Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sporting Life 10K!

Guess who is a crazy person and signed up for a 10K race on a whim today?
*points at self*

Yup. Today at work I came across some website talking about the Sporting Life 10K Run for Kids with Cancer and somehow I was so inspired I signed up! I have never run a 10K before, but I have done two 5Ks, so I think with training I can manage to run an extra 5K.

Did I also mention that the race is on my birthday? Normally I wouldn't want to torture myself on my birthday, but for the past few weeks I have really been working to find a balance with food and exercise in my life and I don't think there is any better start to my 27th year than doing this run.

I thought I would share the training program I am going to use. I tried to find a good Ipad app but I really couldn't find the right one for me (and I didn't want to pay for an app without seeing it if worked for me). I didn't want to do a Couch to 10K program because I can already run 30 minutes without stopping, on a good day. I did find this one online for free called "Bridge to 10K". It is great because it is only 6 weeks long (I have 10 weeks to whip my butt into shape), it is designed for people that can run 5K (I can!), and is only 3 days a week!

The Program:
Each workout includes a 5 minute warmup walk and 5 minute cooldown walk
Week 1 Duration: 53 min.
Run 10 min/walk 1 min Repeat x 4.
Week 2 Duration: 57 min.
Run 15 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 3.
Week 3 Duration: 63 min.
Run 17 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 3.
Week 4 Duration: 66 min.
Run 18 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 3.
Week 5 Day 1: Duration: 55 min. Run 22 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 2.Day 2: Duration: 61 min. Run 25 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 2.Day 3: Duration: 71 min. Run 30 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 2.
Week 6 Duration: 70 min.
Run 60 min.

Today I did my first workout and it was HARD. I wasn't in the mood to work out and it was 10 minutes longer than I would normally run for on a treadmill. But I stuck with it and in the end I had gone 6.4km!! I work much better with set goals and I like working in times rather than distances because it is easier for me to track.

I plan to do my run 3 days a week and add in weight training 2-3 days a week to build up my strength.

My goal is to do the 10K in under 1 hour because the registration made me say how long I would take to run it so I said under 1 hour because I had NO idea how long it takes me to run 10K. haha. So 1 hour is my goal! However being able to finish the run is the most important thing to me right now, even if I am not that fast.

Right now I am working on the treadmill because I don't like running in the cold or the dark (#canadianproblems). But hopefully once it warms up I will be able to hit the pavement for some "real" running. Maybe when my 6 weeks of this program are up!

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bathroom Plans Update #999,999

Since I have only done less than a billion posts about my ever-changing bathroom plans, I thought I would do another one for you! My contractor/best friend's girlfriend (so convenient- haha) was here on the weekend to measure out my sink for me (FYI- it is the oh-so-standard width of 33 5/8ths). She also confirmed that my sink counter IS poorly constructed so I am not crazy for wanting to replace it. Thank you, Ky!

We even had fun laughing at the drunk caulking job in the bathtub. Oh condo builders, are there any corners you won't cut?

Current Bathroom

I figured out what to do with storage and Ky agreed that it makes a lot more sense! I am going to get a horizontal medicine cabinet! Ikea sells my current cabinet as a horizontal model (my current model seems no longer available).
Lillangen Wall Cabinet
It is $60, but Ky also thinks we can easily flip mine with some new hardware and a new shelf. We measured and it will fit great.

For the record (because I like to give credit where I can), I was inspired by this image of Kelsey's bathroom on Apartment Therapy:

When I saw this it was like a lightbulb went off in my head! A horizontal cabinet would maximize the space better (no dead space on either side).

I also plan to add two shelves above the medicine cabinet for towels and one below for some extra pretty storage. Trust me, there is a lot of room (and my towels are white and crisp and pretty to look at). I will then remove the shelving from the opposite side of the room (where my towels currently reside). Less shelves all over the walls= illusion of more storage. Sha-bam.

I didn't want to get another see-through cabinet but the solid versions of this cabinet are unattractive to me. I may try beefing up the film on it. And if I decide I want the wood-look more (I have been loving the warmth of wood lately), I can add those veneer sheet things they sell at Home Depot to it. Ky also suggested I could change up my vanity base with that too, but I would need new cabinet doors because they aren't flat. However flat cabinet doors match the condo style better (it's sleek) so who knows where I will go.

Ooh! and in other updates- how sexy is this colour?

