Friday, December 31, 2010

Shoesies for My Feetsies: The Search Continues Indefinitely

When last we left my shoe search all of two days ago, I was looking for classy shoes with a low heel that would be comfortable and stay on my feet, and I was ready for a foray into the real world of shoes.  For me, this translates to sales racks.  My shoe budget is minuscule, so this and Payless were pretty much the only options (and believe me, I spent a lot of time looking at Payless).

Since I had so much time, my shopping was very casual.  Whenever I went to the mall, I would take a peak at the shoe and department stores to see if they had anything interesting.


Personal Photos

I was pretty much just having fun with the first one, but I really do love the left shoe in the bottom picture.  I may have bought that one if the heel had been about half as high.  And while they always seemed a bit informal, I absolutely love flip flops.  I wear them whenever the weather allows and often when it doesn't.  So when I was starting to give up on finding a cute shoe with a small heel, I toyed with the idea of buying sandals like the one above.  It's cute, it's white, and it's by my beloved Nina.

However, my search quickly started to get frustrating, mostly because trying to find shoes with a small heel that don't look like a grandma's is pretty ridiculous.  So I turned to the most cost-effective alternative to buying shoes:  my closet.

I wore these to prom, and I still like them and would be totally comfortable wearing them to the wedding if it weren't for a few problems.  The heel is a little too high, they don't have straps, so they don't stay in place as much as I'd like, and most importantly, they're trashed.  They're scuffed and many of the strings of rhinestones are broken beyond repair.  As much as I like them, I don't want to wear broken shoes to my wedding.



These are my absolute favorite shoes of all time, and I very seriously considered wearing them, especially since they really go with the outdoor, summery vibe that we're going for.  But they have their problems as well.  Though they're super comfortable and stay on my feet really well, they are also a bit too high, and they're wedges which really wasn't what I was looking for.  But the main problem is the same as my prom shoes:  because I wear them all the time, they're dirty, broken, and kind of squished.  I probably could have made them passable, but at the same time, because I wear them all the time, they wouldn't really be special.


I love these shoes.  They are so freaking adorable.  But the greatest thing about these guys is they are the PERFECT heel height.  They're pink which works with the wedding colors, and they're classy while still being covered in glitter which frankly is perfect for me.  Unfortunately, they're hopelessly uncomfortable.  Even if I could attach a heel strap so they didn't flop around all the time, I don't think I'm skilled enough to keep the toe area from digging into my feet.  I was sad to realize that these just were not going to work out.

After almost a year of searching, I still had not found a shoe that fit all of my requirements, until this week that is.  Stay tuned for the conclusion!

Where did you go for your shoe search?  Would you consider wearing shoes you already owned?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Shoesies for My Feetsies: The Beginning

I loathe shoe shopping.  My feet are small but wide, and it is a pain in the ass for me to find shoes that fit me.  As a result, my wedding shoes are not all that important to me.  I want something cute, but they don't need to be perfect, and I'm much more concerned about them fitting into the very small budget I allowed for them.

My requirements are mostly functional in nature and seemed simple enough when I laid them out:

1.  Straps:  My shoes need to be easy to dance in since we're not having a flip flop basket, and you can't take your shoes off at the reception.  Thus, they must stay on my feet.  I also feel like if you're going to spend money on shoes for a wedding, they may as well be comfortable.
2.  Small Heel:  Daniel is only 3 inches taller than me, and I'd really like to keep as much of that height difference as possible for the sake of pictures (don't judge me!).  We figured out that if he gets formal shoes with a rather large sole, the highest my heels could be is 2.5 inches.  Any more, and we start to look about the same height.  As I'm sure you ladies know, finding a heel that is only 2.5 inches is like looking for, not a needle in a haystack, but maybe a pocket knife.  That's been the biggest challenge in my shoe search.
3.  Heels:  For most formal events, I have no problem wearing wedges, and even though wedges or flats might make more sense for my outdoor, on-the-grass ceremony, I really want to go traditional on this one and wear actual heels.  Besides, I really need to acquire more heels, and buying wedding shoes is a great excuse.
4.  Easy to Walk in:  This probably goes without saying, but I don't want to be falling all over the place in my big, poufy dress.  Thus, these shoes need to be made for walking.
5.  Classy:  Like I said, I'm not the girl with 400 shoes in her closet.  Most of my formal shoes were purchased for events like prom and formals and such.  The rest of them were purchased because they were cheap (have I mentioned that Payless and I are super tight?).  For my wedding, I really want something that looks adult and stylish and not at all like a five-year-old.

At first I was like, eh, I'm not picky, this will be fine.  And then I started thinking about that list--classy, short heels that don't hurt my feet--perhaps not as easy as I had planned.

I pretty much started looking for shoes as soon as I got engaged because I knew they'd take FOREVER for me to find.  Since I knew nothing about shoes, I started my search online like a good little blogger, just to get an idea of what was out there.

I quickly fell in love with Nina.  These are some of the earlier shoes that I liked the look of:










 source 
As you can see, I kind of wanted a traditional shoe color in the beginning, and while I would never actually order any of these, they did help show that I like the side strap that pulls behind the heel.  To me, that looks classy and nice.

But it wasn't long before I left the online world behind and started casually scouring sales racks.  More to come on the search, including an actual purchase!

What were your shoes requirements?  Did you have trouble filling them?

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Best Christmas Present

I've always loved Christmas, but now Christmas Eve has an even more special place in my heart because it was on Christmas Eve of last year that I asked Daniel to marry me.

The holidays now remind me of that decision to spend our life together, so I thought I'd share the story of that night with you in honor of our one-year engagiversary.

We were going to be in Chicago on Christmas Eve because we couldn't afford to fly home, so I knew if I was going to do it on Christmas, it would have to be there.  But at that point, I still didn't know Chicago very well, and I couldn't think of anywhere to do it that would be really special.  We both disliked the idea of proposing in a crowded room, but outside in the middle of winter didn't seem like an appealing option either.

I decided the best choice would be to ask in our apartment, but I wanted it to be special, so I covered the apartment in candles.  I even taped tea lights to our tree (and let me tell you, that was nerve-wracking).

It's hard to tell, but the really bright lights are real candles.
Personal Photo

I also made a Christmas love song playlist to play while when he came in and while I was asking.

Of course, I had to get Daniel out of the house so that I could set up, but that turned out fine because as a habitual procrastinator, he had waited until that day to finish his Christmas shopping.  He spent the whole afternoon running around getting things for the cutest Christmas present for me, one that rivaled (and probably beat) my proposal:  he got me 12 presents of Christmas and wrote and performed a song for them set to (you guessed it) "The 12 Days of Christmas."  It was really freaking adorable.

Since we had been engaged before, I had already gotten him an engagement ring, so this time around, I made one for him.  I wrote down a bunch of things that had been an issue for our relationship (having to move to Chicago, wanting to live in different places, his love-bordering-on-obsession for gaming) and then wrote things that I liked about them (our favorite Chicago pub, my intense love for food in Berkeley, our rousing games of Munchkin).  Then, I folded the paper up into the shape of a ring, like a money ring.  It wasn't easy, and I had to follow the online tutorial about 7 times before I got it to work, but I finally had something passable.  Daniel is a huge Lord of the Rings fan, so I got one of my friends who taught Elvish as a language to write "Will you marry me?" in Elvish for me, and I used an online translator to write it in Elvish script instead of English characters (poorly).

