Updated photos of renovation.

More crappy iPhone photos! (:

Kitchen with finished cabinets and hardware. 
Close-up of cabinets. 

New toilet and flooring in bathroom. 

Replaced vanity faucet. 

Bathroom 2 waiting to be finished. 

Zolie's room stuffed with stuff...

Zolie's storage/tv stand.


More photos.

More [iPhone] photos of cruddy quality... (:

Countertops are now installed! I am very pleased with the way they turned out. I wasn't sure how they'd look because I had to hurry & pick one out of a catalog. Pictures aren't always the best representations of such products. However, they look great! These photos don't do them justice but really, the color, the texture... quite awesome. & affordable! 
(The c-tops costs less than the sink!)

More flooring done! Still a little more to lay down and then the baseboards.
(excuse that ugly light fixture... ): it will be replaced soon!) (:

The carpet & vinyl guy will be installing in the bedrooms and bathrooms tomorrow! I am so stoked!
& I still need to finish touching up the paint!

After that, the electrician will come in to change out all of the light fixtures and install an outlet where the old drop-in range was to install a free standing range (way more affordable than replacing with another drop-in!).  We had such troubles with that old drop-in.... seeing that they don't even make those anymore! hah. 
The plumber also needs to come in to change out the bath fixtures and to install the kitchen fixtures then......... DONE! 
for the most part... 


Some new photos of the renovation progress.

A few [iPhone] photos of the progress of our kitchen & living area flooring.
Maple cabinets. 
Glass tile backsplash will be added to that ugly yellow-orange area to go above the range. 

White-washed oak flooring. & Zolie checking out her new floor...

Everything should be completed by next week! (:


om mani padme hum.

A lot of people tend to stop me and ask me what the tattoo on my upper left arm is. Some even think it says something in english alphabets, just written in a fancy way. 
I always find it difficult to explain because I'd like to go into detail about it's meaning and where it comes from (to share) but I can't find any easy way of doing so; so, I usually just say "it's a buddhist prayer written in sanskrit" & most respond with "oh...ok, it looks cool".

Anyway, thought i'd give a little background on it for anyone who cares to learn.

It is pronounced: Om mani padme hum though there are various ways of saying it, depending on where you are from, etc. It is a mantra that is particularly associated with Avalokiteshvara (aka: Chenrezig, Kuan Yin, Guanyin.)
The mantra is especially revered by the devotees of the Dalai Lama, as he is said to be an incarnation of Chenrezig. 

I've learned that it is quite difficult to really translate it into English and there are various ways of interpretation as the effect of the mantra lies beyond strict meaning.

SyllableSix PāramitāsPurifies

OmGenerosityPride / Ego

MaEthicsJealousy / Lust for entertainment

NiPatiencePassion / desire

PadDiligenceIgnorance / prejudice

MeRenunciationPoverty / possessiveness

HumWisdomAggression / hatred

Definition by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama:

"It is very good to recite the mantra Om mani padme hum, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast... The first, Om [...] symbolizes the practitioner's impure body, speech, and mind; it also symbolizes the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha[...]"
"The path is indicated by the next four syllables. Mani, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factors of method: (the) altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love.[...]"
"The two syllables, padme, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom[...]"
"Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable hum, which indicates indivisibility[...]"
"Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha[...]"

'Dark Ash' & 'Almost Pink'.

I painted the accent wall in the master & the accent wall in Zolie's room yesterday -- along with majority of the white in Zolie's room and most of the ceiling in the master. (experiencing body aches since last night!
Quite pleased with the way the colors came out; just a few touch-ups left to do and the rooms will be done! --As far as the painting goes anyway...


Zolie's 1st birthday centerpieces.

M&M ladybug centerpieces. 

Semi-last minute centerpieces! 
As the date neared (the night before), I realized that I didn't spend enough time on the centerpieces! It was okay though because I didn't plan on making anything extravagant/big because we had a candy bar as well which also took a lot of time & planning! 
Anyway, I  planned on making about 12 ribbon topiaries but, MY GOSH they are time consuming! Especially if it's your first time trying to do them but, they are so pretty! ( I don't think I even got close to 12)

& so, for the jars that didn't have topiaries, I put some daisies with little ladybugs! (:
& little Emma peeking!

Depending on the size styrofoam balls you use, I think it's a good idea to use dowels instead of puny skewers! 
It will probably stand a lot better. 

Here are more ribbon topiary photos made by others:

I think this one is made with strips of scrapbooking paper. Super cute!

Paint colors! by Behr.

Behr: Silver Leaf.

We chose Behr's 'Silver Leaf' for the living room area; it's hard to tell from the color sample & the terrible photo but, it actually has a very subtle blue tone to it which we love! It looks really crisp & light.
We went with the ultra premium plus paint (paint & primer in one) since it gives better coverage & also got it in semi-gloss for easier cleaning which Zolie already decided to test by coloring on the walls with her washable crayons! & yes, it came right off with a damp paper towel! 

Originally,  we tested out Behr's 'Shimmer' (pictured below) & i loved the color but, it was a bit too light in comparison to the adjacent wall so, we decided to try a shade darker & went with 'April Mist' (above) which we really, really love!
They both look a lot more blue when applied to the wall.

Below is 'April Mist' on our kitchen walls.
(with flash)

(no flash)
The lighting affects the way the color looks so, always test the paint in the actual space before settling on a color. 

For an accent wall in the master bedroom, we chose 'Dark Ash'. We were going to do a straight black color but somehow ended up getting this dark grey color.

I had picked out a sunny yellow color for Zolie's room & really liked the way it looked on the wall, but, after looking through many, many photos of rooms, color schemes & such, we ended up getting 'Almost Pink'.  It's a really light pink color with a hint of salmon. 

(Pictures of 'Dark Ash' & 'Almost Pink' coming soon!) (: