This past week has been a little different for me. I can make plans for something, map out the steps to get there. Like with running. I break it up, set up a reasonable time frame for my goal. But making changes in my life… I need a little persuasion. But I’m proud of myself. This past week I mixed up running outside, on my own and with a buddy, working out with YouTube videos in the mornings before work, not eating meat and sticking to water.

This past week I got a S’well water bottle from work. I’m pretty sure it’s 25oz, it’s pretty big, and it keeps my water cold for a long time. It’s great, I’m so happy I got one.

I’d like to lose weight and maintain that fitness level, but I also want to do it without paying for a gym pass. So I’m trying to be creative and incorporating fitness into my lifestyle. The no-neat thing makes me a little more aware of what I’m buying and what I’m eating. I don’t know if I could live without bacon so I don’t think this is a forever thing, but really, I’m kinda just excited I made it a week. I’ve been saying I’ll go veggie for this and that but I hadn’t. This go around I realized I can say I can start all I want or I can just start and stop talking about it. Haha!

As for Rocco. I had him in mini braids the first week. I don’t know why I went so mini. I by-passed my Sunday washed and figured I would go another week. Then Monday rolled around, my scalp felt like it needed clarifying, so I started to undo them. Didn’t quiiite finish that night so I styled it in a way that blended the braided with my unbraided hair. Tuesday came around and I ended up chilling on the sand with my bf. I took a couple out that night but didn’t get to finish so I once again styled it appropriately. Wednesday came around and I was determined to get the last of them undone. I enlisted my mom’s help, and we undid the last of them. I wore my hair in a bun for the rest of the week. Saturday morning I was happy to give Rocco a good wash and deep condition. I’m kinda thinking maybe I’ll put him in Curlformers this evening… I organized a golf scramble for work and I always have to wear my hair in a way that I can put a hard hat on top so it’s not usually out. I kind of want to do something different this time around. Why not right?

I love the feeling of freshly washed, dried, twisted hair. Makes me happy. I think I need to find a day to straighten my hair. I’ve been natural for 2 years and 5 months and I have never taken a flat iron to my strands but I’m getting a little curious to see what it looks like. I’ll admit, this post by Tales of a Curly Girl started me thinking. So keep an eye out for a post where I straighten Rocco. Eek!

I went to the market today and found the cutest little bag. I’m going to send that to my 3-year-old niece and hope she likes it.IMG_0245

I got two runs in this weekend and it makes me happy. My friend F and I hit the trails Saturday morning and this morning both followed by yummy breakfasts. Today after brekky we lamented about how much we missed yoga classes at the Y. So we found some YouTube yoga and got our stretch on. Then we decided we wanted to try headstands. Haha! Truly some funny moments in there but we were determined.

It’s Monday tomorrow and I’m not convinced I’m ready for it. But it’s going to happen regardless so bring it on, I guess.

I found a simple veggie/kale/quinoa recipe for this week so I’m hoping it tastes as yummy as it looks. I’m also going to keep Rocco in the tiny braids I’ve had for a week. It’ll be a two week hairstyle which I am a huge fan of.

Here are some pics of my hike and my headstand ;)

 

 

I did it! It was a small race which suited me perfectly. It was along the Pacific Ocean on Haida Gwaii and it was glorious! I made it in 58:20 which was perfect for my goal of under an hour and especially great because my ankle started to hurt 1/2 km into the race. Then on the way back my right toe went tingly and numb, I think I tied my shoe laces a little too tight. Lesson learned.

I’ve got some pics for ya :)

 

Why is it sunny and hot throughout the week and raining on the weekends?

Answer me that.

I was planning to bike to the coffee shop to meet my friend but… I’m not feeling it now that the heavens have opened up.

i did run 10 k today with L. It was a good pace. Next weekend I’m going to try my race pace for 10 and see how I do. I’m feeling okay right now. No real aches or creaks. I’m really excited for our trip. We have a wedding coming up in three weeks so we thought of knitting them a blanket together since we have 16 hours on a ferry. We’re meeting for coffee to look up blanket patterns for the wedding present and meal/packing plans for our camping trip.

I haven’t had beer in about 6 weeks. Ever since I started my gym plan May 20. So you can believe there will be a cooler full of beer for the evening after my race and it will be glorious! lso this Haida Gwaii trip will be belt, jeans and underwire free. It’s gonna be a weekend of leggings softy bras, and baggy everything. I can’t wait.

I’ve been keeping up with the gym. I know I need to put the maximum effort into each workout in order to see results, but it can be tricky.

Rocco

I’ve been keeping Rocco twisted away during the week. About two weeks ago I had a couple of days off and I just had to let him loose. He was so full and big it was great. He started out with some definition in his twist-out, then it was a little rainy and he poofed a bit. But he still looked great and I rocked him big and proud for the day.

