No Spend – January Wrap Up

With January coming to an end, I figured it was time to update y’all on how my not spending went.

Spoiler: okay. Ish.

See ya later debt

Since my intention was to not spend money on unnecessary things and to cut back my grocery budget (I’m doing okay grocery-wise…..), I’ve been keeping track of my non-necessary spending to report back at the end of the month to keep my accountable in my challenge.

You’ve probably seen quite a few of these items in my Treat Yourself Tuesday posts, but I wanted to share them here as well.

Just this past week I figured out how to read books for free so no more buying books for me. Wahoo!

January 3

(Ha! the day I wrote the original post!)

I purchased two books that were on-sale from Kobo for 70% off.

witches of east end

Witches of East End for $2.99. Sometimes I like to fill my brain with fluff, this seemed like a good book to do just that. I’d read most of the Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz, and I’m pretty sure this was just made into a TV show, so I figured it was worth a shot.

the art of racing in the rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain for $4.99. Again, another book I’d heard great things about and that’s been on my list for a while. Again, at 70% off I figured these two books would likely keep me going through the end of January (and I’d better have a library card by then!)

January 4

mason tea

Mason jar travel tea mug from David’s Tea because how could I not?! Seriously. How amazing is it?! And, it’s huge, it holds nearly 750mL (that’s 25oz) it’ll be perfect for coffee and tea on the couch or for weekends. I’m in lurve.

January 6

photo (97)

photo (95)

These are from my Treat Yourself Tuesday post earlier this month, and yes, I did spend money on them. Three carafes and five wine selves to be exact. No, it wasn’t in the budget, but I’m so happy with how much better organized my closet is, I’d say it was worth it!

photo (100)

January 10


I’ve heard interesting reviews of this book, and I do like the Eat, Pray, Love kind of books, which I think this is similar to, so when it was 45% off through Kobo, I figured I’d buy it and add it to my reading list 🙂

January 14


I just loved this movie so much and I loved the songs, I had to buy the soundtrack. I know, I know, 30 going on 8. I’m okay with it 🙂

January 16


New shoes 🙂


The best perfume EVAH!

January 25


A griddler!


I also thought it would be a neat idea to track items I come across and would like to buy between now and mid-May. While I obviously won’t be able to buy all of them, I think it’ll be interesting to see if in 4 months it’s still something I would like.


I’ve been thinking about a spiralizer for a while, and at $31.99 is definitely something I can afford, but now it’s certainly more of a want than a need, so on the list it goes!


These Kai Noodle Soup Bowls from Crate and Barrel are adorable and not overly expensive, but again, they’re more of a want than a need, so again, on the list they go! Maybe I need to start eating Asian food every day for dinner, then they’d be a “need”, right?! 🙂


How cute are these?! They’re from West Elm and oh my gosh I love them. If anyone would like to purchase a few for me (say, the teal and silver) and ship ’em my way, that would be super 😛


Nikon D610 (this is the replacement of the Nikon D600). I’ve been considering a DSLR camera for a while. I’m a pretty decent photographer, but have been relying on my iPhone for, oh 99% of the pictures on my blog and I’d like to start showing some better images, and I really do enjoy taking pictures. This (and the requisite lenses) is something that’s going to have to wait until the summer. Ideally, I’d like to purchase this before going to SeaWheeze in August, as Vancouver is always gorgeous and I went to Van Dusen Gardens last year, took a bunch of pictures, and then lost them all. I’d love to go back and retake some of the images.


While I’m waiting to save money for the fancy camera above, I’m seriously considering picking up these cell phone lenses from Photojojo. At $99 (plus only $10 in shipping) they really aren’t that expensive, and it would be really neat to add some pop to my photos, since, oh 99.9% of all images on here are taken with my iPhone.


Since declaring this, my mindset around money has changed quite a bit. I’ll see something, say nail polish, that I’d normally buy, now I look at it and think “eh, I don’t really need it” and carry on with my day. I don’t feel like I’m missing out, or like I’m not “letting” myself buy it, I’m just making a choice not to.

