august favourites '15

Wow! It's August 31st! I can't believe how fast this month has gone by! I'm pretty sure I say that every month - but I mean it! So much has happened since my last favourites haul! I went camping, got engaged, my sister moved out west... some pretty exciting things happening over here! It was quite simple choosing my favourites for August this time around. Check out what I've been loving this month!

august favourites | marlee and you

The Phenomenal Postcard Book
As I just mentioned, my sister moved out west! That's huge! Today I mailed her a fun Where's Waldo postcard to test out her new mailing address and send warm greetings from home! I love sending mail to people because I love getting mail so much! Two of my best friends will also be moving out of town shortly (one to England for the year, the other to Toronto) so I'll continue to make good use of these fun cards!

O.P.I. This Color's Making Waves
I love nail polish! This was the colour I bought at the beginning of summer as my designated "summer polish." I love how it's metallic and looks like different colours depending on how the light hits it. I've worn this polish on my fingernails and toe nails and absolutely love it! This colour will forever remind me of summer!

Ban.Do Party Dots Agenda
I got my 2016 agenda started this month and I've never felt so organized! I know a lot of people like using their phones to keep track of important dates, but I like writing things down! This agenda will be crucial for wedding planning this coming year and it's already been super helpful so far. I love that it's a hardcover and also a nice small size so I can pop it in my purse if need be. I've also been a fan of black and white prints lately, so of course I had to choose this agenda!

What have you been loving this month?

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a back to school money-saving tip

It's already back-to-school time and I've started my shopping to prepare for the next university year ahead! One of my favourite things about starting up another school year is getting new books. My novels and textbooks always get me excited for my courses! There are lots of ways to save money when buying your books for the year, and here is one of the ways I saved big buying new books this time around!

school books | marlee and you

I'm sure you all have a favourite book store where you shop around to find items to pleasure read in your spare time. For me, that store is Indigo. I mostly study English and French and Indigo often has the novels, plays and textbooks I need for my courses - at reduced prices! My campus has a book store and posts your booklist with the prices of each book beside it. This made it really easy to compare campus prices with Indigo to see how much I'd save by buying online instead of on campus. Most of the Indigo prices I found were even better than the used price offered at my school!

Some of the books I ordered, I only saved less than a dollar on, but others I saved over twenty! By comparing the total costs of campus bookstore prices with Indigo prices, buying online becomes an obvious way to save! First, I saved $14.56 for being a Plum Rewards member, which covered the cost of tax ($13.80). My online order total ended up being $290.19 with free shipping. I love that the books will show up at my doorstep and I don't have to make a special trip to find each book on a shelf! If I bought everything on campus it would have cost me $361.80 for the same products! That's over $70 in savings - it really adds up!

If you live in a college/university town, another great idea is to check out the local used book stores for textbooks! A lot of people don't wish to keep their books when they're done their classes, so used book stores are often full of good finds!

Do you have other ideas to save money on textbooks?

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operation organization: earrings

I posted my first Operation Organization post about my choice to recycle my DVD cases in order to store all my movies in a tiny case to save shelf space and minimize the volume of my stuff for when I move out (and into a tiny apartment) next year. That was a long sentence! I've continued to keep this mindset, trying to find other ways to downsize the space my belongings take up. Here's my idea for keeping earrings organized - it's so simple, but very effective!

earrings | marlee and you

My mom had two of these plastic sheets that she wasn't using, so I thought I'd put them to good use! If you want to have a good idea of how much space my earrings were previously occupying, take a look at the American Eagle earring package in the right corner... I kept all of my earrings on sheets like that! Just in terms of surface area, I'm sure you can tell my earrings are making much better use of space now! I transferred all my earrings to these sheets and recycled and disposed of the individual sheets they came on!

The perks of this earring organization solution? You can see the earrings you have, all in one place - I forgot how many options I had! I also never lose the backings to earrings and this big earring holder makes changing my earrings more convenient so I don't stick with the same studs every day.

I still keep my fancy gold earrings in the boxes they came in, but I think this is a great solution for saving space when it comes to everyday earrings! I no longer need the box that held all the earring packages. I now only need a small little square space in one of my shallow drawers. I love that all my earrings are now in one place!

 Would you give this solution a try?

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an EXCITING announcement!

If you read my last blog post, you know I have a special story to share today! I mentioned that while I was camping an event took place that I was completely unable to prepare for. Well, I'm sure y'all could figure it out by now just by taking a look at the photo below... I'M ENGAGED! It's been almost two weeks since it's happened and it still feels weird to say out loud! I plan on keeping you guys in the loop this upcoming year on all things wedding, so what better way to start than by sharing our engagement story!

engagement | marlee and youCory and I got invited to go camping with a group of friends, which apparently changed his whole proposal game plan! We had both been planning towards engagement, so I knew it was coming eventually, but truly had no idea when he'd actually pop the question. I unknowingly set him up perfectly, in a way that would make everything a bigger surprise for myself...

