It’s Been A Month Since Eoghan and I Got Married…

wedding

A month ago to the day, Eoghan and I got married. [Insert standing ovation here.]

We had a really amazing and small family wedding in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where Eoghan grew up. It was an overcast Valentine’s Day, a chill 40 something degrees out, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Like, here’s my handsome husband. Who wouldn’t marry this guy?!

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We had a fantastic photographer, Lissa Chandler, who captured some truly fun moments, like when I opened a gift basket my friends put together. It was stuffed with Cat Cookies from Trader Joe’s (damnit, I love those so much), gummy bears, whiskey, and cards wishing me a happy wedding day. It also included this BuzzFeed list from my friend Tom, which was amazing and made me cry and laugh.
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She also snagged a shot of me getting my makeup done while eating a burger and drinking champagne at 10 a.m. Naturally.Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 11.17.52 AM

My dress was from Rent The Runway. It was a Badgley Mishka gown and I’m obsessed with it.

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Here were our programs, which weren’t totally traditional, but exceptionally more fun.Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 11.23.36 AM

And our amazing wedding party that included my BFF4Lyfe, Elisa, Eoghan’s BFF, Jim, and his other BFF, Trevor, who served as our officiant. His wedding speech for us was hysterical. And he’s available for weddings now… for a price.

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I love this photo of me looking at my Dad right before he walks me down the aisle. I was so nervous, and he seemed oddly calm. He calmed me right down.Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 11.27.33 AM

I’d be remiss if I didn’t show our dessert table. We had two cakes: one chocolate, and the other lemon. They both had cream cheese frosting, so hard to go wrong there.

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Eoghan’s mom, Gayle, gave a really touching speech. She made me cry, and I love this photo of Eoghan hugging her afterward. (My dad also gave a speech, and he and I were both sobbing by the end of it. La Rosas are nothing if not a family who cries together.)

EoghansMom

And as a gift to our friends and family, we wrote everyone Valentine’s Day cards expressing why we were happy to have them with us. This photo is of my grandparents reading their cards. It’s such a sweet one.

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A Conversation About Wedding Dress Shopping

Friend: Did you find your wedding dress?

Me: I did!

Friend: Did you cry when you tried it on? Because you knew it was *the one*?

Me: LOL, no.

Here’s the thing: Say Yes to the Dress is a wonderful show that I often binge-watch while shoveling Skinny Pop into my mouth, but it’s also a web of lies.

In fact, there were a number of lies I was told leading up to the actual act of shopping for my wedding dress. Like…

  • “You’ll get champagne while you shop!” I wish this were true. I probably would’ve bought a dress a lot faster than I did if it were. But 4/4 stores gave us water in a disposable cup, not a glass of champs in sight.
  • “You’ll find your dress at the first store.” This was 100% untrue for me. It took a solid four stores, and a minor anxiety attack at the third store because I was convinced I wouldn’t find anything. Finding the right dress can often be hard, and that’s OK! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • “Wedding dress shopping is fun!!!” I’m not saying that buying a fancy dress isn’t fun, but it’s also really stressful. As someone who had no idea what I wanted, dress shopping was more of a task to be checked off than anything else.
  • “You’re gonna bawl your eyes out.” OK, to be fair I did cry at one point. I walked out in what I thought was a truly hideous gown, and my mom began to cry, which led me to say, “Why are you crying?!” And then I cried. I cry easily. I was also really hungry that day. Don’t shop while hungry.
  • “When you find *the one,* you’ll just know it.” I definitely knew that I liked the dress I ended up buying, but did I “just know it”? Not really. And I’ve had to unfollow most of the wedding sites on Instagram that I used to enjoy so that I stop having buyers remorse about my dress. There are so many options out there, but you’ll know you’ve found *the one* when you can see yourself getting married in it, which I did.

What they should really tell you before dress shopping, and the one piece of advice I’ll give is this: Don’t feel badly if you don’t cry, or don’t have a *this is THE ONE* moment. All you need to feel is that this is a dress you can get married in — find that dress, buy that dress, and then pour yourself some champagne afterward (because the store won’t be pouring one for you, but you deserve it).

