Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Condo News: Construction

Construction is way behind schedule. Are you surprised? Yeah, me neither.

When we bought back in early summer 2010, July 2012 (the original occupancy date) seemed very far away... and now it's running about a year late.

In our last condo meeting the builder president came in to talk to us about construction updates and the reasons for the delays. He said occupancy is now slated to begin April/May 2013. Cue the collective groan from the purchasers... Our unit is the second from the top floor and in our last meeting before this one, we were told it's going to take 4 months for full occupancy to take place. That means we're looking at a time frame of August/September.

I passed by the site last weekend and snapped this shot with my iPhone:

They've finished the framing for the first floor, which we were told would be the most complicated to build. Last week we received a letter updating us on the progress - according to that, they're working on pouring the concrete for the third floor.... seems like a stretch considering this photo is what it looked like 3 days before I received that letter.... I don't believe anything they tell me anymore!

We still don't have a finalized price on our finishes, which should include an estimation to move the closet in the bedroom. As it turns out, they've very recently hired a new designer (I can only guess this change is due to the unprofessionalism of the previous designer) so I'll be in touch with her shortly so we can get costs figured out once and for all!

Here are my thoughts so far on the whole pre-construction purchase situation:
Overall, I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed mostly with how delayed everything is. The selection of finishes was moderately disappointing too, but those are things we can (and will most likely) change once we move in. I feel completely differently about this condo now than I did last year, and I'm sure I will feel differently next year compared to how I feel about it now. Mostly, the condo size feels limiting. One bedroom isn't very family-friendly, but I'm still at that point where I feel very blah about kids. Will I ever grow out of that??

Anyhow, sorry for ranting. And for my lack of blogging as of late. I just feel very unmotivated. Knowing that my current place is short-term does not motivate me in any way to decorate. I still have an embarrassing amount of my belongings in boxes and absolutely nothing hung on the walls lol. It just kinda feels like, what's the point? Ya know? 

Other condo news:
Choosing the Finishes
Finishes Appointment
Construction Update and Security System
Our Floorplan
Condo Finishes Waiting Game

Five Years

Today is mine and Kevin's 5 year anniversary (happy anniversary!)
Photo: Omar Hassan
We've come a long way in 5 years! A condo, a car, long distance, a few moves, a few jobs, and several vacations.... and soon, a wedding!
Photo: Maricel Salalila

I instagram-ed a photo, and tweeted our official engagement photos, but never announced it on the blog - Kevin proposed Labour Day weekend while we were camping with my family. So now this cutie is gonna be allll mine mwahahahah!!
Photo: Maricel Salalila
I always thought I'd cry when Kevin finally got around to proposing, but I had a really bad habit of always expecting it! Seriously, before every weekend that we had plans, I would tell my friend Gary, "I think this is the weekend..." And when it didn't happen, I would be mildly disappointed. I knew it was coming, I just didn't know when. Kevin likes to do things at his own pace.. Anyhow, when the moment finally came, it was private and sweet, just like I'd hoped it would be. Except I didn't cry! Not only did I not cry, I actually laughed. I think I was just kinda nervous... like nervous laughing? Not sure. In any case, after everything was said and done it was pretty late and everyone was sleeping, so I woke their asses up to share the news!

Photo: Margaret Diotalevi
The next day I went into full planning mode and had a huge chunk of the wedding planning wrapped up by mid-October. The people who know me in real life were not at all surprised by this lol.

I'm not sure how specific to get on the blog, but pretty much all the big things are covered. We're getting married June 2013 at a beautiful heritage house. We've got the venue, caterer, photographer, officiant, florist, dress, MC, and wedding party picked.

Here are some GIFs to sum up the mostly noteworthy proposal reactions:

Me, for a solid week after the proposal


Michelle and Deric


Did you or anyone you know have a funny reaction to a proposal? Also, is everyone down to hear wedding details? Because that's pretty much all I have to write about these days!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pet Hair Management

I'm a self-proclaimed cat lady... I admit it! But what I'm not so fond of is cat hair all over the place. I wanted to dedicate a post to how I keep the pet hair to a minimum in my home and on my clothes, because as much as I love my little fuzzball, I don't want to wear her to work.

1. Brush her daily... or close to it
Riley loves to be brushed on and around her head and chest, and that's about it. I can brush her back a little, but definitely not her legs or tail - nuh-uh.. No way. But that's not all cats; my parents' cats will let you brush them bald. Literally.

