Saturday, December 23, 2006

NYC tree

With the hectic pace of getting things done for the Christmas holiday, I really hadn't had time to do any kind of decorating. I overheard my girlfriend mention that she wouldn't mind a small tree, and this image of a tiny tree emmediately popped into my head. You know, those tiny cheesy trees that some take-out places have sitting on their counters. But, I didn't know where to find them. As I was running around one day picking up a few last items, a tiny tree sitting on top of a cash register in a 99 cent store caught my eye. It was absolutely perfect! Exactly what I had pictured in my mind. It even came with decorations(tho we added a couple of our own) and even lights! The perfect size for my tiny NYC apartment. So, I ran into the 99 cent store and snatched up my 06 Christmas tree for $10. I couldn't wait to see my girlfriend's reaction. She loved it! We hurriedly took it out of the box and put it together. It was truly perfect. It now sits on my TV shelf. It has turned out better than I could imagine. Merry Christmas to all who read this and a Happy and Healthy New Year!!


Finally!! My sofa arrived! It's been 8 long weeks since I placed my order. Why so long? It would have been delivered a week later if I went with the original color, but I decided to go with one of the optional colors. So, they have to put in the request and have the sofa made. It's a pricey(to me) sofa, so I figured I might as well get it the color I want. It was actually between this Tetris Flannel(brown) and a white color. I really liked the white, but thought it would get dark patches very quickly. So, I went with the darker color. I can't say that I'm totally happy with how dark the sofa is, but it is really growing on me. Like a fungus.... :) And, it wasn't as comfortable as the one in the store. But, I think the comfort will come with time. It's already starting. :) I was nervous up to the last minute because they told me that I would have to remove my front door to get the sofa in my apartment. And, I had no idea how I was going to do that. When it arrived, I was so very happy to find that removing the door was not necessary. They brought it in, screwed the legs on, and it was sitting in my apartment. After 8 weeks, here it was. As I had hoped, it has defined the area quite well. Now, everything will start to take shape off of the sofa. It sets the height, position, and color that other items should be. But, for now, I need to take some time and enjoy the sofa. Woohoo!! Sofaaaa!!


So, the other day we were finishing up some Christmas shopping and just stopping into some shops to check out possible apartment items. We happened across this bathmat. Plush, worked with the colors I wanted in my bathroom, and it resembled the pattern of the mushroom on the Super Mario series. I wanted it emediately, but thought it would be too much. We were at West Elm. Checked out the price tag and realized that it wasn't too horrible. So, I carried it around for a bit just making sure I wanted it. After a few more rounds of the store, we checked out. To my surprise, I was charged less that half of what was on the price tag. Don't you love when that happens? I got a great bathmat for about $10. Nice!!


Whew, it's been a while. I haven't done much on my apartment for a bit. Kind of taking it easy and saving some money for some larger items in the apartment. But, one evening my girlfriend and I watched a couple of inspirational movies. "Who Killed the Electric Car?" and "An Inconvenient Truth". I'm no activist by any definition and have no desire to be. But, I would like to do what I can in my everyday life to not add to the cancerous effect that we have on this little marble we live on. So, I decided to start recycling. BUT, my place is SO small. So, how can I have some recycling bins and not take up too much space and also not have exposed cans of soda to attract pests? Of course, bins with lids. But, do I want blue bins for the obvious recycling appeal or do I want a different color that flows better with the rest of my kitchen. My girlfriend mentioned whit bins and it just sounded right, so the color was set. Now where to find this item? As usual, Ikea is the first place to look. At first they had great recycling blue bins for under the sink use. Then, we happened across these white bins in the kids section. They're actually diaper storage bins. But, they were perfect! The right size to fit perfectly into a tucked away corner and they had lids that snapped on. Plus, the bins were small enough to work with the usual bags you get from any restuarant or grocery store. And, that was the start of my "recycling center". :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Just took another trip to Ikea! Love that place. This time, I picked this little item up. It's a wire organizer. Since my place is limited in space, I do not have space to use my drafting table as just drawing area. I have to use it as my "office". So, I have to try to make things as efficient as possible and as clean as possible. This organizer will give me a place to tuck wires and place chargers. And, not have them sitting on the table top or hanging off the side. It's a good buy at $13. And, its tight enough to the table that it won't hit your knees. Nice!

