Packing – What’s in my suitcase:)

I have been postponing the inevitable…the daunting task of packing.  I love traveling but I’m not a fan of all the work associated with it (e.g. booking plane tickets, hotel, car rentals, packing etc).   However, once I have packed my suitcases, I’m always pleasantly surprised with how seemingly easy it was.  When it comes to packing, I just love to procrastinate.  On average, every time we go on a trip my husband will ask me about 5 times, if I have packed yet.  My sheepish response is usually, “I know, I know, I’m on it!” As the deadline nears, and the days leading up to the trip approaches, I do begin to get nervous.  But for whatever reason unbeknownst to me, I prefer packing the night before.  I guess by then, I have no choice but to get my act together:)  I’m constantly reminded by my ever so organized husband that I need to stop with all the shenanigans and get it done already!

So this brings me to today!  The day before the trip! I hit snooze twice on my alarm clock and then I hear my husband’s voice in the distance. “Make sure you pack…seriously!  Trip is tomorrow!”  I rushed to work for a short meeting and rushed back to begin packing.  I had a slight headache and I was contemplating a short nap but in the end I decided I couldn’t put it off any longer.

So I did a load of laundry and I was ready!

I thought I’d share with you what I’ve packed.  These are items I usually can’t leave home without when travelling.  I’m still debating on whether or not I should check-in my luggage or only bring a carry-on.  So far I can fit everything into my carry-on with the exception of my shoes.  I’m not sure my husband will let me pack my shoes in his luggage:/

It would be nice to not have checked luggage so when we arrive, we can head straight to the rental car kiosk.

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Organizing all of the items that will go into my suitcase

I cannot forget:

  • my purse/ wallet
  • my passport
  • print out of Flight tickets or Confirmation #

In my luggage I have:

  • my cell phone/charger (I have cute draw string bags and organizers to keep it all neat)
  • my iPod
  • my hair straightener & hair brush
  • sun screen
  • eyeglasses/ sunglasses
  • pink zippy purse for all my jewelry
  • Gravol/ Advil etc.
  • separate bag to store my dirty clothes
  • anti-bacterial wipes or gel
  • Q-Tips
  • ear plugs
  • reading material (magazine & book)
  • tweezers / nail clippers
  • small mirror
  • my makeup (naked palette, lipstick, lip balm, blush, eyeliner, mascara, face wash, face cream, foundation, press power etc.)
  • lotion
  • tooth brush/ tooth paste/ floss
  • dry shampoo
  • hair ties

The clothes I’ve packed for this four-day vacation include:

  • 2 light summer dresses
  • a pair of jeans
  • airy drawstring pants
  • a t-shirt & undershirt/ tank top
  • an off shoulder top
  • a romper (I might take out because it’s so hard to use the bathroom in it;)
  • a tunic
  • a pair of tights
  • a couple pairs of pjs
  • bathing suit
  • a formal dress for the wedding
  • 3 pairs of shoes (dressy shoes, flats/sandals, wedges)
  • undergarments for each day
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I love a neatly packed suitcase. I get this from my mom. Her suitcase is always so neatly packed.  However, keeping it neat during the trip is the hard part;)

I’m notorious for over-packing…I think this time I did ok;)

Yikes…I hope I didn’t forget anything!  If I did, it’s not to late to post and tell me! Thanks!!

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I’m finally ready to go!

 

Take Time to be Thankful

Sorry loves for the long delay!  It’s been a hectic few months at work and now that I’m finally on vacation, I can’t use any more excuses:)  I do fly out to San Francisco this weekend for a wedding but I promise to devote a little more time to this blog once I get back.  San Fran is hands down, one of my absolute favourite cities to visit!

I’m so excited to see our friends from California as well as to see Napa Valley and other parts of California!

I started my post about Staycations but got a little side tracked:)

I just read an article about Blake Lively where she calls out the perfect moms on Instagram.  It got me thinking about Instagram and the internet as a whole.  Our lives are multifaceted and sometimes only the perfect parts are highlighted on social media.  I wouldn’t be proud to post pics of my piled up laundry or my messy kitchen after baking with my sister, but I realize that I wouldn’t want to portray that my life is perfect either.

Am I fortunate to have what I have?  Absolutely.  Do we have our ups and down…most certainly.  However, would I change anything…probably not.  Except maybe, workout more, forgive faster and try to make more time for the ever amazing people in my life.

