Jul
14

The New House – The Powder Room

by MARIA on July 14, 2014

Next up, the powder room! The powder room is just off the front hall and like the front hall, it was a good size and didn’t need a lot of work short-term.

We knew that some of the renos we were planning to do would be mostly cosmetic, at least in the short term and the powder room was one of them. We never considered keeping the wallpaper, although at one point we were planning to have new paper hung but it wasn’t meant to be.

Here’s what was on the powder room short term list and our yet to complete long term list:

SHORT TERM TO DOs:

  • Remove wallpaper with questionable stains. DONE
  • Remove towel bar. DONE
  • Remove useless fan and drywall over it. DONE
  • Remove wall cabinet. DONE
  • Replace register cover. DONE
  • Replace switch/outlet. DONE
  • Paint walls, trim, ceiling. DONE
  • Replace light fixture. DONE
  • Remove and replace mirror. DONE
  • Replace knobs on cabinet. DONE
  • Hang towel ring for hand towel. DONE
  • Buy and hang art. DONE
  • Buy basket(s) to fill bottom of cabinet with reading material for the husband. DONE

LONG TERM TO DOs:

  • Replace wood flooring with porcelain tile. I find the wood flooring in the room just bizarre, although it does hide the fact that my son can’t seem to aim into the toilet to save his live, quite nicely.
  • Replace cabinet/sink.

Here is what our powder room looked like the day we got the house.

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I didn’t totally despise the wallpaper but it’s just not my style at all and the questionable stains on the paper just grossed me out completely. As mentioned, we were planning on wallpapering the powder room and had even purchased the paper. However, after thinking about it, and considering everything from budget to time frame, we decided against it. Instead, last minute, we decided to paint it a dark grey, the same as our bedroom. Here’s where the powder room is right now:

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And here’s a little side by side comparison for you as well.

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I’m planning to spray paint the soap bottle a fun color and add a plant in the space next to the cabinet which is actually pretty big. Long term I’m thinking gut job, but that’s really not a priority right now.

What do you think of the transformation?? If you have any questions, let me know below! Next up, the kitchen.

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Jul
10

Sex Tape: The Movie #BedroomSpice

by MARIA on July 10, 2014

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In honour of the soon to be released SEX TAPE: The Movie, I’m compelled to share my favourite sexy time mishap that the husband and I had years ago. Thankfully, no video proof exists, although honestly, I ‘d watch it daily if there was. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life.

When the husband and I were first married, we headed to Niagara Falls for a weekend away. Of course, we had a room with the cheesy heart shaped jacuzzi tub in the corner of the room. After a day of playing tourist, we came back to the room for some sexy sexy jacuzzi tub times. This is where I admit I had never been in a jacuzzi tub before that, so I added bubbles. Fast forward to us being in the tub and suddenly noticing how high the bubbles were getting, coincidentally as they started pouring out the sides, onto the carpet. I’ll be clear, if I were to say that it was the Niagara Falls of bubbles, I would not be over exaggerating. Cue the husband jumping out of the tub, and attempting to carry armfuls of bubbles into the bathroom and into the standup shower, while naked and laughing hysterically. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t get out of the tub, watching him go back and forth over and over, covered in bubbles. Pure gold I tell you.

Sony’s Sex Tape: The Movie, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel arrives in theatres July 18. Sony Pictures also offered a Sex Tape gift basket (includes sex dice, girl’s booty shorts and guy’s boxers, as well as mini posters) to give away to one winner. Please enter the giveaway below and note that you’re welcome to enter this giveaway on any of the participating sites, but you can only win once. The giveaway is open to Canadian residents (not including Quebec residents).

Check out the Sex Tape: The Movie Facebook page for more info and videos.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

“Disclosure: I am part of the Sony Pictures – Sex Tape Movie program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

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Jul
09

Niagara Falls – Bird Kingdom #FamilyTravel

by MARIA on July 9, 2014

Bird-KingdomWe recently went to Niagara Falls with the kids to accompany Daddy on a business trip and our seven year old was DESPERATE to go to the Bird Kingdom. We really only had three things on our list of must do activities while in Niagara Falls – see the falls, go to the Butterfly Conservatory and check out Niagara Falls - Bird Kingdom.

