July, 2012 Archive

At The Zoo

Lately, I have felt exhausted and pulled in many different directions. I guess it’s the normal mom thing. Taking care of the household and chasing an 11-month old all day. Holding up commitments with friends and social dates. Putting a lot of energy into family events and members. Generally, I have been doing a lot of “being there” for others, and not really for myself. I don’t mind any of this — the schlepping, the late nights, the spending — but it is tiring. But I feel like lately, I’ve had a hard time saying “no,” when I probably should say “no.” What can I say? I don’t want to miss out on anything. I don’t want to let anyone down. I want to be everywhere and with everyone. It gets tiring, though, and I needed a day for myself to enjoy a new environment and calm surroundings. So my mom, Madelyn, and I headed up to Santa Barbara to enjoy a beautiful day at the zoo. I was still a mom. I was still schlepping. But for some reason, it felt liberating.

It was actually Madelyn’s second time at the zoo. Bryan and I took her in May with our friends Stefanie and Jeremy and their daughter, Brielle. We enjoyed introducing our daughters, 5 months apart, to the animals and spending time together as families.

We bought an annual pass because I knew it would be a perfect outing for when I needed a mini day-cation away. Earlier in the week when I made the plans to come back with my mom, I knew it would be the necessary refresher for our three generations to escape for the day.

And what’s better than escaping to the Savannah to see the giraffes, Asia to see the elephants, and the Congo to see the gorillas?

We rode the train around the zoo and learned about the behind-the-scenes of exhibits and animals. We enjoyed a yummy picnic lunch from my favorite sandwich shop down the street while overlooking the water to the left and the botanical gardens to the right. The weather was perfect. The air was clean. And there’s something special and empowering about being so close to some of nature’s greatest miracles. It’s humbling to be inches away from beautiful animals and watching them eat, interact, snooze, and play.

Madelyn was too young to understand all of this. But she was happy. And I hope her days at the zoo will leave her in awe of the animal kingdom and love them as much as I do when she’s old enough to appreciate these trips.

My days-old, lingering headache that’s gotten the best of me from recent stress didn’t feel so bad when I realized I got to escape the pile of laundry that waited at home, take a break from planning and organizing, and not feel like I had to say “yes.” Today, I didn’t spread myself too thin.

  1. Mimi
    7/26/2012 11:41 PM

    I loved spending a fun-filled day at the Santa Barbara Zoo & going on “safari” with my 2 beautiful favorite girls!! It was a perfect day. I love you both so much!! Xoxo

Going For A Walk

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Photo Eye Candy

Two Madelyns go for an afternoon stroll with their walkers.

Coffee Junkie

Apparently Madelyn, like Mommy, needs an afternoon frothy caffeinated beverage to recharge and wake up. Stealing Mommy’s is not a win-win.

Mama’s No Spring Chicken

If you don’t blog about your birthday, then you don’t age, right? Right? No? Crap.

Well, I aged. Over a month ago. Oops. I guess I’m getting so old and decrepit that I forgot to blog about my 29th that was in June, which is so uncharacteristic of me because as a young thing, I was a girl who enjoyed birthdays! It’s not that I dreaded my birthday this year, but I really actually forgot about it! It was my first birthday as a mom, and June 7th was no different: my day was all about Madelyn, just as it is every other day of the year. I like it like that. But sweet Bryan swooped me up and surprised me for a great birthday getaway to Catalina! Apparently, going to Catalina on your birthday gets you a free boat ride and lots of birthday greetings from everyone you meet if you wear a snazzy birthday pin. It’s like Disneyland at the beach.

We meant to enjoy Madelyn’s first boat ride but we were all uncharacteristically sea sick. No tangible evidence of that — thank goodness! — but we were pretty green as we chopped out to the island from San Pedro. And there was no A/C. And Madelyn’s very dirty poopy diaper was wafting in our space as she sat on our laps. Happy birthday, Alison. Here’s some hot shit for you.


We finally arrived and it was so nice to be on land. Not just because of the rough waters, but because it was absolutely gorgeous! The sky was a clearn, clear blue, the air was warm and breezy, and the water sparkled like a glass case at Tiffany & Co. I love the postcard scene everywhere you look in Avalon. The houses on the hills and the beachy vendors on the waterfront. Everything is just pretty.

