Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Office: new artwork

I spend roughly 40 hours in my home office now. I became tired of the red accents after, oh, one hour. Red was fine when this room was mainly Brent's office, and I didn't have to spend much time in here. Red is just too harsh of a color for a creative space. And with yellow being my favorite color, it was an easy decision to make.

So on to my first de-redding  project: the artwork above my desk.

While I loved this painting and did consider painting over the red – the canvasing is bowing and well, it just wasn't going to happen.

(Please note, this picture is from my office redo in 2010. The current state of my office is nowhere close to this clean and organized).

So I bought a canvas the same size, some painter's tape and yellow paint...and envisioned a basketweave and tada:

Step 1: I painted the entire canvas white. I know it sounds silly painting a white canvas white, but when it comes time for touch ups, you wants the whites to match.

Step 2: I made a grid. This was the most annoying part of the project, as math hurts my head. While the big 4x3 grid was easy enough to determine with a 48"x36" canvas, the lines inside the grid were where it got tricky - as 1" wide painters tape wasn't existing at Home Depot. So I used 1.41" wide tape and did math.

Step 3: I started taping:

Audrey even got a picture of me in the act:

Step 4: I finished taping and wished I choose blue for my office, so I could be done.

Step 5: Start painting and also start seeing spots from starring at bright yellow for several hours.

Step 6: Do touch ups.

Step 7: Done!

I'm really happy with how it turned out. I think it will be a fun visual for my new office.

The Start

It started with the office. I woke up one morning and thought "what am I doing?"

I've been working from home for almost a year now, and yet I never merged my former cube into its new home. (Plus my Memeboxes were taking up valuable closet real estate).

And that's when I really started seeing the rest of my house. While everything worked great pre-Audrey, post-Audrey I can't just glide by and expect the same results. On top of acquiring 4 more years of things, kid's stuff takes up a criminal amount of room.

My house no longer felt like home. It just felt like one giant mess.

The lack of space hit a critical level this summer, when we officially ran out of storage room in the basement, and things started piling up in our living space. I'll be honest, since having Audrey – my house has been at a standstill...and it's time for a change.

So, I would like to welcome you to my new focus: decluttering my life.

One project at a time.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

It's starting

I'm back! And something is going down in the office.

My lovely trash/recycling pile:

I still have yet to decide if this stash is impressive or horrifying.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Memebox: My Honey Box

I entered the Memebox world 2 weeks after the first Honey box sold out. I am obsessed with honey, and was beyond upset about this. I even tried buying all the items in the box on my own, but with some of small-brand South Korean products – I only found 2 of the products.

So when Memebox released its latest My Honey Box, I was so excited and ordered it in about 2.5 seconds. My box just arrived, so I haven't tried any of the products yet – but I am SO thrilled about everything in it.  :)

1. MIGABEE Antipollution RE-Peeling, 100 ml
Full size product: 100ml ($37)

Product Description: This is a pell-off type of facial pack enriched with natural ingredients renown for nourishing and brightening effects – honey, bee venom, propolis, royal jelly. It'll work to exfoliate dead skin cells, blackheads, and whiteheads and to control excess oil and sebum by maintaining the skin clean and well-balanced.

How to use: Spread the pack adequately over your face. The texture will be sticky and honey-like at first but it'll quickly start to dry off according to the skin temperature. Remove when it's completely dried off.

2. Mi Click Manuka Honey Treatment, 30 ml
Full size product: 30 ml, ($5)

Product Description: Enriched with high concentrates of honey, the Manuka Honey Treatment delivers nourishment, repairs damaged ends, and provides an intensive protein care to your dry hair. The natural manuka oil infused also works to renew damaged cuticles and restore silky gloss to your hair.

How to use: Towel-dry after shampooing. Take an adequate amount on your palms and softly massage it in throughout your hair. Rinse off after 5-10 minutes.

