Friday, 25 May 2012

An Extended Hiatus

I've been a horribly negligent blogger.

Sadly, when I look past the last month I don't really have an explanation. My hiatus started out with a week of wedding preparations at my parents complete with wedding crafts and meetings with the photographer, caterer, cake baker, etc. To be honest, I don't really enjoy talking about the wedding. Don't get me wrong, I love the craft projects and occassionally the planning too. However, I always feel awkward talking about the wedding, particularly with those that aren't invited.

Ever since then I feel like I've been playing catch up on everything else in life and just when I feel like I'm getting a grip on reality some wedding task comes up. For example, over the Victoria Day weekend I did gardening and made 100 wedding invitations. I'm hoping that this weekend is more productive in terms of regular life stuff.

Hopefully I'll have some nice posts starting next week!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Master Bedroom: Photo Catch Up

I know I've talked about the master bedroom off and on since November of last year. Things are finally together that I can show some pictures.

These are from before, when the previous homeowners had the house:


The West Elm bedding we got for Chirstmas from Panda's parents.

The mirrored bedside tables that I got for Valentine's Day.

The new lamps!

How do you think we did? The paint colour  and the colour of the bedding don't come off nearly as pale in person. The pictures seem to be missing the richness of the room.

Over the weekend I was really focussed on the living roon/dining room/stairs/hallway for some reason. Maybe that should be my next project? Although doing it properly would involve new flooring, new windows and a new front door. Sound doable? What kind of budget do you think I can make all of that happen with?

Hmmm, the wedding money would certainly pay for that...sigh.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

One Day at a Time

As mentioned before, I've signed up to run a 5K at the end of May. Not being much of a runner means that I really do need to train for this race. My goal is to complete it and not embarrass myself, doing that in a decent time is even better.

Since Panda has been in California, Molson and I have been out training. Panda left on Friday and we've gone out Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday (today). I used to try to run on a treadmill and it was brutal, I was terrible at it. Now that I'm running outside and going out with Molson, it seems so much easier. Amazingly enough, I'm actually enjoying it so far.

Let's see if I can keep this trend going and head on either Friday or Saturday.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Bathroom Renovation: Our First Renovation is Complete!

Admittedly, the major components of the bathroom renovation were done at the beginning of March. However, it is the little things that make a room feel finished and so I waited until they were in place before doing the recap. Overall, it was an amazing learning experience. I feel that we did well in selecting the finishings and that this was the easiest part of the whole thing. Sure, it was time consuming but maybe that's why it went so well. In terms of hiring a contractor and communicating with them, I feel like I definitely have some room for improvement there.

I didn't think to take pictures of the room before construction began, but I've learned my lesson on that front. At least I have some photos of the room from when the previous homeowners still lived here.


And, here is the after:

Clearly we still have some work to do outside the bathroom, but the door and trim are in and completely painted.


So excited to finally get my paintings from Barcelona framed.

And, some of my favourite details:

Faucet and Concrete Counter

Schoolhouse Light from Restoration Hardware

Sconce that matchs the faucet

Doorknob that ties in with the rest of the house.

It feels so good having everything come together. I have to admit that even though we chose all the pieces ourselves, it still was a surprise when it all came together.

Now, what should our next project be?

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Wedding Planning Recap - What Easter Weekend?

Due to being busy, I haven't had the chance to post about wedding planning in awhile. I will definitely say that it feels like wedding planning is ramping up, whether I like it or not. Easter weekend was the perfect example of this.

Over the Easter weekend we had lots of wedding stuff planned. Saturday we registered at one of my favourite stores, picked up some cupcakes from the baker we are considering for our wedding cake (Panda is travelling for work when we have our tasting appointment) and a bridal shower for me hosted by my aunts on my mom's side. Sunday we met with the minister that will be performing our ceremony. Monday we had our engagement photos. Oh, yeah plus Easter dinner and about 12 hours of driving. Amazingly enough it didn't feel too rushed though.

The bridal shower definitely made me realize how lucky I am because everyone was so generous. Since it was my first bridal shower, I honestly didn't know what to expect. I was amazed at the turn out and the gifts that I received from everyone. I'm actually still trying to find a home for everything. I have realized that we don't have nearly enough upper cupboard space.

We definitely had a realization over the Easter weekend that a farm wedding is not the same as having a wedding at a standard venue. So, we are hiring a day of wedding co-ordinator to make both our lives and our parents lives a little, but hopefully a lot, easier on the day of the wedding. 

Up and coming are some wedding DIY projects and engagement photo proofs.

