My Life As A New Wife: The Year In Review

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Farewell newlyweds, hello old married couple.

Celebrating my first wedding anniversary made me feel kind of like Miss America coming to the end of her reign: triumphant, honored, and just a little bit sad to give back the tiara and say goodbye to my title of newlywed.

But I must, because now at end of Year One, I am officially a wife – with a new title and new duties. If longtime pageant MC Bert Parks was still alive, he’d be singing me a new tune.

What a difference a year makes.

No longer a swingin’ single, no longer subsisting on Trader Joe’s frozen entrees, and no longer letting my laundry pile up until I run out of underwear, life looks a lot different now that I’m Mrs. Scharf than it did when I was Miss Brandon.

For starters, I now shop at Gelson’s, I do a load of laundry every few days, and I have more food in my pantry than I know what to do with. The year has had much personal growth, changes both big and small, and lots of groceries to put away.

Yep, I’m a real housewife of Beverly Hills, alright.

Year One has been nothing short of a mind-blowing, eye-opening, waist-expanding experience and here’s why:

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Robby Scharf, a most fascinating creature.

I NOW HAVE THIS FASCINATING CREATURE CALLED A HUSBAND

I don’t know about all husbands, but mine is so interesting, I find myself observing him like an exotic animal. He’s sophisticated and elegant, but he loves to burp and fart like a 10-year-old; he’s strong and stoic, but tears up when watching CBS Sunday Morning; he’s an alpha dog, but he loves funny cat videos; he’s a manly man, but he loves to shop; he’s never been married, but he’s got some serious game as a husband.

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Say hello to my mac & cheese.

I LEARNED TO COOK

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, I was raised by a working mom who excelled more in the office than she did in the kitchen. Not that Sonjia Brandon couldn’t cook; she just preferred to make deals rather than make dinner. So when I got married, I donned my apron (a bridal shower gift) and got down to business.

It’s been a year of “firsts” in the kitchen for me. I made my first short ribs, my first macaroni & cheese, and my crowning achievement as a wife (drum roll please) MY FIRST BRISKET. I can’t emphasize the importance of this major milestone for this Jewish girl.

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Good news! Nina and Nancy didn’t throw up from my lasagne.

I can’t take all the credit though. I have to thank my friends Nina, Nancy, and my many Facebook friends for their recipes and culinary guidance.

It truly takes a village to make a meatloaf.

Yeah, I made that too.

 

 

 

I WATCH A LOT MORE SPORTS

I’ve always been a sports nut, but I definitely met my match when I married Robby. The guy is a total sports junkie, particularly when it comes to televised sports. It’s not unusual for him to have a few TVs going and a couple of iPads tuned in, especially during playoff season.

He may be the bigger sports fan, but I’m the sports bettor in the family. I say who needs to watch the game when all you need to know is the spread?

THERE’S ALWAYS MUSIC IN OUR HOUSE

This is the benefit of marrying a guy who plays the bass, attended Berklee College of Music, and has been performing with The Cowsills for over 25 years. It’s almost daily that I’m in earshot of a rehearsal or treated to an impromptu jam. And when I want some peace and quiet, I put on a pair of incredible Sennheiser noise-cancelling headphones (shameless plug – Robby works for the company).

But what really makes a Robby a rock star? He does the dishes.

NEWS FLASH! OOPS I MEAN HOT FLASH!

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Year One…and they said it wouldn’t last.

Poor Robby. Two seconds after we get married, I hit menopause (or rather menopause hit me). Great timing Mother Nature thanks a lot! Nothing like having to navigate your new married life with night sweats and mood swings. Plus, between the hormonal brain fog and the occasional senior moment, I can’t remember shit.

Has it really been a year already?

It’s true what they say: Time flies when you’re having fun, watching sports, eating a lot, and making beautiful music together.

Now if you don’t mind, I must attend to my next wifely duty: making my first turkey.

Married People: Who’s F**king?

iStock_000005058065LargeWhen I was single I always used to wonder about my married friends’ sex lives: how often do they do it? Is it good? Does it stay good? Does being married make sex better? I always wondered, but never asked – maybe because I didn’t want to pry, or maybe because I didn’t want to know if it the news was bad.

I worried. What if married sex WAS bad? What if it’s different? Or boring? What happens if it can’t be sustained, or the excitement wanes?

Is it normal for sex to change once you’re married? What IS normal anyway?

Well, now that I’ve been married for a few months, here’s what I can tell you: even though Robby and I are newlyweds, we’re in our 50s, so we’re really oldie-weds, which means we’re totally different people now than we would have been if we were in our 20s and just starting out. Don’t get me wrong, things are just as hot – I’m just getting it in flashes these days. Continue reading

A Career Dater Finally Quits Her Job

b1110503da138461db47e9ad8643011dOther than a few squabbles about bulk buying at Costco, the transition to married life has been thoroughly exhilarating, horizon-broadening, and perfectly natural all at the same time. It’s new, but not weird. It’s an adjustment, but not a tough one. It’s a life change, but one that I welcomed.

After living alone and being on my own for so long, you’d think that marriage would be a total culture shock – and it is – but it’s really not that shocking. Or crazy. It’s kind of normal actually, kind of like I’ve been a wife all my life. Weird.

No, the crazy part of transitioning into marriage was transitioning out of dating, a way of life for me for nearly 50 years.

I was a career dater. I dated all the time, at all times of the day. Breakfast dates, coffee dates, lunch dates, dinner dates, drink dates, even a driving date to the mechanic to pick up my car.

I’ve had blind dates, online dates, chance meetings, dates disguised as business meetings, and one Facebook encounter that would lead to the date of all dates. Thank you Robby Scharf, for ending the longest single streak on record (next to yours of course).

After a long and illustrious dating career – one filled with some triples, a couple of doubles, an occasional home run, and lots of times at bat – I finally and gladly retired. I happily hung up the jersey, emptied out my locker, and said goodbye to the game. I’m using a lot of baseball metaphors here, but you get the point.

I left the business.

I didn’t realize how much work went into being single until I got married. And let’s face it people, dating is like having a second job. I don’t care if you’re a guy or a girl, dating is work. Looking good, spending money, getting out there, going to parties, going to the gym, being charming, being social, being “on,” making an effort, making eye contact, strategizing, chatting, flirting, schmoozing, is all very time consuming, not to mention exhausting.

Online dating alone is like a second job. You spend hours managing your sites, then dealing with all the emails, winks, flirts, and instant messages. You have to sort through profiles, respond to inquiries, assess potential prospects, distinguish between the suitors and the posers, coordinate schedules and make plans. Just weeding out the weirdos is work!

So you can imagine when you’re used to doing it 24/7 and all of a sudden you stop. It’s like quitting a job you’ve had all your life. This is why the transition has been so peculiar – I mean, one minute I’m hanging out at Wolfgang’s happy hour with my fellow single girlfriends, the next minute I’m joyfully making my husband a meatloaf.

Two words I never thought I’d say in the same sentence: “husband” and “meatloaf.”

Some feminists might gag at this, but I have also discovered that I love doing his laundry, underwear included. Every time I fold a pair of his boxers, I think: Wow look at me! I’m a wife! And the fact that Robby hasn’t thrown up yet from my cooking must mean I’m doing something right.

Dating might have felt like a second job at times, but I always did it with a smile on my face and a good attitude. The key for me (and for any single person out there) is to not take it too seriously, have fun, and always keep your sense of humor. That way, it won’t feel so much like a job.

And here’s the great news when you’re ready to retire: instead of getting an office party and gold watch, you might just get a diamond ring and a wedding.

Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Costco

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Robby’s happy place: Costco and me.

It was either me move into his man cave/bachelor pad in the heart of gritty, urban downtown L.A., or him move into my charming, old French Normandy apartment on the Westside. Downtown L.A. is cool and groovy if you’re a guy, but not if you’re a princess from Beverly Hills.

We had just gotten married and needed to consolidate and start cohabitating, so Robby came out West. Just like Jed Clampett, he loaded up the Prius, and he moved to BEV-ER-LY. Hills, that is: swimming pools, movie stars, and me.

As he proceeded to cram the contents of his 1,850 square foot loft into my teeny two-bedroom, something occurred to me: MEN ARE FROM COSTCO. They are different animals. They don’t live like us women. They have lots of man stuff: junk, supplies, gear, equipment, electronics, toolboxes, miles of cable and cords, unexplained wires, and gadgets of all kinds and sizes. If men aren’t from Costco, then they’re from big box stores for sure.

Maybe I’m just not used to a man around the house, or maybe I’m too used to living alone, all I know is that Robby moving in has been a fascinating study in how men live and function. Remember, I’ve never even lived with a guy, so this is all new and intriguing. I feel like I’m Marlin Perkins of Wild Kingdom, observing a most unusual creature: my new husband.

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A little light shopping.

My Baby Buys In Bulk

If you’re single and anything like me, you buy just enough food for a week. A couple bags of potato chips, a loaf of bread, a few frozen Trader Joe entrees, some wine maybe, and not too many perishables lest they go bad (single people dine out a lot).

Robby, as I’ve discovered, likes to buy in bulk – everything from bulk paper goods to bulk food. This I don’t understand. What single guy without kids shops at Costco? Where exactly are you going to put those 24 rolls of paper towels?

You should see my pantry now. It’s now stuffed to the brim with industrial size jars of peanut butter, and crammed to an inch of its life with canned goods. I get claustrophobic just looking at it.

If you ever run out of toilet paper though, come on over. We’ve got enough to cover everyone for the next two years.

Guys Like Projects

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Drill baby drill!

Robby loves a project. The minute he moved in, he started retrofitting, wiring, re-wiring, installing, hooking up, dismantling, and assembling. He tossed out all my ancient cordless phones, and replaced all my light bulbs with energy-saving LEDs, which I hate, but marriage is compromise, and I love the environment, so the bulbs stay. He’s outfitted our place with lots of other much-needed things, which as a single woman, I never thought to buy.

For this reason, he’s made up a song for me. It’s called “The Absence Of A Man,” (sung to the tune of “The Shadow Of Your Smile”).

Robby is very handy. He loves to build shelves, organize stuff, and hang things. And I let him because I love a Jew with a drill.

Men And Their TVs

Robby wasted no time in giving away my old TVs, and installing his new big screens into every room of my apartment. You know the fancy kind with all the bells and whistles and super complicated remote controls? The HD quality is fantastic, but now I don’t know how to change the channel.

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Welcome to NASA West.

He also promptly renegotiated my cable bill, which was way too high. Who knew?

Hey Time Warner, stop ripping off your female customers!

Robby loves his TVs, and his laptop, and his iPad. His office looks like a cross between Mission Control and Command Central.

Houston, we have a problem: NASA is now in Beverly Hills.

So now we’re all settled in, but the debate still rages on whether women are from Venus and men are from Costco. As soon as I get back from shoe shopping and Robby returns from stockpiling jars of relish, the discussion will certainly continue. So stay tuned (to one of Robby’s TVs of course).

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Need. More. Condiments.

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.

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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Joanne Sala, former single gal, current married sage.

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.”

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