Packed gym already?

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I went to the gym today and it was completely packed! It was my first time at this particular location, as the gym I regularly attend was closed for the holiday. So, I can’t say whether this is the normal volume. I was expecting a smaller crowd, it being New Year Eve the night before.

I was excited to work out this morning as always, and not because I was eager to start a New Year’s resolution, although staying fit would definitely be on my list had I made one. I’ve grown to love the physical challenge, the adrenaline rush and even the muscle pain that follows. I’m really quite miserable without my dose of endorphins. I would even go as far to say I get a little depress when I don’t get my fix. It’s an addiction.

Since injuring my knee last summer during a half marathon I’ve discovered a new love for weight-lifting. So naturally I went straight for the weights area. It is much bigger than I’m used to with more machines, some of which I’m not familiar with. There were only men there, a lot of men. No more than one would expect to see in a weight room I guess but, I come from a much smaller facility so it was a different. I initially felt awkward, not only because I was the only girl but I had to find my way around the machines in an overly crowded testosterone-filled room. Luckily, it was leg day so I spent a lot of time at the barbell rack; I even managed to find a spot in front of the mirror. I eventually became less self-conscious and overcome the distractions. Though I can’t say that I’ll be retuning anytime in the near future.

Be sure to stay focused on your goals. Happy 2014 everyone!

‘Haters gonna hate’

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Pessimism - it’s everywhere! It’s in our workplace, at school, in our families and even our friends.

Let’s face it negative fools are everywhere, we simply can’t please everyone.

As hard as you might try, there’s always that cynical individual in your life that always disapproves. Something is always wrong.

And though you know they’re not worth your time, you let them get to you. You let them poison your thoughts and corrupt your judgment; you question yourself.

The truth is they can’t possibly know what’s best for you, they’re not you.

You can’t impress someone who can’t be impressed. And when you do make the necessary changes, something else will need fixing.

There is really no wrong choice. There are different choices.

It’s been a while…

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changeI can’t believe it’s already been three months since I started my new job, at the same time it feels like I’ve been there a long time. Those new faces, the strange new place and the unfamiliarity have all become very familiar.

Not long ago I struggle to remember my co-workers’ names, now we share meals and discuss favorite designers. Hey, that’s pretty personal. How things have changed.

Things are always changing. How they are now is not necessarily how they’re going to be in a week, a month, or a year. But change often proves to be good if you embrace and accept it with open arms.

I have seized the opportunity and made an impact. By willing to accept challenges and take risks, it made the transformation a success.

But, at any moment it can change…

Parental guidance

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Like any loving parent, I want to make sure my children live a happy and healthy life.

Kids are easily impressed, but keep them healthy is, of course, easier said than done.

Since Kindergarten, my eldest son was enrolled in the running club at school. Its 45 minutes long (including warm-up and cool down), twice a week throughout the school year (expect winter break), for a course of 2.5 Kilometers.

My baby does not like to give up half an hour of sleep, and he most definitely does not enjoy running.

Regardless, he has improved immeasurably. Now in his second year, his endurance, speed, and overall performance have given me plenty of hope. Let’s just say I didn’t think we could make it this far.

My son dreads every moment of it, but he now has more confidence. Meanwhile, I find Pokemon cards and extra game time an excellent form of motivation.

Our job as parents is to make the right decisions, to guide and play a role in deciding our children’s future.

Unfortunately, they don’t always agree with our judgement.

Transition

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After being a full-time parent for half a decade, it was time to re-enter the job market.

It would be a difficult task; the challenge is not only to be employed but adjusting to the changes in our family’s normal daily routine.

Once accustomed to a certain lifestyle, a slight shift in schedule may seem dramatic even if it is a casual three days a week.

I have not missed a single important moment or milestone in my children’s life, whether it was the first step or the moment my child discovered his first wiggly tooth. I was there. It has been that way their entire life.

But, to my surprise the boys are hardly disturbed by my absence. Sure, they miss me, but no more than if they had just return from a day at school. I should be happy with the smooth transition but I can’t help feel a little sad that my children no longer need me.

It wasn’t as easy with my husband who needed a lot of convincing. He is westernized yet with traditional family values, in that a woman should stay home with the children while the man went to work.

He was not thrilled that our roles would reverse, yet as reluctant as he was, he is also supportive. I am very fortunate to have found such an amazing life partner.

We do make an awesome team. And with great teamwork, there is no limit to what can be accomplished.

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Awkward encounter

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I arrived early to work yesterday, thinking there was a staff meeting.

The wait seemed long so I asked an elderly gentlemen for the time; he was on his way to the Men’s Washroom.

There must have been a miscommunication as I was told it was already ten pass nine, and no one else had shown up.

The old man continued talking, explaining his day’s plan as I politely listened and nodded.

He was garrulous like many senior folks, but there’s something about them that I can’t help but engage. Perhaps, they are old and helpless and so often reminded me of Grandfather.

In my two years at a residential care facility, I discovered the importance of human connection. In old age, people often feel isolated due to the lack of social contact. For this reason old people seek companionship,and someone to listen.

I was happy to be that someone today. I had time after all.

I learned about his immediate family members, especially his mother whom he was meeting for tea and hot cross buns. In exchange, I spoke of my precious boys.

He repeatedly commented on my appearance and how he enjoys talking to me. I thought it was sweet at first, but he kept asking about my marital relationship, and then said he wanted to marry me! WHAT?! I didn’t know what to think. It got more awkward when he insisted on having my phone number. There was a desperate look on his face, a different kind of loneliness.

