Tuesday, July 28, 2009
This was definitely the fanciest bridal shower I have ever been involved in. Of course, if you knew the bride, you would understand why. Ruby is a girly girl who loves pink and earned the nickname "princess" back in the early days of our friendship when we were new lawyers at a large law firm living in NYC for the first time. A couple of co-workers even inter-office mailed her a tiara once.
The bride's sisters and I threw the shower together and while it did take quite a bit of coordination and advanced planning, it was well worth the effort because it all came together so beautifully. The planning did not move forward without some bumps in the road - some fairly signifcant even, including a what felt at the time catastrophic fight among the sisters. Luckily I am pretty much an expert on seemingly catstrophic fights with sisters so I was well equipped to listen and counsel and do my best to help smooth it all over.
We held the shower at a beautiful tea house called Lady Mendl's near Union Square. If you want to experience a five-course high tea in elegant Victorian surroundings, please make a reservation next time you are in town - you will not be disappointed. The food is pretty and dainty and tasty and includes a miniature quiche to start, a variety of crustless, triangle tea sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam followed by delicious slice of cake and a variety of cookies and chocolate dipped strawberries. Oh, and of course there is the tea. A wide array of teas, including a great herbal selection.
The private room was beautifully decorated when we arrived and all we had to do was add a homemade cupcake to each place setting and arrange a side-table with the favor boxes - more cupcakes to take home. Yes, this was definitely a sweet-tooth satisfying event. The sisters and I made the cupcakes the night before - red velvet (the bride's favorite) and lemon with lemon curd filling and chocolate ganache frosting. The cupcakes were topped with a smattering of edible pearls I purchased online that one of the sisters took it upon herself to carefully arrange atop each cupcake. The original intent was for the cupcakes to simply occupy the favor boxes for take-home consumption but we made so many and they were so pretty we decided they couldn't all be hidden away in boxes so we decorated enough for each guest to have one at her seat and one for later. The favor boxes turned out even better than I imagined as well tied with an organza ribbon and a silken sachet of "wedding" tea I found online.
Other than the sisters, none of the guests have met the groom since he currently resides across the country in San Francisco until post-nuptials. So the highlight of the shower was when we surprised Ruby and all her guests with a video featuring her fiance. Several weeks earlier we had emailed him a list of questions and he obliged us by having his sister video tape his responses. He earned bonus points from me right there by so easily complying with our request. Of course, when I pre-screened his answers the night before in the seclusion of my own apartment with just the sisters as witnesses I will admit that in addition to laughing at his fun sense of humor and smiling upon confirming his much talked about laid back California-ness, there were a few moments when I felt the sting of tears upon hearing such tender words of love spoken about my dear friend. At the shower, his responses were met with laughter and a large number of girly "aaaaahhh"s. God and Fate and each of the couple's families (who set them up!) did a remarkable job in bringing these two together despite being separated by a continent.
After the fun of seeing how well this couple knows each other, we played a shower game that I think generally gets a bad rap - the toilet paper bridal gown. We put everyone in teams of three and gave them a few rolls of toilet paper and these women got creative. I guess Project Runway has inspired a few people because we had some admirable efforts.
The gift opening ended the afternoon with Ruby pulling off a hat made out of a mess of bows that she tolerated me tying haphazardly around her head. Once we had all of the gifts packed up and finished saying goodbye to most of the guests Ruby suggested we go somewhere for drinks with the small group of us that was left lingering on the sidewalk in front of the brownstone. One of the sisters and I were a little wary of walking around the City with armfuls of giftbags tottering on stilettos that were ready to be kicked off but with a little coaxing we were talked into walking a block over to the W hotel where we laughed at some of the events from the shower and everyone swapped wedding stories.
It was such a fun shower that it made me want to fast forward to the wedding weekend. Luckily, I get to leave in two days!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I have to say, the passed appetizers were delicious - and creative! Ceviche in little cucumber cups. I don't know whose job it was to carve out those little cucumber cups but I found them delightful (sorry, no photo). There were also crab cakes and tuna tartar on top of fried plantain and surprisingly delicious figs wrapped in prosciutto. I enjoyed a lovely virgin sunrise to wash it all down.
