Small Space Solutions (when you both work from home and have a toddler)

I recently started reading the blog 600sqftandababy about a growing family living in a tiny apartment in Canada. They had a second child and stayed put in their tiny apartment. I stumbled upon this site because I was searching for small-space family blogs for interior design inspiration after a particularly stressful freezing day spent inside our small apartment. I was drawn to this blog because our living situation is similar. We are two adults and a two-year-old (with another babe on the way) living in a one-bedroom apartment of roughly 500-square-feet.

The couple and their two-kids-under-three live a super minimalist lifestyle, which I’m trying to implement in my home. Space is functional. I kept poring over their pictures wondering how they made it look so simple…how do they get work done? How does the apartment not look like a goddamn romper room every day? And how is everyone SLEEPING? Sleep is a huge issue in our home. We share a bedroom with our toddler and it kiiiiiinda sucks. (I feel like our whole arrangement might be screwing her up in the long run. Or maybe we are making her the most perfect, well adjusted, supported and amazing person to ever walk the earth. Of course we are.  But let’s get real. No one is getting good sleep…)

I also kept looking around our space wondering why it seemed to jammed in comparison to 600sqft… Aside from a few aesthetic changes that NEED to be made (more wall shelves, smaller dining table, new couch, curtain divider in the bedroom to create the illusion of two rooms and some downsizing) there was something else missing. AND THEN IT HIT ME… Several things hit me, actually. These two parents have thriving careers: outside of the home. And they both seem to be normal sized human beings…

Now take us… My husband, Joe, is an artist/illustrator…he works from home. This is partly by choice because of convenience but also–studio space in NYC is outrageously expensive. To afford a studio he’d have to go way out to East New York or something. I also work from home (I am a freelance writer and I care for our toddler, Emilia). So there you have it: TWO adults and a toddler in 500-squre-feet for roughly 24-hours a day. Save for a few trips to the park, developmental classes and visits to grandma and papa’s (a few blocks away) we’re home a LOT. Like…in each other’s space and up each others butts most of the time. Even when my husband is on a super stressful project with a tight deadline (which is basically every project) he still has to deal with the family circus going on around him. No escape.

Another huge difference is that my husband is roughly six-foot-nine-inches tall. That seems amazing, and it is. But that also means his big clothes and shoes take up a lot of space in our small closet and bigger furniture is required (two major space-saving categories). He will kill me for sharing this but I have to consider everything. The 600sqft couple have a murphy bed. My husband would break that thing off the wall in five minutes!

One major obstacle is the shape of our apartment. The measurements, the construction, weird corners jutting out everywhere…it was NOT designed well. Whoever built our apartment building didn’t imagine that anyone would want to hang things from the walls. There is nary a stud to be found! So my brilliant idea of wall-mounting the TV would be a death trap. The wall shelves are hopefully safe with twenty anchors (Let’s just pray the upstairs neighbors don’t have another flood or the drywall will turn to putty and the screws will just slide out).

Small spaces are always a challenge–financially and visually. Finding easy and aesthetically pleasing items at Ikea or Home Depot is a nightmare. When I see gorgeous small spaces on Design Sponge (like this one or this one, which features 600sqftandababy) or Apartment Therapy (particularly this one) I laugh. Sure you can make a small space look great with a big budget. But if money were no object, we’d have a bigger f-ing apartment, wouldn’t we? Then our small space problems would be solved.

So here goes…

Bedroom: Eliminate two dressers, create a room divider, overhaul the walk-in closet (it is really a step-in and turn). This sounds impossible but with a little imagination and a dozen trips to Ikea and the hardware store I think we can do it.

Living Room: Everything must go. ok not “go” but change. Shelves, new couch, new table (and dining chairs because each one has a 80% risk of exploding beneath my husband every time he sits down).

Storage throughout: I am trying to avoid the urge to turn my apartment into something that resembles a workshop but we need shelves and storage solutions so I’m not tripping over toys and books and shoes.

My first challenge is the bedroom and closet. Stay tuned for posts on our progress.

Stroller in the City Celebrates Winter with PO.P!

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Stroller in the City recently hosted another fabulous event…this time at Polarn O. Pyret in Tribeca to celebrate their new cold-weather collection. I try my best to make it to each and every SITC event because I know they’re going to be amazing.

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PO.P (Polarn O. Pyret), for anyone who has been living under a rock, is a Swedish brand with top quality winter essentials for babies, kids, and even adults. They also have the softest most delicious basics for kids that I’ve ever seen. The fabrics are buttery soft and the prints are super cute. (They also sell online.)

The PO.P shop opened in Tribeca right around the same time I had my daughter and I quickly became obsessed with their stuff. My mother and I hit the sidewalk sale every year and stock up on all sorts of basics for the kids. It doesn’t help my wallet that I walk past the store almost every day. But I have to say, the quality is unparalleled.