Brushing is great to remove the loose fur. I'm a big fan of wire brushes. They seem to work the best on Riley to remove her hair and wire brushes are very easy to clean. I also invested in a Furminator brush. Look it up. It wasn't cheap (+$40 Cdn), but was SO worth the money for me. If you have a cat or dog with a thick undercoat (the downy fur closest to their skin), this brush will thin it out without removing the top coat. But be careful you don't over-brush! My sister went a little nuts using the Furminator on Angel and brushed away all of his undercoat...  

2. Bathe her twice a year (spring and fall)
Riley hates baths. She's a cat so that pretty much goes without saying, but I think washing her helps loosen up some of the old fur so it comes out more easily. Riley also get a little dandruff-y and oily so a bi-annual wash helps with that too.

I find washes are most effective in the spring and fall. Also make sure to use a pet-friendly shampoo! After I'm done washing, I swaddle Riley in a thick towel (She loves this... not!) for a few minutes, then let her air dry. Once she's dry, I brush her with the wire brush. If I don't brush her, her fur kind of sticks together... but she's sooo fluffy and cute once she's washed and dried and brushed!

3. Hairball reducing cat food
I only buy hairball reducing formula cat food. I've tried various brands and like Purina and Iams the best. I thought they just helped Riley not have hairballs, but I think they also help keep her fur in.. does that make sense? One time I bought a bag of regular cat food and I couldn't believe how much more hair I had floating around my apartment!! So now I stick exclusively with hairball reducing formula. In terms of its intended use, hairball reduction, I think it works for that too lol I find a hairball about every two months or so, which isn't bad if you ask me.

4. A damp hand
The quickest and easiest way to remove Riley's hair from fabrics is to wet my hand every so slightly then rub my hand down the fabric. This works to gather the hair up in a clump, which is easily removable. It works like a charm every single time. Note that all of my pet hair issues with Riley stem from the fuzzy undercoat hairs, which are wavy and super fine. If you're finding lots of straight thicker hairs, like what a lab retriever has, you might need a different method.

5. Beige and grey...are your friends
I've come to terms with the fact that I'm always covered in cat hair. It's a part of my life. I've never not had cats/dogs so I'm used to it. But if pet hair on your clothes and in your house bothers you, beige and grey will be your salvation. Specifically light beige and light grey. Don't even try to wear black. For some reason, lighter fur shows up on darker clothes SO much more than darker fur does on lighter clothes.

What are your tips and tricks to pet hair management? I'd love to hear how you keep the fur at bay!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Condo News: Choosing the Finishes

I haven't updated you about the construction progress because it's going incredibly slow....painfully slow if you ask me! We're not really much further along than we were when I last posted in March.
In June, we had our last appointment with the designer. We (um, I) had a list of demands requests for things we wanted. Some of these items were in the list of upgrades we could choose from, some weren't. We've already paid our deposit for the finishes, but haven't paid the balance yet - this is 100% due to the fact that we don't even know yet if the builder will sign off on our extra upgrades. Choosing the finishes and upgrades is tough... fun, but tough. I made this decision tree** to help anyone else who is or will be selecting finishes on a new build. This is basically how Kevin and I decided on our finishes.

Decision Tree - Builder Finishes vs Upgraded Finishes.png
While our finishes aren’t quite finalized, we followed this decision tree and ended up deciding on the following:

Tub: When we first bought, I asked if the bathtub was a soaker because it looks like it is on the plan. I was told it was. Score! Unfortunately, at some point this year I found out I was misinformed and it’s just a regular tub. Womp womp…I was not impressed. So we upgraded the bathtub and I’m so pumped! When I first asked how much it would be, I was quoted $1600. I was like, “I’m sorry… what??” Turns out the designer thought I wanted a jetted tub. I just wanted a soaker tub and I’m not gonna lie… I wanted it bad. I’m not one of those people who just say they’re going to take baths and then never take them. I take them… all the time. Anyhow, when I saw photos of the soaker tub models, I found a modern one I love at $250.
Tub surround: Our standard tub surround is 4x16 white or ivory subway tile. We chose white. It’s nice!

