Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Sweet Spot

I'm feeling a little sentimental today...

Being a mom is the hardest job I've ever had.  And, although I think I'll always battle those guilty demons that every parent has (am I doing a good job at this...because I have NO idea what I'm doing, gulp), we all just try and do the best we can.

At least that's what I tell myself.

My son is now ten years old.  Ten?  Didn't I just give birth to this little baby boy last week?  Time flies when you're having fun?

Well, to be perfectly honest, the past ten years haven't been all fun and games.  It's been a struggle.  Temper tantrums.  Do I even like my kid right now (and am I really asking myself that)? Am I teaching him how to be a productive member of society?  Am I teaching him how to be a man?  Am I teaching how to be kind and respectful to others?  Am I feeding him healthy food?  This day really sucks...I wish I could just jump in my car and disappear for the weekend.  Did my kid really just look me in the eyes, stand his ground, and tell me no?

Oh shit.  What do I do now?

All that said, my son has reached an age where I am thoroughly enjoying his company.  Like, almost every.single.day.


I like to call this age "the sweet spot."


He's old enough now to fold his own laundry, make his own breakfast, take out the garbage and help me clean the house.  Does he complain?  Yes, but my look, "if you don't do this right effing now I will rock your world" still works (for now)...phew.

And, with that independence, he's also old enough to ask about politics, girl drama, how to deal with relationships with people, read huge books on his own, and vent to me about a crappy day at school without completely losing it.

He and I have long discussions about life, relationships, how to deal when something doesn't go your way...

And I love every minute of it.

Although I loved singing the ABC's to him, these conversations are even better.

The "sweet spot" comes in because, although he and I discuss religion (do you believe in God, mom?), or talk about the girl he likes at school, he's still young enough that he'll let me hold him in my arms.  He'll still come and sit on my lap every morning when he wakes up.  He'll still let me crawl in bed with him and stroke his hair before he goes to sleep.  He'll still confide to me about his ten-year-old life struggles.  I know he doesn't tell me everything but, right now, I'll take what I can get...because I know it won't last.

And when his teacher or another parent tells me, "your son is a good kid," that mom guilt is eased a bit.  It reminds me to breathe.  Breathe, Tasha.  He'll be OK, and so will you.

He won't have childhood memories of his mom baking cookies after school or doing crafts on the weekends, and sometimes I loathe driving the kids around to all their activities (taxi mom!) - and they know it.

But...when I see my son one Tae Kwon Do belt away from black, or doing Common Core math that even has me thinking "I have NO idea how the hell to figure this out," or my daughter rocking the soccer goal and charming every person she meets, I almost can't believe those kids...are MY kids?  How can those people possibly be MY kids?

I don't bake cookies.  I yell at them sometimes.  I complain about having to take them places.  I get stressed out.  I occasionally forget an activity or a birthday party.  And, yet, they're pretty amazing little people.

So, I hope my son will remember that I've loved this time with him.  I know this "sweet spot" is going to go away in the blink of an eye, but I don't ever want it to end.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Red Ball 2014 - Picture and Coverage Update

I've covered many events over the years on The Housewife Diaries but, there's something *extra* special about the Red Ball presented by Independence Blue Cross.  Maybe it's the amazing staff, the incredibly friendly guests, the gowns, the red-tie tuxedos, the food...I could go on.

The themes of the evening?  Red dresses, beauty queens and "selfies."

Let's start with the red dresses.  There are always women in red dresses at the Red Ball.  But I noticed an abundance of them this year.  If you're a woman and you've attempted to shop for a red gown (not black, not blue, not any-other-color), you know it ain't easy.  Nice job this year, ladies.  Wow.

Next, the beauty queens.  There were gorgeous women in tiaras brushing shoulders with the guests at every turn - I had the pleasure of meeting a few of them.  Part of me wanted to steal their tiaras for myself (oh, look, what's that over there? Rip!) but, truly, they all were very gracious, kind and lovely.  They obviously earned and deserve their titles and crowns.  And I promise not to steal any tiaras in the future...

And finally, the selfies.  It was a night of the Red Ball selfie.  I almost want to start a Twitter hashtag #redballselfie, because everyone was taking them (including me).

 Sooo, with all that said, let's get on with it, shall we?

One of my most favorite things about the Red Ball?  The building (the Please Touch Museum) is so GRAND.  Let's DO this!

The red carpet was a little different this year, but I liked the change.

Men, diamonds are a girl's best friend.  No, really, they are.  Trust me.  I bid on this necklace to go with the tiara I planned to steal but, unfortunately, I was outbid.

Sing it, girl!  Thanks to the CTO Band for giving it their all, as always, and for singing my new favorite song "Happy."  I took more pictures of them, but they turned out blurry because I was too busy dancing while snapping them.

Remember that word grand I was talking about?  Does a party get any more grand than this?  Nope.

Did I mention beauty queens?  Here is the lovely Miss Philadelphia and her gal pal date.

An adorable couple proudly posing with their photo booth pictures...

If you've read my past Red Ball blogs, you know I have to get a "piano by heels" picture every year.  So fun.

My heartfelt thanks to Dave Schrader, Chief Communications Officer for the American Red Cross, Southeastern PA (AKA Super Dave), for continuing to invite my snarky ass to cover this event.  I pulled him aside and asked for a selfie for the blog - a guest noticed us clumsily fumbling with the cell phone and offered to take the pic for us.  Thank you!

Dueling pianos in the VIP room.  Hysterical.  They didn't even flinch when I walked right up to them to snap their picture.  I had the sudden urge to jump on one of the pianos and do my best Michelle Pfieffer impression from The Fabulous Baker Boys.  Luckily for the guests (and the piano players), I refrained.

Love her kicky foot!  I bet her feet hurt by the end of the evening - I know mine did.

Red Ball kisses.  I actually took two pictures of these two - one with them facing me, but I chose the smoochie shot.  So sweet.

The Honorable Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes, CEO of the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia NBC news anchor Keith Jones (on a side note, they took a selfie immediately after this - you can see it here).  

You know you have some mad people skills when you can convince a man in a tux to get down and pretend to play a fake harp.  He and his date are in the picture above.  The funniest part?  After I took this, he asked me, "where can I find those pictures?"  Little does he know, teehee!  Hopefully he sees this...

So back to the beauty queen theme, I saw the gorgeous Miss New Jersey 2013 and made a beeline for her.  She was so sweet and hospitable - she even retweeted this picture.  Thank you, Cara!  You're my pageant hero.  You can see the retweet and follow her on Twitter here.    

I love this picture.  Do you see her finger?  I want THAT.  (Samples from Eatible Delights)

Red roses and candles on all the tables again this year.  Such a nice touch.  I was tempted to grab one, hold it between my teeth and start a conga line but, again, I refrained (damn those dueling pianos and red roses!).  

The very courteous chefs from Bank and Bourbon.  Trust me people, this upcoming restaurant is not one to miss.  They were serving tomato remoulade sauce on a corn pancake.  OMG.  I know that may sound a little "out there," but I came back twice for a second (and third) helping.  Amazing.  Good luck, boys.  It's not every day that you get to see renowned chefs cooking in front of a glass case filled with rubber duckies.  I will definitely be planning a date night at your place once you open...

Champagne topped with water ice (or as the Philly locals call it, "wudder" ice).  Yummmm.  Courtesy of Mr. D's.

And, if you're not into the champagne, they also offered plain water ice.

The lovely servers from Cakes and Candies by MaryEllen.  The guests were raving over her cake pop displays on Twitter and in person.  She outdoes herself at the Red Ball every year - which is why, for the second time in three years, she won the restaurant competition again.

Maytag bleu cheese crostini courtesy of Victory Brewing Company.  If you can just imagine the crunch of the crostini with the softness of the cheese...I need to learn this recipe so I can take it to my next Stepford Wife party.  Delish.

Loved Chima Brazilian Steakhouse's slogan...and they're absolutely right.

Want to know what little gems are in those cups?  Banana foster bread pudding with bourbon creme anglaise, courtesy of Bourbon Blue.  Yeah, I know you want one.  I had one...OK two.

Ahi tuna with pickled cucumber from Devon Seafood.  I love ahi, and I've decided that my new favorite ingredient is pickled vegetables.  The sweet with the sour, mmmm.  Bring on the pickled veggies!  Devon Seafood, I'm a regular stalker and will continue to be.

Speaking of pickled veggies, The JNA Institute of Culinary Arts by FAR won my vote for the best dish of the night.  Thumbs up - y'all are going to be amazing chefs with a dish like this.  Smoked pork belly with baby radishes and pickled (pickled, yesss!) red onion salad.  Again, it might sound a little "out there" but, seriously, take a bite and it's like Disneyland in your mouth.

Slices by Peace a Pizza.  Brilliant name.

Tuna tartar with pickled cucumbers (pickled veggies again, be still my heart) by Pennsylvania 6.  Another wow, this was delish.  I'm adding this restaurant to my date-night-stalking list.  Can't wait to see their whole menu - I might have to order one of everything.

Annnnd....my favorite picture of the whole night goes to this gentleman.  I was casually strolling through the VIP room, passed by him and noticed he was alone and holding a pair of lady's shoes.  Um OK, how can I possibly walk by this man without asking for a picture?!  I took a similar pic at the Red Ball 2012, except that guy was stuck with shoes AND a purse.  "Here honey, hold my shoes!  I'll be right back!"  God bless our man dates!

He kindly posed for me and we had a giggle about the shoes.  Even holding them, doesn't he look great?

Red Ball 2014 raised more than $310,000 for Red Cross disaster relief and Red Cross House – The Center for Disaster Recovery, the one-of-a-kind short-term housing facility in University City where hundreds of local families every year begin their recovery from fires, floods, and other disasters.

“Once again, the Philadelphia region showed its overwhelming generosity and made the Red Ball a huge success,” said Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes, American Red Cross SEPA CEO. “Red Ball is the culmination of a lot of work by a lot of dedicated people, so it is very gratifying to see everyone have a great time and raise vital funds for our work at the same time.”

The public is invited to regularly check out redcrossphilly.org or facebook.com/redcrossphilly for the link to photos and for articles about the event.

 I hope you enjoyed the ride.  I know I did - this is my most favorite evening of the the whole year.  And that's right, bitches, I'm the media!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Red Ball 2014 - Picture Preview!

As always, The Hubs and I had a great time at last night's Red Ball 2014.  My feet hurt, I'm sleepy, and feel like I've gained five pounds in the last 24 hours.

But, ohhhhhh man, it was SO worth it.

So while I recover (salads only, foot rubs and lots of naps), here's just a small picture preview of what's to come.  Click here for my complete coverage of the 2014 Red Ball!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Red Ball 2014

Click here for all the fashion, the food and fun from The Red Ball 2014!

As I have said before, this is such an incredible event that I look forward to it all year long.  Great music, beautiful people dressed in their Saturday-night best and some of the yummiest food in Philadelphia - be still my beating heart.

There's still time to get tickets!  Don't miss out on this amazing opportunity, whether it be date night, girls' night out, or to spend an evening with your foodie friends.  Believe me, there's a little something here for everyone.

A little birdie told me that the Food Network’s Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, singer Jade Starling, and Miss New Jersey Cara McCollum will also be in attendance.

The best part?  All proceeds go to support the Red Cross House – the Center for Disaster Recovery and local disaster relief.

There are a few exciting changes happening this year...beer garden and dueling pianos you say? Count me IN.

Catelli Duo of Voorhees, NJ will be the exclusive caterer for the VIP room. For the first time, the Carousel House on the Main Event floor will feature a beer garden, including some of the region’s finest microbreweries. More than 1,100 of Philadelphia’s social, civic, and business leaders are expected to attend this “red-tie” event featuring cuisine from 30 of the finest restaurants in our area, dancing to live music, and an unrivaled silent auction and raffle. For the second straight year, the VIP Lounge will be the entire lower level and will have its own entrance. For the first time, dueling pianos will provide the musical entertainment in the VIP room. VIP guests will also enjoy private top-shelf open bar and a cigar bar. Main Event guests will sample cuisine from nearly 30 of the region’s finest restaurants, dance the night away to CTO Band in the ballroom or listen to jazz played by Gerald Veasley in the beautiful Carousel House.

The 2014 Red Ball will once again include the 4th annual Red Ball Restaurant Competition, allowing guests to vote for their favorite food for an award at the end of the night. Guests will have an opportunity to bid on fantastic auction items and will also have access to the museum’s exhibits. All proceeds from The Red Ball benefit disaster relief and Red Cross House – The Center for Disaster Recovery, a one-of-a-kind short-term housing facility in University City. Every year, hundreds of local families find refuge at this facility and begin their recovery from fires, floods, and other disasters. Red Cross House is a model for disaster recovery nationwide. It offers families a stable and supportive environment while they work to rebuild their lives. Since opening its doors in April 2003, Red Cross House has been called “home” by more than 10,000 people who had no place else to turn in their greatest time of need.

Visit theredball.org and follow #RedBall for tickets, sponsorship details, and more information.

Want a little preview of just how spectacular this party is?  Click on my "foodie events" link on the left sidebar to see past year's Red Balls (and try not to slobber on your keyboard).  Stay tuned to The Housewife Diaries for full coverage of the glitz, the glam and, most of all, the FOOD.  Bring it!
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