Monday, 28 April 2014

Home Office Ideas: Staples Makeover Contest

For those who don't know, Philip has been working out of our home for 2 months now! It wasn't a planned transition, but it's going great so far! Staples is currently running a contest (check out details here), and it seemed to fit with this transition in our life and figuring out how to create a beautiful and functional workspace for his new business to grow. 

I started out with the basics: a desk & chair. Without those the office would be a little less than functional for us. I loved the storage this desk has to offer, while still maintaining a sleek look. The chair looks comfortable, and doesn't have torn apart arm rests like our current chair does (why does this happen?!?). 

After filling in those basic essentials. I got to the fun stuff. I'm crazy into this bird print. Who knew Staples had decor options? I also happened across the fact that they have sewing machines, outdoor stuff, all kinds of non-office goods. Anyway, this bird art floats my boat and would look happy on an office wall. Or any wall for that matter :). For function and prettiness I also decided to include these cork boards, feminine and functional.

To warm the feet, Philip & I can battle between these 2 rugs...

I've been thinking of a new filing system for us, right now we have a beige hand-me-down filing cabinet, but this could work out really nice for doing a lot of paperwork in our second office - the living room. Just a quick jaunt down the hall and we'd be ready to go with a mobile filing system. I also like the baskets underneath for holding file folders and papers that are waiting to be filed. 

Last but certainly not least, one of our "needs" right now (if you can call it a need) is that Philip is working a lot in evenings and weekends, and his work is always on the computer. If I had an iPad I could easily do some of my computer work in the living room without disturbing him. This is definitely on our to buy list next time we have some extra cash waiting to be spent - if that ever happens!

This is how I would spend my winnings if we get the prize!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Meet Sampson

We had a new home owning experience this weekend. It involved a squirrel. Inside the house.

I hope it never happens again. At first it was funny, but until we figure out how he got in I'm sleeping with one eye open...

We've officially started closing our bedroom door constantly just in case (with clothes at the bottom so he can't get in the gap), I disinfected everything he touched, and I'm super paranoid at the slightest noise.

It happened on Saturday. Philip was exercising and I was in the living room, I was hearing some weird sounds by the wall and so I called Philip to see if I was imagining it. We didn't see anything that could explain it so assumed maybe there was a neighbour outside doing something by our house. About half an hour later, I spotted the bushy tail coming out from behind our TV. I freaked out, as you might expect. Philip was just getting out of the shower at this point, so he told me to go in the spare room and close the door, he went to put on some clothes and then we were on the hunt. 

At this point, we scared him off and couldn't find him for the life of us. We were hunting the house with a laundry basket and broom handle in tow to get him out from behind stuff and then trap him. It was a genius plan. Finally some friends came over, and within about 3 minutes he'd been spotted behind the oven. Just a tiny hint of his tail was showing. He was a cute little guy, but still not a welcome addition in our house. We got him out and he proceeded to leap from the window sill to the kitchen table (which has now been thoroughly lysol'd) to my foot (followed by screaming) and down the hall. All the doors were closed so he quickly returned to the kitchen after being cornered there. The laundry basket prison was thrown down and he was captured. After shimmying the basket onto a board, he was set free outside. I hope never to see him again. 

We can't find anywhere outside where he could have really gotten in, but we were in and out of the house a fair bit that day so maybe he just crept in when we weren't looking. We still have to do a bit more thorough search to be certain, but it seems to be a fluke incident since this will be our 3rd summer here and we've never had any unwelcome pests before. 

Wish us luck & squirrel free happiness this week! We pulled the trigger on a kitchen reno this weekend, purchasing flooring for our whole main floor (that's going to be quite the DIY project that may require an on-site marriage counselor) and a contractor to deal with structural integrity when removing our walls. Our house could be looking a lot different by the end of summer! 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Spontaneous & Fast Project

Last Thursday evening Philip headed off to a Jets game and I was feeling mega burnt out from the work week and ready for an evening of relaxing. I didn't feel like making dinner, let alone doing anything productive.

Philip left, I made myself a snack, and I sat down to watch some Netflix. A little bit into TV I went to catch up on blog reading and came across this Apartment Therapy article about simple DIY projects to do this weekend. I looked at all the articles, and after reading this one, I decided to do a quick change in our kitchen that I thought might tide me over until the big reno happens.

Our kitchen cooking area can be pretty tight, and I get lonely cooking in there alone! Sometimes Philip sits at the kitchen table and chats with me while I cook, but then I have to open the cupboard doors in order to see him at all. I have to admit I'm not that trendy when it comes to the open shelf trend, I find things get dusty and I just don't have enough pretty things that I feel like displaying in my kitchen, but I did think this might make the some-day-to-be-changed kitchen layout feel a little more welcoming and fit our lifestyle better. I decided to get out the screwdriver and take off the doors on the kitchen side of the peninsula.

It took 4 screwdriver bits, about an hour, and the removal of 18 screws, in addition to the wiping of ancient 1960s sawdust, but it was worth it!

The removal of the doors, along with the wonderful yellow tulips I got last week from a friend, are turning our kitchen into a smilier place by the day :).

One of the best things about this I realized after the light of day happened the next morning is that it lets the light from the kitchen area window flood the whole space. It really helps things to feel brighter!

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Cruise in Review

We're Baaaack!

In case you didn't know, on February 6 we left for Orlando to hit up Islands of Adventure and cruise the Caribbean! We got home late Sunday and I'm proud to say that we were unpacked before noon Monday! We thought we would share a few of our highlights:

1. Orlando's Beautiful Weather

Nawt. It rained and was cold the whole 3 1/2 days we were there. So lame. However, we were cold in t-shirts and sandals, rather than in snowsuits, which makes it all the more bearable. 

2. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

This area of Islands of Adventure was very nerdily beautiful to me. When we walked in it was  moment of aw, all of the buildings look so amazing and are covered in fake snow. It felt so real! I'd love to go back when Diagon Alley is up and running and you can really ride the Hogwarts Express!

We rode the main ride, "Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey" 2 times. I would have gone more except it took quite a while to get through since the line up was a tour of the Hogwarts school. So wonderful. The ride was a combination of video and real with a lot of special effects, and I was smiling the whole time - except for the part when they took my picture and I had taken a moment to itch my face, and the part with the Dementors where my eyes were closed. Other than that - all smiles. 

3. Butterbeer

Rootbeer mixed with butterscotch = heaven. Legit, I'm pretty sure that after the pearly gates there is a pool of butterbeer into which you can plunge and drink for eternity.

4. Exploring our Ship

Philip & I are kind of freaks about exploring things lol. I feel like if we go to a hotel or anywhere new, we get to our room, put our stuff down, and then get so excited to wander about exploring. This ship was gynormous. It had all of the usual stuff we expected as past cruisers, but there were also features like a rock climbing wall, surf simulator, ice rink, and of course horrible things like dressed up characters. The Kung Fu Panda may have caused me to jump and accidentally elbow Philip in the face with fear. 

5. Albert & Ygnacio

We had the amazing experience of sitting at the same table every night with the same waiters. They were so funny and nice. They were one of the best experiences of our trip.

6. 2 Hour Downhill Mountain Trek

In St Maarten we were transported to the top of their highest mountain "Pic Paradise" (the tour guide had an accent so I thought it was Pig Paradise for the longest time). The drive started in a comfy air conditioned bus for about half an hour, then we had to climb into a truck bed filled with wooden plank benches and ropes holding us in instead of sides. So bumpy and had to duck so tree branches didn't get us in the head - Adventure begins! We got walking sticks and started the long walk down. It was so beautiful! The mountain used to be a sugar plantation and so there are even old copper pots that slaves used, and you can see the stone wall terraces that they built down the sides of the mountain where the different work areas were. There were lots of monkeys around, except for a dog decided to walk with us and he chased them away before we could see any. We did hear them though...which is about 1/10 as cool. was an amazing trip! We had a great experience, came back decently tanned, and can't wait to crack open our tiny $10 box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. Hopefully they aren't all vomit flavored. I will post some pictures later this week! Waiting to get some from my sister-in-law and the cruise ship because we didn't take many photos on our iPhones since they were off without reception anyway. 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Inner Workings of a House

It's interesting how when you use the same appliances, television, car, front door, they become part of your life.

We're going to be going on an exciting trip soon, and while we're gone we have a friend who's graciously accepted the job of house sitting. Last night after she said yes, I got excited about buying her favourite snacks, making our house easy and a happy place for her to be. I started up writing a note for her: Wi Fi password, Netflix access, car arrangements, how to work the stove. I hadn't realized how intense this note was going to be until I was at 2 pages and had hardly covered anything.

Now I'm definitely being more than thorough, but we won't have phones on and I don't want her to be here the first day and realize she doesn't know how to work our old school microwave. No popcorn for 10 days!

Anyway, just appreciating the special things my house is filled with, their tricks, weird quirks, and interesting features. I love anticipating a trip and this is a fun part of up, packing!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Kitchen Colour Conflict

Philip & I have been constructively arguing about the cabinetry we'd like to go with for probably a year now. For those who aren't in the loop, I work in the kitchen business so it can be tough every day selling beautiful kitchens while ours remains dishwasher-less with a fridge in the living room. We're really hoping to renovate the kitchen this year, depending on cash flow, so we started to choose some of the decor aspects to make a more accurate budget. This week we made some great strides towards envisioning the kitchen we'll be putting in:

1. We're looking into redoing the entire main floor's a bit of a crazy addition to the budget, but the floor needs refinishing anyway and this way we could have the same floor throughout the kitchen and living room. We'll likely do carpet in the bedrooms, and then we're going to do engineered natural maple throughout the remaining main floor. We're looking into installing it ourselves to save a couple thousand dollars, but we have to think that through a little more.

2. Two tone cabinetry is going to be the look we're going for, and we chose my favourite grey-ish stain from my work, Slate, for the bottoms while the uppers will be a painted soft white. 

3. As far as countertops, we're hoping to put in a new quartz product in a white tone, it's a laminated quartz - a thin layer of quartz with a manufactured core making it really light weight - and affordable. It's a brand new product so we'll see what the limitations are and if it will work for us over the next month or two. 

4. This is a big one...we plan to take down a number of walls. All of the walls we can. When we're done you'll be able to see from the living room all the way to the back door, and the kitchen layout will  be drastically changed.

Take a peek at some 3D renderings I did at work the other day! Let us know if you have any ideas we should try to incorporate? We've been brainstorming but it's a big project to undertake!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


I'm a week late on this, but Happy New Year!

I'm a big resolution person, but to tell you the truth I didn't feel very Christmas-y or New Years-y this season. I'm just starting to get the hang of writing 2014 at the end of dates, so I'm just not there yet!

I'll definitely still be thinking over some goals, which started with Philip & I exercising every day. We spent the last half of our Christmas break setting up an exercise room in our guest room. We bought a TV on kijiji a few months back, got our day bed set up (for collapsing onto after a good workout), and on Boxing Day we headed to Ikea for an expedit to be used as a TV stand. We started up January 1st, full of gusto. We both worked out! January 2nd rolled around, Philip worked out, and when it came time to do mine the TV turned on, and just as quickly turned off - so we got 2 good uses out of our kijiji television and we were off to Best Buy. Last Saturday seemed like a spontaneous spending kind of day, we decided to get a new TV because the one we bought was going to cost a couple hundred dollars to fix, much more than we paid originally, and we just weren't in for the hassle. We got in and out of Best Buy in a matter of minutes, we had chosen the TV before we went so it was nice and quick. We ended up with a Smart TV just for options later, and so we can watch Netflix in a second room if we want to, or if we ever have a guest who wants to. After that we stopped in at Superstore because a headband had broken earlier in the day and I wanted some new ones, they didn't have any but somehow I walked out with 2 new pairs of glasses. Ay caramba. Budget is off to a great start in 2014. Anyways, since then we've each exercised everyday, and no desserts for us either - till our cruise that is. 

Some other things we're looking forward to this year: our family vacation, hopefully doing our kitchen and finishing up our main floor (I'm not going to say for sure because renovations have their ways of throwing wrenches into plans!), and who knows what else. 

Let's hope it's a good one! Speaking of hope, I think that's my word for 2014. 2013 seemed like a waiting period - working our bathroom constantly, things not going our way - that sounds very Eeyore-like, but there were definitely good parts too. This year, I'm going to try and be positive and hopeful, God has a plan and this year is part of it!