I’ll go ahead and end the suspense for anyone who doesn’t feel like wading through an entire DIY post. No, I’m not pregnant, in a relapse, getting a dog (yet), or eloping (although I am seeing John Mulaney’s stand-up live later this month, so fingers crossed on that one.) Nope, I’m going back to school- yes, again- for a new focus: to become a registered dietician!
I’ve had a longstanding interest in community wellness and nutrition, as well as a lot of passion (read: mild rage) about the rampant misinformation concerning food and diet in our culture. Although I’ve circled the idea of this career several times, the road seemed too long, too arduous to be “worth it.” Until, that is, I realized that I do in fact have one life and since I’ve survived a metric butt-ton of crazy in my time, I think I can handle at least attempting this dream. I’m not even 100% sure of the long-term timeline surrounding all this or if I’ll stay here or move back to my hometown for school next year. But luckily, as I currently have a steady (and flexible) job and several opportunities giving me nutrition/wellness experience and no relationship tying me anywhere, I’m in an okay spot for some uncertainty. And my family has been incredibly supportive since I told them a few months ago. There’s no denying that this is going to be a difficult, complicated, and very lengthy process, one in which I could completely and totally fail. But I have to at least try.
My first set of obstacles for this goal are the dreaded general science prerequisite courses. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE learning and I find the subject matter fascinating. The program I have my eye on is highly competitive and so all A’s are a must, beginning with my General Chemistry class beginning next semester. Something told me that my past computer setup would not be conducive to a focused, productive space…
My September was not synonymous with “focused,” “productive,” or any realm of health beyond my half-marathon training. I stress ate, I started buying Starbucks again at least once a day (a habit I have yet to quit again), and I stress shopped. Not only did I buy a lot of things I don’t want or need- figuring out the return policy of 3 different companies is on my current to-do list- but I bought them new, which I’m trying to cut down on. One of the items I did buy used was a hairpin desk with slight cosmetic damage off eBay for $31.02 ($5 bidding, $26 shipping.) The Altra Furniture Owen Retro Desk (geez, Louise, what a mouthful) is normally priced anywhere between $55-$80 through various retailers.
This desk has mixed reviews online but in my research, I did find that it seemed to be the most convenient and least expensive way for me to get four hairpin desk legs.
Initially, the idea of a DIY marble top desk intrigued me but the price tag quickly killed that buzz. So I decided to instead paint the desktop white and the legs rose gold. But while spending way too long lingering in the spray paint aisle of Michael’s, I spotted Krylon Marbelizing Spray and bought it despite a concerning lack of online reviews. In case you’d like to do your own research, I now know that this paint was called Krylon Webbing Spray until very recently. I also purchased Krylon Chalky Finish Spray in Colonial Ivory (what a creepy name) as I thought it would stick better to the laminate desk top and Krylon Make It Last! sealing spray.
- desk (or whatever piece of furniture needs some brightenin’)
- 1 can spray paint in base coat color with primer included
- 1 can Krylon Marbelizing Spray in a contrasting color
- 1 can clear sealing spray
- small square of sandpaper
- plenty of newspaper, a tarp, or anything else to let you go spray-crazy without mad consequences
- spacious, well-ventilated workspace (preferably outdoors)
Lay out the newspaper in your workspace and situate whatever pieces you want to paint. I only had my little apartment balcony but it was plenty accommodating. Except for some stray leaves blowing in.
Lightly sand these pieces: not enough to remove paint but just enough to help your base coat stick. I did a quick onceover- and don’t forget the sides!
Spray with a sealant, although I have to say that I don’t recommend this particular kind. Maybe I just got a wonky can but this particular one was slightly sporadic, dripped a lot, and didn’t appear to have an even spray. Let dry again again. I then left my piece outside for the rest of the day, that night, and the entire next day to dissipate that deliciously toxic fresh paint smell. A little bit of that scent still lingers but it doesn’t seem life-threatening (fingers crossed.) Fully assemble and become your most studious self!
Despite checking three different thrift stores, I couldn’t find a secondhand lamp that I liked, which seemed like the perfect excuse to hit up Target. What is it about walking around Target when you have some extra time and money? It’s the consumer equivalent of a yoga class… you know, in terms of that soothing afterglow upon entering. But I digress. I picked up: a brass desk lamp ($25), this Cedar and Juniper that candle smells like Christmas ($10), coasters from the Halloween aisle ($3), a ceramic pencil holder thingamajig from the crafts aisle ($4), a DIY letter banner kit from the party aisle ($6), and some marked-down exercise joggers with excellent pocket space ($8.36). I swear that workout clothing with good pockets are my saving grace while training.
My favorite purchase from the above list is the DIY letter banner kit. I’ve long admired a “BAD BITCH” letter banner that a friend has in her bedroom, so best believe I snatched this lone, beaten-up package as soon as I saw it. It includes 72 characters, a length of string, and infinite possibilities.
Although there are stricter or more motivating sentiments, I am proven to be -0.03% chill. And when things get even busier than they already are with a new class in the mix, I need to remember that all the things I’m doing are labors of love and furthering my progress to my end-game goal.
It’s as easy as lay-n-spray. I used Krylon Metallic spray paint in Copper, which is this beautiful almost rose-gold. I adore this color and this spray- it dries and covers well and this can has lasted me through more than a few small projects. Let dry about 30-45 minutes just to be safe.
After some drying time, spray with a clear sealant just to be extra sure if you’re slightly paranoid like me. This step is probably superfluous but I’m going to be reusing these letters to make other sayings in the future. Then hang and be motivated! Or if you’re like me, be motivated until you have to start scolding your cat from trying to tear it off the wall.
Speaking of Apollo, as I am wont to do, I tried to also reupholster one of his favorite perches: a black and red office chair that Chris left me.
As you can see from the picture below, he was still quite contented even with some minor changes: new fabric and the removal of the black Slinkie-ish plastic pieces. I would have included this process in the tutorial but to be honest, the chair looks like a hot mess up close and I basically used several sticks of hot glue for my mini hot glue gun to jerry-rig something akin to an improvement. Honestly I’m realizing how uncomfortable this chair can be anyway so I’ll keep a casual eye out for a better one.
So there you have it: life goals and some home decor DIY projects. What are cool products or tricks that you’ve used to spruce up your home on the cheap? Have I killed enough brain cells from crafts to cancel out my sobriety? How do you feel about going back to school after your first degree? Let me know in the comments below!
Be kind. Live authentically. Practice gratitude. Hustle daily. Work hard. Stay humble.
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