What is home?

img_9454

Is it funny that I was never homesick for the past 2.5 years of moving to America until my mum and brother came to visit me? It was so comforting when we finally moved out of our tiny rental (that we shared with my husband’s cousin) and into our very own home last October. The freedom to do whatever we want is so enjoyable. We could actually invest in everything that we own like getting brand new “adult” couches. Never once did I think that it was just the two of us until my mum and brother came over to stay for a month.

I have to admit it was not easy for all of us to adjust initially. We were all trying to figure out how we can function together without interfering too much into each others’ preferences. They made me realize that it’s really not that difficult to drive around by myself, and I should walk my dog around the neighborhood as often as I can. Yes, I am quite a wimp when it comes to doing anything by myself. Even when I was living in a city that’s filled with people everywhere, I rarely ever do anything myself other than going for yoga or dance classes.

Now that they have flown back home, I see the void; the lack of company to cook, exercise and shop with! It’s everything I liked and had when I was living back in Singapore. How am I going to do everything by myself again?

I need to remind myself that there was a lot more errands to do when it was the four of us. That’s a lot more housework to do too. Secondly, I don’t have to be shopping all the time since I have the luxury of not having to work at the moment. I can actually do most of the things I like at home. There’s youtube and other subscription based websites that allows me to do yoga, barre or dance at the comfort of my own home. Maybe when I do find a job around here that I like and actually start working, I can then use the extra cash to pay for yoga classes again.

Somehow I stumbled onto Jamie Beck’s post about her year living in Provence today. There are so many things that she said about living in the city that I do not miss too.

“I learned to live a life with less noise. My days in Provence are filled mostly with cooking, cleaning, and making photographs and those are the days when I am most happy. I found freedom. Above everything I learned, I discovered true freedom. Freedom exists beyond the ability to choose where you live or what you believe. I found freedom in my art and expression. I found freedom from money. Of course, we all need money to survive but they don’t worship it here in France and it’s amazing how much your stress levels dissolve when that’s not the goal to life. I’m really into being free from plastics and logos and that has brought down the noise in my life in the best way. I loved the freedom from a culture that tells woman how we are supposed to look. I loved being free from what society tells me I should be doing like having children and a corporate job so I have health insurance. I loved the freedom from ‘stuff’. I never had to walk outside my door and be reminded of all the ‘stuff’ I don’t have that I supposedly need to in order to be valuable. The value comes from within – in my mind, in my soul and if I can create something of meaning. I wish I had more time to work on these ideas. Time, I have come to find out, is the most valuable thing we have.”

If you love photography, do check out her Instagram Stories. The way she does her photography is so intriguing, especially when she shares the whole process of how she takes her photos. Right now she’s working on large format film photography.

Advertisements

2017 Christmas Haul from Target’s Bullseye’s Playground

2017 Christmas Mantle

Here is my messy Christmas mantle this year. It’s a mishmash of new and old stuff. I think my favorite buy from Target’s Bullseye’s Playground this year are the $3 ceramic tealight candle holder houses. I wish they had more designs, but it’s also fun to collect them over the years if they continue to put out new ones. There were $1 and $3 bottlebrush trees that come in silver, gold, white and ombre pink. Many people on the Target Facebook groups love the $5 sleigh. It looks really good when you add gnomes or even the $2 fake snowballs that Target is also selling.

Target Bullseye's Playground Christmas Haul 2017

Am I the only one that can’t resist all the Christmas stationery, especially when they are all $1 to $3? The stamps, ink pads and sticker labels are a dollar each. The Christmas cards (16pcs) and gift wrapping tissue paper were $3. The snow globe jars are also $3, so I grabbed all three designs.

Last but not the least, there are many garlands and signs for $3. The designs for the garlands are a little on the kiddish side, but I had to get at least one garland. I ended up purchasing the reindeer garland to go with some decor I got from Dollar Tree and the multi-color lights garland. The Merry Christmas sign above my mantle and the Fresh Cut Christmas Trees sign (pictured below) are both $3 which is quite a steal if you ask me.

Let me know if you need the DCPI for any of the items. I’ll try to find them for you to track them down on brickseek.com.

Christmas 2017 Dinning Room


Similar Post: The secret to get the best deals in Target

The secret to get the best deals in Target

Hi everyone, sorry for taking such a long break. I’m trying to recover from my flu and sore throat after our trip to visit Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and Los Angeles early November. I can’t wait to tell you more. For now, I’m going to share how I shop for my home decor at Target.

Target has a section of good deals in the stores. It’s called Bullseye’s Playground and the items cost either $1, $3 or $5. So far, I have realized that they stock up their seasonal items about one to two months ahead of time. Halloween items were available around end August, and Christmas items have been out since 1st November.

The more I dig into the items that they release each season, the more I realize I need to up my game. Here’s my secret:

Through Instagram

Through Facebook

  • Join the Facebook groups that posts good deals on Target. I have been pretty obsessed with Bullseye’s Playground Fanatics. Nothing beats chatting with a group of people who like the same things you do. Lots of people are really helpful and friendly too.

Track the items you like thru Brickseek

  • Brickseek.com is a great site to track down the items that you want. It works for a few stores beyond Target too. What I usually do is find the DPCI of the items I want from Target and use Brickseek to find out which Target outlet still has the item. So far, it has been very accurate for me. Most people on Instagram or Facebook would tell you the DPCI number if you ask them. The numbers are usually located on the price tag of the item itself.

