money, money, money!

I’ve written a couple of posts about apps I use to earn points for gift cards in the past but I think it needs to be updated every once in a while because some sites get better, some get worst, there are so new ones and some disappear. So these are the apps I’m using these days to earn some gift cards and points for a bunch of different things:

Swagbucks
Swagbucks has been consistently on my list because it has stayed about the same over the past couple of years. I use this site to complete survey, searching the web, watch videos which I have going a lot of time when I’m home and occasionally shop to earn points towards everything from starbucks, old navy, chapters or SIR corp restaurants. You can also redeem for paypal dollars but it’s a better deal for regular gift cards. There’s a referral program as well that is 10% of earnings for as long as your referrals use Swagbucks. I like this program because it’s very easy to understand how many points you’re getting and their value. I also keep an old email for all my newsletters and other “junk” and use that for any tasks that require an email sign up.

Ebates
Ebates is another consistent app/website I use to earn cash back on purchases. There’s tons of stores on there that I use frequently, like chapters, old navy, beauty boutique, sephora, the bay and so many more. There is also travel sites, which is where I’ve gotten most of my cash back dollars from, most times I book my travel through expedia or travelocity and they have up to 8% cash back depending on what you’re purchasing. You can get a referral fee when people sign up and make a purchase and you get your payment or cheque once a quarter.

Drop
Drop is a newer app, I’ve been using about 3 months. You do have to sign in through your banking/credit card information to get the rewards but if you’re ok with that, you can pick the companies they’re affiliated with and get points for those. You can get a bonus 1000 points if you use my referral code: ‘cyb6d’. It is another app that is easy to understand the value of the points you’re earning.

Carrot
Carrot is a newer app sponsored by the Canadian government in an effort to get Canadians healthier. Earn points for completing challenges related to health and wellness for one of 4 loyalty programs. I have it set for scene points and I’m getting close to a free movie. You can use my referral code to get a bonus when you sign up with Carrot: ‘snicholson6561’.

JobSeeker
JobSeeker is an interesting app, it’s sponsored by Indeed and you get points based on posting ‘help wanted’ signs so they’re able to post jobs that may not be available online. You need to take the photos through the app so that it can track the location. The points amount changes depending on how likely the job is to not be found online but it’s still very little effort and after a couple months I’m at about $25 in amazon gift cards. You can only redeem for amazon gift cards but the benefit is you can redeem at any amount.

Choir! Choir! Choir!

A few weeks ago I did something that i haven’t done since I was a child. I sung in a choir. I forgot how hard singing in a choir was! I went with Lindsay from Happy or Hungry, Michelle from Eamonn & Jack and Casey from Waffling Blog.┬áIf you’ve never heard of it, Choir! Choir! Choir! hosts events every Tuesday and Wednesday where people get together to learn one choral arrangement they perform at the end of the night. You may have seen their version of “What a Wonderful World” around Christmas time, and occasionally they do songs based on current events which is the event we attended.

The organizers saw MILCK perform “Quiet” during the women’s march and invited her to Toronto to perform the song with the choir. All of the money raised from the event was donated to the ACLU, which could definitely use additional funding during this crazy time. It was an amazing experience and watching the video gives me goosebumps. It was a great showing of support for a great organization and a way to celebrate and continue the momentum following the women’s march. Check out the video! (Don’t worry, you can’t actually hear me).


 

 

thirsty thursday: liefmans fruitesse

I love fruit beers, I know a lot of people have strong opinions to the contrary but I love them and now that we’re half way through January I can daydream of spring fruit-beers to come and until the locals one start coming out, liefmans fruitesse will do just fine.

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Liefmans fruitesse is a belgian beer and its full of fruit including strawberries, raspberry, cherry, blueberry and juniper berry which is matured on cherries for 18 months. It was refreshing and tart, served over ice. If you’re looking for a very fruity beer, try liefmans, which you can find at the Town Crier.

upcoming event: madison trivia night

As many of you know, I’m trivia obsessed and that’s why I’m so excited to be planning a trivia night for a great cause at the end of March. I have mentioned Madison Community Services in the past, Madison is a non-profit which promotes the health, recovery and community integration of persons with mental health challenges through advocacy, education and the provision of a broad range of high quality community based support services.

So, to help raise money for these life-changing services, we’re hosting a trivia night! Tickets are only $10 and we’ll also be collecting tokens for clients of Madison. You can sign up on your own and meet new people or you can put in your own team of up to 6 people! Test your skills and have some fun for this amazing cause.

Get your tickets now!

must read: the nazi officier’s wife

I picked up this book a few months ago on a very rare Costco trip and only recently got around the reading it. The Nazi Officer’s Wife is the story of how one Jewish woman survived the Holocaust. The story is based on the life of Edith Hahn Beer, a young woman from Austria. I have read a number of books about the Second World War and the Holocaust and was surprised that I had never heard of this type of experience.

The story begins before the war, where she tells stories of her boyfriend, her family and attending law school. She recounts in remarkable details her experiences in slave labour camps, going underground and eventually living in Munich where she meets her husband. It’s a very good book, I was so enthralled I couldn’t put it down. Edith had also saved many photos and documents which she includes in the book, which are really remarkable.

I would definitely recommend the Nazi Officer’s Wife if you have any interest in biographies or history, it’s definitely worth the read!

must read: wealthing like rabbits

Another book that I had for months before finally picking it up. I got this book at an event for young professionals about personal finance run by the lovely Jessica Moorhouse.

