5 Things I No Longer Buy

(◔_◔)っQuestion: What are some items that you no longer buy?

A few months ago, I stumbled upon this blog post which made me reflect on my own life and spending habits. My intention was to answer her question in a timely manner, but we all know how long it takes me to post a blog post response. Bee is a 30-year old blogger who runs a popular blog called Mind. Beauty. Simplicity. She writes blog posts about intentional living, self-growth, lifestyle, and anything in between. I recommend checking out her blog and following her if you haven’t done so already.

These days, I am on a similar journey as Bee. When it comes to living intentionally, I am still far from perfect but I have learned to be more mindful about my spending and to avoid buying things that aren’t going to add value to my life. Keep reading if you are interested in learning what I added to my list! 🙌


•✽ 5 THINGS I NO LONGER BUY ✽•

1. Bath & Body Works I have nothing against Bath & Body Works. In fact, it is a great store and I still like their products. I am wiser now that I am older, but when I was a teenager, my life revolved around this store. I was in love with their products and the shopping addiction got pretty bad whenever there was a sale, which was pretty much every week 😆 I would buy all sorts of things: lotions, shower gels, candles, fragrance mists —you name it. When I couldn’t go through the products fast enough, I would make lists of the products that I wouldn’t have to replenish. The lotions and body mists lasted so long to the point where they would expire and end up smelling horrible. Once I realized that I was wasting money, I stopped shopping at Bath and Body Works.

2. Subscription Boxes These days, subscription box services are catering to everyone’s tastes. You can pretty much guarantee that the subscription box model isn’t just limited to food and books – there are monthly boxes for everything from candles to clothes. Want new socks and underwear but don’t want to think about it? There’s a box for that. And as tempting as these subscription boxes are, it is important to note that these services usually charge an upfront fee as well as recurring fees each month. I cannot justify paying a high price for items that I might not even like or use! 🤦‍♀️

Note: I want to make a clear distinction between subscription boxes and subscription services. We have access to Netflix and at one point, we paid for a Spotify account. We are thinking about renewing the Spotify subscription since my husband regularly uses that platform. We also have a Costco membership and I finally upgraded to a Premium WordPress Plan last year. When I was in nursing school, I subscribed to www.nursng.com after failing a clinical rotation in Spring 2019. At one point, I also subscribed to www.coursehero.com and even uploaded my own summary notes to share with other students. Subscription services are valuable tools when used for their intended purpose.

3. Bottled Water When you stop and think about it, it is pretty insane to pay for water when you can get it for free out of your tap. Sure, bottled water isn’t bad for you; there are worse things that you could be drinking such as soda or beer. If you are not active enough to need a drink with extra electrolytes and if drinking from a reusable bottle helps reduce your plastic consumption, then why would you bother spending money on something that is so easily accessible? The water you get from your faucet is much more affordable and safer for you. Also, by using a reusable water bottle like this one, you’ll be saving money as well as doing your part for Mother Earth. 🌎

4. Starbucks Did you really think that I was only going to throw shade at Bath & Body Works? I also like the fancy coffee drinks from Starbucks, especially their Frappuccinos. The vanilla whipped cream is absolutely divine! ❤ Plus, if you are anything like me, I do not go to Starbucks just to order a basic cup of coffee. I usually go to Starbucks to spend money on these fancy, empty-calorie Frappuccinos which typically cost around $5.50 -7.50 CAD. I prefer to save these treats only for special occasions rather than treat myself every time I go to the mall or local Starbucks coffee shop. ☕💕

If you are a coffee drinker like my husband, getting a good cup of coffee doesn’t require waiting in line. It just requires learning how to make a good cup of coffee at home. Next time you are shopping, skip the Starbucks line and make coffee at home. If Starbucks coffee is your thing (for the record, MCDs coffee is my thing), you can buy the coffee beans and make it at home for a fraction of the price. Even Costco sells Starbucks coffee beans. There is really no excuse to buy takeaway coffee anymore.

5. Alcohol This is an easy one to add to the list because I was never really a fan of alcohol. I don’t understand the hype around it, I don’t like how it makes me feel, and I don’t crave alcohol like some people do. Sugar on the other hand is a different story, which you can read about here. Personally, I think that there is too much sugar in alcohol, which is not limited to Vex, Smirnoff, and those cocktails with cute little umbrellas! I am tired of harping on the fact that alcohol isn’t good for your health and overall wellbeing. When you think about it, what kind of benefit does consuming alcohol bring? None that I can think of…. so yeah, I seldom drink alcohol 🙄 I would suggest cutting out alcohol from your budget if you are looking to save some money. It is an easy way to pocket extra cash without feeling like you are missing out on anything. There are other ways that you can socialize with people: going for walks, playing board games, or setting up a game night at home. Remember, you don’t have to stop socializing altogether.

