Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Make it or Bake it Holidays

This year my family has settled on a "make it or bake it" Christmas. Pretty self explanatory. It was a combination of being jaded by endless hours of shopping and limited holiday budgets. Usually I love gift giving. I'm the person who wants to give you the perfect gift, wrapped up super pretty with a heartfelt card presented on top. Birthdays, baby showers, wedding, whatever the occasion I do my best. When it comes to Christmas though... its lost its appeal for me.

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

Pepe - Our New Baby

Things That Are New

So my last post was for Thanksgiving? Ouch.. well my computer is pretty much crapped out and was out of comission for a while due to a virus. Now the fan is dead so its slowly dying and I'm trying to save for a new one. How addicted I am to internet. There is another reason why I need access to the internet now though.
BF is across Canada from me for 6-7 months. I'm three weeks in and I have to tell you that long distance sucks. Especially when we've been together so many years spending every waking minute together. He is there for work. I plan to visit in the Spring and then in the Summer we will to figure things out.
To keep my baby Chipotle from being sad and depressed at the departure of his stay at home dad we expanded our family to include a second furbaby we've called Pepper on paper but Pepe is our sweetheart name. He adds so much and really rounds out our family. Chippy could not be happier and I am very much in love with them both.
Pictures to soon come. :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend

Yay! Happy Turkey Lurkey Weekend Everyone!!!!

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?

  1. Working the stat day and making double time and a half. Heck yeah!

  2. Having two amazing men in my life - BF and Chipotle

  3. A family that I love

  4. Having a job, place to live, food in my cupboards and all my needs taken care of

  5. 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

A Wild PF Blogger Shopping Spree

Yesterday when I was leaving work I felt very restless. I didnt want to rush home but the weather was crappy so I wasnt sure what to do or where to go. I wanted to blow cash. Weird, huh? It was very self destructive behavior. So what happens when a PF blogger goes bad?

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

Feeling Stressed

Lately there has been a lot of unhappy stuff happening in my personal life and today I had a little breakdown. At work. Ugh. It was a day where we were a bit overstaffed though so I was able to go home early.

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

A Stupid Tax on Dolly

Yesterday was my youngest brothers birthday. Since he lives across Canada from me I decided to send a gift card with my card to him so he could buy what he wanted and it would less expensive to ship over. I took care of this last week hoping he would get it in time (he did not).

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

October Goals

It's been a long time since I've set some monthly goals for myself so I'm going to start off a little easier so I dont scare myself off.

  1. 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.

  2. Have Chipotle neutered, tatooed and finish up his shots (need to save $300 more for this)

  3. Do something fun on my birthday :)

  4. Save $250 for BF's bday weekend surprise

  5. Save $400 in RSP or TFSA

  6. Set up a work space at home for crafting/blogging

Friday, September 30, 2011

September In Review

September is the first month since I've been back from traveling that I've started to make progress on my goals. It feels good to be back on track. I have nothing to compare to from August so these will be my starting numbers. I did start my RSP and TFSA. Go me! Lets check out those numbers:

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

Chipotle Gets Poked

Today was Chipotle's first visit to the vet and our first bigger expense for him. He had an initial check up first where we got to ask a lot of questions and get some great advice. Then it was time for him to get his first shot and a deworming pill even though we havent seen any sign of a problem.

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

BF's Bday Weekend

Every year I plan something special for BF's bday. Its always different and its always a surprise. Our birthdays are two weeks apart exactly so he will be celebrating at the beginning of November. Right now I work every second weekend so if I want to do something special where we go away I will need to do it Halloween weekend. Luckily that will be a long weekend for me because I booked Halloween of weeks ago (its my favorite holiday).

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

A Lesson Relearned

Oh CIBC. I do not love you. You make it very hard even after all the years we've been together. I give and you take. I find you dishonest and I'm over it.

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

Another $50 in the TFSA

A very important rule in both paying off debt and saving is that every little bit helps. That and pay yourself first. That brings me up to $150 which is 15% of my current 30b430 goal.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Mothers Greatest Fear

Just a week before I was scheduled to pick up Chipotle I was struck with fear deep in my heart. Bringing a kitten into my life would be a huge commitment. I knew that I would never give him away or ignore him as he would be my furbaby forever. It was a lot to imagine after travelling with only a backpack for a full year.

There was something else though. Long term readers may remember my sweet little rat baby named Cherri. She was the apple of my eye. Sadly she was very sickly. Price was no object though and between paying debts and savings I paid for all her treatments and medications. Her life was cut short by illness and after only 1.5 years she passed away leaving me heart broken and grieving for a long long time. How could I go through that again?