 

Let me know if you have any questions, or if you love Target as much as I do. 😉

Things I wish I knew when I was buying my first home

It is crazy how it has already been a year since we moved into our first home. I thought I would share some of the things I wish I knew while we were house shopping last year.

  1. Get an experienced realtor
    This will ensure you get your best bang for the buck. We naively went with the first realtor that called us back, and she just kept telling us to match whatever the sellers were asking for. I wish we got someone who would help us get a good deal. I mean we are paying them quite a few thousand if the deal goes through.
  2. Fully inspect your house before you buy it
    We didn’t realize there was a cover missing on one of the electrical outlet in one of the bedrooms because there was furniture that was blocking it. Also, another piece of furniture covered a small part of the carpet is ripped off at the corner.
  3. Try to inspect your yard on a rainy day
    We didn’t realize that most of our neighbors’ yards are higher than ours, so the rain flows through our backyard to drain at a ditch. We were too focussed on making sure our land is flat to realize about the drainage in the neighborhood.
  4. A good kitchen sink and faucet makes a world of difference
    I cook almost every day and thus wash dishes all the time. A big sink ensures you can wash huge pots and pans easily without splashing all over. Hopefully I’m not the only one that babies my stainless steel and non-stick pans. I rarely put them in my dishwasher. 😉
  5. Check if you have home warranty for your first year
    I don’t know how common this is but we had no idea that we had one year of home warranty until the last month before it expired. (Thanks to the spam mail to renew our home warranty.) It definitely saved us quite a bit from using our home warranty to get our dishwasher and jetted tub fixed.
  6. Get a good computer chair
    My husband kept telling me not to get the cheap computer chair ($99 from Office Depot) but I insisted that it would be fine and we could save some money. Guess who was right after two weeks.
  7. Look out for good deals on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and estate sales
    Just be patient and wait for the good deals for items that are alright to be second hand. So far, we have been very lucky. We have gotten a vintage dining table & four chairs for $20, a Lane recliner for less than a hundred, 7-piece outdoor cast iron dining set for around $300, vintage dresser and two side tables for $150, Breville espresso machine for $20, Zojirushi rice cooker $40 and a Weston dehydrator for $30.

Living Room Dilemma

Living Room Light Fan Situation

Welcome to our living room. One of the reasons we bought this house was the vaulted ceiling and hardwood floor in the living room. As first time home buyers, we didn’t notice the lighting in the living room. It was only after living in our house for a few months did I realize that one ceiling fan light and two recessed lights is not enough to light up the whole room. I also notice that not everyone likes to light up their rooms as much as me.

After trying to recall all the houses we saw while house shopping, I’m almost certain we have not seen any recessed lighting in all the houses we have seen. It is just a rarity at our price range. We bought the brightest LED light bulbs we could find to replace the ones that are in the house.

We had to buy a ladder to change the two recessed lights, and when it came to the ceiling fan light, things didn’t go well. My husband tried to unscrew the globe off the ceiling fan but it just wouldn’t budge. Just imagine a guy on a ladder wrangling on the ceiling fan and suddenly the whole globe fell off because the wire tore off..

Yep, so now we are down to two recessed lights in our living room. I don’t know what to do now. It will cost a few hundred dollars to install more recessed lights and we can’t really afford that at the moment. Getting a new ceiling fan would cost at least $200, and it wouldn’t light up the ceiling room anyway. Light kits for ceiling fans are almost as expensive as getting a new ceiling fan unless I get the boring old designs. Below are some of the ceiling fans and light kits that I have shortlisted.

Ceiling Fans

  1. Hunter Mill Valley 52 in. LED Outdoor Barn Red Ceiling Fan $209
  2. Kichler Lyndon Patio Ceiling Fan, $539.99
  3. Kichler Logan Fan $329
  4. Kichler Olde Bronze Flyy 60″ Ceiling Fan, $579.99
  5. Monte Carlo 3-Light Outdoor LED Ceiling Fan Light Kit, $92.65
  6. TroposAir 113 Tapered Schoolhouse Oil Rubbed Bronze Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Fan Light, $24.83
  7. Casablanca 4-Light Brushed Coca Bronze Ceiling Fan Fixture with Cased White Glass, $150.27

I don’t know if my husband would be able to figure out the light kits. The safest choice is probably to save up for recessed lights next year.

The Most Budget Halloween Decor Part 3

See: The Most Budget Halloween Decor  |   The Most Budget Halloween Decor Part 2

The Halloween decor in our guest bathroom cost less than $6, and I’m actually very happy with it considering the amount spent. It consists of these three items:

  1. Ghost hand soap dispenser from Walmart for $2
  2. Small skull plate from Michaels for $2.99
  3. Spider craft piece from Target’s Bulleye’s Playground section (6 pieces for $1)

Oh, and the tiny glass jar is actually a Yoplait’s Oui yogurt.

There is also a smart bluetooth LED speaker bulb in our vanity light. We actually bought it last Christmas to test it out, and it’s fun when we can play seasonal music wherever we placed it. Our guests are always amused when we tell them how it works. We love putting it in our dining room light too.

 

Also see: The Most Budget Halloween Decor  |  The Most Budget Halloween Decor Part 2