Thursday, August 30, 2012

State of The Union #4: Top 5 Things I've Learned By Planning A Wedding



With all this buzz about the RNC and heated twitter debates about the State of The Union, I decided it was about time I wrote one of my State of the Union blogs about my wedding coming up here at the end of October. My, oh my, how quickly the anxiety-riddled time flies! In short order, here are te top five things I've learned in planning a wedding:

1. Always have an answer. Never say "I don't know" or people will take the liberty to tell you just what you should know. Don't know about hiring a DJ? Well, you should. Don't know about having a cake? Well, you should. Don't know if you will have a registry? WELL, YOU SHOULD. (And when you do create that registry that you think you will only put a handful of home goods on, let me warn you that once you get that scanner gun in your hand, your deepest material desires will go buck-wild and you will find yourself convincing each other that you absolutely need that pizza stone even though you live in Brooklyn and would never in your right mind pass up the chance to get a slice in favor of slaving away at making your own sub-par pie.

2. Hammer out the guest list with an iron fist before even thinking about making the invitations. Mike and I have had more stress over the guest list than anything else. We both have families on either sides of the coast (60 in mine alone), friends from home, from high school, from the camp where we met, and current friends and work friends that all feel vital in sharing that special day with us. But the bottom line is, at a certain point you have to make cuts. It's a shitty process but the best advice I got was from a friend who said when she made her cuts she had to get over the idea that people would be devastated if they weren't invited to her wedding. Just because it is one of the most important days in your life doesn't mean everyone else feels the way. The people who you do cut really might not give a shit.

3. You have to learn how to roll with the punches. After gushing to everyone that my favorite part of planning had been listening to our amazing DJ spin- the DJ that was clearly sent from the universe to spin for us specifically because he just couldn't be more perfect - backed out a couple weeks ago. I could feel my stomach sink when Mike told me. Turns out the DJ was getting married in October, too, and his fiance's parents bought them an extended honeymoon which fell over our date. Three months ago we weren't even going to have a DJ and had started jotting down songs for our awesome iPod mix, and suddenly I felt like I was going to throw up in the middle of Anthropologie when I heard DJ Russian Bear had canceled on us. Mike told me no one will know that our second choice DJ is not DJ Russian Bear. But now we have DJ Vida who is a hot female DJ so some people may know and if you read this blog, now you know. But I had to force myself to let go of that disappointment quickly in order to find a DJ replacement. And, in the end, it's all groovy.

4. Go Big. Months ago, before we had even found a venue, Mike and I sat at the Pier along the Hudson River and tried to decide on a vision. But we both kept saying the same thing: good food, good music, a good time. Well, that could be a BBQ or a Gala. We kept trying to pin down a vision but instead decided to be simple. In an effort to avoid some big affair that we knew we did not want, we went the polar opposite and tried to keep a small vision. We just wanted a best man and a maid of honor. No wedding party...okay, maybe our siblings, too...cut to eight weeks from the day and we both realized we want a fucking wedding party. I did not get that simple lace frock. I got a wedding gown. We did not do an iPod, we got a DJ. In our efforts to stay small, we reacted against that and now are being big in every right (due in large part to the generous help from our parents). The idea of a vision is to find out what you DO want and then see how to make it happen. Mike and decided what we didn't want first which has made for an interesting way to plan a wedding.

5. FIND A VISION... but be flexible. I can't stress this enough. I was not a girl who grew up dreaming about my wedding. I honestly did not know what I truly wanted when we started planning this. I knew what I didn't want, and I thought I wanted to get married outside and barefoot, maybe in Vermont (where we met) or on a beach. Turns out I always wanted to get married in New York City. I just didn't think it was possible. I also wanted a fall wedding which would make and outdoor, bare-feet, East Coast wedding quiet uncomfortable. (Last year it snowed on the day that is our wedding date this year). Planning a wedding has actually made me realize how quickly I drown out what I truly want because I think it is something I can't afford or something I can't make possible. It has taught me to ask for what I want and see what happens rather than to assume I won't get what I want so why even bother. With our wedding, the vision really found us. Maybe it was always there and we finally surrendered, we finally could see it. We are still being flexible, rolling with the punches, and calling in favors, hiring friends who cut us deals, etc...but I'm proud to see every detail of the wedding feels personal to us. You will see our touch on everything and that is what we really wanted.

