Yes- The Scariest Word

We are really cruising right through this Resolution List.  On a side note I am loving writing more detailed posts about each of these because really helps to keep them on track. Way to go Resolutions!

Saying “yes” has created a very scary world for me. Not a boogie-man jump out and grab you scared, more of free fall into a deep pool of water scared.  I haven’t made large leaps towards this but it is coming along. In my last post you will know that I have said yes a lot more in the financial world than I intended. Buying a car on a whim, and taking a more expensive trip were 2 things I have done most recently that have scared me. Saying yes to both of those things did bring me joy, and taught me that letting go a little makes a difference in relationships as well as inside my own soul. I felt light, on that trip and driving away in my new spontaneously-purchased car I felt a lightness that I haven’t experienced in a while. Now don’t think I am a changed woman, I am the queen of NO and will forever love my safe haven I create with it.

I have noticed that by saying yes to silly spontaneous date nights or running over to a friends at 9 pm with ice cream doesn’t mean falling away from normal routine, and it doesn’t mean that the next day doesn’t have to follow the routine I was hoping for. It isn’t a domino effect of chaos like I thought. Its more like little sprinkles of joy throughout the boring week.

30124215_10155280189956056_383706283666046976_o

I have decided to take a trip with a few friends (not for many months but still). Saying yes right away hurt my insides for sure, not having a clear plan, not really knowing cost, or even dates of this trip. This is a real test to this resolution.  But I said yes and the planning has commenced, I am doing my very best to let this trip be planned by my friends who have a more “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” philosophy on life. I would love to be one of those people, and to enjoy life the way they are able to. Somehow I was blessed with this mental state of plan-plan-and-re-plan, I am happy in this mental state  but allowing myself to really relax and hopefully enjoy the journey will be an eye opener for sure.  I also hope that by letting someone else plan the destiny of this trip, saying yes to their ideas and plans will help me relax a little more. If you haven’t figured this out yet I am a little high strung, a little overprotective and little type-A.

The more I say yes to normal life things, like bowling on a Thursday night, or going out for dinner when I had planned a meal, is really showing me the amount of things that stress me out for no reason. And yes, going bowling a Thursday night is a huge accomplishment for me.The more I let go and say yes to these silly things the more I am able to enjoy them. Its a real learning curve.

I don’t know if I will ever shake the “no”- monster living on my shoulder but for now I am at least trying to keep him hushed.

Here’s to a new me, a spontaneous me, a Yes-me

Also just so we are clear: I pre-planned, pre-wrote and pre-edited this post 4 times with a set goal in mind, there was no spontaneity in this post what-so-ever.. old habits die hard friends.

Keep Smiling!

Life Gets Hectic

Well you probably will have noticed my hiatus from the blog in the past month.

A Thousand Apologies!!

This is supposed to be about life and how we all get through rough times and good times and most importantly the times in between…

Well this past month has been an emotional roller coaster and has been hectic in so many ways it was hard to find time to breathe, let alone sit down and get some thoughts together.

This past month I have really been thrown into my promotion, which in hindsight is a great accomplishment, but reality is; its a lot more work, its a lot more pressure and sometimes it beats your soul up  a bit.  You will be happy to know that I have risen from being batten and bruised by work-things and am making my way through the paperwork, through the communication battles and really finding my grove. WHEW!!

Just in time time to explain how I have been getting on with my third resolution of paying off debt in a realistic manner… ( the promotion helps, but not that much haha)

If I am being honest I may have fallen off this horse a time or two in the past few weeks. I bought a new car ( so excited!) which created more debt.  To increase my credit score to apply for that loan, I quickly fell into old patterns of paying all of my credit cards with my savings. On top of that, we had a trip planned for this month which re-racked up those newly paid off cards. The vicious cycle has returned and I am back to square one again. With all that being said, I am more aware of what I am doing and where my money is going.  I was able to obtain another car loan even with the credit score I was so worried about, which really gave me that boost of confidence to succeed, and to keep at this resolution.

All in all, I have basically learned that this may be my biggest undertaking on the resolution list. It is a lot harder for me than I thought it would be and it is constantly going to be there. It may not be a learning curve, more of a constant struggle between my need for organization and clean records and my need to treat myself for my hard work. Its all too easy to write a list or make some rules, but its a whole other monster trying to follow them.  Life gets Hectic, life gets in the way, or makes your plan take a little detour.  I am learning that sometimes the plan is to dive in and find your way out.  And that’s okay.  I have always thought that money was one thing that was so easy.  In my mind  you made X you spent Y and X should always be greater than Y. Life isn’t like that, sometimes you make X, you spend Y and then you some how need W, V, L and P, and each of those has a payment plan that fits under X ( maybe..).   Also I suck at math so I can ABC here all day  and I will have no idea what it all means ( this sentence really made me giggle.. HEYO!)

This post may have been a ramble, a very confused string of conscious thought. What can I say other than this month has been a mess for me, but I am still here, I am still smiling,  driving a new car which I still haven’t named, and I am walking around in a brand new outfit that makes me feel like a million dollars even if I carry a net worth of $36. I think I will come back to this resolution time and time again and hopefully I learn something from my mistakes, or at minimum keep trying to sort them out.

Hopefully this gives you a little reminder to never take your situation too seriously and to know that life takes care of you even when you think it isn’t. If you keep trying at something one day you will accomplish it, and every day in between is a step in the right direction.

Good luck with your money struggles, and remember it doesn’t all need to get done today, a day, a month, a year or more all makes a big difference from where we are now to where we will be then.

Keep Smiling,

Alison

P.s. a big thanks to my loved ones who listened to me when I was in the middle of the hectic tornado, you really make me feel like I have it figured out, even when I know I don’t. I know you are reading this, because that’s the kind of supporter you are 😛

My Journey to Wasting Less

In conjunction with last 2 posts I am working on keeping you updated on how my resolution journey is going. We are 2 months into 2018 and were only getting deeper into it.  I want to focus this post on the first resolution I wrote which is to create less waste.

I feel like this might be a huge fad that is going around recently. Fad or not I feel like its making a large impact and this should seriously stick around.  I am not about to get preach-y with you because everyone is entitled to live the life they deep important and fulfilling.  But we have one planet for all of us and if I can make a small scratch into the overall existence and overall well-being of this planet we call home then I may as well.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a large undertaking not only for the sheer memory aspect of this project but also its easy to forget that even though its small, its still a better foot forward than the latter option.

Here is what I have done in the past 2 months to help create less waste:

1. Only use reusable water bottles. Glass if possible.
We have created a little team of glass water bottles over the past year and we continuously refill our glass water bottles and keep them cold in the fridge. By having a few options we never run out when we are heading out the door. It was a big change to remember to bring them with us, but I think we are slowly mastering it.

Glass bottles we love

The water bottles we currently use!

Reusable Straws we use!

2.Make you own cleaning  products.

I have been using essential oils for a little while now to create my own cleaning products. I use 2 parts water, 1 part vinegar and about 20-30 drops of the scent of my choosing (My favorite is Lemon and mint, or just Lemon) I can use this cleaner on everything. The vinegar leaves no streaks, the lemon essential oil disinfects and I can use it on every surface of our home ( from laminate floors, to windows, to mirrors, even stainless steal !) Another option instead of vinegar is to use one part vodka ( don’t be scared!) it will disinfect just like bleach and the essential oil completely takes the smell out.
I make a few other cleaning products with these oils as well but this is just one example.

spray bottle
The Spray Bottles I currently use!

* bonus points I store these mixtures in my glass cleaning bottles so not only am I reducing the plastic but I also wont have to buy new bottles ever again, and save money on cleaning products I would have needed to repurchase.

3. Obviously, Reusable grocery bags/ shopping bags in general.
Grocery bags are the first thing people get rid of usually, because it is the easiest switch to make.  I make sure mine are always in my car and haven’t needed to use plastic ones in a long time, I also haven’t had to purchase any as I use old shopping bags from store that give our fabric bags. Saving money and the planet woohoo!

