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November 2016 archive

Funny Money

Recently I have been having some unhappy money moments. It’s hard not to dwell on the negative and let it consume you. Usually what I do is throw myself into work and let it become a great distraction. Instead I decided to have a little bit of a chuckle. So for all of you out there suffering from money woes, maybe one of these will cheer you up.

1.Raise your hand if you want this on all of our currency!

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2.

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3. This could possibly be the way you ended up here

4. Sometimes I just want my life to be like this music vid.

5. Mr. Krabs is living out all of my dreams

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6. Maybe I should join team Rocket. #bank

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7. If I just got paid I’d be swaggin’ out in those outfits too

8. Instead my life is more like this…

9. Maybe when you get back in the black we can buy some these ridiculous things from Amazon

http://www.businessinsider.com/12-ridiculously-expensive-things-you-can-buy-on-amazon-2014-10?op=1

10. The fact that someone made an emoji guide to pensions… oh millennials

https://www.buzzfeed.com/aviva/the-emoji-guide-to-pensions?utm_term=.vidrn8dQW7#.ojX80Eypza

Gabby’s October Challenge: All The Thyme In The Word

Hey guys!

While I was at the grocery store last month, I realized I spend a lot of money on fresh herbs; particularly the kind that come in a plastic package ready to use.

It always frustrated me that half the time I wouldn’t get around to using them all and I hated seeing them waste away in my fridge. Not only was I throwing away money but I was also wasting perfectly good herbs that someone else could’ve bought and enjoyed.

So I decided that my October challenge would be to grow my own herbs. But because I’m all about taking baby steps, I bought a thyme plant at the grocery store just to see if I could take care of it before growing (and possibly killing) a whole batch of others.

I really want to grow:

  • Chives
  • Mint
  • Basil

And maybe a really aromatic one like lavender.

Ultimately, I think I’m going to wait until spring to buy seeds and plant them, because I don’t think they’ll thrive when winter hits, even if they are kept indoors.

As a cactus girl, I’m used to watering my plants only once in awhile. One thing that surprised me was that thyme needs a lot of water. I have to water it every day! It’s pretty interesting to see that when it’s totally dry, the leaves look unusable, but once you give it a good splash, they’re  better than ever the next day.

So far, I’ve used my thyme plant about four times while cooking, which is totally amazing. And I love getting a whiff of the plant from time to time.

I think I could get used to this 😉

-Gabby

Karyn’s October Challenge: #Adulting

When I think of becoming a “real” adult, I picture my parents. Memories of them sitting at the dining room table and doing their bills, going to their jobs, making sure my sister’s and I got to school, you know typical adult stuff. I also remember them scheduling appointments for me to go to the doctor, the optometrist, and the dentist.

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Now that I’m on my own it is up to me to make those appointments. The thing is… I haven’t.

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I only recently got my eyes checked because my prescription was so out of wack I couldn’t really see anymore. I haven’t been to a doctor since 2009 and I don’t really ever want to go (I seriously hate people touching me). Unfortunately, due to getting a hammerfist to the side of the jaw at my Krav Maga class I had to visit the dentist. It turns out that I had broken one of my wisdom teeth and needed to get it removed.

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Yep, I still have ALL of my wisdom teeth. And now at the ripe ol’ age of 25, I was finally getting one removed.

Not only do I hate the dentist with a fiery passion, since I think strangers putting their fingers in my mouth is gross and uncomfortable, I have also been postponing this visit because of my financial situation. I don’t have benefits and the thought of paying the full price for someone to root around in my mouth was a horrifying thought. I also am currently low on funds due to the jerkwads at H&R Block, so paying for this tooth extraction seriously frightened not only me, but my bank account as well.

I tried to ignore the red-hot pain that was the open nerve endings in my mouth but I knew that I had to get it fixed.

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I finally bit the bullet and had my tooth removed. It took an hour of my time and a hefty chunk from my wallet, but in the end it was well worth it.

 

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(Yup, that’s my tooth!)

For those of you who are like me and hate having people prod around in your mouth, I totally understand why you don’t want to go. BUT, please do not wait an eternity like I did and miss out on using benefits (either your own or your parents’). I now understand the importance of regular check-ups!

Next on my hit list… the doctor 🙁

Wish me luck!

-Karyn

Monique’s October Challenge: Is an analog approach the silver bullet to productivity hacks?

If I could have predicted anything with certainty at the end of September, it was that October would be an eventful month.

After returning to Canada this past Fall, I was swamped: lots of projects, new business, meetings, numerous road trips to see family, moving into a new home, and generally getting settled. In fact, as I looked back over my calendar for the month of October, there was only *one* day where I had nothing major scheduled.

Clearly, I’ve had many commitments, projects, and to-dos but I intended to use my October challenge to combat the hamster wheel of “busyness” …you can stress yourself out by being disorganized in the way that you cross those super important to-dos off your ever-growing list.

