Monday, September 30, 2013

Me Versus We and Some Wedding Gossip

Manners are my new best friend.

So underrated!

Life is good in Charleston as I have mentioned.  I have been going to the beach and cooking healthy meals.  Vacation hours.  I am enjoying long walks around town and Real Housewives of New Jersey marathons.

Next week, real life begins.  I go to NYC this week to visit Sissy and pick out my bling.  I am also going to a Wiggles concerts with the babies that I am oddly excited for.  Then, it is time to really make Charleston a home and not just a destination, which includes getting a job.

One of the many things that bothered me in Chicago was a me-centric mentality.  The idea that me comes before we.  In Chicago, doors were slammed in my face when I carried heavy bags of groceries, drivers cut me off on icy expressways, young men avoided eye contact while they read their iPhones comfortably seated on busy trains and buses while pregnant and elderly ladies stood, people pushed and shoved to get through crowds at concerts, ballgames, and even on the sidewalk.

In Chicago, I was always one car honk and middle finger away from life.  Just when I was enjoying a little stroll and an iced latte deep in my own thoughts, some schmo would ruin it for me by almost killing me with his scooter while I walked correctly across an intersection.  "I HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY, ASSHOLE!!!!!"  Oy.

Don't even start with the clients I worked with in Chicago.  And yes, many of them were unbelievably kind and incredibly gracious, but some, well, some just didn't want to pay for their own events.  Somehow, they thought they were entitled to things for free because they were getting married.  These same clients had weddings that WAY exceeded their budgets (declined credit cards and bounced checks...I have seen it all!) and couldn't be convinced to spend realistically for them.  They used their weddings to make them into something they will never be.  Popular.  Liked.  Perhaps even semi-famous for a second.  The Facebook photos were more important than the actual experience. ME ME ME time ALL of the time.  I have met some ladies who are so self-obsessed and narcissistic that they make Kim K and Paris look humble.

I do feel like a person's true character comes out on their wedding day and it ain't always pretty. More to come on that in future posts.

In Charleston, I have noticed that I am sometimes on the defensive unnecessarily. I am waiting to be budged at Starbucks, I am anticipating that someone at Publix will steal my parking spot, I grimace at 4 way stop signs anxious that my turn will be skipped, but it never happens.

There is a we here in Charleston that isn't in Chicago.

In Charleston, a man who worked at the grocery store helped me to my car with my heavy bags, a young hunk in his early 20's gave me his chaise lounger at the pool when no more were left in the sun and then carried another one over from the shady part for himself, a lady at Spinning class brought me a towel when she noticed I didn't have one.  Men stand to meet me.  People let you through when you are being seated by a hostess at a busy restaurant on a Saturday night.  No one pushes or shoves to get to the bar at a concert.

I stand with my fits cocked, yet I never have to use them.

This world we live in, well, we all share it.  It is no more yours than it is mine.  Life can be easy or it can be hard.  In Chicago people take and in Charleston people give.

I know I am generalizing and I know that Charleston is still shiny and new.  There will be a day when I am cut off, shoved, but hopefully not spit on.

Oh yes, a while back in the Windy City, a groom's father, high on cocaine, spit on me and called me a fat cunt.  Because he owed money for a bar tab for a late night party he offered to pay for.  He didn't like the total bill, even though he consumed 8 cocktails himself at 14 dollars a pop.  Bonus detail, he knew how much it would be weeks beforehand and acted like it was no problem, joked at how I was talking money with him because he had so much of it. But, when push came to shove spit, maybe he put the money for the bar up his nose.....I had a feeling something wasn't right in Oz from the beginning.

Now, I trust my instincts.

Well, that is another story for another day.

Time to get real.

I am done being defensive for just being me and I am ready to live in the we.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Partner in Crime

It feels good to have a partner in crime.

Someone to eat meals with.  Someone to take walks with.  Someone to help me carry my groceries up the stairs.

