Monthly Archives: November 2011

Link Love (powered by Hong Kong and Mushroom Cream Soup)

Hello my lovely readers!

I have spent the last 2 weeks in Hong Kong with my family on vacation, and am now up at 4am (thanks to jetlag) enjoying a bowl of Campbell’s mushroom cream soup while catching up to my favourite blogs.

I will have several posts coming up about what I did, what I bought and of course, my expenses for the trip.  🙂

I also got the opportunity to meet with one of my favourite bloggers, Sassy Girl from Girl and City.  She took me to a great dim sum place and then we went shopping afterwards.  I love meeting up with bloggers and she was so sweet and down to earth.

Hong Kong is an amazing place and I definitely recommend you make a trip, sometime.  It is always alive – it’s hard to get away from the hustle and bustle, the  lights and bill boards, and OMG – the food and the shopping.

It’s clean and orderly and everything is just so efficient. It is quite a contrast to the life I know and love in little Toronto, Ontario. I did feel quite home sick at the end of my trip – I longed for my own personal space, my (relatively) spacious apartment, some quiet time and I really missed BF.  It’s so nice to be home 🙂

I kept up with reading blogs from my iPod Touch, but that device is not the greatest for commenting.  So, as I catch up to reading blogs, commenting, replying to comments, I hope you enjoy some of my favourite reads from the past couple of weeks!


Fashion and Style

  • Fabulously Broke shares where she shops in Toronto.  I am going back to Kensington armed with this list!  I always feel so overwhelmed when it comes to thrift shopping – but would love to do it more!
  • Jean at Extra Petite shares her quest for a new work tote, and boy is she ever lovely and $$$ :).  Although I wouldn’t drop that much money on a tote or bag (now), I admire her transparency and thoughtful decision.
  • Kelly from Alterations Needed shares her thoughts on buying duplicates of certain clothes.  My closet is pretty bare, but I have seriously thought of buying duplicates of items I really, really love.


  • Daisy shares some more tips to go green and save money!  I also use old shirts as rags too!  But I never thought to wipe windows with it, what a great idea.
  • Katie aka Red shares thoughts on finding her happy weight.  Exercising and eating well are things I try to balance, as well.  It’s tough!
  • A guest post on Geek in Heels about the difference a glass makes in drinking wine.  This makes a lot of sense, though until only recently, I used to drink wine from water glasses… I guess I have to try this out 😉
  • Wendy shares her thoughts on being thankful.  As you know, I love Wendy’s style – but this post just gives us a tiny glimpse into her past and she seems a more beautiful and strong woman because of where she came from.

New Blogs

I have recently discovered new blogs as the sharing features on the new Google reader are basically non-existent. *tear*  I used to rely heavily on shared items from avid sharers – such as Fabulously Broke and a few friends.  But now, I am left to fend for myself to discover new blogs.  #firstworldproblems, I know.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these blogs as much as I have!

  • Messy Wands
    Xiao shares her skin-care and make-up finds.  I love her fun writing style and I really the way she does her make-up.  As a complete make-up newb, I get intimidated by all the different colours and selection of, well, everything.  Reading make-up and beauty blogs is my way of dipping my toes in the water 🙂
  • A la Peach
    I love Peach’s nails!  Her application is impeccable and IMHO, better than most manicures I’ve seen from salons.  For me, I like my nails short and have no patience to paint my fingernails, but I do love to admire from afar.
  • The Zhush
    It’s like someone clipped out the best pages of a home and design magazine just for me 🙂
  • {this is glamorous}
    I feel like I have a little slice a Paris when I ogle at these pictures. Yes, it is oh-so-glamorous.
  • Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
    I just recently discovered Crystal’s blog and I am hooked.  She writes with such a fun style and flair.  And, she recently quit her job to pursue her dreams as a freelancer full time.  Congrats, girl! 🙂
  • Cottons and Curls
    I love the tutorials for re-fashioning clothe that Lizzie puts together (seemingly effortlessly!).

Hope everyone has a good week 🙂


Filed under Link Love

Confession: I used to be a Tardy Person

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You know that friend of yours who is always running late?  And they always have a reason why they just couldn’t make it on time?  Well, that used to me.

