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?

Monday, July 10, 2017

12 Months Done - 1 Year Shopping Challenge.

I'M FINISHED! (like a month ago, oops).

If you don't know what I am talking about, check out 3 months here, 6 months here, 9 months here. Basically, I had a problem with needless impulse purchases, debt and nothing to show for it. This wasn't a full blown spending ban because that's not what I needed, so I set myself 'rules' that allowed for some flexibility. I knew I wouldn't finish the year if I didn't have that flexibility. To be honest, I doubted myself a teensy bit that I would make it the year at all, but here I am. Are we sure it's been a year? There is no way that I, Kristen-the-shopaholic could go a year without shopping. I could barely go a week without buying something.


So here's how I did in the final 3 months:

Month 10 - March

Books - $28 - audible, lost in a book (with gc), two $0.99 kindle deals
Shopping - $150 gc - had a gift card to express and bought 2 new pairs of jeans that I definitely needed. I also had a gift card to target and I bought this belle shirt

House - $150 gc - I got a lot of amazon and target gift cards for my birthday and for the first time in my life I actually held on to them for more than 24 hours. I bought a new rice cooker, jaffle maker, cutlery, onion chopper, toothbrush holder, pyrex and snapware, over the sink dish drainer... and I think that's about it.

Month 11 - April

Books - $0 
Shopping - $0 - nothing that wasn't house related

House - $1 million dollars - seriously though. Okay, not seriously. But so much stuff. Boring stuff like electrical, plumbing, appraisals, inspections etc etc. Fun stuff like a new washer and small bits and bobs of decor, including candles because I had none and they were $9.50 each okay.

Month 12 - May

Books - $0 
Shopping - $0 
Gifts - $0 

House - $0

April was an insane month with expenditure, things out of our control and also going a little crazy with new house things, so I really wanted to do a true no spend in May and I succeeded. Pretty funny that it was my last month of the challenge. We really needed to save money for our trip, so I didn't buy any books, clothes, shoes, makeup, nothing new for the house either. Only groceries and necessary spending like bills and petrol.

Thoughts on a year without shopping/with reduced shopping

This year was not about not shopping at all but more about overcoming the desire to shop all the time. It was also about paying off the debt that I had accrued from being so mindless with my spending. I would say I accomplished what I set out to do.

The thing is, the past 12 months have been our highest spending ever. We spruced up our last house so we could sell it, we bought a new house and did a bunch of things to it in the first month, we booked a very expensive trip, we paid off a car... we had unexpected expenses like KC changing jobs and not being paid for a month or so, insurance deductible from the accident, had to go to the ER, bought a new computer... so many things.

But you see, the fact that we were able to do all of these things makes me SO proud. Hell yeah I'm proud of myself. Because the thing is, we 100% would not have been able to do this if I was shopping like I used to. You might think shopping is not so bad. And maybe it's not. But the way I was spending? $300-$500 a month? Minimum! Are you kidding me? Do you know how much that is a year? I could go home twice a year on that! That is obscene. And on what? Clothes that stayed in their packaging or with tags on, or clothes that looked great on some random girl on pinterest but looked ridiculous on me.. such a waste of money. 

I don't think I will ever be 100% 'cured' or good with shopping, because I still feel the urge to go out of control and buy all the things. I'm just better about walking away or closing the browser now. I still want to shop, I just want to be smart about it. I want to be able to do the other things in life that I was stopping myself from before. Actually seeing the benefit of not shopping, the things we were able to do because I wasn't wasting money, that's just priceless to me. It also made it much easier to keep going!

So what now? I purposefully planned this year long challenge so that it would end right before our trip home so that I could shop to my heart's content on the trip. Well.. I bought like 2 things. A silly touristy Australia shirt and some sweatpants (only to replace mine that fell out of a bag on the flight over).

I know this wasn't a true shopping ban, but it never pretended to be. It was a shopping challenge to fit my life but also do just that - challenge me. It did, and as dorky as it may sound, I feel stronger for it and proud of myself. Also, a little lost, what do I do now?!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

June 2017 Recap - What's New With You Link Up

Good morning everyone! Time for another link up with Gretch & me, all we ask is that you link back somewhere in your post. Thanks a bunch. I'll be doing another monthly recap... kind of.

What's New With You

Funnily enough, June has been my busiest month this year, but I don't have much to share today - I'll be doing full posts soon, once I get my brain back together. Jet lag is hitting me hard this time, even though I should be fine by now, my body refuses to sleep when it is supposed to. Oh, and I'm sick. Joy! I thought it was just a crappy throat and headache from an absolute miserable flight(s) home but it is sticking around.

Anyway. For the first 9 days in June, I didn't do anything really, except work, gym, sleep etc. Then we went to New Zealand (Auckland & Queenstown) and home to Australia (Sydney & Melbourne). NZ was the 'vacation' part of our trip, whereas home was just home. Lots of sitting around on the couch with my mum (she's doing well!) and then hanging with family in Melbourne. It was tough to leave, of course, and we're already planning our next trip.. even though this was supposed to be the last one, come on - how can it be?! I will always be planning my next trip home.

I figured I would share a few of my favourite photos today before I get around to doing the full posts.


Other than recovering from the trip, there's not much new with me. We will be starting on our kitchen renovation soon, very exciting!

If you'd like to link up with us, please do so below!



So, what's new with you?

Monday, July 3, 2017

Link Up Reminder

Happy Monday all! Just a quick note to remind anyone who wants to link up with us - this Thursday the 6th is the next What's New With You link up.

We hope you'll join us!

What's New With You