Wealthing Like Rabbits proclaims itself as an introduction to personal finance but I think that those who know the introduction should still read this book as a refreshed. There were a lot of things in this book that I knew the basics of, a mortgage, an RRSP, credit cards but I also learned some things about other types of loans and also put what I did know back in to perspective. Sometimes I can forget that I can one day be mortgage-free, because it seems so far in the future, it seems so hard to believe but I recently renewed my mortgage at a much lower interest rate, by not changing what I’m already paying, I took over two years off my mortgage. Not only is that time, but it’s money, it’s a heck of a lot of interest that I don’t have to pay the bank. That, coupled with reading this book has inspired me to stay on paying down my mortgage. It’s also reminded me that I need to start saving more in my RRSP. Somewhat unrelated, but kind of related, my friend Jessica Moorhouse was recently talking about her vision board, which I’ve said I should do but her post with this book, it’s happening this weekend! I’m getting my collage on!

The first endorsement for this book on the cover is “Smart, funny and totally relatable” by the queen of finance, Gail Vaz-Oxlade. It’s hard to imagine a finance book being funny but this is exactly that. I knew it was off to a good start when the opening line of the book is a Simpsons quote. He also references video games, zombies and Tony Soprano. The book was funny enough that I laughed out loud on the subway, and I’m sure other people thought “is that weird girl laughing at a finance book”, absolutely I was and they should read it too.

I would definitely recommend this book for every 20-something, 30-something, 40-something etc, who wants to know more about the basics of personal finance. Like I said that Hidden Figures should be shown in every math class, this book should be a mandatory read for math or careers or basically any other course in high school. Too many people don’t know even the basics of how money works and that’s how they end up in trouble. This book has a lot of advice, and not all of it may be the best fit for everyone but it will definitely make you think differently about money and have a great time doing it!

#spininyourskin

Tonight I got to take part in an amazing event at Spokehaus called Spin in Your Skin. You may remember, I wrote about Spokehaus last year, a great spin class in Cityplace. 

Tonight’s event was sponsored by Knix Wear. If you’re not familiar with Knix Wear, they design moisture-wicking underwear and originally started with panties with a built in liner. Now the line includes panties, sports bras and socks. For tonight’s event, every participant was given a bra, panties and robe and if you did your spin class in only that, knix would donate an identical set to women living in CAMH. 

Spin in Your Skin was all about empowering women to be comfortable in their bodies. I can tell you, if you told me at 15 that I would have been in a spin class, in just a sports bra and panties, with a room full of people, I would have told you that you were completely insane. It was great experience to be in a room full of women who supported you and weren’t judging what you were wearing or how you looked in it, because they looked pretty much the same. Body image can be a very difficult thing to deal with and I’m happy that if only for just an hour, I didn’t care how I looked and was just happy to have my body workout for an hour. 

Tonight was an amazing experience, huge thank you to Spokehaus and Knix Wear for making it possible!

dining out: town crier

Friday night, I joined some friends at a cozy pub on John St, which is one of my friend’s favourite spots. We grabbed apps and dinner and a couple of drinks. As an app, we shared the short ribs and calamari, which I was too excited to eat that I forgot to get a photo. The short ribs were really good, the calamari was not fried so if you prefer it grilled, I’d recommend it. I’m not usually a huge fan of short ribs but the sauce on these were really, really good. You can also get the short ribs on a flatbread, which my friend had and really enjoyed.

For dinner, I had the mussels on my friend’s recommendation. The Town Crier has a variety of mussel options, I went more traditional.

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It’s very hard to see the light garlic sauce on the mussels, I pulled the mussels out and dumped the fries into the delicious buttery sauce. The mussels were very fresh and the fries were definitely hand cut. I really enjoyed my pub night out with the ladies, the pub was a buzz on a Friday night – a great way to get the weekend started. If you’re looking for traditional german pub food, check out the town crier on John!

fun new desserts

Hope you all had a great weekend. This weekend, I ate a lot… resolutions-smesolutions! So, I’ll be sharing lots of that over the next few posts!

I went to a fun place for dessert this week for someone’s birthday for shaved ice. The last time I had shaved ice, it was more like a snow cone, it was nothing like what I had this week. At Cups, near Yonge and Steeles, you can get shaved ice with a variety of toppings, I chose one that I couldn’t pronounce and I couldn’t be happier.

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This shaved ice was topped with mochi, condensed milk and soy powder and it was so good! It was also super messy but totally worth it. My friends tried other options included fruits and matcha, the fruits and toppings were overflowing, the one I got was a small, the larger sizes are definitely big enough for at least two people. If you’re looking for something that isn’t too sweet but super delicious, I would definitely recommend Cups.

must see: #hiddenfigures

I would say happy Sunday, but you probably don’t want a reminder that you’re going back to your first full week of work in a while. I stayed pretty busy this weekend (as usual) and had to share with you a movie that I absolutely loved.

If you have not heard of it, it is the story of 3 black women that worked at NASA during the 60s as “computers”. I was excited to see this movie, I had first heard about it because IBM is a big sponsor of the film and I work very closely with them in my “day job”. The movie stars Janelle Monae, Octavia Spencer and Taraji P. Henson and each of them were amazing. I don’t want to give away too much of the movie, but I want to tell everyone that it is definitely worth the $15 to see and I think that they should show it in every high school math class, I even joked with a teacher that I met this weekend that it should be in her next lesson plan. I’m very glad that it did extremely well at the box office. I was afraid that it wouldn’t garner a lot of interest, since it is about a topic that doesn’t get a lot of attention. So, if you’re looking for a great, funny and feel-good movie, definitely check out Hidden Figures. And, if you’ve already seen it, I’d love to know what you think!