A Small Kitchen Tour


Welcome! Take a tour of this small galley kitchen and see how we make the most of this space!

small galley kitchen tour

Like most ranch homes built in the 70’s, we have a small 8′ x 9′ ranch house kitchen. It’s a true galley kitchen that is literally a walk through galley. If you want to walk from the dining room to the family room, this is the only way. Creating a functional kitchen that is also a main passage way through the house was more about design aesthetic rather than changing the actual footprint of the kitchen (due to both space and budget constraints).

small galley kitchen tour

The previous owners had painted the cabinets in a pink stain and tied the countertops in with a laminate pink granite and matching pink tile backsplash.  I wish I had before pictures, to say there was a little bit of pink overload going on in here would be an understatement!

small galley kitchen tour

small galley kitchen tour

We started by painting the cabinets a bright white to bring some light into the kitchen and to help open it up visually. In keeping with the bright and light theme we chose a classic white subway tile for the backsplash. A note on the subway tile: I picked out a “handmade” style subway tile which has a great organic look to it, but is kind of tricky to install because all of the edges are uneven. If I were installing this again I would just go with the basic straight edge subway tile.

small galley kitchen tour

small galley kitchen tour

My favorite part of the kitchen makeover was the “splurge” element, aka the soapstone counters. They really are the best, matte finish, beautiful natural veining, and just the touch of moodiness this little space needed. Full disclosure, everything people warn you about regarding soapstone counters is true. They are soft, prone to scratches and chips, and do have to be babied a little. But after 8 years I still love them.

small galley kitchen tour
small galley kitchen tour

I’m a true believer in making the best of what you have, and this little kitchen is a true testament to that idea. We may not have been able to afford to move exterior walls or expand the kitchen footprint, but it’s amazing what painting the existing cabinets alone did for this kitchen!

Thank you for following along, I hope you enjoyed the tour!

p.s I’ll be linking up over at Remodelaholic this Friday, so come join us for more inspiration!

Best of Ikea Round-Up


6 must have items for your next ikea trip.

Happy Saturday! I’ve talked a little bit previously about our upcoming move out of the city and our future renovation plans (full story here). The further we get into the planning phase, the more and more we are realizing how expensive renovations are. So. Very. Expensive. In an effort to rein in the skyrocketing bids we seem to be getting, I’ve been searching for ways to save money. Can we do the kitchen remodel ourselves? How hard can putting flooring down be? Could I learn to tile? You get the picture.

All of this to say, I’ve been spending a lot of time at Ikea lately looking at different renovation options for kitchens. We live in the Portland area and are lucky enough to be within close driving distance to an Ikea, which I know isn’t the case for a lot of people. Even though we are within a 45 minute drive, it’s still a bit of a jaunt, so I try to have a list of specific things I’m looking for or want to stock up on when I go there, otherwise it can be overwhelming.

There are a few items that are my favorites because they check all of the boxes – form, function, and price! I thought I would share them with you today in case you have an Ikea trip or online order planned in your future.

Begarlig Vase – I have and love this vase for a lot of reasons. It’s quite large, great for holding flowers or candles. It also has a hand blown vibe to it that makes it look a lot more expensive than it is. In fact, I’ve seen some similar vases for way more money on designer websites.

Elly Towels – I think everyone loves these towels. They are such a great deal, are super absorbent, and I don’t feel bad if my toddler gets a hold of one to “help” me clean.

Fryken Boxes – These are perfect for just about anywhere in your home. They look just as great on a living room coffee table as they do on a bathroom shelf. They add extra hidden storage while adding a great seagrass texture to any room. I already have one set, but am contemplating if I need another.

Bumerang Hangers – All wood hangers for under $4 a pack? Count me in.

Kampig Hook – Brass accents have been around for a while now and I don’t see them going anywhere soon. These hooks are an affordable way to try out the trend without over committing – and I would never guess they came from Ikea!

