Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One


Leave a comment

Project Empty: Try or Cry (2018)

Yes, you read that correctly – I got a little busy at the end of the year when I was going to send my final thoughts on these products, so here are my 2018 empties. As always, I’m supposed to say that this is only my opinion. You are welcome to disagree (although, sadly, I am always right, at least that’s what I tell myself). It is a long one, so get cozy. Just a reminder, buy is a product that I recommend and cry is one that I do not.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Eye Cream Mini (Cry) – This didn’t do much for my under eye area AND it dried out before I could get too far into the product and it was a mini.

Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (Cry but HMMMM) – This is difficult because I used it at a time when I wasn’t supposed to be using glycolic acids or any type of AHAs. In fact, I am still using Retin A so I should not be using any chemical exfoliant. I can’t recommend this product, but I really can’t offer an opinion. I would say try it if you are not on Retin A or if you do not have sensitive skin, it is a well reviewed product.

Drunk Elephant LaLa Retro Whipped Cream x 2 (Buy) – Here are my feelings on this skin cream. One note, I don’t know how I got my first jar to last 6 months, it is more like 2 months now, but it is a good product.
https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/project-empty-buy-or-cry/

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Daily Moisturizer (Buy) – This is a very good product if you have sensitive skin. It is especially good if you are on an isotretinoin for acne and your skin is in that very dry phase. It helped me a lot, but at the height of my treatment, I went through one of these every three weeks. It is also tested on animals so I stopped using it in favour of Drunk Elephant which ended up being more cost effective too.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Eye Contour Cream (Cry) – La Roche-Posay makes excellent products that really worked on me. I just didn’t find that this really did any more for me than using the daily moisturizer on it’s own. I did get this free although I don’t remember why.

NIOD Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid (Buy if I had to) – This was not a bad product, but the dropper made it really difficult to apply and to judge how much to use. I prefer Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Day Serum. It has the perfect pump. This does smell better than C-Firma though if that is what is important to you.

Clinique Foaming Facial Soap (I believe that it is now Foaming Sonic Facial Soap) (Buy but not cruelty-free) – I got this from a friend a couple of years ago. It was fine, did what it was supposed to do. It didn’t majorly dry out my skin or cause any type of skin irritations which is always a concern for me. It was a mini so it was perfect for travel.

Estee Lauder Multi-Action Foam Cleanser/Purifying Mask (Buy but not cruelty-free) – See above – I have the very same feelings about this product. Since it is not cruelty-free, I’ll stick with Drunk Elephant.

Ahava Mineral Foot Cream (Buy) – When I first had my ankle surgery and my cast was removed, my foot and leg were SCALY in a see you later alligator kind of way. This moisturized my foot and made it look normal again.

Bite Beauty Agave+ Weekly Lip Scrub (Buy) – This worked well and the sugar exfoliated my lips nicely. It has a delightful taste. I’m not in a rush to repurchase this, but only because it feels like one more step for me. Maybe I’ll pick one up at the next Sephora sale.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Clear (Buy) – This is an amazing product – I used it every night and it is by far the product that worked the best on my parched lips during my stint with isotretinoins. I will pick another one of these up as soon as I finish with my current night time lip treatment which should coincide with Sephora’s summer sale. I don’t need to stock up on lip treatments. One at a time is my new mantra.

Beauty Bar The Ten Spot Lip Balm (Cry) – This lip balm has a nice scent, but it is just an ok product. There are better out there, but it is a Canadian brand if you want to support it. I’m not sure if they still make this product.

Feet Treat Pedi by Look Beauty Intensive Moisturizing Foot Mask (Buy) – This worked really well on my feet – it was very moisturizing. The little plastic bags though, make your feet feel disgusting while you are doing the foot mask. I would also recommend plunking yourself in front of the TV while doing this – they are very slippery too. Enjoy the moment, relax and take a load off.

Sonia Kashuk Makeup Brush Cleaning Spray (Buy) – This cleaned my brushes so well and was so easy to use. The sprayer worked until the last drop too. I just wish that it was available in Canada.

