Posts tagged Sandra Cimino
The big launch is finally here!!!!!
You know, starting a business is so exciting and so stressful. I think that’s why I literally lost 10 pounds; the anticipation is killing me.
I think we can best describe starting a business like getting pregnant. You conceive the idea of what you want to do, than there is several months of carrying the idea and preparing for the launch, and when your due date finally arrives, you can’t wait to show the world your pride and joy.
We always joke around that our businesses are our children. We nurture them, we invest in them and we watch them grow. Having your own business is not a 9-5 thing; its more like a seven day a week, 20 hours a day job. And while this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it certainly is right up our ally.
The good tends to out weigh the bad. But sometimes the bad will drive you so crazy that you polish off a bottle of Malibu while hiding under your desk, hoping that your partner doesn’t walk in because you know your going to get made fun of. Or when you throw your phone across the room because your day just got that much worse. And that is when you realize how important a spouse can be. Especially when your spouse is your business partner.
I think its safe to say that I think Boutique Noir is going to be something special. You have to understand, when you dreamt of something for so long, and finally, the day has come when your ideas are no longer just on paper, but dimensional, than that’s major.
This is my passion, and when you’re passionate about what you do, than your business will be successful. A great role model for this is my husband. While so many ignorant people think that manual work is “blue-collar” and demeaning, I think it’s sexy and above all, I think its really about the artistry when it comes down to it. Not everyone can create a pattern design on a floor or revive old wood to make it look new. And that’s why Joey is so good at what he does; he is passionate! Furthermore that’s why his customers respect him and made him the success he is; Joey is every bit the expert in this field.
I remember my high school English teacher quoted a German Philosopher to me, when he read a paper I wrote about what I wanted to do in life. The quote was from Friedrich Nietzsche, and he said, “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star”. At that time, if I were asked what I thought this meant, I would have said, “I have no clue and don’t care”. But as an adult, I would now say “You must have passion if you want to be successful”.
I never condone those who have dreams. Dreams are good. We should all have goals to work towards. Whether your goal is about careers, fitness or life in general, we should all generally approach it with passion. The only time I feel a dream isn’t going to happen is when that person expects it to fall on their laps and doesn’t want to work at it. Lets face it people; you have to work hard to get results. Those who are fortunate to have things handed to them, well, good for them. We go down the paths we are given for reasons. Sure, we get sidetracked, but in the end, everyone has a plan. My plan is different from your plan. As hard or shitty as it is sometimes, I don’t think I would want to have the plan of someone else. I’ll be honest with you, I’m really curious to see what the big guy has planned for me. I’m comfortable with saying, I think the path I’ve chosen is pretty damn good one.
Please join us on Friday, 2-17-12 for the launch of Boutique Noir! Currently, we are carrying Women’s apparel and accessories, plus you can subscribe to our Fashion Blog and Videos! And coming soon, the male counterpart of Boutique Noir will arrive! That’s right, you can expect Men’s apparel and accessories, plus women’s lingerie and swimwear, and so much more!
Sandra is sharing her fashion insight and blogging for the Patch! Check out her most recent articles!
And the best part is she previews her collection for Boutique Noir in 2 of the articles!
Need styling advice? Or just want to talk shopping, clothes, or what to wear to a big event? Contact her through the Patch, and your questions just might get answered!
Her first post is dedicated to bridal gowns.
From Ugly Holiday Sweaters to Shiny Disco Ball Dresses, here is a brief guide for all you ladies who wish to be chic and not tacky for your holiday parties. Sneak Preview of Boutique Noir Collection included!
What to wear and where to get it will make sure you not only look fabulous at the gym, but will keep your body from getting injured or overheating.
Before you shop for Spring/Summer 2012, learn about the new trendy colors for the season and how to wear it! Sneak Preview of the Boutique Noir Collection included!
Don’t forget to bookmark www.ShopBoutiqueNoir.com, which will be launching soon! In the meantime, enjoy a little tease below!
Question of the day: What makes a woman brave?
Personally, I feel bravery is overcoming a boundary, and although at times challenging, I feel that once a woman is inclined to be brave, she empowers it. Fifteen years ago, I was probably the last person to be talking about bravery. I had a lot to overcome, and more so than anything, I had a lot to accept. Like how I will never be a twig, and that God just so happened to graced me these curves or that my body is my temple that I will have to eventually learn how to love and respect it.
Regardless, I spent a lot of my life in this destructive nature. I would beat myself up over my imperfections; let bullies have the upper hand, and worse off, let my soul go unattended. For fifteen years of my life, you would never guess that I struggled with self-acceptance.
Than one day in June, right before my first anniversary, I went for a run, like I normally do. When I run, I tend to let my thoughts go and I work out situations in my mind. Exercising is my stress relief. So I guess my mind drifted to my issues with my body. And that’s when I had my epiphany. Why the hell am I still in this ridiculous rut? My husband loves me, my family loves me and I should love me. And they all think I’m beautiful, except I don’t feel the same way. Why am I hurting myself by being my worst enemy?
Fast forward to July. While on my little self-journey, I decided that I needed to embrace me and do something daring. Something I would never have imagined doing. Something that would force me to feel confident, sexy and beautiful; I decided that I would have a photo session with Jenerations Photography.
Any Long Island girl will tell you Jennifer from Jenerations is probably the best boudoir photographer in New York. I know some girls who swear by her for being very professional and for bringing out a girls true beauty. So I got on the computer, and composed an email to Jennifer. I told her my thoughts, my inspirations and what I was looking to do. And before I knew it, I was booked for my photo shoot.
Now lets get one thing very straight. Joey was nervous about this, hence, I am his wife, and he didn’t want to share his wife with anyone. I can’t say I blame him. I mean I wouldn’t want to share pictures of my husband with other women. But after careful planning, I was able to create a couple of outfits that were classy, and above all, a little more modest than what he probably was thinking (it was nice to get back into styling by the way, but that’s another story).
I recruited my sister also for this shoot. I knew I needed her there for the simple reason that I wouldn’t trust anyone else’s opinion on things more than hers. Her honesty is similar to that of Joey’s and if something doesn’t fly with her, it certainly won’t fly with him. Plus, it added to the comfort level. Joey felt better knowing that my sister was going with me. And that meant for a stress free photo session.
I researched my inspirations for weeks. I didn’t want it to be too flashy and I didn’t want it to be too boring. Than it hit me. Do what I know. I decided to pay tribute to Film Noir, which involved lots of lighting, lots of black and white and lots of sensuality. I adore this particular style of film, and after studying the fashions and the women from this genre; I really felt that it was different and alluring.
For those of you not familiar with Film Noir, allow me to further (yet briefly) explain what the style translates. Film Noir originates back to the early 1940’s and 1950’s. Crime dramas of this era were typically filmed in a gritty, black and white style. Noir is the French term for Black or Dark. The films were full of attitude and above all, the motives for the crimes were transcended by sexual motivation. The best part about this particular style is how the low-key lighting played into the drama, adding to its provocative nature. Surely, it was scandalous yet intriguing to the audiences of the 1940’s and 50’s.
Combine this visualization with the shadowed lighting and innuendo of femme fatale, and “Tada!” Film Noir is born. Its moody, it’s sexy and it makes a statement. And that’s why I love it. Today, Film Noir has been the inspiration for some familiar movies; Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, any movie by Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) and the more obvious films like “Sin City”, “The Crow” and “The Spirit”. If you want to learn more, watch those and of course, check out the classics like “Sunset Boulevard”.
I think I may have bored you enough, allow me to continue…
I called my dearest friend and make-up artist Sandra Baldini and asked her if she would be interested in doing my makeup. It was time to channel my idol Sophia Loren, and I knew Sandra Baldini would nail it. She did my make up for my wedding and I loved how she creates this fantastic cat eye. She does fabulous work, and I knew that she would be the perfect person to start my day with.
With that said, Sandra created a Sophia Loren inspired eye for me that rocked my world. If I could have Sandra do my makeup everyday for me, than I would.
I arrived at Jenerations on time, and for the record, Jennifer is probably the nicest girl in the world, as well as her staff. I filled out some paperwork, and than we were off to go through my seriously huge garment bag of outfits.
We selected two outfits that were sexy yet left some imagination. Again, I wanted to keep it classy and not be overtly sexy. As I changed in the bathroom, I literally told myself that I deserve to be happy in my own body and I don’t have to feel bad about myself anymore. And I think that’s when the little flame in my heart became a raging fire and this newer version of Sandra came to life. And I welcomed it.
Fifteen years ago I would have said I hated my butt, my stomach, my arms, etc. Fifteen years ago, I would never have stepped foot in front of a camera, and feel confident. Today, for the record, I broke the cycle. I realized my ass is AMAZING (as I write this, I am taking a bow. Yes, butt, you are perfect. Squats and lunges do a body good…) I realized that I am significantly toned and that my hard work at the gym has paid off. And I finally saw what my husband and family saw all along. I saw a beautiful me.
I didn’t want to cry and ruin my makeup when they showed me the first few pictures after the shoot was done. I loved my makeup and I wanted to wear it to dinner later (lol). But there I was, and I was so unbelievably happy. It felt euphoric!
I decided that I wanted to take 10 of the pictures and make a book for Joey, as a way of saying “thank you for always telling me I’m your beautiful wife”, and my sister, Jen’s assistant and myself selected 10 images for Joey’s book. But don’t think you will ever see that book. It’s “For Joey’s Eyes Only”. And he won’t share because he doesn’t care
In the end, I walked out of this shoot feeling like I was refreshed and alive. The weight has been taken off my shoulders. You know something; I look at some of these young girls today, and they are struggling with the same demons that I have struggled with for a majority of my life.
For example, look at Demi Lovato. She is a beautiful girl. Yet, because she was trapped in a bad rut, she let the world dictate how she felt about herself. It took her family and friends to encourage her get the help she needed, and in the end, she overcame the demon that consumed her life. I thought she was very brave, not only to tell the world how she felt, but also she conquered the obstacle that held her back.
So to all of you who feel that you aren’t good enough, I want you to know that it does get better. Be brave, and conquer all those obstacles, both physically and mentally. And know you are beautiful too, even it takes a rockin’ picture of yourself to prove it!
Much thanks to Jenerations Photography for helping me see ME. Words can’t express enough how I feel. Visit them at http://www.jenerations.com for more information about boudoir and how you can be transformed into a sexier version of yourself!
Also, a big “Thank You” to Sandra Baldini for creating my inspired “Sophia Loren” look. Girrrrrlllllllll, you nailed it lol. http://www.sbmakeup.com
And above all, thank you Joey for reminding me how beautiful I am every day. I know it’s been a struggle, but your continuous encouragement has helped me in my darkest days. I love you Oh and Joey? Enjoy the pictures you filthy beast.
