Category Archives: Design

Movin’ and Shakin’

Hey all! Thankfully I got a week off between jobs and am now in the process of a DEEP purge of our apartment. We have recently reorganized our finances and, concurrently, out priorities.

Right around that time we also went next door to have dinner at our neighbors. They are Indian and have very very little furniture and decoration. While the lack of color made me a little sad (white walls = bleh), it was also so relaxing to be in there! Spend your time doing productive and fun things rather than looking at, cleaning, an accumulating more STUFF.

So we have reevaluated out apartment. We are purging. No more stuff. Unnecessary crap that we keep to use once a year. It’s all going to be sold then donated.

Here is the pile so far. Plus many pieces of furniture.

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On that note, until I get this all taken care of and my feet firmly on the ground in San Diego, this blog will be on hiatus. I will keep you updated when I can but until then … Enjoy the gorgeous weather! Get outside, exercise, eat all that yummy produce that’s coming out of the ground.

Enjoy life my friends. And see you in a week or so! Love and a big smile – Ash

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Friday by Design: Where In The World Is AHappyLass?

I love social media. There’s something awesome about the fact that I can take a photo of the gorgeous flowers on my dining table and project that image to all my friends and loved ones. I guess I feel that it’s another way of encouraging people to live a more optimistic, thankful, healthy life. Or to at least help them get in that mindset for the 10 seconds they’re looking at my flowers.

So I’ve made it even easier for you, my loved ones and fellow bloggers, to connect in different ways. Check on the panel on the right for all the sites you can follow me on.

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I hope you’re all planning a wonderful weekend. Love and a big smile – Ash

DIY Friday: Infinity Scarf

While Mike was gone I went on sort of DIY binge. I used to do these things just to have something to do. Usually they would sit in my room for about a year until I decided to throw them out. But as I get older and wiser, I am realizing that DIY and refurbishment can actually give me SO many things that I can’t afford in retail form.

Last weekend I set to making my own infinity scarf (aka circle scarf or tub scarf). I took the original tutorial from this awesome blogger: Cotton & Curls. For some reason I considered myself for an expert tailor and decided to do the advanced version where none of the seams are showing. Big mistake. What should have taken one hour took three. I had to pull out and resew the seams so many times that I just gave up and did it the easier way. You can’t even see the exposed seam when I have it on!

InfinityScarf Continue reading

Friday by Design: Gold Dipped Milk Jug

I keep seeing all these painted glass beauties on Pinterest so finally I decided to do one myself. It was so easy and now I have the prettiest milk jug you ever did see. I did it just like the DIY leather belts. Set up a station in my living room and did a few coats a night. It took me about 5 days, 5 minutes a day.

Because I now make my own almond and coconut milk, I really needed someway to store them in my fridge. A few goodwill visits later, I finally found an old-school milk jug for $2. I cleaned it with soap and boiling water and set to painting it.

photo 2 Continue reading

Friday Design: Spring in My Dining Room

It’s Spring in my dining room! As most of you know, I’m an architect by training. So when we moved into our apartment here, I was SO excited to actually have some space to decorate. I absolutely love bold colors so I was pretty bummed when I realized that we couldn’t paint the walls. Instead, I’ve learned to inject color into a room through wall art, dish ware, rugs, etc.

I found a deal at our local grocery on a dozen roses ($5!) and used them to bring Spring into our home. It’s still pretty cold here but the sun in shining and it’s putting me (and everyone else) in a great mood. Not to mention my Happiness Project is actually working 🙂

photo 2^ Pretty flowers in my new vase …

And, if you’ve checked out my tagline (“braving the world with no money in my pocket and a smile on my face”) you know that we can’t put much money into making our apartment beautiful. So here’s the breakdown:

  • Gorgeous Fire/Water painting – moving gift from a very close friend. You could probably do a simple, impactful painting for about $50. As a word of advice, shower praise on the artists in your life. There’s nothing better than a gorgeous piece of art that actually means something.
  • Table set with cool, high-back chairs (I plan on refinishing this) – Craigslist $80
  • Striped rug – TJMaxx $65
  • Plant – bought it as a seedling – Loews $10
  • Recycled tire pot – Unclaimed Freight Store (check for one in your area) $10
  • Yellow vase – Unclaimed Freight $3
  • Green and blue swirl fruit bowl – hand painted by me! $25 (but worth the experience)

photo 1Everything in this photo= $188

And now we’re at the weekend. YAY. Au revoir until Monday! I hope you all have a relaxing couple of days. Love and hugs – Ash

 

DIY Friday: Meal Planning Board

So you’re trying to eat healthy? I bet you have tons of people in the wellness community telling you “it’s really not that expensive!” Well they are wrong. Eating healthy can be VERY expensive. To keep the cost manageable you have to do a lot of planning. You have you cook most of your own food and you can’t have any food waste. Unless you plan, IT IS time-consuming and expensive.

