Monthly Archives: June 2013

Moving Day Updates and The Before

Hello and greetings from our new, swanky 1 bedroom apartment!  And check out our gorgeous view – the glorious Toronto skyline and Lake Ontario!

Seriously, I know it’s less than 600 square feet, but it feels palatial.  Especially after living in a semi-packed state for a while.  Tiny bachelor apartment that is tidy and clutter-free, feeling nice and open?  Good.  Packing in increments so no one goes insane?  Good.  Living with the whole apartment in boxes in the middle of everything?  Not good, not good at all…

So, the move went really well, yay! We actually got to move in the kitchen stuff the night before since the apartment was unlocked.  We figured if someone really needed a plate that badly that  they’d steal it overnight, it would be our gift to them.  On Saturday, we went out for a leisurely breakfast (that’s what happens when you have no more cutlery or coffee cups), and then started moving things.  Shortly before noon, Nick’s parents arrived to help us move, and they were such a blessing!  At 1pm, we had our service elevator time slot, which always makes things so much easier.   All in all, everything got moved between noon and 4pm, which is not bad at all.  Also, we never knew you could pack so much into a bachelor suite!  I guess that’s what happens when you have a walk-in closet and under-bed storage.  So, after moving everything, we all went out for a lovely dinner – I know, they’re the best in-laws ever!  After some more light organizing, our bed was made, and the kitchen was pretty much set up, so we were happy campers.  Right now the apartment is a royal mess, but that’s nothing a few good days of organizing can’t take care of.  Here’s a picture of the bachelor place, all empty, bye bye first apartment *sniffle*..

The new gorgeous place, all empty and pristine – check out those mocha walls!

And post-move, the living room:

And from the other side, looking into the kitchen:

Oy.  We also went on a mini-spree at Ikea, to begin our new furnishings.  We got some dressers, a pretty mirror cabinet for the bathroom, and we have a kitchen table for the first time in, well, ever – and it’s pretty!  We decided to begin with the cheapy chairs that can also be patio chairs if need be, and spring for the luxe leather chairs later, because 10 bucks versus 130 bucks is mucho difference.  We’ll also be picking up some Poang chairs and a prettier TV cabinet a bit later on, but of course none of these are super needed right now (especially since we don’t have a TV – oops, better put that on the list too).  But once these are all set up, it’ll likely be time to explore window treatments (damask curtains, fingers crossed!) and lighting.  There’s no overhead lighting in the living area or bedroom, so we’ll be getting creative with floor and table lamps.  The bedroom is fine, since we have our wedding archway.  In the living room, we strung up our Christmas lights for now, which provide a hint of ambient light, and not much else.

Here are some post-tidy pics – ahhhh, much better.  Now for the fun part, time to start shopping around for decor and accessories 🙂

This time was fun, easy, and painless. Plus I got my workout in, haha!  I’ll do a more detailed post a bit later about the decor vision and bringing it to life, but this is today’s update on our journey into a boudoir separate from the living room.

How are you with moving?  Like it, dread it?  Any success and/or horror stories?

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Product Review: Legacy of Clean

So, cleaning has been big on my to-do list recently, especially with the move.  Usually sometime in April, I like to methodically go through every inch of our home and clean it out – closets, cosmetics drawers, all that jazz.  This year, I decided to delay a bit since we moved in early June, and now have a separate bedroom in the apartment – happy dance!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like cleaning… at all.  I loooove organizing, but usually as long as the apartment is tidy and uncluttered, nothing strewn around the floors, I’m more than willing to ignore minimal levels of dust and such.  Life’s too short for being a white-gloved old biddy anyway.  Of course, this is why we have a cleaning lady that comes to do the deep cleaning.

But when I clean, I’ve learned that good products can make a huge difference.  First, there’s the peace of mind from knowing that if you accidentally spill some on your hand, it won’t burn your skin – yay!  Also, the sheer gratification of seeing instant results from good products, and feeling like you’re in an infomercial.  And finally, the smell – the one thing I love about cleaning is the fresh scent of a clean home, it’s viscerally soothing to me.  This line of products has all of the above.

At home, we use Legacy of Clean (LOC) products.  Basically, our only non-LOC products are where LOC doesn’t make it, and there are very few of those.  Legacy of Clean has a really comprehensive line, which you can even buy in bundles.  All their products are plant-based and biodegradable, and have been since 1959.

We first bought the intro bundle when we first moved into the studio apartment, which includes the following:Laundry – 1L SA8 Triple Liquid Detergent – Floral scent, 1L Fabric Softener – Floral scent, 946mL PreWash (stain treatment), 1kg Tri-Zyme Detergent Booster, Free Stain Chart

General Cleaning – 946mL All-Purpose Cleaner, 946mL Glass Cleaner, 946mL Bathroom Cleaner sprays, and a 48-count box of All-Purpose Surface Wipes

Dishes – 500mL Dish Drops Dish Liquid – Citrus scent, 1.4kg Dishwasher Detergent – powder

This whole package comes together for about $75 here

Our thoughts: We really liked all these products, as well as the original Multi-Purpose Cleaner, which is the original product that was launched waaaaay back in the 1950s.  That one’s not in the bundle, but is amazing for everything you could ever imagine cleaning.

Due to our own preferences, we prefer to skip the Tri-Zyme and Fabric Softener and just use dryer sheets instead, because trudging all the way down to the basement from the 19th floor just to put in liquid fabric softener at the right time?  Sooo not happening.  I also prefer citrus scents, so when we bought refills, I got Original (citrusy) scented detergents instead of Floral.

Also, we found that just the one All-Purpose Cleaner (labelled as Kitchen on the bottle) worked perfectly for all our surfaces!  And the All-Purpose Wipes are one of the best things ever!  They disinfect and work so well, and smell good…. worth it just for those.

There are a whole bunch of other products too, like the Legacy of Clean Towelettes.  These babies are fabulous!  They’re basically nice towelettes you can use to clean surfaces or your hands in a jiff.  And I have a story about these.  I had heard that they do wonders for removing stains and cleaning clothes in a bind.  So I decided to try and hand-clean my wedding dress with these wipes, because I didn’t feel like paying more than the price of the dress just to get it cleaned.  It took a little while, and a bit of muscle, but I fully cleaned my dress using only these wipes, and it looks as good as new!

I love that these cleaning products are safe, environmentally friendly, and work better than any chemical variety I’ve ever seen.  They’re also not very expensive. I seriously cannot recommend these enough, and our cleaning lady loves these products.  

Have you ever used Legacy of Clean?  Thoughts?

(Pictures: Picture of Cleaning Lady from http://mrsdoubtfirecleaning.ca/soho/ Pictures of Legacy of Clean products from http://www.amway.ca/NickRaats)

A Tale of a Mane

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted long hair.  Technically, my hair is long, but I mean I want long, like Eve in the Garden of Eden hair cascading down my back, or like a brunette version of Princess Ariel or Princess Aurora’s hair.  Chalk it up to Disney, Barbie, or whatever other girly cliche you’d like, but the ideal self I’ve always envisioned had a head graced with gorgeous, long, flowing locks.  As a little girl, of course, my mother would certainly not allow me to go that long without a haircut, so right now it’s the longest it’s ever been – ugh.  Add to that the fact that my hair has always had ridiculously slow growth, and you’ve got a good case of Rapunzel-desire syndrome.

When I was a mere 8 years old, I remember hearing about these things called extensions, where a hair stylist can sew hair into yours and make your hair long, and this stuck with me.  I’ve toyed with extensions throughout the years since I was 17, going to beauty supply shops and making my own clip-in extensions, but I always wanted to get permanent ones, the kind where I can treat it like my own hair, and wash it, and style it as well.  What complicated things were when my curls came in, because my extensions were straight, and I wanted my hair to all look nice and natural.  Here’s a picture of me with straight hair and my first set clip-ins, way back in high school (oh yes, that is a selfie in the mirror and I am wearing the necklace from Lord of the Rings):

Those were cute, but like I said, a lot of work.  Well, I finally took the plunge.  I went in and got extensions professionally done at a salon.  I wanted weave extensions right from the start, because I like that they don’t require any sort of chemicals or adhesives, and they’re easier on the wallet too.  I got mine done at the lovely Urban Textures Salon downtown, where such ladies as Miss Universe have gotten their hair done.  The whole experience was fabulous, right from the consultation, to the actual hair appointment.

Upon arriving, the salon is adorned in warm neutrals, and soothing R&B music is playing.  I was sat down in a nice comfy chair.  Since I had washed my hair that morning, we got right to the extensions.  My stylist was Tina, and she did a great job.  Once my extensions were in,she did a cut on them to blend and create pretty layers, and then styled it.  This creates a natural, gradual look to them, instead of a huge change in length from my natural hair to the finished style.  The hair was top-notch quality, custom matched to my natural colour, and they even had wavy hair available, which made me really happy.

This is me before:  Here, I’m “in progress”, so the extensions are in but not trimmed, I like to call this the Lion Mane (rawr):And now after, with the curls she styled it in:

And now with my own natural wavy look (my personal favourite):

What do you think?  I love it!  I finally have the hair of my dreams, and I have been stroking it and loving it and tousling it, and whipping my hair back and forth pretty much since I left the salon – whee!  I’ve also gotten a lot of compliments on it, even from total strangers.  Yeah, I’ve been basically acting like a little kid, and re-enacting the famous Little Mermaid hair flip a little bit too..

Talk to me, ladies – what do you like having done to your hair?  Or, are you trying something new for summer?

(Ariel Hair Flip from Oh My Disney at http://blogs.disney.com/oh-my-disney/2013/03/18/the-way-we-loved-the-little-mermaid/?cmp=SMC|blgomd|OMD-March|Pin|LittleMermaid-Ariel|InHouse|031813|Text||esocialmedia|||)

Moving Day!

The City Raats are moving!  Yaaaayyyy!!!!

Okay, fine, we’re still going to be in the same building, so not that big a move.

However, a separate bedroom?  It will be bliss, I’ve longed to be able to not have the bed in the middle of the living room.  The bachelor suite was fantastic, but bringing over guests always had that slight edge of awkward – “Come in, come in, make yourselves at home.  Yes, that’s our bed, let’s just move on over to the couch now.”  We’ve loved our little studio-sized castle, with its expansive east-facing views and glorious walk-in closet.  However, we are ready to move on up!  Also, 2 years in 425 square feet?  Sounds like it could be an interesting reality TV show, or marriage exercise.

Our new place – oh it’s so exciting!  Still small (the way I like it, easy to keep clean and tidy), but a separate bedroom. A respectably sized kitchen.  Expansive south and west views – of the water, the Toronto skyline, gorgeous sunsets.  Custom paint job.  Bliss.

Today I’m going to share some parts of the moving and decor journey.  Luckily, packing is easy as pie when you’re moving within the same building.  Our plan is to basically box some stuff up, but mainly put everything in large cheap laundry hampers, and simply move those around.  Clothes that are hanging can basically be carried as is and re-hung, furniture can be moved as is with no real need for disassembling, yay!

I’m thrilled that the landlord let us buy our own paint for the painters to use before we move in, because my vision will finally come to life.  Here is what I’ve been wanting to do for awhile now – I guess it would be hotel glam meets minimalism with romantic touches – or bridal suite chic.  See the pic from our wedding below – aren’t these colours gorgeous together?  I mean, the floral curtains, the warm brown walls, and a pop of pink 🙂

Nick and I both love minimalist, clean lines, and lots of black, white, and silver.  We also like not having clutter.  Our bridal suite had all of that, set against warm mocha walls, and I immediately loved it.  Ever since then, I’ve wanted our home to echo that bridal suite, a mix of contemporary and hotel-level comfort, with the pops of pink that made our wedding day special.  Plus I think the romance of that whole idea is really sweet – waking up to our wedding day every day, sort of.  Luckily we adore Ikea, so the furniture is easy to procure.  We already have a beautiful canvas print from our wedding, and the archway we were married under is at the head of the bed.  I’m hoping to get a really nice colour on the walls, too, and then with some decorating touches, it will be perfect!  Plus, depending on how much room we have, I’d love to have a dress form in the bedroom with my wedding dress on it.

I’ve made two inspiration boards on Polyvore, and they give an idea of a visual, if a bit rough around the edges.

Inspiration for the new living room, and for the bedroom below:

Now let’s hope it turns out well!  Hope to have pictures of the new place soon!  What do you guys think?