Favorite Buys: Goodies for Cole

I often get asked by my thousands of followers what my favorite buys are for Cole… Just kidding – no one ever asks me. It’s Friday, gloomy out, and I’ve had this list in my phone for months so I thought it’d be fun to share!
When I became a parent, my purchases quickly shifted more towards adorable baby clothes, the best books for his age, or toys I thought he’d love instead of buying myself gifts. My amazon recommendations are the lamest recommendations for a professional 30-something year old woman because they mainly consist of children’s board games or books. I feel like my cart is secretly judging me. :)
Cole just turned three recently which is so hard for me to wrap my head around! He’s at a fun age where he’s developing a sense of humor, plays jokes on us, makes up his own songs and can hold a conversation. Over the past few years we’ve used a lot of products for all various stages of babyhood, but here I’ll share our current favorites. In the beginning I tried to get the pretty wood toys, but later realized that kids are drawn to bright, primary colors for a reason. Consider yourself warned.

 

Ikea DUKTIG Kitchen. Of all the toys we have, this might be my favorite. All of the kids in my family – Cole, 3, my 4.5 year old niece and even my 12 and 15 year old nephews! – play with this kitchen. It has been one of the greatest kid investments because it promotes pretend play, and has provided hours of play so far. It doesn’t hurt that the price is perfect, and it fits in beautifully with my white and gray kitchen.

Melissa and Doug Condiments Set. I bought this after Cole had a huge meltdown one night about him not being able to use our salt and pepper shakers on his food to excessively season his food. Now when we eat dinner, he gets his own set and likes to pretend to season his own meal.

Fisher Price Barista Set. To my point above about me loving wood toys for kids – this was a perfect compromise. It’s pretty and Cole loves making me coffee at all hours of the day. I was so excited when I found this by accident in Target!

Melissa and Doug Take Along Horse Stable. This little toy has gotten SO MUCH use. It’s insane. It was an impulse buy at Home Goods and my horse-obsessed niece has played with it for hours. She loves to carry around the stable, the kids paint the ponies during craft time, the ponies go in the tub, and they play in the sandbox outside. These horses are magic, I tell you.


Retractable baby gate. I did hours and hours and hours of research when we needed baby gates. Ryan ended up finding this retractable one and it’s amazing. It’s not bulky and easily retracts so you don’t always have a huge baby gate in your space. When the baby goes to bed, it’s nice to pretend you are grown-ups living in a grown up space. :)  We’re using gates less and less these days since Cole is getting older, but I love the design of this one!

Luca Glider. One day when Cole and our future kid(s) outgrow this glider, I’ll be so sad. I rarely get emotionally attached to things, but this chair is so comfortable and has had so many happy snuggles in it. Ryan originally thought it was a splurge for a kids bedroom, but now he (maybe) sees the value since we’ve spent hours reading bedtime stories and rocking him to sleep. For me, it’s a spot that reminds me of when I first nursed Cole as a baby and it brings back those cozy and deeply bonded moments alone with him.

4-in-1 Trike. This tricycle, inspired by the original classic metal trike, is such a great design! My only personal gripe is that I didn’t buy it for Cole sooner. We bought it as a gift last year for his birthday, but could have easily started riding in this at one year old- instead of the million other four-wheeled vehicles we have in our garage. The handles let you control the steering, so the baby feels like they’re riding a bike on their own. So smart!

Building Blocks. We have a different set, but these are similar. Our set was originally my nephews (from almost 11 years ago) and still get so much use. Cole loves building with legos, gears, pipes… but these are always a classic.

Kinetic Sand. Similar concept to Playdoh (which we also love), this kinetic sand is so much fun to play with. It’s mesmerizing and a complete stress reducer for Mom’s, too!

Bubble maker. Save your breath and enjoy the Gazillion bubbles that this little machine blows. So fun for the current season!

My favorite bath toy. This boat has two purposes: a boat to play with (duh) and scoops water to rinse his hair. Bath toys tend to clutter the tub or get moldy. This is is the only one you need and is so easy to clean.


The best beach umbrella. When I bought this umbrella, it seems like a splurge because it wasn’t on sale but I’m so happy I bought it. It’s huge and can fit an entire family inside, but also folds down so small. It doesn’t blow away and can be used as a tent or an umbrella. One of my favorite seasonal purchases to keep my fair skinned boy out of the strong sun on the beach.


Piggy bank. I bought this bank, after Cole kept breaking into his other bank that Ryan has when he was a kid. The older fashioned banks either just snapped together, or had a cork that could easily be removed by a nosy toddler. I was paranoid Cole would get into his bank and swallow the coins… even though he never puts things in his mouth. This bank can only be opened using a screw driver, or a coin, to screw the bottom off. I also love how is looks like a real piggy, instead of a stylized one. Super cute!


My new favorite book. Cole’s outgrowing board books and is more interested in stories which I am so excited about. I picked up some new best sellers and I love this book. I wasn’t expecting to laugh out loud when reading the stories of sarcastic/funny crayons.  We’re also really loving the Pete the Cat series!

High Five magazine. I’m not sure who gets more excited when High Five (or their extra Puzzle Buzz) magazine comes in the mail: me or Cole. We immediately snuggle on the couch… both of us eager to find the hidden pictures. So happy I get to share this nostalgic magazine with my boy.

Dollhouse Before Pictures

This past fall, I was gifted one of my most exciting projects to date: redesigning my childhood dollhouse! :)
This dollhouse was originally given to my sister around 1979, and my grandparents decorated it for her as a Christmas gift. I recently came across an old photo album with pictures of my sister opening the gift, and I saw the pride on my grandparents’ faces. They were crafty – using fabric scraps as wall-to-wall carpeting, coffee stirrers as window hardware, and contact paper as tiling for the bathroom floor. This dollhouse was eventually handed down to me as my sister outgrew it and I can remember playing with it for hours as a child. There used to be a lot more furniture but unfortunately got lost over the years.

When my mom brought this over to my house to give to me, my almost-three year old son, Cole, was so excited to play with it. Hearing him talking to himself and rocking the baby in the rocking chair made me weepy, and made my heart swell with nostalia. He’s a typical boy, and is a bit rough with the furniture so I’m going to take my time “renovating” the house. I’m torn because I want the house to be beautiful (obviously) but I also want it to withstand the play of my rowdy son, niece and nephew. There is so much beautiful furniture available to buy, but is pretty costly. My husband jokes that we’ll need a second mortgage to support my new obsession!

My first step is to strip all the carpeting and tile. Then I want to give the interior a fresh coat of paint. I’m thinking I’m going to paint the rooms the same colors as our current house to mimic our house. I have wood siding and shingles that I’m also going to paint the same color as our house. I have wood flooring for the main spaces, too! I have most of the supplies – now I just need to work on it!
My goal is to have it completed for Christmas next year although I hope to have it done before then! This way I can buy a tiny Christmas tree for the living room, and tiny wreathes to hang on the windows. How cute would that be?!

Eek! I’m so excited! 

The interior layout:
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Nursery:img_7906

Bathroom:
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Living Room and the creepy doll mom:
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Kitchen:
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Roof: (The chimney needs to be repaired)
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Bathroom:
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Siding and my cat, Jack: :)
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The Nursery

My pregnancy books say that once you start nesting, you’ll probably go into labor about ten days after. Clearly I don’t fit into this statistic because I’ve been nesting for months. I started planning the baby’s nursery back in October and it’s been done since December. I’m not sure why it took so long to take photos and share them! This room is one of my favorites in the house. It’s so teeny and cozy and I just sit in the chair and imagine what it’s going to be like holding my baby boy in that glider. (Even the cats love the room!)

Originally I was thinking of doing an orange and grey color scheme, but the bedding I originally fell in love with was discontinued the week before I was going to buy it. This happens to me way too often! Once I needed to look for new bedding, I decided to go a different route. The rest of our house has a lot of grey and neutrals so I knew I wanted the baby’s room to be more colorful and youthful. I came across this bed skirt and it inspired the entire room. I love the modern chevron print, the teal and lime green. I’ve been obsessed with teal lately!

I ordered  a custom glider from a vendor in CA, but it got damaged in shipping. (See how the arm looks scrunched?) I’m waiting on getting a new one made, but am holding onto this one for the time being. With this chair I wanted to create a little reading nook. Ryan hung these shelves to place books on since we don’t have room for a bookshelf and I love how they add color to the room. For my baby shower, everyone brought a book with a note inside instead of bringing a card. Everyone wrote sweet little notes to the baby and I get weepy every time I read them.

(Side note: I know we’re not supposed to keep anything in the crib because it’s a safety hazard. Once he’s actually sleeping in the crib, the blanket and pillows will be moved to the chair.)

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The Closet:
I am obsessed with this closet because everything has it’s own place. I only have one before picture on instagram, but it’s a huge difference. The original closet pole was broken so we* replaced it and added another below it. (*Note: Usually when I say “we” it usually means I gave Ryan a honey-do list and he installs everything for me :) Since babies have so many little tiny accessories, I also wanted a shelf above the lower closet pole. I have little baskets with bibs, burping clothes, gloves and shoes in them.

I am so grateful to my sister for saving all of my nephew’s clothing. I didn’t have to buy much and mostly everything you see here is from my sister. I am so, so lucky! Everything is hung on these baby hangers and separated by size using these organizers. I hung as much as I could because there isn’t much space in the room, and folded clothing for future months in those larger baskets to the left of the closet.

Oh, and all those diapers? At my baby shower, my sister put on the invitation that there would be a raffle and whoever brought a package of diapers would get a ticket to enter. We have SO many diapers in different sizes, which is amazing in helping us get started.

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We’ll also keep the diaper genie and a hamper in the closet to hide the dirty clothes and diapers. The hamper was picked up at Home Goods and I love the pattern!

