Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Are You Doing Enough?....Overachievers and Why I Hate Them

As women we always feel the need to do it all. We work our asses off to become successful business women, friends, wives and mothers all the while trying to maintain a balance between being sexy and classy, smart and funny.

Sometimes it seems like some women have it all together. These superheroes of womanhood appear to have more hours in the day than regular people and use their time to build empires and become moguls. I'm talking about admirable women heroes like Lauren Conrad, Beyonce, Bethany Frankel the ultimate mom-ager Kris Jenner and my person hero, Giada DeLaurentis. These women wear many hats and work hard every day, putting the rest of us to shame. And they STILL find the time for an active social life, perfectly fit bodies, flawless makeup and hair oh yea, and a mess of kids on the side.

Role models like these are easy to look up to but let's face it, they're celebrities and therefore lead lives that aren't realistic expectations of reality. Then there are your real life friends and acquaintances who seem to be super-human.

Here are the women I'm talking about and why I, and most of the world could never live up to the bars they set:

1. The Woman Who Just Posted That She's Signed Up For Her 13th Marathon:
We get it. You run. You love to run. You love running so much you do it for fun, you do it in the rain, sleet, snow or dark of night. You would run around a house, and you would run behind a mouse. Running is becoming the new addiction to fat and skinny girls alike and ESPECIALLY by the formerly fat women that have run into a teeny tiny body and plan to run across the country until they are as famous as forest gump and his scraggly homeless-man beard. I could never, ever, EVER be this girl. I hate running and all its disciples. I blame this on the fact that I have flat feet and bad knees but in all honesty I am just a mouth breather who would only run in the case of an emergency situation and even then I would probably fall down and choose to die rather than run more that two miles.

2. The Woman Who Runs All Her Errands Before 9am (aka the morning person):
Good morning! Rise and shine. It's been said that most successful people wake up around 5am each morning. That being said, if that is true than doing all your errands before nine seems entirely reasonable. I even believe that it is probably a healthier way to live. After all, aren't we all supposed to go to bed with the sun and rise when it rises? unfortunately there is not one bone in my body that enjoys rising before 8am and since I run my own business in the food and beverage field, there is very little I NEED to do before 8am. I understand that I am in the vast minority of the working world but I can't explain to you how much I enjoy that fact. If there is ever a time in your life where you could be given the choice between waking up at 5am or at 8am, don't kid yourselves, you would sleep in too. This doesn't mean that I don't feel a pang of regret when I read the post of someone who has already been to the gym, grocery store, and dry cleaners all before I've had my morning coffee.

3. The Woman Who Announces an Engagement, Marriage, and Baby All In One Calender Year:
 This lady is on the fast track to her MRS degree. Extra points for accomplishing all of these milestones before you're two years out of college. Do not get me wrong, if you're truly in love and want to start a family then all power to you and may you be blessed with eternal happiness. I was also on the fast track once I met my husband and there are tons of people who looked at me like I was rushing into all of it (my family and his) so categorize me under this header if you must.

4. The Woman Who Does Pageants and Thinks We All Find This Impressive
These women are particularly annoying because they truly believe that beauty pageants are a "scholarship program". They believe themselves to be pseudo celebrities and therefore are all up on your news feed and instagram with crowns on their head and airbrushed makeup. I would also put C-list celebrities, ex-Real World cast members, reality stars and aspiring actors under this header as well. They spin this web of self-importance that usually makes you laugh but on a bad day, when you're hanging out in your comfy sweatpants and think to yourself "yea, I can totally go another day without shaving my legs" you are reminded that you should be eating a soy and kale salad while figure skating in full glam makeup. For that is the only way you get to the top. The hilarity of it all is that these beauty queen women are so involved with their own beauty (store bought or otherwise) that they believe they are a good representative of a role model when in reality the best they can hope for is for their 15 seconds of fame and beauty to last until they're 30. **The antithesis of this woman is my personal girl crush role model Jennifer Lawrence, who feels, as I do, that sometimes it's nice to stay home because you don't have to wear a bra - and that beauty queens, is what a real woman values.

5. The Woman Who Works At A Gym
Okay so these woman are the new age female equivalent to a meat head. Somehow being a gym junkie as a guy is much more embarrassing than as a woman because as women we are expected to look perfect and guys just have to have a good job and hopefully some good skills in the sack, a ripped body is only a plus for a dude. I will be the first to say that this needs to be corrected. Working at a gym is like telling me you care more about looking good than having a career.  It is also the perfect way to validate being obsessed with your body, because after all, it's your job! Do you own a gym? no? oh okay, so you do pilates all day...that's, something to be proud of. This is another woman who I could never be. Yes, I go to the gym and I work out...but I also work with food and own my own business. Moderation is the key to life and what man loves a super skinny muscle maniac anyway?

