Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Savvy Mrs. on WEtv

In the months leading up to my wedding, I wrote a weekly blog for about planning my big day. I documented everything -- from finding a venue to my bachelorette party. And now that I'm a married lady, I have passed the Dubious Bride blogging torch to a new bride-to-be, Jessa. But I still blog a few times a month for them, offering advice to help make wedding planning simple and FUN!

Because that's what it really comes down to. If you're going to be a total basketcase that no one wants to be within 10 feet of, just elope, seriously. It's not worth going off the deep end because peonies aren't in season. Seating charts are no picnic, money can definitely be an issue, and guest lists are hard to trim, but it's all part of the experience. You'll learn as you go. And then you can share your "wisdom", like moi. 

Speaking of ... last week, Jessa emailed me to find out how many items she should register for. I had no clue. All I know is that I left my fiance alone with the "zapper" for less than 3 minutes. Now we have 4 coffee makers and a milk frother. But I did have some other helpful tips for her. Click here for those!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Me, My Husband and Facebook

Even though I've spent all day staring at a computer at work, I find myself parked on the couch with my laptop a few hours later on Facebook, scrolling through status updates, perusing pictures of people's weddings and learning that _____ has uncovered a "secret stash of Illegal Transaction Records in Mafia Wars"!

During this time, my husband (who has zero interest in "The Facebook") is trying to get me to pay attention to Guy Fieri eating an enormous, greasy burger on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. After a quick, distracted glance, I briefly wonder if he has high cholesterol from his job ... and then I hit refresh.

Why am I admitting this embarrassing use of my time? Because I guarantee that you do this, too. I have actually seen (in my Newsfeed, of course) couples communicate through Facebook when it appears that they're sitting right next to each other on the couch.

While tweeting, blogging, commenting, g-chatting, BBMing and surfing the web are a huge part of all of our lives, sometimes it's good to take a break and go back to basics. My grandma Rita gets by just fine using the TV Guide from the newspaper, sending letters in the mail (sealed with sparkly stickers of Betty Boop), using her cell phone for long distance calls only, and playing cards with friends in person (not through a virtual universe of anonymous mahjong players). It's time to take a page from her book. If not, we'll become so addicted to our computers, BlackBerrys and other people's lives online ... that we'll miss out on our own real ones.

I will not deny that a BlackBerry does come in handy at times. Awkward elevator moment? Fumble around in your purse looking for it. Waiting for someone at a bar and feel like a loser? Play Brickbreaker while pretending to be very busy and important. 

So let's try this challenge. When you're out and about, pay attention to what's going on around you, not your phone. Listen to Oprah and stop texting when you drive. If you go to the gym, please don't put your cell in a holder on the treadmill. Spend time with your friends, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, fiance, wife, or husband. And really listen to them ... without the computer in your lap.

But still check my blog, of course :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shop for a Cause

It's not very often that we can help others simply by buying ourselves a new pair of earrings, right? Stella & Dot (one of my favorite jewelry lines) is having a sale where 25% of the proceeds from your purchase will benefit the families of four members of the Oakland Police Department who were brutally killed on duty one year ago.

From now until the end of March, you can feel good about stocking up on fabulous spring necklaces, earrings, and bracelets (yay, turquoise is back!). Just click here and select your items. Prices range from $29 to $100+. When you are prompted to enter a "Hostess Name", just enter OPD/Fund as first name/last name. This will ensure that your purchase will benefit the cause (and that shipping is just $5.95).

If new accessories aren't in your budget this month, you can still do your part by thanking a police officer in your neighborhood for their hard work.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Must-have Makeup Minis

If you've ever had to hand over your favorite lip gloss to a very unsympathetic airport security agent (doesn't he understand that Dior does not come cheap?) ... fret no more. Luckily, good things come in small packages, especially when it comes to great beauty buys. From eye makeup essentials to dry skin saviors, check out the slideshow I put together for on fabulous minis that help you look your best while you're on the go.

What are you travel essentials? 

Monday, March 22, 2010

What's Cookin' Good Lookin'?

I would assume most people under the age of 78 do not wear wear an apron when they cook. But these retro styles from Anthropologie make me want to channel a 1950's housewife and learn how to make a pot roast ... anyone else?

Considering most of us don't have time (or the energy) to whip up a fancy meal after work, this get-up may be a bit much for those "breakfast for dinner" nights. But how cute would it be to wear this when you're hosting a holiday dinner? Or, buy it for a bride-to-be for her wedding shower.

If you're not quite ready to be the resident Betty Crocker, try the half apron to ease your way into the kitchen. No casserole recipe required.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring ... and Cleaning

Once in a blue moon, I get a wave of extreme motivation to clean, de-clutter and organize. This particular weekend, it was a combination of the beautiful Spring weather and the heaping piles of magazines, catalogs, menus, newspapers, and mail that inspired The Cleaning Session of 2010. Because let's be honest, just making those stacks neat and tidy (which I always do first) is only a short term solution.

While I'm not messy, I don't usually find joy in cleaning like other members of my family (my dad actually went through a phase where he would put on knee pads and hand wash the kitchen floor). So, yesterday I decided to divide and conquer. I re-organized drawers, tackled those piles, and Swiffered until I couldn't see straight. The end result ... no more "free airline companion tickets" taking over my kitchen table, and an apartment that smells like oranges, which is quite lovely.

So, here's my advice ... don't try to do everything at once. That's just asking for a small nervous breakdown. Pick a few tasks to take on, and then do something else big another day, or next weekend. And also marry someone that cleans too. My husband is an exceptional Swiffer-er. However, he's very slow on the dishwasher-unload, so we're still working on that.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The New Girl

I would like to apologize to the three people that read this blog (hi, mom!) for my lack of posts this week. Blogging had to go on the back burner, because I started a new job ... hooray! Between trying to appear as though I knew what I was doing and wandering around aimlessly in search of the bathroom (also trying appear as though I knew what I was doing), I wore myself out.

I am sure many of you have been in the same boat. Starting a new job is like being the new kid at school. You wake up extra early, pick out a cute outfit, and hope people don't look at you like you have four heads. Luckily, I now work at one of the friendliest places on the planet, so that part went a-ok. There also happens to be a huge picture of Diane Keaton (adore her!) on the wall near my desk, so I feel like she's looking out for me. She provides a sense of calm when I need it. 

So in celebration of surviving week 1 and not walking head on into the clear glass doors in the lobby (although I came close) ... it's time to uncork the wine and have some fun this weekend.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Walk and Wine

The next time you talk yourself out of going to the gym after work ... call a friend and hit the streets for a good old fashioned power walk. It's the perfect workout for those days when you don't have the energy to fight the masses for the eliptical. Burn calories, vent about your day, analyze various life crises ... what could be better?

Last night my friend Lauren and I did a three mile walk from my house to the White House and back. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I forget that I live in a city packed with national landmarks and historic buildings. So, it was pretty cool to pass by the President's house on my evening walk. (Tip: alternate the neighborhoods you walk through or try different parks and waterfront locations to switch things up.)

Then of course, we followed our workout with a glass of wine, which probably is counter productive. (But I guess its better to exercise and have a glass of wine, than skip the workout and get bombed at happy hour, right?) Lauren also showed me the coolest thing ever, Gmaps Pedometer that can track the distance you walked so you can really feel a sense of accomplishment. Just plug in your path when you get home and see the results.

Now that the weather is finally shaping up, get out there and enjoy it!

What are your favorite non-gym workouts?

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Heart Cleveland

I have never been good with change. It's a miracle I went to the University of Wisconsin and didn't chain myself to the car until my parents agreed to take me back home to Cleveland with them. Luckily, nice people, cheese and beer were plentiful in Madison, so I was able to stick it out.

But every time I came back to the 'burbs for holidays and summers, I had a hard time returning to school. I cried. I hoped for winter storms that would cancel my flights. My family thought I was nuts. My brother, a 9th grader at the time, always volunteered to go back in my place. (You know you’ve hit rock bottom when a 14 year old boy is practically your therapist.)

I know what you're thinking ... wouldn't most people cry if they had to go to Cleveland? Not when it was time to leave? Well, for me (and lots of my equally attached friends) there was nothing like the comfort of home. I loved driving around the familiar streets, reuniting with old buddies, eating at my favorite restaurants, and sleeping in my own bed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Are You Going to Wear That?

Men sometimes think the clothes women wear are just silly...  I learned this firsthand when my boyfriend, now husband (he's lucky he got to stick around after this) told me my shirt looked like curtains.

Curtains?! Was the man crazy? It was an adorable, ruffled sleeveless top that I spent way too much money on for that kind of reaction. Needless to say, those ruffles were forever banished to the back of my closet. Once your shirt is compared to living room drapes, there's no going back.

The only good thing about the convo was that I got to write a story about it for From shoes to shades, read on for fashion essentials girls love, that guys could live without.

Gladiator Sandals
Your gladiators are your go-to summer shoe when you don't feel like wearing heels. Unfortunately, he has to spend all summer desperately trying to block the mental picture of Russell Crowe in a loin cloth.

Muu Muu Dresses
You think they're hippie chic. But if he wanted to visit grandma, he'd go to Boca Raton. (You're just a housecoat and a pair of slippers away from getting dumped.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Facebook Breakup Etiquette

Breaking up is hard. But sharing that experience with all 549 of your Facebook friends is even harder. Should you just deactivate your account and live a lonely life without status updates, Bejeweled Blitz and pictures of babies you’ve never met? Umm, no way (what else would you do at work?)! So, here are a few tips for dealing with the fallout of a breakup on Facebook gracefully.

Tip 1: Stay low profile and don’t do anything drastic right away. Once you change your relationship status and remove all traces of your ex from your profile, the Facebook world will be all abuzz. Then if you two reconcile 36 hours later, you have to go through all the trouble to add everything back. Plus, everyone will start placing bets on when the next breakup will go down…

Tip 2: Don’t write vague, yet highly alarming status updates to alert people about the breakup. For example:

_____ is going to drown her sorrows with cheap vodka that burns as much as the pain.
_____ will never feel joy or happiness again … ever.
_____ thinks being heavily medicated will make it all better. 

This puts your friend list into a tailspin of panic that could lead to many frightening assumptions about your well-being. Remember, you probably have lots of “friends” that aren’t part of your inner circle (including your boss, your BFF’s mom, a guy you dated in 11th grade, etc.) who will read this cry for help in jaw-dropping amazement … and potentially call the paramedics to your house. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

From Couture to Car Parts

Vera, Monique, and Carolina might understand if you spilled a little champagne on one of their gowns on your big day. But they would most definitely say “I don’t” to covering them in paint, sand, mud and grease. However, more and more spontaneous brides are "Trashing the Dress" (you know, that old thing you fell in love with, had tailored to perfection, and spent a small fortune on?) instead of letting it collect dust in a closet. Thanks to this hot new trend, newlyweds can really express themselves without the pressure to look perfect … or make it to the ceremony on time.  

Personally, I don’t think I could wade through a swamp or haul around car parts in such a pretty dress. But after working with a few incredibly talented wedding photographers and videographers for this Trash the Dress photo gallery featured on WEtv, I learned why many people do. It’s a one-of-a-kind way to be creative, let loose, celebrate the marriage and not worry about the material things (like a dress). Plus, you end up with truly breathtaking images to treasure forever. And everyone has different “trashing limits”. While some brides get down and dirty, others just like the idea of shooting in a place they normally wouldn’t on a wedding day.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the photo gallery. Click here to read the full story.

Pictures (in order) courtesy of: Red Bicycle Media, Blueberry Photography, Michael Maler Photography, Paul Johnson Photography

Would you trash your dress?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Honeymooning with The Help

 I learned 3 very important things on my honeymoon:
1) I actually don’t mind flying if I can sit first class and drink Bloody Marys at the speed of light until my motor skills are severely impaired.
2) The Help is the most amazing book, ever.
3) New husbands will feel totally neglected and ignored if you read this book on your honeymoon.

Here we were on a breathtaking beach in Anguilla, and I couldn’t get my nose out of that book. Regardless of being steps away from sparkling blue water and reggae bars, I might as well have been in Jackson, Mississippi. If you haven’t read The Help, I suggest you get your booty to a book store immediately. In a nutshell, first-time novelist Kathryn Stockett weaves together an eye-opening story about conflicted relationships between black housekeepers and their white employers in a pre-Civil-Rights-era Mississippi.

While it doesn’t sound like the type of read that pairs best with a frozen Caribbean cocktail … it most certainly was. Every morning, I would beeline it to the beach at the crack of dawn to pick up where I left off. I even said no to a few romantic strolls in the sand so I could continue reading. Sometimes my husband would tap me on the shoulder and wave, just to remind me that he was there. Once, he asked me if I liked the book better than him.

Luckily I breezed through it in three days and my magazines about celebrity break-ups didn’t suck up my attention in the same way. While I was truly sad I reached the end of the novel, I knew it was time to give my fellow travel companion the same consideration. He didn’t deserve to feel 2nd best to a book … it was his honeymoon too.

Now several months later, I heard the great news that they’re making this book into a movie. (Thank you, Steven Spielberg!) I would imagine my husband still has some hard feelings, so I’ll probably see it with friends.

How did The Help take over your life?

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Key to Domestic Bliss

Like most of you, last night I claimed the TV for the Oscars. My husband was less than thrilled that he had to sit through red carpet interviews (especially those involving Kathy Ireland ... lay off the happy pills, lady!) and deal with my constant need to discuss what the stars were wearing. This was not his ideal Sunday night, but he sucked it up and even chimed in that he thought Anna Kendrick looked “classy.”

Unfortunately, this benevolent gesture will come back to bite me in the ass the next time he wants to watch something that I don’t. (I see a lot of C-span in my future…)

I’m sure you are all too familiar with the constant bargaining over who gets the “good TV”. You have sat through cartoons created for grown men, and he may have unfortunately witnessed Kourtney Kardashian giving birth (which I am still seriously traumatized over ... anyone else?).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Food Shopping Inspiration

I usually dread going to the supermarket, but this week I'm actually kind of excited to stock up the cart thanks to a new cookbook my aunt Marla just sent me. It's called Great Fast Food, by our favorite domestic diva Martha Stewart. The beauty of this book is that the recipes are simple but sound gourmet, they don't involve a ton of ingredients ... or ingredients you can't pronounce. Plus, the prep for all meals, sides, salads and desserts takes no time, so it's easy to whip any of the 250 options up after work.

I thought I would share a recipe from the book to give you guys some Sunday food shopping inspiration:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Pressure to be Productive

Finally, two glorious days where your boss can’t bark orders at you (at least in person), and there’s no threat of a co-worker with poor judgment microwaving fish for lunch in the office kitchen.

But with those leisurely weekend mornings drinking coffee in your PJs, comes the pressure to tackle your at-home to do list, go to the gym, spiffy up the place, run errands, and finally deal with that enormous pile of mail that you’ve ignored for weeks. You know you should be ... productive (ugh).

Personally, I’m avoiding my mail pile like the plague and just spent the last 2 hours watching Marley & Me. Once I’m done crying, I’ll consider going to The Post Office to mail a baby gift that’s been sitting in my living room for a month.

If you’re feeling especially unmotivated today, remember that your weekend “chores” (as my grandma Rita likes to call them) can be rewarded with a cupcake later. If you’re saving your calories for all the cocktails you’re going to have tonight, treat yourself to something else like a manicure, a movie, or coffee with your friends. Self-bribery … works like a charm.

Or you can sleep till 2, watch all three Bring it On movies, and not leave the house until your dinner plans tonight. Whatever floats your boat.

Happy weekend!

Friday, March 5, 2010

New to the District

After I moved from New York to DC, I wrote an article for this cute site, Works by Nicole Williams about how to network and make friends in a new town. Although I dished the advice, I was reluctant to follow it myself. I already had a group of one-of-a-kind girls that didn't need replacing. Plus, friend dates can be so awkward. And I didn’t feel like “dating” again. (Wasn't that one of the perks of getting married - no more blind dates?) Was I was destined to be lonely like Carrie Bradshaw when she moved to Paris, sharing cake with that big dog, and longingly/creepily staring at a group of women through a window?

While my husband would never turn down a good Sunday brunch, getting him to analyze Gossip Girl or come with me to Power Sculpt was not going to happen. So, I got over it. I went on friend dates out the wazoo. I made it my mission to meet anyone and everyone I could. I even saw Obama's motorcade stopped at a red light and gave him a friendly wave. He nodded back. We both moved here around the same time … I think we totally would have gone on a friend date if his schedule wasn’t so packed.

Point is – having a social life makes a new city more fun. You can’t depend on a significant other to help you find friends or be your only friend. As tempting as it may be to just bbm, im, gchat and skype with the ones you already have … they won’t be able to meet you for a glass of wine after work. Even if you've lived in the same place for 8 years, it's important to be be open to expanding your circle. 

Now it's one year later ... and I think I have had an easier time making friends here than the President. Don't give up, B!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I'm Here for the Booze...

Finally, a monthly club where it’s okay to admit you’re only there for the booze. (Let’s be honest, the only reading material my alleged “book” club actually gets around to discussing is US Weekly.) If you fancy yourself a wine connoisseur, or would like to become one, a Wine Club is the ultimate evening activity.

A friend of mine in DC started a club called Vines That Bind. Every month she rounds up a crew of friends who heart vino, which is clearly not hard to find. Someone will volunteer to host the club at their house. They’re in charge of choosing a theme and providing a spread of tasty snacks to go with it (cheese plate, anyone?). Each member brings a bottle for the group to taste, corresponding with that theme. Now this is where it gets interesting. Themes can range from straightforward (region or type of wine) to a bit more creative like these:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Bunch of Crazy Brides

From the makeup artist pulling a no-show to contracting a raging case of Mad Cow, even the sanest bride can succumb to fear-induced insanity as her big day approaches. Luckily (for me and my family) I was too busy with last minute things to diagnose myself with Swine Flu before I said 'I do'. But sometimes soon-to-be-wed ladies can't keep those crazy what-ifs from creeping in...

Mother Nature’s Wrath
I'm pretty sure gets more hits from obsessive brides than business travelers. Who’s to say a Tsunami won’t wipe out Cleveland? It’s not that off base to worry about Miami being struck by a blizzard in July. Why wouldn’t a 4% chance of light showers turn into a violent tornado, wreaking havoc on your cocktail hour? The dudes from Storm Chasers must be on-hand to track down your centerpieces ... and find grandma.

Beauty & Fashion Catastrophes
You can picture it now: a ginormous zit smack in between your eyes, large enough to have its own place setting. What if the romantic hair style you envision ends up more beehive than bun? While you’ve sworn off carbs since June, you’re totally going to have a fat day. Or worse – you’re the sweaty bride! Pit stains on Vera Wang? The horror!

At Work Beauty Crises Averted!

We've all had those "O-M-G I can't believe this is happening to me at the office!" moments. From coffee stains to stocking snafus, the key is to be well-equipped with an emergency kit to combat any fashion or beauty crisis with a quick fix. I can’t help you avoid walking around with spinach in your teeth, but I can certainly help you be prepared to get it out…

Click here for my full article on, and read on for a few go-tos.

Would Ya Put a Ring on it Already?

The amount of wishful manicures I got before getting engaged is almost too embarrassing to tell you. And of course the one weekend I decided to forgo a fresh polish out of spite, the boyfriend (now husband) decides to pop the question. This got me thinking ... why is it that so many perfectly rational, confident women fall victim to “engagement fever?” If they’re of a certain age range, in a relationship for X amount of time, and/or have watched the rest of their friends drop like flies from their single status, the pressure mounts. And before they know what hit them, they're making threats, giving ultimatums, and ranting about cows and not getting the milk for free anymore (which is confusing and rarely effective).

So what causes our marriage sensors to start flaring out of control? I talked to the fabulous Dr. Ellen Casper to get the scoop on why us girls go off the deep end when we want him to put a ring on it already...

Click here for the full story.

Always a Bridesmaid

I've been a professional bridesmaid for a few years. It's a non-paying gig, but the benefits are great. I get to travel the country for reunion weekends with my besties, attend picture-perfect parties, and never have to worry about what to wear.

On the flip side, this part-time job has, at times, depleted my bank account. Photos of me at the height of the "freshman fifteen" have been flashed in rehearsal dinner slideshows. Canceled flights have left me stranded in unfamiliar cities. And I've spent more time working on poems to read at showers about my friends than spending time with my friends. (Thankfully however, I have yet to be forced to wear an updo.)