👉 Image: I went on a trip to NYC with Nick and his friends, but I don’t remember what year this was 🤷‍♀️

Choosing to live a simpler, more intentional life is a conscious decision that affects each and every choice we make. Try thinking about the things that you can live without, specifically things that no longer serve a purpose in your life. What are some items that you no longer buy? Let me know by joining the conversation below ↓ I look forward to reading your comments.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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7 Ways to Stop Wasting Money 💰

Disclaimer: I uploaded this post in 2019 as its own page, but nobody stumbled upon it. I added updates and edited the original blog post to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Btw, I searched high and low for the original Pikachu x Coffee & Donuts image(s) but I could only find them as re-shares on Pinterest. I cannot take full credit for these, so if you happen to know where they came from, feel free to let me know so I can give the artist(s) credit. Thank you! ✌💖

The Frugal Millenial

As a Millenial, I noticed that I do not fit the typical Millenial stereotype. Yes, I do enjoy homemade avocado toast once in a while, but you probably won’t find me frivolously spending money on daily Starbucks coffee runs or FabFitFun subscription boxes. Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with Starbucks…. more on that later. ☕ Since moving 2000+ miles away from home, I have learned to embrace frugality and started living below my means, which in turn, helps me save money. I am not saying that you should become frugal like me. All I am saying is that people are at risk of over-spending and buying sh*t they don’t need if they aren’t conscious of their spending habits. Surprisingly, cutting back on unnecessary spending is not as painful as it sounds nor does it have to be difficult. Below ↓ I have 7 practical tips on how to save money, whether you are a college student or a broke Millennial who needs to cut back on frivolous spending and curb your bad habits, once and for all. Let’s get started, shall we?

7 Ways to Stop Wasting Money

1. Think before you buy. When you receive your next paycheck, birthday money, etc. you don’t need to spend it immediately. How can you think like a wealthy person if you keep blowing your money on materialistic things or wants, rather than needs? It’s not about how much money you make; it’s about how much money you save.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: Is a daily Starbucks run really necessary? I go to Starbucks maybe once or twice per year, and even then, I am conscious of how much I am spending on these overpriced drinks. Sometimes, date night is a must so I do splurge from time to time but this is not a daily or weekly thing for us. Being frugal doesn’t mean that I don’t buy nice things. However, we buy what is on sale and only if we need it vs. want it. For example, a few years ago when my daughter was a toddler, we bought a Baby Gap hoodie that was on sale for $10 in the U.S.

2. Less is more. Do you really need 4 tablets, 2 laptops, and 3 smartphones with unlimited data and roaming? If you are being honest with yourself, then you probably don’t need data on your tablet when you travel and you can still live well without the latest tech gadgets. This is not only expensive but it won’t keep you satisfied for very long. Soon enough, you will want the next latest, shiny thing that is within reach. Like video game, manga collecting, etc., it gets old after a while or you will grow bored of it. Most concerning, you will end up burning a hole in your wallet from this compulsive habit. Although some people might disagree, collecting stuff might not give you the sense of satisfaction that you have been searching for.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: We all gotta start somewhere. During the decluttering process, you might also benefit from reading this book: “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.

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3. Shop at discount stores. If you can find the same brands at a discount store, then shop there. In order to know if I am actually getting a good deal, I shop by unit price to save money on groceries, etc. My husband taught me this trick so that I don’t get carried away shopping at places like Dollarama where smaller items by weight are disguised as being a good deal 😆 Sometimes, upgrading to a larger size elsewhere makes sense, like dish soap or…. ahem! toilet paper! 🧻🙊 Most of the time, I can get away with shopping at Dollarama for the same brands.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: When we were still living in the NW of Calgary, I was excited when there was a Dollarama opening nearby. If you are familiar with the NW of Calgary, it used to be challenging finding a Dollarama within a 10min. driving radius. Since we moved to our townhouse, I happen to live close to a plaza with a Dollarama! 😅 This is the best Dollar Store in Canada in my opinion. I often shop here for discounted brand-name items and cute stationery (see photo of cute tropical stickers). The photo of the Dollarama signage was taken in the NW of Calgary before we moved across the city in May 2021.

