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

Friday/Payday

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.
*sigh*
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

WINNING

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

Hola!!

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.

:0)