Ingabritta Throw – This lightweight throw is the perfect color at the perfect price point for a little spring room refresh.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

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3 Ingredient Heart Pancakes


These 3 ingredient pancakes are a favorite in our house. Try making them with a heart mold for a simple Valentine’s breakfast idea!

3 ingredient heart pancakes with strawberries and blueberries.

Welcome! Let me start by saying I know these aren’t the most photogenically fluffy pancakes you’ll ever see, but they are so easy to make and so healthy that it more than makes up for their looks. And besides, looks aren’t everything, right? 😉

3 ingredient pancakes with strawberries and blueberries.

We make these pancakes at least 3 times a week in our home because They. Are. So. Easy. This pancake recipe (if it counts as one) has been floating around the internet for a while. I first discovered it when we started eating paleo on a more regular basis. The entire recipe consists of 1 banana, 2 eggs, and a Tbs of cinnamon. Combine all 3 ingredients in one bowl, mix them together (making sure to mash the banana up well), and cook the batter up in a pan the way you would a normal pancake.                         
3 ingredient pancakes with strawberries and blueberries.

The main reason l love these pancakes is how quickly they can be made – in under 5 minutes I can have a healthy, homemade breakfast on the table. We’ve also been known to whip them up as a late night snack.

3 ingredient pancakes with strawberries and blueberries.

For this batch I used a silicone heart mold to cook the pancakes and then added some fruit for fun. Does anyone else cut the stems out of their strawberries so they look like hearts? I think it’s one of those little touches that can elevate the everyday to something special. And it’s easy, and I’m all about easy.

3 ingredient pancakes with strawberries and blueberries.

That’s it! Super simple with the bonus of being hearty and healthy. When I make these for basic everyday pancakes I put butter and a little extra cinnamon sprinkled on top of mine. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do. Bon appétit!

P.S. If you’re looking for other Valentine’s Day inspired breakfast ideas, Brit + Co. has a great round-up of breakfast in bed ideas!

Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Home


1.  letter board  2. plates  3. blush pillow  4. heart molds  5. the year of cozy  6. xoxo decanter

I love Valentine’s Day. I know the spiel about it being a consumer holiday marketed by the card companies, but I can’t help it, I love what it stands for and the sentiment behind it. I also don’t believe it’s just for sweethearts, I think it’s a chance to show someone you care about them, no matter what their relationship is to you.

For me, having a baby has really changed holidays. I’ve always love them, but they’ve taken on a deeper, more special meaning as our family has grown. I think a lot of it also has to do with the state of our world right now, there is so much heartache and, honestly, evil out there. It’s enough to break your heart. To me, a holiday, especially one centered around love, can only be a good thing.

If you’re in the mood for some Valentine’s Day cheer, here are some of my favorite love inspired links from around the inter webs:

via daily quotes 

Also, in honor of the holiday of love, I’ve put together some of my favorite valentine inspired gifts for the home. After all, love starts at home, right?


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New year, New Habits + Why It’s Never Too Late To Start


It’s the end of January, that time of year when most of us are struggling to remember why we made those new year’s resolutions and debating what we have to lose by not following through with them. I know a lot of people feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to resolutions – they either love them or hate them. I fall into the love category and I have a theory about why that is.

I believe one of the biggest things that we get hung up on when it comes to resolutions is the idea that a resolution needs to correct or fix something in our lives. For example, to lose those extra ten pounds, or to break a bad habit. Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t make those your goals, but try rephrasing it. For instance, rather than saying, “I need to lose 10 pounds this year” try, “I’m going to come up with a plan for clean eating that fits within my lifestyle”. By shifting the goal from a negative statement (to lose weight) to a positive action (I’m going to come up with a clean eating plan) you’re setting yourself up for success in the long run.

To me, a resolution should be the pursuit of a positive habit that makes our life better in some way. This means carefully picking what my resolutions should be in light of how they will impact my life. For instance, rather than picking something that fills me with a sense of dread when I think about how I’m going to complete it, I try to pick something that I’m actually excited about. I know that might sound overly simplistic, but I really do believe it’s the key to making a successful change.

Why It’s Never Too Late To Start

The number one concept we all get hung up on is this idea that resolutions have to begin with the new year. They don’t. I know this idea isn’t earth shattering or new, but this is your new year reminder: it’s never to late to start a new habit. It can be done anytime, anywhere. 

I almost fell victim to my old way of thinking this January. A week into the new year, I realized I hadn’t really decided what to pursue as a resolution. Was I too late? What type of resolution should I pick? And then, “Why was I letting this stress me out?!” Ultimatley I decided to make it a goal to complete the Blue Letter Bible’s chronological one year reading plan. It’s been quite a while since I last read through the Bible as a complete reading in a year. While it’s a daunting goal, it’s one I’m excited about and that I believe will have a positive impact on my life, so what’s to lose?

I hope you’re embracing the new year and the figurative clean slate that it gives us all, and if you haven’t made any positive goals or resolutions for the year, remember, it’s never too late to start!



5 Tips for Making Your Home Cozy this Winter


January often gets a bad rap, it’s dreary, it’s cold, and everyone is in withdrawal from the bright lights and glitter of the Christmas season. I think there are two kinds of people when it comes decorating: the ones who can’t wait to get their Christmas decorations packed up because they feel claustrophobic, and those who feel like their home is empty and cold after all of the decorations come down.

I can totally relate to the latter, and I think most of us want our homes to have the cozy feeling…minus the clutter. So I’ve rounded up some inspiration below along with 5 simple ideas for adding the cozy factor to your home.

1. Layers 

via My Domaine

Start layering all the things. Layering rugs is a trend that’s been around for a while and it’s a great way to add warmth to a room. Nervous about the right combination of rugs to layer? One of the easiest formulas is to start by using a natural fiber rug as the base layer and add a second slightly smaller rug with some color or pattern on top. If you want to make it extra cozy, try layering a sheepskin over a chair or foot stool (p.s. isn’t that wallpaper amazing?!).

2. Warm Wood Tones

via Proverbs 31 Girl

After years of painted furniture and dark wood floors, warmer wood tones have been making a comeback. While most of us don’t have the luxury of changing our floors out as trends come and go, I think a similar effect can be achieved with a great statement piece in a warm wood tone. This could be anything from a distressed farm style dining table to a oversized wooden bowl.

3. Moody Paint

via Room for Tuesday

Ah, moody dark paint. Done right, this is a budget friendly way to add some depth to your home and up the cozy factor. I really want to give this a try, but just haven’t figured out the right room to do it in yet. I love the above image because it illustrates how you can try the dark color without having to paint the entire room in that one color.

4. Candles & Fairy Lights

via Apartment Therapy

Candles and fairy lights are two of my favorite ways to add warmth to a room, probably because it’s so easy! I use battery operated tea lights, candles, and fairy lights throughout our home to create pools of light in different rooms. The best part? Most of them are programmable so you can set them to turn on and off automatically each evening – talk about easy ambiance!

5. Add Woven Texture

via Alon Studio

Woven texture can be brought into a room in so many different ways, through blinds, baskets, rugs – the list goes on and on. Baskets in particular are one of my favorites because they provide a utilitarian purpose (holding and storing items) while bringing an element of cozy to any room they’re in – and anything that serves a duel purpose is a win-win in my book!


Cozy Home Sources

A Small Linen Closet Makeover


To follow up my previous post on using baskets and bins to organize, I thought I’d share how I put that into practice with an easy small linen closet makeover.

Welcome to our linen closet….or should I say our everything closet. I think I’ve mentioned before that we live in a small ranch stye bungalow, a cute little house with equally cute little closets. In fact, other than a small coat closet when you enter the house, there are no other main catch-all closets…this is it. Which means this five shelf, narrow closet that’s tucked away at the end of the hallway has to work hard. Really hard.

This past year, with the addition of a baby to our household, we lost our office (aka storage room) when we turned it into a nursery. Having to find a new home or purge all of the items in that room made me realize how important it was for everything to have a spot. I no longer had the luxury of throwing stuff into a room and shutting the door.

