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7.07.2020

one easy and budget friendly way to refresh your home using clothes in your closet

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One of the benefits of spending more time at home these days is that it has enabled me to catch up on a lot of the DIY projects that have been weighing on my mind for the longest time. Take, for instance, this one lampshade project I wanted to tackle but never had the chance to. An idea came to me one night to use an old skirt I was tired of wearing but thought would make a great impact on the lamp. This is one of the easiest and most budget-friendly ways to refresh your home using clothes in your closet. I simply cut the skirt using the lampshade as my guide similar to these instructions here, and voila!



chocolate-brown-and-cream-zebra-animal-print-skirt-fabric-lampshade-diy-makeoverI don’t know about you, but when I don’t purge my mind of its to-do list, it makes me feel unsettled, restless, unfocused and forgetful until I get these things done. Especially when it comes to improving a corner of my home. Besides, the process of seeing the transformation of old, tired or ordinary objects come to life gives me the greatest feeling on earth and the bonus - it also saves me cash on buying new items that will not be as special as a customized piece created or revived with my own hands. 

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Moreover, working on fun DIY projects is a form of therapy for me. It’s a very simple way to reset when I’m feeling bored, stressed, or anxious. Here are at least 4 reasons why:

1.     Clears the mind. It helps me take a moment to slow down and create, which is rejuvenating to me.

2.    Distracts from negative thoughts. Stillness is the space where all creative expression and peace come to be. Once you get in the flow of working on your project, it’s hard to dwell on troubling thoughts and worries. As the mind becomes fully engaged, it brings you right into the present moment and pushes anxiety outside.

3.    Builds self-esteem and confidence. Creating things and working with your own hands is an activity that slowly but surely, gives this tangible result as you see the improvement of a piece. That’s when you get this satisfying sense of achievement.  

4.    Reduces stress. It’s been said that creating can reduce cortisol, which is the ‘stress hormone’. Naturally, doing something you love releases endorphins – the ‘feel-good’ chemicals that combat stress. I can definitely attest to the truthfulness of that for I find that not only my mental distress but also all my body pains go away when I’m immersed in my creative work.

Try it yourself and I think you’ll agree with me. Exercising our creativity gives us an outlet from our daily routine that oftentimes doesn’t fully engage our minds. When we take the time to slow down and express our emotions creatively, it boosts our happiness levels in no time. 

See more of my DIY projects here

6.15.2020

10 daily rituals that's giving me good vibes

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During these quarantine days of 2020, one of the most asked questions seems to be 'what has been helping you get through the days?' To be honest, the cultural shift with sheltering in lockdown didn't throw our working schedule off all that much from our every day, since both the hubby and I thankfully have been working from our home for many years now. But I'm not going to lie, much like everyone else, the sudden change of how the state of the world altered life as we once knew it, has surged an avalanche of emotions - ranging from waking up some days with a burst of energy getting things done to feeling tired and unmotivated. What has helped me the most is maintaining a routine. In general, I always rely on simple daily rituals that bring me joy to keep my spirits up but even more so now, especially in isolation.  So today, I'm finally answering that question by sharing my current list of 10 daily rituals that give me good vibes and keeps my mind engaged. 



Open Up The Windows
The first thing I do when I get out of bed is to glide from room to room and open up the curtains and shades to let the sunshine flood into the house. Getting to see that early morning light bouncing off different parts of the walls instantly boosts my mood. 


Turn On The Diffuser 
Having an amazingly scented environment is a must for me in my home. The aroma of favorite essential oil combos permeating the house creates such a positive and calming effect that just makes my heart flutter. I love my little diffuser. Currently, I'm combining this calming floral aroma with this mood soother.

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Get Dressed
I've talked about this before. Just because you work at home or might not necessarily have some place to go does not mean you should stay in your pajamas all day. Getting myself dressed for the day helps me to feel energized and I also find that it increases my productivity level as well. What I put on depends on how I am feeling on any given day. I'll either slip into cozy loungewear, flowy dresses, or jeans and a blouse.

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Drink Lemon Water
I have my cup of lemon water which is so refreshing for the first beverage of the day, while I make drip coffee for the hubby and tea for me (although these past several days I've been enjoying a cup of coffee too, instead of my usual cup of tea).

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Carve Out Time To Meditate 
With my warm cup of bevy in hand, I then take the first hour of my day to sit, relax, pray, read my Bible, and meditate. This is the part of my day I consider most important as it gives me the best chance for feeling good all day - keeping the brain engaged and in the right mindset.



