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February 2017 archive

Gabby’s January Challenge: Look Into A New Bank

Hey dudes,

So my January challenge was to look into other banks to set up an account with.

*Cue the sad trumpets*


I didn’t even bother to look into it. Why would I? Nobody my age actually likes banks. We don’t trust them. And I have a good thing going with CIBC. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

One thing I realized is that I need to pick challenges that actually interest me. Take my February Challenge, for example. I really wanted to start treating my body better by being more consciously aware of what I’m fuelling it with. So I decided to make this month all about eating healthier. And it’s working. I’m passionate about this. Once I made the decision to start eating better, I don’t even want sweets anymore. Sure, I’ve had a couple slipups here and there, but it’s all about forgiving yourself.

And I’m not even worried about being surrounded by sweets on Valentine’s Day. Bring it on.

The lesson here is to fill your time with things that actually interest you or will make your life better. It’s all about being honest with yourself. The rest is just noise.



Karyn’s January Challenge: Food Prep For The WIN!

To be completely honest, I totally forgot about my January Challenge until last week. Initially I was incredibly disappointed in myself… until I realized that I unknowingly completed it!


My original challenge was to prep my food ahead of time so I wasn’t constantly eating junk food and spending money that could’ve been used for something much more important. I imagined myself at least one night a week in the kitchen prepping food for the days to come, making lists (I LIVE FOR LISTS) of what recipes I would be using and the ingredients I need and all that jazz. Instead it turned out completely different, but the end goal remained the same.


Work right now is mad hectic, but in the best possible way. I’m loving my job, being busy as fudge and getting stuff done, while having a blast. That being said, busy Karyn’s brain completely forgot about her food prep challenge. Until one day at work I was talking to my managers about how we buy food for our staff for lunch/dinner. We buy food from the same four places and it can get kind of monotonous. That day I actually made a sweet meal of salmon, greens and mashed potatoes and brought some in to share. My subconscious mind must have been working overtime because I suggested that instead of buying our meals I would make them!


I would make our army of staff a home cooked meal for our busiest days so we could save money on eating out and people would be eating healthier at the same time. So now I was actually meal prepping for 13 people instead of one! Though that may seem like an ordeal and a half, it was actually awesome!


This forced me to make food for myself, write ALL THE LISTS (guh love it) and make sure I’m sticking to a budget ($30 or less). This also forced me to be creative since we did have some dietary restrictions at my work and making food for a slew of peeps.


Though my challenge is over, I’m still going to continue to make huge amounts of delish noms for the magical people I work with!


Next on the menu… salad, cheesy mashed potatoes and sausages!




Monique’s January Challenge – Sparking simple change

The new year started off on a frantic, heavy note.

I didn’t get a job I wanted despite being qualified and a good fit (being rejected for something “intangible” stings in unexpected ways). My freelancing, side hustling, and part-time bridge job were picking up pace and I was on the verge of burnout… again. I didn’t write anything about my failed attempt at my December challenge, which was, in itself, as frantic and heavy as I was feeling.

So I decided to switch it up.

My Mo’ Money goal for January was surprisingly simple and largely symbolic:

I wanted to buy a yoga mat.

I’d been meaning to pick one up for so long (earliest musings began circa 2013). I wanted to save some cash by working out at home (I also own free weights and other gym gear). I’ve been getting stiff by spending so many hours at the computer, researching, writing, jotting notes, transcribing… and doing it all from my home office, the little nook that doubles as a mini library by the floor-to-ceiling window in our apartment.

But above all, I needed a return to center.

My center.

Why a yoga mat? Have you ever been to a yoga class? Yes, they can be full of trendy, bendy people who seem aloof, toned, and enlightened about the versatility of coconut oil but I’ve always enjoyed them.

The chill music, relaxed atmosphere, and emphasis on the connection between mind, body, and soul always got me breathing a little deeper and feeling a little lighter by the time I rolled up the gym mat and pack up to head out.

That’s what I wanted to bring home. I wanted it accessible, convenient, and, most importantly, mine.