The transition from long distance to in-town love has been easy.  I must admit, much better than I expected.  I was a bit worried about how Crush and I would settle in.  Especially, because I really like my own personal space and I can be OCD tidy.  He wants to be next to me all of the time and he is an epic slob.  Yet, we are making this work because for the last year, I have been clear about my expectations and he has been clear about his.  There are no surprises and we are balancing being together wonderfully.

Something that I have always known about myself is that I require downtime.  Alone time where I can do some work (surf the Internet), watch Bravo, and examine my pores.  Yes, it isn't like I do much with the time, I just need it!

Something I hated when I was with Awful was his lack of understanding of my need to be alone.  To not have plans.  To not host guests for dinner more than 1 night a week.  He wanted people around him all of the time.  Being alone scares him, whereas being alone recharges me.

This week, Crush and I have been invited somewhere each and every day.  Brunches, lunches, suppers, cocktails, concerts, picnics.  People have showed interest in meeting me and I am very flattered, yet exhausted.  If these plans were just Crush and myself, I would be fine, but having to make an effort and  conversation aka "be on", well it takes a lot out of me.

Yesterday, over lunch, Crush mentioned going to a friends house on Saturday for an impromptu dinner party and I did something I was never able to do in the past without being massively passive-aggressive.  I said the following:

"Honey, I am really enjoying meeting everyone, but I am getting a bit tired.  I need some me time.  Time to sleep well, go to the gym, search for a job, and acclimate myself.  Whereas I love socializing, I also love staying in and watching TV and cooking just as much.  I want a chance to just have us time, so if possible, can we keep this week light with plans and ask them for a rain check in a few weeks?"

He then told me something that was like music to my ears:

"Yes, I often don't have plans like this.  Everyone wants to meet you and honestly, I am so tired and I am getting overwhelmed by all of this running around.  I just wanted to give you a chance to meet new people and make friends, so I didn't want to limit your opportunities here."

He is a sweet one.

The thing is that I am lucky.  At 32, I know I will make some more dear friends here and there, but I already have my friends for life.

It makes staying in with my Bravo and Trader Joe's frozen delicacies, even a bit more satisfying.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Life is Good

I am here in Charleston and getting settled.  Learning my way around a bit without the GPS.

Seeing Crush everyday is divine.  Spending time with my family, Crush's family, and both of our families at once is the icing on the cake.

I feel at peace.

My life is going to be even better than I imagined.

The weather, the people, the pace.  It is just what I needed.

I am supposed to be here.  This is my place.  The one I knew was out there, but didn't know how to get to.  And Crush is my person.  My soul mate.  He completes my life.

The drive from Chicago was emotional.  I got my period 2 days into the trip, so I think some was hormonal, but most was relief.  As the miles ticked away, I bawled on repeat every few hours while listening to my favorite CDs, songs about breaking free and starting over.  Something I always dreamt of doing, but didn't have the courage to make a reality.  Well, until now.

As I passed through 7 states, I felt my broken self being glued back together, a teeny tiny peace at a time.  The distance from Chicago has made me whole again.  All of the BS and things that were simply too difficult than they needed to be. It is over.  Done.  I have finality.

I can be the good, sweet, kind, honest, empathetic, and funny person I know I am inside.  My walls have come down.

When I arrived to my new apartment and jumped into Crush's waiting arms, I felt the same way I did when my Dad left me at college 14 falls ago....that the possibilities are endless and I am in control of my destiny.  I haven't felt like this for far too long.

I am on a little vacation right now, no real schedule has been formed, but I have been Spinning everyday and seeing Crush for alone time, too.  My parents depart on Thursday and we have been having fun being roommates again for a few days.

I have been to the beach, I have had some cocktails before 6:00 pm, I have enjoyed lunch on the pier, and a picnic supper in the park.  Tonight, I am going to a concert and my favorite new bar to get a drink.

Life is good.

