Saturday, March 19, 2016

Vanity in Chalk

Several years ago, I had my bathroom partially remodeled. I say partially, because it isn't big enough to move anything and I didn't see any need to replace a toilet and sink that worked fine.  

I did go shopping for a new vanity, however, nothing available would fit the bill.  I needed my vanity to have drawers, and nothing available in that small size had any drawers!  Ugh!  They all just had a door and it was suggested that I go with a trendy pedestal sink.  Um... The point was that I needed storage.  Not suddenly less storage, but at least as much.  More would be even better.

After the bathroom was finished (ok, it still lacks the crown molding I had before...) I discovered that the second mirrored medicine cabinet wasn't put back up.  I was told I didn't need it, by someone who didn't even live here.  Then I discovered that mysteriously, one of the doors had been broken since it was last hanging on the wall.  Hmmmm.... Now I had even less storage than before, and a salesman suggests a pedestal sink to eliminate almost ALL storage possibilities. 

Men.  I blame this on men who don't understand that ladies have stuff, and it needs to go somewhere.  Somewhere out of the way.  Somewhere hidden and uncluttered.  Like maybe in a drawer or medicine cabinet, you think?!?  (Yes, I'm still mad, and having the first medicine cabinet rehung off center from the light bar overhead and the sink does not help.) 

So I kept the crummy old vanity for lack of a better option.  Painted the bathroom "Twilight Mauve" (Valspar) because I love purple and that was a dusty, not-in-your-face option that matched my beloved shower curtain.  :D. I decoupaged the switch plate covers with a scan of the curtain fabric, and I painted the woodwork white.  

And when you walk in the bathroom, it feels small and crowded, all because of that horrid cheap oak stained builder's grade vanity with the brassy hardware.  Uuuuugly, even from my point of view, and I have ZERO talent for decorating.  

I accidentally came across chalk paint, the magical paint treatment, on Pinterest. Supposedly, it will stick to nearly every surface without prepping or priming.  Hmmmm!  So I chose my color, got a sample made at Lowes, and brought it home, ready to mix in the plaster and water.

And ready to make learning mistakes.

I cleaned the surfaces and mixed a few tablespoons of water into a bowl lined with aluminum foil. (Didn't want to ruin the bowl!). I poured in the cup of sample paint, mixed well, and put on that first coat of, appropriately enough, Tagsale Linen.  Sounds like my life.  

The first coat does look pretty awful.  That's okay.  After you put the third thin coat on, you can distress it, then seal, but I didn't want to distress.  It's a good thing, too, because after two coats, the paint scratched and chipped when it touched anything else.  

I went to bed, prepared to work on it the following afternoon.  That's when I discovered that the plaster in my chalk paint had set up.  Hahaha!  I should have known that.  The entire sample of paint was ruined.  Back to Lowes I went, for a new sample (it was only $4, after all). I waited my turn, and when it was my turn, this woman cut in front of me and the paint guy just gave her everything she wanted and I had to wait even longer.  Rude.  Poor customer service.  I suppose he thought he would make it all better and somehow boost my ego by calling me "Babe" when I asked for the sample.  

Wrong.  I feel demeaned by it.  Surely he didn't think I'm a high school girl or 20-something in need of an ego stroking from... him?  The boy with the unkempt and unattractive long beard? Yuck.  I do look younger than my age, I'm told, but a polite "ma'am" or even "miss" would have been appropriate.  Maybe I should've responded with, "Thanks, sonny boy."  Seems appropriate.

This is what I get for being quiet and polite, instead of being a pushy and obnoxious entitled bitch.

Anyway...

I decided to put on a light coat of Polycrylic to stop the scratching, then put on the third coat. It helped, but it wasn't perfectly durable.  One more coat of Polycrylic on everything, and I think I'll be finished.  

I didn't do any sanding, because of the fragility of the paint, so if there are any time bumps, they will stay.  I may add a little dark glaze to make it look antiqued, but for now, I'm satisfied that my vanity is a light color that makes it visually recede toward the wall and make the bathroom seem bigger. 

Of course, over the last two days as I have worked on this, rain rolled in and then the chilliness came back.  Aargh.  So that makes doing everything at once on the workbench outside impossible.  I haven't seen any temperature restrictions on Polycrylic, but you never know, right?

One last task.... What color to paint that awful brass hardware? Oil-rubbed bronze? It's pretty trendy these days.  But do I like it?

Note: I have discovered Unicorn Spit, and I think I'm in love.  I want some to play with!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

But Those Jitters....

I have my wedding to plan. A photographer to hire.  A baker to find.  And so much more.

I haven't been training for this event.  I don't know what I'm doing.  I don't even have a dress. I've got a groom and a venue.  Lol

I also have a limited budget.  I won't be a bridezilla, and I'm not having a big, fat, southern, overpriced wedding.  I'm not sure I can afford a professional photographer for such a small event, but for this, of all days, should I be spending my life savings to ensure I finally have one beautiful portrait of myself and my husband?

