Going Gray

I found my first gray hair when I was 17.  The next 5 years I could manage it by obsessively pulling them out but eventually there were so many I had to start coloring my hair (I'm naturally a brunette)...  I wasn't ready at 22 years old to embrace the gray.   About 4 years ago the gray became so thick that coloring my roots wasn't working anymore, a month or so after coloring I was faced with a gray stripe down my head from the grow out which made me feel my older than I am!  So I decided to start the process of going gray and, as it happened, gray hair was very popular at the time, lucky me!

My first trip to the salon I told her I wanted to transition to gray and brought photo examples.  Unfortunately platinum/blonde/gray was not her specialty and she (for some strange reason) died my roots VERY dark and the rest of my hair a reddish brown.  I knew transitioning to gray was going to take a few steps because my hair was brown but this was all wrong... I didn't think to take a picture of the before but imagine it was just med brown....  This is the after below.

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That experience was a lesson learned.  It is so important to find someone who specializes in blonde/gray hair.  So, I did my research and found Zabic Stylehouse (in Portland OR).  They transitioned my hair to a blonder color with subtle pieces going up to my roots so as the gray grew out it would be less noticeable.  They also color with Olaplex which is much healthier for blonde coloring.  I used the Olaplex conditioner frequently to maintain my hair. 

After photo below.. 

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My next trip in I went even more gray blonde with a touch of purple and colored closer to the roots.

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My hair has grown out now for about 10 months since coloring and the transition is much easier with no harsh grow out lines.  This process will work if you are at least 40% gray, the grow out will blend your natural hair and the dyed hair...  The next time I go in to color (if I ever do) I may have some subtle highlights or balayage added.

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I've recently discovered Kristen Ess products.  Her purple shampoo and conditioner   is AMAZING (it's linked there but can also be bought at target)  You may have seen on my instagram when I was talking about how my hair was turning green.  I tried all the home remedies and so many different purple shampoos.  This was the ONLY product that worked to remove the green and brass colors.  I just tried her pink tint on the tips of my hair as well and love it!

So, I encourage anyone going gray to go for it!  Find a great colorist who specializes in platinum/gray and use good products to maintain!

DIYliz kamarulhair, gray, grey
Q&A

About a week ago I asked everyone on Instagram to send me questions they would like to have answered about anything... I've answered the first 20 (or so)....

Do you have any editing advice for fellow thrifting addicts who have gone past the point of maximalism to hot mess?  Do you have a process for removing or staging items in your home to reduce the look of clutter?

I've definitely been there and know how addicting thrifting can be, at one point in our old home the guest bedroom was overflowing with thrifted treasures that couldn't fit in the rest of the house.  At that point you need to start looking at EVERY item in the house and decide if you love it so much you can't imagine life without it or if it's just okay.  

Every piece that's just okay needs to go, whether you sell it or re-donate it.  It NEEDS TO GO.  A house that's full of your absolute favorite items will bring you so much more joy.

What is your process for starting to design a room that's a completely blank canvas?

I like to start with something large, like a rug or a couch or piece of art.  From there you can start to build a color story and create a cohesive look.  The couch in our house was the starting point.  

If you are starting with nothing try painting a bold color on the wall or hang wallpaper.  It's such a cheap easy way to transform a space and create the overall vibe of the room.

How do I start a design account?  What to name it, use of #, how often to post.  Do I need a camera or can I use my phone? Do you plan out content or go with your gut.

When it comes to name an account I'm the wrong person to ask, I can never come up with anything clever like that.  I just used my name because I knew it wouldn't pigeonhole me into a specific style and I wouldn't regret it because it's just my name.

Hashtags are a very important part of instagram.  They allow your photos to been exposed to a larger audience and you can also participate in feature hashtags which means your account will be seen on other larger accounts.  Example: the hashtag #finditstyleit meant if your photo was chosen as a favorite it would be featured across 5 different accounts.  

Or if you've purchased an item from a store, use their hashtag for a chance to be on their account, example: #mywestelm

I like to post once a day, keep an active account, interact with people and build relationships.  My content is not planned out in advance, usually just photo to photo.  I like to make sure I'm not sharing too much of one area of our home so it doesn't become boring and repetitive.  Also, try not to overfilter your images and what filters or editing you do use, keep it consistent. 

Phones these days take such good pictures.  I have a Samsung and a lot of the time I just use that.  There are times however when my camera is so much better like on a dark day when the phone just cant capture the light correctly.  I use a Canon Rebel T6.

What do you miss the most about living on the road and what was your least favorite place?

I actually miss the small space.  I love having a home to decorate and rearrange but there was something so nice about having just a few items and making it so cozy.  It was a very easy lifestyle and I felt like we spent less and wasted less.  