6. The Woman Who Travels The World and Seems to Have No Job:
I wish I knew the magical secret to free travel the way some of my friends do. They volunteer in Brazil, go sight-seeing in Paris, and rave all night in Berlin. Out of all of the women I will mention in this post these are the ones I am the most jealous of because, come on! Who does that?! These girls are also living out my childhood dream of being a nomad and living the oh so chic bohemian life of a world adventurer. There is something poetic and beautiful about their pictures and stories and it pulls at the heart strings of all of us who had dreamed of a life unsettled. I do not regret my choices and I absolutely love my life, but they're constant adventures just reminds me of the life I had originally envisioned for myself. A life of wanderlust, dashing exotic strangers and unexplored flavors.  

7. The Woman Who Has The Cutest, Most Well Behaved Kids Ever:
So far, this woman doesn't annoy me....because I'm not a mom. BUT, I can understand how this woman, with her perfectly styled children could make a real mom go insane. This woman brings her children into fancy restaurants and they order escargot and can go an entire meal without making a peep or a mess. These women make the regular mom pull her hair out because they have to change their kids shirts four times a day.

8. The Woman Who Volunteers While Earning a Doctorate and Writing A Childrens Book (aka Mother Teresa)
This woman is always fighting the good fight for the little guy and out of all the women I mention in this post, is the one who I have not one shred of animosity for. They are the kind and gentle souls who make this world a little bit better every day. They remind us all every day that yes, you could be doing more. We all get so wrapped up in our own lives that they are the ones that remind us to slow down and think about the less fortunate.

9. The Woman With The Spotless House:
The bane of my existence because I am messy messy girl. This woman loves her vacuum and constantly reminds me by her lemony-fresh home that I should be cleaning right now! The best example of this would be my mother-in-law, who I LOVE a lot but she seriously could be a professional organizer. This is no good for me as the daughter-in-law because she has high standards for her boys' abode and my skills do not cut it. I also find that I surround myself with girlfriends who are OCD and super tidy. Maybe it is because I am at the same time mystified and really impressed at this innate skill. These women are impressive on a whole other level for me because there is not one chance in hell that I will ever be like them. Maybe that is why I married a man with OCD.

In closing, this list is just my humorous way of reminding myself and all of us that there will always be someone better at something. The world is full of over acheiving women (and men) who seem to always striving to be the best. And then there's me...and a whole slew of women just like me who are janes-of-all-trades who do their best at doing it all. And hey, that's okay! I am not celebrating mediocrity. I am great at my job, I am a loving and faithful wife and I try my best to be a good person every day. That's all you can do with life, is try your best and strive for greatness in your own way.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

November Realizations

My husband is out of the house which means I can actually sit down and write something. It has been a while since I last posted and that is all for a good reason. Business has been picking up a lot with the upcoming holdiay season and I have had very few days off, let alone enough time to sit and write without my husband or dogs taking my attention. On top of business and household duties I have just gotten over a bug that had me feeling pretty horrible the last few days.

Anyway, Matt and I just finished my ovulation period for this month. A lot has been talked about in the past month and you will be surprised to find out that we have decided to put trying to get pregnant on hold for the season. There are a few reasons for this but the big one is that my sister has announced that she is pregnant and due in May. My sister being pregnant has the whole family excited, probably most of all me and my mother who are both planning her shower for March.

My sister being pregnant by no means that Matt and I aren't still interested in starting our own family but it does mean that if we do get pregnant this month I would be (hypothetically) six months pregnant when she gives birth which would make it difficult and stressful for both of us to be there for each other since she lives in New Jersey and I live in Charleston.

That being said, that is not the only reason we have decided to wait until the spring to try again. Another big reason is the holiday season. We have so much planned for the next six months: thanksgiving, Christmas in Florida, skiing in Vermont in February, then my sisters baby shower in March, our anniversary in April, and the birth of my neice or nephew in May. Phew! It sounds like a lot and, it is. Not to mention my husband really wants to take another overseas trip after my new neice or nephew is born.

So we rolled the dice with this month. Either I am pregnant right now and I don't know it yet....OR we have a really exciting six months ahead of us and I will be able to skii and drink and be merry as a married woman, not yet a mommy.

I honestly feel really okay with this decision. After stressing last month about getting pregnant and finding out that my sister is expecting I feel like I have been able to take a breath and finally look at things without the whole baby crazy brain thing. I can't explain where this attitude came from but as much as I want to get pregnant, I wouldn't mind just being there for my sister as the non-pregnant sibling as well as avoid being huge in the hot and heavy summer months here.

