Saturday, June 28, 2014

It. Was. Amazing.

I’m not exactly the girl who’s dreamed about her wedding her entire life. As much as I love going to weddings, I never took mental notes for when my day arrived. I never knew if such a day would arrive. But I did figure that if I were to get married, the celebration wouldn’t be in a church or at a hotel. They just don’t feel right; aren’t who I am. The one thing I’ve always believed about weddings is that they should be very personal and reflect all that is important to you, as you gather all your loved ones around you.

So that is what Andrew and I did: we approached things simply and sought out a spot—the New Museum—that we loved as a couple and that we knew our out-of-town guests would also love. We created a ceremony that replaced religion with what’s most meaningful to us: family. And we let good food, booze and music do the rest of the work.

All in all, it was a weekend of overwhelming emotion, celebration and bliss.

We had our parents and siblings give speeches as the foundation of our ceremony, and they were the most incredible words ever spoken. My best friend gave an amazing opening speech and Andrew’s brother officiated. Andrew and I wrote our own vows to each other. Grown men cried.

Friends flew in from San Francisco, LA, Denver and Chicago. Family trekked from CT, Maine and Kansas City. There were mini lobster rolls and KC barbecue sliders. Beet salad and rhubarb galettes. Birthday and Father’s Day cakes from Momofuku. There was a full moon and fireworks shooting up from Chinatown. We danced to Blondie, Spandau Ballet, Rihanna and Jay-Z.

Of course not every detail and plan was flawless. But even with imperfections, it was perfect. Never have I felt so loved, so touched or so thrilled. So happy to be exactly where I am in my life.

Thank you for all of your notes, cheers and well wishes. (And hopefully more pictures will come soon!)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Le mariage

It's here, mes amis! Holy cow, I'm done with work and the wedding festivities kick off tomorrow. Friends and family have been texting, calling and emailing all week and will start arriving tomorrow. It feels amazing!

My dress zips (phew!) and I've deligated the last remaining tasks and details. Except for tomorrow night, the weather for the whole weekend promises to be spectacular. I'm super proud and pleased that we've kept things small and simple—it's just so much more manageable and liberating. 

That doesn't mean something won't go wrong—as they say, you can always count on something getting forgotten or broken or messed up. But we're at the point of no return. It's time to let things go. It's time to celebrate and enjoy. It's time.

I'm ready. :)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Delicious! night with Ruth Reichl

It was just over three years ago that I read my first Ruth Reichl book. Of course her name and career had been on my radar before that—mostly as the editor of Gourmet—but I had never known her personal story.

It might have been that I saw Comfort Me with Apples on sale at Biography Bookshop. But something finally compelled me to pick up and read that book. I brought it with me on a trip to Paris. And all I wanted to do was read. Her life, her storytelling, her food and dining descriptions—she became an instant hero to me. Down-to-earth, witty, smart, fascinating, I was enchanted and inspired, there reading about her life in my most enchanting and inspiring city.

And then I got to towards the end when, after a heinously painful adoption process that left her heartbroken (the biological mother decided after three months that she, in fact, wanted the baby back), Ruth ended up getting pregnant naturally and having a son at the age of 41.

I was single and 37 at the time I read Comfort Me with Apples. Throughout my thirties, I figured love and motherhood would eventually be part of my life. But maybe in less traditional ways: I might not find true love until I was in my fifties. I might wind up adopting. I was okay with these things. I was clearly taking the long, unconventional path and in Ruth’s story, I found comfort and hope.

Since then, I’ve read nearly all of her books. I follow her on Twitter and have always wanted to meet her or at least make it to one of her readings or events. But logistics and schedules have always prohibited me. Until tonight.

It was a lovely literary dinner at Contrada in the East Village, my old stomping grounds. 

I sat at a communal table, flanked by wonderfully interesting, friendly, cool people. And I got to hear Ruth read, talk a bit about her career, answer questions in this intimate setting. She’s as warm, gracious and eloquent as I had hoped and imagined.

The best part was meeting her at the end. I had to share the news that I’m 41 and pregnant with my first and she instantly lit up and became so naturally happy and warm, saying Nick (her son) is the best thing she’s ever done. It was a moment.

I firmly believe that when certain things, words, stories, people, whatever, resonate with you on that deep level that it means something. For the past five years, I’ve remembered Ruth’s story. I’ve shared it with other women. I’ve held onto it as comfort. It was just so, so awesome to share it with her and have my own story, this little thread of inspiration, come full circle and sort of manifest itself with her. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Nine days

Today’s the first day I woke up and sort of thought: Holy @*#$, I’m getting married next week. Next week! 

Our planning process has been blissfully low-key and stress-free. We’ve managed decisions and details pretty smoothly, giving everything thought but not overthinking or overdoing it. We're not doing a lot of the traditional stuff: we don't have limos and wedding parties, centerpieces or a sit-down dinner. We're just having a beautiful, free-form, intimate soirée. It’s been easy for the most part and, in these past couple of weeks in particular, with notes from guests, final meetings with vendors, doing a last walk-through of the space, I’ve just been excited.

But yes, now that the wedding is next weekend, not down the road, I think some stress is creeping in. I need to tend to last remaining details… ensure that I can zip! my! dress!... I want to know that my hair and makeup are going to make me feel like a million dollars. I'm getting nervous about seeing everyone together in one room (it's been 20 years since I've been with my mom and dad at the same time), and taking vows in front of them… I'm worried that I'm going to be a crying mess.

Nine days and counting. This is all about to happen! Any advice or words of wisdom??

Monday, June 2, 2014

My Vegan Mondays

Coffee with almond milk
Overnight oats with blueberries

An avocado wrap
A Kind bar

Some cherry tomatoes
Amazingly fast, easy, cheap soba noodles with peas and peanuts

I'm trying to pump up my iron, protein and calcium intakes for the bébé. I've been eating a lot of oats, almond butter, dried fruit and such. Trying to ween myself a bit from the sweets, but man is that hard.

Speaking of sweet stuff, if you haven't seen the documentary Fed Up yet, you should. Our country's poor health woes, especially kids', is staggering. Did you know that 80% of the items in a grocery store have had sugar added to them? Eighty percent. Four out of five things you buy at the store have added sugar.

Similarly distressing, the school system has moved so far away from cooks actually making lunch to corporate-sponsored cafeterias. In fact, 80% of school cafeterias have their food sponsored from a particular corporation. Which means they just heat up the pizza, burger and fries, and that's it. And 50% of schools have fast food served! What is that?!

At the risk of sounding like an old man, I remember there were two or three designated mornings where we could buy doughnuts in high school. And there was one soda machine, located near the gym, that was unlocked only after school. In other words, sweets and treats were special. They weren't part of the everyday diet. If you're a 15-year-old in a cafeteria, why wouldn't you choose a big ole fountain soda to wash down your fried lunch? Something's gotta give, America!