This upcoming month I have a few items I’ll be spending money on. First up is a haircut and colour. I last had my hair coloured in September, and cut in November, so it’s certainly time! The second is my trip to Orlando. I’ve set a budget for myself as I plan on doing a tiny (seriously, tiny) bit of shopping while I’m there. It just wouldn’t be any fun to go an not spend money.

Tell me: What’s the best thing you bought this month? What items are currently on your wishlist?

The griddler is definitely my favourite!!


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My Motto

I wrote this post before all the ridiculousness with the failed attempts to register for Seawheeze, so if the timing seems…, that’s why. I’d like to think I wasn’t an asshole yesterday, just frustrated.

I’m not sure if it’s the weather, the time of year, or if I’m just more attuned to it, but I’ve been hearing so many stories of people being rude or inconsiderate lately, and it’s really starting to bother me. Then I get irritated with myself because I’m feeling bothered – see, a little over a year ago, I was one of those angry, snappy people.

photo (35)

The biggest change between then and now is that I’ve made it a goal to love myself. I figure if I love me, then I can hurtful interactions and rudeness roll off my back. It may not always be easy, and, sure, sometimes I stew and want to snark back, but I’ve learned it’s not up to me to change people. I can’t. (I’ve tried).

When I see people fixated on gossiping and judging, or filling holes with materialistic things, I feel badly for them. I know all too well what that’s like (see: buying lots of clothes and two cats). I tried with all my might to fill my sadness with stuff. When that didn’t work, I became pretty miserable. I was all about creating this life that appeared wonderful and perfect and happy – and I guess I did a pretty good job since so many people were shocked when my husband and I separated in 2012.

photo (37)

That was really the catalyst for me to start loving myself.

If I couldn’t love me, then how in the world would I (eventually) be able to love another person?

Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. Not at all. I was so used to having a partner to do things with that something simple as buying something for my condo, or going to the movies, or even registering for a race felt odd at first.

And then? I began doing things for me. I started to do things because I wanted to do them, not because I was supposed to.

I started caring less and less about what others thought of me, but generally made it a goal not to purposefully piss people off.

Which bring me to my motto:

Don’t be an asshole

Or, in poster form:

photo (36)

If you don’t love yourself this is difficult.

When you do? It’s so easy.

It doesn’t cost me anything to smile at someone having a bad day, or to make chit-chat at the grocery store.

Since learning to love myself I’m able to make decisions and feel strong in them, even if I know I might hurt someone. Now, I would never intentionally do something to hurt someone (as much as the vindictive, petty part of my bring my think of it on occasion) but sometimes in staying true to me I might hurt someone.

I don’t like it; it’s not a good feeling, but I’d rather stay true to me, than compromise me to make someone happy. Been there – done that; it didn’t turn out so well for me.

While not everything in my life may be how I imagined it would be, I’m much much happier now that I was a year ago, and I love that.

Tell me: Have you struggled with self-love? Are you concerned with what others think of you?

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

I‘m way late to this, but, eh, better late than never, right?!

Oh, and I love stats helper monkeys 🙂

Why don’t we take a look at what my very short year in this new little place looked like….(I should note that although I have archives back to 2011, anything before July 2013 has been moved over from my old blog, which is no longer functional. I didn’t want to lose the posts, so 90% of them aren’t published and I chose to publish a select few….just in case you’re confused as to why there are posts back to 2011 here. I’m sure most of you probably don’t even care). 😛


And where did y’all come from?


Since I’m nosy (duh) I totally want to know more of my European and Australian visitors. If you aren’t too shy, leave me a comment. I really don’t bite.


In case you didn’t know, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Bloglovin’ and Instagram.

Sorry for the pimp out.

top posts

Want to read some of my top posts?

(I’m assuming you said yes). Here you go…..

Life With Anxiety: Part 1 – The Backstory

Ab Challenge

#SeaWheeze Day 1: The Goods

My Thoughts on “Healthy Living”

Ups and Downs. Or, 375s days.


Hi friends!!

Picture me giving you a great big hug 🙂

Thanks so much for reading!! xoxo

How How I Feel Affects My Body Image

Ugh, what a totally awkward post title, but I’m assuming y’all understand what I mean 😉

It’s no secret that I’ve been not 100% healthy for a little over a month. I’ve done my best not to whine about it, but not being able to run, cross train and go to yoga has really started to affect me.

photo (22)

Last Wednesday I had an absolutely crap-tastic treadmill run. I set out to do an easy 10k and 5 minutes in I knew it probably wasn’t going to happen. I kept trying to stay positive and set a mini goal of making it to 30 minutes and then evaluating from there. Well, at 23 minutes I stopped running and walked the remaining 7 minutes.

Crap-tastic, indeed.

What I noticed after the run, is I started feeling bad about my body.

I started picking at how my pants fit, at how I’d gained (a small amount of) weight over the Christmas break.

Pick. Pick. Pick.

I know that feeling unwell and not being able to do the things I know I capable of doing affects how I feel about myself – this was a perfect example.

Gaining 4-6 pounds because I’ve been sick for, oh, roughly six weeks, and survived off alcohol and sugar for a week over Christmas is hardly significant. Like, barely.

My clothes all fit the same(ish), and I don’t feel all wibbly-wobbly (mostly) when I move.

But –

I don’t feel healthy.

Running, yoga, cross training: these are all things I include in my life because they make me feel better. It’s one thing to choose not to run because I have other commitments, it’s another to be unable to run because I’m not well.

I’m perfectly fine making a choice to take a day or two off from running when it’s my choice, but I really do feel like my body is betraying me with this dang cold because right now?! It’s not my choice.

I made the decision to take last Thursday off from running because my run on Wednesday made me feel worse. <– dumb.

I have no issues running through a cold (the sinus infection was completely different) but I’m not willing to push my recovery to healthfulness back just so I can get a few runs in, especially if those runs top out at 20 minutes because I can’t continue.

Can we also talk about how frustrating it is to run for 20 minutes and then have to take a freaking shower because I may have only ran for 20 minutes but I’m still a sweaty beast and needed (seriously, needed) to shower. How freaking stupid.

It’s certainly been eye-opening for me to see the distinct connection between how I feel health-wise and how I feel about my body.

Tell me: Does how you feel health-wise correlate to how you feel about your body?

No Spend Challenge

You read that right.

No spending from January 1 until my birthday in May. That’s 4.5 months.


See ya later debt

This concept both excites and terrifies me.

I’m hugely committed to getting my debt paid off in 2014 and getting back on track financially, so I want to do everything in my power to make sure I’m successful.

While I did spent quite a bit of money in 2013, it was also a very challenging year for me and I feel like maybe that’s what I needed to do in order to get through it. However, I’m certainly not going to let a rough year hold me back from being completely financially okay, and so I wanted to challenge myself to be as great as I can be with money.

There’s something about the Christmas/holiday/whatever season that bleeds me dry. It’s not really the buying of the presents (I didn’t have many to buy for this year) but hosting people, buying decorations, spending more on food, visiting with people, etc etc that all just adds up. Before December my grocery bill was tight and then December rolled around and, well, it wasn’t so tight anymore.

I know January is historically a month with little spending, and I thought I would attempt to carry that forward up to my birthday. Why my birthday? Because I’ll probably want to buy myself a birthday present 🙂

What are the guidelines (I’m using guidelines here because rules just sounds restrictive):

  1. No wants. None. Anything purchased must be able to be justified and “it was pretty” although valid, isn’t good enough this time.
  2. Replacement items. For example, if I run out of mascara, I can buy a replacement mascara, but I can’t buy six replacement mascaras because Sephora had a neat little kit of them.
  3. Running shoes. I’m pretty sure I’m going to need between 1 and 3 (yes, I realize this is random) new shoes between now and my ultra. Staying uninjured is pretty important to me so I’ll purchase shoes as I need them, and they’re probably going to be the expensive Newton’s, but I’ll look for sales where I can.
  4. Food is okay. Obviously. No one wants me to die. But the food I purchase should be as part of my meal plan (yup, those are coming back!) and can’t be overly expensive (sorry fancy cheese).
  5. Eating out within reason. I’m going to allow myself one meal out per week. So if I buy my lunch for $4 one day, this will still count as one meal out.
  6. No Starbucks. Sorry Starbucks. I love you. You know I do, but sometimes you just get too dang expensive. After January I may permit myself one drink per month, but I’ll need to go cold turkey in January first to be sure.
  7. Makeup and clothes are off-limits. The only exception to this is the replacement rule. So if I get a hole in the crotch of my jeans, I’ll probably replace them, but that’s it. I have a ton of running clothes, so there’s no way I’ll need to buy any more between now and May (even though I may want to).
  8. Bye bye cable. I’m going to allow myself to keep cable until the Olympics are over, but after that? Bye bye. This will save me nearly $80/month and since I can stream most of my shows the day after online, I just don’t much see the point of paying for cable. Heck, even if I want to watch sports, I can head to a bar, or pay $2.99 for a hockey game online, if I really want to see it. I’m betting I won’t miss it as much as I think I will.
  9. Get a library card. This is something I haven’t done just because I’m lazy. I can rent books with my Kobo through my library for free, so it seems silly to keep buying books (but I do) but, since I can’t spend, a library card must be obtained. (Now to figure out where the closest library is so I can get a card!).
  10. Movies are okay? I haven’t yet decided how I feel about going to movies. I love going to movies, but at $13/ticket it can get pretty pricey (it’s $20 in IMAX) so maybe once a month? I’m not sure yet. I’m just thankful for Netflix.

I know the first month or so will be the hardest, but I’m pretty confident I can stick with this.

Bye bye debt!

Tell me: What’s the most radical thing you’ve done to pay off debt?


January Recap


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Reflections on 2013


Since 2014 is only now two days away, I figured I should finally get on sharing some of my thoughts on 2013. Since I’m in the habit of being ridiculously honest, I’ve been avoiding writing and reflecting. See, depending on my mood, the day, the position of the sun, whatever, I flip-flop between thinking 2013 wasn’t too bad and thinking it was kind of shitty and awful.

Logic tells me it’s probably some place in between.

While I love reading reflections month by month of people’s blogs, I think I might table that for now (you never know, it might pop up in a day or two!) and instead I want to reflect back on 2013.

At the start of the year when I reflected on 2012, I cried. A lot. I knew I needed to focus more on me and loving me in 2013 and I can say I was definitely successful with that. There are some days when I might have more love for me than others, but I can say with certainty that 2013 is the year I learned to love myself.

In 2013 I also lived on my own for the first time ever. Yup, you read that right. I knew it would be challenging, but I also knew it was something I absolutely needed to do in order to learn about me, to accept me and to grow as a person.

From the two items above, 2013 was definitely a year of me. Loving me and doing things for me, like running.

Oh running. If I’ve ever talked to you about running, you’ve heard me say that running saved me. It’s true. Running absolutely saved me. On the days where I was miserable and just felt like crawling into a hole and never coming out, running helped. I wouldn’t always come out of it cheerful, but I’d at least have my thoughts in order (or, in some semblance of an order; any reader of my blog knows my thoughts and words don’t always come out making sense).

I also let go of friendships that were no longer serving me. I never like losing a friend and in the past I’ve held onto friendships that hurt me, but this year I let those go, and I did it without guilt. While I’m still sad to have seen those friendships go, I do believe they were in my life for a purpose and I’m glad to have had them.

Letting go of what no longer served me allowed me to open myself up to people I could trust, and I’ve formed amazing new friendships this year with people I love and I know love me back. (Pardon me, I seem to have something in my eye…..) I’ve also reconnected with old friends; one of the best feelings in the world is reconnecting with someone and feeling like nothing has changed.

A lot of what I’ve written is pretty fluffy, but, 2013 was a pretty fluffy year for me. Yes, there were some bad parts and some parts that still hurt deeply when I think about them, but I also know that I’ve grown more than I could have ever imagined and I’m absolutely certain that 2014 will include more growth – and hopefully some more concrete thoughts and feelings!

Cheers to the end of 2013, my friends and new beginnings in 2014. C’mon by on Tuesday night, I’ll have the champagne chilled.

Fun things I can’t have…..yet.

Before starting, yes, I realize the irony in talking about monthly subscription services right after talking about budgeting. It happens 🙂

This doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and blow my pay cheque on stuff – I actually believe the below services can save money. Heck, they’re saving me money since I’m in Canada and don’t currently have the option of using any of them.

There are three awesome subscription services that I’m anxiously waiting to be available in Canada.

Stitch Fix

By now I’m pretty sure nearly everyone knows what Stitch Fix is.

stitch fix

Short version: it’s an online personal stylist that periodically sends you clothing for you to try and then you keep, or return, the items.

Given my love of clothes and fashion, this is something I’m really crossing my fingers comes to Canada. I just hope the shipping cost won’t be ridiculous…


I only heard about Oyster in the past 10 days and I’m already loving the idea of it.


In short, it’s Netflix for books.

Unlimited books for $10/month. Since I read, oh, 2-3 books a month this service would absolutely save me money. I haven’t looked into the available titles, but, like anything new, I’m sure more and more books will become available as the service grows.

Next Issue

When reading about Oyster, I also heard about Next Issue, another awesome service.

next issue

Like Oyster, Net Issue is a monthly subscription service, but for magazines – and the magazines available are amazing!

There are two tiers, $10 for monthlies, or $15 for monthlies and weeklies. Since I can’t justify buying People Magazine for $5 every week, I don’t, but to pay $15/month to read any and all magazines I want?! YES PLEASE.

next issue 2

While I love Canada and wouldn’t trade it, there are just some things I’ve come to accept are a downfall:

  • Getting cool shit after the US
  • Expensive cell phone plans
  • Expensive cheese

Shrug. Such is life 🙂

Have you tried a subscription service?

Are you a Stitch Fix, Oyster or Next Issue member? If so, tell me about it! Do you love it?

Happy Hump Day!

Happy Wednesday, friends!

There’s something about Wednesday that makes the rest of the week seem like a coast to the weekend 🙂 I just love it.

There’s also something about Calgary and icky weather mid-week. Last week I attempted to go for a run in the rain and it turned out to be a great big failure, this week? Likely not happening. I’m just…..not a fan of training in the rain. I know, I know, you should train in it because you might have to race in it. I get that, but I’m  wimp. There. I said it.

Yesterday I brought my run gear and got in a quick tempo over lunch since I was getting my hair done after work! 😀 I just LOVE getting my hair done. I love the process, the scalp massage and the sassy new look after.

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Over the past few years I haven’t changed my hair much, sure I’ve change the cut a bit (getting bangs) and the colour a bit (moving to red from ombre) but it’s been pretty similar. Every so often I really want a bob, but, no. I love them on other people, but I just can’t carry it off….

Okay, back to the run. I must have checked my phone 57 times between 8:30 and 11:30, just to see what the weather would be like on my run. Don’t ask how often I check my phone when I have a race coming up – it’s inappropriate. I think it’s not safe to say I’ve entered the long-sleeved running zone. Fall, she is here. In Calgary, fall doesn’t slowly arrive with temperatures dropping and leaves change. Oh no. Fall screeches in like a bat out of hell. I swear, 10 days ago it was nearly 30 degrees out and now? We’re getting highs of 10. Gross.

Bathroom pictures are sexy.

Bathroom pictures are sexy.

On top of dropping temps, I’m also dealing with the lack of light. Last week was probably the worst for me in feeling the fall/September blues. I feel like I’m coming out of my funk this week and that’s such a welcome feeling. I keep relatively quiet about my anxiety (aside from mentioning I struggle with it) because I know everyone’s struggle is different.

However, I am so grateful and thankful and blessed that I can look back at who I was a year ago and know I’ve come out of that whole. I’m no longer negative or grumpy on a daily basis and I feel I can actually handle life. A year ago? I couldn’t handle life. Heck, I could barely handle me.

And, since this post is all over the place and got weirdly serious right here, I give you this for your mid-week laugh.