Some people believe that it is better to have loved and lost then to never have loved at all. When I looked back on all the moments we shared together my heart fills with happiness. I still miss her and I dont regret everything I went through with her. It was worth it.

On Wednesday after a hard day at work Chipotle went missing for 4 hours. He never strays from the yard and always comes when called just like a little puppy would. We combed the neighbourhood and wooded area calling his name and shaking his bag of treats. I quickly put up posters at the surrounding apartments and bus stops. I posted on Facebook and all local city sites that he was missing with photo. I was frantic and desperate.

At 10pm we heard a crying mew from the back door which was left ajar in hopes he would make his way home. BF ran to the door and scooped him up to deliver him into my arms where I bawled like a little baby.

Where he disappeared to I will never know. I have my suspicions but this is a secret Chipotle will always hold. The experience was soul shaking. For right now we have decided to keep him inside unless closely supervised until he has all his shots, tattoo and is neutered.

Of all the financial investments I will make he brings the greatest return.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why I Love September

Oh September. You are not usually my favorite month but this year you've managed to bring two very special occasions to my life.

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


Well I opened a TFSA tonight with ING. It was pretty easy to get started. That's what I love about ING. One of my 30B43o goals is to have $1000 saved in that account. With 13 months to go I have full confidence I'll be able to meet my goal. I've started out with a $100 and it feels really good to be saving again. The interest rate is currently at 1.5% though. :( Still, its better than nothing.
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

So Far So Good

So I got my ING pin code in the mail and used the card yesterday to pay for groceries. It went thru without any problems. Yay. I'm wondering when I will recieve my free cheques though.

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

I'm Thriving

While I was away for one year of travels I tried to still check up on my fav blogs when I could. When I found out ING was offering chequing accounts I was all like HOT DAMN. So excited. I felt reserved though about it. I know I L-O-V-E my savings with them but I wanted to hold back before switching completely over. Since then I've been laying back waiting to hear some positive feedback from other bloggers or have some extra incentive to switch.
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

No Apologies

Ahh I always have these good intentions when it comes to blogging but I'm not doing a good job of keeping up with it. I'm not going to make excuses this time. I'm just going to dive back in.

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

I'm Still Here

Although I haven't been blogging I've still been around. Commenting randomly and keeping up to date on the happenings of all of you. I plan to return soon. Somehow my grip on control of finances and goals slips away when I'm not blogging. I'm just going through some things and going through an adjustment period. I miss your comments and encouragement though.

Love Dolly

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

I'm a Crap Blogger Lately

So lately I haven't been posting a lot. I think its mostly because I've working quite a bit and I'm still finding it quite exhausting. When I get home I just want to have dinner, relax and go to bed. I need to find a routine for blogging. Its not that I dont feel inspired or that I dont enjoy blogging its that I find it hard to write anything when I'm feeling so burnt out.
Returning after a year of traveling takes a lot more adjusting than I thought.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Wow, One Full Week With No Posts

How did that happen? Ooops. I've still been lurking around reading your awesome blogs but have neglected my own. This week has been a good one. Let me think back.

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

The $5 Manicure

First of all please ignore how stumpy/wrinkled/strange my hand looks in these photos.

Ok, now that we have that out the way I can share my happy experience. If you've been reading along you'll remember that just over a week ago I had a spa sleepover with sister and niece where we had a lot of fun doing our nails. While my niece opted to have her nails painted repeatedly with yellow sparkles until they were shining like a disco ball (so cute) I went with the traditional manicure look.

I already had some clear polish at home which I had brought with me to the sleepover. During our last minute munchie run I managed to find some white polish labeled as " French White Nail Tip Liner" by Rimmel. I paid about $5 for it.

I really like the polish itself but the teeny tiny brush is a little tricky to use. I hope I'll get better at it over time. I used to do my nails all the time when I was a teenager and so I was pretty confident I could pull it off. It was pretty easy for me to paint my left hand but painting my right was a little more tricky lol. Overall I did a more than passable job IMO so I was happy with the results.

My nails grow naturally so as long as I can paint them myself I don't really need to pay for a manicure. Actually I've never paid for a manicure or pedicure. The paint job lasted about a week which is not bad. I removed the polish last night and plan to trim my nails a bit before reapplying the polish. I'm not usually a girly girl but I really liked the effect of the white tips. I even got some compliments on them which always feels super good.

