Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Art of Comfy Travel

I have had different relationships with business travel over different stages of my life 

At certain times when kids very little and demanding was a treat and an escape if not very frequent . In other stages of kids being in middle school ,I resented it as clashed  with family commitments and school activities , and now at its all time high I usually quite like it or at the least am very neutral about it and barely even notice I am in planes hotels and airports quite often 

It also helps that now with consulting they are billable hours as don't get paid for travel hrs  ever but do get paid for any work I do during that time and when you are pitching and presenting to big groups like I do it is certain that when you are not sleeping on the plane you are definitely working ( or blogging ! )

The hotel makes a huge difference too . We are spoiled in Pharma and have awesome hotels but when not a Pharma company booking .. hotel experience is not always great . The hotel and surroundings make it or break it . Last week in Atlanta I got bumped from my hotel bc over double booking for hurricane and let's just say the " hotel " reminded me of a very shabby nursing home . That was fine though as with hurricane all was chaotic and I preferred to have the poor families who left their vacations and homes with family have the coziness and luxury instead of me who was working and going straight to bed anyways 

I  much prefer the 5 star with the heated pools ( and I don't feel bad saying it given that business travel is demanding especially internationally  when Peru or Russia so I feel  very entitled to my comfort) 

It's fun though when not too much and I have my certain rules when I business travel :

-I always try new foods that make that place unique ( is it my fault that last week in Atlanta I had to eat all fried food for southwestern cuisine? Fried green tomatoes and hush puppies and peach cobbler made me feel slightly nauseated but were yummy in a unique way )

-I always buy a little souvenir for myself . I splurge on a nice pair of sunglasses once a year and on a normal month a pair of spanx tights or a new book 

-I also use the time to have great texting conversations with my three kids and hubby and mom and friends and get caught up . This trip was cool as hubby in Peru and so we texted like crazy in transit 

-I never bring luggage to check if under a week and have a very stuffed carry on ( lost luggage too many times ) I am now an expert 

-I also try to get on plane in first 20 mins before people to ensure enough in overhead bin for luggage . They never ask me why I get in line in the wrong order . I am so not a rule person and has led to alot of success for me! (don't read this part children)

-I always have a bathingsuit and a cute dress as you just never know what lies around the corner for fun if a free moment for leisure . Rare but can happen and I like water 

-I am Comfy all the way . So I never wear my high heels in airport and bought the best shoes I could find to go
With business suits and be very comfy ( still look like an idiot but worth it )

-It's all about the bags so I buy stuff that is classy and cool and in style but easy to carry for my back . And I always have a small Purse with phone and passport lipstick and hand sanitizer very accessible 

-Always a hair elastic around my wrist , lululemon pants , a pillow , my agenda , eos Lip balm , hand moisturizer  and a good book for before bed 

-I never watch tv in hotels but read and work and plan my whole life just like on vacation . I never make airtime a waste of time 

-I always forget my travel pillows on the  planes  and am sad because I love them 

-I have Nexus and it is amazing and let's me pass all the lines and feel important ( except like this time that nexus or not i got the lucky 1/1000 random search of body and all electronics ! )

-For business presentations I try to look really put together and have nice clothes hair and makeup and change into a different evening business casual outfit for evening team events 

-On plane the way there I wear lululemon  and casual ( even though some say that need to be ready for business on plane too ,I have enough business and need comfort more  ) on way back I wear my business suits and funky comfy shoes and still look like a loser without proper shoes but at least my ankles are not twisted and I can run for connecting flights 

-I bring my own snacks of 100 calories so I am not too tempted by airplane snacks ( and often I just eat those and my own snacks and end up double  the calories so maybe need to change this tactic ! )

-I always plan my next vacations on the plane and calculate with money earned how to pay for them or which line of credit to use 

-I always pray for safety in a plane and say a note of thanks when I land safely . I always clap for the pilot when the plane lands . Even if sometimes I am the only one 

-I try and get Chase to pick me up as I am scared of taxis and we have our little airport routine down pat him and I 

-When I get home from trips I relax and take it easy and often go to bed . Business trips tire me 

