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Lifestyle

Scent Secrets

Today is minus 30 and I decided to clean the house and keep going with my organization plan. When the weather is like this I feel I just want to have coffee and watch movies. But I can’t relax in a messy house. I want it cozy and perfumed! So today I’m sharing a few favourite tricks.

Barr-Co, the best soaps and scent diffusers ever

I absolutely love scent diffusers and after trying with candles, many essential oils and sticks from many different brands, I adopted Barr-Co for life. It’s pricey but it’s real oil, when you pour you can see the quality, it makes no bubbles and it doesn’t smell like alcohol. The fragrance is divine and it lasts a long long time, what totally justify the price. If you want to spread more scent, just add more sticks, if the room is small, just use less sticks, easy like that! I have one bottle on each room of the house and it’s just amazing. I also like how it’s subtle and not overpowering like some other brands I tried.

Nice and beautiful

The soaps smell so good and have a surprisingly smooth texture, some of them with some cool grains for exfoliating. If you are careful and avoid leaving them all wet, they also last a long time. In the future I would like to try the bath salts and oils but everything from this brand is an investment so I just buy slowly slowly. I buy most of mine at Luke’s Drug Mart but I saw them at Pottery Barn and on-line as well.

Mrs. Meyer’s and me, a love story

Now, for cleaning the house, I hate the common products you find at normal supermarkets. They smell weird and very chemical, the package looks ugly and I just feel irritated using them. Cleaning the house is an annoying task, I’d rather be reading or drawing! But someone has to do it and if I’m doing, I gotta have some fun. I discovered Mrs. Meyer’s in California many years ago. I don’t find so easily in Canada so I buy mine online at Amazon. My all time favourite is the Basil Scent but I’ve been ordering the seasonal limited editions and it’s so awesome, the peony one was from 2019 spring and the Iowa Pine was from this last Christmas. It’s nice to change the scents with the seasons and I love how they make my sinks and bathtub shine. Even my husband who is a fan of those atrocious “kills 99% of germs” products had to admit that Mrs. Meyer’s works better and smells much better than all Walmart cleaning products we’ve ever used. If I need some extra “killing germs” I use my steamer and done.

The lucky wife

And the last touch for a nice scented house is natural flowers. I buy some from time to time and I’m lucky my husband is this sweetest in the world and bring me flowers when I least expect. I absolutely love having fresh flowers in the house. At this moment this is my favourite vase but I hope to find a nicer urn in the future, my dream is those silver gorgeous wide urns from the movies.

Of course the house must be vacuumed and dishes washed so this small touches can be noticed. But every time I have visits my guests ask me what is the secret for this delicious smell, so that’s it!

This week my sister and I also talked a lot about what makes a house cozy, how a place feels like home even when it’s your first visit and some other things. I think I’ll write a post in the future about that. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

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Lifestyle

Updated decor and some recipes

Yesterday I put away all my Christmas decorations and since I was in the mood, I changed a few things around the house. Check it out.

During Christmas you come in and see our fun cute socks and I was using this cabinet as a sideboard. Here is another angle:

We never found the garland for the stairs as we wanted (I wanted some very fluffy ones). I also forgot to buy some red candles and didn’t find nice / affordable Christmas pillows. No problem! Our biggest challenge here is that our dining table was in the kitchen.

I forgot to take a picture of the whole table but there it is on the left of the picture. The good things about having the table there is that it’s wood floor and there are lots of space.

And there was space for the Christmas tree so it was all fine! We made some hand painted ornaments, like the cover of this post, it was fun! But I had to offer dinner for guests in the kitchen.

So yesterday I changed a bit. All Christmas is gone and this is the new deal:

The orange chairs are in the window and the sideboard became an extension of our tv rack. We are not using the balcony until the summer anyways, so I like the chairs there now. Definitely would love to put an area rug and curtains, also I’ll add a few things on the sideboard in the future.

