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Work and Life

Why I Returned My Nike+ Fuelband

not for that

Less than 10 days ago, you might recall that I was a proud owner. After wearing it for 6 days in a row and chatting with other owners, I stopped wearing it for 4 days. I did not miss it and it didn’t change my daily routine. Don’t get me wrong the Nike+ Fuelband is a great tech gadget. It works well. I enjoy it for what it does but it doesn’t do what I want. I returned it because it feels short of my expectation.

What I found out is that most happy owners like the Fuelband because it motivates them to walk more. I already walk a lot. I easily do 10,000 steps every day, often more. Continue Reading

Work and Life

My New Gadget: The Nike+ Fuelband

nike+ fuelband white ice

June 26th, 2013 Update: Before you buy yours, read first Why I returned my Fuelband

It has been a while since I had my eye on a Nike+ Fuelband. Yesterday, I took the plunge. The reason why I bought a Fuelband is to help be more active. Yes, I wish to look better in my bikini but my real motivation is to stay healthy. Following my toddler boy around helps me but I want to do more. For the past 6 months, I try, without success, to add a daily yoga session to my routine. Between my work schedule, the household tasks and making dinner, I don’t seem to find the time to squeeze a yoga break. I wish that by raising the bar of my Fuel goal, I would have no choice but to integrate yoga in my life. Continue Reading


Family-Friendly Hi-Tech Scales: The Smart Body Analyzer WS-50 by Withings and their Smart Kid Scale

wireless scale ws-30 by withings

Technology touches every aspect of our life. Here is a company that makes our life better. Withings redefines how we use technology at home by creating smart products and smart phone apps to take care of yourself and your loved ones in a fun and innovative way. Because we reached swimsuit time, I taught that you might be interested by tools that can help you look and feel better on the beach.

Two years ago, my husband bought me the predecessor of the WS-50 scale because I was concerned at 9 months pregnant about how fast I would lose the pounds. Being a geek, he bought us something more than a scale. Jerome got the Wireless Scale WS-30. He bought us cutting edge technology that automatically tracks the weight, body mass index and fat-lean ratio of every member in our family. Continue Reading


In Season: Kale

kale chips by honest fare

baked kale chips :: chickpea sausage and kale pasta recipe

When a leafy green vegetable shows up on food trend lists, there must be something truly wonderful about it. That’s what made me consider kale as a new addition to our fridge’s crisper during a recent weekend grocery shopping trip.

A relative to every vegetable kids (and adults) love to hate – including cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts – it was kale’s pretty, curly-tipped leaves and velvety, rich green color that caught my eye.

Think kale is just a decorative plant for your fall garden? Think again. Loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin K, it’s also rich in iron, beta carotene and calcium. Rosie Schwartz, one of Canada’s best-known nutritionists and a registered dietitian, says these antioxidants protect against heart disease, stroke and guard your eyesight. In short, kale makes spinach seem like it has the nutritional value of candy.

Cooking Tips

kale chips by honest fare

So how does it taste? The longer you store kale, the stronger and more bitter it becomes, so it’s best to use it within a day or two or purchase, as I learned the hard way. To prepare kale, wash it thoroughly to remove dirt or sand, then trim the roots and separate the leaves.

Unlike other greens, the leaves can be tough to eat raw, so cooking them is the best way to introduce your tastebuds to this new flavour. Check out the Sourcing section below for a few recipes to get you started.

Finally, check out this adorable instructional video to learn “How to Make Kale Quiche Your Kids Will Actually Eat” from Canadian food blog award finalist Sweet Potato Chronicles. There are excellent tips for how to cook kale and get your kids in on the kitchen fun.

+ Baked Kale Chips from Honey & Jam (see photo)
Chickpea, Sausage and Kale Pasta from Bitchin’ Camero (see photo)
Pomegranate and Kale Stuffed Portobello from Making Love In The Kitchen
Kale Chips from Honest Fare (see photo)
Kale, Sausage and White Bean Stew from Cooking Books
Sautéed Kale from Best Health Magazine


Healthier Eating in the Bag

produce bags by Credobags

produce bags by Credobags

Do your new year’s resolutions included eating healthier? If you’re stocking up on fruit and veggies, you’ll also want to stock up on Credobags produce bags.

