evacuation checklist

{pc: LA Times}

All the fires going on in southern California right now have made me think (once again) about what I would do if I had only 10 minutes to evacuate my home. About 25% of our office is out today because they either have be on standby for evacuation or they just have no way of getting in because of all the freeway closures.

Since I’ve thought about this before, I currently have an evacuation checklist inside my desk drawer. A checklist is handy because when you have to grab things in a rush, you’re likely to forget something that was important even though it seems like common sense now – like your passport. My checklist has the following items:

  • our accordion file that has our car titles, passports, my citizenship certificate, our marriage certificate and other important documents
  • our memory box that has our engagement photos, wedding photos, all the letters & cards James wrote me and other sentimental items we’ve collected over the last 10 years
  • the watch that my mom gifted James on our wedding day
  • my engagement ring (if I wasn’t wearing it already)

I’ve also thought about scenarios where I don’t even get a chance to evacuate my home because either the fire was so sudden or maybe I just can’t get to my home because of street/freeway closures. To prepare for this, I started scanning a lot of the documents on my checklist and uploading photos onto Flickr. I’m not done digitizing and backing up everything but I definitely feel the urgency to finish this sooner than later.


master bathroom remodel

James calls this bathroom “my bathroom” because if it was his bathroom, it would look completely different.

As you can probably tell by now, I’m a big fan of marble. It’s minimal and timeless.

Literally every part of this bathroom is new so there’s not a whole lot to explain. The before and after photos say it all:

{before – so many wall mirrors!}

Sources: shower & bath wall tiles, shower floor mosaic, floor tiles by Choice Granite // vanity // sink faucets // shower faucet // tub// bath faucet // toilet (gift) // mirror (custom) // vanity lights // medicine cabinet  


new shoe cabinet

When I started college, my mom bought me this multi-functional store unit (see below). It has since gone through at least 5 moves with me. I never really loved the look but it was functional and, most importantly, free. So I kept bringing it with me to each new apartment, which was always a pain because not only was it heavy, but one of the wheels would keep falling off.

In our current apartment, it served as an entryway catch-all and storage unit for some of James’ shoes. But as you can see, it didn’t fit very many pairs so I kept tripping over the pairs that he left scattered all over the floor. Another thing that didn’t work well with this unit was the shape. It was really low (maybe up to my thigh) and wide.

When I saw this shoe cabinet as I was flipping through the new Ikea catalog, I knew it would be the perfect replacement. Not only did it take up less floor space because of it’s tall and narrow shape, but it was also inexpensive – only $25!

Now, all of James’ shoes are neatly stored and we gained some square footage back, which is important when you’re living in only 480 square feet!

{the unit we were using before}

my birthday

{photo credit: ahthatslove}

Today is my 30th birthday.

I wish I had something really deep to share but honestly, these last few weeks have been so busy that I haven’t had much time to really reflect. So I’ll just keep it short and sweet with this:

My 20s was filled with several major milestones: graduating from college, getting my first real job, becoming a Christian, getting my CFP, buying my first property, discovering minimalism, getting engaged, getting married, etc.

A milestone I want to hit in my 30s is becoming debt-free and achieving financial independence. (You can track my progress here.) A kid or two would also be nice :).

So goodbye 20s! You were filled with highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I don’t regret any of it but I am ready and excited for a slightly less dramatic decade.



cruelty-free face cream

I started using Clinique’s Superdefense face cream back in high school thanks to my aunt giving me all her free samples and it has served me well over the last decade. So well, in fact, that every time a friend complimented me on my skin, I credited it to this face cream. Clinique should’ve paid me a referral fee for all the business I gave them ;). Every time I strayed and gave another face cream a chance, I always regretted it and went back to Clinique. This was my holy grail, #1 staple.

But now, it’s time to say goodbye. Why? Because I’m slowly switching to a vegan, cruelty-free lifestyle and Clinique, unfortunately, tests on animals. (FYI, any product that is sold in China currently tests on animals.) I’m not as strict about all my products being vegan, but I am getting increasingly firm on products being at least cruelty-free. The thought of a bunny being poisoned to death for my face cream (especially when there are plenty of alternative options available), makes me sad.

Thanks to Christine’s recommendation, I bought this one to try and so far it’s been working just fine. It is easy to apply, feels great on my face and smells fresh (like citrus). I also like tube packaging a lot more than the jar packaging that Superdefense has. Most importantly, it’s vegan and cruelty-free. Even though I have no complaints about this face cream, I’m definitely open to trying other ones so if there’s a cruelty-free face cream with SPF that you’d recommend, please let me know!


hallway remodel

{please excuse the dusty floors :)}

At first the only changes we planned for the hallway were switching out the carpet for hardwood floors and painting the cabinets and doors white. But my mom came up with the idea of removing the current cabinets and replacing them with new, separated cabinets. The idea was brilliant because it made the hallway look a lot wider and now there is counter space to fold laundry, display pictures, charge your phone, etc.

Here’s the before picture:


Sources: cabinets & counter-tops by Fullerton Cabinet // mosaic by Choice Granite // drawer pulls & handles // all photos were taken by my husband, James


living & dining room remodel

The main changes that were done for the living room & dining room were switching out the carpet for hardwood floors and removing most of the wall mirrors.

The only wall mirror we kept was the one above the fireplace because the frame around it made it look modern and it fit the aesthetic we were going for. We replaced the pink tiles around the fireplace with new marble tiles and bought a new fireplace door. The wet bar was completely redone with the same cabinets, countertop and mosaic as the kitchen and the faucet was replaced with a new one.

Here are some before and after photos:


Sources: cabinets & countertops by Fullerton Cabinet // mosaic, marble tiles & hardwood floors by Choice Granite // drawer pulls & handles (that were added later) // faucet // fireplace door // all photos were taken by my husband, James