Inspirational: Jessica Houssain

First, our regular programming of fabulous value village finds.  I loved doing photo shoots with Nora before she started to crawl.  It was fun for me to plan what I was going to make her wear.  I also did it  for her grandparents who were hounding me daily for pictures of their precious granddaughter.

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Swimsuit – $2.99 Valuevillage

Brand: Baby Gap

Headband: Rhyla $16 U.S.

I was lucky enough to hear Jessica Houssain speak at an event this spring.  She is on the Board of the Canadian Women’s Foundation and Executive Director of a New York based NPO called Women Moving Millions.  I often think about what kind of work I want Nora to do when she grows up.  Jessica spoke with so much passion about travelling to Africa to help build wells to provide clean water, working with Unicef to fund life-saving programs for children in need and working with the Canadian Women’s Foundation to help abused women.  I want Nora to choose a career path that gives her personal and professional satisfaction, in the long run, those two things have to go hand in hand.  I know very few people who can say they feel that way about their job.  I should also say that Jessica comes from a very privileged background, the Houssain family is one of the richest families in Canada.  She could have gone on to become a captain of any industry and make even more money.  But for now, she is in the field of philanthropy, using her pedigree and connections for good.



I was poor, who knew?!?

This adorable Joe Fresh t-shirt only cost me $1.49!  $1.49!  I made her wear this almost every week last summer.  The print was easy to co-ordinate and it breathed really well.

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Top: $1.49 from Value Village / Brand: Joe Fresh

Bottom: Value Village shorts $0.99

Headband: Rhyla $16 U.S.

When I was a kid, twice a year we would visit the The Scott Mission on  Spadina in Toronto.  We would go to their basement and  pick out clothes from these bins.  I remember it was the most awesome feeling in the world.  As a kid, I thought what a amazing place this is,  we get to pick out all the clothes we want, and take them home without paying.  I assumed we did not pay because I don’t recall my parents taking out their wallet or give any money away.  We had been in Canada for about a year or two.  I never thought of us as poor until years later when I realized that program was for low in come families.

At the time my whole family slept in a single large bedroom.  I did not think this was cramped at all and loved every minute of it.  If I woke up in the middle of the night from a nightmare, I looked around and saw my siblings and mom and dad in beds right next to mine.  My brother and sister and I would goof around with each other before bed. They were such simple times.

I was totally oblivious to the fact that stats canada would classify my family as poor.  All I knew was bedtime was awesome because I got to play with my siblings right up until the moment I fell asleep. I had all the clothes I needed and my parents were relatively happy when they spent time with us.

This is a big part of why I buy used clothes and toys for Nora.  I know that she has no clue nor does she care right now where these things come from.  As long as I play with her and give her my undivided attention.  I’d rather she not know what poor and rich means for a long time.  I’d rather she consider herself rich for life because she has parents who love her unconditionally.

P.S. This post reminds me that I need to make a donation to The Scott Mission.  They do great work and I am grateful for their generosity to this day.

5 things I can’t live without

First, our regular programming.  Nora wore this jacket almost everyday this past spring.  I got a such a thrill finding this Joe Fresh jacket for only $2.99 2015-04-19_blackjacket 2015-05-31 nora2015-06-07 14.36.58

I am such a creature of habit and don’t really enjoy shopping (I know, what’s wrong with me).   This is probably because I am a true loner at heart.

But when I decide on wanting something, I have to have it and it is usually something I will use or wear all the time.

apple watch - Copy

1. In short, I know it is a overpriced fitness band.  And that is my primary use.  I use it on every run and every work out.  I also obsess about how often I stand everyday and  how many calories I burn each day.  The apple watch is perfect for my fitness OCD tendencies. I usually take it off when I bath Nora and I feel so naked.  I want to do a full review of the apple watch soon but for now, all I will say is it meets my expectations.


2. I worked at United Colors of Benetton in high school and always got excited at the beginning of every new season.  When we got a big shipment, one of the key tasks was steaming all the clothes before they hit the sales floor.  I always volunteered to steam the clothes because I loved seeing the steamer smooth out the wrinkles.  I always thought that someday when I was making a salary, this would be one of the first luxury items I will buy.  Luckily, ML bought this for me shortly after we graduated from university.  I use my steamer about 3-5 times a week and he made sure to buy me the Jiffy brand as that was the brand we had at Benetton.

hot water dispenser

3. I am the laziest person I know (it’s my dirty secret).  I love, love, love drinking lukewarm water.   Every morning, the first thing I do is boil water and for years I always complained about it.  When ML and I first lived together and our kettle broke, I was so moody during that time, it took so long to boil water on our stove (in my mind it felt like forever).  About 3 years ago, I decided to finally buy a Zojirushi hot water dispenser.  I use this every morning and several times at night.  On the weekends when we’re home, I probably use it 10x a day.  It makes me feel like I am a millionaire the fact that I don’t have to boil water.  Aside from my family, I would save my Zojirushi if my house was on fire.


4. I’m not too proud of this item just because I am now learning how bad it can be to be addicted to screens.  My ipad combines my love for magazines, podcasts and books.  I read all my magazines on this, check out library books and download it on my ipad and use my Kindle app mainly on my ipad.  When I started to sleep train Nora to sleep at 7pm, while she fell asleep on my chest, I would have my ipad in one hand reading books until 10pm when I finally fell asleep.  When I am cooking, I have my ipad near by as I don’t buy hard cover cook books anymore.  I have used android tablets and I don’t think it can hold a candle to the ipad.

headsets - Copy

5. This item is a new addition to my daily routine.  I have only been using the Bluetooth headset for the past 4 months.  I am obsessed with listening to podcasts.  I cannot do laundry unless a podcast is on, or cook or clean.  Sometimes it feels crippling when the battery on my headset is dead.  I love that the headset can travel with me throughout the house and I don’t have to carry my phone with me.  I love running with the headset and don’t have to worry whether the strings are long enough. I walk from the GO train to my work and again, the phone can be in my bag while I listen to my music or pod cast.

#1 Goal – My mid year resolution

Let’s get the house keeping item out of the way.  Below is a top and bottom that I bought for my daughter.  They were both 30%  off with my Value Village stamp card.  The top was $4.49 and bottom was $3.99 before the discount.  I love seeing her chubby arms in tank tops.

Nora Carter Top_VV_June2015

Carter Top_$449VV Pants_May_2015

In 2011, I managed to develop the habit of waking up between 5am-5:30am to work out.  This habit lasted about two years and I was really happy during this time.  On the days that I did not work out, waking up early allowed me to prepare my meals and it gave me a competitive edge at work.

Since having a baby and returning to work, it has be come extra hard to try and wake up that early but I think I can do it this year by slowly making small changes.  For the month of July, my small change will be to be in bed by 10pm on week nights, regardless of what is happening.  I will be in bed at 10pm, even if there’s laundry to be done, or meals to be cooked or work to be done.

I want to start working out at 5:45am again instead of 7pm currently, I want to have a few days a week where I start my work day at 6am and think strategically instead of reacting to things.  I want to use this time to meditate and reflect on the day’s goals.  This one habit of being up at 5am will have a positive effect in all areas of my life.  This one habit will be a game changer towards achieving better health and happiness. Wish me luck!