Upbeat Music
Turn on a Spotify favorite playlist. In the height of the pandemic horror, I put together a 'Good Vibes Groove' playlist on the days I need a natural energy boost. I hope it gets you going on the not-so-good-days.


 Doing What Makes Me Happy
Keeping inspired is key for me. During this stay at home and social distancing time, I started to feel like I was on autopilot which began to get depressing pretty quickly. Engaging in enjoyable activities such as decorating projects that have been neglected, creating, doing some diy's, and gardening gave me something to look forward to waking up for every day. There's nothing that brings me greater happiness than creating, decorating, and transforming spaces. Right now, the current project I can't wait to get done is our master bedroom I shared over a week ago. Sourcing and receiving the pieces to finish the space right now has definitely been one of the things giving me some good vibes at the moment.


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Changing Scenery 
For me, that means going to a different part of the house that I've never fully enjoyed before. In fact, we spontaneously spent a quiet lovely picnic out in our backyard after a failed attempt to go to the lake where it's normally quiet but apparently, everyone else had a similar idea that day. I was not about to risk being under the canopy of anyone's microscopic droplets hanging over us sitting out by the water. So we ended up coming back to the house and enjoyed the fresh air of our own space as the hummingbirds came to inspect us back there. And it's amazing how even the act of laying down a pretty picnic blanket brings joy.

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Fresh Cut Branches In Vases
These days we have been enjoying a lot more time out in the garden every chance we get. And since I've not ventured out much to Trader Joe's to get fresh flowers (due to the massive lines to get in), I've switched things up a bit by pruning our trees and using the fresh-cut branches in large vases around the house, which has brought such a different feel to the interior.




Curling Up On The Sofa 
Curling up time at the end of an exhausting day in front of a favorite ethereal film with the hubby.


6.08.2020

affordable summer staycation day dresses to live in all season


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With summer lurking around the immediate corner and the pandemic causing us to cancel our vacation for the year, I'm hoping to create that relaxed vacation vibe at home with a few strategic choices to boost my mood. And that includes but not limited to finding some good affordable summer staycation day dresses to live in all season. It’s not a secret that summer is one of my least favorite seasons unless I’m somewhere where the maximum temps are in the high 70s to low 80s with a breeze. Preferably ocean breeze. Otherwise, I go into complete seclusion like a hermit crab. And right now in the era of this sheltering in place amidst this horrific pandemic - any extra hibernation during the height of the summer heat might make me go rogue. 



For this "special" summer year at home, I’m dreaming of easy, flowy day dresses, comfy slip-on sandals, wide-brim hats, cool sunglasses, sitting under an umbrella in our backyard with my favorite summer books and/or magazines, and a refreshing pitcher of Aperol spritz in the late afternoons to keep me from going stir crazy being cooped up inside. This is where pretending to be on vacation is acceptable in my book. 



The hubby and I have already had our first picnic in the backyard last weekend. I must say it was pretty relaxing and got to see our backyard in a whole different light. I’m hoping this year we can incorporate other fun outdoor activities in the yard like summer grilling (something we've never done), and movie nights under the stars if the budget allows for us to get a projector this yearWe shall see. 


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5.25.2020

Master Bedroom Redesign Plan


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As we have canceled all of our traveling plans this year (like so many others due to the circumstances in the world with the Covid-19 pandemic) and will be hunkering down at home, it’s time we turned our attention to the most important room of the house that we've had on the back burner – our master bedroom. It’s been three years now since we moved into our house and we have been slowly renovating one room at a time. So far, we have renovated the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, and our front courtyard. Now, we’re ready to transform our bedroom into a space that's more than merely a place to rest our heads, but rather into an intimate 'boutique hotel' vacation retreat with a cozy resort-like atmosphere that will take our minds off missing our annual summer escape this year.

Honestly, I’ve been so physically and mentally drained and exhausted from this lockdown crisis. Finding the energy to get going on a daily basis, hasn’t at all been easy. But right now the thrill of the hunt, sourcing out the few pieces for the master bedroom redesign plan is giving me much-needed motivation. The thought of finally bringing our vision to fruition and revamping this room into the resort life that we love so much is for sure softening the blow of staying put this year.

I draw a lot of inspiration from our travels and our favorite hotels. The Maker Hotel is what's currently serving as inspiration as it perfectly encapsulates the type of stylistic environment that brings us comfort. So here's a glimpse of what’s on the mood board for the room. The goal is to have the metamorphosis completed before summer begins. 