Happy Caturday: Proof That Cat People Are Crazy

I’m not saying that a painting of our cat as the pope is at all a sane thing to ask for. But we did ask for it, and we received.

A friend of E’s does paintings like this for fun — cats, dogs, whatever animal you have he can then turn them into a superhero, your favorite celebrity, or the pope, for example. So when E heard this, he asked for one of Fish.

At this point, we’re planning to make some dedicated wall space for paintings of Fish. Because we already have a beautiful likeness of her, painted by E’s mom (see below), and I don’t expect the paintings to stop anytime soon. Fish is quite the muse, after all.  

Sorry, just got lost in my own reflection. #livingthatmuselife #catsofinstagram #catart #imsohot

A photo posted by Fish (@acatcalledfish) on

4 Important Things I’ve Learned About Wedding Planning (So Far)

I have been engaged for all of three months, but I’m already feeling like an expert on this wedding planning thing. Maybe it’s because I’m completely Type-A, and therefore all of my big wedding decisions were made within a month, or… Yeah, no, it’s because I’m Type-A.

In the process of booking a venue, finding a day-of coordinator, and making reservations at six bridal stores to find a dress, I feel like I now have some newfound knowledge. The problem with my knowledge is that after I get married it’ll be completely useless. So for anyone planning a wedding, or thinking about a wedding, or just wanting practical event planning tips, I have some sharing-is-caring tips for you:

Wedding Advice

  • Take people’s advice, and ask for it early on. I actually wish I’d done this a bit sooner, because people have been through this circus before you, and they’re more than happy to impart this otherwise useless knowledge that they’ve absorbed. So ask, and you will receive a lot of gems. (FWIW, A Practical Wedding has been life changing for me.)
  • Become friends with Google docs. I’ve heard and seen on Pinterest that lots of women make binders (binders FILLED with weddings!), but you’ll want the digital version of the binder. I have a wedding folder that has spreadsheets for our guest list, venue options, cake options, DJ options… so many goddamn options. And if you actually want a physical binder, just print out your Google docs. They come in handy when you get a random call from a vendor at 11 on a Tuesday and need to remember what you discussed previously.
  • Weddings can be so expensive. All of the little details and things you must have for the day of… But basically, you can just say “eff it” to a lot of these. No one will hold it against you if you decide not to spend $500 on guest favors. No one loves Jordan almonds THAT much.
  • When you feel stressed about planning, it’s time to take a “let’s celebrate!” break with your partner. People will tell you, “This is supposed to be fun! Relax!” and they have all the best intentions in the world when they say this, but it’s also ignoring the fact that planning a big event comes with stresses. So, take breaks. For us, this has meant a few things. Sometimes we’ll open a bottle of champagne that we were given as an engagement gift and have a Netflix date. And one night we went to the restaurant where we had our first date and told them we were getting married. (Which led to free appetizers, and a free bottle of champagne to take home.) Basically, relax and drink when you need to. And you will need to.

Any advice I missed, marrieds or people planning things? Please share in the comments!

How Our Cat Helped My Fiance Propose

Fiance? Fiancee? I never know, but I think the man gets one “e,” right?

Anyhow, I’m engaged. To be married. It’s so freaking exciting that sometimes I just smile to myself in a super creepy way while alone in my living room. There we go, I’m doing it right now. Creepy smile time.

Engaged

If you don’t give a flying monkey’s butt about gushy proposal stories, then tag yourself out of this post, because here comes the sappy…. I’ll give you a moment to decide… Done? Cool! Let’s talk about the proposal, because it was awesome, and adorable, and totally perfect.

OK, so for our 3-year-anniversary, E and I went to Ojai, which is about an hour and a half drive from our house. It’s all beautiful mountains, and quaint little country stores, and I heard Reese Witherspoon has a house there, so… so…

Yeah, so we went! And we stayed at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa (if you’re into all-inclusive things, then this is the place for you!). The first day we were there, we had some massages scheduled, and we decided to grab some food and celebratory cocktails before those happened. See that drink in the photo below? It was lavender lemonade with vodka or something, and it was glorious.

