What I Wore – August/September

The end of August was pretty crazy around here so I didn’t get an August WIW post up. Here it is! The two dresses at the bottom (blue/gold and red/white/gold) are new finds I bought in Boston. Not necessarily a bargain but I like getting dresses from independent stores while I’m visiting a city. It rounds out my wardrobe. I also bought a few new pairs of pants in these two months to suit my NEW BODY coughbiggercoughgetsomeexercisesarah. Anyway, which item is your favourite? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Posted in 2013, Fashion, What I Wore | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Adventures in Boston

“Oh you’re going to Boston? *pause* foooor….?”

This was many of my conversations leading up to our trip to Boston. Yes, we’re going to Boston. No, we don’t really have a reason. I know it’s not NYC, LA, Chicago, Vegas etc, but it’s certainly on the list of MOST AWESOME PLACES IN THE USA. Who made that list? Well I did. Having been to the aforementioned four cities, two of them we visited together, we can say that Boston is absolutely world class and you won’t be disappointed in your trip there. So here’s my summary of what we did. For you, mom, and the other two people reading this.

First we missed our flight. We were flying out of the nearest US city and time at the border took longer than usual. Now you’re probably saying “well, YES it always takes a long time,” and I’ll just say that it was FIVE THIRTY in the morning. ON A SATURDAY. So after spending way too long idling in our car (beside the “no idling” sign, mind you), we made our way to the airport – to be greeted with a 50-minute long line for security. We made it to our gate 4 minutes before the plane was scheduled to leave. And let me tell you, JetBlue doesn’t mess around. So we missed it. But luckily for my suitcase, IT had NO PROBLEM getting on the flight – cue heart attack at baggage claim when it doesn’t come off the conveyor belt. We were plunked on the standby list and got on the next flight a couple hours later. No harm, no foul. I guess.

We rented a lovely apartment in the South End off of AirBnB – by the way, once you go AirBnB, you never go back. It was like we were actually LIVING in Boston.

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Not a hotel to be found, no tourists staying anywhere nearby. Just us, our apartment key and our weekly transit passes. Sidebar: public transit in Boston makes public transit in Calgary look like the HIGHWAY ROBBERY that I will always maintain it is.

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We did a bit TOO MUCH our first day there which we repeated through the week so I’ll just skip that.  We did end the night with dinner with my bloggy/social media/online friend, Katie, who I met through blogging in 2005 when I lived in Montreal. And we’ve corresponded ever since then – sometimes more regularly than others – but had never met in person. Katie actually sent me a metal star ornament from Texas that says “The stars at night are big and bright” and I still have it hanging on the knob of my bedside table, many years later. So we met for dinner and it was as though we were old friends which, I guess, we are! Conversation and laughs both flowed freely as we ate, walked, ate, and – you guessed it – walked. Katie and her husband, Jeremiah were a sparkle in our trip, two friendly faces in an unfamiliar city.

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We took in a Red Sox game, which was an amazing step back into time at Fenway Park. I expected everyone to be wearing hats and tweed blazers. The best time I’ve ever had at a baseball game, hands down. Amazing.IMG_6116

We poked around Boston Common (like Central Park, but in Boston), grabbed dinner at Cheers (no, nobody knew our names, because I know you’re going to ask) and did some shopping on Newbury Street.

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We saw the majestic Public Library and were thrilled to see it being used as a library and not just a museum.

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We (mostly Graham) visited used bookstores on every corner and visited Harvard to see where the magic happens.

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We walked the 4km Freedom Trail (which ends with a hike up a huge hill, by the way) and learned about the founding fathers of the city. We learned about how Boston fought for America’s independence and all there was to know about Paul Revere other than his shoe size, which I’m sure we could have found out if we’d wanted to know.

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We downloaded a $3 app and took it along with us on the Freedom Trail. It was amazing. Best app ever for the purpose. We learned so much more than those poor chumps who had to read the plaques and every stop. Losers. Here we are, the actual losers, listening to our audio tour.

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And here is my favourite photo from the trip – Graham inside a “box pew” in The Old North Church which is where they hung the lanterns to signal that the British were coming.