When the happy couple arrived after their photo shoot walk through Central Park, they looked radiant. I have known the groom for a number of years now and I have never seen him look this happy. Wait, I should emphasize that I have never known him to not have a sarcastic and generally wry commentary on pretty much everything. On his wedding day? No sarcasm - just pure joy.
Just when we are all afraid we would melt in the heat (we just have not had enough heat this summer to build up any tolerance), the doors to the air-conditioned banquet room were opened and I found myself at a table with four other single women and one married couple. Happily, they were the newlyweds who kicked off this four-wedding run back in June. Which means I got to hear about the honeymoon and actually get to know the new husband a bit.
There was a little bit of dancing, some really fun toasts - the mom's made most of us cry, the 18-year old brother's made us all laugh and the two absentee friends with the video toast made most of us at my table query why Paul had never introduced us to the attractive single one. I guess I should wait a respectable post-honeymoon time period before emailing him, right? I managed to get one quick pic with the newlyweds and a bit of Paul's humor when I commented on how I have never seen him dance (and as Mormon singles, we often find ourselves at dances), his reply? I've never had a reason to dance before now [spoken with a large grin that never left his face]! Oh and that beautiful bride of his? A lawyer. Well done Paul for not only talking about how much you like smart girls but marrying one.
Oh, did you want a better look at that dress I'm wearing? That is my one and only Diane Von Furstenburg dress I purchased a [ahem] few years ago for my 10 year high school reunion. I tried it on a few weeks ago and it didn't fit very well. I was planning on another dress but as I was getting ready I tried it on again on a whim - and it fits! And I felt great in it! I just had to be careful with the flirty skirt because there was a breeze flying off that water.
Take another look at the view without me blocking the way. So pretty - it felt like I was on the set of a movie. One of those fun romantic comedies. I love that after nine years of New York I can still get caught up in its romance.
The wedding also gave me an opportunity to catch up with a couple whose romance started right in my apartment! Sort of. That's a story for another day. But they are closing in on their two year wedding anniversary which reminds me how fast time slips by. We enjoyed a beautiful (but hot) walk across Central Park that left each of us saying - "Wow, I've never been to this part of the park" several times. Luckily I tossed some flip flops in my purse because I would not have survived even half the walk in my heels.
I finished Saturday reading on my roof until the wind impatiently turned my pages a bit too quickly for me and doing some laundry. Not too exciting but it was nice not to be in charge of anything for the weekend.
I had a rough night that had me up for several hours with terrible stomach cramps of an unknown origin that luckily have not reappeared. As a result I slept in fairly late and reluctantly checked my blackberry for the dreaded email informing me it was time to face reality and return to the office. It was my lucky day because the email instead proposd a 9 am Monday meeting - hooray!
How did I spend my previously allocated to work time? Straightening up the apartment, watching tv, doing a bit of pre-packing for my trip to wedding number four and talking on the phone with various family and friends. I also went for another run - that is 3 runs in 3 days after two weeks of nothing.
Luck was on my side again today because I managed to get back from my run before this hit:
You can't tell from the photo but it was practically a monsoon - torrential rain blown sideways from the wind with some hail mixed in and lots and lots of thunder and lightening. I actually love these thunderstorms so I enjoyed watching it out my window. And how did I decide to finish my weekend confined to my apartment by the rain?
By collecting whatever ingredients I could find that could form a stir-fry dinner. I knew I had some left over rice and barley in the fridge and a pork chop in the freezer so I turned to my new favorite cookbook for inspiration. I was happy to discover I had one shallot lying around and my broccoli had not gone bad. I had some good basics for a stir fry - I just wish I'd had some garlic because that would have given it the extra punch I was really looking for.
I hope you had a great weekend as well. I promise I will tell you about last weekend's bridal shower shortly and I also promise to remember to take my camera to next weekend's wedding because I am sure that one is going to be amazing!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Anyway, in my absence (and hopefully it won't be much longer because I've got some great stories and photos from the bridal shower last weekend), please go here and check out some of the fantastic photos from my sister's wedding. Natalie is a fabulous photographer who isn't afraid to make things a little edgy (remember the bridal photos?). Thanks Natalie for capturing so many great details from Erin's wedding.
And to my friends who saved the day and helped put the favors together - thank you again and don't miss the photo of your little favors in action. (Mickey, I'm sorry the bow was not properly lined up, I guess we needed you to place them at the tables to pose for their photo shoot as well!)
Thursday, July 16, 2009
|From Drop Box|
Before Saturday night I thought I had attended some fun bachelorette parties - even some a little bit wild and crazy bachelorette parties. But no one knows how to end their single days like my dear friend Ruby. I should have known.
We started the evening off with dinner at Buddakhan in the fancy Meat Packing district - which is generally entirely too cool for me. Luckily I went with people who looked like they belong there. A group of gorgeous girls who knew how to rock 4 and even 5 inch heels!!! And everyone survived the looooong walk on the highly waxed floor past the long table of men without falling despite the fact it felt like walking on an ice rink. In heels. Each step caused your heel to fish tail a bit which required you to adapt a tip-toe ridiculous walk to and from the bathroom. I was happy to hear I wasn't the only one with this struggle.
After an incredibly delicious family style dinner of three courses which made me grateful for my billowy shirt (despite the fact I would despise the shirt and its ill-placed billows in all the photos), we braved the drizzly rain to head to location #2: of which I wish I knew the name. All I know is there was a long line, a couple of bouncers and a velvet rope, all of which we bipassed and were ushered straight to our own private table. Well, coffee table and dancing nook. And wow, was I grateful for that nook. The one time we ventured onto the main dance floor, I quickly realized my mistake and retreated back to the nook where the bride-to-be's sister comandeered a bongo which we played with for a while. So much so that later on a couple of us discovered we had a few bruises from our exuberant drumming. One of my bruises is still a little sore.
There were definitely a few times I was ready to go home but managed to push forward and find energy resources I did not realize I had. Until. Well, until the club was closing down. Wow. I think that is something you are supposed to do in your 20s, not your 30s . . .
But those of us who were still around weren't ready to head to bed yet so we caught a cab to a diner and kept the party going. Mostly discovering unnoticed bruises and getting really excited about chocolate milk shakes . . . at 5 in the morning. We watched the sun rise out the window - or at least watched the sky turn from black to blue - and learned about disco fries. Or I should say - DISCO FRIES! That is what happens when you hang out with Canadians all night - they convince you to try french fries covered in cheese and gravy. Yeah, not as exciting and delicious as the Disco Fries name might suggest.
I stumbled into my apartment building in the full light of day at 6 am. It was a very exciting evening but I do not foresee repeating it any time soon.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Ninth, lose your appetite for most of the day.
Tenth, leave town for a couple of days to give the bug spray some time to work its magic.
That is as far as I have made it in the process. I know it worked because grossly enough, I was happy to discover dead - DEAD! - bug carcasses in my cupboards. Now I just need to find time for steps 11-15 which involves vacuuming and scrubbing those shelves down 2-5 more times with a strong disinfectant, re-purchase all my dry goods and put everything back in the cupboards so that the box of food isn't left in my hallway and the dishes aren't on the "safe" side of the kitchen. Happily, it seems, only one half of the kitchen was infested. For good measure I scrubbed down all shelves and counter tops but since I never saw anything creeping around near the stove, I felt comfortable leaving everything that was washed over there.
Now I just have to cross my fingers, say a prayer, throw some salt or chant whatever mantra is necessary to prevent these critters from creeping their way back into my home. Especially since Saturday I am scheduled for a bit of a bake-a-thon to make cupcakes for bridal shower favors . . . .
The one thing I have learned about prevention is this: freeze your dry goods after purchasing and store them in sealed containers. That way if you do buy something that is already infested (and apparently this is a common pest), you can kill them in the freezer before you ever spy them squirming around in your waffle mix.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
I've been to SF a few times but it always seems I'm there for these quick trips where I don't get to take full advantage. I would love to have a few ideas on the ready in case I find myself free and I don't necessarily want to rely on collegues for ideas although they are my backup if blogging fails. Any suggestions?
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
I don't know what happened to my final draft with my scribbled notes scrawled all over it, I think I left it at my table after the wedding luncheon. I'm going to refrain from editing this again and just let you know that, more or less, this is what I said in my speech. I gave a bit of an introduction to start out but forgot to introduce myself . . . oops.
This is a bittersweet day for me. On the one hand (the very sweet hand), I am overjoyed with my sister’s decision to marry Jaymon and I am so very happy to welcome him as an official part of our family. Jaymon, I realize we are not an easy clan to join – we’re loud, we’re opinionated, we have a tendency to try and one-up each other with our lengthy stories. What’s worse, you may have noticed, most of us (excepting our mother and your beautiful bride) are convinced we are always right – perhaps that is why each of Erin’s siblings are lawyers. I’ve been told that can be intimidating. But Jaymon, you have shown incredible stamina over the years in tolerating our . . . I’ll call them idiosyncrasies – and continually standing by Erin’s side and the only thing I can attribute that amount of patience and tolerance to is your love for and devotion to my sister. You love her enough to look past the fact that along with gaining an incredible wife, you are gaining three overbearing and obnoxious lawyers for in-laws. And I, speaking for my family, am thrilled to welcome you with open arms into our family (officially).
You remember that I mentioned this is bittersweet for me, right? Well, that is the sweet part. The other side of it is the mostly overshadowed – I won’t go so far as to call it bitter – part of today. But I can’t tell you it is easy to give up my sister and know it is time for our relationship to evolve. I have only one sister, and as you all should know, I got very lucky with that one sister. She is a gifted artist, hilariously funny and an incredibly loyal sister. But I do not just consider her my sister. She is my go-to adventure travel companion, my entertain-me-when-I’m-bored email, text or phone call responder, the best roommate I ever had, one of my biggest supporters and my dearest friend. I know that won’t change when she gets married, but I recognize she is moving into a new stage of her life and we can’t run off to Peru or Iceland quite as readily any more.
Or course, our relationship has had to evolve many times throughout our lives and I have to admit to everyone here, it is hard letting your little sister grow up and become her own person. To turn from the annoying tag-along who is too young to understand and has the habit of imitating you, to a beautiful and independent woman with her own thoughts, ideas and contribution. As soon as I stopped fighting that growth and resisted the temptation to constantly label her as my “little sister” dismissively, I learned I could have something better than a “little sister”, I could have a friend, confidante and adventure companion who could show me her view of the world.
And what a view that is. Erin is a visual person. She always has been. She sees the world through a different set of eyes and if you are lucky – as I have been so many times – she will share her view of the world with you through her art, through her photographs or by simply directing you on where to look with your regular old every day perspective on the world, and the result? Awe. Erin’s unique view of the world is one of the innumerable reasons why I value our friendship – our sisterhood – so dearly.
A couple of years ago we drove around Iceland, just the two of us, a miniature version of a 4 wheel drive, a couple of guidebooks, a map and an ipod full of music. Oh, and Erin’s brand new camera. I was the driver and Erin watched the scenery and apologized for asking to stop to take advantage of the lighting and the spectacular views. I learned another miniscule step in how to look at the world around me with an artist’s eye and gained an impressive collection of vacation photos worthy of any coffee table book.
[I actually feared I was talking too much and skipped this paragraph at the wedding but I'm leaving it in here just in case Erin decides to read it.] I have one story from Erin’s childhood that is repeated more than any other in our family lore. As I mentioned, Erin has two brothers and a sister who are fairly competitive. Growing up we were each, at varying times, on softball and baseball teams and while I do not believe any of us were ever the weakest member of our team, but none of us were really the star and for my brothers and me, that led to frustration which often led to tears. But Erin? Erin was more about the process than the result of winning or losing or being the star. She enjoyed hanging out at the park under the sun with a number of peers with the ability to run around once in a while. She didn’t get upset over a loss or a missed play. And yet, of all of the children in our family, Erin is the only one of us to make a really spectacular play. When she was about 9 years old she was playing third base and when the crack of the bat signaled the ball had been hit, she instinctively stuck out her glove to protect herself from the ball heading straight at her and caught it. When everyone yelled at her to tag her base, she made a double play as we all erupted in cheers with an underlying twinge of jealousy.
Jaymon, I know you and Erin have known each other a long time so I doubt there is much of anything new that I can tell you about her. But as an overbearing and often overly protective older sister, I would be remiss if I did not ask you to watch over her tender soul. Erin is the peace maker in our family. She is sensitive to the needs of others and while she will not always show it on the outside, she feels things very deeply. Growing up, when we all got in trouble, our father would ask us to “LINE UP!” and as we stood there enduring interrogation from our father as he searched for the culprit, Erin would meekly accept responsibility and admit to whatever had been done, regardless of her actual actions. My brothers and I were like the cartoon characters who take a couple of giant steps back to avoid culpability, leaving Erin as the vulnerable volunteer by default. Do not abuse her willingness to accept blame as we did for so long. Take care of her heart, it is a good one and will return to you more love than you have the capacity to accept.
For the sake of symmetry, I will close with both a toast to the newlyweds and a second quote from George Eliot, one that expresses more eloquently than I ever could, the type of sister and friend Erin is and which will translate well into the type of wife she will be.
- George Eliot
Please join me in raising your glasses to the newlyweds.
Monday, July 06, 2009
- flying home after two nights in a row of less than 4 hours sleep
- realizing I forgot my camera on the way to the airport
- not sleeping on the plane but managing to gather all the scraps of paper and post-its I had collected with bits and pieces of what I wanted to include in my toast to my sister and pulling a somewhat cohesive draft together
- going to a salon to get my arms waxed with my mom and sister
- putting wedding favors together with my ever reliable high school friends which gave me the opportunity to sit around a table with them and catch up on everyone's lives outside of blogging and facebook
- eating the delicious truffles that were meant to be put in the favor bags (no worries, we had plenty)
- driving to my sister's new house in a summer thunderstorm and getting thoroughly soaked when I tried to dash into the house from the car
- having the feeling hit me that my sister has taken a number of giant steps into adulthood - marriage, homeownership - and feeling a twinge of jealousy for that whole "settling down" thing
- walking into my parent's house for the first time without Malcolm there . . . I cried a lot over Malcolm's loss last week. I also laughed a lot reminiscing over his antics and his sweetness and his long, long life.
- Cafe Rio with my mom and dad - and feeling bad that Malcolm wasn't there to polish off the remnants of my salad
- working on my blackberry in the car in the mall parking lot
- last minute shoe, jewelry and makeup shopping with my mom and sister
- observing the unbelievably beautiful sky full of left-over thunder clouds and irridescent light at 9 o'clock at night
- getting my measurements taken by my mother for my next wedding - which required immediate measurements so the suit could be ordered from India!
- falling into bed completely wiped out around 1030 pm after being awake since 2:30 a.m. Utah time on Wednesday
- catching up over an early morning breakfast wtih my judge and co-clerk
- writing the last bits of my toast on my laptop on my parent's back patio on a sunny morning
- having a second breakfast with my parents and sister of pumpkin pancakes (who can turn those down?)
- getting manicures with my sister (hers was great, mine was not)
- going to the spa with my mom and sister for facials and pedicures then sitting in the sauna afterwards as long as we could stand it
- running through the rain to get the car afterwards while trying not to slide around in my flip flops too much
- eating at Cafe Trio for the first time and loving it!
