janey’s bridal shower

ladies

In recent years, my sister’s favorite place to celebrate her birthday has been at Pane E Vino. It’s this Italian restaurant in downtown Brooklyn, where the back patio is covered by glass, so you get the effect of eating outside in the sunshine without any of those pesky outdoor elements like chilly wind or bugs. It’s gorgeous. Also, it was at Pane E Vino, around this time last year, that she announced a date for the wedding. So it was only fitting that her shower be held at a favorite and meaningful place. I’d say she was pretty pleased with the choice.

cake

If the shower was any indication as to how the wedding will be, then it will probably be a super fun and lively wedding. I actually texted Bob mid-shower, “We are probably the rowdiest bridal shower brunch this place has ever seen!”

minglingaida

We even had a few curious onlookers join us for a dance.

guys2 guys

cake2selfies

sistersgifts

janey and magieribbon hattable

wedding fever

twirl

Last weekend, Bob and I went to his friend May’s wedding.

justin and dominique

The event was just beautiful. The Manor (in West Orange, NJ) was so gorgeously fancy. Really made you feel like you were attending an extra classy affair. We enjoyed ourselves and I loved getting to see bits of traditional Chinese culture thrown into the ceremony and reception.

dragons

couples

Being at the wedding gave me serious wedding fever (as weddings tend to do). Recently, Bob and I have been discussing our own wedding plans in earnest and I’ve learned that we have very different ideas of what we want ours to be. I’d love something intimate: get hitched at City Hall and then have a small gathering at a nice restaurant with a few of our closest family and friends. Good food, good laughs, good people. That’s all I really need.

I also have a hard time wrapping my brain around spending more than a few thousand dollars for one day. That’s partly why an intimate get-together appeals so much to me.

bridebride2

me and bobBut Bob would love something bigger. He doesn’t want to leave anyone out of the equation, so his idea would be a banquet hall to fit both his and my family and friends which totals to approximately 130 people. He wants a high-quality selection of food, a space for dancing and an open bar. These are his must-haves. He’s concluded that this + other expenses will set us back over $10,000. In my opinion, it’ll easily be over $10,000. Perhaps closer to $20,000.

laughing john

In an ideal situation where money is no object, I’d say, hell with it! Let’s do this thing grand! I want the Kleinfeld experience! I’d love to have our families celebrate with us. I was talking to Bob’s friend at the wedding who’s in the middle of planning her own wedding and she told me, “I finally decided to give in to a big celebration because there is never going to be another time in our lives where we will plan something of this caliber with our families and friends all in one room. That means something to me”. I get that. I’m not one for being the center of attention, but there’s something really nice about a bunch of people coming together to celebrate something monumentally joyous in your life. It’s a way of shouting from the rooftops, “I love this person and we’re going to be together forever!” Plus, it’s FUN. Large weddings are fun! But the more practical part of me still can’t help but think, we need to play this thing smart and cheap.dessert

photo booth

Right now, we’re at a point where one of us is trying to convince the other that our idea is best. We’re not officially engaged, but after eight years together, the topic of a wedding and marriage comes up frequently. Long ago, we both agreed that it would happen eventually and since we felt committed to each other already, there wasn’t any rush. Now that we’ve been together for so long, “eventually” is a lot closer. Both of us acknowledge the legal benefits that come along with marriage (romantic, right?), but we also recognize that, hey, maybe it’s time to start thinking about this thing already…for us.

group

So that’s where we’re at right now. We’re in our “thinking” and “dicussing our options” stages. There’s lots of compromising to be done. Either that or I’ll find ways to make my idea sound more and more appealing to him 😉

well, that didn’t go as planned

me and bob

Is what I thought after the house inspector called us and told us that our prospective home was not “inspection-ready”. He said he didn’t feel safe inspecting the house in its condition and told us that he didn’t know another inspector that would disagree.

kayaking in the hudson2

Free kayaking in Riverside park! Bob would say it was fun. I’d say it was scary-fun. 

See, when I told you this house was a fixer-upper, I forgot to mention how much fixing it needed (hint: a lot). This place has been  neglected for over a year. The basement is covered in mold. It’s really quite gross, not to mention toxic. Despite that, we saw the potential in this home.  We knew that the seller didn’t want to spend any more money on the house, which is to say he was selling it “as is” (which is the case with most short sales, I’ve learned). So we called a mold removal company to do a free estimate for us and it turned out that the price for removal was reasonable. We factored this into our low-ball offer and was SHOCKED when the seller accepted the offer. Immediately after, our lawyer was on the job of negotiating the logistics with the seller’s lawyer. We went back and forth, until we finally settled on a contract that worked out for all of us. Things were falling into place. Bob and I excitedly started picking up paint swatches at Home Depot and talking about how our dark brown couch would look great against a teal accent wall.

And then came the inspection. Or rather the almost-inspection.

kayaking in the hudson

Our pants were soaked! Hudson River-soaked. Blech. Oh yeah. These pictures have nothing to do with this post.

On Friday, I took off from work and rented a Zipcar to head out to Jersey and meet with the inspector. We were on the highway when Bob got a call. He turned the radio off, so I knew it was something important. All I heard on Bob’s end was “can’t inspect?”, “unsafe?”, “the utilities aren’t turned on?” and “so we should reschedule”. My heart started racing and I motioned for Bob to put the call on speaker. I heard the inspector say that in addition to some of the utilities not being turned on (which is crucial for a complete inspection), he didn’t feel safe being in a basement with the amount of mold present. He told us, “I highly doubt anyone would want to inspect this place without having the mold remediated first. It just isn’t safe to be in there for more than a few minutes. Even with a mask on.”  I was so distracted by what he was telling me that I ended up driving off the wrong exit. I was angry and lost, but mostly disappointed.

me and valMy lovely and beautiful friend Val is leaving me to go to Spain again. Sad face. But she’s doing awesome things over there, so I can’t hate.

This presented a problem for us. We had agreed to take care of the mold only IF we bought the house (obviously). Seeing as how we aren’t going to buy it without having a complete inspection first, it becomes a stalemate. The seller made it clear that he didn’t want to spend a dime in this transaction. But if the inspector is right and the house is in no condition to be inspected, then it can’t be sold. Our realtor then explained to us that we could perhaps use this reasoning as bargaining chip, although it isn’t likely the seller will budge. Not that I blame him. The mold is just a product of neglect over the past year and has nothing to do with him.

So I’m fully expecting his lawyer to come back and say, “No dice.”

val and tanya

Val and Tanya. Behind me (taking the picture) was the creepy guy who was following us all around the park for a good twenty minutes. No joke. He was a creeper, but we lost him eventually.

Things are a bit up in the air right now.

Here’s the other thing. Our rental lease is due on Wednesday. We need to decide if we’re going to renew the lease or not. Neither of us want to spend the amount of rent they’re now asking for. But we love Astoria and getting to spend more time here is something we’d both love to do.  But Bob also suggested moving back in to his old apartment, which is in his grandmother’s multi-family home in Maspeth, Queens. It would be a hell of a lot cheaper, so we could actually save some money. But the area isn’t as convenient and the apartment is a bit smaller, so we’d have trouble fitting all of our belongings and furniture. Also, the idea of moving into a place for the short-term seems so exhausting. What if we end up buying this place or even another one within the next few months? Moving twice in one year? I’d rather eat glass.

stoop kidsWe call this one Stoop Kids. Because quarter waters and dollar ices and Tropical Fantasy and greasy, buttered bagels, that’s why.

Update: I wrote this post a few days ago, though it was published today . We’ve since decided that we are going to renew the lease on our apartment and wait out the process with this house. If need be, we will break our lease and give them 60 days notice so we don’t risk losing our deposit or breaching our contract. Per our realtor’s and lawyer’s advice, we are going to hire a new inspector to take on the job, since it turns out that the original inspector recently had a health scare that made him a bit more nervous to the mold situation. Perhaps the damage isn’t as detrimental and the new inspector can do his/her job without health risks. Our realtor informed us that the utilities will, in fact, be turned on this time.

I knew there’d be bumps in the road and I was fully prepared to feel this way after getting too attached to a home. It doesn’t make it any less disappointing though. But! We’re not out of the woods yet. There’s still some hope and I’m clinging to it!

the 2014 brooklyn color run + 4 helpful tips to remember for next time

Color Run - BandsWhat fun The Color Run was! It was my first time at the event and it certainly won’t be my last. Me, my friend Val and her friend Dwahni headed out to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn and had the time of our lives getting fit and having colored powder thrown on us at every mile mark.  It was an easy course at only 5k and we walked it the entire way (as most people did). We did about 15 seconds of running before I was like, “Yep, I hate running!”.  The best part of it was the after-party. The DJ was pumping all kinds of dance music and had no problems getting the crowd going. At the climax of every song, he had us throw the contents of our color packets in the air, so it created this really cool rainbow cloud effect. It was such a trip!

Color Run - Start Line Color Run - JumpI haven’t been to other races, I agree that this is certainly, as advertised, the happiest 5k in the world. We were in such a good spirits that day.
Color Run - Afterparty
Color Run - MeAnd since I’ll be back, I jotted down a few notes to remember for the next time, which may help you as well:

1.) Do not raise arms too high during a color attack or the powder will latch on to the armpits like white on rice and not come out for days. Perspective: I ran on Saturday and still had blue underarms on Tuesday.

2.) This would be even more fun to do with a larger group of people. The energy is super high at The Color Run and going with a large group will only heighten that.

3.) Definitely take advantage of the blow-dry station before leaving (which I need to make more of an effort to find next time!).

4.) Stock up on waaay more free samples. When you think you have enough, take two more!

I believe there’s still time to sign up in a few other cities, so click here for the dates of you’re interested!

the big 1!

happy birthday

Maybe I’m just biased (okay, I am biased, but still…) I think my nephew Miles is just the most scrumptious little thing. Those cheeks! Those lips! Those eyebrows! I can’t even handle the cuteness. It was such a shame because any time someone picked him up, he cried and cried (see below!) until we gave him back to his mama. Oh, but I wanted to hold and squeeze and eat him up so badly!

janey and miles

Isn’t it funny how we say a baby can be so cute that you want to gobble them up? I never understood it until the people around me started having these really adorable kids. Now, I’m like, I want to eat all those babies! You know what I mean?

laughing baby

Anyway, he turned 1 year-old over the weekend so naturally family and friends got together to commemorate the occasion. Photo-bombs, group shots, selfies, Spanish food, laughing, dancing—we had a good time.

me, magie and janey

janey, dad and tre

cake tablelaureen and grandpa

grandpa and laureen

mason and jax

ladies

balloon

And I leave you with this. A magic trick, if you will.

levitating baby

The incredible levitating baby!

sonia’s surprise birthday party

happy tears↑Happy tears!

Last Saturday was a busy one for us. Aside from some morning errands, Bob and I headed out to Staten Island for my mom’s best friend Sonia’s surprise birthday party, then back into Queens again for Bob’s cousin’s graduation party. Two parties in one day! I don’t think I even need to say it was whole lot of fun and whole lot of exhausting. But I always remind myself that having too many family functions to go to is a great problem to have. I try not to let myself forget that.

food

Unfortunately, the only pics I have of are of the surprise party (we arrived at the grad party when it was getting dark out and goodness knows I’m terrible at night pics). But the good news is that the photos I do have came out great. I’ve got pics of friends and family smiling and playing with eachother, drinking, dancing and just generally being merry. I really love capturing those small, spontaneous moments of love and laughter. It’s what makes me smile as I sift through them for editing.

birthday cup

↓Waiting for the birthday girl to arrive. Sonia was thought she was coming to her nephew’s graduation party.
waiting

↓ Then everyone jumped out and yelled “Surprise!”…and blocked my shot, haha.surprise

friends

↓ My mom and her other best friend, Gigi. They’re cute.
mom and gigi fifty

evelyn and bill photo album dad and vin

↓ I fell in love with a beautiful dog named Ruby.
ruby2

↓ She was a champion at staring contests. Most especially when you were eating food.
ruby

↓ See? I said there was dancing and I wasn’t lying.
dancing2

↓ My mom is like, “Whoa whoa…too hot to handle!” Or something like that 😉
dancing

I also got such a kick out of how many people told me, “Take my picture and put me on the blog!”. To hear those words! Hams are a blogger’s dream :)

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