Lifestyle

Going Zero Waste

I’ve always been an advocate for avoiding overly processed foods or products that have an obscene amount of packaging, mainly for financial gains but now I’ve joined my generation in the efforts be become zero waste. (Or at the very least, as little waste as possible)

My beautiful collection of Mason jars

My beautiful collection of Mason jars

Some things I’m finding it difficult, my municipality requires me to put my kitty’s poops in a plastic bag before disposing (I get it, that urine is filled with bacteria), so until the day comes that Halifax figures out how to use animal poop as energy I am trapped in a cycle of plastic bags.

This however, has not deterred me from making as many changes as I can to reduce my waste and plastic use. Its a very slow process but slow is best because the whole process can be very overwhelming… You don’t realize how much plastic you use until you look around. The bathroom is a terrible place for plastic waste (mainly for sanitary reasons) from makeup to the toothpaste and body wash it’s all encased in a plastic shell.

It’s a slow change over in the bathroom, I have found a cosmetic company that makes their containers out of Bamboo (bonus points for being Canadian) https://elatebeauty.com/ they are also cruelty free and vegan and the containers are reusable!

For soap… I exclusively use bar soap which thankfully comes in a cardboard box, I also dabble in homemade soaps from my local market when I can. The shampoo and boyfriend’s body wash however is something I have yet to tackle.

Lastly toothpaste…. I’ve read articles on people making their own to avoid the waste, this is certainly something I intent to look into but I am still a little ways out for that step.

My kitchen has been my main focus, I love to cook and bake as it is so leveling up my skills by making homemade condiments, breads and sauces has been an easy transition. I was pleased when I looked in my fridge the other day and the only single use plastics were the milk jug and a package of bacon.

The pantry has been incredibly easy with stores like the Bulk Barn allowing me to bring in my own containers which keeps things affordable. Costco is also my best friend with having nice big 10KG bags of flour to take home and utilize.

I’ve also started reusing as many containers as possible, reminds me of the memes you see of trying to find the butter an Grandma’s because she has leftovers in all her reused containers! I remember my mom talking about her mother saving the wax paper that came in the cereal boxes to wrap sandwiches in.. This is me.

The cake business will most likely be my last venture once I get my personal waste use down, I know there will be challenges with freshness that will come up so I’ll be taking that one step by step.

I will be sharing recipes as I find ones that work. I’m currently experimenting with my favorite snack- Beef Jerky along with a Mustard recipe that tastes like French’s … Still some work to be done on both.

Review: Neutrogena Hydration Mask and Facial Cleanser

I received these products complimentary to test out but all the opinions are my own.

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I got the opportunity to try out some products from Neutrogena. A hydration mask and a clay mask/ daily cleanser hybrid.

 Neutrogena® Hydro Boost hydrating 100% Hydrogel Mask

The Hydration mask I was very interested to try because I've never tried any sort of mask related cleanser before this... However, I did not enjoy this product at all (sorry guys) the texture of the mask was unsettling on my skin. It felt like I had a squid on my face. It was supposed to stay on for 15 minutes, it ended up falling off around the 10 minute mark and landed in a weird little ball in the sink. I had no desire to put it back on so it went into the garbage.

This is what horror movies are made from...

This is what horror movies are made from...

A heavy amount of packaging needed to be used which I also wasn't a fan of.
At the end of the experience my face didn't feel any more "hydrated" as it would have if I splashed it with water.

Neutrogena® Deep Clean® Purifying Clay Cleanser & Mask

Overall this is a nice product, smells great (minty) and does do the job it'll clean my face. It's a gentle blend. I prefer using it as a daily cleanser than the mask (sadly don't have that kind of time) but it's nice to have the option. This product was definitely more my style of the two, I would purchase this product.

This was another great set of products to try out especially since the mask was not my style at all. Neutrogena is a dependable brand.

How I got my Cat

Mental health has been a very big topic in the media these days. So I thought I would take some time to tell the story on how I got my cat… I promise the two are connected.

Myself and my princess

I normally don’t talk about the struggles I’ve experienced when it comes to anxiety and my own mental health out of choice- it’s something that I have preferred to keep more intimate among my close friends and family and this has been great for me for my own growth. It seems like everyone does something a little different – and this has worked well for me.

I decided to write today in respect to our recent fallen soldiers; people who on the outside look to have everything going for them but on the inside they are struggling. Although I am fortunate to have never had those extreme thoughts I know without the awareness I had of myself and how I was feeling- and having the will power to figure out and fight to change it before it consumed more of me this could be a very different story.

Love watching the development of cell phone camera technology, you can tell this photo is a few years old.

Love watching the development of cell phone camera technology, you can tell this photo is a few years old.

This story is an easy one: How I got my cat Princess Peach. If you follow me on Instagram (@creatingwithnicole) you will notice a trend in my posts. Cats, cakes, and other random things here and there. The focal point of most days in my fuzzy orange princess.

Before she came into my life I had taken some great lifestyle leaps, at the age of 21 I had just purchased my first house, was getting settled into my full time job and responsibilities, and there was a boy in the mix there somewhere. It seemed like everything had come together very well but the pressures of utility bills, mortgages, and the demands of my workplace were not weighing lightly on my shoulders. Sudden outbreaks were becoming more frequent, and even though everything was great on the outside I felt like things were falling apart around me.

Princess Peach

I consulted my family doctor who was able to prescribe me some help for some of the physical symptoms but at that time considering she’d known me since I was 2 with no previous symptoms of anxiety we left it at that. At this point I didn’t consider that to be what was wrong with me anyways- no one around me in my immediate friends and family had ever gone through something like this to recognize the symptoms (to my knowledge).

It was actually a concerned manager that brought the idea up to me, he saw me shuffling through the multiple prescriptions I had just received trying to get it sorted for our pharmacist, I admitted to him that I seemed to be struggling with coping with stress. He mentioned to me that I may benefit from speaking to the free counselling service that our company provided- was very compassionate about it and admitted there was a time that he had felt overwhelmed with life in general and just talking it out with a professional really helped. At first I was hesitant of the idea of talking to a stranger, but after some thought I figured it couldn’t hurt.

Princess being a scamp

I called the number he gave me, nervous as all heck and crying the entire time during the initial interview while they assessed what would help me but I got through it and somehow the woman on the phone understood my blubbering. I just simply told her that I was having a hard time coping with… things. I didn’t really know how else to describe it.

It was decided I may benefit from a couple of sessions with a psychologist over the phone- local guy home based in .. Windsor NS I think? I remember when I got that first call, I was so nervous I almost didn’t pick up- but I reminded myself why I was doing this and the drive to find a solution to these foreign symptoms was stronger than the anxiety telling me to ignore the call and go back to bed.

Cuddles

The first session went as well as the assessment, so much crying… I really should have bought shares in Kleenex looking back. But after some studdered chat he just started asking me questions about things that didn’t set me off into a nervous wreck. He asked: “What’s something you want more than anything in the world?” I gave it some thought and answered “a cat” I had grown up with our family cat Cupcake almost my whole life- certainly every memory I could recall she was always there- got her when I was 2-3 and she lived to the amazing age of 20. So when I moved out, naturally I had to leave her behind because as her age (18-19 at the time) moving her with me wasn’t really an option. Since the majority of my life I’d had a furry buddy it was very noticeable that it was now missing from my life, I had debated getting myself a little kitty but my parents were deterring me, and the gentleman I was seeing was allergic to cats quite badly so it just didn’t seem like the right time.

When I responded to his question with “a cat” he responded with “really? Get a cat.” I was floored by his response, just so firm it just threw me right off. He continued to explain: “when I ask that questions people usually say something impossible or that doesn’t exist like a unicorn; a cat is a very reasonable desire. Go get yourself a cat!” Well this was the first person I had encountered that encouraged me and honestly that was all I really needed, I ended it with the gent I was seeing (it was obviously not that serious) and I started looking for my little buddy.

cuddles

Naturally headed to the shelters first but unfortunately didn’t connect with any of the beautiful kitties there. Not long after starting my search a friend of a friend had a litter of kittens they were hoping to find good homes for. 4 kittens, 3 black and white, 1 orange and the orange one was female. Come to find out orange female cats are not very common… And come with interesting personalities. This was my girl.

I took her home and got her comfy. It wasn’t too long before she started warming up to me. I struggled with the name for about 3-4 days but it was right around the time the royal family had their first child so I was set on her being a princess. After playing with lots of different options Princess Peach just worked and it supported my nerdy side flawlessly.

Selfies

Getting her was a small thing and it certainly did not cure me by any means. There was many more years of hard work to get to where I am today, but there is nothing better than having her to come home to every night- if I had a rough day and couldn’t do anything but lie down on the couch she’d be right there with me. We grew together and after 5 years she’s a huge part of my world and will be for a long time.

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She was not the cure to the new found anxiety in my life but she certainly helped make everything worth it and was a huge encouragement to better myself so I could give her a better life (I work hard to give my cat a better life) that quote is words to live by.

So that’s how I got my cat, I spoke to the psychologist a couple of more times over the phone but I did not find it benefitted me enough to continue on. I was grateful for the sessions but decided to go another route, however I am incredibly grateful for those sessions because it really was the roots to my growth and getting my girl.

snuggles

I’m not saying getting a cat will fix all your life’s problems but having her in my life really set me on a good path to make a healthy and happy lifestyle. Everyone copes with their struggles differently but I found great progress in having my furry fuzz butt by my side, she gave me a reason to grow.

Lifestyle Change: progress report 2

So probably the most deterring thing about this journey so far is the lack of weight loss, thankfully I can see physical signs of improvement, I have significantly more energy in my day and I look forward to daily activity. I can also see the tummy shrinking and my legs seem a bit more firm. The 45 minutes of activity at least 5 days per week has proved to be more of a challenge so I plan to continue to work towards that goal until I become more consistent. I also feel it may be time to tone those soft spots! I have looked into some resources and plan to create a workout routine that will work for my soft curvy body. 

Progress selfie!

My fitbit was acting up this week and it took me a bit to get it working again, the wristband was still tracking but not syncing properly... So Sadly no screenshots this week but it's the beginning of a new week! I'm looking forward to the challenge this week since there's some rain in the forecast- I'll get some good one-on-one time with my exercise bike!

Lifestyle Change: Progress Report 1

The biggest challenge I've found in the past 2 weeks has simply been remembering to record food and water consumption. When going through my busy day I can go hours and a couple of water refills before realizing I have no idea how much water I've actually consumed today!

What I've found easy however is keeping up my active minutes. Since I sit for most of my day I haven't focused so much on steps and more on daily activity. Started off simple- 30 minutes a day, so easily killed it on my hour lunch break daily. Check it out!!

FitBit activity tracker

I have a great exercise bike that makes those rainy days easier. Anytime I know I won't make it outside I take advantage of my great setup.

FitBit Activity Tracker

I'm happy with how easy consistent activity has been once I put my mind to it! The goal was 30 minutes 5 days per week and I crushed it! I am looking forward to challenging myself in the next coming weeks to more minutes per day, the goal will still be 5 days per week but I want to increase the time to 45 minutes per day.

I am so happy about the purchase of my Fitbit Charger 2, with being able to rate my sleep, steps and other activities it has been an incredible help in encouraging me to work out. If you are interested in purchasing one the link can be found above! (I may receive a small commission if you purchase the fitbit through my link.

4 pounds down so far, wish me luck!!

Lifestyle Change

I've always been proud of my love of food. I come from a strong professional background and it's without a doubt that I'm considered a foodie. However now with my new found success it's come with a lot of sitting at a desk while in the past I'd be on my feet for multiple hours at a time. This has started taking a toll on my poor body and giving my busy schedule it didn't take long for things to get out of hand.... While filling out some paperwork for life insurance I realized that I was about 10 pounds away from being considered "overweight" for my height which was a harsh reality that I'd really did a number for myself. 

The busy lifestyle comes with a lot of eating on the go of course which is a factor in my weight gain along with hours of sitting at a desk and of course the worst of all SNACKING ... on everything bad for you! Haha SO now that I'd found the reasons I had to make a plan to combat it.

I am terrible for saying "I don't have time to work out I have to do ....." or "I'm just too busy today, I'll get back on track tomorrow..." it's all fun and dandy once in awhile but when it's happening daily you have a problem!

I have watched many friends and coworkers try various diets and weight loss techniques and I've seen almost all of them fail... Those trendy diets (in my experience) just lead to a little loss and then when you stop the diet you gain more than you initially lost... This was really not a road I wanted to go down as well... The people I've seen that have been successful have gone with the simple theories; burn more than you consume. A healthy lifestyle and smart meal planning (and maintaining it as a lifestyle NOT a diet) seems to be by far the most effective way to be the person you want to be in the mirror.

I know it's so simple so why don't we all do it? Because burgers are delicious that's why! Discipline is going to be the biggest challenge for me I know because I can justify pretty much aaaannythhiiiiing if it tastes delicious... Or if I'm in a rush.... Or if it's the weekend... Oh god this is going to be hard haha.

To help the adventure I have a pretty purple fitbit that yells at me if I've been sitting for too long, and a promise to myself that I will make this a priority which means of course putting a couple other things on the back burner so I don't have an excuse. This was also a difficult realization because that means I need to take time away from growing my business by dropping ads and controlling how much work I take on, as heart breaking as it was, this was important enough to make it worth it.

Fitbit Charger 2 selfie

Now for the part I've been dreading... The before photo... Oh god so giggly... So soft... 

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I am grateful that I didn't go too far down the rabbit hole before realizing I needed to make a change, I know there are women out there that are in much worse shape than I when it comes to rebuilding the body you want. I also have the benefit of never having children.... Yeeep all those stretch marks I did with poutine!!

So I've been yammering off for awhile now I guess it's time to make the plan. 

1. Calories In VS Calories Out: As much as it's annoying I am going to watch the food that goes into my body to better understand exactly how many calories I am consuming on the daily.

2. Activity: Watching my menu is nothing without a little burning. At minimum I want to do 30 minutes of activity at least 5 days a week.

3. Cheat Day: I love food. I love flavor. I will not deny myself a good meal at my parent's on the weekend.

4. Be smart: Again, I love food... I love bread and I love cheese. I don't want to ELIMINATE anything my goal is to moderate it. I will be smart and allow a modest amount of everything that I love. I'm lucky because I don't crave an excessive amount of grease (like chicken wings etc) so this can work for me. This part of the plan may not work for everyone.

I hope you will join me on my adventure. The plan is to report back on Sunday mornings to see how the week went.

Wish me luck!!

Review: Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented Body Wash

Oh Wednesdays I take some time to review a product or service on the market, to share my opinions and maybe encourage someone to try something new.

Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented Body Wash

This week I got to try Dove's sensitive skin body wash for free to sample from Influenster. Although I was given the product for free all the opinions in this review are my own.

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I was really impressed with this product! I've used Dove products in the past that have left a grease film on my skin and hair. Luckily this body wash was not the same story, it left my skin feeling soft and refreshed after just one shower (which was nice as that's what they were going for). I would recommend it for any skin types since it's so gentle and is completely unscented which is very important with my families sensitivities. 

