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And the chocolate shall pour down from the heavens…

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I never had the little girl wedding dreams.  In fact, I’d never given it much thought at all.  But I can tell you that within about 4 minutes of engagement I knew one thing for certain: our wedding needed a chocolate fountain.

Chocolate is at the apex of my food pyramid (followed closely by cheese, wine & coffee).  And the idea of a beautiful fountain spouting chocolate is pretty much my nirvana.  It was my One Wedding Necessity (much as the glamorous mini hot dog was Richie’s…god love him). 

After “painstakingly” researching a number of chocolate fountain companies, I found the one that stood head and shoulders above the pack: Chocolate Fountain Fantasies ( http://chocolatefountainfantasies.com ).  

Their chocolate is insane.  Unlike the other guys, they don’t water it down with oil.  You’re getting the REAL DEAL.  Pure Sephra Premium Fondue Chocolate by Callebaut.  If chocolate were Meth, you’re essentially getting Breaking Bad quality stuff. (equally addictive, no?)

Here’s the other thing I liked about Chocolate Fountain Fantasies: they ONLY do chocolate.  Most of the companies I talked to do all kinds of party rentals, lighting, flowers…they’d probably sell you new tires, I don’t know.   The point is, with my expert chocolate taste buds, I require a chocolate SPECIALIST. 

And the dipping items?  Stop. You can pick from like 12 million amazing things.  Although I’m way more into carb dipping awesomeness of the cookie/pound cake/graham cracker variety versus the fruits (particularly the absurd pineapple/melon/grape variety), I am ALL about choices.  And when I had the pleasure of sitting down with the lovely owner, Laura, to discuss selections, she pretty much blew my mind.  I’ll save our picks for the post-wedding pics, but needless to say, there will be a vertible cadre of sweet chocolate goodness.

And let me also just go here: as someone who comes from a bi-chocolate family (I’m hardcore milk, my sisters are hardcore dark), we will have NOT ONE, BUT TWO glorious chocolate geysers!  So the weirdo dark chocolate people can experience the same bliss that I’ll be feeling over at Milk Landing.

Thank you, Chocolate Fountain Fantasies, for being pretty much the second best part of my wedding (after marrying Richie, of course).

Mentally prepare yourself by following them on twitter: http://twitter.com/chocolatefountn & liking (LOVING!) them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChocolateFountainFantasies 

Sweetly,

Rach

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Daddy’s Little Girl.

I love this pic of us.

I am- unashamedly- a “daddy’s girl”.  I like to think we share the same brain (which means he’s actually thinking the same thing…right…NOW).  I mean seriously, it’s creepy.  He doesn’t have to finish his sentences, I intrinsically know where he’s going in any given conversation.

My sisters got married when they were younger & with or near my parents.  So my dad had the opportunity to plan first hand.  And he took great pride in it.  When I was a kid, he ran hotels and restaurants across the country and had access to hook ups on the best of the best for their weddings.  He still tells me about the extravagant champagne & caviar brands served to the guests and I methodically ooh & aah (despite the fact that I secretly have no clue what he’s talking about).

But alas, as a grown up, I’m living in the big apple while my pops’ is in…THE BIG ORANGE (aka Florida!  OMG, I’m totally a genius right now.  I can’t believe I just stumbled on that one!  Although, of course, my dad just thought of it too).  It’s killing him not to be here throwing the party of a lifetime for the baby of the family.   Not only is he geographically distant, I’m an adult now.  I have a highly developed sense of personal style that I want reflected in the wedding.  My sisters we’re just north of 20 when they got hitched.  At that age, I would have needed my dad to handle the details or the pink sparkly feather covered lunch box I was using as a purse would have expanded into a horrendous wedding theme.  I’m almost 30 now- I got a handle on what it is I want in the world (and the venue.  and the dress.  and the chocolate fountain of my dreams).

But I do want his help.  And I trust that words like “warming kitchen” and “sterno” actually mean something to him, whereas I tend to just nod knowingly and let my mind wander to Jersey Shore when confronted with vendors pontificating on these topics.

So I need ideas.  How can I involve my dad from a distance? Anyone been in a similar position with their parents & have any advice?

