No Spend April – Week One

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!

Two Days In

No-Spend

Well, my friends, I’m two days into No Spend April and I haven’t goofed it up. Yet. (I would really hope that I wouldn’t mess up in two days, but… you know. If I hadn’t publicly announced to the entire world that I was doing a No Spend Month, I probably definitely would have popped on over to the original Sunterra after my Lagree class on Monday to grab one of their tuna melt paninis. Only $6.99! Such a good deal! Those things are like crack.)

Okay, but let’s talk about the fact that if I get a tuna panini every week, that’s $28 a month and that is basically my entire grocery budget for a week.

Also, I’m definitely almost out of eyeshadow primer and am going to be rocking a real shimmery eye for most of the month because I do still have a bunch of the Sin Urban Decay Primer Potion left. And I should use that stuff.

Spend

Anyway, thus far I immediately had to get gas on the first – only $25 worth because I was convince the price of gas was going to go down and I could get a marginally better deal later in the week. (Sidenote: I was correct. It went down by about two cents. I could probably save a full $2!)

No Spend Groceries
No Spend April – Week One Groceries

I also technically picked up my groceries for the week on March 31, because I was out running errands with my mom and she had to go to Superstore anyway. Full disclosure: I spent $34. It was all the nutritional yeast and the cashews’ fault!

But the yeast will last for longer than the entire month and the cashews are both delicious for snacks and earned me 1200 Optimum points towards free groceries. And $34 is pretty close to $30, so I’m not going to complain.

I live by meal prep so I made peanut butter and berry oats for breakfast the week (you can see the berries above, though I did mix them with the dregs of a few packs that were just languishing in the freezer) and chicken stirfry bowls for lunch for the week (all I had to pick up for that was the spinach and frozen veg – I had herbed chicken, basmati rice and all the sauces kicking around all ready).

Dinner is chaos, I’ve discovered I’m obsessed with the new Green Giant cauliflower tots, they’re all I want to eat ever anymore and I’m sure they’re secretly terrible for me so please don’t destroy my dreams. Also, I will be so sad when the package that I weirdly hoarded in my freezer for no reason at all runs out, because those things are expensive if they’re not on sale. And I’d try to make my own, but cauliflower is expensive too, yo.

An Incredibly Important Question

Do you guys want to see pictures of my meal prep? Is that a thing people like?

No Spend April – Challenge

Readers! Viewers! Guys! It’s me! I’m blogging! I know… are you hallucinating? Am I hallucinating? Is this a shared delusion, ala those people in France who died from dancing? (Note: Yes, that is a real thing. I’m super up on my internet obsessions from three years ago. Confirm it here.)

Though all those things may yet be true, I’m also blogging. I often get enthusiasms to get my life in order and this is one of those times. So you get to reap the benefits! How fun is that!?

As some of you know well, I recently had a super incredible roommate – young, fun, similar interests, tidy, hobbies and activities that kept her out of the house occasionally… all the things you want when you are bringing in a virtual stranger to share your home. She recently moved back into her own home, as she had been only there short-term while waiting for her renters to move out. This sounds like a random digression, but the reason I bring it up is because I haven’t yet replaced her. Having such a great roommate made me realize that I don’t have to compromise. I can wait again for a great roommate. I don’t have to live with all the 18 year old boys who keep trying to submit to be my roommate. (Why? I don’t know why… I think my ad is pretty clear that I don’t want to live with a child?)

But while I don’t have to compromise, what I do probably have to do is tighten up my belt a wee bit. And if there’s one thing I love (and thrive in doing), it’s challenges. So, without further ado, let me announce…

NO-SPEND APRIL

Yes! I had a friend do a No Spend January and she walked out of it with such insight about her spending habits – it’s time for me to gain that insight. And it’s time for you to come along with me on this journey on the blog. (Because even if I love challenges, I need shame to complete them.)

Anyone who has listened to my Riverdale podcast, Mystery, Outsiders and Abs, knows that I feel very strongly that you have to pay your rent if you want to live in a place. So obviously “no-spend” won’t be no spend…

THE RULES

Yes, you can spend on:

  • $30 grocery budget per week (probably just eggs, veggies and fruit)
  • Utilities/mortgage/property tax
  • Emergency medical supplies (fingers crossed, I won’t need this)
  • Gas
  • 1 social outing (because girl is not going to go crazy… I mean, anti-social)

No, you can’t spend on:

  •  Class Pass will be put on hold
  • Yoga membership will be put on hold (I’m going to do the Yoga with Adriene TRUE 30 day challenge to fill this gap… two challenges at once!)
  • Personal care products (makeup, skincare, face masks, shampoo, etc)
  • Alcohol
  •  Eating out
  • Fast food
  •  Clothes
  • Movies
  • “Spa” treats (massage, mani, pedi, etc)

Eee! How will I succeed? Only time (and this blog) will tell!

