Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My Birthday

I wanted to get this post up yesterday, but it has been a rough month. There's been three family deaths, two on my side and one on my husband's side. Yesterday, his 102 year old great aunt passed away so I stepped away from everything for the most part and spent time with him.

My birthday was last Wednesday and I want to thank everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I thought I'd type up a quick post just to show a few things I got and tell you how I spent the day. It was nothing extravagant, which was perfect for me! The day marked ten years since my grandmother's funeral (Yes, my dad planned her funeral to be on my birthday. And no, I've never been okay with it. Long story.) and I just wanted to do something to lift my spirits. She had the largest hand in raising me and it's a time where I really spend missing her and thanking her at the same time. It's an emotional rollercoaster, if I'm being completely honest.

My main birthday celebration was a nice dinner out at our local Chinese buffet restaurant. I gleefully stuffed my face with sushi, sesame chicken, and noodles. And afterward, we headed to my MIL's where my husband had a cake waiting. No complaints about any of it! I got some really thoughtful gifts and I thought I would share a few of them below. My friend Daniel thought of me while down south in Nashville and brought me back a country ham and Dolly Parton CD from the Cracker Barrel, so I even felt like I got a dose of home!

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Odysseo by Cavalia (Discount Code!)

I want to apologize if you came to my blog during my birthday break and had to see the issues I was having with a few graphics that I had linked to my Photobucket. They decided to change their whole website without telling anyone. Now to link to your pictures on there, they expect $400 US a year. Keep dreaming, Photobucket. Luckily, I only had a few to deal with on my main page. But you will see some past posts with an issue. As for my birthday, I'll have a post up next week. I just needed a little break to enjoy it!

While on my break, I took in a spectacular show. I saw Cavalia when it first came to Toronto forever ago (pretty sure it was 2005) and fell in love. They then started the Odysseo touring show, so I jumped at the chance when I got invited to attend during Social Media Week. My husband and I went on Friday (July 7) and I specifically chose that day because it marked ten years since I lost my grandmother. I wanted to do something fun and emotionally moving at the same time.

When seeing Cavalia, I remember being in absolute awe the entire time. Odysseo is no different. In fact, I seem to still be missing my jaw. I think I left it behind on the tent floor! Continue reading for more of my thoughts and to see the pictures. I have tried to cover a lot of the VIP (and regular none VIP) experience. There's also a discount code below if you are in the GTA and interested in going!

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*picture provided by Cavalia

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Blog of the Month: July 2017

In June, Stef from Beautiful Beakers was my featured blogger. You can read that post and see other past featured blogs under the "blog of the month" label! Being my blog of the month gets you a designated blog post, a sidebar button, and a mention on my Twitter account. The sidebar button stays up all month long. I don't believe in necessarily making bloggers pay for advertising and I'd much rather show you blogs that I really enjoy reading. And I hope you end up enjoying them too!

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This month's featured blog is Toronto Beauty Reviews. I can't say it is a specific blogger because it's actually a team that provides the posts! And with that, you definitely get a lot of different posts and perspectives. I like to think there's a little something for everyone that way. And what they blog about is in the name, it is a blog full of beauty reviews. I hope you check it out. :)

P.S.- On a personal note, I won't be back to posting until probably Thursday next week because it is my birthday week. And with two recent deaths in the family, I just need a break. Going to enjoy a staycation! You can still find me on all of my social media, though. Especially tomorrow when I share my experience at Cavalia Odysseo live on my Instagram Stories and Snapchat (@wendybanner)!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

InstaMonth for June 2017

I've had double celebrations these past few days with Canada Day and Independence Day. No complaints here! We had a cookout at my MIL's on Sunday and enjoyed firing up the grill as a joint celebration of the two holidays. Fun question: do you call it a BBQ or a cookout? I consider a BBQ to be where a group of people eat a meal that has been slow-cooking all day and a cookout is where a group of people eat fast meals like burgers and hot dogs. But then again, I'm from the south and the topic seems to be a way of life back home. Haha!

Here are a few pics from my Instagram over the month of June. I'd love it if we followed each other, just look for "wendybanner". But please don't unfollow me right after I follow you back. That growth tactic drives me crazy. I see that it works for many, but no thank you.

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3. I got these when I redeemed some Shoppers points. // 4. Planner girl for life.
5. Testing this MUFE Water Blend - not a fan. More later. // 6. Also trying this Revlon mascara. Liking it!
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7. National Pink Day speaks to my soul. // 8. New planners!
9. A few new Odylique goodies to try. See my other reviews here. Can't wait to share my thoughts.  // 10. Barry M haul! Swatches coming.
11. June faves! // 12. 20 years of Harry Potter. A series that continues to change my life. I'm a Hufflepuff (with a dash of Gryffindor)! What house are you in?