Here’s one thing I’m working on- he’ll be in town in a couple weeks & I’m planning The Official Engagement Party- which, I’ve been told, is a thing we’re supposed to do.  Do not get me started on the process of running around town to pull off an obligatory and affordable party on short notice with snotty event planners who scoff (and charge like their FAR from scoffing) at my little 40-person soiree.  Gigantic sigh.

xoxo,

R

Hot Up Boot Camp.

I want to be HOT on my wedding day.  Not every day hot, exceptional hot.  I want to look back at those pictures when I’m old & wrinkly and be all “DAMMMMNNNN!”.  I don’t even use phrases like “I’ll be all ‘DAMMMNNNN!'”, but that’s seriously the level of hot I’m looking for.  I intend to put a Kardashian to shame, that’s all I’m saying.

So I’m trying to figure out what goes into that hotting up process.

Let’s start with the obvious.  My dream weight is a buck 17 (perhaps you’ve noticed my obsession with sevens…and yup, it’s pretty much that arbitrary).  I can’t break 122 to save my life.  And frankly, that’s working hard for it- I rest comfortably at 124.  I know there are people who would roll their eyes at my quest to drop 5 lbs, but let me tell you, I’ve come a long way to get to the point where 5 lbs matters. I look at working out as my job (and a caloric penance of sorts for eating total and complete sh*t all day).  117 is the lowest healthy BMI for my height and I think being a healthy weight is more important than being Kate Moss.  Besides, I’m built too naturally Jessica Rabbit-esque to risk looking emaciated (I’ve gotta have at least 10 lbs in knockers alone?!).  My goal may sound crazy, but I have yet to meet a girl who is 100% satisfied with her weight as it stands.  And while I think I look fine in person- I’m a size 2 and I don’t have “problem areas” to defensively dress- I recognize (and am thankful) that my world is often on camera & that cameras completely suck balls, as far as the whole adding 5 lbs thing goes.  Point being, I want to be 117.

(I'm way more the one on the right)

So there’s that.

Also on the hot up list- I’m doing laser hair removal.  Ok, that wont necessarily show up on wedding pictures, but come on!  Who doesn’t want baby smooth legs all the time??  Plus, there was a groupon.  So a couple months before the wedding, I’ll be relatively hairless.

Annnnd while I’m at it- I’m getting a tattoo removed.  Don’t you worry- I’d never touch my “7”.  This one’s a smidge south- the ‘ol “tramp stamp” was such an awesome idea in college but much like Crystal Pepsi, it just doesn’t pass the test of time.  There should be a law that you have to take some emotional maturity exam before they can start inking you.  Or maybe move the age limit to 25.  I’m just saying you need to know what it is you truly stand for before you permanently declare it on your skin.  I kick around ideas for new tattoos all the time- I don’t think I’m done with the ink.  But I feel more settled into who I am at this point in my life & I don’t think any new work would be the result of a drunken stumble into a shady parlor.  Side note on removal: I’m fairly certain having a limb amputated is less painful.  You’ve been warned.

I’m willing to say that I know all of this is a little screwy.  I get that the Utopian version of me would look lovingly in a mirror and find peace & self-acceptance & unicorns & rainbows & valium.  I was inspired and slightly horrified by http://www.ayearwithoutmirrors.com , Kjerstin Gruys self-imposed mirror ban for the year leading up to her wedding- have you heard about this?  How the eff she’s avoiding mirrors for a year is beyond me (although in fairness, she doesn’t get picked apart on “fan” sites, so you gotta give me a little room for neurosis).  I give the girl props.  And would offer the girl xanax.

But I digress.

Here’s my favorite part of the story- Richie’s jumped in my hot up for the wedding boat!  We have a dentist (periodontist, actually) that we adore here in NYC, Nicholas Toscano, DDS ( http://www.manhattanperiodontist.com ).  He does all our dental work- we both did deep cleanings over the summer & I have a whitening hobby (slash mild obsession) that Dr. Toscano assists with.  He’s just a good dude, does a great job, really cares about his patients & pretty much treats our teeth like they were gold capped gangsta gems 🙂

Although Richie had braces twice as a kid, they never really “took”.  So he sat down with Dr. Toscano (follow http://twitter.com/DrToscanoDDS !) to see if there was anything he could do to permanently fix his teeth. And while you’d never know it to look at OR talk to Richie…he now has braces!  Dr. Toscano did Richie’s Invisalign.  So in about 6 months, Richie’s teeth will look amazing.  I didn’t know anything about Invisalign, but I’m completely blown away.  You don’t see them!  You can take them out!  I’m not sure why anyone would get the old school metal train tracks with this technology readily available.