Actually, it is phenomenal.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Moving Day

Today is the day! I leave in a few hours.

Dad and I broke the trip into 3 days/2 nights as we have the U-Haul and can't go too fast.  We will stop overnight in Cincinnati, OH and Asheville, NC as we make our way down to Charleston.

I am all set.  Packed, CDs (I am old school) are ready to be played in the car, I have healthy snacks for the road on ice in my cooler.  Water and electric get turned on Friday and cable (Bravo, oh how I have missed you!) and Internet on Saturday.

I cannot believe I am here.

Moving day.

Heading south to my new life. Only 1,000 miles (987 to be exact) stretch between what already happened and what is yet to come.

I will be offline for the rest of the week settling in, unpacking, and enjoying a little time with Crush and his family.  My Mom (I have the BEST folks) is flying down to meet us for a long a weekend (she is smart enough to pass on the drive, but will arrive just in time for the congratulatory cocktails!) and to see Crush's parents and grandmother. I am excited to get myself to the beach, to a few new restaurants, and to the gym (LOVE the spinning studio there as you all know because I can't stop talking about it!).

I am taking 2 entire weeks off (I will blog during this rest period after Saturday when I get my wifi) to get into a good routine (learn my way around mostly), relax, and take a mini road trip to NJ/NYC to see Sissy (and her crew, Big Baby turns 3!)) and pick out my bling.  Then, the grueling job hunt will begin though I shouldn't complain as it is already showing some great promise.

I look forward to getting a bit more personal after I arrive in Charleston and who knows...maybe even share a few photos?!  I have lots of fun tidbits to blog about and I can't wait to fill you (y'all!) in!

Have a wonderful week and be back soon!



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

An Accomplishment That I Am Proud Of

It has been busy around here.  I have been packing, completing my new website, eating tons of sandwiches (I am recently obsessed with Jimmy Johns and find it to be so satisfying and filling), and saying farewell to dear old friends.

For years (5 to be exact), I have been super into Spinning.  I have mentioned it before.  Don't be confused with Flywheel or SoulCycle or any of that jazz, I like the old standard, Spinning.  The real deal.  Not indoor cycling classes that may be at your gym, Spinning.  The type of cycling class that can only be found at a certified Spinning studio or a gym that endorses the program.  Spinning classes are called Spinning and everything else that is on a bike at a gym in a group setting that isn't endorsed by Spinning falls under the umbrella of indoor cycling.  I know I sound annoying, but take it from someone who didn't know the difference and tried countless non-Spinning cycling classes and wondered why she hated them because it was still cycling to music...light bulb moment, it wasn't Spinning.  Yes, I am a dumdum sometimes.

Of course, in my typical difficult fashion, I became obsessed with something 15 years after it was really cool.  In the kismet mess improving reality that is my life, Charleston has perhaps the best Spinning studio I have ever experienced.  No excuses now to get in shape.  I just bought a 20 pack of rides this very morning.

Well, after hundreds of real Spinning classes, several pounds lost, (and then regained because of binging from depression and not Spinning) and exposure to some fabulous music I would have never heard otherwise, I, yes, Ready and Fading, became a Certified Spinning Instructor over the weekend.

Pick your jaws off the floor.

I am super excited about it and plan to teach some classes (I have taught a few cycling classes in Spinning fashion already, but not as a certified AKA real Spinning instructor!) down south.  I can't wait to play some super techno mixed in with my country tunes.  I learned over the weekend that a successful Spinning class should have over 5 genres of music to keep things interesting.  I am ready to make those play lists.

Some people connect with running, yoga, Zumba, or pilates.  Spinning is my go-to.  I love the team environment, the personal challenge, the music, the energy, the 1 hour commitment.  I am pumped to become involved with my new Spinning studio and hopefully teach there one day.  It is my next fitness goal now that I am certified.  Since my new studio is so boss, it is quite difficult to become an instructor there, but I plan on making it happen one ride at a time.

I don't plan on joining a gym.  I plan to work on strength myself and then get my cardio in with Spinning and outdoor bike rides.  There are no words to express my excitement about getting to ride a bike year round!  WHOOT!

That's all for now, just needed to boast that I did something I have dreamt of for years.  I am proud.

Ride on.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Very Wise Man

My uncle is the smartest person I know.

Not just because he is very turbo with his achievements including being a renowned doctor, an Ivy league graduate, and a visionary in his field, but because he is accessible.

If you saw his credentials on paper, you may be intimidated, but if you met him in person, you would think, "that is a very nice guy."  He could be a cocky asshole, but he is just the opposite.

This past Saturday was Yom Kippur.  The holiest day for Jews.  One where we fast and reflect on the past year and hope and pray for only good things for the year to come for ourselves and for the ones we love.

At our annual break the fast dinner, my uncle toasted Crush and me.  My entire family adores Crush and I can't wait to introduce my aunt and uncle and cousins to Crush's family because I know they will get a huge kick out of them, too.

Quickly, the table conversation turned to Awful and his whereabouts as one of my cousins shared that she had recently seen him on his scooter/sidecar and almost ran him over with her car (by accident) as Awful was driving like a maniac which is typical for him.

I informed them of his approaching wedding this coming weekend and like me, they were a bit surprised, but wished him the best of luck.  My uncle got to know Awful a bit because he personally got him his job a few years ago.  A fact that Awful (who had been unemployed for nearly a year before my uncle intervened) never thanked him for which really bothered my family, especially my dad (who already hated Awful for lying about major promises that he made to me).

But then my uncle said something that really resonated with me.  "Ready and Fading, I never liked Awful.  Did you know that?  I know this may not be the best time to discuss it, being Yom Kippur and all, but I think he is a bullshitter.  Time after time, he would ask me to go hunting with him.  I counted 6 times.  But, not once, did he ever follow up.  A real man honors his commitments.   I wish his new wife the best of luck because a man who says and does not do cannot ever be a good husband or a good friend.  He is a person who will always come up empty.  I respect Crush and I realized that he was a keeper when he got in his car and drove 900 miles to meet Sissy's new baby.  That is what a real man does.  A real man makes things happens and doesn't just talk about all of the things he will do someday."

My uncle, the very wise man, was right (of course!).

Crush has always made an effort.  To see me, to speak with me, to email and text me back.

We never had guessing games or almosts or empty promises.

Even when I doubted him (and got super cray cray) because I had been so hurt before and because I was afraid that this was all too good to be true, he came through.  Men had lied to me.  Men had said mean things to me about my body.  Men had wasted my time and my energy.

But not Crush.

Crush is a real man.  The kind of man who says what he will do and then does it (even if sometimes it isn't exactly the way I would....this is something I am working on, accepting that there are many ways to get to the same solution!).

Now that I am no longer single, I think this is an easy litmus test to separate all of the very bad ones from the really good ones.

Real men honor commitments.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Another List! 10 Things I Can't Wait To Do After I Move!

I love making lists.  It is the OCD wedding planner in me.  I have found that if I do not write it down, it will not happen, so here is a little list of some of the many things I am very excited about doing once I get to Charleston:

1.  Ride bikes with Crush.  One of my most favorite things to do in the entire world is to ride a bike (and take a Spinning class and it just so happens that Charleston has an amazing studio!).  Crush doesn't have a bike and hasn't been on one in some time, but he is planning to buy a new bike the very weekend I arrive to town. Crush used to be a long distance runner and is in good shape, so I know he will pick it up easily and we plan on exploring South Carolina on 2 wheels (no motors!!!) this fall.

