Mary Kay – The 20 + 20 +24 Challenge

ImageI am trying hard to get my Mary Kay business to grow.  I have some ideas (in my head) on how to do it but my “real job” sucks up a lot of my time. My Mary Kay support team (I rather call them that than my Mary Kay sisters)  have encouraged me to take the 20 + 20 + 24 challenge to get a boost.  I put the following message together and sent them to women who I think may actually benefit from the products.
I’m posting this here  for all you Mary Kay ladies that may be looking for a similar boost and want to take the challenge.If your not a Mary Kay consultant then maybe you’d like to buy an item (shameless plug)

I have been given a Mary Kay Unit Challenge to sell $20 to 20 people in 24 hours! Orders must be received by midnight June 20th. I’m really trying to build my business and this will put me at the top of my unit.
Would you like a new lipstick, lip gloss?
What about Mascara?
Make up remover?
As the challenge is based on retail price, my current promotion of Kisses for Canada applies! In honor of Canada’s 146th birthday all lip products are $14.60.
You can also order Mascara at a buy 1 get one half off or Buy 2 and get one free!
Call, text or order online. You can also find me on Facebook
Please forward this e-mail to friends and family who love to look great and enjoy a good deal!
Thank you for your support,

Dear Pasta: It’s not you. It’s me.

My love affair with pasta has to end. Pasta has been in my life as long as I can remember. Pasta has brought me a lot of  joy and comfort through out the years, we have shared many special events together and pasta is always there for me.  The love I have for pasta has become an addiction, I think of pasta constantly. When I’m tired, hungry, angry, happy, sad I want pasta. I have caught myself starting at my children’s plates during dinner hoping they aren’t going to finish it so I can have their left over pasta. I have waited until the kids are being tucked in and then gone into the kitchen to eat pasta left overs right out of the pot. Tonight, I overindulged and then went to step class. Bad move. It was at the moment I could barely lift my leg for a four repeater  (my step class lingo)  that I realized the love affair has to end. So here goes:

Dear Pasta,

Thank you for the satisfaction you have brought me all my life. I am unable to control myself around you. I love you too much and it is for that reason, that we can’t see each other anymore. You can’t stop by my plate as a “side”. You may be able to come in smaller portions but my self control just doesn’t exist around you. It is time to say good bye. Remember you are perfect just the way you are. It’s me, not you.

The LibertyDee Oatmeal Strawberry Smoothie

I did not originally intend to add recipes to this blog.  Obviously, I have changed my mind. What I will offer here is not gourmet cooking, it wont be creative and at times may even seem a little strange. But as I endeavor to get into shape and lose 50 pounds, I will be giving regular updates about what I eat and what I have cooked. My intention now, is that perhaps someone will find a meal or a snack that they may want to try inorder to help them on their own weight loss journey. Try at your own risk:

The LibertyDee Oatmeal Strawberry Smoothie

Put all of the following ingredients into a blender or “Magic Bullet” type of gadget:

  • 2 teaspoons of One Minute Quaker Oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup of low fat milk (I use 1 lactose free milk but you can use rice milk, coconut milk etc
  • 1/2 cup of water (I use tap water)
  • A handful of frozen Strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon of Peanut Butter ( this adds a little fat to help you feel full and a bit of protein)
Ingredients before blending
Ingredients before blending

Blend thoroughly and drink! If you find that the the chunkiness of the oatmeal bothers you you have two options:

1. Let the smoothie mixture sit for 5 minutes before blending. This allows the oatmeal to dissolve more.

2. Put less oatmeal

I find this smoothie will hold me over for a few hours. Let me know if you try it 🙂

Blended Smoothie
Blended Smoothie

10 Excuses and It’s Only Day 1

My smoothie maker

I arrived at the gym just after 6:00am on Monday which meant I had missed the spinning class I wanted to go to. (excuse #1).  I thought about just going across the street to the Tim Horton’s because I was still sleepy and hadn’t even had a coffee yet (excuse #2). I remembered that I had committed to the blogosphere that I was not going to make excuses and committed to myself to take better care of my health so I went inside.  I did ten minutes on the elliptical because “I should take it easy after being away from the gym for a few weeks” (excuse #3) I then completed the weight circuit and felt pretty good because I did manage to increase the weight I had been comfortable with previously. I was even home before 7am which is when my husband leaves for work.

