Thursday, April 29, 2010

It Fits, Thank God

(My sister/MOH modeling in my foyer.)

The MOH dress saga is complete.  For real this time, not like that time I said it was over and I totally jinxed myself.  The top is loose and billowy and we may get it taken in just a touch but that's nothing.  My sister likes it, I like it, the Mister likes it.  Done.

In other news, I bit the bullet and bought the Calvin Klein "Nadia" sandals and the Charles David "Twisty" sandals (which I blogged about way back in the day) from Zappos (hello free shipping!) to see which pair I like better with my wedding dress.
(Calvin Klein "Nadia")

(Charles David "Twisty")

They arrived today and the Calvin Klein's are hands down the winner.*  My personal style is "simple but not plain" (the Mister phrased it that way when he was describing my engagement ring and it describes me so perfectly) and these shoes fit the bill while still having that something extra special to them.  I like the Charles David's too, but they don't feel extra special to me.  I bought both pairs with the intent of returning the one I didn't pick to wear on my wedding day, but I think I'm going to keep the Charles David's and wear them this summer.  I wore my last pair of everyday strappy gold flat sandals until their untimely death last fall and am in *need* of a new pair.  These fit the bill.  So now I have wedding shoes and new summer sandals.  I love it when I kill two birds with one stone.  

*I should let you know that I haven't actually tried either pair on yet.  I should probably get on that.  I think I'm afraid they won't be comfortable and I'll have to start all over again.  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Our Right to Bear Arms

Yesterday, the Mister and I exercised our right to bear arms.  No we didn't go to the shooting range, we traipsed around Bed, Bath and Beyond with the ever popular scanner gun.  The store opened at 9 a.m. and we got there around 9:30 a.m.  After getting through the paper work and the explanation of how their registry works, we didn't really get started until 10 a.m.  I thought we'd be done by noon, and boy was I wrong.  We left the store at 2:30!  Granted, we did take a break and grab some lunch and we did get started about an hour later than I thought we would get started.  The process was way more time consuming than I had anticipated, but it didn't really bother me because registering is F-U-N.  It reminds me of when my sister and I were kids and the Sear's Christmas Wishbook would come in the mail and we'd sit there and pour over the pages and dream of all the toys we wanted.  Except now, the 29 year engaged homeowner version of me dreams about different toys, like

I also really love the place settings we picked out, but since they are all white the picture doesn't really do it any justice.  We spent FOR-EVER looking at knives and couldn't decide what we wanted, and there were a few things that we want but didn't find at BB&B, so we'll need to start another registry.  We still would like to register for new bedding but didn't see anything that really works for our super deep California King bed, we're also thinking about some larger mugs and cereal bowls, since the mugs and bowls that come with our place settings are are a little dainty for when you need a big cup of joe and bowl of Lucky Charms to get your day started.  But where?  I'm thinking maybe Amazon, Williams Sonoma or Crate & Barrel.  But we haven't decided yet.  I'm giving the Mister a break since yesterday was pretty exhausting.  :)

Oh, and just for kicks we added this bad boy to our registry.

If you have not seen this thing, you need to hightail it to your nearest BB&B or Best Buy.  It's a fan with no blades, and it's seriously awesome.  I would never in a million years pay $330 for a table fan, but maybe someone will buy it for us?  I doubt it, but we put it on our registry just to see.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You Win Some, You Lose Some, Or The Trials and Tribulations of Online Shopping

Win:  The ModCloth Grecian Green Dress arrived yesterday and everyone is in agreement - it's awesome.
Lose:  The Extra Small is way too small and we need to exchange it for a larger size.  Recall that I tried to order it in a larger size to begin with.

(This picture doesn't really do the dress any justice, but I never claimed to be a good photographer.)

Win:  The size we need is in stock!
Lose:  I tried calling ModCloth three times to process the exchange and no one answered.  Afraid that the size would sell out, I just went ahead and bought it and incurred the additional shipping charges that would have been waived if I had waited to process the exchange.

Win:  My 100 Ways Bra arrived in the mail today and it works with my dress.
Lose:  The purchase was totally unnecessary.  That's what I get for blindly believing the salesperson at David's Bridal when she told me that my dress required a bra that was low-cut in the back and the front.  Only when I tried on my dress this evening with the new bra did I realize that most of the bras I already have work with the dress.