L’Oréal Total Repair Replenishing Detangling Care (Cry) – I bought this out of desperation at the drug store one day, because I couldn’t find anything else. This weighed my hair down which almost never happens. It did detangle though, so if you have course hair and are ok with a brand that isn’t cruelty-free, this may work for you.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Hydrating (Cry) – I just don’t find that primers do anything for me in terms of wear time or finish for foundation, and this product was no exception. It was a point perk from Sephora. It is not cruelty-free so I would not buy it anyway.

L’Oréal True Match Healthy Luminous Makeup in Warm (Cry) – I think they may have rebranded this True Match Lumi, but I recommend leaving it at the drug store. I found the formula hard to blend and the texture almost felt oily. I’m cheap so I used it up, but I was never happy with my foundation. Next.

Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Swish & Pop Blusher in Love Glow (Cry) – The colours were beautiful and went on nicely, but this blush did not have staying power on my cheeks. It is cruelty-free, but there are better options out there that are less expensive.

L’Oréal Infalliable Liner in Brown (Cry, Cry Cry, a thousand times cry) – I don’t think that they make this eyeliner anymore and I can see why. It is terrible. It does a few things that I’ve never seen happen with a liquid liner – it runs and smudges and causes raccoon eyes. If they didn’t discontinue this, stay far, far away.

Tarte Colour Splash Lipstick (Mini) in Soaked (Buy) – This was the perfect lipstick. Great colour, great formula and great lasting power. It also had a really nice finish. It is one of my favourite formulas and once I’ve used up a sufficient amount of lipsticks so that I’m not overwhelmed with volume, I will repurchase.

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick (Mini) in Fig (Buy) – This is also a great formula. Click here for more thoughts on this lipstick (Fig was a great colour)
https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2019/04/30/project-empty-buy-or-cry-updates/

Sigma Tranquil Lipgloss (Buy) – Sorry, I don’t have a shade name or photo. This was really good, but it had a really weird brush applicator. I find doe-foots easier to apply gloss with. It still was a really nice product but bought it at Winners so odds are good that I won’t see it again.

Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara (Buy) – I prefer Essence’s Lash Princess False Lash Mascara, but this is a good option if they are sold out. It lasted, didn’t flake or smudge. The price is right too at $4.99.

Guerlain by Emilio Pucci Palette (Cry) – I never loved the shadows in this palette. They had a thick consistency but stayed on with primer. I also bought it in 2007, so I thought it was time to get rid of it! Guerlain cosmetics are not my favourite (except their foundation) and they are not cruelty free, so I will not be buying anything from the line.

Advertisements


1 Comment

Project Empty: Buy or Cry

Like many people, I am trying to be more responsible about my self-care habits. That means different things to different people. To me, it means, buying less of everything. The last few years, I bought far too much makeup. I’m reasonably good about skincare because I know that some have ingredients that deteriorate so I don’t stock up on it – I’d rather not throw away my money. Makeup became an issue and this is the year that I am limiting what I purchase to only items that I need like foundation and buying less of what I don’t (eye shadow palettes and lipsticks). I am also trying to use up products that are not cruelty free. In the YouTube world, this is called a low buy. In my world, it’s called project empty. I’m not a YouTuber, nor am I an Influencer, so I realize that I don’t need to have a million of everything and I should only buy replacement items or something truly unique. I’ve spent a lot less money this year (I’ll compare 2018 to 2019 at the end of the year) and I’m also getting rid of items that do not suit my colouring. Hanging on to them does not “spark joy” in the words of the great Marie Kondo.

I’ve had a lot of empties over the last little while and need to play catch up. Similar to my other Buy or Cry articles, I’ll let you know if I would re-purchase the item (buy) or not (cry). I’m supposed to tell you that these are just my views and you can think what you want. All true – but I’m right about everything!!!!!!!!!!!! Actually, I have really sensitive skin so you aren’t going to see a lot of variety in skin care. I have a fair complexion; even if I like a formula, certain colours may not work for me. You are also going to get an honest opinion about the product whether it is cruelty-free or not. Just my little warning….Now here we go:

Lancôme Hypnose Drama Mascara (Cry) – I received this mascara as a gift. I know that people swear by this brand’s mascara, but I always find that it flakes on me so I would not re-purchase it. It is also not a cruelty-free brand if that is important to you.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Extreme Zero Smudge All Effects Mascara (Cry) – This must have been a point perk or gift with purchase based on the small size. I checked the website, and I don’t think that they make this exact product any more. The wand was tiny and perfect for your bottom lashes. It was a great formula too with no flaking. Unfortunately, Estée Lauder is not cruelty-free so I couldn’t purchase the mascara, even if it was available.

Becca Mini Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in Moonstone (Both) – This is a great formula from a cruelty-free brand. The only reason that it is a cry is because I prefer the Vanilla Quartz shade which is a little lighter. If you have a lot of highlighters or it just takes you a long time to go through one, I strongly suggest the mini-size. In Canadian dollars, the mini is $27 and the regular size is $46, making the larger size the better deal, but unless you put it on with a spatula, this will last you at least 9 months and will ensure that you actually use up your product so that it will be fresh.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in paaarty (Cry) – This was a 2017 Sephora Birthday Gift that I finally used up. The colour was nice – it was a neutral pink. The formula was nice, easy to apply, pigmented enough to not need to build it up, but not so pigmented that I felt like a clown. The major draw back was the lasting power. I found that it disappeared on me in about 3-4 hours. It is cruelty-free if you still want to try it.

Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Crayon in Night Mauves (Buy) – I got this in a Sephora lip box in December 2017. Those boxes are one of the reasons that I have far too many lipsticks so I decided to stop buying them. I believe that this was a full size. It is a unique formula – it really feels like you are wearing nothing on your lips and has the lasting power of a liquid lipstick. It does not make your lips feel dry like a traditional liquid lipstick would. The colour was perfect. If I ever get down to a reasonable amount of lipsticks, I would 100% repurchase this cruelty-free product.

No 7 Moisture Drench Lipstick in Berry Blush (Both) – No 7 lipsticks are not available in Canada. I first tried them when I went to Europe and fell in love with their formula and perfect colours. I would always stock pile them when I went to Europe or the USA. The reason that this is getting de-cluttered was simply because it smelled off. I bought it in October 2016. I also cannot find information on whether the brand is cruelty-free or not, so I’m going to take a break from it. If that is not a concern of yours and you want a great drug store brand, this is it.

Bésame Cosmetics 1930 Noir Red Mini Lipstick (Both) – Bésame is one of my favourite brands. This came in a mini-lipstick set that I received as a gift. The formula of the lipstick is perfection. Their customer service and packaging is also perfection. The only reason that this is a cry at all is because the colour is way too dark for me. If you have a deeper complexion or just like very dark lipstick, then this will work for you. I highly recommend this cruelty-free brand.

Empty!

Joico Daily Care Leave-In Detangler (Buy but….) – This product did exactly what it promised – it detangled my very tangled hair. It did not weigh my tresses down, nor did it make them feel greasy. It is perfect except….it is not cruelty free. I believe that the issue is that the brand sells in China. I’ve read that China may eliminate the need for animal testing in the very near future. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Eau De Parfum 30ml plus sample (Both) – I loved this perfume. It reminded me of old school sun tan lotion. It is beautiful and unique. I got compliments every time I wore it. Alas, it is not cruelty-free. Hopefully, one day I will be able to buy this beautiful fragrance again. Until next time Tom….

Empties

Bath and Body Works 24 Hour Moisture Cream in In the Sun (Both) – This is a great body cream. The scent is the perfect affordable complement to Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc. It has that same amazing sun tan lotion scent that just screams summer. The issue? It’s not cruelty-free. I have a ton of Bath and Body Works products to use up. They always do those buy 3 get 3 free (really who needs that much body lotion?) and I have some that are gifts. I won’t need body lotion for a very long time.