I’ll be posting weekly updates on the blog and sporadic sneak peeks on Insta (probably on my story) – aflimsyplan

32 Weeks – Almost Everything

almost everything

I know, I know. I’m in Calgary and I’m not writing about the Stampede. I will (I actually love the Stampede unlike a lot of other people who have lived here for any significant period of time, it seems), but as of right now I’ve only been to the grounds once for about 5 hours. Once I have a bit more Stampede-ing under my belt, I’ll be all over a recap. For now, I’m going to bust out one of my vaguely emotional, introspective and overall vague posts that probably only my friends will enjoy. Whateves, it’s my blog, I do what I want.

Something might happen
but nothing will be neverending

~ The Hold Steady, “Almost Everything”

For the past little while, I’ve been struggling with the idea that I should be in a certain emotional place, thinking or feeling a certain way. That if I don’t get there, that’s it. Even more specifically, if I don’t get there soon, that’s it. I never thought I would care much about turning 30, and I’m still not sure that I do, but I am starting to feel like I am running out of time to do and have the things that I want. And that if I don’t pull it together and feel differently than I do, I won’t get these things.

The way I feel right now feels like forever.

Nothing is forever, good changes happen, just like bad changes do.

When the lights come up
I can’t see so much
I can hear you breathe
I can feel almost everything

~ The Hold Steady, “Almost Everything”

Anyone who has been around me for any extended period of time lately has probably heard me announce that I hate everyone.

This is obviously not true.

I am probably closer with both of my brothers right now than I have been at any time in my life. I have absolutely amazing friends and I work with a really cool group of people who somehow aren’t even annoying when it’s 8 am on a Monday and I haven’t had any coffee yet because I’m doing a juice cleanse. (Well… aren’t that annoying. And, really, that is my fault, guys, not yours.)

But everyone new in my life? I just hate everyone. I’ve got no patience for any sort of nonsense, annoying questions, more questions about myself than I deem appropriate, poor grammar, using the wrong “you’re”… literally most things.

And if you swear to keep it decent
Then yeah, I’ll come and see you
But it’s not gonna be like in romantic comedies
In the end I bet no one learns a lesson

~ The Hold Steady, “The Weekenders”

The funny thing is, the less I try to feel differently, the more fun I have. The less I try to like everyone and be relentlessly (or maybe aggressively) positive, as is my way, the more I don’t hate everyone. I think I’m better than I think I am.

So I’m going to jam out to some live videos of The Hold Steady, drink some boxed wine and lean into the way I feel, even if I think that I should be in a different place. Because I am clearly an idiot.

(Note: I realize that 32 weeks kind of sounds like a pregnancy reference? It is most certainly, definitely NOT in any way shape or form. My family reads this, yo!)

Heaven

Heaven is whenever
We can get together
Sit down on your floors
And listen to your records
(I couldn’t find a source for this image. If it’s yours, please let me know so I can credit.)

Y’all, can we talk about how exciting it is that it’s a fairly reasonable time on a Wednesday, I’m totally caught up on Game of Thrones and I’m enjoying a glass of wine and the first episode of Season Four of Orange is the New Black while I bang out a few assignments? I even have a mid-week load of laundry in the dryer! I don’t even know if I remember the last time I had this little bit of free time! Sure, I’m still doing work, but today kind of seems like a little slice of heaven.

I even have the mental energy to write a blog post right now.

I mean, not a great blog post, I’m not reviewing an event or discussing a new fitness class, but it’s something, right? A big stream of consciousness something… Instant forgiveness, right? And I do have a few things to write about over the next few weeks – even with all the craziness lately, I’ve managed to sneak in a Lagree class, gotten back into a much needed regular yoga practice at Junction 9 and caused myself some intense fun and subsequent muscle soreness by doing an obstacle course class at cor.fit. (Check out my Instagram for a little sneak peek of that!)

I have worked my way through so many awesome books during my 45 minute dinner break between work and theatre during the past few weeks – I mean, what else am I going to do while I’m trying to get myself fed and shake off my day to give a strong performance?