As the day quickly approaches, there is of course, more excitement and more stress. How are we going to transport the flowers? What about pictures- before or after the ceremony? When will the sun set in late October? And what about those goddamn party favors? But last night Mike and I talked about our vows and started actually thinking about ourselves all old and maybe even sick. I asked him, "But, what if we don't even get to that part? Like, what if something happens and I get paralyzed or just so old I can't take care of myself? I mean, that is the REAL in sickness and in health question. I mean can you really promise you are going to stick around and wipe my ass when I'm all old?"

Mike laughed, "I'd wipe your ass now."

At least we've got the true love thing down and what is more important than that?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Favorite Tweets From the RNC Last Night

Last night I watched the Republican National Convention and hopped onto Twitter and I don't think I will ever watch a debate or convention again without this running commentary. It was like watching it in a theatre with people shouting at the screen. Hilarious. Passionate. Informative. Controversial...Many bloggers have told me they don't talk politics online. I get it. The risk is great especially if you make a living off of it. You don't want to lose followers, etc...But I write this blog as a means of expression and during election time I can't help but be expressive about what I believe. I feel it would be a disservice for me to not express myself in regards to the upcoming election. I mean after all, isn't this blog about a woman finding her voice? And with that I give you my favorite tweets of last night...



 












Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Ritual in SpiRitual

Since Thursday, I have made it a point to exercise every day and amazingly, after only six days I can feel the anxiety quieting, the mood shifting, the ground beneath my feet a bit more solid. That moment I have been waiting for, when I was going to start really focusing on what I want and how I would like to feel and look for my wedding day finally met that moment where I could no longer take my lethargy and the stomach aches from eating the wrong foods. I am trying to NOT be all or nothing about this diet and exercise thing but I can't help that after a morning run, I feel like a peach not an egg and cheese sandwich.

But beyond exercise and eating well, I have been creating the space for a morning ritual for myself. I have been waking up early, despite the first few days where it was torture and despite my long love affair with the snooze button. I have found that I actually need 30 minutes a day where I am not working or rushing to work or taking on one of my millions of extracurricular activities. I actually need that quiet space where I sit down with a cup of coffee and just breathe. Once I could let go of the idea that waking up early was somehow "punishing" and that I needed to sleep in, that I deserved to sleep in, it turns out I have given myself a much bigger gift. I give myself the time to read my daily meditation. I give myself the time to check in with body and see where I feel tension. I give myself the time to reflect on yesterday and think about what I may want for myself today.

Today, I want to surrender. I want to surrender the constant compulsion that I have to make something happen with my life. I choose to be happy today with what I have and not focus on what I don't have. I want to revel in all of the things to look forward to in my life instead of complaining about the hard work some of them include. I want to be thankful for my friends, especially C, who reminded me yesterday that I'm allowed to receive without apology and to another friend who reminded me that more will be revealed if I keep the faith and keep on, keepin' on.  My life is rich and my mornings are beginning to help me see just what a rich woman I am.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Living Room With Two Couches

There is no just no other way to say it, express it, or photograph it. No cool camera app filter will make it look good or sane for that matter. Right now, Mike and I are living in a one-bedroom apartment with two couches.

For quite some time, Mike and I have been complaining about our couch, the one we saved our pennies for and was the first piece of furniture we bought together. We waited for that big Fourth of July sale at Raymour and Flanagans and took our time plopping ourselves down in various fashions on countless couches on the showroom floor. But when our butts hit the seats of this little guy and the price tag matched our budget, no ex- supermodel-turned-furniture-designer-couch could sway us. We loved that little green couch featured in the back there. But after two humid summers in Brooklyn with no central AC, we realized that the green couch was quite warm, to say the least. Sure, it was cozy and felt "slouchy" and was passable while we  I secretly dream of purchasing one of those behemoth pottery barn couches that start at about $3,000. But not only is the couch warm, but small. In our first Brooklyn apartment, the couch fit the space and the space only fit the two of us (also debatable). But once we moved into a larger space, the couch seemed a little small but we never host parties, right? So, it's okay, right? Na-uh. Surprisingly, that little green couch has seen a lot of visitors in the last few months and been the warm bed to friends and family from Vermont to Jersey to Indiana to California. So, when another friend posted they were getting rid of their slightly longer ivory West Elm couch, I responded in lightning speed that I wanted it. Later that night, and several trips up a fifth floor walk up (mostly all walked by Mike), we had that couch and were thrilled. We both made sure to take naps on it, and fold our bodies into all different twists just to make sure it was comfortable...But the more the truth about giving up our little suffocating green couch has become not only a reality but an impending decision we needed to make yesterday, the harder it is to part with out little cozy pottery-barn fill in. Sure, the material doesn't breathe and the stuffing is already coming out of one of the pillows and there's a badly sewn up-tear on the chaise, but aren't those also the characteristics that make it more comfortable, that make it more livable. Do I care if I spill spaghetti sauce on the green couch? No. Do I care if popcorn kernels go everywhere when we watch a movie? No. Do I care if it stains, or breaks, or soaks up our sweat during a disgustingly humid day? No. Or Maybe I just like seeing that little green couch, that I like knowing that we bought a couch together when we were in our twenties and even though it sucks, it's still our sucky couch.

And then I remember, it's just a couch. That there will be more days of flopping down on showroom furniture, and more laughs over popcorn fights on some torn couch, and better quality furniture we buy together that doesn't make us want to strip naked in the living room just to take a nap. (And for all of you have slept face down on this couch, don't worry. We don't actually take nude naps in the living room.)

Still no word on which couch to keep and in truth I have left the decision up to Mike because I don't want to make it. I could be happy with either and whether I miss the green couch this time around or years later, at least I have this picture of the time we had a living rom with two couches.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tramp Stamp Thursdays: The "It's Never Too Late For A Tramp Stamp" Tramp Stamp

Cristina, White Plains. NY
Tramp Stamp:
Swirly vines, flowers and butterfly...you know, the good stuff.

Time of Tramp Stamp: 
16,  18, 22?  nuh-uh...The big, bad, and beautiful 30s! 32 to be exact! In Cristina's own words "I was a late bloomer!! Oh well, better late than never right?" A tramp stamp lover after my own heart. What makes it even better is the motivation behind it. This was not some tequila-driven spring break mistake, this was a deliberate rebellion. This is a protest tramp stamp! Cristina is a lawyer and at the time, she wanted to cut loose! She said, "I was tired of the stuffiness of  practicing law and wanted to break out a bit." Brava!

Place of Tramp Stamp:
White Plains, NY at Big Joe & Sons Tattoo. (Naturally)

Bio:
Cristina is an attorney and aspiring women’s fiction and freelance writer.  She also does volunteer fundraising for nonprofits and she has an awesome blog (www.sizeandsubstance.com) where she writes about women’s positive body image. Who doesn't love that?! Cristina is what I like to call a Tramp Stamp Triple Threat.

Tattoo Meaning:
While Cristina says that tattoo has no deep meaning, that she just thought it was pretty (and still likes it!) I disagree. I see this as a protest tattoo that reads: "Yeah, I got a tramp stamp at 32. Go fuck yourself!" Even the tattoo artist was worried she picked out something so big for her first time (it took 2.5 hours). But Cristina managed, even though she was literally shaking in pain by the time it was done. She said, "Yeah, I’m a wuss.  I only asked for one break though." Of course! She's a lawyer and one bad-ass one at that!!

Tattoo Goal: 

As Cristina puts it: Here to stay! She sometimes thinks of getting another one. Her brother tells her the “skank flank” is the new tramp stamp and to that Cristina said, "The rib cage? I’m thinking not so much."

Cristina, thank you for emailing me your tramp stamp story and for showing the world even lawyers at 32 get tramp stamps! Check out her awesome blog and while you are at it, send me your tramp stamp and skank flank stories!!! @rewindrevise or rewindrevise@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

No Sleep Till...

Everyday I ride the subway from Park Slope all the way into the West Village of Manhattan. After one stop, the subway races out of the darkness and for one glorious long stretch I'm suspended above Brooklyn, the sun rising in my face, warming me as the overzealous air conditioning freezes out the car at eight in the morning. I try to stand near the door for this, a view that never gets boring to me because every time I see it, there is a quick flash of achievement reminding me that I did this all by myself. I picked up a life rooted in Los Angeles and eventually moved it to Brooklyn where I have a cute apartment and live in the city that has always made me feel like it was the center of the universe.

I recently read Cord Jefferson's Gawker article about  having to leave Brooklyn, his beloved New York, but how fleeing the love of his life helped him regain his sanity. He mentioned that living in New York made him feel important. Even amongst the view of garbage cans outside his window and mice problems and the typical slum-drum low bar of existence so many young artists in New York City accept for the experience of just being here, he felt important. As Sinatra said, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. But just what defines making it?

Lately, I have felt in conflict with this love of mine. The summer in New York always does this to me. The people are hot and irritated, rubbing up against each other as they slither through the veins of this city in its most impressive and oppressive mode of transportation. I can't say what officially baptizes you as a "New Yorker," but when I catch myself watching the rats hunt for food in the subway rails while waiting for the train, that's when I feel like it has happened. Or when I tell a cab that I am going to 5th Avenue so he will let me in and then I hop in, shut the door and tell him 5th Avenue...in Brooklyn...that's when I feel it has happened. Or when I notice that I no longer eat pizza that is unfolded or when I realize I don't own a beach towel or that I officially own six umbrellas, five of which are busted...that's when I feel it has happened. But the more I feel my roots digging into the slate and soil of this crazy island, the more I feel a need to cling onto my Palm Tree roots. I miss burgers that have thousand island dressing and being able to wear flip flops all year round and enough space to do three cart wheels and not touch anyone! I miss my father's smile and my brother's witty remarks and my godson's deceiving grin. I miss sitting outside all-the-time.

It's funny what happens when we are not looking. When I was a freshman in college I used to come home right around sunset, put on Bob Marley and watch the horizon sparkle through my screen in my dorm room miles away from the ocean. The sparkle was what told me I was looking at the ocean. And sometimes in Brooklyn, the one long stretch above ground on the F train, high above the people and the rats and the buildings, the hazy skyline just past the flourescent green Gowanus Canal is what tells me I'm living in New York.

And then I think, "Whoa. I'm here."



Saturday, August 18, 2012

On Being A Genius and How To Survive Not Being Nominated for Homecoming Queen


A couple weeks ago, a friend sent me this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert from 2009.  This video has had over 4 million hits, so I know I'm late to the game on this one, but her ideas have been swirling in my head since just before the BlogHer conference. You see, I have this pattern of "losing interest" or "getting bored" or in more blunt terms "quitting" just when opportunity seems to strike. Even right now, with this blog, I have been failing it, letting down my own self with what I want to do with it after just investing a lot of time and energy in a blogging conference that once again presented opportunity. But I'm not sure it is even conscious, and definitely not active. Last night I sat down at the computer, feeling the anxiety of creating a new post for which I had nothing to say, even though all week I have thought of ideas that for one reason or another keep evading me. Nothing came, the post sat blank and the computer closed. Someone once asked me if I have a fear not of failure but of success. And I told them, I think I'm scared of both.

