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  1. Retro-Reporter's 2012 in review

    Monday, December 31, 2012

    Well, 2012 has been quite a year, hasn't it! At this time last year I was living in Camrose with G and working at the Canadian. Fast-forward 365 days and I live in Edmonton with my fella Ian and his animals, working at Metro Edmonton. How quickly things change!

    The first big change came last March and April when I joined Metro and moved from Camrose back to Edmonton. We found a wonderful apartment downtown and were happy to be back in the big city.

    Also last spring, Miss Bee and I met Krista Dee and Rueby Retro for the very first time in Olds for some good ole antiquing. I don't think the town quite knew what hit them!

    The spring and summer were filled with great outings, shopping and basking in the sunlight, but I also lost both of my maternal grandparents, who I miss very much, in July and September.

    August also brought a big change, when after 3 years G and I decided to go our separate ways. Luckily we're still good friends and chat often. In August I also met the new love of my life - my sectional!

    I bet you thought I meant Ian? Well, he's my second new love of my life :) It feels like we've known each other for much longer than four months.

    Last year I also did up some resolutions. I don't think I've done very well on them though. I haven't been exercising as much, I think I took less outfit photos and feel like I didn't clean my house as much as I'd have liked to. That said, I was more social, spent more time with family (sadly, much of that was at funerals) and I think my posts have had more variety. You win some, you lose some. I don't have any resolutions for 2013 other than to be happy!

    I want to thank all my wonderful readers for sticking with me over the last year. Blogging is something that's very important to me, but it's nothing without you guys!

    I hope you all have a wonderful, happy New Years Eve and a fabulous 2013.

    XO Laurie

  2. In Pictures: Kitschmas 2012

    Sunday, December 30, 2012

    Hello everyone and Merry Christmas! This post is a little behind others, but I've been spending the last week (which I had completely off, thanks to Metro!) lounging, knitting, reading, eating and drinking - just what Christmas should be, in my books.

    I was spoiled enough to have 3 Christmases this year - one at home in Saskatchewan with the Callsens, a small one Dec. 27 with Ian and another with his family on the 29.


    These aren't even half of the presents I got- I was spoiled rotten! One of the most exciting things isn't even pictured. Ian told me that he's going to buy a record player for us - thus the records in the last photo! I've always wanted a record player and I'm very excited to get one once we save up.

    How was your Christmas?  I hope you all got spoiled as well.

  3. Winter Wonderland at Fort Edmonton Park

    Saturday, December 15, 2012

    (Sorry for the unimaginative headline. Now that I'm an online journalist, I have a bad case of SEOO - Search Engine Optimization Obsession - and like to make sure stuff like this is easy to find online. So if you came here by way of the Google, welcome!)

    Despite feeling unprepared for the holidays this year, I still freakin' love Christmas. Miss Bee and I made double-date plans to go to Christmas Reflections Fort Edmonton Park with our fellas waaaay back in November, and so when we finally went on Thursday we were both pretty excited.

    Christmas Reflections is something the park does every year around this time. Most of the summer stuff at the park is shut down, but you can take a wagon tour through the park, do a little shopping, make crafts, sip cider and even visit Santa.

    I was also excited that Ian brought along his camera and newly-replaced lens to take fancy photos. I love having a professional photographer for a boyfriend. That said - Ian is a photojournalist, and therefore is all about the candid shots. Be prepared for a lot of derpy photos of me (which is my default/ neutral look, unfortunately).

    Ian took ~60 photos, so I've narrowed it down to my favourite 23. Yup. 23. This is a picture heavy post.

    We started things off with a little stroll down 1920s street, where we wished the Capitol Theatre didn't falsely advertise that they were showing Clara Bow films. Jerks.

    Then, we popped into a store to make a Christmas craft.

    Scissors are hard, I need to concentrate.

    I was wearing a $9 Christmas sweater and my great-grandma Callsen's brooch.

    Socializing. Just not with each other.
    I made a Santa button. I'm very passionate about Santa.

    Carrying on...

    Look at the mini tree with its ittle topper! SO CUTE.

    More derpy pointing action. Aw yeah.
    Those cards are seriously awesome. For $2.50 you get a bunch of Christmas cards to cut out yourself. That's cheaper than one modern card!

    I'm not the only weirdo.
    Writing my letter to Santa, asking for a muff, petticoat and a 54 convertible too (light blue!) 

    These two are adorable.
    It was a really nice night weather wise - hovering around -8 or so (I'm not sure) but we still took a chance to warm up with some cider.

    Looking normal.....

    I call this one "The Canadian Flasher" 
    Yum, cider.
    At this point we had a discussion about the best Christmas songs. Thomas and Ian suggested Christmas in Hollis, while Bee and I waxed poetic about how much we love Sleigh Ride. Then we both admitted that we do a little bouncy Sleigh Ride dance whenever we hear it. This is why we're friends, people.

    We ended the night with a bonfire and a wagon ride tour through the park.

    XO Laurie

    Don't forget about the deal eShakti is offering Retro Reporter readers. From now until December 31, first time eShakti shoppers can receive $25 off their order with the coupon LAURIEMARIECALLSEN.

  4. The boxes are unpacked and the house is 90 per cent organized  - it's time to start decorating for Christmas! (or as I've come to call it, Kitschmas)

    Despite having a nasty cold (luckily I still have some super-duper awesome American grade cold medicine from California) yesterday was a day full of cleaning, organizing, vacuuming and decorating. I'm usually a "No Christmas before December 1" kind of girl and this year was no exception - although I have been listening to a few Christmas songs as I drive to work.

    Most of the decorations are up, although there are some things that I'd like to make, once I find the sewing table underneath the giant pile of books and yarn. Luckily, that's the only thing that needs to be sorted.

    Are your decorations and tree up yet?

    XO Laurie

    Don't forget about the deal eShakti is offering Retro Reporter readers. From now until December 31, first time eShakti shoppers can receive $25 off their order with the coupon LAURIEMARIECALLSEN.

  5. Moving tips from Retro-Reporter

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    As I was packing up some boxes the other day, I realized that this is my seventh(!) move in the last four and a half years. In case you don't believe me:
    1. From the farm in Saskatchewan to college residence in Edmonton (moved in August 2008)
    2. From the farm in Saskatchewan to my Oliver apartment in Edmonton (August 2009)
    3. From Edmonton to Wetaskiwin (June 2010)
    4. From Wetaskiwin to Camrose townhouse (August 2010)
    5. From Camrose townhouse to Camrose apartment  (January 2011)
    6. From Camrose apartment to El Mirador (March 2012)
    7. From El Mirador to Ian's house (November 2012)
    That's a lot. By now, you'd think that I'm either a minimalist or a pro, but I'm neither. I have SO MUCH STUFF (I need to work on my culling skills) that I am slowly moving into Ian's or looking to get rid of. I'm also fine-tuning my moving and packing skills. 
    Here's some things that I've learned over the years.

    Totes vs boxes: The first thing I did when I moved away from home for the first time was buy some Rubbermaid totes instead of getting cardboard boxes. While boxes are free (usually. Maybe you don't frequent liquor stores as often as me), Rubbermaid totes last FOREVER and can also be used for water-resistent storage after the fact. I've used mine for the last almost five years and only now are they starting to show their wear. They've more than paid for themselves.

    Prioritize: This is probably common sense, but as soon as you know you're moving, start packing! Begin with non-essentials, like books, off-season clothes, etc. Pack a last-out/first-in box with cleaning supplies, scissors, toilet paper, sheets etc so you have the essentials on hand and clearly marked. Get rid of stuff you don't plan on keeping sooner rather than later. You don't want to run to Goodwill or be waiting on Kijiji buyers on move-out day.

    One room at a time: Packing can be overwhelming. Everytime I go back to my apartment I feel like I still have so much to move. After you've packed up the non-essentials, pack and clean one room at a time. I cleaned out my bathroom completely today, and only have a few sewing-related things left in my living room - but still the majority of my kitchen and bedroom to do. The fact that I'm not staying at my apartment is making it much easier to clear out rooms completely and clean them (and keep them clean).

    Move slow: If you're like me and consolidating households or get possession of your new place while you're still in the old one, move stuff over in small increments whenever you can in your own vehicle. Not only does that mean that you're also unpacking slowly and won't run into a bunch of daunting boxes as soon as you get into your home, it also means that you'll only have to move furniture on the official moving day, which can saving on renting a moving truck as well as time on unpacking. 

    Move mid-week and mid-month: If you can, book a day or two off in the middle of the week to move, and maximize that by moving before the end of the month. Since I'm moving in with Ian, I can technically move in whenever (see move slow above) and his days off usually happen in the middle of the week, thanks to shift work (as if I was going to move furniture without his help!). I foresee it to be much easier to get a moving truck on a Wednesday in the middle of November rather than on the last weekend of the month like everyone else.

    Redirect your mail: I haven't done this in the past but I did this time. In Canada, it'll cost you $45 to redirect your mail for 6 months. While you should still change all your addresses, it buys you a little bit of time, and will forward any bills you didn't change in time and will make you less of a pain in the ass for previous tenants. I hate when I still get mail for people who have previously lived in my apartments.
    Addresses you should change ASAP (links relevant to Canadian/Albertan residents):

    • tax information 
    • employee records
    • health card
    • utility bills (or cancel them if applicable)
    • cell phone
    • banking information
    • insurance information (and update tenant insurance)
    • drivers license
    • former landlords, employers 
    Keep track of costs: In Canada, you can claim moving expenses on your tax return if you're moving for a new job and are moving more than 40 km away, or if you're moving for university. I haven't claimed moving expenses before simply because I didn't keep track of them. Damn! What a wasted opportunity. Keep track of moving expenses with a Dropbox or Google Drive electronically as well as with paper copies.

    Did I miss anything? What are some of your tips for moving?

    xo Laurie

  6. Retro Reporter mini-hiatus

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Hello all! I apologize for the big 'ole absence from blogging, but I also want to warn you that it will continue. I have several reasons behind this:

    Bye bye El Mirador :(
    • Moving: Yes, I'm moving. After a glorious two months of living on my own, I'm shacking up with Ian. Aside from the fact that I'm crazy about him, it's also better for the both of us financially. I've really been struggling these last two months with paying the bills and whatnot (let alone groceries) so I'm looking forward to settling in, paying off my debt and getting back on track. In the meantime, I'm halfway moved, but there's still a lot of stuff at my old apartment. I'm trying to spend as much time as I can moving things, but I've needed to take a break lately because of my next point.
    A typical day in the life of Laurie: Nosebleeds galore
    • Stress & possible health issues: Yup, having a negative number in your bank account can really get you down, and I've felt really low and depressed these last few weeks and have barely wanted to get out of bed, let alone blog. I'm tired all the time (I slept for almost 12 hours last night and am still exhausted) and just feel worse than dirt. In addition to my less-than-stellar mental health, I've also been having worse back aches (I used to wake up with my lower back killing me on weekends after sleeping in, but now it hurts every morning) as well as nose bleeds. I'm hoping it's just stress related and will go away once everything's under control.
    Follow #memadechristmas on Instagram!
    • Me Made Christmas:  In a spin-off of my pre-Christmas no spender bender, I'm also trying to make the majority of my Christmas presents. So far I have one down and four to go, but it's hard to knit when you live with the recipient and you're not living with your sewing machine! I've been trying to do as much knitting and sewing in my spare time as I can, thus no time for blogging!
    I'm sorry if this blog post was a major downer and for seeming whiny - I just wanted to let you know where I had disappeared off to!

    xo Laurie

    Don't forget about the deal eShakti is offering Retro Reporter readers. From now until December 31, first time eShakti shoppers can receive $25 off their order with the coupon LAURIEMARIECALLSEN.

  7. I have been sliiiightly bad since my spender bender promise, but I have lots of excuses! (I'm really good at coming up with excuses :/).
    Here are my 'frivolous' purchases so far this October:

    Imagine Vintage Wear: $46 for a skirt and 4 vintage patterns. Seamed stockings were a gift.

    Air Canada: $73 for a flight from Edmonton to San Francisco. The rest of the trip was paid with Aeroplan points.

    Air Canada: $54 for return flight from San Fran to Edmonton. Again, rest was paid using Aeroplan points.

    But truthfully I've been very good so far! Everything else I've spent money on was either essentials (like replacing my glasses, groceries, getting supplies for my sewing class or replacing some things G got in the break-up) or Christmas presents (I've shopped for Bee and my mom, already woohoo!). I didn't buy a single thing in San Fran except for lunch one day. Ian and I didn't get to do much touristy stuff, but we did enjoy Santa Rosa and even a beach date before coming back to home to Edmonton (and snow.)

    Amount spent on pre-Christmas spender bender so far: $173

    XO Laurie

    Don't forget about the deal eShakti is offering Retro Reporter readers. From now until December 31, first time eShakti shoppers can receive $25 off their order with the coupon LAURIEMARIECALLSEN.