Thursday, January 28, 2016

things I'm loving for January



I decided earlier this month to try and share with you once a month some of the things that I've been loving.  I'm a recommendation girl.  I read reviews online before making purchases- especially with clothes, I watch You Tube videos reviewing make up and beauty, etc.  As I have gotten older (and I daresay, more responsible(?) ) I realize that I HATE spending money on something I don't like.  Or that turns out to be crap.  I know some people are reading that and saying, "well no kidding, genius".  But I know there are others who are much more blase about it.  Small purchases, meh.  But if you add those all up- it makes a dent.  And if I'm making a dent, I want it to be for things I like.

So, like I said, I am going to try and make this a monthly post.  And if you have some things you've been loving lately, post it in the comments or send me a message and I'll share that the next month.


Jojoba Oil
by Log Home Soap 



I know I mentioned in my last post how my skin has been better since I started my Whole 30- but this stuff is part of it too.  I purchased a container of Jojoba oil in November, intending to use it for my daughter's excema,  (We did and got her flare up taken care of, don't think she's still walking around with a raging case!)  but when I bought it, the owner told me all of the other benefits as well- clearing up acne, moisturizing and helping with fine lines and wrinkles.  Now, I'm a squinter.  I have bad eyes and wear glasses/contact lenses, but I still squint on occasion, and I noticed this fall the creases I was getting by my eyes.  Sigh.  I thought I would try this out and see what happened.  I LOVE it.  The lines are way smoother and less noticeable.  I also use it on my forehead, cause not only am I a squinter, I'm a brow furrow-er too.  It's working there too.  It's not greasy and soaks right in.  I use it before bed every night.  I've been using it for 2 months now and have hardly made a dent in it.  It's also not one of those million dollar items.  It's reasonable, it's natural (for me it's local!)  AND it WORKS.


Vitamin E Serum
by The Body Shop

Click for enlarged view

Another part of my skin care regime is this stuff.  I love The Body Shop.  I always have.  I was a tween in the 80's and their Kiwi Fruit Lip Balm was my fave.

Remember these? Body Shop Kiwi lip balm:
source

Oh that brings back some memories.  But anyways- I have been buying the Vitamin E moisturizer and cleanser for a couple of years now, and I am hooked.  I can't use heavy moisturizers without looking like and oil slick, and this one is perfect for me.  (I just finished a container of it this morning)  After Christmas I needed to replenish and there was a gift set with the cleanser, moisturizer and this serum so I picked it up.  I love it.  I usually get dry patches in the winter.  Nope.  I use about 2 drops at night, after my Jojoba oil and concentrate on my cheeks and jawline where I get dry.  It soaks right in and my skin is not a mess in the morning.  It's smooth and nice.  Total thumbs up.


Joe Fresh jeans
Distressed vintage wash

Distressed Vintage Wash Jean

I love jeans.  I am a jeans-aholic.  I am embarassed to say how many pairs I actually have hanging in my closet.  Let's just say it's more than 10.  I also love distressed jeans.  I know, you are paying money to have rips in your pants, I understand.  I just can't help it.  Remember I was a tween in the 80's and a teen in the 90's- hello, grunge?- so this is to be expected.
Joe Fresh jeans.  I love them.  The are trendy, comfortable and cut well for me.  They are usually about $50 regular price and I can handle that (I can handle it even better when they're on sale).  I have these ones (they're actually on sale right now) and I love them.  They do stretch out a bit when you're wearing them, but that never bothers me- I don't like feeling stuffed into my jeans before I even eat anything.  I'm a comfort gal and these fit the bill.  If you don't like the distressed look, they have lots that aren't and I love those too, I always get compliments when I wear them.


Church of Marvels
by Leslie Parry


Church Of Marvels

I've been having a hard time getting into a book as of late, but this one has me hooked.  It's set in New York in 1899 and it's how 4 peoples lives intertwine all as a result of one night's happenings. Sideshows, gravediggers, asylums.  It's got quiet an array to keep you interested. I highly recommend this one for these chilly winter afternoons by the fire.


Tazo Tea
wild sweet orange herbal tea

wild sweet orange

Speaking of chilly winter afternoons, another thing I enjoy, besides my book, is a nice hot cup of tea. I usually have black tea with milk, but since going without dairy on the W30, I picked up a box of wild sweet orange tea at the grocery store.  I LOVE it.  It is naturally sweet, but not sickeningly so.  I find a lot of fruit teas smell better than they taste, (am I right?) but not so with this one.  I don't know if it's the licorice root or what, but it's just delicious.  I can drink a whole pot of it, morning noon or night.  It's really nice to have in the evening, just to tame whatever sweet cravings were tempting me. It's also caffeine-free, so you can still hit the hay without any problems.


Blog- The Good Life for Less 



It's taken me a long time to find my style in my wardrobe.  Dressing the house has always seemed easier than dressing myself.  I wasn't sure what to put together or I just put together the same old boring stuff.   I've been reading Jill's blog for a few years now and it's one I always read every morning before I head out the door.  She's a fashion blogger who's style I love.  I get tons of ideas of things to put together or things to pick up.  I never want to look like I'm trying to hard or I'm dressing to young for my age- so I keep myself in check following what Jill is recommending or what she's wearing.  Follow her on instagram to see her daily outfit posts- it will help inspire you if you're feeling tired of  the same old thing.  The other great thing is that the items she posts are attainable.  Some are high, some are low, some are midrange- but you can find them. And she usually gives you alternates for budgets too.


So that's what I'm loving for January.  Maybe you'll find a new thing or two to try out- and if you do, I hope you like it as much as I do, and if you don't, there's always February!

keep warm
~l

Thursday, January 21, 2016

stairs.... a love story + w30 update


I don't know about you, but I have always, always loved the idea of stairs.  But going up- going to the basement, I don't romanticize that - having an upstairs, that, to me, was always dreamy.  We lived in a ranch style house growing up, and I always longed for a two story house.  The having another level seemed so cool.  Don't ask me why- I'm weird that way.



source Our Vintage Home Love


interior-muted-xmas-stairs.jpg

source Style at Home

So last year, when we began our reno, putting in stairs was so darn exciting for me.  [lame]

I knew the way our house was, that I wouldn't be getting a grand stair case with railings and all that jazz (no lit garland at Christmas, boo), but I'd be getting stairs, so that was cool with me.


 Our contractor came to the house to talk about our plans and try and figure out where the stairs would go.  In the original farmhouse, the stairs were in what is now the kids' playroom- we could see the ghost of them when we did our first reno, 6 years ago.  They were farmhouse stairs - not "farmhouse style" but actual farmhouse stairs.  Steeper than steep, narrow and high.  A straight shot from the main floor upstairs, I swear, they were so steep they were almost vertical.  With two terrible clumsies in this house, that was not an option.

I knew, right from when we started planning, that I wanted the stairs at the end of the hall.


I liked the idea of looking down the hall and seeing the house open up.  So after a bit of figuring, that's what we did.

In doing so, we had to loose the closet in the master bedroom (we were moving the master upstairs anyways, so no big deal)


(Sorry for the dark phone photo, but you get the idea)


The entire closet cavity became the stairwell.  We had to put in a landing, because of the lack of space to rise.  (I like landings!)







We did the reno while living in the house- once they opened up the stairs, we had to plastic them off to keep the dust and mess out of the house.  
It was killing me.  
I felt like the woman in the Mervyn's commercial from the 90's



via GIPHY

So when this happened


I was so, so excited.  We added a small window to the landing and it washes the stairway and the hall with natural light, it's so nice.  What was a dark hall, now has glow when you look down it.  Anytime you can open something up to get more natural light, it's like a whole new house.  It looks brighter, it looks better- I swear, it makes YOU feel better.  So, so worth it.

When the contractors left, they left us with jobs to do- finishing the stairs was one.  My Our original plan was to paint out the stairs- all the vintage white we use on our trim work.  But I have always loved the look of stained treads and painted risers.

Like this image from The Inspired Room

Fall entry decor

(There's so much more in this image that I love, but we're concentrating on stairs now....)

The problem was, our hardwood floors.  We got these at Home Depot and they are now 6 years old- I think they are ash, but I can't remember.  And I wanted to get as close to a match as I could.  Off to the hardware store and grabbed a can of my favourite colour wood stain- Early American by Minwax.

Minwax® Wood Finish™
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT NATURAL 209Natural 209CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GOLDEN OAK 210BGolden Oak 210BCLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT PROVINCIAL 211Provincial 211CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT RED OAK 215Red Oak 215CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT PURITAN PINE 218Puritan Pine 218MINWAX® WOOD FINISH™
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT IPSWICH PINE 221Ipswich Pine 221CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SEDONA RED 222Sedona Red 222CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT COLONIAL MAPLE 223Colonial Maple 223CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SPECIAL WALNUT 224Special Walnut 224CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT RED MAHOGANY 225Red Mahogany 225
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EARLY AMERICAN 230Early American 230CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GUNSTOCK 231Gunstock 231CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT RED CHESTNUT 232Red Chestnut 232CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ENGLISH CHESTNUT 233English Chestnut 233CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CHERRY 235Cherry 235CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT FRUITWOOD 241Fruitwood 241
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GOLDEN PECAN 245Golden Pecan 245CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT PICKLED OAK 260Pickled Oak 260CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DRIFTWOOD 2126Driftwood 2126CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DARK WALNUT 2716Dark Walnut 2716CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EBONY 2718Ebony 2718CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT JACOBEAN 2750Jacobean 2750
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WEATHERED OAK 270Weathered Oak 270CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CLASSIC GRAY 271Classic Gray 271CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EspressoEspresso



source  Minwax.ca

Lo and behold- it was almost an exact match.



I loved the stain so much, I went back and forth on staining the risers too....


Paint won out.  And I'm glad it did.  They are so light and fresh.  I love them.  


I went really simple on the wall.  It's filled with a few special things that make me happy every time I go up and down.  




This pendant fixture is allen + roth from Lowe's- it's the Bristow 1 light Oil Rubbed Bronze Chandelier  (Click on it for the link.)

I love my stairs.  It IS cool to have an upstairs.  I love it.  Even when I go down at 3am to feed the !@#$ cat.  I still love them then.  I am totally a member of Team Stairs.  And a bit of a nerd- but I'm good with that too.


***************************************************

Whole 30 update

If you remember from my last post I started a Whole 30.  I'm on day 18 (the end of day 18) and I'm still going strong.  What I find hard is when I just want to grab something out of the cupboard- like, crackers- cause it's easy and I'm hungry.  I can't do that.  So I sigh and grab some nuts or a piece of fruit or I cut up a sweet potato and pop it in the oven.  And I have a glass of water, and probably a cup of herbal tea.  Then I'm good.  The moment passes.

I'm using this book a ton.

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans

Once I do a wind up, I'll share some of the winners with you.  But so far, EVERYONE has liked EVERTHING I've made.  And in this house (when it's not cookies) that's a big deal.

I am noticing this far into the challenge a few things- no headaches (!).  When I turned 35 I became prone to migraines- and they suck.  Big time.  I do have to say I did get the sugar detox headache for 2 days, I think it was 3 and 4 - but since then, nothing.  Yay.  Also, my skin is smoother and less patchy and blotchy.  That I really noticed a few days ago.  Another yay.  I don't have sugar cravings, nor do I binge when I'm hungry.  I am the sugar monster.  Candy is one of my favourite foods.  But right now, I don't even want any- and the kids got a treat of licorice the other day (my fave) and I didn't feel deprived.  There have been A TON of tests to my willpower- fresh warm cinnamon buns, pizza, chips, candy, the After Eight mints in the freezer, Christmas cake- but I haven't eaten any.  I feel pretty accomplished (and not bloated!)

Eleven more days to go and I can do it.  It's just 11 days.  In the grand scheme of things, that's not a big deal.  But the way I've been feeling is, so I'm not going to throw it away for a bite of tasty, cheesy pizza.  I can do that in 12!  ;)

~l