I’m going to Kimberley with some girlfriends this weekend and I cannot wait to eat at Pedal and Tap (because it was on “You Gotta Eat Here” and you gotta do that when you bring new people to town…) and drink a bunch of wine and watch girlie movies. My life has been so much lately, that I cannot wait for a little break and then for something new.

I have such a summer coming up and I cannot wait to share it with you all. Heaven.

Thanks for all your patience. Such love.

Xoxo
E

April Wrap-Up

British Museum

Y’all, it feels like it’s been months and months since I wrote a monthly wrap up post. There have been so many different things to happen in the month of April that I cannot believe it’s only been 30 days. Also, they are painting the offices at my work and it is making my allergies act up like whoa, so my mind isn’t exactly all here either. I’m a little worried about the day after they paint my physical office. #firstworldproblems, am I right?

Overall Month Rating

A. It has been absolutely beautiful week and today there was free pizza at work, but I swear I’m not blinded by that. This month I went to London with my baby brother, I maybe sourced a fun little way to make some extra money during the summer, I started rehearsals for an incredibly fun play… and I found a roommate for the summer. Yes, it’s only for four months, but I think it will be so much easier trying to find a roommate for September than for February and it warms my heart to help out an endearing little college student for the summer.

Highlight of the Month

Can I just say all of London? If I have to narrow it down, seeing In the Heights in the King’s Cross Theatre or our Yeoman Warder tour at The Tower of London were definitely hugely great days/moments.

Lowlight of the Month

I NPC’ed a 12+ hour long LARP event the day after returning from London. I love LARP, but that was a poor choice. In a hilarious (??) turn of events, I took two fairly lengthy naps during the event. On a couch in a room that houses some sort of childcare/child playroom/child thing. That is never a recipe for waking up and feeling good about your life and your choices.

Number of Workouts Completed

Okay, it may have been an ambitious choice to loudly state that I was going to start a Couch to 5K on a month that included a two week trip to a place full of cider, fish and chips, and museums. That definitely did not happen. There was also a two week break from barre during the trip… but I sure did complete a ton of steps daily while trying to save money on the Underground. I’ve also kept up the soothing morning yoga.

Number of Plays Watched

Well, I’ve been pretty open about seeing three rad plays in London…

Number of Movies Watched

In theatres – 0. All my money was ear-marked for London this month!
At home/on the airplane – 8. When you are determined to kill jetlag, you can watch an awful lot of movies on an airplane. (However, it didn’t work. Maybe I’m getting old?) We also watched Hot Fuzz approximately two times (in various bits and pieces) over our time in London, caught Clueless while exhausted one night and on our second last morning of our trip, we enjoyed a bit of a lazy morning and plugged the tablet into the tv to enjoy Frozen on Netflix with a morning cider.

Number of Dates I Took Myself On

Just one! I agreed to drive Bryan and Darci to an event so they could drink and, while they were in the event, I took myself for a petite dinner and reading date. Naturally, it was awesome. (It also led to my potential opportunity for the summer.)

Best New Food Discovery

Jacket potatoes are super a thing in London, I realized. Lots of pubs had a lengthy list of different jacket potato fillings you could select from and there were even street vendors that offered ones to purchase and eat on the go. One night, while dying for a little comfort food, I enjoyed a jacket potato with tuna and mayo stuffed in it. You can guarantee that I will be whipping one of those bad boys up on a lazy winter Thursday night.

Best New Culture Discovery

Anne Perry’s Inspector Thomas Pitt series of historical mysteries. This is really more of a re-discovery, as I read and casually started collecting the series in paperback when I was in university and always needed a paperback book to stash in my bag for transit. When I was in London, though, I kept recognizing street names from the titles of her books and now I am devouring these books like crazy. Twisty and turn-y mystery plots, an accurate Victorian London landscape, awesome and complex female characters (Thomas’ eventual wife Charlotte is arguably the main character of series) and a quirky cop as the title character all come together to create a light, entertaining read that doesn’t make you feel like you have a sugar hangover.

Best Book Read

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. I’m a sucker for anything zombie, but this book approaches it in such an interesting way. It’s obvious that there are zombies, but it isn’t about zombies, per say. Once I had finished reading the book, even I knew it was over, I knew the story that needed to be told had been told; I still wanted a sequel. This book is equal turns eerie, thought-provoking and heartbreaking. Please read it.

