LIFESTYLE | Reflecting Back on 2023

Rainbow at Waterfront

Well, hello there and here we are looking back on 2023! I will say that this was by far the fastest year I have experienced! Personally, a lot happened for me that made everything whiz by in a flash! Though I don’t expect you to read through what happened in my life every month of 2023, I find doing these types of posts valuable just for my mental well-being especially when I feel like I can’t remember exactly what happened in March or May. I’d like to think that I was still conducting my life in a valuable way and maybe it allows you all to know more about me and how perfectly boring my life is. In a good way of course! 


There wasn’t a whole lot that happened in January other than finally receiving our new couch after three months and discovering the series Wednesday! Most of our time was consumed by Buster as we were really concerned with an open wound around his groin area as a result of licking/grooming. The vet didn’t have any answers for us and we attributed it to stress as he was pretty much normal in every other way so we coned him for most of the year (if you can believe it) until August when we got a second opinion and it turned out that all Buster needed was a change of food! We switched him from canned fish flavours to freeze dried rabbit and in 24 hours he stopped licking his crotch and his kitty balls have been fluffy ever since! 


Work was really stressful this month as we lost two staff members, one of whom was a dedicated Chaumet ambassador. I manage both the Birks side (I usually have another manager for Birks) and Chaumet boutiques and for the month of February, my second Chaumet ambassador was away so I was in there every day on my own. Not that I don’t enjoy Chaumet, it’s more that because it’s separate from the rest of the store, I get a lot less of my own work done as I don’t have easy access to my regular work computer, printer, desk etc. I get a ton of emailing done so that’s a plus, but really it just means that if I have something “on the other side” to take care of that it has to wait. Most of my clients are also Birks clients so if they have requests I often have to leave the Chaumet side which can be a bit problematic as the boutique is not supposed to be unattended in case of a Secret Shopper!

The fun things I did discover in the short month of February was some new velvet nail polishes from Cirque Colors and the clothing site Chicwish! I made my first order from this site for this bow red skirt and have been amazed by the quality since! I have gotten around 15 more pieces from Chicwish and have loved all of them! 


The highlight of March for the last few years has always been my “luxe” shopping trip with my friend Gerry during Spring Break (she is a teacher). I take a few days of vacation and the idea has always been that we go on a no-buy/low-buy for January and February so that we can spoil ourselves in March! Last year, I made my first Gucci purchase of a belt which I had been eyeing for awhile and this year, I think it’s time for an Hermes belt that I fell in love with last year! We also eat well the day we go shopping and it’s generally a happy time.

Unfortunately, right at the end of March, I ended up getting COVID for the second time since November 2022 from work and I was SO MAD. None of us were masking since the mask mandates had been lifted for a year and I was just annoyed with my body and my work environment which leads into April. The worst month, healthwise, of my life so far.


I will start with a positive thing from April and that was the discovery of Kiss Falscara lashes! These are like temporary lash extensions and I have now been using them every few months since April with positive results every time! I just love the way they enhance my eyes and the application is fast and easy (Falscara review). This discovery was all thanks to watching a Reel posted by Janine from @beautygeeks while I was sick (in the next paragraph).
I was already pretty stressed about work and a big Chaumet visit when I caught COVID and then a day later started getting tingly skin, followed by tiny blisters and red spots all along the left side of my face. What I thought were cold sores was quickly diagnosed as shingles, due to stress on my immune system, and what I thought I would only see in a textbook in my UBC Cell Biology days I could now see on my face. As miserable as I was, my husband and I had a morbid fascination with what was going on with me. I will tell you though that it is every bit as painful as they say it is as it felt like I was having my crown put in, but WITHOUT the numbing. The nerve pain on along my gums and the face were like wisdom teeth pulling x 10 and I was SO UPSET that it was on my face of all places. As someone who loves her skin and takes care of it, this was a huge blow and I was very scared that I would scar. Thankfully, the scarring was very minimal and if I feel up to it, I will do a whole post on my shingles experience as I found reading about other peoples to be somewhat cathartic.


For some reason around May 1st, I became obsessed with doing 10,000 steps/day and finding healthier snack options. Part of it may have had something to do with trying to fit into a dress, but in the end I decided that because I am not a huge workout person (I think this has to change now that I am entering my 40s), I would start with eating healthy snacks. I am a big junk food lover and I found that after work, I would be super hungry and then snack on chips and such before dinner and then not eat dinner properly. I started snacking on celery on my drive home which has turned out to be a great for fibre and for traffic frustrations as the CRUNCH is so satisfying! I kept up my healthy snack eating until the Fall and have calmed down a bit, BUT I now always have crunchy veggies in my arsenal for snacking along with some new favourites like seaweed!

Oh, and I also attended my FIRST in person event since the pandemic! It was super claustrophobic and I wanted to go home very soon after it started, but it was nice to see people again.


Along with getting the lovely opportunity to try out the new Sabai Thai Spa, I took about a week off to do some massive office/beauty room organization. We built shelving units, I moved nail polishes, I even pulled a muscle on my ass because of all the squatting I was doing! We are still working on this space because a lot of it rests on me reviewing things and I have slowed down so much that I feel like it would make more sense to throw everything out and start fresh. That is where I am at now since it all seems so overwhelming sometimes, but maybe if I start with the things that take up the most space I’ll feel better?


I turned 40 on July 1st and took the week off to celebrate with family, my husband and trying to see if I could do a 10K walk. Well, I can, but my legs definitely hurt afterwards as we did a trail that sort of went all around North Van. I had a good time taking it easy as I was apprehensive about turning the big 4-0, but after living through shingles, “an old person’s disease”, I was less wound up about it. I also finally got an Apple Watch! I have worn it every day since getting it and love it! 


I attended a really fun birthday party for a client’s son with an Alice in Wonderland theme, had a really awful time at work, had my first therapy session to deal with work and from here, I was pretty much an emotional mess for the rest of the year. I had moments of clarity, but I feel like from Sept-Dec, I was just operating on autopilot trying to survive.


After the event in May, I was hesitant to attend any more press events, but I made an exception for the new Clarins Precious line at Holt Renfrew! It was well worth it and it was small and intimate vs. one hundred people! I also knew this month would whiz by as I was mentally preparing for going to Paris and flying…


I have talked so much about my trip to Paris for the International Retail Seminar for Chaumet and it could have been the most stressful, awful trip of my life or the best and I am thankful my brain chose the latter. The flight was rough, the long days were tough, but in the end I ended up seeing some of the most beautiful places, meeting some fantastic people and then public speaking in front of 150 Chaumet employees and then winning a team prize for doing so. I had my husband with me in Paris as well and this trip alone made me fall in love with the city and feel the need to go back ASAP! I overcame so many fears and discomforts here and I allowed myself to feel proud and experience the trip and the people to its fullest. This trip made 2023 worth everything. Oh and it was also our 10 year wedding anniversary so we got to spend it together in Paris!


This month was a huge blur as Christmas shopping came early for me and my clients so I was just all over the place when it came to working at work and working at home. My skin was freaking out every week as well so I think the stress was also starting to take a toll on me even though I was delightfully busy with work and enjoying the hustle of retail. It felt really good to be busy for fun things like this!


I was consumed by work this month, but more in an admin way so sales were a bit quieter for me than usual for December, but I was spoiled rotten by clients who brought sweet treats like this yule log with meringue mushrooms! How cute! I ended the year with dinner with colleagues which was really fun and though I am feeling a little uncertain and unsteady about January, I am actively trying to tell my brain that “I can do it!” as I am not sure what I am afraid of as it’s not that I doubt myself in terms of finding a solution, but more that I anticipate the stress of an uncomfortable situation. I have never had a client be angry with me or the solutions I present them so I really shouldn’t feel this way, but for whatever reason I have been feeling uncertain about the future since just before Christmas. Not a great way to end the year, but in my mind, December was not the end (I run on a fiscal year LOL) so I keep feeling like I have time!
I didn’t really talk about my financial goals because I am still working on capping out my RRSPs and TFSAs, but this year with the introduction of the FHSA, I maxed it out at $8000 for 2023! I also saved 21.4% of my overall paycheck this year which is less than I was expecting, but I feel like as long as I keep it at 20% or more, that I am in a good place!
How did you feel about 2023? Every year has its ups and downs, but feel free to share what went well and what you hope to continue to work on!

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