Wednesday 22 June 2016

Talking Aboot #Canada Eh! 30 Uniquely #Canadian #Slang & Canadianisms.

Well up here in the great white north we do some things different eh. 

July 1st is Canada Day, so I thought we could have some pre-birthday fun by celebrating some of the ways we Canucks are uniquely Canadian

How aboot these 15 Canadian terms:

  • Aboot: Actually most of us do not pronounce about as aboot, it's more of a stereotype; like we all live in igloos, drive dog sleds, and speak French.
  • Eh: I actually say this all the time, and wasn't even aware of it until my husband pointed it out ... after 20 years of marriage. You'd think he might have mentioned something sooner! 
  • Canuck: a Canadian of course. 
  • Give'r: Give it all you got, your best effort. Said as encouragement, similar to You Go! 
  • Housecoat: Means the same as bathrobe.
  • Hydro: Refers to electrical power, usually in reference to what is billed for home or business, or what we see on our Hydro bill.
  • Keener: A term to describe someone who is an eager beaver, or overly zealous. The term is used as a friendly jab; "you're such a keener". 
  • Knapsack: It means backpack, and you know I packed everything I'll need for my afternoon nap in it. Okay not really, but I think from now on I should. 
  • Pencil Crayons: Also known as colored pencils, or if you're Canadian it's coloured pencils. 
  • Runners: Short for running shoes. I don't get the term sneakers!? ... where exactly are you sneaking to?) 
  • Snowbirds: Refers to old folk who go south for the winter months to avoid the cold and shovelling the snow, so they can tell their relatives still in the cold and snow how HOT the temperature is where they are. Followed by saying "sorry".  
  • Sorry: We say we're sorry about everything ... but we don't mean it. Nope not even a little bit sorry ... if you listen carefully you'll hear the sarcasm and passive aggressive tone. 
  • Stag/Stagette: Bachelor party or bachelorette party.
  • Toque: A hat perfect for the cold Canadian winters and BONUS it looks stylin'.
  • Washroom: It means the same as bathroom or restroom (although I seldom rest in the bathroom but I do bath and wash). 

Or these 15 Canadian terms all aboot the Food & the Drinks eh:

  • All Dressed Potato Chips: Basically take all the favourite chip flavours and put them together and you get all-dressed chips. 
  • Beavertails: A deep fried pastry in the shape of a beaver's tail with a variety of topping options. My favourite is the Killaloe Sunrise: butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice - YUM! 
  • Bloody Caesar: Like a Bloody Mary but better, made from Vodka, Clamato juice (clam & tomato juice), Worchestershire sauce, hot sauce in a glass rimmed in celery salt. Cheers! 
  • Brown Bread: Is what we call whole wheat bread. 
  • Double Double: Refers to double cream, double sugar in a coffee. More specifically it refers to Timmies coffee. 
  • Homo Milk: Is a shorten version of Homogenized milk or whole, full fat milk. 
  • Ketchup Potato Chips: Ketchup flavoured potato chips are delish and it's so very sad others don't have these. 
  • Mickey: A (375 ml) flask shaped bottle of liquor is called a Mickey, don't know why, it just is.  
  • Pissed, Hammered, Polluted: All terms for very drunk. Hammered being my favourite.
  • Pop: Short for Soda-pop. 
  • Poutine: I know if sounds gross, but it's heaven (and a heart attack) on a plate. I'm a poutine purist so just deep fried french fries, topped with cheese curds and gravy. 
  • Scoff: The term to scoff something down means to eat super quickly, in other words no need to actually chew, just swallow, because we're in a hurry! 
  • Serviette: Means napkin.
  • Timmies: Refers to Tim Hortons Donut Shops. They are everywhere!
  • Two-Four, 2-4, or two-fur: A case of 24 beers. I don't even drink beer and I love the term two-fur.

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canucks! 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud aboot Toques, knapsacks, two-furs and a trip to Timmies for a double-double and to scoff down some timbits.

Monday 20 June 2016

O #Canada That Reflects & Includes all #Canadians Past, Present & Future.

O Canada

My Canada, Your Canada, Our Canada

Back in February of 2014 Sarah from Journeys of the Zoo asked me to write a guest post for her Canadian Feature series. I chose to write about the wording of the Canadian National Anthem. Since Canada Day is just around the corner, and the debate about the lyrics of O Canada is back in the news I thought it timely to share this post again. 

O Canada

What Makes Me Canadian, and Do I Feel Canadian?

I let these questions roam around my head for awhile, pondering the answers, thinking surely we are about more than saying Sorry, eh and maple syrup. This led me to thinking about O Canada, the Canadian National Anthem: shouldn't our National Anthem embody what it is to be Canadian, and therefor provide me some answers?

I am one of those Canadians who always stands on guard when O Canada is being played or performed. I stop in the halls of the schools, and make kids stop, and stand quietly "on guard" during the National Anthem. At sporting events, seeing fellow Canadians stand and sing our National Anthem, can bring me to tears with pride, and patriotism (in that quiet and understated way that is so Canadian). I believe a National Anthem should have meaning. I hope our anthem says something about the people of Canada, all the people of Canada.
Continue reading...

Yep, Just me Cathy thinking out loud about an O Canada that is reflective and inclusive of all Canadians; past, present and future.

Friday 17 June 2016

Slammin' 90's #Slang: Don't like it? Talk to the Hand Cuz the Face Ain't Home!

Some fresh, phat, and mad slang came out of the 90's, much of which I still use. 

Not surprising since the 90's were all that and a bag of chips.

This was a busy decade for me. I got jiggy with it ... TMI? Well it's all good cause it resulted in a wedding. Bought a house, aka my crib, and got a dog ... an actual dog, not dawg. Bought a crib ... an actual crib and looked fat not phat ... because I was pregnant with 2 kids ... don't go there. This was a decade of peaceful simplicity and zen ... NOT! More like you had to laugh or you'd cry chaos, parenting fails and a comedy of errors. Wine, coffee, sarcasm and the F-Bomb were my vices of choice. Personally I think I deserve mad props just for surviving it without going postal

Interesting bit of 411: I've noticed a significant difference in term usage by those who survived the decade (parents) and those born in that decade (evil offspring, aka Thing 1 & Thing 2). I for one am unlikely to call anything or anyone a "wangsta" or "ghetto", or use the term "jacked". It's highly unlikely my kids will ever refer to someone or something as being "all that" and are never going to use that term followed by a reference to potato chips. Also never gonna happen: one of them asking someone to "talk to the hand" (the finger maybe, but never the hand). 