EngagedCocktail

It was so glorious, in fact, that promptly after drinking it we got in our spa robes, and I proceeded to fall asleep on one of the chaise lounges at the spa. (Note: While I was sleeping the drink off, E later told me that he was running through his proposal speech over and over again, so he’d get it right when he finally did propose. I was so day drunk! And blissfully unaware!)

So we get these massages, which were epic, and then hobble back to our hotel room. It was about 6 p.m., and we had dinner reservations at the hotel for 8 p.m. As I showered and blowdry’d the old hair, apparently E was busy tucking the ring inside his coat pocket, and having a mini panic attack (probably).

Something you discover about Ojai pretty quickly is that the people take great pride in their sunsets. They call it the “pink moment,” and our hotel even had a sign out front that predicted when the moment would happen. So we decided to try and go see it, because it was our anniversary, and sunsets are so romantical, and we’re cheesy as hell, OK?

My feet hurt, though. And it was a long walk up the hill to see that pink moment. So I flagged down a golf cart (yes, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is all about golfing, and you can do things like hitchhike with one).

This probably disturbed E for two reasons:

  1. He had a plan, and this random golf cart driver didn’t know about that plan, and…
  2. Wow, it’s probably going to happen very quickly.

Luckily, this driver was a pro. Like, he knew exactly where to find that pink moment. When he first tried to drop us off, it was in a super crowded spot, and when E said, “Is there anywhere more private?” that probably should’ve tipped me off. But it didn’t. La di da, blissfully unaware still.

We eventually got to the top of a hill, where there was an enormous gazebo with floor-to-ceiling windows that offered a panoramic view of the mountains, about to be dusted in pink. We were alone, inside the gazebo, staring off into the sunset, when E turned me around so he could give me his proposal speech.

I’m not going to recite the actual speech, because it was very personal, and made me cry, and I don’t want other people sobbing while reading, but I WILL share the most important part of that speech. Which is that at one point, E told me he’d been talking to Fish (our cat) about our future together, and they’d both come to an agreement. At this point, I had no idea what was going on, I thought he was just being gushy. But then he pulled out his phone, and showed me this picture…

CatRing

It was our baby kitty girl! And a ring! And she was next to it! And A RING.

I started sobbing. Just like, balling my eyes out. I cried so much that I didn’t even notice E get down on one knee and ask, “Will you marry me?” He had to ask me again, once I’d pulled myself a little more together. But I was so surprised, like, I don’t know how to explain the feeling of your heart exploding into other little hearts, but that’s what happened to me. I really was so overwhelmed with joy and love that it manifested in me sobbing through most of the proposal.

One of the first things I said AFTER the “yes!!” was “This is so weird, right?! I mean, how weird is this?!” Getting engaged is WEIRD. Like, why don’t more people talk about this? It’s probably one of the strangest moments of joy you’ll ever encounter. One minute your life is one way, and the next a ring on your finger means a total relationship shift.

I had no idea what to do.I called my mom. She was watching The Messengers, and tried to usher me off the phone so she could get back to it. Then when she realized what I was saying, I think she went into shock, as did my Dad. E said, “If you’re too emotional to eat, we can get room service,” to which I said, “Oh no, we’re eating!” I knew that I wanted to celebrate, and I knew that I wanted to remember the rest of that night. We got complimentary champagne and desserts — PRO TIP: TELL EVERYONE YOU JUST GOT ENGAGED, AND ALL THINGS ARE FREE — and watched the pink moment turn into a lovely, starry sky.

EngagementRing

OK, that’s the end of the sappy proposal story. We spent the rest of the weekend wine tasting, and eating, and telling our friends the good news. Oh, and we watched an episode of Game of Thrones when we got back, so that’s really just the icing to a perfect weekend, right?

Happy Anniversary, E!

E and I are celebrating our 3-year anniversary this weekend! ::: cue choir of angels flying down from heaven to sing, “Thank you, Sweet Sassy Christ” :::

I’m very lucky to have someone like E, who makes me laugh, knows how to cheer me up whenever I’m feeling down, can cook some SERIOUSLY bomb steak, looks super cute when cuddling with our cat, is an absolutely fantastic writer, and most importantly: is an EXCELLENT dancer.

While going through old photos, I found these gems from my 28th birthday party in 2013. That was the first birthday I celebrated with E, and we went to this really awesome dive bar by my then-apartment in West Hollywood.
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By that time, I already knew the truth: E is hands down a truly genius dancer. There’s really no way to describe it, and the photos certainly don’t do it justice. But you can kind of get a sense of his skills by how happy I look here, right?

 

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Three years and he still makes me smile every single day — I hope and try to do the same thing for him. Happy anniversary, E!

dancey

9 Reasons Why Sheila Is Nailing This Mom Thing

I realize this is a bold statement. I mean — moms are cool, in general, and we’re blessed to have so many of them. But if you disagree with the above claim, then you clearly have never met Sheila La Rosa.

There literally aren’t enough ways to count why Sheila is the best, but I’ll condense into the…

Top 9 Ways Sheila Rocks This Mom Thing:

1. My Mom is actually the hardest working person I’ve ever known. Because she’s Irish — and Irish people are frugal as all hell — my grandparents never gave her any handouts. She paid her own way through college and nursing school to become a RN in the emergency room, and she’s made certain to never have any debts. In fact, when she went to apply for a credit card in her thirties — up to then, she only ever paid for everything in cash — they wouldn’t give her one because she had no debts or credit to her name. Fun times!

She taught me to love science and not just be good at things, but to be the best at things. I only work as hard as I do now because of her example.

The La Rosas are hot stuff on infrared light.

A photo posted by Erin La Rosa (@sideofginger) on

 

2. She pushed my brother and me OUT OF HER BODY. I realize this is not unique, as most moms experience this, but come on — she pushed TWO BABIES OUT. That’s saying something. fam

3. Sheila La Rosa is hilarious. Seriously, she’s the best storyteller I know. One of my friends came to visit our house one Christmas, and after my mom told a story about sending my brother and me to Montessori school as kids, and what a harrowing experience that was, my friend was crying from laughter. She said, “I totally get it now — I see where you get your sense of humor from.” sheshe

4. On that note, my mom is the original queen of SHADE. If you need proof, skip to 1:10 of this tequila taste test video we did for BuzzFeed.  

5. Did I mention how glam my Mom is?mum

I mean, that blond hair, those shades, her porcelain skin… mom

She deserves her own reality show, if not her own network, magazine, and lifestyle blog. She gives new meaning to “Mombod” and “Mom Style.” Basically, she’s the epitome of #MomGoals.

 

6. Oh, and she beat breast cancer. Yeah, she kicked breast cancer’s ass! momma

7. Sheila taught me the importance of chutzpah (she grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Queens, hence chutzpah). My Mom has always loved real estate and when I was a kid, we used to sneak into houses that were under construction. If we were caught (and we often were), she’d think of an excuse on the spot, “Oh, I was hoping to speak with the architect — I’m building my own home and just love the tile work.” I’ve talked my way into more things than I can say without incriminating myself, including a few under-construction homes of my own, all because of my Mom’s chutzpah.  

Off to Catalina with Bill and Sheila. ⚓️

A photo posted by Erin La Rosa (@sideofginger) on

 

8. My Mom knows how to have a good time. Every Christmas, she and my dad host a holiday party, and every July 4th she has all of her friends over for barbecue to watch the fireworks set off over the water. Mommy

9. And probably the most important reason of all reasons as to why my Mom is the greatest is that she managed to raise my brother and I into fairly upstanding adults. 

My family. At my cousin’s wedding. Bringing all the damn fierceness. A photo posted by Erin La Rosa (@sideofginger) on


My brother perhaps a little more so than me, as he’s now a doctor and all!

Happy Mother’s Day to the world’s best mom!! Thank you for making me who I am today. I love you so very much.

Happen to agree that Sheila is the best?! Let her know in the comments!

9 Things My Cat and I Currently Disagree On

Fish is stubborn. Which can be an amazing quality, and also a terribly misguided one. She’s basically on that, “I am right, you’re totally wrong, and you’re lucky to breathe the same air as me” grind.

For example…

1. Fish is under the impression that instead of simply using her litter box, (the way a human would, for example, use a toilet each time they needed a bathroom), that she also has free rein to use the rug in our bedroom as a de facto litter box. She is simply wrong about this, as our rug is A RUG, and not meant to be soiled on.

2. Fish believes that when she brings one of her cat toys into the bed at 3 a.m., that I will happily wake up, play with her for a solid 30 minutes, and easily doze back to sleep. In fact, that’s not the case at all. I’m not sure where or how she came by this misinformation.

3. When I eventually DO wake up in the morning, Fish will follow behind and meow loudly on a loop, because she thinks that if she takes a breath and stops meowing EVEN FOR A SECOND, that I will no longer offer her food. In some ways, her meows do indeed make me move faster, but I would perhaps provide even more food if she stopped yelling at me.

4. Fish is convinced that outside of our apartment door lies a portal to another dimension where there is endless belly rubs, fresh tuna, and trees that undoubtedly (IF CLIMBED) offer a stairway to cat paradise. She likes to attempt escapes every time I come home from work, and will often succeed. What she fails to remember, is that outside of our door there are no rugs to poop on.

5. Fish thinks my hands, nose, ankles, calves, and jewelry are all OK to bite, because they are in fact her toys. These are actually my body parts/toys, and she couldn’t be more wrong.

6. I attempted to eat some Oreos while watching TV, and upon seeing these, she became convinced that they were delicious, and hers, and MUST have them. While Oreos are vegan, they are not for cats.

7. Fish has long believed that by standing on at least one of my boobs while I try and fall asleep, that I will, in turn, want to pet her. She doesn’t seem to connect me pushing her off the bed to this belief.

8. Fish is certain that the shower is an evil monster, and that by standing outside of it and pacing, I will be released. This is half correct, and also half baked.

9. Perhaps the theory that Fish is most confused by is her hypothesis that when she stares out the window at the street below, that she’s also wearing an invisibility cloak and no one can see her. E and I disproved this theory the other night as we came home from dinner and saw her silhouette, watching, waiting, and most likely laughing at us.

Me Versus The Merlot

sawyerwine

The above is a photo of the 2002 Merlot I bought while drunkenly wine tasting with my BFF in Napa two years ago. It was a lot of money for me at the time, a little over $60, but I decided to splurge because A) again, drunk, and B) I wanted to use it as creative incentive. (In other words, once I accomplished something REALLY amazing, I’d drink it.)

In 2013, I got a book deal. It was exciting and arguably a time when I could’ve opened the Merlot, but I didn’t. I decided to drink it when the book sold to a publisher, because getting a deal wasn’t QUITE amazing enough. But then months went by, and my book deal was dropped. (It happens, but it also broke my heart in a lot of ways.)

It took me about a month to get past the dropped book deal and find a new project to focus on. That project was and still is a musical I’m currently working on with two wonderful friends of mine. It’s been such a creative and interesting process for me, and I’m so excited to keep seeing it through.

But musicals take time, especially since our producer and musician are both on the east coast. And as the months have ticked by and the musical is still being workshopped and re-written, this Merlot has sat, like some plum-faced ogre on our bar cart brought into this world to mock me. Fucking smug wine.

As some of you may have noticed, I stopped blogging on this page altogether in May. Because the wine was staring at me, and because I hadn’t made ENOUGH progress, I decided to take a blogging break and focus on the musical. But I missed blogging. I really missed having that other creative outlet where I could write about my life and share what’s going on.

And so, the Merlot began to feel less and less celebratory to me, and more like that toxic friend who makes you feel bad about ordering fries. It was a reminder that I’d failed; that I’d lost my book deal. It reminded me that I hadn’t hit a milestone that was important enough. It made me feel like shit, essentially.

I feel like a fucking asshole to even say that a WINE BOTTLE, an inanimate object, has been making me feel bad — I do realize that I’m projecting a lot of things into this poor Merlot. But to be honest, it just does. I’ve had this bottle for two years now, and I’m a rather impatient person. Shouldn’t I have accomplished something by now? Shouldn’t I have published something that is just mine? That’s what the Merlot makes me ask myself every time I see it.

Yes, a book deal fell through, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. I’m going to keep reminding myself of these things:

  • I’ve written a full draft of a musical, and we’re about 70% of the way to having a finished product with that.
  • I’ve joined a writer’s group and we meet every other week to discuss each other’s work. I’ve workshopped short stories there and found a group of women who support each other and are so insanely talented.
  • I started this blog, and I don’t want to feel bad about taking time to write on it.
  • I’m working at a job I love and get to go to everyday. And this past week, I got a promotion from Senior Editor to Deputy Editorial Director. (My Mom asked me, “Who’s the Sheriff?” when I told her.)

I decided this week that I’m no longer going to let this fucking bottle of wine make me feel bad about myself. Yes, it’s good to have goals, and I will keep those, but I won’t allow this wine to be a reminder of my failures. I will no longer be paralyzed by the memory of the book deal, and I won’t continue to dwell on it. I’m ready to move on.

So tonight, E is cooking steak. And we’re going to open that fucking bottle of 2002 Merlot that I have been saving to celebrate with, and I’m going to celebrate my promotion, and I’m not going to let anyone (or anything, rather) make me feel like I haven’t accomplished anything.

I’ve let go of toxic friends in the past when I realized they were dragging me down and making me feel useless, and I’m happy to say that I will be drinking this Merlot until it is gone and throwing out the bottle in the morning so I never have to feel like a failure again.

If any of you have something (or someone) in your life that’s preventing you from moving forward, I hope you know that I can now provide words of encouragement to get rid of it sooner rather than later! I just can’t believe I’ve kept this bottle for so long, and I wish I’d drank it down sooner. Here’s to feeling happy again, and to more blogging. xo

Happy Caturday: Earthquake Cat Kit Edition

Earthquake Cat Kit

You know you’re a crazy cat lady if… you buy your cat an earthquake kit. And I did. I really did.

Let me explain: While E was out of town filming his pilot, I had the unfortunate luck of experiencing not one but two earthquakes while I was alone in our apartment. The first happened one morning around 6 a.m., and it shook out bedroom and bed hard enough that I woke up to being rattled around. Fish, being the clever girl that she is, darted from the room and took cover somewhere.

The second earthquake happened one Friday night while I was enjoying some Pho soup and a sad double feature of August: Osage County and Philomena with the exquisite Dame Judi Dench. I was on the couch when once again the room started to rattle, and Fish leaped for cover.

I’m from Florida, where we have hurricane parties every time the weather forecast predicts a big one, so I’m really NOT the type to panic. But something in me snapped with that second one (my sanity, perhaps?), and I immediately found earthquake kits online.

Open Earthquake Kit

At first, I just bought a kit for E and I. It’s a big bucket filled with preserved food, boxed water, and all manner of safety equipment. (And it also has a toilet lid, so you can use it to poop in. I really hope I never have to use that lid.)

But then I thought, what about Fish? What do cats do when an earthquake hits? Would she eat the preserved food we had or simply turn on us and eat us in our sleep? I google cat kits, just for fun, and was quite surprised to find many animal earthquake kits.

Fish

The one I ordered was a “deluxe” kit, and came in a bucket (no toilet lid), with dried cat food, a cat toy, water boxes, a pet first aid kit, a rope (?!?), and a pop-up water and food bowl.

The most curious item inside was a metal dog leash. I have no idea how this would help. I don’t know how it got inside the cat kit. But now we have a dog leash, just in case we meet a dog friend in the earthquake apocalypse.
Earthquake Supplies

There were also some glow sticks, in case we lose power, and a rather sensible bejeweled cat collar. (Perhaps the dog leash attaches to this collar? And perhaps she’d actually allow us to walk her on it? Doubtful, but still.)

Earthquake Kit Supplies

 

Fish inspected the lot herself. After all, in an emergency she will be depending on it. In the end, though, I think she was rather unimpressed.
FishyDoes getting a cat earthquake kit make me a touch insane? Yes, just a bit. But it does give me that placebo calming effect, which is really what these kits are intended to do. My biggest issue with the kit was really lack of a portable litter box. Though I suppose she could always use our toilet seat bucket…