Monday, October 02, 2017

No Notoriety

I know I have not been active lately, and there are multiple reasons for that. However, today's post has nothing to do with that.

Today's post is about Las Vegas. It's about Edmonton. It's about every other terrorist attack that has happened in recent history.

It is beyond time that we stop broadcasting the names and images of serial killers and terrorists. If they have been apprehended, or killed such as the Las Vegas terrorist, we need to start referring to them only as terrorists. This is it.

No more sharing their names. No more calling them "lone wolf".  No more excusing them via "mental illness". No more sharing their graduation photos or family photos. No more talking about "why they did what they did". No more talking about their "good" past. No more attention, no more praise. No notoriety for violent criminals who did nothing important other than end the lives of others. No more standing out or identity for them.

Do not give them the attention they wanted, because this gives validity to what they did.

They are not valid. They are not valuable. They are not worthy.

Share messages of love, the names of those they injure or kill, pictures and stories of those who lost their lives without choice. Those who were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Share their aspirations, their lives, their dreams and their accomplishments. Remember, share and love them.

Copy cats don't need any encouragement, and neither do the groups of people who are behind these acts of terrorism. They are not worthy of our time, and I will no longer be giving it to them.

They are disgusting, they are incomprehensible, and they are nothing more than a disappointment.

Don't give them more power. Enough is more than enough.


Thursday, September 07, 2017

Introducing The Creative Clever Beautiful Bucket List

A few weeks ago I wrote about some changes that would be coming to the blog. Mainly, I said that there was something that I was adding to the blog, but I didn't tell you what it was. Well, the day is finally here that you get to find out what it is!

If you look above in the pages bar of this blog, I have created the Creative Clever Beautiful Bucket List!

I'm going to be adding and checking things off my new official bucket list as I think of them or as I achieve them, and I would love for you to head over now and take a look at what is on it. Some of them I've already finished because it took me so long to perfect it to the point where I was ready to share it with you. There are over 200 items currently on my bucket list, and I am so excited to work on completing them. I'm also still working on creating more goals, and I'm sure that it won't be long before it hits 300.

Here are some highlights from my bucket list:

  • Visiting each of the 50 states in the United States
  • Going on a resort vacation with Matt
  • Moving out of Matt's parents' house
  • Donate blood for the 5th time
  • Milk a cow
  • Write my will
However, I can't show you too much of it here and now, because I need you to click that tab above and go visit the page! Or, you can also click here.

Once you get there, you can also read about why I wrote this bucket list, and why it's important to me. I think everyone should have one, and maybe reading mine will encourage you to get started on yours. Check it out now, and then leave a comment here to let me know what your favourite of my bucket list goals is!

-Erika Elise

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

First Impressions

This morning, I was two minutes late to my first class at Brock University. It was BIOL 1P91, the first semester Introduction to Biology course. I was late because I wanted to make sure that Matt and I had something to eat, and to continue our tradition of getting breakfast on our first day of school.

This morning, I was two minutes late to my first class, and there were no seats left by the time I got there. In an entire auditorium, there were no seats left. And, it's not like I was the only person left standing either. There were probably around 30 of us who were either standing in the back or sitting on the stairs in one of the aisles.

The professors told us that there are 1000 of us taking this class. The largest class I've ever taken before this had around 100 people in it, and by the end of the class we were down to 40. When I went to Carleton University, I did have a class with around 400 students in it, but I don't count that one because I didn't finish the class. Even still, this class more than doubles that number.

So, I wasn't the only one standing. And, I was far from even being the latest student to arrive. There were some people who showed up behind me at fifteen and even twenty minutes past the time that the class began. I'm not so worried anymore about the first impression I left on that teacher. Partially because I doubt I'll even talk to him more than five times over this semester.

Regardless of that event, it feels a little strange to be back at university. It's definitely a very different atmosphere than there is at college, and Brock is, as you could expect, much different from Carleton. It is definitely making a unique first impression on me.

When I was going to Carleton, I planned ahead and moved to Ottawa early so I could find my way around better, which was definitely helpful. The school was large, but it was friendly and fairly easy to navigate. There was an entire network of tunnels underground that could take you around to most (if not all) of the buildings on campus. It was right next to the Rideau Canal, and it was just, well, big.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Hello, Fall!

As much as I love summer, my favourite season is fall, by far.

I love the weather, the colourful leaves falling to the ground, the holidays, the pumpkin spice everything, and being able to wear sweaters and other cute clothes. And, I love that most of the things I'm allergic to go away. On top of that all, I am also a huge nerd and I am super excited to get back into the swing of things with school.

Starting this week, I will be attending Brock University to study Psychology and Child and Youth Studies. The combined Bachelor of Arts degree will help me get closer to my goal of being an Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist or Speech-Language Pathologist. In just two days, I have my orientation! It's weird to think that I'm going to be a freshman for the third year in a row, but at least this year will be more productive in the grand scheme of things.

On a similar note, my job at Walmart is going well. We're down one of my coworkers in the Dairy department because he's gone for co-op for his school program, which means that there have been lots of hours for those of us who are left. I've been working 30+ hours every single week! It's been good for my bank account, though Matt and I have managed to spend a lot of it. I will continue to work through this school year, with somewhere around 20 to 25 hours a week. I'm hoping it won't be too much for me with school going on too.

