Friday, February 15, 2013

Sneak Peek

So, I obviously gave up on this blog when crunch time came, but I will post photos eventually, for posterity's sake. Here's two that show my rings:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fitness Update- Juice Cleanse

I haven’t blogged in some time- the wedding planning stage has finally moved from ‘daydreaming and securing a vendor here and there’ to ‘EVERYTHING MUST BE DONE NOOOOOWWWWWW’. The last few months were stressful on their own, and also very, very busy. I struggled to keep my head above water with planning, and really struggled with diet and exercise. Strike that- I ceased struggling with diet and exercise and simply ate- and drank- whatever the hell I wanted.

So here I am, approximately 10 weeks away from my first fitting and nowhere near my fitness goal. I realized I needed to jolt my system in order to kick start healthy eating. Also, I was feeling the effects of months of poor nutrition and limited exercise in more places than my waistline. I’d heard great things about juice cleanses and had an unredeemed groupon-style discount voucher for a local company, so last week, I went for it.

I used Jill Pettijohn’s Juice Cleanse. She is local to NYC and delivers within Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. The juices are also available for pick up in Brooklyn. Daily pickup or delivery is recommended in order to have the freshest juice possible and to mainatin variety, so I chose to pick up each day rather than pay the (pricey) delivery fee.

If you are not familiar- a juice cleanse is nutritional and meant to give the digestive system a break from breaking down solid food in order to rest, and focus on eliminating built up toxins in your body. A bonus effect is weight loss. It is sometimes referred to as a fast or confused with the Master Cleanse. The Master Cleanse is the famous ‘Beyonce Cleanse’- during the cleanse you mix water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper togather and subsist only on that concotion and water for days on end. Jill’s- and a similar system, the Blue Print Cleanse- is different. You consume 6 different juices daily- 2 ‘green juices’ (made of, varyingly, kale, celery, spinach, cucumber, etc), two ‘lemonades’ (consisting mainly of fruits), one ‘soup’ (carrot & ginger one night, borshte another) and an eveing nut milk (entirely vegan- the nut milk is sweet and considered your treat of the day).

So how did I fare? Well, to start, I woke up with a terrible cold and sore throat the day before I was to start the cleanse. I was worried at first; was it a good idea to juice while sick? I have horrible luck with colds- I cannot remember the last time I caught a cold and it did not turn into a sinus infection, bronchitus, etc. Then I read online that some people actually recommend the cleanse during times of illness. (Of course it is noted everywhere to check with your doctor first, in any circumstance.) So my overall results could be skewed; however, the timing worked in my favor. I am almost 100% better, and I didn’t need antibiotics. I have never recovered as quickly as I did while juicing. Freaking miraculous.

The big question is- did I cheat? Well, yes- a tiny bit. I found the hardest time to resist solids to be when I arrived home from work in the evening. My usual routine is to come home, pour a glass of wine and have a snack while contemplating dinner.  Walking in the door with just two or three remaining juices (I usually drank the second lemonade on the way home), my willpower sunk. Twice I broke down and ate something; luckily I limited it to a handful of pistachios. I also broke down and drank something, but again I tempered it- a hot toddy. Hot tea with lemon and honey and a dash of whiskey. This was during the first couple days, when I was still being pummeled by the cold and sore throat. And I never finished or even drank half of the tea & whiskey- just having it there seemed to make me feel better, and a few sips were enough to soothe my throat.

Light cardio is recommended if you feel up to it, as is sitting in a sauna- working up a sweat helps get the toxins out. Again, I was a little limited from feeling under the weather for the first 3 days, but by Friday I felt well enough to attempt the ass-kicking Strength for the Core class at my gym. I struggled through it, then decided to hop on the treadmill for half an hour. I came home knackered- a result of both not having been to the gym in far too long and overextending myself, and not giving my body enough fuel because I’d skipped some juice. The night before, I’d skipped the dinner soup entirely- it was borscht, of which I am not a fan. And I only drank about a third of the nut milk. Friday, gym day, I’d gone to the class having skipped the dinner juice again, and not finished either of the green juices.  When I got home I created a bootleg sauna by running the hot water in the bathroom and stuffing a towel under the crack in the door, draped a towel over the toilet and read a damp book for 20 minutes. Ah. An hour later I was passed out in bed.

So my last ‘cheat’- I didn’t complete the final day. I’d stupidly left two juices out on the counter all day, and they looked questionable. And I hated one of the remaining juices (the soups and green juices are rough if you are not used to drinking liquified vegetables!). As a result of over-exercising the night before, I woke up feeling like I’d gotten run over by a dump truck. I could barely move. I chugged the daily green, which perked me up a little, but I realized there was no way I was going to make it to Sunday morning on 4 juices and fumes. I juiced until the afternoon, then got a large salad. This is the recommended way to break the cleanse- raw greens. So I don’t feel too badly about it- it was my fault, not the cleannse’s, that I couldn’t get through the last couple of hours, but at least I didn’t break down and inhale a grilled cheese.


First, I feel really good! I have more energy and a better attitude towards everything. My wedding to-do list seems slightly less daunting.

One of the major things the cleanse did is reset my taste buds and eating habits. I was able to shake my compulsion to snack every time I was sitting idley, working or watching TV or going online. I also got used to eating fresh and natural. On Sunday morning I went back to the gym and bought a bottled juice drink- a blend of fruit with extra ‘boosts’ of vitamins, flax seed etc. Unfortunately, being a pre-bottled drink, it also came with a big boost of sugar, and it tasted terrible. I can assure you I didn’t have a problem with sugar before I started the cleanse. Also, the lack of solid food shrunk my stomach. I’ve been getting full much faster.

My skin isn’t generally a problem area, but I had some persistent recurring tiny bumps that popped up around the edge of my face. During the course of the cleanse, I didn’t so much as wash my face- just rinsed it during the shower and moisturized. Those bumps usually require a round- or two, or three- of exfoliating and heavy moisturizing. But this morning I realized- those bumps are gone. COMPLETELY. And I didn’t do anything to them. Crazy!

Lastly- I lost 7+ pounds. (My scale jumped back and forth between 7 and 8.5 so I’ll ere on the side of caution and say 7.) Today my suit pants feel loose all the way to the waist.

The cleanse dictates that you drink tons of water- DO THIS. It helps a lot in making you feel full, and also helps distinguish the juices as meals and snacks as opposed to just something you’re sipping.  Drink a big glass or two between every juice.

Avoid temptation- Michael was working on an episode of his latest TV series in Indiana- he flew out the morning I started the cleanse and arrived home in the wee hours of the final day. This timing worked AMAZINGLY for me. I couldn’t guarantee that I wouldn’t have strayed past a handful of pistachios if I’d come home during the roughest part of the day and found Michael working his way through some take-out.

Distractions are necessary, and so are bathrooms: doing the cleanse at work was vital- the days were so much easier than the nights because I was busy at work. I tried running errands after work, which was a terrible idea- walking the streets of Manhattan while trying to avoid food is a nightmare. There are smells wafting from every other doorstep. Street meat never smelled so good. During the cleanse I craved a salad, but I also craved virtually every food item that I passed by or saw in a commercial. I had the most bizarre craving for Taco Bell, of all things. Ew. And, everyone seemed to assume that the bathroom visits would be disgusting, but they weren’t. You’re drinking a ton of liquid, so, you know. (That’s as much as I want to say about the bathroom, but suffice it to say it is not as gross as everyone assumes.)

Ease into and out of it- I had pizza the night before I started. Stupid. Try to eat a lot of raw veggies and greens the day or two before, and do so on the day or two out.

Do the cardio! And sauna! My gym has a sauna, but my bootleg home spa worked in a pinch. (Thanks in part to living in a new building with a kick-ass water heater.) Jill Pettijohn created this cleanse during a yoga retreat- if I do this again, I would like to try a Bikram class during, but I think regular yoga would be very soothing. Or treadmill or even long walks. Don’t jump into a core class if you haven’t been in months- oy.
Now- onwards and upwards. I’m continuaing to eat better and making myself go to the gym- my goal is 4 times a week, minimally. The wedding is only 3 ½ months away!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Buy Me Stuff

A personal wedding blogger’s dilemna- to talk about the registry or not. Since I’m already posting this with my tail between my legs after a lengthy update absence, I might as well jump back in with something mildly controversial.

I’ve been too busy planning this g-d wedding to blog about it. Also, life, and all that, busyness busyness everywhere. (Fake words also everywhere.) I tried to write a quick post a couple of times, but it always devolved into “Wah wah I’m so stressed outttttt!” And no one wants to hear that. I don’t even want to write it.

I do have some accomplishments to share, and this is the most recent (and easiest to post.) So let’s just proceed with one quick disclaimer: I DO NOT EXPECT ANYONE TO BUY ME STUFF. Seriously. It feels really weird, like a 31 year old woman writing a letter to Santa Claus. But do you know how many people have asked me where I’m registered? Well, several. It’s one thing to not ask for presents, and another to refuse to tell them what you want. That’s how you end up with 8 toasters. And I don’t even want one toaster.

So, I registered at Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and MoMA Store. That’s  the Museum of Modern Art ‘gift shop’ online. They have my second favorite registry item- the coolest champagne glasses ever.

What’s the first favorite, you ask? Well if you insist- it’s a Le Creuset Dutch Oven (actually a French Oven). I have wanted one forever. There. I told you what I want. My true core of gimme gimme selfishness has been exposed. I pine for cookware and utensils.

I haven’t technically finished registering- apparently I’m supposed to add more stuff, but for the most part, I can cross this off the ever-growing list hanging over my head. (You didn’t think I’d get through this whole post without at least one complaint, did you?) Now I must finish this post because the icky “Give me stuff” factor is overwhelming me.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Checklist Progress- Vendors Galore!

I’ve been a terrible wedding blogger lately, but it’s partly because I’ve been being a good bride. The first 9 months of what is destined to be an epic 20 month engagement was all about day dreaming and wedding porn and crunching numbers to determine our options. Now comes the actual work- and checking off boxes on The List.

In the last couple months we chose our venue and booked the church. Now, it’s all about the vendors. Progress to date:

- Confirmed our photographer, my friend and former tennis coach David Kenas. Dave does sports photography as well as art and, as luck would have it, weddings. He’s a fantastic photographer, and I’m so excited to be working with a friend. Check out some of his work at

- Chose our DJ, another easy decision- Sounds to Go DJs is owned by old family friends. The current owner, having taken over when his father retired, is my old neighbor and MRHS ’98 classmate Mike, whom I used to ride bikes with in a huge pack of kids in the
Cloverdale Circle
neighborhood we grew up in. My brother worked as a DJ for them for years in his twenties, they're a Best of Weddings vendor by The Knot, and they have a fantastic reputation. Score!


- Contacted a hotel for a block of rooms for the wedding night. It’s none other than The Berkeley Hotel, the place we’d looked into previously for our wedding. We won’t be getting married there, but I’m quite happy that we’ll be staying there on our wedding night, and hope our guests enjoy it too! It's an oceanfront hotel on a summer weekend, so it's not cheap. I’ll probably investigate a back up, but this is where I and much of the bridal party will be staying, so it's good to nail one down. We'll be signing a contract in January. Check!

The pool at The Berkeley

The view from the rooms

And aside from vendors, there’s been some other progress:

- Dress shopping. Gah. I should’ve known this would be my Everest of wedding planning. I am really indecisive, picky about fashion, not a huge fan of wedding gowns, still feeling a little weird about this whole ‘bride’ business, and in the middle of a fitness journey- which all adds up to blerg. I’ve been sort of shopping, but not fully. I made the mistake of falling in love with a dress, dreaming about it for 4 months, then trying it on and discovering it looked totally different from the pictures online. (Duh.) But, alas, I have given in and booked an appointment at Kleinfeld’s in November- they have a huge selection, and I love Say Yes to the Dress, so I figure it’s a good plan. (Today’s Friday and I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that I’m really looking forward to coming home from my Strength from the Core class tonight to a SYTTD marathon. Living the fast life here in NYC.) The appointment is next week- fingers crossed!

My consultant, if I'm lucky ;)

- Centerpieces- the other bane of my bridal existence. I have made some progress there, though, and am currently getting quotes.

- Oh, and next week we get to pay another deposit to the venue. making it even harder to back out now. (JK, JK)

When I got engaged I signed up for The Knot to use their all encompassing checklist, and promptly became intimidated by the vast amount of work putting together a wedding can require. It feels really good to check things off now and have them disapear from view. To quote my Obama t-shirt, PROGRESS! Yes!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

We have a Church!

For the past 10 months I’ve spoken almost exclusively about the reception, and neglected the part where we actually, you know, get married. So not long after we finally chose our reception venue, I called up my church and booked the date.

