Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Diet Before The Diet

Like the rest of the world, I'm going on a diet starting January 3rd. (Not the 1st or the 2nd, because that's still technically vacation. duh.) So, in preparation for the days of portion control and carrot sticks ahead, I'm focusing my efforts on blocks of cheese, a tub of holiday popcorn large enough to feed a small village, chocolate and wine. It's a diet that's really easy to stick with. It takes pretty much zero determination. If you tell yourself that popcorn (despite being covered in caramel) is in fact a vegetable, it's even easier to stay on track. This diet does require some exercise though, or else even sweatpants can get uncomfortable. Even a brisk walk to your next meal counts for something. (If you have a Forever Lazy adult onesie, you should be fine if exercise doesn't fit in with your holiday plans.) A significant other that's on the same diet is key to success.

Pre-diet Diet Essentials include:
Parrano Cheese (sold at most supermarkets)
Fig Spread - I love this kind sold at Whole Foods
Wine
Chocolate every 2-3 hours, or as needed
A visit to a grandparent's home for meals and unending snacks
waffles
limited edition oreos (they're covered in white chocolate!)
Meatball subs (I made baked chicken meatballs so it's not a total loss, right?) Recipe below:

Baked Chicken Meatballs
Ingredients:
1 pound of ground chicken breast
1 egg
3/4 cup of breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of olive oil
dash of salt, pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon of parsley

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. You may need to use your hands to really mix well.
Spritz a baking sheet with Pam. Place your balls (ok, grow up people) on the sheet. I make them pretty small, 2-3 bites each. Drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle paprika on top. Bake for about 26 minutes.

Place the balls on a delicious roll, top with good tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Enjoy!!

What are you feasting on this week? Any healthy snack recs for 2012?

PS - I had kale this week. So that makes the rest of this totally fine. right?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Is That Hummus? Shit Girls Say, Part 2

She's BAAACK! I've watched the latest installment of Shit Girls Say at least 8 times. Love it. Love it. Love it. The only thing unrealistic about part deux (aside from the whole drag thing), is that a girl doesn't need to ask, "Is that hummus?" Of course it is. We can spot hummus from a mile away.

These are some of the lines from the video "girls" most definitely say and what they really mean:

Hey, where are you? 
Hurry your ass up. I'm early, feeling socially awkward and need to look busy using my phone.

Do you want to split a cookie? 
Are we doing carbs this weekend?

How long have you guys been open? 
I hope this small talk leads to something free.  

Is this my water? 
Even though you're my BFF, I'm kinda grossed out by your cold. xo

That's not okay. 
No need for translation.

So, good. Right? 
This is really all I can say while shoving my face. But we're totes on the same page.

Get these chips away from me. 
Really, get these chips away from me. I haven't had a full fat chip since '92. 

That poor dog needs waterrrrr...
Aww, pets are cute. I'm so glad I don't have one.

I love wine. 
I can't feel my face anymore. You're my best friend.

I'm just like...hmpphhhh. 
I'm making a point without actually saying anything at all.

(Here's my blog post on the first ep of Shit Girls Say in case you missed it.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Best of 2011

In case you missed 'em, below are the most read Savvy Mrs. blog posts to grace the Interwebs in 2011. (And yes, the stats show people other than my mom are reading this - thank you!)

Apparently you guys like posts about Kim Kardashian and my husband. (Individual posts. They’ve never met. At least to my knowledge.)

Holiday Sparkle:
Here is a real crowd-pleaser about the time my husband got glitter all over his face at my company holiday party. Très amusant. That's French for very amusing/hilarious/mortifying.

I Do Until the Cameras Stop Rolling:

This one covers Kim Kardashian's divorce and important life lessons from her 72-day publicity stunt marriage.
 

Ode to Tim Riggins:
I am not alone in my love for the best show ever, Friday Night Lights and hottest character ever, Tim Riggins. (Texas Forever. Sigh.) Click here to enjoy a non-creepy tribute. Although his hair could probably use a wash, here he is to the left being gorgeous.

Best Round Brush:
When people Google “best round brush”, my blog tops the search results, right under an InStyle article (!!!). Ah-mah-zing.  I hope this special brush has helped you all achieve glorious, frizz-free tresses.

AND rounding out the roundup:

·      Cool Ideas for Engagement Pictures (I adore these couples!)

·      An analysis of the Forever Lazy Adult Onesie (Long-term effects from wearing this still unknown...)

·      Facebook Breakup Etiquette (I hope you never have to use this advice. But in case, get tips for keeping your profile a Crazy-free Zone.)

Thank you all SO very much for reading The Savvy Mrs., commenting, allowing me to write several times about pumpkin cookies without a backlash, and becoming fans on Facebook!

Happy holidays! XOXO

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Husband's Holiday "Sparkle"

Holiday party season is in full effect. It's that time of year where we find ourselves toasting to something 31 days in a row, pretending calories don't count, and splurging on sequined clothing we'll never wear again. In an effort to keep our jobs secure throughout soiree season, many websites post articles that offer tips on what NOT to do at your office holiday party: don't get wasted, don't talk shit about co-workers, don't dress like a skanky female Santa, etc. But these articles don't tell you what to do, if at your company holiday party, your husband eats a festive cookie and ends up with an obscene amount of glitter all over his face and clothes before meeting any of your co-workers.

So, yeah. This happened to me last week.

Within five minutes of arriving at my office party, my husband reached for a cookie at the dessert station.  Unbeknownst to him, it was covered in approximately 14 tons of glitter. He took a bite. And as if in slow motion, I watched an explosion of shimmery particles burst into the air and land all over his face. Like any guy, he was solely focused on eating the cookie and had no idea what just occurred.

My expression turned to a look of horror. He frantically tried to wipe whatever it was that I was gawking at off of his face. But his hands were also covered in glitter. It was like watching a holiday train-wreck. He was just smearing more glitter all over his face. And as any gal who rocked body glitter back in the day knows, it does not easily wipe away. My first instinct was to ask him to just go home rather than introduce Ke$ha (formerly known as my husband), to my colleagues.

But in the spirit of the holidays, I let it go. My manly bundle of sparkle and I mingled throughout the party. I introduced him to my co-workers and we warned them about the the hidden dangers of the snowman cookies.

Happy holidays everyone! Keep your office party dates away from the dessert buffet. xo

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shit Girls Say: Funny or Infuriating?

Unless you live under a rock, you've seen the video Shit Girls Say. The viral sensation features a guy, impersonating a 20-something "girl", rattling off phrases you and your besties couldn't have a convo without:
  • "I know, right?" (Obvi.)
  • "Like, I'm not even joking right now." (Shit's about to get serious.) 
  • "Twinsies!" (Biatch, you knew I had that bracelet first.) 
  • Unintelligible screams when reuniting with a friend (Who wouldn't be beside themselves over a run in with Juliette Lewis ...)
Much of the video is pretty dead-on. Is it hard to find things in enormous purses? Totes. Have I said, "Shut UP!" Yes, of course. Do I sometimes enjoy eating chips at the speed of light, while watching TV on the couch? You bet your ass.