-I try to make people who don't travel for business ( ie my family ) understand that it is often exhausting and similar to 16 hrs days at office . I happen to often be in nice places but often don't even get to see them . I try to make them see that I need to go to bed and can't be doing dishes cooking and laundry after " my break "

-I have no system to my suitcase and usually roll up clothes in a ball and deal with them at home except for one outfit on a hanger that I put nicely in dry cleaning paper 

-I always have an extra business skirt and shirt and pair of business shoes in case zippers break or stains get on them .Trust me on this one when you have one pair of boots with a suit and the zipper breaks and you have to wear running shoes to give a keynote speech - it helps you learn this lesson 

-In case any of that may have helped .. Happy business travelling !

Friday, October 07, 2016

The Adventure of Macchu Pichu Begins!

The group

Trekking in prep in Stowe

At the beginning of 2016 hubby and I got an email from the highschool saying that they were organizing a trip to Peru for parents who were interested in a 10 day Peru and Machu Pichu trip 
When I saw that email I new this would be perfect for hubby 
Within minutes without even seeing my Emil  suggestion he had also written me saying " do you think I should do this ? ??"

Fast forward 10 months later and he leaves in a few hrs to Peru for the trip of his lifetime 

At the airport yesterday

Completely 100 percent out of his mental and social and physical comfort zone .

But we both knew this was still perfect for him for so many reasons . 
In his fundraising campaign for the school ( he pays his trip etc of course ) he wrote such a beautiful email to his family , colleagues and friends and his reasons for wanting to do this trek . Right up there was to show his kids in action how to put yourself out of comfort zone completely , to show beauty who has worn a body brace for almost 3 yrs now that he wanted to share in some small way her discomfort .. And that this was a personal journey and transformation for him .

My husband has been on a very deep personal transformation over the last few years and has completely changed his life , the way he deals with stress especially  , his commitment to health  and fitness and his habits and his overall lifestyle . He has given up a lot and gained a lot too . This trek is important to him on many deep levels .

He is petrified and has barely slept the last few days but is equally excited . He woke up this morning in a sweat and gathered me in his arms proclaiming his love and how much he will miss ( he always seems to adore me more when we are apart lol ! )

He felt so supported by all the emails and generosity from the fund raising . He has never done anything like this and touched us both tremendously to see our loved ones touched by his journey he is taking 

Beauty is on a school trip this week so he said his goodbyes to his little girl earlier this week . Last night the two boys came in bed and snuggles with their dad and I 
I will always keep the picture of him holding them close , these two almost men in his arms telling them what to do if ever he died ( overly anxious and dramatic are we ??? )

All he kept saying was " take care of your mommy " over and over and over . I kept telling him I would take care of them but he kept repeating . I think the kids saw how much their dad loves their mom . It was a very tender moment for me . I will hold that picture inside of me for a very long time 

Bear left him a ribbon this morning on his coffee maker for his trek bag . And chase a note with some biodegradable bum wipes ! I thought so sweet they did this especially since not a word from me and and all their doing . Made me very proud of who they have become as young men.

What waits at home

Nerves are high and on edge . This may not seem big to all but it is huge for him. We both coincidentally had to be at the airport for 2pm so shared a taxi together . I got to meet the 9 people he is trekking and travelling with and they seemed really nice and welcoming . It felt good- but also a odd for me as he will be in such close proximity with this group for 10days and sharing such a beautiful experience - without me . As we all know part of really loving someone is however setting them free  

My protector is going away . For himself . All him . All about him . Claiming what rightfully belongs to him . Discovering the full landscape of his life 
And I am in full and utter support of his journey and whatever he discovers . With full confidence and just a bit of trepidation and fear  .

Me and my own adventure

We have come a long long way . I am feeling so scared in many ways for different reasons, but also so happy for him. My happiness outweighs my fear right now. this is my gift to many people i am meeting are saying "he is going alone on an expensive trip for 10 days???" Yes he is. He said didn't feel comfortable me going on a trip alone last year (so I took our daughter) but for some reason I feel comfortable him going on a trip alone? Odd.. I know.Sometimes life can be surprising

What is comforting me now is keeping my mind on the cottage

I love your forever and a day my darling fiercely and forever . I know you will come home to us safe and happy . And very very very proud of yourself 

I am looking forward to so many other adventures in our lives -  as a couple- their are so many cool adventures out in the world to discover and so much life that awaits us. 

