Friends Around the World

Saturday, December 3, 2016

It's Great to Be Home!

I have been very occupied  with our projects at home.  We just got done with our project at the basement which was building a storage shelving for our seasonal stuff.  I am very pleased to have that done because  all of the things that were scattered in the basement are now  organized.  We also  finished upgrading our powder room and it turned really well. 
We bought some rugs to add some color in our family room, living room, dining room and some of the bedrooms.  The couch you see in this picture is now in o the master's bedroom.  We bought a new couch for the family room.  
I love the accent chair that we found at Macy's.  It's perfect for our Asian theme.
We have been  moving and re-arranging furniture.  If I can  afford to hire an interior designer, I would   let them do it because they can do it with no problem hehehe.  
Our living room has now a different look than these photos.  We finally  agreed on  some arrangement lol.  I will take  some photos of it when I get the chance.  
We love hanging out in the living room because our daughter  always play  Christmas songs on the piano.  We have  decorated for Christmas   the day  before Thanksgiving. I am glad my husband did not object lol..
I got this artificial orchid on sale at TJMaxx.  I put it in the living room at first but then changed my mind and put it in the family room instead.
I love decorating.  I wish I have a proper training  in interior designing, it would have been nice.  If I will be given a chance to  go to school, I would either take interior designing or photography courses because those  are my passions.  For now I will just do what I can and how I see fit for my family.  It doesn't really matter how it looks, the most important thing is we are all comfortable to live in our home.
While waiting for the  slip covers that I bought online, I put the throws on the couch and love seat for the meantime because I don't like the feel of the material of these new furniture that we bought.  
On another note, I have never gone to a Black Friday sale because I am scared of bracing the cold and the crowd.   We do however try to shop online but this year, I didn't really got the chance to do it because we were  very busy.  I did looked at musians friends website to see if they have good deals on  electric guitar  but I didn't have a luck.  My husband and I  went to Center for Music and Arts but they didn't have a stock of the one that we like.  We will go back there  next week to see if they have it already.  

Friday, November 25, 2016

Veteran's Day 2016

On Veteran's day, my husband came home  early  from work.  I feel bad that he has to work on a holiday  that is celebrated  specially for veterans like him.  I wish companies will give veterans a day off  but that is a wishful thinking since a lot of companies does not give that  privilege to Veteran employees.  
Our  sweet kids  made personalized cards for their Dad.  They also made one for their Grandpa.  
As soon as he got done eating, we went  to Hopedale Ohio and visited my father-in-law at Gables Care Center.  He is a world war 2 veteran, although he can no longer recognize us, it is important that we visit him as much as we can.  I just wish that  he lives nearby so we can visit often.  He was out cold  when we arrived, I think he just got his medicines  so he was sleeping when we came.  
Even though we did not get a chance to talk to my FIL, we have enjoyed the Fall foliage on the way.
It sad not to be able to see my FIL as much as we would like to.  It is also sad that when he got the Alzheimer's disease, that's when our relationship with the other  family member  was shaken.  I hope that in time, we can reconcile and get back to  the way we were.  In time, wound might heal, we just need time.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Powder Room Upgraded

The home that we bought and just moved in   is spacious and definitely  provides that need of our growing family but  everything in it needs an upgrade.  I can't believe that we  have been living in this new home for almost 5 months now, time really flies.

We had a little extra funds  from selling our old house so we allocated it into upgrading some parts  of the house that really needs.  One of the bathrooms in this house that is  commonly used is the powder room.  Everything in it is  super old so last weekend, we finally got to upgrade it.  
My husband is not very fond of dong  a plumbing job but he is the only one in the family who cold do it so we were  just there to support  and help whatever we can to him.  As I have mentioned in my previous DIY projects that we have done, hiring  a professional  to do a job in our area is very expensive.  So we just try to do   projects by ourselves.  We work on  home improvement every weekend and we have accomplished a lot.  We still have a lot to do though and a lot of those we can't do it yet  because it requires a big amount of money like  the kitchen.  That one, we might need to hire a pro because that would require a long time to do.  
Anyway, we bought  this  Bellaterra home black  vessel  birch vanity single sink with natural marble top at Lowe's.  It was a  special order since they don't have it in the store.  We had to waut a month before it arrived.  We even called the corporate for this one because the Lowe's here in our area said that we have picked up our order  already on a certain date  where in fact we did not.  I tell you, sometimes, you will scratch your head the way some  employees do their job.  It makes you scratch your head a lot of times.  

My husband has been diagnosed with Cervical Disk Disorder with Myelopathy so he is in pain constantly and lifting a heavy sink like this one hurts him even more.  It took us three tries before  we finally have the sink on the right place.  I got bruises in my arms and legs  because this sink is really heavy.  

Our daughter helped us in rompting the pipe to go in the hole of the sink  that my husband carved as we lifted the  sink.
The existing pipes of this bathroom have made very difficult for us to install the sink because  we had to  carve  a hole at the bottom of the sink  for the pipes to go through.   We didn't really want to cut on the side because it will affect the strength of the sink so even if it was difficult, we did it the right way.  My husband miscalculated the sizes of the  pipes so it did not git on the holes.  He then cut  a hole lengthwise since he couldn't use the  holesaw anymore.  
We  also bought  this single control lavatory faucet at Lowe's.  It is a tool-less drain assembly  which installs in half the time.  We did not use the deckplate as it is not  really needed.  Again, even though this project  looks easy to do, it is hard for us because we have no professional plumber in the house.  
My husband had to do three trips to the hardware store to get the right  length of  PVC pipe that he needs.  Thanks goodness, after so many hours of working on it, we finally got it done.
I was just going to buy a cheaper  vanity sink but my  husband  loved this Asian inspired sink  and I love it too so that's what we  bought.  The handle is cute too.
The sink sits on top of the marble top and with the addition of the faucet, it came together as one bathroom beautiful sink.
The curtains I used  is the one I bought when we were in Korea.  I haven't use it since we moved back here in the states but now I found a perfect place to put it.
The seashells are some of our souvenirs when we visited Philippines and  Corpus Cristi Texas.  

Over all, the cost of this project  is $1,141.26 breakdown below.   
1.  vanity - $714.29
2.  faucet - $ $159.00.
3.  toilet - 188.95
4. bi-metal hole saw - 28.94
5.  Misc (Teflon, PVC Pipes, etc)  $50.08 
I did not think it would cost that much but it did.  The good thing is, we did it ourselves and did not have to pay for the labor cost. Oh I am so glad this project is all done.  Now onto the next project.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Emerald Greens and Junifer

Our new home has a long driveway to our detached  garage.  One of the many things my husband  love about this house is that, he has now a two car garage compared to the former house we lived in.   For me, I love that it is spaceous and there's plenty of space to garden.   I always wanted a driveway with pine trees so this  house gave me an opportunity to do that.  
We bought some emerald greens and junifer and that's the project we worked on last weekend.
Even though there is a privacy fence along the property, it's not enough to shield  our house from the business area so I am hoping that when these pines grow tall that the noise will be less especially that a big pharmacy is building right next to our property.  I am bummed out about it because I love those bamboos, it reminds me of my first home in Asia.  With the new  business, they will have to tear down all the bamboo and I feel bad for the birds because they love living there.  The singing of the birds relaxes me when I am gardening but it will soon be gone.  If you  play the video below, you can hear  the birds.
I love doing projects like this with my  family.  I remember when we first moved in to our first home, our daughter was just a year old then.  We bought a cherry tree and planted it with her "help".  It made me sad when we left  that house because we've made so much memories there.  My husband  told me that we will start making memories  again on this home so that's what we are doing.
Our driveway looks a lot better now that we have plants on the side of it.

I also decided to do the corner  to give it a little curve appeal.  I still have to add more mulch to it  but I will wait for the  next sale so I can  buy them cheaper.
We bought us a hedge trimmer  because  the clipper that we have is so old and dull now  that I find it hard to cut the bigger part of the bushes.  My little helpers were so eager to help although I was scared that they might get hurt but they did okay.  
A photo posted by Chubskulit Rose (@chubskulitrose) on
Our neighbor told us that the former owner drove by one day and talked to him. He complimented us for fixing his old place.  It makes me happy that he like what we have done so far to his former home.

DIY Photography Tips for Taking Better Pictures with Your Smartphone

Smartphone cameras are becoming more and more sophisticated. With dual-camera capability becoming standard, Qualcomm has announced its intent to take one step further and equip future phone cameras with the ability to support Clear Sight, a technology with specialized cameras that divide up the duties of the eye’s rods and cones for unprecedented sharpness. Such innovations will continue to ever more closely approximate actual vision, but even the most sophisticated camera relies on applying good photography techniques to produce a quality picture. Here are a few tips to make your smartphone photos turn out better.
Choosing the Right Phone
The smartphone camera market is increasingly competitive and there are a number of excellent phones to choose from. The Samsung Galaxy S7 has the best smartphone camera currently on the market, in the estimation of Tom’s Guide staff writer Sam Rutherford, who ranks it above the iPhone 7. The S7 comes with a 5 MP front-facing camera and a 12 MP rear-facing camera. One of the innovations the S7 delivers is a 12-megapixel dual-pixel sensor, which enables rapid autofocusing so you don’t miss those rare shots. The S7 also has large 1.4-micron pixels and a f/1.7 wide aperture to let in more light, which comes in handy for low-light shooting.
Considering Your Composition
One of the most basic principles of good composition is the rule of thirds. Imagine two horizontal and two vertical lines intersecting to divide your camera view into nine squares. The points of intersection define where you should place points of interest to capture visual attention. Use the intersections to position your subject in one of the vertical or horizontal thirds of your composition rather than in the exact center of your shot. If this leaves one area of your shot feeling empty, you might consider balancing your main subject against another secondary subject that fills up the empty space elsewhere in the shot. You can also use natural lines such as roads and other patterns in your shot to help organize your composition.
Selecting a Good Angle
While deciding your composition, you'll also need to think about selecting your camera angle. There are many camera angles you can use, but a few are used most frequently by photographers, explains The Beginners’ Lens.
The most common type of shot is an eye-level shot, which simulates the way an object would appear if it were right in front of your face in real life. This type of shot can be used to make the viewer feel as if they're there and to emphasize the details of your subject.
Another common type of shot is a high-angle photo where the camera angles down towards the subject. This makes the subject appear smaller, less dominant and more vulnerable. This can enhance qualities such as cuteness. It is often used for selfies or for shooting subjects such as puppies.
A low-angle shot has the opposite impact, making the subject appear larger and more imposing. It can be used to emphasize the height or stature of the subject. For instance, shooting a skyscraper from its base makes the building appear even taller and more impressive.
Adjusting Your Lighting
Lighting is another key consideration. The simplest approach to lighting is learning to take advantage of whatever natural lighting is available first, says photography author Andrew S. Gibson. One principle of using natural lighting is to generally avoid hard light, which is the light the sun radiates when it is high in the sky, casting deep shadows. Shooting near dawn or dusk will give you softer light that better reveals the subtleties of your subject’s shape and texture. However, hard light can be useful for bringing out very bright colors, so it may be appropriate for some shots. The opposite of hard light, soft light, is the light cast on a cloudy day. It does not bring out much contrast, which can make it useful for portraits and shots in shaded areas. Avoid shooting the sky in soft light, which will make it appear whited out. Backlight, which appears behind a subject, brings out contrasts in a way similar to hard light and can be useful for shots illuminating the outline of a subject.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Choosing And Using Your First Greenhouse

You know you’re a passionate gardener when you’re considering buying a greenhouse. Introducing a greenhouse to your current makeup will give you a whole new dimension to your gardening, and add a lot more enjoyment to your little green patch. However, like every new piece of gardening apparatus, picking the right greenhouse and using it is going to be something of a learning curve. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the choices out there, then read on. Here’s a guide to choosing and using the greenhouse that’s right for you.
From Wikimedia

Perhaps you’re still just curious about getting a greenhouse, and not sure whether or not you’d get much use out of it. The main advantage of having a greenhouse is that it allows you to grow plants and veggies that require higher temperatures and more shelter than others. Greenhouses also work to effectively stretch out the seasons. You’ll be able to grow spring plants slightly earlier and autumn plants slightly later. Over the summer, they’re excellent for growing tomatoes, aubergines and peppers. Through the winter, on the other hand, you can fill them with tough oriental greens. Protecting your plants from chilly nights, growing cut flowers and protecting your veg from the elements are a few other advantages. If you’re going through a particularly bad growing season, a decent greenhouse can be the thing that saves your yield and your spirits.
So, onto actually making the purchase. If you’ve been browsing greenhouses recently, then you may have found they’re not quite as affordable as you thought. However, if you live in the UK, odds are you’ll be able to find a pre-used greenhouse in your local area going for an absolute steal. Check your local paper, along with classifieds websites like Gumtree, and look for some good candidates. Obviously, they’re not going to be in pristine condition. However, many of them will be perfectly adequate with a little cleaning and TLC. The real bargains are usually from people who are selling their homes, and simply want to shift the greenhouse rather than go to the trouble of getting an accurate value. If you’re going to buy used, just be sure to take a couple of pictures of the greenhouse before you start loosening bolts, and use a permanent marker to mark out where there current glazing is. This will make it much easier to piece it back together back at your garden. If you’re still not sure about how much you’re going to use it, you may want to consider getting a lean-to greenhouse rather than a large, free-standing one. Lean-to models will be much cheaper, though the fact that they’re so squat can get in the way of some of your plans for growing. If you’re going to choose one of these, bear in mind that you’ll need a wall to build it against, that has to get a lot of sun.
Aside from the greenhouse itself, you’re going to need to budget for proper foundations. Any free-standing greenhouse needs a solid, well-built base in order to stay standing. Any good vendor will give you the precise measurements you need. These bases are most commonly made of concrete, but you can also use brick or certain kinds of timber, or a combination of these materials. If you want to make your greenhouse extra green, then you can buy some recycled plastic lumber as well. This not only helps the earth, but requires very little maintenance and will never rot, unlike natural wood. Again, the vendor you buy your greenhouse from will probably recommend the perfect material for the model you’re using.
If you’re a specialist who’s buying a greenhouse just so you can grow certain exotic species of plant, then you’ll need to think about how you’re going to heat it. Unfortunately, greenhouses are horribly inefficient when it comes to holding in heat. This means that you’re going to have to sink a lot of money into growing certain plants. It’s pretty common for some gardeners to buy a greenhouse exclusively for exotic plants, and then having to take their heating element out simply because they couldn’t pay for it! If you’re happy to forego plants from around the equator, then you may be able to get by simply using the natural heat of the sun. If you need an artificial heat source, choose electric over gas. Not only is it a lot cheaper, but also produces better growing conditions.
Now that you have a good idea of the type of greenhouse you’re going to set up, we’ll get into actually using it. If you don’t have much experience with greenhouses, then growing in one may seem fairly straightforward. However, there are still many ways that a newcomer can go wrong. You need to be aware of the best practices if you don’t want to end up shooting yourself in the foot.
From Pixabay

One of the most important habits you need to get into is keeping the door open during the summer, and check the thermometer as often as possible. In your standard greenhouse, temperatures can easily get up to 30 degrees during the late spring and summer. This can be fine for certain plants. However, you may find that this raises veg which like milder conditions way too fast, or fade certain seedlings. Open the hatch and the door when the weather’s getting intense, and this will help to keep the temperature a little more stable. It’s also a good idea to take those plants which are best suited to milder conditions outside during the day. You may find that even with the doors and hatches open, plants like sprouts and broccoli seedlings will get massive stalks in no time. Pretty soon, they’ll be close to collapsing. However, if you get into the routine of popping them just outside every day, you might just save them. Certain crops like leeks and kale can also benefit from being left out of a greenhouse. If you’re really struggling with the heat, you can also get some products like Coolglass and brush them on. Think about this carefully before doing it though. You’ll only need to re-adjust if you want to grow heat-loving plants such as chillies.
Aside from temperature control, it’s also very important to keep your greenhouse organised and tidy. Of course, it’s your greenhouse, and if you wanted to take the easy route of leaving your tools and clutter around you can. Take it from a fellow slob though, you’ll end up regretting this! You’re going to need as much room as possible when you really get into seed sowing. You’ll need to move around a lot of compost and pots, which will be very hard if your potting bench is covered in all your different tools! You’ll also need a clear space for your pots once you’ve sown in them. Furthermore, if you keep your plants all squashed together you’ll end up creating a micro-climate, which will raise the temperature and could have a detrimental effect on your other plants. Finally, leaving piles of gardening tools and paraphernalia around is the perfect way to attract slugs and snails. I’m not going to lie to you, these slimy pests will find their way in at times whether you like it or not. Still, anything you can do to discourage them is strongly recommended.
Hopefully this post will give you a great start to owning a greenhouse. I know you’ll grow all kinds of gorgeous plants, and get years of use out of your greenhouse.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Cooling Down the Dining Room with Tower Fan

