The New New Balance Local Love, Early Bed Times, and Happy Hour

Special Note: After specific feedback that the caps in my last post was distracting I decided to take the advice and stop yelling at you. FINE!

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For those who know me decisiveness and ability to make a choice generally comes naturally. Friends, family, and co-workers come to me frequently when they are unsure, unclear, or just want someone else to choose. Similar to my CAPS writing style, my personality has never been GREY. When deciding on my first official post I found it far more difficult then I anticipated.  Embarking on this basic blog life is showing me that some things are not as clearcut, especially when its something that is #newnew and outside of my comfort zone. The best things in my life have occurred in my "uncomfortable" zone, so this blog both excites and terrifies me. 

Ok Mandi "use less words" and get to the first post.....

This post is for a wide audience, you may love going to bed before most, you may enjoy or tolerate getting out of bed early, or you may not. One mandatory prescriptive for enjoying this is: you have a love affair with your city, food, and the occasional cocktail or two. If you do not live in Saskatoon, that is ok too, I hope this provides some entertainment and tidbits for those who are budget conscious, have a low alcohol tolerance, and frankly for those who enjoy the little indulgences in life. Read along, I hope you can find at least one takeaway that resonates before the end of this #basic ramble.

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I was not always a morning "creature" yes I use this word as most think I am #cray for setting an alarm for 4:30AM. Hear me out, I have converted a few naysayers on my journey and maybe I will persuade you to consider setting your alarm for even 30 minutes earlier than you previously.  Through my late teens into my early twenties I was what I thought was a night owl, I waitressed as a part time job and this did not pair well with early mornings. I always felt sluggish "sleeping in" after a late shift and found it difficult to motivate myself once I was up to execute anything, night time was actually my worst for productivity but who gets up before 6 am? Only "morning people". I rarely set an alarm and often overslept. This led to terrible study habits, eating habits, and a general feeling of mediocrity. Once my #serverlife ended and I was onto that #officedweller life I carried those late night habits into my first 9-5. I could barely get myself moving to get to work on time, I was always "running behind" and typically didn't feel alive at work until the late morning. I was doing OK at work but still feeling "mediocre" and as my current VP of Sales George Leith says "Who gets out of bed to be a 5/10?". After about a year of working through sleep fog and losing motivation as the day continued, I knew I needed a shake up. Insert a Tony Robbins tagline about a book "changed my adult life" I picked up a book called "What Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast" by Laura Vanderkam. This did in fact change my life. I won't drag on with every detail of this book but essentially it contains small tips/real life tricks to transform how you view the morning and it doesn't start with MAKE SOME BIG GRANDIOSE CHANGE. In fact it's the opposite, its small day to day #selfish rituals that we do consistently that lead to forming positive habits long term. Self discipline is a muscle and the later in the day it gets the more fatigued your "self discipline" muscle gets. 

When I started this "early dweller life" it was not easy, I like to say I hibernated in the beginning. The alarm went off, I moaned, dreaded, pressed snooze, felt unmotivated, and frankly HATED IT. How do people do this? Further to that I turned down plans consistently because I was so exhausted by 7 PM that weeknight plans seemed ridiculous if not downright impossible. After a few months of this I started to miss  I being social, wine with friends,  and enjoying what my little city has to offer. How can this be sustainable? I won't have any friends left and I will lose the joys I find in life, new food, cocktails with friends, and supporting the local business's I love! I was in a strange paradox of loving and hating this early wake up call. 

Love: morning workouts, the built in moderation of not overdoing food/drinks because #noplans meant less likely to overdue drinks/food, morning productivity at work, morning quiet time to myself, and a head start on the day! My self discipline muscle is STRONG AF in the morning so it seemed far more maintainable to continue these healthy habits consistently. 

Hate: social FOMO (fear of missing out), missing out on local food and drinks, avoiding friends/plans out of fear of overdoing food when I have too many drinks. Finally regretting when I was "social" because I had zero moderation, I was either going to bed early and hibernating and "eating clean" or I was going out too late, overeating, and exhausted with regrets the next day. 

Welcome to what I like to call "The New New Balance". Happy Hour in #YXE has some great local and chain happy hour spots that offer a unique feature menu, great wine, and crafted cocktails, along with unique local beer, and the best part, all typically available from 3PM-6PM daily. How is this revolutionary Mandi? Well it may not be but for me "allowing" myself to partake in a weekly "Happy Hour" ritual has metaphorically and physically changed my life. It completely addresses all the things on my "hate" list above which only helps my "morning creature" cause (trust me, I will convert you). Social FOMO, making plans for a happy hour meet-up with friends who also enjoy food, wine, and basic conversation (who doesn't??) becomes less cumbersome when its for 5PM.  I no longer miss out on enjoying some fun food and drinks with a mandatory moderation of a 1-2 hour time frame before DING happy hour ends, the prices increase  and my FOMO diminishes for being anywhere with anyone. 8/10 times doing so at a local venue which allows for discovering and supporting my very own city, all before the deadline, 6PM. Okay MAYBE 7PM if things are really getting "crazy" #dramatic. I rarely "overdo" anything in such a small time frame therefore this beautiful little moment between the work day ending and my #grandmalife bedtime allows for enjoying treats, and fun new drinks in "Mandi Moderation". A good catch-up session with friends is almost always enjoyable over some great food and #wineislife so "social regrets" rarely happen. Finally, exhaustion from staying out too late, well no fear here. My wallet, my tummy, and my love of getting at least 6 hours of sleep are all satisfied when I am home, face washed, tucked in bed with my dog (who thinks she is a human), before the clock hits 9PM! 

I can't leave this post without providing some of my absolute favorite spots in #YXE Disclaimer: if you don't like inexpensive delicious food, cocktails, and wine then stop reading here......

Monday: Margarita Mondays at Earls Restaurant on 2nd Ave. $3.99 margaritas, $3 dollar garlic fries, and tacos? How can you really go wrong with this staple happy hour spot.  Taco Night at Congress Beer House is also a fan favorite, here you will find weekly feature taco specials, wine on tap, and a great craft beer selection, really I should of just lead with WINE ON TAP. Tuesday: Las Palapas has $2 Tacos and Tropicocos. Una Pizza + Wine is a personal fav despite their lack of specific happy hour pricing or menu, they have #amazing house wine including their Una Rose which is inexpensive and OH so good in the summer on the trendy ally way patio.  Wednesdays: Drift Cafe offers a feature flatbread pizza (meat, veggie, and cheese) with a local draft beer or house wine for $15. This place makes you feel like you have transported to somewhere much more #ontrend, and who doesn't want to be a cool kid? Wings are always a thing on Wednesdays and a few less "hipster" but always delicious spots I like are Hudson's downtown with $.39 cent wings as well as surprisingly the newest edition to 3rd ave The Crazy Cactus #saynotogringos. Thursdays: Leyda's on 20th Street (think gluten free, organic, nut free, bla bla, basically its like your #health just by being near it) has their tacos and 1/2 price house wine on special. Make sure you snag a loaf of their house bread on your way out if you feel experiencing homemade bread heaven. Fridays: A personal staple, less local but #fire spot for Friday happy hour is The Cactus Club, they have a #bomb menu of $3 sliders, tacos, and TRUFFLE fries and for anyone that knows me, put truffle on anything and I am a content little #basic. They also offer $5 dollar house wine and a few other cocktails on special until 6PM. Their patio has a great atmosphere and the bonus of arriving between 4-5PM you are far more likely to get a table at the always busy mainstream chain. Finally a hidden GEM is Scarlett Restaurant in the Sheraton Cavalier. Specifically in the summer, they offer daily happy hour specials, a great wine list, along with one of the best views of the river! Note: Try the Beignets (shoutout to my friend Amy for the tip) with the trio is one of the BEST desserts to share (or not ) in the city. If you are "uncultured" like me and have no clue what they are or how to say "beignets" they are beautiful little mini donuts dusted with icing sugar and come with three mouth watering sugar filled desserts. Indulgence at its best. 

In closing early mornings do not have a set time that is deemed the holy grail of productivity. Simply put, try setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier than usual for the next week, thats right ONE week and set aside that time to create a habit you think will benefit your life. What about a fun morning group workout? A friend and spin studio owner in Calgary (which also has a great blog) has coined that their classes as the hangover free way to "misbehave". Sweat, dance, and "party" all before 8 am? Yes please! This can also be as simple as reading a book you have been meaning to read (reference above for a great one), taking more time getting ready and slowly drinking your beloved cup of joe, or talking your dog for a walk. In creating this new habit try out one or two (living on the edge) of my favorite happy hour spots our bustling little prairie city has to offer. Soon you will discover that 5PM is the new 8PM, $20 tabs are the new RRSP, and a morning spin is your new dance party! The New New Balance is the way of the future!

Yours truly in all things NEW NEW,


*Next Post Live: May 23rd, including a sneaky little giveaway!*

Until then If you enjoyed this I post daily #basic insta-story snippets on my Instagram @mandimnewman