Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Follow the Wife is Gone Guest Posting Today!

Good morning, pretty readers. Rub that sleep out of your eyes and head on over to Creative Odds n' Ends where I am guest posting for the lovely Aimee. Last week she welcomed baby Gavin to her family and I have promised to help her hold down the fort while they settle in.

Congrats Aimee!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Super Bowl Party Inspiration

Tom and Keith are ready for the Super Bowl! 

I love entertaining. My old roommates and I used to throw parties all the time. Some of our earlier bashes involved cheap kegs we’d chill in the bathtub and the more sophisticated soirees usually featured a signature cocktail and plenty of wine. One thing was always the same: We kept it simple, and everyone had a great time.

Since becoming a wife, I have not had many opportunities to entertain. We do not have much space or a big table so a dinner party seems hard to manage. We do, however, have a beautiful big screen TV, and last year we decided to invited some friends over for a Super Bowl party. We got beer, ordered wings and pizza and made a few simple appetizers. Each guest arrived with something in hand and we ended up with a feast. Everyone had a good time—even if there wasn’t enough room for us all on the couch.

This year we’re doing it again and I’m excited to play host. I’m even more excited because my favorite team is playing on Sunday. I think the Super Bowl is the perfect occasion for you to test out your hostess skills. There’s not much pressure—people just want to watch a football game and eat wings. But I have been thinking of a few fun ways to go the extra yards:

Invite a mix of friends. It’s always nice to have a lively crowd with lots to talk about. Just be sure you do the introductions—not everyone will go out of their way to talk to someone new at a party.

Serve something unique to the game. We’re filling galvanized tubs with beers brewed in New England (Sam Adams, perhaps?) and New York. You can also consider regional snacks like New England Clam Chowder.

Keith's tip: Raise the stakes! Organize a simple betting grid where everyone pays $5 or $10 for a square (or several squares).

Focus on creating a comfortable atmosphere for your guests. Food is always a top priority at a party, but at this type it is ok to rely on the delivery guy. Work on setting up a functional drink station with ice, slices of lemon and lime and glasses. Have lots of plates and napkins at the ready and make extra room around the TV.

Is anyone else having a Super Bowl party? Which team are you rooting for? And what’s your best hostessing tip?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Overheard on E! TV: Marriage Revelations from Kim Kardashian

“I’m learning so many things about him I didn’t know before,” a teary Kim confides to her mother in the back of a limo.

I was in the other room, but my head shot up when I heard this. I repeated the line to Keith. He laughed and silently wished I would find better shows to watch on a Saturday afternoon.

That line stuck with me. It repeated over and over in my head all afternoon. My first thought was something like, “Well, that’s why people date.” But when I kept thinking about it, I realized that I didn’t know everything about my husband when I married him. I knew a lot. I knew so much about him that I was certain any other little piece of information I could learn would not be a deal breaker. I knew about his political views, his cleaning habits and his feelings on Dave Matthews Band. And he knew all those same things about me. Flash forward nine months and we both know more about each other than we did on our wedding day. I learned that Keith likes his shirts laundered a particular way, which type of floss he prefers and that he gets really upset (like not just pretending) when the 49ers lose a big game.

I think I’ll continue to learn new things about my husband for a while. We don’t have kids yet, and I imagine that when we do we’ll learn a whole lot about everything. And I’m excited about that. Now I don’t want to comment on what Kim did or didn’t learn about her husband. It’s not my business (but she put it on national television, so I guess it kind of is). I’m simply relating her comments about marriage to my own situation.

Raise your hand if you’ve learned something new about your husband since you got married.And have a great weekend, everyone! 


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Really Easy Infused Vodka DIY

I have another super easy DIY project for you and this one involves booze! But first I just have to say how hard it is to keep my “not change into sweats right when I get home” resolution. The first thing I wanted to do when I got in last night was peel off my jeans, but I remained strong and cooked dinner. And then ate the same clothes. Are pajama jeans socially acceptable? Because if I’m going to keep this up I think I need to invest in a pair.