A note: I feel a little bit awkward writing this post without acknowledging the fires in Fort McMurray. At the same time, I’m not sure exactly what to say. It’s sort of similar to how I felt during the Calgary floods of 2013 – though I knew very few people directly affected by the floods (many of my friends were evacuated briefly but their homes were safe), it was ever present in everyone’s world and we were all affected. That’s sort of how the fires are flitting around the edge of my world. An absolutely lovely woman that I work with recently moved down from Fort Mac and I will be supporting her and the friends/family that are fleeing down to her. Please educate yourself on what is happening to our neighbours in the north and what you can do for them to help out the most.

March Wrap-Up

Barre Body Studio pic

My March recap is decidedly late (I know, I know, it’s already April 5…) but I swear I have a good excuse. I bought a tablet this weekend and have fallen into a bit of a black hole of setting it up. And by setting it up, I mostly mean playing with it. I feel like I did when I got my first iPhone back in 2011! My wellness benefits at work will actually reimburse me for this tablet because it will enhance my wellness and improve my efficiency, I guess? If I can ever stop testing out podcast apps when I am actually supposed to be blogging…

Overall Month Rating

B+. March was a decidedly better month than February – in a large part because of Big Taste Calgary and a couple other excellent social outings with friends. The weather improved with a couple of absolutely gorgeous days in the high teens and, with the sunshine as inspiration, I made a concentrated effort to reframe my mental state to be equally sunny. I’ve always been aggressively positive at work; I wanted to bring that into my personal life as well. However, I was not nearly as fiscally responsible this month as I meant to be and I still don’t have a roommate. B+ it is.

Highlight of the Month

Either the incredible dinner at Teatro (and a chance to catch up with an amazing friend who I do not see nearly often enough) or the fact that the auditions I had lined up for this month went exceedingly well and I’ve been cast in a super fun show that goes up this June. I am going to hold off sharing details about the show until the company formally announces the cast, but check out Theatre Thursdays for more about what it’s all about to be in a play once I can talk about it.

Lowlight of the Month

To protect the innocent, I’m going to be vague, but I had a situation mid-month where there was someone else involved and we were just not on the same page at all. At all. Which is fine, except this other person thought that the situation was so great and… it was not. Which I had to tell them. I hate having to disillusion people. (But, oh man, that misinterpretation could not stand…)

Number of Workouts Completed

March was actually pretty solid in terms of workouts. I got in a good routine with barre classes on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, sometimes with an extra one added on Thursday mornings and usually with a lunchtime yoga class on Tuesdays. Moving into April, I would like to solidly add in that fourth barre class and also start the Couch to 5K training. Everyone who runs loves running. I want to feel that too.

Number of Plays Watched

The Turn of the Screw at Vertigo Theatre, Bad Jews at Theatre Calgary (this show sparked such great conversations between myself and my mom, I definitely recommend it if you can sneak it in), Fight or Flight Response by Verb Theatre. Hopefully I can sneak in a show or two more in April as well.

Number of Movies Watched

In theatres – 1. I made the mistake of seeing 10 Cloverfield Lane which really fell apart once they started doing the “Cloverfield” stuff. John Goodman rocked, though.
At home – 5. Okay, I watched 22 Jump Street twice and after one particularly stressful weekend my mom and I unwound to The Ridiculous 6. Don’t judge me.

Number of Dates I Took Myself On

None! I went on far too many dates with other people, though. I really have to talk my friends into hanging out with me in my home.

Best New Food Discovery

These peanut butter balls. The recipe was shared with me by my lovely Irish co-worker earlier this month to add into my weekly meal prep insanity. It’s total junk masquerading as health food (come on, the recipe comes from Kraft), but I have no interest in making the recipe un-trashy. One little ball is so super filling.

Best New Culture Discovery

I watched all of Unreal in about a week once it came on shomi… keep in mind, these were hour long episodes and I was relentlessly social this month so that is a huge compliment. Apparently Unreal is strikingly accurate in terms of what goes on behind the scenes in “reality tv” (though obviously the drama is somewhat exaggerated) and I cannot wait to watch The Bachelorette with this knowledge in mind. Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby kill it by embracing the nuanced, sometimes unlikeable, sometimes so vulnerable characters that they are given.

Best Book Read

This is one of those super buzzy, probably read in a zillion book clubs book, but for good reason. I absolutely devoured The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah in about a day and a half. I started reading it while invigilating one Thursday and had finished it by the next afternoon. So compelling.

As always, if you’re in Calgary and aren’t a creep… please live in my house.

Happy April!