24 November 2012
14 February 2012
One of my favorite Christmas presents last year was a ticket to a wine and cheese pairing class. One of our favorite cheese shops partnered with the wine shop next door to host a class where attendees, mostly couples, learned what to look for when pairing wine with cheese and how to taste them together. We had a delicious time, and wine is always a great equalizer when you're sitting at a table full of strangers - quiet, nervous couples become more gregarious, while pretentious old people get sloppy. Good times!
The best way to find a good class is to ask around at your favorite shops and restaurants. Get on their mailing lists so you'll be in the know when an interesting class pops up. This is a great date for any stage in a relationship - even a first date! Drinking + instant conversation topic = magical.
Remember when we went camping in Brooklyn? While this may not have been a date in the strictest (or any) sense of the word, it was definitely a romantic time. Jasper slept miraculously well in the tent, giving us time to cuddle by the campfire and whisper sweet nothings. During the day we got to sample delicious cuisine throughout Brooklyn and Queens, hang out with some pals, and hold hands on a boardwalk. If you happen to do this without a baby, take advantage of the opportunity to cram a fancy dinner date and a crunchy nature date into one weekend.
I hope you enjoy your day, whatever your relationship status. We're going to dress up and (Keith will) cook steak. It may not be Ohio, but I can't wait!
10 February 2012
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For too many people, being happy at home is pretty much an abstract idea, something they can't know or imagine, until it appears on some taste makers must-have list, or in a magazine, or reposted on Tumblr. A home sweet home is not curated or produced by acquiring a perfect arrangement of chairs, lamps and friends. A real living space is made from living, not decorating. A bored materialist can't understand that a house has to become a home. It happens, not through perfection but by participation.
06 February 2012
But before I can talk about dates, it's important that you understand Keith. Keith is a man with lots of ridiculous ideas - some of which are awesome and some of which are stupid. He seems to understand that he has to be really convincing/conniving when he pitches his ideas if he wants my support, as in the following example:
Maryli: What are you talking about?
K: Yeah! A micro-computer coding class!
M: What are you talking about?
K: Like, you know, micro-computer database coding that they use in health care.
M: I still don't know what you're talking about, but I don't think that's really in our field...
K: You never know what could happen in this economy, and besides, you're looking for a job. I figured it couldn't hurt to make ourselves more marketable.
M: I guess you have a point, although I don't believe you.
K: What's not to believe? Health care will always be a thriving industry and they always need people who know about micro-computing.
M: Hmmm...that's true. Ok, but I hope this wasn't too expensive.
K: Psych! We're taking Spanish lessons.
M: Oh thank God. Awesome!
*Some of these ideas might not actually be good for everyone or every situation.
**Jasper did come on some of these, but they were still pretty date-y.
Snowshoeing is awesome. Last winter (when winter was winterier) we rented snowshoes and hiked around the Appalachian Trail in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut. Jasper was really little, so we threw him in a carrier and brought him along. It was really nice to enjoy the snow and see interesting wildlife, including a bald eagle (we're pretty sure)!
After our big adventure we had dinner at the G.W. Tavern, which was not only amazing but also surprisingly kid friendly. The front rooms were ideal for a kid-less date, but they also had a large room in back where most of the families were seated. It was perfect, since we could enjoy the cozy atmosphere of the restaurant without feeling bad about our loud and/or messy baby.
Football Road Trip
A sports game can be a really good date. Even if you and your partner don't like sports, it's fun to dress up in team-themed costumes, drink cheap beer and soak it all up. So once upon a time, Keith and I decided that it would be funny to really get into football. After some meticulous but ultimately arbitrary calculations, we decided that the Jets would be our favorite team.
The Jets did well that year, so we decided to treat ourselves to a playoff game. The fact that said game was in Cincinnati didn't stop us! We hopped in the car on Friday after work, got to Cincinnati in time for the game, won the game, painted the town red, indulged in local traditions, and came back to CT in time for work on Monday. (Since we won the game, we decided to go to the next playoff game back home - the last game ever played at the old Meadowlands. I stole a seat as memorabilia.)
We had a great time, especially since I'd never been to a professional football game before. Everything was super-novel to me and hilariously funny. We didn't even have Jets merchandise, so Keith wore a green jacket with racing stripes and I wore my green "Livin' La Vida Loca" sweatshirt - truly die hard fans. We also had a ton of laughs telling jokes and familiarizing ourselves with bad country music radio in the car, eating weirdo Cincinnati food, and looking for nightlife in a totally new city.
Obviously I wouldn't recommend this for everyone, but it was a good reminder that sometimes a good date can be about the entire process and not just the main event.
I'll be back with more hit dates tomorrow, followed by some bad date stories later this week. What were some of your favorite or most bizarre dates?
03 February 2012
- Stylish men lunching! What could be better??
- Elevated snacks (and drinks) that are still football appropriate...
