Tuesday, January 31, 2006

venue search (Part II)

and then there were four...
(venue search, cont'd)

as we continued to winnow the venue field, we had four places that we still wanted to see, viz., The Metropolitan Club; The Rainbow Room; The Pierre; and The Newark Club. transit strike be damned, we made appointments to see these four places and each had its own pros and cons.

The Metropolitan Club

the Met Club is a gorgeous private club in Manhattan. happily, i would have a sponsor here as Mrs. A's dad is a member. further, i am in good standing with dad-of-Mrs. A, since i introduced his daughter to her now husband, the EvilAlchemist.

anyway, Thurston and i went to see the Metropolitan Club at 9am on the first morning of the transit strike. if you can imagine a less-than-fun commute, imagine our drive to midtown that day. it took us a good hour to get up there from the Village and then, upon our final approach across 61st Street, we were stopped at Park and had to circle back around. it was a) way-too-early to have already been commuting for an hour and b) fuh-reezing. we parked somewhere east of Lexington and then hoofed it over to 60th and 5th Ave.

however, these factors notwithstanding, i adored the Metropolitan Club. the space was grand (a Stanford White building, don't you know), the location was ideal (close to plenty of hotels and the park (for day-of photos)) and the space was the right size for our guest list. (and also had a lot of flexibility with different room permutations should our numbers vary).


the grand foyer with 55-foot ceilings (!) and an incredible staircase.

Thurston was not nearly as keen on the Met Club, finding the space a bit intimidating. he also felt strongly that it "called for" a black-tie affair and T was really, really intent on not having a black-tie wedding. on the other hand, while viewing photos of previous weddings at the Club, T recognized Chuck Knoblauch as one of the groom photographed. this, to a major Yankee fan, was definitely going in the "pro" column of the Met Club.

pros: grand space, classic elegance, many rooms; one wedding per weekend; Chuck Knoblauch had wedding here.
cons: potentially intimidating; specifically formal space; lots of stairs

The Rainbow Room

for T and i the Rainbow Room held a special sentimental sway with us, since we were engaged just below, in Rockefeller Center. the idea of a glamorous room, overlooking all of Manhattan was also intriguing. when we got there (also during the transit strike, another fun trip-- this time an hour in a shared cab), the views looking out were all we had hoped they'd be.

the views of the inside, not so much:

the Rainbow Room was more modern a space than i liked. i also thought it sent more of a Bar Mitzvah or office party vibe than a wedding one. at least for the wedding that i had envisioned. i really thought that i needed a venue of a grand scale to be able to handle the style of dress i planned to wear.

however, T love-love-*loved* the Rainbow Room. especially the revolving dance floor.

he is also more sentimental than i, (difficult to believe, i'm sure) and was keen on getting married right over where he proposed. such a softie, that one.

so, although i wasn't loving the idea of the modern decor and the "flip"-- this is where the ceremony is in Room A, then everyone goes into Room B for cocktail hour, during which the staff reconfigures Room A into the dinner/dance room--i kept the Rainbow Room high on the list for T's sake and because the food is done by Cipriani, which is a major plus.

pros: close to proposal; ultimate NY views; Cipriani food; revolving dance floor; u-shaped seating arrangement
cons: the "flip"; potentially two weddings at once (there's another floor where a smaller wedding can be held at the same time); modern decor; wedding bathrooms shared with clientele of Rainbow Grill (restaurant open to the public at same time as wedding).

ok, that's enough for now!

the other two in our search will be written up later or tomorrow!

next post:
The Pierre (Cotillion Room)
The Newark Club

Monday, January 30, 2006

ladies who lunch

as a dedicated government worker, i rarely use my lunch break to take an actual break and leave the office. the dearth of restaurants in the area is surely a contributing factor, as is my laziness. however, yesterday i had cause to trek up to 64th Street for a lovely lunch with my big sister,* in town for an ever-so-brief visit, and Sim-Sima.**

we went to Alice's Tea Cup: Chapter II, and, boy, was it a great spot. (thanks, Mom, for the recommendation!)
i had:

curried chicken salad sandwich with red onion, celery and granny smith apple on semolina with golden raisins and fennel $11
which was absolutely delicious. the sandwich was not too big, but plenty filling. and the bread--oy, was it wonderful! obviously, i had tea as well, and that impressed equally. the only annoying part of my lunch experience was that i had just been in the area (walking my parents' dog) on Sunday, and being unaware of Alice's, i went instead to Burger Heaven. poor Lovey, making such errors in eating...!

next time, the Nibble will be my meal of choice...

the nibble: a lil' bit hungry? $22- pot of tea- choice of one scone with preserves and cream- choice of one sandwich- assorted cookies
oh my gosh, you all so want to come with, don't you?
* of the sorority--not the biological--sort.
** who, incidentally, did not have the keys to my

Saturday, January 28, 2006


ok, in 1987, when watching The Two Mrs. Grenvilles (surely one of the greatest mini-series ever) i heard a bit of dialogue with which i became insanely enchanted. it went something like this:
1st snotty lady: "he loves her, but she is N-O-C-D."
2nd snotty lady: "NOCD?"
1st snotty lady: "Not our class, darling."

now, even as an 11 year-old, i knew that were i to use this phrase in my day-to-day life, i would come off as gauche and ridiculous as i would were i to adopt the speech patterns of one Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter Morrell*. this knowledge, however, did not stop me from intoning (in my snobbiest voice), "NOCD," when referring to boys who liked my friends (until i was about 16 or so, they'd not really taken to liking me). oh, was it the funnest thing to say!

well, years went by and NOCD ebbed and flowed in my vernacular. all i can say is that it's back, baby! and how! i am falling in love with it all over again.

viva la NOCD!
* not sure the exact order of the names-- forgive me, Joan!

Friday, January 27, 2006

1, 2, 3, 4-- PRESENTS!

that is how i countoff presents for any and all gift-giving occasions. well, apparently to some of my mom's friends, our engagement is such an occasion.* which means Thurston has been subjected to this cheer-of-sorts on many occasions lately.

here's how the engagement gift opening goes down...

first, i open the giant outer box which is filled with those loathesome styrofoam peanuts. then i manage to extricate the inner box (wrapped, natch) without letting too many of the peanuts escape, lest our giant cat Winston ingest them.
this is what you may find inside:

check out the nifty faux-crocodile embossed wrapping paper. ooh la la!

then i open the card and see from whom the lovely gift is.
finally, i tear through the wrapping paper and all the bubble wrap and see what the gift actually is--

oh, look! a large platter!!

so far we have received gifts in our "everyday" china, viz., a medium vegetable bowl, a gravy boat and a large platter.

gravy will be so much awesomer when served from this boat!

we have also received some off-registry items, from T's family, such as a hand-blown glass bowl and a crystal vase. the bowl looks akin to this:

except our version had a bright blue inside and yellow rim. this bowl wanted to travel though, and now lives at Thurston's office.

* this occasion is very different than the pseudo-gift-giving occasion T and i faced a few months ago when i allegedly sent us an engagement gift well before our actual engagement. i still contend that i did *not* register pre-engagement!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

location, location, location (where to get married?)

location, location, location

when my mom (briefly) dabbled in real estate, those three words were pretty much her mantra. after all, location is what it's all about, no?

well, come wedding planning time, my mother again took those words to heart, deciding that a wedding in New York proper was the order of the day. now, you won't hear me object to a Manhattan wedding--indeed, in my wedding dreams of yore, the Plaza and Pierre featured quite prominently--but the cost of such a wedding is actually appalling.

to put this in perspective, i am hardly one to bat an eye at overspending. to be sure, Thurston might even suggest that i affirmatively look to find ways to spend money where money needn't even be spent. but, my lack of the thrift notwithstanding, even a spender such as i can recognize that when you pay the price of a Manhattan wedding you are paying, once, twice, three times for location.

accepting this, i began to look at venues, trying to narrow them down before making appointments to see them in person.

some contenders that didn't make it to the "viewing" stage:

The Ritz Carlton at Battery Park
although i loved the idea of a wedding that incorporated New York itself (if you're paying for it anyway, you may as well use it!) The Ritz, which overlooks the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson, seemed perfect for the task, because with views like these you can't fail:

alas, i then found out the Ritz's ballroom does not have the views at all and, while lovely, is decorated in a more contemporary style than i was looking for.

then i found out that their complimentary honeymoon package (5 nights in the Ritz of your choice) was not being offered anymore... bye, bye, Ritz!

The Essex House

the Essex House never called my mother back. then when i told T where it was located, he noted that--to him--the mere mention of Central Park South evokes the smell of horseshit. so, Essex House was off the list.

The St. Regis

the St. Regis is gorgeous and in a great location. however, our numbers did not mesh well with their capacity. my mother adored the guy there with whom she spoke and i would have loved to consider this space if the numbers had permitted it. (if you're ever thinking of the St. Regis for an event, let me know and i will give you this guy's contact info!) to my dismay, the St. Regis was also off the list.

Cipriani 42nd Street

it turns out that, unlike most spaces that were too small for the amount of people we plan to have at our wedding, the Cipriani space was just too big.

numerous "wedding" people in the city informed us that our party would be dwarfed by the space and look "dinky" in the massive greatness that is midtown Cipriani. this pains me. i really, really loved this place.

The Mandarin Oriental
another space that takes advantage of its NYC location-- on the 36th floor of the hotel in the Time Warner Center, it seemed like it would rule. but again with the modern-- the carpeting, pictured in miniature below is maddening, really.

to be continued...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

American Idol

if Simon were to so wittily tell a contestant that the audition "sounds like bad karaoke from an East Village karaoke bar," he'd be throwing a great compliment. that's because on Saturday night Thurston and i broke it down at Sing Sing and East Village karaoke never had it so good.

our Saturday night began at Chelsea Piers for bowling with Kate and the Cuban and the Bean and her feller.

T rolling bombs.

after bowling (the Cubans won, if i recall correctly with T and i losing by a lot), we all were ready for another destination. headed to Tracy J's Watering Hole to undertake some karaoke. alas, that venue was chock full and the waiting list to croon was about 20 deep. after a short time bonding with Tracy J's proprietor, former Duke basketball great Art Heyman, Thurston suggested we head to Sing Sing, where we could get our own karaoke room and forego the painful waiting. all were on board so we headed there immediately.

the room to which we were assigned at Sing Sing was really for four people, but a little thing like crowding was not about to stop us. the Cuban kicked things off, and then T sang a painful version of some Guns n' Roses song that i have thankfully blocked out. Mrs. Cuban busted out Lisa Loeb's Stay, the Cuban broke it down on Fake Plastic Trees, the Bean did a very, very passionate Ain't No Mountain High Enough and i made everyone ridiculously uncomfortable with a heartfelt version of Nasty Girl. nobody writes better lyrics* than Vanity 6. nobody!

the weekend finished off at Red Lobster, a place i'd never visited before. how empty my life has been B.R.L. (that's "Before Red Lobster," thank you very much)!!

although, to my great chagrin, there were no "All-You-Can-Eat Shrimp" promotions going on (there weren't any all-you-can-eat anythings going on, to be sure), they were offering a Jumbo Shrimp special whereby i could create my own Shrimp Feast.
and feast i did! i chose a skewer of fire-grilled garlic shrimp paired with jumbo lobster and crab stuffed shrimp and, boy, was it delicious. i highly recommend you hit your nearest Red Lobster to partake of this special. you'll be thanking me!

* That's right, pleased to meet you
I still won't tell you my name.
Don't you believe in mystery,
Don't you want to play my game?
I'm looking for a man to love me,
Like I've never been loved before.
I'm looking for a man who'll do it anywhere,
Even on the limosine floor.

'Cause tonight, living in a fantasy,
My own little nasty world.
Tonight, don't you want to come with me,
Do you think I'm a nasty girl?

I guess I'm just used to sailors,
I think they've got water on the brain.
I think they've got more water upstairs
Than they've got sugar on a candy cane.
That's right, it's been a long time,
Since I had a man that did it real good.
If you ain't scared, take it out,
I'll do it like a real-live nasty girl would.

Please, please
Please, please
Nasty girl, nasty girl, do you think I'm a nasty girl?
Nasty girl, nasty girl, do you think I'm a nasty girl?

I don't like this groove.
Try and give me something I can croon to.
Catch my drift?
That'll work.
That's right, I can't control it.
I need seven inches or more.
Tonight, I can no longer hold it.
Get it up, get it up, I can't wait any longer.

Uh, It's time to jam,
Dance nasty girls, dance !!