I also picked up these hooks. I was actually looking for these round knob like hooks, but it seems that they were out of them. And, I had been waiting a while to find hooks for my bathroom. So, I settled on these. They're not horrible, but not ideal. They're basically blunt hooks. Very simple and clean design. They do serve their purpose. I staggered the placement for a little funkier feel.......well, at least not a normal feel. Yep, I still have the old holes that belong to the previous hook system.

And, I placed three hooks lower and off to the side on the door to hold my laundry bag and whatever else needs to be placed lower.

Monday, November 06, 2006


You won't believe what I had to go through to finally get this player to work. For some reason, all the players that I bought didn't work. And, the fourth one I had delivered(UPS) was damaged. I went to two stores and returned four DVD players before I figured out that I was doing something wrong. I didn't read the manual. I couldn't get the HDMI connection to work. When connected the picture on the tv was just flickering and looked like it was not connecting at all. I connected the component wires to see if there was any difference. The image was flipping and it was pink. I finally openned the manual and looked at the troubleshooting section. And, of course, there was a solution. Read the proper pages. And, taadaa, I had myself a fully funtional HDMI upconverted multi region dvd player. Not HD DVD, but I'm going to wait till they work the bugs out and reduce the size, and price, to upgrade. And, it looks pretty nice too. Not bad for around $90. Just remember to read the manual before running to return it. Some of these players need their video functions activated or set to the right output in order for it to work properly.

And, below the dvd player, that is the DVR Digital Cable Box. If you have a HD capable tv set, you definitely need to upgrade to this tuner. It gives you the HD channels and it records shows. Its been great because if you have shows you like to catch, like we do, it frees you up a bit from a tv schedule. And, allows you to finish that dinner, finish up that work, work out, whatever you need to do without worrying about missing a show. PLUS, it has two tuners, so it can record two shows at the same time. It's $9 more a month on top of digital cable, but its totally worth it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


So, I haven't had the time to actually get proper window dressing yet. I had taped up some packing paper that came in some with Ikea items. Go figure. Then, one day I was walking around in a store and came across these great items. They're Redi Shades. And, I remembered that my sister had these and remembered thinking that I should get them when I get a place....... So, here I am, I picked them up. They're great for temperary window shades. They have a clean look and are durable. Then, you can take your time finding ones that you'd really like without having to worry about a "unfinished" appearance. They offer the shades in a few materials. Paper, fabric, light blocking paper, and black out. I picked up the fabric. I went with that so that I could keep them for a while and they wouldn't rip easily. And, they let light through. They're cheap, have a nice clean appearance, and they're easy to install. Another item I was very pleased with. Well worth the money!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


This is my latest addition to my apartment. A gift from my girlfriend. Yup! It's the original mushroom from Super Mario. The one the makes you grow big. Yay! I saw it in passing one day when we were on Elizabeth St. in Chinatown. I expressed my excitement, but we decided to come back for it at a later date. We came back and it was no where to be found. We never figured that they would be such a hot selling item. But, I was devastated....... okay, not really. More of a dissapointed. My girlfriend comforts me. :) So, we left the store a bit defeated. I looked it up online and couldn't really find it, so I sort of gave up on it. About a week later, my girlfriend surprises me with a box. It was open, so I just thought she was excited that she had recieved something she had ordered online and wanted to show me. As I got closer to opening the box, she got giddy. It was very cute. But, I still didn't know what she was getting excited about. Then, I opened the box to a little mushroom sitting in a bed of stuffing. I lept out of my seat and joined her in her giddiness. :) Shroomy(?) is still waiting for his final living space. But, for now he sits atop my left speaker. :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

new view

I realized that I hadn't taken any pictures of my place as a whole for a while. So, this is the view that you get when you come in the door. It's a mess now. I actually transitioned from renting a larger place to owning a smaller place. So, I have a lot more things than I have space for. But, its good. It'll force me to get rid of things that I don't need. I'm a pack rat, so that's a good thing. Presently, as you can see, I'm using a Aero bed as my sofa. Nice....not really. Kind of ghetto, actually. But, I am in the process of saving up for my sofa. It's kind of pricey, but really quite comfortable. I think the sofa will be a big step to making my place feel more like home. And, it will help seperate the room into sections of defined spaces. So, here is my space as it is now. It's cluttered now, but hopefully it will clean up as I move farward.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I was really excited about this little item. I visited this hotel down in the lower east side. This really trendy spot. One of the coolest things that I saw was the "do not disturb" sign. Usually, its a flimsy piece of paper, or in the nicer hotels a flimsy piece of plastic, that you hang on the handle on the outside of your door. This place had these magnets. One side has the "do not disturb" and the other has the "please clean room" sign. I thought it was one of the neatest things about the place. Actually, it had a bed that I liked too. But, I couldn't just take a bed. But, these little signs, I'm sure everyone took theirs. So, now its found a new home on my refrigerator door. Reminding me not to disturb the food. :)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

see the lights!

So, at the end of my construction, I needed to find kitchen light fixtures. I put this off thinking that I'd take my time picking one out after construction. But, my contractor told me that the installation was included in the renovation. So, now, I had to scramble around searching for fixtures that fit in my kitchen. I needed two. I went to every store in the lighting district right outside of Chinatown. Everything I liked was too expensive. They were all over $200. I was bummed. And, getting tired of my funds running low. Too much output and not enough input. I was tired and just wanting to give up and just leave the old fixtures with the bare bulbs where they were. Then, one evening, I ended up in Home Depot. One of my favorite stores these days. I found these lights. They worked really well for my kitchen. The polished silver and frosted glass combination matched the wall cabinets. The best thing of all, they were only $35 each. So, I figured why not. If I don't like them, I can take my time finding replacements. And, for the time being, I'll have these fixtures up and not unsightly old exposed bulb fixtures. But, I was pleasantly surprised. They actually work quite well with my kitchen. The frosted glass sides actually spread the light very nicely and eased the spotlight effect of these lights. And, here they are lit. Not too shabby for $35, eh? Yes, I know, the stickers are still on it. I tried taking them off, but they are leaving a residue. So, I have to find some time to take them off with a cleaner in hand that won't leave marks. All in due time.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

more bang for your buck...

So, I'm slowly adding little things that make my place a nicer place to be. Cheap solutions to make things feel and function at a much higher quality. This first item I added was from Ikea( of course). They are the Rationell door bumpers. You know how when you close your cabinet doors you get this somewhat harsh bump sound? These are your solution. You can get a set of 6 for $10. See the protruding stem on the end of the grey structure? That catches your door before it slams shut. And, slowly closes your door silently. I have to say that it is one of the best buys I've made yet. Super cheap with wonderful effect! What more can you ask for?

My second item was cabinet handles. I was going to go with rods to match my oven, but I couldn't find the right length. And, I needed a way to open my cabinets. So, my solution, low profile Grip handles that attach from behind so that they do not leave holes on the front of my doors in case I want to add in the future. For the more visible handles, the ones located on the base cabinets under my sink, I attached them a little farther back to give the front an even lower profile of an appearance. These handles were again a product of Ikea. At $3 for a set of 2, you can't really do any better. I might go with the pricier rods in the future, but these will do just fine for now.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

1st stove meal!

First food item cooked on my stove. Ramen noodles!! And, in my new Ikea bowls. Part of a set of 18 for...... near free. Anyway, Ramen noodles!! One pork flavored. While the other was beef. YUM, haven't had home made Ramen noodles in the longest time. Mmmmmm.......

Friday, September 15, 2006

that's me!

Finally, after nine months, the management company of my building put my name tag up. Small, but in a way, it makes it feel a little more "yours". Now, I just have to wait for them to change my name on the buzzer at the front door...

a touch of Ikea...

