My Vows: A Dream Writing Assignment

Treva Brandon and Robby Scharf WeddingFinally getting the chance to write my marriage vows was more than just this bride’s dream come true. It was this freelance writer’s finest hour.

The dream assignment that had previously been out of reach for so many years, was now mine. I had waited patiently and worked tirelessly, but I finally got the job. Without delay, I immediately put pen to paper and began crafting my vows. God knows I had a lot to say.

Truth is, I’ve been writing my vows in my mind for 50 years so I already knew what they were going to include: expressions of my love and affection, my hopes for marital bliss, and tons of heartfelt promises and praise for my future husband. My vows would also be tear-jerking and knee-slapping all at the same time.

All I would need was the right guy and a mic, and I’d be good to go. I got both: Robby Scharf and a great Sennheiser microphone (P.S. Robby works for Sennheiser so I got the package deal).

That’s right, not only did I finally get to write my marriage vows, I got to read them aloud too! What a gig!

My vows weren’t fancy or flowery; they were just a 439-word count of my love and delivered right on time – just like a good freelancer.

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MY VOWS

“As a writer, I’ve written all kinds of things: from copy to content, branding to blogging, but I’ve never written marriage vows – a dream assignment I’ve waited a lifetime for.

And the most wonderful part of this assignment is that I get to write about an amazing product: Robby Scharf.

When I first met Robby, I knew I dug him; when he told me he liked sports, I knew he wasn’t a pussy; when I heard he was a Jewish rocker, I knew he was no ordinary Jew; when I found out he watched MSNBC, I knew it was a match; when my father gave him thumbs-up, I knew he was something special.

And when I watched him volunteer with the disabled athletes at Special Olympics, I knew I had to have him.

But when I fully experienced the depth of his caring and character, I knew it was love.

Robby, you are my champion, my protector, my BFF, my favorite comedian, my trusty ad court partner, my own personal IT guy, and my new emergency contact number.

You are my Mr. Right in every way.

You are the Ashford to my Simpson, the Burns to my Allen, the Kool in my Gang, and the Earth and Wind to my Fire. You are music and laughter, safety and comfort, strength and support, everyday of my life.

Treva Brandon and Robby Scharf WeddingI vow to you: my love, my heart, my soul, and my spirit. I vow to keep my racquet head up, and keep my eye on the ball. I vow to keep my only child tendencies in check, and I vow to keep the spare toilet paper in the bathroom instead of in my office closet. I vow to keep an open mind about moving to the Valley, and I vow to learn how to make a brisket and spend more time in the kitchen.

As your wife, I vow to keep you happy, healthy, and fit – whether you like it or not. Remember, you are marrying a personal trainer so deal with it.

To your father Eddie, I vow to make a good daughter-in-law. Good, in that I will never stand in the way of you and Robby and Major League Baseball.

And finally, to your mother Fran who is not here with us today, I vow to make her proud. I promise to take good care of her son, and honor the extraordinary man he has become.

E052414A-0605I’ve dreamed of writing these vows all my life, and now, this moment is here. Thank you Robby for making me your Mrs. Scharf, and for making all my dreams come true.”

Vintage Bob Mackie, New Mrs. Scharf

Treva Brandon and Robby Scharf WeddingWell, I did it.

It was the world’s longest walk down the aisle. Only a few yards, but it took a lifetime to get there. It was a journey that had more twists and turns than a Hitchcock movie, more starts and stops than the Indy 500, and more bumps and bruises than a mixed martial arts match.

But on May 24th 2014, I finally got married. All said and done, I went from Miss Brandon to Mrs. Scharf in 51 years flat. Catch your breath everyone, it was record time for the late blooming bride and groom.

I didn’t do it alone. I had help, lots of help. From friends and family, to celebrity designer Bob Mackie. From head to toe, my wedding day was a team effort.

It took a village to get me married, and now I must thank the village.

Treva Brandon and Robby Scharf WeddingStarting with my stepmother, Suzanne Charney and her incredible wedding gown she gave me. It’s an original, one-of-a-kind Bob Mackie, designed for her first wedding about 35 years ago.

She was smart enough to keep it boxed up all these years, and I was lucky enough to be able to wear it. I was given something new, something borrowed, and something blue for my wedding. This dress was my something old, my something vintage, and my something precious.

Suzanne Charney is a TV and film actor and dancer, well known for her role as the lead dancer in the movie “Sweet Charity.” You can’t miss her. She’s the Bob Fosse babe with the swinging ponytail and legs for days http://youtu.be/rw_M-ai1I0k

Anyway, back in the 70s, when Bob Mackie bobmackie.com was designing all of Cher’s sexy, fabulous costumes, he took some time off to help Suzanne create the wedding dress of her dreams. They sketched and they stitched, using fabric from Paris, and hand beading courtesy of the wardrobe department at NBC.

get-attachment-3.aspxIt was the first dress I tried on after I got engaged. Aside from being slightly tight in the bust, it was perfect. I tried on 27 more dresses just to be sure, but I really didn’t have to. There’d be no other dress that even came close. So thank you, Stepmother. I hope I did it justice.

There will be more to talk about in future posts, but for now, here are some quick thanks to my wedding pit crew:

Alterations expert and tailor to the stars, Mario Gonzalas www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/moviesnow/la-et-mn-ca-tailor-to-the-stars-20140223-story.html#page=1. I will miss all the fittings and fun in your studio, but luckily, I have some pants that need hemming, so I’ll see you next week.

IMG_4523Mike Messex http://www.messexindustries.com, the genius graphic designer who brought our Save-The-Date, wedding invitation, and party favor shot glass concepts to life. He knows me, gets me, and puts up with me because I’m the bride goddamn it!!

Click on Treva & Robby Wedding Invite to see more of our collaboration.

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Treva & Robby Wedding Invite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To all our friends and classmates from Beverly Hills High School who came through in the clutch for us:

Make-up artist extraordinaire Jeanine Kabrins Canter Treva Brandon and Robby Scharf Weddingwww.facebook.com/pages/jeanineCanter-Make…/193329035942. Wow, holy shit, and thank you! You annoyed the hell out of me with all your touch-ups, but your meticulousness showed – you are truly an artist.

Photographer Alex Berliner abimages.com. Thank you for capturing every nuance and moment. From under the chuppah, to the Soul Train line dance, you were everywhere. You sneaky little bastard! I’m surprised you didn’t catch me on the toilet, which would’ve been a nice shot.

Videographer Adam Ritz antishadow.com. I’m not sure who had more fun at my wedding: you or me. I love a vendor who not only has creativity and vision, but enjoys the job too! You were awesome to work with and even more awesome to party with!

Cantor Gary Shapiro http://youtu.be/o-ZhVpbW5Uk. He’s a man of faith AND a professional stand-up comedian all at the same time. His heartfelt ceremony was touching, personal, and fall off your chair funny. If you weren’t laughing, you were crying; if you weren’t crying, you were cringing listening to his stories of me as a young virgin.

Treva Brandon and Robby Scharf WeddingAnd finally to my HUSBAND (love saying that word) Robby Scharf: for waiting 51 years for me at the end of the aisle.

I thank you and I love you. I do, I do, I do.

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One Last Blast Before Take Off

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The gang gathers for the big send off.

When you’ve been single as long as I have, every night is a sort of a bachelorette party. With no husband, no kids, not even a pet, I’ve been able to come and go as I please. I can get wild, go crazy, live it up, party hard, stay out late or not come home at all.

Let me tell you, single life might sound exciting, but it gets old and boring especially after so many years of it.

