8 Side Tables Under $100

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Leslie End Table c/o Hayneedle

It will soon be my one-year anniversary in this apartment and I’m still decorating the place. It takes time, you know? And since this is my first place entirely on my own and I have full creative authority, I’ve been really considering each design decision. I tend to decorate in spurts- I bought quite a few things when I first moved in, and then there was another round in the fall before I held my first big gathering.

One of my favorite pieces in the apartment is this gold side table from Hayneedle. I spent quite a few hours browsing around for an affordable side table and this one stood out to me as soon as I saw it. My coffee table is the very sleek, modern, acrylic table from CB2, so I thought it would be nice to contrast that with something with a more vintage feel. I love color of this side table- instead of a bright, in-your-face gold, which I sometimes find jarring, it’s an antiqued, burnished gold. I also think the mirrored top is so pretty, especially when it catches the sunlight. Size was also important to me. I didn’t want something too bulky that wouldn’t fit in the space, or too heavy that would ruin the light, airy feel that I’m going for. This table is a bit delicate and dainty, but still practical and not too fussy.

Now that I’ve waxed on about how much I love this table, I thought I’d share a few affordable side tables that have caught my eye!

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1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

Which one is your favorite?

 

36 Hours in Vancouver

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This was the plan: spend a few days in Seattle, drive up to Vancouver for the weekend, drive back to Seattle and stay for a few more days, then fly home. The night before we were supposed to leave for Vancouver, we discovered that we had a a bit of a problem- my dad didn’t have his passport. He thought that he might have left it at home or at work and we even asked a family friend to go over to our house and look around for it. By midday the next day, it was becoming clear that we wouldn’t be able to go to Vancouver after all. But then, my mom who came up with an alternative plan. My brother and I would take a bus up to Vancouver for the weekend and stay in the Airbnb that we’d already booked and paid for.

It was a whirlwind of emotions- from thinking that maybe we couldn’t go, to realizing that we definitely couldn’t go, to deciding to go after all and booking a last-minute ticket, to leaving my parents behind in Seattle. While it sucked that we couldn’t all go together as we’d planned, my parents encouraged us to go on our own. I also thought it would be cool for my brother and I to travel alone together. We’d never been on a trip, just the two of us, and we’d both never been to Canada, so I thought it would be a fun experience (and it definitely was!).

Friday

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We’d planned to drive to Vancouver in the early morning so we’d have most of Friday to explore, but with the change in plans, we didn’t arrive until late Friday evening. Luckily our host was still able to accommodate us (I’d been in touch with her for most of the day about our travel troubles) and we went straight to the Airbnb to drop off our bags. We stayed in a home just east of Chinatown, which was very chill. The home felt earthy, natural and zen, and there was even a hammock in one corner of the living room.

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By that time, we were pretty hungry, so we walked over to one of the restaurants on my list, Bestie. It’s a German sausage and beer joint and it was still pretty popping when we walked up, so we waited about 20 minutes for a table. The sausages were delicious and really hit the spot after a day that had been a bit stressful. After we ate, I was exhausted and walked back to the Airbnb, while my brother went off to meet a friend who lives in the city.

Saturday

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I had a pretty solid plan for Saturday because I knew it was our only full day in Vancouver and wanted to make the most of it. First on the list was Granville Island, a spot I’d seen mentioned in all of the travel guides. We took a bit of a scenic route because I wanted to walk around a bit and experience the area. We walked through Chinatown again, which we could see much better in the light of day, and passed the Telus World of Science, a science museum. From that area, I wanted to hop on The Aquabus, which was basically an adorable, brightly-colored water bus. We took it from The Village stop all the way to Granville Island and it was actually a pretty quick ride.

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Once we arrived at Granville Island, we went straight to the Public Market, where there was so much to see and to eat! My brother’s friend met us at the market and the three of us walked around there for hours, eating our way through the market. There was a nice spot near the water where you could sit, eat, and watch the boats pass by- it was so peaceful.

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After we felt like we could move again, we took the bus over to Robson Street, one of the main shopping streets in Vancouver. We popped into the mall in that area and it was great because they had free wi-fi (as soon as we crossed the border, we’d turned off our data to avoid roaming charges). We stopped by Chapters Indigo, which I think is like the Barnes & Noble of Canada, and a few other shops in the area, then walked over to Gastown. The streets of Gastown are so cute with gas lamps and pretty flowers everywhere. We also stopped at an awesome coffee shop called Revolver. I’m mildly obsessed with that place- they were so on with their excellent typography/branding and delicious coffee.

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When we left Revolver, we walked back through Gastown and over to Canada Place and took in the sites there for a bit. Then we hopped on a bus toward Stanley Park. A couple people had told me that we should rent bikes and ride them around the park, so that’s exactly what we did.

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That bike ride around Stanley Park ended up being my favorite experience of the whole trip. The weather that day was fantastic and the park was so beautiful. It’s a huge park and it took around an hour to bike around the entire thing. Actually, it took me a lot longer than that because I kept stopping to snap pictures and admire the views. There’s so much to see and do at Stanley Park and there are even beaches there too.

When I got to the end of the trail, my brother and his friend were waiting for me and they said they were a bit worried because it’d taken me so long and they thought perhaps I’d gotten lost! When we started the trail, I told them to go on ahead without me because embarrassingly, I’d forgotten how to ride a bike (I was actually floundering and thinking, “Thank goodness nobody I know can see me right now!”). In my defense, it’d been years since I’d been on a bike, so it took me a little bit to get my biking legs back. Once I did though, I was cruising with the sun in my face and the wind rustling my hair, and it was glorious.

So we were at the end of the trail and we just had to head back to the shop to drop off our bikes. Somewhere along the way back, I took a wrong turn, and we got separated again. It was a bit nerve-racking because my brother and I had our data off and I didn’t have his friend’s number, so I had no way to reach them. I also wasn’t sure exactly where I was, but I was able to figure it out and made it back to the bike shop first. Then my brother’s friend arrived and I found out that he’d gotten lost and separated from my brother too. The clock was ticking because we had to return our bikes before the shop closed and I was worried about my brother being out there on his own. I turned on my data briefly to call him, but realized that he wouldn’t see the call if his data was off. About five minutes before closing, my brother rolls up to the shop and boy, was I glad to see him! It turns out that he’d gotten lost too. Nothing had really happened, but as the oldest of the group, I was responsible for my brother and his friend and I was rather worried there for a while (the whole thing reminded me that I’m not ready for parenthood anytime soon, at all).

Well, after that little adventure, we were pretty hungry. We wandered around for a bit and found a sushi place that was good and pretty cheap. After dinner, it was late and we were tired from all the sightseeing so we caught a bus and headed back to the Airbnb to get a good night’s sleep.

Sunday

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Our bus back to Seattle left in the early afternoon, so I knew we really only had time for one more activity in the morning. We ended up taking the bus over to Jericho Beach because I was jonesing to fit in some beach time during our trip. It was another beautiful day and there was actually a music festival happening at Jericho Beach that weekend. We didn’t have tickets to the festival, but we could definitely hear some of the acts from our spot on the beach. We had an about an hour to chill and relax on the beach, then we took the bus back, grabbed our bags and walked to the station to catch our bus.

I had a lot of fun in Vancouver on my first trip to Canada! I liked that it’s such a walkable city and felt like we got to do a decent amount of activities in our short time. I would 100% do that bike ride around Stanley Park again if I get the chance to go back. Plus, there’s so much more to see and do, and I’d love to get over to one of the nearby forests on a future trip.

I hope you enjoyed reading my travel posts this week on the blog. Writing them reminded me how much I love traveling and having the opportunity to experience new places. Now I need to get to work on my planning my next trip! Do you have any trips planned for 2017?

Seattle City Guide

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It’s been over six months since my family’s vacation to Seattle and Vancouver, but, in typical Nnenna fashion, I’m just getting around to recapping the trip now. You know, I edited the pictures and wrote a couple posts months ago, but I never actually put them together until now. I was going to do several recap posts, but in the end, I decided to streamline everything into one post for Seattle and another for Vancouver. We spent five days in Seattle last summer, so there’s a lot of ground to cover in this post. Grab your beverage of choice and get cozy, because this is going to be a long one!