My favourites:
  • Whatever!: I'm moving on, I don't care what you have to say about it AND no longer want to hear or talk about it. Also there's a good chance I'm annoyed at this point.
  • As if: I don't believe you, not true, very unlikely or not going to happen.
  • Deal (you'll just have to deal): Too bad you just have to deal with it, move on, get over it or stop over reacting.
  • NOT!: Whatever I said before NOT! was not true, in In fact I meant the opposite of what I just said. 
  • Not so much: I don't like it, sarcastic response to a statement indicating something, someone or some action is not acceptable or cool.
  • Talk to the hand, cuz the face ain't home! or talk to the hand: I don't want to talk to you and/or about this. This conversation is over and I'm not going to discuss it anymore.
  • Don't make me or I'm gonna open a can of whoop-ass on you: Self-explanatory.
  • Hater or hate on: A hater is the person, hate on is the action of the hater reacting in a negative, jealous, or petty way and openly expressing those feeling about someone or something (usually in regards to someone or something that isn't really their business or concern). Don't be a hater cause if you are you might be called the next term on my list ... just saying lol. 
  • Beeotch!: I think this is also self explanatory. If not try saying it out loud a few times.
  • My bad. (followed by We good?): Sorry that was my fault, and I take full responsibility for it.
  • It's all good: It's fine or alright, I'm not angry about it and there are no hard feelings. 
  • You Go! or You Go Girl!: Encouragement to do something and/or praise about taking the intuitive or having the guts to do something out of one's comfort zone. 
  • I be stylin': I'm looking good or stylish.
Terms my kids use(d):
  • Peace Out: I'm leaving. 
  • Sup: What is up or what is happening.
  • Aiight: Alright, or that's alright. 
  • Wangsta or Wangster (what a wangsta): A wanna be, not authentic, or fake. You think and act like you're cool and have street cred or all "gangsta" but you're not.  
  • Ghetto (that's so ghetto): Cheap, lacking taste, showy, gaudy.
  • Cool beans: Very cool.
  • What up?: What are you up to, or what is happening?
  • Jacked (he jacked my, or it was jacked): Taking or stealing something, or something that has been taken or stolen.
  • Mad Skills: Excellent ability or extreme skills.
  • Nice, Dude (and combined Nice Dude!): Dude is used talking to a friend or buddy. Nice refers to great or amazing. Used together it means something cool, great or awesome in reference to that friend or buddy.
  • Props or Mad Props: Kudos or credit for something someone did.
  • Shady (that's shady, he's shady and occasionally, "he be shaddy"): Something or someone is not legitimate, not to be trusted, not fair or deceptive.
  • You be trippin' (or why you be trippin'?): Getting upset, angry, emotional or over reacting.

Did I miss any of your favourite sayings or slang from the 90's? 
And have you checked out my favourite big time legit 80's slang I still use

Yep, I was all like, it's just me Cathy thinking out loud about dope 90's slang that's Da Bomb.

Note: A) I'm not in any way suggesting these terms are politically correct, or advocating their use. And B) these definitions are based on my own understanding and memory of what these terms meant and how they were used in the 90's. So if you don't like them I respectfully ask you to take a chill pill, quit buggin' and quit icing my grill!

Wednesday 15 June 2016

12 Movies for #DadTime on #FathersDay @Netflix_CA #What2Watch

Father's Day:

One day a year we show our appreciation to our fathers for all they do. So Dad for making you want to scream 364 days a year, below are 12 movies for you to stream on your 1 special day a year!

Becoming a parent changes everything. This immediate tenured position is yours whether you're ready for it, accept it or embrace it. There is no manual, you simply have to learn as you go along and fake it till you make it. I've seen how being a dad often makes my husband laugh, occasionally cry, regularly shake his head in total bewilderment, but rarely do I hear him say it's boring. As one can clearly see in the movies below the father-child relationship doesn't really get easier, it just evolves and ... it's complicated. These movies are all currently available to stream on Netflix.

Becoming a Dad - Once upon a time:

The Father-Child Relationship - The story continues:

Happy Father's Day to the dads out there and
Happy Streaming! 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about Father's Day. 
Take a peak here for more recommendations on What To Watch.

Note: I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own. The purpose of my W2WW posts are merely to share my recommendations with my readers who want to know what to watch. 

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Movie Lovers #Ireland Film Location Themed #Travel Itinerary #TravelIdeas

Ireland: It's at the top of my Travel Bucket List

Take 1 part Ireland, add 10 parts Movies set in Ireland and we have all the makings for a fun travel itinerary.

I often spend years planning and replanning in my head trips to the destinations on my travel bucket list. What attractions will I go to and sights will I see? Much of what I know or imagine a destination will look and feel like is based on movies and shows set or filmed there. For that reason I love the idea of a travel itinerary based on some of the locations of movies that help to put that destination on my bucket list in the first place. 

Ireland is at the top of this list, for it's charm, history, beautiful landscape, not to mention the dreamy accent. Below are some of my favourites that rekindle my urge to go to Ireland each time I watch them.


