European Vacation Diva Style

21 Jul

Some time around the Summer of 2012 my best gal pal and I tossed around the idea of traveling to Europe together. She had been a world traveling medical student for the last four years, 20 something different countries at this point, so the idea of breaking into the continent of Europe and backpacking for 2 weeks was nothing to her but for myself, this was a dream and something that would take a miracle to accomplish. Nina has asked me at least 3 times in the past to go on different trips and until I added “plan a trip to Paris” to my “30 before 30” list, the answer was always no. But when she mentioned Europe I thought, the time for excuses is over, let’s do this!

Leaving out all the months of planning, or lack thereof…let’s talk about the trip.

On May 14th I flew from Detroit to BWI airport, drove to VA to catch a late night non-stop flight from Dulles airport to our first destination…

London, UK!

The crew consisted of my best friend Nina and myself and two friends from high school (Cass Technical high school in Detroit, Michigan) Twin sisters Candace and Brandace. I flew in from Virginia Nina flew in from Detroit and the twins flew in from DC. Upon arrival at the airport we were all very tired yet super excited. We arrived to London Heathrow Airport on Wednesday, May 14th, 2013. At the airport I ran into a rap artist, T 3, from Detroit’s Slum Village and he invited us to their show in London the next day (We ended up not going because my friends don’t like rap music).

We took a cab to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express London in Stratford. While in the cab we passed Buckingham Palace, saw Big Ben and just oohed and aahed at the city. The people were so diverse! It reminded us of D.C., New York… it just felt cool. The cab ride was super expensive, £45 per person so we vowed to figure out public transportation from that moment forward. Lucky for us, our hotel was located in walking distance to the Stratford metro stop and the Westfield Mall which is where we spent the rest of the day :p

$25 in Free Fabric DC Area! (a Living Social deal)

10 Oct

If you click my link I get credit for it.  I’ve already purchased mine!!  I may get another one! :p

 

http://www.livingsocial.com/deals/451306?rpi=86932174&ref=personalized-link-box-86932174&rui=14192089

Designing on a Dime: Painted Wood Trunk

4 Sep

Just a quick post on my grandmother’s trunk. The wood finish on this amazing trunk wasn’t the prettiest and I had planned on using it as my coffee table. I could have left it in it’s original state (an old gunky faded stain) but if you’ve got gold paint WHY not use it?! :p

I used the Martha Stewart Antique Gold I had already purchased.

Since I did not have the time or energy to take my trunk outside and sand it for hours I used a Zinsser Cover Stain primer. It, too, almost killed me. The fumes were stronger than the spray paint!!

Before:

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After first coat of paint:

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Final product!!:

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Designing on a Dime: Cabinet Edition

1 Sep

Weeks before I moved into my new apartment I decided I wanted to paint my 1950s hotpoint metal cabinets gold.  When I arrived on day 1 my property manager told me my cutesy Martha Stewart Metallic Antique Gold paint was not going to do the trick on metal and that the paint would just peel right of.  So… onto plan B = do some research!  I found a bunch of articles on painting metal cabinets and headed to Home Depot.

First I talked to an expert at Home Depot who told me I did not need a primer, but to make sure there were no grease or oil stains.  I cleaned the cabinets with dish soap and water, wiped them down and let them dry.

What the metal cabinets looked like before any paint, with handles removed, and counter and stove covered:

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After the first coat of this 20120901-101910.jpgRust-Oleum Specialty Metallic Spray Paint for less than $5! :

I got this:

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Smiles already!

Another shot of the first coat with the flash on to highlight all of the chemicals I tried I keep out of my lungs. It sure is pretty though:

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After the second (and final) coat:

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It’s not perfect but it’s my creation and I love it.

Replaced the handles and I’m done!  Booyow.

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I’ve moved!

22 Aug

Okay. I’m posting way too infrequently for my liking. Since my last post I packed up my 925 sq. ft. apartment and, after a lot of sorting, donating, and trashing, moved myself and my things into a mmmaaaaybe 350 sq. ft apartment. It was a challenge. For the entire week before the move date, I was packing every single night. Trips to the local donation/thrift store felt wonderful. Trips to the trash felt even better. :p I even freecycled my kitchen table and chairs. #1 I had absolutely no room for them because as you will see I don’t have a separate kitchen, and #2 freecycling is the best thing since sliced bread.

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The night before the big move I met the property manager of my new place and got the keys and started prepping to paint! This first photo is of the morning of move day. My old place is all packed up. My wonderful boyfriend and I started painting the living room/kitchen. Last shot is of the movers (slow) progress in the old apartment. I’m going to miss it (but not that much, especially those rent prices!)

Now comes the fun stuff…

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These first shots are of the apartment before I moved in… actually they are old shots from before the last tenant who I learned had been living there for 4 years. And was obviously not a fan of cleaning. She must have loved cobwebs. (Yuck!) But as you can see the place has a lot of charm. The bathroom tile is original to the house and the little kitchenette is from the 1950s. Since I grew up in a house with cutest little robin’s egg blue kitchen, I decided to keep it retro and paint the walls a color called Mint Majesty.

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My very nice property manager has been acknowledging how many things need to be replaced and I was able to get a nice, bright white new fridge! With the door that opens towards the kitchenette! I love this fridge 🙂 It has clear shelves and drawers so no more food lost in the abyss of the cooling drawer anymore!

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Mini challenges…

27 Jul

I found this wonderful etsy site and I’m going to challenge myself to finish 5-10 of these projects before the Summer’s out! That’s two months away. I can do it!! (I don’t think I’m going to win the challenge of finishing Chanel by the end of July seeing as I haven’t read one word since my blog post! :p August it is!!!)

WHO’S JOINING ME?!

Fitness Update:

I’ve completed the Couch to 5K: C25K app and I can officially run 30 minutes at a pace of 5mph!! My bottoms don’t fit.  I lost 11 pounds.  I’ve lost 57% of my body fat (from 26% down to 15%) and I LOVE IT!!!!! I can’t believe I’ve done it. Now it’s time to start week 9 of Couch to 10K C210K register for a race, and build up some speed.  My next mini challenge for fitness is a 10 minute mile (6mph).

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I got a sewing machine!!

25 Jul

I finally got a sewing machine!!!!!!!

Craigslist to the rescue. Yesterday I met a nice lady in the parking lot of the nearby Michael’s and gave her my hard earned money for a brand new brother Project Runway Limited Edition sewing machine! 😀

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This video of a young woman opening up her sewing machine (Exact same machine) is basically how happy I was:

Last night I went to the brother sew and vac which just happens to be minutes from my house and purchased machine oil because I (#1, read the instruction manual!) and want to treat my baby right! MMM! I was so excited to start playing and learning and messing up and learning what to do and what not to do.20120726-094644.jpg

It’s like buying your first pair of golf clubs and now you’re ready to hit the green! I have so many little sewing projects in my head. Number one is learning how to take in clothes since I’ve lost 12 pounds and none of my pants or skirts fit anymore. Yay running!

I also took a second beginner sewing class a couple weeks ago where I learned even more than in my first class. The Silver Spring Sewing Society holds sewing classes at the Wheaton Library. It was only $20 for a beginner sewing class, plus $5 machine rental (but I won’t have to pay that anymore!!) The instructor covered machines, techniques, measuring ourselves, reading patterns and more! I will definitely be meeting up with these ladies in the future!

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Our super cute professor!

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We learned how to properly measure ourselves, and each other.

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Group shot! What a great class.