30 January 2009

more shopping success

Mr. UB & I went to downtown L.A. yesterday, on our first joint shopping trip for wedding stuff. Our mission: groomsmen's ties. (You see why I thought he'd be interested in joining me. I swear I don't normally burden him with these things.) And I was surprised by how quickly we found success: I'm not totally crazy about the slightly irredescent thing going on, but he really thinks it's cool. And frankly, that's much more important to me than satisfying my admittedly hard-to-please asthetic sensibilities. Also, check out how nicely they match my shoes: Pretty damn good, I say. (I want the rest of the attire stuff for the ceremony to skew a little lighter now.) Best part: $5 each. For silk. AND we had enough time left on our parking meter to grab some super-yummy Mexican food for lunch. Booya.

I've also had some great success on Craigslist: There's more than one layer of candles there, and all I need is some wax remover to clean up the holders. All of the above, which is exactly the kind of thing I was planning to buy, for $20. Thanks, Lane in Santa Monica! I got this for $2. Thank you, Sae Jin in Pasadena!

I'm going to hit the Rose Bowl Flea Market in 2 weeks -- my bargain hunter has officially been awakened. And now that I don't teach until 2pm on Sundays, I can actually get out there & have some time to dig around.

29 January 2009

I've been tagged!

So the very lovely, recently "graduated" London Bride has tagged me to tell you 10 random facts about me. Oh where, oh where to begin ... so much of my life is eminently random ... well, here goes:

1. I was a minor celebrity in Italy for a week, several years ago.
2. My two half-sisters, who are not from the same "half", have never met. (I plan to amend this at my wedding.)
3. I am irresistably drawn to anything with 4 feet and fur.
4. I speak 3 languages well to fluently, and can function in 3 others. (And I'm an American!)
5. I was in the marching band in high school. I played clarinet.
6. As a kid I wore braces for 2 weeks -- my orthodontist took them off, quit & moved to Spain.
7. I'm 5'9", but since I was a model that means I consider myself short.
8. I am terrified of needles.
9. I love being in my 30's (but if my agent is reading this, I'm 27.)
10. I teach pole dancing.

By the way, for evidence of why I'm green with envy that London Bride lives where she does, go here immediately to check out Jason Hawkes' gorgeous photographs. And I'm supposed to tag five more people. So here's a few of the people whom I enjoy reading:

Broke-Ass Bride
The Pissed Off Bride
A Practical Wedding
$10,000 Wedding
Mr. Un-bride (hi, babe!)

Thanks so much for the tag, London!

28 January 2009

we won something!

I'll try not to feel too much like Sharon Stone at the Golden Globes, or a shut-in writing a letter to Penthouse, as I type "I never thought it would happen to me ..." BUT: I really didn't think it would. Mr. UB & I have been chosen by the super-nice folks at Minted.com as subjects for their new design challenge!

The contest is for designers -- they submit designs for any of 3 couples, for any of 3 pre-wedding events. Ours is "officially" Bridal Shower, but they can submit for Engagement Party or Rehearsal Dinner, too. We'll receive 125 pieces of the winning design, plus $250 of other Minted stationary for our wedding planning needs. (Hello, fancy pretty Thank You notes!) How cool is that?!

You can see a picture & read a little blurb about us, the other 2 couples and the contest here.

I am sooooo excited about this. Our Funky Little Budget Wedding That Could is chugging its way up the hill.

Other stuff I've done in the last few days:
1) Emailed Save-The-Dates for the ceremony invitees
1a) Braced for blow-back from family that we can't afford to invite
2) Officially asked the fabulous Christmas to be my Maid Of Honor
3) Had a nice, long conversation with Marija about the photography
4) Finally gotten in touch with the agent for the house in Malibu where we're hoping to have the LA shindig
5) Posted a listing to sell the wrong-color candy buffet bags that arrived -- and gotten a few nibbles

All in all, not a bad week. And it's only Wednesday.

