What Happened To Me? Looking For Opinions.

So the other day, I’m standing in the middle of the little shop I work in, the whole place is busy. There are 2 other staff members running the only 2 registers we have in our shop. Also, this is the type of shop where you can see pretty much everything and everyone from wherever you are in the shop, so at this point I’m looking around at all the customers.

Some are laughing together, some are showing excitement over some piece of merchandise and telling whomever they’re shopping with. Basically, everyone’s going about their business, nobody needs help with anything and all seems to be right with the world. Then a weird sensations falls over me.

The only way I can explain it is how I imagine someone would feel being in the music videos or movies where there’s a single character in the middle of a scene. This character remains unmoved and unchanged but the scenery and activity around them changes rapidly. That sort of feeling that you’re there but you’re not really.

Everything is fast and slow all at the same time. I’m looking at how everyone here seems to have no cares in the world. They all appear to be so secure in the moment, secure in life and I think to myself, “What is life really?” Everyone has something inside, some call it spirit, some call is soul, they’re all the same thing, you get the idea even though there are different labels.

My next thoughts go as follows: “How can everyone in this room be so secure in their lives when nobody understands what powers us?” “Nobody knows what happens after that light goes out either.” There are many guesses and many speculations but the facts are the nobody has solid proof.

I wasn’t thinking these things in a condescending way either. I wasn’t trying to point fingers at everyone else in the room as if to say, “How could they?!” It was simply thoughts, neutral, popping in and out of my mind while I was somewhat separate from everything, yet 100% in the very middle of it, all at the same time. My final thoughts were: “I wonder what actually happens when you die?”, “I wonder if the dead miss this, miss being alive?”, “I think I’m going to miss this when I die.”

Just then I’m snapped back into the store by a customer asking me a question. I don’t miss a beat, I help them with whatever it was and carry on with the day. An unsettled feeling stays with me the rest of the day and I tell me fiancé about the whole experience too. I don’t know what happened or what triggered such a thing but it was incredibly interesting.

What do you guys think happened? Has this ever happened to any of you? Do you think you’ll miss the rollercoaster of being alive?

Ashley Butler

Life Beyond Money Problems

Since birth, I’ve never really been free of money problems until a few short months ago. Not of my own doing, but because I was blessed. When you live with money problems life can be hard, there’s no denying that. However, when you have money problems the solution is pretty straight forward – get money. The path there may be far from straight forward but the premise remains simple.

So, why I’m I talking about this? Why am I telling you things you likely already know about having money problems? Well, because most people don’t ever get out of them to experience the problems you face when the money problems are settled. I’m by no means rich, just to set that completely straight, I’m just not struggling in a mountain of debt anymore. Maybe I could be thrown back into the struggle one day, who really knows what life can bring, but for now I’m out the other side of that set of problems.

I’ve been struggling quite a bit lately, mental health wise and I think it could be linked to being past my money problems. I do realize how odd that will sound to people who haven’t been in a similar situation. I also realize how this whole post may sound pretentious and boastful but I just ask that you hear me out and try to keep an open mind.

Think for just a second, what would you work toward if you weren’t trying so hard to pay your bills or start building some kind of a savings cushion for a just in case scenario? Maybe you’d pick up a hobby that you can’t afford to pick up now? Maybe you’d travel? Maybe you’d do many things…. that’s what I thought when I was in the midst of my debt struggle too.

The trouble with all that is, without purpose and direction all those things seem frivolous (at least to me). Finding your purpose is tricky though, it’s not something you can simply throw money at to solve the riddle. It’s not something you can feel like you’re working toward every day that you go to your regular job out in the world.

After years of attempting to fight my way out of debt, I got stuck in a certain mode, every payday getting closer and closer to the goal of achieving that debt free day. To have it suddenly gone was fun for awhile, I won’t even lie, but I miss that reward of taking each step. Getting closer and closer to something big I was working toward had a sort of excitement and gave a sense of achievement that’s simply not there anymore. It was such a big part of my life, now that it’s gone there are so many questions I’d never even thought of that I just don’t have answers to.

What do I want? Before this was simple, I couldn’t really have anything because staying on top of all my debt was the focus. Sure I’d treat myself, probably more often than I should have, but that’s somehow just different. I always felt held back by the debts, even when I’d treat myself here and there, so I never had to think about what I want in life.

