Book #11 (Finally): 11/22/63

I love my Kindle. A lot.

It is the big one, with the giant screen and even though I cannot wait to get the Kindle Fire for my birthday in June (cough cough Mom & Dad/Fiance), I think I'm going to miss my gigantic one. (Please note that Fiance and I are currently embroiled in a debate about why I want a Kindle Fire instead of an iPad. More on that later)

While I do love my Kindle, I do not love that it refuses to tell me how many pages are in a book. When I decided to read the new Stephen King two weeks ago, I thought to myself "You're flying to Georgia, driving to Albany and have to commute. You'll finish this in four or five days tops".

Pssssh, friends Stephen King laughed in my face. Because (in true Kate fashion) I slept both ways to Georgia, and was distracted by Dilly in the car on the way to Albany and yesterday when I looked on Good Reads, it told me the book was 849 PAGES. So here I am, two weeks, 849 pages and one book later.

With that being said, this book was worth every single second. It took me about 150 pages to get into it, but once I did it was unbelievably wonderful. SO wonderful in fact that it is my first 5 star book of 2012!

I would absolutely recommend this book to any history buff, time travel lover or casual book reader. YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK! But don't read the end of it on the train, because it is so unbearably heartbreaking you may cry and then strangers will stare at you. 

Wedding Planning is Hard & Radio Silence

Friends, I'm so sorry for the radio silence over here for the past few days. The end of last week kind of got away from me and then before I knew it I was asleep on my couch last night at 9:30. Whoops.

This weekend was majorly eventful as Fiance and I hoofed it to Pennsylvania to look at wedding venues. The night before our first appointments, my Mom gave me some AWESOME Vera Bradley wedding supplies!

That is a super serious notebook to write all of my super serious wedding details in and a very important envelope to keep very important wedding things in! Thanks, Mom!

We took tours of three venues between Saturday and Sunday and in retrospect, everything is basically a blob in my brain.

Did you know you have to ask to see the bathrooms? And how many servers there are per guest? And whether or not the waiters take drink orders at the tables? Those are all things that apparently, you are supposed to ask! My Mom and Dad asked them at the first place, but then I caught on and asked them at the rest of the places, even though I felt silly because I feel like those are very serious questions and basically, I still can't get past the fact that I could potentially be wearing a veil. A veil, friends! Like on A Wedding Story or Four Weddings! I'm hoping that I can wrap my head around all of this by the time I have to find a dress...goodness.

We have a date "penciled in" at the first place (TOP SECRET INFORMATION) which they will be holding for us for up to two weeks. Then we saw this other place that Fiance loved so now we are just thinking about it and eventually we are going to have to do the math (gag, hate math) to figure it out. Seriously, wedding planning is hard and I totally understand why we procrastinated while I was in grad school. I probably would have exploded between the paper writing and the touring and the questions and the MATH. Geeze. Below, please see a photo of how seriously I am taking wedding planning.But the pro/con lists are coming soon and holy crap do I love a good pro/con list. Its basically how I make all large decisions in my life. Even if I wanted to date Fiance (hehehe just kidding, it was love at first sight OBVIOUSLY!)!

Embrace the Camera: The Wednesday Night Date Edition

Since September Fiance has been working 16 hours days at least one day a week (most weeks two or three days). 7AM-11PM is a l-o-n-g time, friends. We basically see each other for twenty minutes in the morning while we're getting ready and I wake up for about five seconds when he gets home.

But this week, he's not working late at all! 7:30AM-4:00PM which means he is home a full two and a half hours before me and we get to eat dinner together. And last night? It meant date night! I'm not sure when we got to be Wednesday night date people (or that we think Panera is a date) but we are! And boy was I thrilled! This week's Embrace the Camera is brought to you by the Wednesday Night Date!

My hair gets real flat after a day at work! 

Clearly we were very hungry!

And after Panera we went next door to the new frozen yogurt place, Swirls and Twirls. I went there a few weeks ago with my sister, and I kept calling it Twists and Splits...which is very obviously incorrect.