County Wicklow:

County Galway:

County Kerry:

Isle of Man: (technically not Ireland)

Shows set in Ireland:

BONUS: for those with Netflix check out Tales of Irish Castles

Below are more links to further inspire and help you create the perfect personalized Ireland Itinerary based on movie and series set and filmed in Ireland.

I thought this look like a cool idea as well! 
Ireland.Com - Ireland's Oldest Pubs Touring Route and Intinerary

Yep, just thinking out loud and about visiting Ireland. Now I guess I just need a little luck of the Irish to make it happen. 

Note: I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and the purpose of this post is merely to share with my readers. 

Monday 13 June 2016

Bloggers, #Blogging, and Canadian #Taxes: #WorthTheRead #BloggerIssues

There are many challenges and learning curves when it comes to blogging. One such area is understanding the tax implications your blog and blogging may have.

I love reading interesting and informative posts and articles about business, social media, marketing and blogging. My Worth the Read posts are my way of sharing my take on a given topic, and at the same time linking a few related posts or articles I think are worth taking the time to read and ponder.

This week's topic is Blogs, Bloggers, Blogging and Canadian Taxes.

Free isn't really free, or so says the tax man
Yes I know tax season just ended but I realized while doing my taxes there are many things to I need to learn. After almost 3 years into my blogging adventure I still feel like a newbie when it comes to so many aspects of blogging, including the related taxes. I don't generate much income from my blog, but what I do make has the potential to impact not only my taxes, but also my spouse's taxes. So no time like the present to start to understand what I can and cannot claim as an expenses, what it considered taxable income, the tax implications of accepting sponsored posts or product for review, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I'm guessing there are many atceteras involved.  

My journey for tax knowledge and enlightenment...
Where does a blogger start on their journey for knowledge and enlightenment? With other bloggers of course, especially bloggers with a background in Canadian finance and accounting. Turns out what I thought would be an hour or so of leisurely tax reading, turned into an entire day of reading, note taking, bookmarking and clinking through to related posts. Although I'm hardly an expert, I definitely feel I have a better handle on blogging, income, expenses, deductions, taxes and filing a Canadian tax return with blog income. 

8 things I have learned about blogging and taxes from the posts I've linked below:

  • READ THE POSTS BELOW! Well finish reading my post first, but then go directly to the posts. Do Not Pass Go and Do Not Collect $200. And if you do, claim it as income!
  • Get yourself a system ... Now! Don't wait and try to backtrack a year's worth of invoices and receipts at tax time. It doesn't need to be complicated, but it needs to be complete and consistent. Track, document, copy and organize everything as you go. 
  • Read the posts below so you understand what is considered income AND report it all.
  • Read the posts below so you understand what are expenses, what you can claim, and how they need to be claimed. There are categories people! 
  • The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code for bloggers is 711513
  • Get to know the Canada Revenue Agency - T4002  Business and Professional Income Guide & T2125 Statement of Business or Professional Activities.
  • Don't assume you understand terms and classifications. If you're not sure check in the posts, guides or call CRA. (I'm working on putting together a basic glossary of terms I came across related to blogs and taxes ... stay tuned) 
  • There are lots of tools and resources out there to help track and organize your bookkeeping, records, and understand the ins and outs of taxes and your blog. So you really have no excuse. 

Below are some excellent posts about Blogging and Canadian Taxes that are definitely worth the read:

Other Links: 

Because in my world nothing can be said to be certain except, blogging, death and taxes.

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about what I think is worth the read. 
 Note: I have not been compensated for this post (yippy - no tax implications here!). All opinions are my own and the purpose of this post is merely to share with my readers posts and articles I find interesting. 

I Don't Care What Your Skin Colour, Religion, Gender, or Sexual Orientation Is

I used to love to watch the News. 

Now watching the news leaves me soul crushingly sad at the senseless violence we as humans seem capable of. And with a need to think out loud. 

When I was in high school and even university, whether I watched the Local, National, or International news, there always seemed to be something exciting or interesting being developed, achieved or witnessed. I found the news to be fascinating, inspirational, thought provoking, educational, and yes sometimes sad. The 11 o'clock news from high school is in large part the reason I ended up with a major in Political Science and a Minor in Women's Studies. I believed that education and dialogue could right wrongs, open minds and change the world. The news used inspire dialogue and debate. But now more often than not the news is heartbreaking, disappointing and soul crushing, so I rarely turn it on. 

Sadly the feelings the news inspired in me in high school is not the experience my kids have had. The news reported throughout their high school years seemed to be comprised of much larger daily doses of atrocities and examples of senseless loss of life and injury inflicted by humans on humans. I'm not talking about the tragic loss of life due to natural disasters. This also is heartbreaking, and so very sad. But there's a difference between a natural disaster and intentional malicious attacks on groups or individuals purely based on some arbitrary characteristic or belief that group or person might have. While the tragedy a natural disaster evokes an immediate response in me to take action and help, these senseless acts of violence are soul crushing and leave me feeling helpless. 

I may be suffering from memory loss and nostalgia about my youth, since there are many examples throughout history of terrible atrocities, persecution and intolerance of groups based on race, religion, culture and beliefs. It may be that things have always been this way and social media and globalization puts it right up in our faces, forcing us to deal with it, refusing to let us turn a blind eye. I feel like with every step forward towards understanding and acceptance, we at the same time take another one back. The more tolerant the majority gets, the more pockets of ultra-extreme groups emerge. 

I wonder if my kids feel the same sense of helplessness or feel powerless to do anything about it. Or does this day in and day out barrage of violence leave them desensitized to loss of human life, and therefore the value of human life including their own? It's hard to know sometimes what goes on in the minds of an 18 and 20 year old. I struggle with what to say, other than I'm left speechless by such acts of violence. 

What can I possibly do or say in response to acts like the one in Orlando, Florida that really makes any impact or difference? Nothing really, but I suppose by saying something or writing something maybe I set an example for my kids. They will see that you can't sit on the fence about certain things. They will have no doubt where I stand on certain things. Maybe it'll make starting a dialogue easier. I don't really have an answer to any of this. But today I was thinking out loud on facebook and thought maybe the message was worth thinking out loud about it here as well.

Sunday 12 June 2016

A Plan to Attend vs Planning to Attend: #Budgeting for a #Conference

A Plan to Attend vs Planning to Attend a Conference.

Making it a Reality Rather Than Wishful Thinking ...

Attending a conference is expensive. A last minute approach, or saying I'm planning to attend without an actual plan including a cost- benefits analysis and a budget is just wishful thinking. I plan to eat healthier and exercise more, but saying something doesn't make it happen. Does this sound familiar? You want to go to a conference and you're really planning on attending this time. You have loads of time to work out the details... until the cut off for purchasing tickets approaches and once again you take a pass because you can't justify a sudden large expenditure. BUT ... what if you started a year in advance with a specific plan to attend rather than a vague statement that you are planning to attend?

You need to know the total costs: 
Your costs are never just the ticket and hotel room. Each person's needs, conference expenses, income and ability to offset those expenses is different, and changes over time. If you've just started blogging or a business that does not yet generate an income, this may limit your ability to offset the conference expenses against income. It doesn't mean attending a conference isn't a worthwhile investment in your professional development, business or blog. There are non-tangible benefits to consider, but first you need to know what the actual costs are, and ways you might reduce and save for those costs. 

Saving for your next conference ...

The key is to actually make a plan to save. Don't leave it to chance. Figure out how much you need and a specific plan for how you're going to save that amount. Below are some ideas that might help.

Ever heard of the 365 Day Savings Challenge or the Penny Savings Challenge? It's simple and effective. Basically you start by putting a penny in a jar, and increase the amount you put in the jar by 1 cent each day. It's an easy and painless way to save for a conference. At the end of 365 days you'll have saved $667.95. Yes I'm aware we don't have pennies in Canada, but you can start with a nickel, and either round up, or keep a tally of cents until you reach 5 cent increments and then use a nickel. Another option is to calculate daily but put in jar weekly. My friend Tammi at My Organized Chaos has a great Penny Challenge Chart, as well as two weekly savings challenges perfect for saving for a conference. 

Another easy and effective way to save. Take a set amount from each pay and set it aside in a conference fund. It can be in a separate account using auto-deposits, automatically transferring a set amount each pay. This option ensures it's done every pay (no excuses) and reduces temptation to use the funds for other things (out of sight and out of mind). Another option is to physically take the money each pay and put it in an envelope or jar. Just $20 every two weeks adds up to $520. in a year. 

We all make small purchases without realizing how much we are spending. A daily coffee, snack or lunch can quickly add up to hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the period of a year.  Instead of spending $2.50 on a coffee every morning, make coffee at home and put the $2. savings into your conference fund. A $2. savings x 250 work days adds up to $500. Being aware of where and how you spend is the first step. Prioritizing and finding ways to save is step two.

  • Make coffee (and breakfast) at home and take it to go.
  • Pack a lunch and snacks: Even brown bagging it 3 times a week will result in huge savings. Added bonus: it's easier to opt for healthier choices when you pack your own. 
  • Make restaurant inspired dinners rather than eating at restaurants. Sites like Copykat Recipes and All Recipes are great places to look for inspiration. If time is an issue check out Appehtite Dinner-In-15 for ideas. Or try my Tex Mex Soup recipe for a quick meal.
  • Use flyers, price matching, coupons and menu planning to save. There's an app for that ... it's called Flipp. My friend Hollie from CommonCents Mom is an expert on the apps features and ways it helps you save.

Gifts: Consider asking family to contribute towards the ticket or transportation as a birthday or Christmas gift. If they can't afford that maybe they can offer childcare while you're away as a gift and save you money and stress that way. I found when I explained I want to get away for a couple of days to connect with friends, meet new people, network, and learn my family has been happy to support me in those efforts. 

Saving At Your Next Conference ...

There are lots of ways to save and reduce your costs both getting to and while you are at a conference. Below are some ideas to help with cost cutting.

That's the Ticket: 
The first expense to consider is the cost of the conference ticket. 

  • Early Bird Tickets: Most conferences have early bird pricing that can save you 25% or more off the ticket price. If committing early is a concern, many allow the resale of tickets if for some reason you are unable to use it. Be sure to check the policy on this for each individual conference before you purchase your ticket. 
  • Employer or Brand Sponsorship:  Check to see if your employee benefits include paid time off for, and full or partial payment of costs for professional development conferences. If not why not pitch the idea of a sponsorship covering part or all of the conference costs to your employer or a brand you work with. They may be able to buy corporate passes, and you can attend as a corporate representative. Show them why investing in you makes good "cents". 
  • Apply to be a speaker, or run a workshop at the conference in exchange for the ticket: Each conference will have their own process for applying to be a speaker, or lead a workshop. In this situation the time investment tends to be high relative to the financial savings, but the return both personally and professionally should more than balance the scales. Check with individual conference sites for specifics on their application process and deadlines. 

Getting 5 Star Value from Your Accommodations: 
The next thing to consider is accommodation and the conference venue.

  • Roommates reduce the rate: One of the easiest ways to save on accommodation is to share a room with one or more roommates. 
  • Family and Friends: If you have friends or family who live near the conference venue enquire about staying with them. You can return the favour next time they're in your neck of the woods. 
  • Sponsorship: Enquire about employer or brand sponsorships to pay of part or all of the conference expenses. Also enquire about any corporate hotel discounts you may be entitled to. 
  • Hotel Discounts, Deals, Packages and Promos: Be sure to check with the hotel directly and enquire about discounts, packages and promos. Sometimes they're lower than the conference rate. Check and compare what is included in the conference rate before you book. It may include wi-fi or parking making it a better option, but I've found it is not always the cheapest option. Do you actually need parking? Ask whether the hotel rooms have fridges or microwaves that can help reduce the cost of meals or snacks during your stay. Important: Ask about the hotel's cancellation policy! Sign up for email notification of deals and promos. Ask if there is a price guarantee policy should there be a promo, or cheaper price between the time you book and the dates of the conference.
  • Third Party Booking: Check and see if you can save by booking your accommodations through a third party such as Expedia, Travelocity or Hotel.ComNote: You may find additional savings by booking accommodations and transportation at the same time through these sites. Be sure to read the fine print and cancellation policy before you commit.
  • Loyalty Points & Member Discounts: Some loyalty program members get preferred rates such as CAA/AAA, Military, Seniors, or Corporate rates through your employer. Many loyalty programs have points that can be used to pay for, or reduce the cost of accommodations, restaurants, and travel.  
  • Live Locally? Consider the benefits of staying on-site vs commuting, both in terms or costs (hotel vs gas, parking), time and ability to fully experience and engage in the conference. 

Taking a Bite Out of the Cost of Meals:
The cost of food can quickly become a budget buster. Below are some ways to save and reduce costs.

  • What meals are included: Find out what meals are included as part of the conference and be sure to take full advantage of them! 
  • On the road to the conference: Brown bag it, and pack a lunch, snacks and beverages. It's a healthier and cheaper option. 
  • At the Hotel: Is there a fridge and/or microwave in the room? If so pack meals and snacks that cover those not included in the cost of the conference. Bring your own beverages (water, pop, juice) and alcohol. If this is not possible see if there is a place close to the hotel to purchase them, or ask a friend who's driving in to purchase them for you, and reimburse the cost. At the hotel beverages ($2+) and alcoholic drinks ($9+) can add up to a small fortune. 
  • Free coffee and tea in room: Most hotels offer free coffee and tea in the room. Many also offer complementary coffee and tea in the lobby.

Getting There: Planes, Trains and Automobiles:
The cost and convenience of getting to a conference impacts both the total costs and decision to attend. 

  • Which mode of transportation makes sense? Do some research on the various modes of transportation available, including loyalty programs, seat sales, price guarantee and cancellation policies. Consider your time investment required for each mode of transportation as well as the cost, especially if you have to take time off work, or require additional childcare. Be sure to investigate and include in your budget other expenses associated with each transportation option (parking, taxi, shuttle, local transit). Sign up for email notification of deals and discounts. Check regularly to see if there are cheaper seats or promotions added between the time of booking and the conference.
  • Carpooling: Carpooling to a conference and sharing the costs of gas and parking can be a great way to save. Added Bonus: you can start your conference experience on the drive, and you'll know at least one other person at the conference. 
  • Don't forget to include: Expenses such as Luggage and Checked Baggage costs (this varies from airline to airline). Some airline loyalty programs entitle you to free or reduce checked baggage fees, access to airport lounges, or seat upgrades. 
  • Shuttles to and fro: Check if the conference is providing any shuttle services from the airport, or train station. Does the hotel offer complementary shuttles to the airport or train station? Is sharing a taxi an option? Is it cheaper to take a shuttle vs taxi vs airport limousine? Is Uber an option? Can a friend give you a ride?

