Tuesday, December 6, 2011
My brother is flying in from Ontario and has already stated that the trip is costing a pretty penny and he is only bringing a small carry on so he will not be exchanging gifts. I ran with it and asked around to see how people felt about a "make it or bake it" Christmas. I explained to my siblings and mother that gifts could be made or people could bring food to share while we spend time together. It was well received.
It seems to be popular this year. People around me are making choices to spend less, buy locally or to hand make their gifts. I plan to bake cookies for my coworkers and bring them in for everyone working the stat like I will be. If I have the time I might make something small for my coworkers. Right now I'm working on my handmade gifts for my niece and nephew.
I'm making a trinket box for my niece. So far I've spent about $10. I bought a wooden box from the dollar store. Now I'm painting and decorating it. I plan to line it with fabric and make it super adorable for her. I promise to take a photo.
For my nephew I am trying to make a wooden puzzle. So far I've spent about $3. I hope this works out. I'm still trying to figure it out but I feel good about it.
My sister is getting a decorated double frame with a picture of each of her children. I have a lot of pictures of her children that she doesn't have as I am the crazy photographer at all family events. I'm sure its something that will tug on her heart strings. I just need to select the two best pictures.
For my brothers I'm not really sure what I'm going to do yet. Those ideas are still lodged in the back of my think tank. Any suggestions?
BF is getting a top secret gift that I can't tell you about yet. Hehehe
For friends... I will bake some cookies but I'm considering making a few trinkets. This will really be time dependant.
Last but certainly not least... the Mom. We got together last weekend, combined our points and got a whole boatload of free stuff from one our favorite shops. I wanted a few things but we had $250 to spend. There were a lot of things my mom couldn't decide on so I told her to use up my credit and consider it part of her gift. So for her she already received a super soft blanket and a SONY digital picture frame. I only paid the taxes! I think I will surprise her with an SD card loaded with family pictures so she can set up it up right away.
Lots to do and less than three weeks to do it. The downside to all handmade gifts is how much time it eats up. Instead of knocking everything out in one day its going to take a lot of creativity and dedication but in the end I think the gifts will mean more and my wallet will be a lot happier.
How is your gift round up going?
Monday, December 5, 2011
Saturday, October 8, 2011
I work all this weekend so we'll be having our turkey dinner next weekend. I cannot wait to make turkey stew and sandwiches. Yumscrumpdiddly!
So what am I thankful for?
- Working the stat day and making double time and a half. Heck yeah!
- Having two amazing men in my life - BF and Chipotle
- A family that I love
- Having a job, place to live, food in my cupboards and all my needs taken care of
- Having the support from all of you amazing readers that makes me push so hard to meet my goals
Now how about you. Will you be eating a big yummy bird? What are you thankful for?
Friday, October 7, 2011
She hits up the dollar store. Oh yeah! I got some awesome stuff too!!! I spent about $8. I got a new pair of super awesome gloves, a brush I love, an awesome toy for Chipotle and some other random stuff.
I had already bought a new nail file ($3) and cotton pads ($2) before leaving work so I could do my own manicure at home. Still, I wasn't satisfied with my spending spree.
Luckily there is a thrift store across the street so I skipped the next bus home and went in to check out the merchandise. I bought a bunch of books for $7. Score!
To round out my craziness I finished up with some cheap sushi and a slurpee. Hell ya! After that I was all shopped out so I took the bus home and enjoyed my spoils.
What was the last thing you splurged on?
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Yesterday a customer called me an ignorant asshole and reported me to head office. My boss was on my side though. I do take a lot of sh*t from people at work (customers) but I think I'm just super sensitive right now. Work is usually a happy part of my day. I guess when you feel like you're getting crapped on in every direction it doesn't take a lot to break you down.
I feel like I really need a way to destress myself. I'm starting with setting up a me space where I can sit and be creative. Its one of my goals this month and I'm hoping it will be beneficial in a few ways to me.
A coworker suggested yoga to me. Another one suggested some diet changes to help me feel better. I'm just so dumpy feeling right now that I'm just feeling like hitting the couch and absorbing large amounts of the boob tube.
How do u relax or deal with pressure situations?
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Earlier in the day I had bought a ton of gift cards for a coworker who is getting married this week with the money collected from everyone who works in the pharmacy. There were no extra fees on any of the cards so I figured it was the best way to go.
Staring at the wall of 5 bazillion cards I felt a little overwhelmed and I was also pressed for time. Since he lives in another province I wasn't sure if he had all the stores we have available to him. Since he also has a lot of diet restrictions I couldn't go with a restaurant chain. I figured it was best to just go with a MasterCard or Visa. So I grabbed one and purchased it with my basket of goodies for home.
When I got home I checked over my receipt and was shocked to see a $3.95 activation fee. What? I hadn't paid any activation fees on the cards I had bought before. I checked the packaging on the card and in small writing it said a $3.95 activation fee would be applied. Grrr!! If I hadn't been in such a hurry I probably would have caught it but then again I guess since I'd bought 5 other cards earlier in the day it had never occurred to me to check.
Well the card was not refundable of course and I felt so irritated. I basically paid an extra 17% for nothing. This is what I call a stupid tax because that is how it made me feel.
In the end I still think it was the best option for my brother as I'm not sure what his needs are right now and this gives him the freedom to choose. I'm not usually a gift card giver but in this case it suits the situation. I wont be fooled again though. This has taught me to read the fine print on all gift cards in the future. In case you are wondering the offender was Vanilla MasterCard. At least I know he's going to get something he truly wants for his birthday which is what is most important to me.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
- Review and complete two 30b430 goals. If this is October it means I have one full year left until the big 3-0 and its time to get my arse in line. I made these goals before I returned home and some just dont fit. More on this later.
