|US Japan Fam||
The weather is cooling down and you're still "safe at home", so it's time to make sure you're stocked up on ways to be warm and cozy, bonus if they spark a little joy at the same time, am I right!? Here are some items I'm loving this fall, and where you can grab your own!
**disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, you don't pay more but we'll receive a commission from sales made after clicking**
Cozy Teddy Bear Hoodies & Cardigans
I recently bought the Dokotoo Women's Fuzzy Fleece Cardigan (below left) which is a #1 best seller on Amazon. It's 95% polyester 5% spandex and is about the softest most cuddliest thing I have ever worn. I'm obsessed with it. My kids are obsessed with it. I'm half ready to buy one in every color LOL! Sure I kinda look like I'm wearing a bathrobe but I just don't even care, it's that comfy and warm!!
Fleece Lined Leggings, Joggers & Sweats
If you're running around the house all day in jeans, good for you. But I can assure you, I am not. No way. Jeans and their potential muffin topping discomfort are only for public life. Around the house it's all about leggings and joggers for me!
I've been living in a pair of black sweat pants basically since the start of September when the weather started to chill, and I realized, I need some more color in my life. Just "invested" in the esstive ultra soft fleece joggers in Marled Smokey Blue (below left) and they're great!! Fitted bottom, super soft, great colors to choose from!! I also recently got the Diravo Fleece Lined Leggings in Royal Blue (pictured below second from left) and they are SO comfy, thick, and warm. I can't attest to whether or not they'll pill, but so far so good!
Cozy Slippers & Socks
We've been living the NYC apartment life for many years, where you have no control over the heat and it's like 85*F in there in February! It was wonderful! But now we're in a house and pay for our heat. So... we need to dress warmer!! So I'm all about warm socks and grippy slippers now!! Got the (below left) Fralosha slipper sock and they're super soft!! Was on the fence about getting something with a firmer and more padded bottom, but decided to go for these which are more flexible like a sock so I can keep them on the sofa for lounging!
Tumblers, Mugs & Decor
"Fall Is My Second Favorite F word", I mean, come on, that sparks so much F'in joy in my life! ha!
Keep the Draft Out
You want to stay warm and also cut energy costs (and wastefulness) am I right? Don't forget to block drafts coming from doors and windows! We got this magnetic door draft blocker for our doors and it is doing a great job at keeping out the cold air and also the creepy crawlies (we had a bit of a gap between the door and frame!!
Supplements for Fall & Winter
As winter approaches, we get less time in the sun and need to be sure we don't become Vitamin D deficient. So, it's not just time for Pumpkin Spice everything but think also about your diet, and consider adding some extra sources of Vitamin D (but first, talk to your doctor regarding your health specifically, of course)! You might also want to talk to them about probiotics and other immune supporting supplements like these:
For Your Hot Showers
If you have colored hair, you may have been ordered to keep to cool showers, but in winter!? I mean, come on!! So, consider a coloring conditioner to keep it from fading, despite wonderfully hot showers! I've loved oVertone but am gonna give this one by Keracolor a try soon! Also, keep your skin moisturized (I know, hot showers are bad for this too)... be sure to moisturize all skin with a thick lotion or balm right after showering, while skin is still slightly moist. YoRo Naturals Organic Manuka Honey Skin Soothing Cream is an AMAZING one, all natural and safe for the whole family, even babies! And if you have eczema or stubborn dry flakey spots, it's a MUST HAVE!
We recently moved from our tiny 1 bedroom 1 bathroom 927 square foot Brooklyn co-op to a "huge" 1800 square foot 4 bed 2 bath home in NY's Hudson River Valley (the Town of Cornwall, to be exact). The move has brought with it MANY challenges (you can watch them documented in our "moving from city to suburbs" playlist on YouTube) but also many fun and exciting changes! We find ourselves with way more space, including a yard and a driveaway, and a LONG list of things we've needed (or wanted) to purchase for our new space. I'll give you a kind of mini tour through photos below and link to some of the new (and a few old) items we're loving in case you need inspiration for your own home! Full video home tour will come a bit later to YouTube (and I'll embed it here) - after we put pictures and decor up, if that's ever going to happen! Unpacking and organizing is my first priority and I'm still working on it...
Disclaimer: affiliate links included below - you don't pay more but we'll receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking.
Our new kitchen is bigger than our previous tiny galley kitchen, but it didn't have a built in microwave. We don't really have all that much counter space to give up so opted to buy a microwave cart, and LOVE the Casual Home kitchen island we bought! It was pretty easy to put together, and looks great in the kitchen! I'm also loving the rack I bought for our pots and pans, no more pulling out everything from a cabinet each time I needed one, no more layering with towels so they don't scratch each other! Why didn't I get this thing years ago!?!?! Some things we kept from our old home because we love them so much include our Nutri Ninja blender and old dish drain because we loooooove it, clear and easy to clean!
Our kitchen window is very old and gross, and looks into our garage (WTF, am I right!? I won't even go into how hot it gets in there while coking) so I bought these curtains and artificial succulents to add some color and cuteness. Love standing in front of the sink now!! Speaking of sink, I was nervous about the quality of our drinking water coming through this home's old pipes so got this Tap Score water test to check for lead and 100 different nasties, stay tuned for the results (on YouTube)!
PRIVACY / BLACKOUT CURTAINS:
These aren't 100% blackout if the sun is streaming directly at them, but they do a great job of providing privacy (you can't see anything from outside at night when inside lights are on) and also provide very good room darkening to allow for better morning sleep in! We have some odd shaped windows, some with shelves or baseboard heating below them, so didn't want floor length, and found sizes that work perfectly (though I know they're not the best length for design alone).
We got this GE High Efficiency Energy Star set washer and dryer from Home Depot. It was the first time shopping for a washer and dryer so I asked around and did some research. In the end my requirements were top loading, steel drum, high efficiency, energy star. Using those, I shopped around for the best deal. It was around Memorial Day so I was able to score something like 30% off at Home Depot, woohoo!! I've used them a few times already and am IN LOVE! Having my own set, in my own home, not having to go down to a communal laundry room with the kids in masks, it's a game changer!
I can't find the exact desk on Amazon that I bought, so a similar one is linked below, but this is Safco desk I got on Walmart. It's not super sturdy (I've had to ban my kids from climbing on it LOL) but perfectly good as a desk and I love how easy it was to assemble and how sleek and modern it looks. Nice and lightweight if I have to move it, too. No drawers, so I may have to add something next to it, and I'm not sure how it'll do with water stains and wear and tear, trying to treat it carefully! The rolling leatherette office chair is a nice addition as well, since I've been using a folding Ikea wooden chair for the last few years. I know, I know. Don't laugh!! Oh, and can't forget my cute "Boss Lady" mousepad!!
Did you know, radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. A natural byproduct of uranium breaking down in soil, it's a radioactive gas that seeps from the ground and can accumulate in dangerous levels in the home, especially in the basement... which is where our master bedroom is!! So, the Airthings Radon Detector was one of our first purchases and thankfully the first week of monitoring has been reporting back with a very low and safe level, and it will continue to monitor over time to make sure the average levels are healthy and it doesn't spike. It also monitors humidity and temperature, and if you upgrade to a slightly more expensive one (voted one of TIME Magazine's 2019 best inventions), it also monitors VOCs! Healthy home and peace of mind is SO important!! Of course we also got a Ring video doorbell with Chime which helps me keep track of when kids are coming in and out of the door, and when we get a delivery (several times a day, I've been online shopping like a fiend).
The first orders for outdoors, other than garbage/recycling bins and hose/nozzle/sprinkler, were our dome climber and disc swing. The kids have been OBSESSED with these, they're AMAZING!!! The only issue is that the grass in the middle of the dome is nearly gone, it only took like 3 days to destroy it with their swinging. Oops! Not sure if we should keep it there and totally destroy it or try to move the dome a bit every couple of days to give grass a chance to revive?
A couple of things we recently ordered but haven't received yet: We got a 6-person round wooden picnic table and these bungee folding outdoor chairs that got great reviews, hope they're comfy!! We just needed something to sit on while the kids play outside, or to bring camping or to the beach. Didn't want to invest in beautiful $2K outdoor dining/lounging set for this rental home where we'll probably be only 2 years, but hopefully in our next purchased place, our "forever home"??, we'll build a deck and go all out!
I want to emphasize how amazing the over the door shoe organizers are... not just for shoes, but for everything!!! We have one hanging in my closet with my makeup, hair accessories etc. We have one hanging in the kids' bathroom with their toiletries and hair ties, nail clippers, bandaids etc. I've seen others use in laundry room and pantry, for arts and crafts, you name it!! They fit over standard doors and may end up scratching the paint at the top but are well worth it!!
We also don't have any built in towel racks in the bathrooms, so the over-the-door racks below are very helpful. And I bought the hyper tough wire shelving to create a pantry in this random nook we have just half a flight of stairs down from the kitchen. Has been working out nicely!
So, what do you think? Do you have and love any of these? Have other great must have home items to recommend!? Sharing is caring!
Welcome to our budget friendly kitchen makeover! We've been in our small Brooklyn co-op for 5 years now and have always disliked how dark and dated our tiny galley kitchen was, so we finally decided to give it an update.
Watch our kitchen remodel step by step highlights video - a tour in the "before" kitchen, replacing our kitchen appliances (from mismatched black to new smudgeproof stainless steel whirlpool appliances), replacing our kitchen counters (from dark baltic brown granite to msi arctic white quartz countertops), adding new white hexagon backsplash, and a tour of the "after" kitchen. I think it really brightened it up and gave it a much cleaner, fresher, and a bit funkier vibe, what do you think!? I mean, it'll never be a spacious pinterest perfect dream kitchen, but this is life in a Brooklyn co-op!
Our Step-by-Step Highlights Video:
WHAT WE USED:
Our budget friendly kitchen remodel features the following products (affiliate links) - our whole project, parts and outsourced labor, was just under $5K!
