Good Times Never Seemed So Good

Going through all of the paperwork related to the wedding I found the set list the band director gave me after the wedding.  The wedding reception seemed to last all of 25 seconds, but the set list is proof that there was indeed a reception, and a lot of “caballos viejos” on the dance floor.  The band we hired was called Orquesta America and working with them was a wonderful experience.  Especially when our pre-wedding meetings would turn into two-hour affairs listening to old Cuban music with the band director, Ruben, and Charlie’s dad, Carlos.

Orquesta America and Lucy La Voz

Orquesta America and Lucy La Voz

In fact, Charlie’s dad even played conga drums with the band for a few sets.



On our RSVP cards we had asked people to write down their favorite song to dance to so we mixed in those songs between the band sets.  So here is the set list mixed with the songs we played while the band took breaks for anyone who wants to re-live the moments.

Tanda 1/ Dinner set:

1. You are the sunshine of my life

2. Besame Mucho

3. Lagrimas Negras

4. Dos Gardenias

5. Caballo Viejo

6. Almendra

7. Stand by me

8. Cha cha party (medley)


Band Break 1 (Dinner):

1. A Kiss to Build a Dream On

2. So Nice (Summer Samba)

3. The Way I Am

4. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons

5. You Are the Best Thing

6. Night Time Is the Right Time

7. I’m Yours

8. You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You

9. Desafinado

10. Feeling Good

11. I’ve got You Under My Skin

12. Fly Me to the Mood

13. Fever

14. Ain’t That a Kick in the Head

15. A La Bahia de Manzanillo

16. Come Live With Me


Tanda 2:

1. No me acostumbro

2. Mentiroso

3. I feel Good/Mambo #5

4. Colgando en Tus Manos

5. Lloraras

6. Como Fue

7. Gran Combo Medley

8. Duena del Swing

9. Quimbara


Band Break 2:

1. Magalenha

2. Hello

3. Party Rock Anthem (of course)

4. Single Ladies

5. We found love

6. Where them girls at

7. Sweet Caroline (by far the biggest hit of the night from the songs not played by the band!)

Sweet Caroline

Sweet - Ca - Ro - Line... Pa-Pa-Pa! Good times never seemed so good...

Tanda 3:

1. Canto a la Habana

2. Juan Luis Guerra Medley

3. KC Medley

4. Angelito Medley

5. Pa Mayte

6. Bonito y Sabroso

7. Proud Mary

8. Rebellion

9. Conga (of course)


Then the Rusty Pelican made the band stop. So as the band packed up and the house lights came on we snuck in a few more songs:

1. Baby Got Back

2. Give me Everything

3. Sexy and I Know It


We did it!

We’re married!  We just got back from the honeymoon so we will post more soon.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

To those of you invited to the wedding, the time has come to discuss the crucial issue of our wedding guest book.  Upon arriving at the reception at approximately 1800 hours you will find several tables in the “cocktail hour” room. One of the tables will be manned by a bartender dispensing alcohol, go to that table first unless you are under 21.  Then you will see a table with a guest book on it and an instant print camera looking like this:

Fujifilm Instax Mini

Pick up the camera and take your picture!

In the event that the camera runs out of film, spare film cartridges will be provided.  Here is a video on how to operate the camera and change the film.

Fujifilm Instax Mini How-To

So grab your nearest loved one, or maybe someone you met while waiting at the bar, and take your picture. Then, place it in an appropriate spot in the guest book and then write your name and a message to us if you’d like.

If you’re feeling aspirant, visit the table with the guest book and camera again at the end of the night after you’ve visited the bar a few more times, and have wiggle-wiggle-wiggle-wiggle-wiggled on the dance floor.



The honeymoon registry is live!

Instead of adding more housewares to our gift registry, we (Charlie) put together a Honeymoon Registry! Now if someone is so kind as to get us a wedding gift, it can be something exciting like a bicycle tour of a Mediterranean seaside town!

But wait, there’s more!  If you act now, we will send you a picture of us enjoying whatever Mediterranean tour activity you have gifted us with, together with our Thank You card!

Oh, me so hungry!

So you’re coming to our wedding in Miami from out-of-town and you want to know where you can go to get yourself fed for all of your meals that don’t involve our reception…   Here is a list of places that we recommend.  I’ll list the neighborhoods they’re in, just in case you haven’t rented a car and need to go somewhere close – or at least a taxi-able distance away.  If you’re staying on Miami Beach, most of the places I list below should be a walkable distance away. Also, cabs are easier to find on Miami Beach than any other part of Miami.


Located: Near downtown Miami, on the Miami River at 398 NW North River Drive, Miami, FL

Good for families? Yes!

What do I order? Anything. The ceviche is good.

Safety issues: You might have to drive through the hood to get there depending on where you’re coming from.

Good for: Lunch or Dinner

BTW: This restaurant is located on the Miami River. They have tables both inside and outside. I recommend sitting outside unless the temperature is intolerable.  The fish they serve at Garcia’s is super fresh. In fact I think the restaurant people catch some of it themselves the night before. This restaurant is on the casual side.

Joe’s Stone Crabs

Located: On the south end of Miami Beach at 11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL

Good for families? Yes, but a little pricey.

What do I order? Stone crabs!

Safety issues: Just don’t leave your purse/bag in the car where any one can see it. This goes for everywhere in Miami.

Good for: Lunch or Dinner

BTW: Fancy shmancy seafood place on Miami Beach. Although, there IS a story about Charlie’s brother showing up in a t-shirt that I can’t quite remember. You’ll have to ask him. Anywho, the dress is a little more on the nice side and try to make reservations well before you go.

Puerto Sagua

Located: A few blocks from the ocean on Miami Beach at 700 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach

Good for families? Sure!

What do I order? Cuban Sandwich! Or anything else, I’ve never ordered anything other than the Cuban Sandwich, sorry….When in Rome!

Safety issues: None that I can think of.

Good for: Lunch

BTW: I have eaten at this place in a wet bathing suit and beach clothes, so the standards aren’t too high for dress, but their food is fantastic.  There is a parking garage on 7th street off of Washington you can park at if you aren’t staying at any of the hotels on South Beach.


Located: In Little Havana at 3555 SW 8th Street

Good for families? Yes.

What do I order? Bistec Empanizado (breaded flank steak), Picadillo (rice with Cuban style meat sauce) or a Cuban Sandwich. Also, croquetas are good and don’t forget your “cafe cubano.”

Safety Issues: Don’t leave anything visible in the car that someone might want to steal.

Good for: Lunch, Dinner

BTW: You might know “Calle Ocho (8th Street)” from a Pit Bull song, or maybe from news reports of Cubans celebrating Castro’s death in the streets. (Or not) Versailles is the place to go for cheap textbook Cuban food.

La Carretta

Located: There are a ton of these all over Miami. There is even one in Terminal A (American Airlines) of the Miami International Airport.

Good for families? Yes.

What do I order? If breakfast – cafe con leche (cuban espresso shot with whole milk) and pan tostado (cuban bread toast[heaven] with butter [manna from heaven]) or a croqueta preparada (a croquette sandwich - I love a sandwich!). If lunch or dinner – Cuban sandwich, Picadillo, Bistec Empanizado, Shrimp Enchilado, anything really. It’s all good.

Safety Issues: None that I can think of.

Good for: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

BTW: This is another place you can go for cheap textbook Cuban food. Their breakfast in particular is super cheap considering what you get.  If you want a real Miami experience, just go to any La Carreta store front window and order a cafe con leche and a croqueta to-go. If you want to practice your spanish you can say, “Un cafe con leche y una croqueta para llevarrr porrr favorrrr.”

News Cafe

Located: On Miami Beach’s famous Ocean Drive at 800 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach.

Good for families? Yes

What do I order? Whatever you like, it’s all good.

Safety Issues: None that I can think of. Although Gianni Versace was shot on his way home from News Cafe, but that was because he had a crazy stalker, not because News Cafe is unsafe. 🙂

Good for: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Fourth Meal.

BTW: It’s open 24 hours.

Shorty’s BBQ

Located: in Kendall near Dadeland Mall at 9200 South Dixie Hwy, Miami, FL

Good for families? Yes.

What do I order? Ribs!

Safety Issues: Over-stuffing your stomach and popping a button on your pants.

Good for: Dinner

BTW: If you’re craving the type of restaurant that has paper towel rolls on the tables this is your joint.

Big Pink

Located: On Miami Beach at 157 Collins Avenue

Good for families? Yes during the day

What do I order? It’s typical diner food, pick your own poison.

Safety Issues: None.

Good for: Breakfast, Fourth Meal

BTW: It’s open until 5am Fri & Sat. They serve breakfast all day, what’s not to love about that?

George’s Coconut Grove

Located: in Coconut Grove (walking distance for those of you staying at the Mayfair Hotel) at 3145 Commodore Plaza.

Good for families? Maybe if the kids are okay with disco balls and loud music occasionally.

What do I order? Brie and Prosciutto Burger is good but the whole menu is fantastic.

Safety Issues: None.

Good for: Brunch, Lunch, Dinner.

BTW: George’s has nice outdoor seating which is great for people watching. A free glass of champagne is served with brunch.  Also, if you tell them it’s your birthday they will turn the disco balls on for you. Woo woo! Make a reservation, just in case.


 Located: in the newly gentrified “Midtown Miami” at 3250 NE 1st Ave.

Good for families? I have no idea.

What do I order? I don’t know, I have never been there but it comes highly recommended from every one in Miami that I asked for recommendations.

Safety Issues: You will probably have to drive through the hood to get there. You’ll need a car or taxi to get to this place.

Good for: Dinner, Happy Hour

BTW: The restaurant supports local farmers, if you’re into that sort of thing. Also, make a reservation just in case.

In general any of the restaurants and bars on Lincoln Road on Miami Beach will be good, safe, options as well.

That’s all I’ve got for now! See you all soon!


Fall Collectanea

 That summer went by fast!  Reflecting on the past few months I realize I didn’t use my warm weather wisely.  This is evidenced by the fact that this is the first summer of my entire life that I didn’t suffer a single sunburn.  How the heck did that happen?

On the bright side, we have managed to cram fun miscellany into our days before the weather gets dreadful.  For starters, we took a trip to San Francisco.  Charlie was traveling to SF for work and Facebook’s F8 conference, so I tagged along for the latter part of the trip since I had never been to the city free love and rice-a-roni built.  Love in SF isn’t always free, as it turns out, judging by the person in the hotel room next to us – but that is a story for another time!  The past few months’ events can best be described by the resulting pictures:



Full House

"What ever happened to predictability, the milk man, the paperboy, the evening TV, you miss your old familiar friends, but waiting just around the bend..."

Antique Sewing Machines
Not the best picture, but hundreds of antique sewing machines line the windows of this SF fabric store.
Cheesecake and Guava

Cheesecake and guava ice cream with a shot of espresso, yayyy!

Then there was that weekend we had a hurricane and we were stuck inside.  So we had a “humanization of dog” photo shoot which resulted in some pictures we used in some wedding-related propaganda.

Professor Coco Loco
Will do anything for treats.

A Coco photo shoot can best be described by one of us hollering commands at Coco with treats while the other tries to take the perfectly timed picture.  We had another photo shoot in an effort to get some images for the table numbers at our wedding.

Okay Coco... staaaaay, staaaaaaay

Speaking of humanizing dogs, we also attended a “puppy pool party” which was sponsored by The Wag Pack. Coco swam and ran so much she was a zombie for the two days following the party.








And... we're wet!

Then there was the weekend I celebrated a birthday, had a bachelorette party weekend in the Keys, and picked up my wedding dress at Rex Fabrics, whew!
It was a happy birthday

It was a happy birthday!

Charlie brought me the most paleo-friendly birthday cake!

Primas and Pals

Rex Fabrics is haute

I wish Rex Fabrics had an adult summer camp.


And last, but best of all… my family welcomed a new human at the end of September!!


Our new cousin Lily!

How did we meet?

People always ask how we met.  For the sake of brevity, we sometimes simply say: Eharmony.  The truth is that Charlie’s family has been a part of my life since approximately 1994 when I met Tesi, Charlie’s sister (and maybe Chris, Charlie’s brother, I can’t remember) at sailing camp.

1990s Tesi and I (and Chris?)

1994-ish Tesi and I (and Chris?)

The following year Charlie’s mom, Ceci, was my math teacher.  And a few years after that, I went to high school and college with Chris.

