Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'm over here now

Our daughter Sadie was born February 5, 2010. My new baby blog is 212 Baby. Please come visit.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Something new

I'm going to be starting a new blog, a spin-off of this one. I'll keep you all posted.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

View from Parrot Cay

When thinking about our honeymoon, IC and I figured that by the time our wedding was over, we will have been on Turks&Caicos for 7 days. This led us to conclude that we should only honeymoon for 2 nights since, what, we'd be sick of being in paradise by then? I don't know but looking back our calculations seem...misguided. I remember leading the charge of "let's only stay on for 2 extra nights" and in retrospect I am just baffled at my reasoning. We got there on Thursday, the wedding was on Monday, our day-after shoot was on Tuesday and we left for our honeymoon on Wednesday. In what universe did it make sense to come home on Friday? (Don't cry for us, Argentina, we've already taken a second honeymoon-esque type trip to LA and are planning to be in Israel this summer. Still, who leaves before the weekend begins!?).

Sidenote mostly for Trip Advisor folks visiting my page: We made a great little discovery with booking this honeymoon. None of the major travel sites, including Parrot Cay's own site, would let us book for less than 3 nights. But the site Tablet Hotels let us book for the two nights and had the cheapest rate and upgraded our room because we joined their Tablet Plus service (it was $195 for the year and a Parrot Cay next-level-up room was $200+ more per night, a no-brainer).

Anyway, the honeymoon recap:

The day we left for our honeymoon was the first cloudy, cold, drizzly day of our entire trip. The weather for the entire wedding weekend was just glorious, perfect, so we were ok with having the first not-great day be after all the guests left. The Parrot Cay bus picked us up from the Gansevoort and took us to their private dock. They gave us warm towels and beverages while we waited for the boat. (That thing wrapped in paper by IC's thigh is our cake-topper. He didn't let that thing out of his sight).

Shai at Parrot Cay dock waiting area

They had a model of Parrot Cay at the dock:

Model of Parrot Cay

Then the boat arrived and the ride began:

Use steel hammer to break glass windows

It took about 40 minutes. The ride was kind of choppy due to weather but not too bad:

On the way to Parrot Cay

On the way to Parrot Cay

When we get to Parrot Cay, we were greeted by a woman in a golf cart who took us to the main building:

Parrot Cay

Parrot Cay

She drove us through the lush, beautiful property:

Parrot Cay

Parrot Cay

Traffic jam:

Parrot Cay

We were greeted with rum punch drinks while we waited for our room key. The main house was cute and rustic:

Parrot Cay

Parrot Cay

Parrot Cay room key

When we got to our room, well, that was rustic too:

Parrot Cay room ceiling

Parrot Cay room balcony

Frankly, we thought the room was really weak. It wasn't even the fact that the room was very bare, or that the mini-bar was on the balcony, or that the air conditioner would turn off by sensor when the balcony door was opened, or that there was no wi-fi in the room and I'm a certified internet junkie. It was the little things. The sheets and the towels were terrible. The bed was really uncomfortable. The shower was old-looking and lacked water pressure. We kept wondering if we were disappointed in the room because we had just come from staying in the most incredible room of all time but the fact is we expected better for the price we were paying. We'd expect better from a random Sheraton and this was the world-famous Parrot Cay.

The property is beautiful, the food is terrific and the service is outstanding. But the rooms are a real downer and I swear we are normally the type of people who don't care much for the room. But when the bed is bad, it starts the day off wrong. Plus, the price to stay at Parrot Cay is so high that it really should be more luxurious. I understand they go for a retreat/rustic sort of vibe but that doesn't mean the sheets need to feel like sandpaper or that the towels should be worse than Holiday Inn.

Anyway, the weather was still not cooperating so we just took a long walk around the property and along the empty beach:



Parrot Cay

Parrot Cay

We sat on a rock at one end of the beach, kissed a lot and stared at our new rings:

Shai and K at Parrot Cay

We were all alone on the beach, it felt like the end of the earth:

Shai at Parrot Cay

We had drinks at the pool bar. The drinks were outrageously priced but very delicious:

Drinks at Parrot Cay

We ate dinner that night at the casual pool-side restaurant. It was realllllllly good. The food was just terrific, I don't have a single complaint about it.

