Married Life

three.

Cake Cutting

Cutting our (homemade) wedding cake – July 5, 201

Three years ago, we got married. It wasn’t legally binding, and if it had been, it would not have been recognized in the state where we live nor by the federal government. (But we ate cake anyway!)

Two weeks after that, we made it legal with a visit to the Cambridge, Massachusetts courthouse – where the first same-sex wedding in the United States took place in 2004. In Boston’s Public Garden, a real Justice of the Peace from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts certified our marriage. (And then we ate a swanky, delectable French dinner.)

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Getting legally married in Boston Public Garden.

Two years and four days ago, the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act went into effect, and we celebrated our first anniversary with an upgrade from legally unrelated people to members of a Civil Union.

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First Anniversary at the Pier

This year, we are celebrating our anniversary as federally-recognized spouses, thanks to the repeal of DOMA. Illinois is on the brink of becoming the 14th state to allow same-sex marriage (keep your fingers crossed this fall), and there are some cases making their way towards the Supreme Court that could result in marriage equality nationwide. That is a damn long way to come in three short years.

And we promise, when it happens, we will be throwing one kickass party.

For the time being, though, we’re eating Turkish breakfast, hitting the beach where we got married, grilling some burgers, and celebrating what we’ve got right now.

Third Anniversary at the Pier.

Third Anniversary at the Pier.

Crafty Broads goes to Europe!

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As you may be aware, we have been wanting to go on a real honeymoon since we got married almost three years ago, and we’ve had our eyes on Spain. And with airfare to Europe being so expensive, we didn’t to spend all that money (and time) on flights just to stay for the week or so we could afford to take off work. So we hatched a little plan to extend our honeymoon into a working vacation by coordinating some weddings in Europe while we were there. We put it out there on a couple blogs, crossed our fingers, and held out a vague hope that it might actually happen.

Well, we couldn’t possibly be more excited to announce that we will be coordinating Kim and Tomi’s wedding in Switzerland next summer!! The lovely house and breathtaking view pictured throughout this post is where the wedding will be held. And it will include a pig roast! Did we get lucky or what?

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We would love to stay and explore a bit longer, so if you are getting married anywhere in Europe* next year, we would be thrilled to come organize your wedding and celebrate with you! Without further ado, here are the specifics.

The Crafty Broads’ 2014 EUROPE TRAVEL SPECIAL:

  • No travel fee for airfare to Europe!*
  • Day-of-Coordination**, which seems to be known as Wedding Day Management in some parts of Europe. See below for full details.
  • Both Cindy and Julia to coordinate – in other words, two wedding planners for the price of one.
  • Unlimited hands-on help with last-minute details or anything else for the entire week leading up to the wedding, at no extra charge. We can help with arranging floral centerpieces, crafting decorations, minor clothing alterations, etc.
  • We are accepting bookings for August and September 2014 weddings, and will extend into July/October if we fill up those dates. Please book by September 30th, 2013 to take advantage of this offer.

Ok, sounds great, but how much will it really cost us?
We are giving you two options for pricing this deal:

Flat rate. $2500 (about $1875€) including all travel – to your city, around your city, lodging, and food.

Regular fee + local travel. $1250-$1500 (950€-1125€) coordination fee and you provide local transportation from the rail station and around your town, lodging, and food for us for the week. We are open to guest rooms and home cooking and whatever other low-cost travel options you can think of!

To get started, please email info AT craftybroads DOT com!