I’ve seen it all, dated it all, experienced it all, and have sowed every last wild oat. I have memories and stories and lots of secrets and stuff that I’ve shared with my curious married girlfriends. You know, like the time me my friend and I ended up in a limo with Rick James and his entourage, or the time I had to take a blind date to the emergency room because he got bit by a scorpion, or the like the time I tripped on pot brownies in the middle of the ritzy El Paseo shopping area in Palm Desert.

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A few shots in.

You get the picture.

I look at my single life as one big horizon-broadening learning experience for which I am grateful. Sometimes it was challenging, sometimes it was painful, but mostly, it was a wild, wacky, and wonderful ride that made me who I am today. Now, after 50+ years of bachelorette hood, it’s time to move on to something a little quieter, a little more stable, a little more permanent, and a lot more domestic.

Not before one last blast though! Bring on the bachelorette party, middle-age style, that is!

No male strippers here, no tequila luge, no body shots, no stripper poles in the party van, and no puking at the end of the night, although some of us did come close. We were just a bunch of old friends ready for some fun, a few laughs, and a chance to stay up past 10pm.

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Official bachelorette head gear.

I’d share with you the naughty things we did and who got drunk as a skunk, but you know what they say: “What happens at the bachelorette party stays at the bachelorette party.” The only people that will ever know for sure are our Uber drivers.

I’m ready for take off. I am ready to start this new chapter of my life. The best way to say goodbye I’ve decided, is to let my good friend Joanne Sala do it for me. This was her toast to me; it wasn’t so much a farewell to single life as it was a warm WELCOME to married life.

“I cannot believe your single days are behind you. How am I going to live vicariously through you if you’re not going to have any more crazy single girl escapades? I guess it’s goodbye stolen kisses, brazen flirtations, and hysterical dating horror stories.

This marriage thing is going to be a major adjustment for you, but I know you’re ready. As someone who’s been married for 23 years, I can tell you that you have to be loyal, faithful, trustworthy and have sex with your husband at least once a month, whether you want to or not. But bonus – take it from me – being married means never having to swallow again!

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But seriously, I wish you and Robby every happiness in the world. My advice to you is to be good to each other. Be kind. Patient. Put each other first. Resolve conflicts quickly. Don’t hold grudges. Let the phrases: ‘I’m sorry,’ ‘You’re right honey,’ and ‘I don’t know, what do YOU want for dinner tonight’ roll off your tongue.

Enjoy this next phase of your life as the happy honeymooners I know you will be. I love you guys so much.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

See ya later single life. It was fun, but I can’t say I’ll miss you.

Sexy Lingerie + Mature Bride = Old Floozy?

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The “Open Bra” worn the mature way.

If you look inside my drawers – not those drawers, but yes, those drawers too – you’ll find a lot of beige. Beige underwear, beige bras, beige everything. Nothing too exciting, nothing too fancy, sexy, lacey, or daring, just a lot of functional, practical beige that gets the job done.

I know what you’re thinking right now. I have boring drawers.

Crazy as it sounds, somehow I managed to get through my entire swinging single life without ever buying a stitch of lingerie. Never owned a garter belt, a thigh-high stocking, or a push-up bra. And what’s really crazy is that I love lingerie! But every time I’d set out to go buy myself a sexy little something, I’d get distracted by other things: like buying new sneakers or some cute workout wear.

Hey, Lululemon is sexy, isn’t it?

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The “Open Bra” worn the right way.

I can’t say I’ve never WORN lingerie because I have. For about 10 minutes, about 20 years ago. It was a creepy crotchless catsuit an ex-boyfriend gave me for Valentine’s Day when I lived in New York. It was so cheap and disgusting I threw it down the trash shoot when he wasn’t looking right after I tried it on. I couldn’t get it off me fast enough. Two weeks later I broke up with him, his tacky taste in lingerie having a lot to do with it.

So just when I thought my lingerie days had passed me by (and who was really paying attention?) something life-changing happened.

[wpvideo eHftxqrV]I had a bridal shower.

