Sunday, December 29, 2013

DIY Holiday Stockings

This post is late. Mostly because I made these stockings mere days before going out of town for the holidays having only realized a week earlier that OMG I actually have a beautiful fireplace upon which to hang them!

Before you get too impressed with me, no, I did not actually knit the stockings. I'm really into the whole monochromatic Christmas decor, so it actually took trips to SIX different Target stores from Emeryville to San Francisco to San Jose to find matching white cable knit stockings, which is kind of ridiculous (and OCD). Each store had either the wrong color, the wrong size, or just one in stock, or none at all.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays, Feliz Navidad, all that jazz.
Hope your holidays were wonderful and that your pets were treated with more dignity than ours :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

DIY White & Gold Holiday Wreath

Somehow this season got away from me a little bit and I'm just now crafting my Christmas decorations. At least the tree went up the day before Thanksgiving though!

Last year we started with the holiday decor basics and got our first Christmas tree together.

This year I'm adding a wreath and some stockings to the collection.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bathroom Remodel Part 1: Smash It With a Hammer

We finally moved into a place with two bathrooms, which meant no more holding it while someone is showering, holding it while someone is getting rid of it, or holding it while a BATHROOM REMODEL is going on! 

I'm talking about you, hallway bathroom. Your days were numbered the moment we first laid eyes on you.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Covered Greenhouse Update: End of Summer

Earlier this season I designed and built this covered greenhouse to help my plants out during the foggy summer. Some of you have been asking how my garden has fared. See for yourself!

Not too shabby, especially because summer in our area is apparently all fog all the time (booooo). If you'll recall, here's what I planted:

And what it looked like mid-August.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


I've been suffering from lack-of-blog-post guilt (I have made zero progress on the home office makeover). Things have been crazy busy lately, both at work and at home. I've been taking on a lot more projects at work which includes getting my first real estate staging gig! Exciting!

Boyfriend and I had also planned to go to San Diego for our annual vacation, but then he switched it up on me the morning of our departure and put me on a plane to Hawaii instead. WHAT??

This was the view from our hotel room:

I KNOW, RIGHT?? Well done, Boyfriend.

Thinking he had used all of his planning mojo on coordinating a secret trip to Hawaii and keeping it from me for a month (not an easy task...I'm obnoxiously nosy), I did not think he could pull off the next part.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Home Office Part 2: Bye Bye Beige

This is what the office looked like as of last week. Adios, soul-sucking beige!

This weekend was supposed to be a deep-clean-and-collect-paint-chips weekend in Apartment Therapy's Style Cure schedule, but Sherwin Williams had a 30% off sale last week and what's a girl gonna do, right?

I knew I wanted to do a medium-tone gray so I gave the two I already had a try. The first color we used in the living room/hallway (I think it's called "Simply Greige" from SW) and the other was "Pavestone" from SW. One was too light, the other was too dark, and both were too warm. I was actually really bummed out about this because it was the last day of the Sherwin Williams sale and I had come down with a cold, which left me greasy-haired, mucus-filled and in no mood to go running errands. You're welcome for that mental image.

Long story short, my deal-loving Asian side won out against my weak and sickly Caucasian side, and I returned from the store with two gallons of "Requisite Gray".

Monday, August 5, 2013

Home Office Part 1: The Before

Say HELLO to the most neglected room in the house (aside from every room in the basement...shhh).

We call this the home office, but it's more like my makeup room/occasional guest overflow room. It still suffers from the original paint color, which is a green-toned beige (vom), and a half-hearted attempt at decorating (yours truly).

Friday, August 2, 2013

Megha's Planter Bench

One of my very good friends came to visit the Bay Area a few weeks ago. I probably owe a large portion of my blog's popularity to her, because she forwards my posts to just about everyone she knows (and she's a very well-connected lady). 

Megha had talked about wanting to learn to use power tools, and I mentioned a while ago that during her next visit she should stay over at our house and let me help her build something. We had talked about building something small like a simple box planter, but when she ended up driving her own car up to visit, we got a little more ambitious. 

Like myself, Megha has been getting into gardening (as much as she can on her LA balcony). Unfortunately she doesn't have a lot of areas that take advantage of the sun due to the shade of her solid balcony wall. She had been talking about building a raised planter bench to put her vegetables on, and finally she did!

We only had an evening and a bit of morning to complete this project, so I kept the design pretty simple. The frame was to be constructed of redwood 2x4s and the shelves out of 1x3s and 1x4s.

We came back from a shopping trip at Lowe's around 8:30pm, so I tasked Boyfriend with making us some dinner while we retreated to my garage workshop. Role reversal, I love it. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Monsters University: DIY Succulent Boutonnière

We recently celebrated the completion of Monsters University, which was the last film I worked on at Pixar and my first film credit as a shading artist! The event is called a "Wrap Party" and it's basically Pixar's prom. We get all cleaned up and fancy and go watch the film (many of us for the first time), eat, drink and dance. It's a pretty good time :)

This year I decided to make a boutonnière for Boyfriend and a matching hair flower for me. Instead of flowers though, I used succulents! Succulents really are the perfect plant; they're beautiful, hardy, don't wilt, and you just stick them back in the ground when you're done with them.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fireplace Makeover Part 3: DELICIOUSLY DONE

Uh yeah, I'm just going to kick things off with the reveal. TA DA!

