Reading Nook Under the Stairs

Reading Nook Under the Stairs

When we first looked at this house, I always thought that the open space under the stairs would make the perfect reading nook for the kids. Fast forward three years and I finally made it happen.

Reading Nook Under the Stairs Before

When we bought this house, the lower stairs were open and wrapped in carpet. In fact, the banister was completely different, and completely dangerous for small children, you can see the before pictures here. This space served as a catch all of toys, random storage boxes and the only space for our large dog’s crate. That dog is crate trained and if left out while we are gone, will destroy a few of the kids toys as retribution. So the crate has to stay put. It’s only been recently that the girls have started playing under here which is what’s motivated me to finally make this space more intentional. And fun.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

Reading Nook beforeReading Nook Under Stairs BeforeReading Nook Before Wide

Reading Nook Under the Stairs During

I’m actually surprised that the carpet was even able to be ripped off of these stairs since there were about 5,729 carpet staples under here. I removed them all, patched, sanded and caulked before I used my favorite primer.

Reading Nook Before Primer

I used leftover navy paint for the walls (mostly SW Naval with a touch of SW Salty Dog from our dining room makeover) and acrylic craft paint for the back of the stairs.

Reading Nook Paint Only

I used these cloud decals and put my kiddos to work. They were so excited to finally be able to help and it took every bit of restraint in my body to no go back and “fix” their cloud placement. It’s so fun to include them in the design and implementation of these house projects, especially in a space that is exclusively for them.

Reading Nook Girls Helping

Since this is a fairly dark space, it needed a light and this wall scone was the perfect size. It wasn’t quite the right gold so I sprayed it with this and copied Nesting With Grace’s Magic Light Trick so that I wouldn’t have to hard wire the light. I used it in our laundry room makeover and it works so well. The rainbow photo holder I found for $2 in the Target Clearance section.

Reading Nook Clouds

Reading Nook Under the Stairs After

I couldn’t be happier with the finished product and the girls absolutely love it. I let Big Nugget pick out what pillows she wanted (all from Home Goods). The rainbow curtain is tulle that I wrapped around a tension rod and tucked under the dog crate – you can see how I made it in this video.

Reading Nook Under Stairs After

No rainbow reading nook is complete without a rainbow unicorn.

Reading Nook After

Big Nugget also picked out this basket to hold her favorite books.

Reading Nook Rainbow

I think both of the girls are happy with their rainbow reading nook and I have a feeling lots of memories will be made under the stairs.


Reading Nook Girls ReadingRainbow Reading Nook Pinterest

Grandparents Gift Guide – Easy, Creative and Thoughtful Gifts

Grandparents Gift Guide – Easy, Creative and Thoughtful Gifts

Finding the perfect Grandparents Gift is the most difficult aspect of the holidays for me. They either have everything they need or don’t want anything. Some don’t like trinkets and like gifts that can be used. Some love the trinkets. Not to mention that most of our family lives out of town so it also needs to be shippable.

Here are my tried and true Grandparents gift ideas. I started a fun tradition of gifting the grandparents coffee mugs that are festive and decorated with the kids handprints. I loved it so much that I made one for myself and they have become my favorite part of getting the holiday decorations out. Last year I hosted a brunch for my friends and had the amazing Clay a GO GO come and help us create one of a kind mugs, plates and ornaments. I’m super excited to plan this year’s brunch, it’s such a fun way to kick off the holiday season. You don’t need a friend with a kiln though, these mugs are easy to do at home.

Another grandparent gift that I’ve started to do is to make photo books of the last year. For the last two years, I’ve used Mixbook. Not only do they have a fantastic end product, their layouts are great and their user interface is super easy to use. How cute is our book from last year? PLUS, they always have a great Ebates offer. Do you use Ebates? Read WHY you should be here.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! `

More Grandparents Gift Ideas

Amazon Echo Show My Mom doesn’t do well with technology and I think she’s no different that a lot of other grandparents. Since she lives far away, the only way she can see my kids regularly is to video call. With the Amazon Echo Show, she can video call us without having to have my sister around to help her set it up. 

Owl Eyeglass holder – my In-Law’s love functional gifts and I could totally see this in their office or reading space.

Mother’s Journal I gave this to my Mom for Mother’s Day. I really hope she’s filling it out because my girls love to hear stories about before they were born and they will love this.

Tiny Tags – What Grandmother doesn’t want to flaunt her grandchildren’s names on a necklace? I wear my Tiny Tags necklace everyday and they have so many gorgeous designs.

Heirloom tea towels – This is a great way to preserve handwritten family recipes and makes such a thoughtful gift.

Illustrated Family Tree – How amazing is this illustrated family tree?

And last but not least – my absolute favorite grandparents gift idea of all time – custom bobbleheads. What Grandparent wouldn’t want a collection of bobbleheads of each child and grandchild? 

grandparents gift

So You Want to Start a Blog

So You Want to Start a Blog

It’s my birthday! Well, it’s Nuggetland’s birthday. I started this blog one year ago and I’m blown away by how far it’s come in just that short time.

I started this blog after I got laid off. I knew I was going to take a break from a full time corporate job yet I wanted to stay creative and fight off any rust that being out of the workforce for an extended period of time can bring. In my last corporate role, I created websites, marketing and advertising campaigns, generated and nurtured leads though compelling content and shared that on social media. Branching out on my own with a blog seemed like a natural fit and in a lot of aspects, it was. But man on man, did I have a lot to learn.

There is so much that goes into having a successful blog beyond just writing a good story. There is the technical aspect of building and managing a site. There are the layers upon layers of creating content that is found, and read, and engaged with. There is the monetization of your site and setting yourself up for earning an income. Don’t even get me started about photography and video. <Cue my shameless plug to subscribe to our Youtube Channel>

How Do I Start a Blog?

I get asked a lot about what it takes to get started. First and foremost, you have to like to write. You have to be confident in yourself and put aside any worry about what other people will think. It’s one thing to put out your work behind a corporate brand, it’s a completely different feeling when it’s your work and your name and your life and whoo. It’s rewarding but humbling. Putting yourself out there, either in a home project like my laundry room or in a deeply personal post, like when I shared about being a victim of domestic violence, isn’t easy.

Second, you need to give it time. It takes time to build the content, it takes time to build an audience. An authentically engaged audience. Since my girls are young and not in school full time, I only have time to work on the blog part time. It’s not a realistic expectation to make thousands of dollars a month as a new blogger – no matter what Pinterest tells you. Especially if you’re like me and you don’t have 8 hours a day to focus on it.

Blog Resources

There are plenty of resource out there to help you start. Here are the ones I’ve found most helpful. Some of these are affiliate links, meaning if you click and buy the company pays me a small commission at no cost to you. And if you care curious about blogging as an income stream, then affiliate links are a great way to supplement your income.

Bluehost – this is the hosting service that I use. I’ve been extremely happy with their support and service.

WordPress – Build and manage your site with WordPress. Customize your theme, layout and content.

Google Analytics – take their free courses and learn how their reporting works. You will gain so many insights on your audience and content that it will be integral in helping develop your content calendar.

Canva – easy way to up your Pinterest and graphics game.

Blog Clarity – their Pinning Perfect course not only helped me develop a pinning strategy that has significantly increased my reach on Pinterest (resulting in website traffic) but elevated my blog content dramatically. It’s worth every penny.

Tailwind – I have a very limited time to work each day since I’m home full time with my girls. This service lets me automate my pinning. It’s a game changer and time saver.

Mom 2.0 – This conference helped me not only from a professional education standpoint but increased my network significantly. I met some really amazing women who have mentored me and become my friends. It’s a great experience if you are looking to expand your reach as a mother with a platform – i.e. Mommy Blogger.

I’ve got big plans for the next year at Nuggetlands. I’m so thankful to the woman who told me when I first started and was feeling a little clique about it all – that no one has my voice and that there is always room for another voice to be heard. It’s so true and has been so gratifying. Thank you for reading and being part of this incredible journey so far. Even though I’m currently looking to get back to work, I always plan to keep this site up and growing, sharing our family, fun, food and function at home.

Blog Resouces



5th Wedding Anniversary Gift Guide

5th Wedding Anniversary Gift Guide

We just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on September 7th. It’s crazy how fast the time flies but I love looking back at all of our pictures and remembering the day. We worked so hard to make the celebration a true reflection of us and I still love every little detail. If you want to see our day, check out our amazing photographer’s recap here. I wish I had a video to share but our video guy no showed on the day of and our coordinator didn’t realize it until AFTER the ceremony. So we have nothing on video except our toast where we surprised nearly everyone at the wedding with our baby announcement.

Each year we get each other a gift that is the traditional gift for that year. It’s been a fun challenge to try to incorporate that element into the gift.

The 5th wedding anniversary gift is wood. Thankfully, my husband is pretty easy to shop for since he collects watches. A wood watch was the perfect fit. There are a ton of wood watch options out there but I loved this one from Swanky Badger. Not only was it affordable but I could engrave the back of it which makes it a little extra special for this milestone anniversary. He outdid himself with his gift this year – a wood crescent moon jewelry bowl (which is my sorority’s symbol and something very dear to my heart) and a book of things he loves about me. So very thoughtful.


This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! `

Here are some other traditional 5th Wedding Anniversary gifts

Wood Ornament

Personalized Cutting Board

Keepsake Box

Cheese Board

Wood Bow Tie

Beard Brush Comb Set

5th Anniversary Plaque

Engraved Hammer

We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary by taking a half day off and going to a movie – one of my favorite things to do and it meant I actually got to see TWO movies in one week. Read about our first movie experience that week here, it was a memorable one! We went to an amazing dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants – Campfire then ended the night at one of the places we went to on our first date. Needless to say, I was tired the next day but that quality time was worth it.


4DX Movies are a Must See for the Whole Family

4DX Movies are a Must See for the Whole Family

We were invited to see The Incredibles 2 in a 4DX movie theater and let me tell you, it takes your movie experience to a whole new level. It was also Little Nugget’s first movie in a theater. I was a little nervous about how she’d react since she currently can’t sit through a full episode of Sesame Street but once again, she surprised me.

4DX Vista Cinepolis.jpg

What is 4DX?

4DX movies are shown in a theater equipped with moving seats and environmental effects like wind, rain and scent. The movement and effects are perfectly coordinated with the action of the movie, fully immersing you into the experience. The screen is the same, the only difference you notice are the seats are grouped in clusters of 4 and giant fans hang from the edge of the ceiling.

4DX fans in theater.jpg

Our 4DX Experience

4DX attempts to bring you into the film, not only with seats that move, vibrate and punch you. Yes, punch you but it’s a gentle punch. You also get fog and mist, wind, lights and smells. It’s truly an experience that gives you the thrill of a good ride a Disneyland with the movie magic you are used to. It made a fun movie like The Incredibles 2 even more fun, for both myself and my kids. At first, Big Nugget was a little scared of all the enhancements but by the middle of the movie, she had taken her fingers out of her ears and was giggling like crazy when the chairs started to move and even enjoyed the fans she was so scared of at first. My dare devil of a Little Nugget sat on the arm rest most of the movie pressing her water button on and off and reveling in every bounce and twist that the seat made.

I’m a bit of a movie nerd. Film was one of my minors in college and I love the magic of seeing a movie on the big screen. I was a little concerned that this would take away from the move but adding in the 4DX elements made it so fun. Is it necessary? Absolutely not. Is it right for every film? No. But there are plenty of movies that this experience would be perfect for and worth the extra money. And really, as a parent, you can take all of my money if it means hearing my girls giggle and enjoy themselves in a movie like they did seeing The Incredibles 2 in 4DX.