And I scored. I am now flush with lingerie. Each gift box I opened contained the most beautiful, hot, gorgeous, delicate, outrageous undergarments I had ever seen. Everything from Victoria’s Secret to La Perla, to Cosa Bella, to chic exotic labels I’ve never even heard of. I even got some edible undies.

All this new lingerie is great, but now I have to wear it. The question is, should I? I’m in my 50s, I don’t want to look like a total idiot in a teddy.

Ladies, at what point are you too old to wear lingerie? Is there a maximum age limit? An expiration date? I realize there’s a moment in life when one can go from being a hot babe to looking like an old floozy. Am I there?

Should I be age-appropriate and stick to what I’m comfortable with – a nice beige Wacoal bra and underwear set? Or should I let out my inner sexy bitch and say fuck it?

Fuck it!

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A sexy bitch in the bedroom and in the kitchen!

My inner sexy bitch says you’re never too old for lingerie…as long as it’s got a crotch.

Look inside my drawers and you’ll see a whole new me. You’ll see an explosion of COLOR with fabric and styles that scream sex! Along with some new hot pink panties, boy shorts, and lacey thongs, my drawers also have a few black silky things that make me feel like a Bond girl. I think I’ll wear them for my next jewel heist.

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Hungry and horny, anyone?

And for those times that I feel a little self-conscious about my body and age, I’ll just turn off the lights and let Robby eat my undies.

5 Ways To Know If Mr. Right Has The Right Stuff

IMG_4286Many years ago, my good friend Kathie Gordon gave me this needlepoint pillow for my birthday. It was in the 90’s, and I was in my late-30s. For the single girl who had everything, it was a perfect gift.

At the time I thought finding Mr. Right was right around the corner, and to be honest, I wasn’t exactly in a hurry to meet him, but I knew he had to be somewhere in the neighborhood. But as time went by and the 90’s turned into the 00’s, and I turned into an old maid, I realized that Mr. Right wasn’t right around the corner, but in fact, he was a million miles away.

That pillow has sat on my couch through countless dates, hundreds of fix-ups, tons more blind dates, boyfriends, break-ups and bullshit, and it always asked the same question:

“Star light, star bright, where oh where is Mr. Right?”

Actually, I’ve found Mr. Right many times – in bits and pieces, that is.

One Mr. Almost Right was professionally successful, but emotionally unavailable; one was age-appropriate, but had arrested development; one was great looking, but couldn’t keep his dick in his pants; one was a Harvard grad, but was a total idiot; one was a superior athlete, but had no moves whatsoever. It was very frustrating.

I would kick and scream, stomp my feet, and yell at the top of my lungs to the universe: “Fuck you Universe! Where the hell is Mr. Right!?”

While I was busy yelling at no one in particular, something happened: I wised-up and started dating smarter. I also became hardened and jaded, which comes in handy out there in the dating world.

Here’s what I’ve learned: Mr. Right comes in many different packages. He’s not perfect, and he doesn’t have to be. All he has to do is THE RIGHT THING.

The following is my MR. RIGHT CHECKLIST, five simple observations that will ascertain early on whether your new dude has what it takes to be your Mr. Right.

  1. He communicates early and often. He isn’t afraid to express his feelings, his thoughts, his values, and his plans. He’s open, honest, and authentic about who his is and what he wants in life.
  2. He doesn’t try to get to know you through texting. A real man who’s interested in you picks up the phone and TALKS not TEXTS. A guy who carries on an all-day conversation thread is simply hiding behind his texts. Too much gets lost in translation, and too much can be misinterpreted, so don’t tolerate it.
  3. He would move heaven and earth to see you, even if it’s for a quick coffee at Starbucks. Having real face time with someone is crucial, and if he means business, he’ll do whatever it takes to see you. Effort is everything.
  4. He pursues and courts you like a proper gentleman. He makes plans, asks questions, doesn’t wait till the last minute, doesn’t push or pressure you. And if he starts sexting too soon, you’ll know all he wants is to get inside your pants, not inside your mind.
  5. He does the right thing. Whether it’s bringing you flowers for no reason, being nice to your mother, or coming to your door to pick you up instead of calling you from the car, a guy who digs you will always do the right thing.

