Every January, it seems like everyone I know is Whole30-ing. While I don't go to that extreme, I do feel the nudge to eat just slightly healthier, or at least add a few new meals into our rotation. It's January. It's post-holidays. It's raining and grey most days in the Pacific Northwest, and trying some new, healthy dinners sounds like just the thing to spice up January. Sharing some new to me, not sponsored finds.

My New Roots. All plant-based and gorgeous. There's a recipe for cashew cheese that I want to try in here.

Love Real Food. New, Vegetarian (easily adaptable for non-vegetarians too) and already a best seller.

Green Travels Kitchen. Reads like a beautful postcard, filled with stories. Tips for traveling with kids in the intro.

From the queen of healthy, fancy, bay area cooking, Alice Water's In the Green Kitchen. Featuring stories and techniques from chefs all over.


My Darling Lemon Thyme. Some excellent, healthy, creative desserts in here and other creative dishes. Emma has a newer book out as well.

Love & Lemons. Organized by vegetable, I love the layout of this book. Helpful for when you find yourself with a pound of asparagus and no dinner plan. The graphic design in this book is all the heart eye emjois.


Same authors as Green Kitchen Travels, this one is all smoothies. I love new smoothie ideas, especially in the winter when they can get forgotten. Green Kitchen Smoothies.




We're knee deep in house updates, and one of the first things we did before we moved in was paint. We painted doors, walls, trim, and kitchen cabinets, and it took us five weeks of evening and weekend work.

The walls were originally a grey-blue. Not bad, but not my favorite. A friend saw it while we were in the process of painting and thought we were crazy to paint it, her house interior was painted that grey-blue, just like nearly every other house in Seattle (and in all honestly it wasn't that bad to begin with) but I wanted it white. It was a good lesson for me, in not listening to the noise or the trends or what your neighbor or your best friend likes, but doing what YOU like. It's your house, and you're the one who will be living in it.

On a similar note of not comparing, my house will not look like the overly-perfectly-styled images I pin because hello, I have a toddler and this is real life. So trying to find the balance of what I like and what is reality for us right now is where I'm at.

About the painting process:

We got lucky, and inherited beautiful, solid wood, heavy, original doors. We loved everything about them except the wood stain and the 90s gold hardware. We switched them out for white with black hardware, and the difference is amazing.


We painted them using this sprayer by Graco. We have a friend who used to be a professional painter and he helped us out with this one, as we were trying out a professional grade sprayer. It's heavy, but easy to use and wow, the effect is stunning. Like factory painted door fronts. I love it and am so glad to have used it.

Prep: we got a powder degreaser (comet is similar), and scrubbed the fronts. We didn't sand them because they were new and had heard from another friend who had just done their cabinets and didn't sand, and we've seen those and they looked great to us so we went for it and were glad we skipped that step.

Since it was wintertime in the pacific northwest, we had to work inside, otherwise we would have done this outside or in a garage. We completely taped off an interior room with dropcloths and set up two sawhorse workstations. (We did have some overspray, so make sure you're in a room where you can easily get that off of surfaces.)


We sprayed cabinets (with hardware removed) in two rows. We'd spray a light coat, turn up the heat, wait 1 hour, spray a second coat, wait 24 hrs, then remove. Some tricks for the sprayer are to: use it far away, use continuous motions, wear a mask, start spraying before you get on to the wood, spray until you're all the way off of it, wear clothes you don't mind getting ruined (because they will), and have a strategy for how you will enter/exit the room. Also pay close attention to cleaning instructions. After each second coat we'd rinse out the paint can and take apart the pieces to wash and dry.

We did all 39 cabinet fronts, from this ikea wood to white, and I like that the fronts have some edge detail to them and aren't just plain.

About the paint:

We like Home Depot for the price, and we color match all the higher-end brands to their Behr interior paint. Our door color is Benjamin Moore Simply White in Behr semi-gloss interior paint. Our trim right now is off the shelf white, which I'm not sure if you can tell from the photos, but is a bit brighter than Simply white and the trim around the doors will be going to Simply White once we find the time, it's not high on our priority list at the moment. Our walls are Farrow and Ball Strong White in Behr eggshell. I love love these whites. The wall color is beautiful, almost a greige. It has quite a bit of color in it for a white which gives it the depth I was looking for. Simply White is a creamy white and we did that on the kitchen cabinets as well as the doors. It contrasts nicely with Strong White.


About the cabinet hardware:

We chose Atlas hardware in Elizabeth in matte black, in a size that would fit our existing pulls so we wouldn't have to deal with drilling new holes. I love this hardware and I think it looks timeless. Kind of like a polished modern farmhouse. We went with them for our house numbers too. Love the look. They have tons of finishes, and for a second there I almost went with the gold, but liked that the black looked a little more industrial/mom of a toddler/work horse kitchen. It suits us.


About the door hardware:


We choose Stone Harbor Hardware in Highland in vintage bronze finish. I love the contrast of the bronze hardware with the white doors. Stone Harbor was so nice to work with, this company will even match an existing key to your new door lock, you can mail it to them and they send it to you ready to go. These knobs are high quality and beautiful, totally recommend. They were so generous to extend a discount code here, use code ALLIES10 for 10% off everything through January 31st.

Here's a fun before and after for you. Just paint and hardware updated and look at the difference. Incredible!


Our house numbers got a quick upgrade too. We stuck with matte black and went for a traditional look with these by Atlas.

Once the walls, door, cabinets, and trim were painted, hardware was placed, and doors were hung, we moved in. Now we're onto everything else: lots of decorating to do, light fixtures to switch out, subway tile to place, art to hang, kitchen flooring to plan, and a million other things. Enjoying the messy middle where we're at because as Brené Brown says, that's where the magic happens. Stay tuned!

Thank you to Graco, Atlas, and Stone Harbor for partnering with me on this post.


A super last minute holiday gift guide, in case you're scrambling for ideas this weekend!

Here are some of our current favorites.



We have a kid that loves to eat. He yells "spooooon!" whenever he sees one. I wanted to get him some more non-plastic utensils and found these. Love the bright colors and that the handles are large and easy to grip for tiny hands.


We're still figuring out how we'll do kid seating as Trey gets older, debating if we'll keep the high chair or trade it out for a booster seat. I like the idea of us all at the same table and low profile seating, so we're giving this one a try.

Trey is always requesting more water. Water bottles we like here here and here.



His own luggage! He's into pushing kid-sized shopping carts and I bet he'd love to put this through the airport when we travel a couple of times next year.

Kids tablet for road trips and plane flights.


This play kitchen gets tons of use around here.

This car is kind of obnoxious in color but is always a big hit at playgrounds.

A wooden train set is always classic at Christmas.

For toddlers who love to put things into shopping carts: this.

Merry Christmas!