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Birthday Day Out & Freebies

Yesterday was my birthday and I decided to spend the day walking around (despite the cold!) and going to a few establishments. I also made a point to pick up all my birthday freebies!

I started out my morning with a lovely Americano from one of my favourite coffee places: Sense Appeal. So good. People…THIS, is what an Americano is supposed to look like. Look at that beautiful dark & rich crema! :)

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Now onto the freebies!

If you have a Sephora in your city or order online, they give out a birthday gift every year. This is the third year I’ve collected. :) I love what us Sephora Beauty Insiders receive for our birthdays this year: It happens to be my favourite mascara (Benefit’s They’re Real) AND I left the other item (Benefit’s Watt’s Up) in storage and miss it so I was happy to see both of these lovely goodies. The approximate value of this freebie is: $20 (the travel size mascara sells for $12 on their website & the small size of the Watt’s Up is 1/4 of the full size which retails for $34CAD)

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Next up: A bag of a dozen bagels from a place called What A Bagel in Toronto. On your birthday, just provide ID and then go pick your free dozen bagels! They have a nice variety of bagels to choose from and they are baked fresh daily. They have 10 locations around the city. This freebie is worth: $7

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The last freebie I cashed in, was from Starbucks. I haven’t  been to Starbucks since I left Halifax because the coffee choices here are SO amazing that I have no need to go in there for my coffee fix. However, who can refuse free coffee even if it’s not perfect? ;) I am not fond of sweet drinks and prefer my coffee straight up, apart from the occasional soy latté which is usually a dessert for me. I chose a Tall Triple Shot Americano. Some woman even looked at me after I ordered it and said: “Wow you’re going to be wired soon!” and laughed. I told her that I was always wired, the coffee just keeps me balanced. :) Cost of freebie: $3

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I found several other places which offer birthday freebies but most are chains that I do not want to support nor get a freebie from. A hair salon in the west end offers a free blow out but quite frankly, I prefer it when my hair dries naturally anyway AND I wasn’t in the mood to go all the way out there for this.

THE OTHER STUFF

 I decided to treat myself to lunch. It turns out the Vegan Ethiopian restaurant I wanted to go to now has new management, is no longer vegan AND it was closed when I got there. Their website hadn’t been updated with this information so I assume this happened very recently. I was disappointed but ended up at a cute place called Sweet Lulu’s and ordered the Veggie Satay with Jasmine Rice for $7.95. They even asked me if I was ok with egg (which I said no to) and also asked me if I wanted the vegan sauce. YES!! I’m still blown away that people here aren’t confused by vegans and they actually know what we eat. It doesn’t seem to matter where I go, there are usually a few vegan options for me. :)

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Near Sweet Lulu’s there is a fancy cupcake store and I decided to pick up my birthday cupcake there. I didn’t want a full cake as I would never eat it, most of it would be tossed. They have this beautiful birthday box which comes with a candle and a candied Happy Birthday message. It also came with biodegradable cutlery and wrapped beautifully!

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Here is the cupcake, which my partner and I split (neither of us are big eaters)

! It was rich and yummy.

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Usually, the only thing I want for my birthday is a homemade cake, nothing else. I haven’t had much luck with that though and I think the last time I got a homemade birthday cake was when my mom made them for me as a child. Maybe that’s why I want one so badly, because it has been so long. Maybe next year, I will get my wish! I love to bake but sadly I don’t know anyone else who does or has the time. :(

So usually, I end up either baking my own birthday cake or buying something like this for myself. I’ve learned not to rely on anyone for my birthday cake. I don’t think anyone wants to be responsible for it :) My partner isn’t much of a baker – though he’s a wicked cook when he has the time for it.

After this, I decided to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure which only cost me $30! If you pay cash, no tax. Gotta love that. I have learned to carry cash here because you get better deals that way. ;) To be honest, this was the best mani/pedi I’ve ever had. I was there for an hour and they were very meticulous! I’ve been to fancy expensive spas and the only difference is that the girls chat with you and you get a free cup of tea and get to listen to some new agey music perhaps.  But in the end, the work is the same if not better. Personally, I just want someone to do a good job. I can easily forgo the herbal tea, music and ritzy environment. I don’t need it.

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For dinner, my partner and I  planned on checking out a cheap Thai place but that didn’t happen. We’ve had a really long month (with both selling and buying places) and my partner is having a tough week at work. So we ended up getting take out. I decided that it would be best to go for dinner when both of us were more relaxed and less stressed. There’s nothing worse than a forced birthday or anniversary dinner!

Here are the two gifts I received for my birthday: My friend who is a very talented florist designed this BEAUTIFUL bouquet of Proteas for me (South Africa’s National Flower). Below that, is the bouquet he also made for me which is from my mother. Anyone who knows me knows that these are the ONLY two people allowed to give me flowers. Generally, I don’t like receiving them from people but my friend designs the bouquets which makes it a lovely personal gift and my parents had been giving me flowers for my birthday since I was a child and I still enjoy this gesture. Otherwise, I don’t like it. :) But I’d say that these two bouquets are hands down the most beautiful ones I’ve ever received. I wish we were in the loft right now but they are brightening our basement apartment, which is great!

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All and all it was a pretty relaxing normal day for me, nothing too exciting. I generally rely on making myself feel special and I think I did an o.k job with it this year because I am finally in a city where I can go and do the things I enjoy and not have to spend a fortune. :)

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOURSELF FEEL SPECIAL ON YOUR BIRTHDAY?

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