Libby: My BFF

Actually, Libby is only my BFF somedays. Other days it’s not so pleasant. Do you know Libby?

Libby is here for me during early mornings when I’m sipping my coffee. Libby is here when I get 5 minutes to sit down and relax and Libby hops in bed with me most nights when Hubby is away.

Calm down, calm down. Libby is just an app. Libby is the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Library e-reader app. Almost a year ago I was complaining about the price of audiobooks and someone kindly pointed me in the direction of NLPL— where everything is free. I. Love. Free. I have all the titles of books I’m looking for and a huge audiobook selection at the tip of my fingers— for free!

This month Libby is featuring #NLREADS nominations. I’m on hold for most of these

So let’s get to the days when Libby and I aren’t getting along. Almost *every* book title I’ve searched for is “on hold”- some up to 6 months. It is a library afterall. There are only so many copies of books to borrow and once they’re all used up, you sit back and enjoy the waitlist. Sometimes the waitlist moves super fast and you get a sweet little notification but other times it drags on and on for months. A little patience is needed with Libby.

Keeping in mind that this is a library, you only get to checkout your book for so many days. Once you get down to the last 2-3 days of your borrowing time, you can extend that for another round if you need to. You can’t renew it until it’s almost due, so you have to watch closely. Watching closely isn’t a strong area of mine; there has been many books returned without me knowing. But for you more organized people with functioning brains, this shouldn’t be a major concern.

Oh but Vanessa, I don’t read book. *insert eye roll* It’s ok my friend, with your NLPL card you can also get full access to pretty well every magazine subscription under the sun. FOR FREE! PressReader is the app for you if you’re into magazines- and I’m serious about almost every magazine title is on there. Plus newspapers (people still read those, right?). Right now my PressReader is full of sewing magazines. I have them set to auto download. Each month when a new magazine comes out from the titles I’ve chosen, it automatically downloads to my app for my wild Friday nights of magazine reading.

No weekend plans yet? Don’t worry, Vanessa to the rescue

Check it out! All you need is a NLPL card from your local branch (myself and both girls have ours) and you’re ready to go. If you’re not in NL, I’m sure your public library system has the same setup, just check it out.

Fall Capsule Wardrobe

The ground is covered in frost this morning. Temps went to 0 last night. It’s my favourite time of year. The leaves are slowly turning and now my wardrobe needs to turn from Summer to Fall.

If you remember back to Spring, my lifelong friend, Melissa, shared her capsule wardrobe with us. If you aren’t familiar with a capsule wardrobe, it’s basically where you take a determined number of articles of clothing and you create as many looks with only those pieces. It cuts down on clutter, chaos and ultimately saves on the budget. Rather than drawers and drawers of clothing, you only have 20ish pieces, and it forces you to really get creative.

I know this concept scares some of you. When we first started talking about this last Spring, some of you thought we were crazy. Some of you admitted to having multiple closets FULL of clothing. But some of you loved the idea.

Let’s get started here. Melissa designed this capsule wardrobe for the Mom on the go. However, I feel like this is the perfect casual Fall wardrobe for almost anyone. These pieces are timeless and can work for so many body types and skin tones.

Here’s what Melissa had to say:

Fall and shopping, two of my absolute favourite things!! Sweaters, scarves, and boots – doesn’t get any better than that. From my recent shopping trips and online browsing sessions I’ve noticed that plaid, mustard yellow, knots, cold shoulder tops and distressed denim are the big hits of the season. I’m not usually one to keep with the trends, I like what I like and that’s it. Luckily for me, I happen to quite like these trends and I’ve added them to my fall wardrobe. Using these trendy articles along with some I already own, I’ve created a capsule wardrobe for the mom on the go. Just because you’re a momma doesn’t mean you can’t look fabulous while running around with the kiddos! Here are a few ways I found to make the most of these trends with items that can be worn for years to come!

•••••••••

These pieces have inspired me (yet again!) to dig out my Fall/Winter box and start organizing my wardrobe.

How is your Fall wardrobe looking? If you’re into fashion, I’d love to feature you!

Unfu*k Yourself

I feel like every book I’ve read in the past 6 month has a swear in the title. I’m really starting to see a trend…

Whatever is in the title, Unfu*ck Yourself did not disappoint. I picked this book up in the airport on my way to Mexico and I couldn’t put it down. I read it in just a few days. It’s such a easy, but powerful read.