Obviously this is not for the date of our concert because it's in Ottawa, but this gives the general idea.

One of those things that we spent all our money on, and another thing I'm looking forward to this fall, is another concert! Matt and I are going with his younger step-brother Hunter to see Dallas Smith perform in St. Catharines in October. We saw Dallas Smith in July at Trackside and it was so good that we decided we needed to see a show where he was the headliner. The opening acts are Lauren Alaina and the Cadillac Three, both of which we are looking forward to as well. Hunter has never been to a concert before, so that's exciting too! I think it's going to be a goal of mine now that I take each of Matt's siblings to their first concerts. We've already got Tyler's done, and now Hunter's is coming up in less than two months.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Hi Again

I know I've been gone from the blog for so long. Life just happened to take me away for a while, but I'm doing my best to get back on track. Are you wondering what I possibly could have been doing in the past few weeks to not be here at all? Well, here's the short list:

  • My old laptop finally died, and I couldn't get it to stay powered on for more than a minute at a time. I had to order my (fancy!!) new laptop, and wait for it to arrive. I love my new one, but I'll talk more about that after.
  • Matt had his first ever Enduro race at Merritville Speedway. What does that mean? It means I spent countless hours at his grandparents' house, helping him tear a car apart and put it back together. It also means I spent 15 hours painting a car for a half hour long event. It also means I got to sit being terrified for my boyfriend's life while he hurdled himself around in a circle with 45 other crazy drivers.
  • My work life has gotten crazy! I'm supposed to be maxing out at 27 hours a week, but lately I've been have up to 36! This week I worked Monday to Friday, with four of those days being from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm. By the time I was getting home from work, I was ready to fall asleep!
So, as usual, it's been one thing after another. I kept telling myself I'd get to it later. But, here I finally am!

I'm working on some new posts right now, so I hope you've all stuck around for me through this mess. As for right now, I'm going to talk a little about my awesome new laptop to show you what I treated myself with for the new school year!

I bought a brand new Dell Inspiron 2-in-1. 

I've been wanting to give a 2-in-1 laptop a shot, especially heading into university, and I'm so glad that I did. I love the versatility of being able to use a mouse and a full keyboard or being able to tap the screen and get where I want to be. 

It's a smaller laptop than my last one, but so far I actually like the size better. It's lighter, and I think will be better for school. It also is still very quick because I made sure to get an i5 core. I couldn't go down to an i3 or lower core anymore, I need the higher processing power. It makes a big difference for me.

I'm still undecided on the Windows 10 though, which is a little disappointing because I had no other option. It's the only thing I really don't like about it though!

I'm so happy so far with my new choice, and I'll be sure to update you if my opinion ever changes about it.

In other news, this weekend is Canal Days down here in Port Colborne and we are so excited! We headed out last night, but there are still three more official days of Canal Days. I'm so excited to spend the rest of the weekend off, and enjoy it.

So, that's all for today, but I promise this time, I will be back soon!

-Erika Elise

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Under Construction

It may have been a month or so ago that I last mentioned that I would be making some changes to the blog. I was not very specific at that time, and I'm still not going to give away all of my secrets just yet, but I am going to talk about some of the changes that are going to happen.

First of all, I'm looking at changing the colour scheme and background of the blog. While I still like the colours I originally started with, I don't know if it's quite right for what I want this blog to really be. I think I need something a little less plain, but I'm not planning on going too absurd or extreme.

I want to find something that looks good, and makes this blog feel more like my personality. I am actually thinking about using an image or a pattern for the background instead of just a solid colour. I think that would be a good way to make it more unique, and stand out a little bit more.

Secondly, I am going to rework the page tabs that you can choose from the top of the blog. I intend to introduce an entirely new page on the blog, which will hopefully become a big focus for us. I may change the order in which the tabs are found at the top, and add or take away as I feel is necessary.

Thirdly, I am intending to revamp the various series of posts that I have. I may be reducing the number of nail art posts that I write and share, because now that I'm working, I find my nail polish gets destroyed far too quickly. I may start writing some more posts about school in the fall, once it starts, because school is very important to me and I think it's important to talk about the impact of post-secondary education. I'm sure I will also get some other ideas as I'm working on it.

Lastly, for the past few months, I've been considering changing platforms. I'm not sure if Blogger/Blogspot is the right platform for my blog, because it has such limited features. I may move over to Wordpress to be able to have more opportunity for customization and freedoms. However, I am still a beginner to blogging and creating a website, so I have not yet made this decision. It may take a while before I am able to figure it out, but I'll be sure to let you all know!

So, that's pretty much it for the changes I'm working on right now. It may be a little imperfect here on the blog for a while as I work on making these changes, but be patient and it will only be getting better!

-Erika Elise

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Gone Fishing

One of my favourite summer pastimes involves sunshine, some fresh air, a lot of water, some colourful little bits, and a really long line. Yep, that's right, it's fishing.

Am I very good at it? No, not really.

Do I catch many fish? Also a no.

