DIY world map magnet board

i collect magnets from the places i’ve traveled. it’s the best souvenir, in my opinion, b’coz it doesn’t take much to pack a magnet. i used to display them on my fridge at home, but after we remodeled our kitchen, i decided i wanted to display them in a different way. mike’s aunt uses a couple magnet boards to display her collection and i loved the idea! so, off i went to find my own but i wanted something more decorative for the wall, so i searched online for travel themed magnet boards, but geez are they pricey!!

 here are some i found online:

etsy | $95

amazon | $60

 there’s no way i’m paying that much for something i know i can make myself. turns out, i’m not the first to decorate a magnet board. i found several bloggers who painted, decoupaged, or covered their magnet board in fabric. there were sooo many cute designs and ideas for use that i may just have to do this again! i purchased the magnet board from ikea and found a world map at a local bookstore. the paper used for the map is thin enough for a magnet to still attract itself to the board. i used mod podge to adhere the map to the board and cut off the excess once it wrapped around and behind. i used a bone folder tool to push out any air bubbles and smooth the map out.

here’s the finished product! i spent <$20 for the map and magnet board and about an hour of my time while watching TV. i’m really happy with how it turned out and eager to make another… i may have to b’coz i don’t think all my magnets will fit on this one! now, where else can we use a magnet board in the home??? =)

kitchen reveal

we finally finished remodeling the kitchen in the last week or so of March. there were a few things here and there that still needed touch ups, but for the most part, we were able to start moving back in and… most importantly… COOK in our new and improved kitchen! these last few months have been so wonderful… just being able to cook and clean and wash dishes and have a place for everything (and everything is in its place!)… sigh… it feels sooo friggin great!!

we’ve had some of our close family and friends over to hang out or BBQ on a few occasions now. i absolutely love the flow of house now that we’ve opened up the kitchen. it’s exactly what we imagined and hoped for!

i’ve been holding off on posting the finished product until it was fully furnished, but that could take another year considering how much of a perfectionist i am. i’ve gone back and forth on furniture too many times and frankly, am beginning to feel comfortable with our folding table and chairs… blends right in! lol

here are the before and after photos… our little kitchen has come a long way!

here’s the new view of the kitchen from the family room:

here’s the new view of the kitchen from the living room:

one of my favorite areas of the kitchen is the garage cabinet. we keep our all our protein powders, supplements, and magic bullet. the cabinet above houses magic bullet mugs and shaker bottles.

here’s another fav of mine, the coffee counter and drawer.

suja essentials fresh start

during our last costco grocery haul, i spotted suja essentials 3 day fresh start. a juice cleanse sold at costco? and it’s only $29! a 3 day cleanse for < $9 a day, why not give it a shot?

as soon as i arrived home, i immediately turned to google in search of reviews, but found none. turns out the product has only been on the market for a couple months and is sold exclusively at participating Costco locations. i hate being the guinea pig but after reading so many positive reviews on other suja cleanses, i gave it a shot and thought i could document my experience in case others, like me, are searching for reviews before buying.

the package contains 9 juice bottles and a meal plan guide. this isn’t like other juice cleanse out on the market (blueprint, pressed juicery, urban remedy, etc) where you consume a variety of 5-6 juices a day and nothing more. instead, this plan is designed with food consumption included… drink a juice, then 30 minutes later or until you feel hungry, follow it with one of the mini-meals from the plan. the mini-meals are realistic and doable… in fact, most of them are already part of my eating habits. they offer a few meal options if you’re vegetarian or vegan, or none of the above. there’s the “kitchen” option if you have time to prepare a meal and there’s the “grab n go” option if you don’t have time. the plan also provides a shopping list and recipes. all the meals range between 200-250 calories, so you’re able to shuffle them around and repeat favored meals without ever veering off the plan. the juices are a combined total of 465 calories so in total, you’re consuming ~1200 calories a day.



day 1

7:00 am — juice 1: spicy lemonade. now, if you’ve ever done the master cleanse -aka- the lemonade diet, then you know exactly what this should taste like. i had no problem drinking this, it was quite tasty and yes, spicy.

8:30 am — raw oatmeal (250 calories). this is the only meal in the plan that MUST be prepared the night before. it consists of rolled oats, almond milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, and berries (i used frozen blueberries + raspberries). the picture i had in my mind of the outcome and taste was nothing like the real thing. the oats did soften and the chia seeds did gel, but the consistency was watery. and it kind of feels weird eating cold oatmeal. despite the texture, it didn’t taste terrible.. but it wasn’t enjoyable either.

12:30 pm — juice 2: green greatness. the description on the bottle says “greens with lemon & ginger” and no added sweetener. i could taste cucumber and ginger… it left a slightly spicy aftertaste in my mouth. it was my least favorite of the juices. i chugged it with a straw, then chugged water, and repeated until i was done. bleh.

3:00 pm — non-vegan protein mini-meal (230 calories) which consisted of 2 hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup of steamed asparagus, and 1 oz avocado. yummy!

6:00 pm — juice 3: vanilla nutz. this was really tasty and filling. its thick unlike the first 2 juices. i could taste the banana, almond, and cinnamon for sure. i really enjoyed this one.

8:00 pm — non-vegan protein mini-meal (235 calories)… 4oz salmon grilled over a bed of baby greens and cherry tomatoes with dressing (made up of apple cider vinegar + garlic powder + Mrs. Dash + olive oil).

30 minutes physical activity: none

total calories intake: 1180

day 1 retrospect: the day went well. when i was hungry, i drank juice, then ate a mini-meal. i didn’t starve myself or feel deprived in any way. i was exhausted for the latter half of the day and didn’t feel any extra burst of energy as i expected. i had a mild lingering headache all day that i’m certain was my body telling me it’s hankering for its daily dose of caffeine. i think the combination of the headache and fatigue really brought me down. i napped as soon as i got home from work. hoping for a better feeling tomorrow.


day 2

7:30 am — juice 1: spicy lemonade

10:00 am — Grab n’ Go meal: 1 medium apple + 20 almonds (230 calories)

12:00 pm — juice 2: green greatness

2:00 pm — non-vegan protein mini-meal (230 calories) which consisted of 2 hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup of steamed asparagus, and 1 oz avocado

5:40 pm — juice 3: vanilla nutz

8:00 pm — Grab n’ Go meal: Baked sweet potato topped with unroasted almond butter + sprinkle of cinnamon (250 calories). first of all, i’m not sure how this meal was defined as “grab and go”. it takes time to bake a sweet potato. anyway, it was tasty and surprisingly very filling.

30 minutes of physical activity: circuit training

total calorie intake: 1175

day 2 retrospect: i woke up feeling good. my headache was gone, i was bright-eyed and awake. then around 2 pm, i started feeling a slight headache. not nearly as bad as yesterday, but still noticeable and annoying. juicing and eating felt normal. again, when i felt hungry, i simply ate or drank the next juice. i did stay up later than i normally do, which led to feeling hungry just as i was laying down for bed… so, i chugged my 25  oz. tumbler full of water and went to bed, it seemed to have worked!


day 3

9:30 am — juice 1: spicy lemonade

11:00 am — non-vegan protein mini-meal (230 calories) which consisted of 2 hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup of steamed asparagus, and 1 oz avocado.

2:00 pm — juice 2: green greatness

4:00 pm — non-vegan protein mini-meal (200 calories) which consisted of a tuna salad over a bed of baby greens. tuna mashed with avocado taste sooo good!! way better than mayo. i think the garlic powder and dijon mustard masks the flavor of the tuna. i could eat this all day!

6:40 pm — juice 3: vanilla nutz

11:00 pm — apple + peanut butter, baby carrots, hard-boiled egg

30 minutes of physical activity: circuit training

total calorie intake: 1130

day 3 retrospect: i woke up feeling good. no headache, so far. i started my day later than usual, so my eating schedule was thrown off. since it was friday night, the bf and i had evening plans to see a show. by the time we got home, it was so late, it was too late to prepare anything, so i kinda winged it. i tried to stay within the kinds of foods i’ve been eating the last couple days.


overall thoughts: i really enjoyed this cleanse and would totally do it again!! the combination of juicing and light meals fit well with my daily schedule. by mid-day 2 and forward, i felt that extra bit of energy and focus. i never felt like i was struggling or torturing myself with no food and hunger pangs. what i especially liked about doing this cleanse was it corrected my mindset on clean eating and eating every couple hours. it cleansed my palate… i no longer have a salt craving. it also re-introduced me to easy meal prep (aka ‘grab n go’) and a couple new healthy recipe options. it definitely put my eating habits back on the right track, something i’ve been struggling with for the last few months ever since we lost our kitchen to remodeling back in November. this is just what i needed. loved it… and i’m not getting paid to say that. =)

ten years



happy anniversary to us! i cannot find the words to describe how it amazes me that i’ve shared 1/3 of my life with someone who isn’t family or a friend or even my cell phone carrier! all i can do is look back on the last ten years and smile at all our memories, achievements, and especially differences we’ve overcome… we’re far from perfect, and that’s perfectly fine to me. =)

sooo… when we get married… do we still keep counting, or do we have to start all over?


our anniv was low-key this year since mike’s been put on one project after the next. but, we managed to sneak away from his ever-so-busy work schedule to watch Rock of Ages on stage at The Grove of Anaheim. awesome show… must see!! after the show ended, we got to see fireworks, thanks to the angels game… guess they won!

another year another cheer

congrats to my cheerleader for making it for next year’s JV cheer squad! sigh. these jr high and high school years are going by way to fast for me. she’s a lil lady now and is going through her teen phase in full swing. it has its ups and downs. but i’m happy to see her grow and proud to see her learn responsibility and learn from her mistakes… it’s a slow learning process, but she’s getting there. =) anyway… on to another year of busy cheer practice schedules and game schedules and fundraisers and memories!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

- Steve Jobs

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