The Importance of The Vote #CanadianElections2015

It’s amazing how as you get older and you gain more responsibilities in life, you also come to realize that voting is really important. Voting IS important because it affects you, it affects your taxes, your mortgage payments, your retirement, your future and the future of your children, etc.

Yes I’ll admit when I was younger or you can say early adulthood, I didn’t see the major importance in voting because I still lived at home and politics were not interesting to me. But now, I am happy to vote and happy to have a voice in society.

I must say that being a homeowner changes your view on a lot of things. Voting and who will be leading your country is one of them. You’ll soon find out that being a homeowner changes a lot in your life including your prospective on things. You will start to see a bigger picture and the value of things will drastically change.

When you’re a hard working Canadian it’s important to protect your rights. Don’t ever forget that!


I voted on October 19th, did you?

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

3 Emotions you might feel when living alone.

I’m just naming a few emotions that I often feel because I have been living alone for almost 5 years now. I like to call them, the good, the bad & the ugly.

When you’re living alone, who knows how you will feel, this changes day-to-day depending on daily situations.

Emotion #1

Feeling Silly

Feeling silly is one of my regular emotions when I am at home. This basically consists of dancing in my underwear, screaming out loud, talking to myself, talking to the dogs, dancing with the dogs oh and the occasional opera concerto, polishing off a bottle of wine and watching funny videos while laughing hysterically by myself. (Were you out of breathe reading that? haha)

No I’m not crazy; I just like to keep myself (and the dogs apparently) entertained.

doggy dancing

It’s important to let lose, it’s no sign that you’re crazy, just get into your undies and dance the night away, put a show on for yourself and the dogs. Feeling silly is totally normal.

Great times dancing with Curtis Mayfield

Emotion #2

Feeling lonely

watching tv alone There’s no doubt that living alone can cause loneliness. Don’t worry, this is also normal. I say don’t panic, embrace it! When you’re young, your friends matter most to you. You spend countless hours with people, at their houses, or them at your house, etc. For me, I needed people around me all the time. Trust me when I say this, because I do speak with experience (not that I’m old…) but your time alone will be extremely appreciated once you learn to accept being alone. This theory also works for relationships FYI… if you cannot be alone, you cannot do a lot of things, but that’s my two cents. Make yourself a martini and just chill.martoiniLove the moment because one day when you have a family that peace and quiet will be gone, or you can get two pitbulls like I did, and that peace & quiet will also be gone. Don’t be afraid to be alone, once you have overcome this fear you will grow so much as a person.


Emotion #3

Feeling overwhelmed

Yes you will feel overwhelmed from time to time, it’s completely normal. How many times do you think you will come home to a messy house, a pile of dishes, a racoon spreading your garbage everywhere, dog puke all over the house, piles of laundry, etc. SHIT HAPPENS! You’re only human and some weeks might be more stressful, or you might be lazy or tired.

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed but what’s important is dealing with it properly. The last thing you want is for your shit to get out of hand. Best thing to do is to breathe and make yourself a to-do list, prioritize what’s important and just get through it. It’s achievable if you want to resolve it.

There is no need to panic about the emotions I mentioned above. Feeling these are quite common, yet people never really talk about it, mind you, it’s not really a conversation starter… ‘’ Hey hey! I sing made up opera songs to my dogs in my underwear’’. Being a homeowner comes with big responsibilities. Organization is very important. Establish times and dedicate specific days for doing chores (it’s called a calendar). You will sometimes fall behind, but it’s important to know how to pick yourself up. My boss once told me that it’s okay to make mistakes or forget something, but you need to make sure that you have a solution in order to resolve the problem.


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5 Basic Tips on Surviving: Food Edition

You’re probably wondering what you’re going to be eating for the next few years and I could assure you it will be fine. Don’t worry about it.

1976 Kraft Dinner Ad

1976 Kraft Dinner Ad Target market: YOU

My dad said to me (not too long ago actually) ‘’ people your age are all eating Kraft dinner and Ramen noodles’’, because he felt that I was eating too much fancy food at home, haha I do but in the beginning when you’re getting yourself organized and just moved in, you may not have the financials to eat surf and turf! I have eaten Kraft Dinner before but as a snack or a late night snack! Don’t worry; I am going to help you eat well while respecting a budget.

