Thursday, February 25, 2010

the ring that will not be

We know I have a pretty unhealthy obsession with Dior. Well last week, the impossible happened: I mustered up the courage to enter the Dior store in Chevy Chase.

Either I don't know how to operate doors or theirs were locked, because I had to rattle the door for a second before being let in. I thought they weren't going to let people like me in.

I entered mecca. A choir of flouncy-skirt angels sung in my head, "j'adore!" But I quickly told the saleswoman I was there for the fine jewelry. I was on a mission.

Oh my dears, yes, yes, I was. You see, I've been lusting after a particular Dior ring for my wedding band.
Oui! It's white gold and magical. And rad. 

It also retails for $675.

This particular store only had the all-diamond version, so I tortured myself and tried it on. I loved it, desperately.
Though its sparkly-ness was fantastic, I knew I preferred the simplicity of the white gold version. I was told I could call anytime and the ring in my size would be overnighted. It was that easy.

Well, no it isn't. You see, I'm insured through my fiance's work as a domestic partner, because the health insurance premiums at my job are extremely expensive. We weren't aware, however, that domestic partner benefits are considered taxable income (and another reason DOMA needs to be repealed). Therefore my fiance's tax bill this year is high. Like the price of my precious oui ring high.

We have a lot to be thankful for -- we're not in debt because of the wedding and we'll get by, even with an unexpected and enormous bill. But something has to give somewhere and unfortunately, that would be my ring.

I'm pretty bummed. I have been thinking about this ring for months, but it's still just a ring.

Have any unforeseen circumstances thrown off some of the things you wanted for your wedding? Did you try to make it work anyway?

Sunday, February 21, 2010


My mom visited from Indiana this weekend and we were pretty productive: she bought me some honymoon lingerie from Bloomies, we looked at the wedding ring I wanted at Dior (!!!!), and she also brought me something she had sewn: my organza sash.

Since my dress is living at the seamstress's house, I can't really properly do a comparison, but I want to show it off anyway. Here it is on top of a camisole. So chic.

As you can see, there's enough fabric to make a practical bow and a super-sized bow. There's so much extra fabric, in fact, I can wrap my whole body in organza and still make a huge bow. So it's not quite a finished product.

I'll have to wait for my next fitting to try it on with the dress, but so far I'm encouraged. It just might be the one.

Do you have multiple accessories in the running for your wedding day outfit?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

the ceremony

We have a curious situation with our ceremony. I was raised Catholic and my fiance was raised..well, sort of Jewish? He had a Bar Mitzvah. That's about it.

We're doing a semi-Jewish - in the loosest sense possible - ceremony anyways.

As a writer and deeply observant person, I've become completely mystified by the world and, even more, the universe. I won't go New Age on you, but trust me: it all blows my mind.

Having my mind blown by these things, I'm much more "spiritual" than religious. I think there's a lot of beautiful things about Catholic mass, but the teachings don't jive with my worldview. However, most of my family does continue to practice Catholicism. I didn't want to create some humanist ceremony that's completely devoid of their familiar text - the bible. I also knew I literally couldn't have an outdoor Catholic ceremony in a town where I'm no where near a member of the church.

This is where faux Jewish ceremonies come in handy. I'll adopt a few of the Jewish wedding traditions like the chuppah and blessings, but otherwise, it's going to be secular. The officiant is a Christian minister of sorts, with a lot of experience with interfaith weddings. This isn't a sundown thing with a ketubah. We are absolutely cherry picking.

Another imperative is that the ceremony be inclusive. We both feel very strongly about gay rights and gender issues, so it's necessary for us to have themes of equality, respect, and understanding woven into the ceremony. For that reason, we're including an excerpt from Goodridge v. Department of Public Health:

Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations....Without question, civil marriage enhances the "welfare of the community." It is a "social institution of the highest importance." It is central to the way the Commonwealth identifies individuals, provides for the orderly distribution of property, ensures that children and adults are cared for and supported whenever possible from private rather than public funds, and tracks important epidemiological and demographic data....Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family.... Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition....It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a "civil right."

I love the language here; it's meaningful and significant, which is something important for a ceremony, I think.

What has shaped your ceremony?

video jaded

Growing up, my dad had a side business in addition to his normal 9-5 job: he was a wedding videographer. This was back in the 90s when the whole concept was pretty nebulous and not nearly refined as it can be today. A standard video of his contained a photo montage of the couple at the beginning with the tear-inducing growing up pictures, then the bride and groom getting ready, ceremony, after-ceremony portraits, and reception highlights. These were not 10 minute video affairs. Oh heavens no.

I know so much about this because the computer my brother and I shared was in my dad's office with all of his editing equipment. I played computer games as a youngin, so I saw too many wedding videos. And montages. Enough to perhaps make me not want a video of my own wedding.

I should mention another "perk" of having this kind of dad is the sheer volume of videos featuring me. Maybe that scarred me, because I hate hate hate watching myself on videos. I don't at all identify with that person whose voice I don't recognize and makes funny faces that I'd never make. I basically have no interest in watching a video of myself.

With all that said, I understand the value. I like watching films of my older relatives. I may even get misty-eyed watching a stranger's wedding video. But I'm just not convinced I need something beyond an amateur taping of the ceremony.

Is videography your must-have or meh?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

skinny on skincare

Now that I've hit the four month mark, I'm starting to get more serious about my skin.

Allow me to give you the background on my skin: I started breaking out after I graduated from college last summer and it got pretty ugly. My over the counter products were failing miserably.

Of course, this was all happening when I was unemployed for six months (thank you, recession). I had no idea if I still had health insurance (I did) and we couldn't afford the expense of going to a dermatologist. So I trudged around DC, poor and zitty.

After becoming gainfully employed though, I made a dermatologist appointment. The doctor described my acne as "mild" (going to disagree there a bit) and prescribed me a retinol  and a benzoyl peroxide. Those two things are the paladins of the zit crusade, healing and exorcising my face.

Things have definitely improved in the year I've been using the prescriptions, but I still deal with hormonal and stres-related break-outs. So even if you have mild or occasional acne, get thee to a dermatologist and then perhaps try some of these products too!

Philosophy Purity - Gentle and removes make-up. I found it was way too drying to use an acne-specific cleanser plus topical treatments, so I use this instead. Morning and night.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub - This is my once-a-day scrub but during the winter, every other day. It has Beta Hydroxy, which prevents pores from clogging and promotes skin shedding. Not too shabby.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion - If you get a white head once in a while, this is probably the only product you need for acne. You apply it at night and the zit will be poofed by morning.

Philosophy Hope in a Jar - It's a super light moisturizer, absorbs quickly, and leaves my skin feeling smoooth.

Mario Badescu Wihitening Mask - It sounds a little sketch, right? I use it to gradually fade old acne scars.

Those are my basics. When I'm feeling fancy (read: not being lazy), I include these:

Clinique Clarifying Lotion - Toner. I'm prone to an oily T-zone, so I should really use this. But it's one extra step at 7 am I don't want to take regularly.

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream - I remember to use this about twice a week. Perhaps in 30 years I will regret my eye cream nonchalance.

If I'm leaving the house, I add Clinque Super City Block SPF 40, because I might enjoy being pale.

So if you're dealing with acne, the best thing I did was visit my doctor. But all of these products have worked really well with my prescriptions. What are your favorite skin care products, particularly for acne?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

if this were socially acceptable...

I would totally have a dance with my mom.

For as much as I complain about her, I love her to pieces. We're very much alike, which is why we clash so much. We have a lot of opinions. We're both beyond stubborn. But we also get along famously when we're not planning a wedding.

Anyways, I did a diabolical thing and got her into Lily Allen. I burned her a disc a few years ago and she has taken quite a liking to Lily's mostly anti-male tunes. So whenever I hear the following song, I definitely think of my mom.

p.s. it's sung by an adorable children's choir here.

If you even entertained the thought of dancing with your mom, what would the song be?

non-lame first dance

I don't know how universal this experience is, but I once dated someone who read Pitchfork frequently. This is a site you read if you want to know about every obscure up and coming band and belittle others for their crappy musical choices. Basically.

The benefit of all of that is I have a decent music library now, filled with both standards and some indie stuff. And it's time to start thinking about first dance songs!

My fiance and I don't really have a song. There's a lot of songs we both like, but the closest thing to our song is probably Bitches Aint Shit. Oops.

So without further ado, a bunch of songs from our collections.

Here's one we found because of our DJ's monthly music lists.

