How to rock the pants off 2015!

Looking forward to a killer new year? Make it even better by giving yourself goals to work towards and push your creativity to its limits!



This was originally posted on December 31st, 2012 on my old blog. I feel the information is just as useful now! I modified it a bit so it is up to date.

This is something I do every year around December 31st before putting on my party hat. I had a pretty awesome year and it got me thinking about what I did exactly made all the difference when tackling 2014.

I recommend you find a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed for about 30 minutes to an hour, or maybe a little longer if you get really into it like I do.

1- Look back at 2014

a) Write down all your successes and things you accomplished this past year. They don’t all have to be big, it just needs to be something that you are proud of. A few examples off my list: Went to South East Asia, read that book that has collected dust on my nightstand, moved into our new house, learned how to knit, etc. Tip: Check out your Social Media posts. They are usually a good reminder of what you have done.

b) Write down your “failures”. Failure is a nasty word that I don’t really believe in so let’s use the word mistake instead. There is always something good that comes out of any mistake. I have done my fair share of them but I have realized there is a lot to learn from each and every one of them. I suffer from the “SuperWoman Syndrome” which is basically that I am constantly striving to carry out everything possible in a perfect way and always want to do more; and better. At some point last year, I was working a full-time job, volunteering for multiple organizations and committees, trying to build a name for myself in the business world by picking up side contracts, all while trying to balance a social life with my friends and family. Let’s just say that I failed miserably; I forgot that I was only one person. Some of my contract work didn’t get accomplished or was done half-ass, and many relationships crumbled. I ended up stopping all operations in my business and no longer accept contracts. Not to mentioned my health took a big hit too. Which brings me to…

2- Who do you want to become? 

How many times have you looked at someone and said to yourself that you wished you had as much courage as them to take a big risk like changing jobs or asking for that raise, or the determination and motivation to hit the gym everyday after work? I know I am guilty to have done this way too many times. Stop comparing yourself to others. Focus on yourself and how can you become a better version of you!

Now, for a fun little exercise. Close your eyes for a moment and picture your dream life. Think about these points:

a) What type of lifestyle do you want to have?

b) What are the things you have accomplished or working on?

c) What is your dream job?

d) What are the people you want to surround yourself with?

e) If money wasn’t an issue, I would…

f) What kind of personality do you have?

Write them all down, even if it is a Malibu beach house and married to Jennifer Lawrence or Bradley Cooper after winning a Nobel Prize. No dream is to big or too small! Read them over. Unrealistic? Maybe, but have you ever thought how much these dreams impact your daily actions?

Some dream at night of a life that they think is unreachable so we have to settle for what we have. Stop thinking like that immediately. What you have in life all comes from actions you’ve taken in the past. That life can be yours if you get off the computer and just go for it!

Now, think about that and of those points I asked you to think about and really think hard on how you really want your life to be next year, in 5 years from now, 10, 20, 50! Write it down. Draw pictures if you want too!

How are you going to get that awesome life you have scribbled in your notebook? Break it down.

3- The SMART New Years list

We all know that New Years Resolutions are BS. We usually set ridiculously high [unrealistic] standards for ourselves like eating healthier, stop smoking, get a new job, exercise more and the list goes on. We have all been to the gym in January where there are no treadmills available only to see that only one-third of them are being used at the same time a month later. Our intentions are good, but, usually, if we skip a workout, we often just give up and expect that the 6-pack fairy will come see us before bikini season. Resolutions are too general. How can you measure success? Is it an all or nothing goal? Are we setting ourselves up for failure? This is why I have thrown away the idea of resolutions and implemented SMART Goals in all aspects of my life.

What are SMART goals you may ask?

Specific: Exactly what is it you want to achieve and to what extent. Answer the questions “What, who, where, when & WHY?”

Measurable: You need to track the progress and measure the outcome. “How much or how many?”

Action oriented: What are you going to do? What will be the results?

Realistic & Relevant: Your goals should be challenging but realistic and relevant to you ultimate goal (being more awesome, of course.)

Time based: Give yourself a time limit. “By when do you want to achieve your results?”

It may seem like a lot but it is quite simple.

To do your list of SMART goals first analyze what you wrote down at 1 & 2. What are accomplishments that you would like to repeat, what can you do to prevent those mistakes made and how can you become that better version of you? Brainstorm all these ideas on a page then, after you’ve taken a 5 minute break to listen to a really motivating song like Eye of the Tiger by Survivor (or something as equally epic) and look if there’s anything to add to your scribbles.

Listen to the song again. Pumped and ready to run up those stairs? I know I am.

Now it is time to write your list. Look at what you wrote in during brainstorm session and try to make a SMART goal with every idea.

Is it still too general or can’t make it fit all the SMART points? Break it down even more. For example, you want to get healthier this year. It’s quite general and not really measurable. I suggest to create sub goals like : Run [insert famous regional name] marathon, Junk Food challenge (where each month you cut out a certain type of junk food for a full month, then something different the next.), etc. You will need to train for the marathon, but when you do run across that finishing line, it will make you realized that you are healthier than the couch potato you were a few months back. Accept yourself but expect more from yourself.

By having a large amount of goals to work towards, this create multiple opportunities to create a sense of accomplishment. Throughout the year, take a few moments to look at your list and all the things you have already accomplished! Last year, I fell short of 3 of my goals. But hey, I completed 19 more that made me into the person I am today. Next year when you repeat this exercise, look at your list in a positive way.

Optional: Invite a good friend to do this with you. By both having a list of goals, you can encourage and help each other. Plus, having your friend help you write your goals, they can bring a different perspective and they also will keep you accountable for what you say you’re going to do. Having a cheerleader on your side every step of the way is always a big help.

As a last little suggestion for you today, take every opportunity that presents itself to you. You never know what will result from it but it may pleasantly surprise you. They may not come slap you in the face in a really obvious way; you may need to do a little research or even create certain opportunities for yourself and the rest will start meshing together.

Happy goal-oriented New Years!




My 2015 Goals

Every year I make myself a list of S.M.A.R.T goals that I then break down in an action list. I look at my list almost daily and see what I could cross off or work on. I am using a platform called Lifetick (which I will share my review with you soon) to keep track of my goals and deadlines. I want to share my goals with you in hopes that maybe it will inspire you to create your own list of goals or to add to your current list. If you don’t have one, it’s not too late! Grab a pen and paper, and let’s go!


Hobbies and Passions

1. Go to Newfoundland this summer. Newfoundland is a beautiful province in Atlantic Canada which I have never been to. BF and I already have plans to go and visit friends there.

2. Finish and print Year One book. I started this book of pictures of the BF and I’s first year together. Great way to get all our pictures from hiding in a folder on Dropbox or on Facebook. I use to create my book. It’s awesome, but I have so many pictures that it’s taking forever to design.

3. Start, finish and print Year Two book. Still in year two so we are pushing ourselves to create awesome memories to add in the book.

4. Finish and print South East Asia book. I started this book as a nice way to keep all my pictures from my trip to South East Asia. Again, very time-consuming.

One of the many pictures I will be adding in my South East Asia book.
One of the many pictures I will be adding in my South East Asia book.

5. Go to the Drive In. I haven’t been to our local drive in in years. BF and I are planning a date there for this summer.

6. Organize pictures in albums. My mom gave me all my childhood pictures in a cardboard box. I want to make it easier to look at either in prettier boxes or an old school photo album. Thoughts?

7. Complete 1 knitting project. I am just starting to learn how to knit. I have done finger knitting but it’s the not the same with needles. A friend is teaching me to make a hat with one of her favorite patterns this weekend! I added to this goal that I need to give this project away as a gift to someone. The BF is getting a hat people! Fingers crossed it turns out.

8. Read 12 books. This could be I just need to read 12 books randomly throughout the year or a book a month. The goal is for me to spend less time in front of the TV and more time reading which I love doing but I don’t make a habit of doing it more often. Action step one is to read 5 pages min. every night before bed.


Professional Development

9. Become a better writer. Whether it’s building a habit of writing once a week on this blog or taking a creative writing course, I need to start writing more and getting feedback so I know how to correct my errors.

10. Find a fulfilling job. I love my current job. However, I will admit that I feel that I am not being challenged enough in a way that will make me grow in the direction I want to take my career. Maybe it is and I just don’t see it yet. I need to explore what I really want for the next step in my career and what I want it to teach me.

11. Develop a Udemy course. I love taking online classes to better myself and I want to encourage others to do the same. I am brainstorming a few topics that I want to cover but that is also something people want to learn. Bonus: extra income stream.



12. Find a strong group of friends. These past years have been hard to keep a steady group of friends around. People move away for school or jobs or better opportunities. I decided to stay here. While I do have some pretty awesome friends in the area, I don’t spend as much time with them as I would like. My BF is my best friend (which is awesome!) but haven’t had a girls night in almost a year. My current job doesn’t allow me to hangout with any of my employees either… Hmm time for new friends!

