When IT hits the fan…

I remember on New Year’s Eve sitting with my now Fiance and my parents talking about the fresh start the New Year brings. We didn’t have any resolutions so to speak but we did have goals. Brent and I both agreed that we wanted to get the ball rolling on making that whole marriage thing more than just talk. The news elated my parents. And it elated me too. All my life I dreamed of the moment I realized I was going to marry someone. I knew it was Brent from the moment we started dating but saying it out loud was a powerful affirmation.

As soon as the new year began I started doing some research. I wanted to elope. He wanted an actual wedding. With talks of Vegas or Destination Weddings in the Caribbean, I started to go in every direction with my search. One day I searched destination weddings. The next Bed and Breakfast weddings in Vermont and Connecticut. My groom to be suggested we look at some New York weddings too. With a tiny budget in mind, I did some looking around. I crunched numbers after getting quotes from highly rated venues.

The one thing I wanted was a stress free wedding. When I found ReBar, I fell in love. The exposed brick, wrought iron fences, eclectic tastes and tons of local art and upcycled décor sold me. I found tons of GORGEOUS wedding photos from reputable photographers and when they replied to my email asking me to come in and see the space, I knew the way I knew when I fell in love with Brent.

I was going to be married here!

The food was incredible. The vibe was so relaxed. Everything about it was so different. And after tasting the food, seeing the space and even meeting the staff, we decided this was the place. We returned two weeks later to sign our contract securing our date for February 2015 and left a 50% deposit.

Brent and I proceeded to put our monies aside so that when 2015 comes, we could put the final balance down in cash. We were celebrating our fantastic achievement. Our wedding venue was throwing it all in. Open Bar, DJ, Floral arrangements, Appetizers, buffet dinner and even cupcakes. Essentially, all we had to do was show up! We told few people about it until two weeks ago when we were officially engaged.

We told everyone! ReBar! We are getting married at ReBar!

Yay!

We even set up a few friends with meetings with the event coordinator to have their own ReBar wedding!

Last Friday, on May 9th, I was out celebrating my engagement with two of my closest friends. I received a text from another friend who knew I was getting Married at ReBar.

“Dude, have you heard from ReBar recently? Big article in Gothamist and it’s not good news…”

What happened next sent everything into disarray.

I thought ReBar got a bad review or something… but this was far far worse.

http://gothamist.com/2014/05/09/dumbo_rebar_closed.php

5914rebar1 (courtesy of Ben Yakas via Gothamist)

I immediately called Brent. Then my mother. And the story was still fresh so we all thought ReBar just went bankrupt. I tried to shake it off. But the idea of starting over with my wedding planning was nauseating. The thought of losing the 50% deposit I had just given them 2 months ago made me sick.

I tried to be optimistic and after so many phone calls with my photographer and a few recently married friends, I found out more bad news.

http://gothamist.com/2014/05/11/rebar_owner_owed_irs_millions_claim.php

And aside from the shit storm of so many couples giving ReBar THOUSANDS of dollars in cash for weddings happening this month, all the way through 2016, there are some really hardworking people- former rebar employees- who are now jobless. Employees who love their clients so much have been working tirelessly to help all of us displaced by reBar to find new places to get married! h

ttp://gothamist.com/2014/05/10/ex-rebar_employee_local_businesses.php

51014rebar1 (via Gothamist)

The community of local businesses have been amazing. The support from other couples screwed over by Jason Stevens has been a tremendous help.

I am spending the first few weeks of my engagement, panicking over finding a venue we can afford now that our already small budget has been slashed. I considered changing the date but with my photographer already paid for and his business being in the wedding industry, there is a good chance I can lose him- and he’s been amazing during this tough time!

If anyone here is reading this and looking to get married, please take away from this experience knowing the importance of INSURANCE! A very small number of brides in this big disaster purchased wedding insurance and will get back every cent they ever gave this douche-nozzle.

I am spending a lot of time researching and visiting venues and praying by some miracle I get the deposit back.

