Mamahood Styled


// ivf round 2 fail //

to say we are heartbroken is an understatement. it doesn't make sense in our minds and hearts how we are sacrificing so much and going through what feels like extreme measures, to again, not have ivf work for us a second time in a row.

i found this today 12.9.16 from a month a half ago when our cycle failed and i guess i didn't hit post. 


// beyonce themed bachelorette party //

a little bit over a year ago, i was honored to be the maid of honor for the raddest, coolest, feyonce ever: isa! isa and i met our freshman year at UCLA; we were neighbors! sadly for me (actually her), she wasn't very fond of me and yet somehow, by the end of that first year, our relationship had developed into becoming the best of friends. throughout the years, our friendship has grown stronger and we are family to each other. she is this talented, amazing, cool, fun woman and decided she wanted a beyonce themed bachelorette weekend in palm springs. i immediately started searching on pinterest and online and there was ZERO out there. so i had to go to my own skillz and came up with the following:

p.s. i know it's a year later, but i just found these pictures on my computer! ;)


naughty girl pancakes


custom menus at dinner


// ivf round two: embryo transfer //

despite how tired i was last night, i could not fall asleep! i finally did sometime after 12am, and woke at 4:30am, unable to go back to bed. so i did the next best thing: i prayed. i prayed nonstop, with humility and faith. the night before, i couldn't help feeling mainly excited. by this point, i was terrified, excited and humbled. i had no idea what stage our embryos would be in.
the alarm finally went off at 6am and by 7am, we sat in the waiting room of our clinic. within 5 minutes, they called us back. we got the same nurse as last transfer, she was so sweet and totally remembered us. she said she teared up last time for us. it felt like an eternity before our doctor walked in with news, so we prayed some more. around 7:25am he walked in with good news. 2 of our embryos were already starting to hatch and 7 others were going to be observed until tomorrow to see if they would also hatch. we decided to transfer one (whichever the embryologist felt was best), and freeze the other- our prayers answered. 

the whole process was so exciting. so much so that i didn't realize right away that i was disrobed from the waist down, uncovered throughout the majority of it. talk about going through this so often. anyway, it was absolutely magical to see our little embaby go into me. we were so emotional. we had to wait about 30 minutes before leaving and we were back to our hotel by 8:30am. 

and now we wait. the dreaded, hopeful, long, everlasting, two week wait!

grow, embaby, grow! we promise we'll make it worthwhile! <3

// ivf part two, week two //

day 6: thursday, october 1st, 2015- continued
i had such a great day and as soon as i got home, i was consumed with my long to do list and realizing that i just didn't have the physical time to get everything accomplished. i am taking four days in a row off of work for this since our next appointments are saturday, monday and wednesday (that type of travel would drive us crazy). we set out to leave in the wee hours of saturday morning to make our morning appointment in northern los angeles. that left thursday night and friday night to get ready. well, i had committed to working friday night. therefore, that left only thursday night and my exhaustion was out of control. i nearly started crying, not being able to function and have the energy to get shit done. luckily, geoff gave me a reality check pep talk and i posted about it on ig, which brought forth a lot of support i didn't realize i needed to hear. a lot of things didn't get done, but oh well. we still are managing.

day 7: friday, october 2nd, 2015
today was absolutely busy. from work, to a lunch break of packing, washing my car for travel, gassing up, running around for work's event at night, ahhhh. but it went a lot smoother than i imagined. i went to pick up oliver after i finished packing to take him to work with me. i had to take my shots there and after i finished, we started talking about adding the third shot on saturday. geoff then realized that our shot really should have started tonight. ahhh. i had to be super late to work to get home, mix the new injection and then administer it. holy quickness. work went well but we didn't get home until 9:30pm and still needed to finish things to leave in the am.

day 8: saturday, october 3rd, 2015
we left arizona at 6:30am (a whole hour later than we had planned) as geoff was up sick all night- oh no. we kept each other awake the entire trip and arrived to our appointment with 10 minutes to spare- woot! this was our first appointment taking oliver in and we bought him headphones and the iPad to help- and it did. but even without it, he was on his best behavior. we had been sooo worried about taking him because last round, at one of our last appointments, we noticed, for the very first time, a sign that discreetly asked patients with children to not bring their kids, out of consideration to other patients dealing with infertility. shit. we felt horrible. lucky for us, they love oliver and he had always (by the grace of god), always been on his best behavior. we had explained that we had no choice but to take him with us at prior appointments this round, and they immediately took us inside and i had my ultrasound first. everything looked so great and our doctor was very pleased. we had to get more medicine because we didn't have enough to start with. we were so excited and grateful.
we spent the day being tourists in l.a., eating good for the mind/body/soul food, and sneaking up to the hollywood sign! we stayed with my parents this evening, and oliver really enjoyed being around them. at this time, we found out that our rented apartment in l.a. for the week had a water leak and we were out an apartment, on an already sold out week. legit- everything was sold out. we spent the entire time on a shitty internet connection trying to find something. unnecessary stress! i did have my mami help me with shots, even though she didn't want to. i really wanted her to feel a part of this. <3
Lining: 12
Follicles: 12-17mm

day 9: sunday, october 4th, 2015
we spent the entire day with my family. i ended up getting pretty stressed and emotional and it was my first real breakdown of this journey. probably a mix of the hormones and just being home (geoff says mainly the latter because he felt the same), but thank god everything got cleared up because no one needs drama, especially not with family; that shit's sacred, you know? oliver had a great time with his cousins and was so sad to leave. we found a last minute rental and on our way to it, stopped to visit my roommate from senior year in college, cely cel! we hadn't seen each other since a year after graduation and she is now married, with a gorgeous house, and a beautiful 18 month old baby boy. we had an amazing time, catching up, having the boys play, and enjoying each other. so happy for her happiness. she has always supported me, even when not seeing other for years! she was the very first person who ever bought cinnamon clothing from me when i first launched in 2005- you just don't forget shit like that. we rushed to our new place, checked in, and then spent the evening into night walking around downtown l.a. it's insane to me to be here, pretending to live here. i remember living here as a little girl, being dirt poor, the shelter and church food life. damn. so blessed.
my ovaries were definitely feeling all the action today! oh and oliver is homesick- crying to go home. awww, my little social homebody!

day 10: monday, october 5th, 2015
ahhh, oliver would not go to sleep last night until way past midnight. we woke up way early and he cried the entire way to the doctor's office. luckily, we are only 15-20 minutes away. we arrived and calmed him down and even though we had an 8am appointment and arrived 25 minutes early, the office was jam packed and oliver was so grouchy. i had my blood drawn and then we finally got put in a room where oliver screamed cried the entire time until one minute before our doctor walked in. omgosh. i wanted to hide under a rock. our doctor didn't seem to notice and was more cheerful and talkative than usual and said "everything looks really realllllly good in there!" F yes! We went to our meeting room to discuss the ultrasound but he never came back. instead, our ivf coordinator told us we we had progressed so well, we were done with hormone injections and were going to trigger tonight! at this appointment, last round, they kept us on hormones for 3 more days!! wow,  huge difference. because we had progressed so well, i run a high risk of ohss (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome) which is horrible by what i have read and heard from other ivf girls. the follicles that are emptied out after egg retrieval surgery get filled with water and you bloat big time; it's painful, uncomfortable, you often times have to go in for drainage (we're talking liters of water extracted) and even hospitalized. go ivf! anyway, to help me against it, he wanted me to trigger with 2,500 units of HCG (instead of 10,000 like last time) and 1ml of Lupron (which i had never taken). Our pharmacy is in Beverly Hills, and even though it'd be nice to go towards the UCLA area, Geoff had to get to a conference in DTLA, so our kind pharmacy tech had our meds sent over to our apartment. that was pretty stressful since i had to idea how i would know if the delivery was going to make it on time. luckily, it did! we triggered at 10:45pm. Our egg retrieval surgery is set for 9:45am wednesday morning. i felt sick all day, queasy and achy and with a headache. all side effects of the meds.

day 11: tuesday, october 6th, 2015
today, geoff is going to be at his conference since early morning until late evening. so it's the day before surgery and oliver and i are on our own, ready to explore the city. i am currently working on drinking my breakfast smoothie which i'm kinda force feeding myself. i woke up feeling a bit better but now with plugged ears. wtf? ahh, this journey sure is something!
we were able to spend the day with titi/bff isa; she came over and we hung out at our dtla rental, then took O to the park, then enjoyed lunch, then back to the park for adventures. our dear friend shanika came to see us there, too. such a blessing. we went back home and nino jake and titi/bff marlyna joined us. we were all starving by this point and decided we should order pizza! probably not what i should be having but balls to the wall! haha! we had a great time, and geoff was able to join us once he got out too!

day 12: wednesday, october 7th, 2015
we were pretty nervous about what we would do with oliver since geoff needed to be present for post-surgery directions. luckily, he was a dream all morning. he did start to whine when i got called back but geoff says he calmed down quickly. what can i say about surgery. it's weird and awkward and scary. i had the sweetest and most down to earth anesthesiologist that started befriending me mainly because i was nervous, i'm sure, but i am so grateful. we were talking about anything and everything and she confided that my dr was her dr for her ivf! next thing i new, i was on cloud 9, happy as can be, with all of them laughing hysterically since i apparently kept asking for champagne every time they asked me if I was ready for water. go me. lol. we retrieved 21 eggs. i was a little surprised it wasn't the same amount as last cycle but really, we only stimmed for 9 days versus 12 last time, so really it's a good number (average is 8-11). and as soon as the anesthesia wore off, my pain came in so high. my re came in and we discussed only using the 2012 sperm this time, and using it all if needed (the embriologist came to ask too). we discussed possibly trying for picsi and my anesthesiologist said she recommended some champs! haha, the best! geoff got us home and i felt so nauseous from the painkiller since i was still on an empty stomach and was in so much pain. i collapsed onto the bed and cried myself to sleep. i woke up to still-slightly-warm oats, i ate them best i could and fell back into sleep, waking and going back to sleep until the early evening. geoff went back to his conference at this point and came back with an acai bowl for me and then took O to get some dinner. o fell asleep and we watched the first episode of american horror story.

day 13: thursday, october 8th, 2015
i woke up feeling better and probably took a little too much advantage of it. around 8:30am we received our first fertilization report. out of 21 eggs retrieved, 17 were mature. they did picsi on those and 13 fertilized- same number as last time. we checked out and we walked around lacma today and the trip home was long and hard. bumps hurt. i broke down. we got home past midnight and geoff gave me the first progesterone in oil (pio) shot, and ouch. it made me sob and i cried myself to sleep. i am feeling frustrated and sad. such a hard journey.

day 14: friday, october 9th, 2015
i woke up earlier than my body and mind wanted me to and went to work. i wouldn't have but grades were due and i had already missed four days in a row. it was a busy day but luckily ended early. i came home and rested until the boys got home. still feeling a bit low.

day 15: saturday, october 10th, 2015
spent the day taking meds, not changing out of my pjs and finally showering at 9pm. then breaking every rule and having geoff fulfill an ice cream craving after. baaad. we got a call from our dr's office with day 3 fertilization report. our 13 embryos are still thriving. one is even passed the 8 cell stage. thank God. seriously. i didn't even want to hear anything, thinking the worse. but this was exactly the boost we needed. tomorrow we travel back to la since our monday embryo transfer has a 7am arrival.

day 16: sunday, october 11th, 2015
today was our travel day! i started feeling like i was getting a head cold 3/4 of the way into the trip. noooooo!


// ivf round two //

day 1 (saturday, sept. 26th, 2015):

ahhh, today was our baseline appointment. we were so anxious and nervous leading up to it. i had no idea what the ultrasound would reveal, especially after what my body went through a month prior. we were so pleasantly surprised when our doctor told us everything looked beautiful. my lining was thin and although i wasn't able to get bloodwork results because it was a saturday, i feel confident (per my doctor) that we are in perfect shape for round 2. we discussed our protocol- this round we are starting with slightly higher dosage, hoping to stim for only 10 days versus last cycle's 12 days. we talked about using all of our 2012 sample- he had mentioned that they wanted to be cautious about using it all, since it's our last sample but we don't want to take chances, and feel committed to just go for it. i mean, this is the sperm that produced the miracle that is oliver; i have felt since day 1 that this was the right sample to use, but i let science takeover my intuition- never again! we are going about this round so well-versed in this topic that we even asked about doing picsi instead of icsi (how the sperm is chosen and injected into the eggs). we got to chat for awhile and then went over meds, leaving with almost $4,000 in medication to start that night. we felt overjoyed and relaxed- a huge weight od doubt and stress lifted off our shoulders. perhaps we are going about this wrong, as this is how we acted the first round, but f it. it's who we are. we are genuinely positive people. we are rational and pragmatic (me more than him) but we are optimists. of course, we worry about how we will feel and react if this doesn't work again- because we did fall. hard and dark. but oh well, we will cross that bridge when we are at it. for now, one day at a time. my nights are not being spent looking up other ivf stories, comparing and reading statistics. instead, we are just grateful for this chance and our lives are so busy, it doesn't even matter.

sooo, we woke up at 4:30am to be on the road by 5am...we had our appointment at 10am, and after, my parents met us for a quick lunch. we departed in the parking lot and off we went back home to our baby boy. we arrived in the late evening, and took our first set of shots.
300 cc of Gonal F
1 vial of stinging Menopur
but the shots weren't that bad. we thought we gave them wrong only to realize we did it right- woot. I think we were still hyped on adrenaline!
-US/Lab report: lining thin, lots of follies ready to go, and Estradiol at 25.87.
day 2: (sunday, september 27th, 2015)
holy exhaustion and fatigue! i don't know if it was the 15 hour trip, or a serious side effect from the meds, but i li-te-ra-lly could NOT keep my little eyes open by noon. around 2:30pm, i finally gave in without even knowing, all slept til 5pm with my baby boy. other than the neverending exhaustion (which i did look up and is, in fact, a side effect, everything felt normal).
shots did sting today- ouch!

day 3: (monday, september 28th, 2015)
i can feel little twinges in my ovaries today! grow, follies, grow!! i woke up feeling like i am about to get sick, which i haven't in soooo long. bad timing! my throat is achy and my head feels like it's floating- like i need to pop my ears but can't. woke up so exhausted and hit snooze twice! oops! loooong day at work today- didn't get home until after 7pm and still had to make dinner and prep for tomorrow. Halfway into doing the dishes, I gave up and went upstairs to bed. sooo exhausted.

day 4: (tuesday, september 29th, 2015)
ovaries feel heavy and busy today, lots of twinging. still feel like i am going to get sick- wah. busy day at work- but a good positive day! feeling good emotionally! shots hurt today- ouch! not looking forward to tomorrow's travel but we are going to make the best of it- we are so tired!

day 5: (wednesday, september 30, 2015)
last day of september! we woke up at 4:30am and were on the road an hour later, with our toddler in tow to oceanside! we arrived at 8:40am without making any stops (a first for us) and oliver slept the entire way up. i felt so bad because i fought keeping my eyes open for the first hour until i finally sucked it up and woke up completely. roomie met up with us at the doctor's office that monitored my first labs and ultrasound. they drew my blood and everyone got to come into the ultrasound room which was nice ( i mean, other than the actual vag ultrasound- heeeey, everyone). the tech wouldn't tell us anything, but geoff was able to sneak a look at the screen as she was measuring my ovaries' follicles and he said they looked bigger than last round. we'll see! we went to starbucks with roomie and hung out for an hour- it was so fun and we didn't want it to end. we drove 30 minutes down to scripps aquarium for oliver (where the octonauts live, he says). we were there until 12:30pm and he really enjoyed it. since we were now in la jolla, we met up with jack, lizett and our godchildren cash and baby jack at burger lounge. a few years ago, we were all in sd for kyle and alex's wedding. we were really hungry so started walking around aimlessly in our hotel neighborhood and stumbled upon burger lounge. omgosh. at the time, we were still coming off of being vegeterians and were in looove with their quinoa burger. best ever. i came home and attempted to recreate it, even. flash forward, it is now our go to double date place- we always try to meet up at one. during my pregnancy with oliver, i had my first ever craving for a cheeseburger and we drove down just for the day to get one haha! so so good! we took the boys to a park that overlooks the ocean so they could run out their crazy energy. it was so hot and humid- eek. then we parted ways, stopping at ikea along the way, only to realize that we forgot to buy what we went to get, haha. we arrived back home by 7pm- just in time for our shots! tonight was the first night (day 5) that i dreaded the shots. the ultrasound made me cramp and hurt (and even filled my eyes with tears- definitely feeling a lot more pressure) and the idea of painful shots (i'm talking to you, menopur), is no fun.

day 6: (thursday, october 1st, 2015)
my ivf coordinator/nurse sent me a text this morning: "labs came out okay. estradiol at 486.5" last cycle, i never asked about my labs or ultrasound results, other than wanting to know if we were on target (which we hardly were and the process was extended a few days). this cycle, i'm more aware and ask specific questions. currently waiting on her response for follicle measurements. i sometimes feel like i'm pestering but oh well, it's my body and i want to know. plus....$$$, right?!

eek! just got my results:
endo: 7.5mm
Right ovary: 5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 11, 11, 11
Left ovary: 5, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 10, 10, 10, 11, 11, 12

My response text was: "it that good?" and she replied, "Yes it is." haha! I am over the moon excited! I know that the smaller ones are probably too small so far but you never know, we still have a week to go! and I definitely feel we are doing better than last cycle because by this appointment, we were told we were behind and had to increase meds- this time, I'm staying on 300cc of Gonal F and 1 vial of Menopur! woot, grow follies, grow!
Next appointment is in L.A. Saturday at 11am!


// ivf //

// i started writing this post in the middle of our two-week wait (end of july-beginning of august) and didn't come back to my blog since. it's hard to look back and feel just like i did when i started typing this unfinished entry //

we are currently in the middle of our two week wait to see if our ivf treatment is a success. even writing the word success makes me feel like i am desperately trying to hold on to every shred of hope my mind and heart can muster. you see, our ivf journey was a positive one from the start. it felt like everything had somehow lined up to make it a one-hit success. the entire process came with a huge learning curve that i somehow managed to understand and now feel pretty well versed in, although there is still a lot to learn. what i have realized with every passing day, is that i want this to work out with every part of my being- more and more with each passing minute of each and every day. not that i didn't at first; but in the beginning, i kept a realistic view of the grand reality that more often than not, the first shot at ivf isn't a success- fertility clinics sell double and triple packages because it's a guessing game with soo many factors- but now, now all i do is pray. i pray hard. i light candles. i ask for help and guidance. i have fallen apart in the last week multiple times, for the first time throughout this process that has been a year in the making. and i am writing to center myself. to be honest with myself. because feeling the devastation i have felt recently, is something i don't want to feel again. so instead, i am hoping that by writing our journey, i will find peace with however the results of this end. and to be honest, i am pretty sure one of our babies implanted. we decided originally not to test at home, but we haaave to. right? ahhhhh, the hope of this!!this has to be it!! in the meantime...

i meant to write a complete IVF FAQ section and document all our pictures because I was sure that despite everything we were going to beat the odds and bring another little miracle into this world. We did pee on a stick and got a light positive- which confirmed what we knew. oliver's intuition further confirmed this and when we finally received our bloodwork, an early miscarriage was confirmed. i guess we were an ivf success- just not completely. and since then, my prayers have become so specific, so so so specific. 