I also miss seeing new places and trying new things every day.  There was no rut to fall into.

Nothing really stood out as a least favorite.  

Do you have daily or weekly rituals to keep you focused/creatively inspired?

I don't.  I find that creativity for me just hits unexpectedly.  When I try to force myself to create it never works.  Sometimes just laying around in our living room I'll zone out and something will spark.  So I guess taking time to relax and let my mind wander may be my ritual.

What attracted you to New Orleans and what do you miss about the Pacific Northwest?

We found New Orleans exciting because it is so different from the Pacific Northwest.  Different culture, food, WEATHER.  It's a very lively place that honestly makes me a bit nervous at times but it's exciting!

I miss being closer to my parents.  We used to be able to drive 8 hours to see them, now it's almost 8hrs flying and much more expensive.

Do you budget for thrift shopping or just buy what speaks to you?  Do you sell your old stuff?

I buy what speaks to me.  As soon as I see something I love my eyes light up and I run over to grab it immediately!  There's not always a plan for how I'll use it in the house but that happens later.  I am trying to limit the amount of small items that I purchase, they usually end up becoming more clutter and I'll either sell or donate back.  When we moved away from Portland I had an enormous sale of 75% of everything in our home.  It made me realize that only 25% was actually important to me.  The rest was just stuff.

What inspired you to start up your Instagram page?

I started my Instagram as a way to show clients houses that I had staged in the past (I used to be a home stager in Portland OR). Slowly I started sharing pictures of our house and it took off from there!

Where do you store your excess home decor that you scored thrifting but don't use anymore?

I don't have any excess items anymore and I even do a small purge every now and then of what we do have.  After moving across the country I decided we had entirely too many things and really want to live more purposefully in our home from now on.

When you initially started out do you recall something that happened or a moment when you noticed you were gaining traction?  If so, what were your feelings about it at the time?

About 1 year in to being on Instagram and after starting to share our home I began to get featured quite frequently on larger accounts like Pottery Barn and The Jungalow.  My following started to grow rapidly and then businesses wanted to partner with me.  I couldn't believe it!  I didn't even know that Instagram could have so much potential and I was very excited but also very unsure of how to move forward. 

When thrifting, how do you tell if it's good quality and what else do you consider when making a thrift purchase?

When it comes to to furniture I always think the heavier the better.  Old and well built items just tend to be heavy because they're solid and built to last!  I try to look for items with nice details too or interesting shapes.  Don't let color or upholstery stop you from buying something.  You need to look beyond that and see what it could be.

How critical is your Instagram following for your biz and what other avenues have you explored to grow it?

Right now Instagram is pretty important to me which makes me nervous because who knows how long it will be around.  I'm trying to be more active on my blog because I have the control of that space.  I'm also moving towards designing items (wallpaper, curtains etc.) Really excited to start sharing more about that soon!

Sectional or two sofas?

Well, okay I guess that depends on the person but I prefer a sectional.   There's nothing better that stretching out on a sectional!  I've never owned one but someday I'll have the space.

What is the biggest culture shock moving to the south from the PNW?

I don't even know how to explain it.  The south is just different.  Not in a bad way at all and kind of indescribable.  It will take me some time to find the words to describe...

The thing we really have noticed (and a big part of why we moved) is weather related.  It doesn't rain 3 months straight here and we have days where it's 73 degrees in the winter!

What is the process of making a couch like yours?

Our couch was given to me.  I was at a staging consult and it was the only piece of furniture left in the house.  The guy said he was going to get rid of it so I gladly took it off his hands!  It's vintage, the orange and black fabric is original to the couch.  I had the seat cushions reupholstered and we nailed the cedar planks to the sides.

When looking at sofas think outside the box.  There are endless ways to transform a piece whether its cutting of the skirt, changing cushion or pillow fabric, or even just draping a blanket across the back.

What are the best ways you've found to market your interior design services and meet prospective clients?

I was doing a lot more design consults while we were on the road in our RV and I found the best marketing tool for me at that time was Instagram.  I had built relationships with people that were excited to meet in person, they knew what my style was and what to expect after seeing our home evolve online.

Has New Orleans influenced your style?

I don't know if New Orleans has necessarily influenced my style too much.  Most of the direction our house goes is thanks to the thrift shops.  I never have a plan when I'm looking for something so the house just evolves according to what I find!  I do think that after spending hours walking through the neighborhoods and seeing all the beautiful vibrant and colorful homes it definitely keeps my love for color alive!!

That's it for now!  Thanks for participating in my Q&A!

DESIGNliz kamarulq&a, question
RV essentials

I've been thinking about our time in the RV and what it took to be on the road.  There are 9 items that we could not have lived without.  Without further ado. 