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Stay

Since we were planning such a long trip and since five of us were going, I knew right away that I wanted to find an Airbnb. Last summer was my first time using Airbnb and I had a really good experience. We chose a home in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle and we loved it. The hosts were friendly and communicative and the house was cozy and well-equipped. Also, Ballard is a great neighborhood. There’s lots to see and do in that area alone, and then it’s only about a 15-minute drive to downtown. We rented a car for our trip to make it easier to get around Seattle and because we intended to drive to Vancouver (things didn’t go quite as planned for the Vancouver portion, but I’ll save that story for tomorrow!).

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Eat

My parents are not big on eating out, even when we’re traveling. It’s certainly a good way to save money! This means that I didn’t get to try many Seattle restaurants on this trip, but I do have a few food/beverage recommendations:

Daily Dozen Doughnuts: There are lots of good places to eat in and around Pike Place, but you know I’m going to head straight to the donut shop first. These were hot, fresh, and yummy, and there were even some donuts topped with maple and bacon bits (!!!).

Rachel’s Ginger Beer: This place was recommended to me by a friend who lived in Seattle. There are lots of good flavor choices and a refreshing drink was just what I needed after walking around Pike Place for a few hours.

The Monkey Bridge: On our first night in Seattle, we were tired from traveling and wanted to grab food from somewhere in the neighborhood, which is how we ended up at The Monkey Bridge. We picked up a variety of Vietnamese dishes to go and everything we ate was great.

Cupcake Royale: This cupcake shop was freakin’ adorable- I wanted to move right in. The cupcakes were pretty tasty too and next time I want to try their ice cream.

Mighty-O Donuts: You’ve probably noticed by now that my food recs are heavy on the sweets, but what can I say?? I have a major sweet tooth and I’m pretty much always craving some type of sweet treat. Plus, I had to do a sample of Seattle’s donut offerings so I could report back, right? There was a Mighty-O location in Ballard, so we walked over from our Airbnb one morning. If I’m remembering correctly, they had fairly classic flavor combinations. I tried a couple of their cake donuts and gave them a thumbs up.

Top Pot Doughnuts: This is the last donut shop on the list, I swear! But since we’re on the subject, what’s your preferred spelling- donut or doughnut? I prefer the former! Anyway, I think Top Pot is Seattle’s most famous donut shop, so I had to give it a try. We were able to go once, but it was kind of late in the day, so they only had glazed donuts left. Although the glazed donut was very tasty, I would have picked something a bit more exciting if I had the choice, so I feel like I can’t give my final verdict yet. I guess this means that I have to make another trip to Seattle for research purposes…

Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream: I met my friend one night in Capitol Hill and this place had a line down the block when I spotted it. Still, I wanted to give it a try and I didn’t mind waiting a bit. The line actually moved pretty quickly and soon I was walking out the door with a massive two-scoop cone. I picked the Stumptown Coffee and Salted Caramel flavors- both of these were A++.

Canon: After ice cream, my friend took me to this cocktail bar. The whole place had very cool vibes and they have an impressive bar. The coolest part is that they do cocktail roulette: you tell the bartender what liquor you want and some notes about what you want it to taste like, and they surprise you with a drink. I think my drink had whiskey and some orange element- I can’t quite remember all the ingredients, but I do remember that it was delicious.

Oddfellow’s Cafe: Oddfellow’s was on my list of coffee shops to visit, but I actually stumbled on to the offshoot inside Elliott Bay Book Company, which I didn’t know about beforehand. First of all, having a café inside a bookstore is the best and secondly, it was the perfect place to grab a cup of coffee and catch up with my friend. I loved the decor, the coffee was good, and I had an excellent pastry with my coffee. If I lived in the area, I could see it becoming my go-to coffee spot.

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Shop

– Elliott Bay Book Company: I will go to a bookstore any chance I get and I especially love visiting ones in other cities. Elliott Bay is awesome. There was a great couch section in the middle where you could get nice and cozy with a good book and as I mentioned above, there’s a café in the back. I also flipped through their program of upcoming events and they had some pretty great authors on the list.

