Fast Fortnights and Moments of Joy

Hello everyone! As I write this I am on the charter plane from work between Chuchill, MB and Val d’Or, QC. I just watched a movie (Brooklyn for those who are interested) and found myself lost during the final credits, deep in thought. Does this happen to anyone else? It feels like you are coming out of a dream as the credits roll and the theme music of the film begins….

Anyways, today’s post is a bit different than my usual ones about decorating, fashion, and cooking – it’s about life lived in fast fortnights, and a strange schedule that results in lots of time to think and then suddenly, none at all. It’s also much more substantial and deep than my usual topics. But I started this blog to write whatever I wanted, so here goes!

As you probably know I work two weeks at a time at a gold mine in Nunavut, then have (almost) two weeks off at home in Toronto with very few work obligations. I started this career almost four and a half years ago when I was fresh out of school. The job opportunity was and continues to be absolutely incredible and it brings me a huge sense of accomplishment and pride! Along with my husband and family, it has made me who I am today and has given me a sense of confidence and self-worth that I never expected to come from a career. Originally when I started my job I fully intended to do it for only two years max – to gain experience, pay off my student loans and debt, and then to go work in consulting somewhere in the Toronto area.

Selfie time at work!

My first rotations back in 2012 seemed to go slowly as I got accustomed to working long, 12 hour days full of challenges and learning. My time off was full with building a real, non-student life with my eventual husband. I paid off my student loans and debts. We got engaged soon after on a cold, clear winter night in Quebec City. We saved money as much as we could so we could achieve our dreams: get a puppy, buy a house, have a joyous wedding, buy a new car! We also worked hard at our jobs, we saw our early 20s as the perfect time to throw ourselves into our careers. We got our corgi, Newton! We bought our house! We got married! I got a big promotion at work, so did Eric! We bought a new car! Quite suddenly time was moving in great leaps and bounds, from one milestone to the next. My two year deadline was past.

Time has continued to run so fast I can barely process it and suddenly I have had the (probably somewhat late) discovery that Eric and I are now 100% real-life adults with demanding jobs and a host of responsibilities. Gone are the days of frequent gatherings with school friends, as we all grow up and move away or just simply get busy. Now I am four and a half years out from school and my school days are blurry, tinged with a glow and a fondness that never seemed that way while I was living it. With the pace of life these days, these quiet moments on a plane or during the serene early mornings spent in bed with Eric or anytime where I can let go of everything are something I treasure.

Looking both at what is in front of me and behind me I am realizing this is what life is – mostly mundane and full of hard work but interspersed with moments.The moments we treasure the most are those of deep joy; joy from the thrilling moments or joy from the moments of stillness and peace. The moments we dread are there too; moments of sadness, fear, and frustration. But we always strive for the moments of joy. All the hard work, the toil, the struggle, just for those brief, golden, moments of pure joy!

A moment of joy – finishing a fantastic wakeboarding run!

At this point you are probably wondering where I am going with all this! Don’t worry, before you ask me I will assure you I am not switching jobs or pregnant or any of that!!! I am very content with life but have had the realization that it is time (probably past time) for me to enjoy this stage of life and to relax more during my time off – and to seek those moments of joy; particularly the ones caused by stillness and peace. I want to slow my pace a bit on the projects at home to spend more time relaxing, and to recharge more while I am at home so I can continue to hustle at work. Most of all, I want to spend more time soaking in the joy that comes with spending quality time with my husband, especially the joy of just simply being together, not rushing to get things done. The time spent rushing from one thrilling moment to the next has been great, but now I am craving some serenity and I want to take some time to fully savour this time in mine and Eric’s life.

Time for more moments of joy relaxing together!

I’ve never been great at relaxing; I’m always moving from one task to the next to reach my goals. But I think it is time to work on it – having hustle is a skill but so is being able to truly chill out! Maybe more time to think and relax will end up in more blog posts like this, where I can spill my thoughts onto a page and move ahead with a clear mind. I hope so, writing this has been very relaxing!

Now I’m off to find my moments of joy – I hope you are finding yours too, wherever life is taking you right now 🙂 More blog posts ahead, thanks for reading!

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Master Bedroom Dresser Upgrade and Kitchen Renovation Update

Hi everyone! Sorry it has been a while, I have been very busy with work, travelling, and life! I’m working on lots of projects; but don’t worry, I have been taking lots of pictures as I go and will be writing posts as I find time!