The Bird Kingdom was the last place we went before leaving the city and we’re so glad we did. My kids absolutely loved it. It is actually the world’s largest indoor free flying bird aviary. It is very easy to find, a close five minute walk from the falls and there is parking attached to the building. After paying your entrance fee, they suggest you follow the white footprints on the ground as a guide through the rooms. Although there are some reptiles, bats and such, the birds are definitely the main event. A toucan, a kookaboura and a variety of parrots are what you’ll see when you first walk in, so prepare for it to be LOUD. The birds are beautiful and as an added bonus, you’ll even see a blue and yellow macaw that says hi and waves to you using his foot. It’s too adorable for words.

bird-kingdomWe then moved onto a small aviary filled with smaller birds flying around, most of which we had never seen before.  We moved through this room quickly because the kids were excited to see what was next. After walking through a dark tunnel, we entered a huge aviary that resembled a rainforest, complete with a 40 ft. waterfall. It was so unexpected and incredible. There are approximately 400 birds in this 50,000 sq. ft aviary so you’ll want to take your time walking through and taking pictures. The definite highlight was when the blue Victoria Crowned Pigeon happened upon my son and seemed enamoured with him. He was wearing dark blue jeans and it seemed the bird was trying to figure out what they were all about, walking around him back and forth and making little noises. He followed him walking down the path and every time my son stopped walking, he would circle him and walk over his feet to get around him. My kids talked about it for DAYS.

Here’s a little video of the little man with the bird he wanted to take home – I’m hesitant to share it because the sound of my voice makes me CRINGE!!! But here you go:

Make sure if you’re headed to Niagara Falls, to check out the Bird Kingdom. Try to arrange it so you don’t miss feeding the Australian Rainbow Lorikeets – we missed it and I know the kids would have enjoyed it. 

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SOME USEFUL INFO: The Bird Kingdom is open 9:30-5 and 9:00-5:30 in the summer. Admission is $16.95 (plus tax) for adults, Seniors $14.95, Kids 4-15 are $11.95 and under 3 are free. Parking is $3 per hour.

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bird-kingdom

*Sponsored by me.*

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Jul
08

The New House – The Front Hall

by MARIA on July 8, 2014

I can’t believe it but we’ve been in the new house now for just over FIVE MONTHS!

Sometimes I can’t believe we actually even bought this house to be honest – it definitely wasn’t planned.

The husband was in Amsterdam last October when I noticed that the house across the street (ie. the one we’re living in now and yes, it’s literally across the street from our old place) had a sale sign on the front lawn. After checking it out online, I called to make an appointment with the realtor, who coincidentally was also our realtor. The next day, my mom, my older sister and I went to check it out, and we all gave it the thumbs up. I knew it needed some work, but the size and the layout were there and a gorgeous backyard was an amazing bonus. So I emailed the husband, sent him links with pics and told him I wanted this house for us. The next day, I put in an offer and poof, I bought a house. Luckily, the sale of our house was a dream – we listed and sold it the same day. It was meant to be.

We got the new house three weeks before we had to be out of our old place, which allowed us to get most of our renos and all the painting done before we moved in. It was the best thing we could have done.  We’ve accomplished and completed a TON since moving in, but there’s still tons to do yet. Sadly, the money tree eventually runs out and you need to slow down, which is where we are now. Boo.

A lot of people have asked that I share my before and after pics on the blog, after seeing some of my pics on my Instagram account. I appreciate all of your feedback and suggestions that I should be a decorator/interior designer. If only I had the talent to do so, but alas, I do not – but it sure is fun trying. Also, I don’t have a camera that is any good, so the pics leave much to be desired – I’ll apologize for that in advance. Become an amazing photographer is on my to-do list, after laundry and losing half my body weight.

THE FRONT HALL

The great thing about the front hall was it was nice and big, and the front door was in good shape but that’s about it. Here’s my ultimate to-do list for the front hall and what has been completed to date:

SHORT TERM TO DOs:

  • Remove all the hideous crap all over the walls and patch. DONE
  • Paint all the walls and trim. DONE
  • Replace all three light fixtures. DONE
  • Rip out closet organizer, paint inside closet and install new closet organizer. DONE
  • Replace closet doors. DONE
  • Move doorbell to another wall. DONE
  • New front door lock. DONE
  • Replace register cover. DONE
  • Replace all outlets and light switches and covers. DONE
  • Install Nest Thermometer. DONE
  • Hang framed photos and art.
  • Buy a piece of furniture and a mirror for the empty wall.

LONG TERM TO DOs:

  • Replace ugly tile floor with dark grey porcelain tile. Because we could live with this for now, we decided to put our money on things that needed to be finished asap.
  • Paint inside of both doors black – still undecided, so I’m waiting on this one.

Here is what our front hall looked like the day we got the house:

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I think the design esthetic they were going for was a whole lot of brown and beige and hideous – mission accomplished!