- If I had people I called "The Girls," we would get together every Wednesday and play poker with these...
- Speaking of the girls (I'm talking about boobs now), everyone's favorite pinkwashers really did it this time. Sometimes a simple illustration says it best...
- Cabin Porn! Don't worry, it's workplace safe...
- Speaking of romantic getaways, check out these ten romantic hotels. Two of them are in the vicinity of our honeymoon and might just be worth the splurge for one or two nights.
That's all for this week! I'll be back Monday with some Valentine-related posts that hopefully won't make you gag.
31 January 2012
30 January 2012
The big highlight of the weekend was driving down to NYC on Saturday to redeem my Living Social voucher at Aiden Anthony Opticians. Keith and Jasper may have had more fun eating at Japadog, going back to Danbury for a playdate, or meeting some greyhounds in Middlebury, but all I can think about is my new glasses. They should be finished and mailed to me by Friday, and I don't think I'll be able to wait. My contacts are bothering me so I'm looking forward to them on a practical level, but more importantly I think they look awesome.
Do you like how you look in your glasses? Some people can really pull them off...
27 January 2012
- If you live under a rock you may have missed this Colberty Tale. Amazing! Except why do old people have to hate everything new?
- Metallic wallpaper for a kids room...
- The Super Bowl is next weekend! If this insane dip turns you off, try one of these (actually) delicious looking alternatives instead...
- I'm totally jealous of this winter picnic, but not enough to have my own...
- Wouldn't one of these lamps be perfect for a small room?
- Winter is still in full swing (whatever that means these days), but for retailers it's over. So check out the sales, sales, sales! (Still not cheap, be warned.)
25 January 2012
I saw a lot of feedback on this speech from liberals who were mad that he didn't say exactly what they wanted to hear. I definitely didn't agree with all of his talking points, but I knew I wouldn't when I voted for him in 2008. I voted for him because I believed that he would move our country in the right direction and really get shit done. Has he succeeded? Not yet. Have I given up? Not yet.
Even though I would expand the role of government further than he outlined in areas like job creation and health care, it was refreshing to hear him talk about improving the role of government in America in a fundamental way. He wasn't talking about another huge stimulus package, but he stood by his conviction that Washington will need to play a large part in getting the country back on track. At a time when the debate seems to be between more government and less government, better government really stands out as the option of reason.
So for the rest of this term I'm looking for stronger policies (even if I don't 100% agree with all of them) and improved governance. I know that words are just words, but I was happy to hear the "let's work together" rhetoric gone and replaced by the words of a president who's ready to fight. Get to it.
24 January 2012
23 January 2012
But usually things are pretty smooth. He goes to bed easily around 8 and sleeps until anywhere from 6 (sigh) to 8:30 (yay!) This was not always the case, and I know there are at least a few people out there who aren't enjoying this same level of luxury, so I thought I'd pass on some of the advice that helped me through our darkest moments.
1. "We co-slept with each of them until they were around eight or nine months old, then we did end up letting them cry it out when we moved them into their cribs."
If you pour, like I did, over parenting books, articles, and websites, you might find two basic schools of thought about sleep. The first is that it's best to lay down the law and make sure your infant learns how to sleep on their own right away and through the night soon after. Otherwise they'll be in your bed until they leave for college. This view seems a little harsh to me, and also like a pain in the ass. Did they expect me to actually get out of bed to feed and/or comfort a baby in the middle of the night? Pass.
The other option is to co-sleep. According to the literature, this means sharing a "family bed," where you, your partner, your infant, your toddler, your 10-year-old, and pet lizard all sleep blissfully in one big bed. This option seemed a little hippy-dippy, but also kind of nice. Nice, until Jasper got a little older and started scratching and biting me and kicking Keith in the head throughout the night. That was not very cozy or restful at all.
So to hear that some families borrowed a little from each school of thought based on their own needs was a huge revelation to me. I loved co-sleeping, but there got to be a point where it wasn't working for anyone. Before this ridiculously simple revelation, I felt like we had spoiled Jasper beyond repair and that I would just have to resign myself to a life with no sleep. Post-revelation, I realized that we could move him into a crib when we were all ready, and didn't have to literally "go by the book." So that was step one.
2. "Go for the low-hanging fruit."
Once I was finally emotionally ready to move Jasper into his crib, I was kind of at a loss as to what to do. Let him scream all night? Comfort him whenever he woke up? The first option proved to be too much for our delicate sensibilities and the second turned out to be rather ineffective. So I asked a pediatrician what to do, and she told me to go for the low-hanging fruit.
We decided on baby steps, so to speak. Jasper still needed to be rocked to sleep, so the plan was to rock him until he became verrrrry sleepy, at which point I could set him in the crib where he would presumably put up a sleepy little fight and doze off seconds later.
