Domesticity

I’ve been saying for about three years that I really need to decorate our bedroom.

You know, basically since we had an “our bedroom.”

In my defense, I’ve tried. I’ve made loads of plans, even bought a few different bedspreads, but for whatever reason, the room never came together. Part of the problem was that it also doubled as storage since apartments never seem to have enough closets.

Lately, though, I’ve finally gotten to a point where I’ve simplified our belongings enough that pretty much everything has it’s own place, and I even found a look I loved online that I worked to recreate. Plus, a week off of work over the holidays to actually accomplish my lofty goals didn’t hurt.

The room isn’t totally done (I’m thinking of changing the curtains, and I have a picture I want to get blown up to poster-size for the wall), but for the first time, it looks like someone actually put some thought into it. Which obviously means I have to share it with all of you.

For reference, here’s what it looked like before.

Processed with VSCOcam

Processed with VSCOcam

Yikes, right? I’m a bit mortified to even share these. To be fair, I’m pretty sure I was also going through our closets that day. But seriously, we lived like that for at least a week or two.

Here’s what it looks like now:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Isn’t that just a breath of fresh air after the “before” photos?

Besides finally clearing out all those clothes (thereby creating more space to store what we actually need to keep), I also adjusted the layout by moving our full-length mirror over by the window. Not only did this give me the space to put our laundry hamper behind the doors where it doesn’t have to be the first thing you see, it’s also better lit for using the mirror anyway.

Then I re-framed a few of our favorite photos to create a gallery wall above the bed. Plus, I got new bedding that I am in love with. (Product sources below.)

I feel like I’m finally getting closer to that goal of a grown-up bedroom. Is it too late to add that to my list of goals for the year?

Resource guide:Duvet cover/shams: Signature Stripe Duvet Set in Navy from One Kings Lane
Floral throw pillows: Olive and Garden on Etsy (no longer available, but the fabric is Waverly Formosa)
Bed Frame and Dresser: PB Teen (literally the bed I had when I was a teen)
Mirror: IKEA
White picture frames: IKEA
Deer Head: Z Gallerie (I told a few people it was from West Elm, and I realized when writing this post I was wrong. Sorry, guys! This just shows you how long ago it was that I ordered the dang thing.)

Hey! Hey, guys! I missed ya.

I hope you all had lovely, safe, relaxing breaks over the holiday. Joey and I did as little as possible, so we certainly did. The only bit of excitement? Babysitting my coworker’s cat.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Her name is Mira. Pretty cute, right?

As my regular readers are well-aware, Joey and I have wanted a pet for a while. It hasn’t been possible yet, so we were pretty excited to spend our week off of work with something small and furry.

Before I tell you how it went, I think it’s important that you know that we are not cat people. I mean, I’ve had a cat, and she was great, but I will always pick a dog first. But like I said, we’re desperate and she still met the “small” and “furry” requirements.

Mira arrived without incident, took a few seconds to get acclimated, and then promptly started playing with us. She chases string (like, you know, every cat ever) and fetches elastic hair ties. She’s tiny, so she didn’t make any kind of mess.

IMG_6430

Joey promptly got very attached.

The most annoying/cutest thing about her? She would try to wake us up at 4:30 in the morning, but she would do it by curling up between my shoulder blades (I sleep on my stomach), putting her face right next to my face, and purring as loudly as she could.

I mean, that’s just kind of hard to get mad at.

We also got on a pretty good schedule of pet care — waking up a little earlier to play with her before heading out for the day, scooping litter twice a day to prevent any gross smells, requisite petting time.

The only thing Mira was missing? A desire to cuddle. She loved being pet, but she only sat in my lap one time (and then, it was only for about two minutes)(the happiest two minutes of my day). But that cat has zero desire to be held, at least by us.

Of course, eventually we had to give her back. And for two not-cat people, we were both pretty bummed to go back to our pet-free lives. It might be time to invest in a fish or something.

Either way, it was a good introduction to what it will be like when we finally get our own pet. Someday…

IMG_6468

Anyone who has known me for more than a few minutes (or read even a few posts on this blog) can probably tell you two things about me:

1. I’m very committed to the idea of self-improvement.

Whether it’s my attitude my running or my outfits, I’m always trying to be the best version of myself.

2. I am a bit fickle.

Not with things that really matter, thank goodness. (I’ve been pretty into the same dude for almost half a decade.) But I like change. I’m not afraid of changing anything from my hair to my job if I’m not happy with it, and if you’ve read more than a few posts on here, you’ve probably lived through a few I those changes with me.

I recently caught up with a dear friend from high school named Whitney whom I rarely see and who relies on social media and this ‘ere blog to keep up on what I’m up to. I thought it was pretty funny that one of the first things she commented on was that she loved following my adventures in decorating my apartment, but she had noticed I hadn’t made any changes in a while.

It’s not that I don’t want to, I swear. Joey will be the first one to tell you that every month or so, I have a new idea for something we should add or switch up.

The biggest thing that holds me back? Cash monies, yo.

And the fact that I know we won’t be in this apartment forever, so I’m less committed to the idea of perfecting the space.

Instead, lately I’ve been into the idea of making little tweaks to give everything I slightly more polished feel. One thing I finally did (despite having the materials for about six month sitting in my closet)? Install a bulletin board above our desk.

20131210-075635.jpg

The benefit is two-fold: the wall looks less blank and we finally have a place to corral all the tiny papers and receipts that make their way to the desk.

Next, we added more storage to the kitchen with a pair of wire racks.

20131210-075618.jpg

I’m kind of in love with them — so much storage! The more observant among you may have noticed that we removed the white console table that used to hold our microwave and china. Then you win a prize! (Not really…limited funds, remember?) I sold the table on Craigslist (for more than I paid for it, I might add) and used the cash to buy one of the shelves.

My next mission is making each shelf look a little more styled. (Because I’m a freak.) these two are my favorites so far.

20131210-075625.jpg

The last two updates are purely cosmetic. First, I gave in to the coffee table styling trend (seriously, guys, I don’t make this stuff up) and added a white lacquer tray from West Elm with a few pretty candle holders from Target and HomeGoods.

20131210-075646.jpg

I also added a little crown-shaped bowl I picked up at Michael’s ages ago (that I had been using to hold bracelets) because Joey and I tend to take our rings off when we get home (I don’t sleep in mine…is that weird?) and one of us who shall remain unnamed has a tendency to misplace his. I mean, his or hers. So now there’s a convenient place for it to live when it’s not on hisher finger.

And last but not least, I finally got an outdoor door mat. And look how swanky he is:

20131210-075609.jpg

It’s almost embarrassing how much joy that mat gives me every time I leave or come home. Seriously, I am so weird. I mean, he almost distracts you from that eyesore of a door.

So anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to. A couple other changes you (Whitney) can look forward to: a potentially new coffee table and a FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY updated bedroom. (Finally.)

Stay tuned!

Apparently there’s something in the water because I’m not the only one who feels compelled to talk about clothes right now. (Don’t miss my dear friend Kayla’s newest post!)

 

Like Kayla, I too feel like I have too many clothes. The anxiety tends to mount at the times of year that I usually feel more compelled to purchase (looking at you, fall season), especially when I find myself shoving sweaters into tightly packed drawers or struggling to find a certain skirt in my wardrobe.

 

Excess stuff has always given me anxiety. Excess clothing makes me feel anxious and materialistic.

 

The most embarrassing part is that even when I feel like my closet is full to bursting, I can still be tempted by the latest J. Crew email in my inbox. After all, what’s one more sweater? And at 60% off? It would be a waste not to take advantage of such savings, right?

 

One thing I’ve tried to be more aware of in the last couple of years: If you have to spend money to save money, you’re not really saving money.

 

In the last few weeks, I’ve actually hit a point of shopping saturation. I have plenty of clothes, and I’m finding it easier and easier to ignore deals. (Because, let’s be honest, there is always a sale going on somewhere.)

 

Two other things that have helped? A more organized closet and limiting my options.

 

I’ve said before how much I like getting rid of things. (Part of my aversion to stuff.) I try to prune down my wardrobe at least a couple of times a year, and it gets easier and easier the closer I get to truly identifying my personal style.

 

Because, yeah, 26-and-a-half years later, I’m still working that out.

 

This past weekend, I filled two large shopping bags with items to sell or donate and put all my summer clothes to keep in a plastic bin for storage until the temperature warms up. The result? A neat, color-coded wardrobe with room to actually sort through each item. (Okay, the color-coded part doesn’t happen naturally. I’m a freak, okay?)

 

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

 

I even convinced the hubs to let me go through his closet…though we’ll see how long the color coding lasts.

 

IMG_5890

It might sound weird, but I actually feel calmer looking at my clothes now. Okay, yeah, it definitely sound weird. BUT I AM WHO I AM, GUYS.

 

As for limiting my options, I’ve decided to only wear about seven colors.

 

Hear me out.

 

There are few things more irritating to me than making an impulse buy — or a “yes, this will be my style” buy — only to realize after a couple of wears that an item just isn’t me. Now I’ve wasted money and space in my closet on something I don’t even like.

 

So I started to think about what it is that I always like, and basically it translates into anything J. Crew/Ralph Lauren/preppy-esque. And more specifically, it almost always comes in a shade of black, white, grey, navy, green, red, or camel.

 

And thus, a new shopping rule was born.

 

And so far? It seems to be working pretty well. I definitely feel like I’ve curbed the excess spending.

 

What about you guys? Do you have any shopping rules? Another of my unofficial ones is that I rarely buy anything full priced. And, of course, I always use Ebates. Share yours in a comment below!

I feel like I so rarely have time to myself anymore.

It’s not that I don’t do things for myself. I still take the time to go for a run or to the gym. Last night, for example, I spent an hour at another Epic workout that may go down in history as the toughest workout I’ve ever done. (Burpee Thursday ain’t no joke, y’all.)

But usually I’m at work with coworkers all day, then I spend my evenings and weekends with Joey. During hockey season, I’ll usually have a few evenings at home alone when Joey is at games.

I kind of like having this time. Don’t get me wrong — I love spending time with Joey and my friends. But the time to myself is when I feel like I check things off my to-do list and re-center a bit.

I guess this is on my mind because Joey is doing some volunteer work Saturday and Sunday during the day, meaning I’ll have almost the whole weekend to myself. My first instinct was to text a bunch of friends to come over and hang out, but then I started thinking about the work I’d have to put into making sure the apartment was nice and generally being “on.”

Then I imagined just using the time to take care of things that I’ve been meaning to take care of. Like cleaning out my closet, dropping off my old clothes at the Buffalo Exchange, really deep-cleaning the apartment, and relaxing at home (in my newly organized apartment) with a glass of wine.

It just sounded kind of decadent, ya know?

So that’s what I decided to do. I have a few things to take care of in the mornings, but I’m dedicating the afternoons to those “one of these days, I’m going to…” tasks that have been hanging over my head. I feel like it will make me much saner in the long run.

Do you find you have to consciously schedule alone time for yourself? Or do you find it harder to get things accomplished and be social at the same time?

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.

IMG_4320

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.

IMG_4287

IMG_4290

IMG_4326

21356_823034819801_925598536_n

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:

IMG_4293

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.

IMG_4210

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:

IMG_4285

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:

IMG_4208 IMG_4209

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).

1044512_823035189061_1758750872_n

Anyone else as obsessed with theme parties like me?