Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Meal Planning 101

Okay, so I'd like to start off by saying that I am no pro at this. This is my first rodeo when it comes to Meal Planning and saving money on groceries. This post will be more or less sharing my process and tips; in hopes it may inspire you to cook more, eat out less, and save some money.

We budget for everything in our house, (well, I budget and just tell The Man about it); and for groceries I budget $100/week. At the beginning of our House Life journey I price matched like a fiend! But would still blow my budget out of the water every single week. I was spending almost double my allotted funds each week. Here's why: I would literally buy 20 bags of something because they were marked down to $1. We weren't staying on budget or saving because I was buying more than we could eat, it would go bad, and then we were just throwing it all away. I should have just taken $20 and put it in the trash.

Tip #1: Price match if you can on items you need, but don't go crazy! Keep an eye on expiration dates and only buy what you know your family can use up before you have to throw it away.

I am extremely lazy and unmotivated the majority of the time. I'd say 92% of the time I am a firm believer in "why do today what you can put off until tomorrow." Back at the beginning of House Life I didn't meal plan. I bought whatever was on sale to fill our cupboards, and then had to come up with meal ideas daily with the mishmash of products I had bought. At 7AM when I am leaving for work, I'm still trying to wake up; I'm not thinking about dinner.

Therefore, after work nothing would be defrosted, I'd have no motivation to put a meal together; thus, we ate out a lot. I was throwing away money on "deal", blowing the grocery budget, and then not eating the food and spending more money on takeout. You'd think I'd realize my mistakes, but it took me quite some time before I did.

Tip #2: Have an arsenal of go-to dishes that you always have the ingredients for. Therefore, in a pinch you have something to fall back on. My "fallback" meal is chicken caesar salad wraps - I 100% of the time have the ingredients for this dish.

At this point, I was starting to see the error in my ways and a conversation with one of my best girlfriends really hit me. She is a single mother of 2 adorable boys, and she spends $60-$80 a week on groceries. Her secret - plan out everything you need for every meal and ONLY buy what you absolutely need to fulfill that plan. Throw in some price matching and coupons and you are golden. Honestly, when she told me this it was like the clouds opened, and birds sang.

Tip #3: Do not be embarrassed to price match and use coupons. I don't get why others look down on it or put up a fuss when they are in line behind someone who does this. It's saving you money! Money that could be used for other things. No word of a lie, I had a transaction once where I price matched EVERY SINGLE item and saved close to $50 on my bill.

Tip #4: If you are price matching a lot of items I find it a common courtesy to let the person who gets in line behind you know. Especially, if they only have a few items.

So after much trial and error I've finally found a plan that works for me. I stay within budget, cook more, eat healthier, and am more motivated.
Step 1 - Print out a calendar for the month. I use this super cute free printable from Blooming Homestead.

Step 2 - Write in all the days or meals you know you don't have to cook. I find it less daunting to see less than 30 dinners to plan.
Step 3 - Decide your range. Either meal plan one week at a time, or for the entire month. I personally meal plan by the week. I find it easier to make the most of deals and ads.

Step 4 - Pick your grocery day. A big money saving tip - only go shopping once a week. Multiple trips to the store will result in a higher overall bill.

Step 5 - Pick you recipes. I pull from Pinterest, cookbooks, and family favourites. When I plan for a week I pick 6 recipes with one Date Night, or eat out day. It's nice to give yourself a break once a week.
Step 6 - Arrange your recipes based on schedule and protein. I.e. don't have chicken 3 days in a row, break it up. Also, don't put a two hour, complex recipe on a day you only have 30 minutes.

Step 7 - Make your shopping list. I use the following type of setup. Go through each recipe and meal idea and write down all of the ingredients you need to buy. Remember to take stock of what you already have on hand. Shop that pantry!
Step 8 - Once you've determined your meal plan items, determine you "Other" items. For us, it's what items do we need for lunches, breakfast on the weekend, snacks, drinks, etc. I will also keep track of household items and Costco items on a separate list.

Step 9 - Take your list and check out the weekly ads. I shop at Walmart, so most of the time they are the lowest price. I do still find some great price matching deals at other stores though. Make price matching easy by using Apps like Reebee or Flipp. You can simply click the items you want, and they will be added to a "shopping list" that you can easily pull up at the cash register. No more carrying around ads.
Pick your ad, pick your deal, price match away!!!
Step 10 - Look for coupons online, if you want to. I don't do this often, but I will depending on the items I am looking for. Just Google - Canadian Coupons and a plethora of sites will come up.

Step 11 - Go shopping! But, stick to you list! If it isn't on your list you aren't allowed to buy it. By staying disciplined I am able to stick to my budget.
Meal Planning gets messy. I constantly move meals around!
And that's it! It seems like a lot, I know, but once you find your rhythm, trust me it takes barely anytime. At most this whole process now takes me an hour. Since I started following this I enjoy cooking, grocery shopping, and House Life much more!

Do you have any Meal Planning or money saving tips? Leave them below!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Where I've Been & Where I'm Going

Wow it's been a long time since I've been here. Almost 15 months since my last post went live. I wonder if anyone is still coming around here; hopefully some new content will liven this place up. I never planned to be gone for so long; but. I guess life just got in the way, and time just flew by. That's why I decided to dedicate my first post back as an update to what's been going on with me, and where My Beauty Full Adventure will be going from here.

I guess the story starts in July 2014, my boyfriend and I started house hunting. Months were spent going to daily house showings, and countless weekends were spent going to open houses. Finally, after much stress, loosing a bidding war on a cute little 3-level side-split, and numerous sleepless nights, we found our "dream" home.
We had a 30 day closing, so we rushed to get everything we needed to start our new life together. No one really tells you what to expect when you move out on your own, how stressful living with someone can be at the beginning, how stressful home ownership can be in general, how the sounds of a new house will keep you up a night, and that a house doesn't clean itself. I could write a whole post about this...hmmm...maybe I will. But really, there should be a college course that everyone should take that will go over all this stuff. I've honestly never used advanced algebra in my adult life; I think learning how to get a mortgage would have served me much better.

November 2014 I decided to take a blogging hiatus until I got settled into house life, and it's taken me 15 months to get to a point where I *think* I've got a grasp on this. Does one ever really have a full grasp on anything? I still learn something new everyday. Everything that came with owning a house, combined with ongoing health issues really made for no time to dedicate to blogging. And honestly, I just didn't feel like being here for awhile. That sounds bad, but I wasn't feeling it, so I wasn't doing it.

There have been times within the last 15 months that I thought about coming back; however, I wasn't sure what I wanted to come back too. My life and priorities have taken a lot of twists and turns, and makeup and beauty is not all that I am. I have found quite a few new loves, and I wanted to somehow coordinate all of that into this space.

Thus, the reason My Beauty Full Adventure got a face lift. This space will no longer be just a Beauty Blog; but a blog about finding the beauty in all aspects and adventures of my life. I guess now this space is a Lifestyle Blog; it is me, all of me, what I like, love, loathe, etc.
So, new content will be flowing, but I am not making a posting schedule, or setting goals. Posts will come with inspiration or when projects are being done around the house. I don't want this to feel like a job. Part of the reason a hiatus was much needed was because this was no longer fun to me. Deadlines, and schedules made it feel like work and it discouraged me.

Here are some examples of the new content you can expect to see:
  1. Beauty/Makeup Reviews - I know this isn't new, but what I am posting about is going to change. My routine consists of tried and true products now, not just the newest things on the market.
  2. DIYs - why buy something when you can make it yourself! I've DIYed everything from artwork to furniture, and I cant wait to share those projects with you.
  3. Book Reviews/Recommendations - I've always loved reading and I want to share that love with you! First recommendation: November 9 by Colleen Hoover - click the link, buy the book, and spend a day reading non-stop. You wont be disappointed, or be able put this book down.
  4. Home Reno/Decor - Follow along as we slowly (and I mean slowly) update our 60 year old house by ourselves (with my Dad's help...I mean who am I kidding, we aren't handy).
  5. Recipes/Meal Plans - A big stress reliever for me is planning our meals ahead of time, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. I'm going to share the good and maybe not so good with you.
  6. Planning/Organization - I live for my planner; really stationary of any kind.
  7. Other - Not really sure what this category will contain, but I felt like 7 was a lucky number of categories.
I hope you're as excited as I am about the changes and new content. I cant wait to get started!

Monday, November 03, 2014

There's a New Box in Town! Memebox Special #28 All About Eyes - Review

My love of beauty boxes started a long time ago. First with Loose Button, then Glymm, Ipsy followed shortly after and has been my box of choice for some time now. However, lately I've been underwhelmed with what Ipsy has been providing. The samples and brands are starting to repeat and repeat and... you get my point. And when the free Ipsy point bonuses start wowing more then the actual subscription it is time to say goodbye. Which I did the other day...goodbye Ipsy...and hello Memebox!

Honestly, Memebox isn't a box I thought I would normally go for. Although, I've heard many great things about Korean beauty products, I've always been hesitant about using them, because safety and industry standards are so different there then here in Canada. Memebox sent me this box to try out and review, and after a couple weeks of testing I'm happy to say that I am loving these products and subscription! My bank account is already crying...

I received the Memebox Special #28 All About Eyes box that retails for $29 + $6.99 S&H.

About the Box

Shut your lips and let your eyes do the talking. Need a lift? Wrinkles, bags, crow's-feet - they don't stand a chance against this easy plan. Pamper and brighten eyes with eye treatments that work to diminish the look of dark circles, under eye shadows and fine lines. Go from daytime to lush evening eyes in a flash with versatile coloured shadows and easy glide-on liners! Enhance your eyes with a do-all mascara that promises lush, defined, mile-long layers with the swipe of a wand!