Ok, back to this really easy DIY project that involves booze. For Christmas, Keith and I made our own vodka. Now before you get too crazy, remember that I said this was super easy. We didn’t actually make vodka. I left out a word back there. We made our own flavored vodka. We flavored a vodka that was already made. There.

I love to give personalized gifts, but I’m not much of a crafter. So when my friend sent me a link to an article on this new home vodka flavoring trend I was excited and nervous. I got my husband on board and we ran out to Costco for two bottles of their finest Kirkland vodka and a pack of fresh basil. (That’s right, no vanilla bean booze for us. We were going to get crazy with this.)

After posing for a picture in the parking lot we came home, unscrewed the top of the bottle and stuffed the (washed) basil leaves in.

I set the bottle in a dark corner for two days to “brew”. While we waiting, we ordered these pretty bottles from the Container Store and I searched around the house for some ribbon to decorate the bottle. After two days our vodka had turned a pretty lime green color.

I gladly took it for a test run before bottling it up and was pleasantly surprised to see that it had a very nice basil flavor. I mixed it with lemonade, but would have added some muddled strawberries as well if I had any.

I rebottled it because the basil leaves were looking a little limp and not too pretty after two days. If you’re planning to keep the vodka around for a while, I’d suggest straining it from whatever it’s being infused with. You can add fresh ingredients back in if you’re going to be serving it at a party. It will decorate the bar and wow guests.

Give it a try. Then share your flavor ideas with me! I think I’m going to try rosemary infused vodka next.

Monday, January 23, 2012

On Rooting For Different Teams

We do not have to love the same baseball teams to love each other. 

Did anyone watch last night’s exciting football games? We camped out in front of the TV around 3:00 to watch the Patriots (Yay! They won!) and then the 49ers. Sadly, only one of our teams came out on top. I was really rooting for a 49ers/Patriots Super Bowl because I knew my husband wanted to see his team win. Between us, I would have been happy to see the 49ers win the Super Bowl, even if it meant my team losing. Does that mean that I would root against the Patriots? No way. Never. I grew up rooting for the Patriots and I strongly believe in team loyalties. My husband has been a lifelong 49ers fan and I admire that about him.

Now let me tell you about a little pet peeve I have. I get so annoyed when people think that because I’m a girl my sports loyalties are not deeply rooted. After living in New York City for five years, someone actually assumed that I had become a Yankees fan. What?! Are you serious? And several people have suggested that I become a 49ers fan now that I’m married to one. Now I’m all for rooting for the 49ers because if I don’t than I really would not be able to talk to my husband at all on a Sunday. But if you think I would trade in the Pats for the 49ers you are crazy. Crazy! I do no like explaining over and over that I like these teams all the time, not just when they are on a hot streak. All those doubters obviously did not spend any summer nights or snowy Sunday afternoons with my family while we were growing up.

Now I am married to someone who has different sports loyalties than me. After living in New York for so long, I imagined that I would marry a Yankees fan and I was ok with that. It’s only a game, right? That’s pretty much true, but I miss how exciting it was to watch games in a room full of people all rooting for my team. And it makes me a little sad to think that when our kids are babies they will not wear little Tom Brady shirts (yes they will) or worse, someone will stick them in a Yankees outfit if I turn my back for too long! (The horror!)

In the end, I think it makes our lives more exciting. We get to follow two teams. And we’ve learned how to grow thicker skin when our teams are playing each other. While I may never get my kids to root for the Red Sox or the Pats, I think they will grow up with the same sense of team loyalty and I hope they see whichever team they root for win championships and, of course, lose in nail biting playoff games. (It only makes the victories sweeter!) Who knows, maybe our kids will even surprise us and become Mets fans.

Do any other ladies out there have husbands that root for different sports teams? How do you deal? If you are both fans of the same team, I am jealous! Share what that is like, please. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Friday: Five Fun Firsts

It’s Friday, let’s do something fun today. Here are five of my favorite firsts:

1. My first job was a lifeguard at the YMCA. I made one save in my entire career—a young boy who turns out was only fooling. (Not funny.) I was also a little disappointed that I was issued a bright red XXL T-shirt that said Guard instead of a bright red Speedo that said Guard. I really wanted a lifeguard bathing suit.

