FRIDAY Q&A: WHERE I SPLURGE VS. SAVE WHEN DECORATING, DESIGNING A PLAY AREA FOR LITTLE ONES, ADVICE FOR PICKING UP NEEDLEPOINT, AND MORE

Happy Friday! It was a historic week for our country and I definitely felt a little skip in my step after the inauguration on Wednesday. It was otherwise an “off” week around here — family health scares, no progress on our 2021 house projects, and admittedly low productivity on my part — so it was nice to feel a surge of hope! I hope you’re feeling some of the same optimism for a better and brighter year ahead. Wishing you all a happy and restful weekend!

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1. Does Teddy understand that he’s getting a brother? How did you explain it to him?

He doesn’t really! (I’d be curious to know if any moms of ~16-month-olds have had a different experience?) I try to put his hand on my tummy when the baby is kicking and we’ll explain more to him as we decorate and transition him into his new bedroom, but for the most part I think his little brother will be a total surprise to him. That said, I don’t remember a time before my younger sister (or really even my younger two brothers) came into my life and I think a sibling is the greatest gift we could give him, so I’m optimistic that he’ll adjust well with time!

2. Do you have any ideas for Teddy’s next bed?

A lovely mom in town gave us her sons’ crib to use until Teddy’s ready to transition into a big boy bed and then I’m thinking I’ll do two of these headboards in his new room so baby #2 can ultimately move in with him!

3. What things do you choose to save on / choose the less expensive option for?

I’m assuming this question refers to house projects as opposed to just life in general? It depends on the project so I’ll use our recent kitchen renovation as an example. We splurged on completely reconfiguring the layout (would have been less expensive to just put a new fridge where the old one had been, etc.), adding new windows (the box window totally makes the space in my opinion!), light fixtures, and the mitered edge quartz countertop on the island (though still less pricey than marble countertops would have been). We chose more affordable options for our appliances, cabinets (pre-made vs. custom), and reusing furniture we already owned (counter stools, dining chairs, dining table, sectional in the attached family room, etc.). 

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4. Any design tips for play areas for boys in a small space? My little one is 10 months!

I’m learning as I go! Right now in our playroom, we have this shelving unit with these baskets and it’s great for displaying books and corraling small toys. I recently ordered two of these shelf inserts (an idea I got from Prim Living!) to display toy cars and it’s amazing how much more Teddy reaches for them when they’re “merchandised” neatly vs. hidden in a basket or cabinet. Besides that, we have this media cabinet under the TV that houses larger items like pads of paper for drawing and wooden puzzles, a slipcovered sofa that can be easily washed/bleached (it looks like Ikea no longer sells the white sofa but you can still find the white slipcover here), an affordable rug that cleans easily and camouflages spills, and this sweet play tent with a quilt and a few pillows on the floor.

5. What’s your current exercise routine?

My mom and I do either Melissa Wood or Obé Fitness four afternoons a week. Obé is great for pregnancy and postpartum because they have dedicated sections for pre- and post-natal workouts (you’re welcome to use code HORAN30 for a free trial and 30% off your first month!). You can see the (minimal) equipment we use for Melissa Wood workouts in this post!

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6. Advice for someone who wants to start needlepointing?

There’s truly no better time! Needlepoint has been a saving grace of the pandemic for me and I’m so glad my grandmother taught me a few years ago. I would start with this free guide and order a small canvas (like a Christmas ornament or a key fob) from a site that will include the threads for you (or visit your local needlepoint shop to have them “kit” the canvas for you so you have the correct size and amount of thread at the outset of your project). A basketweave or continental stitch is a great place to start and practice definitely makes perfect!

7. I’m thinking about moving from the Upper East Side to the West Village — any advice? I know you did the same!

I think it’s great to experience different neighborhoods and find new favorite places and especially with so much extra time at home this year, it’s more important than ever to live in a space you love. If you have the itch and the means to move, I say go for it!

8. Any recs for cute phone cases?

The Daily Edited! I’ve had the same navy case with a shadow text monogram for a couple years now and it’s held up beautifully.

9. What shoes should I wear to my wedding? Help!

It’s hard to say without knowing your dress/venue/budget/etc., but I love these, these, and these! And you can always find more bridal picks in this category on my shop page.

10. What are your favorite must-have baby items?

We really stuck with 99% of the things on our baby registry! If I had to narrow down my must-haves for a newborn, I would say these sleep sacks, this baby monitor, this sound machine, lots of bibs and burp cloths, this infant carrier, this bouncer, and this infant bathtub. We also logged many hours of tummy time on this play mat!

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  1. That’s so funny to think about Teddy getting surprised with a new baby – but what a sweet surprise it’ll be! It’s so wonderful to have siblings that close in age. They will be lifelong best friends (after Teddy gets used to him hahaha).

    I hope all is well with the health scares and that everyone is okay!

  2. I am expecting my second son in May (who will also be 19 months younger than my first!) and I can safely say my 15-month old son has…..no idea what’s coming. 🙂 Though I’m technically the oldest, as a twin myself, I *certainly* have zero memories without siblings and it’s all good! My doctor claims that kids this close together are more resilient because they are more used to sharing, not always being the center of attention, etc., so I plan to hold on to that concept during the inevitably chaotic early days, and also, of course, how much I enjoy having siblings close to me in age! Hope the health scares turn out okay, and yay for the inauguration!