13. Work on my relationship with my mother. I get along well with my mom. However, we both work shift work which never seems to align. We also never have had a ridiculously close relationship except in the past couple of years after her separation from my father. I started telling her more about my personal life and she loves it. I am challenging myself to call her at least once a week and to plan a mini vacation with her this summer – even if it’s only going to the beach for a day.


Financial Independence

14. Pay off 25% of personal debts. I have awesome family and friends who have supported me through my travel adventures and new business ventures. Payment plan is already created. Payments are calculated on my current income but if goal #10 can bring me a higher salary, I can bring up the monthly payments.

15. Close my current business. I just want to make sure I clean it all up and have everything closed by the end of the year. I will definitely start something again one day.

16. Get out of business #2. My business partner and I parted ways last September but we still have outstanding paperwork to sign and I want to make sure everything is good with taxes. This is already on its way.

17. Save $8000. This was an increase from my original goal of $5000, but I have decided to increase it to really give myself a challenge. With my current salary, expenses and debt reimbursement plan, it is not possible without me eating and filling my basic needs. However, I have budgeted $100 each month to go in saving accounts and I want to start thinking laterally to find other avenues to bring in income (I.E. #11).

18. Work on my credit score. My score isn’t bad at all, but I don’t have a lot of credit lenders on my report except student loans and my one credit card. I want to find ways to make it better and more attractive to lenders when I am ready to buy a house or something.


Health and Fitness

19. Go to the dentist. I have been to the dentist in almost 8 years. I moved away from my old dentist when I was young and just never thought finding a new guy (or gal) to pick at my gums yearly. I think it’s time.

20. Go on a hiking trip. The BF and I thought about it last year, but it never happened. This year, we’ve already spoken to everyone about it, we just need to set a date so everyone can book the time off work and get the proper gear in time.

21. Lose 30lbs or fit in a size 10 pants/and loose M top. Gained roughly 30 lbs in the last 2 years. A bf will do that to you with all those dinner dates or simply getting comfortable enough that you don’t try as hard at the gym (or at all). Not all his fault though, I did have a desk job and worked 70hrs a week and ever made time for exercise or making healthy lunches. Big action list in this one filled with exercise and healthy eating. I even got a dietician!

22. Complete a race. Whether it’s one of those Color Runs or a fundraising race like Run for the Cure or Legs for Literacy. Now how to get from the couch to 5k…

23. Sleep better at night. I always wake up dry and sometimes not fully rested. Working on a better nightly and morning ritual. Also need to create a better sleep environment – the bedroom is basically a mess of clothes with a few bits of furniture around. I did get a humidifier for Christmas so that’s a great first step.


Personal Development

24. Donate blood regularly. I used to donate all the time with a friend of mine but then I went to South East Asia. I  to wait until end of June before I can start donating again since I was in a malaria risk zone. Looking for a friend to join me every 52 days to go give blood.

25.  Get better at conversations. I am terrible at small talk while at networking events. I am also always super late on news and current events. I want to start getting really involved in at the most 3 topics (because realistically I can’t do it all).

26. Create a meditating habit. I want to learn how to control my mind from wandering off and to relax. Anyone with tips for best techniques?

27. One Astree Day a month. Living with my BF can make it hard to find some alone time at the house. We are planning my days around his boys nights so he might just be making a tiny stop between work and going out. All day I spend watching my guilty pleasure shows and movies, eating my guilty pleasure foods and doing all random things I used to do while living on my own without any judgement. Before anyone says anything, the BF does not judge, the most he’ll do is joke about it then either join me or go gaming, but it’s just not the same when you can do it alone. I also get a lot more shit done without being distracted by Mr. Sexy.

28. Apply for something crazy. Maybe it’s a game show, or for a part in a play, or become the face of a random brand. I haven’t decided on this one yet… It just seems fun to try something new and out of my comfort zone.


And that’s it!


What are your new years resolutions, or better yet, S.M.A.R.T. goals?


– A.

25 days of Christmas picture!

I love Christmas! The month of December is my favorite of the year.

This month I will be taking pictures of Christmas related things going on in my life. Whether it’s the decorations I’ve put up around the house, Christmasy things I’ve come across or things I’ve made as gifts for the holidays. 🙂

You can find them on my Instragram profile: astreechantal




Month 1 challenges = failed.

Last month there was lots of change in my life including a new job. I’ve had a hard time building a routine around this new schedule. So the workout a day challenge did not workout. I did a bit better for 8 glasses of water a day challenge – still not 100% complete though.  I also learned that I don’t pick up new habits as easily as I would have hoped. Lot’s of work to do on my habit building in the next months!


