Tag Archives: ikea

Our New Entrance

This past week before school started, Kelvin and I decided to redo our front entrance way. This is what it looked like before we got started (but picture it with rows of shoes underneath the jackets).

photoThe first things we did were spackle, sand, and wash. Then we started with our coats of ultra pure white paint. We loved the effect we got when we painted our dining room white last  year so we used the same factory white. It always looks terrible after the first coat.

imageOnce that was all dry, we taped off the area for stripes and painted those “Jamaican Sea” blue. I’ve seen this on pinterest and on home design blogs very often, but we weren’t sure if it was going to work. Luckily, Kelvin found this technique online to help with getting crisp lines with no bleeding. We used this Scotch blue painter’s tape and sealed the edges in by painting over the tape with the white paint before applying our accent colour.

image_2The last thing we needed to do was move the new furniture in and install the shelf and hooks. Now we have tons of shoe storage and a lovely little nook to greet us when we come home.

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Another Visit to the Big Apple

If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you will notice that we love New York. We tend to go once or twice a year, and a few weekends ago, we drove down with Kelvin’s parents for some shopping, exploration, and good food.

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Day 1 is almost always the same. We leave bright and early (like 7 am early), stop in Binghampton, NY to fill up gas, then head to Woodbury Commons. I am usually the conservative one when it comes to shopping – the one who counts her American pennies. However, this time I hit the jackpot at J.Crew and found too many things that would significantly improve my wardrobe, including this jacketthis skirt, and these shorts. We continued our shopping at Garden State Plaza and the local Ikea (apparently they have things that we don’t have) before checking in late at night at our usual spot – the Marriott Glenpointe in Teaneck, NJ.

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Day 2 was a whirlwind. My mother-in-law and I woke up super early to take the bus into the city (167T gets us there in 20 minutes). We rushed over to line up at Dominique Ansel for these infamous cronuts, and proceeded to wait for two hours in line with other hungry patrons. Okay, some people were lining up there so they could flip their cronuts for some crazy profit…but I didn’t think the extra $30 would be worth that amount of time. Anyways, Kelvin and his dad joined us in line around 9:15, and after a few scares of sold-out cronuts, we got our hands on a box.

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The cronuts – a mix between croissants and donuts – were $5 a pop and you were allowed to buy 2. Kelvin and I shared a box of two and that was plenty for us. It was in fact delicious, and the texture was really interesting yet familiar, but I still can’t say whether it was worth the wait. I suppose it’s one of those things you must try once in your life and once you’ve had it, you’re good. The macarons were slightly disappointing. But perhaps this is because I have yet to find macarons that I really really like. Maybe I don’t know what they’re supposed to taste like? We also ordered the DKA (very good, and you can get it any time of day) and the little egg sandwich (also priced at $5 and quite yummy )

Dominique Ansel Bakery on Urbanspoon

With our stomachs full and the city beckoning, our shopping for the day commenced. We went all over town, from Muji to Uniqlo to Longchamp and Kinokuniya. But the place that really jumped out for me was Suit Supply. This is where Kelvin went to get fitted for a suit for our wedding, and he liked it so much that he decided to go back. Now, I’ve never really understood the intricacies of a suit and the differences between cuts and what not, but I imagine this is shopping heaven for the well-dressed man. We entered through this nondescript doorway and were greeted by these men whose suits were so well-tailored it blew my mind. Needless to say, Kelvin did not come away empty-handed. That suit will likely be making an appearance at the next wedding we are to attend this summer.

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Later that afternoon, we went for a stroll along High Line (so excited for their continued expansion!) and in Chelsea Market. We tried a new place for dinner – Cull and Pistol – and quite enjoyed ourselves. Kelvin and I recently discovered our love for oysters so were keen to try them again. We ordered the raw sampler, a lobster roll, and the fish tacos. The littleneck clams were not my favourite, and I found the oyster selection a bit too briny for my liking, but the shrimp was sweet and enormous. We didn’t get any crab claws because they were out :( We got extra oysters instead. The fish tacos were average, but the lobster roll was out of this world. There were huge chunks of lobster and the flavouring was just right. Overall we enjoyed our experience there. Plus, they gave us orange gelato at the end of the evening so we would leave with a sweet taste in our mouths. Two thumbs up!

cull and pistol

Cull & Pistol on Urbanspoon

We rounded off the evening with a trip to The Filling Station in Chelsea Market, where we bought some Cranberry Pear balsamic vinegar. It is the most delicious things ever and I use it all the time now. It is essentially vinaigrette and comes in a cute little bottle that’s the same size as the California Garlic Olive Oil we bought at Kingston Olive Oil Co.

