Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer Streets

NYC Summer Streets is another reason why I love New York in the summer time. Every year for three weekends in August the City shuts down Park Avenue from 72nd Street all the way down to the Brooklyn Bridge. This means no cars! The avenue is instead surrendered to bicyclists, tricyclists, unicyclists (seriously) roller bladers, skateboarders, runners, walkers, young people, old people, children, pets, you name it. Riding down the middle of the street surrounded by all these active people on a beautiful summer day with no cars in site, is like living in an alternate reality. My favorite is when the light turns red, and everybody stops to let the cars cross through. When the light turns green, it's like the Tour de France. I put my head down and pedal as fast as I can to get in the lead.

Este and I were feeling so good, breathing in the fresh air and getting some much-needed excerise. Our downfall came when we hit the Whole Foods-sponsored picnic on block 25. Free food! We dumped our bikes to the side and pushed toddlers and grandmas out of the way to get in line for the free lemon sorbet, cantaloupe salad, yogurt, cheese, iced coffee, carrots, Cliff bars, and smoothies. Really, how harmful can it be if the food is healthy and you're wearing Spandex? Sufficiently stuffed, we had to walk our bikes out of there to give the food some time to digest.

A half block later, we found a free outdoor Zumba class. Young girls were suggestively swinging their butts from side to side and working up a sweat. I wanted to get back to the biking, but Este naturally claimed he needed more time to digest and that this was a good place to take another break.

So maybe it wasn't the greatest workout, but we had a fun time and enjoyed all the festivities. I'm planning to buy some blinders for Este (the kind they give horses) so hopefully next weekend we can make it all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Hangover

You know it was a good party when several days go by and you are still thinking about the good times you had. You feel fulfilled and are completely content staying home for the rest of the week. You look at pictures and share stories with friends. And after a few days or weeks, you start planning for the next crazy night out. At least that's how it's always been for me.

So that should explain to you why I haven't blogged for many months. I was still recovering from the wedding! Planning a wedding is a full-time job, and for a year, the event was constantly in the back of my mind. And when the big day finally came around, it did not disappoint. In fact, it was the greatest night of my life! Hence my need to detox and recuperate.

I didn't realize just how much time I've spent being a bum, until I was telling a friend the other day that I hadn't worked out since before the wedding. I am just giving myself a little break, I said. But what began as a well-earned treat to myself (a break from the gym, from writing, from organizing the gifts and photos) is now nothing but a way of life. I've read that one in ten brides experience the post-wedding blues, a natural outcome to spending so much time planning for one day. My situation is more like the post-wedding retreat. I am using 2010 to relax and enjoy the married life! Which brings me to statistic number 2- studies show that people who get married are twice as likely to become obese than those who are just dating.

So in an effort to not "let myself go", I'm writing again, and I've created a little group called Blog Watchers to help me stay on track. Shout out to my friend Jamie who just started her Island Girl-Concrete Jungle blog, and to Nitasha and Kat who have recently started writing in their blogs again too. Together, we can do this!

Note: In case you're wondering, I will start my gym schedule in a couple weeks, after I have successfully reinstituted my writing schedule. Don't want to take on too much and risk a relapse!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Memories Part II

6. When it came time to do the traditional garter and throwing of the bouquet, I realized I didn't have a mini bouquet to toss to the single women of the group. As Este made a show of throwing the garter, I frantically went around looking for some options. My eyes zeroed in on one of the centerpieces. It will have to do, I thought. So... complete with soil and all, I launched the centerpiece at my guests and turned around just in time to see Aria's hand go up to catch the flowers. (Don't ask me why he was even there to begin with.) At the moment his fist closed around the centerpiece, the arrangement exploded in the air and dirt rained down on everyone around him. Aria shrugged his shoulders and handed what was left of the centerpiece to my cousin Mahsa.
Mahsa took a seat as Justin prepared to put the garter that he caught on her leg. Now, I am not sure what the protocol is, but I'm pretty positive he was not supposed to slide the garter up her leg with his mouth. I tried to stop him and tell him that that action was reserved for the bride and groom, but I think Justin was enjoying himself too much to listen or even care. Poor Mahsa!

7. It's funny how quickly something fun can turn scary. When the last song was over, my mom asked Este and I to sit on two chairs and had all the guys carry us out to the club for the after party. We sat down and awkwardly rose above the crowd, feeling like an Egyptian king and queen.
"To The Club!" "To The Club!" "To The Club!" My fist pumped with the rhythm of our slaves' chant. "Yeah! Faster!" I said as I motioned an imaginary whip.
Then, I don't know how it happened, but someone (my guess is Borzou) had the brilliant idea to change the chant.
"In The Pool!" "In The Pool!" "In The Pool!" And just like that, my royal fantasy turned into visions of a soaking wet wedding dress, mascara running in black streaks down my face, and my hair a soggy rat's nest on top of my head. NOOOO! They can't be serious!
As we made our way closer and closer to the water, I realized just how serious they were. I thrashed my arms about and grabbed and twisted as many ears as I could. "Don't do this. Put us down now!" I pleaded with my brother and tried to poke Dara in the eye, but no one would listen. I called out to Este to stop them, but he was the one chanting the loudest.
And then, just as the blue water came into view, I saw an angel with curly brown ringlets and hazel eyes run up to the front of the procession and issue out a final directive: Enough.
No questions asked- Este and I came straight down and the guys dispersed.
I owe Sepideh one big hug for saving us that night.

8. I vaguely remember all the guys linked arms at the after party and started doing leg kicks. I wish I knew what song would make someone want to do this but maybe it's something you do when you are so happy you feel the need to kick your legs eye-level in a chorus line with your friends. I dunno. I had to take a picture of this.

9. I wish the weirdness would have ended with the leg kicks, but after all the dancing we decided to head down to the beach. We left the club and joined my mother, Aryan, Goli Kaviani, Susan, both Mehrans and Kamran Nikseresht by the water. (Forgive me if I left anyone out, my memories of that late night are spotty!) In those calming moments by the sea, some of us passed out on the chairs and others hummed distant songs from their youth. Goli, ever the life of the party, started doing cartwheels in the sand. Susan, a bona fide yogi, led a stretching and meditating session. And everyone else just emptied minds and cleansed souls with a series of "Ohmmmms..."
Naturally, the OHMs became OH Snaps. (Don't ask me why.) Ajay stood up and took his place as conductor of the Oh Snap Chorus. We would all start very low at first "ohhhh" then Ajay would bring his arms up to fever pitch.
"ohhhhh HHHHHHH HHHHHHHH....."
We'd all look at him in desperation as the last breath escaped from our lungs.
When he finally brought his hands down, our "SNAP!" would ring and echo into the night.
We did this several times.

10. After laying out in the sun all day, we decided to head back to our rooms and get ready for dinner. I took one last look at the ocean and noticed a couple on a private photo shoot with the resort photographer. I nudged Carly to watch, because things were getting hot and heavy. The man and woman were rolling in the sand on top of each other as the tide came in and the photographer was clicking away to capture the romance. Out of nowhere I see a lady in a pink bathing suit walk up to the couple. I did a double take because not only did she stay in the shot, she got closer and started to pose with--and on top--of them. The other reason for the double take was that the woman looked familiar.
"Is that....LILI?!?!" Yes, yes it sure was.

11. I will cherish memories of my grandma and grandpa enjoying themselves on this trip. They may not always have the facts right...(Babajoon had a long conversation with his seat mate on the flight over and was bragging about going to his granddaughter's wedding. "She lives in New York and works in publishing, and I'm so proud of her" he said. "Oh, publishing! Which company?" "Flamingo."
They may not know exactly what's going on all the time....(During our tango, Babajoon asked, "Who hired the professional dancers?")
But they laughed, danced, swam, ate big buffet meals, drank alcohol and freshly squeezed pineapple juice with equal gusto, and participated wholeheartedly in all of the festivities.
If I were invisible, I'd follow them around all day and learn as much as I could, because if anyone knows what it means to live a full life and find happiness with the one you love- it is Mommyjoon and Babajoon.

12. There are so many more memories that I'd like to record here, but now new memories are coming in and I don't want to lose those either. I must close the book on this chapter of my life when Este and I got engaged, planned a wedding and with the help of our parents, made it come true. This picture was taken after most of our guests had left, and Este and I were feeling post-wedding calm for the first time. Was it all a dream? Did we really just get married...on the beach...with 101 of our closest friends and family? YES and it was awesome.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One Month Ago...

One month ago this time, Este and I had just exchanged vows, and we were mingling with guests at the cocktail hour, munching on hors d'oeurves and sharing a cigar with friends as we all waited for the reception. Now with Northern Virginia under at least two feet of snow with more on the way and New York expecting a major winter storm with possible power outages, a month ago seems like a world away.

It was one of the greatest trips of my life and I could not have asked for a more perfect wedding. Already my mind has blurred all the good times together so instead of separate thoughts, I just get one overwhelmingly happy feeling every time I think back. We all have our own memories of the trip and wedding but these are the ones that will stay with me:

1. The Foroughi family was with us the entire flight down, and it was reassuring to have them there in case something happened. I was nervous about checking in my gown, losing my luggage, missing the transfer, etc. When we finally got settled in the shuttle to the hotel, with gown and luggage intact, I let out a sigh of relief. As if on cue, Kamran appeared with 4 el Presidente cervesas. Este and I clinked our bottles together and smiled. Our vacation and the rest of our lives had just begun...

2. Dancing till the morning hours, drinking nonstop, walking barefoot on the beach and ordering room service--we made every night count. We even had an impromptu bachelor and bachelorette party one night (the details of which I cannot share with you, but for the sake of recognizing them, I will say the Tooth Bump and Shrimp Fried Rice were two moments that made my bachelorette party awesome.)
Este and I put our arms around each other after reuniting at the disco and drunkenly made our way back to the room. What a crazy night! I thought. We partied hard and I felt rebellious as it was clear we were the last two people still awake at the resort. As I was thinking how we are such big party animals, the sound of my dad's laughter rose above a corner of the lobby.
"DAD?!?! What are you doing still up?!?"
"Heyyy...What do you mean? We are enjoying the night."
My dad was sitting around the table at 4 in the morning with a few of his buddies and several empty glasses of tequila in front of them. So much for me being hard core, I thought. My parents clearly have more partying in them than I ever will.
"If you guys are hungry, they are serving burgers and pizza at the lobby buffet."
"Thanks, Dad."

[Dad pictured here showing the chef a thing or two about flipping burgers.]

3. I woke up one morning to a throbbing in my left heel bone. Damn, must have been all the foot stomping I did on the dance floor the night before, I thought. But the pain kept getting worse the more I walked on it. A quick inspection revealed that I had a splinter in my foot. Can't be limping down the aisle! Help! I grabbed my mom and dad and we had an emergency splinter pulling session on their balcony. Could I have done this on my own? Probably. But there's nothing like being a baby sometimes and having your parents take care of things. My mom used a needle to dig out the splinter, and my dad held my hand through the process. Every time a wedding guest walked by, we would sit up straight, smile and wave like we were just sitting on the balcony having family time. Once they were out of sight, the emergency surgery would resume.

4. Feeling like a celebrity during the ceremony with all the crowds of paparazzi. Everyone looked HOT and famous, looking good in their dresses and suits, sporting perfect tans and Ray Bans. We were the main attraction on the beach that day. There was even a helicopter buzzing around. I was not anticipating the crowds of people who came to watch, but then again, this was no ordinary wedding. I could get used to this, I thought, as I walked down the red carpet towards my husband-to-be. If only I pronounced his name correctly when we exchanged vows!

5. My nerves were a jumbled mess the entire day of the wedding. Not because I was getting married, but because Este and I had a surprise tango planned for our first dance. Because no one knew about it, our practice time over the holidays was few and far between and not nearly enough to guarantee success. We had taken seven private lessons in the course of two months. One spin in particular had me sweating bullets. You see- 90% of the time I practiced this spin, I would spin out of control and fall on my face. This is one of the first moves of the dance, so if I fell, the entire dance would have been a disaster.
Before the reception, Este and I frantically practiced the dance in the room, and nothing went right. We considered trashing the dance completely but then realized we had no back up song. No tango- no first dance.
I guess this is it! We stepped out onto the dance floor. Everyone looked confused at my red dress and Este's all-black attire. Music comes on, and I am supposed to do a sexy walk towards him. My left foot slipped on the sandy dance floor and I stumbled. I heard a smirk from the audience, and I knew it was over. My worst nightmare had come true. I messed up and someone laughed at me. But then I put my hand on Este's shoulder for the first basic step, and I miraculously relaxed. The worst had happened, and I made up my mind to have fun. I've always wanted to learn how to do the tango, and here we were tearing up the dance floor. Now Este, spin me like you've never spun me before!

