Saturday, July 30, 2011

And the Day Started Off So Well...

My day started with a knock on the door and a smiling contractor (remember, Josh!) ready to start fixing my basement tile (awesome, I know!), and ended with some severe disappointment.

Remember my great deal from last week? Well...um...I don't know how to say this so I'll just show you.


Honestly I didn't even notice at first until I took some photos and uploaded them. At first I thought the camera was tilted, but no.

They are two different drapes. Even though I bought them together, as a pair. I was so excited and now I'm...not.

While I was shopping I did see other panels that said "one only" or "not a matched set" but these were sold as a matched set.

I'm so bummed.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

You Guys Are Gonna Laugh

First up, I totally just bought a bed!! Thanks to HomeSav, an awesome Canadian home-goods deal site, in September, Hubs and I are going to be sleeping in style on a new upholstered bed!

SWEET!

(If you haven't signed up for HomeSav yet, use my referral code because you get $10 off your first purchase this way!)

However, nothing is EVER easy for me when it comes to shopping/deciding and and finally purchasing a big home item. You should know that by now :-)

So here's the deal. I've had a credit to HomeSav burning a hole in my (electronic) pocket for some time now. A while back they offered me a $75 credit to do a little 'sprucing' in one of my rooms. The intention was to use it for the guest bedroom makeover, but if you've noticed (maybe you haven't), that makeover died a slow, dusty death in the midst of all the other stuff going on in the house.

So the credit sat there. I checked every day almost and I never found the perfect item.

Until two days ago. I clicked over and was excited to see that they had a "Luxurious Master Bedrooms" sale. It had a bunch of furniture made by Skyline at pretty great discounts, INCLUDING free shipping. To Canada. You heard me right. TO CANADA.



(Sidebar - don't you HATE all of the fashion/home discount sites that give really awesome deals and then don't ship to your country? Or charge so much in shipping and duties that you may as well just buy it locally or fly to Paris to pick it up? Yet another reason to love HomeSav.)

I was pretty pumped because there were a few beds I liked and with the credit, it wasn't super expensive (anything was cheaper than some of the ones I like at other stores, like this one from Restoration Hardware, currently on sale for 2399 US PLUS taxes and shipping:



Anyways, the HomeSav site showed that the next day would be "Luxurious Master Bedrooms, Part 2" so I figured I'd hold out to make sure I didn't have the "GAH, I should have waited to buy" regrets.

Day 2 rolls around and I'm happy with the 2 I like (one new one gets added to the mix, but it isn't a clear winner). I still have issues picking one, so I email some friends and blog about it asking you guys to vote.

The results were pretty clear:

In first place, Bed B with a whopping 22 votes:


In second place, Bed C with 14 votes:


And in last place, Bed A with a lonely 3 votes:


So there you have it - a pretty clear winner according to you :-)

What did I pick? Um...BED A.



Can you believe it? I was so sold on Bed B with all of your votes (plus hubs loved that one) but something kept nagging me about the shape of it. I didn't feel one hundred percent about it. The one that 'spoke' to me the most was Bed C (I know, how the heck did I end up with Bed A?!) - I loved the shape, the colour, pretty much everything about it!

However, I have a feeling that in a few years I might look back at my grey bed when grey isn't hip anymore and wish I did something more neutral. I have a hard enough time working with some of the other stuff in my room (drapes, etc) that in the future I didn't want to be forced into always working with a grey bed.

So it was my love for Bed C that made me reconsider Bed A. I don't love the colour in the photo above, but according to some of the reviews I read, it wasn't super representative of the actual fabric. If you look at the photos on CSN Stores, you can actually see two very different versions. Let me show you.

Photo one (not as orange as the photo above):




Photo 2 (like a totally different bed):


Weird, right?

So you want to know what I did? I phoned CSN. I asked him about the discrepancy in the photos and the nice sales rep put me on hold and came back. "I spoke with the manufacturer", he said. "They said that Buckwheat was the lighter photo, not the goldy one".

Sweet.

Of course that wasn't enough for me. I called the maufacturer (Skyline) myself. Who knew it was so easy to talk to someone? I literally called their 1-800 number and a live human answered the phone. I told her my dilemma. She confirmed that Buckwheat was indeed a much lighter beige than the photo showed. She also steered me away from Bed B because the fabric (like a Shantung Silk) was quite delicate and maybe not the best for a master bedroom. She thought the velvet would be more user-friendly.

So there you have it. That is how I decided to go for the bed that had the LEAST number of votes in LB@30 voting history.

Of course once I placed the order I had a slight freak out and have been scouring the web for other photos etc. haha. I'm guessing that it will look more like this one from Urban Outfitters (same manufacturer but they call this colour velvet "Wheat":



So I hope I didn't disappoint everyone, almost as much as I hope that the many people I spoke to have the right idea of what colour Buckwheat actually is. Because if I open the box (in September when it comes) and the bed is that dark yellowy browny beige, I may have to shut down the blog in shame. However, if that happens, you can all wag your collective fingers and say:



Before I leave I'd like to give a quick thank you to all of the people who made this possible.

First, to my new friend Claire at HomeSav - she dealt with numerous phone calls, my inability to order online and even honoured a lower price that was the result of a computer glitch. Seriously. Who does that? SO awesome.

I'd also like to thank Michael at CSN who helped me out (and even called the manufacturer!) even though I told him I was looking at buying the bed somewhere else. This guy (and CSN) clearly knows about good customer service.

To the three people who voted for Bed A - thanks for taking a chance on an unknown kid (ahem, anyone get the reference?)

And finally, to my husband who said "why don't you just pick and surprise me." Now that is true love in my books (or self-preservation - one of the two :-)

The End.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Voting Time

Okay - knowing that my master looks something like this:

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Would you buy this:

This:

Or this:

Here are my thoughts (and a few that were given to me by some good blogger friends)

A: Nice neutral. Online the colour seems tricky - one picture looks lighter and one looks very 'beige'
B: Hubs likes the shape of this - thinks it is a bit more unique. He also still loves tufting. Concern that the bedding might not work if we go all white (have to work with the awesome drapes!)
C: Would have to repaint the room (no biggie). Would we get sick of a grey bed?

Okay so help me out, friends! A, B or C?

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Who Doesn't Like a Bargoon?

Last week I received an email. I'm on a billion mailing lists (mostly thanks to all of those groupon type things and those fashion daily sale type stores that never ship to Canada), and one of the emails I received caught my eye:




That's right - the very famous "BB Bargoons" was shutting down. BB Bargoons is connected to inVU drapery, one of my favourite (yet slightly pricey) Toronto fabric stores (the place I bought my herringbone fabric after an exhasting search).

Anyways, since it sounds like there was a bit of a sale, I took a drive over on Saturday morning, thinking that for sure most of the good stuff was gone.

BOY was I wrong!!

(I should warn you now - I did NOT take a bunch of awesome pictures of what they had)

Not only were there rows and rows of gorgeous fabric at 35% off, but they had rows and rows of the SAME fabric inVU has!! I'm not kidding.

Remember this photo from my inVU trips:


Yep - that gorgeous fabric was there, 35% off. This was actually one of my original thoughts for the drapes in the master bedroom. I still think it would look gorgeous.

However, in my travels at BB Bargoons, I came across their table of pre-made drapes. I'm not sure if you know, but inVU and BB Bargoons both have a line of gorgeous, ready-to-wear drapery panels that are incredible. They aren't cheap, but if you are the type to buy nice fabric and have someone else custom make the drapes (as opposed to the DIY route), then it makes sense. Most are in the $300 range. However, because of the sale they were all 25% off.

I flipped through the boxes, saw a few that were cute, and then, out of the corner of my eye, saw something a bit...bolder. With a yellow sticky on it. What did that sticky say? you might ask...

It said "Linda - STILL SHOPPING".

Hmm...does that mean Linda is still in the store? Someone else has already laid claim to these beautiful panels? I looked around. Nobody looked like a Linda.

I pulled one out of the packaging. Oh my. This might work.

I ask the woman next to me. "Are you Linda? Am I on your turf?" She said no.

I flipped the package over and almost died. These weren't just any pre-fabbed drapes. These had been custom made and the buyer didn't buy them. These weren't $300. These were $50 a piece.

That's right. $50 friggin dollars. PLUS 25% off.

So for a whopping $37.50 a piece, I came home with 2 gorgeous custom made, pinch pleated and lined drapes.

Of course that makes it sound like I was decisive. I wasn't. I still spent about 25 minutes walking around the store with the panels under one arm and the roll of gorgeous fabric above under the other. Should I get the fabric and have them made? Or the premade panels?

Cheaper heads prevailed and I went with the panels. However, I have already looked at my schedule to see if I can go back. I still love that fabric...maybe for the dining room?

So here is a (crappy) photo of the drapes.



And here is an even crappier photo where I've rigged it to my ugly blinds:

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Yes, yes. I know. I didn't 'style' the pic or anything. I tried to pull away the duvet cover since I'm going to be replacing it soon with one that is all white (most likely). The colourful chair to the left is also moving eventually. (I still call that my "Oh No You Didn't" chair :-).

The drapes show a little ivory in the photo - mostly because it was taken with my Iphone. I will try for some new ones shortly. I still have to get a curtain rod etc. I also think that even though they are lined, the could handle another layer of black out lining behind them but that might be a project for another day.

What else did I buy there?

I picked up this (for the family room):


Cute coral (25% off) that totally matches my new bentwood chairs!

Now, I'd like to go back and pick up this:

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I fell in love with this bench and that fabric eons ago, however it is still kind of pricey for my budget DIY Craigslist tastes (about 600 - 25%). I may swing by later this week to see if the discount goes any lower and if it is still there.

And I also picked up some fabric samples - you know, the squares that you can borrow from the store? Well they were selling them for 50 cents a pieces so I grabbed a few to make pillows out of.

One is Robert Allen's "Square Pegs" in navy:


And the other is Dwell Studio's Dotscape in Jet:



What about Linda? you are probably asking...

I asked at the counter and they said LINDA HAS LEFT THE BUILDING. Sweet. :-)

So if you have the chance, RUN to BB Bargoons for the sale. But if you see that bench for $150, I will un-follow if you buy it. :-)

ETA: Thanks to Emily-Jane for reporting back today (Tuesday) - the bench, my friends, is GONE, but probably because everything is now 50% off. So get movin'!

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Unrelated...Again

You can see that this heat has left me with very little house-related stuff to post about.

However, if you are like me, and love food, and breakfast, and believe (like my friend P) that bacon makes everything better (seriously, EVERYTHING), then you must try this:



Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

1. Honeydew

I know that sounds random, because how 'guilty' should eating fruit be, right? Well, I know that eating too much fruit can be bad, because of the sugars and the carbs (or sugars that turn into carbs or something technical like that).

I eat 2 honeydews a week. And they are gone by Monday. My week starts on Sunday.


Yep - that means I eat two honeydews between Sunday evening and Monday evening. That is TWENTY-FOUR HOURS people! No way can that be good for me. What do I do the rest of the week, you might ask? Suffer. SUFFER without any more honeydew. That's what. Good thing hubs has me on a strict, once a week grocery shop schedule.

2. Romantic Comedies

I feel like I should be into something more...challenging, but give me a movie with Jennifer Aniston or Ben Stiller and I'm hooked.

Or maybe a movie that stars them both:



3. Teenage Literature

This is probably my 'guiltiest' of all the pleasures. You know what I'm talking about. The kinds of books you buy "for your niece" and then take the jacket off so nobody on the subway can tell what you are reading. Except for all the people who are doing the same thing and can see RIGHT through your little scheme.

The funny thing is I am a good reader. I am fast, I took English Lit as one of my majors and appreciate skilled writing and challenging topics. Or I did. For some reason now that I'm older, all I want to read is this:



To be fair, they were recommended to me by a 40 year old colleague who is crazy smart, so I came by them honestly.

I also read thes in, oh, a week (and reread them again all the week after - except for New Moon, cuz that sucked):



And I've been reading these recently:


(Yes, this is the same series that is on tv with some SERIOUSLY hot actors - books are WAY different though)

Now, it might look like I have a thing for vampires, but I swear it isn't true! All those damn teenagers do and I just keep reading their books!

4. Sukhothai "Khao Soi"

Seriously, people - if you haven't gone to try this yet, you are crazy. Don't go to the fancy "Kho San Road" and try it - you need to go to the sketchy place on Parliament, south of Dundas.

SukhoThai: Khao Soi


Don't tell me how bad it is for me because I eat it probably once a week. (shameful, I know)

6. Soma Chocolatemaker's Salted Caramels

Gosh - why do most of my guilty pleasures revolve around food. Ugh. But come on - look at these!


7. The Doctor

I know - so weird, right? But when I'm down, or feeling like I need a little help, I turn to the doctor.


I put the diet version in there just because it IS one of the superior diet pops out there, but when I'm feeling like a treat, it is the full strength, full sugar stuff that I turn to. I don't know what's in it to make it taste so good. My dad used to tell me a story about how he went to the Dr. Pepper factory once and they told him the secret was PRUNES. In retrospect, I wonder if I even remember the story correctly. One thing I know for sure is that my dad is the KING of "dad facts" (i.e. stuff that isn't true but he says it with such a serious face you believe him).

Also - how the heck did he get into the Dr. Pepper factory?!

ETA: Thanks to some of the comments, I now have to add a few more to my list :-)

8. Poutine

If you are from the US or overseas and haven't tried poutine, you are INSANE. Just sayin'. I resisted the temptation for years. I had my first poutine in my last year of undergrad and haven't looked back since. So my belly fat tells me anyways :-)

(Source - this page gives you awesome info on poutine if you are interested!)


9. McDonalds

Thanks to my sister reminding me, I also have a seriously guilt-inducing affection for McDonalds. However, there is a lot of 'food-shame' in eating it now. I only eat it in the burbs with my hubby after a particularly tough night of shopping at Lowes or on roadtrips. The thougth of being caught in a McDonalds line by one of my friends or colleagues...I shudder at the thought. It is so sad though - because it is so. darn. delicious!



So there you have it! Some (not all, that is for sure) of my guilty pleasures. What are yours? Are they all about food like me? If you say your guilty pleasure is RUNNING, don't comment. I don't want to know :-) Okay maybe I do, but don't be surprised if I heckle you behind your (online) back.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Am I Attracting Pervs?

Every now and then I like to check my stat counter and see what is up with this crazy blog, and my favourite thing to check is the "recent keyword activity". For the non-bloggers, it shows what people search to land on my blog.

This is what I found tonight:


Look closely - can you see that? Some PERVE googled "Passed Out Girls" and landed on my story about that new restaurant in Toronto with the crazy tiled floors.

Um...probably NOT what he or she was looking for.

Now, if the perve is still reading, um...hi :-) Welcome to my blog?

PS last time I found something good like this was back in July 2010:

(Insert Title Here)

First up, THANK YOU to everyone who replied to my noisy neighbours post on Friday. I think the comment number hit a new record and it seems that EVERYONE has the same issues that I have (some worse. Much, much worse.) If haven't had a chance to go back and read the comments, I encourage you to do that because there are some CRAZY stories there.

I didn't do anything house related this weekend. It was so. darn. hot.  Instead, I got my hair cut, did a few things just for me (hello hobby hunting!), and went on a date with my husband.

And other than the fact that leaves me with nothing to blog about, I don't feel bad at all!

Hubs, on the other hand, did a billion things for the house, including sweat-inducing tasks such as staining the deck, cleaning the junk out from under it, and filling small holes in the garage floor. Fun. :-)

One thing of note - my pink astilbe is dying:

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I water the crap out of it (it supposedly needs more water than other plants) and it literally dried up a week after I planted it. Can it come back to life or is it over for Mr. Astilbe?

In other news, we think our grass is dying. After all that, I think the damage was too great and/or the trees are sucking the life out of it. But yeah...the grass? She's lookin' rough. Sigh.

I made J promise that this was the end of 'trying' things. If this doesn't work, we are ripping it up and forgetting about it. I mean, I won't FORGET about it, because I'll always remember our war with the raccoons and the $$ spent on chicken wire, but I will finally wave the white flag and surrender.

Maybe then it will be time for some artificial grass. Surprisingly, there are a number of suppliers in the Toronto area. Not sure about the cost, but we'll definitely put in a few calls.

As a home buyer, what would you think of astroturf in the backyard? Would it turn you off? Would you recognize that growing grass is tough and that the sellers probably went crazy trying to make it work before they finally threw their hands up in defeat and called 1-800-1GO-FAKE?

PS You know what isn't dying? One of my hydrangeas :-) Mr. Little Lime:

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See? He sprouted little lime coloured...flowers? Whatevs - at least SOMETHING is alive out there!!



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Friday, July 15, 2011

Maybe It's Me (Long Story)

(you've been warned - this is a long, pictureless story that is a combination of a proper venting session and a "it's Friday so an extra long coffee break is in order" kind of thing)

I have a feeling that I'm not the only one who has felt the urge to scream at her neighbours most days.

This, my friends, is what happens when you live in an old, Victorian rowhouse.

See...here is the full story. When hubs and I bought our house, we knew it was attached on both sides. The listing told us so (we are so smart). However, in this great city of ours, finding an affordable (take that with a grain of salt), detached home right downtown is, well, next to impossible. So attached was pretty much our only option.

So we asked about the neigbours. Empty nesters on one side and an older (quite old) grandmother type on the other. I asked about noise levels and the current owner said it wasn't an issue unless grams had her tv on super loud once in a while.

Good enough for me.

We moved in and honestly had no issues. Empty-nesters to the left are amazing, lovely neighbours. We never hear them and we chat over the fence. Grams rarely turned on her tv, nonetheless left it blaring, so we didn't mind.

I think it was about one month after we moved in when Grams passed away. :-( We never even met her - I tried a few times to knock on her door and say hi, but she wasn't all that interested in neighbours, I guess.

Her kids came by to clean up her house and get it ready to sell. It took them MONTHS to do anything to the house. Months of an empty house next to us.

It then took eons to sell ( thanks to it being over priced in need of a proper gut job IMO).

So hubs and I were living the dream. Awesome quiet empty nesters on one side, and an empty house on the other. What could go wrong?

Um...yeah. You know where this is going.

The house finally sold to a really nice woman. Let's call her Sue. Sue moved in and with her came her daughter, her son in law and their kid. Their one and a half year old cutie patootie son. And a few other non-relatives moved in. I think there are 5 adults living there. And that cute kid.
They weren't planning on gutting the house (which is too bad because we offered to split the cost of insualating the shared wall), but they were planning on loving the house and not turning it into a multi unit dwelling. Sweet.

Here is the day I knew we'd have issues.

It was a Thursday in March. We were in the throws of the basement renovation and I ran into Sue outside as I was putting out the recycling.

J: Sue! Nice to see you. I wanted to apologize for the noise during the day. I know it must be annoying but it is almost over.
S: Oh hi. Please don't worry - it really doesn't bother me. (so nice, right?)
J: Really? Oh. Okay - great!
S: We really don't mind noise at all.
J: (??? Weirdo) Perfect. But like I said, it is almost done.
S: We are a really rambunctious household, so noise is fine with us.
J: (okay?) Oh that's...fun.
S: Yeah - music, stomping on the stairs, whatever. Really doesn't bother us.
J: (oh shi*t) Okay. Good to know. See ya.

That is when I walked inside our house and yelled for J:

HONEY, WE'VE GOT A PROBLEM!

I'm not stupid. I know what her over-acceptance of noise meant. They were going to get LOUD.

So here is what we deal with on a semi regular basis:

1. Baby screaming. Like top of his lungs, screaming. I always feel bad at first...I'm totally cold hearted.
2. Music - one of the guys over there is a producer for a band and they practice in the basement sometimes.
3. The baby likes to run up and down the hallway for fun. He must be the fattest baby ever according to the sounds of his footsteps. (he's not really - totally normal sized cute kid)
4. Random late night moving of furniture. Like at midnight.
5. The golf ball. Most babies play with big bouncy balls, I thought. Not this one. He bounces an f'n golf ball. Do you know what that sounds like on hardwood floors? You don't want to know. It is the kind of repetetive sound that makes you want to tear your hair out and punch walls and wreck things. It makes me want to stomp over to their house and offer them $500 to break that sweet baby's heart by taking away his favourite 'toy'.
6. Late night 'play' time with the baby. Instead of sleeping, we hear the sounds of Sue playing with the little guy. Onnnnnnnne, twwwwwooooooo, THREEEEEEEE!!!! WTF. Please, get that baby on a schedule and PUT HIM TO BED.
7. Did I mention THE GOLF BALL?!!!

For real though - the people are SUPER nice. They really are. They are a loving, warm family who just happen to live in a house with NO insulation between the houses. I literally think it is our plaster wall, empty space, and then their plaster wall.

I've just lost my patience with it. I love my house but I don't know if I could do attached again. Well - maybe if there was a brick wall between us. And a layer of insulation.

So please tell me - I'm not alone, right? I can't be the only one in this city who looks at her husband everynight and says "WHAT ARE THEY DOING?!"

Oh, I know.




I could really use some commiseration so please, help me out. Do you have a drummer living next door? A woman who walks in high heels ALL DAY LONG? On hardwood? Do tell :-)

PS I know I promised no pictures but...those were pretty perfect :-)
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bathroom Progress

No, we haven't started the reno yet ;-) It is slated to start at the end of August, so still a bit of a wait.

However, we did finalize everything with the guy who is going to be making our custom vanity! Woot! I'm still pretty nervous about it (wouldn't it be easier to just get it from Restoration Hardware?) because I don't know exactly what it is going to look like (how crazy is that) but I think we'll be happy at the end of it.

Plus we are following Carol's suggestion so I can't really go wrong, right?

So just for fun, in the spirit of the bathroom reno, I'm going to show you some of the inspiration that I've 'pinned' recently (don't know what 'pinning' is? Check out Pinterest and let me know if you need an invite!).


(Sarah Richardson)
(Style Garage)


(Can't find original source - it was found on http://stillwaterstory.blogspot.com/)


(via Houzz)


(Houzz)

(Decorpad)

(Sarah Richardson, again :-)

(Restoration Hardware)

 Now I'm not giving everything away, but the photos above are definitely not random :-) So, although it might look that way, this is not one of those 'inspiring spaces' posts. haha

PS if you want to follow me on Pinterest, click HERE.

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