Love your Home!

Love (for your home) is all around. Or, well, it certainly should be!

Ok, Imma tell it to ya straight. At the risk of sounding to “yolo-y”: we only get one life to live, and you’re in your house every. single. day. You better love that place! Your residence is your fortress, your mansion, your den and your pad — all with your personalized touches. If you’re not feeling the vibes of your dwelling, don’t do nothing. Reorganize, redesign, renovate or – you guessed it – get yourself into a new home you love!

I work with clients of all budgets and needs, and it would be my pleasure to help you find your specific style of domestic paradise. Finding a place so “you” it verges on ridiculous comes with a life-changing, and empowering feeling of fulfilment. So, this February definitely show some love to your significant other, but don’t forget to spread the love all around your personal palace. Each mark in the floor should tell a story, each smell evoke a memory, each squeaky stair and settling clack resound in your ears as a comforting purr.

Love – Monique – xoxo

Romantic, Yet Actually Useful Gifts

Oh wow, it’s a …a heart-shaped candle maker. …Um, thanks!

Forget pink chocolates and cupid-themed cards. This February why not splash out on something charmingly practical for your most favouritest person? Or better yet, something you can both enjoy?

Bring home a:

1. New set of extra soft sheets, pillow cases, and a duvet cover. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like that brand new, soft cozy feeling.

2. Practical Kitchen Gadget. Like a slow cooker, or a food processor. (Then turn the romance up to 11 by making a fancy dinner with it.)

2b: Or a SODA STREAM! Those things are freakin’ great.

3. Really, really good quality coffee Or hot chocolate, or tea, if that’s your thing.

4. A gift certificate for a cleaning service to come into their/your house. Danger: You’ll never go back.

5. Go practical to the max and get their tires/oil changed. Seriously, though, how nice would that be!?

6. Organize with their friends to give them a fun night out. (With or without you!)

7. Prepare in advance their lunches to take to work for the next week. Go on and stick some cute notes in there too.

8. Clean their bathroom / fridge / garage / whatever they don’t want to do.

9. Repaint the house, up all the weeds, stock the fridge and run the bath.

10. Buy a class! Research suggests (and fear of materiality compels) that we like experiences more than things. Find something awesome for you guys (or just your partner) to try out that may result in an awesome new skill.

Life is short — buy the couch. (In January!)

Did you know that along with July, January is the most practical, penny-wise month to go furniture shopping? The after Christmas sales are serious business, and you’re likely to land right in-between on-sale collections for many top home brands. So, if you managed to stick to your Christmas budget, go treat yourself to the fun light-fixture or cushy armchair you’ve had your eye on.

5 Fast Fixes

You don’t need a complete renovation to add impact to your home. Easy weekend DYIs will spruce up your abode. If you have some spare time this weekend here are 5 fast fixes:

  1. Paint it: The quickest and cheapest way to totally transform your home is with a fresh new colour
  2. Curb Appeal: changing your front door is like a facelift for your home
  3. Petal Power: fresh flowers and plants scream summer and cozy up any space
  4. Deep Clean: give carpets a shampoo clean for an instant update
  5. Pillow Talk: change up throw pillows and cushions to update furniture

Have a great long weekend!!

How To : Maintain a Wooden Floor

In recent years, wooden flooring has reached further than it ever has before, namely into traditionally tile-only areas like kitchen and entryways. Driven by people’s desire for a seamless flow from room to room, this trend means hardwood is subject to increased wear and moisture. Depending on the level of exposure, water and other liquids can cause wood to discolour, warp, crack or rot.  You should minimize direct moisture, using water very sparingly when cleaning and wiping spills promptly. The good news is that hardwood, weather solid or engineered, is protected this days with a plastic-like polyurethane coating. However, scratching can compromise the finish, so keep surface dirt in check and avoid wearing shoes (particularly high heels) inside.

Atmospheric Pressure

Wood is easily affected by the air around it, so aim to keep the temperature and humidity levels in your home as consistent as possible. Avoid a change of more than 3 degrees Celsius on any given day and use a central or stand-alone humidifier in the winter to replicate the moisture-rich air of the warmer months.

Choosing a Cleaner

Overly acidic or alkaline wood cleaners that may ruin your floor’s finish, while oil-based products can leave a filmy residue and actually attract dust. Look for pH-neutral, residue-free solutions.

Care Schedule

Follow the timeline below to keep your wooden floors looking great long term:

  • Daily: Remove surface dirt before it causes scratching by vaccuming with a hard-floor attachment or sweeping with a dry microfibre mop.
  • Weekly: Mop with a specialty cleaner in small sections to avoid moisture sitting on the surface for too long.
  • Every 3 months: Bring back shine and fill in little scratches by polishing with a water-based product.

