Party Like It’s….1Tishrei 5774

Happy New Year to my Jewish friends and family! I hope you are drowning yourselves in honey cakes and apples and whatever else you usually like to have. I was reading the Huffington Post the other morning, and they had some suggestions for great recipes for your celebration, and um, one of them was a bacon thing. Love bacon as I do, I think I can perhaps provide a better guide. Seriously, aren’t they headquartered in New York? Couldn’t they just go outside and ask anyone?

It’s just me this year, so I didn’t want to make a ton of stuff I couldn’t eat alone, and I came up with this very, very traditional Rosh Hashanah panzanella. I’m not going to lie: this came out better than I had dreamed, and I had pretty high hopes. Everybody knows it ain’t trickin’ if you got it, okay?

The word I most closely associate with Jews is definitely Italy.
The word I most closely associate with Jews is definitely Italy.

A word to the wise: panzanella does. not. keep. Either plan to eat this the day you make it, or keep the component parts separate until you’re ready to nosh.

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You Should Know How to Do This: Being in a Wedding Party

It’s summer (or, more accurately, “a weekend from March through October”), so everyone and their brother is getting married. If you’re 19-35, you likely have at least three scheduled throughout the season. If you’re 19-35 and a Southerner, you’re…well, you’re probably not reading a blog because you’re at a wedding right now.

This is me as a bridesmaid, age 19.
This is me as a bridesmaid, age 19.

I’m not going to write a post about how to be a wedding guest, because if you DON’T know how to do that, you’re probably also the person writing the insane comments about how Obama is a reptilian alien sent to destroy us at the bottom of Slate articles.

If you’re actually a monster, here’s how you do it: you RSVP according to their wishes and on time. You bring a date or your children if your written invitation specifically says that your others (significant or otherwise) are invited but you don’t ask if you can otherwise, and you certainly do just wing it. You send them a gift from their registry or to the charity they’ve named or you give them cash to avoid anything like this. You show up on time to their wedding and you do not make a spectacle of yourself or complain at any time. THAT IS IT. You just arrive, act polite, send a gift, and then go home. If your girlfriend has to stay home, you can dance with available flower girls and aunties and everyone will think you’re sweet and you’ll have fun anyway. If you can’t afford to get a sitter, you can’t afford to go to the wedding. If you think everything on the registry is tacky, maybe reevaluate who your friends are because maybe they’re gonna stay tacky.

But I digress.

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You Should Know How To Do This: Writing a Thank-You Note

On Tuesday, I had one of the best mail days of my young life. I got a care package, I got an unexpected refund from my car insurance, and I got not one but THREE letters. Needless to say, I was so excited I nearly perished.

Now, three of these people probably knew they were making my day (when you send unexpected presents in the mail, that’s almost certainly your intent), and one of them was automatically generated (unless Flo is now personally sending out all the Progressive statements), but one of the notes was a little thank-you card for some minor favor I had delivered some weeks before. It was a really simple letter– maybe three sentences– but I felt like showing these people around town had been an appreciated, worthwhile task and that they liked me.

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You, too, can inspire these very warm feelings in others with almost no effort at all.

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Introducing Miss Jennie Benedict (and other delicacies)

Hometown hero.

For the humans watching at home, the Derby is a marathon, not a sprint (not for the horses. For the horses, it’s over almost as soon as it starts). You need to have sustenance throughout the long day of standing around wearing a big hat and frittering away money on games of chance, so don’t be foolish: plan ahead and make some tasty treats for yourself. One of the snacks I’m sharing with you today is a Southern delicacy, and the other is a Louisville original. Pimento cheese and Benedictine are both great snack spreads that are good on crackers/white bread and are just two or three bites max. You’re going to be very, very busy, as I said, daydrinking and gambling, so you don’t want your hands to be occupied with something as silly as foodstuffs. Hands are for juleps. Continue reading “Introducing Miss Jennie Benedict (and other delicacies)”

One Leg at a Time: Spring Weddings

One of my readers emailed me the other morning to tell me she has approximately 35 weddings to attend in the next few months (exaggeration mine). She was feeling a little weird about trying to figure out her wardrobe choices and asked for my help. I am extremely excited to provide said help, since I plan weddings for a living and also because I fancy myself a contemporary Amy Vanderbilt.

katwedding
This is my beloved friend Kat’s wedding at her gorgeous church here at home in Kentucky.

At approximately age 22, all your friends will start to get married. It’ll start with one or two, and you’ll be able to explain it away. Then, at around age 24, people will begin to get married without explanation. At age 26, you are suddenly awash in wedding invitations. Please feel free to +1.5 years to these numbers if you’re from north of Maryland or west of Dallas, but really, the point remains thus: once that tide starts, there is not one damn thing you can do to stop it except buy a bunch of things from Crate and Barrel. You’re an adult. Adults do stuff like get married. Calm down, okay? Weddings are super fun! You get to buy a new outfit, drink other people’s drinks, and try to make out with a cute gal/guy you may never see again. It’s like fraternity parties for older people.  BUT WHAT DO YOU WEAR?

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Snacks on Snacks on Snacks: Picking a Perfect Cheese Plate

It's intimidating, I know.
It’s intimidating, I know.

When I was in college, there was this fancy cheese counter at the fancy grocery, and the boy who worked there was SO. CUTE. I spent way too much of my college student budget at that place, but it was totally worth it because that guy became my boyfriend!

JUST KIDDING. He had no idea what my name was, but he did teach me some cool stuff about cheese and now I am pro status at picking out the perfect cheese plate for any soiree. No matter where you live, your grocery store probably has a nice selection of cheeses, so take this advice with you when you go to reach maximum satisfaction level with your selections. Many of the nicer shops have a little remainder bin in the case, so you can try really small portions of new stuff for a pittance. This is my recommendation to you, unless you’re throwing quite the party. My suggestions are after the jump.

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Jon Michael and Kirstan’s Engagement

Before I say anything else, I feel I should tell you I am not engaged, but my friend is! His new fiancee and I share the same name, and he enlisted me to help him plan and execute the proposal he’d been dreaming of.  He probably picked me to help him because we have the same name. They’re a little shy, so I’m not including photos of them, but after the jump, check out some of the photos!

Pretty pretty, Jon Michael!
Pretty pretty, Jon Michael! Ring was custom-made for Kirstan by an Etsy artist.

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