The longest DIY

I’m not even talking about the CISSP exam prep, but that is taking a seriously long time too. Either way, whether I finish the book or not, I’m taking the exam by the end of next month. While trying to schedule the exam, I spent over 30 minutes on the phone waiting for a human to answer, who told me I called the wrong number, but was nice enough to send me on the way to the right person. After that wait, I was told to email a generic email and wait/hold my breath/pray that someone will answer the email. You would think this company would have a better plan in place for people to take an exam (especially when they collect $600 when they do!).

But I digress…

I’ve been painfully slow on this DIY. Most of it is not my fault though. We are working on possibly selling the house (barring I can find a job – hire me please!). In the mean time, I’m working on some quick updates to make the house extra marketable. So far, I’ve painted a ceiling, cleaned up and repainted the fireplace, and have started the wonderful job of de-cluttering.

I’ve been wanting to paint the cabinets in the master bath white for some time, because I like white cabinets and then it would match our other bathroom renovation.IMG_3130


I think it turned out pretty well so we wanted to go ahead and do the same to the Master: paint the cabinets, add hardware, change out the shower faucet, and frame the mirror.

We also decided to change out the medicine cabinet in the Master bath. It was too small and was too 80’s oak for me. This part of the project has definitely been the easiest so far. Thanks IKEA!



The longest DIY part has been the main cabinets…and it’s mostly been because of weather. First it was too hot to paint. Temperatures during the day surpassed 100 and with the dew points, the heat index stretched into the 120 degree mark. I was able to sneak in a day or two in the morning or evening to spray a side or two, but it was going to take an excruciatingly long time. Then, although we got a much needed break from the heat, we got rain. And a lot of it. And it hasn’t stopped yet.

Next problem: I painted the main cabinet and towel storage cabinet with a wonderful high gloss cabinet paint in Ultra White by Behr. I spray painted the doors in a gloss by Rustoleum. I didn’t realize how much more white the Ultra White was  until I was ready to put the cabinet doors up. They almost looked gray. I felt like Clark W. Griswold when he found out instead of a bonus check, he got a one -year subscription to the Jelly of the Month Club.

So I went to the store and bought three more spray cans of paint in hopes that one would be more white than the other. I did find one, another Rustoleum actually, that was more white and will do as a redo for the small cabinet doors. The tall doors for the towel storage cabinet will have to be hand painted unfortunately as they’re directly in light and noticeable any other way. So once I can get a dry day, I’ll be able to finish this project.


You gotta love Contact paper



I’ll post some finished pictures once that happens.

Until then, it’s washing trim, packing boxes, and studying for this damn exam.


















Guest bathroom redo on the cheap

I’d love to eventually rip out the cabinets, retile the floor and walls, and put in new lighting in the bathroom. But considering we’ve already spent quite a lot in a kitchen remodel and flooring, and will be repainting the exterior in the next month, an overall remodel of the guest bath isn’t viable. Plus, I don’t know if I want to go through all of that stress right now.

Instead, we added a new shower head and handle, painted the cabinets, added hardware, and framed the mirror to give the bathroom a fresher look: all around $200 (including some plumbing fixes to stop a drip). I started out by cleaning the cabinets well, then priming them, even though I’d be using a paint with primer. At first I used a brush and latex paint, but between the humidity and streaks, I just wasn’t getting it quite to my liking, so once they finally dried (somewhat), I spray painted the doors with a gloss spray paint. That got rid of streaks and gave it a more even tone. During the drying times, the hubs cut the frame out and we framed the mirror. (Word of advice: make sure you get straight boards. Makes it much easier to tack on with adhesive. Ours were slightly bowed and were a b**tch to get to lay down on the mirror correctly).

The hubs did the dirty plumbing work as well. He replaced a leaky cartridge so it would stop dripping, replaced the old handle, as well as replaced the old,cheap shower head with a much prettier one (you can kind of see the old one and the new one below). Then, once the cabinet doors dried (finally), we added hardware and new rubber bumpers to the backs of the doors. I also added contact paper (not photographed) in the drawers to add a more finished touch.


I don’t have much for before pictures (I always forget that part), but found one that at least would give you an idea of the transformation. We really like the outcome. The hubs admitted to me that he originally didn’t like the mint that I’d painted the bathroom, but after we painted the cabinets white, he said it softened the mint and now he loves it. Amazing what some paint can do for you.

Cabinets off!
Unframed mirror

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Next project will most likely be the exterior of the house, but we’re still waiting for the prep crew to schedule a time to prep. We’ve had so much rain in the Austin area (downtown actually flooded!), so exterior painters city-wide are backed up with jobs. No big deal though. I want to do some research on painting techniques for the outside of a home, before I start painting willy nilly.

Gimme an inch…

This last weekend started out quite normal. It was our 9th anniversary so we celebrated with dinner and a show with local artist Emily Wolfe at Lamberts BBQ downtown. We had a great time, despite me deciding to try heels and ruining my feet. It was still fun.

Saturday was a trip to visit some breweries as we have a good excuse right now. We signed up for Barks for Beers, which is a great fundraiser, raising money for therapy dogs. We pay for a pint glass, and we get tickets for a free pint at a dozen breweries in town. The catch is that you have to hit them all by the end of the month. So far we’ve hit three of 12 so we have some work to do. We met up with some friends and had a good time hopping from Independence brewing down to Hops N’ Grain brewing.

Sunday, we decided to upgrade the bathroom a little since we plan on having some friends over during Memorial weekend.

Gimme an inch and I’ll take a mile….

We started out thinking about framing the mirror. I’d seen a cool idea on Pinterest (of course), on framing your big 3′ x 5′ standard mirror they stuck in every 80’s house. So we trekked to Lowe’s thinking we’d pick up the boards and be on our way. Well, then we decided, if we were going to frame the mirror, why not paint the cabinets too? They’re currently oak veneer. We could paint them white to make the little bathroom a little brighter and cheerier. Okay. Check. Paint the cabinets too. Oh, and we should replace the cartridge that’s been leaking in the shower. Picked that up. Oooh, let’s replace the shower head too. The one we have looks kind of ugly. Since we’re replacing that we should replace the handle as well. And since we’re here, we need quarter round to finish out the entry as well….

I went to Lowes for $10 primer and $20 for boards and left with a $200 bill. Lowes is worse than Target or Costco for me.

I don’t have any finished pictures because nothing got completely finished but many things are 80-90% done. We got the trim down in the entry but just need to finish with caulking. Same with the new shower head and handle. The mirror needs the top section and caulking for the frame. And I need to add another coat or two to the cabinets. THEN, pictures will come. We’re hoping to have this all finished by the end of this week so when our friends come out during Memorial weekend, we don’t have to put up caution zones in the house.

The weekend was mostly rainy so we had to set up shop in the living room and garage. We hate messiness, so at least it’s motivation for us to keep moving ahead.


I’m 99% done with the current bathroom redo. All I have left is to paint the beam and window glossy white and I’ll be at a good stopping point until I figure out how to paint the cabinets. The hubs was great and put together the hooks for the towel holder and got it up for me so it definitely feels more complete now.

The little pain that broke a screw and took way longer than anticipated to install. Looks so innocent….

I’m no Bob Vila

I try really hard at my house projects. But I’m nowhere close to being a Bob Vila or Mr. Holmes. Half the time I’m wingin it as best I can. Not to say that my jobs are bad. I’m just saying my only training is mostly through YouTube and learned mistakes. As  you know I’ve been working on my bathroom. I called it a renovation but really it’s mostly just a coat of paint and some new hardware. Until I gather the thousands to do a major overhaul, this will have to do. I planned on for now, a new coat of paint, some new hardware (toilet paper holder, hooks for towels intead of a bar and no more hand towel ring). So far I was able to get up the toilet paper holder and the hook for the hand towels. The toilet paper holder so far had definitely been the easiest. The safety checklist was by far the best part of the installation by the way…


…safety goggles?? Really?


And although I didn’t use safety goggles when installing the toilet paper holder, you should always adhere to the safety measurements the company has issued. You can never be too safe, right?

No hooks for the towels yet. I ran into a couple of snags along the way that held me up for time. (These don’t even include the previously listed snag, where I dumped the gallon of paint into may shower).

Firstly, when I tried to put the screws in for the hand towel hook, I snapped a screw half-way into the cabinet. I went to Lowes trying to search for a method to extract said screw. No luck. So I did what any American would do: I searched YouTube and lo and behold I found the answer, which cost me nothing! Just take your electric screwdriver, tighten it around your busted screw, throw her into reverse and viola! I didn’t think something like this would actually work but it did. So I was able to finally get that stupid hook into the cabinet after about a day and a half of trying to figure out what to do. My advice? Always start with the YouTube.

Secondly, after the hubs pre-drilled the holes into a board for the bathroom hooks, I got to painting the board. Nothing fancy, just a 2×4 painted white with black hooks. I put a few coats on, sanded it, then added a final coat. Then I looked for the screws for the hooks. Somehow they’d gone AWOL. I’ve looked everywhere with no luck, so I’ll have to make another trip to Lowes to retrieve some black screws. No big deal, just a time suck. Once the screws are in, the towel hook board will go up and all I’ll have left is to paint the ceiling beam glossy white. Then I’ll be at a good stopping point in the bathroom. I’d eventually like to paint the cabinets white and add some spa-like wall art to it, but in due time. I need to do some more research on painting cabinets.



What are some of your worst project stories? Any cans of paint splattered everywhere? Screws go into the next wall? Accidental holes? Let me know. I’d love to hear them. We can commiserate.

Oh, and PS – did I ever tell you the color this bathroom was before they covered it with off-white? It was, along with half the house, a dark drab olive green (the picture doesn’t do it justice. It’s much darker in person). I have no idea what this person was thinking. Army theme? Deep jungle? Either way, I don’t think I’d feel serene or calm in this bathroom….


Bathroom reno in progress

I’ve been busy painting away at the bathroom the last couple of days. Yesterday I technically finished with the color. I still need to paint the beam and trim glossy white, and did notice a small patch of color I missed that I’ll go back for. The fun though, was yesterday. In all my years of painting I finally spilled the can of paint. I knocked it right off the shower ledge and landed head down. Perfect plop upside down. Luckily it was directly in the shower and I was almost done. I quickly picked up the can, set it on a surface and went back to throw the shower on. I jumped in, fully clothed, and started wiping the shower down as quickly as I could. I then bleached it down to avoid any staining. What a mess. I’m grateful at least that it was in the shower so I could just wash it all down. I can’t imagine if it’d been spilled anywhere else.

I bought some hardware for the towels; I’m doing hooks instead of a towel bar, which only fit one towel well (and new ones cost a fortune), a hook for the hand towel, and a new toilet paper holder. It’s the little things in life.

The hardware is not up yet, but I’ll have it up in the next few days and will add pictures. Here’s a sneak peek.



Finding something or somethings that you love to do is so important. If you only work and go home, you tend to burn out quickly, get stuck in a rut, and wait for something to pull you out. I’ve dabbled in a few things like sewing, a couple of sports, and writing. But my favorite hobby is painting. Not so much pictures but walls. I love finding the perfect color and painting the walls of my house. It transforms a room for about $30. I have one more room to paint, the master bathroom, then I will have painted every wall in the house. Currently I’m painting the master bath ceiling, which is something I hate to do, but it was necessary. The previous owners had no talent when they painted but loved to paint every room dark Army olive green. And they slopped it on the ceiling and counters unfortunately. Most of the room’s ceilings were fine as is but this one was yellow and bad. In one area, it looked like they tried to cover up a spot they painted on the ceiling but they used a shiny yellow-white color so it was beyond obvious. I felt like if I painted the walls but left the ceiling, it just wouldn’t be the same. I wanted this bathroom, to change, to feel warm and spa-like. Right now, it feels like a rental, with base oak cabinets and off white walls.

Trying to paint sometimes feels like extreme yoga.
Slowly but surely coming along. It definitely makes a difference.
I plan on painting the beam as well. I think it’ll be the same color as the cabinets…whatever color they end up being.
That small amount took me about 20 minutes, so….

As you can see, navigating through a bathroom is not all it’s cracked up to be, regardless of what you’ve heard. You can see where I’ve started the painting process, and it does make quite the difference, which makes me glad I’m doing it. Next will be the walls (I’m thinking a warm blue/green), then eventually painting the cabinets (gray? white?); haven’t quite figured out that scheme yet, and maybe upgrading the light fixture near the shower. It’s not the main light, so it doesn’t need to be extremely bright. It just helps light up that corner since the bathroom is quite long. Tune in to see the finished product. Hopefully I’ll have the ceiling, and maybe the walls done by this weekend (fingers crossed).

And since I will have run out of interior walls to paint….onto the exterior!!