Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bathroom Makeover: Phase 2

After what seemed like 27 more trips to Home Depot and working weeknights and all day Saturday, we finally finished with the bathroom! I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Benajmin for all his help and apologize for being such a slave-driver girlfriend. :) Over the last few days, we grouted the tile, put in baseboards, changed all the cabinet hardware, installed a new faucet and matching towel rack and paper towel holder, and last but not least...put the toilet back in.

Grouting is fun!

Tiles before and after grouting. I'm happy with the color I chose (natural grey), it seems to match pretty well.

You won't believe the deal I got the light below. $15 at Costco! Yes, you read that correctly - $15. It was the deal of the century, I almost fell on the floor when I saw the price. Unfortunately, the picture didn't turn out very well but it's a nice brushed nickel with frosted white globes. We had to buy bigger baseboards (5 inch) for the bathroom in order to cover up the marks from the old hideous rubber trim. We had to cut a notch to fit the toilet pipe. Luckily, Benjamin has a plethora of tools including a miter and jigsaw.

I found a nice set of Fontaine brushed nickel fixtures, which included the faucet below (sorry Sharmin - I didn't get Kohler) on

As with Phase 1 of this project, Benjamin was in charge of the toilet stuff. He replaced all the parts, so it's new and improved. My...what a big wrench you have!

Next up on the home projects list is fixing up the master bathroom. After all this work, I might be in the mood to start next year. :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Birthday Bash

Carolyn and I had a joint birthday party a couple weekends ago at Campo di Bocce in Los Gatos. It's a big milestone for me this year! I'm very excited to be turning 30. :) Thanks to everyone who could come out and celebrate with us! And a special thanks to John and Sara for planning such a fun and fabulous party.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Bathroom Makeover: Phase 1

Benjamin and I started renovating the spare (Jeff's) bathroom. It's a project I've been wanting to tackle for a while. With Jeff coming back from Austin at the end of the month, we decided we should get started this weekend. Woo hoo, let the fun begin! I'm such a meanie, putting Benjamin to work while he's sick. What a wonderful boyfriend. :) On Friday night, we took out the toilet. Or rather, Benjamin took it out. It didn't look so bad, but still...eww. We also painted the walls and cabinets. I'm not sure I like the paint I picked for the walls(Tropical Tide by Behr). I was trying to go for a turquoisy color, but this appears more blue on the wall. We'll see how it all looks once we put the white cabinet back up. That's the cool thing with paint, you can always change it! Painting the oak cabinets was such a pain, next time I think I'll just buy new ones. On Saturday morning, we demo'ed and prepped the floor by ripping out the linoleum and plywood and installing backerboard. On Sunday, we laid the tile. I found some really cool 1" hexagon tiles at Tile Fantastic ( They had the best selection of specialty tiles. The tiles came on 12 inch mesh sheets making installation quite easy. We only had to cut a handful of the tiles using nippers which is much more convenient than getting a wet tile saw for the bigger tiles. We also found pre-mixed thinset at Home Depot so we didn't have to hassle with stirring up the adhesive. That was nice! Now all that's left is grout, baseboards and other minor finishing touches (new faucet, fixtures, etc). Final pictures will be posted soon.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Zen of Diving

Last night we had our final scuba pool session. I'm relieved to report that I didn't freak out this time! I actually had a lot of fun and am looking forward to our ocean dive. I just had to keep reminding myself to stay calm, breathe, and focus. It's all mental. Our class was a little behind so we had to stay an extra hour to complete our remaining skills. Four hours in the chlorine was a little brutal. We packed in a lot, some of which included: fin pivot, controlled emergency descent, taking off/putting on our weight belts and bcds underwater, no-mask swim (my least favorite). I also experienced what they call the "Zen of Diving" for about 30 seconds. This is where you control your buoyoncy and breathing so that you hover in the water, like you're flying. It was awesome! I'm sure I didn't look very graceful, especially since my weightbelt was on lop-sided and kept causing me to rotate to my right side. Benjamin and I are ready for our final test in the ocean next weekend. Monterey will be freezing cold, good thing we'll be wearing 7mm wetsuits, hoods and gloves. After that (and Italy), we'll have to plan a trip somewhere tropical!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hiking the Grand Canyon

My friend Niki and I did some hiking in the Grand Canyon last week. It was amazing! We took the park shuttle to Hermit's Rest (south rim) and picked up the trailhead from there. We only had enough time to do a day hike, so we couldn't make it all the way down to the Colorado River. Actually, we probably could have if we'd started earlier in the morning but they don't suggest doing it in a day. Instead, we hiked to Dripping Springs (7 miles round trip, est time: 5-9 hrs). Started at 7000 feet, went down to 5000 feet and back up again. Seeing Dripping Springs was a bit anticlimactic, I think we were expecting something bigger. It was literally dripping....slowly. The uphill return killed, what a great workout for the glutes. It only took us 3 hours round trip! Hiking into the canyon was unbelievable. Next time I'd like to try backpacking for a couple days down to the river.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Breathing Underwater

Benjamin and I are getting scuba certified through Diver Dan's ( The course is three weeks long, twice a week (classroom on Mon, pool on Wed). We will do our final test in Monterey in a couple weeks. Last week, during our first pool session, we learned how to assemble our BCD (buoyancy control device), put the tank on and all that good prep stuff. It took quite a while! We finally got in the water and started doing some basic skills like taking the regulator in and out of our mouths and clearing our masks. Breathing underwater is an awesome feeling! It took a while to get used to it though, especially since I've trained myself to be a nose breather with running. Anyway, we had our second pool course tonight. We learned how to breathe from our buddy's alternate air source, switch from snorkel to regulator, breathe without our masks on and take our masks on and off underwater. I was feeling pretty good up until we had to do a descent down the deep end. I started feeling like I couldn't breathe and was flailing around. I think I was freaking out...I used up quite a bit of my air during that exercise. Next time I need to relax and stay focused. I think I'll feel more comfortable with practice. Good thing my buddy Benjamin is in control. Although, he might be trading me in for a new buddy soon if I don't shape up!