Today also marks three years since we rescued our dog Indy (it's in his name!). Best decision we could have made, because he's just a perfect fit to our family. I can't believe it has been three years already. My obsession with this little guy knows no bounds. #crazydoglady
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Thursday, June 29, 2017

June 2017 Faves

Another rainy day! It has rained so much this summer. I don't mind the rain, but it is cutting down on my photography time. So with that said, I couldn't get any decent shots of my favorites in time for this post. It's just been too dark a good chunk of the time. It's a battle!

June is almost over and in comes July - my birthday month! I don't have much planned yet, but my husband is taking a few days off since the actual day falls on a Wednesday. If anything, I'm just looking forward to those vacation days with him probably spent doing a whole lot of nothing. And that sounds absolutely fantastic! Speaking of which, this weekend is a holiday here and back home. I celebrate Canada Day on Saturday and Independence Day on Tuesday. Gotta love long holiday weekends!

I got quite a bit of new things this past month that got a lot of my full attention. Some of my favorites from the newbies are pictured below. Here are a few of my favorites from June!
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  • Pixi Hydrating Milky Mist - I am loving this. I'll try to save my thoughts for the main review, but the word "hydrating" always pulls me in. I'm usually let down, but this has been living up to the hype.
  • L'Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara - The best drugstore mascara I have tried since CoverGirl came out with LashBlast. This mascara is worthy of HG status! I am also testing Revlon''s Mega Multiplier and it's proving to be pretty decent too!
  • Physicians Formula Mineral Glow Pearls - I have the Translucent Pearl shade and it produces a little glow on its own, but it layers so well with other highlighters and products.
  • Body Fantasies in Soft Peony - This is one of those sprays that when you pass by it, you just have to lift the lid and smell it. It smells so good. A perfect scent for summer!
  • Revlon Enchanting Nail Polish - Such a pretty purple! I always enjoy Revlon nail polishes. They go on easily and dry quickly. Enchanting is not an unique purple, but it's at a great price point and a great summer pastel shade to throw on.
What were some of your favorites this month? Are you getting a lot of rain and dreary days where you are too? Hope you all have a great rest of the week!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Guide for the Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points Program

I promised my friend Laura on Instagram that I would do this post and I really think it is a great idea for all of my Canadian readers! I'm a member of plenty of points programs, but none of them reward me as well as the Shoppers Optimum one. I do think that there is a bit of a learning curve and finding what works best for you, but it's amazing once you get the hang of it.

I don't consider myself a pro at all, but I do manage to get $200+ of goods each year with my points. Granted, it could be more if I shopped there more frequently but this is what works with my existing budget. If you do a lot of your shopping there, maybe you aren't taking full advantage of the program. Or maybe you shop there very little and don't think you can utilize the points enough to make a difference. I'm telling you that you can!

You can earn and redeem Optimum Points at Shoppers Drug Mart, Murale, and Pharmaprix. You earn a minimum of 10 points for every dollar spent and you aim to reach point tiers. The tiers are: 8,000 Points ($10), 22,000 ($30), 38,000 ($60), 50,000 ($85), and 95,000 ($170).  You can redeem those points toward most purchases. And you can earn points on most purchases in store, as well as online orders on their Beauty Boutique. Now here are a few of my personal tips and how I make the program work for me!

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1. Download the Shoppers Drug Mart app. It gives you personal offers each week to load to your card. For instance, milk is the same price there as all of my local grocery stores so I buy it at Shoppers and I get 10-20x the points most weeks. The sales flyer is also built into the app.

2. Look at the sales flyer and shop around the sales. I am on a budget and I try not to buy just to buy something. This is where I make the program work to my own needs. Look at what is on sale and what you need and sometimes there will be bonus offers to load for some of them. Like I bought a Revlon nail polish last time that was on sale for $3.99 and 1500 bonus points. Double win!

3. Wait to make bigger purchases during the sales events that offer 20x the points on a purchase of a certain amount. It's usually 20x your points total on a purchase of $50 or more. And if you're into instant gratification, they also have deals like that with gift cards and movie passes instead of bonus points. So you might see offers for two admit one movie passes with a purchase of $75 or more. They have different offers similar to those all of the time.