Often, I am excited to share about a deal or a sale I’ve stumbled upon.  Or talk about the hook ups from friends and family;)

But today, I want to highlight just my life and how fortunate I am.  Both my husband and I are from fairly large families.  Crazy enough, we both have family all over the world.  We are fortunate to not have to pay for hotels when we are in places like France or Switzerland.

There are times when I’m feeling down and I’m frustrated with just life in general and then I get my wake up call.  Usually it’s in the form of my husband reminding me that it’s “First World Problems” and other times I’m awakened by the cruel reality that had my parents not immigrated to Canada, the course of my life would be very different.

So what am I thankful for?  First and foremost: my family – my ever supportive, crazy but loving family (that includes all you extended families members – aunts, uncles, cousins and everyone in between).  My parents’ cousins’ children are just as close to me as my first cousins.  It’s the same for my husband’s family as well.  I love how you care for us and how much you care for one another.

My sister- who I didn’t always get along with growing up but who I love dearly now that we’re adults.  I couldn’t have asked for a better little sister who I can always count on.  We are complete opposites but I wouldn’t change anything about you.

My mom and dad – who still drive me crazy but whom I love so much!  I am the person I am today because of you.

My friends –  I can honestly without a doubt say that I’ve been blessed many times over to have the amazing and supportive friends that I do.  Both my childhood friends, my girlfriends from Toronto and our friends from around the world are truly family to me!  We have so many best friends and we love you dearly!

My job – Work has been a little insane this month…but in the grand scheme of things I have to remember most times I couldn’t have chosen a better career for myself.  It was a hectic month so I think everyone at work was counting the days until it was vacation time:)  One person who loves their job more than me…is my husband.  He’s a doc of the eyes and there are times when I watch him work, I see the love he has for his occupation.  Then it makes me think “Gosh, I wish I loved my job that much!  I mean I like my job a lot but my husband truly loves his job”  We are both so lucky we have careers that we love!

My health – I had a small health scare this year and my insurance guy recommended that we purchase more life insurance.  I thought at the time, “Seriously!  But I’m so young and I have life insurance through work!”  My responsible parents also purchased two life insurance policies for my sister and I when we were babies.  Back to the health scare.  I won’t go into details but to sum it up – I saw many specialists who ran many tests, but finally I’m in the clear!  I thought at one point, I wouldn’t even get approved for more life insurance because of my health, but in the end everything is fine…yay!  I pray that all the people in my life have good health.

My home –  Am I happy that I get to decorate it any way I wish?  Of course!  But what really makes a house truly a home is the people in it!  Thank you family and friends for all the love and laughter you have brought into my home!

My marriage – What makes our marriage work, is that one of us always apologizes.  I’m not going to lie, it takes me a heck of a lot longer to say I’m sorry than my husband.  I am so much more grounded and humble because of him…thank you crazy love of my life!

I’m sure I’m forgetting to give a shout out to many more amazing people in my life but just remember that everyone of you have touched me in some sort of positive way!  For that, I thank you!

The next time I feel down, I will read this post and remember, I need to snap out of it because I’m pretty damn lucky!  And I need to remember that….always!  The perfect posts/pictures do not make my life perfect…but the imperfections make me who I am!  My wise mother said (I hope I got the translation correct): “You may be privileged but you must stay humble and kind because to be my daughter I expect no less!”

Thank you for reading my extremely long post 🙂

 

Preloved/ Pre-owned and Vintage Handbags

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t follow treads and I do covet some of the latest and greatest designs introduced into the fashion world.  However, I can rarely justify paying full price for anything, especially for a high-end luxury piece that is very expensive.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, I do make the exception if I have a gift card or if I’ve saved up long and hard for it (e.g. my pretty wedding shoes).  What I do appreciate more is a great deal.  If I can’t afford something, I just don’t buy it.  I might slip sometimes and buy it, but then I end up having to return it later.  Keep in mind that that would apply for regular retail purchases.  All the consignment stores I’ve purchased from do not allow exchanges or refunds.  I always keep that in the back of my mind when I shop pre-owned!