Daniel's family always opens one present on Christmas Eve, so I wrapped his ring up nicely, and I wrapped my engagement ring as well for him to give to me.

Then I got dressed up and waited.

And waited and waited.

And called to find out where he was.

Finally, he came home and told me not to look while he brought in presents.

I told him to leave them in the hallway and opened the door holding the wrapped ring.

I took him under the Christmas tree and had him open it.  Then I told him how sorry I was that I had broken it off and that I loved him and knew I wanted to be with him.

And then I popped the question.

He said, "Yes."

Then I opened my ring, and there was much happiness.

Aaaaand then I dragged him off to the dinner reservations I didn't want to be late for on top of the Hancock Tower, the second tallest building in the country.

Obviously, the food was really expensive, and I really couldn't afford it at the time, but I'm really glad I did it anyway because we had a great view, even better because I had said in my reservation that I'd be proposing that night, and it was a great way to celebrate together despite the food being underwhelming.

It was a great night, and I'll never forget how happy we were knowing forever was coming.

 My favorite Christmas present that year was this sled.
Personal Photo

Well, that's my (preferred) engagement story.  What's yours?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Going Lite on Offbeat Bride

When I discovered the amazing awesomeness that is offbeatbride.com featuring our STD video, I also discovered this which I think I may also have had a small something to do with actually.

You may have figured out by now that I am a big, big fan of OffbeatBride.com.  In fact, aside from WeddingBee, it's the only major wedding website that I follow regularly.  My fiance and I definitely have our geeky side, most of my friends since, like, 6th grade have been nerds, and I just love the creativity and uniqueness (and geeked-out awesomeness) that the Offbeat Brides put into their weddings.  I was definitely tempted to join them and have a geektastic reception.

The thing is though, like the author of this post and her Offbeat Lite cohorts, I often feel a little out of place on this site--and even just on normal blogs sometimes--because deep down, I want a traditional wedding in many senses.  I want flowers, a good photographer, a nice, formal reception, a big, pouffy white dress, a groom in a tux, and, well, the structure of a normal wedding.  There will certainly be offbeat details like my STD video, but we're not actually going to have boardgames, sorting hats, and Disney princesses as centerpieces or do a first Rockband game instead of a first dance.  And sometimes, I feel a little lame by our wedding's lack of extraordinariness.

But then, this is the wedding I want.  This is the wedding Daniel wants.  And as awesome as a Hogwarts cake would be, it's not really the shape we want our wedding to take.  And that's OK.  And sometimes it's good to remember that despite ANY expectations, this day really is about the two of you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

BOO FUCKING YEAH!!!!!

OFFBEATBRIDE.COM JUST FEATURED MY SAVE THE DATE VIDEO!!!!!!:  http://offbeatbride.com/2010/12/ipad-commercial-std

This is the proudest moment of my wedding/blogging career.

Smiley

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Dowry???

A while back, my mom said something that really irked me, and though its been months, I still cringe when I think about it.

My parents have been super cool about letting me do whatever I want and not caring about tradition.  As they got married underwater (on scuba.  I'll tell you about it some time), and their entire wedding cost less than $1,000, they understand off-beat weddings better than most.

But for some reason I cannot understand, my mom feels like it is their responsibility as the girl's parents to pay for the wedding.

And I can't wrap my head around it.

Granted, my mom is old and somewhat old-fashioned when it comes to gender roles (she lets my dad do EVERYTHING for her, including taking responsibility for paying all of the bills), but she's pretty progressive most of the time.  And the idea that she would have such a backwards idea toward who pays for the wedding is beyond me.

Now, feeling bad because Daniel's dad is paying for almost 2/3 of the wedding makes sense to me.  And I can see how she would feel bad about me paying for almost 1/3 as well (and by me, I mean my dead grandfather).

But she actually wants to pay FFIL back for everything that he's given us.

It'll never happen, so I'm not really worried about it, but still...it's just so weird to me how persistent she is in her belief that they should be paying for the wedding because it's tradition (speaking of which, isn't it traditionally divided into groom pays for ____ and bride pays for ___?  I don't really know, but that's what I've heard).  I had them read this article to better show that us modern brides don't play by the sexist rules of yesteryear.  But it didn't change her mind even though the girl's parents paying for everything sure sounds like a dowry to me.

And I'm just wondering, do most parents expect the bride's side to pay for certain stuff and the groom's side to pay for other stuff?  Do most parents expect you to uphold certain silly traditions?  Or gender roles?  I know most brides and grooms no longer expect this, but does this insistent clinging to traditions I thought were dead seem weird to anyone else?

My life has been pretty far removed from tradition growing up in a liberal California household, and I know my FFIL does not expect my parents to pay for the whole wedding or even most of it, but I'm just curious if you have encountered this kind of stuff because it completely knocked me off-guard.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Musiconomy

Neither of us is particularly concerned with the music at our wedding.  We like music and want people to dance, but there are a lot of other things we care about more.

We are having an iPod wedding.  Or rather, a MacBook.  Frankly, I don't understand why more people don't do this.  It's like a personalized DJ.  I have a reasonably large selection of songs, and if we think we need more dancing music (or just a higher proportion of Disney : Non-Disney music), we can always buy it on iTunes.  Still way cheaper than a DJ.

Originally, Daniel wanted a live band.  This was before he knew how much weddings cost.  Once numbers started coming out, this idea was scrapped completely.

But the idea of live music never really left him.  His cousin, Barrett, is a professional musician, and my brother aspires to be one, so asking one or both of them to play for a bit was always an option.

Recently, he approached me about having Barrett do the music for the ceremony.  At first, I rejected the idea.  You may have noticed that I'm a bit of a control freak.  I want everything to be perfect.  Using pre-recorded music to me is more likely to go as planned, and part of the reason I never wanted live music is because I think recorded music sounds better, so that is what I wanted to walk down the aisle to.

Then Daniel said something that made me take a step back:  "You're not going to change your mind on this, are you?"  Crap, I thought, am I becoming that girl?  I don't want to be that bitchy bride who gets everything she wants.  This is our wedding.  It shouldn't just be about me.  So I said, "If this is something you want, then let's talk about it."

When we did, I realized that Daniel didn't even want live music for the whole ceremony, and we were easily able to come to a compromise that made everyone happy.  We would ask Barrett to play acoustic guitar before the ceremony started, and everyone would walk down the aisle to recorded music.

We'll probably have a similar arrangement for the reception.  Most of the music will be pre-recorded, but I will probably ask my brother to do a set for us...that is if he will agree to play non-depressing music that people can dance to.  This way, we'll be able to have some live music at our wedding without spending more than a few dollars for iTunes.

And so a musical compromise was made, and a big thing was checked off the list.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Picture Perfect

I don't think I've talked about photography on here thus far. This is not for lack of interest. In fact, it is because I care too much. I find photography to be the third most stressful part of planning a wedding (after the godforsaken guest list and finding a venue) because it is the third most important aspect of the wedding for me (after the venue and my dress), but we have a relatively small budget for it.