Thank you all so much for reading and for your support. I hope to have good news soon! And insurance on whatever route Brent and I decide to go!

The Best Day of My Life….So Far!

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If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook, you might know I had some big news on Friday night.

What started out as girls’ night with my mother and best friend, turned into a night that I will never forget.

Spoiler Alert: I’m engaged.

My mother and Danielle were actually scouting locations for my Bridal Shower on Friday night… because Brent and I set a wedding date at the beginning of the year. We certainly didn’t intend to go out of order that way but when we were “just looking” at potential wedding venues, the first place we saw was absolutely perfect! And when we said we wanted to think about it some more, the site manager handed us a calendar of all their available dates for 2015. Our hearts sank when we realized our top three choices were solidly booked. We decided, based on how fast this chart seemed to fill up, that we would be wise to pick a date right on the spot.

So we did.

I was on cloud nine! We were technically engaged! But since we were just looking, we hadn’t made any other arrangements, like, you know an engagement ring. We are old fashioned at heart, and planned to have a proper engagement- sometime in the near future. As a couple, we decided to just tell our family about the big news plus a few of our closest friends. If anyone knows me personally, they know that keeping secrets is not really my strength. Sure, I can keep a secret about something scandalous you told me I must never repeat…but having to keep this awesome secret drove me NUTS! I was reading Style Me Pretty and other wedding blogs at the office and when I sensed someone nearby, I minimized the screen. I created private wedding boards on Pinterest. And saved a ton of potential dresses on David’s Bridal.

Must. Not. Tell. Secret.

Brent is and has always been the type of guy that just doesn’t lie very well. That’s not a flaw in my eyes but a very admirable trait since he is always honest with me. Sometime around Easter, my boyfriend sprung out of bed and jet out of the apartment in a hurry without many details as to where he was going and why… When I asked where he was going, he replied “to run some errands”. My mother also happened to call me that same morning telling me something along the lines of “I’m going out with a friend today so I won’t be able to go to the gym with you…” Turns out, those two were shopping.

When I knew what those two were up to, I seized every opportunity to gussy up and have my nails done and in the back of my mind I would wonder “Is this it?!?”

Fast forward to Friday, May 2nd. My mother and Danielle were going to check out a possible location for my bridal shower and invited me to come along. Since it had been so long since I had a girls’ night, I wore a summery dress, had my nails done and put some make up on. We all met up for drinks at my favorite bar in Chinatown. The plan was for ONE DRINK. But one downtown tea turned into three. I kept texting Brent to tell him we were getting tipsy. My mother kept telling me to put my phone away. We talked about how Brent and I met. The funny moments in our relationship and even talked about how I think he will propose. (for the record, I desperately wanted an intimate proposal with just the two of us. The 23 year old version of me is somewhere dying to be proposed to at a Yankee game… lol)

Suddenly, my mother suggests we forgo the bridal shower hunt in favor of grabbing a quick bite and heading back home. For the first time EVER I said “fine, whatever you ladies want to do”. We had a quick bite and made our way home.

I live right across the street from my mom. When she was saying goodbye to me, she asked me what I thought Brent was doing. I laughed and said “probably cuddled up with the dog watching a movie”. She laughed and asked me to take a pic and send it to her when I got home and then she gave me the biggest hug ever.

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When I walked into my apartment, it was quiet and dimly lit. There was a strong scent of my sugar cookie candle. The absence of sound wasn’t really alarming but as soon as I walked in, I saw Brent seated at our dining room table with Mickey sitting at his feet. There was a bouquet of red roses on the table and a bottle of champagne chilling. The moment I saw him, I knew. And I immediately started sobbing. Like, my puppy just died kind of sobbing. He told me to sit down because he had a very important question to ask me. I had my cell phone ready to snap a picture and without thinking, I just closed the phone and ran up to kiss him.

“Will you marry me?”