I appreciate great craftsmanship and attention to detail when it comes to fashion.  Vintage pieces have more history, uniqueness and appeal to me.  With luxury items, it doesn’t need to be in season for me to love it.  I prefer to have statement pieces that speak to me or happen to compliment items in my closet 😉  I didn’t get into buying preloved (pre-owned) and vintage items until I shopped in L.A., San Francisco and New York.  As shopping consignment was becoming a trend a few years back.  It was evident that when people own high end luxury handbags in particular, they put a lot of care into the bag especially since these babies come with hefty price tags.  So these consigned items are usually in pristine condition.  California had so many options of buying luxury preloved and vintage items.  I even stumbled across a pop-up luxury consignment store in L.A. a few years back.   The name of this particular place was called, “Divorcee’s Closet” LOL.  I’m so glad that the option of buying preloved items is now becoming more accessible to Canadians.

When I was in the U.S., I loved sites like Gilt (mostly sells new items but from time to time there will be a flash sale of vintage luxury items. Bonus: Gilt ships to Canada), Fashionphile and Yoogi’s Closet.  At the time, the dollar was at par so I was getting great deals!  I was able to add LV as well as Prada and Chanel to my collection.  When my husband lived in the U.S., it was a lot more convenient to order from these websites.

There is still hope for us fellow Canadians looking to score amazing vintage finds.  Here in Toronto, one place that I was shockingly surprised to find vintage items for sale was at Winners and Marshalls, during their Red Carpet Event.  I found some items that made me do a double take.  “Hermes bracelets for $150?!? That had to be a mistake.”  But low and behold…my eyes did not deceive me.  They were preloved vintage items with a little note attached to it.

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I took a picture to show you some of the things that I found.  Yes, some of the preloved vintage items were still way out of my budget (like the $9,999 Hermes handbag, the Louis Vuitton bag and the Cartier rings), but bangles and bracelets at $150 were definitely a score!

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This large pre-owned Louis Vuitton handbag I found a Marshalls during their Red Carpet Event. Look out for flyers for their next event!

If there aren’t any Winners and Marshall’s stores in your area selling vintage and pre-owned pieces, try checking out some consignment stores around the city like Extoggery, Haute Classics, Consign Toronto and Kind Exchange.  Extoggery, Haute Classics and Consign Toronto are stores where you’ll have to fork over a little more for luxury goods but there are still deals to be found with enough patience and persistence.  With Haute Classics and Consign Toronto, you have the convenience of  shopping online.  Kind exchange is more along the lines of a slightly upscale Value Village.  You don’t find very many high end couture pieces but if you are just looking for something current and trendy on a budget this is the place for you.  Since it is smaller than Value Village, there is less rummaging around to do.

You can become a great consignment shopper, and the key thing is to do your research.  I find that even when I’m shopping in consignment stores, I will go on my phone to find the item and see if I’m truly getting a great deal.  Go to Google or major department store websites to compare the original prices of the actual item or similar items.  You can also search on eBay to find comparable items in that condition.  My personal rule is that it must be at least half price to make it worthwhile if I’m not buying it brand new.  Many times, I’ve scored brand new items with tags at these shops, so again, it pays to do a little bit of digging.  An added bonus is that they guarantee all their items are authentic.  It also doesn’t hurt to ask if it comes in it’s original box or with a receipt (hard to come by but I always ask)

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Here are a few items from my pre-loved collection.   Purchased at less than 1/2 of  the retail price <3

If you have an item that is just sitting around in your closet, why not consign it?  Keep in mind, many places will require that you leave the items with them for 30 to 90 days, and you do not receive payment until the item has sold.  For the convenience, they take at least 50% (on average) of what the item ends up selling for.  Someone will appraise your item and list the price at the store.  You can try to suggest a price that you feel is fair, but they will give you a realistic amount as they know what items typically sell for.  Different places have their own selling options and policies.  Some options include selling it directly to the store for them to re-sell, you will get your money right away, but the payout is less.  If you consign and have them sell the item on your behalf, you usually get more value for your item.  However, if your item does not sell after a certain period (60 days usually), it is your responsibility to come back for it, or they will donate it.  Also, some places require clothing to be dry-cleaned before being accepted.

Consignment shops are a great way to find affordable luxury items.  They also help to support the local economy, encourages recycling, and even helps you make a few bucks.  If you are finding that the items at the various consignment shops are still out of your budget, you can always wait for one of their sales.  Even though I’ve never been to a Kind Exchange sale, I was told by the sales associate that they have a “Fill a bag for $20” sale.  I don’t think you’ll ever encounter that kind of sale at a high end consignment shop but I’ve been to sales where they have slashed their prices in half 🙂  It never hurts to ask when their next sale is.

Consider making it a girls’ shopping/consigning trip, and you can consign your items at the same time as your girlfriends.  Once you’re there, you can shop and compare notes on whether or not an item is a good buy.  I have a girlfriend who’s so organized. Before she consigns all of her items, she will print off a list of each item and list how much she purchased the item for and what she’s hoping to consign it for.  Many of her items are NWT (new with tags).  She lived in NYC for a few years, so her selection is amazing!  Before she consigns her items, she’ll show us all the pretty pieces first.  That way it’s win win if we end up buying it from her.  She’ll make a little more money than putting it on consignment and we pay a little less than buying it on consignment;)

Do you know a great place to buy vintage clothing and accessories?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Clothing with a Cause

Here’s a local brand that has been creating quite a buzz lately…Peace Collective.  I ordered my t-shirt awhile back, and I love the message on it: “Home is Toronto.”  More importantly, I love the message that the company stands behind, which is the importance of battling against poverty.  Their mission statement: “JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST HUNGER – For every garment purchased, Peace Collective will provide two healthy meals and a snack to a child in the Canadian educational system.”  Their company supports “Breakfast for Learning” which ensures students begin school well nourished and ready to learn.  I learned recently from their blog that they also collaborated with Lululemon for the 2015 Pan Am Games…so cool!

IMG_1833I love to pair my t-shirt with my different blazers and sweaters.  I think it’s always fun to dress up a t-shirt!  I also wear my nude pumps with everything!  Usually, I also pair the t-shirt with a blingy necklace, but there was already some bling on the shoulder pads of my blazer:)

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JEANS:  Zara  (Similar pair)
PUMPS: Jimmy Choo (patent look)
T-SHIRT: Peace Collective
BLAZER: Purchased in L.A. @ a consignment store (similar design)

Side note: My husband lived in California for 3 years for school so I got many of my great deals there.  If you are ever in the L.A. area,  consider using Yelp to locate  some great consignment stores:)
I’m on the hunt for this blazer from H&M from a past season. Love the fancy detail on the shoulder pads.  It retailed for $49.99 U.S. and I’m hoping it’s a design they will bring back!

Below are some cute stickers that came with the t-shirt.

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This year I will be attending TEOF’s (Toronto Educational Opportunity Fund) Annual Lunar New Year Banquet, where proceeds go towards supporting the TEOF’s mandate to provide nutrition to young learners.  More specifically, it is a charitable organization supporting child nutrition and the Kindergarten parenting programs of Inner City schools.

food for thought

It’s always good to know that things that you wear can support good causes!

Welcome Basket for Guest Bedroom

We love having guests in our home.  We are so close to our family and friends that we love getting the opportunity to host dinner parties or BBQs at our house.  We wanted that same welcoming experience to carry into our guest room.

I love the cozy feeling of being in a Bed and Breakfast, so I wanted my guests to have a similar experience in our home.  My husband will usually whip up a gourmet breakfast in the morning with freshly cut fruit and all.

 

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I had stumbled across a few welcome baskets for guest bedrooms on Pinterest and I was excited to recreate one of these fabulous baskets for our guests.

To make it extra cozy, I started leaving tea and fruit for our guests…and Godiva chocolates!  Who doesn’t love Godiva 🙂  I loved my pinch minimergency kit so much that I’ve put one in the guest basket as well.  This is me bribing them to come back;)

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I created a little welcoming note that I put into a photo frame.
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In the next couple of months, we will be having my husband’s cousin G from NYC stay with us as well as my cousin and his girlfriend from Paris!  I can’t wait!

Some of the contents in the basket: magazines, shampoo, conditioner, all the contents in the pinch kit, lotion, Advil, Tide-to-go etc.  One of the magazines is our wedding magazine called OMG (Our Marriage Gossip) that we gave out as wedding favours.  You can be as creative as you wish with your basket.  It was so fun to make because I knew it was going to make our friends and family happy!

Is there something else you would add to your guests’ basket?  Let me know in the comments below!

Some Must-Have Beauty items!

Do you ever say to yourself, “I wish I had known about this sooner?”  I definitely have.  These are some must-have beauty items I absolutely love and I thought I should share with you!

First on the list are “Tweezerman” tweezers!  They are by far one of the best tweezers I own.  I always have that one stubborn hair when I’m plucking my eyebrows that is impossible to pull out.  In the past, it would take forever to pluck those stubborn strands out with my cheap tweezers.  But with Tweezerman tweezers, you’ll never run into that problem because it gets them all:)
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One of my girlfriends had a destination wedding in Cuba, and I had left my Tweezerman tweezers in my carry-on.  When the lugguage got scanned, the custom’s agent said they had to toss them.  I remember thinking, “Oh no…not my Tweezerman tweezers!”  It was too late to put them into my check in 🙁  The reason why they are so amazing is because they have an award winning slant which doesn’t break my hair and gets right to the roots which makes plucking effortless!

Whoever invented dry shampoo…I could kiss you!  Unlike every gal in my household who was  born with straight silky hair, I was born with frizzy wavy hair.  I learned recently that my dad use to have wavy hair and grew it out in his early 20s.  I’m only now learning to embrace it, but growing up it was sometimes difficult to tame this mane;)

I use to wash my hair every evening.  To my dismay in the morning, my hair would be out of control because I had showered the night before.  It was frustrating  because I had taken all that time to straighten my hair, only to enjoy straight hair for one day.  My hair would get greasy if I didn’t wash it everyday.  Now, instead of washing my hair, I just spray dry shampoo into my hair.  I can wash my hair every two or three days rather than everyday.  When I use it, it feels like my hair is freshly washed:)

The two products I use are Joico Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo and a Swedish brand “Edge Natural Haircare” dry shampoo in “Dark Haze.”  Sorry you may have to hit “Translate” to be able to read the information on the website.  I find that I get the best advice from my girlfriends and my favourite hair salons/hair stylists.  If I had to choose between the two,  Joico gets my vote:)  I gave you the amazon.com link to look at the reviews because there are at least 20 reviews giving the product an overall score of 3.5 stars.  Amazon.ca only had one review of only one star.  I completely disagree, I love this product.  I just wished it cost $12.99 like it does in the U.S. and not $30.00 CAN.

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My girlfriends who are blonde swear by “Batiste Dry Shampoo“.  You can get a can under $10 at Shoppers Drug Mart.  Or you can click on the tab “Where to buy” on the link I provided:)  I’ve tried it, but it left my dark hair looking like there were faint white streaks in it.  I recently found out that Batiste created a product for dark and deep brown hair for $15.  I’m not sure why the list price is $79…crazy!  I’m excited to try it out!

Now that I’m embracing my wavy hair more, I sometimes leave it au-naturel.  I just mist a little water on my hair and scrunch a little bit of mousse into it and ta-da!  However, I still prefer my hair straight, even though I get compliments when my hair is wavy or curly.  The grass is always greener on the other side right;)

I love this eyelash curler by Shu Uemura!  I won it at my cousin Becky’s shower (best Sephora prize table ever!)  Everyone had been raving about it and when I tried it, I loved it!  I don’t have many eyelashes to begin with, but when I use this eyelash curler, it curls it to perfection.  Unlike other eyelash curlers, it very easy to use and the silicone pads do not stick to your lashes.  With a little bit of mascara, I end up with pretty curled eyelashes.   You can also purchase it at Hudson’s Bay.  It’s award winning for a reason…good job lash curler engineering team!

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Crazy enough though, I found a decent eyelash curler at Forever 21 for $5.90.  I initially bought it because it was in a pretty rose gold colour and I thought I could use one in my back up makeup case.  I wasn’t sure if it would work very well, but it’s actually not bad for an inexpensive purchase:)

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Last but not least, are my favourite base coat and top coat polish: Seche Vite and Seche Clear.IMG_3128

If you want a fast drying, top quality base coat and top coat for your nail polish, these babies are for you.  I don’t always get a chance to get manis and pedis as often as I would like, so when I need to do my nails at home, these are my go-to products.  Not only are they fast drying, but I find that my nail polish will stay on longer and not chip as quickly when I use them!  Last year, my best friend bought all the girls a bottle for Christmas and we all started squealing in delight!  That’s how much we love this item 😉

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Do you have any must-have beauty products that you can’t live without?  Let me know in the comments below:)

Love of Laundry…not!

I have a husband who is rather particular about how laundry is done!  When it was just my sister and I living in our apartment, I had one hamper which I threw all my clothes into.  Half of the time I would roll my jeans up and pretend I was shooting hoops, which said a lot about my athletic ability since the clothes would end up around the basket.  I would eventually collect all my random clothes and throw them back in my basket.  When it was time to do my laundry, I would sort my clothes into various piles, darks, whites, colours etc.  My husband was away at school at the time so I was pretty set in my ways.  However, when he returned he was appalled about how I did my laundry.  I would never admit this to him, but his system makes a lot more sense than mine 😉  First, he went and purchased laundry dividers/sorters that he got from Walmart.  He looked at other stores, but only found 3-bag laundry sorters, but Walmart had 4.  Online I could only find ones with 3 dividers, hopefully they still have the 4-bag sorters.

Now when we do laundry, we divide our clothes into 4 categories: Whites, Darks, Colours, & Delicates.  It is important to always wash your clothes in the appropriate water temperature:  Hot water for whites to keep them bright, and cold water for darks to prevent them from fading.  I used to wash everything in warm water, but then my whites didn’t look too bright.

When he’s not looking, sometimes the little thrill seeker in me would roll up my clothes into a ball, shoot, and just hope for the best!  Especially when I am tired, I don’t always follow the sorting rules but this gets me in trouble with the laundry drill sergeant and he’s constantly shaking his head but I still see a little smile hidden there.  He knows that even though my quirks drive him crazy, he’s kind of stuck with me 😉

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We also use a completely different laundry basket for our clean clothes that we take out of the dryer.  This one folds flat so we can hang it on the inside of our closet door.  Love how it says “CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN.”  Another great HomeSense buy!
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Lastly, I’m loving this rolley basket that I leave in the guest room.  After their stay, visitors throw their towels in there and I can take it directly to our laundry room in the basement.

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Do you have a laundry method/system?  Or are you more of a free spirit like me and prefer to play bball with your clothes? 😉  Do you have any great tips for laundry organization?  Let me know in the comments below!

A Healthier New Me

One resolution that keeps reappearing on my New Year’s resolution list is to be healthier (eat cleaner & get active).  I always start the New Year with a bang and I’m gung ho about making big changes but then I tend to fall off the bandwagon.  I’ve gained quite a bit of weight since being married and even though I would love to blame my husband’s amazing cooking for it, it simply boils down to the fact that I eat out often and I’m not as active as I should be.  I understand it’s not all about your size but I’m finding that even when I’m going up two flights of stairs, sometimes I feel winded.  When I lived in Japan in my mid 20’s I climbed 3333 stone steps with the people in my town.  I don’t think I could go up even 33 of those steps now without feeling lightheaded and out of breath.  Not to mention that some of my favourite jeans no longer fit.   This was definitely an indicator that I needed to get more active and change not only my eating habits but my lifestyle as a whole.

I had never been a fitness enthusiast.  I would always prefer to read under a tree engrossed in a novel while my dad and sister played sports such as volleyball, soccer or badminton.  My mom was the ever supportive cheerleader on the sidelines but I had no interest whatsoever in being a spectator nor a participant .  My sister was the more athletic one and played all the sports in the family.  My ideal type of workout was riding my bike or rollerblading along the river front.  I don’t really enjoy competitive sports and I recall my dad encouraging me to play soccer when I was around 12 or 13 and while I was playing defense, half the time the ball would wiz by me because I was completely bored or lost in thought thinking about what  I would do after the game.

After many years, I don’t think much has changed.  I love non-competitive activities such as yoga, and you couldn’t pay me to play on my sister’s beach volleyball team or my friends’ Dodgeball team. Just not my cup of tea.

I know many people’s workout regimens spans all sorts of activities from step classes to intense weight training, but even when I had a personal trainer I couldn’t get into those types of activities.  My trainer encouraged me to try it all  but I would much prefer to take a Zumba class or a dance class instead. Up until December,  I wasn’t even doing any of those classes.  I kept using the holidays as an excuse for my unhealthy eating and unhealthy habits.

Which brings me to my lifestyle challenge.  A few of our best friends invited my husband and I to enter a new lifestyle challenge.  It is a competition based on weight and overall look/improvement and the incentive is a large sum of money.   It really isn’t about the money, but we felt that there had to be some sort of penalty so that we don’t slack.  I have until May to present my results.  I’m not sure my Zumba or yoga classes are going to cut it but I’ll throw in some gym workouts and hopefully even if I don’t win I’ll be healthier and more active in the process.

To help kick start my new game plan, I got a few things for preparation.

  1. A Fitbit: It’s a rubber bracelet with a chip in it that syncs to your phone.  I still forget to put it on from time to time.  However, when I do wear it, I love it!  It tracks how many steps you accumulate each day.  You can also invite friends into mini challenges which motivates you to work out!

