Friday, February 27, 2009

Welcome Home! Surprise!

Penny Lane and Fergie try to look innocent Some surprises are really nice when you come home after a week of travelling. My new Pampered Chef Planner, for example, arrived this week while I was away. Now, I feel like an official consultant, and besides, who doesn't like having mail and packages arrive at your house that don't require you to fork over your hard-earned cash?!

This small excitement was quickly replaced however, by minor discust and frustration as I walked further into the house and my nose caught a whiff of what I knew was not a new air freshener. Sure enough, Penny and Fergie, my two darling cats, had left a large mess in my office that I was faced with cleaning up at 1 am.

At some point, they must have managed to close the kitchen door and lock themselves out of the basement. The very important litter box is, of course, in the basement! Random accident or planned revenge for leaving them alone two weeks in a row? I wouldn't put the latter past them at all!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My New Painted Fireplace

While I was painting door trim a few weeks back, I decided that I may as well keep going and finish my fireplace while I had all the paint and trays out.
My fireplace was white when I purchased my house, however like my door trim, the paint job looked hasty and incomplete. It was not 'white-white', and it looked like it did not receive as many coats as it required.
According to Thing Young House, brick absorbs a lot of paint, so its possible that you will need extra Rollers, brushes and paint for my fireplacecoats to get complete coverage. This could have been the case with my fireplace, but it would also not be a surprise to me if it just was not done. Luckily, This Young House also provides lots of "How-to" tips, and after reading through their "How to Paint A Brick Fireplace", I armed myself with the appropriate roller and brushes and set to work.

I don't know if the change is as obvious in these pictures, but it certainly is much brighter and cleaner looking now. Here is the before:Before painting the fireplace

And the after:
After painting the fireplace

I know I have to do more with this space still, and I am not certain if the fireplace will remain white, but at least its a step in the right direction! If anyone has any great fireplace/mantel decorating ideas, please send them my way! I am in search of ideas!

My cats had to get their paws in and help also
I also had a couple of helpers along the way. Next time I'll lock these little guys up, because cleaning up little Penny-Lane paw prints from my hardwood was not intended as part of the process!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Vision Board!

My Vision or Dream Board
The first time I saw a "vision board" was on W Network's "Smart Cookies". I have since created one for my Pampered Chef business, although we have been referring to it as a "Dream Board". Here is mine.

My collage serves as a constant reminder of all the items and goals I want to achieve in the next couple of months and years with my business and financial savings. It, of course, includes the major things around my house that I have planned - my electrical, basement and some furniture additions, while it also includes some PC goodies and recreational time (snowboarding in Whistler)!

The Smart Cookies even suggest including photos of your family and those around you that motivate you to succeed. After you've created your board, they also suggest that if you work on your computer a lot, take a picture and make  it your desktop background so you are always being reminded of what you are striving towards! 

Anyone else have a vision or dream board?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Banana Guards and Much More at Paderno Factory Store!

Special reminders in the storeCutting board door handles at the Paderno Factory StoreI was driving through the Glebe Community in Ottawa yesterday, and I couldn't resist stopping along Bank Street to browse in some of the delightful little shops, including the Paderno Factory Store in the Glebe Emporium. Packed full of wonderful treasures for the house, I was pressed to get through the entire store in time before my money ran out in the parking meter. It will definately be a destination when I return to Ottawa next month, and what a great little spot to do some wedding shower shopping!

Nonetheless, I couldn't leave without the reason that I was originally attracted to the store - a banana guard! The front window display featured fruit guards of all colours, so I went with a lime green Banana Guard. I am constantly pulling squished and bruised bananas from my laptop bags and purses. What a great idea!
Banana and Fruit Guards on display

You can buy the Banana Guard online, or check out the list of retailers. I paid $5.25 at the Paderno Factory Store, but here's a similar model from trusty home party standby - Tupperware!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Savvy Homegirl Will Return Later This Week/Weekend

Due to a small accident on the weekend, involving my little girl Penny, my laptop and my ceramic, kitchen floor, I am now computer-less for a couple of days. Look for my return later this week or this weekend. I can only hope that its fixed up by then!!

Have a great week!

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Love Affair

With a full 364 days (363 when you read this) until the next Valentine's Day, I feel that this is probably the best possible time for me to reflect on this holiday. True,  I don't really count
 Valentine's as a holiday (for obvious reasons), yet I did find myself pondering a certain love affair this weekend.

Yes, the one true love that us women, single or not, can always rely on - shoes! They will never make you look fat, they will always fit and they love you, so long as you love them.

My desire and longing for beautiful shoes is everlasting, but the temptation was particularly strong this weekend. It started at breakfast on Saturday, when my friend Allison pulled out her brand new, straight-from-Italy, Dolce&Gabbana shoes (not on the table of course, that's bad luck)!
Allison's Dolce & Gabbana shoes
Future husbands take note - I would also like designer Italian leather shoes for Valentines Day, birthdays, Christmas, St. Paddy's Day, Earth day, etc., etc., etc. Some women have it all - great husbands and great shoes!

My current love of platforms
For now though, I'm happy to settle for great shoes! When I got home, I pulled on my new favourites - the Nine West platforms I picked up on my way to a leafs game - and strutted around my house. 
Nine West Platforms

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Office Out of Sight

WOW! Even more spare bedroom / office inspiration today at Unplgged!

Leaving work at the office is tough if your office is at home. Why not hide the office then? 

Despite knowing that my basement is a bigger priority, my pocketbook just isn't ready for that project, and considering my real lack of experience, renovating this bedroom first is probably a good "easy" project to start with. 

Step number one - take off the closet door.
Step number two -  Clean out the closet.

No point putting the cart before the horse, so this weekend I'll start with these two steps before I go any further and pick paint chips. Afterall, my combo dressing room and office plan continues to evolve, so maybe I shouldn't be so quick jump right in with both feet first to finish this room! 

Although... I've never been a patient person! 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Great Phone Debate - Landline or Cell?

The inevitable day has come. My days of having just one phone number (cell) are numbered. Asked to cut back on my cell phone usage, I will finally have to take the plunge and get a personal phone number.

Based on the grounds that I am only home one to two weeks per month, I have been able to get away with my work cell phone thus far. Using this same grounds, my initial plan was to get another cell phone, and while the actual idea of carrying two cell phones is absolutely absurd to me, I do believe this may be my most practical option.

After all, not only am I travelling so frequently right now, but I also do the majority of my calling while I'm driving (with a headset of course). But the price comparison is shocking! 

In fact, at the risk of a complete rant on the state of the Canadian telecommunications industry, the price of all phone services are pretty ridiculous. Since most of my friends and family are not within this immediate area, I must look at a long distance plan, regardless of whether its a cell phone or landline. With lots of seemingly great cell plans out there that boast no contracts, no extra fees, cute lizards and annoying beavers (oh wait, they were canned), none of the plans account for long distance. My best option I might be able to come up with is a "My fave 5" type plan, but even still, the minutes I use would be primarily long distance, and I would still have to pay for texting.

So, I went back to the landline and I will have to exercise considerable self-restraint. No calls on the road. No calls while driving. And the plan? Cogeco offers phone service for $39.99 with their internet and cable service. Since I already have the latter, it was really a matter of a phone call. In comparison to the competition, Cogeco's plan was inclusive - long distance, all the extra calling features, system fees, the works. Thus far, I've been happy with my Cogeco service also, so I am content with this decision. Really though, it seems to be the lesser of all evils....

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Weekend Away

Railroad bridge by snowmobile trail It's often said that the best part of living in the city is escaping. That is exactly what I did this weekend! I took off Friday morning and headed north for a weekend of relaxing and snowmobiling at my parent's farm.

Despite some very warm weather on Saturday, we still managed to hit the trails all day Friday, and again for a couple of hours on Sunday.

Snowmobiling has been a favourite winter past time for family for at least ten years now. While it's certainly not cheap, nor a fit for everyone, we have always enjoyed being able
Snowmobiling through Bruce Countyto take off for the day, travel through the
neighbouring countryside and stop for the odd hot chocolate or cold drink at one of the local clubhouses or along the side of the trail.

For me, I've always found snowmobiling to be a great way to unwind. With nothing to concentrate on but the trail ahead, it's easy to let my mind go blank and just enjoy the scenery.

Ahhh... now if escaping is the best part, what does that make coming home on Sunday evening? Oh well, T minus 6 sleeps until next weekend!Along the snowmobile trailSaugeen River in Bruce County

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Domino-Inspired Project

February 2007 Domino Magazine Nesting Feature
Scrolling through my favourite blogs the past few days, I came across several references to Domino Magazine closing its doors. It wasn't until I was flipping through a back issue for the third time, that the realization of this started to sink in. Page after page, my issue is dog-eared / marked up / cut from / entire pages ripped out. All this in just one issue!

Being so new to the home decor and reno scene, I feel like I have really only just discovered this wonderful little magazine.

So, inspired by many others, including We Love Domino and Sherry at This Young House , I am Dressing table in February 2007 Domino Magazineposting my favourite Domino photo. This bedroom-turned-dressing room in the February 2007 issue has inspired me to do something similar with my current office.

But before I start - I'm running out to find the last 2 issues on new stands!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nothing a Fresh Coat of Paint Can't Fix!

Unfinished bedroom door frameNotice the gaps with no paint before retouching

It was only a few months ago that I noticed my door frames were never really painted, only primed with one coat to feign an actual paint job to the uninspecting eye. Luckily, the eye sore that were my door frames are no more! Two good coats of white Trim, Door and Frame paint (yes, there is paint specifically for this purpose), and for the first time since I moved in, my hallway genuinely looks like it's not someone's abandoned Saturday morning craft! Such a simple touch, but such a big difference! The best part ? 
Its motivated me to keep going! My next painting project? My living room fireplace. I might as well paint the doors again while I'm at it! And you know, my office could be transformed with just some paint... stay tuned!

Finished door frame after some paint

Monday, February 2, 2009

Homegirl's Favorite Homepants

After spending the better part of my Saturday scouring racks and waiting in line to try on drastically discounted yoga attire, it seemed fitting for me to comment on the Lululemon culture. I admit, I bought a pair of these grossly overpriced pants over a year ago, but if you consider the amount of wear I get from them (I pull them on almost everyday as soon as I get home), it somehow doesn't seem so bad. They are, beyond a doubt, my favorite "comfy pants", and they have definitely felt the bulk of the work I've done in my house.

Yet, standing in line to get into the Lululemon Warehouse Sale, yesterday, I couldn't help but be a little baffled by the brand-obsessed culture we still live in today. The very company that built itself on promoting well-being and individualism has become a pop culture icon. What better indicator of this than hundreds of women (and a few men), of all ages, crammed into a line just waiting to be let loose upon racks and racks of sweatpants?! Then there was the wait for the 'fitting room' and then again to pay! 

Still, we waited, and I bought an armload of 'deals'. So, really I am as hypocritical as anyone. Among my purchases, I came home with another pair of my favorite comfy pants for only $9! An extra bonus? This pair is made of organic, natural cotton... I'm sure my quads will appreciate the treat next time I scrub the house top to bottom. My bank account (and New Years Resolution) appreciates the price tag even more!

lululemon Warehouse Sale Entry Linelululemon Warehouse Sale Racks