i’ve written a few articles for apartment therapy before, but today is especially exciting because the tables have turned and they wrote an article about me! i’m sharing some of my top picks from the new apartment therapy marketplace, where i scored the cute rocking chair in the photo above. it’s a sort of curated classifieds section where trusted users can buy and sell furniture and decor. so a bit like craigslist, but without all the spam! i love vintage furniture, so it’s been a great resource for me to find cool new pieces to add to the house as we continue to spruce things up around here.
first things first! i know that cloth diapering isn’t for everyone. having had two babies, i’m well aware of the multitude of barriers that keep people from doing it. before having kids, i really thought i’d be one of those crunchy mamas with babies in cloth diapers. my mom cloth diapered me and my siblings, so i kinda just assumed i would do it, too. but as adam’s birth drew closer, i just didn’t take the plunge. i was worried that just taking care of him would be enough work. i was already overwhelmed and i didn’t want to add to the stress i was experiencing. i lived in an apartment without a washing machine. then, after he was born, i gave it half-hearted try, and of course, it didn’t work out. i thought maybe i’d eventually try again, but before i knew it, he was out of diapers.
then edie was born. i stocked up on our “eco-friendly” disposable diapers and water wipes, and didn’t even consider cloth. i did all of the other eco-conscious things with her like i did with adam. exclusive breastfeeding, babywearing, avoiding plastic, using organic textiles and products, wood toys, all that crunchy stuff. but i didn’t try cloth diapers. until i started chatting with a local friend who recently launched squeaky cheeky, a new cloth diapering service here in town. i had never heard of such a thing before, and it sparked a little glimmer of hope for us. i was especially intrigued because it was the perfect way for me to give it honest-to-goodness try without sinking-in all of the up-front costs of buying a ton of inserts, covers, supplies, etc. that’s a huge barrier because the up-front cost is kind of high when you don’t even know if it will work out for you!
the way the service works, you pay a monthly fee (similar to that of an eco-friendly monthly disposable subscription) and all of the supplies are dropped off at your doorstep. in our case, we got prefolds, covers, snappis, and cloth wipes. then each week, you leave the bag of dirty laundry out on your doorstep and they swap them out for clean supplies. we tried it for a month to see how it would go, and the verdict is in: we’re now officially cloth diapering part-time.
what we learned right off the bat, is that we couldn’t go full-time because we have too many caregivers helping with edie. that’s great for me, but not so great for cloth diapering. not everyone is comfortable learning how to use them, and you certainly can’t send a baby to most daycares in cloth diapers. so we’re using cloth diapers during the hours when i’m watching her, but we use disposables when she’s being watched by someone else. edie also sleeps through the night, and i can’t stand the idea of waking her just to clean-up a diaper, so we’re using overnight disposables so she can stay comfortable and dry without being disturbed.
another thing i learned is that i’m terrible at using pre-folds. i know with time, you get better. but there are also other options. we got to try out an all-in-one diaper, and i really like that you can pretty much change them just like you would a disposable diaper. they’re a little bit more expensive than pre-folds, but they work for us. on the flip side, i’ve now switched over to cloth wipes! i didn’t even know that they existed before, but i like them so much better. for those who aren’t familiar with how they work, you use water or bum spray first, then wipe things up with the dry cloth. wet wipes are awesome for cleaning up dirty hands and faces, or picking up small messes around the house, but i know adam hates them because they’re cold. and those wipe warmers are notorious for getting moldy and gross. so this is the perfect option if you’re ok with a bit of (admittedly gross) extra laundry.
as far as the service, i’m no longer using it because i’m able to handle the extra laundry, but i think it’s a really great option for households who want to go green, but don’t have a washing machine. and it’s an especially great gift for a new family who is on the fence about cloth diapering because it gives them a chance to try it out without making any up-front investment. i know it was a great learning experience for me.
our top drawer set-up. prefolds with bum spray and clippis, covers, cloth wipes.
don’t worry, we lowered her crib right after taking these photos! she was 6 months in this photos, so she had literally just started standing on her own.
the supplies arrive in this laundry bag, and the service provides a laundry bin for the nursery.
we’re just getting into the fun stage with edie! she turned 5 months old this week and is getting pretty eager to start her adventures in crawling. it will probably be another month before she’s up on all fours, but for now, she’s having a heck of a time trying! so last week, i took to the living room to make things more baby-friendly to help edie along on her adventures. because when it comes to our decor, i think of the house as a living, breathing space that changes and grows with my children. i removed the coffee table completely, and decided to get a nice plush rug for her to roll around on. i know i just got finished talking about some of my previous rug mistakes, but when i saw this plush masterpiece in light colors, i had to have it. i know it goes against all of my own advice for keeping a house with a toddler and a baby, but if ever there is a rule, i have to break it. even when it’s my own rule!
it arrived in the mail just last week and we all oohed and ahhed as i laid it down in the living room. adam started running around on it and i took off my shoes to feel the softness beneath my feet. but if you so much as look at the thing, it gets dirty, haha! the living room is a well-used space, so i know this rug is going to be experiencing some heavy traffic between adam tracking in dirt from outside, edie drooling all over the place, and a rotating cast of friends and family coming to visit the kids. thankfully, i’ve been working with my friends at stainmaster to keep my beloved rugs clean, so i pulled out my stash of stainmaster rug and carpet cleaners to see what i could do to give this rug the longest life as possible. my current favorite? the high traffic cleaner. this heavy duty foaming cleaner loosens and lifts tracked-in soil, then goes a step further by applying an invisible shield to repel dirt and protect against resoiling. all you have to do is shake the can, spray the foam from about two feet away and spread it around with a sponge or mop, then wait for the foam to dry so you can vacuum to remove loosened dirt and dry foam. i get to keep my pretty rug and the kids get to play on it without giving me a heart attack.
as you know, a big focus around the house lately has been in making improvements wherever we can–some large, some small. but with edie and adam to watch after, we’ve had put off some of our bigger projects until we can figure out the logistics of living through renovations. which means we’ve had to do a lot of improvising when it comes to creating a pleasant and kid-friendly space in the meantime. i’ve talked about this before, but a lot of the guiding principles in our home decor are centered around creating a montessori environment whenever possible, but as any parent will tell you, that isn’t always possible. especially when you have a half-finished kitchen that isn’t exactly toddler-proof!
which is why we were so excited to partner with munchkin to try out the vibe gate. the idea behind the design of this sleek baby gate was to turn an everyday safety item into a beautiful addition to your home decor. and you know how much this concept speaks to me! even though we’re putting a big focus on function, it’s still really important for me to have a beautiful space that both kids and adults can enjoy together. this gate functions exactly as it should, it’s constructed out of incredibly sturdy steel and mesh with a very simple turnkey mount that literally takes a few minutes to install, and it comes in a range of 5 different colors and designs, whether you want something minimal and neutral like ours, or you want to go more bright and playful with a pink hello kitty! from the moment i opened the box, i could tell they paid attention to all of the details, from the simple packaging to the easy closing latch that clicks perfectly into place.
it’s taken adam a bit of getting used to, but it’s given me some peace of mind without being an eye sore. i love the way it blends in with our mid-century modern decor, and i feel so much better knowing that i don’t have to worry about my toddler sneaking in to the kitchen–or his baby sister crawling in after him!
i’ve got some really exciting news to share today! first off, i recently started writing for apartment therapy! i’ve been a huge fan of the site for years, so i’m incredibly honored to be a part of the team even in a small way. and it comes at the perfect time because i’ve really become obsessed with pulling our little house together, so this is a really great outlet for all of the energy i’ve been pouring into all of our upcoming renovation projects.
which brings me to the title of this post: i was so excited when my editor asked me if i would like to share a before and after of adam and edie’s shared nursery/toddler room! i’ve been sharing more and more glimpses into the space over the past several months and while i do still plan to make some changes, this is pretty much the big reveal. i do plan to share a few more detailed posts that talk a lot more about why i chose everything in the space, but for now, you can get a look at what we’ve done. it’s funny, too, because even though i’ve been there for the whole transformation, it’s still kinda blows my mind to see the before and after shots.
as i’m sure you know, the past couple of years have seen a lot of change around here. it’s been an adjustment getting used to life with a toddler and an infant, on top of settling into our first home together as a family. the place has really started come together decor-wise in recent months, but it hasn’t always been that way. let me tell you a little story: before adam was born, i was never really into home decor. i was into punk as a kid and as i grew older, my various apartments were mostly filled with random thrift store furniture, house plants, half-finished art projects, piles of laundry… i didn’t know a thing about lamps or rugs or accent pieces. but in those last moments before adam was born, my hormones kicked into high gear and i suddenly found myself in a nesting frenzy. i was literally rearranging furniture at 38 weeks pregnant, and in a panic because his nursery wasn’t even finished. and in my rush to get the house perfect for the baby, i made some… interesting design choices. for one, i fell in love with a very stunning (and very expensive) vintage kilim rug with a pale floral pattern. and then adam was born.
shortly after his birth, our doctor referred to him as a “happy spitter,” which was basically a polite way of saying that he was a puking machine. he didn’t have anything medically wrong with him, he wasn’t sick or suffering from reflux or anything, he just puked. a lot. within months, my entire apartment was literally covered in baby puke. and that beautiful pastel rug i was talking about? let’s just say it was a small sacrifice to pay for a happy, healthy baby. fast forward a couple of years and i’ve learned quite a few lessons about decor and housekeeping. for starters, it’s probably a good idea to choose a rug in a more forgiving color scheme and pattern, preferably something that was designed for high traffic areas and lots of messes. we swapped out our beloved vintage rug for indoor/outdoor rugs made of 100% recycled plastic bags! they look like wool, but they do a really good job of repelling dirt, so they require a lot less care than a super absorbent natural fiber. but also, there are such things as cleaners that you can use to clean up messes before they get out of hand. yeah.
enter stainmaster carpet care. we teamed up with the brand to try their line of carpet care products, which are specifically designed to treat stain-resistant, nylon, and polyester carpets and rugs like the ones we now use. they have several different formulas designed to remove tough stains while leaving behind an invisible shield to repel dirt and protect against future stains without sticky residue. those two simple solutions have totally changed the way i react to my little “mess makers” around the house. now when edie spits up or adam drops his food, i’m not stressing myself out over ruined rugs. we simply wipe it up and move one to more important things. which is exactly the type of outlook us mamas need to keep sane and enjoy these precious moments with our little ones before they’re all grown up! oh, and it doesn’t hurt when dad pitches-in and helps us clean our messes, too!
we’ve been living in our little vintage home for over a year now, and while many of the rooms have really started to take shape (with some fun renovations underway, more on that later), there is one room in the house that has been sorely neglected: the dining room. it’s a really pleasant space with sliding doors opening out onto a large patio, but there is literally just an old table with rickety chairs, a very bare bar cart, and my stereo system that i haven’t even bothered to hook up. when the entire house was in disarray, i didn’t even notice it, but now that things are coming together, it’s starting to look more sad by the minute! so of course, i’ve taken to pinterest in search of some good ideas for how to pull the space together.
and as you can see by some of my favorite photos, i’m staring to get a pretty clear picture of what i’m looking for. minimalist, slightly artsy, with bentwood chairs, and a few large statement pieces. which is pretty much the direction i want to go in for most of the house, but i’m not trying to get too far ahead of myself! now the challenge is just trying to find some good furniture at the right price. you can find any of these as reproductions on sites like design within reach if you’re ready to spend a pretty penny. or you can scour thrift stores and flea markets if you are lucky enough to have hours and hours of free time at your disposal. or you can sit around waiting for a magic fairy to delivery them to your doorstep, right?
above: tom dixon.
melbourne house by robson rak via design addicts.
eat burger by amber road design.
since getting my new hp spectre, i’ve been feeling inspired, and itching to put it to good use. it’s literally the thinnest laptop in the world and it weighs only 2.5lbs, so it’s been super easy to tote it around wherever i need to get work done: on the sofa while adam eats breakfast, laying in bed while the baby naps, propped up at the coffee shop when i head out of the house for some fresh air. but most-importantly, at my brand new dedicated workspace. i have an office, but with life as busy as it is these days, it’s more important than ever for me to have an inviting workspace that can still function while fitting in with my busy schedule. having my spectre laptop ready at my standing desk has become my new secret weapon for getting the job done.
like i mentioned in my last post, a lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into maintaining this blog. i’ve been doing it for eight years now, and i’ve had a lot of people ask me for advice on how to make it as a professional blogger. a lot of people talk about strategy and social media, but my number one recommendation is almost always to make sure you have the right tools to get the job done. i remember when i decided to start taking this blog more seriously, the first thing i did was go out and invest in a brand new computer, a professional camera, photoshop, and a host of other essentials necessary for independently running my own self-hosted wordpress site. strategy is certainly important, but without these essential tools, i never would have been able to launch this blog into a full-time career. and as time moves on, it’s been more important than ever for me to evaluate my technical needs to make sure i can be as productive as possible, especially when i’m pressed for time.
so here’s my new setup. a lot of the usual suspects: computer, software, a stash of chocolate bars hidden in my drawer. but things have been upgraded with my new standing desk and some clean and simple decor for a calm and inviting workspace. it makes it so that i’m able to stop in at any time of the day to type out a few emails or edit some photos. and it’s where i’m standing right now as i type out this post. it’s really important for me to have a beautiful space to work, and love the way my spectre fits in perfectly with my setup, while still being able to do some seriously heavy lifting. it comes with windows 10, up to 512gb of pcie-based ssd storage, intel® core™ i processing, up to 8gb of ram, and three multi-use usb type-c™ ports. so while it may look pretty, it’s also helped me to change the way i approach my work, and to reinvent my obsession with this blog so that i can continue grow and evolve this ever changing space.
slowly but surely, over the past year, i’ve been pulling together this little house of mine. and while things have been shaping up in many parts of the house, there are still a few spaces that could use an upgrade. and despite the fact that the entryway is obviously a pretty important focal point in my living room, it’s mostly remained sad and empty. i have a big round mirror and a nelson-style bench, but other than that, we just throw off our shoes under the bench and let piles of mail collect there. so when fab asked if i’d like to upgrade my everyday with some new decor from their site, i jumped at the chance to spruce-up this sorely neglected space. if you’re not familiar with fab, they offer a massive selection of unique and stylishly functional objects from home decor and women’s accessories to tech gadgets and kid’s toys.
i was obviously focused on finding some bright and interesting objects to transform this barren space to something more warm and inviting. i really love that they have such an expansive selection of items, including a lot of handmade goods by independent designers. i decided to go for a mix of mid century and ‘bohemian’ to match the decor in my house, and was able to choose items from a non-profit organization that donates 100% of their profits to the economic empowerment of women in rwanda, in addition to some really cool mid century inspired, nelson-style pottery. the packages arrived in a few days and i was able to turn this lonely little corner into a proper, inviting entryway. in fact, after everything was set up, adam was so intrigued by what i was up to, that he asked if he could pose for a picture with me in our newly decorated space.
i’ve also learned that fab is hosting a massive giveaway, so make sure you head over and enter to win a $1,000 fab shopping spree!
a very bare “before.”
a little peek at the mini eyelash catchall by indego africa. the perfect tiny basket for keys or change or little trinkets.
the nelson gourd vase by shiraleah sitting pretty.
if you follow me on instagram, then you may have already seen a few glimpses of edie and adam’s shared nursery/toddler room. but what you may not know is that her crib is largely ornamental. we didn’t buy a new one, it’s the same crib that we got for adam when he was born. but back at that time, we didn’t know that we’d ultimately end up co-sleeping. so much for buying a crib! but a nursery doesn’t really seem complete without a crib in it, so i don’t mind having it around for show. and we do get a bit of use for it, usually during daytime naps or tummy time. it’s a convertible style, so adam used it as his toddler bed for a short time before we transitioned him to a montessori-inspired floor bed a few months back.
anyway, all of this is to say that the more “functional” set up can actually be found hidden in our bedroom. a simple moses basket placed in a rocking stand so we can remove the basket and carry it with us to any other part of the house. it’s really nothing fancy, but i still wanted to spruce it up a little bit so she could have a pleasant spot to hang out. and as per usual, i always fall the most in love with the little spaces that i set up for my babies.
if you love that “it’s ok” banner as much as i do, make sure you enter my instagram giveaway because one lucky winner will be getting one at the end of the week!
natalie joy house plant mobile, “it’s ok” banner by secret holiday co., tadpoles moses basket, moses basket rocking stand from dada boutique, kosas home kilim rug from overstock, fog linen baby blanket. and those are my favorite solid state custom slides hiding out in the back!