Things I learned after publishing yesterday’s post.

1. Joey admitted that the creature he had killed in our bedroom was roughly the size of a chipmunk. We should all just start evacuating now.

2. Apparently this fact lessens the chance that it was an actual cockroach and increased the likelihood that it was what people around here call a “waterbug.”

I’M SORRY. A waterbug is one of those spidery things that dances across ponds and lakes and looks like the insect version of a ballerina. IT CANNOT BE MISTAKEN FOR A COCKROACH.

Apparently New York waterbugs look exactly like cockroaches except giant. I had to hear no fewer than three people tell me last night, “Oh, that doesn’t sound like a cockroach. It had to have been a waterbug.” Then they would look at me like they had just delivered reassuring news.

My response:

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Cuz, uh, guys? “Bug that looks just like a cockroach but is technically not a cockroach because it’s BIGGER” is not a consolation.

The only thing that might actually be a consolation? Apparently waterbugs are less of an infestation-type thing and more of a one-off occurrence. WE CAN ONLY HOPE.

On the bright side, when you tell people your cockroach horror stories in New York, invariably someone tops you. Which means I have heard some of the more horrendous, nightmare-inducing cockroach stories of my life in the last 12 hours. I haven’t even begun to live the cockroach nightmare. (One of my friends was actually pinned down and had an entire cockroach nest swarm his body. At that point, I’m pretty sure I just black out and hope I never come to.)

So anyway. I haven’t burned down my apartment (yet). But if this happens again…I just don’t know, you guys.

***EDIT: OMG I FORGOT TO TELL YOU THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. Joey also admitted that the reason why he woke up and saw the cockroach/waterbug/stuff-of-nightmares in the first place is because he HEARD SOMETHING CHEWING THE PLASTIC THAT OUR RUG IS WRAPPED IN.

I need you to take a second and think about that. He woke up from SLEEP because he could HEAR this INSECT CHEWING. CHEWING. LIKE YOU CAN HEAR A SMALL CHILD CHEWING. CHEWINGCHEWINGCHEWING. I literally cannot get over it. CANNOT WILL NOT.

The ACTUAL worst thing in the world.

I don’t even really want to talk about this, but I also can’t stop talking about it, so I’m just going to come out and say it.

Joey killed a cockroach in our apartment last night.

I just…I just can’t, you guys. You remember this? That was less than two months ago. I have just BARELY recovered. I JUST CAN’T.

Here’s how it went down:

I was sleeping soundly when I was suddenly ripped from my sweet dreams by the sound of Joey yelling and (at least what sounded like) killing someone. Violence. I was awoken by violence.

In half a second, I realized that he was stomping on the ground a mere two feet from where I had been sleeping. And I knew. I knew, you guys.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I shrieked, still half asleep. He whipped around to look at me, a wild look in his eye. (I assume. I didn’t have my contacts in. But he was definitely frazzled.)

“I don’t want to tell you,” was his reply. AND I KNEW.

“What, wh- HOW?” I stammered. I may also have started repeating “no no no NONONONONO.”

He explained that he’d spotted it crawling on a rolled up rug we have in the corner. When he shined the light from his phone on it, it took off. “It was fast.”

At this point, I start just shaking uncontrollably. And maybe hyperventilating. I just kept asking, “Is it dead?!?”

Joey assured me it was. “ARE YOU SURE?!?!!!!”

He informed me that its “carcass” was on the ground “right there.” But I couldn’t see it because I didn’t have my contacts in. Probably for the best.

I asked him why the traps we had bought and set out in every corner of the apartment hadn’t caught it. Joey got shifty and replied at the traps he bought “weren’t made for something this…size.”

At that point, I promptly lost my mind.

I mean. I tried to fall back asleep. But I would literally jerk awake if ANYTHING touched me (blankets, Joey, my own hair, ANYTHING). Sometimes nothing would touch me, I would just wake suddenly and smack Joey and say something like, “TRAPS. YOU NEED TO BUY TRAPS TOMORROW. LIKE TWENTY TRAPS.”

He would mumble okay and then go back to sleep. I would doze until my next conniption. (“DID YOU FLUSH IT?!? YOU HAVE TO FLUSH THEM.”)

I mean, they can survive atomic bombs, you guys. They survived the dinosaurs. WHY DOES MY HUSBAND THING HE’S MORE CAPABLE OF SLAUGHTER THAN WHATEVER KILLED THE DINOSAURS?

Obviously, I’m not okay.

I started telling my boss about this, and she replied with her own cockroach nightmares and then finished with, “You know they fly, right?”

Me: “NOT ALL OF THEM. Only some of them fly.”

Her: *leaning in* “Most of them fly.”

My eyes actually welled with tears when she said it. I can’t live in a world where most cockroaches fly.

I’m thinking my options are to buy a cat (according to my boss) or burn the apartment down. Those are the ONLY options.

Someone…help?

How to: Throw a Mad Men Party

We never really had an official housewarming to celebrate our new apartment. (Probably has something to do with the fact that we only very recently got the apartment in company-ready order.) So a few weeks ago, Joey and I decided to throw a Mad Men-themed housewarming — because what says domesticity quite like Mad Men, right?

The party was a roaring success (if I do say so myself), so I figured I’d share. Here’s a breakdown of how to decorate, what to eat and drink, and what to wear for a Mad Men housewarming party.

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How I decorated:

It will probably shock you to learn that I didn’t really start prepping anything for the party before the day-of. I know — so unlike me. But while I had been thinking about the details, I didn’t even clean the place until the morning of the party.

Fortunately, I was able to score a bunch of free party decorations from work, visible in the picture above. (Get your own MarthaCelebrations here.)

We also played Mad Men episodes on Netflix in the background and played ’50s/’60s music for a little ambience.

What we wore:

Since I have pretty stylish friends, I wasn’t too worried about decorating because I figured their ensembles will fill out the look of the room. They didn’t disappoint.

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My dress is from Etsy a couple of years ago. I’d originally planned on wearing my hair half down/half teased up (a la Brigitte Bardot), but it was mildly sweltering that night, so I opted for a ballerina bun instead. (Tutorial to come.)

What we drank:

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Because I prefer all my celebrations with champagne, I decided to set up a champagne cocktail bar in the kitchen. Here were the recipes:

The Sterling 75
1 splash gin
1 splash St. Germaine (or other elderflower liqueur)

Fill the rest of the glass with chilled champagne or proseco. Add ice.

The Mad Mojito
For the mojito:
Muddled mint (about 1 1/2 cups) & limes (6-7 sliced)
2 cups light rum
3/4 cup simple syrup

Combine mojito ingredients ahead of time and let sit in the fridge for an hour before serving. For the Mad Mojito, fill half the glass with mojito mixture and the fill the rest of the way with chilled champagne or prosecco. Add ice.

The Don Draper
1 splash cognac
1 splash Grand Marnier

Fill the rest of the glass with chilled champagne or prosecco.

What we ate:

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In keeping with the theme, I served only 1950s-style foods. There were pigs ‘n a blanket, cheese and crackers, shrimp cocktail (provided by my lovely friend Ashli), a mocha pie (from my other lovely friend Natalie), and a deviled egg tasting (inspired by the appetizer at The House. Here’s how I made the eggs:

Bacon & (Deviled) Eggs
For filling:
Combine 6 hardboiled egg yolks with 1/2 cup mayo and 1/4 cup mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fill halved hard-boiled egg whites with yolk mixture. Top with chopped bacon bits. (I used turkey bacon. As far as I know, no one could tell the difference.)

Sriracha Deviled Eggs
For filling:
Combine 6 hardboiled egg yolks with 1/4 cup mayo, 1/4 cup mustard, and 2-4 T Sriracha sauce. Add juice from one lime.

Fill halved hard-boiled egg whites with yolk mixture. Top with a sprinkle of paprika.

Fancy Deviled Eggs
For filling:
Combine 6 hardboiled egg yolks with 1/2 cup mayo and 1/4 cup mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fill halved hard-boiled egg whites with yolk mixture. Top with a dollop of low-fat sour cream and a small scoop of black caviar. Because we fancy like that.

And that’s really it! We also gave out a prize to the best costume, which went to my friend Ashli (who in all honestly is ready for a Mad Men party at any given moment).

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Anyone else as obsessed with theme parties like me?

How to: Decorate for Dudes

Y’all know I love a good mood board. (Even though I kind of hate the term “mood board.”)

So when a dude friend of mine reached out to be recently and asked for tips on decorating his new apartment, my response was “I HAVE SO MANY IDEAS.”

Literally.

Because while I love a super feminine space, I also love decorating for dudes. Because, to me, it’s not that different from dressing dudes. And who doesn’t love that?

In fact, both of the mood boards I ended up creating for my friends (who has asked to remain nameless for now) started with a guy’s outfit I loved on Pinterest.

Let’s start with my recommendations for a TV room.

TV Cave

All my friend (who I’m just going to call Anthony because “my friend” gets creepy after a while) told me he wanted was “something in the brown” family that was “masculine” and had a lot of “white”.

So…basically not helpful at all. He dug the above design, though, so everyone wins.

Next, he needed a bedroom. Again, there was minimal direction beyond the fact that he liked “blue…like Yankee blue” and that he needed a place to store a sizable shoe collection.

Again, I turned to some of my favorite guy outfits with blue for a color palette.

Dude's Room

 

And yes, I’m aware I accidentally put a bath mat in there. The point is = navy rug. Make it happen.

So there you have it! I’m pretty pleased with both rooms, and Anthony seems to like them as well.

Now if only I could get my own bedroom in order, we’d be in business.

How to: Treat Your Mom to a Weekend in New York City

My mom is pretty great.

In the last couple of years, she’s dealt with the stress of marrying off two of her children, the addition of multiple grandchildren, and being diagnosed (and beating) cancer.

Like I said, a pretty awesome lady.

So a few months ago, I decided I wanted to do something nice for her. I thought about flying us both somewhere, but ultimately decided I couldn’t afford it. Then I remembered I live in a destination city. Why not just fly her here and have a little “stay-cation”? (For me at least.)

That’s exactly what I decided to do.

With my dad ensuring she didn’t make plans on the weekend I had in mind, I set out making reservations, buying show tickets, and generally planning the ultimate NYC weekend for my momma.

A week and a half ago, I sent her a package of five envelopes:

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As she opened each envelope, she found a clue as to what her surprise was. (Spoiler: It was that she was coming to New York. Have you really not been paying attention?)(yuk yuk yuk)

Once she got the packages, we only had to wait a few days before her visit. And now I’ve decided to share our weekend with you! Here’s where we stayed, what we ate, and what we did.

FridayMy mom got in on Friday around noon. Joey and I both took the day off to pick her up and keep her entertained.

That night, we headed into the city for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, The Smith.

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Fun side note: The Smith is actually where I first heard of my favorite drink, the French 75. So obviously it’s near and dear to my heart.

My mom had the trout, I had grilled shrimp with jalapeno grits (AMAZING), and Joey had the moule frites. It was all pretty great. We ended the night with the Quarter Pounders, three homemade chocolate chip cookies. If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that there is nothing in the world I would prefer to warm chocolate chip cookies. So…yeah. I liked the dessert.

Saturday
Saturday I had planned the New York-iest day I could think of for my mom. We started out by heading in to the city early in the morning. After dropping off our luggage at our hotel (more on that later), we headed to Union Square. After a quick breakfast (at Panera…not every meal can be fancy!), we took part in a little retail therapy.

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I mean, is it really our fault that our first appointment was on 5th Avenue? No, no it is not.

Speaking of our first appointment, it was at a little place called Drybar. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically a salon that specialized in blowouts. (Which you know I love.)

IMG_4163Within minutes of arriving, we each had a drink (mimosa for my mom, champagne for me) and were on our way to incredibly voluminous hair.

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Next, we headed to Bloomingdales (because why not more shopping?), and then headed back to the hotel to rest and get ready for dinner.

We stayed at The Sanctuary Hotel, which was conveniently located near Times Square. The rooms were…compact, but not in a way that felt claustrophobic. More like, in a way that made you feel like you were in a well appointed New York City studio.

Post-primping, we hopped in a cab to dinner at The House, a restored 1854 carriage house in Gramercy Park. We started off with drinks (I had The Ellington, my mom had a gin martini) and a deviled egg tasting appetizer, followed with the tile fish and the sea scallops. For dessert, we had a cookie sundae topped with fresh berries.

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And, you guys. It was so good. Like, ridiculous. We couldn’t stop talking about it.

Then it was time for the highlight of the evening: Newsies!

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We both loved it — the singing/dancing is pretty awesome. Plus, the cast is made up of cute, talented boys. Definitely a good choice to take your mom to. (In case you were wondering.)

SundayThe next day, Joey’s parents and sister joined us for a late brunch at The Thirsty Koala, which I’ve told you about before.

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My mom and mother-in-law had The Three Sisters sandwich, my sister-in-law and father-in-law had burgers (one beef, one kangaroo), Joey had an omelet, and I had a spinach salad with shrimp. We all had mimosas. Because it’s brunch, you guys.

Then it was time to take my mom to the airport. (Sigh.) The weekend was over too fast, but we definitely made the most of it. Can’t wait until we’re together again!

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An (almost) complete apartment tour.

Can you believe it? We’ve been in our apartment only three months and I’m basically done decorating.

It’s a miracle.

I mean, sure, there are little things here and there I want to add. And the bedroom isn’t quite done yet. But everything else is about as done as it’s going to get. (In an effort to live a simpler life, and to acknowledge that this is just an apartment we’ll be in for a while and not our dream home, I’m trying not to change our decor as often as I did in the last place. Trying.)

Anyway, here’s a quick tour of the parts that are 99.9% done.

Here’s the view facing the front door toward the kitchen. You can just see our little Craigslist-ed kitchen table and chairs. Hanging on the wall to the right is a vintage Paris map I picked up at HomeGoods ages ago but never had the right spot for.

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Here’s what you see when you first walk in the door facing the bathroom.

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Joey actually picked that spot for our wedding guest “tree,” and it fits perfectly.

If you go right from there, you enter the kitchen:

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Here’s our table with two prints I found on Etsy. (One is a beer bottle and champagne glass with “his” and “hers” on it, the other says “The secret ingredient is always cheese.”) (Because it is.)

The one thing I still want to add to this corner is an oversized print of a Penguin book I have, but I haven’t had a chance to get to Kinkos yet to print it.

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Here are the built-in cabinets. I’ve made peace with their old-timey color. We store our bigger items (crock pot, cake plates, etc.) on top and dishes and glasses inside them. My father-in-law also installed little hooks for me under the cabinets to hang teacups and mugs. The seafoam green mat I got from a tag sale at work for about $5.

Back to the living room!

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Not too much has changed in here since you last saw it. (It’s cleaner, though.) We actually have no visible clutter in this room, which is pretty incredible to me. (And awesome.)(I’m a nerd.)

The one thing I still want to add to this room is a bulletin board over the computer. I have cork tiles that I want to spray paint white to make it. Stay tuned.

So that’s it! It’s so nice feeling like we can finally have guests over. We already had overnight guests, but we spent so little time in the apartment with them, it didn’t seem to matter if everything wasn’t put together. But Saturday we had our first dinner guests, and I’m hoping to host a few more events this summer. Can’t wait!