I was still feeling bridal and rocking the all-white:

K at Parrot Cay

The next day the weather was better. Still a little cloudy and windy but warmer. This is where we had breakfast:

Parrot Cay

We lounged on the still mostly-empty beach, then moved to the beautiful infinity pool:

Parrot Cay

Infinity pool

They make drinks goooooood:

Drinks by the pool

They also had cute little touches like someone bringing around popsicles while you lay by the pool.

Then we had massage appointments at the Como Shambhala spa. The massage was great, and the space is very beautiful.

So, remember when I said that the weather was better but it was still cloudy and windy? Well, you know how when it's cloudy and windy you may not realize how hot the sun is and be less diligent than normal in your sunscreen application? Yeah. That happened to us. We were little tomatoes after our massages. I'd post photos of us miserable and red lounging on our balconies but IC doesn't want to be reminded to it so instead I'll just show you our last sunset on Parrot Cay:

Parrot Cay

That night we had dinner at their more formal restaurant, also incredible.

And the next day we went home, married, rested and completely in love with Turks&Caicos and each other.

Leaving Parrot Cay

We'll be back, maybe for our one-year anniversary, and maybe we'll invite the 65 people who watched us wed to join us. Or maybe we'll just run off on our own. :-)

I hope you've enjoyed reading my recaps. I'm happy to answer questions for any prospective T&C brides.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Trash. That. Dress. April 7, 2009

Before I knew anything about what our wedding would be like, I knew I was trashing the dress. Why try to keep perfect a dress you will never wear again when you can get some amazing photos out of it?

All the photos in this post were taken by the fabulous Matthew Szlakowicz unless otherwise indicated:

I envisioned photos on these steps the very first time I saw the Gansevoort Turks&Caicos:


The Gansevoort property just lends itself to beautiful photos:


Then we kicked off our shoes and went on the sand:


Some of our friends were hanging out on the beach watching the shoot.

Ren+Carly took this one (that horse is about to um, release, right by that couple and their dog:


These are from Max+MIchelle:

Shai and K

Shai and K

Back to Matthew's pics:


I wanted to keep my hair and make-up pretty casual but in retrospect I wish I had done more with my hair than just tie it back while it was wet. I think we're going to photoshop out the pieces of hair randomly sticking out of my bun:


If I had to do it over, I'd also have less pics of us kissing. I mean, yeah, yeah, we're married but about half the shots are us lip-locked:


I love the shots where you can see us in the water:



It was an overcast day, the first of the whole trip, so the sunset wasn't that dramatic. Still the colors of the sky were so beautiful:


Other than the pronounced size of my arm, this was my favorite pic of the shoot:



My hair got messier as we got wetter:


But it was so much fun, we didn't care:


I should've had my hair down the whole time! Oh well:


I love this last shot. We look as happy as we were:

That's it for wedding weekend at the Gansevoort posts. Next up, honeymoon at Parrot Cay! Come visit!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Have hope, friends!

Call me crazy, but I'm just not sure all friendships-that-lead-to-relationships follow this exact pattern.

Hat-tip Petitedov.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Drink up!

The day-after photo shoot pics, and the write-up of our honeymoon are coming soon, swear.

In the meantime, I've got IC's awesome recipe for margaritas to share with you all. We're not big drinkers, IC and I, but we've definitely been in celebration mode since getting married (we've each gained some poundage with our nonstop eating and drinking to prove it) and this has been a house favorite over at our place.

We've been loving Gran Centenario’s Rosangel Tequila. IC is a huge hibiscus fan and this is the world’s first hibiscus infused tequila. It is completely delicious and a must for our margaritas.

We don't use salt, which I realize is margarita heresy, but I never liked getting a mouth full of salt while drinking my drink. I much prefer sugar.