Before I get into how I have upgraded the dresser in my master bedroom I wanted to let you know about a very exciting project I got started on my few last time offs – my long awaited, highly anticipated, kitchen renovation! Eric and I had a structural engineer perform a site visit to evaluate our options for wall removal on our main floor to expand the kitchen footprint. Out of the 3 walls we want to remove only one is load bearing; and it will be able to be removed without having to put up bulkheads or pillars. One of the other 2 walls we are actually removing on our own during this time off – the wall between the dining room and the office room that will become part of the kitchen. Eric and I are so excited to remove that wall (although he was a bit apprehensive about letting me near a sledgehammer)! Now that we have our structural answers we can start to plan the kitchen renovation and I can’t wait to update you as we go!

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The wall we are demolishing looking from the living room. I’m really sad to see my beloved plate wall go, but I know that getting rid of this wall will really help with the flow of my main floor!
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The wall we are demolishing looking from the office room that will later become part of the kitchen. So long storage, hello open concept!

Now on to the dresser upgrade! As I have mentioned before my master bedroom has one rather small closet so I have been very conscious of adding storage space; once our family expands all of Eric’s and my clothes will need to be in the master bedroom. So far for storage we have two nightstands with two drawers each, four large drawers in our bed frame, a storage bench at the foot of the bed (which also acts as a step so Newton can easily jump onto our bed), and a small four drawer wooden dresser. This dresser was Eric’s when he was a student and is a good solid piece of furniture; but for two of us it is just not enough storage – right now it only has his clothes in it! I also want more surface space so I can add some more style to our master bedroom.

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Before: Definitely lacking in storage capacity and doesn’t really match the room. It’s going to be moved into the guest room where it will suit the decor much more!

Eric agreed it was time for an upgrade (after I bugged him for a while!) so I happily dived into researching dressers. There I had the unpleasant discovery that dressers are surprisingly expensive, especially the ones I had in mind. So I turned to Ikea to find a dresser that was affordable and large enough for Eric and I. Since I wanted 8 drawers I settled on the Hemnes from Ikea in the dark brown finish to match the other furniture in the room (HEMNES 8-drawer dresser, black-brown $299.00). I did hope to mix and match the finishes in this room but sadly our hardwood floors make that very difficult since they have an almost orange undertone to them. This dresser comes in 3 large flat packed boxes and is definitely a time sucker to assemble. Eric and I have put together tons of Ikea furniture and anything with drawers is usually very tough. Sure enough, with 8 drawers, a long length, and hundreds of parts this behemoth took us two full nights to assemble together. When it was done it looked great but a little plain, especially the knobs.

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Fully assembled dresser – the knobs were too plain for me and I knew I could make this dresser mine by simply changing the knobs!

So I decided to use my usual trick of buying some beautiful knobs at Anthropologie, one of my favourite stores. This was the approach I took with my master bedroom nightstands and my sofa table drawers, and it is a touch that people always comment on. Plus I am a very tactile decorator and I get a lot of pleasure from using beautifully crafted hardware! Is that weird? Probably! Anyways, with Eric in tow and my colour palette in mind (light and dark teal and blues, to match my duvet cover) I eagerly began scouring the gorgeous knobs and hardware section of Anthropologie…and came up empty 😦 Nothing they had fit my colour scheme, and even the neutrals weren’t cutting it for me. This was a first for me – I left Anthro empty handed. But I never give up so as soon as I got home I began scouring the internet for my knobs – and found them (surprisingly) on Amazon.ca (Sky Blue Fluted Ceramic Knobs)! It was around $70 (with shipping) for 12 of the prettiest light blue ceramic knobs with silver hardware – far cheaper than 12 knobs from Anthropologie but with just as much style!

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New knobs for the Ikea dresser from Amazon.ca – $70 for 12!

Once I installed the knobs (so easy and quick!) I loved the dresser much more! Eric and I then moved it into our master bedroom and filled the drawers. One of the best things about Ikea furniture is all the accessories they carry for each piece – in this case, they sell collapsible drawer boxes so you can fully organize and customise your dresser drawers. I bought two sets of Skubb boxes (6 boxes in each set for $9.99 per set) so that Eric and I could make our clothes fit in the drawers exactly how we want them.

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Skubb collapsible drawer boxes for organizing dresser drawers.

The last step was for me to style the surface of the dresser, for which I used decor I already had. It is amazing how much this has improved the function and look of my master bedroom!

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The Hemnes dresser from Ikea with sky blue ceramic knobs – now my dresser matches my storage needs and the aesthetic of the master bedroom!

With this dresser I am almost done this room – the last step will be to paint the walls a very light grey to create the serene retreat I have been craving! I can’t wait to paint over that ugly green for good!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my dresser project and I hope to post again soon about some other projects I am working on! Until then, enjoy your summer!