Through sobs, I said yes. I sat down across from him. Just crying. He pulled out a small box and gave it to me. I opened the box to reveal a beautiful round solitaire engagement ring.. And, you guessed it, I cried some more as I hugged my fiancé.

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Despite having a wedding date before getting engaged, it didn’t feel real. Hearing him ask me and having him present me with this ring, I actually FEEL engaged now. I am so in awe of how much that question moved me and so excited to start my journey of wedding planning and all that wonderful stuff.

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It was just the two of us. And the dog. It was everything I hoped it would be and more!

16 Months

Just as I was starting to get into a groove with exercising and eating healthy, I started to feel really tired. Like, BEAT tired. I noticed several people at the office were coming down with something and 5-7 people out sick at a time. I doubled up on my vitamins and water intake because it was a solid 16 months since I was last sick with anything other than a runny nose.

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That tiredness was followed by a sore throat. A sore throat that wanted nothing but bread-like things to feel better. Does that make sense? It wasn’t the need for bread, but the need for texture. I hopped into the local bakery near the office for a post work dessert date with my love. He had just started his new job and we were celebrating his first week of work. I ordered a slab of carrot cake. This is not like me, especially since I have been so committed to not cheating.

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I went home and scraped off all the frosting (WHAT?) and went to town on the cake. The following day I felt a little worse but chalked it up to allergies since I could still taste things. I made a huge loaf of Irish soda bread and took it to work. That soda bread was calling my name all day and night.

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I had not one, not two, but THREE slabs of soda bread with a thick layer of butter that evening.

At the office, everyone went wild for the soda bread. I made it with raisins. But as my throat continued to ache, my craving for the dry bread slathered in cold butter grew. And by the end of the day, I had eaten two more slices of bread and had a boozy St. Paddy’s day cupcake in my in my bag for later that evening…. when all hell broke loose.

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I will spare you the details but I was completely destroyed when two days later I was being diagnosed with Bronchitis at the ENT’s office. My healthy streak was over and I was taking a hefty dose of antibiotics and steroids.

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And if that wasn’t enough, My germy ass got Brent sick during his 2nd week of work. We were both miserable with fevers, achy bodies, dry heaving coughs and sore throats. His boss along with his colleagues begged him to stay home.

We consumed tons of soup.

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And while he bounced back quickly, it took me about a week to feel like a human being again.

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I am feeling much better now and happy to report that I have not had any irish soda bread or boozy cupcakes since… the pizza I just ate is unrelated.

Wine and Cheese Partay!

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Sometime around Christmas, my friend Danielle and I planned a night in with a home cooked meal, wine, cheese and Christmas tree decorating. We wanted to start some kind of tradition since we were decorating my tree. What ended up happening was we sang Mariah Carey Christmas songs on Pandora at the top of our lungs, consumed every drop of wine in the apartment and polished off several pieces of cheese along with crackers and salami leaving ZERO room for the dinner I planned to serve us after our “appetizers”.

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But a new tradition was born. Our monthly wine and cheese night. While creating our lineup I remembered the cheese slate Brent got me for Christmas the year before. I felt bad having never used it but now that we have a monthly wine and cheese night, the slate is my favorite thing ever.

Recently, Danielle came over with some new cheeses she discovered at Trader Joes. Bacon Cheddar, Smoked Gouda (Hands Down, Brents all-time favorite cheese), Gorgonzola, quince paste, and salami with crackers. I provided a crisp white wine for Brent and Danielle while I sipped a fruity malbec.

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I absolutely love our wine and cheese nights. We get really creative with our combinations. That gorgonzola with the quince paste was a surprise winner for us. And have since added a spicy raspberry jam to the fruit spread.

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I will admit that at the last wine and cheese party we had, Brent and Danielle got into a spirited game of who could blow out the candle from far away. Despite hot candle wax being blown all over the table, we had a good laugh. And Danielle kicked Brent’s butt every time!

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Brent is a good sport.

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MOAR CHEESE!!! PLEASE!

Brent’s Birthday!

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A little late. But better late than never.

Brent turned the big 27 towards the end of February. While I like to pretend I don’t want to make a big fuss on my own birthdays, Brent really doesn’t like to make a big fuss. I like to pretend and then make somewhat of a fuss. But he is very uncomplicated and if he wants something on his birthday, I make it happen.

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His only request was dinner at a local eatery: Eastwick. And a red velvet cake (light on the frosting)

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My parents wanted in on the birthday action so they proposed a breakfast outing followed by a visit with grannie.

If there is one thing I miss about Queens, it’s the close proximity to Kane’s diner. If you didn’t know about Kane’s and walked into it for a quick bite, you wouldn’t think anything of this old timey diner. But really, this place has the best pancakes ever- take that IHOP. This diner is open 24 hrs a day like a good diner should and they don’t just make buttery stacks of pancakes, they make everything. Their menu is a bit overwhelming, especially if you have a hard time making decisions.

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The first time I took my mother here, she went for a truck drivers breakfast of eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, toast and homefries. The order came with a stack of pancakes which I encouraged her to try.

She hates pancakes.

She took a bite and there was no going back. Mom still hates pancakes but she LOVES the pancakes at Kane’s diner.

Brent was game for some breakfast pancakes.

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Until he saw the ribs.

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After asking the waitress if they served ribs at 10 am, she smiled widely and said ABSOLUTELY! And when Brent couldn’t decide on ribs or pancakes he shocked us all.

 

“Can I have the ribs, with a side of pancakes?”

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Birthday boy gets what birthday boy wants. He loved the pancakes and especially loved the ribs.

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After our hearty breakfast, we had a great visit with grandma and afterwards, went home for power naps and birthday cake.

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Dinner at Eastwick was filled with mac and cheese, short ribs and mashed potatoes. We considered going to the movies after but at 8:45 pm I was feeling really tired (crashing from ALL THE CARBS!). I went to lie down for a quick minute and ended up passing out for the night.

 

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I suspect while I was passed out, there was some major damage done to that birthday cake…

Lately in Photos

I’ve been absent. I’m sorry! I thought I would take a minute to share some recent events via photos.

Things you may have missed in the last 30 days:

Dad had a very successful knee replacement.

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Dad is also doing really well in physical therapy!

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BR got a new job!

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We had a farewell party at the local watering hole. BR’s real name is Brent!

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Brent got REALLY drunk!

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I decided to reward myself of 30 days of healthy eating…with a dessert sampler. Was the most delicious and most stupid thing ever.

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I am obsessed with my nails.

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Grandma moved to an assisted living facility! It’s gorgeous!

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I saw the Mayor live and in person while enjoying one of my last lunches with Brent.

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We took a decent selfie- that’s newsworthy!

Valentine’s Day 2014

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So now that I am officially a grown woman, in a grown relationship, BR and I opted to stay in for Valentine’s Day this year.

Oh, right, Valentine’s day was over a month ago.

Yiikes!

Despite my complete disregard for agenda’s and time management, I am going to proceed to share our Valentine’s Day lineup.

One thing I have grown tired of is crowds. I have never loved crowds actually but my tolerance seems to be getting lower and lower. So when Valentine’s Day fell on Friday, BR and I looked at each other and decided to have a night in and have dinner on another night of the week.

I had the menu all planned with BR when suddenly, BR emailed me telling me he had a late meeting. And then the grocery provider emailed me to tell me they couldn’t fulfill my dinner order… until 8pm!

Must. Not. Cry.

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I jet out of work early to accommodate my new, EARLY, dinner delivery slot. I prepped our lobster tails, crab cakes, and scrubbed the potatoes while the cupcakes reached room temperature.

I anxiously waited for BR to come home so we could feast and Binge Watch House of Cards (!!!!).

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And when he walked in with roses, cold champagne and chocolates, every tiny thing that went wrong earlier in the day seemed so distant and forgotten…

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and then we went IN on those lobsters!

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We stood up until 4 AM watching House of Cards that night.

Valentine ’s Day Success!

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…Except the cupcakes kinda sucked.

A First Birthday!

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My coworker, Dan, and I have been friends for as long as we have worked together. NINE YEARS. In those 9 years, he has seen me through countless ex-boyfriends, endless happy hours, and our favorite annual tradition- SUPER BOWL! And as much as he was there for me, I was there for him when he introduced me to his then-girlfriend. And I was there when he told me he was going to propose. They married and a few short years later were blessed with the arrival of their precious son, Nate. Of course, I was at the hospital hours after he was born!

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So, it came as no surprise that BR and I attend Nate’s first birthday party!

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To start, the theme of the party was Circus! And cutie pie Nate was the Ring Master! The carnival theme with a popcorn machine, bright colors, and tons of candy was perfect!

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The birthday boy allowed me to hold him while the party got started. We took advantage of all the photo opportunities until….

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Until, well, Nate was done with us. ALL OF US.

BR and I always have the bestest times at these birthday parties!

Perfect opportunity to “clown around” a bit….

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Seared Ribeye with arugula salad and Plantains

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I have become a HUGE fan of steak. I have always liked steaks but before Paleo didn’t really have a method for preparing it. Once I figured out my method, I ventured out into all the different steak house cuts that known to be expensive when dining out, but making at home saves tons of money and really allows you to do just about whatever you like with it.

While dining out the other day at a steakhouse with BR, a woman at a table seated next to us ordered a filet mignon and asked for it to be cooked “super well done”. While everyone is entitled to their preferred temperatures, choosing a filet mignon at a restaurant and having the chef cook every ounce of moisture out of it, is a total waste of good meat and good money! Want a well done steak? No Problem- make one at home!

BR and I prefer our steaks medium. So, if you are going to make this recipe and you like your steaks a little more done, just leave the steaks in the oven for a little longer.

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For this particular dinner, i had taken these ribeyes out of the freezer and had a green plantain. I had just run out of sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. Then i remembered, my CSA dropped off a beautiful bag of arugula. Arugula can be very bitter, so i always dress it in an acidic dressing to balance out the bitterness.

Ingredients: for 2

2  6-8 oz rib eyes

1 TBSP of your favorite steak seasoning (i use a blend of salt, garlic, onion, and cayenne pepper)

1 tsp oil

Method:

Preheat oven to 450*.

Season ribeye on both sides.

Heat an 8 or 9 inch cast iron skillet or heavy bottom frying pan with oil over a medium high heat for about 2 minutes.

Once the pan is screaming hot, carefully add the two ribeyes and allow them to cook undisturbed for 6 minutes. After 6 minutes is up, turn over and allow to cook for 3 minutes.

transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. (if you want it well done, leave it in the oven for 15 minutes). Once the pan is removed from the oven, allow to rest undisturbed for 10 minutes.

IMG_1189Serve atop an arugula salad. I dressed my salad with lemon juice and a touch of olive oil.

And a side of plantains!

P.S.

PALEO!

 

Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms over Creamy Polenta

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The problem with having a queue of photos to blog about is sometimes you see a photo of something you ate and think “what the H is that?”. I take notes and menu plan but once the week is over, the source of the menu plan disappears. With water stains or even food stains, the piece of paper just never makes it. So, as I am about to upload a whole new slew of photos, i recall this recipe that Lauren from Healthy-Delicious inspired.

For anyone watching their refined carbs, this hearty dish sits atop some creamy and hearty polenta. IMG_0565

 

 

Lauren jokes that this dish is nothing to look at…while its no masterpiece, its certainly delicious. And i should note, hers looks MUCH better than mine.IMG_0566

I made some changes based on what i had available but I kept to the her instructions for the most part.

Ingredients:

2 thin chicken breasts

2 tsp flour

1 Tbsp olive oil

6 ounces white button mushrooms

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup chicken broth

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But please check out Lauren’s recipe here for further instructions and her stunning photography!

 

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