We started our camping trip on August 4th (exactly four and a half years since Cory and I started dating). It had been raining when we were setting up camp, but things eventually cleared up in the evening when we all gathered by the fire. I just so happened to look up at the sky at the perfect time to see a huge shooting star, which made me want to go find a big opening in the trees of the campground in order to stargaze some more. I asked Cory to go for a walk (which was what he had planned to do all along). But first, he had to go back to his tent to "get a flashlight."

We finally found a good spot to look at stars and were enjoying the moment when he put his arm around me and commented on how nice it was to go on this camping adventure, and how much he enjoys our time together. He asked me if I would want to do these things with him forever, to which I responded "of course!" The next second he was on one knee and asked me to marry him! I was so shocked, I forgot to say yes! He had made my ring box so that it would light up for me to see the ring! This was his plan all along!

Honestly, right now I still can't believe it's happened and that wedding planning has already begun! The best part was going home after our camping trip to spread the news of our engagement! We're so excited for this next step in our relationship and we can't wait to share these special moments with our loved ones!

This next year, I'll be posting wedding planning updates along the way, with tips and advice for any future engaged couples out there! Cory and I are younger than the average engaged couple, so we'll be doing things a bit differently - key word: frugal. Check back to my blog under the newly established Wedding category to follow us on this crazy exciting journey!

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live and learn: camping tips

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm home sweet home after four days of fun-filled camping adventures! This camping trip was definitely a learning experience because the majority of my friends who went (including myself) had never done the whole tenting thing! I thought a great follow up to my last post would be to list off a few live-and-learn lessons from my time in the wilderness (aka a provincial park). Check out my advice for any of you campers out there!

camping | marlee and you

1. Research the Area and Fun Things to Do
A lot of campgrounds and provincial parks have websites with maps that you can see before you even hit the road! The park where we stayed was rather large, so it would've been good to get familiar with the area surrounding our site in advance. We were given a park map when we arrived and were able to plan out how we'd do a beach day, go canoeing and do a hiking trail. There's always so much to do while camping - make the most out of your time!

2. Think of Food and Refrigeration while Meal Planning
By the end of this trip, I was known as Meal-Plan-Marlee! I got to do the grocery shopping and meal planning for our trip, which was actually a little more challenging than I anticipated. Because we were tenting, we didn't have a stove, microwave or fridge like most trailers do, so we had to get creative! We brought with us a big cooler for drinks (chilled with bags of ice each day), a big Rubbermaid tote to store all of our breads, snacks and utensils, and an electric cooler/fridge which we used for all of our dairy and meats. If we didn't have that electric cooler, we would've been eating PB&J all week!

Bonus Food Tip: Don't leave ANY food out and keep on top of garbage disposal (for obvious reasons). Although we all knew this basic camping tip, some racoons or squirrels still got lucky, getting away with some butter tarts and peaches!

3. Wear Sunscreen
Yes, this tip is a bit of a no-brainer too, but here's where I went wrong... when we had our beach day, it was unseasonably chilly, so as soon as the sun came out, I just wanted it to warm me! I didn't end up going in the water or anything, so I was covered up in shorts and a t-shirt, but of course, I still got burned! My neck wasn't protected by my shirt, so it's still lobster red and rather sore! Oops! Wear sunscreen at all times - especially if you're going to be on a beach all day!

4. Plan for All Weather Situations
Remember when I just mentioned that the weather was unseasonably cold? Yeah... the nights were rather frigid! I wore sweatpants, long socks and a sweater to bed, all bundled in my warm sleeping bag and I was still a little on the cool side when I was trying to sleep. Make sure you pack a wide variety of clothes for all weather! We also experienced a bit of rain on our first day, and we were so thankful we brought tarps, rope and bungee cords with us! We set up tarps above our tents and were able to stay dry!

And there you have it! Just plan ahead, be safe and be smart! And like Scar from the Lion King says, "be prepaaaaared!" And as much as I thought I was prepared for this trip, there was one event that took place that I could never have been prepared for! Stay tuned for a special camping story in my next post!

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gone camping

After my two week long road trip earlier this summer, I thought I was done with the whole camping thing for the year, but almost as soon as I unpacked my road trip suitcase a group of friends wanted to throw together a four day camping adventure - and so the planning began! This experience is going to be a lot different from my camping trips in the past...

gone camping | marlee and you

Growing up, "camping" meant driving an hour away to the same campsite every summer, staying in cabins (with electricity and stoves) and playing on the swings all day. Then my recent RV trip was a bit of an adjustment because of the cabin lifestyle I was used to, but that was practically a warm up for this coming week. I'm officially "camping camping" aka just tents, a fire pit, and nature.

I didn't realize how much planning went into these sort of trips! Thankfully there are enough tents and camp experts among us to provide supplies and knowledge. Booking the campsite wasn't much of a chore (but we'll see what we signed up for when we get there!)

I'm really excited for this trip, mostly because I took on the responsibility of FOOD! I love food and getting creative with recipes! I've made a big long grocery list and meal plan (thanks Pinterest), so hopefully all works out nicely! I can't wait to hit the road, hit the beach, hit those hiking trails... bring it on! I'm sure I'll have stories, photos and tips to pass on to you future campers when I get back, so stay tuned! Until then, I'm gone camping!

Enjoy these beautiful summer days!  

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