Earlier this year, I really wanted to turn over a new leaf.  I was determined to kick this bad habit of mine.  I wanted to respect other people’s time, but most of all, I wanted to be less stressed.

How I came to be Tardy

I wasn’t always late.  In fact, my parents are sticklers for showing up early for every thing.  If a family event starts at 7am.  We will be there at 6:30am, while other people are still dragging their butts in at 9:00am.  Every single time.

For me, being late started in college.  I used to live on campus and was literally 5 minutes away from my classes.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love to sleep?  Well, I’d sleep in until the last possible minute and then dragged my butt to class.  If class started at 8:00am, I got up at 7:45am, maybe I’d snooze once.  Sure, I’d probably get into class 5 – 10 minutes late. But I just took my seat in the back and the lecture just started, anyway.

Since I was late to class, I applied my same not-so-great habit to most other events in my life.  I started showing up late to labs, tutorials, group meetings, then social outings and everything else.  Then, my friends just started to expect me to show up late (not that I blame them), so they might show up later, too.

It was a vicious cycle.


If you have tardy friends, you might be running late, only to end up getting there earlier than them.  Which is great at first, but then you give yourself a pat on the back, and forget that you technically were late.  And so you cut it even closer next time.  And then next time, you may be meeting up with an “on-time” friend, and you super late. Doh!

When I was travelling, ALL my travel buddies were perpetually late.  I would be freaked out as I was running 20 minutes late, so I’d take a cab instead of finishing my trip on public transit trip, only to end up waiting another 30 – 45 minutes for everyone else to show up.

This is not to excuse my tardy behaviour.  But it’s me trying to figure out why I never broke out of my cycle.

How to Break out of the Cycle

Cut down on commitments. Instead of having events booked up one after another, I just made committments to things important to me. Besides, if you’re all booked up and late for one appointment, likely all your following appointments will experience the “domino” effect, and next thing you know, you don’t even remember what it was like to be on-time.

Prioritize. You don’t have to say “Yes” to everything.  It’s OK to say no when you don’t want to do something, or it’s not important to you.  Others will just have to deal.

Give yourself more time.  Google maps tells you it’s going to take 30 minutes to get from A to B.  Is it likely you will encounter traffic?  What about road construction?  If you are taking public transportation, have you accounted for wait times and transfer times?

Trick yourself.  If your appointment is at 7:00pm, why not pretend it’s half an hour or 45 minutes earlier so you won’t be so rushed.  That’s what I usually do, and it has helped me immensly.

Respect.  Remind yourself that showing up ontime shows your respect for that perons’s time.  You are busy.  Your friends are busy, too.  By showing up on time, you are showing that you respect their time and in turn, you respect them.

Entertainment.  Have something to do if you get there early.  I know this sounds silly but I used to think I was inefficient if I got to a meeting early.  If this is the case for you, too, try bringing something to do.  Bring a book to read, a crossword/soduku/Angry birds/ whatever, or just explore the area around where you are waiting.  Relax.  And remind yourself how much calmer it is not to rush and enjoy your extra time.


It’s hard to earn back trust if your perpetually late.  I know that my family still expect me to be late all the time, and my excuses/reasons fall on deaf ears now. It’s similar to the boy who cried wolf.  If you are late too many times, no one will believe your reaoson when you eventually actually may have a good reason to be late.

Are you or were you a tardy person? What were your reasons for being tardy?  If you are an early person or on-time person, please feel free to share some tips!



Filed under Personal, PF Confession

An Additional $300 a Month

300 and Gerard Butler.  Get it? 😉

Someone once told me, “There are two things certain in life, taxes and death.”

Pretty grim, huh?

I remember one of the big wake-up calls when I first started working full-time was seeing that deduction line in every pay cheque.  Right now I pay just over 17% in federal taxes alone.  With the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI), right of the bat almost 24% of my precious pay cheque is gone.

My Additional $300 a month

It was last year that I started noticing around December, my pay cheques would get a bit bigger.  Then, I realized because I’ve maxed out my CPP and EI contributions for the year.  They are capped at $2,217.60 and $786.76, respectively.