Source (not original?)
It is Benjamin Moore Smokestack Grey. Looks great with white trim and beige-ish floor, so perhaps it would beautiful in my bathroom with the beige tile in the shower? methinks!

So next step! Go to various places that well countertops and price out a new countertop! Fingers crossed for a good deal!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Free Printable! Kitchen Art!

When I was a kid, one of my favourite books was this cardboard book called Little Hedgehog Helps Out (I found just it online and some crazy people are asking up to $200 for this book?! What?!). Basically the story was about a hedgehog helping out with the household chores and then in the end they eat cupcakes and cookies. It was the best story ever because I always wanted those desserts! My favourite part at the end, however, was when my mom and I would recite 'Eat! Mange! Essen!" which is English, French, and German for get your cupcake on :P

(It wasn't part of the book- I guess my mom added it in to teach me how to get food in other countries. I am also unsure of the conjugation of Essen, since I never learned German but I chose to keep it as my mom said it)

I wanted to add a bit of art to my kitchen for awhile now, but never really had a spot (there are no free walls in the kitchen). But wait a minute- I have a whole fridge in my kitchen! So I whipped together this quick PDF of my favourite book memory to add as art to the kitchen!

I only wish I had a frame to put it in. You could attach a frame to a fridge with Command picture hanging hooks and voila: Fridge art!

If you like my little art, feel free to download it for yourself by clicking the link below:

Eat Mange Essen Printable

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mini Weekend Project- Scarf Storage

Anyone who knows me knows I love scarves. I have a huge collection and I often switch them out to compliment my outfits. I find outerwear boring, so I love the pop of a colourful scarf to bring some fun to it! Plus, they keep your neck warm. Win-Win.

However, my scarves have been slowly taking over the hooks in the closet that were designated "scarf hooks" when I moved in.

Because, you see, a girl needs warm scarves and light scarves, and every colour imaginable. Obviously. I did go through a get rid of some I rarely wore, but I still had more scarves than hooks!

For Christmas, my dad ended up getting me two different scarf hangers. Apparently he didn't even notice until wrapping them. Haha. I gifted one to a friend and kept one for myself. I decided to move them out of this closet because hanging them behind the coats would add so much bulk and not easily accessible.

By using a command hook, I have been able to hang them in the laundry closet instead! Still accessible (it is the same closet system) and oh so pretty to pet and coo over. I love my scarves! I can't wait until it is warmer so I can bust out the lighter-weight ones again. And notice all the unused holes on this hanger- oh yes, that is an excuse to buy new ones I thinks.

Now my closet seems to have SO much more breathing room! I kept my knitted cowl scarf in there because it is my go-to winter scarf and not meant for a hanger like my new one (you can see it on the left of the closet).

I have plans for those old hooks too! And then I plan to tackle the mess of those shelves in the closet (I need to stop saving old purses- I never re-use them) and adding more storage!

Did you do any quick organizational projects this weekend? Doesn't it feel great to better organize all that clutter??

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chicken and Stuffing Bake!

Since coming back from Chicago, I have decided to take charge of my health and try some new dishes and healthy meals. All that deep dish pizza needs to be banished from my hips!

Today's new recipe is Chicken and Stuffing Bake from the Ultimate Low-Calorie Book by Better Homes and Gardens. I picked it up for $6 last time I was at Homesense. This one seemed perfect for satisfying my love of carbs and it uses chicken or turkey. I recently found out that I have developed an allergy to shrimp (so sad!!!) so I am trying to find non-shrimp recipes.

You also need Cream of Chicken Soup. My can missed the call for the photoshoot!
Main Dish:
1     Cup Water
1     Cup Chopped Red Sweet Pepper
1/2  Cup Chopped Onion
1/2  Cup Uncooked Rice (I used brown)
1     8 Ounce Package of Herb-Seasoned Stuffing Mix
2     Cups Water (yes, it repeats but they come in at different parts)
4     Cups Diced Cooked Chicken or Turkey
3     Eggs, Lightly Beaten
1/2  Can of the Healthiest Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup You Can Find

1/2  Cup Light Sour Cream
1/4  Cup Fat-Free Milk
1/2  Can of Soup Used Above

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Celsius. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to boil. Add rice, onion, and red pepper and reduce heat to simmer and cover for 20 minutes.

While that is cooking, cook your meat however you like to cook it. I just fried mine in a pan.

While the meat is cooking, combine the stuffing, 2 cups of water, 3 eggs, and half of the can of soup in a large bowl and mix. Add chicken and rice mixture once they are cooked and mix.

Grease a large baking dish (I used a non-stick) and evenly spread your mixture into it. Place in oven for 35- 40 minutes. The instructions did not specify whether to cover so I left mine overcovered and it turned out fine!

While your dish is cooking, make the sauce! Add the leftover soup to the sour cream and milk in a sauce pan and heat up, stirring occasionally (this only takes a few minutes so you can leave it until the dish is out and cooling).

Take your dish out of the oven and inhale the delicious stuffing smell!

Add sauce to dish and serve to hungry people (or one Casey). This dish said it makes 8 servings and usually I laugh at that, but this made quite a bit of food and is quite filling so I may actually be able to stretch it out for a few yummy days!

It was SO yummy! I will definitely make it again and maybe even try altering it a bit (like cheese instead of the sour cream sauce and adding more veggies in).

Nutritional Information (per serving)
- 367 cals
- 10g of total fat (3g saturated)
- 149mg cholesterol
- 664mg sodium
- 38h carbs
- 3g dietary fibre
- 28g protein

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I am back from my weekend in Chicago!! Veronica and I had soo much fun visiting our friend Olga (who lives in Mexico, but was there on business). We had all these plans to do touristy type things, but we honestly spent the whole weekend eating and shopping! Kind of my dream weekend :)

On the first night there (Friday) we joined Olga and some of her work friends at Kingston Mines, a blues club. The music was great and the atmosphere was also amazing! The place was large and had 2 stages with live music alternating on each. It was busy, but we never had to wait long for a drink (woohoo!).

The bars are open late in Chicago (I never could get a solid answer on when they close) and we ended up staying here until about 2:30am, which is 3:30am Toronto time! Considering I had been up at 6:00am for work that day I am surprised I survived!

We then went back to our hotel for a good sleep-in. We stayed at the Club Quarters on Wacker, which was amazingly cheap ($70 a night!) and very upscale and right on the river! The rooms are small, because they are designed for business travellers, but it was quite nice for us. Our view was great:

After sleeping in Sunday, we went in search of breakfast. Originally we wanted to go to this breakfast place called Wildberry, near the park, but it was an HOUR wait. Unable to wait that long for pancakes we backtracked down Michigan Ave and found a place called Sweetwater Tavern and Grill. The food there was very yummy and they even had gluten free options for Veronica.

After lunch, we got down to some serious shopping on The Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave). It was exceedingly cold out so indoor activities were a must!
We totes should have bought these glasses

Olga and I decided that cupcakes for lunch were in order as well!

Mmm that cupcake was dang good! It took me two days to eat the whole thing!

Saturday night we ended up back at Sweetwater for dinner with Olga and her friends. We got there around 8:15pm, but weren't seated until 9:00pm due to a group refusing to leave even after paying their bill (don't they know about the importance of turning tables?). The staff were so apologetic for our long wait and brought us FOUR free appetizers! I loved this place. It was then another fun night full of too many drinks and fun conversation. Our group included people from the US, South Africa, England, Sweden, and us Canadians, so I am sure we raised a few eyebrows when we got ID'd (They ID everywhere there)

On Sunday the weather was a little nicer so we took a walk over to the Bean for some photos before doing more shopping.

Then we headed to Uno Pizzeria for some deep dish pizza! We were a little disappointed because their website had tons of Gluten Free options, but the actual restaurant we went to did not. Veronica had a salad, but I just wanted to warn people who go to Chicago and hope to get gluten free options there! The rest of us shared this gloriousness:

I actually managed two slices before admitting defeat!

Olga had to leave at 5:00pm to head back to her training centre for work outside of Chicago so we hugged her tightly goodbye and then returned to our hotel. Not really wanting to spend the evening in, Veronica and I decided to go to a comedy show. However the show was sold out (on a Sunday night!) and we ended up at this weird small Second City show that neither of us really enjoyed. We topped off our evening with a few drinks and nachos before retiring for the night.

Monday morning we decided to try Wildberry again and there was only a 25 minute wait so we decided to wait. We sure were glad we did!! I had this amazing caramel apple pecan french toast and Veronica had a egg dish with a side of gluten free honeycakes! They tasted so amazing that neither of us could believe they were gluten free.

Sidenote- I am shocked by the amount of food I ate in Chicago. I am usually a person that cleans their plate (I love food!) but I was seriously defeated by portion size time and time again in this city. Where DO Chicagoans pack it all??