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*Europe is defined by us as the UK plus anywhere we can get on the Eurail Global pass: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland (includes Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland), Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

**Day-of-Coordination (Wedding Day Management) includes:
Beginning when you book us, you will have unlimited access to us via phone, Skype, and email. About six weeks prior to the wedding, we will meet to discuss your celebration in extensive detail and create a wedding day timeline. After the meeting, we will become the main point of contact for each of your vendors (suppliers). We will review their contracts, confirm the details of their services, and ensure that they are up to speed on the wedding day timeline and all of your plans. We will also put together several handy organizational documents detailing the timeline, items needed for decor, contact information for pertinent parties, and an assortment of other things. We will be available for your rehearsal, if you have one, to guide you and your family members, wedding party, etc. through the ceremony. On your wedding day, we will take care of whatever needs to be done – typically this is setting out decorations, place cards, and the like; keeping everyone to the wedding day schedule, handing out final payments to your suppliers, assisting you and your guests with anything they might need, and cleaning everything up at the end of the night. We will come equipped with an emergency kit so we can handle any situation that may arise over the course of the day.

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Photos courtesy of http://trotte-iselisberg.ch

 

New York City

Center of the Universe. (Sing it, Girl…)*

So, I totally abandoned this blog, social outings, friends, sleeping more than four hours a night, and even wine for the first nine days of November in order to finish up that insane amount of projects we had going.

And then? Then I went to New York. And we were on VACATION. Like, the real kind, where you leave your laptop at home (I did!) and don’t even check your work email at all (I… almost did. I read them, but I didn’t reply to any! So that’s a half win?). Friends, if you haven’t been taking vacations – and I know you’re out there, because this was the first real vacation we have ever taken, in the 6 1/2 years we’ve known each other – and it was AWESOME.

Here are my new rules for vacation:
1) Don’t make any firm plans. Ideas, yes. Things you’d like to do, places you’d like to visit, restaurants you’d like to try – YES. Actual scheduled times at which to do any of these things? NO. Just wing it.

2) Groupon is your friend. Oh Groupon, I have never loved you so much as in NYC. You gave us fine French food, complete with appetizers, entrees, desserts, and a whole bottle of wine to split for $69. You gave us $40 worth of oxtail and Cuban pork, among other things, for only $20. You gave us organic mani-pedis for $19 each. You gave me a sassy new haircut with fiery highlights for half the price. And you gave us the most AMAZING couples massage with hot rocks, which we have learned is THE BEST THING EVER, for only $98. For both of us. And it felt like it lasted for three hours, somehow, even though it was only one. WHAT?!

Here is my list of foods I ate (some for the first time – marked with “!”) in NYC. I liked them.
Sea Urchin!
Escargot!
Foie Gras, which I may have finally learned to spell correctly
Veal Sweetbreads
Quail Eggs
The Tiniest Mushrooms I Have Ever Seen! – They were so cute I actually tasted them and they were even yummy.
Oxtail!

3) If you have a shopping weakness, say for fabric, it might be wise to set a budget for it before a very helpful Mood employee “starts a pile” for you, and hooks you up with a loyalty card. (Thanks, Stephany!) Else you risk getting halfway to the $25-back-after-$500-spent reward in one trip…

4) Do what you can to stay in a hotel that you love while you’re in it, but is not so cozy that you never want to leave. Our hotel was so awesome that it might deserve its own post, but let’s be honest, I will never get around to that. Suffice it to say, if you put the friendliest staff in the history of ever with the most efficient space design in an über-modern hunting lodge with chartreuse escalators, you win.

5) Splurge on something you will truly love. For us, obviously, that’s food. We did a seven-course chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings at Austrian restaurant Seäsonal, which we had both noticed separately while strolling through Manhattan. It was mind-blowing.

In summary, vacation was awesome. I am no longer completely stressed out, but I have plenty of good and fun projects to fill my time. I managed to decide Wednesday night to host/cook Thanksgiving, and totally rocked it (one of my guests declared it the best Thanksgiving dinner ever) and I get to keep eating it all weekend. Friday was our last wedding of the year, from which I got to bring home all manner of uneaten pies along with pride in a job well done. We may get an answer on the house we’ve been waiting for since June… sometime before New Year’s. And JULIA IS COMING HOME TONIGHT!

So – life is pretty sweet. As are all the pies in my fridge. Here’s hoping you have a vacation and some decadent desserts in your very near futures too!

 

*Bonus points to you if you got that reference.

Where The Hell Have We Been?

Who knew that October was going to be a crazy busy chaotic month of madness? We sure didn’t. Julia was without a show to do, and our calendar held one wedding dress and one mother-of-the-bride dress (same wedding!) and I had two day-of-coordination gigs (one in Michigan, one in Chicago), plus my usual 45-hour/week nannying job. This seemed completely reasonable when I looked at the calendar in September.

It still seemed possible when we added two wedding dress alterations. And two more day-of-coordination spots in November (which yes, require work in October, because it’s really far more than just a day-of service.) October was even achievable when we booked two more alterations for bridesmaids. And when we added a corset (which is really cool – it’s for a man to do an impression of Cher, and the design is based on her costume from the Turn Back Time video – can’t wait to tell you about it… someday) that we donated as an auction prize to About Face Theatre’s annual fundraiser. As well as when Julia got a show, because that was just four nights a week, leaving her daytimes free.

But then, a fantastic and terrible thing happened. Julia got offered a job stage managing a month-long run of Route 66’s A Twist of Water. In New York City. Starting October 28th. With rehearsals the week prior in Chicago. And then? Then doable, booming-business awesomeness started to look a little bit impossible.

And I honestly don’t think I’m lying if I tell you that we will probably spend MORE time with each other while she’s in NYC than in the entire month of October, because I am going to visit, and I’m not going to work at all for five whole days while I’m there. For real, I am turning the auto-responder on my email and everything.

So, if you’ve missed this blog having any actual posts, or you’re still bummed that I cancelled my birthday party to sew things (true story), or you haven’t seen me around the twitters lately… I hope you understand that it’s just been impossible to do anything but work for the last month and a half. The next few weeks aren’t looking good either, but I tell you what – I am free on Thanksgiving (Day only, I have a wedding the day after), so if you are interested in hanging with a sleep-deprived crazy person who has no intention of getting out of her pajamas all day, you know where to find me.

And Just Like That, She is Gone.

Yesterday, we got up while it was still dark, lugged two giant suitcases, one carry-on, and a messenger bag to my car, and headed for the airport. The sun was just coming up, and it was gorgeous and we realized that Julia had never seen the sunrise over Lake Michigan in the entire ten years she’s lived here! What an awesome image of the city to keep with her while she’s in New York this month. (If you’re there, you should go see A Twist of Water at 59E59.) And then I realized that the last time I’d been heading south on the drive early enough to catch a sunrise was… when I took a show to New York seven years ago. How appropriate.

So we both soaked in the glorious purple-orange-blue morning sky. Perfection.

Making Time

It has gotten crazy around here. Last week, I was prepping for an out-of-town wedding, working on a corset pattern, working my usual 12-hour shifts at the day job, and having to grocery shop afterwards to come home and make dinner alone because Julia was in tech for a show. Then I skipped town and worked all weekend, Julia stayed home and worked all weekend, and then we basically repeated that this week, except sub prepping for going out-of-town with catching up from being out-of-town, and sub being in tech for running a show and starting rehearsals for another show and making mockups for two different dresses and we both had terrible weeks. I cancelled my own damn birthday party because I was too stressed out thinking about losing the work time on Saturday to making cake and party food.

You can see why we both got super cranky today about having zero time for each other.

Julia said today, “I need a wife, not just a business partner.” And she is absolutely right. We both need each other; we especially need each other when we are overworked and stressed out. I am pretty sure we may have even promised something along those lines.

Us, on our very first trip away together, in 2006. Six years later, this remains our only trip away alone together, except for our legal marriage/honeymoon jaunt to Boston. I think we should get out of town more often…

I’ve probably talked about this before. Maybe I haven’t, I don’t know. You know who has? Christy. She talks about it a lot, and she is wise:

“The thing about maintaining a happy relationship is that you can’t choose to focus on it just one day every few months. Like those crazy crash diets that never work – you can’t just decide to not eat for a day and expect that you’ll keep the weight off for the rest of your life. No… you need to make lifestyle changes, eat healthier, and work on it day in and day out. Relationships are just the same.”