* * * * * * * * * * *

So when you’re out there dating, keep your eyes open. Observe, maintain your standards, and always honor your highest good. Watch for red flags. Being a little cynical and skeptical isn’t necessarily a bad thing – in fact, it can weed out the riff-raff real fast.

Demand a certain level of decorum, transparency, etiquette, and protocol at all times. It may sound old-fashioned, but trust me, you’ll respect yourself much more in the morning.

Above all, don’t be in too much of a hurry. Love has a way of finding you when the time is right, and so will Mr. Right.

Same Footsteps, Different Paths

IMG_0003She was in her early 20s, just off the boat from Scotland; he was in his early 30s, newly transplanted from Brooklyn when they met and married in the 50’s.

Robby and I will be well into our 50s when we walk down the aisle for the first time.

They had a half a handful of relationships before tying the knot; Robby and I will have dated half the world before getting hitched.

They were young and inexperienced: she was an entry-level secretary at CBS; he was right out of the mailroom at William Morris; Robby and I are old pros with years of life experience under our belt.

They were just starting out, finding their way, not fully knowing themselves, or the ways of the world; Robby and I have been around the block, graduated from the school of hard knocks, and have the battle scars to show for it.

When they got married, they were building a life, planning for a family, and preparing for the future; Robby and I are already established and are looking forward to building on what we already have.

When my parents had sex, they made a baby; in about five minutes Robby and I will be sexy senior citizens.

When they moved in together, they had nothing, not even a pot to piss in; Robby and I already have our own sets of dishes, a blender, a hand mixer, a vacuum, AND a pot to piss in. We don’t really need anything, but we registered anyway because who couldn’t use a new pot?

They had goals and hopes and dreams for the future; so do we, but we’re also happy to be in the present.

They were early adopters; we’re late bloomers.

The comparisons and differences are many, but there’s one thing we all proudly did together:

WE MARRIED FOR LOVE.

Not for money, not for power, not for status, not for a green card, or because of obligation or pressure. Not for any other reason, just love.

IMG_0002Like Frank Sinatra, we did it our way – on our terms, at our own pace, in our own time. And like Paul and Sonjia Brandon, we’re doing it with integrity.

Here’s how my mother describes starting out with my father:

SONJIA:

“He was handsome, he was nice, he was a good person, and he appreciated my humor. We didn’t have much money, but we had love, and we got by. We had a small wedding at a little shul on Beverly Blvd., and had to borrow a car to go on our honeymoon since his car was in the shop. In those days, you didn’t wait to get married. It was the thing to do, and I’m glad we did because, well, we had you.”

Unfortunately, their marriage didn’t last, but knowing their story and hearing how they met has always been a source of inspiration for me. Robby’s and my path to the altar may look very different from my parents’ path, but in many ways, we’re following exactly in their footsteps.

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Eaton-Cox And The Great Hyphenate Debate

9ExY5TqTo hyphenate or not to hyphenate. That is the question.

If you’re Anna Wang and you’re marrying Brad Holder; or if you’re Katrina Busch and you’re marrying Matthew Hacker; or if you’re Kelly Long and you’re marrying Eric Wiwi, maybe hyphenating isn’t such a great idea.

Allow me to repeat: Wang-Holder, Busch-Wacker, Long-Wiwi.

Now, if your name is Treva Brandon and you’re about to marry a guy named Robby Scharf, most would say you’re safe from a life of hyphenated hell (and the uncontrollable snickering that comes with it) if you do choose to connect your last names.

Back in the dark ages, it was customary for a bride to adopt her groom’s last name and abandon her maiden name. No good bride ever questioned the practice; it was tradition. But if a bride dared to keep her maiden name, it was considered taboo.

Times have changed though, and in a few short weeks, so will I. Because on May 24th, I will officially become Treva Scharf…or will I?

I have options. I could keep my maiden name since it’s my identity – the person and persona I’ve proudly created and cultivated for over half a century. But what fun is that since it’s taken me over half a century to get married!? All that hard work and not have anything to show for it?! Screw that!

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slide_227407_996092_freeNo, I’m definitely taking my husband’s name, along with my own. The question is how should I do it?

Should I be Treva Brandon Scharf, or Treva Brandon-Scharf, with a hyphen?

Hyphenating feels very women’s lib, very feminist, very modern and ERA, but I’m still not sure it’s for me.

There’s a great hyphenate debate going on in my mind and I need help. To shed some light on the subject, I’ve turned to the experts: my married girlfriends.

Two friends chose to hyphenate, one kept her maiden name, one connected her maiden name with her husband’s last name, and one ditched her maiden name altogether for her husband’s last name.

Here’s what they had to say:

Meredith Gordon-Hochberg www.badsandy.com

“I hyphenated because changing my last name completely made me feel like I was going into the witness protection program. Not changing it at all didn’t sit well with my husband. I rarely use the hyphenated name, for work I use my old name. For kid stuff, it’s the married name. It’s all kind of a pain in the ass not remembering which names I use for what. You end up with a lot of aliases. But changing it completely felt very archaic to me, though it would’ve been far more convenient.”

Here’s what the other Hyphenator has to say:

Kathi Sharpe-Ross www.thereinventionexchange.com

“When I got married at 25, it seemed like a very romantic notion to take on my husband’s last name, but I was launching my own PR and marketing company at the time and thought my maiden name had more relevancy to the communications business. My husband had a nice short last name, so I decided to hyphenate it with mine. It seemed like a good compromise.”

get-attachment.aspxDaryn Kagan www.darynkagan.com

“As to changing my name after I got married, here’s how that conversation went:

Daryn: Are we going to start calling you “Bob” after we get married?

Husband: No, why? That’s weird.

Daryn: Well, if we’re not going to start calling you something else, why would we start calling me something else?

And that was pretty much the end of the conversation.”

Sharon Hodor Greenthal www.emptyhousefullmind.com

“I’m old-fashioned. I couldn’t imagine being married and not sharing my husband’s name. Maybe if I had planned on continuing to work, I would’ve felt differently. Plus, I don’t like my maiden name very much.”

Cathy Chester www.anempoweredspirit.com

“When I got married in 1988, I was in love and ready to say good-bye to my maiden name and embrace my new one. It was sort of a rite of passage that I welcomed because I loved everything about my new husband, and our lives together would be one where we’d share the same last name. I relished that idea, and have never, ever regretted my choice. I realize it’s a personal decision for women and there is no right or wrong. But this was my choice, and if I had to do it over again (which I won’t!) I’d make the same choice.”

And here’s what my fiancé Robby Scharf has to say:

“I’m happy to go with whatever you want it to be, and I’d be honored to have your name anywhere near mine.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

slide_227407_996103_freeI’ve considered all of the above, and here’s what I have to say:

Sorry Chris Evert-Lloyd, but if it’s good enough for Hillary Rodham Clinton, it’s good enough for me.

 

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You’re Never Too Old For A Bridal Show

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Brides just wanna have fun!

Ok, so I was the oldest bride at the bridal show, but who cares? Bridal shows are a hoot and I love them!

Bridal shows are like carnivals for women, with all kinds of vendors selling their goods – from party rentals to place settings, dresses to DJs, wedding cakes to weight loss products, photography to photo booths. Usually held inside hotel banquet or ballrooms, bridal shows are a bonanza of door prizes, cake samples, and bad champagne, catered to young brides who just eat this stuff up.

Slap on a “Bride” sticker upon arrival, enter a raffle, and you might win a bachelorette weekend in Temecula, or a free hand exfoliation! Who couldn’t use both?!