Made of organic cotton mesh, Credobags are a practical alternative to often unnecessary plastic produce bags. Plus they help to prolong the life of produce in the drawer of the fridge – which helps reduce food waste and save money. Plus, they’re compact enough to tote along to the farmer’s market and the grocery store.

In addition to mesh produce bags, the Credobags line includes stylish options for storing bulk food items, shopping and catch-all tote bags in reusable, environmentally-responsible fabrics like organic cotton, hemp and bamboo. So you can cross “be more eco-conscious” off your list of resolutions.

Check out the complete Credobags line at They also have gift sets.

+ Store locator for Credobags


Body Care during Pregnancy | Getting Ready for the Baby

clarins skin spa treatments

clarins skin spa treatments

I have to confess that I spend a lot of money on beauty products. I don’t usually write about it because I am faithful to the brands I use. I learned over the years which products work best for my skin. Plus, the skin on my face does not like changes.

Body and Beauty Care

Being pregnant meant that I added a few steps to my usual routine. I started to apply a cream to prevent stretch marks at the end of my first semester. I put Stretch Mark Prevention by Elancyl twice a day on my belly and hips, plus three drops of Clarins’ Bust Beauty Firming Lotion in the morning. Both are easy to apply and, so far, I show no sign on stretch marks.

Another key element of my beauty routine is to indulge with a Future Mother treatment at Clarins Skin Spa every 3 weeks. I am either too busy or too lazy to exfoliate my body. And let’s face it, it becomes harder to do it myself with my basketball belly. Therefore, I get a body exfoliation every 3 weeks as the first step of the Future Mother treatment. I leave from my treatment with softer skin that is well hydrated with creams and toning oil. It is also a period where I can relax and rest from my busy life. I take advantage of their 3 treatments for the price of 2.


Besides that, I make sure that I eat well during my pregnancy. The best way to make sure to meet your needs for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is to eat aliments four food groups every day. I weigh myself between my monthly doctor appointments to see if I am on the right track. The hardest part was to make sure I drink 3 to 4 glasses of milk every day. But now, I am used to it. I usually keep 2 glasses of milk for just before going to sleep. This way, I am not as hungry when I woke up.


Pregnant women are encouraged to exercise. Walking and swimming remain the best activities but frankly, you can continue to practice your favorite sport as long as it is not an extreme sport. Simply be careful that your heart rate does not rise over 140, since you baby heart rate is higher than yours. I started to exercise with the Kinect for the Xbox and love it. I felt that my body works more with Your Shape Fitness Evolved than with the Wii Fit. Once our house is back to normal, I will try to make it a part of my daily routine.

Except for the last 3-4 weeks, I sleep a lot more than usual. Getting enough sleep helps you stay healthy and calm. All these elements contribute to my well-being. It is important to take care of yourself, whether you are pregnant or not. As the New Year is less than a month away, think about how you can improve your body care.

+ Clarins Skin Spa Ambiance in Montreal


The Homesteader’s Kitchen | Book review

the homesteader's kitchen by robin burnside

the homesteader's kitchen by robin burnside

Robin Burnside wrote a cookbook that promotes a lifestyle from the farm to your table. One aspect of The Homesteader’s Kitchen that I enjoy is her desire to teach people how to make your salad dressings and sauces from scratch. Making your own sauce or dressing is healthier, tastier, and it often only takes a few extra minutes to make your own. You will also learn how to make your own yogurt, crème fraîche, corn tortillas, ghee and ponzu sauce.

You also get recipes for beverages, breakfast, breads, soups, vegetarian entrees, fish, poultry and meat entrees, plus desserts. The Chicken Dijon with fresh dill is a quick and easy recipe to prepare on a weekday. On average, a dozen recipes are presented per category.

The tone of the book is comforting. For example, when she talked about pie making, Robin suggested to start with an open-faced pie. She mentioned where we should be careful when making our piecrust. Her writing style might inspire novice cooks to cook and bake more often for their family.

Robin Burnside was co-owner, chef and baker of Carmel Café in Carmel and Café Amphora at Nepenthe in Big Sur.

+ For Americans: The Homesteader’s Kitchen by Robin Burnside $14.39 USD at [affiliate link]
+ For Canadians: The Homesteader’s Kitchen by Robin Burnside $23.99 CAD at [affiliate link]
+ The Homesteader’s Kitchen Web site

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publicist of Gibbs-Smith (the publisher), with no commitments from my part. I featured this cookbook because I like it.


