Saturday, December 5, 2015

Christmas Time is Here

We love Christmas at the Henry home! Here's a look at the current state of our space.

Front Door
Christmas Sheep
Simple box, bell, and sheep. I believe these sheep used to belong to Russell's parents when he was little.

The toy train and the banner were also Russell's when he used to live in Reno. His family are insane Christmas decorators. His entire family goes all out on Christmas, and it's nice to have little decorations that used to hang in his childhood home this time of year.

Coffee Table Centerpiece.
Top: Top View | Bottom: Side View
Coat Rack. Representing the Gryffindor scarf.
Side Table
Gotta put little ornaments on our houseplants. Russell's grandma knitted us that white circle Christmas decoration. The red yarn is mine since I am also trying to knit little Christmas decorations.

His & Hers Stockings
Mantel View
Loving our mantel. We had so much white space above the fireplace, so I hung little Christmas ornaments across it using fishing line. Total money saver and an easy DIY.

Snow Falling 
Also hung little blue snowflakes across our windows. The only way we'll get snow in this part of Southern California.

Vintage Sign
This also used to belong to Russell's parents. It's currently hanging in our kitchen.

Oh Christmas Tree
We got a real tree this year (last year, we were living in Carlsbad and didn't have space in our 450 sq. ft apartment for a tree). For ornaments, we stuck with white and silver ornaments/snowflakes. Russell also wrapped white yarn and twine around the tree. I love the smell of our living room every morning when I step out of the bedroom. Smells like CHRISTMAS.

My Favorite Christmas Ornament
Every year, we get a new ornament for the tree. This ornament was from our first Christmas together as a married couple. Also an easy DIY (buy a clear ornament, print out a picture, stuff it in ornament, then fill the extra space behind the picture with cotton balls).

Lewis as Grumpy Santa
Handmade Items:
  • Wreath on door: I made this last year as part of a wreath-decorating contest in a company I worked for. I got second place :)
  • Christmas pillow cases: Sewed new cases from extra fabric I had lying around. 
  • Quilt/blanket: Quilt on the couch was the one Russell's mom made me for one of my birthdays.
  • Stockings: Russell's stocking was made by his mom; it's the same stocking he had growing up. 
  • Red Mat on coffee table: From an easy sewing project
  • Mantel Ornaments and Blue Snowflakes: Made from fishing line and old Christmas ornaments from our first Christmas together!
  • Yarn and Twine wrapped around tree: Self-explanatory
There was a lot of easy DIY Christmas project this year. You can never go wrong from personalized Christmas creations.

We didn't go too overboard with the decorations--I figured we have years to collect different Christmas momentoes, so I didn't want to stockpile it this year. Hence, lots of random handmade bits. I think we honestly spent less than $20 on decorations [does not include cost of tree] this year, and most of that money was spent on ornaments. Loving the look, smell, and overall vibe of the living room. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

It's been a little, I don't know—different in the Henry household. We got a bit of news before Thanksgiving that wasn't the best. Nope. It was upsetting news, the kind you don't want right before the holidays. Yet, somehow, getting bad news right before Thanksgiving is the best time to get it. Because the day after, you're forced to face everything that you're thankful for. I hate being vague, but there's just some things I don't want to blog. Anyways, most of you know. Let's just put it this way: we are thankful that we both are in good health, that we have a roof above our heads, and that we serve a great God who always provides.

The day before Thanksgiving, we received news that set us back a step. But on that same day, we climbed into a Ford Expedition with both of Russell's brothers, their wife/fiance, two dogs, then drove to Oroville. How can I be mad about that day when it was also shared with so much sunshine and happiness? It was still a great day nonetheless because it was a day filled with love.

It took us 11 hours to get to Oroville, compared to our usual 8 hours. However, since there were 6 adults in the car, driving wasn't tiring. The dogs are best friends and would often cuddle together.

Thanksgiving day was a reminder of all things good. It was held on the same ranch we got married at. What a wonderful reminder—there's no bad news when you have a good marriage grounded on some sturdy foundation. We ate some good food with family, at a location that held so many memories.

Sunset on Thanksgiving day
These dogs taught Lewis how to beg. This was taken while I held a piece of banana for breakfast.
The day after Thanksgiving, Russell, his brothers, and one of his cousins played a board game. We also had a lot of wine curtesy of his aunt, the wine-maker. 

Russell and his brother being silly. This was at a small mandarin stand next to his grandparents' ranch.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Harry Potter, in Pictures

I took most of my Florida photos on a film camera. Here are the few I have on my iPhone camera roll.

Diagon Alley:
Diagon Alley was behind A BRICK WALL, LIKE DUH

Frozen (my favorite kind out of the three butterbeers they offered: cold, frozen, hot)

I had so much butterbeer while in the park. I don't even want to think about how much sugar I consumed.
I would write more about Harry Potter...but I feel like I wrote what I needed to about it in my Yelp review. If you're at all interested about what I thought about it (spoiler alert: I LOVED it), here's the review: Yelp Review

Tuesday, November 10, 2015



To bide our time before going on our Florida/Harry Potter trip, Russ and I went to the Irvine Spectrum and visited a soda/candy shop that sells every flavor of soda imaginable. They happened to have Harry Potter-like Butterbeer as well as Bertie Botts Beans! We bought these, then sat on a bench in the mall. Our first beans weren't bad--I got grass and Russell got soap. So we felt brave. We each picked out another bean (without looking at the flavor guide on the back) and ate them. After a couple chews on mine, I spat it out. I watched Russell slowly chew his before he spat his out. Turns out I got earthworm flavor. Russell said that while he was chewing, he thought to himself This tastes familiar but I can't put my finger on it. Haha, it was vomit.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Few Autumn Things

Before autumn ends, I wanted to quickly put this on the blog before I switch out my fall decorations.

I'm not big on large seasonal decorations but still love decorating our space to coordinate with the seasons. Below are a few pictures of subtle autumnal decor I have lying around. It's not much, but it was enough to change up our home for this season.
Autumn Candle
I light my autumn candle almost everyday and it makes our home smell nice :) The green dish is from a friend in Reno who mailed it to us as a housewarming gift. And here's a little pumpkin as an accent.

Blanket is from Russell's grandma who crocheted this for our wedding present. This throw blanket has enough fall colors on it, so I switched out my white throw blanket I normally have on our couch. I love cozy personal things. I try to take a minimalist approach when it comes to buying items and it leads to lots of creative solutions when it comes to decorating. 

Another little pumpkin chilling on our coat rack.
Giant pumpkin chilling on our fireplace. 

Not sure if a yellow pot with a little piece of twine wrapped around it counts, but it still brings me a teeny amount of happiness when I see it on my dining table.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Virtual Home Tour: The Dining Room (Before & After)

Here's Part V of The Virtual Home Tour! Let's jump right into it.


Featured: Lewis' butt
The dining area is pretty small but it works well for Russ and I since we don't have kids yet. We've always figured our condo will be our starter home and hopefully as our family grows in the future, we'll be able to find another home to fit our needs. For now, it's perfect.

As you can see in the Before picture, the walls are brown. It's a good space and it was exciting brainstorming ways to fill in our little home.

We couldn't find a place for this storage cabinet. After moving it around in our condo for a bit, we found out it works best in our dining room window nook.

Not sure yet about that little green palm tree on the side. It used to be in the patio but the winds lately have hurt it a bit. It looks great in the dining area but it crowds our space. Still deciding what to do with it.

The wine cabinet has become the place where I put random, but cute, things/momentos I want to keep.
  • Snake plants: Because, plants
  • Glass jar: Russ's best friend gave this to us on our wedding. It's filled with pieces of paper--these pieces of paper are blog posts/poems from when Russ and I were dating.
  • Wine bottle: Russ's aunt made our wedding wine. For the label, she printed out stickers of our engagement pics and placed them on the bottles.
  • Mason jar with fake flowers: This was a center table piece from my brother's wedding. Angela (his wife) made these and I wanted to take home a piece from their wedding, hehe.
  • Jar with wine corks: Since we've been married, when we open a bottle of wine to celebrate small and big joys, I'll write the date and occasion on the wine cork and put it in this bottle. Sadly, this isn't all the wine corks we've collected. I have a bunch more waiting for a bottle home. Maybe it's a good thing we have all these corks? I mean, we've been married for over 2.5 years...

Made this little macrame plant holder with some jersey t-shirt material. White curtains are from IKEA. The tan curtains were hemmed and made by Russell's mom.

Okay, I don't know why I'm showing this because we haven't done anything to this light fixture. However, this is the only light fixture in our condo that I liked. It's a good little chandelier and it does it's job. But, my vision for it is to spray paint the metal areas a mustard yellow then add mustard yellow paint to the tips of the glass around the bulbs. That'll be sometime next year though.

Good ole table from IKEA. Russ and I bought this table when we first got married. The chairs were plain wood but we painted them because we like color. For the one year we were in Carlsbad, this table went into storage. We're so happy to have this table back - it's like having a brand new dining table (since we didn't have a dining area in Carlsbad).

Monday, November 2, 2015

Virtual Home Tour: The Guest Bathroom (Before & After)

Here's Part III of The Virtual Home Tour. Every time I have a visitor, the guest bathroom is one of the rooms I make them check out. It feels a bit weird forcing people to stand in the bathroom while I gush about the improvements...but I really do like this room! It's so pretty!


Sadly, I didn't take a complete before picture of this bathroom before we fixed it up. Here's the closest I can get to the "before" shot:

In this picture, the walls are already gray. When we first moved in, the walls were a peach color. Countertops were an off-white color. And there was your standard medicine cabinet on the left. The toilet seat was also this soft pillowy cushion type thing that haunted me. After we got our condo, my mom was awesome enough to bleach everything in the bathroom. You couldn't walk in there without your eyes tearing up from all the chemicals. I was comforted by this smell because it meant clean.

We bought a tub-n-tile paint so that we could paint the bathroom countertops. I really didn't like anything in the house that was an off-white color. It just looked old, worn out, or stained. I wanted everything to look clean and fresh. After reading many DIY and renovation blogs, I found a post that talked about how you can paint your own bathroom countertops with a tub-n-tile paint. It'll save money on having to install a new countertop, plus it was fairly simple.

The process involved sanding down the counters. Luckily, we have an electric sander so this step was easy. The paint however smelled strong and bad. We had to air it out for a couple days.

Another addition to the bathroom that you can see in this picture is that I lined the bathroom drawers in bright, happy yellow paper. I love hidden pops of color!

Check this out. The sink knobs before just looked old and out-dated. We found these modern bathroom knobs on Amazon and installed them after the sink countertop finished drying.

We installed quirky wooden knobs on the drawers and cabinet doors as well.

Both of our bathrooms have giant bathtubs and are great for baths. However, the guest bathroom had a glass door and I didn't like that guests can stare into the bathtub when they use the toilet. So we simply put up a bath rod and a curtain. This way, we can create a more half-bath feel when guests use the bathroom.

A super easy DIY project we did for the bathroom, and one that automatically makes the bathroom look nicer, is this wooden frame we put around the mirror.

The bathroom comes with a great big mirror that is in good quality, but it was just plain and boring. This project literally took Russell a couple hours at most. All we had to do was measure around the mirror, Russell cut the wood pieces, and stained and sealed them. Then we attached it to the mirror using command strips. Viola!

I also found some great ideas on Pinterest when it comes to upgrading your medicine cabinet. Since this was a guest bathroom and I knew I wouldn't be storing medicine and toiletries in this medicine cabinet, we opted to take it out and modernize the space.

Russell was able to unscrew and yank out the cabinet. He then measured the space and customized a wooden open medicine cabinet! It is more like a sunken shelf and we love it so much. He stained the wood to match the frame and it just looks so pretty. After he made the wooden shelf, I went in and decorated it.

Here are some final shots of the bathroom at its current state:
Little whale tail for bathroom hook
Incase you cared about our rugs