Archive for the ‘Family’ category

I love our new china!

August 21, 2011

Perk #948 of getting married: receiving beautiful china! A couple of months ago my fiancĂ©’s grandparents had us pick out a style of china we like, and today it was delivered! We had a blast opening all the packages and discovering the gorgeous pieces.

Boxes full of china

My fiancé opening one of our packages

Me opening another one

Don't you love the pattern?

Better close-up of a teacup

Holding a plate

Opening more

Table covered in china

China in our cabinet

I can’t wait to use it!!!

“I’m ba-ack!”

August 20, 2011

Wow, I’ve been MIA the last few weeks. Not that many people noticed, but I feel weird not having blogged for so long. So here I am, bright and early on a Saturday, ready to share my experiences from the last few weeks.

A few weekends ago I met up with some college roommates in Ocean City, Maryland, and we had a blast relaxing at the beach, going out for dinner and drinks and catching up. Here’s a picture of us at Liquid Assets, a bistro and package store with an awesome menu.

We started off the evening with martinis, shared a decadent cheese plate and enjoyed our delicious main courses. I got garlic chicken with roasted tomatoes, onions, fingerling potatoes, Benton’s bacon, spinach and herbs. One of my friends ordered the open faced slow braised Carolina pork BBQ with chipotle coleslaw and thick cut fries, and the other two got seared scallops risotto with roasted garlic and shallots, peas, mushrooms, fresh herbs and grana padano.

My garlic roasted chicken

The pork BBQ

The seared scallops risotto

The weekend following our Ocean City Extravaganza was a busy one as well. Jim and I hosted some friends, went to a Red Sox game and attended a two-day marriage prep class. The Red Sox game was a blast — thanks to our friend, Candace, we managed to get second-row seats!

Our view of the park

Unfortunately, the Red Sox did not win this game (and what’s worse is they lost to the Yankees), but we still had a great time. We enjoyed watching Dustin Pedroia do his little hop move before fielding the ball, making fun of Candace for her “crush” on Josh Reddick (I put crush in quotes because the rest of us sort of invented it) and going out after the game.

The marriage prep class was quite an experience. Due to a friend’s recommendation, we attended the one at the Espousal Retreat House in Waltham (completing a “Pre-Cana” marriage course is a requirement for a Catholic wedding, which we’re having). We showed up on Saturday to discover that 75 other couples in the greater Boston area were doing the same thing. Apparently, this was a record number. We spent the next couple of days together, listening to married couples share their marriage experiences and insights, receiving advice from a priest who’s worked with hundreds of married couples and discussing different aspects of marriage with out significant other.

The Espousal Retreat House in Waltham

In fact, they had each us one us complete forms devoted to specific topics, and then discuss our answers privately with our fiance (or fiancee). Topics ranged from finances to goals to religion. It was helpful to discuss those taboo topics you always try to avoid but really should confront. My fiance and I learned a few things about one another, but were pretty happy must of the subjects we’d already addressed (and were familiar with the other person’s perspective on).

The big theme of the weekend was: COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR SPOUSE. Even if you have an issue with another person (say, a friend of the family), you should always be willing to discuss your concerns with your husband or wife. Because you are a team and that person is there to help you out. They will feel validated knowing you trust them with your thoughts, and you’ll end up with a constant source of support and encouragement.

Last weekend my fiance and I headed to Syracuse, NY to take care of more wedding planning. We met with our priest for the first time, picked out the church readings and decided on the layout of the reception space. Also, my fiance designed wedding programs using his fine-tuned Excel skills. I was so proud of him. I had spent hours trying to figure out how to format Microsoft Word properly for a program. And then he goes ahead and whips up an awesome, perfectly formatted program on Excel in no time! I really think he should market his wedding program making skills!

Not only have I been so busy the last few weekends, but it seems like nearly every weeknight I’ve had some event to celebrate. For example, it was my sister’s 29th birthday on Wednesday (we had an awesome tapas meal at Solea in Waltham), my friend Bridget’s going away dinner on Tuesday, and my 3-year anniversary on August 10.

