Decorating My New Home


A few weeks ago, I moved into a charming cabin up in the woods. It’s definitely my castle & sanctuary so I decided to channel my inner Belle from Beauty and the Beast. As my friend Ming would say, rustic exterior and Victorian interior since that’s exactly how I decided to furnish my new home. As you can see from the photo above, the door mat I got starts off very Beauty and the Beast already!

And right in front of the door mat is this view that I get to wake up to every morning:


En lieu of a coat & shoe closet, I decided to splurge on this gorgeous armoire (also obviously Beauty and the Beast-inspired) and stuck some temporary wallpaper behind it to prevent a white furniture-on-white wall-look as well as these gorgeous handmade 3-D Monarch butterflies I got from a talented artist in England:IMG_4935

I decided I wanted to continue the look of being surrounded by trees inside my bedroom too so I stuck on a birch tree print temporary wallpaper and applied more of the 3-D butterflies in other varieties. IMG_4942

I also got these white shabby-chic rose print butterflies that I thought would look great on my white side table as well as the full body mirror I placed next to my bed:Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 6.56.04 PM

IMG_4918And to go with the ongoing butterfly wonderland look, I decided to place these trash & recycling bins and a butterfly stool by the front door for people to have something to sit on while they put their shoes on (or take off) since I am still a no-shoes-inside-kind of gal. Though thankfully the place is all hardwood floor so even if anyone were to walk in with their shoes on it’s an easy clean-up!


The trash & recycling bins I actually semi-made by sticking on yet another kind of temporary wallpaper with birch trees and butterflies and labeled them so that it would be easier to tell which one was for which.

I did keep my nautical theme from my previous home for my new bathroom as well:


Though the anchor & nautical trash bin and toilet brush are new additions as well as the montage of anchor stickers I decided to place on the front part of the sink.

Speaking of montages — Before I found this lovely new place called home, I made this montage below (to the left) and pasted it onto the door of my former bedroom and realized later that it was foretelling my future. I kept the montage and now have it on my refrigerator surrounded by other visual items to remind me to continue to be grateful for my new home and how it’s become like a castle for this princess living in the woods. I also continue my tradition of buying myself roses, channeling my inner Belle who also drinks tea from teacups that have faces.


Here’s to my happily ever after,



Book Review: Unshakeable by Tony Robbins

I’ve been a fan of Tony Robbins since being introduced to his work several years ago. And I have had the honor of partaking in his Unleash the Power Within seminar too. I just finished reading his latest book Unshakeable so this is a review based on that experience.

Since I have been working for myself pretty much most of my adult life now, I have never worked at a company where opening a 401k account was offered. It really wasn’t until I got divorced in my late twenties that I actually bothered learning about opening up a retirement account. And even then, I made the very mistake Tony Robbins talks about in entrusting a friend who has the title of a financial advisor whose agenda was to sell me an expensive life insurance policy instead of helping me open a retirement account. Thankfully, I was able to get a second and third opinion and realized my mistake before it became a very expensive one long before I read the book.

However, in reading the book I was able to learn the different types of financial advisors and what to look for. Likewise, I had recently shopped around for a new tax accountant and have come to learn what to look for in that particular situation as well. There are certain things I believe in hiring professionals to get the job done correctly, especially when it comes to legal documents or anything that I am unfamiliar with that could get me in trouble if I do it myself incorrectly. So it’s that much more important to know that I’m hiring the right people in the first place!

It was also when I opened a retirement account that I started to invest in stocks. According to the book, low-cost index funds is the way to go and I was reminded of why I shouldn’t invest in mutual funds. I admittedly wasn’t aware of all the different asset classifications for low-cost index funds until I read the book (and I still need to refer to the post-it notes I stuck on the pages in the book to go over them as I type this).

I do consider myself a creative, artsy type. But I’ve also been running a business for over ten years now and have made a living from doing creative, artsy things. Reading a book on finances many not seem as entertaining as a pre-conceivably creative, artsy novel —- but pretty darn vital for a single, independent, modern vintage woman. And I would argue that it’s even more of a challenge to be creative in presenting information in a book about finances so that people can understand it and hence, enjoy reading it.

