Shopping local

My sister and I had a perfect afternoon date to celebrate my being done with the classroom: there were a couple local boutiques that she wanted to see, so we decided to stay local for everything and support yxe.

First up was lunch at what is quickly becoming my favourite cafĂ© in the city: Little Bird Patisserie.  My good friend, Abbie introduced me to this lovely spot and it has quickly become my favourite corner for quietly working on my cyber while enjoying a fantastic coffee.  Also macaroons. Need I say more?

Next up was Kyla's pick, Two Fifty Two Boutique.   Neither of us had any expectations, but we both left very impressed: awesome customer service and a great selection of some of my favourite brands.

I left with a pair of Frame jeans- I have heard really great things about them and didn't want to take them off once I had them on.  Also, my entire outfit felt like pajamas, so that's when you know you've found a winner.

I also went home with a cozy kinda bell-sleeved Vince shirt and I'm quite certain this is going to be my everyday uniform.  Definitely check out TwoFiftyTwo if you are ever in the University Heights should see the Kate Spade bag collection!

Last local shop shoutout goes to something my sister found and had made for Mom and I by Earth Sisters Jewelry & Art.  It's a pendant made out of our Grandma's china.  Swoon.

Linking up with the lovely ladies over on the Blended Blog today.  Share your fashion posts with us!


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Last work week wear: link up

I have a pileup of outfit pictures from my last couple weeks of dressing like a high school teacher, so voilĂ : this is what I've been wearing.  Lots of playing with different colour combos and comfy clothes.

I have tons of things on my mind but zero time to express myself as I'm sitting in front of a pile of 50 finals to correct.

Good times.

Here are some outfit pics instead of brilliant words:

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When I splurge, when I ...what's the opposite of splurge?

When I sat down to make my budget for this year, I decided it was about time I take a look at my spending habits in order to start spending more mindfully and to stop wasting money on useless things.  For example...that 1600$ I spent at Sephora last year? Well, likely half of it was stupid products that I didn't really another lipstick or eyeshadow palette.  That being said, in order to save money I'm not just going to buy cheap products  because for me, sometimes cheap may be less money but the quality usually sucks or it falls apart minutes later.  So mindful spending this year to me, is more like buying good quality products that I know will do the job, even if they may cost a little more, but it also means buying less of things.  Because really, the last thing I need is more stuff to clutter my world.

So when making my list of things I splurge or save on, I found it interesting to see that the majority of staples in my life are splurges.  Turns out I'm not too willing to skimp on my everyday things, like...

  1. Moisturizing products.  Currently I am loving the TIDAL SUNDAY RILEY cream in the mornings, especially during our very cold and dry winters.  My skin regime does not get skipped or skimped and is very important to me....stay away wrinkles, stay away.

  • all makeup for that matter is a splurge for me...except the only thing I will save on is mascara...I like L'Oreal's Voluminous, but I also like Make up Forever's Smoky Eye. I am really trying to limit what I buy this year, only getting something once it needs replacing instead of 'just cause'.

2.  Shoes.  I just got a cute pair of transition wedge boots for slushy season (we went from -50 to +5 within a week)....check out these Sorel wedges.  I rarely save on shoes- I think I have one pair of flats from H&M, but everything else is my favourite brands like Sam Edelman, Dolce Vita or Miz Mooz.

3. Wardrobe staples- like jeans, blouses, cardis...okay..everything. Busted.

4. Handbags- I may or may not have a cute little collection growing of my favourite friends...Tory, Marc, Michael, Rebecca & Kate.  I am now on a handbag buying hiatus because I want a Chanel bag for my 40th, which is far too close.

No splurge

  1. Anything that's trendy- I will buy those items at H&M mostly or the Twik line from Simons.

2. Something I just want to try to see if I'll like like this veggie spiraller that I just bought this week, also Amazon Prime is my favourite thing.  My goal is to not go into Walmart this year, so amazon shall replace it:

3. Salt n' vinegar chips- sometimes the cheapest ones have the best flavour.

Linking up with Momfessionals

Nuggets 2017: Budgeting

Yup, you read that right......I am giving budgeting tips. Ha.  Budgeting.  That's funny.  If you know me, you know that budgeting is not in my wheelhouse.  This post should really be titled: Budgeting Tips that I Couldn't Figure Out or 10 Things that Would Improve my Marriage or 8 Reasons Why Deena Never Used to Pay Off her Credit Cards.

For the record, I am not the budgeter in the house- even back to when I was a teenager or in university I more had the desire to live in the now and worry about the later some other day.  Yup, not the best strategy, I'm aware.   Maybe someday I will catch on, but in the meantime I will continue to try different techniques in hopes that something sticks.

So because I have zero insight to give when it comes to not spending money I contacted instead my three most trusted financial advisors: my mom, my husband and my bestie, Alynne to see what kind of advice they would give.


My mom, with her 41 years of budgeting experience so she says...which isn't her age, but the years she has been married and apparently that's when she started budgeting.  I remember a time when I was in university and she proudly she showed me her ledgers ....I don't actually know what a ledger is but I felt it was a financially word so I threw it in...anyway, pen and paper records showing how she managed to save money on basically one income, which I'm sure wasn't more than 30k with 3 busy, needy and not overly fashionable kids.  We didn't ever fly anywhere, we only got new clothes once a year before school started (it was probably more than that but those trips were the most memorable and usually always to Sears), mom would pack a bread bag full of bologna sandwiches for picnics on our long summer road trips out to BC, we rarely ate out and grew up in a cozy 866 square foot house.  But we were happy and we loved each other fiercely and we never felt deprived or poor and I had somewhat a sense of style.   So whatever she did worked, that is why I don't take her advice lightly...despite the fact that I still can't figure out how to do it.   This is what my mother says:

  • Know how much you spend (track and categorize everything)

  • Cut one area if you need more for another,

  • Live below your means.

A couple notes from a non-budgettypeperson....I love tracking and making lists, so this I can do.  Cut one area, now that is interesting- currently I'm working on really watching what we spend on food.  Our freezer is OUT OF CONTROL, so why must I continue to spend up to 900$ a month on groceries?  Operation #emptyfreezerfirst is underway.  Live below your means...oy, that's a tough one, ma.  #pleasedon'tlookatmyshoecloset


Now my friend Alynne isn't just a friend: I see her as a sister.  Maybe that's because she lived with Dan, Kyla and I when we were first married and it's hard not to develop that sort of a relationship with someone that you've seen in a towel every morning.  Alynne is also extremely intelligent, hardworking, thoughtful and a great mom.  She is a CA (CPA?) with a successful career doing numbers stuff for Cameco- don't ask me exactly what though because all I can tell you is that there's a huge calculator involved which makes sense because back when she blogger, her blog was called Check Your Calculators at the Door.  Ha, I should mention she's freaking hilarious and I absolutely love her.  Anyway, she knows her shit (who would so graciously accept a friend's ridiculous request of sending her budgeting tips on a Friday night and then send a very detailed email stating that she was excited and had so much fun doing this) take note and apply some of these pointers to your life!  Accountant Alynne says (don't you feel she needs like a sexy cartoon superhero type character for this?)....
1.  Keep it simple but accurate. 

First of all, make sure you are using your after tax income, not your gross income.  Essentially, this is the cash you receive in the bank on pay day.

Budgets don't need to be complex to be effective, but they need to be a true reflection of your spending habits. For expenses, you need to look back, preferably at a whole calendar year to capture your costs.  I say this because you have your recurring monthly  expenses (mortgage, utilities, insurance, childcare) but there are non-recurring costs that need to be picked up in the budget.  Some examples are kids activities, property tax, Christmas.  These could be costs that need to be saved up for as your income may not be able cover them in the month they incur - then they are being paid through debt - insert vicious cycle.  You also need to glance forward to the year you are budgeting for.  What's going on this year?  Trips, new car, renovations?  These need to be picked up in the budget.

2.  Be accountable and set goals.

Budgeting is just like weight loss, you set your goals, then determine how you are going to get there and track your progress.  Goals are personal and depend on everyone's financial situation.  One of the main budgeting goals is spending within your means, which means not spending more than make.  Being accountable means paying attention to your finances.  If you tend to overspend, I suggest when you get paid, the same day pay off your required monthly expenses, pay off what you have designated for debt repayment and transfer your set amount into savings.  This way, you have made all your required payments.  What you have left for the rest of the month, is your discretionary income to spend as you wish.  But this still needs to be monitored throughout the month.  For example, if you are going to the mall with your friends, check your bank balance before you go.  What can I afford to spend today?  How much cash do I have for the rest of the month?

3.  Have fun with it.

Budgeting can be fun and in the long run helps to eliminate stress.  One of the most common issues couples fight about is finances, so why not try to help your relationship.  Challenge yourself - try to make a meal for your family for $10 or under.  Challenge your partner to who can spend the least amount of money in the week on discretionary things, and the winner could be rewarded with "bow chicka wow wow" - why not, it is FREE!  Or do a family activity jar - fill the jar with activities that are free, and pick one per week to do. 

bahahhahaha- so I just read these for the first time when I pasted them in and they make me love Alynne more and I gotta say, they totally are in her voice and true to her personality.  A few comments from a non-budgetter...budgetee? So I tracked all my spending from last year and HOLY EFF...guess how much I spent at Sephora in 2016......1600$!!! Needless to say I cut that number when making my goals for this year and can I get a virtual high five because I completely avoided that store when I mall walked last week. Woot!  #2- hmmmm..this explains why I can never win at weight loss ...I start off awesome tracking points and then lose steam.  Will work on this.  #3- oh gawd...I hope husband doesn't read this post, I'm pretty sure he's going to be taking notes on possible reward challenges.


Last up is my husband, who pulled me out of credit card debt and kinda sorta helped me figure out spending habits.
Under his regimeIn our 12 years of marriage I have learned that keeping credit card debt is bad because of super high interest and now we pay off our credit cards in full each month.  He also takes out a set amount of cash each month and spends that and only that on his discretionary spending.  Then again, he has zero fashion sense and wears things like sorel boots + linen pants + flannel shirt + fox hat, so clearly his fashion budget is
swallowed up by minenon existent.  Lastly, I have learned that I know shit about income tax and all the fancy words he uses and he does a great job with our money, so really why insert me into the budgeting equation just so I can fuck it up?  So basically I listen to what he says (with eye rolls and sarcasm of course) and  I try not to overspend in order not to embarrass myself in front of him.  This is what my cuddly hubby has to say about money saving:

  • If you really need something, don't buy it for 6 months and after that you will have either forgotten about it or still be coveting it and will know how much you want it.

  • Food is always a good purchase

  • Don't round down.

Okay, I'm guilty of the last one, but I really think I can handle the first two.  The bigger purchases are always things I ponder for a long time and either forget about them or still really want them.  There are things I wish I would  have pondered for longer, like acid wash jeans or bangs and there are things I'm glad I did ponder, like getting overalls.  As for food, that's the area I'm trying to cut and this is where our values differ: mall walking is my happy place and grocery shopping is his.  As for rounding down, all I can say is #oops.  Basically at this point in our marriage, he knows that when I say the pair of shoes was 89$ they were really 129$.  

These are some great tips and I hope that something here resonates with you and can help you, who knows maybe something will stick with me.  Admittedly, this was the most fun I have had writing a post. Weird.  I should also show you how I'm budgeting for this year...but you'll have to wait for Friday because I've been distracted by my many open tabs at my many favourite stores.....again.

Hop on over to my friend, Sarah's blog to see what she has to say and make sure you link up with us on the Blended Blog and share your budgeting tips

A Canadian Girl's Guide to Keeping Warm

Foggy glasses? That feeling when your toes thaw? Washing your car and then having the doors freeze shut? The endless streak of indoor recesses that drive the kids batty and the teachers even battier?  When it's only -30 out and it feels nice because the day before was -45?  When your weather app starts putting images of igloos for your city on the extreme cold warning days?  That cozy feeling when you finally warm up next to the fire, or with a hot chocolate or likely because of a healthy dose of Baileys?

Yup, that is winter for us in the prairies and you either need to move or learn to embrace it.  Me, I'm all about the embracing.  When we can celebrate New Year's Eve outside while tobogganing and having a bonfire all the while enjoying the Northern Lights, you quickly learn to appreciate the beauty that comes with living in the great white north. So for you today I have A Canadian Girl's Guide to Keeping Warm.

I figured for today's post, in the midst of a cold snap (averaging -30, or so it seems) it would be fun to show you what a Canadian girl typically wears to keep warm....because although it is that cold out, we still do things: like cross country ski, go to movies, daydream about hot vacations, take our kids out to their sporting events and get together with our friends.

What I like to wear: tuques, leggings, big sweaters and tall socks or leg warmers.

Handmade tuque by my friend, Carmen. I love tuques.

Lululemon Sweat and Savasana Sweater , Wunder Under Crop Pants and knee high woolies

What my friends wear: layers, tuques and cozy sweaters.

Sara is wearing a blardigan and Candace has on a sywash- which, didn't we all have a version of this sweater growing up?

Alison is cozy in a sweater and tuque.

While we do live in a winter wonderful that can be cold at times, life doesn't stop and what we've learned very quickly is that winter can be fun if you're dressing in comfortable layers which are guaranteed to keep you warm.

This post contains affiliate links, FYI.

Linking up with the beautiful ladies from the Blended Blog for the New Year Styled Link up.

Keeping Track of Our Life

I'm pleased to be starting the new year talking about something that  I love doing:
wine guzzling
shoe shoppingplanning and organizing: keeping track of our life.  And on top of it, it's a blog hop to boot, so make sure you check out all the ladies and see what kind of nuggets and gems for the new year they can give you to help you along your way.

In May I did a very detailed post on how I stay uber-organized and juggle all the everythings of life.  You can read it here- I even let you look inside my agenda which is practically like letting you read my diary. Kinda.  For the record, I still have my diaries from grade 4- university, but that's another post. So since I've let you dig deep into the confines of my life, I have no desire to revisit that in today's post.  That would be redundant.

So then I thought that it would fun to revisit my 2016's resolution because I cannot remember what I had aspired to do.  Luckily for this digital diary of sorts that you're currently reading (geez you're snoopy today. Ha) I have the ability to go back in time one year and read what I wrote.  Doing...Doing...Doing...done.  Yup, I failed my goal.   You can read it here. Well, maybe I didn't fail it completely because I do have to say I am in really great shape right now, but I can't say that I lost the 16 lbs I wanted to lose.  So I'm not entirely disappointed in myself, but I think I need to rethink what I shall resolve to do this year.

Which brings me today's post:  How I am planning my 2017.

One goal. One month at a time.  There's no point making a goal for an entire year because no matter how simple it is or how fun, I will forget or get bored.  So this year I will try to break it down into monthly goals, all in the big picture of making a better me.

January 2017 Goal: Create a plan.

Okay, that's totally a blanket statement but it goes so well with today's post and also what better month to start a yearly plan than the month of new beginnings, of fresh start and fresher snow, of endings of semesters and of cozy nights spent bundled up at home.  Winter in Saskatchewan gives you plenty of cozy time which also provides ample time to reflect, so I'm going to use that as a starting block to create a path for my year.

What I've done thus far:

  • I am armed with 3 agendas this year, yup you read that right. 1 for life, 1 for blog, 1 for budget and like having things separated and less cluttered.

  • I took 2 weeks off of everything so I could relax and come back with renewed purpose.

  • I have been planning the shiznit out of the month so far.

  • I have laid out my goals for each month, which I realize may change but at least I have a plan.  They are as follows:

January/Organization, February/Fitness, March/Simplicity, April/Celebration, May/Photography, June/Learning, July/Friendships, August/Creativity, September/Videography, October/Cuisine, November/Gratitude, December/Family.

This month will bring lots of change as I wrap up my classroom teaching, which also means that 3 hours of each day will be freed up and I'm looking forward to using that time to really get a grasp on the person I want to be.  Luckily, being organized totally helps me get into a groove, plus who doesn't love crossing things off a list once you've accomplished them?  As a side note, this year I didn't go with an Erin Condren planner..I just couldn't justify the crazy price for shipping + I found two that look exactly like the Erin Condren but are significantly here you go, Canadians...try these two out:

 The Happy Planner from Michaels (always use a coupon, never pay full price!)

The Bando from Indigo.

Hop on over to Lisa's blog to see what kind of pointers she has for you.

Linking up with the Blended Blog and Mix & Match Mama & A Little Bit of Everything Blog

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