#1 Back up camera:  There was no way to see out the back of the RV and at 22' long you really want to know what's going on behind you.  We found ours on amazon and kept it on all the time using it like a rear view mirror.  You can shop it HERE.

#2 RV lock:  As it turns out you can open almost any old lock on an RV with ANY key.  I tried it.  The key to our shed opened the RV.  Not good.  We tried a different electronic lock prior to this one and returned it.  For the 5 months we traveled this lock held up great... I think there was one instance when it went a little screwy but we had the key to open it.  You can shop it HERE.

#3 Safe:  It's great to have the additional security when traveling.  This safe fit under our dining bench and we bolted it to the ground.  Never had any problems with it at all and only had the change the batteries once in 5 months. You can shop it HERE.

#4 Solar charger:  The cigaret lighters in our RV didn't have a strong charge so the Garmin would often die very quickly.  This solar charger kept it going for hours on end.  Although it really doesn't charge itself in the sun (it would take about 2 days I'm guessing) we charged it every night with power and it held up throughout the day.  You can shop it HERE.

#5 Hydro Flask:  The best water bottle ever.  We used these all day every day and I'm still using it now while living in our house.  Keeps liquids cold forever and even when the bottle is extremely hot when left in the sun the liquid inside is cold cold cold.  You can shop it HERE.

#6 Phone adaptor: This little thing came in so handy.  We used our computer screen mounted to the wall as a tv and were able to plug Tim's iphone into this adaptor to stream Netflix.  A few downfalls... You have to download the shows you want to watch because it wont let you stream directly.  Since updating the phone we had trouble using it with Netflix at all but it worked with Amazon shows.  I don't understand technology, but it's worth looking at.  You can shop it HERE.

#7 AeroPress coffee maker:  So this one is more for Tim because I don't drink coffee but he has tried many many different coffee makers and this is by far his favorite.  This is another product we are still using now in our home.  It was perfect in the RV because it's small and easy to use.  It only makes one cup though so if you need coffee for a lot of people you may want something bigger.  You can shop it HERE.

#8  Cooling vest:  This one is for the dogs (Cudi and Bo).  They rode in the RV secured under the dining table and during those hot days the ac (when it was working) didn't reach far enough to keep them cool.  These vests made a considerable difference for them and stayed cool for several hours.  You can shop it HERE.

#9 Mattress:  Last but not least, probably the most important, was our mattress.  I'm a terrible sleeper as it is, so the thought of sleeping in a tiny bed in an RV for 5 months was concerning.  We partnered with Brentwood Home to have a custom mattress made and it was AMAZING, and all natural!  I actually slept better on it than any full sized mattress anywhere.  We love it some much we have one in our home now (queen size)  You can shop it HERE.

 

Peel and stick wallpaper: How To

I know wallpaper can be intimidating, but like most things you've just got to take the risk.  I've used pre-glued, not pre-glued and as of late, peel and stick.  All of them are fairly simple but probably the easiest and most forgiving (and reusable! although I haven't attempted to re-use yet) is peel and stick.

Here is a step by step process using paper from my partnership EazyWallz, you can find the exact paper I chose HERE.  Our mural came in 5 strips and it was custom cut to fit the wall.

This type of wallpaper can easily be hung by one person but since our ceilings are so tall and we had to use a ladder it was much easier with two people for the top portion of the mural, once we reached the height that didn't require a ladder I was able to apply it alone. 

First:  peel back about 4-5 inches of the backing across the top.  Press that strip onto the wall.

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Next:  slowly and evenly pull the backing away, as you do this press the paper on to the wall.  If you notice wrinkles or bubbles you can easily peel it off the wall and readjust.  

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That's it!  A couple tips though... After you have applied the first strip of the mural to the wall make sure when you start the second piece that everything lines up pattern wise.  If you notice that the pieces are starting to overlap as you place the second strip at all you cannot just stretch the paper to correct because by the time you reach the end of the mural the whole thing will be askew, so peel it off and start over. Also, although you can remove the paper and re-apply you need to be very careful because the paper loves to stick to itself, it will come apart but it's no fun.

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So there you go, give it a try!  Here's a code for 20% off!  LIZINSTA20 at EazyWallz

Blurb Books

This post was created in partnership with Blurb.

It's hard to believe that almost 5 months ago we set out in our RV to travel across the USA.  The memories made in that time are something we will treasure for the rest of our lives!  I took extra measures to remember what we saw by journaling every day and just finished creating a book with Blurb using their new Layflat book format.  

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Creating the book was so much fun and really addicting!  I used their book-making tool, BookWright, which was very straightforward and had helpful features like letting me know if the image needed to be higher resolution or if the image was getting cropped off the edge of the book.

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I spent hours scrolling through all the photos we took to find the very best shots and uploaded pictures from my phone into BookWright.

