Can't Afford a Vacation? Staycations and Few Places to Check Out on Your Next Staycation

Friday, August 17, 2018

Financial Fitness is theme of the year, so saving money where we can and how we can is what we have been focusing on. Summers usually mean traveling, but if you cant afford to travel, or hate flying,  staycations are a way to go. A staycation is a trip away from home, but still in your city or somewhere close by. This way you get a change of scenery, opportunity to relax and all without breaking the bank.

Start with a budget.  Like anything else, you want to start with what you wanna spend.

Research and plan. What kind of experience are you looking for?
Are you looking for lake or pool getaway? A weekend food tour? Camping? There are so many possibilities. Check out must see and do on blogs, trip advisor and social media.
Know your options. Hotels are not the options, car rentals are not the only options. Based on type of experience you are looking for check into air B&B, home rentals, B&B's - maybe you get a POGO, use Uber - it all depends on the experience you want.  
Activities. Plan your activates ahead of time, check groupon for things happening in the city.

Try new things. Do at least one thing you haven't done before - maybe eat at a new place, hike that new trail, try golf. Whatever it is, try something new while on staycation.

Leave time to wander. I am a planner but its important to leave yourself time to hang out, do nothing or just wander.

Disconnect. Use your staycation to unplug from social media, from work, from your e-mails.

Living in Alberta we are so fortunate to have so many beautiful and scenic paces to visit, all within few hours drive, here are five spots to add to your next trip:

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Banff - Stay at Rundlestone Lodge or the Fairmont Spring if you are feeling fancy. Take the hop on hop off bus, visit Lake Louise and relax at Banff hot spring. Eat at Balkan Restaurant  and stop by the Beaver Bar.  

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Head out to Harrison Hot Springs Resort for some tranquility and quiet or dance the night away because here you can do both.

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Jasper - Stay at Whistler Inn (their roof top hot tub is AMAZING), take the Jasper Tram, hike the Maligne Lake trail, and eat at Patrica's Street Deli. 

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Relax and unplug at Ainsworth Hot Springs. Yes, 10 hour drive from #YEG but its worth it.

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Spend the weekend at Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park  exploring, relaxing and full out chilling. 

Have you been on a staycation?

Simplifying My Life - 3x30 De-Cluttering Challenge

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Maybe this is just me, but I have closets (yes, more than one) full of clothes and shoes, most that don't see a light of day. While packing for Europe this year it hit me just how many things I own, and in part it made me sad. Yes, it is weird thing to be sad about having things but I was going home to Bosnian where there are still hundreds of thousands of people that didn't have enough to survive after the war and here I was with all these things - that I didn't need or use. I am understand that I am fortunate enough to have good job so I can support my (unhealthy) shopping habit but this was just too much.  

I made a wow to myself, that after coming back from Europe I would  simplify my life. I prefer simplify over de-clutter because the latter seems like I am on a giant cleaning quest versus trying to achieve a state of mind. I love a good challenge, and if you are reading about de-cluttering everyone says give up one thing every day, I decided that 3x30 challenge, where you give up 3 things every day for 30 days straight would be a better fit for me. So I got started.

I started in my room closet, this is where the clothes I do wear most live and started pulling things - before I knew there was way MORE than 3 things I pulled out to donate. I bought huge moving boxes for this project and started putting things into boxes, once it was in the box there was no going back. In a week I managed to go though my entire closet, and even though I pulled more than 3 things every day, I did just what the challenge suggested, pulled something out of my closet to give up, every single day.

From there I moved into drawers, make up and book shelves, this was still relatively easy to find enough things do throw out. Somewhere around day 10 I moved to my shoes and this where I instantly hit a wall - thinking to myself "I cant do this".  I did eventually pull three pairs of shoes, almost cried but I did it. Second day working on the shoes closet wasn't any easier, nor was the third but I got it done.

Here is why 3x30 worked for me:
It's simple. Its take 3 things, every day and put them in a box or throw out.

Its timely. You only have to commit a little time to take 3 things away.

This is a starting point. Simplifying or  de-cluttering is a journey and one of the hardest things is starting. After 30 days I was in a habit to take 15 minutes to organize one thing/room.

Donate over selling. I m first to admit that it physically hurts me to just give things away after knowing how much I spent on it but selling  things takes so much time, and at that point you still have the things just waiting around to be sold. There are so many people, shelters and organizations that are in need of every day items, so give back where you can.

Few tips on cleaning, especially if you are looking to do a major de-clutter:
Start with 15 minutes a day or 3X30 Challenge. Whichever you pick, start a habit and stick to it. I used an app to remind me at 8:30PM to go pull 3 things to throw out.

Start with one room, don't move on until you are done.

Start at the door. Work your way around the room.

For things you are not 100% sure on - follow the 6 month rule. (many people will say a year, but in my opinion a year is too long,  I would personally fall of the wagon if I gave it that long) For example: Turn all your hangers backward - once you wear an item turn the hanger around. At the six month mark, give up all the things that have the hangers facing the wrong way. For household items, put them in a box, if in 6 months you haven't used it, give it up.

Everything needs a spot. If you are keeping it, it needs to have a spot to live. This means you don't have boxes under bed, vacuum sealed bags full of clothes - those things don't have spot, so you prob don't need them.

Have a donation box at all times. I put a donation box in the shoe closet where I put items I don't need as I go.

OOTD - Monochrome Pink(ness)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

I have always been obsessed with pink and black. Most of my closet is pink and back. This outfit has everything I love; lots of pink and black, amazing sleeve and neckline details, A-line skirt that’s short enough to show a little skin showing. My favourite thing about his look is that its comfortable but yet stylish and work appropriate. 

shirt: Hudon's bay
skirt: Hudson's Bay
shoes: Valenitno
purse: Marshalls

Add to your playlist: Summer Dance Party

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

I might be alone on this but music has 100% to do with how I feel. Music can change my mood, for better or worse. Lately I ave been all over dance music, because 3 minute dance parties are a thing (Grey's anyone?), so here are 10 songs to add to your dance playlist!
IMAGE BY Denele Campbell

Genius - Banx & Ranx Reggae Remix - Sia, Diplo, Labrinth, LSD, Bank &Ranx

Girls Like You - WondaGurl Remix - Maroon 5, WondaGurl

Remember You - Victoria Duffield, Sebastian Olzanski 

With U - Tujamo feat. Karen Harding

The Inversion - Beyond Creations 

SWISH - Tyga 

Anybody - Young Thug feat. Nicki Minaj 

I Don't Dance (without you) - Matoma, Enrique Iglesias, Konshens 

We Don't Care - Signal 

Tune In - Massari 

You can see my full dance playlist on Spotify. What do you guys think?

OOTD - Good Vibes and Blazers

Monday, August 13, 2018

I love a good blazer, you know the one where there are infinite ways to style, whether you wear it out to a casual dinner with boyfriend jeans and pointed heels, a little more formal, with a skirt and ankle booties, or go all the way, for the first impression ordeal with a nice pair of slacks. I use to use blazers mostly for the ladder, wearing them to more formal, work related functions. This blazer is different from my other black and grey more “serious” style but I thought I works well with pair of cut of shorts and a tank. This t-shirt is my fave, I have worn it so many times.

shorts: Levis
blazer: Marshalls
shoes: Call it Spring
shirt: Pineapple Road
glasses: Chanel
purse: Marshalls 

5 Must Have Cookbooks

Friday, August 10, 2018

I love cooking and baking, but unlike my mother who can cook by just putting things together and have it turn our delicious, I need to make things off a recipe at least the first time or two I make anything. While baking would play more to my strengths, I cook often, so finding good cookbooks was very important to me.
Here are five cook books I love:
I don't know what I did before I had this book, probably Googled a lot of things... Its step by step learning how to cook basic. They cover simple things like how to baste a chicken to how to make salad dressing.
This book is written by Deb Perelman who is a food blogger and amazing. This is my go to book for when I am cooking for friends and entertaining.
I own two or three Jamie Oliver books; I love this one in particular because I always seem to be running out of time; so delicious meals in 15 minutes work for me.
Choosing a baking book to share with you was hard. I landed on this book by Christina Tosi and as much as I love it, not all recipes are easy but are all delicious. I like that the book is different from your typical cookbook but unique ingredients and stories it is what makes the baked product so delicious.
I personally couldn't wait for this book to come out. I love her instagram feed and  couldn't wait to get to try some of her go to recipes.
What cookbooks do you love?

Keeping Organized - Few Tips That Help Me Stay On Top Of Things

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Since starting to blog more regularly on top of my nine to five full time job I was constantly looking for way to be more organized and not miss things. Here are few things that have helped me keep more organized:

One day timer. Its one place to have all my things. I found having two (one for the blog, one for work) kept me organized but than there was so many thing and I had to check two places plus my phone. So I bough a bigger day timer and now keep track of all events and things that need to be done for both. 

Evernote. I use evernote to jot down ideas, task that I need to complete and random things that come to me at time when I don't have pen or paper. (Gym.. or walking!)

Mint. This is a finical  budgeting app where you can link all your accounts. Instead having to long into different account - here you can check your balances and do your budget. The app also sorts your purchases into your budget categories so you can see where you are spending your money.

Sunrise. I have two co-contributors so sharing a calendar and assigning tasks can be challenging because not everyone uses the same phone (or e-mail provider) and we know those don't play well with each other. I do a monthly task calendar on paper (yes, I am old school) but sunrise is easy to navigate and will work on most smart phones. I use sunrise to sync all our calendars and add blog events that need to attended. 

7 minute workout.  I am queen of making excuses of why I can't make it to the gym. This app makes sure I can't use the " I don't have time to work out" excuse... like who doesn't have 7 minutes? 

Wunderlist. Ultimate list maker app that allows you to share your list. This works well for when planning holidays or looking for places to eat.

What do you do to keep organized?