Life, Stuff About Me

Solo Valentine's Day - stock image

I keep starting this post and then giggling about the fact that I’ve apparently made my brand “celebrating holidays at home by yourself”. But don’t we all need a little reassurance that other people are in the same boat? The same small boat that isn’t going anywhere. A small boat that is “a solo Valentine’s day”. At home.

Honestly, all jokes aside, I’m not that bothered. I enjoy my own company and think I am a great date for myself. I can’t catch COVID from myself and when I’m in charge, I get to do all the things I love. None of the things I did yesterday were particularly novel or unique. I’m not reinventing self-care here. But does that really matter?

Here’s the thing about Valentine’s Day. Yes, of course I agree that you should show love to your people and to yourself every day. I’m not a sociopath. But our lives are so full and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little reminder to stop and take stock. To focus on only one thing. We have so many conflicting and shifting priorities, it’s nice to have someone else tell us what our priority should be fore a little.

I like holidays. (And I like celebrating small things. I’m not great at aesthetic themed events, but little celebrations, I love.) And, quite honestly, I loved my solo Valentine’s Day.

How I Spent Valentine’s Day

I made my favourite savoury oatmeal breakfast. (No pics because it’s definitely not photogenic – spinach, oats, sauteed mushrooms, eggs, cheese and hot sauce.)

I enjoyed a little daytime rose and puzzling. (You may have seen this on my stories.)

Solo Valentine's Day Yoga

I did Yoga with Adriene’s Valentine’s Day practice which was an incredible heart-opener. I love barre to work through things via movement, but yoga helps me connect with myself and where I’m at physically, emotionally, mentally. I feel like I’m finally starting to understand why we did so much yoga during my theatre degree.

Valentine's Day bath

I went real classic self-care by moving by rose to the bath with a candle, a bath bomb and a brand new book from the library. I love complex, thought-provoking literary fiction as much as the next girl. But sometimes you just want a fun fantasy to unwind with.

I also did a sheet mask, but I super did not take a picture of that because y’all know what a sheet mask looks like.

And I followed it up with actually doing my makeup, throwing on a hot pink sweater and enjoying some heart-shaped pizza!

Valentine's Day hair and makeup

Who says you can’t enjoy a day with yourself?

Life

2021 Word of the Year - Reach

Weeeeeell… it’s January 8. Let’s just address the elephant in the room. We are a week into 2021 and I’m just posting my Word of the Year (resolution, recap, whatever) post now.

Did I mean to disappear for two weeks?

I did not.

Is it now too late to post a 2020 recap?

Yeah, it probably is.

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Culture, Life

How I'm Celebrating my Christmas Break Alone Because of Covid

It is December 23, 2020 and yesterday was my last day of work until after New Years. Almost two weeks off! Plus? I am done school for the semester and don’t go back until January 11. (Don’t worry, I am starting up both things hot after the break – the next course I coordinate starts first day back and I literally have my first school zoom on the 11th). On the one hand, this is super exciting. On the other hand, this is the time of Covid and I’ll be spending most of my Christmas break alone.

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Life

How to Organize Your Notes for Learning

Here are some words I never imagined I would write while in my 30s – you guys, it’s midterm season! (Full disclosure – I don’t know that I actually had any midterms when I was doing either of my undergraduate degrees. And I don’t actually have midterms now in my Masters Degree, but I have a paper due soon and it’s basically the same thing.) This has been a weird semester. I know for myself, I feel like my course has just started and yet here I am. Somehow, despite keeping up, I feel like I’m also totally behind. So this weekend, I took some time to sit down, get myself organized, and reflect on what I have learned throughout my 21 years of being a scholar. Learn from my example – and mistakes – and let me present you with what I have learned about how to organize your notes for learning.

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Fitness, Life

If there’s one thing my readers know about me, it’s that I’m an actress. Oh no, wait, that’s not what this post is about… Let’s start over. If there’s one thing my readers know about me, it’s that I love challenges. Challenges are essentially the only way I actually achieve anything in life because I truly thrive on external validation. (Hashtag, maybe not the best quality? Hashtag love yourself?) Anyway, today is a not a deep dive into my psyche, today is a recap of the first week of my most recent challenge – Fit Girls Guide‘s 28 Day Jumpstart.

Challenges are the Only Way I Ever Achieve Anything
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Culture, Life

Erin looking down

I’m the worst at Youtube videos. I never like, I never comment, it takes forever before I remember to subscribe – even if I love every video you post. I’m working really hard at being an engaged viewer. I’m not there yet but, hey, what is life if we aren’t always striving towards something, right? One day I will totally remember to comment on a video.

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Life

LOLOL, guess who didn’t do a final wrapup for their No Spend April challenge?

Classic Erin. New blog series = the flimsiest of plans.

Short version = despite spending an inordinate amount of savings on new couches/chairs, No Spend April went pretty well. I didn’t continue it into May, but I am certainly more mindful of the spending and I am planning (as I do every summer) to have a Frugal!Summer. Maybe this summer it will actually work?

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Life

Week Three

I keep thinking I skipped writing about No-Spend Week Three and I’ve messed up – and then I realize that I’m currently in Week Four and April has just been a bit of a runaway blur. I still have over a week left! I should be less smug about “no-spend”.

The Spends

  • Truth time: I bought a set of chairs and a new couch last week. (Note: Couch was bought on my mom’s HBC credit card so she can get points and I will be reimbursing her when the bill comes due, so not until May.)

This is literally the opposite of “No Spend”.

But hear me out! I’ve been looking for a new living room set since last summer. Despite being a fully functional adult and actually having a pretty cute house, I’ve never actually picked out my own, new furniture and bought it. Right around January, I picked out the chairs I liked at Ikea and the couch/chaise I loved at The Bay. Since then, I’ve just been waiting for a good price and, coincidentally, Ikea had a living room sale and The Bay put their couches on sale for 55% off, which is the best sale I’ve seen since the summer.

So, since this spend was from savings, it’s something that I would have spent a ton more on if I waited until May and it was mindful… I think it fits into the philosophy of “No-Spend April”.

  • This week also contained my pre-selected social outing – it was my friend’s 30th birthday and his girlfriend planned a whole surprise day for him (board game café, beer and chip tasting, Escape Room, Pin Bar). To be honest, I originally wasn’t going to go. I even texted her and was like “Ugggh, it’s No Spend Month!” And then I thought about it. About how I would probably regret it if I missed it, about how I shouldn’t be an anti-social shut in, about how I had budgeted myself one night out this month. And about how, really, life is about moderation and normally I would go out every weekend and have so many self-dates so I was still doing better. So I went and it was so much fun and so good to see my friends.

The No Spends

Groceries were $23 this week and I’m just killing it.

Maybe because I did purchase my new living room set this week (though it won’t be moving in until early June), but this month really isn’t feeling like a No Spend Month anymore. Not in that I’m spending a ton, but I’m just not feeling deprived, which is what I expected. It’s really just about making better choices about what I’m spending my money on and focusing on my goals.

I think I’m going to continue with a No Spend May (I have waaaaay too much stuff in my pantry still that I need to cook through), excluding a shopping day with Claire for my upcoming Vegas trip. I have finally found a roommate that I like, who will be moving in for May, which means a little help on the household expenses, but I don’t want to be going too wild just because of that. Gotta save for the future. Be the ant and not the grasshopper and all that.

The Yoga

I am two days behind on the challenge and I am totally okay with that. I am getting so much better at finding the space in my day and prioritizing my yoga. 30 days to make a habit, right?

Life

No Spend April  - Week Two

Week Two! Coming in late because I spend the weekend in the mountains and now I have hives. Which I suppose is helping me do my no-spend month?? (The hives, I mean, not the mountains. Well, maybe the mountains too.)

The Spends

  • I mean, I guess I spent $12 getting my allergy meds for my hives? But I think Blue Cross is going to ultimately reimburse me for that and also I feel like hives is a medical emergency so it fits in my criteria.
  • As alluded to above, I spent the weekend in the mountains and did spend $28 on Saturday night on drinks for myself and my mom. She bought me dinner that night, drove us out to the mountains (thereby using her gas) and also bought me Macdonald’s to eat in the car so I was feeling guilty that my mom was taking care of me as a 30 year old woman. I had to pull my own weight, at least a little bit!
    • Also, this challenge is all about making better choices with my money and I think I did that. A weekend in the mountains could normally be significantly more expensive!
  • Groceries this week went significantly over the $30 budget at $44 – but I was under budget last week at $20 and I think some of the things I picked up this week will roll into next so I’m not too fussed. As long as I hit around $120 for the month, I’m happy.

The No-Spends

I’m feeling quite pleased with myself still. I definitely think announcing/blogging about the No Spend month has helped, as my friends have been super supportive and suggesting all kinds of fun things we can do for no money. It really is easier to be fun and frugal than I had convinced myself that it would be and I think I can see myself continuing this lifestyle into the future.

I should mention here that I did purchase a Newbie month at HotShop Yoga and Spin – I typically pay quite a bit more in fitness memberships and had placed all of them on hold for the month, then found that I missed the fitness class setting. I count this as a win – I get to try somewhere new and I’m still being fiscally prudent. I’ve just discovered that it’s not reasonable for me to completely cut fitness spending out of my budget, unless my financial situation makes it absolutely necessary.

I also cashed in some Shoppers Optimum points during the bonus points event this past weekend to replace some “essentials” that were running on fumes – hairspray, deodorant, primer potion so my eyelids won’t be forever shimmery. Success!

The Yoga

I continue to love the TRUE challenge – there is nothing like turning off all the lights, lighting a candle and settling in for half an hour on my mat each night. I think once this 30 day challenge is done, I’ll try to create my own daily at home practice by combining various other Yoga with Adriene videos. Maybe I’ll eventually feel comfortable enough to create my own flows!

Life

No Spend Week One
Week One

It’s recap time! Because we’re one week into No Spend April already. WOO! Week One! (Also, I totally didn’t take pictures of my meal prep this week. Hopefully that’s not actually something you want.)

The Spends

Blah blah blah, mortgage, cell phone, condo fees property tax… who cares? Let’s get down to the things I can control!

1. My gas gamble didn’t work – gas went up by four cents and I had to fill up this weekend. Meh.
2. Groceries only cost $19 this week! I have a rice and bean recipe that I am obsessed with and my pantry was already stocked with carrots, peas, onion and rice so I mostly just made a huge batch of that and then supplemented with some burrito bowl fixings. Delicious.
3. … I went to the Make It Market with my mom on Saturday and spent $40.

You Spent $40!?

Calm down, internet. I spent $40 and I don’t feel bad about it. I bought a one-of-a-kind art piece, created by a local artisan. For about six months, I’ve been trying to put together a wall in my kitchen – it currently has a chalkboard and a canvas print on it and I really want to hang up a corkboard that I already have for organizational purposes. However, this wall needs a something else to help balance the proportions… and I finally found something! After months of looking! I can finally not have my corkboard just leaning up against my wall in my kitchen.

I feel fine with this purchase because it was conscious and mindful. In months of looking, I hadn’t found anything I liked and I spent a ton of time weighing out the purchase before making it while at the Market. (I also didn’t buy any craft distilled liquors or tiny rings like I vaguely wanted to, so… winning.)

The No Spends

I know, that’s not an actual phrase, but I’m using it.

One of my biggest expenses is eating out. Part of it is that I love trying out new restaurants, with or without other people, but another part of it is just habit. I used to travel for work and I got super used to sitting at the bar in a restaurant with a book and a glass of wine to unwind. I got super used to grabbing a Chopped Leaf bowl on my way home from the gym because it was quick and healthy, and I was starving. Like I wrote about the tuna melt last week, a lot of what I did was just so easy and relatively inexpensive… but easy and inexpensive adds up, yo!

Right now, I think I’m still riding on the high of being oh so virtuous. It feels good to clear out my pantry and to go home to eat the meals I prepped. (Note: Old!Erin would totally have prepped meals and still gone out to eat anyway… that’s why it’s nice to have the “challenge” element to lean on.)

The Yoga

Oh my gosh, you guys, I am loving the Yoga With Adriene TRUE challenge. It reminds me a bit of being back in university and getting in touch with all the elements of myself – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. I will note: I don’t recommend this challenge if you just want to “work out”. Though there are definitely some challenging physical elements, this is really about developing a yoga practice and figuring out what it means to you.

I did miss a day of the challenge – on Friday, I spent the night at my parents’ house, having a railway night (long story), and then I spent a day out with my mom on Saturday, going straight to my Saturday night plans. I had thought I’d be home by 10 pm or so, then being able to unwind with a little yoga, but that was not to be. In an amazing moment of kismet, Adriene actually spoke about how we have to develop our own practice, how it make take some of us longer than 30 days to complete the challenge and how we have to celebrate ourselves… during the session I wasn’t able to complete on Saturday and ended up doing on Sunday night. How perfect!