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Revitalize your spirit by revitalizing your rental space


Home should be more than just the place where you live. It should be the place where you love and long to go to regroup. Today, it's important more than ever to feel safe, comfortable, nurtured - even empowered by the place you call home.  All it takes are some simple changes that can make a big difference, as can be seen in my latest transformation of this small dining room rental space. All it took was a few coats of contrasting paint that instantly took it from drab to dramatic. Personally, I feel just because you're renting, it shouldn't stop you from thinking creatively and making a few updates to make it feel like home. Here are some of the simple updates I usually make without compromising getting our security deposit back.

Paint: if the place isn't freshly painted with a neutral color that I love and puts my soul at rest, I usually paint the walls and opt either to have them painted back in the original color prior to moving out or have them take a redecorating fee out of my security. It depends on the situation and the type of landlord too. I also have discussed with landlords beforehand that I'm planning to paint and have even negotiated to have them paint the color (s) I want prior to moving in where I provide the paint myself. Usually, showing them my work puts them at ease as most often they see it as an improvement to their property. In this particular instance, I opted for them to take their redecorating fee out of my security deposit since these weren't your typical neutral colors.

Change Out Light Fixtures: Nothing makes me want to rip my eyes out of their sockets more than harsh fluorescent lighting. Swapping out outdated boob-like lighting fixtures with something that elevates the space and warms it up is another minor touch that makes such a big impact. However, I highly respect someone else's property. So, once I take their light fixtures down, I tape all parts to their corresponding counterparts, labeling each with what goes with what and where. Then I wrap each in its own bag and place them in a box labeled 'lighting' and put it away on top of a closet or in storage if there's one. That way, when it's time to move out, replacing each lighting fixture where they were found is a cinch.

Update Hardware: This is one of my all-time favorite ways to transform any cabinet. I even use this technique in our own home for cabinets in rooms that we're not ready to renovate yet. It's a small change that makes such a huge difference in changing the face of tired or less expensive furniture.

Swap Out Switchplates: There's something about touching switchplates in any new place that's skeevy to me, but especially discolored/nicotine colored ones. Replacing them with luxe ones like in a brass style never fails to give a space that hotel feel.

Replace Showerheads: Another one of my fast fixes to freshen up a bathroom and give it that spa-like feel. Minor things like re-grouting moldy tiles or even touching-up the caulking around a bathroom make such huge visual changes without breaking the bank.

Adding Drapery: Hung on some pretty hardware, this detail will offer a dramatic change in adding that home-y feeling.

Cover Ugly Carpets with a Rug: I didn't get to post the after picture after adding my area rug here. But rugs are your friend to disguise old, tired, and worn-out carpet in a rental.  Go as large as possible to make any unsightly flooring disappear. 

These are a few of some of my seven tips on how to revitalize your spirit by revitalizing your rental space. Enjoy the process.


Japanese Tapas at Raku


A few short nights ago, the hubby and I went for Japanese tapas at Raku to satiate our palates from the memories of going to the one back home in the East Village run by the renowned chef Norihiro Ishizuka, who cooks these most flavorful authentic Japanese meals to perfection. Tapas are perfect for a person like me who much prefer to eat small bites then a large plate of food. It is also a fantastic way to taste a variety of delicious dishes without feeling overly stuffed.


For those of you who aren’t familiar with tapas. Basically, it is appetizers in Spanish cuisine that means small portions of any kind that are served one small plate after another that is combined to make a full meal. Being interested in different types of food, cooking, and the latest food and restaurant fads, my husband and I always jump on any opportunity to explore the culinary world, especially when it comes to eating and discovering new flavor combos.


I’m never more pleased when restaurants feature such small bites of decadence. I know we live in a country where everything is "BIG", but believe me, give these small dishes a chance. The richness of such dishes takes your taste buds on such a journey that I’m going out on a limb here to say that there’s no large plate of food that can do that. What’s more, you’re left feeling happily satiated without overfilling the belly which for me is the best feeling.

Our choices were: 
The deep-fried chicken
The rich grilled duck 
The delicious fish soup!
...and rounded our experience with the best part of any meal - dessert with a well-curated variety of lava chocolate cake, green tea creme brulee, and the cheesecake sampler.