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The Dresser:

Instead of having a changing table, we’re using a dresser with a changing pad on top. Honestly, any time I’ve changed a baby’s diaper I’ve always felt more comfortable changing them on the floor. Even so, it’s nice to have this as an option for us or our moms.

Each drawer has little baskets: the top drawer has space for diapers, wipes, lotions, medicines and the thermometer. The middle drawer has socks, onesies, pacifiers and little accessories. The bottom drawer is all PJ’s for newborn and 3-6 months, including swaddles and sleep sacks (again mostly all from my sister).

Ahhh… I love that everything is in it’s own place. Ryan thinks I’m crazy and I’m okay with that. :)

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My carpenter had some wood leftover from a job so he cut a piece so I could use it as a shelf on top of the radiator. It’s perfect for a little plant (that has seen better days) and the white noise maker so we can hopefully get some sleep.

I’m due on Wednesday. I’m going to be someone’s mother. O.M.G.

The baby’s nursery

The baby’s nursery is one of my favorite rooms in the house. It’s really teeny, so it makes it really cozy to be in. Ryan’s been using it for a “gym” and by gym I mean it has a weight bench that the cats lay on more than he does. :) Sometimes I go in there and sit and daydream about what it’s going to be like to rock our son in there. It gets the most beautiful lighting in the afternoon adding even more coziness to the space.

I’ve started doing some research but I keep going back to the same items. I may need some help making decisions! I can easily make them for clients, but have a hard time making them for myself. Which do you like best?!  I’m leaning more towards option 1, but knowing me I’ll probably continue to do more research.

Option 1:
Using orange, blue and gray color scheme are more boyish and fun.

Slide 1

Option 1 Sources:
Crib
Sheets
Bumper
Chair
Paint (Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore)
Rug
Dresser
Lamp

 

Option 2:
By using the subtle mint and gray color scheme, I’ll add some personality by mixing patterns like chevron, stripes and polka dots. Slide 1

Option 2 Sources:

Crib
Bedding
Chair
Paint (Teresa’s Green by Farrow and Ball)
Rug
Dresser
Lamp
Below are the runners-up for the rocker and crib.

joya_ottoman4_1Joya Rocker
I love the style of this rocker, but I’m worried that it might be too deep for the space.

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Graham Glider
I love the look of this glider, but it’s just too deep. So bummed!

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BabyLetto Mercer Crib
I love the look of this crib and the fact that it converts to a toddler crib, but I kept going back to the clean lines of the ikea crib. Although the storage below this crib is a bonus, I like how clean the other crib looks. Am I crazy?

Baby news and nursery plans

Yesterday I got a call from my doctor with results from some recent bloodwork. The baby looks perfectly healthy which is a huge relief! There is also a newish blood test that can see the gender at only 15 weeks and we chose to find out. I was sitting in Penn Station in NYC coming home from a client meeting when I got the news. Not traditional by any means but I just couldn’t wait a few weeks to get the news in person! I conferenced Ryan in and the doctor told us that we’re having a healthy baby boy!

I was sitting on the steps waiting for my train to go home and I just sat there in shock. A baby boy! Now it feels more real because we can refer to the baby as “him” or “he” instead of “it”. I hope he’s as much of a mama’s boy as his daddy is! :)

I’m only 15 weeks right now but I’m a planner and I’d love to have everything chosen for the nursery pretty soon. I’m looking into having a small scale glider made because the room is so tiny and that can take up to 3 months. In the nursery plan below you can see how tiny it is! We really only have room for a crib, dresser and maybe a glider if we squeeze it in! We have overhead lighting, but I’m going to use a low lighting floor lamp for mid night feedings. We have a small radiator right under the window so I had my amazing carpenter make a shelf like this to sit on top so it can serve as a side table.

My next project that I am really excited about is revamping the closet. Right now the closet in the nursery has one shelf and one bar which really doesn’t provide enough storage especially since there won’t be much dresser storage. There is also a pipe running through the closet which is a huge eyesore. My plan for this week is to redo the insulation around the pipe, and remove the shelves. I’d like to install two shelves/bars above each other like this so we have more clothing storage. I’m also going to add a tall skinny cube bookshelf for things like shoes, towels, and sheets. Why does organizing make me so happy?!

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Below are some inspiration images I’ve been pinning on pinterest. Ryan said I could do whatever I want (we’ll see how honest he was being) so I’m looking for something light, bright and fun. I love nurseries that aren’t too gender specific but I’d like to have this room have some more color than the rest of the house. We already bought this dresser from ikea a while ago. I’ve had baby on the brain for a while and I loved this dresser so much that I was scared they’d discontinue it. Crazy, I know. I’ve started doing some research for cribs and rockers so once I’ve organized my thoughts I’ll share the options with you. I can’t wait!

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modern homework room

Modern homework room design mood board

I recently designed a space for a young ethnic family that was looking for an affordable makeover. They need a space that serves multiple purposes: quiet enough for homework, fun for arts and crafts, and comfy for lounging with friends. I love the way this design came out!

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR DESIGN PROJECT!