Monday, October 21, 2019

What I Bought This Week #42

It's been a bit of a hectic week but in a busy-sweet-spot kinda way. We were on the move pretty much non-stop yesterday -- we somehow made our way to Costco (and back home again) despite the many road closures for the Toronto marathon, rushed off to Brampton to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday, and took some family photos for our friends at their house. Since we were short on time, I didn't get a chance to take detailed photos of everything from our Costco haul. We stocked up on lots and lots of food for the eat-at-home challenge, which I was SUPER excited about because it started today! I was pondering about whether to layer on a dry month (no alcohol) or perhaps a no-processed-junk-food challenge again, but with all the things I have on my plate at the moment (pun totally intended), I decided to keep things simple. Instead, the theme for the next 30 days will be moderation. I'm going to try to practice restraint -- yes, even with food and drink that I love. No hard and fast rules though. I'll go with my gut. ;)

Monday, October 14, 2019

What I Bought This Week #41

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! This is one of my favourite holidays. It's got a little bit of everything -- relaxation, fun, food, and gratitude. This weekend has been an interesting one for me. While there's been a lot of good, I've also felt quite a number of PMS symptoms. Last night in particular was pretty bad. I had severe cramps (only started getting these again in the past year or two), a headache, a bit of back pain, and just overall moodiness. At times like these, I try to keep anicca top of mind. Lo and behold, when I woke up this morning, I felt much better!

That brings me to my purchases this week. I placed my first order with Atomy as I wanted to try HemoHIM, a supplement that's supposed to help with overall immunity. I felt like I was fighting something off this entire week, so I was very eager to receive this supplement in the mail. My friend had given me a sample to try a couple weeks ago and it seemed to give me SO much energy. For over a week, I was wide awake despite sleeping fewer hours. In light of that experience, I decided to tread lightly and only take one packet on Wednesday when I opened the parcel. I waited to monitor the effects, but I didn't notice much this time around. HemoHIM is also supposed to reduce some PMS symptoms so I decided to take another one today. I'm continuing to experiment with this supplement so the jury's still out. The good news is that I managed not to come down with anything! Immunity: 1. Cooties: 0. In addition to the HemoHIM, I also purchased a few other things. Ever mindful of my no-buy, I only bought things I knew I'd need -- kitchen gloves, sponges, toner, colour changing balm, BB cream, and hand cream. It's been a while since I've tried new products, so I'm happy and excited about these purchases!

In more edible news, the Aroy-D green curry sauce is my new favourite. It makes the tastiest -- albeit watery -- Thai green curry. I like it that way though as it reminds me of soup. My bestie also gave me a bit of monk fruit sweetener and I'm super excited to try it. My transition away from sugar has been slow and steady. One day, one day. Also, the eat-at-home challenge is mere days away! We're heading to Japan at the end of November so I've shifted my challenge dates to Mon Oct 21 to Fri Nov 22. With all my (pizza) indulgence lately, I'm rather excited to eat home-cooked meals for 30+ days.

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!

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