Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Congratulations to BF

A little good news has come our way. Last night BF came home and announced that all his paper work had gone through and he is now a full-fledged Engineer! Woohoo!

I am so proud of him. I could tell by his face that he was feeling really good about his accomplishment and so he should. I know taking a year off to travel while he was a Engineer In Training was a bit stressful for him but in the end it all worked out. I would like to do something special for him but I don't know what yet.

We did talk a bit about how now that he is an Engineer he will need to approach his boss about a raise. BF suggested an amount he thought was suitable. I suggested he ask for more vacation time since we'll want to vist BC in the summer and also have other time away just the two of us. So he said maybe he would ask a little less of a raise and ask for a combo of the two. That made me happy. We both thought it was best to see what the rates are before he makes his proposal to his boss.

This is big news for us. I am very happy that he has completed this major goal in his life.

On a side note. I have been wondering if BF has been reading my blog. Its not hard for him to find since we use the same computer but I guess  I never thought he'd want to. A few weeks ago he said something like "hey I found and am reading your blog". He was grinning at me something fierce so I peeked over his shoulder and noticed it was Asian Pears Blog. Ahaha. Like WTF... if he read any of her posts he would realize its not me. I mean did he see me paint my nails? Did we buy a new BBQ? Any of these things? Boys are weird!!!

Savings Challenge

Lately I've just started saving my money again. Since we've been back from our year of travels (oh how I miss it) which depleted all my savings it seems something always came up. I had weddings to attend, baby showers to throw, I had my wisdom teeth removed, we moved across Canada, we bought two cats and had to have them neutered, tattoed and vaccinated. Well now its time to focus back on savings.

I retitled my savings accounts last week and threw some money into most of them. Here is where they sit right now:

Travel Fund: $50.74

Wedding Fund: $50.12

Furniture Fund: $130.26 

House Fund: $50.14

EFund (TFSA): $2.67

Thats a total of $283.93

I wasn't sure if I was going to be posting these types of things anymore but I realized its definitely movitated me in the past. My blog is still fairly anonymous. Only people I truly trust have the link. If anyone I dislike finds their way over here... well cheers to them. Watch me improve my life. Big deal.

ING has a promotion right now that if you start an Automated Savings Plan with them putting away $100 monthly for 6 months they will reward you with a $25 bonus. Yes, I think I'll take you up on that offer ING. I recently got a $50 bonus from them when somebody used my referral code to sign up for her account. I heart ING in a big way. If you'd like to start up with ING please feel free to use my code (orange key) as we will both get a bonus when you do. My orange key is 17037983S1  :)

Carla is hosting a savings challenge for September. If you would like to join us please see the details here. I'm excited to get started. I'm not sure how long this ING promotion is on for so I'm getting started today! I will post by September 3rd what my actual goals will be as I'm still figuring that part out. Stay tuned for that one.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuned In Tuesday

This week I'm featuring a song close to my heart. As a little girl I just loved the movie "My Girl". There is a scene where Vada picks up her class photo gazing at the photo of her teacher flopping onto the bed singing this song.

Heehee. Anyone else remember this scene? Pure awesomesauce! Poor Macaulay!

Anyhoo, later on in life I heard my Granny saying how she always loved this song and how it was special to her. My Grandpa's name was William so it was very sentimental. I thought it was adorable and made me love the song even more.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Really? PBX I'm ready for us to be over!

I don't want to use my blog as a constant place to complain but I am always amazed at how many things can go wrong. Today I called Pacific Blue Cross to try and wrap up all the details from 2 months ago. If you are new then I will do a brief refresher on the situation.

I left my job on June 19th. I was supposed to have benefits at least until the end of June. The woman in charge of payroll (who had always been a headache) cancelled my benefits on June 16th. WTF? Once my benefits were cancelled I had one month to submit all claims for reimbursement or they were in valid. During that time I was moving. It wasn't until I arrived in Quebec and finally got my final pay stubs and such that I found out something was wrong.

1) I was charged for an extra months benefits (among many other wrong items)

2) My benefits had been cancelled 14 days earlier than expected so now all my claims that I had to make were invalid.

It was a nightmare to get the PR woman to fix! I was so annoyed. Everything of mine she could have made a mistake with she did so I CC'd everything I emailed to her to my former boss as well and followed up with phone calls. It took her weeks to straighten out and by then they were cancelled again. Ugh

Its been over a month since I sent in my claims and now the deadline is in just a few days. I called this morning to inquire if they had recieved them because if not I will send a fax tomororrw. I talked to CSR and the woman there told me they had recieved and processed a cheque for me. Then she tells me they sent it to my old BC address. *sigh*

I explain that I had called in twice before moving to update my mailing address. I had called in after the move to verify the new address on file. I wrote the new address in the tiny little fields of the claim form marked "mailing address". The woman said this is not good enough. She insisted that I had done it wrong and that my old employer was the only one who could change the address on file. WTF!!!!

So what were all the other phone calls and forms about? Wow, it just doesnt make any sense to me. So she is putting a stop payment on the cheque sent and next week she is going to call me to verify that it wasn't cashed in that time and then they will send me a new cheque. So I wrote down her name and her extension number and I guess I play the waiting again. Even when I carefully plan ahead and triple check everything it still doesn't go my way. Yeesh!

I am going to try to look at the positive side of this. The silver lining is that they did recieve my documents. Yay Canada Post! They processed the claims and I'm getting money back. That is awesome too. That is two things to be happy about.

Now wish me luck as I call about the couch we were supposed to have exchanged by the latest last week :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat

Today I am finally remembering to participate in Carla's Sunday night chit chat. I love these!

I've been reading through my stack of Jackie Collins books. This is the one I'm currently on.


I'm hooked on Big Brother 14. Its a great season and its the first time I've been reading the blogs and keeping up on what they write about the live feeds. I'm seriously hooked! Any other fans?

Listening to?

I'm listening to "About a Boy" the movie playing on the television and BF mixing some crazy cous cous salad concoction in the kitchen. :)


For dinner we had corn on the cob, cous cous and fish. Earlier today I made bread crumbs from a baguette we had that had gone stale.

Happy you accomplished this week?

I came up with a few earring designs. BF and I purchased a mattress finally (we were borrowing one from his sister) and we got a stellar deal! We pick  it up tomorrow evening. So excited!

Looking forward to next week?

I'm hoping we are going to get the couch issue resolved next week. That would be nice. I'm also looking forward to making and sending some rice keychains to my sister and her children. I need to do up some examples and test how well they ship so she'll be getting a set.

Thankful for today?

Living in a place with cheaper rent ($200 less). We also save on a lot of other bills here. So far the move has been good for our budgeting besides having to replace a lot of things. Since we never bought new furniture before this its not so bad.

Back into the Swing of Things

So the last week I've been trying to get myself motivated to get back into my crafting. I've come up with a few earring designs, bought all the items I need to do my rice key chains and decided to go forth with a few other things I've been interested in.
Next week I'll need to do some more investigating and will need to purchase some items off the Internet to get me started on the new ventures. I'll post more about these when I get my comfortable with these.
I forgot how relaxing it is to create things. It really calms me down. Also BF has been giving me input about my designs which is new and I definitely appreciate his feedback. I like that he is taking an interest and supporting me in this.
If I get enough done in the next 5 days there is a vendors auction I can do on FB but I'm not sure I want to push myself for that. I know another girl who runs auctions quite frequently but I'd prefer to do one with the first person. Its all about exposure but I don't think I'm ready for that.
You will probably see a lot of posts coming up to do with starting a small business from home. When I feel more confident I'll post some pics of what I am working on :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuned in Tuesdays

In light of a friend of mine getting engaged this week I bring to you a song that I find very romantic. A guy once called it "our song" and I was on cloud 9. I hope you enjoy it!

Congrats on your engagement dear friend! I'm so happy for you and I truly feel you found the salt to your pepper ;)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Confidence Issues

I think the hardest part about being a crafter is having the confidence to put your stuff out there for sale. Sometimes it can freeze me into not even starting a project. I am a HUGE perfectionist and I was everything to be absolutely perfect. I feel if its not I'm selling something hugely flawed and ugly.

I've sold my stuff successfully before and had a ton of comments on how beautiful my pieces were but it still didn't help me get over this hump. I took a few classes and had compliments from the instructors but that didn't seem to work either for my confidence level. I just can't seem to figure it out. I'm totally insecure.

Sometimes *and this is going to sound amazing evil* I see some other persons crafts and I think really? I know know... evil Ashley. Yet they have an audience and totally love the product they are putting out there.

What is wrong with me? Why am I so cynical?

Anybody else out there have this fear? :(

Friday, August 17, 2012

Couch Update

Well we've moving along slowly on the couch scene. It's taking a long time but I think we're actually getting somewhere. We're not going to relax though until its replaced.

The sectional comes in two pieces and its just the one piece that is damaged. It took a week for customer service to call us back, the next week (this one) a man came to inspect the damage and now next week we are supposed to get a replacement.

Why so long? Ugh! I guess I should count my blessings because according to reviews online people don't usually get this far sadly. I will be sure to keep you updated with what is going on.

Believe me.. before we leave the store this time we will be opening the packaging and inspecting the couch very thoroughly. ;)

I think in this case it pays to hound the company repeatedly if you want results.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tuned in Tuesday - Edition 3

I love Dirty Vegas.. no not that Vegas. Here is another older but good one. Enjoy!

And since I'm a day late I'm going to do a double feature with Dirty Vegas.. if you weren't familiar with the first song maybe you'll remember this guy...
I love the story with this one! Brings me back to highschool with all the guys breakdancing in the cafeteria or at house parties. So hot!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuned In Tuesday - Edition 2

I really love Lana Del Rey. There is something very alluring and sensual about her singing. I find her style very refreshing. A while back my friend posted a song on FB finding it to be quite appealing. I had a listen and of course was hooked. Not sure how I overlooked this gem for so long. While I was packing and thinking of reconnecting with BF this was the song I would listen to. Bon appetit!

I highly recommend giving other songs of hers a listen if you enjoy this video. It only gets better.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Goals for the Week - TCOB

Last week I only completed 4/10 goals. I set myself up for failure by putting too much pressure on a 3 day week for me. This week I'm going to go for 6 goals :)

1) Mail off MSP reimbursement paper work. I believe I overpaid for MSP premiums. At least one full year I think I should not have paid at all but paid $112 monthly. If I am correct then I should be getting back a healthy refund. I want to get this resolved asap so I am going to send this all off this week and hope they review it quickly.  (MSP = BC Medical)

2) Complete first sewing project.

3) Complete one set of earrings.

4) Work on Fan Page for my small business.

5) Complete paper work to apply for Quebec medical.

6) Finish unpacking all boxes and separate what needs to be stored for right now.

Its still quite a lot of projects considering each one will take me quite some time to figure out but I'm happy with these goals and will feel so much better once they are off  my to do list.

Pity Post - Our New Flawed Couch

BF and I are very simple frugal people. In the 7 years we have been together we have only bought one new piece of furniture and that was our bed frame. Now that we are done long term travelling and starting to settle down we are slowly acquiring furnishings that aren't second hand and beaten up. We are excited to purchase things we like and that suite our tastes.

When we moved here a month ago we only brought a few furnishings. The bed frame, a pantry cupboard and some shelving. So we've been living without a couch and things like that. We go out shopping quite a lot and try to find good deals on things we like so its a slow process.

A week ago we were shopping and looking at couches. I had demanded when we rented this place that when we bought a couch it had to be a pull out sofa bed because I expect to have guests come to visit and stay with us. We had been looking for a few weeks and researching to find something suitable. After some research we read a lot of reviews that said that pull outs are not as comfy and wear differently. With some prodding from BF I decided we could get a wide cushioned sectional that a person could sleep on. Then I compromised again when we saw this couch and said "ok we will buy a good quality air mattress". lol

We bought the couch last week but didn't pick it up until this weekend. Yesterday we opened it and found out there is two holes in the couch and its missing the legs for one half of the sectional. I was immediately upset. Oh, and two tiny marks as well. It was too late to call the company.

We talked to BF's brother and his GF to ask for advice. They told us to stay positive and if the company is any good they will come and pick up the damaged section and deliver a new one. Well today BF called the store and the man who sold us the couch (a manager) said there is nothing he can do and gave BF a number for their customer service. BF called the number and its a recorded message where you leave your complaint. Then he went online and found all these scathing messages from people calling the company scammers. :( Everyone said the customer service was a dead end.

They have 4 stores in Quebec and so we didn't think about that possibility. Usually we research the heck out of everything but this time we just went for the purchase and trusted it would be ok. I am so disappointed that I keep tearing up. We've waited so long to buy this and did so painstakingly and now this.

I had calmed down from yesterday until I heard this new news. Now I'm just plain sad. I reasoned with myself thinking to make the best of the situation and try to repair the damage myself. BF said ok but we are still missing the legs. Ugh!

So now we have to decide what to do. In the meantime we are taking photos and moving the couch into storage so nothing else happens to it in our care (we have two cats).So now we have no couch and no idea when or if we will hear back from the company. Not sure how much worse this can get. We have to record all dealings with the company now in case we have to report them to Consumer Protection and BF's credit card company.

Feeling very heart broken right now.

Here is a stock photo of the couch from the company website.

Weekly Goals Update

Oops, thought I auto dated this for Sunday. Monday morning is good too I guess :) So here's how my week went. It was a short one because we left Thursday for 3 days of camping and that whole day was spent preparing food :)
  1. Make sure all bills from previous life (BC) are paid in full. I have one for hydro, shaw and msp. Ugh    Done!!
  2. Send my mom a cheque for some patterns she is picking up for me. Super excited for that! Also I have to send her back some movie tickets she gave me that are no good for Quebec residents. Dang it!    Done!!
  3. Complete at least one sewing project. Fail!!
  4. Send off all health receipts for reimbursement from old jobs insurance plan. Done!!
  5. Make a minimum of one set of earrings Fail!!
  6. Work on FB page for small business Fail!!
  7. Mail off copies of previous years tax info to MSP to try to get reimbursed for over payments Fail!!
  8. Finally complete and post my 40b440 goals Fail!!
  9. Post first "What's Cooking Wednesday" post. Yay! I miss doing this.  Done!!
  10. Complete two postdated entries for while I'm away Fail!! - Only one actually worked :)
Ouch! Well I tried but obviously 10 goals for 3 days was maybe not such a great idea. I did get all the important paper work completed except for one. The last one was a bit of a doozy because every time I called MSP call center agents gave different information. Hate when that happens.

Working on the small business stuff is very important to me though. I really want to get some stock up and for sale. There are many online vendors doing auctions in September that I would like to be a part of to promote myself a little bit.

Later on today I will post a new set of goals for this week.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Too Tired To Think Meme

I stole this from Laura because its cute and short. If you would like to read hers click HERE. You should totally do it cuz her answers are total awesomesauce.

1. You have 10 dollars and need to buy snacks at a gas station. What do you get? Well I believe that you need something from each food group so I'd go with a slurpee (coke/cream soda combo), chips, 5 cent candy mix bag and a chocolate bar.

2. If you were reincarnated as a sea creature, what would you want to be?    I would be an elephant seal because when I was younger I thought they were the coolest ever and did like 3 reports on them.

3. Who’s your favorite redhead? Well I have two. My wittle brother and my bestie E

4. What do you order when you’re at IHOP? I have only been once and it was 5 years ago so I have no recollection of what I ordered. My favorite breakfast foods are crepes, omelettes and your typical breakfast combo.