What is my purpose? Again, something you don’t have the luxury of worrying too much about when money problems are overwhelming your life. What I’m I even doing? Why am I here? Where am I supposed to be going? Questions…. with no answer and no clear way to reach one. Like flailing in the wind with no direction. You just can’t throw money at this kind of stuff.

Ashley Butler

Going Through The Motions

Feeling dead inside, hollow and empty isn’t really a high energy time. It’s kind of a more autopilot time. A time where you literally just float through life and go through the motions like you’re alive, when you feel like you barely are.

You might get up out of bed each day even when you’d rather stay laying there. You might have a shower and get ready for work. The shower doesn’t feel like it once did, you can barely feel anything. Everything feels mundane and as if it’s for no reason. You may even question why you’re forcing yourself to go through all these motions of life that you’d rather not show up for.

When you get to work, people may be laughing and joking and having fun little banter back and forth. Maybe you have the energy to fake it, maybe you don’t, but none of it’s fun to you. You may even start feeling like a fraud in your own life.

After work you go home for the day and sit on the couch, mindlessly scrolling or watching TV. Your house is a disaster but you don’t have it in you to clean it or even care that it’s a mess. You’re spiralling and it is what it is.

But then something happens. I don’t know what it is. Maybe you see something that lights the fire back up inside you, maybe you hear it. Suddenly you have a direction, a goal, a purpose and something you deem meaningful to work on. You suddenly feel alive, things are brighter, you feel the water when you shower and you clean up your home. In that vast emptiness inside there’s suddenly a flame.

All is well, once again. For now.

Ashley Butler

My Top 5 Nintendo Switch Games

I got my Switch just over a month ago now and therefore I only have a few games anyway, but I thought I would celebrate the games I love anyway! In a world where so much is negative we’ve got to focus on what makes us happy sometimes.

Animal Crossing New Horizons

Yes, yes, I’m pretty much like every other Nintendo Switch user out there. I got through a whole lot of the game in just the first month of having my Switch. With being laid off I had a lot of time on my hands. In saying that, I recently reset my game because I feel I went through it all a little fast. This time around I want to play the game how I think it was probably more intended to be played – slow and easy. I don’t think it was all meant to be achieved in just a month and therefore, since I was getting bored, I reset. Still addicted regardless.

Island Saver

This game is actually 100% free and so, so fun. Long story short, the basic idea is that you go to dirty, polluted islands and clean them up to save the animals. You have a suction type gun that sucks up bottles and water while also being able to shoot those same things out. Once you clean there are animals that come to life (actually called bankimals) because they give you coins once they’ve had their fill to eat and made a full recovery.

Spyro Trilogy

This pack of games is such a blast from the past for me. Funny thing is, I only remember ever having an original Nintendo growing up so I’m really not 100% sure where I ran into this game as a child but it was so fun! You’re a little purple dragon and you go around collecting gems and saving other dragons. Such a cute game honestly.

Fitness Boxing

This is a get up and move around sort of game. It reminds me of Guitar Hero or that Dance Dance game where you press the buttons with your feet. The main goal of this one is to land punches in time with the game and land the correct type punches as well. In theory, it’s a super easy game but in reality it can be quite challenging and I always break a sweat. A super fun workout game if you’re looking for one. This one’s an addiction for me but it makes my arms and shoulders so sore that I can’t play it every day.

Zumba

I think everyone knows what Zumba is for the most part, but if you don’t it’s a dancing game. It’s a lot like Fitness Boxing in that you have to get up and move around for it. It’s kind of like being in a mini dance class. I like the music options and just the overall vibe.

If you’re looking at getting a Nintendo Switch or you’re just looking for new games I recommend all of these. They’ve so far, kept me entertained for hours. Let me know what you think if you end up trying any out or have played these already!

Ashley Butler

Blue vs White vs All vs Black Lives Matter

It’s really angering that in 2020 we are still dealing with issues like this but since we are I really just want to take a second to talk about the different ‘lives matter’ movements I’ve heard in the last few weeks. I’ve really been irritated by some of what I’ve been hearing lately.

I’m going to start with Blue. I would like to make it clear that I have nothing what-so-ever against police officers in a general sense but I don’t know why blue lives matter is a thing. This one is the one that makes me the most mad. It’s not even close to the same as the others in my opinion. Nobody is born a blue life. Becoming a blue life is a choice, period. No blue life just accidentally became that without knowing the risks. If they somehow did, in some world, they still have a choice to quit and stop being a blue life. Race is not like this at all, obviously. You can just quite being black white or any other race. Blue lives matter in response to the black lives matter movement is infuriating to me. The disrespect is unreal. This should not be a movement, period, in my opinion, especially in the context it’s coming out in.

Okay, let’s talk about white lives matter. I don’t know in what world everyone else has been living in but as far as I know this group of people have never had issues that other races have, especially of the systematic sort. As a white woman I can tell you I’ve never feared police officers, I mean, unless I was doing something wrong, (I’m not perfect) but, it’s also not been the same fear, that black men and women feel. My fear is more of getting in trouble for what I actually did; not dying, wrongful imprisonment etc etc. White lives should not be a movement as far as I’m concerned. We have never had this kind of issue. In fact we’ve always had the opposite, having governments (at least in Canada and the USA) that were majority white. We have always been the oppressors. Having a white lives matter movement in response to the black lives matter movement is almost just as ridiculous the blue lives movement.

All of you in firm support of the all lives matter movement, I understand you. To me this is the least offensive and disrespectful, but even so, in response to the black lives matter movement, it’s inappropriate and here’s why. What kind of change does saying ‘all lives matter’ bring about for the black people being targeted in the streets? What specific things are we calling attention to by saying something as vague as ‘all lives matter’? You might argue that it’s calling for basic kindness, that everyone should be able to live and love and be respected for who they are. While I agree that everyone absolutely should, if this fundamental idea was enough, issues like we have today would not be happening. While I understand this point of view, it’s not enough. To just throw the blanket statement that ‘all lives matter’ on the current issues and call it a day is the lazy approach. It promotes no change, it just leave things the way they are and that’s not enough. All lives matter does not address racism at all and that’s the problem with it. It’s a warm and fuzzy idea that I would love to see one day but it’s simply not happening at this time and that is why we’re here. Racism needs to be a addressed before getting here.

Black lives need our attention. Black lives are the ones being senselessly killed. How can a police officer who has the duty to serve and protect continue to kill someone while they beg for their life with their last breath? How is that serving anyone by themselves? How is that protecting anyone at all? When the black community (and others) want to speak up and demand to be treated better they should be listened to, period. There should be no response to distract from the main issue by bringing the other races or even this ‘blue’ into the mix. Black lives need to matter more than they do right now period. End of story. No distractions, just a call for change. It’s sad that there has to be a call for such basic respect but clearly if it was happening there wouldn’t be a call for it.

Black lives matter. Period.

Ashley Butler

Stand With & Protect #blacklivesmatter

I have to admit, before I get into it, that up until now I’ve been for the most part blind and naive about racism in the world. I always knew it existed but I also thought a lot of the things that would happen were just bad people. I didn’t think that these bad people were necessarily racist, just bad generally. As a white woman I understand that’s part of my privilege. I want to share the story that got it all to click for me so that maybe it can click for other people who, like me, were just blind and naive.

A house was on fire. A neighbour saw what was happening and ran to another neighbour’s house to ask them for help putting out the fire. This neighbour said, “but isn’t my house important too?” …this is exactly like saying “all lives matter”. Yes, all lives do matter, your house is important too BUT it’s not the one on fire right now. That’s the difference and that’s why #blacklivesmatter is important and needs to be taken seriously. All lives cannot matter until black lives do, period!

Larry and I have had hypothetical conversations about this before, back when I was still blind to the gravity of the issue (for those of you unaware, Larry is my fiancé. He also happens to be a beautiful black man). He would ask me what I’d do if he was with me and the police were trying to arrest him for something he didn’t do or treat him in ways that weren’t fair. I always though that I’d stand between. I knew I’d always verbally stand up for him, without a doubt. Now, I know know that it’s not a question if I will stand up for him or not, it’s actually a question if I want to be able to see him, hear his voice, touch his skin and generally have him on the planet. If I don’t stand up for him it could cost his life and I’m not okay with that. We must not only stand with the black community around the world but also do our best to protect them.

I’ve seen some things that show people who aren’t black vandalizing places with the #blacklivesmatter tag. We must keep in mind that whatever we do in the name of this movement will reflect the black community. Violence and vandalizing does not reflect well and is not protecting the black comminuted as they will be blamed for such acts. The black community doesn’t only need physical protection but also protection of their reputations. I ask anyone reading this and wanting to be involved to keep that in mind. Stand with and protect.

Ashley Butler

Today I Celebrate Meee!

You ready that correctly. Today is my 29th graduation of years on the planet aka I’m 29 today aka the first day of my year 30 of life! For this beautiful day I’m going to celebrate by telling you 29 awesome things about my life. I made this list this morning and it put me in such a good mood to realize just 29 of all the amazing things in my life. I 10/10 would recommend. Here we gooooooo!

  1. I’m healthy!
  2. I’m motivated!
  3. I have a sense of direction, goals and so many great things to look forward to!
  4. I’m completely debt free after all my adulthood struggling with debts!
  5. I’m engaged to a great man who supports me, helps me grow, heal and become a better me every day!
  6. I have 2 beautiful fur babies!
  7. I absolutely love my new apartment, the management and the maintenance man!
  8. I have an extra deep tub again!
  9. I have wonderful renters who always pay early!
  10. Everyone in my life wants to be here and aren’t here out of obligation!
  11. My car has never ever let me down, I love her!
  12. I have everything I could ever want and need material wise!
  13. I have incredible family! This is not to be confused with relatives.
  14. I’m always progressing – nothing is a waste of time!
  15. Everything I’ve ever lost has been given back to me at least 10 fold!
  16. I feel so supported and loved by all the key players in my game of life!
  17. I’ve loved this recent pandemic break so much and, even though it’s soon coming to an end, I appreciated it so much!
  18. I’m in a blooming season of blessings and abundance!
  19. My creativity and flow of ideas has never been so great in adulthood as it is recently!
  20. I’m always getting messages from the outside world!
  21. I have a great boss and I love the people I work with (for the most part, nobody’s perfect obviously!)
  22. I have a friend coming to stay with me for a couple days and I’m so excited to host! She’s the first person to stay with me in this place!!
  23. I have and I continue to make positive impacts on people and their lives!
  24. I have never felt as free as I do at this point in my life!
  25. I thoroughly enjoy the small things, like notes on pizza boxes!
  26. I have the joy of seeing and hearing birds every morning!
  27. I’ve finally found my way back to a place of trusting thing bigger picture/greater plan in life and this has made my life so much easier and less stressful!
  28. I’m so excited to be done my A-Z Challenge today while still knowing that I’ve been so blessed to be able to do such a challenge in the first place!
  29. I get to celebrate this birthday before the quarantine break ends for me!

There you have it! 29 wonderful things about me and my life! Sincerely, I encourage you to think of your own, it really does put you in an epic mood! Maybe leave some in the comments, I’d love to hear them and I’m sure others would too!

Ashley Butler

Everyday Fun Things to Enjoy Together Being a LDR Couple

If you’re not in a long distance relationship you might not know what the people in them do to pass the time together. We don’t go on traditional dates out to movies or restaurants like regular couples. Maybe we just stare at each other across the virtual screens? Maybe we just have that much to talk about? I can tell you for sure we don’t have that much to talk about and staring gets awkward. So what do Larry and I do to make our time spent together fun and enjoyable?

1. Have Date Night.

I’ve heard that some LDR couples go all out for this, getting dressed up fancy before they sit down to eat together on a video chat platform. Larry and I actually don’t. Date night for us so far, has been eating together at some point during our otherwise normal-everyday Skype call. We actually don’t actually eat together that often with different general eating schedules. That’s a culture thing for sure. Normally I’ve already eaten before our daily evening call begins and he eats and some point during the call. On date night, I eat a little later and he eats a little earlier – compromise.

2. Watch Movies/Shows.

As above mentioned, we Skype call every night. Watching movies/shows for us can look a couple different ways. The first one is simple, he pulls up YouTube on his laptop and screen shares with me. Unfortunately I don’t share my screen with him anymore because I don’t have a decently operating laptop anymore. iPad and iPhone doesn’t support the function so that’s that. The other way it looks is that I set up the iPad that he’s on to be looking at my TV. I put in a DVD and we watch. We don’t see each other this way but it’s good enough for us. I have heard there’s Netflix party but neither of us have Netflix, and this way’s free!

3. Have Game Nights.

This is pretty fun and I’m sure a whole lot of people already know about this. If you don’t though, on Facebook there are games and you can invite your friends to play in real time. While being on Skype (with his laptop and my iPad) we play in real time with each other using our phones. We’ve even ventured out and invited others into our game night from time to time, imagine that! Our favourite games are Ludo and Uno if you want to check them out. They can both be fast paced and exciting, and if by chance any other LDR couple comes upon this please leave your game recommendations in the comments as well, we’re all ears!

Ps. There are 2 different versions to this game. The rush version is a shorter game where as the original version can take a long time.

4. Read a Book Together.

Admittedly, this isn’t something we’ve done in a long time but we have in the past. I’m more of the bookworm so what ends up happening is I read to him and he’s content to sit and listen. This one time though, we got into a book and I didn’t feel like reading one night so he told me I could him photos of the pages and he ended up reading to me! Creative solutions.

A list of just 4 things may seem like not much but it’s been enough for us this far, (3 years of spending time with each other every single evening/night – that’s over 1000 days!) If you have any questions or any other ideas for fun and entertaining LDR time spent, comment down below! We’d be happy to answer any questions and be grateful for any ideas shared.

Ashley Butler

IOSB May

In my previous Instead Of Subscription Boxes post I had suggesting buying new things to make these ‘boxes’ yourself. This suggestion was made before social distancing and quarantine and being laid off.

In light of this I’ve changed a few things. I actually made a video explaining in detail about how to create these ‘boxes’ with products you already have on hand. This is what I’ve been doing and will be doing until December for sure.

My May ISOB basket!

In here we’ve got a couple teas, a couple candles, a pack of bath salts and a series called Dexter. I’m sure you all can already see but my point is that all these products are things I already had. All these items were unused/unopened products that I just hadn’t gotten to yet. This is not a requirement but I think it makes it more fun because you haven’t experienced these products yet!

Let me know if you end up making something like this for yourself! What do you think of this idea in general?

Ashley Butler

Useful Fear Vs. Irrational Fear

Okay, lets talk about it. Fear is a pretty common theme in the world for many people these days. Is it useful or irrational? Well, I’m not really the right person to tell you. Only you can know.

I can tell you, however, that useful fear is a tool. It’s a warning of sorts meant to serve you, to prevent you from harm. Useful fear helps us by alerting to potential dangers. The problem with fear is that there are also irrational fears as well.

A very, very obvious and clear example of an irrational fear of mine is spiders. I don’t know why they cause a fear response for me. I’ve even tried to sit with a spider and watch it do its thing to figure it out. No luck. Still freak me out. Although this fear could be a useful if the spider happens to be actually dangerous, in my case, I haven’t had the unfortunate opportunity to meet any that were actually a danger to me (that I’m aware of).

Another irrational fear could be public speaking. Although a million scenarios could happen where someone could get hurt and be in harms way while public speaking, it’s relatively safe. Sometimes you’ve got to differentiate. You know the answer deep down.

I know for me, there are times in life where I’m excited about something but the more the idea simmers the more fear seeps in. The more time goes on, the more I talk myself out of the idea that once excited me. I convince myself it’s actually a stupid idea even though I was once excited. Oh, that constant battle between spirit and fear. You win some and you lose some.

Is there anything your spirit’s been trying to tell you lately? Is there anything you’ve been drawn to do but have talked yourself out of it? Is fear making you hesitate? Is the fear useful or irrational? You decide. I know you know the answer.

Ashley Butler

My Only Constant ❤️

While a lot of the world seems to have changed and many things are being ‘played by ear’ it’s good to have some things that don’t change. For some this is morning routing, getting dressed etc. For others it’s talking to familiar faces.

For me it’s my long distance relationship. This is the one thing that has not changed for me in the last month. Aside from being laid off, even my home has changed! But without fail, at the end of the day, I know I’ll get a call when he’s ready and done work. We will talk, maybe watch a movie together and fall asleep with Skype on at some point.

So handsome he is. Unfortunately he’s still having to go to work.
If you’re reading this babe, love youuuuu! 😍

Some things are constant. He’s mine. What’s yours?

Ashley Butler

Simple Banana Bread – 2 Bananas

Without any need for a preamble… here’s the recipe!

I already partially melted the margarine but here are all the ingredients aside from the water… that was still in the tap. Lol.
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Margarine
  • 1/2 cup Water

Bake at 350F for 1 hour in a wax paper lined pan.

Add your eggs and sugar to the partially melted margarine. Stir it up!
Then comes the baking soda and powder as well as the 2 bananas. Stir, stir, stir!
Dump in all the flour and mix. This is where I ran into difficulties and ended up adding the half cup of water. Improvising at it’s finest.
This is what the batter should look like at the end. You’ll pour it into your wax paper lined pan and pop it in the oven. Easy peasy!
After it’s been in the over for an hour it should look like this. You should also be able to stick a tooth pick in the top and it should come out clean.

This banana bread was delicious and didn’t last very long for me. Let me know if you try it and how long it lasted for you? Probably not going to be long. Just saying.

Ashley Butler

On the Bright Side

There are some really great perks of being laid off and being in self-quarantine at the same time. I feel that a whole lot of people are unhappy with being told they have to stay home and being in such seclusion. I’m not at all saying there aren’t some very real concerns for some people, however, I’m here to highlight some of the great things that I’ve been experiencing due to the current world circumstances.

1. My Time is Mine!

Yes, I can do whatever I want (within some obvious restrictions). I no longer have to go to a place for a set amount of hours a day for money. I’m not the type of person who is normally bored and can usually come up with creative things to do and work on (yes, this blog is one of them). I love being able to creat my own schedule for myself and stick with self-made routines, or not stick with them if I don’t want to!

2. Creativity is Unhindered!

I love to tinker here and imagine there. Setting random challenges and seeing how they go is super fun for me, now there’s nothing standing in the way. Just the simple experimentation with life is exciting for me.

3. Rest is Abundant!

If I’m tired, I can sleep. If I don’t want to do anything, I can sit and be unproductive. There are no more deadlines when you’re laid off and quarantined! (I’m not talking about financial here obviously!)

4. Time for Dreams!

I now have time to try all the things I’ve only been able to dream about! All the mental health and self care things that used to be left on the back burner can now be pulled forward and actively worked on. Achievement of goals and dreams that were stuck at the bottom of the priority list can now be moved to the top.

5. Space to be Selfish!

For people who live alone like I do, there is suddenly no feelings of obligation to give any time to any one you don’t wish to. If I want I can be 100% selfish for however long I want and it can be guilt free! That’s a gift. If you have children, maybe not so much. However, I do imagine even parents must have a little more time for themselves as well? Perhaps that’s grossly naive of me? Not too sure.

Instead of us dwelling in all the things we can’t do, perhaps we would all have a better time if we focussed on all the things we now have access to, that we normally don’t. All the things that we will lose once things go back to normal. Just a thought.

Ashley Butler

Waking Up In My New Home

I got in early! Yesterday morning after getting my new keys I moved in all the essentials to be able to wake up here this first morning of April. It’s epic to be here the morning of the 1st because I’m sentimental like that. Even my favourite holiday is New Years. Something about fresh starts and the number 1 is exciting to me. We get a fresh start each and every month and it’s incredible that I get to start this number 1 with the start of being in my new home.

Last night was rough because all my muscles are so, so sore from carrying things up and down 3 flights of stairs each building. I’m still sore this morning but less than I was last night. The bath last night that I got to have helped a whole lot I think!

This morning I woke to a completely frosted window, the other ones in my apartment are completely fine though. The designs in frost are always so beautiful.

Today I’m going to continue to unpack what I have here and take a break from moving things over until my body is less sore. I would love to move the rest today but I don’t want to push it. I want to keep my immune system up with the way the world is right now. Not having the pressure of a short deadline is great for this and this is essentially why I like to do this. After a day or maybe two of rest I’ll be back at it and before I know it, I’ll be completely moved.

I can’t wait for shops to open up again so I can get all the things I had planned for this place in my head. Just to be clear, I am in no way complaining. I know that I’m in such a blessed position compared to other people and families. I’m just excited!

This morning I woke up and looked out the patio door to find a tree decoration that I hadn’t noticed yesterday. Maybe it wasn’t there? Made me smile though. Quite the quirk.

Ashley Butler

Subscription Box Thoughts & Ideas

90% of my awake hours yesterday was spent looking at subscription boxes. Unboxing videos, review videos as well as written ones, and visiting the websites of the ones I was most excited about. I fell in love with many and just as quickly fell right back out of love, in the end I made a decision to get none of them.

The reality in Canada is that shipping is garbage in the sense that it’s rarely free for these boxes. Some of them cost upwards of $20 each box! That sometimes doubles the price of the subscription box itself. No thank you!

I do, however, have a new idea that sprouted from this new found information. I’m going to start a new series, not sure if it will be here as well as YouTube, but I intend for it to be on YouTube for sure. It will essentially be a monthly haul series with a bunch of my favourite things in it each haul, as well as new things I may have never tried but I want to try. I will be using money ‘saved’ not buying subscription boxes and paying for shipping to find things locally/physically aka. not online.

Some of my favourite themes for boxes were the following:

  • Candles
  • Books
  • Bath items
  • Snacks
  • Solving mysteries
  • Chocolate
  • Cat items
  • Wine
  • Tea
  • Makeup

I fully intend to shape my monthly hauls around these themes. While getting 1 box from each of these themes was not what I intended to do, I was leaning pretty strangely toward 4 of them. Getting 4 would easily be over $100 for me in Canada even if they were only $15-20 each because of shipping.

I’m not entirely sure how much money I will spend on this haul each month since it’s a relatively new idea but I can’t see it being much over $100 if I ever did happen to go over that amount. $100 seems like a lot to me but perhaps it’s not. I’ll have to feel it out as time goes on.

I also know that part of the experience of getting a subscription box will be lost with this new idea I have because there won’t be that element of surprise. It’s not going to be picked for me and delivered for me to discover in that same way. However, I will be discovering in the stores I visit. I will be picking items I’m very likely to like/love. It will be less likely that I will get something I won’t like at all or something I won’t ever use. All in all I think it will save money (in comparison to going to subscription box route) and also it will also be fun!

Do any of my fellow Canadians get any subscription boxes? If so, which gems did you find and how are you liking them? I swear there’s a box for everything!

Ashley Butler

Exciting News!

Only 13 days until the 1st of April. This is the earliest access I will have to my new home. For awhile there I didn’t think I’d be moving after all but I’m very excited to say I found a new apartment! While it’s not the one I had my eyes on the last time I talked about things, it’s really nice as well.

One of my absolute favourite things is that it has an extra deep tub instead of a standard one. I used to have a deep tub when I lived in my house and I miss it for sure. It’s a luxury that’s hard to find and I can’t say how thankful I am to have found one again.

My new apartment is a one bedroom with a balcony. It’s very spacious, the bedroom even having his and her closets. There’s also a little storage room in suite as well. It’s a very small building so that really reduces the odds of any neighbour related issues too.

I really feel like this is a perfect place to bring my future husband, Laranzo, home to. Once he’s all sponsored and in Canada with me I think he’s going to love it. I’m excited to share it with him. While it doesn’t have a room specifically dedicated to an office, there will be enough room for me to set up a desk somewhere.

With everything that’s going on in the rest of the world, I will admit it’s kind of a weird time to be moving but I’m so excited! I know that stores will likely not be open for me to get new home items but regardless, I still can’t wait to be in my new home. My hope is to live here for years and have it be my long term home.

I’m not going to be posting any pictures of my home until I move in because I don’t want them to be searchable online for safety reasons. I will be doing a new apartment tour on my YouTube channel though and it will be linked soon after it’s up. I don’t have a proper YouTube channel link but if you search Ash1ey But1er, you should be able to find it! Also, here’s a bonus ‘old’ apartment tour of the one I’m leaving!

Thanks for reading! I hope you and your family are healthy and happy during this time. Please comment any exciting news you may have or anything positive you wish to share! Let’s keep our spirits up as much as we can!

Ashley Butler

$2 Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Starting with a quick disclaimer: there will be a bigger up front cost than $2 for this recipe if you don’t have any of the ingredients at home already and you have to buy them. If you already have these ingredients, this is the cost that you could be paying for this recipe. I go back in my receipts for the price I paid for the whole item, then divide how many quantities I needed for the recipe and find the cost. So, for example if I only needed 1 egg from a carton of 12 and the carton cost was $2.98, I divide $2.98 by 12 and round up to the nearest penny. For this particular recipe the amount I spent was $2.02 worth of ingredients.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1/2 cup Margarine/Butter
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup of Chocolate Chips (More or less, this one isn’t exact, use as much as you prefer.)

Bake @ 350F for 15 mins on a greased pan.

Add brown sugar to the mostly melted butter/margarine.
Add the egg and mix.
I usually don’t do this, but this time I decided to add my ‘chocolate’ chips in before the flour and it worked just as well. Note: these are clearly not chocolate chips but instead I used butterscotch. You can get fancy with it and add whatever flavour you want!
Add the flower and mix!
The mixture will look something like this, then you can make around 2 inch round balls.
Make sure you grease the cookie sheet and bake for 15 mins @ 350F.
After 15 mins, take them out of the oven. They should be light golden colour. Enjoy! Note: if you don’t like the slightly undercooked middle, go ahead and cook them for longer. I like mine to be slightly under cooked a little because it keeps them soft.