More surprisingly, I actually was moved to tears when I was reading one of the chapters in the book on emotional/psychological/spiritual wealth. It was a two-minute gratitude meditation that Tony Robbins takes people through at his seminars. He has an audio version of it available too but I decided to continue reading the words on the pages and went through it as I read along. Somewhere between steps 2 and 4, I lost it. He instructs you to breathe while becoming physically aware of your heart beating, reminding you to be grateful for it doing just that.

Here’s to learning to make better decisions, building & growing wealth, and being grateful for what we have.


My Everyday Life in Black & White

Many of you have probably seen the posts people have been doing on the 7-day challenge of posting black & white photos from everyday life. The posts usually are something like this:

Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanations. Nominate someone to do the same. Day <enter number> of 7. I nominate <enter name>

My friend Megan nominated me to do the challenge on one of her 7 days, coincidentally on a Sunday after I returned home from an outing with my mother in the city where I came across this humorous book cover that I had just happened to photograph:


Click here to buy the panda book
And then from the first photo I took for this challenge, I realized that the first photo was also an object that was in black & white against a black & white background, coincidentally enough! So then I decided to add a new layer to the challenge by being mindful that whole week of photographing everyday life that is ALREADY black & white, though I did still use a black & white filter to photograph them.

In following the instructions, I will not provide any explanations to leave a sense of mystery (or at least to those who aren’t familiar with what I’ve photographed). However, en lieu of nominating someone for each day, I invite anyone who is feeling inspired to take on this challenge!

From doing this project, I also became more aware of the different colors in my everyday life in general. It made me think about the fact that I could do different colored versions of this photography project (ie. a red things in my everyday life). For me, it was about taking a moment to notice things in my everyday life and being mindful. It’s why people do things like meditation.



Eco-Friendly Household Products Review: The Honest Company

I had heard about The Honest Company for a while now since Jessica Alba started promoting it a few years ago (upon her starting it). I spotted a few Honest Company items on a shelf in a Sprout’s grocery store several weeks ago and decided to give their hair conditioner a try. I then decided to check out their website and tried out their customizable 5 products bundle (to which you can have a monthly subscription to). This is what I decided to get:


Items #1, 2: Conditioner (My rating: A+)

Since I go through hair conditioner fairly quickly, I decided to order two bottles of it. And I am personally a fan of the thick-necked pump feature the lids of the bottles come in because it won’t break off easily and you can retract it to lay back flat if you want to with ease. This is what obviously got me interested in the rest of The Honest Company’s products and still ranks as my favorite.
Click here to buy Honest Conditioner

If my hair was finer I may need more intense conditioning (The Honest Company does have a detangling conditioner too) but their regular one works just fine for my hair.

Item #3: Laundry Detergent (My rating: A)

I also do laundry everyday because I need to launder supplies for my business so I wanted to try their laundry detergent. Prior to this, I’ve used Method as well as Seventh Generation and I definitely think Honest Laundry Detergent was better than Seventh Generation’s because a.) The laundry does appear to come out cleaner and b.) the amount I have to use to achieve the effect is considerably less.

Like a lot of their products, Method’s laundry detergent does come in a pump bottle which does make it easier to not have to measure out into a cup and is more compact. However, I’ve had a few accidents BECAUSE of the bottle being a pump since I walk over to a laundry room with it so it would probably be more ideal if I had a landry room where I could keep the pump bottle there. So for now, I would go with The Honest Company again though I’ve also gotten recommendations for Molly’s Suds laundry detergent so I’ll have to try that out and come out with another verdict.

Item #4: All Purpose Balm (My Rating: A)

The organic all purpose balm reminded me of the Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Cream I’ve been using and decided to swap it in for the time being since my foot cream supply in its tube was nearing its end. For people that prefer something unscented, the All Purpose Balm is preferable to the Coconut Foot Cream. As a bonus, the All Purpose Balm also meets the 3.4 oz. or less requirement for carrying liquids on airplanes which makes it a great travel companion too (though the thickness of it makes me wonder if it would even be categorized as “liquids”). So this one is a keeper.


