Friday, July 31, 2015

2015 Closet Purge- The KonMari Method

I, like seemingly every other home decor blogger, recently read Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I actually didn't read it so much as borrow the audiobook from the library and go for a long run, while being lectured about my improper sock folding technique.

Basically, the author is a tidying guru who people pay to help them tidy their homes. She has developed the KonMari method, which basically boils down to this:
1. Only keep the things that spark joy
2. Treat each possession, from expensive decor down to shampoo bottle, with respect and thankfulness
3. Have a spot for everything

The whole idea is about purging the items that clutter your life and focus on surrounding yourself with things that make you happy, and then treating those items with respect at all times- which means actually thanking them out loud for being a part of your life and caring for them like a friend.

I don't know if I am going to start blessing my dish sponge at dinner, but I did use her ideas to revolutionize my closets and dresser. First, I threw every piece of clothing I owned onto my bed. It is important to physically pick up each item to decide if you want to keep it, so this step is key. Then I went through item by item and asked myself if that item sparked joy. I actually ended up "tossing" (aka going to give away to friends or sell) and entire garbage bag of clothes! I now only use one of my closets instead of both!

And, just to mention, the top shelf in this closet is Cam's sweaters and my overnight bag. I used to have both of my closets crammed with hangers and folded clothing! The other closet I gave over to Cam to store his cabinets. Dating a musician seems to come hand in hand with a lot of bulky music gear in your house so I am more than happy to find closet space for it. All those hangers in here used to store my clothing!

The KonMari method also has very specific ways to hang your clothing up, but I just did my normal way of tank tops to dresses (which I think was kind of similar to her method, if I recall correctly). I have skirts on a pants-type multi hanger on the left, then flowy tanks, then dress t-shirts, then button downs, cardigans, work dresses, casual dresses, and blazers. I find this method is way easier than sorting by colour. For instance, if I want to wear my navy dress and it is cool out, I will want a cardigan, so I can easily find all mine and then decide which will go best with my dress.

I also refolded all of my dresser clothes to Marie Kondo's method of vertical folding. I am actually a pretty diligent clothes folder anyway. When it all comes out of the dryer I throw the heap on my bed and fold and hang as I put away. This new-to-me method of folding is great because:
1. I can see all my shirts/pants at one glance
2. I can pull things out without messing up the folding of other items
3. It fits a lot more stuff!

She also claims this will deter wrinkles because stuff won't get pushed around or have the weight of other items on it.

I think the only rule I didn't follow was folding all my socks instead of balling them ("like potatoes", as Marie would say). I tried folding, but the little ankle socks were having none of it and I gave up.

She recommends everyone start with clothing, as it is the easiest, and then keep working in categories. I think after clothing was books, then all papers in your home, and then all miscellaneous stuff like knick knacks, and then all sentimental items. She completely disagrees with tackling one room at a time; you should tackle one category at a time, going all over your home to collect the items in that category and carefully sorting through them.

I don't know if I am ever going to get around to purging the rest of my stuff, but so far I am loving my new clothing situation. All my clothes are so easy to find, everything left is stuff I actually like to wear, and it is such a breeze to get ready in the morning!

I also want to mention that I still feel like I own a lot of clothes. I love clothes and shopping! But I really do try to buy nicer quality stuff and actually wear things I own. I try to also save money by avoiding by two similar items, since you really only need one stellar item in a particular style or pattern. I see all these bloggers with HUGE walk in closets, or who seem to go shopping all the time, and I really wonder if they actually wear it all! I repeat a lot of outfits, but I look damn good in them so it doesn't bother me ;)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Half Marathon Training: Week 4

Total Miles This Week: 19.75
Total Miles Overall: 69.75 Miles

Workouts Completed:
Tuesday: 4.75 Miles (4 miles steady- 9:56 avg pace, with faster intervals for last 0.75 miles- I don't have the pace, but it was sprinting for 20 seconds and running slow for 2 minutes times 4)
Thursday: 5.5 Miles (1 mile slow, 3 miles fast-9:35 avg pace, 1 mile slow)
Saturday: 1.5 Miles (slow)
Sunday: 8 Miles (steady)

I actually completed my last three runs at the cottage this week! Service was basically non-existent up there so I couldn't use the GPS to track my pace. I went with the assumption that I was running 10 minute miles and just timed myself and tried to follow the intervals set out in my schedule.