Moorea Seal: I’ve followed Moorea’s blog for years. It was pretty exciting when I heard about her plans to open a store, and even more exciting to be able to visit that store years later. They had so many cute products in stock, including clothes, shoes, jewelry, and more. The jewelry caught my eye the most and I purchased a dainty silver necklace for myself while I was there.

Paper Hammer: I love stationery and was glad that we were able to drop by this paper store. I believe most of their goods are made locally, which is pretty awesome.

Kinokuniya: A bookstore that specializes in Japanese books and also carries English and Chinese books. In addition to books, they had a lot of Japanese stationery products, so as you can imagine, I was in heaven.

Olympic Sculpture Park

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Ballard Locks

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Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Gardens

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Space Needle

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Chihuly Garden and Glass

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Bainbridge Island

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Gasworks Park

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Explore

I asked around quite a bit for recommendations and the one place on everybody’s list was Pike Place Market. I wrote all about our first visit in this post and after Pike Place, we did quite a few more activities:

– Olympic Sculpture Park: It’s 100% free and was a nice low-key activity to do after the market. The weather was perfect that day and my mom, brother, and I just strolled around for a bit. We saw the famous red sculpture and there were gorgeous views of the water. It was pretty peaceful and would be a nice spot to unwind with a book for a couple hours.

– Ballard Locks: I don’t think I really understood what the locks were for until we got there. The water changes from freshwater to saltwater (or vice versa depending on which way you’re headed) and the locks help guide boats through the changing water levels. We did get to see a few boats pass through the locks and it was pretty interesting to see how the process works. One regret, though, is that we didn’t get to see the salmon jumping. I wanted to walk over the locks to the other side to see the fish ladder and Commodore Park, but by that time, the family was pretty tired and wanted to take it easy. Next time I’m back there, I’m going to make a point of seeing the salmon.

– Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Gardens: The gardens adjacent to the locks were lovely, as gardens tend to be, and we saw an old timey folk band playing in one area. I was chuckling a bit at the music, and then my mom started to do this funny jig, and it was hilarious (my mom is a lot of fun, in case you didn’t know!). On our way back from the locks, we spotted a rose garden section and strolled over there to have a look. There were several varieties of roses and my dad was in heaven because he loves to garden and learn about plants.

– Space Needle: I was a bit wary about going up in the Space Needle. Years ago, when I visited Paris for the first time, we did the Eiffel Tower. We waited in line for hours, it was so crowded, we couldn’t go all the way to the top, and we couldn’t see that much when we actually got up there. I think the Eiffel Tower is lovely and very pretty, but the experience of climbing inside it was not the best. I don’t think I’d do it again and I was a bit worried that the Space Needle would be similar. Happily, it wasn’t! We bought joint tickets for the Space Needle and Chihuly Museum online the day before, and you’re allowed to selected a designated time. You’re supposed to arrive 30 minutes early, which didn’t quite happen for us, but we were still ushered right in with our tickets. Then, we did have to wait in line for about 30-40 minutes to ride the elevator to the top, but it didn’t feel like a long time (and I was glad that we didn’t have to wait in the long ticket line, and then wait in a second line). There were fun facts and interactive pieces about the construction of the Space Needle on the walls of the waiting section and you also get a family photo right before you go up. The ride to the top is brief, and because the top of the needle is circular, you really do get a great view from any side. On one side, you have city views, and on the other, there are bodies of water, islands, and mountains, and it’s all pretty grand. We walked around the top of the needle, snapped a bunch of family photos, and then headed back down. It’s nice to experience that kind of bird’s-eye view every once in a while!

– Chihuly Garden and Glass: The Chihuly museum is just a short walk away from the Space Needle. I’d seen some Chihuly pieces before in Vegas, so I was excited to see whole rooms dedicated to his work. I thought the exhibits were so interesting and loved the bright, colorful, and whimsical glass sculptures. I can’t decide if my favorite part was the greenhouse structure with one large installation hanging from the ceiling, or the actual gardens themselves where the sculptures were sprinkled throughout the gardens and integrated with the flora and fauna. All of it was eye-catching and beautiful and the rest of my family really enjoyed it too.

