Ikea IVAR Cabinet Hack (Turned Into A Bar Cabinet!)

So, in our pre-baby life, I picked out a vintage open bar cart to use in our living room and it’s been serving us pretty well for the last five years until … we had a baby. Nowadays, having a metal cart out with lots of glass bottles and fine glassware within our 11-month-old’s reach is not the best idea, so I realized we needed to make a change! I thought something with doors would be good so we could add the magnetic cabinet locks to keep her out (which I also love that you can’t see that kind from the outside), and something tall would also be good so we could have things on top of the cabinet as well as inside to give it more of that traditional bar cart feel. I found a plain cabinet at IKEA that fit the dimensions I needed, so all I had to do was add a little personality and I LOVE how it turned out!!

IKEA IVAR cabinet (I used the smaller 30′ x 12′ x 33″ size)
-legs (I used these pretty legs)
-white semi-gloss paint
-1 1/2″ boards to create the top tray
3/32″ x 2″ x 36″ basswood sheet to close door gap
-wood glue and clamps
-X-acto knife
cabinet pulls
-wooden monstera leaves (I used 6 from this shop)
miter saw or jig saw

First, assemble your cabinet as per the instructions.  Attach your legs to the bottom of your cabinet. While you can use any legs you want, those legs I got are great because they come with plates to attach the legs to, which makes for a more stable attachment. So now we are going to build a little lip around the top of your cabinet so we can keep bar cart items on top without worrying about them falling off the edge. Cut your 1 1/2″ board into 4 pieces to fit around the top of your cabinet. If you have a miter saw, cut 2 boards that are 31 1/2″ long and 2 that are 11″ long and cut them at 45° angles so they all fit together like above. If you don’t have a miter saw to cut a 45° angle where they come together, no worries! You can use a jig saw or ask the hardware store to cut the wood for you and cut 2 pieces that are 31 1/2″ for the front and the back and 2 that are 9 1/4″ to fit in between those boards for the side pieces to make your rectangle. Use wood glue and nails or screws to attach the frame together and then glue it to the top of your cabinet.One frustrating thing about this cabinet that I noticed from all the reviews about it is that the doors don’t close together and there’s an 1/2″ gap in the middle no matter how you try to adjust the doors. It’s such a good price point for the item though that I knew I could glue a thin piece of 2″ wide basswood to one of the doors to close the gap and it totally worked! Basswood is available at hobby stores with the balsa wood and you can cut it down with an X-acto knife to size. Just glue the wood onto one of the doors to cover the opening (I glued it onto the left door since we are right handed and will instinctually open the right door first) and clamp into place while it dries. Paint your cabinet white, and, if you want to, you can paint the backboard of your cabinet a color to give it a little pop when you open it (that’s Hello Dolly by Valspar).

Lay your monstera leaves on top of your cabinet and arrange them in place until they are where you like them. I hung some of them over the edge, marked the edge line on the leaf, and cut the leaf along the line which you can do with a miter saw or jig saw. If you don’t have or don’t want to use a saw on this part, then you’ll have to arrange the leaves so that there’s no overhang and nothing to cut off the ends. Once the leaves are cut, paint them 4 Valspar colors: Summer Sigh (top left and middle right), Meadow Mist (middle), Ultra Green (bottom right), and Mint Hint (bottom left and top right). Once they are painted, glue and nail them in place.After filling the nail holes, do a light sanding on those spots when the wood filler is dry, and touch up your paint.Attach your cabinet pulls (and magnetic locks if you have kids around) and your bar cabinet is ready to use! I would definitely suggest mounting this to the wall so that it can’t be tipped over as well if you have little ones around. Whoa, what a difference!!
I love having the top edge on the cabinet since that really makes it feel more like a traditional bar cart and the monstera leaf pattern is just perfect for a pop of pattern and color without feeling too over the top. And how awesome is that new print I picked out to go above the cart—it’s SO GOOD! No more worries here now that Lola and our bar stock are separated from each other, and we also got an adorable piece of new furniture at the same time! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Project Assistant: Collin DuPree. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
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3 Months of NOT Buying Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories

January through March of this year I decided to do a bit of a shopping detox. I chose not to buy any clothing, shoes, or accessories for those three months. I was inspired by multiple friends doing similar things and I believe that many of them were inspired by Cait Flanders and her book (about not shopping for a YEAR). I haven’t read her book yet, though it’s on my list. But I didn’t let that stop me from setting my own mini detox challenge, and I thought I’d share with you how it went.

What was the goal?

Obviously there could be a LOT of reasons to do something like this, like saving money. But my goals were mainly to:
-Waste less time. I think I shop online as a form of avoiding other tasks (some people browse Facebook, I browse online stores).
-Identify items I might actually need. I had a theory that constant shopping meant I was never being very intentional, which I wanted to change.
-Appreciate and USE what I already have.
-Bonus points if I saved money, of course. 🙂

Probably the number one thing friends asked me about the experiment is, “Was it hard?” Which for me, I’d say yes and no. I think just like any detox, or times when you’re trying to change habits, there are moments where you mess up (or almost mess up) because you are simply in a habit and turn on that cruise control setting in your brain. And this definitely happened to me. I had multiple times, especially the first month, where I almost clicked over to a shopping site but then remembered my challenge. There was also one time I had pulled into a store parking lot, thinking I’d just kill a few minutes between two errands, and then realized I had no reason to go in the store because I was not shopping that month. Probably the toughest moment though was when a small business I follow online (they mostly sell T-shirts and apparel) was having a really great sale for Valentine’s and I REALLY wanted to buy this sweatshirt they have. I started to justify it in my mind thinking, “They’re a small business … I should support small businesses” and “I know their sourcing is environmentally friendly and I love that so I should support them.” And I do think these are two awesome reasons for me to buy from them normally, but I reminded myself it was only three months and it’s not like I don’t own a few good sweatshirts already.

