Sunday, March 31, 2013

Date Nights

Our date nights are pretty typical. We'll go out to dinner either alone or with friends. Once in a while, we'll go to a concert (Symphony/Pink Martini/Death Cab for Cutie). However, we've been mixing it up a tad! Food is still central, but the events themselves are mildly less ordinary.

Most recently, we attended a charity dinner that benefited Second Harvest Food Bank. It was a cooking competition with 4 chefs from the Beaches (my part of town) and 4 chefs from the City. Each course was comprised for 2 dishes, one from a chef from each team. Wine pairings were also available. The diners/audience would pick their favorite of each course. Highest number of votes win. The food was delicious from start to finish. We lucked out in being sat at a pretty entertaining table. I even saw my wedding musicians there (how random is that!) It was a great event for a wonderful cause. This was our first charity dinner, so I was actually a tad nervous. Would we be the youngest ones there? Ha, glad my worries were dashed quickly.

Confession: I go gaga for chefs. Sometimes they are ones that I've seen on TV (Hello Chuck Hughes). Sometimes they are James Beard award winning chefs. I'm just in awe of people who create delicious food (my husband included!)

In light of my confession, it comes to no surprised that our next several date nights will feature some well known chefs!

Next month, we are seeing Anthony Bourdain! Before we cancelled cable, we watch "No Reservations" and "The Layover" regularly. J and I both love his love of divey places and appreciation of food culture. So, not only are we going to the show, we are also going to a VIP reception so we will meet him! What to say to Anthony Bourdain?? I'll let you know.

Next month is also our five year anniversary. We are going to Orlando to eat and drink around Winter Park and Downtown. Several restaurants were recognized by the James Beard Foundation  this year, so it is exciting to see Orlando coming into its own in the food world.

This summer, we are attending two different cooking demonstrations (yes, you also get to eat) . First up is The Lee Brothers, who are regulars in Southern Living magazine and have several cookbooks featuring Charleston's finest. In June, we are seeing Kevin Gillespie, who was one of my favorites from Top Chef!

Funny to have date night planned so far in advanced, but I'm looking forward to it all!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Three moving tips

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that we recently moved from our condo to a single family home at the beach. Truffle gets a yard! We don't have to worry about Jack tumbling down our stairs! We don't have to smell the cigarette smoke from our neighbors anymore (the biggest reason we moved)!

The last time I moved was from Chicago to Florida. It was pretty painless as I didn't have much stuff. I lived in a 495 sq. ft apartment! Also, I didn't have a dog or baby (or husband) to concern myself with.

I wanted to share the three tips that helped us in this move.

(1) Put toilet tissue, soap and a plunger in the bathrooms before move-in day.

(2) Pack a set of bedsheets/pillow cases plus your new shower curtain (don't forget the curtain rings!) in a separate bag that stays with you. Make yourself take a break early in the unpacking to make your bed/hang. Clean sheets plus a hot shower will never feels as good as they do after a day of moving!

(3) Arrange for your pets/children to stay with family on moving day. Truffle stayed at J's parents. Jack was with my parents. If you have the opportunity to make this happen, it will help. I promise!

Aside from our movers showing up 5 hours late, it was a great move. We have a few random boxes of books left to unpack, but everything else is in its place!

P.S. Lesson Learned: If you have asthma, probably a good idea to wear a face mask when the movers are actually moving stuff. Dust will be in abundance. And I highly recommend you know where your inhaler is. Wish I had done both!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

First Job

I remember being so excited to find my first job.The most coveted jobs were at our local mall. This was the early 1990's, after all! I knew I didn't want to work in food service. That is funny to me now as I waited tables and bartended my way through college!

My first job was at a Hallmark store. I started when I was 15. Not only did they sell greeting cards and gift wrap, but they also sold every tchotchke known to man. Precious Moments. Cherished Teddies. And so on! I was hired as a sales clerk. Because of my age, I could only work around 15-20 hours a week during the school year. During the school week, I worked one to two days for 3-4 hours. On the weekends, I would work either Saturday or Sunday. When I turned 16, it was less strict and I started closing the store on Friday nights. Thinking back, I can't believe my store manager let me and another 16 year old sales clerk close and make the bank drops! Ha!

Working at the mall was a blast. I had friends who worked at the Barnie's coffee (no Sbux in our town for many years) and Chick Fil A, so I'd get to chat with them on breaks. Of course, there were always a few creepers at the mall. We would have a couple of older men (come to think of it, they were probably in their 30's LOL) who would ask us out. Obviously, they'd back off once I'd disclose that I was 15/16/17. If they came around too much, we would call security on them!

I have great memories helping customers find the perfect card or gift. At least once a week, we would have a male customer asking where the "I'm Sorry" cards were located. Some would completely unload on us and I did find that helpful when finding cards for them. At Valentine's Day, you always had a guy coming in at 8:59 p.m. (Mall closed at 9 p.m.). One year, I had a guy offer to buy our last box of Russell Stover chocolates. The thing is, the candies were display (i.e. WAX) only. We had to convince him it would be much worst to bring those home than to come home with only a card. Crazy!

I worked at Hallmark during the Beanie Baby phenomenon. I remember wearing the Beanies on my shoulder to help promote them. It wasn't long before we had grown ladies waiting for us to open so they could buy way more Beanies that any one person possibly needed. Little did they know that one of my co-workers was obsessed with them and had an extra large bag filled to the brim with all the good ones. Opps!

This was truly a wonderful first job! I resigned when I went off to college. They always worked around my band schedule or exam schedule. Twenty years later and one of the ladies STILL works there and remembers me!

What was your first job? I'd love to know!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

That one time where my shoes broke: A timeline

February 25, 2013 - I discovered that my Tory Burch Revas, purchased at Nordstrom in Chicago (Michigan Avenue) in October 2011, were split in the sole. Cue intense anger.

February 26, 2013 - I tweet the following message:

"So my husband's wallet does not appreciate what happened to my  Revas. I've only had them for 1.5 years!!"

Within two hours, I received a DM from @toryburch:

Please email, attention Gloria, and she will help you.

I sent an email to the above address, explaining my situation. I received a reply on the same day from "Gloria", requesting I send an additional picture, proof of purchase and my contact information.

February 27, 2013 - I received an email response with an apology for the damaged shoes as well as a offer of the cost of the shoes in the form of a gift card. Honestly, that was more than I would have expected! I would have been pleased with free repair to my shoes. TB provided a UPS label for me to use to ship the shoes back.

March 7, 2013 - I received an email stating that my shoes were received and routed to the appropriate department. The email also noted that I would receive my electronic gift card within 7 days.

March 19, 2013 - I had not received my promised gift card yet. I sent an email to follow up. Within a couple of hours, I had my gift card plus an email apologizing for the delay.

Same day, I send an email to the Chief Talent Officer at Tory Burch (who I just happened to have worked for in Chicago at a large media/advertising company). I let her know my positive experience.

All in all, I'm satisfied with the resolution to my issue. I don't know what I'm purchasing with my gift card yet, but I'll be sure to share at that time! Going the social media/customer service route worked for me! I suppose I could have contacted my old boss/contact and complained, but I trusted the system!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

On Judgement

Everyone judges. Even the nicest, non-"Mean Girl"person judges. We judge each other on values, clothing choices (our own and our children's), food, drink, friends, marriage, pretty much everything
stationery choices, grammar, etc.

Social media has given us an opportunity to expand the range of our judgement. Not only can we judge people we know in real life, but we can judge people we've never met! We can cast upon our harshest words and sit smugly on our virtual thrones.

You may be thinking...I don't ever do this. Perhaps you don't outwardly, but admit it, deep down. You do this!

As I've read through my Twitter timeline over the past years, I've seen the direct judging, passive aggressive jabs, the #nojudgies but I'm still judging you inside. I'm totally guilty of it too.

But if you are anything like me, you are judging yourself the worst.

I worry that if I post a picture of my son wearing a onesie that says "I Love Mommy," those of you who have said you hate cliched kids clothing will think that I'm a bad Mom.

I worry that if we're not making 100% of our babies food and I mention buying those pouches, you'll think I'm a bad mom.

I worry that because I leave my baby with my in-laws or parents overnight sometimes, so J and I get a date night or sleep, you'll think I'm a bad mom.

Unreasonable? Ridiculous? Absolutely!

But I'm doing it anyways.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Living in a small screen world

I have to give it up to the CW. They manage to air shows that feature fake towns where I want to live! Here are my favorites.

Capeside, MA - "Dawson's Creek" was a favorite from the late 90's. Hands down, it had the best soundtrack. I suppose that ages me, yes? Oh well. I've been rewatching the series, thanks to Netflix. While the fashion leaves much to be desired, the idyllic small town of Capeside is still appealing. The series was filmed in Wilmington, NC. My friends and I used to talk about taking a road trip up the coast to see the real Capeside. Oh, youth.

Stars Hollow, CT - Stars Hollow, how I love thee? The quaint stores. The quirky residents. The Dragonfly Inn. Luke's! As a Florida girl, there is not much around here that is quaint and charming. It was nice to escape to Stars Hollow once a week! Sadly, Stars Hollow only existed in a Southern California film lot.

Bluebell, AL - Doesn't this gazebo look familiar? Good to know that the old Stars Hollow lot is finding a new life as the set of "Hart of Dixie". They take a page from the Amy Sherman-Palladino world and filled Bluebell with some quirky characters. However, I find HoD's characters a little more believable -- Southerners are just a touch odd in the best way possible :) I'd die to live in the Mayor's house. I dig the vintage Southern style as well.

Do y'all watch any of these shows? Let me know if you'd be my neighbor!