Goodbye Landline Phones + MSN Messenger, Hello Skype

skype_logo_onlineHow many of us still have landline phones? Those living in urban, modern cities probably only carry a cell now. If you’re not a business, then you’re likely out with school, work, eating out and socializing all day. You only come home to rest and sleep. It would be inconvenient for anyone to reach you through your home landline.

I got rid of mine 2 years ago. Strangely, it was a bit hard to let go at first. Growing up with landline phones, they seem to be more secure and cheaper for long distance calls. But that’s not the case anymore. With my unlimited minutes on my cell, I can call anyone for as long as I want. If I need to call any long distance number, I now use Skype. I used to buy those calling cards. They saved me a lot compared to being in a landline or cell plan for long distance since I didn’t call outside of the local area that much. Inconveniently, they usually lasted 6 months from the first time you activate the card. But with Skype calls, the savings are even greater and more convenient.

With Skype, you can chat, voice+video calls much like MSN messenger. If you purchase Skype credits, $14 increments as needed (active for 6 months) or opt for a monthly subscription that allows you to make unlimited calls for a flat rate. You can call most landlines and mobile phones, locally and around the globe. For the most part, the audio quality is pretty good. You can also receive and answer phone calls on Skype (you will need to get a Skype Number first but will help your caller have cheaper long distance rates). Download the Skype app on your mobile phone or tablet, and you call also make and receive calls from your device as well.

If you’ve been using MSN Messenger, you might have received an email saying that the Messenger will no longer be used after March, and all user should switch to Skype. For the longest time, I was a messenger user until I finally completely switched to Skype over an year ago. I kept both accounts, and they both had their pros and cons. But now messenger is telling us to switch to the competitor? Weird? Not at all. That’s because in October 2011, Microsoft bought Skype for 8.5 billion dollars. It’s they’re baby now.So goodbye to messenger…goodbye to landline phones in most people’s homes, and hello to Skype.No emergency calls with Skype

Trapp+HolBrook Modern Living in Historic New Westminster

trapp-holbook-logo

We were in New Westminster, and happened to notice the Trapp+Holbrook sales centre, so we dropped by to take a look.
The sales centre was bright and spacious. I was happy to see that they had the actual showrooms available. It was nicely presented, and the staff were quite friendly.

TRAP-holbook-condoRendering of the condo from their website

For a 1 bedroom, it started from $219,900 to $307,900.  The 2bed/2bed+den penthouses were half a million. However, those planning to buy their homes can think of the potential of development around the area. It is said to be the new ‘Yaletown’ of New West. Without the bridges to cross like from Surrey, this area is probably going to flourish in the upcoming years as Vancouver and Burnaby becomes increasingly unaffordable for many people.

ÖBold and eye-catching sandwich board.

Their presentation folder was slick and modern. They had an interactive TV which you could choose the floor, and see the view from that suite. Very good idea.

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ÖNeat idea of presenting which suites are still available.

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Their 2 bedroom showroom. Very trendy and stylish.

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Palettes to choose from

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I don’t know if the website hasn’t been updated, or that it really is under construction, but the website now says it closed for construction…only viewing by appointment. Call ahead!
Tel: 604.525.0223 or by email: info@thliving.com

BC Hydro: Fridge Buy-Back Program

So with the recent hunt for a new fridge, a staff at Sears told me about the BC Hydro’s fridge buy-back program, and thought I’d look into it. For a fridge that measures between 10-24 cubic feet and is still working, BC Hydro will pick it up, recycle it, and give you $30  for it. (only when you call will you find out that you will get the check in the mail many weeks later)

Sears, along with many other appliance sellers will charge $25 to take back your old fridge when they deliver your new fridge. So, I thought this was a good deal that you actually get paid for something you don’t need and they will take it away for free. HOWEVER! There is a catch – like with any too-good-to-be-true story. 😛

When I called them, they told me that the staff can not set food in the building of the apartment. This meant that I would have to pull and push the fridge out of my suite, into the elevator, out to the lobby and somehow get it out onto the streets to the truck. I asked the building manager if there was a place that I could leave the fridge when the Sears delivery staff were here to drop off my new fridge. He said ‘no’. No fridge can be placed outside my suite. Even if I could, the fact that BC Hydro can not come right away, it would mean that the fridge be sitting there or in my living room for 5 days.

Also, they only pickup during business hours – 7:30am-4:30pm. How convenient! How are people who work and can not get time off suppose to do this? Luckily, my office was flexible.

I did make an appointment, but once the Sears delivery staff were there, I just let them take my old fridge – and I’m really glad I did! The two built men had a tough time getting it out of my apartment! Not so much because of the weight, but because my kitchen and doorway is sooooo tiny and cramped. They ended up scratching the laminate flooring T_T….not happy about that…argh. Can I send in a complaint to Sears and get some discount? lol

After the old fridge was gone, I cancelled my pickup with BC Hydro. Buy-back program fail?

Real Estate: Brickstone Walk 2

I saw an ad in the 24 hours newspaper for the Brickstone Walk 2 development. I was interested since the ad indicated that the starting price was from $189, 900. The development are townhomes in New Westminster. It has a courtyard in the middle where the entrances for each townhomes are facing.

