What is home?

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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.

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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

Fall is here

Yay to a new season! The weather hasn’t really changed here in Oklahoma, but I can’t wait for cooler weather. Having four seasons is something quite new to me since I’m from a tropical country. There’s so many new things to learn for each season.

One of the first things I learned so far is that the new Starbucks drink Maple Pecan Latte is way too sweet for my liking. Haha now I need to find a good coffee shop to try a pumpkin spice latte since I have a feeling I won’t like it too.

By the way, apple season is part of Fall right? There wasn’t any apples at our local farmers’ market on Saturday morning. Maybe it is a few weeks later in Oklahoma since we are further south. I want to try these two apple recipes soon: Honey, Apple, Cheddar and Bacon Panini and Apple Crumb Muffins.

Here’s the simple fall decor I’ve done so far.

Scarecrow on the front door
A scarecrow from Dollar Tree on the front door
Fall Decor Entryway
A string of dehydrated citrus, a branch from last year’s Christmas tree that has a pine cone, some pumpkins from Target and a candle

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I wish I have a bigger budget, but I’ll just take my time to accumulate more over the years.

My favorite pieces from Target Project 62™

Living Room w Project62

Our living room is still pretty plain even though we have moved in for close to a year. Furnishing a house is just so expensive that we would probably take quite a few years to complete everything. As you can see, our priority is comfort for our living room. My husband insisted that we get recliners, so we got a two seater recliner as well as a regular three seater because that was cheaper. Our coffee table was a steal ($30) from an estate sale. I think it’s a West Elm piece that had damaged corners. The rug was left behind from the previous house owner.

I decided to put together some of the Target Project 62™ pieces just for fun because a girl can dream right? We are missing a small end table, and I thought the Mawr Metal Accent Table would look great at the corner along with the Cohasset Table Lamp. The pink tone of the table lamp will go well with the art pieces I picked for the wall. I threw in some cushions too because we don’t have any at the moment.

Target Project 62

1. Framed Knots Decorative Wall Sculpture   2. Framed Abstract Watercolor Wall Canvas 3. You Are My Sunshine Wall Décor *This is the only piece not from Project 62™* 4. Color Block Throw Pillow 5. Solid Textured Throw Pillow 6. Mawr Metal Accent Table White Marble/Gold
7. Cohasset Table Lamp 8. Round Wire Basket Medium – Copper 9. Hello Doormat

I would also love to get the copper Round Wire Basket for my dining room since I would usually have garden harvest sprawling all over. Last but not the least, isn’t that a cute doormat! I think it will probably be the only item I would buy.. due to my lack of spare cash!

Image credit: http://www.target.com