The cottage was on a gravel road that was surrounded by trees and dotted with views of the lake and ponds. My run on Thursday was tough, but fine as the morning was cool. I think I got up around 7am to get it done. Saturday I slept in and the road was SO buggy by the time I got out there. I was supposed to do 4 miles but had to give up because the deer flies were eating me ALIVE. Bug spray was useless. It was horrible. And then it rained the rest of the day until the sun went down (the road gets logging trucks and obviously there are no lights, so no way am I running at night). 

Sunday thankfully dawned very foggy and I got out around 6:45 to get my run in before the bugs (I rightfully assumed they wouldn't like fog). They came out a bit on my way back, but weren't nearly as bad at Saturday. Oh, and as for running in the fog, there was pretty good visibility on the road and there are no logging trucks on Sundays :). I wore neon pink shorts just to be safe. 

I really enjoyed running at the cottage for the fresh air, cooler temps, and beautiful scenery, but I think I will enjoy being back in bug-free Toronto for the rest of my training! My arms were super sore from swatting while I ran. Full body workout for sure. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Trip to the Cottage!

Last Wednesday Cam, myself, my friend Ginny, and her boyfriend Liam (and their dogs Lightning and Cali) all drove 5 hours out to the country to relax at my stepbrother's cottage! We had originally planned to go camping this past week but that plan kind of fell through so I took my stepbrother up on his offer to let us use his cottage some time. We all got in after dark on Wednesday night and stayed until lunchtime on Sunday. It was an amazing four days!

We had great weather three of the days and a huge storm on Saturday. We swam, canoed, kayaked, played board games, read, layout on the raft, and had nightly bonfires (even on stormy saturday- the rains parted for a bit and we had wisely tarped over the pit and put the wood some place dry! Nothing get's in the way of my marshmallows!). I think I will just share a bunch of photos rather than try and explain the awesomeness of each day :)


Ginny & Cali

Cam & Lightning (BFFs)

Early morning kayak


Ginny & Liam

Of course, food at the cottage is always good and must be addressed! We cooked a big breakfast every morning- waffles, eggs & bacon, french toast roll ups, and pancakes. Usually lunch would be skipped as we were all snacking away. Thursday night we did build-your-own pizzas up in the cottage (followed by banana boats and marshmallows by the fire) and Friday and Saturday we cooked hot dogs and hamburgers over the fire for dinner. All so good!!! I also bought the super-jumbo marshmallows and they did not disappoint. I love marshmallows.

Generally the mosquitoes would come out as night came on, so marshmallow time was usually cut short and we would head in to play some board games. The general favourite was always Cards Against Humanity! Which is even more funny after many evening beers ;)

Oh, and on the way home from the cottage Cam and I stopped at Kawartha Dairy for some Moose Tracks and Wolf Paws ice cream. Please note that they are not kidding around with their cone sizes...

I brought my Cronions from Iceland!

Also, I really really wanted to see the stars and thankfully one night was clear so Cam and I headed out to the backyard with my camera and tripod. I thought I wasn't able to pick anything up with it, but thankfully a little post-processing at home brought it out! :) I simply love the stars and never get to see many living in Toronto. Cam knows all the constellations and we had fun looking at them while simultaneously feeding all the local mosquitoes.

All in all it was a perfect weekend and we had such a good time that I hope to repeat it next year. To be honest, I am evening looking into some run down cottages and/or plots of land for myself one day. I 100% am a cottage person.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Half Marathon Training: Week Three

Total Miles This Week: 19.75
Total Miles Overall: 51 Miles

Workouts Completed:
Tuesday: 4.75 Miles (4 miles steady- 10:20 avg pace, with faster intervals for last 0.75 miles- I don't have the pace, but it was sprinting for 20 seconds and running slow for 2 minutes times 4)
Thursday: 4 Miles (1 mile slow-10:20 avg pace, 2 miles fast-9:35 avg pace, 1 mile slow- 10:40 avg pace)
Saturday: 4 Miles (slow- 10:30 avg pace)
Sunday: 7 Miles (steady- 10:20 avg pace)

This week was definitely more challenging for running. For one, my legs seem to be entering a state of permanent tiredness. I am doing lots of stretching and icing, but they feel sluggish and so my times are slower. I feel like this is completely normal and in line with my experiences with most new workout routines. Hopefully I will be over this hump soon! The other reason for the sluggishness is the HEAT. This past weekend was sooo humid and hot.

92% humidity- CN Tower was hazy

Both days I got up around 7:00am to try and beat the heat, but the heat beat me!! Saturday morning the humidity was 92% and the temperature was 30ish with the humidex. It was like running through soup! Thankfully it was foggy for the first half of my run, which made it feel cooler out. Sunday was a little less humid, but I felt the sun was much hotter as it was beating straight down on me! Thankfully on Saturday afternoon had I finally gone out and bought a lightweight waterbottle with a hand strap- it was soooo handy! I got the Ultimate Direction Jurek Grip bottle. I actually drank TWO of these on my Sunday morning run (thank you water fountain 5km out!).

FYI- I used to just drink at water fountains if I needed some on my runs, but now that I am running 10K+ so much I decided to get a water bottle. Plus I've had a few issues with dehydration this summer so I am being much more conscious of drinking water.

I got one of those fancy new "chipped" style manicures for this pic...
I have also started wearing a gear belt when I run. I bought this thing ages ago, but kept running with my cell phone (for GPS tracking with RunKeeper and music/podcasts/audiobooks for entertainment) in my hand. But now since I am carrying water I need my hands free. Plus my keys kept rubbing a spot on my hip raw in the running shorts' pocket before. I got this belt at Winners I think. It is really comfortable!

Oh- also, the Pan Am games are going on here in Toronto and on Saturday was the women's marathon. Of the 17 runners, FIVE did not finish and 1 didn't even start. This heat is no joke. On Sunday I ran by women's 20km race walking event, and those women were walking faster than I run, and they looked HOT. But it was fun to watch the event as I ran alongside it! I think this may be the only event I see, as I never ended up buying tickets to anything. Oops

Let's hope this heat breaks a bit soon! At least, let it be cooler in the mornings :)

CN Tower- 7:20am on Sunday...those clouds abandoned me :(

Monday, July 20, 2015

New Bathroom Faucet

Let me preface this post by saying that basically everything in this condo that can break is starting to break. I knew that it was going to be like this before I bought and I have always planned to slowly do upgrades to this unit to increase the value (I bought it for a really good price because of the state it was in!). The bathroom faucet is no exception to this rule- it was pretty rusted and gross. My plan was to eventually rip out the whole vanity and granite shelf and put in a larger vanity (one with a deeper base for more storage), and a glass shelf to brighten the space up. The faucet was 100% not salvageable in my opinion, and I prefer single handle faucets anyway. This grossness needed to be GONE.


Well the faucet started dripped a few months ago, and I wasn't feeling ready for a whole bathroom reno with so many other projects going on, so I simply ordered myself a new faucet- the Delta Trinsic bathroom faucet that matched my new kitchen faucet. FYI- I had to order the faucet from Delta on Amazon and it actually was cheaper to order from vs, even with exchange rates and shipping. I got a bunch of other bathroom accessories from the Trinsic line as well (haven't installed those yet).

The faucet came months ago but I put off installing it because I was too afraid of screwing up! 

I had seen a few faucets installed in my day and I felt confident that this was a simple and straightforward task that I could accomplish, but I was just so worried about screwing it up. I've never directly done any plumbing before and I had no help on hand. I was worried I would break the old plumbing further and create a huge issue and have no faucet at all.

Then one day last week I said enough was enough and I went to go rip out the old plumbing system and...I couldn't get it out. And I broke the old drain. Now I had a leaky faucet AND a leaky drain!! I called my family for advice but they really couldn't help long distance. So I sheepishly called a couple plumbers to come in and Cam and I washed our hands and brushed our teeth in the kitchen sink for a couple days.

The first plumber came in while I was at work and quoted Cam $600 to do the job. SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS. Never in all my wildest plumbing googling had I seen a quote like that to replace a faucet and drain when the person already owned the new faucet and drain! Then in the evening the second plumber came (I found him through my neighborhood facebook page) and he did the job for $140 ($70 for faucet and $70 for drain)!

Now, you may be thinking I gave up too easily and should have tried harder to do the replacement myself. However- this plumber literally had to BREAK the old pipes and drain to get them out. He had to put all his weight into getting some of the rusted and corroded clips and fittings apart. He was sweating, bleeding, and covered in gross water when he finished. He said my old system was really antiquated and he had never seen it in a condo. So I 100% think professional help was the right choice! I only wish I had called him in from the start.

And I did get to do some plumbing myself! The plumber had forgotten his plumbers putty so he couldn't do the drain install (he didn't charge me for the drain, but I paid him anyway because of what a rough job it was to rip everything out). So he taught me how to do it and I went out and bought my own putty and installed the new drain and pop up all by myself!! It took me probably over an hour and a lot of cussing and leaky test runs, but I am proud to say the new drain is holding up well!!! #yayme

As for the sink, there are still holes where the old handles came out. I scrubbed and scrubbed to get the rust stains off and installed a couple of sink hole covers to plug them. Eventually the whole vanity will get replaced so I wasn't too concerned. I actually don't think they look too bad! I had to get stainless steel because white ones need to be custom ordered and are expensive. These were just a few bucks each. And I cover them with the soap anyway :)

Oh- should also mention as part of this tale of plumbing- my hot water valve under this sink doesn't work. So every time I needed to turn the water on or off I had to go an get this gold key tool from the concierge and fit it into a random looking pipe under the sink. Very odd. When I replace the vanity I am going to get that valve replaced!

weird random hot water shut off pipe

PS- when I was working under the sink, I found this very weird post-it note up in the "roof" of the vanity (it's a little NSFW). This is the 2nd weird post-it I have found in a seldom seen area, with the other being on the far side of the fridge. I also have a small weird message written on a vertical blind in the livingroom. I have now taken to looking in odd little spots for more!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Half- Marathon Training: Week 2 Recap!

I think I should change the name of this blog to "Casey trains for a half marathon and blogs about nothing else". But it is so nice out I am never in the mood to take pictures or do anything indoors. Summer has arrived!! Finally!

Total Miles This Week: 18.3
Total Miles Overall: 31.3

Workouts Completed:
Tuesday: 3.5 Miles (slow 3 miles with intervals for last 0.5 miles)
Thursday: 4.8 Miles (slow 4 miles with intervals for last 0.8 miles)
Friday: 4 Miles (slow)
Sunday: 6 Miles (steady)

I totally skipped out on my upper body strength workout this week. No desire to be in the gym!! Cam and I also went on long walks on Saturday and Sunday. My legs are shot :).

It is crazy how fast the mileage has gone up in just 2 weeks. Already I have seen the end of runs under 3 Miles (5km) so I know that each time I go out will be at least 40 minutes of running, which is no small feat for me! Right now I am also dealing with losing a good chunk of my usual running route to the Pan-Am games. And an increase in temperatures. I will need to invest a lot of my moola in sunscreen. #palepeopleproblems

Monday, July 13, 2015

Go Carting in the Den

I finally put together my new CB2 Go-Cart Desk this weekend and I LOVE IT.