Is that it?
Wake me when you're done.
I guess you'll be the only one having fun

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

my theme song

when my sister, brother and i were younger, we used to listen to lots and lots of showtunes. mostly because those were the tapes my parents kept in the car. thus, every car trip i can recall was filled with the sounds of Ethel Merman, Shirley Jones, Julie Andrews and many others singing (surprisingly) practical thoughts on love like:

I'll snap my fingers to show I don't care; I'll buy me a brand new dress to wear; I'll scrub my neck and I'll brush my hair, And start all over again.
And I would like him to be more interested in me, Than he is in himself. And more interested in us than in me. And if occasionally he'd ponder what makes Shakespeare and Beethoven great, Him I could love 'til I die.

but the most apt lyrics of all, were penned by the great Irving Berlin and belted out by Ms. Merman (accompanied by the California sister and myself, as loud as we could sing, which, in retrospect was probably cruel since we were three in the backseat of a car but i digress...):

I want a wedding in a big church,
With bridesmaids and flower girls.
A lot of ushers in tailcoats,
Reporters, and photographers.
A ceremony by a bishop who will tie the knot and say
"Do you agree to love and honour?"
Love and honour: yes, but not obey.
I want a wedding ring surrounded
By diamonds and platinum.
A big reception at the Waldorf,
With Champagne and caviar.
I want a wedding like the Vanderbilts have--
Everything big not small.
If I can’t have that kind of a wedding,
I don’t want to get married at all.

poor T! when he proposed he had no idea what he hath wrought... i've had these giant wedding plans floating in my head since 1982 or so, when Annie Get Your Gun was the JadedEm-family musical cassette of choice.

it's funny though, that i never became nearly as attached to the male half of the lyrics, that complemented Ethel Merman's "big wedding" verse:

We’ll have an old fashioned wedding
Blessed in the good, old fashioned way.
I’ll vow to love you forever;
You’ll vow to love and honour and obey.
Somewhere in some little chapel,
Someday when orange blossoms bloom.
We’ll have an old fashioned wedding,
A simple wedding for an old-fashioned bride and groom.

sorry, T!

change is good

that is why i am (temporarily) changing the name of my blog to "my wedding and other complications"* since planning my wedding has essentially taken over my life. (and the lives of those around me.)

so you will now be able to read a (semi redacted) chronicle of the steps i take in planning such wedding. maybe if i write about it here, i can stop boring poor Thurston to tears with the minutiae...
* credit Jolie with the name-change idea.

Monday, January 16, 2006

pride goeth...

...before a sliced finger.

(and my bling finger too, no less!)

despite this minor injury, dinner was a success-- chicken with chipotle tomato sauce over whole wheat pasta. mmmm, mmmm!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

i got mad skillz

i got mad skillz

knife skills, that is. last night at the Institute of Culinary Education, i saw the light. i now know why i have been so inefficient in the kitchen. i was working against my cutlery! chopping when i ought to have been slicing; sharpening when i ought to have been honing-- the ignominies were countless.

but thanks to the genius (and i do not use that word lightly) of Norman Weinstein, i now know how to, inter alia: grip my knife properly; slice garlic paper-thin; make a rose out of tomato skin; and, very importantly, cut an onion with as few tears as possible.

now i only need to acquire a home collection of Wusthof knives i used at class. thank goodness for the registry... !!!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Merry New Year

(albeit a tad late!)

i'm hoping that 2006 will bring some more posting from me, but with wedding planning (the horror!) i seem to have just enough time to eat, sleep and inflict misery upon all those around me. ah, happiness!

meantime, i am happy to steal Lola's meme and make it my own.

Four jobs you've had in your life: dot.com soldier at Snap.com (R.I.P.), promotion assistant at Life (nightclub), sneaker salesperson, babysitter

Four movies you could watch over and over: Fletch, Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, the Big Lebowski, Coyote Ugly

with the afro, 6'9"

Four places you've lived: New York, San Francisco, Ithaca, Merrick

Four TV shows you love to watch: Law & Order (all), American Idol, Veronica Mars, Good Eats

not too shabby

Four places you've been on vacation: Mexico, Australia, Barbados, Fiji

Four websites you visit daily: jolie1.blogspot.com, gawker.com, stephanieklein.com, msnbc.com

Four of your favorite foods: mozzarella sticks, Whopper with cheese, salmon sushi, pigs in blankets.

Four places you'd rather be: in bed, in a hammock in Mexico, at tea in London, at Ron Herman in L.A.

Four albums you can't live without: Travis - The Invisible Band; Guster - Goldfly; Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot; N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton.