goodbye freckles?

Perhaps one of the benefits of the nursing schedule is that I really only have to take two shifts off in order to gain a whole 7 days off, and that’s exactly what I did. Although I did end up gaining one more day since I caught a cold during the last few shifts before my week off and my co-workers literally refused to work with me unless I call in sick on the last day. I’m talking about them telling me to put on a mask and walk the other way that they were walking..

So here I am, with 8 days off. Initially I booked a week off because I knew that this IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatment for my freckles will probably require me to hide from the public for about a week. Now on top of that, I’m also recovering from this nasty cold. Oh, one more thing, I’m also recovering from a strained tendon or muscle as per my physiotherapist to my left shoulder. SIGH – my body is broken, at age 25.

I booked my IPL appointment in the beginning of October for the end of October. After booking the days off, there was no turning back. Growing up in East York, Toronto, I was a carefree child who played outside ALL THE TIME. I didn’t really cared for or noticed the freckles that accumulated on my face maybe up until high school. Sunscreen was also something I never thought twice of. This all changed, thanks to my best friend. She bluntly pointed out my freckles one day and told me that those freckles will “turn into age spots when you get older and clump together”. Now, I still do not know how truthful that is, but, thanks Jacklyn, because from that day forward, I became SUPER conscious of my freckles. I started wearing SPF 42 BB Cream (Missha) as my “sunscreen” since high school and 8 years later, I’m still using it. Not that it matters of course because I don’t even reapply at all throughout the day and we all know that defeats the purpose. As I grew older, I started noticing that the left side of my face started looking darker up near my eye area. I knew it was because of the village of freckles that formed there. I blame this partly due to my genetics as well because my older sister and I both are very prone to freckles whereas my younger 3 siblings have NONE. My cousins from my dad’s side of the families also have the Asian freckles. It started bothering me more and more until I decided one day, I WILL have to laser them off if it’s the last thing I have to do. For the last couple of years, I’ve just been waiting for the opportunity to – more like the right referral/recommendation.

Finally, two months ago, during a dinner with my realtor and his friend, I got my answer. I complimented about her skin and from talking about skin care, I found out she regularly gets IPL to get rid of her freckles. From there, I decided to book from the place she gets hers done.

Now, I tried not to google or research too much on this prior to my appointment. I know others would but I just did not want to freak myself out on the complications. I knew the recovery phase will result in all my freckles darkening (like super dark similar to “coffee grinds”) and eventually flaking it in about a week (though some websites says up to a month!). Today is day 2 since my treatment and I just HAVE NO PATIENCE!! Yes my freckles have gotten darker, they look like coffee grinds but I’M DYING TO HAVE THEM FLAKE ALREADY! I’ve been staring real hard at them, taking a billion pictures, and researching reviews on IPL. Even my boyfriend said if I stare at them any more, I’ll end up giving all my freckles a name of their own. Yesterday was Halloween and I felt like the girl from Wendy’s or Pippi Longstocking from all these DARKENED freckles on the cheeks.

I’m glad I have 4 more days off, but, will they really fall off by then!? They’re easy enough to cover with makeup since they’re flat/smooth and all but, I don’t want to be putting anything on a healing face. Only time will tell …

home reno; part 1

This bipolar Canadian weather is really something. It’s September 24 and it was feeling like 38 degrees today! In a way it’s a good thing I guess, it buys us more time. It’s been about 7 months since we purchased our home and we’ve been feeling like we are racing against time to have the insulation put in before winter. We just don’t think it’s worth it to pay more for electricity/gas to heat up an empty house and to keep the pipes from freezing. But by the looks of it, winter might be coming late afterall so time is on our side!

So where do we begin? From the moment we bought this 1950’s bungalow, we knew nothing inside was going to stay. Not the walls, not the floors, not the windows, not even the ceilings. We even decided not to keep the stairs to the basement. Everything had to be redone, it just was not live-able. This will give you an idea of what I meant:
image1The reno actually picked up speed at the beginning after we got the keys. Demo took a few weeks. Side note: I never knew you have to spend so much $ to dispose garbage/junk at the dumpster! In fact it never even occurred to me there was a fee – my naive-thinking. Steven’s uncle lent us those huge garbage bins and I think we filled up about 5-6 bins full.
image2Since it’s going to be our first house together, we wanted to do it right. This meant getting a permit to do the renovation. We read how a big percentage of home owners actually do not apply for a permit. Despite my dad telling us how it’ll be super troublesome to get a permit and to go ahead without it, we decided to apply for one anyway. It just wasn’t worth the $ and risk to be caught by the city of Toronto, especially as first time home owners. But this process did prove to be a pain in the butt. We also messed up, big time. Due to a tight budget, we wanted cheap, or at least a good deal. We thought because we would be doing most of the contracting job ourselves, we would just need an architect & engineer to do the drawings to submit. We went with an architect who was sort of referred to us by a friend of a friend and he was dirt cheap. At first we thought it was because he was giving a big discount, like what he claimed, but 5 months down the road, we still don’t have our permit. He put us through so much headache and stress because we were repeatedly rejected by the city for our proposed plans. The knowledge and time management skills just weren’t there and it’s hard for us now to even believe that he’s as experienced as he claimed he was. We finally decided to drop him and accept the fact that we made a big mistake in choosing him, and that we paid a good $1100 for a life lesson – you get what you pay for. So what’s our next plan? Steven has 1 or 2 new referrals from reliable friends and I hope we can get our permit very soon. This did not stop us from working on the house while waiting for the permit though. There’s no turning back now anyway.

Steven and his dad have been working hard at the house. I try to drop by every now and then to see the progress. As someone who never really believed in the possibility of a fixer upper transforming into my ideal home, seeing it come alive bit by bit really helps to settle my doubts. As someone who’s probably not going to be involved with the  physical building of the interior (hammer and drilling), I sure get overwhelmed easily. The more I see, the more nervous I get. The HVAC, the plumbing, the low bearing beams, the electricals, all the big stuff seem REALLY COMPLICATED! I know I shouldn’t be doubting the men, but because this is not their actual JOBS (full time contractors), I really didn’t know if I could 100% trust them when they tell me they know what they’re doing. But each and every time I see the actual progress, I get reminded that they really do know their stuff. And I appreciate that Steven always stay up late researching. He’s truly a jack of all trades, my handy man.
image3So far the framing is nearing complete. I can’t wait until the day where the dry walls go up and the hardwood go on! I also can’t wait for this coming boxing day. We need to snag a cheap Christmas tree for next year, a sofa, a TV, our bed frame, and just about everything else! Tentative move in date: Spring of 2018. Soon we’ll have our own sanctuary, a place we can call our own.

fitness

Let’s start off with saying I was never much of an athlete growing up. My parents never gave me permission to join sports team because practices were mostly held during lunch or after school, and as one of the older sisters, I had to “bring the younger ones home” from lunch and from school. So as I grew older, being active never interested me. 

I remember always being called skinny, by families and relatives growing up. Maybe it’s the genes, or the picky eating. It never occurred to me that I would need to work out ever. In fact, I use to purposely eat so bad just to gain some weight. I look back at my high school pictures and I had such a flat belly for all the McDs and Pizza I had on a daily basis during lunch. My high school was close to so many restaurants that there were always choices. We would even squeeze in dim sum or all you can eat buffet during our lunch breaks! I remember vividly I was about 105 lbs, being 5’4 and thinking, 110 lbs is my goal. I always saw myself as too skinny. The irony of today’s society is people can complain about ourselves being too fat, but it’s supposedly not okay to complain about being too skinny. I always got offended being referred as skinny. It made me self conscious. Which is why I also don’t understand why it’s not ok to call people fat but totally ok to call people skinny. Even now, when people tell me I’ve gotten fatter, I see it as a compliment! Because growing up, everytime I saw my aunts, they’d just tell me how scrawny and pale I looked. 

Then university started and I dropped down to 92 lbs! The 3 hours there and back commute, the three 8am classes plus a 7am clinical shift a week just did it for me. By the time I came home, I went straight to nap or to bed. I chose my sleep over food because of how exhausted I felt. I can’t even bring myself to look at the pictures of university, I was so skinny! 

Somewhere between graduating nursing school 3 years ago and now, I fluctuated from 92 lbs to 112 lbs. If I were to look at the numbers, I should be happy. I’m finally at the goal that I’ve wanted to be since high school. But when I look at myself in the mirror, I see a skinny girl who has no clue how I’m even 112 lbs! My face and my thighs are so boney looking. And then there’s my belly pooch. I have a big roll of fat to my abdomen. And out of politeness, I swear everyone I pointed it out to disregarded it as a belly pouch. “Oh that’s nothing!” “What fat!?” That’s usually the response I get back. But I googled this, this is called skinny fat! When your waist line is not proportional to the rest of your body. This can be an indicator of future cardiovascular diseases– and I work on a cardiology floor. Oh the irony of me getting a heart attack one day from clogged up arteries.. 

And so, July 30 marked the day that I’ve officially been a gym member for a month. I actually lost my gym virginity at age 25. The gym always intimidated me. I didn’t know “how to gym”. I worried over the stupid things! Like where do I put my things, how crowded will it be, do people stare at you, what if I don’t know how to use the machines, what are the machines?! It wasn’t until I reconnected with a nursing friend over lunch that I decided to go to her gym as a guest for a week to see what it is all about. And for that week I enjoyed it! She had to teach me the basics like doing reps with dumb bells because I was pure clueless. The best thing I did was to try out the yoga class that was held that day. A week later, I signed up and became member. I became obsessed with yoga! I tried to go do the yoga classes every day I’m not working, and with nursing shifts, getting some week days off definitely helped with getting rid of the traffic/congestion at the gym. 

Shortly after, I convinced two of my close girlfriends to try yoga. Because they weren’t exactly willing to sign up for the gym, we signed up for a one month membership at Moksha Yoga instead. Since it’s an actual yoga studio with classes starting from 6am to 10pm, I actually got a taste of hot yoga. That was an experience that I won’t get from the yoga classes at the gym. 

I’ve got to say, now that I’m being more health conscious and active, I feel better mentally and physically too! My belly pooch is still there, my body’s not exactly toned at all, but it’s a start! Before, I would just sleep in on my days off, stay in bed and watch dramas, and nap my boredom away (true story). Now, going to the gym/yoga actually gives me something to look forward to on my days off! Also I have no choice because I’m paying for it already! 😂

my everything

I woke up this morning and a big fluff ball came up from the bottom left corner of my bed (her self claimed spot) and managed to lick my mouth and teeth just as I was smiling at her (with my mouth open). I know. The gross things we endure for our fur babies. 

Ever since my older sister moved out, Coco now follows me everywhere! Although my mom did point out that she had always listened to me the most, it’s hard to decide who the alpha is in this pack of humans + Coco; my sister or me? We’re a family of 5 kids (4 girls, 1 boy) and two parents. My older sister and I take care of her the most, because we’re the oldest and also since we’re the ones who decided to get a family dog in the first time. So it comes with the territory that we feed her, sleep with her, and take her out for great adventures. My mom has started doing this too, in fact, she feeds her breakfast now since neither my sister and I could wake up early enough for it. Sometimes she feeds her dinner too.. on the days that we’re out, which can be often. My mom also goes for daily walks in the park every morning and takes Coco with her. But that doesn’t make Coco listen to her anymore than she does to my sister and I. LOL!

My sister and I used to share a room when Coco was a puppy and she would sleep in her doggy bed in our room. Then my sister moved to the basement and that’s really when our routine started. Katrina would always be the last one to take Coco to pee, usually around 11pm before she goes to sleep. For that reason, Coco always slept in her room in the basement during the night. Some nights when I come home late she would hear me opening the door and comes upstairs to sleep with me in my room. Days when I do night shifts she would sleep with my sister. She would even sleep the whole night with my sister, and when I come home from my night shift (and Katrina goes to work), Coco would come sleep with me for another 6-7 hours during the day! That dog is a sleep machine. Or maybe she’s probably just bored. 

So now that my sister moved out.. she doesn’t go down to the basement anymore. So the duties of her late pee at 11pm goes to me when I’m able (when I’m not out late, working night shifts, spending the night at Steven’s) OR it would fall upon my 3 younger siblings, which in all honestly, I still can’t tell if they do bring her out. When my sister first moved out, she would text the group chat pretty much every other night asking if anyone took Coco out to pee. They’re not exactly, the most reliable. But according to my mom they do, so I take comfort in that at least. 

So as I lay in my bed with my Coco, I’m thinking of all the phrases that gets her bouncing off her feet. The first few should be common for all doggies. 

  • Do you want… to go WALKIE?
  • Do you want…TREAT TREAT?
  • Do you want… to go POTTY  (This means “going outside”, possibly a ticket to leaving the house even if she doesn’t need to do her business at that time, which is why it always make her jump right off my bed)
  • Do you want… to go CAR RIDE? (By far her favourite, she never associates car rides with going to the groomers or vet which is awesome. She takes it as being able to sit front passenger seat with her head out in the breeze. Sometimes when she’s off leash in front of our house and wouldn’t come back in, a swing open of a car door always gets her in the trap!)
  • Sik fan la! (This means time to eat in Cantonese. I want to say my mom started this but I can’t remember. She knows it’s time to eat when we say this though)
  • Brian! Brian’s here! (Brian is my older sister’s fiancé. One day my sister told me she gets excited when she says Brian’s name and I flat out didn’t believe it. But it’s true. When she’s in the backyard and wouldn’t come back in, I tried using that and she runs back in and straight to the front door looking for Brian)

On a side note, boy she really stinks right now. Her groomers apppintment is next week and I don’t know how much longer I can keep her on my bed smelling like this! But she’s sooo cute! I already know I’m going to be THAT mom who thinks her own kid is cuter than everyone else’s because I honestly feel like my dog is the cutest dog in the world!  

taking notes

For the last 3 days, I’ve been BINGE WATCHING the crap out of “Love it or List it Vancouver” from HGTV until my eyes begin to sting. My previous post already mentioned how CRAZILY OBSESSED I am with Jillian Harris’ style and there hasn’t been one single episode that I have not been WOW-ed off my feet seeing her transformations. So with that, I’ve taken notes on what finishings I would LOVE to have at our new place; if cost permits.

Hexagonal Tileshexagontilesfloor
I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have these for our bathrooms. There’s a range of sizes of the hexagons and I definitely feel that the medium to large sizes would work perfectly with my vision of a bright bathroom. Our bathrooms are going to be compact, so light floors really make a difference.

Farmer’s Sink
I never knew these even exists until Steven showed me them. Since then, I’ve been noticing them in Jillian’s kitchen designs and realized how much I love that clean, white, glossy finish. The way it sort of sticks out is also appealing to me more and more in a way which makes it look super cute. Maybe it’s the curvy edges? I thought we were set on this until somewhere somehow Steven changed his mind to a stainless steel farmer’s sink but it’s going to take a lot of convincing for me to switch to that idea.

decor

I get that our house is nowhere near completion, but I can’t help but realize we spent a huge chunk of $$ already on the decors! Status of our house you ask? It’s practically in wooden frames inside! Our renovation initially started off at full steam, we ripped all the dry walls, the flooring, and the attic. Then it all came to a complete 1.5 month long hiatus as we scramble to get a reno permit from the city. The architectural drawings, the engineer reports, the waiting, it’s all so annoying!

We should really budget to pay for the big stuff but we’ve been so distracted spending away on decors. I guess that’s how we’ve been spending our time while waiting for our permits lol! Our first piece of furniture was an ottoman from Reiner’s. Of all things our first piece of furniture wasn’t a sofa or a bed, but a foot rest. A cute foot rest. Reiner’s Ottoman is a Canadian company that makes animal ottomans. There’s 3 grades of leather and of course we had to fall in love with the highest grade… and let me tell you, they ain’t cheap! The highest grades are limited edition because they tend to have a distressed and patterned look on the leather rather than a dull finish. It’s also a little bit more shiny because of the aged leather.

We saw the brown elephant at the National Home Show in Mississauga and Steven really liked it so we brought it home! A hefty 350$! I didn’t want an elephant, I wanted a rhino, and I wanted it to be grey. I was told by the sales associates that the high grade leathers are hard to come by in full grey, or any full colour for that matter. The reason why is they stitch whatever leather they have and don’t normally have solid ones unless there’s enough leather for one. I liked the multi-coloured ones at first as they make good statement pieces but decided to play it safe in the end with solid colours. Most of the multi-coloured ones were grade 1-2 leather anyway and as you can see, it results in a duller finishing.

img_0077
It was a bit ridiculous to spend another $350 on ANOTHER ottoman but Steven said if I was able to find one, I can buy it. One day we were walking downtown looking at furniture stores and there it was… my grey rhino beside a grey elephant in the Reiner’s Ottoman store on Queens Street! The best part is, Steven even told me “we can look, but you’re not gonna find it” when I insisted on stopping by. It’s always nice to prove him wrong 🙂 Personally I think the quality of my rhino beats his elephant but that’s up for debate as per him. Now we have Ollie the elephant and Riley the rhino. They will have special places in the home.. when the house is ready 🙂

Other decors I had to grab were two Dome Glass Capsules we came across at Ikea. I can put just about anything in the capsules and I think it’ll look super cute! Cactus plants, roses, books, figurines, oh the possibilities! I got two difference sizes too.

Lastly, a Cinema Light Box from Indigo. I think I was quite vocal of how much I wanted this because my friends got it for me for my birthday! 🙂 what kind of 25 year old asks for house decors for her birthday?


My first phrase will probably be a basic “Home Sweet Home”.

There’s also two blogs that I’ve been a little obsessed with! For one, Jillian Harris’ blog http://www.jillianharris.com got me reading almost every post on there. She’s from Love It or List It Vancouver (HGTV) and also starred as the Bachelorette (although I never saw her season). I’ve been taking notes on her style on the show too 👌

The second one is http://www.chrislovesjulia.com, Steven actually told me to check it out cos he literally LOVES their home. I like their styles too, but find them a little more bold in colours compare to Jillian’s neutral take on home renovations. Nonetheless they both do amazing transformations.

I wonder how long our little home will take to finish. :(!

worry

“Worry predictions aren’t based on what’s likely to happen. They’re based on what would be terrible if it did happen. They’re not based on probability–they’re based on fear.” – The Worry Trick by David A. Carbonell