And finally, a standard, with probably the best arrangement of this song.

We still haven't decided. I guess we should try dancing to some...

How are you choosing the first dance song?

revisiting the invitations

I sent a piece of my invitations to the printers this week, so I figured it was time to go into more detail about the design process.

I started fiddling with invitations in June of last year.  The style has stayed more or less the same, with minor tweaks over the months. The style of the invites was dictated by my chosen print method: letterpress. To keep costs down, I knew I had to keep it limited to one to two colors because each additional color means the invite needs to be run through the press another time, which equals more money. Since I designed the invite myself, I also knew I had to take stock of my talent -- which does not include illustrations!

So I needed a simple design with minimal colors. To spice things up, I bought a font set and got to work.

The first attempt was a mix of calligraphy and typography.

I liked it enough and let that design sit for several months. Returning to it in December, though, I realized it wasn't really capturing the high fashion look I wanted. I had to give up the calligraphy.

Back to InDesign I went and I experimented with things like all caps, small caps, and the leading (spacing between lines). I also toyed with bold colors.
I really liked the all caps for our names because it reminded me of Vogue. Vogue is the mother ship. Respect.

For the reception card, I wanted to depart from the formality of the invite and play with typography more.
Here I just used all three Leitura font styles and adjusted the kerning (space between characters) and font size to make all of the lines the same width. Kerning is best used for display type like this, while you'd typically use tracking for body text, like a long passage.

That wraps up the beginning of my design process. The final design will be revealed later!

Did anything dictate your invitation design process?

giveaway alert: elsewhere

There's a pretty fantastic giveaway happening over at Random Reflections of a Perfectionist. She's giving away a Florrie Mitton garter! I've been drooling over these for a good while now (along with everyone else), so go on and enter!

Monday, February 8, 2010

linens are pretty boring

For about a month my mom has been hounding me on a near-daily basis about linens. What colors, what fabric, how can we make that room pop more, how can we make it less ugly, blah blah, linens this, linens that. I told her over and over, let's just do white because we have pink crap everywhere (okay beautiful pink flowers, geez) and I don't want it to look like a giant threw up all of his Pepto.

Naturally, I changed my mind after seeing these.

Why helloooo, raspberry linens! I am intrigued by your hue and wish to subscribe to your e-newsletter.

Are you getting on the linen bandwagon?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

wedding waking and sleeping


Over the weekend, I had my first wedding dream. It was actually really pleasant -- the ceremony was in some sort of lush outdoor amphitheater, large pink lanterns were hanging everywhere by gleaming gold chains (real gold! In this economy!). The flowers were blooming and I was even a two-dress bride! I woke up thinking that went surprisingly well, since of course I've been silently dreading the wedding mishaps that are surely awaiting me. And then I remembered: I don't have two dresses. That was not at all real. Blast.

I've had plenty of waking nightmares about the wedding. I think that some of my vendors will hate my wedding. That half the things I make will be forgotten in DC or misplaced by the staff. That we just won't finish...planning.

Part of my anxiety stems from the way I approach important events/deadlines/anything: with procrastination. I know I put things off as much as possible. So far I've put off buying our wedding bands, helping my fiance with the rest of his wedding day outfit, researching activities for our honeymoon, setting the reception menu, getting sheet music for the ceremony, buying various decorations, finishing DIY projects, and generally making progress on the wedding.

I'm definitely starting to see the appeal of wedding planners. I'm getting more and more anxious as each week passes and I feel like I've accomplished less and less. I know that we can get married in June without all of the above mentioned things, but that's not the point, now is it? We want the frivolity, the pointless tactile extras that make us feel more connected to the day, because really, we know the day doesn't last and what's left are some pictures and unused swizzle sticks. And maybe half a candy buffet, if you're lucky. You get rings and you get married. And then you're the same as everyone else.

So I'm anxious and procrastinating but having lovely dreams about my fake wedding. I don't know what it all means. I want the day to come and I want it to be as far away as possible.

I have a pack of tissue paper on my desk, waiting to be turned into poms that will perch atop swizzle sticks. I've already noted the absurdity of that. But I will make them, if only to have a few left over to remind me of the wedding. Or maybe I want to be reminded of wedding planning. I don't really know.

Do you have mixed feelings sometimes about this grand process called wedding planning?