Yesterday I made a huge mistake. I was getting out of the shower and saw my friend was heading to the market. I thought, sure I’ll go with. This was the first time in forever where I was washing my hair loose instead of in 4 braids/twists. I put on a headband and wore a large puff, did some towel drying and headed out the door. I had some water dripping down my neck which was uncomfortable. I didn’t mind wearing my hair out but in the back of my head I knew it was not going to be fun getting Rocco back in order afterwards. But for now… I just wanted to enjoy some veggie rolls, chicken kabobs and rice noodles as is my summertime Saturday tradition.

When I got home I knew it was on. Put in a Will & Grace DVD and I got to it. I tried to start with finger detangling because I knew my hair had dried in zig zags and spiralling around each other. I also hadn’t deep conditioned it so my hair was squeaky and felt really brittle. It was not fun. It’s all twisted up now and I have (re)learned my lesson. I honestly haven’t washed my hair loose or let it air dry like that for over a year and this experience confirmed my reasons why.

Life

I really wasn’t sure what I was going to wear for the wedding that’s coming up so I gave in to peer pressure and ordered two dresses from Forever 21… ugh. I was at L’s and she was ordering two dresses (why did I give in to peer pressure? Believe me there was a lot of mental back-and-forth. I even checked out how to cancel the order, but they don’t have that option so looks like two dresses will be heading my way. Of course as soon as I got back from L’s I looked in my closet and was surprised to see a suitable summer dress from (yep) Forever 21. It was a Value Village find. I’ll make sure to post the options and you can all help me decide! :)

While I wasn’t happy I spent $68 on dresses, I did get my quarterly GST rebate a week later so that helped. I put the majority of it onto my  MC to cover the dresses. Thanks for the dresses Government of Canada!

My first adjusted student loan payment went out. Blah. Bye $1000. I’m glad I’m doing this though since $150 is interest paid, so really I’m only applying $850 to my principal. So with my previous payments of $392 I was applying only $242 to my principal. Don’t be satisfied with only paying the minimum. Unless you want to hang on to that debt for forever and pay so much more than the original.

Oooh! At the market was a kennel of about 6 puppies. They were SOOOO CUTE!!! They were $50 and ADORABLE! AAAAGH!! I held one and he fell asleep in my arms… gosh.

Dresses:

What do you guys think?

Sunday evening was fantastic!! My bestie, S, and her fiance, M, invited me river fishing on their boat. I was kind of tired and more ready for a nap then for an adventure but I knew I should take the chance while it was offered so off I went. We got some snacks, launched the boat and off we went.

I really like the feeling of being on a boat. Like flying, you get to see a different perspective of an every day thing. I’ve passed the river, driving alongside it on the highways hundreds of times. I’ve skipped rocks on the water from shore and had picnics nearby. But I’d never been in the water. Looking at the shore while bouncing along at an exhilarating pace.

We found a spot and dropped anchor. M cast the two rods and the three of us sat back and vigilantly watched the rods for any movement. S and I were screaming each time it bounced and M had to tell us to calm ourselves and reminded us what to look for. There were a couple bobs and M sprang into action. S grabbed the net and I grabbed my camera. Our first catch of the day was a wee little guy. He was so funny and quite active. Not gonna lie, S and I screamed as M tried to grab the little fish to toss him back into the river. It was like watching someone try to grab a bar of soap! It was hilarious!! S and I raised our feet, no way this little fishy was gonna touch us. Finally M scooped him and flung him back to the water, reset the line and then sat back as S and I caught our breaths after laughing so hard.

About 15 minutes later that line went crazy again and like clockwork, M grabbed the rod, S grabbed the net and I grabbed my camera. We had something good this time!! M was hanging on and reeling in the line, directing S where she needed to be with the net. I was so excited!!! I could see a lot of movement under the surface. It wasn’t too long before S had the fish backed into the net. It was fantastic! She had to pass the handle to M cause the fish was so big and he hauled it out of the water into the boat. Eeeeee!! Their biggest Spring Salmon of the year!! It was so cool. We were all pretty pumped. We gutted it (and by we I mean M gutted it) and then hung around for 20 more minutes. No more bites so we packed it in. What. A. Day.

I’m so glad I went out! We saw a seal in the river and on our zippy boat ride home I spotted a deer along the bank. He had a set of antlers growing.  A memorable evening out on the river, for sure!

I wish I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight.

It’s one thing to lose weight but how do you maintain that? I can go crazy at the gym for 6 weeks, shed 8 lbs but the week I don’t go to the gym, sure I may be eating the same but will all that weight and those inches come back? I’m sort of in a place I’ve never been before. I’m working out and running because I want to lose weight. But then what? Last summer fitness was more a part of my daily routine. I biked to work. It was amazing. My body responded. But now it’s a battle between what I eat and how much I work out. I want to see results, I don’t want to see the effects of sitting for 75% of my day. I want to slim down and I want to stay slimmed down much like my 18-year-old self.

I don’t have the chance to run like I used to. Weekends are basically my only opportunities. Or mornings on the treadmill.

Why am I focusing so much on my weight? Because I don’t fit my jeans like I used to. Because I feel myself jiggle when I walk over to the printer. Because I want to be able to run 10k on a Sunday morning like it ain’t no thang. And I know I can get there, but if I ever stop, even momentarily, I feel like I have to start all over again.