Health Benefits of Living with Cats and Dogs

living with cats and dogs

living with cats and dogs

I read on WebMB, 27 reasons why, on average, pet owners are more healthy and live longer. There are the obvious health benefit of walking the dog every day. In general, the calming effect of interacting with your pets play a major role in lowering your blood pressure and improving your mood. I can vouched for the sense of well-being that comes from observing our pets since I live with two lovely cats.

Pets and Young Children

Many new parents are afraid to live with a cat or dog when their child is born. I believe that this is a mistake. Many pediatricians will confirm that a baby raises in a house with two cats and a dog will develop a stronger immune system. It’s during our early years that our body learns to distinguish between good versus bad bacteria. Being exposed to cats and dogs teaches the body that these bacteria are not harmful. As long as you select pets that are kid friendly, I think that living with pets is safe for babies and young kids.

One health benefit is that kids who live with pets tend to have less allergies. Other researches where done on young children at risk of developing asthma. They found that, except for kids from mothers who are allergic to cats, children were significantly less likely to develop asthma as they got older if they live with a cat.

Dogs Help in Many Ways

Dogs are trained to perform many tasks to ease the life and improve the health conditions of patients. This sounds strange but apparently one in three dogs living with people with diabetes will alert them when the person experience a sudden drop in the level of blood glucose. What they think happens is that certain dogs can detect the chemical changes in the body through a scent that gives off when we have a drop of blood glucose. If that is true, you can really say that dogs are man’s best friend. But I still prefer living with cats.

You can read the rest and get more details at WebMD. Do you live with pets? Do you think they improve your life?

+ photo: WebMD


Delightful Mondays | Pictures from the Farmers Market

yellow carrots at the farmers market

yellow carrots at the farmers market

Today for my Delightful Mondays I simply wish to share some pictures I took this weekend at the Farmers market. It is such a treat to eat fresh, local produce. I hope that you are taking the time to visit your Farmers market at least once a week.

radish at the farmers market

Another advantage of the Farmers Market is that you find fruit and vegetable varieties that you cannot find at the grocery store.

french breakfast radish at the farmers market

I discovered the French Breakfast radish, an elongated radish with a white splash at the root end. They are milder than the regular radishes. I like it! You have to eat them quickly since they won’t stay fresh as long as the regular kind. When I arrive home, I cut their ends, put them in a jar of cold water, and store them in the fridge.

tomato varieties at the farmers market

I made a tasty tomato, cucumber, green onion, radish, and buffalo mozzarella salad tonight. The dressing was simply 1.5 tablespoons of white vinegar, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. I seasoned the dressing with parsley, fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper. The taste was refreshing. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture.


My Call for Less Salt in Processed Food and Restaurant Food

too much salt :: fight against sodium in processed food and restaurant food

too much salt :: fight against sodium in processed food and restaurant food

Salt may not have calories but eating too much sodium can lead to premature deaths due to heart diseases and strokes. In North America, we eat on average twice the recommended daily intake (1,500 mg). Something has to be done. It is relatively easy to cook with less salt at home, if you make a lot of thing from scratch. But what about processed food and food that you eat at the restaurant? We have no control over that.

I am happy to report that more food companies in the United States decided last Spring to join the voluntary cutbacks of salt in their products. On average, 75% to 80% of the daily salt intake of an American citizen comes from processed or restaurant food.

In Canada, a panel chaired by Health Canada aims to reduce our Canadian daily intake from 3,400 mg to 2,400 mg by 2016. But I find it strange that their recommendations do not bring down to 2,300 mg since it is considered the upper limit for an adult.

What can you do at the grocery store?

Over the last 3 to 4 months, I started to check the sodium on all the canned and processed food I buy at the grocery. Be careful, when you buy canned tomatoes or vegetables. Most of them have added salt. For example, Del Monte Whole Green Beans have 380 mg of sodium per 1/2 cup. The same is true for peanut butter, even the organic kind. President’s Choice Blue Menu produces a low sodium collection. In the meantime, read the label before buying and encourage brands with low sodium content.

Let’s hope they will be wise

As a cook, I can tell you that it is to take the easy road put large amount of salt to create flavor in a dish. I do not cook with very little salt and my food is very tasty. I hope that food companies will make more healthy choices than with the fight against fat. The low fat yogurt many not have fat but it is filled with sugar and still have the same amount of calories. But for that to happen, they will have to accept the fact to create completely new recipes.