Dear Lord!

All I could think of was what my husband would say. “I told you to stop talking to strangers.”

I got out of there real fast, and called my husband of course.

Part-time mom

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It’s been five years since I last worked, eight years since my last full-time job.

I had no idea that motherhood would result in such a huge lifestyle change.

I had not planned on staying away for that long.

The first year was hardest: adjusting to new demands while mourning my old life.

I missed human interaction and having a social life. Heck, having a life. Period.

It got better. Then, I find myself embracing the imbalance. Somewhere along the way, I evolved.

It happened without warning, as motherhood has.

But the day has come for my return.

The boys are self-sufficient. I feel very comfortable leaving them for three days a week. It felt right.

I literally just decided this last month.

Since Vegas, I’ve been on a series of interviews.

After years of being away, I fell rusty. There are both doubts and fears, not to mention the five years gap in my resume.

A change in career path has crossed my mind, but having the position I’ve always wanted required full time school. I would have to invest in the time and resources, both of which I cannot afford.

I’m certain I will revisit the idea, perhaps when the boys are much older. I’ll feel it when the time is right.

For now, I’m lucky to find a perfect location to rebuild my clientele.

The first day of work went surprisingly well and fast. I was worried initially, but things quickly become familiar. As the day went on, I re-gained confidence and was soon comfortable.

I’m feeling good about this next chapter.

Quick Escape

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A couple weeks ago, my husband and I took off to Las Vegas for a quick winter escape.

We met up with some friends, spent some quality down time and had a great adventure.

My second time would be different. I wanted an experience outside the Strip, away from the glittering lights and busy traffic.

On my search for Things to do in Vegas, I stumbled on Bootleg Canyon Flightlines, run by Greenheart Conservation Co. Ltd, which also built zip lines at the San Diego Wild Animal Park in Haiti and at Whistler, British Columbia in Canada.

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The decision was easy; it’s the type of adrenaline-filled, endorphin-drenched excitement I’d enjoy. Plus, the reviews are very convincing.

The company bus picked us up at Excalibur Hotel, on a 30 minutes ride, where we got to explore the beauty of Las Vegas desert.

When arrived at the office in Boulder City, we signed waiver forms, which by the way really make you rethink the decision. The guides  performed a quick orientation and demonstration of the safety procedures.

We hopped back on the bus for another 15 minutes scenic ride up Red Mountain. The staffs kept us entertained the entire time with jokes and historic facts. They were amazing.

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We took a moderate hike to the first platform. The scenery is intense, with views of Boulder City, Eldorado Valley, Lake Mead, Nevada city and even a part of the Hoover Dam!

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There are four runs in total, each with 4 parallel lines. The First Run has the biggest drop of 450 ft. Yet impressively, I did not experience the “stomach in throat” feeling associated with roller coasters.

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The second run is 1864 feet across the beautiful Mojave Desert valley.

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 We made it to the top…

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Luckily, without having to fight off any rattle snakes.

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The Third Run is the longest, measuring almost half a mile in length.

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Although the fourth is shortest of the four, it’s also the most exciting, picking up speeds of up to 75-80 mph.

This was truly an amazing experience! If you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply want to get away from the lights and noises of the Strip, this is a MUST!!!

Thanks Tu Le for these gorgeous photos.

Time is a valuable asset

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The last ten minutes of cardio class was exhausting. I often don’t put much effort toward the end. In fact, I can hardly wait for it to be over by then.

But, today my instructor Sheila said something that got me thinking differently.

I was ready to give in to the cries from the tortured muscles in my body, when I heard “work as hard as you can, because time will run out.”

And then . . . something just clicked. I had a moment of revelation.

Life is busy, and time isn’t always available. So, being at the gym is a luxury.

Why not take advantage of every second of this valuable, limited timespan. After all, the physical exertion can only go on for so long, before the hour comes to an end.

Somedays it just makes sense.

-”Don’t stop when you’re tired; Stop when you’re done!”

Barely able to walk after, but I completed my first 21K!

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Hola!

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Hello friends, it’s been a while!

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We took off and headed south this winter to Cancun Mexico for eight days.

Our first annual family vacation was a success: the boys wanted to stay another week; I, on the other hand, could stay there forever.

I was extremly pleased with my husband’s choice of the new Paradisus resort. (Formally Gran Melia Hotel.) The hotel is enormous and beautifully designed with lavish architecture of the five majestic pyramids. Hanging vines as high as 70 feet surrounds the interior. Tropical plants, Koi fish-filled ponds and scented candles decorate this 5-star, 4-diamond luxurious resort paradise.

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But, it was the ocean view that sent me straight to Heaven. I’m glad we spent the extra bucks, it was worth every penny!

The beach was also incredible with warm, crystal clear water and soft white sand, as advertised.

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I highly recommend family concierge service if you’re traveling with children. Professional butlers and concierges will take care of your every need (on a provided mobile phone): dinner reservations, Bali/cabana beds, excursions, transportation, meals, you name it!

There are nightly entertainments for family and daily Kids zone/activities for children. Parents can also enjoy the night alone with a babysitter available at any time.

The food options are huge, with seven different restaurants to choose from. Tempo is by far the highest quality dining experience we’ve ever had, with a menu by Martine Berasategui from Spain. (one of the world’s finest restaurants!)

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It was nice to return to a relatively mild winter.

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