Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Latest purchases - hits & misses

I love when people share posts of what they've bought lately - whether random amazon purchases, clothes or house stuff. So I thought I'd do the same and figured Lauren & Bre's link up was the perfect excuse! No affiliate links. It's quite a long list because it's from like the last 6 months.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion $17

I had some pretty awful pimples last month and this stuff had rave reviews. I've used it several times and while I think it helps, I don't know if it's a miracle worker. Withholding full judgement just yet as I've not actually been able to use it as soon as a pimple feels like it's popping up - it's normally when it's been around for a couple of days. As of right now I don't know if I'd necessarily recommend it.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray - $7

Avene Thermal Spring Water - $18.50

I don't really use facial sprays or anything, but at the end of May/beginning of June, my skin went absolutely nuts. I don't know if it was rosacea or an allergic reaction but I needed some relief. I bought both of them, they both felt fine and soothing. I prefer the smell of the Mario Badescu one. Both of them actually felt like they dried my face out more when it finally dried, but that could have been the weird thing my face was doing. My face will sometimes swell after I workout in the summer, or mow the lawn, so I will continue using them until I run out, but if I repurchase, I think I will buy the Mario Badescu one over the Avene one.

Bird Feeder $25

I shared some videos of Millie going nuts over this. If you have cats, you should buy this. We had to move it away because we thought she'd give herself a heart attack, but we put it back recently and though she still goes a bit nutty, she gets over it (the first time she sat there pawing at the window for 2 hours straight). We came back from Australia and it was on the ground though, not sure if we had a storm or a super fat squirrel. Oh, if you want this to actually feed birds and don't want squirrels, putting it up higher would fix that (we didn't get any squirrels when it was higher). But since we bought it as cat television, we don't care if birds or squirrels visit.

AmazonBasics Universal Travel Case for Small Electronics and Accessories $8

I freaking hate this thing! Don't recommend it at all. I don't know how people fit so much in it, I could barely fit the small amount of electronics we travel with in it. It's not flexible at all, I can't really explain it, the case itself takes up more room than the things inside it. If I used it, I would have had to take along something else for all the things that didn't fit. Instead, I just scrapped it. I tried to return it but Amazon was going to charge me like $6 and I paid like $8, so whatever. I am going to donate it to goodwill. I ended up using a small pouch I won in a Show Us Your Books giveway - way cooler anyway and seriously fit everything. You can see it below, the yellow thing (you can get it here, I'm seriously thinking of buying another, they are so handy).

library card pouch / notebook from here / wallet from here

Makeup case $11
I needed a new makeup case for travel and this was absolutely perfect. Fit everything I needed, loved the separate areas for little things and brushes. Highly recommend. It's like $11.

Car bluetooth speaker $15

I recently got an iphone 7 so I can't plug my phone into my car like I used to. I had no idea things like this existed, I would have bought it ages ago! It stays plugged into my aux port thing, I have to turn it on when I get back in the car but that's less annoying than plugging my phone in every time. It was like $15.

Mat removing comb $5
Not sure if I've mentioned this one before but if you have a cat (or dog?) with mats, this will be the best $5 you will ever spend, I shit you not. It gets every single one of Millie's mats out easily and painlessly. It's not an everyday brush, when I notice a mat, I get the brush/comb and Millie knows what's up. She also knows she gets a treat afterwards.

Over the sink drying rack $25

First off, in our last house we had a great dishwasher but there were still things I hand washed. In this house, we have one of those portable dishwashers and it is the WORST so we hand wash everything. We also have zero counter space. It folds up super small. 

Pig kitchen rug
Guys, I am obsessed with this. I was coveting it for ages, when I finally went to move it from my 'saved items' to my cart, it was sold out in the bigger size. I was so upset, but I moved on... until I saw it was back in stock. Snatched that sucker up. 

I haven't put it in the kitchen yet as it's for my new kitchen but here it is on my office floor when I got it so you can get an idea, it's pretty big!

Weird note: I don't eat pigs. Is it weird to have a pig rug in my kitchen when I don't eat pigs? I think it's good, because it reminds me of the animal, which reminds me why I don't eat them. Wondering why I don't eat them? It's not for religious reasons or anything, I just really really like pigs and not as food. And yes. That means I don't eat bacon (I actually really don't like bacon anyway, I know, I'm the only person on the entire planet).

But let's not focus on my weirdness, let's focus on my super cute pig rug.

Target picture frames (ivory/grey) $8

All of these frames, regardless of size, are $8 (well they were when I bought them). I am putting real photos in them, just haven't done so yet. Some of them are still online, otherwise I saw them in store the other day. They have other colours (black, light wood, dark wood) I only bought ivory and grey.

L'oreal eyelash primer $9

I know a million people recommended this, I bought it ages ago and finally used it on our trip to NZ & Aus. Holy moly guys, this stuff is AMAZING. Like, game changer. Unfortunately, it is l'oreal, I am trying to get away from brands that aren't cruelty free - anyone know an affordable option that works but is also cruelty free?

Vegetable chopper $20
If I can just make one recommendation today, it is this thing! Best $20 I ever spent. We eat a LOT of onions in this house and I got sick of always chopping them. We like to have them on hand though, so this solves that problem. Seriously. It's a bitch to clean and watch your fingers near the blades (common sense, I know, but it's gotten both KC and I and hurts like a mother) but SO worth it. We've used it for other veggies as well, but onions are our main love.

Well there you go, the past few months of random purchases. I bought some other beauty/skincare related things but I'm waiting till I've used them for long enough to know how I feel about them. Mainly Lush products, beauty counter and random ulta purchases.

So. Cruelty free eyelash primer anyone? Miracle pimple stuff?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ikea kitchen renovation: plans

So as I've mentioned, we are about to start a kitchen renovation! I thought I would share our current plans. We are hoping to get started really soon, wish us luck!

Here's what the kitchen looked like before we moved in:

When we put in an offer on this house, I told KC that it was with the condition that we would do a kitchen renovation as soon as possible. Our last kitchen wasn't anything flashy and we survived just fine, but this one just wasn't functional. It's pretty big, with a big empty space in the middle. It didn't look as bad when the walls were there, but it was obvious as soon as we took them down. None of the drawers work perfectly and keep breaking, there is nowhere to put food, it's just odd odd odd.

We took the walls in between the living areas and the kitchen down:

We also replaced the carpet. You can see right where the kitchen and 'dining' (that we will never use as as a dining room) meet, the flooring stops - that's because the cabinets went all the way to the sub floor. So that's why you see rugs over that spot in the below photos, we didn't want the cats messing with it, and also things were falling through the gaps and on to the washing machine.

We also had to do something weird with the countertops/cabinets where we took the walls down, as they were all jagged and sharp and we didn't want the cats jumping up and hurting themselves, or worse, getting into one of the holes that led to the soffit that led to the attic. Hence the super classy garbage bags and tea towels.

Also, the blue tape is where the new cabinets  and things will be, but not how far they will be out, I just needed to see where they were, like how wide my pantry (!!!!) will be, etc.

So here's what the kitchen looked like in the couple of months we lived in the house - you'll have to forgive the mess, you'd be amazed how hard it is too cook/clean/give a f*ck about a kitchen you strongly dislike:

Originally my plans were to move the 'kitchen' part of the kitchen to the back wall, kind of like a U shape with the peninsula facing the living areas. Unfortunately before we even bought the house I was told by one of my co-workers that this wouldn't work because the two windows on the back wall were far too low for counter tops to go underneath. We could remove the two windows and put fake shutters in their place outside, but no thank you. I would rather change my layout vs losing windows/natural light (it's like, the only room in the house KC doesn't complain about me having the blinds open all the time!).

So we had to stick with the current layout, but we could put an island in the middle. It was set. Easy peasy. An island wasn't my first choice but I grew to love the idea. Unfortunately when we started measuring and putting tape on the floor to see how real life would work in the kitchen, we realised that our 'huge' kitchen wasn't really that huge. At least not big enough for the island I wanted. We could do a super narrow but long island, but I hated the idea of that. I wanted it to be functional. I also hated the idea of it being permanent, the back door is off the kitchen and that is our main entrance/walk through. So we settled on a little peninsula in front of the living areas - basically what was there before without the walls.

But I still hated that big empty space in the middle. That's when I remembered the kitchen island I'd seen at Ikea before - perfect. Plenty of usable space, shelves for storage, room for stools and I could move it if it was in the way/I hated it.

Here are some snaps from the Ikea Home Planner - they aren't perfect since the planner is a little buggy, but you get the idea, hopefully.
Just ignore any weird things, like the handles being in the wrong spot or the sides being longer. Like I said, the planner is a little weird sometimes. Also, the sink and dishwasher are missing from the pictures, but just use your imagination.

So that's where our 'design plans' are right now, and really they can't exactly change because everything has been ordered!

Here's my little idea board thing, or whatever they're called:
countertops / cabinets / island / flooring / sink / pig rug / microwave / dishwasher / gas range / stools / clock

Things I haven't decided about yet so aren't pictured: faucet, backsplash or fridge. We likely won't replace the fridge for several months actually. I also have no idea what to do with the wall above the kitchen table, except maybe that clock.

Things I'm really excited about: dishwasher (the one that came with is one of those portable ones and basically doesn't work, it's actually already gone), the garbage disposal (don't have one right now, loved the one in our old house) and the pantry! I am so excited for my pantry. Oh and my pig rug. Love it. Oh and cooking with gas again!! Basically I'm excited for everything.

Oh, and KC said he will build me a shelf above the kitchen sink window for my cookbooks, I'm pretty excited for that. They'll be pretty high up but I don't mind. Like this one from Sew Woodsy.

I would love to know if any of this is of any interest to anyone, I am probably going to share anyway because it's my blog and I love to look back on things, but I will happily share anything about the whole process - ordering (easy except for checkout), planning, putting together and installing, total cost of everything when we're done etc, if anyone thinks they'd be interested in seeing that (I know I was when I was researching!). 

Keep in mind, we aren't high end fancy people with buckets of money, so most of this kitchen renovation focuses on affordability and functionality. I'm sure we'll replace things through the years but right now I just need to be able to open my cutlery drawer without it falling inside the cabinet, you know?

Any ideas for above the kitchen table besides a clock?

Monday, July 17, 2017

2017 Third Quarter Goals

Insert obligatory holy crap how are we already in July?!

Lets just ignore the fact that the 3rd quarter of the year has already started and I'm only just posting this. Let's also ignore the fact that I pretty much didn't accomplish any of my 2nd quarter goals... I mean, I crossed off the obvious ones that were already in motion so they don't really count, but other than that, nada.

So lets just move on to the 3rd quarter goals. Why not. I've been making too many goals and not accomplishing any, so I tried to keep it simple this month with only 5 goals.

- Stick to all budgets (grocery, eating out etc) and stay under kitchen renovation budget.
- Aim for 5 days of exercise per week (yoga, run, weights, kickboxing).
- Go to the doctor appointment I have sometime this month. Make eye doctor appointment.
- Meal plan. This is essential to stay under our grocery budget. I really need help with this.
- Read all books older than 3 months on Netgalley. Currently 12, though I have 26 total.

I'm sure I've asked before, but seriously - any meal planning tips, tricks or hacks for those who just can't seem to get the hang of it? My biggest problem is that KC and I have such different tastes - not to mention schedules (ugh, I hate summer*).

*not the season, just KC not working and not on a routine of any kind, which messes with my routines

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Best Is Yet To Come: Four Years

4 years is such a teeny tiny time in the grand scheme of life that when I think about it, I count the years on my fingers like 5 times, just to be sure, because surely we've been married longer than 4 years. 4 years is so puny.

KC and I are not anniversary people. I like anniversaries in the sense that I like to acknowledge them, look back, look forward, compare etc etc. I don't really care for celebrating them, at least not in an obvious way. We are about to tackle a kitchen renovation and hopefully bathrooms if we can swing it, which means no extra expenses. Fine by me. Would much rather a new bathroom than a present or dinner out. Of course, a dinner won't hurt, and we're still eating out on the weekends, but not on a Thursday night.

Anyway. I'm rambling. There is no real point to this post today, just to acknowledge the anniversary. A lot has happened in 4 years.. but not really.

We bought a house... sold it... bought another house!

We became a 3 cat family.

Travelled to Vegas, Australia (twice!), Europe, Disney World & Universal, the Caribbean, NYC & New Zealand..

My favourite thing about the past 4 years is how much we've both grown and meshed together, if that makes sense. We rarely fight - when we first got together we definitely did, we were both pretty immature. We know when to back off and let the other person have their space. We joke around a lot, teasing each other at every opportunity, and most people are a little surprised/uncomfortable when they first see us like that because they think we are being serious. We have fun together whether we are doing something exciting like travelling or doing something not so exciting like watching a TV show together. He lets me be myself and accepts my weirdness, he indulges me and is way more selfless than I will ever be. He gives me socks, extra blankets and talks to strangers while I hide behind him. He's handy to have around and I think I will keep him.

and because I will never get sick of these lyrics:

I've been searching a long time, for someone exactly like you
I've been travelling all around the world.. waiting for you to come through.
Someone like you makes it all worth while
Someone like you keeps me satisfied, s
omeone exactly like you.

I've been travelling a hard road, looking for someone exactly like you
I've been carrying my heavy load.. waiting for the light to come shining through.
Someone like you makes it all worth while
Someone like you makes me satisfied, s
omeone exactly like you.

I've been doing some soul searching, to find out where you're at
I've been up and down the highway.. in all kinds of foreign lands
Someone like you makes it all worthwhile.. 

Someone like you keeps me satisfied, someone exactly like you..

I've been all around the world, marching to the beat of a different drum.
But just lately I have realised, baby the best is yet to come.

Someone like you.. Make it all worthwhile. Someone exactly like you.. Keeps me satisfied.. Someone exactly like you, someone exactly like you, someone exactly like you..

The best is yet to come. Oh, the best is yet to come.

Are you an anniversary person?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Books Lately

I can't believe I almost missed this link up. My head is so not screwed on right lately.  I read quite a few books because of all the travelling, but I don't feel like I have that much to talk about either. I haven't read a book since we got back, too sick, too jet lagged, too blah. Anyway. I did read some good books, shall we?

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - Becky Chambers - 5 Stars
sci-fi firefly-ish

I LOVED this book. Loved it. Definitely an acquired taste but I just thought it was so good. Loved the characters, the story, everything. I cried a little. I have the second one from the library so hopefully it is as good. This is definitely a character based book, they are all delightful. I want to be part of their crew.
Into the Water - Paula Hawkins - 4 Stars
women keep dying in the water

I did not hate The Girl on the Train like most people seemed to, so I didn't really have any expectations for this one. I didn't feel like I was on the edge of my seat or anything, but I was definitely curious and kept thinking about it. I liked how the story unfolded.
The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine Arden - 4 Stars
russian fairytale

Not gonna lie, the bear in the title totally got me. Honestly, I'm not sure what to think of this one. I liked it, but it was weird and slow, and.. odd. I don't know. I did enjoy it, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. It's going to be a series and I am intrigued enough to continue - whether I actually do is a different matter because of course the next one isn't out yet.

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver - 3 Stars
mean girls mixed with groundhog day, girl keeps dying

This one should probably be in the above category purely because I read it in one sitting. That being said, I am super disappointed in this book because I feel like it could have been so much better. I have been disappointed in this author before so I feel like I should stay away. I get what she was trying to do, the point she was trying to get across, but the main character was everything I hate about teenagers and people in general and it took her way too long to grow up/do the right thing. It did make me think and there were some good parts, so overall I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.
Tangled Up - Robyn Neeley - 3 Stars
fluffy romance

This is the sequel to Batter Up which I read last year and thought was cute. I had no real desire to keep going with the series, but this was free so I figured why not. Then I got the third one - Kiss and make up - for free as well. It was just as cute and fluffy.
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley - Hannah Tinti - 3 Stars
single dad, tells the stories of each of his 12 bullet wounds, coming of age

I am bummed I didn't love this book. I really liked some parts but overall I just didn't connect to the story or the characters at all. I still recommend it though because I thought it was very unique and I can see the appeal.

Seduction and Snacks - Tara Sivec - 2 Stars
one night stand makes a baby, crude humour and sex toys

I didn't hate this one but I didn't like it much either. The author relied very heavily on crude humour that got old after the first 100 times. This is a very light book with no real substance, would pass the time just fine if you don't mind lots of crude humour.
nothing really! I know, right?

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

Life According to Steph
ps. I'm ignoring all the photobucket errors and hoping they'll come to their senses.

Read anything decently lately?