Guest Bathroom Renovation- Before and After

One of the my favorite things about owning an old home is I get to make it 100% ours. We get to choose what fixtures I want, what color tiles, what paint, even if I want a new toilet, ha. We wanted an older home to restore with the goal of making it look like the time period, but without the mold and asbestos. I wish I took before photos of all the renovation, but I only found a couple in between painting the walls and bringing in the (original!!!) claw foot tub. 



We used a black VOC-free high gloss paint, added matching industrial inspired fixtures (from Lowes), the Star Wars towels from Think Geek, and the rustic ladder book shelf was once used for cameras in our apartment but now houses our towels. Our rug is from West Elm (no longer available though). Our Bob Dylan painting was from an artist we found on eBay and Scott's grandpa added the wooden frame for us.  I'm also a little paranoid about germs- I have this system of using small clean towels for every time to dry hands and put them in a basket below. Friends, family, even handymen use our bathroom and I don't want to share a dirty towel with them. This helps cut down on spending on paper towels. As for the folding and laundry, it's not that bad. It takes 15 minutes to do that, once a week, and if it's enough to save my sanity, it's worth it. The penny tiles are also easy to sanitize with a steam mop. 

It was risky using black paint for such a small space but because there is so much light, it works. 

Fall Flowers

Never underestimate the power of a good bouquet. it can light up a room, enhance decorations, and bring a new form of life in a room. My favorite flowers are from Bouqs, I got the Dawn, perfect for cozy autumn. Aline also sent me Harvest Moon, thank you Aline! 

Fall Flowers20 Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights

Bouqs contacted me to work together, it's a company I've been using to send flowers and they are always a hit. The flowers come from a farm near a volcano, hence the "volcano flowers" term. They're a responsible company environmentally and treat their employees as such. I've yet to read of another flower corporation to offer on-site child daycare, competitive healthcare, high living wages, and pay for adult education. I love knowing that's where my money is going when I buy a bouquet. Plus they look beautiful, even when they are on the last days. 

Bouqs on ourcitylights
Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses
— Alphonse Karr

Halloween at Home

It was only last year we began decorating for Halloween. I never thought I had the "right" home for Halloween- pink just isn't spooky and ghoulish, unless you are absolutely terrified of the color. I didn't want color to determine whether or not I should celebrate, so why not! Let's make it a kawaii (cute!) Halloween! 

Halloween details- Pink Jack-o-lantern’s from Daiso, Hello Kitty inflatable (alternative here), bat vinyl sticker from walltowalldecals, Jack-o-lantern vinyl sticker from supervinyldecal, pink faux pumpkins from a craft store, pink candle from Candelles, mantel banner from Angela BianchiCuts, fresh fall flowers flowers from The Bouqs (thanks, Aline!)

I'm looking forward to what else I'll be adding this month. 

Fall Bedroom Before and After

I found some older photos of my house before it was decorated. It's surreal to see it so empty. Everything from the fixtures to floors have been replaced. The decor is the same as it was since I took the "after" photos and for good reason- it's a classic color and I've yet to get sick of it. 

Now, we've made it our own. My bedroom will never be as clean as it was when I first began decorating it. It's been featured here and here on my thoughts on one of my favorite rooms, and I always think of these photos when I bring out the autumn-inspired comforters. I've never featured my own photos on my blog so I'd love to have this in the archive when I look back at what we've done to the house. We've added a treadmill, installed a walk-in closet, it was a nursery at one point, and I've decorated my vanity area. These photos are Pinterest-worthy, but trust me, it's a mess at the moment. 


Most of the time, I have an all-white comforter set. I love all white for one reason- it's low maintenance. If something needs to get replaced, instead of searching for a matching set, I just replace it with anything else that's white. Plus regardless of the color, we wash our comforter and sheets once a week. We love texture with it, it adds depth to monotone color. We got our set from Macy's and they're on clearance right now- I may pick up a couple more pieces, they're my favorite so far. The lamps are from Crate and Barrel. I've had them for three years and I'm not getting sick of them anytime soon. The bedding is from zgallerie, but I can't find this particular style. 


I should also note, my bed is rarely made. A beautiful white pile of linens is much more cozier. 

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Grow Part 2

We have tomatoes! They were planted in spring, along with other veggies and fruits, and they are growing faster than we can eat them. Each day we pick a handful. Thankfully I love tomatoes, and my favorite way to eat them is just plain with some kosher salt and pepper. I'll admit food tastes better when you grow it yourself. Maybe it's the humble brag that gives it that extra flavor. Seriously though, gardening has saved my sanity, the more each plant bears veggie or fruits, the more I can see my heart bearing a little more hope. Yes, this post came with extra cheese apparently. 


We're growing our own organic garden this year and hoping it'll cut back on our grocery bill next spring. The herbs and romaine I planted last year can't stop growing and are giving me so much, I've made herbs de provence with almost every dinner, and it's saved me money on my daily GG smoothies. So far we have mint, thyme, cilantro, rosemary, sage, and tarragon. I placed a couple of the herbs in their containers and kept forgetting to plant them but overtime, they grew roots on their own, and broke through the bottom of the container. In our dirt pods, we've planted cucumber, spinach, corn, beets, squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, and goji berries. We have a greenhouse (a small one we found on amazon and it works great), some dirt, seeds, and a little time and motivation, and we're hoping to reap the benefits next year. 

Disposable Decor

This is my own organic post but it's promoted by Kleenex. They're turning 90 and I was invited to be a part of their birthday campaign. Thanks for the support, Kleenex

In my house we're passionate about reusing what we can to save money and the environment- cotton dish towels, cloth napkins, even using old tshirts as cleaning cloths. Two things I will never reuse- tissues and toilet paper. Those are a bit fat NOPE. With allergy season coming, and re-watching Friday Night Lights, I need some Kleenex nearby. Kleenex boxes match each vignette and every corner decorated, you can check out what they have for spring in their new line of designs. 

I just picked up my first succulent. I put in the warmest part of the house and it thrives on the heat. 

I also keep a box in my office, along with my three favorite people- Scott, Johnny and Hello Kitty. Just an FYI, I use this wall mount for my iMac, it saves me space and I can add a huge box of tissues. 

I also keep the pocket sized ones by the couch. The designs go with everything in the house. I found neutral, a more traditional, and even a brighter fun colorful kind. 

Thanks again, Kleenex! 

Pseudo Nursery

We are in the process of making one of our bedrooms a nursery. It's not as messy as it has been since we started, but it's not picture-ready either. In the meantime, I don't think I'm going to want to walk across the house to the crib. I am planning on breastfeeding, and I want baby next to me when I'm barely able to zombie crawl out of bed like a new mom. 

This is what our bedroom looked like before  


This is what it looks like after- that small space on the side will be the loudest part of the house for a few weeks, and I'd like to make it as serene as possible. 


I fell in love with this modern bassinet from Monte Designs. Whether it's for a girl or boy, it looks so sleek. I also tried out Monte chairs and I loved how comfortable the Grazia glider is, it's a rocker and glider and swiveler (?) at once. I'm far from petite and most nursery chairs felt like I was eating them alive. This chair is big, comfortable but not so large it takes up space. The best part of the glider was having it custom made to the colors and fabric I wanted, so it'll look great in the living room years after Max is done with it. 


Details; Furniture was purchased at Bel Bambini but you can buy the bassinet and chair both from Monte Designs. The organic blanket and ottoman are both from Target (the ottoman looks white online but I swear it's a heather gray). The poster is from Luke Beard, it's my favorite Mad Men quote when Don is lecturing Peggy on her insecurities. It's a pivotal point in their relationship and I can relate to that scene so well. I know it's not appropriate for baby, but this is still our bedroom and this definitely won't go in the nursery. 

He's got a place to crash for the first few weeks and it's another thing crossed off my list.  

Walls Need Love

Walls Need Love saw this year's birthday wish list this year and offered me to try out their polka dot vinyl wall decals. Of course I jumped at the offer, it's a trend I want to try and from the great reviews, it's a company I could trust. 

vanity and stool both from cb2

vanity and stool both from cb2


I originally wanted this in the nursery, but after realizing polka dots and robots are a weird combo, I found the perfect spot- the corner of my vanity. It faces a wall, and even with the light behind it, it still needs something to give it some bedazzling.  


The decals were easy to apply, and even if I made a mistake on placing them, they were easy to peel off, but still have stayed put with a 90+ degree weather in the room. The service was also excellent. After a few exchanges with a rep from Walls Need Love, she was polite, professional and answered the questions I had right away.  This was a complimentary product, but my views are my own. I highly recommend them and thank you, Walls Need Love! 

