Friday, July 11, 2008

Take a Seat

So we called and got prices on chiavari chairs today. Can someone please tell me why you would pay $7 to put an ugly cover on an ugly chair when you can pay $7.50 and get a pretty chiavari chair with a pretty accent cushion? How does that make sense?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fake It Baby!

We're going to the beach this weekend which means I must leave my bling at home, safe from the unforgiving grasp of the ocean. I am, however, discovering that I have an annoying habit of subconsciously checking my finger ever fifteen minutes to make sure my engagement ring is still there. I then have to remind myself that it is safe at home and I have nothing to worry about. This constant battle is paired with the sadness that I now appear "unclaimed." As old school as that sounds I'm still not a fan.

I struggled with this last summer and looked for a suitable replacement ring at several stores but never found anything nice vs cheap enough. When September rolled around I finally gave up. Now here I am again and instead of suffering through another summer I just ordered this little jem from Amazon for 20 smackers. I heart Amazon.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

New Dress

I did it! I bought a new dress today. I can't post details about it here because Arthur reads my blog but I do have photos of it so if you want to see them email me!!! I got a veil too, I didn't think I was a veil person until she put it on and I almost started to cry. I said, "That's good, it's sold, take it off."

Mom drove 3 hours down in heavy traffic to give her final seal of approval. She was about 20 minutes late to our appointment but they didn't seem to care. When she got there she sheepishly asked where the bathroom was and I had to tell the dress lady that she had been in the car for 3 hours. You should have seen her face.

Now I have to plan our huge wedding weekend in July. Hair trial, menu tasting, meeting the minister, and talking to rental companies. Everything is coming together and getting more expensive by the day. We've decided to do our own flowers so there is money saved. **phew**

Selling The Dress!

I'm selling my Amsale!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Give the Gloucester Girls a Break

Finally a journalist capable of being objective about this whole situation. Too bad this won’t make the top stories on CNN.

By Nancy Gibbs
June 25, 2008

You know you've found a perfect cultural touchstone when everyone brushes past it on the way to opposite conclusions. The tale of the Gloucester High School pregnancy pact has exposed many culprits, many causes and much confusion over what it actually tells us about anything larger than the luck and judgment of 17 now infamous teenage girls.

When my TIME colleague Katie Kingsbury first quoted Gloucester principal Joseph Sullivan as saying the reason pregnancies at his school quadrupled this year was that a group of sophomore girls "made a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together," the story made headlines from here to Australia — but no one could agree on what it meant. If only Massachusetts hadn't rejected federal funds for "abstinence only" education, lamented Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. If only the school health clinic had been allowed to dispense birth control pills, countered its medical director Dr. Brian Orr, who resigned over the contraception ban. If only President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind Act hadn't diverted funds from after-school programs and better health education, charged Gloucester mayor Carolyn Kirk. If only Mars had not been in Leo in the Eighth House, suggested Monica at AstrologyMundo, who had predicted a flare-up of teen sexual activity around the summer solstice.

The culture was an especially irresistible target, after a year of hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up that "glamorized" unwed motherhood. Some blogs hosted a righteous orgy of "slutshaming," denouncing Gloucester's "marauding narcissistic sluts" for following the toxic example of movie stars and the Spears sisters, and longing for the return of the scarlet letter. But I wonder if the critics would be so quick to condemn if they flipped the story and viewed it another way.
There is certainly troubling anecdotal evidence that some of the girls set out to get pregnant together, though Mayor Kirk went to great lengths to deny any evidence of a "blood-oath bond." But other girls, like Lindsey Oliver, tell of a different kind of collaboration: "There was a group of girls already pregnant that decided they were going to help each other to finish school and raise their kids together," she told Good Morning America. Which raises the question: What if the "problem" in evidence at Gloucester High has more to do with the rejection of abortion than the acceptance of teen pregnancy?

It is easy for a school to know how many students give birth in a given year, but it is impossible to know how many pregnancies are terminated — especially in a heavily Catholic town like Gloucester. Birthrates are not the same as pregnancy rates, and the national trends for both tell an interesting story. While 750,000 teens become pregnant every year, that number is at its lowest level in 30 years, according to the Guttmacher Institute, down 36% from a peak in 1990. This does not suggest that we are witnessing a mass moral collapse, especially since abortion rates have fallen even faster. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since the late 1980s the abortion rate for girls ages 15 to 17 fell 55%, and this year the overall U.S. abortion rate was at its lowest level since 1974.
At the same time, we are in the middle of a baby boomlet. Fertility rates in the U.S. are now higher than in most industrialized countries; the 4.3 million babies born in 2006 were the most since 1961. And among teenage girls, the birthrate — though it generally has been falling for the past two decades — did rise 3% in 2006 for girls ages 15 to 17. No one can quite explain why this is.

Which brings us back to Gloucester. What if the visible leap in pregnancies is part of a different trend: kids aren't necessarily having more sex or more girls aren't getting pregnant, but more of those who do are deciding to keep the baby rather than abort it. In Oliver's case, she was on the Pill and the pregnancy was unintended. She made her own "pact" with friends, she said, after they were already pregnant, so they could help one another get through it together. She and her boyfriend, a 20-year-old community college student, talked about trying to do the right thing in a difficult situation. Celebrities had nothing to do with anything. "I don't get why people think those movies are glamorizing it," Oliver told GMA, and even Juno at one point says she just wants to "squirt the kid out and get on with [her] life," which hardly counts as romanticizing teen motherhood.

Whether a girl or a woman decides to end a pregnancy or see it through is as complex an emotional, moral and medical calculation as she will ever face. But I wonder if some soft message has taken hold, with the data suggesting that more and more women facing hard choices are deciding to carry the child to term. This has been the mission of the crisis-pregnancy-center movement, including the more than 4,000 centers and hotlines and support groups across the country that aim to talk women out of having abortions and offer whatever support they can. If not in Hollywood then certainly in Gloucester, teen parents and their babies face long odds against success in life. Surely they deserve more sympathy and support than shame and derision, if the trend they reflect is not a typical teenager's inclination to have sex but rather a willingness to take responsibility for the consequences.

Monday, June 9, 2008

This Is My Life!

Hey, NJ Transit: Commute this

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Each day, more than 1.5 million workers commute into Manhattan. Starting in the early morning hours, bleary-eyed people juggle coffees and briefcases in a mass mi gration from New York City's outer boroughs and the New York, Connecticut and New Jersey suburbs.

For one year, I was one of them. I was a commuter.

And then I escaped.

My daily commute from Hunterdon County occupied at least four hours of every work day. That didn't include stretches of mechanical difficulties, overhead wire troubles, train congestion, major holidays, or even the slightest hint of precipitation.

In addition to the basic stress that naturally accompanies a two- hour odyssey from a quiet, bordering-on-rural town (there is a buffalo farm near my house) to the frantic streets of Manhattan, the good ol' Raritan Valley line boasts an extra bonus: It is not a direct train. The end of the line is in Newark, so you must transfer over to another track to board Manhattan-bound trains.

I never thought it would be possible, but you can get used to even the most horrific commute. Like anything else, once you settle into that routine, it becomes the norm. It took me one week to settle into the role of commuter.

After a month, I felt myself to be a veteran, a position that solidified over months of NJ Transit tor ture. I learned the rules. I obeyed the train etiquette that attempts to make the unnatural constant rush bearable for all those who have to do it everyday.

I learned how to most effectively choose a seat so as not to be squashed or bothered, how to avoid being trampled by a frantic rush of workaholics, and how to pity the oblivious day-trippers who inevitably violate the sacred rules that lend some degree of order to the cut-throat transportation game.

I also got to observe the rela tionships and bizarre interactions of an astounding array of human specimens.

It was the breaks in the routine -- the unexpected inconsistencies -- that did the most damage. It was the delays, missing the train, and dealing with supremely obnox ious passengers that left me crunched up in a crackly leather seat clenching my teeth and curs ing under my breath (or furiously texting any poor family members or friends who might pick up their phones).

You simply cannot appreciate the accuracy of the metaphor that rush hour in New York is a stam pede unless you have been one of the herd.

At times it was a humbling experience to feel as if I were being driven along by an invisible sheepdog nipping at my heels, pushing me up narrow escalators and down claustrophobic ramps to a final destination I had no desire to reach. Often it was a gray-suit guy or a stiletto-heeled woman who was pressing me forward with the weight of their exasperated sighs and profanity-laced mumbling. There's nothing so effective as a strategically swung briefcase to the hip.
My scale of bitterness about commuting also was directly related to my general outlook on my job. After graduating from Rutgers in the spring, I immediately started working at a large, reputable public relations agency in Manhattan.

When friends, aunts, neighbors and strangers heard I worked in Manhattan, they'd ooh and aah. "Oh, how wonderful -- that sounds amazing!" they'd coo, no doubt en visioning glittering skyscrapers. Meanwhile, I was thinking of never- ending train tracks.

After two months of slogging through endless identical days, I realized I was miserable.
Each morning, zooming up the elevator to the 25th floor and walking to my desk, I felt like I was headed for the gallows. Sunday be came a waiting game -- a day to mourn the loss of the weekend and dread another week of sprinting through Penn Station and feeling the cubicle walls slowly stifle my breath away.

It's said that New York is the city that never sleeps. Unfortunately, for many, it's simply be cause they can't afford to sleep anywhere within a 20-mile radius of Manhattan, and must sacrifice re laxation and enjoyment for a multi- hour commute that will get them home in just enough time to return again the next morning.

There's something twisted in the whole experience -- of schlep ping along day after day for the sole not-so-pleasurable pleasure of going to work.

On an increasing number of days -- particularly those that involved commuting for 5.5 hours be cause of disabled trains and count less delays -- I was left wondering: What in the world could possibly be worth it? What could I possibly be thinking to spend that much of my day battling with NJ Transit schedules and getting squashed up against men who clip their toenails on a smelly, overstuffed train?

I also began to think in more collective terms: Why do any of these people put up with this? Is it all for the city? Are the jobs there really that much better? Is the money that much better?
Relatively speaking, I was a novice in the commuting world. If only one year of this commute made me tear out my hair and hopelessly ponder the meaning of life, I truly have to question the sanity of those who have chosen this lifestyle for two, 10 or 20 years.

In March, I got my tonsils out, sat in my house for 10 days straight, and felt that I accomplished more in one of those sweat pants-sluggish days of eating pud ding, reading and masochistically watching the Food Network than in a week's worth of nine-hour work days and four-hour commutes. I realized that I smiled more in an afternoon of slurping Very Berry Strawberry children's Tylenol and apple juice than I did over the past month of my daily working life.
When I got back to the unend ing grind of the commute, I looked around at my fellow commuters and again wondered: In the end, is it worth it?

Finally, something clicked. I quit both my job and the commute.

So, after a year, in the end, my answer was, no, it would never be worth it.

Kathryn Blaze, a recent graduate of Rutgers University, was a columnist for The Daily Targum, the campus newspaper.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


For only $475 I could own this dress (It was $950):
Oh yeah, and they only have a 4/6 left so I would need to loose 20 lbs too.