Hey folks! Welcome to 2017! I hope you had a wonderful holiday time.
My first resolution builds upon one that I did last year, which was to not wear plain ponytails to work anymore. I feel like that was good enough in my 20s but now in my 30s, I gotta step it up a little. That was going fairly well but this year I would really like to challenge myself by trying a minimum of one new hairstyle per week. I’ve been playing with curling irons, which is something I’ve never done before, with quite good results but right now it takes me an hour to curl my hair so I would like to also practice to cut that time down to under 30 minutes. I feel like my part-time job at MAC Cosmetics will help with that as the women (and men) there are always doing interesting things with their hair and this will provide a lot of inspiration.
My next resolution is to get organized. One of our family goals is to buy a new house this year and this requires a lot of planning, cleaning, organizing and small handy-man jobs. We did the renovation to our house last year, so this year our house needs a bunch of small things, paint touch-ups, half-finished project completions, etc. To this end, I have purchased and read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I will have a review for you soon.
My last resolution is only partially a resolution. I’m going on a no-buy for the next three months. Being unemployed for most of 2016 forced me to evaluate the things I purchase. To really think about what is essential and what is not. I buy a lot of unessential things and I don’t appreciate the things I have as much as I think I should. Also, my birthday is in January and I tend to go a little crazy buying things I don’t really need. I will blog about my no-buy as I think not buying things is just as important a story as the things you do buy. And I feel blogging about it will help keep me honest and less likely to go crazy and not buy random stuff.
What are your resolutions, I’d love to hear them! Happy (Not) Shopping!
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a parent say, “My kid(s) has/have too many toys!”, well, I’d have even more makeup than I do right now. I asked friends for ideas for Gift Guides and “Gifts for Kids that Aren’t Toys” was one of the top ones.
My first suggestion when I hear this complaint, is to buy “experience” gifts vs. physical gifts. Winnipeg is a great city for finding things to do in all seasons as long as you know where to look. (Note: prices quoted below are for an individual child’s admission or membership. For more information on family, adult or senior rates, please click on the links).
For a learning experience:
We’ve taken daughter and cousins to the Children’s Museum (admission $11+GST; membership $45+GST) several times and it’s always hours of fun. With such a wide age range (oldest is 5 years older than the youngest) it has always been a challenge to find something that the littlest ones can do that won’t bore the older ones. I feel the museum appeals to all the age ranges, especially at the water table.
I think the majority of people in Winnipeg have been to the new Journey to Churchill exhibit at the Assiniboine Park Zoo (admission $10.50; membership $40) but if you haven’t made it yet, I highly recommend it. Definitely go in the morning if you go in the summer, the animals are much more active than in the afternoon. Also, Daughter and I recently went to a birthday party at the zoo at the end of November and wandered around afterwards and were surprised at how active most animals were in the wintertime, especially the tigers! The zoo is open 364 days per year and we really enjoyed the wintertime experience. When you visit, take a rest at the Tundra Grill to have some lunch and check out the Polar Playground.
For those days when it’s -30oC plus wind chill and the kids just need to run around, we’ve had a great time at Great Big Adventure(admission: $11.95 + taxes; special promo for unlimited 2017 visits $129.99 + taxes). There’s climbing, slides, a small structure for babies/toddlers and a large sitting area for parents. While they don’t allow outside food or beverages, there is a variety of food options including pizza, popcorn, veggies & dip, yogurt, pop, etc. We love going first thing in the morning and meeting other friends and their moms and dads there. Excellent playing time for the kids and visiting time for the adults.
Other ideas: Sky Zone (admission: $12 for 30 mins; $16 for 60 mins; $20 for 90 mins; and $24 for 120 mins) and Kid City
I love going to the movies. I would go to the movies all the time if I could. My favourite thing to do is occasionally sneak away from work early on a Tuesday, pick up Daughter from daycare early and go to a 5 pm movie. We get hot dogs and popcorn and have a great time together! For the Christmas season both Cinplex and Landmark are having extra deals on their giftcards: with the purchase of the giftcard, get coupons and/or extra freebies. (See links for details).