Dining table is now squeezed a bit but it fits! Now I feel the chairs are way too mismatched, so maybe I’ll buy another one to match the 3 vintage ones and put the Ikea dark chair in another place. Maybe I’ll also paint all of them the same color, not sure yet. And now in the living room not sure if I’ll keep this green.

Dining room is a bit tight but at least it’s integrated in the living room. The worst aspect is the carpet, but this is a rented house and there’s not much to do about it.

Since that kitchen side was completely empty, I tried to fill it in, that’s what I got:

The white canvas will become paintings, I’ll do some botanical illustration. This table is not staying, I’m planning to get a small wood kitchen island in the future, if we get used to this layout. Those shelves were downstairs with my art supplies (that now are all over the basement!). I’ll think about the basement next week.

My simple hack for keeping the plates still: I used this thick double sided tape. If I like the new set up I’ll cut a small piece of wood and attach to the shelf to make it safer.

During Christmas season I didn’t cook a lot but I got a simple iron cast pan, look at this frittata, I loved it

I also found a ton of great Brazilian ingredients at Minas Steakhouse (their store is great!) so here is “dried meat in the pumpkin”. I even cook some home made requeijão (a Brazilian spread cheese). Both recipes were successful here at home.

And last but not least , one of our visits brought us flowers and in the last days I was keeping beside the oven and I loved, look how cute

Then I was checking kitchens I like in Pinterest and they all have an utensil holder with lots of nice wooden spoons exactly on that place, so I guess I’ll adopt a nice cute thing on the side of the oven always.

And that’s it for today! Tomorrow I’m back to work and our classes start this Saturday, so that means I’ll be busy again. I hope I can manage to still post from time to time. Thanks for reading!

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Lifestyle

Happy New Decade

I’m sorry I disappeared in 2019.

Since last month I’ve been trying to take better care of myself. I’m taking vitamins everyday, bought some nice creams, order an anti wrinkle sticker (!), got a membership at the gym and I’m trying to cook more at home and eat good food.

2019 was an year of changes. I can highlight 3 major changes in my life:

  • I got married 🙂
  • I got a big promotion at work
  • I moved to a townhouse

There was also a ton of other things that happened (some not as fun as these three above). I got very very busy and the truth is, by November I was exhausted. So now I’m trying to go a bit slower.

From all things, I believe going from part time to full time had the biggest impact on my routine. The second semester simply disappeared in my struggle to get used to my new duties. I’m loving my job, I manage 3 art studios in the city and it’s great. But I think just now, about 6 months later, I’m starting to breathe and feel I can do more than just work and rest.

So here is this post. I’m not back to drawing and I’m not producing any art. I help other people produce art, I help other people teach art. So this is also cool. And for now I’m just taking care of myself.

I wish a 2020 calm, quiet and manageable. Happy New Year!

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Lifestyle

The tidy life

I love cleaning. OH! Did I say that out loud? No! That’s not true! I love a clean and organized house. Also a clean and organized work space, and even a clean and organized city. Maybe it’s the feeling of peace that comes from an uncluttered environment, I don’t know. It’s just so good when things look beautiful and smell fresh!

Throughout the years I learned a lot about different methods for keeping everything nice and tidy and I would love to share what I learned. Here is my main tips:

Cleaning is different from organizing.

Nice office space! Can I clean that window? (Credit: Life by Lufe)

An organized but a slightly dirty house usually feels better than a messy but very clean place. I believe our brain tricks us here. We are very visual and we love to see a beautiful composition. If the first impression of the space is positive and things look good, we overlook the details, like some dust on the shelves or a foggy window on the corner. However, if the whole house is clean but the decoration objects are all over the place, somehow we understand the place is not clean enough. That said, the goal is always organize first, clean later

Create your own cleaning routine and stick to it

She is so cute! Marie Kondo put us all on the right track

My routine is a mix of habits I learned from books and websites, including ideas from Lady Fly and Marie Kondo methods. I have a daily routine for the basic stuff, like making the bed and making sure the kitchen is spotless before going to sleep. I also have a weekly routine for laundry and a monthly routine for deep cleaning the house. I’ll make a detailed post about it later, but whatever you do, being consistent is the key. It makes everything easier!

Don’t obsess

I do have my Monica moments from time to time…

If you ever hired a cleaning person or company you know what I’m speaking about. It’s just amazing to get home and absolutely the whole house is sparkling clean and smelling like the paradise. I love that feeling and I know I could achieve same result if I spend my whole days cleaning. But let’s get real. Would that be a priority? I’d rather spend my time with my family, enjoying my hobbies or simply resting. So my “cleaning day” is usually a couple of hours. I try to focus in just one room per week and don’t obsess about the rest. My Monica side sometimes screams inside me, desperate to have the whole house spotless but there are other things on life, so I try calm down. How about you? Did you develop any routines? Do you get nervous in a messy place? Leave a comment bellow 😊

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Lifestyle

Steps of acquaintance

Last month I moved to a new house. It’s actually a townhouse, but it’s very cute. Leaving my 1 bedroom apartment for a place with 2 bedrooms, 1.5 washroom and a basement has been a huge change. I never lived in a house with stairs before, so now I never know where I left my stuff. I remember my mother-in-law advising me against townhouses as they are a lot of work going up and down. She’s right, but I’m new to it and I’m having a lot of fun.

Now the interesting thing is how my old decoration doesn’t fit the new space. The orange wood in the balcony make all my blue objects look like they are screaming. My blue and mustard chairs look super awkward in the kitchen yellowish floor and I feel I don’t want to hang any of my old art on the new walls. 

Everything feels a bit out of place or incomplete.

So after some consideration we decided to make a new painting for the living room, something large and abstract, and that will be it. I have to buy canvas and a frame and start studying composition and colors. I never do anything abstract so it’s exciting and a bit scary.

I would like my house to be more romantic and inviting but for some reason she wants to be more modern and cool. Maybe because it’s an old house, trying to look younger. It’s like the house has her own will.

But we are becoming good friends. I’m super inspired to take good care of her, I watching online videos and refreshing my cleaning skills, researching ideas and smells to make it a more inviting place.

And if you find funny I called the house “her”, that’s because in Portuguese, a house has a feminine gender. I know a house is “it” in English, but not mine. She is definitely a girl, with lots of personality.

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Lifestyle

Is it time for change?

It’s been a long time I don’t update my blog and social media. So much happened since the beginning of 2019. My personal life took over and there was so much to do and deal with. I feel this is a year of many changes for me, and I feel I want to write about it.

Many years ago, I had a personal blog where I was very open about everything. I spoke about my daily life, my ideas, how I was doing at university, what kind of movies I liked and about the books I was reading. The name was something like “Very Cool!”. I still remember the black background with light grey font. It was mostly text — lots of it! Very rarely I would post screenshots of movies, and just once I posted a few drawings I made during a trip in Brazil countryside.

As the years passed, I felt less comfortable speaking about my personal life and started focusing more in cultural themes. From 2005 to 2010 I wrote a cute little blog called “the skilled cat”, where I published books and movies reviews with a star rating system. I loved the discussions in the comment session and for a while I had lots of fun.

Slowly, social media took over and stop having my own online corner.

I started posting more in social media but I never completely abandoned the idea of having a blog. After “the skilled cat” I opened blogs about cooking, crafts and finally about art and creative process.

Lately I feel speaking about art is not enough. I miss writing about everything, being personal, and having an online space I can use as my cute little corner. Sometimes I want to speak about bread, plants, the neighbourhood, the weather, the stars… Or even make up, my house, and of course, books and movies, why not?

So I decided to have a personal blog again. An online space to be free, have a cup of coffee and simply speak about everything. No defined themes, no agenda, no goals. Just enjoy the space, write and draw.

So welcome and thank you for your visit, stop by anytime.

Jonara