31 December 2008

Oregon, part 2

Just how much snow was there? These trees turned out to be over 3 feet tall. (The property is a Christmas tree farm.) His Parents nicknamed them "the klansmen" -- and it is kind of weird to look out the window & see rows of little white hooded figures on the lawn. I'm just saying.

After our midnight hike the night before, we decided to get properly dressed for our next foray out into the snow: trekking down the driveway (3/4 of a mile) to see if mail &/or a newspaper had been delivered. You can see why the car wasn't able to make it to the house. Also, everything appears to be a-ok here, according to Mr. UB. That small thing sticking out of the snow to the left of the deer statue is another deer statue. Or at least the ear (I think) of another deer statue. Mr. UB discovers that he cannot, in fact, sled down the hill without a sled. (He tried this several more times, just to be sure.) That's Sweeper Dog with him -- the dog that His Mom mistook for a snowdrift when he was waiting to come inside. (Fortunately he's very happy in the snow.) Sweeper was part of a litter that the breeder named after "the mind" -- there was an Einstein puppy, a Jung puppy, etc. She'd heard of a video game called Mind Sweeper, and and gave that name to one of the puppies. Except that the game is actually called Mine Sweeper ... anyway, they just call him Sweeper now. I'm really not sure what's going on here. Moving on. Views of their property. There hasn't been this much snow in at least 60 years. Got it? Good. This is part of a culvert that is usually filled with water from one of the creeks on the property. Since the water was completely frozen, this was able to happen: Sigh. And he thinks I'm the goofy one in this relationship.

The best part of any walk down the driveway is almost at the end: the guy who has the property next to theirs has llamas! Lots of llamas! Baby llamas! Whenever there was a delay in getting stuff in/out of the car, or if I beat His Parents to the car because I was walking faster than they were, I just happily told them, "I'll go talk to the llamas." They never talked back, but I didn't mind. Also, I named them all Lorenzo. Because that's how I roll.

Our walk resulted in mail, but no newspaper. So it was back to the house, which I was cheerfully referring to as "snow prison" -- in the best possible way, mind you. Nothing to do but read, watch BBC's "Planet Earth" on dvd, and this: Did I mention we were essentially snowed in for the first 3 days?

30 December 2008

Oregon, part 1

A brief history of the first Christmas that Mr. UB & I spent together: It began with a great deal of uncertainty. Portland's airport had been closed for 3 days, due to pretty much unprecedented amounts of snow. (At least, if it was precedented, there's no one around now who was also around then to remember the precedenting.) We decided to leave the presents from my family un-opened, so that we'd have something to open if we ended up stuck in L.A.

We called Mr. UB's parents from the car, because they needed more than the usual heads-up that we were on our way. They had to use snow chains on their SUV, which meant they couldn't drive faster than 35 mph. So instead of 90 minutes, it was going to take them 3.5 hours to get to the airport to pick us up. (I'm still kind of amazed that they did that.) As in, we could fly to Portland in the same amount of time that it took them to drive to Portland.

Mr. UB was loathe to throw away a perfectly good large pizza that he'd only eaten half of, so he brought it with him. He thought it would be good food for the trip, he explained, when he picked me up at 7:45 a.m. Clearly we have different thoughts about what constitutes breakfast food. But as long as he was willing to carry it, and let me mock him somewhat consistently, I wasn't going to tell him not to. They let him bring it through security (via the x-ray, naturally) when he pointed out that it wasn't a liquid.

Everything went smoothly at the airport. (Side note: hooray for Burbank airport! Unless you're flying internationally, there's no reason to torture yourself by flying out of LAX.) Our flight took off as scheduled, and we stopped in San Jose, so there were no weather problems.

Looking out the window as we were approaching Portland, it looked more like we were flying into Denver -- total white-out. Pretty, but somewhat discongruous. The trucks that take luggage from the planes to baggage claim had snow chains.

We arrived on the first day PDX had been open after a 3-day closure. Lots of people had been stuck in the airport that whole time because by the time they found out their flights had been cancelled, the city had closed the roads out & they couldn't leave. The terminal had a vaguely Lord of the Flies vibe. Suitcases were lined up all over the floor, and the baggage carousels were overflowing with back-logged luggage. It took an hour and a half to get our bags, but frankly we were just happy we found them.

So we were all geared up for a long ride home -- sandwiches purchased, restroom used, etc. Which turned out to be a very good thing, because we were very wrong to think the drive would only take us 3.5 hours. Because shortly after we got on the road, driving oh-so-slowly on the snow chains, the transit authority up there (ODOT, which I think stands for Obnoxious Decisions of Torture) decided to re-plow Interstate 5. During rush hour, 2 days before Christmas. Without telling anybody, like the radio stations that do traffic reports, or announcing it on the road signs, or setting up detours or alternate routes. So all of a sudden, we just stopped. And stayed stopped, for pretty much 4 hours. It would've taken longer, but Mr. UB found us an alternate route on his iPhone. And then it took us almost an hour to crawl 300 yards to the next exit so we could take it. But hey -- the roads were open, if not plowed. And we didn't hit a weird ice patch that made the car spin out in slow motion until there was no cross traffic & the car behind us was far enough back to avoid hitting us. So we made the 60 miles to their house in just under 8 hours.

Except that the last 1/4 mile of their driveway was too steep to plow, and too icy to attempt even with the snow chains. So the adventure finished with us staggering uphill with our suitcases, through about 2 feet of snow. I think I can safely say that I've had more graceful moments ... yeah, we'll just leave it at that.

Welcome to freakin' Oregon.

what. a. score.

I finally made it to a few after-Christmas sales yesterday. This wasn't possible while we were in Oregon because: 1) we were house-bound for several days because of all the snow, 2) if we had been able to make it to any stores, we would have had to schlep anything we bought back to L.A., and 3) before that, we would've had to haul it from where we had to leave the car, which was anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 of a mile from the house, uphill through 2 feet of snow, just to get it into the house where we could pack it into some sort of borrowed suitcase. Waaay too much work for my taste. So I decided to wait until I got home. All of about an hour after I got home, but hey -- that stuff had already been on sale for 3 days, and it wasn't getting any more plentiful.

And boy, howdy! did I score:

Ikea ornaments -big silver gems, hanging crystals & antique-y looking mirrors.

Ikea string lights - again, gem shaped.

Ikea "chandeliers" - you wrap the string lights around them.

Yes, this is mostly stuff that I was coveting in a previous post. Best part: every single piece was 99 cents!! Yes, really. OMFG. If I knew where we were doing the reception I would go back and get more. As it is, I just grabbed what I think is a reasonable amount -- I can always get other co-ordinating stuff if we need more. But I know that we will have some tables to decorate, a candy buffet that'll need fancy bits, and the pretty lights will work anywhere. I'm not expecting to have much more decor stuff to buy, other than candles & flowers. And those can definitely wait until I know what the venue will be.

Speaking of the candy buffet, I found these at Target:

50% off = $25 for the pair.

My intention here is to buy things that Mr. UB & I will be able to use in our home. Even on a small budget, I don't relish the thought of buying a bunch of stuff that's going to be useless after 1 party. So all of the ornaments and lights will go on our future Christmas trees, and the candy buffet things will end up as candle holders or vases. The chandeliers ... I may have to get creative. (And even if I can't think of anything, I can probably get over a $5 "waste.") Maybe all the beds in our house (once we have a house, and more than one bed) will have those cool mosquito net canopies? Or our kid will have the biggest mobile in the history of cribs.

More on the Oregon snow drama is coming soon -- I have lots of photos to go through.

22 December 2008

craft project #1

I finished the earrings for my b-maids tonight. (And yes, I really should be doing laundry & packing.) I'm pretty happy with how they came out:
And yes, I know that the bottom right pair needs hooks. I ran out of those. I'll get more after Christmas/ next time I'm in west LA.

I especially like the craft paper holders -- it's one of the invite paper samples (one that I'm not using.) My own little "instant re-purposing" project! I'm also really digging the graphic appeal of my leopard-print ottoman. Definitely not part of the wedding decor, but I like the effect in this pic.

more about the snow

So Mr. UB and I are heading to Oregon for our first Christmas together. His parents live about 90 minutes outside of Portland, on a Christmas tree farm, in a house that his architect dad built. It is ridiculously pretty. (Would I go nuts if I lived there? Most likely. But it's lovely to visit.) They've had much more snow than usual this year, thanks to the same weather that seems to be everywhere (it's even impacting An Atlanta Bride!) ... and as of a few days ago their yard looked like this:

... and it's just kept snowing. Eleven inches at last count. Apparently they've already moved their truck down to the flat part of the driveway, since there's very little chance of being able to drive it on the iced-over steep part.

So, if our flight is cancelled, we'll have Christmas at the Burbank airport. If we make it to Portland but the roads are impassable, we'll have Christmas in a Portland hotel. And if there's a miraculous thaw, we might actually get to have Christmas where we intended, i.e. with his family. Nothing like a little improvising to keep things interesting.

My favorite ancedote so far: his mom was looking out the window yesterday & commented, "Wow, it's blown a snowdrift right up against the house. That's never happened before." Upon closer inspection, the "snowdrift" turned out to be their dog.

purchased: 1 dress!

I'm not going to post a picture here, because Mr. UB is known to lurk around these parts on occassion. But I bought a wedding dress (yikes! really?!) the other day. One click & there you are. Or there I was. It was? Anyway: many thanks to the very lovely Julie for all her help & reassurances about the online purchase, and for waiting to ship it until I've returned from my trip to snowbound Portland. (If we make it, which is apparently running about 50/50 odds at the moment.)

And I still think I'm going to grab my friends K__, J__ & P__ and go try on a bunch of fancy dresses. Why the heck not? Deep down under my minimalist skin, I loves me a little fancy. Besides, maybe it'll make me feel a tad more "bridal" -- thus far, it still all seems a little theoretical.

In lieu of a dress pic, I give you this, from The Knot via The Pissed Off Bride here:

Pretty. Sigh.

21 December 2008

the 1st one that doesn't suck ...

... courtesy of Polyvore & the images contained therein:

getting closer ... by un-bride

Many of you are very skilled at compiling these "inspiration board" thingy-s. I am not. Oh well.

Best part: that view through the wine glass is Rome. I miss Rome.

19 December 2008

boo, hiss

The one sad response I've had from my friends who've heard about my recent engagement came from my friend L__. (I respect her privacy.) She is one of the millions of people who had basic civil rights stripped away as a result of the heinous passage of Prop 8 here in California. Mixed amongst her happiness and her well wishes, I heard her mumble, "At least no one's passed a law against your being allowed to get married."

Amen to that, my dearest L__. Amen to that. May we live to fight another day. And when you find yourself exhausted, turn your head to the side & lean on me, for I will be there beside you.

As a -born, -bred, and -residing again Californian, I am so ashamed of what happened here during the last election. And even though I believe that the outcome was swayed by specious arguments and massive influxes of money from outside our borders ... I am still left with the fact that my State, my Home, my Birthplace decided to strip equal rights away from a minority group of citizens. So I choose to state it here, on My Own Private Soap Box: that I remain devoted to the dream of equal rights for all citizens of this once-and-future Great State.

(This is for all of my friends who've been committed to their loving partners longer than most of my gov't-sanctioned hetero- married peers can dream of: Mick & Roman, Carolynn & Linda, Liz & Morgan, Keoni & Tom, Ross' sister-in-law & her wife, Melissa & her girl ... and everyone else who's held a relationship together longer than a 55-hr. Las Vegas Starter Marriage. If you are lucky enough to find someone in this crazy world to stand by your side in love & madness, may the universe bless you to the end of your days.)

* okay, upon review, I think I was a little ... overly
verbose here. But what can I say? I'm pissed.

18 December 2008

coining a term: #1

Sheepdog: (n) a person who, under the guise of "giving advice," tries to talk you out of what you really want. Common arguments include, but are not limited to: a) "you just don't understand how things are done," b) "I know better than you do," c) "your taste blows," &/or d) "have I ever mentioned that you're a complete imbecile?" Can sense wedding plans intuitively, and are likely to mulitply faster than just-out-of-Catholic-school rabbits in heat due to their resulting excitement. Name derives from an uncontrollable compulsion to lead you, most often in a direction in which you have NO desire to go.

me like-ee

I've found my first potential location for a reception, thanks to vrbo.com.

Moroccan villa with ocean view, on 4 acres of land with a private access road = hello, parking and privacy. Linens provided. Fully stocked kitchen plus outdoor BBQ grill = idea for how to feed the peeps. Catering available (does that mean they're used to renting it for parties?) Obviously I would need to go by & look at the place first, but this is the first place that's well within my price range that looks like it has serious potential.

I initially found this idea on one of those "real wedding" posts. The bride with the brainstorm used Craigslist to find hers, but I'm a little more need-to-be-sure-about-it than that. Enter the fabulous Beer Babe b-maid herself, Christmas, who suggested the above website. It has tons of listings that rent by the night/week/month, just about anywhere you can imagine finding a place to rent.

I love the idea of having a day to set up & clean up, for less than the total cost of renting a hotel/restaurant space. And we'll skip the wedding surcharge, too -- I'll just tell 'em it's for a birthday or anniversary party. (Our Zero-th?)

15 December 2008

reality bites

Taking stock of what's Done, and Not Done, thus far ...

things I have:
a date
a ceremony venue
an officiant
a bridal party
a groom's party
a ceremony guest list (provisional)
b-maid attire
a photographer
a veil*
*work in progress

things I have ideas for/am working on:
a dress
a back-up ceremony venue*
*recommended by the good folks who are renovating our 1st choice

somewhere to have dinner after the ceremony
a day-of wedding planner
a reception guest list
reception music
reception beverages
decor ideas
gift registry

things I don't have (a clue about):
groom's attire
wedding rings
a reception venue
reception food
a cake
the honeymoon
where we're going to live

When I look at the first two categories, I feel pretty proud of myself, especially considering that the ring on my hand is barely a month old. But then I scan down toward the last category ... and I notice that there's an awful lot of "big" stuff in there. Hello, disturbingly-familiar feeling of nausea.

14 December 2008

Accessories: 2, Dress: 0

Continuing my personal trend of accessorizing a dress I do not yet own, I found a veil today. Well, to be more precise, I found someone who's going to make my veil for me today. I went to the Unique L.A. design showcase in the California Apparel Mart, where I met the fabulous Kelly. She makes these:

Aren't they beautiful? She has all of these & more available in her Etsy store, Satanica.Etsy.net.

The last picture above looks the most like the one she's designing for me, except that mine's going to be on a headpiece with a comb instead of a headband. She's also going to add a few white peacock feathers, which I absolutely fell in love with. The best part: all of the above styles range between $25 to $65 dollars.

Now: could I find something out there that costs less? Theoretically. But with the deals that I've found on my shoes & dress (I do have one in mind), I'm willing to "splurge" $10 more than my ideal price for one luxe item. Especially for something that I love.

And does it appeal to me that my freakin' bridal veil is made by a designer who's site is called "Satanica"? More than it probably should.

11 December 2008

happy feet

In a rather stunning coup, I have managed to buy myself a pair of wedding shoes! I felt a bit odd for a moment, buying the shoes before the dress ... but my friend Mischelle did the same thing, and her shoes (red satin) helped her design the look of her whole wedding. And hey, you've got to start somewhere.

I didn't score nearly as good a deal as Broke-Ass Bride did, but I went for the same designer, found a pair on sale, and lucked into an additional in-store 20% markdown for today only. Total: $34.99 + tax. E' viola:

(photo NineWest.com)

They also come in a neutral champagne-y gold-y beige, but I love the idea of having this one bright flash of color. Especially with all the neutral decor stuff that I'm digging. (And lest I get too far ahead of myself, I think I have a purse that will go perfectly with these. Light green satin Gucci -- hehe!) So thank you! for sending the Shoe Fairy my way.

In other news, I've gotten pretty swell at Photoshop. It's amazing what you can teach yourself on the internet, between phone calls, on excruciatingly long days at work. To wit:

(Forgive the smudging -- gotta preserve a little privacy.) Since we're planning to have the ceremony & reception in two separate locations, and especially because we'll have different guest lists for each place, we need separate invites. This is my first stab at a reception card. I think I'm most happy about the vagueness ... perhaps we'll keep that, just to confuse everybody.

09 December 2008

it's a start

I made another trip to the craft store tonight, and this time I managed to buy some stuff:

So far I've played with the hole-punch thingy (I'm hoping to use it for a few of those nifty paper pomanders) and I didn't feel too inept with it. I also unwrapped the exacto device and immediately managed to cut my finger ... everything right on schedule there. And the glue gun has water on it because I dropped it in the sink. This ... is going to be interesting.

I also bought a whole bunch of paper, with the hope of finding a good combo for the invites. I'm going to get a better look at them in daylight, then post a few possibilities. Note to my long-distance b-maids: I'm going to need your help! Also, do you have any ideas for how to let Mr. UB think his input here is valued? Because that whole "hands-off" thing was just talk, and his taste ... well, let's just say that he's terribly excited by the Helmet Groom's Cake idea.

08 December 2008


I have seen the future, and it foreshadows my doom:

I can only hope there's no DC Universe Online* cake hiding out there ... (gulp).
(photo 1 from whoops -- please tell me! photo 2 from Let Them Eat Cake, via Cake Wrecks)

*bucksboys.com: select "content & viral", then "justin janowitz", then the bottom left video. That's Mr. UB in action. Yes, it takes forever to load.

07 December 2008

picture of us #1

Seeing as how I've been talking about our various points-of-view, but I haven't said much yet about how me & Mr. UB are together, I thought I'd share this first (in hopefully a series) of pics .... This one was taken in Akumal, Mexico, at the wedding of Adam & Julia. Yes, the same Julia who will be marrying us. It's one of the few pictures in which I'm not pulling a silly face. (I'm sorry -- I don't know how that happened.) Also, a Win of a self-portrait by Mr. UB! Him: earnest & cute + Me: posing = another day in the life.

05 December 2008

D. I. ... Me(?)

As long as I'm going to try to make the invites & do the decor myself, I may as well see just exactly what I can whip up. And who knew! (you probably did, but I had no idea) about all those websites & blogs out there with cool ideas.?!

For example, I find myself oddly intrigued by this pomander made of craft paper & ribbon. (photo from article on Once Wed here) Which is surprising because when I first discovered the existence of said objet, I thought it looked ... well, stupid. But it's clearly growing on me. Now, I have no idea how much "real," aka "made of flowers" pomanders cost, but I'm betting they're not cheap. (Just a hunch, based on the recurring theme of "anything we know is for a wedding costs 30 to 300% more".) But anyway ... the rather adorable little thing pictured here costs only about $5 in craft materials, plus the sweat of my brow. (And from what I've heard, that can be had for a very reasonable rate. Even though it's for a wedding.)

There's also this project (also on Once Wed, here) for a cupcake stand that could be pretty freakin' sweet as part of the display for the candy buffet.For the record, I'm deliberately choosing projects that don't seem too ambitious -- I just hope I'm not over-estimating my abilities. Frankly, for the right look at the right price, I'll stay up as many nights as I have to, playing with cutesy-shaped hole punches and fancy paper.

In other news, my mom wants to have a telephone pow-wow with me & my sister, to discuss ... things? ... i'm not sure what, exactly. But I'm sorta guessing that she thinks I'm gonna f@ck this whole thing up. Or maybe she just knows they have expertise to impart -- I'm probably projecting my own exhaustion-imposed self-doubt onto other people. (It's not even exhaustion I can blame on wedding planning. It's just life this week. Which doesn't give me high hopes for the situation improving.)

Oh ... and I think I finally saw a cake that I a) don't hate, and b) can imagine having at a wedding for me:
(photo from The Polka Dot Bride here) No idea what to put on top (do I have to?!) but we've got time for that. Maybe I'll hole-punch something on fancy paper.

03 December 2008

confused = me

So it turns out that when Mr. UB said "you plan the wedding -- just tell me when & where to show up," he was sort of ... exaggerating. Because so far he's nixed my idea for dishes, and had a whole dissertation about why my bribery of Marija (see previous post) was jumping the gun. Also, he has re-iterated his love for dark wood furniture. (Something that needed no such re-iteration, as I am reminded of it every time I set foot in his room, but I digress.)

I know there will be compromise, and this isn't a hill I'm prepared to die on (I may fight a skirmish or three here) ... but I simply cannot take major input on the aesthetics of a) the wedding or b) our home-to-be's decor from someone who is still living in Bachelor Guy In His 20's Land. Two mis-matched futons, a Halo 3 poster displayed above his replica Master Chief helmet, (if you don't know what that means, spare yourself,) and a pair of recliners that he refers to as his "Chandler & Joey chairs" as if that was a good thing. I love this man, but he needs major housebreaking -- in an "I miss his old coke-head roommate who loved to clean the apartment when he was high" kind of way.

So: we may have to take this slowly, and one item at a time ... but no freakin' mahogany. And these Vera Wang dishes are beautiful.

There. I feel much better.

bribery will get you everywhere

HOORAY!! I saw Marija today, and in a flash of inspiration I grabbed both her hands and asked, "If I buy you a Marc Jacobs dress, will you photograph my wedding?" And she said YES!!! (Is this what it felt like to be Mr. UB on the night he proposed, I wonder?)

I know what Marc Jacobs dresses cost. I also know what my sister spent on the photographer for her wedding. And this = one serious bargain.

02 December 2008

an idea for the look

Why the hell didn't I get married before the economy went into the toilet? Oh, right ... I wasn't asked. Ah well -- I love a challenge.

First, I finally know what I want my invitations to look like. This one. Just with different colors. (Thanks, The Knot!) I can definitely pull this off. Apparently the bride made them herself, using a stamp for the flowery design thing. I think I'll do a gold frame, ivory paper & dark green ink. Does anybody out there know what gets craft glue out of your hair?

As far as the "look" of the whole thing goes, I'm finding myself kind of inspired by these images.

And I found serious reasons to raid Ikea's day-after-Christmas sale this year:
Just the white one of these:

Also, I found a nice, simple guest book at Crane's:

And I love these bags for my candy bar favors:

(That's the pattern, I mean. They're clear plastic bags -- you get the idea.)

In other fabulous news, I stumbled across the fact that both Costco and Overstock.com sell bulk flowers. That may end up being a bit more labor-intensive than I'd imagined, but if I keep it simple and stick to 1 or 2 kinds of blooms + greenery, I just might be able to pull it off. Especially with some help from Jamali Garden Supplies. Some of what I'm digging, and think I can work with:
Bells of Ireland -- 100 stems for $109.99

White hydrangea -- 30 clusters for $85.99

Roses ("green" like above or white) -- 100 stems for $104.99

I absolutely intend to get bouquets that are professionally made. I'm just thinking about reception decorations. On which topic, I've made NO real progress. Grrrr.

In less-fabulous news, I ran into my friend Marija today, and it seems that she isn't rocking her photography business again just yet (she recently had a baby) ... but just because I love her & I think her work is lovely, check out her stuff here. Oh well ... thank goodness I know a few more photographers. (Occupational hazard.)