Wednesday, August 31, 2016

3 Months Down - My 1 year shopping challenge.

So you might be wondering what the hell am I talking about. I decided to go on a year long shopping challenge! What fun, right?

3 Months Down - My 1 year shopping challenge.

If you have ever met me or read this blog, you know I have a shopping problem. You might laugh and say oh me too, or you might think it's not that bad.. it's just shopping, right? Shopping is harmless, just be smart about it. Well that's the thing, I am not smart about it. I tell myself not to buy clothes and I buy more books than I can read in a year. I tell myself no books and I go on a beauty shopping spree that keeps Ulta and Walgreens in business. I tell myself to not buy any of those things and I buy secret weird things that I can't/won't talk about here.

3 Months Down - My 1 year shopping challenge.

I have been in major debt before, and I paid it off. You'd think that would teach me, that I would learn my lesson. But somehow I find myself in this position where I have clothes I bought 6 months ago that are still in their packaging. Guess I really 'needed' them, right?

Why would I decide to do a whole year of no/reduced shopping, especially when I have 'failed' more no spend months than I have passed? Honestly? I just felt like it. I was feeling really unsatisfied by my purchases (especially stitch fix) in May. Like I was just going through the motions, shopping for the sake of shopping. The act of shopping makes me happy, but then what? I'm stuck with no money and a lot of crap.

3 Months Down - My 1 year shopping challenge.

Every time I felt like I got ahead with savings, something else would knock it down. But I knew I was the something else. I am the person who keep spending our money and then being sad about it. I want to do certain things, and I am the person stopping us from doing those things.

We had the accident and had to pay the insurance deductible, then our AC went out.. Then, we found out that when KC was switching from private to public schools, there would be a month or two where we were only on one income. Which was scary. We had plenty saved up, so I wasn't actually worried that we wouldn't be able to feed ourselves or pay our bills, so we were fine, but there was no room to shop or do anything 'fun'. If I didn't shop so much, it wouldn't have been as big a deal, you know? All of that happening at once reinforced why I wanted to do this.

3 Months Down - My 1 year shopping challenge.

So I decided to do a no shopping year, with exceptions of course, but I didn't want to post about it immediately. I don't know when we will be going to Australia next year, but I am thinking June and I wanted to be done before then, so I had to start it almost as soon as I'd thought about it - which is probably good in hindsight because I would have bought a crap ton in the month leading up to the challenge otherwise. Like someone eating all the bad food in the house the day before they start a diet. I am actually quite proud of myself for starting in June, normally I would be like 'oh well the year is already halfway done, I should wait till next year - oh but wait, I have to shop in Australia in 2017, so I guess I could do 2018?'. Which, obviously, is not logical.

My rules or guidelines are as follows:

- No clothes, shoes, accessories or beauty products. If I run out of something (concealer or mascara), I can repurchase. If something falls apart, I can replace.

- I am 'allowed' to buy gifts and books. I'd like to not buy books, but I'm allowing it as long as I don't go crazy (I started this before I joined the library, so I'm actually not buying books right now).

- Anything joint or KC approved does not count. If KC wants to buy something that benefits me, I will not stop him. If I need or want something and he approves, I will buy it. This sounds like a cop out, but if you knew my husband you'd know it wasn't.

- Nothing counts on my trip with my mum. Again, you might think this is a cop out, but I really don't care. All my life, mum and I shopped together. I haven't seen her in over 2 years and I miss her. I miss shopping with her. I'm going to shop.

Honestly, I could sum up my goals/rules like this: no needless, mindless, unnecessary purchases. The thing is, I know the 'all or nothing' thing does not work for me. I need boundaries, yes, but I also need things to look forward to or for it to not feel too restrictive. This is about saving money, but it's also about not using shopping as a crutch or cure for everything.

3 Months Down - My 1 year shopping challenge.

So how have I done so far?

