Friday, January 31, 2014

Cutting Board Storage

I use my cutting boards a lot, so I need them easily accessible. My dad got me three small ones for Christmas, which was great but they were kind of adding to the visual clutter around my countertops and stove top.

In a small space, you gotta go vertical- so I decided I wanted to hang a hook above the knives so that I can hang the cutting boards from them. Except I didn't want to drill a hole into the wood (the knife rack is a great option for any future owner...hook for cutting boards may be just a Casey thing). So I ended up looking at Command Strips' line of metallic hooks (I should seriously be sponsored by Command Strips). I found a square I really liked, but it was $15, which seemed a bit redonk for a hook so I ended up getting this small, but still nice one.

And just a few minutes later I had cutting board storage!

FYI- The microwave door doesn't hit it (I tested that out first before I placed it).

So there you are! A quick little Friday post about how I solved a little problem in the kitchen. Any tips to share on tiny kitchen storage?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Broom There It Is

I feel like 10% of my blog posts are me talking about how busy I am. I feel like my life goes in cycles of sitting on my butt and running around like a crazy lady. Definitely in crazy mode right now! For instance, I bought a few things for my January Cure stuff and then never installed them/used them/put them away. I am seriously so behind on my list that I think it will take me until next January to finish. However, I have been having a lot of fun with trips to DC and just a bunch of plans with friends so I am not complaining- I love when I am busy with friends! I love that people actually like to hang out with me in real life.

But then that just seems to go hand in hand with ignoring my bloggy friends...that is not good either. So I did a project! JUST FOR YOU! Just was totes for me :)

I really want to organize my front hall closet better. It is my only closet and every time I get something out of it things fall everywhere. Basically it is full of coats and shoes, but also a vacuum, broom, swiffer, and a giant level. I decided to better organize by moving some of that useful, but messy, junk to the other closet!

More specifically...this door in front of the washer/dryer.

Right now it holds a ridiculously large collection of scarves, but it really wasn't the best use of the back of this door. So I decided to head out and find a storage mechanism where you can snap poles into a holder. In my head I called this a broom holder and I was 99% it was a real thing and not something I imagined. I walked around Canadian Tire for a long time, and almost gave up hope, but I finally found the magical broom holder! It was $10 and over by the mop section (shocking).

I hung it a bit higher on the door to cover up some damaged paint. I used #6 plugs (the door is hollow) and #8 screws. Why do #6 screws never seem secure? Is it just me? Anyway, it feels pretty snug on there now, but it isn't holding much weight so I am not too concerned!

Shazzaam! Organization!! And yes, the door just barely closes! Stupid giant swiffer :) Now it will be much easier to get these things in an out and not having them constantly falling out of the closet. All that is left to do is figure out how to make them clean the floors without me getting up!

Just so this doesn't look like the easiest project ever (gotta keep things real), you need to know the following:
- My drill was dead (as usual) and I drilled this with my power screw driver (which is never dead, by some miracle). I love hollow doors when I compare them to the nightmare of cement walls!
- I originally used #6 screws, but it felt like I could pull it right off the door so I took them all out and replaced them with #8s, which I luckily had on hand
- I took the mirror and chalk basket down on the wall behind so I could apply maximum pressure to the door while drilling. And the mirror fell on my head in the process. I have a big bump :( Send get-well candy

So there you go- even the simplest project is usually calamity for me! This is why I need so much time between projects :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Washington DC!

I am trying to fit my weekend adventure into one post, so please bare with me on all my pictures :)

Sarah and I took off for a girl's weekend in Washington DC this past weekend and we had SUCH a crazy good time!!! We arrived Thursday night and checked into our hotel, which we had booked based on it's low price on Expedia- The Renaissance. It was sooo nice and we had no complaints about our stay there!! We stayed in an area of town called Foggy Bottom, which made us giggle, but was also a great location for getting around town easily. That night we went out for a very late dinner and a celebratory beer at Founding Farmers- I actually tried a lot of local beers on my weekend in DC, but do not ask me what I had because I can barely remember.

The next day we had a leisurely sleep in until 9am (a lot of museums open at 10am) and then we went on a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and learned how money is printed! Pretty cool tour and also free so worth a stop. Almost all the museums and government tours are free so Washington was an amazing place to shove in a lot of knowledge :). After The Bureau we went to the Holocaust Museum next door- it really is an amazing place. There is not much I can say on it except that you have to go when you are there. We left with heavy hearts and wandered out afterwards for our next stop. After a quick food-court stop we walked over to the Natural History Museum. We thought we would only have time to do one museum a day so getting to see more was pretty nice.

The Museum was definitely interesting, even if our feet were getting tired. They had a whole section on genetics that was really interesting and they had volunteers in who were doing an experiment about genetic traits and we mapped some of ours and added it to the list they had going. They had sections on all sort of things- the ocean, dinosaurs, bones, mammals, insects, gems, and the evolution of man.

After the Museum we travelled down the subway for our night tour of the city by Old Town Trolley. Side note- Sarah and I were so confused about how to pay for the subway and at one point in our trip we got a free ride somehow! But we figured it out by the end! Before our tour we went to The Dubliner, where we each had the most gigantic chicken pot pies! But then we got right on our tour at 7:30pm. It was highly educational and entertaining- but the coldest I have ever been in my LIFE. The bus was fine, as the windows were covered in thick plastic, but every time we got out at a stop we would hurry over to the memorial, take photos, and then scurry back on the bus. brrrr! Our bus driver (Jason- he does Friday & Saturday night tours and is awesome), even dropped us right back at our hotel at 11pm and we went to bed very tired from our first day!!

Saturday dawned cold again (it was supposed to be somewhat warm this weekend but it never happened). We headed over early to the Library of Congress to squeeze in a quick look around before our scheduled tour of Capitol Hill. We both really enjoyed the library- it was STUNNING! And the Capitol Hill tour was very educational and our tour guide was great on this as well.

After our tour was over we headed over to the Air and Space Museum! Our legs were so sore at this point, and it is a big museum, but we took our time and tried to see everything. It takes you right through from early technologies in flight to space ships- the Apollo 11 and the Wright Brother's plane is even there!

After the museum we were exhausted, but not willing to call it a day yet! So we took took the subway back to Foggy Bottom and walked over to Georgetown, which is a scenic street for shopping. The only thing I bought was an amazing white coat I picked up from Banana Republic- $40 marked down from $250 (It was this coat, which apparently is $310 in Canada??)!! Sarah had the amazing idea that we should buy a pie and just chill in the hotel for the night so we walked down to Pie Sisters and picked up a selection of mini-pies. We saw Georgetown Cupcakes from the TV Show (I have never seen it, but Sarah had), but the line was huuuuuge. I recommend the pie store ;). We then went for dinner at Clydes and I had a scrumptious crab cake/brussels sprouts dish.

I swear Sarah and I barely made it home after dinner- our legs were just completely shot from two days of solid walking. I seriously felt like Frodo walking up Mt Doom. We had planned to go out for a drink Saturday night but that clearly wasn't happening. We spent our evening eating pies (I had jumbleberry and caramel apple- the jumbleberry was the favourite of both Sarah and myself) and watching the X Games on ESPN.

Sunday morning we woke up to another cold day- though not as windy, which was nice! We walked from the hotel to the White House for a few photos (they no longer have tours open to the public unless you book over a month in advance with your embassy). We really wanted to get a cheesy "oval office" photo op done at the visitors center but it was closed for renovations!! So sad.

After the White House we decided to walk down to the American History Museum, which originally wasn't on our list of museums, but we had completed all the must-sees and our Trolly Tour Guide on Friday raved about this one, plus we had heard good things from others. It actually was pretty great- and allowed us some much needed cheesy photo ops :) After this museum, we stopped in at the Postal Museum, which is smaller, but still pretty interesting!

By this point our legs had given up on life once more so we headed back to the hotel for a nap! We thought we might be just DONE for the weekend, but we had a second wind after our naps and headed for a walk out to the see the Jefferson Memorial, which was one our trolley tour didn't do. We had hoped to do a whole walk of the National Mall (where all the monuments and memorials are), but it was pretty cold and we were pretty tired- we were very glad to have seen a whole lot of them on our night tour!

After that we walked to Old Ebbit Grill for dinner! I had a salmon fettuccine, which was alright, but Sarah said she loved her cod, and the restaurant was really nice and we were glad we had stopped in. And next door was the bar that we had planned to go to Saturday night- POV! It was completely dead on a Sunday at 7pm, but the views up there were pretty amazing for a city with no tall buildings (see photo of the Washington Monument above!). There is also a great patio, that overlooks the White House and is heated in the winter, so it is bigger than it seems. We each had one overpriced, but delicious, drink and then headed back to our hotel. On our way back we picked up milkshakes from Burger Tap & Shake by our hotel- totally amazing and I definitely recommend the place!

Then it was early to bed because we had to be up early for our flight home! We spent a bleary-eyed morning at the airport, where our flight was delayed due to bad weather in Toronto. Our plane only had about 5-10 people on it too!! It was a very bumpy flight back, but we landed around 11am and I was in bed for a well deserved nap by 11:30 (I love living across the street from the airport!).

Overall Sarah and I had an amazing weekend- VERY tiring, but we saw so much and we enjoyed it so much! I would definitely recommend going in the winter because it wasn't very crowded, but I would like to see it in warm weather someday too! We are already planning next year's weekend getaway!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


So the other day I am scrolling around the Twitterverse and I see a tweet from Sara at House Bella talking about learning Spanish with some app called Duolingo. Now, I have always wanted to expand my language skills- especially in French. In the school system I was in, we were required to learn french from grades 4-9. But the high school french teachers just didn't inspire me and I ended up dropping the french classes after that.

I always regretted that as an adult because french language skills can be so useful when travelling in eastern Canada or Europe! In fact, expanding my french skills was even on my New Year's resolutions list of 2012. Of course, then I did nothing with that because I am a lazy girl who didn't feel like paying for french lessons and can't seem to learn from anything from reading books.

Enter Duolingo! I am seriously obsessed with this app. It takes you through basic skills and then helps you build your vocabulary. And it is all interactive- building sentences, translating back and forth, speaking into the mic, listening and transcribing in french, visual is pretty neat and I feel like I am learning a lot of simple phrases and verbs already! Plus it is all split into small lessons and levels, and you only do a few verbs and nouns at a time, so it doesn't feel overwhelming at all.

I feel like it gets me.

It is SO true

Anyway, Duolingo did not pay me to write this. In fact, I am fairly confident I would pay them to use it. Yup- the app is FREE. And if you don't have a smartphone you can do it on their website too! You can choose from French, Spanish, Italian, English, German, and Portuguese.

But be careful- sometimes it can be a little harsh.

Anyway I had hoped to have some more condo-related posts this week but it has been ca-razy, so I thought I would just share about this little app today. And now I am off to Washington DC for the weekend so you will have to forgive me for being a little MIA :) I have a bunch of January Cure stuff to catch up on when I am back!

Au revoir, mes amis!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Shower Head Saga

So I talked about on Friday how I was having shower head issues. For Christmas, my dad had got me a new shower head for my bathroom with duel heads, adjustable sprayers; All the good stuff for a high-end shower experience!

However, I couldn't install the pole that holds the handheld shower head because the pipe coming from my wall was not long enough (there was not enough space to fit it on). The kit did come with a replacement wall pipe but I am not really into messing with plumbing that is behind the wall. The slightest drip can cause thousands in damage over me, I had a friend who ran into that in her condo!!

Lucky for me, my dad has the exact same shower head and the exact same problem. So he used the little "stabilizer" thing for the pole, suctioned it to the wall, and just hung the handheld from that! Problem solved! The only difference for me was that my tiles are not smooth, so suction is out. Luckily the thing also comes with a sticky option for those with rough tiles or grout seams in the way.

Yay pretty shower!...or so it seemed...

1 hour after this photo was taken, the holder thing fell off the wall. I chalked it up to putting weight on it too early so I restuck it and left it for 24 hours. It fell again the second I started using the shower.

Luckily the shower head just falls down to where all the water is still contained so I just enjoyed a devoted ankle shower while I figured out how to fix this problem.

My dad was trying to find a solution as well and mentioned he had head of Command Strips designed for in the shower! Amazing- I could just stick it with Command strips! I couldn't find them in stores (maybe they aren't available in Canada yet) so I ordered them off Amazon.

I stuck it on and waited 24 hours again before putting weight on it. Aaaaand it fell off again! But this time the white "sticker" remained on the wall (with the command strips holding it in place), and the rest of the holder piece fell down.


So the next time I cut them up and applied them directly to the base of the holder. Aaaaand it fell down again.

However, when my Dad showed up to install my kitchen faucet on Sunday he surprised me by bringing me a different shower head- one that looked from the description to be better suited to my shower-needs.

This one does not need a piece to attach over the wall pipe- the piece for the pole screws right on to the end of the pipe instead of needing to fit over it. Plus it has FIVE shower settings instead of a measly 3! Well, I took down the old one and attached the new one in 15 minutes and it is working GREAT!

I can adjust the handheld head up an down and change the angle of it. This one was also stuck on with a sticky thing, but since it is just stabilizing the pole and not supporting any weight and I am fairly confident it will not crash down on me mid-shower :)

So there you go- sometimes in life you just have to give up on making something work and realize it is better to just start off from square one with a different product! The old shower head will be packed up and passed on to my brother who plans be redoing his bathroom in the next couple years and therefore can install the longer pipe into the wall and not run into this issue. Everybody wins!

Update- I just took a shower and it was a life-changing experience. I can never go back to single-head shower heads again. It was like getting a back massage while I showered.

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Kitchen Faucet!

I had something pretty get installed on the weekend!

I got a Moen Boutique faucet with a pull-down sprayer as Christmas gift this year and I have been sooo excited to get it installed (I had a very builder-basic ugly faucet before). However my poor dad got the flu right after Christmas so he wasn't able to help me install it before this past weekend.