4. I try not to use the points too much while I'm on a lower points tier and let them collect to the higher levels. A few times a year, Shoppers brings around a "Spend Your Points" event. They vary by offering either letting you get more with your points or offering bonus points right back into your account. So doing the 95,000 level might get you $200 off instead of $170 or you get the $170 off and they give you back 22,000 bonus points ($30) to your account after a few days. They even each other out, so it's just personal preference. I just did this recently and spent 95,000 points and my 22,000 bonus points should be back in my account shortly. I recommend taking advantage of these events to really make your points go further.

5. Don't go in there and buy everything just to get points. I promise they'll add up just by you getting the things you really need/want or those that are on sale. Don't spend more on an item at Shoppers that you can get for less elsewhere just for points. That mind frame hurts more than it helps. This can take a little homework about becoming familiar with what you pay at other stores and comparing store flyers each week that you shop, which is something that I highly recommend doing. Sometimes they have sale items and limit how many you can buy. If you see a good deal that is better than elsewhere, stock up. Even better if that good deal falls within one of the points events.

If you use the app and load your offers and take advantage of the points events and offers, the points will add up quickly. If I didn't explain something well or didn't answer a specific question you have, let me know in the comments. I do hope this helps!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My Birthday Wishlist This Year and a Michaels Planner Haul

My birthday is next month. Any fellow July babies reading? I'm not a big fan of summer (that's no secret), but I always enjoyed the fact that there was no school on my birthday. I have never been a big celebrator of my birthday, so I didn't usually have big shindigs and invite a lot of people. And as I age, I'm still very much the same. Some birthdays have been better than others and I don't mind making plans for a dinner with close friends and family or something simple. This year, that's probably the plan. A dinner out, a birthday date night with my husband, and just taking it easy. Are you a big celebration type of person on birthdays?

I do have a few things that I wouldn't mind receiving as gifts. If you're here for beauty items, not this time. I've gotten quite a few new things in that category recently and want to take the time to enjoy those and get ready to review them. But don't think for a second that the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette is not going on my generic wishlist, just not on my birthday version! It's so dang pretty!

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  • Beauty and the Beast - I didn't get to see it while it was in theatres! At first, I wasn't excited for it. I don't care much for the live action versions of animated films. But it just looks so good from every clip I've seen and I adore Emma Watson.
  • Le Pen - This list is mostly planner related things. Sorry if that bores you! I've been a planner person for the better part of my life. I just recently picked up two new planners at Michaels that I am really excited about (see below). I had a few Le Pens back in high school and enjoyed the fine tip. I never replaced them and I've since been seeing them pop up on my radar. So many colors, but I find black to be the most useful so I'll start there.
  • Create 365 Sticker Book - This one is the rainbow one. I have four of their books in my collection so far and I am hooked. They last ages and I haven't even made a dent. These stickers are so great and versatile! I have a agenda right now and I make them work in the horizontal layout.
  • Pigma Micron Pens - I haven't tried these, but I've heard they are brilliant. I thought they would be great for my bullet journal that I just started.
  • Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens - Again, I want these for bullet journaling. 
  • Recollections Planner Accessories Kit - I love these little kits. They come with a band, sticky notes, a dashboard, bookmark, stencils, and sticker sheets. The dashboard, bookmark, and stencils are all cut to go on the coil. 
  • PopSocket - I already have one, but I don't want to keep moving it from case to case. I don't really use it while carrying my phone, but I love it for when I'm taking pictures or using it as a stand
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Recollections Recipe Planner - I recommend it to you if you love to cook and bake. I promise you do not have to be a planner type to enjoy this one. I've been putting some of the recipes from Pinterest in it so far. I have a few that I've tried and enjoyed and I'd really like them written elsewhere besides just saved on my account.

Recollections Life is Sweet Planner - This is more for next year, though I'm breaking it in a little before that because it has a vertical layout that I am not used to. I was never attracted to vertical until recently, so we'll see. For now, I'm going to use it as my blog planner and test page layouts to see what works for me before it possibly becomes my main planner in 2018. If I don't make it my main planner, it will stay my blog planner and I'll go back to horizontal.

I used coupons on both, which I highly recommend. You can get a great planner and accessories and save a lot of money!

Friday, June 16, 2017

My Latest Drugstore Haul

I've splurged a little recently. I don't think I've bought a makeup item in a few months (Christmas?), so I figured why not. Actually, I got a few of these things for "free". I say that, because I used my Shoppers Drug Mart points for some of the items. It's a (Canadian) program where you get points every time you make a purchase and then you can redeem them after reaching certain levels. I promised my friend Laura on Instagram that I would do a post on the program and share a few tips, so look for that post soon if it interests you!

This is a collective haul over the past month. So here are the items with little tidbits of my first impressions. The facial spray, mascara, and concealer will all be reviewed more in depth in their own posts!

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