That is not what happened at all. In fact, that's a lot closer to how things are now after weeks and then months of hard work. But I kept going for lower and lower hanging fruit until something worked. I won't go into the details of the elaborate routines I concocted, but the gist is that these routines got shorter and shorter as time went on, until I finally got to the short routine we have now.
It was nice to get him to sleep without having him cry it out every night, but eventually I did let him cry in the middle of the night. I was going through my whole song and dance every time he woke up until I realized that I could either let him cry or check myself into a mental institution. After about two nights of letting him cry himself back to sleep, he started sleeping through consistantly (with exceptions, like last night). It wasn't a tearless method, but I think it could have been much worse.
3. Talk (honestly) with other parents.
I love bragging about my kid as much as the next guy, but there comes a time in every parent's life when we need to hear that we're not alone for the more frustrating times. For example - in one of my darkest moments I actually took five minutes to list to Keith every child Jasper's age who I was absolutely positive had no problems sleeping, ever. Every kid we know that is Jasper's age made the list.
The next day I did the only thing I could think of - I wrote a frustrated plea for advice on Facebook, and was delighted to find something much better. Commiseration.
My Facebook support system can be especially helpful to me since most of the people we see socially (IRL) are not parents themselves. I'm not one of those "just you wait" people who scoffs at everything non-parents say, but there are times when it's just better to talk to an actual parent. Think back to your pre-parenting days. Can't you just hear yourself thinking "I would never let that happen"? Yeah, well...just you wait.
19 January 2012
I'm also a sucker for natural products, but ten years ago this meant I was stuck with super-emollient, non-foaming goop that came in terrible packaging and smelled like a hippie. Sad stuff. Fortunately those day are gone and even places like Sephora have gotten with the program. My heavy rotation looks like this right now:
caudalie foaming face wash, klorane dry shampoo, kiehl's dry oil, korres wild rose moisturizer, origins refreshing eye cream; click for sources
My favorite new discovery is the dry shampoo. If you've tried a dry shampoo before, forget about that because this is so much better. It makes my hair feel clean and gives it even better volume than right after a blowout. And now I don't even have to shower to use my favorite product! (But seriously, I shower regularly and this gets rid of the gross feeling I usually get when I shower without washing my hair.)
I also really like body oil because my skin is so dry. The Kiehl's dry oil is an old standby for me (it does smell like a hippie, but in a classy way maybe???) but I'm also totally into this one by Fig and Yarrow (best packaging ever) and this lotion/oil hybrid thing by Jao (worst packaging ever) (but also in a classy way).
Any other hot tips? I'm always itching to try something new and I'm about due for a shower...
16 January 2012
Tilda Swinton in Haider Ackermann
She looks amazing, like some bizarre alien wrapped in couture. The mixture of confidence, defiance, and self-awareness is perfect to me. She always has such a distinct point of view, which is so well manifested in this look.
There are gorgeous women at every award show who can't pull off their look, regardless of how beautiful their dresses may be. These women end up in frocks that are either age inappropriate, wrong for their body or personality, or just overpower them (Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lea Michelle). Then there are women who can make a so-so dress look perfect because they're so fabulous (Angeline Jolie). Then there are the women who aren't necessarily big red carpet showstoppers, but know what they like and satisfy my infatuation with the 70's.
Kristen Wiig in Bill Blass
I can still appreciate a woman who can work it in the old red carpet standards (Lanvin and Marchesa) but throughout this awards season I'll have my eye out for a different point of view.
13 January 2012
My cooking has really gone down the tubes in recent months, though, and today I discovered that my noodle-doctoring abilities have gone with it. For lunch I made a big pot of ramen soup, spooned some out for Jasper, added some spice, and spooned some out for myself. I managed to add enough soy sauce to mine to make it edible, but Jasper found his to make better hair than food.
Fortunately there are plenty of decidedly more talented people out there doctoring ramen every day and telling us all about it on the www. Next time I'll let myself be guided by the pros - and maybe not try to do laundry and cook at the same time. Click on pictures for links.
12 January 2012
The best thing to do in times like these is redecorate, I always say! I'm dreaming of a space that will be cozy in the winter (if it ever comes) but light and breezy for the summer. My ceilings and windows are nowhere near as tall as these, which may be all the more reason to lighten things up and kick color to the curb for a bit.
10 January 2012
Well...it's January, so wedding planning has kicked into high gear. And while I'm not going to divulge too many details from our wedding, there are tons of ideas we couldn't use that another couple may want to.
Let's start with attire. I found a dress with zero problems. I saw a picture somewhere, found an awesome bridal boutique (which I'll probably have to talk about more at some point), tried the dress on and fell in love. Shoes, on the other hand, were (are) a much bigger battle. I knew I wanted something sparkly but that's it.
Here's the problem - I love flats, but I only wear them with a dress or skirt if it hits at least 2 inches above the knee or is floor length. My dress is knee length, so despite the fact that I may wobble a bit and I'll definitely tower over my groom, I chose an obscenely high platform heel. Ah well...