They’re all represented at these bridal shows because YOU NEED ALL OF THIS.

The wedding industry is big business, or as I see it, a huge moneymaking racket. The good news in being a little older and wiser is that I don’t fall for most of the crap they try to sell me. I’m too damn practical, and yes, a little cynical too. I mean, do you really need personalized matchbooks or monogrammed napkins that are just going to end up as landfill?

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My booty from the bridal goody bag.

Speaking of landfill, I have to admit I do love all the free shit they give away at these events. Just look at the goody bag I brought home from my last bridal show. Score-a-roonie!

  • A bottle of hand sanitizer from the Puerto Rico tourism board.
  • A box of chocolates from the Aria Hotel’s wedding chapel in Las Vegas.
  • Zhenga’s Extra Strength Slim Me weight loss tea.
  • A pack of Mercy chewable hangover tablets.

 

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“Better Than Sex” mascara my ass!

My favorite item from the goody bag is a mascara from Too Faced cosmetics called “Better Than Sex.”

Maybe you’ve heard of it. “With its hour-glass shaped wand, “Better Than Sex” promises to coat and curl each lash to voluptuous perfection, then thicken and lock it into place.”

If you happen to see me spontaneously orgasm while wearing “Better Than Sex” mascara, you’ll know why – its special polymers and peptides make me horny, and its acacia Senegal tree extract makes me want to rip my clothes off.

Robby darling, remind me to take this with me on our honeymoon.

 

 

 

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A vendor for old broads, I mean brides.

There was one vendor though that had brides my age in a tizzy: Marina Plastic Surgery. Sign up at their booth, and you could win a $600 gift card for a session of Cool Sculpting, a non-surgical body contouring treatment that freezes away fat.

Because along with picking a florist, hiring an invitation designer, booking a photographer, choosing a cake designer, and finding the perfect hand exfoliator, you NEED to have your fat frozen for your wedding.

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Welcome To Registry Hell

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Robby and Treva enjoying a day of registry shopping.

I never thought shopping could be such torture until I got engaged. Suddenly, something I previously found fun, and maybe even therapeutic, has become pure torment. Registry shopping is like retail waterboarding – cruel and unusual.

The selection is overwhelming. There are so many choices, so many decisions, so many brands, models, gadgets, and so many different tastes and opinions, you could almost hit someone over the head with a frying pan – and Robby almost did.

Being single people for most of our lives, Robby and I aren’t exactly fluent in the language of housewares. Not that we don’t like nice kitchen stuff, it just hasn’t been a priority for either of us. I know as a single girl, I’d rather spend my money on a cute pair of Kate Spade sandals than on a set of expensive Kate Spade dishes.

So you can understand why this registering for gifts thing is a little confusing, and at times, combative – in a loving way, of course.

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It’s Blender-Rama with Robby Scharf!

Welcome to “Registry Hell,” where couples go head-to-head in a battle of the blenders, a clash of the coffee makers, and a war of the wine openers. You can catch all the action not inside a boxing ring at Staples Center, or inside a mixed martial arts cage at Caesar’s Palace, but at Bloomingdale’s, the place for true hardcore fight fans.

Bloomingdale’s was our first stop on the registry hell ride, and where Robby and I nearly had a knock-down-drag-out, right in the middle of the home furnishings department. Over what you ask? A cheese board: a really fancy, very expensive, slightly ornate, heavy black granite designer cheese board with silver chalice handles and a matching cheese knife that I was convinced we HAD to have.

There was some light sparring a few minutes earlier over a hi-tech toaster oven, a multi-piece knife set, and an overly-complicated espresso machine, but nothing compared to the main event: a fight over the cheese board.

Here’s a little snippet of the heated discussion:

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The cheese board in question.

Treva: Honey, look at this cheese board we should get. We definitely need this.

Robby: A cheese board for what?

Treva: For when we entertain with cheese!

Robby: We don’t need a dedicated black granite cheese board with silver chalice handles!

Treva: Yes we do!

Robby: What else can you do with it?

Treva: (Thinking…thinking…thinking)

Robby: Unless someone’s gonna cut some coke on it, which isn’t going to happen, we don’t need it.

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I love my fiancé. He’s so practical and sensible, and yes, he’s right. We don’t need a $199 cheese board.

We didn’t get much accomplished in our first outing, but I did learn some important things about registry shopping:

• Don’t ever go on a busy Saturday at the mall.

• Don’t ever go at the end of the day, around 5pm.

• Don’t ever go when you’re hungry and cranky.

Next time, we’ll either get liquored up before we go, or we’ll go first thing in the morning when we’re both rested and fully caffeinated.

A few days later, with the help of some strong Urth Café coffee, we hit Crate And Barrel, and hit it good.

Armed with a game plan and a merchandise scanner, we zipped around the store and zapped barcodes on items we really needed: glassware, a good set of pots and pans, silverware, and a nice set of dishes. We managed to get Crate And Barrel done in one fell swoop, without any punches thrown. It was fast and furious, but without either one of us getting furious.

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We survived Registry Hell!

In the end, we managed to turn Registry Hell into Registry Heaven, and now we can’t wait to go again.

Bed, Bath & Beyond, here we come!

And Now, A Word From The Late Blooming Groom

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you Robby, my future better half. Since I’ve been doing all of the talking on these blog posts, I thought it might be time to hear another perspective on finding love later in life. So here he is, former bachelor, current fiancé, and fellow late bloomer Robert Ira Scharf, in his own words.

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Robby trying out wedding rings with his bass…comfort is key!

A year ago, I was a single guy. My last “relationship” ended a year before that, and since then, I had settled back into a somewhat dull single life. I knew if I ever got involved with someone new, I’d need to be much more careful and selective.

I never before felt I needed to get married. There were some girlfriends in the past I got close to, but none close enough to propose. Being in my mid-50s, I had a somewhat Zen philosophy about relationships; I felt if something was meant to happen, it would.

Treva and I both graduated from Beverly Hills High School, but didn’t know each other at all back then (I’m six years older, so I was long gone by the time she was a freshman). But with our similar backgrounds, we had over a hundred mutual friends on Facebook (some of them actually “real” friends). One of these friends was a guy I was very close to when I was young. He had been going through a tough time and I felt the need to reach out to one of his friends to see if we could help.

That friend was Treva.

At the time, she was hesitant and kept her distance as she didn’t know me or necessarily trust me. We had a few pleasant Facebook messages, but that was it. Months later, I received a message from Treva inviting me to her 50th birthday party.

I had no reason not to attend, but without knowing her at all, what was I going to bring? I decided on champagne, and realizing that first impressions are everything, I got the good stuff: Veuve Clicquot. I think it worked.

Was it love at first sight? Very possibly. We hugged each other hello and something clicked. It felt natural and good, and unlike anything I’ve ever felt. Our time together has always felt that natural, and after 6 months of dating, I realized I was done looking – and what was I waiting for anyway?

I didn’t want Treva Brandon to go one more minute knowing that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with her.

A week after I proposed (and she said “Yes!”) I became acutely aware of a few amazing things that I would’ve never been able to experience prior to becoming engaged:

1. While waiting for a table at a restaurant with friends, I realized that not only was I thrilled to feel a love I’ve never felt for someone else before, but I also had a feeling of euphoria come over me thinking that someone as incredible as Treva could possibly feel a similar love for me.

2. I knew I was in the right relationship when “compromise” was the first thing I wanted to do, not the last.

3. Even though my life has changed completely (for the better), I don’t believe Treva and I have changed to please each other. We’re exactly who we are together, and that’s the best affirmation that we’ve both found the right person.

As for that mutual friend, well, he’s still unable to shake his issues, but Treva and I are far past that and can’t wait to start our life together.