Let me know if you try it out and how you like it!

Ashley Butler

$50 No Spend February Recap

Every Sunday my budget for the week resets and I allow myself a fresh $50 added to whatever carry-over I have from the week before. I started this whole no spend December 1st and I plan to continue until I’m debt free. Here’s what I spent for the 4 weeks in February.

*Make sure you click on the dollar amounts if you’d like to see more details about what that entailed! My week 4 video is especially unique as it explains the new budget strategy going forward.*

  • January Carry-over: -$68.52
  • Week 1 (February 2-8): $0
  • Week 2 (February 9-15): $30.46
  • Week 3 (February 16-22): $49.46
  • Week 4 (February 23-29): $49.36
  • Total Goal: $131.48 ($200-$68.52=$131.48)
  • Actual Total: $129.28
  • Difference/Carry-over: +$2.20
  • December 1st Debts: $26,235.81
  • January 1st Debts: $24,813.43
  • February 1st Debts: $23,021.05
  • March 1st Debts: $22,787.32
  • This Month Debt Change: -$233.73
  • Overall Debt Change: $3484.02

Like I said last month, my monthly decreases will not likely continue to be as large as I have things that are coming up. $233.73 is better than I was at last month though and that’s progress. Good enough for me! As well, I’m very proud to be bringing over a POSITIVE balance into March!

Ashley Butler

Burnout

You know those days, maybe even weeks and months where you’re completely unmotivated? The times when everything is irritating? When you’re generally feeling unsatisfied and stressed? When things you used to be excited to do now feel like a chore and something you’ve just got to get through? I’m sure you do know.

That’s me for awhile now. In fact if I may be 100% real and honest with you all, I don’t even want to be writing this post but at the same time it’s making me feel a bit better to get things off my mind and onto “paper”.

Sometimes I wonder what the point of my blogging is. Why am I sharing opinions and parts of my life? Sometimes I wonder why I make YouTube videos of my grocery hauls and budgets. Why do I film my cupboards and food? Does anyone actually care?

Maybe these are valid questions. Perhaps there’s something deeper. I clearly didn’t always feel this cynical about it all or I wouldn’t have started. So now I come to the topic of burnout. Perhaps these feelings are just a cry for some much needed self care and stress relief.

It seems I’m always watching something, listening to something, reading something and just general absorbing so much information. Perhaps I just need to go for a walk to have a hot bath without electronics or noise? Yeah. Perhaps I’ll just go do that.

Thanks for listening!

Ashley Butler

“Long Distance is Hard!”

I can’t even tell you how many people have told me this. For some reason I’ve never been able to relate to the sentiment either. There have been plenty of relationships up until this point, that haven’t been long distance for me, and they’ve also been plenty more difficult.

I can understand why people might say this, and I can also understand why it may be true for some people. Maybe it comes back around to love languages? Some may have physical affection as their top love language and for those people I can completely understand why long distance may feel like the worst thing ever.

For me, the distance isn’t as influential. This isn’t to say physical touch is never missed. From time to time of course there are hard moments where this life feels unfair and ‘why can’t things be easier’ and ‘woe is me’ come tumbling in. It’s just simply not front and center. These feelings are also not exclusively felt by only long distance relationship couples.

There are many different aspects to relationships and distance doesn’t have to effect the majority of them. Yes, it effects the physical aspects but what about the mental, emotional and spiritual? None of these aspects need to be negatively effected just because of a little water between us (okay a lot of water in our case… whatever)! I think it depends more on the compatibility of the people in the relationship than the distance that separates them.

What do you think?

Ashley Butler

Chocolate Cake in a Mug – Stupid Simple

I think this recipe is probably less than 25cents per mug but I honestly did not do any calculations this time around. Bottom line is that it’s cheaper than buying the pre-made cake in a mug packets from the store. This is what you’ll need:

  • 4 tbsp. Sugar
  • 3 tbsp. Flour
  • 2 tbsp. Cocoa
  • 1 tbsp. Oil
  • 2 tbsp. Water
Add all the dry ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients.
Mix it smooth and microwave until it looks like cake. My microwave really kind of sucks and I microwave for 1min 30sec or so. If you have a good microwave you may only need 30sec.
I forgot to take a picture before getting into it. Oops.

This recipe is not only inexpensive but also stupid simple as well. Takes no time at all and is delicious! Let me know if you recreate it and how you like it!

Ashley Butler