Month 1 - June

Books - $16 - Audible, kindle unlimited and Alyssa's book.
Shopping - $70.44 - spanx, tank top and christmas ornament on the cruise. KC was there for the ornament & tank top (also there for the tank top was lots of alcohol).

Month 2 - July

Books - $63 - Audible, kindle unlimited. ebooks on sale, a ticket to a signing I probably won't go to and 2 books that were only available in Australia and mum will bring them on her trip.

Month 3 - August

Books - $0 - aka the month I joined the library.
Shopping - $16 - new gym bag.
Gifts - $157

So there you have it - I've officially gone 3 months with zero clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup, whatever. I am preparing to shop on my trip with my mum, so I guess you could say I'm about to 'fail' but I am not looking at it like that, I fully plan to continue with this ban/challenge when I get back, and if you don't think that's okay well it's a good thing I'm doing this for me and not you. Wink.

This isn't a complete ban or no shopping or no spend or whatever. This is a challenge, for me, to learn how to shop less and not rely on shopping so much. When I am happy, sad, lost weight, gained weight, bored, lonely, PMSing, homesick - I turn to shopping (or food). I'd like to get away from that.

Only 9 months to go! I'm going to try and not go crazy on my trip with my mum, but I am 100% going to shop, and I have things I'd like to get (new work flats, new workout clothes). I am still proud of 3 months without buying anything though, and I will go back to it when I return home, so like I said - I'm not thinking of it as failure.

Not looking forward to Black Friday & Christmas - so many sales and temptations. So basically I will need to stay off the internet.

Just a quick reminder, if you'd like to link up with us tomorrow for what's new with you, we'd love to have you!

What's New With You

Have you ever done a shopping ban? Any tips to stay strong?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Bookish Olympics

As soon as Kristen posted the Olympic book tag I knew I'd be doing it. Thanks to Shannon for creating it and of course, the super fun graphics she made. 

Funny thing though, I wasn't super obsessed with the Olympics. I don't know why. Does that make me a bad human? I get super competitive and protective even when I don't care about whatever they are doing, so if I randomly walked into the kitchen at work and it was on, and someone made a crack about Australia, I'd get all rabid dog on them and it's just not cute. KC watched it a lot at home and I'd be reading and he'd be like 'hey watch this' so I did see quite a bit of it, I just didn't seek it out.

But. Olympics for books? SIGN ME UP PLEASE. Things like this are so fun to fill out and find books for, even if it will only be enjoyed by myself and other bookworms, it was still so fun.

And the first one stumps me! This was so hard because I rarely fall in love with a book from the first page. That being said, I have a shocking memory and couldn't tell you even if I did, so we'll just go with one I am absolutely certain I loved from the first page, The Royal We - definitely not for everyone, but if you are a fan of the royals, fairytales and happily ever afters - you will love this book as much as I did.

I don't know if I have read a lot of road trip books, but I read this one and absolutely adored it, and it stood out to me for this category.

No love triangle is a good love triangle! I always have a preference, and that makes me cranky at the author for even trying with the other one, it always feels so pointless. I know some people are like 'team this or that' but I have always been firmly in one team, normally the team the author wants you to be in, and I just don't give a crap about the other one. And then eventually when the other one dies, kills the main characters sister or falls in love with the main character's daughter and the main character gets angry - it just makes it feel so forced to me, like stop it, it was never in the running.

That being said, the only time I've ever thought 'oh crap, I don't know who I like, I like both of them!' was Throne of Glass. 

However (SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE REST) it was also the only one that I jumped ship and attached myself to another guy who isn't even in the first book. I think Sarah J Maas is a fabulous writer for tricking me and my feelings.

I feel like there are SO many books I don't 'get'. The way I avoid this is I avoid super smart or complicated books. I'm not saying I'm stupid, but I don't think I can appreciate those kinds of books and a lot of things just go straight over my head. Instead of going that avenue though, I'll go with Ready Player One. A book I LOVED, truly, the story was fabulous and I loved the characters, but I didn't 'get' a lot of the things I think you're supposed to understand to appreciate the story, and that took away from my enjoyment overall.