I love this card my fiance gave me for our anniversary

Finally, I feel like I can relax. I was so tired from all the recent happenings last night, that I went to bed at 8:30 (yup, on a Friday night). But now it’s 7 a.m. on a Saturday, I’ve already had my coffee and Stella D’oro almond toasts, and I’m feeling good! I’m really looking forward to this weekend — my only plan is to attend the Futures at Fenway doubleheader. Actually, I have one other plan as well: to celebrate my fiance’s acceptance into his graduate school program of choice! He’ll be attending Northeastern for political science starting in three weeks– yeah!!!

I didn’t want a bridal shower

June 25, 2011

But my aunts threw me one anyway. It ended up being awesome because it didn’t really feel like a bridal shower (with the exception of all the presents). The backdrop was a barbecue, guys were invited, and no girly games were played. Here are a few pics from the event:

My friends Henrik and Emily were able to attend (along with their adorable baby, Elise)

My friends Steve and Lindy (along with their Dad) also showed up

Me in front of all the desserts people made

My aunts, mom and I

My dad and members of his side of the family

More family members

My sister, her dog, and I

I got a TON of presents. I am so appreciative…from the nice flower-patterned Oneida silverware to the wine racks to the three adorable aprons (I swear there’s a lot more where that came from!), I feel so lucky.

What if my wedding stinks?

June 12, 2011

What if she shows up at my wedding?

I had a horrible dream last night. I dreamt that my wedding (which is scheduled for Sept. 17) really stunk. The DJ couldn’t get people to dance (in fact, he wasn’t even playing music), guests were leaving extremely early, and for some reason I plunged into a swimming pool, ruining my dress, hair and makeup.

I’m actually not too surprised I had this terrible dream. Pretty much since January, when I got engaged, I’ve worried about the wedding. Mainly, I’ve feared that no one will show up. I know this is an irrational fear. Obviously some people will show up. But I’m still worried that a ton of people won’t end up coming. Whenever I have a party I feel this way. I felt the same way before my 29th b’day party and the same way before my housewarming party in November. And both times a lot of people came.

So why am I so afraid? Maybe it’s because recently several people told me they can’t come. And I imagine there are many more in that boat, but for whatever reason haven’t told me yet. I am inviting people from all over the country (and even from other countries), and I’m afraid the long distance will keep them from making the trip. A number of people haven’t acknowledged they received the save the dates, so I feel those people don’t intend to come.

I wish I could stop freaking out. A bunch of people have said they’ll be there. And I wish I could stop worrying about whether they’ll enjoy themselves. My parents are doing so many things to make sure the wedding goes smoothly. I just always assume the worst. I guess then I’m not disappointed. But it’s certainly a stressful experience to assume the worst. You worry a lot, and worrying is not good for the soul!

Some food notes from my brother’s graduation weekend

May 9, 2011

My brother just earned his MBA from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. After the ceremony on Saturday, we helped ourselves to complimentary finger foods. I especially liked these skewers of sausage bits, green olives, cheddar cheese, and cherry tomatoes. The appetizer is colorful, tasty, and seemingly easy to make.

Here’s the cake my mom bought for my brother.

The cake was made by Connie Decker, the same woman who’s going to make my wedding cake (I mentioned her in this earlier post). I am so happy we’re going with her for the wedding, as the cake was incredibly moist and the filling and frosting were also quite good.

I made dinner yesterday for Mother’s Day. It was so nice walking through the aisles of a grocery store and not having people all around you.

Tops supermarket in Fayetteville, New York

Normally I shop at a Shaw’s in Cambridge, Massachusetts and it’s always so crowded.

A successful trip to Syracuse

April 25, 2011

Not only did I take care of some wedding planning, but I brought back some awesome stuff.

