Monday, July 31, 2017

Link Up Reminder

Happy Monday all! Just a quick note to remind anyone who wants to link up with us - this Thursday the 3rd is the next What's New With You link up.

We hope you'll join us!

What's New With You

Thursday, July 27, 2017

How I organise my books on Goodreads

I should start this post with this little tidbit: I am unnaturally obsessed with Goodreads. Actually, I am obsessed with organising things that don't need organising, and that just happens to include all of my books and shelves on Goodreads.

When I shared some posts I had no intention of publishing, a few people mentioned they'd like to read this. Since I already had it written, I figured why not.... 8 months later.

However - if you don't like books, Goodreads, obsessively organising things, you should definitely skedaddle.

Basically, I use Goodreads for 2 main reasons:

1. To keep track of what I have read.
2. To keep track of what I want to read.

When you join Goodreads, you get a few default shelves:

I think you also get a favourites shelf, but I deleted that.

Looking at those, it should satisfy what I want to use Goodreads for... but I want to know more. I want to know how I read a book, how I got the book, what I have sitting at home that I should really read next, what I have sitting on the kindle (out of sight out of mind has never been more true) etc etc. Also, I am ashamed to admit it but I have bought books I already owned (several times) because I didn't remember I'd already bought it. I will also forget netgalley books if I get caught up in other books.

So I added a bunch of shelves.

The top 9 shelves are 'exclusives'. Meaning a book on one of these shelves can only be on one shelf. You can't 'want to read' a book you've already read. You can even add your own exclusive shelf; the most common is something like a DNF or not interested shelf. These won't count towards books you've read, and you won't accidentally add it to your read list.

Here are some shelving tips from Goodreads - you can view these when you edit your shelves.

Exclusive: the book can be on only one of these shelves.
This is how I keep track of the what to read next conundrum - it keeps my library list organised, not to mention my netgalley list - both of these can get out of control if I'm not careful. It also - hypothetically - stops me buying a book I already own.

read: self explanatory.
currently reading: also pretty obvious.
to-read: these are books I want to read but don't own or haven't gotten from the library. This is where they go when I read a SUYB recommendation until I physically have it in my hands/on my kindle.
dnf: a book I gave up on and have no desire to ever pick up. Yes, I should have more. I am horrible at giving up on books.
tbr-arcs: these are my blogging for books or netgalley books that I need to read.
tbr-audio: these are audiobooks I've purchased and are sitting in my audible account.
tbr-ku: kindle unlimited books.
tbr-library: these are obviously all my library books - both real and ebooks.
tbr-own: all the books I've purchased and aren't going anywhere or don't require reviews to be written. These are both real and ebook format as well.

If you want to make an exclusive shelf, you go into 'edit my shelves' and tick exclusive. See below.

Not Exclusive: the book can be on multiple shelves.
This is how I keep track of the how part of everything. How I got it, how I read it, what for, etc etc. These shelves include everything - read and unread.

arcs: these are mainly netgalley books with a couple from blogging for books.
audiobooks: books I read with my ears.
botm: I just started book of the month after hearing about it from Steph.
e-books: kindle books or books I read on the computer.
erin-challenge: I just started doing a shelf for challenges and it makes things so simple! I just change the number when a new challenge starts, and remove the previous challenge books when it's over.
kindle-unlimited: I go back and forth with kindle unlimited books, I start and cancel it a few times a year, but I still track them. These are technically 'purchased' books as well, but I don't mark them as such because 'kindle-unlimited' implies that I paid money (subscription) for them.
library: All books I have read (or are sitting at home) from the library. I only joined late last year, pretty good!
purchased-2015-prior: I want to keep track of books I haven't read and how long they've been sitting there waiting to be read. So I created these. Some of them I couldn't remember when I bought them, so I just lumped them all together here.
purchased-2016: I did start keeping track in 2016 though and ouch, that's a lot of books. This includes audible credits as well.
purchased-2017: and books I've bought this year. The purchased thing is the only thing I'm not sure about because I track anything I 'buy' even if it doesn't actually cost me any money, like amazon freebies. I know that seems weird. But I want to see how often I choose a book I don't own already and won't get to return, if that makes sense. Perhaps I should make a 'free' shelf.
real-books: paperback or hardback.

You can see how they are separated, exclusives vs normal when you click on 'my books' up the top.

Recording re-reads with Goodreads:

I used to track every time I re-read a book because I wanted it to count towards my yearly challenge, but also because I wanted to know how often I re-read books (oh! I should create a re-read shelf, right?!). I used to do this a complicated way by choosing a different edition, so I would have duplicates on my shelves. However, now goodreads lets you add multiple reads, which is fabulous.

One more thing I love about Goodreads:

Last year when I did my 'best of 2016' and included all my stats (who doesn't love statistics?! am I right?) I used Goodreads to help me get that information. Goodreads doesn't give me all that information, but you can download an excel and extrapolate it yourself. Have I lost everybody with that?

When you click on 'my books' and scroll down, you'll see tools.

Stats takes you to this page, and you can view your stats by year. As you can see, the little graph on the side shows you how your reading is split by your shelves. Because I use so many shelves for different reasons, the graph doesn't really work for me.

Import/Export takes you to where you can get an excel spreadsheet of your entire library. That's what I do. You click on 'Export Library', give it a few and then when it says 'Your export from whenever' click on that, an excel spreadsheet downloads.

I will stop there because otherwise this will get even longer, but basically I just delete everything from the excel spreadsheet except for the books I read in that year and then I sort by shelves and calculate the percentages. I'm not weird! It's fine!

So. This all sounds insanely complicated, but it really isn't. To recap on how I organise my shelves:

- I want to read a book, I add it to my 'to read' shelf.
- I buy a book, I mark it as 'tbr-own', 'tbr-ku' or 'tbr-audio' depending on what it is, and then I mark it as 'real-books', 'e-books' or 'audiobooks'.
- I get approved for an ARC and I mark it as 'tbr-arcs' and (most often) 'ebooks'.
- I get a book from the library or an ebook comes in - I mark it as 'tbr-library' and 'ebooks or real books'. I do not mark them until I have actually picked them up or downloaded them to my ebook. If I don't read a book in time before I have to return it, I remove it from those shelves.

Here's a look at a few books and how I mark them for whatever they are:

I was going to add a shelf called 'Show Us Your Books Recs' or 'Blogger Recs' because sometimes I go through my shelves and think how the heck did this book get here and then I delete it if it doesn't sound good which is sad because I obviously added it for a reason. That being said, if I did have a shelf like that, I would basically add all of my books to that shelf because I get like 90% off my recommendations from other bloggers, and mainly from the link up.

It might seem a little extreme to be this organised in reading books, but I love it. Sometimes I spend hours organising Goodreads instead of, you know, reading.

Is there anyone else out there that loves to organise books on Goodreads? Or is this one of those things where everyone is looking at me like I'm crazy....?

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

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?