Since I am making a bit more money than last year (I got a 6% raise), I maxed out contributions much earlier – around mid October. So, my last pay cheque, I got an extra $150 to boot 🙂

I know that the money was mine to begin with, but making the money and having the actual cash in my grubby hands are two entirely different things!

What am I going to do with the extra $$$

No specific plans, but I will put it towards some purchases I had in mind, anyway.

  • Spend some of it for my “Phase II” apartment renovations.  A post about that coming up ;).
  • On a tailored wardrobe on my trip to Asia
  • A nice dinner for BF and I

Canadian readers, have you noticed this in your pay cheques near the end of the year?  All readers, what would you do with an extra $300 a month?



Filed under Finance, Personal

Why it’s Important to Negotiate your Salary

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We hear this over and over again, and in my experience working full-time I realize it more than ever why it’s important.

Fabulously Broke wrote a great article about the wage gap between men and women and how negotiating your salary plays a huge role.  You should really check it out.

I thought I’d focus on my personal experience with salary negotiations in this post.

My Story

When I was in my last year of university, I had 2 job offers.  I was a new grad, I was ecstatic that there was someone who wanted to hire me.  One company (A) offered me a base a salary of $50,000 but it was based out of the west coast, and my current company (B) offered me $48,000 was based in my home city.

Research, Research, Research

I talked to my professor and mentor at the time, and asked him what range I should be expecting for a starting salary. He gave me a range of $50,000 to $55,000.

I talked to my classmates who were looking to work in the same field and asked how much they were getting paid and their compensation package.

$50,000 was the median answer with 2/3 weeks of vacation.


I negotiated with B.  I spoke with the principal and told them from speaking with my professors and colleagues in the industry, a starting salary of between $50,000 to $55,000 was fair with 3 weeks of vacation a year.

The principal I was speaking with said he would discuss with his boss and get back to me.  He got back to me said he could not offer me 3 weeks of vacation as that was a seniority thing and it would be unfair to current staff.  Instead of a starting salary of $50,000, they offered a signing bonus of $2,000 and the same $48,000 salary.

I took their offer.

Lessons Learned

Be keen but do not show all your cards.  For another application, I let it slip that I wasn’t too keen on moving out west and the firm that was very interested at first, dragged their feet in getting me my offer and contract papers.  Show your cards when it works to advantage only – such as A is willing to pay me more and offer better benefits.

A signing bonus should not be in lieu of a better starting salary.  Your starting salary is the base of which all your raises will be bench marked against, so obviously a higher starting salary will result in bigger raises (the dollar amount).  If there is a salary freeze one year, you’ll actually be paid less than in your first year (no bonus).

People remember you for negotiating.  The principal who hired me is currently my manager.  2 years later, when we were discussing my performance he reminded me that I negotiated for my salary and that stood out to him.  It took him aback since he thought that as a new grad, I should have been “grateful” for a job offer, but it also made him think that I was going to be able to interact well with clients since I was able to stand up for myself.

Prepare and practice how you will say this.  Saying things out loud is very different than having things in my head.  When I say things out loud for the first time, it usually comes out less clear than how I had thought it.  Try to be concise, factual and have research/proof to back up what your are saying.


Practice makes perfect.  It’s hard the first time, and maybe you won’t get it quite right – like me.  But it gets so much easier the next time, and the time after that.

I think it’s the same approach for women and men, but I feel that whereas for guys, their first instinct is to negotiate, for women, our first instinct to accept.  Maybe it goes back to how women are generally more “nurturing” and don’t like confrontation.

But if we don’t’ stand up for ourselves (man or woman), who will?  I want to be compensated fairly so that I can properly take care of myself, my parents and my future family – what can be more nurturing than that? 🙂

What are some of your tips for salary negotiations?  Please share your lessons learned!



Filed under Career

Book Review: The Entertainment Book

As you know, I’m not a big fan of Groupon and there are certain things that I will not consider a Groupon for. Though I’m not much of a coupon clipper, I still like saving money 🙂

Enter, the Entertainment Book (EB). It is my answer to dining out and enjoying my city, without breaking the bank and IMHO, much better than Groupon.

The EB has the following sections: Casual and Dining out, Fast Food, Entertainment & Sport, Golf, Hotels, Travel and Retail. The sections with the most number of coupons are Casual Dining out and Fast Food. 🙂

How to use the EB

The 2012 EB comes with a membership card and a smaller card that attaches to your key chain (sorry, not sure what that’s called), and of course, the book itself.

One can use the EB in 2 ways.

  1. Clip out the desired coupon and use. You don’t need to show your membership card to use the coupon, so feel free to give them to friends 🙂
  2. Certain deals require the membership card. These deals are listed in the EB book. Just show your card and mention the deal – you don’t need to present the EB page.

Yes, it’s really that easy. And I like the EB more than Groupon because I am not bombarded with daily deals and I don’t have to pay anymore. Just a one time fee of $35 🙂

The Most Bang for your Buck

Dining out

Most of the dining out coupons are Buy 1 Get 1 Free. Sometimes there is a limit to one coupon per table, so you get the most bang for your buck by going with one other person. However, there are some restaurants (usually buffets) that offer the same deal for up to 4 to 6 people in a party. Make sure you read the fine print!


They have great rental car rates (from personal experience) from almost all the major car rental companies. For example, Budget has a deal where you get 20% off plus your 3rd weekend day free, and it’s reusable 🙂

The EB has a list of hotels and their numbers for almost all the provinces (except East coast) in Canada and many US states. I haven’t tried their hotels personally, but my co-worker used it for her trip and got $60 cash back just for booking through them.

You can also order the EB for the area you are traveling to! I haven’t done this, yet. Has anyone had experience with this and would like to share?

How I use EB Coupons

The book is the size of a 400 page novel, so it’s not really convenient to carry around. Also, since the EB are usually for a “greater area” of a major city, there can be a lot of coupons that may not be my vicinity.

I like to go through the EB and clip out the coupons I will likely use. Maybe they are restaurants I frequent, or I’d like to try. Maybe a cinema close by. Or my favourite shoe store. Then, I keep that stash of coupons in my purse, so that I won’t be caught off-guard.

Even though BF also likes to save money, he doesn’t like to go to a place just because I have a coupon for it. Understandable. So I try to only use the coupon to a place that we would go anyway. Whether we had a coupon or not.


In the time that I’ve had my first EB, I find that it pays for itself easily and then some. It is most helpful for at least 2 people using it, or if one has a family. You won’t save much money from the EB by just dining out alone (unless you usually have 2 entrees).

There are a lot of admission discounts to science centers, zoos, cinemas, kids special events that would be great for families.

I haven’t figured out the online membership, yet. Last year, I think there was an extra fee of $5 to sign up for additional coupons, online so I didn’t do it. Not sure if it’s the same this year. Does anyone know?

Disclosure: I bought my first Entertainment Book from a co-worker last year for $35. This year, I got the 2012 Entertainment Book online for $30. Both with my own cash. I have not been compensated by Entertainment Book for this review, nor am I affiliated with them in any way. However, if they’d like to give me free book of better yet, offer a free one for one of my readers, that would be AWESOME!! 🙂

Do you have the Entertainment Book for your area? What are some of your money saving tips?



Filed under Book Review

Standing up for Yourself

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Bullying. Being intimidated. Being treated unfairly.

I’m sure it’s happened to most of us at one point or another in our career, or even before that. I’ve worked with bullies and hard balls. I’ve worked with people who think they can be-little me because I am young.

Here are tips that I’ve picked up from dealing with these types of people.

Stay Calm and Reflect

Before you get worked up and say something that you may regret. (esp. at work) Stop, take deep breathes and count to 10. Then think about if this person has a point. If that’s the case, figure out a possible solution.

If it is something that you felt wrongly accused of, or injustice or you were just plain bullied. Then think about why and how it happened.


If you figured out that you have been wrong fully treated or bullied, I always find it best to approach the individual who bullied you. Unless you feel scared for your safety. Do not approach the individual if that is the case.

Otherwise, I would approach the individual first, and talk to them before approaching your boss, their boss, then HR (in that order).

Practice saying out loud what you would say, maybe even to someone else. They can let you know if you’re being clear or just rambing on. Are you being clear about what happened? Are you sticking to the facts? Are you clear about what your expectations are and how you’d like to address this problem.


