Living & Dining Room Reveal

Hey everyone!

So, we moved to another apartment a couple months ago & I finally finished decorating a couple of the rooms!  The main space I am sharing with you today is of our living room/dining area.  This is where we spend most of our time reading, hosting friends or watching a movie! To be honest, I was SO tired of the previous decor here  - that freshening things up made sense!  The new apartment is still a 2 bedroom but it's actually SMALLER than our previous place.  Smaller or not, I really think I made it flow quite nicely for our family.

This time around,  I opted for more contrast patterns with a few hints of pink. You're probably wondering.....why PINK?!?? I know, I know.....well, it's not the first color people seek out when they're decorating but I really wanted a SOFTER tone that felt a bit more relaxing. Plus, it won't make the space feel dark & small.

As for the pink, I ended up incorporating it with two pieces of artwork. Both pieces (which I painted) had very subtle tones of pink.  The first one is the LARGE scale artwork behind our sofa. This piece was inspired by a beautiful vision God showed me with 4 BIRDS. It has a very special meaning to me.  I saw these four birds from our bedroom window & even though the sky was blue that day, I decided to place the birds against a pink sunset sky.  I also decided I wanted a busier-looking rug so I chose the Linden Outdoor Rug patterned rug from Frontgate which provides lots of interest & contrast to the living room. Although it says outdoor, it can DEF be used indoors!  Don't be fooled, it is soft & comfy just like any indoor rug. I always choose the thickest rug pad I could afford for all my carpets because I prefer a more cushion-y feel!

It seems that with EVERY single apartment I've decorated - I was always drawn to adding a rectangular or square table. However,  this time I really wanted to make the most of the space. Because we have a 2 1/2 year old boy - space is essential.  My son was basically the deciding factor on getting the round coffee table, and we are SO glad we did!!  It gives our family a lot more leg room & in a smaller apartment - this is a WIN!!!! 

Although there were many round coffee table options & it took me three days to decide, I finally chose the Hammered Metal Accordion Coffee Table by West Elm.  It is a metal-wrapped engineered wood table in an Antique Brass finish! It's got a nice gold brass finish to it without being so bright & tacky.  It's not too low & its a great solid piece that cannot be easily tipped over. Ideal if you have kids.

Vase on dining table from Flair Home Collection


Below you'll notice that we kept our IKEA floating cabinets that we made awhile back, see post here.  Anyway, we shortened it to fit our current space by removing a couple cabinets & then added legs to it for a more GLAMOROUS look!  The legs we got are solid, with a brushed gold finish which we purchased from Balasagun - an overseas company that makes custom metal pieces for furniture in a variety of finishes!  The legs we chose are 8".

Plants are not my specialty. Although I love them, I am just not that skilled in caring for them! Because of that I decided to get a faux tree......something that was large & realistic-looking. I knew I had to invest a little money for that type of plant, so I went with the Majestic Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree from Houzz which also brought it's own Seagrass basket! 

Other large Fiddle Leaf tree options you can check out are here from Pottery Barn and here from World Market.

The luxurious candles like the skull & the Back Elephant (which smell so good) are by Thomas Ferrier NYC  - they have a wonderful selection of scents and high-end candles with some unique designs that I really like! Many of their candles are available in a variety of finishes like gold, black & more!

As for the side chairs - I was debating back and forth whether to get white or black leather chairs - but in the end I chose WHITE because it made the space appear larger & more open!  Because they are leather.... they are easy to CLEAN, so I'm NOT worried with my son.  He knows he's not supposed to eat on them, although he tries to sneak food there every now & then!  The White chairs are by All Modern - you can get them here.

The lovely Grey Cotton Knit Jacquard throw over the white armchair is by my friend COCOCOZY.
This throw is so soft & comfy! 

We decided we didn't want to have people staring into the living room the minute the front door was open, so I thought of a creative way to block some of the view by using this tall Parsons Tower from West Elm and filling it with books to make that happen. we anchored it safely into the wall - so now it's super sturdy and my son cannot tip it over.  Remember safety always with children! 

Art by Jen Ramos via Made By Girl
Worlds Away Biggs Stool by Candelabra

Cushions are so important when decorating. I've had so many people tell me how they are really bad at selecting different cushions and how they end up settling for 2-3 solid colors. I know how they feel! Selecting a variety of patterns for a sofa can be very challenging but I tend to select one common color among all the pillows (in this case black) and then choosing patterns I feel compliment each other.

Trust me, we don't all have the same tastes and my selection may not appeal to some people. But the key is to make sure YOU LIKE IT!  So unless you're competing in a design contest or posting it on your blog etc...... make sure you're happy with it!! I love how different the cushions are but how well they feel together!

I ended up keeping a few cushions from before but I selected new ones from a shop called Stuck on Hue. The owner, Hollie has a great selection of chic-looking pillows and so I went with these:

Dining chairs are from West Elm - but no longer available. The Marble tulip dining table can be purchased here. We have the 40".  Art by Jen Ramos via Made By Girl.

This Swerve End table is one of my favorite pieces of furniture in our living room. It is nestled between the two white leather armchairs and it really warms that area. This table is sturdy and heavy......the color is beautiful and rich. We got ours from Houzz, but you can also get it here at HayNeedle.

Original Art by Jen Ramos via Made By Girl 

 After recently spotting this bench in the one room challenge - I fell in LOVE!!! -  I realized I had seen it before but not in a room setting.....& that made all the difference! Thanks to Candelabra - it's now part of our decor! It comes in 3 different colors, red, wood & black! It is delivered with a linen upholstery but can easily be re-upholstered in any other fabric to suit your families needs!

Below was the original plan I put together, as you can see..... it developed slightly different! I'm def happy with that final outcome!  Stay tuned for next week when I post pics of my son's room!



-images & post by jen ramos

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Mass Produced vs. Original Art

When I paint a painting - it involves a lot of time & effort.

Big home stores may be selling printed art from original paintings, and that's great but in my opinion, it doesn't replace an original painting.  Expect to pay cheaper prices for mass produced items, but if you want something truly original where each brushstroke was created for you & your home, then go with original art. There is something special about original art & the feeling that it coveys to people.

Sadly, some large websites have saturated the art market by allowing anyone to buy a large piece of art (around 23"x33") for under $35...and YES, it's still a printed version of the original.  Because of this, I'm guessing some people may not understand the "original painting" market & tend to underestimate the uniqueness of an original painting. People will usually email me expecting prices to be in the same range as printed art they see on big art websites or in big home stores.  Some people even find it a little over their budget. That's ok. Perhaps it's over-saturation & ease of availability, but nonetheless some of these big 'art/poster' companies have taken away the connection between the artist and the buyer. Instead leaving the buyer with a mass produced product with no real individual element to it. I know that's harsh, but it's true.

You see, mass produced prints are STILL printed versions, (even if they are high quality) and the price range is justified for that print. People cannot expect an original to be in the same price range. In the same way we cannot expect a replica Louis Vuitton to be the same price as the real Louis Vuitton. Original means there is no other and in my opinion......this deserves to be valued as such.

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Hello Again, it's me.

Hello everyone! 

I remember when I first started this blog and how exciting and new it all was. This is the first time since I started blogging that I haven't written much. But that's ok.  Life threw a few curve balls - as some of you may know I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer back in February (2017) & my life has gone through some major changes. Not only did my diet completely change but the food that feeds my soul needed more attention & so I went ahead & tended to it. I had surgery to remove the cancer & thank the Lord I am doing well. It is a day to day thing ....sometimes fearing the unknown and whenever I get a strange pain I think "What if?"  But I know I need to always remind myself of the blessings that God has already given me & that is what keeps me moving forward. 

As for blogging I'm not sure where it's headed or what direction I will take. But what I do know is that I've learned to be more present in my life. That social media along with blogging takes away from the beauty of 'real life'  - as difficult as it may seem sometimes. 

So with all that said, thank you for visiting once again & stay tuned photos of my newly decorated apartment!

-post by jen ramos

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Cupcakes Cups

Hey guys! 

When you're looking for a clever way to brighten up a party, consider baking cupcakes & placing them into bright & colorful cupcake cups.  My husband & I made these yesterday for Valentine's Day - even though it was for a party of 3 (hubby, me & our son) I thought it might be fun to try this together! We purchased a fun cupcake cup pack with decorative hearts from Eli's Market here in NYC.  Eli's Market is a great place to get fun & unique sweets for entertaining or just to eat at home! 

How cute are these?

Hope you enjoyed your Valentine's Day yesterday!

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FOOD: Chocolate-Dipped Smashmallows

Yes, I said Smashmallows. 

The team over at SmashMallows sent us these organic & gluten-free marshmallows & they are Mmmmm!  They are known as America's first snackable marshmallows. All of their snacks are made from the best natural ingredients along with a variety of flavors. Since Valentine's day is coming we were inspired to try one of their recipes using the Strawberries & Cream flavored marshmallows!
Recipe below.

Their current flavors include:  Toasted Coconut Pineapple, Mint Chocolate Chip, Root Beer Float, Meye Lemon Chia Seed, Cinnamon Churro, Espresso Bean & Strawberries & Cream!  The links I included are to purchase them in packs of 4 or to buy their variety pack here.

A flavor I'd LOVE to see would be.... Chocolate & Cream. Come on guys! That would be ideal to add to my hot cappuccino in the mornings!  Kids really love smashmallows as you can see below, my son ate 2 of the Chocolate Dipped Smashmallows I made!  He's got a SWEET TOOTH but for some reason he didn't like the melted chocolate as I had to place his in the freezer to harden for a bit, then he ate it!   This Valentine's Day surprise a friend, your hubby or a co-worker with some smashmallows.

  • 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate cut into squares 
  • 1 4.5 oz bag Smashmallows (any flavor)
  • Edible Gold Leaf flakes (optional) This will give it a professional bakery look. You can purchase some here or here.  (Make sure it says edible).
  • Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted. Do not overheat or you will burn the chocolate. 
  • Using a toothpick or fork, dip Smashmallows half way in melted chocolate, then place on waxed paper or aluminum foil & let harden. 
  • Felling extra adventurous? Garnish with edible gold leaf, a sprinkle of nuts or a dusting of powdered sugar. 
  • Makes 16 one-bite treats!

"Love Affair" original lip paintings available for purchase here.

pics by jen ramos

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It's pretty chilly outside, being it's only February.  I've got my eye on a few tops this season & I recently ordered this one from Vici Collections.   Even though it's more for June weather...I couldn't pass up on how cute it was!

I am also loving all the ones from Lingua Franca - like the "We are all Immingrants" cashmere sweater & my personal fave,  "I Miss Barack" which is one of their biggest sellers!  I want one. However, it's currently over my price range.  Anyway, if you're into splurging or not, here are a few of my faves this month! 

Hope you enjoy your Valentines day!

XOXO: "we are all immigrants" by Lingua Franca nyc - can only be ordered by emailing here.
XX: Red sweatshirt with heart via ILY Couture

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Kids Clothing Available!

 Hey guys, we have been going through a lot of changes in the last day or two. It's been very tough and at times stressful. Unfortunately, I also decided to close down my Cocoa & Hearts kids shop because I was spreading myself too thin.  But we have a BIG SALE there and all tees & sweaters are now 30% off, everything must go! 

Also, many moms have asked about Noah's clothing & if I was selling the items that no longer fit him. I've been meaning to do this for a long time now! he will be 2 years old next month, and I finally got around to posting some online for sale. Finally. Please visit that sale here.

-post by jen ramos

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Creative Toys for Kids: edu2toys

Hey guys! I wanted to highlight a new learning toy we got recently.

edu2toys is a company based out of Lithuania that believes in the power of creative education. They understand that each child has his or her own unique greatness. So, they developed tools & toys that nurture & empower kids to become their best self! I'm totally down with that! 

As a mom, I find myself wondering what types of activities to do with my toddler.  I've tried playing ball, coloring & even making a spider out of a craft materials, he wasn't that interested.  Throughout the 'trying'  I found myself wondering if I was doing something wrong? -   I've had better luck when he & I painted together & read books.  As a mom, I am realizing more & more that early childhood is an important stage of development where my little guy is exploring & curious about every single thing!  He's obsessed with looking into everything.

I came across edu2toys & I love that they believe that developing creativity in our children is a duty to be shared by both teachers & parents. So true! They also explain that in order to understand children we need to try & listen closely to what they say, their facial expressions, the look in their eyes & even analyze their drawings.  KIDS tend to communicate via emotions, shadow play, music, art of sculpture, storytelling, drawing, drama and a multitude of other verbal and non-verbal means of self-expression. So, my husband I wanted to bring more creativity into Noah's play area where he would be able to express himself, we chose a few items from edu2toys.

The one I'll be sharing with you today is the - Sensory Play Space DividerIt's a modular space divider.  It helps develop sensory skills & also imagination! You can also use this to divide an area in their room and create activity zones & quiet reading time.  I love toys that help Noah develop skills, for example this space divider is valuable because it helps with:
  • fine motor skills
  • self-expression & imagination
  • communication skills
  • aesthetics

You can do a lot with this space divider such as folding the panels in a circle to create a house! We did that for Noahs's room & we also got the felt wool berries - which I LOVE!! I must admit, he hasn't quite mastered the creativity aspect of it, but I think the more we practice.... the more he will understand that play time is about imagining & creating! 

 Check out more cool toys and tools on edu2toys

-pics by jen ramos

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