School Supply Stresses

For parents of school-aged children, the end of August is the most wonderful time of the year. (At least it is according to Staples.) It means starting to put schedules back together for bedtimes, chores and gearing up for….
Back to School!!!!
Now most parents will argue that the one budget sucker is getting a new back to school wardrobe. But in my house, that’s not even close to being true.(Thank you Old Navy, Walmart and Thrift Store gods!) Even though my husband and I love that time of the year, there are two words that suck the joy right out of it.
School Supplies.
Happily (I can actually thank my Husband for this one), there are a few ways that you can achieve everything on your child’s school supply list.. and still treat yourself as well.
1. Don’t wait until the last minute to get everything.
I learnt this one the HARD way when my oldest was going into Grade 3. We had just moved, she was starting a new school that fall and we waited until the last few days of August to get her supplies. Everywhere we had searched had been completely picked over. We finally got the last of her supplies the day before she started classes.

Don’t make the same mistake! Keep an eye out on your local fliers for early sales. Up     here, they can start as early as mid July. Keep a copy of your kids supply lists with your shopping lists and pick up one or two items as you go along. When packs of lined paper are .15 a package, duo-tangs are .10 each and crayons can go as low as .25 per 24-pack, it makes it easier.

2. Name Brand aren’t really all they’re cracked up to be.
Five Star First Gear, Crayola, Texas Instruments. The two things that these name brands have in common are that they can be really expensive if you are buying for more than one person and that their generic counterparts could easily be better quality and last longer. I mean, who want’s to pay $12-$15 dollars for a binder that might last your child until November? Um, thanks but no thanks.
Do yourself a favor and check out the generic brands from Walmart, Staples and places like that. You would be surprised at what you would find from them.
3. Reuse anything from the year previous.
If I had a dollar for every time that my eldest daughter came home at the end of a school year with supplies that hadn’t been used or barely used, I’d be quite profitable right now. Which leads me to my next point – anything that you can use from the year before, do it. Rulers, pencil sharpeners, calculators, anything that is still in really good – great quality from the previous year….use it again.
4. Discover the wonderful world of Dollar Stores.
I love my local dollar store. I go there frequently needing only one or two things, but normally end up walking out with a basketful of items ranging from food to storage containers to arts and crafts. But it is a valuable place to go when you’re hunting down school supplies too.
These tips have worked well for my family when we shop for school supplies every year. Hopefully, some of these tips will work for you too.
Till the next time guys!

Life Is….

Happy August everyone!! Man, where the heck has the summer gone?
It’s been a slow and humid few weeks here on the East Coast as we have been under a crazy heat wave. In our house, I have been loving this weather but the kids, cats AND husband have all HATED IT. I’m like “You guys will have your cooler weather soon….lemme have my heat dammit!” Summer weather like this does not last long here so I have been taking advantage when and where I can.
This summer, personally has also been a time for reflection. Between turning 35 this past June, I’m dealing with the fact that someone in my extended family is having a lot of medical issues and I haven’t been able to come to terms with what might happen with them. All of this has made me realize one simple fact.
Life is….just too damn short.
It’s too short to have regrets;
It’s too short not to do what makes you happy, AND
It’s too short to hold yourself back.
I know I should be following my own advice (God knows I don’t usually LOL), and that’s why I love the beginning of a month. It feels like a fresh start, a reset from anything that you were not able to achieve in the previous month. I can admit that one of my weaknesses is that I have difficulty sticking with a routine for longer then 2 1/2 weeks. But as everyone keeps telling me – It’s not about how you fail, it’s how you get back up and try again.
I think I need to make that a saying of mine from now on.😉
Thanks for stopping by, have a Happy August long weekend (for anyone living in most of the Canadian Provinces) and like I always say….
Till the next time guys!

Vichy Aqualia – Product Review

AN: I received these products for free in exchange for a honest review
I had the opportunity to check out Vichy’s skin care products (which here in Canada can be found at Shopper’s Drug Mart.) After using them for a few weeks, here’s my final thoughts…

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Power Serum
Vichy, I am definitely in love with you! I was lucky enough to test this product and it has made such a change in my skin. The serum feels light on the skin and sinks in quickly to make it look brighter and more youthful. I use it every morning and night and it has given it such a glow, that I have felt confident enough to go out without any makeup on and feel great about it. I will definitely use it again without a second thought. #VichyWorksForMe

Vichy Aqualia Awakening Eye Balm
I am always looking for products that can help me combat the dark circles and slight bags under my eyes. I have to say that the Awakening Eye Balm is a serious candidate for best eye treatment. I should warn you though, I didn’t see a change until I had been using it for a few days, both day and night. So if you are looking for an immediate change, this isn’t for you. Once I had started to see a change, it was pretty noticeable. During the day, the skin under my eyes was no longer baggy and my eyes looked more awake, then at night my eyes didn’t look as tired and puffy as they used to. Combined with the Thermal power serum, this is a strong 1-2 punch!

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light Cream
After the amazing combination of the Vichy Power Serum and the Eye Balm, I was looking for the skincare knockout with the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light Cream. Sadly, I didn’t get it as much as I would have liked.
Now, don’t get me wrong – This cream was really great on my skin, wasn’t sticky or heavy and didn’t have a scent of any kind. But I really couldn’t find any reason why this cream stood out against other creams in the same category (ie: Laneige). If you have used the Vichy brand in the past, then you would probably like this more then other creams out there, but if this is something you’re wanting to try then you might not be as impressed as you had hoped.

See the before – middle – end skincare photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/BH-My35D3J_/?taken-by=samantha_drane
AND to see the products that I am talking about….: https://www.instagram.com/p/BH-NlArjfT_/?taken-by=samantha_drane

Happy 4th of July

Since Friday was party day for us Canadians, I thought I would extend my well wishes to my friends, family and everyone else south of the border. Truth be told, even though I am Canadian and love my country….I absolutely love watching Independence Day fireworks more then my own😀

Nevertheless, enjoy your barbeques and fireworks as well as your family and friends.

Till the next time guys!

June is Purrfect!

June is an amazing month. Not only is it my birthday and the glorious start of summer, when I was doing some research – I also found out that June is National Adopt a Cat month!

This made me smile, as all four of our cats are adopted. Now adoption doesn’t always mean that you go to a shelter and pick out a feline from there. You can adopt kittens from the people who have the mother cat as well.(My personal rule of thumb? Don’t adopt a kitten before they are 16 weeks old.)

I absolutely love animals and whenever I’m asked what would be the best way to find a pet, I automatically tell people to adopt. Yes, most people would try and adopt cats when they’re young, but people forget about the older cats as well. Older cats would suit homes that either have a single person or a home that has older kids, maybe in their teens.

Adoption in my opinion is a really good idea because you will get a great animal. Most animals that have been given up for adoption are given up because their owners just can not provide for them anymore. Those pets are also usually quite happy and healthy and are just looking for a family to love them just as their previous owners did. Besides, you can feel good about helping out an animal in need!

So if you’re looking for a new four-legged family member, then go and ADOPT!!

Till the next time guys!

Changes and Memories as a Milestone Birthday comes and goes…

These last couple of months have been an absolute roller coaster on my emotional and mental state. As such, I literally withdrew from just about everything and almost everybody. I just couldn’t handle real life during that time and I had gotten to the point where I didn’t care about most things and almost didn’t care about the rest.

Turned out that my darling husband was right about the BIG location decision that we had to make and although it meant remaining in a place that I knew wasn’t working for me, I knew it was the right one for our daughters. Sadly, leading up to that decision was some major conflict between husband and myself and I’m not gonna lie, I turned into a mean version of myself. I had thought some pretty harsh things about him, told him some of them too. Then I had found out that I didn’t have all the information and once I did, I realized the error of my ways and let’s just say it was not pretty for me. I pretty much shut down.