Item #5: Dish Soap (My Rating: C-) 

The first thing I noticed about the Honest Lemon Verbena Dish Soap is that it’s very runny compared to Method’s Ginger Yuzu dish soap I’ve been using. It does make it feel like the soap gets diluted faster (and if you’re not careful enough, you can easily pour out a lot since it comes out more liquidy). And in referring back to my review for their conditioner, I wish that The Honest Company would use a pump container also for their dish soap which is also something I do like about Method’s dish soap. So in the future, the Honest dish soap is not my first choice.

~Bonus Items I Purchased Outside of the Bundle~

The Lotion (My Rating: B+) 

Although I did not have it in my bundle order, I have started using the Honest Face + Body Lotion(also in apricot) as well. The scent is very subtle and the consistency is slightly on the runnier side compared to the Burt’s Bees one I’ve been using which does make it easier to apply but maybe a bit more runnier than my personal preference. Like most lotions, I add in a few drops of body oil (I’ve been using Trader Joe’s Argan oil) when I apply it on. The Honest Company does have their own body oil too, so I will most likely give that a try in one of my bundles order in the near future as well. IMG_3184.JPG

The Shampoo/Body Wash (My Rating: B)

I know it makes me sound like a hater of runny items, but this was similar to my experience with their dish soap. Perhaps as a body wash this is a more normal consistency but it’s definitely one of the runniest shampoos I’ve ever used.

In comparison to the shampoo I’ve been using (Yes to Carrots) the container it comes in is a lot more preferable since it’s in the same style thick-neck pump bottle their conditioner comes in. I actually really don’t like the lids of the bottles the Yes to Carrots conditioner or shampoo come in because they don’t work very well so I always leave them standing upside down (lid side down) to make sure I can get product to come out. And the scents for both Yes to Carrots and the Honest shampoos are thankfully very subtle as I’m not a fan of heavy perfumes.

But the runny consistency may be bad enough for me to want to go back to the Yes to Carrots shampoo after I’m done using this one (and I may just fill the empty Honest Company pump bottle with the Yes to Carrots shampoo).


If I were to be completely “honest” about ordering products via The Honest Company’s website, it’s been trying. I’ve done it twice now and both times I’ve had to go through customer service to make corrections. And unfortunately, the second time around the order was placed over the weekend and no one was able to get back to me until Tuesday. So I am now waiting for an incorrect order to arrive so that I can go through their return/exchange process. Though their 5 items for $25 bundle deal for first time bundle orders is a pretty darn good deal.

The thing with The Honest Company products is that it’s very much marketed towards households with babies. I finally stumbled across them at a local CVS store recently. But again, they were in the baby products aisle. As a result, I feel like those who are childless end up missing the chance of noticing them. With or without a baby, there are people like myself out there who want to use household products without harsh chemicals and toxins.

Here’s to healthy living,

(Now an affiliate of The Honest Company)

Live, Laugh, GLOVE ~ My New Method for Storing Gloves~

It’s no secret that I have quite the extensive collection of gloves. Up until now, I had been using shoe boxes (and cupcake boxes that I would put inside the shoe boxes to separate the gloves by color). However, with my collection of white gloves and black gloves alone they take up a whole shoe box each and many of the other colored gloves I have multiple varieties in each cupcake box.

So I decided to come up with a new method and crafted my very own gloves storage box. This first one I made is solely for black gloves, which will be easy to tell from the outer appearance of the box:

As you may have figured, the box did originally have the slogan “LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE” but I added the ‘G’ to make “LOVE” into “GLOVE.”

I took some Elmer’s foam boards and cut them with an exacto knife to make the rectangular sections inside the box which I glued together with a glue gun. To sum, I used these materials + a plastic black clipboard (not photographed) + a mechanical pencil for tracing lines onto the foam board to make my box:


You can also use a ruler if you want to be super precise. But I found that the little piece of label paper of the Elmer’s foam boards to be a perfectly fine substitute for using as a straight edge and the glue from the glue gun would fill in any small gaps of imperfections there may be for the edges cut by the exacto knife (which I also used for the first time with this project).


