Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A TAX-ing Time

April is Tax Month, and I hate it.

April is supposed to be fun, easy-breezy-Cover-Girl fun. It's my birthday month. It's my son's-birthday month. Spring is either here or approaching. Taxes are the LAST thing on my mind. So, of course, it's the LAST thing I end up doing...

I just spent a whole nerve-racking day yesterday, finalizing my numbers and finding my paperwork. And to top it all off, I have a home business and counting inventory is a pain. I have this freeware inventory software I've been using and it's sooooo user-unfriendly. My numbers and totals don't match on different screens: such a pain!

Anyways, my mom picked up my papers and such and is dropping it off at the accountant's office today. I hope they can read the little notes I wrote. Trying to get all your deserved tax credits is draining! There are even commercials on TV now, showing all the tax breaks you can you use if you qualify. Yeah, you and your accountant say you qualify, but they decide ultimately during an audit. That would just totally piss me off. I'm already missing some receipts that I know qualify for sure, so I'm already getting ripped off to begin with, and if they would audit me on top of that and ask me to pay MORE taxes....

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I think that the Government goes through all this "Do your own taxes" routine so that the average taxpayer won't rob them of all their money. They provide you with all those free General forms (omitting all the useful Schedules you think you don't need), they encourage you to use ufile or Quicken and Netfile on your own. They don't want you to take your taxes to an accountant, because THEY KNOW there are shortcuts and allowances that only accountants know how to use. I'm sure of this. That's why I won't do my taxes on my own anymore. More money in pocket, that's for sure, considering the complications we have with our tax returns (employment expenses, small business, rental income, etc). I'll just pay someone who knows way more about this stuff than I do. I'll use the refund to pay him for next year's tax return! That's the Circle of Life in action!

Now, let's just hope that we don't have to pay this year! Haven't ever but there's always a first!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ah, the Sound of Music!

I had to share this with everyone. If you haven't seen it yet, it's the coolest thing! Why can't I randomly be in a place where things like this happen? I would totally be jumping up and down, estatic! The Sound of Music is one of my nostalgic childhood movies and, I kid you not, I had a perma-grin on the whole time watching this!

Oh, the hills are alive!.....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me!

It's my's my birthday! I'm, ahem, finally 19 today! Ha...wouldn't it be nice...

But, seriously, I was looking forward to my birthday this year. I don't know why. Not looking forward to adding a number to my age, not looking forward to another grey hair (what's another one on this head of mine?), but happy to have a "it's all about me" day. I don't get too many of those the rest of the year.

The day started with my morning 3hr appointment at the spa. Yes, 3 hours! It was a gift from my husband. I found this wonderful spa a couple of years ago, Perfect Health Spa, that had the most reasonable sale on manicures and pedicures (at the time anyways), and I have since gone there several times over the years. A really cool place, with a labyrinth of rooms, where they have big screens so you can pick a DVD to watch while you're there. Anyways, DH had my sister call me up and ask "for her friend" what the name of that spa was so she can try it out. Turns out she was just helping DH get me a spa appointment. But it wasn't a real surprise as intended, since I got a "confirmation email" the night much for birthday surprises!

Image courtesy of

Barely making it to my 10:30 appointment, I was immediately whisked away to one of the rooms for my 30 minute relaxation massage, which was very nice. Mind you, I was a tad tense for most of that session, seeing I was on my belly the whole time, and worried about my poor breasts who are still nursing The Little One (I'm sure the last massage I had while nursing years ago attributed to my poor supply issues I had). So, I was propped up with pillows on either side, above and below, to keep me comfortable, which I appreciated.

I've had massages before, yet each time I get one, I always feel stupid asking, "so, you want me to take everything off?". If I don't ask, I have this ridiculous notion in my head that one day someone will actually say, "um, you didn't have to take everything off", while I lie there on the table, almost naked, the scene playing out like a sitcom episode in my head, laugh track and all.

After the massage I get my Celebrity Manicure, a basic manicure with extras: herbal soak, arm and hand exfoliation and massage and warm towel relaxation. Meanwhile, I'm watching Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants on the screen. I chose the prettiest pink from the O.P.I palette they had, Argenteeny Pinkini. Rather cool-toned on my skin, but I like it:

Next, I had the Celebrity Pedicure, with the extras included. I forgot to ask the name of the colour I's a bright fuchsia colour pink. I took this pic when I got home later at night, all comfy in my pjs, with the sandals I wore all day:
I didn't have the time to apply my makeup in the morning before I left, so I brought everything with me, and after my pedicure, I took the time in the bathroom to apply it. I wished I brought my mini train case because I crammed everything in a little ziplock bag, brushes and mixing bowls included, and carried it around gingerly so that my mineral makeup wouldn't spill.

Because it was my birthday, the owner of the spa gave me a complimentary "A-List Membership" for the next 365 days, which would have normally cost me $36.50, allowing me something like up to 35% off any spa service. I thought that was pretty cool of her to do so, and I hope to cash in on this deal this summer, getting myself some more pedicures as the weather warms up.

After I get picked up by my chauffeur, my husband, we head over to Toys R Us to buy a present for our friend's son's 1st birthday, which we were attending their party in a couple of hours.

Stupid Alert! Funny thing happened on the rooftop parking lot of Toys R Us: DH left his driver's door open as he went to purchase a ticket, and some lady decides to back up into the stall in which our car door was blocking (there were tons of other spots open). Her rent-a-car (yes, you read right!) hit the corner of our open car door and dented her bumper pretty good, but not so much a scratch on our car. Luckily, I had come around the car by then and stopped her from doing more damage. DH came back to the car and had to bite his tongue from saying, "Are you dumb, lady?".

Anyways, on to the party we went later, chatting with friends we haven't seen in a while and with those we've seen recently, playing games, entertained by a clown (scary!), eating lots of food and cake. Not everyone there knew that I shared the same birthday as the birthday boy, but that was fine with me. My little happy secret!

By 7pm, my family met up with my mom, dad, and sis at a greek restaurant we frequent now and then. After waiting 20 minutes for a table (somebody should've made reservations!), we indulged in another feast of carbs. Here are some pics I took after dinner.

With the kids getting cranky, that was the sign to head home. After putting everyone asleep, including my DH, I have to say I had a nice birthday. The spa was great today. Good thing: I had some time alone, to be primped and prettified. Bad thing: I had some time alone, without my family. I did miss them while I was there, how silly of me to do so, but I did, like I was being selfish or something. Dinner was good with family tonight, even though it was short but sweet. I can't complain about much right now. 19 sure feels like it's going to be a great year. :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 22 - Earth Day...aka Coffee Day

It's that time of year again: free coffee at Starbucks! My coworkers look forward to this each year, and it usually sneaks up on us, even though we should be marking it on our calendar each year. Being the cheap-asses we are, we love anything free, but make that coffee, you've got us drooling. Even the ones who typically detest Starbucks because "it's too strong", "it's too bitter" will usually run out and get served a cup of Starbucks java. Yes, I told you we were some cheap-asses!

So, at least up here in Canada, on April 22, next Wednesday (not tomorrow!) run, don't walk, to your local Starbucks with your mug...yes, bring your mug: it ain't Earth Day for nothing. Then do what us cheap-asses do...go back in the afternoon for another fix, and if you're a real die-hard, before you leave work. Oh, and do something nice for the Earth while you're at it: recycle some plastics, drink tap water instead of bottled water, turn off a few lights at home. Eventually, Coffee Day for each of us will bring meaning to the term Earth Day, this year and for years to come.

To Earth! Cheers! Now, pass the sugar...

Friday, April 10, 2009

4 Years Ago Today...

...I gave birth to my first son.

I have very faint memories of what my life what like before he came along. How did I manage to be passionate about anything prior to starting a was it possible that other things consumed me and that none involved taking care of a little one? What occupied my mind, and my heart, before he came along? School? Work? Partying? Sleeping? Was I fulfilled then? Was Life "complete"? I don't remember any voids, but my heart beats faster thinking there would be one now, since having started on this journey of motherhood 4 years ago.

As we celebrate my son's 4th birthday, I realize that I am a mom. It seems odd to state the obvious. But somewhere along the way, my focus gradually shifted from myself to this other person, graduating from out of necessity to one of desire, a deliberate want. From birth, the need to sustain this life takes force, sending you in to an automatic, zombie-like urge to protect and nurture your new baby. Cuddling, cooing, feeding, sleeping. Eventually, as they grow up, you realize your impact, your contribution. You become part of him, and him of you, a seamless continuum.

He groggily held me in his arms as I put him back to sleep tonight. You're my Best Friend, he told once more. You're MY Best Friend, as I kissed him back.

Happy Birthday, Hunny Bunny. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Earthen Glow Haul

Earthen Glow Minerals had a recent BOGO sale, and I can't resist a good deal (c'mon: don't tell me you've never spent $40 at the cosmetic counter to get the $15 "Bonus Gift"?). And since I had never bought anything from this company before, I really was throwing my money to the wind, just so I can grab a deal.

I heard a lot of good things about this company, mainly reading up on posts from Aileen's blog, Shades of U. So when there was a Buy One Get One sale, I scrambled like mad, visiting forums like the Mineral Makeup Thread on FemaleNetwork, getting recommendations on shades before the sale expired.

With approval of EGM's customer service, I ordered Helena from the Olive family and Soon from the Yellow family, both in the Cover Me formula. I was recommended to get a "tweaker" in Lollie, to replace/add to Soon to take me into the summer months.

The free "tweaker" I asked for came jam-packed with powder, way more than any sample I've ever received before. It's not as yellow, as it is overall darker than Soon.

The two foundations I got are quite different from each other, Soon being drastically different than Helena. Because I have heavy yellow undertones but also evidence of olive present, I felt that they could together provide the shade I needed.

Here, I compare Soon and Helena to my current foundation, AWG's Hope 4.2 :

As you can see, Hope 4.2 is not as yellow as Soon, as it has some olive in it. I'm hoping that the right combination will yield something similar.

My FOTD, with 2/3 Soon + 1/3 Helena...

It's not a bad match, huh? The foundation is quite photogenic, with no apparent "white mask" found with many other mineral foundations. I applied a couple of layers, as I like full coverage, and it still doesn't appear cakey or give that ghost-like reflection.

I'm actually liking my EGM foundation more than my AWG foundation, despite the mixing involved. Adding the yellow Soon foundation gives my face an obvious pick-me-up not seen with Hope 4.2. But seeing I've got two very good foundations to choose from now, I'll just toggle back and forth between the two.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Beauty Sleep - It's Back!

Last night was Night 5 that my 4 month old slept through the night (ie. 9ish through 6-7ish in the morning). A whopping 9-10 hrs of sleep he's getting. That means I've finally been able to get some much needed beauty rest.

But did you ever notice that sometimes when you get too much sleep, you just CRAVE more? I went to bed "early" at 11:45 and woke up at 6am. Ok, this isn't considered too much sleep - as I used to have to get up every couple of hours for the Little One, this IS a lot of sleep - but now I've been sleeping through anything these past couple of nights. I mean, my husband, of all people, actually has to wake ME up because my oldest son is crying for me from the other room. I'm supposed to be the light sleeper in the family!

And given that I'm still nursing the Little One, I'm totally engorged by morning, and I've been trying to wake up by 2 or 3 am so that I could pump a few ounces. He usually cries awake at that time, so you'd think I'd be able to jump out of bed and do so. Nope. I just turn over, muffle the sleepy cries he makes, and fall back asleep. Two days in a row, no success. I'll try again tomorrow.

I have considered the fact that getting up in the middle of the night seems to defeat the purpose of having the Little One sleep all night and me getting all my much-needed sleep. But now he can settle himself back to sleep on his own without me having to run to him at night, and risk falling out of my arms while we both fall asleep after he nurses (which has almost happened more than once!). But, overall, my Beauty Sleep appears to be here to stay, so far!