Elements of Baby, Elements of Home, Elements of Style

A Big Girl Room for Marielle

When I decorated Marielle’s nursery, the room was entirely decorated just for her. We knew we were having a girl, and we knew that we wanted to invest in great furniture that could be used from babyhood through her teenage years. We chose Natart furniture, which is high quality, solid wood furniture with great design. Her crib goes from a baby crib to a toddler bed, optional day bed, to a double bed. Her changing table is simply a dresser with a changing pad fastened to the top. This way, it can be a regular dresser when we no longer need the changing function. Her nursing chair can be converted to a regular wingback chair by removing the rockers and attaching the legs. Every single detail was well researched and planned (Who, me??) so that the room and furniture would grow with her.

I wanted her room to be a calm, sophisticated space with cozy touches and sweet details. Her Natart Bella furniture collection is a deep cocoa brown with beautiful curves and details. Her bedding is a soft, dusty rose color with polka dots and ruffles, and her walls an elegant beige. An etched oval mirror hangs by an ivory ribbon above her dresser, while a delicate crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling. I loved it so much I made sure we took it with us when we moved houses. A small bookshelf displays a large metal “M” surrounded by all her favorite books held up by sweet, white birdcage bookends. Floor length ruffled curtain panels block out the light for sweet dreams and happy naps. Her room has always been my most favorite room in the entire house. It was my sanctuary as well.

As she gets older, her personality is really starting to shine through. She’s sweet but sassy, loves wearing a backwards hat, but also a tutu. She’s artistic and creative and loves to dance, but never passes up a game of tag or kicking around the soccer ball. But, she will do all of those things in her tap shoes. Bottom line, the girl has personality and she will need a room to go with it.

I remember when my mom and I redecorated my childhood room from a nursery to a little girl room. It was the late 80’s and wallpaper was in. I had wall to wall floral Laura Ashley wallpaper with a stripe bottom half and a floral border. Looking back it was like living in an English garden, but I loved it. My bedding matched the wallpaper…the wallpaper matched the curtains…the curtains matched the lampshade. Everything matched. Every. Single. Thing. But, there was no Pottery Barn Kids, RH Baby & Child, or even Target that carried fun room decor for kids. Years later the wallpaper came down and was painted a pale yellow, with all white bedding…just a little more subtle!

I purposefully made sure her room had enough neutrals in it that when it came time to redecorate for her, all I would need to do was change out or add a few accessories. I still love the dusty rose pink and beige combination and it only seems fitting that her new accents would be in gold. Gold and pink? What little girl wouldn’t love that? Gold accessories and accents are really popular right now and there are so many options…I had to hold myself back from cluttering up the design board. Her nursery is RH Baby & Child ad PB Kids, and her soon to be toddler/little girl room is a combination of Target’s new Pillowfort line, Pottery Barn Kids and RH Baby & Child and RH Teen.

I’ll dress up her toddler bed with a girly tulle canopy (for my little ballerina) add in some gold accents with flower hooks and cheerful pillows. A jewelry box to hold all her trinkets (sunglasses, bracelets, special keepsake items and important items such as her Peppa Pig keychain) A covered bulletin board to display her works of art, a new mirror above her dresser (maybe…I do still LOVE her current one. Maybe just replace the ivory ribbon with gold?)  with a shimmering gold chandelier table lamp to fill the space where her changing pad used to be. A cozy pouf to add in front of her chair so we can sit and share stories together. It doesn’t take much to update and glam up a room. A few accent pieces and pillows added to your current furniture collection make it seem like a new room! The best part about shopping online, is that you can pretty much always find a 20% coupon for these popular retail stores.

She’s not quite ready for her toddler bed/bedroom yet…but planning her big girl room is definitely fun!

Marielle Nursery

Marielle’s Current Nursery

Wingback Rocker: Pottery Barn Kids

Side Table: Pottery Barn

Beaded Lamp Shade & Base: Pottery Barn Kids

Ruffled Blackout Curtain Panels: Pottery Barn Kids

Double Dresser:  Natart Bella Collection

Crib: Natart Bella Collection, 5 in 1 crib

Monogram Letter: Pottery Barn Kids

Etched Oval Mirror: Pottery Barn Kids

Bedding: RH Baby & Child

Area Rug: Pottery Barn Kids

Marielle Toddler Room

Gold Mirror: RH Teen

Bed Canopy: Pottery Barn Kids

Gold Rose Hook: Pottery Barn Kids

Pillow: Pottery Barn Teen

Covered Bulletin Board: Pillowfort, Target

Jewelry Box: RH Baby & Child

Chandelier Table Lamp: RH Baby & Child

Pouf: RH Baby & Child

Elements of Calm, Elements of Home

Mamacation: Why every mom needs a vacation at home, alone.


This past weekend, my amazing husband packed up our two toddlers and a week’s worth of clothing and diapers, 2 pack and plays, 2 life jackets, 2 sleep sheeps, 10 pacifiers, SPF 70, 10 apple sauce pouches for the car ride and left me at behind at our house so that I could have 2 glorious days to myself.

You see, as a stay at home mama, I was starting to unravel a bit. 2.5 years of never sleeping in, not being able to shower when I want, never finishing a cup of coffee before it went cold, never getting to watch any morning television programming that wasn’t brought to you by a letter and a number, pretty much not having a whole lot of me time. Don’t get me wrong. I completely willingly and lovingly spend my day with my two children. I love being able to spend all day with them, watching them grow up before my eyes, I’m pretty lucky. But, I’m human, and I, like everyone else, have limits. It wasn’t just me who needed this, the kids did too. With summer activities on a break for the rest of the summer, my 2.5 year old was majorly acting up. Like, Oscar wining drama daily. I couldn’t entertain her enough while also trying to take care of our 1 year old. She needed some one on one time with dad, her aunt and uncle and her Gigi and Papa up at the cabin. 5 adults and 2 kids…she was going to have a blast. And she deserved it.

We have been in our new house for a little over a year and I have never woken up in our house naturally…it has always been by the sounds of two very awake babies through the monitor ready for mom and dad to come get them out of bed. The morning rush of getting two kids changed, fed and entertained, before the coffee even starts brewing…then you no longer pour that cup of coffee and someone needs your attention.

I just needed some time to regroup. Slow down. Rejuvenate. I wanted some time to enjoy the house I spend so much time cleaning, fixing and decorating. For the first time, I woke up, made my coffee, brought it outside and read a book with real pages in our tree swing while enjoying the sounds of birds and admiring the blooming Hydrangeas in front of me. I looked at the gardens I had worked so hard at planting. I watched the neighborhood walk by with their dogs and kiddos.

I took a shower longer than 3.5 minutes. I did a few projects around the house that have been taking me weeks due to constant interruptions, and finished them. I deep cleaned the kid’s bedrooms, which is otherwise difficult when someone is always sleeping.

Why on earth did I want to do chores on my vacation you ask? Because I’m one of those types who loves an organized home. I love checking things off my list, and I got to do that this weekend. Don’t worry, I had my fair share of relaxation, Bravo TV and wine. But it truly energizes me to get things done.

It brought me so much joy to Face Time the kids and see what a blast they were having. Swimming, boating, playing at the beach, eating Gigi’s homemade waffles…they were getting exactly what they needed too. Everyone was happy.

It was definitely a little strange to go to sleep alone in our house…and I of course flipped through iPhone photos of the kids before drifting off 🙂

And now as I await their arrival home any minute now, I can’t wait to see them. I can’t wait to kiss those cheeks, have a chaotic dinner with them, and be the one to put them to bed tonight. We will all wake up refreshed tomorrow morning, and ready to go.

If you can figure out how to have a weekend to yourself in your own home, do it. Parents, especially those who stay at home all day, need to find time for themselves. More than just a yoga class or dinner out with friends, you need a couple days to regroup…take it and do what you love to do. Go to Target by yourself and peruse the home decor aisles. Go for a run without the stroller. Weed the garden. Whatever you love to do, do it.

Thank you to my loving husband for giving me this time 🙂

Elements of Home, Elements of Style, Favorite Places, Favorite Things

Mommy HQ Makeover: Sika Design Sofie Side Bistro Chair

I’m always looking for new ways to add style to our new home and chairs are one of the simple things that can really change the look and feel of a space. I love chairs. A fabulous chair can really change the whole ambiance of a room or area. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out which chairs I wanted for our new kitchen. We decided on the French Tolix chairs…I love the industrial modern look they have, and they are actually comfortable and extremely well made. I was using one at my kitchen desk for awhile (also known as Mommy HQ) until my husband brought this bistro chair home and I fell in love. It’s pretty, right? Not just pretty, it’s just lovely, and it completes “my” area. It’s comfortable, unique, extremely well made and stylish. It’s like a little piece of French Cafe right in my kitchen. I mean, I down about 3 lattes sitting here, so it makes sense. Oh how I long to go back to Paris…pain au chocolat, espresso, red wine…Sorry, side note.

