Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Itchin' for a new kitchen

Think that title is good? You should hear me freestyle ;)

So part of what made us (mostly me) fall in love with our house was the kitchen. Exhibit A:

Wait! Just hear me out. 

The kitchens in the houses we saw seemed to fall into two categories: Kitchens that needed complete overhauls or kitchens that had already been updated but not in our style; the former would cost us way too much money and the latter would cost me too much guilt: I couldn't justify renovating a perfectly decent kitchen, especially one that other people would think was just lovely. 

So this one. This one was smack dab in the middle of yuck and ugly. The cupboards are decent: they just need some new paint and handles put in a spot that makes sense (what were those people thinking?). The configuration was the coveted work triangle and that window over the sink - perfection. But look more closely at the counter/backsplash...

It's 2x2 tiles. TILES! The idea of putting food or rolling dough out on those counters, getting food into those grout lines totally grossed me out (I'm sounding like Kimmie Gibbler now). The hygiene of them combined with the fact that they were just plain ugly made the decision easy: those counters had to go!

And then once that decision was made my mind, and my Pinterest button, went absolutely berserk. 

I'm sure everyone has already seen this gorgeous kitchen makeover by Sarah at Smitten Studio after it was posted on A Cup of Jo, but it has my heart so I had to share. Everything about it is perfect: the butcher block counters, the subway tile, the open shelves, that apron sink! 

· via ·

Beth's home is a great inspiration for me. She renovated her kitchen on a budget by painting her lower cabinet and then installing just new upper cabinets from IKEA. The mix of traditional and modern makes me swoon. Also, globe pendant.

· via ·

· via ·
Oh open shelves, how I love thee. I like how these ones pick up the warmth of the countertops and bring that look upward. Again, mixing the natural material of the wood with ultra-modern high gloss is genius - love it. 

· via ·
Wood floors, which cabinets, slight contrast with the white subway tiles and grout colour AND open shelves? This kitchen has it all.

· via ·
I'm loving the high contrast tile and grout in Daniel's new kitchen. Not only does it look great, but it's way easier to keep clean. When my pot of tomato sauce bubbles and hits the backsplash I can be sure it won't stain the grout. 

· via · 
We definitely won't be able to afford marble countertops, and this kitchen is a little too traditional for my liking, but it is quite the classy space. A girl can admire. 

And that's that - I'll be sure to share updates on our reno soon!

xo julia

Friday, 30 August 2013

Holy Shit We Bought a House!

Let's all just pretend I'm not the most inconsistent blogger on the Internet.

This summer has been a busy one. And while I usually feel like "busy" is just a terrible excuse for anything (because who isn't busy), I promise you, I was bu-sy.

You see, James (the husband) and I have been busy wading through the Toronto real estate market.

I'll break down how that goes:

Set budget
Realize that budget won't get you much in Toronto
Realize that budget won't get you anything in dream neighbourhoods/neighbourhoods you ever go to
Come to terms with it
Check out the 20 MLS listings sent by realtor daily
Visit about 10-12 houses a week
Try not to cry
Find amazing home
Go into 17-way bidding war (no, that is not a typo - there were 17 other offers)
Come in second place
Actually cry
Find out other house you love didn't sell on listing day
Put in offer
Cry (the happy tears)

Here's our little home - a 1926 red brick semi

All in all though, it wasn't half bad. We'd heard stories of buyers hunting for months and months looking for the "perfect" home, losing out on several bidding wars and then finally finding "The One" 8 months after first shaking their realtor's hand.

Us? We met our realtor and signed over the offer within 1 month. And agreed to a 1 month closing date.

Yep - that's us. When we decided we want something we do it/get it right away. Our first home took a short 2 months to become ours, and we couldn't be happier. Our house is just the right size for us, in a neighbourhood that's quite close to the action (I can still bike to work, restaurants, friends' pads), had a garage (major bonus) and enough of a yard to host summer dinner parties al fresco.

We're doing a few renovations here and there - nothing major. Ok, a little major will be going on in the kitchen. All of it should be done within the next couple of weeks, so I'll be sharing little snippets of what we've done along the way.

Now, I'm off to Home Depot for the 127th time.

xxo j

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Thieves and Bandits

You know what? I'm terrible at sticking to a schedule.

I'm 3 Joy Juices behind and I'm getting thirsty.

BUT, I'm not going to feel bad about it - because the sweet little P.S. at the bottom of my past email told me not to fret if I fall behind or need to skip a couple. Which left me feeling relieved and a little bit how does she know?!

No seriously. How?

Now, let's pick up where I left off last.

Here's my question:

What can I do in my current situation to be more joyful? To fully engage in my life just as it is?

Is it giving back? Is it pushing a boundary? Is it immersing myself in my creativity? Is it practicing self-love?

So, I thought about this for about 90 seconds before the siren call of the internet distracted me and I started clicking around the web again. I have the attention span of a goldfish. A goldfish with an iPhone. So I was clicking around some blogs and found this quotation that so perfectly speaks to me it's like my own mother said it.

· via ·

I read the quote an immediately thought "oh Eleanor Roosevelt - you're so wise. Always with the quotables." And then I read it again and realized, not Eleanor. Nope. That other Roosevelt.

But this quote so perfectly illustrates the root of any of my unhappiness: COMPARISON. This, my friends, is my "C word." Every time I feel great my inner other "C word" pipes up to compare me or my situation to someone else. 

If I look great in an outfit I imagine someone else looking better in it. If I have a big win in work, I imagine the people I went to school with having bigger, more glamourous wins at their agencies. I think of how I did it better last time, how she looked better before, how somewhere, someplace, someone else is doing something else better than me. 

And of course they are. And of course someone else would look better in this outfit that I'm sporting as I sit here and write this. But who the fuck cares? There's only one me, there's only one now, and to compare myself to anything or anyone else does nothing to help anyone. 

I need to appreciate what I have, practice gratitude and tell that bitch in my head to zip it because I'm talking and I've got some pretty nice things to say. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Busy Bee

I'm a couple of days late on my Joy Juice post, but I promise it was for a very-super-important, life or death reason: I was getting my tan on.

My parents participate in the second-largest human migration on the planet: Canadian retirees escaping to Florida during winter. I miss them tons while they're gone, but visiting them is a huuuuuuge perk!

· Clearwater Point · poolside bliss · oysters we gathered that morning · tanned toes ·

Now that I'm back home in Toronto and shivering, I can focus my attention back on this blog. 

Ok so this Joy Juice is about being busy and reminding me that being busy isn't the same as being on track. 

What does my schedule say that I care about? Is that true? Am I avoiding any big decisions or dream-chasing by saying "I'm just too busy?"

I enjoy being busy. In fact, I kind of need it. Once I stop for too long, I get antsy - I feel guilty about wasting the day. 

· via ·

My schedule mostly consists of working, cooking, seeing friends and family and yoga. My schedule says I care about relationships and that is 100% truth. 

My big questions are those big life decisions one is faced with when at my age. Should I get bangs? And how/where/and when do we buy a house? My schedule isn't stopping me from this at all, but there is one thing I've noticed:

I tend to do things for fear of "missing out."

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I go on trips because I don't want to miss out on seeing the world, I take risks because I don't want to miss out on reaping the rewards, I see my parents because I don't want to miss out making memories with them that I'll cherish forever. BUT, I think I need to learn to save time for myself. I'll say "yes" to drinks with friends, or a coffee date when sometimes all I want to do is stay home and watch a terrible chick flick. But I say "yes" because I feel guilty about staying home and doing nothing.

ermagerd i think I'm making a revelation here...

My schedule says I don't care enough about myself.

holy shit

I don't give myself enough alone time. And I love alone time. I lived alone for 3 years and adored every single minute of it. I got to know myself so well. Being alone is how I got myself here - to a place where I'm really really happy.

Ok, so here it is. I need to spend more time with me. I need to set aside more time to go to yoga all by my lonesome even if it means giving up on going out for that post-work drink. I also need to enjoy those nights my husband has to work late and spend them doing "me" things.

I'm my best company, and I can keep myself busy working on me thankyouverymuch. 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Awesome, opossum*

Every three days, I'll be posting my response to the Joy Juice journaling prompts I receive in my inbox on those mornings. 

Ok, folks. This one's the hardest yet.

I'm supposed to reflect on what makes me awesome.

· via · 

Seriously?! Could I please answer what makes me not awesome? Because that's a lot easier, amIright?

Why is pointing out what makes you so great so hard? I feel like when I was 8 this would have been so easy:

I'm awesome at: singing, dancing, making a house out of a cardboard box, following along to The Little Mermaid word by word, making friends, decorating hats, exploring the forest behind my house.

When I was 8, I was capitol "A" awesome. The shit, some might say. But then something happened.

We learn somewhere that celebrating ourselves isn't polite. True, we need to learn humility (because no one likes a brag), but it shouldn't be at the cost of our sincerest pride. We learn that it's ok to flaunt our faults, but wearing our awesome right on our chest makes us the Hester Prynne of the 6th grade. "Don't talk to her, she's awesome."

So here, now, I will shout my awesome loud and clear.


ummm...I'm really good at winging my eyeliner? (you know that's an awesome skill to master.)

Uhhhh...gosh this is hard.

Ok. I'm a great cook. I can bake too. Like, seriously. I'm confident in the kitchen and if you give my ingredients, I can whip them into something pretty great. Exhibit A (for awesome, obv) and B (bitch, please):

Those were some tasty tasty foods, says I. You can believe me.

Ok, but I must be great at more than just kitchen-y things.

I think I'm great at listening to my friends. I'm great at lending an ear if they have something they need to talk through. I give good insight and I try my best to not push my opinion on how they should handle the situation on them and let them do what they'd like with my advice.

I'm great at feeling things. If I'm sad, I cry. If I'm angry, I'll vent. If I'm happy, you'll know it. This may not seem like an awesome quality, but when the flip side is holding it all in, I think this is the better option. For me.

So how do I remind myself about how awesome I am when I forget? This one's easy: talk to my husband. He's my biggest fan and always holds me accountable. And he's always there to remind me I'm awesome even when I don't believe it at all.

Then he asks me to go bake him some cookies.

So, what's one thing that makes you awesome? And if you're less than stellar at winged eyeliner, check out Keiko's how to.

*An oppossum is NOT a possum, guys! Possums are Australian. Oppossums are North American. Basically an oppossum is to possums as alligators are to crocodiles. (I'm also awesome at knowing all the answerst.)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

No Bonnet Required

Truth be told, Easter isn't my favourite holiday. It's not my favourite anything really. It doesn't have the pumpkin-pie-comfort that comes along with Thanksgiving, no one gives me gifts like at Christmas (except for white chocolate bunnies*), and dressing up like one of the X-men really only works at Halloween.

But, Easter does have one thing going for it - the promise of warmer weather. And this year, that promise is truer than ever since the husband and I are hopping on a plane Friday morning and heading down to Florida to visit my parents.

Guess what? It's 25 (that celcius, friends) and sunny. It's alright to be jealous.

If I could run out right now and buy a brand new outfit to wear to Easter dinner, this is exactly what I'd pick up. Complete with the Dear Creatures dress and Swedish Hasbeens I've been coveting. (See? This is also why I dislike Easter...coveting is frowned upon).
No Bonnet Required

· shopping deets ·

What are your feelings about Easter? Are you a fan, or can the bunnies keep it?

*Whoever told my aunt that I love white chocolate, could you please fix this? It's gross and not actually chocolate at all.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Best Intentions

Every three days, I'll be posting my response to the Joy Juice journaling prompts I receive in my inbox on those mornings. 

This one's about intentions.

Intention: an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.

Like, I intended to do laundry this weekend but I realized I had 2 more thongs tucked in back of my sock drawer so really, why bother?

Or, I intend to go to the party and only have 2 manhattans. (hahahahaha, right)

But no, not like those at all. The intention I'm talking about here is less "quantifiable." It's more a long-term goal. A "putting it out there" vibe, if you will.

· via ·

From what I understand of it (read: what Google tells me), setting an intention is basically assuming the outcome of something. In laylady's terms: you reap what you sow.

What is my intention for this year?
I'm not making goals here. If I were, my goal this year would be "buy an adorable house." My intention is something completely different.

My intention is to think more positively. To let the negative thoughts roll off my back, leaving room for only the positive. This is sure to create a domino effect, right? Like one where I give people the benefit of the doubt? Where I figure people think I'm great unless otherwise explicitly stated? It must.

How can I practice setting intentions in my day-today and remind myself of my practice gently?
Here's what I'm going to each morning: Tell myself "I'm going to have a great day"

How can I encourage others to share their intentions?
By being awesomely happy.

BUT, I could also encourage others to share their intentions here. If anyone's even reading! So, what are your intentions?
Site Design By Designer Blogs