I have been considering doing a course through a nail technician who would teach me how to do gel manicure and also pedicures. Its something that could bring in some extra $ but also ties into a business plan I have for the future. Its just something I'm thinking of though.

So what do you think of my $5 manicure?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

30 B4 30 Goals Update # 2

I have not been very good at posting my updates on the 30th of each month. Eek. I'm on top of it this month though! I'm very happy to share with you my progress made over the last two months since my last update. I added one more country to my list. I got to spend one full week in Mexico to participate in one of my besties wedding. It was very different from the traveling I've been used to. It was pretty awesome though. You have to love an all inclusive week with a group of amazing people. I will definitely want to go back for a more cultural experience in the future though :)

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.

Whats Cooking Wednesday - The Simple Things

Some times the simple things are the best. BF and I have always loved trying new recipes and foods. After traveling for a year and taking cooking classes overseas we are even more excited about food. I find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen cooking and actually enjoying it a lot more than before. Still, some times the best thing are the ones that are simple.

For example, I bought some strawberries on sale the other day after work. I had planned to just eat them as is but BF suggested he make a fruit smoothie instead. It was delicious and reminded me of Thailand where we would have fruit smoothies all the time. It was just strawberries and ice with a tinsy bit of sugar mixed in our blender. The results made my tastebuds sing with pleasure.

A few weeks back BF and I had purchased some amazing brie from a local cheese place on the island. Whenever we go through that area we always stop in. BF had some other cheese that he had bought on sale at the grocery store (Oka). Add in some Tuscany ham shavings, some green grapes and a fresh loaf of bread. Heaven! I could eat this way forever.

Yum! What is your favorite simple thing to fix and eat?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Musical Mondays - AWOLNATION - "Sail" Red Bull Records

I am pretty much addicted to this song right now. For a week I love to have it on repeat in the background of whatever I've been doing on the computer. I have been investigating AWOLNations other stuff and I'm basically loving it. So now I share with you pretty people.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Please Tax Me More

When I filled out my forms to start back at work I had asked for an additional $15 to be taken off per cheque. When I got my last payout I noticed the taxes didn't look high enough. I knew something was wrong because the number already seemed low, then if I considered the additional 15 to be taken off it was definitely not right.
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

Weekend Wrap Up

Well I guess I had sort of a long weekend since I had Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. Saturday my niece came over and hung out in the afternoon and had dinner with us. BF dropped us off that night to meet up with sister and have a slumber party at her spa. We had such a great time. After all the boys cleared out we ran across the street to pick up some nail polish and treats before the stores all closed. Then I took the girls to my favorite secret spot for a deep fried Mars bar. Mmmm so good and so bad at the same time.
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

Ditch Pigs All Around Me

Last night as I was getting off work I called my mom to see if she had seen BF cuz our phone is not hooked up yet and he was late picking me up. She told me she wasn't feeling very good but that we would still do Festivus as the turkey would have already been thawed by my sister. So we planned out what I was to bring and that was that.
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


I am so relieved its Friday and its payday. Thankfully I'm heading into three days off after todays shift. I'm meeting BF after work for some delicious butter chicken from the food court beside my work (its freaking amazing). Then we are picking up a few things for Festivus on Saturday.
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

Baggin It

I've been making a huge effort to always prepare a lunch at least a day ahead for work. Whether its leftovers or something I make just for lunch I find that if its done the day before thats what works best for me. Not only am I saving money but I'm also eating better. I also find I'm enjoying my breaks more. I dont have to wait in line at the food court and hope my food doesnt take too long as I only have a 30 min break. I get to spend more time relaxing in the staff room and feel more energized when I go back to the grind of the pharmacy. I really want to keep this up.
Whats your favorite brown bag lunch?

Happy St Patricks Day

I love this holiday. While I'm not Irish I do enjoy the "kiss me I'm Irish" t'shirts. The lucky four leaf clovers everywhere. The floppy green hats (of which I have many). I don't enjoy the green beer but I'm sure somebody does.
Whats your favorite part of this festive holiday?
P.S Anyone not wearing a spot of green today better watch out cuz I'm on pinch patrol :0)

BC Minimum Wage Increase After A Decade

While I'm not happy with all the smaller details of this announcement, I am happy that this is a first step to raise the minimum wage for hard working residents of BC. All I can really say is its pathetically long overdue. I think that this should have been addressed ages ago. While I am happy to see the disgusting "training wage" abolished I do not agree with paying servers less. I feel it pushes the public to feel like we have to tip in order to supplement wages. Its crap.
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

Festivus For The Rest Of Us

On Saturday my family is having a Festivus celebration. We're going to hang out all afternoon and have a big turkey lurkey dinner. We are going to celebrate all the holidays I missed while I was away. So sweet, I know.