At Home with A Beautiful Mess

I'm sharing my kitchen and dining room on A Beautiful Mess today. Thank you so much to the team at ABM for having me!

excuse the messy hair and the baby bump trying to make an appearance. 

excuse the messy hair and the baby bump trying to make an appearance. 

A big loving thank you to my husband for being my model. If you're curious how he's able to agree with so much pink, I've written about it here.

The Before

I was a guest post on Moorea Seal's blog, sharing my bedroom. Sometimes it's a little messy if I get too busy but this is one room I try to keep clear of clutter at all times. I remember when I was in college, my bed was made for not just sleeping, but it was my breakfast/lunch/dinner table, my desk, my reading nook, and a place to just hang out. I had a really hard time sleeping back then- I think it was the psychology that a bed was made for sleep and I barely used it for that. Now that I have something more than a tiny twin bed, I wanted to devout a bedroom to some of the best sleep I've had (mainly because it's not full of crumbs, books and papers). This is the before pic below when we first began working on it. Click here to see the after. Thanks for having me, Moorea! 

The Fireplace

I loved the idea of having a fireplace when I moved into our place, but just not a very 80's looking one (apologies if you love that look, but seriously, WHY). We wanted something to look as old as the house, so we hired a tile contractor who designs historical homes. It was perfect what he picked out (he did our kitchen, and he also did our guest bathroom, which I'd love to share later). The neutral colors go with our dark space and highlight Kate Gabrielle's print. It's the perfect print to inspire our library nook, it's my favorite spot in the house right now. It's so COZY. 

Kate Gabrielle Print

We are really happy with Tim. If you're in the area, give him a call! (714) 272-6386. He seriously does a great job with a better price. I'll be sharing more before and after pics of our space. Whether you own a home, a fancy loft, a tiny cabin, or a cozy apartment spot, doing what works best for you is exciting. 

The Family Wall

Since today marks the release of The Royal Tenenbaums on Blu-ray, Criterion Collection Editon (!!), I thought it'd be appropriate to share my dining room wall. Photo-Canvas contacted me asking if I wanted to endorse their product. I've never owned a printed canvas before, and I loved the idea. I wasn't sure what to expect but I loved it!! I placed my order online, it was easy to upload, I was able to choose a colorful side, and the shipping was just as quick. The quality is great, and I'm really happy with the results. I chose this photo from my Flickr when I visited NYC a few years ago.

I loved this Polaroid but the quality was already a little grainy, so I went with digital. I'm loving the detail of the canvas. It looks so sharp, I can even see the cracks on the concrete and the shape of the leaves.

The artists on my wall are Nan Lawson, Claudia Varosio, Red Panda Designs, and now Photo Canvas.

Check them out here and on Facebook.

Pink Kitchen Reno

Ok, so my kitchen is pink. Not just any pink- HOT PINK. I understand if you want to swing by this reading and just look at the photos, but if you're genuinely interested in how the before and after of renovating, then read on!

Being a homeowner gives me the freedom to do whatever I want, and that freedom allows coloring a room any color the rainbow produces. I've mentioned before it's my least favorite room to spend in, so I made it my favorite color. The kitchen before wasn't awful- but there was so much grease and gunk on each tile when we moved in, along with vinyl flooring from the 70's with a funky smell. I blogged the first day here. There were also broken pieces of countertop tiles, and when we tried to open a drawer, the fridge, we would cut our wrists each time. We couldn't avoid it, it was just dangerous tile sticking out.

We also changed the sink from a standard sink to a Kraus farmhouse sink, which we found on sale for half of what it sells Amazon deal of the day, on the day we began looking. How crazy is that??. We replaced the faucet with a touch-tech Delta faucet and it's AWESOME. It saves water and makes baking and cooking much easier. I highly recommend it.

The original plan was to have the countertops go from grimey tile to quartz. The reason we chose quartz is because it's easier to maintain over the years, it can be used as a cutting board, and it doesn't stain. We used to have granite countertops in our apartment and it was a nightmare to keep up. I used to have marble in our apartment bathroom and that was a terrible experience, too. I chose a pink quartz from Silestone but after seeing the color in the factory, in the sunlight, it wasn't what I expected. Since quartz is expensive to replace, we decided to go with white. It seemed a little too science room lab for us, and we needed to color the cabinets. I'd love an all white kitchen one day, but that day was not the day!

The color we chose was in the raspberry family from a non-VOC paint company. I don't know if it was because it's non-VOC or because we had to mix it with water, but it didn't stick as well even after prepping the cabinets.

We also re-did the floors to an organic bamboo laminate floor. It didn't have a funky smell and it was the most eco friendly we could find on the market, so we went for a white-washed wooden look. It's waterproof, so when it gets wet it won't expand and do that nasty thing cheap laminate does.

The back tile is basic subway tile, which I didn't want any glass or fancy stuff. I wanted stuff I could splash with a mess across and wipe off and not worry what stained. Bonus- it's cheaper!

We also renovated our stove and in one of the pictures here, you can see the nasty tile we tore out. I gotta mention, though- we didn't really do any of the major work. We budgeted to hire a professional in our area to do the work for us. I knew I had a problem when I kept getting the silicone glue stuck in my hair!

Kitchen Before5
Kitchen Before4
Kitchen Before3
Kitchen Before2
Kitchen After 2
Kitchen After3
Kitchen After
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Kitchen After 6
Kitchen After Merry

We bought the house in July, got the keys in August and after a few pink cans of paint, we finished our kitchen last October, just in time for Thanksgiving! You can see the process of the outside of the house here and parts of the dining room here. It's been fun documenting the before and after, thanks for letting me share.

New Pink Chalkboard Door

I have a pink kitchen but my dining room is a little plain. It has a white table, clear chairs, and a couple pink frames. I needed that extra pop of something that requires more less time, money and effort. I'm not afraid of color (I mean, my office has a lime green door on it) and I'm willing to get a little dirty if it means saving some money! I've seen a ton of black chalkboard all over Pinterest, but pink? It wasn't available at a general craft store. I found Pink Chalkboard Paint on Amazon. I bought two small jars and ended up using one, with about 4 coats on the door. A little goes a long way with this brand!

I wasn't sure how to prep the door, but I found this amazing, AMAZING tip on Pinterest!!

I'm not very good at painting, and I was a little messy. Apparently you have to pay attention to these things.

I use it mostly not for the color but honestly for organization. It's a meal planner, a shopping list, a to-do list, or just for love notes.

and I can practice my bad doodles

Overall, I'm really really happy with it, the color from this brand is HOT pink, but that's exactly what I wanted.

I always see cool projects online but I feel I'm either not talented enough, or I won't love it enough to devote time and effort to it. Now I can say I've tried the chalkboard trend and I absolutely love it!

I'll Have Pink Christmas

For the past 3 Christmas', I've been collecting pink themed ornaments. It's not exactly an inviting color for the traditional holiday, but it's a conversation starter. Sadly, when my in-laws cleaned out their garage, they cleaned out my decorations and ornaments. The only thing salvaged was the pink tree. It was bittersweet- I loved shopping for new ones but I missed our old decorations.

I thrifted great ornaments, but I also treated myself to one from an artist I've had in mind forever, my very own Skunkboy Creatures ornate bird. Katie did a wonderful job and it'll be something I'll treasure for years.

Another thing she did a wonderful job on? Raising her daughter, Hope, to be so sweet. My heart grew ten sizes larger when I read her note and saw her handmade ornament. It's one of the most adorable things I've seen and the story behind it makes it extra sweet.

We have a few Kate Gabrielle pieces around the house (a calendar, a Diana camera painting, her Flapper Doodle prints and color books to name a few), we've added this house she modeled after ours. Look at it! The details are spot on, from the house colors to the color of the roof, the exact house address, and our pink Christmas tree! The only thing missing is the California snow (haaaa, I wish!).

I also got a heart plate set from Ana B. from On Dressing Up. I loved the mini plates, but I loved the card she wrote me even more. It reminded me of the amazing power the internet carries to hold friendships and memories even from miles away. Cheers to handmade and loved gifts!

Where The Magic Happens

This is where I'll be cooking Thanksgiving dinner (and by cooking I mean heating up all the organic pre-made food from Sprouts and Fresh & Easy)

and this is where my family and I will be eating it

This is my first Thanksgiving in the house, and that statement is enough to be thankful for. There's a long list of gratitude, but I'll just leave it as a sincere thank you for reading. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!