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4. Don’t collect multiples. This is an ongoing problem at my mom’s house. She often buys multiple items of the same thing because she forgets what she already bought. As a result, items like food in the fridge often get lost and forgotten. Not only is this a waste of money, but chances are you will end up tossing these expired products in the trash. I try not to buy multiples by keeping track of what I own which is easier when you own less stuff in the first place. Do you really need 5 bottles of soap from Bath and Body Works? Unless there is an amazing sale on soap and you plan on giving them away as gifts, skip the multiples. My husband often buys multiples so I have a rule that we have to use up what we have before going to the store to buy more. 🛒🏃‍♀️

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: I got a discount on these items which I would normally buy anyway because I bought them in a gift set rather than individually. Best of all, these items are full-sized so I got to try new brands and scents that I would not have tried otherwise. They sell these gift sets at the beginning of the school year, so it is like Christmas in September! To this day, I still don’t know what happened to the dry shampoo… I think it got left behind the last time I visited Ontario. If anyone has ever tried dry shampoo, let me know if it is worth buying in the comments below ↓ I’m curious to know what you think! 🙋‍♀️

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5. Make it Yourself. Do you have a habit of getting takeaway every time you leave the house? Do you need that daily 3 PM caffeine fix at the drive-thru? Instead of buying drinks, fast food, etc., the frugal alternative is to make it yourself. It is much cheaper to make a smoothie at home but it requires a little effort. I prefer to take the DIY route plus I can control what I put in my body (calories, fat, ingredients). With the internet being readily available to us, there are DIY recipes on YouTube, from Starbucks mock-cappuccinos to bath bombs.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: I never understood why anyone would spend full price on hot water and a teabag at Tim Horton’s, especially when hot water is virtually free and tea costs roughly 10 cents per bag. For this reason, I only order steeped tea at Tims which I cannot replicate at home. Trust me, I tried every hack and my homemade steeped tea tastes nothing like store-bought, even after I tried filtering the teabags at home for a richer, bolder taste. *Le sigh*

6. Cancel your subscriptions. As much as I enjoy reading magazines, much of what I read becomes redundant over time. There are a couple magazines that I really enjoy but even these get old after a while. Magazines are also quite pricey so it makes sense to order a yearly subscription. The only problem is that I was locked into a 2-year subscription to Cosmopolitan even though I got bored of reading them after a few months. I couldn’t care less about the advertisements, makeup, and fashion sections (more ads for expensive products that I don’t need).

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: Before discarding my magazines, I made a vision board with snippets of positive messages. Before I moved to Calgary, I mailed my vision board to an online friend who lives in the U.S. For a while, we were sending each other snail mail. Since I reached most of the goals that I had put on my vision board and I didn’t have room for it in my new apartment, I gave it to her. What you are seeing here are some of the snippets I used. At this time, I am unable to dig up a photo of the vision which is probably buried in a file somewhere on our computer.

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7. Rewire Your Brain. I recommend having a broke student mentality, but not to take it too literally. If you have ever been in post-secondary school, then you will understand what I am talking about. Much of changing a habit begins with the way you think. By thinking a certain way, over time you can reprogram your brain to understand that the sacrifices you are making now won’t feel like sacrifices in the future.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: I have also adopted a minimalist mindset over the years and I am much happier with what I have these days. I no longer chase the latest, shiniest thing that is waved in my face. Learn to appreciate the good things in life and be grateful for what you have. 🙏💕

“Nothing worth having comes easy.” Theodore Roosevelt

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To all of my Millennial and non-Millennial readers, I hope that you enjoyed reading this blog post! 🙌 If this blog post taught you something or made you think about things differently, feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ I will be AFK (working) this weekend, so I will reply to your comments when I have time.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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12 Days of Finals

Merry Christmas elf-ryone! 💚 Thanks, @ElsieLMC for coming up with that clever introduction. It’s very punny and I hope you don’t mind that I used your intro here. This year, I wanted to dress up my son as a cute elf but was unable to find an elf outfit. Maybe it will happen next year! 🎅🎄 I wanted to share with you some photos of our little Christmas tree. Most of the decorations came from Dollarama. As many of you know, this girl is frugal. Even this trademark wrapping paper came from Dollarama. 😊

12 Days of Finals 📖

When I was in university, I wrote a rough outline for a parody of the song, “The 12 Days of Christmas.” I never got around to editing and uploading this parody and at one point, I even forgot that I had the rough draft on my notepad. I figured that there is no better time than Christmas Day to upload this parody for all of my readers. If you enjoyed reading this parody, feel free to check out my other poetry musings here.