So what did she do? She literally took out her calendar and wrote a day off into every week. And I’m going to go ahead and steal her smart plans. (Thanks, Christy!)

From now on, we are designating one day a week as a No-Crafty-Broads-Work day (if you’re wondering, it seems to be falling on Sundays for the foreseeable future.) And somewhere in the week, probably on that same day but possibly not, we are scheduling Date Night. With a strict no computers, no cell phones rule. During which we might do things like actually seeing a movie in the movie theater. So, if you’re calling/texting/emailing and we’re not responding immediately like we usually do… be patient for at least 24 hours, ok? We’ll be snuggling until then.

Yeah, we really did carve our names into a tree trunk.

Restaurant Michael – Winnetka

I’m BACK! Or, at least, I am trying. It’s hard to get back in the groove when you’ve taken three months (seriously? yeah…) off from blogging anything. I make no promises, because honestly I kinda feel obligated to blog more than yay! I feel like blogging! a lot of the time, but I also remember that when I do it with some semblance of regularity I become excited to post, so. Newton’s First Law of Motion. It’s for real, man. Anyway, I’m gonna ease us back in gently by talking about (what else?) food!

A couple weeks ago, we went to see a fantastic production of A Little Night Music at Writers’ Theatre. (It was stellar, but it’s over, so I can’t tell you to go see it. It’s already too late.) We decided to make it a date night and go out for dinner. I was looking for something inexpensive, because we’re trying to buy a house and we’re going to need money for fixing it up (I should totally write a post about that, shouldn’t I?) and also we have a food budget to stick to, but being that Writers’ is in Glencoe, we were limited by The Suburbs. Having ruled out chain restaurants and places that sounded very mediocre, we decided to go all out and took the theatre’s suggestion (and 10% discount) to Restaurant Michael. In summary – amazing food, top-notch service, way lower prices than comparable dining experiences we’ve had before.

Since we were pre-show diners, our reservation was for 5:30pm. When we arrived, we were pretty much the only people there. Now I know it’s not really “cool” to eat dinner so early, but I have to tell you – there is no cheaper way to get private dining. Give it a chance sometime. We were pleasantly surprised to find a prix fixe menu, and while we pondered the options, we were served the most delicious cheese puff ever. I think the rest of this post is best told in photos. Enjoy!

Meet My Other Wife

No, I’m not a polygamist. But every couple of months, my wife leaves me for a week or two. She leaves early in the morning, she comes home well after I’m asleep. We barely exchange a text message in the hours we’re both awake. Cooking dinner, laundry, grocery shopping, taking care of the house, any Crafty Broads stuff that needs to be done is all on me. Sometimes, if I’m feeling generous, I’ll pack her a lunch or a snack to take with her.

I’m talking, of course, about the Theatre. It is a magical place, except during that period of time right before a show opens, known as Hell Week Tech. When you’re in the midst of it, it seems unending. You feel like you will never see your significant other again. In those fleeting moments when you catch a glimpse of each other, you’re cranky and tired and you bite each others’ heads off. When alone, you pine for even five minutes to talk about your days.

IT SUCKS.

(And it sucks extra when the show is going hellishly and people are being jerks and everyone is extra-stressed as a result.)

Thankfully, Tech always ends. Usually within a week or so. (Unless you are this show.) And then, there is Opening Night. Where they attempt to appease the nightmares of the previous week by treating you to free food and libations. And it usually works.

So here’s to another opening of another show tonight! And more importantly, to the fact that I’ll have my wife back by this time tomorrow.

Until the next one, anyway.

On the Menu This Week

Finally, a post about food! It’s been too long, hasn’t it? I know I should be rounding up all the tasty things we’ve consumed since whenever the last time was I mentioned something on here, but the truth is the idea of doing that is overwhelming enough to incapacitate me.