Goodbye!!! (both different flights at airport)

safely back home from almost hurricane  atlanta and ready to take on the next 10 days as a single mommy! The fun  has already begun with chauffering and errands right off the plane!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Re-posting from April 2015 :Introducing my First Published Book!

(I am re-posting this blog from April 2015 as many people and clients have commented cannot find this blog post  in my history and neither can I!)

“More Life, Please!” By Dr Christian Marcolli with Tarina Wagschal

What a dream come true. Seriously every boat ride, plane ride, all my dreams and moments and nature walks-these ideas have been swirling through my mind forever. And now they have finally come together in a published book through Urbane Publications.

My esteemed co-author is really well known. He is a world class expert on sustainable high performance and works with some of the finest athletes around the world (Roger Fedherer anyone???) as well as business leaders and Fortune 500 market leading organizations.

What an honor for me to have been asked to collaborate on this book together over the last two years. This is truly such an honor for me. As I re-read our book this weekend I was truly in shock. It is sooooo good!!!!!! (never had a issue with confidence, have you noticed?)

Christian and I have been co-facilitating leadership development programs at a major global pharma company for more than 9 years. He is one of my closet colleagues and this was the natural next step for us. He has been one of my powerful mentors in my lifetime.

The book is all about how challenging life can be and exploring” is there time for a successful career AND those we love?”  We all strive to get more from life but can struggle to find a positive harmonization between our career and family commitments. Business leaders and corporate performers constantly focus on achieving ambitious objectives and building positive lasting partnerships-but how can we bring those dynamic strengths into our private lives, far beyond the office desk and into our homes?

More, Life Please! Changes your life for the better to help you engage more positively with everyone you interact with. Passion. Precision. Peace. Presence and Persistence are vital elements and essential to your success.

For those who have mastered the corporate world and are keen on positively improving their private and family lives too. More Life Please! Is the Performance Pathways to a Better You.

Please check the book out on!

I welcome all your comments and Amazon reviews and anyone who wants to post a book review on their blog-I am most grateful.

Leaving my place of work after 12 yrs has done wonders for my blog! Tripled my audience since the day I left. (I have the feeling that many associates got curious a little more?)  Serendipity made it so that my book was published my last official day at work.

Weird coincidence?
No-I  think not. Is anything in life?

Happy Reading and thanks for the support everyone!!

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Just Like Home (but Better)

There are certain places in your life that are linked  to feeling and sentiment. Where when you think of that place ( or better yet get to go that place ! ).... that it is a feeling like coming home .
We all need a place and a space in our hectic lives to take a breather and a break. To stop just surviving the day and take the time to look forward to the day ahead of us. 

The Fairmont Tremblant  hotel is one of those few places for me . Over the last 22 yrs for both  business and for pleasure I have come here so many times and each one is just as good as the next . 
So when we were seeking a place to celebrate a special weekend with our family for our 20th wedding anniversary... we knew straight  away where we were going !!!

 It's  the perfect place to just unwind , relax , be together , have good conversations and connect as a family ( with with three teens it is not always that obvious ! ) we made everyone commit to blocking it off in their calendars months ahead and off we went early Saturday morning at 8am for our weekend celebration .

Breakfast on the way which is always a treat , and from there we headed for the famous , scary ,breathtaking and beautiful Via Ferrata cliff climb in Mont Tremblant ( separate blog post on this later this week)

Then checked into our beautiful hotel room with a perfect view of the fall foliage . Bear pounced on the bed as soon as he came into the room and all three of course asked for the wi-fi code . The friendly staff laughed out loud how at home they all seemed! 

Hubby and I fell asleep at the pool in the sun while Beauty worked out at the gym and the boys decided to study and get ahead of their work in a quiet part of the hotel with an incredible view .

Late afternoon Beauty texted us excitedly saying a surprise was sent to the room for our 20th anniversary and to our delight we found this !!!