On top of being a quality product Dove is also affordable and easily accessible with it being available anywhere. It's a product you can have in your shower everyday.

Do you want the opportunity to try new products as they come onto the market? Join Influenster! It's also a great place to ask questions and find new products for your life.

Review: FabFitFun Winter Box

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Been taking a little break lately to get prepared for the holidays. I can happily report that Christmas shopping is done, 95% wrapped, parties have been attended and the halls have been decked!

Sporting a pose with my candy land themes Christmas tree!

Sporting a pose with my candy land themes Christmas tree!

During this time my Winter box from FabFitFun arrived.

FabFitFun review

 

The winter box has arrived! As Mike has said, this is the moment of truth. With the exchange rate, shipping and add on's it was close to $100 CAD for the box....  ....  ...

Items this season included:

Cozy socks infused with Aloe (polyester $19 USD)

A poncho (acrylic and polyester that's somehow worth $70 USD!?)

Eye shadow pallet (worth approx. $70USD)

Chocker Necklace (worth $58USD?)

Ceramic mug ($16 USD)

Deep sleep pillow spray. ($29)

Exfoliate face cream (... $75 USD)

Hand cream ($33 USD)

Hair repairing cream ($23)

and lastly for an add on...

An art kit ($9 USD)

Aloe socks

 

The socks are very soft and comfy, the aloe definitely makes them smooth and almost moist (but in a good way?) great for curling up on the couch to watch a movie.

Socks

The poncho is thin.. Not overly soft or comfortable. This was incredibly disappointing because this was the product I was looking forward to the most. 

I don't think I will keep this, it's just.. Not nice. I didn't even bother with a photo (I also almost immediately spilled something on it... ) 

 

Fabfitfun review

The eye shadow pallet is nice, the shades are vibrant and I will definitely use it. This is my favorite product from this box. (and almost justified the price)

It came with 8 vibrant shades and are refillable.

Eye shadow pallet
Necklace

The necklace is cute and shiny.. But I would never spend $60 on it... There's no stamp on it indicating the material so it's not sterling silver, probably a coated stainless steel. After the day ends it gets uncomfortable, and it's currently sitting in my basement where I happened to be when I shedded it.

 

Necklace

Next up is the ceramic mug: it's large which is great for coffee! And the saying is cute (and also a great disclosure). I will use this... It's a mug I have no other comments.

Mug shot
Deep sleep pillow spray

The deep sleep pillow spray intrigued me.. Sadly I wasn't able to pronounce any of the ingredients that are in it and it's not an overly attractive smell for my pillow.

 

 

 

 

Deep sleep spray

The exfoliating face cream stinks... It's only meant to be used once a week so I haven't seen any benefit from it yet.. So.. So far it just stinks.

Face mask

The hand cream is thick, with a nice scent. Great for everyday use and not greasy. Good product! I'll keep it on the desk. *thumbs up* (keeping track of the useful ones yet?)

Hand cream
Hand cream

Lastly, the hair repairing cream. It's only meant to be used once a week as well so I haven't seen any benefit from it yet, but it's leave in cream which should be beneficial for the abuse I've put my hair through lately.

Hair mask
Art kit

Along with the items in the box you can also get add-ons that will be shipped for free (or included in the shipping price- however you want to look at it.) so I got the art set for around $9USD. It's very sweet, and it comes with paint, stencils, and a canvas. It'll be great for a winter weekend activity.

 

 

 

 

 

Art kit

 

The verdict:

I've unsubscribed to this box... Out of 10 items that arrived at my door, I liked about half of them which barely makes it worth it considering the shipping costs and exchange rate. It's fun getting a box every few months full of goodies but I'm not really into having a bunch of beauty products hoarded in my house that have no practical purpose. I'd consider re- subscribing if they ever develop a warehouse in Canada. Until then, I'm taking a bow FabFitFun, your box lacked luster.