Spinach  & egg whites
Spinach & egg whites

I was hungry by 7:30am and my fridge was looking very scarce (I avoided the grocery store this weekend because of Father’s day – Excuse #4).  I finally landed on making myself a strawberry oatmeal smoothie. I then had to figure out what I was going to take to work for lunch and I really couldn’t find anything in the fridge (see excuse #4). I saw a box of egg whites in the fridge and had the brilliant idea of making myself a spinach omelet for lunch, but I had to leave the house in 15 minutes there was no way I  had time to make an omelet . I guess I was just going to have to go to the food court (excuse#5) I again thought of my commitment to the blogosphere and made the omelet. It took 5 minutes!

Around noon I decided to head down to the gym that is just two blocks from my office and try out their midday Zumba class (more on that in a separate post) I had my gym clothes with me but there was no way I could get to the gym, do the class, get cleaned up and make it back to work plus I’d be all sweaty! Yuck! (excuse #6) I went anyway and so glad that I did. The class was great and yes I was rushing back and yes I was sweaty but guess what? I lived.

Timothy's Blended Coffee
Not worth the 29 grams of sugar

I did run into a bit of a “hic-up” on the way back. I was hot and sweaty and got a craving for a frozen coffee,  I have always loved Slushies and now that I can get a frozen blended coffee I’m in heaven. Starbucks can make a low fat no sugar added blended coffee so its basically a frozen coffee with skim milk. I  had also recently found a Starbucks gift card but the Starbucks would take me about two minutes out of my way when there was a perfectly good Timothy’s right by my work ( excuse #7) I opted for the Timothy’s and it turns out that their blended coffee is premixed with the sweetener.  I couldn’t possibly say I didn’t want it. What if I hurt the cashier’s feelings ( excuse #8). I drank my frozen drink and then looked up the nutritional info, turns out that I had just taken in 230 calories (not earth shattering) and 29 grams of sugar! Aughhhh.

I made it through dinner with some soup and chicken and as soon as dinner was done the kids wanted to go bike riding. They are still not “bike riding alone” age specially because my 3 year old likes to follow behind in her tricycle. So when the kids wasn’t to go bike riding it means I go for a brisk walk trying to keep my daughter from trampling over the neighbourhood gardens and dogs with her tricycle. It was 7:30pm, we had just finished dinner, the dishwasher hadto be unloaded and reloaded, and the kitchen need to be cleaned I wasn’t about to go out now. (excuse #9) I sucked it up and off we went, as we were going out the door I was already saying “Ok. Ten minutes, that’s it. Everyone understand? Ten minutes.”  An hour later we were walking back through our front door, we had gone around the block, up and down the trail by our house and even played a game of “I’m gonna catch you” at the park.

I felt great. I had walked off my dinner, spent some time with the kids and gotten more exercise than I would have ever imagined. The downside? With all those endorphins running through my body I just couldn’t get to sleep.  It was way past midnight before I even went to bed.  There was no way I was going to make it to the gym for 6:00am the next day. (excuse #10)

Riding Home

Blogging on the GO

I downloaded the WordPress app on my Android phone last night and tried it out for the first time today.

Let’s start with what I love about it:

  1. You do not need to be connected to the internet to use it. You can write your blog, store it locally and once you have an internet connection you can sync and publish.
  2. It’s very easy add a picture. No searching for menus. Just tap the camera icon on the bottom right hand corner and either take a new pic or upload one from your phone.
  3. You can access your stats, notifications and manage comments very easily.

The problems I ran into:

  1. Typing over 5 words on my qwerty board made me feel like I had “big green sausage fingers” (points if you can tell me where that’s from) and I made a lot of typos.
  2. I ran into a problem formatting the picture I uploaded and couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I had to delete it and reload.

