Update and Chit Chat

Baseball season is done, although ladies’ league has started. This year, it felt like a very short season. Perhaps because I didn’t participate in nearly as many tournaments as I did last year. Weekends are when I’m most often called into work and are also when tournaments are held, so I chose to focus on work this year.

And then I didn’t get many calls. Go figure. I hate being a casual employee. It makes it really hard to plan anything. You would think that being a casual would make planning things easier, but most of my day is built around “Just in case I get a call to work.” And I don’t sign up for certain events in hopes of getting shifts and just end up not getting the shift nor participating in the event. Sure, it’s nice being able to have freedom to plan time off without having to apply for time off, but at the same time, it’s really hard to plan bills around “potential” income.

Ahh. Alright, rant number two: be aware that Shaw is increasing their prices once again and their current packages are terrible. Such low download speeds. In our 5-person home, if one person is watching Netflix, others will have to wait a few minutes for a website to load. A website. I can hear the beep, cckckckckcckc, reeeeeerrrrrrr, zzzzzzz of the dial-up modem in my memories coming alive.

Rant 3… Yesterday morning, I spent a good 40 minutes researching and writing an article about asbestos. It was great, it was informative, it was gone in an instant. Laptops with touchpads that have an overly sensitive back swipe gesture set… Oh lawds. I wasn’t too thrilled.

Happy things! We’ve been hanging around the waters here in the Comox Valley a lot. Exploring rivers, lakes, and beaches. What a gorgeous place this valley is. I haven’t been to the gym in almost a month now. I was doing the Gluteal Goddess workout (and yes, blushing anytime I told someone the name of it) at the gym when I stopped going. I didn’t stop by choice, more the hours changed for summer and I don’t have daycare for my eldest with school being out. I have not been active outside of short walks, house work, and swimming.

Small suggestion… If you are in the valley, check out the Butcher’s Block as they have a really great Summer Package of meat for $150. Seems like a lot, but it is so nice and convenient to have 3 weeks worth of meat (5 person household) in your freezer, at the ready. Meal planning is easier, the meat is sourced from local farms and are raised well/healthy. Also, the employees there are all kick ass. Super cool and funny people. And Tuesday is turducken sandwich day. Wink, wink.

Sunshine Organics

I recently re-signed up with Sunshine Organics. This is not a paid post, just something I want to share with members of the Comox Valley and Powell River.

Each week, Sunshine Organics delivers fresh, organic produce (and local groceries if you so choose) directly to your door. All you have to do is leave out one of the bins ($20 deposit for your first one) with a check in it, and voila! They leave the bin right there for you.

Each Friday, an email is sent out reminding you to log in to their website. When you do this, you can see this coming week’s produce selection (each week, the bin contents change). There are fruit bins and fruit/veggie bins. If you don’t like what is included, you can substitute out up to 4 items with something that you actually would like.

Alternatively, you can create a custom bin based on the produce that you would like to receive.

My favourite things about this bin: It’s well priced. It has variation each week. It makes meal planning a little easier as you can tailor your meals to what produce is included. It is delivered right to your door. They try very hard to ensure that the contents are local and organic! Best of all… My kids love going through the bin when we get it. Making vegetables exciting! Oh heck yeah!

Gym Progress

Ha! Haha! I have gone to the gym two or three times this month, I think. Between baseball and working shifts that don’t really allow time for it, it’s been difficult.

We went to Quadra Island for their annual baseball tournament, which was filled with lots of laughs, baseball, blistering hot sun, and a return ferry line up that was way too long.

Anyway, at my last gym session, I slowed down on the squats as my knees were aching from all the baseball games I’ve played this month. I play in the field, usually, so I am often running and sprinting, pivoting, turning, and what-have-you. They are also having big issues attempting to steer the medcarts we have at one of my work places: It does not go in a straight line, it is big, bulky, and heavy, and a lot of people tend to walk right in front of you, not realizing the amount of force that is required to actually stop the darn thing. My favourite cart is the one that doesn’t have steering brakes (none of the steering brakes actually work at this particular location) but does have a parking brake… On the wheel that doesn’t touch the ground. haha Cracks me up :P

I went off on a tangent there… Gym. I started focusing on my glutes, so my routine consisted of straight leg dead lifts, weighted hip thrusts (70 lbs, oh my gosh… Brutal. Really good work out for the glutes), and to maintain a good balance of muscle, I hopped on the treadmill for some up-hill action, and finished with an attempt on the spin bike. My quads were not having any of that, though. I lasted 7 minutes.

My favourite breakfast at the moment is Oatmeal made with large flake oats & water, then mixed with 1% cottage cheese, and loaded with Sriracha sauce. I can’t get enough of that stuff.

Best Items to Keep on Hand for the Kitchen?

