Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kitchen re-do inspiration (and a vote!)

Over the past 6 months, we've been working on various projects around our house. We've been living there for 3 years now, and I felt like it was time for a refresh. I love changing the physical space around me from time to time, even if it's just to shuffle the furniture around. I think part of this has to do with the fact that I'm such an indecisive person. Which is one of the reasons that this process has taken 6+ months.

Back in April, we painted our living room/kitchen area, and all the way down the hall. It was previously a light yellow, but because we had painted over a strong blue colour, it always read as a greenish tinge. I wanted to make everything white because then I could change whatever colours I feel like in the future. I chose Mercury Glass by Benjamin Moore, and I just loooooove it! Seriously, it's the perfect white! It makes everything feel a million times brighter in our main area, which I just love.

The above is the current state of my kitchen. #reallife

The next thing to tackle is painting the kitchen cabinets. They're okay, but I just don't love them. They're just a stock, builder's grade fake oak, and I need to get rid of them! I've been putting off painting them since April, but it has to happen because I already painted some swatches on them to see what I liked better. I am just the most indecisive person about this, though. I've been wavering between 3 options. I need help! I seriously can't decide!!

Option one: all white










Option two: white on top, navy or charcoal on the bottom




















Option three: all grey/greige or some such





I really am leaning toward the white/navy/charcoal combination, but those two grey ones are almost enough to sway me. And then I see the all white, and then I just get sooooo confused all over again! I keep going back and forth! 

So I need your help! Choose your favourite in my survey down below - so easy! If I chose white, do I go with a shade darker than the walls, or just paint it all the same white? Do I chose charcoal or navy if I go that way? Or do I go with a greige? I'm really into greige these days. I am just so lost. I just want something that I'm going to love for the next 5+ years - hopefully before that time is up we'll be living in another home! So please, help this indecisive lady out! 



Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Book review: If I Stay - Gayle Forman

I've been wanting to do book reviews for a while, and I don't think I've ever done any. Which is completely ridiculous, considering how much I love books and how many I read. So, here I commence.


I just finished reading If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I didn't go into the book knowing a lot about it, which I like to do. And I was not disappointed! I really enjoyed it. It's not a book to read if you're in the mood for a happy story, that's for sure. It does have happy moments in it, but the story certainly isn't. (TFIOS, much?)

A brief summary: Mia is 18, in her final year of high school. During a snow day, her family decides to drive to their friends' place to spend the day with them. But the day turns out much differently than anyone would have imagined...

The story takes place over the span of 24 hours. The author uses flashbacks to draw out the story, and I felt that she used the method really effectively. They never felt forced, and always flowed very naturally, to the point where you hardly realize that it's a flashback. I thought that overall the story flowed really well. It's a shorter book, but because the author knew how to draw the story out, it doesn't feel like it lacks for information or details at all.

The previous edition cover. I think I almost like this one better.
I did like the characters in the book for the most part. The main character, Mia, is a very thoughtful teenager. She is a cellist, going to be attending Julliard after she graduates high school. Her life revolves around her family, her boyfriend Adam, her best friend Kim, and her musical career. She doesn't have much use for partying and staying out late, which is funny because her parents were in the music scene when she was growing up, and she was going to parties when she was a child. Her father was in a punk rock band for many years, and her boyfriend is in an up-and-coming band, as well. She just can't get away from music, it is steeped into every part of her life. It plays a considerable role in the book as well. I did enjoy the contrast between reserved and serious Mia, and her eccentric rocker parents. It's so reversed from what you usually see. The relationships in this book played out really well. It was definitely easy for me to connect to the characters.

A still of Chloe Grace Moretz, who plays Mia in the film adaptation.
One of the things that bothered me most about the book - there is a character that is never given a name! Mia's parents' friends have a baby, and the baby is always referred to that - "the baby!" It drove me crazy!! I mean, there are characters just mentioned in passing that play less of a role than this baby, and they got names! Why, Gayle Forman, why??

Overall, I would recommend this book if you're looking for a story that draws you in. I could probably connect with the story in a deeper way than a lot of people would, because of things that have happened to me and others close to me. (Trying not to be spoilery here!!) I will probably be thinking about this story for a few more days. The movie version came out on Friday and I am looking forward to seeing it.

Plot: original, very well paced
Emotions: you will feel them
Characters: mostly realistic and well-rounded

And for those who like to be prepared for these things (I appreciate a heads up, for sure!)

Language: moderate, as there are a few f-bombs and other choice words
Sex: one scene that's not explicit but there is a lot of stuff implied
Drugs/alcohol: social drinking, no drug use that I can recall
Spiritual content: Mia's grandma believes that loved ones who have passed on come back as angels (in the form of animals); the family attends a funeral at a church where the officiant talks about the deceased going to be with the Lord.

My overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Art for a gallery wall.

I've been wanting to do a gallery wall in our kitchen for about a year already. It's a long, blank, open space, just begging for tons of beautiful art! I've been sourcing out things that I want, and there's just too much gorgeous stuff out there for me to choose. I thought I would share some of my favourites with you today.

[via whatkatiedoes]
This one has been on my list for ages and ages! I just love it! There are 3 colours to pick from, and I think I like this one the best. I can't wait to order this print.

[via OldEnglishCo]
This is my second favourite, and I can't wait to get it on the wall! This one has 20 different colours you can get it in, and you can choose to flip the negative space as well. I'm having a hard time choosing my colour, but I think I might just go with this one.

[via Alice X. Zhang]
Tangled is my favourite Disney animated film, and this is my favourite scene in the movie. I love the feel of this piece.

[via PrettyPrintShop]
I actually bought this one already! (I actually plan to put this in my office, but I still wanted to show you.) It's an instant download for you to print out at home, which is totally my speed. The faster I can get it, the better. Plus it was only $2ish. Score!

[via David Fleck]
I have a thing for hot air balloons. Someday I will go on a ride in one! But for now, I'll settle for some art.

[via WatercolorBook]
See? Hot air balloons. I also have a thing for watercolours.



[via unravelleddesign]
This store has tons of beautiful quote prints like this. It's so hard to choose. These are two of my favourites.



[via Mareike Bohmer Graphics]
Another shop with so much pretty. She also has some photography, but I like her geometric prints.

[via thebigharumph]
I think it's only fitting to have one of these prints in my kitchen. And the difference from all the rest I've shown, which are digital prints, this one is a linocut. This shop has lots of other lovely lino prints of food.

[via penandpaper]
There is a variety of different prints on this shop. Quotes and illustrations, which she also makes as cards.

[via KellyVentura]
I love ice cream and I love watercolours, so it seems only natural that I would desire this lovely thing.

[via Korrina Carmona]
Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of my favourite shows, and Appa definitely has my heart. I enjoy this wanted poster that is featured in the show.

I totally have a bent towards quotes and watercolours, and more feminine looking pieces, so I'm sure I'll get Chris to find a few he likes, and maybe he'll make one or two as well. I'm planning on getting a variety of sizes. I got some frames from the thrift store that I will (eventually) paint the same colour, and probably get some Ribba frames from IKEA to mix in. All of these pieces were found on Etsy or Society6, and that's only a fraction of the ones I found. If you care to see, I made an Etsy collection. I haven't spent as much time on Society6, and I'm not sure if I should because I get overwhelmed with options pretty quickly. I'm pretty excited to start curating my gallery wall! If you have some favourite shops I should know about, leave me a comment and I'll check it out!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

And now we return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Hola, blog! ...half a year later, she says.

Well, there have been a lot of changes around here in the past 6 months. I intend to put my blogging hat back on after a much needed break. I still have my days where I just feel really down, but that's normal. For the most part, life is really great around here, and I can't wait to share bits and pieces of it with you! Also, I really miss writing. I've realized that it helps me a lot to process my thoughts and empty out my chaotic mind a little bit. I have some ideas about where I want things to go with this blog, but for now, I just thought I would pop in and say hi. Feel free to comment if you still read this.

This is a picture of me like 2 months ago, with our niece Sadie. I'll probably write a post about her story, it's pretty cool.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A time to mourn and a time to rejoice.

I changed the name of my blog a little while ago. I was going to post about it, but then some things happened.

On Sunday, November 24, at 2:25 am, my dad passed away.

It still isn't real. I was there, I watched him take his last breath, and still I haven't grasped it.

Just about 2 years ago, at one of our family gatherings, my dad slipped on some ice and broke his arm. That kind of ruined the day, but what came as a result was kind of a blessing, and kind of ruined everything. Turns out the reason his arm broke was because the bone was full of cancer. And when you have bone cancer, that means that it started somewhere else in your body, and has been there long enough to spread. The blessing was that now we knew about it, and he could start getting treatments.

In June last year, Dad had surgery to remove one of his kidneys, where the cancer originated. After the surgery he had problems with his lungs filling up with fluid. They had to be drained a couple of times, and he was on oxygen for a couple months after. But it looked like his treatments were going good for the next year and a bit, and the cancer wasn't spreading. He had a good year.

In the middle of October he had some scans that showed that there was a metastasis on his remaining kidney. Not good. The scans also showed a build up of fluid in his lungs again. As a result of the fluid buildup, as well as changing his chemo, his appetite went way down, and he was hardly eating anything after this point. At the beginning of November, he was in the hospital over a weekend to have it drained. We thought that would be good for a while.

November 17 was the last Sunday lunch that we had together. He wasn't feeling very well so he only ate a bowl of pudding. He slept most of the day, and was having a lot of pain because his lungs were full of fluid again. The next day, my parents went to the hospital to have his lungs drained again. The doctors didn't do anything that day, so they went home to go back the next day. That was the last time he was home. From Tuesday on he was in the hospital. Finally on Thursday his lung were drained. My brother Mico and I went to see him that afternoon, after the drain was in, and my dad was not in good shape. He could recognize us, but he seemed really out of it. They thought it might be the combination of medications they had given him, and that it would wear off. It was really freaky to see him that way, because my mom and the nurses would ask him questions, and he wouldn't answer them. His eyes were kind of glazed over. But I never thought that the next day I would get a phone call from my mom where she would tell me that the doctor gave my dad 24 hours to live.

As soon as we got the call we headed to the hospital. I was in tears the entire time. The next hours were a blur of crying and waiting and praying. When we got to the hospital he could still respond a very little bit: he didn't talk at all, really, but he looked at us and could make noises in acknowledgment. That was around 6:30 pm on Friday. By noon on Saturday he wasn't responding at all anymore. From then on he was in a drug-induced sleep, because otherwise he was in too much pain. As the day went on, his breathing got worse and worse, and finally in the last few hours it seemed like any breath would be his last.

I can't even begin to describe how terrible it is to watch your father in so much pain, barely able to breathe anymore because one of his lungs has failed, and all of his organs shutting down, except for his stupid big strong heart. You don't want him to go, but you don't want him to stay in that suffering either. We prayed a lot for God to just take him home, to end the suffering.

36 hours after we arrived at the hospital, he breathed his last breath. I stood there and watched his soul leave his body. And in the two weeks since, it has been a series of moments where it hits me again that my dad isn't here anymore. The week it happened was so busy with planning the viewing and the funeral, and family coming around, and people texting and messaging condolences all day long, I didn't have time to really feel it. I thought about it but I didn't have time to feel it. Now the texts have stopped, and everyone else has forgotten, but now is when I can feel the hole. As I was finishing up this post, I was suddenly struck by the worst crying fit I've had since the hospital, just overcome by my grief.

There is some good news in all of this. My dad went to be with Jesus, and I have absolute complete assurance that I will be there with him someday. My dad has been completely healed of all cancer and pain and sadness and fear. We can rejoice because of the salvation we share.

We do not mourn like those who have no hope. We have the most incredible hope there is, and without it I can tell you that I would be the hugest wreck ever. Yes, I am so sad and I grieve, but I can go through my day and I am not overwhelmed.

I can still say that God is good and give him glory.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Progress report.

It is halfway through September (okay, over half but shhh) and I am taking a look at how I'm doing on the challenge that I posted at the beginning of the month.

Put things away, not down. I think that this is still going well. Yeah, I have a little bit of clutter here and there, but I have been so busy this month that I haven't had much time to do proper cleaning, and overall the house looks good. I'm getting back to my previous level of clean-freakness that I once had, and honestly I like it. There is something to be said for having a home that is comfortable to live in, isn't there? I've been to homes that are absolutely sterile, and you feel like you're in a hospital and you don't want to touch anything because you were a disease, and I've been to homes that made you feel like you were in a dump and you don't want to touch anything because you were going to get a disease. There certainly is a happy medium with comfortable and homey, isn't there?

30 letters in 30 days. This is going well! I have amended it to be 30 pieces of mail in 30 days, so that includes a swap or a postcard as well. I sent off a travelling scrapbook that I was part of that I had for the better part of a year! Yikes! I have been making very good progress at replying to my inbox, though, and that is great. I hate that I am such a slow responder. Currently there are 11 letters from before September 1 to reply to, and only 3 this month! 14 to go isn't bad!

Do 3 things a week that I have been putting off. Ha ha, that's funny, I totally forgot about this one! Oh well, 2 out of 3 isn't bad. And I still haven't done the thing that I was thinking of when I made that goal. C'est la vie, eh?

Social media fasting... meh. I broke and have been on Facebook, and while I have just glanced at the others, it has probably only been a total of 15 or 20 minutes for all of them combined this month, which I am terribly pleased with. YouTube usage has kind of risen a bit more (of course, what else would happen) but I caught myself so I think I have it under control now. Isn't that silly how when we cut out useless things, more useless things tend to pop up?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Confessions of a lazy lady and a challenge.



I am a lazy person.

This is the thing I like least about myself. I want to be a person that works out, cooks healthy and delicious meals, has an impeccable house, responds to letters in the same week they're received, volunteers tons at church, spends time connecting with friends, and has time to relax at the end of the day. Unfortunately, that is a level of perfection that just isn't in my reality. I am far too lazy to do all of these things. It's easier to just sit on the couch and veg on the Internet all evening. And really it is just because I'm lazy. I do have plenty of time to do all of these things! It's easier to choose the things that are lesser, and that is not how I want my life to be at all.

So I've decided to challenge myself to a couple things in September:

- Put things away, not down. I've been working on this already, and it has been helping the clutter level in my house, especially in my kitchen. My kitchen sets the tone for my whole house, I think. We all have those rooms, don't we?
- 30 letters in 30 days. I'm bringing it back. It was great in January, high time to do it again.
- Do 3 things a week that I've been putting off. Isn't it so annoying that there are always things we put off, when really it would take 20 minutes to just get it over with? Yeah, I'm gonna tackle some of those.

I'll also be fasting from social media in September. I'll still blog and be on Instagram, but so much of my time is spent on Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, Feedly, etc etc, and I need a break from those. We also cancelled our Netflix, which is such a huge time suck for me. I just watch things because they're there, not because it's any good. I once spent an hour watching a show about Australian mermaids - it was so cheesy and not worth my time at all, but it was there so I watched it. And Buzz Feed is the absolute worst when it comes to time sucking!! Just the other day I spent an entire evening reading one Buzz Feed article after another. There's 4 hours I'll never get back! I could have cleaned my entire house from top to bottom and still had time for a movie with Chris but no.

Time to get my rear in gear and stop wishing I had the perfect life. I have to make it if I want it to happen. Time to put off the things that hinder me.