It feels like we JUST got married. We just can’t believe we survived one whole year! When you think about it, its very surreal. Time has definitely flown by, and while there were times that were bad, there were times that were really good. A lot can happen in a year; and it makes the year zoom by before you can blink!
So, apparently, there are certain “gifts” that are suppose to be given to each other on anniversaries. While we tend to shy from tradition, we thought it would be rather amusing to see what “tradition” says. For the record, Tradition doesn’t make sense!
Allow us to explain:
They say you should give Paper for the 1st anniversary. So, does paper mean MONEY? Because money is always good! We purchased airline tickets for each other, does that count? Or is it literal, like stationary (Sandra- does anyone actually use Stationary anymore? Maybe teachers do, but I normally just email or text message or send a hallmark card…)?
Modern one-year anniversary gifts include Clocks. Now why the hell would we want to give each other a clock? It would be an insult, almost to say that one of us is always late (Joey- Cough, Cough Sandra that means you. You are never ready on time! Two hours to get ready for anything!) Perhaps a watch… than that would be something we would understand (Joey- I would like a Movado please.) But give each other a clock? Who comes up with this shit?
Apparently, Henry Van Dyke did. He wrote “For those who love, time is eternity.” Now that’s sweet! That would be something to inscribe on the back of a WATCH. Not a clock.
What about Jewelry? Well, Gold Jewelry is traditional, as well as Pearls and Peridot.
Sandra- What, no diamonds?! Ok, being that I am all about things big and shiny, I would like to openly discuss this.
I think that Peridot is actually kind of pretty depending on the shade. Most of time the stones are emerald-ish hue, but not to be confused with an Emerald. Think more of an olive green color. Regardless, it’s still really stunning.
As for pearls, one name comes to my mind: Mikimoto. I just love the way that name slides off my tongue; “Mikimoto! Mikimoto!” If I were to do pearls, I would probably prefer colored pearls, like Black or I would do Pearls and gemstones together.
As for gold, being that Gold is so valuable right now, it would be an investment that’s for sure. However, I really prefer white gold (and platinum over white gold) to yellow gold. Plus, not to mention, there has been a new Rose Gold trend in the gold industry.
So, I got an idea; what if you combined Peridot and Pearl together to make a pendant or ring in a white gold setting! There, now that’s a nice one-year anniversary gift lol. Well, if this isn’t a hint for a special piece of jewelry, I don’t know what is. And Joey is going to read this and laugh. Whatever, I can dream.
Oh, and did you know that there are anniversary colors? Neither did we! Gold and yellow are the traditional anniversary colors. (Joey- all I can think about is that Austin Powers Movie, the 3rd one, where the Gold Member character kept saying, “I love GOLD.” I’ll just paint myself Gold and give myself to Sandra. That solves everything!)
And finally, if you want to give flowers on your 1st anniversary, they suggest Orange Blossom or Pansy. Pansy comes from the French world pensée, which means thought or remembrance. An Orange Blossom is symbolic of marriage, eternal love and fertility.
Announcement: Do not give us Orange Blossom. We are not ready for children yet. Thank you. We have some traveling to do first. Vegas? Yes please. Ibiza? Sure, why not!?
So some of things we are suppose to do on our 1st anniversary include eating the top layer from our wedding cake. We saved the top layer, and we plan on attempting to eat a fork full of it. And thats it. It probably has freezer burn and to be honest with you, we fear the after affects of eating something a year old that contains dairy. Whoever came up with that obviously was looking for an excuse to get sick. (Joey- Babe, there’s the traditional color yellow! From the freezer burnt butter cream icing! HAHAHAHAHA!)
We may just take the suggestion of some very awesome friends of ours and watch our wedding video. Whenever we watch it, we always have a good laugh, especially towards the end when our guests are beyond their sober points. Yes, you know whom you are and you were VERY lucky they cut that out of the show. You must have a suburb Guardian Angel. Regardless, piss us off and the whole world will see the “Pulp Fiction” dance. Insert evil laugh here: “Mwah ha ha ha!”
Well, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US! Thank you to all of our fans and readers for reading our blogs and watching the show. We hope you have enjoyed our antics, and we will have plenty more where that came from. Now if you will excuse us, we have some celebrating to do in St.Lucia!
Check back in a 3 weeks for a BRAND NEW “Joey and Sandra’s Guide to Where to Go and What to Do in…” It’s going to be a good one!
Check out what we recently discovered and why we definitely think they will become your obsession as well…
1) Joey- I am obsessed with my Vibram 5 Toe Sneakers. They may not be the nicest-looking things in the world to look at, but they should be the official sneaker of Warrior Dash. These sneakers look like Toe Gloves. I actually discovered them in Hawaii last year, and currently purchased a pair for the dash. What’s great about them is that they can be worn pretty much on any terrain-concrete, sand, water, grass, and gravel (although they may not be the most comfortable gravel). Your foot is naturally made to run barefoot, so these mimic the feeling. Warrior Dash involves multiple terrain scenarios, so these sneakers should definitely help with my performance. Check them out at www.facebook.com/VibramFiveFinger
2) Sandra-While shopping at a Lacrosse store (Joey use to play lacrosse and still is obsessed with the shorts), we stumbled upon these really amazing bracelets called Power Balance Bands. Believe the hype; they work. I run everyday, and I was able to maintain my speed above my usually time average, and I was even able to increase my flexibility during my routine Yoga session. This holistic product is used by athletics to help them improve their performance and stability. While it has definitely improved my workout, we noticed a change in several of our loved ones as well. We bought one for Joey’s mother, who has had several surgeries for her knees and hips, and we noticed an improvement in how she walks. And how she is in less pain. While this could be psychosomatic, it’s great to see how much better she feels with it on. Joey will be wearing his band with his Vibrams for the dash, and you can trust me, I will be wearing mine whenever I train from now on. www.facebook.com/powerbalance
3) Sandra-I am truly obsessed with my Reebok Run Tone sneakers by the way. I didn’t believe any of that crap how wearing sneakers can tone your ass up, but what I do believe is that they do make my knees feel better when I hit pavement. There is less impact and that makes my knees feel fantastic (I have horrible knees). And they don’t look like orthopedic sneakers either. I still feel strongly that if you want to get toned, than do squats and lunges.