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

The Cost Of Fuzz Love =^..^=

BF and I want a kitty so badly. Well I know he has a dream of having a dog but the one he wants is not really appropriate for our lifestyle or living situation for now. I think that will have to wait until we have a home of our own.

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
  • litter
  • pooper scooper
  • food (wet, dry and treats)
  • toys
  • brush
  • collar
  • food/water dish
  • cat carrier

What else would I need? Also, any products/foods you would recommend? Any advice would be appreciated and helpful =^..^=

Made With Love - A Swap

I've decided to take part in a swap. Everyone will send one item handmade with TLC (tender loving care) to another person participating in the swap. It is being hosted by Moralia who is quite the talented card maker and sewing queen. I adore her creations that she posts on her blog.
So now I just have to decide what I'm going to make for my chosen person. I am having a tough time with this. I guess I'll just have to set up my creativity corner and see what comes to me. I might make a pair of earrings or a bracelet. I might make a really cool set of magnets. Not really sure. I'm hoping this project will get me back into the swing of things again because I need to get motivated so I can set up an Etsy shop and make some extra cash. I used to sell jewellry at farmers markets but lack courage so this will be a good introduction to getting my stuff out there again.
Now I'm getting off topic. Anyhoo the more people the better and you dont have to be a pro. Moralia has a whole list of ideas if you're stuck for what you would do. So join in and have some fun. :0)

Living Pay to Pay

I forgot what its like to be broke.
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

Spring Forward/Fall Back

Hey Everyone!

Dont forget to set your clocks ahead one hour tonight. Daylight savings time. Don't forget the age old rhyme. Spring Forward/Fall Back.

Hope you are all having an amazing weekend. I'm working. :(

Friday, March 11, 2011

Taxes x 3

This year I get to file taxes three times over. Joy! How did I get into this predicament? I blame a year of glorious traveling :)

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

The Beatles - Taxman

Inspector Gadget

Hmmm, I guess I've been out of the savings game for a while because interest rates seem soooo low. Is it just me? Boourns. Oh well, I am still excited to start setting up new savings goals and pushing to meet my numbers.

I've been trying to figure out with bank to set up my TFSA and start my RSP investments with and I'm thinking for now its going to be good old ING. I seriously love that bank. I figure the first step is to just get started and they seem to offer the best rates so far. Also I have never had any hassles with them and find them super helpful whenever I've had to call in.

I was pretty excited when I heard about the THRIVE chequing accounts a few months back but I'm not sure if I'm ready to switch over. I currently pay I believe $8/mo for my chequing account with CIBC. I could be saving some major dough if I paid say.. no fees and earned interest on top of that.

So I'm curious. Are any of you set up with an ING chequing account? If not, are you considering?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Looking Ahead

When I returned home from my year of traveling I was lucky to have a good friend to stay with for a few days in Vancouver before heading home to the Island. When I walked in the door I was immediately presented with a gift. Knowing my passion for all things 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!
The gift was totally unexpected. Also, its not only thoughtful to give me something I enjoy, it will also hopefully make an impact on my future through some sound retirement advice.
It comes at a great time too because now that I'm debt free and realized an important life goal of traveling before settling down I'm ready to take the big step of saving for retirement.
I've known since I was a teenager that saving for retirement early was key. I preached it to my friends. So what happened? I wasted the opportunity. Thats what.
Well thats all about to change. In April I will have three paydays and my finances will start getting back on track. Its time to start investing in my future.

Survivor Pool

I am a huge fan of Survivor. I love it and I hope they keep it going forever. My first week back at work a coworker asked me if I wanted to join the pool for $5. She knows I'm a big fan and it adds a little fun to it. Of course I signed myself up. Spots went quickly too.

