It is in the bag...

There are those moments, and they seem to occur at the most inopportune times.  The middle of the night, the middle of a meeting, or when I am teaching a fitness class.  I start to think about the guest list.  Do we have everyone counted?  Did everyone really receive an invitation?  What about the people who never RSVPd?  Did they actually even receive their invitation?  And those gift bags... the ones that we are going to leave in the hotel rooms.  What about those?  They have to be just right, and that is why the UPS truck has been making daily stops at our apartment.  No, not with wedding gifts but with box upon box of items that will go into the bags for the guests.  I probably wrote down the items to be placed in the gift bags at least 15 times, with little (if any) variation each time.  And truth be told, I am sure that I will do it again!

So after a ton of feedback from friends and family I compiled the list for the gift bags and the candy bar...

What, you ask, what do I plan on actually putting into those gift bags???  Well, I want something that I would want in a gift bag.  What would I want to see if I opened up a bag after a flight across the country to a wedding???

I would probably want to have some kind of energy bar in case I did not have time to eat...


Since I love to run, I would want to have a map of the Charles River so that I knew how far I was going...

(Image from Marathon Sports)

I would probably want something to munch on after that run...

(Image from

and would of course need to be hydrated!

(Image from from Nestle Waters) 

And because I would be in town for a wedding, I would need to make sure I was staying awake at all times!

And of course... there are those simple little extras...


But these are just some ideas that have been written down dozens of times on endless pieces of paper.  I still have 3 wks to deepen my relationship with Mr. UPS!   

Dancing, Celebrating, and the Big Day

OK - so it really is not a secret that I am getting married.  And to my closest friends and family it is not a secret that I love to plan.  I have in fact always loved to plan and never been afraid of events or parties.  In fact, when I was quite young, I planned a surprise 20th Wedding Anniversary for my parents.  They, of course, had to pay for the event, but I managed to find the caterer, pick out the perfect guest list and people actually came to the house, my parents where indeed surprised (in a good way) and it worked!

So now I am planning one of the most important events ever, and it is less than 6 months away.  Last fall, when I bought my first 2 Bridal Magazines, I did so with trepidation.  You see, I am rather superstitious.  I have never purchased a bridal magazine before last fall.  I chalked it up to bad luck.  When I placed the magazines down in front of the cashier it was almost as if I was buying pornography or the like.  Don't get me wrong - I have danced my fingers over the pages of such magazines thousands of times before, but never, ever had I actually laid down cold hard cash for the stuff!

So with the magazines - and yes, I only bought 2 because I quickly realized that once you buy 1, there is very little content that differs from one to the next - I started off of my planning adventures.  There is the layout of the event, the colors, and the atmosphere...


(image from

A decision to find a color that will coordinate with the theme, the room and the invitations that will pull the whole event together...

(Design by Katharine MacIntyre Navins, Tallow Studio)

The flowers, the music, and the cake... and then there is the decision of the first dance, if dancing is something that you choose to do...

(image from

However, it is all too easy to become caught up in the planning and loose track of how and why you started on this journey in the first place.  In the end, the flowers will not last, the rentals are returned to their rightful owner, and the crumbs of the cake are swept up from the ballroom floor.  These items are all secondary to the celebration.  The celebration of being with the most amazing man in the world, the man who came into my life and quite literally saved it.  The man with whom I will spend the rest of my life dancing and celebrating.


Let them eat cake

It is all about the cake, really it is.  I do not care whether the flowers match the table clothes, and I am relatively indifferent to spring rolls versus coconut shrimp. What really matters to me is the cake.  I can honestly say that I remember just about every cake from every wedding that I have been to.  I know what I like and I know what I don't like... I do not like whipped cream frosting, I do not like fruit fillings, fondant can make or break a cake, and as for buttercreams, well there are so many different kinds out there that you really have to taste them, to let them melt in your mouth and slip down your throat to know if they are the right kind for you.

Boston has no shortage of cake stores, and everyone and anyone is more than willing to offer up their opinion on what you should get and where you should get it.  Whether it is Italian buttercream, Swiss buttercream, or a meringue frosting, people like to tell you what to do.  I quickly learned to give a gentle nod and small smile and say "OK", and then carry on.  People love to give opinions.  Whether they want you to work with Party Favors, The Icing on the Cake, Jenny's Cakes, Montillios, or  Cakes to Remember, you should be able to find something that you like. However, if you are anything like I am, finding the perfect cake is not that easy.  I have become so good at knowing exactly what kind of frosting that I like, that upon seeing the frosting I can tell whether or not it is worth the extra calories, or minutes on the stair master.

Sweet, I like the slightly sweet sugary frosting that does not remind me too much of butter.  It has a simple, uncomplicated flavor, and your fork keeps going back for more, even if you try to resist.  You are unable.  The cake can come in different shapes and sizes.









(all images are from The Knot

But in the end it really comes down to taste.  I need the wedding cake to stand out and have that WOW factor for me.  I have had people tell me what I should do for the wedding and people have told me what my guests would probably like regarding the wedding cake flavors.  But this is my cake, not theirs, and in fact, I plan on giving the caterers STRICT orders to wrap up every single last slice, tier, and crumb so that I can carry them all home with me.  I want the flavor of that night and all of its sweetness to last forever.  After all, this is coming from the Queen of Tarts.


On the Hill

There are only a few more days until H and I go to the Hill  in D.C.  I was invited to go to Capitol Hill with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association to meet with members of Congress.  We are going to talk about the importance of education and funding around heart disease and stroke.  I have my red dress, I have dinner reservations on Sunday night at one of Jose Andres' restaurants, I have planned my running route around the Mall on Monday morning so that I can appreciate the monuments in all of their glory, and now I just have to figure out what the hell I am going to say to all of those people when I meet them.  I have told my story time and time again - girl teaches fitness class, girl has stroke, doctors fine hole in heart, girl makes decision to have open heart surgery... etc.

But it really is so much more than that, and certainly more than can be summed up in a few minutes, words, or friendly handshakes.  It is a life a story, and one that I am lucky enough to share.  So maybe I will have a piece of chocolate cake and sort this whole thing out... Between now and then, I cannot really think of anything better to do anyway!P1019931

Nuclear what???

Tests, medical ones.  All kinds.  I have had them  You want to know about them, well, in my 36 years, I have become quite the resource:  ACL surgery, laminctomy (back surgery on L5-S1), stroke, open-heart surgery, TEE test, multiple CT-Scans, MRIs, endoscopy (2 times, and the drugs given for this, well let's just say that they make it all better), and that is just a few of things.  You would think that I am about 30 years older than I really am.  Nope.  You would think that I am unhealthy.  Nope - I exercise, eat an extremely healthy, clean, additive-free diet.  But none-the-less, I have had these test for real problems, and the last was a gastric-emptying study. 

In my experience, when doctors explain tests, they do so in a very "laissez faire" kind of way.  For me, I tend to look up as much info as possible, and sometimes that is not a good thing.  So when one of my doctors mentioned a gastric emptying study, and I started the searching on line, I was not thrilled (to say the least) to see the words NUCLEAR MEDICINE.  I am not a doctor (although in another lifetime, I would probably like to be one), but the thought of something nuclear going into me just did not seem right.  Upon further research (on line mind you, important to know this) I starting reading about "fried egg nuclear sandwiches".  Not exactly what I imagined, especially considering that I do not order fried egg sandwiches on a regular day.  So, a few days before the test I called the office and asked many questions.  The tech, very nice, gave me some info that I would not have otherwise had.

1. Bring an IPOD.  I would be lying still for 45 minutes for the first series of images.  This came in very handy...

2. The test could last up to 4 hours.

3. The substance (Tc-99m) is in an egg substitute mixture, and this is eaten along with toast.

Well, I figured that the hospital was going to have some kind of processed white bread, so I brought my own toast.  The tech looked at me like I was a bit odd, and I told him he could discuss it is with all of his friends, I did not care, but I was not going to eat processed white bread - the nuclear eggs were bad enough.  He complied, and went off to make my sandwich.  When he came back, the eggs were in a little paper bowl, and my toast was burnt.  Not the fanciest breakfast, but I was hungry, and I ate it even though the eggs left a metallic-like taste in my mouth.

The first set of images were fine.  The table was fine.  The test is really quite simple, and since I had to be there for the entire 4 hrs, I finally asked if I could just sleep on the table in between the pictures (each break was for an hour).  No one had a problem with it, so I got to rest, and they received their images. 

Seriously, I mean let's hope that something comes out of this test.  It is comical that I had nuclear eggs for breakfast.  However, it is certainly not something that you will see posted on the Queen of Tarts!