 

From Style at Home February 2016 (producer Mary Levitski)

Summer in the City : Table for Two

Turn your balcony into an outdoor oasis with stunning furniture and great barbecues designed for spaces just like yours.

Even the smallest balcony or patio can become your private retreat. A small table and two chairs gives you the opportunity to dine and relax outside in peace. Indulge your love of outdoor cooking with a scaled-down barbecue or grill. (If you live in a condo, make sure you check your buildings bylaws)

 

 

 

And she scores… the Road to Rio!

For those of you that know my family, we have been involved with the soccer program in Calgary since we moved here in 1990!  I was lucky enough to play little league soccer with Erin McLeod on the WillowRidge Tigers team. While I was chasing butterflies, she was headed towards becoming the Canadian Women’s soccer goalie.  Although she is out of the Olympics this year due to a knee injury, I still follow the team and their “Road to Rio” run.  Coming up …. Canada vs. Brazil June 4th in Toronto.  Make sure you catch all the action!

According to several sources, soccer is the most popular team sport in every region of our county! With more than 750,000 players under 17, and nearly half of them are GIRLS! Canadian soccer experts say that the main drivers behind the growth are: immigration from countries where soccer reigns supreme, the popularity of our national teams (Go Canada Go) and the low cost to participate.

Visit www.canadasoccer.com to follow the girls and cheer them on to another Olympic medal!

Home Improvement : Wi-Fi

We are all connected… all the time! And getting the most out of your smart-phone, tablet, e-book, laptop and smart-tv requires optimal performance from your home Wi-Fi.  Here are some tips from Mark Saltzman to facilitate the greatest connection:

  1. Put your router in the optimal spot in your home. For example, never put it in your basement, because it will be tough for devices elsewhere in your home to communicate with it.
  2.  If you live in a larger home, you might consider an inexpensive wireless extender (often, referred to as a “repeater”) and place it in the area of your home where the Wi-Fi reception is poor.
  3. If it’s been a few years since you upgraded your router, consider picking up a new one with 802.11ac speeds instead of the older 802.11n protocal. It’s faster, covers a wider area and supports more simultaneous users (and now dozens of devices).
  4. Newer routers also offer both a 2.4GHz connection and 5 GHz. This is ideal, as it could minimize interference among devices. When joining your devices to your router, you can choose which frequency you prefer.
  5. While optional, it’s strongly recommended that you have a password on your wireless network to ensure your neighbours aren’t steeling your Wi-Fi!  On a related note, many routers let you set up a guest network for visiting friends.

What’s NEXT?

Soil contamination a major hurdle for any West Village development

The Calgary Flames’ season may be over, but that doesn’t mean hockey talk in the city has come to a close.

In addition to fans’ usual examination of how things could have gone differently, the question of where the team is going to play its home games in the not-too-distant future remains.

Part of that answer will come to light April 25 when Calgary Municipal Land Corp. (CMLC) reports findings to city council from its six-month environmental assessment of land in West Village where Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. (owner of the Flames, Calgary Stampeders and Calgary Roughnecks) is proposing to build the much-debated CalgaryNEXT project.

The report by CMLC – a wholly owned subsidiary of the City of Calgary that is currently behind the East Village revival and would oversee development of the West Village site – analyzed the scale of creosote contamination and options to remediate the land.

Noting a similar, albeit smaller-scale, clean-up having taken place in the East Village, CMLC senior vice-president of strategy and business development Susan Veres said the work needed to move the West Village forward will require a lot more work than many are expecting.

“Let’s not be naïve. The contamination issue in the West Village is far, far greater than East Village and would require a lot of support from a lot of groups,” she said in advance of the report’s release.

“Aside from market assessment and whether the market is there or not, I think you have to have a really long view for West Village because the work that would need to be done to get the land to a state where it could accommodate anything is an enormous undertaking.”

“LET’S NOT BE NAÏVE. THE CONTAMINATION ISSUE IN THE WEST VILLAGE IS FAR, FAR GREATER THAN EAST VILLAGE AND WOULD REQUIRE A LOT OF SUPPORT FROM A LOT OF GROUP.”

Last August, Calgary Sports and Entertainment unveiled its plans for CalgaryNEXT in West Village that would include the construction of a 19,000-seat “arena events centre” along with a 30,000-seat “Multisport Fieldhouse Stadium” with a covered roof and retractable seats to accommodate a 400-metre track.

The proposal also includes plans for residential housing in the form of condominiums, as well as hotels and commercial space – similar to the sort of development that has transformed the East Village from a blighted community to a master-planned neighbourhood.

Currently home to an assortment of car dealerships, the Greyhound bus station and a handful of empty lots, the 56-hectare West Village is bordered on the north by Bow Trail westbound and the Bow River, on the east by 11th Street S.W. and sits alongside the recently opened Sunalta LRT.

It was once home to Canada Creosote (later known as Domtar), which ceased operation in 1962. Creosote is a compound of about 200 organic chemicals that was used to preserve wood products such as railway ties and power poles. Made up of a variety of chemical compounds that mostly do not dissolve in water, a small portion of the compounds is lighter than water and sits on top of the water table. A larger portion of the compounds is denser than water and settles and moves along the bedrock by gravity.

Health risks range from respiratory irritation from breathing in the vapour, skin damage from long-term skin or air contact and long-term exposure resulting in some cancers. In the early 1990s, environmental monitoring determined that contaminants from the site had migrated under the Bow River and into the community of West Hillhurst.

Starting last November, Worley Parsons initiated a site/assessment and field program of West Village around the site. This program will form part of the CMLC’s report being produced City Hall.

With more information on the clean-up likely to be revealed in CMLC’s report, early estimates have pegged costs between $50 and $300 million – numbers Veres said could be equally accurate depending on development intentions for the land.

“It depends to what extent you’re mitigating and for what purpose are you mitigating? Are you mitigating the land so that it can house people or so it can house a park? Living on it and visiting it are two different things, so I can see why there is a broad spectrum in the number,” she said.

The clean-up process is also a bit more complicated than simply trucking out the old contaminated soil, noted Jan Quinlan, soil and contaminated sites specialist for Alberta Environment and Parks.

“Cleaning up a creosote contaminated site is a major undertaking and is very complex because of mixture of contaminants that make up creosote,” said Quinlan.

“It isn’t as simple as just digging everything up, as the contamination can travel into areas where it is hard to access. Usually a multi-faceted approach is required to address soil, water/groundwater and potentially bedrock.”

Since such a clean-up will likely be required long before any infrastructure improvements, Veres said those looking for any major development take place in West Village could have long wait in front of them.

“It took years of pre-planning to get East Village to a position where it could be marketed; where the infrastructure could be delivered; where the financing mechanisms were in place – it took years before we started,” she said. “So I would suggest a similar scenario would have to unfold in West Village. If it is going to be a redevelopment site, there’s a lot of work ahead.”

For now, Veres sees CMLC’s involvement, at least at this point, as a natural fit given the corporation’s similar experience developing East Village.

“If the future of West Village is for a mixed-use community, sort of a brownfield redevelopment, then yes, that would be our specialty and we demonstrated that skill set in East Village,” she said.

“But I think it’s not yet espoused the complete and holistic vision for West Village, and I think that’s why we were asked to do some work and that’s why the City is doing some work.”

Apr 15, 2016  by: Cody Stuart CREBNow

Favourite Recipe

I promised everyone my favourite healthy recipe this January!  I am a big supporter of Weight Watchers and this is a flavourful chicken dish from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook.  So here is the plan to yummy chicken:

 

Garlic Roasted Chicken with Gravy

Makes 4 Servings

One 3 1/2-pound chicken

1 lemon, halved

1 onion, halved

4 rosemary sprigs

4 thyme sprigs

6 garlic cloves, peeled

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons dry white wine

1 scallion, minced

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon crumble dried sage leaves

 

1. Prehead the over to 400°F; spray the rack of a roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray. Remove the chicken giblets and neck form the body cavity. Rinse the chicken under cold water inside and out; pat dry with paper towels.

2. Place the lemon, onion, rosemary, thyme and garlic in the body cavity. Place the chicken, breast-side up, on the rack in the roasting pan. Roast 30 minutes; pour the broth and lemon juice over the chicken. Reduce the over temperature to 325°F. Roast, basting frequently, until cooked through and the juice runs clear when the thigh is pierced in the thickest part with a fork, about 1 hour longer. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board; let stand 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, pour the pan juices into a medium saucepan, skimming off any fat and reserving 1 tablespoon of the juice in a small bowl. Dissolve the cornstarch in the reserved juices. Add the wine, scallion, soy sauce, sage and a 1/4 cup of water to the saucepan; bring to a boil and boil 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the dissolved cornstartch; cook, stirring constantly until the gravy thickens, about 1 minute.  Carve the chicken and serve with gravy. Remove the skin before eating 😉

Per serving: 293 Calories, 10 g Total Fat, 3g Saturated Fat, 114mg Cholesterol, 277mg Sodium, 9g Total Carbohydrate, 0g Dietary Fiber, 39g Protein, 71mg Calcium.

Enjoy #nomnom