Promises to My Future Fiance

It’s wedding season, and that means my weekly serving of Sunday Styles is healthier that usual. It’s also the year of my first milestone college reunion. This means I’m officially hitting that life phase when it’s not only strangers announcing their marriages in the Sunday Styles, it’s my friends.

As I watch more and more people I know prepare to “take the plunge” and as I plan my dress-rotation for the upcoming onslaught of receptions and nuptial exchanges, I’ve decided I’d better take note and make some lists for when it’s my turn…

Dear Future Fiance,

I will not make you sit through a staged engagement album photo-shoot that makes us look like a straight-from-the-pages-of-a-Brooks-Brothers-catalog-couple named Chip and Muffy.

This will just never be us.

I mean, yes, it would be nice to have some professional, candid photos of us for the requisite “save the date” cards or NYTimes wedding announcements, but none of that jumping in the air, fake laughing at something “cute” the other person said while wearing polo shirts, khakis and pearls stuff.

Let’s keep it real, baby.

I will not post every dress/hairstyle/shoe idea for our wedding on a board on Pintrest.

My Pintrest page is for everything, except my wedding.

I’m kinda obsessed with Pintrest. That recipe for the “skinny” chocolate-chip scones. The Burberry Prorsum dress I dropped 2 paychecks on. My favorite painting in that exhibit I went to last week. Sure — that’s all fair game. But when it comes to weddings, it’s about decisions… and excel spreadsheets or powerpoints are more useful for that. Besides,  if you can’t see my wedding dress until I walk down the aisle, no one can.

I will ask your opinion about the color scheme. And what color tux you should wear. And where we should have the reception… but I’m not asking for your opinion on the flowers.

You’ve never been great at buying me flowers, so let me pick those out for our wedding.

Let’s be honest — whether the centerpieces are cascading roses or submerged orchids probably doesn’t matter all that much to you. I organize events,  so those sorts of details do matter to me — whether it’s a wedding or a gallery opening. But it probably does matter to you where we celebrate with our guests — our friends and our family — and what breed of penguin you look like.

A wedding is about Us, after all, not about a 5-year old girl’s fairytale fantasy.

I won’t partake in the annual “Running of the Brides.”

Even though I’ve been contemplating joining the roller derby, this will not be me when I go wedding dress shopping. I promise.

As endearing as you find my competitive streak and my knack for trash-talking opposing teams, the last thing you want to see me do is shop for my wedding dress roller-derby style.

I won’t give you “that look” when you tell me the “boyz” have booked tickets to Vegas for your bachelor party.

That’s fine. I’ll even pack the suitcase for you. Because, baby, I’ve got plans of my own…

Just don’t come back married to someone else, with a tattoo on your face, or with anything communicable. If you don’t remember what happened, that’s probably for the best… but please check in with our GP before our honeymoon.

With Love,

Kathleen

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Does Bubble Wrap Have a Right Side Up?

The calendar tells me it’s closer to Valentine’s Day than it is to Christmas, and yet until yesterday the stockings were still hung by the chimney with care. There’s no room for Cupid’s arrows and heart-shaped chocolates when your home is still overrun with elves and 8 tiny reindeer.

Traditionally, the family commences de-decorating on the first day of the New Year. It takes all the 12 Days of Christmas and then some to get each turtle dove and leaping lord out of its box, but usually we’ve closed the book on Christmas by January 2nd.

Not this year.

De-Christmasing requires heavy artillery, dogged determination, and a stiff drink.

It’s hard to let go of the holiday spirit when you’re buried under a snow drift. Plus, the 9 dancing ladies find the basement very dreary. My feet were dragging, but eager to begin the march towards robins, daffodils, and bunnies, I finally armed myself for de-Christmasing.

I stood in front of the table and assessed my supplies. It was all there:

A roll of bubble wrap, 4 feet in diameter

3 rolls of scotch tape

2 lbs of tissue paper (acquired for free from an unattended cash register in the menswear department at Bloomingdales)

Empty plastic boxes and large, brown department store bags

2 Sharpies– one red, one black

Bottle of gin

A straw

In the past, stowing away Christmas has been left to my father — which explains why more than one of the reindeer are missing feet. It’s also why I never realized how much more work it is to put away the holiday cheer than it is to spread it. A whole day spent wrapping wreaths in tissue paper and  porcelain evergreens in bubble wrap. A whole day sorting gift wrap into drawers and bells into boxes. A whole day nagged by the question: does bubble wrap have a right side up? I guess I’ll find out in 11 months when I unwrap Mickey Santa.

The glow of LED lightbulbs in the snow -- it's a carnival in ice crystals

One thing I refused to take down and store away are the outdoor lights. The city is swamped in slush. The sidewalks smothered in Mt. Everest-sized snow piles. Winter is growing dreary. Yet, the red, green, and blue lights bring a bit of joy. There’s something about looking out the window at the glow of LED lightblubs playing on the snow that cuts through the gray gloom — it’s a little carnival in ice crystals. The winter promises to be long. Will I be willing to put away the Christmas lights before July?  Here’s hoping.

Unwrapping Christmas Presents Past: an Inner-Child Grows-Up, but Only Just a Little

It was a snowy Christmas morning when I was 4 and found myself standing in front of a large, me-sized box wrapped calico-style and adorned with a shiny, red, stick-on bow. I had asked for an Easy Bake Oven and given its size, I was sure this box was not my easy Bake Oven. I was somewhere between being tickled pink with anticipation and overwrought with disappointment.

It wasn't my Easy-Bake Oven. It was a lavender bike with a wicker basket and streamers. And it was snowing outside.

As I tore away the paper, I quickly saw I was right: this was not my Easy-Bake Oven. Instead, Santa had given me a lavender bicycle with streamers and a white wicker basket. I looked at the picture on the box then turned to the window.  The snow on the lawn was blinding white and the ice clean-up trucks chugged noisily down my street spraying salt and sand as they went. I was doubtful that this present would produce any immediate gratification. But I had seen enough Christmas movies and heard enough stories from my friends to understand that a bike for Christmas was a big deal. So I followed convention and starting jumping with joy, encouraging Daddy to put it together ASAP so I could ride it around the living room.

“No. You can’t ride the bike in the house. We just refinished the floors.” My mother didn’t realize what lasting effects this command would have.

I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until I was 17 and I never mastered turning. Now, the only bike I ride is a stationary spin one. Meanwhile, despite never having got my Easy Bake Oven (I asked for it every Christmas up until I was 11), I’ve become a bake-o-holic. My parents claim that it’s because I never had an Easy Bake that I’ve become such an able-bodied, all-from-scratch cook — I had to learn how to use a real stove, not one powered by a light bulb. One can never argue with a parent’s logic.

So far, my dinner guests have gotten more use out of my guitar than I have. But it's not too late for me to become the next Jewel

Yet while I can now churn out cakes, cookies and pies like nobody’s business, I’ve never gotten over the Easy-Bake Oven. Determined to prevent Santa from once again confusing “bakeware” with “bicycle,” I started writing elaborate Christmas Wish lists, complete with figures, web links, and product numbers. Each list has reflected whatever stage of my life I had entered — from preteen to early adulthood. A remote controlled plane, Backstreet Boys concert tickets, a watercolor box set, a Play-Station 2 with Guitar Hero, a real guitar, books by my professors, Kate Spade flats — for sure, with each item comes a flood of memories from not only that Christmas, but from that year in my life.

But in 2010, I couldn’t be bothered writing a list. Surely, after 25 years my parents knew I was easy enough to please that as long as it wasn’t a bicycle, I would be happy. My mother cursed me as she roamed the mall and racked her brain.

“Look, why don’t you just get me a cookbook or something.”

“You don’t need another cookbook.”

It was nothing short of a miracle that, come Christmas morning, there were presents waiting for me under the tree. My mother handed me an armful of crudely wrapped items with a look of both pride and concern on her face. “I don’t know why I bought you these,” she said. “But I figured we’ll need them later.”

I felt like I was 4 again as I shook the boxes. The sound of liquid sloshing around had me stymied. As I ripped away the paper and bows I was surprised to see a set of martini glasses, a bottle of Tanqueray, a bottle of Rose’s Lime Juice, and a copy of “Vintage Cocktails,” a book featuring recipes from Pegu Club, my favorite cocktail lounge in New York.

“Now, just remember, when you make things out of this recipe book you’ll not only get fat, you’ll get drunk,” Mum said as she cracked open the gin.”Go easy.”

I guess that’s why she neglected to give me a drink shaker.

Unlike the lavender bike, it didn't take me long to put these Christmas presents to use... despite the missing cocktail shaker

 

Dinner & A Movie is So Passe… In Need of a Date Idea? I Got one For You

Your typical date-night routine got you all worn out? How about taking eachother to Fencing Masters NYC

He like the Knicks. She likes a Broadway show. He likes comedy clubs. She likes the US Open. They both like a good party. They’re both tired of the typical date night on the town.

It’s time for something fresh, and I’ve got an easy way to make everyone happy…

Take your main squeeze to the Fencing Masters NYC.

On November 17th, the world’s best and most decorated fencers will take on members of Team USA at the Hammerstein Ballroom in a dynamic show of athleticism. It’ll be sporting event meets gala, complete with cocktails and hors d’oeurves. To cap off the evening, guests can brush elbows with the Michael Jordans of fencing at the Fencing Masters After-Party, which will take over New York City’s highly esteemed Hudson Terrace.

Your guy has always wanted to hang out with professional athletes. Your girl has always wanted to have her photo taken with a male Gucci model. You’ve both always enjoy hanging out together. Fencing Masters NYC can make all that happen.

Tickets on Sale on Groupon for one day only (Nov. 1)! Get your deal here: Groupon

If you miss the Groupon, have no fear! Great seats are available here: Fencing Masters NYC Website