February 27, 2011

Continuing the House Makeover Tour: "Man Cave"

When we moved into this house, the downstairs part of the split level was in rough shape. We are convinced that is where the dog pee smell came from, and that carpet needed to be torn up as fast as possible. We chose a berber neutral tone carpet, because we had not decided what the rest of the room would look like yet. All we knew is that this smell, stained carpet had to go. It was just such an eyesore of a room. Check out the walls and ugly carpet and random wires in this picture.
So this room got some TLC early on. Here is another shot of what it looked like during move in. It was almost too scary to hang out in here.
So we got a new carpet... and then Jamie had an idea. Maybe since this room is not "technically" the main floor where the kitchen and living room are, we can make this a mancave. I decided having a place for Jamie to put all his "man" stuff aka video games, posters I think are not so attractive, etc, was not a bad idea. Poor Jamie, a full man cave never came to full fruition. It is sort of just a cave. Not even. But, it is fantastic for watching movies, when we close the blinds it is nice and dark, and our very large screen TV is actually A-Okay with me (I type as I watch the Red Carpet Live in HD).
Here is a sneak preview of why this is not a mancave. See the flowers? The nice candle? Yeah not so much... This picture was also taken with our old camera- not so clear and pretty as the new Canon. So, this pic shows the new carpet, and the newly painted walls. The back wall is darker than the others by a shade, an accent wall if you will... Jamie actually had that blue sectional from his old apartment in Philly. This couch has survived a lot. And it's still in excellent shape. It gets an A for its durability. As I am writing this blog, I am thinking about switching out the red accents for kelly green and royal blue. Just the pillows and candles. Thoughts??

 Maybe a mix of some of these options: 

I digress, but seriously, I am already planning a mini makeover of this room. Just a few new pillows, a few new candles, and then maybe a few green and blue ceramic vases on the shelves. Did I mention this room has video games in it? It can't become TOO classy.

Here are some other after pictures of the room. I was so proud of the wooden blinds in this room. They are a great mix of nice-looking but man-cave-esque in that they make it totally dark down here for movies or naps. Both of which are favorites on a Saturday afternoon in this house.

Okay time out. This is technically "during". Who wouldn't love this guy?!
Dexter contemplating what color wooden blinds to get (those are all samples in front of him).
Finished (for now) Product.
I realize I need to take more after pictures... but this is still pretty accurate about how this room looks. Oh wait, we actually moved that table upstairs and now have a leather table/ottoman down here. I will have to update once I revamp with the royal blue and green.

Overall, better paint on the walls, MUCH better looking carpet and  smelling carpet, revamped the couch with some very cheap pillows and a blanket Jamie's parents gave us, and our cute cat. 

So total mancave? Not so much... but a huuuuge makeover improvement on what we started with! And it was pretty cheap. At one point I think we were ready to give up. This room sits right off the half bath that we renovated. So now the downstairs is warm, cozy, and perfect for a Saturday afternoon movie. 

Thank you, Mancave, you actually gave me quite the comfy place to relax for these Oscars! Also, anyone else love Guilliana Rancic? Because as much as I hate to admit it, I totally love her.

February 22, 2011

60 Years Young.

Here's to my dad! We spent last weekend in NYC celebrating his 60th birthday with my parents, brother, and sister-in-law. My dad is pretty much the greatest parent anyone could ask for. Funny, sarcastic, but consistent and supportive. Growing up, I couldn't have imagined a better dad. As an adult, I couldn't ask for a better friend.

Happy 60th Birthday Dad!

We arrived in NYC via train. It was 60+ degrees on Friday and I got to leave work early to celebrate my dad. My mom organized this weekend and I could not have been more impressed. Hotel in a prime location? Check. A weekend of events planned? Check! Chocolate covered strawberries in the room? Check!

My dad is THE BIGGEST UConn fan. My mom booked us a table at a bar. Yep, let me repeat that. Pammy T pulled through. Did you ever think you'd see her name on a table at a bar in NYC? Me either, but here is proof!
We had the best time at Red Sky in NYC. We ate lots of bar food, watched the entire UCONN game, and my dad even managed to meet some new (22 year old) UCONN friends at the bar.
Isn't he the most handsome :)
UCONN lost. But, at the risk of being cheesy in the spirit of my dad's cheesy jokes, Friday was a winning night!
We did come back to the hotel and have a delicious cake that Matt and Sam brought all the way from Boston! I forgot my camera. How is that even possible?! I need to be more on top of it.

Our hotel gave us free Starbucks in the morning. A free soy latte on a cold day? Sign me up. Have I said yet that I have the greatest husband in the world? He went downstairs and waited in line for said latte so I could dry my hair. Good husband. The best ever reallly. After a 60+ degree day Friday, Saturday was a chilling surprise and I was thrilled that Jamie got me the Venti latte to keep my hands warm and eyes open.

Matt picked our brunch location,  Blue Fin in Times Square. The major plus? Everyone in Times Square waits in line in places like Hard Rock Cafe, so Blue Fin located in the W Hotel, had no line. I loved their simple menu. I also loved their complimentary bellini. Mmmm. In unsurprising news, Jamie chose sushi for brunch. So did Matt. They shared. They like to share food. Matt still says that the time Jamie and I visited them in Boston and we spent all weekend eating is one of his fav Jamie memories. I digress.
Eggs Benedict is my FAVORITE.
We got my mom to try raw fish sushi for the first time. Success!
We ventured from brunch to see Jersey Boys! on broadway. It was awesome. As we were sitting there in the theater, I already knew Jamie was wondering where he should look up the legit story of the Four Seasons. Jamie loves learning. I was not surprised to see him whip out his blackberry right afterwards to read about Frankie Valli. My mom looked thrilled through the entire performance. That was enough in itself to make me happy. After the play, Matt was hungry. Surprise surprise. We took a few pictures, had a drink, and a snack at the Hilton bar before taking a quick rest pre-dinner.
 After our quick bite to eat, we headed back to our rooms to relax and nap and then got ready for dinner. Yep, we did a lot of eating. I was pumped to wear one of my new BCBG dresses I bought last weekend. You can read more about that here if you are interested.

We hopped in two cabs and headed to the West Village for dinner. I highly highly recommend our dinner choice, which Matt and Sam chose. ALTA is a cute almost hidden restaurant that I immediately fell in love with when we walked into. I should also mention I adore the West Village and would 100% chose that as my location if I ever relocated to NYC. Alta's menu is extensive. And their sangria is strong. Both were great.

Okay, so I need to take a moment here to explain something. My brother's wife, Sam, can eat. She is the prettiest, and teeniest thing. And you would never in a million years guess it. But, Sam, where do you put it?! She can out-eat all of us. We put her in charge of ordering food on Saturday night. And without exaggeration, we ordered almost the entire menu. All led by Sam's choices and suggestions.

Okay, so the large majority of the dinner I forgot to take pictures. I was eating. Sorry. Here are some highlights for you to salivate over.... braised short ribs with the most amazing pasta base, crab stuffed avocado, skirt steak with the most delicious seasonings, some sort of beets, fried goat cheese. I could go on. It was delicious. I think you need to go check it out yourself. At the end of dinner, dessert is offered and we jumped at the chance. Petit creme brulee, butterscotch fondue with green apples, beignets (Sam said "I need those donut things!!") So good. But, at the end of the night, Dad, Sam, and Jamie wanted some more... so they decided to pour the extra butterscotch fondue into spoons. I swear, we did not starve these people for the week before NYC.
After dinner and drinks and dessert and drinks and more and more... we headed back to the hotel.
The next morning, we were a bit tired, but donnnn't worry... we had room for more food and decided to opt for the buffet breakfast. Well, some of us did... others of us (me) had enough of the overeating and had a nice muffin and banana instead.
After breakfast, we took a little trip over to the Museum of Natural History, my dad's favorite. Beautiful Central Park across the street lured me in for a picture. Can we note how cute the little girl in the forefront of the pic with the pink boots is?!
So... we spent a few hours in the Museum of Natural History... it was so sunny outside we snapped a few pics.
Somehow it looked like we went on a Safari instead because of all the animal pictures. I assure you we did not, but it sure made Jamie and I think about planning that trip in the future! The dinosaurs were pretty cool, I sorta felt like a 4-year-old.... but I was enthralled with the ginormous bones of these creatures.
We had the best weekend with the fam in NYC, and we loved celebrating my dad and all the things he loves... his family, UCONN, Guiness, chocolate cake, sleeping in (every now and then), some new experiences (sushi and bellinis for mom!), a good musical, a late afternoon nap, a huge huge huge dinner, big breakfasts, and the museum. A little nap on the train ride home sealed a fantastic weekend.

Happy 60th Dad! You are the best dad in the world and one of the best people I know. Here's to you!!