IC's super fantastic margarita recipe:

Gran Centenario’s Rosangel Tequila
Triple Sec
1 Lime (or more as needed)
Orange wedges
Stirrings Lemon Drop Rimmer Sugar

Basic ratio for Margarita is:
3 oz. Tequila
2 oz. Triple Sec
1 oz. Lime Juice

1. Soak orange slice, cut in thirds, in tequila in a shaker (one slice per drink)
2. Squeeze lime juice into separate cup
3. Add triple sec and lime juice to shaker and.....shake.
4. Moisten rim of glass with lime and dip in lemon drop sugar
5. Add ice and pour in margarita with orange slices

My favorite part is eating up the tequila-soaked oranges left when the drink is done. Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

April 6, 2009 Reception

(All wedding photos in this post, unless otherwise indicated, by Matthew Szlakowicz)

While the guests went off to the cocktail hour, IC, our families and I hung back for the pictures. I'm not sure how other brides do it but we didn't see any other way. We were really sad about this not only because we wanted to hang out with our friends and family but also because the food we picked for the cocktail hour sounded so good (Tuna tataki with seaweed salad, Bruschetta with roasted tomato and goat cheese, Spicy beef skewers, Mini steak sandwiches, Brie-n-pear puffs, these are like my favorite foods in the world). The restaurant staff brought us over a few trays of food but I don't remember eating any of it. Apparently the bride has to be in most of the shots. The sun was setting and it was beautiful but I swear we're discussing hors d'oeuvres in these shots:




Well, maybe not in this one:


And then we got to the cocktail hour and all the Israelis in the house immediately began the Hebrew singing and clapping and we had to be like "not yet, not yet, but soon" because we had planned to do the Hebrew dancing right after our first song.


There was about 5 minutes left in the cocktail hour when we got there and we didn't have any of the food which we weren't sad about at the time but are totally sad about today after everyone told us the food was just amazing.

About two days before we left for T&C, we still had not figured out place cards. I've mentioned on this site before that I am not at all creative. I'm mostly practical and, in a pinch, I could tell a good story. But inspired by the bridal blogosphere and, let's face it, Martha Stewart, I came up with the idea to make luggage tags as a combination seating card/favor. I got the tags in Chinatown and bought printable business cards at Staples to stuff into them. Unfortunately, the business cards were too long so the night before we left for the wedding IC and I could be seen on our couch cutting the cards to size and stuffing them in the tags. IC actually came up with the additional creative idea to use a Hebrew-style font on the place cards as a nod to our Judaism and his being born in Israel. The font is calledBen-Zion and we got it on my favorite font website, Da Font. Our wedding planner came up with the idea to hang them on branches and have the table number as a sticker on the back:


This photo from Lauren:

Luggage tag seating cards slash favors

What's funny is that the Hebrew-speaking guests had a really hard time reading the cards because it's Hebrew letters spelling out English words. We hear there was some fun confusion.

Everybody went to sit down and we hung back so we could be "introduced". I didn't really get this concept, because everyone had already seen us at the cocktail hour, but apparently it's what's done. We came in through the corner door and smiled while everyone applauded:



Then we made them all stand back up and watch our first dance. As I blogged about previously, we chose "First day of my life" by Bright Eyes. It fit really well and we enjoyed dancing to it. I had taken the shrug off my dress but had kept the veil on:


And then, oh then, we danced the hora. If you've never been to a Jewish wedding, it goes something like this: people form a circle, hold hands and dance:


The couple is in the middle for a little while:


But then it's sort of a free for all:


The couple link arms and dance around:


Then, people grab the couple by the arm and spin them round and round:




It's actually really fun. Until, and I can't even imagine how someone hundreds of years ago came up with this wacky tradition, they put you on chairs, hoist you in the air and you hang on for your dear life:


Somebody was not holding me straight and I thought I was going to fall off:


But they straightened me out and we survived. Here's a short video of our chair hoist, taken by our friends Vadim+Angela. I like the part where I reach out my hand to my husband and he shakes his head no because he's clutching onto his chair.

