Oh, basket lights, could there be anything better for a basket lover than a duel purpose for their favorite thing? Baskets are so versatile already, they add texture to your home, they add style to an otherwise utilitarian object, and best of all, they hide things. Basically, if style and function had a baby, it would be basket lights.
This post is the first in a series where I will be exploring different design elements that we plan on using in the house we are about to start renovating (you can read more about that journey here). I’ll post more about the current layout of the house versus the new layout in the near future, but one of the major changes we’re making is getting rid of the current dining room (too small to seat more than four people) and making the great room a combination living/dining area. The plan is to have a trestle table big enough to seat eight, some kind of dining storage, and a statement pendant over the table.
Since the room is the only main living area and open to both the kitchen and entryway, it will need to be a hardworking room as well as have a cohesive style that works with the rest of the house. While I haven’t totally nailed down every aspect of the design, I do know some of the basic elements include texture, a neutral base, and some pops of color. Enter the basket light. The pendant over the dining table will be one of the more important pieces since it will be seen from three different rooms, so having it be neutral as well as textural is a win win in my opinion. Now I just need to narrow it down to which one!
For the past couple of years our family has been considering moving out of the big city to a small town with more space, less people, and a slower pace. As with any move, especially a big one, there have been a lot of pros and cons to discuss, logistics to examine, and the general stress that comes with making a decision that big. We ultimately decided that big rewards don’t usually come without equally big risks and that moving would bring us what we have been seeking most – a simpler life.
This past summer we found a home in the location we had been looking for with the usual downside that the perfect location brings – the less than perfect house. Despite the major renovations needed, we decided to jump in feet first because we just hadn’t seen any other homes in our price range within the area we wanted to live. We closed on the house in August and never looked back. Because of our current job obligations, we have a little less than a year left before we can move, which actually gives us some time to start those renovations before we move in.
With all of the chaos that planning the renovation has entailed, I’ve tried to remember that renovations normally come with inevitable disappointments, compromises, and mistakes. But they also come with a clean slate – a chance to explore new design options and to make a house a home. That is what I’m most excited about, the chance to reimagine our furniture, to try out new paint colors, and to really take a good look at our belongings so that we’re truly living with what we love.
So all of this to explain that a lot of the home and design topics I’ll be covering in future blog posts will be geared toward research and decisions with our new home in mind. I hope you’ll join me and read along as we embark on this new journey!
Does anyone else hoard cookbooks? Each year, when the holidays come around, a cookbook or two usually ends up on my wish list. I think it’s the idea of living a beautiful life that makes them so appealing. Who doesn’t want to pretend your crepes look picture perfect on a Saturday morning, or that your family dinners appear so effortlessly put together?
I think the key to actually enjoying a good cookbook is the mindset (especially if you are a novice cook). I use to get so frustrated when I would try out a new recipe only to have it completely fail. After giving up on recipes or getting discouraged, I realized that maybe I needed to adjust my expectations – I started to think about it as a process rather than just an end result. I can’t tell you how much that helped. Now, when something comes out of the oven burnt to the pan, or completely unidentifiable, I’m still disappointed, but I try to use it as motivation to rather than a reason to give up.
I’m still by no means an expert cook, but I’m so glad I took the time to try and master a few key recipes. Little by little I’ve added one recipe, then another to my repertoire, and over the years they’ve started to become less intimidating and more like old friends who have always been there.
Below are my top three tips for recipe success:
Start small – Try something basic, like glazed veggies, rather than a super complicated dish. Building on success is what motivates most of us, and cooking is no different.
Read the recipe through first – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started something only to realize halfway through I didn’t have one of the main ingredients.
Try a new recipe when it doesn’t matter – I use to have visions of grandeur about making something special for dinner guests, which only led to stress when it didn’t turn out right. Now I have tried and true dishes I use for company and I save the experimentation for just immediate family.
* Tip – a lot of times you can find a used version of the cookbook you’re looking for on Amazon at a fraction of the price you would pay new!
A couple of posts back I talked about making your home cozy for fall by adding some hygge touches around the house. Today I want to dive into some of the actual elements we can use to start giving our homes that feel as well as share some design inspiration for blending styles into our homes.
Now, if you’re like me, maybe your decorating style doesn’t necessarily fall cleanly into one category…or even two or three. Sometimes I feel like I just like too many different styles, how can they possibly all go together? Do you ever feel that way? But wait, there’s good news – with thoughtful choices I believe we can merge multiple styles in our homes and come up with a beautiful end result. If you think about it, isn’t that actually the heart of what makes a room interesting to look at – being able to look at it and see the layers of style and how they work together?
Scandinavian design is something that I’ve always been drawn to, but let’s be honest, I’m far from the minimalist aesthetic it demands. But the elements I love about it can still be used throughout my home – the key is pinpointing what attracts you to that particular style and then applying touches of it to the rooms throughout your home. For me this means editing clutter, using fresh greenery and cozy linens, and adding the occasional pop of whimsy to a room.
Below is a collection of Scandinavian design elements that I either have or have my eye on. I think the wallpaper would be great in a powder bath or mudroom for that added pop of whimsy. The pillow, throw, and candlestick all add that cozy feeling we crave in the fall and winter. The coffee tables are versatile with clean lines and small enough to be moved around if you have company. Lastly, the lamp I actually own and love, it’s great for adding that warm pool of light in the evening, and you can’t beat the silhouette!
When I was pregnant, nothing helped me feel more in control of the major change that was coming in my life than being prepared and organized. Many would call this nesting, for me it’s how I’ve always dealt with stress. I know I can’t control everything life throws at me, but what I can do is be prepared for the things I know are coming – having a baby definitely fell into this category.
So where did I focus this overzealous need to be prepared? Into the nursery. Sure, I read baby books, took all the recommended maternity classes, and meticulously wrote out a birth plan (which was almost immediately irrelevant once it came to the actual birth), but the nursery was the one tangible place I could plan away to my little OCD heart’s content.
We live in a ranch style house, and the actual nursery room is quite small 8 ft x 9 ft. So there was only room for the basics – a crib, changing table, and glider. The good news is that decorating small spaces can be so satisfying, it’s like putting a puzzle together trying to marry form and function in such a small space.
The biggest challenge was actually the crib, the room wasn’t big enough for a standard size crib, so we ended up solving that problem with a mini crib from Amazon. The changing table is the Ikea Kallex with legs from Home Depot added to it. The glider is from West Elm (definitely wait for one of their 20% off furniture sales!), and the LuLu & Georgia rug added the perfect pop of color to the otherwise neutral palette.
We’ve been using this nursery for almost a year now, and I have to say, all the planning was worth it. I haven’t really had to make any major changes to make it function better (although I have added some navy pom pom trim to those curtains since these pictures were taken). It’s small but mighty and definitely one of the hardest working rooms in our home!
Growing up, berry season in Oregon was always a big deal (and still is). I grew up on a small horse ranch with no real organized vegetable or fruit garden, but we did have wild berries and fruit trees growing throughout the property.
Picking wild strawberries with my sister will always be one of those memories that I can smell. Know what I mean? Smell is such a strong memory indicator, and to this day the smell of those warm, sticky strawberries still brings an immediate flood of good memories.
As an adult I’ve tried to continue to capture that summery goodness throughout the year. When strawberry season roles around we start picking and freezing berries, and continue doing that through each berry season – raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry. Please note that frozen store bought berries work great too. When I don’t have any freshly picked (frozen) berries, I buy a bag of the berry medley at the store, which is a bag of mixed frozen berries.
Now, how to use them? I’ve always been a smoothie lover, and over the years I’ve tried so many smoothie recipes, and found that the simpler the recipe, the more likely I am to make it. This is a great post workout snack, mid-morning pick-up, or an easy way to take your breakfast with you on your morning commute. Done right, smoothies are such a healthy way to get good food into our bodies, all while feeling like a treat!
Mixed Berry Smoothie Recipe
1 1/2 cup of frozen berries
Whole Milk or Almond Milk
Plain Greek Yogurt
Place the frozen berries into the blender first (this helps make sure they blend completely). Pour your choice of milk over the berries until it almost covers them. Place one heaping tablespoon of greek yogurt on top. Lastly, depending on the sweetness of the berries you are using, you may want to add a little bit of sweeter – I use half a packet of stevia. Enjoy!
With fall officially here in Oregon, it’s time to pull out the blankets, candles, and generally get that hygge feeling going around the house.
What I use to get that hygge feeling hasn’t really changed much over the years, but the products I choose to use definitely have. I’ve always tried to be conscious of the chemicals brought into our home, but after having my daughter this past year, I realized there were still things I was bringing into our house that were counteracting all of the good I was trying to do – one of these was candles.
I love a good candle, so when I read about all of the artifical fragrance and pollutants that are dispersed into the air when we burn candles in our home, I was disappointed to say the least. Do you ever feel like that? Like when is my next favorite thing going to be ruined for me? Sometimes knowing more isn’t as fun as blissful ignorance.
Burning candles in the evening throughout the fall and winter months seemed like a lot to give up, so in an effort to find a substitute I did some research, which is where I found out about beeswax candles. Ah, the honey bee, I should have guessed. So many good things come from bees, and beeswax candles are no exception. They release negative ions that actually clean the air in your house, they burn slower than traditional candles, and best of all, they smell like warm honey.Etsy has a great selection of handmade beeswax candles, which is where I’ve bought all of mine so far.
To help you get in the spirit of bringing the hygge feeling into your home, I’ve rounded up some of my fall favorites above, all of which I own and love: A cozy blanket to curl up with, my favorite beeswax candles, jojoba oil for that dry winter skin, the last tea kettle I’ll ever have to buy, my favorite tea brand, and a beautiful coffee table book.
Welcome to A Nod to Navy, my creative space and all-around experiment with life, style, recipes, and making a home. As the title alludes to, navy (and not just as a color!) has played a significant role in my life up to this point – but more about that later.
In a world filled with the constant message to hustle, I hope to make this a space where we can all just stop and take a breath. Living our lives doesn’t have to be a race, a comparison game, or a slog to the finish line. I’m on a mission to be present, to enjoy what comes today, and as trite as it sounds – to enjoy the little things.
I hope you will join me as I explore the idea of enjoying the moments, whether it’s by making crepes, painting a room, or curating a closet.