2 bonus tips:
– When at the grocery store I never use the small thin plastic bags for produce. Just stack them in your cart. You’re going to wash them anyway and there is no need to separate them if you putting them into the fridge later. Pro tip: group like things together for your cashier, and bring along a fabric cloth to wipe off their scale for them, produce is wet and can leave their work space messy so think ahead and you won’t be a hindrance.
-When I go on a shopping spree I take a backpack.  NOT only can I have my hands free from shopping around and holding my reusable coffee mug, but I never have to take a bag, it all goes in one place and its easy to carry. One down side is you may be asked to leave it at the front of the store while browsing but that gives you even more freedom to walk around bag free! By carrying a back pack I can also keep my water bottle, and travel mug with me and when the backpack is full, shopping spree over. More money saved!

4. Recognize.
This transition can be annoying and a little overwhelming at first. As you continue it you will start to recognize other ways to eliminate waste. Go slowly, allow your self to mess up and make mistakes with it, but recognize where you are putting your waste and how you can change that. Make sure you are recycling plastics, ask for no straw and just be aware of your personal use of plastics, waste and materials that are unnecessary.  The more you notice the more you will change in the future.

Overall this resolution has been going quite well, it has been a transition for sure. I find it makes me more aware of my surroundings when it comes to waste in general and also stimulates a responsibility in me to pick up litter I see. Its a welcomed responsibility, it makes me feel purposeful every day and as if I am making a difference.  Let me know if this post was helpful to you, and if you are own your own mission for less waste!!

** To buy products off of amazon (and other online stores) I also use Ebates.ca.  This website gives you  a percentage of your purchase back in cash, much like a discount code! They send you a cheque in the mail after you complete your regular online shopping with no minimum payments or required purchases!
IF you are interested I have a link: Ebates 
(*by clicking this link you also help me earn referral cash  with no payment by you!)

** quick disclaimer:
All thoughts are my own and link to products are not affiliated (other than Ebates) and I do not make any commission based on your purchase. All links are based on my personal use and my personal opinion of their use and quality.

Resolution Update 1:

 

Me time
Carving Out Me-Time

Since posting the last entry I have been putting myself to the test. I thought a quick update on each resolution I made would be quite interesting to read about, ( one at a time I mean you don’t need to read a novel today 😉 )

This is will be focused on the second resolution which; is making the time for myself on a regular basis. So far what I have learned is that it is quite hard to manage the emotions that come along with this. On one hand I am feeling empowered because I am solely taking care of myself and really accomplishing the life that I am after. On the other hand I am feeling guilty for either “neglecting” my friends and family or feeling guilty because I am “wasting” my time doing something unimportant. Now I put both of those words in quotations because I am fully aware neither view point is true.

In order to really fit some “me-time” in I first had to recognize what it is that I enjoyed doing on my own. For me that seemed to be the gym, which I know sounds dreadful, and sometimes it is let me tell you. I don’t necessarily like working out all the time, and sometimes I am tired or even just lazy which means I don’t go.  It is when I just tell myself I need to go that I find I instantly feel better.

What I get out of going to the gym is one hour of silence- or at least conversation silence. I plug my headphones in I do what I am supposed to do with equipment, but what I am really doing is having time where there is no one telling me how or why I am doing something, I have no responsibilities except to myself in this entire hour and that is what feels the best. Sometime I just go and stretch to have that little bit of alone time, sometimes I go all out and really work up a sweat, and when I do that it gives me that sense of accomplishment that I was after in the first place.

I am not telling everyone that in order to make this a priority you need to hit the gym, because that is not true for everyone. I have always been an active person and after high school when the sports stopped I had to get creative to find ways to expel my energy, and it turned into a love for the gym. I mean, side benefit is that I am really feeling good in my skin because of this habit #bonus!

