Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Name Game

It seems I have come across a bit of a lull bloggingwise of late.  It's ironic, this is almost the first time that I'm not just reading about other people's ideas or dreaming up my own but am in fact making appointments to look at venues in California while I'm there next month.  Oddly enough, this has caused downtime for me creatively.  I figure, if I might have a venue in a few weeks, might as well wait on the real planning until I have it.

Anyway, due to my lack of interesting things to say, I thought this might be a good time to talk about last names.

In many ways, I have distinct feminist tendencies.  This is not one of them.  Growing up, I never doubted for a second that I would take my husband's last name, and the reason is simple:  I hate my last name.  It is common, boring, and, most bothersome to me, a boy's first name.  I have been looking forward to getting rid of it for years.

And then I met Daniel.  Daniel's last name isn't horrible.  It's easy to spell without being ridiculously common.  Nonetheless, it's really not what I was hoping for in a new last name, and though it is not a boy's first name, it does end in "man."  I find this very problematic.

It's not that I'm not still planning to change my last name because I am, but for the first time, it's not such an appealing prospect.  What I'd really like to do is have both of us change our last names to something meaningful to both of us.  We often joke that we should change our last name to "Awesome" (anyone out there watch "How I Met Your Mother"?).  That would be legend (wait for it) dary!  Of course, I'm not expecting something like that.  But we could make it work.  Once I tried to find the perfect last name for us, and the best I could come up with was Roberts.  As in, the Dread Pirate Roberts.  Which as anyone who knows (loves...worships...) the fantastical movie for which my blog is named should know, would be pretty fucking awesome...for the select few who knew the reference anyway.

There are a lot of possibilities, but I think that even if I came up with the perfect name, Daniel still wouldn't go for it.  He hasn't said no outright, but it's been pretty clear to me that he's not crazy about actually doing this.

I find this extremely unfair.  I know millions of women have said this, but I still find it problematic that a woman should be expected to give up her name for the man.  I don't want to have separate last names, but why am I the only one who has to give mine up?  Why is it so foreign for both couples to give up their last names?

I don't want Daniel to do it if he's not comfortable with it.  It just bothers me that this is so uncommon that my fiance who is almost more of a feminist than I am won't really consider giving his name up, mostly because it was never something he would be expected to do.  I don't blame him, I blame the norm.  And at the risk of sounding like an angsty pubescent, it just sucks.

I guess maybe this is a way in which I have distinct feminine tendencies after all.

So, thoughts?  Are you giving up your last name?  Would you ever consider inventing a new last name?  How do you feel about the name game?

P.S.  I know a lot of people have had trouble with comments lately, and I know I've had trouble receiving them in the past.  If you're having trouble commenting, would you mind sending me a quick email, just so I know and can try to fix it?  I'd really appreciate it.  You can find me at

Monday, May 24, 2010

Joey and Heather's Wedding Pictures!

Wow, I have been terrible about getting this done!  Major fail.  Anyway, I finally finished editing Joey and Heather's wedding photos.  I am definitely not a professional photographer, AND we barely had any time to take pictures, AND my camera is less than awesome, but taking all of that into account, I think they turned out decently.  And Joey and Heather like them which is all that really matters.  Anyway, here are some of my favorites:

Yeah, that's my fiance

all personal photos

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quick Note

I am booking appointments with venues.  This is actually happening.  Squeal!

Search for the Perfect Dress: Demetrios (Part 6)

All right, now is the time when things become a little anachronistic, so bear with me.

Demetrios is probably the designer I've had the most luck with overall, including my beloved Maggie Sottero.  I found them in a magazine and subsequently checked out their San Diego flagship store way back in 2008.  During that trip, I found A LOT of dresses that fit the description of what I was looking for really well.  Though none of them particularly stood out to me, having such an awesome selection helped me narrow down my preferences so that I knew exactly what I was looking for when I found it in the Private Label dress.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  I found another massive Demetrios store in Schaumburg, IL and decided to check it out while visiting Daniel's family (FIL's family almost all live in the northern Chicago suburbs).  Now, this was the day before I was planning to go back to Eva's Bridal and possibly buy my Monalisa dress.  I guess it's good that I went to Demetrios first because I fell in love with a very different kind of dress.

Meet my new obsession with peek-a-boo lace!  There were two dresses in particular at Demetrios that I would seriously be considering buying if I could afford them.

(ignore the jacket thingy)

All right, so the second one is not quite actually the dress I tried on, but it's similar.  The major difference between the two I tried on was that the latter was satin anyway which I definitely prefer.

ANYWAY, so remember how I was saying that I was surprised to love a lacey dress?  Well, most of the lacey dresses I had seen before this were modern.  As in, chic and slim.  Not my type.  But these dresses combined the princessy look that I love (including a full skirt, beading, and a waistline that's actually at the waist) with the more modern (or vintage depending on how you look at it) lace with asymmetry in the skirt.  I always had a thing with skirts that pulled to the side, but these were the first ones I'd seen that really seemed to work.  Same goes for the flowers on the skirts.  It still had the normal skirt over the lace (one even had my beloved pick-ups) which I liked, but the lace was just there peeking through.  Me likey.  Especially because there was a full lace skirt underneath instead of just enough to show on the side.  Which is probably why I can't afford these dresses.  Sigh.  I also really liked the bustle which is like a complete revelation for me as I generally hate bustles (thus my love of pick-ups that hide them).  They could just pull the extra skirt to the side.  Looked quite awesome.

Anyway, the point is that this really threw me for the next day which is part of why I decided not to buy the Monalisa after all.  Now I have no idea what I want, so I guess I'm going to have to keep trying on dresses.  Soooo tragic, I know.

Actually, I kind of do have an idea of what I want to do now.  Still not 100% sure whether I'm going to go for a dress that was more like the super princessy ones I was going for originally or if I'm really going to pursue peek-a-boo lace, but I have sort of come to a decision about how I'm going to obtain my dress.

See, I've known from the beginning that designing my own dress would be the best way to go for me.  At first, I figured that would be way too expensive to even consider.  When I discovered that it's actually cheaper to hire a seamstress than to buy a designer gown (even one of the cheaper designers), I started thinking about it, but I wasn't really serious about it because I figured it would be extremely difficult to find a good one.

But now, I'm really starting to think that's the way to go for me.  You might have figured out by now that I am extremely picky when it comes to dresses ("What?  No, never," you say before rolling your eyes behind my back), and I really do want my dress to be perfect.  So I think my best option is to pick apart different dresses, grabbing a bodice here, a skirt there, a train down that-a-way, and have someone sew them together into something that really fits me.

Do I feel bad about essentially stealing a dress idea?  Yeah, kind of.  But the thing is, if the designer wouldn't make a custom dress for me anyway, and I don't like one dress enough to buy it, then it doesn't really feel like stealing.  I mean, I'll definitely be making changes to the design no matter what, so my conscience should be clear...right?  Besides, this is looking like the only way for me to find my dream dress unless one magically appears during my dress hunt (which I'm still hoping for).

So this is the current plan:  keep looking; if I haven't found something by, say, October, hire a seamstress, and create my own dream dress.

Thoughts?  Good idea?  Bad idea?  Anyone know a really good seamstress in Southern California?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

When did this happen?

OK, brief break from strictly wedding stuff to discuss the nature of Daniel's and my relationship as of right now.

I've been saying for ages that for all practical purposes, Daniel and I are already married.  The only thing that I expected to actually change after marriage was that we would start sharing money.  Daniel would be fine with doing that now, but as I have only been out of college and thus paying for everything myself for a year, I put my foot down and said that I wanted to have financial independence until we got married.  I wanted to prove to myself that I could make it with just my money at some point in my life.

Anyway, I bring this up because I just realized that Daniel and I aren't really thinking about his money and my money anymore.  When we have to make financial decisions, we base them off of how much money we have together.

I do not know how to feel about this exactly.  On the one hand, this makes me feel like I'm shirking my duty to myself to feel independent.  However, it seems that for the first time in our relationship, I'm actually better off financially than Daniel.  I mean, if we count his student loans, I've been better off for a while, but I tend to just count how much money each of us has in the immediate sense since that seems to actually affect our lives more.  And now that I have a new job :D, and Daniel's not sure if he'll be able to get financial aid for his summer class, I'm actually going to have more money than him in the very near future.

I think that makes the sharing money concept OK with me because I only was worried about never being financially independent.  Being the one pulling more weight financially is something I'm totally fine with, mostly because it will probably never happen again, and I would like to enjoy it while it lasts.

Besides, it's probably good to ease into sharing money because I know I'm going to have problems adjusting to that one.  Let's just say that the two of us don't always agree on what's worth spending money on, and when money is tight, that could be a source of contention.  So I think maybe this is actually good.  We'll have to make major financial decisions together before getting married, and then maybe agreeing on (or at least living with) less significant ones afterward will be easier.

So, married people, is it hard to share everything financially?  Or does that make things easier since it's all one big pool?  Unmarried (and married actually) people, how do you feel about waiting to do some things until you're married?  Is there anything that's important to you to wait on?  Why?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Search for the Perfect Dress: Chicagoland (Part 5)

When last we left, I was in love with a dress from Elegant Lace Bridal and about to break off my engagement.  The details of said breaking off and getting reengaged are chronicled elsewhere, but for my dress search, this meant that I did not try on another wedding dress for almost exactly 1 year.  I changed a lot in that year.  Maybe that's not quite true.  My circumstances changed a lot in that year (I graduated college.  Nuff said), and I feel like I grew up rather quickly because of it.  I figured my tastes might have changed a little in the last year, but I was surprised at how enamored I was with dresses I would never have bothered with before.

When I went to my first bridal appointment since Elegant Lace, I was still firmly attached to this dress:

(I think Laura was right about it being this one instead of the one that I thought it was).

Since I was pretty sure I still wanted that one, I treated this appointment as an opportunity to explore styles I hadn't really tried on previously.  Namely, mermaids.  I've always had a thing for mermaid dresses, but since I wanted a full skirt, I had barely tried on anything form-fitting during my first round of dress shopping.  But of course I fell in love with the first mermaid dress I tried on at Eva's Bridal of Orland Park.  I didn't get the style number or even the designer from the saleslady, but it looked pretty similar to this dress (which I also love):

OK, actually, looking at it now, the cuts are significantly different, but the feel of this dress is similar to the other one.  Anyway, it was the first time I had fallen in love with a mermaid dress but also the first time I had fallen for lace.  Both of my wedding buddies were big fans of lace when we were looking for dresses together, but I never understood the appeal.  Until now.  Something about that dress just spoke to me, and I started to doubt my original "princess dresses only" approach to dress shopping.

Eva's Bridal also happened to have my beloved Monalisa, and as you know, when I tried it on again, I started seriously thinking about buying it.  Though that didn't really work out, having a dress in mind really shaped my dress search in Chicago because I compared every dress I tried on to Monalisa.

I went to a few other salons around Chicago, but I didn't find anything that really spoke to me.  Part of this was comparing everything to Monalisa, but I think the main problem was that I was looking for dresses in the city.  As I said in Part 2 of my search, I find suburban shopping to be much more fruitful than its urban counterpart, and that experience has definitely stayed true in Chicago.  It wasn't until I visited Demetrios in the northern suburbs that my search actually went somewhere, but as that experience deserves its own post, you'll have to stay tuned to learn about my major moment of self-discovery.

Have your tastes changed over time?  Did you find dresses that you were sure you would buy at the beginning of your search that you were later sure were wrong for you?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Er, maybe I wasn't quite clear...