4) Joey-We invested in a new camera for our vacation (Thanks Vickie and Jacquie for the recommendation…) The Olympus Tough TG 810 is so friggin’ cool! You can drop it and it won’t break. You can drown it, and it won’t fill with water. You can freeze it, and it won’t get frozen. You can put it in extreme hit, and it won’t melt. Simply meaning it’s Sandra Proof lol! It also has GPS, so when we hook it up to the Mac, the camera knows where we were for easier uploading. The commercial for it is pretty funny, however, the real test will be when we use it next week. This thing is going to take a beating. And probably keep on working… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxVP2Suy9Ko&feature=related
5) TV has pretty much stunk as of lately. No Entourage, No Broadwalk Empire, all the other shows we were watching had season finales, and no more My Big Friggin’ Wedding (that’s bitter sweet). So in a desperate attempt to find entertainment, we discovered Franklin and Bash. And we LOVE IT! Number one, hellooooooo! Its ZACH MORRIS people. He was every guys idol when were kids, and every girls crush. Breckin Meyer and Mark-Paul Gosselaar are probably the best duo on TV right now since Two & Half Men (Damn you Charlie Sheen! Come Back!). We have a tendency to watch a show’s premier and than lose interest because most the time, new shows suck. But this show is genuinely funny. Malcolm McDowell is also probably everyone’s dream boss. If we all had bosses like that we probably wouldn’t hate having to go to work as much. Although, not going to lie, he is an incredible actor, considering he was the lead in A Clockwork Orange (Highly recommend that movie, although it still scares the shit out of Sandra…). Anyway, please watch this show, enjoy it and trust us, you will be heavily entertained with the comedic one-liners and jargon between Franklin and Bash.
Holy Shit. We are less than one month away from our 1st Anniversary! This year has certainly flown by.
This time last year, we were in complete wedding mode, going crazy over last minute details and what not. It was the start of our 30-day count down. And you all got to witness the sheer chaos.
Now we are in full out vacation mode! We have decided to get the hell out of NY for our anniversary, considering we want some damn peace and quiet, and need an excuse to bask in the sun.
So where are we going? After researching and talking to our travel agent, St.Lucia better get ready. Joey and Sandra are coming for a visit lol.
We are staying at a resort made famous by “The Bachelor”, and we cannot wait! We have every intention of making our first anniversary completely memorable. We may go zip lining (much to Sandra’s dismay) and we heard about this volcanic mud bath excursion. But we heard the locals are seriously fun and St.Lucia just sounds wonderful. We’ll definitely share our experience with you when we get back. Be on the look out for a NEW “Joey and Sandra’s Guide to what to do and where to go in…”
If you have ever been to St.Lucia, comment and share your experience. We have a ton of questions about the island and would love to hear from someone who’s been there.
Oh yeah, we hear that the show is airing in Australia! Well “hello” to all of you Australians out there. Hope you are enjoying the show. We posted blogs for each episode previously, just check out the archives. Sorry for any spoilers and what not. Glad to hear that you like it though. By the way, we are dying to come and visit Australia to check out your beaches. We heard the beaches are to die for.
Ok, so I got the new Lady Gaga Album last week, and I am OBSESSED with it. She literally brings me back to those crazy nights spent in NYC when I was younger and getting twisted. That girl has a serious talent.
I am a big Gaga fan. Joey took me for my birthday to see her (brave man) when her first Monster Ball was at Radio City Music Hall (that was last year) and the show was a unlike anything I ever been to. Joey got me so close to the stage, and we were right in the middle of the action. I never danced so much at a concert in my entire life. Plus, I got free champagne from the lead singer of Semi Precious Weapons because it was my birthday “Sticky with Champagne, its ok, it’s her birthday!” Damn right! Lol .
So she has literally consumed my workout play list, and thank God the album is incredible because it pushes me through my gym sessions. We are in serious crunch time with the whole working out thing. Like clockwork, for about 1-2 months before a vacation or event, Joey and I train hard and eat clean. AND IT SUCKS. I swear I am not eating a morsel of chicken when I am on that trip.
I really can’t believe its 11 months since the wedding! Since the wedding, we have had so many things happen, both good and bad, that I didn’t even realize the year was slipping by. In fact, last night, we were eating dinner (CHICKEN! UGH…) and we were talking about how it feels like we just got back from Hawaii.
I’m just excited to be traveling with my husband and experiencing a new place together. What better way to celebrate our very first year married than being on a beach? Its funny but when you think about it, the beach has played a major roll in our lives together. Joey proposed on a beach, we got married on a beach, we honeymooned on a beach (2 beaches if you want to be technical) and now we will celebrate one year on a beach. We live near a beach for Pete’s sake. The beach is a big part of our life. It’s Sanctuary.
Ok, so, for the record, I am not happy about the whole Zip Lining thing. If humans were meant to fly, we would have wings. Joey is “Mr. Adventure” and has to defy the laws of gravity whenever he can. Right before we got married, he came very close to going Skydiving, but I think the scheduling got messed up or something and he never got the chance. Mr. Joey Adventure has been race car driving (I’m taking credit for that one. I got it as a gift for him one year), climbed Mayan Temples and this summer he is competing in Warrior Dash, but when I get dragged into the “action” I kind of cringe a little.
Things we do for love I guess. All I know is, if I want to do something “Sandra-esqe”, he better just do it, after all I am zip lining. And he will. Because he’s a good husband lol.
Joey and I attended a slew of parties this month, and we were very fortunate to meet some very enthusiastic people who loved the show. We always get asked a ton of questions about it, but the one question that makes us laugh is: “Sandra, did you ever learn how to cook?!”
To answer, YES, I did learn how. It wasn’t easy, in fact, I feel bad for Joey considering he had to consume endless concoctions of failed attempts of turning something meant to be unhealthy into a meal that is healthy, but in the end, I have conquered the kitchen.
For starters, I have mastered the perfect steak (Round of applause please). I thank my mother in law for actually helping perfect it, and I have it down to a science. Grill steaks 7 minutes, each side. Joey is extremely grateful of this, and I feel better buying prime cuts now being that I have learnt how NOT to light them on fire.
My mother purchased me “the bible” or known to most as the “Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book”, in which has common recipes. She also bought me the entire cookbook series from Giada De Laurentiis and I have come to terms that she is my kitchen Guru. I have watched her shows, I read the books, and I literally owe that woman my life lol.
I also make some seriously healthy and delicious alternatives to really unhealthy recipes. Like I said before, this was no easy task.
I’ll take something bad for you, like loaded with cheese, fat, cholesterol, and I put alternatives in their place. I was a semi-vegetarian, so using products like Tofu, vegetable cheese, and non-meat products is something I am fairly use too. On the other hand, my husband cringes at the thought of tofu, and refuses to eat it unless it’s in miso soup. So trying to make meals suitable enough to be considered good yet healthy was friggin’ task unto itself.
There has been my fair share of failed attempts. Perhaps the worse was my attempt to make buckwheat pancakes oppose to whole wheat. I thought its nutritional value was a little better than whole wheat. I made the presentation perfect, right down to a berry sauce drizzled on top. It didn’t matter. Because it was absolutely the worse pancakes we ever had. So buckwheat was a fail.
I have, however, created some meals that are so healthy, and yet so tasty, that Joey actually tells me that he is craving it. SCORE! I mean that is major in my book! And I feel really proud of myself. Now this doesn’t mean I’m going to open a restaurant or something, but I was determined to be a master of my kitchen.
I also love to bake, as some of our fans know. Apple pies, crumb cakes, pumpkin pies, cookies, pastries, you name it, I make it. And I make them UNHEALTHY! Loaded with Sugar, butter, chocolate, and all the insane yumminess that would send Jenny Craig right into the arms of Weight Watchers lol. Don’t get me wrong; I make sugar free/fat free goodies for those who cannot have unhealthy desserts. I am very considerate; in fact, I made a delicious Angel food cake the other day with strawberries. My Lord, it was, excuse the pun, Heavenly.
And, I just want to put this on record; I make the BEST crumb cake in the world. And I can say this because my nieces and nephews say so. No but its really good. And that is a recipe that I will die with.
So for our fans out there, Announcement: I may not be an expert, but this girl can cook. Maybe one day I’ll share my recipes, but I’m actually really shy about it. I’m still very modest with compliments, which is good, because I will never be cocky. And, for the record, Joey does participate in the kitchen as well. He makes excellent pizza, from scratch. Apparently, my kitchen Guru Giada is rubbing off on everyone.
Ugh, I just spent half my day looking for an excel spreadsheet with everyone’s addresses, table numbers and RSVP’s on it. I needed this file because I have to send a card to someone, and the address is in the file. I think the file is lost on my computer (I hate you computer virus. You killed my laptop and my files. Sucks for you though; I have a Mac now) yet I managed to find a print out of it.
This little hunt for this paperwork led me to go through our box of wedding memories, and I have to say, there was a lot that went into our wedding. I found my wedding planner book, which is scrawled with notes and pictures that inspired me. And the binding is ripped because it’s so jammed with information. I came across some of the ostrich and peacock feathers that were from our centerpieces and bouquets. And I came across the invitation. To me, it’s a little hard to believe that almost a year ago, Joey and I were starting to stress heavily over the wedding.
I guess you don’t really realize what goes into a wedding until you actually sit down and look at every detail. We were very detailed oriented with the whole process; the flowers were specific, the dress had to be just right, the menu card had to have a crystal to match the invite. To me, I think it’s the details that show how much you want your guest to remember your wedding.
But the details were more important to me than anything. I remember my wedding day vividly, and not because it was on TV or because we have the video or pictures (although it is nice to look at them and help reinforce the memories). I literally woke up and soaked it all in. I wanted to soak it all in. I remember eating breakfast, 2 eggs scrambled, and watching my daddy drink coffee, knowing that the day was going to be a bittersweet one for him. I remember my one flower girls Jessica, running around with her stuff animal in one hand and a bagel in another. And I remember Jen and Liz, my 2 camera ladies, whom I adored, making me laugh and telling me how they were going to steal my dad. To me, it’s a day I could live over and over and not get sick of it.
