Friday, 28 September 2012

Vivian Vendredi - Fun in the tub

I've been trying to find ways to capture pictures or videos of Vivian right now without her stealing the camera.  This week, the bathtub worked.  Just please ignore how badly I need to re-do the caulk around the tub.

I don't know if you can see it in the video, but Vivian has a pretty nasty bite on her shoulder from daycare.  It seems she and one of the other kids have both come home with teeth marks on them.  The mystery is that neither of them to be crying about the bites or anything, the marks just show up later.  So I can only assume that Vivian and the other little boy are vampire babies or something.  The two of them have quite the love-hate relationship anyway.  She'll talk about him and be excited to see him in the morning, but then as soon as she sees him, she'll walk right up and smack him in the face.  Young love, no doubt.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

It's better to be weird than boring.

"It's better to be weird than boring" is my favourite bit of advice from my mom.  She probably doesn't even remember telling me it, but it came from a stage when I loved to clean the bathroom.  I remember scrubbing the tub with Comet and just thinking it was the greatest thing in the world.  I also remember loving to clean other people's houses.  This was when I was a kid, like 9 maybe?  The love of cleaning bathrooms has faded away, but I do still love to clean other people's houses.  (What is the deal with that?  Why is it so much more entertaining when it's someone else's stuff?  I cleaned motel rooms for a short period of time, and even that wasn't too terrible.)  Anyway, we all have our little quirks that make us weird, which is always better than just being boring.  So here are some of the things that keep me from being boring.  Please tell me that you share some of them.

I hate busy gas stations.  Like can't stand them.  Like even if I'm about to run out of gas and I pull up to a gas station with people at every pump and people waiting for pumps and there's crazy drivers backing up to a pump, I'll just leave.  I would rather run out of gas than deal with that craziness.

I get weird anxiety about unfamiliar grocery stores, gas stations and variety stores.  It's like I think everywhere has a different rule.  I hate that feeling of walking into a gas station to pay and not knowing which side of the store has the counter.  Even if that feeling only lasts a split second, I hate it.  I prefer to use gas stations and variety stores that I know well, and know where things are.  If I'm unfamiliar with them, I'll just keep driving until I get to a "safe" one.  Same with grocery stores.  I hate wandering around not knowing where to find anything.  It makes me feel very uncomfortable and exposed. 

If I know ahead of time that I'm going to a particular restaurant, even if it's one that I've been to a million times before, I'll check out the menu online ahead of time.  Nine times out of ten I'll arrive at a restaurant, give the menu a cursory glance (just to make sure that everything is still the same as the menu online) and then order my pre-determined meal.  I rarely, if ever, order a special.  Too much pressure!  I need to know in advance what I want to eat, so I can get excited about it.

When eating a box of chocolates, there are certain rules to be followed.  First and foremost - never lose the chocolate map.  Tattoo that thing on your arm if you need to.  Second - you never, ever start to eat the bottom row of chocolates until the top row has been eaten.  I know, I know.  There's only crappy ones left on the top row.  That's part of the challenge.  You have to find people to finish off those crappy ones in the top row before you can attack the bottom section where the sweet peanut butter/mocha/strawberry ones are waiting.  Seriously, I get anxiety if someone steals a chocolate from a bottom section.

If I see someone I know out in public, like maybe someone from high school that I haven't seen in a long time, and unless they approach me or make like direct eye contact with me, I probably won't approach them.  I have this fear that no one will remember me or recognize me and then I'm that pathetic person saying "Remember?  Ashlie?  From high school?  In Forest?  Remember?"  Oddly enough though, even though I have anxiety about talking to people I actually know in some way, I have no anxiety about rambling on and on with random people that I encounter throughout the day.  Seriously.  Spend a day shopping with me and you'll learn the life stories of several cashiers throughout the day.  At the very least I'll end up openly mocking a stranger for no good reason.

Well, I'm sure there are many (many, many) more examples, but I think this is enough of my crazy being shared with the world for today.  But because I shared all of my social anxieties with you lovely readers, you get to do the same for me!  What's your weirdest trait?  Do you have rules when it comes to chocolates too?  Someone has to be with me on some of these.  And if I ever avoided contact with you in a store, I apologize.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Vivian Vendredi - Yep, that's how it goes

Yep, that's still how picture time goes around here.  I'll have to try to get her strapped into a chair or something to get some real pictures.

This week Vivian's been enjoying the fall weather by playing in the backyard in her rubber boots.  She loves those boots - I got them for her in the spring, and they finally fit her now.  So when she gets home from daycare, I usually send her out back to run and play a bit while I try to figure something out for dinner.  She's just starting to figure out how bubbles work (after a few disasters in the summer where there was much screaming after she couldn't figure out how to blow the bubbles and then just dumped the whole bottle out.  Then of course was even more furious that there were no more bubbles) so they've been a constant, messy companion in the backyard.  Since stuff like that is on sale right now, I got a big gallon for like $1.44.  I keep finding more and more little things on clearance to tuck away for her birthday and Christmas - at this rate her stocking will end up being a laundry basket!

Hope you're all enjoying the fall weather - I know I am!  Any tips on dressing toddlers in this weather? I find I'm at a loss every morning.  When I think it's going to warm up, and I put her in capris and t-shirt with a hoodie or jacket, it ends up pouring rain and being cold out.  And when I think it's going to be cool and wet all day, it ends up being 20 degrees and she's the kid stuck in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Free is best!

Sometimes I'll get the most random ideas in my head.  Somewhere along the line in the last few weeks, probably during a Pinterest binge, I got the idea that I needed a whole bunch of National Geographic magazines.  I've always loved the look of those stacks of yellow magazines adding a pop of colour on a bookshelf, table, or mantle.  So where to go for a bunch of old magazines?  Freecycle, of course!  I posted my request and within a couple of days I got a response from someone with two boxes in their basement.  A quick detour on my way home from work one day, and I had a lovely stack of mid 80s/early 90s National Geographics.

The best part is if I ever need some cheap art, there's plenty of lovely pictures to choose from!  Just cut 'em out and slap 'em in a frame!

Do you ever get random obsessions like this?  Any good freebies from Freecycle or anywhere else?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The cutest dress in the world - plus a Vivian flip book

Say hello to my new favourite dress, which I got last week on my Old Navy early birthday spree.  It's so cute and so comfortable, and I love the fit.  This was how I wore it last week when it was still warm out, then today I wore it again with tights - a great piece to transition to fall.  

The black splotches are actually little birds.

It's so nice to have a dress that I don't have to wear a tank top underneath.  Usually dresses are too low, or too see-through, or the arm holes are too big so I have to wear a tank underneath to keep things acceptable for public viewing.  This one is perfect though - just throw it on and I'm ready to go!

Please note Vivian in the background.  She loves moving chairs around to reach things right now.  In the pictures here she's standing on the chair to turn on the TV in her room.  She's too clever.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Vivian Vendredi-ish - Vivian's faves

 Things that Vivian is loving lately...

Putting keys into locks.  I want to get her one of those Melissa and Doug boards with all the latches and hooks and stuff.

Playing with cars, or "beep-beeps"
Helping in the kitchen with anything - washing dishes, making meals
Playing with daddy's guitar.  Santa might just have to bring her a little guitar of her own.
Colouring.  Constant, constant colouring.

Tearing the house apart
Drinking milk out of a cup!  She's been doing so well with just having milk in a bottle at nap/bedtime and one in the morning, then a cup of milk throughout the day.  Progress.
Throwing fits about getting dressed.
Putting herself in timeout when she needs a break
Anything with Buzz Lightyear on it
Giving big hugs and kisses

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Bottomless Shopping Spree

 So my mom calls me at work yesterday and the conversation went something like this...

Mom - "I have two of those super cash things from Old Navy and they expire tonight, the spend $75, get $30 off ones.  Do you want them?  I don't want them to go to waste, it's like throwing $60 in the garbage."

Me - "Oh right, I have one too, spend $50, get $20 off.  Umm, I would take them, but I don't really have the money to spend right now to get the deal."

Mom - "But you can get like $150 worth of stuff for like $90 with mine."

Me - "Yeah, but..."

Mom - "What if I gave you the coupons and $150 to spend them?  It would be your birthday present.  But you have to drive down here to get them."

Me - "Well I guess I can't complain about that."

So I drove to my mom's after work to collect my coupons and early birthday money and then head back to London ready to do some damage at Old Navy.  I was thinking about buying Vivian's Halloween costume and some other stuff, but in the end I figured I would just splurge on myself, since it was my birthday present.  Just so you know, this officially means that my birthday season has begun, so people can feel free to spoil me between now and approximately two weeks after my birthday.  (Yes, my birthday isn't until October 29th)

Of course, because of the way the coupons worked, I had to break things up into three separate transactions, so it was a lot of "Okay, ring in these three things then tell me what the total is."  And then throwing in a $5 camisole to help boost things over so I could use the coupon without spending money I didn't need to.

So here are my three separate transactions - I think I did pretty well, and now I have lots of pretty new things to wear for the fall/birthday season.

Transaction #1

New leopard print flats - Regular $20.94, I paid $13.45
Coral (it looks orange, but it's coral) cardigan and purple cardigans - Regular $21.94, on sale for $15, I paid $9.64 each.
Green camisole - Regular $5, I paid $3.21

Total cost of transaction #1 - $40.61.  I saved $33.88

Transaction #2

Green and navy polka dot sweater - Regular $27.94, I paid $20.48
White polka dot sleeveless top - Regular $27.94, on sale for $19, I paid $13.93
White camisole - Regular $5, I paid $3.67
Purple striped top - Regular $14.94, on sale for $8, I paid $5.86
Black and grey baseball style top - Regular $14.50, on sale for $10, I paid $7.33
Teal camisole (yes, it's different than the green one) - Regular $5, I paid $3.67

Total cost of transaction #2 - $62.08.  I saved $40.38

Transaction #3

I had to drive across town to the other Old Navy for this one, because I was bound and determined to get that dress!

Leopard print top - Regular $32.94, I paid $23.90
Green cardigan - Regular $21.94, on sale for $15, I paid $10.89
The cutest darn dress with little birds on it ever - Regular $32.94, on sale for $25, I paid $18.15

Total cost of transaction #3 - $59.82.  I saved $34.88

I'm super happy with my purchases.  I'm big on getting things that I can wear to work and on the weekends.  I don't like super-specific clothes.  But I realized afterwards that I didn't really get anything for my lower half.  I've always been a big shirt purchaser though - pants shopping is the worst, and once you have a couple of pairs of jeans that you love, you can just pair them with whatever assortment of tops and no one will even notice that you've been wearing the same pair of jeans for 2 weeks without washing them.  Plus, I tried on a pair of those coloured skinny jeans and it did not end well.  Looking like you're just walking around on two emerald green tubes of cellulite?  Not the best look for me, thank you very much.

Have you had any shopping sprees lately?  Old Navy has their kids and baby sale on now - 30% off everything, so get your Halloween costumes!  Can you ever have enough cardigans and camisoles?  How long does your birthday last?  Mine is typically a week minimum.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Outfit of the Day - Montreal Style Part 2 - Montreal Hipster

Apparently, Montreal is Land of the Hipsters.  We saw them everywhere, and literally checked out no less than 6 vintage clothing shops that were all in a row down the street from our hotel.  I was in heaven.

This was my "Walking around Montreal all day" outfit.  The weather was perfect, and the outfit was great for the day - I even got my farmer's tan filled in a little bit!  Plus I got a proper photoshoot, complete with an artsy "I'm not looking at the camera" picture.

Jeans - Gap
Top - Old Navy
Bag - Vintage Samsonite

Monday, 10 September 2012

So about those sheets...

So for the record, I maintain that using vintage sheets is no different than wearing thrifted clothes or sleeping on sheets in a hotel.  Whatever.

But you (and by you, I mostly mean my mother) will be relieved to hear that I came up with a better idea for how to use my pretty pretty vintage sheets.

I have some weird walls going on over here.  There's one long wall between the kitchen and living room that is kind of an odd size for hanging things on, and I've never really known what to do with it.  Then I saw this idea on Life as a Thrifter and thought, "Huh, what a great and cheap way to gussy up an awkward wall.  If only I had a bunch of cool fabrics...wait a minute!"

Sadly I don't have a lovely collection of vintage skirt hangers like she does, but I had another idea.  I got myself to Walmart and the Dollar Store and scooped up a few big sheets of foam core, along with some various sized canvas boards.  They're super cheap - You can get packs of 2 for like $1.25 for the smaller ones at the Dollar Store, the foam core boards were $1.25 each, and I got a three pack of the 11x14 sized ones for like $4 at Walmart.

Then it was just a matter of laying out the fabric, cutting it down to size, wrapping the boards like a present and securing it in the back.  I originally was going to try securing it with some form of spray adhesive or hot glue gun, but that seemed too messy.  I thought about my staple gun, but the boards were too thin.  So instead I settled for good old fashioned duct tape.  The duct tape allowed to me stick it just to the fabric at first, then really pull it tight before securing it down.  It holds nicely, and will be easy to switch things out if I ever want or need to.

So now I have this lovely assortment of boards!  The largest ones are my favourite, the foam core covered in the geometric sheets.  I would love to hang just the three of them together as a big statement.  Because they're foam core, you could also use them as a message/bulletin board kind of thing.  I'd like to hang the smaller ones in a random cluster kind of deal - I'll definitely post pics when I figure out what to do!

The best part is that because they're all super light (especially since the biggest ones are only on foam core, so they weigh hardly anything at all) I'll be able to hang them up with just some 3M removable adhesive dealios instead of having to anchor them in any kind of way.  Easy peasy, and pretty darn effective if you ask me!

P.S. - Yes, my camera is making weird bars and lines on the pictures.  I may have to start making oil paintings of my crafts and stuff in the future the way my camera is holding up.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Vivian Vendredi - Attempting to take a picture

If Vivian posts aren't up on Fridays, it's because I'm trying to figure out what to do when the only pictures I have of her from that week go like this...

I take out the camera and there is the initial interest...

Followed by a ninja-like attempt to grab the camera...

Wild arm flailing ensues...

And attempts to reach for the camera, because if she stretches far enough, she can grab it, apparently.

Then the meltdown begins in an attempt to manipulate me to give her the camera...

And it starts to work...

Because who can resist that sad face?

So eventually I cave, and give her the camera.

So then that's all the pictures I end up with for the week.  No idea how to resolve this problem.  Anyone have a suggestion?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Outfit of the Day - Montreal Style part 1

I went to Montreal for the Labour Day weekend to celebrate a friend's birthday and have a girl's weekend.  It was an awesome trip - I love Montreal!  It was an awesome city, and I can't wait to go back again.  While there I made sure to get pictures of my outfits, so enjoy!

There were some more standard "outfit of the day" kind of pictures, but they were super unflattering.  If we learned one thing on this weekend, it was the importance of camera angles!

This outfit was for our first night out on the town - out for fancy dinner at our hotel, and then out to the strippers!  Woot woot!

Easy, comfortable, and just dressy enough to maybe qualify for "downtown chic", the dress code at the restaurant.  Whatever that means.

Cardigan - Old Navy
Top and tank - Smart Set
Jeans (skinny!) - Old Navy
Shoes (not that you can see them, but they're leopard print ballet flats - Zellers