My other way of finding me time is to turn off my phone (Or realistically just put it in another room).  I have been trying my hardest to put my phone down for at least 2 hours once I am home from work so that I can cook , eat, and really be present in that time with my partner. Its less of alone time and more of “just-us” time, where the world outside our four walls doesn’t matter for that few hours. This doesn’t always go perfectly and sometime it doesn’t happen at all ( I’m only human). What I am finding through the journey is that the recognition I am giving my phone is helping.  What I mean by that is that I recognize how many times I reach for my phone, or how many times I am not actually listening to my partner because I heard that text-ding etc.  There is too much in this world and too much access to the world through my phone, and it makes the rest of life hazy.  Finding time where I am just a person with things I love around me helps me get some perspective and helps quiet the world we are in for a few minutes.

I am still trying to perfect the art of “me-time” and I will keep you updated as I go.  For now these two tricks have been working and have been giving me the peace I need for an hour a day at the very least. Its also giving me confidence from the gym and strengthening my relationship which overall is a huge drive to keep this at the front of my priorities.

The benefits from finding something to take your mind off the day-to-day are going to be different for everyone, and I look forward to hearing about any #bonus benefits  your finding throughout!

Thanks for clicking on,
until next time 🙂

New Years Resolutions

3

Resolutions have always been a weird subject for me. It always seemed like a hassle growing up, like you have to speculate everything you had done badly in the previous year in order to correct them this time around. As if over night you would be able to break every bad habit you ever created. It just never made sense to me.
This year, I ended up taking a mental break from work, and it wasn’t a doctor ordered break or anything serious, I just felt I needed a 2 day period to really just shut off after the holidays. During this little break I stayed off my phone, I organized my closets, I read some books and really spent time on my own. It was during this time I created this list and made an internal goal to try to make small adjustment that would line me up with the values I hold.
So often I find myself believing in an attitude and not taking the time to display it in my everyday life.

These  are some of the resolutions that made the cut:

1. Make less waste
As I grow up I am realizing the garbage that I create and there really isn’t a reason for it. Putting my vegetables into clear plastic bags and then into plastic grocery bags is kind of a pointless task. Grocers can weigh my fruits and vegetables without the bag and then I can put them straight into a re-usable bag. Ta-daa zero plastic bags used.  I’m trying to find new ways to combat this each day and it’s a learning curve. Maybe that will be a post for another day.

2. Schedule in Down- Time
I am a go-person. I love to be busy, I thrive and do my best when my schedule is full and my hours are organized.  With this comes exhaustion. I learned this when I was in university, as soon as I had something above my regular stress happen to my schedule, I would get so sick and not be able to complete the tasks ahead. I plan to make this year a little more relaxed and if that means scheduling in an hour to nap, or read or just sit. That is what I will do.  Still a work in progress….

3.Pay off Debt Realistically
Being a go- person also means I am impatient. When I see my credit card debt or the loan on my car I think, “Okay if I just put all my savings into this it will be gone.” But then I’m left with no savings and empty credit cards and how long will that last realistically.  I can tell you from experience, not long… and then the cycle repeats itself.  I need to be more patient with money and realize that if I am making my minimums or even going above those, its helping with my credit score and one day they will be paid off. It doesn’t need to be tomorrow. I’m young and I have plenty of time to notch away at this task.

4.Say Yes More
My boyfriend will be the first to tell you I love the word “no”.  I love to say no to new plans, to fun activities, to extra expenses, to bad foods, the list goes on and on. Saying “no” is definitely a control button for me. It makes me feel like I am in control of what ever situation and allows no room for error or unwanted surprise. It also leaves no room for spontaneity or excitement or fun.  I am challenging myself to say yes to things I really want to say no to. I don’t mean in a dangerous sense, but in a my-friends-want-to-travel-to -a-new-city-and-spend-the-night-tomorrow kind of way.   Open my horizons and allow myself to not be in control so much.