The Incredibles 2 Review

I’m a little late to the game in reviewing this movie but I was so pleasantly surprised by how good it was. The action was fun. The storyline was creative. The were lots of laughs and nothing too scary for my very sensitive 4 year old -she only closed her eyes once. I loved the switch of the typical gender roles in the main characters and I especially loved how they both succeeded in them. It drives me crazy when the man is put into the role of primary caretaker and is stripped of any ability to function or feel. I know I hit the husband jackpot and have partner that is not only more than capable but a willing participant in the everyday lives of our kids but all too often, I see this played out in movies or tv shows where the man is unable to be a father. I also felt for ElastiGirl when she was excited to go to work, excited to accomplish things in her career, torn when it came time to balancing work and home and then overjoyed to have her kids back in her arms. Granted, her kids had to save her for the villain but I’m confident that mine would do the same thing for me if they had super powers. The Incredibles 2 not only delivered on the laughs and entertainment factor but it delivers on the adult subplots. And if you can still catch it in 4DX – go!

4DX theater.jpg

Do you have a 4DX theater in your area?

•             Regal Union Square Stadium 14 (NYC)

•             Regal’s E-Walk Stadium 13 & RPX (NYC)

•             Regal L.A. Live Barco Innovation Center (Los Angeles)

•             Regal Pointe Orlando Stadium 20 & IMAX (Orlando)

•             Regal Meridian 16 (Seattle)

•             Regal Gallery Place 14 (Washington, D.C.)

•             Marcus Gurnee Mills Cinema (Chicago DMA)

•             CGV Buena Park (Orange County CA)

•             Cinépolis Pico Rivera (Los Angeles area)

•             Cinépolis Vista (San Diego area)


Best Gifts For Men

Best Gifts For Men

Are you looking for the best gifts for men? The ones who seem to have everything and don’t ever need anything? Husband, boyfriend, brother or Grandfather…they can be super tricky to shop for. Or if you are married to someone like my husband, will throw out ideas all year long but when it comes time for shopping…your mind is blank. I pulled together some of my favorite gift ideas for men, hopefully it will inspire you to cross that person off your list.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! `

Best Gifts for Men

One of the easiest ways I brainstorm ideas for gifts is looking at products that I love and use and if they could apply to anyone in my life. This Yeti cup (or it’s knock off sister from Target) is one of my favorite products. It’s huge, keeps my water cold and fits in the cup holders in our cars.

Do you have a coffee lover in your life? I love this Milk Frother – it takes your cup of coffee from ok to amazing. It’s the kitchen gadget you didn’t know you needed in your life. I mean….that your man needs in HIS life…

My husband has a SUPER long commute and spends a lot of time in his truck. Although he could listen to sports talk radio 24/7, switching it up with an audio book now and then is a welcome change. Audible make it easy to listen to best sellers or classics – they have a ton of titles to choose from and it’s the gift that keeps on giving all year long.

One of the best gifts for men has got to be the Bug-a-salt. It’s a plastic gun that shoots salt at flies. We have one and my husband gets giddy when there is a fly in the house. Personally, I’m VERY anti-gun but even I think this is funny – and effective. If you live in CA, NY or CT – you will have to buy direct from the manufacturer.

What man doesn’t love to grill? Having a nice meat thermometer is a game changer.

I’m pretty fortunate that my husband collects watches so it always makes a nice default gift idea that I know he will appreciate. Last year we happened to be at Disneyland with family for his birthday so I got him a Mickey Mouse watch. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Unique – This wood watch from Swanky Badger is super unique and memorable.

Practical: We spend a lot of time at the beach so this Nixon Tide Watch is very practical.

High End: Got some money burning a whole in your pocket? This Jack Spade is great for a special occasion, I actually gave this one to my hubby on our wedding day.

Some of our best gift ideas for men aren’t necessarily items they can open (unless you get creative) but experiences. Golf packages or theater tickets, a movie pass like Stubs A-List or an amusement park or zoo membership are great ideas to spend time together all year long. Last year I surprised my husband with Legoland passes and it’s been SO FUN to go there just for dinner on the weekends and ride a few rides. While we are fortunate to live close to an amusement park like Legoland, maybe there is someplace near you that you could get him a membership to that would be fun for the whole family – botanical gardens, zoo, state park, museum – all make for time together well spent.

Best gifts for men