We then went shopping (obviously) and went a little crazy at some President's Day sales before heading back to the airport to fly back to Toronto. We got pretty peeved off at United Airlines because they didn't have enough overhead for our carry-ons so they offered to check them. We have done this while flying before and they always bring the checked carry-ons to the gate when you land but THIS time we had to go to baggage claim! They didn't even warn us when we checked them that they would do that. Then they took FOREVER to unload our bags so we got o delayed arriving home.

But other than that we had an amazing time. I just hope Olga's work sends her somewhere warmer next time ;)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Winter Blahs

I am so ready for winter to be over! I need SUN and WARMTH in my life. I want to leave the house without bundling up! I want to lie on the rooftop patio and read junk magazines! But alas, there are a couple more months of cold days to suffer through.

I think I have been compensating for this loss of sun by shopping- you know, bringing some sunshine into my condo! I can't help but notice that so many of my last few posts have been about things I have bought for the condo. Yikes- need to reel that spending in!

However, I do want to share my latest purchase- new bowls!

Ahh they are so pretty! I found them for $10 (for all four) at HomeSense last weekend. I try not to bring in excessive things to the condo because of storage, but in this case my old bowls were falling apart (they were plastic) so it was totally time to upgrade!

I have been putting them to good use:

My favourite breakfast as of late has been greek yogurt with honey, berries, and muesli cereal! It is sooo yummy and keeps me full until lunch! I just wish I had bought bigger bowls so I could fit more of this deliciousness in there!

Side note- why is it so hard to find large containers of greek yogurt? All the grocery stores I go to only sell 500g tubs! I seriously go through two a week (oh how I wish greek yogurt was cheaper). However I recently found out the random grocery store by the condo sells 750g tubs! They only have coconut flavour, which I normally wouldn't go for, but it is oh so yummy! It seriously makes getting up on dark, cold mornings so much better.

Anyway, I think the best plan for when the winter blues starts to get you down is to spend more times with friends and get out of your hermit cave. Taking my own advice into account, I am going to Chicago this weekend with some friends! That way I can be cold in a different country...oh wait...

Happy long weekend everyone! See you back here on Tuesday!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why I Chose Not To Get a Murphy Bed

When I bought this ridiculously tiny condo 3 years, a lot of people told me to get a Murphy Bed system (or hide-a-bed, or wall-bed...whatever you want to call it). I actually considered it myself, and shopped around for some ideas/prices.

One of the major early factors in my choice not to get one was the price! A lot of the systems I found were $2000! Plus the majority of Murphy Bed systems are based on a vertical system, but I would need a horizontal style so my bed could fold up on its side- that narrowed my store-bought options. And then I considered a DIY option, but I have cement walls. Anchoring a bed to a cement wall? Yikes.

And even then, I just didn't find it practical for my lifestyle. I couldn't fathom a time where I would need to roll up my bed to wall to regain the 24 sq ft hiding under it. My bed actually provides extra seating during my very few get-togethers and I use the area beneath it for storage! (I actually had the same thoughts on futons, daybeds, and sofs beds- I would rarely transform it to the non-bed option because I entertain here infrequently). I feel very lucky to be able to fit my bed into the condo without needing to store it anywhere when I have guests.

That being said, I do see the appeal of putting one in a office or guest room where it will not be used as an every day bed. I also love how neat they are and how many options there are on the market for a unique look!

So let's all enjoy some Murphy Bed eye candy!
And last, but not least:
Have you ever used a Murphy Bed? Or even own one?

PS- Happy Valentine's Day! I will be spending today at my friend's house, eating junk food and having fun! I hope you have fun as well!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Put the "Cake" Back in Pancake {Pancake Cupcakes}

I am not religious- except when it comes to pancakes. So when I heard it was Shrove Tuesday (AKA Pancake Tuesday) I decided pancakes were on the menu for dinner! But I had just had pancakes on Sunday and I wasn't really in a pancake-y mood. I thought to myself "what could make pancakes better?". I kind of wanted waffles, but I don't have a waffle iron.  And then it hit me- Pancake Cupcakes!!

I didn't know if it was even possible to make pancake cupcakes, but a quick Google search assured me at least a couple of people had attempted this and succeeded! I used this recipe by Brown Eyed Baker, but I cut it in half because I am one person, not a pancake-eating machine (multiple pancake eating contests as a child proved this point). It made about 7-8 small cupcakes (probably 6 in a normal cupcake tin).

Full Recipe From Brown Eyed Baker:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups whole milk
2 eggs
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a standard muffin pan with liners and then spray the liners with non-stick spray (important step!).
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; set aside. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the milk and eggs, then stir in the melted and cooled butter. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk together until just moistened and combined. Like pancakes, lumps are okay! Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake until puffed and firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes and then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: when I was measuring out my butter, this happened:

Yup, I broke my metal tablespoon while measuring butter. Which makes me think that they need to rethink the phrase "cuts like butter", because clearly butter is lethal (to measuring spoons). Or at least the really old butter I got from the back of my fridge is lethal.

Anyways, broken tablespoons aside, I forged ahead and loaded my batter into the cupcake maker and crossed my fingers!

Yes, I have a cupcake maker. I got it for Christmas and it is actually pretty awesome. This was it's maiden voyage into making cupcakes for me!

7 minutes later- I opened it and found this:

6 perfect-looking pancake cupcakes! Oh my goodness it worked!

I wasn't going to make icing for them, because these are my dinner (and somehow pancakes are healthier than cupcakes in my mind). But I figured you can't go this far into making pancake cupcakes and not go all the way! So I mixed together some icing sugar, maple syrup, and a touch of milk and made a drizzle (no recipe here, just mixed in a bowl until the consistency felt right).

Let me tell you- they were actually amazing. I gobbled them up like I hadn't eaten all day! I found them also to be a touch eggy in taste (but cooked right through!) so if you don't like eggs you can try a different recipe.

I also think they would have been amazing with crumbled bacon on top, but alas, no bacon in the condo!

Do you celebrate Shrove Tuesday and get down with your pancake self for dinner last night?? Are you giving up anything for Lent? My religious adherence only goes as far as eating pancakes...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Renting Vs. Buying: What No One Tells You About The Costs of Home Ownership

This subject has been done to death. Search anywhere on the internets and you can probably find a list of pros and cons for renting vs. buying. However, considering I have now been a homeowner for about 3.5 years and I was a renter for 3.5 years, I feel like I have a balanced view on the subject. For starters, I am not pro-owning (I am not con-owning either- to each their own! I am just trying to remain objective here). I actually firmly believe there are a lot of benefits to renting such as:
  • Stable payments
  • Worry-free, low maintenance living
  • Chance to live in different areas of town
  • More affordable in some areas
  • Low commitment
I jumped into home ownership overnight (literally- please see this post). I was 23 and I decided one day to buy a condo, and within two weeks I had bought one! It was crazy and 100% not a bright idea. I love love love my condo now, but it was basically a really tough transition for me. With a lot of people my age looking into buying, I thought I would do a quick write up of the realities of home ownership and why it is not necessarily better than renting.

1. It Is Expensive
Probably more expensive than you think! First you have your closing costs, and then you need to start paying mortgage payments, maintenance fees, property taxes, hydro, and general maintenance of your space! There are also a lot of unexpected costs. For instance, because my condo was a relatively new build (I am the second owner) the property taxes hadn't been assessed yet. The seller's portion of expected taxes was taken off the sale price, so I didn't exactly get a wad of cash for them. And then when the back taxes were owed, I ended up paying owing about $500 a month for 6 months. That means 68% of my income was going to my mortgage, maintenance fees, taxes, and hydro. SIXTY EIGHT PERCENT! Once it was paid off, I ended up owing no taxes for a year because I overpaid (it is through my mortgage company and they only reassess every 6 months). Even still, I was spending around 50% of my income on just living costs. Insanity! Luckily I have a much higher income now, but it is still shocking that I survived that time without going into debt!

You may not think of this when buying a condo- but maintenance fees can go up! My condo fees went up around 25-29% two years in a row! That was an unexpected expense that I suddenly had to adjust for! It wasn't a huge impact in a small condo like mine, but in a larger unit it could be quite substantial.

Other costs? Closing costs when you buy and sell can be quite high! Plus if you don't put 20% down you need to pay money to the CMHC as "insurance" for being a higher risk mortgagee. That meant about $4000 added to my mortgage!

Lastly, you can't rule out maintenance costs of a home. My condo is still only 5 years old so it is in great shape, but you never know when something expensive will hit and you have to pay for the repair or replacement of that broken item!

