Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Spring Dresses

The official start of Spring was last week and Edmonton is actually getting some Spring-like temperatures in March which never happens! It's supposed to be in the high teens this weekend! The warmer weather and lack of snow has me ditching the tights (thank God!) and looking to add some cute dresses to my wardrobe. I love wearing dresses, especially in the Summer when tights aren't an essential, because they make getting dressed in the morning so quick and easy. 

I've rounded up a few looks I'm loving right now that are perfect for Spring and will carry you right on through the Summer. I've covered all bases here, from work appropriate to weekend casual, so you can leave behind the pants and attire yourself solely in dresses ;) 

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

2016 Federal Budget

It was budget day today in Canada and the Liberal government came out and told us where they would be spending their dollars in the coming years...and spending they are! During the election, Trudeau had campaigned on a promise of some pretty big deficits but ending the term with a balanced budget. Those days are gone, the deficit has grown from what he was initially suggesting and there is no sign of a balanced budget. I voted for the Liberal's, based a lot on their economic platform and I'm (mostly) ok with running deficits but I would have liked to have seen a clear cut plan for getting back in the black. One thing I think is important to note though is that their projected GDP amounts are actually pretty conservative; for example, their calculations are based on oil at a $25/barrel level which is lower than it has been even in this recent slump. 

Let's take a look at a few of the highlights from the budget and see where some of that money is going. 

  • The Canada Child Tax Benefit will start up July 1, 2016 and families with children will receive monthly payments based on household income. Maximum amounts will be $6,400 for kids under 6 and $5,400 for kids aged 6-18. Household incomes over $30,000/year will receive reduced payments and you're over $190,000 you wont get anything. This will replace the existing Universal Child Care Benefit, income splitting for families, and the children's fitness/arts tax credits. 
  • $8.4 billion over the next five years has been set aside for indigenous people's for bettering education on reserves, access to clean drinking water, housing, etc. There will also be $40 million (over two years) going towards the inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. 
  • Over $3 billion will be set aside for green initiatives including a low-carbon economy fund and research development for clean technologies.
  • $1.9 billion is going to arts and culture over the next five years.
  • The age to begin collecting OAS is being bumped back from 67 to 65.
  • EI benefits will be increased in 12 regions (not Edmonton) across the country that have been hit with high unemployment rates by lengthening the amount of time you can be on EI to 70 weeks for long-tenured employees. Starting in July the number of hours worked before being eligible for EI will be decreased and wait times will be decreased to one week in the New Year. 
  • Grants available to low income students will be increased from $2,000 to $3,000 and from $800 to $1,200 for middle income students.
  • GIS will be increased by up to $947 for single seniors.
  • A $5.6 billion dollar increase in benefits for veterans and their families and nine veterans service offices will be re-opened across the country.
  • Affordable housing initiatives will be getting $2.3 billion over the next two years to build new and renovate old. 
  • As promised during the election, infrastructure spending is being amped up to $11.9 billion over the next two years. The first phase of spending that will start right away includes public transit, water and waste management, and affordable housing projects. 
  • No tax cut for small business owners. The Conservative's had planned to decrease the small business tax but that has been taken off the table. 
  • National Defense purchases totaling $3.7 billion are being put on hold indefinitely.  

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

March Loves

It's that time of month again where I round up the things that I have been loving recently. This time around I'm covering a bunch of bases from beauty and fashion to books and music. 

Let me know if you've tried out any of these current favourites and what your thoughts were. 

1. Vaseline Lip Therapy 
These lip tins from Vaseline are still fairly new but I am completely hooked! I have always used Vaseline on my lips before bed but this new lip therapy is even better, just as moisturizing but with a bit of a thicker texture so it lasts longer. I've tried out the Original and the Rosy version and highly recommend both of them. The Rosy gives just a hint of colour and is just as moisturizing as the original. I also like the tin, it's wide enough to make it easy to get into (no goop under your finger nails!) and the lid stays on tight so it doesn't pop open in your bag. 

2. Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray
I know, I know....this stuff has a cult following but I was a VERY slow adopter. I never thought it would be worth it to spend so much on what is basically salt water. I was wrong, it really is that great! After I chopped off my hair into a lob before Christmas I picked up a the small size of this to see if I could get that beachy wave look and pretty quickly went and bought the full sized bottle. I am hopeless at doing my hair but this stuff gives me nice soft, piece-y waves...I'm a convert. 

3. Zara Striped Shirt
I've been craving a Spring wardrobe makeover but haven't had much like finding pieces so far. I did however pick up this shirt from Zara a couple of weeks ago and have already worn it a ton. I liked it in the store but wasn't blown away but after a few wears I like it more and more. It is super comfy and easy to wear. I like it with jeans for a casual weekend look or with a pencil skirt for work. 

4. Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub
I was lucky enough to be given the chance to test out this product (along with the Biore Baking Soda Pore Cleanser) thanks to Influenster* and it has really made a big difference in my skin. I found the cleanser to be just ok but this scrub is amazing. My skin feels so clean and fresh after I use it and it really does scrub out your pores. The formula is a little strange, it's a powder that you add a LITTLE water to and then use it like any other scrub. I do find it can be a bit drying so I've only been using it a couple of times a week and follow-up with a rich moisturizer (I use it before bed). 

5. Coolway Knotty Girl Brush
I meant to talk about this brush in last month's post (you can find it here) but I completely forgot! This brush is a real lifesaver for wet hair, it untangles like a champ without ripping out big chunks of hair. Since I got it a couple of months ago it is my go to for brushing my hair out after a shower and to use when blow-drying. And the best part, it's only $10!  