2.  Sip some Queen St. Punch at Husk.  Don't get me started on this miraculous concoction.  Once I had a few too many and flashed Crush in his car.  Pure perfection, not too sweet, not too fruity, but smooth as silk and served just the way I like it, with 1 gigantic ice cube stuck right in the middle of a large tumbler.  The bar at Husk is super adorable  and worth a trip even if you can't get a reservation at the restaurant (they book weeks out).

3.  Swim at Folly Beach.  My new apartment is less than 10 minutes away from Folly Beach.  A gorgeous public strip of beach right outside of Charleston proper.  I look forward to sunning my skin (and helping my psoriasis go away...nothing helps me better than salt water and sun), reading some books that I have been hoarding for 2 years, and taking a little nap on the sand.  Crush is perhaps the only person in the world who thinks I look sexy (his words) in a swim suit (bikini), so I plan on rocking one for him.

4.  Chow down on shrimp and grits.  Charleston has the best shrimp and grits.  I can't get enough of them and eat them far too often.  Some of my favorites that I have tried (so many more restaurants to explore!) can be found at Poogan's Porch, Hall's Chophouse, and Slightly North of Broad (SNOB).

5.  Prepare a picnic lunch for Crush and enjoy it together while people watching (one of my favorite hobbies!) in Marion Square.

6.  See The Beach Boys preform live in October.  I love The Beach Boys, so this was a nice little surprise from Crush.

7.  Attend a debutante ball this winter.  There are no words to describe my excitement about this.  I love all things tradition and if they involve formal white gowns, well you know I am there!

8.  Visit Savannah, Georgia (a place I have always dreamed to see) for a long fall weekend.  This is the replacement trip for missing Memphis.

9.  Tour Boone Hall Plantation (where Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively got married).  We have been trying to go, but it has rained every time, I am determined to tour the grounds.

10.   Experience an oyster roast.  I have never been to one, but Crush gets invited to them all the time, so I can't wait to see what it is all about.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


There is only one thing I hate more than packing...moving.

I find the process of moving to be exhausting, even though it is quite satisfying when you finally get where you are going and unpack and put everything away and find the perfect spots for all of your knickknacks.

 I moved multiple times in college, every year I was there.  I remember not making such a big issue about it, I would just throw everything in a car (or my best friends SUVS) and make some trips, back and forth. Always hungover.  The moving process would begin around lunch time and span deep into the night. Little by little the move would be done, with many cigarette and Diet Dr Pepper breaks in between.

When I got to my 20's, I moved 5 times, one of those times back home right around my 30th birthday.  These times, I hired movers because spending a bit of money was worth protecting my back from all of the trips up and down the stairs.

This time, I am lucky.  I am moving into a furnished condo that is independently owned and quite adorable.  The condo is furnished and has all major appliances, but I still need to bring my clothes, books, photos, dishes, pots and pans, bedding, towels, kitchen appliances, and TV.  I was thinking this would be easy breezy, but I did spend the entire day yesterday packing and there is still TONS of stuff to go through from my past.  I have been avoiding dealing with my possessions because I sometimes find looking back to be sad and painful, but I put on my big girl panties and dealt with it and it wasn't so bad.  I plan to finish today and cross packing off of my list of things to do this week. 

I called U-Haul yesterday and changed my reservation to a slightly bigger trailer (I put a hitch on my car, so I can drag the trailer and then put a bike rack on my car, lots of trails to discover in South Carolina!) to fit all of my stuff.  I underestimated just how many clothes and books I actually have when I placed my order. My folks are very firm about me getting "all of my shit!" out of their basement as it is time to move on with life and life isn't in Chicago anymore. 

Yesterday, as I was sifting through my old work files, I got a little emotional.  I cannot believe I am here.  I am finally doing something for me (and Crush of course).  I am moving for a better life.  Nicer weather.  Soul mate love.  A slower pace.  Steps from the beach.  I remember begging Awful for a quieter simpler life and he just didn't get it.  I had to go out and find it for myself.  This is the first time in my life that I feel I am actually living my life 100 percent for me.  I am giving up a lot (like my business) to leave Chicago, but it is the best decision I have ever made.  I have no regrets.  Being with Crush and moving is something I am so confident about, it even surprises me that I am at such peace with this major life event as transitions often break and derail me.

As I make my moving piles, I have faced my past, present, and promise of my future.  And I am happy.  I am VERY VERY happy.  

2 years ago, I was contemplating how to survive and now I am contemplating the best parks in Charleston for a Sunday picnic under a magnolia tree.

Hope.  That is the secret.  I had hope.  And now I am here, in this moment, exactly where I hoped I would be. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

I'm Back & 10 Things Including Some Big Reveals

I have been working tons for the last few weeks.  I just finished my last work obligation here for a long while and I feel such relief.  Sigh.  I can breathe.  I did a great job and I am proud of myself.  I proved to myself that I could.  I am the kind of person that always comes through when I am given the chance.  But, when someone doubts me, I start to doubt myself and then I can spiral into a very bad place.  My mom asked me last night, "why do you need your clients to love you?" and it made me think.  I don't anymore.  In the last few months, I realized that I cannot control the drama and emotional turmoil surrounding my job when it comes to a client's particular relationship with their family.  Often, when I get blamed for things it is because of dysfunctional family relationships.  I have started to step back from things ever so slightly and the results have been positive.  The less I become invested in shit that isn't my business, the better.

Now, for a list of some updates including some big reveals about me:

1.  I move in 10 days.  I am beginning to pack today.

2. I have been doing really well using a calorie tracker.  It is helping me with my hunger cues and knowing when I should stop eating if I do not want to gain weight.  Most of my past eating was mindless and emotional, so becoming a bit more familiar with the science behind calories in and calories out actually comforts me (WeightWatchers was the only way I ever lost weight before and I never learned calories, only Points).  I feel in control with food for the first time in over 3 years.

3.  Big Baby turns three in 2 weeks.  I cannot believe how fast time goes.  Crush and I are planning to head up to visit Sissy and the family at the beginning of October, more to come on that below.

4.  Crush is taking me to NYC to pick out my engagement ring.  It is the real reason why we are heading up to see Sissy, but family trumps material things, so the visit comes first.  He is familiar with a jeweler there and since he knows I am particular (I will admit, spoiled and obnoxious about this certain thing) he told me that he wants me to love whatever he gets me, so I can chose it.  Also, he likes the idea of buying my ring in the city I was born in.  I was born in Manhattan and lived on the East Coast for the first third of my life.

5.  There was a very famous band at the wedding I planned this weekend.  Oh yes, if you haven't figured it out, I am a wedding planner. They were SUPER nice and courteous and gentlemanly. Some of their wives are models and they were also very sweet.  It made me think, if someone who has won Grammys can have common courtesy, then the people who treat me like shit when I am trying to help them, have no excuse.

6.  I am moving to Charleston, South Carolina.

7.  It is almost my 1 year anniversary of this blog.

8.  I need to work on my resume, website, and get new business cards printed this week.  I have been pushing this off until I finished my event this weekend.  It is go time.

9.  I am going to miss some of my friends here in Chicago more than I thought I would since I am just so excited about getting out of a place that has never been good for me.  That is right, the Windy City is where I have spent most of life other than the first third and college.  I started bawling yesterday thinking about them.  I don't always do a great job letting people into my life, but when I love you, I do for life.   This past year, I have made a few new friends that I know will be around forever and it is always comforting to know that friends come and go, but real friends, the ones that are in your heart, well, they stay with you forever.

10.  My favorite client (EVER!) bought me a T3 SinglePass Whirl styling wand for a thank you gift after I mentioned I wanted one during a hair trial appointment.  Life changing.  I now have good hair days in less than 10 minutes.  Just wear the glove it comes with.  I have burned my hands (and cheek!) a few times trying to get the hang of it.

Hope all is well out there and I will be back to posting regularly this week!