2. You Might Not Make Money
Everyone talks about owning a house vs. renting as being the better choice financially. Renting is thought of as "throwing your money away". I find this ridiculous! If I add up the amount I spend per month on interest on the mortgage, maintenance fees, property taxes, and utilities it is roughly $1000!! I could get a decent place for $1000 a month, especially if I shared. That is money that I will not see a return on!

And I should add in here- for people that own homes versus condos- I do have maintenance fees, but my utilities and insurance (and probably property taxes) are much lower than a house. I think a house would actually be more expensive than my maintenance fees.

You then might argue that I can sell my place and make a profit. This is true- if I am lucky. But if you take into account that I have spent $12,000 a year NOT on the principal of my mortgage, that is $36,000 over 3 years. Lemme tell you, while I have been lucky enough to see growth in my condo's value, it is not $36,000. So I really don't think I am making money so much as breaking even on my investment. I actually have a spreadsheet on what I need would need to sell for (after closing costs!) to break even. If I had spent $1000 on rent and invested the difference (ie- my actual principal payments) I would probably have close to the same net worth as I have now. I did the math! The return on my principal payments vs. the increase in value of the condo is about a 6% return, before closing costs. My closing costs would eat up most of my return. Better than market rates right now, but it can be completely eroded in the market quite fast.

Plus, when you sell you can lose 5% of the value to just the realtors' fees. Yikes! Of course...that assumes the value of your home doesn't fall. Then YOU actually have to write a cheque to sell your place. There used to be a show on HGTV called My First Sale and I saw a lot of those people going into the red in an attempt to sell their homes because values had dropped to less than they owed/closing costs.

I realize that with renting you never get your money back- but you are also buying a roof over your head while you live there. I have term insurance that makes no money and I will never get a return on, but it serves a purpose. Keep it in perspective!

3. You Have to Commit
It is really hard to overhaul the home you buy- and even harder to move it to another location! They say to make your investment worth it (in terms of all the costs associated with it), you need to own the place for about 5 years. I was a little naive when I bought my condo. I thought I would live here for a couple of years and then meet Mr. Right and move into a bigger place and rent this one out. Little problem though- where do I expect to get my next down payment when I am putting a lot of extra savings into my mortgage? Luckily (?) Mr. Right has been elusive so I have been quite happy here for 3 years and maybe I will make it to 5!

All said, I do enjoy owning my own place. I just want to get the message out there that it is not the cash cow that everyone thinks it is! Renting a place is not throwing away your money because it has a lot of benefits and offers a lot of peace of mind! I can't even imagine what I would have done in those early years if I had lost my job or become incapable of working- I could NOT save a large enough emergency fund with the payments I was making.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mixing Patterns and Colours: Trial and Error!

I am not a home designer. I have no training and I really prefer to just flip through the magazines for pretty pictures than to read the "rules". And even if I really knew the rules, I would probably think I was breaking them in a trendy way- but it is probably just a hot mess!

Case in point this week: My couch throw pillows:

I made these pillows last summer using some napkins I got on sale at Home Outfitters and I really liked them. But after months of having them in the condo I have realized they just don't go with my ottoman!

I live in a tiny condo (as you know) and when I recovered the ottoman I should have realized I was committing to the colours and pattern in it. The ottoman is a focal point in this room and the items I choose to go in the condo should compliment it, not compete! So while I liked the napkin throw pillows, their neon colours and small, busy pattern just did not compliment the busy pattern and muted colours of the ottoman.

If you have a large living room, you may have more of a chance to take risks here. But my "living room" is about 65 sq ft, plus it is open to all other rooms, so I need to plan these things out better.

What I needed were throw pillows that were more muted and had a larger pattern so that everything would not be crazy-town pattern in here!

On the weekend my friend Steph and I walked over to Home Sense and I managed to the score the perfect throw pillow!

It has a bit of a non-uniform chevron pattern going on, and by complete coincidence the neutral greige (grey-beige) colour matches the couch! It also has a soft turquoise that goes with the turquoise in the ottoman and an awesome hit of coral (and who doesn't love coral?).

See? This is much more visually appealing now! I hope I am getting better with this coordination business! It is so much harder in a small place like mine because you really have to commit to one look so everything in cohesive! Next up, I need to find some more coral so my pillow connects with another part of the room (perhaps on the bed?).

Oh and for the record, this pillow was also on sale for $23 versus $30. Woohoo for sale items!
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