This is as much a ramble as anything.

What are my fitness goals? I shouldn’t be too concerned with weight and my current 140 lb self isn’t going to aim for my previous 120 lb weight. But I would be more than happy with 130 lb. And feel free to take all of that weight from my tummy.

Why do we want flat tummies? That’s where our food goes. Do we want to look like we don’t eat or do we want to be able to wear crop tops and be able to see our belly button? Just a question. Is it because magazine covers promise us we can have ‘that belly’ in ’10 minutes a day’? That’s a sure fire path to self loathing right there. I spend more than 10 minutes a day on this area and I haven’t seen a whole lot.

There’s a lot about ‘feeling good’. I want to workout so I ‘feel good’. But is that criteria that allows us to feel good created by us individually or shaped by what we see on covers, on TV, on tumblr and instagram? I know my answer.

I don’t buy magazines but they’re looking directly at them when I’m in line at the grocery check out with all the mixings for amazing nachos. Yeah, they’re looking at me. And I’m looking right back going, my job consists of me sitting for 11 hours. Not doing yoga-lates for 4 hours a day in my private gym with my personal trainer sorry!

If I feel healthy, which I’m starting to, and if I feel like I’m comfortable in my clothes, I’ll get there, then I’ll be a happy camper. In the meantime I’m not going to become hysterical for this reason or that. I’ll be thankful I’m here. I’ll be happy I’m healthy. And I’ll strive to improve myself one day at a time.

Now that I’ve achieved being consumer debt free I’ve adjusted my goals.

Saving

I’m fortunate to live at home, pay a minimal amount for rent and have access to vehicles. This has allowed me to commit 51% of my income to savings. As soon as I get my cheque, I transfer that money to my savings account and I forget about it. My plans are to buy a vehicle by the end of the year and because I’ve mapped out my savings I know I’m going to have a good amount of money to buy wheels. Earlier I was debating on whether that savings should also go to my student loans which would drastically cut down my loans. But I’ve seen the practicality of owning a car. Especially when my plan is to purchase used, and to pay for the whole thing up front. No financing or monthly payments, I want to drive that car off the lot and know I own it completely, preferably with a years insurance paid and winter tires all ready to go. After that I can reduce my savings amounts and increase my student loan payments.

Paying Down My Student Debt

Since beginning my job I’ve been able to pay my calculated student loan payment without a problem. Looking at the budget I decided to up my payments by 40%. So instead of paying $392 every month I’ve committed to putting $1000 on my loans every month. That’s 22% of my monthly income allowing me to shorten my pay period which means I’m paying less interest which is worth it.

The Other 26%

The rest of my cashflow goes to bills which basically includes my phone & rent. I no longer have a credit card ‘bill’ per se. Whenever I use my credit card I immediately transfer money from my debit to cover it. I mainly use my credit card for the AirMiles and since I only spend money on things I can afford I’m able to keep my balance at 0 and completely avoid interest charges.

One thing I need to sort out is my retirement savings plan. How much, where, how often? I need to get something going in that area sooner rather than later.

Some Other Things

I recently dropped $290 on new glasses which is so worth it. I picked them out and it was satisfying to pay for them in full. I’ve had my current glasses for a little over 7 years. My prescription has shown to be quite consistent over the years so I haven’t had a need to change my frames (and until now I haven’t had the money). So I’m quite excited to be able to change my look and update my glasses. I’ll make sure to add a pic of me with my new specs!

I have 2 trips planned this year. July I’m going to Haida Gwaii. My return trip ferry pass has been purchased, our campsite has been booked, we’re sitting pretty right now. I’m also planning to go to Toronto and visit some dear friends in October. I chose October because it’s a 3 paycheque month and I want to take advantage of not dipping into my planned savings/loan repayment. I’m excited because I’ll be able to pay for my return ticket with my vacation pay. And with the 3 paycheque month it doesn’t throw off my budgeting.

To be honest, I love budgeting, I like staying on track and watching my savings grow and watching my debt be reduced. I also like knowing I can take care of myself. Being independent is big for me. This is the first time in a long time I’ve been financially independent to the point where I do not have to choose between paying one bill vs another.

What’s the most difficult financial aspect right now? I can map out my savings and stick to it like a pro. It’s the buying of random stuff that gets me. I like my space uncluttered. I try not to purchase stuff that I won’t use or will eventually toss. But every once in a while a girl needs a new shade of Essie nail polish or a workout top yknow? I think it’s key to be aware of that. I don’t hold myself back from everything all the time but I try to be conscious of what I’m spending my money on because money is time and I spend enough of it at work, my money better be going to something fantastic.

What are my short term goals? To purchase a vehicle in full and pay down my student loans.

What are my long term goals? Completely pay off my student loans, have a good chunk of money in savings and to have a good retirement savings plan.

You turn!

What do you find most challenging about finances? 

What are some of your goals? Long or short term?

All that being said, cheers to smart finances and taking control of your money!

Cheers to smart money!

 

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