But that was then (I am so damned lucky for my husband because he is insanely forgiving of all of my faults and never held anything against me when he absolutely could of.) and this is now. Thinking back over that period made me realize that I needed to pull myself back from the edge that I had myself on. For the longest time, I didn’t know how to do that and it was frustrating the hell out of me. I knew a pretty major event was on the horizon and that was the point where I decided enough was enough.

That major event (at least in my eyes), was my 35th birthday this past Sunday. I gave myself till the end of that day to be who I used to be and stay in my old ways. When June 20th rolled around, I started making some pretty serious changes: Using a planner for my DTD(day-to-day) items, cutting back on sodas and sugars in general(my sister had mentioned to me that cutting it out cold turkey is possible, but honestly I am not that strong yet lol), not sleeping all day, and some other changes as well but the biggest one is to remember to take my anti-depression meds. If I can stick with these changes, especially over the next few weeks things might change.

I am usually not this open with a blog post, but I have been told in the past that writing does help. Thanks to all of you who stop by and read my posts (however sporadic that they may be) and know that even if you don’t leave a comment, knowing that you had deemed my blog post interesting enough to click on is thanks enough.

Till the next time guys!

App Review

When people sit down to work, sometimes they have little tricks that they use to be able to keep them on task when things get really dull and boring.

If you ask anyone that knows me well, they would say that I use music(Well, my husband would say that I use Starbucks lol). It is the truth though, I love using music to get through those tough periods of work and make the day move just a bit faster. Currently, I have both ITunes on my laptop and Spotify on my phone and computer. But I came across an app that could make working just that much easier. What if you could find music that you could change based off of how much concentration you have at different points of the day? Well, thanks to Focus@Will, you can do just that.

Focus@Will was developed by neuroscientists Dr. Evian Gordon and Dr. Stephen Sideroff and ADHD expert Dr. Ned Hallowell. The music used in this app is all instrumental, but it’s all been scientifically remastered for enhanced focus. All of this remastering will help you to increase your attention span and general concentration.

For someone like myself whos attention span has been next to zero lately, I will admit that this did work for me. I found that I had accomplished more on my to-do list and it didn’t even feel like I had taken longer to complete those tasks. There is a 15 day trial, then it is a subscription based app (which is available on both Android and IOS). The website is very clear, concise and quite easy to navigate as well.

Go give it a shot -You won’t be disappointed.

Focus@Will

Till the next time guys!!

 

Beauty Review

*Author Note – I received these products for free in exchange for a honest review.*
Hey everyone,
As I am writing this, Halifax is cleaning up after a weird snowstorm yesterday. If I have learned anything from being born on the Canadian West Coast and living for the last 5+ years here in Halifax, it’s that anything is possible when it comes to the weather. I learned something else too…
These crazy weather changes are murder on my hair. I have naturally wavy, frizzy hair and most days it is an absolute PAIN to deal with. Honestly, I usually just throw it in a clip or a elastic band and be done with it. But it turns out that there is a hair care line that can help tame it.
John Freida’s Beyond Smooth line which consists of shampoo, conditioner and a wet hair primer. What I think gives this line an advantage is the addition of coconut oil. Now I know there’s been oodles and oodles of people who have sung the praises of coconut oil but I have never tried it before now.
Why? No other reason then cost.
But after trying this hair care line, I seriously have to rethink that.
When I poured the shampoo, it was slightly more watery then I had anticipated but it lathers very well. The scent is soft and clean, not overpowering and that is a major point with me. The conditioner is thick and also lathers very well. The primer (which needs to be applied to wet hair for it to work) feels like I am putting a shield on my hair, guarding and protecting it from the elements. Usually when I let my hair air dry, it turns into a poufball of frizz and curls that even a poodle would be proud of. Yet, with the Beyond Smooth line it was flat and soft to the touch.
The next day, when I pulled out my trusty straightening iron to work on my hair, I was pleasantly surprised at how much time I needed to straighten my hair. Using these products cut my style time down by 1/3.
So if you are in the market for a new hair care line, then I would definitely suggest giving John Freida’s Beyond Smooth line a try.
Check out my before and after photo on my Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/p/BEZtH2yjvHf/
Till the next time guys!!