Day 3 started off with service at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. My goodness what a refreshing service it was! Solo cello with piano = God’s reminder of the beauty of classical music. I was moved deeply by the worship as well as the sermon, and it was exactly what I needed. Though Psalm 23 is not an unfamiliar passage, I was reminded of our constant search for identity and how we so often are looking for it in the wrong places.

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After church, we headed to Korea Town for lunch, then to City Hall to embark on our Brooklyn Bridge adventure. I’ve never walked across the Brooklyn Bridge before, so this was very exciting! Too bad construction was happening so a lot of the areas were boarded up. Regardless, we made it across, and found ourselves in the calmer, slower-paced borough of Brooklyn. We wandered over to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, had pizza at Grimaldi’s, and even stumbled upon a food fair. Next time we come to NYC, we definitely need to spend more time here.

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After a few hours, we headed back to Manhattan to pick up some Shake Shack before bussing back to New Jersey…because you always need to eat Shake Shack when you’re in New York.

Day 4 was a big box store day. Costco. Walmart. Because apparently things are cheaper in the States…who knew? We also stopped in Syracuse at Destiny USA (we see billboards for it all the time here in Kingston) and it did not disappoint! Kelvin finally found the Vans that he had been searching all over New York for. Plus they have an indoor ropes course. And it only costs $7.99. I am going back there…just for the ropes course. Routine stop at Watertown following that for some Chipotle, and we were home before 9.

And there you have it…another successful adventure in the big city.

Eating in Ottawa

A few weekends ago, a friend and I drove to Ottawa for a nice day trip. We headed straight to IKEA for some interior inspiration – for her new apartment, and for our too-small office space. It was wonderful, and I have my eye set on some vika alex desks and grundtal rails. We were starving and ate a quick meal of meatballs at their restaurant before blazing through the store.

Really wanted these sheets, but Kelvin was not so enthused by them

Now, as much as i love IKEA swedish meatballs, I must admit that they don’t leave you full for very long. We consulted my trusty urbanspoon app (thank you iPhone!) and settled on Oz Kafe for our dinner plans. We had some time to stroll along Elgin Street (though it was more like puddle jumping…in the rain), have a quick drink at the Lieutenant’s Pump, then hop over to the restaurant for their dinner service that started at 6 pm.

Now let it be known that for the most part, Kelvin and my dining experiences in Ottawa have been hit and miss. Some of the restaurants we’ve tried have been pretty brutal, including this one place in the market. That being said, we have found a few gems (ZaZaZa Pizza in the Glebe and Murray Street Grill and Side Door in Byward Market). Oz Kafe is a place that I will definitely be bringing Kelvin to next time we are in town.

On Sundays, they have only their snacking menu, which is a selection of food from their regular menu, plus a few specials that they add in. My friend and I ordered four dishes to share, and it was an explosion of delicious flavour with some Korean influence. We loved their Oz Poutine, which was a really interesting twist on the regular poutine, using scalloped potatoes and old cheddar (we got it with the duck). We also ordered the Taipei corn (grilled, spiced, with crushed peanuts…delicious) and the Beef Tataki (seared beef with two different dressings, which was still nice, but the least impressionable of the four dishes). The heartiest of all was their “Seoul Food”, which I venture to guess is a staple in their menu. The Korean version of a Mexican taco, this dish utilized (butter?) lettuce leaves as a shell to wrap up juicy sirloin strips, pickled veggies and kimchi. Spicy paste optional.

What makes this place amazing is their value (all this for under $30 including tax and tip) and their ability to serve such delicious food without making you feel like you’ll have a heart attack. It’s clean, refreshing, and definitely a place I will visit again.

Oz Kafé on Urbanspoon

From the Archives: Setting Up House

As I was clearing out my dropbox (I’m up to 3.5 GB now! Still nowhere close to Kelvin’s capacity, but it’s getting better…) I came across these two shots from when we were trying to accessorize our living room.

Is it just me or do we look really little in this picture? Anyways, those frames are from IKEA (Black Ribba frames!), and the drawings are just sketches I did of Princess Street, which is one of our main E-W arteries in Kingston. We took this picture by placing the camera on the stairs and setting it on a timer. Clearly I am more ready than Kelvin…or maybe he was asking me where I wanted it. In the end, we opted to put three pictures up instead of two, because we felt that two looked too empty. (In an interesting turn of events, Kelvin actually wants to get white frames now…)

ImageNow this is what we envisioned on our side walls – two levels of shelving to make for more interesting frame and picture combinations. However, once we put the three Princess St. sketches up, it was too heavy to put both shelves up, so we now only have one. The remaining shelf is still sitting in our hallway, waiting for a home.