I love that the temperature is starting to cool down a bit. Fall season will begin in a few days and I am excited for the leaves to turn yellow, orange, and red! I love Fall foliage and I always look forward to it. I am also glad that the temperature is cooling down because we don't have AC at the first floor of our new home. Hubby find it unbearable when the temperature is very hot because he is not used to a home without an AC.
I don't mind not having an AC  in the summer because we have Ozeri fans in every room and it does cool down  the space as you turn it on.  Of all the fans that I got from them, I love this white tower fan with passive noise reduction technology.  It is really quite and it really cools down a room when you turn it on.  
I love that it is very easy to assemble.  Unlike the other fans that I got from them, this one does not require any tool.  All you have to do is connect the  base on to the fan, lock it and it's done.  
Here are some of the  great features of this fan via  amazon.
  • Upgraded with canted fan blades that utilize the physics of blade curvature to generate opposing sound waves to reduce blade noise and isolate the soothing sounds of the airflow itself.
  • Boasting unrivaled technology, the 3x Tower fan is engineered with 3 independently controllable fans and 3 fan speeds, offering up to 9 levels of cooling and customized airflow
  • Defining the latest in stylistic innovation and digital decor, the 3x Tower fan is among the world's thinnest fans at less than 3 inches thick and boasts a visually arresting design with an elegant reinforced glass base stand
  • Features 3 preprogrammed airflow patterns designed to foster sleep, relaxation and comfort with 90 degree whisper-quiet oscillation for optimal air circulation
  • Extended range remote control and the touch sensitive LED control panel provide easy access to all features, including a 7.5 hour timer that can be programmed in 30 minute increments
I put this fan in our dining room because even though we don't  normally eat there, my kids love to do their homework, do their reviews, and do  artworks there.  We have an  eat-in kitchen  and  that's where we eat so  we don't really utilize the dining room for dining purposes unless we have  a party where we need a bigger place for guests to sit and eat.     The dining room  has always been the children's favorite spot when they come home from school.
Disclosure: The owner of this blog was NOT financially compensated to write this review.  I was provided with the product/s mentioned  to help me  facilitate this review but  opinions are my own.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Childhood Dreams

If I would have given a chance, I could have been an interior designer, a landscape designer, or a photographer.  Interior designing, photography, and gardening are the things that I enjoy doing.  I may not be  reallly good at it but I sure enjoy  every minute when I do it.  Moving to a new home is such a challenge because you  start refiguring out  where things should go and what would look good.
Anyway, I am a member of one  buy and sell  group in Facebook and I A dream to found these 3-set of vases  for $15.  I bought it and thought that was a great deal since they are in great condition.  It's a perfect set to put in one of our corner shelves since I have vases on the other  corner as well.  I was waiting for someone to  post a violin for sale and I finally found one but I was late and it got sold very quickly.  I even saw a slide trumpet for sale in that group.  We have very limited budget now that we are paying two mortgages so I am kind of shopping  where I can save money.
Again, those three I have mentioned above were all my childhood dreams!

Decorating with My Daughter

Our daughter might be small for her age but she can do a lot of things especially around the house.  We shared the same interest in decorating, photography, and our style in fashion are very similar.  She received a wall decal and other things  as a gift for her birthday from our friend and she was very excited to work on it.  
 It is so much fun to  do some decorating around the house with her help.  She have so many ideas and sometimes she would suggest things that I never thought of doing and I would say "Wow, why didn't I think of that?"
 Her aspirations  include of becoming an interior designer, an astrophysicist, and a musician.  I told her that it is great to have  dreams to pursue in the future.  I mean, she is still young and I am sure that her interests will change as she grow up but it is always great to talk to them about their dreams.  We never know what the future holds, she might become a business owner like the guitar center in nj or a great musician.  You never know.  
As parents, it is important that we encourage our children to dream and to pursue those dreams.

About Me

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A work-at-home-mom (WAHM) with  two  lovely kids and a loving husband.  Passionate in writing about  family, product reviews, and  other related articles.  A Mom, a Wife,  a Blogger/Writer, rolled into one.

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