Saturday, June 22, 2013

Got My First BzzKit!

Last month I mentioned that I had signed up for BzzAgent, the great site that allows you to try out products and review them for free. Well, I finally got my first BzzKit just over a week ago and would like to give my thoughts on the whole process.

I signed up in early May after a friend got her first campaign for BedHead hair products. I was so jealous because I am always in search of new hair products to try to tame my frizzy hair! I filled out all the surveys and waited. And waited. There were probably 5 or more campaigns that came and went before I got my first one. Of course, I don't have a Kroger (or as it is here, Fred Meyer's) nearby which limits all the campaigns I can get to non-food related ones since BzzAgent works with the Kroger chains only. After accepting the campaign offer I started waiting again, this time for my package to be shipped. Now, I'm not complaining because this is all 100% free. All I have to say is that my anticipation was high. After two weeks my BzzKit arrived in the mail. This campaign is for Dr Scholl's For Her High Heel Insoles and although I don't wear heels often I put them in my 3" heel cowboy boots and started walking. Unfortunately for me, I have wide feet and these little dainty insoles were not made for wide feet, at least not mine. They do look perfect in strappy heels, you wouldn't be able to tell you had them on if you didn't know.

That face means I'm awesome.

So, I returned to BzzAgent to report my experience. Even though I didn't have a great view with the product it's not a big deal. Each time I participated in my campaign I would get a personal reply from BzzAgent thanking me and actually commenting on the things I was saying. I told them that my feet were too wide and they said that they were sorry it didn't work for me. When I shared that I had mentioned them to my mother-in-law, they responded that they hoped she uses the coupon I gave her! It's very personalized so no, you cannot "cheat the system", not that there's really a system to cheat. I've also been earning "achievements" for my participation which is kind of cool since I love feeling accomplished for mundane tasks. It's just a cute little add on to the whole site.

Last but not least, when I first started this campaign I had a BzzScore of 3.5. Scores range from 0-10, the higher your score, the more active you are in your campaigns and the more likely you will get picked again. My score has now risen to 6.1 which is actually pretty good and gets me into the top tier. Hopefully I will start seeing a few more campaigns and start sharing a few more reviews on this site as well.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Belated Fathers Day Post

I wrote about my mom recently and since Fathers Day was yesterday I guess it's only apt to talk about my dad too.

My dad is a great man. He grew up in one of the older parts of Toronto in Cabbagetown and Regent Park. It's over 50 years later and he's still close friends with the majority of his childhood buddies. They do toy drives every year for Christmas. They enjoy Labour Day boat trips. It must be nice to have that sort of camaraderie with people you've known your whole life.

He never finished high school but that didn't stop him from finding work or continuing to expand his mind and learn about the world. He traveled Europe with a friend's band. He lived with a handful of friends in a party house. He enjoyed life. When my parents met, I'm not sure that he settled down right away.

I was born when my dad was 38. He was definitely on the older end of the spectrum to start having kids but I never really thought much about it growing up. He still played baseball with us, went bike riding with us, stayed active, and kept much of his youth. Even now at 63, he goes to lawn bowling weekly or indoor bowling during the winters. That is what I hope to achieve when I'm his age, the ability to stay fit and active.

Just like I did with my mom, my dad and I had our share of struggles. The biggest thing for me is that he tries to understand both my brother and I. He's gone to family therapy for me. My father's been completely accepting and supportive of my brother since he came out at 13. He supported my mom through her continued education, job changes, trips to Africa, and even after they got divorced he's stayed friendly with her.

Sometimes it makes me feel incredibly selfish for moving so far and leaving him behind. We used to do dinner every other week or so while I was in university in another city. He helped me move. He never told me not to go but I know he wanted to and didn't approve. When I told him I was pregnant I don't think he was really ready to hear it but since seeing Emma and meeting her in person I know he'd never change a thing. He's a great grandpa and it breaks my heart every time we Skype because I can see how much he wants to be here and play with her.

There are probably a million more things I could say about my dad, all genuinely good things. If you asked anyone they would tell you that he is a good man. I am so thankful to have him as my father and a good example of the kind of person you should be, man or woman.

I doubt he'll ever see this but I just have to say: I love you, Dad.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Woman Who Raised Me

I think it's time to give some credit where credit's due. Let's talk about my mom.

First off, we have not always had the best relationship. I have had my bratty periods and my troubled periods... However, my mother has never given up on me and always met those parenting challenges with love and compassion. When I struggled through school due to severe anxiety and depression, she never left me out in the cold, she always tried to find ways to get me through things. I was not always good to her, we had our problems, but I can honestly say that we have a strong relationship now. Maybe not as strong as the Gilmore Girls but it's close.

I was born when my mom was 29. She went back to work after I was born but when my brother came 2 years later she decided to be a stay-at-home-mom for a while. After a period of about a year she went back to work, and school, eventually juggling both. She did what she felt was right for her as a person, not just as a mom, and by doing so she showed me that I can do that too.

At 50, my mother earned her PhD. My grandmother had earned hers at 60. If the pattern continues I should be on track to earn mine at 40 (which is unlikely to happen but that's 15 years away, who knows?). She always stressed how important education is and pushed both myself and my brother to continue on to post-secondary schools. While I am now a university drop-out, I continue to learn and grow. I try new things, I'm interested in various areas of study, I keep up with world news. This was definitely her influence and for that I will always be grateful.

She is generous. She is kind. She is personable and if you walk down our street she will greet you with a friendly smile and "Hello!". That constantly bothered me as a kid. I am a quiet, shy person. I hated when she would talk to strangers. But I get it now. Now I know the value of politeness and showing kindness to all around you. I am no longer a self-absorbed kid and will happily greet my neighbours as I'm walking Emma in our neighbourhood.

The biggest thing I have to say about my mother is that she loves me above all else. She has sacrificed more than I will ever know in order to support her sometimes unstable, helpless daughter. I can't know everything she has done for me in any great amount of detail, I know there's way too much to go through, but now that I am a mother I know where all of this unconditional support and love comes from. Emma is so fortunate to have my mother as her grandma. And I am still so lucky to have her as my mom.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Teensy,Tiny Rant

We bought Emma a little cheap kiddie pool this week since summer has finally hit us here. She was so excited to see it being brought into the house and we were so excited to have her try it out! However, for me personally, I'm not comfortable taking pictures of her naked when I plan on sharing them with family and friends. So, as soon as I realized that she needed a new suit from last year we went and got one.

Can I just say to all the baby clothing companies out there: uniform your sizes!

My chunky, adorable girl wears about 24m or 2T clothes most of the time now. However, I had to go way up to 4T for a bathing suit that would fit without being a 10 minute struggle to get on and off. I've heard from other moms that this is a common thing. If you're buying a bathing suit, go a size bigger than their every day clothing.

Why is this? What purpose does it serve? Learning about the differences in sizing between tops, bottoms, diapers, shoes, swim suits, socks, etc. is a pain in the butt. Please guys, can we just get the same sizes for the same measurements across the board? Thanks.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Taking the Plunge!

As a stay-at-home-mom with a lot of stay-at-home-mom friends, and moms who work outside of the home as well, I keep hearing about so many different options to make money from home. I know that some of my friends have been more successful than others and I've been trying to figure out what would fit well for me and who I am (if I decided to sign up for an opportunity).

I've received samples of different products from different friends and even bought some products because I liked the samples. However, none of my friends, no one I know actually, was talking about Team Beachbody. If you're unaware, like I was, Team Beachbody are the people who produce awesome fitness programs like P90X and Insanity. I had only ever heard about those programs from their informercials and never paid much attention when the DVD would instruct me to "visit". Man, was I missing out!

Turns out that Beachbody produces more than just those two programs that I'd heard rave reviews about over the years. There's a good 10+ titles to their catalogue and that's just the workout programs! There's also Shakeology protein shakes (and their cheaper less touted meal replacements), weight loss pills, Ultimate Reset (a gentle cleanse to get your body healthier), and so much more. I cannot stop gushing to all my friends and family about it because I had no idea! The whole first year of Emma's life I wanted to lose weight but had no idea how to start or felt that the workouts in the infomercials were too hard for me (which at 4 months post-partum they were!). Where was someone to tell me about all the options back then?!

Since I had already been doing Insanity and telling people how great it made me feel and how awesome I was doing now fitness wise, signing up to be a Coach was a no brainer. I'm still working hard to lose the final bit of pregnancy weight, eat healthier, be positive but why shouldn't I be able to do that while motivating others to do the same? So, what is a Team Beachbody Coach?

As a Team Beachbody Coach my goal is to help motivate people to reach their fitness goals. Whether that's through finding a workout program that fits their needs, healthy supplements to boost their weight loss or muscle gain. I am so excited to start incorporating this new journey into my blog.

Don't worry, I won't drown out the mom stuff with fitness stuff but it is going to be something I will continue to focus on here and there. I want Emma to have a good start in life seeing her mom live a healthy and fit lifestyle.

If you are interested in learning more about Beachbody, wanting to start a fitness program, or thinking of becoming a coach yourself you can visit my page here. Feel free to contact me on my page, through my new Facebook page, or through email.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Branching Out

I have been looking into some earning from home opportunities and finally found one that will work for me! Big news to come.

I also got picked for my first BzzAgent campaign! Very anxiously waiting on my package to come. It still says it's waiting to ship but there's still 49 days left in the campaign. A very interesting opportunity to try new products so if that sounds like something you'd like to check out, head on over to their website!
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