Saturday, August 13, 2016

How to Find Your Yes... And Make it a Hell Yeah!

Hello lovelies!

It's been a while and I'd like to welcome you all back to the blog :) We're fired up and have expanded our view of what this place all about:

Happiness Begins at Home

So while we will continue to post about home makeovers and DIY projects, you can expect to explore a broader range of topics in the areas of life, love, happiness and personal development.
With that said, I'd like to welcome a fresh new voice to the team, Liz McConomy, who will kick things off with a topic very near to my heart: getting to Yes.

(Psst: here's a spoiler alert: when you see a kickass woman with her shit together, it's because she has found a Yes. Liz, please help us figure out how to find ours!)

So, please help me in welcoming Liz to these pages.
It's good to be back!



Sunday, January 4, 2015

Our DIY Front Path Makeover

Hey there,

Our home's front path was plain concrete, straight and worn down.  With time, its surface got eaten away by winter de-icing salt, and it became an eyesore.  There was also paint spilled on it (not by us.)

Not a welcoming entry into our home!  The front path became part of Project Curb Appeal.

Our DIY Front Path Makeover - ZenShmen Project Curb Appeal, Flagstone, Pavers, River Rock, Landscaping, Hardscaping
This project was featured by Bob Vila's team on Yahoo Makers!  And also on Apartment Therapy! Click to view. Wooohoo!  *happy dance*



Monday, June 16, 2014

Urban Loft: Tips on Warming up a Chilly Space - Home Staging Story

Picture this:  an extraordinarily beautiful 1500+ square foot urban loft featuring elegant high ceilings, breathtaking walls of windows facing a mountain in the middle of Montreal, and vast open expanses of space. Exposed concrete columns and ceilings - the works.  All that in a very in-demand, hip neighbourhood. Want to move in yet?

ZenShmen Home Staging an Urban Loft Tips Photos

Not so fast.  For all its beauty, this loft was uninhabited and felt too cold and sparse when it came time to sell it, and its owners needed some help to make it feel more homey.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Linds and Val Talking Nonsense and Home Decor - Part 1

In this interview, I wanted to address some basic questions that I often get asked -- about the blog, and decor stuff in general.  

I wanted it to feel like I was talking to my best friend. So, I talked to my best friend.

Here is Part 1 of her interview of me, conducted in Spring 2014.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How to Share Your Instagram Feed on Blogger Using SnapWidget (Free)

There are probably lots of ways to do add your Instagram Feed to your Blogger blog, but here is the widget I use, which is easy to configure and easy to install.  Plus, with the free version there are plenty of options to customize its appearance to fit the style and layout of your blog.

Sharing my Instagram Feed to my blog was a lot easier than I expected!  This widget also works with all other blog and website platforms.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Recipe for Feeling Bitter

Today I'm going to talk about something a little different.  

The truth of the matter is, when I started this blog it was to talk about stuff I love, like home decor and fun DIY projects.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

How to Stage an Old Bathroom

No two ways about it, our master bathroom was o-l-d.  And small.  And yellow.  Yikes.

When it comes time to sell your home, bathrooms and kitchen are of utmost importance and will get lots of scrutiny.  There is quite a lot of home staging you can do yourself when the time comes, and since we're all about DIY over here at ZenShmen, taking care of the bathrooms would be no different!

So when we were getting ready to sell our house, we were faced with a major decision:  should we do a quickie renovation job just to sell it (the old, "you have to spend money to make money" school of thought)?  Or save ourselves the hassle and expense, and try to salvage what's there?

How to Stage an Old Bathroom from ZenShmen - Home Staging - DIY

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Home Staging Tips + Free Printable Cheat Sheet


The tips below are the actual tricks we used to stage our home for a recent sale.  A sale which, to our happy surprise, earned us more than asking price and 6 offers (4 written and 2 more in the pipeline) by the end of 4 official days on the market.  Here's how we did it.

These tips may not all apply to your situation, and not all of them will be your cup of tea!  Just use the parts you like, and look for ideas & inspiration to stage your own home.

When staging for a sale, it helps to break things down into 3 phases:

Friday, January 3, 2014

ZenShmen's Top 10 Posts of 2013

Thank you so much to our wonderful readers for making 2013 a truly great and inspiring year for this little blog!  Have a gander at some of our top posts - have you had a chance to read them all?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2 Easy Last-Minute Gifts for Kids (inexpensive - and good for siblings too)

When money's tight, the holidays can really feel like we're stuck underwater and having a hard time coming up for air.  And when you feel obligated to buy things you can't afford for other people, you're paying for it for many months to come.

Let's all try to avoid that moving forward, shall we?  (A note to my former self)

2 easy #last_minute gifts for kids (inexpensive, and good for siblings too!) | from zenshmen! | #christmas #giftidea #kids

Last year, I came up with a way to make DIY gifts for kids.  And what's even better, they were gifts that two siblings could share.  With 17 kids ranging from age 1 to 9 in our immediate family and friends, we needed all the help we could get in the clever idea department.

To me, anything that stimulates the imagination is a gift that keeps on giving.  Behold:


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Using Paint to Make Holiday Decorations Come Together


Here's how we turned an outdated, rag-tag bunch of objects into a proper collection of holiday decorations that is much more pleasing to the eye!

I simply gathered them up and spray-painted them silver.

I'm not strict about the holiday colour scheme in our home (I inherited most of my tree ornaments & other goodies) so I've ended up with shades of blues, soft whites and silvers.  With pops of reds and pinks here and there, it all works out very nicely.

But these random things just looked so... old.  Each year, when I unpacked the boxes I thought, 'oh right.  This thing."  Unwilling to simply go out and buy new items, I decided to change it up.

Here are some before and afters.  What do you think?

Stocking hooks

Using Paint to Make Holiday Decorations Come Together | ZenShmen |

Using Paint to Make Holiday Decorations Come Together | ZenShmen |

These are booties from when I was a baby.  My mom hung onto them for many years and gave them to me, which was so sweet.  But truth be told I didn't really know what to do with them for many years. My daughter can't wear them, they're stiff and rock-hard.

So I thought, why not turn them into ornaments (hung by the laces) or mantel decorations?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

25 Days of Zen - Holiday Edition


Here at Zen Shmen we're kicking off 25 days of Zen for the holidays.  Welcome!

Each day in December all the way up till Christmas, you'll find a new little tips and ideas being added to the list - all with the goal of keeping you calm and on track when your nerves are being frayed this holiday season.

I know I can easily get overwhelmed by everything there is to do and I start to stress out, (not to mention absorb other people's stress) all of which drastically eats away at my enjoyment of this season.  I find that when everybody's trying so damn hard to be joyful, the result isn't very joyful at all.  Hence this list: a remedy to all that.

So come back and get your zen again tomorrow!

December 1st, 2013:

December 2nd, 2013:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

9 Super Easy DIY Home Decor Projects You Can Make This Weekend


Following the success of my post, 8 DIY Home Decor Projects You Can Make This Weekend, I decided to showcase a few more ideas on the same topic.  But this time, the focus is on keeping them really easy!  For most of these, I'd say 1-2 hours, tops.

Mama loooooves an easy project!  ;)

Jokes aside, I really do love DIY home decor because it gives you a chance to showcase your personality (not to mention learn how to do new stuff!) and I feature lots of our own projects right here on this blog.  If you're new here, you're welcome to explore the tabs at the top, or click on "Our Projects" to see a list. Lots of inspiration to be found!

I pinned the following projects on my Pinterest DIY & Crafts board because I want to make every single one of them. Also, I'm always eyeing neat projects to make as gifts and give to my loved ones.  If you're on Pinterest, please come follow me and get inspired every day.

So, how about some of these ideas to get the ol' creative juices flowing?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

27 Sneaky Sources of Clutter


We're all trying hard to pare down and not live as clutterbugs.  (Well, maybe less so for those poor subjects on Hoarders.)

Clutter is stressful.  It's harder to keep a clean home with too much stuff: it creates extra work.  It's harder to find what you're looking for when you need it.  It can create bickering and resentment.  What a waste of energy -- our time on this earth is already too short.

But clutter happens... to all of us.

zenshmen sources of clutter, decluttering, how to declutter, organizing, organize my home, how to organize

I'm always hunting for new ideas on how to declutter and create more breathing room by getting rid of things we don't need (or want).

We often hear about cutting back paper clutter or paring down our closets.  But where else can we look?  Are we living in and around clutter and not even realizing it?

Here are some surprising places clutter may be sneakily hiding out in your home:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Steal These Decor Ideas: Asian-Inspired Worldly Living Room

Welcome to a tour of a space I truly admire.

I'll walk you through it and share the owner's thoughts and ideas.  Steal some inspiration for yourself!

It's said that the best spaces reflect their owners and tell their story. This could not be truer for this living room, belonging to a beautiful creative soul who has traveled the world several times over, Lindsay. After having owned, rented and lived in various homes everywhere from Montreal, Quebec to Sundance, Utah to Santa Fe, New Mexico to London, England, Lindsay has now comfortably settled into a sweet pied-à-terre apartment in a pedestrian-friendly leafy neighbourhood of Montreal.  Oh, and she's relieved she doesn't own it.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Easy No-Sew Paper Bunting


Recently, one of my very dearest friends got married.  I made a no-sew bunting banner that read "Just Married" for her wedding reception.  The cool thing is, banners can say anything at all.

The banner easily could have read "I Suck At Sewing".  That's why I chose to do it with paper!

Here's how I did it with supplies I had around the house:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

60 Minutes to a More Glamourous Home


I don't know about you, but I've always been the kind of person who notices details.

And what I've come to learn is this: glamour is in the details.

Oh, and also this:  glamour doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg.  In fact, you can often fake it -- even for free!

First, my definition of a glamourous home.  Not opulent, not gaudy.  You don't need mink-fur throws on the bed and a killer view of the city skyline to have glamour in your home.  Although if those are your kind of thing, more power to you!  (See my parting note at the end).

Glamour, to me, is simplicity.  Well-chosen pieces that you love (as well as well-loved pieces that you chose).  It's little details.  It's a room layout that is well thought out.  It's a feeling.

So, where do we begin?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Setting Up Baby Girl's Room | Tips & Tricks!


We were sooo excited when we found out we were pregnant (it took us an impossibly long time).  We had so much love to give this new little being, we didn't know what to do with it for a whole nine months.

So we did what I'm sure lots of other folks do too -- we channeled it into creating a wonderful little baby nursery to bring baby home to.

But where does one begin creating a coherent room from scratch?

First things first, I searched for ideas and inspiration -- I went out and bought some books.  (Now this was back in 2010, before Pinterest. I don't know how I lived before Pinterest.)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Personalized Mason Jars | DIY gift


I've always got my ears and eyes peeled for gift ideas.  I always get cold sweats as special events approach because I like to give meaningful things that somehow relate to the person's interests, likes, or needs. 

(Although sometimes they're just pretty for the sake of pretty.)

Now I'm older and wiser: I hoard gift ideas and inspiration here.

In this case, it was my sister-in-law's birthday.  She adores mason jars.  She adores red.  And she adores bumblebees.  {No really, it's her entire brand as a designer:  Lost Bumblebee Graphics.}

So I made her some red mason jars with special words and a bumblebee on them, to store and display her stuff.


* * * 

Want to know how I did it?

Exertion Level: Easy.