I have very expensive tastes in photography. The first photographer I fell in love with was Jerry Yoon.  The man is a photographic genius.  Anyone who can make Wurster Hall (the ugliest building on the UC Berkeley campus, also ironically the architecture building) an awesome backdrop for wedding pictures is a god in my book.

 Seriously, genius.
  source

And apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so because this photographer charges around $4,000 for wedding coverage.

For my measly $1,500 budget (at the absolute max), that was not going to fly.

I've been through all sorts of ideas about wedding photography.  First, when I had pretty much no budget, I was going to hire one of my photographer friends to cover the wedding while doing the "put disposable cameras on every table" thing.  I still think that would have been fun, and I do have some talented photographer friends, the best of which is Lauren Wuornos (who unfortunately lives in Chicago).

Lauren indulged my love of being in front of the camera.

However, I quickly realized that I wanted someone with more experience to do personal photos of me and Daniel as well as the group shots.  And then with the help of a friend came to see that I really needed a professional to do the ceremony too because even a very talented novice doesn't know what moments to be ready for.  So a new plan emerged:  hire a professional for 2 -3 hours to do personal/group photos and the ceremony and have a friend cover the reception and whatever else we wanted pictures of.

Then suddenly, when we were planning on a Catalina wedding, that wasn't going to be possible.  If we wanted a professional, it would have to be for the entire day.  So we were going to have to find the best cheap photographer we could and hope for the best.  Fortunately, that plan didn't last long enough for me to do any research.

Now that we're planning on Guayma's, we've got more of a budget, so I'm sort of looking into variations of these options.  Mostly, I'm looking to have someone good but not terribly expensive give us 6 hours of coverage (I've found several good photographers who offer this package at our rate) though I'm still trying to talk some very talented photographers into giving us 3 - 4 hours of coverage at a rate we can afford (cross your fingers for Jerry).  If we did the latter option, I'd probably still ask a friend to cover the reception.  So pretty much, we're back at square 1, but with a real budget.

You may have noticed I used the word "I" an even greater number of times than usual in this post.  This is because Daniel's only photography request and interest is that we hire someone capable of getting good group photos.  Thus, I am pretty much playing this one solo.

Here are my major contenders so far:



If he lived in the Bay Area instead of Orange County, I probably would have booked him already (darn travel expenses!), all because of the above photo.  Great photographer who just hasn't been in the business long enough to be terribly expensive.


Who is awesome but apparently does not want her photos shared.  This is the only high-priced photographer who has been willing to work with my budget.  4 hours of coverage for just over our budget.  We shall see if that works out.


Super nice person who I got on with very well, not quite the style I'm looking for, but the most reasonably priced of these.

Advice on how to find photographers?  Or do you know a Bay Area photographer willing to work on the cheap?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Epic Save the Date Video

For my 100th post, I decided to wait for something special.  This is my masterpiece, my Mona Lisa, my ultimate contribution to the wedding world.

About a minute-and-a-half ago, I sent out our Save the Date Video.

And it is awesome.

I really do not give a flying frak about the Save the Dates and neither does Daniel.  This was definitely not something either of us wanted to waste money on.  But once I saw this video, I knew that I wanted one that was just as awesome:



All right, so I'm not a professional editor, and ours is not actually this epic.  But it's still awesome!  My dad films movies for a living, and I was a film major, so I knew that between the two of us, we could pull a decent short film together.

I really wanted to do something unique, not the standard sequence of relationship pictures set to sappy music, but I still wanted to do something that would look good with low production values.  But that left the question of what we should do?  My first idea to simply tell the story of our relationship hit the waste basket when I realized it's actually sort of depressing (2 years apart, breaking off the engagement the first time--meh).  Then we thought maybe we could do a fusion of us and one of our favorite movies:  The Princess Bride.  But once I started trying to map it out, it just proved too difficult.  And then I had an idea.  A very different sort of idea.  Not at all your typical wedding idea, or even video idea, but something that just might work for one.  Have you seen the iPad commercials?  Here's our favorite:



I thought, why not make that into a video about us?  "Nicole and Daniel are" stuff about us and our relationship.  It would be short, easy, and totally unique.  Daniel loved it, and I started writing the script.

It took a fair amount of time, but we are very pleased with the result.  So without further ado, I present to you our epic iPad Commerical Save the Date Video:



OK, now I finally get to tell you about the super awesome thing that happened to us while we were shooting.  We did a lot of the shooting at the Disneyland Resort, and my friend (and bridesmaid) and I did some scouting while there a few days before.  I've always loved the wedding gazebo at the Disneyland Hotel, and with some encouragement from Bridesmaid M, I decided it would be a great place to fake get married.  However, we were filming in the middle of the Sunday of Veterans' Day weekend, so I figured the gazebo might be busy.  I had a back-up plan, a smaller gazebo at the hotel that we could use if there was a wedding going on.

Well, when we got there, we found the main gazebo all dressed up and a wedding party taking pictures nearby, but when we went to plan B, we discovered that the back-up gazebo was in the middle of their reception.  What ever were we to do?  Well...the wedding party was no longer in the ceremony area, they were busy taking pictures...and the main gazebo was deserted...so we took our chances and got the best fake wedding background EVER!  I feel a little bad taking advantage of someone else's wedding, but I don't think they noticed, and even though the clean-up guy totally saw us, he waited until we were done to do his thing and didn't say anything.  And we got the ultimate ending to our video!

I'm really happy with the way it turned out.  It's not exactly the same as the commercial, but I think it really works.  And it was nice to be making and editing movies again.  That was the best part of being a film major even though I didn't get to do much of it at Berkeley.

Soooooo, what do you think?  Oh!  And I really want it to go viral, so if you want to, you know, send it to people, post it on Facebook or Twitter, or share it on your blog or website, um, I don't mind :).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Can I please just have a break from life?

Today we're going to talk a little bit about why I quit my job and what it means for our relationship.

I'm hopeful that if I start this with a clear topic and goal I may avoid the general ramblings that usually accompany my personal posts.

We'll see how it goes.

I am a mess.  Daniel often says that he has to take care of me (physically and mentally but mostly the former) because I won't take care of myself.  Though I maintain that he is a bit excessive about it, the boy has a point.

Ever since I was really young, I never really put my health and well-being first.  In middle school, I used to rank my commitments by importance, saying that school came first, then cheerleading (or gymnastics or dance), and then my health.  That really was the way I saw it, and in high school, it really started to be a problem, especially after I had stopped cheerleading and no longer had a built-in balance between school and physical activity.

When I got to college, I realized that if this was ever going to change, I would have to be the one to do it.  But by then, never putting my own well-being first was so ingrained that even trying to change was exceptionally difficult.  My senior year, things came to a head.  I had a lot going on and was so burned out that I just stopped.  I dropped a class which lead to dropping one of my majors (history--so glad I didn't have to write that 30-50 page research paper) and finished my last semester with only 2 real classes.  It was the first time in my life that I had ever put academic success after my own sanity.

After that, I was addicted.  Addicted to making choices based on what I wanted and not what an admissions officer wanted or my potential employers would want or on anything besides what would make me happy right now.

Then I graduated during the worst economy our country has had since the Great Depression (Remember that history major business?  My concentration was American history.  Yeah, I have a really good sense of exactly how bad things are right now compared to every other period of our history, and they really fucking suck).