Details are important. They may not be important or understood by someone else, but to a bride and groom, it’s what makes that day super special. We had everything from expensive details (feathers, for one, are expensive) and cheap details (the photo sharing cards on the tables were inexpensive and great way to interact with our guest after the wedding). But I have to be honest with you; I don’t think I would bother to change a single thing.
We meticulously went over every thing; music, food, bridal party entrance, pictures etc. It was worth it. You’re paying a lot of money; so therefore you have every right to have things down to a science. To help with this we hired Francesca and Dazzling Affairs to help execute things. I personally don’t think things would have run as smoothly as they did if she wasn’t there. We spent our evenings working with her on everything from how many crystals go on our invites to what our schedule will be like the day of.
So here’s my tip to all my future brides and grooms: Do yourself a favor, and hire either a wedding planner or Day of Coordinator. Wedding planners will be with you from the start of wedding planning to finish, while a Day of Coordinator or D.O.C comes in a month to 3 months prior to your wedding. For couples looking to go a cheaper route but wants (or needs) the support, a D.O.C is the way to go. For both, you hand over your wedding and put your trust in them to execute it the way you imagined.
So many people I speak to say that they were thinking of having a cousin or a friend work their wedding. If that person is obliged, than why not; but make sure they realize that from the minute you wake up to minute you get in that limo to go home, that your wedding is their responsibility. No party for them; they are the self-proclaimed wedding planner that day.
Do your homework before selecting a D.O.C or wedding planner. Read reviews from other brides, ask for recommendations and meet with them before committing. Francesca actually did the wedding of friends of ours, and her work was phenomenal. She was the first wedding planner we met, and we booked her without seeing others. She understood who we were (so important) and understood what kind of wedding we were looking to have. Plus we meshed so well that we didn’t want to meet anyone else.
A wedding planner or D.O.C should have experience, know their field, and keep professional. Francesca was all that and more. And Joey loved the fact that they had the earpieces in their ears and looked very FBI. Joey always said it was like having your own wedding secret service.
Brides, trust me, there is no better (or busier) day than your wedding. But the truth is, unless you have a time-line, the details you worked so hard on will be overlooked and missed. That’s why we relied on our planner. Our day was mapped out, and executed to perfection, thanks to the work of our planner.
I recommend her to every bride I meet lol. I have friends getting married and her number was the first thing I gave them. A lot of people will probably beg to differ, but in my opinion, if you want your wedding to go smoothly, and not be a three-ring circus, invest in a wedding planner or D.O.C; they are worth it. I really can thank my wedding planner for helping bring my ideas and all those details to life. If it weren’t for her, I would have had panic attacks the entire day, Joey would have stripped at the wedding (that’s another story, and sadly, you didn’t get to see that during our wedding episode), and things would never have went so perfectly.
So brides, here’s my advice for your wedding day; Hire a wedding planner or Day of coordinator. It’s worth it. Trust me.
OHMIGOD! All this Royal Wedding coverage is making me wish I was getting married again lol. I hope all my engaged friends out there take notes and get inspired!
I literally have glued myself to “E!” and I am at the point where I think I may get up early to watch the wedding. OR DVR it at least.
I can sort of relate to the pre-wedding anxiety they might be going through tonight, minus the royalty part. Planning a wedding is hard enough, than add cameras, and than the added bonus of being a Royal. Yup, you know Kate is totally going to drink a big glass of wine tonight just to help her sleep!
Lets see, the night before I got married, I spent it it with my family, than my sister/maid of honor, future sister in law, my aunt and my flower girl went for a walk, stopped for ice cream in which I forced myself to eat half of a frozen fat free yogurt (because I didn’t eat all day due to nerves) and than relaxed in the backyard. When it came time for bed, I’ll admit, my nerves were so frazzled I took something to make me sleep. And the next morning, I woke up bright and early, jumped on the elliptical and worked out. Yes, I worked out. Because thats how I relieve stress lol.
I imagine Kate is probably not going to have time to work out. She is probably on a serious time line ( Francesca, my wedding planner, had me on a pretty tight schedule too, but its so worth it!) and she definitely has every thing including time to pee in that schedule. Poor girl. I guess its well worth it, considering she is marrying a PRINCE!
What I love about Kate is that she is as fashionable as Princess Diana, and I am happy that Prince William found himself a seriously beautiful, smart girl that his mama would be proud of. I just hope her gown does not disappoint. I hope she picked out something with a drop waist with a large skirt or better yet a mermaid because she has the shape for it! And she had better have a train. That walk down the aisle is LONG and we NEED DRAMA!
Not to mention I want to see what the very pregnant Victoria Beckham is wearing (cough cough and how David Beckham looks… He’s so hot) And the hats!!!! I want a friggin’ crazy hat!
So yay for the Big Friggin’ Royal Wedding! I’m so excited! Joey’s not excited, in fact, his only advice for Prince William is “Don’t Do It!” He’s joking but he says he’s happy that after tomorrow the TV will be his again. In the meantime, that TV is mine, as I am totally smitten with the idea of a Royal Wedding! Now if you will excuse me, I have to make some Tea, put my tiara on, and basque in Royal Wedding Overload.
The website I am obsessed with right now: http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/royals/index.html
Going to Italy was the best trip we ever took. It was a trip that changed our lives, and by going, we discovered more than just where our families came from. Italy certainly has changed our perspective of a lot of things. We hope we make the Italian Americans out there proud of this blog, and we apologies if we ever insulted any of you with the clichés that were directed our way. We think you will appreciate this blog, and maybe encourage those who never been to Italy, to plan a trip.
My father is my hero.
He came to America in the 1960’s, as a young boy, with my Grandparents and his twin sister. Prior to coming to this country, my grandpa Giuseppe (who I miss SEVERELY) came here to build an American life for his wife and children. He established a life here, got a job and became an American Citizen. He than brought his family here, so they can become American citizens too.
My father grew up in a small village in Frosinone, which is located on the outskirts of Rome. While in Italy, we visited his old house, on a hillside lined with Olive trees. This is where he spent many of his days on the farm, sitting under his favorite fig tree and playing with his donkey. The house is small and a little run down, yet you can still feel a huge presence of love.
It was one of the most memorable times in my life. My father took us through his childhood, being a boy growing up in rural Italy. It was vividly clear, although the house was run down, how much he appreciated where he came from. I was lucky to have Joey with me when we went to see the property, because it was the encouragement we needed to know that one day, good things do come.
I think it’s important to know where you come from. My father is now a successful man, and while his assets are abundant and plenty, he makes it clear that family is more important to him than material things. When he was in Italy, his family, which included 4 sisters and my grandparents, gave him all he needed. They didn’t need the lavish things so many of us claim we can’t live without.
Our visit to Italy was filled with family. I love them so much, and it was the perfect vacation in which to have Joey meet my entire family. We arrived in Rome, on a warm afternoon, and we were instantly greeted with hugs, tears and an overwhelming sense of worth.
Food and Beverage in Italy:
After a long flight, I must say, my family (who we stayed with), really out did themselves with the food! What I love about Italy was that everything we ate was fresh. To help clear up a cliché, not everything is spaghetti and meatballs. In fact, there’s more to the cuisine than you may think. Now, depending on what region your in, there are traditional foods served. In my family’s case, we were served bread and prosciutto, home grown vegetables, and pasta from scratch. And everything is from the family farm; they dried their own prosciutto, they harvest their own blood oranges and tomatoes, and they collect the eggs used to make the homemade pasta. There is nothing artificial about what they eat.
Hence why when we came home, thinking I gained weight, I actually lost weight. We did a lot of walking, eating healthy, well-rounded food, and adapted a lifestyle I can only wish we could do here.
Joey’s favorite foods were prosciutto, cheese and homemade sausage, and he snacked on it everyday, all day. Is your mouth watering yet? Also, Joey and I are breakfast eaters, however, a simple espresso and a piece of toast with Nutella was considered breakfast there. Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day in Italy. Lunch is, which technically, is dinner. Dinner is light, similar to our lunches. It’s this kind of lifestyle that helps someone maintain their weight.
Homemade food and drink is very common in Italy. Joey had the chance to experience homemade Grappa at a party we went to at my Aunts house. Grappa is Italian vodka, and like the Polish Spiritus, it is very strong and has a bit of a bite. My Uncle, who was feeling rather celebratory, gave Joey a shot, which we all warned him of the Grappa. I don’t think Joey was expecting the four-alarm fire that engulfed his throat. However, the homemade Lemoncello made up for the unwelcoming taste, which is refreshing and cooling. Than, of course, there was the wine. There is nothing like homemade wine from Italy. I am a wine drinker, and I savored every glass like I would never have it again.
Coffee, especially Espresso, is very popular in Italy. In fact, I noticed a sort of pride when it comes to making Espresso. My cousin, Anna, makes an excellent espresso. Her secret is to sweeten the grinds before she brews it. Starbucks would never be able to come close to the amazing taste and aroma of her espresso. It never tasted bitter or burnt.
I may be talking a lot about the food, but the truth is, I wanted to help break you out of that food cliché. Fresh meat, dairy, vegetables and fruit from the farm were what we ate. Not to mention, Pizza in Rome differs from New York Pizza. Panini’s are even different. I prefer the Italian version any day, maybe with the exception with pizza, because, lets face it, NY pizza is delicious! I’ll call it a tie.
I think the best example of Italian cooking in the states is probably demonstrated by Giada De Laurentiis. Her cooking is very similar to the way my family prepares food. I have a true appreciation for her style of cooking, and for the simple fact that she really touches base with using fresh ingredients. I may not be one to talk about cooking (as we all know)…but she is as authentic as they come.
What to do in Italy:
Italy has some of the most beautiful churches in the world, in my opinion. The architecture is breathe-taking. The paintings, the statues and the colors are so vivid, and realistic. There is a ton of history in these churches. They have survived wars, nature and 100’s of years without necessarily showing it. Even if you are not a religious, I think any person could appreciate the beauty in these churches. Ladies, please remember that when visiting churches, do not wear anything that shows your shoulders or an over abundance of leg, and men should wear pants or jeans, not shorts.
My favorite church was The Pantheon, which is the Roman temple of all Gods. This particular church doesn’t even look like it was touched by time. There are tombs of the Italian Monarchs inside the church, as well as having an opening atop its dome that only lets light in.
Churches we loved and suggest to you:
1) St. Peter’s Basilica, San Pietro in Vaticano (Vatican City)
2) Santa Maria Maggiore
3) The Pantheon
4) San Clemente
5) Santa Maria in Cosmedi
Rome is not only known for the Vatican, although, I feel you should make it a point to go. There are many other sites that are almost rewarding to visit. Here are a few of our absolute favorites.
