A Sugar Filled Black Tie Affair

A few weekends ago, Matt and I had the distinct pleasure of attending a party at our friend, Caitlin Tormey‘s home. For 28 years, this lovely family has opened up their Staten Island home to friends and family to enjoy homemade desserts and sip champagne at a black tie affair.

The Tormey Family party is unlike anything I have ever seen before. Traditionally held around the New Year, Caitlin’s mom, Dr. Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, takes a full week of from her “day job” (chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute) to apply her background in chemistry to the kitchen. For 7 days she prepares 28 different desserts; and every year the desserts are different. She then opens up her home to over 100 friends, neighbors and family members. I consider myself lucky to have been counted among these people.

We began out evening by taking the ferry over to Staten Island; something we had never done before. The views of the New York City skyline were breathtaking and definitely a sight worth seeing. After a quick ride, we found ourselves in the suburbs (or at least it felt suburban compared to Manhattan). The Tormey home sits of the edge of a hill with incredible views of the river, the Verrazano bridge, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Thankfully it wasn’t too chilly, so we were able to enjoy the views from the porch in the back of the house.

After taking in the beautiful Christmas decorations and drinking some champagne, Caitlin invited me into the dinning room for a “press only” viewing of the desserts. (I knew having a blog would get me a press pass at some point – now, if only I could use it to get on the field during a Patriots game!) When I walked in the room; I was immediately overtaken by the smell of sugar. The 28 cakes that sat before me were really amazing. How Jill managed to make 28 different desserts in one week in beyond me. How she managed to keep everything fresh and time the whole production is unbelievable. I can see myself trying this and ending up with melting cakes, stale cookies and a giant mess in our kitchen!

Once the doors to the dining room were opened to the “public” everyone proceeded to walk around the table simply looking. Then, once everyone had a chance to view the 28 choices, we went back through and picked which ones we wanted to try. I happily added 5 difference slices to my plate: peanut butter cheesecake, chocolate chunk candy cane cheesecake, eggnog torte, white mocha torte, peanut butter honeycomb cake. Matt decided to try all of the chocolate options which I believe resulted in 6 different slices. In the end, we were sick to our stomachs from all of the richness, but very happy!

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Matt and I have talked about throwing an annual holiday party; something that our friends and family can look forward to attending year after year. Unfortunately we haven’t settled on what holiday we should be celebrating. Matt wants to celebrate something that has to do with Notre Dame, while I would like to celebrate an obscure holiday like, March 13th which is National Ear Muff day.

Does anyone have any suggestions for creative and fun parties?

DIY Bulletin Board Update

Last week I wrote a blog about my new office. Well, I am happy report that it is coming together. I have a few pictures hanging on my walls, some furniture for parents to sit in while I interview them and I found a solution to “martha-rize” my bulletin board.

Some advice from my crafty mother and a trip to the container store solved my problems. My mother suggested that I use contact paper on the bulletin board. Honestly, what do people actually use contact paper for? Do people actually line the drawers of the dressers with that stuff? I am all for organizing but that seems a bit ridiculous. You are just going to cover it up with shirts, socks and work out attire. Anyway, I went off to the container store last week and boy did I strike gold.

First I found this contact paper with fun designed. Unfortunately after reading the label closer, I realized that the paper was scented. While I love candles and perfumes, I was nervous that this smell would become over baring in my office. I had visions of parents going into a fit of sneezes and decided against it. Instead I found this fabric contact paper that came in a pretty design. While it wasn’t adhesive, the foam like quality would easily hide push pin marks, unlike contact paper. I purchased two roles and went on my way.

I cut the paper to fit and stapled it onto the bulletin board. I then added decorative grosgrain ribbon to hide the seams and add some “preppiness” to my walls. I am pretty happy with the way it came out!

On another, unrelated note, today marks 7 months until our wedding! I think that calls for a glass of champagne!

While I am super excited, I am slightly confused as to why Matt and I didn’t receive the kind of attention Price William and Kate are getting. Hopefully they don’t pick June 18th as the date to say ‘I Do.” I am not sure I could share the spotlight!

Toast Worthy!

I went to 6 different bridal salons (one of them three times) and tried on approximately 60 different wedding dresses, and spend nearly 15 hours in total before I finally decided on one. All for a dress that I will wear one time, for 5 hours. It was a major sense of accomplishment when I finally picked “the one.” The best part is that it was one of the first dresses I tried on, and the one that Abby knew was going to be “the one” the minute I put it on. Once I made the decision to buy it, I felt excited, relief and a sense of accomplishment. After returning to my parents house, my mom and I busted out some champagne to celebrate. My whole family toasted to this monumental occasion. As we raised our glasses, “to the dress” it hit me… I was turning into one of those girls.

Earlier that weekend, Abby made a trip down to Virginia for a job interview. She rocked it out and left the University of Mary Washington with a good feeling. On Sunday, she was offered the position of Head Coach for both the Men and Women’s Teams at the school. After being an assistant coach for 7 years, she is certainly ready for this. While moving to a new state is scary and taking on the responsibility of her own team can seem daunting at times, I know she will be amazing. I am just so happy that someone finally sees in her what I have seen for years. Now that news, is certainly champagne toast worthy!

abby brethauer

A couple of months ago, I blogged about my FSIL (future sister-in-law for those of you not down with wedding lingo) graduating from Nursing School. Now unlike push over liberal arts degrees like Matt and I got, Courtney’s degree required her to pass her boards in order to put her hard-earned degree to use. For some reason, going to class, studying for countless hours and passing all of your finals, don’t mean anything unless you can pass the 6 hour medical boards. After committing herself to intense studying for weeks, Courtney finally took her boards on Tuesday. Her results were supposed to be posted 2 days later (meaning tomorrow). Thankfully, Courtney’s anxiousness got the best of her and she decided to look up her results online a day early… just in case.

Tonight, we are toasting (along with our tacos) to Courtney, RN !

Suddenly, my feat of buying a dress doesn’t seem so toast worthy. I promise, I will not become that girl. I even gave in and updated my checklist!