April 11, 2018

Does Anybody Have a Map?

Billy and I saw the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen a few weeks back and I can't ever remember being touched in quite the same way at a show. At one point, I realized I was sitting on the edge of my seat, completely enthralled in the emotions of the performance. One of the songs is titled, Does Anybody Have a Map? - and that line has been on repeat in my mind since hearing it. It feels like that should be the title of the chapter of life I am currently in.

When big changes are happening in life, I tend to get quiet and focus on family and that is the stage I am at right now. So, as you might have noticed, I have stepped away a bit from this blog. I think it can be important to take a break from things like paint colors and throw pillows from time to time. I hope my love of those things (and the time to dedicate to them) will return sometime soon.
I have been focusing on nature and time with my guys, both equally soothing for me.
We spent a week in the mountains over spring break and that felt so good. We had a couple of big snowstorms (yup, the calendar does indeed say April - I checked a few times!). But there is no denying Mother Nature's beauty, even if we are craving warmer weather.
We also enjoyed a couple of days of brilliant blue sunshine. Days full of hope and promise for a bright future. We took a ride over the bridge into Vermont on one glorious day. We didn't really have a plan, just a desire to see someplace new and take a few pictures. First, we drove through Addison, VT which is just on the other side of Lake Champlain from New York. You can see the snow covered Adirondacks in the picture below just beyond the church.
Our travels took us across the state and through Stowe on this day, a quintessential Vermont village.
We grabbed lunch here and it was even warm enough to walk around the village a bit.
We explored a few back roads.  

And then headed back to NY just as the sun was setting in the Adirondacks.
Back in the frozen tundra of the Adirondacks for the remainder of the week, we took time to explore some new trails and plan some fun adventures for the summer.
And I thought maybe, just maybe, having a map is overrated anyway. Maybe the best parts of the journey are letting go and seeing where the road takes us, even if it is winding.  And snow covered. In Spring :)

March 28, 2018

Some Spring...Finally

Hello! It has been so difficult to get myself motivated to add any spring touches to our home this month because it has still felt completely like winter. And looked like winter too. But one sunny day last week - following a pretty large snowstorm, I took these pictures to share with you all. Just try not to be too distracted by the snow outside the windows. The good news is it is almost completely melted now. And I can hear the birds chirping as I type this so there is hope for spring in NJ yet.
I added some white touches to the copper pots that hang on our DIY pot rack to lighten things up for spring. I have been having fun styling that pot rack with the seasons.
I picked up the white metal basket at HomeGoods recently that now sits on the center of our island - I think it is perfect for spring, especially with some spring flowers added.
Over the sink, I added a small wreath and a farmer's market dish towel, both from recent finds from HomeGoods. Speaking of HomeGoods, we are finally getting a HomeSense near our house and it is right next door to my other favorite, Trader Joe's. I-Can't-Wait!!
I picked up the "I love you a bushel and a peck" sign at TJ Maxx and now we all walk around the house singing it. Have you seen the State Farm commercial that uses that song - with the young couple fixing up a house while their toddler crawls around the mess? Totally our lives when our boys were younger! Love that commercial!!
Keeper (AKA Sprout-yup, she still has the sprout of fur on top of her head) decided to make a rare appearance for the spring photos. I think she was getting tired of Dax getting all of the attention! She's suddenly had a resurgence of energy lately and we are enjoying it.
It's hard to believe that Easter is already this Sunday. We will be enjoying brunch at my brother's house and then relaxing for the rest of the day. I am looking forward to spending some family time together over our spring break from school next week. We lost one day of break because of all of the snow days this year, but fortunately they have turned that into a virtual day so the kids can work from home (or wherever they may be traveling to for spring break) on their laptops. Aaah, the wonders of modern technology. I hope you have a wonderful Easter!
And finally, it seems to have become somewhat of a tradition for me to end the post with a smile from Dax (along with one from my oldest son too). Happy Spring!

March 19, 2018

Late Winter Reading (& A Few Changes to Cozy Up Our Cozy Family Room)

Hello! Today I am finally sharing some pictures of our updated family room. Winter has definitely overstayed its welcome here in NJ and we are expecting even more snow this week despite the official start of Spring on the calendar. I have been trying to combat that by embracing the cozy and making use of this quieter season to read and slow down.
We did a complete a couple of small projects in the family room recently. The walls were in desperate need of an update so we painted them, using Behr paint in the color Sculpted Clay. It's a beautiful fresh and neutral color and makes the space feel cleaner and brighter.
We also added the new sectional that I talked about in this post. The seat is the perfect depth for nap taking, tv binging and reading. Speaking of television, I finally watched The Handmaid's Tale this winter and it was definitely worthy of all the hype. I am currently in the middle of an older TV series - Everwood - and enjoying it.
I have a stack of fiction waiting for me on my bedside table, but it seems I kept reaching for non-fiction this winter. I guess you could I say I am digging deeper for more meaning this season. Just a few months into 2018, we have witnessed close friends deal with death too soon and devastating illness. Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan, a sort of manual for maintaining meaningful relationships in our lives, was thought-provoking and funny. I can totally relate to her struggles and pure joy at raising teenagers. Have you seen this video of hers? Which lead me back to Glitter and Glue,  one of her previous works that I somehow missed. The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs was a more difficult read because of the subject matter - death and living. 38 years old and a mother of 2 young boys, Nina writes about the end of her life in such a relatable and profound way. It's a reminder to enjoy the everyday like no other. That this it - this is the great adventure. Can't we all use that? That book will certainly stay with me for a long time and I highly recommend it.
So now I hope you tell me more about how you are doing this season? I would love to hear what about what you are reading and watching. :)

February 7, 2018

A New Sectional for Our Family Room (Ikea Farlov Sectional review)

Ikea Farlov sectional review with beige slipcover
Hello! It is a snowy day here in NJ, just the sort of day to spend by the fire in our family room. We added a new piece of furniture to our family room in early January and we have been so busy enjoying it that I forgot to blog about it! Our old Ikea sofa was 14 years old and was looking tired after serving our family well for many years.
Ikea farlov sectional review
We decided that, this time around, a big sectional would be the best choice for our family of 5 (plus 2 goldens). We shopped around at the usual spots - Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and Ikea. We narrowed the selections to only those with slipcovers because those have worked so well for us in the past. For the price and value, we just couldn't pass up the Farlov sectional from Ikea. It is a generous size for our family room - which is about 24x24. We brought our kids with us to Ikea to get opinions on the Ektorp vs. Farlov sectional and as it turns out, the Ektorp wasn't an option for us. My guys dwarfed that thing. But the Farlov was the perfect fit for us.
Ikea Farlov sectional review with beige slipcover
Because we have 2 spoiled pups who are welcome on the furniture, we decided to go with the beige colored cover. Ikea calls it Flodafors beige and it just so happens to be a perfect shade to camouflage the dog hair that covers every surface in our home. I have found that any shade of off white or beige is MUCH more forgiving than white when dealing with slipcovers in a busy household. I didn't even consider the white slipcover for our family. I haven't washed these yet but I will update when I do. These covers are machine washable and I have lots of experience with Ikea slipcovers so I don't anticipate running into any trouble with these. I shared more about the other Ikea furniture we live with in this post.
I did a bunch of research on this sofa before we bought it and most of the cons were things we felt we could live with. The main complaint I read is that the fabric feels a bit rough, which is true - but I have to say it still feels comfy enough for us and seems durable. I will be curious to see if Ikea comes out with a new fabric next year. The great thing with Ikea is a new slipcover is just a 15 minute drive away. Also, with online vendors like Comfort Works (I got a slipcover for our last Ikea sofa from them), it leaves so many options open for the future. I love that - because I obviously I change things up quite frequently.
Ikea farlov sectional review
Another thing reviewers mentioned was that the cushions felt hard but we haven't found that to be true. In fact, it just seems to be getting more comfortable with use. The corner is hands down the favorite spot for adults, kids and dogs alike.
Ikea Farlov sectional review with beige slipcover
This sectional now anchors the television watching section of our family room. The sectional came with a bunch of matching throw pillows and then I added a few more neutral pillows in a variety of textures from my collection.
Ikea Farlov sectional review with beige slipcover
In my next post, I will share more about how it fits in with the rest of our Winter Family Room.
Pottery Barn console table in neutral living room
 Thanks for stopping by today! See you soon. :)

Looking for more Ikea inspiration? Here are a few more of our favorite finds & hacks from Ikea: