where does my money go? – a week in my vancouver life

spoiler alert: most of it goes to food. big surprise, huh?

i was inspired by this post to keep track of my spending for a week, and document it in a similar format.

day one:

6:40 am – greek yogurt and coffee for breakfast at home: pre-paid groceries and nespresso pods.

9:20 am – got hungry again and had to have a second breakfast – scrambled eggs with cheese, spinach and a side of sourdough toast ftw: $4.50.

12:30 pm – i meant to bring my lunch, but accidentally left it at home, so had to buy lunch – bagel with bacon, egg, and cheese (breakfast for lunch is the besttttt): $4.25.

5:10 pm – leave to meet a supplier downtown. contemplate driving for a split second, but then i remember what a hassle parking downtown is (and how expensive it is). i actually have a parking spot downtown through work, but it’s not that close to where we’re going for dinner. decide to take the skytrain: pre-loaded transit pass.

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5:30 pm – reso at five sails. order my first greygoose dirty martini of the night (maybe $20? not sure because i didn’t pay, or even look at the price on the menu). get a free appetizer, compliments of the chef. order the lobster for dinner – they had me at “truffle” ($55). order another martini (another $20? who knows). chat with supplier about how old guys have no energy (completely business related, obviously): supplier picks up the bill because she can expense it.

7 pm – deep tissue massage at spa utopia ($139): also did not pay for this.

9:15 pm – after chatting with my supplier over a complementary glass of wine (it comes with every massage at spa utopia), it’s time to fight the temptation to take a cab home, and take the skytrain instead: pre-loaded transit pass.

total spent in the day: $8.75 (would have been more than $250 if dinner and the massage weren’t taken care of).

day two:

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8:20 am – heat up leftovers, put a fried egg on top of it, and call it breakfast – breakfast at home: pre-paid groceries.

11 am – decide to go work at the coffee shop across the street. buy a coffee for the ability to use their patio: $3.

lunch

1 pm – lunch with a friend at the edge cafe. order the chorizo hash ($15) and had breakfast for lunch for the second day in a row: friend paid for lunch.

1:45 pm – back to the coffee shop; grabbed a chai latte for myself, and a mocha for my friend (the least i could do, since he grabbed the tab at lunch): $9.50.

5:45 pm – finally finish working for the day! meeting an old high-school friend who’s in town for dinner tonight out in burnaby. gas prices are pretty cheap right now (it’s sad how 1.32 has become “cheap” here in vancouver), should i leave early and stop for gas…?

6:30 pm – fuck it, no time for gas. this traffic is brutal.

7:30 pm – finally a table opens up at ramen jinya. ordered tempura brussel sprouts to share ($6.80) and ordered the jinya tonkotsu black ramen for myself ($14.80): friend says dinner is his treat.

9:15 pm – drive my friend back to his hotel, and drive myself back home – i’m in a food-coma and way too tired to stop for gas.

total spent in the day: $12.50 (would have been around $55 if i didn’t have such generous friends).

day three:

9:15 am – i really should learn how to eat breakfast first, before doing anything else. but, after an hour and a half of emails, it’s finally time to have yogurt and coffee for breakfast: pre-paid groceries and nespresso coffee pods.

10:50 am – reassessed tax rebate finally came in – repay lawyer money he lent me before i forget and just spend it all on other shit: $2,000.

12:30 pm – return from a quick run, resist the urge to get tacofino from the food truck on the walk home, and heat up leftovers for lunch instead: pre-paid groceries.

1:30 pm – time for more coffee: pre-paid nespresso pods.

5:45 pm – take skytrain downtown to meet friends that are in town from whistler for drinks – compass card auto-uploads more money onto it: $10.

6 pm – meet friends for drinks at steamworks. order the mushroom caps because we’re starving. the bill comes and i grab it, because they always pay for my drinks: $46.89.

7 pm – dinner at nuba with my friends and their friends – order a bunch of stuff to share between us all. food is split evenly between us, but my friends put the bottle of wine we shared ($49) on their bill: $27.01.

8 pm – meet a date for drinks at chill winston. order a cocktail ($10.50) and a dirty vodka martini (i didn’t even ask the price, but maybe $14?): he pays.

10 pm – grab wine from the liquor store ($18) and go chill on the awesome playground with a zipline: he pays again.

total spent in the day: $2,083.90 (should have been over $2,140).

day four:

12:40 pm – SO hungover. finally decide to get out of bed and order chinese food.

1 pm – stop at the bcl to pick up a bottle of rosé for a friend’s wine tasting party tonight – i know nothing about rosé, but this one’s from france and the bottle is pretty: $17.34.

dandan

1:05 pm – pick up chinese food from peaceful (xiao long bao and dan dan noodles): $18.80.

1:25 pm – see the msp bill on my table, as i’m digging into my dan dan noodles. i should probably pay that: $75.

7 pm – a friend picks me up in her car to go to the wine tasting party – she’s pregnant, so will be sober later and can drive.

7:30 pm – pizza, charcuterie, grapes, shrimp cocktail, and 12 bottles of rosé: a friend that was hosting the wine party provided the snacks, and everyone brought a bottle of wine to share.

11:30 pm – pregnant friend drives me home safely.

total spent in the day: $111.14.

day five:

11 am – how am i this hungover again? get asked out on a coffee date and decline, because i don’t feel like looking human today.

12:30 pm – heat up leftover chinese food and make a cup of green tea: prepaid.

6:15 pm – netflix. order thai food using foodora and get $10 off because of a voucher: $16.67.

total spent in the day (without even leaving the house once): $16.67.

day six:

7:45 am – yogurt and coffee for breakfast: pre-paid groceries and nespresso pods.

9:45 am – is it too early for lunch? fuck it, i’m an adult and can do what i want. heat up leftover spring rolls from last night before my 10 am conference call: paid for the meal yesterday.

11:20 am – time for lunch #2; heat up leftover pad see ew: paid for it last night.

2 pm – i’m hungry again. heat up more leftover pad see ew and have my second coffee of the day: pre-paid.

ramen

5:30 pm – drive downtown and park for free at work (probably saved $6 by not parking at a meter downtown). check out a ramen place (men-no kura) with a friend, that neither of us have been to before: $12.62.

7 pm – drive back home in a food-coma.

total spent in the day: $12.62 (should have been more like $18, yay parking pass).

day seven:

7:15 am – coffee at home while doing my make-up: pre-paid nespresso pods.

7:30 am – drive downtown and park at work for free – think about how expensive it usually is to park downtown during weekdays ($28 a day at bentall): parking pass ftw.

8:30 am – i should probably get something to eat. and another coffee: $5.25.

1 pm – indian food (samosas, naan, beef rogan josh, and a veggie curry), cake for dessert, and coffee from starbucks for the meeting at work (maybe $20?): paid for by the company.

lamb

5 pm – seawall run and then stop for groceries at the save-on on the way home, that’ll last me the next few days. making lamb for dinner tonight, because that’s what’s on sale this evening: $21.18.

total spent in the day: $26.43 (should have been $74.43, but work paid).

…and there you have it, like i said in the beginning, i spend most of my money on food and booze. apparently, the first step to becoming more “financially responsible” is by tracking what you spend, and keeping a budget, which i have been doing for the first time in my life lately (because, pay-cut). over the last few months, i’ve found the areas i spend my money are food and booze, my car, my friends (birthdays, etc.), and vacations. so like… essentially on things that make me happy in life. i’ve read a bunch of articles online about “how i retired at 34” and “i retired at 29 and you can too” and it seems like everyone does it by living frugally and not eating out. frankly, i have no interest in that because i love eating out and trying new restaurants and can’t even imagine compromising my lifestyle to hoard money. i mean granted, there are probably a few opportunities here and there to not drink as much or to cook instead of order take-out, but… fuck it. i say, as long as you can afford your lifestyle (aka aren’t in mounds of debt and have an emergency fund) and you enjoy the things you spend your money on, keep doing you.

disclaimer: i am not a financial adviser, and will probably never retire in my life, but i will always eat well…

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the best thing on miku’s menu

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the salmon oshi sushi – pressed bc wild sockeye salmon, jalapeño, and miku sauce that’s flame-seared to perfection.

you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu since everything is so delicious, but where you can make the biggest mistake of your life is if you don’t order the salmon oshi sushi as part of your meal.

and just in case you were wondering what $300 of salmon oshi sushi looked like…

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the day before nightingale opened

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i got the privilege of trying david hawksworth’s new restaurant, nightingale, the day before it officially opened to the public… for $10.  we literally ordered almost everything off the menu. 28 dishes between four people (and the fourth person showed up a little after dish 18).

my personal favourites: the san marzano pizza with buffalo mozzarella (apparently it took two years to perfect the crust, but this was hands-down the best pizza i’ve ever had in my life), the lamb chops (we got three orders for our table), the seared albacore tuna, the pork belly (that went so well with the apple slices on top of it, and all the flavours infused into it), the flank steak, the halibut ceviche, the rockfish, the burrata, the cauliflower, the gelato, and the salted caramel pot.

the ambience was amazing, the service was fantastic, the quality of food was on par with what you expect from a hawskworth restaurant, and i absolutely love the “family-style sharing” concept of the restaurant and how the dishes come out as they are prepared.

i think i have a new favourite restaurant in vancouver, and i can’t wait to go back to try the rest of the menu.

the best eggs benny in vancouver.

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the bc benny (smoked salmon, cream cheese, and onions – i get it without the onions) they serve at the sunshine diner is the best eggs benny in town. i’ve tried quite a few different places over the years, and have found pretty good ones across the city, but i am sticking with my claim that this is the best eggs benny in vancouver. the hollandaise sauce that they make is to die for. i’m a fan of trying new things, but i can never deviate from my usual order. i love how over the span of almost 10 years, this dish hasn’t changed a single bit and tastes EXACTLY the same. the only thing that’s changed about it is that now it comes with a side of fresh fruit (that’s actually fresh, and not del monte in syrup from a can) and a bowl of homefries (you used to have to add it on for an additional charge), which are both great changes. they also make a pretty mean milkshake – thick, creamy, rich, and absolutely delicious. you can mix flavours together, so i usually go for the butterscotch espresso combo.

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the place itself is super cute – a legitimate 50’s style diner with comfortable booths, jukeboxes, and all the appropriate decor. great vibes, great service, and the best eggs benny in town.

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so what is #100happydays?

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#100happydays #todayiamgratefulfor smoked salmon eggs benny

as well as being part of my #100happydays post for february 1, 2014, the smoked salmon eggs benny from the rumpus room can also be added to my list.

i kept seeing “#100happydays” pop up on a few of my friends instagram pictures, and wondered why everyone was using that hashtag. so i decided to google it. it came up with a pretty intriguing project and challenge:

can you be happy for 100 days in a row?

“we live in times when super-busy schedules have become something to boast about. while the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in. the ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being.

71% of people tried to complete this challenge, but failed quoting lack of time as the main reason. these people simply did not have time to be happy. do you?”

you then register on the site, choose your social media platform to submit your pictures (i picked instagram), use the #100happydays hashtag with a hashtag of your own (mine is #todayiamgratefulfor), and post pictures of anything in your day that made you happy.

i’m only two days into the challenge, but already i’ve become more aware of little moments in life that i am truly grateful for, mainly relating to the amazing people in it. i’ve always stopped to take time to reflect on and appreciate the life given to me, but to do it 100 days in a row, via a picture on instagram, is definitely going to take some effort. but… challenge accepted, and i fully intend on being one of the 29% of people that complete it.

follow me on my journey here.

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moose’s down under and donating my hair to cancer

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moose’s down under is more of a restaurant that serves alcohol than a pub. it has a great vibe that makes you feel right at home. i think the staff plays a huge factor in creating that vibe – they are all aussie, and just SO friendly. if you arrive in a group, they’ll take everyone’s names and ask if you want separate bills right off the bat, which eliminates any hassle in splitting the bill at the very end. they’re all very attentive and always make sure you have something to drink – it’s like being over at a friend’s house who is an amazing host!

the drinks are cheap, and they have great specials… like $6.50 double long-island iced teas on fridays. they serve delicious pub food that’s great to share if you want to munch on something while you drink.

this is where i met kelly for some drinks and food after i finished cutting over eight inches of my hair off, to donate to cancer.

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it’s been on my bucket-list for a while, but as any girl with long hair knows, it’s surprisingly hard to part with that much of your hair. i finally just committed to a date to get it done, took one last look at my long, beautiful hair, along with a deep breath, and walked out of there five pounds lighter, with an amazingly cute haircut thanks to dawn (ps. if you are looking for an awesome stylist in vancouver, let me know and i can give you one of her cards, which will give you a bit of a discount for your first visit). axis can donate your hair directly to the children’s hospital for you, and they promise that every inch of hair is used up. it’s great to know that all that hair is going to be made into a wig for a little girl that just lost all her hair involuntarily to chemotherapy and radiation.

gurkha himalayan kitchen

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tonight, i tried himalayan food for the first time with my friends lauren and dong at the gurkha himalayan kitchen on davie. it was a spontaneous dinner decision that also quickly turned into a celebration dinner for no reason… and by that, i just mean we went all out by ordering almost everything on the menu, along with a nice bottle of cabernet sauvignon.

i picked up a menu and felt like i was reading a different language because none of the names of the dishes looked even remotely familiar to me – i was oddly excited by this.

we decided to order a variety of dishes off the menu so we could have a little taste of everything. here’s what we ordered:

  • taas: special nepali snack prepared with grilled lean lamb meat, sautéed in fresh peppers, onions, and spices. served with puffed and beaten rice mix
  • momos: tibetan style steamed dumplings served with chutney
  • lhasa chow mein: stir-fried soft noodles with vegetables and tofu (or chicken), seasoned with soy sauce and fresh coriander
  • sherpa chicken: fresh chicken cooked with broth extracted from herbs and mixed with curry sauce, flavoured with himalayan peppercorns
  • pokhara lamb: boneless lamb marinated overnight in yogurt, ginger-garlic paste and gentle nepali spices. grilled to perfection and served with gurkha pulau
  • gurkha pulau: basmati rice cooked with green peas, green onions, saffron, cashews and raisins
  • nepali roti: fresh baked whole wheat bread
  • tingmo: fluffy, steamed tibetan bread
  • dudhbari: popular nepali dessert with sweetened milk spheres in pistachio flavoured cream syrup
  • kheer: traditional & very popular nepali sweet dish, made with rice & milk & flavoured with cardamoms, raisins, cashew & gentle spread of coconut flakes

everything was so good and had such a unique taste – my mouth was exploding with all sorts of different flavours and i loved it. i definitely will be coming back to try everything else on the menu that i didn’t get to try tonight.