Notes from a Jersey Girl

by Lisa G Westheimer


The Bridal Shower: From the Side of the Bride

Boy do I have a treat for you, my pretties- a post from a guest contributor!!!  Welcome luxury travel journalist Andrea Berkholtz of  You may recall that last May we fell down the rabbit hole together at her Alice in Wonderland themed bridal shower.  I thought it would be great fun to get the event from her perspective.  Take it away, Andrea!

Bridal showers…like many of us, these frilly, sometimes frivolous-seeming events are not something I have much experience with. Having only been to two, I was the kind of girl to be mildly excited but to also ask myself ‘does this mean I have to wear a sundress, drink tea and eat finger sandwiches and shit?’ I always met these shower invitations with a smile but sneaking suspicions I’d be bored to death.  That is, until I was thrown my own.


First I should probably introduce myself to you, the fine readers. My name is Andrea and I’m coming to you live on Notes From A Jersey Girl as the guest poster this week! You might remember this hilarious post from Lisa about a trip to Colorado and a certain bridal shower she attended. Well, yep, you guessed it, that was mine and I’m here today to tell you what it was like from the side of the bride.

So I guess I should start this by saying I’m not really very girlie. No seriously, even my voice is about three octaves lower than it should be but it matches my typical shorts, tank and sandals look so just roll with it, cool? Being that I’m not super girlie, I was apprehensive about what my bridal shower would turn out to be as I had pretty much just told my best friend, ‘whatever you want, just make it rad.’ I had visions (or nightmares, more like) of horrific pink tutus and girlie squealing and the very thought of being the center of attention had my armpits moist with trepidation. Luckily, there didn’t end up being much to worry about cause my maid of honor was a badass.

The only input I did offer was deciding on the theme. Being a weirdo, I had toyed with the idea of a Harry Potter theme or perhaps Game of Thrones but then I realized this was about me marrying the love of my life, not casting spells or cutting off heads. Yea, ok, maybe a little girlie was good? We decided on Alice In Wonderland, which I figured gave my friends enough creative leeway to make it unique and quirky, which they of course delivered.

When I got the invitation, much like Lisa, I was initially wondering if maybe I had accidentally dropped some acid because this thing was all over the place! (Ok…maybe my maid of honor had too much wine in the design process or something  cause the damn thing was impossible to read/understand). I didn’t expect following up with people to see if they knew the correct date/time of the shower as part of the process but hey, I love my girls and appreciate the design effort, so I was happy to help.



My eyes, oh gosh my eyes!!!


Shopping isn’t exactly in my wheelhouse either so picking out a white dress for this party drove me to such insanity that I eventually said ‘screw it’, flipped that tradition on its head, and went for black instead…which let’s be honest, most of us look better in black anyways. I also knew that everyone would be making, buying or bringing fun hats to go with the Alice in Wonderland theme but that part was left up to my amazonian bridesmaid, Bixby, so aside from the dress all I had to do was show up and party.

The day of the shower arrived and I was so nervous my palms were sweating (again, what is it with me and sweating?). My husband-to-be was kind enough to drop me off and smart enough not to linger for the avalanche of girly noises that were about to descend on the house. Right when I walked in the door I was floored by all the amazing decorations. Playing card streamers, masks, cute signage, paper flowers, amazing food…my friends had NAILED THIS SHIT. It was girlie without being too girlie. It was cute without being too cutesy….and mother of god, there was booze. YES!


My mom’s a pro with a glue gun, like Lisa said!



When I arrived, I was presented with my special hat, which still sits on display in my closet today because the darn thing is just so amazing. There are hidden charms behind the massive plumages of feathers and the two little doors on the front even open to reveal a picture of me and the hubs getting engaged (SQUEEEEEE, HOW CUTE!!!!). I cried of course, as I am wont to do…even though I consider myself less-feminine than most, a good gesture will bring a tear to my eye at the drop of a hat….in this case, literally the drop of a hat into my hands.

Cocktails, cookies, and a cacophony of laughs later, we played a game where there were underwear attached to a clothesline and I had to guess who brought what panties to the party. Mind you, some of them were horrific, and I say that in the best possible way. While there were a few pairs that I have indeed kept, I got the biggest hoot out of the ugly ones, specifically the pair Lisa brought that I decided I just HAD to try on over my dress. Thanks for that, vodka!


After the panty game, it was present time. And I hope to God nobody else who was at the shower ever gets a gander at this because for the most part I only remember a few of the gifts. (Soooorrry!) There was the usually bridal lingerie but I had seen, NAY, zeroed in on a large blue box the second I arrived at the party. My heart jumped and I think we can all agree that we know exactly what a robin’s egg blue box means. Tiffanys! I saved that box for last for a reason. I’ve never gotten anything from Tiffanys. Like, ever. When I opened it I felt my face grow hot with heat because I knew what would happen next. Cue the tears. It was a beautiful pitcher set with glasses, I WAS A REAL WOMAN NOW! I instantly pictured myself, the upper crust of society, pouring out champagne punch to all my well-heeled friends. Once the shock faded, I kept my wits about me and ran in for a big hug from Lisa ( I promise I’m not fawning over her gift because it’s her blog, it really was the standout present!).


After gifts, the cocktails kept flowing and then the goodbyes began. The shower overall was the picture-perfect day to spend with my friends and to relax and enjoy the moment. And c’mon, you know that after saying audios to the older folks, my band of Amazonian beauties and I took on Downtown in our Mad Hatter garb and TORE.IT.UP.

When it was all over, I thought to myself “The shower went perfect, it was everything I wanted and I thought that was going to be impossible.” In the words of the Mad Hatter…‘Only if you believe it is.’




Colorado/New Mexico Trip, May 2015

Chapter 1

The Bridal Shower

Usually the trip is to attend the Santa Fe Century, held this year on May 17th. It involves a 6 hour car ride from Castle Rock to Santa Fe.   Coincidentally, May 17th was also the date of the bridal shower of Larry and Angie’s daughter Andrea. I don’t know about you, but when I think bridal shower I think BORING. This was not the case by far. The invitation was so graphically busy it almost gave me a headache. With it were instructions to buy panties to bring to the party. Huh? I wasn’t very clear on that part, but made a note to myself to remind me to get some and bring a silly hat.


Angie, being Angie, made all the decorations, whipping them up seemingly out of thin air. Huge tissue paper flowers, tiny fabric hearts, balloons, a tasteful clothesline for the panties with clothespins sporting cute fabric bows. Angie is a whiz with a glue gun. She found a tiny hat made of silver glitter for me and set about decorating it with the plush headband I brought and playing cards to match the mad hatter theme.

I didn’t know what to do about the panties. The instructions merely said, “Please bring an unwrapped pair of panties that reflect YOUR personality.” Were they for her? For me? So off I went to our local Macy’s that has the best lingerie department in the universe, all items attractively priced. I looked at lace panties in all different colors. I looked at thongs as tiny as q-tips.   I looked at Spanx as comfortable as sausage casings. I finally chose panties representative of my personality and that of the ladies in the land of my dear State: leopard print size XXXL. The endearing label indicating symbols for “good muffin/bad muffin” caught my eye and further swayed my vote. On the way home I swung by the Party Store and snagged a cute headband sporting plush multi colored candles with a cardboard sign that read “Happy Birthday” that I figured Angie and I could doctor for the occasion.

Ok, hat done, panties done, next gift, then outfit. When it comes to bridal showers, in particular ones where I only know the bride to be and maybe her mother, I believe in 2 things: 1) make a grand entrance 2) bring a big gift. Another life tenet I hold dear is that every girl, at least once in her life, needs to receive a present in the form of an enormous box from Tiffany’s. I decided to do all 3.

My go to gift at Tiffany’s for really good friends and very close family is The Refresher Set. Years ago it was attractively priced (ho ho have they caught on!) and the customer service is impeccable. Having completely forgotten to purchase it to ensure delivery in time for the shower I called them up and spoke to a representative who treated me like a long lost friend. She waived the shipping as if it was a pesky nuisance and it arrived, with printed gift card and enormous blue bag to put it in at Angie’s house within 3 days! Considering how much the shipping would have cost for the huge box, no less within 3 days, it made the gift attractively priced (at least in my math, Bill is still having problems with my logic.)

What better way to show off that big robin’s egg blue box with the tasteful black text than a matching cocktail dress? My robin’s egg blue cocktail dress from Brooks Brothers doesn’t get out much, in fact it’s probably vintage by now. Mainly because it’s a size 8 and I tend to fit in it for about an hour every 10 years. Luckily this was my hour and year! To accent same I wore Via Spiga sandals (a favorite of character Lula in Janet Evanovich– another Jersey girl!! novels) in lime green sporting heels so high my little toes stuck out and clung to the sides for dear life as if to scream, “we’re going down!!!” Add to this a cute little rubber woven bag accented with fake crab apples, and blue crystal with silver bamboo earrings purchased in the early 1980’s at Love Saves The Day (it’s location recently blown to smithereens in a gas explosion.)


Thus armed and garbed we set off for the shower. It was held in a lovely stately home in an established community with HORSES in the YARDS. My kind of place. The hostesses were Allie and Kate, a mother daughter duo, Kate being married to Angie’s son/Andrea’s brother Tyler. We helped arrange heart shaped sandwiches as Kate banged them out and arrange and decorate the table. I, the only one not used to altitude, was given the task of blowing up balloons, like a drunk trying to pass a breathalyzer test.

