Monday, July 4, 2011

Ridin' in Style

I'm a girl who can talk hockey and drink beer with the best of 'em (OK who am I kidding, I like my wine but I still can hold my own against anyone when it comes to talking sports) but when it comes to cars my eyes glaze over and you might as well be talking Sex & The City to me because I just don't care.

But I do know what I like and when Ford offered me the chance to test drive the 2011 Lincoln MKX and the 2011 Ford Explorer I looked at my 2002 Dodge Dakota with the flat tire and broken air conditioner and said, "Hell to the YAH BABY!"

The MKX is the creme de la creme of automobiles in my humble opinion. I'm not, nor will I ever be, a minivan mom. The MKX is my dream car. It's a crossover with airconditioned seats, a big ass sun roof that extends across both the front and rear passenger seats, hands-free computerized system where you can just talk to it and tell it what radio station you want to listen to, who you want to phone and where you want to go. It was like having my very own "Kit" car except I'm cuter than David Hasselhoff and the car had a sexier voice.

Oz and Lola were happy because of the dual entertainment centres in the back seats (keep in mind I drive a 2002 Dakota with no fancy features so this was a HUGE deal for them) and I liked the fact that I drove from Edmonton to Calgary and back on just over a tank of gas.

Dollar store decorating

I'm cheap.

Not thrifty, cheap. And I'm OK with that. Don't ask Big Daddy, though, he thinks I spend too much money but in reality - and compared to some of my girlfriends who have champagne tastes - I am cheap.

It's been four years since we built a 900 sq. ft., three-tiered deck and we have yet to stain it or decorate it although two years ago I did buy an outdoor chocolate rattan table and matching chairs which I love. I also found a retractable pergola at Canadian Tire for $200 but other than that our deck looks boring and blah.

This Canada Day, though, I was determined to give my deck a bit of an uplift so I enlisted the natural talents of my girlfriend who's house looks like it belongs in Home & Gardens, no word of a lie.

This chick designed her French Cottage-style home and decorated, painted, landscaped and designed ALL by her sexy self.

She came over and made me clear off all of the crap that had collected there over the last year (kid's toys, old planters, etc) and THEN she made me clean it. After complaining that I was tired already (really, I was just lazy) she told me I needed to get LIVE plants.

I live on an acreage where I am SURROUNDED by trees. The last thing I wanted were flowers and plants on my damn deck but she calmly looked at me and said, "You asked for my opinion. Why did you ask for my advice if you aren't willing to take it?"

Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine, I replied.

She asked what kind of theme I wanted and since I'm quite fond of the Japanese culture I immediately told her I wanted a Zen space. She gave me a few ideas which I knew would cost a fortune and quite honestly weren't in the budget (which, by the way, she kept asking what my budget was).

We recycled some furniture I had collecting dust in the basement and brought it outside then rummaged through my entry which now stores my grandfather's furniture. We picked out pieces I had used for my once Zen entry and brought them outside.

It was starting to come together but I knew I needed some other things to pull it all together including live plants.

So, to the Dollar store I went!

I spent about $75 at the Dollar store on bamboo, pots, river rocks, placemats, candles and jars to complete the look of my deck. Now because my space is so large I needed more than one or two of each  item and some of the items were $2 each but I still think I pulled off a clean, somewhat Zen look for cheap.

Once I had my items I went to Superstore and grabbed flowers for the deck. This was the most expensive part of my decorating BUT because it was so late in the gardening season I was able to convince the cashier to give me some of the plants for 50% off.

Between dirt and plants, I spent about $110 and my deck still looks slightly bare but it will have to do for now.

I have a cute little herb garden filled with fresh basil (which I add to everything), some pretty flower pots on each of my steps (I won's show you what they look like because I was sick all weekend and forgot to flower them so they look like crap but I'm hoping to resurrect them), and two big planters filled with black and white wave petunias and red lilies.

Overall I'm quite pleased, especially with the two lights I made that stand on either side of my stairs.

Next step... Deck staining party!!!!