But again, we weren't preventing anything this month and so I  guess we'll find out in two weeks or so whether this entire post is mute because I'm already knocked up lol. Fingers crossed either way, but it's nice to know that the pressure is off.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Patience and Privacy

I decided to write a post on these two important words after a nice chat with my best friend Jennifer. They are two attributes that I admittedly do not possess. I am the least patient person I know, besides my husband, and I am an open book on the verge of suffering from constant word vomit.This blog has given me the opportunity to be frank and open about my feelings as my husband and I begin the journey into parenthood. However, it has also posed the question:
How much information is too much information?

I began this blog not long ago hoping to chronicle the ending of my birth control and the beginning of a new chapter. So far I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts here and think I will find it therapeutic going foreward. Pregnancy and the time surrounding it is so special, however, that most people do not believe it is something to be shared or talked about. There is that very common rule of thumb to not tell people you are trying, as well as to not reveal that you are pregnant until the end of your first trimester. People do this out of fear.

The fear comes from not knowing if you will be able to conceive, not knowing if you will be able to carry a pregnancy, and not knowing if you will lose the baby or terminate due to an unforeseen condition. These are all valid fears. I fear all of these things myself. They are the unspoken "what-ifs" that every woman deals with and I am no exception. So the question is posed: do I write about it all, regardless of the outcome? Do I reveal my insecurities and my fears in the hopes that someone somewhere will read this and feel like they aren't the only ones?

I can't do this blog justice if I do it half-assed. If I blog about nonsense until 20 weeks when  I can properly reveal to the world that I am pregnant then it defeats the purpose of writing about any of it. It may sound bizaar, but I feel like this silly little blog can be my truth, the truth of how I feel and what I go through, physically and emotionally while trying to get pregnant and God willing, while I carry my first child.

The feeling that has become overwhelmingly apparent to me from writing this blog has been impatience. That is what I recognize in my own writing. It is not a quality I am proud of, but it is one that I have to deal with. I am reading this book, The Lady of The Rivers by Phillipa Gregory right now and last night I read the most profound quote about patience, women and the desire for children:
"First you have to know the emptiness of your womb, of your arms, of your heart. That can hurt. You have to have the courage to look at yourself and know the loss that you feel. Then you have to change your life to make a space for the child who will not come. You have to open your heart; you have to make a safe place for the baby. And then you have to sit with your longing and your desire, and that can be the most painful. You have to sit with your longing and know that you may not get what you want; you have to encounter the danger of longing for something without the expectation of getting your desire." - Jacquetta to her daughter Elizabeth

I took that to heart and it was a piece of writing that resonated with me because the scariest thing about "trying" to get pregnant is the fear and the possibility that it may not happen, or that it may take quite a while and effort. This whole experience might be a good learning opportunity for me, to learn to know what I want, to know what I desire, and sit and wait with patience and calmness for the cards to fall into place. That was the advise that Jennifer gave to me, to "not stress about it". It was hard for me to explain that I'm not stressed about getting pregnant, I am impatient only because I know how much both Matt and I want this in our lives. But I will try to sit with patience and just enjoy the process, as people say. In all honesty, this has been the best part of our relationship so far with so much happiness and time together just being married that I am glad we waited until now to start trying as opposed to starting right away when we got married. The future holds a lot of promise with or without a pregnancy that I should start to learn some patience, although the privacy part may not follow.



Monday, October 28, 2013

Shoot and a Miss

I'm not pregnant yet.

At least, I don't think I am. I jumped the gun out of excitement and took one of those early response tests that let you tell before you miss your period and it came back negative. I thought it could be possible since we had been aware of my ovulation and I have been feeling off lately, but alas...I think it is only regular PMS which is a bummer on a lot of levels. My period last month after getting off birth control was the worst one I've had since I can remember so I'm sure being on BC was softening the blow of cramps etc. I know a lot of girls get onto BC to make their periods more bearable but I never realized that it made that much of a difference for me.

Matt knows I was really hoping to be a one and done kind of conceiver. One try. One cycle. One baby. But perhaps it will take a bit more effort than I originally thought. It's funny because I spent most of my life thinking that if a guy comes inside me and I had forgotten my pill that day that BAM! I was going to end up knocked up. Only when you get to an age that you want to get pregnant do you actually find out how difficult it is. I read an article today that said that it takes a while for your ovulation to come back after stopping birth control and that even when it does at come back that you have a 20% chance of conceiving each month (I'm sure someone did that math so I wont argue against it but it seems kind of absurdly low).

Matt has assured me that we are still in the grey area, that I jumped the gun on taking a pregnancy test and even though it is highly possible that I am not pregnant there is still a chance that I am. To me, I just feel achy and crampy and bitchy pretty much how I usually feel before my period so my guess is that it didn't happen this month.