Ahava Dermud Intensive Foot Cream (Buy) – This brand is cruelty free and vegan. This foot cream saved me when I had my cast off after surgery. My foot was as dry as a lizard and my skin was flaking off – it was gross. Within a week of using this, my skin was back to normal and it has really helped with heel cracking too. It isn’t cheap, but I have not been able to find anything that works better on me.

All Empty – All Cruelty-Free

Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream (Cry) – This was expensive and it just did not work for me. I actually felt like it made my under eye area even drier.

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum (Buy) – All Drunk Elephant products are pricey (this one is $100). This one happens to be worth it and lasts for about 3 months. Do not stock up on Vitamin C serums, even if it is on sale or Sephora is doing one of their Rouge/VIB events. The product will degrade in time and they have a very short shelf life.

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum (Cry) – I got this is “The Littles” gift set. It was worth the $110 to try more Drunk Elephant products and see what I liked and didn’t like. The little container held a lot of product – this lasted me for almost two months. It was long enough to see that this just did not work for me.

Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser (Buy) – This is a great face cleanser and a little goes a long way. This one tube has lasted me for almost 6 months which makes it cheaper over time than other drug store brands. It is $40 but you can save by buying it at the Sephora sale – it will keep if you buy one or a spare but don’t go crazy and buy ten. It leaves your face satisfyingly clean without drying out your skin.

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream (Buy) – I wrote about this product in my last Buy or Cry. Here is the link to learn more
https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/project-empty-buy-or-cry/

Are you on a low buy or doing a project use up yourself? Tell me what your favourite products are.


3 Comments

Project Empty – Buy or Cry?

You know from my last post that I may watch a few too many beauty YouTubers, and my latest time suck has been Project Pan and “18 in 18” videos.  Project Pan, if you didn’t catch the definition the last go round, is when an Influencer puts select makeup into their everyday rotation so that they are forced to use up older products or even just “hit pan”.  Again, this just means that you will see usage through a little sliver of metal that peeps through the seemingly endless supply of blush/eye shadow/.  Some people make hitting pan or using up product their goal.  People who do “18 in 18” are committed to using up 18 beauty products in 2018.  This may not seem like a big goal, but these people have enough makeup to fill a Sephora.

I was watching a few of these “project empties” and was struck by the ridiculous items that they started including just so that that they could say that they had something to report.  One YouTuber showed off two tubes of toothpaste and an empty package of cotton pads.  Honey, brushing your teeth isn’t something that you should brag about, it’s essential for oral health.  What are you going to do next, show off empty toilet paper rolls?

The ridiculousness of these videos, plus my own desire to use up or declutter some of my own stash of makeup, skin care and hair care made me want to do my own project.  I have  rules for mine though, so you will not be seeing stuff that I use daily and re-buy constantly – no cotton pads, swabs or toothpaste.  I use the same shampoo and conditioner and can’t veer away from them, and I always use Simple Cleansing Cloths to take off my make up because I don’t get a rash from them.  I’m also not going to brag about body wash – I use that daily too so I won’t be showing that off.  I’m also including items that I’m decluttering.  I don’t have a goal in mind, but I’ve already gone through 17 products (to be more accurate, 11 empties and 7 decluttered items) in the two months it’s been since I’ve started this project.  Here are the items and whether I’ll re-buy or if they just made me cry.  Oh yeah – this is just my opinion, yada yada, if you don’t agree, you don’t have to – everyone’s skin and colouring are different.

Skin Care:

Skin

Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy Skin Daily Therapy Cream (Buy or Cry) – Cry – I was looking for something to replace my beloved, but discontinued Lachydrin Lotion.  I bought three of these from Amazon just in case, and have gone through 1.5.  It isn’t cheap and it’s a fine body cream but nothing spectacular and does not do anything at all for Keratosis Pilaris if that’s your skin concern.

Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (Buy or Cry) – Cry – I paid $25 for a product just because it smelled good and said Bum Bum on the packaging.  It’s good but there are better creams out there that are a lot less costly.

LB Gentle Skin Cleanser (Buy or Cry) – Buy – it’s just as good as Cetaphil and it’s lower price tag is nice.  It’s perfect for people with sensitive skin, at least it was for me and it lasted for months, like 6 months.  Like why do I keep writing like?

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream (Buy or Cry) – Buy – yes it’s $75, but this jar lasted me almost 6 months and did not irritate my skin.  I’m already working through my second jar.

Avène Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum (Buy or Cry) – Cry – it really did nothing for my skin.  It did not feel any more moisturized with it than it did without it.  They have other really good products, but this just is not one of them.

Hair

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Daily Nourishment Leave-In Fortifying Spray (Buy or Cry) – Neither – My sister gave me her half full bottle (half empty if you are a pessimist) of this when chemotherapy led to her losing most of her hair.  That makes me sniffle a little.  These is OK for a leave-in, but will never replace my Biolage Daily Leave-In Tonic.

Moroccan Oil Treatment (Buy or Cry) – Buy – I love this product!  I re-purchase it constantly.  It’s an all-in-one styler, conditioner and makes my hair shiny.  It also smells amazing.  I’ve been using it for years and always go back to it.  You only need to buy 3 a year so it’s not that pricey when you do the math.  I would not recommend it if you have fine hair – it may weigh it down.  Remember to use it only on the ends or it can make your hair look greasy.

Cosmetics

Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick (Buy or Cry) – Cry, because I love this product so much, it’s the perfect lip tint, but Clinique is not a cruelty-free brand (they sell in China which has mandatory animal testing).  If you are fine with that, then buy away.  I’m in the process of using up any of my cosmetics that are not cruelty free and avoiding them in the future.

Wet N Wild Pout & Love in 955B (Buy or Cry) – Cry – this product was supposed to be a tinted lip balm.  It was not terrible, but it smelled exactly like you put an entire stick of butter on your lips.  Seriously, the smell is overwhelming.  I tried to use it, but every time I put it on, I felt like I had just eaten a tub of movie theatre popcorn drenched in butter and was too lazy to wipe my lips with a napkin.

Make Up Forever Artist Liquid Matte in Shade 105 (Buy or Cry) – It’s not fair for me to provide an opinion.  This was a Sephora freebie (100 point gift).  The colour was way too nude for me so I decluttered it and gave it to my sister.  I will not buy Make Up Forever because it is not a cruelty free brand.

Quo Double Dip Lip Gloss (Buy or Cry) – Neither – it was just a very clear gloss that was fine.  I believe that the product has been discontinued.

Laura Mercier Lovers Lip Colour in Sensual (Buy or Cry) – Neither – again, this was another Sephora freebie and the colour was just not for me and I decluttered it.  I cannot figure out if Laura Mercier is cruelty free or not, so I’ll reserve judgment.

Ciate Liquid Velvet Lipstick in Voodoo (Buy or Cry) – Cry – this was part of a Sephora Favourite’s lipstick collection and this liquid lipstick took up valuable real estate.  It’s formula is drying and the colour is a big yuck.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Potion (Buy or Cry) – Both – the lip gloss is really good – it has an excellent formula, but the colour was completely wrong for me.  If you are a fan of very dark lip colours that are on the other side of goth, or if you have a deeper complexion, this would work well on you.  I found mine at Winners (Canada’s version of T.J. Maxx).

Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Volume Mascara (Buy or Cry) – It was a Sephora Freebie so I can’t cry, but I would not buy it.  It is quite clumpy and it flaked on me.  There are better mascaras out there for the price – not the free price, the retail price.

Hourglass Illusion Hyalloronic Skin Tint in Vanilla (Buy or Cry) – Buy – I did not love this product at first, but over time, it really grew on me.  It had more coverage than I was expecting and a really nice formula.  It is not my favourite, but I would go back to it.

Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer (Buy or Cry) – BUY – this is an amazing eye primer.  It’s one product that I almost always re-purchase.  You need to use a very small amount and blend it in very well before it dries.  It really makes your shadows last all day and through the night.

There you have it.  My next list will not be as long and it will not be in six months either.  So what about you?  Are you doing your own declutter?  Which products are on your buy or cry list?  Let me know in the comment section.