 I got pomegranate, raspberry, vanilla swirl and Fiance got chocolate with extra chocolate toppings. I got some sort of strange pink bubbly things are filled with strawberry goo...SO strange but real tasty. AND the yogurt was lactose free, which is SUPER helpful if you have a slight lactose issue (like me). I have obviously aged to 75 years old.

My Toothless Puppy Sister

Its been a big week for my puppy-sister, Holly Maire! On Saturday, my parents took her for her very first big girl hair cut. That picture is the result! Doesn't she look so grown up? My Mom says she doesn't like the cut they gave her, but I think she looks very distinguished.

I also need you to know that I got these pictures of her in an email from my Mom and that the subject was "Your Puppy Sister's New Haircut". Seriously, we have become crazy pet people in only seven months.

Not only did Holly have her very first big girl haircut, this is the conversation I had with my Mom last night:

Me: How's my puppy sister today?
Me: What?
Mom: I gave her her Kong treat (which is this thing that you put a stick like treat inside of and then they roll is around and chew it until they get the treat out) and she was SO excited. And then she took it into her bed and was resting and chewing it and then ALL OF A SUDDEN her bed was covered in blood!
Mom: Yeah, she lost two teeth though! I found them in her bed!
Me: Ugh, that is gross! Poor puppy! Is she sad?
Mom: She is a little depressed. She doesn't even want to play. I'm going to make her a scrambled egg for dinner to cheer her up.
Me: Oh. That's good. What are you and Daddy having for dinner?
Mom: I don't know, he's not home yet (having normal conversation) OH MY GOD SHE LOST ANOTHER ONE I JUST FOUND IT ON THE FLOOR.

Fiance are going to PA this weekend to look at wedding venues. Do we think I'll have a totally toothless puppy sister by then? Also, do ALL animals loose their teeth? Fiance wants to get Dilly a kitten friend but I am so not down to have kitten teeth bloodily falling out all over the house.

AMENDMENT: Three people have asked in approximately five is TOTALLY normal for puppies to lose their teeth! So they can have big girl teeth to go along with their big girl hair cuts, don't ya see?

A Very Wonderful Weekend (And A Lot of Pictures)

I am exhausted. Content and warm and fuzzy on the inside but exhausted none the less.

On Thursday morning I went to the airport and flew to Athens Georgia, home of the University of Georgia and the temporary home of my best-est friend Jared. See how temporary is bold? That's because he is moving home in May. And then, he is never going back there again. Ever. Nothing (much) against the great state of is just too far away.
All Georgia photos are courtesy of Jared's sister, Kyla. Who does not have a website or a blog, but she does take lovely photos and if you want her to take pictures of you (in the NYC area, send me an email!) 

Friends, the University of Georgia is big....dare I say gigantically huge. Take a bus (or the 36 that they have) around campus, more than 90,000 people in their football stadium, huge. Luckily for Jared, he is also gigantic (6'7 guys....seriously) so he fits right in.

Sometimes, we stand on steps and Jared still has to bend down.

We have been taking pictures for years, so luckily we know how to pose appropriately. 

AND at the University of Georgia they sell funny hats for you to wear while you are in their very big football stadium. I think I look equally ravishing in both of these and may wear them as a veil substitute. 

 Jared made his conducting debut on Friday night (conductorial debut? That doesn't seem to be a word, but that is what I have been telling people) in Pirates of Penzance. Jared has been in a lot of operas. Four that I saw while we were in college, but this one was the best ever because it was in English AND he got his own special bow...TWICE which gave us enough time to embarrass him appropriately.

Those are Jared's two sisters, Kyla and Samara. They came, too! And they participated in mustache drawing! I'm not sure why mustaches are so funny to me, but boy do I love them.

Didn't I say we were good at taking pictures together?

After a lovely thirty six hours in Georgia, we drove back to Atlanta and flew home to New York where Fiance (and Dilly) promptly retrieved me and we made our way to Albany to see the (future) in-laws!

Dilly cries if she has to stay in the carrier for an entire trip, so we let her sit on my lap or look out the window. She thinks she is a dog. 