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


So I've really been trying lately to focus on all the positive aspects of my life. So in point form here are a few scores I've had in the last week or so:

* 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


I'm back from Mexico. I got back late on Tuesday night, spent the night at a friends and drove into town in the morning. From there I got the keys to our new place and we moved all our stuff in. Yay! Sadly, I had to work yesterday and today so I am still at my moms until tomorrow when I can get into the new place and do a hardcore cleaning before unpacking. I have some pictures to share once I get some time. I have Shaw coming Monday evening to hook up internet at my new place on Monday evening so I'll be back on track with blogging then.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Mexico Here We Come

Hey Everybody! I'm headed now to spend the night at my besties house before we have to fly out early in the morning for our trip to Mexico. I'm very excited. BF and I are packing our bags now and trying to make sure we have everything ready to go and set up for when we get back.

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

Shop Shop Shop on a budget

Yesterday Mom and I went out shopping for the wedding. I bought a $12 necklace, three pairs of cheap hoop earrings for $3.50 and two pairs of cheap flip flops for $1 each (incase one breaks). So I'm all set for bridesmaid dress accessories.

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

Spillin The Beans

Well I have a lot of updates for you guys. In my last post I was feeling pretty down. I arrived home to a construction site which is never fun to live in. I found out I owed money to a few places I wasn't aware of. All of it pretty sucky because I have almost no $ and a lot to take care of. I had also had a bit of a letdown workwise. I had posted the previous Tuesday on Facebook that I was looking for a job and a place to live. Then a coworker from my old pharmacy job responded right away asking me if I could come in that day to see our boss as he wanted to see me asap and she was using his phone to msg me on FB. Sweetness. I hauled ass down there to find out he wanted me back but wouldn't likely be able to take me back for a couple months. BOOURNS! So I applied for a Census job to try to fill the gap. I decided to keep my focus on finding a place.

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

Here I Am

Well today will be one week since I arrive back in my home town. How are things going? Ugh. Yeah, thats about it. I will go into this more later but for right now I want to focus on getting out of my funkmasteryech and back into happygoluckyland.

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

One Journey Ends, Another Begins

Our last evening in Thailand. Our last day away from home. *sigh*

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

Boo Last Minute Deals

Two weeks ago BF and I purchased our all inclusive ticket deals for Mexico. We thought we'd better get our asses in gear and book before we lost out big on our chance to go to our best friends wedding. We paid $2848 for 7 days. Ouch!
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

30 B4 30 Goals Update # 1

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

A Wonderful Week in Chiang Mai

Well the week is not over but I'm having such a great time. The highlights have been attending a tradition Khantoke dinner, riding an elephant bareback, and taking a wonderfully fun and educational Thai cooking class. Oh, I almost forgot to mention two nights of glorious bartering at the night market where I finally finished buying gifts for my family who want to have a mini post Christmas when I get back.
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?

51 weeks later

So today is the end of my 51st week traveling away from home. That means in 7 days I will be back on the Island. Part of me is excited to see my family and friends after such a long period of time away. Another part is sad to leave behind such an exciting journey. The other part is dreading the thought of being back to reality. That includes job and house searching. *sigh

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cambodian Cooking Class Pics R Up

Below are the pictures of all my finished dishes from my Cambodian cooking class last week. I wish I could have uploaded more but as it is it took forever, even uploading only two pics at a time. Internet has been pretty dodgy here in Thailand so I'm doing my best to honor my promises. I would like to also post pics of the market I visited that day soon if I get a chance. Enjoy!
Pumpkin and Coconut Milk Dessert

Fried Spring Rolls
Curry Dish
Fresh Spring Rolls

Mixing spices base for Amok and curry

We're finishing up the chopping. Almost ready to cook with the woks

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Goal #19 Bites The Dust

I'm on a roll! Thats two for this month. 3 if you include adding two more countries to my 10 countries visited goal. Wow! Wish they were all this easy and fun.

#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

My Friends Want Me To Travel In 2011

So before I left for this big year long trip one of my best friends was proposed to. Yay! Its something I am very happy about becuz I adore her fiance and he just fits with our little family unit. They warned us that it would probably be a destination wedding but it wouldnt be for a year or two. Great. Fast forward and the wedding is in Mexico in Febuary.

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.

*Special Note

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

Catching Up and Some Background Info

Sometimes right now I'm wondering if I made my comeback to blogging a little too early because I'm always so all over the place (literally) and never have time to come up with quality posts. Then I remember how much I've miss you all and hope that you'll bear with me. I only have two more weeks of travel then I'm home.

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.

MUSICAL MONDAYS job 2 do - doo doo doo

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!


Just arrived in Cambodia for a 5 day stay. We have wifi in our room so I hope to catch up on my posts tomorrow. :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Checking In

Hey everyone!

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

Musical Mondays 'Hearts a Mess' By Gotye

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.