Monday, May 31, 2010

No-Eating-Out Dealio - WE DID IT!

Woohoo! We did it - a whole month of no-restaurant!! It wasn't always easy but we stuck to it.

We had to get pretty creative at times :
  • Pack a lunch - save time and money! If we had to go to Regina to run errands all day, instead of having lunch when we got there we packed a lunch and ate it on the drive there. We made it back home in time for dinner where our BBQ patiently awaited. Normally, we'd leave home around 11am and come back around 6 or 7pm. This time around, we left home at 12noon and we were back here by 5h30pm but we somehow accomplished more while we were there.
  • Make plans that work. We would plan our entire day around having to be home for mealtimes and quite frankly, our days turned out way more productive and fun. We had more of a schedule than we normally do and it forced up to get up earlier and to limit our errand trips. We saved a ton on gas and on random spending money or impulse buys.
  • Friends don't let friends eat out. Our friends were well aware of our challenge and quite understanding. They didn't ask us to meet them for dinner somewhere, they didn't tempt us with some take-out while we were at their house and they encouraged us to stick to it! I think it's important, when you attempt something like this to let your friends know so they don't lead you to your demise. We'd eat home and then meet them later for drinks or simply bring something we made at home as our contribution to the take-out food.
  • Free food is good food. Let's face it now, this whole challenge had some health benefits but the main thing was financial. Free donuts at a little work party - BRING IT! We satisfied our cravings with food we got for free. We didn't crash any wedding buffets or anything but it made us enjoy the free-ness even more. Not only was it free but it was also a thousand times more delicious to us than it really was!

...but we managed to learn a couple lessons along the way :
  1. Eating out costs a shwack load of money!!
    Well, I think we already knew that but we never really stopped to figure out exactly how much money it cost! ...and it's not always worth it. I haven't received any income or compensation (arg! but that's for another post) over the last month and a bit yet we were still able to save up as we normally do and haven't dug into our savings nearly as much as we anticipated. We're counting on some sick leave benefits to come in soon so it'll put our savings account right back on track for wedding expenses.
  2. Eating at home is just as fun!
    We realized that eating out had become a hobby for us. Therefore, it's not a necessity - we have a ton more hobbies to choose from to occupy our Saturday nights. Yes, it might be a bit lame to play Scrabble but have you met us!? We thrive on lame. It's also inspired me to try new recipes and stock up on frozen-left-overs. So in the long run our efforts will keep saving us even more money - who doesn't like that?!
  3. Doing something together!
    Yes, it was fun cooking together more and spending more time at home together. Most fun though was actually doing a challenge together. Working at something, putting our heads together to come up with solutions or ideas and accomplishing something together. Hurray!!
  4. Good health starts at home.
    It's insane how large restaurant portions are and I don't think we notice exactly how that affects our food intake in a week. I feel super healthy and I have much better portion-control-skills now than I've ever had my entire life. Eating only at home helped me kick the habit of stuffing my face until I explode. We also normally buy the "light" version of things when available and not disgusting (aka PC Blue Menu Butter Chicken Sauce *vom*) so we cut back on lots of calories, sugar, fat and a ton of that kind of stuff.
All that being sad, today, June 1st - we are having Burger King for dinner. As a reward and because we've been talking about it for the entire month.

Moving forward, we've decided to limit our restaurant outings to twice a month. Once from the 1st to the 15th and then one more time from the 15th until the end of the month. We definitely will be doing the no-eating-out dealio again - it won't have as much of a huge impact but maybe we can cut back on coffee purchases or something like that again next time.

I definitely recommend giving this a try to anyone who's trying to save a bit of money, anyone who wants to get some good eating habits back on track or anyone who simply wonders if they could do it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Oh Retail, how I've missed your ways!

So I finally got a new job. I interviewed for it 2 weeks ago and then accepted the position last week. It's retail management - I'll have staff that doesn't show up for work, out of whack inventory, cash registers that don't balance at the end of the night - all's right in the world again.