Things have been pretty interesting since then.  I graduated in May 2009, and since then I have had (as per my tax forms) 8 jobs in 3 geographical areas and 2 states.  Nothing makes me happy because I am so sick of waiting for my life to get better and doing things so that it can be better down the line.  Working hard in high school may have gotten me into Berkeley (the school I wanted), but once I was there, it was just the same thing all over again, and having a degree from Berkeley hasn't gotten me jack except for my last job which I hated.  I am so sick of doing things that are supposed to make things better for me later on and not having things actually get better.

Which is why my resume is a nightmare of unrelated jobs, none of which I have stayed at more than 6 months and most of which I only had for 3.  I quit my last job to look for one I actually wanted, but I am starting to worry that nothing will make me happy because I don't want to keep waiting for things to get better, and with all this competition, even getting crappy jobs that I don't want is a struggle.

But I could probably make it happen eventually.  I could volunteer, work part-time somewhere I didn't really want to be until I could get a job that I wanted, and live at home for a year or two until I could make it work.

But that's not really an option because it's not just me that I have to look out for.  Daniel has his own problems which are far worse than mine at the moment.  I can't be financially irresponsible in case I have to support him.  I couldn't quit my job for 2 months even though I hated it so much it was causing me physical pain because I had to lend him money so that he could live.  And if he gets a real lawyer job in the remotest corner of California, we have to go no matter what I'm doing.

In short, I still can't put my personal well-being first because I have to put ours first instead.

This has been the hardest thing about getting married for me because I so desperately need to be able to put myself first for a while, and you just can't do that in this kind of committed relationship.  This is why I broke off our engagement the first time, 4 months after I broke down and dropped that class, because I knew I couldn't make that kind of commitment to someone else while I so very much needed to fix myself.

I still need that.  A lot.  But the reason I decided to get married anyway was that I needed him more.  And the only thing I'm proud of in all of this is that this time around, even though allowing Daniel to take the time (and money) he needs to get his shit together has been really difficult, I haven't wavered, I haven't had cold feet or second thoughts, I haven't for a second considered not spending the rest of my life with him.  And after thoughts I have had in the past, this gives me glad that I have at least got something right.

Things are not going well for me right now, and I still really need someone to cut me a break.  I want a job that will make me happy, and I don't want to have to spend years more waiting for it.  But it does help to know that at least I'm happy with him.  Finding a husband this young will never be good for my career, but it is good for my personal well-being.  And at least my hodge-podge of shitty jobs shows that I have been attempting to make things better for myself while still being conservative enough to accommodate him.  And hopefully he'll get a decent job that will allow me to be selfish for a while and do whatever it takes to get a career going for me.  Hopefully, someday soon.

P.S.  The career I really want to get into is photography, so if you know a good, experienced photographer of any sort in Orange County or LA County who might be willing to take on an assistant, paid or unpaid, let me know.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Little Wedding Fun

A friend of mine sent me this:  http://wendylady2.livejournal.com/70426.html

It is hilarious!  A little fun to break the wedding/holiday stress.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Failing Slightly Less

Yeah, so you know that list of stuff that was supposed to be done by the end of October?  Well, here it is again:

Book a venue
Open a joint bank account
Obtain money from contributor(s?)
Figure out my own money contribution situation
Finalize initial guest list
Create and send out STDs
Obtain contact info for everyone who will receive a STD
Finalize wedding theme
Figure out my dress situation
Finalize wedding party and officiant
Choose official date, haha

Everything else should be done within a week.  Thank God!

And now for December.

You may have noticed that I have actually been posting lately!  In large part, this is due to the fact that I just quit my job.  I really could not stand sitting in front of a computer all day, and the 2+ hour commute and less-than-thrilling work were not helping.  So I am off to apply to jobs that I actually want until I run out of money.  I would say this will leave me ample time for wedding stuff, but I got a seasonal job in an effort to avoid real employment for as long as possible, so I may not have much more time.  However, I will have much more patience for my computer and a reason to procrastinate, so hopefully, I'll be able to make up for the last two months.

And in that effort, here is my to do list for December:

contact photographers
get a cohesive idea for flower arrangements
find and start permit process for ceremony site
send out Save the Dates
have initial meeting with bridesmaids (and groomsmen)
start researching invitations in earnest
ask officiant/day of coordinator to be such

All right, we'll keep it at that so that I might actually finish everything.

By the end of December, we'll be around 8 months out.  Am I missing anything I should be worrying about now?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Proof That We Are Getting Married

Shoot, I thought I might be able to hold off until the 100th post for this, but as we mailed in the deposit today, it's time to tell you:

WE HAVE A DATE!

because...

WE HAVE A VENUE!

When we found out Catalina was going to be more expensive than we planned, our second choice became a much more viable option.  In the end, we probably could have made Catalina work, but the number of things we would have had to give up to do it just wasn't worth it.  While Catalina was the venue we wanted, Guayma's will allow us to have the wedding we want, and we decided that that is more important.

So meet our venue:  Guayma's is a gourmet Mexican restaurant in Tiburon, CA in Marin County (just north of San Francisco and one of the most expensive places to live on the planet).  If you live in the Bay Area and haven't been, you really, really ought too.  It's a bit on the expensive side, but you can eat cheaply there if you make an effort, especially if you come for happy hour (half off appetizers -- get the empanadas/quesadillas/whatever they're calling them these days, they are fantastic).

The more I think about it, the more Guayma's really makes sense for us as a couple.  It's a place we've been just the two of us to celebrate special occasions for years, and it's a place where we've made memories together.  Also, as it's right on the bay, it almost has the ocean view that we wanted but also gives you a look at the beauty of Marin and the Golden Gate Bridge.  As a reception venue, it couldn't be more perfect.  Outdooors, gorgeous view, exceptionally good food, room for dancing, available and no more expensive for Saturday night, and very reasonable prices.  And, get this, NO SITE FEE.  You heard me, none, zip, zilch, nada....OK so they're implementing one next year, but even then it will only be $150 which isn't even noticeable in a wedding budget.  We got really, really lucky.

So it's not the open ocean, and it's not my beloved island, but it is still a spectacular venue, and I think we'll be very happy with our wedding there...and with the money that has been freed up for other stuff...like a honeymoon.  Plus, we'll have the world's greatest cake which frankly was a larger part of the decision to go for NorCal than I'm proud of (Katrina Rozelle, I am coming for you).  Though as the last couple I know that got their wedding cake there said, "Katrina Roselle should have been the ONLY consideration in terms of where to have your wedding."  Yes, it's that good.  But more on that later.

For now, pictures (all personal photos)!

The restaurant.  Our reception is on the upper deck.

The reception space.


 And the view.  Which I did not get the greatest pictures of, but you get the idea.

How did you know that your venue was "the one?"

P.S. Dana, I know you read this, so just so you know, vegetarian options will abound :).

Friday, November 26, 2010

HARRY POTTER WEDDING!

Even though you guys are going to think I'm super geeky after my previous post, I couldn't not share this with you:

OMG HARRY POTTER WEDDING:  http://offbeatbride.com/2010/11/harry-potter-wedding

Go, go forth and drool!