It feels like people all around me are getting pregnant and having babies. This is also thanks in large part to Facebook which projects everyone's happy and quickly growing families onto my computer screen every day. The crazy thing is that you never hear about the sort of stuff I'm writing about...the process, the tries, the weird process of stopping birth control and hoping to defy odds and hit the bullseye each month. Online all you see are growing bellies and new babies and happy carefree new moms who just had to have sex once unprotected and they're pregnant.

I know I am being a little dramatic about the whole thing here...I have after all admitted that I am feeling extremely hormonal so my apologies. I know that I will get pregnant and that this was only our first time trying and that we weren't even expecting to get pregnant this month

I just didn't know I would care this much...


Friday, October 25, 2013

...Shooting with No Safety

This was the first month that we have entered the "trying" stage of getting pregnant. I am off my birth control and have been for a month and we had our first attempt.

So we've been having sex every other day and using my phone app to track my ovulation (which I'm sure is 100% accurate lol). Anyway, I don't expect anything to happen in the first month, after all sometimes it takes several months to even be able to get pregnant after stopping BC. I don't feel pregnant...although my body has always been kinda a mystery ever since my first period came so I am not exactly an expert on my own reproductive system.

Matt is just about as anxious as I am to get knocked up. He is a very impatient guy and he keeps talking about "when we have kids..". I am pretty impatient too so if we get pregnant this month I will feel so happy to be getting into the nitty gritty of it. In the meantime Matt is really enjoying my enthusiasm to bone, not like I'm not always enthusiastic but the other day we were in a little fight and even mad at him I insisted we do it. It was kinda hot. There might be something to the whole Russian roulette method of having sex...I almost can't believe this is what sex was like for women for thousands and millions of years before birth control...maybe we just messed things up with the invention of birth control.

just a thought...


Italy Day 3 (Second full day)

Our third day (second full day) we decided to check out the Boboli Gardens and the Pitti Palace.This was a big deal because it is something I have never done in Florence before. We picked a beautiful day for it, the sun was shining and the air was cool. We got there early in the morning in order to avoid crowds and obviously, to get to lunch faster.

We walked into the palace and it really was like we were all alone. We walked up several staircases before we ran into the first person who worked there. It was eerie, almost like we were trespassing but I guess that's just how laid back the Italians are about their palaces.

The palace was gorgeous but the real highlight for us were the gardens. I don't know what I was expecting but the Boboli gardens overtook my expectations by a lot. They were huge! Vast green landscapes jutted off in every direction. Hills and topiary forms, sculptures and rose bushes. It was hard to imagine that this used to be someones home. Matt, being the avid gardener he is found inspiration in each little part we saw.

Hopefully as we grow older together we will find our own piece of land somewhere and spend our days making it into our own Boboli Gardens. At least that's the plan. Lots of land, rustic cottage with enough room for kids and dogs, a large garden and fruit trees all over, space to raise chickens and goats, and a little barn with a large farm table to do fancy Italian dinners for friends, family and clients.That's our American dream...the rustic, country, dolce vita way of life American dream.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Italy Day 2

Our first full day in Florence wasn't actually spent in the city. We had pre-paid for a full day wine tour of the Chianti region so all we had to do was show up at our appointed meeting spot to meet our tour guide and our fellow wine tasters.

I really reccomend pre-planning and pre-paying for day trips before you go anywhere on vacation. We researched the best trips for what we wanted to do and paid for them so far in advance that by the time we got to Italy, we didn't have to worry about a thing. The tour we ended up booking was with a company called Tuscan Wine Tours and was worth every penny!

We started bright and early at 10am and took a van to our first location. Our tour guide Piere was extremely knowledgeable, friendly and really funny which made being in a van with five strangers very comfortable from the get go.

At the first winery we not only got to try four delicious wines but they paired it with some pecorino cheeses that they also make on premise. The wine was incredible and after we tasted the wine we had the opportunity to buy some from their little store. We left with a steady buzz, some lardo and a jar of black truffle honey. Next stop was lunch!

We drove up some steep winding dirt roads to a hilltop town where we were having lunch at the local butcher shop. The butcher is pretty famous, having been on shows like Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations on multiple occasions and as such, wasn't there to meet us when we arrived. Ironically, he was in the States at a Slow Food convention in Los Angeles so we toured the butcher shop without meeting the "crazy butcher" Dario Cecchini. After about five minutes there we no loner cared that were weren't meeting the famous butcher and instead focused on the delectible food being set before us. The meal was comprised of, what else? Meat! Tender, juicy, fresh, grass-fed, happy cow meat.

At the end of the meal we all had grappa and coffee which just increased our buzz level to drunk and left us warm, boozed up and ready to drink more!

Our third and stop for the day was to a small independent winery run by a lovely woman who inherited the property from her father. Another flight of Chianti Classico was served outside under a pergola overlooking all her growing grape vines.

The last stop of the day was some free time in the town of Greve in Chianti. A small town full of shops, butchers, and cafes, Greve gave us a chance to walk around and explore a little bit. Matt and I wandered into a butcher shop and explored the walls of charcuterie for sale as well as their cheese cave!

By the time we had to head back onto the bus I was exhausted! I slept the entire way home. It was such a magical day that even writing this I can't believe it all actually happened. Just another day in paradise.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Italy Day 1

I haven't posted in quite some time, about 2 weeks I think, but for a pretty great reason. My husband and I have been off in Italy! Well, actually first we went to my girlfriend Katie's bomb ass wedding up in Maryland. Her wedding was so stunning, so elegant and such a great roaring party the whole weekend that by the time Sunday rolled around we could barely believe we were heading to the airport for a week-long vacation to Florence.

We arrived Monday afternoon and after locating our hotel the Boscolo Astoria Firenze we spent the rest of the daylight hours strolling the streets of Florence, getting acclimated to our new surroundings. The weather was just perfect, and I could tell Matt was in heaven. For me, it was like I had stepped back into a dream that I had forgotten about. Florence was the same as it always was, but being there with Matt made it feel new and exciting and familiar all at the same time.

Our first meal in Florence was at this tiny trattoria that we found by accident. The Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco (the white boar ) was everything you envision an Italian restaurant to be. Small, rustic and loud. Packed with tourists and locals alike the menu was strictly written in Italian and offered some of the more famous Florentine specialties. 
 We started our meal with two shared plates:

beef carpaccio with arugula and pecorino

and Crostini Toscana (crusty bread topped with chicken liver mousse)

We then moved onto a shared plate of Papardelle con ragu di cinghiale (wide pasta with a wild boar ragout). Unfortunately we ate that so quickly that I don't have a picture of it. It was that good. But the real star of the meal was the burrata. For those that aren't familiar, burrata is a type of mozzarella cheese that comes from Puglia in the south of Italy. It is a ball of pulled mozzarella that is stretched around a creamy center of curd and cream, so what you end up with is the creamiest, most decadent ball of cheese you've ever had. It is served in a variety of ways but we happen to have been visiting during truffle season and ours was presented with shaved black truffle, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

The simplicity of this dish was what made it so spectacular. As you can see, it doesn't look extraordinary but it was one of those perfect bites of food that had we been in private, we would have been screaming in ecstasy over each mouthful.

Our first night was absolutely perfect and it really set the tone for the rest of the trip. I will keep posting pictures and stories from our trip this week so keep an eye out for more great pictures from our bucket list trip to Florence!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Porch Renovation

The porch renovation is pretty much complete, at least the building part. I can't believe how wonderfully it turned out! I am constantly shocked and amazed by Matt's skills. We still need to get cushions and stuff, but that will come once we get home from Italy! BTW we're leaving for Italy in two days!!! Well, technically we're leaving for Maryland to be in my Bestie's wedding and then heading overseas.

So here's what it looks like:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Home Improvements

My husband is constantly doing things, he never sits still. He has OCD and a never ending supply of energy. Sometimes it really works out to our advantage and lately he has been obsessed with home improvements. I believe this is his version of "nesting" or at least the way he deals with his baby fever because he keeps saying that he has to get all this stuff done before we get pregnant. I think he knows that my patience for projects will be at a zero when a baby is in question.

The newest project is our screen porch.  We have talked at length about converting the screen porch into a year-round room and eventually turn it into a playroom when we have kids. Matt however couldn't wait, and has begun building out our custom benches. I am always amazed by his craftiness and they are really starting to come together. I can't wait until they're finished!! We're going to tag-team painting in an hour or so and we've started looking for cushions. Here's what it looks like so far:

I'll keep ya posted!

Mystery Solved

I have found the cause of my mystery headaches and I can't believe it. My birth control! Or rather, getting off my birth control. I don't know why I didn't jump to that conclusion from the get go -It probably has to do with the fact that I was actually sick right before that. So I'm not pregnant yet, and I don't have a brain tumor...both good outcomes I think. I just can't believe I have never heard anything about that before....hormone withdrawl. It explains why it's felt like alcohol withdrawl (i.e. hangover) my vagina was going through withdrawals!

 I have a vagina hangover.

The good thing is now that I have self-diagnosed my vagina with a hangover I can start treating it appropriately....with chinese food, sappy movies and water (just kidding!) I don't really know how one would treat a hungover vagina but isn't the image that pops into your head pretty amusing. I imagine my vagina slumped over a couch, binging on bacon-egg-cheese bagels and popping Alka-Seltzer. I just wish my obviously confused vagina would leave my head alone...sneaky bitch.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dinner Party Pictures and Updates

Last time I posted, our AC was broken and I was prepping for a dinner party so I thought I would start there. The event went perfectly. I couldn't have been happier with my clients, four foodies who just like to have a good time. They raved about the food and my ego did little somersaults afterwards. Sometimes I even impress myself with my skills (excuse me while I brush the dirt of my shoulder). Here are some pictures from the event so you can get an idea of the kind of food I do:

So that's me on a plate.

In other news, our AC is STILL out. Thankfully we are starting to head into fall and it is no longer 90 degrees out so we've been able to do things like put on clothes and sleep. My weird headaches are still holding strong. Yesterday was the first day I felt like a normal person again, but I woke up today still feeling achy and under the weather. I don't know what these headaches are about (several people have asked if I mgiht be pregnant....which I am NOT) but I am really over them. I've never been one to get migranes and these are just the worst! I am constantly tired and weak feeling and my head feels like it does after a marathon night of drinking. Thankfully I have the best husband in the world who has been extremely patient and attentive to me during my bizarre illness.

Tonight I am trudging through my aches and pains to see my best girl friend Tess, who has been so busy with work I haven't seen her in weeks! I am in desperate need of a girl talk session so I have a feeling it will be a long fun night. Good girl friends are hard to find and I love that we can talk about anything and we're both very kind and supportive of one another. I think women have a hard time in this world finding other women who truly support them. Women are often guarded with one another and worse than that, a lot of women want each other to fail or compete with each other at an unhealthy level.This I think is one of the main causes of high levels of depression in women. I've never really understood that, which is maybe why I choose my girlfriends carefully and get along better with men.

Just some food or thought...


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mysterious Aches

As I mentioned in my last post a few days ago, our AC unit kicked and I have been sick for the past (what feels like) weeks. I don't know what's wrong with me! I've been on antibiotics and finished them yesterday and I STILL wake up with a splitting headache every morning and it drags on all day.

Here are my theories thus far:

1) I'm pregnant: unlikely since I've been on birth control until last sunday and we haven't really been getting busy too much with my illness and the heat.

2) I have a brain tumor: much more likely, although highly improbable.

3) I am sleepwalking in the night and drinking myself into a vicious hangover the next morning and recall nothing.......somewhat likely, although there are no empty bottles around the next day and being a messy person, there is no way I clean up after myself in my sleep.

That's it. Those are all my options. I have to find a solution soon or I am going to go crazy!! Not to mention we leave in a little over a week for D.C. and then Italy and I CANNOT be sick ( or pregnant yet).


Saturday, September 14, 2013

88 and Rising

Our air conditioner broke yesterday. This wouldn't be such a bad thing if we didn't live in South Carolina. It is now 88 degrees inside and mounting, because I also happen to cook all day for a living. Even our dogs have fled to bathroom tiles to get cool....can you say, domesticated?!

I've been prepping all day for a dinner party I have booked for tonight. Here's the menu:

Mini Charcuterie Plate: 
warm mozzarella, tartufo salumi, EVOO and crusty baguette
Creamy Mushroom Pecorino Risotto
Pan Seared Mahi Mahi, Farmers market Succotash, Purple Cauliflower Puree
Herb Crusted Lamb Chops, Eggplant Capponata, Whipped Feta
Dark Chocolate and Orange Bignets

Sounds fabulous right?! I think so...although I am biased because I am the chef. The dinner isn't until 8:30pm so I have all day to prep and enjoy this lovely fall heat wave I have brewing in the house. Matt is coming with me tonight to be my sous chef and server, which will make it a lot of fun. I am so glad he enjoys doing things like that with me because it means we don't have to spend our Saturday night apart. Hope it goes well! We could use the money.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Sick and Stressed

There has been a lot of activity this week. My deal in GoCharleston Deals (a local groupon-esque website) ran, along with a blog post all about me and my business.

Also, I got a last minute dinner party booked for Saturday, and on top of it all....I'm sick. Not throwing up sick, but throat hurty, head-achey kinda have a fever sick. It's been pretty crappy for the most part which is why I haven't blogged since girls night. I had little to say other that....I feel gross.

But now I'm on some meds to kick it out of my system and I am already feeling better.

In other news, Matt and I are heading to Italy in two weeks after we hit up my best friends wedding. I have to admit I am super excited but this couldn't have come with worse timing. Money is getting pretty tight and Matt had a few deals fall through so we're both a bit more stressed than we would be normally. We're going to have to rely a lot on credit cards in the next few weeks and I hate credit cards. I have to be quite honest, I love the life Matt and I have together but the ups and downs of us owning our own businesses is pretty stressful.

In baby news, I am officially off my birth control and really excited about it. This BC has given me the worst mood swings and skin problems of my life and I am happy to be rid of it. Also, I found a new baby name that I love for a baby girl: Cressida.

That's all for now, back into the kitchen!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Girls Night at The Grocery

Every piece of literature on marriage always says that it is important to maintain relationships outside of your spouse. For a while I didn't necessarily see why it is always talked about with such importance, of course you're still going to have friends other than your husband! Right?

Matt and I are that rare couple that is ALWAYS together and prefers it that way. We both work out of the house and there are days in a row where he will be the only other person I see on the planet. But, we like it that way. In fact, we prefer it that way. We genuinely want to be around each other all the time. This makes it difficult to find time apart. Thus, I only have a few girlfriends in the area. But I've always been a proponent of quality of quantity.

So last night I finally had a girls night out with a few of these quality ladies. What's funny is that I've met all of them through Matt. They are the girlfriends/fiance's of Matts' buddies. I guess things like that just work out. Anyway we went out to dinner for Charleston Restaurant Week, a fabulous event that takes place almost every six months here and something not to be missed. We settled on this relatively new and trendy restaurant, The Grocery. All farm-to-table quirky goodness that I love with exposed brick walls and abstract paintings of serene marshlands.

So five of us girls,  my two friends Lindsey and Allie, and their two friends Julie and Chandler. pile into a booth and begin what is to go down as the best restaurant week dinner I've ever had.

I started with the bouillabaisse which was warm and soothing , which was just what I needed since I've been feeling a little under the weather lately. It had pieces of fish, shrimp and squid in it and came with a crunchy piece of bread for dipping, a nice touch.

For my main course I had the braised short rib with creamy farro, peas and oyster mushrooms. Side note, the waiter described it as coming with chanterelle mushrooms...a VAST overstatement which only I would notice, but still worth mentioning. For those that don't know chanterelle mushrooms are the most delicate, expensive mushroom around. Not something you usually see on a 3 for $30 restaurant week menu. Anyway, despite the miscommunication about the mushrooms the short rib was excellent. The short rib was juicy and tender and shredded apart with and ease it was like an erotic striptease. The combination of the earthy farro and mushrooms just upped the ante for this dish, making it rustic and warm and extremely satisfying.

To finish, there were churros. The Latin American version of the funnel cake, these crispy, sugar coated ropes came with three dipping sauces: a salted caramel, a creme englaise and an orange chocolate sauce. The salted caramel was by far the best of the bunch and although I was stuffed, I managed to take down two ropes of goodness before calling it quits.

It was a fabulous night. A night filled with laughter and wine. A good reminder of why girlfriends are so important to a newly married, contantly coupled girl like me.


Monday, September 9, 2013

The Folly Float Frenzy

On Saturday My husband and I participated in a uniquely fun activity, an annual float race called the Folly Float Frenzy. The premiss is simple, teams of up to 12 people create, build and man a floating device down the Folly river, starting at the boat landing and ending at a marina bar called Sunset Cay.

The picture on the right is our teams float. Easily the simplest of the designs. Some other people had some serious structures that they floated down the river. One team had actually constructed a giant turtle out of plywood and fit all 12 people on it with ease.

The Floating Turtle
Before we even got out of the boat landing, Matt got stung by a jellyfish and his dad, my-father-in-law fell out of his tube and lost his sunglasses. We were pretty much a motley crew of mess. The race was over in about an hour and everyone involved was entirely intoxicated. By 1pm my husband and I had partied enough and called it quits at the after party and went home. We couldn't believe it was only 1pm!. In our state, we truly believed it to be early evening (woops!).

Needless to say the rest of the day was spend on our couch with a glorious sack of Chinese food (my guiltiest of pleasures) and an entire season of Spartacus on DVR.

It was a lovely little Saturday.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Mini Van Madness!!

I am now the proud owner of a Chrysler Town and Country mini van. Yep. A mini van. The story behind the aquisition of this mini van wonder is pretty simple. I have owned the same Hyundai Tucson since I was 17, a graduation gift from my parents. My husband had a car loan on a Lexus IS and was paying out the ass every month for the pleasure. We were over at my parents house a few weeks ago and my now empty-nester parents asked us if I would be interested in their mini van for work purposes. As I've mentioned in other posts I am a caterer and need a good amount of space in my vehicle for parties, events and all my equipment.

At first, Matt and I laughed about the thought of the mini van, but then we really started to think about it. We had just taken it on a long road-trip up to Maryland and had marveled at its superior gas mileage and useable storage space. The more we talked about it the more we thought it would be a really great idea for now and in the future. Matt came up with the plan to sell my car and buy an older luxury vehicle  outright, sell his car back to Carmax and leave us with one mini van, one Acura TL, and ZERO CAR DEBT!! Woo Hoo!!

The plan is to trick this puppy out with lots of marketing images and text for my catering business, use it for comfy road trips and then far down the road, have the perfect baby-mobile.