Mike and I have been gradually increasing our health factor over the last several months while trying to keep costs low. We have set up a system where, whenever either of us buys food, we put the receipt on the coffee table for the other to review. It holds us accountable and makes us analyze where money could be better spent.

Then I meal plan. I’m very organized and love to plan ahead so this isn’t too hard for me but I was lacking the necessary tools. That’s why I made this bad boy. My meal planning board.

photo 1 copy

 

My dinner system:

  • Cook double-portions every other day. This means only cooking from scratch 3 times a week! I cook half the meal only partially so it’s not overcooked when I reheat it for dinner the next day.
  • Eat leftovers on the days I don’t cook.
  • Have our “vacation meal” on the seventh day.

It’s quick and means that I can buy more in bulk. Our breakfast is the same every morning (Grainless Granola) and each of us takes care of our lunch separately. It’s a pretty nifty system but I was getting really confused about which meals I was going to cook and which food I needed on my weekly grocery shop.

So during our Simple Sunday this past weekend, the weather was nice enough to paint out on the porch. I finally did my Meal Planning board and I love it!

Supplies:

  • Pretty frame (mine was $5 at Goodwill)
  • Spray paint (for color)
  • Spray paint (for chalk or whiteboard coating)
  • clothespins
  • some cardstock to label the pins
  • fabric to hold the labels
  • hot glue gun
  • a little sandpaper to prep the frame glass
  • painters tape (if you want to do a pattern)
  • an old sheet to protect your floor

Instructions:

photo 2^ Make sure you have a surface to stick the pins to. This frame had lots of dips in it so I blocked it out with some chips of cardboard I had in the recycling bin.

photo 3^ Separate the frame and glass. Sand the glass so it will hold the paint. Spray down all pieces with however many coats they need. *I started with chalkboard paint but it didn’t work all that well. I went back and exchanged it for whiteboard paint and repainted the glass.

photo 4< If you want to paint a pattern, wait until the base layer is dry and then tape it off and spray. *I originally had yellow stripes in mine but it was just too much with the raised dots AND baby yellow. After I finished it I went back and repainted it all white.

Stick the clothespins down with hot glue. If that doesn’t hold, graduate to the messier but much stronger Gorilla Glue.

photo 2 copy^ Cut out your cardstock. And write out any of your favorite dishes. Hot glue your fabric pockets to store them in. Then label the pins with the same cardstock. Mine are for each day of the week and then Snacks to take to work for that week. Here’s the template I made for my labels:  MealBoardLabels

Another idea, for complicated meals, write the ingredients on the back of the card so you don’t have to look back to the cook book every time.

photo 1 copy

And now you have a meal planning board! I’ve only been using mine for a week and I already love it. It takes the strain out of meal planning and makes cooking SO much easier. I will say it looks a little sad and bland with all the white and gray but I’m hoping I can paint the walls our next kitchen so it will just be a pretty accent on a sunny yellow wall. 🙂

Let me know if you have any questions. And HAPPY FRIDAY! Love and a toothy smile. – Ash

 

 

DIY Friday: Cheap and Easy Framing

Large picture frames are expensive. Sometimes you can find deals in standard sizes but when you have a photo or poster of weird dimensions, forget it. Custom frames can cost $100+. So when I found this sweet wrapping paper (yes it’s supposed to be wrapping paper) at Paper Source, I bought it and decided to figure a creative way to frame it. Another cool thing is that the wood is heavy so it weighs down the poster and keeps it straight.

Tip: when you take it off the wall to move, all you have to do is roll it up! And use this for multiple frames. It’s really easy to do once you collect the materials.

Total cost (including the “poster”)$15

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Materials:

  • A poster worthy of framing
  • 1/4″ x 1″ trim, the length of your poster
  • wood stain and a brush (optional, you can keep it raw wood)
  • 8-10 flat thumbtacks
  • 4-6 wire brads (skinny nails)

Instructions

  1. If you don’t have a saw at home, when you buy the wood, ask the hardware store to cut it for you. With only 2 or 3 cuts, they usually do it for free.
  2. Optional: Stain the wood. Let it dry in open air before proceeding.
  3. Pin the top and bottom of the poster to the back of the wood.
  4. Nail it into the wall with the brads.
  5. Admire your handy work 🙂

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Let me know how it goes. Or just send me a photo! 🙂