5.Be Grateful
This is kind of self explanatory, its also something I dont put much thought into on a daily basis. Thanking myself for where I am each day, or being grateful for the things I posses that bring me joy and meaning. I should be thanking myself and members of my closest circle every day. I’m also hoping that by being more grateful, I can give myself more grace (see my previous post)

6. Be Focused and Present
As I discussed before I am a person that is constantly moving and planning on the next big thing. With all that hectic excitement I tend to never really enjoy anything. My mind instantly races to the next task as I am supposed to be enjoying the first.  If I can try to put some focus on one task at a time and be more present within that task I’m hoping it slows me down and lets me really make the most of my time. This goes for work and play. If I can dedicate a full half hour to only reviewing emails, (instead of looking at an email, talking on the phone and making a schedule) maybe I will be able to accomplish more and with better attention to detail…
This is going to be a real struggle because I am the queen of doing 7 things at one time haha..

7. Become Okay with the Journey
This leads us to the last point, the final idea I have for 2018. It also has to do with this space I am creating. The period between. I am trying to understand and comprehend things as they happen to me, and really enjoy the light that is shed on small moments.  Rather than continuously reaching for the next step, I should spend more time enjoying the phase I am at, and being grateful for all the steps I took that got me here. It’s a slow process, a never-ending learning that I am taking on this year, and you will be here to read your way through it.

So, here’s to 2018 and the lessons we are about to learn together. Raise a glass and cheers to the fun we have ahead and the knowledge we gained through the past

Thanks for taking the time to read and adventure with me through this post.
Comment below something you are striving for this year!

Education: A Stepping Stone

You don’t really make the decision of “if” you are going to school after high school, you decide what you will take, where you will go and which dorm room suites your needs. The idea of going to some kind of extended learning is the norm now, and especially where I grew up, it’s a necessity.

I decided on trying to follow my dreams at age 17, my dreams were very broad, not really thought out and my end point was not even discussed.  I decided on my school first, based on its proximity to my family, the price of rent in the area and the fact that I knew my way around the town.  Did you notice there is nothing about a career in that decision? The area of study I chose at university was largely based on what would sound really good when they read it out at graduation.

I moved from my mom’s house into my dad’s and went to university 3 hours from my home town. I didn’t adventure off and make it on my own, I didn’t pick a school based on the ratings of the programs or the ability to land a job after. I didn’t even pick my programs focus until 3rd year. I based my decision (that is suppose to set me up for my life) on what I thought made sense.

I had heard all of the horror stories of students never getting out of debt. SO…. I thought why pay rent when I can live with my parents. I spent my grant money on a car and got myself some freedom but other than that this decision was solely based on what came easy.

pexels-photo-207691
Education is Always Important:

I do not regret getting an education, lets put that out there right away. I went to school and I finished something. That’s a big deal, I over came the struggles I faced, or pretended to, and I learned a lot about myself. What I didn’t accomplish is finding the “something” that is going to complete me.  I landed a job after school doing something completely different than my degree.  Which felt like a failure until just recently, because I spent 5 years going over and over again these tiny details of research that I found out really doesn’t matter in my new life. The education I gained is important, just maybe not in the direct sense.

It wasn’t the school work or test or exams that got me to where I am right now. It was the connections I made in friends, the experience I gained through part-time jobs and the ability to bull-sh*t and essay on the fly. I can type a mile a minute and I can organize my thoughts into pretty little packages of poetry but that’s not what I am doing everyday to pay my bills. I’m just wading through the waters with these new-found talents in my back pocket for whenever I need them (wow right now… I’m using them right now!)

The pressure is on in such a full force in the 3-5 years of your degree and it is just crazy to look back on and think, “okay that wasn’t that bad”. I have been so mad at my education for so long because it did not grant me my 3 wishes that I thought it would, wealth, happiness and security. I see my degree hanging in its pretty frame outside my bedroom and think, “wow I accomplished that!” and some days I think, “remember how much that piece of paper made me cry/ how many bottles of wine were consumed in the making” and so on…  What I have learned through all of this, is that everyone’s adventure starts and ends somewhere different.  Comparing my experience to yours is absolutely useless because there is nothing to compare. I also learned what real friends look and sound like, and how to handle a lot of nonsense at one time.