The mint colour is absolutely perfect. It is soft and pretty, but doesn't overpower and steal all the attention in a tiny room like this (6.5' x 6.5'). It also fits in nicely with tons of room to get in and out of the chair, even with the built-ins behind it.

It was really easy to put together, even if it was a long process due to all the nuts and bolts. I love the wheels on it because I can easily move this baby all over the condo to wherever I need it- and the front two wheels lock so it is firmly in place where I need it too.

I also like that the filing cabinet stores so easily under it. I do eventually plan on painting this filing cabinet, as red is not my favourite colour and I'd rather the filing cabinet be more neutral. But that involves spray paint and I think I would have to take the whole thing to my dads or something because I don't see how I can spray paint this in the condo. For now, the red actually works well in this room with all the other red accents so who knows if I will ever get to it. I also need to get that piece of newspaper properly framed!

My next plan of action in here is to find a large mirror to hang on the wall over the desk. I want to move my makeup in here from the bathroom, because bathroom germs are gross. I also still need to paint in this room, and I am thinking I may just paint it the same pale greige that the rest of the condo is, but maybe stencil or something in here to give it a little something extra. Oh! and I want a new chair in here too! Lots of plans!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Five Things Friday

TGIF! Or as I am calling today- Lockdown Friday as my whole neighbourhood is going to be basically shut down for the Pan-Am Games opening ceremonies. Ah the joys of living right next to the Skydome. I am kind of hoping I can hear the music or see possible fireworks from my balcony because I plan on staying in and avoiding the crazy.

Speaking of the Pan Am Games...let's start my five things Friday!

1. My friend Sarah was a torch bearer!

Her leg of the relay was in the middle the day on a Wednesday all the way up at Jane and Finch, so she didn't think anyone would come out to see her, but I skived out of work for a few hours and journeyed up there to surprise her! It was so much fun!! The games officially start today, but I haven't decided if I will buy tickets to any events. I think I will watch some events on TV though!

Oh also, Sarah let me hold the torch! Fun times :)

2. I bought a new desk!

Last week I had a long discussion about den plans with my dad and realized I didn't like the idea of a built in desk all along one wall because it would be too shallow to be anything more than a glorified shelf...which isn't what I need. So I did some soul searching (ha) and decided I would like a small desk. After some internetting, I settled on the Go-Kart desk by CB2 in mint!

CB2 is only a 10 minute walk from me so Cam and I just picked it up with my dolly last weekend. I haven't had the time yet to put it together, but hopefully will this weekend I will show you all next week! I like that it is light and visually airy, but still a fun colour! And the wheels mean I can roll it around if I need space in the den or need an extra table in the living room for entertaining.

3. I have plumbing issues.

I mentioned ages ago that I bought a new faucet for the bathroom, but I STILL have not installed it, because like everything in this condo, my bathroom plumbing is on the fritz. Basically I went to install it, but when I tried to shut off the hot water would not shut off! I guess the valve is broken. Then I couldn't' find the master shut off anywhere. Finally I asked the concierge and he said I needed a key and produced a long metal instrument- and it finally dawned on me what the weird extra pipe under my sink was for! It is the master shut off! You stick the weird key thing in this pipe!

Seriously though, who the heck came up with this?? So I think for now I will try turning off all the water to replace the faucet, and then down the line when I replace the entire vanity I might have a plumber come in to fix the valve. I haven't tried the key thing yet so we shall see.

4. I need to purge my clothing

I know this concept of a "capsule wardrobe" has been going all over the internet for a long time now, but I don't think I want to limit my wardrobe to just 30 or 40 items. What I DO want to do is actually be more ruthless in my bi-annual clothing cull and only keep the items I actually wear often. A lot of stuff is too big on me now so I might enlist a friend to help me decide when to tailor and when to toss.

