Books: What I’ve Been Reading

Winter¬†in Canada. It sucks. I have complained¬†so much about it (and I just can’t stop). It puts such a damper on my mood and motivation. I’ve tried to embrace it in the past, but, really, it just doesn’t work for me. I’ve been coping with the cold, dark days by watching a lot of television (I’m sort of completely sick of television now, too) and by reading more books¬†(rather than just my usual stack of magazines and list of blogs).

In addition to about a dozen academic books (for a fun-for-me project that I might share one day), I’ve read¬†the following…

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

I’d recommend all three books. Gone Girl was a slow start for me, but once I got into it, I couldn’t stop reading it. It was amazing. The Rosie Project and Rose Effect were both amusing and interesting. Because¬†one of the main characters is a professor, I could relate.

I’ve also been reading a whole bunch of money and tax books. Here are some¬†of them:

White-Cabana-booksI think Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s books have been the most relevant,¬†useful, and¬†informative.

Uptown: A Look at my Powder Room

I haven’t posted any¬†photos of my home for quite some time. Most of the major work is done (yay!), although I always have something on my to do list (e.g., my basement bathroom). I am¬†so¬†proud of all that I have accomplished in the 1.5 years since I moved into my home. The house looks nothing like it did when I moved in. I slathered gallons and gallons of paint on every single wall, changed a bunch of light fixtures, cleaned for hours on end, tore down a wall, and so much more.

I haven’t taken after photos of every room, so this past weekend, I devoted some time to doing just this. I am just about ready to share a house tour. I really should post the before photos, too, to make things extra dramatic (maybe I will¬†one day)!

For now, here’s a look at what my¬†powder room. This¬†space was completely gutted, and nothing (besides¬†some of the walls) was salvageable (you can see some before photos here and here). It was¬†a disgusting space, really, and that just sums up the before.

White-Cabana-Powder-Room-1 White-Cabana-Powder-Room-2 White-Cabana-Powder-Room-3 White-Cabana-Powder-Room-4 White-Cabana-Powder-Room-5I am so pleased with how this little room came together. Me and my family did the work ourselves, so the only cost was for supplies and fixtures. Little money, big impact. I especially love the floor in my powder room because I installed it myself. Who knew I would ever do such a thing!

Sources:
Tommy faucet – Delta c/o
cabinet & sink – IKEA
hex tiles – Twin City Tile
twin flush, energy efficient toilet – Costco
vintage Chanel poster – Les Puces flea market, Paris
mirror – HomeSense
towel bar – Umbra (it’s a paper towel holder)
linen towels – vintage
milk glass – vintage
light fixture – vintage
toilet roll holder – Bed Bath & Beyond
baseboards, light plates – Home Depot

Photos by me.

DIY: How to Paint an Air Conditioner Unit

Seeing all the rust on my air conditioner unit, I really just wanted to bite the bullet and buy a shiny new one.¬†But thinking about my bank account,¬†I quickly realized that I didn’t¬†want to spend a fortune on a new unit when mine, although rusty, worked perfectly fine. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a¬†couple of cans of spray paint (I used Rustoleum), read this article¬†sent to me by Hogg¬†(thanks!), and got to work.

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before: I muted the colours in this¬†photo, and it’s still¬†disgusting

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before: the rust was¬†horrible, the muted photo¬†only¬†provides a glimpse into the condition of the unit (this is perhaps the ugliest photo I’ve ever shared on my blog)

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during: one coat of paint

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after: rust has disappeared!

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after: this looks like a brand new air conditioner

Here’s what I did:

1. I cleaned and scrubbed the unit with a CLR + water mixture. I then rinsed it off*.

2. While the unit was drying, I taped plastic bags on the wall surround and around all the pipes. I also unscrewed the top grate so I could cover the fans with plastic, and I weaved plastic in between the grate and the filter/fan/unit**.

3. When the unit was dry, I sprayed two coats of Rustoleum Tremclad rust paint*** (letting the paint dry in between coats) all over the unit and the rusty metal bars that hold it up.

4. When everything was dry, I removed all the plastic, and screwed the top grate back on. Done.

The project took about 3 hours from start to finish. I could have put on a 3rd coat of paint for fun, but I was too lazy (2 coats covered very well). I feel like I have a brand new unit, and the side of my house now looks so much more attractive!

* I would recommend scrubbing with a wire brush. I didn’t have one, so¬†it took me a bit longer to scrub and chip the old rusty bits off the unit.

** I covered the fan and the filter parts with plastic, but I’m not entirely certain this was necessary.

*** I didn’t paint the unit white (big shock, right?). Instead, I chose a colour that matched the grout in between the bricks.

In the Kitchen: Blythe’s Blueberry Muffins

One of the first recipes I tried after my friend¬†Johanne gave me Gwyneth Paltrow’s My Father’s Daughter a few years ago was¬†Blythe’s blueberry muffins. I have been making them ever since because they’re so darn good and easy!

I recently gave them a try using my KitchenAid stand mixer. I didn’t really need to use the mixer, but I wanted to because I love it. Here’s how things turned out.

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prepping the mini muffin tins

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prepping the KA mixer

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prepping the ingredients

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mixing everything together

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fresh blueberry mini muffins – just in time for breakfast!

Here’s the recipe taken from Gwyneth Paltrow’s My Father’s Daughter:

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 eggs (preferably organic)*
1/2 cup whole milk*
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar, divided**
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

*I use whatever milk and eggs I have in my fridge.
**I always forget about the extra sugar, and I tend to under measure the sugar, especially in muffin recipes.

Directions

Heat oven to 375¬į. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners*. Whisk butter, eggs, and milk in a bowl. Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in another bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients***; fold in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups; spring with remaining 1 tsp sugar. Bake until muffins are golden brown and a knife comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

*I often use mini muffin tins, and I think I can usually get 24 mini muffins and 8 regular sized muffins with one batch of the recipe.
**I threw everything in the mixer at almost the same time, and the muffins still baked perfectly.

Uptown: Lighting around the House

It’s a civic holiday today, which means I get to spend an extra day at home doing projects, seeing friends, and exploring Waterloo. Happy Monday to you all!

Way back in the fall, I¬†wrote about Venini lighting. I also shared the fact that I had¬†acrylic versions throughout my house, and that I had wanted to get rid of them right away.¬†I have a massive one in my foyer that I hated, but once I painted the walls white, the light fixture completely grew on me. That one light (and the matching versions¬†in the hallways) started a domino effect in terms of the lighting for my home. Let’s take a tour, shall we?

The foyer chandelier came with the house. It is big, and it has a gazillion light bulbs.

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All the hallway lighting came with my house as well. I have a few of these smaller versions, and they take a few lightbulbs each.

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I knew I wanted to replace the dining room chandelier and my bedroom fan, so when my mom and I found this amazing chandelier at the Habitat ReStore, I grabbed it. I love the little balls on this version, and it ties in nicely with the hallway lighting.

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In my bedroom, I have two smaller versions¬†to match my dining room chandelier. These ones are my favourites. They’re sweet, little, and a little less 80s glam than the others.

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Do I want to invest in the crystal version of these? Maybe one day if I find them on super sale.

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