Hey, so I just wanted to let you all know that the stress I was talking about in my last post was mostly from work, not so much wedding planning.  I'm just worried the wedding will become a major source of stress, and it seemed like a good time to talk about it because I'm so stressed about all this other shit I'm dealing with right now.  But thank you all for your support and advice!  I really do appreciate it!  And things have taken a turn for the better that I cannot actually talk about in a public forum just yet, but let's just say that I'm going to have more time to focus on the wedding without the crazy stress soon :).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


All right, finally the fabled post about what the heck has been going on with me lately.  OK, so first let me apologize again for my irregular posting.  I'd like to be posting several times per week, and I'm capable of doing so, but various things in my life have held me back.  If you've been paying attention to my posts lately, you've probably figured out that a lot has happened to my fiance and thus to me recently, and that has taken a lot of attention away from wedding plans.  I also have a lot going on in my life, mostly related to my job which let's just say I don't care for.  You might remember my cry for help about a month ago in which I pleaded for advice in my quest to get a good night's sleep.  Things got better for a while, but now I haven't had a good night's sleep in at least two weeks, and that's really wearing on me more than all of the other stuff (which was the main cause of my insomnia in the first place).

Wedding plans don't help.  I think I've mentioned before that I get stressed out easily and that I'm really worried about getting uber stressed about the wedding because, let's be honest, it happens to EVERYBODY.  This means I'd probably be better off eloping.  But that's not going to happen (though I have thought about it...a lot).  Thinking about the wedding too much right now is just another thing to keep me up at night, and that is something I really can't afford.

So I'm sorry about the erratic posting.  It will probably continue at least until I have a few things sorted out but will most likely be a trend throughout this blog.  Please don't stop reading!  I swear I will always get back on the ball, and so far, I've still been able to post at least once a week consistently.  And for those of you out there listening, I really appreciate your thoughts and advice and even just that you take the time to listen to my rants, my ideas, and my life.  I've always wanted to be a writer.  I gave up on any sort of professional writing a while ago due to my inability to sit still for more than half-an-hour, but for the first time, I'm writing about something that matters enough for me to keep going.  I'm really enjoying this blog, and I'm grateful to you for giving me a reason to keep writing.

OK, so how do you deal with stress?  Seriously, I need professional help and can't afford it, so any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

P.S.  I like comments.  Comments make me feel like there is a purpose in writing this.  As in they make me feel like I'm not writing to nobody.  Just saying...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

4 Years and Counting

Sorry for the lack of postiness...again.  There has been stuffs, I will get into it later, but for now, the fun stuff.

Daniel and I celebrated our fourth anniversary this weekend.  Until now, we have always gone on a minication.  California has so many awesome places to visit that it wasn't hard.  Bodega Bay, Stinson Beach/Point Reyes, Napa...they all were spectacular without costing us too much.

This year, money was just a little too tight for us to grab a hotel room, so we decided to stay at Chez FIL instead.  He was in CA on business, so we took over his house for two nights, so we could go to Six Flags Great America.

But first we made ourselves a fancy dinner at home on our actual anniversary which happened to be last Friday.  Daniel made cauliflower au gratin and pasta shells filled with ricotta and spinach among other things.  I made mango daquiris and a chocolate tart with blackberry sauce.  It was all delicious, but I have to say that my tart kicked ASS.  We had a lovely dinner (at an actual table!) and then headed off to the suburbs to get a good night's sleep for Great America.

That's when things started going wrong.  It's a bit of a hike to the suburbs, and we got a late start, so we didn't get to sleep until after midnight.  As I am still having trouble sleeping, I woke up at 7 really wishing that I could get back to sleep.

When we got to Great America, it was FREEZING!  I'm pretty sure it was in the high 40s, and we were not dressed for it, especially since it had been in the 70s during the week.  I was miserable.  We left after two rides (Daniel got us passes for my birthday, so we knew leaving wouldn't be a waste of money) in favor of the warmer amazing Chinese restaurant we discovered nearby.  That was good, but it kind of made me sick.  But we got to see Iron Man 2 after, so that at least was good.

