You and I Were Meant to Fly: Review of New Leaf – Canada’s Newest Discount Virtual Airline

screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-3-46-59-pmAs I start to write this, I’m on Flair Air a new service offered by New Leaf.  New Leaf has been in operation since July of this year and is a Canadian virtual airline based out of the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport in Manitoba. It sells tickets for flights operated by Flair Airlines.

Flight this evening is from Winnipeg, MB to Hamilton, ON (they don’t fly directly into Toronto).

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I’m flying to Toronto with my youngest daughter who came out to visit last week.  She’s heading home and I’m heading to a client meeting.

I thought I’d offer up my personal opinion on Canada’s newest discount “reseller”. Don’t worry, my opinion is not biased based on the fact that I’m catching a cold, my head and muscles ache, that I can’t get into my purse to get my lip chap cause the seats are cramped or that it’s hot as all hell in here – lol.

screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-3-50-25-pmI do applaud them because their mission is “ to spread the love to Canada’s smaller airports because of their laid back atmosphere, cheaper parking and awesome baggage handling. Plus, their lower fees keep more money in the bank … “.

Firstly, beware –  they do charge for carry ons!!  Yes, regular carry-ons that you would normally take onto West Jet (WJ) or Air Canada (AC) without question or fee need to be paid for … to the tune of $31.50 – including taxes  (because I checked and paid for them at the time of booking) but the fee can be up to $92 at the gate. NewLeaf passengers also have to pay for checked luggage — from $26.25 online to as high as $80.50 at the gate – which is more expensive than the other two major Canadian Airlines (they are $25.00 + tax).  I asked the ticket agent why they charged for carry ons that I normally took onto other planes and she told me it was for “easier deplaning”.  To give you an idea of the size of my carry-one, it’s just an averaged sized TNA bag – that fits conveniently under my seat.

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PRO:  We got free seat selection, which you don’t get on AC or WJ

BE SURE to check in online when they send you the email.   If you do not check-in online and either print your boarding pass at home OR download it to your smart phone, you will be charged from $10.50 to $11.50 for the agent to print it for you.  There are NO check-in kiosk at the airport.  You can check in 24 hours before your flight time up until 3 hours before your flight.

They say “we keep it simple” and that they do – there are no complimentary snacks or drinks. Your fare gets you a seat and a seatbelt. They do offer in flight service A Kit Kat bar will run you $3.00 and a Bud Light $6.50.  NewLeaf accepts Visa and Mastercard as forms of payment, no cash. So be sure to bring your own snacks and drinks for the flight (drinks to be purchased after security of course).  They do offer free water.

The plane is a standard Boeing 737-400 but feels way more cramped for some reason.  It feels as if they’ve changed the seating arrangement to add in more seats – I can’t confirm this, it just feels that way.  I mean I’m an averaged sized woman and my knees almost touch the seat ahead of me and I hardly have enough room to get to my $30.00 carry on to get to my lip chap (I have a chap stick addiction lol).

The total cost of this trip to get from YWG to YHM:

  • Flight from Winnipeg to Hamilton (one way):  $191.97
  • YWG Improvement fee $26.25
  • Security Charge $7.48
  • $31.50 carry-on fee
  • $36.75 for checked baggage fee
  • Uber to GO Station $21.29
  • GO Bus from Hamilton to Union Station $12.50
  • TTC Bus from Union Station to home base $3.25

TOTAL:   $330.99

My Opinion (like it matters lol):  I didn’t find this to be much better of a deal than paying the extra money to fly directly into Pearson, IF YOU LIVE IN TORONTO and have to commute by public transit back into town.  The extra time to get from the Hamilton airport to the GO Station then onto Union Station in Toronto and then home, I just find that using New Leaf for getting to Toronto isn’t that great of an option.  I will for sure consider New Leaf for other destinations like when I am going home to Kitchener (way better for me this way) and they have other destinations being released this year and next.  It would also work better if you had someone picking you up.