I'm trying to just use my brain/memory for this post, and this one has Summer in the title so it works. I loved this book, and I was worried I wouldn't, so I love it even more because of that.

This one was hard too, I guess I don't read a lot of fighty bloody books. I don't know this one was particularly bloody, but there was always fighting going on. The main character was a lot stronger/put up with more crap than I ever would!

I am not like clairvoyant or anything, but I guess I don't read a lot of plot twisty books, and if there are any plot twists I normally see them coming or they aren't too shocking. This one though? Very twisty, many gasps, made my heart beat like crazy.

I cry so easily it's a little bit sad. But all out sobbing so I can't see the page? The most recent books to do that to me were Me Before You & The Nightingale. Also, Still Alice and The Promise of Stardust were pretty sob inducing too, and I was in an airport for both of those, so that was fun.

This book was very slow! Good in the end, but so. slow.

There are so many that could go here - all the babysitters club books for example - but the one that jumps to mind as something I loved as a child and still love today is Matilda. It will never cease to amaze me that the right book at the right time can change your life, your attitude, your opinion of others or yourself. 

Dogs. It was the only one I could think of! It's a bit sad, because sick and dying animals always get me, but it was still a good book.

I don't remember a single thing about this book because it took everything in me to just read one word at a time, hoping I was one word closer to the end. I know lots of people loved it but goodness gracious I wanted to tear my eyes out. This is one of those books I should have given up on right off the bat.

I don't much remember why I loved this book so much because my memory sucks, but whenever I think of it, I get a feeling in the pit of my stomach that feels like friendship and sorrow over losing friendship, and that sounds way deeper than I meant it to, I just loved the friendship in this book so much and it made me want to hug my best friends.

I can only think of one, and it is because I read it recently. If I remember correctly (seriously I read this a few weeks ago, but poof goes the memory) one of the characters is a runner, and he goes to the Olympics. I'm sure I've read other sporty books but I can't seem to remember them right now.

Have you read any of these?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Link Up Reminder

Happy Monday All! Just a quick note to remind anyone who wants to link up with us, this Thursday (the 1st) is the next What's New With You link up.

We hope you'll join us!

What's New With You

Have a great week!

Friday, August 26, 2016

10 Happy Things

I love to be happy. Well, duh. Doesn't everyone? But really, when things make me happy, big or small, I love it, because being happy makes me happier and it's like a happy circle of happy that never ends. Here's some things that have made me happy recently:

- Friends. Nothing like spending time with your friends.

- Jimmy Johns. I was reading a book the other day (Don't You Cry) and at the start of the book, the character gets a turkey tom from Jimmy Johns and it made me laugh, because that is what I always get (no exaggeration, I do not stray) and it made me want one. I don't know why they taste so good but they do.

- Books. I have been reading like a maniac lately because someone thought it was a bright idea to let me take 50 books home from the library.

^ currently reading this collection of short stories.. I am really not a short story kinda gal, but this one sounded awesome. Badass girls for the win, right? So far there have been more duds than stars, but I'm only about halfway through.

- KC reading. When KC and I broke up in 2011, the one thing I kept saying/sobbing was 'but he likes to read'. I was so upset that I wouldn't find another person who liked to read and liked subtitles and me. It was like the perfect trifecta, so good thing we got back together. He reads every night without fail, and he has read all the books by his favourite author like 27 million times.

- Travel. Next Friday I'm off to see my mum - haven't seen her in over 2 years! I'm excited for where we are going (LA and Vegas), but mostly excited just to see and hang out with her. Okay, and the food she's bringing, I'm excited about that as well.

Sept 2013, mum's last trip to the US (not the last time I saw her, that was our trip home in 2014)

- Bridget Jones 3. Comes out next month and I can't wait. Someone at work said 'oh that Patrick Dempsey, he's so fine' and I was like she better pick Darcy or I will lose my shit. Or something along those lines.

- Netgalley. My Netgalley list has gone down! I had 19 at one point, I think. Now I have 8! I might have gotten rid of a couple because they just really didn't sound good and I don't know why I requested them, and one I tried and just couldn't get into so bye Felicia. But the rest I read, I swear on my love for Jimmy Johns.

- Cats. My cats bring me such joy, which might sound silly, but it's hard not to be happy around animals when they love you, and are cute and fluffy to boot.

^ Millie loves me you guys, but she doesn't love me enough to ever lay on me or the bed. But, she will lay on my nightstand ALL NIGHT. It's adorable and I can't handle the cuteness. Sometimes, in the morning if she knows I'm stirring, she will push her head into mine, which is cute. Or she will meow, which is not cute at 5am. Penny loves to lay on things, whether it is my gym bag or my book. Chelsea loves the car, so we went for a drive the other morning which was great until it started raining, which Chelsea hates. So, that was fun.

- Running. The other day I mentioned my friend would be out of town and I was pretty confident I wouldn't get out and run on my own, let alone 10 miles (what we were supposed to run). But I did! I think it's because I drove to the park instead of running around my own neighbourhood. The following week we ran together and it was way better, but still. Proud of doing it on my own.

This Sunday - 11 miles! I will try and wear a different top.

- This:

Made me laugh so hard. Seriously, it's definitely one of my top ten reasons I love America. JK. Kind of.

What's made you happy lately?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Thoughts after a year of Sling TV

We've had Sling TV for well over a year. The first time I talked about it, I was super obsessed with HGTV and not much has changed, but I wanted to do a full post on it in case you were considering cutting the cable cord.

Thoughts after a year of Sling TV - a much cheaper alternative to cable

First, a little background. I never had cable growing up. I'm much more of a DVD kinda gal. KC did, so it was a bit of an adjustment when we moved out. I had gotten used to having cable when I lived with them as well, aka I had gotten used to say yes to the dress and HGTV. We briefly looked into cable, but holy expensive.

We are way more into the internet as a whole, I know some people couldn't survive without cable, we could not survive without internet. Well we could, but then we'd most likely kill each other. So we chose great internet, no cable. We had his dad's log in to something or other so KC could watch some sports, or we would go to friends/his mom's house if he just had to watch something. When we moved out of the apartment and into the house, we looked into it again, still just as expensive, but this time we decided to go ahead and do it.. but AT&T never showed up to install it (twice) so we just cancelled it before it had begun.

Then we discovered Sling. It was like the cable gods heard me say 'I would totally pay $10 for HGTV per month' and KC saying 'I would totally pay $10 a month for ESPN'. Would you look at that, Sling has both HGTV and ESPN and it's only $20 something a month.

Thoughts after a year of Sling TV - the channels offered on the basic $20 a month package

Their slogan is take back tv. No hidden fees, no long term contracts.

Thoughts after a year of Sling TV - their mission statement. Take Back TV!

You can add extras (at a price, of course).

Thoughts after a year of Sling TV - Extras available with Sling TV

So what's the catch? Well, honestly, there really isn't a catch. There is nothing that you'll be kicking yourself about, in my opinon. But there are definite pros and cons.


Um, it is $20 a month. TWENTY. How much do you pay for cable?

It is $20 a month, did I mention that?

You can rewind! Some of the channels. Look, I'll be honest, I am in a monogamous TV relationship with HGTV and I don't stray. I do know you can't rewind on ESPN because KC has tried it, but on HGTV I can go back like 5 days or something, which means there is always something on.

It's available anywhere. I can log in at work and watch HGTV if I want. Computer, TV, xbox, phone. I don't have an ipad but I'm sure it's on that too.

No set up, no cancellation fees, no contract. Can your cable say that?

It's by Dish so it's not some crazy weird company you've never heard of.

New channels all the time. They are adding new channels all the time, and sometimes we get HBO or whatever for a week or something. Like I said, I'm married to HGTV but I think I have seen new channels because I have to scroll further to the right to get to HGTV now.


One device at a time. This isn't a big deal because up until recently we only had one TV,  but generally KC and I don't fight over what to watch. I do get pretty cranky around football season when I just want to watch some bloody HGTV, but now I can go into the other room (and take the amazon fire stick with me) and KC can watch football on normal TV, because I think it's on normal TV, right? Anyway, so this might be an issue for you if you want to watch HGTV and someone else wants to watch ESPN. They do have another service that allows multiple devices to stream at one time, but I don't really get the difference apart from that and our service works fine, so...

Connection. This is a pretty big one... we have pretty damn good internet but sometimes if we are downloading or if we have multiple devices going, the sling app will get all distorted and blurry. It usually rights itself within like 10-20 seconds, and it doesn't bother me on HGTV but it might bother you when watching a serious sport thing.

Connection 2: This is a different issue but I don't know what to call them because techie I am not. Sometimes we will click on the sling app, and it will show us the loading screen and then kick us out, like 5 times. We restart our amazon fire stick thingy and it normally fixes it. It's annoying, but not life threatening, again I'm sure it would be way more annoying if you super wanted/had to watch something right this very minute.

For both of these connection issues, honestly, they were fairly bad when we first got Sling, but it rarely happens anymore.

No DVR. Not a big deal to me, might be for you.

Lack of certain channels. Again, not a big deal for me, but if you don't see your favourite channel (bravo, E, etc) that might be a deal breaker for you.

Smart TV / Amazon fire stick - this isn't really slings fault, but it is annoying all the same. We just got a new tv a couple months ago, and it's one of those smart doodads- we have a netflix button on our remote, how cool is that? We also have other app thingys, but not sling. womp. womp. womp. That really annoys me because I HATE the amazon fire stick. It is so annoying. But, it's a small annoyance for having such a cool service like sling. I hope that somehow sling is added to our tv down the line, but I don't know if that's a thing. The reason I don't like the amazon fire stick is because it's small and annoying. It works fine and all that.

So are you interested in Sling?

What are your options? Well, first off, you can do a free 7 day trial! You do have to put in credit card details and such, but you can just cancel online before the 7 days are up if it's not your jam.

Here is what we did: we signed up for the free 7 day trial and realised we had no way to watch it on our TV. You need some sort of something in between, like an amazon fire stick or a roku tv. So I jumped back online and realised they were offering a free amazon fire stick, all you had to do was pay for 3 months up front, so we did, and we've been happy sling tv watchers ever since. But now, alas, no free fire stick.

But, you can get $50 off the amazon fire tv thingy, which is $100, so you only pay $50. Click here to get this deal.

Thoughts after a year of Sling TV - get $50 off the amazon fire tv

Or you can buy an amazon fire stick thingy, which is what we have. It's only $40. You wouldn't have to pay for 3 months up front if you did this.

Thoughts after a year of Sling TV - we use the amazon fire stick, which is only $40

If you don't want to go with amazon, they have roku deals:

Thoughts after a year of Sling TV - Roku deals with Sling TV

I obviously don't know anything about roku so I can't give you my opinion on that.

All of these deals are for new customers by the way, so when we got the amazon fire stick after doing our free trial, we had to switch email addresses to become 'new' customers, if that makes sense.

Pricing - I know I keep saying it is $20 a month, but with taxes or whatever else, it's $21.07.

Now, if you are happy with cable or you have no desire to get sling, or you have some other sort of service, whatever, that's cool, I'm just sharing our experience and how much we still love sling. Obviously this is 100% not sponsored, I get zero anything for talking about it, we pay for this service every month and will continue to do so unless they get rid of HGTV.

We also have Netflix, which is less than $10 a month, and we normally use this for TV shows and some movies, but we definitely use Sling more because it feels more like 'real TV'. You know?

It might not be as good as cable in some aspects, but for $20... It's pretty good.