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    I love a little bit of arm bling  when I ‘m not at the gym, so I love accessorizing around my Fitbit!

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2. A Vitamix: Love this bad boy!  Makes the greatest shakes ever and I love having a meal out of a cup!   The big selling point for me was that it can make hot soups and will pulverize chia seeds or flax seeds.  My mom uses the NutriBullet, and is very satisfied with her shakes.  So if you have a blender you love, you can always go to the Vitamix website for cool recipes too.

3. A gym membership: I have to be honest.  I have been paying for this membership for years and most years, I just pay for it and don’t use it as much as I should.  I’m going to try to not let that happen this year!
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4.  Cute gym clothes:  I know this sounds crazy but I find that if I feel good and look good in my gym clothes I’ll put more effort into my workout.  It makes me motivated to want to eventually get to the point where I can wear crop tops…not quite there yet!  My workout attire is from Lululemon.  Love the flowy outer shirt top.  I like how it goes over the sports bra (comes attached) and it conceals my tummy bulge;)  I also love shopping their:  “We Made Too Much” section…great deals to be found!

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Please excuse my husband shoes, I forgot to move them for the pic!  This pic was taken for friends in our healthy challenge chat room but I thought I’d share it with you all too!  Even though it’s a challenge, we are all so supportive and encouraging!

5. A Fitbook: Helps me keep a journal of what I’m eating and record what  workout regimens I’ve been doing.  I started using the Fitbook at the end of last year.  Many love their Fitbook because they find that when you physically write things down you’ll have a better chance of getting it done.   Decided that this method was a little too time consuming for me so I’ve replaced it with the Calorie Counting App below.
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6. Calorie Counter App:  Download the “My Fitness Pal” app…I love it!  It’s also able to sync with my Fitbit which is awesome!  I always said I wouldn’t be one of those people who would count calories but I realize how important it is now.  Plus this app makes it fun and enjoyable.  You can even scan the bar code of items you eat and then it will help you gauge how many calories you have consumed as well as how much more you can afford to eat that day.  You don’t need a Fitbit to use this app and to have this app work for you!
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7. Yoga Studio: I have joined a yoga studio with a couple of girlfriends.  One of my friends is a yoga instructor there…so it’s great because she always pushes us to do our best!

I worked out 4 times this week!  That’s a record for me….I hope I can keep up with it!  To everyone who also has a health and fitness resolution, I wish you the best of luck!  New year… new us! 🙂

Starbucks Online Sale

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48 k-cup pods for $15.57 plus tax. Came in packages of 12

If you love Starbucks and enjoy their Christmas blend, then I have an online special for you.  If you have a Keurig machine, the K-cups are on sale for $15.57 (reg. $25.95) for 24 pods. Use promo code BIG1XMASKCUP for buy one, get one free.  I got 48 k-cups for $15.57…amazing!  However, there is a standard shipping fee of $7.95 that applies if your order is under $75.  I ordered it online and within two days, the shipment arrived at my doorstep.  Enjoy the deal!

 

 

Proud to be Canadian!

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Love being Canadian!

Happy New Year everyone!  Mother Nature sprinkled some white love for us and has given us a white New Year!  I was contemplating staying in my Pj’s all day but then I decided to throw on a sweater that’s just as comfortable…my Roots Cabin Cardigan!   It comes in Birch White as well.  It’s the perfect sweater for lounging around in and if I need to dash somewhere quickly, it’s not frumpy and it’s acceptable to be seen in public in.  In fact, it’s both cute and comfortable…my kind of sweater!  I know that Roots is now an international brand but I love how it has Canadian roots;)

As a gift to congratulate me for launching my blog, Tiffany from “The Paper Suitcase“, bought me a signature Hudson’s Bay Blanket…I love everything that’s a part of the HBC collection.  Not only is it sold at Hudson’s Bay, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this collection on sale in Canadian airports.  If you are not familiar with it, it’s a signature collection inspired by over 300 years of Canadian history!  I have been coveting this blanket forever…thank you so much sis!!

If you want to shop my Roots look for less, Bluenotes carries some very cute Canadian sweaters.  I actually got this Canadian sweater below in Stratford when we went to watch a production at the Stratford Festival.  The quality is comparable to Roots and just as warm and comfy.  I purchased my sweater for $39.99 and I was able to take advantage of their buy one get one 1/2 off promotion.  The sweater pairs well with skinny jeans and Hunter boots!

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Happy first Day of 2o16!!