Happy Halloween! My husband and I had fun dressing up like a bride and groom for a Halloween party last night. With my veil and his bowtie, we joked that perhaps we had more bride/groom accessories than we did when we got married a few weeks ago!
Archive for October, 2009
Posted in In the News, Personalized Poems & Writing, tagged carmela, creaive writing, ex pat, expat, expatlit.com, family history, family memoir, Italian, italian emmigration, italian-americans, literary, literary magazine, melabee m miller, melabee miller, poem, writing on October 29, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
My poem “Voyage Dream” (page 10) was recently published in the online literary magazine ExPatLit.Com. I am particularly happy to have placed a poem here since it is a literary magazine after my own heart – a collection of pieces by or about expats. While I no longer live abroad, sometimes I still feel “abroad” in many ways. It is hard to describe where, with whom or what language contains “home.”
This poem, along with the image my mother, Melabee Miller, created for it, comes from our manuscript Cent’Anni. Cent’Anni contains poems paired with images that recount the story of our family emmigrating from southern Italy to New Jersey. It includes the story of our family history research and connection with Italian relatives a few years ago.
The poem “Voyage Dream” narrates the experience of Carmela, the daughter of my great grandmother’s sister. It is mostly based on research I’ve done about the boat rides to America, stories I’ve heard and what I imagine the experience might have been like for a young woman at the time.
If you are interested in reading other published poems, you are welcome to see my website ChloeYelenaMiller.com, which links to the online publications.
Posted in Sign In Book, tagged bride, etsy, hand bound book, handmade book, kristin crane, map, New York, place cards, Sign In Book, travel, travel book, travel journal, union square, wedding on October 29, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
As a writer, the sign-in book was an important part of our wedding planning. Happily, I am still quite in love with our sign-in book. It was made to order by Kristin Crane, an artist on Etsy. She even blogged about it!
In the beginning, we looked closely at books in the wedding section of stores and, like Goldilocks, found they were too this or too that. Mostly, they were too ugly.
We decided that we wanted something with a travel theme on it. We were naming our reception tables after bridges (both for the metaphor that a bridge offers and the significance of the various bridges in our lives) and thought the book should match, at least loosely.
Kristin Crane has a number of handmade and hand bound travel journals. We found a New York City map and she positioned it exactly right so that a few key places were on the cover (including Union Square, where we met for our first date.) Along the way, she showed us the progress of the book in case we wanted to make any changes.
It is perfectly made and exactly what we ordered.
We placed it on the table with the seating cards, to help make sure everyone noticed it since it isn’t as big as a usual sign-in book. As a creative person, I thought it would be fun if we put colored markers next to the book so that the adults and children alike could draw in the book if they wanted to. My husband collects mugs from universities where he has given professional talks and we chose the Georgetown University mug for the pens. (He is currently on leave from GU while he is a fellow at the University of Michigan).
We are happy to report that we received some beautiful drawings and words that we will treasure forever. The book is about 2/3 empty. We are going to save it (of course) and use it for future milestone events.
Posted in Gifts, tagged bride, bridesmaid presents, gift, green theme, green wedding, Maid of Honor, New Jersey, new york city, nj weddnig, nyc, nyc gifts, nyc wedding, presents, weddingb, wonderful women on October 28, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
I love New York City and so I love the Fishs Eddy designs with the skyline: 212 New York Skyline.
Since we were getting married close to New York City (I know, I know, New Jersey isn’t New York. It’s close, though. Maybe it is another borough?), I decided to buy the Wonderful Women a present inspired by New York.
I bought these crocks and put two packages of kitchen herb seeds in each one. Placed in a reusable tote, it fit the slight green theme to the wedding.
Perhaps, however, it was too large of a gift. I didn’t pay perfect attention to the measurements when I ordered them online and they were larger than I expected. Since a number of the Wonderful Women had to fly to the wedding (one flew internationally from Italy!), I fear that they might have been less convenient than they were cute.
Posted in Makeup, Style, tagged bride, hair piece, hair vine, live love bead, Swarovski, Swarovski crystal, Tony Richards, tony richards photography, wedding, wedding hair, wedding style on October 27, 2009 | 1 Comment »
When I was thinking about how to do my hair for the wedding, I fell in love with a Swarovski crystal hair vine that I saw in a bridal magazine. A hair vine is a swiggly piece for your hair that can be wrapped around your head with bobby pins. The crystal part of it means that it costs hundreds of dollars.
I was surprised to find out how much it cost. I hadn’t been expecting that. After a quick search on Etsy.com and Ebay.com, I found this company, Live Love Bead, which makes “crystal inspired designs.” That is to say, affordable designs.
The one I ordered lasted through a styling test and the wedding day. It only lost one crystal in the end and I hope to find an occasion to wear it again. I’m open to invitations.
Posted in Ann Arbor, Cooking, tagged Ann Arbor, cannolis, cook, Cooking, eating, epicurious, farmer's market, feast, food, host, kerrytown, polenta, pork, pumpkin, recipe, sparrow meat market on October 26, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
Sparrow Meat Market in Kerrytown (Ann Arbor) hosts a semi-secret monthly feast. They take over the supermarket and Sweetwaters Café area with long tables covered in white tablecloths. They serve multi-course meals and guests share their BYOB wine with each other. The entire complex is closed except to those who made a phone reservation and know to enter through the only open door (closest to the parking lot.)
I’d seen flyers for it when I looked for it on meat counter after browsing the Saturday Farmer’s Market outside. There are no ads and no mention of it on the Sparrow website. Friends have raved about it, but mostly because they heard great things, not because they’d ever gone.
After eating in the packed rooms filled with the aromas from the five dishes and the live music by Douglas and Andrew Brown, I understand why they don’t advertise. They don’t need to. Through word of mouth, this dinner is “legendary,” as one friend described it to me in an email.
Here was the menu:
Baby spinach with dried Traverse City cherries, toasted pecans, crumbled blue cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette.
Marinated tomatoes and zucchini served alongside a selection of Italian salamis.
Seared scallops with cream sauce over roasted garlic and pumpkin polenta.
Pork loin stuffed with fresh herbs, garlic, and grated pecorino cheese slow cooked in marinara served over braised escarole greens.
Fresh prepared Amaretto cannolis.
My favorite part of the meal was the pumpkin risotto. I don’t care much for scallops in general, but this polenta was perfectly seasoned. It wasn’t sweet or spicy. The pumpkin flavor was appropriately slight and complemented by the creamy sauce. This is something I want to try to recreate at home. Minus the cream sauce, this Epicurious recipe sounds about right.
The fresh basil on the zucchini in the second course helped to bring out the fresh flavor of the vegetable. The salamis were room temperature and their fattiness (a positive!) was offset by the light vegetables.
The salad dressing on the first course was a bit heavy for the light baby spinach leaves and the pork loin would have benefited from just a bit more spice (salt and even hot pepper), but considering the large numbers of people being served, I don’t think it should be held against them.
This dinner was something we’d like to repeat. And repeat.
If you need more convincing, you might enjoy this review on AnnArbor.com by Jennifer Shikes Haines.
The menu changes according to the seasons. Be in “the know” and check out the flyers on the meat counter. The cost for the five course dinner is $45.00 and you can call for reservations/information at 734-761-8175.
Thanks to the Ann Arbor Chronicle for linking to this article.
Posted in Personalized Poems & Writing, tagged bride, father daughter reading, father of the bride, personalized wedding poem, poem, wedding, wedding poem, wedding reading on October 25, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
My dad asked me to write a Personalized Wedding Poem and he read it as a toast at our wedding.
At first, I had no idea how to proceed. How could I write a poem for my own wedding to be read by someone else? I was baffled.
After he filled out the Questionnaire (which I created especially for this unique situation), I thought long and hard about what I know about his voice and the advice that he has given to me over the years. This is what I came up with and what he read at our wedding.
Thank you, Dad, for being you.
PS: I used to call my dad “Daie.”
From the Father of the Bride, Your Daie
Thank you for being you,
as I’ve told you so many times.
When I put my hand on your mother’s stomach
and felt you shift under her skin,
I lowered my eyes,
wondrous at life.
You’ve continued to grow
east, west, north, south.
I watch you tug on your dreams,
fall deeper in love,
turn a corner in this developing union.
You and Hans
care for each other in ways I can see
and ways I know.
Let the wind always be in your sails
as you move together through life.
I think the most shocking thing about donating your hair is seeing it on a table. That is, separate from your head.
Today I donated 14 inches of hair to Locks of Love. It describes itself as a “public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.”
I have been growing it, on and off, since 2005 when I last donated hair. It was a lot of fun to have long hair at the wedding, but since I had to sleep with it in a ponytail to keep it out of the way, I was ready to have it cut.
Thanks to the Aveda Institute for the great, $16 haircut!
It can be difficult to come up with a personal gift to share with the groomsmen as a “thank you” for participating in the wedding.
My groom made a personalized CD for each of the groomsmen (think ‘80s mixed tape but more technologically advanced.) Not only did he choose music appropriate to each groomsmen, but he also made the CD covers and labels. He named each collection, “We Go Way Back” and chose appropriate movie images for each one.
With a quick trip to an office supply store and some careful, creative thought, you can probably do the same.
For some other ideas, see a recent guest blog about gifts from GroomPower.
Posted in Personalized Poems & Writing, tagged ceremony readings, Chloe Miller, chloe yelena miller, love poem, personalized wedding poems, shasta grant huntington, wedding poem, wedding poetry, wedding readings on October 22, 2009 | 4 Comments »
As you might have guessed, I wrote our own personalized wedding poem. I showed it to my groom before the wedding and we integrated it into the readings during the ceremony. The Wonderful Woman Shasta Grant Huntington did a beautiful job reading it.
All of my poems are secret love poems to you,
the one I wake up next to,
eat breakfast next to,
live next to.
I don’t remember life before you.
What I remember is this:
holding your hand holding you holding me.
I wish for this new beginning,
to be yet another beginning.
We began in words, then Union Square.
I want to see the world and create
next to you.
This map, the one with mountains,
oceans, city streets, our bodies, words and ideas,
is the one we will explore.
I promise you this.
I promise that when our adventures tangle our minds,
we will hold hands, undo the knots, tie neater ones.
There will always be knots in this imperfect world.
Let us renew our wedding vows through words, movements.
The word love is a cliché, a beating heart,
but that is the word we have. Love.
The image, though, is this: the shooting stars under the blanket of clouds in Maryland.
It is not drawn by a human hand on the map.
No one can see it.
But, we cannot breathe without it.
I promise you everything: earth’s drawn skin to what is invisible to the eye.
I am next to you; that is to say, next to everything.