[Verse 1]
On the first day of finals,
My professor gave to me
A ton of anxiety.

[Verse 2]
On the second day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 3]
On the third day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 4]
On the fourth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 5]
On the fifth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 6]
On the sixth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Six study parities,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 7]
On the seventh day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Seven Venti coffees,
Six study parties,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 8]
On the eigth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Eight sugar crashes,
Seven Venti coffees,
Six study parties,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 9]
On the ninth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Nine cram-sessions,
Eight sugar crashes,
Seven Venti coffees,
Six study parties,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 10]
On the tenth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Ten people praying,
Nine cram-sessions,
Eight sugar crashes,
Seven Venti coffees,
Six study parties,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 11]
On the eleventh day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Eleven temper tantrums,
Ten people praying,
Nine cram-sessions,
Eight sugar crashes,
Seven Venti coffees,
Six study parties,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 12]
On the twelth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Twelve clocks a-ticking,
Eleven temper tantrums,
Ten people praying,
Nine cram-sessions,
Eight sugar crashes,
Seven Venti coffees,
Six study parties,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety!

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Healthier Banana Muffins

Disclaimer: Now I can officially say that we are all caught up with the recipes! Any new recipes that are posted in the future will be new blog posts. I am happy about that! 😄 This recipe was originally posted as a separate page on June 10, 2019. I changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding! 🙊🍌

Since I am trying to eat as clean as possible by cutting down on my sugar consumption, I wanted a muffin recipe that I could easily grab for a quick, easy breakfast. I crave carbs so if I am going to eat carbs, I would prefer them to be cleaner than what you would typically find at the grocery store or local coffee shop. Finally, I found a recipe that I really like so I wanted to share it with you. I modified the recipe slightly which was based on the original recipe from www.gimmedelicious.com.

My photo didn’t do these muffins much justice but I added a photo anyways. Voila! My family loves these muffins and it is so easy to whip up a batch when you need a quick muffin fix. Let’s get started, shall we? 

HEALTHIER BRAN MUFFINS

Servings: 12                          Time: 45 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup mashed bananas (approx. 2 medium bananas)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine whole wheat flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk the egg. Then add plain yogurt, maple syrup, mashed bananas, and coconut oil to the egg mixture. For a smooth consistency, use a blender to pulverize the wet ingredients. I use my Vitamix blender but a simple blender works too.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir gently with a plastic spatula until ingredients are evenly mixed.
  5. Spoon into well-greased or lined muffin tins.
  6. Bake muffins for 20-22 minutes at 350ºF.
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Mind your banana. Photo from www.pixabay.com

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Banana Bran Muffins

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted a very long time ago in a land far, far away. I am reposting the recipe as a blog post to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding! 🙊🍌

I have a challenge for you! Using everything you have in your cupboard, come up with a recipe and actually make it. You can “cheat” by referencing google for inspiration if you need some ideas. Tomorrow, do the exact same thing. I bet that you will come up with two different recipes without the need to buy any of your ingredients. Keep repeating this process and make a mental note to add your recipes to a database for easy access. If you do this for 30 days, then you should end up with ~20-30 unique recipes for your family.

I live in Canada and our degrees are measured in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. For baking purposes, I use Fahrenheit because it’s universal and easier to follow. But if you tell me that the temperature today is 45 outside, you’re not fooling anyone given that it’s the middle of November and there is snow on the ground. I will assume that you have mastered teleportation and are probably enjoying a Daiquiri on some tropical island….. and you didn’t invite me, how rude.

This week I made banana bran muffins and the batter was delicious. However, the muffins were dry and slightly overcooked, so I would suggest baking them for 15-18 minutes at 350ºF instead of 20 minutes at 375ºF. You can find the original recipe here.