So, we've been taking a lot of trips out to Ikea. They've just got the right products at the right price. I thought I'd show a few items to show how they would look in a actual home. Here, I have the Grundtal wall storage system install above my tiny counter. I needed raised storage in order to give the counter a cleaner feel. I'm actually the most thrilled about the dish rack. It folds up when not in use. Very very useful in a mini kitchen. :)Here is the Lyngby rug. I looked around for a bit for a rug that would work. I was iffy about many rugs. Once I saw this rug, it clicked. It's nice and soft. And, it has a soft bottom side as well, which is good for the floors. And, in the background, you see the Lack shelf on its side with the legs. Yes, I will be cleaning the wires up behind my "entertainment center". :)
This is my temperary dining set that my sister donated to me. I actually like it a lot. It has a small tea house feel. I wish I could find two more of those stools. They're actually a older Ikea item, but they are not offered anymore. The table is actually a Lack table. Side table, I think. But, it works well as my kitchen table. Simple and clean lines. Nice!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

2nd dish!

Aaaaand my second dish iiiiissssss...... curly fries. Haha. The GE oven with Advantium technology didn't do such a great job this time. It required three extra additional added cook times. The foil might have made a difference. And, in the end, it wasn't as hot as we'd like it. It was still good, but not as good as deep frying the little things. Maybe, that's the difference between baking fries and deep frying fries? Anyway, they are a nice golden brown, aren't they?

Friday, September 01, 2006

and accessories...

So, this is one of my first pieces I purchased for my place..... well, first piece beyond all the appliances, cabinets, TV, etc. So, this is a Lack shelf from Ikea. They also suggested using it as a TV shelf on its side. So, I decided to add Capita legs to raise the shelf off the ground a bit and to give it that "not a Lack shelf on its side" look. One thing did worry me tho. When I was predrilling the screw holes, the shelf walls felt very hollow. I'm hoping that it will hold my entertainment system without crumbling under the weight. Perhaps I'll add two more support legs.....

Thursday, August 31, 2006


So, I finally test drove the oven. I started with a simple Pillsbury Hershey's chocolate chip cookie test. I started with just two. So, if it went horribly wrong, I would have ruined only two cookies. The great thing about this oven is that it requires no preheating. Nice! And, it has preset food times. See the little silver knob? I just use that to scroll through the menus. Shoot it better have some interesting features. I paid enough for it....

And, here is the finished product of my first ever venture into making cookies.... Not the greatest looking cookies.... a little uneven... but, all in all, not to shabby. I placed them a bit too close to the trench, so they got a little warped. Now onto steaks and turkeys! :)

Monday, August 28, 2006


Finally, my oven is here and installed. It cost a bit more than I would have liked to pay, but it was the one of very few that would fit into the set opening in the cabinet. It's supposed to prepare food up to 3 or 4 times faster than a regular oven. That means cookies in 3 minutes!!! :) I haven't had the time to test it out yet, but I'm looking forward to it. So, now the renovation stage of my apartment is finally finished. After a few touch ups this morning and handing over of the final check, the weight was lifted. Now, to just settle in and start looking for furniture and the nice little accessories.

Friday, August 25, 2006


Yaaaay!!! My oven finally arrived after two other cancelled delivery schedules. My contractor is supposed to come by and finish up the job today. I hope that is so. But, I was so excited about the oven actually getting here that I needed to take a picture of it and share it. So, here is the box that my oven is in. I'll hopefully be able to post up a installed picture soon.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

floor issues

Well, this post is about the issues that I'm having with my floors. This photo displays the little bubbles of polyurethane that bubbles out of the floor. I'm guessing that it is polyurethane that has been trapped inbetween the floor panels. And, as time goes on, it gets pushed out. It may seem that this is not a huge problem. The problem is that when you remove this liquid, it leaves a sticky residue. This, in time, attracts dirt and leaves a dirty spot on the floor. This is if you remove it with your fingers, which my contractor's men did. Now, I've gotten to the point where I take a sharp knife and try to remove it as cleanly as I can. These spots are all over the floor.
This pic shows some of the touch up work that was done after the first pass of polyurethane. This was actually a "dry spot" where there was no polyurethane at all. After retouching, it seems that someone stepped in it and left a shoe print. Notice the circles. Obviously, this is not supposed to be there.
This pic shows wipe marks on the floor. See the dull streaks? Those are permanent. Or, so it seems at this point. My contractor is supposed to come by tomorrow to install my oven and "finish up". I'll question him about these issues at that point. Wish me luck. So, if any of you are planning to get new wood floors, ask if there is already a pre-finish on the panels. If so, stick with that. Supposedly, that is better than any finish you can get put on it. I didn't realize this, so I asked for a finish. And, this is why I am going through this drama. If only I would have studied up, I'd be finished by now. Well, just waiting for my oven.....

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

aaaaaaand..... are the floors! They're finally done. Mmmm...shiney... You can't really tell from the picture, but there are some issues that need to be taken care of. Things like spaces under the moldings and imperfections in the finish. But, all in all, not a bad job. There are so many little touches that I already have in mind that need to be updated. Things like light switches, outlets, door knobs, locks, etc. Unfortunately, money is an issue, so things have to be planned out. I do need to get furniture. I'm in my place with a temperary futon now. I did pick up some Ikea items, tho. I picked up two cheap wardrobes to hold my clothes until I'm ready to purchase my built in units. And, I picked up a TV stand. It's basically a book shelf laid on its side. Nice and chunky! :) The apartment is very close to being finished. At least the basics. The oven(new) is being picked up on Thursday. Then, there is probably one more day of touch ups around the apartment. Then, the construction part will finally be finished. I can't wait to change all my locks and be able to finally settle in and enjoy my very own place. There will still be a ton of work till the place is ready for guests, but at least that's the more enjoyable part. Now, the hard part is to get everything in without scratching the floors.........

Thursday, July 27, 2006

so close...

So, as I was searching for a gift for my nephew and for a check valve at lunch this afternoon, I recieved a call from my contractor. He proceeds to tell me that we have a "small problem". He said that when they delivered the wrong colored floors. So, I expected the worse. He tells me that my oven is not going to work with my apartment. It was like a emotional punch to the gut. I was so close to being done with this thing. Now, one more major hurdle. Returning the oven after the return deadline is up AND finding a new oven. I can't believe that I have to upgrade my oven even before I used this one. But, I digress.... Here is the latest update on the progress. :)

The floor is almost complete. I walked on it with my bare feet. Nice! :) I found out later that the glue wasn't dry yet, so I could have displaced some of the boards. Great.....but, supposedly I didn't do any damage. :)

The microwave and the faucet are in. I was all giddy when I turned on the faucet for the first time. Woohoo!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

it begins...

They started on my floors this Monday. I decided to go with bamboo floors after I visited my sister's friend Peter's apartment. It was the first time I saw bamboo floors in a residential environtment and fell in love with the look and feel. I thought it was out of the price range set by the contractors, but it actually just made it. I've heard bad and good about bamboo. My contractor wanted to just lay them down and leave it. I expressed my discomfort about the spaces between boards(tiny as they were) and they offered to put a coat of polyurethane down for free. I hope that takes care of it and gives it that nice smooth solid feel. I hope I get to tell a good story in the end. So far, it looks good. Tho it looks as if they squished a Gremlin to get the floors to stick....

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Well, they're still in boxes. They were delivered early on Saturday morning. The contractor claims that they will start on the floor on Monday. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Hopefully, I'll be in my apartment by the end of the week. Nice!! Then again, that's what I said last week. We'll see!


I got bored, so I am posting up some pics of the appliances that helped bleed my account dry. I decided to go with stainless steel. One of the things that I had always liked the look of. Unfortunately, stainless steel is always the most expensive finish. I don't know why, but it seems that I always lean towards pricey things. Maybe, I'm still attracted the shiney objects. But, because of the desire for stainless, I couldn't afford the top of the line items that I jumped at. I had to go for the mid-range to lower end appliances in the stainless steel family. Not too shabby, but also not top of the line.

This is my Ikea oven. Yep, Ikea makes ovens. Supposedly, Whirlpool makes them. This was a hard piece to find. I looked at many ovens. They either didn't have the look I wanted or they were way too expensive. So, I settled on this one. I like the look and the feel. Could do without the Ikea stamp, but it's okay.

This is my giant Sharp microwave. Why did I get one this large? Not sure. The only thing I wanted to was match my oven. The hole in the wall in the background is where the microwave will be located.
This is my DeLonghi cooktop. I searched high and low for a decent cooktop. This is one that I could afford. Now that I think about it, I wish I would have gone with the double burner. Oh well.
This is my giant Pegasus faucet. It stands 18 inches tall. Its almost touching my wall cabinets. Why did I get such a huge faucet? I didn't know it was so tall....

And, this is my LG fridge. I was quite proud of this purchase. A bit small, but a good size for my apartment. This refrigerator costs about $1000 online. I found it brand new in Chinatown for $699. Nice!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

closer look

Here’s a closer look at the counter. As you can see, I do not have much counter space. The cooktop and sink are pushed as far to the sides as they can be to maximize the space between them. Why did I get such a large sink? Not sure. I thought I’d need it. Maybe, I can find something to go over part of it for more food preparation space. I’d also like to find something to place over the cooktop for additional surface space. I went with the undermount sink for a cleaner more streamlined appearance. Plus, a basic rounded on top edge cut also to keep lines clean.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Okay, so not that much of a jump. But, yaaay, I got my counter today! I got a Corian counter. Couldn't afford marble or granite, so I went with a alternative. Still very solid, but not stone. My sister got this type of counter as well. It really grew on me. They measured for a template a week ago and came today to install it. I was very pleased. If anyone ever needs a counter, let me know. These guys do counters for Home Depot, but are cheaper. All cash, tho. :) No worries, they're very professional. The sink is on the right side of the counter. Close to the fridge. The opening on the left is for my cooktop. They put a special tape on the cutout to protect from the heat. As you can see, I don't have much counter space. But, because my base cabinets had to be pushed out I ended up with extra counter space behind my sink and cooktop. It actually turned out to be a good thing. It gives me more space to put things. Hmmm, a blender for making icee drinks? Nice!! So, I decided to have the faucet installed at the inner right corner of the sink to maximize my space behind the sink. My floors actually were delivered, but they brought the wrong color. There was only two colors, and they brought the wrong one. Can you believe that? So, that backs my plans up another week and a half. Anyway, my counter is in and I'm happy....... for the moment. :)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

not much...

I stopped by last night to see the progress. They told me that the "false wall" was put in, so I wanted to see for myself. Hmmm, the base seems to stick out a little too far, but there was really no other option. My oven is in, fridge is unpacked, and my microwave is unpacked and sitting on the work station to the left of the kitchen. I was a bit dissapointed thinking that they'd be farther than they were, but its okay. Now, I just have to go to Home Depot and pick out my counter color. The color I originally chose seems a bit dark. So, I have to go make sure. My floor still looks tan in this picture. It was called medium white, so it should be white. And, it looks white. Not sure why it appears tan. Hmmm, maybe because of the pure white in the rest of the room. Anyway, little changes. Hopefully, my next update will be a larger jump. Enjoy!

Monday, June 26, 2006


I went to my apartment this weekend and checked out where things are. So, the kitchen tiles are in and the old wood floor tiles have been ripped up. The kitchen cabinets are up. But, they do need to be taken down and have a five inch wall put up to accommodate pipes that stick out too far from the wall. Of course, this costs more money. The flow of money just doesn't seem to end. Unfortunately, it is flowing the wrong way. From the pics, you can get a sense of what it will look like. The kitchen tiles are actually white, but appear tan in this picture. They used a light grout to match the light wood floors and cabinets. I had envisioned my apartment with darkwood, but everyone warned of how that would make my place look even smaller than it already is. So, I had my doubts on the light wood, but decided to go in that direction. After seeing my cabinets up, I feel much better with the light colors. That tall box in the center of my kitchen is my refrigerator. Oh, the contractor is wrapping my hot water pipe with twine. You can see that half of it is done. He ran out. Surprisingly, he's not charging for it. I'm sure he felt bad because he's charging me so much for everything else. Anyway, this is the next stage. Everything is a little more cleaned up. The lines are cleaner. Things are starting to take shape.