My Dad and brother both have the exact same faucet so my Dad brought him around too since they are now experts are installing these babies. They also brought along my 2 year old niece, since my sister in law was working that day. Dad and Luke were in charge of the faucet install and Maddy and I were in charge of counting the wrenches. #Teamwork

The guys got it installed in under an hour- including installing the soap pump. My sink used to have a separate vegetable sprayer so the extra hole was already there. I wavered on whether to put handsoap or dish soap in there but I ended up going with dish soap. Now I have to get into the habit of washing in the right sink vs the left!

I can't do any wider shots of the kitchen right now because the countertops look like this!

Oh my! But I am leaving it all up there because the white plastic piping under the sink needs to be securely anchored to the wall (the old faucet pipes gave support that the new ones seem to lack). So I don't want to put everything back only to clear it out again. I will pick up some anchors this week! For now, Luke just tied it all onto the pipes to support it.

I think my kitchen looks amazing with the new faucet! What a difference it makes!! I almost don't want to post a before picture because the old one is so blah. But here you go!


Thank you Dad and Luke (and Maddy) for coming all the way out here to install it for me!!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Update!

Hello my blogger-peeps!

I am afraid I have been very absent this week so I thought I would do a quick blurb today and then hopefully get some stuff done this weekend that I can share next week! I wasn't expecting this week to be so busy, but that happens sometimes I guess. I haven't even bought groceries in a couple weeks. I need to get on that. And laundry.

So yes, updates.
1. My new eyebrow glue came in a couple weeks ago. It is really great and I find I can leave them on for a few days, which is nice! Only downside is that I find they somehow manage to shift a bit sometimes when I sleep. It is hilarious because I will wake up looking angry, surprising, or confused. hahaha. Oh eyebrows, you entertain me!

2. My shower head. Three weeks ago I  posted on instagram (prematurely it seems!) that I had installed a new shower head. I haven't blogged about it yet because it keeps. falling. down. haha it has just been a hilarious adventure to get this thing to stay up and I will give a whole synopsis of the process once I succeed. I am on plan F I think right now. I am trying all the non-permanent fixes first, but I do have a whole alphabet of plans in my back pocket so I WILL succeed. Right now the handheld one just dangles so I have been enjoying a nice ankle shower for the past 3 weeks.

3. I made stew. It was delicious. Except I used the world's most ginormous chicken breast to make it. Literally, this thing must have been some kind of prehistoric giant chicken! I wish I had taken a before picture with banana to scale (note- it was bigger than a banana) or weighed it!

This is my largest frying pan

4. I signed up for the Sporting Life 10K again! My mom and stepdad are joining me again this year too! I really need to step up my training. Last week I only ran 10K all week and this week I think I have 5?? I am already falling behind on my New Year's goal of running 800km (need to do at least 15 a week to get close)!! Need to step up my game and start working in some longer runs when I can. I often just seem to stop at 5K because I have been getting awfully sweaty. Never used to happen to me before! I think the gym is overheated.

5. I have started watching my calorie intake and I have been using the My Fitness Pal app. I simply love it because you can scan in food items rather than search for a specific brand/flavour etc! Only weird thing is that sometimes it screws up. The other day I scanned some cheese and it came in as an onion?? Which led me to the thought- onions have barcodes?? Anyways I have been doing fairly well at it and I hope that it in combination with my increased running will help me get in better shape. PS- Do you know how many calories are in a cup of butter? 1628!!!!! hahahahahahaha And no, I do not normally eat full cups of butter ;)

Happy weekend everyone! I hope it's a good one!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Great Kitchen Clean Up

I feel like I don't post about my kitchen much on here, but that is probably because I rarely do anything blog-worthy in the kitchen. In case you do not know, I do have a small, but very nice kitchen, which works very well for reheating pizza and keeping my beer cold :). And it deserves a little moment in the sun because it is currently cleaner than it has been for a very long time.

This weekend's task was to clean the kitchen from top to bottom and I got down to work. I cleared out all the cupboards and threw out a good-sized bag of expired food and extra packaging. I hate wasting food, but sometimes one person just cannot get through an entire bottle of soy sauce or box of cous cous that got jammed to the back of the cupboard! While the cupboards and fridge were empty I gave everything a scrub. I seriously don't think I ever want to clean a full-sized kitchen...this little one kept me busy enough for awhile.

Anyway, it is all pretty right now so I thought I would share how I manage to get organized in my tiny kitchen. Oh- also found out I have quite the collection of frozen bananas. I think some baking is in order this week!

Don't judge my lack of food- I hadn't got grocery shopping in awhile. Plus it is a LARGE fridge for one person! Only so many perishables a person can eat before they start to go bad.

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