2. I must have pulled off the over-sized T-shirt look because the first boy I kissed was also a lifeguard.

3. The first time I flew on an airplane was on a family vacation to Toronto the summer before I entered sixth grade. I wore a dress and my brother and I thought the turbulence felt like a fun roller coaster ride. Now I clutch the armrest and gasp every time there’s a bump during a flight. I always remember my mother reminding us to, “Calm down! Not everyone thinks this is as fun as you two do!”

4. I wore a black ruffled dress on my first date with Keith. I’ll probably never get rid of it. He took me to dinner at a wine bar on the Upper East Side and out for drinks after. I suggested the bar based off a suggestion from a co-worker—she said it played fun music and had lots of dancing. When we walked it the place was DEAD. Saturday, not Friday, was actually the day when all the dancing happened, she later said.

5. I bought the first wedding dress I tried on. Everyone knew it was the right one, but I tired on a few others just to be sure. I made a lot of quick decisions while wedding planning and did a little bit of second guessing as the day got closer and closer. I never once regretted picking that gown though. I spent a lot of time looking at the photos of it on my computer when no one was around.

Now you go: Share some of your first moments with me. 

One more thing before you lead out for the weekend! Click here to follow the wife on Facebook. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Problem: Wrong bra size. Solution: An Intimate Affair in NYC

Let’s get to know each other a little better, shall we? If you’ve stopped by this here blog more than once you probably know that I’m not a full time blogger, but that I make a living as a magazine writer and editor. Which magazine? Well The Lingerie Journal to be exact. It’s an online trade publication for professionals in the intimate apparel industry. It gives me the chance to talk with retailers and manufacturers and learn a thing or two about how they run their businesses and it also lets me spend some time drooling over the latest lingerie styles. I love fashion to pieces, but I think I love intimate apparel more. Lace, ruffles and chiffon all make me melt a little whenever I see them. And then I usually buy them. There are several drawers dedicated to my underwear in our house.

Now that we’re a bit more acquainted, let’s talk a little bit about intimates. I feel like we’re close enough to talk about this stuff now, don’t you? My good friend Moira of Bra La Mode just told me about a bra fitting event she’s hosting at Bra*Tenders in New York City on January 29. I’m really excited about this event because not enough brides give wedding day intimates their due credit and I think this is just the thing to make people realize how very important they are. The reporter in me needed to know more so I picked up the phone and called Lori Kaplan, the owner of Bra*Tenders to learn about what she’s doing for women. She had this to say: “A lot of seamstresses will tell a bride to come to her first fitting with the undergarments she is going to wear with the dress. The dress will fit a completely different way without them and this is sometimes a huge awakening for a bride.”

What’s really shocking is that it’s not only brides who don’t consider intimates enough. Most women are wearing the wrong bra size, Lori says. “The right bra can make you look ten pound thinner and ten years younger in one minute. It makes a woman feel more confident and a woman who feels good about herself will go out and do good things in the world.”


Will the right size bra help you find the cure to cancer? Maybe. Lori mentioned one customer, a makeup artist, who was wearing the wrong size bra. “The back was riding up and the straps were falling down and she ended up spending the whole day fidgeting with her bra.” So if you’re a cancer research doctor, I suggest you book an appointment with Lori right away.

Here’s how you’ll know if your bra is the wrong size:
-You have side-boob.
-Your boobs are spilling out the side.
-You have four boobs instead of two.
-Your boobs bounce A LOT when you move.

If you’ve experienced any of these boob symptoms, it might mean you’re wearing a bra that’s too big or too small. But don’t let me be the judge of that—speak to the expert.

ATTEND: Bra La Mode’s Intimate Affair at Bra*Tenders 630 Ninth Avenue at 44th street in NYC. January 29, 2012 @ 12:00. 

RSVP here. Then tell me, are you wearing the right size bra?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Brides: Steal These Golden Globe Trends

Did everyone watch the Golden Globes? I watched, but only for one reason—to see the dresses. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been dazzled by the red carpet gowns celebrities wear for these elaborate award shows. Before my prom, and even my wedding, I flipped through the pages of People Magazine to see which award show hair styles I liked best and which accessories would work with my dress.