Our hotel room was beautiful! We didn’t know what to expect since there’s no Marriott on the island, so Bryan booked a really nice boutique hotel that was excellent! We freshened up in the room after our boat ride and walked around the beachfront. We made friends with lots of birds and a deer that was just chillin’ on a hill a few feet away from the street. Meanwhile, we scouted places to eat and finally settled on a yummy steakhouse with great views of the water.

Our food was good and Madelyn was a champ at the table. I love going to nice restaurans and walking to our table while receiving the hairy eyeball from strangers who look us up and down and roll their eyes about their assumed now-ruined dinner. And then those very same people end up making friends with Madelyn who entertains them with general cuteness. Mm hmm. That’s right, biatches.

It was still pretty early and it WAS my birthday so we decided to extend our evening with a walk around the “downtown” streets when we stumbled along the world’s smallest bowling alley. Madelyn had fallen asleep in her stroller and we were watching the two lanes of bowlers enjoying little balls the size of cantaloupes and pins the size of shampoo bottles. One lane had two sets of older couples enjoying some good clean fun. The other lane comprised of a young husband and wife about our age who were all tatted up and the sole reason the adjoining bar was in business. They were absolutely plastered and when they saw us watching the games, we were their new sober victims.

Victims of what? Drunk, sweaty hugs and high fives (I was dying), over sharing about their sex life, and a dozen slideshows on their iPhones of their two daughters at home and inevitable parenting advice. They insisted we bowl with them and it was actually really entertaining and bizarre at the same time, especially because we knew we’d never see them again. But after we’d heard them repeat the same stories at least four times, each time more difficult to understand the syllables, we decided we were done when the game was over. But then the husband heard it was my birthday and bought us all a round of Coors Light. This would have been a sweet deal if I was a college fraternity brother. But I am an old lady who doesn’t do beer. Our new BFFs shoved bottles in our faces, shouted “happy birthday” at extremely loud decibels, and Bryan and I telepathically communicated that we needed an out. At that moment, not only did Madelyn wake up crying in her stroller, but the bowling game broke and the manager said the game would have to be restarted. There was our cue! And no one can argue about a crying baby needing to go to sleep! We thanked our new friends, snuck out with our bottles, and trashed them in a sidewalk garbage can, laughing all the way back to the hotel.

The next morning, we woke up and had to take the first boat back for scheduling purposes. We took a bunch of pictures of the scenery from the docks as we waited for our boat. Thankfully, the way back was smooth and comfortable. It was a quick trip but just what we needed to celebrate my first birthday as a family of three.

Later that weekend, we enjoyed grown up time with our friends at Malibu Wines. We brought a picnic and enjoyed a day in the Santa Monica mountains with the sun shining over us and great conversation filling the day.

My birthday ended up being a special one with all of our fun events and the people we shared them with. Next year is the big 3-0 and I’ll have an almost 2-year-old to chase around to keep me young.

Callin’ All My Girls

by Alison Friedman in Mommy's Musings

Since Tuesday, I’ve had the Bethenny Frankel’s theme song in my head because I heard it 8297349872 times in a 2-hour time frame. But I don’t care because I had such a fun time seeing her talk show which tapes on Ellen’s stage!

For my birthday, Bryan got me tickets to see her show and he thought maybe he’d go with me, but once he realized what a chick fest it was, he decided I should invite some of my gal pals and have a day off Mommy Duty. I gladly accepted the offer!

My best friend Stefanie and I are literally ob. sessed. with Bethenny. We think she’s so right on about everything: from motherhood to female issues to fashion. We are always talking about her and I’ve always said that Stef even kind of reminds me of Bethenny! They have a similar look and, more than anything, the exact sense of humor! So basically, we should be BFF with Bethenny. Think she’d hang with us?? Tuesday is the closest we got!

My mom is the one who introduced me to Bethenny. I never watched the Real Housewives of NY when she was on it, but I got hooked on her Bethenny Getting Married show because, hel-lo, she’s funny and it was a show about her wedding planning! Then I continued to follow her every move, so I owe my awareness of Bethenny to my mom!

