Playroom Organization Ideas

Our playroom is grouped into separate areas: library wall which now includes a TV and a sectional in front of it. Behind the sectional is a study area, right next to it is their “salon” which is where all hair and makeup paraphernalia goes and on the other side what’s left of their grocery store and let’s not forget the American Girl corner.

I love these for organizing Legos, they come in 3 sizes and in different colors.

The makeup section (gawd!) is basically a large shelf I got from Home Depot and purchased some decorative shelf supports to hold it up. It has some clear storage items that most TJ Maxx or Marshalls stores will have, I also found that organizer for necklaces etc and an adjustable vanity chair is also from TJ Maxx.

Clear cosmetic storage organizer $16.99

I remember working in midtown Manhattan and constantly being stopped and asked where american girl was. I was like I don’t know, all around us? Ha! And clearly whoever came up with the concept and was able to convince the general public that paying $36 for teeeeeeeeny tiny PJ for a doll was normal, is clearly a genius! When my girls asked for the dolls, I first started them off on Target’s Our Generation dolls and now they have both. I looked into the beds for the dolls and it’s just crazy expensive. So I bought these instead, much more reasonably priced.

Badger Basket White Rose Doll Bunk Bed (fits American Girl dolls)
Badger Basket bunk beds $34.99

I still had bunch of clothes and accessories to sort through and even the non AG storage options were expensive, pretty small doll armoire was around $45 and I would have needed several. I had an old Ikea kids bookcase, I removed the 2 bottom shelves, put in a rod and ordered a bunch of matching hangers. You can get fancy and buy doll wooden hangers but I just got basic white ones from here.

Furinno JAYA 3-Shelf White Open Bookcase
Furinno open bookcase on sale at HD for $26.99

Behind the sectional, and yes I got the kids off white playroom sectional from Pottery Barn but Ikea has similar options, I have a storage unit from Ikea. I love this one as the sectional kind of hides it and I labeled all drawers. Shockingly though, stuff still ends up in wrong drawers and/or on the top of the unit. Who came up with Shopkins? I mean they are vacuum food. And I tell you that the minute you end up buying all the stuff (ice cream parlor, pet shop, grocery store, spa etc) they are no longer interested. Same thing with Little Ponies. Frustrating.

Best things to buy at Trader Joe’s.

I generally end up making like 2-3 different grocery store runs: Costco, Stop&Shop and Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. TJ is hands down my fave though. It has a lot of organic products at better prices than Whole Foods and fancier selection that Stop&Shop and sometimes their prices beat S&S handily (for those who don’t know, Stop&Shop is our regular basic grocery store). TJ’s doesn’t have a deli section or butcher but it has a LOT of variety and their organic chicken is priced really well. I love their spatchcocked chicken marinated in lemon and thyme, easiest Sunday roast chicken you’ll ever make. Throw some potatoes and carrots and you’re good. They also have steaks (tri tip which is hard to find elsewhere), variety of sausages, chicken, turkey etc. I don’t buy deli meats here, I usually go to S&S for that but I do love their cheese section. Costco is great also but TJ beats their prices, you don’t buy a ginormous wheel and selection is amazing. Grab their fig crackers, some grapes and nuts (huge selection of plain, toasted, sweet) and you have a cheese platter done.

I always buy bars for kids for snacks and cereals, their sugar content is lower than regular brands and the variety of quick cooking multi-grain cereals and oatmeals is great.

Speaking of carbs, you def want to buy some pre-baked baguettes. All they need is additional 10 min at 400 degrees and you have fresh, warm, delicious bread. I am not beyond standing at the counter, slathering cold salted butter over it and eating the whole things myself.

Frozen section: LOVE. They variety is ahmazing. Seriously. Organic rice (brown, jasmine) that is frozen in handy little packages, I think there’s 4 in there for $3.98, so great for quick dinners.

Shelled edamame, kids will eat that w little salt and I throw it into riced vegetables/cauliflower (also there) or salads. Both of my girls love their chicken fried rice, so I always stock up on that for those nights when you have nothing in the fridge they’ll eat. And its healthy!

I buy their frozen fish and shrimp, too. I really like their French Vanilla ice cream and frozen waffles (whole grain for $1.99) and frozen croissants (plain, almond and chocolate). Not diet food per se but on special occasion, these are delicious. Take out night before so it can rise, bake in the morning for 25 min and voila. SO much better than William Sonoma croissants and frankly better than some bakery versions.

And flowers! I love the selection and pricing. At Christmas their evergreen bundles and wreaths were cheaper than Home Depot’s or Stop&Shops. What are your favorites at TJ? Do you frequent several stores or stick to one?

How to wear over the knee boots.

Over the knee boots or OTK boots as they are known can be tricky to pull off. I bought a pair a few years ago and it made me look like puss in the boots. I looked awful and thought my thighs were too large for this type of boot. BUT it really comes down to the style of the boot.

The ones that have a slit up top like this Kendall&Kylie pair here will make your thighs look bigger. The top just widens in a way that is really unflattering. Unless you have really skinny legs, I’d avoid this style.

Image of Kendall & Kylie Zanna Over the Knee Boot

This pair by Abound doesn’t have a flap up top but it doesn’t have a lot of structure meaning that as you walk the shaft will slide down and bunch around your leg a bit, making your leg look wider and thicker in some areas. Not a good look.

Image of Abound Madison Faux Suede Over-The-Knee Boot

Last thing to keep in mind is the height on the shaft, it should be over the knee not crotch adjacent. It just looks too Pretty Woman to me. Stuart Weitzman is the kind of OTK boots but these boots by him are kind of blah. I am also not a huge fan of high heels or stiletto heel on these boots as this a strong look on its own, adding high heels really takes it to whole other level. Being 40 and in the suburbs, I stick to flat or small (under 3″) block heel.

I like this pair here by Stuart Weitzman, its pretty pricy at $798 but if you look around they go on sale, esp as spring approaches. Charles David Gunter boots are much more budget friendly here. I also love these (look better on than they photograph) Steve Madden boots here. 

Brinkley Over the Knee Stretch Boot,
                        color, TAUPE

As far as how to wear them, my perennial fave is over skinny jeans or with a sweater dress. If you want to look skinnier, go monochromatic meaning black boots w black jeans, beige w beige or even white on white.

Devon Windsor Victoria's Secret Stuart Weitzman

why is she so badass.

over the knee boots.

Monday Musings

It’s January! Happy 2019 everyone! Is it me or was December about week long and is January like the longest month ever? Have you taken down all your holiday decorations? I took most down right after Christmas but kept some stuff out, I did a woodland theme this year so it wasn’t as theatrical as last year’s Candyland theme. One of my favorite things about Christmas is to wake up in the morning and be greeted by a house that’s all lit up and looks so warm and welcoming. Then come January, it’s cold and dreary and dark. Ugh. So I made the executive decision of leaving the mantle lights on. They may stay there till March.

If January is the most depressing month, then Monday has got to be the most depressing day. Needed a glass of wine and some homemade Cheddar cheese crackers to cheer me up.

I’ve made these before, excellent to have in the freezer for a quick appetizer, all you do is take it out an hour before, slice it and bake it. Great quick appetizer. I tried to make these with whole wheat flour and whole flaxseeds but it didn’t taste right. I found the recipe from Tartine cookbook.

  • 8 oz grated Cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temp
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Mix butter and cheese in food processor, then add flour and spice mix and add the walnuts at the end. You want to see the walnut pieces in there. Roll it into a log or squarish shape as I did, freeze 2 hrs or refrigerate for about 3, then slice into slices (about 1/8″ or 1/4″ thick) and bake a 400 degrees for about 7-10 min depending on thickness. Cool completely and store in an airtight container, keeps up to 2 weeks.

Interesting article in WSJ about The Top Ten Upgrades to Sell Your House. Apparently light grays are still really popular, I’ve also read that this trend is on its way out. And while WSJ says crazy patterns and Moroccan tile is out, Houzz’s article on home trends predicts that Moroccan tile will popular in both kitchens and bathrooms. I’d really recommend you stay away from anything too trendy and too busy unless you really really love it.

This is so tastefully done and wouldnt date easily.

Image result for moroccan tile backsplash
Home Design and Decor

This however gives me a headache. The hood has a decorative band, backsplash has so much going on, it’s visually exhausting. I can’t imagine looking at this every day. I get they are trying to go for a hacienda style, but the stainless steel range looks really modern under the hood, cabinet style is more country aided by the baskets up top. I would have done all white cabinetry up the to the ceiling, built in hood to match the cabinets and done a white backsplash and taken that tile right up to the hood behind the range.

Statements in Santa Fe

Now can I pass off these crackers as dinner?