Cam lives here now, but I have both closets AND the 6 drawer dresser full of my stuff. This is a sign I own too many clothes. Poor guy has to keep his stuff in the living room and that's not really fair.

Speaking of Cam...

5. He got a full-time permanent teaching position!!

Cam is a primary school music teacher (kindergarten- grade 8) and he has been on contract positions for the past couple years, but he finally got a full time gig! I am sooo proud of him and I know he has worked so hard to get here. In Ontario right now, getting a permanent teaching position is about as likely as getting a pet unicorn so this is amazing! We aren't sure yet what this will mean for our living situation, as his school is a long commute from my place, but we will figure it out.

So proud of you, babe!!

Happy Weekend everyone! Anyone have any plans? I have some runs to do, a desk to build, a wardrobe to cull, and a faucet to finagle, but otherwise I am hoping to see my family in Pickering...even though I did just go boating with them last weekend :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Half Marathon Training: Week 1

Last week I finished my first week of half marathon training. Let's see my stats:

Total Miles This Week: 13
Total Miles Overall: 13

Monday- 3 Miles (slow)
Wednesday- 3 Miles (slow)
Friday- 45 Minutes of Strength Training
Saturday- 3 Miles (slow)
Sunday- 5 Miles (slow)

I am supposed to be running really slow at first- roughly 12 minute miles. But that seems TOO slow to me, so I am running around 10 minute miles. As long as I am comfortable I don't mind going at my own speed!

Luckily last week was really nice weather. It looks like this may be a cool summer this year, which sucks for patio and beaches, but is good for running in! I will still need to get up early on weekends to get in my longer runs before the heat hits, but otherwise I can easily complete my shorter mid-week runs in the evening.

I am going to have to invest in a nice running water bottle as the summer goes on. I don't bring water on short runs (it just sloshes in my belly and doesn't feel good). But as it gets hotter and my runs get longer I will need to be more conscious of my dehydration.

I also tried out my condo pool for the first time on the weekend when my friend Steph and her husband and new baby came to visit. It is a great salt-water pool and is basically a lap pool (there is no shallow end- I can't touch the bottom anywhere!), which is nice because my old pool was really too short to get a work out in. So hopefully once and awhile I can get some swimming in- maybe after a hot run!

I also want to get my bike out again this summer, but it has a flat tire and my tire pump is MIA right now. But hopefully soon! Need to try and find some good of these cooler summer days!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Half Marathon Training Begins!

Run run run, as fast as you can! You can't catch me, I'm the half-marathon training (wo)man!!

I started my training this week! Each week I have 4 runs to complete that will hopefully enable me to run for over 2 hours in October and complete my first half marathon. I am following the sub- 2:30 training plan in my RunKeeper app. For the record, the training program is easier to follow in miles so I am switching to miles for the next few months (sorry fellow Canadians).

I typed up all my scheduled distances into Ical and printed it out and put it on my fridge. I am hoping that crossing off each run will help to visually keep me motivated and on track.

My running dates are Sunday. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and I am planning on doing weights every Wednesday, but naturally this will all be pretty flexible as I work around summer plans.

The first couple weeks are pretty easy runs for me (this week is all 3 mile runs!), but then as I go further in the schedule I get more and more nervous. On Aug 9th I am supposed to run 10 miles- which is the furthest I will have ever run!! And that is just 6ish weeks away! And then in September it has me running basically a half-marathon 3 weekends in a row!

However, I just need to remind myself to take it one run at a time. If I stay on track I should be able to conquer all those runs!

I am enjoying following the training on the app (you know, one whole day in). It lets me know what pace I am supposed to be running at for each run, and it is set up to tell me how I am doing every 5 minutes so I will know if I am on target. I think on interval runs it will tell me when to switch it up too.

I had debated signing up for the Running Room half-marathon training program, but my summers can get so chaotic I just decided to do my training through the app. And, of course, I have this blog to be accountable to and I will be writing about my training as it progresses!

PS- Happy Canada Day!

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