My cousin uses Hotwire to book cheap hotels in the US all the time and Since we needed a hotel in Calgary for a few nights I thought - hey why not. So we rolled the dice and booked a 2 star hotel - which turns out is a 1 star. If I had gotten a better deal than any other online hotel site I would of been OK, so what at least we got a good deal - besides all we do is sleep there anyway. I have had my share of crappy hotels for the sake of a deal. When I went to other sites like priceline, travelocity, and hotels for example to see how much I saved using Hotwire's blind service I found out I'd saved a total of --- NOTHING. In fact I could have saved a few more dollars using priceline. Now I'm stuck in a Hotel that they advertise as a 2 star but I know doesn't compare to the others Hotwire gives as examples of 2 star hotels. I stay regularly in the hotels that were given as 2 star examples and know the difference. This one is more of a Econolodge then a Quality Inn. Live and learn!
Today is the first day of my new career! Its been a long road of searching, false starts and huge expenses but the day is finally here where I start new. A month ago I joined MFP and one of my first blog posts was about a horrible day I had interviewing for a job.
It was a dark day but I learned from it and I made sure the next time I went into the city for an interview I took the right suit with me in a garment bag and changed in a hotel washroomthere before I went to the interview. Gave myself even more time to get there on transit and had 15 minutes to sit read and relax before my interview.
That interview I nailed and I got the job, which ended up being the perfect job out of all the positions I interviewed for over the last 2 years. It had everything I wanted in a position and I didn't have to give up anything.
It gives me the flexibility to work a schedule that works with my family. Which means I'm here to get the kids to school and here when they get home. I can drive them to afterschool activities and I can afford to pay for them.
It gives me a good base that we can live on plus commissions to purchase extras - like that new video game system the kids want after the trip to the Sony store yesterday, a 3D PSP with 3D TV. Its all my son can talk about - not this Christmas hun, maybe your birthday IF you come up with 1/2 the cost.
It is a contract position which means I can utilize my expenses as tax deductions, that includes a portion of my home, car, phone, and internet.
Its print advertising which I am passionate about in an industry I am very familiar with, Real Estate - Thanks MOM!!
Really I couldn't be happier about the position and I can't wait to get started. In fact I already have by creating a marketing and sales plan to follow in order to reach my goals. I will blow the owner's mind tomorrow when I give him a copy of it and my sales presentation to discuss and fine tune. I've used one in the past and it is a great communication tool and assessment tool for both myself and my boss when figuring out where I am, where I want to be and what is missing from the process. Of course it takes the right kind of manager to see the value of it and work with me on it.
One goal down, a big one but one that motivates me and provides me with the means to make my other goals a reality. The next goal .... fit into that size 16 navy blue power suit.
Written a month ago:
I really need to get it together so that I am a confident and put together successful looking person. I've been looking for work off and on for the last two years and today I had yet another job interview. When interviewing for a job everything needs to go perfect. Well today was one of those days where everything goes wrong and yet you still have to perform at your best.
I've eaten so much the last 4 years that I don't fit into any of my power business suits anymore and my present wardrobe choices are limited. Depressing as that is - the PMS I woke up with didn't help; its the severe type where the cramps are more like labour contractions then cramps and you need a full box of tampax each day. Add in a bad night sleep, a cranky and miserable husband, and rain - lots of rain, it amounts to the worst day to be having a job interview.
Considering the job interview was with a recruiter for a start up software company I wasn't too worried about my A game, that was until I opened my email to retrieve the address. The recruiter was able to arrange a meeting for me with the CEO today. OK, not the end of the world, this is a software start up CEO, they are usually more casual. Then I click on the link she provided to the company and find out that said CEO is a former bank CEO. OK now I'm screwed. I need my 'A+++' game plus poise, polish and that navy blue power suit that doesn't fit anymore.
I don't take transit very often and thought adding an extra 45 minutes to the commute would get me there 15 minutes early, plenty of time to change out of my runners and put on my jacket to cover up the black v neck t-shirt I had on. Ya no such luck, I walked in dripping wet (remember it was pouring rain out) disheaveled from the train ride just as the recruiter walked in looking very slender, blonde, and polished in expensive designer clothes. If that wasn't bad enough I could see her eyes look me up and down right to my pink running shoes.
She was kind enough to give me a short reprieve to the nearest washroom. I walked into a full wall, corner to corner, floor to ceiling mirrored washroom. Ya, like I need to be reminded how utterly huge I am right before an interview. After I get it together the interview goes well, it must of she called the very busy CEO to come meet me.
The very fit CEO dressed in the traditional banker exec navy blue power suit arrived and the next part of the process started. Actually all went well at this point and the quick 1/2 hour meet turned into an hour conversation where I learned that he also runs marathons. I was worn out just from walking and riding transit.
When I got home at 3:30 I was ready for a stiff drink, a hot shower and a good nights sleep - none of which I got as I still needed to go grocery shopping. By this point all I'd eaten was a couple bites of cold leftover oatmeal - tastes as good as it sounds - some not very good dim sum, and a Coke which I'd hoped would give me a shot of energy. - it didn't. All of which I'm sure just added to the crappiness my body was experiencing. Dinner was about as nutritious as the afore mentioned Coke, I'll need an infusion of nutrients tomorrow.
Although my day was less then perfect and I may not have looked as polished as the 2 individuals I met with today, it wasn't a complete write off. I met two amazingly successful people who bought me coffee.
As many bored housewives suffering from isolation and minor depression I have eaten myself into a hefty size 18. My mother is always after me to eat better and exercise..... today she sent me a link to the My Fitness Pal website and I have drank the Kool Aid (sugar free) as the saying goes. I have linked to my mother's account so she can see my progress. I must be a glutton for punishment because it means she'll now see every bit of chocolate I eat and every time I drink a sugar laden Coke, my coffee of the afternoon. My father drank lots of Coke every day from the age of 2, yes 2 -its a long story, and now suffering various stomach ailments is always quick to tell me to stop drinking the stuff. Being the rebellious daughter, I don't always listen, but now - provided I am honest enough to track everything - I don't stand a chance of getting away with this bad habit.
Knowing my mom as I do, after all she's been with me for 38 years, she will berate me every time I over eat and eat too many sweets. She has full faith in the fact that I will become a diabetic any day now considering my eating habits paired with my lack of exercise.
In the past I have tried Weight Watchers and LA Weight Loss with no success. What they lacked that this program does not, my mother harping on me everyday to keep my diary, to exercise, and to eat better.
I'm not sure I'll loose all the weight, I don't really have a desire to do so, but maybe with the influence of an overly competitive and outspoken mother who has no fear of criticising her daughter I may just loose a few pounds and get in better shape along the way.
If you are looking to loose weight try out My Fitness Pal . com and make sure to look me up and connect and together we just might succeed. The best thing about the site -- It is FREE to use.
On Average Canadians spent 10% of their income on food - If that is true then our family is below average. On average we spend approx 27% of our household income on groceries and the weekly bill keeps rising. As a single income household in the Greater Vancouver area, it isn't easy to make ends meet at the best of times, but with the cost of essentials: food, gas, & housing, rising it is even harder.
In order to make ends meet I've started making our bread because store prices are just too expensive. We've stopped purchasing granola bars, processed foods, lunch snacks, and I've started baking as much as possible. I've been comparison shopping between Costco, Walmart, Safeway, and Save On just to make sure I'm spending the least amount possible on items. I've even started over the border shopping into Bellingham, WA where dairy, chicken, and some gas prices are lower than in Canada. I don't like to take my shopping support into the States but what am I to do when the difference is over 50% less for the same items? I've even become a butcher as large bulk roasts from Costco are cheaper than the ones already cut.
We are lucky because by cutting back we are able to make ends meet and hopefully I'll find employment soon and then our household income will nearly double. However, in most of the world this is not the case. Where people spend 80% of their household income on food, rising food prices will only make it harder to survive starvation.
In Canada we choose to ignore those that are starving and continue to live our lives consuming. After all, the one with the most toys wins - right. I am just as guilty as anyone else, whenever we have a few extra hundred dollars we buy something for our kids, our house, or ourselves. Our kid's birthday present could have fed a family in a third world country for years. Sometimes I wonder what are we teaching our children. Can our children afford to be bigger consumers than us? Will they end up in worse debt? or will they become generous giving individuals who are thankful for what they have and give to those with less?
What are some ideas to help teach our children to be more thoughtful, less selfish, and smaller consumers?
How are you cutting your grocery bill to save money?
I have ants all around my house and I don't mean my mother's sisters, I mean the tiny 6 legged little black insect pest type ants. They are in my garden and like to harvest aphid honeydew on my raspberries, which is all together gross. A few have found their way into our house and now that I'm planting a bigger garden it was time to get serious.
I tried over the counter ant dusts, ant traps, ant glue traps, ant sprays, I tried almost every product on the shelf and they weren't deterred or dead.
So I started searching the net and learned about certain plants that repel ants, so I planted pennyroyal, peppermint, lavender, rosemary, and garlic chives. I saw ants on the pennyroyal but for the most part they just walked around the plants to where they wanted to go. Now I don't want to grow a bunch of these types of plants as a border around my vegetable garden because I have very little space to plant as it is.
So I kept looking and found out that cinnamon, citrus oil, lemon juice and cayenne pepper work. I pushed cinnamon sticks into the dirt but that didn't do much of anything. Lemon juice just washes away the minute I water and I have no idea where to get citrus oil.
Eureka! Ant problem solved finally - I put cayenne pepper powder into a jar of vegetable oil, enough to make it a really dark orange / red, and let it stand for 24 hours. When I poured it on the flagstones the ants wouldn't go through the line of oil, it worked like a wall. They'd get close, then just like one of those toy cars that change direction when they hit a wall, the ants turned around and tried to go a different way.
I'm now making a bigger batch of Cayenne vegetable oil to surround my garden's perimeter and to put into the soil where there are a lot of ants. The oil doesn't wash away easily, which will prolong its usefulness.
I wish I hadn't wasted so much money on insecticides since they didn't work.
I am looking at my floor and I guess I could clean it, the dog has covered it in muddy footprints. Then again, Grandma will be back soon from her shopping trip with the kids, is it too presumptuous to think she'll do it?