And here is what we’ve done so far:

NewFrontHall1

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NewFrontHall2

NewFrontHall4

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Again, my photos aren’t great, but you get the idea. I’m a big fan of clean, minimal, and grey so I think we’ve accomplished that. Of course, we still need to hang art on the walls, and we need a table or cabinet and a mirror for the empty wall with the two round lights. I’d love an area rug or two to hide the tile, at some point as well.

And some side by sides to compare:

FrontHallBA1

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FHCompare2

FrontHallBA2

So what do you think? If you have any questions or what any source info, let me know  below! The powder room is up next!!

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Jun
30

Her – DVD/BluRay Giveaway

by MARIA on June 30, 2014

Her-2014-movie-poster

Her stars Joaquin Phoenix (in a pornstache) and Scarlett Johansson’s voice in a beautifully bizarre film, which coincidentally won the 2014 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (written and directed by Spike Jonze).

It’s super creative and strange and different and perfectly cast – I can’t imagine anyone else as Theodore but Joaquin Phoenix. Theodore makes his living writing personal letters for other people. He’s sad and heartbroken over the end of his relationship. His life changes when he purchases a new operating system that “promises to be an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet Samantha (Johansson), who is insightful, sensitive and funny. As her needs and desires grow in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other.”

I watched it last week and I’m still thinking about this movie. It’s a bizarre one, that’s for sure.

Want to win a DVD/BluRay copy of your own? Enter below! Open to Canadian residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Jun
30

Alone Time With Netflix #StreamTeam

by MARIA on June 30, 2014

Netflix_StreamTeam_BadgeOh how I adore my alone time with Netflix.

It really doesn’t take much to make me happy after the kids are in bed – a iced latte, pyjamas, many pillows and my Netflix. I love it so much, and I’m ok with that. I like that I can relax in bed, and watch some great tv shows, and binge watch at my leisure.

Of course, I have my favourites:

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK - I may have watched the new season over a two day period. Fantastic second season and excited to see Season Three.

HAPPY ENDINGS – This one is an old one, but whenever I need a laugh, every episode makes me howl. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve watched them but it’s my go to happy place show.

THE KILLING – SO good. So sad it’s almost over but crazy excited about Season four coming up in July!!!

SUITS – Fantastic show – witty, smart, and full of obscenely attractive people. Love it.

I also have a very long list of shows that I have yet to watch that are conveniently on Netflix. I LOVE that I don’t have to wait a week to see the next show – seriously, binge watching is where it’s at.

I can’t wait to watch:

SHERLOCK – My cousin in Toronto and I are constantly texting each other about what we’re watching (we are both addicted to really bad reality tv) and she RAVES about this show. I’ve only heard great things so it’s number one on the list.

Veronica Mars –  I adore Kristen Bell, so I’ve always been curious about this show.

The Good Wife – Oh, Mr. Big, you had me at hello.

Bates Motel – I’d love to see this but I’m a total wimp so, it’s been on the watch list with Dexter for a while now.

I love Netflix – did I say that already? Seriously, it’s worth every penny.

Do you have Netflix? What are your favorite shows to binge watch???

Disclaimer: I’m part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with Netflix. All views and opinions are my own. 

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Niagara-Parks-Butterfly-Conservatory Last week we took a trip to Niagara Falls for a couple of days – the kids had never been and the husband had a business trip so it was the right time to go. The kids were super excited (to miss school) and stay in a hotel, which they LOVE to do. As with any road trip we take, and we love a good road trip, I made a list of our must see attractions and The Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory was number one on the list.

We had gone as a couple years ago before having kids, and we loved it so we knew the kids would as well. It’s about a ten minute drive from the Falls, so you will definitely need to drive or take public transportation to get there. We went first thing in the morning to avoid crowds and school groups and we really recommend you doing that so you can walk at a leisurely pace and really enjoy as many butterfly species as possible. There are over 2,000 butterflies (45 different species), flying around in a lovely tropical (ie. steamy) environment. The kids LOVED just walking around, seeing all the different butterflies, and hoping one would land on them.

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Many of them did in fact. On their shoes, on their backs, and even their heads. They were beyond thrilled. My son fell in love with this particular butterfly – it landed on him and stayed there the entire time we were there. We eventually passed him off to a staff member who told us he had just been born that day.

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There were so many gorgeous butterflies and unique flowers in the conservatory, you could spend hours looking at everything – the kids loved it and didn’t want to leave. The building itself is surrounded the botanical gardens so once you leave you can enjoy the gorgeous setting as well. There are almost 100 acres of gorgeous grounds to experience, including a beautiful rose garden. Don’t miss this Niagara Falls attraction – !!

Some Useful Info: Tickets are free for children under 5, $8.50 plus tax for 6-12 year olds, and $13.50 for 13+. Parking is $5 and the hours of Operation vary so check online!

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FYI: Not a sponsored post.

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Jun
17

The Lego Movie DVD Giveaway

by MARIA on June 17, 2014

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EVERYTHING IS AWESOME, especially this Lego Movie DVD Giveaway!

This is a super cute, funny movie that your kids will obsess over and want to watch ten times a day, and then sing the EVERYTHING IS AWESOME song over and over in a slightly annoying, my ears are bleeding loop.

The Lego Movie, is the first full-length Lego film directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller. It features Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared. 

The kids and I thought Chris Pratt was perfectly cast as the loveable Emmet (we are huge fans of Parks & Rec in this house). Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman and Allison Brie is the incredible cast of actors that voice some of the characters including President Business, Bad Cop, Vitruvius, Lucy, and Batman.

This is a fun family flick for the entire family. Check out the DVD special features to learn how to build some of the fun items in the movie including the double decker couch!

Would you like to win your very own copy? Enter below! The giveaway is open to Canadian residents only! GOOD LUCK!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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One of the great things about moving to a new house, is the opportunity to purge many, many things that haven’t been used or touched in ages. You become a purge machine. At first, it’s weird to enjoy the process of throwing things out, but I quickly learned that the less you own, the less stress. Clutter is evil, people.

One of the areas that needed a thorough cleaning out in our old place, was the medicine cabinet and the other bathroom storage crammed full of bottles and boxes that hadn’t been touched in ages. I’m that person that takes the little samples from hotel stays and then keeps them for future hotel stays/travels during which, I accumulate more little sample bottles for future stays. This totally makes sense, no?

The first step was to do a major purge so I started by tossing everything that expired or was close to expiring. Things that hadn’t been used in ages were tossed soon after, as was anything that smelled off or looked funny in terms of it’s consistency. I threw out bags of stuff and I did it while the husband was at work, because no one can work in “I told you so” conditions. I also made a list of everything that needed to be replaced or replenished – everything from bandaids to vitamins to sunscreen.

targetstuff.jpgThe lovely people of #TargetCanada sent me a gift card to help me replenish my cabinets and suggested I check out the Target Up & up brand items while I was doing so. Of course I said yes, because I’ll be honest, I love Target. I’ve loved it when I had to drive an hour across the U.S. border to get there, and I love it even more now that I can drive ten minutes in my hometown to get there too. Walking the aisles of Target ALONE, while the kids are at school equals bliss, so I couldn’t say no.

Normally, I spend most of my time in the home section so I’ve never really taken the time to check out all the pharmacy aisles. I was actually surprised at how many products exist in the Target Up & up brand and the price difference was insane. The Up & up brand of products actually spans more than 40 categories including healthcare, household, beauty, baby and personal care. I was able to find everything I needed including vitamins, toothbrushes, sunscreen, acetaminophen, eye drops, antibiotic ointment, cotton balls, and antacid, while paying a much lower price than what I would pay for a national brand. There are some items that I am brand loyal to of course such as my skin care, but I don’t see why I should pay more for so many every day items when I don’t have to.

There are handbags to save up for after all. Now go forth, to Target, and shop.
*I was sent a Target gift card  for this post, but my thoughts and handbag obsession are my own.*

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Apr
23

GRAVITY – Blu-Ray/DVD combo Giveaway

by MARIA on April 23, 2014

gravity-movie-poster

What can I say about this movie? I LOVED IT so much – it’s incredible.

It’s visually STUNNING and so well done – the anxiety and stress of what is happening is so real and non-stop. My stomach was in my throat about 90% of the time.

Even my kids really enjoyed it – although my seven year old may have been afraid to sleep, but that’s to be expected when the most stress she feels most days has to do with what flavour of organic lollipop to choose.

(Is it me or does it seem weird that organic and lollipop would be used to describe the same thing?)

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, the award winning Gravity features Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring.  But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes.  The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone—tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue.  As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.

I can’t even tell you how many times I was holding my breath and on the edge of my seat while watching. The special effects will absolutely blow your mind – it is nothing you’ve ever seen in a movie before. In fact, if you truly want to understand how incredible the effects are, you need to watch the special features on the Blu-ray to see how they achieved them. I was even more impressed after seeing how they pulled it off.

Yes, I loved it. Yes, these are some sexy astronauts. Yes, I’m giving away a copy to one of you today!

I’m trying something new by using Rafflecopter for this giveaway. It seems this is what all the cool kids are doing these days. So enter below and GOOD LUCK!!

*Open to Canadian Residents only. Giveaway ends April 30, 2014.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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