Deliver the fresh produce unto me. Maybe.

I’ve been contemplating trying out a local fresh food delivery service. I’m a big fan of the farmer’s market, and there’s a weekly market right by home. It’s on Sundays, though, and I find the time not the most convenient. I’ve only been once all season. Things to do always seem to come up over the weekend, and going to buy fruits and veggies gets bumped to the back burner. I also find the farmer’s market kind of expensive.

I’ve been googling fresh food services and the prices seem fairly standard. The going rate for a basic box can range from $27 to $60, with custom selections sometimes available for an extra fee. I need to sit down and figure out how much we spend on produce regularly, and compare that to the cost of the box. My main concern is that we won’t be able to finish the contents of the box before stuff starts going bad. This already happens now, and every time I have to throw something out, it pisses me off. I know it’s our own laziness and lack of planning that is the cause, but still. It’s wasteful, both environmentally and financially.

I do like the idea of getting produce I wouldn’t normally buy. I could find new recipes! Cook the undiscovered. That’s the thought, anyway. I would want to try a company that doesn’t require a long term commitment, in case we don’t like the service.

Have you purchased fresh food boxes that are delivered right to your door, and if so, do you like the service/product? If you are from the Toronto area, do you have any provider recommendations?

Posted in Life, Shopping | 2 Comments

Savings Recap for July 2011

Our piggy bank reached capacity this weekend. I spread out a towel on my bed, put on an episode of Deadwood, and counted and rolled away. There is something soothing about neat little piles of change. We saved a total of $151.50 since January 2011. We also had $185 left over from the last time I emptied pig, for a grand total of $336.50. Rather than leave the cash sitting on our book shelf, we decided to add it to our joint savings. I like to do fun things with pig money, but we don’t have any plans in the near future, so I’d rather add it to that account where it can earn an incredibly lame 1.5%.

This brings our joint savings to $10,824.99. I’m really pleased with this figure. This represents the start of a healthy nest egg for whatever our future plans may be. Like a bigger place. I don’t think that will happen in the next year though, so if we keep on track, we’ll have over 20K saved by next summer.

My own personal savings are less impressive. I’m at $1814.50, which is only $100 more than last month.

Why has this occurred? I have officially fallen off the no-shopping wagon. A colleague of my (step) dad is selling a barely used Canon PowerShot SX1 IS. It’s an older model, but I’m not the type of person who has to have the next brand new whatever. The best thing about the camera? The price tag – $175. At most. My dad might be able to negotiate a price a bit lower than that. I’ve been wanting a better camera (I currently have a typical point and shoot camera) but I couldn’t justify the $500 price tag. At this price though, I just could not say no.

I also did a little clothes shopping and spent $200 on three H&M dresses, sunglasses, a vintage hat from the 40s, a belt, and two pairs of earrings. All good deals, but I put almost everything on my credit card. Which means I won’t be saving $400 next month like I should be. Oops.

I need to tell myself that’s it – no more spending! I almost didn’t want to post my lapse here but then I figured I’d be more accountable. Either that or I’ll have to turn this into a fashion blog. Which probably wouldn’t go all that well. So I should really get my butt back in gear. And avoid the shops.

Posted in Saving money, Shopping | Tagged | 2 Comments

Toast this, toastmaster

I went to a Toastmasters meeting tonight with the Toronto Debate Toastmasters Club. While I don’t fear public speaking more than death, I know I could improve my oratory skills. I really really wanted to like the experience and therefore be willing to fork over the $110 membership fee required for a six month commitment. (I attended the first meeting for free as a guest.)

To my dismay, I wasn’t into the evening at all. I think part of the problem was my mood. It was incredibly humid in Toronto today, and my head felt very heavy. I also didn’t plan my eating appropriately, and therefore wasn’t hungry at 5:30 when I should have had a snack. The meeting ran from 5:45 until 8, and it would not have been appropriate to eat my apple while members spoke. Too crunchy. (Although that didn’t stop the girl sitting in the row behind me from eating an item from a crinkly paper bag.)

Another problem was the structure of the meeting. While it was very organized and well timed, it was a lot of up and down, with different members introducing this and that. And the clapping. Christ. I know we want to encourage one another, but we literally clapped after every single person spoke. Even if they said one or two lines. It ate up a lot of time.

This club features debates in addition to speeches, and I thought this might be beneficial for me because I find it challenging to articulate my opinion in certain situations. I ended up liking the speeches more than the debates. The speeches people really knew their material and were able to move around and show some passion. I didn’t feel that strongly about the debate part.

Lastly, and selfishly, I found that I only wanted to listen to the really skilled speakers. One guy talked about the Chicken Tax, and he was so knowledgeable and passionate. He made what could have been a dull topic very interesting. I felt like I could learn from this guy and others like him. Not to say you can’t learn from everyone. I realize that everyone has to start somewhere and I wouldn’t be all that great my first time out. If everyone only wanted to hear someone speak who was better than them, there wouldn’t be much of a club. But to spend over two hours every second week with a group of people, I need to want to be there. And I definitely didn’t feel like that, for all the reasons above.

I may try another toastmasters club. I might rethink tonight’s experience in relation to my mindset during the meeting and ask to be a guest again. Or I might pass on this altogether. Regardless, I’ll probably wait until the end of summer to make my decision. There’s just too much other summer goodness out there.

Have you tried toastmasters? What was your experience like?

Posted in Life | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Going to the bend

I’m off to Grand Bend today! Hope everyone has a great weekend. Woo for taking Fridays off. I’ll try to think of some super interesting topics to blog about when I get back. Or at least moderately interesting.

