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