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We drank before noon at our Samuel Adams Brewery tour and then drank a bit more when we went right afterwards to L Street Tavern from Good Will Hunting and realized they didn’t serve food. Poor planning on that one, she says as she stumbles up the street.

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And as we were leaving, we waited an hour on the bus and three hours at the airport as weather had delayed everything. The rough travel in and out hadn’t deterred us – we loved Boston and will definitely be back.

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Posted in 2013 | 2 Comments

What I Wore in July

I can’t believe it’s August. July’s weather was weird and had pretty much every temperature and humidity possible. Here’s what I wore to tackle it.If these were in order you’d be able to see my lovely haircut deteriorating as the month goes on. That’s the trouble with shorter hair!

Comment and let me know which outfit is your fave! Special guest appearance from my boss who WORE THE SAME THING AS ME on one day. Unknowingly. Maybe it was me who wore the same thing as her?

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Posted in 2013, Fashion, The Daily 'Drobe, What I Wore | Tagged , ,

Make Your Own Typographic Artwork

Guys, did I tell you we moved? Because we moved. And I’m sure I haven’t mentioned it, oh, 900 times since it happened. Anyhoodle, I was cruising group-buying sites one day and there was a voucher for a 24×36 colour print job at a local printer. I thought “Sure! I’ll use that!” (which I frequently think about these group buy things – I am sometimes wrong). So I tried to make something to print – 24×36 is a huge piece, which I know NOW more than ever. I started with the shoes, which didn’t work out [whole story here] and then thought about printing a wedding photo (good heavens I’m so glad I didn’t – that’s so big!). I settled on a little piece of home – the lyrics to Paul Brandt’s Alberta Bound, printed in the shape of Alberta.

How did I do that, you ask? Well it helps that Alberta has a shape that makes this easy – even without graphic creation software. If I was talking about Ontario, it might be a different story. If you’re doing this and chose, say Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Mexico, Kansas, Wyoming, or any other area with straight edges, you’re good to go.

So I typed out the lyrics, and by that I mean copy-pasted, and put them into the shape of Alberta using Adobe Illustrator’s Area Type tool, which is probably what you should use if you’re doing a state or province that isn’t a standard shape.areatype

As with most Area Type projects, a bit of playing around has to occur once you paste your text in there. View things at 100% occasionally so you can see if the font is taking over (which is kind of where we ended up, more on that later). Also make sure you can actually see the shape of the province/state you’re trying to replicate. For example… you don’t want this…areatype2

So now we’ll say you’ve justified everything and changed the font (the smaller ones work better for the nooks and crannies of many shapes). Now in this example (but not in the real version), I pasted the song in there twice and made the font smaller. But I didn’t want to do that originally and now the words are a bit enormous. Again, read: view things at 100%.areatype3

Then you print it at a local printing house, using your group buy voucher or your “print to canvas” voucher that comes along every two days. We found a frame at Target that was big enough, but you can of course print any size and find any frame for it. I had to trim it a little bit because it was SO DAMN HUGE and the frame that I bought was a bit smaller.

I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you that if you choose a song, you will A-L-W-A-Y-S have that song playing in the background of your mind. Always. Like that time I wrote “hello, you fool, I love you” to Graham on our chalkboard wall and have been humming Roxette ever since.

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Back to the Alberta piece. Because the words on ours are so enormous, (read: I kind of hate it, but whatever. Maybe we’ll do it again now that we’re smarter) we didn’t want to put it anywhere that people would be getting too close to it, like beside a chair in the living room. Cue people sitting down and being visually assaulted with ROCKY MOUNTAINS AND BLACK FERTILE GROUND in their face. So we put it up in our stairwell where people will mainly see it if they look up when they come in the front door. Voila. What do you think?

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And, as a bonus, here’s another little typographic thing we have in our bedroom. You can do that one in Word.

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Posted in 2013 | 1 Comment

Wallpaper Removal

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I’ve been wanting to take off the inspirational wallpaper in the bathroom for some time now, but y’now how things go – some projects just seem SO BIG. This house getting all set up feels like it is going to take forever and when you think about all the things that need to be done it’s totally overwhelming. Paint upstairs, remove wallpaper in bathroom, remove wallpaper in stairwell, change carpet on stairs, replace flooring in kitchen, refinish table, ETCETERA. But when you take one thing at a time you can get it all done without overwhelming yourself. I’m just glad we don’t have any *major* renovations to do.

I was sure I wouldn’t get to this bathroom before the fall because it seemed like such a huge task. I also hadn’t a CLUE how to take off wallpaper until reading Young House Love where Sherry took the wallpaper off of their bathroom walls in 3 hours. And then I was all “YES I CAN SPEND THREE HOURS DOING THAT!” Jeepers that’s like a weeknight task if I wasn’t so dang tired all the time. So I woke up on a Saturday and was like “LET’S DOOOO THIS!” well actually, as per my style, I dragged myself out of bed, moping the whole time (because y’now, morning) worked for about 10 minutes (eww, I know), stared intently at the garage sale across the street to see if I should go over (I didn’t), went to Dollarama, ate a banana and then was like “alright, I’m going to give this a go.”

So the strategy I learned from Young House Love was to spray nearly-boiling water on the wallpaper and tear it off and repeat. Before jumping into a project such as this where you don’t know what’s underneath the wallpaper, brace yourself. I just tackled this spur of the moment and, if the walls had been bare drywall with pink plaster, or an old orange paint like it was in my childhood bedroom, I didn’t have immediate plans to paint it and would have had to live with it or rearrange my schedule to paint it. Keep that in mind because you never know what you’ll find behind wallpaper.

I learned from her experience that you can’t put boiling water into a flimsy plastic spray bottle, so I bought a spray bottle from Dollarama and brought it home – but with a different plan in mind. I used a thermos that I had won at Grey Cup festivities a few years back to hold the boiling water. This way I didn’t need to hold the container with a glove, it wouldn’t melt the bottle, and the water would stay hot longer. Win. Total genius. Honestly if you have a travel mug or any insulated container, USE THAT. Also, consider the size of your container when buying the spray bottle. That seems like a no-brainer, I know, but I didn’t do this and bought the smallest spray bottle. Which meant the tubing inside was pretty short. The up-side is that I was then using the hottest water possible because I refilled the bottle more frequently.

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Ok, so you HAVE TO fill the bottle with the kettle. Don’t boil water in a pot on the stove. Also, sometimes these stupid $1 spray nozzles will leak a bit too so you might want to make sure you have a set of rubber gloves at the ready. I didn’t wear them but I had them there.

Ready? Attack. I sprayed across the pieces of wallpaper (starting at the top of the wall) until they were nicely moist but not completely saturated. You don’t want to soggy your walls. Make sure you have a towel on the floor to catch the water that will run down the wall. You’ll need a scraper or knife or something to get some of the edges started. I did small sections at a time, misted, pulled the first layer (the part that has the print on it), then misted the second layer (the papery backing) and pulled. It came off amazingly like there was PAM underneath. In the wallpaper’s defense, it had been up MAX four years and the wall was painted underneath and not just bare drywall. Warning: the first time you pull a sheet or two, you may think you’ve made a terrible mistake, see below, but you’ll get the hang of it. And, over the course of my three hours I was SO INSPIRED from looking at that wallpaper the whole time. Gosh darnit, I was going to SHOOT FOR THE MOON whether I liked it or not and, no matter what, I was to NEVER GIVE UP. Ever.

WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?!

WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?!

So after a while you’ll get this kind of thing happening:

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And let me tell you this: removing wallpaper from BEHIND THAT TOILET is enough to discourage me from ever wallpapering anything. ANYTHING.

Fast forward 3 hours. *scratching sound*

Voila.

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We will probably paint that wall a modern-coloured accent and the other one and a half walls a proper white, but I love that I tried something at it worked! *pats self on back*

What do you think?

Posted in 2013, DIY, DIY and Projects | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

What I Wore: June 2013

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Wordless Wednesday: What I Wore in May

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