Cabinet type: We chose our cabinets, which look very very similar to the Adel cabinets by Ikea. Unfortunately they only had it in dark brown, so I asked if we could get it in white. I was told yes, and it’s been signed off on, but I worry they’re gonna mess that up and we’re gonna see dark cabinets when we move in.
More about cabinets: We also paid $300 to extend our cabinets up to the ceiling, well technically to the bulkhead. They’re going to be 130cm tall now. We have 9 ft ceilings with a 1ft bulkhead above the cabinets so the top of the cabinets will be 8 ft high. That’s how my parents’ kitchen cabinets are and it’s really nice to have the extra space. Kevin can hide all his candy on those tops shelves because I can barely reach them even with a stool!
Counters: We went with the standard. I like the colour, but it’ll definitely have to get upgraded when we move in. I’ll be referring to Lindsay’s blog when that time comes!
Backsplash: Meh. That’s how I felt about the backsplash options. I wasn’t impressed. We were given the option of using the 4x16 tile (that we’re getting for the tub surround) for the backsplash too, but I’d rather choose something after we move in. Kevin’s friend, conveniently named Tyler, has kindly offered to do our tiling for us. I hope he wasn’t kidding when he offered…
Appliances: We upgraded to a stainless steel microwave hood range and to a better (quieter and larger) stainless steel dishwasher. Remember this debate I had a few months ago? Well, the stainless steel won. It made the most sense for resale and it’s what Kevin wanted. Just to be clear, I didn’t not want it.. I was just undecided.

Main areas: We went with the standard flooring, which is carpet. I like the colour we chose, but I’m not a big fan of carpet, except for in bedrooms – I have a ridiculously fuzzy cat and allergies. We recognize that carpet is no-good for resale and wanted to upgrade to laminate or engineered hardwood, but we’re going to change the flooring on our own instead of through the builder. That way we’ll have more selection (so we can get the stain and wood we want) and it will save us at least $1000.
Bathrooms/Kitchen: We decided to get tile put down in the kitchen. If we had upgraded our floors through the builder, we could have had the same flooring put down throughout (except the bathrooms). Kevin really wants tile in the kitchen, but I’m not sure… Any advice!??  I’d love to hear your opinion. We went with a darker tile because we’ll ultimately put down engineered hardwood/laminate and it will most likely be walnut or close to that shade and I don’t want too much contrast in the flooring.

Crown moulding: I love the way crown moulding finishes off a room, but I wasn’t a fan of the selection and I kinda feel like it’s hard to choose what you want before living in the space for a bit first, ya know?..
Ceilings: The price was ridiculous to get non-stippled (popcorn) ceilings! Ca-razy!! Straight up highway robbery. I’m not a fan of popcorn ceilings at all, so it’ll definitely be something worth looking into after we move in.
Bedroom closet: I talked about this before and even drafted and sent to the designer what we want the builders to do. The original layout was okay, but then we gained 16 sq ft extra in the bedroom when they realized the HVAC unit wasn’t built into our room and they had to move the wall back. We’re hoping the designer and builder will give us the go-ahead on this rendering:

The new draft bedroom layout makes me very happy. And the extra closet space will be a treat! When Kevin and I lived at our last apartment, we shared a SINGLE closet. Men’s clothes are bulky, yo! I only had about a third of a single closet to hang stuff up.

What do you think of the finishes we chose?? I’m really hoping to hear back from the designer soon about final costs and I’ll let you know if we end up with everything we wanted!

**Pixlr has improved lately! That’s what I used to make my decision tree for this post. I don’t wanna brag, but I think it looks pretty awesome!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Photography Challenge - Day 9: Someone You Love

Taking a photo of Kevin is hard. He does not like having his photo taken…so I have to be sneaky! Well, he calls it sneaky - I call it capturing the moment.

Anyway, here’s my handsome man reading at my parents’ house. We’ve been spending a lot of time at my parents’ house lately, as my cousins are visiting from England.
Photography Challenge - Day 9 - Someone You Love.png
Photo stats:
  • I took this photo with my new Nikon D5100.
  • F-stop: f/5.3
  • Exposure time: 1/3 sec.
  • ISO: 3200
  • Focal length 40mm
  • No flash
If you want to check out my previous photo challenge photos, here are the links:
Day 1 : Self Portrait
Day 2 : What You Wore Today
Day 3 : Clouds
Day 4 : Something Green
Day 5 : From A High Angle
Day 6 : From A Low Angle
Day 7 : Fruit
Day 8: A Bad Habit

If you’re working on a photography challenge, let me know! I’d love to hear about your photos.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Shower Power

A little while ago, I tried to angle the shower head down when I was taking a shower. I prefer the stream to hit me more in the chest than the head and I can’t move back in my shower because it’s very narrow. It’s the kind of shower I picture on a space ship. I barely have enough room to bend to shave my legs. But anyway, I digress... I was trying to pivot the shower head downwards when I hear a snap and the shower head came flying off!! Turns out the shower head is fixed in one spot and doesn’t pivot at all. The fixture hit me in the head, and then I was assaulted by the thinnest, most powerful stream of water I have ever felt. It hurt!! To add insult to injury, it was a work day morning and I was fully lathered with soap and conditioner in my hair when this happened. I used my palm to deflect the hard spray of water then turned the water pressure down as low as I could, and had to rinse off with the most pathetic dribble of water - at least it didn't hurt... Needless to say, this was not a good start to my day.

I thought the shower head had just popped off, but it turned out one of the rings with threading on it had snapped so it couldn't reattach. I considered buying a new shower head – something I could bring with me to the condo – but then thought better of it and tried to fix the broken ring instead.
Broken Showerhead
Before I go telling you what I did, just keep in mind that I’m not a plumber and know nothing about plumbing. Also, I’m sorry my shower looks like the scene of a horror movie. This is the result of bad lighting, a not-so-clean shower, and a crappy iPhone picture...

So I tried to glue the ring back together using Gorilla Glue. It didn’t work too well. The ring seemed to be holding when I screwed it on, but the shower head fell off again when I turned on the water. Booo.
Kevin and I headed over to Home Depot where I bought a replacement ring. I think it was about $5. I thought I would have to buy a whole new shower head and was quite pleased to hear I could just get the ring. We got back to my place, attached the older shower head with the new ring, and guess what? Now my shower head pivots! Faaaaancy. The beating I took from the shower head the day before was definitely worth being able to now swivel my shower head Smile

Monday, August 20, 2012

What I’ve Been Up To

When I fall off the blogging bandwagon, I fall off HARD! I’ve been really slacking lately because this summer has been craaaazy busy! Kevin and I went to Boston two weeks ago. Had a blast, but I have yet to sort through all of my photos.. One of my best friends, Kerry, got married up north this weekend and I was the MC and a bridesmaid. My uncle also got married this weekend. My aunt, her husband, and 4 of their children came to Canada and were staying with my parents so I took some time off to hang out with them. I hadn’t seen them in 5 years so it was very very nice to catch up!! There have been BBQs, the Science Centre, Niagara Falls, and lots of wine! One of my cousins and her hubby have headed back to England, but some relatives are still here for another week or so. Yay!

Here are two of my favourite pictures from this weekend:
My mom, two of her siblings, all three of their spouses, most of their children, and their significant others standing outside of my parents’ house! These are some of my favourite people :)
This is a photo of the reception area at Kerry’s wedding. The lighting was great so I was really happy to get this shot..one of the few I took that day! I barely had the camera all night because I was doing wedding stuff. Kevin stepped up and got some really great shots. Kerry had some really great wedding decor so I’ll share photos of that soon.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My New Camera: Nikon D5100

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have already seen that I bought a new camera… and I’m SO FREAKING EXCITED ABOUT IT!!! I bought the NikonD5100. I’d been tossing and turning between Nikon and Canon, but honestly it was price that ultimately won out in the end. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited over a purchase. I got home, tore open the boxes and then rolled around on the floor in excitement, while unbeknownst to me, Kevin got it on video!** LOL

I’m hoping this purchase will give me some new motivation for my photography challenge!
Anyhow, here are some of my photos so far! I’ve played around with other people’s DSLRs a couple of times, but this is my first time playing around for longer than an hour or so. I’m surprised at how easy it was to start using! And it takes great shots in low light! Side note: As previously mentioned, I’m clearly a cat lady (and pets don’t complain when you photograph them!) so don’t judge the number of cat photos I have! Also, if you’re not interested in seeing pet/family photos, stop now. You’ve been warned…

One of the first photos I took: Riley! And she does NOT look impressed lolDSC_0020
Jesse, my mom’s Scottish TerrierDSC_0088
Giles, my parents’ catDSC_0100
Marty McFly, my sister’s catDSC_0119

**My mom’s reaction to the video Kevin took of me when I brought my new camera home.DSC_0160
Mom and DadDSC_0212
My sister, Michelle with GilesDSC_0273
More Riley!!!!

I've been googling around for photography tips, but I'd love to hear yours! Or maybe you have a go-to site? 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Perils of Living Alone

I’ve been living on my own since April of this year and it’s been awesome so far. A lot of people were/are shocked to hear Kevin and I aren’t living together*.
Honestly, I’ve found very few downsides to living alone. It’s so freeing!! But there are some downsides…here are my biggest issues:
  1. Dishes. UGHHHHHHHHHHH. It takes the same amount of dishes to cook food for 4 people as it does for 1, so I have to constantly do dishes. The catch here is I hate doing dishes and let them pile up for way too long and then I just feel like giving up… I miss the days when Kevin did all the dishes!
  2. Cooking for one person sucks. What’s the point? It’s crazy how low my standards have dropped for dinner. I used to always make nice dinners!.. everything homemade and from scratch with a glass of wine on the side. Now I live off chicken fingers.. (but I still have the glass of wine! Obviously)
  3. Grocery shopping for one person also sucks. I pretty much can’t finish anything before it goes bad, so now my fridge looks like this:
Empty Fridge.png
That’s right. Empty… Or pretty close to it. At least I have some fresh-ish produce in there. So now I pride myself on the contents of my freezer:Freezer contents.png
Kevin and I are leaving soon for Boston, so I’m not bothering with grocery shopping until I get back. I have way too much to get done before we leave!
  • laundry
  • packing
  • drop Riley off at my parents’ house
  • dishes! ARGH!
  • sweep floors
  • change bed sheets (nothing beats coming home to fresh sheets after a trip!)
  • get some USD from the bank
  • tidy up living room
  • mani/pedi
That’s what I really really want to get done before I leave, but I crack under pressure. Hence why I’m procrastinating by writing this post and watching Wheel of Fortune.. while eating an English muffin and some chicken fingers Smile  Jam counts as a serving of fruit, right?
Anyone have any fun plans for the long weekend?? It’s coming soon! Also, is anyone else as shocked as me that it’s already August! Summer is slipping away so fast!
*We had been living together a bit over 2 years when our landlord decided to put our house on the market. Since we had (or so we thought!) less than a year until our condo was done, we moved in respective parents’ houses. I wasn’t such a big fan, so I decided to move out after a few months. I really wanted to try living on my own because I knew once the condo was done, I’d never again have the opportunity.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Weekend Getaway to Chicago

Over the July long weekend, Kevin and I took a road trip to Chicago, Illinois. He’d visited once, years ago, and it was my first time. We loved it. We’re trying to make this the Summer of Road Trips because I still have 25,000 KM left on my car lease and only five months to use as much as I can. May as well! That explains the drive to Florida (~5000 KM round trip), the drive to Niagara Falls (~300 KM round trip), this most recent trip to Chicago, IL (~1700 KM round trip) and our upcoming trip to Boston, MA (~1800 KM round trip).

We stayed just outside of Chicago, which saved us big bucks on the hotel costs. My preference is to stay in nice hotels, but we knew we’d only be in the room for sleeping, so we were just looking for something inexpensive and clean. Our hotel was super dated, but very clean, and it came with Wi-Fi, a mini fridge, a microwave, and a free shuttle to and from the subway’s blue line, which went directly downtown – very convenient!

The best purchases of our trip were 2 CityPasses ($84 each) and 2 3-Day CTA passes ($14 each) for the train. We hmmed and hawed for a while about buying the CityPasses because we weren’t sure if it was worth it, but I highly recommend purchasing these! Just being able to skip the admission lines made buying these worth it! And even though we drove, we didn’t want to have to worry about parking and traffic, so took full advantage of the CTA passes too.

The weather was crazy that weekend. Super hot and humid with crazy thunderstorms every day. We were incredibly lucky and missed all of them though! The rain always came when we were inside or on the bus, but I had quite a scare when I checked the weather on my phone before leaving and saw this:
We visited a ton of places so I have lots of photos! I made a collage of Navy Pier because it was pretty easy to group those photos together.
Chicago - Navy Pier
For those who are interested in seeing some more photos (the architecture is stunning), keep reading after the jump!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Craigslist Find: Storage Ottoman

A little while ago I was on the hunt for a coffee table for my apartment. My search led to a pretty sweet, custom-made ottoman with built in storage. Score! $50 later and it was mine.

Storage Ottoman
What I love most about it is how versatile it is. The top is hinged, and has a very spacious storage space inside – I use it for extra throw pillows and blankets.

The colour and height are close to that of my love seat, so if I’m having a lazy TV-watching day (which is pretty much every Sunday), I can push the two pieces together creating a double loveseat chaise. I have been known to sleep out in my living room on this makeshift “chaise” on more than one occasion :)

With the addition of a tray (I got mine for 50% off at Indigo), it could be used as a coffee table/foot rest – this was actually my original intention, but I didn’t like the way it looked in my living room. I think a more petite/slender coffee table would look better in here.

I currently have it pushed up against the wall, opposite my love seat. I use it as extra seating and with the cushions along the back and the one on the side, it’s pretty inviting! People always tend to gravitate toward that seat. I currently have a tray on my ottoman – contents include 10 or so home/health mags, a candle oil diffuser thing, and a plant that I bought from Ikea 2 years ago. Side note: It came in the tiniest little pot and I’ve re-potted it two times! That plant is down right flourishing in my care and I could not be more proud!! 


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

This is by far the most effective method for getting rid of fruit flies that I’ve ever tried! It’s very easy and ridiculously inexpensive.

The old adage is “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. I don’t know who came up with that, but it’s wrong wrong wrong! At least for fruit flies.

Effective Fruit Fly Trap

Here’s how the traps work:
The fruit flies are attracted to the vinegar. They travel down the funnel into the cup, where they get stuck. They’re not able to get back out through the funnel tip. The dish soap breaks the surface tension on the vinegar, so any flies that touch the vinegar immediately fall in and drown within 5 seconds. Those that don’t fall in straight away eventually meet their demise as well. Because this trap kills them very quickly, no breeding takes place, which is why it works so well and fast. I’ve also tried this trap with different kinds of juice, but vinegar works the best.

Here’s what you need:
  1. a plastic cup (I prefer clear ones so I can see how well my trap is working!)
  2. paper
  3. tape (ideally masking because it sticks better than clear)
  4. scissors
  5. dish soap (one drop per cup)
  6. white vinegar (no more than 1/4 cup per trap)

Here’s how you make it:
  1. Create a cone out of the paper. You want the tip of the cone to be about halfway down your cup, so make it as deep as needed. Use the tape to secure the cone.
  2. Cut a very small bit off the end of the tip. The hole should be no wider than the width of a pencil. Put the cone aside for a moment.
  3. Pour vinegar in your cup until it is about 2cm/1 inch high
  4. Pour in 1 drop of dish detergent. Swirl gently but don’t create any bubbles
  5. Put the paper cone in the cup, tip down. Tape the cone to the cup and ensure there are no gaps.
  6. Optional step: Cut away the excess paper above the tape. This will make your trap smaller and more discrete.

That’s it!

Fruit Fly Trap - time lapseTo give you some perspective, the glass above is very small, probably less than 200mL total. This trap is from work.

There is s horrible fruit fly infestation at my work (yuck!) and this works like a charm every. single. time. I place 5 or 6 traps around the different work areas in my end of the building.

Ideal placement of the traps:
  1. You may be tempted to put it right beside your fruit bowl or green bin, but don’t. Between the trap and the fruit/compost, the flies will choose the latter. Put the traps on the other side of the room and you’ll have much better results!
  2. Put the traps where there isn't a lot of people traffic. Maybe on the fridge or on top of the cabinets. Somewhere high and out of the way is ideal.
When and how to replace the traps:
At my work, I change the traps about 2x/week, but we have a lot of flies there. I’ve noticed that the traps are most effective on day 1 and 2, so if you have a lot, you may want to switch out the vinegar 2-3x/week as well. To change the traps, just remove the tape holding the funnel to the cup, pour out the old buggy vinegar (ewww…), rinse the cup, pour in the new vinegar and dish soap, and then re-tape the funnel back on the cup! I reuse the funnels over and over. As long as they don’t get (too) wet, they’re good for many many uses! If you give this trap a try, let me know how it goes! I’d love to hear some feedback.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend Instagrams and the Like

My Weekend 7 July 2012.
I haven’t done much blogging lately… been enjoying summer too much to get on the computer!

I think I’ve got to start setting a blogging schedule to get back into the swing of things! I’ve got plenty to write about but haven’t sat down to write it.

Here’s what I was up to this weekend:
1. I’ve made it a habit to go to my parents’ house on Friday nights for BBQ, beer, and the card game Phase 10. We’re all obsessed with it!
2. My parents’ cat, Angel, was lying on his back and using the door threshold as a pillow. Crazy cat.
3. Kev and I enjoying patio season on Saturday afternoon. We sat under an umbrella and it started raining seconds after we got there, but we stayed out and the rain soon passed. It ended up really hot out there!
4. I passed out on Saturday night and woke up feeling overheated – one look down explained why! This little fuzzball is like a radiator and was cozied into my side.
5. On our drive through Milton, we passed this sign and obviously stopped to take a picture!… and maybe pose like a zombie hahah
6. This pretty waterfall was the highlight of our hike through Hilton Falls
7. We started off with the Hilton Falls Trail (4km) then walked the Beaver Meadow Trail (9.5km), which unbeknownst to us, was swarming with mosquitos… might explain why we didn’t see anyone else on that trail!

I hope you’ve all been enjoying this summer as much as I have! I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to Smile

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Green Onion Planter

Did you know that green onions can be put in water, allowing the green parts to regrow almost indefinitely? Just pick up some green onions with the little white roots attached (that’s how they’re sold in the grocery store), then put the bunch(es) in a container of water. Simple as that!

Green onions are so versatile! Here's a short list of how you can use them:
  • Rolled in olive oil and then grilled
  • Baked into a quiche
  • On/in pretty much anything Mexican
  • On/in pretty much anything Greek
  • Sprinkled on:
    • baked potatoes
    • soups right before eating
    • eggs
Green Onions
I tried it a couple of years ago and really doubted that it would work, but it did! I recently started “growing” them again, except this time I bought more stalks so it looks substantial enough to put in the window alongside my other plants.

The tip is to make sure you cut the stalk all the way down to the white at the bottom or the stalk just dries up like the stalk in the lower right picture below. I also put an elastic loosely around my two bunches to keep my stalks more upright.
Green Onions 2
What do you think?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


The new apartment I moved to a few months ago is a basement. If anyone is even somewhat familiar with basements, they know that insects are a regular occurrence. I, for one, am not a fan of bugs inside. My thought (to bugs) is, “do what you want when you’re outside. Live your life, be free! But the second you step foot over the threshold, you’re toast!!” Once they’re inside, I kill ALL bugs, no regret, no mercy.

In my almost 3 months here, I’ve found a couple spiders, a couple silverfish (they give me the shivers)… and more than my fair share of carpenter ants.

Just to clarify, my bug tolerance is super low. Every time I enter a room I scan it for bugs. It sounds pathetic, but I can’t help myself. I don’t even realize I’m doing it. Any fleck of anything black or brown and I have to investigate to make sure it’s not a bug. In university, I once found 2 spiders in my dorm room on the same day and I woke up screaming, “SPIDERS! SPIDERS!” from a nightmare so loudly, I woke up my neighbour. (Sorry Jen Ma!)
Pinned Image

So when a silverfish scurried out from under one of my moving boxes in the first couple weeks, I was scared, but I didn’t completely freak out.

Then when I was making juice for my brother and found a dead silverfish in my mother f-in Brita filter, I was scared, but I didn’t completely freak out. And I made him flush it down the toilet, just in case it was playing dead and jumped out at me.

Then a few weeks later when I was on the computer and felt a tickle on my shoulder, only to realize it was an ant on me, I freaked out… but just a bit.

The final straw was when I went to bed on Thursday night. I was exhausted. I turned on the light. Guess what I saw? A freaking ant crawling on my freaking bed.


I went ape $hit bananas. Seriously, coo coo for cocoa puffs crazy.

It was almost 11pm and I didn’t hesitate in the slightest to call my landlord. I basically told her in no uncertain terms would I continue living in a place where I had to check my bed (my bed!!) for bugs. Nah-uh. No way. NOT happening. She very sweetly invited me (and Kevin) to sleep upstairs for the night, which I fully appreciate, but I know she has ants up there too, so I declined. And she said she would call an exterminator to come to the house ASAP. Boy oh boy did she hold up her end of the bargain. By 4:30pm on Friday (if you’re still reading this far, I called her on Thursday at almost 11pm) an exterminator was at the house fumigating. Me and Riley went to my parents house for the night, and I put my plants on the front porch.
Exterminated Ants

I came back on Saturday afternoon to find about 10-12 dead ants around the baseboards. Yuck. But they were dead, so yay! The exterminator said we’ll continue to find dead ants for about 8 more days. He wasn’t lying. Every day since I have walked in to find a few writhing around dying.  I know it’s evil to just let them suffer so I squash them all and end it quickly.

In case any of you were wondering (and miraculously read to the end of this post), the exterminator sprayed the basement, upstairs, and the perimeter of the house. And he gave my landlord a 6 month guarantee, so she can call him to re-spray if we find the fumigation loses its effectiveness.

BLAGHHHHH!! Let’s just all hope that day doesn’t ever come.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Window Coverings–Sheers Out, Blinds In

My mom made sheers to go on the windows in the living and dining room. The biggest issue with this is my parents live in a house with several animals – three cats, one dog. At one point last year there were five cats and one dog (eek!). The bottom of all the sheers were pretty ratty looking from rips and animal hair. After a while there isn’t really anything that can be done to make them look good. Also, in my opinion, sheers can look pretty dated. I’m not a fan.
Overall there are 5 windows downstairs – one very large window in the dining room, and one large window flanked by two tall thin windows in the living room. My parents recently invested in blinds for all of the windows downstairs and they look SO. MUCH. BETTER. It’ll probably help my sister with her allergies too because they won’t hold onto as much dust and fur as the sheers did.
I took some pictures – the quality isn’t that great because they were with my phone. The first one is of one of the small windows in the living room, and the second one is the dining room window.
Blinds in Living Room - Before and After
Blinds in Dining Room - Before and After
My mom inquired at several places before placing her order. She called Blinds-To-Go first, thinking they would be the least expensive, but they weren’t by a long shot. She ended up getting a much better deal from Select Blinds, which is something I’ll be keeping in mind for when we move into the condo and have two walls of windows to contend with… although we’re definitely looking more for roller blinds, not slatted blinds like these.
Overall, the best price she was quoted from Blinds-To-Go was over $600, but the valance was very thin and to get a different pull cord was an added cost. At Select Blinds she got a much thicker valance (standard) and the price was $330 total! Literally almost half the price!! She asked at Blinds-To-Go if they could match that pricing and they said no. I was surprised because I always thought they would be the least inexpensive.
Have any of you gotten a great deal of window coverings? It’s one of the first things I think people should put up in their homes when they first move in so I’m doing my research early! Help a gal out!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Store Crash: West Elm

A few weeks ago I went to West Elm for the first time – and it lived up to its hype. The store was set up beautifully, with some really nice displays and great pops of colour.
This mix of driftwood, candles, jars, and bottles was set up as a centrepiece on a reclaimed wood table. I would never have thought to put these pieces together, but it looks great. I also really like that they’re using multiple smaller-scale items as the centrepiece, whereas I think most people usually just use one big item.
I was crushing hard on this coffee table. I really like it. Like, a lot. I have to really restrain myself from buying furniture until we move to the condo, but it’s. so. hard.IMG_1439
I saw some nice chairs and poofs too. Poofs are great in living rooms, especially if you’ve got a more casual vibe going on. The slipper chair is great for smaller spaces – because it has no arms it takes up less space and you could probably get two people on one in a pinch. And I really liked the rocker. Looked like something that would go well in a bedroom. Although if it were in my room, I would use it strictly for piles of clothes and never for sitting…

How awesome is this string of pendants?! It’s so cool. I love the impact of having 5 in a row, but I think even just 1 (or maybe 3 if you have the space) would look great too.IMG_1448
We found this bookcase that was very well styled. I like that the bookcase has open and closed sections too. I love the idea of using open bookcases like this as a quasi-room divider. As we headed to the back of the store, we found this same bookcase in the As Is section for less than half the price ($239.97) of the original ($599)!! The only issue was the top section was missing the screws (where I put in the arrow) so that is easily fixable with a quick trip to Home Depot, etc. If either of us had a car big enough to take that home, it would’ve been mine!!!
West Elm Bookcases
Have any of you been here lately? Do you like to get inspired by store setups like I do? The merchandisers do such a good job of making the displays so pretty!
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