All posts by Ginger

A Beautiful Day!

Ahhh, today Toronto is blessed with some sunshine! It makes me happy! It seems we are indeed slowly inching our way to spring… however the wind is a bitch! It was quite fridgid as I was walking this afternoon.

Anyway, today was kind of odd. Last night M and I went out to an Edge 102.1 event at The Great Hall. Jameson Irish Whiskey was hosting the party with some live bands, and I sure do love a fine splash of Jameson, so I rustled up some tickets. I thought it would be a good way to bond with M since we have a lot to do for T’s wedding.

We had a good night dancing and listening to one of the bands, and we hung out with some of my friends from work. (And both of us had guys trying to pick us up throughout the night, which I got a kick out of–I was surprised that anyone was interested in me since I wasn’t really dressed up. However, I was wearing my super-cool Chairman Meow shirt. Hmmm….)

We got back to my place around 2:30am, so M spent the night. All was well in the land of Ginger. However, this morning I woke up to find no M! She had split before 9am to get back to her place in Newmarket, with no note or knock on my door. Strange! I was totally at a loss as to where she went, I swear to dog it looked like she hadn’t even been here last night… I called her frantically and left a message asking where she was. Later on I found an email from her saying she had a great time and just had a lot of things to do today.

Now, am I old-fashioned in thinking that was still pretty bizarre and rude? I mean, I went out and bought some milk just so she could have breakfast in the morning. Hrumph. I am still feeling a little bewildered.

She’s a nice girl, but that was just… odd.

What do you think?

As Promised…

Here’s for another money post! I’m working on another Going Green post and some product reviews (product junkie, right here, everyone!) to post in the future, as well as one about the new Jenny Craig diet I’ve just started.

But first, I wanted to do an update on my personal finances, and the Bridesmaid Costs as well.

Personal Finances

…Are not looking too hot right now. The reason for this is that I am a goofus and moved my money around without thinking it through.

I moved $4k from my Condo Downpayment Fund and into my RRSP. The reason for this is that
1) It can earn just as much more more (tax-sheltered) interest in my RRSP being handled by a senior VP investment advisor,
2) It reduces my income for 2007, and increases my tax refund
3) I can use the Canadian homebuyer’s plan and borrow the money back from my RRSP in the future, so essentially it still IS going towards my condo. It’s just also going towards my retirement now, too 😉

The only problem with this scenario now is that I don’t have that $4k as liquid in my accounts anymore. And I was stupid and forgot I had all my monthly expenses and a big MasterCard bill coming up. Bad Ginger, bad! I ended up having to transfer money out of Travel & Entertainment in order to cover everything and maintain a decent float in my chequing account.

OMGWTFBBQ?!? I’m looking at my account now, and I just got paid… but it looks like this deposit and the last one are mysteriously LESS than they should be! WTF? This month is not turning out in favour of money! I’m pissed!

You see, there are a few things you just don’t want to mess with me on. The first being my family and friends, the second being my money. I’ve been learning Tiger form in kung fu and let me tell you I am ready to use my skull-smasher on someone right now. Or possibly rip their eyes out. And eat them.

On the brighter side of things, all my other savings accounts are growing steadily, and I’ve found some ways to save money for T’s wedding. Onto…

Bridesmaid Costs

Wedding
Dress & alterations: $300
Shoes: $101.70 (Alber by Nine West)—>
Pedi & Mani: $70
Hair: $50
Makeup: $30
Wedding Gift Part 2: $100
Housegift: $25
Travel Costs: $25
Incidentals: $50

Stag & Doe
Incidentals: $50
Drink “Donations”: $15
Travel Costs: $25

Bridal Shower
Wedding Gift Part 1: $100
Incidentals: $50
Travel Costs: $25

Bachelorette
Activities: $75
Bridal Contribution: $25
Travel Costs: A big fat zero!

Grand total: $1,116.70

So there you have it! Even with my generous estimates I will be able to cut $438.30 out of my budget, and I expect it to go down even further.