Any experience-type gifts that I missed? Please leave me a comment. Happy Shopping!
Welcome to a new series of “Items I Didn’t Know I Needed and Now I Can’t Live Without!” These are items that I either bought or received as gifts and now can’t imagine getting through a day or week without them. It’s sort-of a gift guide since it’s things I love and I think others would love too.
My first item is hands-down, my Breville electric variable tempurature kettle. It is amazing. It has five preset temperature setting for making various types of tea which is wonderful but the best feature, in my opinion, is that it has a KEEP WARM button that keeps the kettle at the preset temperature for 15 minutes. Which is amazing for someone like me, who presses the button and walks away, forgetting about the boiled water. With the KEEP WARM function, it’s much more likely that I’m going to catch water at the correct temperature. If you have a tea lover in your house, this would be a great gift, I use mine everyday and whine (to myself) when I have to use a regular electric kettle. I have linked to Teavana above but it’s also available at Hudson’s Bay.
Keeping with the warm-beverage theme, I LOVE my milk frother. Since Starbucks introduced me to the amazingness of tea lattes, they have been my go-to drink for Starbucks trips and afternoon-tea-at-home time. My model is discontinued but Starbucks did a redesign this year and the new model is much less likely to break (which is what my other one did). My first model was an espresso and milk frother combo but since I don’t drink coffee I much prefer the frother-only style. Tip: pick up some Joy tea to mix with your hot milk – you won’t be sorry.
When I asked my mom to contribute to this list, she immediately said, “My rice cooker!” I can’t remember why I picked her up a rice cooker for Christmas a few years ago but she swears it’s the perfect set-it-and-forget-it small appliance. Pair it with your slow cooker for easy meals for busy families.
i have used Brita filters and dispensers for years. I know we have pretty good water in Winnipeg but I like to extra filter our water, apparently. My one complaint was always that the dispenser was too small. One or two glasses of water and the whole thing was empty and then next person didn’t get cold water. This gigantic Brita dispenser makes me so happy. It’s also helpful as small children can get their own water with the side tap dispenser. We bought ours at Target when it was in Canada, but I found the same one at Amazon.ca.
My last item is my Kitchen Aid mixer. Before I bought mine, I thought this item was a superfluous small appliance and believe me, I am the queen of small appliances! But I am okay to admit when I’ve made a mistake and boy, was I wrong. This appliance is amazing. I use it to mix cookie batter, mix ground beef into hamburgers, kneed dough for pizza crusts. I love that you can also get extra attachments like pasta makers and meat grinders (not that I have those things but I COULD get them if I wanted, lol).
So, there we go. My favourite kitchen items that I didn’t know I even needed. Do you have any items for the kitchen that are you absolute favourite? I’d love to hear about them. Happy Shopping!
Note: All these items are things I actually own and either received from family members/friends or bought myself. No items were provided as promotional products.
I’m a pretty typical Manitoban – I love a deal! Sales, discounts, coupons, and occasionally, used items. Anything to stretch my dollars farther. Since Christmas is right around the corner and you may be thinking about buying some of those large-ticket items second-hand to save some money, I thought it would also be good to put together some tips for buying on Kijiji. Also, if you haven’t, check out my tips on Selling on Kijiji.
Buyer beware – Scammers are on both sides of the Kijiji transaction, both buying and selling. Be sure to read the description carefully and look closely at all the pictures. Request more pictures if you think the person doesn’t actually have the item. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Be aware of stolen items – People steal stuff and then sell it on Kijiji. If you buy something that is stolen on Kijiji, at the very least it is going to be confiscated and you will be out money. If the police think you knew the item was stolen or somehow had a hand in stealing it, the consequences could be much, much worse. Again, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Haggling – Most sellers on Kijiji are open to a little bit of haggling. 10% is a good round number to end up at. Meaning, start at 20% off and hope the seller will meet you in the middle. If not, be prepared to either pay the full amount for the item or walk away from the sale. For example, a women sent a message asking if I would sell my $50 item for $40. I sent back a counter offer of $45. (I haven’t heard from her since so maybe she didn’t appreciate my counter-offer, lol).
Be careful – Try to meet in public places, don’t bring too much extra cash with you, be aware of your surroundings when meeting and if you have any red flags about the sale, walk away immediately. A good deal isn’t worth getting robbed or your life.
Apologies if I’ve scared you. I haven’t had any situations where I’ve bought stolen merchandise or been robbed while trying to complete a transaction. These are extreme examples but it’s important to be prepared in case something goes astray. Be honest and you’ll find some great deals on some barely-used items.
Bought on Kijiji? Good experience? Bad experience? I’d love to hear about them. Happy Shopping!
Since I was jobless most of the year, I have been coming up with creative ways to still have Christmas. I mean, Husband and I aren’t getting any presents but it’s important to both of us that Daughter and nieces and nephews still get something from us and have a nice Christmas. Luckily for us, I am a shopping expert and have come up with some ways to save some cash this holiday season.
Who has change just hanging around? Since the penny has been taken out of circulation, I think most of us aren’t sure what to do when we find them and we all have a stash. I took all our change to St. Vital Centre. They have a change counter there, near Customer Service, that counts your loose change and exchanges it for a gift certificate for almost anywhere in the mall. I tried this a couple of weeks ago and got almost $50! It was super easy and the change counter doesn’t charge you for counting your money, the way most other change counters that I’ve seen do (anywhere from 5-10%).
Here is my stash of coins in the counter. I actually filled it too much and had to take some out and then put them through.
Another great tip is to look for add-ons when you are buying things. For example, when you buy a $40 Cineplex giftcard, you get a Holiday Bundle that also includes a Free Popcorn, BOGO Free Admission, Free Premium Ticket Upgrade, Extra 100 Scene Points, and $6.99 Wednesday Admission. Keep them for yourself or include some of them in a card for someone else. Sephora is another place that has some great free gifts you can add onto your purchase when you buy online – check the Beauty Deals section or sign up for their emails.
One of my favourite things is the one-day sales around this time of year. Joe Fresh was doing some in the week leading up to Black Friday and Hudson’s Bay is doing their holiday ones now. The idea is that one or two specific items are on sale for a bargain-basement price and/or a category of specific items are on deep discount (40% or higher). I love getting Hudson’s Bay’s emails every morning telling me what’s on sale today. In fact, I got a really nice pair of gloves there the other day, on sale for 50% off as outerwear was the deal-of-the-day.
If you shop online, stop reading this and go sign up for Ebates IMMEDIATELY! (If you would like to support my shopping addiction, please use my affiliate code to sign up here.) Ebates is similar to using AirmilesShops.com in that you go to the website first and then search for the storefront that you would like to shop at. Click on it and continue shopping as you normally would. Shops can return anywhere from 1% to 10% of your purchase amount (minus shipping and taxes) in an account. Three or four times per year, Ebates sends you a cheque in the mail for the balance of your account. I’m assuming they are data-mining your shopping trips and purchases and selling the information but Amazon does that and doesn’t give you anything. I collected $32 from Ebates this year, just from buying things I would normally buy.
Well, those are my tips for helping with the cash crunch during the holiday season. Do you have any other tips? I’d love to hear them. Happy Shopping!
*Note: While there is one affiliate link, it is clearly marked for your information.
Hey folks, here is a video with me trying on glitter. It’s not quite a tutorial because I this was my first time before but it went pretty well so hopefully you can still pick up some tips from it. Not sure what happened at the end. I remembered filming an ending but can’t find the video so I made it work.
Any suggestions for future Adventures in Glitter videos or questions? Please leave me a comment. Happy Shopping!
Now that you’ve read my Disney World trip post, here are my tips for your own amazing vacation at Walt Disney World. Just FYI, for the most part, the pics are just random ones of our trip. They don’t necessarily correspond to the tips ahead.
Like this one:
I’m a huge fan of research before a trip. I’m also the family member who decides where we will go, what we will see and where we will stay, so I do kind of have to do some research. I pretend I don’t enjoy it but I’m kidding no one. For this trip, I went to Chapters and flipped through their travel section and bought Walt Disney World with Kids 2016. I highly recommend this book. I’ve already lent mine to a friend who is going later this year. It makes excellent recommendations about scheduling ride times, using your FastPass+, where to eat, and it even has it’s own app that you can buy to that helps you decipher wait times while you’re in the park. Both the book and the app were super handy and I definitely recommend them.
FastPass+ – the book goes into all sorts of detail about it so I’m just going to give you an overview. When you buy your DW ticket(s), each ticket holder gets three opportunities to schedule a time when they can “jump the line” in a particular ride. You can schedule these as soon as you buy your tickets, up to thirty days (sixty days if you are a hotel guest) in advance. Specific rides have a “FastPass+” entrance (you see them everywhere) with a clock over the entrance. When your time comes up, you walk up to the FastPass+ entrance, scan your ticket, or wristband, and voila, shorter lineup to get on the same ride. For example, we had a FastPass+ at 10:30 am for Splash Mountain, which is valid between 10:30 am and 11:30 am. At 10:40 am, we scanned our cards at the FastPass+ entrance and went into a lineup that was ALOT shorter than the regular lineup. We walked past the regular lineup people for close to 5 minutes. I’m so not even kidding. We walked and walked and walked and walked, passing people who were in the regular lineup (some of whom were glaring at us as they clearly had been waiting a long time). Within 10 minutes, we were on the ride that others were waiting over an hour to get on. This is definitely a feature that is well worth looking into. You can even download the Disney World app and change your FastPass+ reservations while just wandering around the park. They also have kiosks set up for those who don’t have the app or just don’t want to use their phones.
If you have a toddler or preschooler, I would bring your own stroller. You can rent strollers in the park but you park your car FAR from the entrance. At Epcot it was probably about a kilometre, but at Magic Kingdom parking was probably closer to a mile away from the entrance. There are trams all day but during busy times you have to wait for them and it was a toss up on whether it was faster to walk or ride.
For those of you worried about losing your stroller or having it stolen, have no fear. Husband (who is a chatty guy) was talking to a security guard who was watching over one of the (many, many) stroller parking lots (so not kidding) about how much theft they see. The security guard told him that theft isn’t a problem there, but they had a huge problem with abandoned strollers! I have two theories about that: 1) exits to rides often aren’t near the entrances. If you’ve parked your stroller by the entrance, you often have to wander a little to find the entrance and your stroller. 2) Occasionally, stroller parking gets a little out of hand. People just leave them everywhere or they are grouped untidily. Security guards or other staff will come around and arrange the strollers so they look more tidy. If you think you’re stroller’s missing, just keep looking, it’s probably just nicely placed a little farther down the line or in the legitimate stroller parking area.
We rented a car, even though our hotel (which wasn’t on Disney property) had a bus service to and from the park and I am so glad we did. It was about a 10 – 15 minute car ride from the hotel to the parking lot of either Epcot or Magic Kingdom but it took AN HOUR from the time you were leaving the hotel until the moment you entered the park. How can this be, you say. Well, there’s the car ride, then it takes you between 5 – 20 minutes to park, depending on the time of day and if other people are idiots that can’t figure out how to follow the dude in front of them. Then there’s the 1 km – 1 mile walk to the entrance where you wait for a ferry or a tram to take you across the lagoon to where Magic Kingdom actually was. It was a little shorter to get to Epcot but not much. By the time you get through security and actually into the park, you left the hotel an hour ago. I can’t imagine adding waiting for a bus that makes 6000 stops on the way to your hotel/the park onto this trip. Rent the car, you will totally appreciate it because….
The book suggests that you take a minimum four hour break in the middle of the afternoon, go back to your hotel, have lunch and naps or a swimming break. The first time I read that, I thought that was just the craziest thing I had ever heard. I mean, I travel all this way to Florida, and spend $100 per person, per day to come to this stupid park and you’re suggesting that I take a four hour break in the middle of the afternoon?!? Are you insane??? No, they are brilliant. We did it and next time we go, we will do it again. First of all, it cut down on spending since we were able to have lunches in our hotel (and since we had a kitchenette, lunches were way cheaper than a restaurant) and having that time to take a nap everyday was amazing. I napped every single day we visited DW. Daughter napped most days (you win some, you lose some). And when we would return to the park at 4pm, we were refreshed and raring to see more sights and ride more rides. By 5 pm, you could see the parents and the kids who had been there all day start to meltdown. And we would walk around them and get on our next ride. Trust me, take the break.
So those are my five tips on visiting Walt Disney World as well as the plethora of great information you will find in the book.
Have you visited DW? Any tips that I missed that you would like to add? I’d love to hear them. Happy Shopping!
My SIL posted an article on Facebook entitled, “Ten Things Our Kids Don’t Need for Christmas This Year.” Of course I read it, I’m always open for new suggestions on how to buy experiences and not stuff. This was a little different. It talked about the Christian perspective of Christmas but most importantly, it talked about not being perfect. Not buying everything on your kids’ list. Not staying awake at night to Pinterest the heck out of your house so it looks perfect and everything is homemade. And that really resonated with me.
I write a shopping blog. Some would think that this would make me a blatant consumerist and this blog would be propagating the idea that “More is Better.” But that’s not why I write the blog or shop for others. I do this to buy less. To buy more meaningful. To buy things that will be loved and cherished, played with, and worn. Not things that are forgotten in a closet or a basement. Chances are, if you are reading my blog, you have too much stuff already and so does just about everyone you know.
So heading into this holiday season, I just wanted to say a few things: Don’t Buy Everything. Whether that means you make a gift, get loved ones one nice thing instead of 100 stocking stuffers, or donate some money or time to someone less fortunate. Don’t get sucked into the phenomenon that “More is Better” or “Give Your Kids Everything They Want So They Don’t Hate You.” Buy what you can afford. Feel good about what you give. A gift means that you took time and money to think about someone in your life. It should not be an overwhelmingly guilt-ridden obligation. Take whatever is your “Reason for the Season” and hold onto it. I plan on doing exactly that. And I hope that my attitude about doing things together will make each Christmas the best one that my daughter remembers.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays or whatever greeting you prefer this time of year. I wish the best for you and wonderful times with family and friends. And, as always, Happy Shopping!
Hey folks! Here’s the last edition of “I’m Back and Where I’ve Been.” Wow, I knew I was busy this summer but when you break it down like this, I did a lot of stuff. Anyways, onto the pictures.
My friend Amy and I have become race buddies. We started this last year when we did Foam Fest as a group and then her friend flaked on her four days before Dirty Donkey and she begged me to do the race with no training other than regular bootcamps (I hurt so bad the next day). This year, we did Foam Fest, which is a 5K fun run. If you want to start getting into doing fun runs and obstacle courses, this is the one to start with. There are families and kids doing this run. It’s not competitive. It’s got bouncy-castle-type-things to jump on and slide on and lots and lots of foam. I highly recommend it and I’m planning on taking Daughter when she’s old enough.
And then we did Spartan. It’s a 5K, 22 obstacle course. When I told people we were doing this race, the number one response was, “Why?” Honestly, I had no answer. Because we’re crazy? Because Amy made me?
It was hard. It was competitive. It was kick-ass!!
We are so doing it again next year. (This reminds me that I should start training for the rope…. ugh).
One of the many, many bruises I had after the race. I wore them like badges of honour.
After I was done with races that kicked my ass, we took an extra long weekend and did some touring around Manitoba. We’ve done this the last couple of years: rent a room for two nights at the South Beach Casino and Resort in Scanterbury on the east side of Lake Winnipeg and do a tour of the beaches in the area. It started when Daughter was little and we had one disastrous camping trip so we rented a hotel room. And now we really like doing it. If it rains, we spend time at the pool. If not, we head to the beach.
We build sandcastle and picnic and chase after seagulls. I definitely look forward to it every year.
And the rest are just some miscellaneous pictures that I took over the summer. I hope you enjoyed reading about my summer as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you. Happy Shopping!