I'm hoping to having Wedding Wednesdays return this week! Well, as long as I'm not working overtime...sigh

One is the Loneliest Number

What can I say, today has been all about recovery. Yesterday I drove Panda to the airport since he has to work in California next week. It's nice that he has a work destination that allows to him visit his family, which is probably why he was so excited to get there around lunch time. However, it also meant that he wasn't thinking about what time he needed to leave Ontario. So, I was up at 3:30am on Friday and walking the dog at 4am in order to have Panda to the airport for his 6 something am flight. I also discovered that the parking garage at work doesn't open until 6am...sigh.

So, it is a little lonely around here. Thankfully I have Molson here with me, although Molson has been high maintenance since Panda left. I swear he knows to act up just for me.

I know I've been a bit negligent about posting, but work has been busy with the hearing and decision writing. Just when that ends it is wedding planning road trip time, so that will be exciting. However, I need to get organized in order to make the most of the time I have down there.

This weekend I'm hoping to get some wedding projects done and some photos taken for some renovation posts.

What have you been up to?

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Last Couple Pieces

About a month ago Panda and I were at Home Hardware picking out the window treatment for the new bathroom. I had no idea how many options were out there, let alone the colours and fabrics that were available. It was no easy task, but we ultimately ended up going with a pleated shade from Shade-O-Matic. The bathroom is on the first floor, so we wanted something that offered privacy yet still allowed light into the bathroom. This shade allows privacy, but we can control the shade from the top or the bottom.

Last week, we were told that the blind was FINALLY in. As much as I love things that are custom, I don't like having to wait for them.

Today, Panda installed both the blind and the hand towel holder. Hopefully, I'll have some photos in my next post. I am loving this feeling of having a project coming to an end!

Monday, 26 March 2012

May the Odds Ever be in your Favour

I'll admit it, I was among the many that made The Hunger Games opening weekend a $214 million global success. Even better, I can't say that I was disappointed either.

My sister and I decided to go see The Hunger Games on Friday night in London. Since it is tax season, my sister didn't have time to wait in line for tickets or seats for that matter. So, she ordered tickets at the VIP theatre which allows you to specify your seat. Bonus is that they serve alcohol and don't allow teenagers in their theatre. Seriously, this was a revelation in movie going experiences! I definitely recommend this option for movies where you don't want to be around teens. Sure the $5 per person extra fee is a bit steep, but the food had regular pricing.

On to the movie:

I read The Hunger Games Trilogy about two years ago, so I'm not positive about whether or not all the details from the book were in the movie. However, I have to admit that the movie was more true to the book than what I was expecting. Plus they did an amazing job of depicting the control of the capital. Whether it be through the control of the game or the politics surrounding everything.

After the Twilight experience, I also wasn't expecting very much from the actors themselves. However, I was really impressed by the actors they selected as well. I didn't find Katniss nearly as annoying since I didn't have to deal with her inner dialogue. I thought the actors that played Peeta and Gale depicted them exactly how I thought they were in the book. I was completely impressed by how Woody Harrelson portrayed Haymitch in the movie and I ended up liking that character a lot more.

Did you see Hunger Games this weekend? What did you think?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Juggling Life

Would you believe that I actually do have things to post about? Particularly involving the bathroom renovation and the master bedroom decor. I just need to get the batteries in my camera charged and then I can do some great update posts. I'm really happy with how both rooms have turned out, so I'm excited to get to those posts. I tell you though, work and the wedding are really cramping my style when it comes to home renovations and blogging.

On the work front, I'm finally out of hearing but in that twiddling of thumbs phase where I await instructions.

On the wedding front, I'm heading to Southwestern Ontario this weekend for Round 2 of bridesmaid dress shopping. Hopefully things will go well and dresses will be ordered shortly. I'm most excited about seeing everyone though. I'm not excited about the drive down though. After work I have a 7 hour drive ahead of me once I load the car. I'm just hoping traffic will be good and I won't run into any snags (better known as Toronto).  I hope to get serious about wedding planning this weekend and get a plan in order, I feel like I've been neglecting the wedding for so long.

Aside from wedding activities, it is looking like I'll be getting to hang out with my sister this weekend. We are signed up to go to a beer and cheese tasting which I'm really excited for. It sounds so delicious! Also, we are tossing around the idea of going to see The Hunger Games at some point. I think it'll be great since we read The Hunger Games together two years ago while travelling around Spain. It only seems fitting that we see the movie together.

I'm trying not to have expectations going into this movie. Here is hoping that I am pleasantly surprise. Do you blame me for being skeptical? How can they properly film a book that is based on kids killing other kids?

All in all, I'm hoping for a great weekend!

What are your weekend plans?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Keeping the Momentum going!

It continues to be unseasonally warm here. So, I couldn't resist going for a jog once I got home from work yesterday. I was a little hesitant to take Molson with me since I knew there'd be a lot of dogs being walked by their owners and Molson's attention is a little unpredictable.

A encouraged us to go, I think he didn't want a dog pestering him for attention. Off we went and it turned out to be a great training session yet again. Our timing fell in between 35 and 40 minutes, complete with stops for Molson to sniff and pee. I have to admit, trying out jogging hasn't been too bad so far. I hope that I end up liking it.

Tonight is my curling night. My mind is so not on curling anymore, due to the weather. I think I'm ready for the season to be over. Oh well, two more curling nights and then the final banquet.

How's the weather where you are? Are you in Arizona and getting snowed on?

Monday, 19 March 2012

One Step at a Time - Running my First 5K

This weekend Molson and I decided to do our first 5K triaining run. First, the weather here is absolutely beautiful, atleast 10 degrees warmer than normal. So, getting outside wasn't a challenge whatsoever.

When I signed up for the 5K it asked the time that I expected to finish the race in. Since I've never run a 5K before I guessed and put myself in the 45 minute plus category. It was my best guess seeing as I'm not a runner and don't pretend to be. Essentially my goal is to finish the 5K and not embarrass myself, sounds doable right?

Sunday morning, Molson and I headed off on our first training outting. It went really well, my biggest issue is Molson. I never know how he'll react to other dogs while we are out. He was all focused  when two dobermans started barking at us, but wants to go check out a little terrier that is cowering on the sidewalk. What can I say, it's an adventure with him. Fortunately we haven't run into any cats or squirrels, so haven't had to experience his prey drive kicking in as we are running. That'll be dramatic whenever that happens.

I attempted to time our session and it looks like we came in between 35 and 40 minutes, complete with Molson breaks to pee and sniff things. Considering that was our first time out, I'm pretty impressed.  I'll have to see how things go and maybe set some new goals to challenge myself more. I think I'll wait until the begining of May to do that though.

I'd like to try and head out again tonight, but my thighs are aching a bit. I guess I didn't stretch enough.

How's your training going?

Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day!

Did you have a good St. Patrick's Day?

Mine was busy, so I didn't have a chance to post. You see, St. Patrick's Day is a pretty big holiday in our house. A is predominantly Irish and his family always acknowledges the holiday. So, it has become a tradition in our home as well. Unfortunately, I need to learn how to break out the camera and capture some of the things that we do.

Basically, we invite friends and family over for an Irish themed meal and enjoy the company. Of course, there is Irish beer such as: Guinness, Harp's, Kilkenny, etc. but we don't make the day about drinking.  This year the menu entailed:

  • An Irish flag veggie tray - only green, while and orange vegetables of course
  • An Irish Cheese tray - Irish cheddar with red wine, Irish Cheddar with Guiness and Dubliner
  • Chocolate pretzels with green M&Ms
Main Course:
  • Irish Soda Bread
  • Corned Beef
  • Cabbage
  • Scalloped Potatoes
  • Guiness Chocolate Cupcakes
  • Vanilla Cupcakes
  • Both with Baileys Buttercram Icing
We didn't have as large a group of people this year as he have in previous years. It was still really nice though, if anything I liked it better because I had more of a chance to visit with people. Normally I'm running around trying to get food ready!

What do you do for St. Patrick's Day?

Friday, 16 March 2012

Challenge Accepted - Running My First 5K

Yesterday, Molson and I had a little chat. He agreed to be my training partner for the 5K I just signed up for.

I guess that I should make it clear that Molson is our dog.  This is him, isn't he handsome?

Clearly he doesn't know what he is in for, but considering I get barked at when I'm late for our walk I don't thing I'll get too many complaints from him.

I had thought signing up for a 5K would be a great tool to get me in shape for the wedding. We will have to see how this goes because I'm definitely not much of a runner. Either way, I'm hoping that I'm going to find this inspiring and motivational, but more importantly keeping me accountable.

It definitely helps that A is willing to do this with me and my friend Liz who is going to run a marathon (or half, I can't remember) in Alaska in June has also signed up. Either way with the two of them and this public declaration, I now need to be accountable to someone beyond myself.

I should add, Molson is probably the best to be accoutable to. He insists that I be accoutable on a daily basis, hence the being barked at when I'm late for our walks. Easier said then done when our walk time is at 6:30am. However, he is also subtle about things too. We have our weekday walk route and our weekend walk route. The weekend route is probably 5 times longer then the weekday walk route. When we approach the point on the street where we branch off for our weekend route he always tries to start walking in the street hoping that I'll give in and take the longer route.

Anyway, on May 26th I'll be participating in Ottawa's Race Weekend.

Training starts this weekend!

What are you training for?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Preparations are Underway...

For St. Patrick's Day!

It has been a pretty busy for me recently. A has been sick for getting close to a week, which means he's out of commission and more falls on me. I've been in hearing at work which means that I no longer have a regular workday. With St. Patrick's Day on Saturday, I need to start prepping things earlier in the week if I'm going to be ready for Saturday.

There aren't too many things that you can prepare early that will last. The only way that'll be an issue with these is if we can't resist eatting them. Last night and Monday evening I made about a 100 or so of these Holiday Pretzel treats (recipe).

Mine look a wee bit different since I used regular pretzels instead of pretzel waffles and mine don't look nearly as perfect as the ones above. However, I can claim that they are still delicious. I used just plain hershey kisses and the St. Patrick's inspired M&M colours of green, yellow and orange.

I think they'll be a great sweet treat! How can you possibly go wrong with pretzels and chocolate? Sweet with that slight twist of saltiness. Yumm!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

From the Hogline

My second season of curling is wrapping up soon.

Winter was kind of non-existant this year, and my curling league didn't have any snow days. Since we aren't trying to make-up any games, we can fit another round of curling in before our end of year banquet at the begining of April.

I went into curling to get to know people in my new town and to get me out of the house during the winter. Having watched a little curling on television, I thought it'd be a pretty straightforward sport to try out. Boy, did I get a surprise.

I think curling is a lot like golf. They have pretty basic concepts, but the devil is in the details. In golf, the goal is to knock your little white ball in the hole hitting it as few times as possible. In curling, the goal is to make sure your coloured rock is closest to the button. Simple, right? I thought so, until I tried to do it.

You'd think that with growing up in Canadian winters I'd be a pro at being at home on ice. I have to admit, I'm not too bad since I don't fall too often. However, equipment has a lot to do with it. I intentionally don't buy winter boots that don't grip and avoid wearing regular shoes outdoors during the winter. Then comes curling where you wear a pair of shoes - one shoe has a gripper on the bottom and one shoe has a slider on the bottom. The slider is generally made of teflon, you know that stuff that makes frying pans non-stick? Did you know the thicker the teflon on your shoe, the more slippery the shoe and the faster you can go?

Can't say that I look as sophisticated as the picture of Jennifer Jones, but I don't feel that I'm the disaster on ice that I use to be.
Manitoba's Jennifer Jones at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts tournament in Red Deer, Alberta
I have to admit, for a long time I felt like this.

I feel much more comfortable on the ice this year, but still have so much trouble with the details of the game. You'd think that it'd be pretty simple to be on the broom and get the weight right consistently, but no such luck. I definitely have my good nights and my bad nights. I'm getting better and people comment about how much I've improved, so atleast I have that going for me.

The one thing I've loved about the game is changing positions. There are only four on a team: skip, vice, second and lead. When I started last year I always played lead, but this year I signed up to play second and occassionally play vice when someone is away. I cannot believe how much the game changes when you move from one position to another. The strategy changes immensely and the types of shots you need to make regularly are drastically different.

I love how each position gives me an entirely new perspective, now if only my curling would improve.

What sport have you tried out that you ended up liking?

Friday, 9 March 2012

When the Cat is Away the Mice Will Play

On Wednesday the LA Galaxy played the Toronto FC. A is a big Galaxy fan and doesn't get to see them play too often anymore whether in person or on television. It is pretty unpredictable if a West coast sports game will be aired on the East coast, atleast that is the way it has been for the LA Kings and could be likely for the Galaxy as well. Anyway, A decided to fly to Toronto and meet up with a California friend, who had recently moved to Rochester, New York, to see their beloved Galaxy.

What does this mean for me? It means that I'm on my own and making my own plans.

Last night I met up with L who I haven't seen in ages since she is  so busy. She is a full-time student working towards her Masters in Nursing with both classes and clinical on her plate AND a full-time nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. I'm amazed by her, and I don't know how I'd be functioning with so much on my plate.  She had a little bit more time on Thursday since she was just finishing up her clinical, so off we went to the movies. Going with L means that chick flicks are options again, so we opted for The Vow starring Canada's own Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum.

The movie is about a young married couple Paige and Leo. Paige loses her memory as a result of a car accident and cannot remember the past 4 years. Consequently, she doesn't remember why she no longer talks to her family, why she ended it with her ex-fiance Jeremy (Scott Speedman), why she dropped out of lawschool and decided to go to art school, why she left the suburbs and moved to the city, or meeting, falling in love with and marrying Leo.

I never go into chick flicks with high expecations, but this one gives you a lot to think about in addition to the basic chick flick stuff. What would you do if your spouse woke up after an accident and didn't remember you? What if you were the spouse that couldn't remember? What if you couldn't remember how you made a major path change in life? It's a lot to think about as an individual, but as a couple it seems almost insurmountable.

What movie have you seen lately? What's next on your list?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Luck of the Irish

It feels like it was just Valentine's Day. How did March get here so quickly? Let alone St. Patrick's Day being just around the corner.

Ever since A and I got together we've been doing a St. Patrick's day gathering. This was inspired by that fact that St. Patrick's day has always been an important holiday in A's family. We've been slow to get organized this year, but we are planning on hosting a St. Patrick's Day open house next weekend. Since we've moved outside of the city and accessibility is a bit of an issue now we are trying to focus more on food and getting together rather than drinking and partying.

I've been working on a Irish themed menu which should be pretty exciting. So, I'll be busy next week making Irish soda bread, Irish car bomb cupcakes and of course Irish stew and Corned beef and cabbage! Each year I get a bit better with all of this.

I hope A will have a chance to look at the menu, guestlist and invitation tonight so we can get things moving.

Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

Wedding Wednesday: A Whirlwind Until Spring

Fortunately, I've gotten back to posting before an entire week elapsed. It's been pretty busy for me since I last posted.

This past weekend was Round 1 of Bridesmaid dress shopping. I headed to Toronto to spend the weekend with Bridesmaid L and Bridesmaid T to look for dresses. I loved spending time with them, but 10+ hours in my car by myself can be a little rough. Let's just say I listed to my new Adele cd a couple of times.

Heading into bridesmaid dress shopping, I though the Alfred Sung line and the colour Quarry were pretty much decided on. You know how it goes, life never quite turns out the way you plan. First, L & T seemed to like the Alfred Sung line. Second, the colour and fabric were not what I expected. Online when you search for grey dresses, the colours Dove and Quarry pop up. Online Dove looks like a silver and Quarry like a pewter. In person, Dove looks like a while silver and Quarry looks like regular silver. On top of the colour surprise, I learned that there are two fabrics that we can work with: Dupioni and Peau de Soie (amazing how it sounds so fancy, but translated it is Skin of Silk).  Dupioni comes in Quarry and Peau de Soie does not. The Dupioni fabric has a heavy appearance similar to drapery fabric, which just looks very wintery to me and likely will be uncomfortably hot for the girls as well. On the other hand, the Peau de Soie has a very summery and airy feel and look to it. So, what do we do since Peau de Soie doesn't come in Quarry?

As we were looking around we came across another grey colour that does come in peau de soie. Ebony, which I would have found had I searched for black dresses. Now, I thought Ebony meant black, but I guess it doesn't because this Ebony looks like pewter in person.

So, this is going to be the fabric and colour the girls will be in:

The styles of dresses are still yet to be decided although I think I know what L & T are leaning towards. Now it is just seeing what S & J are thinking 3 weeks from now.

Also on the wedding front, since my mom had been asking about registries I tried to get started. Thus far I've registered at Sears and Home Outfitters. The whole process is so much harder then I ever thought pretend shopping would be. However, I always operate with a healthy dose of reality and I just couldn't register for a $80 ironing board in good conscience. I've still got some work to do and want to talk with A about things before they really get underway and people start buying things.

I think another trip to Sears and Home Outfitters will definitely be in order. However, since they will be closing my 'home' Sears it makes registering more challenging because I can already see the stock within that store diminishing.

One day at a time and one task at a time. ...

Friday, 2 March 2012

Spring Has Sprung, Atleast that is What I'm Wishing For

This morning I came across a post about an amazing wreath over at Life Behind the Ivy. Seeing her new spring wreath:

Got me so excited about the fact that spring is not too far away. Although I'm wondering if the fact that I've shovelled my driveway three times in the past 24 hours has alot to do with it. Anyway, Susannah at Live Behind the Ivy purchased her wreath from Elegant Holidays on Etsy and after venturing over there I think that I now may have a slight wreath addition. Is that even possible?

Year Round - Artificial Boxwood Wreath
Spring / Easter - Pink and Purple Tulip Wreath
Spring / Easter - Orange and Yellow Tulip Wreath
Spring/Easter - Light Pink Tulip Wreath
Don't these wreaths look absolutely amazing! I don't think that I can justify buying on right now because they range from $50 to $75 American. Maybe when we have a brand new front door I'll want to draw more attention to it. Right now, I'm waiting until spring to do another coat of black paint on the front door.

Do you like wreaths? What do you think of homes that have a wreath on their front door?

Thursday, 1 March 2012

March is Coming in like a Lion

So, hopefully this will mean an early spring?

Last night as the wind and snow wreaked havoc outside, I settled in to getting a few things accomplished last night. It is amazing how fast an evening can go when you are working away at things. While doing laundry and catching up on The Biggest Loser (PVRs are amazing), I worked away on props for the photobooth at the wedding. Using pictures like the one below for inspiration, I attempted to make my own props. However, you'll have to wait until Wedding Wednesday for more detail.

To relax later in the evening we watched Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt.

It's based on the story of Billy Beane who was the General Manager for the Oakland A's in the early 2000s. They've just lost  the season to the New York Yankees who have a salary budget of over $100 million while Oakland was working with less than $40 million. After being denied access to more money, Beane (Pitt's character) goes against anything everyone has ever done in planning a baseball team. He hires a man with an economics degree from Yale and plans a team based on statistics.

This movie far exceeded my expectations, but I don't know if a lot of this has to do with the fact that the movie had an economics twist to it. I highly recommend this movie. A and I discussed how little we know about baseball during the 2000s, believing that we generally lost interest after the strikes in the 1990s. I used to be a huge Toronto Blue Jays fan growing up and remember venturing into Toronto as a kid with my parents to go watch a game. Maybe I should give the game a second chance?

What movie have you watched recently?

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Register Me this, Register Me That

This past week I was talking with my mom and she was asking what my availability is this spring because my parents' group of friends wants to throw me a bridal shower. Then, a couple of days after that conversation my mom asked me if I was coming home for Easter because my Aunt J wants to throw a joint bridal shower for my cousin's fiance and myself. After asking when Easter was and being told that Good Friday is April 6th, it dawned on me that maybe I should start thinking about a registry.

I would say that A is sort of anti-registry. Whereas, I view them as inspiration for people which may or may not turn into a shopping list for them, but they have the ability to choose. Sometimes I will buy straight from the registry and sometimes I will use it as a jumping off point. Either way, I feel that having one makes those giving gifts feel like they aren't guessing at what people like and those receiving gifts feel like people won't be wasting money on them. Sure, some gifts may not be perfectly the recipient but life isn't perfect either.

Thus far, I've only been doing research about what to put on a registry and where to register. To be honest, it's a bit of a challenge to register as someone in their 30s. I've already worked my way through most of my hand me down kitchen appliances, and purchased newer things. Although my grandma's 1970s toaster oven is still going strong, so clearly I have some items that might need an upgrade. At this point in my life there are so many other things that would be great to register for that relate to my home, for example a nice pre-hung door, a couple gallons of paint,  door knobs and about a million other home renovation items. Alas, that isn't the case.

So, back to my options. After seeing bridesmaid L get married and register at a lot of American stores, I can certainly see the lack of selection in Canada. I don't like the idea of having guests shop at a particular store. I'm the type that does research and shops around for the best price. So, I figure most other people are like that too, especially with the way that gas prices have been increasing. I'm aware that money may be tight for some people, so to register at The Bay bothers me when I know their prices are really marked up.

The regular Canadian options are:

These are the options that are the most accessible to Canadians. Although people in rural areas will need to travel to larger centres for The Bay and Home Outfitters most likely.

There are some new registry options on the scene that have been imported from the United States, they are:

Now, if I want to register at either Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn or Williams-Sonoma then I need to travel to Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto or Vancouver just to create the stupid registry. Montreal isn't even an option! Even though the ability to buy things online for guests would be a huge plus, I have to be able to get to the store to create the registry in the first place and not all my guests are going to want to purchase items online (if that is even an option for them).

In terms of Bed, Bath & Beyond, I haven't been particularly impressed with that store. It is really expensive and they occassionally send out coupons. Yes, I understand how that is how the United States generally works and people like coupons but Canada doesn't and it bothers me to knowingly submit that kind of pricing to friends and family.

It is looking like I'll be going with Sears and Home Outfitters as the main registries. Plus, I think I'd like to add some independent stores from back home.

Now, to figure out what to register for, what would be on your list?

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Getting to the Hart of the Matter

New out this season is a television show called Hart of Dixie staring Rachel Bilson as Doctor Zoe Hart. I promise that I'm not ruining too much of the storyline for you. At Zoe's graduation a man approaches her and essentially offers her a job in Bluebell, Alabama which she doesn't even consider for a second. You see, Zoe is a surgeon from New York and is aspiring to be an amazing surgeon like her dad. However, she is told that she had a horrible bedside manner and that she should spend a year in family medicine because otherwise her career isn't moving anywhere. Zoe decides to head to Alabama to take that man, Doctor Wilkes, up on his offer. Turns out Doctor Wilkes has passed away, but he has left Zoe his share of a medical practice because he was her father! Yeah, you can see where this is going.

In summary, the cast of characters are (from left to right):

  • Levon Hayes - Former NFL star and mayor of Bluebell. He also happens to be Zoe's landlord and bestfriend. However, he is also in love with Lemon Breeland.
  • George Tucker - Lawyer in town. Used to practice law in New York but moved back for Lemon Breeland.
  • Zoe Hart - Big city northerner doctor trying to make it in smalltown Alabama. Has resolved that she can't get anywhere with George Tucker because he is engaged to Lemon Breeland.
  • Lemon Breeland - All around southern belle with a real nasty streak when she chooses. Is engaged to George Tucker and her dad shares the medical practice with Zoe. Also, hates Zoe and had an affair with Levon Hayes.
  • Wade Kinsella - Bartender at the Wammer Jammer. Is a neighbour of Zoe's and also had Levon as a landlord. Is in love with Zoe, but won't tell her.
A thinks I'm completely nuts for liking this show, but it is so refreshing compared to most of the televsion shows on air these days. I desperately hope that they don't cancel it!

What is your tv guilty pleasure?

Monday, 27 February 2012

When Productivity is Not Your Friend

I had hoped to get so much accomplished on my renovation projects over the weekend. Alas, it didn't really happen. Yes, there was a wee bit of progress on all fronts, but I'm disappointed with myself nonetheless.

As of February 22, this was the to-do list for the Bathroom Renovation:

  • Contractor install new bathroom and window
  • Paint Ceiling - Coat 1 / Coat 2 / If necessary, Coat 3 and Touch Ups
  • Paint Walls - Coat 1 / Coat 2 / If necessary, Coat 3 and Touch Ups
  • Paint Trim - Coat 1 / Coat 2 / If necessary, Coat 3 and Touch Ups
  • Window Treatment - Select / Order / Install
  • Seal Concrete Countertop
  • Seal Floor Grout
  • Install Toilet paper holder
  • Install Towel bar

  • These are the only adjustments to the list that I can honestly make.

  • Paint Trim - Coat 1 / Coat 2 / If necessary, Coat 3 and Touch Ups
  • Window Treatment - Select / Order / Install

  • However, I've made other progress on the bathroom that doesn't fall cleanly into those points. For example, I did purchase an applicator for applying the grout sealant and a mask as well. Apparently the contractor didn't use his mask because he thought the room was ventilated enough and wound up in the emergency room for a couple of hours. I figured a mask would alleviate that concern and likely be a good investment considering all the renovations we are wanting to do in the future. I also picked up some organization and cleaning stuff for the bathroom such as:
    Random stuff that I now need for clear class shower doors!

    An organizer that fits around the plumbing.

    As of February 22, this was the to-do list for the Bedroom Renovation:

    • Paint Ceiling - Coat 1 / Coat 2 / If necessary, Coat 3 and Touch Ups
    • Paint Walls - Coat 1 / Coat 2 / If necessary, Coat 3 and Touch Ups
    • New Bedding - Select / Purchase
    • New Ceiling Light Fixture - Select / Purchase / Install
    • New Bedside Tables - Select / Purchase
    • New Table Lamps - Select / Purchase

    This is the only adjustments to the list that I can honestly make.

  • New Table Lamps - Select / Purchase

  • Now I just need to do a good clean up and get everything put away before taking some after photos. I even picked up a nice yellow pillow at Bouclair's while shopping for lamp shades. Unfortunately they don't have that pillow on their website, otherwise I'd show it right now.

    I'm getting really excited to put up some before and after photos!

    Here's hoping that productivity will be my friend again!

    Saturday, 25 February 2012

    Clips and Spiders and Harps....Oh My

    How does something so simple turn into something so complicated?

    Earlier this week, while I was waiting for A to meet me after work, I was browsing in this ridiculously expensive furniture store. I adore their furniture but considering anything worth having is a couple months mortgage payments, I just admire from afar. However, the does mean that accessories are much more accessible, especially when they are on sale.

    While meandering around the store I came across a pair of lamps with a brushed nickel finish. They didn't come with their lamp shades and were marked down by 50 percent as a result. As soon as I saw them I thought the finish on them would go perfectly with the new ceiling fan we had installed. So, I looked past the fact that they didn't come with lamp shades. I didn't realize how complicated this little fact would make things.

    Here is where I began my lamp shade education. Did you know there are atleast 7 different ways to attach a lamp shade to a lamp? I was familiar with the ones that clipped right onto the bulb, logically called a clip fitter. I was also aware of shades that had used a nut to secure them to a wire frame, this is known as a spider fitter and that wire frame is known as a harp. That's where my knowledge ended, aside from the vocabulary because that is new too.

    Since the lamp I bought required neither the clip fitter or the spider fitter. It was off to search for what it really is, which is where I came across uno fitters and washer fitters. Based on the descriptions I guessed that what I needed was a lamp shade with a uno fitter. So, off I went shopping thinking that is what I needed.

    I still think that the uno guess is roughly, based on the picture above. So, I go to Bouclairs and all of their shades will fit but I wasn't positive about the size. Then, I go to Ikea and it is a even split between ones that would work for me and spider fitters. I had read that you can convert uno to spider with an adaptor, so off I go to an electrical supply store to see about an adaptor. They guy in the parts deparment had NO clue what I was talking about at all and suggested rewiring the lamp.

    I went back into the store to see if they sold any other suitable shades, since I noticed that they sold lamps with the same kind of shade. Then all became clearer once I talked to a sales guy. Apparently, I had a euro fitter on my hands.

    After all that commotion and searching, I get home and A likes the first lamp shade that I picked up. Go figure!

    What simple task turned into an journey for you?

    Thursday, 23 February 2012

    Learning Something New...One Renovation at a Time

    I just got the final invoice from the contractor on the bathroom renovation and will soon be feeling a bit poorer. It's roughly where I thought it'd be and after speaking to my mom I'm chopping any minor additions that he made up to experience. He did a lot of things that saved us money as well, like picking up supplies when he needed them once they were at the building centre and installing the countertop for us (saving us about $200 instead of having the manufacturer do it). I figure it all washes out pretty evenly.

    Although some of the additions bother me a little, I understand that I'm between a rock and a hard place. The initial contract was vague enough that there is that wiggle room for argument from him. Although I feel I was clear in my communications, I even had things taped on the floor initially for the layout, obviously I wasn't clear enough. However, based on what I experienced I can always communicate  better the next time around.

    Overall, the bathroom renovation has been an amazing learning experience. Honestly, I don't think I could have done that much better my first time around the renovation merry-go-round. Seriously, unless you grow up in a trades world where your family and friends are tradespeople, where do you learn about these things? They certainly don't teach you about these things in school.

    Plus, considering my initial inexperience I don't think that I did too bad on the budget. I was only over by 16 percent of the budget that I wanted to work with. I did get something that was not in my initial plan, an updated stack. They removed most of the cast iron in the basement and replaced it with ABS, so that is an improvement to the house that I wasn't anticipating. I did learn that I have no clue how much tradespeople cost because I was definitely off on that. And, that unless something has a pricetag and I knew I needed it, it caught me by surprise. For example, I didn't realize that I'd need a rough in valve for the shower, a nice $100 surprise. Those types of surprises can add up mighty quickly. I hope this means that I'll have a better grasp of how to budget for the next bathroom or any other renovation project.
    Can't wait to get the final touches on the bathroom finished up! Then, onto the next renovation project.

    What's the best way to save my pennies for the next renovation?

    Wedding Wednesday - Bridesmaids

    Yes, I'm a day late publishing but I'm still getting into the swing of things.

    Bridesmaids are one of those things that you can hear amazing things or you can hear horror stories about. For me, choosing my bridesmaids has been one of the easiest parts of the wedding process. Scheduling everyone to meet at once is a whole other issue.

    Since we are getting married in August, I was told that bridesmaids dresses should be ordered by the end of March to give enough time for them to come in and alterations to be made. When I tried to organize everyone to get together sometime in March there were no common weekends that everyone was available. So, I'll be heading down to the GTA one weekend for two of the girls and down to my hometown for the other two. Hopefully it'll work out well.

    It is looking like we've chosen the Alfred Sung line of bridesmaid dresses in Quarry.

    Maid of Honour S's top choices are:



    Bridesmaid J's top choices are:

    Meanwhile Bridesmaid T likes D500 and Bridesmaid L likes some of the ones that have already been selected and just thinks pockets would be good.  Interestingly enough D528, D504, D500, D448 and D447 all have pockets, so L's request maybe easy to fulfill!

    It is looking like the girls are mainly on the same page which is a good thing. I'm hoping people aren't selecting the exact same dress except for one of them. We will have to see how it goes!

    Wedding countdown is on!