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!

    Wednesday, 22 February 2012

    Recap: Magpie Moments

    During the summer I had got paint tinted to paint our bedroom. Since we use the room on a daily basis, it was really difficult to actually paint it. So, while A was away in California for essentially the month of November, I got busy.

    To be honest, you can't see much of a change. The previous owners had painted the room yellow and then I went ahead and painted the room yellow. Theirs was a more vibrant hue than the one I chose, which was called Muse. So, this was the start to transforming our bedroom.

    For Christmas, we received new bedding from A's parents. I thought the grey bedspread was good for both A and I. The colour being quite masculine with the pintucks adding some femininity to it. I absolutely love it.

    Bedding from West Elm

    Recently we've been having some challenges with our nightstands. You see we use my grandparents bedroom set in the Waterfall style from the 1940s. My grandparent's set included the frame for a double bed, a dresser with a round mirror attached and a tall dresser. We've purchased a waterfall trunk from the used furniture store to add some extra storage as well. Also at the used furniture store we came across some waterfall nightstands which had been originally part of a dressing table which someone cut the middle out of. Initially we thought they'd work well, but as time has gone on we've found them to be too narrow. They won't be a complete waste though because it looks like we can use them in the spare bedroom. So, we've been on the hunt for better nightstands.

    We've found this hunt to be a bit of a challenge, to put it mildly. First, Waterfall furniture doesn't really have nighstands because of the era. So, we were going to have a difficult time finding something that matched the style because, let's face it, it isn't exactly popular. Second, ensuring that the wood colour matched or complimented the rest of the set in terms of finish and veneer, not to mention how the handles would go together. Due to these pretty substantial factors, I had been leaning towards making the nightstands accent pieces and not trying to have them blend in at all. Which brings me to my magpie moment.

    I've been at Home Hardware basically every day that I'm not at work due to the bathroom renovation (a post is coming). Right now we are deciding upon whether or not to go with a shutter in the bathroom and Home Hardware is having a 35 percent off sale on them. So, I ventured over to the furniture section to get a quote on the shutter. On my way over to talk to the designer I had my magpie moment. Mirrored bedside tables! These aren't them, but they give you an idea.   
    I couldn't believe it, they were the perfect size, they had 3 drawers, were in a classic style...I couldn't believe how perfect they were! I just had to convince A!

    It didn't take much convincing. While I was painting, A went to check them out and actually bought them too. Apparently they are my sparkly Valentine's Day gift and I shouldn't expect this every year. They look beautiful too! Since they are mirrored they take on the colour of everything around them, so they fit in amazingly well.

    Now on to the next challenge: table lamps.

    From what I can see on Pinterest, anything goes when it comes to lamps and mirrored tables. The trends that I am seeing are generally crystal/glass lamps or ceramic lamps.

    With those as inspiration, off I go hunting.

    What is your preference? Glass? Ceramic? Something else?

    I Think I Can...I Think I Can...

    I'm going to start off essentially where I left off in my previous blog and just go from there. Two years ago this coming May I moved into my first home. Well, my first home according to the bank atleast. As a new homeowner and as a person who couldn't buy everything that I dreamt of on my first attempt in the housing market, I both maintain and improve my house. Day by day making it a better house and a better home. I've learned to view these concepts separately since buying my house because they do not necessarily travel hand-in-hand.

    Bathroon Renovation:

    My current house improvement project is a bathroom renovation. My house originally came with 1 bathroom and a random 7' by 7' room on the main floor that didn't have much of a use. So, step one in the upstairs bathroom renovation was to install a new bathroom on the main floor. Currently, the contractor has finished up their work and I'm still feeling a bit rich since I haven't had to write that final cheque yet. This is where we stand on the bathroom to-do list:
    • 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
    Bedroom Improvements:

    My current home improvement project is to work on our master bedroom. Since the house was built in the 1920s, it isn't exactly sprawling. Consequently, we need to make the most of the space that is available. This is where we stand on the bathroom to-do list:
    • 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
    As you can see we are slowly getting there on each project. I'm really excited to do the final posts on each one. Hopefully it'll be soon, I'm planning on doing a second coat of trim paint in the bathroom tonight!

    What projects do you have on the go? Are they progressing as planned?


    Hello and welcome to my blog!

    I've attempted blogging in the past and want to make a more serious attempt this time around. There are a few things that I really liked about blogging in the past.

    1. I get to practice writing. My typical day involves writing for the legally minded and under the critical eye of the courts. Essentially, it takes all the fun out of writing and blogging is a new writing outlet for me.
    2. It's a creative outlet. In terms of how to set up my blog and the content that I create. It also encourages me to be creative in the real world and not just get wrapped up in the daily grind.
    3. It keeps me accountable. I think it'll be great to look through previous posts and to see how far I've come. Whether it be in terms of home renovations, exercise or numerous other outlets in life. It also keeps those pesky unfinished projects undercontrol.
    4. It's a learning opportunity. I use the computer everyday for work, but that is mainly working in word or excel. Blogging will allow me to learn so much more outside of my normal routine!
    I think that is a pretty diverse list for what will be a pretty diverse blog. I think the title captures it all. For me, It's a Miscellaneous Life allows free reign to post about whatever is going on in my life or about wherever life is taking me. I'm looking forward to that journey!

    Happy Reading!