Addendum – May 5 2017:  I booked New Leaf to return home from Kitchener, ON.  The one way flight was $211.00 cheaper than Air Canada and West Jet (taxes included)!!.  Leaving out of the smaller city of Hamilton was wayyyyyy less stressful of a commute than getting to Toronto on the 401! There were NO line ups at the check in line or to drop off my luggage, no one in line at security (rather than a 45-60 min wait at Pearson).  You walked in the door and everything was right there … unlike Pearson where it’s so large you have to walk 20 minutes to even get to your terminal.  TOTAL WIN for New Leaf here for sure 🙌🏻.  And we just booked a flight for my daughter to come vist – total flight, one way – $139.00!

I’m happy that Canada has added a new lost option.  It’s always good for competition and when you can score a cheaper flight to where you’re going, that’s definitely a bonus. It is NO frills … so fly light and fly direct.

Link to New Leaf —>  http://gonewleaf.ca

Namaste

T xo

~ Pack up, lets fly away -me


I’ll Take -20 Pounds For $200 Alex!

I’ve been feeling all kindsa crappy , the past few months,  since I put on some extra weight.  I definitely have become “Dauphinzed” (but in all fairness, had I lived somewhere else, the outcome would have been the same).  I’m not gonna lie,  I loved it – it was fun to let loose, eat what I wanted and not have to worry about counting calories and I got to eat chicken wings, I frigging love chicken wings!

I’ve found that it’s become a lot easier to gain a few pounds than it is to lose them these days. The foods that I ate without care in my 20s and 30s now stick to me (sigh). Combine that with not exercising as much I definitely ought to and getting out of my norm, habits and routines, it wasn’t hard to see where I was heading … Excess Pound Town!

I hadn’t stepped on a scale in months, but I knew that the clothes I wore while I lived in Toronto no longer fit me, and those that did were super tight (again sigh).   I estimated my weight gain to be around the 15 lbs mark (sigh again).

The thing with eating poorly is that it literally makes you feel like a big bag of sh@t.  We’ve all heard the old adage “you are what you eat” and we all know that what you eat and how you feel, have a close connection. I was noticing that I had decreased energy and stamina, I was feeling tired all of the time – like I just couldn’t get out of 2nd gear – I was perma stuck – but hey, I had chicken wings! lol

I want to get back to me, to being healthy, to eating healthy, quit with the junk food cravings, ditch the large double doubles and get back to my green teas.  Toss the diet Pepsi and get back to my yummy, nutritious  lemon/cucumber or strawberry and mint water.  I WANT MY ENERGY BACK! And guess what?  It’s not hanging out in a bag of Doritos (although I am quite fond of the sweet chilli heat flavour!). I know that I just have to  get back into my old habits.  When I eat healthy, I don’t crave junk food.

Most importantly maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can help you prevent and control many diseases and conditions.

I decided to embark on a weight loss journey and get back to me.  I need to flush my body of these toxins and properly nourish it.  I need to get back my mental clarity and energy.

Last week,  I stepped on the scale — total weight gained 20 lbs!  20 freaking pounds in 14 months!  That’s 1.42 lbs gained per month!  Now, some of you say – “omg, like your still a normal size”.  True, that I am.  But, being a healthy weight for your body  (I have a small frame) is different for me than it would be for someone else and what makes you feel good is subjective and individual to the person.

For example:  I used the CDC calculator to determine my “normal” body weight.   Based on my height and weight, my BMI is 23.8, indicating that my weight is in the Normal category for adults my height.

But, it also says that for my height, a normal weight range would be from 111 to 150 pounds!  Like what?  A 39 lbs difference?

So that’s what I am trying to say.  I don’t feel comfortable at this weight, even though it is still within the “normal” range.  I feel more comfortable at my previous weight – which too is within the norm.

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Anyway, back to my point … this is doable.  It’s only 20 lbs, if I dig deep I can totally lose this weight by making the same simple changes I had to, to lose it in the first place!

 

10 simple ways to kickstart your weight loss:

  1. Swap the to go order – stop eating out! And, for the love of all things holy – stop with the chicken wings!
  2. Skip the inside aisles – all the healthy goodness our bodies need are all contained on the outside aisles.
  3. Get fit in 12 – I’m not gonna lie.  I hate working out – we DO NOT get along.  I cannot begin to tell you the number of $$$$ I’ve waisted on unused gym memberships and workout videos.  So I opted for reality — I downloaded The 12 Minute Athlete (free on the App Store).  I have no reason to not do this 2x per day.  Heck, I may even do three!
  4. Kick the habit – stop with the empty calories in your large double double – a Large Timmy’s is 280 calories!  Opt for black coffee or green/white tea options
  5. Purge – purge your cupboards to make sure you’ve gotten rid of all of those yummy temptations!
  6. Pile on the veggies – I used to love pizza topped with arugula and yellow/red peppers – so switch to it rather than stuffed crust and pepperoni  (omg, Pizza Hut lunch, I’m gonna miss you! )
  7. Walk with Spot – or in my case, Ellie, even if it’s just around the block for 20 mins per day
  8. Cut out white starches – white bread, white rice, white potatoes etc.
  9. Drink +++++++ water
  10. Learn to love salad- I’ve always loved salads so this one is an easy fix. When choosing your leafy greens, the greener/darker the better! Opt for spinach, kale or arugula rather than iceberg lettuce.  Ps: stay away from Cesar salad. My fave salad right now is spinach, arugula, strawberries, watermelon, hemp seeds, chia seeds, spicy Thai tuna or Cajun chicken and Kraft Asian Dressing

These little things will start making a difference in no time at all.  Furthermore …. I added a little oomph to my journey!!!  AND because of it, I’m already noticing a huge boost in my energy levels, I feel like I have energy to burn and I’ve already lost 4.3 lbs.    I’m totally looking forward to the rest of this journey …. Stay tuned …

Namaste

T xo

 

~ I wish I could lose weight as easy as I lose my keys, pen, cell phone, temper and even my mind

 

 

 

Why Do I Take Pics?

I am frequently asked why I take so many pictures … of everything!  I always respond “cause I like to”.

But when push comes to shove, I don’t only take pics cause I like to, I do it because they capture life moments of the things and people that I love.

These are the main reasons I take pictures of pretty much everything:

1. To Hold On To Memories

Moments are fleeting aren’t they?   Time passes quickly, I can’t believe that my babies are now grown up, young women … I’m glad I took so many pics of them so that I can look back on and relive those memories (our memories are known to fade over time).   Taking pictures helps me to hang on to those memories just a wee bit longer. Each of my kids have scrapbooks filled with memories of their loved ones, lives, birthdays, vacations … the BIG moments. I can pass the scrapbooks filled with their photos along to them so that they look at them and relive their memories and to share them one day with their children.

With the advent of FaceBook and Instagram … I now post pics digitally, so I no longer “scrapbook” per se, I found a website that links to Facebook and/or Insta to create a portrait of my life and milestones.  I do it per year, so that I can look back at the year in its entirety. I tend to forget how much I really do and the great things I’ve accomplished no matter how little throughout a year, the printed day by day book helps me to relieve these memories and how much I have to be grateful for.

My Social Book Link:  https://www.mysocialbook.com

2. To See The Beauty In Everyday Things

Beauty really is everywhere and really is in the eye of the beholder.  Once I started noticing details, I started to see how much beauty is in everything around me, and sometimes in the most ordinary places. I see things much differently now, I’m more appreciative.

3. Express Myself

I love being able to express myself through the camera and use it as an extension of myself to tell stories. The good thing with modern technology is that it’s so easy nowadays, no more having to carry a clunky camera with you (unless you want to of course!) .  You can take photos of everything from your lunch to changing seasons, vacations, family and friends in an instant. These are the images that tell my story, my pics have changed and evolved as I have changed and evolved.  Photographs can show more than just how something looked. They can capture how something felt.

14369923_10154368123655168_2404424584055590009_n📷: Kodak Tourist Camera, a recent find at a local vintage store

 4.They Are The Best Souvenirs

Photographs are the best souvenir from my travels. They are personal to me and each one has a story behind it. I’m not a fan of clutter, I believe everything has a place … so trinkets aren’t my thing … they inevitably break, or clutter up your home. My professionally printed albums line up nicely on my bookshelf ready to enjoy whenever I want to.

5. I Really Do Enjoy It

Photography is honestly uber enjoyable to me.  Shooting the pics is a blast, I get to capture a moment, an event, the smile on someone’s face.  I like the aspect of taking a day to drive around – to somewhere I haven’t been to see what I can shoot – it’s FUN!  Sorting and editing images is an essential part of the process and I get a sense of accomplishment once I’ve completed it and it looks great!

With all the beauty, joy, love, variety, history, adventure, emotion, and awesomeness out there in the world, get out there with your camera/phone and experience it!  You don’t have to be a professional photographer to be a photographer!

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~ “Photography is a love affair with life.” – Burke Uzzel


42 Going On … ?

A few weeks ago I was out for a girls afternoon.  I was chatting with a nice young lady, I was telling her how I was a bit sad, because my youngest had just left for University and I was now an empty nester. She was floored, she thought I was only 30!  Well, thank you very much, I’ll take it!

I seem to lavish the compliments more as I’ve aged.  I used to get so annoyed when I’d get carded.  Now, admittedly, I wish I still got carded at the liquor store.  I get a little giddy when the kids and I are “mistaken” for sisters or friends, them … not so much!

I remember, I couldn’t wait to grow up.  I was always told “slow down, there’s no hurry”  Boy ain’t that the truth!  Now that I’m all grown up, I wish time would slow its roll a bit.

Did you know that there’s an actual clinical phobia for aging?  Gerascophobia – its an abnormal or persistent fear of growing old or ageing. I definitely don’t suffer from gerascophobia.  But, I do hope to age as gracefully as I can physically and spiritually.

What I really want to know is how do I get Kim Kardashian’s “just woke up selfie look”? Like, makeup is all perfect, not a wrinkle on her, eyelashes as long as my legs, hair is all did and she’s like “yawn, good morning world, I fell asleep without taking off my makeup!”

I have had a few people ask me a bit about my routines and favourite products.  As part of this blog, I thought I’d share a few of my faves with you.

Skin Care

Face:  I’m pretty regimented when it comes to my skin care routine. I really try to use pure, safe products (i.e. not containing talc | tallow | carbon black | animal products or by-products | parabens | formaldehyde-donating preservatives | phthalates | formaldehyde | alkylphenols | benzene | monoethanolamine | triclosan | synthetic dyes | hydroquinone | mineral oil).  For this I use Arbonne’s RE9 Advanced (Soothing Facial Cleanser, Regenerating Toner, Corrective Eye Cream, Intensive Renewal Serum, Restorative Day Cream/Advanced Repair Night Cream and Age Defying Neck Cream).  I love it, it smells great (looooove citrus) and I’ve had good results.  I also make sure to exfoliate 2 times per week (Arbonne Exfoliating New Cell Scrub).

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Body:  Exfoliation is an important part of skin care. When old skin cells start to pile up on the surface of the skin, it can leave skin looking dull, rough, and dry, and can result in excess oil and clogged pores – leading to blemishes and acne. For this I also use an Arbonne product – SeaSource Detox Spa Foaming Sea Salt Scrub.

As far as body cream, honestly, I use organic virgin coconut oil.  Truth is,  I have also ridded myself of most of EOS’s,  Blistex’s and chap sticks and started using coconut oil instead as well as a selection of NATURALLY made lip balms.

Makeup

I love putting on makeup, mainly because I don’t do it very often anymore.  I work remotely and my lifestyle is a bit simpler than it used to be.  It’s good to give your face a bit of a break, but, I am still a girl 😉  And, thanks to the millions of makeup artists on YouTube, everyone’s becoming a bit more of a beauty expert these days.

I’ve never had an overly complex routine as far as makeup is concerned. I’m not one to spend an hour in front of the mirror for the perfect cat eyeliner, I just can’t do it – when I do it I just look like a troll!

Step 1: I start off with Arbonne SPF 20 day cream – hydration is important.  Once my face is fully moisturized, I give the moisturizer enough time to fully absorb and sink in, which is usually around five minutes.

Step 2:  Next, I apply a face primer.  This is an essential step if you want to prep your skin for a flawless foundation application. A good face primer will help to minimize the appearance of pores, blur imperfections, and smooth fine lines. Not only does face primer help to create a flawless base for your foundation application, but it also works to extend the life of your makeup.  For this I use Arbonne face primer.

Step 3: After I’ve applied the primer, I use the Arbonne CC cream (light or medium depending on the season) all over to give full coverage.  I prefer full coverage.

Step 4: Once I’ve done that, I apply Marc Jacobs concealer under my eyes.

Step 5: I like to contour (contouring is when you use a matte powder, cream, or pencil product that’s two shades darker than your skin tone to shade areas you’d like to define or reshape, like your nose, forehead, chin, and cheekbones). I found a dual ended contour stick that I’m quite fond of (I use light/medium) – this one is just Wet-n-Wild.  I usually highlight my forehead – down the middle of my nose, the rest of under my eyes, and tiny bit on my upper lip just under my nose and my chin.  I contour (the darker shade), the upper edge of my forehead – near my hairline and follow it down to my cheekbones and come down nearly to my upper lip.  I then do the outsides of my nose.  Then, blend.

Step 6: For my eyeshadow, I’m less particular insofar as brands,  right now I have a really nice colour pallette from Sephora that I like …. Urban Decay Naked.

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 10.25.22 PMStep 7: I use Marc Jacobs velvet noir major volume mascara, but my staple is Christian Dior.

Step 8:  I do shape and fill my brows.  Next to teeth, brows are the most important thing. They really do frame the face.  Well-groomed brows act to frame the eyes and highlight your best features. Strong brows can make you look put-together on a makeup free day. I was fortunate back in the high school days when the in-thing was thin brows, cause I had none lol.  For this I use Anastasia Ebony Dip Brow pomade.

Step 9:  I wear bronzer – I opt for the Arbonne bronzer, it has more of a matte finish. In the summer I opt for one with a shimmer.

Step 10:  I’m not picky when it comes to blush – right now I’m using a few, but I like the Hard Candy Blush Crush Baked Blush.

Step 11:  Highlighter – right now I use a liquid highlighter (Arbonne sheer glow), but I think I’m leaning more toward a powder one.  Any good one’s? Let me know.

Step 12: I use eyeliner, but I’m not picky – the one I have right now is Marc Jacobs and the others are Rimmel and Annabelle.

Step 13:  I’m more of a lip gloss kinda girl rather than lipstick or lipstain (not picky in brands – but if they have a flavour – bonus!)

**Brushes matter btw, a lot, so be sure to select good brushes**

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I am 42 in this photo

Now talking about all these beauty tips doesn’t mean that the wrinkles, crows feet, laugh lines, forehead and furrow lines don’t exist.  They do.  Just ask my kids, they love to remind me of my forehead line and how it was caused by years of raised eyebrows at them lol.  We all age.  Can we just get used to it already?  Wrinkles are to be embraced and celebrated. Wrinkles are not weaknesses but rather the result of a lifetime of all kinds of emotions and experiences.

Age brings intelligence, experience, wisdom and beauty.  Many cultures celebrate the aging process and revere their elders. Yet, “there’s so much shame in our culture around aging and death,” Koshin Paley Ellison, Buddhist monk and co-founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, told the Huffington Post. “People themselves when they’re aging feel that there’s something wrong with them and they’re losing value.”  Kind of sad, isn’t it?

“Everyone wants to live forever but nobody wants to grow old.” (Jonathan Swift).

I’ve lost friends and family members much too young and too much too soon.  They didn’t get a chance to get old.   Certainly we can use the time we’re given better than pretending that we are not old.

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