Let’s try again with a simpler challenge:

1 – 25 days of Christmas pictures! + 5 days of the best of 2014.


Wish me luck!



15 Minute at Home Workout (15MV1)

15 Minute at Home Workout – Version 1

Full disclosure: We do this in our garage so there is a bit more space than the regular living room or space you may do you exercises. All exercises can easily be done at home with possible exception of the jump rope section which I offer an alternative. 

Also, this workout was designed by my kinesiologist (a.k.a my roommate), Ashley. My boyfriend and I have only tried this workout a couple of time but it kicked our big butts in gear after a lazy morning.


Now let’s go!

What you need: 

– Yoga mat

– 1 weight (I use 5-10 lbs)

– Jump rope (optional)

– Timer (I use the timer on my smartphone)


Warm up (3 minutes)

  • Jog in place (30 sec)
  • Jumping jacks (15 sec)
  • High knees (15 sec)
  • Butt kicks (15 sec)
  • Jog in place (30 sec)
  • March in place with arm circles (20 sec)
  • Frankensteins (15 sec)
  • Shallow squats (20 sec)
  • Jog in place (20 sec)
Frankensteins. For additional details on what is the Frankenstein:
Frankensteins. For additional details on what is the Frankenstein:

Circuit #1 (Continue doing the circuit over and over for 3 minutes)

  • 10 Jump squats
  • 20 Mountain climbers
  • 10 Lateral bends
Lateral Bend - To learn more:
Lateral Bend – To learn more:

Circuit #2 (Continue doing the circuit over and over for 3 minutes)

  • 10 Burpees
  • 10 Lunge and twist (hold on to a weight to add a bit of a challenge)
  • 10 Triceps extensions
Tricep Extension - Details on how to properly do tricep extensions:
Tricep Extension – Details on how to properly do tricep extensions:

Circuit #3  (3 minutes)

  • Jump rope (with or without rope) (2 x 30 sec)
  • Quick feet in place (2 x 30 sec)
  • Superman (2 x 30 sec)
Quick feet. Link to Hope Solo's 15 minute workout!:
Quick feet. Link to Hope Solo’s 15 minute workout!:

Cool Down  (3 minutes)

  • Side steps with arm swings
  • Chest and shoulder stretch: interlace fingers behind your back and pump out your chest as far as you can
  • Overhead tricep stretch
  • Let it hang a.k.a touch your toes!
  • Quad stretch of your choice : I like doing the kneeling quad stretch (in the picture on the right)
  • Calf stretch of your choice : I like to simply put my flexed foot against a wall and pulling myself close to the wall. You should feel an awesome stretch in your calf area
  • Child’s pose

    Kneeling Quad Stretch. For more details on doing it right:

Voila! Now jump in the shower and continue on with your day!


What is your favorite 15 minute workout routine?


– A




6 Execuses I’ve Used For Not Exercising

It’s a good thing that I didn’t start with a 30 day challenge of blogging. I realized that some of the topics are very fact based which I want to do enough research to give quality articles that are not full of assumptions or ill-advised suggestions. These articles will be coming up before (I  hope) the end of the month. Ok now back to business.


This month has been particularly hard on my motivation to workout. I had a great plan, things were all set up and I even made a huge workout space in the garage (I opted for home workout instead of going to the gym). However, I still managed to not get my exercises done in the past 11 days! I made an executive decision that I will be restarting my challenge today to be able to fully do a 30 day workout challenge.


Here are the 6 excuses I used to convince myself not to workout each day. Bonus: Solutions and tips to get through your inner couch potato.


1) The weather is shitty: “Screw it, I’m not going for a jog in the rain!” “It’s too cold to walk to the store. Let’s just take the car.”…

I live in Atlantic Canada not far from the water which means we get lots of rain, icy winds and tones of snow in the winter which seems to be here more than half the year.

Tip: Dress warmer and stop being a wimp. Duh!

Solution: Create a cardio routine that I can do inside for days when the weather outside is really bad.


2) I’m too tired/don’t have energy: “I had a long day at work. I just want to do nothing until bed.” “I can’t build up enough energy to make it through a full workout. I know I’ll just giveI love you couch up halfway”

Being too tired is a symptom of not exercising! I know this but somehow find myself using this excuse. Exercising often gives you a more energetic lifestyle because simple tasks don’t drain away all your energy because you now have plenty left!

Tip: Make an epic/happy playlist that will give you a little boost of energy to get you going. Keep updating the playlist for continuous motivation throughout your workout.

Solution: Just fucking do it. Even if it’s just a quick 20 minute workout, or a relaxing yoga session before bed… just move your body.


3) I just really don’t feel like it: “The couch is just so comfy. Plus they just added a bunch of new movies on Netflix…”

When working out isn’t a habit, it’s hard to get into it at first. Just do it.

Tip: Make a reward program that you can only watch the movie after you finished your workout. Workout with a friend that is not scared to push you to do it with them.

Solution: MOVIE WORKOUTS! I’ll add a link soon to a list of my favorite movie workouts.


4) I don’t have time: “I’m working a full day today, then I have to make dinner, eat, clean, do this then that…” 96b961b89142ae62d794cae77467718d

Want it or not, working out can take time out of your day. If you work out for 20 minutes you have to take into account your prep time to get changed into your workout gear and then to clean up after you’re done.

Tip: Have a workout outfit ready each day so you can just jump in and not have to worry about putting something together. Have it in a visible spot that it will continue reminding you to get your ass in gear. Have an after workout go to hair do that is quick and easy to save on time.

Solution: Create a workout routine or two that is only 15-20 minutes for those really busy days where you just have 30 minutes to spare including prep and clean up.


5) I’m sick: “I’m not feeling well tonight…” “I can’t stop coughing, there’s no way I’ll make it through.”

I had a pretty nasty cold that’s been lingering around for 3-4 weeks now. I feel that is a pretty legit excuse. Nonetheless, it’s an excuse.

Tip: Rest, drink lots of liquids and eat well.

Solution: Do a simple stretching workout to loosen you up. I know when I’m sick and sleeping all the time, I start feeling really sore from not moving. Just simple stretches do wonders and make you feel way better!


6) It’s late: “It’s just too late in the day now to workout. I have to go to bed in less than an hour…”

That’s just poor timing and scheduling. We all have busy days or days that we’re on the road. When you get home from an exhausting day, the last thing you want to do is exercise, which will give you energy and make it hard for you to just get to sleep.

Tip: Always take the stairs (unless you’re at the Empire State Building, I’ll let you take the elevator in that place). Walk to where you need to go or park far from the entrance. Do desk exercises.

Solution: Workout first thing in the morning! Get up 30 minutes earlier, workout and hop in the shower. You were going to get cleaned up anyway, might as well do it after you’ve sweat out the sleepiness away. Important note: Don’t think about it, just do it!


There are probably more excuses that I used in the last couple of weeks. If I think about them, I will update the list. Now it’s your turn. What excuses do you use when you don’t want to workout? What is your solution to making over the excuses obstacle wall? What are tips to get your butt in gear?




– A

How I plan to get my ass back in shape!

Happy Halloween folks!

I start my 30 day workout challenge tomorrow. I used to be much more athletic years ago. I was taking dance classes, playing team sports, going for jogs just for fun… but now, my boyfriend and I try to plan dates for walks in the parks because it’s the only time we make for fitness these days. We could blame it on “it’s because life happened” or we we’re just too busy or too tired, but in reality, we stopped investing time into maintaining our fitness.  We’ve all been there. I’m sure you can all agree with me on this, the couch is way more comfortable than a bike seat!

Ok, excuses over! Time to move yo ass missy! 

Here is what I’m planning on working on in the next month:

  1. Each day of the week represents a different body part that I need to work out more muscle strength. Some days, I’ll have more than one since it’s a similar muscle group. For example abs and back exercises.
  2. Each week, I’ll try a new routine for the muscle workout until I find one that really is killer!
  3. Find alternatives for cardio instead of running. Winter winds are quickly approaching and it will become impossible to have a decent run in 5 feet of snow (not kidding, we have some snow banks as high as 20 feet in the city some years!)

I’ll share what workout plans I find offer better results. My new roommate is a kinesiologist. I will be working with her on designing workout and strength building exercises around previous injuries so I don’t end up hurting myself [again]. I will be sharing workouts supporting back, hips, knee, shoulder and wrist injuries. I know I know, I’m a mess. There’s a ridiculous and/or funny story attached to each injury so I will definitely share those with you. 🙂

Lastly, I’m taking before pictures and will take a new one each week to see the progress. For now, I’m not completely comfortable sharing my flabby belly, jiggly butt and flying squirrel wings. Especially after eating all the leftover candies for the trick-or-treaters. I’m the biggest I’ve ever been and I’m not proud of myself for letting myself go for so long. However, maybe after things have tightened up I’ll be comfortable showing the before and after shots.


What are your thoughts on the best time of day to workout? Morning or nights?

– A.