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Ok, I may have already been raving about this book on here but I just had to add it to the list! It's the first book in quite some time that I have been so hooked up and has kept me up way past my bedtime. Fangirl is the story of Cath and her experience starting college. Yup, it's a teen book but I'm no teen and have found it sweet, funny and entertaining. There are some little excerpts from these Simon Snow books (this Harry Potter) that I find annoying but I started skipping over them and it really makes no difference to the actual story-line. Rainbow Rowell also read Eleanor & Park which I read last year and quite enjoyed but this one is WAY better. 

7. Reuban and the Dark - Heart in Two
I don't think I've ever put a song on one of these lists but I guess I'm changing things up. I am hooked on this song! I've liked Reuban and the Dark ever since I heard their song on the Travel Alberta commercial and actually got to see them when they opened for Vance Joy in January. That was the first time I heard this song and it's now being played on the radio. I like it...a lot! I've heard it a ton at this point and am not getting sick of it at all. 

*Disclaimer: I received the Biore Scrub for free from Influenster but the opinions are my own. All other products listed here were purchased by me. If you're interested in joining Influenster you can check it out here

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Tax Slip Mailing Dates

We are getting well into tax season now and you have probably had tax slips showing up in your mail box over the past month or so. If you are expecting to get a refund this year you might want to jump the gun and get your taxes filed ASAP so you can get your moola but you may want to rethink, especially if you have investments. 

Most tax slips have to be mailed out by March 2nd so if your taxes are fairly simple and you don't have any non-registered investments you are likely fine to get going. I would still wait a little (unless you are certain you have everything) because there can always be a bit of a delay with good old Canada Post. 

If you do have non-registered investments, and definitely if they are invested in mutual funds, you will need to hold off. Mutual fund companies will send you out T5's and T3's and the T3's don't even have to be mailed out until March 31st. Crazy right? If you are in that situation you are best to hold off until mid-April before finalizing your return...definitely don't want to be get stuck having to file an amendment after the fact. Now, most of the companies don't wait until the bitter end to send out your T3's but it's certainly something you need to keep in mind. 

I've put together a quick summary of the mailing dates for some of the more popular tax-slips that you may be waiting for. If you haven't received something it's a good idea to contact your financial advisor, employer or whoever would have issued the slip to ensure they have your correct mailing address. 

Type of SlipMust Be Mailed By
RRSP Contribution ReceiptPrevious year contributions mailed in January. First 60 days are sent the week after each contribution.
T4RSP / T4RIFMarch 2nd
T4AMarch 2nd
T5March 2nd
T5008March 2nd
T5013March 2nd
T3March 31st

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Spring Bucket List

It may not officially Spring yet but it looks like the Spring like weather in Edmonton is sticking around so I'm looking ahead. We were able to check off most of the things on my Winter Bucket List so I'm reading to start planning some new adventures. The one thing that was missed was an Oil Kings game so I might have to carry that one over or get it done in the next couple of weeks before the calendar actually says Spring. 

Here's a look at what I've got in the works for the next few months.  

Weekend Getaway to Canmore
We've been talking about getting out of town for a weekend for awhile since we weren't able to go anywhere warm this winter and last night I bit the bullet and booked a hotel in Canmore at the beginning of May. The details still need to be worked out (hooray for free cancellation) but it shouldn't be an issue and the price was way right! I like to get to the mountains at least once a year and our last couple of trips have been to Banff so Canmore isn't too different but it's far enough to feel like something new. If anyone has some good restaurant picks in Canmore I'd love to hear them! Other than eating we'll likely head out on a hike and but we don't have much organized at this point. 

Sherlock Holmes Exhibit
The Telus World of Science is bringing the much-hyped Sherlock Holmes Exhibit to town and it looks like it will be pretty great. The exhibit is set to open on March 25th and will run right through the summer until September 5th. I'm planning on getting there sooner rather than later as the end dates always seem to creep up on me (memories of JUST making it to the ice castle). Tickets are already to buy online and there's lots more information about the exhibit here. They are going to have adult-only nights every Thursday after 5pm, so if you don't have kiddos to bring you might want to scope that out...we sure will be, gives you a better chance of getting into the interactive displays ;)

Get Gardening
It's just about that time of year to get your garden planned out and seeds planted. I am lucky to have a nice, big backyard with quite a bit of room for planting and I really want to take advantage of it this year. I planted veggies last year but the only thing that did really well were my tomatoes...I'm working on my green thumb. I'd like to take some more time this year to get organized and not just planting what sounds good. Hopefully this will better my results and keeping us eating well all summer long. Time to get some research done! What have you guys had good luck with in the garden? 

Concert Season
I guess these aren't exactly bucket list items since I've already bought tickets but I'll be going to both the Rihanna concert in April and the Beyonce concert in May. I was excited about the Rihanna concert but Beyonce...that's a whole other level! I cannot wait to see her play Commonwealth Stadium, and on the Friday of May long weekend no less, such a huge get for Edmonton. I was shocked when I heard the announcement during the Superbowl, pretty much made that game worthwhile for me. I'm just hoping it doesn't snow...we've had a pretty amazing winter but May long is always so sketchy when it comes to the weather! 

Start Running Outside
Every year I get the bug to become a runner but my motivation always waivers when the summer heat rolls in. I'm going to give it another go this year though and hopefully make a bit more progress. I'm never going to be a marathon runner but it's such a great (and cheap!) way to exercise when the weather warms up. My fitness level is not nearly where it should be so I'll probably start over with the Couch to 5k program that I found really helpful last year. I also want to start walking to work. One of the best things about living central is being so close to so many things and my work is definitely one of those. My plan is to leave the car behind and soak up the fresh air a little more often this Spring.