BANANA BRAN MUFFINS

Servings: 12                          Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup mashed bananas (approx. 2 medium bananas)
  • 1 1/2 cups bran mix
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine bran with whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and coconut (optional).
  3. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk the egg. Then add milk, mashed bananas, milk, and oil to the egg mixture. For a smooth consistency, use a blender to pulverize the wet ingredients. I use my Vitamix blender but a simple blender works too.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir gently with a plastic spatula until ingredients are evenly mixed.
  5. Spoon into well-greased or lined muffin tins.
  6. Bake muffins for 15-18 minutes at 350ºF.
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Mind your banana. Photo from  http://www.pixabay.com

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Sugar Cookies

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted as a separate page. I changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding! 😊✨

Here is my favourite cookie recipe of all time! You may remember seeing this recipe from an older blog post that I posted back in December 2019! 😅 I love making mini Christmas cookies and decorating them with cute sprinkles. If you live in Canada, you can buy these sprinkles at Bulk Barn. I also like to package these cookies in tins to give away as hostess gifts. When my now-husband and I were first dating, I gave these cookies to his family as an attempt to win them over and I think it worked. My husband and I have been married for 5 years now, so I believe that the saying is true: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

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A close-up shot of what these miniature cookies look like. I wanted all of the stars to look the same, all of the snowmen to look the same, etc. There are 9 different shapes featured here: 1. snowman 2. snow-bear 3. snowman 4. bell 5. Christmas tree 6. gingerbread man 7. holly 8. star 9. stocking

These cookies are a timeless classic and are totally worth the hard labor it took to make them. Just kidding! Decorating them is a lot of fun and it doesn’t feel like work to me. If you enjoy baking, you’ll probably enjoy making these cookies. The best part about mini cookies? You can eat 10 of them in one sitting without feeling guilty about it!

SUGAR COOKIES

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Heavily filtered photos meant for Instagram but they will have to do. In the future, I will take new photos with a decent camera. I just wanted to give you an idea of what these miniature cookies look like. 😊

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups of flower
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cling film (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda.
  2. Add butter to mixture and combine until crumbly.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla to mixture.
  4. Roll out dough and wrap in cling film (optional).
  5. Chill in fridge for approx. 1 hour.
  6. Slice dough with fancy cookie cutters and place on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.

I encourage you to give this recipe a try. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section below ↓ I love reading your comments ❤️

Thanks for stopping by!

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Cantaloupe Smoothie

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted as a separate pageI changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding! ♥

Most recipes found on this blog are designed for 1-2 people, particularly college students or small families who are short on time. If you are making this smoothie for 4 people, simply double the recipe. You can add other fruits such as peaches or add a handful of spinach/kale for a green smoothie. If cantaloupe isn’t your preference, you can use other kinds of melon instead, such as honeydew or watermelon. #melon-fruit-power from pixabay.com

WHY SMOOTHIES?

Fruits and vegetables contain important enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that we need to stay healthy, maintain energy levels, and keep diseases at bay. Making delicious smoothies from fresh fruits each day is an easy and tasty way to obtain your daily nutrient requirements. Smoothies are thicker than fruit juices and they may contain other ingredients such as milk, yogurt, ice cubes, etc.

CHOOSING INGREDIENTS

The quality of a smoothie is directly related to the freshness of the ingredients that you use. Try and use the best fruit that you can get by choosing fruits at optimum ripeness. Although fresh and organic are usually best, fruits that are flash-frozen soon after picking may be better than fresh fruit that has a short shelf life. Examples of summer fruits are strawberries, cherries, raspberries, and peaches. If you use canned fruit, avoid fruit soaked in syrup and aim for fruit soaked in water or natural fruit juice.

EAT WELL, FEEL GOOD, AND LOOK GREAT!

The nutrition that you are consuming by drinking smoothies on a daily basis will also begin to show through your radiant glowing skin, energy levels, and overall improved well-being. For example, antioxidants are found in fresh fruits and are also essential for younger-looking skin. Another example is folic acid, which is found in many fruits and helps keep hair and nails strong. Another advantage of drinking smoothies is the high water content that is found in fruits. It is easy to forget to drink 8 glasses of water per day. Many beverages that we consume such as coffee, tea, and alcohol are dehydrating compared to smoothies which are very hydrating.

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CANTALOUPE SMOOTHIE

Servings: 2                          Time: 10 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup peeled, cubed cantaloupe
  • 1/2 banana, frozen chunks
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon flaxseed (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add the cantaloupe, banana, orange juice and lemon juice to a blender (I am using a Vitamix blender). Cover and blend on high until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Add the yogurt, flaxseed and vanilla. Cover and blend on high until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Pour into 2 glasses and add milkshake straws (optional). Serve immediately.

Thanks for stopping by! ❤

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Mango Coconut Bubble Tea

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Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted as a separate pageI changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding! 