In a desperate effort to find more space, I turned to the main closet in our home, what you would traditionally call the linen closet. In our case it needed to work as our everything closet. It needed to store not just extra linens, but also towels, first aid supplies, toiletries, ironing supplies, and other random extras.

I started by re-designating what each set of shelves would need to hold. This helped me figure out what I was actually going to be able to fit in there. For instance, I would love to have a bunch of extra sheets and towels in here, but the reality is I could only justify one shelf for our household towels and one extra set of sheets, so I downsized our collection of those items until only what would fit was left.

Speaking of fit, you may notice the towels are stored rolled up rather than folded, which is because the closet is so shallow it doesn’t fit a traditionally folded stack of towels. While they are a little bit of a pain to put away, it maximizes our use of space and looks cute, so no complaints here. And yes, we do have a whole basket devoted to holding heat packs – priorities, right? I listed one of my favorite heat pack brands in the sources link at the bottom of the post.

Once I had figured out how I was going to organize the linens and towels, it was on to the matter of finding bins or baskets that would fit the shelves in a way that maximized the space. I found the gray woven bins at Target for a really budget friendly price. They have handles that make them convenient to pull out and are made of an easy to clean plastic material.

The final touch was to add something pretty, because why not make the inside of your closet pretty to look at? It’s like a nice little pop of happy every time you open the doors up. For this closet I added some graphic black and white contact paper to the back wall. It adds interest and pattern while complimenting the gray and aqua color palette. I bought the contact paper at Target, but couldn’t find a link to it online, so I linked to a similar one below.

For me, this tiny space was the perfect way to start the new year with small organizing baby steps. What about you, have you tackled any new year organization projects yet?

p.s. I’m linking up over at Remodelaholic, come and join us if you’d like to!

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My Favorite Baskets & Bins


1. bamboo bin  2. mint box  3. striped bin  4. woven cube  5. handle basket  6. wire basket

Baskets and bins, bins and baskets! January has such a reputation for being the month of new beginnings and clean slates – it’s also the dreariest month here in the Pacific Northwest. It just rains. And rains. And rains some more. Which makes it the perfect time to tidy up and organize inside our cozy little house.

I think that sometimes the holidays and all of the decorations that come along with them can make our homes feel cluttered (in a good way), so by the time January rolls around people are ready to purge, streamline, and organize their homes. I am definitely one of those people, although if I’m being completely honest, I’m probably one of those people all year long.

One of the main ways I’ve organized for a long time is with baskets and bins. Whether it’s under sinks to corral extra toiletries, in linen closets to keep extra towels ready for guests, or in a main living space for a handy place to store blankets, baskets and bins really are the workhorses of our homes.  I know this idea isn’t anything earth shatteringly new, but there are so many new options out there to organize with beyond traditional wicker baskets, and at great affordable price points too!

Wicker baskets will always be one of those forever items in my home, they’re so classic I don’t think they will ever go out of style, and so versatile that I’m continually surprised by the new uses I find for them. That being said, sometimes you want to change it up a little, right? I like to mix baskets with other materials for a more collected look. I think the key to a collected look is to use multiple items, but still keep it cohesive. The easiest way to keep things cohesive is to use complimentary colors, materials, and textures.

I’ve rounded up some baskets and bins that I love and use throughout various parts of our home. I always seem to gravitate towards striped patterns and hues of blue, and this round up definitely attests to that. I love that the variety of textures (from canvas to wire), and the array of patterns (from herringbone to stripe) work together but still keep it different enough to be interesting.

Happy organizing!


Five Inspiring Books for 2018


“And now we welcome the new year.  Full of things that have never been.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

What was 2017 for you? For me it was the year of the book. I’ve always loved to read, but this past year some of the books I read actually changed certain aspects of how I live my life. It’s not that I haven’t ever had this happen from reading a book before, just that this past year was particularly influenced by new ideas, most of which came from books.

While I read a lot of books, I thought I would highlight the five that really touched me or brought significant changes into our family’s life. None of these books are new, and I lay no claim to discovering them, but maybe one of them is what you’ve been looking for in the way of inspiration.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – This book has been around for a while and was on the New York Times bestseller list, but somehow I had never heard of it before this year. Marie Kondo tackles the idea of how you think about tidying up, rather than just a new system for getting things organized. The main concept is to only keep things that truly bring you joy. While I’m nowhere near being a minimalist, this book really changes how I look at clutter. I’m one of those people whose brain feels cluttered when our home is cluttered, so gaining a new perspective on that clutter and how to tackle it was so helpful.

Present Over Perfect – Ah, perfection. I think a lot of us struggle with it, whatever your particular brand of perfection is. Social media in particular has magnified the perfection lens. Whatever you think you have to do, or have to be, I don’t think any of us is ever going to look back and think I wish I had been less present in my life at this or that point. I enjoyed reading Shauna’s personal perspective on this idea and while I don’t know that I’ll ever conquer this particular demon, having the tools to combat it is the first step to living a more present life.

The Little Book of Hygge – Hygge was such a buzzword this past year and will probably continue to be. I believe Hygge is actually tied in to the idea above – being present and enjoying the little things. I think the hygge concept has become so popular because people are searching for that way to simplify their lives in this crazy world and hold close to something that makes them feel cozy and safe. The Little Book of Hygge gives you practical tips and ideas for how to bring more hygge into your life. From the recipes (skibberlabskovs!), to the suggestions (rent a cabin in the wood for a weekend getaway) I really enjoyed Meik Wiking’s secrets to happy living and will be revisiting ideas for 2018!

The Organically Clean Home – I love to set goals and I love to cross things off lists. I started last year with the goal of getting our home as free of hazardous chemicals as possible. I had wanted to do this for a long time, but actually taking the time to sit down and research what we use and what to replace it with just seemed so daunting (I wrote a post late last year about this and how I did it). Part of what helped me get started and lay the foundation for our chemical free home was this book. Becky has been doing this for a long time and she really takes the guess work out of it by showing you the basic ingredients you need and how to make replacements for your current toxic cleaners. We’ve been using these natural cleaning products for exactly a year now, and I can honestly say I don’t think we’ll ever go back.

The Magic of Motherhood – I’m only one year into the whole motherhood club, but I think no matter how long you’ve been a mother, we can all agree it’s magical, but it’s also hard. This book is a compilation of essays that make your realize more than anything else that you are not alone, not alone with the doubt, or the magical bliss. It celebrates the good stuff and the hard stuff and makes you laugh along the way.

Cheers to 2018!

A Cozy Winter Charcuterie Board


The week between Christmas and New Year’s is always one of my favorites, it almost seems like the world takes a big exhale and every thing slows to a crawl. As I write this, the wind and rain have combined forces outside to create one of those howling storms the pacific northwest is so famous for. It’s the perfect time to curl up at home and do cozy things.

One of my favorite things to make during the winter months is a good cheese board (also known as a charcuterie board if you want to be fancy). So good. I could eat this everyday, and the added bonus of being beautiful to look at and simple to make doesn’t hurt either.

To keep it simple I follow these basic rules when I’m making mine:

  • No Space – Keep the groupings of food close, touching in fact. I’m not sure why this is so much more pleasing to the eye, but it is.
  • Choose from staples you already have in your home – Part of what makes a cheese board so easy is being able to pull one together at a moment’s notice. Cheese, crackers, nuts, and a piece of fruit are really good basics that become elevated when you group them together (I used a star shaped cookie cutter to cut out the cheese in honor of New Year’s for this board).
  • Use a serving board – I love the old world feel of using a wood serving board, it just makes everything a bit more special. No need to spend a lot of money, the more worn, the better. You can find used ones with a beautiful patina at thrift stores or goodwill. If that’s not your thing, I’ve seen some great affordable options at Target as well.

I hope you get to enjoy some cozy time at home this week as we get ready to ring in the new year!