- running last minute errands with my sister the night before her wedding - including a lengthy stop at Office Max to find the perfect pen
- joking with my sister about my "snaggle nail" from the bad manicure
- indulging my sister when she kept forgetting important things and had to go back to her house
- spending the night before my sister's wedding - just the two of us - in a quiet hotel eating leftover pizza from our late lunch/early dinner at 10 pm and then talking in the dark until we both fell asleep
- getting up at 6 am on Wedding Day but letting Erin sleep until 630
- breakfast at the hotel and a drive downtown for hair appointments
- a brief panic when a couple of rings of the doorbell at the still-closed salon went unanswered for a couple of minutes too long
- loving the incredible job the stylist did in giving my sister an amazingly elegant hair-do for her big day
- staying calm when my hair stylist was 25 minutes late, unapologetic, downright surly and resorted to backcombing over skilled use of a hair dryer to fix my hair
- explaining to my sister that as her maid of honor, it was my job to take on all the bad things so everything went smoothly for her - and it worked
- arriving at the wedding venue at the same time as the photographer while still in shorts and t-shirts, no makeup and dresses in hand
- getting ready with my sister in the bride's room - just the two of us - doing our own makeup
- how perfect the wedding day went - we were running a little late but it all went so very smoothly
- being very, very happy for my sister
- feeling that the wedding and luncheon went by too fast
- giving my toast without crying . . . okay, so I cried a tiny bit, in a good way
- seeing how incredibly happy my sister's now husband was
- sending the couple off in a flurry of bubbles
- realizing I forgot to put several items in their car that they were sure to need - like their camera and Erin's overnight bag . . . oops!
- texting Erin to tell her of my mistake
- loading all the gifts and flowers and extras into my car and driving home alone
- until I received a call from Erin and I had to detour to her house to give her the overnight bag and unload the gifts
- taking the hundreds of bobby pins out of Erin's hair so Jaymon wouldn't have to do it on his own
- feeling sad about not talking to my sister for several days despite the fact that I would still be in town
- hanging out with my family at my parent's house - and following my niece as she wandered around the backyard playing in the dirt and the grass
- trying to stay awake through the impromptu bbq that my dad threw together after extended family showed up
- sitting on the backyard swing holding my cousin's baby while being pushed by my very cute 3-year old cousin and feeling relaxed for the first time in . . . ages.
- driving to my hotel and watching fireworks explode around the city
- sleeping in all the way to 8 am for the first time since arriving
- quickly checking out of my hotel so I can make outdoor breakfast at my parent's house
- enjoying more backyard time with my niece
- running at my high school's track and realizing running on a track is as boring as a treadmill
- realizing that SLC's altitude really does have an impact on my lungs - a negative one
- wondering at the lack of memories that came with walking onto my high school's grounds for possibly only the second or third time since graduation (I know I went back once for my sister's graduation but can't think of anything else)
- picking out fireworks for the evening at a parking lot stand
- giving my brothers the tour of our sister's house but mostly playing in the backyard with my niece who preferred that part to anything actually in the house
- picking out some fun clothes for my niece with my mom at Old Navy
- playing at the park with my niece, her parents and my mom
- cooking with my family for our 4th of July bbq
- my dad somehow managing to cut his leg when he was supposed to be cutting a watermelon
- enjoying a delicious bbq of shishkabob chicken, corn on the cob, watermelon & tomato salad, german potato salad and arugula & goat cheese salad while sitting on the back patio listening to the fabulous jazz playlist my brother put together for the wedding
- making lemon cupcakes with lemon zest ganache and blueberry whipped cream with my mom loosely adapted from my brand new Martha Stewart Cupcakes book
- watching the fireworks display my brothers put together for us in the cul-de-sac which featured an almost forgotten bag of contraband fireworks procured by my brother in Wyoming in the fall of 2001. He purchased the fireworks on a roadtrip heading east but forgot he wouldn't be able to haul his loot home on an airplane so the fireworks stayed at my aunt and uncle's house in Pennsylvania until they moved back to Utah a year or so later. By then, my brother was living in Oregon and then DC and the fireworks eventually settled into my parent's garage until they were reclaimed last Saturday.
- yes, we were a bit worried about the safety of the fireworks but my brothers pressed forward and took a number of precautions. Primarily of telling all the neighbor kids who were lingering outside after their own fireworks display to "stay on the sidewalk".
- the perfect temperature that night
- eating too many cupcakes while watching fireworks
- staying up too late talking to my mom
- hanging out with my niece for an hour or so before I had to leave to catch my flight
I would love to share photos of the long weekend if I had them but, as mentioned at the beginning, I forgot my camera. I still can't believe it. I will say it was a bit freeing not to have to think about taking photos all the time although I was kind of sad not to capture my pretty cupcakes - they had festive raspberries and blueberries on top.
I hope you all had a great 4th of July!