Michael and I don’t think this blog is an appropriate place to talk about our religious views, but one of the few things I had always envisioned about my wedding as a girl was getting married at First Presbyterian Church- Tower Hill, in Red Bank, NJ. Known to many in the area as ‘the church on the hill’, Tower Hill is a beautiful church- my mother always called it a Christmas card church. I wish I could find more pictures of the sanctuary- as far as churches go, it’s very pretty!

The grounds are lovely too and should make a beautiful back drop for family photos after the ceremony. Speaking of the ceremony, that’s probably the most nerve-wracking part- it’s a pretty long aisle I’ll be walking down! The sanctuary was renovated a few years ago and also has air conditioning- good news for my summer weddding! Also, the church in Red Bank is less than half an hour away from the reception at the Supper Club in Asbury Park.

My father and brother left the church years ago, but my mother, sister and I stayed members. My mother worked there for about 20 years, cooking the dinners for all the church’s weekly youth groups. I still think of that kitchen as hers. I practically grew up there- I was in choir, youth groups, handbells, attended and then taught Vacation Bible School and Summer Music camp 4 weeks out of the summer, and even taught Sunday school as a teenager. Even though I know longer attend, when I tried to envision our ceremony on the beach or in a garden or a room at a venue, it just didn’t feel like my ‘real’ wedding.

I live out of state now, but I still feel the sense of community I had there. When my mother passed away last year, her service was held at Tower Hill and I was astounded by the number of church members who came, people I hadn’t seen in a decade. My mom was a fixture in that church, and it’s the main reason we’re getting married there. I remember her telling me when I was young that couples usually got married in the bride’s church, and so the vision has stuck with me this whole time, walking down that long, red-carpeted aisle with the sun streaming through the huge windows. I can picture my mom in the front row.

So we’ve got a ceremony site, we’ve got a reception venue, I’ve already made inroads with our DJ and photographer- it looks like we’re really getting married! Let’s do this thing! Is it June 29th yet??

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fitness Update- Summer 2011

Okay people! I’m here today with an ACTUAL update, not a list of excuses. Last week I joined the gym, and I’ve been there every day since. I’m really excited about it. I jumped right in to taking classes too- I took a ‘Strength for your core’ class with this hottie hot hot instructor and made it through with only minimal breaks (using a ten pound dumbbell and 3 pound weights, mind you, but still!). The class is taught in a big room with a wall of windows so we got to watch a huge storm blow in while we worked out.

The hardest parts of that class wasn’t when we were using weights or a balance ball but just moving our bodies, like holding yourself up with one arm and one foot and keeping the other arm over your head for a minute. Um, does that not sound like the easiest thing in the world? It was ridonkulous. I’m so ridiculously out of shape it’s painful.

My body feels different already. I feel loose and find myself occasionally bumping into things. I’m sure once my fitness level improves, I’ll have the opposite experience, but right now I feel like a Tin man rediscovering oiled joints.

On days I don’t take classes, I work on my ‘Couch to 5k” program, then hit the machines, and then follow up with some elliptical cardio- my little ‘routine’. I try to concentrate on one area some days, or get a little bit of everything on others. I’m making it up as I go along, I guess. Eventually I might hook up with a personal trainer to really maximize my time, but for now the goal is to just get over there and be active. I can feel the difference it’s making in my life- I’m more interested in taking a walk then sitting on the couch, and I’m not attracted to crappy snacks either.

I’m trying not to focus on the scale too much in the beginning because I’m too easily discouraged when I don’t see immediate progress, like much of the rest of the world. But I’ll update again when I finally see some real results!

Shout out to Green Fitness Studio, that place totally kicks ass. I highly recommend it to fellow Brooklyners. The place is really laid back with decent music and a total lack of meatheads. You can use their Netflix and Hulu accounts on the treadmills, and the yoga room has a glass ceiling. They have a living roof and windows everywhere. There’s also an attached spa with a discount for members.

Speaking of, I will have to write about my first yoga experience separately as it was… intense.

On Thursday I’m taking my first Pilates class, and tonight I’m taking a class called “Abs Express’ that sounds innocent enough, but will surely leave me breathless and sore. Cheers!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

We Have A Date and Venue!

It's official! We're getting married on June 29th, 2012, at the Supper Club in Asbury Park. (I will be officially nailing down the ceremony venue next week and I'll announce it then.)

