Brooklyn Backyard Reveal, Part 2

before and after brooklyn backyard makeover After revealing last week how my husband and I have become complete and total gardening nerds grown lots of veggies, I am excited to reveal, *drum roll please*……our entire backyard. We have worked many long, hard hours (even sacrificing time with friends) to take this space from a concrete dump (quite literally) to something where we can relax and entertain. $500, 19 trips to Lowe’s, 15 trips to Ikea, 10 bags of soil, 5 bags of mulch, a couple of furniture pulls from the side of the road, a few good finds on Craig’s List, 2 trips to CT to pick up our seating area furniture, 1 ridiculous month-long search for solar-powered globe lights (they apparently don’t exist for under $100), and more seeds and plants than I can count and #operationbkbackyardmakeover is complete. We still have plans for a few things here and there (like staining the wooden bench that Mr. RC made and adding plant name tags) but for now we’re spending time just enjoying our little slice of outdoor Brooklyn. I hope you like the pictures (because there are about a million of them #sorrynotsorry) and get some backyard ideas for your own outdoor space. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything in the comments (just so we’re clear, by ‘anything’ I mean anything pertaining to the backyard ideas and outdoor space makeovers, not like “Is there extraterrestrial life outside our atmosphere?” and “How many gum balls does a gum ball machine hold?”). FYI, sources of products are listed at the bottom and part 1 of our reveal was posted here. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Brooklyn backyard makeover From this….

budget backyard makover in NY budget outdoor space makeover Brooklyn Backyard Reveal, Part 2 || Runway Chef …to this!

brooklyn backyard makeover on a budget ideas for small backyards Old $10 Ikea shelves that we stained + waterproofed

Ikea oudoor table Free table from Craig’s List + DIY bench

backyard makeover on a budget Brooklyn Backyard From L to R- chair + couch are Pier 1 given to us by my father-in-law, the black and white striped “cover” is a blanket from Ikea, and the other chair we found on the side of the road

Pier 1 outdoor couch outdoor furniture outdoor couch Brooklyn Backyard Reveal, Part 2 || Runway Chef ideas for small outdoor spaces bugs Some of the little critters we see in our garden

budget backyard makeover backyard plants Brooklyn outdoor space


Bar Cart + Stools- a DIY made from a piece of Ikea furniture found in the free section of Craig’s List, tutorial here
Grill- Target
Plant Stand- Ikea shelving, stained by us
Table- Ikea via free section of Craig’s List
Bench- DIY by Mr. RC
Lounge Chair- found on the side of the road
Spool Table- found on the side of the road
Couch, Chair & Cushions- Pier 1 via my father-in-law
Black and White Striped Blanket (currently acting as a couch cover)- Ikea
Fire Pit- Lowe’s
String Lights- Ikea
Copper Watering Can- Target (smaller one here)
Copper Bin- Marshall’s (similar one here)
BK Letters- Marshall’s (similar here and here)
Door “Screen”- sheer curtain from Ikea
Pots- Lowe’s, my father-in-law, old tomato cans, Ikea, Goodwill, and a wooden toy box found on the side of the road

DIY Outdoor Bar Cart + Styling Tips

how to style an outdoor bar cart It was quite by mistake that we ended up with an outdoor bar cart in our backyard, but now that we have one, I am convinced everyone that doesn’t have one is totally missing out (ummm, having a bar just inside your house is so yesterday, haven’t you heard?!). Before I reveal the 2nd part of our backyard makeover tomorrow, I thought I’d share one last snippet (I’m such a tease, I know) by revealing our little DIY outdoor bar cart. Also, it’s Thursday, which means it’s almost Friday, which means it’s basically the weekend, which means you’re totally going to need a bar cart of booze in your backyard. Oh, and I made you a video, because, well, I couldn’t make you a drink at my outdoor bar cart, so making you a video was the next best thing. Obvs!

outdoor bar cart styling To make the bar cart, you will need:

Ikea Kitchen Island
Wooden Stain (you want something that says waterproof or exterior use)
Paint Brush

1. Make sure the kitchen cart is nice and clean.

2. Add on a coat of wooden stain, then let it dry for at least 4 hours. Repeat. Let it dry overnight.


To style the bar cart, some of the things I like to have include:

A non-acolholic beverage (otherwise known as a mixer)
Liquor (served in a fancy decanter, preferably)
Fun straws
Fresh fruit
Toothpicks (for the fruit)
Votives (battery operated ones are best for outdoors)
Various trays, slate, wood pieces, etc (to add visual variety) 

Proceed to style as you wish and watch the below handy dandy little video I made you for some styling inspiration.

Supplies Shown In Video (linked to either the same item or similar items):
Mason Jars
Slate Board
Flameless Votives
Galvanized Bucket (holding the white flower; also great to use as an ice bucket)

how to style a bar cart

outdoor entertaining ideas DIY outdoor bar cart paper straws how to style a bar cart bar cart styling

Happy Hour

tomato can flower pot {Old tomato can turned flower pot}

We kicked off last weekend by going on a double-date with one of my dear blogging friends and her husband, who were in the city for her birthday. We had such a blast hanging out with them and it reminded me of all the wonderful connections and friendships that blogging has brought to me. Connections to a new brand, a budding entrepreneur, to people who live right next door or on the other side of the country, people who love bacon and Chanel as much as me, to a girl who went to the same college as me, and most importantly, to people who have become truly wonderful friends. I know I (along with plenty of other bloggers) have said it before, but when I started blogging, I certainly had no idea so many connections could be made through this space. The relationships that have developed out of blogging are truly an unexpected blessing, and definitely one of those little things that makes me super happy!

I’d love to know, what makes you happiest about blogging? And if you’re not a blogger, what’s making you happiest this week?

outdoor lights {Enjoying a double-date rooftop pizza dinner overlooking lower Manhattan with one of my best blogging friends and her hubby}

chocolate and cherries {Chocolate + cherries = one sweet snacking combination}

Lobster ale {A beer I tried strictly on a name and looks basis….for the record, I didn’t like it, but I guess that’s what I get falling for something on looks alone}

shag carpet {Taking some more baby steps to get the apartment finished..finally got our living room rug down and have started organizing our coffee table tray}

Mr. Rogers quotes {This quote, from one of my favorite people growing up, seemed appropriate for today’s post; via}


Greek Appetizers + Bites

Greek Appetizer Plate Mr. RC and I always seem to be short on time, but we love cooking together so much that we don’t always want to eat out. Our solution has been creating themed appetizer plates, with mostly ready-made options for ease, but enough homemade parts to still get a little cooking time together. We’ve been doing these for quite some time now and have developed an array of themed app-dinners (as I like to call them) so I thought it would be fun to share them with you over the next several months. First up, our favorite Greek/Mediterranean themed app-dinner. We probably eat this at least once every couple weeks during the summer. The lighter fare and refreshing elements make it especially perfect for warm summer nights. Here’s what we like to include in our Greek appetizer spread:

  • Hummus (homemade)
  • Greek Yogurt Dip (homemade, recipe below)
  • Tahini Dip (store bought)
  • Stuffed Grape Leaves (we want to try making these but for now they are store bought…the canned ones sold at Trader Joe’s are really good)
  • Pita Pieces or Pita Chips (store bought; homemade recipe here)
  • Falafel (homemade; Trader Joe’s sells a good one too)
  • Olives (Trader Joe’s Greek Olive Mix or Fairway’s olive bar)
  • Feta and/or haloumi cheese
  • Cherry Tomatoes and Cucumber 
  • Roasted Red Pepper & Eggplant Dip (Trader Joe’s) or Roasted Veggie Dip (recipe here)

To make this into a bigger, slightly more complicated meal we’ll serve these appetizers alongside a Greek Salad or Spanakopita.

Hummus Greek Olives falafel Greek dips Mediterranean Appetizers Feta Greek yogurt Dip Greek Yogurt Dip Mediterranean appetizer plate

Feta Greek Yogurt Dip
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  1. 2 cups Greek yogurt
  2. 1/3 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  3. The juice of 1 lemon
  4. 2-3 tablespoons of Za'atar (depending on flavor preferences)
  5. 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  6. A large dash of garlic powder
  7. A dash of cumin
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir until well-combined and serve. Store leftovers, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to a week.
  1. This does taste better after it has sat in the fridge for several hours, so if you can I highly recommend making this ahead.
Runway Chef


Denim Does It

loose top, jean shorts, Converse sneakers When it comes to jean cut-offs, I’m more of an easy-does-it-on-the-holes-and-rips kind of girl. But these shorts have me saying “denim does it”, and by ‘it’ I mean as many rips and holes as these babies can possibly hold. I’ve had these denim cut-offs for close to 8 years now, and before that I had them as jeans for 5-6 years. They are several sizes too big, they have more holes than a piece of swiss cheese, and I’ve tried to make myself get rid of them at least a dozen times. And yet here they are. Despite the many other pairs of denim shorts that have come and gone in my closet, these have remained faithfully comfortable, soft, and perfectly worn in, and I have yet to find a pair of shorts that compare. So in my closet they shall stay…

Mexican Style Shirt denim cut-offs outfit Southwestern Style casual summer outfit Old Navy white bucket bag jean short cut-offs simple summer outfit H&M Hat (similar) // Alternative Apparel Shirt thrifted via Crossroads Trading// DIY Jean Cut-Off’s from Buckle Jeans (similar) // Converse Shoes // Old Navy Bag

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