To be continued....

Monday, January 4, 2010

See You at the Beach!

It's officially crunch time as far as wedding planning goes, and I am filled with nervous excitement. Even if the wedding is a complete disaster, I know we will have a great time. With 105 of my closest friends and family vacationing with me in the Dominican Republic, what more could I ask for? This is going to be the trip of a lifetime!

My flight leaves at 9am tomorrow morning, and my mind is racing with all the things I learned when I last made the trip in November. Here are some helpful tips as you pack and get ready:

1. Bring a snack with you. The airlines don't serve any food and the airport food is mucho expensivo. The best free drink you can get on the flight is the Bloody Mary Mix. The best snack are the potato chips. They are only $4 and they pack a lot in each tube.

2. You will have to pay a $10 fee for a Visa when you get into the DR. Make sure you bring exact change.

3. Bring lots of singles for tipping! The service is very impressive and you will feel like a high roller.

4. You have to wear a bright orange bracelet at all times at the resort. If this bothers you, bring a nice bracelet to cover the orange for wedding pictures!

5. Men-- you will not be admitted to any of the resort restaurants without long pants. Make sure to pack a pair of kakhis and/or jeans.

6. Don't forget your passport!

7. DO NOT bring any wedding gifts with you to the DR!

The next time I write in my blog, the wedding will be in the past and this trip will be a memory. Let's take advantage of every moment together. I will be waiting for you on the beach!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mini Freak Out

This is the beginning of my three week vacation from work and I can't help but think about my "home" routine which has been the same ever since I left for college. Being a total bum, getting my mom to cook all my favorite foods, complaining that the house is too cold, and yelling for an extra blanket when I know my parents are already in bed. I've been thinking: when I get married, can I still be a bum when I come home or do I have to help my parents with the cooking and cleaning? Can a married woman still crawl into bed with her parents in the morning? Or stay up late reminiscing with her little brother? More importantly, can I still laugh at fart jokes? Or be the one to start them? Just a thought.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What Happens at Bridal Showers

Now I know why so many girls love wedding planning and being engaged. It's like every day is your birthday! Everyone is constantly congratulating you and wishing you well. There are gifts up the wazoo and lots of champagne and celebrations. I've never had so much fun!

I've been especially spoiled by my bridesmaids. Sara and Tiba recently hosted a bridal shower for me, and they went all out with the decor, food, drinks, and games. Other than the general awkwardness of opening boxes of lingerie in front of Este's mom, the party was a hit and I was laughing the entire time. How much fun can 40 women have on a Saturday afternoon, you ask?

Well, for one thing, the games were insane. My favorite was the Get-the-Chili-Pepper-in-the-Bottle game. You have to admire the coordination and concentration required for this one. My aunt Nazanin (pictured here) was a contender, but Este's mom smashed the competition with her chili pepper skills, getting it in the bottle in less than 60 seconds!

Then there was the Last Chance to Kiss Este game. Newly engaged and blindfolded Tanaz Shahrzad walked up to my guy with confidence and surprised us all (mainly Sara) with her smooching prowess. Yeah...I'm going to keep an eye on that one...

With competitive tensions running high, we were all afraid to see what MC Tiba would ask of us next. Sitting in a circle, we had to pass around a teddy bear and kiss a body part on the bear. Harmless, right? BUT THEN Tiba took away the bear and said we had to kiss the person next to us on the same part we kissed the bear. And this is how it came to be. Full girl-on-girl action between Mrs. Perla and my grandma, who said she'd kiss the bear on the lips! Poor Mrs. Perla didn't know what hit her when my grandma grabbed her by the ears and pulled her into a big smackeroo. It was like a game of spin the bottle that had gone horribly wrong. And when it was over, Mrs. Perla, still dazed from what had just transpired, turned to me and had to kiss my feet! (To be nice, I smelled each one first and gave her the least stinky of the two.)

Before the shower, Este made a special request for me to look after his mom and make sure she has a good time. If only he knew...