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Blurbs new Layflat book format is really cool.  It gave me the ability to take our panoramic shots and spread them across two pages!  I love seeing our images in all their glory, with no details lost to the center gutter.

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During creation of the book I often referred to my journal so I could correctly label where each photo was taken.  I loved being able to add as little or as much text to the images as I wanted.

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I placed the order, waited patiently, and then just like that we now have a beautiful hard cover book that will allow us to revisit our time in the RV.  

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Would you ever create a book?  What would your Blurb book be about?

OUR RVliz kamarulBlurb, Book, RV
RV Renovations Part 2

Alright, here's PART 2 of the RV renovations!

BATHROOM:

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We used peel and stick tiles from Home Depot.  The adhesive was not strong enough to hold the tiles so we used extra to make sure they stayed up.  For the caulking we used a silicone rubber grout and a waterproof paint for the ceiling.  Originally the tub was a disgusting yellow, we used a tub resurfacing kit which so far has held up great! No scratches!

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The flamingo wallpaper is from NewWall and the Nudes neon sign is from BritelightTribe.  The mirror I found at the thrift store and the sink was also painted with the tub resurfacing kit.  We found the faucet online, it’s made for RV’s and it’s plastic.

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The divider for the bathroom used to be an accordion door but it was in bad shape.  We kept the ceiling track in ran on and ordered new glides with hooks so we could hang a curtain… Not much privacy in the Winnebago!

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We also bought a new ceiling fan and Tim installed it, there was a leak coming in from the old one that caused some ceiling damage.

 

BEDROOM:

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We had a custom mattress made from Brentwood home and it was the best decision.   Having a comfortable bed makes such a difference and really makes the RV feel like home and a place we look forward to staying in.  We brought in our favorite bedding to help as well.  The blanket is from Shop Viariaz, the large pillow from ShopFleaMarketFab, one from Swoon Rugs and three from dkrenewal.

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We added the sconce in the bedroom from Rejuvenation as well, it’s the only new light we added but helps in making the space feel more like a home and less like an RV.

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The beautiful wall hanging is from Wanderlux Jewelry and looks like it was custom made for the space but it wasn’t, it’s just perfect that’s all!

The wall behind the bed we used another wallpaper I found on Amazon, it adds a nice texture to the space.

We installed a wall mount to hang our computer monitor which acts as our TV and a small shelf to hold the sound bar and cell phones for charging.  We stream all of our shows from Tim’s phone using an adapter.

Another pull out drawer was added under the bed to create more storage without having to remove the entire mattress!

 

EXTERIOR:

We didn’t need to do much to the exterior, just freshened up the stripes using a paint called 1shot.

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We added a several coats of sealant to the roof as well a primer and a paint to prevent leaks.

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LOGISITICS:

We have been planning this journey since August 2016 and thought we would save a ton of money but as per usual we really didn’t.  Fortunately we made it work in different ways.  This year we had a tax return so all of that was set aside (about $2,000), my grandparents had left me $3,000 that I’ve been holding on to for a special occasion and this seemed like the perfect thing to use it on.  We also sold almost everything in our house and made around $3,500.

So, the day we left (June 1st 2017) we had $8,500 set aside.

While we’re on the road I will be working with companies as an influencer and expect to make some extra money doing that.  I think having that opportunity is such a gift, I get to choose brands that I love and want to help grow their businesses while supporting our journey.

 

Cost of renovation: (this is an estimate, I didn’t save receipts) I was also sponsored by several companies to make this renovation possible.  The prices I’m listing below are what it would cost to buy everything:

Flooring (carpet and vinyl) $650

Paint $120

Wallpaper (I have a ton of leftover paper) $400

Window coverings $70

Upholstery $400

Cabinet Hardware $240

Dining Table and Hardware $140

Faucets $2,000

Bed and Bedding $1,200

Shower tiles and paint $160

New countertops $55

Exterior paint $30

Door Lock $260

Speakers and Stereo $90

Backup camera $50

New fan $120

Engine tune up $400

2 new tires $300

Sealant on roof $120

 

Total in renovations: $6,805

Cost of RV: $5,000

Grand Total: $11,805

 

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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Cost of living on the road will be written in the next post!  It's not pretty but good to know how much you can expect to pay for living and repairs.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Book of the Month

Life on the road has lead to many lifestyle changes, including putting more downtime on my schedule.  For me, that means having more time to read!  

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I've started using Book of the Month to find great new books, because while I'm decisive when it comes to design, I'm pretty hopeless in every other aspect of my life, haha.   They pick the 5 best books each month to choose from which makes it so easy!

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And the best part is, if I'm not ready for a new book because we've been extra busy exploring, I'm able to skip that month, no worries.

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You can learn more HERE.

liz kamarul