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We’ve Moved!

We’ve moved and split into two blogs, one about writing and one about food.

To read tips on good writing from a writing teacher’s perspective, please visit Chloe Yelena Miller. You’ll find information about my Writing Coach services, upcoming online writing classes and more.

Fare La Scarpetta is a food blog for chefs and foodies alike. Italian food is highlighted, but other cuisines will also show up from time to time. Learn more about Chloe’s cooking and Italian lessons here, too!

Thanks for visiting this blog! See you soon!

– Chloe’

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Gallop Park, MIToday is the bachelorette party. My maid of honor, who I have renamed the “Chief Wonderful Woman,” or “Chief” for short, has planned an amazing day for me at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and then dinner in New York City.

Instead of traipsing through the gardens in the middle of the most poetic borough (home to the Brooklyn Book Festival), I am lying in my childhood twin bed blogging. I am trying to avoid getting sick. My body feels like a stone; I am exhausted from so many things, as you might be able to guess. 

The Chief, Mother of the Bride and I decided to cut the day short and start with dinner, which sounds great. I feel terribly guilty for not being in tip-top shape, but I’d hate to get anyone sick at the shower tomorrow. How could I let myself get sick and infect my favorite (female) loved ones? 

The Chief worked closely with me to plan the bachelorette festivities, which I really appreciated. I had strict rules about what not to include (strippers, penis straws, etc.) Otherwise, it was mostly up to her. She worked closely with some of the local bridesmaids (who I call the “Wonderful Women”) and it sounds like a beautiful evening! I can’t wait.

For tonight’s festivities, we decided to invite very close female friends who are local to NYC. I think the very hardest part of the wedding planning has been the various invite lists. As a shy one, it is important to me to have small, intimate groups. Even so, I love many people from different parts of my life for different reasons. 

It was hard for me, who is not only shy, but also a feminist, to decide to limit the invite list to only women. I have male friends who I care about and my fiancé had a co-ed bachelor party, which I didn’t mind (especially since it also didn’t include strippers or … I don’t even want to guess that else it could have had…)

Maybe this shy feminist is slightly more traditional than she realized. It sounds special to gather together as women and celebrate this new step in my life. Planning the wedding, almost like studying abroad and encountering a new culture, has helped me to consider parts of myself that I hadn’t necessarily thought carefully about before.

So here I am, waiting in bed until the evening. As the Italians say, I’ll be “brava.”

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Everyone has an opinion about everything and so do you. These voices are often in conflict, especially when it is about something as important (and frankly expensive) as a wedding.

 

As we are planning a wedding, we hear imagined voices and actual voices offering unsolicited advice. (Your best friend wants you to hire her mother to do your flowers, your own mother used to always tell you to (fill in the blank), you watch too much Lifetime television and hear the lonely characters complaining about how they ruined their wedding, the wedding dress salesperson doesn’t think you should get married on the beach, etc.)

 

You do not need to reenact what every friend, cousin, sister, etc. did before you. You certainly shouldn’t use your wedding day as a day to compete with those earlier or even future weddings. If you wish to borrow ideas from other weddings, you are free to do so, but it isn’t required. You make your own choices along with your beloved.

 

We have deemed ourselves a sort of “unbride,” but that doesn’t mean that you have to do everything in a completely unconventional way. You can follow all the traditions that mean something to you and break the ones that seem less important.

 

The holidays are quickly approaching and there will be extra opportunities for shared opinions that might simply stress you out. Try to turn this around and make it something positive. Why not use this as an opportunity to ask your loved ones what choices they made when planning their own weddings? You may discover traditions that you didn’t know about (from your own family or even other cultures) that you may want to integrate into your own wedding.

 

You may decide to make this more formal by doing a Storycorps interview. Storycorps is an amazing nonprofit whose mission is “is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening.” You might have heard some of their recordings on your local NPR station. You can reserve an interview time at one of their booths across the country, rent their equipment or use their suggestions to do your own, private interviews.

 

I’ve done this twice now: once my fiancé interviewed me and once I interviewed my mother. It was a lot of fun to work on the questions and then sit and discuss a topic. In the interview with my mother, I discovered details that we had never been discussed before, probably because I never asked the right questions, and we had a lovely afternoon together.

 

Perhaps over the next year of planning we’ll do another interview, this time about weddings.

Mom after our StoryCorps Interview

Advice:

For your own well-being and relationships, choose to listen and ask questions instead of immediately rejecting everyone’s opinions and giving yourself a headache.

 

Mimicry is a form of flattery. Many former-brides wish for you to flatter them by copying them. As the Italians would say, “it isn’t obligatory.” You should be tender and kind by verbally flattering them on aspects of their weddings that you loved, but then, do what you and your beloved desire to do. That doesn’t mean that you can’t listen to them.

 

(Please remember this when you are married and someone told you just got engaged.)

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Our friends

We work closely with the following NJ venues:

Merri-Makers

The Mezzanine

Perona Farms

WEDDING RELATED:

Invitations:

Italian designer in Boston Angela Liguri

Flowers:

Flowers on Long Island: Clawflowers

Celebrants:

Ann Keeler Evans, Celebrant (PA based)

Celia Milton, Celebrant (NJ based)

Anita Vaughan, Celebrant (Chicago based)

 

Cakes:

Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, NJ

Travel:

Travel to Italy: Amore Travel Guides 

Green Wedding ideas:

Blue Planet Wedding

Michigan weddings:

WedMichigan Blog

Photography:

Tony Richards Photography

Custom songs:

Custom Crafted Songs

Car service:

Executive Transporation of Louisana

WRITING RELATED:

Poet Jee Long Koh’s blog

You can hear poetry readings online at a lot of sites. Here are two great archives:

Poets.Org archive

Poetry Foundation archive

 

Poets.org, from the Academy of American poets, has a list of famous poems about weddings:

Poets.Org Wedding Poems

 

The Offbeat bride (who isn’t?), has a list of “Awesome wedding readings for bad-ass couples”:

Offbeat Bride Readings

 

The Indiebride (which doesn’t seem to have new posts anymore), has some readings listed, too:

Indiebride Readings

 

BEYOND WEDDINGS AND POETRY:

Personal story of adoption from Ethiopia: Shasta Grant’s blog

Smith College alum blogs

Botanical Images by photographer Melabee M. Miller

 

 

 

*MUCH* more to come. Want to be listed? Email me and send me your information: ChloeMiller(at)gmail(dot)com.

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Holidays.

Holidays tend to be stressful, romantic, nostalgic, dreadful, tiring and relaxing all at once. When you put so many people in one room together, combine it with food and everyone’s picky eating habits, topped with alcohol, you never know what will happen. Or maybe you do because the same thing happens every year.

 

Advice:

Enjoy this Thanksgiving. I try to avoid clichés, but this one is a good one: Be thankful.

 

We’re alive, eating and enjoying each other’s company. One day this might not be possible. Instead of worrying about that, take the day in and enjoy it.

 

Turducken

Turducken

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