- Have Chipotle neutered, tatooed and finish up his shots (need to save $300 more for this)
- Do something fun on my birthday :)
- Save $250 for BF's bday weekend surprise
- Save $400 in RSP or TFSA
- Set up a work space at home for crafting/blogging
Friday, September 30, 2011
Savings for September
TFSA (New) $250
RSP $70 (1/2 employer match)
Travel Fund $250 - I will need $500 saved before Nov 4th for BF's birthday
Secured Credit Card $0
House Fund $0
Chipotle Fund $100 - His next visit in 3 weeks will be about $400
In the past I would usually have a monthly goals update but since I did not have any set for September I have nothing to report sadly. Check in tomorrow for Octobers goals :)
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The visit went really well and I was proud of how well behaved and sweet he was while we were there. The damage was about $98 for the visit. The reception did forget to give us the second deworming tablet which we will have to give him ourselves in 2 weeks. So we'll have to go back for it and I'm not sure if there will be any charge. I'm sure it wont be much if it is.
The vet we decided to go with is the same one we used with Cherri. I feel confident that we've gone with a good clinic who actually cares for our little monster. One month from now though we will have a second visit that will be closer to the $400 mark. Eeek!
He's so worth it though :)
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
There is something I've been dying to do with BF for two years now. It has to be a surprise so sadly you guys will have to wait until after Halloween to find out where we are going. I figure its going to cost me about $500 for the weekend. Eek!
Its so totally going to be worth it though. I think both he and I are going to love it. Well maybe he will enjoy where we are going but I will enjoy the peace and relaxation.
So between now and then I have to save up the money in my travel fund. I am going to call at the end of the week and cross my fingers that I can get a reservation for that weekend. Wish me luck!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
So yesterday I was looking at my charges from CIBC from last month when I saw I was paying over $30 in bank fees. Excuse me? I called them up immediately to see what the deal was. Apparently when I got the new CIBC Advantage card a few months back the girl switched me to a different plan as well without telling me of course. So I've been paying out the wazoo for all these transactions I thought were covered.
He gave me a $15 credit and was very helpful. He offered to change my plan to one that offers more transactions but since I'm going to be doing almost all my banking through ING now I actually switched to the lowest account fees possible.
After I got off the phone with him it hit me that this must have been happening for some time and sure enough when I looked back at previous months I cringed with horror. Ugh, all my hard earned dollars scooped up by the devil known as CIBC.
So I guess I needed a reminder in always checking over every statement very carefully whether its a bill or a bank statement. Stupid tax for Dolly. It really adds up too which makes me angry but I'm half to blame in not catching their error for so long.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
1) All the kiddies go back to school. Yay! As you can tell I dont have children and do not want any in the near future. I'm happy to have them tucked away in schools instead of screaming and running around the pharmacy :)
2) 3 paydays!!!! Thats the real winner for me. Its usually October but this year its going to fall in September. I just realized this and am feeling like its time to make some progress with my savings.
Anyone else have 3 paydays this month? What will you do with the extra cashola?
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I'm thinking I will use this as my EFund. I want to reevaluate my savings goal. Well, my goals in general. What do you use your TFSA for?
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Another bonus? I got the $100 yesterday in my account as promised and without me having to inquire about it. I love ING.
So what shall I do with this $100? Well I think its time to start those retirement savings. Something that is long overdue.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Recently while reading Asian Pears blog I learned about the $100 payroll deposit bonus. I was on it like white on rice. It was super easy for me to set up the chequing account online. I was able to locate all the info I need for payroll without a problem. The tricky part was I learned about this on a Friday which was exactly one week before my next payday and it was the only one left before the cutoff of Aug 31st. Luckily my payroll lady is super efficient and it all worked out.
The only snag being that I didnt have a bank card for them yet so I had to wait for my payroll to be deposited and then set up a transfer to my regular bank CIBC aka Devil in Disguise. Luckily I had some cash on hand to get me through the weekend so it worked out. Monday the card arrived but without the pin so I'm still waiting for that piece of the puzzle. The card however is super funky and I love it.
I need to clarify that I am not a rate chaser. I have wanted to make the switch for awhile. I like that I will now be able to switch $ from chequing to savings instantly. I like that there are no fees and I make a teensy bit of interest. The only draw back is the ATMs. CIBC has really super convient spots as where the company ING is hooked up with for sharesies is a local credit union which I find are kind of out the way even though there are 11 of them. I can help avoid this by using mostly interac purchases and taking out extra cash when I do so.
So we'll see how it goes. I have yet to use the card as I'm still waiting on the pin. I will keep my CIBC account though and just switch it to a lower fees account. It has an awesome VISA option I want to keep and its a good place to cash a cheque in a hurry.
Who else is thinking of or has made the switch?
*special note* AP I owe a lunch out when you come this way in 2012. Thanks for the heads up lady :)
Monday, August 15, 2011
A bit of an update on whats happening with me.
* I'm still working at the pharmacy. I feel really grateful to have a good job with people I like. I'm only guaranteed 32 hours but since we've been a little short staffed over the summer I told my boss I would appreciate an extra shift whenever he has one to offer around. He told me since I asked first I would get whatever was available and he's stuck to his word. I did have a few weeks where I was hit with some mystery illness though and I took a few days off when my brother visited from Waterloo. Now I really want to work as possible and make some $$$.
* I have a furbaby! He is orange and adorable. He's now three months old but I've had him since we was 6 weeks. I named him Chipotle but we call him Chippy for short sometimes. More on this later as I'm sure you all want to see pictures and learn about how I found this little character.