1- Foods you should avoid buying in order to reduce costs

I am mentioning the following two items because my laziness almost took over my wallet a few weeks ago.

CRAP! Don’t eat crap; it’s not good for you. Eat smart.

Yes I agree a lot of healthy foods are more expensive than junk food, it’s horrible and should be a whole other discussion on its own!


$$$ Do you know how many vegetables you can buy instead of this?

Don’t buy prepped foods and by this I mean cut up fruit or salad kit mixers, etc. These ‘’kits’’ are overpriced for nothing. Just buy all the ingredients individually and prepare it yourself. It’s not very time consuming and in the end you will have greater quantities instead of having a portion for 1 or 2 days. Don’t throw away your money, set a time in your week for meal prep, and trust me it’s worth it. So buy a variety and fruits and dice them up and same thing for salads, buy different ingredients you like in your salad and make a mix you can keep in a larger Tupperware container. Voila! Your salad will be ready and mixed for the week. nonnaAlso, visit your grandmother regularly; they hook up the food too!

2- Look at specials

I am not saying to become an impulsive coupon collector but look at the weekly flyers or on the internet and check when those meats are on special, because when they are, you will buy it all and then freeze it!

As for fruits and veggies my recommendation is to go to a market any chance you get. Fruits and vegetables are getting pricier but these farm markets or wholesalers are much cheaper than your local grocery stores.

Oh and helpful tip from my mom: Don’t buy chicken breasts if they are over $11 a kg. Thanks mom, I think about you every time I buy chicken breasts.

Oh and easy on the expensive steaks, let your parents feed you luxury when they see you! They’re so happy not to be feeding you anymore that I am sure they love spoiling you when they see you. And again, hit up grandma’s…they love feeding you and seeing you eat. Don’t have a grandma? Then come to mine, she will be more than happy to feed you too! #thatitalianlife

italian dinner

3- Entertaining

If you’re like me than you love entertaining guests. Well you should stop, or like simmer down a little. Don’t understand why you shouldn’t be so generous? Think about your guests and if they have ever invited you over or given you anything. Thats right i just saved you bucket loads right here!

In my other life I am a master chef. I love making food and especially for guests. That’s right, I am like my grandmother. But honestly, this gets expensive too. Try doing potlucks instead. They work, you don’t have to spend ridiculous amounts of money on food, nor spend a lot of time cooking and you basically get leftovers and no dishes. I like to call this a win, win win

4- Leftovers vs. eating out

If you don’t mind eating leftovers, then making stews, soups, lasagnes, chilli’s and etc. are extremely beneficial and cost efficient. You can also freeze most of this stuff and go back to it later! Think about it this way, I just made a lasagne for a total cost of $20 and was able to get 6 portions from it. The boyfriend at it all but that’s beside the point. $3.33 for a nice homemade lasagne portion is way tastier than a restaurant bought one that cost you $15 for a single plate, plus tip. I’m not saying to stop eating at the restaurant but eating lunch out everyday is definitely not part of the budget. That gets crazy expensive and you have major bills to pay now that you’re a homeowner. Sorry to my friends who eat out everyday but that money can pay for a trip and my trip too! Just saying. #sheneedsvacation

5- Healthy choices

Making healthy choices is always the right route to take. Loss of inspiration can happen often, especially when living alone. A lot of people ask me, how do I do it? Cooking crazy meals for myself. The truth is, I love to cook anvbarbino meals 2d make new recipes and I love and NEED to be healthy. If you’re going to drink and party and smell burnt tires at drifting events well the least you can do is make yourself a fabulous meal. Don’t cheap out on yourself, take the time to appreciate yourself & a good meal. Just because I live alone doesn’t mean I should be eating Kraft Dinner and you either!

vbarbino meals

For more meal inspiration follow my Instagram page @vbarbino

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5 Tips Young Homeowners Need to Know When Shopping for a House

Ok so most of you can probably relate and others hang on, because it’s probably heading your way eventually. Becoming a homeowner at a young age has its perks, but can also bring you many surprises too. ‘’Oh shoot I forgot to buy dishwasher soap’’ or ‘’Oh yeah, we need a lawnmower to cut the grass…’’. These are just some of the few examples of random thoughts that may run through your head, but there are many more (trust me way more).