That's basically what the entire drive to Albany looks like...150 miles on I-87. Usually by mile 80 we have to stop because I have to pee. Story of my life.

We had a great time in Albany! We ate a lot of food (Fiance's mom is some cooker/baker) and on Sunday night, we went to Fiance's brother's apartment to play board games!

All around, a super great (long) weekend was had by all! Except maybe Dilly, who got bullied by Fiance's mom's cat, Kitty. She doesn't look mean, but she is a ferocious hisser! And she growls AND she cornered Dilly twice. Once on the top of a table!

 I think we may have to re-think getting Dilly a kitty sister.

See You Soon!

Hello there!

Like I said earlier this week, tomorrow I'm jetting off to Athens, Georgia to see one of my nearest and dearest friends be a musical genius! Fiance is picking me up from the airport of Saturday and we're driving up to Albany to see his family!

Things here on Ummm Now What are going to be pretty quiet over the long weekend.

BUT I will be blogging (thanks pre-scheduled Blogger posts!) over at my Bestie, Steph's Blog, Pop Goes My Culture in the meantime! That's Steph in that picture up there! Geeze, we are pretty.

I'll be back here on Tuesday and on Pop! until the 26th! Have a very Happy President's Day!

Valentine's Day at Downton Abby

This post is really just a compilation of all my Valentine's Day photos from the past couple of days. Have I mentioned my love of Valentine's Day? I do believe that I have. Love, love, love it I do.

Everything started springing up roses on Sunday while I was in Pennsylvania at Wegman's. Look at all those balloons!

Did you know you aren't supposed to take picture in Wegman's? I didn't either until a woman who worked there yelled at me. Happy Valentine's Day to you too, Wegman's lady.

On Monday night I made no-bake chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies to bring to the office (thanks, Aunt Kathy for the recipe!). I even bought a cookie ball scoop to ensure that they were appropriately shaped! I think they were a pretty big hit, if I do say so myself.

And I got a box of candy from one of my bosses and an adorable (and delicious) Crumb's cupcake from a co-worker!

On my lunch break, I made Fiance a card to go with his gift!
Then I came home from work and Fiance and I exchanged gifts. The first Valentine's Day we were dating, Fiance got me a great travel mug from Starbucks. Every year since, I get a new one! And this year he got one, too!

That's Fiance's on the right, isn't it cool (and very manly)? That's mine on the left! Fiance wrote on it "Its cool, we have forever!". I love, love, love it.

We had plans to eat a frozen pizza for Valentine's Day dinner, but instead we decided that we wanted Chinese food. So Chinese food we had.

AND we started to watch Downton Abby and holy crap do we love it. I think we might start talking in British accents. And maybe I'll get a giant hat and a formal tea set.

Then we had our fortune cookies.

And then we went to sleep. Under extra blankets even though Fiance is always warm when he sleeps. I was I was totally warn and cozy and he was a little bit sweaty. Best Valentine's Day ever.

Book #10: Jerusalem Maiden

I finished Book #10 last night on the train, and holy crap did I love it (it took me way longer to read because I was a total slacker over the weekend...must remedy ASAP). Talia Carner's Jerusalem Maiden was on my Kindle and came highly recommended from my grandmother. 

Esther Kaminsky is one of the Haredi, the ulta-orthodox Jews who consider themselves "the chosen of the Chosen," who live in Jerusalem. Despite her passion for art, Esther is pressured into marriage by her family to a merchant, Nathan, and moves with him to the port city of Jaffa. 

The book is really just wonderful. Esther is so likable (despite some not so wonderful instances of mothering) and you really feel like you're in Jerusalem (and eventually Paris) as corny as that sounds. I would absolutely recommended Carner's debut novel and I'm definitely adding her other books to my remaining 90 this year!

Weekend Recap: Puppy LOVE

Friends, this weekend was lovely. My sister and I drove home to visit my parents for the weekend (read: my sister drove and I slept the whole way). Have I mentioned that my parents got a new puppy (only like one million times, right?). Holy crap, do I love her. Like I think almost as much as I love Dilly (its a good thing cats can't read). Seriously, look how happy I am in that picture.

I love her so much that I braved the snow (in the very attractive outfit you see above) to take her for a walk. Puppy sister can run! And ummm she loves snow. Sticks her face in and everything.

Yesterday morning we got early Valentine's Day presents from my Dad! That picture is Alyssa's artsy take on our new bangle bracelets, candy and lip gloss (best make-up purchase ever, Dad, seriously).

And after Valentine's Day presents and pancakes (seriously, my Dad was on his game this weekend) my Mom, sister and I went to a Bridal Expo. Have you ever been? Holy good god, was it terrifying...that's me "Oh crap I am afraid face". Why afraid you might ask?

Because there were NO LIE approximately 1,000 brides and nine million vendors. Did you know you need a champagne boat at your wedding? No? Me either until yesterday. Major pro of the crazy Bridal Expo though: I think we found a photo booth!

The photo booth is basically the only thing I am positive for sure positive that I want. I do not need a signature cocktail and Fiance does not need a groom's cake (why America, why?). Photo booth though is a non-negotiable.

All in all, this weekend was lovely. And this week? This week I'm taking over my Bestie's blog (more details soon) AND tomorrow is Valentine's Day (the one day a year Fiance and I have a picnic in the living room) AND THEN later this week, I'm flying with my other Bestie to GEORGIA to see our male Bestie be a musical genius. Clearly, I have a lot of Besties. Happy Monday to you!

Guys, seriously how awesome is she? Sorry, Dilly!

Loud Kissing Couple You Are Real Annoying

Sometimes, I see the same people on my commute. The girl with the pretty jet black hair and awesome boots on my 45 minute train ride, the nurse with the fun clogs on my subway sometimes, the bald man who kind of reminds me of my uncle. All seemingly nice people. People who I don't mind sharing my commute with, exchanging "Have a nice weekend" on Fridays.

But two weeks ago, a new duo appeared of my E train every morning and good lord they are annoying. How annoying you ask? So annoying that today, after two weeks of giving them dirty looks and sighing very loudly in their presence, I walked back an extra car so I didn't have to witness their ickiness at 8:15am. But really, it could be noon or 8pm, they would still be super annoying and icky.

Let me set the scene for you, friends.

The duo is comprised of a man and woman, lets call them James and Jane* (they just look to me like they would have totally boring names). They appear next to me on the platform and they are tall. Like the jolly-green giant of couples. Which, because I am short (5'1 if I stand up straight) they have the ability to loom totally over my head, hovering above me with their annoying-ness. They are snuggling into each other's necks and they are whispering about something which must be adorable and or hilarious because they are both 8:15am

And then? AND THEN FRIENDS they get on the subway with me and they kiss loudly. And I don't mean pecks. And I don't mean making out. I mean a deadly combination of the two: wet, loud, gag inducing (for me) kisses. Gross. Period, end of story right?

No friends. Not end of story. Because let us not forget where I am witnessing this horrid display of affection. The New York City Subway, where sometimes I don't even want to breathe, let alone open my mouth and exchange salvia with my travel companion. For two weeks saliva happy James and Jane have made out above my head in a very crowded E train.

And today I said no more! No more, icky couple, no more! So I walked to the next car and stood next to a very handsome man in a suit the three stops to my station. Happy Friday to me!

*I would like to apologize to my friend James, WHO I CALL JIMMY, for accidentally offending him. James-es of the world, please accept my heartfelt apology. 

Embrace the Camera: Friends are Fun!

Today I'm Embracing the Camera with three of my girlfriends!

Have you ever been in a social situation that is surreal? And not like a little surreal, but like "This is so strange," "All of these people in one room make me really confused...what year is it and where are we?" "PLEASE don't give me another rum and pineapple juice!" surreal?

Yup. I had one on Saturday night.

Most of my surreal nights don't turn out well, but this one turned out great! AND I got this totally awesome photo, which I think is the best picture of us taken since we graduated college (more years ago than I am willing to admit to myself). Gosh, friends are so much fun (but seriously guys, less rum and pineapple juice in my hands next time, OK?)

Reasons to Love New York: Last Night I Got Checked for Explosives

Sometimes there are cops at Penn Station. Sometimes they are just hanging out (see photo below) lookin' not terribly scary. But sometimes they have guns that you can see and that makes me nervous (I guess somewhat reassured, but still...nervous).


And other times, they are set up with a folding table doing random bag searches. New Yorkers, you know the ones, "Backpacks and other large containers are subject to search, if you see something say something" style. 

I never got searched before but last night, it happened.

Do, do, do, walking through Penn Station to my train (through the somewhat secret passage that I just recently discovered, more on that later) do, do, do. "Miss, please walk over to the table," said the NYPD (cutie) officer. "Who, me?"

Yup. Me.

So to the folding table I walked. Looked at the NYPD officers (less cutie, more elderly, but still relatively imposing) smiled, and put my bags on the table. I thought they were going to look through them, but instead two of the three men started wiping my bags with what looked like tiny hand wipes.

The oldest gentleman looked at me and said "Thank you for cooperating, you were selected at random. Do you know what we're searching for?"

In my head I thought "You must be searching for a BOMB since you are wiping my bag CSI style, but I don't want to say a bomb because does that make me look suspicious in my dress pants and Crocs? Also, I don't want to say a bomb, because that is terrifying." So I said "Drugs?"

"Nope," cop man says. "Everyone in New York has drugs. Try again". And I think to myself "GEEZ sir, I am just trying to catch the 5:36 train, I do not want to play the What are you looking for on/in my bag game because it is making me nervous WHY ARE YOU EVEN CHECKING BAGS DO YOU KNOW SOMETHING I DON'T KNOW?" But instead I said "Ummm knives?"

"Nope," cop man says. "Everyone in New York has knives...try again".

To which I replied "Well then, I am doubly behind the New York trend because I have neither drugs nor a knife, so..."

And this point, I just could not take it so I laughed and looked at him with a look that said "Sir, for serious I DO NOT WANT TO SAY A BOMB BECAUSE IT MAKES ME NERVOUS FOR A MYRIAD OF REASONS AND I JUST WANT TO MAKE MY TRAIN!"

"Explosives!" he excaimed. "We are looking for explosives. But it looks like you have nothing explosive, except for your good looks and your charming personality. Have a great evening!"

Thanks, NYPD. You too!

Scenes from a Drunk Commute

In case you've been living under a rock since Sunday night, the Giants won the Superbowl! Very exciting all around, especially if you are my father.

Not so exciting? Today is the ticker tape parade downtown. Translation: my commute this morning was hellish. Imagine those people below crammed on to an LIRR train car. Imagine that most of them are high school students. And imagine that most of them are drunk.


May I present to you: Scenes from a Drunk Commute

Drunk Girl One: Ugh, I kind of wish the other team had won
Drunk Girl Two: The Boston Patriots? Why?
Drunk Girl One: Because their quarterback is so much hotter than Eli Manning. Eli Manning is so ugly.
Drunk Girl Two: Giggle, giggle, giggle, giggle
You do not wish that the Patriots won, you dummy because then you would be in Calculus right now and not drunk on a train on the way to the city 

Drunk Girl Three: Oh my god, my Mom tried to make me wear a scarf today and I was like "MOM! I DO NOT WANT TO WEAR A SCARF, OK?"
That was a super great story, thank you for sharing 

Drunk Girl Four (to Drunk Girl Five, who was holding and eating an entire bag of tortilla chips): Oh my god, whenever I am around those chips, I can't breathe
Drunk Girl Five: Oh my god, why?
Drunk Girl Four: Ugh, I don't know...I can't breathe around Fritos, either
Drunk Girl Five shoves bag of chips into Drunk Girl Four's face. Drunk Girl Four screams
Drunk Girl Four, you either need to go to an allergist or a psychiatrist. Pronto.

Drunk Girl Four: Ugh, I think this cranberry juice is bad (note: the cranberry juice that I'm positive was a mixer for her vodka)
Drunk Girl Five: What do you mean?
Drunk Girl Four: Here, taste it
Drunk Girl Five: Its definitely bad. Just drink it really fast.
I am immensely surprised that this didn't end badly (read: vomit on my shoes) 

Happy Tuesday to you too, kid!


Book #9: Dedication

Book #9 was Dedication and was written by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, the authors of The Nanny Diaries. I'm giving it a solid three out of five stars.

I struggle with McLaughlin and Kraus' books because I think the dialogue is always too disjointed. There are times when I have to read a paragraph two or even three times (which is embarrassing because this book is not rocket science) because its so all over the place. Dedication absolutely suffered from this (I'm not sure if it has to do with the fact that two authors wrote it) but overall, it was a cute book.

Cute I think is the best word to describe it, actually. Katie Hollis, successful environmental advocate, returns home to Vermont to confront her high school boyfriend, Jake Sharpe. There are a lot of friends involved, which I always like and its a fast (read: relaxing, don't have to think much) 300 pages.

Book #10 is up next...1/10 of the way there!

365 Days of Engagement

Almost four years ago, not even six months into our relationship, Fiance caught the garter at our friends' wedding. Ha ha ha, it was all very funny we all though...Kate and John the next to get married...ha ha ha!

I had pretty much forgotten this even happened until this week, when the groom at that wedding sent us the pictures that he had just found on his computer. And as I was looking at them, I realized what this weekend was.

Photos from Neil and Ale's wedding

That's our good friend, Jay, making pointy fingers 

Ha ha ha silliness!
365 days ago today, I woke up in my pink pajama pants and college tee-shirt. I was visiting Fiance for the weekend and we had plans to meet friends in Brooklyn for brunch later that day. I padded into the bathroom (ick, ick, ick boys) and told myself I should get in the shower so we could get a head start on the day.

Instead, I decided to embrace my grogginess, ignore my bed head and got back under the covers and proceeded to snuggle in for a few more hours of sleep. Fiance (then boyfriend) was acting super weird...stretching his arm to the floor, telling me that his shoulder was hurting him and he needed to stretch it. I asked him if that was why he was still awake when I rolled over at 2:30 the night before. Yup, he said...his shoulder hurt.

And then before I knew it, there was the box. Poking out of the covers just below my chin. I felt like I couldn't breath but that's really all I remember. I don't remember what he said, and I don't remember saying yes. All I know is that the ring was on my finger and I was screaming and crying and laughing and I couldn't believe it happened to me. To us. That we were getting married.

What followed was a lot of calls to what seemed like a whole country full of family, jumping around the living room with his housemates, making a pit stop in Brooklyn to see my grandparents and parents (who were visiting for the day) before proceeding to our previously settled brunch. And boy did I stare at that ring all day...and the next day and the next day. And as I type this, I still stare at it. Not because its shiny and beautiful (because it is) but because I know it means that we are really getting married and that eventually there will be another band sitting behind the one I have now.

And OK maybe we didn't really plan anything in the past 365 days. But we did a lot of other really important things!

We went to a formal!

We celebrated no more graduate school!

We signed a lease to our very own apartment!

We said goodbye to the house where we really met, fell in love and got engaged.

We went to Albany. 

We survived a hurricane!

We adopted Dilly!

We bought a rug for our living room.

We went to a wedding!

We went on vacation for New Years.

And last night, we went to a good friend's housewarming party.

But before we left for the party? Before we left, we laid feet to feet on the couch with our computer and iPad and we made a list of venues to visit at the end of the month.

What's that? Yup...we took five giant steps forward, my friends. And honestly, we could move at this pace until the actual wedding and I think I would be totally OK with it. Because we're happy and because our wedding is just this bigger, happier thing hanging out on our horizon. I had no idea four years ago at that wedding that we'd be here today but I'm so happy that we are.

Happy 365 Days of Engagement to the best Fiance in the entire world. Wedding planning, prepare to be dominated.