I’d heard about this new method of journaling that is effective in keeping the doer focused on important tasks while ensuring the important tasks don’t slip through the cracks.

Bullet Journal Index Page
[Photo: Courtesy of The Bullet Journal]  

The Bullet Journal requires the doer to focus on tasks by rapidly logging them according to an index and key to keep organized in a way the doer understands.

I didn’t implement this new, analog system this month, as intended. Instead, I kept to my top digital companions: my Google calendar notifications, synced between my laptop and phone.

Unfortunately, I am painfully aware of some important to-dos that have been pushed back and still not completed. I think that had I implemented this system (I’m super partial to using my agenda  and taking notes by hand, anyway) at the beginning of the month, I would have been more productive in a way that would have been more meaningful to me and other, overarching goals I intend to accomplish.

I’d noticed by mid-month that the days were flying by and I had not yet started what, I assumed, would take my productivity levels to new highs. In fact, I used my hardcover agenda far less this month than I had in September, instead favouring the digital reminders and convenience my devices afforded me while on the go (phone constantly buzzing and travel mug full of my fourth piping hot coffee of the day) or eyeballs-deep in assignments at my desk.

I’ve found that, for me, a purely analog approach to productivity is simply not the silver bullet that I wanted it to be when comes to productivity hacks. While I typically use my agenda heavily and was initially highly enthusiastic about trying out a new method, in the end, convenience won out. I rely on the digital reminders and 30-minute alerts to ensure that I’m never late for a meeting, event or deadline.

For the time being, my strategy will continue to employ a hybrid of analog and digital tools to keep me focused, productive, and efficient. Well, that, plus a healthy stream of coffee to keep me energized as I tick task after task off my list 😉

How to you stay productive and focused?

Let us know in the comments below or on our Insta, Twitter or Facebook!

-Monique

Gwen’s October Challenge: Getting in the Zen Zone

Oh hai November.

My October challenge was to get my zen on by meditating daily. Meditation is one of the easiest ways to calm anxiety and stress (not to mention it’s FREE!) so I was interested in taking on the challenge again this month to see if I can make mo’ progress by taking time to breathe.

I took on this challenge in September and meditated for 19/30 days.

My results for October? 20/31 days!

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I’m still rockin’ the 65-ish percent zone of completing my daily meditation, though my commitment to stillness and listening to my intuition is getting stronger. I honestly feel like most of this year I’ve been like a caterpillar in a cocoon, waiting to emerge and fly! So meditating has been helpful.

I honestly love this cocoon metaphor, because sometimes in life you need to literally make a complete change (a ‘metamorphosis’ if you will) to become exactly who you’re meant to be. It can be a bit ugly, and you can feel suffocated and stuck, though when you emerge, the results will be worth it. That’s my story right now, and I’m sticking to it! Heehee.

For the month of November, I’m going to keep up the meditation and keep aiming for daily meditation, though I’m excited to switch up my challenge for the month.

This fall, I’ve been focused on the ‘mo’ progress’ aspect of life, and one challenge I’d love to tackle is my sugar addiction. I’ve found that too often in the last couple of months, I’d lean on eating a ton of sugar (aka all the donuts) in moments of stress (when I didn’t go for the more healthy option of meditation).

So this month, I’d love to kickstart getting back into eating healthy by cutting out added sugars from pastries, bread, and alcohol. I’ve done this in the past and wow it makes a difference in your mental clarity and you feel so much more confident.

I’m also going to be using an app called One Sweet App to help me track sugar!

If you’re interested in educating yourself on how sugar affects you, there are a ton of documentaries and online resources!

Check out the link to a shocking documentary called Sugar Coated:

Thank you for reading and send me all the virtual positive vibes for my sugar challenge!

-Gwen

The Dangers of Waiting for the Perfect Opportunity

I am guilty of sometimes believing that life will suddenly be amazing when that perfect opportunity arises. This is quite simply NOT the truth. In my experience, yes, if a big opportunity/relationship/windfall/dream client comes my way it’s exciting, though I’m still going to be the same person at the end of the day. So it’s important to really love who you are before opportunities come up… otherwise nothing will really change, and you’ll feel even worse as you thought that the opportunity was going to change the game for you.  As I am currently in the ‘wait patiently’ process on a couple of interesting opportunities, this realization dawned on me and has inspired me to really focus on being the person I want to be, BEFORE the right yes happens.

I’ve been fortunate to have quite a few dreams come true at a young age. From producing a show for the Oprah Winfrey Network to being in a great relationship to reaching a financial goal to becoming a full-time entrepreneur – I’ve had some really magical things happen. And yet, when I reflect on them I don’t recall a ‘magic’ switch that flipped where all stress dissolved and I skipped merrily into the sunset!

This year has taught me there is no quick fix or ‘big break’ solution. Life is a process. And it’s what’s happening in between the Instagram-worthy moments that bring the richness and joy to our lives. Life is not all about the achievements, it’s about who you become while trying to achieve.

If the following ‘dangers’ ring true to you… keep reading for how I’m focusing on enjoy the process.

The Dangers of Waiting for the Perfect Opportunity:

  1. You don’t enjoy where you are.
  2. You’re not present with the people in your life (because you’re thinking about something else)
  3. You become negative and jaded.
  4. You don’t appreciate what you have.
  5. PURE MISERY.

So how do you break through this hamster wheel experience?

  1. Focus on what’s working. It occurred to me recently that despite being stressed out about ‘what’s next,’ I had unconsciously got into the best shape of my life. I do Krav Maga (Israeli martial arts) which has been a newfound passion. Once I realized that, ‘Hey, something IS working in life,’ I also decided to sign up for a 30-day trial of Moksha Yoga (aka hot yoga) to help build on my fitness (both mental and physical). If you are feeling blue or stressed out, going for a walk, a run, or trying a new sport can give you temporary relief from your mind. Once you have that break, it can help you focus again on the positive.
  2. When you feel the impulse to try something new… do it! How often do you get a gut feeling about an opportunity or reaching out to a person, but stuff it down because your negative thoughts get in the way. The way I want to go into each day, is if I get an impulse to reach out to someone or connect with a possible client or new opportunity (and it feels like fun… not a burden), I do it. Fun will never let you down.

  3. Rap music. Rap music encourages the underdog in me. When I hear the right song at the right time, I can shift from sadness to getting my fighting spirit back. Perhaps for you it’s metal or Beethoven or Beyonce that helps you break out of the loop of misery and back into the game of life.

  4. Talking to friends or family or a trusted coach. Life is not meant to be experienced alone. If you are spiraling into a dark place, it is a sign of strength to ask for help. There’s a quote often used in AA that ‘your best thinking got you here.’ Yes, it’s a quote often associated with addiction, though if you look around your current life (and you’re not happy) it’s important to take responsibility for the life experience you’ve created. Your decisions got you to where you are today. The great thing is that people are more open than ever to sharing how they overcame challenges in their lives (from financial despair to heartbreak) so there is definitely a book or blog that can teach you how to overcome your current challenge. (Or who knows… you may need to write the book!)

  5. No expectations. This is a really liberating feeling. How often do we go into meetings, relationships or anticipating an opportunity and have SUPER high expectations. We also seem to set really high expectations for ourselves every day. And if we can’t achieve them… it starts to defeat us. I’m going into a new week letting go of expecting anything from anyone. I will note that this is progressive thinking to do everything with a beginner’s mind. Perhaps try it with one area of your life to start (the easiest one) and slowly over time (if it works for you) let go of expectations.

 

 

If you are currently waiting for that perfect opportunity, I encourage you to let it go and focus on doing your best every day. Some days you’re going to feel like an absolute rockstar and other days you’re going to want to hide, but the bottom line is that you’re here for a reason and wherever you are in your relationships, career and finances… is okay. Start with appreciating where you are, and slowly build from there.

On My Own

I’ve had to make some very difficult life decisions in the past few weeks. Now that I’ve had time to sit and let the dust settle I now need to straighten out some things.

Firstly, I need to move.

I hate moving. It is seriously the worst. You have to look for apartments, call the landlords, go and check them out, schmooze the landlords, complete a crap-ton of paperwork, spend oodles of moolah, and then pack your whole life up and then immediately unpack it.

In short, it’s an ordeal.

Secondly, I need to sort out OSAP.

Right now I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up with my monthly payments. I’m going to have to call and discuss either a possible payment plan or defer my payments. I’m definitely not looking forward to that phone call.

Thirdly, I have to get on top of my bills.

Right now I’m managing, but I recently had to pay an ungodly sum and it hit me pretty hard. I need to look at my finances good and hard. It’s time to trim the fat and get everything into order.

Fourth on the list of things to conquer is my health and wellness.

I’m not one to hustle to the doctor/dentist when stuff starts to go squiffy, but now that I’ve reached full-blown adult territory I need to start making a conscious effort to keep myself in tip-top condition. That means making actual appointments to see these professionals on the reg so I don’t end up falling apart one day. I’m going to have to start saving (since I don’t have benefits) so I can afford to see these doctors. Woo hoo. Let the good times roll.

Though my list has only four things to complete, many will not be solved overnight. Stuff like this takes time, effort and persistence. The reason I’m writing them down and sharing the with the interwebs is so I can actually hold myself accountable. I’ve put this out into the world, now I’ve gotta do it.

Wish me luck!

-Karyn