5. Last book you read? I am trying to finish Stones Into Schools by Greg Mortenson... slow going

6. Describe your mood. I feel lazy today. So in one word I would say "meh"

7. Describe the last time you were injured. I had my wisdom teeth pulled in May. Does that count? Ok ok I was eating a candy and my root canal snapped and broke loose. Post and everything. Eek

8. Of all your friends, who would you want to be stuck in a well with? BF. I bet he'd figure out something to get us out. I would just try to be the entertainment.

9. Rock concert or symphony? Neither. Not really my scene.

10. What is the wallpaper of your cell phone? The number? (We'll just say "hi" - promise.) I dont have a cell phone. I can't stand the things. When I turned on my old phone it would say "show me the money". ahaha

11. Favorite soda? Ooh. I love soda. I like coke, rootbeer, pepsi, raspberry gingerale and cranberry gingerale.

12. What type of shirt are you wearing? A tank top

13. If you could only use one form of transportation? Tuk tuk

14. Most recent movie you have watched in theater? The new Batman movie. I don't remember the title. BF made me go lol

15. Name an actor/actress/singer you have had the hots for. Chef Curtis Stone. Schwing!

16. What’s your favorite kind of cake? Angel food or Chocolate with Strawberries and Whipping Cream

17. What did you have for dinner last night? I had pork tenderlion with rice and brussel sprouts

18. Look to your left, what do you see? My bill binder, my purse and a sleepy grey kitty

19. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? No

20. Favorite toy as a child? Barbies for the win!

21. Do you buy your own groceries? Yes, and BF buys them too.

22. Do you think people talk about you behind your back? Absolutely, and its ok.

23. When was the last time you had gummy worms? Mmm gummy worms. I'm not allowed candy right now due to the whole snapping my tooth in half thing I mentioned.

24. What’s your favorite fruit? Raspberries for the win!

25. Do you have a picture of yourself doing a cartwheel? My secret shame... I have never completed a cartwheel ever.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Edition 1 - Homemade Microwave Potato Chips

I love potato chips. When I say I love potato chips I really mean I have a hugely unnatural addiction to potato chips.  I've been really good at staying away from them for the past few months and only indulging every once and awhile. Then I discovered that I could control what was on my chips if I made them myself.

For this recipe you will need the following:
Sharp Knife
Cutting board
Spices of your choice
Parchment Paper

1) Peel your potato. Or don't. Its really up to you. If you choose not to just make sure you clean the skin really well.

2) Slice your potato. I usually cut in half so its not wobbly all over the place. Then I slice as thinly as I can. A mandolin would probably make this easier but its not necessary. Think of it as practice with your knife skills. The thinner the better! When I say thin I mean see through people. Try to make them all evenly cut and about the same thickness thinness :)

3) Arrange the sliced pieces on a piece of parchment paper. If there are any thicker bits put them in the middle and work your way out with the thinnest bits on the edges of the paper. Very important!! Do not overlap!

4) Season them however you like. The possibilities are endless. So far I have done regular salted, salt & pepper, salt & vinegar, curry, chicken and... well that's about it because I need to restock our spices since moving. I would like to try lemon & dill, Parmesan and sun dried tomato, lime... I could go on and on.

5) Place in the microwave to cook. Now this part will depend on two things .. how slim you cut those bad boys and your microwave. On average I cook them about 5 minutes, check for brownness and then add about another 45 seconds to get em just right. As I've become better at slicing I cook them about 4 minutes. Then add about 40 more seconds.
What you are watching for is the potatoes starting to brown. If you overcook them they are not extremely delicious. When you see that they are all starting to brown you can stop the microwave (it wont hurt the process at all) and check for crispness. If you have to remove a few that are done and cook the rest longer than do so.

That's about it. I can get a personal snack size out of one small-medium sized potato. They are delicious. No oil, no chemicals, and you can have whatever flavor you please. I just purchased a baking sheet so I'll be trying the oven method next time we have a chilly day. I have read online its about the same process for about 12 minutes at 350. I'll let you guys know how it goes.

Of course...a few pics for your viewing pleasure.....

If you try this please let me know what flavor combo you used.