After you’ve practiced and know exactly what you are going to say and how to say it, approach the person. Ask if now would be a good time to speak with them, in private. Talk with them in a more private place, maybe in an empty cafeteria instead of their cubicle. Watch the person’s reaction – you don’t want to come down too hard or too soft. You just want to get your point across.

Finish off with something like, I prefer to get things in the open, so that we can communicate more effectively in the future. Try to end on a positive note.

My Example

Working late and snide comments

I worked with a co-worker who worked 24/7 and expected everyone else to do the same. Too many times, they approached me with “something that had to get out” at 5:00pm.

One particular tine, I stayed late and worked to meet their deadline but explained that I had to leave by 8:00pm (since they let me know at the end of the day), and I had plans. Instead of saying it to my face, I get an email saying, “It’s so hard to find good help these days.”

I was mad but I knew that I was too angry to clearly articulate myself. I went home and ranted to my sister, my roommate, whomever would listen. Then, I practiced saying out loud what I wanted to say to my project manager. I practiced for probably 3 hours saying out loud before it sounded right to me (I did this while folding about 3 loads of laundry).

Then, I went to work and spoke with my co-worker when I had a chance. I pulled them aside and asked to speak to them in private. I started off by reminding them what happened, and told them that last minute requests are difficult to complete and do well. If they had told me earlier, I would have worked on it in the afternoon instead of scrambling. Lastly, I told them their snide comment was not appreciated.

My co-worker apologized. And even better, I noticed that they stopped coming to me at the last minute for work to be done. Sure, sometimes last minute things happen, but it was no longer a regular occurrence.


The first time I confronted a co-worker, it was so hard. One of the hardest things I’d have to do. But after that, it was a gazillion times easier.  The next time my co-worker bullied me, I didn’t hesitate to stand up for myself.

Just like no one cares more about your money than you, no ones cares more about your well-being than you. If you don’t stand up for yourself, who will?

What are your tips for standing up for yourself against bullies? I would love to read your stories of standing up for yourself.



Filed under Career

Thoughts on Work Expenses

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In my field of work, I have to deal regularly with work expenses.  How my company deals with it is that the employee (me) usually pays for expenses out of pocket and then we get reimbursed after we file our expenses.

Every company is different, but at my company, it can take up to 3 – 4 weeks from when I file my expenses to when the cash gets into my bank account.

From my 3+ years working I’ve learned a thing or two about filing for expenses and wanted to sum them up in a post.

Know When you get Paid for Expenses

This is probably a no-brainer, but I’m gonna toss it in there.

My expenses are disbursed at the same time as my paycheque, and I am paid bi-weekly.  Therefore, I need to know which day to get my expenses in by, or else I won’t see that cash on my next paycheque, but the one after that.  Which can be up to 3 or 4 weeks.  Good to know if you are low on cash, or don’t have the cash to cover the credit card payments.

File Expenses Regularly

While I did take a business trip recently, most of my day-to-day expenses for work include mileage to client meetings.  Sure, $20 here and there might not seem like much so some people, but it all adds up.

I’ve had co-workers “hoard” their expenses until it gets to a more “substantial” sum before submitting their expense claims.  I can’t count the number of times a co-worker has proudly announced their expenses tallied up to $600 or $800 or even $1,000.

The way I see it, my co-worker just lent the company that amount interest free for the last few months when they could have had the money working for them – at the very least earning some interest.

I try to file my expenses weekly.  Not only do I get my money faster (even if it’s just $100 at a time), I also remember more accurately the mileage and any other work related expenses I had.

Know Company Policy on what is Expensable

Most companies have policies in their handbook outlining when they believe are reasonable expenses amounts.  If you are unsure, or do not agree, always speak to your manager or super visor about it before you spend any money.  If the company does not agree with what you deem as “reasonable”, in some cases, they may not reimburse you the full amount.

For instance, before I went on my business trip, I checked the company handbook for the food expense allowance while traveling (may differ from in-town meetings) and checked with my supervisor regarding purchase of supplies I may need while on my business trip.