3. Enesti Apple & Honey Shea Butter Hand Cream, 50g
Full size product: 50g ($5)

Product Description: The heavily nourishing honey and vitamin-rich apple formula of this hand cream works to moisturize, purify, and firm up dry hands.

How to use: Apply the hand cream generously over your hands as often as possible.

4. From Nature Multi Effect Collagen Honey Mask, 1 each
Full size product: 1 each ($1)

Product Description: Containing high concentrates of real honey and collagen extracts, this nourishing Honey Mask delivers deep nutrition and improves skin elasticity by creating a protective moisture barrier over your skin. Plus, this mask is packed with over 9 different herbal ingredients for soothing and brightening up the overall complexion.

How to use: After toner application, spread the mask sheet over your face. Rest for 15-20 minutes, remove, and pat in the remaining essence for full absorbance.

5. EDMONG Honeybee Water Cream, 50 ml
Full size product: 50 ml ($29)

Product Description: Enriched with honey extracts, natural spring water, propolis extracts, aloe vera water, hyaluronic acid, and green tea extracts, this Honeybee Water Cream is a fast-absorbing moisturizer which strengthens the skin's natural restorative properties. It's free of paraben, artificial coloring, mineral oil, benzophenone, BHT, talc, etc.

How to use: At the end of your daily skincare routine, apply the cream evenly over your face and massage it into the skin for full absorbance. It can also be used as an overnight sleeping pack.

6. DAYCELL Essential Honey Lift Massage Cream 150ml
Full size product: 150ml ($20)

Product Description: This is the perfect solution for dehydrated, sagging skin. When gently patted onto the skin, the natural honey and collagen complex of the massage cream delivers deel nutrition and firms up the skin elasticity by creating a tight-knit gel network on the skin. Plus, its unique honey-like, gooey texture glides smoothly and absorbs deeply into the skin.

How to use: Take an adequate amount in your palm and massage it over your face as if patting the product into the skin. Gently roll it on the skin until everything's absorbed. Rinse off the next morning.

7. Pure Smile Snail Lip Treatment in Honey, 10g
Full size product: 10g ($5)

Product Description: Enriched with honey extracts, snail mucus extracts, grape seed oil, shea butter, and many more naturally-derived nutrients, Pure Smile's Lip Treatment moisturizes, nourishes, and protects dry, chapped lips.

How to use: Apply a small amount of the lip treatment over your lips. It's especially recommended to be used overnight for an intense lip care.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A rainbow birthday party

Disclaimer: Yes, I know Audrey turned two in January, and yes I know it's August and I'm just now writing about it. I will milk my heart condition for all it's worth on this one.  :)

Up until a month before Audrey's birthday party, I was set on throwing her a nautical party. Then my grandpa died. While I sat with him at hospice, I decided we needed a rainbow. And with that, it clicked.

I've always loved rainbows.

Exhibit A: Audrey's Halloween costume from last year, made by yours truly with some wine-courage in me.

And with that, I had invitation-inspiration:

While I had lots of decor debates with Audrey's penguin birthday, this theme just fell together for me perfectly. It was truly meant to be. And her party was a great success.

My favorite overview. Those circle paper streamers were quite the project, but totally worth it. Thank you Martha Stewart paper punch.

The food (mini pig-in-a-blankets, veggie and beef pinwheels, rainbow fruit salad, cheesy potatoes, pasta salad and orzo salad):

Menu labels are easily my favorite thing to design! They are simple to make and go a long way visually.

These water bottle labels didn't stay on as well as last times, but it was still a fun decor visual.

I found these adorable rainbow cups at Oriental Trading company. Fun for the kids, and spill-free for me.

For dessert there were lemon, strawberry and chocolate cupcakes, cake pops, and sugar cookies.

 Favor table – Aside from the rainbow cups, each child got a rainbow sucker and wand.

I debated about not making the rainbow wands because, well, they sounded annoying to make, but they were a huge success and the kids loved them.

Paper streamers hanging from the kitchen chandelier.

I make family books each year on Blurb, and I thought doing a "birthday guest book" spread would be a fun idea.

And of course, my birthday girl. Also, I've decided, I'm making a tissue paper number every year for her to stand next to on her birthday – I just love these too much.

Memebox: My Cute Wishlist

Since I still haven't gained back the crazy amount of energy I used to have pre-heart failure, I found a new "hobby" that requires minimal effort: beauty subscription boxes.

A year ago, I would have never considered myself a "beauty girl," but my $10-per-month subscription to Birchbox last fall showed me otherwise. Throughout the last year, I've tried quite a few various ones, but my new current love is Memebox, a South Korean beauty box company.

The South Korean beauty philosophy is that beauty should start with good skin – so it's all about skincare and I love it! Since I started using South Korean skincare products, my skin tone has evened out dramatically and I wear less foundation/primer/etc.

Anyway, I just wanted to show off the CUTEST of all the boxes: My Cute Wishlist box. (Warning: cuteness ahead).

Seriously, doesn't your heart just melt looking at it?!?! The only downfall is that Audrey feels some of the cuteness should be hers, so I'm having to share.

The cuteness includes:

1. Pure Smile Neco Punch Point Pad Hibiscus & Lemon Grass

Product Description: Pure Smile's Neco Punch Point Pad is enriched with vitamin E, collagen, hyaluronic acid, arbutin, hisbiscus and lemon grass extracts, and works to moisture and control excess sebum and secretions to maintain a healthy balance to your skin.

How to Use: After cleansing stick the Point Pad on areas of your face or body in need of concentrated care. Rest for 5-10 minutes, remove the pad, and pat in the remaining essence onto your skin.

Thoughts: I'm super excited to try this! It's like a mini sheet mask. I use vitamin c pads on my eyes, and that makes a huge difference, so I think these will be a success for me.

2. a;t fox Moisturizing Gel Cream Gyoolpy Tea

Product Description: High concentrates of Vitamin-C from the Gyoolpy Tea deeply nourishes and moisturizes the skin, leaving a refreshing, lasting glow on your skin. Also bring a gel-type cream, it spreads and penetrates into the skin smoothly and without curdling, and at the same time creates a thin, moisture layer over your skin to prevent de-hydration.

How to use: Apply moderate amount on your face, using your hand to spread and let it absorb into your skin.

Thoughts: I was nervous that cute package might lead to questionable quality, but definitely not so. I have super dry skin, and this product is amazing! I will probably be buying another in my future.

3. Beauty People Snow White Special Edition, Season 2

(I figure we all know how to use eyeliners).

Thoughts: I haven't heard good things about South Korean cosmetics, so full disclosure - when I went through my box the first time, I didn't even open this. When I did finally open it and see the beautiful shimmers to all the eyeliners, I had to put it on right away. So far I've used the gold and copper colors, and have been happy with each.

4. Etude Missing U Hand Cream

Thoughts: Eeeek! It's so cute! And it's surprisingly very moisturizing. Even better? It dries quickly and doesn't leave your hands feeling sticky. I'm just bummed I didn't get the panda or penguin one. Sorry baby seal.

5. Pure Smile Muddy Girl, Charcoal Mask

Product Description: A wash-off type mud pack made from naturally derived ingredients such as clay, mud, and charcoal. It works to soothe, purify and moisturize the skin, preventing possible dehydration and surface roughening.

How to use: After cleansing, apply the mud pack evenly over your face. Rest for 10-15 minutes and rinse off with warm water.

Thoughts: I was nervous to try this, because the last mud mask I used was extremely drying – but this one felt soothing on and my skin felt happy and clean afterward.

6. Etude Sweet Recipe Candy Stick

Product Description: Enriched with bilberry, sugar cane, sugar maple, orange and lemon extracts, the Sweet Recipe Candy Stick is a gloss type lip tint that moisturizes and plumps up your dry, chapped lips for a long-lasting radiance.

How to use: Softly dab the Candy Stick on your lips for a naturally gradated look.

Thoughts: I was scared my lip tint was going to be yellow, but it was more of an orange color, with an orange scent. I don't see any tint to this (which I'm calling a good thing, because I don't want orange lips). While this is hydrating, I don't see any lip-plumping taking place, which is disappointing.

7. a;t fox Whitening Capsule Cream Jasoyup Herb Tea

Product Description: What makes this cream so special is that it combines the deep hdration of a moisturizing cream and the brightening effect of a whitening essence. The whitening capsules inside the fel cream removes uneven, dark spots on your skin and helps create cleared and natural glowing skin tone.

How to use: Apply moderate amount on your face, using your hand to spread and let it absorb into your skin.

Thoughts: I haven't tried this yet, but if it's as moisturizing as the first one, I'm going to love it.

8. a;t fox Lifting Cream Black Tea

Product Description: If you've been stressing over sagging bags under your eyes or starting to notice little wrinkles and creases here and there; a;t fox's Lifting Cream Black Tea is just what you're looking for! With its softly melting texture and black tea extracts, this lifting cream will guarantee you healthy, younger-looking complexion with high resilience and firmness.

How to use: Apply moderate amount on your face, using your hand to spread and let it absorb into your skin.

Thoughts: This is the cupcake I'm probably least interested in trying, but we shall see!

9. Kocostar Split End Therapy

Product Description: Kocostar's sensational Split End Therapy contains 8 types of amino acid complex which works to prevent hair breakage and static electricity. It's specifically formulated to instantly repair split ends and protect hair from any future damage. An interesting fact about this hair therapy is that you don't need to wash it off after application.

How to use: Tie your hair in a ponytail. Take the Split End Therapy and slide your hair into the wrap, using the elastic band included to seal the wrap. Double-fasten with the super cute, polka-dotted ribbon hair band and massage your hair with your hands. Rest for at least 15 minutes or longer for even better results, and comb through your hair after removal.

Thoughts: Adding this was a total stretch, and I'm definitely the least excited about this product. I'll give it a try because I am a sufferer of split ends and static, but seriously, kinda blah.

Overall, I thought this box was rather amazing, and is quickly becoming one of my favorites. And it's perfect timing, because Cute Box 3 comes out today (which I've already ordered)!

Curious about Memebox? Join here.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I can explain...

My lack of blogging has been extreme, but I have the best excuse ever. I got a pacemaker.

See. I wasn't joking.

Well, really it's a pacemaker/defibrillator combo, or if you want to get really specific a Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Device (CRTD).

At my cardiologist appointment in September, I learned my heart hadn't improved in the past year. And with that, I decided that it was time and that I was ready. Plus, my risk of dying was a tad higher than I would prefer (1-10%). (If you're new to this blog or have just forgotten, you can read about my experience with post-partum cardio myopathy here).

So on November 6th, I had a 4.5 hour surgery. What I didn't know before said surgery was that they keep you in "twilight" during it, so I spent the surgery listening to Pandora. I remember waking up at one point during the surgery because my Pandora stopped, and I asked someone to turn it back on. And sadly, the other part I remember is when the defibrillator was being tested and I started crying and saying I hurt. Thankfully, I was knocked out for good shortly after.

My recovery was really difficult. Not because of the pain, but because I was completely helpless. Aside from not being able to lift more than 5 pounds, I also couldn't lift my left arm above my heart – which meant this left-handed girl was helpless (I couldn't even put my hair in a ponytail by myself). And these restrictions were for a month. So Audrey spent the month with her grandparents, and my wonderful friends provided meals every night.

It's been a little more than 2 months since my surgery, and minus a fun ER trip right before Christmas (one of my wires shifted and hit a nerve), I'm doing good.

Even my scar is looking good. My surgeon had me wear a bra to the operating room, from there they traced the strap and sad my incision would be between that. Only a female doctor would think of such awesomeness.