YniPicture-Esque 3 Dots Eyeliner 0.9ml

Retail Value: $9
The 3 Dots Eyeliner comes with a three-end brush which works to thoroughly fill in between your lashes and to offer a deeper high definition eye makeup while its specially formulated ink adheres to skin and dries quickly for a lasting finish. Plus, it's strong against water, sebum, and sweat but can be easily removed with warm water and there's no need for an intense makeup remover.

The concept of this eyeliner is so cool! On days when I don't want to wear much makeup I still like to define my eyes a bit by smudging a pencil liner in my water line. However, this liner normally slides to the corners of my eyes halfway through the day. This liner was super easy to use and looked very natural when just dotted between the lashes. Plus if you turn this liner and use the side you can achieve a normal liquid liner look.

Karadium Line Hero Auto Gel Liner Pencil 2.5g in Real Brown

Retail Value:$12
Softly gliding onto eyelid for featuring a deep eye makeup with subtle gold and silver pearls, the Line Hero Auto Gel Liner Pencil is an auto-type liner which only takes 10 seconds to dry after application and is entirely waterproof with its strong water-resistant formula.

The glitter in this liner is gorgeous, I just wish it was a bit more pigmented. Above is one swipe and it is quite faint. What is super impressive about this liner though is that when they say water-resistant they mean it. It would not budge! I used soap and water, makeup remover wipes, and eye makeup remover. It took an oil based makeup remover and lots of scrubbing and rubbing to remover this swatch from my hand. Ive yet to use it on my eyes because I don't want to have to rub my eyes that hard to remove it.

Cheek Room Eye Shadow 5g in Violet

Retail Value: $8
Velvety soft from its Art Pearl formula and rich in minerals from its pearl and coral powders, Cheek Room's popular Eye Shadow is highly resistant to sebum, water,or sweat and effective in maintaining its clean, natural pastel colour radiance all day long.

Gosh darn I love this colour! The deep purple defines my eyes, and makes the green of my eyes pop! Also the sheen and duo chrome that the pearl in it offers, just makes it so eye catching. And like with the Gel Liner Pencil it is super long wearing. One swipe of this eyeshadow is pigmented beyond belief and requires makeup remover to wash away.

MDaida Wonder Eye Volume Filler 2.7g

Retail Value: $41
MDaida's Wonder Eye Volume Filler is a highly-enriched serum for under the eyes. It works to both brighten and treat fine wrinkles and lines under your eyes with one quick click. Its formula is free of any parabens, mineral oil, TEA, benzophenon, artificial colouring and artificial fragrance, thus extremely gentle to skin,

Although, I don't think I need products like this yet, it it never to early to start using them. This slightly white cream didn't do much that was noticeable after one application, but Ill report back after continuous use.

MDaida Wonder Pen Concealer SPF45 PA++ 2.7g

Retail Value: $34
A concealer personally recommended by various makeup artists in Korea, the Wonder Pen Concealer actually works wonders with its easy-to-click and pen-like brush design. It's the perfect item to carry around in your pouch for quick fix-ups or a finishing touch to highlight your dull and darkened eye contours.

Just when I needed concealer this came and rocked my world! This concealer is the perfect shade for me and blends effortless into my skin to conceal and highlight areas of my face. What I love is that it works great for both under the eyes and on blemishes.

Sally's Box Friendly Collagen Eye Patch 4.5g x 2

Retail Value:$2
This is a hydro-gel type eye patch for delivering rich moisture and nutrition to dry, sensitive, or ageing eye contours. The collagen formula works to tighten up sagging skin and also to soothe, cool, and replenish the sensitive under-eye area.

So, Ive used a product like this before from Frownies, and really disliked it. I find they don't really do anything and are kind of a waste of time. This is definitely my least favourite item in the box and I probably wont ever use it.

Secret-Stargirl S-Style 2 set in Lovely Eye

Retail Value: $7
Add more definition and volume to your eyes with Secret-Stargirl's popular girl-group lashes that come in 5 different styles to match your mood and day!

My natural lashes are longer then these falsies, but I think I'm still going to try them out. I like the super points in these and just need to find an event to wear them too.

Cheek Room Curl & Volume Mascara 8g

Retail Value: $18
A lavishly long-lasting waterproof mascara that dramatically volumizes, for a sophisticated look. It gives plush, glam volume, uses micro-dispersion system that is perfectly waterproof and does not smudge.

This brush on this mascara is very intriguing and gives me quite the va va voom lashes. I get no flaking or transferring during the day, and it holds a curl all day long. The only downside is that it has a strong chemical smell.

If you would like to get your own Memebox I've got a code that will save you $5 on any Memebox order. Use code AFBIRH.