26 January 2009

in my next life

I'll never be this cool, or make taking a break from wearing a tiara look this well-deserved. The Cat makes this look good. (And yes, I know the top of that chair is not a picturesque location for laundry. But Princess here pees on anything I leave on the floor when she doesn't think I'm worshipping her enough.) She may not be in the wedding ... but I don't really think she's losing sleep over it.

progress (is the opposite of Congress)

One more thing done in my assembling a wedding dress without a wedding dress shop*: I bought my petticoat today. * I had absolutely NO idea that buying a wedding dress involved purchasing more than a dress. Sheesh. Somebody might've warned me. To date, I've bought: a dress, a petticoat, a bra, panties, shoes, earrings and a hat/veil thingy. Future Brides take heed. I suspect this dept. is a major source of budget-busting. But I digress ...

I originally saw it last week in a vintage store near my apartment. Just to be sure, I did a lot of looking around this weekend in other vintage/thrift shops. It turns out that a petticoat without the wedding dress attached is rather difficult to come by. The only other ones I found were much more expensive, and there were only two of those. So I went back to the first place today, and hooray! it was still there. The best part:

That's right. $17.00. Now all I have to do is get some colored tulle & attach it to the inside layer of this thing, so that it hangs down below the dress' hem a bit. Flash of color + extra inch of length = double win! Major shout-out to the store where I found it:

By the way, I've found SO many cool clothes in perfect condition during this search ... why the hell did I fall out of my vintage habit & go back to paying retail?!?

The other thing I got this week is these: I'm going to make cuff links for Mr. UB & his groomsmen. Now all I have to do is come up with an idea for what to put on top of these. Feel free to leave ideas in the "comments", because so far I've got nothing .... (Photo credit: me; eBay seller here.)

In other Mr. UB-related news, he now has wi-fi at his place. Which means I can bring my laptop over & cruise my wedding porn while a) we're watching football, or b) he's playing World of Warcraft. I think this is a fabulous development. He asked me what I'm going to do with my time after we're married.

My response: Home Decor porn.

24 January 2009

it's definitely not nothing ... *

In what can only be interpreted as a reasonable (re)action, Mr. UB has started a blog. He says it's intended as a "companion piece" to my ramblings here. I'm pretty sure that means he's going to offer his point of view on all things Wedding, and correct my interpretation of his thoughts/motives/etc. I suspect there will also be a healthy dose of mocking me right back. (Cue "Dueling Banjos," please.)

Pop quiz: this makes us a) adorable, b) well-matched, c) deserving of each other, or d) comfortable with announcing to the world that we both have way too much free time. Feel free to check his blog here before you decide.

* title reference explained here.

a work in progress

We want to have a website, Mr. UB & I. You know ... for the wedding. Not because people need to know every stinkin' detail about our lives *cough i do that here cough*, but for practical purposes. And by practical, I mean to keep things within our budget.

1) Save-The-Dates: Yes, I'm still adamantly refusing to refer to these by their acronym. Also, to paraphrase the marvellous Ania, we are in a new millenium and there's nothing tacky about an electronic Save-The-Date. Especially if we use it to introduce our website, which will be chock-full of oh-so-much useful information (see below). I don't plan on doing anything as generic as an eVite, mind you. I'll be putting my photoshop skillz to use & making a lovely PDF image.

Also, no paper or postage costs for this round.

2) RSVPs: According to many recent wedding veterans, a disturbingly high percentage of the rsvp cards that are mailed out with return postage already on it simply do not come back. I don't know why. Nobody seems to. But I'm not keen on spending extra monies on a) little cards, b) little envelopes, and c) postage (again) just to have it thrown away. If I'm going to have to pester people with calls/emails to get their yay or nay -- and from what I hear, I will -- then please don't make me also have to stuff the gigantic "grrrrr!" back down my throat. I don't edit myself well. Seriously.

3) Stuff we don't want to include in the invitations: Things like maps, hotel info, and whatever else I haven't even been told about yet that we're "supposed to include" ... Really? People are actually this together in their planning process? There's nothing they've left out/forgotten/spaced on, by the day the invites get mailed? Interesting. Where does one find such people, as I've never met any?

4) Registry: I can't decide which is sillier -- the idea of registering for gifts ("buy us this!") or the hubbub surrounding how to, and especially how NOT to, let people know the damned registry exists. So it'll be on the website. Done.

At first glance, it seems like there are lots of resources out there to create a free wedding website. However, upon further inspection, "free" has a variety of definitions. The most common one seems to be We'reTooCheapToPayForTheUpgrade.com/OurNamesHere. No way am I putting that on the invitations I've poured blood, sweat and tears into. Hell to the No. In all of my searching, I couldn't find a single hosting site that lets you have OurNames@OurWedding.com without an annual fee. And none of those are cheap.

So: Plan B. Build us a website. Daunting, but I've done it twice before. Of course, my computer had its "memory incident" since then, and while I managed to save all my data (phew!) I lost many of my programs. Which just means I have to figure out how to use iWeb.

I registered our domain name (and got the exact one I wanted, thank you) for $2.19. And the hosting of our site for 1 year is $56.88. Still not free, but a lot less than the $100 average on other sites, and I have total creative control. Also, we can keep the domain name after the wedding & use it for general info about us. For anyone who cares, that is -- whatever, it's still a non-disposable item, even if it is electronic, and that pleases me.

I uploaded the first version today -- some of the links are a little wonky, and I haven't quite sussed out how to make my updated pages get from my laptop file to the interwebs, but it does exist. And that has to be worth something. Right?

Check us out if you're interested: JessAndJudd.com
Domain registry & site hosting via GoDaddy.com

23 January 2009

what we have here is a failure to communicate

Things I just don't get:

1) When I cruise sites like Craigslist, Bravo Bride, etc. and people list shoes for sale ... and nowhere in the listing do they mention the size of the shoes! Also, listings that say things like "I paid $25, will sell for $20 + $15 shipping." Um, yeah. What a deal.

2) Last night Mr. UB & I were sitting in my living room, talking. The Cat was hovering nearby, as she is wont to do. (She occassionally wants to be near--ish ... close enough to keep an eye on us, but not so close that we think she enjoys our company.) Mr. UB convinced himself that because she wouldn't look at him when he waved his arms and said her name, she must therefore be blind. I'm going to have to explain to him how this "cat" thing works.

22 January 2009

it's not the having, it's the getting

I had my first "Oh gosh, I wish I'd seen that dress before I bought the one I did" moment today. Based on what I've read around the bridal blogosphere, I think this is kind of normal. And I still love my dress -- for how it looks, how I'm planning to style it, and the deal I got.

... but that being what it is: Color me drooling. Joli dress via Vintage Glam Weddings.

21 January 2009

shout-outs & stuff I've seen

As I mentioned in a previous post, my wedding dress arrived. And I managed to get through the alteration experience without passing out.* (*barely, but who's counting?) But I've been remiss in letting you know about the amazing people who made it possible for me to get a dress I love on freakin' eBay:

1) Julie at bobsbijoux eBay store. We chatted back & forth via email before I made the leap, and she did so much to calm my nerves about buying a wedding dress online. She was happy to let me exchange it for another size/style if I needed to, with just the cost of shipping, and even offered me some advice when I was wavering between 2 similar styles. Her shop sells overstock & past season J Crew dresses, in lots of colors and short & long lengths. Great stuff for brides & b-maids. I got mine for $122.95 with shipping!

2) R & L Tailoring & Alterations. I found them on Yelp, and wasn't disappointed. They couln't have been nicer, and their price ($75 to take in a wedding dress all the way down the sides & in the back where the zipper is) was very reasonable. They don't have a website, but you can find them at 1263 Smithwood Drive, L.A. 90035 (just a few doors north of Pico, between Beverly Dr. & Beverwil.) 310-557-0249. Read more reviews on yelp here.

3) My dress has pretty thin halter straps, so I realized after very little searching that I was going to need one of those 100-Ways bras from Victoria's Secret. They've been discontinued in stores (probably b/c they're being sued by someone who claims they stole her design) so you can only get them online. The neutral ones are $37.50 now (down from $50), but you can get it for $19.99 if you can make do with a slightly funkier color. The sale ends tomorrow, according to their website.

In my search for a few more wedding things today, I came across these at Ikea: Not my colors, but if they're yours, Ikea Burbank has them on sale for 49 cents each. They're hidden down in the bins right before the cash registers, fyi.

I also managed to order the paper for our invitations today. I finally decided that I'm fed up with regularly cruising the aisles of Michael's for one color, and JoAnn's for the other. (Why can't one or the other carry both? It's the same freakin' manufacturer, for peet's sake.) Even with shipping, it's cheaper to go to the source & get it in bulk, anyway. These are crappy pics plucked off their website, but here's what I'm getting: The top back color "Blonde Columns" is actually just a textured, solid-color cardstock. It's really nice, and I like that it echoes the columns in the achitecture of our ceremony site. $40/125 pieces of 8.5 x 11. We can get two invites per sheet, based on the size of our design -- which leaves lots of extras for screw-ups/people we forgot.
We're getting the 2nd color from the left, "Artic Ice."It just happens to perfectly match the gold ink that I found to stamp the invites with. I like that it's a soft sheen, and not one of those "where are my sunglasses?" sparkly papers. We want classy, not Ceasar's Palace. $13/25 pieces of 12 x 12.
(All images & prices available at The Paper Company.)

Finally, my search for a petticoat continues. I've found a couple in vintage stores, of which L.A. has a ton, but nothing that's quite right. (I have until October, so I'm not worried yet -- check back in August to see if I'm in a lather about it.) But I'm happy because today's outting reminded me of the existence of one of my favorite places: Shareen Vintage. It's an absolute treasure trove of vintage clothing, in a warehouse down where the 5 & the 110 cross. Shareen, who was there today, has an incredible eye, and even better sources. (Seriously, I don't know where or how she finds her stuff. But I wish I did.) The best part: her prices are insanely reasonable. I had to take slow, deep breaths to keep from walking out with a whole new spring/summer wardrobe. (Her collection at the moment is heavy on dresses. How does she get inside my mind?!) No hits today -- one slip was too poufy, one was too big in the waist -- but I told her what I need and I will be going back. She's got locations in Venice & NYC now, too -- info, etc. on her site.

16 January 2009

everything goes better with doggies

There's no way we're going to do this. First, neither of us currently has a dog. Second, there's a whole host of reasons why The Cat is not a good candidate for this: a) Mr. UB kindly tolerates her at my apartment, but would prefer to leave her off the guest list, b) The Cat intermittently hates us both, and c) cats don't do this crap, just to name a few.) But I simply cannot resist posting this anyway:

from ReggieAna, via KenzieKate.

13 January 2009

a "before" photo

I mentioned a few posts back that my engagement ring, which could not be more perfect, nor could I love it more ... was born from "less than impressive" stock. To wit: when Mr. UB & I were talking about getting engaged in the abstract, he asked his parents if there was a family ring he could give to me when he proposed. (I was instantly on board with this idea.) His Mom hesitated, then said, "Well ... there is a ring, but I don't think it's something you'd want to use ..." We replied that hey! -- we're both open-minded! She should send the ring, and we'd absolutely consider it. Cut to a box arriving in the mail ... Mr. UB opens it, stares into it for a moment, then asks, "Hey, J__, will you marry me?" I glance at what he's holding and say, "Um ... no."

Now before you think I'm shallow, behold: Yep -- it's Turban Man, in all his glory. Apparently it's something his grandfather acquired before/during WW2, in India. And as funny as it looks today, the materials are the real deal. So his beady little eyes became the outer 2 stones on my ring, and the bindi in the middle of his forehead became my center stone.

Personally, I now think we need some zircons to resurrect Turban Man.

Oregon, part 5

Once the snow stopped falling, and it "warmed up" to the high 30's, we were able to take the snow chains off the truck. Being able to drive faster than 35 mph meant that we could finally (!) do some of the fun stuff we'd been planning before we got snowed in.