Here’s what happened: The major cost (aside from the actual wedding) would have been the bachelorette. We were going to go down to Niagara Falls and whoop it up with a hotel suite, male stripclub, indoor skydiving and day at the spa. Until half of the invitees flaked out (They knew it was going to be expensive from the get-go, they should have piped up before we planned the whole damn thing, but that’s another rant).

So the 3 of us most-dedicated bridesmaids got on ye olde MSN and devised a new plan of action, because let’s face it: When good old Ginger laid out the costs of the proposed activities they both agreed that it was a little excessive, especially since we would have to add the bride’s cost on top.
Needless to say, it has now moved to merry Toronto, and everyone will be staying at my place downtown, or some will stay with another bridesmaid in Newmarket. We’re going to look at some activities to do, but will probably end up going to a couple of pubs and possibly a club, and maybe dressing up silly or trampy and playing games. A much cheaper night for all involved, and I won’t have to drive 3 hours to get there! Yay! And my penis mints will come in handy.

I am also saving money by carpooling with M, another maid, and possibly staying with her in P-Town the night of the wedding (hence the housegift). I also got a better idea of what it costs to have your hair and makeup done in a small town. Much cheaper than the big city.

I’m going to try and save more by cutting back on food and alcohol costs for myself, and I may even flake out on the stag & doe if my pocketbook can’t handle it. Of course I’d rather be there, but it’s a lot of money and I wonder if it’s worth it. I don’t think T would really mind if I did it at someone else’s event, but I don’t think I’ll mention to her that it would be her event…

Anyway, I think that’s all I should include in this post… it is getting rather long. Like I said, I’ve got plenty of blog fodder and my wonderful skills of One-Sided Conversation to help me create some content.

Stay tuned, folks!

Financial Update

I really should be in bed right now, but I just painted my nails with my fave nail colour: OPI’s I’m Not Really A Waitress.

Coincidentally, this is the best-selling colour of red out there. This photo really doesn’t do it justice. Maybe once I clean my nails up I’ll take a photo to show you how really gorgeous it is!

*edit* Here’s a photo of the colour on my nails… this is two coats. I needed something extra in the photo in terms of visual interest, so I placed my hand against my pewter purse so you could see how fabulous the colour really is! OPI, I love you! (Unfortunately the resolution isn’t good enough to catch the subtle shimmer and shine, but let me tell you the colour is so rich you could lick it!)


Anyway, what I was going to say is that I’ve just updated my money goals, and a revised list of Bridesmaid’s Costs is on it’s way! I think it would be a neat exercise to keep track of just how much this wedding will cost me, from initial estimates through to actual costs!

Ooooh man. Boring side of advertising, what have you done to me? Numbers! Bah!

70% Self-Obsessed

I stole this off of Fabulously Broke because it’s a funny little quiz!

You’re supposed to fill it in to see how self obsessed you are… but when I read it I didn’t think it was that bad! Doesn’t most of this stuff just equate to good personal hygiene and care of one’s appearance?

Hmm. Maybe all of my answers seem normal to me because I work in advertising… a beauty and youth-based industry to rival the fashion and art world!

Self-Obsessed
How to: Mark X’s by the items that you use/do and then multiply by 2 to get your percentage.

Do You Use?
Hair
[x] straightener
[ ] curling iron
[x] mousse
[ ] hairspray
[ ] gel
[x] other sprays
[x] bobby pins
[x] round barrel brush
[x] blowdryer
[x] mirror
[ ] you have dyed you hair
[ ] you have/had highlights
7/12

Eyes
[ ] black eyeliner
[x] other color eyeliner
[x] eye shadow
[x] mascara
[ ] fake eyelashes
[x] eyelash curler
[ ] eye shimmer
[ ] colored contacts
[ ] huge sun glasses
[x] eye makeup remover
5/10

Lips/Teeth
[x] clear lip gloss
[x] red or pink gloss
[x] lip stick
[x] chapstick
[ ] lip plumper
[x] mechanical toothbrush
[ ] teeth whitener
[x] lip liner
[ ] whitening gum
[x] had/has braces
[ ] more than 15 lipglosses
7/11

Complexion/Overall Face
[ ] blush
[x] moisturizer
[x] face wash
[x] bronzer
[x] makeup remover
[x] face wipes
[x] powder
[x] cover up
7/8

Nails
[x] nail polish
[x] filer
[x] nail clipper
[x] nail buffer
[x] cuticle remover
[ ] nail hardener
[x] nail brush
[ ] fake nails
[x] nail scissors
7/9

My points/Total Points: 35 / 50 x 100 = 70% obsessed

I swear, I’m not self obsessed, I just CARE! 😉

Wedding Costs + Personal Update

Ok, for those 3 imaginary readers that may or may not visit my blog—I’m sorry for the lack of updates!

There was a period there where I simultaneously got busier, had nothing to write about and just didn’t feel like writing at all. Hopefully now I can get back on the bandwagon. I don’t think I’ll ever be like those other blog authors who are able to update at least once a day or more, but I hope to keep this thing running smoothly anyway.

Since this is my bare-all blog I guess I can tell you that last week I went on my very first real date ever, which was followed up by my very first real kiss ever. And I freaked out. I wish I had experienced this when I was a teenager rather than a twenty-something! Too many emotions involved these days! Anyway it was with a nice guy I met off of Craigslist, but I just don’t think I’m interested. I got my validation—I now know deep inside me that other people may in fact like me regardless of my self-perceived ugliness. Even though I don’t want to keep seeing this guy, I feel a whole lot better as a person, and a lot more comfortable being single.

Moving on, someone from my past has just reconnected with me. J and I met at a business camp when we were about 18 years old. He moved to Kingston for school but we kept up the friendship long-distance style. I also had a mammoth crush on him for the longest time. He knew about it but didn’t reciprocate. Anyway, we ended kind of badly and abruptly mostly due to our personality traits and issues. It’s been a year and a half. He’s now living in Japan and teaching English. He recently commented on my Facebook wall and we started talking again. I still have to find out why he decided to hurt me the way he did. I will have to update as things move along.

Also happy to report that my friend-and-guy-I-crush-on-a-little, K and I are going to see Evil Dead: The Musical together. We’ve agreed to sit in the splatter zone, too. Whee! He’s seen it once before but liked it so much he wants to see it again. Yay for me and small social wins!

And finally, everyone around me seems to be getting married and buying property! Insane! Sometimes I feel like I missed the boat completely in life… but then I have to remind myself of all the things that I’ve already accomplished that some of my friends will never even get the chance to do… Anyway, my best gal pal T is getting married in August and I am one of her bridesmaids.

Since one of my major interests (especially in the blogging realm) is personal finance, I thought I would dedicate the remainder of this post to working out all the costs I will incur as a result of my duties of bridesmaid and best friend for this wedding. Something tells me it’s going to be expensive…oi!

Approximate costs

Wedding
Dress + alterations: $300 (seen here! –>)
Shoes: $50-$100
Pedi + Mani: $70
Hair: $65
Makeup: $25-$50
Wedding gift + cash: $200+
1 Night Hotel: $150
Travel costs: $50
Incidentals: $50

Stag & Doe
Travel costs: $50
Drink “Donations”: $25+

Bridal Shower
Travel costs: $50
Incidentals: $50
(Wedding gift to be given at this point)

Bachelorette
Travel costs: $50
1 Night Hotel: $70
Activities: $200
Bridal contribution: $25+

Grand Total: $1,555+

Yikes! This is just the preliminary count, too. Oh man. I wonder if T realizes that it’s going to cost this much for her bridesmaids… She’s insisting on having our hair, makeup and nails all done professionally as well as the type of shoes we wear. I’m not complaining too much but I just can’t believe how much this is going to cost me in the long run. This isn’t even including food & drink for each of these occasions. I include about a tank’s worth of gas as travel costs because I’ll have to be driving 3 hours one way for each of these events.

I’m looking into carpooling with another girl in order to save some money, and hopefully I can try and keep my costs down in food, drink and incidentals now that I am more aware of how much I will be spending. I’m pretty sure I could get married in the Bahamas or someplace for this amount… eep.