Suddenly the door burst open and in charged a herd of extremely tall, thin, gorgeous, loud, filly-legged girls in very short dresses, very high heels and big tall hats (as if they needed them, the rats.) I turned to Allie and said, “I am old, short, and fat.” She replied, “I feel like a midget.” Enter Andrea’s friends. They whirled around hugging, kissing, whipping up punches and piling food high before Andrea’s arrival.

It was a wild time of eating, laughing, drinking and clowning. It turns out the panties were supposed to be for Andrea (I think for her honeymoon) and she had to guess who gave them to her. Now I’m a Jersey Girl and I’m used to seeing certain types of undergarments, but some of those panties, I do not lie, made me blush. In some cases I wasn’t even sure how they were supposed to be worn except to be thrown on the floor at the foot of a bed. It did my heart good that my panties were the first ones she chose and she didn’t guess they were from me. 😀

She received mostly very racy lingerie as gifts and I felt like the dusty old aunt giving her the practical gift (but in the big blue box!)  She opened it last and was a bit at a loss for words. I cheered up mightily when she texted Angie a picture the next day of all the girls and hubby to be toasting the impending nuptials using the set!



Going on “Vacation”

Am I the only one who feels like preparing to go on vacation is like deploying troops overseas to invade a foreign country?  There is just so much to do!  All the work on one’s desk must be done and in a good place so that someone can keep it going while away or to pick up seamlessly the moment one returns.   It also doesn’t hurt if the work supposed to be done while away got done in advance so that sweet vacation state of mind can last a few days after the plane lands.  And that’s just the work (take a look at my other blog to see what I mean on that front.)

Forget about “work” work, let’s talk about the house.  There are the pets.  Pet sitters need to be lined up.  Instructions drawn up, calendars scribbled on, emergency contact info printed out, food supplied, guest rooms cleaned.  If one uses a service as we do, several e mails fly around the ethernet.  There has to be enough cat and dog food and treats, and is the dog limping, and why is the cat sneezing?  Oh and the phone call about Buddy- his feet need trimming and they need a check by Thursday, and have you lined up people to ride and exercise him while you’re away?

There are the services that need to be suspended.  The mail, newspapers and cleaning service.  Mountains of laundry must be done to have the widest selection of clothing for packing.  There are instructions for the handyman who will work unsupervised, so that list better be hyper specific.  Bills must be paid and mailed and checks need to be left here and there.  Family must be contacted so they don’t call the cops to break down the door if we don’t return their call for a few days.  Oh and I forgot to write thank you cards for my birthday!   The a/c system must be tested and working.  Ditto for the watering system.    For some reason I just had to have the guest room rug cleaned and those damn curtains washed and ironed in that room lest the sitter have trouble breathing or something dreadful.  Certain things need to be put away, like filthy muck boots, helmets and other assorted dirty tack lying around in conspicuous places.

If you’re anything like me you need to drag out 3/4 of your closet, stuff it into a suitcase then change your mind, drag it all out, repack, then have doubts and do it again.  I always need to take something that just doesn’t fit anywhere or is totally unnecessary but oh wouldn’t it be so cool if I brought it with me!  OMG.  Plus the house needs to be SPOTLESS.  It needs to be ready for a photo shoot.  It needs to be spic and span and wonderful and sparkling in case God forbid something tragic happens and we don’t return.  I want to make a good impression on whoever has to come and sort out my personal effects.

Let’s not even talk about the trip.  When traveling with my husband the word “vacation” is a euphemism for “a life threatening event.”  My husband is not happy unless my life is passing before my eyes.  We can’t go to the beach.  We need to go sailing along reefs in high winds.  We can’t walk in the woods.  We need to ride single track on mountain bikes.  We can’t go to Europe unless it’s on a bike going straight up the Alps.  We once went to Tennessee where after the 9th mile of going uphill I turned around in misery only to discover that the only thing worse than going uphill for 9 miles is going downhill for 9 miles.  (someday I’ll tell you about that trip.)

This trip will be slightly different.  Yes biking is involved.  But this time no organized ride for the ladies.  Angie and Larry, who are hosting us in Colorado and going with us to Santa Fe have a daughter who has had the presence of mind to throw her bridal shower on race day.  Too bad, us girls will just have to get all dressed up and stand around with a piece of cake in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other instead of peeing in port a johns and eating power bars in the middle of the God forsaken desert, avoiding snakes and tumble weeds.  Jesus wept.

Gotta go pack and repack, more from the road.  Adios amigos!