Desiree and I have a zillion mutual friends so when we finally met and got to know each other, our mutual love for Bethenny rose to the surface pretty quickly. She’s also become a pretty awesome regular contributor on The Wedding Yentas, my business that’s all about Jewish weddings, and so I knew she’d get a kick out of attending the show. Not only did she attend, she fully participated!

In the parking garage waiting for the next event in the Bethenny Olympics.

When we arrived and went through the TSA-like security line 2 hours before the start of the show (those WB officers mean business!), we were corralled into the parking garage, but I, Alison Friedman, mother of Madelyn, do not wait. I act. So when I noticed a line of girls going out to a parking lot to be questioned about things, I figured it’d be more exciting than waiting in the covered parking area so out we went. Good thing, because the producers were asking us questions we might have for Bethenny. Stef and I completely blanked out which is rare for us since we never seem to shut up, but Desiree composed herself nicely, asked the producers her question, and was whisked away to a private producers’ room to be groomed to be on the show! Lucky girl!

My mom, Stef, and I returned to the covered parking garage with the rest of the dressed-to-the-nines audience for a little bit before being ushered to a holding area in the studio. Since Bethenny tapes on Ellen’s stage, we were told to wait in her conveniently placed gift shop which is right outside the stage. Lots of great tshirts and other goods for Ellen and her cause The Gentle Barn. I wanted to buy everything, but I didn’t because everything cost a zillion dollars. There wasn’t any Bethenny merchandise, but they did give her a place in Ellen’s gift shop in the form of… a cardboard Bethenny. Desiree joined us after her pow wow with the producers and we and the 250 other audience members harassed “Flat Bethenny” and took pictures with her.

Modeling for pics with Bethenny who managed to hold the same pose in EVERY PICTURE.

Finally, we were told to enter the stage and it looked even better in person than it does on her show! Des and I gushed over the Jonathan Adler design elements and we were obsessed with her bright and fun color scheme! We were basically ready to move in stat!

The warm up guy did his best to get people to do dance offs for…. Ellen tshirts? No surprise, we did not partake. Dear Audience Warm Up Guys, why all the dance offs? Can we not think of something more original? They’re not fun and predictable. The older Asian tourist always wins!

Soon enough, the show started! It was really fun to watch the process of how a show runs. I’ve been in audiences before, but I’m always fascinated to see how it all works. Bethenny is not exactly a natural talk show host — she’s still a little unpolished — but she’s very REAL, which I think makes her a good TV figure. You don’t feel like you’re watching a scripted talk show host; you feel like you’re listening to one of your girlfriends talk… but with cameras and lights on her. She’s doing fine. Her show has been picked up for national and long term airing, which will transfer to NYC, so it was cool to see the beginnings of her new career here in L.A.

Toward the end of the show, the producers switched Desiree’s seat, which was right next to me, to the other side of the audience so that her question would be in order of the segment which taped on the other side. So, we made a “new friend” who took Desiree’s seat next to me and who also asked a question. Des did such a good job with her question! She is a TV natural!

The girl next to me asked Bethenny about lap band surgery because her guests that day were Lauren and Caroline Manzo from RHONJ and Lauren had the lap band procedure. In the clip, you can see me googling a Bethenny on girl crush overdrive. Kind of embarrassing, but it’s true! I was mesmerized by her. And her wedding band. Which was 4 inches from my face. And my purse. Hmmm…

At the end of the show, Bethenny taped a few promos for the show and she let loose with the audience and her staff. She really is so funny.

Ever wonder how they do Before & Afters on TV talk shows? We now know. UGH boy do we know. After Bethenny was all done with her promos, she went backstage to “get ready.” What seemed like hours later, she came back fully dressed in new outfit with new hair and new makeup — almost like it was a different day. Because it “was.” She taped the “before” segment of a hair makeover for three women that would be taped for another episode of a show. So we saw the women with ugly hair get interviewed. Then, after our show, they taped another one and that new audience saw the “after” for these women. Interesting, yes, but we were there in the freezing studio for an extra hour and we were pretty tuckered out by then after all the sitting and standing and cheering.

Our “Bethenny” episode airs TODAY in L.A. at 2:00 on Fox and I am excited to watch it! We all had a fun time and my love for Bethenny has blossomed even more.

And this is why we live in L.A.!

Here’s the clip where Desiree is featured and where you can see me wanting to make out with Bethenny: