Wednesday, April 15, 2015

DIY Body Chain (Two Versions)

I have been lusting after body chains FOREVER! Well, not forever, but since they have made a comeback.  Last summer, I went on a mad dash to every affordable accessory store in the Eaton Centre on the hunt for a body chain. I had a really hard time finding one!

I ended up finding and buying one out of desperation. I've never worn it. It's kind of over embellished and doesn't fit properly. I can alter it but it's still not exactly what I was looking for. So....while packing for my last vacation, in my typical fashion, I decided I would make one! I'll be honest, I don't know much about jewelry making, but I love a challenge. It turns out that it wasn't even really challenging!

This ended up being one my easiest DIYs I have done to date and it had a HUGE payoff. I've worn it many times since, in many ways. I've worn it over a bathing suit, over a cropped tee and high waisted pants, with a simple dress to a brunch and I will continue to wear it with different outfits.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Thrift Store Dress Makeover

The other day, I finally got the chance to visit a thrift store downtown called Black Market. I had been wanting to go for a while so since I was in the area visiting a friend, I jumped on the opportunity to pop in. By the time I got there, I had only about 30 minutes before the store closed. I knew I would have to endure the eye rolls and piercing stares from the staff because I waltzed in so late. In my defense, they close at 7 which is earlier than I expected. Also, I was really quick and I actually bought 2 of the items that I tried on. And I was out right when it was closing time.

One of the things I picked up was this ridiculous plaid dress. It's kind of like a house dress you would expect your grandma to wear. I had the perfect makeover in mind so I bought it!

Thrift Store Dress Makeover
Before & After
My inspiration was a plaid dress that I saw a girl wearing at the CNE during the summer. It looked like a high-low hem but I am pretty sure that she was wearing this dress from Forever 21.  It was super cute in person. My made over dress is basically nothing like this one from Forever 21 but I guess you could say it was my jumping off point.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ikea Leksvik Desk Hack: Marble Contact Paper + White Paint. Done!

Marble Contact Paper

I haven't posted anything in a while. I've been busy with a few small projects so I'm trying to catch up now. My desk is one of them. I finally finished DIY-ing it! I told you I would finish, I know you were a little skeptical.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thrift Store Stool Makeover

A couple weeks ago, I discovered a fantastic vintage store called Ransack the Universe. It's not new, but it's new to me! I freakin' loved it. I basically fainted a little when I walked in. Then, I fainted some more when I went down the scary steps into heavenly bliss.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Strive for Progress..DIY Marble Top Desk - Ikea Hack

Have you fallen in love with all the DIY marble contact paper projects on Pinterest? I totally have. 

After dreaming about it forever, and seriously craving the Design Your Wall marble contact paper, I convinced myself that I needed it. Then right before I checked out of the website, I slapped myself of the wrist. $65 for contact paper, what was I thinking? I quickly looked up some other options, keeping in mind how real the pattern looked, the cost and reliability of the seller. I soon settled on one from DC Fix via Amazon. It clearly says that the roll is 78.7" long. Silly me. I must have thought it said 78.7 feet because I thought I would be marble contact papering everything I owned! I made a mental list of all the things I wanted to use it on. It was a looong list, and my desk was the first thing on it.

Let me tell you the story of my desk. We have a communal spot in my apartment building where people put stuff they don't want anymore. No, not the garbage. More like a giveaway pile. I'm very grateful for it. Right around the time that I decided I really needed to create a home office, this desk appeared one day on our way up the stairs! The timing was uncanny. We snatched that thing up right away. It's not a fancy desk, in fact it's almost uncomfortable, but at the lovely price of free, who cares? It's actually the Leksvik desk from Ikea. It was clean and already assembled. I guess I get to classify this as an Ikea hack. I picked up spray paint one day and painted it another day, well night, when I do most of my crafting, cooking, organizing, exercising and uhh everything? I guess I do everything except sleep at night.

Anyways, I went for it. I didn't sand it, but I should have. I went at it with my one can of spray paint. Guess what? I ran out of paint before I could even get to the little drawer! Actually, some of the legs needed another coat too. proximity to downtown is not forgiving when I need an extra can of spray paint at 2am. Well, I guess I can't really get spray paint anywhere at 2am. You get my point. I had to just let it be.  A few days passed and I then got busy with life, dealing with a number of things and just kind of left this to the wayside.  Decorating went on the backburner for months.  I'm now back on the decorating bandwagon. It's a part of my organization overhaul. 

When I got home from work yesterday, the other half was cooking dinner so I had free time. There were a LOT of rough spots on the top of the desk so I started by first cleaning the desk then sanding it. I sanded and sanded and sanded until I was happy with it. Surprisingly, I got the surface pretty darn smooth without removing a ton of paint.

I cleaned it again with rubbing alcohol then I unrolled the contact paper to guesstimate how much I would have to use. This roll was much shorter than I thought. Bummers. It's also not as wide as I thought but neither is the Design Your Walls version. I did a rough measure, then I used the guides at the back and my trusty piece of construction paper as a ruler. I'm doing a whole reorganization of everything in my home...I'll find my rulers eventually. I also drew a line across the desk where  planned to have the paper line up. I peeled off a little bit of the backing and started to lay the paper. I smoothed as I went along. If I got bubbles, I was able to gently lift and re-position the paper. It didn't lose its stickiness. I have a more in depth review at the end of this post if you are interested.

Here's the tricky part. The seams. Had I really owned a 78.7 foot roll, this would have been a breeze but since the roll was quite short I had to suck it up and accept the fact that there would be a visible seam because I couldn't get the pattern to repeat. Correction, visible seams. Plural. I freaked out for a bit but calmed myself down. It's contact paper, not real marble. I thought it was better to get this done, sort of, and make it look as best as it could, rather than leave it as another incomplete task on my to do list. What was I supposed to do, just leave the top marble paperless?? No thanks.

I did my best to make it work. From far away, it's not bad. You can definitely see the seams close up BUT once I have all my desk accessories on it and it's lit nicely, I think it will work out just fine. And when I spring for the expensive contact paper, I might just redo this desk.

It's painfully and embarrassingly obvious that I need to paint that drawer. I will do it. I'll actually repaint the whole lower portion of this desk. Soon. I swear. I am also going to slowly get my home office together. Oh, I am also going to move my sewing machine and extra rolls of paper in the corner out of my next set of photos. Oops. I'll get it right next time. For anyone else out there who gets stuck mid-projects and feel like failures. Don't. You're not. Trust me.

Strive for progress not perfection. Well, let's be serious, I will still strive for perfection most times. But sometimes, I will settle for progress. Like yesterday. 

Quote found on Pinterest

DC Fix 346-0306 Adhesive Film, Grey Marble Adhesive Vinyl Review:

Dimensions: 17.7" x 78.7" vs. 18" x 49.5' (DYW)

Shipping via Amazon: Fast and cheap. I ordered on Friday, received it on the following Wednesday. I was willing to spend the $5.29 on shipping because I never see this paper in stores.

Cost: $10.99 [$1.04/foot] vs. $65.00 [$1.31/foot] (DYW)

Pattern: It looks great. It looks fairly real unlike some other ones I've seen.

Use: It was easy to use. There were no instructions but I didn't need them. I like that I was able to re-position and also that it has a sheen. It's also really thick so if you need to hide a flaw in something, it should do the trick. It seems like it will be easy to clean as well.  Great product, I just wish the roll was longer.

Would I buy again? Yes, if I know it's for a small project. I plan to splurge for the DYW version so I  can use it for bigger projects.

Has anyone splurged on the DYW version? I would love a review or some tips on alternatives. Please visit again to see how this turned out!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Easy Peasy Food Prep for Beginners and Busy People

Do you want to eat healthier or save money but you're too busy to prep food all day long? Or are you intimidated by the process? Don't fret, I can help! Yesterday, I could only carve out 1 hour to prep some food, so that's exactly what I did. Here's what I ended up with:

     - 4 portions of grapes
     - 4 portions of cottage cheese
     - 2 portions of yogurt (large portions)
     - 2 portions of pineapple
     - 1-2 portions edamame
     - 4-5 portions quinoa
     - 4 jars of water

Now I know these are not meals, BUT it goes a really long way. When you have healthy snacks portioned out, it helps to keep you from snacking on bad things or spending money. It also helps keep you full so if you are late getting home and starving, you can snack on these while you make your dinner.  

If you want to know about some of the silly moments I had or reasons why I chose certain items to prep, skip to the bottom of this post.

Here's a quick rundown of how I did this:

1.  Wash any dirty dishes that are in the sink and give it a quick wipe with all purpose cleaner. Make sure to rinse with water to get rid of cleaning residue.

2. Clear off counters and give it a quick wipe with all purpose cleaner. Make sure to rinse with water to get rid of cleaning residue.

3. Set out all the things to be prepped on counters or somewhere in the kitchen.

4. Start off with items that need to be cooked. They will cook while the raw food is being prepped.

5. Prepare all the raw food items.

6. Portion all the food into their containers, store and enjoy!


I started with water. We boil our tap water instead of using water filters and store in glass mason jars. Fill the kettle up to the maximum line, boil, pour into glass jars. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate or leave on the counter if you like room temperature water. We do half in the fridge, half left on the counter.


Follow the package instructions to prepare your quinoa. I cooked 1 cup of quinoa with extra water because we like it kind of overcooked. You don't need to see pictures of how to prepare quinoa but I wanted to show you how my strainer is broken. Haha, funny how I am only now noticing these things.


While the quinoa is cooking, cook the edamame according to instructions. I buy mine frozen and in the shell. You can buy them shelled if you prefer. I don't actually strain it. I just lift out of the water with tongs and shake off the excess. I put the steaming hot edamame in a glass bowl and just let the water evaporate a little. I sprinkle a bit of coarse salt over them all, cover and shake. I know high tech. Once cooled, you can separate into individual portions or leave in a big bowl. These are so addictive, so one bag can easily be consumed by one person.


Now on to the fruits. I use my handy salad spinner to wash my fruits. I was so hesitant to buy one because I thought it was a waste of money. It's not. Wash the grapes in the spinner  and leave in the spinner for a while to make sure all the excess water is drained. Every once in a while, spin it again. It helps to speed up the process.


Wash your strawberries. I have read that washing them in a water vinegar bath helps to prohibit mold so I've been doing that and it seems to work well.  If you are not going to use vinegar, then I recommend not washing the strawberries until you are ready to eat or making sure they are 100% dry before putting them in the fridge. You're supposed to do that even if you use vinegar, but I would be more diligent if you are not using vinegar. Place the strawberries in a colander, then place the colander in the larger bowl of the vinegar water solution. Roll the strawberries around with your hand so that all strawberries pass through the solution. Lift out the colander and give it a good shake over the water. Lay the partially wet strawberries on some paper towel. Be sure to space them out so they can really dry. I guess you could do this on tea towels too but they will stain. I don't own enough tea towels to do this. Let it air dry for a bit then lay more paper towel on top. Just tap the paper towel down with your fingers so it actually soaks up the water. Leave this to sit for awhile. I have very limited counter space so I moved this over to my kitchen table. so I could work on the rest.


This is simple and straightforward so there's no pictures. Spoon the cottage cheese into individual containers. I filled 4 containers with about 3 1/2 tablespoons each. I usually eat this plain as a snack.


I usually buy 0% Greek yogurt but if they have 2%, I'm not picky. I also prefer to buy the larger containers, but they didn't have them today. I ALWAYS get plain because I don't like any added flavouring. I add some honey myself if I need it. Spoon out as much as you want into a bowl, I did about 3/4 of the container into a bowl. I left some in the yogurt container in case I need plain yogurt for a recipe. Add some honey, as much or as little as you want. I just add a good squeeze and that's enough for me. You can taste it for sweetness and add more if you want. I know I can eat it plain so if it's not as sweet as I want, I'll survive. I fill my yogurt into small mason jars. I tend to fill more than what I would eat in one serving. It just works for me because I can snack on it over a couple hours while at work with my yummy homemade granola, not pictured in this post.


The last thing I could do before my hour was up was to cut up some pineapple. I like to do as much as I can on my own, but I have learned over time, that buying a whole pineapple is just not for me. It's just one of those things that never ends up working out for me. So I have resolved to buying the pre-peeled and cored version for a crazy markup. I know, it goes against every fibre of my being but it's just one of those things that I have accepted...for now. If the cutting board was out already, I would have done this on there. Since it wasn't, I did something really fancy. I sliced it right in the container. Slice, then stab each section with the knife and lift it into the storage container. Cut into pieces right in the container. I only got 2 portions out of this, but I love me some pineapple so it was worth it.



Here's almost everything that I prepared during that hour. In all honesty, I left the strawberries to dry and the edamame to cool for awhile while I jumped in the shower. I put those away afterwards. It still only took me an hour. This is the first time I labelled my containers like this. I usually use sticky notes but they always fall off. Here, I am using masking tape and a marker. Note to self, use a real Sharpie next time, the cheap marker I used just rubbed right off. I labelled with the contents and the expiry date if required.

Prepping food has changed my life. This is not an exaggeration. I usually do more that this, some is better than none. Having those snacks on hand make things so easy for me. If I decide last minute that I'm meeting a friend for drinks after work, I can grab a quick snack before I go so I don't overspend at the bar on apps. It's great to take with me on the train to visit my parents so that I'm not forced to buy garbage if I'm starving. You can do this too. You can use vegetables if fruits aren't your thing or...there's just so many options! If you can't spend an hour, spend 30 minutes! I really hope that this helps someone out who thought they couldn't do this. If you are new to food prep or if you have any tips for me, please let me know!

Have a fantastic week folks!!



Why Prep Quinoa?
It's nice to have the grain already prepared. Sometimes I am so hungry that I'll make a protein but by the time it's done, I'm starving so I don't bother with the grain. It's also nice to have quinoa ready to throw into a salad. I find it really makes my life easier to have this ready.

Why Prep Edamame?
Well, it's delicious. It's a great snack and you can shell them and add to a salad or any meal. Edamame is great as a quick snack to take to a friend's house when visiting if you are in a pinch.  It's also nice to put out as an snack if someone's coming over for a casual dinner or lunch. 


1. I usually boil about 4 jars worth of water. For the first time EVER, one of the jars broke when I poured the hot water in. Go figure. 

2. While I was grocery shopping, I spotted a strainer for way more than my dollar store one I had at home. I picked it up to buy it, then thought about it for a good few minutes and decided to pass. Why spend when I don't need to? Well, I need to. See the strainer above with the quinoa, it's way past its prime. 

3.   I was so ready to go on and on about why you don't need to buy an expensive salad spinner but while I was washing my grapes, the spinner started making a weird grinding noise. It still works but it's like gears grinding. Very unpleasant. I will be purchasing a better, more expensive one soon. Not the most expensive, but not the cheapest. 

3. Also while I was grocery shopping, I stared at one of those dish drying mats for the longest time. I always want one but when I see them at the store, I always think they are a waste of money. As I lay the strawberries to dry, I realized how silly I am. I would totally use those mats to help dry my fruits & vegetables. Think of how much paper towel I would save!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Restaurant Review: Pie Squared

Hello out there! A couple weeks ago, I had a very busy week and didn't get a chance to prep enough food so I caved and tried a new food place close to my work called Pie Squared. Their concept and branding drew me right in! I mean who doesn't love a good pie?

As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by some lovely young ladies. They were quick to ask if I had been there before and because I had not, they gave me a quick rundown of the basics. They went over the kind of pies they had and the combos available, etc. They also made sure to tell me that all the ingredients were fresh and that everything was made in store. The premise is based around elements and the periodic table. Pie...Pi..get it? Here's the showcase with all the pies already made. Please excuse the photography quality. I love how the pies have letters on them to show you which one they are! They are marked à la the periodic table which is just adorable. Oh and points to them for the box the pies came in, it has a built in separator so they don't rub against each other!

The place is clean, bright and welcoming. There is a good amount of space to sit and eat. There are freshly baked desserts, salads and they offer coffee too! I got the Chicken Mushroom Entree and the Chocolate Banana dessert.

I took the pies back with me to work and ate at my desk because that's just how people in my office roll.  Here's some pictures of the entree, Chicken and Mushroom. I got that because the young lady that helped me said it was one of the most ordered. It was yummy! Nothing crazy just a well made, classic flavour combo. The crust was deeelicious. Nice and flakey yet moist AND my favourite part was that it held it's shape when I cut it! Call it OCD but I prefer food that I can control in my plate. The filling was nice and warm but not hot. Oh, you know how on some pies and baked goods, that part of the crust where it folds over itself is super hard and dry? Not here! Kudos to you Pie Squared.

Here's my dessert, the Chocolate and Banana. The young lady said this was her favourite so I got it. It was the same crust, I think, so nice and flaky but again, held it's shape!! I love not making a mess. The filling was deliciously warm and again it was a classic flavour combo.

Here's a shot of the menu so you can see pricing and options. They offer a bunch of combos or your can buy each its own.

I went back the next day to try out the coffee. Also, not something I purchase often because I prefer the free Nespresso I get at work but I just had a craving and thought I would check it out. To be honest, I think it was the branding, it really drew me in. Whoever is doing their product marketing is doing a great job. I got a small latte and it was decent. I enjoyed it. I would go back although I might just get plain coffee next time. 

Overall, I recommend this place. It's definitely not a visit-everyday-kind of place because it's not a healthy option BUT it's definitely a lovely treat once in a while. It's definitely the type of place I might go have a snack and coffee with a girlfriend to catch up. Oh, I must say thank you to the staff for being very friendly. Sometimes these new, niche food places open up in downtown Toronto and the staff are overly pretentious. Thanks ladies!

They are fairly new so they don't have all of their social media ready yet, but you can find them on Facebook here: Pie Squared.

If anyone else has been there too, I would love to hear your opinions!

Hope everyone has a great long weekend!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

More About Me and Thrift Store Haul

I am a pretty private person. Well, let me rephrase, I am private in the sense of social media and sharing with strangers but I think I totally overshare when I talk to my friends. I love to share the things I make or do with everyone but I'm not always sure if anyone else is interested. This blog is intended to be my outlet for that. Only those who are actually interested will follow so I'm not forcing anyone to listen haha! And if no one reads, then whatevs! My goal is to really write how I speak, which is usually in run on, wordy sentences.

So who is this stranger with no picture or anything? I am a 20 something girl..err..young woman living in downtown Toronto. I live with my BF..err..fiance who I will not be including on this really. I love to make things, sometimes to be cost effective but most of the time just because I like to create. I am not the greatest cook but I do prefer to eat all homemade food. Well, as much as I can without being ridiculous. I am a Pinterest addict, but I really do make/use the things I pin. I know that sounds like something an addict would say, but it's true, really. I would like to live in a perfectly decorated home but I am SO far from that it's ridiculous. I like to be organized yet I'm kind of messy. I am super clutzy and a little over dramatic. I can admit it. I also LOVE a list. There's something about checking off a list that just makes my heart happy. Is this enough? Or too much? I don't know so maybe I'll keep going?

I also LOVE thrift stores. Not everyone else in my life appreciates how fantastic a thrift store is. Which brings me to my latest thrift store haul. I don't go often despite how much I love it. It's a logistics thing along with the shopping diet I've been on lately.

My latest thrift store haul

Here's what I got for a whopping $12:
          6 x glasses that I intend to use as champagne flutes - $1 each, 50% off = $3
          6 x white bowls - $1 each = $6
          2 x clear bowls - 50¢ each = $1
          9 x straw bowls/plates/things? - all for $2 

Some of it will be used in some DIY projects, some will be used as is. I have already used the clear bowls for some of my everyday makeup storage. I'm not 100% sure how these will all turn out but I have faith. The plate basket thingies are kind of a stab in the dark, but the rest, I would consider fantastic purchases!

That's it for today!! Enjoy your weekend!


P.S. I am really trying to combat my compulsion to overthink what I do and write so I am challenging myself not to over edit and just go with it.

Friday, August 15, 2014

I started a blog?

It appears that I have decided to start a blog on a whim. This is pretty unlike me. I only thought about it for a few days. A few days is the definition of a whim for a person like me. I am not a writer and I don't have perfect grammar. I'm not a fashionista or a master chef or an entrepreneur or a photographer or a social media user....the list could go on. I AM a young woman living in Toronto trying to combine my city life with my inner domestic homemaker. I am an avid DIYer and I tend to ramble. I love a good project..hopefully I follow through with this one.

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