stop Emotional Eating

If you overeat when you feel bored, find your passion.  One of the top qualities associated with happiness is curiosity.   Not surprising.  Look at young children.  They want to see and touch and do everything possible.  People who keep on learning for the sake of learning are some of the happiest around.  To find something that interests you, look around, look back when you were a child or young adult.

Maybe you did not have a chance to take piano or singing lessons because there was not enough money in the family.  Find yourself a piano or singing teacher.  Ever wanted to be a ballerina?  You may never make it to the Met but you can take ballet lessons, just for your own pleasure.  Look here to find a class you might want to take.

If you overeat when you feel lonely, get your list of favourite people and get in touch.  Whether it’s because you are away from family or not being able to see them often or feeling lonely because of a disconnection in your relationship(s), loneliness is a 21st century disease.  If you can call, visit, email, text a loved one, do it.  If you feel lonely because there is a disconnection in your primary relationship, reach out.  Tell how you feel, without accusing.  Hopefully the response will be a loving one.

I know from experience that it’s not easy to reach out – my early life experience has left me worrying about bothering people.  So now I talk to myself into doing it even when it feels uncomfortable.

It takes on person to reach out to possibly repair and re-connect.  Try it.  If you consistently get a no-response or a negative one, see if you need a serious talk or a counselling session to help you decide whether to stay or leave.

If you overeat when you feel unloved (and unlovable), be loving to yourself.  Eating too much or the wrong stuff is abandoning yourself.  If you need love, a cookie or the whole box will not deliver love.  Look at a picture of yourself as a baby and ask what that little one needs right now.  It might be a nap, or a nice walk, or watching a funny movie, or being with someone who you know totally loves you (yes, even your mother counts) and tell them you need a hug or a cuddle.  Ask for what you need from your partner, your friends, your family.

Look at the ways you have been unloving toward yourself: overeating, not sleeping enough, too much tv, no exercise,  not allowing yourself time off, a nice meal, a trip, help around the house, etc.

If you overeat when you feel disrespected, respect yourself and speak up – unless it’s physically dangerous to do so.  In that case, find a safe space.

Not standing up for yourself is one of the worse things you can do for both your physical an mental health.  The stress hormones you secrete are poison.

If you overeat when you are angry, first process what happened.  Don’t take it out on yourself with food.  Anger is a very healthy emotion unless it’s your default place.  Anger can show up when someone has violated our boundaries, or when we see someone else being treated badly.  If there is a cause you feel particularly passionate about, get involved as a volunteer.  If someone repeatedly violates your boundaries, remove yourself, permanently if things don’t change.

If you overeat because you hate your job, make a plan to find work where you will be happier.  Take a class, network to see what jobs are available, either in your present company or outside.  If possible, ask for a transfer to another department.  Investigate what education you would need to get the work you really want.

I did just that when I worked in the government, in administration and I was bored to death and I hated the work.  See this past post where I talk about it.  I can assure you that when I first tried to imagine getting the Master’s degree I would need, I totally believed it was not possible.  Fast forward 7 years later, I had the B.A. and the M.A. and I was in a totally new career.  If I could do it, you can too.

If you overeat because you feel old, put on your favourite music and dance.  Watch movies you liked when you were younger.  Treat yourself to a haircut.  If you are still wearing the same clothes you were wearing 20 years ago, treat yourself to a few new pieces of clothing.  No need to break the bank.  Consignement stores hold treasures at basement bargain prices.  If you feel old, stop referring to your age.  Look in the mirror, smile and say an age about 20 years younger than your chronological age.  Imagine yourself being 20 years younger.

Some of the best ways to feel younger is to be physically active through sports, or other activities.  I do ballroom dancing and I just started argentine tango.  I also do taichi, swim and walk regularly.  The other way to feel younger is to remain mentally active.  Read, learn new things.  I learned Italian a few years ago – one year of weekly classes.  I am now learning technical stuff related to my blog and although I find it extremely challenging, it’s keeping my brain active and that’s good.

If you overeat or practice emotional eating because you are unhappy in a loveless, or toxic relationship, and you have given it your best shot, take care of yourself and leave.   Consult a professional to clarify what you want and need to do.   You deserve to be with someone who cherishes you and you cherish too.   Some relationships, through no one’s fault, should have never been in the first place.  Others are abusive and toxic.  Both are hard to leave but your mental, and physical health deserve better.

Finally, there is another reason some of us overeat that is not emotional eating: we love the taste of food and are gluttons!  I know some of my overeating is simply because it’s so good -I am not really hungry but that cake is divine, or the pizza to die for.  I sometimes do this when I bake a cake, or a pie, raspberry pie.  Or with chinese food, my very favorite.  One thing to ask before taking that second helping is “Am I really hungry?  Do I want to regret this?  Will this sabotage my work of the last few weeks? Is it worth it?”  That kind of interior monologue can help, sometimes not. Ideally it does not happen too often.

If you resonate with any of the above triggers for overeating and emotional eating, surround yourself with people who are self-loving and manage their emotions in a healthy way.  They are the kind of people who will not sabotage your efforts at a healthier lifestyle and plan non-food activities with the others: hiking, a movie, an outdoor concert, a play, going dancing, a swim at the lake, etc.

If you found this post useful, please let me know and  share it with your network and on social media



Tips For Your Milestone Birthday: You Can Heal Your Past

Tips for Your Milestone Birthday: You Can Heal Your Past and Make Your 40’s The Best Decade Of Your Life

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According to research, we are most happy before and after mid-life, or put another way, happiness levels dip at mid-life.  And if this was not enough to cry over, some studies suggest that the great apes, yes monkeys, also experience a dip in happiness around the same time (I am not kidding, there is research on that).

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There seems to be many factors that contribute to this sad state of affairs in your forties, when many people experience “the” middle-life crisis. But because the apes also go through the same “crisis”, it seems that biology plays a role in that phenomenon.

Some of the factors that seem to have an effect on human happiness in mid-life are the many demands of work, children and often aging parents.  It’s often a time when success is defined as having achieved the right job, the right neighbourhood, etc. and when many fall short of the expectations they had for themselves.

And, it’s a time when we realize we are looking at the second half of life and that can be a scary vantage point.

From my work with thousands of women both as a psychotherapist and a life coach, I discovered the three most important steps you can take to help you through those inescapable ups and downs of mid-life.  I call them the 3 Secrets to Make your 40’s the best decade of your life.

Even if biology normalizes a dip in your happiness, you don’t have to take it lying down.  Here is what you can do to build a personal foundation that will make you more resilient to face life’s challenges. Continue reading “Tips For Your Milestone Birthday: You Can Heal Your Past”

9 Top Tips: Stay Young after 40:Tips for your milestone birthtday: Beat Your Genes

Turning 40, 45 or 50 is a huge milestone for many women.  Milestone birthdays are often the time for reflection on the past as well as what you want the future to look like.  It can bring fears about the future and how you find your body is beginning to show signs of wear.   Whatever age you are right now, you are never too young or too old to improve your health and with some changes in your lifestyle, you can turn back the clock.

stay young after 40

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Some questions you may be asking yourself can be: do you go for one more child or more?  Can you imagine yourself in that same job until retirement?  Has your relationship with your significant other deteriorated to the point of no return or does it just need a bit (or lots) more attention?  Have you stopped doing what interests you?

The average life span for a North American woman is now 84.5.  That’s a lot of days from where you are now.  But it’s not just how long you live. It’s how much quality of life will you have in those later years?

How would you describe your your health?  Do you feel full of energy?  Do you treat your body well or have you stopped giving it the attention it deserves?  Have you let it slide so bad that you now fear going to the doctor or even looking at yourself in a full length mirror?  Do you feel young or do you already feel old?  It is totally possible to stay young, feel and look young well past 40.

Even if you have a family history of less than stellar healthy aging, what you do starting now can change the direction of your life. Studies show that lifestyle accounts for more than 70% of your health.  This means that even with bad genes, what you do can definitely tip the scale in your favor.

 John Rowe and Robert Kahn, authors of the MacArthur Foundation’s study called Successful Aging published in 1999, found that lifestyle accounts for 75% of healthy aging. Healthy aging is diminished by risk factors such as blood pressure, weight, and diabetes and reinforced by friendships. 

Today we will focus on your health, more specifically on your body and some steps you can take now to make sure it continues to serve you well for years to come.  You will be in a much better place to address your other concerns once you have your health under control.


The first thing you must do is stop abusing your body. Continue reading “9 Top Tips: Stay Young after 40:Tips for your milestone birthtday: Beat Your Genes”

Stress: 9 Tips To Prepare And Defeat Stress

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Defeat Stress Like A Pro

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You already know you are stressed.  No need for a stress test. Learning to defeat stress is what you need and it can be lifesaving.  Stess is a fact of life.  The definition of stress is “demand made”.  We feel stressed when what we have or think we have is less than the sum of what is asked of us.

Life will keep on making demands on you and something in your upbringing may lead you to believe you don’t have what it takes to face certain situations.

I don’t want to minimize that some stressors can be totally frightening and yes, you can feel like a scared 5 year old, whether it’s losing your job, a divorce or worse yet, the death of a loved one.  A lot of how you react to stress may have to do with how stress was lived and dealt with when you were growing up and you can learn to be more resilient.

The problem with stress is that if you don’t learn to manage it, it does not go away and the next stressor can be the proverbial Continue reading “Stress: 9 Tips To Prepare And Defeat Stress”