Oh, the joy of being an older bride and realizing that a lot of money is pointlessly wasted on megabucks weddings for younger brides.  Sure, I'd like to feel like a princess for once, but I honestly feel more like the old maid aunt, not deserving of any fuss because I "waited" so long to get married.  (Yeah, so not my choice at all.) I feel like that dusty old floral arrangement sitting on a thrift shop shelf, faded and possibly unable to be brightened up sufficiently.

I'm trying to keep my expectations low, despite the suggestions I receive to spend a fortune on a destination wedding, a designer wedding dress, and ideas for catering.  Sorry, folks, I can't afford that.  

And while I would love to have a wedding planner to handle all the details, I can't afford one of those either.  Should have been born a princess, eh?

Heck, I'm feeling awkward and presumptuous just working up the courage to ask my sister to go dress shopping with me.  I'm still having trouble at times believing someone loves me enough to want to marry me.  I'm wondering if any of my high school friends will come, after all their weddings and showers I've dutifully attended. 

There's so much of this stuff I'm capable of doing on my own it kinda annoys me.  I've been a wedding photographer.  I've decorated wedding and birthday cakes.  I've made my own clothes.  I could do all of this myself and save major money!

But I don't really want to stress myself out doing it all DIY.

I need a break.

It's Going Down

On the subject of my chubbiness for our upcoming wedding, it was a good thing I started drinking all that water.  No, it didn't make me start shedding massive pounds, (my ankles swelled up again, actually) but as it turned out, I was going to be drinking copious amounts of water anyway.  

No, I don't actually look as heavy as I actually am, and I found out why.  I finally found a doctor-run weight loss program that isn't just a daily dose of Phentermine and buh-bye, and every ten days or so I have my body composition scanned. I started out with an 18 on the visceral fat scale.  Yep, that's the dangerous stuff blanketing and choking your organs, and after ten days on the program, I had dropped down so low on visceral fat that it wasn't registering on the bar graph.  The readout said I was at a scale of 10 for visceral fat.  So that's good, much healthier, and no surprise because visceral fat is the easiest fat to burn and it tends to go first, from the research I've done elsewhere.  

I'm taking special supplements and eating a very low calorie diet (the quoted "under 1000 calories per day" turned out in reality to be more like 550 calories a day for me in reality), and I'm not abnormally hungry or tired.  The B12 supplement takes care of the energy, but I was told I wouldn't really be hungry because my body would be burning fat for fuel (as it is supposed to do, though mine has not been) instead of storing it.

I'm told I can definitely hit my goal weight before the wedding, and in 15 days, I've lost over 12 pounds.  No amphetamines, just a normal feeling of decent energy I'd been missing out on for years.  I just don't feel like a total slug.  

Do I believe that I'll hit my goal in just one round of the program?  Welllll, I'm healthily skeptical.  I believe it will take two rounds, and I'm not going to be heartbroken if it does.  Even if I'm halfway or better to my goal, that's a major improvement in how I'll look and feel!  Much less chance that I'll keep getting hurt running. :). I believe I'll for sure be at least 75% to my goal by the wedding, but I'm sure I'll be able to keep it off, because this program works by straightening out weight-regulating hormones.  

I won't lie -- I'm missing being able to eat chocolate and sugar, though I'm not exactly craving them anymore. I just want a few bites.  Having to cook my own clean meals is a lot less convenient than going to a restaurant, but I'm getting to eat shrimp a few times a week on this diet.  I could have lobster, crab, and scallops too, but they aren't that attractive to me prep-wise, and I'm still not much of a lobster fan.  

It's not easy, and it's not cheap, but I've seen evidence that it's effective.  Usually, easy weight loss means that it's not sustainable, or it's dangerous.  I still believe in juicing for weight loss, but this winter I didn't have any luck with it.  Local fresh produce was pretty pathetic this winter.  My weight didn't budge.  

The bright side about the clean eating -- I'm enjoying what I cook and realizing I'm a pretty damn good cook when it comes to making my good taste good.  I don't know how I know how to do it, unless it's from years of absorbed info from TV and reading, because nobody EVER told me how to sauté kale and make it delicious, and I'm not one to stomach traditional lazy, boil-the-hell-out-of-them greens.  You know, the kind people cover in hot sauce to cover the nastiness. Gooey, gloppy mustard and turnip greens.  Taste bad and smell bad, and stink up the whole house.  But kale... Sautéed in a little fat free chicken broth until it wilts a little and turns bright green, seasoned with lemon pepper?  Pretty tasty!  Makes me feel like Popeye after he eats his spinach - energized.

I feel like this is my last chance to get this weight off for good before I am too old and unwell to make it happen, so I signed up for the program and I've been successful thus far.  :D 

And does that make me happy?
Quite.