Using social media to distract me from an incurable addiction to chocolate
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Holiday traditions rock

December 15th, 2014 | Posted by Melany Gallant in musings - (4 Comments)

Last year, my girl and I started a new holiday tradition…decorating a gingerbread house. So much fun. So much candy.

Because we’re in the midst of a kitchen reno, this year’s gingerbread house was decorated at my parents’ place and that made it fun too since Grandma got to add in her artistic touch.

This activity is definitely a holiday favourite. And look how proud this gingerbread house designer looks:

gingerbread-house

Another holiday fav? The Christmas stocking

Growing up we definitely hung our stockings up by the chimney with care. I don’t know what it is about them but my siblings and I would be so excited to tear into them Christmas morning. (more…)

When I was five years old, I walked to school. Sometimes on my own and sometimes with my brother. While it was a short distance — less than one kilometer — we walked to school un-escorted. No parent or care provider or even an older kid…walked with us.

I know times were different back then. Like, really different. Because my daughter is five years old and I can’t imagine sending her off to school on her own. Not even at six years of age.

But the very act of walking to school? No, I don’t have a problem with that idea at all. (Although if you’d asked me when I was 12…whole different story I’d be telling you.) (more…)

I’ve started incorporating protein powder into my diet. My trainer suggested it years ago but I’ve never liked the taste, and so have resisted. I’ve tried a few different brands and – blegh. Even burying the taste in a smoothie filled with berries, yogurt, etc. No thanks.

But I’ve noticed since incorporating protein powder into my diet, I feel better in the mornings. Less sluggish. More energized. And if it helps me develop lean muscle mass…then good.

The brand I’m using is Vega Protein Smoothie (viva vanilla!). I’ve been mixing it with almond milk. I’ve also been mixing it into my oatmeal – delish! But one can only eat oatmeal so many times before it becomes a bit too much of a breakfast yawner.

Enter the geniusness of protein pancakes

Last week my friend Kelly from work gave me a recipe for protein pancakes. A nice alternative to a protein powder smoothie or oatmeal combo. You can still taste that distinctive protein powder taste but the trick, as Kelly says, is to eat them with lots of fresh fruit, maple syrup or honey. (more…)

I’m vincible

October 19th, 2014 | Posted by Melany Gallant in musings - (2 Comments)

Did you ever watch the Flight of the Conchords TV series when it aired back in the day? One of my favourite songs from the show is “Hurt Feelings (Tears of a Rapper)”.

This line: “The day after my birthday is not my birthday, mum.”

Honestly. Hilarious.

The song has been on replay a bit – both on my iPod and in my brain. It makes me laugh.

Every bit of this song makes me smile, but these two lines have snagged my attention of late:

Some people say that rappers are invincible

We’re vincible (We’re vincible)

It’s not just the way Bret and Jemaine say “vincible” and sing this song full of funny. It’s that word itself. Lots going on these past few months that have me realizing…I’m vincible too. (more…)

This Saturday I’m participating in a Women in the Workplace panel at the #StartNow Student Leadership conference taking place at the University of Ottawa.

Organized by the Her Campus UOttawa chapter, I’m pretty darn excited to be included. My fellow panelists include Karen C. Wilson of Wellman Wilson Consulting and Alicia Natividad, Barrister and Sollicitor.

We’ll discuss our career paths, including the pressures and successes we’ve faced and achieved in the workplace. I’m sure everything from the glass ceiling to family-life to our own career mistakes hiccups will be shared.

:)

Tickets to the #StartNow conference are $12 and on sale now. There’s a great lineup of speakers and learning – you should totally go!

#StartNow Conference 2014

When I was 11 years-old I did a terrible thing.

I shoplifted a Sweet Valley High novel from my neighbourhood discount department store. It was spring time and my jacket had these giant pockets on the front perfect for slipping a paperback novel into.

I don’t remember what volume of the series it was. Most likely something to do with Jessica getting herself in trouble and Elizabeth needing to bail her out. You know, like almost all of the novels in the series.

Although in Dear Sister, Elizabeth and Jessica kind of switch personalities… That novel was one of my favs.

svh007-dear-sister - Sweet Valley High series

Anyway, back to my thieving ways…

I was filled with trepidation when exiting the store. But no one stopped me. I was actually quite surprised by this. But I guess no one was paying much attention to the girl wearing the large-pocket white spring coat  hanging loitering around the paperbacks section.

On the walk home I felt relief at not getting caught and excitement at having a new book to read, albeit undeserved. And I knew it was undeserved because coupled with that relief and excitement was a tremendous feeling of guilt. Because I knew better.

Did I confess and bring the book back? No.

And no one found out about me stealing that book. Until…well, now.

Not proud of this shoplifting story. Not proud at all.

I was an avid reader as a child. Money was tight in our family. And while the library was in walking distance it didn’t have the latest and greatest in the Sweet Valley High series. None of these reasons are a valid excuse for taking a five-finger discount that spring day.

Not at all. Just fact. And poor decision-making.

We all have un-proud moments in our histories. Perhaps not about shoplifting but rather some other less than a stellar example of human goodness.

This story is one of mine.

