Maternity Session

I’m baccckk!

I took some time off cause, if you read my last post, I was expecting a little human. Now 9 months later, I’m back to blogging. And yes, I gave birth to a sweet little girl named Nora Rae. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m rewinding back to when I was pregnant (wow, how did time go by so quickly?!?). We’ll get to the baby in future posts but if you wanted to jump ahead to see pictures (I wouldn’t blame you), check out my Instagram and follow me.

I was looking for someone to help shoot a maternity session, but we were on a tight budget. Prepping for a baby is $$$! Instead, Ming-Gih and I decided to do shoot a session ourselves. We purchased some lighting and a clicker, and we were set. These pictures aren’t professional, but at least it does capture my big ‘ol belly!

Belly

Belly 2

Cat

Baking

In bed

MG and me

Okay, I’m one of “those.” I admit it; I enjoyed being pregnant. The worst symptoms I had were sore boobies and indigestion. Otherwise, everything was smooth and great, never had an episode of morning sickness, just mild nausea, and I would burp it out. The perks were great too – I got seats on public transportation, people opened doors for me and gave me space in crowds. Maternity clothes are also so comfy and very stylish nowadays. Plus, you never have to suck in your stomach after a large meal (wink). After you have a baby, forget it. So expecting mamas, enjoy it while it lasts!

Would you ever do a maternity session? And if you’ve done one, do you have any tips?

Missing those big belly days,
Jay

And just so you know, this blog is going to have a lot of life event posts and baby pictures so it’s headed in the direction of a mama blog. It’s going to be my place to put my family here as a keepsake. You’re welcomed to follow along!

  

DIY Dresser Revamp

I’m super, duper, fricken ecstatic to share my newest project with you.

I revamped an old dresser that I bought from a friend for $10. With a fresh coat of paint and some new hardware, this piece of furniture looks brand, spankin new!

Before/After

This project is simple but it takes time for each layer of paint to dry. The entire project took 3 days. I’m almost positive that you have an old piece of furniture sitting around your house that needs a little bit of loving. If not, maybe you’re looking for a new bookshelf or a dresser. Go to the thrift store, find one to your liking, and revamp it. I love bargain hunting, and the thrift store for furniture is where the treasure’s at! I also like to think that refurbishing something old is like recycling, so I’m being green too right? It’s really a win/win situation. Honestly, most, if not all, furniture pieces have potential to be something beautiful.

What you’ll need to repaint furniture:

  • A drop cloth or tarp (cause it can get messy)
  • An old rag (cleanup)
  • Painter’s tape (I love Frog tape, it works really well)
  • Sandpaper (fine grit, I used 220)
  • Water-based primer
  • Latex paint (I used Behr from Home Depot)
  • Water-based polyurethane varnish
  • A paint tray
  • 2 small, dense foam rollers
  • A small brush for the varnish

Basic instructions:

1. Undo all hardware. I also took apart the dresser so that none of the screws get painted (this part is optional but recommended).
2. Sand – get that shiny layer off. Sand it real well so that the primer sticks.
3. With a roller, primer all pieces (roll carefully so that there are no paint drips). Let dry (timing depends on your paint, read the label), and sand it down again if there are drops of paint or bumps. Then roll primer one more time. Let dry. Sand again to ensure all pieces are smooth.
4. Now it’s time to paint. With the other roller, paint the dresser with your desired color. Let dry and sand again to smooth out bumps. Paint the dresser one more time and let dry.
5. If you’re doing a design, it’s time to paint it on now. I used frog tape to outline where I would paint. I also painted all the edges of the drawer gold too. Let this part dry as well. If you want a darker color, paint it another time.
6. Take the brush and paint on the varnish (a roller will cause bubbles). It’s recommended to varnish 2-3 times. Since the top of my dresser will be used a lot, I varnished 3 times but the drawers I only painted twice. Let dry overnight.
7. Put the furniture piece together. Change out the hardware if you desire.

Some tips from my experience:
1. Roll and paint on carefully so that you do not have to sand in between layers. It’ll save you time in the end.
2. Bring plastic wrap to wrap up your rollers and brushes so that your tools do not dry up. If you’re not using it, wrap it!
3. If you’re using white, use an off-the-shelf white to save some money. I used Ultra Pure White by Behr.
4. If you’re doing a design with painter’s tape, do not allow the paint to completely dry before ripping off the tape. Simply wait 5-10 minutes, and rip tape off at an angle. Paint will chip if it becomes dry.

Got it
This is how I got the dresser – I call it blegh green

Hardware
I took apart all the hardware and taped the screws to each piece. That’s helpful!

Sand
Sand it down!!!

HandsThat turned me into Elphaba ^^^

Primer
Use a roller for the primer – smooth, long strokes

Paint
Paint with a roller too – long strokes again and careful not to drip paint

Drying
Be patient with drying. Make sure it’s dry – better safe than sorry!

Design
This is my design. To guide the lines, the width of the white is the same as the tape

Gold
I found this gold on sale at Home Depot for $5.25 (find it here)

Peeling
This is delayed gratification at its finest. Best feeling in the world is tearing off painter’s tape.

Design
Ta-Da!!!

Dresser Back
Reassembling the dresser – it also needed a back. Home Depot will custom cut wood for you. All I had to do was nail the back onto the dresser

And now this beauty is in my room, ready for my clothes!

Complete

Final

I’m totally in love with this dresser and am proud of the end product. What do you think? Do you shop for furniture at the thrift store? How do you revamp it? And can you share some of your current DIY projects?

Obsessed with gold right now,
Jay

  

From Wallpaper to Paint

I’m super proud to unveil one of my most recent projects on the blog today!

BEFORE:

Before

AFTER:

Final

Since I’ve been home in Sugar Land, I decided to update the bathroom in my parent’s house. I set out thinking this DIY would be a week long task. After doing research, it seemed removing wallpaper would be a breeze – Score the wallpaper and make holes throughout the paper, penetrate the paper with anti-adhesive solution, peel, and then primer and paint. Seems easy right?

WRONG. That’s only true for plastered walls.

Apparently, houses built in the 90s glued wallpaper directly onto drywall. Builders did not expect homeowners to switch out wallpaper (ill thought out). For those of you who are reading and don’t know about drywall, drywall is plaster between thick sheets of paper. Trying to “unglue” wallpaper from paper is an extremely difficult task. I set out to do a nearly impossible assignment.

Because the wallpaper is glued on drywall, our project became this: peel wallpaper and be careful to not damage the drywall to badly, spackle the drywall damage then dry, sand down the walls to make it even, primer and another day to dry, texturize the walls then dry, sand to even out the texture, primer again and dry, and finally paint and allow for it to dry. 8 total steps but with 5 days of drying in between jobs. This project became a 2 week task with multiple trips to Home Depot.

Removing
Here’s Katie (my sister) and Baldwin peeling off wallpaper

Removing
See the dark spots on the wall? That’s damaged drywall

Removed
See the difference between drywall and plaster?

Removed
The drywall is so badly damaged… ouch

But Ming-Gih saves the day with spackle. It’s smoothed onto your walls and evens it out if there are dents or damage.This stuff goes on pink and drys white so you know where you’ve spackled – it’s called DryDex.

Plaster
Lots of damage ^^^

After the spackle drys, the dust storm hits. Wear a mask and I promise you’ll still get white boogers.

Sanding

Sanded
I’d be a cute grandma right?

Then we have to primer!

Prime
Had a little helper this time around ^^^

And then texturize

Texture

Then sand and primer again (but no need for pictures since you get the idea).

Finally, paint and install the new toilet!

Color
This is Behr’s Pastel Jade. My sister claims she dreams in this color

PaintAlmost there ^^^

Done
Toilet in and working!

BEFORE image of the bathroom:

Before

AFTER image of the bathroom:

Final

Curtain
Gorgeous shower curtain with peacock rings (all by Threshold from Target)

Unit
This storage unit was from a garage sale for $10, and the elephant was an awesome steal for $5 at Target.

How perfect is this color palette?

Color Palette

What do you think of the update? What kind of projects are you working on?

Love,
Jay

  

A New Look For My Wall Rack

If you’ve been reading along, you know I’m a bargain hunter. Hunting for goodies at thrift stores, Cost Plus World Market, and Marshall’s for home decor is my hobby! Okay, maybe not but I really enjoy doing it.

One knows that you can never have enough wall racks in your bedroom. I have two but it’s weird how my clothes still like to leave a path on the floor of where I walk. Does that happen to you too? Strange right?

Recently I came across a wall coat rack at Marshall’s for $10 in the clearance area. It was on sale because someone had put some nail polish paint on the corner and a knob was missing. I couldn’t pass up such a good deal and had to have it!

Marshall's Find

All I saw was potential!

Marshall's rack

I love the grain of the boards and the marbling of the knobs. I didn’t reuse the knobs for this project, but I’m going to save them for something else. Nowadays there are so many decorative knobs. The Anthropology knobs are swoon-worthy, but for $8 a knob, that’s almost the price of my wall rack! Nope… cannot. Fortunately I went to Cost Plus World Market and came across adorable knobs for $1.99 a piece. Done!

Knobs I love the colors of these knobs and how they are different. The blue helps bring them all together.

First off, I sanded down the rack so that new paint could stick and so that the nail polish paint was gone. I put a fresh coat of paint on the wall rack, a light and sheer white to make it a lighter color. The sheerness also allows the grain detail to show through. Then I took off the old knobs and screwed in the new colorful ones. This is the final product:

Done!

It’s hanging in our bedroom, and it’s the first thing you see when you walk in. I just need to be careful to not put my delicates on the rack so that guests don’t see!

What do you think of the revamped wall rack? Is this something you can do? How many coat racks do you have in your bedroom, and do you need more too?

Happy deal hunting,
Jay
—–
White Frost Acrylic Paint by FolkArt

  

Flaming Cake & Revamped Goodies

Not every weekend needs to be an epic one. Sometimes, one needs to stay home to rest and buy groceries/run errands (basically my entire Saturday afternoon) and do some house things (basically my Sunday).

Three very serious and awesome things happened this weekend.

One:  this cake.

Baked Alaska
Coffee ice cream, fudge brownie, torched/flaming meringue, and bittersweet chocolate. Get it! Get it!

I went to Vault 164 in San Mateo with some friends on Friday night for dinner and drinks. The restaurant has a really scrumptious menu and fun cocktails, also very reasonable prices. I’d recommend you check it out if you’re ever in the area.

DIY projects are usually posted on Wednesdays, but I have a special treat right now. Since I am thrilled to show you some of my projects that I worked on over the weekend, I’ll be posting a DIY today!

Back on track… second very serious and awesome thing: I painted my storage unit for the bathroom! Do you remember what it looked like before? Since Chubs now owns the cabinet under the sink (his litter box is there), we had no place to put extra toilet paper. That could be a very awkward situation for guests, so you’re welcome everyone that comes over!

Bathroom Unit

Third and best thing that happened: I finally revamped that bench I bought at Salvation Army! Remember this bench that had so much potential? Remember how I paid only $15 for it? I’ve finally repainted and reupholstered it!

Bench - Before

Bench Top - BeforeIt’s so old! Look at those stains…

I’m excited to reveal this! Drumroll please!

DSC01785

What do you think? I’ll be putting this downstairs in our foyer. Can’t wait for people to walk in and see this beautiful piece!

Here’s a tutorial on how I revamped this baby. It’s an easy DIY, and the end product is well worth the effort!

Bench revamp tutorial

Bench revamp materials

Chubs
This happened during the process. Chubs approves of the fabric!

Do you like my revamps? Are you thinking about thrifting for a bench now?

What did you do this weekend?
Jay
——
Grey Wolf Satin Acrylic Paint by Martha Stewart from Michael’s (I use this for pretty much everything!)

  

Updated Frames from JCP

I’ve been obsessed with JCPenney for the past 6 months, obsessed! Yup, you read right, JCPenney. They have been updating their inventory and now carry really great home items. Because they are currently revamping their image, there are some excellent clearance finds from previous inventory and earlier collections, so go to your nearby JCP and check it out.

Some things that I’ve purchased are sofa pillows, frames, lamps, towels, dishes, plates, and sheets. There is also a wide selection of clothing for men. MG has basically updated his entire wardrobe – red pants, slim jeans, a black suit (suit jacket for $23, whoa!), t-shirts, briefs, and button-ups. I’ve found a few swoon-worthy pieces for myself too. I love the Joe Fresh brand (cute tops) and adore MNG by Mango (scored a pair of grey jeans with ankle zippers for only $20!). Some of the updated JCPs also have a Sephora in the store. I was able to find a blush brush and foundation brush for $8 each. I know you’re jealous!

Tips from me: Look for coupons in the mail or online. Most of the time there are extra discounts ($10 off $50, $15 off $75, and $20 off $100). Online prices are higher than in-store prices too, so go to your nearby JCP.

photo-2
I got a few of these long receipts. See? Obsessed.

One of the best finds that I’ve come across are these amazing frames for $10 each! At Michael’s, frames like these cost $30 each, with another $5-10 for a picture mat. I saw potential in these frames and immediately picked them up.

JCP Frames

Here’s what I did with them:

Updated Frames

With a fresh coat of paint to match my decor and a new picture put in, it’s now perfect for my home!

JCP Frames

What do you think of the frames? Do you ever go to JCP? Are you thinking about going now?

JCP advocate, Jay
——-
Grey Wolf Satin Acrylic Paint by Martha Stewart from Michael’s
Prints from Costco

  

Mismatched Chairs

Redecorating the house has been somewhat of a challenge. What’s my style? What color palettes are neutral, which ones are warm? What are your favorite patterns? Favorite materials?

The ultimate answer – whatever you like!

Tip 1: Don’t go by the books. Pick out pieces that you love! Use colors that you wear a lot, because those are colors you won’t get sick of.

Tip 2: Have an idea of the style you like (whether it be modern, rustic, vintage, classic, or colonial). Sign up for sites like One King’s Lane and Joss and Main and look at different styles. Look at the furniture pieces within each style, and shop around for similar pieces.

Tip 3: Check out these places for some great deals!

With that said, I love the farmhouse/rustic look. I also love the Ikat design (what’s Ikat?). And who doesn’t love a good ol’ bench? That’s a lot of different things!

I did some Googling and found out that mismatched chairs are actually a popular look!  So in the end, I picked out different chairs to match a rustic (with a mix of modern) stone top table.

My mismatched chairsWhat do you think?

Chairs
Love me a nice wooden chair!

ikat & bench
Here’s an up-close of one of my Ikat chairs and my bench!

Here are some other mismatched dining sets that I found online. Super cute!

Mismatched Chairs
Here’s one with all wooden chairs that have different backings.

Mismatched Chairs
This one has a very farmhouse feel.

Mismatched Chairs
Like this idea for outdoor furniture too!

How do you feel about the mismatched chairs look? And I want to know what places you go to for house decor and furniture.

Love, Jay

—–
My dining set is from Cost Plus World Market
Links: 1, 2, 3

  

Nerd Party & Antiques

What do you do during a 3-day weekend?

Let the husband plan one day.
Rest another.
Let the wife plan the last.

This makes everyone happy!

Husband’s plan:
Host a LAN party, aka nerd hangout. Props to you if you know what LAN stands for… anyone? MG invited his childhood friends, and they all brought over their laptops and PCs. After stuffing our faces with turkey weenies in a blanket, triple chocolate brownies, caramel chocolate chip cookies, guacamole, and garlic fries… After a few sodas and a few beers… After 2 hours of configuration and downloading (4 routers, 10 people hardwired into the cable, 2 on wifi, lots of IT knowledge), we were finally ready to game.

Here’s the gang (we had to get an extra table at Costco the morning of).

LAN

LAN Players

The Milkcrate
Pretty cool set up right? Even if you’re not a nerd, you have to appreciate this (at least the hosting aspect of it)! Also this picture directly above ^^^, that’s MG’s cousin Brian. He built his own computer, at least it’ll never heat up right? We named thee, “The Milkcrate.” Don’t hate!

We played Team Fortress 2. It’s a first-person shooter game, with missions, like capturing bases, unlocking sectors on the map, and pushing a cart down a rail. I basically bum rushed people and set them on fire. I was an amazing Pyro. Proof? Look at the screen grab below. Yay! Obviously this was a one-time thing – I was usually towards the bottom. Heh.

Team Fortress

Wife’s Plan:
On Monday, we went to Danville (my first time), and it’s an adorable little town in the North Bay. We walked around downtown, and the city is lined with antique shops. You can call me Explorer Jay, because I LOOOVE antiquing. Look at how lovely this place is:

Danville Sites
The town is full of shops like these.

Crafts in Danville
Perfect for crafting!

Antiques
Antique bottles, vases, and gadgets galore!

Had a little bit of fun in front of a mirror at an antique shop:

Just for fun

It was SO HOT. So we took a break and got some Starbucks. Always a delicious treat!

Break time

More importantly, look what I found for the house!!!

Shelf
Only $10!
I will be putting this above the toilet in our guest bathroom. I’ll be revamping this just a bit! Stay tuned…

Bench
Only $15!
This bench has SO much potential. It’ll be going downstairs so that people can sit and put their shoes on. Reupholster the seat and fresh paint will give this bench new life! A reupholstery tutorial to come soon…

CabinetNow, this is my favorite piece so far. Only $20 at the Salvation Army (OMG and still in great condition)!
I’ve been looking for a storage unit to go in my living room, so that I can put away some of my appliances since our kitchen space is limited. I am going to tint the wood, add some hardware pieces, and it’s going to look fabulous. DIY tutorial on this later as well.

I’m really excited for these projects. As you can see, this will be keeping me busy for a while!

What did you do this weekend?

  

Thrifting Finds!

Patience is the key to thrifting. Look down every aisle. Then retrace your steps and look down the aisles again, because employees are constantly restocking items and people are continually rethinking their items and putting things down.

I had been going to the Alameda Point Antiques Faire for the past couple of months, but I always left disappointed and empty handed. Don’t get me wrong, lots to look at! Really great stuff, but everything comes with a large price tag. However, I do encourage you to check it out if you haven’t gone before, especially if you live in the Bay Area. The Faire happens the first Sunday of every month with hundreds and hundreds of vendors. Keep in mind there is a fee to enter (the earlier you go, the higher the entrance fee). More info on the Faire here. Have you been to the Faire? What did you like about it?

Anyway, back on track. My college roommate, Sarah, reintroduced me to thrifting. I’m pleased to say that it’s back in my life again! I’ve primarily been looking at house goods and rarely have the patience to check out clothing items. Look at my loot!

Lamp – $3 (Now I need a shade)
Chubs’ feeding stool – $5.50
Antique plate – $2

Thrift Finds

I’m now in the process of looking for a cute buffet table that I can revamp.

What do you think of my finds? Do you go thrifting? If so, what do you like to look at?

Love, Jay

  

Wall Stripes Tutorial

As mentioned on my “about” page, I’m in the middle of decorating my townhome. When I moved in after the wedding, it was a completely blank canvas. My husband’s excuse was that as a bachelor, he wanted to make sure his wife was able to decorate the way she desired (so thanks, hun). I’m sure other newlywed wives experience this too! What was or will be your first project to make your house more homey?

The first project that I embarked on was painting the white walls. My living room is navy, and there is a highlight wall stenciled with yellow (see first blog post background).

Next, I painted the study. Ming-Gih works at home, so he is in the study all day. Since it’s the work room, I wanted it to be a bit modern. I looked into wallpaper, but not only is it costly, it can be such a pain to put up. Instead, I decided to paint stripes.

Stripes are currently a very popular wall design. Here’s what you need:

  • Ruler
  • Laser Level*
  • Double sided foam tape
  • Painter’s tape (I like Frog Tape)*
  • Rag
  • Tarp
  • Paint roller
  • Angled paint brush*
  • Small touch-up paint brush
  • Paint*
  • Paint tray

*Product info below

This is really important. PLAN out how thick your stripes will be! Measure the height of your wall and then figure out how thick you want your stripes to be. Here is a layout of the colors and measurement of my wall.

Keep yourself sane: If you are 0.5 – 1.5 inches off of the ideal measurement, the naked eye cannot see it! You’ll notice that I have random measurements in between lines.

Wall Layout

TIPS:

1. Use your ruler and measure out the thickness of each stripe on the left and right side of the wall. Mark the measurements out with a pencil.

2. Next, add a strip of foam tape to the back of your laser level so that it sticks on the wall. Take your laser level and start leveling out each of the pencil marks (make sure the level passes through the left and right pencil marks to ensure the line is straight).

3. Once the laser level is in place, start taping along the laser line. When the tape is put into place, take a wet towel and wipe the tape. The water makes theFrog Tape sticky which helps with the lines and less touch ups later.

4. Use little pieces of tape to mark stripes that will not be painted so you do not get confused in the painting process.

5. Paint the edges of the tape with your paint brush first. Brush along the edge of the tape towards the middle, then swipe left and right to even out the paint. I had to do this twice for the color to be even. Then use a roller to paint the entire stripe.

6. Only wait 10 minutes before you start to peel off the tape. If the paint becomes too dry, the paint will peel with the tape.

7. If you are doing two different colors, wait one day for the first color to dry. Then tape the wall up again for the second color.

8. No matter what, there will be paint seepage. Just take a small paint brush, and touch up the stripes.

Wall StripesThis is such a fun project, and it will brighten up any room!

Do you like stripes? What colors do you want to paint your house?

Happy Painting,
Jay

——–
Click on the product to find out details:
Laser Level
Frog Tape
Angled Paint Brush
Valspar Paint:  Red: Bright Red in Eggshell, Grey: Drizzling Mist in Eggshell