Sunday, September 29, 2013

5.165 Finances & Saving: Introduction

I am the type of person who likes to physically see where my money has gone to. I could literally point out the things in my room that I spent my money on- whether that be my bags, my MacBook, jewelry, clothing, high-end makeup, billions of candles etc. With all this physical evidence it is no wonder that I had, not one, but two very close people to me ask me how I manage my money. How is it that I'm able to obtain all the things I want without breaking the bank?

Ever since I was young, I was always good at handling my finances. I almost always got the things I wanted (cds at the time) but yet still had money in my pocket. Is this what they call the dragon's life? Kidding aside, I do have my own method. I basically try to live within my means. And by that, I mean not spending beyond my limit and balancing what I want with how much I can afford. I also take into account the expenses that are fixed (ie. student debt, rent, savings) and place it as my first priority. Anything after bills and savings is pocket money.

For me personally, my monthly income is variable and not fixed since I'm not on salary. Keeping this in mind is important because I can't assume that I can spend the way I did this month next month. You always have to adapt and underestimate how much you think you'll make in order to cover all your expenses.

So the best thing to do is to set some money aside and put it into savings and allocate money for the things you need or want. The following are three different categories of expenses that occur for me.

1. MUST
This is the obligatory expenses that need to happen whether that be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly or annualy. Get this sh*t together because it isn't going to go away just because you turn a blind eye. This includes all and any loan payments, rent, credit card bills, phone bills, gas and electricity bills etc. Things in this category also include groceries and other things such as replacing a broken laptop or phone, appliances, car repairs etc.

2. NEED
This is putting aside money for things that you need. These include replenishments for things such as shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, toilet paper etc., or can include things that may seem like a splurge but either need to be replaced or purchased, ie. replacing worn clothing, a new pair of winter boots, etc. Basically anything that is essential or you feel is needed soon- it could be for work or for some upcoming engagement of some kind; but if you could reuse or repurpose, then it's better than buying something new if it's not necessary.

The difference between the "need" and "must" category is that you can technically survive without any of the things listed in the "need" group (keyword is technically). Although it's gross to not have soap, you can find other methods to suffice for the time being (ie. doubling shampoo as soap) until you can get yourself back on your feet. On the other hand, things in the "must" category cannot be ignored or looked over. Needing a laptop or phone in this day and age is sometimes necessary to hold your job or find a job in the first place. That's the difference between the two categories- what you have to do with, and what you can do without for a period of time. The "need" section gives you some buffer room whereas the "must" section gives you no buffer room.

3. WANT
This section is saving up money for something you've been coveting for a long time. For me it's a Burberry scarf, and after some months of saving, I'm going to buy it soon!! It's wise to save money up for something you want or put money aside for frivolous/impulse spending. This way, you give yourself some buffer room to absorb any impulse shopping (just make sure it isn't a regular occurrence). The last thing you want is finding yourself debating on whether or not to take some money out of your savings account. Saving for something and finally getting it also makes the wait more worthwhile.

If there was one key thing I would want you to take away from this post, it's to prioritize. When you prioritize, you get the things that need to be done, done. And once the necessities are out of the way, you can then move on to prioritizing your wants. It's a simple idea but sometimes people get too ahead of themselves and find their way into money problems.

And with all that said, here is another Swarovski piece that I didn't exactly save for but did set money aside for.
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I love Swarovski for their earrings. Yes, they are expensive but they are beautiful. When I first saw this pair of earrings on the Swarovski website, I was in awe. Then when I went into stores to see it in person, I was completely mesmerized. I immediately put it on my wishlist and of course put in the time and effort to get this piece that I coveted for.

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Some of you might think I'm crazy- because even my own sisters think I'm crazy for buying these, but among all the cheaper jewelry I have decided to invest in a few good pieces of jewelry. First of all, the quality is the number one difference, and secondly, I want to have pieces that I can use for years to come. Timeless pieces are what I'm aiming for.

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Are they not one of the most gorgeous earrings you've ever set eyes on? The shine factor is out of this world.

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I've already worn these out and my goodness they sparkle so much that it shows through even when my hair is down. They're my most glamorous earrings I own to date. I'm so glad I got them.

Disclaimer: I am by no means a financial expert. This is my own personal experience and opinions.

"If you love someone you would be willing to give up everything for them, but if they loved you back they would never ask you to." -Unknown

Friday, September 27, 2013

5.164 Dior Addict Extreme "Bonne Aventure" #986

It's almost the end of September, can you believe it? This year seemed to pass by so quickly... 2014 is just around the corner. Looking forward is daunting, yet looking back I'm thankful to have made it this far. I'm going to be taking my vacation days (2 weeks) from work starting Monday. Hopefully in that time I will be able to make some nail polish posts for you. I'll try to wear the nail polishes I bought from CNE and all the other ones I've accumulated but didn't share yet since it was pointless if I couldn't wear them to show you.

In today's post, I have time to share with you my thoughts and swatches on the newest lipstick I acquired, Dior Addict Extreme in "Bonne Aventure" #986.

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Bonne Aventure is from their Fall makeup collection called Mystic Metallics. It's a limited edition lipstick ($32) so if you're planning to get it, you better do it soon before it's too late. This is the first lipstick from the Addict Extreme line I've tried, and already I know I will be back for more.

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The packaging is sublime, it's similar to the Dior Addict lipsticks but since the case is a dark navy blue (almost black), it gives off a very sophisticated feel. In the light you can see a hint of the gorgeous navy blue.

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On the Sephora site, it describes the lipstick as a warm rose colour but I would say that red wine would be more fitting. The picture above shows the most accurate colour of how it looks like in person. It's very bold and it's a very Fall-like colour. Think of Severine's lipstick colour from the movie Skyfall, which was what I was going for, but not as intense or opaque. I can see from pictures from the movie that her lip colour has a little bit of red hue to it so it's not as dark as some others have interpreted in their makeup tutorials.

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What I really like about the lipstick other than the colour is how well it blends into my lips. I don't get that awkward colour difference between the inside of my lips and the outside- which happens quite often with darker shades of lipsticks.

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The top swatch is one swipe and the bottom swatch is many swipes to show you the intensity of the lipstick. It glides on smooth like butter, feels moisturizing, and blends in seamlessly. It's a beautiful colour, perfect for fall. And what's more, as it fades as I wear it, it turns into this red plummy colour, still really nice.

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do." -Leonardo DaVinci

Saturday, September 21, 2013

5.163 "Chanel" Your Inner Beauty... or Splurge on Things That Will Help You Do That

Okay, don't judge, but I've been splurging on some makeup items for the past few months. My last beauty haul was back in April so I haven't shared with you the things I've bought since then. I know, I know... I have got to get back in the groove of sharing my thoughts on the things I buy after I use them! Those reviews are coming! Soon! I promise!

I also have a Fall clothing and jewelry haul, plus a decor haul to come. I work hard long hours for my money so please keep that in mind when I show these kind of hauls. I know that once I get into the real world with a real job, a place of my own, and tons of bills to pay etc., I won't have this kind of luxury anymore (or at least to this extent). I want to remember this precious time when I could afford to indulge myself because I know it won't be as easily attainable in the future. Now onto the goods!

I hadn't been on my instagram in a long time but I recently logged to instagram a sneak peek of the Chanel items I redeemed with my Shoppers Drug Mart points. Earlier this month SDM had a Super Spend Your Points event, which means that they give you even more than what you would redeem on any ordinary day and even more than just an ordinary Spend Your Points event (extra $50!). I am SO glad I saved my points and waited for a Super Spend Your Points Event because it couldn't have come at a better time! The SDM at the Eaton's Centre recently opened their new Beauty Boutique, and for the first time ever they had Chanel!! As soon as I got an email about spending my points, I just knew exactly what I wanted to spend my points on...

I saved up for the ultimate redemption, 95000 points to get $220 off my purchase. Yes, 2-2-0. That's why I love Shoppers Drug Mart so much and why I try to buy any available cosmetic/skincare there during a points event as opposed to buying it at Sephora or at the counters. It's all about knowing where to get the best bang out of your buck.

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I got 5 items in total- for free! Okay so maybe I had to pay about $60 because it went over $220 but most of that was tax anyway. Unfortunately I haven't had the time or pleasure of even touching any of it let alone test it out so I can only show you guys pictures.

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I love powder foundations so I thought I would give the Mat Lumiere a try.

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This is the Vitalumiere Aqua and I read good things about it. Winter is coming so I'm hoping this will work well.

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I have been wanting to own a Chanel lipsticks for so long!! And when I say long I mean since 2011 when they were first launching the line of lipsticks. I remember wanting the colour "Boy" when they were releasing it first before the others for a limited time. I was debating on whether or not to get that colour but I think it has a blue undertone which clashes with my skintone. At first glance the box packaging looked so small that the lipsticks almost looked like luxury samples! But upon opening, of course they were full-size.

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And this is pretty much everything I got since April all in one picture. Some I'm planning to feature soon. Some things I even got when it first came out but never got around to showing you guys (ie. Chanel Les Beiges, Revlon Lipbutters, Sugar Lip Treatment). I just don't have time for anything... except using the stuff ;) The L'Oreal foundation was given to me by my sister and the Mac liner was given to me by my mom.

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Recently I placed my first order at Sephora.ca. I've been buying from Sephora for so long but never bought anything online before. The reason why I did this time is because I saw that they had an exclusive online YSL 500 point perk! I've taken a huge liking to YSL so I immediately knew this was the 500 point perk I've been waiting for. The bonus about buying online is the free samples you get, and the promotional codes which landed me the free mini Sugar lipbalm which I'll be including in a package to send to the Mister's sister.

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This was what was in the YSL bag: an eyeliner, mascara, and eye makeup remover, and one other thing in the box which I'll share below. I've never tried Tarte cosmetics before even though they are a "green" company which I completely give kudos for. They recently came out with a new liquid foundation but I wanted to try their Amazonian Clay powder foundation since I love that type of foundation. The main item I bought from this order was the Dior Addict Extreme lipstick. I've never tried these lipsticks and have always wanted to.

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When I saw their makeup collection for Fall, Mystic Metallics, I fell in love with the lipstick "Bonne Aventure" #986 (LE). It's a beautiful red wine colour which is nothing similar to any of the lipsticks I currently own. Swatches and thoughts will be done in another post.

I've been wanting this colour of lipstick ever since watching Skyfall back in 2012 (pictured above). I fell in love with her makeup, especially her lips, but I was never daring enough to part with my nudes. But ever since I got into those YSL Rouge Volupte Shine lipsticks, I've opened a whole new world of colour!

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Within this box is the main reason why I ordered online and why I wanted to finally spend my 500 points.

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Yes. A YSL bracelet. It may not mean anything to some of you, but when on earth am I ever going to own anything YSL other than makeup? The gold colour looks a bit on the cheap side, but that's okay since it was "free".

I checked online to see if it's still available but unfortunately it's sold out. I just got the package yesterday so I couldn't blog about it before.

And that's my big makeup haul! I'll probably be getting some more lipsticks for Fall so you can probably expect more to come. And, I'll try to review some of the things I've been getting. Work has been getting quite busy again so fingers crossed that I can do those posts for you!

"The most dangerous risk of all - the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later." -Randy Komisar

Friday, September 20, 2013

5.162 No More Fridays + Get To Know Me

Ever since the Mister got a new job, Friday has no longer been date night. Instead, I spend it running errands, for leisure time, and blogging. Maybe one day my life will get more interesting, but for now I hope you don't mind my boring life. You got to do what you got to do, right?

Get To Know Me

I feel like I haven't connected to my blog on a deeper level for some time now, it's about time I update you guys on my preferences and my likes and what has changed with me:

Beauty
1. Then: My favourite cosmetic product used to be blushes.
    Now: I'm a total lip junkie.

2. Then: I used to only like wearing lip balm.
    Now: I love lipsticks (preferably sheer with a little bit of shine) and like wearing lip glosses too.

3. Then: I frequently bought Dior and MAC products.
    Now: l still love Dior and I've taken a huge liking to YSL and Chanel.

4. Then: My favourite drugstore brands were Annabelle and Covergirl.
    Now: Maybelline and L'Oreal are my current faves.

5. Then: I preferred using high-end makeup to drugstore.
    Now: I still love my high-end cosmetics more and own more of it than drugstore.

6. Then: I mainly only used high-end skincare.
    Now: I use a mix of high-end and drugstore to save money.

7. Then: I owned 3 perfumes and didn't care for them much.
    Now: I've become a perfume addict. I own 9 in total (and counting...).

8. Then: I liked shimmery eyeshadows.
    Now: I prefer sheer, sheen, and matte eyeshadows.

9. Then: Under-eye concealer was the product I couldn't live without.
    Now: It's still remains the product I can't live without (Lise Watier Colour Wheel Corrector is still my HG).

10. Now: I was a makeup minimalistic.
      Then: I'm still a makeup minimalistic.

Style
1.  Then: I used to live in "comfort" clothing ie. t-shirts, hoodies, and ill-fitted jeans 3-4 years ago.
     Now: Thank goodness I've learned to wear fitted jeans and look more put-together now.

2. Then: I never paid any attention to fashion.
    Now: Although by no means a fashionista, I've taken an interest in fashion.

3. Then: I would describe my previous style as "relaxed and comfort".
    Now: I would describe my style now as "classy and sophisticated".

4. Then: I wore my running shoes everyday no matter the outfit (except formal occasions of course).
    Now: I live in sandals, flats, and boots now depending on the season.

