Saturday, December 31, 2011

From Girly Fru Fru to Girly Chic - Bedroom Makeover Reveal

Last week, I told you about my daughter's request for a room revamp.  Although I won't miss the neon bright colors from what her walls used to wear, I will forever miss the time when she was all about pink: ballet slippers, fairies and fru fru.  For all the moms and dads out there, cherish the pink.  You can't imagine how bad you'll want this part of your daughter's era back once it's left.

I left you with a bit of teaser and didn't share with you what my daughter and I decided on for colors and decor.  Sorry!  I thought it was a bit funny to leave you hanging.  Someone told me last week to remember that this was "her room".  She should be able to make the decisions.  I agree, but at the same time - she's eight years old.  She's not quite there yet where she can independently choose a color scheme for herself.  I did, however, give her a few color palettes to choose from.  To my surprise, she chose my favorite: gray, white and purple.  I also asked her if she would like gold accents or silver ones.  She chose silver.  She also told me she wanted to have owls and sea shells in her room.  AND she didn't want to have a bulky comforter on her bed - "It just gets too hot," she says.  My very first "client" was quite a demanding one once I sat her down for some ideas.

I put together an inspiration board to get started: paint cards, fabric swatches and magazine cutouts.  Hmmm.. this was going to be a bit straining on the budget - being Christmas time and my daughter's birthday falling in the first week of January.  What to do.. What to do..  It turns out this project came at the perfect time after all!  Grandpa Jun came to the rescue and offered to sponsor this change as her birthday present.  Sweet!  I had a $300.00 budget.  Thank you, Grandpa!  Just perfect since I know how to bargain shop like no other!  I had no time to waste - I had exactly a week and a half to put this project to bed.  I started as soon as I cashed in that birthday present.

Okay, no more waiting.  Here you go.


Do you love it?  My daughter adores her new room because she feels like a "big girl" now.  She's also thankful she can sleep in her bed again.  (I kicked her out for a couple nights and sent her to the couch because the paint fumes were just too strong.)

I still have to find a great full length mirror to add to the wall beside the closet.
For the paint on the walls, we chose Valspar's Urban Sunrise in Satin.  I am Valspar's newest fan.  Their paint covers so well that I didn't even have to finish off the whole gallon of paint.  Two coats was perfect!

For the color scheme, I chose to go with the 60-30-10 rule.  60% grey: walls, blanket,  30% white/cream: furniture, accents  10% purple: pillows, touches of decor here and there.  This rule is a god-send!  It creates a perfect balance for any room.  You can change it up a bit with different shades of each color you choose.

These bookshelves cost about $25.00 a pop from Walmart.  They originally had the cheap wood finish to them.  I figured, they're so cheap!  What a deal - I'll just paint them white!  I didn't have time to order the already white finished bookshelves online and wait for them to show up after my daughter's birthday.  Oh... how I wish I had the time.  These shelves were a b!$@* to paint!  I had to primer them with two coats and finish off with 3 coats of paint on top of that.  Five coats!!!  So if you're NOT in a time bind and still on a budget, order them online!  They are only $10.00 more each and you can ship them to your nearest Walmart for free.  Trust me.

Collected a ton of DI finds.


My daughter loves to collect rocks so she wanted to show off a few of her favorites.

Here's her mask from her Marie-Antoinette inspired masquerade ball (birthday party) from last year.  I'll have to show you all some pics.  It was a hit!

One of her all time favorite Disney movies is Cinderella, so it was only natural for her to beg for this $4.00 glass slipper find at Ross.  I added this little pumpkin that I painted purple to theme up this shelf.  Aaand... another rock proudly placed by my daughter.

Roald Dahl is the best!
Pulled off the seashells and owls demand.
I painted the above owl with some paint samples from Lowes.  It definitely was screaming the vintage orange and brown look and needed an update.

It was also a pepper shaker in a past life.

To keep her room from looking too grown-up, I had her choose her favorite stuffed animals to sit atop her bookshelves.

These are fabulous reads for children and adults.  The third book is floating around this house somewhere...

I found these great faux flowers at DownEast.  I heart that store.  Ranging from $3.00 to $5.00 a stem, it's definitely a steal compared to the original $24.00 price tag.

I added a little glam to her simple table with this fabulous clearance lamp from HomeGoods.  $22.00!  Wow!  Can't get much better than that!

When I first discovered Joss and Main, it was hook, line and sinker!  I was madly in lurve!!!  I saw this mirror and thought it would be perfect for above the bed.  Of course, I had to look at the price.  Clearance! $210.95!  What a deal, right?  No... Not really.  I opted against spending most of the budget on the mirror and decided to use it as inspiration instead.

So, what do I find at HomeGoods??  A circular white mirror with a fantastic frame for $19.99.

A furry Mongolian Wool pillow half off the $39.99 price tag from Pier1 - that fits in the budget!

This Scentsy Buddy holds a scented pouch through a slit on the back.  I bought this almost a year ago and it still smells so good!

Yet another HomeGoods find - thought this little rug was fun and received my daughter's nod of approval.

I am amazed with the great finds I acquired from Ross for the bedding.  This gray blanket is actually a throw and is super plush.  I found a great white aridonack faux fur blanket for the main sleeping blanket.  Not too thick, not to thin - just perfect for Little Miss Smitten's moody bedtime temperature.  For the sheet set that I also found at Ross: a 600 thread count Tommy Hilfiger twin set in white.

Just in case she gets cold, I added a couple extra blankets in this wicker basket that my sister gave me.

I hope this inspires you to get started on your bedroom makeover.  I cannot stress enough that paint makes a HUGE impact and if you use the 60-30-10 rule, it so easy to just switch out the 10% if you grow tired of it.

Another glance : From Girly Fru Fru to Girly Chic:



Future Blog Post Sneak Peak:

I've got plans.. big plans..  You won't see the reveal for a couple of weeks, but go ahead and ask yourself:

What the heck is she going to do with that?


Check out this post on

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!...and a birthday request from Little Miss Smitten

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!  With all the hustle and bustle it's been a bit harder to keep up on posts.  Present buying, Christmas parties and my continuous list of home projects... Well, it's exhausting.  I promise that after tomorrow, I'll have my game face back on.

I did want to share with you a "small" request from my daughter.  Her 9th birthday lands on the first week of January, so on top of the Luau themed party she would like to have, she would also like a room makeover.  She's just "wayyy too old for all of the pink" in her room.  My crazy-obsessed-wanna-be-interior-decorator self instantly started planning color schemes, but my Mommy side's heart broke into a million pieces.  My little girl is growing up.  She also requested that this room transformation be completed before her party so she can wow her friends when they come over.  No pressure, Mommy.  Geez!  I assessed the project and figured I owe it to her to give her a "Big Girl" room.  I've been so busy with so many other home projects that I haven't even given a thought to hers.  Off to the drawing board I went.  After giving my daughter a few color schemes to choose from and many paint testers purchased later, we decided on................  You'll have to stay tuned!  Until then, Have a very Merry Christmas!



Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cheese Vignette

Greetings, all!  I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend.  I'm sure it was filled with a ton of shopping and Christmas parties since Christmas is only one week away!  This month has flown, hasn't it?  I have been extremely busy with the holidays:  Office parties, family get togethers and finally completing my Christmas shopping list.  On top of that, I am working on a major project - My bedroom and master bath reno.  I am swamped, but loving it!  I so enjoy feeling like I'm accomplishing something important.

With all the craziness that surrounds me 24/7, I am still required to bring a little extra treat or appetizer to some party or another.  This task is not a favorite of mine, but I love wowing guests with a simple appetizer or dessert with a touch of Abigail.  

For our Christmas office party this year, I was asked to bring an appetizer.  A co-worker of mine confessed to me that she just did not have any time before the party to whip up a goodie, so I offered her a solution.  I asked her to bring some crackers and I will take care of the rest.  I decided to serve up some gourmet cheese to go along with those crackers.

I took a trip to our local Harmons to pick up some delectable cheeses.  Harmons is my favorite grocery store for specialty cheese and bread.  They have so many to choose from!

Here's what I ended up purchasing:

Big John's Cajun by Beehive Cheese (one of my insurance clients and the nicest fellas you'll ever meet!)  Check em out at
Mushroom Brie
White Stilton with Blueberries
Glue Stick

This was the easiest shopping trip I ever made for an appetizer creation!

I used the same cheeseboard I have hanging up on my kitchen cabinets to hold the cheese and grapes.  I cut small triangles from a brown paper bag and wrote down the names so people know what they're about to eat.  I then glued a toothpick to the back of each triangle and pierced each cheese.  You now have cute little name flags!  

This is such an easy way to add a little bit of class and spark of interest to plain 'ol cheese and crackers. 

What are your favorite gourmet cheeses?


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Terrifying Tale of Blue Bathroom Countertops and A Neglected Master Bedroom

I'm going to tell you a true story... a horrific story... of a family of three on their first walk through of a potential house purchase discovered in the master bathroom - OCEAN BLUE countertops!!! As for the master bedroom - BLOOD RED walls!!  This extremely brave family decided to tough it out and look past the ugly and see the potential.  Almost five years later, the countertops are still there.  Doesn't this story want to make you scream and cry at the same time?

Well if you haven't guessed, this family of three is mine and I'm going to make sure this story doesn't have a tragic ending.  Although I've given you many reasons to think I bought a dump, I really didn't.  This house has great "bones", a unique layout, high ceilings and many rooms for me to redo.  To be honest, this 3500 sf home is ideal for someone like me: an indecisive interior decorating maniac who needs to pick up another paintbrush as soon as her last project is complete.  

Now take a look at my master bathroom.  I love the space and the fact that the toilet area is hidden in another room behind a door.  The shower needs to be updated, but I like that it's separate from the tub.      

I am completely *smitten* with the fact that I have a double sink counter.  I really hated crowding around one sink and attempting to avoid getting elbowed in the head by my tall husband (I'm 4'11", He's 6'3").

Here's what the countertop looks up close.  It's horrid, isn't it?  I hurry as quickly as I can while I'm getting ready so I don't develop a migraine from too much blue.  It can make you almost seasick!  The cabinets are the same color that my kitchen cabinets used to be and I don't care for the style (or lack there of) of the sinks and faucets. Oh, I wish, I wish for some fabulous new sinks for Christmas (the same ones that are on an ad that I printed out and placed strategically on my kitchen countertop).  

I'm droooooowning!

Here's the tub that I have never bathed in.  No joke.  I have never taken a bath in this tub the whole time that I've lived here.  This picture makes it look smaller for some reason.  It's actually quite large.

I've been so busy obsessing over other projects that I have neglected what is suppose to be my sanctuary: my bedroom!  Painting the walls was as far as we got to improving this room.  That was nearly five years ago!  

On a good note, I do love many things in here as well.  The double door entryway was a bonus for me and the high ceilings were a major plus in my book.  This room was also much larger than all the other master bedrooms I walked through.  Believe me, we saw a TON of houses before deciding on this one.  I made my realtor work hard for her commission!

The shelf "thingy" towards the ceiling also caught my eye.  Different.  I like different.

Here's my dresser that I bought for an awesome price at Downeast.  I don't want to paint it, but I want to change it up a bit.  Hmmmm....  what to do, what to do.

Here's my boring bedside table and my equally boring lamp.  I have to temporarily use my iPad as my alarm clock because my too pricey for what it's worth digital clock took a dump on me a few months ago.

My daughter likes to leave me little love notes.  Love her.
 I've noticed that my bedroom is a dumping ground for my dining and living room castoffs.  

This monster was also dumped into my room after purchasing an actual FLAT screen for the living room.  This giant eyesore makes me frown in dismay every time I walk in.  

I love the window.

If I was strong enough to move that tv, I would have already pushed it out of the window!

And last, but not least - I have rolling waves of carpet.  Can't wait to tear this out!

So, here's what I need to do very very soon:

1)  Paint some walls - not telling you which ones - I have to keep some suspense going here!
2)  Replace the eye illusion bathroom countertops and give the heave ho to the sinks and faucets.
3)  Tear out the safety hazard carpet and install some new flooring.
4)  Add some eye candy to my bedroom walls and extra wow factor to everything else.
5)  Dump the overweight (used to be cool) tv in another room.  Maybe a future guest room?

Yes, all of this on a limited budget.  I'll show you how.