Amelia and Josh's Wedding

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to try to catch up on some real weddings that I've been meaning to share with you.  This was originally meant to cover my hiatus period while we were trying to cinch the deal on our venue, you know, in October.  Yeah, woops.  Moving on...

We're going to start with Amelia and Josh.  Now, despite my resistance to having a themed wedding, even to the point of thinking a color palette was too limiting, I LOVE looking at other people's themed weddings.  OffBeatBride.com and I are best pals.  So when my friend showed me a few pictures from her friend's STAR WARS THEMED WEDDING, I simply couldn't resist asking her if I could post about it.

I'm sure most of you do not have as many geeky tendencies as I do,  so let's start with the obvious questions:  what is a Star Wars themed wedding and how do you put one on?  I'm going to assume you have all seen Star Wars at least because if you haven't, you should go watch the original trilogy and then come back and read this post.

So, what made this a Star Wars wedding?  Well, this might give you an idea:

*I don't know who took any of these pictures, so let's give credit to Amelia and Josh

Groom is dressed as a Jedi (or Sith? not really sure) and friends are wearing Star Wars t-shirts.  And this was exactly how the bride and groom wanted it.  The Star Wars elements of the wedding included the bridal party's clothing, the (brave) guests' attire, invitations, favors, decorations, and even some of the music.  Here is one of the more enthusiastic guests:


Yeah, you get the idea.  But with an all-out awesomely themed wedding, there is often resistance from the parental/family side, and Amelia and Josh were no exception:

"My parents thought it was silly to have a Star Wars wedding, but they were ok with it since I said it was what I wanted. I think they knew our minds were made up to have it this crazy, unique way. A lot of my family and friends kind of looked down on it, 'What's with the dorky wedding? You should have a traditional wedding!' and seemed a bit snobby about it. My advice would be to just make sure that whatever non-traditional theme you want, it's what will make you and your fiance happy. Everyone else, unless they are totally footing the bill, can deal with whatever you choose. And if they are footing the bill, some compromises should be made - but it is still YOUR day." - Amelia

Despite the lack of support from friends and family, they were able to make their day one guests will never forget.  Amelia says that one of her favorite elements of the wedding was "... how much fun everyone was having. People are still talking about it, and it's been nearly 4 months. Also, it's a great conversation piece!"

At the end of the day, no one cares whether the wedding was traditional as long as they had a good time.  Good thing for me to keep in mind.

But not everything about their wedding bucked tradition.  Like many of us, Amelia's favorite moment was when they said their vows, "The ceremony was amazing. I remember all I could see was Josh....I remember thinking there were stars in both of our eyes - I don't think either of us have ever felt as joyful as we did then. We had Josh's grandparents marry us and that was exactly the right choice - it made everything even more special. We had pretty basic vows but even so, they were just what we wanted." 

And as with all weddings, not everything worked out as planned:  "A lot happened that wasn't planned! My husband's dad was in charge of the music... so we had a couple of false starts for the ceremony (the wrong music was played). The theme my dad and I walked out to was only 30 seconds, so not only did we speed walk for half of it, we walked the last half in silence! My hair that I was promised would last all night (curls) fell out of its updo about an hour before the wedding, so Heather frantically tried to fix it. The officiant forgot the last part of the 'history of us' speech we had prepared. During the vows, the music was accidentally turned on just after my husband said 'I do.' The music got stuck on repeat instead of shuffle, so the ceremony music played over and over and over all through dinner. We dealt with it by just laughing it off - we knew things wouldn't go perfectly and the important things were all there - good food, good cake, us, and our family and friends."

In the end, Amelia was very happy with the way things turned out.  As she said, "that's definitely what sticks out the most, the absolute joy of the day."

What really impresses me about their wedding is not the amazing decorations or clothing (though the cake was pretty spectacular), but the fact that they were able to pull off a completely unique wedding that everyone enjoyed without freaking out about it.  I know I can learn a lot from their go with the flow attitude and their conviction to make their day the one they wanted.

But the reason I decided to write about them was their cake which was fucking awesome!  Observe:


Cute, traditional cake on top tier, DEATH STAR CAKE on middle tier, and Endor cake on bottom tier.  As in the Death Star is orbiting the Endor moon on their cake.  Yes, they did that on purpose because they are just that awesome!
I would love to post more pictures of their super amazing Star Wars decor if Amelia wants to send them to me (hint hint, nudge nudge).  But for now, I leave you with the most important part of their day:

The Bride and Groom Together

If you were going to go all out for a themed wedding, what would you do?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Doom List

I knew from the beginning that the guest list was going to stress me out more than anything else, and I was right even if it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The problem is, you can talk all you want about doing what's best for the bride and groom, but if my groom's father is going to pay for 2/3 of the wedding, he is going to get a say in who's there.  I would feel terrible for not giving him that.

It's not so very much that I don't want to have a bigger wedding.  If we could comfortably afford to have 100 people, I'd be OK with that.  There are definitely people I'm not inviting that I would really like to invite.  There are two main problems.  The real one is that we cannot afford to have more than about 85 people without sacrificing some pretty big stuff, stuff that we (all right, that at least one of us) REALLY want to have.  The other problem is that if I agree to have a bigger wedding if FIL agrees to pay for it, it opens a floodgate of people we "have to" invite.

The latter is a problem that we will avoid by not having a bigger wedding, at least not by very much.  So let's concentrate on number 1.  My best friend, the budget.  FIL said he would be willing to pay for about 10 people more than we can realistically invite in order to not deal with the fallout (read:  anger and nagging) of not inviting said people.

This is not something I would be utterly opposed to, but it presents a different problem.  You see, Daniel is already inviting significantly more people than me.  But when we broke it down further into who we actually think will come, just with the people we are already inviting, we predict that almost 2/3 of the guests will be his, leaving me with a measly 1/3.  This is not really OK.  At all.  But this is the way our "really ought to invite" lists ended up, and I can accept that he has more family than I do, so I can live with it.  But add another 10 people to his side?  All of whom are likely to turn up?  That's just overwhelming, especially because I do not know a very large number of these people.

So it's a problem.  There will be compromises in my future, but we just spent an awfully large portion of our day on this and related subjects, and it just sucks.

You may be thinking that I am overestimating the number of people who will turn up.  I am not.  My side, I'm predicting well over the standard 20% will not come because I'm just not close with my extended family.  But his side?  They're tight.  The 2,000 mile plane flight may deter a few more than we're predicting, but consider this:  several of these people live in Israel.  They have all been to ALL of the family's weddings in the states.  There have been 3 in our generation in the last 5 - 6 years.  Do the math.  These people are serious about their social gatherings, so we can't just hope that people won't come.

The biggest issue I've had to deal with is that I am not inviting people that I would really like to invite in order to deal with Daniel's swelled family, appease his father, and still have the wedding that I want.  What kills me is inviting people that NONE of the people involved in the wedding actually want to invite just to appease "the family."  Daniel isn't really giving up people he actually wants to turn up.  But this is the way it goes if we are going to take FIL's money.  And really, none of this would happen without it, so I'm OK with it.  It just kind of blows a little bit.

Besides, I care the most about the other stuff in the wedding, so it makes sense for me to be the one to sacrifice the most people for that.

Anyway, stressful day, but at least the guest list will officially be done very soon.  And by officially done, I mean I'll be sending out STDs to these people.  Don't get me started on the long wait before the actual wedding in which things will invariably change.

Tell me your horror stories!  Make me feel better!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Are Never Going to Get a Date

Eff my mothereffing life!

The coordinator at Catalina finally got back to us.  Turns out they cannot do the dinner option we had originally planned on during the day...which means it will be $15 per person more expensive...for our already over budget wedding.  We figured out a way for it to still be possible, but it involves making the guests pay an extra $5 to get there, bringing the total up to $35 for them.  Plus, the buffet option we would have to do allows for only one entree which is a major problem for the vegetarian guests...and me!  I literally would not like to eat anything on that menu except the prime rib which is $2 extra per person--not happening.

We have another venue option.  It is in NorCal which would be a PAIN IN THE ASS to plan from 400 miles away and is not as cool as Catalina....but it would cost a lot less, allow us to have a lot more options, and have excellent food and cake for CHEAP.

And yet...Catalina still really appeals to us.

What should we do?  What would you do?  I don't know what to do.  Someone just tell me what to do.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

World of Color*

I have not talked about our theme in a while.  This is because our finalized theme was highly dependent on our destination.  However, now that we have our venue, it is time to get a real vision for what this thing will look like.

As our wedding is going to be on an island, the island theme pretty much created itself.  Catalina has a very distinct vibe that will creep into our wedding whether we like it or not.  We're down with that, but neither of us really wants a super casual, beachy wedding.  We both want our wedding to be nice.  Not necessarily formal, but still elegant.

The best way to do this seems to be through wedding colors.  For those of you who were not around for my anti-wedding colors phase, neither of us was originally very enthused by the idea of wedding colors.  It felt restricting and kind of lame, too ordinary and generally meh.

But now that we have the island theme and just need something to tie the actual wedding together, colors don't seem so bad.  I think, and Daniel agrees, that having common colors for the reception will help the wedding seem more formal in a thoughtful sort of way.

Now the real question:  which colors?  We were always going to do blue.  We both like blue, it's neutral, and it's an easy color to agree on.  Plus, ocean.  So blue is going to be the main color.  But I have had major inner battles about secondary colors.  Originally, we were thinking blues and greens for the oceany theme, but I never really got on board with that idea, and it would not work for this venue anyway.

I've gone through all sorts of colors in my head and in discussion with Daniel, but in the end, it was something Daniel said that brought us to the colors we're actually going with.

While telling him about my colors tie it together theory, he mentioned we should do island colors as our colors.  When I started thinking about it, I realized that the main island colors are yellows, light browns, blushy reds, cactus green, and obviously ocean blue.

This allowed me to have a vision that I had secretly wanted for a long time.

You see, I love blue, but I don't like blue flowers.  I have tried to like them.  I scoured the internet for blue flower arrangements, and while I liked some things better than others, nothing impressed me.

But I love pink and yellow flowers.  I tried to shy away from pink at least because I knew Daniel didn't want the decor to be too girly, but I kept coming back to those two colors.  And I think blue with pink and yellow accents works really well and would look nice and happy without overdoing the girly bits.

So when Daniel started talking about island colors, I pitched my color scheme.  He was a little cautious about the pink, but when I explained that my vision would basically be blue big stuff with pink and yellow flowers only, he got on board.  We'll probably also throw some greens into the arrangements to keep it toned down, and that will incorporate all of the island's colors while still creating a loose formality.

But what can you really imagine without pictures?  Here is an idea of what I want the wedding to look like:


This picture is actually from the island.  I'm pretty sure I remember the coordinator saying that these blue linens were not extra, so I definitely want to use them if they're not.  Though this will not be our space, I really like the way this area is set up and will probably try to emulate it.


This is from the island too.  I promised no pink napkins, but I like the way these tables are set up with multiple colors and lots of greens.  We would probably aim for a similar look though with some different colors.


These are not the colors we're looking for at all, but this is the inside of our reception space.  Not the best picture, but it should give an idea of the space we're working with.  Very islandy interior.



I've always loved both of these bouquets, and I think I just may try to combine them.  More like the first one, but with yellow, pink, and yellowish pinkish roses.


However, this bouquet should give you an idea of what most of our flower arrangements should look like.  Pink and yellow dominating but filled with greens and maybe just a hint of blue thrown in.  Don't those colors look good together?  I love them.


This is probably the best example of what our wedding as a whole will look like.  These particular bouquets are a bit frouffy for me, and I'm not digging the lack of greens, but I do so like the pink and yellow as flowers with blue as the main background color.  And yes, Megan, this means that you will be wearing a blue dress.  You're welcome.  Not that you're reading this.

OK, you get the idea.

How did you decide on your theme/colors?  Did your venue choose them for you?  From what I've seen, it seems like the bride is often the one to make the decision about colors (not that the bride isn't the one who most often makes the decision about anything, but this particular thing seems even more the bride's area than other stuff).  Was that how it was for you?  Or did the groom have an opinion also?

*All right, who's been to California Adventure lately?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pushing Deadlines

OK, it's November, time to revisit "Things that really must be done before the end of October"

Book a venue
Open a joint bank account
Obtain money from contributor(s?)
Figure out my own money contribution situation
Finalize initial guest list
Create and send out STDs
Obtain contact info for everyone who will receive a STD
Finalize wedding theme
Figure out my dress situation
Finalize wedding party and officiant
Choose official date, haha


Ughhh.  In my defense, venue and date would have been done by the end of October if the coordinator wasn't on vacation, I should be able to finish most of the rest of this by the end of the weekend.

How screwed am I?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Scary, Scary Budgeting*

Happy Halloween!

And in honor of the day, we will move on from the happy time of picking a venue and into the scary stuff.

The Budget.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

No seriously.  As soon as we worked out how much Catalina would cost, we completed the first draft of our budget.

It ain't pretty, but I'm going to share the run down with you because frankly there is just not enough budget-friendly information out there.

Ceremony site fee:  $700
Reception site fee:  $500
Food:  $2,600
Alcohol:  $1,000
Splitting the cost of getting to the island with our guests:  $2,250
Our hotel room:  $500
Tax and tip:  $1,080
Cake:  $420
My dress w/ alterations:  $1,400
My shoes:  $40
Undergarments (including slip):  $200
My hair:  $60
Make-up:  $0
Wax/manicure/pedicure (perhaps not all):  $100
Tuxedo (buying):  $300
Daniel's shoes:  $50
Rentals:  $660
Flowers (DIY):  $500
Music (DIY):  $200
Photography/Videography:  $1,060
Invitations:  $300
STDs:  $0
Rings:  $600
Attendant gifts (i.e. hotel room during wedding):  $700
Decorations/miscellaneous (including marriage license):  $800

Total:  $15,840

This puts us slightly over budget just for our estimate.  Obviously, this is not good though I do think I over-estimated some things and that we'll be able to get them cheaper.  So hopefully it will even out, but even so, we're going to end up paying for some things out of pocket.

For instance, notice anything missing?  Like the rehearsal dinner?  And any sort of pre-partying (bachelor/bachelorette parties, etc.)?  And, oh, I don't know, our honeymoon?  The first one we don't mind skipping, especially since logistics for that were going to be ridiculously difficult anyway.  And the second one won't be hard to do out of pocket, especially if we do small things.  But then there's number 3.  We were always going to do a honeymoon registry, but our dreams of Sandals are so, so gone.  At this point, we'll be lucky if we can leave the West Coast.  But I'm hoping that we will have been working long enough to save up some money at that point and that we'll be able to do something cheapish, maybe a cruise.  And I'm putting a lot of hope into our honeymoon registry.

How fucked am I?  People who have gone through this, is there anything I'm underestimating to an impossible degree?  Or forgetting altogether?  Please let me know, we haven't actually booked yet.  What budgeting tips can you share?

*I will give you a dollar if you get this literary reference.  Hint:  it's holiday appropriate.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Where It All Begins

I know, I know, I've already broken my promise to post regularly, but I actually have an excuse this time!  You see, I was going to wait for confirmation to tell you guys this, but as our coordinator is on vacation, I'm just going to go ahead and spill it.

WE HAVE A VENUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In the end, it really wasn't that hard of a choice.  The more we thought about it, the less we could imagine having the wedding anywhere but Catalina.

We had a great experience with the coordinator when we went to visit in September and loved what we saw.  But the thing that really sold us is how amazingly unique our wedding would be there.  It is the foundation for the kind of wedding that we and our guests will never forget.

Since I've already given you guys an intro to Catalina, I'm going to keep it simple and get on with the gratuitous photos :).

When you get off the boat, you walk into this:


Classic Island.

As our guests continue toward the ceremony, they'll catch a glimpse the Banning House, the hotel where we will be married.


In all likelihood, the view as we get married will be here:


Though if we can figure out a way to do it, I'd love to have this as our background:


This will be where the guests sit:


And I don't have pictures of the reception space, so how about some views of the island?





*All Personal Photos

:D

So, it only took us about 10 months to find a venue.  How long did it take you?  How did you know you'd found "the one?"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Search for the Perfect Dress: The End

I have managed to get one thing done in the past few weeks.  While on a trip to Northern California, I FINALLY got to revisit the dress that I fell in love with at Elegant Lace almost 2 years ago.

I still love it, and I'm buying it.

So if you don't want to see me in my wedding dress, you probably don't want to continue.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

And So I'm Back!

For reals this time.  Sorry again for the blatant absenteeism.  I just can't stand staring at a screen for 8 hours and then coming home and doing it some more.  It's been a real adjustment for me.  So for the time being, I'll probably mostly be writing on the weekends.  Maybe I'll try to do some posts that automatically spread themselves out.  We'll see.

ANYWAY, part of the reason I haven't been on here is because I have nothing to report really.  I'm working normal business hours now and commuting for 2 hours a day, so it's been really hard to try to get anything done wedding-wise, but we really need to get on it, so hopefully I'll have things to report soon.

For right now, let's talk about life.  A couple of weeks ago, Daniel went to his 10 year high school reunion, and on Thursday, I turned 23.  These things make you think about your life, and for us, this wasn't necessarily the most pleasant experience.  He's still unemployed and trying to finish up law school when what he really wants to be doing is starting a real job (instead of looking for an easier to find temporary one) and studying for the BAR.  Meanwhile, I'm very grateful to have found a job so quickly, but the attitude I've had toward finding a job is starting to worry me.  I pretty much just concentrated on finding a job that paid decently that I could get, and while this job is better than some things I could be doing, it's not where I saw myself going a couple of years ago.  I've become complacent about finding a career because the jobs I originally envisioned having are either far too competitive for me to get or are not available.  Have I mentioned I hate this economy?

What I'm trying to get at is that a lot of us in our twenties are really discouraged about the job market, whether it be finding the job you want or just finding a job at all!  And even though we're getting married which is at least some sort of accomplishment (you know what I mean), I for one feel like I failed at life a little bit by having such a ridiculously hard time finding a job last year and then being more concerned about a paycheck than a career this year.

But at the same time, getting married adds pressure to the system instead of adding financial support.  We all know how much weddings cost, and I would like to have enough money saved by next summer to have a little buffer zone in case we go over budget (and let's face it, we all go over budget too, especially those of us with little budget to begin with).  Plus there's that whole I don't want to be away from my partner or plan the wedding from afar thing which seriously inhibits my ability to find a job.  And I don't want my WEDDING to interfere with my career, but at the same time, I really want to enjoy my wedding.

OK, clearly this post fails at organization.  I guess, I just feel like life is hard enough right now, and I'm a little peeved at my wedding for adding pressure.  Of course, I also am so grateful to have someone to share that pressure with, and I have truly enjoyed having an excuse to write and having something to look forward to, so maybe it's not such a burden.  I guess I'm still a little jealous of my friends who truly have the freedom to do whatever they want (if they can get a job they don't hate), go wherever they want, and spend their money on whatever they can afford while I have to plan around someone else and am currently supporting that person (though I've got to admit, I'm pretty happy that I am capable of supporting someone else.  I never thought that I would be the bread winner in the relationship, and even though it's temporary, I feel like that's an accomplishment).

So in conclusion, the economy sucks, getting married in this economy sucks, but wanting to get married to your partner definitely doesn't suck.

Most of you are older than me.  How's your career going?  Do you have any advice for someone trying to get started in life?

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm Still Still Here

Hey everyone, sorry again for the utter lack of attentiveness lately.  My new job and commuting have really gotten the better of me, but I swear I'm going to post for real this weekend.

In the meantime...

It was my 23rd birthday yesterday!  I feel old.  I know most of you are older than me, so sorry if you perceive that as a dig, but I just keep thinking that I should have accomplished SOMETHING by this point.  I mean, 23 is a real adult, I feel like.  Oh well, more on that later.

I will talk to you all soon!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Disappearing into Thin Air

Hey, I just wanted to say sorry for the MIAness lately and to let you know why I will continue to be MIA for a while.  Just started a new job which is good but time-consuming, largely due to the 2 hour commute I am now making daily, and staring at a screen for 8 hours really does not make me want to do so at home.  Hopefully, I'll get into a routine soon and remember that I have to plan a wedding, but for now, hang tight, I'll be back.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Award for Worst Customer Service Ever

And the winner is...Angel Island!  Not only did you make us wait 2 hours to meet with you even though you had said you were available at 1, but you also did not tell us about the $4,000 in fees that would be added on to your site fee and food.  But what really got you into this category was how much you did not want us there.  I'm sorry we burdened you so with our desire to give you money.  Angel Island, you may have a nice view, but I don't really want to get married on a patch of dried grass anyway.  Thanks for wasting our time.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How Do Models Survive?

All right, so after my last post, I feel I should follow up with a caveat.  You see, it worries me that 95% of brides seem to feel the need to diet.  I mean think about it, that means almost no one is comfortable with their weight.  That's scary.

I know you all know you should diet healthily and not too fast and not with scary products, yadda yadda yadda.  But I'm going to tell you a story about how easy it is to go too far because people just don't think about it as much as they should.  Not about going anorexic or bulimic or anything like that, but about how a reasonable person can make small choices that greatly affect the way she sees herself.

During my senior year of high school, I developed a weird stomach condition took away my appetite.  It was sort of like acid reflux disease; the high amount of acid in my stomach kept me from wanting to eat because eating basically gave me a stomach ache.  Heaven for most people, right?  There is no better way to lose weight than not wanting to eat (except of course the stomach flu).

I wasn't uncomfortable with my weight before this happened, but I was conscious of it.  I wasn't really dieting, but I did start watching what I ate at the age of 15.  Most of the time, it was just cutting unnecessary sugar out of my diet which was healthy.

But at the onset of this disease, I did the most unhealthy thing possible.  I didn't eat.  I didn't want to, so I didn't.  Not to the point of starvation of course, but enough to lose a lot more weight than I should have.  10 pounds in 2 weeks to be exact.  And people started to notice.  It wasn't until my dance teacher pulled me aside and basically asked me if I had an eating disorder that I realized how bad it was.

I didn't do it on purpose.  I didn't even realize what was going on.  But I could have stopped it, and I didn't because I liked it.  I liked looking like a model.  I was happy when my weight finally dipped under 100 pounds.  I liked it so much that it took someone telling me I was sick for me to realize something was wrong.

After that encounter, I did something about it.  I went to the doctor, was told this was caused by stress (also something to think about!), got on acid-reducing pills, and learned what foods were easy on the stomach and basically ate just Wheat Thins and Triscuits for weeks.  I couldn't even eat the food at my prom for fear I'd get sick.  Eventually, I started gaining the weight back and feeling better.  I wish I could say that I was completely happy about that, but it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I'd have to give up looking like a model to be healthy.

It took years for me to get over the way I looked during that period and years for me to realize what a healthy weight for me was and that I would have to stay at it even if it didn't look perfect.

All that from 2 little weeks of self-indulgent thoughts about my weight.

I don't usually tell people this story because they assume that I had an eating disorder.  It wasn't like that because I wasn't really trying to lose weight.  I was just happy that I did.  And I think that's really telling of a lot of girls out there.  We don't want to be unhealthy, but we still have images in our head that we'd like to live up to.  Sometimes the image wins, and there can be major consequences, both psychological and physical.  To this day, I can't skip meals, or I'll get really dizzy and black out.  And I don't think it's from the disease, I think it's my body's way of forcing me to get enough to eat.


What I'm trying to get at is, a lot of people have a goal of what they want to look like, but if your goal isn't realistic to your body, getting there can have consequences.  And it's always better to feel good about yourself regardless of what you look like (because that's so easy after all).

I'm not against dieting or anything.  I think being at an unhealthily high weight is also bad.  My point is, being healthy and being skinny are not the same thing, so don't try to kill yourself.  It won't end well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Job Applications = Procrastination, or Tips for the Wedding Diet

Unlike about 95% of brides (from my personal observations), I am not going on a wedding diet.  I don't want to brag or sound bitchy or anything, but I just don't need to.  I'm pretty happy with this:

Personal Photo

But just because I'm relatively thin doesn't mean I don't work at it.  My friends seem to have an immense amount of difficulty understanding this.  Yes, my metabolism doesn't suck, but going the extra mile from normal to slender in my case is due to choices, not luck.  So I thought since there are a lot of you out there trying to lose weight that I'd share what I've been doing since I was 15 to get a body that I'm happy with.

1.  Portions:  Portion sizes are probably the most important element of weight loss.  You can eat anything you want even while dieting as long as you keep the portion sizes down.  For me, the easiest way to do this at home is to eat from small plates, bowls, etc.  In high school, I would come home everyday and fill a small cup with ice cream.  It was still less satisfying than 4 scoops, but using a cup instead of a bowl made me feel like I was eating more than I was, and even ice cream became a low-calorie snack.  Restaurants are obviously more difficult, but you can always try to order something small (like an appetizer) for your meal or save half to eat another day.

2.  Eat from Home:  I lied.  This is the most important aspect of weight loss.  Eating out is ALWAYS worse for you than eating at home.  Obviously, I don't expect you to never go out, but eating at home and bringing food with you to work, school, etc. will decrease your calorie intake immensely and allow you to have more control over what you're eating.  I seriously believe that if everyone in America brought their lunch from home everyday, obesity rates would plummet.

3.  Fruits and Veggies:  I'm sure you all know that they're good for you, but they can also be a useful and healthy way to fill your stomach when you're hungry.  When I pack a lunch, I usually include a main dish of some sort (something that will satisfy) that contains fewer calories than I need and then fill the rest of the calories in with fruits and/or vegetables.  You'd be amazed how much better raw carrots taste when you're starving.  Truth be told, I despise vegetables, but when I'm hungry, and they're all I have, I'll eat them.

4.  Count Calories:  I don't do this anymore, but everyone I know who has dieted by counting calories has had good results.  The hard thing is that you have to stick to it, and you have to find out how many calories you're getting from EVERYTHING you're eating.  Sometimes it's good just to look up the calories of your favorite snacks, drinks, or fast food places just so you know what you're eating.  If you want more information, www.weightwatchers.com is a good place to start if you're going to count calories.

5.  Drink Water:  More importantly, don't drink anything but water.  Seriously.  Sodas and even juices have way more calories than you need and really are not very satisfying or good for you.  Water of course is always good for you, and sometimes it will help fill you up a bit.  If you want to drink something besides water, drink milk (great source of protein!).  Just remember to add its calories into your daily count.  Oh, and if you frequent Starbucks or somewhere like that, check out how many calories are in your favorite drinks.  You'll be amazed (and horrified).

6.  Exercise:  I hate it too.  And to be perfectly honest, exercising does not make that much of a difference in weight for most women.  However, exercising can actually decrease your appetite to a certain extent if you do it in moderation.  On that note, moving around all day can also decrease your appetite if you eat when you're bored (like I do).  I know many jobs make this difficult, but I always feel better when I do something physical in the evenings or on the weekends.  Anyway, the best way I've found to exercise without hating it is to do a sport or something that will keep your mind occupied, so you don't concentrate on the pain.  Personally, I enjoy aerobic dance like Zumba, but if you're not a dancing kind of gal, look for an adult sports league or a gym class that does interest you.  And walk.  Walk whenever you can.  It's better than nothing.

7.  Indulge Yourself:  Never try to kill yourself dieting.  It doesn't work.  I learned this the hard way.  Sometimes, you have to give up on the dieting and go eat something fun.  You don't want to be hungry all the time, and you don't want to exercise to the point of exhaustion.  In all likelihood, doing these things will cause you to eat more than you would have if you had given yourself a break.  It's all about moderation.  You also don't want to think about food all the time.  I know from personal experience that that can be hard when you're trying not to eat too much, but the more you can get into a routine with your eating habits, the less you'll be hungry, the less you'll think about food, and the less you'll want to indulge.  And once you get to your goal weight, staying at it won't be as bad as getting there.

All right, well I hope that didn't sound too much like a dieting brochure, but I do feel like hearing these things from real people is more helpful than from people getting paid to say them.  If you have any questions or want any personal advice about any of this, please don't hesitate to email me:  danicole2011@gmail.com.  Also, though I may not be going the wedding diet route, Daniel kind of is (not so much on the "wedding" part, but timing-wise, if he sticks with it, the wedding may be a good goal date anyway), so perhaps I can convince him to share his experience via "Groom-inations."

What's worked for you?  What weight-related advice would you give to other brides?

Classy Wedding by the Sea