A Chevrolet shirt in honor of my Chevy Cavalier

A mixer from some friends of the family (they had an extra one lying around)

An orchid from my mom

A haworthia cactus (also known as a zebra plant) from my mom

Easter chocolate

An old painting of mine

A week of wedding planning

April 21, 2011

The "ladies room" of the Wellington House

Since Wednesday my fiance and I have been in Syracuse, taking care of wedding business. Here’s what we’ve done:

  • We met with the florist. We are having Nino Gagliano of the Backyard Garden Florist do our flowers. He’s so nice and accommodating. We arrived at our appointment with several ideas of what we wanted, which made things easy. When we showed Nino our pictures (I found them online), he immediately knew which flowers were in each arrangement. Based on our preferences and his advice, he helped us pick out the perfect flowers and color combinations. We will be using a mixture of white roses, calla lillies, green hydrangeas, snapdragons, stock flowers, and hypernicum berries.
  • We checked out the rehearsal dinner venue. My fiance’s parents are hosting the rehearsal dinner at the Wellington House in Fayetteville. Wow, what a unique and charming abode! Built in the early-1920s, the home is split up into themed rooms. For example, there’s a “wicker room,” “men’s lounge,” and “bride’s room.” Thomas Thomas, the current owner, has filled the residence with furniture and antiques he’s purchased from local auctions. The estate includes a garden and a bar area, both of which we’ll be using for the rehearsal dinner (we’ll actually have free reign of the whole property).
  • We discussed some wedding details over a delicious dinner. My fiance’s parents were in town for a couple of days as well, so my family (my dad, mom, brother and I) went out to dinner with them and my fiance. We dined at the Brewster Inn, a wonderful bed and breakfast overlooking Cazenovia Lake. Not only was the view lovely, but dinner was amazing. Almost everyone had something different. I had the pan seared tournedos of beef (it came with chantilly potatoes, asparagus, and burgundy cream sauce), and my fiance indulged in the pork tenderloin au poivre (it was served with chantilly potatoes, asparagus, and a green peppercorn cream sauce).
  • We met with the baker. Connie Decker of The Chocolate Truffle will be making our wedding cake. I can’t find her website, but here’s a newspaper article about her. She’s been in business for more than 20 years, so she seems to really knows her stuff. We were a little disappointed she doesn’t do cake tastings (to help you figure out what cake flavor and filling to choose), but were willing to sacrifice that perk for her expertise. We decided on a chocolate cake with white frosting and raspberry filling. White roses, green hydrangeas, stock flowers, and hunter green leaves will decorate the cake.

Tomorrow we’re finalizing the guest list with my mom; on Saturday, we’re sampling food at the reception venue. I’m especially excited for that task!

Some random gastronomical musings

March 6, 2011
  • The Flour Bakery + Cafe’s cookbook rocks. I’ve never actually made anything from the book (nor do I own it), but I’ve sampled two desserts from it. One was a chocolate cupcake with white butter frosting, and the other was a lemon square. A friend of ours brought over some of the lemon squares the other night, and I can’t stop thinking about how good they are.

The remaining lemon squares

  • Wegmans rocks. You’ve all heard of this amazing grocery store right? Each year, the Rochester, NY-based supermarket makes Fortune magazine’s list of best places to work. Not to mention the store has an excellent selection of produce, baked goods, meat, and much more. Well this past week, when I was in Syracuse for some wedding planning, my mom made veal and spaghetti with Wegmans’ vodka sauce.

The sauce is unbelievably tasty. Its ingredients include diced tomatoes, tomato puree, diced onions, cream, olive oil, vodka, Romano cheese, roasted garlic, and basil. She mixed the sauce with cooked mushrooms, put the mixture atop spaghetti, and served it with Wegmans-brand veal.

My mom bought some of the Wegmans-brand veal for me to bring back to Boston.

I love how the veal is nice and skinny. My mom basically dipped the veal pieces into an egg and flour mixture; then covered them with breadcrumbs. She cooked the veal in some olive oil for a couple of minutes, put mozzarella on top of the veal pieces, and microwaved them for a minute. So the cheese was nice and melted atop the crispy veal. Oh my gosh I was in heaven eating this meal. It was of restaurant quality (a good restaurant, that is)!