When you are living frugally, or attempting to live within your means, one of the most important things to keep in mind is how you intend to eat well while on a budget. The list that will follow is my personal take on matters, but I would love to hear what must-haves you keep in your pantry! This list is also an excellent place to start if you are starting fresh or moving out on your own for the first time and need to stock yourself up on essential pantry foods. This is strictly pantry foods ;)

The Basics — Things You Likely Already Have in Your Pantry

  • Salt and Pepper. Because, reasons.
  • Olive Oil (low burning point)
  • Canola or other vegetable oil (high burning point)
  • Various pastas (I keep orzo, spaghetti, and penne on hand)
  • Basic spices: Oregano (or Italian seasoning), basil, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon dried parsley.
  • Less basic spices: Whole bay leafs, curry powder, turmeric (which is actually a natural anti-inflammatory), cayenne.
  • My personal favourite spice that isn’t really a usual staple, but I’ll be damned if we don’t use it at least three times a week: smoked chipotle pepper. Oh lawds. It’s amazing.
  • Canned tomatoes: Crushed, diced, and paste. Great for last minute pizza sauces, tomato-based pasta spices, and curries. Or… Almost anything.
  • Canned coconut milk. Not really an essential, but I’ve been on a bit of a curry binge lately, and these bad boys were on sale not too long ago, so I stocked up.
  • Other canned goods: baked beans, corn… Most other canned vegetables or legumes don’t hold up overly well.
  • Dried foods: garbanzo beans/chickpeas, rice, lentils (red and green), dried beans of your choosing for things, such as chili.
  • Baking goods: All purpose flour (So, so much of this), baking powder, baking soda, white sugar, brown sugar, and oats (I try to stick with old fashioned style).

I grayed out the ones that are more “extravagant”. The remaining items will fare you well if you are trying to kick-start your own pantry or trying to put together a house warming basket for a friend or loved one who has just moved out on their own, or are putting together a care package for that college student of yours.

What do you make sure to keep in your pantry?

Birch Box :: March 2015

birtch1

Oh yes. The best kind of mail. I love subscription boxes like these. This is my first Birch Box. Prior to this, I had tried Glymm before they sadly went out of business… And took $70 out of my pocket in the closure. D’oh! I gave up on Ipsy as the products just weren’t my cup of tea.

birtch2

Trying to get free advertisement through social media… I obliged and tweeted. I’m a sucker. The back of the card has a list of items and their description.

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Goodies nestled into their little sardine box.

birtchblender

I haven’t used this blending sponge yet. I don’t use foundation nor powder unless it’s for a special event. Live long and prosper, my large pores, uneven skin tone, and red splotches.

birtchhair

Leave-in Conditioner. This smells like high-end salons. At least, I think it does. I went to one once. It was glorious.

birtchliner

The best, easy-to-blend/smudge, and stay-on liner I’ve tried in quite some time.

birtchlinercream

Hello body cream. It smells very fragrant, which is not a good thing for me as I can’t wear this to work. I think I got high off of the fumes the first time I tried it.

birtchvasanti

Vasanti “BrightenUp” microscrub. I love anything by Vasanti. This facial cleanser is a really nice, mild one that really does brighten up your face when you use it. Love!

 

My Gym Progress Update

Alright. I need to clean up my diet majorly. I have to cut out my fruity drinks, especially the alcoholic ones that I drink on my days off. I’ve had a lot of days off lately from missing staffing calls. Gah! :P My body fat percentage is honestly the highest it’s been since I was pregnant with my second and last kid in 2011.

Onwards! New personal records! I missed out on the gym last week due to lack of daycare for my youngest, so I went back on Wednesday. Nailed it.

Deadlift: 115 lbs x 3 (x3) (not bad. I’ve had to take it easy on these due to a tilted pelvis. One-sided tilted pelvis)

Squats: 115 lbs x 5 (x3) Up from just the bar in January!

Benches: 75 lbs… Okay, this one didn’t improve at all.

I also did a few Pendlay rows with 95 lbs and then 115 lbs. Not bad.

And then I played baseball. It wasn’t pretty. Thank god it was a fun game because I let many grounders pass right by me as I tried to scoop them up while also not falling on my face from my jello legs. Huzzah!

Favourite Things Scarf Update

I won’t bore you with too much detail. I’ll just show you what I have so far. This is going to be a huge scarf! I’m using bulky and worsted weight yarn, hence the funky wobbling of some of the patterns. I’m not looking for perfection here, just hoping to make a nice scarf for next fall while also stash blasting. I have way too much yarn in my stash. Get the pattern here: Ravelry page.

Here’s what I have so far:

Overall design thus far. I'm not really planning it, just winging it as I go
Overall design thus far. I’m not really planning it, just winging it as I go
Fish! I love fishing, so here's my tribute to that. I copied the idea from a paid pattern that I didn't want to shell out for. Adapted to work across 12 stitches to fit into the 72 I have casted on.
Fish! I love fishing, so here’s my tribute to that. I copied the idea from a paid pattern that I didn’t want to shell out for. Adapted to work across 12 stitches to fit into the 72 I have casted on.
My wonky turtle. I should have thought the design out a little bit more than I did...
My wonky turtle. I should have thought the design out a little bit more than I did…
Funky play on colours. So far, so good. This is going to be an amazingly comfortable scarf.
Funky play on colours. So far, so good. This is going to be an amazingly comfortable scarf.

