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Hello Costco!

7 Apr

When Morgan and I met in 2007, we were “localvores”. Our community was so tight knit that we didn’t have to go far to get what we needed: we drove the local CSA’s delivery into town in exchange for fresh veggies; we designed and printed the bags for our favorite cheesemaker in exchange for, well, cheese; and the list goes on. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not hippes, I mean, the mall was only blocks from our downtown apartment – it just meant we didn’t have to drive there!
Despite our preference for knowing the people who made the things we consumed, there was no getting around the big box store. It showed up every once in awhile for things like laundry detergent. And, like, air mattresses. Full Disclosure: I love Home Depot. There, I said it. Anyway, when Morgan was building out the new printshop, she was doing research where the cheapest shelves were, and where to get rubber gloves at a bulk rate. This inevitably led us to Sam’s Club, because she was outfitting an entire shop that served hundreds of people a month and had to do it on half a dime.
My first trip into Sam’s Club was about a year ago. I’ll never forget that first smell of rubber from the new tires they were selling, and the giant ceilings that seemed to reach to the heavens and were filled to the top with palates of shrink-wrapped STUFF. I was amazed that some of the stuff they sold there – Bose speakers? Really? Chicken? Hmm. Accompanying Morgan on her printshop supply trips became more of a spectacle than a need, but I was along for the ride.

Joe in the kitchen

I don’t remember when they told us, but our friends Jeremy and Joe, who have a similar secret affection towards big box stores, were talking about Costco having a liquor store that you didn’t need a membership to buy from. This intrigued us, because for the wedding we were thinking of only having wine and beer, which we were assuming we’d just talk to our family members and friends who work in the business and could maybe get us a good deal. BUT this opened up a whole new door of possibilities! We could make fancy beverages! Specialty coctails! Signature drinks! Naturally, we had to see for ourselves, so this past weekend, Morgan and I drove the 50 minutes to Stoughton, Mass to check it out.
At the door, they asked for our Costco card and we said we were thinking of becoming a member but just wanted to check it out first. It worked, because we were able to attain a visitor pass, which allowed us to tour the grounds but not buy anything… from the main store. They didn’t say anything about the liquor store though! As good spies often do, we stealthily moved through the store, appearing as though we were checking out the bulk cheetos aisle, very interested in how many little packets were inside the giant outer packet. Wrapping up our excursion, we moseyed into the liquor department very casually and asked the clerk if the rumors were true! Apparently, it is illegal to require a membership to purchase alcohol, so by law, they must be open up to the public! This was great news, especially since we looked around us and saw prices that were sometimes $10 less than normal. So we had to go home with a souvenir. Or two. Actually I think it was more like four. *sigh* The cost of research these days!

Hey guys, meet Justin.

6 Apr

A Vegan with a Vengeance

He’s gonna be making your food at our wedding!
Don’t worry, he signs his name with a <3 (that’s a sideways heart in internet talk, mom), not to mention he makes KILLER FOOD that’s TO DIE FOR!

When he’s not masking his identity with a bandana, you may recognize him as one of the chefs at AS220’s Foo(d) Space. He’s famous for his veggie burger recipe and for being able to transform any meal into a vegan delight (who knew a veggie reuben could be SOOO GOOOOD?).

Neither Morgan nor I are vegans, or even vegetarians for that matter (I mean, come on, we named our cat Meatball), but we adore the food that Justin makes as well as the man himself. He’s been awesome to work with and has listened carefully to our wish list of items that include our families’ favorite foods. At this point, we’ve decided that a buffet-style barbecue would be fitting for our farm wedding, and both our families have fond memories of outdoor cookouts. Morgan’s dad makes this weird but delicious thing called Soda Meat! And my Italian-slash-healthfoodnut family has always marked the summer days with fresh pesto tortellini. Shrimp kabobs, pulled pork and grilled veggies are also on the menu, and we hope to do little lobster roll sliders, it being a New England wedding and all.

You’ll meet Justin at the wedding if you don’t already know him now, and feel free to tell him how much you like his food! Just, whatever you do – don’t pronounce “vegan” as “vaygan”! He knows how to use that knife! (by the way, I think he has the most effective business card I have ever seen)

A Waterfire Wedding

25 Mar

The word “Waterfire” has two totally different effects on people, depending on where you’re from.

If you live in Providence, the “W” word strikes the fear of a Hollister-enclothed God inside you, and basically determines where you’ll be that night. And that is anywhere but downtown Providence.

However, if you are from out of town, you are inspired by the words – you wonder, “Water? and Fire? How can they exist at once? I must find out!” You are drawn towards the flickering waters, aflame with individual pyres that line the river walkway. You join the swarm of people who gather by the waters edge and admire the contemplative glow of this simple yet stunning display of… can you guess? Yup, water *and* fire! You think to yourself, “Wow, Providence is such a unique and special place!” as you stroll down the blocked-off streets and grab a funnel cake and watch some mimes do their mime thing, whatever that may be. Probably standing still for long periods of time while collecting money. Sounds like what Unemployment was like.

The truth is, yes, Waterfire can capture your attention and impress your parents who are visiting from a small town, but it kinda gets old after time. Especially when you’re trying to drive down to AS220 and there’s not a parking spot for 10 miles and half of the streets have been shut down. And there’s people walking in the street! I mean, come on people this isn’t Mardi Gras! I have to admit, though, that when I came to visit Providence for the first time, it was Waterfire night, and I followed the sound of some strange music through the buildings until I discovered the warm glow of these little campfires in the middle of the river. It’s a lot bigger now, and a lot harder to just “discover,” but at least there’s funnel cake.

Why the Waterfire rant? It could have something to do with this dang insomnia, or the fact that our wedding is now officially 6 months away (or, at least it was, an hour and a half ago), but I think I owe it to our guests to prepare them for what’s ahead. The 2011 schedule was recently released, and we luckily booked our block of hotel rooms at the Biltmore before they announced the 2011 dates. Had we waited until after the announcement, aka the “Waterfire Rush” (yes, people actually book hotel rooms for this thing!) we may not have been able to get a block of hotel rooms ANYWHERE in Providence! Believe me, I am as amazed as you are about that, fellow Providencians.

What’s there to prepare for? Well, I hope you like glow sticks! Or at least funny LEDs on sticks that blink and make noises. I also hope you like people walking in front of traffic (please, I beg you not to do this when you come), and watching people take pictures of fire! (btw, you get better results without a flash!)

Most of all, I hope you are prepared to MISS ALL OF THIS because you’re going to be at our wedding in ATTLEBORO, MASSACHUSETTS and celebrating with us until your face hurts from smiling and you’ve gone barefoot from dancing so long. The only Waterfire you’re going to see is the reflected glow of dying embers as they dance across the ceiling of your comfy hotel room as you drift off to sleep.

Rehearsal Dinner Preview!

21 Feb

Morgan and I had the pleasure of having my mom visit this weekend. She lives in upstate NY – in the beautiful town of Rosendale, just outside of New Paltz, to be exact – where she recently started her own business, a happy little fitness studio called Sage Fitness. It’s been several months since she’s taken the 4 hour trip up to visit the Ocean State, so we were very excited to see her and show her some things we’ve been up to since her last visit… like… my show at Craftland…the new printshop that Morgan runs…oh! and some ideas we have for the wedding!

First stop was taking her to see Seven Arrows in Attleboro, MA, the place where we are having the wedding. The owners, Judy and her husband, were there in full spirit and were cheerful and wonderful as usual. They chatted with my mom about exercising – which happens to be her favorite subject – so naturally, my mom loved the place! We are very excited to be planning our event at this genuinely amazing place that is only 20 minutes outside of Providence.

Loie Fuller's in Providence, photo by Flickr user ecollins93

The next stop was dinner at Loie Fuller’s in Providence, where we are planning to have our rehearsal dinner (thanks to my mom!). Known for its ornate art-nouveau- inspired wall paintings and decor, once you taste the food you somehow forget that you are surrounded by gorgeous oil and turpentine garden nymphs. We enjoyed delicious mussels and a beet and celery root salad for appetizers, while my mom and Morgan had succulent salmon and I enjoyed a pork shank in a turnip puree for dinner. While the restaurant boasts an enchanting interior that is not to be missed, we are planning to have an outdoor dinner in their sunny patio out back. Thanks Mom for making the rehearsal dinner happen!

The next day, after recovering from a night of delicious food followed by a Just Dance 2 tournament, (my mom is a fitness trainer! You can’t expect a decadent meal without a little exercise to follow it up), we ran around town to see some sights before my mom set off back home. After she set off into the sunset with her little dog Lily and some leftover salmon, Morgan and I ran a few errands that included buying a corner rounder for our Save the Dates, a thousand pairs of scissors for the printshop, and all the ingredients for my dad’s famous Macaroni and Meatballs. The rest of the night is history!

Honeymoon Dreamin!

16 Feb

It’s the second half of February. Valentines Day is over. We’ve had a hell of a winter. This is what it looks like outside:

Can you forgive me if all I can think about is the honeymoon? I mean, doesn’t this look sooo good right now?

Ahh… looks refreshing, doesn’t it? Where’s my Corona? God, Bob Marley can be so cliche but it sounds so good right now. Hey, pass the tanning butter!


But we all know, it always looks better in the brochure. That’s why Morgan and I are ditching the carribean pipe dream and aiming for something a little more realistic for our honeymoon… like driving down the entire west coast of our continent!

Ok, Maybe not the entire continent. But most of it. I’ve been an east-coaster all my life – and although I’ve visited LA and San Francisco, that’s about it for the western part of the country (if you don’t count the trips back to Colorado to visit Morgan’s family and the road trip back to Rhode Island). Morgan and I have always wanted to venture out there and a honeymoon is a great excuse to rent a convertible, fill up on some Vitamin D during the day, and drive out under the stars after watching long, Pacific Coast sunsets… I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “A road trip? Really? Why don’t you just tell everyone you are beginning your ‘journey of life together’ and hit a beach like other normal couples? Why drag us through this metaphorical snog fest?” Well, when you got love in the tank and nothin’ but time, I can’t imagine a better way to begin a life together with the woman I love. Besides, there are SO many campy gift shops and truck stops that we haven’t been to yet! So much west coast kitsch! little time.

We’ll send you a weird postcard!

(By the way, would anyone like to cat-sit during the end of September?)