I don't want to disclose too much info about the job just yet because I'm not quite sure what the company policy is on that but I'm looking forward to something com-ple-te-ly new and challenging.

My first day was supposed to be on June 14, doing manager training in Saskatoon but I got a call from my DM this afternoon. I start on Wednesday. Yes, this Wednesday.

five by five: Why I (love/)hate the Twilight Saga

five by five: Why I (love/)hate the Twilight Saga

I refuse to jump on the Vampire bandwagon and Whitney does a great job at making points that convince me even more that I'm doing the right thing.

I've read many articles about it, trying to decide if I should read the books just to hate them more... but I don't even think it's worth my time.

I'm sure they are quite entertaining because, well... let's face it, the entire world is reading them or seeing the movies. I might give it up one day and decide to give it a go I just don't think the irritation is worth the entertainment.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dog for sale!

This weekend is supposed to be the Base Yard-Sale and true to Saskatchewan weather, it's raining. It's been pissing buckets all week and everyone hoped it would stop in time for the event. It was supposed to be today and then pushed back to tomorrow if it rains. If the sun doesn't come up tomorrow, I'm having a Living-Room-Sale.

To keep myself entertained and ready for the slightest ray of sunshine, I priced everything in the house yesterday. In a moment of craziness, I priced Nova for $0.30 ... she didn't get what was so funny.

Js bought her.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Countdown to my Tattoo!!

I'd been thinking about getting a second tattoo for a couple months now. I finally booked my appointment about a month ago and I'm getting super excited.

I was sure I'd blogged about it already but I can't find the post anywhere... boo!

Stay tuned for some photos and long posts of me complaining about the healing process.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Link - Lost Finale Explained Well!

A friend of mine, Chris, posted this to Facebook and I was amazed. Definitely worth the read. Everything is explained clearly, straight to the point and just... yeah. Read it.

Click here
for the full post or keep reading for some snippets I thought were worth quoting.
They really crashed. They really survived. They really discovered Dharma and the Others. The Island keeps the balance of good and evil in the world. It always has and always will perform that role. And the Island will always need a “Protector”. Jacob wasn’t the first, Hurley won’t be the last. However, Jacob had to deal with a malevolent force (MIB) that his mother, nor Hurley had to deal with. He created the devil and had to find a way to kill him — even though the rules prevented him from actually doing so.
According to the show, everyone creates their own “Sideways” purgatory with their “soulmates” throughout their lives and exist there until they all move on together. That’s a beautiful notion. Even if you aren’t religious or even spiritual, the idea that we live AND die together is deeply profound and moving.
But, from a more “behind the scenes” note: the reason Ben’s not in the church, and the reason no one is in the church but for Season 1 people is because they wrote the ending to the show after writing the pilot. And never changed it. [...] It’s pretty fantastic. [...] For those that wonder — the original ending started the moment Jack walked into the church and touches the casket to Jack closing his eyes as the other plane flies away. That was always JJ’s ending. And they kept it.
Interesting fact and quite cool when you stop and think about it.

Sweating up a storm... lovely.

No, it's not super hot out here. The weather was shite all weekend and there was even rumor of frost last night. Today is a good day though. The sun is back but there's a chilly wind so it's all good.

*back to topic*

Today was my first day back at the gym since... oh... ages. I should know by now to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of the workout. That's what a smart person would do. Hi, nice to meet you!

Plus, my allergies are totally messing up my sinuses like it's going out of style. Breathing shouldn't be this hard!!

So after 25 minutes of intense cardio, I stumbled to my friend's office to chat while I wait for Js to be done. Now we're home and I want to die. We have a community event to attend tonight and I really really just want to sleep. I guess it's just the post-work-out laze.

I need to go more regularly and me smarter about it all. I also need a work out partner that I don't mind sweating rivers in front of and looking like a damn fool. Oy, I miss Maggie.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

No-Eating-Out dealio - DONUTS!

Js got a promotion today and - you guessed it - they served DONUTS and coffee!

I didn't clue in right away that this was restaurant food that I could actually stuff my face with. Glee!

I was good and only had one while all the important people were there. I think it was the best donut I've ever had my entire life. We got to take home some left overs and so far I have inhaled two with my post-dinner coffee.

I guess Timmie's donuts were never a luxury before and this whole dealio. It's making me realize how much of a treat resaurant food should be as opposed to a hobby or an easy way out of having to do the dishes. I guess you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get to that last Honey Dip before Js.

Post-Lost thoughts ***spoiler alert***

I haven't quite figured out/put together all my thoughts with regards to the story, the ending, the context and all the hidden meanings just yet. My frustrations are as follows :

To those saying : I knew it all along - I called it during season 1!
I say : No. No, you didn't! There were no flash-sideways in season 1 and that's that. SHAME on you for trying to get away with that.

I may be totally wrong, but I believe the show is what you make of it and how you interpret everything is totally up to your personal beliefs and views. It just irks me when people say they knew it from the start when, clearly, they didn't have all the "facts" or details to come to a conclusion.

You may have guessed something along the lines of what it turned out to be and if so, more power to ya.

To those saying : So they were just dead all this time?
I say : Watch the show. Seriously.

To those saying : But what happened to the shark with the Dharma logo on it and what happened to that fern bush we saw in the bottom left corner of episode 4, season 2? This Finale sucked because I didn't get the answers I was looking for!
I say : The fern is fine.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Begining of the End

...of Lost. I will try and contain my sobbing and refrain from turning into a giant mass of sobbing emotional goo - for now. I make no promises for Sunday. As of 5pm (CST) it's fair game... bring out the Kleenex and keep heavy things that could break the TV out of my reach.

We've pretty much planned our entire weekend (by "we" I mean "I") around the series finale on Sunday so I thought I would post a little retro-post about the journey that has been my Lost ramblings...

May 2009 - Lost ramblings...
[...] my theory on the rocks Jack takes from "Adam and Eve" in the caves in Season 1. He never makes mention of them again and no one knows he's got them. That's too shady even for this show to not come back and bite us in the ass. My guess is, if it hasn't come back this far into the series... it has something to do with the conclusion.
I guess I wasn't too far off... :)

January 2010 - Beginning of the end
Not knowing what the heck is going on is what makes this show so captivating. If they answer all the questions, it won't be anything more than what people thought it was in the beginning : plane crash survivors on an island. *bore* What makes it so exciting is that it's so messed up - I don't want the thrills to go away.
Oh but they will... they will go away. *sob*

February 2010 - Lost again...
It started as a show about a bunch of exceptional strangers who landed on this random island. Now (to the untrained eye) it looks like a bunch of random people landed on an exceptional island.
Awh! I think if you listen carefully, you may hear my brain 'ssploding in the distance...

March 2010 - The Substitute
I was very much entertained by the names on the walls and spent countless hours online piecing together who's name was on there and who's was crossed out. Sure, I still want to know more and I had figured out they were all there for a reason... I was just very intrigued by how they were listed and where.
Now the fun begins... or ends rather.

And that's the last time I blogged about Lost. I've been trying to piece some thoughts together with regards to the finale and the last couple episodes to no avail. I'm not sure if it's denial or simply because I don't know what to think anymore. Nick did a pretty good job at putting down some (somewhat) coherent words that expressed very well how I feel about the whole thing.

I don't want to keep digging at stuff because I want to get some closure (HA!) from Sunday's episode. ... but I don't want it to end! I'm confuzzled.

Either way, with the episodes leading up to now, I'm pretty sure Sunday's finale will be nothing short of awesomesauce.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Learn more about Women's Cancers

In my efforts to support my cousins France and Aimelie in raising funds and awareness of women's cancers, here's some useful information. Remember to click here to donate on behalf of France and click here to donate on behalf of Aimelie.

Breast Cancer
Among Canadian women, breast cancer continues to be the most frequently diagnosed cancer with 22,700 new cases expected in 2009, nearly twice as many as lung cancer. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality among women, and is expected to take the lives of 5,400 Canadian women in 2009.
Click here to find out more information about signs, symptoms, screening, risk factors, treatment and the latest research.

Ovarian Cancer
2,500 new cases of ovarian cancer are expected to be diagnosed in Canadian women this year, with an estimated 1,750 deaths attributed to the disease.
Click here to find out more information about signs, symptoms, screening, risk factors, treatment and the latest research.

Cervical Cancer

1,300 new cases of cervical cancer are expected to be diagnosed in Canadian women this year, with an estimated 380 deaths attributed to the disease.
Click here to find out more information about signs, symptoms, screening, risk factors, treatment and the latest research.

Uterine Cancer

4,400 new cases of uterine cancer are expected to be diagnosed in Canadian women this year, with an estimated 800 deaths attributed to the disease.
Click here to find out more information about signs, symptoms, screening, risk factors, treatment and the latest research.

Vaginal Cancer
There is no early detection for vaginal cancer; however, sometimes doctors are able to detect vaginal changes during pap tests and pelvic exams.
Click here to find out more information about signs, symptoms, screening, risk factors, treatment and the latest research.

Vulvar Cancer
Through research, scientists are learning more about genes and cancerous vulvar cells. They are also studying the ability to prevent cancer through vaccinations.
Click here to find out more information about signs, symptoms, screening, risk factors, treatment and the latest research.

I didn't even know there were this many different kinds of women's cancer - one thing's for sure though, it's all in our best interest to be aware and informed. By supporting France and Aimelie, you'll be raising funds and awareness for each of those different types of cancer and most importantly, you'll be joining hands with Canada’s biggest difference-making endeavours for all women.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Home Stuff - Another challenge!

I like challenges (because being a military spouse isn't enough!) and I'm always trying to find ways to grow, learn and discover new things. I don't like to stand still.

I thought I would share my efforts, problems, solutions and adventures as I try to convert this house into our home.

Truth is, we currently live in Military Housing and it's the first place that we have that's "ours" as opposed to "mine and then he moved in". We've been here for a bit over a year and we haven't done much to the place to be quite honest. We were lucky to be assigned to a recently renovated MQ (Married Quarters - though they are called Housing Units now, they are still referred to as MQs or Qs) and we kinda got lazy because everything was good and functional and looked okay.

We both lived in rental apartments for quite some time before we moved in together. When you live in an apartment by yourself or with roommates, simply painting the walls is a huge task. Because you don't know how long you'll be living there for and because you have to paint everything back to the standard white or eggshell paint before you vacate, you tend to just leave it be.

That's what we've been telling ourselves over the last year and I'm sick and tired of looking at beige walls, box upon box of unpacked clutter due to lack of organizational space. Ugh.

My challenge will be to make this place a little bite more ours and to convince Js to let me. He doesn't see how it affects me that the downstairs bathroom is a total disaster and all those white walls blind me. There's also the challenge of saving a buck or two - because we don't own the place, we can't tear down a wall or anything so I have to find creative ways for people to look away from the ugly carpet. I also don't want to pay someone else to do the work and I don't want it to cost us our first born. It's just not worth spending too much money when we have so many other priorities and we'll get nothing in return.

I have a certificate in Interior Decorating that I've never used for anything else but plant my butt firmly in front of TV shows like 'Take this house and sell it' or 'Color Confidential'. I figure it's time to put it to a bit more productive use.

I'll post some "Home Stuff" updates, tips, progress reports as I face my challenge head on... Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

No-Eating-Out Dealio - PMSing is not cool. Ever.

I would step over a box of kitties to get a fry right now... with salt.

When I PMS, I get massive cravings for junk food (who doesn't?) and it's like my mind goes blank on all things that are not covered in salt or gravy. It's like in those cartoons when everyone turns into a walking turkey.

It's been especially difficult with our N0-Eating-Out dealio. I've tried to make some fries at home to kill the craving to no avail. Tonight it's burgers on the BBQ and nachos - let's hope it helps!

I'm trying to think of salty-junky style food we can make at home that will help sooth my need for greasy goodness.

On the menu over the next 14ish days :
- Fish and chips
- Mac and Cheese
- Poutine with real poutine sauce
- Chicken burgers

Any other suggestions or recipes are welcome! :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Offbeat Bride - How are you judged for your last name choice?

An interesting post I read today on about changing your name when you get married vs keeping your maiden name. Some folks at a Dutch university published a paper showing that women who took their husband's last names were less likely to be hired for jobs, and made significantly less money.

As Ariel puts it :
The shifts and trends in last names over the last 40 year have coincided with significant cultural shifts in women's societal roles, so I think it's understandable that people would use the heavily politicized issue of last names as an indicator. I don't think these assumptions are accurate, of course. But it seems reasonable to me that in the shifting cultural landscape of gender roles, people will cling to whatever clues they can get when making judgments.
I've blogged about my decision to take Js' name before and even though I think the results to the study are total bullcrap (not the study itself, I just think what the results show about society sucks balls.) I think the post by Ariel is very interesting including comments from someone who's read the entire study.


Weekend to End Women's Cancer

I'm not one to beg... but here's my begging for the next little while.

My cousins are participating in the Weekend to end Women's Cancer in Ottawa this year and if it weren't for 3000kms, I'd be right there with them. I want to support them as much as I can in their efforts so click here to donate on behalf of Aimelie and click here to donate on behalf of France. One or the other or both will do just fine! ;o)

France and Aimelie have seen the devastating effects of cancer from way too close and way too many times. It seems unfair sometimes how undeserving people get struck by this terrifying disease. It's with the support of family, friends and the entire world that men and women fight cancer each day.

Without your help we all lose the fight.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's day to all the proud moms out there!

Mother's day is not only a special day to take mom out for dinner but it's a special day when Moms can proudly show their Mom status without any reservation. I love this photo and I feel it represents well the type of mom-pride I'm talking about.

It's my mom and my best friend's mom, taking pictures of us caught on camera. Just look at their faces! You can tell right away that they are moms taking pictures of their kids... even though we were in our twenties. I'm pretty sure this same scenario played when we left for summer camp or on our high school graduation - actually I know it did.

Here's to moms all over the world, may you show your mom-pride to your hearts content today and every day of the year!

Spending mother's day 3000kms away from my mom is not ideal but we learn to make the most of it.

Last year, I created a little video to one of her favorite songs of a ton of family photos, pics of her and I and her and my dad. It was good for both of us because it allowed me to go down memory lane and hunt for all the best shots and also for her to show it off to all her friends because I posted it on YouTube for a short while. I had to remove it in case curious eyes lingered - there were photos in there of our wedding gown shopping adventures. I sent it to her on a CD she can watch in any DVD player or on any computer so needless to say, she's shown it to everyone.

This year, with a tighter budget than usual due to the wedding and my non-work-ness, I sent her a home made card and I'll be sending her flowers on Thursday with a little note to say that she's just as special any day of the week. :)

I'm lucky to have my mom!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Band-Aid Friendship

To add to my redefinition of friendship, I present to you : Band-Aid Friendship

The Band-Aid Friendship is a healthy blend of the Situational Friendship, the Occasional Friendship and the Now Friendship.

The Band-Aid friend is the friend who's only there for a short period of time in your life similar to the Situational friend. They can be a co-worker at a contract job or a temporary neighbor with whom you get along wonderfully but you know that when their time is up, it'll be over very much like the Now friend.

What makes the Band-Aid friend unique is that they are there to tide you over until the next one comes along. They are the friends you need in order to make it through life without hating everyone. You care, they care... just not enough to pursue this when it gets too complicated or time consuming. What's so wrong with that?!

Going through life without any Band-Aid friends or even refusing to make Band-Aid friends for fear of getting hurt is like asking to be miserable. It astounds me that some people don't seem to grasp the importance of this kind of relationship.

They are kind of like the lifeboats in relationships. Between two serious boyfriends, the Lifeboat Guy is the one who'll keep you entertained but you don't necessarily want to commit to. He's the guy who's cell phone number you keep just in case the new Relationship Potential Guy you're seeing doesn't quite work out. A safety net of sorts.

No-Eating-Out Dealio - Week 1 down!

It wasn't easy to kick the habit of eating out but we're 1/4 of the way to our goal. Oh man!

This week was good because I was able to make a ton of food - I made a huge lasagna (even made a smaller batch for friends), banana bread with chocolate chunks, chicken fajitas and a whole ton of delicious stuff. Luckily, I'm off work right now so I had plenty of time to figure out meals and actually prepare them. I enjoy cooking and baking so I didn't have a problem with that.

Today it's the weekend and there isn't much to do. Js is a tad hungover, he had drinks with friends last night so he doesn't want to go anywhere. I'm itching to get out of the house though so we're trying to find inexpensive things to do in town. Normally, on a day like today, we'd do stuff around the house or take the dog to the park and then go somewhere for a nice dinner. No dice. Not this weekend - and not for the rest of the month. It's not going to be easy!

I would kill for lemon grass chicken vermicelli right now. Kill.

To top it all, our worst fear and biggest challenge we'd envisioned came true. Last year, we were ADDICTED to the Angry Whopper from Burker King. It's a limited time thing and they normally only have it during the summer. As we predicted, it's back this summer and we have to wait a WHOLE month to get one. Oh hell.

You'll know where to find us at 12:01am on June 1st. ;)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Deposit Down

I've put down a deposit and finally decided on my next tattoo. Squee!

I can't even show you a photo of what it's going to look like. The artist is going to draw it directly on my skin which fits my whole unique criteria. I'm so excited about this, it's impossible.

It's going to hurt like a bitch though but I'll be worth the pain and it's simple and small enough that it won't be that long. Suck it up, princess!

I'm getting it in June *far* because I wanted to get it around the same time Js is getting his. His will take the whole day so that was the soonest we could book the guy for a sitting that long.

It's totally worth the wait and I'm really comfortable with the artist and the parlor.

Stay tuned...

No-Eating-Out Dealio

In our efforts to save some money considering the upcoming wedding and my non-working for a month, we have made a deal with ourselves not to eat out at the restaurant at all for the whole month of May. Oh my, it won't be easy.

We're on day 5 now and so far things are going good. We're trying to stay positive and here's what we're doing to keep sane :

- We're keeping our weekly junk food nights but having frozen pizza or Qing up some burgers. This way, we're not craving junk food as we normally would if we cut it all out of our meal planning.

- Bringing some variety to the mix. Trying new recipes is *almost* as exciting as eating out.

- Making huge batches of freezer friendly foods for the lazy nights.

- Inviting friends over instead of meeting them at the restaurant.

With our action plan in mind, I'm sure we'll be able to stick to it. :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Happy anniversary to great friends, wonderful people of the I-don't-know-what-I'd-do-without-you kind!

To many many more years of happiness, success and love!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wedding update : Invites almost ready to go!

I have been slaving all week (and Js has been putting up with me - patient man!) at our invites and I must say they look absolutely awesome. Even better than what I had pictured so it's a good surprise!

We can't wait to mail them out to everyone and get our first RSVP card back! :) Hurray!

When it's all said and done, I'll post some pics on here and maybe even a little DIY-how-to. They are quite simple and don't really look all that weddingy so I'm sure they could work for a baby shower or an anniversary party or something.

So this week, we're expecting our DJ to be picked and booked and our invites to be mailed out. Stay tuned for more updates...

3 months, 1 week and 5 days... eeek!


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