 

 


1 Comment

100 Days, 100s of Memories, 100s of Items

Mummy and Me Bday

It’s been 100 days since my mother died.  That’s just a little over 3 months.  It’s the time in the mourning process when you get the head bob – you know those people who sympathetically look at you, nod and say: “Oh, it’s so good that you had CLOSURE….”  “She’s in a better place…” “At least she isn’t suffering.” “Every day gets a little easier, doesn’t it?” Grief is not something that can be wrapped up into a neat little package, and there is no timeline.  When people give me the closure speech, I often want to say what does that even mean?  Closure in that I realize that my mother isn’t coming back?  I know that she isn’t.  Closure in that there was nothing left unsaid?  That’s true, but can be more properly defined as a comfort, not closure.  Closure implies a sense of resolution, and I don’t know anyone who can properly resolve themselves to the finality of losing a loved one.  It also doesn’t get easier with time, every day is different.

People mean well, but it’s a long process.  There is a beginning to grief, but no middle and no end.  There is just a level of coping.  I can get up, go to work, do many things as well as I did before.  The brief fog that was part of the early days of loss has lifted.  I can carry on conversations with people and they would never know that there is anything wrong unless I told them.  It just isn’t something that you can adjust to overnight or over the course of three months.  Keeping occupied helps – it’s when I stop to think about things that reality sets in.

Outside of work, upcoming travel, socializing and settling my mother’s affairs, I need another project to keep me busy.  Something useful…something cleansing…and there is nothing more cleansing than a good declutter.  I’ve recently watched a number of YouTube videos where Influencers declutter cosmetics.  I’m a little obsessed with these videos, but I saw another video where the Influencer decided to get rid of 1,000 items from their home.  That’s a little ambitious for me, I did a huge declutter in 2015 – here is a small sample of things that I got rid of:        https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/konfessions/

I did think carefully about it, and while 1,000 seems to be a daunting number, why not try for 300?   I’ll provide a progress report for you with every 100 items that I’m getting rid of and a few special features.  Some items will be thrown out, most will be donated and a small amount will be sold.  I’m excited to simplify things and to have a goal in mind.  My mother would definitely approve.


1 Comment

The Serenity of Unemployment

Serenity

Image courtesy of me and a trip to Norway

Last May, I had a conversation with a now former colleague that I’ve known for many years.  She put a bug in my ear about how much I would love a contract job, or just some needed time off.  We talked about it for quite awhile, and she made me think of the excitement of possibility.  I know that not having a job isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and it wasn’t something that I was sure about either, but as time went on, I became more emboldened and couldn’t get the idea out of my little head.  I’m not alone, but I worked very hard for so many years, the thought of taking some time away really sounded like a dream.  Some health issues with someone that I’m very close to also helped me see things  very differently.

You are not going to get any employer bashing here.  If you are reading this in your twenties or even early thirties, please take some very valuable advice from me,  every job has it’s ups and downs, but you should never be open about the downs or reveal anything confidential about the ups in social media or the blogosphere.  It’s not professional and it’s really not ethical unless you are a female Fox employee or work for United Airlines. For a very long time, I got to work with an amazing bunch of people, and for that, I will always be grateful.   There just comes a time in your life when you need a massive change and this is my time.  I need to find my next decade job, meaning that it will be long term in a company that I can grow with.  I’ve reached a place where I need to be a student rather than a teacher.  Learning is growing, and that can only come when you shake yourself out of your comfort zone.

In the last 6 weeks, I haven’t had a single moment of boredom.  Granted, I’ve been busy helping with a sick family member, which has taken up quite a bit of time, but I also made a conscious decision to say yes to everything, even if I wasn’t sure about it and to do things to better myself.  I’ve signed up for a digital marketing course to brush up on my skill set, agreed to volunteer for a marketing association and signed up for unlimited belly dance lessons and dance workshops so that I could get back to where I was eight years ago when I was part of a professional dance company.  I agreed to give a talk on social media and blogging at a local college’s marketing class.  I’ve met up with former colleagues and friends that I haven’t had the chance to spend anytime with over the past year.  I’ve said yes to every invitation that has come my way – there really is no excuse now for me to say no.  I’ve done some jobs around the house that I’ve been putting off – who really wants to clean venetian blinds slat by slat?  I’ve done stupid things that people have suggested so if you need someone to do that Flight Simulator or Edgewalk with, I’m your girl.  I’ve come up with theme days that I want to do once a week while I’m off that include but aren’t limited to:

  • Gift Card Day –  what better way to go on a shopping spree than to use up all of the gift cards that I haven’t touched!  My Master Card has points for a department store gift card in Canada, so I’ll cash those points in too.
  • Free Day – look up fun things to do that cost absolutely nothing.
  • TV Day –  a day to binge watch one show.
  • Magazine Day – you guessed it – read a bunch of magazines, all in one day.
  • Book Day – I signed up for a fifty book pledge this year, so I need to finish one book in a day.
  • Decluttering Day(s)- do I really need to explain this?
  • Kijiji Day – a day to photograph and post some of the things that I want to see if I can sell on Kijiji and other similar sites.
  • Neighbourhood Day(s) – every week, pick a neighbourhood in my city, either on my own or with friends and fall in love with Toronto all over again.
  • Culture Days – I’ll fall asleep if I go to multiple museums in one day, so I’ll spread this one out.  I went to see Strictly Ballroom this weekend with my sister and some friends – I’m counting that.  I’m going to see if I can convince someone to go to an art exhibit that’s in Toronto too.
  • Movie Day – I’ve never been to a movie by myself before, and I think it will be a good experience.  Once I’ve gone, I’ll come back and binge watch movies on Netflix or TMN.
  • Bad Job Day – doing all the ugly jobs and tedious errands that I need to do.
  • Spa Day – to recover from all of these brainiac ideas.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt more like myself than I have in a very long time.  I’ve started paying attention to my surroundings because I no longer have to have my face buried in my cell phone while I’m walking so that I can get one more email off of my plate.  I actually listen to the people that I’m with when I’m out instead of doing a mental to do list.  I’ve talked to strangers, got to pat some cute dogs on the subway and don’t fret while waiting in line, because I know that my turn will come.

I know that soon, I’ll have a new job  because that’s the way that life goes, but retirement practice has been fulfilling.  People may not be in the same headspace about this as me, and I totally respect that, but if you find yourself unemployed, whether it’s your choice or not, try to make the most out of the time.

 


Leave a comment

Barcelona for Dummies and Type As (Primera Parti)

P1030209.JPG

Some years ago, I’m not sure how many to be precise…scratch that – it was November 2012, so 3 years and 10 months and two days ago, I visited Barcelona for the first time.  It’s called Barcelona for Dummies and Type As people, and I’m no dummy.  I can’t forget a thing, but that’s a story for a different blog.  Anyway, back to Spain…so I visited this city, and fell in love with it’s unique combination of old and new and totally unexplainable.  This is a city that Gaudi helped to popularize, and you will never see anything as amazing as his architecture.   I want you, my furry friends, to love this city like I do, so I’m giving you all my best tips and tricks whether you have one day, or many!

Where to Stay:

Claris.jpg

Image courtesy of hotelclaris.com

This time, I stayed at the very lovely Hotel Claris, conveniently located less than a block away from the tony Passeig de Gràcia area.  I always wanted to use the word tony in a sentence – thank you for making my dreams come true.  Anyway, this hotel is really well situated, it’s absolutely  beautiful and they have the best service of anywhere that I’ve ever been.  The Bell Hop doesn’t let you lift a finger and couldn’t be more helpful.  I needed a drug store and he practically walked me there.  The rooms had the fluffiest towels that I’ve ever experienced, and who doesn’t like a fluffy towel?  They had the best shower…ever…seriously…I never wanted to get out.  You had turndown service at night, and they left you with a fresh pair of slippers AND a chocolate on your pillow. The decor was fab and very modern.  I can’t recommend this place enough.  It wasn’t horrifyingly expensive either, but book in advance for the best prices (the executive room is probably your best bet).

Getting Around:

I can only speak for me, but the first time I went, we pretty much walked everywhere.  The one time we didn’t walk, we took a cab to the Miro museum.  I’m sure transit is easy, but remember, the best way to see a city is to walk, and walk and walk some more.  This time, we took a private tour which was great.  We got to see so much of the city and really got to understand the history of it.  A great option for tired and weary travellers is the trusty “Hop on Hop Off” tour.  The buses are everywhere and they’ll get you where you want to go.  They can also help you orient yourself in the city.

The Weather:

The first time that I went, it was in November, and it was still around 20 degrees celsius.  This summer, it was 28 degrees (celsius) during the day – more than pleasant.  If you are bringing your smart phone, download a weather app.

The People

The people are different than you expect.  They are polite and direct.  They never make you feel like they are in a rush, but there is an unusual efficiency there.

Wireless Connections

These were spotty at best.  The hotel wasn’t great for wireless connectivity, my suggest it to get yourself a decent data plan.  If you can’t roam like home, take a cyber break.

What to do:

Check back for everything that you need to do rumble down Las Ramblas in Barcelona!


Leave a comment

Satanic Starbucks and More Kon-fessions

starbucks

Image courtesy of starbucks.com

I know, I know, I’m late to the party, but I just wanted to add my thoughts to the recent craziness around Starbucks latest holiday design.  Umm…can we say, get a real problem?  There are people being starving all around the world, there’s homelessness, there are terrorist attacks, there are children being trafficked and abused (at least Jared the Subway guy is safely sandwiched away in prison) and animals being tortured or abandoned and there is Donald Trump!  The best that people can do is come together to protest that Starbucks didn’t put a snow flake – a sign of precipitation not Christianity – on it’s cups this year?  I would understand the upset if year after year they put the Nativity Scene on their cups – which to me, a Jewish person, is the true meaning of Christmas – but they don’t.  I looked back at designs of yesteryear and they included, but were not limited to snowflakes, reindeer, skating scenes, snowmen (or since we are politically correct snow people, snow women or snow people that may be transgendered) and a Christmas ornament.

I wish people a Merry Christmas or best wishes on whatever holiday they are celebrating (I’ve written about this before – remember my rant last year about calling a Christmas Tree just that?).  If I don’t know what religion they follow, it’s a generic happy holidays.  I believe that people should be able to celebrate whatever they want or not celebrate at all.  A coffee cup to me doesn’t signify anything other than a vessel for holding my tall, no foam, skinny vanilla latte (sometimes I ask for it extra hot, because I can).  If you followed the true meaning of the holidays then the people so up in arms over Starbucks would spend their $4 on a charity and put their money to better use.  If a red and green snowman less cup is your biggest problem, I’d gladly trade you – it’s been a rough year.

Now back to more Oz related pursuits AKA decluttering.  I’ve continued the KonMari method outlined in “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.      I can see why she says it takes up to 6 months – it’s been a huge job.  In the last few weeks, I’ve had to go slightly outside of her order – I’m supposed to be working on papers – and moved to CDs, tapes, VHS tapes, DVDs, etc.  Worry not, I did still manage to get rid of a big bag of paper (shredded) and a small recycling bin of notebooks and other paper-like sundries,  but I still have a bit of ways to go on that project.  I did manage to get rid of the following:

  • 84 cassette tapes – who needs them?
  • 16 CDs – just the ones I never listen to – I haven’t digitized my other CDs yet – that may not happen for awhile
  • 3 old VHS movies – I’m going to try posted my Disney movies on Kijiji
  • Assorted knick knacks
  • More dishes

This week, I’m posted more stuff on Kijiji to see where I net out with the collectibles and I’m going to finish off my papers.  Next week, it’s skin cream (easy), make up and accessories.  I know – fun times – right?  I’ll keep you posted on my progress, but see below for the load from two weeks ago:

Value Village is now the proud owner of 5 more boxes from Casa Schneiderman.  In case you are getting sick of my decluttering posts, I know I am, tune in for an exclusive 3 part series with a Dietician.  You learn…actually, you’ll have to come back to read more…