We need a party

My friend (and bridesmaid and fellow blogger) Megan is kind of the ultimate planner. After I askew her to be in my wedding, she bought her shoes about two days later, asked permission to put together a wedding day emergency kit, and has volunteered on multiple occasions to be my “personal assistant” in planning when she’s bored at work.

Basically, if you want something done, you go to Megan.

So when I got the idea to have a dress up party for our friends (total disclosure: I wanted to have the party because I had a dress I really wanted to wear) who else would I turn to to help make it happen?

Thus the Classy Cocktail Party was born. We sent out a fancy evite and everything. We’re pretty legit.

The cocktail party also became the catalyst for trying a few new recipes. I made my first bruschetta, which I was actually quite nervous about, but it came out quite good according to the fiance (who, yes, I realize loves me more than anyone…I’ll still take the compliment). I also made mini cheesecakes.

The recipe was super simple. You make the crust out of graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar, per usual. Then press a couple tablespoons into muffin liners, bake for five minutes, then fill with your standard cheesecake batter:

{creamcheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla with raspberry compote}

The red stuff is a raspberry compote I made out of sugar and (you guessed it) raspberries. Drop a few dots on the top of each cheesecake, swirl with a toothpick, then bake the whole kit’n’kaboodle for twenty minutes. The fiance also enjoyed these. (I believe the exact words were, “You’re going to be a really good wife.” At this point, we would certainly hope so.)

I don’t want to brag, but the party was a raging success. I was worried about people getting into the semi-formal dress code, but it turns out I’m not the only one who likes to clean up now and then. And everyone looked really nice!

{friends, being classy}

Of course, no matter how good you are at planning, you can never control everything. You may notice the fiance is conspicuously absent from the photos. He ended up coming down with a sinus infection and had to miss the festivities. We were both disappointed, but what can you do? Immune systems are the ultimate party poopers.

Illness aside, we may have to make a tradition out of fancy get-togethers. I mean, after this whole “wedding” thing is over, Megan and I are going to need something to plan.

The Write Way

When you’re training to be a writer, there are a number of lessons you unavoidably hear a million times.

Show; don’t tell. Your characters must be dynamic to be real. And, perhaps most annoying, you have to hook your reader in the first sentence.

I’d like to give the non-writer readers of mine a minute to think over the implications of that.

One sentence.

And starting every piece of writing with, “Suddenly, the killer lunged at him, an unmasked blade glistening in his white-knuckled fist” is not an option.

It is, to put it mildly, an insane amount of pressure that has often stopped me from writing anything altogether.

And even though I will say that this oft repeated rule has made me a bit of a connoisseur in terms of first (and last) sentences, I am not really a believer in judging a book or article immediately by the first few words.

In fact, I think that if everyone decided whether or not to read a book based solely on the first sentence, a lot of incredible writing would go unnoticed.

“It was a pleasure to burn.”

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”

“Call me Ishmael.”

I mean, how often are you going to burble up something like that?

No, some books need more time. Of course, I’m also one of those people who hates to leave books unfinished, even if I don’t like them. I’ve read a few horrendous chick lit stories in my time, just because I had a few hours to kill once and then I was in too deep to get away.

I recently read a book that was quite good, but I never would have known that if I hadn’t stuck it out through at least the first half, which was a bit slow and cumbersome. But the reward for my loyalty was an edge-of-your seat kind of mystery.

I guess you could say that truly great writing will have the whole package; an engaging beginning, an intriguing middle, and a fulfilling ending. But I guess I’ll take two out of three.

At least I’m not on MTV

So…it’s yet another snow day. Insane, right?

I kind of love working from home. I miss my work computer, with it’s super fast internet speeds and Photoshop and all that, but there’s something about working in pajamas whilst watching MTV that I just can’t hate on.

Speaking of MTV, I have a confession. I love it.

Ok, not everything on it. There are shows I just think are stupid, but the shows I like, I reeeeally like. And I’m pretty sure it’s just because they make me feel better about my life.

Here is my analysis of what I watch and why:

1. I Used to be Fat

Why I love it: Um, hi. A show about teens losing around 90 pounds in about 100 days. Sign. Me. Up. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a makeover, but I love weight loss shows. In a big way. In college, I got my entire house of four roommates addicted to The Biggest Loser, which I had been watching for about four seasons at that point. (And yes, I cry at almost every finale.)

2. Jersey Shore

Why I like it: Ok, stay with me on this one. Yes, I know these people are ridiculous. Yes, I know their lifestyles are insane, unhealthy, and will undoubtedly end in premature death. But after a crazy day at work, when a million thoughts are running through my exhausted brain, all I have to do is flip on everyone’s favorite East Coast crazies and everything in my head just gets…quiet. I’m pretty sure Jersey Shore literally slows down my brain cells. And I like it.

3. Teen Mom

Why I like it: Ok, here’s the thing. I’m pretty sure I don’t actually like this show. It just happens to be on whenever I randomly flip on the TV during the day (which honestly doesn’t happen that often). So I watch it. And, well, it makes me feel a lot better about my life, no matter what is going on.

Actually, I think that’s the common denominator of the shows I watch and why. They make me feel better about myself. It’s like, sure, I have stress, but at least I didn’t have a baby at 16. At least I don’t weigh 250 pounds. At least I’m not nicknamed Snooki.

So, ok. Maybe this is not my proudest post. But it’s definitely not my most shameful.


