Monthly Archives: August 2009

Wedding dresses are for birthdays

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Birthday #28, 2008 (note: champagne w/ muddled strawberries in hand... thankyouverymuch Rob)

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Birthday #29, 2009. In order to fully indulge in your dress you must hang out in it. Love the dress. Feel the dress. Absorb the dress.

When I hit the “publish” button on this post last week, I had no idea it would resonate with so many of you.

After posting about how I spent my 29th birthday, I followed up with  a post and a pic of me in my wedding dress. I bring it out to play once a year – one of several birthday rituals near and dear to my heart (included also: eating bacon n’ eggs, drinking champagne with strawberries and taking the day off work). Well ladies, the more the merrier – this year bring out the satin, lace, and slik dupioni… it’s your birthday!

I had a good wedding day. Great, in fact. I married a helluva guy on a small beach in Mexico, sipped champagne until the burros came home, and danced to Prince under the stars until my heart’s content, all while wearing my favorite dress. Ever.

To make a long story short-ish, I’ll tell you this: When I met my dress I couldn’t afford her. She was way out of my freelance-writing, yoga-teaching league. But my sister, Ashley (whom I have strange little conversations with) changed all of that for me. Months after meeting my dress, fate stepped in, made my sister a bridal stylist, sent her to Italy and left me a note attached to a small swatch of fabric that read, “My dearest sister… your dress is on its way”. I read that note on my birthday. And I wore that dress at my wedding. So wearing that dress on my birthday, naturally, makes me feel a lot things: A little pretty, a little glamorous, and a lot lucky.

Doing it in style
If you’ve always wanted to wear your wedding dress again but didn’t feel like your ex-roommate’s bridal shower or your husband’s company picnic was the place (pshaw) then wearing that little number as you’re blowing out the candles isn’t only your answer, it’s your dream come true (Note to self: Ease up on the brioche from Cherry Bomb – this year the boobs were a bit snug).

Now for the dames who don’t have a wedding dress to get fetch from the depths of a closet only to have your husband zip, button, and sash you into it while saying, “Are you really doing this again, Sandy?” don’t sweat it. On your birthday you can replace said W-dress with ANY DRESS that is your FAVORITE. Ever. Don’t have one? Well, now there’s a little something to add to your List: Get a favorite dress and wear it on your birthday. A-Sap.

Some requested details of my dress:

Designer: Melissa Sweet
Dress name (yep, they come with names now): “Dora”
Place of purchase: Pearl Bridal House (highly recommended for a flawless dress finding and fitting. Ask for Ashley).

I showed you mine, now how’s about you show me yours. Email me (info@sandybraz.com) a pic or two of YOU in YOUR FAVORITE DRESS. I sense a movement stirring.

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Filed under Being 29, Sandy's Closet

Do you understand Douchebag?

why reinvent

SandyB as: The Douchebag Whisperer.

I’ve officially been 29 for one whole week. Happy anniversary to me.

In honor of this special day, I’d like to impart a little wisdom because I’m nothing if not a little wiser at the ripe old age of 29 (gfaw). At this important crossroads, walking the fine line between 20something and 30ish, I feel I have something to give. And give I shall, dear Readers. Give I shall.

I’d like to think of myself as a woman of the world, not just as one who travels and loves to do so, but as one who can cross cultures and boundaries when it comes to speaking foreign and oft confusing and intricate languages like Douchebag. Yes, it is a language and yes, I understand it fluently. I remain firm, however, that it is a language I dare not speak.

And now you’re left wondering, “How does she understand Douchebag?” When you’ve been around it as often as I have, you just learn to pick it up. And I’ve had a lot of practice, especially this week.

What it sounds like
Using my own experience as an example (as I find this the most organic way to teach) common phrases in Douchebag include, “Turning 30 soon, huh… wow, how do you feel about that?” or “Next stop Cougarville!” or “It’s all downhill from here, eh?” or “Not a Spring Chicken anymore, are you? or my personal fave of the week, “I thought you were 30 already.” These are all excellent examples of Douchebag, as they represent the stupid shit people say when they’re not thinking about what they’re saying at all. You see, the number one criteria for speaking Douchebag is that your verbal ‘filter’ must be in the ‘off’ position at all times. It is the only way to fluently, successfully and seemlessly speak it.

How to spot them
You can usually spot someone who speaks Douchebag from a distance. They walk around with a shit-eating grin most of the time and can’t tolerate friendship, affection or bright open spaces very well either, so they are typically easy to pick out of a crowd. Sometimes those who speak Douchebag travel with a partner, but never in packs. They don’t socialize particularly well. The sidekick is typically just there to bounce Douchebag phrases off of and to laugh when something not paricularly clever or off-side is said, which happens a lot in the language of Douchebag.

So, how does one, like myself, learn Douchebag but not speak it? Ah, young Grasshoppers, you must learn to resist the Force. Speaking Douchebag is like drunk-dialing an ex-lover – it may be tempting, but that doesn’t mean you should do it.

The number one rule when learning to understand Douchebag is that you have to listen for it because it can sometimes elude you, like the Polkaroo or Waldo. Females are particularly excellent at speaking this particular dialect of Douchebag. They mask their accents amidst back-handed compliments like, “Nice dress, it hugs your curves” or “Hm, have you gained weight? Don’t worry, looks great on you” or “You’re gutsy…I could never show that much cleavage.” Beware of these Douchebag-speaking females, particularly the ones with sidekicks.

Characteristics
People who speak Douchebag are usually quite fluent in it and remain true to themselves by sticking to their viewpoints on hairstyles, trendy outfits, homeopathy, religion, marriage, sex, sexual orientation, skinny jeans and sensitive topics like cancer, AIDS or war. If you MUST endure an evening, boardroom meeting or family dinner with people who speak Douchebag then do yourself a favor and avoid these topics AT ALL COSTS. You don’t want to be left up shit’s creek without a paddle. It has one hell of an undertow.

The sad and true thing about those who speak Douchebag is that they actually have one admirable feature many of us lack: Consistency. People who speak Douchebag do so all the time and with a gusto so fierce that if they could only use their powers for good, not evil, they might actually amount to something meaningful, like solving world hunger or finding the cure for premature balding. Ah, but Douchebag is a tricky temptress. Even those who veer inevitably find their way back to the Mother Tongue.  Like riding a bike, once you learn Douchebag you never forget it.

Final thoughts
Unfortunately Douchebag is a language that’s growing rapidly in popularity. Some of its users mistaken it for being clever, witty or even “expressive” , which has led to an explosion in its use, particularly amongst displaced 20somethings, disgruntled 30somethings and within wedding speeches (although there is no proof Douchebag is relegated to just these two generations – Douchebag, apparently, is the language of Everyman.)

Don’t be alarmed if and when you hear Douchebag and certainly don’t attempt to respond– remember, you must resist the Force.  Instead, remain calm, simply nod, smile and retort (whilst gently tilting your head) “Oh, sorry, I don’t speak Douchebag”, to which the offending Douchebag-speaker will say absolutely nothing. Why? Because it is a little known yet valuable fact that those who speak Douchebag don’t, and will never, understand the indelible language of Smartass.

So, do you speak and/or understand Douchebag or know someone who does?

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Filed under Being 29, On my mind

He would have been 51

I try to reserve bandwagon jumping for things like new shit on HBO, the return of leg-warmers and Twitter. Not the death of pop stars. So this post (a rendition of something I posted before – another time, another place) comes from a cute little spot deep down in my heart.

In the spirit of celebrating good things like life, birthdays and sequins (I love sequins) here is a little something for the man in the mirror. He would have been 51 tomorrow.

June 25, 2009

On my way to a fabulous facial, I heard the most bizarre thing cut right through a song I was jamming to on the radio: “Michael Jackson has just gone into cardiac arrest”. No way, I thought. Too random. This is some TMZ.com drama-shit. But it was true. And then MJ died.

I never met the MJ and I’m willing to bet all the shoes in my closet you never did either. But I care that he’s gone, I do. Because beyond the weirdness, the bad press, and the very bad decision to hang a baby over the railing when paparazzi are watching (wtf), there is a legendary career we’ve been touched by (or, hell, even been touched to. Here, here).

It was MJ’s face on my first-ever pop-culture t-shirt. I even had a button. Thriller was my first album and the first piece of vinyl I ever learned to put a needle to. It made me feel grown up to like Michael, like my cool aunt, who loved his music, too.

So when the question of “who cares?” is raised (and I bet my right tit it will be – I’m hanging on to the left one), just remember…

Remember who made the crotch-grab a dance move

Don’t forget who taught us that it was good to be ‘bad’

Keep close to your heart the man who first told you to “beat it”

Never forget “shamon” because even though you don’t know what it means, it’s understood…everywhere

Always remember where “owww!” came from. It was no accident.

Recall forever that Billy Jean was the first baby momma you ever heard of and that she is still not his lover

Keep a place in your heart for the first video that ever scared the shit out of you. Even before Freddy, there was “Thriller”

Remind yourself, especially on your down days, that you are in fact a PYT (pretty young thang)

And always, always keep a place in your heart for the first man who taught us all how to walk on the moon.

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Filed under On my mind

Jazzercise: we have a lot in common

Turns out I’m not the only one gearing up for a milestone birthday this year: Jazzercise is turning 40 and on the brink of a reinvention. Coincidence? No chance.

Jazzercise, founded by Judi Sheppard Missett in 1969, is making a huge comeback. Ok, maybe not high-waisted jeans-huge, but huge, nonetheless.

Although I’ve never tried Jazzercise, my heart of hearts tells me that my beloved “20-Minute Workout” probably wouldn’t have existed without it. And without the 20MWO, I wouldn’t have had my first foray into fitness. Like anything, even greatness has its roots – Madonna had Marilyn; JT had MJ; Juicing had LaLane; and the 20MWO had Jazzercise. (Sidebar: When I was a kid, watching my mom do the “20-minute Workout” to ABBA was like banana popsicles on a hot day in August – pure heaven. I’m still obsessed with the wonder that was Bess Motta’s hair. And banana popsicles.)

Jazzercise turning 40 says a lot about the importance of celebrating milestones and, of course, reinvention: take something that is defined and then give it a new definition. Why? Because you can, damn it. Because you can.

For Jazzercise, reinvention means easing up on the excessive use of “jazz hands”, nixing metallic leotards, and wiping that stupid grin off your face. For a 29-year old turning 30, reinvention is jumping out of a plane, learning to skate again, speaking her mind more, and starting a blog about it. Any way you slice it, reinvention is the stuff greatness is made of.

And so, in the spirit of doing great things, reinvention, birthdays, and jazz hands, I’ve decided that trying Jazzercise is on the List.

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Filed under #13 Jazzercise, Before I Turn 30 List

Nosh: 8-step oven-baked tomatoes

My sister, Ashley, calls me often to talk about a lot of things, but our conversations about cooking usually go like this:
A: Hey. How do you make those tomato things again?
S: Didn’t I tell you this already?
A: Whatever, I forgot. Hurry…
S: [swear word] Ok… get 2 pints of tomatoes…
Since #9 on my List is about “Reinventing Dinner” this year, well, Ash, this one’s for you. (Warning: About to get very Martha Stewart on your ass)

SandyB’s oven-baked tomatoes in eight easy steps
What you’ll need:
-2 pints of cherry tomatoes (fresh)
-Oven-safe dish
-Extra virgin olive oil
-Six cloves of garlic
-Garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano, pepper, sea salt
*pre-heat oven to 375F
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STEP ONE: Wash 2 pints of fresh cherry tomatoes (no need to dry) and spread them into an oven-safe dish

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STEP TWO: Set the tomatoes aside for a sec. Grab a few gloves of garlic (you choose how many) and gently mash them with the flat side of a chopoing knife. This mashing business helps release the garlic's oil. I used six gloves (but I eat a lot of mints).

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STEP THREE: Nestle the garlic bits into the tomatoes.

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STEP FOUR: Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the garlic and tomatoes. I do 2 tablespoons per pint (4 tablespoons total) but go nuts if you want some extra "sauce" at the end.

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STEP FIVE: 1/2 tablespoon each of dried oregano, dried basil, and garlic powder (optional, if you like it garlicy). Couple of dashes each of sea salt and fresh pepper.

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STEP SIX: All God's creatures deserve a "massage"... even tomatoes. Mix these bad boys up!

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STEP SEVEN: Pop the dish into the oven for 30 minutes at 375F.

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STEP EIGHT: Since I'm in love with my new herb garden, I chop 2 tablespoons of fresh basil and sprinkle over the finished tomatoes. But not needed, so don't sweat it.

These keep in the fridge for about 5 days or so… although they usually don’t last that long around our house. I put these beauties on quinoa, brown rice or as a side to chicken, fish, or any veggie meal. The extra “sauce” is now a great flavored oil to top salads and grains with.

It’s a topper, it’s a sidedish, it’s perfect.

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Filed under #9 Reinventing Dinner, Nosh, Stuff I know for sure

It’s not just me. And it’s not just you.

Another "birthday tradition" (along with strawberries and champagne, fancy restaurants, and comotose-like massages) I throw my wedding dress on for a few minutes and just... indulge. It's certainly the prettiest thing I own, not to mention one that I've received a lot of compliments in. If birthdays are about feeling good (and I vote they are) then believe me, there is something wonderful about putting on your favorite dress in the whole world and not caring what anyone thinks. Something I most definitely recommend.

Another "birthday tradition" (along with strawberries and champagne, fancy restaurants, and comotose-like massages) I throw my wedding dress on for a few minutes and just... indulge. It's certainly the prettiest thing I own, not to mention one that I've received a lot of compliments in. If birthdays are about feeling good (and I vote they are) then believe me, there is something wonderful about putting on your favorite dress in the whole world and not caring what anyone thinks. Something I most definitely recommend.

30 is a big deal.

Since starting to blog about my year-to-30 I’ve questioned if it’s really something people think about. There, I said it. Just because it’s a significant year for me doesn’t mean other people give a shit. Understood. But if I had any doubts before, a conversation I eavesdropped on overheard on my birthday, no less, confirmed my suspicions about the importance of 10×3.

“So, I’ve been planning it for, like, two months… I gave it a theme, ’30 in the City!'” said the girl with the huge diamond ring getting her hair shampooed at the spa where I was spa’ing last Friday for my birthday. “I made a poster and put my face on Carrie Bradshaw’s face…” she started giggling. Why? Not sure.

Readers’ note: I’m trying to cut back on bitchiness this year, so I’ll hold off with the commentary on that one. But don’t worry, that self-imposed rule doesn’t usually stick for very long. My sharp tongue will make an appearance at some point. I promise.

What I found interesting wasn’t that this girl happened to be talking about her obsession with 30 on the very day I was turning 29. Nope, that wasn’t the interesting part. What had my ears perked was when she said this: “I just, you know, want my 30s to be amazing… so I figured this would be a good way to kick it off, you know?” She was talking to the girl shampooing her hair and obviously looking for some sort of confirmation on the whole idea, which she wasn’t getting. The shampoo girl wasn’t a day over 21. Phef.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that it took a lot of self control to not walk over there, introduce myself to this newly christened 30-year old and say, “Shit, I feel you on this. I’m so there with you. Wanna grab a Starbucks?” Luckily I was slightly buzzed from a birthday mimosa and nearly comatose from my massage. I didn’t want to freak the girl out with my sometimes-too-forward introductions, particularly when it comes to topics I’m hot for.

What I learned: Turning 30 isn’t a “bad thing” – I’m not from that camp. People pitching that tent can suck it. I think 30, for the milestone reputation that it has, presents a lot of opportunity for some much-needed self-reflection and, as in my case, reinvention.

After a decade spent indulging every hormone, self-help method, an HBO show about a girl named Carrie, and asking, “What should I do with my life?”, I’m beginning to realize that 30 is the new 20 (slightly vomitable, but true). We’re just right back at Alice’s hallway of doors asking ourselves which knob to turn next. The only difference is we’ve been here before. At least I have.  It was called being 19.

I remember everyone in my life making a big deal about “not being a teenager anymore”. But I wasn’t fazed. I couldn’t wait. I thought for sure my 20s had more to offer than an exclusive membership to the club of pimples, bad break ups, awkward sex, and drama in the cafeteria. Thank-you-God. I was right.

My twenties have been good to me, which is why I think I’m a little sweaty in the pits at the thought of leaving an era that’s taken nearly a decade to mold. Just when you thought you had it figured out, a new era sits at your doorstep, much like before. The obvious differences are that we have more money (maybe), more rewarding jobs (hopefully), a better wardrobe (debatable), and the balls to go after the things we spent our 20s deciding we deserve (most definitely).

Reinventing, this project, my List, is just my way of stringing it altogether, because if I’m nothing else at the end of my 20s, I’d like to think I am a little more organized – a little more put together. This is what that new 30-year old in the chair was trying to get at, which obviously went right over the head of the 21-year shampoo girl. But she’ll get it eventually. We all do.

So here’s a Q for you: Have you and your friends had the “turning 30” conversation? What keeps coming up when you do (work, kids, marriage, buying a home, feeling lost in general)? Comment here (would love to here from you… don’t be shy now) or email me at: info@sandybraz.com

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Filed under #12 Say what I mean, Turning 30

A quote about women and…. getting older

Anyone can see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl she used to be. A great artist can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is…and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be…more than that, he can make anyone see that this lovely young girl is still alive, prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart…no matter what the merciless hours have done.

Robert Heinlein in Stranger in a Strange Land

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Filed under Quote this!