I often get asked now how many pairs of gloves I actually have…. Like socks, I admit that there are a few pairs that I have where one of the pairs is missing. But according to my most recent count it looks to be approximately 60 pairs as of now (and growing!) Needless to say, utilizing this new organization system for my gloves collection will make my life so much easier…

It’s not my first time these decorative boxes have come in handy for me as I did a whole posting back in May on my different usages for them. Though the one I used for this project is not as deep and are typically used as photo storage boxes.

Live, laugh, GLOVE!


My Love for Life-Like Inanimate Objects

I’ve done a few “Look Like a Princess But Don’t Act Like One” segments now. And this month, I’ve concluded that I would be Belle from Beauty and the Beast if I had to choose a “Disney princess” to be. I admittedly do a good number of my postings on book reviews too. And who doesn’t want a sexy beast?

Click here to read the film review I wrote on Beauty and the Beast in April

I’ve been raving to my friends about my recent purchase of forks and knives after I realized that I was down to just one fork (I only started out with two when I moved into my current apartment to start a new life two and a half years ago). And the one and only fork left had a bent tip. Voila, the fork and knives I got from Paris at Pylones (where I stumbled upon during my Paris trip in 2015):

The knives are male and the forks are female. If you take a closer look they all have faces (and booties when you flip them over on the back!) And the knives have a slight bulge for a package. Gosh, it all made me laugh so much!

As some of you also may recall, from that first visit to Pylones I also fell in love with the 58Products Tassen collection and have their tea set and bowls. I mentioned in my book that I would like to eventually collect all of them! This is a portion of my growing collection:


As you can see from the photo above, I’m also a big fan of having silicone lids for my tea cups. Pylones does usually have a number of choices in stock but I’ve also been fortunate enough to stumble upon on them in other places now too:

Click here to buy the Bumble Bee, the Kitty Cat, or the Bunny Rabbit ones I found!

Eating and tea time should be a joyous time and it certainly has become so for me. As cliché as it sounds, sometimes it’s the small things that make all the difference.


Usage for Decorative Boxes

You may often come across these types of decorative storage boxes that are sold when you go into a store. And I personally have become quite fond of finding different uses for them so I would like to share:

1. Wine Boxes for flowers

I first did this for my mother’s birthday when I had bought some tulips for her at the farmers market and brought them into a restaurant with me. At the time, I had double layered plastic bags and filled it with a bit of water for the flowers, securing the hem of the bags onto the edge of the box opening with a rubber band. But as you can see above, you can also place a glass bottle en lieu of that as well.

2. Photo boxes for toiletries 

The bathroom sink I have does not come with drawers so this is how I store my toiletry items. Since I have an nautical anchor theme going on in this room, I keep decorative boxes on shelves that go well with the theme.  I also prefer keeping the tissue box design to also look oceanic for that reason!

3. Parties and Special Occasions 

Parties too often have some sort of theme to them and I recently helped chip in for a friend’s baby shower by providing party favors that coincidentally also went well with my ongoing anchor and nautical theme I had going on in my bathroom. So I went and got another larger photo box that had the nautical look to it and customized the lid with the baby’s name in hopes of it becoming useful for the nursery since I kept with the look the parents-to-be came up with for the room. I stuffed it with heating/cryotherapy pads I had made to go with the “relaxing” beach theme that was requested for the shower (for which I also used nautical anchor printed fabric to stay consistent).

4. Hat storage 

When people discover my love for hats and gloves and realize how much of it I own, one of the questions that usually come up is how/where I store them. Since most of my clothing shopping is done online, my hats do not come with a hat box like they might if I were to purchase them at a fancy hat store. The deeper rectangular shaped ones are great for storing some stacked sideways (this works for hats that do not have wide brims) and the smaller, rounder shaped ones make for great use in traveling with relatively compact-sized fascinators and hats that you don’t want to have be crushed inside your suitcase by the rest of your items.

These decorative boxes are typically categorized as nesting boxes. Though the wine boxes might be a bit more difficult to find online they can also be called nesting boxes.

Though there’s the phrase “think outside the box”  —- I would like to think that I am thinking about what to put inside the box.