Win:  The shoes I want to wear on my wedding day finally went on sale at Macy's, marked down from $119 to $84.99.  Plus they're giving an additional 15% off at checkout, and I have a coupon for 20% off on top of that!
Lose:  Their online store doesn't have my size and when I called my local Macy's to check where I could find them in store I discovered that the only store in the entire United States that has these shoes in the "Platino" color in a Size 10 is in New Jersey, and they only have two left.  I live outside Los Angeles.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Shopping Spree!

(Ok, I now that's a shopping spree.  Maybe mine was more of a mini-spree.  Source.)

Someone needs to take my credit card away from me, because I'm a woman on a mission.  A wedding shopping mission.  You all know about the the MOH dress saga, and according to UPS it's scheduled to arrive on my doorstep tomorrow!  My sister should be at my house at some point this week so I won't have to wait too long to see if it fits. 

I've been looking and looking for a good low-back bra to wear with my dress, and posted on the Weddingbee boards to see if any other brides who have worn my dress had any suggestions for me.  Someone responded that the 100 Ways Bra from Victoria's Secret works with my dress, so I ordered that baby online too!  I hope it fits.  I have so-so luck with VS.  Sometimes they fit just right, sometimes my cups runneth over, if you know what I mean.  They don't make a larger cup size in the band width I need, so I'm really keeping my fingers crossed that this one works out.  Plus, I need new bras in general so if I like this one I might just write it off as a non-wedding expense (something that our budget could use right about now).

The online shopping was just my warm-up.  On Saturday, the real heavy duty shopping began.  The Mister was gone all day and the electricity went out at our house around 8 a.m.  I couldn't vacuum.  I didn't want to grocery shop if the fridge wasn't working.  It was like the universe was ordering me to get out of the house and do some real shopping.  So I hit up Bed, Bath & Beyond with a ubiquitous 20% off coupon and bought a 3 gallon beverage dispenser for the wedding.  We're providing the drinks at our wedding to keep costs down (our caterer would charge us $2.50 per person just for lemonade...can you say ripoff?)  and we plan on buying one or two more of these dispensers so people can serve themselves some iced tea and lemonade and maybe a pre-mixed alcoholic beverage.

Next stop was Michael's.  They were having a super mega blowout sale of epic proportions last week.  I bought 5 glass vases on sale for $2 each to use for various flower arrangements, a 50% off bypass trimmer for when we start printing and assembling our invites (so we don't have to trek into my office to use the one we've got there), and a couple of completely awesome non-wedding related purchases - gallery quality picture frames for the photo wall we want to put up along our stairs.  The frames were 50% off, plus I had a coupon for an additional 25% off!!!  What a deal!

After a quick refeuling at Rubio's, I made my was to Sephora.  I spent an eternity browsing through all the makeupy goodness.  As I've mentioned before, I plan on doing my own wedding makeup and have been asking for Sephora giftcards to help fund my purchases.  Armed with $100 in giftcards, I was ready to make some serious purchases.  After much much deliberation, I bought some Benefit eye makeup primer and Nars Orgasm Illuminator and, the biggest purchase of them all, a Clarisonic Mia!  So far I am LOVING the Mia.  I struggle with breakouts from time to time and have really sensitive skin.  My breakouts are almost always related to either hormones or a change in my environment (traveling almost always causes breakouts) and the products that I use.  The Mia came with the sensitive skin brush and I can use my regular sensitive skin soap.  It's only been a couple of days, so we'll see how things really pan out.  As for the other products, I'm using the primer for the first time today and so far there's no creasing of my eye shadow and my eyeliner is still in place.  So far so good for that product.  As for the Illuminator, the jury's still out.  I think I need to play around with it some more.

On a side note, I've also been on a mission to find a perfume to wear.  While at Sephora I did some sampling of scents and I think I have it narrowed down to four contenders:  Chanel Chance, Marc Jacobs Daisy, La Vanille Vanilla Grapefruit, and Viktor & Rolf Flower Bomb.  Flower Bomb was a late addition to the group.  They were passing out samples of the scent and I was really surprised how much I liked it.  I'm waiting to pull the trigger on this purchase though.  The problem is that the little paper sticks that they give you to sample the perfume need to be clearly marked with what scent has been sprayed on it!  I had a handful of these and after a while I couldn't remember which one was which.  It's alright though.  At this point I had spent enough money and decided to quit while I was ahead. 

As if all these acquisitions weren't enough, there's one more I need to let you in on, and it's a biggie.  But what's best is that it cost us ZERO DOLLARS.  This Mister's parents have a treadmill that they never use so the Mister decided to see if they were interested in letting us take it off their hands.  They said yes, and now we have a treadmill in our living room!  I'm beyond excited.  I just started running again and I've always been an outside runner, but we are just a month or so away from being in sweltering heat here in Southern California and that heat will last through to our October wedding.  The treadmill will make it so much easier to get motivated to work out, and the icing on the cake is that I won't have to worry about slathering myself in sunblock to avoid the dreaded tanlines every time I exercise.  Keeping it in the living room is not optimal, but I'm willing to let it slide if it means that the Mister and I will be more diligent about exercising. 

Have you made any great wedding-related purchases lately? 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

So Simple, Yet So Expensive

I've been putting off thinking about our wedding flowers with any degree of detail.  Why?  Because I'm afraid that if I start putting too much thought into what flowers I want our flower budget will go out of control.  I haven't budgeted much for flowers.  In fact, I just lumped them in with decorations generally and I have about $300 left in that budget category.   If I end up getting my heart set on flowers that are out of our price range I'll either a) splurge and be mad at myself for spending too much, or b) settle for second best and not be very happy with what I've got.    

After coming to the realization that I should not DIY my flowers, I contacted a florist based in the mountain community where we will be getting married to get an idea on prices.  To get two basic rose bouquets, four boutonni√®res and maybe one or two small rose arrangements will pretty much eat up the rest of our decorations budget.  So I know I can forget about upgrading my flowers and staying within budget.   She asked me to email her some pictures to give her a better idea of what I'm looking for.  I bit the bullet and started looking at photos of bouquets, and sure enough plain rose bouquets are not what I'm drawn to.  Here's what I sent her way.

(all images from The Knot)

After doing this legwork for the florist, I realized that my dream flowers are probably out of my budget.  I was feeling a little deflated, and then I found out that the Mister's sister spent only $340 on her flowers by ordering them direct from a wholesaler in the Flower District, and that got her enough flowers (tulips, to be precise) for two bouquets, 10 or so boutonni√®res, centerpieces for 20 something tables and rose petals for the flower girls.  And she had flowers left over.  Sure the flowers had to be assembled the morning of the wedding, but to be honest it wasn't hard at all.  So I can only imagine how much easier (and cheaper) it would be for my wedding since we wouldn't even need half of the flowers she had at her wedding.  The only negative was that she got up at 3:40 a.m. two days before her wedding to drive downtown and pick up the flowers.  

So I'm left in a conundrum.  I could DIY my flowers and afford the pricer blooms that I'll inevitably want or I can hire a florist and save myself the stress of having to DIY my flowers.  

We have a meeting set up with the florist on May 14th, when we'll be going up to the mountains to get our engagement pictures done.  No decision will be made until after that meeting and we get a firm quote on what the flowers we want will cost.  My fingers are crossed that she comes back with an amazingly low quote and I love everything in her proposal.  (A girl can dream, can't she?)  Until then, any advice for me?  What would you do if you were in my shoes?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Universe Is Playing Games With Me

I woke up this morning to this lovely little email in my inbox from ModCloth regarding the dress I ordered for my sister/MOH. 

Dear Erica,

This is in reference to your order #_____. Unfortunately, due to an error in our inventory count, we are sold out of the Grecian Green Dress and will not be able to fulfill this part of your order. I've refunded you in FULL. Please allow a day or so for the funds to appear back in your account.

Sorry again and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. I hope you'll shop with us again!

FML.  I totally jinxed myself when I announced that the search for my MOH dress was finally done, right?  Actually, no.  Right after I got this god awful email, I went onto ModCloth's website and the dress was not out of stock, it was just out of stock in the size I ordered.  They still have an Extra Small and a Large.  Since I was concerned the Medium would be too big for my sister anyway, I went ahead and ordered the Extra Small.  All the reviews of the dress say that it runs really large, so I'm not too concerned that the Extra Small will be too small, though if it is ModCloth has a good exchange policy. 

Disaster avoided!  Hopefully.  If I get another email from them in a few days saying they actually don't have the dress, I just might have to write a strongly worded letter!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The MOH Dress Search is O-V-E-R!

I hope.  If it's not I just might cry.

After being tormented yesterday by the ridiculously expensive yet absolutely perfect MOH dress for my sister, I decided to check in with ModCloth again to see if my original perfect MOH dress was in stock yet.  Here it is again, if you don't remember

(Grecian Green Dress from ModCloth)

If you recall, I had signed up for a notification from ModCloth for when this dress came back in stock.  I never heard anything and kind of gave up on it.  Then one day I just decided to check out the dress again and lo and behold it was in stock!  But only in Large and Extra Large...much too big for my size 6-ish sister.  Boo!  And double boo because ModCloth's notification system clearly doesn't like me!

I started checking their site sporadically after that and it was always out of stock.  I even checked again yesterday and it was out of stock.  This morning I decided to check again on a whim.  I had just finished talking to my sister about the dress hunt and it was on my mind.  When I got to the site there it was, in big bold orange:

1 Item Left In Stock

And it was a Medium!!!  Hallelujah!  I bought that sucker faster than the speed of light.  It was $90, and I found a 10% off coupon.  With no tax on the sale and only $7 for shipping, my grand total was $88.  A much better deal than the $450 very similar Tara dress, no? 

Now I just have to pray that the Medium fits her, or at least needs only slight alterations.  Oh, and that she likes it.  Girlfriend has not actually seen the dress.  Oopsy. :) 

I hope this is a sign that I will be productive this weekend on the wedding front.  I think I'm going to start making some tissue paper flowers and see how it goes.  I don't know what I'll do with them yet - maybe make napkin rings or pomadors or a garland.  I'll just wait and see how I feel about them once I start making them.

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

ABC7 Morning News Found My Perfect MOH Dress

Every morning I have the same routine:  get up, make some coffee, feed the dogs, make some breakfast, and then watch the ABC7 morning news and check my email and blogs while eating and drinking the aforementioned food and beverage.  This morning was like every other morning except the news had a story on "wedding trends" and how you don't have to spend a fortune to have a stylish wedding.  One of the "trends" was bridesmaid dresses that are re-wearable.  (Really, that's a trend?)  Anyway, the news story featured bridesmaid dresses by Joanna August Bridal, including this beauty

(Tara by Joanna August)

Ummm, it's everything I've been looking for:  high neckline and back, chiffon, flowy, not too short, and green!   And after visiting Joanna's website, there are a few other dresses that fit the bill for my MOH dress too.  Like this one

(Erica by Joanna August . . . we share the same name, it was meant to be!)

The problem?  The Tara dress is $450!!!  And the Erica dress is $395.  In fact,. almost all of the bridesmaid dresses on her site are in the $300 to $500 range. is this an affordable wedding trend?  Sure you can re-wear it, but I'm pretty sure my sister would never buy a $450 dress for a night out on the town.  And I cannot justify asking my sister to buy a dress that is more than half of the cost of my wedding dress.  


And the MOH dress search continues.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Paralyzed By Options

I've got this feeling right now like I want to get crackin' on a wedding project.  Something arts and craftsy, for sure...but that's as far as I can get.  I've seen so many DIY projects and been inspired by so many images, but as I sit here I realize I have not made very many decisions on the details.  The big things were easy, but the little things . . . not so much.

My inner monologue goes something like this: 

I need want some decor for our aisle.  The arbor that covers the aisle has hooks on the outside we can hang stuff from.  Tissue paper pomadors are all the rage, maybe I'll make some of those.  But I hear they're hard to do.  What about silk floral pomadors?  Yes, that should be easier.  But it might end up being pricier than real flowers.  Hmmm...what about a garland instead.  We could drape it from hook to hook on each side of the aisle.  Better yet, we can drape fabric over the top of the arbor to give it a tented feeling.  Or maybe something else?  Maybe I should look online for something better.  Yes.  That's what I should do.
Then, after hours of browsing and searching, I'm nowhere closer to making a decision.  And it's not that I don't want to do these crafty projects.  I really do (for now anyway...check back with me in a couple of months).  I just don't know what to do.  If this were just any old party, I'd probably just pick a project and if I don't like the end result just toss it and do without.  But for some reason because it's my wedding I'm having a hard time letting myself be so laissez-faire. 

