March Madness

Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee,
to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords,
to music and warm bodies and contraceptives... and to the "good life",
whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.
//Hunter S Thompson
We are officially sad from being back from our AWESOME trip to new Orleans. Seriously, we had such a great time and I can't wait to get all of those photos edited and up on the blog. However, I am not quite there yet after a busy week of catching up at work, but here are some other photos from a few of the other fun things we did in March. Nick had been very busy building this amazing farm table for the dining room by hand. These couple photos are progress photos from the basement, how beautiful is it! Literally a dream come true.... just wait until you see the finished product! 

My best friend Chelsea made a surprise weekend trip home, literally for only 24 hours! It was so nice to see her unexpectedly and we are actually celebrating our 20th year of best friendship this year! We met in first grade and have been inseparable ever since. It's hard not living in the same state, but we always make time to see each other when we can. She is coming home again for Easter so I couldn't be happier!
My Mom and Stepdad were in Pennsylvania for a funeral so my Aunt and I went to my Step Brothers play, Servant of Two Masters, to show him our support and cheer him on! He had one of the lead roles and it is one of his last plays at CCSU. It was really funny and he did a great job.
Nick and I had our siblings over one Sunday night for the first official "Dinner party" at his house! As you can see, the farm table wasn't ready yet and we only had folding chairs, but you've gotta start somewhere! We knew our sibs wouldn't mind, so we figured they could be the firsts guests. We had a few weeks before we would be hosting a big cousins dinner, so this was a nice trial run to see how things would go and if we needed anything.
We scored these Pfaltzgraff plates/dining set at an estate sale for $10! Each plate retails for $10 itself. It was a total score and they match the paint/d├ęcor perfectly. We got plates, small plated and bowls and love them! Nick also found that wooden slab in the middle of the table in the basement and it has been great to use for serving apps and such.
Nicks Grandfather built the amazing hutch in the background it's is so nice to have so much storage for dinnerware, glasses, and bar supplies. Nick also just recently bought the new tri-light hanging above the dining table. Slowly but surely, it is all coming together piece by piece.
We decided on taco night for siblings dinner, and took full advantage of the butcher block to display all of the taco toppings.

The hutch/bar area has so much room to set out all of the glasses and wine/cocktail supplies. Everyone can make what they want and be happy!
This is another fun thing that we made. We had seen these salt and pepper beer bottle tops at Long Trail brewery a few weeks prior, and so we decided to make our own. We love anything anchor/nautical, so we chose these two beers that fit perfectly. The Porter for pepper and the Steam for salt! They are really unique and one of a kind DIY salt and pepper shakers.
At one point during dinner, everyone was laughing at me and I had no idea why....LOL! All in all it was a great night with our siblings and a good trial run for the cousins dinner. Nick was ready to kick it into high gear and finish the farm table in time, and we had also been on a big hunt for some chairs via craigslist or estate sales.
Finally, a few days later, we found and scored these beautiful solid wood high back chairs on Craigslist! A set of 6 for $50! We are planning to sand them down and white wash them eventually, but they don't even look bad as is. I love their clean lines and style.
My mom also found these awesome solid brass candle holders at my Step Grandparents house and brought them home for us. They will look great on the farm table once it is finished, and we love them even more because they were $FREE.99!
The Saturday before we were going to New Orleans, my Brothers girlfriend Lindsay was celebrating her 25th birthday with a huge bash. She had rented a party bus like Nick and I did last year and was having it take us down to the casino for the night. We all got dressed up and met at her house around 8pm. We had some snacks, and pizzas, and of course a celebratory birthday cheers.

The birthday girl with one of her best friends Melissa!
Me and the birthday girl! Linds looked so pretty and I loved her dress! She definitely can rock the red lips, I never think I can pull it off, so I don't usually try.
About 20 of us loaded onto the party bus around 9 and the fun began. The bus always ends up being the most fun part of the night. Sometimes we wish we could just have it drive us around all night and not go anywhere at all!
Stephanie and Stephan! Couples who have the same names together, stay together!
Kevin and Linds. Don't think I don't see that Burberry Kev... shirt game on point.
Me and Nick! With his fresh new haircut! He went short after a long time of having longer hair, it looks great!

Lots of silliness ensued....
This is Lindsay's sister Carly and her boyfriend Alex.
And Mike and Linds with Nick's cousins Dan and Chelsea.