February 13, 2011

Bed + Breakfast Birthday

Jamie asked what I wanted for my birthday. So did my parents. I couldn't think of one specific thing I really wanted, besides wanting to spend time with my husband. We decided a weekend away was just what we needed... and while we toyed with the idea of going somewhere further, Rehoboth Beach is always a favorite location, even in the winter. We found Delaware Inn during our online search and it looked so inviting. It was also a short walk to Salt Air, our favvvvvorite feeding spot. Okay, our brother-in-law is the chef, so we are biased. But, heartbreakingly, Salt Air is currently closed for renovations. We can't wait until it opens again. We will make a trip back to Rehoboth just for the muscles mussels... mmm.

We made our reservations about a month ahead of time, and both looked forward to a relaxing weekend together. Friday evening we arrived and checked in. We were greeted by the sweetest hostess, Sharon. We were led to our room which was cute, warm, and the perfect space for a birthday and first married Valentine's day.

Loved this bed... also gave me a great idea for our own guest bedroom.
Jamie waiting for me to stop taking pictures so he can eat dinner!
How cute is our hostess? She made me happy birthday cupcakes for our arrival!
So, after I decided we picked the right place fell in love with this place quickly, Jamie's stomach growling told me it was time to grab something to eat. We love a good Rehoboth meal, but one of our favorites is something that is cheap and quick- Nicola Pizza. Mmm. We ordered a couple beers, a pizza, and we went to town. We managed to finish a pizza ourselves (okay, so Jamie mayyy have eaten a few more slices than me). We meandered back to the Delaware Inn afterwards, enjoying a cool walk home.
Yum, who wouldn't want to eat this?!
Did I mention that our awesome hostess also put out dessert every night? So when we got home there were brownies and hot tea sitting out on the kitchen table.

In the morning, we had the most amazing breakfast- fresh OJ, coffee, toast, grapefruit halves, and then some ridiculously decadent french toast. Yum, Yum, Yum. We gobbled it all up, of course. But, one of the best parts of our weekend was actually the community breakfast at the B&B. Both mornings, we gathered with three other couples at the large dining room table... one from DC, one from Philly (one of whom was a PSU alumni), and a couple from State College (another PSU connection)! Also, we found out during our breakfast that our hostess was close friends with one of Jamie's teachers growing up!

Saturday afternoon we hit the outlets.  My favorite part of going to the outlets? Jamie buys more items than me every time. It is so funny to watch Jamie bargain shop. He managed to find three shirts at GAP for $1.18 each- originally $20 each. Impressive.  My favorite purchase? A great big soft leather Kate Spade bag- delicious!
My two favorite purchase perched on the bed.
We hit the beach for a brief walk after shopping, but it was so windy! We managed to take a few pretty pictures just as the sun was beginning to set....
I think this is the only picture we took of the two of us all weekend:
We even made it onto the actual beach for a few minutes before the cold completely set in:
After our chilly walk at the beach, we headed back to the Delaware Inn to warm up, and take a nap pre-dinner. About a half hour into our rest, the fire alarm started blaring. Apparently the guy who rents the basement in the house had spiders down there and had fumigated, setting off the fire alarm. The firemen showed up, the cops showed up, the ambulance showed up. We laughed. Then we went back to napping once we heard we were in the clear. We shot these pictures on the way out of Delaware Inn. I just need to say again, this place was SO cute.
After crying ourselves to sleep every night realizing Salt Air wasn't an option, we decided we'd try out a new restaurant- Henlopen Oyster House. We went on the later side, and arrived to a restaurant still completely packed. We had some delicious fried oysters and bruscetta as appetizers. YUM. But, we were a little sad that the rockfish and opah were sold out. We settled on a Bouillabaisse and Hawaiin Hebi, both of which ended up being delicious. We had spied that homemade pumpkin pie on the table before leaving Delaware Inn, and we made a beeline for it when we got home. We took two pieces and brought it up to our room.
Jamie's eyes say it all.
waiting to get my hands on some pie...
On Sunday morning, we had another amazing breakfast courtesy of Sharon. Yogurt parfait, croissant sandwich with egg, bacon, cheese, lettuce, and fresh tomatoe, banana pecan pancakes, oatmeal, and fruit. Did I mention we ate well this weekend? Best weekend ever.

We made a short detour to Jamie's parents to see his family and give our niece and nephew a few hugs. I got some awesome earrings from Jamie's sister's family and an "M" mug from South Moon Under, that I actually became envious of when I gifted an "E" mug to Emily this Christmas.We also ate some more delish food, and Keller helped Mimi (my mother-in-law) make me a tower of sweet cupcakes with pink frosting! What a great way to end the weekend. I'm so lucky!

Happy Birthday to me, I feel so loved this year. Best. Birthday.Ever.
(And Happy 1st Married Valentine's Day, J! I love you.)
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