Monthly Archives: January 2013

First Day in Taiwan! Lost in a Bustling Neighborhood

Wednesday, January 30, 2013    

As we were waiting to board the airplane at LAX, I got pretty emotional and overwhelmed that I was going to be hanging out with my dad for a month. The language barrier is a huge challenge. Like my sister, Lesly, told me, I tend to reverse back in time to when I was 12 years old, which is when I left to the US to live with my mom. Like she said, I have to keep reminding myself that I am almost 30 years old and to act the same way I would act with my mom towards my dad. I hope that this month will be a time to grow out of that phase. I just want to feel more like myself around my dad so that our relationship can grow.

I have another great challenge. I met my “Sixth Auntie” or “Shiao Kuku” and my grandma or “Ama” and aunt’s husband or “Ku tsang.” I’ve been wanting to meet my dad’s relatives for a long time… The language barrier is again, such a challenge. I want to be polite but I think now they think of me as a little girl because of the way I am carrying myself around them, especially when eating. My aunt said today said that I look 18 years old, which is true, but I am wondering if her perception of me is that of a such young girl because of how I am around her. I hope that as each day passes by, I can learn more Chinese and hopefully, be more myself around them. Not that I have been immature around them but I talk very softly and I say her food is good (which is true), I guess that doesn’t necessarily show immaturity lol May be I am just super self conscious about my dad’s family perception of me.

My aunt has a really cute nine year old dog named Manny. He doesn’t like me. I have given him food but he still doesn’t like me near. He’s like a cat. I pat him on the head or get near him and he starts growling. When I first saw him, I was excited because he reminds me of my baby, Scooter, in a black Pomeranian mix version. Sadly, my attempts at befriending him have failed so far. But it’s OK, I hope he trusts me little by little each day.

My aunt has given me a room with a bathroom and my dad has a Japanese style bedroom but we have to share the bathroom. Sharing the bathroom is not such a big deal but I don’t like how everything gets wet after a shower. I have to figure out how to shower without making everything wet! haha

Before dinner, my dad and I went out venturing to the galleria area 15 minutes away from my aunt’s house. The first thing I noticed about Kaohsiung is the number of mopeds! There are so many mopeds, not just driven by young people, but by older people as well. The air feels pretty smoggy from cars and mopeds, it smells like a mixture of smog and sewage water in most areas where we walked.

Mopeds in Taiwan

Mopeds in Taiwan

As we were trying to find our way back home, we pretty much circled the half of the vicinity and it all still looks the same. All I know is that there is a park nearby and many hair salons. My dad asked seven people for directions, all of which pointed us towards a different direction with good intentions, except one lady who didn’t give a shit about where she sent us. We walked around for 30 to 45 minutes and we finally found my aunt’s house after a teenage boy GPS’ed it on his phone and sent us the right way. My aunt and her husband and another cousin and his mom were out looking for us, worried we got lost. Very sweet of them and I felt so bad they were out looking but it was funny too.


With dad before getting lost

After dinner, my dad was sorting through several photobooks that my grandma has kept and she let us take some pictures. I was struck by how many pictures there were of me when I was little… I didn’t know and I felt as if I’ve been more part of my dad’s side of the family than I thought. Before coming here, I was feeling hesitant and feared rejection. But so far, it’s been nice meeting my relatives.

Today, I was hoping to sleep at a normal hour considering that I had a pretty comfortable 15 hour red eye flight from LA to HK. I slept for a good amount of time since I had two seats to myself but at 8:30 pm or 4:30 am biological time, I knocked out. Not a bad time to fall asleep at but then I woke up at 1:00 am… So now I’m writing about my day.

PS: I had my Week 4 DIY photos ready but I didn’t have time to write the post… So I won’t post any DIY projects until the second week of March… But I’ll be posting about my trip

PPS: These are raw photos – too lazy to photoshop.

Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knobs for a Few Dollars – Week 3

Week 3 of 52 DIY Home Projects! One of my favorite DIY blogs, Young House Love, had a post on painting oil rubbed bronze door knobs and door knobs accessories (in Hank Hill’s voice, of course). At first it intimidated me because I’ve never touched a spray paint can in my life. But considering how much money I would save in painting these old and heavily abused brass door knobs, I gave it a shot. I’m glad I did because it was so easy! You can see Young House Love post on the project right here.