While we stand together

I’ve already described the three basic types of people you will meet on the LIRR. However, an event that occurred yesterday reminded me that there are certain subsets that warrant their own explanations.

Yesterday, a train became “disabled” in Penn, and all of the trains were affected in the way of delays and “limited service” for the majority of the evening commute.

Putting aside how it enrages me that a single train can somehow upset an entire transportation system, I was fortunate that as I approached Penn, they were just beginning to allow people back into the station and trains were proceeding in their “limited” and “disabled” fashion. Naturally, this had some consequences. Namely, the cars were so crammed it made the blizzard debacle of 2011 look like a cozy slumber party.

I once said on this blog that these sorts of inconveniences often bond commuters. We talk to people we would otherwise ignore. We joke at the railroad’s expense. But the last two times I’ve dealt with overcrowded cars, I’ve experienced what I would call “Everything That Is Wrong With The World.”

I’ll explain.

When a group of people are crammed together in the face of commuting adversity, a number of specific personalities arise.

1. The Class Clown
This is the guy who thinks it’s his job to lighten the mood. It’s important to note that there are actually two different types of CC. One is a loudmouth who cracks jokes just to hear himself talk, whether or not he or she gets a favorable response. The other is a person who is just so generally easy-going and good-natured that if you don’t chuckle along, you realize you’re just being bitter and self-centered. This person is extremely helpful at reminding everyone that it’s just a crowded train, and we’re all going to get through it. Last nifty, this was a guy with long hair and a skateboard (but a bespoke jacket that undercut his “too cool for school” attitude). He managed to befriend everyone exhort being annoying. Well done, sir.

2. The Person Who Flips Out
This person is, in a large part, why CCs are so helpful. This person responds to unfavorable circumstances by simply screaming at everyone when they don’t get their way. They’re generally immature and selfish, and it’s safe to assume they’ve never experienced actual crises in their life. (I have also referred to them as “easy lifers.”) At some point, they will start a fight with almost everyone within a four foot radius, prompting someone to yell, “All right! Let’s everyone just calm down!” Last night, this was a teen girl with a fondness of the F-word who for some reason seemed to think her plight was worse than everyone else’s and that we were all just kidding around when we told her there was no room. She was a sweetheart.

3. The Old Man Who Just Gets Furious
This guy is almost more alarming that the PWFO. He’s sitting quietly, his eyes closed in silent fury at the delay in his life, but the second the mood changes one degree toward the more annoying side of the scale (for example, when the PWFO enters the scene), he will snap. This can start a screaming match between him and another vocal party, however, his anger is more controlled. Read: a little scarier. Usually, though, he’ll tire of the fight before things can escalate. He’s too old for this, after all. Last night, this was the guy who screamed, “You SHUT your MOUTH!” at the bratty tween. At some point, someone actually started filming their interchange for YouTube. Wish I was kidding.

4. The Person Who Looks Terrified The Whole Time
Last night, this was a girl who wad about 4’8″. She was cute, but tiny, and obviously aware that if things went awry, she did not have the stature to prevent herself from being trampled. This person will generally stare in suspicious panic at anyone who makes a loud noise, their hand clutching desperately at any stable surface to keep themselves upright. They might try to join in on any good-natured joking that occurs, but it will always be with a nervous laugh that will undercut any facade of ease they’ve worked up.

5. The Person Who Just Plans To Get Through It
I like to think of myself as this person. I’ll roll my eyes at the crazies, make a few jokes about how “this is my nightmare,” and smile conspiratorially at the people who seem to be like-minded, but in general I’ll keep to myself and concentrate on not locking my knees or bumping in to anyone. There was also a few other people like this in my car last night. You can usually recognize them because they’ll say things like, “Geez Louise!” and “Only in New York, right?”

Of course, you also have the people who just literally shut their eyes and ignore everything until they get to their stop, but these are usually people who are lucky enough to have found a seat. They miss all the fun that happens by the doors anyway.

Wake up woes

There are few things I detest more than waking up while it’s still dark out. Well, except maybe waking up while it’s dark and freezing out.

It was seven degrees while I waited for the bus today. Seven.

It’s not just that waking up before the sun is unnatural (though I think we can all agree it is). The truly annoying part is that no matter how much sleep I got that night, I will never feel rested if I wake up to darkness.

For example, this weekend I got almost twelve hours of sleep both Friday and Saturday nights. (The fiance and most of my friends were out of town. I’m not usually quite that lame.) So based on SCIENCE, I should have felt super well rested. But on Sunday, I tried to wake up at six to hit the gym. Didn’t happen. And today, I hit snooze about three times before finally lurching from my snuggly comforter.

Early to bed, early to rise, right? So what’s the point of having a responsible bed time if the rising part is still going to feel like a punishment?

I guess there’s always daylight savings. Though losing that hour is kind of a win-lose too.

Dear Winter, I hate you.

Ok, I really am trying not to just rant about the weather, but seriously. Seriously?!?

I’m over it. I never really understand people who like, or even more horrifyingly love winter, but right now if someone said that to me, I’d probably shove their face in a snow drift. How you like that??

My violent winter tendencies aside, we really have gotten more than enough snow. It’s at the point where people are just pretending like everything is fine because it seems cliche to delay school, call in sick, and in general protect people’s safety again.

So what I’m saying is, you’ve had your fun, Winter. Now get over yourself.