Tuesday, August 30, 2011

September 4th by David

*Guest Post by David Dangelico

On September 4th, 2010, I married my best friend. Now, almost a year later, I can’t believe how much we have grown. How could I have made the leap then without knowing what I know now? Love gives you a confidence that is unparalleled. When talking to my dad about marrying Lia, he told me never to forget that love is not one person giving 50 percent and the other giving 50 percent, it’s both of you giving 100 percent. Now that I look back on our first year, I realize that he was absolutely right, and that the only person who I would be able to do that with was indeed Lia.

Marriage is a bizarre thing. So many books, movies and songs deal with the subject matter, though nothing can really prepare you for it. No self-help book can teach you how to be a good husband or wife. No movie can unlock the secrets of a man’s mind. No song can teach what is in a woman’s heart. These things are learned from experience and experience alone. Everyone is different in his or her own strange and beautiful way. On September 4th, 2010, I had no idea what I was getting into. All that I knew was that I wanted to get into it with Lia.

As a kid growning up in Wilmington, NC, I always tried to picture who my wife would be. Some famous person I assumed (because, of course I would be famous as well). We would live in New York or LA, I would be making movies, and she would either be acting in them or working on her singing career. Life would be awesome because we would be loaded rich doing crazy things. I would have an enormous swimming pool in the backyard and have a convertible parked in the driveway. It would be perfect, the life of my dreams.

But I got something better. I got Lia, the most real, honest, funny, and smartest person I have ever met. We are not famous; we get to eat our humble dinners by ourselves without being bothered. We don’t have an enormous house in which we would get lost and hardly see each other, we have a modest townhouse with one couch that is just slightly too small for both of us to lie down on (even though we do anyway). I don’t have a lavish car in the driveway, I have a car that is just slightly unreliable, thus forcing us to share a car at least once a month and carpool to work. My life is not the life of my boyhood dreams, but it is most certainly perfect, and I would not choose any other.

They say that the first year of marriage is the hardest, which excites me to no end. Sure our first year had its fair share of disagreements, maybe even a fight or two. But overall, it has been the best year of my life. And they say it is just going to get better? Well then I’m gonna say something that will most certainly make Lia roll her eyes:

Hell yeah!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


*A note: I hate the "embedding disabled" feature on YouTube. It has totally harshed my mellow this fine eve.

A little distraction does a body good, and more than ever I've been needing a mental break from the craziness that's been going on at work. It's all I think about, dream about, worry (and therein get pimples) about. Mama needs a break.

Dear Key West: See you in one week and two days. Love, Lia

Since I still have one solid work week between me and vacation, I decided to put together a lil' list of my Top 5 most romantic TV/movie scenes EVER for some fun. And oh, did I have fun. I was inspired by 1.) PW's amazing TV romances post and by 2.) my own insanity, including doing Harry's moan from "When Harry Met Sally" for at least half of my ride home from work today.

Here goes nothing, my people (in no particular order):

1. "Well then... your hands are cold."

I think that I thought I was the kind of woman who didn't like modern remakes of classic romantic dramas until I saw a remake of a classic romantic drama like "Pride and Prejudice" (2005). Everything about this movie is lovely: the cinematography, the clothing (swoon), the men (NOT the trollish cousin), the dances. I die for Darcy. There is nothing that wins my heart like a tall, dark and seemingly cold man.

My little sisters made me watch this movie in bed one weekend when I was home visiting from college, and I think we laid in bed and watched it at least 3 times in a row. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. There is no swoon like the swoon I succumb to during the final scene in which, just as the sun begins to rise, the figures of Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet emerge from a lush, dense fog and confront one another and the love between them. It is sweet, innocent, passionate, honest, raw and beautiful—and I love it.

2. "It was enough."

If you're not a "LOST" fan, well, first: I'm sorry and second: You won't really get this, but if you have a pulse it will still make you cry?

"LOST" is such a romantic show to me for many reasons—the main one being that David introduced (read: forced) me to the show, and the experience of watching it with him was very special.

This scene is from an episode called "The Constant," in which Desmond (one of the people stranded on the island) is finally able to contact his long, lost love Penny by phone. They are fragile, confused, broken, scared, but never more in love. Many years have passed since their last contact and it's very apparent that their love is what keeps them afloat. I get chills as soon as they begin to speak.

My favorite part of the whole thing takes place right after the phone connection goes dead and Desmond realizes their conversation is over. He turns to the man who set up the call, Sayid, who immediately apologizes that the call was cut short. So naturally, gently, thankfully, Desmond simply replies "It was enough." After years, across oceans, a one minute conversation was enough for him.

Couldn't find an embed-able video, but here it is on YouTube:

(Watch it if you know what's good for ya.)

3. "I was gonna get these to you."

In my many, many (24) years on Earth, I have discovered a simple fact: A lady is either into "Sex and The City" or not.

I am the former.

In the interest of full disclosure, I guess you could call me a "Sex and the City" fiend. I have the entire series, and I even have both a DVD and a Blu Ray of the first movie. I love all of it—except the 2nd movie. I'm sorry, but, just, NO.

The show is a journey, and the movie picks right up where the show leaves off. I eat it up. I love how even once the fairy tale of Carrie & Big has been tied up in a bow in the show, the movie puts them back through the ringer. That's real life. And, call me a sap, but the gut-wrenching heartache that Carrie and Big experience in the movie is perfectly presented by SJP and Chris Noth. They are the bomb.

It would be unfair for me not to tell you that I am also a Team Big girl. That will never ever change.

This scene moved and still moves me in ways I can barely explain. Maybe it's the swelling music, maybe it's the restoring of faith, maybe it's just two simple characters that I have been rooting for for so long finally getting what they really want.

You invest all this time and energy and tears in these characters and they become like family. If you think I'm a freak, you don't watch good enough TV. (Or maybe I am just a freak.)

Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQEHtGdq1mE

4. "It's gonna be OK."

Did you know that this post is really just all about me? You did? SWELL.

I die for Ben Affleck. I love him. I will even say that while "Gili" is playing in any and every home in America. He is smart, tender, kind, funny—and that smile. Lord, give me strength. I luff the man. Do you believe me yet?

Therefore, unsurprisingly, (and because it was a great movie) I loved "He's Just Not That Into You." Fun cast, great acting, clever writing, I was into it 100 percent.

All of the couples in this movie are great, but of course the one with Jen Anniston and Ben makes my heart melt.

They have broken up and haven't seen each other in a while. Jen is in pieces dealing with her father's recent heart attack and the chaos that stemmed from that. She is needing him more than ever, and just like that—he shows up for her. I cry, cry, cry so hard and it's not even the romantic scene most would think.

But a man showing up for his woman when she needs him most, is there anything more attractive than that??

Watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHu1WxQ7tBU

"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of the life to start as soon as possible."

Surprise! (Not.) It's the final scene from "When Harry Met Sally" when silly ole' Harry finally comes to his senses and runs—I squeal at his little legs moving so fast—to find Sally on New Years Eve and proclaim his love to her. I love the running, I love the out-of-breath-ness, I love her hair and neckline (I'm weird), I love the writing and how it gives me chills all over and makes me cry every, every time. This is the kind of stuff I grew up on, so David, if you're reading this you can point to movies/scenes such as this one as the reason I say things like "Whyyyy can't you be more romannntic?"

Heartfelt, poetic, honest, sweet, funny—here is Harry's final speech:

Well how about this way. I love that you get cold when it's seventy one degrees out, I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich, I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts, I love that after I spend a day with you I can still smell your perfume on my clothes and I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Years Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of the life to start as soon as possible.

Sally: You see, that is just like you Harry. You say things like that and you make it impossible for me to hate you. And I hate you Harry... I really hate you. I hate you."

(She doesn't at all, not one bit.)

Now you tell me your favorite romantic scenes, OK? OK! Go!

P.S: David would like me to add "the most romantic scene according to men." He would like to say that: "this is the epitome of romantic cool." Whatever the hell that means.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Accept The Good

I've had a tough last few weeks, we all know it's been a long and exhausting summer. I thought the storm was about to break, but with some bad news yesterday, I learned I have more tough days ahead. And the usual things happen: shock, anger, frustration, saddness—all stirring inside you until you collapse into bed sobbing like a baby the minute you get home from work.

But the moral of the story is: you get back up.

You step into the shower, letting the steam and hot water wash over you, your tear-stained face and bloodshot eyes. You stand there and take deep breaths and hold back more tears and try to wipe your mind clear. You dry off, put on fresh clothes and you go downstairs. You let your husband hold you like child, you talk on the phone to your sisters who encourage you, inspire you, comfort you, make you laugh.

You laugh so hard your stomach hurts. You let them warm your heart. You let yourself be happy. You remember all that you have to be thankful for.

Then comes sleep. No dreams. Just blackness, breathing, a knowledge that morning will come soon enough. You will rise again and face it all, and you will take it all in stride. You will overcome with kindness and with hard work. You will find a way to warm your own heart, and to move on and let a big change become the norm. Constantly moving forward until it's hard to remember things being any other way.

You get there by letting yourself be sad, crying all the tears you can manage, reminding yourself to take deep breaths and then managing a laugh—even if you have to fake it at first—just long enough to tell yourself you're going to be OK. Everything's going to be OK.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Things That Should Never End

I am here today to file a petition against the phrase "all good things must come to an end." I hope that you can get through my highly complicated, important and convincing argument, which is:


I hope I didn't lose anyone back there.

Look, I can swallow "life is not fair." I can take "the grass is always greener," I may roll my eyes, but I accept them—like a champ. But when you come at me with something as offensive as "all good things must come to an end," a girl has to put up a fight.

But per usual, I don't really have it in me to put up a fight, so instead of just crawling into bed like a lazy sack o' (big) bones, I offer you this list of things that should never, I repeat, NEVER, ever, ever, ever—get the picture?—end.

1. Good books that a lot of people didn't like

The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen

My love affair with Jonathan Franzen began long before people started hating him for this book and the novel that followed called "Freedom." Well, actually, "The Corrections" came out in 2001, and I first saw him speak in 2005, but that's all apples and oranges, my people. I'm saying I love the man. Critics who actually like him call his work "serious fiction," and while I would normally laugh at that, I can see what they mean. There is nothing simple about the plot lines, the characters, the language in Franzen's writing. His view of the world—perverted, cynical, hopeless—pervades the pages of his novels. It can make it hard to turn each page, more like a chore than an enjoyable task that many people look for in reading. But I am enjoying the struggle, the chomping on big words and—yes, a gal can admit it—using my dictionary from time to time. Franzen is an intellectual, and I knew it the first time I heard him read, back in '05, when he read excerpts from a piece on bird hunting. Within moments, I was hooked. He has a way of making me care about things I never thought I could ever understand, let alone have an opinion on. He never takes the easy route, spoon-feeding his readers, his fiction is work. It's a chore, like any other. But I know he is making me a better reader, a smarter one. And if he could just make it so these last 15 pages never end, I will vote for him for President.

2. This glass of red wine
Look closer, the bottle's empty.
There's not much to say other than, AM I RIGHT? There is nary a sadder feeling, a more depressed state than a gal with a just-drunk empty glass o' wine.

3. Bowls of pasta
If you don't want to swim in this, you're lying to yourself.
Stop whatever it is that you're doing and go make this pasta now. N-O-W. Pioneer Woman, with all of her butter and her whole milk, does a body right. (When right means full of calories and badly needing a gym membership.)

4. Good T.V. shows
Stop hating on LOST and go watch it. Acceptable substitutions include: Mad Men, The Big C, The Wire, The West Wing, Boardwalk Empire, everything but the last episode of The Killing, I could go on, but I won't.
I was born a simple girl in a simple world. I grew up in a farm house, on a farm with no animals. We had casseroles for dinner most nights, we didn't say "shut up" and we only had three channels on T.V. In our butter-yellow farm house, T.V. was for boring people who got bored and didn't like trampolines and pushing each other into cow pies. This behavior—minus the cow pies—continued up until college. That all changed once I met my sweetie pie, and he introduced me to the world of good television. I didn't know such a thing existed, but now I have seen every teaser and special feature, heard every commentary, watched each pilot, viewed fan videos on youtube on repeat, listened to the soundtracks. I am up on the current-TV times. And, there are few things more cruel and unusual than having to say goodbye to a show, a cast of characters–your friends—that you've grown into for hours, months, years of your life. I don't like life without Sayid breaking a bad guy's neck with his feet. I don't appreciate the great state of New Jersey without Tony Soprano in it. I don't even want to go to Crab Fest in Baltimore, because I know that The Wire is no more. I am too depressed to go on...

5. Colin Firth's life
Oh, the heavenly goodness.
Why did I even go here? But seriously. I am shouting this one right up to the Big Man's ears. Don't do it, please. Just don't. I read "Tuck Everlasting," and I'm pretty sure with all of your powers and miracles that keeping one sweet, handsome, funny, humble, loving, scruffy, curly-haired, romantic, lean, tall, smiley British man won't break Ye Heavenly Bank. At least, if you're going to do it, good Lord, please just take me first.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The 5 Best Things My Friends Have Taught Me

In life, a lesson can be learned every second. Don't do that again. Move more quickly next time. Be careful. Ask more questions the next time around. We learn them in high chairs, in classrooms, in our cars, at the mall, surfing the web. These lessons come together and make us who we are.

I look at myself in a photograph interacting with others, I watch a video, I re-read words I typed in a conversation and I wonder: Why do I say that? How did I learn that expression? Why did I act this way? How did I get here? And I can't help but open my eyes to the people around me in those photos and conversations, and when I do I realize just how much my friends have taught (and continue to teach) me about life.

1.) Don't be stupid:
Hither Jembere
We were college roommates freshman year, does it get anymore poetic? From day one—when Hither arrived at least 5 hours late for move in—I admired her. Her intelligence, her humor, her view of the world. I can hear her now—faint traces of her native Zimbabwean tongue in her speech–and I can see her hand on her hip and her face contorted in disgust as she chides someone for a dumb comment, an ignorant observation. Every ounce of her saying "You can't be serious. Don't be so stupid." While chronically late, misplacing things and restless, Hither is honest, practical. Complaining of a headache or another ailment, I would reach for a bottle of Advil. "Don't be stupid," Hither would say, not harshly, but lovingly—like a mother. "Drink a glass of cold water."
And to this day, I remember her words and I do just that.

2.) Act your age: Lindsey Johnson
Early on in our college career, Lindsey fell for me and my Thriller-Nights moves, and it has been love like heart-shaped chicken nuggets ever since. Lost already? I'm not surprised. Lindsey and I are such an odd pair—laughing when it's inappropriate, going out of our way to steal the attention in a room, squealing with delight, talking too much, not having the words to adequately convey just how freaking exciting, surprising, scary something is. We don't make sense. We are dramatic, silly, mostly annoying, a lot like children. But my time with her is unlike any other. I often tell her she lives in a fantasy world, and she does. I've been there. I go there with her whenever I have the strength to leave the worries, the responsibilities, the stress of life behind and just play for a while. Over the years, she has taught me to not take myself so seriously, to slow down, to laugh when things are funny and, every once in a while, when it's completely necessary, to roll around like a baby for a while.

3.) Be prepared: Emily Watkins
One of my most favorite memories of Emily is from the night of my birthday party when I was in 6th grade. After a tumultuous evening that stemmed from, well, us being 6th graders, Emily and I had some sort of falling out, and I remember laying (in my signature dramatic fashion) on our front porch watching the small, lumpy figure of Emily with her sleeping bag bunched all around her walking the less-than-a-mile walk back to her house. My birthday falls in May, so I know it wasn't a chilly night but Emily is nothing if not prepared. If she was going to walk home, she was going to have supplies in tow. That's just how she is, and oh do I love her for it. And it's not just lip balm or the occasional bobby pin when you need it, Emily is often the needed item. She is my de-stressing agent, just being around her makes me calm. She reminds me to take deep breaths, to gather my thoughts. She looks at situations from a different angle than most, always ready with a new plan of attack. She is quick-thinking and thrifty, she is a great listener and list-maker and accomplisher, and shoot—she just makes me smile.

4.) Accept the good: Rachel Smith
I can't lie, there have been times throughout our 10-plus years of friendship that I've thought Rach was too nice. Ever forgiving, ever offering another chance, ever forgetting as quick as she could, ever putting on a smile to smooth things over. As I've grown I've learned just how right she's always been in this regard, her tendency to see the best in people. To believe in them when no one else will. That's not to say she hasn't been hurt. She has endured her fair-share of heartache, but in true tough-girl fashion, she picks herself up, dusts herself off and moves on. She keeps her heart open to the people, the possibilities of tomorrow–and damn you if you think that's cheesy—cause it's true. Few people live the life she lives, because few are willing to let go of the reins and enjoy the ride. She is both carefree and caring, both daring and careful when it counts. Her optimism chips away at my cynical, cold heart whenever I'm around her, and when I feel myself slipping, her example of accepting what's good and beautiful in the world helps keep me afloat.

5.) Strangers can be cool: Shauni Goodwin & Alison Hughes
I was always an obedient kid. Slowing to look both ways before crossing the street, saying my prayers, treating others as I'd like to be treated, but I've failed my parents in one major way as I've grown into an adult: I talk to strangers, regularly. I "met" Shauni and Alison on The Knot while planning our wedding—think charming "You've Got Mail" online encounters instead of, like, the creepy "Swim Fan" kind. Despite the tens of twenties of frequent posters, we caught each other's eyes (*creepy) and continued to communicate after our weddings, and off of the boards. These girls have become two of my closest friends in recent months. With similar schedules, and at semi-similar stages of life, we can relate and connect in a way I can with few other people. They are open, funny, smart, engaging, obnoxious, emotional, irrational—just like I am. We look to each other for advice, for sympathy, for a laugh, and we always get it. And though we have actually met in real life (once), they are still strangers. But they are strangers I hope I will always be close with, and just maybe, one day, become real-life friends.