You will need:

Supplies for Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knobs

Supplies for Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knobs

  1. Screwdriver
  2. All-purpose cleaning solution
  3. Paper towels
  4. Cardboard (Home Depot let me take a couple of empty boxes)
  5. High grit sandpaper (I bought 3M Pro Grade Sandpaper Extra Fine 400 grit at Home Depot for $3.97)
  6. Deglosser (I bought the Klean-Strip Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser at Home Depot for $6.98)
  7. Steel wool (I bought the Rhodes American Grade #3 Steel Wool pack at Home Depot for $3.98)
  8. Spray can with primer (I bought the Rust-Oleum Universal Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic Paint & Primer at Home Depot for ($7.28)
  9. Gloves

Total amount spent on supplies: $24.15 (incl. 8.75% tax).


  1. UNINSTALLING: Start by bidding farewell to your door knobs. Use your screwdriver to remove all screws, including the matching strike plate to have a matching set. Be careful when you remove the door knob. Black dust stained the carpet. I recommend placing a rag or towel under the door while removing the door knob.
    Carpet Stain

    Beware of staining your carpet

    To remove a door knob that looks like mine, turn the knob as if you are opening the door. Next, pull knobs opposite to each. You can easily remove the deadlatch from the door after you remove the knobs. Don’t forget your strike plate and keep all the screws together. This diagram might help in describing how to remove your door knob:

  2. CLEANING: Clean your knob and parts with your all-purpose cleaning solution like 409 cleaner. Clean any superficial built up grime off.
  3. SANDING: Cut up a small piece of your sandpaper and sand every groove and crevice of your door knob and its parts. I don’t think I did a good job on the grooves so I hope the paint adheres as long as the other parts that I sanded well. I recommend using a lower grit because 400 grit was a little too fine for me to get a thorough sanding. I thought I did a thorough sanding but now that I look at the pictures, I see that I could have been rougher. To remove white paint from the strike plate, I rubbed the steel wool heavily on the plate and it came off beautifully. Good-bye white paint that doesn’t belong there! The steel wool is good to remove any heavy, heavy stuff from your door knob.

    Papersand Door Knob

    Sanding – Done!

  4. DEGLOSSING: Read the instructions on your deglosser. I was an eager beaver; I put on my gloves, poured deglosser on a cotton rag, and lightly rubbed each door part. I wiped the deglosser off with the dry part of my rag after a minute or two. Me thinks I used it wrong… 

    So why use a deglosser AND sandpaper?? Doesn’t the deglosser OR sandpaper have the same result??Well… Apparently not. So paint expert Home Depot says that deglosser is useful because grime collects heavily on door knobs overtime and it’s not evenly spread. Deglossing helps clean that heavy grime. Also, the deglosser goes in the little nooks and crevices of your curvy door knobs and parts, where the sandpaper doesn’t reach. Somebody says deglossing protects the door knob from chipping when other objects bump into it.

    So how do you apply a deglosser to door knobs??

    My bottle instructions suggested a coarse material that is lint free so I though a cotton rag is coarse right?? WRONG. Next time, I’ll use something that is COARSE LOL Like a sandpaper sponge or dish scrubber or even steel wool.  Another approach I’ve seen is soaking the knobs in a container with deglosser and just wiping them down. I’ll let you know which one works for me better than my cotton rag…

    CONCLUSION: Degloss BEFORE sanding. Why you ask? Because the deglosser softens the first layer of paint on a door knob, preparing the knob for sanding. The sanding will make your door knob smooth but not the deglosser. Deglossers work best when door knobs dry off well before sanding it for maximum adhesion of your paint. And if your door knobs are just as sad and dirty and mine, consider deglossing and sanding twice to make sure you have the door knobs ready to receive and forever cohabitate with the paint.

    As you can see my door knobs are still too glossy after I supposedly deglossed them. Sad but lesson learned… Even so, after spray painting, the results are still two enthusiastic thumbs up!

    Door knob deglosser

    Door knobs after applying deglosser – still glossy…

    WARNING: Deglosser stinks. Use the deglosser in a ventilated area and do follow instructions on the container. Make sure to consider that I used a low VOC deglosser since I live in California.

  5. CARDBOARD: Prep your cardboard to spray paint by poking holes to fit your door knob parts and screws. I used a knife to puncture the cardboard. The cardboard will help hold all of the door knob parts conveniently placed to spray paint.

    Door knob in cardboard

    Place the door knobs on a piece of cardboard

  6. SPRAY PAINTING: Finally, ready to spray paint! It was exciting (I know, what a dork haha)! Make sure you spray paint in a ventilated area, free of gusty winds and falling leaves or dust, or cover your face if you don’t have many choices, like me. Although I knew to spray light coats, or “mists”, and allow drying for 15 minutes between thin coats, I was too eager. I ended doing 5 coats allowing to dry for 10 minutes. However, after waiting 24 hours I noticed the stem area needed an extra coat! Gahhh! I spray painted a couple of times again, twiddled my thumbs, and waited for 48 hours for the knobs to dry.
  7. REINSTALLING: Start with the easiest part – screw back the strike plate. Next place the deadlatch first making sure the sloping side of the latch faces toward the outside knob. When inserting the outside knob, make sure you place the keyhole how you typically insert your key to open it. Then to insert the inside knob, make sure you place the lock on your preferred position of locking and unlocking the door. Start screwing in the deadlatch followed by the inside knob. Just make sure you are gentle and don’t scratch the inside knob with the screwdriver. To protect the knob from scratches, use a towel. Voila!

    After DIY Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knob

    After DIY Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knob

I love the “like-new” look on my new oil rubbed bronze door knobs! I love that the supplies cost less than $25, of which we have plenty to paint the remaining knobs! I’m so thankful for Young House Love, I would have never known :*) Thank youuu

I won’t spray paint the door hinges (not like it’s noticeable but it can be bothersome) but I’ll move on. The biggest sacrifice, as expected, is the paint chipping at the strike plate and latch. I’d much rather overlook that flaw than spend a couple hundred of dollars on new door knob sets…

So… Did you redo your door knobs?? Any tips or anything you would suggest for painting the rest of the door knobs?

Thanks for stopping by!

Easy DIY Window Privacy Film – Week 2

I was eyeing cute window privacy films made by Brume. I love the window film called “Cutlery,” which looks like this:

Window Privacy Film

Brume Window Film Cutlery


But that “Cutlery” window film costs $75 for one 21.5 inches by 31.5 inches (or around 55 cm by 80 cm). Times that by two, it would cost me over $150, plus shipping costs (if they even ship to the US).

A better alternative is to DIY a custom window privacy film for less than $20!

Here is the kitchen window before:

Kitchen Windows BEFORE

Kitchen Windows BEFORE

A very ugly sight of the neighbor’s fence along with overgrown weeds, which I no longer have to look at!

Kitchen window looks like this after this easy DIY:

DIY Window Privacy Film

DIY Window Privacy Film


For this easy DIY, you will need:

  1. Frosty contact paper (I bought the Contact Paper Frosty 18″ x 24′ for $7.47)
  2. Black contact paper for the cutouts (I bought the Black Faux Leather Contact Paper 18″ x 15′ for $7.47 – it’s a beautiful textured black contact paper)
  3. Pen or marker
  4. Pair of scissors or utility knife or razor
  5. Measuring tape or ruler
  6. Stencils. You can download the heart cup stencil and “ENJOY” letters right here:
    DIY Kitchen Stencils


  1. Start by cleaning your window thoroughly. I use an ammonia based window cleaner to avoid any streaks.
  2. Measure your window with your measuring tape or ruler. My kitchen window is split into two 21.5 inches by 31.5 inches windows.
  3. Based on your windows’ size, decide what layout you will use with your contact paper.The contact paper I bought at Home Depot is 18 inches wide. My kitchen windows were bigger by a couple of inches! Therefore, I ended using this layout to create seamless unity between my contact paper pieces.

    Kitchen Windows Layout

    Kitchen Windows Layout

  4. Decide the size of your stencils. Try out two to three sizes and place them on different angles on your window to see what looks best on your window.
  5. Cut out your stencils from your paper printout using either a pair of scissors or utility knife. If using a pair of scissors to cut the heart shape, just fold the cup in half and cut following the line like this:
    Heart Cup Stencil

    Heart Cup Stencil

    For the handle and letter “O,” you can use this same technique if you are using scissors. For the handle hole, just cut at an angle so your handle doesn’t come out round. Save your little heart cutout if you are going to use it as part of your stencils.

  6. Using your paper cutouts, trace onto the paper side of the contact paper. Make sure you use the inverse side of the letter “N” and “J.” Also, depending on which side you want your cup’s handle to face, trace it the opposite direction.

    Heart Cup Stencil

    Heart Cup Stencil

  7. Cut out your stencils that will go on top of your frosty contact paper using the same technique as #5.

    Heart Cup Stencil

    Heart Cup Stencil

  8. Cut out the frosty contact paper based on your windows’ size and layout and start sticking it to the window beginning with one of the bottom corners. Stick the contact paper to the window slowly. For any bubbles, just gently rub it with your fingertips. For any lining up problems, gently pull it away from the window to redo.
  9. Once you have your windows covered with your frosty contact paper, you are ready to place your stencils wherever you wish and you can stand back and admire your windows 🙂


Wasn’t that easy? And we still have a lot of contact paper left for other uses. So really, it’s even less than $20 for this DIY window privacy film! Share your windows in the comments section; I would love to see how it turned out!

Thanks for visiting Cleaning Junkie!

PS: In case you missed the downloadable heart cup stencil link above, here you go:
DIY Kitchen Stencils

Simple DIY Trick to Clean Gas Stove Burners – Week 1

I read a great tip on how to clean gas stove burners with ammonia without any elbow grease at The V Spot and I’m amazed with the results! I’m embarrassed to show how dirty our stove top burners are but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has neglected cleaning them over the years (I hope). But now I finally get to see the black shiny part underneath all the grime that accumulated over many many years of cooking… It’s so easy, even I could do it! LOL

You will need:

  1. Ammonia (can get 64 oz at Target for less than $2)
  2. Ziploc or zipper plastic bags (can get the generic Target brand for less than $3)
  3. Measuring cup (or you can wing it without it, no problem)
Ammonia from Target

Use 1/4 – 1/2 cup of ammonia

Ziploc Bags from Target

Make sure your stove burner fits inside the bag.



  1. Place your gas stove burner inside the zipper bag. I would recommend doing two at a time so that you can still cook while you let the other two sit in ammonia.
  2. Measure ¼ to ½ cup of ammonia and pour inside the zipper bag. It may look like it’s too little but you can use my photo as a reference of how much it covered. I would say it’s like a tiny puddle that barely covers the bottom.
  3. Seal the zipper thoroughly and place outside under the sun (preferably) for 12 hours or until you are satisfied with how much grime has come off. It took me over 24 hours but mine were really disgustingly grimy…

    Clean stove burner with ammonia

    Place stove burner inside plastic bags with ammonia.

  4. After you are satisfied and can’t wait any longer to see the results, open slowly AWAY from your face. The fumes will burn your eyes and nose if you open it facing you, trust me, it burns. Also, don’t take a whiff of the ammonia. The pretty color is deceiving, it smells terrible…
  5. You can pour the dirty ammonia down your drain without any issues (our urine is essentially ammonia and ammonia is water soluble). Just let the water run while you slowly pour the dirty ammonia down the drain.
  6. Take the gas stove burners out from the plastic bag and run water through them. Then scrub the remaining grime with dish soap detergent.
  7. Let the stove burners dry and voila! You have now sparkling clean gas stove burners. And all for a few dollars! And a bit of patience 🙂
Ammonia Clean Stove Burners

Before After Clean Stove Burners

My stoves aren’t perfectly clean but I’m still very happy with the results. I will continue doing this when I see the burners getting some build up and I’m sure it will just get cleaner and cleaner each time.

Ammonia Clean Stove Burners

Before After Clean Stove Burners

Thanks for reading! Let me know if it worked out for you 🙂


PS: I researched about the damage ammonia could cause to the burners and found nothing that I would be alarmed by… But follow this cleaning tip at your own discretion.

PPS: Never mix ammonia with bleach. Poisonous it is.

PPPS: Don’t place the zipper bags with ammonia on top of aluminum trays or grass. It will damage your trays and your grass.