Sunday, October 6, 2019

What I Bought This Week #40

It's October, so that means there are only three more months of What I Bought This Week! This week's highlight was receiving a bounty of vegetables from my friend's sister's garden. I'm always impressed by their harvest, and this year's was phenomenal. My friend has already gifted me a huge zucchini and lots of tomatoes. This week, she brought me some juicy tomatoes, another huge zucchini, and five Chinese eggplant. I very rarely cook eggplant because my husband claims to not like it; however, when I made a delicious Sichuan Eggplant Stir Fry, he not only ate it, but also reached for seconds! I can't wait to incorporate the rest of the vegetables into some fun recipes in the next few days.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

What I Bought This Week #39

We're heading into the last quarter of 2019, and I've been rolling along nicely with my no-buy. I've had a few moments of reflection, but overall, it's been rather easy. The true test will come towards the end of November, when hubby and I visit Japan again. Will I be able to resist the petite fashions and kawaii everythings? Only time will tell. In the meantime, here is the latest recap of my 2019 no-buy year, covering July to September.



A few observations about my no-buy in the first nine months of 2019:

My expenses are currently running well below budget. As of the end of September, my actual expenses are at 77% of my pro-rated budget for 2019. While unforeseen expenses could still arise in the last quarter of 2019, I'm confident that I'll be able to meet the budget I set for this year. I set this year's budget rather conservatively, taking into consideration a few treats like nice dinners and some travel. At the same time, I also set this year's budget quite aggressively, especially compared to my expenditure levels from previous years. Setting a budget can be more of an art than a science, especially when you're attempting to change your life significantly, so I'm happy that my numbers are turning out to be pretty reasonable.

Temporary no-buys can be very useful. I originally implemented my 2019 no-buy for the categories of clothing, accessories, toiletries, makeup, and home goods; however, I found that I was starting to hoard other items, namely groceries and alcohol. When I noticed in mid-July that hubby and I were stocking up on alcohol, despite not drinking it as often as we used to, I decided to implement an alcohol no-buy for the rest of the year. This only applies to alcohol purchased for our home (i.e., it does not apply when we go out or if someone gives us a gift), but it's been helping to limit both our stash and our expenses.

Free stuff has become a struggle. I've gone through several phases with free stuff -- sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it. I'm currently going through a phase where I'm finding it really difficult to say no freebies, even if it's something I don't really want. There are multiple examples of this throughout my What I Bought This Week posts: hair ties from the LCBO, reusable bags from Festival Street, SUNCHIPS from TIFF. I would like to get better at this so I'm going to make more of an effort to say no to the things I don't really want... even when they're free.

Now let's take a look at what I bought this week! Amid the heaps of groceries, you'll see a couple things: (1) I received a bunch of free goodies from my friend. I wanted to try these things so I didn't say no! (2) We also bought six cans of beer. Hubby and I went to Bellwoods Brewery to try a tasting flight or two, but the brewpub was closed. We had no idea when we'd get a chance to go back, so we made a conscious decision to break our no-buy (as we did at Left Field) and try the beer at home.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

What I Bought This Week #38

It's the last weekend of summer, and I hope you all had a beautiful one! The past few days have been fantastic -- I caught up with one of my good friends over dinner, watched a couple of films, and celebrated my one year anniversary of being free from full-time employment. I haven't been shopping much, so I don't have a lot to share in terms of purchases this week: we've been on a bit of a grapefruit kick, I bought some mealy peaches that I turned into peach crumble, hubby was gifted some whisky from a colleague at work, and I received a bunch of swag from volunteering at a couple of pre-festival shifts at Elevate. This summer flew by and I can't believe we're officially heading into the fall season tomorrow. Have a wonderful first day of autumn!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Last Empties Video and Sample Challenge Results

Post-TIFF blog catch-up continues! In today's post, I'll be sharing my latest empties video, featuring products I used up in June, July, and the first half of August. I didn't include any foil packets in this video because I was still on my 3 Month Beauty Sample Challenge at the time. If you've watched this video, you'll know that this will be the last empties video on my YT channel for the time being. Instead, I'll be experimenting with posting my empties on this Instagram account. There are a couple of reasons for this: (1) I'm starting to get into a groove with products so I feel that my empties videos have become a bit tedious and repetitive, and (2) I'm trying to live more simply and I don't want to hold onto empties for months at a time. I still want to share my empties and what products worked (or didn't work) for me, so I'll be employing a more just-in-time method via IG.



Now that we're well into September, it's also time to see how I did with my 3 Month Beauty Sample Challenge! I made a nice dent in my collection of foil packets:
  • I started out with 182 samples.
  • In the month of June, I finished 83 samples.
  • In the month of July, I finished 37 samples.
  • In the month of August, I finished 27 samples.
  • I finished a total of 147 samples or approximately 80% of what I had going into the challenge.
  • At the time of this video, I was in the process of using up 7 samples.
  • I tried and decided to discard 2 samples because they didn't suit me.
  • I lost track of 2 samples.
Overall, I'm really happy with my results, and I'll be continuing to post empty foil packets and minis on my Instagram account. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

What I Bought This Week #37

TIFF is officially done, and I'm starting to catch up on my freelance work and personal projects! I started re-learning the flute, caught up on my memoir writing project, finished recording and editing several videos, and (finally) cut my hair. I also started a new volunteer position today. I'm only helping out with two shifts, so I'm already halfway through! This blog post is a bit late because... erg... quite frankly, it totally slipped my mind. But I'm here now! In Week 37, a few of our online orders arrived, including a huge bag of hay (which Truffle isn't eating), a bottle of Argireline solution, and Lysine (helps prevent cold sores and cankers). The rest of the things that came into our home are just the usual. That's it for what I bought last week. :) Hope you're all enjoying the beautiful weather!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

What I Bought This Week #36

It's time for another installment of What I Bought This Last Week! TIFF is in full swing and I rarely have more than one consecutive hour in the condo. When I do, I'm in all likelihood sleeping. But I've been in high spirits despite running around like a chicken with her head cut off. Working at TIFF has been a lot of fun and I can't believe I only have three shifts left.

Heading into the film festival, I was preparing myself for 11 days of convenience food, but Costco saved us. Since I was scheduled to work last weekend, Hubby went to Costco on his own to pick up a short list of grocery items and we've been able to eat relatively healthy this week. The salmon in particular provided us with several nourishing meals that were also quick and easy to assemble. We've since eaten it all, so we plan to have convenience food for the next two days. Between a WhatsApp convo with my sisters and the screening of Parasite last night, a large part of me is severely craving instant noodles.

Monday, September 2, 2019

What I Bought This Week #35

Happy September, everyone!

It's tomato harvest season and a couple of my good friends generously shared some of their garden bounty with me. The tomatoes have been delicious! Hubby and I have eaten a bunch, both fresh as part of a cheese & nibbles board, as well as cooked in various dishes (a yummy garlic shrimp pasta with garden zucchini & tomatoes and an uber delicious tomato risotto). Such good, clean, and healthy food! Of course, we've been indulging outside of the home as well, especially this long weekend.

Fun fact: I left my full-time job exactly one year ago as of this long weekend! That's cause for celebration, but we'll hold off until after TIFF. We've had a few mini-toasts here and there though. :)

In terms of groceries this week, I took advantage of an Amex Shop Small promotion to buy two varieties of La Croix: peach-pear and berry. La Croix is in its heyday right now. I've heard so much about it but never tried it until a couple days ago. It smells INCREDIBLE but tastes similar to other flavoured sparkling water. I do like the flavours we purchased, especially the peach-pear and I'm curious to try some of the other flavours. Have you tried this drink? What flavours would you recommend?

Now for some big news. Hubby and I found our new favourite flavour of ice cream! It's rare that hubby and I have the same favourite flavour as our tastes are rather different, but we agree that the Haagen-Dazs chocolate peanut butter ice cream is our winner. It's basically Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream with ribbons of peanut butter. The salt in the peanut butter provides the perfect contrast to the sweet ice cream. I love that there are no actual peanuts, chocolate chips, or chocolate chunks in the ice cream itself. Mmmmm!

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