When I was seventeen a friend of mine who was very pretty but not very active in the school community and only hung out with older kids until they all graduated and then wanted to hang out with me, was nominated for Homecoming Queen my senior year of high school. Having my fair share of awkward years I was more than crushed, I was furious that my friend who had put little effort into becoming popular with our grade and had never suffered the agony of covering up a pustule for a school dance or felt the pain of ripping flesh when a soccer ball hit you square in your mouth shielding an arsenal of braces had been elected for homecoming queen of which I understood was based completely on her looks. I was right. The world was cruel and for girls, if you weren't pretty, you weren't seen. I only half believe this now, and I do take gratitude in coming into my own in my twenties and embracing my curves and that bump on my nose and that double chin I sometimes get around the holidays. But to make a long story short, I took the anger and wrote a play for the first time. I then shoved it under my bed where it stayed for the entire year until a friend showed me a flyer for a Young Playwrights Festival that she was submitting to. She encouraged me to submit that play I told her about in passing months before. On the last day of submission, I submitted my play called, Paintings, about a young girl who becomes obsessed with a lounge singer because she is pretty and sexy and powerful, only to learn that behind her beauty is a damaged woman with dashed hopes and dreams whose looks have cursed her more than helped her. (I know what you're thinking: Another Shakespeare. Nope. Just a Valley Girl.) But that play was picked as a winner and at seventeen I had a full production of the first play I had ever written. They cast Chrissy Seaver from Growing Pains who later played Mel Gibson's daughter in What Women Want. Noah Wiley congratulated me (something I supposed he had to do since he was an executive producer). And they had me on stage opening night to hand me an award. I was a big deal! And then this word "talent" began really getting tossed around. Soon after "brilliant." And not about me, but about the play, so naturally I thought it was about me. In one sense it gave me confidence. In other sense I began to really care what people thought about my writing. I wanted to always be "brilliant." I wanted to always be referred to as that genius 17 year-old who just wrote a play out of jealousy and got a theatre in LA to produce it.

While finishing up my freshman year of college, a friend came home for the holidays from NYU and handed me an application to the Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing Program. She told me to just fill out. She'd even mail it if I was really going to be so difficult. I ended up mailing it, the same one with the popcorn grease from the movie Stuart Little where she had handed it to me. Months later I got the big envelope and a few months later I was sitting in a room on the 7th floor of 721 Broadway in New York City. I did well in college and well with my thesis. But ever since leaving those self-deprecating or self-applauding rooms where I was both criticized and praised, it has been a struggle to hold onto what I think about my own work. I have this idea that it should all be perfect. It should all be brilliant. And because I never feel any of it is, I hide it, I ignore submissions, I start things and don't follow through. I want perfection and instead have piles of abandoned projects. There is something inside me begging to get out and I think it's my artistic soul wanting desperately to get away from my enslaving ego.  Or maybe it is just my soul wanting so badly to connect with that floating creative spirit we call "genius," you know that one we mistakenly confuse with ourselves or having come from within.

I love this talk because for the first time I felt the disappointment from my failures lift as well as the pressure for my successes. I felt like an artist who sometimes gets paid a visit by that tricky little spirit and sometimes just eats pizza and watches How I Met Your Mother. I am not a genius or brilliant or born with some god-given talent. I just have a soul that sometimes gets along real good with that creative soul flying around the world touching all of us when we least expect it. So tonight, I got out of bed and decided to write this post to not only forgive myself for not being brilliant on my blog lately, but to remind myself it ain't always up to me.

And with that thought, I say: Ole to you! (Watch the video)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

#BlogHer12 Breakdown

I came. I saw. I got tons of swag. But more than that I got inspired, I made friends, and I was moved to hear strangers had resonated with articles/blog posts I had written over the past year. It has been almost one year since BlogHer published one of the most difficult experiences of my life, but since that time tremendous amount of healing has happened because in essence it took the secrecy and the shame right out of it by making it public. The BlogHer 12 Conference gave me the courage to forge further ahead with this whole blogging thing but also the reassurance that all of this matters.
How I love the818.com
Who wants a Harley, now? I do! I do!
Okay, yeah, sometimes it may not seem like it because I write humorous bits on people's tramp stamps, but the truth is it's all about the same thing- healing, redemption, forgiving ourselves and embracing our true selves with all of our scars and tattoos and regrets and mistakes well earned. I learned that my blog is not just about survival and recovery, but forgiveness, acceptance, speaking up for people who were unjustly silenced, talking about the state of the union as well as the state of my impending nuptial union. When I attended the BlogHer Writing Conference in October 2012, I found myself sort of unsure and self-conscious about labeling my blog. I felt like I had no niche, no place. But having to force myself to talk with many, many women and a few men about my blog, about what I write, and about me, I felt like I walked away not with an answer but with acceptance. Rewind Revise is not a mom blog or a coupon blog or an entertainment blog. It's my blog. It's a blog about a woman finding her voice in this world and what can be more fierce than that?

So to all of the fabulous ladies I shared this past weekend with and to myself, most of all, BRAVA!
Sparklecorn...this is a cake




Fiercest shoes ever
Lunch with Martha Stewart


Johnson&Johnson Cares and So Should You!
Check out their philanthropic missions.

What it's all about...the writing and the community!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

BlogHer 12 Has Begun...

Having a fabulous time with some of these lovely ladies....the818, Lookieboo, @jennamariebee, Crystal (who I will link as soon as I get her info!)  and so many more. Feeling the bloggin' love!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

10 Things That May or May Not Come to Lucky Ladies in Their 30s


1. Skin Biopsies...that's right. You can thank your teenage self for all of those unprotected "tanning" hours in the sun with little more than baby oil or SPF 8. What's that, Irish Skin? I can't hear you because you're drowning in Aloe after a decade plus of bad sunburns. Call me stupid, call me thickheaded, call me a glutton for punishment, but don't ever call me fair-skinned.

 2. Antibiotics for Acne...what's that you say? This is supposed to be a list for women in their 30s? Yup, that's right. Women from age 25 into their 30s can experience a second kind of puberty with the on-set of female acne. That's right - Acne and early signs of crow's feet. Double winner!

 3. Bouts of Compare and Despair...When that biological clock starts tick-tick-ticking away, you can be sure to find yourself suddenly wanting one of those snotty-crying sirens as you find yourself alone at several baby shower tables as young moms chase after their little ones smashing fists full of cupcakes into the carpet. But hey look at the bright side, being a late bloomer has its advantages - you are mortgage and daycare-worry free!

4. Finding Yourself At The Crossroads of Your Unintended "Career"... It turns out when you don't commit to any one thing, you become a jack of all trades and a master of none. Be prepared to have a meltdown triggered by impending deadlines in days without enough hours only to learn you are not upset about some stupid deadline but rather your accidental/underwhelming career that happened while you were busy trying on lots and lots of different hats. But again, don't fret. We are each on a deceiving timeline, one not determined by us. Sure, we can do the footwork, but life is not a straight line. Your days are not guarantees and the quicker you learn this the better off you will be to enjoy your mysterious, uncertain and ever-evolving gift that awaits you.

5. An Appreciation For Music You Used To Make Fun Of...that's right. You got old. Turns out Stevie Wonder and The Allman Brothers were always cool. The good news: finally you are, too.

6. Stretch Marks in Places You Didn't Realize Stretched...Moms, you know what I'm talking about. Ladies who struggle with weight fluctuation, you feel me. There ain't enough cocoa butter in the world. The good news: You can stop pretending to "prefer" frozen yogurt.

7. Tattoo Regret ...Got a Tramp Stamp? Flirty Ankle Tattoo? How about a scar from a belly button piercing? Welcome to the Teens of the 90s Club. It amazes me how I can have a panic attack in a dermatologist's office over a tiny little numbing shot for Number 1, when at 18 years old I shoved a needle through my tongue and wore a metal rod in it that clicked against my sensitive teeth for the next four years. It was tough being cool in the 90s. That was some medieval shit, yo.

8. Dancing With Reckless Abandon...Right along with Number 5, you actually no longer give a fuck how you look on the dance floor. In fact, you find yourself wearing shoes that actually allow you to move instead of keeping your feet at a plunging 160 degree angle.

9. Liking Nice Guys...Gone are the days when a drunk with an attitude, a bad haircut, and tribal band tattoo gave you butterflies. Hello, potential soccer dad. Welcome, awesome chef and please to meet you, guy with a little gut-double chin-and wonderful sense of humor.

10. A Little More Confidence...That's right, for as much as I tease, I can say there is a shift graduating from the self-absorbed, untethered twenties into the self-absorbed, untethered thirties. At least here, you can dance to Stevie Wonder, eat real ice cream again, enjoy cute babies and sometimes hand them back to their parents, laugh about that wild streak you had when you got that Godsmack butterfly tattoo on spring break in Florida, appreciate SPF and apply it liberally, actually get antibiotics for acne instead of suffering through it, reinvent yourself with a better resume this time around, and find the romance you were always meant to experience.

Cheers to the Thirty Somethings!