Archives for April 2016

Reasons I’m Going to Marry Brian

Brian and I are getting married on September 16. For those of you not interested in mathing that out, it’s approximately 4.5 months  (or exactly 142 days) from today.

We had our engagement photos last weekend, and they were ridiculous,  just like us. For those of you not following on social media, here’s a sneak peek:

adorable engagement photos at a playground

Photo credit: Being Joy Photography

That guy right there? Is my favorite. And soon, he will upgrade from handsome boyfriend to handsome husband. Here’s why:

  • He makes me laugh. So much. If you can believe it, he’s actually way funnier than me. And he can keep me laughing all day long.
  • He keeps me grounded. I was out with some girlfriends last night and we were talking about how WHEEEEEE!!! Out of control we can sometimes be, and Brian can bring me right back down to earth when I need to be there. But he also holds on tight as I flutter free(ish) in the breeze. Never let go, Jack Brian. Never let go.
  • He’s so fucking smart. I learn something new every day. He also understands things about the world and can try to rationalize them for me when social injustices make me cry.
  • He’s so generous. He lets me warm my cold hands and feet with his human space heater body…at night. When he’s trying to go to sleep. And then he laughs with me (see the first bullet).
adorable engagement photos at a park with board games

Photo credit: Being Joy Photography

God, he’s the best.

 

via GIPHY

 

Are you married? Got any marriage advice? Why do you love your partner or best friend? Is your person as awesome as Brian?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Rando Photo Ops

After last night’s engagement photo shoot, I realized to my great dismay that I am not a photographer. I know this may surprise you, what with my killer Snapchat history, but it’s true. Our photographer, Joy, was perfectly lovely, and spoke of cameras and lenses the way Brian speaks of computery programmery things…or the way I speak of cheese. Using a language specific to the passion.

Despite my lack of skills, I thought I’d share some of my finer moments of photography.

What’s on my phone?

We’ll start with my ability to capture moving subjects. Drunk girls can’t sit still, apparently.

Erma Bombeck and awesome writers including Gina Barecca

Sometimes, I take fuzzy selfies with my writer friends posing with Gina Barecca – who’s awesome.

I really enjoy capturing random subjects. Like dinosaur meeples from board games.

dinosaur meeple

Like when I take photos of dinosaurs to send my friend, Smash…and then I never send them.

Other times, I pretend I’m an archictural photographer and snap shots of buildings in the city.

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And then, when I’m in Florida, I think I’m a nature photographer. Look out, National Geographic.  I’m coming for you.

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But, when it comes to the things I love…I think I’ve got this photo thing down.

I’m a foodtographer.

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And a cheesetographer.

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And a Briantographer.

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And a yogatographer.

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And a selfietographer. Of course.

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I guess we’re all photographers in our own right…but I’ll leave the big stuff to the professionals.

What are some of your favorite photos in your phone?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Champagne and Mom Go Hand in Hand

There are many wonderful things I love in this world. Cheese. Brian. Brunch. My mom. Being a godmother. My own godmother. (Don’t worry dad. I love you, too!) And, I promise this is in no particular, highly calculated order or anything.

I’ve always loved Mother’s Day, despite the having-never-been-a-mother thing I’ve got going for me. It’s one of the Big Five holidays in our family–Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, Mother’s Day–as we’re largely a matriarchy with loud, confident women (if I told you I was the quiet one, would you believe me?). Which pretty much means feasting, family, fighting, and fun. Now that Brian and I own our own home, we like to host family gatherings. I’m not going to lie, though, I’m using the term “we” loosely.

Last year, I took over Mother’s Day (and Halloween. And Christmas Day). As I’m the lady of the family without kids, I wanted to make the moms in my life feel special. So I invited my parents and brother, my godmother and her husband, and my cousin, the mother of my godson, and her family over for an early afternoon brunch of joy. I have every intention of doing it again this year, because it was ridiculous amounts of fun.

So, without further ado, I’m going to give you everything you need to create a delightfully magical brunch for your fam.

Sometimes, I like to have a bloody Mary bar when I host brunch, but I thought it would be fancy if I planned a glorious mimosa bar.

Everything you need for a mimosa bar

  • Champagnemy preferred drink of choice. Obviously.
  • Sparkling almond champagne – It’s a little bit sweeter for your guests who prefer a fruitier beverage
  • Peach bellini – Trader Joe’s has a really great bottle of this stuff and it rounds out your set nicely
  • Orange juice – Apparently, people add this to champagne. It’s not my bag, but I offered it anyways
  • Pineapple juice – I promise, this is WAY tastier than OJ, but you do you, my friends
  • Sliced peaches, oranges, and pineapples – Go big or go home, guys. If you’re going to all the trouble of creating a mimosa bar, make sure you’ve got the right accouterments
  • Maraschino cherries and strawberries – who needs a proverbial cherry on top when you can have a real one? And come on. Strawberries and champagne? Did you even see Pretty Woman?

For Mother's Day, I like to host a brunch for my mom, my godmother, and the mother of my godson to celebrate the beautiful and wonderful mothers in my life.

Now that we’ve got the drinks covered, let’s talk about food. In my family, we cook to feed an army. So when I make brunch, I make a lot of brunch. But…I’m also conscientious of my time. And so when I think about things like cinnamon rolls, I buy them from a store. Some call it cheating. I call it ingenuity.

With kids and adults, creative palates and traditional tastes, I like to offer a wide range of options for everyone. Here is my list of top food stuffs to include on my brunch menu.

Brunch ideas for the whole family

  • Eggs – if you’re going for gold, you can make eggs to order (I don’t) or eggs benedict in a chafing pan. Me? I make cheesy eggs and throw them in a crock pot half cooked. By the time everyone is ready to eat, they’re fully cooked. I also like to offer options, so sometimes, I’ll also make an egg casserole or strata or something.
Breakfast Casserole

This delicious beast is eggs, broccoli, cheddar, and ham atop a glorious crescent roll crust.

  • Potatoes – Nothing says brunch like a big ole pan of cheesy potatoes. I like to throw in shredded potatoes, whatever random cheeses I have in the cheese drawer, some onions, and whatever cream condensed soup is hanging out in the cabinet. The last time I made it, I used Campbell’s Creamy Gouda Bisque, and it was amazing.
Cheesy potatoes

Bake until there’s a golden bubble, and then add more cheese. Of course.

  • Meat – You’ve gotta have something meaty and delicious, but since my family is all over the place, I tend to have 2-3 different types of meat. We might have smoked salmon (cold or hot smoked – both are delicious), bacon/sausage and turkey bacon/sausage, because that tends to make everyone happy. One year I made bacon-wrapped dates and turkey bacon-wrapped dates and LOOK OUT world, because Chrissy forgot to take the pits out of the dates. Everyone ate them anyway (and had to get rid of the pits, obvi).
  • Yogurt bar – This is always a hit. Just get some vanilla yogurt (don’t get Greek yogurt. As much as I love it, everyone will think the regular vanilla is FABULOUS), fresh fruit, local honey, and granola. It’s easy, and you don’t have to cook anything!
  • Baked goods – Fruit breads, muffins, cinnamon rolls, slices of bread for toast, English muffins, bagels, etc. There’s no need to bake these yourself when Panera or Peapod will do it for you. Serve with jams, butter and cream cheese.

Cinnamon rolls

Invite guests with style

Now, you’ve got a plan; it’s time to send out invites. While paper invitations are great for, like, weddings and stuff (and only because my mom is making me do it), I’m a fan of the digitation. For your Mother’s Day brunch, you can use Evite to create personalized invitations with easy-to-track guest lists. Boom.

Evite Sample

What are you doing for Mother’s Day? Do you host or go out to eat? 

This post was sponsored by Evite. Some links used in the content may be affiliate links, which will garner me a small commission should you make a purchase. This helps offset the costs of running this little ole blog. As always, all opinions, ideas, etc are my own. 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

When it Comes to Brothers, I Sure Lucked Out

Did you know today is National Siblings Day? A mere week after my little brother’s 32nd birthday (it’s currently the very brief two months in which we’re the same age). I may have weird sister drama, but whatever; it doesn’t even matter because I have the best brother on the planet. Seriously. There are SO many reasons I adore my brother. We even have matching tattoos, you guys.

Irish Twin Tattoos

The Irish Claddagh symbolizes friendship, loyalty, and love. Cupla is a Gaelic word used for twins.

My brother, whose name is also Brian (we’ll call him Woj to minimize confusion with my future husband), builds palaces for his pets – his “fur” babies. I use “” because one of them is a hedgehog. Honestly, I don’t know if Biscuit actually qualifies as a fur baby.

Woj and I have shared thousands of tiny and huge moments from wreaking havok on our home turf to tearing it up in New Orleans. He’s been my partner in crime for more than three decades – we even had to sneak INTO our house together in high school. My favorite karaoke buddy, my twin, my friend. And hell if he doesn’t know me better than I know myself, sometimes. I can’t tell you how many times he’s said to me, “Chris, you should watch/try/play/eat/drink/make this.” Ten years ago, I’d have looked at him as if he was insane. In fact, I did. On several occasions. I took the long way around, but as it turns out, he was right the whole time. (Don’t tell him I told you that.)

Things my brother told me to try that eventually made me a better nerd

  • Harry Potter (I can’t even believe I’m admitting this)
  • Firefly (I waited years to actually try it. And really it was on the insistence of my boyfriend that I watch it. And oh man was I hooked)
  • Gamer games (and now I’m WAY more obsessed than he is)
  • GenCon (yeah, he was going to them long before I became an addict)
  • Netflix (yes, you guys. My beloved one and only Netflix, without which I might not be obsessed with Gilmore Girls, New Girl, or The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
  • X-Men (I remember a time in my life I thought my brother was crazy for loving Wolverine so hard. And then Marvel introduced me to Hugh Jackman)

Recently, Brian asked me, “What else did your brother tell you you’d love and you didn’t listen to him about?”

Me: World of War Craft

Brian: Don’t do that. You’ll get addicted.

Me: YuGiOh

Brian: …

Me: Magic the Gathering. But I know I’d like that.

Brian: Yeah, but those are both collectible card games, you have a problem with collecting things. So, uh…try to stay away from those.

We’ll see, Brian. We’ll see.

What awesome things in your life can you thank a sibling (or a bestie, if you have no sibling — or if you have sibling drama) for? 

This post is brought to you by my favorite media streaming company, Netflix (Thanks for the intro, Woj!). As a member of the Stream Team, I received a complimentary year of streaming and a device on which to binge watch shows like Firefly and Kimmy Schmidt (who returns this week!). As always, these opinions are my own, and I would totally still have Netflix even if they weren’t so darn good to me. 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!