Saturday, July 7, 2012

Le Versailles 680 St. Joseph Boulevard, Gatineau Quebec

I wrote this a while ago but left it in Draft mode accidentally...

I'm writing this entry so that if there's anyone else out there considering moving to Le Versailles at 680 St. Joseph Boulevard in Hull, Quebec, you will be aware of the BS of living there.

I've lived in apartment buildings all my life and this experience disgusts me. I lived at Le Versailles for 3 years as a single professional. My job required much overtime, travel and working off-site. I paid my rent in full and on time every single month. I worked most of the time so I was quiet and I had no complaints against me.

Problems encountered:

1. Unauthorized entry on more than one occasion (there might be more that I'm unaware of).

- I was at home literally "sick in bed" when I heard noise coming from my hallway. I opened my bedroom door and there was the Superintendent removing my stuff from the bathroom cabinet so he could unclog the sink! He said the Landlord, Colette told him he could enter since I already was aware that the sink was getting clogged. I had absolutely NO notice whatsoever!

- I had received a notice stating that yet again, they had to access my unit to 'test the fire alarm'. I immediately called the Landlord and stated I did not want them entering due to my absence for work obligations. I was told the proper procedure was to write a letter stating that I do not want them entering the unit and that I release Versailles from all obligations. I hand delivered the letter to the Landlord but as a precaution, I locked BOTH deadbolts on my door. When I came home, my door handle was snapped off. I first unlocked the top bolt and it opened! They had entered because the second bolt wasn't locked!

- 2 weeks prior to the last day of renting there, I was continuously harassed by the Landlord to allow them to do an inspection. I had moved the majority of my items out on the 8th but still had some of my property there (Not to mention 409$ left of my rent that I already paid!). I reminded her that I had until the 31st and the apartment hadn't been cleaned yet and that I would contact her when it was ok to do the inspection. On the 28th, my boyfriend tried to access the unit but the second bolt was locked (I never lock it and only I have the key). I called the Landlord and she said that she called me the day before and left a message stating that if I didn't call her back, she would be entering the unit the next day. This does not constitute as 'my permission' to enter!

2. Constant interruptions. I have rented in Ontario since 1990 and never have I seen such constant disruptions by the Landlord wanting to access my unit. Being a developer I have a lot of laptops and PC's along with the additional electronics that frankly aren't cheap. Why would I let strangers in to my apartment without my supervision? To this end, I have had to miss work for which my employer started getting irate.

3. Poor attitude and rudeness. I have experienced and received complaints from my guests in regards to her bitchiness. The best one being her refusal to allow my boyfriend to bring his bike in to my apartment which is something we both always did. In addition, she doesn't take kindly to furniture being moved in or out.

4. Shower. Be careful! The water turns scalding hot in the blink of an eye if a neighbour decides to take a shower or flush the toilet. I had to replace the shower head with a hand-held to stop being burnt.

5. Pigeons! The pigeons were out of control! At first they started to blame me stating that they were there because I had a bistro set on the balcony. When they realized that wasn't going to work they dropped it. Seriously, am I not allowed to sit outside in the summer?

6. Rent increases exponentially! For the first year I paid 750$ At the end of year 1 my rent was $764. At the end of year 2, my rent was 794$! Reason cited was because they had to install fire alarms. When rent goes up 30$ in one shot, they're still going to raise it the next year based on that 'one-time' increment!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Insanity - The 15 Minute Version...

If you`ve seen Beachbody's "Insanity" workout promos with Shaun T. and ran in terror at the thought of doing it for 50 minutes a day, I suggest you checkout a short version of it taped on Dr. Oz's show at

It's 15 minutes... Still HARD but doable. (Note: Be careful doing this if you haven't worked out in a while...)

It's still hard as hell but a lot less daunting than this:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A month smoke free!


I did gain about 7-8lbs. despite still eating right and working-out. I decided to change the work-out and intensity (started Biggest Loser/Biggest Loser Challenge for WII) on June 1 and have come down 4-5lbs.

