It’s been over a year since the lockdown. Over a year that we haven’t socialized.
Yup! That’s where we’ve been hanging out for over a year!
Yes. I did fly out to Cincinnati to visit my daughter, son-in-law and grandson and donned two masks and a ton of sanitizer and sat on the place a great social distance from others and waited at an empty airport to board flights.
The only time wearing a mask was uncomfortable was during flights–but ya do what ya need to do!
I also, as restaurants slowly opened to very severe restrictions, happened to enjoy a few meals out with my husband and on occasion with my bestie Grace. But there was a tone and a feeling that things could get worse. before getting better.
The Frenchman is so happy! Not necessarily because the ban is lifted but because grass-feed beef is back on the menu!
It wasn’t until a large number of us received one…then two vaccinations that hope set in. And as we slowly return to a phase of normalcy—we are beginning the journey back to life as we knew it!
We went to a wedding and it was a gloriously wonderful and fun time!
My girlfriend’s daughter had her wedding set for last summer. It was planned way before the lockdown and it was an event that we were all looking forward to. Then things changed. What transpired was a wedding ceremony Mass that was streamed via computer. It was strange to get dressed up and attend a wedding via computer but that was life at the time. Following the ceremony was a small gathering for immediate family. The actual reception was pushed back to this Memorial Day.
Strange as it seemed, I got dressed, put makeup and hair on and watched the original wedding from my computer and you know what? It was great!!!
A lot happens in a year. Oona would have been able to attend the original wedding because she had just found out she was pregnant. This time around it was impossible due to having a baby and difficult logistics. We all felt bad but I’m sure it isn’t a unique circumstance given what the past year has handed everyone.
This little nugget of cuteness! Can you believe Owen is four months old already?
But for Bonaparte and I it was a different story. We were able to attend. And attend we did! Our lives at the present are returning to a form of normalcy. We headed into New York City for an overnight a couple of weeks ago, and next week, we’ll be back!
This past weekend was spent in New Jersey! We attending the updated wedding ceremony and reception and it was so great to be back in the social swing of things. Here’s how it rolled:
The Dress– Because of my pandemic weight-gain, I was unable to wear the dress that was worn to Oona’s wedding.
Two years later and I got too fat. I’m eating a cookie as I write this.
A bit daunted and extremely disappointed in myself, I washed away my frustrations over this dreadful circumstance with a bag of tortilla chips and a glass of milk. (And Hershey’s syrup was added to give my milk that “extra”) Then I headed to Amazon in hopes of finding an affordable frock with plenty of stretch. I am glad to say that I found the perfect dress for $50. The side slit made the dress incredible danceable, the stretch factor of the dress allowed for me to literally stuff my face with every food item passed around during the cocktail hour, enjoy a few “beverages”, savor the dinner then return to my gluttonous ways when dessert was served.
This dress! $50 on Amazon was a literal life-saver for me! If you need a fancy dress anytime soon–here’s the link : Amazon Cocktail Dress from my Store
The Shoes– were those worn at Oona’s wedding. Gold strappy heels. They were broken in at my daughter’s wedding so these would be, albeit I haven’t worn heels this high since July 2019, comfortable. Besides, they would be taken off my feet when I hit the dance floor anyway.
The shoes are now broken in. They stayed comfortable and on my feet until I hit the dance floor!
The Accessories – if you are a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that I am not big on accessorizing. I keep it simple. Pearls are my thing for dressing up and I wore pearl teardrop earrings, my “good” pearl choker and my pearl ring–all gifts over the years from my husband! And lest I forget, the gold and silver watch which was the first Christmas gift he gave me over 14 years ago!
This was the extent of my accessories! I keep it simple.
And my go-to fancy bag! It holds what I need. My phone, tissues, mints and lipstick.
The Fake Tan—our May weekends didn’t offer much in the way of heat and sun. Therefore, it was impossible to get a day or two down the shore. Instead, I opted for the easy way out and treated myself to a well-needed spray tan. While one might say that one’s natural skin tone is a lovely and beautiful thing, those are the people who never grew up with Irish pasty-white-fish-belly skin. So pale that it takes on a blueish tint. With freckles you could play a real-time connect-the-dots. No. I opted for a spray. Contrary to what others think or say, I feel a tan makes me look healthy—and by all means, thinner.
Sorry not sorry. Perhaps growing up on Long Island near the beach but I feel that a tan looks healthier during the summer. And fake tanning is my jam!
The Nails—I love a long nail. And a nail that is shaped to oval perfection. Longer nails make my stubby fingers appear longer. I feel graceful with a long nail. And so, I headed to the nail spa to get my acrylic talons refilled. My feet needed some lovin’ too. And my new favorite summer polish is OPI Hollywood and Vibe—a beautiful pink!
Winter brings red nails but pink comes alive in the summer! And I love those long nails!
The Big Dilemma: Let me tell you something. My piggy bits may be just mine and only mine but there comes a time when you need to stuff them into shapewear. I thought long and hard about this too. After all, the adult beverages need to make their way out of the system after a while. And because a catheter to attach to your lady parts via the underwear hasn’t yet been invented, I had decided—was shapewear worth a twenty-minute trip to the ladies’ room to peel it down then squeeze all the fat back into it? Yes. It was. I went with the shapewear.
Check out the photo on the left. Without shapewear. I look like a pig. I’m so disgusted because I was doing so well. Where’s those Biscoff cookies? I need six! On the right is with shapewear. It smooths the piggy bits!
The Hair—this is where I get indecisive. One would think that after an entire year to plan, I would have thought about which fake hair to wear atop my noggin. I was such a pain-in-the-ass over the hair that my friends at Estetica Designs even sent me a gorgeous Sutton wig to wear. It wasn’t until the last minute that I changed my mind and went with my go-to-favorite-wig-of-all-time, Jamison. This short, classic bob was chic simplicity and not fussy which was just what I wanted. Mind you, after an entire year, I decided on this just as I was packing.
When in doubt, go with what you feel comfortable in. Jamison has never let me down! She’s the classic fake hair that just keeps delivering!
The Face—with the fake tan, I was happy that there was no need to glob foundation upon my wrinkled visage. Actually, I’m on a huge less-is-more with the cosmetics these days. However, I did want a bit of a cohesive look. I packed my new holy grail face makeup by Almay. It’s not a foundation. It’s not a beauty balm. I honestly don’t know what it is but all I know is that it is a makeup product that blends with your skin tone and just evens it out a bit. It’s a miracle product. I also packed my little Trestique mini-kit, my Subtl Beauty stacks and my Boom sticks. That’s it. Easy peasy. No fuss.
Fake tan. Fake Nails. Fake Hair. I know how to keep it real!
Like I said. Fake Tan. Fake Hair. Fake Nails. I keep it Real!
Another last-minute embarrassment was wrapping the gift. I could have wrapped the gift weeks—even months ago. Instead, I procrastinated until the night before—when I headed out to purchase wrapping paper, tape and embellishments. I hate myself sometimes.
THIS should have been wrapped at least a week or so ago. Rather, I opted to do this the day before.
All packed and ready to go, we dropped Chippy off at Doggie Daycare, hit the road in the pouring rain and we were off. Did I ever tell you how much I love my husband? Except when he drives? Yeah. When he drives, I don’t love him as much. In fact, it is an odd thing how emotions change when the one you are married to is behind the wheel. As a Frenchman, he has grand illusions of racing at LeMans and traveling to Monaco for the Grand Prix. And when he drives, he believes he’s livin’ the dream. Until I start screaming like a banshee and my New York accent goes on overdrive. He doesn’t pay attention to what lane he should be in and as I scream “GET IN THE RIGHT-HAND LANE NOW” he manages to miss our exit or destination, then he says naughty phrases in his native tongue and blames the road error on my loud voice!
My husband envisions himself a race car driver. I envision popping open the champagne when we arrive at our destination in one piece!
It’s not a little road trip unless the above happens. It did. But by the time we entered the hotel, all was forgiven!
With the rain pouring down, I was hoping it would stop by the time we would arrive at the wedding site. Instead, the rain made us a bit lazy. You see, there was a shuttle bus that picked guests up at the hotel and took them to the location of the wedding, The Ashford Estate. And because I moped and took my sweet time, we missed the shuttle by five minutes. So, it was back in the car with my French race car driver.
Ready to go and late for the shuttle! Back in the car with Ricky Bobby!
Now there’s something you should know. I used to live in Pennington, NJ so I really should have known where we were going. I kind of lost my sense of direction over the years. The hotel was in Hamilton, which was a town or two—perhaps three, from Pennington. I spent a bit of time in Hamilton with sports events for the boys, and shopping and dropping Oona off at one of her friends who lived there. So basically, you would assume I knew my way around Hamilton Township. The fact is, other than the Red, White, and Blue Store, AC Moore, Eet Gud bakery, Mastori’s Diner, Golden Dawn Diner, the Movie Theatre and the Hamilton high schools, I kind of didn’t know my way around.
This was very upsetting to my husband as he realized we missed the shuttle. He turned to me and confidentially stated that we would drive to the wedding because I knew my way around. At which point I meekly asked the young man at the front desk where exactly The Ashford Estate was.
And once again, my husband started muttering naughty phrases in French as I entered the address of Ashford Estates into my Waze app on my phone. I swear I had no idea where the wedding was.
In the years of living so close by, I never knew this magnificent estate existed. It’s absolutely incredible!
We arrived at this magnificent estate to literally socialize with friends for the first time since the big lockdown! I would be remiss if I told you that I didn’t have a bit of social anxiety. After all, it’s been a while. I wasn’t in charge of things and I like to be in charge! And despite the mother-of-the-bride being one of my best friends, I wondered if I would be comfortable in a larger social setting.
I felt as though we were entering a French Chateau…
Wait a minute. I could live here –but it was just as wonderful to be in this place for a celebration!
My anxiety peaked as we entered the main building and I didn’t see anyone I knew. For a moment, I could feel my body stiffening. Luckily, one of the staff must’ve seen the look of fright on my face and asked me if everything was okay. I responded by asking her if this was the DiBiase wedding and she assured me I was in the right place. Within moments we were led to a beautiful barn where the small ceremony of vow renewal was to take place. And as soon as I spotted my friend Suzy, I felt a sense of calm just moving through my body. It was going to be a great time after all!
Here’s the barn where the vow-renewal ceremony took place.
Flower petals lined the brick floor–rustic and elegant at the same time!
Dad walking his daughter up the aisle!
A proud Dr. DiBiase ready to give his daughter away. Might I add this Doctor is an angel? Administered over 1,000 Covid vaccinations! And..this pretty bride is a labor and delivery nurse! She gave Oona lots of advice during her pregnancy!
My girlfriend Mary Beth and her sons. Our sons played baseball together. Look at her dress. OMG. That color and the lines–MB looks so beautiful!
Mr. and Mrs. Megan and Gianni
The small ceremony was very nice. The priest spoke a few words with a good sense of humor, the bridal couple looked just as stunning as they did when I watched them last year via computer! And afterwards we were led back into the main building of the Estate and to the Cocktail hour!
After the ceremony for a group pic! Thankfully the rain stopped for a few moments!
Whoa! Bonaparte smiles! He likes it. He really likes it!!
The room was stunning, overlooking the beautiful grounds and tons of food and beverages were available for ultimate enjoyment! I certainly put the stretch in my dress to the test by trying everything that passed my mouth! The greatest was the lobster bisque served into little shot glasses. Oh. And the lamb chops. Oh wait, I’m forgetting the little Cuban sandwiches. And just about everything else. My regret? I didn’t try the cheeseburger sliders.
The cocktail hour. Now THIS is a greetng I like to see.
A Jersey verision of Sir Elton John. Seriously though, this guy was great! He played nonstop!
I do not get credit for this photo of food. Truth is, I didn’t take any pics simply because I was too busy shoving everything and anything that passed by my mouth! (Burp. Oh. Excuse me!)
My girlfriend Suzy and her daughter Gillian, who just happened to be a bridesmaid! Megan, Gillian and Oona all went to school together.
Have you ever heard of a Blushing Bride drink? I hadn’t but I found out at the wedding and is it ever a delicious drink! One ounce peach schnapps; one ounce grenadine and four ounces of champagne or prosecco. It is that good!
Gillian illustrated this picture of the bride and groom’s signature drinks!
It dawned on me during the cocktail hour just why French people are thin. They have the willpower not to shove food into their mouths on a constant basis. I am convinced that I’m American because I would be a failure as a French woman. My husband has the willpower that I lack. For every twenty bite-sized delights I vacuumed into my mouth, he had one.
IRL, this was basically me at the cocktail hour while my husband stood by saving himself for dinner!
After enjoying the mingling at the cocktail hour, it was time to enter into the ballroom where the main dinner and dancing took place. It was nice to enter the room with the live band playing Marvin Gaye. I could have started dancing immediately!
This was the main ballroom. I didn’t take this photo. My iPhone was wobbly due to the amount of Blushing Bride’s I had!
Selfie time! Suzy and I got to sit at the same table. It was so much fun to reconnect and just enjoy after being home for over a year!
Mmmmm. Cake Time!
TBH, I was having so much fun, I didn’t take many pictures. But overall, it was fantastic to be back in the social swing of things. The one thing this pandemic taught me is that I am now grateful and appreciative of the time spent with friends and family.
Girls just wanna have fun–and the cool moms do it better!!
And so, as we move forward, don’t worry about the piggy bits that make up your gut or the wrinkles on your face or how you do that annoying snort when you laugh. Don’t worry if you are too loud or speak too softly. Don’t shy away from the dance floor. Nobody is judging you. It’s time to have fun and enjoy life again!
…and dance like Elaine! It’s good to be in the social swing of things again!