MyFirst Fabletics Order… My Review

Happy April Fools! It’s been years since I’ve played any prank… Well, any that were on purpose. I digress; this post is about Fabletics.

Back view of the Aventura tank with vaasa sports bra and hamilton sweatpant II from Fabletics
Fabletics back view

I received my first order last week. I ordered the Aventura Tank, Hamilton Sweatpant II, and Vaasa Sports Bra. And not a single item fit properly. Wowsa. I didn’t think it was possible to make me feel fat. I’m a fairly slender, fit/athletic person, so I was very disheartened when I pulled these items out of the packages and tried them on.

Fabletics Sizing
Fabletics Sizing

The Hamilton Sweatpant has a butt pocket on the left bum cheek, a thick waist band with a draw string to hold them up, and a slightly-tight elastic that fits around the calf or the knee. I have very small calves, so the fact that I find that the elastic is tight on me means that it won’t be the best fit for people with more average-sized calves. I could fit inside these sweat pants twice. I ordered a size small and these were huge, even for the baggier look. I’m regularly a pant size small or XS/size 3, 4, or 5 in some name brands, and 27 waist on Silver or Guess jeans. Sizing of these pants, verdict: Too big! They fit like a large. 

 

The Vaasa sports bra is likely the only thing I will catch myself wearing from this order. It’s comfy and I like the strap design (see image above for a bit of a peak). The color and overall design is a nice break from regular sports bras. It doesn’t offer a lot of support, but I obviously am not overly concerned with that. There is compression in it, which is a mixture of a result of the fabric and the fitting smaller than regular. I got a size XS. I have a 32″ rib cage and this is a very snug fit. My only complaint is that the front panel could use being wider. By that, I mean that the straps in the front start more mid-chest as opposed to starting closer to the arm pits like most sports bras and shirts, making it seem to small width-wise. I’m not sure if this is typical of the design, a mismatch of design and my own body, or it actually being too small. Sizing of this sports bra verdict: Either true to size or half size smaller than true size.

 

Is there a tummy under there? No. No, there isn't.
Is there a tummy under there? No. No, there isn’t.

Aventura tank top. Making skinny girls look poofy. This shirt looked so snug and amazing on the model. I’m usually a size small and this is a size small. See picture above to see how bloody huge this tank top is. I saw it in the package and thought “No way is that going to be snug, nor is it going to hang off me well”. The front part hangs down like it once belonged to a very busty person who was nice enough to hand it down to me. The length is perfect, however. If it were a bit more snug, I’m guessing it wouldn’t look like I was trying to hide a pregnancy stomach (I’m not; nothing there, don’t worry). I can’t even imagine that the size XS would even come close to being snug, either. This is a size small and it is huge! Even for a baggy-style tank top, it’s just not the right size at all. The fabric is nice and it is comfy. Just way, way, unfortunately too big to size. Aventura tank top size verdict: Bigger than your mom’s minivan. Way too big.

 

Bonus picture. Very unflattering outfit, altogether.
Bonus picture. Very unflattering outfit, altogether.

Knitting Pile-Up: Stash Busting

Pretty much the most ridiculous can cozy ever. This one was loosely adapted from a beer bottle/wine cozy.
Pretty much the most ridiculous can cozy ever. This one was loosely adapted from a beer bottle/wine cozy.

It has come to my attention that I have not completed a knitting project since 2013. Not since after my knee surgery… Or maybe it was that hat I knitted for my man. I forget. It was two years ago, regardless.

I went searching through my Ravelry account (if you don’t have one, get one! It’s free and is such a great community… So many patterns. So many.) And found that I have 86 items in my queue. My goal for the next 12 months is to get that down to almost nothing. With the exception of the paid patterns, I plan to dwindle my stash to nothing by hunkering down and attacking all of those projects. Even the questionable ones.

The first one I’m focusing on is the infinity scarf, which is essentially just slapping together a bit of all of your favourite things and composing it all into one fabulous scarf. Check out the original pattern.

Supermoon Eclipse & The Vernal Equinox

This morning, across some North Atlantic regions, the super moon crossed paths with the sun, blocking it out for a little under a minute. Due to the clouds in the sky, not many people were able to witness it. This happened to coincide with the vernal equinox, marking the start of spring in 2015.

Spring has already start on the Island… That means it’s raining like crazy. We do live in a rain forest, so it’s par for the course.

With how the moon has been lately, I saw a beautiful moon rise around 6:40 am on my way to work the other day. The sliver of a crescent moon was bright pink as it came off from the horizon, behind the mountains. It slowly rose up and turned orange, then grew in size over ten minutes and faded to a faint blue as it usually is in the daytime… When it’s present in the daytime.

It was a beautiful reminder of how little life’s problems can be. We are in a universe filled with planets, stars, and a lot of unknowns. So running around for 15 minutes trying to find my boyfriend’s truck keys so I could move his truck to get my car out of the driveway was seemingly insignificant and I’m sure the nurse in charge won’t give me heck for being 5 minutes late, right? Right?? (I’ve been late twice in the past two years).