This will take a little bit of time before I can post a reveal, so be patient with me!  I am so excited to finally fall in love my bedroom and adjoining bathroom!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kitchen Cabinets Fresh Facelift Reveal

Hello again everyone!!  So far, December has been a crazy on-the-go and always something to do month for me.  If you remember a past post of mine, I had shared with you my uttermost dislike for my kitchen.  I hated the cabinets, hated the island counter shape, the countertops, the stained sink, I've grown tired of the paint on my walls.. the list goes on.  Unfortunately, "The Budgetkeeper" aka Mr. Smitten informed me that there was no room in the budget for a complete kitchen renovation.  Did I let my small budget bring my spirits down??  Heck no!!  I figured, no room for the ENTIRE kitchen?  Well, I'll start small - with one kitchen project at a time in equally spread out intervals.  That way, it won't affect the cash flow too much.  The hubby also agreed, but with one condition: my idea, my project, my sweat.  He did help me more than he planned to, but he didn't complain once!  I love you, Mr. Smitten!

The easiest way I was going to make a HUGE impact to this kitchen was to give my cabinets a facelift... with paint!  So I prepped the area and gathered my arsenal of tools: Paintbrush, Paint Roller, Roller Pan, Gripper Primer, Paint.

All ready for the craziness to follow!

Awesome primer for those high traffic areas.

This is my favorite type of brush.  A little pricier than the others, but worth the couple extra bucks.
 Here's a warning:  If you're going to take on a project in a daily used area, prepare yourself.  It gets frustrating to try to get used to.  I am a 5'... okay I'm lying, I am a 4'11" asian girl with short legs.  It's hard maneuvering around wet cabinet doors lying on the floor.

After two weeks straight of painting after work and on the weekends and treasure hunting for the new kitchen look... Here it is...  Major improvement.  Flows better, don't cha think?  

A little bit of paint goes a long way.

The new cabinet look even allows me to hate the countertops a little less!

Don't worry, I'm going to give those barstools a makeover sometime soon.

Looks roomier too!
 Check out these knobs I found at Lowes for only $1.02 a piece!  (Just a side note...  I think it's dumb how stores add a couple cents to an item.  I don't get it.)

These drawer handles were also bought from Lowes for about $3.47 (There it is again!  Why not just $3.45??  It's madness, I tell you!!)

You want to know what my favorite find is?  These awesome vintage handle pulls that I found on Etsy.  I heart Etsy!  It gives a touch of industrial to my kitchen that I didn't know I even wanted until I saw them online.  I kept the original aged paper labels and turned them over to give them an extra function: to keep me from searching through the wrong drawers when I'm about to cook.

Do you love them?  I am totally claiming bragging rights for this idea!

Now for the small details that "make" a room what it is.  This was the super fun part.  I love shopping and finding odds and ends.  Almost everything was found at the DI or Homegoods.  

Check out the humungous concrete garlic head at the end.  I think it's a veggie garden decoration, because it was caked in dirt when I found it for $2.00.

Actually, I think this is the only Homegoods purchase I made for this kitchen.

Added a touch of country with these milk cans.  So excited that I found three.

Favorite veggie to snack on.

Yes, I arranged all of these on top of the cabinets.  I am extremely afraid of heights and this was no easy task for me!

Cute piggy bank to put our loose change in.  Better than just throwing them in the kitchen cabinets or to be forever lost underneath couch cushions.

 Does anyone know where I can get a super cute soap dispenser that spits out foam?  This bottle isn't cutting it for me.  But this fabulous french chic plate kinda makes up for it.

Yes, another $1.00 find at the DI.

I adore how light shines through these bottles.
 I have already mentioned that I'm asian and in a past post do not enjoy cooking (because I don't know many dish recipes), but I do know how to whip me up tons of stir fry dishes and this jar that I found was perfect for holding all my wooden spoons.  Wooden spoons are the easiest to use!

Beef and Broccoli, anyone?

Had Mr. Smitten hang up my cheese board for an extra touch of charming.
Let's take another look, shall we? 

From all sorts of wrong...

... to fresh and new (even though it really isn't!)

Stay tuned for my next post:

The Horrific Story of Ocean Blue Countertops in a Master Bathroom