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1. Gleaming Primrose Mirror | 2. Original Vintage 1960 French PELFRAN Chair (sold out... similar) | 3. Coco Fringed Jonathan Y Gold Metal Lamp | 4. Caden Vanity Set with Mirror | 5. Corsica Upholstered Standard Bed | 6. Gold Jaylin Empire Style Chandelier | 7. Nadia Rug in Aqua/Pink Loloi II (similar) | 8. Alessandro Bench Corrigan Studio | 9. Trumann Floor Lamp Darby Home Collection Co | 10. Cane Moretti Wood Frame Accent Chair

4.01.2020

Living room update before and after reveal


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After almost three years of living in this space and implementing several minor changes, I'm finally getting the chance to unveil this living room before and after reveal. Although there are still some things I'd love to add and upgrade in the room (such as getting a larger and deeper sofa that is more conducive to television watching, placing a small lamp on the corner of the tv credenza, reupholstering our side chairs in an ochre shearling type fabric, and procuring ottomans to place in front of them), they are all minor additional updates that I can always share as I go along. As of now, I thought I'd still share the before and after of the room. We all know a home is never really done.


1980's construction is not known for homes with any notable characteristics. Thus, it makes it a challenge to renovate a home built in an era not particularly known for architectural charm, but I always find these types of projects to be a fun challenge since I'm passionate about transforming anything and everything from blase to beautiful. This particular project, unburdened by history or integrity (other than the cathedral ceilings and the step-down living room features) gave me plenty of reign to express my creative imagination.

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My main objective was to freshen up this tired space, add some character and optimize its potential within a limited budget. First, I wanted to get rid of its 'vampire-den-like state' vibe by ditching the shutters on the windows and the nicotine colored walls that kept the room so dark. Once the living area was freed up by removing the shutters and giving the walls a good fresh coat of Farrow and Ball 'All White' paint, the tone of the room changed drastically. It immediately felt as if we added some extra square footage and let the room breathe and live again. It went from an ugly, crack-addicted duckling to a beautiful swan. Such simple changes seized upon with the addition of a few elements such as the reclaimed wood beams in the peak of the cathedral ceiling, the fireplace mantle, the natural woven shades, and the gallery tv wall have added charm and redefined the space – masking its rather insipid cookie-cutter coldness to create a warmer atmosphere. The architectural prowess of the aforementioned additions is complemented by painstaking meticulous curation of the right (most already owned) eclectic details with every item added thereafter, establishing connections, lending coherence to this space with past meets present. Unexpected details like the quirky accent pillow on the sofa to the distinctive decorative hand bowl hanging on the gallery wall add soul to the room. We're pleased with how we started with no character but by the end, we gave the room some specialness that it sorely lacked before - taking it from okay to really great.

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It's not my forever dream home filled with all the exquisite details and furniture pieces that my mind imagines, however, it's a warm and cozy place where the hubby and I feel comforted especially during these critical times under this shelter-at-home, lockdown mandate. I grew up in a handful of houses, but they were never home (in other words, a place that felt safe, nurturing and protective), so as soon as I became an adult and could make my own choices, I've always made sure where I live isn't just a house, but a home...where I feel nurtured, comforted and happy! Even more so now, during these incredibly stressful times hard to deal with. 


Today, in our topsy-turvy world, I do realize that most of us are tightening our spending a bit until we figure out what's going on, right? But that doesn't mean you can't still make your space feel nurturing while spending much more time in it than usual. Think basic things like flowers or tiny plants on windowsills, clean shiny kitchen faucets/countertops, a favorite scented candle or wooden bowl filled with bright cheery citrus. All of these affordable items can make one feel good when you enter the kitchen or other rooms in the home for that matter. These are simple touches that can make a world of difference for our state of mind.



Pro Tip: When renovating or redecorating living rooms, a warm welcoming focal point, a generously proportioned sofa, soothing light, a few well-curated must-haves (preferably favorite pieces collected over time that you absolutely love), even simple things such as covering lampshades in a favorite textured textile, can add an airy feel and are the ingredients that will make your living room come alive in a truly relaxing way that speaks to your personal lifestyle. For instance, if you have the space, a fireplace makes an ideal focal point. It doesn't even have to be the conventional hearth and grate; a simple white-painted fire surround as used in our room offers the perfect area to fill it with a cluster of gently flickering candles for that added touch of hygge. 

Find more decor posts, here.


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