Monday, November 05, 2012

Forever and a Day...

I'm a bad blogger, I know, as it's been forever and a day since I last blogged, but I haven't been all that inspired to post anything of substance until now.

Long story short, I got a new job in the spring in the 'burbs and decided to sell my place and move back in with my mom to a) cut my work commute because it was kinda sucking and b) save money because my new place is, in hindsight, quite a bit larger and I'll need all my pennies to i) pay it down and ii) furnish and decorate it when it's finally ready.

On that note...I've been thinking about the new master bedroom:

I actually have most of the elements here save for the bed and the night tables, which I think will be this Ikea hack...I intend to re-purpose the purple rug that used to anchor my living area, the vintage dressers I picked up for a song and had painted white, the MOP lamps from Homesense, a more recently purchased birdcage chandelier from Homesav and depending on the season, there are the two blankets I picked up in Morocco a few years ago - the vintage wedding blanket direct from the mountain tribes and a brilliant turquoise blanket made out of cactus silk.  I'm thinking the walls will be a soft grey with maybe a hint of lavender....

As always, I can't wait! Last word on occupancy was May 2013, but I drove by a few weeks ago and it's currently just a hole in the ground.  It's a pretty big hole and relatively deep, but a hole nonetheless.  The development is a small, mid-rise building though with just 23 lofts and 5 townhouses so I suppose it could conceivably be ready for occupancy by next winter...fingers crossed! :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lazy Sunday

Weekends are a funny thing.  We look forward to them with such anticipation, making grand and sometimes not so grand plans for the TWO. DAYS. OFF. that we have to do whatever we want.  Me, I usually come up with a list of plans/to-dos because I find if I don't, I lose track and end up doing nothing and before I know it, it's Sunday night and the disappointment of having "wasted" a weekend settles in and I carry that into my Monday.

This weekend's list wasn't particularly ambitious: there's my usual laundry/marketing/cleaning/lunch prep for the week ahead (check/to do/check/to do), massage (much needed!), family lunch, read the paper (seriously - sometimes I "forget"),  update my online profile, yoga (which I'm going to skip this weekend in order to), (and) prepare for a second round of job interviews.

My sense of ambivalence and dissatisfaction at work has been ongoing for quite awhile now but I've been too complacent to do anything about it because it's comfortable...and comfortable isn't always the best thing.  The more I think about it, the more I feel that this new opportunity is the perfect role for me at this point in my life.  It would mean a major change in lifestyle, but it doesn't have to be forever - it could just be a strategic stepping stone - and I just have to remind myself of that...

I'm off then to the market for groceries, some cooking in the afternoon, and a lot of mental prep work to get into the right headspace for my interviews. Hope you have a wonderful Sunday!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Moving on up!

Hallo!!! It's been literally ages since I last blogged because I've started up the practice of keeping a (mostly) daily journal again, and with this new routine, I find I'm less inclined to blog online with everything else that's been going on in my life.

I do want to share some big news though!  I bought a new place!! Which is CRAZY because I was thinking this would be something I'd start looking into maybe next summer...but then I sort of by accident found the perfect place and everything just came together and now I'm looking forward to moving as early as next summer!

So, let's rewind, shall we?

This is my place now:
I moved in August 13, 2008 and it has been the best first home ever: I have a group of great neighbours I can party up with on occasion, the neighbourhood's ideal and chockablock with street level retail, restaurants and hot yoga studios, and I'm walking distance to work.  What more could a girl ask for, right?

Well...maybe more space.  I've been thinking for awhile that if my place were just a little bigger, it'd be PERFECT.  I didn't think such a thing were possible though, so I had resigned myself to moving into a house at some point.  I'd always figured that a house was something I'd move into when I grew up, i.e. got married.  But, since I'm not married, and I don't believe in waiting around for my soulmate to show up so I can live the life I want to live, I started flirting with the idea of moving, and dipped my toes into the pool by just, you know, checking to see what was out there in the market.

A house is a lot of work for a couple, never mind a single woman who isn't particularly handy, so I thought, maybe a townhouse....one thing led to another while I was searching online and that's when I came across this new boutique development about 10 minutes west of where I am now.  And I was immediately smitten, and, if you ask my sister, obsessed.  I mean, LOOK:
This is basically my place now, with an extra bed and bath.  Too good to be true.  So I got excited but not too excited because I didn't want to be disappointed and I didn't know if I would be able to afford it.

So here's how it all went down:

Sat, Jan 28: I found the floorplan online late in the evening.
Sun, Jan 29: I called the sales centre to get some more details like pricing (not as expensive as I thought it would be with some help from Mom - check!), expected occupancy (Summer 2013 - check!)
Mon, Jan 30: visited the sales centre after work to find out more
Tues, Jan 31: took the day off and called the bank to get the ball rolling on pre-approval
Wed, Feb 1: got the call just before noon that I was pre-approved for a mortgage on the new place and went back to the sales centre that night to sign the purchase agreement - 10 day cooling off period starts
Fri, Feb 3: met with my lawyer to review the agreement and discuss amendments
Mon, Feb 6: met with the sales agent to drop off the amendments to the agreement for the developer
Thurs, Feb 9: got an email from the sales agent late in the evening to say that the developer had agreed to just about all the amendments I wanted, including the larger kitchen at NO ADDITIONAL COST!!
Fri, Feb 10:  stopped by the sales agent's office to sign the amended purchase agreement
Wed, Feb 15: 10 day cooling off period ends and I'm firm and committed!

Insane, right?  It all happened ridiculously fast but I never really doubted that this place was meant to be mine.  It just felt incredibly right.  I could not have imagined a better place - how many lofts have floor to ceiling windows with both the north and south exposure? And all the space is functional - there aren't any useless hallways, weird curved walls, or columns, which I love.

So!  Now the fun begins!  I have a new place to look forward to decorating and I can't wait to share with you all the things I've been dreaming up!!! :)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Gone to Pot

Have I ever mentioned how much I love orchids?  They're beautiful to look at, are fairly easy to maintain but most importantly for me, they provide the best value if you want fresh flowers in your home because their blooms last for a few months at a time. 

I've purchased 7 orchids in the 3+ years I've lived in my condo - when the blooms of the first one dropped, I bought my second, and when the blooms of the second faded, I picked up my third because the first one was still dormant.  I've had to get rid of one because the leaves were looking rather sickly and of the 6 that remain, some of which have re-bloomed, I haven't yet figured out how to get more than 4 or 5 buds to flower on a stem like these crazy-gorgeous specimens at Bangkok International Airport:

Nor have they synched up to bloom consecutively for me.  One's currently in bloom and 5 are sleeping so I decided now was the time to give the latter some new "bedding" if you will - time to re-pot! Da-da-dum!!

I googled "re-potting orchids" and found a ton of tutorials on what to do, including this one featuring Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" as background music.  For reals!  Talk about blast from the past! 

Anyway, here's my attempt below - this particular pot had moss as its growing medium, and can I just say it was kinda gross removing it all?  I had to trim some of the roots that were "mushy" and then returned them to the pot using the "exotic potting medium."
Fingers crossed that I did it right!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chocolate Cravings

So. For some strange reason, I've been craving baked goods - chocolaty cookies specifically - for the last, oh, 2 or 3 weeks.  I don't know why because I'm not one to usually crave chocolate but there you have it.  Problem is, cookies don't really fit into my clean eating diet so I've been trying to fight it, but I'm done fighting.  I resorted to a healthy-ish recipe for "Best-ever Chocolate Cookies" from a hospital calendar my mom requested a little while back with a number of substitutions and tweaks because a) I was out of a few ingredients (namely brown sugar and oat bran) and b) I wanted to try baking with spelt flour, which aside from being a rich source of niacin and other minerals, also has fewer calories than whole wheat flour.

Anyway, they taste AWESOME! They don't taste "healthy" at all!  Here's the original recipe which is credited to The Dieticians of Canada with notes on my substitutions:

Best-Ever Chocolate Cookies
Makes: ~42 cookies (1 per serving)
Preheat Oven: 350F (180C)
 
Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour (I used the aforementioned spelt this time but whole wheat the last time)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (I used all natural sea salt - I know, la-di-da)
2 eggs
1 cup margarine or butter, softened (I used butter this time around - I went half-butter, half-organic applesauce last time but I was all out of the latter tonight)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (no brown sugar but found this tip on a substitution)
1 1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1 cup bran cereal, not flakes (I was short a full cup but had wheatgerm and flaxseed meal so went 1/3 each)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips (not a fan of white chocolate so used semi-sweet)
optional: ~3/4 cup chopped walnuts*

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. (I didn't sift - I actually don't own a sifter - and they turned out just fine) 
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs, margarine and brown sugar. Fold in flour mixture. Stir in oats, bran cereal and chocolate chips.
3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls (15mL) about 2 inches (5 cm) apart, onto ungreased baking sheets.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until just crisp.  Let cool on baking sheets on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely. 

* I like the texture of nuts in my cookies and chocolate and walnuts are a great combo in my book  

Per Serving:
94 Calories
2.1 g Fat
0.3 g Saturated Fat
44mg Sodium
18g Carbohydrates
3g Fiber
2g Protein

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