I stopped by the local wine store, looking for a decent boxed wine. As I was reading the back of this one, a lady giving out samples of another wine told me a couple of customers had just recommended this one. So I went with it. It was pretty reasonably priced ($15 for 1.5 liters, which is two bottles-worth), and it is organic/contains no sulfites. I’m no oenophile; I just like a smooth, decent-tasting wine. Well, this one fits the bill. I mean, it’s a little spicier than the wines I’m used to, but by no means is that a negative thing. I would surely purchase this brand of wine again.

Wedding dresses that didn’t make the cut

March 2, 2011

I got my wedding dress a few weeks ago. Here are some of the dresses that didn’t make the cut:

You will have to wait until after the wedding (Sept. 17) to see the actual dress I bought!

Wedding dress shopping

February 20, 2011

My mom and I showed up to my dress fitting 20 minutes late. I hadn’t anticipated it would take so long to get there (Note to self: Boston-area strip malls are a hot destination on Saturday afternoons). We walked into David’s Bridal only to find ourselves surrounded by dozens of frenzied engaged women, family members and friends.

Half of them had dresses on while the other half scoured the racks, admired the soon-to-be brides, and asked questions of the employees. A check-in table was set up at the door, yet no one was there to greet us. After a few minutes I was very worried our appointment had been canceled as a result of our tardiness.

But fortunately, a minute later, Roseanne came over. I apologized profusely for being late, and she insisted it wasn’t a problem. We moved over to the dressing area; she asked me to look through a book of dresses and pick out the ones I liked. I was a little dismayed she declined to look at my list of product ID numbers. I had compiled it after picking out my favorite dresses on the David’s Bridal website.

Roseanne ended up bringing three strapless dresses over. She helped me put each one on, and led me out to the mirrored area where my sister and mom were waiting. The first dress wasn’t bad, and I especially liked how the back looked, with its laced-up closing. But when I tried on the second dress I realized how much I preferred a dress with a sweetheart bodice (an example of a sweetheart bodice).

I liked how both dresses had a lot of shape on the bottom, but I didn’t like how the second one made my midsection look a lot bigger than it is. After realizing the third dress wasn’t my size, Roseanne had me pick out a few more dresses from the racks. She ended up choosing one for me. It was a new arrival with a more “earthy” or “organic” feel than the other dresses. I tried it on. The top was the perfect shape, and the bottom had ample body. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the ruffles on the bottom, but once the dress was on I fell in love with them.

In addition to having the perfect shape, it had some nice touches (including a slightly off-white color, cottony material as opposed to a satiny material, a flower set toward one side of the waist, and two ribbons that tie in back). The dress perfectly matched the flower in my hair (which I ended up getting). The only issue was the dress was a little wrinkled (the fabric slightly lends itself to wrinkles).

Roseanne and her coworkers assured us that the dress wouldn’t be wrinkled on the big day. They said it would be steamed before wear, and that one day of wear would not result in wrinkles. I believed them. My mom, however, was a bit skeptical, and she didn’t think the dress was formal enough (and wished it was pure white). My sister, Roseanne, and I loved it, however, and I got lots of compliments from others in the store.

Roseanne and I went back to the rack– this time with my sister and mom, and we picked out a few more dresses. None of them pleased me as much as the “organic” dress. I tried to convince myself I liked a dressier sequined satin dress more, but then I realized I was doing that just to satisfy my mom. I tried on my top two dresses again. When I put on the one my mom didn’t like as much, and walked into the mirrored area, my sister started crying. I asked her why, and she said it was because I looked so good in the dress.

She said it was perfect for me. I ended up getting that one (actually– my sister bought it along with a bra, petticoat and veil for my wedding present), and I think my mom is warming up to it. So that was clearly a successful dress shopping outing. Next I need to get shoes, and decide on bridesmaid dresses (I’m thinking a green color).

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/psit/5379626811


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