Bainbridge Island: I used to work with a woman who was from Bainbridge Island, which is how it first came onto my radar. Since we had several days in Seattle, I really wanted to ride the ferry over. I like ferries and it was an easy trip to make, plus you get great views of Seattle as the ferry pulls away from the pier. It only rained one day while we were in Seattle, which was the morning we took the ferry. By the time we returned in the afternoon though, the clouds had completely cleared and the sun was out. While on Bainbridge, we had excellent ice cream at Mora Iced Creamery, I picked up some tea from Churchmouse Yarns & Teas, which is just a delightful shop, bought several pastries at Blackbird Bakery, and some fudge from Bon Bon Confections to take home with me. Basically, I ate my way around the downtown portion of Bainbridge Island and it was wonderful.

Gasworks Park: This is a cool park that was built on the site of a former gas plant. Some of the machinery is still in place and it’s an interesting juxtaposition with the surrounding greenery and lake. If you walk to the top of one of the hills, there’s a very nice view of Lake Union. I remember the weather being absolutely perfect this day and there is something so pleasant about being in a park on a beautiful, summer day.

Well, well, well, you made it to the end! Thank you so much for reading this lengthy post and I hope it gives you a few ideas if you’re planning a trip to Seattle anytime soon!

A London Holiday

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Our second trip into London involved books, a museum, and ice skating, so it was pretty perfect. There were several bookstores on my London to-do list, but perhaps the store I was most excited to visit was Persephone Books.

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Persephone is a small, independent press that focuses on works by female authors that have gone out of print or been forgotten. We visited on a quiet Thursday afternoon and the shop was just as nice as I expected it to be. Each of the titles on the shelves was accompanied by a brief, handwritten note describing the book. Checking out the staff picks is one of my favorite things to do in a bookstore, so I love that this personal touch was used at Persephone.

The books are beautifully published as well and I took my time selecting a book to take home with me. You also get a free bookmark with each purchase. Their bookmarks feature patterns that match the different endpapers in each book, so then I had another hard decision to make about which pattern to choose. The book I picked up was The Making of a Marchioness, which is written by the same author that wrote A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. Although this was my first visit to Persephone, I certainly hope it won’t be my last.

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After Persephone Books, we popped by The British Library (and caught a glimpse of the stunning St. Pancras Hotel as we were walking over to The British Library). I particularly wanted to see their free permanent exhibit titled Treasures of the British Library. There are amazing artifacts in this collection, including books from the Middle Ages and manuscripts by Jane Austen. I love history and the fact that this exhibit has a literary focus made me even more excited. Best of all, that exhibit is completely free to visit.

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We couldn’t linger for too long at The British Library because we’d booked tickets to go ice skating at a rink outside The Natural History Museum. I’ve only been ice skating a handful of times, but every time I go, I throughly enjoy it. I thought that this rink was particularly picturesque, with the beautiful architecture of The National History Museum serving as a backdrop and trees covered in twinkle lights. We skated for around an hour, but that was a decent amount of time, because boy, ice skating is a workout! As an hour came to a close, the sun began to set, and it was a lovely moment.

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We had time for one more bookstore before we had to hop on the train back home and it was a good one- we visited Foyles on Charing Cross Road. This store is beautiful and massive. We were there for about 30-40 minutes, but it did not feel like enough time. There are just books everywhere- so much to see and explore. We only made it about halfway through the fiction section before we had to leave, but I’ve decided that I simply must go back. I did manage to purchase two more books in that time though. I bought Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (one of my favorite books, but I didn’t own a copy because I borrowed it from the library when I read it) and The Mothers by Brit Bennett.

That’s all I have to report from my trip to London! I had a great time and I’m so glad that I was able to spend time with my family. If all goes according to plan, I’ll hopefully be able to have more London adventures later this year!

Tomorrow, we’re throwing it back to warmer days and talking about Seattle in the next installment of travel week!