I've already posted about the place, so I'll just link to that and reiterate a few of our favorite things- the lovely 1930s/1940s Manhattan supper club decor, the gorgeous ocean front views, the awesome location right on the boardwalk in the heart of Asbury, the fact that it's a place that means something to our families- Mike's parents LOVE the place, and my mom always loved going to shows there.

The only drawback is the size, but we'll be careful with the guest list and creative with the layout. I have a million decor ideas that I'm beginning to narrow down and fitting to our location, which I'll be sharing later.  For now I'll just share a few of my favorite pictures- and raise a glass to Friday, June 29th, 2012, the night I get to marry Michael. I can't wait!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bridal Style Icon - Lady Gaga

Lately I've been asked a lot of questions about my wedding dress ideas. White or ivory? Ballgown or mermaid? Sweetheart or halter? What about a veil? Well, I'm not stuck on any particular styles yet. All I know is I want something a little.... different.

My close friends know to ask slightly different questions, like: Long- or short? Pink or rainbow? Stilettos or boots? Which elements of previous Lady Gaga outfits should we be expecting? My own grandma whispered to my future mother in law at my engagement party, "I just hope she doesn't pick a leather bustier and crazy color mini skirt!"

Well, grandma, I promise, while there will be a LOT of Lagy Gaga's music at my wedding, unfortunately, in the name of compromise, not as much of her style as I might like. Which is a shame, though, because a lot of her clothes look perfect for an (avant garde) wedding.

This would be a straight up gorgeous wedding dress! Part ball gown, part Glinda the Good Witch- ALL Gaga

I mean, this basically IS a wedding gown! Big, white and poufy.

Your wedding dress should be a one of a kind outfit after all...

And she's also worn some totally legit reception dresses! Seriously! Check it:

I'm not even kidding about this one! I could so rock this!

And let's not forget some memorable hairstyles, sure to make you stand out on the big day:

(Um, I have this on image on a t-shirt dress)

Folks, I know I can't pull most of this off on my wedding day. My grandma is frail enough as it is. And it's not like I try to emulate Gaga in real life anyway....

Oh yeah.... Well, anyway, so listen. There is one Gaga inspired piece of fashion I REALLY want for my wedding. I want it bad. It's not just Gaga, it's not just bridal, it's a fashion statement I've been rocking for YEARS, and it just happened to combine with my favorite singer and the fashion industry a few years ago, and it seems too perfect to ignore:

Animal Ear Veils!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, just like Gaga wore

The thing is, it wouldn't just be a Gaga knockoff. I LOVE wearing cat and bear ears around the house as a regular headband. I have since I lived in Jersey. The furry headband keeps my hair in place better than anything else, so I started wearing an old pair of cat ears from a Halloween costume for utility's sake only. But I couldn't help noticing how cute they are. Not everyone agrees. I accidentally wore them through the drive thru of my old bank and got some very long looks.

Also, I tend to be rather zoomorphic, it's true. My nickname for Michael is Puppy and I've already christened my friend's son as our Ring Bear.

But these babies are Reem Acra, okay? It's not just some kooky Suzanne idea or crazy Lady Gaga whimsy. They're for reals, and high fashion! And they're extremely similar to birdcage veils- just a different, erm, animal.

So can I have them? Please please please? I promise to keep it to the Bear ears, not the Bunny, if that helps.

Listen, if I just wanted to emulate Lady Gaga's headpieces, it could get a lot crazier, okay?

So come on, I promise to at least wear pants to my wedding- can I get some love for the bear ear veil??

Real Wedding- Brian and Jackie

A few weeks ago Michale and I were honored to attend the wedding of his old friend Brian to his lovely fiance Jackie.

All dolled up

Having previously been married in Texas, they were able to provide us a short but meanngful ceremony, then open up the night for lots of Jersey-style celebrating and fun!

Brian and his brother Jon, along with thier friends Dennis and Ryan, have been friends with Michael and each other since high school. They clearly enjoyed spending time together- and at the bar.

I LOVED that Jackie went with a short, adorable reception dress for her spring wedding. I snuck a shot in while she was busy chatting up her guests:

She looked gorgeous!

The reception was held at Jacques Recpetion Center in Middletown. The toasts were especially poignant and everyone had a great time. We can't wait to see so many of them again soon- first at Jon's destination wedding in Florida in November, and then at our wedding next June!

Congrats again Brian and Jackie!