* I have not done anything remotely fantastic with my finances since I returned from the trip. Its a big reason why I want to get back into blogging. Well that and because I miss our little community. Well I say little but I'm amazed at how its grown over the years.
* BF and I are still together living in our rented Duplex.
So I'm tired of thinking all the time of how I miss my blog. I have things I want to write about and share all the time so I'm making it happen. I'm glad to be back.
xoxo Dolly =^..^=
Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Buying and selling online is so NOT fun. I've been on the buyers side for weeks now. Being beat out of sales, not getting responses, and just plain dealing with weird people selling their stuff. So I have not managed to snag any good furniture deals. BF says he would rather wait and save and buy new. I'm not so into paying top dollar for a new couch set. I'd really like a large sectional with fold out bed which runs between $1500-2000 new. Yikes! I'd rather wait to find one in great condition used for a couple hundred.
We've also experienced the seller side of things. For over a month now BF and I have had our washer and dryer up for sale. The place we moved into had a set and once BF took them apart and cleaned them up we found they were a great set. So we put our up for sale to make space. Orginally they were given to me by a friend. Over time we replaced a few parts on them and the run great. So we put them up for sale at $175 for the pair.
We had a ton of emails which I would respond to and then never hear back again. A lot of it was people asking if they were still available. I would say "yes" and never hear back. Strange! One person came by to see them. A few people asked me to call and then were rude on the phone. It was very discouraging but we kept on and renewed our free ad again to see what would happen. Finally yesterday a guy came by to see them. BF hooked them up so he could see them working and he was happy with what he saw. He offered BF $150 (which is the price we were willing to haggle down to anyway) and took them right then and there after handing over cash.
Yay! So I got $60 out of the deal to put towards my "furniture fund" and BF got the other $90 as he was the one who kept them maintained and payed for the replacement parts. Since I got the set for free orginally I'd call this a super fun win-win for both of us. I'm so happy to see them gone and even more happy to have an extra few bucks to put towards something I really want. :)
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Returning after a year of traveling takes a lot more adjusting than I thought.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Well Festivus finally happened! I will do a seperate post on this so that I can include pictures and stories.
My friend Nathaniel came and stayed at my place for two days while I was off work. It was filled with laughter and lots of reminiscing and story telling. We ate delicious food and about 40 pounds of freshly popped popcorn. Mmm
I worked a lot but not 7 days in a row. My schedule coming up has lots few days on and then a few days off pattern that suites me quite well. I also finally got my access codes for online training. I'm almost finished the first leg of three and after I complete them all I'll get a raise. Yay!
I've been scouring the used online sites for a cheap but gorgeous sectional or fold out couch but have lost out 5 times now. I've been trying to stay on top of it now but its getting a little depressing. I think next weekend I'll hit up some shops with my mom. I am really sick of this old ratty set that was supposed to take a dump hit when we left for traveling. Plus, now that we dont have a guest bed anymore I need a place for people to sleep when they are visiting.
I have rediscovered my love for frolf (disc golf). BF and I played yesterday and it was so refreshing. I love being out at the park. It definitely gets my blood pumping. BF and I are competitive and so it becomes almost like a work out. I can't wait to get out and play it again. The best part is its free after you invest in the discs since the course is in a city park.
So that about wraps up how the week flew by. I hope to write some more fun and picture filled posts this weekend after my work shifts ( I work every 2nd weekend now ). Have a great weekend everyone!
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Okay so I didnt make a lot of progress but it was sure a lot of fun.
For the month of April I would like to scratch off a goal that has been driving me crazy since I was a teenager. I need to start my retirement savings. I mean really.... what has stopped me? So if I complete only that one thing I will be happy and fulfilled but I'm hoping I can find something else to knock off as well. Its a good month to start because its a 3 payday month and I hope to start getting back on track with my money pretty quick here.
I also need to get on that goal of writing a letter to myself. April here I come.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
I really don't want to pay too much taxes. I'd rather have the money in my bank account making me money rather than let the government have my interest in its pocket. Still, I don't want to risk being under taxed by work as I have been in the past and then have to dish out a few hundred bucks unexpectedly. I'm going to try doing things this way for a year and see how it works out for me.
So I approached the payroll person and asked them to double check if it had been inputed into my payroll options and I was right, it had been overlooked. They updated it immediately and it will take effect for my next cheque. Yay, I'm glad it was so easy to correct.
So the moral of the story is to make sure you keep an eye on payroll deductions. It was pretty easy to spot and only took a 5 minute visit to get it looked into and resolved. :0)
Monday, March 21, 2011
We painted nails, toes and ate junk food all night. We went to bed at like 5am. My nine year old niece was in heaven. We had a photo shoot with her and pampered her and gave her lots of special attention. Sadly we overslept and missed pancake breakfast with my mom. We hung out for most of the day relaxing and then went for lunch.
Sunday night BF and I took it easy just eating snack type food and snuggling on the couch watching TV. It was nice to have some quiet time and we had some pretty yummyoda stuff to nibble on like brie cheese and tuscany ham. Yum
Today I slept in and then spent the afternoon shopping with my mom. I got a really good deal on a TFal frying pan that we really needed and picked up a big Pyrex bowl for BF. Then we just did some grocery shopping. Mom has a costco card so we went in there and found some stuff to go halfers on since both of us only have two people in our households.
We also went by the hospice 2nd hand store where I found a few books I think I'm really going to like for $1.50 each and mom got BF a nice cookbook for $2.
To pay my mom back for hauling me around today I bought a big tray of sushi that we shared with BF along with some of my favorite seaweed salad. Have I mentioned how much I love food?
So I'd call my time off a big sucess. Sadly though starting tomorrow I have to work 7 days in a row. Boourns!
Saturday, March 19, 2011
When BF finally showed up he found me at the dollar store and then we went for butter chicken. It was heavenly. Well I had butter chicken but BF chose a more spicy curry dish. Afterwards we waited for friends to meet up with us. We waited... waited.. and waited. Finally I lost my cool and said "screw these guys, lets go buy our groceries for festivus."
We went grocery shopping and picked up everything we needed plus a little extra and headed back to the food court to check once more if they were there. Nope! And it was two hours since I been off work. Holy I was irritated. BF blamed me for the mix up saying I obviously planned things out wrong. I couldnt believe it as these are his friends more than mine and they had contacted me to do something.
When I got home I found one of the guys online. I reemed into him and thanked him for wasting my time just to no show to something he had planned. He apologized and said he had had a last minute schedule change and had told other buddy (that had not showed) to tell us we could all meet up Saturday instead. Ugh
Later on other buddy comes online. I reemed him out hard and he apologized over and over agreeing that he was a douchebag and had had a mind gap or something because he totally forgot the whole thing. WTF?!?!
So basically I've told them both that next time we meet at my place. BF isnt a taxi and if they want to go out with us then they find their own way or meet us at our house. I find it so rude to no show for plans that you made yourself. Buddy number one has no excuse. He made plans with me and he should have cancelled with me directly. So annoying!
Also when I got home my sister sent me a msg on Facebook saying that Mom had called and Festivus was cancelled. WTF?!?! I just talked to her like two hours ago. My sister hadn't even taken the turkey out of the freezer yet. I guess she doesnt realize the turkey needs to thaw more than just overnight. Yeesh.
So Festivus is yet again rescheduled :( I'm so disappointed. The good thing though is that the spa sleepover is still going to happen. My sister is going to bring movies to watch on the big TV and I'm getting BF to hook up my old school nintendo player. We're going to eat snacks and be all girly for my 9 yr old niece. Fun!
*special note* When I was at Save On turkeys were super cheap. Big ones under $20. I dont remember what they are pound/kilo pricewise but it was a super good deal. Now may be the time to stock up. If they are still on sale tomorrow I think I might buy two. One for my housewarming and one for a family dinner night. Mmm bird :)
Friday, March 18, 2011
We are meeting friends at the same food court at 630. We'll probably grab a few snacks and then head back to our place to hang out, watch some movies and of course the boys will end it in a poker game as always.
Saturday we are headed to my sister for Festivus. I still have to wrap up all my gifts so I better make sure I have some tape. My contribution will be brussel sprouts, yorkshire pudding, cranberry sauce and soda pop. Afterwards my sister, niece and I are going to have a sleepover at her spa downtown. I'm pretty excited to spend time with niece. I try to shower her with as much positive attention as I can. She's so important to me.
I can't wait for Festivus dinner. I've been told there will be turkey, ham and slowcooked ribs. Holy Moly. I'm going to chow down and sneak in some tupperware for all those juicy leftovers. Its good timing to as I have a big stretch of working 7 days in a row coming up. (*sigh)
What are your weekend plans?
Thursday, March 17, 2011
All I can say is I hope this helps a lot of BC residents to breathe a littler easier but really.. lets speed up the process and lets keep it going cuz we're still not satisfied Liberals.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
One of my brothers wont be there as he is now living in Waterloo. That sucks but at least we will be able to talk to him on Skype during the festivities. That way he can still be a part of what is going on.
I still have all the gifts I bought for everyone while I was traveling so this week I'm going to wrap them all up and distribute them on Saturday. I am pretty excited to finally give out the gifts. Especially to my niece who is a big piece of my heart. I bought her some pretty nice stuff.
After dinner my niece is coming home with me to spend the night so we can spend all of Sunday together. I can't wait to spend some one on one time with her. It's been so long since we've had a girls night. We used to do it once every month or so before I left. Now that I have a place again I am happy to have her over as much as possible.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
So for now we are interested in taking in a cat. BF wants a kitten but I want a rescue cat. I think a good compromise would be a younger aged cat from the SPCA. The cat would be about $125. Not bad for a loving addition to our family of 2. We had a rat before which was an incredible pet but she was sickly and passed after only a year and a half. I just can't handle another heartache like that so a cat is what I'd like now.
Our landlord wants to see how we are as renters first and may request a deposit. In the meantime while we are waiting for the okay I'm spending a lot of free time checking the BC SPCA website. There was one that I really wanted but it seems to be gone already. I'd like to go by the local shelter soon and see who I bond with.
I really want a long haired orange tabby. I also like grey hairs and tortoise shell colored cats. In reality its going to come down to who we bond with. I need a cat that loves cuddles, belly rubs and likes meow chats. If a cat doesn't like to be playful and belly rubs its probably not suited for us.
So now I need to know how much a cat will cost me in the long run. There is far more to what the initial cat cost will be. I have to consider vet visits which are costly. All the "stuff" a cat needs plus food and litter on a regular basis. I think for me the joy I will get will outweigh the cost but I need to prepare myself. I take on the responsibility with great intentions of the cat being a forever part of my family.
We've already had a trial run with strays that turned out to be a neighbours cats so we know this is something we want. We've had to wait because of our travel plans but now we are ready. So here's a list of things I think a cat will require above vet costs.
Kitty Wish List
- litter box
- pooper scooper
- food (wet, dry and treats)
- food/water dish
- cat carrier
What else would I need? Also, any products/foods you would recommend? Any advice would be appreciated and helpful =^..^=
A year before I left I became debt free. Then over the following year I saved up $9,000. I felt so in control and pretty darn proud of myself. Now after a year of traveling and all the hidden expenses associated with it I'm back at zero. I've only had one payday since I've been back and it was for $300. I'm feeling suffocated. I have big goals but I need cash to realize them.
Things will get better. I just have to work my way back is all. I can't wait until Friday when I get paid. I'm a little behind on things and I have to play catch up. I'm really looking forward to 3 paydays in April.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
1)2009 taxes - Yes, you can all gasp in horror. I am behind my taxes. Shame pf blogger, shame! Well I must defend myself on this one. BF and I really wanted to get this done before we left but our T4's didnt come in time and we left figuring we'd deal with it when we got back. Well we're back and its time to pay the piper.
2)2010 taxes - I only made a small amount before I left for my trip. I think I only worked three weeks or something for the pharmacy to help out. BF doesnt remember working and so is not expecting to have to file. The one plus out of this is that because we didnt make much but did pay for MSP the entire time we were away we will probably be eligible for premium assistance which means we wont pay this year. Thats a big savings of $102/mo as we currently pay the maximum.
3) Oz taxes - Since the Australia tax year ends June 31 we've already filed taxes there once but we will need to file again. Its a pretty painless process that can be done online so I'm not worried about it. I also have a lot of time before I will even get my forms so its not something to stress about. My superannuation however I need to look into applying for asap.
I am really looking forward to getting caught up with taxes and not fearing the dreaded taxman anymore. I love the Beatles song in the post below!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Gail, my dear friend Nathaniel gave me one of her books that I've been lusting over. I am now a proud owner of "Never Too Late". Yay!
So everyone puts in $5. Names are randomly drawn and matched up with the contestants on the show. I believe the person who comes in second gets their $5 back but the winner gets the rest of the pool. Not bad if you ask me. It adds a little extra flavour to watching and its great conversation in the staff room when people get voted out.
I was assigned Julie so I'm watching her very carefully. I was a little nervous when she screwed over Russel but now that he's truly gone I'm hoping she'll fair ok.
How I missed thee Survivor.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
* I watched one of my besties marry the man of her dreams in Mexico
* I got my first paycheck from my job (3 shifts only but hey)
* I ordered a new debit card because mine was ancient and found out I'll get a new one that has special add ons that allow me to use it like a credit card for online or telephone purchases (makes things a lot easier until I can save up for a secured credit card to repair my credit)
* I moved into my new place without too much hassle (unpacking is annoying though)
* I got stellar deals from Shaw when I hooked up my services over the phone (it pays to be nice)
5 wonderful things to be happy about. I'm sure if I thought about it I could find a lot more to be grateful for. I'm starting to realize how important it is to stop every once and awhile and take notice of all the good things happening in my life.
Its been hard adjusting to normal life after taking a year off to travel. I've learned a lot during my travels. A lot about myself and what I want out of my life. I'm trying to focus on staying positive and appreciating the moment.
I ask you readers to think about what awesome things have been going your way lately and leave me a positive comment :)
Friday, March 4, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Today we signed the 6 month lease for the new place. I was happy with all the touch ups they did. The new paint and a the clean up job made a big difference. We met the neighbour (its a duplex) and all went well.
I called BC Hydro and set up our new account there for March 1st. I'll deal with Shaw once I get back. We'll also need to get cell phones when we return. I haven't looked into it much but I have heard good things about Koodo. Any suggestions?
So this may be my last post for a week or so. Just wanted to check in before I go and update you all on our doings. I'm so excited for the wedding! Eek!
Love you all
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Next we had to focus on the bridal shower gift. Since I usually avoid weddings like the plague I struggled with this one. I googled it and most sites called it a tacky gift grab that was started by a tradition to welcome the new bride into the circle of wifedom but is now nothing more but a way to score more presents. Hmm. It recommended either bedroom gifts or kitchen. I felt way more comfortable with the kitchen stuff as she and I have always loved to get together and cook.
I felt lost out there. Then my mom and I stubbled across the softest blanket in the world. When my friend and I were younger we used to have endless slumber parties. She (lets call her RBBF) would always search out these soft plush blankets my mom had and claim them as her own. It became a running joke and finally my mom gifted each of us one of the blankets. It was a little pricey so I was unsure of it but then my mom insisted on pitching in as RBBF has been one of my besties for ever and she might come to the shower anyway. Yay!
From there we were set. We decided to go for a basket themed "intimate night in for two". We got a deal on a big wicker basket for $5 at Michaels. At Home Sense we got an adorable smores making kit on sale for $4. Then we hit the dollar store. We got a card, beautiful celophane wrap and ribbon for $4. Then we loaded up.
The basket includes the blanket, smores kit and :
2 oversized mugs, coffee, hot chocolate, two chocolate hearts, rose shaped lollipops, 2 coffee scented candles, a bath bomb, milk bath powder, a dvd (Better Sex Through Yoga - my mom picked it out, lol) and two bags of popcorn.
It turned out really well. I didnt want to give a raunchy gift and my budget was limited so I'm very happy with the results. It was fun shopping with my mom and I really hope she gets to come with me today.
On another note - I went to the work party last night and had a blast. All week at work I've wanted to catch up with people and this was a great opportunity. I had an amazing time. It was so much fun. I really love my coworkers.
I hope you all have an amazing Sunday!
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Monday morning I get a call from the pharmacy with a job offer. Holy smokes Batman! I was sooo not expecting that at all. My boss said two of the girls wanted a shift less a week. So that was two plus he added in some hours. Boom. He could offer me 32hours/wk but I would probably have to work a lot of evenings and weekends but never back to back. That was something I could live with. Since I'm a new hire again I will have to wait 3 months for benefits again and 1 year for RRSP matching. I start at my old wage but if I complete 3 stages of online training in the next three months he will give me a dollar raise. Yahoo! Sounds pretty good for me. He also mentioned other financial incentives down the road.
Of course I would prefer 40hrs/wk but one girl will go on maternity in 16 weeks so I think I will get more hours then. Also there is rumor of a clinic opening near our location which would boost hours. Even better, this gives me time to spend on working on my own home business idea. Incredible!
We were almost settled on a place when BF found a super cheap duplex. We went to view it and it was perfect for us. Tons of space, 2 bedrooms, storage room, laundry room, lots of entertaining space. I loved it. I was particulary drawn in by the natural light in the living room and the built in bookcase. I love books. :) So the day I got the job we viewed it and secretly decided we wanted it. The next day we called, showed interest and got it! Yay us! The guy renting the place really took a liking to us. So we sign paperwork Monday but we already have his half filled out and signed so its all ours.
Tomorrow is my best friends bridal shower so I'm going shopping today for her gift. Then on Tuesday early morning we head to Mexico for 7 nights of glorious all inclusive fun. I can't wait to watch her get married at sunset on the beach to her hulk.
My boss had wanted me to start the day after he called but there was a problem. I can't find any of my shoes in storage. So I told him I needed a day to buy some cheap runners. Luckily I had already spotted my old uniform at the top of my clothes bag and so I had that all ready to go. Still, I got in three days working this week. Sadly the computer system has completely changed so I'm like the new kid on the block again. In fact the way they do every tiny thing has changed. Its ok though. I have amazing coworkers.
The best part is there was a staff party already planned for tonight so I get to party with all my old friends from the store. We are going to a pub and then drunk bowling which is my ultimate favorite! Yay!
So I went from glum chum to happy lady in a matter of day. I'm so grateful things have turned around for me. I hope this feeling lasts a long time.
Friday, February 11, 2011
So what can I do to lighten the mood a little and refocus my happy juices into something more positive? How about completing one of my 30B430 goals? Yes, that sounds fun.
I need to complete goals which require me not to have to spend any money or any supplies of any sort. Sounds limiting but there are a few things that I can do.
1) Learners License - I may not be able to pay for this just yet but the study guide is free. I can pick one up and start reading to prepare myself for the test. There is also a free practice test online. :)
2) Leave "must do" lists in 5 Lonely Planet Australia books - I dont have access to a printer right now but I can write out the lists by hand and make them all pretty.
3)Write a Happy 30th Birthday letter to myself - This should probably be done sooner than later. I can write it out nicely, find an envelope to put it in and tuck it away for that special day.
So this is me giving myself some inspiration to get happy.
I ask you readers - what do you do to pull yourself out of a funk?
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I would love to tell you that we are out living it up. Partying the night away until we leave in a taxi at 5am for our flight out of here. Reality is we are resting up. The motorcycle tour took a lot out of me and I am catching up on rest. Not to mention my ass feels pretty bruised. Well worth it though. We are back in Bangkok after flying in earlier today. I immediately repacked my bags and got to resting.
We leave Bangkok in the morning (Feb 2) with a stop in Hong Kong (I hope this goes well with the New Year crush) and then off to Canada to arrive in Vancouver on Feb 2nd. Yay, we gain one whole day lol.
We are going to spend two nights at my dear friend Nathaniels. He was the last to see us and will the first to greet us home. I can't wait to hash out all my stories to him and make him look at 5 million pictures.
Then Friday we take a ferry over to the Island just in time for my mom to get off work and pick us up for the start of her weekend. My sister is planning to have us all over this weekend on Saturday so I can see everyone, dish out my presents and collect my xmas gifts. Fun!
I really am not ready to go home but our tickets expire after tomorrow so it is what it is. I will just have to find ways to escape and travel again in the future. I will miss traveling. Its been an amazing year. Now that I'll be settling in though I'll be able to fill you guys in on all my adventures. I have a lot to share. Hopefully you will find it interesting.
I do have a lot to look forward to. My niece is so excited she has the date circled on her calendar. We had a conversation that went like this:
Niece : Um, Aunti Dolly, please when you come home dont ever go away this long again
Me: *laughs* Ok well, I will still travel but not for a whole year at a time
Niece : How long?
Me: Two months maximum
Niece: No, maybe two days maximum.
So I guess that means she misses me. I have to say I miss her too. It seems when I talk to her on Skype that she's become a little lady while I was gone. Growing up in my absense. Thats not allowed is it?
I miss my family and friends. My brother just recently moved to Waterloo but he said he'll try to make it out at the end of March to see me. My other brother says he'll clear his schedule to hang out with me. My sister is ready to cook a darn turkey for me since I missed Christmas. My mom cleared a space for BF and I to live in her new house even though the entire thing is under construction.
While the thought of looking for work and settling down is sort of depressing I have a lot of positive things to look forward to. An old bestie from high school moved to my town. I guess that will be one of my "rekindled friendships" for my 30B430. My best friend is getting married and I get back in time to experience that with her. My other best friend is going to fly from Alberta to see me when I get back. So much love.
Yeah, going home wont be so bad :0)
Monday, January 31, 2011
Today BF checked and tickets were still online but now $600 cheaper. Gosh dang it! I wish I had purchases cancellation insurance (which was super expensive) because I could have cancelled, rebought and still saved money.
Oh well, I would not have wanted to wait out for a cheaper ticket and missed the big event. *sigh*
Sunday, January 30, 2011
So here is my first update on how I’m progressing with my 30B430 goals. I am pleased to announce I have completed two of my goals and have become one step (or country) closer to completing a third.
