Monday, August 31, 2009

To Bee or Not to Bee

I am a big Weddingbee Fan.

I started reading it back in September. Um yeah, I didn't get engaged until April! I had an idea of what I wanted, and I started researching on the web to see if it was attainable for me. I didn't want to get my hopes set up for a Forest Park affair if I couldn't afford it (I couldn't!), so I started seeing what was within reach for Ryan and I.

Weddingbee was one of the first websites I found, and I've been hooked ever since. I've thought a lot lately about if I want to try to blog for them. I know it's really hard to get picked. I can't apply until 8 months out, which would be October, and I'm pretty torn on if I want to try for it or not. I love blogging, I've had a blast doing this, and it's so nice to go back through and read through past posts and have an illustrated journal of what I've been up to. I take way more pictures now, and I love having this record of my life to look back on.

What's holding me back from Weddingbee is mainly their stance on the LGBQT community. There aren't any same-sex bees, and the company is owned by E-Harmony. I'm a huge supporter of the LGBQT community, and Ryan and I are getting married in the Unitarian Univeralist church, which is a leader in the fight for equality for the LGBQT community, because we feel strongly that people are born that way and deserve to be treated as such, and not as freaks or as people choosing to live a "bad" lifestyle. I don't feel good about helping to make E-Harmony money (they are huge proponents of Focus on the Family, and I am not). I don't feel that Weddingbee is as welcoming toward same-sex couples as they are to heterosexual couples. There is a conspicuous lack of same-sex bees, and there are very few same-sex members on the boards.

Anyway, I don't know if my involvement (if I was even chosen, which is quite the long shot) would actually make any money for E-Harmony, but I am trepidatious about helping their business to grow in any way. I don't know how I feel about participating in a community that (in my opinion) is not welcoming to LBGQT couples. I do know that I love following the Bees and have gotten so many ideas from them, and I would love to give St. Louis a voice on Weddingbee. There aren't any bees from this part of the country, and the boards are dead! I wonder if my involvement would encourage same sex couples to be more active and vocal on Weddingbee. In that case, I would be all about it.

I don't know. I have plenty of time to think about it. I also need to sit down and talk to Ryan. He's a very private person, and I don't think he would be entirely comfortable about me splashing our lives all over a huge blog, so we would need to see if he's comfortable with it and to set some guidelines of what he is OK with sharing and what he isn't.

What do you all think? Any Weddingbee applicants out there?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Things to Do with the People you Love

When my sister Alli and I were little, we loved to color. We had this great game called "Art Galley" where we would do our best coloring and trade pieces of art. One summer my parents took us to the beach for a week, and all we would do is color. Alli came home from work a few nights ago with these grown up coloring pages she had printed out, and we went to town!

Here's Alli picture, I nabbed the easy one and left her this super hard one. She was more than up for the challenge.

I can't even tell you how many pictures there are of us when we're younger just like this!

Here's my picture. I put the finished product up on mom and dad's fridge. All it needs is a gold star!

This was such a fun throw-back, and a great stress-reliever! We are definitely doing it again.

So what have you done with the people you love lately?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I just finished reading....

Q&A by Vikas Swarup, and it's now being published as Slumdog Millionaire.


It was quite a bit different from the movie that was based on it, but it had the same general storyline. It was a super fast read, I did it in about 3 days and I didn't have a ton of time to sit down and read it. I actually think I liked the movie better, for once! Worth reading and a great story, but don't expect many similarities to the movie.

On a side note, if I were to do a "rock the reception" kind of a deal, I would totally do it to the end credits of Slumdog Millionaire. I can't figure out how to upload the video, but here's a link.

What have you read lately?

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Goal is to Try on as Many Dresses as Humanly Possible

First off, a huge shout out to the best Maid of Honor in all of the land...Allison. When asked by the bridal shop lady how many dresses I had tried on, she replied, "A lot!" And Alli was there for pretty much every single one of them, so I owe her big time. Thanks a million Alli!

Now initially, I was going to this store to try on bridesmaid's dresses that could be ordered in ivor (that was yesterdays' post). The bridal consultants noticed what I liked about the bridesmaid's dresses and picked out wedding dresses they thought would work. Normally, this would cause warning bells to go off in my head, but they pulled some stunning gowns and really listened to what I liked. I didn't have to lift a finger, and they pulled some great dresses. First up, the bubble hem:

I hate bubble hems. Alli thought the all-the-way-down rouching made me look taller, and I agree. They did say it would be easy to lose the bubble hem, but this dress was missing something...or maybe I just can't get past the bubble hem. This was an Allure gown (I'm sorry, I was so good about the style numbers for the bridesmaid's dresses, but I failed miserably and didn't get any of these! If you need to know, just e-mail me and I'll call the shop and find out, or give you the shop's info).

Here is a private collection Allure gown, retailing at $798. Doesn't this dress look way more expensive than that? The satin was lustrous and wonderful, and when I was trying this dress on, I felt that it was "too much" or too dramatic for me. I'm a small person, and this is a lotta dress! It's really growing on me, I'm liking it more and more.

Here's the back of the same dress......looovveee the back! Can I just say that this dress was so tiny I could hardly breathe? I was smooshed into this one hardcore! I do love the things it's doing to my butt. Why thank you rouching, you make me look like I have curves! You should hear my mom's commentary on this one, it's hysterical: "What the? It looks like they took the fabric and just wadded it up and stuck it on there and said look, it's a wedding dress!" My mom cracks me up.

This next one was my initial favorite, and I still love it, but I also love strapless. I'm concerned that there is too much volume at the bottom, and Alli thinks that this certainly doesn't make me look any taller, which I agree with 100%. This dress was priced at $650 (!!!!), and the material was a pearlized taffeta. I liked the satin so much more, but they said they could actually get this dress made for me in satin with an upcharge of about $300, since the satin costs more. How amazing is that?

Here it is again, with a droopy sash! I don't know how I feel about the 4 tucks at the bottom of the dress. They look weird to me in the pictures.

And the back...I love the back, I am such a sucker for a pretty back of a dress!

I do love the off the shoulder straps, but I think I love strapless more. The bottom of this dress also looked kinda messy to me, but a lot of that is how much extra fabric they had to tuck under.

These were definitely the best dresses I've tried on so far. I don't have a lot of shape, and these dresses gave me curves and made me feel so sexy. I love the vintage elements, with the buttons down the back. And I really loved the price-all of these dresses were really affordable and very high quality.

The shop that I found these at (if you're interested, I highly recommend it, drop me a line and I'll fill you in) is actually the same shop where I got my prom dress....this is when I tanned. My prom date turned out to be one of my fiance's runners that he coached...weird, huh?

So ladies (and gentlemen), what do you think? I'll be trying them on again this weekend, because I am a psychotic bride who can't make up her d*mn mind! You are all the most objective people I've got, so fire away!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bridesmaids Dresses....for Me!

I was on a mission to find a simple wedding dress, and my next step was to try on the Watters or the WToo bridesmaids dresses that conveniently come in ivory. I found a store about 30 minutes from my hometown that carried them (the same place I got my prom dress!), so one day after work my bad*ss MOH and I headed out to give it our best shot.

Up first, the WToo 585. The fabric was a decent quality, but it was just too plain. Aren't I awful, I want a simple dress but then I say these are too plain! There was nothing special about it, I think.

Here we have the Watters 5710. The fabric was a light taffeta with a bit of texture to it, and it felt kind of wintry to me. Once again, nothing special.

This was my favorite out of all the bridesmaids dresses. It had a pretty wrapped sweetheart neckline, and I love a sash. It is the Watters 8382.

Still, it left a lot to be desired!

This was a Forever Yours 272, and the material was much softer. Pretty, but that's about it-no wow factor whatsoever.

It is so hard when they size is off! I have such a difficult time picturing what it would look like on me in the right size.

Anyway, these were not right at all. Luckily, the ladies at the shop were wonderful and pulled wedding dresses for me to try on, based on what I liked and disliked about these dresses. I'm glad I gave the bridesmaid's dresses a shot though!

The wedding dresses I also tried on that day are up next, and they are the best yet!

Did you try on wedding dress alternatives, and how did it work out for you?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Great Dress-Tastrophy

Hehehe, I couldn't figure out how to spell "dresscapade" (doesn't that look wrong to you? It does to me. Maybe because it isn't a real word...), so I went with that post title. By the way, there are going to be a ton of dress posts coming up, because I tried these on last weekend and I tried more on yesterday!

Anyway! I went dress shopping this weekend in St. Louis by myself. I hadn't been by myself before, and it wasn't bad because I tried on nothing that was remotely intriguing to me. I'm going to apologize in advance, because I didn't think to write down a single style number. Here is the website of the shop I visited though. They don't take appointments and everything was priced less than $1200. Their selection wasn't huge, and it was a no frills kind of place.

Number 1 was the pick of my bridal consultant, Libby.

To be brutally honest, the only things I liked about this dress was the fact that it was ivory and that it was strapless. I feel that these big dresses, even A-line ones, overwhelm me.

Gah, I am sorry for the sh*t-tastic pictures! What's hard to see is how thick and bulky the bodice and sleeves were on this dress. I think I loved the way the material flared out from the 3 crystals right above my knees. Still, I just couldn't get past the bodice.

This dress was made of a white mesh with laced and beading accents. The mesh felt scratchy and kind of cheap to me. The material was not a good quality and had lots of little tears in it.

This dress was super simple. I loved the bodice of it, but the rest was just too plain for me.

I'm starting to think that the traditional bridal salon route is not for me. By the time you rule out the dresses that aren't sheaths or trumpets, you've got about 5 dresses to choose from, if that.

Is that a Midwest thing, or is that a low-budget thing? Are you having any luck dress shopping?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Late Night Snack, Anyone?

I love the late night snack trend I've seen in some weddings lately.


This is exactly what I had in mind-milk and cookies! The only thing holding me back from doing this was my total inability to make cookies come out right. I just don't have the right touch with them, I guess. A weekend or so ago, I made a batch of peanut butter cookies and a batch of chocolate chip cookies that actually turned out, even in my iffy-at-best oven. I'm thinking, start baking every weekend in April and freeze the cookies, and by July 24th, I'll have plenty for the late night snack! I'm not sure how difficult the milk would be to procure. I found the recipes for the cookies over at Allrecipes. You'll find the chocolate chip recipe here and the peanut butter recipe here.

This is a DIY project I am confident about! I'll have plenty of time, so if something goes wrong all is well, and I can work ahead, which is huge. I had kind of ix-nayed the late night snack idea because I figured it would be too expensive, but this wouldn't be a big investment at all.

Are you doing a late night snack, or are you baking anything for you wedding?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lovely Ladies

Here's what I'm thinking for the bridesmaid's.


This is the J Crew silk chiffon Juliet dress in tropical aqua. Just an FYI, all of the dresses are from J Crew and they are all in tropical aqua.


My MOH is praying that this dress comes out in tropical aqua. Right now it's only available in Spiced Wine or Deep Rose. I think the tie on the shoulder would set her apart a bit, no? She would look amazing in this (really anything, to be honest, she's got the perfect body).


This is the silk chiffon Sophia dress.

I love this silk taffeta Lorelei dress. I actually saw the tropical aqua taffeta in person, and it was lighter than this and absolutely gorgeous. I know I just showed lots of silk chiffon, but I'm open to any fabric except for the jersey, which I think it too casual.

The J Crew wedding consultant, Claire, said that this color is really popular and would most likely return next spring. I just can't ask people to order dresses 11 months before the wedding, I think it's way too early. So I am keeping my fingers crossed that tropical aqua returns in the spring! I plan on having the bridesmaids pick whatever dress they'd like in the tropical aqua as long as it isn't jersey.

I went back and forth on getting bridesmaids dresses from J Crew, because they are so expensive. The David's Bridal ones I liked were all $135, and if you get a J Crew card to get 10%, the J Crew dresses are maybe $30 more expensive. This made it much more reasonable to, who wouldn't want to wear these dresses again? They're gorgeous! When I saw the aqua taffeta in person, I definitely considered ditching the wedding dress and rocking the aqua with red satin heels.

What are you having your lovely ladies wear?

I just finished reading...


East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. It's always been my favorite Steinbeck book, but I hadn't read it in years, so I picked it up again. Its not a book I read quickly, I read it in little sips. I read a chapter or so every couple days, and I read it when cross training on the elliptical. I am a nerd for Biblical scholarship, so the Cain and Abel parallel makes my heart sing. I'm a simpleton when it comes to literature, so the philospohical bits at the beginning of some of the chapters were kinda boring, but the storyline of this book is SO good. I love a good story.

I've been reading so much less since starting my new job! I need to hit the library up for some new books tomorrow.

What have you read lately?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Which one?

I don't think I'm going to have that "this is the one" moment. I have things about many dresses that I like. I'm extraordinarily indecisive, so it's not like I'm surprised by this or anything. I definitely should have seen it coming! Here are the 2 most notable dresses I have tried on:

I like this dress, really like it, but it feels over done to me. The straps in the front are bugging me. They seem heavy, I think. I love the back and the material.

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I also really like this dress, and it feels much more me. I love the fact that I can shorten it and wear it after the wedding. By the way, the dress was a size to big and my mom is holding the extra material tight in the back. The dress is J Crew, and I posted about my J Crew dress trying on extravaganza earlier this month.

This one didn't feel particularly bridal...ugh. Decisions, ladies! Thank goodness I started looking for dresses like, 5 days after I got engaged. The more I look at these 2 right to each other, the more I like the 2nd one. I've quit shopping as of right now so I don't add any more confusion, but maybe I need to keep shopping for dresses. Maybe if I go to St. Louis this weekend, Ryan and I can go dress shopping together. He will definitely help me to not get overwhelmed, as I am apt to do when trying dresses on.

Did you have a hard time deciding on your dress? Because I sure am!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Crazy Sale

An extremely exuberant David's Bridal consultant called me today about a humungous sale on August 29th. A caterer's going to be there, and there are insane give aways from photographers, limo companies, etc. You just have to show up with a bridesmaid or two and try dresses on. I think the bridesmaid has to try dresses on too. I'm not sure I'm going to go, because I don't know if any of the give aways would work in St. Louis and I live about 2 hours away from there.

Speaking of David's Bridal....I really thought that this David's Bridal dress was the one. I love love LOVE the back, but this dress didn't really feel like me, you know? It seems.....overdone, in a way. I love the way this dress felt, though. The material of the skirt is a heavy netting with lace sewn on it. It just doesn't seem right, I guess? At $600 though, it's a great deal!

Is the David's Bridal in your town doing this big sale give away thing at August 29th?

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Big Ones

Ryan booked the caterer this week! That means we've got all of the "big ones" booked: the photographer, the caterer, the church and the reception hall.

I found that the cheap(er) places tend to book up quickly. I'm amazed at people who plan weddings in less than a year. Ryan and I got engaged in April, and I immediately started researching. We toured venues last month and have booked in the last few weeks. I can't imagine finding places to get married and have a reception less than a year out!

I've been telling myself since May that once Ryan and I got the "big ones" squared away, that I could relax and the wedding planning would be much more fun.

I do feel more relaxed already! Now I get to play with the fun details, like:

-Aisle decorations
-Centerpiece mock-ups
-Invitation design
-A bride's man?

Much more fun than boring contracts.

How long is it taking you to plan your wedding? Did getting the big vendors taken care of stress you out?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I just can't stop....

...spending money.

Money goes through my fingers like water.

I don't balance my checkbook (online banking does it for you! Right?), I have no clue what my credit score is, and I have no idea where the h*ll all my money goes every month.

I have been sooo stressed about money lately, what with saving for the wedding and finally being a self-sufficient adult, that I knew I needed to do something, but I didn't know what.

I signed up for Mint today. You input all of your accounts (don't worry, it's 100% secure) and they put together these incredible charts and graphs for you. After I input my checking account, Mint informed me just how much money I spend dining out in July. Ouch. It takes a bit to set up, and I'm still tweaking my account to make sure that the graphs are as accurate as can be (for example, making sure I mark which "Food and Dining" purchases are groceries and which ones are eating out), but I feel much more in control of my finances already.

Oddly enough, gas station purchases are automatically dubbed "Food and Dining." Isn't that strange? All I did to change them was to double click on the particular transaction, select "Auto" and then select "Gas/Fuel." It's so easy and user friendly!

You can manage every account you have from Mint. You can even set budgets up, and when you exceed your "Clothes" budget for the month, it tells you.

Mint just informed me that I spent and absolutely obscene amount of money at Wal Mart in the past six months!

I forsee great things happening with Mint. I am very goal oriented, so keeping the bars in the graph down under "Clothes" will keep me focused.

What do you do to not blow all of your paycheck in one day like I have been known to do in the past?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Losing My Sh*t

I am not managing stress well at all lately!

I just started a new job, my car needs new tires and the wheel size is weird so they are EXPENSIVE, Ryan's dealing with a lot right now, and we're in different cities...and to top it all off, he went $123 over on his cell phone bill...talking to me.

It's all just life stuff, but I feel like I'm not handling it as well as I should. I mean, isn't this wedding planning stuff supposed to be fun? Instead of enjoying it, I'm having meltdowns about how much it is costing. It's like the wedding exacerbates stress. It gives me stuff to fixate on and freak out over.

Workouts are keeping me sane right now. I never understood why people saw them as such stress relievers. Up until now, they've always been just one more thing on my to-do list, but lately, I have been really looking forward to my workouts. Yesterday I hammered out 5 miles on the elliptical after work and read some of East of Eden. I felt sooooo much better afterwards--my mood was vastly improved and I was feeling much more positive.

I have to get a grip though. Yesterday on the phone Ryan said "anti-anxiety meds aren't that bad, are they?" He was kidding...mostly!

How are you handling stress? Do you think wedding planning makes it worse?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's Official.....

I mailed in our contract with Gail Fleming this week!

I am so, so excited that she will be our photog for our wedding. How fabulous are these pictures!

All images are courtesy of the talented Gail Fleming. Missouri brides, she travels!

She does lots of candid shots as well as the traditional posed shots. She even has a list of typical posed shots made up. You can pull from it and add your own. My man hates to have his picture taken, and she takes the posed ones in less than an hour!

Her packages were 100% customizable and her rates were extremely reasonable. We're getting 3 30-page albums, 8 hours of coverage, and a high-res disc with printing rights for $2,000.

I found her via the WPJA, which is a great place to find a photographer.

How did you find your photog?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Ryan and I worked over our wedding budget recently.

Le sigh.

I'm being over-dramatic. After very generous parental contributions, Ryan and I will need to come up with about $2000 out of pocket. This doesn't include a honeymoon or wedding bands, though, so that's what concerns me.

Ryan says I worrying about this wayyy too much, but I really want a bad-a** honeymoon! I am hoping for a self-driving tour of Ireland, just like Mrs. Lovebug did over on Weddingbee (I'm not even going to link to it, I'm sure you are all voracious readers like myself!).

I think it intimidates me so much because I am quite the spender, while Ryan is the saver of the two of us. It's scary to me, knowing I have to save up a chunk of change in the next year.

Did the idea of saving all that money freak you out?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini is in season, and zucchini bread is a great way to use it up! 2 slices of this bread with a smidge of butter and a big glass of milk is one of my favorites breakfasts.

The recipe is from a Catholic Church cookbook. My MeeMaw attended the church in Leopold, MO, when she was little.

Zucchini Bread

2 cups grated zucchini

3 eggs

1 cup oil

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chopped nuts

Beat the eggs. Add the oil, vanilla and sugar; mix well. Sift together flour and soda; stir into egg mixture. Add the zucchini and nuts. Mix well and pour into 13x9 inch oiled pan or 2 oiled loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Oh yum!

This recipe makes 2 loaves, by the way-one for you and one for a friend! I made this last week and brought a loaf up to Ryan's mom. Zucchini in bread used to weird me out, but it makes the bread really moist and delicious.

I did make some variations to make this recipe a little healthier. I only used 1/2 cup of oil and I used 1/2 cup of applesauce. This made the finished product more crumbly than it normally is, but oh well! That doesn't really bother me. I also used half whole wheat flour and half white flour, and this hardly made a difference at all. It tasted just a touch nuttier. I always use pecans in this recipe, but I'm lucky--my Aunt Mary lives on my Meemaw's old farm and lets me and my mom pick up all the pecans we want every fall.

What have you made lately?

Monday, August 10, 2009

More Things to Do with People you Love

A few Sundays ago, Ryan and I went to a Cardinals game!

I hadn't been to the new stadium yet, so I was really excited to see it. Ryan's aunt and uncle had gifted him tickets...and the seats were really good.

Here's the view of the field from our seats.

The new stadium.

Ryan hates taking pictures. Hates it. Which sucks for me, because I take lots more pictures now that I blog. So he was joking in this picture and cheesing it up. His taking-a-picture-of-himself skills are obviously not good.

On the way out of downtown, we drove right by the arch.

It was such a gorgeous day, and we had a really nice afternoon.

What have done with your loved ones lately?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Magic of J Crew: Part 3

On to the final dress of the day!

This is the metallic Madison rose gown on the J Crew model:


And here it is on me. The dress was a size up, so my mom is behind me holding the extra fabric tight so we could get an idea of what it would look like altered. The brunette with the bob and black cardigan is Claire, the wedding consultant/total rockstar.

Oh it is so gorgeous! I love it. The defined waist is begging for a sash or a brooch....can you picture red satin pumps peeking out?

The fabric was luscious ivory silk with modern looking flowers done in silver thread. It's thick enough that it's somewhat forgiving. It does make me look flat chested, but sewn in bra cups work wonders.

I think this is it, ladies!

They no longer make this in my size, but Claire, the J Crew wedding consultant, said that since my size is unavailable, that J Crew would cover all of the alterations for me. I can open up a J Crew card and save 10 or 20 percent, too, making this dress much more affordable...especially considering I'm not paying for alterations.

It's simple, classic, different, chic....I think this very well might be the dress! And how cute would it look shortened after the wedding and worn as a cocktail dress?