On Sunday I watched with the same amazement as my favorite TV and movie starts flounced down the red carpet in the most amazing dresses. I don’t remember who won most of the awards, but I do know who looked great. And if you’re planning a wedding, I saw some neat trends I think will inspire you.

1. First up, Claire Danes caught my eye. Maybe it’s because I’m a HUGE fan of Homeland where she plays an incredibly insane person who I love and am annoyed with all at the same time. Maybe. But I thought she looked great. I loved the black and white dress and its open back and I thought her simple bun looked effortless and chic. (I mean effortless in a good way. I really liked the way it looked.) I’d like to see more bridesmaids adopt this look! Perhaps I will.


2. Paula Patton was so sexy in MI:3. 4? Was it MI:4? Who cares! The movie was great, go see it. And then let’s talk about her daring yellow dress. I smiled when I saw this color on her. I just bought a really bright yellow bag so it’s kind of my new favorite color. The only problem I have with yellow is that it doesn’t match my skin tone too well. I don’t think I’d ever be able to rock a yellow frock. But I wish I could. I’m a big believer that bridesmaid should wear muted tones like navy or gray, but if your girls have the right coloring and the right attitude (I mean fun, do you have fun friends?) then they might be able to pull this off. I do think this color would work better for smaller bridal parties. Ten maids in screaming hot yellow might be a bit too much.


3. Dear, Shailene Woodley. I have not seen your movie because it looks like it’s going to make me sad. Also, I think I know you from another movie but I don’t know which one. (A little help here? Oh, The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Thanks, Google.) Now, if your movie is anything like your Golden Globes look then I will run out and see it right away because it must be absolutely stunning. You looked like a goddess with the draping and the sparkle and your hair was so elegant. Thank you for being so great.


Now take this dress and chop off the bottom. Voila, you now have the most elegant bridesmaid dress known to woman kind. I like this version from WToo.

4. My girl Charlize Theron rocked a sparkly headband. If you’re a bride I suggest you pin this image onto your “Wedding” board, print it out, rush to your hairdresser and ask for this look. As for this headband—you can probably find something close on Etsy.


I have many more favorites and you can see them on this pintrest board I created. Follow me on Pinterest. Then tell me what you thought of the Golden Globes fashion. Any one disagree with my picks? And what wedding/special occasion trends did you see?

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's Cookie Time! Wendy of "Wendy See Wendy Do" Breaks Down the Pittsburg Table

Today I have a special treat for you, dear readers. I mean that literally and figuratively because at the end of this post you will be rewarded with delicious cookies. Today I asked my favorite food blogger, Wendy of Wendy See Wendy Do (who also happens to be planning her own wedding) to guest post. A while back, Wendy mentioned that she wanted to do something really different at her wedding and it might take the form of lots of cookies. Unique wedding detail + cookies = happy blog readers. Wendy, take it away!

I am so thrilled to be making my second appearance on Follow the Wife! (My first was a few month ago in Meet Wendy and Joe and their Chicago Wedding.) You can imagine how tickled I was when Libby asked me to write a guest post! As a soon-to-be Mrs. I love checking out all of the awesome inspiration, advice and real weddings here on Follow the Wife!! What a great place to get new and fresh ideas when I am feeling like my Pinterest board is looking a little stale! So let’s talk weddings, shall we? I am getting married this summer in Chicago and have realized one learns about a lot of things when you are planning a wedding. I am talking stuff you never even knew existed... like rental tax, wedding insurance, chair covers and Pittsburgh Tables. Have you ever heard of a Pittsburgh Table? I hadn’t and I am from Pennsylvania! Long story short... it is a wedding cookie table on steroids! I first heard about the phenomenon from my caterer during my initial tasting. She told me how one of her brides (from Pennsylvania) had this thing called a Pittsburgh Table at her wedding and it was an enormous hit. I had to investigate. What I found was a wonderfully unique wedding tradition that I now plan to have as part of my own wedding this upcoming July!

Pittsburgh Table {via} 

New York Times writer Ron Lieber says no one really knows where the cookie tradition started but for as long as folks have been getting hitched in Pittsburgh there have been cookie tables. Here is how the Pittsburgh Table works: Western Pennsylvania mothers, daughters, family and friends spend weeks, sometimes months, churning out trays and trays of lady fingers, buckeyes, chocolate chip cookies and any other recipe imaginable. These cookies are then neatly set out on a table during the wedding reception for guests to enjoy. Easy as pie, right? Wrong!!

Fun Cookie Jar Idea for Pittsburgh Table {via} 

Pittsburgh Wedding Planning says brides wanting a Pittsburgh Table at their reception should plan on baking 5 to 10 cookies per guest. So (based on 5 cookies per guest) if you are expecting 150 guests you need to plan to bake at least 750 cookies or 63 dozen. 63 DOZEN COOKIES!!! That's a lot of cookies!! To lighten the load you will need to enlist family and friends to help bake. Ask your favorite aunt to bake up a couple batches of her signature cookies and then put them in the mail. You could even invite a bunch of ladies over for a day of baking, romantic comedies and cocktails! How much fun would that be??

Guests enjoying the spread {via} Ross Mantle - New York Times

 Personalize Your Pittsburgh Table! 

- Include recipe cards with the cookies so guests can make their favorites at home.
- Set out craft bags for guests to take a little extra cookies with them as a favor.
- Have the caterer put carafes of ice cold milk and chocolate milk for a "Milk & Cookies Bar."

To me.... the Pittsburgh Table represents what a wedding is all about: family and traditions. Generations of cookie recipes from two families coming together all spread out on a table for your guests to savor. Talk about something special! Whether you are from Pittsburgh or not! Well no cookie related post would be complete without a scrumptious recipe to ogle over, right? One of my fiance Joe's favorite cookies is the Snickerdoodle. So when we were making our list of cookies we would want for our own Pittsburgh Table Joe said this recipe had to make the cut!

Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodles
Slightly adapted from Food & Wine

- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 stick of butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon

    - Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    -In a large bowl, sift together flour with baking soda, baking powder and salt.  In another large bowl, beat butter and 1 cup of sugar until creamy with an electric hand mixer.  Add melted chocolate and egg to butter mixture and beat until smooth.  Slowly add in dry ingredients being sure to scrape down the side of the bowl.  Add the chocolate morsels and beat until mixed in.
    - In a shallow bowl, mix together remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.  Using a tablespoon measure out 1-inch balls of dough and roll into cinnamon sugar.  Place dough balls on baking sheets lined with parchment paper at least 3 inches apart.  Flatten balls into 2-inch rounds.  Bake for 12-14 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!

    Thanks, Wendy! I absolutely love your Pittsburgh Table idea and can not wait to see all the wonderful cookies you have at your wedding.

    Readers, do you love this idea as much as I do? Would you try this at your wedding?

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    What Are You Doing This Weekend?

    Happy Friday! We’re heading into a long weekend—a much needed long weekend. January has been such a busy month, which I’m so happy about. But I am looking forward to spending the next few days relaxing. We have some very important things on the agenda, too. Top priority tomorrow is to root for our favorite football teams. Go Pats! We may even head into New York to watch the games with some friends. Since Keith got the Sunday Ticket, we’ve been enjoying football from our living room each weekend and I must say, I really miss those delicious nachos from the bar!

    And this is a little bit embarrassing: We have to take down our Christmas tree and put all the holiday decorations away. That’s right. There has been holiday cheer in our house since right around Thanksgiving. I’m dying to get our furniture back in place and get all these pine needles vacuumed up. 

    What are your plans this weekend?

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Will You Do the Tangerine Tango This Year?

    Tangerine Tango! It is the Pantone color of the year. This reddish-orange shade is already popping up all over the place. In fact, I’m happily wearing it today!

    According to Pantone, Tangerine Tango is "sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive." Executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman continues, "Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy."

    That’s one serious color.

    Orange has always been a popular wedding color. I have never favored the bright shade in wedding flowers—I prefer rosy pinks and ivory. But I do like to see it used in unlikely places, like the bride’s shoes just below! I think the color is bright, without being obnoxious, (which can sometimes happen with yellow. Yellow can be very loud). And in the winter, it’s a color that makes me feel good. 

    {via}  Photo by Maggie Harkov

    {via}  Photo by Maggie Harkov

    I also like orange in different shades—like peach and coral—and think these colors are so romantic at weddings. I really do melt every time I fee a big fat garden rose in a peachy shade. I think they should start giving those out on The Bachelor.

    Ok, enough about what I think of the color. What do you think? Would you consider using it in your wedding? 

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    What Did You Wear Beneath Your Gown?

    I need your help today, ladies. I’m curious to know what you wore—or are wearing—under your wedding gown. I’m a big believer that the right undergarments make an outfit. And I think we all put some thought into what we wear under our clothes each day. This morning, for example, I had selected a cheery yellow bra only to find that the color showed through my blouse. That was not going to work. So let’s talk about wedding day foundations.

    I hadn’t thought much about what I would wear under my gown. (That’s not entirely true, I wanted a baby blue Hanky Panky.) Luckily, I had a wonderful seamstress who thought of this for me. When I went for my first dress fitting I was instructed to bring my shoes and my undergarments. I brought shoes. My dress felt like a suit of armor, I didn’t think I’d need anything under it. As the pinning and tucking began, the seamstress asked again about undergarments. I was barely filling out the dress and she said that if I wanted any cleavage I’d need a bra. Well, duh? I thought. Why would I think my gown would take on the work of a bra? She clipped me into a longline bra from Le Mystere, and sewed some extra pads in for good measure. It was the icing on the cake. Wait, let’s try that again. It was the icing on the cupcakes. I was now officially stacked and the bust of my dress didn’t dent in where boobs were supposed to be anymore.

    The bra cost about $130, which is more than I’d typically spent on a bra. But in the end it was so worth it. The bra not only made the dress, it made several other dresses I’ve worn since. In September I wore it under a bridesmaid dress in my best friend’s wedding. When I first tried the dress on without the bra, it slumped down and almost fell off, but it fit like a glove with the bra on. “That’s why it’s so important to bring the undergarments you’re going to wear to each fitting,” said my tailor. When I suggested I may or may not wear Spanx under my dress, too, he just shook his head. You’d think I would have learned by now!

    So tell me. What did you—or are you planning to—wear under your wedding gown? Leave your comments below!

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    New Year’s Resolutions Can Be Kept!

    Monday is here again and today I’m singing a happy tune because I learned something this weekend: New Year’s resolutions are actually easy to keep. Let’s not focus on the fact that we’re still in the single digits days of 2012. You see, I didn’t make a list of resolutions I wanted to check off, one-by-one, but rather a list of things I wanted to keep in mind each day. So far, I’m proud of how I’ve started the year.

    I tried something challenging in the kitchen. Saturday night I decided I wanted to put myself to the cocktail test and mix up some exciting drinks. You might not consider this to be a kitchen challenge, but my bartending skills are pretty horrendous. I’m a confident cook, but I would make a terrible bartender. I don’t look very good in a tank top and I’m slow as snail. While I can’t do much to fill out a Hooters uniform, I can improve my mixing skills so we picked up some fresh mangos and limes and I attempted mango margaritas. Success. Delicious success. I was feeling good after the first (likely from the tequila) so I went back to the kitchen and substituted the fresh mango for pomegranate juice. And last night I mixed up a pomegranate martini, which I liked even better. I used a measuring cup to get the portions correct (my “eyeballing it” technique never really worked) and I topped off each cocktail with a splash of sparkling water. (You can use champagne, too.) The fizz gave each drink a special little kick.

    I did not slip into sweats right away. Look at me. Wearing my new purple shirt, drinking my homemade mango margarita, feeling real good about 2012.

    I made a new friend. My friend Wendy has friends all over and whenever one lands in a city near me, she puts us in touch. Well, recently her friend moved from Chicago to New Haven for a job and was looking to meet some new people as well. We met for brunch on Saturday at The Study. We traded stories over delicious cocktails (slightly better than my homemade ones, for sure,) and found we have a lot in common.

    I was a better wife. Keith had been really focused on his next real estate project and this weekend I jumped in to help him out. We looked up a few houses for sale in nice neighborhoods and plugged the addresses into our GPS. The weather was beautiful and there was the promise of ice cream after, but I really wanted to show Keith that I support and encourage his interests.

    Not bad, huh?

    How are you doing with your new year’s goals and resolutions?

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    2012: Marriage Resolutions

    I just realized I type half of these blogs before I’ve had any coffee! I’m realizing it today because I’m sitting on the train willing my eyes open and my fingers to move. Maybe it’s the cold or maybe it’s this cold I feel coming on. Likely it has more to do with the fact that I watched The Bachelor last night. It aired Monday night, what took me so long? Well, since you asked, I was determined to make it not be the first prime time show I watched in 2012. Technically, if you want to be technical about it, Keeping Up With Kourtney and Kim or whatever it’s called was the first prime time program I watched in 2012. I didn’t watch the entire episode. For example, I didn’t find out what happened to Mr. Scott’s impulse buy baby grand piano. (Did it go back?) I got caught up wondering where a man buys a double breasted lavender sports coat and what motivates that man to then put it on in the morning. Mid-thought Keith changed the channel and I was too caught up to notice. That doesn’t count as actually watching it, right?

    Purple, you are a great color, but I prefer you on bridesmaid dresses not men's outerwear.

    Sooo 2012, we’re off to a good start. You’ve taught me interesting things about men’s fashion. Secrets I will likely keep from my husband for fear he may believe in them. Wait, he was sitting right next to me. It may be too late for us. Oh boy, it’s time for that coffee. Let’s move on.

    The other night I asked Keith to help me make some resolutions for our marriage. Marriage takes work, but not just from one person. So we put our heads together and here’s what we came up with.

    We should not change into sweats as soon as we walk through the door. This was Keith’s idea. Perhaps he is not attracted to my old college sweatpants with holes and bleach stains. Perhaps he does not like the several layers of fleece, blankets and wool that I burrow into every evening. Ok, Keith. I see what you’re getting at and I think you’re right. I talk about respecting each other and what respect do I show you when I dress like a homeless person every night? But I love to be comfortable when I’m at home. No shoes, no bra, no problem. I think Kenny Chesney said that. I can buy fancy lounge clothes. Shopping can easily solve this resolution.

    Focus more on our shared interests. Last year Keith and I became very involved in our personal interests. I started this blog and Keith and his brother got into real estate. They are two house-flipping geniuses destined for riches and HGTV fame. But we’ve been pursuing both of these interests in addition to our day jobs and it takes up a lot of time. We spend many nights side-by-side on the couch doing our own thing. I think it’s great that we have our own interests, but we need to remember to take time for those that we share. Drinking wine and dancing (see above) come to mind right away. Also watching baseball, but sometimes when the Sox play the Yankees shared interests are lost. So we’ve resolved to take up dancing lessons again. We took them before our wedding and had so much fun. Going to class every week was less about our first dance and more about the time we spent together. Bonus: You get to be really close for an hour straight, which always made us leave smiling.

    Cook together more often. Keith and I cook a lot. Keith cooks some nights while I blog or answer e-mails and I cook other nights while Keith is working late. I like to cook, but it’s more fun to do it together. Our kitchen is small and we usually bump into each other a lot, but I still really like sharing this activity with Keith. And I want to try more challenging dishes in the kitchen! Last night the chilly temps had me screaming some something warm so I tried this easy Beouf Bourguignon recipe I found in the New York Times. I served it over mashed sweet potatoes and it was amazing! It really was easy, too. Bon appetite!

    I’m sure there are a lot more Keith and I can resolve to do better. I’m sure we don’t always fight fair and sometimes we can both be a little stubborn. I know we’ll work on all that, but I’m happy to have some fun goals in mind, too.

    Tell me, have you made any couple resolutions this year? What do you want to be better at?

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Parenthood: When Will You Wear the Mom Shoes?