In case you missed it: Part 1 and Part 2

There were just a few more details to square away before I could wipe my hands of this project.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fireplace Makeover Part 2: Yummy Mantel

Catch up on Part 1!

Here's where I left off last time. I had just finished the tile and was ready for the FUN PART (I like woodworking, can you tell?)! This post is long, so buckle up.

For the materials, we decided to go with a combination of MDF for the face and poplar wood for the trim. Both materials are paint-grade, which will give us a super smooth surface once we paint everything.

We just barely got away with using one 4'x8' sheet of MDF, which we had ripped into long boards at the hardware store, then when we got home we ripped them up even more. For this, I got to use my new toy, the Kreg Rip Cut!

Board has already been ripped. I'm just showing you how it works.

This thing is seriously fantastic. I've always run into problems with ripping large boards on my own, and table saws scare me (um, hello unprotected blade sticking up in the air that I'm supposed to slide my fingers near, no thank you). This Rip Cut guide attaches to most circular saws and has a built-in ruler, so no measuring is required EVAR! It took some calibrating, which the instructions are very clear about, but once we got it set up, it worked like a dream. Basically there is a right angle guide (you can see it on the right-hand side below) that slides along the edge of the board, while the blade cuts at the specified width. Awesome straight cuts most of the time (obviously if your guiding edge is not straight, you'll have issues) and added confidence when using your circular saw!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fireplace Makeover Part 1: A Crispy Facade

In my most recent house tour post, you may have noticed something a little crispy in the corner:

Did someone order a brick facade, well-done, topped with a wavy bacon strip mantel? No? Let's just cover it with a plant and hopefully no one will notice?

Since this eyesore was fairly focal in our living room, it was already pretty high on the project priority list. Not to mention my mom, who is into the whole Feng Shui thing, kept commenting on how this was my career area of the room and how it needed to look nice (hence the plant). And then something unfortunate happened which we did not see coming....I lost my job. Yep, Dreamworks had a bad quarter and laid off a huge portion of their employees. I don't want to dwell on it, but let's just say my "career" area was now squarely centered in my renovation crosshairs.

I'm not a huge fan of painted brick (too non-dimensional), so I went a-hunting for some inspiration.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How to Win at Craiglist

As Damian and I struggled to fit a white leather Barcelona chair knockoff through the door of my Mazda 3, maneuvering it around the Bertoia Diamond chair knockoff already occupying the backseat, I couldn't help but think back on all the other Craigslist finds I had miraculously fit into that little car. The stories typically follow a formula, beginning with me arriving to meet my Craigslist seller, inspecting the furniture, then pointing at my parked car while they laugh in disbelief. But my car has never stopped me from Craigslisting because, true to my asian heritage, I love a good bargain.

The most common complaint I hear from people my age when it comes to their living situation is that it still feels "college-y". To them I always offer the same advice: ditch the IKEA crap and find furniture you really LOVE. "But I'm poor!" is the 2nd most common complaint, and while I understand the desire to be frugal, you truly get what you pay for. I've slowly been replacing all of my IKEA furniture because of sagging, chipping, swelling, and mostly because it makes me yawn. I've had incredible success at finding great deals on Craigslist (or the thrift store or garage sales) with far more personality, and I've been slowly developing a space that feels like home.

Let me demonstrate:

Now don't get me wrong, IKEA definitely has its place in this world. They have awesome kitchen options, organizational stuff, and it's hard to find a better bargain on 8-foot curtains anywhere else. Heck knows too that carrying a flat box home in your car is much easier than trying to wrangle a fully assembled coffee table (I should know). I guess what I'm trying to say is that for those pieces in your home...the pieces you stare at every day...those should be special. So now I'm going to tell you how to find that something special. How to win at Craigslist.

Monday, April 15, 2013

3-Month Move-in-iversary

We've almost lived here for 3 months, so I thought I'd post an update on the state of the house. I won't subject you to a boring list of to-dos for each room, so I'll just say that there is obviously still MUCH to do, but it's fun to see what a difference some furniture and paint makes. On to the pretty pictures!


Yeah, this fireplace is a blight on the wall and I am currently fixing that. Updates in your future.



STUDY/OFFICE (before photo doesn't exist)







My favorite room is easily the master bedroom. Once we painted those walls a sexy gray color, it definitely set the mood. ;)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Covered Greenhouse Garden

While we're waiting for our fence to suntan before we stain it, I took on another outdoor project this weekend.

Yep, it's Garden 2013! And there's a reason for the Oregon Trail look, I promise. Since we've moved here, we've had some windy nights and some CRAZY 30 mph windy nights. On top of that, the neighbors all comment on the foggy summers. So to help my future tomatoes out, I decided to build them a little green house to protect them from the wind and to elevate the temperature during the colder days. This should also help me with the "year round" gardening Bay Area people seem so keen on.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dog Run Part 2: It's Panel Time

Catch up with Part 1 of the dog run series!

We last left off with our three posts in the ground and ready for some slat/board/panel things. Before we even started this whole mess, however, we did a little research. Here are some designs we were drawn to.

We really liked the modern look of the horizontal boards and the varied widths, so we came up with our own design based on the inspiration. (This is what I look like with no makeup on)

We had some trouble finding the boards at the big-box stores (they only had 6-foot lengths with rounded tops), but luckily we stumbled across a local lumberyard called South City Lumber & Supply which had exactly what we needed in 16-foot lengths (we had them cut to 8 feet since that's what our cars will fit).