Posted in Life | Tagged | Leave a comment

Home Improvement(s): Part II

In my last post I mentioned that my decluttering spree has brought on thoughts of other home improvements. What makes this possible is the retroactive pay I will be receiving come September, which by my calculations will be around $12,000 (or about $8,000 net).

There are a few items that I know I want to buy, like new bedside table lamps, a coffee table and a rug for the living room. The lamps we have now are mismatched and grungy, our current coffee table doesn’t really fit the space, and the rug is nonexistent. I’ve managed to find lamps I like (Pottery Barn) and a coffee table (Urban Barn) but no rug.

One of the major issues I have with our condo is space. Because we live in 585 sq ft of space, I am always looking for better ways to organize things. I was on the Martha Stewart site when I saw this picture:



Closet on Wheels under bedThis is a great idea. We already use the space under the bed as storage, but it’s more in a shove it under the bed and hope you can find it when you need it kind of way. I would love to have actual containers on wheels that could easily be pulled in and out.

Problem? We have carpet in the bedroom. And not very good carpet at that. So I thought, what about laminate or engineered hardwood instead? My parents are pretty handy and we could probably do it ourselves. If we were to do the bedroom, I would want to do the living room to match. Right now there is cheap laminate in there, and it has a couple of good dings in it to boot.

I visited a couple of flooring stores and it’ll cost anywhere from $2-$6 sq ft to purchase the materials for the floor. I estimated that we would need to cover about 400 square feet. This would run us $800 to $2400 in materials, with a realistic price being more in the $2000 range.

I’m not sure if we’ll end up taking on this project, but right now it’s really appealing. Once I have confirmation on the amount of retro pay I will be receiving, then I can finalize my plans. I’ve noticed that I’ve “spent” this imaginary money in my head a bunch of different ways; originally, I had said I would save/contribute to my mortgage to the tune of $4500. Now that has (potentially) morphed into a $2,500 laptop, $2,000 floors, $1,200 in stuff for the home, and a $1,500 trip to NYC. That leaves $800 for saving. Not very impressive.

Oh, and I’ve been thinking about getting a new decent camera and replacing the cabinet doors in the bathroom and maybe the counter. And I am getting new hooks instead of the towel bar for the bathroom, and I want to repaint in there, and I want to maybe repaint the bedroom and possibly the living area. That is a lot of damn “wants” and “ands”. I think some prioritization is in order.

This is my problem – I have one thought, and it leads to another, which leads to another, to another… you get the idea. Hence my obsessive nature.

How do you prioritize your spending on big ticket items? If you have a large windfall, do you treat that money differently than if you have earned it yourself? 



Posted in Housing, Organizing, Shopping | Tagged | 2 Comments

Home Improvement(s)

I went on a massive decluttering/cleaning spree this weekend. I conducted a massive reorganization in the kitchen, which included clearing the counter of papers, relocating some containers/kettle/butter dish into the cupboard. I also moved some food items (dry beans, nuts, etc) from their plastic bags into stackable containers. I was able to free up a pretty blue bowl that used to collect random crap and instead use it to hold fruit and veggies while it sits on the table.

I also purchased a new bath mat from West Elm that I’ve been eyeing since April. I decided that I while I may not need a $29 bathmat, I really like it, and I was disappointed the few times I went into the store and couldn’t find it. Here’s a pic (taken from the West Elm website) – it’s the yellow one:

Yellow West Elm Bathmat

I was going to use it by the tub but it’s too nice for that location, so instead it sits in front of the sink. Looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. Oh, and BF likes it too.

I found new curtain ties at The Paper Place on Queen St West. They had hand dyed silk ribbon for $3.75/yard. I bought four yards in two different colours because I couldn’t decide on what colour would work best in the space. I settled on a pinky/burgundy colour that matches the couch pillows so now I just have to return the other ribbon.

I washed the pillowcases from the couch along with the bedding, vacuumed, and cleaned the tub. I organized some papers in the bedroom and filed my receipts.

Now that the place is clean and relatively clutter free, I want it to stay that way. It also has spurned on other thoughts of improvements. More on that later.


Posted in Housing, Life | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Screw you, Zara tag!

One of the items I purchased during my  birthday spending blitz was a green blouse from Zara for $50. This is on the more expensive end of shirts I am willing to buy, but it was really cute and I could dress it up or down so I bought it.

If you’ve purchased something from Zara before, you know how ginormous their tags can be. If you haven’t, I will describe it for you:

  • Because Zara sells their stuff in a bunch of countries, the tags have to be universal; there are around 4 individual tags sown together, with cleaning instructions in a variety of languages
  • The tags are really long – at least 3 inches in length

Normally I leave tags when I can, because I need to know how to wash the damn thing, and it’s not likely that I’ll be able to remember on my own. In the case of Zara items, there is no leaving that tag on, especially shirts, since the tag will be a constant irritant on your skin.

I cut that tag out of the shirt really carefully. I tried to get as close to the shirt without actually cutting the shirt. I’ve worn it a couple of time since then, and I thought everything looked good, until I got to work this morning.

The Green Shirt with a HoleThe hole is kind of hard to see, so I stuck a peanut eraser in it. Here’s a close up:

A close up of the peanut in the hole

Ugh! So annoying! I called the store to ask if I could replace this shirt for a new one. The girl told me that they cannot accept items missing the inner tags. I explained to her that it was removing the tags that caused the problem in the first place. This didn’t seem to phase her. I was SOL (shit out of luck).

Here’s hoping the mom can fix it (and for the fix to be invisible). At least it’s along the seam, making the sowing process a bit easier. For fifty bucks, I want the damn thing to look good!

Posted in Shopping | Tagged | 1 Comment