    Over the long weekend, Keith and I paid a visit to St. Louis where his brother, his wife and their kids live. Our plans were to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the whole crew. We had steaks, champagne and comfy clothes. Keith and his brother also had some man errands to take care of. They shopped at Home Depot, they made runs to the liquor store and they went to the Ram vs. 49ers game. Man errands. While they did that, I received a crash course in child care from my sister-in-law. I’m not really sure how I did, but the visit ended with my twin nieces allowing me to braid their hair. I mean they actually sat still long enough for me to weave their hair into an intricate and complicated (for me at least) French braid. Sounds like a major score, right?

     Awesome auntie behavior--we were doing gymnastics. But how many moms do you know hold their children upside down?

    I must say, I was very pleased with my skills in the auntie department by the time we were ready to head to the airport. I was, however, a bit weary of what my mommy skills will someday shape up to be. It’s so much work to raise kids. Moms don’t get to punch out at 5:00. They don’t get sick days or vacation days. All this I knew already, but seeing it first-hand made me so much more appreciative of what they do. I feel like I need to go back and re-do 28 Mother’s Days, for my mom and my sister-in-law and all the mothers of the world. Those homemade coffee coasters in the shape of mittens that my brother and I painted at my dad’s workbench in the basement just don’t seem like enough.

    As I marveled at how gracefully my sister-in-law defused fights over toys and dried tears over stubbed toes I became aware that this would someday be me. I tried to put myself in my sister-in-laws shoes. At almost the same moment, my niece came clomping into the room in a pair of high heels, her little feet barely filling the pointed toe box. And while she carried herself quite well in those big shoes, I did not miss the irony of her get up.

    I imagine motherhood starts off like a pair of shoes that are a little too big and I imagine that over time you fill the gaps with all the love and giggles and bedtime stories. And I’m sure that those quickly become your favorite shoes. I’m going to hang onto this shoe analogy for another second and say this: I’m still wearing my slippers. And I’ve got my feet up on the coffee table. But one of these days I’ll be ready to wear the mom heels.  

    Newlyweds, what are your thoughts on motherhood? Does it scare the crap out of you?

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    2012: New Year, New Goals

    Welcome 2012! I’m ready to start a new year. Keith and I had a great holiday filled with lots of family visits and great food. We ate and visited all week long. We saw parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews and grandparents. We ate ossobuco, risotto, porchetta, carnitas and lobster mac and cheese. And we ate desserts—chocolate candy cane cupcakes, buckeye balls, chocolate covered strawberries with champagne and various cookies. I don’t remember the last time I indulged in so many sweets that many days in a row (last year). I’m going through dessert withdrawal. Someone get me a brownie! It was such a great week, but now I am ready to kick off 2012.

     Why did I not resolve to cut my hair this year? I really need a hair cut. 

    I’m not one for making resolutions when the new year rolls around. Yes, I’d like to go to the gym more, but I’m too impatient to wait for a machine during the first week of the year. And the eating healthy comes naturally to me after a week-long Christmas cookie binge. Instead, I’ve set some goals for myself. I thought I’d share a few with you today since they’ve been bouncing around my head for a while now and I’d like to get them on the record. Here we go.

     More confidence. I’m good at many things. And I tend to stick to what I am good at. While I’ve still got so much to learn about life, I know I need to start taking more pride in what I have mastered. I think this goes well with my next goal:

    Wear more high heels. Maybe health professionals disagree, but high heels make me feel good. I’m a big believer that what you wear affects how you feel. When I’m dressed great, I feel great and people notice. This is not new science, but sometimes my feet need a little reminding.

    Meet new people. All of my friends live a good distance away. I told you before how I try my best to see them as often as I can, but I want some girlfriends (and couple friends) who live close by. I know we have to get more involved in our community and reach out more to our friends who do live close by. If happy hours and double dates are what it takes, I think Keith and I can manage this one!

    Last, but not least, my goal this year is to be a better wife. I think I’m a good wife. A pretty great wife, in fact. I respect and support my husband in everything he does. I want to be better at letting him know that. By the end of this year I want to say that we’re closer than we were before. I think “the perfect marriage” is something a couple has to work hard to achieve and I want to spend my year doing that! 

    Unlike my other lists, these are not tasks that I can just cross out when I’ve completed them. These are all things that I plan to keep in mind each day. If I can do that, I think I’ll have a great year!

    What about you? What are your goals this year?