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?

 

March Budget: BUSTED

I’m spending this beautiful morning sipping coffee and thinking about my March spending sins. I’ve actually been thinking about it a bit for the last two weeks of the month. There were many flaws, some thing I’ll fix and some that I’ll shrug off and attribute it to being a shopaholic. Let’s share in my spending sins together shall we?!

March Food Budget: $500

FAIL! CRASH! FLOUNDER! COLLAPSE! And all the other synonyms.

We were well over budget by $200+. The first two weeks I had it all under control. Tracking every penny, meal planning, and all those frugal ideas that are out there. I was going to own March. It was going to be mine. Then BOOM! It all fell apart. We had company on three separate occasions, I bought a Costco size box of wipes (which will last us for a couple months around here), a bunch of dog food (will also last for months because we already have a shelf full in the basement), and many, many other things. The one positive is that everything was “food” related. Other than baby and dog items.

Here’s what I’m changing for April:

•Food: $500– but this is ONLY for food. Not baby, not dog, not wine.

•Girls: $150– this will include diapers, wipes, bubble bath, Lexi’s obsessions with bath bombs, etc. They also need a few things for Spring and Summer that I’ll take from this fund.

•Dog: $50– this will include grooming costs, food and treats. She has an abundance of food so we just need to get (or make) some treats for her. She may not need to be groomed this month, if not, we’ll just move that money to next month’s budget.

March Gas Budget: $100

I did super well with this one. I was only over by $10. And if I had been the one to gas up last time, I would’ve stopped the pump $10 short just so that I could be on budget. Don’t kid yourself, you’d do it too if you knew others were waiting to hear about your budget. Don’t you roll your eyes at me!

For April I’m upping this category to $150 as I know we are traveling a little this month.

March Vanessa Budget: $100

Not surprisingly I was over in this category too. Only bet $40. Which isn’t bad considering it could’ve been over by $400 knowing me. I treated myself to some new craft supplies right at the end of the month. I’d like to say that I regret it, but I don’t.

For April I’m going to leave it at $100. I would like a new rain jacket but I’ll check around some consignment shops or look for a deal. Brand names don’t bother me, as long as it’s cute.

March Savings Goal: $500 toward debt

I’m confident in saying that we met this. I just need to pay myself from my side hustle. I’ll pay myself $250 from there and we’ll take the other $250 from our normal bank account.

I don’t have a debt goal for April. It’s a weird month where some big bills get paid x3 so that leaves us a little short. We could pull from our account, but we need that nice cushion in there for times when hubby doesn’t get any work.

I still wanted a savings goal for April, but it’s a bit different. I want to set up a BMO account. We bank with Scotiabank right now, however the nearest branch is 2 hours away. Not exactly close for someone with a side hustle and savings plans. We have a local BMO that I’m going to avail of. I want it for our savings; I essentially want to set up a bunch of “side accounts”. I want a business account, tax account (yikes on not saving for this in 2017- won’t make this mistake twice), Disney fund, emergency fund (currently at $1000), etc. I’m not organized enough to lump it all in one account and keep track of it. I know myself well enough after 31, almost 32 eeekkk) years that it would be a terrible idea. So while it isn’t exactly a savings goal, it’s a financial goal for April.

 

How about you? How did your March budgeting go? What is your April looking like financially?

The Charge– Book Review

 

The Charge, by Brendon Burchard, wasn’t a book that I instantly fell in love with. Like most relationships, we took things very slow. I wasn’t into the relationship and wanted to end it. There was no chemistry at first and while I stuck it out, trying to find a way to break up, Brendon won me over.

This book is essentially about 10 drives that you need in your life to make it all worthwhile. It’s about taking your average life and turning it around to be an extraordinary one. There were a few sections that I rolled my eyes at, but in the end, it was motivating. Finding a book that motivates me to be who I truly want to be is a must. If it’s not something I feel like I can incorporate into my life, I stop reading. Let’s be real, “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

I listened to the audio version of this book, which I wouldn’t recommend. I feel like this book had a lot of information that deserved to be underlined with a beautiful pen. There were a lot of quotes, questions, and moments that I wish I had a pen so I could reflect on them. Reflection is the key to this book I believe. Therefore listening to the book while I rushed to work each morning, didn’t really give the insight that one may want.

I do recommend this book. It wouldn’t be at the top of my list for self-help (self-love, perhaps?!) but it would be somewhere in the middle. Online reviews are pretty divided on this book, so I think it’s one that you’ll have to try out for yourself.