Finally it was time to sit down to dinner. At this point, I have to be negative for a minute. I hated the dj. I gave him 6 hours worth of music and asked him not to deviate from that. So when "Everything I do" by Bryan freaking Adams was playing as we sat down to dinner, I was considerably unhappy. "What the hell is this?" I asked IC. I had worked so hard on the playlist to *not* have to hear crap like Bryan Adams. "Do you want me to tell him to turn it off?" IC asked, figuring, I'm sure, that I'd say no. YES, ask him to turn it off. He's lucky it was IC that went over to him instead of me. I'm from Brooklyn, in case y'all don't know. Anyway, the dj sucked. He played the same 3 songs over and over during food time. When we complained to the wedding planner (who had recommended him as some "celebrity" dj on Provo) she said I had not given him enough slow songs. UM, I had given him nearly 2 hours of slow songs. I understood what had happened. I had initially provided him with a list of songs I wanted played. On it, there were only about 10 slow songs. But when I gave him my ipod, several days before the wedding, there was much, much more music on it, as he and I had discussed. He just did not put any effort into looking at what I had given him. You'd think for like $300 an hour he'd do more than just push play on the ipod. You'd think wrong.

ANYWAY, there was vodka on the table and that made everything better. It's a Russian thing, to have a bottle and shot glasses at each table and Bagatelle was good about accommodating us. This photo by Sharon M.:


I hear these were a big hit.

Also customary, we circulated and did shots with the various tables. Pic by Cora:


The food was so good! Here's a pic of our menu by Lauren:


IC and I got one of everything and shared as we do at any other dinner. Everything was great! I particularly loved the mahi-mahi ceviche, IC particularly liked the risotto and the big pieces of shaved parmesan on it. I normally am not into Ceasar salad but loved Bagatelle's version.

Another big hit was our cake topper. IC and I are both poker players and we spent many years playing one-on-one poker together before we began dating. When I suggested to IC we have a cake topper of us playing poker, he was lukewarm to the idea. He gave me a budget of $100 and really didn't care if it happened or not. It was made by Steve at Top-o-the-Cake and it was amazing! IC loved it! It was one of his favorite details of the wedding. He took such good care of that topper and wouldn't let anyone touch it lest they leave finger prints on it--and this was the day after the wedding! IC is doing a chip trick in the topper, I think that's why he loves it so much. Cake-topper pics by Cora:


I love my as-in-real-life red hair, the red bottom on my shoe and the fact that I'm pushing my chips in:



The actual wedding cake was yet another big hit. Made by Diane Guess of Cakes to Di For, many people told us it was the best wedding cake they'd ever had. Pics back to being by Matthew Szlakowicz:


Here's another video by Vadim and Angela of us cutting the cake and me nodding in approval, partly because the cake was delicious and partly because I had told IC that he better not shove the cake in my face as has, for some reason, become customary and he kept me guessing until the last second whether or not he would.

IC's brother Ron and my best friend Laurie gave really beautiful, thoughtful toasts:



I danced with my father to "There for you" by Damian Marley (and asked my brother to invite my mom to the dance floor and join us to include her) and IC danced to "Oof Gazal", a really pretty Hebrew song, with his mom and had his sister join with their father and his brother join with their aunt. I liked that we did that, I never understood the leaving out of the parent based on gender.



We did some more dancing and then before we knew it the reception was over and we were being moved to the beach for the after-party s'mores bonfire. We gave people some time to change into casual clothes and then we all headed to the beach. Some people were too in love with their white linen suit to change:

K and Ronnie

No one seems to have gotten a photo of the set-up but they had marshmallows and chocolate covered graham crackers for people to make their own s'mores.



Similar to the welcome bbq, people lounged on towels on the sand and on the round couches:



There was more guitar and violin playing



Eventually IC and I peeled away from the group and called it a very, very long day. We had had a great time at our wedding and, ultimately, lazy DJs and pervy rabbis couldn't affect that. We had been surrounded by people who we love, and people who love us. They had watched us promise to be together forever, then ate great food and danced and had a great time. We were so lucky to have our wedding in such a beautiful place but even luckier to have it around such amazing people.

The day after the wedding, I trashed my dress. Photos and story about that coming up. I also plan to write up our honeymoon on Parrot Cay so stay tuned!