 

 

 

It’s no secret that I love chocolate. It is literally my favouritist food ever. In my mind chocolate is its own food group. A yummy food group that is needed to support my ability to handle everything from PMS to cranky child syndrome.

chocolate stash

What you might not know is that I pretty much don’t care how old the chocolate is. I’ve been known to eat chocolate that sat at the bottom of a tradeshow booth crate for three years before landing in my lucky grasp (thank you, Joan!).

It was delicious.

The dark days of my chocolate addiction…

Now I’ve had some dark days when it comes to my chocolate addiction but I don’t consider the above to be representative of my downfall. What happened is that I succumbed to the lure of cheap chocolate: the Rosebud in particular. I seriously don’t know what happened.

And it took a while to shake that Rosebud-eating habit. But I did it.

You may think it’s crazy that I see eating cheap chocolate as worse than eating three-year-old chocolate but it’s not. That three-year old chocolate was dark chocolatey goodness that only got better with age. Cheap chocolate doesn’t taste better with age. It simply tastes blegh-ier.

Speaking of blegh, I’ve never understood the appeal of white chocolate. I may eat really old vintage dark chocolate but please. White chocolate? I do have some standards. Besides, it’s not even real chocolate!

What’s your fav food or snack? Is it something sweet or savoury?

MelGallant-#365feministselfie-projectFor the past 63 days I’ve been participating in the #365feministselfie photo challenge, created by Veronica I. Arreola.

I first heard about it through Instagram a day or two after reading James Franco’s New York Times article on The Meanings of the Selfie.

I loved that Veronica quotes from James Franco’s article on how “attention is power.” Because it is.

The project is about owning (and sharing!) images that represent our true selves. Who we are, what we’re feeling or focused on and how it can all change day-to-day.

This challenge is so fun. And so hard!

I’ve only been posting my #365feministselfies to Instagram so far…for some reason I feel more comfortable sharing myself there. Maybe that will change over time.

Here’s a compilation of my January and February selfies:

and…

Taking a photo of myself everyday, especially on days I feel crappy/grumpy/less-than-human, requires stepping out of my comfort zone. But stating those feelings when sharing such a photo is surprisingly liberating.

This is me at my best. And at my worst. It’s me telling the world to take me as I am. But it’s also me telling myself that. There’s a bit of self-forgiveness and self-acceptance happening here.

And I’ve met so many interesting women. Gained a short glimpse into their lives. It’s all so cool.

Check out what I’m talking about by following the #365feministselfie hashtag on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

What about you? Are you participating in this project or a similar one? 

 

This winter I’ve finally done something I’ve been wanting to do for three years. I bought cross-country skis and got myself skiing!

I love this sport. Full-body workout, communing with nature, embracing winter instead of hibernating from it. Well, okay maybe not a full-on embrace of winter. More like a fist bump.

Cross-country skiing fun

Happy trails…

I’m not the most graceful. There’s been a lot of clambering along the trails. And few spectacular wipe-outs.

Despite elbows and knees flying, I’m having a great time. When I ski I feel…free. Running gives me that same sense of well-being but skiing is harder. It requires a lot more concentration. And coordination.

And aside from this sport offering a way to enjoy the winter season (as best can be expected), the health benefits of cross-country skiing are wicked awesome.

But more to the point, I’m finally doing something I’ve wanted to do.

As Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Word.

Thanks to Erin and Darlene who’ve shown me the cross-country skiing ropes and not laughed at my headers… aka wipeouts… that much.

;)

What I failed at in 2013

January 28th, 2014 | Posted by Melany Gallant in musings - (0 Comments)

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. To me it’s like paving a gilded path to failure. The entire process is so grandiose and pumped up with all this undue pressure to succeed.

If you want to do something, do it. Resolutions mean nothing without action.

Resolutions mean nothing without action

And I don’t like saying I’m going to do something unless I’m really going to do it.

Which is why I cringe at what I wrote last year as a declaration of my Three words to live by in 2013. Those words were: centered, discover, seek.

Let me be frank. I didn’t exactly shine at living these words. I’ve been thinking a lot about why. And one of the reasons is that I wrote the post and shortly thereafter forgot ignored it.

Every reason I come up with as to why I didn’t work at living these words rings as an excuse:

  • Too tired
  • Too busy
  • Too nervous
  • Too bored

I could go into detail to justify each of the above but they would still be excuses. So instead I’m listing how I failed at living those three simple words: 

  • I didn’t centre my attention on what mattered all the time. I still let stress get to me. Which means chocolate was a mainstay of my diet. Like a daily mainstay. You’re welcome, Lindt.
  • I didn’t pursue new interests or hobbies because I didn’t make time for them. Ya, look  half-knitted tea cozy that’s been sitting in my knitting bag for like five years…the likelihood of you living your purpose is slim.
  • I didn’t write as I intended. I wrote elsewhere (like here and here) but didn’t pay much attention to the words swimming in my head. As a result, they are still swimming. Rather impatiently. They’re making me dizzy. I may need to lie down.

Remaining mindful of those words – centred, discover, seek – would mean I would need to work at achieving them. And I didn’t. Ouch.

I’m not saying 2013 was a bust. I taught my daughter to ride a bike. I helped organize a social media conference, I had success in my job, and hells-bells, I turned 40!

But I’m no longer going to write down promises to myself I don’t mean to keep.

How about you? What’s your take on New Year’s resolutions? Do they work for you?