Richie looks fantastic in that lipstick shade, no?

Oh- and here’s the coolest part.  Richie trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu almost every night.  And Dr. Toscano didn’t want Richie to have all that time training with a mouthguard in his mouth instead of his Invisalign.  So he’s creating CUSTOM INVISALIGN MOUTHGUARDS for Richie!!  How cool is that?!

So that’s the plan.  Don’t get me wrong, I would marry Richie with imperfect teeth as quickly as he’d marry me with stubbly legs and an outdated tattoo.  But the wedding is kind of a natural hot up deadline.  It’s nice to set some life goals that we can accomplish over the next twelve months, three weeks and one day.

xoxo,

R

The Cake Tasting.

So, I finally have a second to tell you about the epic day Richie & I sat in a coffee shop with http://alittlesomethinsweet.com founder/cake designer/artistic guru, Adam Beckworth.

Let me set the stage.  I was starving.  I had strategically not eaten that morning in order to fully appreciate the freecakertunity (in hindsight, I don’t recommend that, as my sugar buzz & subsequent crashing were ones for the record book).

We met in a quaint little coffee shop.  Richie & I were excitedly waiting with palate cleansing bottles of water on the ready.  Adam walked in with a little picnic basket and joined us.

Umm, how cute is he?? 🙂

We chatted for a bit (side note, I completely love this guy- he’s so much fun!) and then he proceeded to unpack our delicacies.  I can’t even believe how adorably organized his system is.

Before.

And I’m in HEAVEN.  The cakes were AMAZING- so moist & flavorful.  The frostings were rich & delicious.

Richie & I immediately start chowing but realize quickly that we need to slow it down so we save enough of the cake samples to pair up with the different frosting samples- each combination is so different and unique!

Here’s what we tasted-

Cake:

Malted Vanilla cake

Red Velvet cake

Roasted Banana cake

Dark Chocolate Devil’s Food cake

Espresso Bourban Chocolate Fudge cake

 

Frostings:

Whipped Marscapone

Malted Sweet Cream Buttercream

Peanut infused Buttercream with French Sea Salt and Candied Peanuts

Milk Chocolate Ganache

Dark Chocolate Fudge Buttercream

 

And yeah, we did some damage 🙂

After.

The coolest part was, when you combined the cakes and frostings in different ways, you can create completely amazing flavor profiles!

Ultimately, these were our three favorites combinations:

-Red Velvet cake with Mascarpone Frosting

(This one was so light & delicious. Plus I feel like everyone loves red velvet)

-Banana Cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache and Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting

(I would have never thought banana + wedding cake would be in the same sentence but it was DELICIOUS.  Very chocolate covered banana, but in a mild, cakey way)

-Dark Chocolate Devil’s Food cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache and Peanut Buttercream with Sea Salt and Candied Peanuts

(Holy eff, this one was insane.  And my favorite.  It’s got the salty/sweet thing going on, like a chocolate covered pretzel. I can’t even describe this one & do it justice)

 

Who says we have to just pick one?

 

Overall, the day was amazing, the cake was amazing, Adam was amazing.  This was definitely my favorite part of the wedding planning to date.

Side note, Adam just posted some new cake pics on his website- I had to share.  These cakes were for a CAT.   Well, for people, but in honor of a famous cat at the Algonquin Hotel in NYC.

Seriously, he's amazing.

Love it!

Definitely the perfect cat cake.

Adam opened my eyes to what’s possible as far as wedding cakes go & how to break out of the non-traditional rut.  I’m thinking about asking him to write a guest blog on the topic because I know there are others out there who want a funky, personalized, unique, kick ass wedding like we do 🙂

xoxo,

R

Sweet tooth.

So, I’m extremely excited.  And here’s why: today is CAKE TASTING SATURDAY!!!!!

You guys sent me a ton of recommendations (which I could not possibly appreciate more!) and one name kept popping up here in NYC:

http://alittlesomethinsweet.com

Adam Beckworth is originally from Texas  (I feel like that begs for some sort of snappy joke about bigger cakes- I’ll let you know when I smooth that one out.  Bear with me, I’m a smidge hungover).  He grew up baking & decorating cakes but moved to NY to act almost 15 years ago.  He went on to work in the graphic design world for several years, until he decided to pursue his baking passion full time.  He describes his cake style as bold, graphic, clean and modern, and he’s drawn to unique flavor profiles made from scratch with fresh ingredients.

Here’s the other cool thing: he’s one of those amazing cake artists who can make cakes that look nothing like cakes.  He needs to be on one of those TLC shows, his skill blows my mind.  I first learned about Adam’s talent when my best friend (and marriage officiant! I’ll write about that another day), Ellie, showed me a picture of this cake from our mutual friend Melanie’s bachelorette party.  Mel loves a good cheese plate…so he created this for her:

Yep. It's a CAKE.

I checked out Adam’s website & saw these ridiculously amazing pieces of delicious art:

Did you hear that part about this being a CAKE?

Also, please look at these cupcakes. CUPCAKES!!!!!

These are cupcakes. Are you freaking out yet?!

This is just insanity.

At some point, they're too pretty too eat. I mean, not really- I could eat 12 right now.

 

Lest you fear I’m doing a giant Doritos bag wedding cake, Adam does traditional cakes as well & they are all obscenely beautiful.

I want to lick this immediately

 

Are you looking at your computer screen in complete disbelief? Cause seriously, I’ve shown my friends these pictures a hundred times already & I’m still in awe.

So Richie & I are off this am to meet the great wizard behind the curtain at A Little Somethin Sweet.  I hope to be in a borderline blood sugar emergency by the time I leave.

Will post all about it asap!

xoxo,

R

We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Blog…

Ok, I suck.  It’s been way too long between blog posts.  And while I’d like to blame it on things like impromptu trips to Florida, AC, Philly & Wisconsin (and I sort of do), I take full responsibility (except see above).

First off, before I even get into wedding-y stuff, the response to my last blog post was…amazing.  I got emails and facebook messages and tweets from so many of you who were touched by our sentiment.  I wish I had the words to tell you how much it hit my heart to know that what we wrote was so well received.  It’s always a little scary to take a stand that you know full well will (and did) alienate some people.  I can tell you that in hindsight after the TENS OF THOUSANDS of webhits my last post received, not only did I feel heartfelt appreciation from so many of our gay friends, but I also received a couple messages from people who stopped to rethink their position and have started to feel differently about the issue.  That’s beyond words amazing.  It takes a lot to admit you may have been wrong about something (ask Richie- I think he’s heard those words come out of my mouth maybe once? And if pressed I might still deny it), so I wholeheartedly congratulate those of you who paused to reflect.  I know, I know- a little blog that made a couple people think is a drop of water on a blaze, but it’s also indicative of the fact that change begets change and one voice can inspire thousands.  So, you know, say something.

Speaking of saying, I need to say one more thing about the subject before I return you to your regularly scheduled blog, as promised by the now slightly misleading blog title.

My dad LOVES the picture Richie & I took with NOH8.  Loves it.  To an embarrassing extent.  Like, he’s had it printed in 8x10s, had it blown up to poster size, mounted it on foam core board, and had some sort of canvas portrait created as well.  I literally can’t get away from myself, which is completely creepy.  I’m waiting for my next birthday present to come wrapped in custom marriage announcement wrapping paper as I sit home in my NOH8 pic checkered pajama pants, cuddling with my custom printed throw blanket, sipping coffee from a mug with my face looking sternly back at me.  Essentially, our duct tapped faces are everywhere & it’s gotten slightly out of hand.

So, it came as no surprise that my dad sent our picture to a popular website to have custom postage stamps printed so our smiling faces could haunt the upper right hand corner of every letter he mails out (also, who even sends letters anymore? But I digress).

Imagine his surprise when his order was rejected & he received this email:

__

Dear Frank,

Unfortunately, we are currently unable to accept the image you have submitted as part of your order.

For this reason, your entire order has been canceled and your credit card will not be charged. We were unable to accept your image for the following reason:

This image was not accepted because it did not meet our content guidelines. Click here for more info on our content
guidelines.

Please note that owing to privacy concerns, our customer support representatives do not have access to any submitted images and they cannot provide additional details on why your submission did not meet our content guidelines.

We thank you for ordering from us and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We encourage you to try again.

__

So naturally, I looked up content restrictions and found this:

__

Content Restrictions: You agree not to upload, order for print, or otherwise transmit or communicate any material for any unlawful purpose or that is obscene, offensive, blasphemous, pornographic, sexually suggestive, deceptive, threatening, menacing, abusive, harmful, an invasion of privacy, supportive of unlawful action, defamatory, libelous, vulgar, violent, or otherwise objectionable.

__

Ok, seriously.  Blasphemous? Pornographic? Deceptive? Obscene?  Do I need to post the picture again?

What about our pro-marriage equality statement did they find so thoroughly offensive?

There are many companies who print custom photo stamps.  I thought long and hard about whether or not to publicly blast these guys on here (umm, obviously I found the CEO’s home address and I’m not gonna lie- it might have been fun to start a friendly campaign of sorts- perhaps exploring stamp designs more…overtly…in violation of the aforementioned “content restrictions”), but ultimately I’ve thought better of it.  When I look at what happened as a whole, it just serves as a reminder that as open as NY has proven to be post-equality vote, the rest of the country’s just not there yet.   If more people speak up, hopefully we can get to a point where any loving relationship….can be pictured on a postage stamp?

Sigh.

Ok, so it’s now clear that my blog post title was a complete (but unintentional!) lie.  Seriously though, how could I go back to dress shopping (OMG! I have so much to tell you!) and cake tastings (I’m trying the chocolate peanut butter invention next week!! Wheee! Free cake!!) when the custom postage stamp industry had some ‘splainin to do? 🙂

 

Love to all of you-

Rach

Love is Love.

I interrupt this frivolous blog to bring you an important message.  Feel free to tune out if you were hoping for a diatribe on save-the-date etiquette (which I totally have questions on…but now’s not the time).

Richie and I released our engagement announcement today.  And we waited until now for a very specific reason.  As I type this, same sex marriage is being put to the Senate floor for a vote in New York.

Although I have strong beliefs across the board, there are very few political issues that I speak about publicly.  Coming from a family I love that happens to be filled with staunchly opposing political viewpoints, I’ve learned to shut my yap & just enjoy playing dominoes with the people I absolutely adore.  Because at the end of the day, they’re so much more than a party ticket.  Nothing I say will change their minds, just as nothing they say will change mine.  And instead of the frustration of trying again and again to craft the perfect argument that will cause some big “a ha!” moment where they’ll all see why my perspective clearly makes the most sense, I learned a long time ago that I don’t need someone to agree with me to make me “right”.  And when you really let go of that quest for approval of your opinion, you’re free to just love and appreciate other people, exactly where they are.

That being said, there are times when it’s important to take a stand.  When sitting in silence legitimately hurts another person.  I have too many gay friends not to stand up and say that equality matters.  I’ve watched them be mocked behind their backs, rejected by family, passed over for employment, turned down for adoptions.   I’m not speaking theoretically, I’ve seen every one of those examples first hand.  And it breaks my heart. 

So why is the word Marriage important, versus a Domestic Partnership or a Civil Union?  Very simply, our country tried “Separate but Equal” and we saw how well that turned out with Jim Crow Laws.  The truth is, separate is never equal.  It’s separate.  It separates.  It inherently teaches our children that one group of people are of a different class than another. 

I believe our grandchildren will look back at this time in history with some shame, and that saddens me.  It saddens me in the way our country’s discrimination towards women prior to the Suffrage Movement and, more poignantly, the dark blemish our practice of slavery left on our Nation’s history saddens me.   

All this to say that today, as this vote goes to the Senate, I’m encouraged.  I feel the excitement, the ground swell of change.  I feel an awakening and an awareness of an evolving generation that says “enough is enough”.  For the first time, I think progress is truly imminent.

So we chose to celebrate our engagement by standing up and saying something:

Love is love.

-Rachel

UPDATE 06/24/11 10:51 PM ET: GAY MARRIAGE PASSES IN NEW YORK!!!!  New York is now the 6th (& largest) state in the Union to adopt gay marriage!  Here’s my favorite quote: “when Republican Roy McDonald famously defended his unexpected decision, saying “fuck it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing” — the scale in favor of gay marriage seemed to tip.”

What an amazing day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!