This recipe is a remake of the Taro recipe I posted on Yummly years ago. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate that recipe and it wasn’t exactly healthy. Taro bubble tea mix often comes in instant creamer-like packets. If you think about what is in these packets, it’s pretty unappetizing. Can we do better than that? Yes, we can, and I will show you how 💁‍♀️

At this time, I plan to make a collection of flat belly-friendly recipes for you all. However, bubble tea generally isn’t healthy, to begin with, plus it is often laden with calories. The horror! 😱 Yes, tea is good for you and should be consumed in your diet but the added refined sugar, tapioca pearls, and saturated fat in the drink outweigh the benefits of consuming the drink in the first place. I am here to give you a healthier version of this beloved beverage. You can sub any fruit out for the mango. I chose mango because it nicely complements the coconut. I added coconut milk for the healthy fats and extra vitamins.

ₓ˚. ୭ ˚○◦˚Mango Coconut Bubble Tea˚◦○˚ ୧ .˚ₓ

Servings: 2                          Time: 30 minutes                          Difficulty: medium

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 package of uncooked tapioca pearls
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • chilled brewed green tea
  • 1 cup of diced frozen mango
  • 1/2 can of coconut milk
  • ice cubes
  • milkshake straws (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Brew some green tea and chill it in the fridge. 2 cups is more than enough for 2 servings.
  2. Using a pot, fill the pot with 4 cups of water and bring to a rolling boil. Next, add ~1/3 of the package (approx. 1 cup) of tapioca pearls to the water and 1/4 cup of brown sugar – half of the brown sugar you are using. Following the instructions on the package, cook the tapioca pearls. This step takes a while and it’s easy to mess up. It won’t cook properly if you cook it at the wrong temperature, hence the recipe being medium difficulty. Occasionally, stir the tapioca pearls so that they don’t stick together.
  3. Once tapioca pearls have risen to the top of the pot and they have the desired chewy consistency (I taste them to make sure), strain pearls under cold water and make a sugar syrup for the pearls using the rest of the brown sugar. Set aside.
  4. Using a personal blender or my personal favorite, being the Vitamix, add the brewed tea, mango chunks, coconut milk, and ice cubes. You will need to scrape the sides of the blender depending on the consistency you want. I recommend working in batches since a cheaper blender may get jammed. The Vitamix however, can handle it like a champ.
  5. Divide the cooked tapioca pearls and add them to the bottom of 2 tall glasses. Add the blended mango coconut slush to the glass along with a wide milkshake straw for pearl slurping. Enjoy!

I encourage you to give this recipe a try. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section below ↓ I love reading your comments 🥭💕

Thanks for stopping by!

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Virgin Piña Colada

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted as a separate pageI changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding! 

Nothing beats this classic drink recipe. You may have noticed that I talked about this delicious drink in my blog post titled, March Recap Spring 2021 because this drink was one of my favourite things to drink while I was pregnant. Re: Virgin Piña Colada!

I made this drink often while pregnant, and people ridiculed me for drinking it because they thought I was drinking its alcoholic cousin. Seriously, who do you think I am?! To this day, I rarely drink alcohol because I really don’t see what’s so great about drinking nail polish remover. Sorry, not sorry! Alcohol does not taste good to me and I have to drink it with loads of sugar to make it more palatable 😝 So if you came here for the alcoholic version of this drink, feel free to add your own alcohol. For the rest of you who enjoy Shirley Temples and other fun non-alcoholic drinks, you are in for a treat today. My sans alcohol version of the classic Piña Colada has been tested and approved by myself and my family. Cheers! 🍍🥥

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Virgin Piña Colada

Servings: 1                          Time: 2 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tbsp. crushed pineapple
  • 1/3 can low fat coconut milk
  • 2-3 tbsp. pineapple juice
  • 6 ice cubes

DIRECTIONS

  1. Using a personal blender (I use a Nutri Ninja), add the crushed pineapple, pineapple juice and coconut milk. Quickly pulse the ingredients. Using a spoon, taste to make sure the coconut balances the pineapple. If flavours are balanced, continue to step #2.
  2. Add the ice. Personally, I like my drink very iced so I use 6 cubes. Slowly add a few ice cubes and pulse. Then add a few more ice cubes so the blender doesn’t get jammed. When the desired consistency is reached, it is ready to drink.
  3. Pour into a fancy glass and add a milkshake straw (optional).
Photo credit: Pineapple Supply Co

I encourage you to give this recipe a try. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section below ↓ I love reading your comments 💕

Thanks for stopping by!

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Carrot Coconut Muffins

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted as a separate page on November 15, 2017. I changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding!

My husband and I take health and well-being very seriously. Usually, I will make several trips to the grocery store when trying a new recipe but this time, I decided to only use what was in my cupboard. I changed the original recipe I was referencing quite a bit. You can find the original carrot muffin recipe over at Genius Kitchen.

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CARROT COCONUT MUFFINS

Servings: 12                          Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 2 cups shredded carrots

DIRECTIONS

  1. Crack an egg into a bowl and whisk the egg.
  2. Add orange juice, margarine, brown sugar, and white sugar to the bowl. Stir well.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Stir in egg mixture and mix until dough is moistened.
  5. Gently fold in carrots and coconut. I shred the carrots using my Vitamix blender.
  6. Spoon into well-greased muffin pans. Cupcake liners are optional but I don’t recommend using them for this particular recipe. The dough is too dense, making the cupcake liner difficult to peel away.
  7. Sprinkle some of the white sugar on the muffin tops for extra shine. Again, this step is optional.
  8. Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees F.
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Photo credit: Genius Kitchen, photo by Jose G.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Raw Green Energy Soup

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This recipe was originally posted as a separate page. I changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding. 🌱

This recipe is fantastic. Although Dr. Ann Wigmore’s energy soup is not the most palatable the first time you try it, it really starts to grow on you the more you consume it. I use this recipe whenever I am feeling moody, depressed, need to detox, or whenever I’m in pain (for example, toothache). Sometimes, I grow my own bean sprouts but I often buy them for convenience. Eating a 1.5-liter jar of homegrown bean sprouts is quite the challenge for one individual.

I doubt other 20-somethings eat energy soup at all. Even my husband cringes a the thought of eating this stuff on a weekly basis. Eventually, I hope to make this soup on a daily basis. The health benefits outweigh the taste, and the bland flavor is greatly improved with a little garlic and lemon juice. The original recipe was created by Ann Wigmore and you can read about her here. However,  the recipe I have adapted comes from Karyn’s, so be sure to check out these two amazing women.

“Let me share my vision with you: I see a world without sickness, sorrow or mental disturbance in which we are living in perfect balance with abundant health and harmony.  Reconnect with nature and your body will take care of the rest. This is the beauty of self-healing.”
– Dr. Ann Wigmore

Confession: I do not use Rejuvelac. Instead, I substitute Rejuvelac for green tea. I have adapted and modified Karyn’s version of Ann Wigmore’s energy soup. I do not think my version is necessarily healthier. In fact, I highly doubt it contains as many vitamins and minerals compared to the original recipe. However, as a university student who is tight on time and energy, my recipe is easy to make and very palatable. I am NOT a vegan or raw foodie by any means and I do not encourage you to hop on the bandwagon. I am currently dealing with Iron Deficiency Anemia and can use a boost of vitamins and minerals every now and then.

RAW GREEN ENERGY SOUP

Servings: 2                         Time: 10 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups green tea
  • 1 teaspoon seaweed
  • 1-2 apples, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup beansprouts
  • 1 avocado

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare 1 1/2 cups of green tea. Set aside. Soak the dried seaweed in water and add 1 teaspoon of soaked seaweed to the green tea. Pour into a powerful blender such as the Vitamix (what I use).
  2. Coarsely chop the garlic and add to the blender. Blend on low until smooth
  3. Coarsely chop the apples and add to the blender. Add the avocado. If you don’t have avocado you can substitute with coconut oil. Pulse the apple and avocado to combine with the green tea base Pulsing adds texture to the soup.
  4. Add the beansprouts and the spinach leaves. Pulse in blender until you have reached the desired consistency. Add the lemon juice for freshness and flavor.
  5. Pour into a bowl and serve. Garnish with parsley if desired. Store the leftover soup in a glass container and refrigerate up to a week. The soup tastes best when consumed within 1-2 days.
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Yes, the raw green energy soup is really this green! Put your future in good hands 

Note: I garnished the soup with cilantro because I couldn’t find the parsley. I tried making the soup from memory and the color of the soup ended up being much lighter. Why?! Because I forgot to add the seaweed! The raw green energy soup was still delicious – a perfect midnight snack!

Thanks for stopping by!

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10 Cheap Purchases that Improved My Life

Whenever I have zero motivation to write a blog post, I remind myself to take a step back and think about the topics that have been accumulating in my rough drafts. I currently have 34 topics in my rough drafts but I have zero desire to write about any of them. I had to take a Marie Kondo approach and ask myself the following question: Do any of these topics spark joy? Sadly, the answer is no. Perhaps it is time to scrap my rough drafts and start over again.

When life gets too chaotic and hectic, I often feel the need to simplify my life. It is important to take a step back to appreciate the things that make my stupid, busy life a little less stupid and busy. And not surprisingly, the items on my list are inexpensive. Does it surprise you that I have a go-to list of 10 affordable purchases that make my life more tolerable? Keep reading if you are interested! 😊


•✽ 10 Cheap Purchases that Improved my Life ✽•

1. Tylenol I know, I know. Acetaminophen aka. Tylenol (everyone here calls it Tylenol) is not very exciting but for anyone who suffers from frequent ocular migraines, it helps provide some relief. I typically use 2 tabs each of 500mg per dose.

2. Hand sanitizer If COVID-19 taught me anything, I learned about the importance of hand hygiene. It would be a crime not to hoard hand sanitizer. I carry it around with me everywhere I go and learned to embrace the plain, boring scents too.

3. Baby wipes  These wipes are not just for wiping baby bums! Baby wipes are one of the most useful things to have around the house, whether or not you are a parent. Baby wipes are incredibly useful for wiping faces, cleaning sticky surfaces, and dusting. Yes – dusting! Need to clean something fast? Use a baby wipe!

Image source: http://www.thekitchn.com

4. Alarm clock I had one of those loud, obnoxious alarm clocks that could wake the dead from their sleep. I say *had* because it fell apart over the years. Still, I never missed a shift while I was using that alarm clock. Now, I use an obnoxious ring tone on my phone which works almost as well as the alarm clock.

5. The 64-ounce hydrator water bottle Not just any water bottle! This is a 64-ounce hydrator water bottle. I bought mine from Winners for $10 and it holds 8 cups of water. Personally, I don’t like refilling a water bottle multiple times a day. My goal is to refill my water bottle twice a day for a total of 16 cups of water. If you did the math, my goal is to drink 1 Gallon (128 oz.) of water per day. I seem to fail miserably at drinking water unless I am actively tracking my water intake.

Stayin’ alive and hydrated!

6. Sharpie highlighters This is my favourite brand for both markers and highlighters. I only buy this brand for highlighters because they don’t bleed through paper or smudge the ink. During back-to-school season, you can usually find Sharpie highlighters on sale at Walmart.

7. Sheet protectors It seems like my list is turning into a “Things Around the Office” Listicle. What can I say?😂 I spend a great deal of time using office supplies. Sheet protectors are another item that I love using for notetaking, clipping recipes, saving snippets from magazines, etc. Gone are the days where I have to worry about spilling coffee on my notes. I also want to mention that sheet protectors are waterproof!

8. Bubble Bath Hot baths are good for chronic back and neck pain. A bubble bath won’t break the bank and it is one of the few things that I have to look forward to on a typical cold day in Canada. My favorite bubble bath is Korres because it makes the best bubbles in my opinion, even though this brand is more expensive than others. Trust me, not all bubbles are created equal.

9. Planner A planner can be cheap or expensive depending on your preference. Personally, I like the $4 Dollarama planner which I can throw in my backpack at any given time. For habit tracking, I like the Habit Tracking planner which I got from Costco. I usually recycle my planners after 2-3 years to cut down on clutter. I used to keep ALL of my wall calendars as a kid and ended up with a drawer full of memorabilia junk. Never again.

10. Podcasts Personal development podcasts have changed my life for the better. I use iTunes to listen to podcasts. The best part about podcasts is that they are FREE! Free edutainment – what’s not to like about that?! I listen to podcasts on a daily basis and I love learning about psychology, philosophy, spirituality, entrepreneurial skills, and decluttering. In a previous blog post, I talked about The Mindset Mentor by Rob Dial. Admittedly, I don’t listen to his podcasts nearly as much as I used to, but his takeaway messages are very good. Also, a shoutout goes to my blogger friend Deandra from #TBPD. She also has a lifestyle podcast which I recommend checking out! 🙌

Overall, these 10 items help my life suck a little less. Did anything on my list surprise you? What inexpensive items would you add to your list? Please join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ I look forward to reading your comments.

Thanks for stopping by!

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