So those were the hard parts. But I was also surprised how easy it was in some ways. This probably goes without saying, but as a 32-year-old woman who has not grown substantially in many years I have a pretty full wardrobe as far as having everything I NEED. I have always been fascinated by fashion, ever since I was in high school and buying Teen Vogue and trying to make similar outfits out of thrift store finds. I still love fashion! But in terms of items that I truly am in need of, well, I rarely have any. I did realize toward the beginning of month three that most of my bras were wearing out (I only have 2-3 I wear everyday and then two sports bras for working out). So I decided that would be the first thing I bought after I was done with my challenge.

Towards the end of March, I hosted a giant clothing exchange with my friends. I’ve done this for three years now and it’s always a lot of fun! It’s mostly a good excuse to clean out your closet and drink wine with friends, but it’s a bonus if you end up getting a few items that you love from it. And every year I get something (usually a few things) that I end up wearing a ton and love. This year, I was surprised to see that even though I hadn’t bought anything new in months, I still had plenty of items to swap at my annual clothing exchange. I guess this could make me feel a little embarrassed, but instead I’m choosing to thank the universe and just be super thankful for all I have—clothing and friends wise.

(Did that just get cheesy? Sorry, not sorry.)

Did I learn anything?

Yes! To be honest, it’s kind of hard to put it into words, but I really think even this small shopping detox helped to reshape my inner expectations a little. I feel like I appreciate more of what I have, I don’t feel as much “pressure” to shop (which is probably mostly self induced/just a habit I was in), and I think I better identify items I need but don’t always feel like I have to replace them right that second. I am more focused on shopping from businesses that are small, inspiring, and doing right by our planet. So although I don’t know if this experiment completely changed my life, I do think it had a super positive impact on me.

Five stars, would recommend. 🙂

Have you guys ever tried something like this? Just curious what you found out. Thanks for letting me share. xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photo edited with A Color Story Desktop.
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Easy Staircase Braid

Sometimes you just want a sleek and simple style—like not too simple and not too dressy, but just right. This is a super easy way to be able to go from work to events to parties to … whatever! I love this staircase braid because you have tons of options to get creative with. Plus, it looks a lot more complex than it is. So everyone is always impressed! Check out how I did this braid on Emma:

1. So I started out by doing a simple and sleek low ponytail down the center, parting wherever you prefer and securing with a hair tie or elastic, depending on how thick your hair is.

2. Next, I took a small strand from the pony and wrapped it around the hair tie to hide it. Don’t secure this strand quite yet!

3. Keeping that same strand, I created a loop with two fingers just big enough to wrap the tail of the strand around the ponytail and through the loop, kind of like tying a knot!

4. You’ll then want to gather a new strand from the ponytail and add it into your previous strand, creating one longer piece.

5. Next, create a new loop, wrap your strand around the pony and pull in through the loop.

Continue steps 2-5 until you have either run out of hair to work with, or whenever you want! It’s your braid and you can do what you want with it!

Once I’ve reached the end of my braid, I then simply secure the end with a clear elastic. You can choose to wrap a small piece of hair around it to hide it too, if you’d like.

Viola! Easy, right? I love that as you’re forming this braid, it creates a really pretty staircase effect. If you take strands from around the pony, instead of just one side, I love that it becomes more of a spiral staircase look, too. When you’re done with this braid, you can try adding some wave or texture to the hair left out, like with Emma’s, to give it even more of a polished finish. Try it out! 🙂 – Erin

Credits // Author: Erin Wheaton. Photography: Elise Abigail Randolph. Hair modeling: Emma Chapman. 🙂 Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
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Oui Fresh Happy Mail – April Unboxing

Hi everyone! I can’t wait to show you what’s in store for this month’s Happy Mail—our team was inspired by a pastel rainbow color palette and lots of amazing pop culture! There are some *clutch* pieces that you could give to a The Office, Beach Boys, or The Golden Girls loving person in your life that would totally make their day, and that’s just naming a few references that’ll be coming to you in this kit. But, of course, there are cards that are completely appropriate to ‘send to your grandma’, as Elsie likes to say. 🙂

One of my favorite print shops EVER is featured in April’s Happy Mail: Honeymoon Hotel! I have a gigantic version of this ‘As If’ print in my office (it’s always angled to be in the frame during my Instagram stories, otherwise you’d just see my hallway and laundry area and this print is way cuter, haha!). Honeymoon Hotel did this colorway just for us. Print size is 8×10.

Also, if you sign up for Happy Mail by 4/19, you get a way cute bonus item in your kit—a spring and summer bucket list! This is a fun list you can hang on your fridge or on a pin board and is a really great way to plan out summer fun with friends or summer break with your littles.

Can’t forget about this adorable set of three erasers this month that says ‘Oops I did it again’. It just feels right, doesn’t it? 🙂

Here’s a look at some other pieces this month …

I love this month so much because pop culture brings people together! These are pop culture references that go beyond their respective origins, so even though you may not know where they come from, they make great greetings. (Thank you for being a friend? Just so sweet.) And if you are familiar with them, it really adds a special touch of “I know they love, love Parks and Rec, so I absolutely have to use this Treat Yourself card for their birthday.” Your recipient will appreciate that extra thought so much!

Don’t forget your special bonus item if you subscribe by 4/19! Also, we’ve got some really amazing kits coming up in the months ahead, so lock in that spot.


Keely, Emma + Elsie

Credits// Author: Keely Rust. Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
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