Me and college Chris

Me and college Chris

At some point along that time line Charlie and I saw each other a few dozen times.  The future, though, wouldn’t find us single at the same time, in the same city at the same time, until December 18, 2008, when we went on our first date to the really fancy Arlington restaurant known as El Pollo Rico (which serves the best $5 chicken in town) when I was in DC from NY for a job interview and an office Christmas party.  We went on our first grown-up date while in Miami for Christmas, and the rest, as they say, is history.

December 26, 2008

December 26, 2008

Rex Fabrics is “Lit’rally Buh-nanas”

One of the missions while in Miami was to find THE wedding dress.  In true Jennie-fashion, I printed up about 20 dresses that I had found in magazines and online, totally prepared.  I went to almost every store in Miracle Mile with my very patient cheering squad.   I would walk in, show the bridal salon sales person the print-outs, and they would inevitably say, “oh those are pretty, but we don’t have anything like that.”  With the exception of a handful of dresses almost everything looked the same: strapless on top with a duvet cover garnish on the bottom and tons of “ruching” (I had to google how to spell that).

Don’t get me wrong, most of these dresses were beautiful but they were all the same, and not “me.”  I don’t want a dress that would detract from the purpose of the event, and I don’t want something that looks like something you’d throw on your bed in the winter:

Coco lays upon my duvet

So I would ask the woman helping me, “do you have something maybe with straps or something? And less ruching?  And less poofy.”  So the bridal staff person would bring something like this:

So I would say something like “do you have something a little less Miss Venezuela?” “maybe a little more simple” and then my grandmother would say something in agreement like, “jes, somsing wis less bling bling” (yes, something with less bling bling).  You know there is a communication failure when “bling bling” is used by someone who has learned English as a second language.  Speaking of bling, there was even one dress that had an ARROW made of bling pointing towards the procreation zone.  Is this necessary?

Downward pointing arrow atop the uterus

The women that work at the stores, for the most part, know absolutely nothing about dress making.  They didn’t know what the fabric would look like if you chose it in an alternate shade of white, they didn’t know which fabrics photographed well, they didn’t know what shades would look good on ones skin tone, and they definitely didn’t make any fabulous suggestions on what would look good, a-la Randy on Say Yes To The Dress.  I personally think that individuals selling garments for $3000+, that one will wear for maybe 7 hours, should know a little something about the product. *(See Disclaimer)

I tried on approximately 187 dresses in varying shades of ivory before I decided to check out Rex Fabrics (hereinafter Rex).  I have a friend that works there, and had heard they employ a team of seamstresses that can make you a dress that is limited only by your imagination’s ability to dream it up.  I walked into Rex and was instantly blown away.  The amount of fabrics they have will blow your mind.  The place is literally floor-to-ceiling fabrics.  And not just any fabrics, beautiful fabrics you just HAVE to touch to believe.  **(See Disclaimer)  And not only can they can make you anything you want, the staff knows everything there is to know about fabric.  Next time I’m in Miami I’m going to spend an entire day at this place just looking at what they have.  Here are some pictures I took while inside.

* They weren’t all abysmal idiots.  The women at Chic Parisien, J del Olmo and Miami Couture Bridal were more helpful than the individuals at the other bridal salons I went to.

** Rex Fabrics didn’t pay me to say these things. You really must see it to believe it.

Ceremony Site!

Vow exchangeWe have our gravitas, it’s officially official!  The ceremony will be at Coral Gables Congregational.  Mark your GPSs!

Carats and Sticks

Step away from the periodicals section.  I am proof that print media is not completely doomed.  I waited forever to even *touch* a bridal magazine.  Not wanting to jinx it, I bought my first bridal magazine the day after we got engaged at a Penn Station book store.  Turns out, buying a bridal magazine is like paying for pages and pages of advertisements.  Advertisements for dresses, veils, invitations, plates, honeymoon hotels and rings… oh, the rings… the whopping, planetary, over-sized rings.  It turns out, though, that all of the magazines say the same things, which is not much compared to all the pages of ads.  I realized the first magazine didn’t have much substance, so I bought another, and another, and… I’m done now.  At least until the Winter Martha Stewart Weddings comes out (on December 26th).  Bridal Binge