Saturday, September 29, 2007
This is the view into the office. LB likes a big workspace, so the desk is actually the table from our 50s diner set that we will now be using as our actual kitchen table and chairs (hurrah for the eat in kitchen of my dreams!). Above is a vignette I created with our initials, and a Vogue cover from 1941 that I fell in love with.
This is my corner. I work all over the house, I'm not very stationary, and I often have more than one job on the go. As a result, I rely on a well-organized home base. I keep my wedding references, sewing books and supplies, every issue of Domino and Blueprint, my craft supplies and my magazine inspiration files all together. My mom bought me the faux-antique dressmaker's form for my birthday and I love it. I always want to dress it up. My grandpa Red made my cousin Tara and I matching trunks for Christmas the year I was 6. We both still have them. They've come everywhere with us, and are none the worse for wear. I can't wait to make it my kids' "tickle trunk" as we used to call it. (Big Mr Dressup fans here!!!) I also love my bertoias. I found them online for cheap, which makes them even better.
This is the other corner, opposite my space. We bought the white dresser and shelf at the Great Glebe Garage sale this year for a total of $6. As you might guess from the collection of children's books and stuffed toys on it, we figured that for $6, it was never too early to start amassing potential nursery furniture. Those books were all mine and my brother's, and the yellow turtle was my first stuffed animal. The other dresser is LB's. He's used it almost his entire life, it's beautiful wood, and we have two small bookcases that match it, he unfortunately outgrew the bed a long time ago. (He's a tall one, my hubby!) I managed to get the coordinated frames on clearance at the Bay. In the middle is my favourite picture of my mom and I from my first birthday party. So much fun!!!
Tomorrow - the dining room/bedroom/tv area/library...have a fabulous night all!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
So, I've decided to follow through on my threats and subject you to a tour of our apartment, starting with the living room/ foyer.
When you enter our apartment, this is the first thing you see. It's my favourite corner of the apartment. Now, I threw Laurin's shower in July, but I love being wished best wishes every time I come home, and the colours are so right that I have kept it up. The big club chair and matching ottoman are from Loblaws, they were an engagement gift from my in-laws. The lamp behind it is from my aunt Diane, it's a lovely bit of Canadiana, with the bark base and maple leaf shade. The console table is also form Loblaws, the animals on it were a gift from my mom- I love ceramic "pets". Above the table is a set of three family portraits, and to the left is a painting by a Danish painter who was a very good friend of my aunt's. LB's parents had it reframed for our 2nd wedding anniversary. Through the door is our office (which is actually the only bedroom in our 1-bedroom apartment). The teak coffee table was left in my parents' new house when they moved in, and the Persian was a wedding gift from my aunt Judi.
Turning to the right, we have our cds tucked away on the wall (and we now buy electronic version through itunes in an attempt to reduce clutter), and you will notice my terribly tacky and beloved flocked pirate ship paintings. Not familiar with flocking? Nor was I, until mom and dad moved into their new house and gave me these. It is when you apply velvet to a painting to give it texture. The ships are velvet. In the window is a watercolour horse that Ruby Ewen painted for LB's bar mitzvah, and a pouf that I made for Laurin's shower and have kept up. The two chairs are both finds- the one on the left cost me $30 at a yard sale (she wouldn't bargain!) and the one on the right came from the garbage on our street, I simply refinished the wood. The table in between is a Singer machine table. And while the machine does not work, I use it for sewing and storage. The little birdcages are from a store window display at Aritzia. Turns out if you spend a lot of money, and ask politely, they give you the displays. That door leads to our sun porch - which is a glamorous way of saying storage.
Further to your right is our sideboard. When I was in my second apartment, my dad built me this dresser for my clothes. It's amazing, but it's HUGE. We now use it to store all of our wine glasses, our bar, and all of our serving dishes, china, and extra IKEA dishes. We have a ton of stuff, which will be a challenge as our new house does not have a formal dining room. In front of it is my favourite chair, from IKEA, which we bought on a whim and love. It's Madison's chair, as she can stretch around in it. The other chair is actually already gone - we gave it to a friend. While we liked it when we bought it, it clearly does not fit into our decor scheme. This is also our entrance, but I'm not going to torture you with the scariness of the hall closet.
Opposite the sideboard and over a bit, is our newest garage sale find - the james bond bar. The front rotates to reveal two hidden shelves. Next to it is a chair that my aunt Judi found in the garbage in Toronto (and on it is my black Marc Jacobs bag, which did not come from the garbage). On top is one of my favourite displays - the trifle bowl was a centrepiece at Steph's wedding, with lemons I added, a couple of yard sale books, and then my two Jonathan Adler animals- chirpy boy and longneck...I bought them at the Alder show in Soho and we are planning to add to it whenever we travel to cities where Adler is sold. Now you might be wondering about the wallpaper... it too is from an old Aritzia store display - I managed to score 7 rolls when they took it down. We love confusing people with it - as we do actually have a wall of books in the other room. They are all philosophy books, and since LB did his graduate work in political philosophy, even he had to support my buying clothes in order to get them for free.
Finally, this shows you the room when we are entertaining a big crowd for dinner. Flip a bit of the furniture and you're laughing. We've had 16 for dinner in here on more than one occasion. I'm going to miss that a LOT. Tomorrow, I'll share the dining room/bedroom/TV area - we're a little loopy around here! Bonne nuit.
ps- looks like everything's okay with the house...deep breaths kaili!!!
Given that I've got my new house on the brain, I've decided to write about the role that our environmental concerns played in our homebuying decision.
Location: We currently live right downtown in Ottawa, walking distance to many of our friends' homes, walking distance to work, to 2 farmers' markets, right in the thick of things, you get the idea. Location was the biggest determining factor in our decision-making process. We looked casually for a year, and then seriously for another, and it's hard to find affordable starter homes in established neighbourhoods close to downtown. LB will be walking to work, I will ride the bus in the cold weather and ride my bike in the nicer weather, it's only 6.1km to my office. The other bonus is that we have two grocery stores, restaurants, shops, coffee shops, and a farmers' market all within walking distance. So while we may be a little further away, I actually expect our car usage to decrease.
Age of Home: This was an important factor. We wanted a mid-century or older home, something built with more wood and natural fibres than plastic and compounds. Again, not as easy to find as you might think.
Small Garden: We wanted a small garden in order to have a composter for our organic waste. Since we started composting (even in our little apartment we bring our scraps to my parents'), we've managed to cut our waste output in half.
Small House: We wanted to have a small home, to keep our personal footprint relatively small. We do not need a ton of space, and by having a yard and being in a neighbourhood with community centres and parks, our kids will hopefully understand the importance of public spaces and not feel the need for a monster dwelling. At 977 square feet including the basement, I feel that our house met that requirement.
Making Do: We are planning on using all of the current fixtures, except for the two lights and the door pulls in the kitchen which are 80s and do not match the 50s feel, and the showerhead which is grungetastic. The lights and door pulls will go to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.
The showerhead will go to the dump. yuck. We are also planning on using our current furniture (most of which is either redone hand-me-downs or garbage/ yard sale finds) but are purchasing a new sofa. I crave the Hutton sofa, but cannot bring myself to purchase it.
This is what works for us. Everyone makes a contribution in their own way, and no one way is better than another.
As some of you know, the week that you buy a house is one of the most exhilirating, terrifying and hectic weeks of your life! You've got about 5 days to sort out your financing (you're going to give me how much $$$?!?!?!?!?), to get the legal stuff taken care of, your house inspection done, etc... and don't forget all of the mental work of planning your decorating scheme and purchases!
So we're almost sorted out, just a slight hiccup - we have to sort out the fact that our front steps are on city property. Apparently, it's no big deal, lots of older places have municipal rights of way, but it's just a worry that I would rather not have right now. Oh well, all should be taken care of by 9pm tonight and then we open the prosecco!
Monday, September 24, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Jordan's place is lovely, and I am almost sad for her that they are moving. But I'm sure that their new place will be just as lovely, and they get to start all over, my favourite part of the moving process!
While we were not necessarily dressed like everyone else (I was in a black wool skirt suit with ruffly blouse, and she in heels, black sateen trousers and a lovely grey drapey tneck), and someone actually asked us if "we were walking or actually marching" (even though she appeared to be moving her feet at the same speed as us), it was an amazing evening. Chanting, screaming, hooting and cheering, with tons of support from the people on the streets, it was really a great night to be a woman in Ottawa.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Please check it out, his writing is amazing. But, be forewarned - it's all about the sports. He's a different kind of sportswriter, but it is nevertheless primarily a sports blog. But he did get the title from a Philip Roth book, so he's stickin' true to our geek roots! You can find him here.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Remember, once upon a time, a girl named Kaili wrote to you and said that she was going to try and not buy any new clothes this fall? Remember? Well, dear internet, please forget said statement.
Okay, I've cracked, but I'm not a lost cause. I set out not to buy anything, and in that sense, I failed. I bought more than zero. However, I would state that I consumed in a much more responsible and measured manner. So here, for your internet shaming pleasure, is my list of transgressions:
new "Essential" trouser jeans from the Gap (ps, they're great...a little heavy in the denim, but just super!)
Black "tiger of sweden" dress from trustfund (I love this dress to bits and will wear tons!)
Navy and black brocade blazer from Joe Fresh Style (blazers! $10!)
Checked tulip swing blazer from Joe Fresh Style (blazers! lined! $49!)
2 girly blouses from the Gap, with short sleeves and ruffles - so cute! (bought to complement existing stock of clothes)
3 "modern" v-neck sweaters from Joe Fresh (ditto)
4 undershirt tanks from Joe Fresh (these are actual necessities - I wear them under everything)
Shoes: (no excuse, I never need shoes. I just NEED shoes.)
Campers "Twins" bought at Gravity Pope in Vancouver
Brown flats with gold buckle from Joe Fresh
(i had this idea that just a couple of scarves would cover all of my wardrobe holes this fall. While I love them, this was not the case)
brown and white patterned scarf from BR
Grey crinkle scarf from Aritzia
Sheesh, that's a lot of stuff! Wow, I thought that I had only picked up a couple of things, until I actually thought about it!!!
And in the "bought and returned" pile:
- a pair of brown and gold rimless Marc by Marc Jacobs sunglasses
- the brown and silver kate spade purse i blogged about in August
- a checked dress with a 50s neckline from Joe Fresh.
- a whole shopping trip to Joe Fresh that I immediately realized was retail therapy, so I put the kibosh on it.
Oh well, no one's perfect. And although it is still consumption, I would argue that it is at least a semi-conscious consumption and no longer the conspicuous consumption I had practiced in previous years (lots of logo bags, all burberry accessories, etc...). Or whatever. Turns out, I really like to shop. Who knew?
ps - didn't you kind of secretly hope that I had found a gorilla fashion show to share with you? I know that I did, as soon as I typed it...that would have been one heck of a video!!!
UPDATE: I actually tried to find some gorilla fashion or gorilla style in Google Images, but to no avail. I do apologise, but I really can't stop laughing at the thought of it. I wish that such a thing existed. I was even going to write a post about how messenger bags were big for gorillas this year, as it is an efficient way to carry lots of bananas and still work your gorilla thang, and how rings might be the perfect gorilla jewellery. but without the pictures, it just doesn't work. I guess it's not quite like all of those puppy and kitty calendars where they have clothes/costumes. I hate those becuase I think that they're mean. Yet I like the gorilla? I don't know...I've had two cookies. I blame it on the sugar.
Last night we made orange and beef stirfry, and it was a winner. I would however suggest that you add chili flakes to it in order to spice it up - it's a bit bland.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
as lame as it may be, having small goals to focus on helps to keep me a nicer person to be around. since last week's five worked so well, i'm off to the races again. obviously, i want to continue to eat well and do my daily chores, but they're off this time.
- get up when alarm clock goes off (this could be my downfall!)
- organise all of my volunteer activities
- eat 5 or more servings of fruit/veg daily
- stick to meal plan (and lunch plan for at work splurges)
- run 30 minutes, 5 times this week
i've also compiled a list of five work goals to keep my eye on the prize when things become a bit too unbearable. it helps.
Friday, September 14, 2007
i'm making him a male adapted version of the "skully" sweater from the first stitch 'n' bitch book. i'm committing to all of you to finish this sweater before hannukkah. no christmas, it's further away. i'll keep you posted. it's the photo on the left, the one with the skulls. i'm making it in charcoal grey with black skulls though, as that is what my local yarn store had in stock at the time.
but hockey and i for some reason, we click. and it's a good thing, as i am married to a full-fledged hockey lunatic. not quite like david putty who paints his face when he and elaine go to a Rangers-Devils game, but ask LB a simple hockey questions and you are risking an endless recitation of stats and player comparisons and history. don't get me wrong, i am thrilled that he's so knowledgeable and passionate, it's just that i'm often the only one around (since there's just the two of us) and as such am privy to his rants. they work better in a group setting. but that aside, we both love hockey and we love to watch it together.
today, my administrative assistant gave me two tickets to our junior hockey team, the ottawa 67s, home opener game tonight. now unfortunately that meant having to reschedule dinner with jen and shaun - sorry again! - but i knew that i couldn't turn down the chance to get in on the hockey action this early in the season so we're off to the Civic Centre to cheer on the 67s. for your money, junior hockey is far more exciting than NHL games, and the fans are really into it and the concessions are far less expensive than in pro stadiums. which means a soft-serve ice cream for kaili!!!
now the only question is- do i bring my knitting?
on the topic of personal merit badges, i'm giving myself a gold star or whatever i decide to design for me. as you will recall, i said on monday that i was going to try and set myself up to succeed this week by setting out five small manageable goals for the week, and it worked. i've had the best week i've had in a long time this week, in large part because i didn't beat myself up for not achieving my usual colossal goals. to recap, i was to:
- run 30 mins each morning mon-fri
- go to bed at 10pm each night from sun-thurs
- stick to chore chart
- stick to meal plan
- give myself a mani/pedi.
i am proud to report that i have stuck to all of my goals and feel great for having done so. the weekend will allow me to continue being kind to myself, but i will not be going to be at 10pm. i will be thinking of new goals for next week, but i think that a few may stay the same. you have to do something for three weeks straight in order for it to become a habit. or so they say.
have a superb weekend everyone! get out to your local farmers' markets while there is still good local produce!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
on monday, october 22, we are going to montreal to see the new pornographers with our friends andrew and simon. although it kind of sucks to have to drive to montreal on a school night and all, once i found out that the one and only neko case was actually touring with the NPs, that sealed the deal for me. i have seen neko several times on her own, and the NPs twice without neko, so this is going to be off the hook! the new NP record, Challengers, is in stores now and it is awesome.
and the most exciting part of my day today was the purchase of five tickets to the weakerthans show here on sunday, november 4. the weakerthans are quite possibly my all-time favourite band. i love them so. they make me cry, they make me laugh, they make me dance, they make me want to sing and shout. when LB and i got married, our first dance was to one of their songs, my favourite chords. i saw their first show ever in ottawa over 10 years ago (the upstairs club, july 1997, opening for Avail) and i have never missed one since. we've driven to toronto and montreal to see them on more than one occasion. they are worth every minute. their new record, reunion tour, will be in stores early october. they have released a few online mp3s on the epitaph site and they sound very promising.
yesterday, i was lucky enough to have my two favourite chicken soups in the same day. i had LB's for lunch, and then we had a big Rosh Hashannah dinner at his folks' place, and his aunt made her matzo ball soup...yummmmmy! we had such a big dinner - gefilte fish and chopped liver (or tomato if you're me, i've never been able to acquire a taste for either), matzo ball soup, brisket, meatballs, tsimmus, fresh green beans, round raisin and plain challah with honey (so that your year will be sweet, and round so that your year has no end) followed by honey cake, individual apple strudels, and fruit. i was so full and it was a fabulous evening, but LB had to take me home at 9:30 after all of that food. i'm just not used to it.
a run this morning followed by a bowl of shredded wheat has me feeling more like myself again. It's a crisp, clear autumn day in ottawa -- my favourite weather!
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
when we were in paris last november we brought home 4 jars, and i brought home more for LB this spring. there's nothing like a fresh piece of baguette with a good slather of bonne maman jam on it.
i also saw the most whimsical take on french country recently, where they used the jars and lids as light covers over modern looking sconces with halogen bulbs and brushed silver arms.
while i love the photo, and i love the toques and gloves and warm wear associated with her cold weather collection, i'm unsure about this one. i'm going to have to let it sit with me for a while before i pass judgement either way. my initial reaction is that it must be a lot more fun to have a bag like this if you don't have to wear clothes that look like this all winter long b/c you live in canada... if you only wear a down vest and only occasionally, this would be a really fun purse. i'm thinking places like california, where uggs are again an accessory and not worn for their amazing warmth (which, incidentally, they are) with jeans and a turtleneck sweater, and a scarf, this would make a fun outfit.
but here? when winter already makes you feel like the stay-puffed marshmallow man and you're dying for something a little sleek or tailored? they might not be as much fun...
what do you think?
here she is with Bailey, the old man...
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
it's raining in ottawa today...and it's not very warm. it's one of those days that makes me believe that fall is officially here, despite what the calendar might say.
weather like this makes me want to nest, to stay in with LB and maddy, and just enjoy our home. but then when i have the time to stay in and enjoy our home, it is ultimately coupled with my never ending desire to make sure that it is optimally organised and as pretty as possible. which, if you're like me, you know is a process that never ends. especially as we head into fall and winter, i want to make sure that i have made our home as cosy and neat and organised as possible.
since i was ahead of the game on my transfer of clothes from summer to fall, i think that i will spend the weeknights and weekend this week working on the house. silly things, but vital ones, like organising the towels and blankets. they make me feel comfy and cosy and snug as a bug in a rug...(that was our tuck in statement when we were kids...)
LB also made our first pot of soup last night, my favourite fall cooking. he worked on the soup and we baked the lasagna that i made on sunday, and we watched Blades of Glory. other than the movie, it was a fabulous night. the movie was a let down. i then finished the latest book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series, the Good Husband of Zebra Drive. It's a fun read, by no means academic, but a good little distraction and a nice change from the kinds of things I usually read.
Monday, September 10, 2007
we left town around 4:30 friday afternoon, and made the short drive to Lac Philippe campsite. we had a beautiful group site complete with fire pit, charcoal BBQ, our own outhouses and a cabin in case of rain. since we were first to arrive, LB and i chose the perfect spot for our giant tajmahal tent and set up. We had a nice dinner by ourselves and then everyone else arrived a couple of hours later. i may have gotten a little silly with the wine and had to go to bed early, but i will neither confirm nor deny that version of events.
saturday, i was the first one up, due in part to my early bedtime the previous night, so i went for a run around the campsite. it was lovely to get out there and see everything before everyone woke up. i love the sight of tents poking up and love seeing how others set up their sites - maybe i'll find a more efficient set up... we then had an amazing breakfast of blueberry and banana pancakes, followed by some hardcore lounging and reading. we then took steph on this "one hour hike" to the Lusk caves that ended up being three hours long. it was fun and very energizing, but not the bill of goods we had sold, sorry again!
all that exercise made us hungry, so we just ate and ate and ate and talked and had a big fire, and really chilled. it was exactly what i needed. sunday morning, we had some more pancakes and we hit the road early.
Sunday afternoon was spent at my parents' place, LB is helping to renovate their basement. mom and i cooked batch recipes for the week, veggie lasagna for us and chicken stew and spaghetti sauce for her. we decided that we are going to try and do this regularly, it's so nice to work together, and we will split our batches so that neither one of us eats the same thing ad nauseum. we had some lovely roasted chicken for dinner and then headed home to get ready for the week. I love organizing my clothes for the week, it makes morning a breeze!
I hope that you all had lovely weekends as well!!!
i've decided that i shouldn't try to change the entire world every week. i start every week with the best of intentions in all areas of my life, and when i don't succeed at one small thing, i beat myself up and undo all of the good work accomplished over the course of that week. like eating a whole bag of jujubes. again. so i'm trying to be nicer to myself, and in that vein, i've set out a few goals for myself for this week, and every week i will modify my goals slightly, depending on what's important and what's coming up in my life.
the overriding goal is to always be nice to myself, but the list of five below will change.
- run for 30-45 minutes each morning (mon-fri)
- stick to scheduled meals and don't get take out just because i'm tired or cranky
- stick to daily chore schedule
- bedtime at 10pm sun-thurs (this makes achieving #1 easier!)
- give myself a mani/pedi
not the loftiest goals, but every little step counts. and the nicer i am to myself, and the happier i am, the better able i am to contribute more in all areas of my life: relationships, work, volunteer activities, and general silliness...
Friday, September 07, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
i hope that it works out.
Monday, September 03, 2007
It's just fun and silly. Nowhere near as good a Dazed and Confused, but in that same kind of feel-good, be nostalgic summer movie way...
And then we went for gelato at Pure gelato. I had the ginger and LB the apple pie. We both highly recommend the ginger, with lots of chunks of candied ginger on it, the apple pie, not so much. It was the perfect night to end the last long weekend of summer. School's in!
We had a little soirée to send her off in style on Friday, and we had so much fun. Here's a few highlights:
1- the buffet, always important. I ripped off the blueprint centrepiece and modified it to meet my needs and on-hand dishes:
2- my cousins with Shannon. They got into the "London's Calling Shannon's Name" theme and came dressed up as the Queen and a Lord and were the hit of the party:
3- my brother, who drowned his sorrows and was the source of much amusement for us:
and 4- Madison, whose look told us it was bedtime for everyone!
Friday was spent mostly in bed, and then getting things ready for Shannon's going away party, which was a success - post to follow.
But in between sleeping and prepping, I did do one thing which was sorely needed. You see, I have this lovely pair of black patent Jeffrey Campbell flats with gold fleur-de-lys brooches on the toes. However, one afternoon when I was rushing in a taxi to an utterly ridiculous meeting, one of the brooches fell off in the cab. I raced back after the meeting but to no avail and haven't been able to track down the cabbie (and you know that I've been looking!). So, in order to salvage what are still a great pair of comfortable flats, I decided to use a little creativity and pried off the other brooch, opened the pin holes with a seam ripper, found a cool ribbon at the Papery, and voilà! New shoes with a minimum of effort and only $5 for ribbon!
Saturday was one of those days you have when you are starting to feel well - I tidied the apartment, and then we went to my parents' house so that LB could help my dad with his basement reno and mom and I went to Costco and the Superstore, where I of course visited the fall Joe Fresh collection. Some little gems for all ages! (LB just mocked me over my shoulder for writing this last sentence, accusing me of being a commercial, but I can't help it- the new kids' collection is adorable...) We then hung out and tidied up at mom and dad's, and ate a delicious dinner of stirfry and crème brûlée, my favourite dessert!
Sunday was spent helping Kristie and Eric with some home renovations. While dad, LB and my bro built a wall, and my poor uncle was stuck dealing with the toilet and bathroom floor, my mom, Kristie and I had a ball painting the kitchen a lovely fresh green. And Siobhan and Diane saved us all with a much-needed hearty lunch break at Shiv's (with a working toilet, YAY!) We then had a family potluck dinner to rehash our trip to the ranch for K&E's wedding and watch the movie filmed on the ranch, An Unfinished Life. The movie is terrible, but the scenery is amazing, and Eric's mom, dad and brother are all in it! (His mom got to speak to Robert Redford on camera!) and having spent the weekend there, it was so much better to watch it, cause we could place everything in context. And the food was incredible - we handled the apps, Diane made an incredible beef tenderloin, and mom brought two amazing cakes: rolo and lemon poppyseed - of course we all had to have a piece of each!
Today has been perfectly low-key. We had breakfast at the Lieutenant's Pump, walked down to the market and picked up veggies for the week, went to the office briefly to get some documents and then we have just been quietly enjoying each others' company all afternoon while I procrastinate on getting anything more done. We're having BBQ corn and chicken for dinner, followed by a trip to the movies to see SUPERBAD! I'll post about that tomorrow.
Although it's been a lovely summer, I'm happy for a return to routine and a little normalcy where we are not travelling every weekend. Goodbye summer, it's been fab - hello fall, dear old friend.