Hey guys! The Johnson-Karim (JK) crew have a new home and I am so excited to take you guys on our home makeover. I have owned my share of condos in Chicago for real estate investment but this is our first FAMILY HOME that we own as a family and we want to create a stylish, cozy, and family friendly home for Amirah (our crazy daughter). Our first week has been exciting and productive in my opinion but I know you guys will be honest and tell me what you truly think.
So the first week of moving in a new home is usually unpacking and organizing for most people. I have been doing both but I really wanted to get a head start on the interior design. I put a lot on my plate but my goal is to give design of each room in 2 weeks. So this week my task was the kitchen. The most important rooms in my mind when shopping for or designing a room is the kitchen and the bathroom. They both can take quite a bit of time, they are the most important rooms to me, and the design of both can be quite expensive.
Our kitchen was already my favorite part of the house. My kitchen style is white, bright, and minimalistic. I took this week to unpack kitchenware, organize, and do a bit of sprucing up. I want to involve green and white florals, aluminum or steel as you can in the photos for that modern and industrial loft feel. You can also see we have exposed brick in the kitchen, which is definitely one of my favorite features. This exposed brick really puts together the modern, Italian bistro, trendy unfinished look I’m going for.
The rest of the kitchen is white and bright as aforementioned with light sleek granite countertops. The hardwood floors in the whole home of our a light maple brown and I have considered refinishing them with a different stain. However, I think that in this kitchen the light maple brown works well and there is no better pairing that hardwood floors and exposed brick.
You tell me, but I think I have been pretty productive in Week 1. Some additions I would like to make in the next week are the design of the breakfast nook and coffee bar. I would also like to add some green and white florals as well as some blue hydrangeas for a pop of color. You will see in the following weeks I am very neutral in terms of interior design but I love a pop of color.
I want you to comment and share what you would change or some ideas that you have as well. I can definitely use your help in making my home the most stylish, sophisticated, cozy, and family friendly home for the Johnson-Karim (JK) crew that one could imagine!
Have A Free Weekend And Want To See The Big Apple?
What to Eat | What to do | How to Enjoy
The crew and I ( Adham, baby Amirah, and I ) decided to take a family weekend trip to New York City and it was awesome! Of course the travel planner and Virgo (like Beyoncé) in me wanted everything to go by the itinerary, however, with a baby its just not that easy. I’ve been to NYC plenty of times but never had I been traveling with an infant and she showed me that I had been doing NYC wrong the whole time anyway! She has taught me that if you truly want to enjoy NYC have a light itinerary, I now believe it is incredibly advantageous to leave quite a bit of room in your itinerary to go with the flow. There are so many things to do in New York City and you can make yourself feel like you have to do everything in one weekend or even in a week. However, YOU WON’T and you shouldn’t.
For example, normally when I am in NYC I have so much that I want to do and see (so I can tell you all what to do when you get there), but also because people tend to make you feel like if you don’t do “this or that” in NYC then you missed out on something. However, we went to go have a picnic in Central Park, which I recommend you all do and baby Amirah just didn’t want to leave. I had a Michelin star restaurant I wanted to try for lunch but Amirah had her bottle, a blanket, the shade under the sun and she just wasn’t in the mood to leave. So of course, we stayed, Her and my husband both fell asleep and I ended up reading a book and people watching. When both of them woke up, I wasn’t disappointed at all that we skipped the restaurant! It was relaxing, it was peaceful, and even though it wasn’t a museum or a must-eat restaurant, it was still a very New York City thing to do.
Later that night, we ended up going to a Midtown Michelin star restaurant, Cafe China, that was incredibly delicious and surpassed our expectations. Midtown’s Cafe China is unassuming, traditionally Sichuan, delicious and its the only Michelin star Chinese restaurant in NYC. The 1930’s Shanghai decor is sure to make you feel like you’ve taken a short journey to China. Our favorite dish their was the Chungking chicken which is only for someone with an appetite for spice, and by spice I mean an abundance of dried chilies.
At around midnight, while many people are out clubbing (I used to do this well) or grabbing drinks with friends. The foodie, parents, and Muslim in us decided to grab desserts instead. We continued to stay with our various Asian cuisine palette for the day and go to Grace Street Coffee and Desserts. Everything we ordered was nothing short of amazing so we ordered our first order twice. I recommend the Ho-Dduck Korean Donut (vegan option available), Apple Cider, Hong Kong French Toast, and he Mango Madness Shaved Snow.
The next day, the crew still wanted to take it easy, I obviously ignored their request because we ended up in Times Square. Walking around with a stroller and a baby in Times Square was not fun to me but my husband thought it was and seemed to think navigating with the baby in Times Square was a fun challenge as if he was in a video game. They ended up loving their navigation adventure and I throughly enjoyed taking pictures and people watching. Sponge-bob Squarepants on Broadway was showing at the Palace Theatre, if you are a Sponge-bob fan I would definitely see this. I preferred Aladdin, which was showing at the New Amsterdam Theatre.
After a great show, you must eat and we decided to go to Miss Lily’s. Miss Lily’s is one of my favorite places to eat in NYC. The food is incredible and I have never had a bad experience food or service wise. Everyone there is extremely sweet and accommodating and they want you to have a good meal. I actually found out about Miss Lily’s a couple of years ago while watching Chef Andre Fowler’s of Miss Lily’s win ’Chopped’ on the Food Network. He brings authentic, and vibrant Jamaican flavor to Manhattan and crowds do indeed flock to experience it.
The weekend wasn’t over yet and even though there are so many incredible museums to see and many people purchase the New York City Pass, which includes admission into NYC’s top attractions, if you are only there for a weekend all of the attractions can be a bit overwhelming and it might not be worth the money. One of the museums that the New York City Pass includes is the Guggenheim museum which is a must see but due to my tight schedule this time we went to the Brooklyn Museum as I like the Brooklyn museum a bit more. It is NYC’s second largest museum and it features electrifying art, inspiring and educational exhibitions, and right now a David Bowie tribute display.
Every time I come to NYC I find so much more do and so much more to eat and I recommend that you visit the following on your next visit:
* You can find many discounts to attractions on Groupon as well
Such a great time as aforementioned with bike and pedestrian paths, jungle gyms, ball fields, a zoo, picnic areas, carousel, and awesome city views,
In the heart of the Theatre district where you should find a good show, do some shopping, and people watch .
The Empire State Building
Sweeping city views, museum, and history.
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
National Monument, museum, history, and guided tours.
Brooklyn. Museum (my favorite)
Incredible large art museum as aforementioned above
Grand Central Terminal
Iconic train station, shopping, dining, and feeling like you’re on the set of NYC romantic comedy as you can’t watch one that doesn’t feature a scene in this station.
Picturesque bridge that connects Brooklyn and Manhattan