Category Archives: Decor

Toddler Friendly Coffee Table Styling


My life is filled with messy. Two dogs, a toddler, a husband with a penchant for crumbs and a little chaos. Each night as a part of our bed time routine, Juice and I get on my hands and knees and “help” our O.J. pick up a chaotic slurry of Legos, blocks, toys, books, and stuffed animals. I honestly think that my child’s favorite game is making a mess. After all “mess” was his 3rd word, his 2nd word was hummus. For his 1st attempt at sentence structure he strung them together and said many times with delight “hummus mess” as he painted the kitchen table and himself.

It’s hard to justify making things look beautiful with his constant assault on tidiness . And yet I keep at, if only for a handful of brief moments here and there where every Lego, book, and shoe is tucked neatly away, where the dishes are done, and there is no heaping pile of laundry there to taunt me. I prop my feet up, look around my beautiful little home and savor the bright, cheerful bits that delight me.

I love a good styled coffee table, they usually start with some gorgeous, architecturally interesting table, add in a mirrored tray or a basket, and then strategically arrange amazing books, flowers or a plant and undoubtedly some sharp, heavy knick-knack to tie it all together.  All of which sound like a trip to the Emergency room just waiting to happen, that or an expensive book in a pile of shreds.

So here is my solution, a coffee table styling that most likely won’t make it in any design magazine spreads but is free of sharp edges, easy to clean, a great place to put your feet up in those rare moments of peace, and makes your living room look put together all while including your child.






I am all about using what I have and so our once bedroom ottoman became the living room coffee table. For awhile I thought about covering it with some trendy upholstery fabric but after countless leaky “sippy cup” incidents I decided that this bland, microfiber ottoman was just right as it, which is EASY TO CLEAN!  I use books that are specifically for my little one but also match my color scheme (just don’t look too closely at these very loved books), a fake plant that has been put away a time or two when I just couldn’t bare another “teachable moment”  where I redirect him to a book or my secret weapon, a wooden puzzle. Luckily for the most part he now ignores the plant.

I put together a quick inspiration board of kid friendly coffee table styling ideas.

I hope I’ve given you an idea that will make your living room decor a little less of a battle and still makes your home feel beautiful.  For #1 how cute would it be to put two of these floral ottomans side by side. #3 I love the idea of picking up a few old books at a thrift store or yard sale and then covering in cute paper.  For #6&7 I am seriously in love this felt flower shop on Etsy.  Where is my debit card?  #8 make your own pussy willow branches with felt balls, I’m totally going to do something like this in my bedroom.

1. Floral Ottoman from Joss and Main 2. Blue tray from One King Lane 3. photo credit potterybarnkids 4. Penguin Classic Book Collection 5. Faux succulents  6. & 7. flowers and succulents from the Felt Flower Shop 8. felt ball branch d.i.y painted globe

I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment below and Happy Friday!!


Spaced Themed Nursery

I can’t believe we have been homeowners for a year!  I loved being reminded of the mountain of paperwork we signed and the subsequent hand cramp on Facebook.

After we bought out cute little home last February, we then spent a month tearing out a wall, putting in new flooring, board and batten, painting, an entertainment built-in, tearing out a drop ceiling in the basement, and putting in a new ceiling.  We were busy, so while I didn’t like the paint color or boring trim in the bedrooms, we decided it was good enough to leave for a while.  Maybe it is our house anniversary or Oliver’s birthday but we finally decided to update his room from a baby nursery to a room befitting a toddler.

As we speak Juice is hard at work putting in gorgeous chunky trim.  It is going to look amazing.  I cant wait to show you. But in the mean time here are the before pics:


I fell in love with this two toned convertible crib from Delta.


My always fabulous Sister-in-Law Suzy made this Oliver sign using periodic elements for our baby shower and we just had to put it in his room.  It is the cutest thing of all time.  Juice is going to make a chunky frame for it, it only took us two years. I cant wait to see how it turns out.


I made this Star Stuff print using an open source image I found on  N.A.S.A’s website and one of my favorite Carl Sagan quotes:

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.”



This pillow is from SaltLabs on etsy.


I found these amazing laser cut rocket ships at LoveSac and the lights are a custom color combo from Brightlab lights.


I wish I had a better picture of our diaper changing table made out of a tool cart but Oliver outgrew this last year and we packed it away. But it is too cool not to share.

No other issue, except maybe circumcision, has been as heavily debated between Juice and I, as to whose idea this was.  Let me clear it up now, It was totally my idea!!!  But I couldn’t have pulled it off without my handy husband, he gets all the credit for doing the work.

We picked up an inexpensive tool cart from Harbor Freight, painted it navy blue, and added a diaper changing pad. Not too bad for a diaper changing table for under $100.



I used chalk paint in Gray and white on this Pottery Barn kids table to match his crib.

I have really loved this space themed nursery and I am going to keep a lot of it for Oliver’s Toddler room makeover. I’m thinking we will update the paint color to Dorian Gray like the rest of the upstairs. Update the molding/trim.  Convert his crib to a toddler bed and update the bedding.

I’m going to make some wall vinyl but I’m torn between

“Oh darling, lets be adventurers” and the Foo Fighters lyrics “I’m a brand new sky to hang the stars upon.”

Which do you like better?  Be sure to leave your choice in the comments. I cant wait to show you the after pictures in a couple weeks.



A Housewarming to Remember

A few of my favorite things from our Housewarming party this spring.

1. Our guest sign in coloring page from World of Moose


2.  This Simple Fruit Pizza Bar for Dessert


3.  My D.I.Y.  “Instagram” wall collage


Coming soon: D.I.Y.  Instagram wall collage

4.  This Acrylic Ice Bucket


5.  The Menu: mini Frog-Eyed Salad, hummus, and Veggie shooters, crusty french bread from Stone Ground,  a meat and cheese tray from Tony Caputos that was TO-DIE-FOR, oh and that gourmet plum jam. I’m suddenly really hungry.



What to Expect from Living Darling

I love to cook, bake, plan parties, decorate, and craft. I love being a mom. I want to improve my health in lasting, lifelong ways…Travel the world and create treasured memories with the ones I love.  I want to treasure the little moments.

So here is what you can expect from Living Darling:


Delicious recipes, my ideas on health and fitness, craft projects, decorating ideas, a million posts about my obsession with oatmeal and breakfast salads, parenting tips, party planning, my Husband Juices’ list of Honey-do’s, and pretty much anything that tickles my fancy.

All of these things are in pursuit of a darling life.

I hope you enjoy the journey with me.