What about you?  Have you been crushed by the paralysis of having too many options?

Monday, April 5, 2010

One Wedding Down, One To Go!

We're back home after a fantastic weekend in La Jolla, California, for the Mister's sister's wedding.  The Mister and I are both playing hooky from work today because we completely underestimated how exhausted we would be from this weekend's events.  We didn't get a moment of rest beginning Friday afternoon through to Sunday night.  Even our sleep wasn't really restful because the thermostat in our room was broke and it was about 100 degrees in our room on Friday night.  But that's another story.

Anyway, since this is only the third wedding I've attended as an adult and the only wedding I've attended since getting engaged, I was able to really get some good perspective on what I do and do not want for our wedding.

  • I want to be a chill bride.  While the Mister's sister was off getting her hair and make-up done the rest of us were scrambling to get everything ready for the wedding.  A small handful of us were working on the flower arrangements in one of the guest rooms.  When I had to leave to go get ready for pictures, I swung by the rooftop of the hotel to see how the set up for the ceremony and reception were going.  There was a full on army of our friends and family there making sure that everything got done.  I was actually a little overcome by how many people showed up to help.  And all that help made the Mister's sister the chillest bride I've ever seen.  She had nothing to worry about because the people who love her the most just took control of the situation.  I want that.
  • I do not want a videographer.  I've never really had the desire to have a videographer at our wedding, but as people I know kept telling me that they are so glad they hired a videographer I started to wonder if maybe I should just bite the bullet.  This weekend sealed the deal - there will be no videographer.  The videographer was so intrusive and distracting.  I know that it's just the nature of the beast and it's not like he was trying to get in the way, but still.  I'll be perfectly happy with a home video of our wedding shot on a portable camcorder.  It's just not a priority for me.
  • I want a photobooth.  Who knows if we'll actually do this, but I want one that's for sure.  Words cannot even describe how much of a hit the photobooth was at the Mister's sister's wedding.  The photos that came out of it were priceless.  I mean, how else are you going to get a picture like this
and like this
and like this

(All photos from the Photo Booth Pro)

Besides all of this, what I really realized this weekend is that our wedding will be amazing no matter what.  Because joy of that magnitude transcends all of your best laid plans.  

P.S.  I did do that makeup trial this weekend and took pictures of myself, but the pictures didn't come out right.  I think I needed more light in our room.  You can hardly tell I'm wearing any makeup!  I'll redo it at some point soon, I promise!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Nerve of People

The other day one of the secretaries at my work came into my office to bring me my mail.  As she walked into my office, she read my full name off of an envelope:  "Erica Lynn [short and very common English last name]"  Then she asked me what my new last name is going to be once I get married.  I almost wanted to say I was keeping my maiden name just to make her realize that she shouldn't assume that a woman will always change her last name when she gets married.  But I do plan on changing my last name, so I didn't want to lie to her.  Plus, knowing this particular secretary fairly well, I know I'd get a whole heap of judgment about not changing my name and a barrage of questions such as "what about your children?"  Again with the assumptions.  So I told her the Mister's last name and then she said aloud: "Erica Lynn [short and very common Hispanic last name]."  Swear to god, the next thing out of her mouth was this "eh" sound with a slight look of disgust, and a comment that it didn't flow as well as my maiden name but that "I'll have to make it work."


First of all, my new last name will "flow" with my first and middle names just as well as my maiden name.  In fact, I think my new last name will actually sound a little bit better with just my first name than my maiden name does.  Together my first name and new last name have a sort of singsong quality to them that my current name does not.  So, she clearly doesn't know what she's talking about.  Which can only lead me to think that the reason she thinks that my new Hispanic last name doesn't "flow" is because I'm not Hispanic and couldn't even pass as Hispanic if I tried.  I mean, it's not like "Erica" is an uncommon name for Latinas, so it certainly can't be that I have a super Anglo first name that doesn't "go" (whatever that means) with a Hispanic last name.

Whatever.  Since I already knew this particular secretary is pretty ignorant (don't even get me started on the misinformed things I heard her say during the Prop 8 campaign) I shouldn't really be surprised.  But still.  The nerve of people sometimes.