Here is the story behind this chair. My husband is the US distributor for Sika Design. Not only is the furniture beautiful, but it’s handmade, sustainable and made of the highest quality materials. Originally, my husband brought home the chair for me to see, and photograph, with no intention of letting me keep it…but once I placed the chair in front of my desk, I knew I had to have it. I mean, if I’m taking the photo and showing the world how much I love it…shouldn’t I get SOMETHING out of it? I basically told him I was keeping the chair and he’d have to take me with if he was going to take it away from me.

This particular chair is the Sofie Side Bistro Chair in Grey with white dots. I’m sort of in love with the green with white dots and the purple is pretty amazing too…but our kitchen is grey and white and this one blended in perfectly with our current decor.


Elements of Calm, Elements of Home, Elements of Style, Favorite Places, Favorite Things

Spaces: Mommy HQ

Every mom needs a space to call her own. A place that’s off limits to little hands and even husbands 🙂 A little bit of calm and organization in what is otherwise a chaotic household run by a toddler. I call this place Mommy Headquarters, or Mommy HQ. We moved into our new house about a week ago, and I have to say one of my most favorite places in the whole house is the kitchen. Not because of my love of cooking (well, that’s part of it) But also because it contains MY area. An area where my computer can sit without being harassed by a 1 year old, where my iPhone can stay docked and not hidden in a couch cushion or tucked behind a pillow, where I can always find my Burt’s Bees, keys and post it notes. I have always loved having a desk. When I was a child, I always had a desk in my room that had fully organized drawers full of markers in rainbow order, stationary, notepads and of course my diary (with the little key that locks it) When I worked in advertising, I’m pretty sure I had the most organized desk out of the whole company. It’s rare to find a creative mind that is also organized…Also rare to find a adult who still keeps a pack of markers at her desk as well as the full color assortment of Sharpies 🙂 For color coding of course!

In our old house, my husband and I shared a desk and it was a complete disaster. A CEO and a stay at home mom need their own spaces to stay organized and sane. In our new house, my husband has his own office, with an actual door, where Marielle can’t pull out all of his important documents, pull his keyboard off the desk and hide his mouse. Ahhhh…luxury. I grew up with a built in desk in our kitchen and I loved it. I have great memories of my mom sitting there with her sewing machine, or calculator and work she brought home. It was where the family computer was…back in the day when there was just one computer in a house. It was a home to school pictures, the family calendar, office supplies and the money cubby that was always full of $20s that me and my siblings would “borrow” and somehow never return with change…weird?!  So you can imagine how thrilled I was when we first toured this house because it had one as well. According to my parent’s interior decorator, people are starting to get away from putting the desk in the kitchen, because they simply use their laptops in the living room, bedroom, dining room, etc. I think that’s a problem. We take our technology everywhere. Laptops do not belong in our bedroom. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and I love being in the center of that. I find that with my own workspace, that technology stays in it’s own place, and my focus is Marielle throughout the day…not the dings and rings that my computer and phone provide. I love coming to sit here during her naps, catch up on my blog, email, Google the occasional toddler problem, enjoy my espresso and of course every stay at home mom’s guilty pleasure…Pinterest and Facebook. Once baby boy McCarthy arrives, I know I’m going to appreciate this little piece of calm and quiet time even more…even if I only have 5 minutes of free time a day 🙂


Elements of Home, Favorite Things

Holiday Window Box

I love my window box. It’s the one element on the outside of our house that in my opinion, changes the whole feeling of the exterior of the home. Window boxes are cozy, inviting and beautiful, and add instant curb appeal to your home. I was especially excited to do my window box this year because we recently painted the exterior of our home a new color and I was excited to see how my window box would look this year! My spring window box took a bit of a beating with all the rain we had this spring…it was moved around when we had the house painted and was a bit neglected during that time. Therefore, I’m just going to show you how my holiday window box turned out, which is my secret favorite anyways 🙂 I pretty much do the same thing every year, which makes it easy. Half of it is reusable, the other half I buy fresh every year. My window box includes:

  • Spruce tips, cedar and mixed pine branches (new each year)
  • Magnolia leaves (new each year)
  • Dried pods both natural and glittery for the holidays (can be reused)
  • Pine cones (can be reused)
  • Large, gold shatterproof ornaments (available at Target and most large garden centers during the holidays, can be reused)
  • Warm white LED lights

The best thing about winter window boxes is that they are maintenance free! No watering, no trimming, nothing. Just lovely color throughout the winter. When the holidays are over, I simply remove the lights, ornaments and anything glittery, and leave the greens and natural decor in for the rest of the winter.

Holiday window box

Elements of Home

Purchasing and Refinishing a Window Framed Mirror for Under $100

I have this new obsession with window framed mirrors. They are pretty and whimsical and add a little extra something to just a regular framed mirror. I first fell in love with one on Pottery Barn…but for the price it was, I just couldn’t justify it…ever. Even places like Pier 1 and Target were more expensive than I could ever imagine spending on a mirror. Then, one day…the (almost) perfect mirror appeared on Zulily. For those of you who don’t know what Zulily is, it’s pretty much my obsession. It’s essentially a flash sale site with women’s clothing, kid’s clothing and home decor. The deals are amazing and a lot less expensive than One Kings Lane or Joss and Main. You just have to look every day to find the perfect steal. One morning, doing my usual still in bed glance over of the new items, I found a window framed mirror, a little smaller than I wanted, but for $79 I couldn’t resist. The only other problem with it is that it was a distressed white color, which I didn’t want. But, that’s what paint is for, right? When it arrived, the “distressed white” was more of a white with the finger painting of a 3 year old. However, it was the perfect base to make it exactly what I wanted.

I ended up buying a metallic paint in the color of Oil Rubbed Bronze, that was a suitable grade paint for furniture at Home Depot for $7.95. I sort of have this obsession with anything oil rubbed bronze. All of our fixtures and hardware are this color and I love the way it looks in our 1911 house. I also chose to not buy a spray paint. I read several reviews, and there were so many complaints about drips and poor coverage, that I decided I would have more control using an actual paint. I spent the first 1/2 hour taping each pane with painters tape, so that no paint could leak through onto the mirror. I lightly sanded the panes to ensure the paint would adhere to the wood.  After the first coat, I let it try for 5 hours before applying a second. Before I knew it, the mirror was finished! I’m always so quick to want to rip off the painters tape to see my final result, but have learned the hard way that taking off the tape too soon causes paint to peel off with it… I let it dry until the next day in the porch. I love the way it turned out…and for under $100! It is currently hanging in our sun porch, and I love the way the sun reflects off of it. The paint has a slight shimmer to it that looks amazing in the sun.

To my surprise, I find out that 1 week later, my wonderful husband bought me the mirror I wanted from Pottery Barn as a little gift…and it looks perfect in the dining room:)


Mirror before and after

Completed Project

Elements of Home

The Door to Nowhere…No More!

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s finally happening. We are taking the biggest leap since we’ve lived in our home, and doing our very first REAL construction project! Okay, the laundry room was also construction, but…this one includes real bids, real plans and someone other than me and B doing the work! Hooray! We’re building a deck. I never actually published my ranting post about all the strange quirks…er…charms…our house has, I felt it was a little harsh…and only written because our plumbing went on us and I needed an outlet. In reality, I’m so grateful for our home. It’s beautiful, in my dream neighborhood and perfect for the two of us and our eventual growing family. And, it’s ours…and for that, we’re very blessed.

When we moved into our house, we discovered there were two doors leading to the backyard. One (the normal one) Is ground level and walks right out to the backyard from the top of the basement stairs. The second one (the quirk) is a door that is about 4 feet off the ground, with no stairs, no deck….just this 4 foot drop off that somehow made it past inspection. (hmmm…) It’s a great door with a window right off the kitchen. Clearly, at some point in this 100 year old house’s life, there was a deck or at the very least, a staircase that would lead you down to the back yard. My husband and I love to grill and hang out outside. We have this fabulous front porch, but, it’s more of a 3 season, and we’d love to have a place to put the grill, and a table to spend time in our backyard. So, the door to nowhere is finally going to have a purpose…our very own deck complete with built in benches and planters! Dream. Come. True. I have a feeling Lola will love to bask in the sun as well 🙂 I’ll keep you posted with photos of the progress…Exciting days ahead for our 1911 home 🙂



Elements of Home

Sun Porch Renovation… Complete!

We started this project back in April when we were having some unseasonably warm spring days. If you recall, when we moved into our house, the front porch was in major need of a little love. The floors needed sanding, the walls needed painting and the windows needed a complete overhaul. Did I mention someone not only painted over a leaded glass window, but boarded it up on the other side? Why someone thought that was a good idea is beyond me. Did they have something against sunlight??

Nevertheless. After endless days of scraping, painting, sanding and attempting to stain maple floors (which you can’t…by the way) resanding, seal coating, running all over the city to find era appropriate window hardware…we finally finished in early July and were able to enjoy it for the rest of the summer. Thanks to my wonderful husband and all his hard work! Where the windows were painted a dark green, they are now painted a bright, sunny white. See the before pictures here. I have to say, it’s one of my most favorite places in the whole house. It’s sunny and bright, a perfect home for my herbs and plants, and the perfect place for Sunday mornings with coffee and the New York Times and summer evening dinners. And worth every minute spent making it that way.

I mounted herb planters on the wall so I had easy access to them and hung a Lantana plant right in front of the sunny windows.


Lola also enjoys the new porch!
Oversized lanterns create the perfect ambiance


Happy puppy 🙂


We used Fermob furniture in our porch. It’s colorful and a perfect reminder of our love of Paris where it lines cafes up and down the street.


Our pretty door is no longer hidden in a dark green door frame. I love the detail in this door.




The perfect finishing touch to any door, courtesy of my sister in law 🙂




Elements of Home

French Onion Soup Gratinee

On a trip to Paris a few years ago, I had the most amazing french onion soup at Le Grand Colbert. I was in heaven. The perfect ambiance and the incredible soup topped with bubbling Gruyere cheese. Amazing. Ever since then, I was hooked. I’ve tried making it a few times. I’ve tried everything from Julia Childs’ recipe, to mix and match concoctions trying to find the perfect balance of ingredients and flavors. I finally settled on the recipe below and my husband gave me the mother of all compliments saying it we no longer need to go to out dinner to find great French onion soup! The key to fabulous french onion soup is perfectly caramelized onions, not too much salt and perfectly hardened french baguette slices for the gratinee…and a really good Gruyere cheese. But, you can use regular Swiss if you’re not keen on spending 20 dollars on cheese. Oh, and good news! I got a new camera for my birthday yesterday! So, no more iPhone photos 🙂


  • 4 thinly sliced onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 Cup of white wine
  • 6-7 cups of Beef Broth or a mixture of Beef and Chicken Broth if you prefer a lighter soup
  • Fresh Thyme springs (3-4)
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper
  • French baguette sliced into 3/4 inch rounds
  • Gruyere cheese or Swiss, shredded. I won’t tell you how much to shred…because personally, I’d tell you to shred the whole block:) But you can put as much or as little as you want.
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded


  1. In a large dutch oven, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, fresh thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Cook on medium/low heat for 45 minutes or until onions are golden brown and caramelized. Do not stir often, or the onions won’t caramelize. Caramelizing the onions before hand gives your soup incredible flavor. It’s a slow process, but worth every minute.
  2. Once the onions are caramelized, add in the white wine. simmer until the wine is absorbed into the onions.
  3. Remove the bay leaves and Thyme sprigs.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees for the baguette
  5. Add the broth, and simmer on low for 30-45 minutes to incorporate the flavors.
  6. Cut the baguette into 3/4 inch round slices and arrange on a cookie sheet. bake until toasted, but not too brown.
  7. Preheat the broiler.
  8. Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls. Float 3-4 slices of baguette in each bowl and top with as much Gruyere and Parmesan cheese as you want.
  9. Place bowls on a cookie sheet and put under the broiler for 4-5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
  10. Add salt and pepper as desired.


french onion soup gratinee

Elements of Home, Elements of Style

Seeded Eucalyptus Fall Wreath

I feel pretty lucky to have the family that I do. I have amazing parents and a wonderful sister and brother both who married people I love! I feel blessed to be a part of a family that actually likes to hang out with each other. We have lots of little get togethers to celebrate various events, as well as just to have fun and hang out. I love fall and I know my sister in law Tiffany loves fall as well so it seemed obvious to have a little fall party at my house. We usually do some sort of craft…wreaths, centerpieces, etc. eat yummy food from recipes we find on Pinterest… and of course, wonderful wine. This year, I convinced my mom and sister to come over and make wreaths as well. My mom’s wreath turned out beautifully! My sister ended up helping my nieces who joined us this year with their little wreaths! It was such a fun day.  The girls decorated little 12 inch grapevine wreaths with items they found in their backyard as well as some cute little pumpkins my mom bought for them. They turned out amazing.

The Eucalyptus wreath is super simple to make. You only use one type of leaf and that’s the seeded eucalyptus. It’s so beautiful on its own, you don’t need anything else. For a wreath frame, I used a 18 inch grapevine wreath. I then attached seeded eucalyptus branches around the wreath frame attaching it in various areas to keep the eucalyptus branches down with floral wire. That’s it! It smells wonderful every time I walk in the door. Even though the New York Times delivery person knocked it down at 4am Sunday morning…Nice throw. Thank you Tiff for the great photos from the day!

DIY Seeded Eucalyptus WreathPhoto Credits: Red Velvet Moments