31 Days of Snark

So ten years ago, a horrible, horrible young adult book was published.

It took everything you thought you knew about vampires and turned that on its head. It threw in werewolves and a horrible, hard-to-like heroine for good measure.

It romanticized controlling, stalkery, creepy behaviour and reinforced for teenage girls everywhere that those were the kind of traits you should look for in a boyfriend.

And we haven’t even gotten to how horribly written it was.

i'm edward cullen

In celebration of this young adult phenomenon, Snark Squad will be recapping Twilight, the first book of The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer during the month of October! We’re going all out Twilight with Twilight-themed vlogs, Snarkathon and even a giveaway or two.

Join me, Mari, Catherine and Kirsti as we recap Twilight. Starting tomorrow, head on over to the Snark Squad website for all the sparkly vampires you can handle.

Welcome to our own personal hell. Hashtag 31DaysofTwilight, yo.



GFM Tested: DIY Countertop

As I’ve already mentioned, my chosen summer project this year was to update the main bathroom in our house ahead of the arrival of our house guests in August. It’s mid-September, so I thought it might be time to share how that project went.

I went into the project with two major goals in mind: To actually get the thing done, and to do it as budget-friendly as possible, without it looking like rubbish.

So when it came to the bathroom vanity, which is the original, built-it, metal-doored vanity, with ugly laminate countertop and rusting sink, I wanted to do my best to update the look and function of the vanity, without actually ripping the thing out.

Looking at it, though, I was starting to doubt this was possible.

The sink had to be replaced. And the plumbing redone. There was no getting around that. So, we ripped the sink out. And after a trip to a Restore (where the proceeds of the store go to Habitat for Humanity), I found a white ceramic sink for $25. It was slightly bigger than the original sink, but as luck would have it, it fit into the countertop as it was.

We cleaned out underneath the sink, the cabinet itself was also metal and cleaned up very well. So far, it was looking like the vanity overhaul was going to be a success.

But what could be done with that countertop. I’d started pricing out a small portion of counter, when my sister-in-law told me about the research she’d done into countertop-refurbishing when she was working on their bathroom. They ended up having to replace their counter, but she still had all of her research. Plus, she’d found a really fun looking tutorial that involved spray paint.


So we decided to give it a go, figuring if it turned out to be a complete disaster, we could always just replace the countertop.

We used this tutorial from Pinterest as a guide into the wonderful world of countertop painting.

The sink was already out, so we didn’t have to worry about working around a sink. I’d recommend that, if you’re able. It just makes things so much easier.

My sister-in-law and I sanded down the old countertop, then wiped it down and dried it with microfibre cloths. The tutorial warned that you really have to make sure the walls and other surfaces that you’re not doing to be painting are covered well, so we taped off the walls around the countertop, then covered the walls and vanity cabinet with many layers of newspaper.

Then it was time for the SPRAY PAINT.

We were so excited. But the actual spray painting went fast.  Too fast, if you ask me.

We followed the tutorial pretty closely, except for a few minor changes:

  • We used a white base coat
  • We used 4-5 coats of the stone accent spray paint, but that was because I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I screwed up a spot on the counter top and had to fix it
  • I didn’t sand it nearly as much as was recommended in the tutorial
  • We used the Minwax as a sealer from the beginning and I did 3 coats of that

I’m fairly happy with the final results. We’ll have to see how it stands up to use, but I figured that if the woman who wrote the tutorial had success with this method in a kitchen, it should hopefully holdup well in a bathroom?  We’ll see. Either way, this was my favourite part of the bathroom project and now I totally get the appeal of being a graffiti artist. Watch out, Banksy!

Sometimes, I write things elsewhere

I think one of the reasons why I’ve kept a blog of some form or another for the last eighteen years is because I like to write. It’s a pretty selfish endeavour. When I studied journalism at school, I always toyed with the idea of making a career out of writing.

But then life happened, and writing became more of a tool I stuck in my toolbox along with my ability to develop strategic media plans and wrestle vendors.

I do still enjoy writing. I like to use it as a creative outlet. A lot of the stuff I write never sees the light of day. A lot of it is rubbish. Most of it is self-indulgent.

Snark Squad!

But then, sometimes, I get asked to recap a horrible teen drama from my youth. And I jump at the chance. So go see my writing published elsewhere. This week, I’m recapping an episode of the OC over on the Snark Squad site. Check it out.


Tackling home improvements, DIY style

For someone who claims to hate the upheaval that comes with home improvement projects, I certainly engage in that activity often. In the six years since we bought our home, we have undergone four major home improvement projects. And we’ve decided to tackle another one this summer.

For the most part, we’ve been pretty hands-off with the actual work. We know our limits and have hired professionals to install the new vanity and sink in the ensuite and the new kitchen. Last summer’s main level floor replacement was the result of water damage, so again, professionals were involved in that six week process. Painting is something I feel comfortable handling myself and my brothers helped install new floors in all four bedrooms, as well as the main entry way and kitchen. I’ve never been super confident in my own handiness, but this summer, with M back at school, there wasn’t exactly room in the budget to hire pros.

Unfortunately, a leaky toilet, stopped up sink and general ugly gloom of the main bathroom wasn’t going to cut it when we have guests coming to stay with us for a week in the middle of August, so…

This room has been in desperate need of an update. We didn’t paint it when we moved in. I’ve been ignoring the paint stains on the floor from the previous owner. I’ve tried not to look too closely at the out-of-date countertop. I pretended not to notice that the toilet was while and the sink was off-while, caulked with almond-coloured caulk. It’s the only room on the entire upper floor that hasn’t had any work done to it. So it’s time.

Time to tackle another home improvement project. And this one, it’s going to be DIY all the way.

The plans for this hopefully cost-effective bathroom up-date are:

  • Replace sink & plumbing under the sink
  • Replace toilet
  • Update countertop
  • Paint walls & ceiling
  • Update flooring

Fingers crossed that we’ll survive this and that the main bathroom will be useable once we’re through with it…

Stream of consciousness tweets

I love Twitter, but sometimes 140 characters are just not enough for me to properly share what I’m processing. Because of this, I’ll end up tweeting a bunch of things in a row. I’ve taken to calling these my stream of consciousness tweets. This past Saturday, July 10th, a date that had been very significant to me in the past, went by without me evening realizing what day it was. It took me by surprise at first. And then I starting turning it over in my head, and… stream of consciousness tweets was the result. I want to share these tweets here, because I these words are import to me:



Falling for the public library

I’ve pretty much always been a reader. I would find an author or a series and read every book written, one after another. In the summers, my mother would take my brothers and I to our library to sign up for the summer reading challenges and I’d easily hit the book count within the first few weeks of the summer vacation. As an adult, I rarely visit libraries anymore and had been mostly buying books or borrowing them from my friends. Books take up a lot of real estate in our home, and it makes me a little crazy. I don’t like clutter or to feel closed in by a lot of stuff. So my book habit has dropped off, and with it, so has my reading.
I’ve been wanting to read more. Last year, I read maybe 3 books, tops. For the entire year. I didn’t really want to be buying books again. But I have a confession about borrowing books from a library… Library books gross me out. I have an irrational germophobia around certain things. Library books sometimes come with mysterious stains in them. There was a bedbug outbreak at our main library branch. And I can never seem to get this picture out of my head; the big stack of my friend’s dad’s library books on the toilet tank… So many germs. So my irrational germophobia says a huge nope to bringing those books into my house. Which in turn, has kind of curbed my reading habit of late.

Then, this past weekend happened. It basically rained from Friday night straight through until Monday morning. It was cold and gray and perfect spend the weekend with a stack of books weather. But I didn’t have a stack of books. I was complaining to M about my lack of reading material and he suggested I look into borrowing eBooks from the library. Freaking genius. Through a desktop and iPad app, I had access to my public library’s electronic library. I can finally enjoy reading again, despite my irrational library-book-related germophobia.

Dancing Ron

It also means I can borrow books from the library without having to interact with actual human people out in the world, but I’ll leave my hermit-tendencies for another day.

I love my public library again. And that’s a great thing.

A Quick Thought on Saying Sorry

As you should be, Loki.

When did it become uncool to apologize?

Saying you’re sorry and actually meaning it seems to have developed a whole new meaning lately.  I’ve read countless articles in men’s and women’s magazines alike warning against apologizing.  I’ve seen so many blog posts championing the ‘times you should never ever apologize’ mentality.  Bloggers and columnists are telling us that apologizing for certain things can show weakness, or worse, could cost us ‘winning’ an argument.

Now, maybe my Canadian is showing, but I fail to see how admitting you made a mistake and feeling a bit of regret for effing up is a sign of weakness. Or that winning every argument is the most important thing when it comes to conflicts.

Sure, apologizing is not always the most comfortable thing to do in the world. It can be awkward. It can be hard to admit you’ve made a mistake. It can leave you feeling vulnerable, and as a general rule, we humans do not like that so much. But sometimes, a genuine, authentic apology is the first step to letting go of your fuck ups, of working through hurt feelings and, most important of all in my opinion; an apology requires the reflection on a situation that helps you learn from your mistakes.