Now, I haven’t attended a yoga class since 2013. It’s not really my prerogative to enroll in a class anytime soon.

Expressing my desire to buy a yoga mat sounded weird when I voiced my interest for the first time, as though it wasn’t really true, as though it was a frivolous purchase I wanted to make just for the sake of owning one.

Yet, trekking to the store and picking out the right one, the one that was just thick enough and soft without being too heavy to carry, felt right.

Despite all the setbacks and disappointments, I made mo’ progress in January.

Getting clear on something meaningful, no matter small it seemed, and then acting on it felt satisfying.

January is always the “new beginnings” time of year as most everyone hangs up their new calendars, take note of what worked and what didn’t within the past 12 months, and set new goals in an effort to start fresh.

It’s recently gotten some seriously cynical backlash for that. While buying a yoga mat wasn’t a new year’s resolution of mine, it reminded me on the importance of doing what makes you feel good, even if it doesn’t always fit into the big picture of your life.

It’s like buying a new piece of clothing you’re in love with, and realizing it goes with nothing in your existing wardrobe. But you wear it anyway, and eventually an outfit comes together.

Sometimes that simple change is the catalyst for hauling yourself back on the path to the happiest, healthiest, most awesome version you can be.

With that in mind, my February challenge is to actually use my new yoga mat, and see if I can inspire some more bawse-awesome, incremental changes.

High fives and good vibes,

Monique 🙂


January Challenge: A Tax Prep Party

I know it’s hard to believe that both ‘tax prep’ and ‘party’ can co-exist in the same sentence.

Tax prep brings out a lot of dread for many people (myself included), so I was inspired by my financial planner Shannon Lee Simmons to adopt her enthusiasm for all things taxes and challenge myself to make this task into a celebration (of sorts) for my January challenge.

I used to think of doing taxes as a total drag. I didn’t see the positive side. What came to mind were negative quotes like ‘all you’re guaranteed in life is death and taxes’ and flashbacks to how I used to hear adults talk about taxes as a kid… which doesn’t help my motivation.

So before starting this challenge, I decided to remind myself through a bit of research why paying taxes is a positive thing. Here are three great reasons if you’re looking for some inspiration:

#1) Paying taxes is an investment in our glorious country. More than ever before, I truly appreciate being Canadian and don’t mind paying for the privilege.

#2) Paying taxes keeps us safe, provides education and ‘free’ health care. I sprained my wrist this past year and forgot how easy it is to just stroll into a hospital in Canada and get care by showing my health card.

#3) Emergency services. I’m appreciative that I haven’t needed to rely on police or firefighters this year, though it’s tremendous peace of mind to know that they’re on-call for any tough times.

I’m just scratching the surface here with these three reasons.

Now back to the ‘party.’

So last year, I got my taxes in early, as I invested in myself and booked in to work with Shannon for tax filing. As an employee and a freelancer, my taxes always seem a bit more complex, so I prefer to outsource this to a professional.

In preparation to meet with Shannon last year, I came up against the wall of resistance too. Literally the night before I met with Shannon last year, I was up until 3 a.m. working on last minute number crunching. It sucked to feel exhausted as I walked into her office like a zombie.

So my January challenge was to book in a Tax Prep Party for a couple hours every Monday of the month to be prepared for my meeting with her on February 28th. This was set to be a time where I started entering digits into a spreadsheet.

Results: I am about a quarter of the way done, and only spent one Monday this month working on taxes.

Truth: My enthusiasm quickly waned after week one, and I found convenient excuses not to sit down and do the work.

Learning from this (and the resistance I have to sitting down and doing the work), reminds me that this is the type of task I should get down all in one (or perhaps two) sittings. And ideally, I’ll find a way to enjoy the process (I’m thinking latte + fun music + dance breaks!)

So with this, I am officially sharing that my February challenge is Tax Prep Party II! My meeting with Shannon is on February 28th, so there’s definitely a huge incentive to really get this done!

Now accepting all positive vibes and well-wishes 🙂