Most people generally move into an apartment first and get the ‘’feel’’ for living on their own, which is great, good for you, but what I’m talking about here, is cold turkey move into a house straight from mom’s, oh and to make it more interesting, you’re 19 years old. How is this possible you may ask? I won’t get into all the financial details but with hard work and dedication in life and of ‘course parental guidance, you can achieve anything you set your mind too. Also, my parents helped out with the legal paper work and all that stuff, because let’s face it, at 19, who knows how to buy a house? Mom, dad, help? K thanks.

I’m writing all this wonderful stuff because I want to share my experiences as a young homeowner to everyone! Friends, family and the world. If you’re young and about to buy your first house I’m sure you have many questions and random things you’re wondering about, so hopefully I can get it covered with my Young Homeowners: The Survival Guide. A series of blogs meant to guide all you young Padawans. Wish I had this when I was first getting my house!

Don’t stress it; we will get through this together!

Tip #1: Visiting Houses

dream garage

Dream Garage



When you start visiting houses, you should visit more than one. I visited the garage of my house and was like ‘’K, where do I sign?’’. The car junky in me was happy to live in a garage (also, I had 3 cars, a dirt bike and other garage-needing elements). ‘’There’s a house too…cool, I’m sure it’s fine. This garage though!’’. All my car geeks out there, you can so relate to this. Be wise, visit the entire house.

Tip #2: What can you afford?


This is actually tip #1, seriously. Don’t be visiting million dollar homes your youngster self can’t afford. So ya, check this out first, because you definitely don’t want to be eating Kraft Dinner for the next 10 years. The main purpose of getting the house was to have an investment that could grow over time, if you’re putting yourself into serious debt, this is not recommended.

Tip #3: Old vs. New

rustic living room

Also depending on what you can afford, this will determine if your house will be an older house or a newer one. Mine is old, BUT, I like vintage & ‘’cottage-style’’, cozy homes. It comes down to taste too, but renovations are always an option whether you buy old or new. Just get a place you’ll be happy living in for several years, enough time to make a profit.

Tip #4: Make it your own

Horrible wall paint

Tip #4 sort of relates to number 3. This is where I messed up but it was kind of weird how it all happened and also there’s a good chance this will not happen to you. I moved into a house that was entirely furnished. And by entirely furnished I mean EVERYTHING was there, from furniture and appliances to dishwasher soap and cigarette butts in the ashtray. In case you already guessed it, yes someone died (not in the house in case you’re wondering and I did ask) and I bought their house. Creepy, I know. So all that being said, it was difficult for me to do much personalization at first because the house was decorated (super cheesy by the way, we’ll talk more about the house décor later) from top to bottom. This made it hard for a ‘’fresh start’’, but I didn’t care I was getting my own place, finally (sorry mom). Before moving in, your best bet it to clean and repaint and redecorate with things that define you. I felt like an old man for a few months, we’ll eventually talk about the treasures I found in this house though.

Tip #5: Be excited and proud


It’s your first freakin’ house! Get excited about it; lose your marbles a little. People still can’t believe I was so young and they still can’t believe it today. Best question I get asked all the time is ‘’do you still have your house?’’ I always laugh but proudly say yes, yes I do. The first day I got the keys I was so excited I invited all my best friends over (back then when you’re 19 that’s like 12 people); we had Champaign and partied all night. I totally didn’t apply tip #4 and I moved in right away and slept on the living room floor for an entire week!

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Vanessa Barbeau

Marketing Professional


Food And Travel

The Survival Guides

A blog site about surviving life's challenges

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Melanie Prada

A small cluster of everything I love


A Fitness blog not for the pros but for the average joes.