Personal: 6 Things on Mind

1. Books. I finished another Haruki Murakami novel a couple of weeks ago. It was called Dance Dance Dance, and it was great. I also finished The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham. I’m now onto another Somerset Maugham – Of Human Bondage – and I think it’s going to take me a while to get through as it’s quite long. I’m just about to start Nudge by Richard Thaler to break up the line-up of British and Japanese literature.

2. Christmas Market. It’s Christkindle Market in Kitchener this weekend. It’s a great time to be outdoors, take in the Christmas crafts, and munch on traditional German food (and mulled wine, too)!

3. Holiday dresses. I love that so many bloggers are sharing round-ups of lovely holiday dresses. But why oh why are so many of them $1000+? I’m on the look out for more affordable options. Are you interested in a posts of (affordable) holiday outfits?

4. T&T Supermarket. Oh my goodness. The T&T supermarket (focused on Asian foods and products) opened up in Waterloo yesterday. A friend and I went after work, and we couldn’t believe the chaos. The parking situation was a mess. And there was a massive line up to get in. We were surprised. Needless to say, we had no desire to wait in line for groceries, so we left. I’ll check it out in a few weeks. Has anyone been? Do you have a T&T in your city? Do you like it?

5. End of term. The term is over. My class is done. I have final papers to mark this weekend. My students worked hard, and I look forward to seeing how they translated their ideas into their final writing task.

6. Music. I recently heard Lisa LeBlanc on the radio, and I’m hooked. Lisa is a 27 year old singer songwriter from Montreal. I’ve had her new bilingual album – Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen – on repeat for weeks.

The Friday Five: 5 Things on My Mind

Here are five things that have been on my mind this week.

1. Toronto

Of course Toronto has been on my mind. There’s no reason why we should ever associate people with “mowed down.” A tragedy. An awful tragedy that is too close to home. To learn more and to stay informed, I’ve been leaning toward reading articles from The Conversation, which is an academic source but written for a general audience. Articles like “Why he didn’t shoot?” and “The dark possible motive” are just two of the several that I read.

2. Babies

Congratulations to Daniela who gave birth to her second baby. Yay! A sweet girl has been welcomed into our family.

3. Music

This week I attended a house concert by Keenan Reimer-Watts who is a Kitchener-Waterloo musician. He created original music for the harpsichord and guitar, and it was quite the evening. I especially enjoyed how he explained his composition process. I was amazed by his talent. Also – this was the first time I had ever seen or heard the harpsichord. (FYI: It’s not a harp.)

Keenan also taught us about his organization Busking for Change. In this movement, buskers and audiences come together to support the environment.

4. Reading

The new edition of Toque has been released. This is a free magazine (yes, print) that features articles about local places and people. I enjoy reading it because I always learn something new about Waterloo region (and Guelph and Hamilton, too)!

5. Post-MBA Life

Well, it’s true. I’ve moved into post-MBA life, and it’s been pretty fabulous so far. I’ve seen lots of friends, read some books and magazines, and started to plan and book mini-vacations. I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to complete another degree, and I enjoyed learning a ton over the last 4 years. But I’m now looking forward to having a bit of free time.

Fashion: My L.L.Bean Wellie Review

Last month, I reached out to American classic L.L.Bean to inquire about their rain boot collection, and I’m grateful to L.L.Bean for sending me a pair of their tall black wellies and wellie warmers. When I prepared this style post, I hadn’t yet worn my wellies too much, so I couldn’t do a full review. Now, though, since the arrival of quite a bit of rain and slush, I have plenty more to say! Care to read on?

As I mentioned in my last post, I was completely impressed with L.L.Bean’s social media team, PR pro, and online chat personnel. I received excellent and speedy customer service, and my initial reactions were positive. I do already own an L.L.Bean personalized duffle bag, and it has passed many tests over the years, so I had high hopes for the boots. Thankfully, things are working out very well!

White-Cabana-Wellie_rain Boots_LLBean-2Here I am on one grey rainy December day wearing my L.L. Bean wellies. I paired them with leather-detailed pants, layered black tops, and a classic Longchamp bag.

The boots fit my foot perfectly, and they’re very comfortable for walking around. I do walk a lot (to work, to the grocery store, to the library, to cafés, etc.), so I’m not lying when I tell you that they’re comfortable for walking (as much as walking in the rain is comfortable – ha!).

White-Cabana-Wellie_rain Boots_LLBean-1I still feel put together even thought I’m wearing rain boots.

When I originally placed my order, I wasn’t 100% certain that the boot would fit comfortably over my calf (I do have issues with this with some companies). After asking the online chat person about the sizing, I felt more confident. The boots do fit over my calf easily – even with the wellie sock – and the elastic feature on the back increase the comfort level. The boots sort of just move with me as I walk if that makes any sense. The fit is true to size. I’m normally a size 8, and I ordered size 8, and they even fit well when I wear  the wellie sock.

White-Cabana-LLBean_2back elastic feature

There are loops at the top of either side of the boot, and I hang on to these as I pull the boots on. Easy.

White-Cabana-LLBean_1

loop detail

Another feature I surprisingly like is the buckle detail across the top/side of the foot part of the boot. These make the boots feel unique, substantial, and a bit rock-and-roll.

White-Cabana-LLBean_3the buckle

The sole is thick and sturdy, and I feel very stable as I walk through puddles or slush (you can see evidence of those puddles right there on my boots).

Finally, the boots come in at a fair price point considering the rain boot market. The boots are $89US, and the wellie warmer socks are $24.95. L.L.Bean offers free shipping and an unbeatable guarantee, which are bonuses in my mind.

So, as you can gather, I have only positive things to report about my new wellies. They get my stamp of approval!

White-Cabana-Wellie_rain Boots_LLBean-3Let’s all take another moment to stare at the boots, shall we?

Many thanks to Rox-Anne for taking these photos during one random post-café-meeting photo shoot! Boot photos by me.

Marketplace: Fingers Crossed

Here’s a perfectly appropriate objet considering the fact that my exams are now over (over! over! over!). I’m now hoping for a decent result on my economics final*.

fingers-crossed-silver-Noirfingers crossed, Noir

*Confession: I haven’t been this close to failing a course since first year calculus years and years ago. My ego is hurtin’. On the plus side, if anyone wants to learn about economics, I discovered Mr. Clifford’s YouTube channel, and his videos definitely helped me learn.

Uptown: A Look at My Kitchen

I have already shared photos of my main floor powder room. Today, I’m revealing the after photos of my kitchen. I took forever to finish up the last bit of grouting (there was a space that I was too lazy to fill), and I was putting off the photos until the backsplash was really fully complete. The before photos of my kitchen are pretty horrific. Honestly, I look back at them and I wonder what the heck I was thinking when I actually bought my house! They’re that bad!

So what did I do to my kitchen to get it white and bright? Here’s a list:
– primed and painted the walls and ceiling
– tore down a dividing wall beside the stove
– installed some new lighting
– installed some additional cabinetry
– installed a marble countertop
– installed a single basin sink
– installed a backsplash (I did it myself!)
– installed an over-the-range microwave
– changed the cabinet hardware

Yes, it was a lot of work! Still on the to do list? The floors are still on my wish list. I’d really love to install hardwood floors.

Okay, here are the after photos:

White-Cabana-kitchen-after-1 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-2 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-5 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-7 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-8 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-11 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-13 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-14 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-15 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-16 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-19 White-Cabana-kitchen-after-20

In case anyone is wondering – I generally do keep my kitchen this tidy. I took everything off of my fridge and the stack of papers/books/magazines off of the table for the photos, but other than that, my kitchen looks like this every day. The stove and floor could use a scrub, but c’est la vie.

Sources:
marble counter – Natural Stone City
sink – Vigo via Home Depot
microwave – KW Appliances
backsplash tiles via Kijiji (for only $10!)
toaster – Cuisinart
KitchenAid stand mixer
oil & vinegar bottles – Diane von Furstenberg
salt & paper shakers – Chapters Indigo
small tray – Crate & Barrel
large tray, milk glass, light fixture, embroidered cherries framed – vintage
tea towel, plant pot, table – IKEA
chairs – vintage, painted by me (inspired by Joan Miró)
black & white fridge magnet bottle openers – Alessi
watermelon art – painted by me (age 5)

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