Do I still have fun doing it? Absolutely.

Matt and I finally got this year's fishing licenses on Saturday evening, and bass fishing just opened a week or two ago, which meant it was going to be time to out for the first time this season.

And, the past two nights, Matt and I spent fishing at different local places. Two nights ago we tried the marina right in town with very little luck, but last night we had a little more luck at the recreational canal.

Within the first five casts, Matt caught this guy here:

Unfortunately for this poor little guy, he got the hook caught right in the gills. Matt did his best to get him out as quickly as possible, and he swam away pretty darn fast.

He was a pretty big guy, especially for so early in the day.

Matt was very happy with his catch, especially after having such poor luck the day before. Nothing to scoff at there.

I, on the other hand, was much more enamored with this family of ducks. This mama and her six babies were swimming pretty quickly around us. I'm glad though, because it made it certain that we weren't even going to come close to hitting any of them.

Matt was not so happy about how much I loved the ducks, because I was actually entirely missing him catching the aforementioned fish.

Besides that first fish, we actually didn't catch any others yesterday. We had a couple pretty good bites, but nothing that actually involved pulling a fish out of the water.

What we hadn't been anticipating was the very dark grey clouds that were literally surrounding us. It was pretty wild to see the clouds grow darker and darker, and get closer and closer. We could literally see the rain in the distance. Then, the lightening started, but we could barely hear the thunder in the distance. We were quite concerned that it was going to come our way, and that we'd have to leave, but it never did.

I was taking a video of Matt casting his line, and managed to catch a few strikes of lightening on film too. It was so cool to watch it happening, and now I can prove it, too!

The storm pretty much hit all around us, but never made it over top of us. The clouds seemed to just keep appearing out of no where, because at first this other side was quite clear.

Eventually though, we did get hit by some rain. However, it was a sun shower, without the grey clouds above us. As we were heading into sunset, this made it extremely beautiful. I managed to catch this fantastic shot.

An absolutely gorgeous double rainbow over us and the canal. If you look closely at the canal, you can see the raindrops hitting the surface too. The rainbow just kept getting brighter and brither, with the colours appearing more clearly. Then, we were hit by the double rainbow over top of it.

The sunset also meant that we were right in time for the beautiful golden hour for taking pictures. I was just in such a good mood, regardless of my lack of success in catching fish, and the photos definitely reflect that.

I loved the way that the water just looked almost like watercolour paints. The reflections of the sky and clouds made it so unique.

Matt was also very happy with the weather and the fishing. He was not happy that I made him stop for a few minutes to try and get a good photo of us doing it. Oh well!

It was also a fun day fishing, because I got to try Matt's fishing rod with a baitcasting reel on it. It's a little more complicated than an open-face reel, but I really enjoyed using it. Matt has had some trouble with it, and says he actually prefers his open-face rod, which worked out well for me. 

It takes a bit of skill and practice to get good at it. Instead of just flipping open the reel, casting and letting go of the line, you push the button down, put your thumb on the reel, cast and let go, and then you have to put your thumb back on the line to prevent it from tangling up. You can adjust the tension, the brake and a few other things. It takes some getting used to for sure, but I was doing well, and I really liked the action required to use it.

Matt was pretty impressed with my success at using it, so I will probably continue to use it for the season.

Overall, I had a great time and I'm so excited to go again when we have the chance!

What's your favourite summer hobby? Have you learned any new skills this summer, so far? Or what are you planning to try? Leave me a comment below to let me know.

-Erika Elise

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Starts Here

As I keep saying in the posts I've been writing, I know I've been sort of absent from the blog for the past month or so. It's definitely a part of me reworking the blog, and coming up with better things to write about, but it's also about giving myself a break. It's helping me feel a lot better!

The other thing that is helping me feel a lot better is the fact that it's finally feeling like summer time. I am a summer baby, with my 20th birthday coming up this Wednesday on June 21st! On that note, it's hard to believe that I'm coming up to the end of my teenage years, but I'm also ready to move on to the next stage of my life. Just in general summer is a good time of year for me, and I'm so excited for everything coming up.

Here are a few of the things that have happened in the past month:

  • I started working regularly at my new job at Walmart. It's a lot of tough work lugging around crates of milk and pallets of dairy and frozen food, but I really enjoy my job. I've got a great department manager, and some really cool coworkers. And, I've been getting lots of hours, which is definitely making up for not working for 8 months!
  • Matt and I have been doing our best to make it out to the dirt track to support our friend Dan McKay of D & D Racing Canada. It's been tough with our work schedules and being extra tired, but we've made it out a few nights. This includes the Sunday night that Humberstone Speedway was rained out by torrential downpour! It's been a rough year for Humberstone, and a rough year for Dan, because he's continuing to have car issues each and every week. But, he's got a great attitude, and he loves the sport, so how can you not support that?
  • Matt just passed his first anniversary of owning his own car! It is super exciting because it was such a big deal for Matt to find his first car, he's taken care of it all himself, and his insurance finally went down by $70 a month. It's awesome for us, as now we can redirect that $70 for other purposed.
  • Matt had his first co-op meeting, because in January 2018, Matt starts his first co-op term! He will get the chance to work for a company in his field of mechanical engineering technologies for eight months. It will be great to gain experience, and for Matt to have the chance to earn a little more money than he does now. He's a great hands-on worker, and I'm excited to see him get his first shot. When he graduates from his program he will have a year and a half of experience in his field.
  • I had my university course selection! I am now registered in my five courses for the year, but I'm still waiting for the chance to be able to switch two of them out. I'm currently registered in a beginners biology, and a geography class, but so long as all goes as planned, in July I will be registering in a higher level biology course and the introduction to child and youth studies. There are only just over 80 spots left in the child and youth studies course though, so I am very nervous! If nothing else, I hope to get high up on the waiting list.
  • Matt and I were able to enjoy the evening of 40 degree Celcius weather at the local Marina! It was so nice to go out and walk around. We sat on a dock, watched some fish and turtles, met a sweet little dog, and got some awesome locally made ice cream. Another day, we also went to a different local waterfront and walked on the beach for a while. You can see some of the pictures from these adventures throughout this post!

Things that are coming up over the next few months of summer:
  • Matt and I are headed back to Ottawa later this week! We leave on Wednesday night to head to Belleville, and then we will spend Thursday and Friday in Ottawa, before driving back home Friday night. This week is my 20th birthday, and my mother's 50th birthday, so it's time to spend some time with the family. Oh, and my aunt and uncle welcomed their super sweet and adorable son to the world just over two months ago, so it's time to go meet my baby cousin!
  • Matt and I are going to spend three nights camping, just the two of us, over the Canada Day weekend. We are also going to the Trackside Music Festival in London on that weekend, where we will go see Thomas Rhett for the second time this year! Kip Moore, Caanen Smith, Dallas Smith, The Brothers Osborne, River Town Saints, James Barker Band, and many more will also be playing, and I can't wait to be there. We bought a beautiful new tent for our camping trip after our tent last year broke and flooded in the rain storm!
  • Matt will (hopefully) be running his step-dad's old car in a demolition derby! We have not done much to get him or the car ready yet, and the days are going to be counting down soon enough. It will be so much fun, as long as I can do my best to not be terrified.
  • I'm going to hopefully be getting both a new phone and a new laptop! I've had my phone for two years, and my laptop for four now. The phone I could stand to keep for a while if I needed to, but my contract is up and Matt desperately needs a new phone. So, Matt will inherit my old phone and I will likely be getting the new Samsung Galaxy S8. If not, maybe the Galaxy S7. My laptop on the other hand is actually falling apart, and I desperately need a new one. I would like to get a 2-in-1 Convertible laptop that I can use as either a laptop or a tablet. I was thinking about getting a separate laptop and tablet, but I need at least an Intel i3 processor on my computer, so it will likely be more feasible to get just the laptop. I am hoping that at the end of the summer I will be able to go to the States and get an HP Spectre x2 detachable laptop. It's a pricier option, but it has either an i5 or i7 processor, and actually full detaches from the keyboard! It would be the best choice for me, from what I've read.
  • I just yesterday made an order through Sephora's website, and I'm looking forward to getting all my products! It was a birthday present from Matt, and I cannot wait to show you what I got. My collection is quickly expanding, and I'm so excited to be able to work with more of it. My skills are slowly improving, and lately I've been working on foundation/concealer application. I should have some posts coming up related to that!

And, in the sake of not making the post drone on and on, I'm going to end there for today! Make sure you're coming back to see what I'm up to in the next little while because once I get through this ultra-long work week, I'm working on making more posts and sharing more cool stuff. It's going to be great, I promise!

How's your summer going? Leave me a comment below to let me know what you're up to, and what you want to hear from me.

-Erika Elise

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

This Week in Nail Art: Cheating

Today, I have a little spin on my normal nail art posts. Usually, I post something that I designed by hand with my nail polish. Instead, today, I have nail art to show you that easy, convenient and design-wise is fool-proof! It's a little bit of cheating, really.

It took me five minutes to complete this. Now, you're probably wondering exactly how that's possible.

This nail art is brought to you by Bonne Belle nail polish strips! They cost me exactly $1.13 at Dollarama here in Canada. That's right, just one dollar and tax!

I bought these polish strips because I was skeptical of the quality or how well they would work if they can be sold so cheaply. I know the Sally Hansen and other name brand versions go for $13-$16 for the same amount. I've never tried them before, due to the cost, but I do have a friend who often used them when she found them on sale.

This weekend, I finally got around to trying them before Matt and I went to the dirt track on Sunday night. The method of application was shockingly simple and forgiving.

I did them at the dinner table with people running around, and pets, too, and I still managed to get a final result that I was happy with.

All you have to do is make sure your nails are clean and dry, and file them. Then, you follow the simple directions on the packaging. Remove the plastic strip from the front of the polish strips, and then the one on the back that is covering the adhesive. Then, you align it in the center of your nails with the edge by your cuticle, and press down, smoothing it in place. The strip will tear off at the edge if you press down firmly, and then you can file the edges smooth once more.

And, that's it! No top coat necessary, but you could if you wanted to.

Now, I am going to show you the up close and personal of each of the nails on my left hand. They are not perfect, but considering this was my first attempt at using these nail polish strips, I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. It was super surprisingly easy.

My biggest issue, if you look at my thumb for example, is that my nails are very wide, and so nail polish strips and fake nails aren't always appropriately sized for me. It's not the end of the world as long as it gets close, but it could be a little frustrating depending on the style.

Overall, I was very impressed with the application. The strength of the polish is another story entirely though, which I'm going to share a bit about.

I put these strips on my nails on Sunday afternoon, and since then I have gone to the dirt track and I also worked a six hour shift yesterday. The nail polish is chipping off the edges, but it's surprisingly holding up over most of the surface of the nail. I work a very active job at Walmart, with lots of lifting, grabbing and moving, so I don't expect this stuff to hold up well. But, it's surprised me so far.

I'll have to see how many more shifts it holds up acceptably for.

This is definitely a positive review in my books, and if you're hoping to give nail polish strips a try, check out your local Dollarama in the beauty aisle, because that's where I got mine! Definitely worth the price I paid.

Do you have a secret inexpensive beauty product? What is it, where do you get it and how much does it cost? Leave me a comment below to let me know, and I might try it. It may be featured in a review soon!

-Erika Elise

Sunday, June 04, 2017

I'm a Bad Blogger

The first few months I spent writing this blog, I was a great blogger. I wrote lots of differing and interesting things, and I wrote them on time. I spent a lot of my time creating good content to share with you via my little blog, and trying to constantly work on and upgrade the experience on the page.

Then, life happened.

I had a fairly significant anxiety break down because of the stress of school, and I'm still working on getting over that. It really messed me up, and I haven't had that much anxiety in a long time. It affected me deeply and changed a lot of plans. I will make my way through all of it, but I can't change that it happened.

And, now, I've just started working at Walmart as a Dairy and Frozen Food Associate. The good news is that I'm really enjoying it! I've worked three shifts so far, including my first training shift on the computer. That first day was kind of boring, but since then I've had much more interesting things to do. I've been stocking various coolers and shelves, moving stock around, and helping to organize the cooler after we get shipments. It's actually a lot of physical work, and it's made me so tired.

Which is how I've become such a bad blogger.

I'm not making my old schedule of Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. I haven't done nail art in a while. I'm just not here. And, I feel bad.

I'm going to work on creating a new schedule or at least a system for more regular posts. There's going to be a lot of different things to talk about throughout my working summer, my time at the dirt tracks for racing, and heading into a new school year. I'm going to be making some changes, and I'm going to be sharing them with you.

So, if you like hearing about racecars and the hell we go through to make them work well enough for the track; about real life experiences in trying to get a degree; true reviews of different products for beauty, electronics, food and more; life experiences with chronic pain and illness, and the many appointments it requires; or anything else going on in my life and my planning for the future, stick around.

It's going to be a transition to the new schedule, but I promise it will get better and more regular. You've just got to trust me for now. I'm still the same person, just growing and changing, and as I change, the blog will too. There is so much important stuff coming, and the days are going by fast, but I won't ever just forget about this blog. You can guarantee that.

As for today, I don't actually have any finished nail art to show you. I do have some pictures from the past week or so to share, and you can see a hint of the things we've been up to. Some of them will give you a glimpse into the future!

- Erika Elisei

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

4 Things I Learned from Dropping out of University

As it turns out, this post that I had scheduled to be posted yesterday didn't go through on time. So, now it looks like I have taken an extended hibernation over the weekend. But, besides my break from nail art, I'm heading back on track and this post is here for you today!


As most of you know, if you've been here since the beginning of this blog, I dropped out of university in the third week in. It was the Fall of 2015, I had just turned 18-years-old two and a half months prior, and I was out of my parents' houses for the first time. I was starting a prestigious program at Carleton University in Ottawa, and I thought it was going to be a great time. I had done well throughout all of high school, and I couldn't think of why it wouldn't be similar in university.

Well, as it turns out, it was much different than what I expected. I went to all of my classes, did whatever assignments I was given, and I talked to the people in my class. I was actually very lucky, because I was living with my uncle rent free, I enjoy cooking, and I got my textbooks secondhand for cheap. I was even luckier, because a few of my classmates and friends from high school were in the same city.

Friday, May 26, 2017

My Current Top 7 Guilty Pleasures

Usually, I post my second blog of the week on Thursdays, but this week I wasn't able to. Why not?

Because I finally had my orientation at Walmart so I can start working! It was a quick orientation, only lasting just around two hours instead of the suggested length of three hours or even longer. There were about sixteen of us going through orientation, and though the majority was cashiers, there were a lot of different positions represented. As far as I know, I was the only dairy and frozen food associate, though.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dirt Track State of Mind

If you follow me on Instagram, you're going to have an idea of what this post is about. If you don't follow me on Instagram, you should head over and follow me @ CreativeCleverBeautiful. That way you'll be able to keep up to date too!

Despite the fact that I was supposed to be resting this week, I've spent three out of four nights over the long weekend out. And, we were out last Tuesday, too. Where could we possibly be going that Matt could drag me out of bed with my back pain? The dirt track. Or, more correctly, the dirt tracks.

Last Tuesday, we headed out to the Merritville Speedway to watch the Go Kart races. It was fairly uneventful, because the Go Karts are on the small track, and it's really only fairly young kids up to teenagers. But, our friend Kat was racing, and we had yet to see her race, and it was nice to be out of the house.

It was really starting to feel like summer, but that may have been because it was a shorter night than the weekend races and it didn't really get dark while we were there. Unfortunately, I was unprepared to go out, and my phone was dying so I couldn't really take any photos while I was there.

The photo I did get was a rather concerning one though:

While we were sitting in the grandstands, Matt reached down and said "huh".

When I asked him what was wrong, he pulled his hand back to reveal a random nut. Because, you know, that's always what you want to see while sitting in a contraption of metal and wood more than just a few feet off the ground.

The good news is that we did not experience the collapse of the grandstands, and we were able to see the races finished.

However, that helped Matt get it into his head that we needed to head out to Oshweken Speedway on Friday night. We left as soon as we could after Matt got home from work on Friday night, to make the hour and a bit drive out to Oshweken. One of the great things about Oshweken is that the regular admission is the same as it is for Merritville, but with better facilities and a little more excitement.

We were a little late to the show, but we made it just in time to see Dan McKay (#13) in his mini-stock heat. Dan is Matt's friend from college, they're in the same program, and definitely united for the love of cars and redneck car-based sports. Matt's been helping Dan get his car up to racing condition, and helping after the various issues that have come up since then.

Monday, May 22, 2017

This Week in Nail Art: Inspiration

If you read my post on Thursday this week, you'll know that I spent an evening at Urgent Care and ended up with some pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and a recommendation of almost-bed-rest. As a result, I have gotten absolutely nothing done this week. I didn't even get anything done for my nails this week. I didn't even paint my nails a single colour at any time this week, so I can't show you anything. But, I have been working on some ideas for what I'd like to try in the coming weeks.

Over the past few weeks, I've spent a lot of time going through various stores. Whenever Matt's at work and I need to go somewhere, I have to leave early in the morning with him and spent the rest of the day doing something else. I'll wander around whatever stores are nearby, even though I don't have money to buy anything. I've found a few things that have appealed to me, especially some nail art stuff because I'm trying to expand my collection so I can try more different styles and designs.

I'm going to interject right here to say that I started writing this yesterday, on Sunday, but this long weekend has really slid past me. I thought I had time to get it done, and then all of a sudden it was 1:00 am, and I needed to get to bed. Instead, I'm finishing the post now.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Adventures in Health Care

Last night, I had another adventure with health care in the Niagara Region.

For the past few weeks, I've been dealing with pretty strong back pain. In fact, it's been about four or maybe even five weeks since it started. It's bad enough pain that it hurts to bend over, pick stuff up, twist, walk up/down stairs, jump, reach, sit up, stand up, and pretty much anything else. You can imagine how difficult that makes it for me to do my daily activities. I've been trying to rest and let it get better, because I didn't specifically injure it at any point in time.

But, as the weeks go by, it wasn't getting any better, and for most of yesterday, it was extremely painful and worse than it had been. Normally, I would go to my family doctor, but the only doctor I have down here at the moment is the school clinic doctor who I can't see right now because I'm between schools. I also would have chosen a walk-in clinic as my next option, but I don't drive and Matt was at work, which meant I wouldn't be able to get a drive to the next town over for the walk-in clinics before they closed. So, when Matt did get home that meant I'd have to go to the Urgent Care Center.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Big News!

If you've been around for the past week, you probably remember that I mentioned I had some big news coming, but that you'd have to wait until Tuesday afternoon to find out what. Well, guess what? Tuesday is finally here!

So, what's the big news?

Well, I'm sitting out here in Matt's car in the Walmart parking lot, because I had a meeting with the store manager at 12:15 pm, and I got a job offer!

Unless something crazy happens with my background check, I'll be starting soon as a Dairy and Frozen Food Associate. Walmart Canada offers a competitive wage to all staff, so I actually will be making above minimum wage for the first time in my life. It's pretty exciting, and I'm happy it only took me this long to find a job.

The best part about being offered a job at Walmart, though, is that it's not just a summer job, it's a part-time permanent position!

That means I'll be able to keep working here in the fall, when I'm in school, and have less financial stress.

It's an all around great day, and now I've just got to wait for background check to go through and then orientation will start.

And today, I'll be waiting for Matt to get off work and we'll be getting lunch together on his break.

One of my favorites today, Quesada burritos. We haven't had them in months and I needed something special today!

I hope you're all having a great week so far! More posts upcoming this week!

-Erika Elise

Sunday, May 14, 2017

This Week In Nail Art: What Am I Wearing?

This week's nail art post is going to be short and sweet. All I've got for you today is the photos of what I had on my nails this week.

I've got Nicole by OPI's The Next CEO, and my brand new CND Creative Play polish in Cherry Glo Round. They look really cool in all different lights, and I'm super happy with the results.

It's a really fun colour, and I like it enough that I'm planning on using it again this week to put on my nails before I head in for my third interview! Oh wait, you don't know about that yet... You'll have to come back Tuesday afternoon to hear about what I'm talking about. It's still a little secret for now!

I hope you're all having a wonderful Mother's Day with those you love. It's a busy weekend for sure.

-Erika Elise

Friday, May 12, 2017

Life With Chronic Illness: Doctors Everywhere

In the past two weeks, I've had more doctor's appointments than I have had in a long time. I was lucky enough to see a whole bunch of specialists and get tests that I haven't had the chance to before. Nothing has really been too conclusive yet, but they're all steps along the way.

The first appointment I had last week was a consult with a non-invasive cardiologist, who also has credentials in internal medicine and gerontology. In fact, when I first found out what doctor I was going to see and looked him up, I was a little taken aback by the fact that I was referred to a gerontologist. After all, I'm not even twenty yet!

That appointment went pretty well. The doctor I saw was older than any of my previous doctors, but he seemed to be very up to date on new medicine. That made me very happy, because living with chronic illness means that there often isn't a lot of information out there, and the information there is available is often very new. It can be hard to find a doctor who is even willing to read the newer studies, let alone one who is already caught up.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Catch Up & Pinterest Dump #2

Now that I'm back to writing for the blog, I've got to get you all caught up on what's been going on in my life lately. It's been pretty busy, and it actually seems to have made it harder to write, because it's overwhelming. There's just so much to choose from, and so many things to tell.

While I've been hiding from responsibility, I've been on Pinterest. It's just such a great way for me to avoid stress, and not have to deal with my problem of getting back to the blog.

So, today, I'm going to give you a list of what posts will be coming up soon, and then I'm going to show you some more Pinterest recipes and posts that I've been looking at.

First things first, here are the posts that I will be writing soon:

Sunday, May 07, 2017

This Week in Nail Art: CND Vinylux

This week, I got my package in the mail from ChickAdvisor Premium! Matt bought me the subscription for our anniversary back in March, and I've been waiting to receive it. It was full of all sorts of goodies, and I was excited to finally get it.

I actually got three bottles of nail polish in it, but this week I'm sharing two of them with you:

The CND Vinylux Weekly Polish and Weekly Topcoat. The polish is in the shade Blush Teddy, which I already absolutely adore.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

A Moment of Honesty

I know that I said I would be back after this Wednesday to my regular blogging schedule, but unfortunately, things didn't go how I expected them to.

Wednesday was the exam for my upgrading math course.

It was a self-learning course that I started in February. I meant to get more of the work done ahead of time, but I ended up finishing thirteen lessons within the 20 days leading up to the exam. It was going pretty well, and the first thirteen lessons were marked before I started the exam, with an average of 92%. It should have gone well.

It really should have. But, it didn't.

I should have put more time during the college semester working on it gradually, and I probably should have focused more in the last week of the course. I should have spent time reviewing my past lessons, and making sure I remembered all of the lessons.

I was overwhelmed. I was really, really overwhelmed. I was more overwhelmed than I was with the entire school year.

In the past two weeks, I have had worse anxiety than I can every remember having. Usually, I can just work through it and I'll be alright, but that didn't happen this time. I was stressed and upset quite a bit, and the day of my exam things went even worse.

I woke up, and when I went to walk down the stairs to go shower and have something to eat, I hit my head on the ceiling of the staircase. Not only did I hit my head, but I hit a nail in the ceiling and split my scalp open. I thought I was alright at first, but then I reached up to touch my hair and it was wet. I was bleeding, fairly badly. I actually had blood pouring down my face.

I had to hold pressure on it for ten minutes before it would stop, and I couldn't stop panicking, because I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital to get stitches. I was panicking about it because not only did I have my exam at 6:00 pm, but I had a doctor's appointment that afternoon. Cancelling the doctor's appointment would have cost me $75.00. I knew by then that it wasn't going to be a good day.

But, the bleeding stopped. So, I took a shower, and I started working on the last lesson for my math class. I didn't get it finished, but I figured I would have three hours after my doctor's appointment to finish it and finish studying.

Matt's stepdad drove me to my appointment and I arrived fifteen minutes early, and I waited. I waited, and I waited, and I waited. My appointment time came, and then it went by. I waited more, and more. Other people came and went, and I was still waiting.

I finally got called in half an hour after my appointment time. The appointment went pretty well, and I got some options and next steps, but that's not the point of this story. I didn't get out of the appointment until more than an hour and a half after my intended appointment time. So, I didn't get home until after 4:00 pm.

I tried to finish my math lesson quickly, but before I knew it, it was time to drive to school where my exam was taking place.

On the drive there, I managed to get another cut that bled quite a bit. I thought maybe I would luck out because that was the third bad thing to happen to me that day, and we always hear that bad things come in threes.

Finally, we got there and I got to my exam. There was one other person who was writing an exam that day, and we were both writing the same Advanced Functions exam.

It was only three pages long, just seventeen questions. The problem was that as I looked at these questions, my mind was almost completely blank. I couldn't remember how to solve any of the problems.

And, there was no happy ending here. I could barely finish the exam, but I tried to write something down for each of the questions. It was horrible and embarrassing. It absolutely killed me to hand it in like that.

I don't know if I even made the 50% I need to have passed the whole course. I have no idea. All of that work may have been for nothing. And, if it was for nothing, then I am no longer eligible for admission to the program I was supposed to start in the fall.

And, there's nothing left for me to do about it. Wednesday was the last day of the program for this year, and there are no retakes.

I am left here waiting for the answer, to find out if I can continue into the Medical Sciences program or if I need to find something new to do in September.

It sucks. It hurts a lot. I don't really know what to do.

So, I took a few more days off. I needed time to recoup and work on my mental health. It hasn't been great, and it's important to take time to take care of ourselves. I'm working on getting back on schedule now, but I needed some more days of quiet. I hope you can understand that. There's lots for me to talk about now, and I hope you'll keep coming back over the summer as things will pick up on the blog!

I've missed writing for it here, so there's lots yet to come.

Here's to being honest, and the uncertainty of what's yet to come.

-Erika Elise

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Beautiful Freakshow Tour

On Tuesday this week, Matt and I went to Hamilton for Dean Brody's Beautiful Freakshow Tour, with High Valley and the James Barker Band.

I saw Dean Brody back in 2012, just after Canadian Girls became such a big hit. I love some of his new music, and as soon as I saw High Valley and James Barker Band were opening, I knew I needed to go!

It ended up being such a great concert, and Matt and I had a great time in Hamilton during the day too. We went to a garden centre, Limeridge Mall, and out for dinner before the show.

James Barker Band was up first, and after their recent singles I was extremely excited to see them. They're a band from Ontario, so it was super exciting to see some great local talent.

It was really tough to get good pictures from how far away we were, so I'm sorry I can't offer some better visuals.

Their set was short, but it had the three songs of theirs that I knew, and a few more. Lawnchair Lazy was their single last year that really took off, and then after that was I'm Just Sayin'. I'm Just Sayin' is the song that really turned me on to their music. They really had a great stage presence, and they were very infectious to watch.

The one thing Matt and I noticed that seemed kind of strange was that the band members didn't all look like they fit into the band or the genre.

Regardless of that, they played very well together and they were a lot of fun to watch. I'm so happy to have gotten the chance to see them, and I will definitely be on the lookout to see them again sometime!

Up next was High Valley, composed of the Rempel brothers from Alberta.

They've recently been gaining popularity in the United States, which is unusual for a Canadian country band. They've been on my concert wish list for quite a while now, and I actually almost went to see them when I was living in Ottawa.

High Valley played a good mix of their newer songs, and some of the older ones. It's particularly interesting because they used to have a third brother who was in the band, but when he left the other two continued as a duo with the backup band.

They had a lot of fun while they were on stage, and actually played a cover of John Michael Montgomery,

They were trying their hardest to get everyone moving in that little concert hall, but regardless of how well that worked, they were great performers. You really can't blame them either with it being a Tuesday night.

And, the grand finale, of course, was Dean Brody himself.

He's certainly a weird guy, but he had a lot more success getting everyone on their feet. Everyone seemed happy

The most talked about moment of the night would have to be his dual chainsaw wielding solo. Apparently, last time he toured he had a chainsaw that he brought out, but he felt that this time he needed to outdo that. People were roaring and screaming along, which made it that much better.

The weirdest thing I found about the show was that it cleared off before 10:40 pm, whereas I've never before been to a concert that ended before 11:00 pm!

I've been trying to set up the few videos I took on Youtube, but it's slow going. I had a moment of terror during the show because one of the ushers came up to a lady behind me and told her she's not allowed to take any videos. Thankfully, I never got caught taking the videos I did, and I was able to get a whole song from each act. Or, at least, close to one because I missed the last twenty or so seconds from the James Barker Band song I recorded. Oops.

It was a really great concert, and I'm happy we were able to go after such a stressful semester.

Keep an eye out for new posts on my Youtube Channel as I am uploading videos from Tuesday!

-Erika Elise

See what seats are still available for other shows here.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

This Week in Nail Art: Current Top 5 Polishes

This week, I decided to show you my five favourite polishes that I've obtained in the past year. I don't have to many new ones, but I did get some that I really love and with the stress of the past week, I hadn't been feeling up for some actual art.

So, my top five favourite nail polishes right now are, in no particular order:

1. Therapewter by Sally Hansen Colour Therapy

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Military Children: I Was a Lucky One

April is Military Child Appreciation Month, and it's a month of appreciation that is well overdue. I have spent all my life as the child of military veterans, and a long period of time as the child of an active military member.

I was a lucky one.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Back to the Blog

Over the past week, I took a break from blogging to be able to focus on my school work for exams and the end of the semester. My semester officially ends tomorrow, and I have just under two weeks left in my upgrading course, so I'm ready to start blogging again. There's still lots of work to do, but I'm not as stressed as I was, and I have time to share some of what's been up in the past week.

Yesterday, I shared some pictures in a Facebook post that show some of what I've been up to in the past week when I wasn't studying. Without explanation, they probably don't mean much. So, today I'm going to tell you a bunch of those mini stories!