Office essentials

One of the things that Kelvin and I like most about our current house is that it has a study at the front. This is our workspace, our think space…and more often than not, our YouTube/Netflix space. Alas, like many other well-intentioned spaces, it is also often a messy space, full of paper and miscellany that make working at all a difficult thing. 

That changed this weekend.

Thanks to a trip to IKEA, family visiting, and a holiday weekend (time off!), we made this room just a little more functional. I cleared off my desk (finding a professional magazine from two months ago…along with a number of statements that needed to be filed), and assembled this:

Prior, we had had a tall bookshelf in this space. It was white, but it blocked a fair amount of the light, plus it was full of books that we didn’t access often. Our files sat lined up along the bottom shelf, making any sort of filing a pain. 

The solution?

We bought and built a white GALANT file cabinet system (SO great…other than the really tricky lock which we decided to not install after having read a number of horror stories). It also gave us a good surface to house our printer (which had been upstairs in our guest room for the longest time). Third, we mounted an ALGOT to the wall, complete with three shelves. Now everything is clean and accessible. And I’ll know where to find it all!


Lunch date in Ottawa 

I must confess, Kelvin and I do not always capitalize on the fact that we have lots of help with Andy (at least, not when it comes to evening dates). By the time we put Andy down for bed, rather than get ready to go out for dinner, it’s much more desirable to just kick back, have dinner together at home, and watch Casey Neistat vlogs. However, when the opportunity arises, we do find ourselves out of town for the day without Andy.

Last week, Kelvin and I took a drive up to Ottawa to hit IKEA and T&T. We bought about $150 worth of storage bins (👌) and another dual case of the specific Asian chicken broth that we like to use. For lunch in between, following an amuse bouche of IKEA Swedish meatballs, we headed to Whalesbone Oyster House on Bank Street.

The storefront isn’t huge, and the sign is somewhat dark, so it can be hard to spot. This might also have something to do with the fact that it was hailing as we drove up (what!). Anyways, we were arriving around 1 pm on a Thursday and we found a spot easily.

We got ourselves 12 oysters for $35. We tend to like sweeter, plumper oysters, and though all three varieties were different, we enjoyed them all. We also got an order of fish and chips, but I forgot to take a picture before we ate them. They were delicious and light.

We also got churros, because whenever Kelvin sees churros, he has to get them. This, unfortunately, was a disappointment. At $9 a plate, it definitely wasn’t worth it. The exterior was too crisp and the interior too soft, which makes me think they were from frozen. Which in hindsight probably makes sense, since oysters and churros aren’t often found together. That’s okay, lesson learned.

All in all, a really enjoyable experience. Next time, we’ll come back and try the lobster roll.

Whalesbone Oyster House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Andy is slowly getting back to his usual self. He has now traded his fever for a cold and his laboured breathing makes him sound like Darth Vader, but at least he is active and smiley once more. And he doesn’t cry when we put him on the ground. 

We are working on getting him to sleep through the night once more, so that has been its own beast. There have been multiple nights of some pretty wicked crying. In the last ten months, there have definitely been many moments in which I’ve been extremely frustrated and have turned to the Internet for help and solace, only to become more frustrated or confused. I looked up sleep schedules and they were all over the map. 

In other news, Andy now has 7 teeth, and when he bites you it hurts. Attempts have been made to get him to stop, but I think it is mostly exploratory right now so there isn’t much we can do. This also translates to him taking bites out of his food, which is really funny. Regardless of how small and item is already, he likes to take one bite first, just because he can. He has also made some progress in developing his fine motor skills in his right hand, especially when it comes to feeding himself. (But as you can see in the picture below, he still prefers his left hand…)

We’ve left the baby gate off his room more frequently since we are home and are watching him when he plays. The cutest thing is when he is playing in his room with me, hears Kelvin in our bedroom, then promptly crawls out of the room to find him. We may need to get some knee patches for his pants if this keeps up.  

On the home front, we took an Andy-less trip up to Ottawa for brunch and a visit to IKEA. We ate at Baker Street Cafe, which sadly we did not find as awesome as the hype made it out to be. I mean, there was a line for it. An out the door and onto the snowy Westboro streets line. We had a fairly successful time at IKEA, though, picking up a great new shelf that really changes the aesthetic of our main floor, a much-needed mirror for our front entrance, and a few other knick knacks. Kelvin also got around to treating our dining room table. 


All in all, it’s been a successful second week of the holidays. I’m looking forward to finishing some books and starting new ones, and to getting back into the groove of teaching by crafting a work plan for the remainder of the 2015/2016 school year.  

Hope your first week of 2016 was great!

some creative time

this past week was march break, which meant i had entire days to do things and have fun. aside from spending a lot of time playing games on my phone, browsing pinterest, and reading, i also found some time to be creative! i am definitely invigorated by creativity and by allowing the artistic part of me to just roam free.

it all started with this marker drawing of some houses across the street!

i am someone who loves drawing with pen and paper, but i often leave it just black (or blue) and white, because i’m afraid of what adding colour might do to the cleanliness of the drawing. this week i decided to whip out my 50 pack of markers…okay more like 47 because i lost a few after kingston through my lens. they’re nothing fancy, just a variety pack i bought at staples and i love them.

a tribute to one of my favourite places in the west end

on monday, i tagged along with kelvin’s family during their visit to toronto. at ikea, i picked up two black ribba frames to add a little something extra to our living room. i am really into drawing cities and streetscapes, so i thought “why not draw some of the awesome buildings on princess street?” it’s nice to live in kingston and to be able to showcase some of the spectacular heritage architecture in the city. i started off with just having two scenes, but as we were hanging them up, the spacing really warranted a third. here are a few snapshots!

the very first one i did, of james reid furniture
probably my favourite of the bunch (perhaps it’s the tilt) – the grand theatre!
this was the late addition: my rendition of a trio of buildings (luke’s gastronomy, three, and lululemon)

something funny to note – i practiced a very long time on my signature before i dared to do it on the actual drawings. i didn’t want to ruin them! in fact, i have a few pages full of signatures and different versions that i was contemplating.

here’s the final product

aside from all the sketches, i also fooled around with some origami. i made these little folded paper squares called menko, which was surprisingly easy! maybe i will do a video tutorial when i have time…

where i eat

so a little while ago, i posted a stock picture of my dining table, because my dining room really wasn’t in a photographable state. now, we have 4 wonderful chairs (also from ikea, the wide, clear tobias chairs) a few funky placemats with trees on them, and a brand new set of white dishes that fit in my microwave (sadly, my old ones were too big for the microwave…they were also square)!

chair building competition
the finished product!

the house is really coming together, and i think the next step will be to start decorating and stylizing it to fit our taste. we have the main pieces, so it’s time to accessorize =) i get the feeling i will be doing a lot of DIY projects.

ikea through and through

today, kelvin and i finished assembling a few more of our ikea pieces. it seems that ikea has been our go-to place for furniture because of its price, its look, and its all around goodness :) the house is slowly but surely coming together!

we bought a torsby table to go downstairs in the dining room, because it just looks so sleek. it has these clean lines, and it’s made of glass and chrome. however, i will be honest that right now it looks a little awkward in the space. we still have the 90s wallpaper trim, these interesting pinkish marbled vertical blinds and we have yet to purchase any chairs…so i am using the stools that i used with the last table! once we pull everything together i will post a picture :) for now, you can take a look at this stock one on the side.

another piece we finished a few days ago was our white expedit. in our original plans, we had wanted two birch expedits to go in our study. however, turns out our study was smaller than we thought. so instead we got this cute little 2×2 expedit to put books and other fun things. right now, its main purpose is to give our new wall art a place to rest.

last but not least, we finally have a place to work! we are really proud of our new desk (vika amon top with vika alex drawers, one vika curry leg in the middle, and two vika oleby birch legs on the other end. that’s something i really appreciate about the desk solutions at ikea – they are so customizable for your needs and the look that you want. also, instead of placing the oleby legs the way they are normally positioned, we turned them outwards (mostly for aesthetic purposes). i was assured that the integrity of the table would not be compromised too much. however, i do have a curry leg supporting the desk in the middle, so if your situation is different, test to make sure this would still be safe! we bought an old mikael on kijiji a while back, and it fits perfectly under the table too.

we still have some little things to do (floating shelves, curtains, and the like), but it has definitely been a really good day!

a place to sit

finally, after a month of sitting on the floor or on my exercise ball, i have furniture in the living room! i am really happy with the kivik sofa we bought at ikea, as well as my new poang arm chair. the rug was on sale for 30, so we picked it up as well. i think it really pulls everything together. i am having some trouble smoothing it out though – it’s still very clear that the rug came rolled up. the coffee table is from kelvin’s house – our “antique piece” he likes to call it. we might stain it down the road.

as you can tell from the corner of the picture, the dining room is still very far from being finished. yes, that is a fold-up table, and yes, there are three stools. they have served me well thus far though!

moving in

my new hunters in their new home

i’m now officially living in my new house! i’ve had a handful of sleeps here (on my extremely comfortable, new mattress – thank you sealy!) and it’s not uncommon that i find it really hard to get out of bed in the morning. the lack of drapes in my home has helped to draw me awake around 8 am every morning, but the physical action of getting out of bed takes much longer than it normally does. tonight was a momentous occasion as i cooked my first meal in the home. i made chicken and broccoli alfredo (i used to make it all the time during undergrad because it was just so easy), and i drank green tea. i don’t have a dining table yet, so i dine on a very utilitarian fold out table and sit on a pair of round stools. i also don’t have a couch yet, so the floor is my best friend. on occasion, my exercise ball and beanbag get some use too.

by far the most exciting thing that has happened has been putting together our ikea purchases! kelvin’s parents were kind enough to pick some things up for us when they went down to toronto. we had people over for our very first get-together this past saturday, and we wanted to at least get the lighting up in time. we purchased a not uplight/reading light combo, as well as two holmo lamps. these holmo lamps were only $10 and i love them! i have one downstairs in the living room as well as one in the bedroom, which i am using as a reading light. i haven’t had a chance to go back down to toronto to pick up my things from home, so i am severely lacking shelving, lighting, writing surfaces, and clothes hangers.

the big ticket item, though, was the new malm bed frame we got in birch veneer. kelvin and pat put the whole thing together on saturday, and i even have matching nightstands for it! i love how ikea furniture requires such basic tools for assembly…check out some of our process shots!

they worked hard
using "baby tools" (including my scrapbooking hammer)
the finished product! (note my mattress against the wall)

to sum it all up, i love living on my own. i love the freedom as well as the responsibility. though the precursors to moving in (figuring out maintenance costs, bill payments, furniture, etc.) were extremely stressful and overwhelming at times, this is definitely worth it. i’m looking forward to filling my home with experiences, love, and all around good times.

a trip to IKEA

in anticipation of moving into my new house, the three of us (kelvin, his brother, and i) went on a little road trip today to ottawa to visit IKEA. growing up, i always loved flipping through the IKEA catalogues. now, i actually get to buy things there! and by buy things, i don’t just mean buying a set of sheets or a frame, but real furniture for my house! how exciting! i will probably post things up as we get them or as we figure out what our rooms should look like. for now, we have figured out our study and we have our eye on this combination for the living room. we would probably get it in black-brown with two large open bookshelves on either side (not the glass cabinets – we can’t afford glass!). and we would go with a smaller bench and wall mount (2 sections instead of 3).