Monthly Archives: January 2012


I’ve always been drawn to meditation. I believe the merits of proper mediation can bring about positive change. In my efforts to start meditating I came across some useful tips I thought I would share…

Start with posture. Your posture must be very comfortable and allow you to stay perfectly still. Ideally, legs are crossed and fingers clasped. Close your eyes. Now if you can… stop the mind from thinking. For me, this is often the most difficult part. And finally, relax. Totally relax.

When we cross our legs and clasp our fingers it allows our energy circuits to flow. And since eyes are the doors to the mind, so should our eyes be closed. It requires my full concentration to perfectly relax. Relaxation is one of the most important aspects of meditation because when the body relaxes the mind can “travel”.

If this is all starting to sound a bit too hare krishna, remember that meditation is a mental journey. According to vibrantenergy, the mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts and the trick is not to go behind the thoughts. But rather cut the thought, and come back to the breath..

Always. Witness. The. Breath.

To witness the breath means allowing the natural inhalation (or exhalation) happen on it’s own. This also helps with the whole relaxation process. At this stage of meditation I’m usually done my session. Which begs a final question: How long do I meditate? The meditation guru suggests you meditate for as long as your physical age – if you are 25 you would meditate for 25 minutes.

Happy meditating  🙂


Further self reflection has uncovered yet another little gem of insight. I used to believe that talking to others about my goals was a good thing. But I’ve learned in reality it has gotten me nowhere. The downfall of sharing your plans is that you give yourself a premature sense of accomplishment; thereby diminishing your ability to actually accomplish the goal. Sound bizarre?

Well, according to Derek Siver, a free-thinking entrepreneur:

Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.

Sivers references psychological studies that have found if a person announces a solution to a problem, before it has been achieved, it now becomes a social reality.

We are actuality sabotaging our own ability to accomplish our goals. So next time you’re tempted to call your best pal and spill the beans on your next big plans, try practicing a little…

The Crisp Cold Canadian Winter

Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques

Isn’t she lovely… ?

Cap St Jacques, Quebec

The Art of Creativity.

To be creative is a task worthy of mastery. How does one become creative? I spend more time reading about how to be creative, and watching You Tube and TED videos on creative people than being creative myself. There are a heck of a lot of creative people out there.

Take Halla Tomasdottir for example, the Icelandic entrepreneur who started a financial services company in the midst of the greatest financial hardships Iceland has ever seen. Click here to watch how and why she is doing it.

Another creative genius lies in Elizabeth Gilbert’s address (watch here) on the intricacies of finding creativity and how to keep it; and most of all, whether it even belongs to us at all.

And I could not list my favorite creators these days without mentioning Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits. Besides advocating a simple, minimalist lifestyle Leo taps the creativity keg by believing the merits of creativity can be summoned by doing fun things you love every day. Shake your creativity tree! – Leo says. Blog! Listen to good music! Dance! Cook!

And go easy on yourself when your creativity is not flourishing. To live a creative life is to find fun when things start to feel stale. Finding new ways of doing things when the same ‘ol becomes routine and monotonous.

Creativity is not a spectator sport, it’s time to join the game. If only I could stop sticking inspiring notes and quotes on my fridge and actually do something creative… that would be something original!

The Importance of Caring

I set out in the blistering winter to run an errand. An avid walker I did not let the snow dissuade me from my walk. The weather was harsh with blowing wind and accumulating snow. As I trudged on, I caught sight of a gaunt elderly man. Sheltering himself from the elements, he sat shivering with a miserable look on his face. I thought about how difficult it must be – to be outside at this very moment. With the darkness pending and the cold unrelenting. I decided the very least I could do is bring this man a hot cup of coffee.

When I purchased the coffee, however, I could no longer find him. I searched along the street but alas he was nowhere to be found. In an attempt to salvage my good deed, I proceeded to offer the hot coffee to an outdoor construction worker, who politely declined. Plodding on toward home I made another attempt. Seeing a well-dressed, older man at the bus stop I asked if he’d like a warm cup of coffee while he waited. He also declined my “kind offer” and I begun to wonder if I looked like a nutcase, rather than a do-gooder.

My final attempt came when I fell into step with a nice, older man. We exchanged pleasantries at which time, before parting, I offered him the warm cup. What the heck!

Although the goal of this mission may have failed, it also served as a reminder of the importance of taking care of each other. If nothing else, than to remind the people who really need our help that we really do care.

Bon Appetite!

Finally getting my appetite and love for cooking back, I thought I’d share some of the local cuisine we sampled on our trip to south east Asia.

These are fresh spring rolls we ordered in a restaurant/bar in Hanoi. The owner was a young guy who has an uncle in Toronto. Delicious food. If you will be in Vietnam, check out Caballos!

Spring Rolls in Hanoi, Vietnam

Spring Rolls in Hanoi, Vietnam

This was categorized under the “drink” section on a Malaysian menu in Kuala Lumpur. The food in Malaysia was hands-down the best. This “drink” is just a sampling of the strange and wonderful  items on the menu (…and yes, that is corn and nuts in there)!

"drink" in Kuala Lumpur

Drink in Kuala Lumpur

We had the fortune of finding a night FOOD market in Malaysia (Langkawi island). The market was filled with rows of locals selling The Most Amazing food. The BBQ chicken (below) is among many of the delicious wares.

BBQ Chicken (malaysia)

BBQ Chicken (malaysia)

Okay, now these scallops that were BBQed in their shell were without a doubt mouth-wateringly amazing!! I think we ordered them twice and went back the next night! These sea-fresh scallops were prepared with lemon, oil, garlic and shallots – cooked to perfection over a hot coal BBQ!

Delicious Scallops!

Delicious Sea-side Scallops!

Among the delicacies in Asia was the Dim Sum! And among the superb Dim Sum were the steamed pork dumplings. Large in size, these dumplings were soft and moist on the outside and warm and flavorful on the inside….

Pork Dumpling

Pork Dumpling

One cannot count their food blessings in Asia without chicken satay. A peanut sensation, these BBQ skewered chicken loved their peanut sauce. The pairing was to-die-for!

Chicken Satay

And at last, I leave you with this seafood noodle medley from Vietnam. Noodles are high on any Asian menu and do not disappoint with fresh veggies, squid, shrimp and tender noodles done to perfection!

Seafood Medley

Scalloped Potato Casserole

When needing a little comfort food I look no further than my potato bin. Scrounging together what few ingredients I have (grocery shopping is low on my to-do list) I whipped up a tasty and heartening potato casserole. It was actually a hybrid of scalloped potatoes and a casserole. Delicious and satisfying – whatever it was!

4 medium-sized potatoes (peeled and scalloped)
3 tbsp butter
1.5 cups of milk (I use 2%)
1/2 cup flour
1 cup of cheddar cheese
1 roasted garlic glove (optional, onions work well too)
Salt & pepper to taste

In a saucepan, warm the milk on medium low heat. In another saucepan, melt the butter. Sift the flour into the melting butter, stirring constantly. Once flour is absorbed, add the warm milk to the roux, half a cup at a time. Add the finely minced garlic (or onion), cheddar cheese, salt & pepper.

In a casserole dish, arrange the scalloped potatoes in a single layer. Add 1/4 cup of the mixture to cover the layer of potatoes. Keep layering until you’ve finished the potatoes. Pour any remaining mixture over the potatoes.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven at 375-degrees for 1-hour.

Enjoy !

Lisa's Scalloped Potato Casserole

%d bloggers like this: