Our (almost finished) Patio Makeover Reveal!

Friday, August 25, 2017

I am crazy excited to finally share our (almost) finished patio makeover with you!  Yes, almost.  You see, this project has taken way longer than expected due to bad weather (so.much.rain) and underestimating just how long it would take to sand down the deck prior to applying the new stain.  So, what's not done you ask?  The railing.  So yes, I'm sharing our deck reveal because other than the new railing not being installed, everything else is done and that deserves a big "woohoo!!!".  Incase you're wondering, we will be installing glass railing along the front of the deck and metal along the sides.

Yeah, I totally underestimated just how long and how much time it would take to sand down the deck, to remove the old stain.  Then there was the rain, so much rain, which delayed everything even more.  But, we were patient and tackled what we could, when we could.  We are SO incredibly happy with the new look of our upper patio, it's so much better than before, like, we can't even believe the difference.

Let's back it up a bit.  The decision was made to re-stain the deck because the old colour was peeling and well, it wasn't the look we were hoping for.  I chose a bad colour, we didn't apply it well, and it just never looked good.  Then there was the outdoor dining table, which we had purchased when we were in our old house, which had a much bigger deck than the one we have now.  So it took up way too much space here, but the other thing is that we very rarely used it.  Hubs suggested we do away with a table all together, which made complete sense, but it also gave me a bit of anxiety.  I mean, what if we wanted to eat out there?  Then what would we do?!  But in the end, we are more of the "sit outside and chill" vs the "sit outside and dine" kind of people.  We donated the table and chairs and it was totally the right decision for us.  I think I may eventually purchase a small bistro table, or perhaps a firepit/table combo for the lower deck, but there's no rush, that's for sure.

Okay, now for the before.  As I mentioned, the old stain was peeling and we simply had to do something about it.  We chose to sand the deck down vs using a wash.  We used a belt sander (be sure to wear ear and eye protection when using sanders) wherever we could (we had two going most of the time, to speed things up!) and then a hand sander for the smaller spots (again, two going when we could!).  It definitely took time, but we loved the fact that we were able to restore the wood close to it's original condition.

(we were anxious to remove the old railing! some of it is already down in these photos lol)


After we decided to replace the outdoor dining set with a conversation set, we measured out the space so that we would know exactly how much room we had to work with.  The last thing we wanted was to end up with another set that was just too big for the space!  We immediately fell in love with the Somerset Collection from Canadian Tire (sold separately but includes a loveseat, armchair and ottoman).  Gosh, I just love it!  The sloped arms, the neutral fabrics, the weave and the comfort.  This set has it all!  As I said, we are max relaxers, this set and new space is truly an extension of our living space.  I love how when you're looking outside from inside the house, how it looks like a continuation of our indoor living space.  It all works together perfectly and I never appreciated how important that is!

We also added a pergola to the upper deck.  My husband really wanted a design with clean lines, so we went with that.  He drew up the plans and he and his Dad installed it in a day and a half (they're amazing like that! lol).  Of course, we had to string lights from it ;)  We love it!  What amazed us was how much bigger the deck looked once the pergola was finished.

The next step was to stain the deck.  One thing we knew for sure is that we weren't going to make the same mistake twice, because we most definitely did not want to have to sand down the deck like we did this time.  We wanted the deck to essentially look the way it does right after it rains.  So for that, we went with Premier Paint Natural Semi-Transparent Stain, from Canadian Tire.  After applying the stain to only a few boards, we knew that we made the right decision to achieve the look we were going for.  Though it's "natural", it does have a bit of warmer tone.  If you want something a little less warm, but that would give you a similar look, I'd recommend taking a look at Cape Cod Grey.

Now for the reveal of our new upper deck! Here's the before:

And this is how it looks now:

Pssst, Canadian Tire carries these beautiful planters and terra cotta pots!  Yes, please!

What we learned through this is that it's so important to take the time to really prep the deck properly prior to applying stain.  It's a lot of work, for sure, but it's so worth it.  It's also important to choose pieces that work with your lifestyle.  Since we aren't big outdoor diners, having a conversation set was the way to go.  We've sat out here every night since we set it up and have had friends over multiple times!  We're using the upper deck way more than ever!


Canadian Tire was kind enough to work with me on this post.  All opinions are my own.

Bringing Out the Kid In Me and A Nintendo Giveaway! **Giveaway now CLOSED***

Friday, August 18, 2017

This post has been written in collaboration with Nintendo Canada, all opinions are my own

This giveaway is now CLOSED.  The winner was announced here.

I've been a huge Nintendo fan for as long as I can remember.  I have such great memories of sitting in the basement playing Super Mario Bros. over and over again.  Don't even get me started on Super Mario Bros. 2 and the addition of Princess!

Though I appreciate the games that are now readily available on mobile devices, nothing seems to really compare to a good Nintendo game, which is why I jumped at the chance to try out the new New Nintendo 2DS XL.  Our boys have DS' and love them!  Hubs and I may very well be guilty of stealing the kids devices every now and then to play a game or two.

What I absolutely love about the recently released the New Nintendo 2DS XL is hands down the larger screen size and the clarity.  I also like the fact that weight of the device and ergonomics haven't been compromised, it's still lightweight and small enough to carry around.  Nintendo realizes that technology moves fast as do our needs for faster processing and clearer pictures, they've answered those needs with the New Nintendo 2DS XL.

We also had the opportunity to test drive two new games.  Holy smokes the kids were excited!  Though I like to try to pretend that I'm totally current on all the new happenings, I have to be honest, the kids seem to be one step ahead of my as of late.  When they saw that Hey! Pikmin and Miitopia were included in the parcel, they flipped!!!  Do you remember that feeling when you were a kiddo?  So incredibly awesome.  Looking to upgrade your 3DS and wondering if the games are compatible?  You can play all Nintendo 3DS, New Nintendo 3DS and most Nintendo DS games on the New Nintendo 2DS XL, which is awesome!

Of course, I do intend on sharing this new toy with my boys, but they still can't believe that they aren't able to convince me to hand it over to them entirely (though let’s face it, they’ll probably be the ones who get me past levels that I’m having difficulty with!).  I love the fact that this device is truly family friendly, it’s fun for everyone in our home to play, no matter what age!  I can’t tell you enough, just how valuable that is!  Because of that, it will certainly be our go-to during long road trips, and I can see it being used while we’re relaxing on the patio or when one of us just needs a break from the daily grind.

Now, I'm super excited to be giving away one (1) New Nintendo 2DS XL, one (1) Hey! Pikmin game and one (1) Miitopia game to one lucky reader!  Hop on over to this photo on Instagram for contest details and to enter! (note: you can only enter the giveaway via Instagram, leaving a comment here will not be a contest entry).  Giveaway is open to residents of Canada and closes on August 23/2017 at 11:59pm EST.  Good luck!


This post is written in collaboration with Nintento Canada, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Weekend Recap - A new Show, Fashion and Instagram

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I know it's Tuesday, but it was a long weekend here, so it kind of feels like Monday!

I can't believe that hubs' holidays are almost over, we've enjoyed this precious family time so so much!  The weather wasn't exactly fabulous all weekend, but that gave us a chance to tackle some chores in the house that have been on our to-do list for some time.  I've had my eye on the entry for a while and decided it was time for a little refresh.  I swapped out the round ottoman and brought this vintage chair (that used to belong to hub's grandparents) from my workspace.  I had two chairs in my office, one of which very rarely was used, so I placed it at my desk.

Love the new look!  We also hung the mirror to make more space.  I mentioned on instagram that open baskets seem to be the best solution for the boys' hats, baseball gloves, etc.  I chose one (from HomeSense) that had some great weaving.

I went for a run this weekend instead of doing a circuit.  I was feeling great, so I went a few km's further than I had originally planned.  It was a beautiful morning and this moment was worthy of stopping to take a picture!

I watched "Taste of Country" on Netflix this weekend (only just discovered it) and immediately fell in love with the series.  What I didn't realize is that it was the same spot that my good friend, Thalita had just recently visited and that it's located here in Ontario!  South Pond Farms is owned and run by Danielle French.  She's done an amazing job creating a beautiful setting for weddings and other functions.  I love love love how she clips fresh blooms (a dream of mine to be able to do the same) and delicious veggies and fruits right from her own gardens.  What she doesn't have, she tries to source from neighbouring farmers.  Honestly, such a great (and refreshing) series!  More here.

There has been a lot of buzz happening on Instagram lately.  In short, it can be extremely discouraging and frustrating to see very little growth when you're busting your butt.  I appreciate Erin for bringing to light the fact that not everyone believes in authenticity and as a result, not everyone's numbers are a true reflection of hard work.  Knowing and understanding this is huge for those of us who have been feeling discouraged and defeated lately.

Hop on over to Erin's post to read more about this movement (Gaby also wrote a great post).  She brings to light that you need to focus on what you're doing and how important it is to not compare your growth to others.  As long as your posting about what you love, and what's true to you, you'll make it!  (I know that it's easier said than done, trust me).

On that note, many have noticed I've chosen to include more fashion in my feed.  This is something that I'm truly passionate about (I've loved fashion since I was a kiddo) and a decision that I thought long and hard about.  I'll continue to share home decor inspiration, but this change is one that I've been wanting to make for a long long long time.  I thank you so very much for continuing to follow along as I switch gears ever so slightly, I truly appreciate your support!

I have some super exciting posts coming up this week!  Looking forward to sharing, stay tuned!


A Cozy Long Weekend

Friday, August 4, 2017

As we head into the long weekend, we are quietly reminded that we are now 1/2 way through the summer break, can you even believe it?!  This also means that those temps are slowly going to begin to dip a little more during the evening.  Though I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to summer, I do welcome the opportunity to wrap myself up in the comfiest cardigan every now and then (until Fall is officially here, then it's all about the cardigan all the time!).

If you haven't heard of the beautiful Canadian shop, The Skinny, you need to click on over right away.  I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Erinn, the founder of this incredible shop, at BlogPodium last year and have enjoyed following her shop ever since!  This mama is doing great things and it's absolutely inspiring to see someone work hard and conquer their dreams!

I'm a huge fan of cardigans, as they are perfect with their open fronts, easy to throw on when there's a chill in the air, or when you are looking for an instant hug.  This beautifully long knit mustard cardigan (designed and made in Canada!) is just lovely and fits the bill in every way!  Hop on over to The Skinny to see what other beautiful pieces Erinn's shop has (including kids' and baby wear!).  I especially love the Blythe dress, this Mama Bird tee and the ruffles on this Olivia Sweater!


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