But what I don't like is that these "girls" we're all laughing at are really women our age. Women that can remember their passwords. Women that don't need to ask if others "know anything about computers." I'm always one to poke fun at situations ... so I'm taking this with a grain of salt. (Even the writers at Slate aren't that pissed.) The video is funny, and it's getting people talking. Plus, there's definitely a Shit Guys Say already in the works ... sure to be it's own stereotypical masterpiece complete with grunts, gas, cave-men gestures, banshee screams. The usual.



What do you think of this video? Funny or a bit much?

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Welcome Home

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Walter/Releas


To Bahrain and back...

I had to share this incredible picture of my friend Sara reuniting with her boyfriend Daren after his 7-month deployment aboard an air craft carrier.

Home just in time for the holidays, they're gladly trading in those once a week Skype dates for the real thing. 

:)

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Comeback of Pantyhose?

No matter what you call them -- stockings, pantyhose, or tights -- wearing old school hosiery is a fashion faux pas for most gals I know. Don't get me wrong, I love a good black opaque tight. But once you head into sheer or shimmery territory (or anything called "Suntan"), you might as well be walking those L'eggs back into the 80s. Sure, we all remember a very glamorous time when our permed mothers rocked a 'hose/skirt suit combo like nobody's business. But times have changed. And none of us have gone near stockings since Homecoming '98.

Until today, I haven't given stockings much thought. But I received a text from one of my BFF's asking: Am I supposed to wear stockings to a black-tie winter wedding? Are stockings cheesy?

What's a girl to do? Freeze and go barelegged? Look too casual in black opaques? Or risk her rep in the name of warmth and wear nude stockings?

Naturally, I turned to Google and typed, "is it lame to wear tights to a wedding?" One of the first links that popped up was this Forbes article, The Great Pantyhose Debate of 2012. Yes, now we are talking! Although there was no black-tie wedding advice, I do agree with the writer that sometimes the wrong shade can make you look like a Hooters waitress. Upon further research, here's what I found to help guide my friend:
  • Kate Middleton wears nude stockings. According to the Telegraph newspaper of London, "Tan colored tights are enjoying a fashion renaissance led by younger women ranging from the Duchess of Cambridge and her sister, Pippa Middleton, to Cheryl Cole and Carla Bruni." So, there's that...
  • L’eggs, the brand of hosiery that used to come in that mysterious egg shaped container at the supermarket is back. Their new brand strategy, "Lucky in L'eggs" hopes to entice 18-34 year old women to give the reinvented brand a try. They have 905 twitter followers ... so maybe one of them will be at the same wedding? You guys can blaze the trail for the rest of us...
  • As far as I can tell, the models on Shopbop.com do not care that hosiery could be making a comeback. Go barelegged, or go home.
  • No fashion choice could be much worse than the bizarre tuxedo ensemble Kourtney Kardashian wore to lunch the other day. 
  • You can wear stockings and pretend you're being ironic. 
So in conclusion, I have no firm answer. But I do know that I've spent way too much time reading and writing about hosiery for one evening.

Readers ... what do you think? Help a girl out. She needs to know by this weekend. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Poop Tattoo Angers Girlfriend

Word to the wise: never, ever, ever cheat on your boyfriend. Especially if he's a tattoo artist.

So, apparently this chick named Rossie wanted her boyfriend Ryan to design a magical scene from Narnia on her back. Perhaps she was envisioning flying horses. Instead she wound up with flies. Buzzing around a massive pile of #2. Click here to see -- it's too gross to post on my cute little blog.

Why oh why?

Ryan caught wind that Rossie cheated on him with his friend. So, he plotted permanent revenge by way of tequila and a sneaky consent form stating the design was “at the artist’s discretion.” Rossie is now single, and in need of some serious laser surgery.

It's clearly for the best that they broke up... although this story takes getting "dumped" to a whole new level.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Exercise is Funny

The other day when I was on the elliptical, I had a random thought, what if a colonial pilgrim was transported through time and ended up in my gym during after-work peak hours? What a bewildering sight: Neon lights. Hundreds of people wearing spandex frantically running on machines, yet going nowhere at all. Lady Gaga tunes blasting. Men wearing shirts with their sleeves cut off. TVs broadcasting Keeping Up with the Kardashians at every turn....

Why a pilgrim? Who knows. Maybe Thanksgiving had some sort of influence.

Regardless of my historical character choice, next time you're at the gym, step back and look around at what's going on. It's really kinda funny. (Stability ball class, anyone?) I'm pretty sure that the more ridiculous you look, the better the workout. At least that's what I told myself tonight in Zumba.

This class was AH-mazing. My last Zumba experience was a little too low key -- retirement community-esque, if you will. But this was like being at a club. Except with all strangers (yep, super awkward at first). Men and women of all ages were shimmying and shaking without a care in the world. And that's the point. It's a chance to pretend you've got moves, even if you're rhythmically-challenged, (while burning a zillion calories). So what if that series of samba/butt-rolls makes you look like you're being electrocuted? There were definitely a few times I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and couldn't really process what my legs were doing. What can I say? My childhood in the suburbs of Cleveland really lacked Latin flair. I'll improve...

I think the pilgrims would have been into it. They seem like celebratory folk.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Forever Lazy: An Adult Onesie

There's something I saw on TV that's crazier than Herman Cain, and not getting nearly enough mainstream media attention. Just when I thought infomercial products couldn't get any worse than Pajama Jeans -- Forever Lazy, in all of it's anti-pill polar fleece glory, hit the airwaves. The two minute commercial features overly enthusiastic adults (sometimes even entire families) wearing "one-piece full body lazy wear." Yep.

Good luck getting a date...
Why would any sane person need such a thing? Because "wrestling with blankets is silly" and the makers of Forever Lazy don't want you using your heat in the winter ... or having stable human relationships.

When wearing a Forever Lazy, you'll be nice and toasty while you read, talk on the phone, or awkwardly play a guitar in a college dorm room while your roommate asks for an immediate transfer. You can easily sip ice water on your deck with your spouse without worrying about what to wear. You can also "enjoy some down time with pets." (Where did they find this scriptwriter?)

Obviously these 2 idiots are friends.
The most horrifying part is that you don't even have to take it off to go to the bathroom. There are "zippered hatches in the front and back for great escapes when duty calls."

I have so many questions about Forever Lazy, I don't even know where to begin. Who is the mastermind behind this idea? Is it just a cruel joke to see if we can boost the obesity rate in this country even more? Does it come with a bag of Funyuns? How much did the actors get paid? Were they drugged? Does it need to be dry cleaned? How many nervous breakdowns have been linked to purchases of a Forever Lazy? 

Honestly, if I am ever found wearing this -- shit will have really hit the fan. Just rip the pint of ice cream and box of Franzia out of my hands and intervene.