I have become a lazy launderer since becoming a mom—I often forget to pull pieces from the dryer before the cycle ends and sometimes hot dried clothes sit in a big blue Ikea bag for a few days before I can get around to folding and filing everything. The PO.P clothes always come out perfect… I absolutely love the brands. OK enough of my housekeeper failings…and back to the main event

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SITC brought together a bunch of other amazing kids brands for this event, too. Slope Ropes is a harness system to use while skiing. I was never a big winter sports person but I did ski occasionally as a kid… I might have to hit the slopes soon so I can take Emilia out when she is big enough. Boogie Wipes is another great product that is perfect for the upcoming sneezing runny-nose season. Tickle Water is a sparkling kids water with great natural flavors for kids to try.

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Pressed by KIND is the newest snack bar I plan on keeping on hand for Emilia. I have been a KIND bar addict since pregnancy but I don’t share them with my daughter because I avoid feeding her sugars and especially chocolate. Presses by KIND has no added sugar and two full servings of fruit. Bitsy’s Brain Food snacks are another go to for the stroller or travel bag. Bitsy’s philosophy is simple: Healthy bodies equals healthy minds…learning to eat smart should be fun so that our children develop healthy habits. So Cozy is another great product that I will definitely start using once Emilia’s hair is long enough to tangle. Creative Kidstuff was there, too. Every toy purchase helps children in need around the world.

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I am definitely a warm-weather fan…I get annoyed just thinking about gloom, grey skies and frigid temperatures but seeing all the cozy winter essentials and imagining Emilia playing in the snow this year is getting me excited for winter. OK maybe just one snowstorm. The great thing about living in Battery Park City during a snowstorm is that we have an army of folks working for the Battery Park Conservancy who shovel, salt and clean up so we can just play and enjoy! Wearing our stunning PO.P winter essentials, of course!

Thanks to SITC for inviting us to this amazing event!! We are definitely doing all of our winter shopping at PO.P!

Sunday in Yardley, PA

Sometimes escaping NYC means a trip through Penn Station and a 90-minute NJ Transit ride to a lazy Sunday brunch at a lovely Friend’s drool-worthy home in quaint Yardley, PA. The whole day was perfection. The food. The weather. The conpany. I loved every minute. I kinda want to move to Yardley. 


When you have a few hours –10 minutes even–away from your kids it feels so indulgent. You can focus entirely on the person you’re speaking with, rather than give them half your attention or excuse yourself every three minutes to course correct your toddler. When you’re child-free you even start to enjoy activites and tasks you once loathed. 

As a parent, my time is so rarely my own that I fully appreciate a few minutes to myself whenever I can get it. Doctor’s waiting room…Ikea returns department…being on hold (especially if the hold music is Cisco call manager default). 


My most recent activity (a ride on NJ Transit Northeast Corridor from NY Penn to Trenton) would have normally felt like one step up from a deathmarch but instead it was 180 minutes of bliss . I shut off my brain, except for the brief period that I had to figure out the NJT app to activate my ticket (super convenient, btw) oh and the twenty minutes I read NY Times political news before swiping it off in frustration (Donald Trump makes me sick), and watched the landscape change. 


I missed my sweet babe and my husband for a few hours but mama needs some alone time…even if it is on a commuter train surrounded by strangers and even stranger smells. 

6 Backpacks I’d Wear (and I hate backpacks)

Everlane Mini Backpack

Everlane Mini Backpack

I’ve always had a strange relationship with backpacks. I think I hate them. Maybe because I had to wear a backpack to school and I never really liked school, which in retrospect is completely ridiculous. I wish I could hop in a time machine and have a few words with high school freshman Julie to straighten her out. I totally phoned it in and only half absorbed what my teachers were telling me.
Biology was so interesting and fun—why was I more concerned with sneaking out to get a latte from Paradise Coffee on 8th Avenue and smoke Marlboro Lights with my friend Ulysses? English was my favorite subject (despite the major a-hole teacher) but I left every assignment to the day before deadline and handed them all in littered with errors and run-on sentences. Howard Zinn’s “The People’s History of the United States” was our US History textbook but I barely skimmed a few chapters and turned in every assignment late. My teacher claimed to be a former student of Zinn’s. (That same teacher ended up carrying on torrid affairs with students that ultimately cost him his job and probably his life. He died of a heart attack at 60. His 19-year-old girlfriend spoke at his memorial to a crowd of cringing mourners. It was odd.) But anyway, the motley crew of teachers should have been enough to pique my interest in school. Nope.

Luckily, I figured it all out in time to put myself through college and become a responsible adult. But I have to say—I did and do often wrestle with some of those bad habits. It takes plenty of foot dragging and hours of waiting around for me to finally get my own work done. Of course, I blame lazy parenting during my formative years for this. But let’s move on.

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Now that I have a daughter, who I plan on tiger-mothering, I recognize and appreciate the usefulness of a backpack. I am still using the Baggu canvas duck bag, which can be worn cross-body so it frees up my hands but I end up doing the full one-arm scoop and search when I need something. It would be nice to have everything organized in…a…backpack. AAAHHH!

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I have rounded up 6 backpacks that I would wear today and that don’t remind me of my black North Face from high school (although I should dig that one up—it is vintage at this point). Most of them have zippers or snaps because who has time to futz around with a complicated clasp situation when you have a toddler? Seriously.

1. Herschel Supply Co. Little America Nylon Brindle $170 (these straps have magnetic closure, no need to buckle, whew!)
2. Herschel Supply Co. Mammoth Ripstop $100
3. Fjällräven Totepack $100 (This is my FAVORITE because I love a tote)
4. Baggu Leather Backpack $280
5. Poketo Voyager $158
6. Everlane Zip Backpack $58

Stroller in the City Celebrates Mother’s Day

My first Mother’s Day was a bit of a blur. Last year my daughter was only three months old so I was still new to the sleep deprived half-concious state that parents eventually grow accustomed to. But now that I have the hang of it and a little more sleep, celebrating my second Mother’s Day is more fun and I planned in taking a little time out just for me.


This year I got to join Stroller in the City for a movie screening of the new flick Mother’s Day thanks to Fandango (who provided the movie tickets and refreshments!) Lindt also provided yummy truffles that I devoured almost instantly.


The movie was so much fun. It was the perfect mom-com to enjoy with a bunch of other moms sans kiddos.


Sometimes it is nice to skip the Netflix and actually go to the movies. Fandango even gifted us two movie tickets for a future show, which I plan on using for date night with the hubbs in the coming weeks. Or maybe I’ll take MY mom to a movie and let dad and papa hang with the babe while the ladies kick back. Hey…mom needs to have fun, too! #SITCcelebratesMothersDay was a blast!


Thanks Brianne for including Wear Comfortable Shoes in this fun night out!!

Wide Leg Jeans

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I try to avoid trends. You won’t see me wearing fringe or platform sneakers and I never put on an “outfit.” My closet consists mostly of interchangeable basics. I do appreciate certain on-trend styles as long as they are timeless vintage inspired. Like, the new clog craze is great–even though I don’t own a pair, yet. I love and own several cropped denim kick-flares. But you would really have to search to find a true “trendy” piece of clothing in my closet.

For the past five years my wardrobe has been a little…lacking. From 2011-2015 I worked for a womenswear designer. Even though I was in the “fashion industry,” I stuck to the basics and hardly bought clothes because the small office was wayyyy out in Red Hook, Brooklyn… Who was I dressing up for? The B61? No thanks.

The designer made stretch jersey garments…and at first it was exciting, wearing comfy stretchy dresses and separates…but after a few wears the jersey would pill and it quickly made me feel like I was in pajamas all day. Even the shorter 3/4 length skirts seem to be made with eight yards of heavy fabric they would whoosh around kicking up dust bunnies and dirt everywhere I went. I basically took four years off from thinking about my wardrobe. BUT I was helping to represent a brand…and I didn’t notice my personal style suffer.

During my tenure in Red Hook I had a baby–so I really limited my wardrobe to whatever fit (and that lasted at least 6 months post-partum, too.)

But now that my kid is a toddler…and I am trying inch my way back into the working world…I am so much more aware of what I wear. I am on a strict no-job budget so my purchases are very limited but I recently acquired a pair of on-trend bottoms that are a total throw-back (and thus acceptable by my standards.) High-waisted wide-leg jeans! (I look like my mother, circa 1972.)

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I spent $20 on these babies at H&M… I washed them and cropped them. Now I look a little more updated when I chase my daughter around the park.

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Holiday Photos

Over the years I’ve received dozens of holiday postcards from friends and family. The first wave typically featured just the newly weds traveling or posing adorably with a festive prop…then maybe a pet or two…and eventually each card featured growing families. I love getting these cards. I don’t see all of my friends and their broods often so it is fun to watch the kids grow each year. Plus, I really enjoy getting mail that isn’t bills or junk. Call me old fashioned.

This year I was tossing around the idea of sending a holiday card featuring my daughter. My husband and I have been very adamant about not sharing pictures of her on social media or disseminating images beyond our close friend and family circle. Even when I text a picture of a funny face Emilia makes to a friend I instantly feel guilty that I’ve stolen a piece of her soul and shot it out into the ether. Maybe I’m a little too protective of our (mostly E’s) privacy.

Well, we did it. It took a few snaps with my iphone, twinkle lights, a teddy bear and a very cooperative 10-month-old.

I browsed sites like Minted and tinyprints for ideas but I was a little shocked by the prices. I love my kid but I’m not spending $300 on a few letterpress photo cards. I also didn’t want whimsical messages printed on them–which narrowed the selection down quite a bit. Then I remembered a site I used to use for marketing materials and look books: Overnight Prints. 50 custom post cards, including envelopes AND shipping cost less than $25!!!! They looked great–thick paper, matte finish. Granted they weren’t cardboard stock letterpress–but I’m fine with that.

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