9 Ikea Pieces For an Affordable and Modern Home Makeover

Monday, January 26, 2015

I'll always remember my first trip to Ikea. My husband (then boyfriend) and I were living in New York City and an Ikea opened up in New Jersey. They have a free shuttle that goes from Port Authority in Time Square to the Ikea Store in Jersey on the weekends. We would line up like cattle to get on the bus and line back up with all of our shopping bags to get back on the bus. This was clearly before I was brave enough to rent a car in the city, which in hindsight would of been a much better idea.

A few years ago I vowed to only purchase "adult" furniture. No more miss matched particle board pieces. Over the last two years we have done a pretty great job at buying a few key pieces that should last us a while, but there are certain things that I just can't fathom spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on. I mean, we have a soon to be toddler for goodness sake!

That leads me back to Ikea. I'm not going to lie. They have done a fantastic job at knocking off some of today's trendiest pieces and if you wan't to give your home a quick and affordable makeover it's the best place to do it.

I have a few Ikea pieces that we are loving in our home right now. They gave our home a modern update and crisp, clean look (which I love). I also won't have a heart attack if our son accidentally destructs anything, since none of it cost a fortune.

Vittsjo Shelving Unit - This shelving unit is awesome. We spray painted it gold which gave it a quick modern update. You can't beat the $79 price tag.

Stockholm Mirror - We discovered this mirror over the weekend and plan to have it in our dining room next month. $99

Docksta Table and Chairs - We purchased this set for our kitchen nook last year and it's one of my favorite pieces. The chairs keep the room light and open which is ideal for small spaces. The tulip table is a great knock off of some really pricey ones out there. $515 for the table and chairs

Raskog Utility Cart - This is currently being used as our diaper caddy in the nursery, but could be used for a dozen different things. When we are done with diapers it would be a great homework/art station.

Antilop Highchair - I looked at a about 10 highchairs and this one kept coming up in reviews as a top favorite.  I love that it isn't obnoxious looking or bulky. It's so easy to clean which is a must with our messy eater. You can literally hose it down. The best part is...it's $20!!! I'm not kidding! Get one for the grandparents house while your at it!

Ranarp Work Lamp - It's amazing how expensive lighting can be. For $39.99 this lamp is the perfect light for our little work station.

Stockholm Flatwoven Rug - We don't own this rug yet, but I can picture it in my future playroom or Declan's room. I love the design and the simple black and white that can we paired with pops of color for fun. $199

Roberget Desk Chair - I saw this chair in our visit over the weekend and I think it would be adorable at a desk, especially with this faux sheepskin rug laid over the seat as a cushion. $89.99

Strandmon Wing Chair - I love that a wingback chair is both masculine yet a little feminine with it's curves and modern legs. This is a fantastic price at $279. I've also seen several hacks on pinterest to make this into a rocker for a nursery. Love that!

What are your favorite Ikea finds?


Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

We are starting the new year off to a pretty great start when it comes to meal planning (this was one of our family new years resolutions). This soup has been a favorite for all three of us. Declan gulps it down. I personally love a soup puree. They are hearty and filling and easily work as the main course. We double this recipe so we have leftovers for the next two days. It's super easy and you don't need very many ingredients.

Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup
From: Sarah Wilson- I Quit Sugar

1 medium cauliflower (1 pound), cut into small florets
1/2 medium leek, cut into large rings
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 gloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
2 cups basic chicken broth (I subbed vegetable broth)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (mine weren't fresh, but it still worked)

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Toss together the cauliflower, leek, onion, garlic, olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 25 min, until golden. Then place the roasted veggies in a large pot. Add the potato, broth, coconut milk, thyme leaves, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 10 min, until all the veggies are tender. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. 


The Importance of Mom Friends

Monday, January 19, 2015

When you are a new mom you have no idea how valuable your new mom friends will be in your life. I was so fortunate to meet an awesome mama in our birthing class at the hospital we delivered at in Santa Monica. We exchanged numbers when we left the class and to be honest I didn't think much of it. Then, I received a sweet text after Declan was born from, said Mom Daniela wanting to get together. From that day on for the next 3 months she was my saving grace. Neither of us had family or even other friends with kids living near us. We walked a couple of times a week together, grabbed lunch, smoothies and talked about how in love we were with our little boys, how wonderful it was to see our husbands now as Dads and how sleep deprived we all were. We unfortunately moved away when Declan was three months old, but we still chat (when we can) to this day.

I am lucky to have a few people I can go to for all things baby. You need this. All moms need friends they can go to for whatever this new future brings your way. Your days are filled with so much love you feel like your hear might burst, but there are days you will be so tired, drained and just exhausted that all you want to do is cry or laugh and it's nice to know you aren't alone.

I have a wonderful friend from childhood that had her second baby just a few weeks after Declan was born. Sara is one of my "saving grace" friends here at our new home. As a mom of two now she has been there and done that. She makes me laugh when I want to cry and has an answer for everything. We both have babies that don't nap or sleep well at night (more on that coming soon) so she can relate. Sara also writes a food blog. She is hilarious and a wonderful cook to top it off (hence the food blog).  Today she posted a delicious recipe for Sugar Cookies, but my favorite part was the advice to her best friend who is about to have a baby. Enjoy, Happy Monday!


Thoughts on 35!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tomorrow is my Birthday and I can't believe it myself, but I am going to be 35! It doesn't seem that long ago that my sister and I were hiding in our living room for the big reveal of my Dad's surprise 40th birthday party.

The years have flown by and as I look back over my adulthood I am thankful that I have taken the leaps, falls and adventures I have over these past 17 years. I thought I would cringe at the thought of entering my "mid-thirties." However, I am surprisingly entering them with more ease and grace than I did my twenties. I truly know who I am now. I don't need everyone's approval, I've learned how to say "no" instead of always saying yes. I don't crave drama or want it in my life, I know how to feed my soul and I can appreciate every person that has come in and out of my life whether they have supported me, torn me down, stood by my side, mentored me, held my hand, cried with me, laughed with me or had a moment with me. I am who I am today because I have learned from experiences, triumphs, heartaches and love.

I am proud of my accomplishments, I am thankful that my husband and I have taken the time to live our lives, pursue our dreams and work through our relationship as it flourished or went through lulls before we started a family. I am most thankful for my family and friendships throughout the country and for our adorable, full-of-life, happy, baby boy, Declan. He has changed my life for the better in more ways than he will ever know.

* A special thank you to my sister for this photo of me taken a few weeks ago at our family photo session.


Family Adventure Day: Tilden Park

Thursday, January 8, 2015

When we moved up to the Bay Area this summer we really missed our active outdoor weekend adventures we had in LA. So something we decided to start doing to help with the adjustment of moving was to go on weekly Family Adventures (see first post here).  One of our favorite places to visit with Declan is Tilden Park in the Berkeley Hills. They have a steam train, merry go round, animal farm, and lake we love to frequent as well as many other attractions.

We are very lucky to have great friends visiting for a few months and living only 30 minutes away from us right now, so we are taking full advantage of bringing them along on as many family adventures as possible. Annmarie and I met in NYC through our mutual BF, but we haven't lived in the same city in over 8 years, so this has been an awesome treat. Annmarie and Mike have a beautiful almost 2 year old Adella. She is sweet as pie and Declan has of course taken a fond attachment to her.

This adventure day was a few months ago, but I took photos with the intention of this post.

1st Birthday Party

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The 1st birthday party...to Do or NOT to Do...that is the question. If you asked me a year ago if we would have an over the top first birthday for Declan filled with balloons, friends, a bouncy house (just kidding, but maybe) I would of most likely said, "absolutely!" Fast forward a year later and all we really want is to celebrate this first amazing year (and survival) as a family of three playing outdoors and doing the things we love together. We may have opted out of the "big birthday," however we are having family over for cake and comfort food. They wouldn't let this first year go by without a little celebration. Here is a little 1st birthday inspiration that is inspiring me to get in the party mood!

I'm Back!

Hello Friends! Thank you so much for baring with me these past few months. This year was filled with so much change (new baby, moving, new jobs) and I made it my priority to spend as much time as possible at home with Declan this year. I can't believe come February it will be a year since he came into our lives. What an amazing, sleepless, challenging and magically unforgettable year this has been.

I am still trying to find the balance of working from home, teaching pilates and hopefully performing again soon with being a mother and wife first and foremost.  The exciting news is that I am ready to start blogging again and I'm thrilled to be partnering up with a couple of fabulous brands...more on that coming soon!

Thank you for sticking with me and following along! I hope everyone had a fabulous Holiday and New Years!


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