Did I mention we have no more car debt!?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

End of Summer Salad

For lunch today I made an end of summer salad for my husband and I. This salad is perfect for these hot afternoons, packing a lot of flavor and freshness into every bite.

It is super simple. Anyone can throw this together in 10 minutes and really impress your roommate, significant other, or dinner guest.

serves 2

1 grilled chicken breast, cubed
1 avocado, cubed
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 small red or orange bell pepper, diced
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
6 starberries, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
 juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Toss everything together and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Before Baby Body

As with all before, during, and afters I thought I should post a few "before" pictures. Now, I know there are those blogs where there is this rediculously skinny girl in $100 Lululemon leggings talking about how she eats all she wants and can't get her weight above 115.

I am not one of those girls. I was super slim my whole life, but since age 23 or so, it has become more and more of an effort to stay that way. Going to culinary school didn't help, I gained about 15 pounds over in Italy and then moving to Charleston where drinking is a daily occurrence and everything is fried also did not help my cause. At my heaviest I was about 127 pounds. It may not sound like much but I am a 5'3" girl with a generous backside so trust me, it looked like a lot more.

I started working out for the wedding. My husband and I did the INSANITY videos together and believe me, those work. They may kill you, but by God you will drop weight in a hurry. Since the wedding however, I stopped exercise all together, until last month. Last month I finally had enough of being out of shape and joined Gold's Gym with a goal of getting in super shape before getting pregnant.

So here I am. All 120lbs of me. This is my "before" body. Whether I'll get in better shape before getting knocked up, I dunno. But I am enjoying the gym a lot and do a good amount of yoga, spinning and general cardio and weight lifting. All activities I plan to continue whilst pregnant.

So this is the begining of the journey. I can't wait to see my progress!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Starting Off Under The Weather

Today hasn't started off the way I had planned. I went to my Bodyflow class at the gym, hit the grocery store, and by the time I made it home I had taken a turn for the worse. Throat closing, head aching, I have all the budding symptoms of getting really sick. Who gets sick in the summer?!!?

Anyway I had planned to get all of my cooking done in the afternoon for my meal deliveries tomorrow. (One of the services I offer with my business is gourmet meal deliveries that seem to be really popular with housewives and working moms alike). So my delivery days are Monday and Wednesday which gives me Tuesday to shop, cook, and prepare meals for my clients.

This being my first official day of blogging, I'm not off to a great start. Hopefully I will get my health in check and be back to normal tomorrow. For now I am headed into the kitchen to make Baked Chicken Alfredo Penne for my clients tomorrow.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Welcome to Married Life

I've decided to start this blog to chronicle this new chapter in my life. My name is Lisa, I am a 25 year old private chef and owner of my own catering business: Dolce Vita Cuisine I grew up in Scarsdale, NY and have been living in Charleston, SC for the last two years. My husband and I are a classic love at first sight story and we got engaged six months after beginning dating. My only explanation for this is that we were born to be together because neither of us he as ever been happier.

A little about my husband: he is 31, a financial planner with his own business and a divorced father to two brown mutts whom I've grown to love. He is generous with his time, money, and love to anyone he meets and has taught me in the short two years that we've been together how to be a kinder human being. It is also worth noting that he is one of the funniest people on the planet and we are constantly laughing.

Matt Pontius and (the then future) Mrs. Lisa Pontius

Matt and Me at a lovely Charleston Sunday brunch
We got married on April 27th 2013 and I have now entered what is to be the most exciting time in my life. My husand's name is Matt, and he is my soul mate in every sense of the word. We finish each others sentences, we both work at home and subsequently spend every day together in our small three bedroom one-story house that we share with three adorable dogs. Since this is a chronicle, it's probably good if I start with some pictures. These are from our engagement session:

Presently, my husband and I have decided to move forward with our desires to start a family. We are in the last few weeks of actively preventing a pregnancy (i.e. I'm still taking my BC pill regularly). This is my last week of birth control before my "off" week, a.k.a my period and I have to admit I am really excited. This month is going to have a lot in store for us. At the end of the month is my best friend Katie' wedding in D.C. and after that we are taking our dream trip to Florence, Italy for 8 days. This is our big trip that we wanted to go on before getting pregnant and I can't believe it is going to be here so soon! This is my last chance to drink wine, eat unpasturized cheese and eat whatever-the-hell I want!

So this blog is to write the document my thoughts, our worries and hopes for the future, my ever-changing body, mood swings and weight gains and hopefully the growth, birth and life of a healthy and happy beautiful baby.

Here. We. Go.!

p.s. I will post pictures from our wedding soon. I have submitted some to a few wedding magazines and they are very touchy about them being "previously published" online or otherwise. So stay tuned.