That night, we did nothing.  I was so tired I almost fell asleep around 7.

Didn't get enough sleep that night either, but it was better at least.  Went to Daniel's family's mothers' day brunch Sunday morning which was meh.  Neither of us was up for much after that, but we decided to try Great America again anyway.  It was warmer, but I felt queasy the whole time, and we left early.

Not the greatest anniversary ever.  Lately, I just feel like everything that can go wrong does.  But you know what?  We still had a good time because we got to spend the whole weekend together.  And really, that's what matters to me in the long run:  knowing that I can have fun even in a shitty situation just because Daniel is there with me.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Monalisa, You're Just Not The One

Thank you all for jumping to my aid so quickly!  I really appreciate your advice!  But I didn't buy the dress, and this is why:

On a quick financial note, the discount was not nearly as much as I thought it would be.  I'm pretty sure the first time I tried on the Monalisa Royale, it was $900 something, definitely less than $1,100.  At this place even with the discount, it was STILL about $900.  The taffetta version was cheaper, but I despise taffetta, so that wasn't happening.  With that small of a price difference, getting it in CA is easier and preferable.

But the main reason I didn't get it is that there's just something off about that dress.  I've known it from the beginning, but I thought I could learn to live with it or that I was over it or something.  I used to nitpick about certain aspects of the dress, but I've come to realize that even with the little things aside, there's something about the overall concept of the dress that just doesn't work for me.  It's a bit too sharp or something...anyway, I realized today that when I look at it, I don't see "The One," so I am breaking up with the Monalisa Royale.  It will be a hard and painful break-up, and there's still a small chance that we might get back together, but for now, I think it's best if I see other dresses.  And if I'm honest with myself, I'm not ready to stop dress shopping yet anyway.  I still await a dress that pops out and says, "I was made for you."

I have some ideas about what that dress may look like and how to go about finding it, but I'll leave it here for today.  A moment of silence now for the Monalisa Royale.

Help! I need your advice, QUICKLY!

I'm going dress shopping today at a place that is giving a 30% discount on all gowns, and I know they have the dress I've been leaning towards.  My dilemma?  Should I buy it?

Pros:  30% off is a BIG deal.  Especially since I've started working out my budget and realized that I kinda need to downsize my dress budget if possible.  Plus, if I buy in IL and ship the dress to CA, I don't have to pay sales tax, so that's ANOTHER 10% off.  I know I love this dress, and I think I'd be happy with it.  Also, this would mean that I've actually gotten something wedding-related accomplished which would be nice.  And I know Daniel likes this dress, so that's helpful.

Cons:  I'm still not getting married for over a year.  I may have tried on a very large number of bridal gowns, but I'd still like to keeping window shopping if I do buy a dress now, and I'm afraid I'll find something I like better.  Also, with the dresses I've been attracted to lately and the fact that this dress is a bit ball gowny for what we're going for, I'm afraid I'll want something different later.  But on the same note, the dresses I've been coveting lately are more expensive which I can't do anyway and this dress is more me which is more important to me anyway.  The main thing I'm worried about is that if I ship it to CA, I won't be able to complain to the bridal salon as easily if something goes wrong.  I'll have to talk to them about that.  I'll also have to find my own seamstress to do alterations which worries me a little bit.  Plus...I wasn't really planning on making any purchases until the summer...and doing it before I've really got a handle on money and such kind of worries me.  I mean, I know I can afford it, but it's just a little sooner than I was expecting.  Finally, I don't yet have any of my undergarments or shoes, so I'll be flying a little blind with the fitting.  And while I'm not expecting to gain weight before my wedding, doing this over a year in advance adds pressure.  Of course, this dress has a corset back, so that actually shouldn't be much of an issue.

All right, what should I do?  Is the uncertainty worth $300+ that could REALLY help me out in the savings department?  Or should I wait until I have no doubt in my mind that this is the right thing to do...which frankly will probably never happen anyway?

Classy Wedding by the Sea