We drove all the way to New Westminster to check out the showhome. The showhome was bare – both in visuals and people. There was only one other customer so the staff was free to help us the entire time we were there. Unfortunately, the $189,900 home was already sold, and I think there was only one of them at that price. It must be one of those marketing strategy to lure customers in. Have one really cheap one to make it look like it’s all affordable.

The development offers a range of sizes from small one bedroom (530sf) to three bedrooms with den (1200sf) in a two level townhomes. I’m not too much of a fan of the one bedroom ‘bowling alley’ layout where everything is just narrow. I prefer a box type instead…and having the bedroom right by the entrance didn’t fancy me either.

The folder’s and floorplans weren’t anything fancy. I was very disappointed to find that they didn’t have the entire suite showroom. I don’t think I’d ever buy a place without being able to see how the suite would really look like, so I was not impressed. They did have part of the kitchen which showed the kind of appliances and flooring/cabinets they would have.

As the name indicates, this is the 2 phase. It was going to be very similiar to the 1st phase, and it was going to be built right next to it. We thought we’d check out the neighborhood and the building. We walked several blocks. There wasn’t that much around that area, so I could see some inconveniences in terms of shopping, banking, eating-out in the area. Once we got to the site, we found that it was built on a hill, with a big road in front of it.

It’s always good to see what’s out there, and I don’t feel it was a waste of time at all. I enjoy looking at different developments and each one teaches me new things to consider when purchasing a home:

  • of course price – also, is it worth that value?
  • location! (is it next to a heavy traffic road? how far is it from work? geographical features like close to water? hill? woods?
  • convenience (are there grocery stores nearby? medical? gas stations? public transit?)
  • size for occupants
  • made from wood or concrete?
  • layout
  • maintenance fees/taxes

Because I work in the design industry, there are some pet peeves when it comes to those brochures and folders you get from these developments. I hate it when they don’t list the price! They put way too much lifestyle photos and not enough important information. I’d rather have a black and white desktop printed sheet than a fancy, glossy brochure that really says nothing…

Soy Candles

I love candles. It so calming and has a hypnotic effect. I’m actually not too fond of using candles that release scents, so it’s sometimes hard to find the right one, since so many of them these days are scented. I usually use them during meditation, or evenings where I’d like to just relax. And for me, the smell – however pleasant they may be, becomes a distraction, even annoyance at times. (yes, I don’t do well with aromatheraphy. Perhaps my sense of smell is too sensitive).

Whether you use unscented or not, that’s up to you. The more important question is whether you are using soy candles. Because if you’re not, you may be doing more harm to your health than you realize. Traditional candles causes soot which is caused by the toxic elements that are released when ignited. Carcinogens are also released into the air when a traditional candle is burning. It can cause cancer, and other health related problems! :(

In most organic stores like Choices and WholeFoods, you can find Simplicity. A veggie-soy candle that I believe is made in North Vancouver. (I’m sorry if the info is incorrect. I just remember reading a slight blurb about it at the store – WholeFoods on Cambie has a entire section just for Simplicity! :D )

Simplicity Candles are 100% natural vegesoy, and contains no animal fat unlike most paraffin candles.  They burn cleaner and longer (one site stated that soy candles – not specifically Simplicity lasts 30 to 50 percent longer) than traditional petroleum based paraffin candles.  Soy candles are all natural and do not contain any toxins, thus no soot will come of them!!! So yay! No carcinogens either! Vegesoy comes from a renewable energy source, uses natural cotton wicks and is 100% biodegradable!!!

Unfortunately, I can’t find the Simplicity’s website, so you’d have to go into your local stores to buy for now. But if you like scented ones, which they now have a whole selection to choose from, you can actually smell them first before purchasing to see which one you like best. Also, I know there are other soy-candle brands as well.
Happy meditating! or happy burning just cuz you love candles :)

http://ezinearticles.com/?Health-Benefits-of-Soy-Candles&id=182179

IKEA Karlstad Sofa

So when I was a student a few years back. My sofa in the living was composed of foam mattresses and blankets rolled up into sort of a ‘sofa’. Of course, since it was tied together with strings, it kept falling apart. Once I graduated, I bought a small compact SOLSTA sofa-bed from IKEA. $169 + tax and delivery. (see how I sold it for $80 on Craigslist in my other blog post)

My old Solsta sofa bed in living room

Karlstad sofa and chaise at IKEA showroom

However, although it was nice, it was time for an upgrade. So…we recently went to IKEA and got the ‘buy one sofa, get the second on 50%’ deal 🙂 Because my living is so small, I had to pick carefully.
Luckily, IKEA has a wide selection of different sizes, styles, colours and prices.

Because we had a mini-van and transported it ourselves this time, we didn’t have to pay for delivery. 🙂

Tadaaa~! The new Karlstad Sofa and Chaise!! in Lindo Beige. Originally $1199.99 + tax = $1343.99. But with the promo, it came out at $1041.00 with tax! Big savings! 😀 It took a few hours to put it together and put the covers on, but it was well worth it!! Yay!!

My new Karlstad sofa and chaise in my living room!