But let's get serious now ... there are some high risk people that should never, ever step foot into a Forever Lazy:
  • a woman fresh out of a breakup
  • anyone that lives with their parents after college
  • people that own 3 or more cats
  • Charlie Sheen  
So, should I buy this for my husband for his birthday?

Monday, November 7, 2011

$1 for a Stability Ball

Have you guys seen this hysterical craigslist ad? After a particularly challenging yoga class, this guy tried to sell his yoga mat (used only once) for a dollar. His listing takes you through the ups (crush on the chick next to him) and downs ("150 degrees and cloudy. And hot. I can no longer move my limbs on my own ... I will lay sedentary until the aid unit arrives. I will buy this building and then have it destroyed."), fully detailing why he'll never step foot in that class again.

Tonight I had a similar "challenging" experience at the gym. Except I'm going to try to sell all of the gym's stability balls for a dollar, so I never have to take that class again.

All joking aside, it actually was an awesome class. With practice, in about three years I should be able to successfully do the things the teacher told me to. But let me just fill you in on some of my ups and downs of class tonight.

First of all, have you ever done a full body workout with a stability ball? It's impossible not to look like a beached whale that's found an over-sized sand toy. Actually, the entire class seemed to resemble different forms of sea life. The poor guy next to me was flopping around like a little sardine. I knew I was in good company when he let out a high-pitched shriek as the ball shot out from under him. 

Most exercises begin with you rolling your entire body over the ball into some sort of plank position. Then the super perky teacher tells you to do something ungodly, like 45 pushups with just your toes resting on the ball or headstands with one foot in the air, and one on the ball.

Are you KIDDING ME, LADY? What did I ever do to YOU? You should be paying ME to be here.

After doing a particularly hard series of what can only be described as acrobatics, I'm pretty sure I blacked out. The only reason I woke up is because Ke$ha was sprinkling glitter on my face. Following that brief hallucination, we were told to lay on our backs, and rock back and forth. The perky lady called it a teeter-totter. The last time I was on a teeter-totter, I remember it being fun. And then I got juice and animal crackers. Tonight, not so much.

A bit of advice: If you're ever going to do a class like this, avoid being in the back row, closest to the massive window that faces the rest of the gym. Yep, I had that prime spot. I'm sure the dudes lifting weights had quite a show the 62 times I rolled off the ball, cursing to myself like a truck driver. 

Forty five minutes later ... it was over. I took a deep sigh of relief, and teetered out of the room like a baby that just learned to walk. Moving tomorrow should be awesome.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hitting Rock Bottom via Frozen Yogurt

It's official. I cannot go to a frozen yogurt shop where I am allowed to administer my own toppings. I mean, what the hell is this?


Let's discuss - why bother with fat-free yogurt, when you're just going to top it with an Oreo cookie, a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and 2,000 yogurt chips (for extra crunch)? I honestly could have been eating frozen fish mousse and had no clue, due to a very skewed toppings-to-yogurt ratio.

Give me free reign at a toppings bar, and it's not going to be pretty...

Yesterday, over at Yogi Castle I created Halloween in a cup. Surrounded by college girls, all named Lindsay, my husband and I dug into our $6/14lb fro-yos. While the Lindsays were busy eating free samples and complaining ... we barely spoke, except for the occasional involuntary, "Yummmm". That's how you know you've hit rock bottom ... when you don't allow conversation to get in the way of dessert.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Having a "Grownup" Moment

Do you ever have a moment when you think, "Holy crap. I'm a grownup." Even though you know you're a grownup, sometimes little things, like a particular purchase, action, or experience makes you really feel it. Using a salad spinner. Buying organic cage-free brown eggs at Whole Foods. Saying, "Let's talk offline" while on a conference call. Making a dining room centerpiece out of seasonal gourds. I don't have kids yet, but I imagine changing a "poopie" diaper can have the same effect.

Today's "grownup moment" is sponsored by Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye Cream:

I was shopping around in the makeup department at Saks with my friend Courtney, when it hit me: I desperately needed eye cream. And not just the kind that hydrates or reduces puffiness. The kind that prevents - ugh - wrinkles. Was I really ready to venture into the anti-aging beauty world? I suddenly longed to be a teenager shopping for "Twilight Woods" Bath and Body Works fragrance mist.

Wah. (That's me, lightly whining.)

Before I could totally freak myself out, the makeup lady gently dabbed my eye area with a cooling concentrate of essential oils and botanicals. I was instantly calmed, and then instantly handed over my credit card.

I decided to consider the purchase an essential part of a healthy skincare routine. And to counter balance the grownup-ness of needing eye cream, I will treat myself to a hot chocolate with marshmallows and listen to Justin Bieber.

What makes you feel like a grown-up? Also, what eye cream do you use? I'll report back on how my "midnight recovery" goes. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Box of Beauty Surprises

Ever since I was a little girl, I was always fascinated by makeup. I would watch in awe as my mom applied mascara. I was obsessed with my aunts' long 80s nails and shimmery pink lip glosses. And over at grandma Rita's (after watching The Price is Right), I would sit for hours at her oh-so-glamorous vanity table, layering lipstick upon lipstick and dabbing my cheeks with her hot pink "rouge". There was also an unfortunate episode in which I smeared Vaseline all over my face because I wanted to look "shiny."

Perhaps this Halloween "look" is what steered me in the wrong direction...

Regardless, I got my act together by middle school and always kept my makeup simple. But sometimes simple can get boring. Enter Birchbox -- for just 10 bucks, members receive a box filled with  4-5 luxury brand beauty samples each month. From makeup to skincare, fragrance to hair care, you can test out new products before shelling out big bucks on the big sizes. Thanks to a tip from my co-worker Emily, I just ordered my very first Birchbox -- so excited for the beauty surprises that await!

Monday, October 31, 2011

I Do ... Until the Cameras Stop Rolling

Anyone who wasted 4 hours of their life watching Kim's Fairy Tale Wedding knew before the first commercial break that their marriage was doomed. Kim and Kris suffered from serious irreconcilable differences from the get-go: clashes over home decor, Kim's crippling anxiety over small dogs being allowed on her bed, and her distaste for Minnesota. (Unless of course Christian Louboutin decided to start making snow boots ... she wasn't stepping foot in that state.) And don't forget their overwhelming hatred for each other. That played a minor role in the demise too.

Aside from the wedding giving Kris Jenner an excuse to get a face lift  ... there are important life lessons to be learned from Kris and Kim's 72 day marriage.

1. Date longer than five minutes before getting engaged, to allow for plenty of time to discover the weird habits, quirks and dealbreakers of a potential life partner. Or else you may find yourself in a closet with Bruce Jenner, sobbing and snotting uncontrollably, surrounded by cameras.

2. The only reality show you can trust is The Biggest Loser. The scale doesn't lie, people.

3. If you're sitting at different tables at your rehearsal dinner ... no amount of Vera Wang dresses can solve your relationship problems.

4. When shit hits the fan, at the very least, you can launch a new perfume line: Kashing In, the exotic scent of greed with delicate hints of self-tanner. A new fragrance by Kim Kardashian.

Obviously this marriage was simply a money-making scheme. But all too often, celebrities like Kim Kardashian make marriage seem like a joke, an excuse to throw a lavish party. And once the guests go home, if you don't want to be married anymore, then it's just a break-up with annoying paperwork. But divorce isn't glamorous for real people. It's heartbreaking for everyone involved. So, hopefully the next time Kim Kardashian needs a co-star for her reality show, she'll learn a lesson and just cast him, not marry him.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

L.O.V.E.

One of my BFFs, Franny got married a few weeks ago in Santa Monica. From the 'I dos' to the very last song (in which she was on the stage, belting it out with the band), every detail was perfect. This cocktail hour floral display was full of heart, and I had to share! The gorgeous bride had a fab idea to incorporate these sweet mugs from Anthropologie into the floral design ... and voila!

L.O.V.E.

Little details go a long way when it comes to making your wedding extra special. What have you done to add one of a kind touches to your big day?  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies, Marriage & the Meaning of Life According to Siri

This blog is about to get into some pretty serious stuff:

1) Pumpkin Cookies
I made these delicious cookies last year, and they're back in full effect. I've consumed about 16 in the last 24 hours.

I don't feel good.

But if you have self control, they're amazing and taste like Fall. Here's the recipe from YumSugar.

2). Marriage
Today's my 2-year anniversary. And I've learned a lot about marriage and cohabitation:
  1. Men love barbeque sauce. Or maybe just my husband does. I'm not sure how widespread this is. All I know is that I opened a kitchen cabinet the other day and we have 12 bottles. 
  2. Friday Night Lights is a show you'll both love. Just keep your unhealthy obsession with Tim Riggins on the DL.
  3. If one person cooks, the other must do the dishes.
  4. Husbands hate Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
  5. Getting flowers is FUN! Check out these beauties I received at work.
3.) The Meaning of Life
My friend Lauren got the new iPhone 4S. She recently introduced us to Siri, the voice activated personal assistant. And let me tell you, Siri is one sassy little biatch. We asked, "What is the meaning of life?" and she replied, ""All evidence to date suggests it's chocolate." It's like she knew it was a table of five wine drinking women that wanted to eat a lot of dessert. Seriously, Siri, you're a jerk. To really stump her, we asked, "How much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

She referred us to a nearby carpenter.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Stressing Out Over Yoga?

I started doing Yoga regularly in June. And I'm totally hooked. It's the only workout I actually look forward to. Maybe it's because the end of the class involves laying flat on the mat with a lavender scented eye pillow. Or maybe it's because with each practice, I learn something new, or see a small improvement from the week before. There are tons of mind and body benefits -- which explains why people pack into studios like little Lululemon-wearing sardines.

That's why I was so surprised by this opinion piece in the NYTimes. Maureen Dowd (an avid yogi herself) takes a look at science writer William Broad’s new book, The Science of Yoga: The Myths and the Rewards, which basically claims yoga can make you insane, fat and/or seriously injured. (Click on that link, it's kinda crazy.)

Umm, what?

There's no way those arm-toning chatarungas are making me fat.  I will bench press this science writer and show him what's up.

Regardless of what's in this book, I'm not going to stress out about the alleged downside of yoga. With any exercise, you can be at risk for injury. And let's face it, I'm not exactly doing one-handed headstands while in the splits. Yoga helps me take a breather (literally) from the stress of everyday life for a bit, and just focus on the "now". It's a great, challenging workout, that's given me a new appreciation for incense and Ani diFranco music. And it's something I've been able to stick to ... unlike fitness fads that come and go.

Do you believe the hype from this book?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mini Cupcakes and French Fry Lip Balm

I'm working on a bunch of holiday gift guides for WEtv.com, and in my quest to help people find the perfect gifts ... I found the most perfect gift for myself. A mini cupcake maker. For just $38, it's going to be the Easy Bake Oven I never had.


As they say in the product description:
"Add icing, sprinkles and dreams are coming true..." 

Until tonight, I didn't know I had repressed dreams of owning the world's fastest electric mini cupcake maker. But life's full of surprises

Check out Fredflare.com for all sorts of fun gift ideas -- like french fry flavored lip balm and a Nice Jewish Guys 2012 wall calendar. Items you truly cannot live one more day without.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Brisket Mission Accomplished

In case you were wondering...

The brisket was really good, if I do say so myself. But more importantly, let's get to the noodle kugel. That was the real star. If you eat a small portion, it's only a mere 35,000 grams of fat.

In the spirit of Jewish Grandma Syndrome, here's my grandma's recipe:

Ingredients
  • One pound of medium or wide egg noodles
  • A little less than 3 quarters of a cup sugar
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1/2 pound of whipped cream cheese
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of white raisins (optional)
Directions:
  • Boil noodles (but cook a little less than the full time)
  • Use a hand mixer to creme the sugar, butter and cream cheese (make sure it's soft, so take out of fridge before)
  • Then add the eggs one at a time, followed by the rest of the ingredients
  • Add it to the cooked noodles and stir together
  • Mix raisins in
  • Pour into a sprayed 9 x13 pan

Make the (most delicious) Topping:
  • Melt 1/2 stick of butter (as if you need more butter in this recipe)
  • Stir in 1 cup of cornflake crumbs (I bought cornflakes and put them in a plastic bag and smashed until it became crumbs) and 1/4 cup of sugar (oh, sure, this obviously needs more sugar)
  • Pour on top of the noodles
  • Add cinnamon to taste over the top (it's the only fat-free thing in this dish)
Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

This kugel is top notch. Bon appetit.

PS: Tomorrow when you go on your diet, try this delicious baked kale!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jewish Grandma Syndrome

Jewish Grandma Syndrome, also known as JGS, can strike at any age. One day you're going about your un-grandma-like business, the next day you find yourself frantically running the streets, in hot pursuit of a brisket. JGS struck me tonight, and I'm still trying to process how it all went down.

You see, Rosh Hashanah a.k.a. the Jewish New Year, starts tomorrow. And after being totally checked out on vacation all of last week, it dawned on me today that we didn't have any plans. Usually we're with family in Cleveland or New Jersey, or joining Jewish forces with friends in the area. However, we all seemed to have dropped the (matzo) ball this year. Although I'm no super jew, I couldn't imagine this holiday without the smell of brisket or noodle kugel in the house. So, I rounded up a small crew, and told them to be over for dinner tomorrow night.

After work, I booked it to Safeway to stock up on my ingredients. Considering their inventory usually consists of expired Pedialyte and loose baby carrots, I shouldn't have been surprised when there was no brisket to be found. Disheartened, I decided to trek 10 blocks over to Whole Foods for something expensive and grass fed. But, it was raining. And I was wearing flip flops. And I had a bag of noodle kugel ingredients that I didn't want to schlep. (See, I really have JGS --  I'm complaining a lot and saying things in Yiddish. I'm also planning to order a velour pantsuit online.)

So, I walked home and frantically ate cheese doodles while I pondered what to do next. This brisket wasn't going to come out of thin air, no matter how much I prayed. I decided to go to another grocery store -- a good 15 minute walk away. I partially changed into workout clothes, and briskly walked to Harris Teeter, thinking positive thoughts about brisket. The whole time, I was stewing over people who had cars, people who take brisket shopping for granted. They didn't have to do it on foot, in the rain, wearing a combination of half workout/half work clothes. They didn't see a dead mouse on the sidewalk or get briefly attacked by a moth (my most feared insect). They didn't have to battle an urban jungle for a slab of meat.

Exhausted, I arrived at HT, and considered asking a stranger to push me around in one of the carts shaped as a car for small children. I slowly walked to the meat counter. There was a row of London Broil. It looked just like brisket. But was it? Who knew? Oy Vey! I called my mother (who promised to be on call in case of any questions) but she didn't answer. I called my aunt. Nothing. I called my friend. Voicemail. Biatch.I actually didn't call my Jewish grandmothers, because who has time to be stuck on the phone for 2 hours?

In a last ditch effort, I called my dad who immediately told me London Broil was most definitely not brisket. It's a different cut. Don't even think about it. My heart sank deeper. No brisket? I suck at making chicken. I hate chicken.What the heck would I cook for dinner tomorrow night?

And then I saw it.

NEXT to the meat counter was a row of briskets galore. I practically shed tears of joy.

MAZEL freakin' TOV.

Happy New Year.

Love, Bubbie.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

All That and a Bag of Chips

The other night, I said a phrase I definitely hadn't uttered since I was 12: "She thought she was all that and a bag of chips." How did that slip out of the 1992 storage compartment in my brain? (Thank goodness I wasn't in public.) And most importantly, what does it really mean ... to not only be "all that", but also "a bag of chips"?

I hope there's a cultural anthropologist who can take a break from studying dinosaur bones (wait - that's archeology, right?) to get to the bottom of this linguistic phenomenon. I'm going to assume one person coined this phrase ... and it traveled the globe via slap bracelet, reaching Beachwood, Ohio in the early 90s (right around the time I was working hard to be more Kelly Taylor/less Andrea Zuckerman).

There are so many cooler things to be than a bag of chips. You could be "all that and a Hermes bag", or "all that and a personal masseuse to Brad Pitt." But you know what? When it comes down to it -- chips-- in any form, are delicious. People from all cultures and walks of life can appreciate the simplistic beauty and taste of a good chip. So, being all that and a bag of chips -- just works. And I commend the pre-teen genius behind that phrase. Bravo! Maybe it's time for a comeback.


What other totally radical expressions or phrases did you say back in the day?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Welcome to Audix...

Last week, my office upgraded our phone systems. We all got new phones, were trained how to to use them, and given tip sheets to remind us of all the things we immediately forgot. The phone trainer let us in on a few secrets too, such as -- people can 100% hear you when you cover your mouthpiece with your hand and say things you shouldn't. Always mute.

Anyways, this new phone situation entails re-recording our voicemail greetings. For normal people, this is no big deal. I however (due to sitting in an open space) have still not done my recording. Because this is inevitably what happens to everyone who needs to record a voicemail greeting:

Take 1: 
"Hello." --  you sound like Lionel Richie. Delete. 

Take 2: 
"Hi.  -- Strong start. Followed by long pause due to forgetting your name and/or place of business. Delete.

Take 3: 
"Hiiiiiii. Sh*t---." -- Although no one has actually called you in at least 5 months, you *will* receive a voicemail before you have a chance to delete this.  

Take 4:
"G'day" -- You've developed an Australian accent. Delete.  

Take 5:
It's getting painful for everyone. Co-worker removes phone from your hand, pretends to be your assistant and does it for you. 

Lots of things, like voicemail and conference calls can kick social anxiety into high gear at the office. But if Lionel Richie had the courage to pose for an album dressed head to toe in denim, I can certainly find the courage to record my office voicemail during business hours.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Closet Clean Out: A Tale of Angst, Joy and a Denim Blazer

Weekends are meant for TV marathon-watching, running errands, mimosa brunches and farmers market shopping. But on the rare occasion you find the motivation, weekends can be productive. Case in point: my recent closet clean out. Inspired by an expert on The Today Show who proclaimed that in order to de-clutter your life, you need to get rid of 75% of your wardrobe, I decided to give it a go.

Saying goodbye is emotionally taxing, especially for sentimental clothing keepers like moi. Among other things, I uncovered a tube top (yes, really) from my first year living in New York. Tossing it into the "donate" pile was like saying goodbye to an era of life ... a blissful time when my parents still paid for my groceries and I was the proud owner of an Ikea pleather couch. 

And then of course, there are items too embarrassing to admit you ever owned. Like this denim blazer, which clearly was left in my apartment by a previous renter.


But sometimes you uncover a hidden gem. At the bottom of my PJ drawer ... was this magnificent t-shirt:


As a wee 3rd grader in Beachwood, Ohio, my acting career was born. Cast as a "Townsperson" in the community theater production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, my role entailed not speaking, while using overly-exaggerated hand gestures for no reason. (I'm toying with the idea of a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Where Are They Now? blog post. There are some real success stories out there...) Regardless, this t-shirt will be a family heirloom. And it's not going anywhere. 

4 bags of clothes later -- my closet and dresser drawers are looking very spiffy and organized. Hopefully whoever gets stuck with the donated goods can pull off a "vintage" style.

What items will you always hold onto? Any tips for successful closet clean outs?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Huge Ass Beers

When you're particularly parched, sometimes only one thing will do:

bourbon street, new orleans

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Becoming Facebook Friends with the Guy You're Dating

One of my friends just started dating a new guy. She thinks he's cute, funny, charming and also really enjoys his arm muscles. He calls when he says he will and plans fun dates. As far as new dudes go ... the whole scenario has been pretty close to perfection.

Until she became friends with him on Facebook.

After a few weeks of getting frustrated that his privacy settings didn't allow her to properly stalk, she sent him a friend request. And he accepted (which by today's standards means they're practically married).

Like a kid in a candy store, she excitedly viewed his profile for the first time, but was hit with a sinking feeling. His online persona did not match the real one she had grown accustomed to. Questions swirled around in her mind:
  • Why does he take so many pictures of himself in the mirror with his phone?!
  • Why does he post soooo many status updates?
  • Pleated khakis? Really? His date attire never showed signs of something like this! What's next, a silk shirt?
The only silver lining: there were a few pictures of the arm muscles.

She said to me, disheartened, over g-chat, "Ignorance is bliss, Jess."

I told her to just focus on the good times ... and stop looking at his mobile uploads. In the grand scheme of things, she should just be thankful his hair does not look like this:

Is a bad Facebook profile a dating dealbreaker?

More on Facebook Etiquette from The Savvy Mrs. here:
Facebook Breakup Etiquette 
Facebook Faux Pas
Me, My Husband ... and Facebook
Googling Crushes

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Weddings 2.0

Thanks to social media, the video my friend recorded of me falling off the chair during The Hora at my wedding will live on in YouTube history forever. (Not only was I tossed out of a chair in front of 180 people, but my overprotective dad caught me in midair. Yep.) Because I’d rather not relive the humiliation (once was enough, really), I won’t share it here. But, embarrassing flip cam videos aside… social media is revolutionizing wedding planning. From commenting on blogs to following celebrity wedding planners on Twitter, brides now have access to an unprecedented amount of wedding resources.

Weddings 2.0
Social media can help you hone in on the right vendor in no time, especially photographers. Many are active on Facebook and Twitter, and constantly share their latest work. Simply going online can help you determine if their style matches yours, before sitting down for a meeting IRL (in real life). Plus, seeing other people’s weddings on photographer blogs is great inspiration for your own décor, flowers, dress styles, even food. And you’re not the only one benefiting. Thanks to social networking and wedding blogs, vendors can easily expand their reach, clientele and bottom line without a whole lot of legwork.

Big Day in 140 Characters or Less
Twitter is a fabulous resource for brides-to-be. Not only can you follow your favorite wedding websites, blogs and experts … you can join the conversation and become part of a huge online wedding community. Commiserate with other brides on pre-wedding workouts, re-tweet great tips, or gush about peonies with your favorite blogger. From @bridaltweet to @theknot, the Twitterverse is bursting with big day ideas and inspiration. Search hashtags like #weddings, #bride and #flowers to see what others are tweeting on the topic. Check if your vendors are on Twitter to keep tabs on their latest work. Just don’t tweet during your actual wedding. Keep your eye on the prize (new hubby!), not the character limit.

Click here for more tips from my article, "Wedding Bells Will Tweet" on WEtv.com. 

How have you used social media to wedding plan?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Kale Kraze

Kale is a vegetable I always ignore at the supermarket, and for good reason. It looks like it belongs in a flower pot at the entrance of an office building, not as a side dish on my plate. But much like the Kardashian sisters (bewildering and sort of scary at first), everyone is now completely, head-over-heels obsessed with kale. (I'm 100% the only person in the world that has compared kale to the Kardashians, but just go with it...)

here's a pic of my kale. yum.
After seeing recipes for baked kale chips on my fave food blogs (Smitten Kitchen, Made by Michelle and Stiletto Chef), I decided to give it a try.

I bought a large bunch of kale, washed and dried it, cut the leaves off the stalks (throw the stalks out), and then sliced the leaves into smaller pieces. Then I put them in a bowl, drizzled a little olive oil, sprinkled some sea salt and pepper, tossed it around to evenly coat, and placed on a baking sheet. I let those little leaves bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees, as I willed them with all of my might to taste like Kettle Chips. (All the blogs have different cooking times and temps, so I picked one in the middle.) Just keep your eye on it to make sure it's not burning.

The result: these ladies know what IS UP. Baked kale is great! It's remarkably lighter and crunchier than it's raw form. And it does in fact make a tasty little chip. I also sprinkled some red pepper flakes on top, because my husband can't eat anything without his mouth being on fire.

You can make this as a super healthy snack, or as a side with dinner. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

6 Tips to Prevent Big Day Disasters

From booking vendors, to selecting the menu, to coordinating ceremony details, wedding planning can get very overwhelming. So how do you stay sane and ensure your big day goes off without a hitch? These simple tips will keep you organized, reduce wedding planning stress and prevent a dreaded big day disaster.

1. Create a Master Wedding Binder
The secret to stress-free wedding planning starts with a binder. You can purchase a specially made wedding binder (try Etsy), or create your own. Divide it into organized sections (budget, guest list, vendors, etc.), use colored tabs, fancy pens, stickers … whatever your little heart desires. This is where you should keep ALL wedding related documents: contracts, menus, invitation samples, post-its, confirmation emails from vendors, to-do lists, and inspiration from websites and magazines. 

2. Organize Your Inbox
Wedding emails can come flying at you during the workday at the speed of light. Keep yourself organized by simply creating a wedding folder within your email inbox. When you’re frantically searching for the band’s playlist in between meetings, you’ll know where to find it. 

3. Do Your Research
Don’t hire the first florist or photographer you find online or just take someone’s word for it. While great recommendations are important, you need to make sure that you and your vendors click. Take the time to review their past work, schedule a meeting, and determine if their work and personality (so important!) is your style before signing on the dotted line. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to check out their latest work. Click here to find out how social media can impact your wedding planning. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dear Photograph

How cool is this site? All you have to do is take a picture of a picture from the past in the present. Say what? Once you figure that out ... it's pretty sweet.

Dear Photograph,
Dad always had the comfiest shoulder.
David

Check out the site for more.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Drinks: 3 Ingredients or Less

Since today is officially the start of summer, it's only fitting to talk summer drinks. As seen on The Twitter (as grandpa likes to call it), @nytimesdining asked followers to share their favorite summertime beverages, made of just three ingredients or less #3orless.

Here are a few tweets:

Summer in a glass: Dark rum, ginger beer, lime

St Germain, gin, lemon OR St Germain, champagne, lemon

Margarita on the rocks: Tequila, lime juice, simple syrup

Vodka, pink lemonade, mint leaves

Coconut Rum, Pineapple Juice, and Cranberry Juice, shaken over ice

1 part vodka, 2 parts lemonade, 2 parts lager. Serve on ice with lemon garnish

Check out the their Twitter feed for more: http://twitter.com/#!/nytimesdining

I'm heading out now to celebrate the longest day of the year with just a 1 ingredient drink. Keeping it simple, kiddos. Happy summer solstice to you and yours.

What are your summer go-to drinks?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Zumba: Yay or Nay?

If you'd like to do awkward hip thrusts in the company of strangers, while wishing you were invisible, might I suggest Zumba?

In my quest to do anything other than the elliptical at the gym, I've started adding a little Zumba to the mix. And I have to say,  it's really fun. The teacher incorporates some hip hop, plays great music, and the class really flies by. Not only am I now a master of international dance -- it's a nice change from my usual gym shenanigans. Plus, I'm fully prepared should I be invited to a mixer in a retirement community.

The point is, it's nice to switch up the gym routine, step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Even if your salsa looks like an inverted running man.

Would you try Zumba? 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Love in NOLA

Any readers out there from New Orleans?  I'm looking to interview people for a story for WEtv.com about why NOLA is such a romantic city (well, unless you're there for a bachelorette party during Mardi Gras). If you got married in The Big Easy, went on a weekend getaway, or grew up there, please leave a comment below if you're interested in sharing some info for my upcoming story. Thanks!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Cure for Writer's Block

 
Yes, it is true. Sometimes the best cure for Writers Block is to just go to sleep, especially at work (no?). But if you don't have your own office, a small cot, and a white noise sound machine, then you're out of luck ... and you'll have to resort to wearing this cute eye mask when you snooze at home.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Give Me S'more!

The night I skip a weekly Bachelorette viewing party, the lovely hostess whips up these:

© 2011 How Sweet It Is.

WTF! I was at home eating a freaking Popsicle.

Now that I'm done sulking, this S'mores Cake in a Jar recipe is from a fabulous blog that I will be bookmarking, How Sweet It Is. The writer and I have a lot in common. We're both named Jessica and we both love bacon. Except she makes s'mores in mason jars, and I'd probably start a house fire if I attempted such a thing. (Note to self - confirm renters insurance coverage.)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Maids of Dishonor?

After being in my fair share of weddings, I know what it takes to be a good, obedient bridesmaid. It's simple: You wear the dress they tell you to and keep your mouth shut. Unless of course they ask you to do silly things like ride down the aisle on horseback, or wear an updo. Then you need to speak up.

In a recent article I wrote for WEtv.com, I shared 10 bridesmaid "don'ts". Click here if you'd like to read it. Or keep reading for 5 of the essential tips:

1. Don't Be a Train Wreck. Keep it classy at the wedding, girls. Swigging out of a champagne bottle while screaming the lyrics to Thriller at the bride's grandma only ends badly. Very badly.
2. Don't Be a Whiner. No one really wants to play pin the macho on the man at the bachelorette party, not even the bride. But this is what we do for friends. Okay? So take a big sip out of that extra special straw (you know what I'm talking about), put the blindfold on and stop whining.
3. Don't Roast. Nothing kills what should be a heartfelt wedding speech faster than raunchy tales of hook-ups, escapades in Cancun and bad bathroom incidents (or a horrific combination of all three). Bridesmaids that cross the line when toasting their friend, not only offend (and possibly really hurt!) the bride and groom, but cause cringe-worthy moments for the rest of the crowd as well. It’s okay to poke fun a little, but keep the toasts tasteful!
4. Don’t Make it All About You. Just because you think it’s cute to walk your newborn down the aisle in a stroller covered in white streamers, the bride most likely will not. This is her big day, and what she says goes. Brides have to make a lot of decisions, and they take them seriously. Don’t make demanding requests when it comes to your role, and then sulk if she says “No”.

And now for the cheese:
5. Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Most importantly, remember that being a bridesmaid is an honor. Your BFF wants you by her side throughout the planning, the events and especially when she says “I do.” Even if she's a raging biatch, just give her a sandwich (she's definitely starving) and try to enjoy it!

This makes me want to see Bridesmaids again. Anyone else?

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Wedding in St. John

Rob Lowe My husband and I returned today from a fab 5 days in St. John celebrating the wedding of our friends.
(What's that you say? No, I'm not ashamed to have purchased this book. Okay, maybe a little.) 

We drank lots of delicious rum drinks, explored the area from the beach chairs to the pool, and went into Cruz Bay for great dinners and sunsets like this:
One day we got adventurous and rented a boat to tour the island by beach-hopping and snorkeling. Despite my fear of sea life, I blocked the Jaws theme song from my mind and took the plunge. The most traumatizing part was getting back ON the boat while wearing flippers. Not a good look for me, or anyone. This is where we snorkeled. Pretty sweet, huh? St. John is 2/3 national parks.
Then we went to the wedding. I feel bad posting pictures of the Mr. and Mrs. without their permission, so until then, here's this one of us. We look really happy a) because it was a really fun, beautiful wedding, and b) because this was before we got eaten alive by a swarm of angry mosquitoes.
Also, just an FYI: iguanas have no regard for your personal space. They will happily fall out of a tree and land directly on your head. Much like the honey badger, they don't give a shit.
If you're thinking of going on a vacation soon, go to St. John. It's beyond beautiful and so much fun.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Snag a Deal on Starbucks

Even though the barista said, "Patience is a virtue" when I very politely inquired about the whearabouts of my Mocha Light Frappucino, I would still like to pass along this great deal. Everyday from 3-5 (until May 16th), participating Starbucks are doing half-priced frappucino "happy hour." I'm a big fan of the light version - it's only 140 calories for a grande. And at around just 2 bucks ... why not?

Monday, May 9, 2011

How to Host a Sunday Funday

The perfect way to ward off the dreaded Sunday Blues is with a party, naturally. Sipping mimosas on a sunny afternoon clearly trumps laundry, grocery shopping and mail sorting. So this past Sunday, my husband and I invited our friends over and partied like it was Saturday. Since it was so much fun, I thought I'd share some tips for hosting your own afternoon soiree to cap off the weekend right: 

Tip 1: Create a Bloody Mary Bar
We set up a Bloody Mary Bar, complete with a ginormous bottle of vodka, two varieties of Bloody Mary mix (spicy and original), celery sticks, olives, horseradish, old bay, pepper, hot sauce and lime slices.

Tip 2: Serve Drinks in Mason Jars
I can take zero credit for this great idea. American Ice serves beer in mason jars, and my husband thought it would be fun if we did too. After a quick Google search, he found out that a box of jars could be ordered from the local hardware store for 10 bucks. Done and Done. 

Tip 3: Easy Snacks are Key
Hosts should never feel stressed on Sunday Funday. So food should be no fuss. I love cheese, like, a lot. And there's nothing more delish and simple than a cheese plate. I went to Whole Foods and bought my go-tos: Humboldt Fog, Robusto, Port Salut and a triple cream goat brie. Grapes and prosciutto are also nice to throw on there. Another genius idea from my hubby: herbed goat cheese stuffed peppadew peppers. Beyond easy and they're so good. (He watches a lot of Food Network.) My friends made some delicious dips (onion, 7-layer, roasted veggie) and a shrimp ceviche. And lastly ... I made these Blondies from Smitten Kitchen. All it takes is about 5 ingredients, including an entire bag of chocolate chips.Mmmkay.

Tip 4: Load up on Champagne
Some people would rather go for bubbly than a Bloody Mary. We had a pitcher of OJ and plenty of champagne for mimosas.  

Tip 5: Get a Party Bucket
Beer and wine looks more festive in this "party beverage server" from Crate & Barrel.

Basically - get a lot of booze, hope for nice weather, and enjoy the day not thinking about your to-do list at the office. However, it's important to note that while Sunday Fundays are really awesome ... monday mornings at work are not so awesome. 

What are your tips for a great Sunday afternoon party? Any bloody mary bar essentials?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Engagement Ring Woes?

Every girl dreams about getting engaged — from the perfect location to the perfect guy. But what if you don’t get your perfect ring? (Cue brakes-screeching-to-a-halt sound effect.) Who can forget when Carrie Bradshaw did some snooping on Sex and the City, only to be horrified when she uncovered what Aiden had in store for her? Although Samantha came to the rescue and did some damage control before he popped the question, not all brides get a pre-engagement intervention.