Other Stuff

  • Other possible expenses: Remember other expenses such as childcare while you're away, business cards, tech or gadgets like cell phones, cell service or portable battery packs, and any new clothing required for the conference (IRL means getting out of the yoga pants) should be included in your budget. Maybe put these items on your wish list for your birthday or Christmas. If you are attending a conference outside of Canada, do you need to get or renew your passport? If so there will be expenses related to that to budget for. 
  • Search for conferences held locally and take advantage of them and support them. By attending and supporting them you ensure they continue to be available. The cost of most conference tickets amortized over a year is cents a day, and surely my professional development is worth that investment. 
  • Look to see if the conference has a community board or facebook group for those wanting to connect with others looking to share a room, needing or offering to shared rides, taxis, etc.
  • Pitching to brands for conference sponsorship or product in exchange for posts, reviews, or social media sharing. This can take time so start planning this at the same time you make your Plan to Attend a Conference. (Product & Pitches could include: tech, gadgets, luggage, data or mobile service, stationary, fashion and clothing, transportation, or tourism)
  • Childcare: Some conferences offer childcare or this may be an area family and friends can help. 

NOTE: Be sure to keep track of all your expenses, mileage, and receipts for tax purposes and future conference budgeting.

A Few Final Notes on Conferences:
Sharing is Caring! If you have tips or suggestions regarding managing expectations, attending, or tips on saving for a conference, please share in the comments section.

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about a plan vs planning to attend a conference. 

Note: I was not compensated for this post. Having attended 7 conferences this is something I have been meaning to write for some time. All opinions are my own.
Images 1 and 2 courtesy of Pixabay.

Friday 10 June 2016

Tortoise vs Hare approach to @Netflix_CA Streaming #StreamTeam #NetflixBingeScale Savour or Devour

I have a split personality when it comes to my Netflix Spirit Animal

Sometimes I'm a Tortoise slowly savouring a show over time, other times I'm a Hare speeding through a show and devouring it in a single day. 


It's a complicated ...

For me the process of deciding which series fall into the tortoise vs the hare category is complicated and many factors come into play, such as the number of seasons a show has. Series like White Collar (6 seasons) or Drop Dead Diva (6 seasons) take time to watch. If the show has more than 2 seasons, then it becomes challenging to binge watch all the seasons at once without neglecting feeding my family or sleeping. For this reason they often fall into the combo category; binge 1 season at a time over a period of several days or even weeks. New seasons of shows I've been (not-so-patiently) waiting for like Grace and Frankie (Season 2) Daredevil (Season 2) and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 2) immediately jump to the top of the devour list, and are given priority status on my binge scale. 

Sometimes it's "Me" time binge time ...
Whether I'm watching with someone or on my own impacts what and how I stream. If sub-titles are involved such as in the Korean TV Dramas, or Bollywood Movies I need to be well rested to keep up, and I know there is no way others in my family are going to watch these with me, so they are reserved for "Me" time. "Me" time binging may or may not require my "This is MY Netflix Shirt" depending on the duration of the individual "Me" time bingefest. 

One thing leads to another ...
It is not usual for me to watch one show that turns into the catalyst for an entire theme related bingefest, resulting in binging on a certain theme over time. It takes time to watch all the shows that follow a certain theme, yet easy to binge on individual shows that fall into a category or theme. For example: Spies & Special Agents, or Sci-Fi & Fantasy, or Detective, Mystery & Crime.

  • It might start by watching Covert Affairs, which leads to White Collar, which leads to Crossing Lines, which leads to Homeland.

I think you get the idea. 

Whether your Netflix spirit animal is a Tortoise, a Hare or a combination of the two (would that be a hartoise or tortare? Either way ... scary visual) you'll find plenty that's binge-worthy for your summer streaming. For news on new releases and recently added streaming options follow Netflix on twitter.
Below are some my Tortoise/Savour and Hare/Devour favourites I'm binging on now. 

Happy Streaming Netflix Binge Buddies! 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about the tortoise and the hare. 

Note: I was not compensated for this post, however as a Netflix Streamteam member I do receive Netflix and a streaming device free of charge for the purpose of my Netflix Streamteam posts and reviews. All opinions are my own. 
Netflix Binge Scale image courtesy of Netflix.
Tortoise and Hair images courtesy of Pixabay.