Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Best Friend’s Wedding: Something borrowed / Something blue

So, you should know, I’ve been in weddings before:

  • First, it was my cousin Steve’s as a flower girl (where I endured a boat ride from ceremony to reception and learned exactly how bridesmaids are supposed to act and dance semi-inappropriately).
  • Then I was in my cousin Annie’s wedding, this time as a bridesmaid. At this wedding I learned that even the under-aged bridesmaids can knock back a few at the reception. Score.
  • Lastly, I was my sister’s Maid of Honor. It was at her reception I learned that one can never be too prepared for their toast, and when your mind draws an inevitable unprepared blank, just cry (people find it endearing).

Anyway, this past weekend was a wedding first for me: My first ‘Friend’ wedding! At this wedding I witnessed, as a bridesmaid Aimee Sprenger, in the blink of an eye, become Aimee Heider. Le sigh.

Friend weddings are a whole different ball game. A friend bridesmaid is expected to bring lots of non-family attributes to the wedding party. A friend bridesmaid must be especially sure to bring the following to the reception’s head table:

  • Dance moves: When that DJ begins coaxing guests on the dance floor, you lead, others will follow.
  • Look pretty: Not just for the camera. But for all the little girls that are obviously looking up to the bridesmaids (see Steve’s wedding notes).
  • Goldilocks of Drunkness: Definitely need that fun buzz in order to charge the dance floor, but no one wants to see your Spanx. Trust.
  • Compliments, compliments: Tell the bride she looks beautiful but not in the baby talk kinda way. Obviously this was an easy one for me (see below picture).
  • Groomsmen rule: Get in good with the groomsmen early on. This way, when they make a quick run to the bar, they make sure you’re taken care of. It's just good sense.
  • Secrets: Don’t tell the bride anything she doesn’t need to know. Especially that her white wedding dress attachable straps got red lip-gloss on them before the ceremony. Lips sealed (like the lip-gloss cap should have been).
Most of all: Enjoy it! It was such an amazing experience to see one of my best friends get married and I had so much fun being a bridesmaid. Congratulations to Aimee & Gavin Heider!
Next up: Styna & Stef (see below) and Beck & Tommy (see the below, below).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sick in the City.

Today I find myself sick, real sick. And having lived on my own for the past 5 years I’ve decided, it's still terrible not to have my mom take care of me. She used to fix me that noodle soup, play with my hair, let me watch trashy TV and then would make me a bed wherever I wanted for my frequent (and required) catnaps. I used to say to myself: Hey self, being sick aint so bad.

And it was true. I used to live like a sick queen.

But that all changed the first time I was sick in college where there were no moms in sight, I was forced to take care of myself. The only beacon of hope was the Chico State Student Health Center, god bless it, and all the meds they flippantly prescribed. Fast forward a few years and cut to me, ill in the hills of San Francisco. No mom anywhere to be found. No over prescribing RN from the Student Health Center. It was the pits.

So, one would imagine that being sick 3,000 miles from my mom's TLC would be a real nightmare...Right? Turns out, not entirely.

Enter Tom Faller (boyfriend extraordinaire), every NYC cabbie and anonymous deliverymen numbers 1, 2 and 3. You see, between all of them, they pretty much have all of my sickness needs covered. Breakdown below.
  • Tom: Tommy provides the adequate amounts of babying, hand sanitizer and love.
  • NYC cabbies: I love ‘em! They don't make me walk or drive myself ANYWHERE! It's so great. Pharmacy? They'll take me there. Work? They can go there, too! A few blocks away to the store? They go there too (only, they get a little annoyed when you only go a few blocks).
  • The glorious deliverymen of New York City: They can bring me my easily digestible foods, ice cream desserts and a smile.
It takes a village, right?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Tale of Two Cities: A Love Story.

My friend Melissa Levick is a lot of things: bravely blonde, USC Alum, hilarious, unapologetic, an NYU grad student, a traveling volunteer, Beyonce enthusiast, uber stylish, honest, wearer of tutus and advice giver to me. On the surface, it would appear that Ms. Levick (pictured above obviously) and I don’t have much in common (I mean, I much prefer Jay-Z, I continue to enrich my brunette roots and I don’t even know the dance to Single Ladies). But, we do have New York City, San Francisco and New York City (in that order) in common.

You see, Melissa and I both moved from California, to Manhattan, to San Francisco and back to Manhattan respectively, although she’s a few months ahead of me and had a trip to Africa in-between. Our experiences in each city (happiness vs. unhappiness) remain somewhat parallel.

So, naturally, I look to her for advice, a lot.

“Revolution: 360 degrees: all the way around. Return. Circles. Cycles. Seasons. It is the story of winter and of spring, too. For as Zora Neale Hurston insists: There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” - Kelly Diels

Anyway, Melissa had the above Kelly Diels quote on her blog a few weeks ago, seemingly perfectly timed with the second biggest decision of my adult life (thus far, I’m only 26 after all). Should I stay in San Francisco or take a chance and give New York another shot?

In taking a page from my tutu wearing friend’s book, I decided to (re) pack up my life and (re) move to the Big Apple.
That’s right. It’s time for me to turn my world upside down until its right side up again.

Only 360 degrees to go and I get to leave the year of questions and San Francisco and jump into a year of answers and New York City.

So Jenna, what will be different about this move to New York City? It’s a good question, and I’m glad you asked. Below are a few points (a thought for each month I lived in San Francisco to be specific) on how I plan to make this cross-country trek worthwhile.

New York Part Deux’s Differences and Details:
1. I’ll have a boyfriend Leaving (most) Carrie Bradshaw lifestyle references in 2009, where she belongs.
Sub point: I’ll have more family on the East Coast this go-round: Barrett’s, Newman’s and Faller’s oh my.
2. New job – This was a tough one for me, but to start over, I had to really START over and it’s exciting.
Sub point: Brace yourselves; I’ll be working for Tabasco, my spicy tolerance will be sky-high, and my dad and I have one more thing in common other than our preference in ostentatious eyewear.
3. I’ll be living by myself – Like all grown ups need to do eventually, right?
Sub point: This new living situation means visitors will be more welcomed than ever. That’s you.
4. Happy Jetting – I have a JetBlue credit card and TrueBlue membership…Hello impromptu trips to California courtesy of air miles.

5. Make new friends, but keep the old – I have such an amazing group of friends in the city and I can’t wait to paint the town red with them. I’m also hoping to have my hometown friends keep me company; I believe my indoor pool, rooftop deck and doorman building will make all the difference here.

6. Broadway – Oh how I want to love thee. Ash and I made a pact to hold weekly date nights and see a show on a monthly basis. Bam. We just became more super sophisticated.

7. iChatting – I plan on implementing a Skype schedule so I can maintain my ‘best auntie ever’ status with my favorite nieces and nephew.

8. Fit, in the city – And I’m serious this time. Running in sub-zero conditions? Bring it.
Sub point: If you can’t find me, I’m likely frozen somewhere on Jackie O’s reservoir, send help and a warm blanket.
9. Homesickness – Who am I kidding, I’ll be just as homesick as before. But I’m going to work on keeping in touch with my Californian counterparts more consistently. My family and friends are the hardest thing to leave behind.

My goodbye West Coast, hello East Coast smile (And those are Sof and Fab's 'we'll miss you so much' smiles).

Monday, September 27, 2010

New York vs. California: Camping Edition

About 3 years ago five friends started a fabulous tradition: In the wake of a traumatic separation induced by college graduation, we began summering in Tahoe. Yes, yes it is as glamorous as it sounds.

Subsequent moves (jobs, credentials, the Peace Corps, grad schooling, growing up, etc.) made this tradition more and more difficult to execute as time went on: I had moved to New York then San Francisco, Becky to Sacramento, Aimee eventually landed in Washington, Nicole headed to grad school then to Vacaville and our Styna went to Kazakhstan.

Anyway, this year we continued the annual Tahoe-fest (sans a few key members of the fab five) and extended the invite to a few new people from all walks of life and even people that ARE NOT from the great state of California (Styna is rolling over in her Kazakh burlap sack).

One of those wildcard invites was Thomas Faller, my boyfriend and lifetime New Yorker, who had no doubt traveled the farthest to join our prestigious campfire circle. Tom was able to teach us wilderness people a few of his city slicker ways, which were both entertaining and appreciated. Examples below:

When camping with a New Yorker:
  • Booze is important: Real important. Arguably more important than food. We’re talking beer, champagne, vodka and their respective accoutrements (green olives, orange juice, sprite, shakers, whathaveyou). +1 NY
  • Tent instructions are optional: When there are more than one college degrees working on something the instructions only slow down the process. -1 NY
  • Showers are unnecessary: As long as you have a hat. (WVU has never been so represented in Tahoe before.) + 1 WVU
NY v. CA camping priorities can also be seen in our chosen reading materials, packing processes and beverage choices.
  • NY brought Freakonomics while CA brought US Weekly.+1 NY
  • NY brings a black Samsonite rolling luggage, CA brings duffels and recycled Trader Joe bags. + 1 CA
  • While CA prefers hot coca in the morning, NY leans toward hot totties and bloody marys. + 1 CA, + 1 NY

While we missed two members of the original crew, all the newbies managed to make it another lovely weekend with friends on the West Lake (best lake) and I think we can safely admit that all are welcome on our Tahoe trips, now we’re like the UN of camping.

Also, for those of you (me) keeping score:
NY: 2
CA: 2
WVU: 1

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the (Trendy) Tree.

I’ve been back in San Francisco for 6 months now, and, so far the most rewarding aspect of my triumphant return has been facial recognition from my nieces and nephew.

I’m no longer the ‘abstract aunt.’ The aunt recognized only in last year’s family pictures or my senior high school portrait from 2002 (which, was a damn good picture, although I have changed slightly since).

Anyway, now I’m Auntie Bo: A real life tangible person. And more importantly I’m now real enough to be impersonated by my niece Averie (luckily the 9 month old isn’t turning me into a characterture quite yet, give him time).

Now, it’s no secret that I like to accessorize an outfit with a good belt. This is a fashion statement that my dear friend, Ashley Barrett, taught me years ago and it was a lesson in personal style that was encouraged by street fashion in NYC’s East Village. And now, this rule of belt has officially been passed unto my dear niece (future fashionista).

Cinch you in, create a waste, hourglass you up, match your boots, Summer, Winter AND Fall, you name it. Belts can make (or break) an outfit (snap in Z-formation). Averie is fortunate to have learned this valuable lesson in fashion at such a tender age (she also has an affinity for my Marc Jacobs mouse flats, bless her heart).

Here she is, posing with a belt she found in her play box, prancing around the house saying that she looks like Auntie Bo (my cup runneth over).

If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, I think being an aunt just became fashionable. God help her if she picks up on any of my other fashion traits. I’m not sure the other preschoolers would appreciate her in a 1960’s vintage turquoise necklace, cowboy boots or embracing the overall mismatching of patterns themes I’m known for.

Me and Ashley - The birth of 'the belt.'
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