So, what do you think? We did a gut renovation of our bathroom (also done by E&M Shore Construction) when we purchased our co-op 5 years ago. You can see that post here!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links - you don't pay more but we earn a little commission on products you purchase to help fund the blog.
Join us on the countertop exploration part of our budget-friendly galley kitchen makeover - testing quartz vs. solid surface vs. ultra compact countertops!
We've already upgraded our appliances (from old black holes to these stainless steel smudge-proof Whirlpool fridge, range, and dishwasher), and now are in the process of replacing kitchen countertops (from current not-my-taste brown granite countertops to possibly white or grey).
I got samples from Home Depot (free in-store, or about $9 a pop if ordering online) and broke out the big guns at home - scratching them with stainless steel utensils to test which countertop is most scratch-resistant, letting smashed frozen blueberries sit for 24 hours to test which countertop is most stain-resistant, and finally smacking the Dekton with a pot repeatedly to see if it would chip! HA!
Be sure to watch my video below all the way through for a closeup of each sample, and to see how quartz vs. solid surface vs. ultra compact countertops performed - I very unscientifically tested:
I hope this helps you in your decision making if you're currently considering replacing your kitchen countertops and are wondering what the best material for kitchen countertops is!
If you have a comment about which style you think would look best in our kitchen, or a type you highly recommend or advise against, please comment below!!!
We purchased our first home back in March, a co-op in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and moved in April. We love the place but the bathroom hadn't been updated since being built in the 50's. It was HORRENDOUS!! We're talking pink tub and toilet, pink mosaic floor, and lime green/gray walls. YUCK! We knew we had to renovate for resale purposes, and the sooner the better so we could enjoy it while living here for the next 2+ years. We shopped around, almost got ripped off by one not-to-be-named contractor, and finally went with our building's part-time Super who has his own construction company (if you're in or near Bay Ridge Brooklyn, I can't recommend him high enough!! Here's his contact info: Mike of E & M Shore Construction, e-mail / TEL: 917-577-1942 ). We couldn't be happier with our decision and the results. Mike was super easy to deal with - responding ASAP to email, text, or phone call. He had great ideas for the bathroom and was open to our ideas as well. And best of all??? He finished ON SCHEDULE and UNDER BUDGET! Perhaps unprecedented in the history of contractors! HA!
Here's the before and after!! Amazing right?!!?
We scheduled the renovation for a 2 week period where our toddler and I would be out of town, so we wouldn't be around all the dust and mess. My husband was around and helped tremendously with last minute materials decision - we waited to the last minute and didn't have time to order anything - so everything we got had to be IN STOCK which severely limited our choices, but we're pretty pleased with what we ended up with. Our contractor was awesome and drove my hubby around to all the shops, and went to pick up stuff I purchased online for in-store pickup. Mike also sent me daily photo updates, and called and Face Timed me so I could see what they were doing and to make quick decisions on placement of items and what not. This was so awesome to be a part of it while not being physically present.
He did the gut renovation and picking up of all materials in... TEN DAYS!!! I still can't believe it. The baby and I arrived home on the evening of Christmas Eve to our brand new bathroom (and tons of dust to clean, despite them having sealed off rooms with plastic tarp). Small price to pay I suppose!
And how much did this cost us? Well, the total including labor, materials, and fee to our co-op board was $8,963. This was under our budget of $10K and let's just say no one got Christmas presents this year LOL. The bathroom was a Christmas present for all 3 of us!!
We basically got everything from Home Depot, Express Brooklyn Tile (3918 4th Ave), Sunset Plumbing Supply (6001 4th Ave), and Bruce Supply Corp (8805 18th Ave). Below are some photos and items we used. If you want more details feel free to leave a comment below and I'll get back to you ASAP!
Tiles, Grout, & Paint:
Sorry, I wasn't there to pick these out and have no record of the make/model of the wall tiles bought - they're 3x6" white subway tiles and some sort of grey / white marble / light brown mosaic as the accent border. We went with a medium charcoal for the wall grout and a light grey for the floor grout. For floor tiles, we used Marazzi Montagna Smoky Black 6x24" Glazed Porcelain, which looks like a faux-wood and has hues of brown, grey, pink, blue - it's really interesting! My husband matched one of the accent tiles perfectly with the wall paint, he chose Behr Marquee Base 1454 (unfortunately I can't find the actual color used!! it's grey with a slightly brownish hue).
Well, that's most of it! Leave a comment below if you have any questions and I'll get back to you as soon as possible! And if you're doing any home remodel in the Bay Ridge area, definitely give Mike a call! He'll do ya right!!
About Me ^_^
I'm a NY mom blogger (formerly of Brooklyn), Influencer, YouTuber, & Entrepreneur living just north of NYC in Hudson River Valley's town of Cornwall with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1)! My blog is chock full of humor, honesty, family travel & product reviews, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, with weekly local kids' events roundups and annual guides for families here in South Brooklyn!