and today, well today i find us on the edge of our seats as we are days away from ivf 2. which wouldn't be possible without the help, support, and motivation from our amazing support system. 
my anxiety has been through the roof this week. i have been so cool, calm and collected as we embark on ivf 2 and now that the time is here, i feel like i can't even breathe. i'm hoping that by writing it all out, i'll feel better. i have some pretty huge fears considering not only what we have been through, but what girlfriends have recently been through. it seems that too many i know (or read about) have recently lost their itty bitty babies. how is that possible? i can't ever find a reason that makes sense to my simple mind.

after being so open and sharing everything about it through social media, i am unsure now, whether i will or not. my main reason for doing so was to create awareness and do a tiny part in helping break the shame that comes with infertility. i found dozens of instagram accounts that were separate from personal accounts- the majority were void of who the person was because they didn't want to share with their friends/family. i didn't get it. why wouldn't you want their support, and let them in? why would you feel ashamed?

and yet, now, i am getting it. it's not that i feel shame. because i absolutely do not. it's that sometimes, your mind is so consumed by your ivf thoughts that you are viewing the world through ivf lenses. and no one else is. i have had a beyond amazing support system. i can never ever ever repay them. and yet recently, i find myself careful about what i say about it. situations in our lives that entice pain are relative. you can hurt for someone else, but in reality, life goes on. we get tired of hearing the same sob story over and over. you get ready to move on. i feel confident in my relationships and know my support system is strong and willing to lift me- but do i want to burden them with that? i don't know. i have no idea. i get glimpses of doubt and such. everyone has their own crosses to carry and to dump this addition to their already heavy plates seems insensitive.

and like i said, i'm sensitive as it is. i will probably never forget miscarrying and the pain that came with it. ivf round 1 was great until it wasn't. and when it wasn't, it was so much pain. my heart goes to the mamas that lose children later. i could never survive that pain. no way. and yet, it doesn't make my loss and pain any easier. yet i'm so blessed with a loving husband (even if he does get on my nerves a lot and i drive him crazy) and a beautiful, wild son who is going through his terrible twos. not a day goes by that i don't thank God for the miracle of their lives. in the midst of frustration, i often stop myself and regroup, thinking how blessed i am to even get to go through that moment. and yet, i have been told soo many times that "at least i have oliver." i know this is coming from a loving place. i do. our situations could always be worse and we tend to find comfort in lessening them.

but really, my son doesn't compare to anyone else, just as another baby of mine wouldn't compare. do moms of multiple babies only hurt for one? it just doesn't make sense. and my son is my everything. our blessing, our miracle. i don't even need to explain more because to think that someone may imply we are not simply satisfied with him....well, that's beyond me. why do parents grow their family? and wouldn't each set of parents be sad if they wanted to but couldn't? it's a completely different situation when you don't have a choice. completely different.

i have so many doubts and fears as we are about to go through with this. i'm silently crying inside and the fact that we have to do this again because i feel weak.  but gosh, above all i have hope. i really do. so so so much hope.


// diy subway tile //

We have been debating whether or not to do DIY home improvements on our owned condo for the last year. We know we want to sell and relocate sooner than later and it's hard to continue making it a home when we know we will not be staying here forever. We compromised and did some smaller, less expensive DIYs in the meantime! We had been drooling over white subway tile backsplashes and didn't realize how cost effective it actually is! 

Kitchen backsplashes have a million options on installation, but this is the one we went with. I warn you, the hard parts can definitely be done in a weekend, and although not necessarily difficult, some parts are a bit tedious- or at least were for us! I still strongly recommend doing it yourself! I wanted to share how we did ours in case anyone is interested! And for those wondering how inexpensive this can be- our initial expense was $131 for our space! We ended up exchanging some materials and purchasing others and I estimate we ended up spending no more than $150- I stopped keeping track after one too many trips to Home Depot or Lowe's! 

1. Buy a sample of your desired tile. Go home and measure how much of it you would need to cover your space. If your backsplash includes behind your stove, make sure to account for the space behind it. 

2. Purchase your supplies:

- Tiles (we originally wanted the larger 3x6 individual tiles but they were too big for part of our space so we opted for the smaller, which only came in a mosaic. We ended up buying enough for 24 square feet) 
- Tile Adhesive (we bought the premixed kind and recommend it) 
- Trowel 
- Grout Float
- Grout Sponge
- Grout (we went with an non-sanded tinted grout- there are different color options and depending on the tile gap, you would get sanded or non-sanded. We were right at 1/8" and decided we'd prefer non-sanded; anything above 1/8", sanded is usually recommended)
- Tile spacers (we got one bag and ran out at the end and had to reuse the earlier used ones- if you're doing individual tiles or your space is bigger than ours, you'll definitely need more than one bag)
- Caulk (we originally went with a bright white and it looked way too bright compared to our grout. We ended up buying the same brand in the same color as the grout, and realized that this brand is so watery, it was such a pain to do it. I love caulking- it fixes everything- but this brand was way watery and I had to wait a few hours for it to dry, then add another layer so it looked thicker. If you want it to match as your caulk, then I recommend the headache, but if you want white, I'd recommend a regular silicone based caulk; by the way, we already had some regular caulk on hand and ended up needing it to fill in spaces, too). 
- Grout sealer- this is the very last step and you apply it a day or two after everything is done- you can add an epoxy sealer to your grout and never have to seal but this was more cost effective for us. 
- a piece of wood to act as a scaffold behind your stove (if this is applicable to your kitchen)

Step 1:
Turn off the electricity to your kitchen outlets via the breaker. Remove outlet covers, tape up your outlets, and cover your countertops- it gets messy! 

Add that piece of wood behind your stove. Feel free to clean under it, too. I couldn't believe how dusty it was under there- isn't that a fire hazard?! Embarrassingly enough, I also found an avocado pit and a brand new cookie sheet. :/

2. Find the center of your kitchen. This will be your starting point. For us, this would be our sink. Lay out all of your tiles on the counters so you know approximations on where cuts will have to be made, what corners will look like, and where cabinets will meet. We did NOT do this and have some major headaches when we reached the top of our cabinets and realized that they were all installed crooked!!! Thanks, builders who did ours! 

Apply your adhesive with your trowel. Follow the instructions on the label- super easy! 

Step 3:

Tile away! If you are doing a mosaic, make sure the tiles are evenly spaced, you'll need spacers at the bottom to make room for your caulk line. If you are doing individual tiles, you'll need spacers throughout each tile. How you insert them is up to you- Geoff and I had two different methods and both worked! 

Step 4: Cutting tiles

As soon as you hit your first outlet (can you believe our little space has EIGHT of them!?), you'll need to cut. We originally purchased a tile cutter attachment to the dremel- didn't work! Geoff tried a drill attachment- took way too long! Finally, he ended up just using his grinder and it worked perfectly! I don't have a picture of him doing this, but don't worry about cuts being perfect! They'll be hidden behind the outlet. Do make sure your outlet can still screw in properly, though!

Step 5: Admire your adhered tile and let it dry for 24 hours! 

This is when we realized a couple of things: our cabinets were installed completely crooked, leaving very awkward gaps in our tile edges. We had to return our original tile ends and go to a different hardware store to find some that matched better. Geoff was a genius and literally grinded/sanded down each piece to fit the narrow, crooked space. Here is when we also found out that you can take marked tiles and get them cut for FREE and hassle free! What?! No one had ever told us this! I would definitely go this route next time! Lay out all of your tile, mark your cuts, go get them cut, and THEN start. As long as you measure correctly, it would make everything so much faster and easier!

Step 6: After 24 hours, it's time to apply your grout. Follow the instructions on the label, the application is pretty easy! When cleaning off the grout, you'll be rinsing your huge sponge a lot! Rinse it, fold in it half like a hamburger, and then wring it out! 

see the crookedness below:

Step 7: Add your caulking! This took me a few steps and an extra day and even though we went with the harder to apply caulk, I'm really happy with the results. I also used regular white silicone caulk to hide all of the crooked areas and it worked seamlessly.

I hope this encourages you if you have been thinking of tackling this project! Let me know if you do! 

P.S. A trip to the hardware store is never the same without this guy befriending everyone he meets and getting into mischievous trouble!

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