18) Have a professional massage done - COMPLETED
On January 4th 2011 I had my first massage. BF and I had a couples Thai massage in a tiny hut right on the beach outside of our bungalow. I have to admit, it was a little painful at times but this girl really knew what she was doing. She targeted my problems spots right away. Afterward I felt like I was in La La Land and spent the rest of the day just reading and BF past out for hours. Later on we felt like we’d had a full work out. Overall it was a great experience but next time maybe I’ll do one without the pressure points and all.
If I return to Thailand I may stay in one spot for awhile and do a full on course of Thai massage. I like how they don’t use a lot of wrist or finger movements which is something I feared when I thought about becoming a masseuse (carpal tunnel anyone?). They use their whole body but a lot of legs, feet and forearm does the trick.
Cost - Well the day before it was $150baht per person per hour which is $5 CAD. The day we did it the price was up to $200. BF tipped them and rounded it out to $500baht. Worth every penny!
19) Take a cooking class - COMPLETED
Yay! I had been waiting for so long to do this in Chiang Mai. I ended up doing it in Cambodia first. The opportunity presented itself and I ran with it. The experience was not so fabulous as BF dropped out sick that day and the Chef was kind of a snotball who was too handsy for my liking.
My second experience in Chiang Mai made it up for it big time. I had an AMAZING time. I can see why that school is rated as the second most popular tourist attraction in the area. The owners were the teachers and they were the friendliest, happiest people. They taught us so much and we did everything ourselves. They even gave us a quick lesson in vegetable carving which was important to me. Free tour of the market was another bonus of the class. I can't say enough about it. Fabulous!
9) Visit 10 different countries - On My Way
I guess I should list all the countries I’ve been to for a start
Canada, USA, Australia, Hutt River, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia
Before I started on this journey I had only ventured inside of North America. I’m glad I made the choice to travel. Since posting my goals while I was in Hong Kong I have added two more countries to the bunch. Thailand and Cambodia. How awesome is that?
Now I just have to manage to squeeze in two more countries before I turn 30. This could be a major challenge but one I’m looking forward to.
Friday, January 28, 2011
I tried to get another Thai massage at the womens prison here (rehabilitation project) but they were full the day we went. I guess business is doing well. :) The money from the massage goes towards the womens future once they are released from prison. There is also a giftshop and cafe run by inmates. Great project.
Today BF and I are headed on a three day motorcycle tour on our own. We want to get away and explore some small hillside villages without big crowds. I'm hoping to visit an elephant dung paper factory before we head out. Apparently its very fiberous and makes great paper. I would also like to have a chance to visit a Karen "Long Neck" tribe while we're off on the bike.
Have I mentioned how much I love Thailand?
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
#19 - Take A Cooking Class
Today BF and I took a cooking class in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Well it started out the two of us but BF feeling sick still from the night before (somebody drank the water) bailed out before we finished the first dish. So I had to cook both our selections which wasn't horrible but was a little overwhelming to split my concentration.
The course was $10USD each. We were surprised with a free t-shirt with the schools logo on it which was nice. We were also given a copy of all the recipes and a colored index card with pictures. We got to pick one item off of a list from each course. One appitizer, one main and one desssert.
I picked fresh spring rolls, Khmer amok and a pumkin dessert. BF chose fried spring rolls, Khmer curry and a banana dessert. There was only one other couple in the group so it was a nice small group of 4 people.
We made the dishes all from scratch though sometimes I felt the head cook was a bit too hands on and would also skip little bits that we should have been shown. She seemed a little impatient. Especially with me. I'm not sure why but she seemed to pretend to either not hear me or would stare at me blankly when I asked questions. The other woman in the group seemed to also pick up on it and would re-ask so I would get an answer. Anyway...
I enjoyed the class overall. The other couple was great. Especially when BF bailed out early and left me to do it all by myself. I got to basically do everything except BF's curry which they did for me even though I had expressed interest in doing it as there was plenty of time.
There were a few long delays with ingredients that was a little annoying. The class ran WAY overtime which was not great because my tuk tuk driver had to wait around a lot which he said didn't matter but I hated to take advantage of him and his time. He's been our constant driver for two days taking us everywhere we want to go. So we do pay him for his time for the entire day but I like to be respectful.
They wanted to show us the traditional way of cooking so there was a lot of chopping for the first part which tuckered BF out. Then they made him pound the ingredients forever with mortar and pestle. Poor guy. He looked so tired and stressed. It took ages and thats even with the chef and her assistant doing a lot of it. Then after they said we could use a processor or blender at home. Um, well I guess its nice to show us that it can be done with a mortar and pestle but it really killed the class having to stand around that long.
Afterwards though we did get to take a quick tour of the market with the cook. I liked the market and took plenty of pictures. I wanted to hear what the chef was pointing out but she was kind of ignoring me so I just caught it second hand from the other woman. We laughed it off together. I went back to the market later and bought two kitchen tools to help me recreate the dishes at home.
I was really satisfied with how my dishes came out. I taste tested everything and thought I did a killer job. They wrapped everything up for me to take with me as I wanted to eat with BF back at the hotel. I ran in to eat with him while my driver socialized outside but BF was not hungry at all. I gave him some gravol and took the food out to my driver. He and his friends were more than happy to devour it all. They gave me raving reviews on everything BUT the curry which was the only thing I didnt actually cook. HA! So I felt pretty good about myself.
I will definitely remake these dishes back home for a dinner party with family or friends. Especially the spring rolls which is something I've always wanted to learn. I have to say though, the fresh ones aren't really my favorite. I prefer fried and will probably stick with those unless I'm cooking a big festive dinner.
I'm glad I did it and I had a lot of fun. It was great experience and I'm looking forward to doing more cooking lessons in Thailand next week while visiting Chiang Mai.
(I will post pictures soon. Waiting for a better internet connection.)