So how do you approach a sticky situation without totally bursting his bubble and dissing the ring he spent time, money and serious effort selecting? If deep down you’re feeling a bit disappointed, smile big and stay focused on the happiness surrounding your engagement (ya know, getting to spend the rest of your life with a guy you’re madly in love with), rather than the fact that you don’t like the side stones or width of the band. The night you get engaged is for celebrating, drinking champagne and calling everyone and their mother to share the great news. Pouting over size, shape and stones is a major buzz kill. Redoing the setting or upgrading to a larger stone for a special anniversary isn’t out of the question. Just don’t be a brat (you know it's bratty) and bring it up when you should be basking in the glow of post-engagement bliss!


Have any of you gals been in a sticky situation like this? Leave a comment below!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Real Weddings, Royal Disasters

This is a groomsman in my co-worker Kelly's wedding. This weekend. Uh-oh...



Even if you're as poised as Kate, last minute "issues" undoubtedly arise before or at the wedding, putting the sanest bride into a panic. No matter how perfect your planning is ... sometimes you get stuck with with capri pants.

Although The Royal Wedding went off without a hitch, I'm sure Kate had her own version of capri pants. Millions of people around the world scrutinized, analyzed, blogged, tweeted and commented on her every move. Simply making eye contact with David Beckham during the ceremony would have been enough to make her faint. Plus, she could have been seriously injured by one of her guests' hats.

Whether you're royalty, or just a commoner, all brides should throw that notion of "perfect" out the window ... or out of that horse drawn carriage. Stuff will go wrong. And like bride-to-be Kelly  - you just have to laugh about it, shake it off, and make sure that new pants are overnighted in time for the ceremony. 

Congrats Kelly!!

Click here to learn how to put together your own bridal survival kit

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Name Change: Do or Don't?

You know what was really "in" when our parents' generation got married? Brown velvet tuxedos, bridemaids dresses that doubled as living room drapes, and saying 'I do' approximately four minutes after graduating from college. Clearly things have changed. Grooms no longer look like extras from the set of Saturday Night Fever, friends don't let friends wear polyester, and people settle down with the "one" a bit later in life (after we've had ample time to weed out all the wrong "ones").

This makes that whole name-change thing a lot harder than it was for our moms. While it was practically unheard of not to take their husband's name back in the day ... now, more and more women I know (including myself - I've been married a year and a half) just haven't gotten around to it ... or don't want to. We've had a longer time to define who we are as adults, with our last names there every step of the way. Just like so many other things you let go of when you grow up, the name you had your whole life, is just plain hard say goodbye to.

When I do eventually change my name, it probably won't be as big a deal as I'm envisioning. But as a gal who has never been good with change (Umm, yes, I was that girl who would have gladly gone home with my parents the day they dropped me off at college), I know it will be sort of bittersweet.

Did you take the plunge and change your name right after you got hitched? Too lazy to go through the motions? Still debating a switch? Or is a name-change an absolute no-no? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cool Ideas for Engagement Sessions

My husband and I did our engagement session at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. Upon arrival, my photographer told us to lock our belongings in his car and run screaming should a homeless man dart out of the woods while peeing. Apparently this actually happened during his last shoot there. Regardless, the gardens were beautiful (a hidden gem I had no clue about growing up in the burbs), the pictures turned out great, and I only slightly felt like the lead in a horror movie. 

Speaking of engagement sessions, I just finished up a photo gallery for WEtv.com featuring unique, whimsical, creative images snapped by some truly awesome wedding photographers. Gone are the days of "let's pose awkwardly and gaze into each others eyes without a hair out of place" images. Now, it's all about incorporating a location, activity, interest or experience that represents your relationship. Here's a few -- stay tuned for the gallery.

Who cares about travel delays if it means you'll meet the person you're going to marry? This couple met at the San Fran airport and did their engagement session with Blueberry Photography there too.
 
Blueberry Photography

I'd like to frame this in my house even though I don't know them. Is that weird? Biking the streets of NYC - love it. Click  here for more from Casey Fatchett Photography.
Casey Fatchett Photography

My Amtrak rides have never been this glamorous or martini filled. (Although I do fancy myself a tiny bottle of wine from the snack car.) This New Orleans couple took their engagement shoot on the road with a "travel through time" themed session. Click here for more from Adam Hudson Photography.
Adam Hudson Photography

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Perfect Plant

Not only are succulent plants really cute, they seem nearly impossible to kill. They store water in their leaves, stems and roots ... perfect for a flighty (but good intentioned) plant caretaker like myself. After an unfortunate situation with an orchid, I've steered clear of house plants. But, according to the nice man at Spruce, succulents just need to be misted every two weeks. If they can survive in a desert, they can surely survive in my living room. Here's to hoping. 

photo: Spruce Princeton

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Flirty and Fun Bridesmaid Dresses

Asking your friends to shell out big bucks for a shiny-satin-floor-length-disaster of a bridesmaids dress they'll never wear again is just cruel. Luckily, it's actually easier than you think to find something they'll look and feel good in on your big day. These styles are seriously cute and worthy of another wear -- wedding or not!



Anthropologie’s new wedding shop, BHLDN boasts a collection of fabulous frocks for bridesmaids, including this sweet strapless bubble dress. The structured bodice, sash-tied waist and side pockets add detail and charm. Available in grapefruit, dried lavender, grass and butterfly print.

Hello, yellow! For a bold bridal party, choose a cheery, bright color. Plus, the waistband and A-line skirt with pleated detail of this Jenny Yoo style will flatter any figure. Tip: super bright colors are better suited for a smaller group of b-maids. You don’t want to look like a bride surrounded by a huge pack of bumblebees on your big day.





Your “maids” will love this delicately draped Melissa Sweet crinkle chiffon dress. The asymmetric fabric overlays are romantic, with a fashion forward vibe.










Click here to check out more from my photo gallery on WEtv.com!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

De-stress During Wedding Planning

All brides experience stress. It’s unavoidable when you’re juggling the demands of wedding planning and real life (you know, that little old job that pays the bills?). But if normal bouts of stress start spiraling out of control, it could impact your physical and mental well-being. So put down the pint of ice cream (your friends Ben & Jerry can’t make those centerpieces any cheaper), and read on for helpful tips and tricks to cope with pre-wedding angst.

First, it’s important to understand the source of your stress and then figure out how it can be minimized or eliminated completely. Is it the budget, your future mother-in-law, or feeling constantly overwhelmed with your to-do list? Luckily, a budget can be modified. The mother-in-law can be temporarily avoided thanks to caller ID. (This is just a short-term solution, gals. She’s here to stay, so learn to live with her.) And a to-do list can be tackled by simply asking for help. Bridesmaids aren’t there to just look pretty. Make ‘em work!

While certain issues can luckily be resolved quickly, many brides experience chronic stress. Thea Singer, author of Stress Less: The New Science That Shows Women How to Rejuvenate the Body and the Mind, says that a bad case of pre-wedding stress can impact everything from your immune system to sleep habits… even your relationships. So not only will you be more susceptible to illness and infection, but your fiancé can’t escape your wedding warpath.

Click here to read the rest of my article on WeTV.com.