So, as I attempt to get back in the swing of meal planning (yeah, we have not been so good these last few busy months. We have had a lot of food delivered, and a lot of last-minute trips to the store.) – I thought I’d maybe try to resurrect that thing where I share my menu for the week with you. Here goes.

In case you’ve forgotten, we try to eat one red meat, one poultry, two fish, and three vegetarian meals each week. Designated below as (M), (P), & (V), respectively.

(V) Pasta (our default I-don’t-feel-like-cooking meal: angel hair with marinara)
(F) Crispy Fish with Tomato & Leek Saute
(M) Tacos
(V) Sweet Potato with Beets, Greens, & Almonds
(F) Maple Glazed Salmon with Pineapple
(P) Chicken, Squash, & Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing
(V) Ricotta Gnocchi with Leeks & Fava Beans (!!! It’s fava bean season again! Finally! Are you as excited about that as I am? You should be.)

I also bought beets for roasting (and they had golden beets today – score! I saw them and immediately thought of the golden beet borscht we had at Sprout. Anybody have a good borscht recipe?) and tossing into salad greens for any meal which feels like it wants more veggies. We’ll probably have this with the salmon and on pasta night.

This week, Julia is in tech for a show, and consequently not home until Thursday, so I get to eat the things I usually skip because of her preferences/restrictions. For example, tacos! Which I would happily eat on a weekly basis, but she would prefer to have only once every other month or so. Also? Goat cheese. Which I LOVE but she cannot stomach, so I don’t eat it as frequently as I’d like. And that salmon dish with the pineapple? I could eat it all week long; Julia finds it a bit too sweet.

What are YOU eating this week? (If it’s vegetarian and delicious, please share your recipes because I never seem to have enough of those!)

File Your Taxes Early (and Often!)

On our way to our Chicago wedding. Photo © Starbelly Studios. www.starbellystudios.com

It’s the Chicago way. No, it’s not really, that’s voting. I just stole it because this year, our taxes are… very special. You see, a while back, we got married (not legally) in Chicago. And then we went to Boston, and got married (legally) again. Which was/is awesome but come tax time, we were still considered single by both the Federal and State governments. So last year, we begrudgingly filed our taxes as single people, with a disclosure statement to the effect that we were really married, and they weren’t recognizing it, and the fact that we were filing as single did not in any way mean we were denying the existence of our marriage.

But this year? This year, Illinois passed a law enacting Civil Unions. So, our Massachusetts marriage license gives us an automatic civil union here (yay!) which means… we are single when it comes to Federal taxes, but (kind of) married when it comes to the state version. So, we each got to do our taxes twice – once as single people for our actual filing with the Federal government, and then all over again using the married filing status so that we could take that dummy Federal form to complete our Illinois form as actual married people. And we probably should have done it both as married filing jointly and married filing separately to make sure we were choosing the less expensive option, but we didn’t. Because that would have been doing them THREE SEPARATE TIMES, and just – NO. Oh, yeah, and we’re an LLC, so we have business tax forms to complete as well. All of which means we have spent an inordinate amount of time on taxes this year. (But they are DONE! DONE DONE DONE! Pending review by our accountant, anyway.)

Our legal wedding in Boston's Public Garden

So, dear governments and homophobic people, I must ask you this: Exactly how many times do we need to get married before we can file our taxes jointly? Because twice, apparently, is not enough. Can we please just get marriage equality on both state and federal levels before the next tax season rolls around? Because next year we might have an employee and payroll tax, and the year after that there may be children to consider. And if I have to do it three different ways on top of all that, I may end up in jail for tax evasion or a mental institution. Look – it’s going to happen sooner or later anyway – why don’t we go with sooner and save a lot of people a lot of hassle, ok? Ok. I promise to throw a kickass party to celebrate the day when I can say I’m married, without any qualifications.