We all dug in and felt to special and taken care of .  Nothing like  good food to make a weekend even more special . We all went down to the pool together  and lounged in the outdoor hot tubs and talked about Cegep and University upcoming decisions. Our kids made other people in the pool laugh by their silly comments and ideas that only occur to teens.

 Bear and Chase headed to the gym while the three of us stayed  in the room reading. Dinner was a great fondue place in the Tremblant village and Hubby and I took turns  reading our renewed wedding vows to the kids and trying to get them to tell us what they admire about their  parent's marriage.

 Here is what we got out of them :
- work hard play hard mentality 
- we compliment  each other in parenting 
- we are super organized 
- we allow each other freely to live our own individual  work lives 

Was the  first meal in a while that they all behaved and were nice and calm and all had great conversations  . I guess getting away together as a family is a good idea!

A great sleep in the ever comfy luxurious beds and was fun too all be in the same room waking up even though their mess would annoy me after a couple of nights that is certain !)
Woke up and lounged around in bed reading  all of us and then went to the "piece de resistance" the breakfast at  Fairmont Buffet  !!! With our favorite dish on earth- the maple crepes to die for . At first I almost had a heart attack  as the chef said they did not make the maple pancakes  anymore but when he realized I was talking about crepes and not pancakes he served me an extra portion :)

So popular are the crepes that the spoon keeps falling into the serving dish! The chef could hardly keep up with the demand:)

We even unexpectedly bumped into Hubby's sister and brother in law with a group of 20 coming to eat this same yummy  breakfast as an excursion with this group from Montreal. Was so cool to see them ! I guess the Fairmont buffet is even more popular than we knew.

Kids all studied again in the room as at this age even holidays don't make the studying go away unfortunately.
We all got 15 min chair massages at the spa which was a real treat and then went for our last soak in the heated outdoor pools and hot tubs before we headed back to our cottage for some housework and a quick dinner and then home for the week ahead 

Its amazing how just a short  weekend getaway like this lifts the spirts , re-energizes our souls and connects a busy family . The Fairmont Tremblant is the perfect place for this unwinding and connecting as a family .

We are still  ourselves home or away .. a bit crazy .. a bit chaotic ... the teens get on our nerves as much as I assume we get on theirs . There is still real life and emails to answer and worries to worry and messes to be cleaned up . That all being said there is closeness and love and respect and connectivity . We are a family living this crazy little thing called life together . We are all just a little bit in love with each other  as human beings and the lives we have built together . We all hold this family as our highest priority even if it takes the kids a while to admit that.

Take that life to a fall foliage heaven on earth with a friendly staff and a magnificent venue ....that life becomes a very special  place to celebrate 20 yrs of togetherness . These days especially 20 yrs of marriage is a really big deal . I am glad the kids were part of this with us 

We will be back for sure on all our happy occasions to this beautiful special  place that we call home : The Fairmont Tremblant 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Some things I think are pretty cool

"Friendship isn't about who you have known the longest. It's about who walked into your life and said "I'm here for you" and proved it."

Getting texts like this in the morning as I wake up from a friend . Felt so good to be there for her so intensely during and intense time for her . Made someone I knew pretty well and considered a friend into a forever friend 

 Doing a family photo shoot in the park in sept  fall weather Something that has been on my bucket list for years and finally made happen . So much work to coordinate outfits and get all 5 of us together during the day . We made it happen and we actually had a blast . It was so fun and we laughter and joked around and loved our photographer 

I am really loving ( some days of the week ) having young adults at home . I love the funny and curious texts Chase writes me .. I love driving Bear to the gym ( well he drives and I sit there ) .. I love watching Beauty wear her oversized clothes to hip hop and her new style emerge and her shy smile when she doesn't want us to see she is happy 

I think it is especially cool that the night before I can find all three of my kids highly irritating and have it out with them and the next day feel so close and bonded with them . Part of life and comes with the ups and downs I guess . I have a feeling that the next 5-7 yrs will be some of the best years as a family watching there process of emerging into adults ( if they live here with us which is not guaranteed at all !! ) . They will also be some of the most Challenging as a family as they display their independence and autonomy and play by their own rules - but I love watching them emerge 

I like sharing a home with young adults like chase . Where he goes to get groceries and not tell me because we need them .. Where he makes huge meals for " gains " where he has his own cegep life and we see eachother in the mornings as we all prepare for work . It is such a privilege to share this part of his life with him and get to watch him evolve daily and mature . With him and bear both I feel like we almost live in a commune now and share the work and the food and the life 
And then thankfully still have our baby girl to even it out a little ( although everyone thinks she is 18-20yrs old by her looks so not much of a baby girl anymore ! ) I like seeing chase discover he likes smoke meat and bear realize he likes working out at gym 9:30-10:30pm and beauty realize she can't stand her own room if it is messy and have a very set and continuous routine of making sure all is tidy 

I love watching all the seeds grow 

I love the texting relationships I share with many people in my lives . My friends and colleagues and my friends hubbies who are my friends too . It makes my day to have these  great texting ( and real life ) relationships 

Work . And where it can go if I want it to . Transformation and the ability to be constantly changing . Work and what I know the future hold for me . Making my highest contribution in the world and realizing my full potential . Knowing it is always up to only be

My mom and sharing life with her so closely and intimately . It has all been so hard so much of the time but I am so glad I am by her side and she is beside mine . Yesterday a random woman in a restaurant came up to our table and commented on our relationship with tears in her eyes missing her own mom . She was saying what we have is so precious . Don't I know it ...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Me and Fall

As I was driving towards the start of my totally cool amazing early b-day weekend all I could think of was the beautiful fall foliage that surrounded me up north at the cottage and how lucky I am to call this time of the season mine of birth 
 My mom often remembers looking out the hospital window with her new baby girl in arms ( me ! ) and feeling like it had to be the most beautiful day of the year ( oct 9). I love when she shares this memory with me 

My Protector will be away for my 45 b-day this year trekking Peru so he is making up for it two weeks earlier and the month following . For some reason 45 is a milestone for both of us it seems and we are celebrating . We did something special for 40 and seem to be keeping the 5 yrs tradition of birthday specialness 

This year is the most extraordinary celebration ever as I am doing 6 special things ! Which are all excuses to just do things I have wanted to do forever!!!!

  • this weekend with our bffs soulkeeper  and and mr soulkeeper  kayak near Trent expedition which was a surprise since they had a sitter anyways since  having some couple time so we get to spend alot of the weekend the four of us doing all my fave things !!!

  • my bday family dinner which is usually at my moms with my loblaws cake it this year will be a Monday night at our place take out Indian and loblaws cake 
  • Dinner out with other great friends ( we are the 3 couples always together for events )at our fave high scale Serbian resto downtown 
  • A spa nigbt with two of my very very very close girlfriends 

  • A weekend in Miami just me and my brother!!!!!!!!!! I cant wait!!!!

  • The grand finale is Turks and Caicos with our  bffs sister savvy and mr savvy who are joining us for 5 of our 10 day couple vacation omg !! 

I know this all sounds really really over the top and crazy .I am actually embarrased as i write it all. Usually a loblaws cake and a crockpot dinner is what I have and am very pleased with that !! But this year I think we are using my 45 bday to just live it up a lot and do all the things we want to do that have been on our bucket lists for years and just honestly using my bday as a big excuse clearly !! We are in a good place together and I guess taking advantage of it . We are kinda loving doing things without the kids lately if I am honest 

And do remember my word for 2016 is " moments " and I am squishing in every last minute of it before year end :))
 I feel like certain bdays are special . Because of the number and because of where we are at that stage in our live. What we have given that year and what we receive .
For some reason I am getting really spoiled this year and celebrated .
This weekend is the beginning of an amazing great couple of months and it started out with meeting Soulkeeper at her traditional church bizarre right near both our cottages . We shopped our heads off for lunch boxes and X-mas decorations and clothes all second hand and that cost about a dollar or so each !

Hubby planned a big surprise with Soulkeeper hubby and we went on the most amazing kayaking expedition together that we have both done before but was so fun together . A huge homemade breakfast before and an amazing day on the river in the crisp fall cool weather but with beautiful sun shining and the leaves turning  the most wonderful shades of yellow and orange and red . We stopped for a great picnic lunch and then at the end of 4.5 hrs crashed in the sun while we waiting for the transport 
The three of them talked about coffee all the day and finally got what they coveted on our way back at a cute little coffee place ( and some chocolate and bubble gum ! )

It was an incredible weekend . The four of us together are so complete and close and compatible and fun . We tease , we laugh , we tell the truth, we have a total loving , authentic , fun and close relationship with lots of both compliments and insults flying between us  . It is truly one of life's true blessings to share this life together with them . It just all feels so natural and easy and fun. I feel like it is oxygen in so many way and fills me up in a way that it so unique and needed

good old fashioned fun at the lanthier market

Loved this girl since I saw her in grade 8 in gym class, who would have known she would be one of  montreals top crossfit female athletes who can lift a car!!!

wish I had brought my selfie stick! we had fun trying the timer over and over!

Pont de Bissous is where everyone has to stop and kiss of course

I love these three so much

the beginning of such a great kayak fall foliage day

I love how close these two are:))) makes me so so happy that two people I love -love eachother too

I feel so little!!!

Love this guy and how honest and direct he is with me and keeps me in line in such a cute loving way:))))

we lucked out in the hubby department!

more kissing on the bridge

can you tell we were a little tired of sitting and needed to stretch out our muscles???

I can't wait for the other special things I have coming up . It's Making Turning 45 very cool !!! (even if the events themselves are all just excuses to be with the people we love)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Crockpot Queen

It is hard to be a queen around cooking for this household because 

A) I generally hate cooking ( not  in my heart  who thinks there is a chance I like it ..but in actual reality )

B) my husband is incredible at it so very very hard to compete 

C) the things I would be open to or like cooking are not good for us 

Over the years I have had this hidden passion for cooking ( so hidden in fact I have rarely even made a box of Kraft dinner )
I make  very yummy and creative sandwiches and salads a lot but that isn't really cooking 

That being said I rip out hundreds of recipes to cook . And they sit in a file or my husband eventually makes them . But deep inside I know the urge is there and waiting to come out . Cooking two meals a week has made it onto my to do lists and New Years resolution lists more times than I wish to admit

Never happened .

I wanted to " specialize "'in sandwiches at one point and kinda so in some ways I guess 

I really really want to specialize in pastas and baking but I know that would just lead to a bigger butt for me so I don't dare too 

So the other day it hit me !! Crock pot specialization !! We have been using it at cottage here and there and Always looks so simple and easy when my husband does it . Plus only one pot to clean ! And can be done in morning when I have more energy and nothing needs to be reheated in microwave . Winning formula !

This week I was truly inspired when my husband made a 5 mins crockpot recipe and everyone adored it . So today I was excited for my turn today 

I mixed sausages ( frozen ) some leftover homade pasta sauce we made on weekend , chickpeas , peas and carrots and fresh basil and am letting it cook all day . Smells very delicious . I can't wait for my family to say " yum what dad made " and me to say "'it was mommy !!! "
Ps they all loved it and all begged for the leftovers for their lunches ! Felt so good for me 

It's odd to make time to put together a quick meal on morning like that even if less than 10 mins as after excercising .. Showering ... And cooking .. I feel like shouldn't I be working by 10am ?
But hell I guess this is one of the benefits of being and entrepreneur 
And if my food is good-  my family will think so too 

I think I can get really into crockpot easy cooking . I actually don't love meat much in a daily basis so won't be as tempted to eat lots of it myself either .  I am a big lunch eater and am very content at dinner during the week to eat a few bites of the meal with some fruit or veggies and a few almonds . Good big portions too as all three teens are foodies now and eat us out of house and home . All healthy expensive stuff too ! ( aka salmon and avocado with but butter and capers for breakfast with a protein shake with eggs and bananas avocados and veggies )

The nerve of those healthy kids eh ???

I will let you know how the crockpot queen is turning out in a few weeks .
I am hoping to integrate cooking as ( finally ) part of my identity . Right up there with loving yoga

What is happening to me? I am finally getting some hobbies and getting really good at life!