5. Then: I had worn a "permanent" watch on my wrist since grade 4.
    Now: I still wear watches but take them off. I now own more than one and still use them mainly for function, but I love to accessorize with them too.

6. Then: My favourite jewelry line was The Loft (no longer around), Juicy Couture, and Rainbow Jade.
    Now: I've moved up to Fossil and Swarovski. I love Fossil for their amazing bracelets/bangles and I love Swarovski for their beautiful earrings.

7. Then: My favourite bag brands were Juicy Couture and Kathy Van Zeeland.
    Now: I love Coach, Louis Vuitton and Prada (although I haven't been able to purchase the latter two).

8. Then: I ran away from colour.
    Now: I welcome them with open arms.

9. Then: A few years ago my sister said that one day I would be into shoes.
    Now: She was right.

10. Then: I thought it was pointless to invest in expensive shoes.
      Now: I understand how quality makes a difference in comfort and longevity.

Life
1. Then: Travelling was my biggest dream and goal.
    Now: Travelling is still my biggest dream and goal.

2. Then: I lived with my family.
    Now: I still live at home which is fine because I wouldn't be able to survive financially out there alone right now with what I am doing.

3. Then: I thought I would be working my career job by now.
    Now: My goal is to one day go back to school for post-grad and go into something that will land me a desk job (as boring as that sounds). But there's something I like about the office setting, so it's something I think I would like.

4. Then: I was never much of a wedding person and don't want to spend a lot on that day.
    Now: I'm still not much of a wedding person. I'd rather spend more on my honeymoon.

5. Then: I used to love being a "princess".
    Now: I gag at the thought of it.

6. Then: I used to be severely shy and unconfident.
    Now: I've learned how to socialize so I don't come off as an awkward duck.

7. Then: I was passionate about photography.
    Now: I'm not into photography as I used to be but I still do love it.

8. Then: I was obsessed with the Korean culture.
    Now: I'm not obsessed but still admire now and again.

9. Then: I was unconfident with who I was.
    Now: I've learned to love myself.

10. Then: I thought I could never love again.
      Now: I'm getting there.

"You can explore the universe looking for somebody who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and you will not find that person anywhere." -Unknown

Saturday, September 14, 2013

5.161 CNE 2013

Sometimes I have to remind myself to not pay attention to others and what they are doing and instead focus on my own work. There are countless of coworkers at my workplace that are so incompetent, lazy, selfish and ignorant that I have to hold myself back from ripping their heads off! That's why I mentally step back and remind myself how insignificant they are in my life and why I shouldn't let them affect or bother me in any way. In the end, they are only hurting themselves.

Anyway moving on, today I share with you my visit to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) this year with the Mister. We went 3x, can you believe it? I've never gone that many times before.

You can see my trip from previous years: 2011 & 2012

Day 1, August 16th Opening Day~

First we grabbed some food since we didn't eat anything before we left.
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The Tiny Tom Donuts vendor outside was the first thing we saw so of course we got a bag since it's a tradition for me to get one every year- the cinnamon flavour is the best.

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After browsing around in the Food Building we came upon Bouchard's Poutinery. The food looked quite appetizing, plus there was a long line which usually is a good indication of delicious food.

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I got the "Lumberjack" and the Mister got the "Cheeseburger". The Lumberjack was pretty good but the Cheeseburger had too much mustard in it which made it taste a bit awful.

On Day 1 we mainly just shopped around the international pavilion (my favourite place!) and outlet stores.
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All the things shown in this picture I got on the first day. The brush is made of 100% boar hair which I read is good for your hair. The rose is made of wood and was a gift from the Mister. He also got me the nail polishes, small pot flowers, and the rose earrings. If you're wondering why he bought me all this, it's because he made it his mission to buy everything I wanted that day- even though I was very resistant to this request. He's a sweet man.

I got these at the Benix outlet. A few of the appetizer spoons, the cheese baker, and appetizer bowls were bought on Day 2 because they were having an additional percentage off their white items.

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I was so happy when I found The Wild Thornberrys dvd. It was one of my favourite childhood shows!

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We got a glimpse of a Busker show.

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And got to see The Flying Wallendas! I remember seeing a documentary on tv of this well-respected family. Yes that guy is really doing a head stand as if standing on a pole between two other people walking on a line wasn't enough o__o

Saw the beginnings of the sand sculptures. Even though the rest wasn't finished, I already knew the bee would my favourite.

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Met this computerized "artificial intelligence" man like something out of those sci-fi movies. The Mister really liked this.

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Got some cotton candy that I haven't eaten in forever.

Watched the Acrobatic Show in the Ricoh Coliseum. It was so packed! I've always wanted to see shows like this at CNE but never did until now :D

And tried some fresh coconut juice.

That's it for Day 1!

Day 2 August 24th~

Our second trip was made in the evening so we didn't have that much time but still managed to do a few things like shop a few things from the Benix outlet that I showed above already.

We also checked the progress on the sand sculptures, looked like they were coming along nicely.

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Got roasted corn on the cob- yum! And another coconut drink.

We walked around the grounds for a bit and then I spotted Coldstone, so we got ourselves a scoop of cookies 'n' cream. They seriously make the most delicious ice cream.

And that was it for Day 2!

Day 3 September 1st~

Like Day 1, our first priority was to fill our tummies.
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We came upon Baked n Loaded and I was immediately intrigued by their baked potatoes. If I remember correctly, we got the "Classic".

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Also picked up chicken wings at Daytona Chicken Wings.

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And got the Colossal Onion because I've seen it so many times before but never tried it.

Picked up bubble tea too. The baked potato was really good, as was the chicken wings. The colossal onion was way too oily though. It was okay but we couldn't even finish the whole thing because of how greasy it was. I know food at CNE is pricey but $10 is a pretty big markup for one onion. I think next year I'll try the onion rings or their spiral spuds which seem to be quite popular as well.

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Here's how the sand sculptures turned out (sorry for the first pic, the sunlight killed it). The crocodile or alligator sculpture in the beginning didn't look like it would be that interesting but it turned out quite incredible. The bee was still my favourite though- it won second place.

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Next, we stopped by the international pavilion again to visit the Thailand booth to get more of the flower pots. I loved my first two so much, I wanted more! So the Mister got me more =) Above is my small collection. They're all hand-made (you can see finger prints on the back of the petals!) and they're made out of Japanese clay. I realize they're one of those things that you pass by and admire but would never think to buy. But these were so unique, pretty, and so cute that I couldn't resist. They will forever remind me of our time here at CNE.

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We got to see the SuperDogs show! Every year when I visit CNE I would hear the announcer and dogs while I shopped in the outlet area. I always wanted to go see how it was like in previous years but it was never planned. This year I was determined to see the show- I missed the showings on our first two visits! But on the last day the Mister and I were able to catch it. The border collie (shown on the bottom left picture) was the majority of the audience and my favourite dog in the show. He had so much energy!

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This is the first time ever that I got (okay well technically the Mister got it) midway ride tickets. I was determined this year to go on the Sky Ride since I didn't go last year when it debuted.

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It was perfect to go too because we wanted to get to the other side where the farm building was. Normally I don't like rides simply because I don't like scaring myself. The Sky Ride didn't look scary though because it was nice and slow.

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Although I'm not scared of heights, I do fear the thought of falling. As soon as the seat lifted, my imagination started to run wild of all the things that could go wrong- ie. the cable breaks or the whole ride comes off the ground and brings us all tumbling down. I had to get the Mister to distract me so that I could get it off my mind- it wasn't met without a little bit teasing from him though... so not funny.

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But after a few seconds of fidgeting and momentarily freaking out, I managed to enjoy the ride- as long as I didn't think of all the terrible unfortunate accidents that could happen lol. Of course there were deathly scary rides along the way that I couldn't fathom how or why people put themselves through which again got me feeling slightly nervous on the possibility of something going wrong. Overall it was nice though. We got a good view of the grounds and it was nice going on a ride for a change. Next year I would do it again if they bring it back again.

At the farm building we saw the butter sculptures. Here you can see Wolverine, an alien from the movie Aliens, Stitch and E.T.

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And of course we saw the animals.

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Within the Farm building there was also a section dedicated to bee keepers. I've read that beeswax candles burn cleaner and they're more economical. I was already set on buying one... then I miraculously stumbled upon both the pinecone and last acorn on the table and immediately knew I had to have them. The Mister and I have a little inside thing where he's a chipmunk and I'm a squirrel (acorn and pinecone, get it?). I often "feed" him acorns on What's App on my phone. Finding these candles couldn't have been more perfect. And because I bought two candles, I got to pick another one for free. The Mister bought these for me as well.

It was actually really cute on Day 1 when the Mister rummaged through his change at the end of the day sad that he didn't bring more for me. He's a very caring and sweet guy and although I tell him all the time that he doesn't need to buy me everything, he insists and was determined at CNE to not let me buy anything (even though that did end up happening). It's the thought that counts and that's what matters in the end. I love you Mister xx

And that concludes our trip this year! See you again next year CNE!

"You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great." -Zig Ziglar