Why having a Budget is less lame than you might think. . .

Do you feel like you are limiting your spending and waiting for a certain point in life when you will finally have ‘enough’ to be able to treat yourself to that Louis Vuitton purse, that fancy watch, or whatever it is that tickles your fancy? Or worse, are you totally oblivious to your finances and do you treat your debit card like a gift card and buy whatever you want even if you can’t afford it… (”I’m not sure how much is left on this, but give it a try…”) !?!?! What if I told you that all of this can be solved with a simple financial tool that you are already familiar with? You don’t have to feel jealous of others, you don’t have to deprive yourself of special items you want. Assuming you are debt-free, it’s not hard to build the life you want.

This key tool that can help you immensely and you already know about it? It’s budgeting. Ok – was that an eyeroll I just saw? Hear me out! I challenge you to put some effort into rewiring your current conceptions and ideas about budgeting. Phrases like ‘on a budget’ or ‘budget-friendly’ seem to automatically implicate negativity, but I want to look at it in a different way. Budgeting is a truly beneficial tool – at all levels of income. There is a misconception that if you make ‘enough’ money, you don’t need to stick to a budget because you’re too busy rolling in all your dough to worry about where its going. You have so much money that you can buy whatever you want without a thought. I would argue that being a high income individual or family means its even MORE important for you to have a budget. You’re working hard to earn your money, shouldn’t you be mindful and intentional about how it is spent?

Instead of thinking of a budget as limiting, think of it as facilitating your dream life. It doesn’t have to mean you’re saving up for something, it means you are intentionally allotting your income to the things that are important to you. For instance, if you are a total foodie and you love trying out all the restaurants in your city, perhaps you designate $600 a month to dining out. By creating a budget, you can make sure all your bills, savings, and other necessary expenses are covered, and then put your fun money towards dining out. You have completely eliminated any guilt about spending that much dining out, because you know you can afford it and have planned accordingly. Some people might find that completely frivolous, but the point I’m making is that having a budget is about creating the life YOU want. You don’t have to wait until you have ‘enough’ to splurge on trying out new restaurants, you simply get to enjoy and feel satisfied knowing that you aren’t going to struggle later paying your credit card bill. Find what lights you up and build your budget around it!

Similarly, lets say you have always wanted a Louis Vuitton purse but feel like you are waiting for ‘one day’ when you can afford it. Lets stop that right now – don’t wait to start living your life how you want. Look at your monthly spending habits. Perhaps you go out shopping a few times a month at Homesense, maybe you shop online a bit, nothing crazy just  $60 here, $80 there, $100 here, and so on and so fourth. If you add up all the small shopping purchases you make in a month, they might total $500. And you weren’t even buying what you truly wanted. I’m talking about intentional spending here. Money equals potential, and if you don’t tell it where to go, it will get spent and you will be left wondering where it went. This person thinks they are being reasonable and depriving themselves by making multiple, small purchases at homesense in a month rather than splurging on high end items. In reality, they could easy afford their dream bag in as little as 2.5 months by holding off on these small shopping purchases and building up a few months of their spending budget. No guilt, no going into debt. Simply by having a budget and sticking to intentional spending, this person could treat themselves to something special they have told themselves for years they could not have. Budgeting can be the facilitator for your dream life, if you let it!

By using intentional spending, you can focus on what is most important to you, stop making purchases that aren’t in alignment and you will have more room (and money!) to focus on the things or experiences that ARE important to you. Your budget is working for you, you are not working for your budget. You can have the life you want – its up to you to build it into your budget 😊

Why You Should Stop Trying to Make Yourself Happy…

Wait… what?!?! Am I the only one who feels like there is so much content out there lately about how to become happy? With self-care becoming so such a movement (which is awesome!), it seems like there are just so many new things to try and incorporate to make yourself happier. Ie. take a bubble bath, read a book, treat yourself, etc.

Earlier in the week, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Ultimate Health Podcast, and they were interviewing Mark Manson. He is the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and Everything is F*cked. Neither of which I have read, but Kenny just brought home Everything is F*cked for me so I am excited to read it once I finish the book I’m working on now! Anyway… on this podcast I heard a really thought provoking idea which was to stop trying to reach that goal of happiness, and instead, try to work toward meaning in your life. Mark Manson was talking about a study where people were asked to rank their happiness over a period of time on a scale of 1-10. The study found that people generally ranked themselves at a 7 on the scale. If something great happened, they might be a 9 or 10 for a few days, but then would return to ranking as a 7. Same with a negative event. So his theory was that no matter what exactly we do everyday, most people are generally pretty happy. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to put so much effort into increasing our ‘happiness’ when we all float through life being pretty happy, regardless. Instead, we should strive to fill our lives with something that we find truly meaningful.

You could watch 5 years of your life go by in a job you tolerate, having an amazing self-care routine, meditating, taking tons of bubble baths, reading all the best books, and treating yourself often. But after that time frame is over, will you feel happy about what you’ve accomplished? Will you feel satisfied with your life? Don’t get me wrong – these things are still important too! But are they actually meaningful to you?

Me & my Harlow girl

This totally struck a cord with me. I have had times where I’ve been unhappy in a certain job or situation, but I feel like I am scared to move onto other opportunities because I question myself – “what if that won’t make me feel happy either?” or “what if I go to school for this for 4 years and then it still doesn’t make me feel happy?”. Its like I have put pressure on myself to find happiness… The idea that I should be striving for meaning instead brings so much clarity! When considering a new opportunity, it might make more sense to look at it as a whole, long-term piece of your life rather than looking at how happy you might feel in that role on any given day. Is it meaningful to you? Will you be proud of what you’ve accomplished?

Anyway…these are just my thoughts of the day! I have been thinking about making some life changes lately.. ie. looking for a new job or going back to school and I really thought that this concept of striving for meaning rather than happiness was super helpful!! Thanks for reading!

My morning smoothie

Today I thought I’d share my morning smoothie recipe. During the week I often work at 6 AM and sometimes if there is overtime I will start work at 5 AM!! So I need something quick and easy that will keep me full for a while! I make this in the mornings and then take it to go with me and drink it on my way to work.

This smoothie has been my go to for a while. In my mind I feel like it is reasonably healthy… It has some greens from the power greens and the powder, some healthy fats from the peanut butter, some protein powder, and some fruit! I’m sure there are healthier versions, but I have just found this to be perfect for me and it keeps me full for a long time! Plus its delicious! I swear it tastes like a PB & J sandwich but in a good way!

  • 1/2 banana (frozen or fresh doesn’t matter)
  • 1 large handful of power greens (spinach, chard, kale, etc.)
  • 1/2 scoop of Vega plant based protein
  • approximately 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon low fat greek vanilla yogurt (plain would be fine too!)
  • vanilla (or plain) almond milk or water (I usually do 2 thirds almond milk 1 third water) to the top of your frozen berries!
  • Blend & enjoy!!

If you do try it out let me know what you think!!

Spring is here!

The sun is shining.. The snow is melting.. the dog poop stinks..! It must be Spring time!! I am so excited that we are finally starting to get some spring weather here!! The temperature has been getting up to 15 degrees Celcius the last few days..it has not been that warm since October 2018! So that is 5 months since we have had days this nice. Wow! It sure makes you appreciate the sunshine! I truly feel like the nicer weather has been impacting everyone’s moods so much! I have noticed it in myself and definitely at work I’ve noticed that people are just happier in general! Its so nice 🙂

With the beautiful spring weather upon us, I have felt inspired to do some spring decorating! I’m still in wedding budgeting mode, so I’m going to share the inexpensive ways that I’ve updated my home for spring!

I love how this wreath brightens up our porch – I haven’t gotten around to decorating it for Spring/Summer yet. Do you see Harlow watching me take pics? Haha!

A wreath is an easy way to give off spring vibes when guests enter your home. This particular wreath is from Michaels from last year (I got it 50% off – their stuff is so overpriced without a sale!) Its actually a funny story. I asked Kenny if he could grab all our spring décor for me and he started talking about how “there’s just some pillows and the wreef.” and asking “are you going to put up the wreef?” I was like wait…what are you saying!!! He literally thought it was “wreef” Haha! I had to clarify that it is, in fact, wreath!!! I love him for how he can be so smart and yet so oblivious at the same time! Anyways, this is a totally cost effective way to bring in some spring! I have seen really nice wreaths for spring at Marshalls, Home Sense, and even Dollarama had some really pretty ones!

Throw pillows are another quick and easy way to spruce up your space! I love how they bring in some color to my bland room haha! Also, how cute is my new side table? It was $60!!! I couldn’t believe it! I love mixing modern pieces with more rustic stuff!

Love how Springy it feels in here! This is my new side table that was a total steal from Home Sense!

Florals? For spring? Ground breaking!! Haha but seriously, when we have 5 months of winter, we deserve some flowers people!!! I love having fresh flowers around because they smell beautiful and just add such a fresh vibe to the space! I also have a few silk arrangements as well which are perfect for those of us without a green thumb! My favorite place to pick up flowers is Costco! I know that sounds weird but they have the best quality and the best prices! They sell 2 dozen roses for $22 and they are always beautiful! Would cost so much more at a flower shop!

Would you believe me if I told you she wasn’t allowed on these chairs…? Sigh…

Enjoy the beautiful spring weather!!


Taking Action in Your Life

My personal journey in “self love” started about 6 months ago. Its hard to pinpoint exactly when or how. But basically I have always been interested in improving myself. I’m always making lists of things I want to do or learn or try. But I recognized at this time that I wanted to make a substantial change in my life. I really think a huge inspiration for me was when I started listening to podcasts at work and stumbled across some self love ones and immediately loved them and wanted more!

I found myself listening to these podcasts and basically saying “Yes that’s exactly how I feel!” or “This is exactly what I need to do!!”. So this was a huge source of inspiration for me. The main podcast that sparked this was the Earn Your Happy podcast by Lori Harder. I would say anyone who wants to feel inspired about changing their life should give it a listen! I will admit, sometimes it can be a bit peppy and almost like.. talking a lot without saying much.. If that makes sense! But honestly it is a really great podcast!

So! I found myself totally inspired. I started reading books on Self Help, listening to more and more podcasts, and really doing some work with myself to figure out what changes I wanted to make. And then…. nothing happened!

I’m talking about the rabbit hole of planning and getting ready to make a change… but not having the balls to actually take the first step. For example.. one of the things that kept coming up for me was Meditation. I was reading about it in books and hearing people in interviews talking about how important meditation has been for them. Meditation is a way to basically separate from our thoughts and observe our patterns which can help identify negative patterns and even just take note of what things are coming into our minds. I was excited about meditation but for weeks couldn’t bring myself to actually wake up half an hour earlier and start making it part of my morning routine!

Same with trying a new fitness class. Through self reflection, I realized that I had always really wanted to try a fitness class but I wasn’t doing it because I was letting my fears stop me. I knew this had to change so.. I had been saying for MONTHS that I wanted to try a 9Round or Orangetheory class! But again still not taking that actual step of doing it.

It is one thing to do the work and figure out what changes you want to make in your life. Its awesome to start planning for them, making to do lists, making vision boards, getting ready to begin… as long as you follow that up with action! Planning to change doesn’t create real change. Even if you haven’t perfectly planned out or organized something you want to do, at a certain point – just do it! Messy action is better than no action at all!!

5 Tips for Finding Your Dream Wedding Dress

If you’re like most girls, you have been dreaming of finding your wedding dress for a long time and probably had your dream dress picked out before you even got engaged! If you aren’t, that’s totally okay! Take it from me.. I have probably tried on over 30 dresses!!! So you could say I have some experience in that area! Today I’m going to share 5 helpful tips for finding your wedding dress

  1. Don’t bring too many people with you to your appointments

This can be tough because of course you want to share the moment with your friends, your mom, future mother in law, and everyone else who is so excited for you in this experience! I found that when I first started shopping, I subconsciously was trying to make it a super fun and memorable experience for my mom and friends who were joining me. I felt like it was my job to make sure they were enjoying themselves and now I look back on that and think no wonder I couldn’t focus on finding a dress! I would recommend having one or two appointments at the nice bridal boutiques in your area, and making those the “experience” days. Enjoy the full bride experience with your whole crew for those moments. But then after that – just bring one trusted friend or your mom with you if you need to do more shopping! That way, you won’t feel like you’ve missed out on the whole group experience, but you can focus on shopping

2. Leave yourself lots of time for shopping

I started shopping in October of 2018 and didn’t purchase a dress until February 2019! So it took me about 5 months of shopping! Most salons tell you it takes about 6-9 months for your dress to come in once you’ve ordered it, but I have also been told by experienced bridal shop owners that in reality, unless you are going with a super exclusive or small designer, dresses won’t take more than 6 months. I was told that my dress should arrive in the end of May, which is only 3 months and the designer of my dress is based out of Australia. I knew I am not a decisive person so I purposely gave myself lots of time and I’m so glad I did! I can’t imagine feeling the pressure of time on top of all the other pressure you are already feeling as a bride!

3. Research before – but keep an open mind

It can be super overwhelming to go into a bridal shop for the first time. There are so many styles and choices and honestly they are all beautiful! It’s a great idea to look up which designers are carried by the stores you are going to ahead of time so you can have an idea of what you want to try on. You can save yourself time by knowing what styles you absolutely aren’t interested in. I also found this helpful because if there was a particular dress or designer I liked, you can easily get an idea of how much their dresses cost by doing some googling. Search the specific dress online and most will come up with links to sites like “stillwhite.com” or “preownedweddingdresses.com” where the dress you are interested in is posted for sale by a bride. These postings usually indicate what the retail price was for the dress, so you can have an approximate retail price in mind before you even go to the bridal shop.

4. Make a Budget…

And then f*ck that budget! Haha just kidding!! But seriously.. wedding dresses are expensive! I think a lot of people don’t realize just how much they can cost! In my experience I found majority of the dresses I liked to be around $2500-$4000 CAD. Before I started shopping, I set my wedding dress budget at $1500.. I quickly realized that it was not a reasonable number. There was almost nothing I liked in that price range, except for in big chain stores like David’s Bridal. I found the low price was really reflected by low quality. So even though it is a lot of money, I think its better to pay more for quality than still be paying a decent amount for poor quality. The experience at David’s Bridal was also incomparable to other stores. I almost left before my appointment started – it was that bad! If you find a dress there or able to keep your dress in that lower price range – that’s awesome! This was just what I found in my experience. In the end I ended up doubling my wedding dress budget, but I’m ultimately happy and truly don’t think I would have found something at that lower price point unless it was used! (There are some awesome consignment stores that is a great option for cutting costs!)

5. Have fun, try to relax, and enjoy the moment!

This is a once in a lifetime experience! I look back on my dress shopping experience and wish I had relaxed a bit instead of trying to hard to force “the one” or try to analyze if I was having that special moment or not. You are only going to be in this engaged stage of your life for a short time so be sure to enjoy it, take lots of photos, drink champagne, and lighten up a bit!!

Happy shopping to all the Brides-to-be!!!

This was a Truvelle dress. It was lovely but I wanted something more form fitting.

Look how thrilled I am to be trying on my 35th wedding dress.. Haha! This one wasn’t a winner either!
I loved the back of this dress, but the front didn’t excite me as much. Thank u, next!
A lovely bridal boutique where we had snacks and bubbly. Its all about the experience!
I was so happy to finally find a perfect dress! No photos of that until after the wedding… but trust me – its amazing!

Welcome to A Styled Mindset

Hi!!! I’m Cara Cameron, thank you so much for stopping by my blog!

I’m going to start by telling you a bit about myself and how I ended up here. I live in Western Canada and work as a Laboratory Technologist. Sounds really exciting right? Honestly sometimes it is! But more often, I don’t have the most fulfilling career, but I have so many other areas of my life that totally light me up. I love animals and have two cats, Chloe & Kingsley and a dog, Harlow. Here is Harlow and I on our front porch. Isn’t she just the sweetest dog?

I’m currently planning my wedding to my amazing fiancé, Kenny. Our wedding is this September and it is actually on our ninth anniversary together! I am at a super exciting stage in the planning now because everything is basically done and now its just a matter of minding the details as we get closer to the date. I can’t wait to share more about that here on my blog.

My fiancé and our pets moved into a new home recently, which we love! Home décor is one of my passions for sure! I also love fashion and style, cooking, and what I like to call ‘self love’. Basically I hate to use the term “self help” because to me that term comes with negative connotations. But basically, about 6 months ago I really started to become interested in reading books, listening to podcasts, and just interacting with others on self love topics.

As I got further into self love and reflection, I realized that starting a blog had been something on my mind for a long time.. So here I am! I’m going to call my blog A Styled Mindset because I want it to be a place where my lifestyle passions (home décor, fashion, and style) can coexist with my self love interests. Thanks for following along!