So, dear readers, do you have any other tips on ways I could save money during this wedding period, or even some wedding etiquette for me? This whole Stag & Doe thing is a new concept to me, apparently it’s a small-town thing. I like the idea of the couple getting financial help for their wedding, but I don’t like the idea of me having to fork over more cash!

Going Green: Part 2 – Water Conservation

During my daily troll through the interwebs yesterday, I came across an interesting article about the flip-side of the coin in terms of water conservation. It describes the catch-22 situation that some municipalities are facing as they spread the word about water conservation.

The article is here: The High Cost of Using Less Water

It basically talks about how water conservation is costing the cities in terms of decreased revenue. As we install our low-flow toilets and stop watering our lawns, our consumption goes down. This is great for the environment, but now the cities don’t have as much money to do the necessary repairs on our water systems, and therefore it becomes more expensive. This big question is whether the cost of this will be passed onto the consumer. If it is, would it deter others from making those positive water conservation changes?

“Asked about declining water consumption, he told the Star:
“Conservation is killing us.”
Realizing what he’d just said, Curtis smiled broadly and quickly added that there were, of course, a thousand reasons to conserve.
But one thing is certain: Conservation is putting cash-strapped municipalities in a bit of a pickle.”

Here are some great links I found on water conservation tips. They’re both American sites, but the majority of the rules apply just as well to Canada.

http://www.monolake.org/socalwater/wctips.htm
http://www.wateruseitwisely.com/

I am happy to report that I’m doing pretty well and adhere to most of these tips. In the summer, particularly in August when it tends to get really dry in our area and we get drought warnings I go further. I already use the old saying “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down!” at those times (my granny grew up in California, apparently this is common?) and I think I may try capturing the excess shower water in buckets in the future.

So, what are your favourite ways to conserve water, and do you have any that you’d like to share?

Going Green: Part 1

Going green seems to be one of the hot topics these days. Working in media I have access to many newspapers, journals and magazines that are all beginning to feature this topic. I think it’s a step in the right direction, but I really don’t think people and countries are doing enough. I’m not involved enough in the world or political news to keep up with all the conversations about the Kyoto Accord and things of that nature, but it seems to me that our leading countries are being jerks about the whole thing, and trying to pass the buck.

I guess it is up to us smaller folk to do what we can to preserve our Earth for future generations. We should also try and reverse some of the devastating effects our pollution has caused.

I thought that a good topic for an article would be the ways that I attempt to “go green” in my daily life, and maybe feature some interesting articles or resources about reducing our impact on the environment, etc. I consider myself lucky to have gone to a (somewhat) environmentally-conscious grade school when I was younger. Even though it was a smallish town, they still managed to teach us lasting lessons about being environmentally conscious citizens, and how we could do our part. I remember how exciting it was to plant trees and sort our paper for recycling. Before composting became a big thing, we were doing it in the classroom.

I think it is very important to teach children about the environment from a young age. Just look at how I turned out! I’m neither a Greenpeace activist nor a super-wasteful consumer. I learned the “Four R’s”. Most people know the three, but do you know the fourth?

Recycle
Reuse
Reduce
Refuse

Recycle – This one’s pretty obvious. If it can be recycled, then do it! Don’t put it in the trash!

Reuse – Reuse those old margarine and yogurt containers, wash out your ziploc bags if they’re still decent. Many people can go completely without tupperware/rubbermaid containers, simply by reusing food containers again and again.

Reduce – Don’t cut your lawn so often, reduce the number of times you do it. Install water-saving showerheads and low-flow toilets in your home to reduce the use of our resources. Turn the thermostat down just one degree and save!

Refuse – With the help of some big companies such as Loblaws, it is becoming easier to do this. Refuse to take the plastic shopping bags they offer, and bring your own cloth ones instead. Refuse to buy over-packaged products and try purchasing bulk foods instead. If we stop accepting and over-consuming unnecessary plastics and the like, we can greatly reduce our impact on the environment and landfills.

This article seems to be taking me quite some time to write, so I’ve decided to split up the idea into a series of smaller articles. I’m planning to include some links to interesting environment-related websites and articles and also my opinion and thoughts on each of them.

Stay tuned!