Overall I am very happy with the app and I’m writing this on my phone right now. Only this time I will take a look at it on my computer before I hit publish ( to avoid the typos)

Late addition;

As I was trying to save this above post I hit what I thought was “save” and instead published an unformated, typo ridden blog!  Aughh. I had to kick my daughter off the computer just as Caillou was going to the park with his dad. So now here I am trying to fix what my App messed up ( yes my app I’m not taking the blame for this one)  while my 3 year old is crying for Caillou. I still love the app but I need more practice.

Floor Mats and Coffee

Have you ever been desperate for a coffee? Really desperate? Like so desperate that you would risk missing the last of the commuter trains, getting to work late and diving into the unknown that lies under the car floor mats?
Little did I know that the series of events that would lead me to this desperation started with a lemonade stand.
Saturday was a beautiful sunny day so the kids and I stopped at the neighbourhood convenience store for some Slushies. Stuck on the wall outside the store was a handwritten sign letting people know that there was a lemonade stand from 8am to 4pm with all proceeds going to Sick Kids Hospital. I looked at my watch and it was 3:53pm, I had to get to the lemonade stand. I had never been to a true lemonade stand and I wanted to contribute what I could. I drove around the neighbourhood and found the stand. Two young kids and mom were still outside. Turns out though, that in this age of “debit” I didn’t have any cash on me. I scoured my purse and the car ashtray and was able to put together $1.65. This got me one cup of pink lemonade and 4 brownies. What a deal! I went home feeling good about doing a good neighbourly deed.

Fast forward to this morning. I went to the gym at 6 am, came home, got the kids ready and gulped down a smoothie for breakfast. When I got to the train station my inner caffeine monster woke up and she was cranky! I needed a coffee and nothing was going to stop me. I looked in my purse. Nothing. I looked in the ashtray. Nothing. Dam kids and their lemonade stand!
Then, like a star in the sky, I caught a glimpse of something shiny by my feet. A dime. I knew there had to be more where that came from. I got out of the car, lifted the floor mat and Ahoy! “Treasure me mateys.”  I found 55 cents. A small coffee is $1.30 so I had to keep looking. I opened the back door. Initially,I couldn’t even see the floor and for a moment I thought “don’t go in there” but that caffeine monster spoke. “Don’t give up’s not so what if you’re late?” I dove in throwing a sweater in the back, then a water bottle, two or three Happy Meal toys, a perfectly round rock covered in white powder that I think must have been a Timbit a long time ago. Then alas I could lift the floor-mat. What lay beneath was a like a hidden vault. There where nickles and dimes all over the place along with straw wrappers, crumbs in all the colours of the rainbow and a strange and sticky substance I don’t care try to identify. Was it
worth it you ask? Absolutely!


Kisses for Canada Day


I’m running my first ever Canada Day Mary Kay special! In honour of Canada turning 146 years old,  all lip products are on sale until midnight on July 1st for $14.60.

Here are some pictures of the great products you can get:

Mary Kay® Creme Lipstick
Mary Kay® Creme Lipstick

True Dimensions Colour
True Dimensions Colour

Wish Me Luck

I truly believe that I can do anything. There was a point in my life where I was working full-time, had a part-time job, went school and had two small kids. After making it through that I realized I really could do anything if I could just stop making excuses.  However I have been making excuses when it comes to my health for years. I’m generally healthy. No high blood pressure, no high cholesterol, no back pain. I don’t even get colds often.  I come from generations of very strong women who all lived into their nineties and lived the majority of their lives in good health.

The difference between them and me however is that they were all slim and were raised eating natural whole foods. I on the other hand have about 50 pounds to lose and although I make an effort to eat healthy, the convenience of prepackaged / pre-made / fast food frequently wins. The other huge difference is that all those women are on my mom’s side of the family and I tend to take after my dad’s side. My dad has struggled for years with Type 2 diabetes and recently suffered a heart attack.

I can go into my long list of excuses as to why I don’t have time for exercise, why I don’t have time to cook and how I just can’t turn down that slice of cake at work. And trust me I could write a few blogs on each one of those excuses but I know they are just excuses. I know I make choices everyday that will either help me reach my goals or work against me. I know that ultimately I am the only one responsible for my own health.

So here I aStep-Class-2m. It’s Sunday night ( I’ve been here before) and I am committing that starting this very minute I will take my health more seriously. That I will get some form of exercise everyday even if it’s just 10 minutes and that I will not binge on sweets and carbs. – Wish me luck.

Mystery Shopping – just my advice

 I first started Mystery Shopping almost 10 years ago when I was on maternity leave with my first son. I wanted to make a little extra money and found a couple of sites online. I registered and next thing you know, I was receiving e-mails from them with lists of stores where assignments were available and they were all in my area. I haven’t done any shops in the past year but I do still receive the available assignments. The information below is based on my personal experience doing mystery shops (on and off) for over 8 years.

6 Rs of Mystery Shopping

1. Receive e-mail with list of shops available
2. Respond to scheduler with your availability
3. Review e-mail and/or documents detailing the requirement of the shop and a copy of the report that needs to be completed
4. Remember to take notes immediately after visiting the establishment. Details are very important.
5. Report your findings by completing and submitting the required form/s (this should generally be done within 24 hours)
6. Receive payment – This is usually received 6 weeks after the assignment is completed.

What Type of Establishments Use Mystery Shopping?

The possibilities here are really endless. I personally do work for two separate Mystery Shopping companies and below are some examples of the types of assignments I receive on a regular basis.
Clothing Retailers:
Theses assignments include large well known department store as well as some smaller franchise shops.Shoe Stores:
These include high end specialty stores as well as discount outlets

Vehicle Maintenance
Never pay for an oil change or inspection again! There are many assignments available just to observe the work being done on your vehicle

Sporting Events
These assignments are usually for the retailers inside the stadium or arena but since you have to get inside to shop there, these assignments will cover the ticket price and parking. Many of these assignments will cover the cost of 2 tickets.

Whether it be fast food, fine dining and everything in between there are assignments available which will reimburse the cost of food ( there is usually a maximum they will cover). Many of these assignments however will pay enough for you and a friend.

Car Dealers
Now don’t get too excited, you can’t keep the car! However there are assignments that pay very well and all you have to do is take the car for a test drive and then negotiate a price.

Specialty Stores
Toy stores, Optical Stores, Video Game stores. As I mentioned before, the possibilities of what you might get are endless.


Take a look at what is expected for each shop. Although the car dealer shops pay well and sound fun, if you are not comfortable negotiating then don’t take the assignment. In order to be offered better assignments and higher pay you need to consistently provide quality reports.

Things to Consider Before Accepting an Assignment.

Once you have registered yourself with a Mystery Shopping company you can expect to receive a list of available assignments approximately once per week. There are companies that send out more assignments and other that won’t send anything for a few weeks. When you receive these messages you should review them quickly but thoroughly. The reason you need to review them quickly is that many assignments are allocated on a first come first serve basis. You must however make sure you understand the requirements of each shop before you apply to complete it. Here is what you should be looking for:1. Location, Location, Location!
What is the address of the establishment you have to visit?2. Size Does Matter!
If it is a clothing retailer; what is the specific demographic you need to fit? Usually this will include a particular age range as well as a size range.

3. “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days!”
What day of the week and on which dates do you need to complete the assignment?

4. Money, Money, Money:
How much does this shop pay?

5. Déjàvu?
Have you shopped at the same location recently? If you have completed a Mystery Shop at the same location please double check yoru Mystery Shopping companies’ policy on how often you can complete a report for the same establishment. Most companies I have worked with have a 90 day rotation policy were shoppers cannot revisit a location within 90 days.

Once you have answered the above questions and you are sure you fit the shop requirements and are comfortable with the pay, only then should you apply to have that shop assigned to you.


Some shops can pay as little as $8.00 which may not be worth it for you if you have to travel far from home to do it. However many times there will be multiple shops available at the same mall or plaza. Apply for all the shops you qualify for at the same general location and watch your earnings grow.


Legitimate Mystery Shopping companies will not ask you for money or any financial information. Both the companies below pay via Paypal.