Also, check what your company’s policy is for missing receipts.  I try to be extra careful of keeping all my receipts, but sometimes, a lunch at Timmies just slips by me and I forget to ask for the receipt.   Oops 🙂

Most companies have allowances for purchase of safety equipment, if required for the occupation.  Make yourself aware of these benefits and take advantage of them.

Always Double Check

Once you finally get paid for your expenses, do a quick check to make sure it matches the amount you filed for.  Everyone makes mistakes, sometimes, so a quick glance never hurts.

I usually make an extra copy of my expense report for my files, including all reciepts.

Do you have work related expenses?  What are some of your tips for expense filing?



Filed under Finance

Book Review: The Skin Type Solution by Dr. Leslie Baumann

As I mentioned in previous posts, I have recently read the above mentioned book.  I needed to educate myself more on skin care and a friend introduced me to Dr. Baumann’s book.

As you may know, I am not new to skincare regiments and lingo.  I’ve been suffering from acne since grade 7, and have gone through my fair share (and then some), of dermatologists, beauty products and even prescription medicines.  But I am always open to learn more about anything, and due to my vanity, I am especially interested in learning about skin care.

Chapter 1: The Skin Type Revolution

Dr. Baumann is a dermatologist, researcher, and associate professor of dermatology.  She explains why one product that “worked wonders” on your friend, sister, co-worker, etc., may not work for you.  It’s because we all may have different skin types, and what works for one skin type may not work for another.

She gives some background on her credentials and explains that people usually fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • They don’t know their skin type
  • They use the wrong products for their skin type
  • They use the wrong procedures for their skin type
  • They spend much more than they should on products because they don’t know what will or will not work for them.

Chapter 2: Skin Type Categories

In order to determine our skin type, Dr. Baumann presents the 4 categories that Skin Type Solution uses to evaluate one’s skin type, and gives a description of each one.

They are the following:

  • Oily vs dry
  • Sensitive vs resistant
  • Pigmented vs non-pigmented
  • Tight vs wrinkled

Chapter 3: Discover your Skin Type

Take the questionnaire to determine your skin type.

You answer a series of questions, one category at a time based on a point system.  At the end of each section you tally up your scores and kazaam, you’ve got your skin type.

Chapter 4 – 19: Skin care for each of the 16 combinations of skin types

I am oily, sensitive, slightly-pigmented and tight (OSPT) type of skin (corresponds to Chapter 5 & 7).  I am on the cusp of pigmented and non-pigmented, so I will include both here.

In each skin type chapter, she has a brief section describing your skin type and what she would expect you to experience.

About your Skin Type

For my skin type, she recommends dealing with one problem at a time – oil.    This is because by dealing with the oil, would hopefully lead to less acne and therefore, less pigmentation from acne.   Pigmentation can be caused from acne, hormones, and sun exposure.

The bad news is that acne does not end from adolescence and continues (if not treated) into our 20s and 30s.  The good news is that as OSPT approach their 50s and 60s (with good protection of skin), the oil production will slow down and this type usually age better than other types.  “Minimal wrinkles, decreased oiliness and reduced tendency to form dark spots, you enjoy skin that resists aging better than many other types.” (Baumann 82)


Baumann also talk about inflammation in the skin since acne is a form of inflammation.  I learned that heat sources outside of the body can also increase inflammation inside the body – such as prolonged sun exposure, sun burns, hot climates, waxing, saunas, steam rooms, steaming one’s face (i.e., facials), waxing, spicy and hot foods or chemicals peels that are too harsh.  These procedures or environments should be avoided.

Baumann shares different stories of her clients and techniques she used to help them deal with their problem.  Usually, it’s avoiding of the above procedures which lead to inflammation.

Everyday Care for your Skin Type

For my skin type, Baumann recommends:

  • preventing and treating pimples
  • preventing and treating dark spots
  • managing redness

Baumann includes a “daily skin care” routine for both a.m. and p.m. for “Stage 1: Non Prescription Regimen” for:

  • treating acne and dark spots
  • for skin redness and dark spots without acne
  • for skin redness and dark sports with acne

Baumann also includes a “daily skin care” routine for both a.m. and p.m. for “Stage 2: Prescription Regimen” to treat acne.

She includes various lists of products for each recommended cleansers, toners, acne controlling products, spot treatment products, skin-lightening gels, moisturizers, and eye creams.  She also provides recommended producs for sunscreen, foundations and facial powders.  Obviously, one may only use a few items from the list, depending on what you are treating.

Baumann also breaks down her recommended products based on approximate price categories ($, $$, $$$), and she also provides her choice and why.

Baumann also includes a list of skin ingredients to use for the following purposes:

  • to decrease skin inflammation (i.e., aloe vera, chamomile, cucumber, tea tree oil, zinc, rose water)
  • to lessen acne (i.e., benzoyl peroxide, retinol, tea tree oil,salicylic acid)
  • to prevent pigmentation (niacinamide)
  • to reduce pigmentation (i.e., cucumber extract, salicylic acid)

Baumann also includes a list of skin ingredients to avoid for the following reasons:

  • if acne prone (i.e., cocoa butter, jojoba oil, peppermint oil)
  • if you have skin allergies (i.e., benzoyl peroxide, parabens, fragrances)
  • lactic acid (if OSNT)

Further help for Oily Skin

Baumann goes further and discusses:

  • using retinoids
  • Intense Pulsed Light & Vascular Lasers
  • Botox
  • life style recommendations

What I found really interesting was eating a diet with a lot of glycemic foods can lead to acne.  “High glycemic foods, such as sweets, soda, certain fruits, refined grain products and cold cereals, cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels.  Blood glucose stimulates the release of insulin and excess insulin production can contribute to acne.” (Baumann 170)  It also lists fermented foods – such as cheese, cured meats or sausages as no-nos.  Le sigh.

Baumann recommends a diet to decrease inflammation should include eggs, fish, cool salads and zinc rich foods (i.e., oysters).


I thought that Baumanns book was very thorough and easy to understand.  She breaks down skin care into something that manageable by the individual so they can be more informed when making decisions in a market that is bombarded with promises of lotions and potions that will solve our skin care problems.

I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of her products are everyday products from my local drugstore and a lot of them are very affordable.  It seems that my dermatologist uses a similar philosophy as her, and as prescribed a very similar routine.

I won’t go into detail of the products that I use in this post.  But I will share it in a separate post.  I hope this review was helpful for the ladies and gents out there.

Have you read Leslie Baumann’s The Skin Type Solution?  Did her recommendations work for you?  If so, please share you tips and your skin type in the comments.



Filed under Book Review, Health

Link Love (Powered by Merry-go-rounds)

Oh my!  How did November sneak up on me like that? Time has just flown by!

I have no idea how working parents – especially working moms – do it all.  Even as a bachorlette, between business trips, work, sports, my “Phase II” apartment renovations, hanging out with BF, seeing girl friends and family – I have had little time to spend on anything else.

About a month ago, I was on a writing spree and had almost a month of posts queued up. Which was pretty amazing – I’ve never been so organized with my blog before!

Thank you each of you for your comments.  I read and appreciate every single comment, though I haven’t found the time to respond to them yet.   I really enjoy the sense of community I feel when there is discussion generated about random topics that we all can relate to.

Thank you for making that possible! 🙂

Since I’ve been unable to retrieve my starred items from the new and worse version of Google Reader, I’ve gone through what’s left of my reader to share some of my favourite posts this month.

Please enjoy!

Personal Finance


  • Gold spots.  As you know, I LOVE Wendy’s style.  Here she wears a sweater backwards and looks so chic doing it.
  • Hallowe’en Pasts.  I love the creativity of Khatu (of my new favourite style bloggers), and can I just say that the meat dress as AMAZING?!
  • H&M Bargain Hounds-tooth Suit by Extra Petite.  Another one of my style icons.  Great idea for petite ladies (as it runs small), who are on a budget.
  • Economics.  Love the polka dot shirt with the mustard pants.  Kendi, you are amazing!


  • Faux-lopement.  Revanche got married!!!  Congrats, girl! 🙂
  • If you love me.  A beautiful piece of writing from Sassy Girl.
  • October 19.  Molly shares a beautiful post about her favourite church in Paris.  There is something so beautiful and calm about being in a church.
  • Claire meets Aerin.  Geek in Heels just welcomed her daughter, Aerin. 🙂
  • Staycation.  Creature-Gorgeous and her boys enjoy a beautiful retreat in Washington.  Makes me want to visit Washington – it’s such a beautiful city.


Filed under Link Love

Warranty Fail (Part I): The Source

It seems today that you can get an extended warranty for anything and everything.  I swear I’ve walked out with an extension chord and the cashier asked if I would like an extended 3 year warranty for only another $5.  Ummm, no thanks.

I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with warranties – mostly bad experiences.  I didn’t lose too much money either time, but I sure was pissed off.

I also learned an important lesson.  The warranty is marketed as protection for the customer, but really, it’s protection for the retailer.  Whenever I think of a warranty in those terms, I can more accurately gauge if I really need a warranty – most times, the answer is no.

Since my earlier days as a naive and gullible customer, I have learned a few lessons.  I wanted to share with my readers 2 of my worst warranty experiences with the above mentioned retailer (Part 2 featuring Best Buy is coming up – it was too long for one post!).

The Source

I bought my 3-year contract $0 phone while browsing The Source.  Silly? Probably.

I was with my sister and I remember asking the sales rep a gazillion questions.  The one I remember most clearly, was the question regarding what the extended warranty covered for my phone.

The Source sales rep told me my warranty covered everything except water damage. He said, if I dropped my phone on the road, and a car ran over it, bring in the peices in a Ziploc bag and The Source will replace it for me.

I can’t make this stuff up.  I was sold. So, I signed up for my extended warranty (with a picture of a smashed up cellphone in my mind) and feeling complete peace of mind.

2 Years Later…

Fast forward two years, and the button for music player on my cell phone is broken.  No biggie.  In my head, I thought that if  The Source was willing to fix my runned down cell phone, for sure, they could fix a simple button.


The sales rep took half a glance at my phone and told me it wasn’t covered.  He didn’t even bother checking my file or anything. I asked to speak with his manager.  The manager took one look at my phone and told me the same thing.

Of course, I was confused.  I asked him how he knew it wasn’t covered and asked if he could be please check my file.  He tells me that there is no need to check my file because their general warranty does not cover “physical damage.”

Ummm.  What?!

I told him that I was told my warranty covered everything except water damage.  And what did he mean by “physical damage’?

Apparently, “physical damage” is wear and tear and general deterioration from just using your phone.  (Umm.  Duh.  That’s why I bought a warranty, right?!)  Apparently, what the warranty does cover, is if your phone just suddenly died.

I was very angry at this point.  I told the manager the sales rep told me that if my phone got run over by a car, I could bring in the pieces and I could get a new one.  The manager then asked me to find the sales associate.

W.T.F.?! Right??

At that point, I realized what had happened.  I was duped.  The sales associate had simply lied to me about the warranty, two years ago.  The warranty is worthless. There was nothing that I could do now.  I called them a bunch of liars and stormed out of the store – vowing never to return.

Then I went home and just super glued my buttons back together.  Yay, me.

Conversation with an Ex-Futureshop/Best Buy Employee

A friend of a friend used to work at one of the big box electronic stores and pretty much laughed in my face when I told him my sob story. (I guess it was pretty stupid.)

He then explained that sales associates make a huge commission (up to 40%) on the sale of a warranty and that’s why most of them will say anything to make the sale.  Yep, even lie.

His advice was to only get a warranty if a touch screen was involved.  Likely, the screen will malfunction before the warranty is up and then you can get a new one.  I haven’t tried this, though.


Luckily, this wasn’t a super expensive lesson.  In fact, since I got a $100 instant rebate, I used $50 of that towards the warranty itself.  And I learned that warranties likely protect the retailer more than it protects the customer.  I learned to always get things in writing and to read the fine print, and never take anything verbal as the final agreement.

I’m sure that if I did those things, I would have realized sooner rather than later, that I was being scammed.

Having said that, that is NO EXCUSE for The Source (and other retailers who are doing the same thing) to outright LIE to their customers.  That is unacceptable to me and I have not gone back to The Source since.  I have decided to boycott them and go elsewhere for my electronic needs.

What are you warranty experiences?  I would love to hear both good and bad experiences.  And do you have any tips to share?



Filed under Review