If anyone decides to order from epuffer, I got some clarification regarding the Magnum Rev II cartridge equivalencies:

Mirabella = Marlboro
5x5 = Dumaurier
Premium = Accord/Next
Belgo = Belmont

I ordered the 5x5 but they had none in stock so they're sending me a Mirabella instead. Next order, we'll try the 5x5.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

E-Cig - Transitioning from Analog

It's been 18 days since I transferred on to the nicotine e-cig. 
The first e-cig I had, I purchased at Rexalls. It was menthol with 0 nicotine. Both my boyfriend and I were impressed. It was disappointing that there was no nicotine but I tried to substitute it/intersperse it with analogs for the next couple of days at work. 
While waiting for the first nicotine e-cig order to come in, some questions arose. When should I smoke it? Should I still go outside? If I do go out, a traditional cigarette burns away so how will I know when to stop smoking it? Set a timer? I really couldn't answer these questions until I had one in my hands but I talked to my boyfriend to get his input since he intended to give them a go too.  He had similar questions and he had decided that he would still treat them like a regular cigarette and observe banned places and continue to smoke outside when he was home as well as not puff in the car.
For the most part I decided to adopt his policies with the exception of work. I was tired of constantly running out for a smoke. 
When I was going to order my first one (disposable) I got a 1.2mg and 2 0.6mg. I wasn't sure what strength to get. The 0.6 was ok for me but in hind sight, I think it might have been a smidgen low. I got used to it pretty quickly though and when I eventually tried a 0.8, I found it strong. 
At first, I tried sitting at my desk and taking drags but I found that I would get anxious even though I had the nicotine and the only relief I had was to actually go out and smoke there. I guess my brain hadn't fully adopted them.  
So in accordance to our new policies, I went outside with my e-cig at work. I got to say, I felt a bit silly! Standing beside smokers or standing by an ashtray until I thought "What am I doing?" I got used to smoking outside and the silliness wore off. 
As the days went by I found that I was taking drags less often and after 2 weeks I found it pointless to go out anymore and was able to sit at my desk for extended periods and only go out every 2-3 hours. I still like to go out for fresh air and escape the office though!
I learnt with the disposables, to get a stronger hit, cover the air-flow hole. After some experimenting, I discovered you can also take a slower drag (don't drag so hard like you would with an analog) to get a stronger hit. 
The day that I got the first nicotine e-cig, I was sold! I didn't look back. They were exactly what I was hoping they would be. I had read that some people did have trouble transitioning to them and did it more slowly. For some, it took about 2 weeks of switching between e-cig and analogs to make the switch completely. 
My boyfriend found this route to be better for him. At times when he was especially anxious, he would have an analog but he had very few and within a couple of days he switched completely. 
At first, you may find that you're puffing a lot. Keep in mind this is like a novelty at the beginning. You're getting used to this and it will subside.  In addition, you are no longer smoking a cig that will burn away so your tendency to drag on it will wane once you're more used to it. 
Most times I held it like an analog at the beginning and sometimes still do but it's naturally turning more into an instrument which is great to move away from the smoking crutch. 
Keep in mind, that if you were using a patch to quit, you could be starting out with a mega dose of nicotine which you normally wouldn't smoke. Like the patch, after weeks you drop down the dose. If you want to quit with an e-cig I suggest the following:
Smoke like you normally would but switch to an e-cig. 
After 12 weeks (or however long you're comfortable) drop down to the next lightest for another 12 weeks. When you hit 0mg, stay there for as long as you're comfortable. You will still have the crutch but your system will not be reliant on nicotine anymore. Hold a pen if you want. 
Right now I'm not thinking about quitting. I'm just happy to take it one day at a time and am delighted in tobacco free!
No more stinkies! No more dirty ashtrays! No more rushing out to have a smoke!

E-Cigs - The Good and Bad

It is now May 26, 2012. I quit smoking May 8th and I thought I would share my thoughts thus far...
The Good:
- I'm lucky that my health wasn't seriously compromised by smoking but the one thing I didn't want to do was tempt fate.  I'm delighted to be tobacco free!
- Number one reason I hate tobacco: the stink!  I ran out of e-cigs while I was at work and had a few drags of an analog cig. How gross! I even held my bf's cig for a minute while he tied his shoe. GROSS! I'm glad to smell like roses. (haha)
- Being at work and running outside for a smoke is such a pain! Especially when you're stuck in meetings! Then when you do go out, you're lucky if the weather's reasonable and of course, most sheltered areas are no smoking zones so there's a good chance you'll be without shelter.  Oh ya, don't forget travelling for extended periods...
- I've quit cold turkey and I've tried NRT's (Nocotine Replacement Therapy) and I've always had withdrawals like  being anxious/hyper, inability to sleep, munching etc... I've had NONE!
- I think people are fed up of paying taxes through the nose and cigs are atrociously taxed! Last time I bought a pack, I paid 10.30$ (up .30 cents from December!) in 2009, the Canadian government made 20.4 BILLION dollars off the taxes of cigarettes alone (just cigs, not pipe/cigar/tobacco).  The last order of 70 packs of e-cigs with taxes and shipping was $170. Traditional smokes would have been $721.00. 
Now the bad:
E-cigs have not been approved for sale by Health Canada therefore, if you run out you can't run to the corner store to get them. 

E-Cig - Magnum Rev II

We ordered the real e-cig (as opposed to disposables). After getting a couple of quirks straightened out, we are pretty happy and tobacco free! Between us, we bought 70 'packs' (1 cartridge = 1 pack of 20 traditional cigarettes) and with taxes and shipping, it totaled 170$. If we bought 70 packs of traditional cigarettes at 10$ a pop (it's actually more than that for my Vogues) that would be 700$!
I got mint (my usuals)  coffee, chocolate,  and vanilla. The chocolate was last year's stock and the cartridge is dried up (I got them in the 'Last Call' section because they were cheaper. Don't buy carts from that section, stay with current stock!)
I like the choco and vanilla. I then tried my boyfriend's cherry (don't care for it) and his Belgo tobacco.  I liked the Belgo especially compared to the Premiums he enjoys. I'm not one for regular tobacco but he found the Premiums were comparable to the Next Gold and Accord Red. 

E-Cig First Order

So I placed a small order for my first e-cig and got it the very next day! I didn't know what to expect so I got the Magnum UNO Disposable in menthol (2 in 0.6mg and 1 in 1.2mg).
The taste was way better than a real cigarette and the nicotine was a great strength for me. The 1.2 was way too strong and thankfully my boyfriend was just as curious as me. He preferred the 1.2 so I gave it to him. 

Discovering E-Cigarettes

I was a career smoker you could say. Until one day I walked into the pharmacy and saw an e-cigarette. It had 0 nicotine but I decided to try it. Although there was something missing (nicotine), I was impressed. Taking a drag was much the same as a real cigarette. I got menthol and even though the taste was a bit different, I found it comparable (better than the Indian smokes I used to have!) The 'smoke' was quite realistic and I thought the light that glowed orange at the end was a cute detail. It was a bit larger than a king size and about double the weight. I decided to do some research into what this product really was, how it worked and how it came to be. 
In short (there's a lot of info elsewhere on the net), it was created by a pharmacist in China.  The ingredients are propylene (or vegetable) glycol, water, nicotine, and flavoring (like cherry, mint etc...)
The only ingredient I had to do more research on was the PG. It's actually the synthetic version of vegetable glycol and both are used as food and other additives. PG is also used in asthma inhalers.  There has been extensive research on PG and it has been deemed as safe since the 50's. 
Next was how it worked. Again, in short, a battery heats a cartridge automatically when you inhale. The cartridge contains the water, PG, nicotine.  When you exhale, the "smoke" is actually vapor (thanks to the PG). 
The other tidbit I came across is that Health Canada hasn't "approved" e-cigs for use in Canada WITH nicotine. The reason cited was that there is no process/quality control to discern how much nicotine is in each drag and labeling concerns. Therefore, Health Canada has prohibited the sale, advertisement and importation of e-cigs containing nicotine. This was about 2 years ago and if you do some digging on the net you'll see some forum posts of people complaining that their orders were seized by Customs. 
In contrast, the FDA approved e-cigs however, it is trying to back-track because of concerns that it will encourage children to take up the habit. 
Next, I dug into what people thought of the cigs. There's a site in the UK that created a survey and they posted the extra comments that people had volunteered. Simply amazing! Career smokers, those who smoked 3 packs a day, those with COPD and other smoking related illnesses reported having quit tobacco in its entirety without any effort. Even Dr's have been commenting in surprise. 
This caused some concerns for me since I didn't want the expense and hassle of this happening to me.  Lucky for me though, I found a Canadian distributor (it's a large company) with excellent delivery options and great customer service.  When you call, someone  answers the phone and the wait times are nominal. They also back up their products and customer service is knowledgeable and friendly. Use the coupon code "FREEDOM" for a 10% discount. Get an even bigger discount when you purchase the VIP card. 
More to come...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Time flies...

I was just looking at my blog and I can't believe it had been so long (and infrequent) that I've posted!

I guess moving, working and oh ya, getting a life has kept me busy. I also undertook a quest to lose weight Jan 4, 2011 so fitness has been a big thing for me too.

I thought I'd share some links to that end:

My Fitness Pal (Also available for iPhone: Track calories, exercise and weight

Friend Fit: Excellent fitness tracker

iPhone Apps
MY Weight
Track Weight



Started the 30 Day Shred last night. I've seen some great results with it and some that were so-so. It's definitely a challenge to get through it!

30 Day Shred - Jillian Michaels

Feel free to leave comments regarding your experiences with it.