Personal development is something I work on almost daily. Nothing gets me more motivated than a book that kicks you in the butt for letting your life slack off from what you want. This book details the one thing that’s holding back your life: YOU! It doesn’t make any excuses like we try to come up with, it basically boils down to you and what you want.

Life won’t stop for your pauses and procrastinations. It won’t stop for your confusion or fear. It will continue right along without you.

Isn’t that the truth?! This is a perfect read for any of you that feel like maybe your life is on pause. Don’t mind the f-word in the title, even if you don’t have a potty mouth, it’s worth it!

p.s. If you’re local, you’re more than welcome to borrow my copy. Everyone needs to unfu*k themselves!

Back to school blues…

The only thing blue we had here in this house was Lexi’s jacket. There were no tears or sadness to be found around here.

Ready to rock-and-roll to school with Mom!

 

I often hear “I’m so sad that my baby is starting school.” I guess I get that, but that’s just not how we roll around here. Yes, I’m a little sad she’s growing up, but it’s inevitable. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an adult, it’s a privilege and honour to have her be healthy enough to get to grow up and experience all that life has to offer.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a teacher myself but the excitement around school and all that school has to offer is huge in our home. I personally grew up loving school (both for the educational part and definitely for the social part). Chris didn’t. And for any of you reading this that knows him personally, you probably laughed at that. His view of school is not even close to mine. Lexi gets to make her own opinion of school and we keep Chris’ view out of it *snicker*. To her right now, school is the most magical place. All she’s ever heard of from me is the fun stuff I do “at work.” She knows about the dress up days, the art projects, the p.j. days, the games and activities Mommy makes, etc. So to her right now, that’s what school is. It’s magical. You get to go for 5 hours and play, play, play. There were no tears about 5 hours of play!

She loves her teachers! They are combined with Grade 1 for certain courses as there are only 4 students in Kindergarten this year **eeekk**

All in all, it was a super start! She thinks it’s really cool to drive to school with Mom. We’re also in a pretty rural area, so she knows almost all the K-6 teachers outside of school anyways. Ah, the luxury of small town life! Right now the plan is that she will stay most afternoons with me while I do my planning. It makes for a long day but she has library some days after school and we may see about her coming home on the bus for one day a week. Right now it’s all so new that we haven’t really worked out the details, just going with the flow.

After school planning. It’s a long day from 8-5, but she’ll get used to it. Maybe.

Do I expect her to go every day and l-o-v-e everything? C’mon, I’ve been around long enough to know the difference. But as long as she’s going every day with a smile, some respect and kindness, I’ll be happy. We’re going to try her on the bus tomorrow, she may not love school after this! Ha!

Relaxed, Refreshed, Recharged…

Absolutely kidding. If any of you are relaxed, refreshed and recharged after a “vacation” than you’re doing it wrong. However, we had a beautiful BAYCATION last week.

Sipping coffee next to the ocean never gets old. It did make me wonder if I lived next to the sea, would I appreciate it as much?

Chris took an extra shift at work which meant he would be gone for 6 weeks. 6 weeks of summer is basically all we get here in NL so if we wanted to see him, we had to take it upon ourselves to make it work. We rented a house on St. Brendan’s and spent the week taking in the sights of Eastport Peninsula.

We spent most of our days just sitting on the beach, searching for seaglass and at every playground in the area. It was a pretty simple week but one that we’re hoping to do again next year if Chris is in the same location.

Eastport Beach— the girls hated it here. Too sandy, too much seaweed, water too cold. Took us over a hour to get here and we spent 12 minutes on the beach. See, my life isn’t all sunshine and butterflies!

My week was totally “unplugged”. No Facebook, Instagram or web browsing. There were a few times I missed it, but a break was well needed. It only lasted for the week though because when I returned I had about 4000 emails/iMessages/Facebook messages to sift through. It’s so nice to step away from Social Media and it happens a couple times a year for me and I honestly appreciate it every time.

One thing I decided on my BAYCATION though is that I want to get my blog running again. I have so many things I want to write about that I want to stop putting it on the back burner and actually do it! I love blogging.

This sums up our Baycation for me- a good book, my new journal, my camera and the beach. This is the s*it that dreams are made of, folks! P.S. The girls loved this beach on the island. We spent time here every day. 

I’m putting this out there so you can all hold me accountable— I promise to blog *at least* once a week! It’s my promise to myself to do something I love and is just for me.