Through these years I was able to learn about relationships and what makes a good one. That goes for friendships, as well as romantically.  The friends I made and I learned a lot together, by struggling through classes, struggling to find our way home after a night out and struggling to find our emotions and present them in an articulate manner. It wasn’t about learning who the person was, it was about learning who we were and where that person fit into our lives, and that process is messy. School throws all of these factors at you at one time and just says, “now what?” That’s when you step up and make a decision.

The most important thing I want to clarify through this post is that you learn in school. It may not be solely biology or statistics but you learn about yourself, you grow as a person and you start to see how you impact different people.  You do learn your courses even if you start to resent them, but that knowledge will come up in conversation and make you feel like an expert. I am slowly learning to be less mad at my education and am attempting to show it some gratitude. It showed me myself and how I handle stress, it wasn’t a perfect path, or a path I ever thought I was headed on, but it did open some doors that may have been closed otherwise.

Showing Grace

A word I don’t use enough in my everyday thought is “Grace”. I’m trying to show myself more grace as the years go on. I put my best foot forward and that’s all I have… these two feet are the best feet I have to work with.  If I trip or miss my footing, I give myself grace for at least deciding to take step in the direction I thought was best.  That was my schooling experience. Finding out that “my” best may not be the best of someone, else but that’s because our paths don’t lead to the same place. I’m on mine and they are on their own so every miss-step I take is actually a step towards something I am going to succeed at.  Being extremely competitive my competitive-foot can really hush my grace-foot sometimes… but I’m working on it.

All in all,
We make choices that shape what we will do in 5 years without knowing it. We choose things to do on weekends and days off that may or may not impact our overall life.  But no matter the choice we end up making, if it’s a school decision, a work decision, choosing between name brand mac and cheese and no name, were making them. They’re stepping stones, that takes us farther up that ladder to whatever si at the top. Learning to be okay with each decision is the hardest part.  But that’s why we are here together. In the middle of the pre-game and the end game, we don’t know what’s going to happen yet but we know what were hoping for and the steps we want to take to get there.

So if your still with me….

Show yourself a little grace today, because as I am writing this I’ve spilled coffee down my blouse and may have sneezed on my boss’s documents, but the coffee I spilled was free, and that’s a win if you ask me!

ed.jpg

Who am I? What is this?

This is a something I have been struggling with starting for about 4 years.  It’s a big deal to put yourself out there, even if you are kind of anonymous. It’s 2018 and putting yourself out there isn’t about asking your crush to the dance, its turned into letting the world know who you are and why you think your important. The whole WORLD. If that sentence doesn’t explain my hesitation and procrastination for the past 4 years I don’t know what will…

My goal for this, is to make a place for me to explain.  I want to explain my daily qualms with the world. I use the word qualms because, how funny is that word.
I’m a twenty something who has been told the plan of the world: you go to school, you get a job and you get through life and pay your bills on time.  Well my first qualm, is that this three-step plan is hard. No one tells you that when you get accepted to school, or you get your first interview.  I’ve officially started on step three of that process and nothing is making any sense. I went to school for something I am passionate about, and when I finished that I got a job doing something completely different and unrelated, all the while constantly wondering if this is the right thing to do, or if these are the right steps to be taking for my life.  Well if you are relating at all to this…. Get in the boat sister we are drifting together.

I would love if you joined me on this crazy ride that is my life.  Not only because I need all the company I can get, but also so you can find yourself too. I’m attempting to prove to you (and myself) that I’m not alone in the struggles of the day-to-day living. Deciding if the latte is worth the 4 dollars or if I should make my mom proud and make coffee at home. Choosing between that new car with payments I can’t afford and my car I can’t afford to fix. Or really just the daily debate between me and my better self trying to get through my work day doing something I’m not passionate about, but I’m also not upset about.

If your still with me, HI! I’m Alison and I hope you get as much joy out of my misery as possible.  I’m here laughing away at how crazy this life is, and I am hanging on by the thread of my dress pants that I’m hoping last another year (I need that money for the latte we described earlier).

Hop in the raft I call a boat and let’s sink or swim together.

P.S. I have mimosa’s…..

Alison
1