The whole gang! Love these guys.
Doing our RAW faces. Except Dan kind of missed the memo...
All black erryday.
Noseflare on FLEEK! Melissa is known for having one of the best nose flares in the game.

My brother and Nicks cousin Dan are very similar people and they get along almost too well! Gotta keep an eye on them at all times...
Siblings! Nice face Mike.
That's better. Look Mom! A nice pic of your children!

Dan's mean muggin....
But apparently it was just a front, because they like each other!
Of course, Lindsay had prepared an epic playlist complete with all of our favorite middle school rap jams, so the bus dancing got pretty rowdy. I wasn't mad.

Melissa and Stephanie brought bottles of champagne, so a champagne toast was in order for sure. The bus is equipped with glasses and napkins, so we had everything we needed.

CHEERS! Happy 25th Lindsay! How does it feel to be a quarter of a century!? Have fun renting cars! Ten more years until you can become president. "How ya feel how ya feel how ya feel? 25 sittin on 25 mill."

BUBBLY! The best. Champagne is my absolute fave.

When we finally got to the casino we all jumped out for a big group shot before going inside because who knows where we would all end up.
Was the bus driver drunk?? I hope not.

Once inside, majority of us ended up going to the Scorpion Bar for some drinks and dancing. It was pretty crowded as Steve Aoki was actually DJing at the casino that night.
Couple of raw dogs right here.
I love this picture of them!
Chels and I at Scorpion.

My handsome date.
These are Lindsay's cousins, they were so nice and funny! It was my first time meeting them.
Intense much Kev? LOL
Scorpion bar has Gogo dancers and they literally have the best moves ever. I am so jealous of their dancing skills! They don't let you take photos, but I "accidentally" tried to take this one...

This kid in the middle literally crashed our party ALL NIGHT. Dancing around all the girls and spilling his drinks and hugging us an taking photos with us. He was in his own little world and it was actually quite funny watching him and interacting with him. Everyone got a kick out of it and was posing with him the whole night.
All in all in was a really fun night! We got back SO LATE, around 4am, so needless to say most of Sunday was spent sleeping and recovering. Especially since later that day we had a birthday dinner to go to for Nicks coworker at 5pm at Dave and Busters, and then at 2:30am Sunday night we had to be up to drive to JFK for our flight to New Orleans Monday morning at 6:30am. Needless to say it was a long, tiring 48 hours but we didn't mind because we were both officially on VACATION and were so excited to get to NOLA. I should have the posts up for New Orleans next week.
The day after getting back from NOLA, I went to my cousins makeup up trial for her wedding. I am one of the bridesmaids and can't wait for the wedding this October. The make up looked beautiful and very natural, She doesn't wear makeup often so I think the natural look was best for her and fits her so well!
Some more chairs we scored on Craigslist (have I mentioned we are obsessed with CL??). We got these wooden/wicker high back bar chairs in white, and I really like them.
In preparation for our cousins dinner I drew up a nice sketch for the Chalkboard. We have an inside joke of being "raw", so it does not in fact mean that we don't cook our meat lol. Raw means more along the lines of "Badass". I think for my first time drawing an AK-47, it didn't come out half bad!
My best friend Chelsea's birthday was Sunday, so I couldn't help but share this throwback picture of us both being Princess Jasmine for Halloween in second grade. We were the type of best friends that did EVERYHTING the same! Like literally at recess we would walk at the same cadence holding hands, wearing the same outfits that our Moms bought us at Ames. We were kinddd off the elementary school version of Mean Girls. Oops!
I made this DIY printable cookbook from ETSY! It was really east and came out nice, and now we have a place for all of our new recipes and family recipes. We decided to make Nicks favorite Chili recipe for the cousins dinner, along with a fixings bar and some salad and cornbread.
Chili prep all ready to go while Nick was busy putting together the farm table with his Step Dad so that it would be ready just in time for the big dinner.

70/30! The best!
Yay! The farm table made it up from the basement! Not without a few scratches to the wall and some broken windows but hey... it's here! Nick stained it "Early American" from Minwax, and I love it!
The new chairs all ready to go as well!
I had also given Nick this ship schematic printed on blue printing paper for Christmas over a year ago. I found the image online on Google, and the print was $3.50 to print as a blue print at Staples. He ended up building a pine frame for it and hung it on the wall in the dining room. So, for probably under $10, we have this great big rustic statement piece.
I found Nick this vintage Old Town canoe oar on Craigslist that will be getting hung somewhere, but for now it's just rested in the corner. And to the right are the high back chairs from CL.
The butcher block board.... and the infamous bar gnome! Also, the calendar I made from photos of each of the beaches we visited in Hawaii. It was resting there for now but more recently was hung up in the laundry room.
Scored the nautical flags shadow box at an estate sale for $25, and the old radiators we spray painted one coat of white to give them a white wash look.
Two more estate sale scores... an old ships wheel barometer and a dinner bell.
This map is my birthday gift from Nick this year and is hanging in the living room. From afar it just looks like a framed world map, but it is actually mounted on cork board and if you get close it is pinned with all the places we have been together so far! Can't wait to fill it up.
The red pin is where we met- the middle of the Caribbean Sea! We have both been to places such as Florida and California, but we haven't been there together, so we are only pinning places that we go together.
In the hallway Nick hung this big antique copper toned mirror that I love, and to the right is a $3 clearance Navigation Star from Home Goods.
Nick's Aunt got him these two captains chairs/college chairs from the same estate sale we went to as a house warming gift. She got the pair for like $80 or $100 and they are awesome!
Coasters made from reclaimed wood on ETSY, and the old brass prop was from my God Parents house and will be used somewhere as a paper/magazine weight.
The didn't have enough boxes of jiffy at the grocery store so I had to do one small batch of Jiffy and a larger batch of GV brand cornbread. I didn't mix them as I wanted to do a taste test to see what came out the best! I think the jiffy won by a hair in my opinion, but they were pretty close so to save a few dimes I think the GV brand was fine.
While I was baking the cornbread, Nick and Art got underway to assemble the table in the dining room. There was no way they could get it upstairs in one piece, so the finally assembly had to happen right in the room.

Love to see them working together to build something! Very sweet.
Ahhhh! The last screws are in!
Flipped it over....
Dusted and cleaned it off....
...and voila! How AMAZING is it!!!! I am in love!! Made by hand by Nick. His grandfather, a carpenter by trade, would be so proud. His Mom started crying when she saw it because he knows how proud he would have been of Nick, and it was a really nice moment. It is a beautiful piece that he will have forever.
The chairs and candle holders in place!

Can't get over how much I love it! Literally a dream come true.

I also spent about an HOUR painstakingly drawing my Raw Dinner design on the chalk board. It was so hard to do freehand, but I think it came out pretty...well... pretty RAW!
Around 5pm everyone came over and the apps and cocktails were set out. First time officially using the farm table and it looked so good!
The girls!

And the guys!!
Funny to watch the progression of the guys' photos.... we got about one good one and then it all went downhill form there. But they came out pretty funny and it's not everyday that they are all together for a photo!

Not quite sure what is going on here....
Sweet Noah! And Nick giving a mean mug.
Table is set and ready for dinner! We set out the cornbread on two antique trivets that we also got at the state sale.
We had everything ready to load on top of the chili... sour cream, cheese, tortilla strips, salsa and avocado.
After dinner it turned into quite the party and everyone was spread out throughout the apartment. The living room was the more "Quiet"/subdued area...
While the kitchen was bustling with the boys being debaucherous... the "Raw Dinner" concept may have backfired on us a bit, it got a bit too raw for a Sunday night! Thankfully the tenants downstairs are friends, because it was pretty loud.
Nothing better than family around the dinner table! The food was really good and easy for a large group.

Lindsay brought some champagne to toast for Nick as a housewarming gift.
And then we all went to the living room to play one of our favorite group games, Mafia. Although this time I think we only managed to play one round.

Noah was running around and making everyone laugh with his sweet giggle.

Heavy debates over the mafia accusations....
Kat and I! She gave me a gorgeous bracelet for helping make her wedding album, it is from Dune Jewelry and is made with sand from my favorite beach, Pleasure Beach. Such a thoughtful gift and it even came in a photo jewelry box she made me using a photo from her wedding. I love it! We had a great night at cousins dinner and can't wait for the next one.
Crazy that March is already almost over, but I really can't wait for the warmer weather that Spring will bring. Can't wait to show you the photos from our trip to New Orleans! Thanks for following along!

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