Now I’m off to unpack, finish laundry, and get our lives back in order for the upcoming week. **insert laughter here** for anyone who truly knows me.

 

Make Money with Ebates

Please please tell me that you use EBATES for all your online shopping! If you aren’t, you’re missing out on getting a few dollars back for every few dollars you spend. What the heck!? I know, I know. It’s genius. I’m a genius.

Are you curious about how it works? 1) Sign up at EBATES (yes, it’s free) 2) Shop at your favourite stores 3) Earn cash back on your purchases

Right now I have $77.46 sitting in my account. They only pay out a few times a year, but on August 16th they will transfer at least $77.46 to my PayPal account. I’m sure it will be more than that by then, so that’s the minimum it will be. Don’t fret if you don’t have PayPal, they still do snail mail cheques too. And who the heck does’t like getting a cheque for shopping. This is a beautiful world, friends.

Different stores have a different percentage of cash back. These are some of my 2x cash back offers at the time of writing this post. These offers change but you can easily access them just by logging into your EBATES account.

Take Amazon for example. I shop on there ALL.THE.TIME. Basically if Amazon doesn’t have it, it doesn’t exist. So let’s say I spend $100 on Amazon tonight, EBATES will give me back $5. Five bucks back for something I was going to buy anyways.

As if that’s not freaking amazing enough and I know you have butterflies in your stomach from just hearing this information (ok, maybe it’s just indigestion, but we’ll say it’s from my exciting post), I just discovered they have a gift card shop. It looks as though EBATES must have partnered up with Card Swap at some point, except now you get cash back for buying a gift card!

 


Say you needed some back to school clothes for the kids (it’s going to happen!), but yourself a $100 gift card. You’ll make 3% back on the card and then when you spend the card and actually order something, you’ll get another 2% back. Often Old Navy has 4-5% back depending on their offers. *insert happy dance*

Why wait? Click here to sign up today:

EBATES Sign up!

Happy shopping!

Bayside Cafe: The New Spot in Town


I am most definitely a small town girl. Always have been, always will be. I’m fine with the lack of hustle and bustle that  comes with living in a larger place, but one thing I do wish for is somewhere cute to hangout and sip coffee. When I heard there was a coffee shop opening just minutes from us, well, my excitement skyrocketed. I’ve been waiting patiently for months now, and yesterday was finally the big day.

 

We loaded the fam jam in the car and decided to start our Saturday at Bayside Cafe. And it did not disappoint.

The instant we walked in, the sleek, clean and rustic vibe filled the air. From the cute menu sign and the most adorable display of handmade items, everything about the cafe was just what our area was missing.

Mother’s Day Window Shopping

II hope you’re all sitting back today with your feet up and sipping on a nice glass of wine. Or water. Or whatever you’re in to. If you are, this is the perfect chance to get some shopping done.

Since it’s Mother’s Day, you’re allowed to justify all purchases today. Here are a few sites I stumbled on today in my shopping adventures  (aka Quinn’s nap time).

Hunters Canada

I love my Hunters. I have 2 pair and they’re perfect for all seasons (FYI: I find them super slippery in the Winter). Here’s the thing with buying Hunters- never pay full price! If you keep scouring the website from time to time you can get them for at least 40% off. Sometimes they’re even cheaper than the knockoff version.

 

La Senza

La Senza has a real nice sale section this weekend! From pjs to undies, the prices are great. Most underwear are $3 with almost all sizes available. These pjs, while not the best summer wear perhaps, are great for next winter or for (dare I say it), Christmas gifts. They’re just $10.99-$12.99 and all sizes seem to be in stock.

La Vie en Rose

With Summer right around the corner, a new bathing suit is in order. La Vie en Rose has their mid season sale on right now and there is a massive swimsuit section. Most are 30-40% off which makes it affordable. If you’re like me you probably only wear it once or twice a summer, so I can justify the price if I get a stellar deal on it. Oh, and it’s FREE SHIPPING this weekend too!

 

Chapters

I flick to the Chapters website a couple times a week to check out the deals section. I’m never disappointed. This MOM FUEL wine glass has my name written all over it. It’s only $9 which fits right into my budget.

Sephora

I’m in the market for a couple nice summer lippies. I’m super picky with lipsticks as I find they never stay on or they’re flakey or just look awful. I’ve never found one I absolutely love so I’m always trying new ones. These Sephora brand lippies are on sale for just $9.00 (regular $16) and have 4 stars. For that price I’m willing to try a couple of them. Any readers out there try this particular one before?

These are just a few sales I came across in my Mother’s Day “window” browsing. Did you find any good deals? Let me know, I sure love a good one!

Remembering someone I don’t know…

It’s hard to remember someone you don’t know. It doesn’t even make sense. I woke up this morning with this person on my mind.

While I was pregnant with Quinn our landlord’s mother knit us two infant hats. A pink and a blue. That small gesture, from someone we had never met, has stayed with me since the very moment I held the hats in my hand. It was something so simple but so beautiful. This lady took the time out of her day and her life to do something for a complete stranger. We swore that one day we would meet her.

As often happens, that one day never arrived. Life became “too busy”. But are we truly too busy? If this lady wasn’t too busy to do something special for my family, why was it that we were too busy to do something for her? Why was it that we couldn’t take 30 minutes out of one day to spend with her? Of course it involved a 2 hour drive one way with a toddler and a newborn, then a day of shopping and wasting money plus it was a whole day taken out of our busy lives. Busy, busy, busy. Reflecting back now, we weren’t that busy.

As you could guess I’m sure, this lady has since passed away. I saw her obituary on Facebook one day and my heart sank. She was an amazing mother, grandmother, friend and stranger. The kinds words that I read on the internet were exactly how I envisioned her in my head since the day I received our baby hats. I bet she would’ve fallen in love with our children and that one simple gesture of visiting her in the retirement home may have just made her day.

Sweet Baby Q with her hat on shortly after she was born

I find it hard to slow down. The days slip by and I’m often too busy to do the little things. However, every time I come across one of the hats that I’ve tucked away, I slow down for a minute and remind myself that there are still good people in this world that need and deserve our time.

Also, be someone’s stranger.

 

Spring Wardrobe Capsule

Ah, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the flowers are…….covered in snow? As soon as the first day of Spring rolled around on the calendar, I gutted the winter clothing and out came the spring wardrobe. I’ve been testing it out for almost a month now. We’ve had all kinds of weather, so it has been a true test. We go from sunny and 7 to 1 and rain with -3 and snow. However, today it’s beautiful, and it’s Friday so I’m super stoked to share my simple Spring wardrobe capsule with you all.

I started by completely emptying my wardrobe onto my bed. Every thing I wear. I immediately made a pile of items that were screaming “winter”; snowflake leggings, chunky wool cardigans in boring colors, etc. I then went through the remaining items and picked out what would work for Spring. I was going for a neutral color scheme- greens, navy, and so forth. I also needed a mixture of items as I need pieces that are suitable for teaching as well as going to the playground. Finally, I got hubby to dig out my container of Spring/Summer clothing from the basement. I went through the container pulling out anything that would be suitable. I tossed a few things away, sold a few things at the consignment shop and poked a few things back for when I get *cough*smaller*cough*.

This is what I was left with…

Yes, that’s it! Other than pj’s and my skivvies of course. I have everything hung in my closet. I just simply wash, dry and hang it back up. I wanted to test this out for a few weeks as this is the most minimal my closet has ever been. I did add in 4 t shirts (black, white, navy and pinkish) as well as a beige duster. The t shirts were essential as I needed something for inside the blazers, under cardigans and just to wear around the house.

Here is my minimalist wardrobe until the middle of June:

Bottoms: I kept a variety of around-the-house leggings, 3 pairs of black dress pants, 1 pair of navy pants, white jeans and 4 pairs of blue jeans. I definitely do not need all those jeans. I seriously wear two of these pairs so I’ll take that into consideration for next time. I also kept two skirts; a black and a navy.

Tops: Other than the 4 t shirts I recently purchased I have 6 shirts/cardigans kept. Some are casual and a couple are more for work.

Dresses: I love dresses. I would rather a dress any day! They’re far easier to put together in the morning and they always make me feel great. I have 5 hanging in my closet right now that I wear to work as well as if I need to go anywhere else that requires a dress (no idea where that would be lol).

Blazers/Jackets: I have 3 blazers in the closet; blue, striped and grey. I also have a jean jacket and a poncho. I do have an every day jacket that I wear when it’s chilly or rainy (all the time apparently) but that’s hung in the basement.

I guess it’s not a true “capsule” as I didn’t minimize my shoes, jewelry or scarves. I may do that at some point but it’s not on my priority list right now.

How does your Spring wardrobe look right now?