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Do not get me wrong here. I am stoked to go to Mexico (it will add another country to my goal) because I have always wanted to go. I am thrilled to attend her wedding. I am touched they waited until we returned from traveling to get married. I am broke.
Luckily BF had fallen in love with this couple too and would not let me miss their wedding. They are our closest couple friends. We do a lot together and they are very important to us. So BF paid for our tickets which we booked last week. Its an all inclusive 7 day trip to a resort which will cost $2848 for us both. Eek! My whole trip to Thailand/Cambodia for 6 weeks wont cost that much. However, she'll only get married once and I'm in the wedding party.
I am supposed to pay BF back but I think it will be in future trips as we have been invited to two more events this year.
1) Nathaniel is hitting a big milestone in age and is considering a trip to somewhere warm and beautiful to celebrate. He deserves it and I want to share in it with him. His bday isnt until half way through the year so it gives me a little wiggle room to try and get some cash together. I wont eleborate too much in case he wants to do his own post about it on his blog.
2) My best friend E is also hitting a big milestone and wants to celebrate in Vegas over a three day weekend. I have never been to Vegas and want to go badly. She works for an airline and thinks she can land us a sweet deal. She said she probably wont book tickets until May which gives me a tiny window to try and get some money together to go. Its one of my 30b430 goals to go and visit E where she lives in Alberta BUT I think this could count as a visit so it would also complete one of my goals. Ha! How's that for convincing myself!
All of these trips are important to both me and my friends. I love them all. I am blessed to have 3 close, amazing friends. I want to share their important events in their lives. I want to go to these new places. I want to be a good friend. I am broke.
Of course BF would come to all of these so I would think Vegas and Nathaniels destination would make up for his paying for Mexico. I just now need a job, place to live and a rather large travel savings account. Wish me luck!
So what are your thoughts on this readers?
I have never taken a trip with friends before like this. So its kind of overwhelming that it all happens in one year. Of course, the year where I'm suffering the financial aftermath of a years traveling. I think I should TRY to do each one.
Nathaniel if you read this do not try to tell me I dont have to go with you. Your idea for travel is just as important to me as the other two. Do not lessen your special day. I love you very much and am looking forward to spending your big day with you. xoxo
Monday, January 17, 2011
I realize looking at comments that some people are new to reading my blog and wonder why I'm traveling and what started it all. So I decided to give a little background on that.
I've always loved to break away. I live on Vancouver Island in British Columbia Canada. I love it but sometimes it seems to confining for a twenty something. As soon as I graduated I tried living in a lot of different places. I have lived in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton (x2), Salt Spring and Penticton in a rather short period of time. Eventually I came back and settled on the Island again. Its like an addiction only islanders understand.
While I was in Penticton I picked cherries for awhile and that is where I met BF taking the summer off from University in Quebec. He returned home for his last semester and then moved to the West Coast to be with me.
We decided right away we wanted to travel together. He wanted a break after all of his schooling and I just wanted to run. I was in debt and he had to spend some time in his career before taking a leap like that. So we waited. I paid off $18,000 in debt and he built up his resume. We did this over about a 2 year time period. Then I started saving and he kept working in his field. After one year like this we were ready. We both quit our jobs, gave wild goodbye parties and kissed our moms farewell on the cheeks.
It was hard leaving but sometimes in life you have to do what is uncomfortable to experience something wonderful.
We decided to spend a year working and traveling in Australia with a 2 month trip to Thailand tagged on the end for some rest and relaxation before heading home. BF really wanted Oz and I have always wanted to go to Thailand.
Here we are 11.5 months later and have done a lot more than we thought we would. We traveled and worked in Australia for 10 months (will have many future blog posts about this), we spent two weeks on South Island New Zealand, spent one week in Hong Kong, and now we are enjoying the last leg of the trip which includes Thailand and Cambodia.
It hasn't all been fun, its also been challenging but very rewarding. Soon we'll return back to the Island to see where life will take us next. We have no place to live, no jobs, no security. Of course I am a big planner and this stuff drives me a little crazy but it is what it is. My mom has offered us to stay with her while we get on our feet. Our things are in storage and we have a PO Box for mail. We have good job references and hope to find work as quick as possible.
Its not really where I planned to be at this stage in life but I wouldn't change this last year for anything. Sometimes my PF side wants to creep up and shame me but I have to tame the beast inside and remind myself that life is not all about the size of my bank account.
So thats a brief insight into whats been happening with me. As I wrote before I plan to have many future posts describing the last year of my life with more detail and of course pictures. I hope this clears up some questions for my new readers.
At the guesthouse I stayed at in Krabi Thailand there was a really good CD that would play from time to time in the lobby area downstairs while I was skyping with my family. I asked the owner the name of the artist to which he responded "Job 2 Do". I set out to find the CD at a store down the street. I do like this song and it is very popular but I REALLY like the song "One World" which I haven't located online yet to share but did manage to get on CD along with this song. Enjoy some Thai music!
My internet is weak so I hope I picked a good link for you. Fingers crossed!
Friday, January 14, 2011
I have just left Phi Phi Don and have arrived safely in Phuket. Tomorrow night I fly to Bangkok where I will check into the hotel we stayed in last time which thankfully has wifi. Internet in Thailand is so sketchy. Can't wait to post more soon.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Before I stopped blogging for awhile I used to sometimes do a regular post called Musical Mondays. Its Monday in Thailand and I wanted to share this song with you. I first heard about a year ago in Batlow, Australia when I was up at the local pub watching a pool tournament after a long day of picking apples. It stuck with me from that first moment. I remembered a few lyrics - your hearts a mess - and luckily it was enough to find it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
I prefer the quality of this link but it wouldn't upload to blogger for me.