Sites of Rome, Italy that we loved:
Joey and my absolute favorite place to visit (we went twice) was the Colosseum. Imagine sitting within the amphitheater, watching gladiators battle lions, and each other. It must have been an insane sporting event to attend. I think it’s the main reason why Italians are so passionate about soccer; it’s in their nature. When we were there, it was being restored, and the chambers below the battlefield were exposed. Perhaps this is where they kept the lions and warriors before battle. Like many attractions in New York City, this place is crawling with tourist, and if you want, you can take pictures with the “gladiators” outside of the grounds. However, for us, it was being inside the magnificent structure that really astounded us.
The Roman Forum:
This is a must see. Why? If you remember anything from history class in school, like the Constantine Empire, this should ring a bell. This is history at its finest. And not only that, but the architectural details will blow your mind.
The Trevi Fountain:
First and foremost, for those who appreciate good black and white movies, please watch “La Dolce Vita” and than lets talk about the Trevi Fountain; its one of the sexiest, most romantic scenes in Italian cinema. And yet so illegal! If you actually swim in the Trevi Fountain, the police will give you a hefty fine. However, that is one of the most famous scenes from a movie. Visiting the Trevi Fountain is a “must do”, even though it is tourist infested for the most part. Be a little less dramatic than the characters in “La Dolce Vita” by just throwing a coin in the water and make a wish.
The Spanish Steps and the Piazza di Spagna
One of my fondest memories of visiting this site is sharing gelato with Joey and admiring how many people can fit on the steps! There is a wonderful gelato place across the way, which has 2 floors, and a large assortment of seriously mouth-watering gelato. It really is pretty cool, and you kind of forget you are in a big city.
There are some things you should keep in mind when visiting a city like Rome or any city: Watch out for pickpockets. They come in every shape and size; children do most of the dirty work believe or not. It’s sad, but true. Keep you bags zipped and wallets close to you. The police in Italy are very attentive to the situation, and will help you God forbid. But by taking precautions, you can prevent a serious nightmare. Also, traffic is as bad as New York City. If anything, take the train when you can (its similar to the Long Island Rail Road actually) and walk. And most people do speak English in Italy; so if you are lost, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
See a Soccer Game:
I’ve never really been a sports fan, maybe a little UFC and Boxing here and there, but I never got into any particular sport. I played lacrosse in high school. That’s my extent. And I like hockey although I never necessarily followed it. So when Sandra’s cousins took us to a soccer game, I wasn’t expecting the insanity that goes along with it. Allow me to do a comparison: Sports fans here paint their bodies, wear their team logos and skip work to watch a sporting event. Sport fans in Italy go to war.
The game was Frosinone versus Rome. Those there for Frosinone sat on one side of the arena, Rome’s followers on the other. Those there for fun or those who respectively stayed neutral stuck to the middle. I instantly noticed how high the fences were, and how many security guards there were. Once the game was set to begin, that’s when it was a scene straight out of “Brave Heart”. Fans were scaling the fence, lighting flairs in their team’s colors, chanting obscenities and going crazy. You would have thought they were playing.
The teams came out and the crowd went wild. The girls, I noticed were head over heels for particular Roman, Francesco Totti, who is the David Beckham of Italy. So between the crazy fans and the fanatics for Totti, I found soccer to be a very entertaining sport… the fans are friggin’ hilarious! The game itself was ok, but I found the energy that came from the fans the best experience ever! When you go to Italy, I recommend you go to a game. You will never see anything like this in America. Italians are passionate, like Sandra said, and they show it. That’s why you need to go to a game.
Other Towns to consider visiting that we went to and loved:
We were fortunate to have a family not afraid to take us places. Here are a few places to consider visiting if you have the chance.
This town belongs to the providence of Frosinone, and since it was so close to where we were staying, we spent time visiting this little yet amazing town. Veroli is something out of a movie, with its cobblestone streets, beautiful archways, and amazing views. There is something very special about this little town. It’s very romantic. There is a particular church there that will probably interest you. The Basilica of Santa Salome contains the holy stairs. It is believe that these are the actual steps that Jesus climbed the day he was sentenced to death.
Of course, wherever we go, we make it a point to find a beach. The Coast of Italy, from Latina to Gaeta, has amazing beaches. Our favorite beach is the one in Terracina. The views are worth the trip, the quant little beach town is comparable to the beach towns of Long Island, only better because it Italy! There is a great café on the strip to the beach, as well as clothing shops. Sandra- my fondest memory was watching some Italian women swoon over Joey’s “body builder” physic lol. It was flattering and funny at the same time. They knew he was American right away.
The history behind this particular monastery is that the Germans used it as a fort during World War 2, primarily during “the battle for Rome”. With such history, this historic site is worth visiting if not for its past but for its art. The monastery has seen its fair share of war, sadly, and has been redone several times since it was built originally. If history isn’t really your thing, perhaps the views will captivate you.
We could go on for days. We didn’t even touch base about all the shopping there, because most of you are fully aware that Italy has the best designers. And we weren’t going to talk about the cars because you know that whatever they have there we can get here. We did want to take you a little beyond the ordinary. And we did want to do right by Italian Americans and really share a piece of the culture that so many people never get to experience.
So we are going to wrap up our “Joey and Sandra’s Guide to …” series with a little advice… it pays to be adventurous, and to take risks. See the world. And above all, enjoy your life. We have been many places, but when certain places stick out for certain reasons, tell your friends, family and even strangers to go there. We plan on seeing a whole lot more islands and countries; we really just like to travel.
So what’s next? We do have some news that we’ve been sitting on. Get ready for some good old’ fashion Joey and Sandra. Because the whole “being a Newly-wed” thing is turning out to be an interesting experience…