First stop: the Aviation & Space Museum. I am a total geek for all things flight & space related. Last year we got to check out the Spruce Goose & all sorts of cool history-of-flight stuff on the avaition side. This year, we explored the new wing, which was all about the space program. A capsule from the original Mercury program. So cool! A Titan rocket -- all 100+ feet of it.

The museum is owned by a local avaiation company that's run by someone generally accepted to be a total asshole. But it has enough money to acquire some very impressive things. (Rumor has it they're going to buy one of the space shuttles NASA has on eBay.) Being there was giving me the urge to rent "The Right Stuff" again.

As more snow melted, we ventured further afield: Portland! Pretty Christmas lights in the city center. I have to mention how awesome Oregon is, with its absence of a sales tax. Sure, it might've been nice for them to have, say, a second snow plow ... but it's awfully cool to see a $40 price tag & just hand over two $20 dollar bills and be done with it.

We also went to a really yummy Irish pub for dinner, where they had flights of whiskey to sample. Why doesn't L.A., with all its freakin' restaurants, have anything that unique & interesting? (Oh, right -- because L.A. doesn't know what either of those words mean. But I digress.)

The day after Portland, we got to do something I'd been excited about as soon as I knew we were going to Oregon: we went to see the Kitty People. (That's not what they're technically called, but that's what I call them.) They're family friends who have lots of animals -- something that always makes me happy -- and by lots of animals I mean 7 cats and a dog. My glee must've been visible as we pulled up to the curb, because His Dad turned to me and said, "When it's time to leave, I'll just look for you under one of the cats." I pretty much spent the whole afternoon carting around the felines, one at a time, and playing with Simon the Dog. Pure bliss.

On the drive to the Kitty People's house, I spotted a sign for a town called "Rickreall" ... this is Mr. UB actively ignoring me while I rick rolled the car:On our last day there, it was still too icy to get the car anywhere near the house, but we could at least make use of The Gator to get down to where the car was. You know you're not in L.A. anymore when you find yourself cheerfully posing for pictures with a piece of farm equipment. As much as I'd enjoyed getting a chance to stretch my legs on hikes to the car, I was very relieved to know that I wouldn't be dragging my suitcase back down the hill when it was time to leave. Also, I learned that farm equipment has more entertaining warning labels than one usually sees in the city:Good times.

On the day we left, the weather was being uncooperative once again, but fortunately not to the south. (People attempting to fly east were pretty frustrated.) We took off just under an hour late, as the snow continued to fall. Our flight stopped in Oakland, where I finally felt myself starting to thaw:When we landed in Burbank it was 82' with bright blue skies and no wind, and the PA system at the baggage claim was playing "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

It's good to be home.

10 January 2009

I'm sure this is normal

This absolutely terrorized me for almost a week:

Why, you ask? Is my mail carrier mean? Did I have an early childhood incident with a slightly mangled box? Did the return address label say Kaczynski? No -- it was far worse than that. This box contained my wedding dress.

I wasn't expecting to feel this way about it, mind you. Quite the opposite, in fact. Perhaps I should've reflected for a moment on how quickly I ran out of the one wedding dress shop I've managed to walk into, and factored that in. As it was, I left the box sitting there on the chair for several days. I kept "meaning" to try it on. But what if I hated it? I considered grabbing my next door neighbor, Theresa, and making her hold my hand while I tried it on. (Metaphorically, of course -- that would be logistically difficult, if taken literally.) But I decided not to "bother" her, and left it sitting there for another day. (I say "bother" in quotes because she's terribly excited about the whole wedding thing, and has said she's more than willing to help.)

And then, one night, in the middle of a tv show that I wasn't paying much attention to, I just got up, opened the box and the protective envelope inside of it, and tried it on. Right over my wildly wrong-colored underwear. I remembered to put my shoes on, too.

And I didn't hate it. It was a little wrinkled from its trip, but in perfect condition & exactly as advertised. I think I made the right call on the size, too -- it fit in the boobs, but needed to be taken in down the sides. Which I figured was better than the alternative of fitting in the waist with boobage spilling out the top.

Now, of course, I found myself in the position of having a wedding dress without an accompanying wedding dress shop to do the alterations. D'oh! I looked on The Knot and Wedding Channel.com, but all of their recommendations for "L.A. alterations" seem to be in Orange County. Not out of the question, but not exactly convenient either. (Plus, it's scary behind the Orange Curtain, and I try not to go there.) On a whim, I looked on Yelp -- which took a damned long time to load for some reason, but then yielded up gold. Two tailor shops just outside of Beverly Hills with specific reviews for altering wedding dresses. I ultimately went with the place that had six reviews that were all raves, with three of them specifically mentioning that she saved them from wedding dress disasters created by other people.

Of course, getting the dress altered meant that I had to try it on again. In front of other people this time. And while I was standing there, moving my arms out of the way so the very nice people with pins could do their thing ... I literally got dizzy. The room didn't quite spin, but I was definitely light-headed, and possibly green around the gills. "Holy crap this is my wedding dress ohmigod I want it to look perfect I'm freakin' marrying J__ in this dress ohmigod do i hate it is it ridiculously drab what if i wanna change it can i change it of course i can change it i don't wanna change it it's fine ..."

Ahem. I'm a little bit embarrassed by that outburst. I think I just had my first "bride" moment.

Also, it's about an inch or two short. Which I don't think the tailor can fix, but I bet a petticoat will. (And thank you, sis, for pointing out that the correct term is not, in fact, "poufy slip.") And if it doesn't, and the thing people remember most about my wedding a year after it happens is that my dress could've been an inch longer, then we will have done something wrong.

09 January 2009

it's been a while

Forgive me while I go off-topic for a moment ... but it's been quite the day, and I need to get this off my chest. My day today was Crazy. In a mostly-good way, that's hopefully on its way to becoming the norm once again. Allow me to explain:

I woke up this morning thinking that I had one noon-ish audition & a doctor's appt. I'd forgotten that my cell phone was re-charging in the bathroom, so I only discovered that I had a message when I went to get ready for said audition, around 11 a.m. I got called in to audition for a tv show -- at 1 pm. I immediately called the casting lady, and told her that I would love (LOVE!) to audition, but I would probably be late, due to my previously scheduled appt. For once in the history of L.A., she was geographically convenient to my prior committment, and it seemed like all would be well. Except that on my way to the tv audition, my commercial agent rang ... and said that I had a straight-to-callbacks audition at 4 pm. I told her that I was on my way to a tv thing that would shoot right away (tv & comm's are entirely separate, so she had no idea) and I would let her know right away if I didn't book it, aka was on my way to the commercial call. (Which, btw, is a KILLER f'ing job that I would pay them to get.)

The tv gig was hilarious -- something I'd self-submitted for, based on personal skills: they needed "goth baton twirlers." I'm hardly goth, but I can twirl a baton. (My mom used to teach. Yes, really. Before she became a republican, but anyway ...) They wanted "Suicide Girl" types to baton twirl in a video segment for the show. Perfect: if they didn't book me, I'd get to go to the last-minute super-high-paying audition -- where they wanted me to look "natural & wholesome", right after I'd got done slathering on the black eye make-up & twirling a baton while dressed in a tutu and stripper heels.

As it turns out, they didn't book me ... so on my way out I grabbed the last slice of pizza off the crew's lunch buffet. (Hey: I was starving, with no chance of a break in my day to grab food. AND I was wearing little more than a push-up bra & holding a baton. No one stopped me. Sometimes, we do sh!t because we can.)

So: on my way home to grab a sundress & high-tail it across town, Mr. UB called. And we proceeded to discover that this whole SF/LA wedding thing was drastically different in our minds. As in: I pictured a party in L.A. with a real wedding cake and flowers & dancing ... and he pictured a kegger with some friends at a local bar. Clearly, we need to discuss/ re-calibrate/ seek therapy. Which was, btw, the point of my Dr.'s appt -- which I completely forgot until they called, looking for me. "Oh $h!T!!"

But moving on: I had another audtion to get to. And they wanted me to look natural, while I currently looked like I'd been trolling Hollywood Blvd. for crack money. Hooray, q-tips!

... On my way home, I took stock of the day: 1) Awesome to have three (3!) auditions in one day -- it's been a looong time since that happened. I hope it foreshadows a trend; 2) I didn't book the baton job, nor did I have a great feeling about the callback -- was it all for naught?; 3) I'm still dead-a$$ broke, with a budget that sucks more than the Bush II Administration. Crap.

And then: I check the mail. It seems that "they" have decided to continue running my commercial from last year in Europe -- which means I get paid again. Which means I can a) pay back my friends, b) buy food before the regular job pays next Thursday, and c) establish a cushion, albeit a tiny one, so that I don't run the daily risk of over-drafting anymore.

"Yo ho, yo ho, an actor's life for me!"

SO: Today, I feel like an actress. It Is A Good Day.

damn my budget

I don't need a new purse for my wedding day. I hardly imagine that I'll carry it much, and I already own one that'll work just fine with my dress/shoes/etc. But if I did: Even the lining matches my stuff. I also love this one: Both of these, and many more, from Red Ruby Rose.


Once again, I am in love. Or rather, more specifically, I am in luuuurrrve. With the delectable Ania. She's a wedding co-ordinator, who fell into my lap via the beyond-lovely Mel (Camera-Op Extra-ordinaire) where I am once again working. But ... what-evers. I luuuuurrrve me some Ania. She has resources for everything from cakes & flowers to rings & decor stuff. AND she's committed to fitting into my micro-budget. I would cart her around on my shoulders if I could. She also thinks I've done a good job, on my totally uneducated, out-of-my-depth own, thus far. Woot = us!

06 January 2009

when being forgetful is a good thing

Not being able to remember things (my brain is full) has worked in my favor for once. A little over a year ago, I did a modelling job for my friend, Carolynn, who works for a jewelry company. As payment, they offered me some of their jewelry in trade. Which was perfect, because I love expensive shiny things, but rarely have the spare cash to buy them. Of course, being me, I immediately lost the certificate they gave me, and shoved the memory of said jewelry allotment to the back of my mind. (I think I tried to redeem it in their online store, and when that didn't work, then I forgot about it.) At any rate, the need for sparkly things to fancy up my dress caused some sort of shift in my brain, and it shook the dust right off the relevant memory. I emailed Carolynn today, and discovered that phew! my "money" was still good (not that I thought it wouldn't be, but it has been a freakin' year.) So this is what I'm getting: I ordered 2 pairs, because I'm not sure which size will look better with my little hat/veil thingy. And because I can definitely live with two pretty pairs of earrings. The larger hoops are aquamarine, and the smaller ones are sapphires.

Go check out their store at EnergyMuse.com -- they have all sorts of lovely things.

05 January 2009

first flower foray

I discovered last week that the LA Floral District is open to the public, after their To The Trade Only hours, 6 days a week. I made a trip down there to check it out -- since my Costco membership has lapsed, and there appears to be a kick-ass local source for flowers anyway, it seemed worth the trip downtown. (Side note: why can't L.A. be the way it is during the holidays, when 80% of the populace flees for parts elsewhere? It's actually livable then.) I still think I want to convince my friend Kevin, who has a wholesalers license, to take me with him, because the place was half-empty by the time I got there. Not to mention the significant $ savings. But anyway: I bought 2 pretty bunches of flowers and brought them home to experiment.

Lesson #1: I will probably not be using Bells of Ireland. I still think they're beautiful, and extrememly budget friendly ... but the elongated shape is very hard to work with.

Lesson #2: The Nordstrom ribbon off my xmas presents from mom, when turned over to put the store's insignia on the inside, is pretty and the perfect size for wrapping a bouquet's stems.

Lesson #3: Two days into their After Christmas Sale, when half of the holiday stuff has lost its price tag & the staff is seriously over trying to figure out what it's supposed to cost, Target checkout clerks can be convinced to sell you just about anything for $1.97.

Lesson #4: I can safely trust myself to make pretty boutonnieres out of the leaves I strip off of my flowers plus a few other things:Not ideal, but good practice wrapping the stem with a ribbon. Lessons #5 & #6: Don't use ribbon that's too narrow, and Pins work so much better than Craft glue.Lesson #7: Feathers are probably going to be more trouble than they're worth. Even if they do match my veil/hat thingy.

Verdict: I can do these. I will use real leaves from whatever flowers I buy, rather than silk leaves. Stuff from the twiggy bunch of leaves, pinecones, etc. from Target, embellished by a can of "caramel latte" spray paint from Michael's, will be making a significant appearance. I will, however, need more than one bunch of flowers to make a bouquet. (No, you can't see pictures of that -- it's seriously awful.) I should definitely take that 3-day floral design class that LACC offers.

Other things that I've seen that are giving me ideas:I really like these creamy gerbera daisies -- and check out the price. Yay, Flower District! I may want to use these as one of the bouquet flowers, along with something a little fluffier.

Also, I spotted this today on The Knot:Do I really want to buy a bunch of flowers that are on their way to wilting & being thrown away, no matter what the price? Or could we do something like this (since I was thinking hydrangeas anyway) and then plant them at wherever we end up living? Do hydrangeas grow in L.A.? Hmmm....

just because ...

... they both look so lovely: Beautiful day, beautiful smiles, beautiful people in love. Picture from msn.com.

I'm counting the days until we repeal Prop 8.

04 January 2009

Oregon, part 4

Christmas morning:
Just after we opened presents, His Parents made a yummy pancake breakfast. This was the meal that made us all realize, "Gee, we really need to get more food!" and hence make the grocery run described in my previous OR post. But first, the Christmas morning goodness:

First, the tree:The upshot of not being entirely sure what all the settings on your camera do = unintentionally cool "mood" shots. Mr. UB got me the most rockin' gift ever (after the ring, of course): Cheese of the Month Club! I am only recently rehabilitated to the marvels of cheese. Suffice to say that, since I've jettisoned the eating disorder, I've discovered that Tolley was right: Life just isn't worth living without cheese. And we've now got 6 built-in Date Nights for the rest of the year.

Here's Mr. UB modelling my present - front-side:and back-side:As long as I can't coax him out of t-shirts, I can at least give him reasons to stop wearing that silly video game swag. Right? And lest you should be unclear about the meaning of said t-shirt, please check out my company's site here. I teach classes in L.A. If you're local, leave a comment & I'll hook you up with a free class. Hooray, Free!!

02 January 2009

almost "done"

And by "done" I mean "planned." I've been raiding the after-Christmas sales, looking for all things creamy & shiny. I think I've got all the containers for our candy buffet.Three apothecary jars, all from Ross, $9.99 each. Two mercury glass hurricanes from Target, $12.50 each. Two gold & cream plates, also from Ross, $3.99 each. One stand made via instructions on Once Wed: $3.98 terracotta dish (Home Depot) + $0.25 plant pot (Ikea) + $1.29 craft paint (Michael's) = $5.52. Everything else I already had, including the paper liner:which is leftover from here:Less delicate than all that pretty craft paper, and I have quite a bit of it. Which means I can f*¢k up a few times & not freak out/have to go back to the craft store. Which is a good thing, because I made a special trip out there for a round edge cutter-thingy, only to discover that those start at $20. And frankly, I don't plan on cutting enough round things to justify that expense. So I just used my little exacto-thingy and went slowly. Only took me two tries.

Also, this little (cup)cake stand is officially my first hot glue gun project. Which means it's also the source of my first hot glue gun injury:This is going to be a long few months. I'm gonna go make sure my health insurance premium is payed up.

So: all the above prettiness for just under $70, with nothing left to buy but a few scoopers. And to fill the jars:7-up flavor Jelly Bellies,jordan almonds,white chocolate drops, all from BulkFoods.com,white pillow mints,cream and white "chocolate milkies" -- m&m's without the monogram, for less money, both from GroovyCandies.com.

Also, because I've probably completely lost my mind, I'm going to make a couple of things. (I heard you gasp, oh ye of little faith.) Now anything I make will have to meet two important criteria: 1) it's not crazy complicated, and 2) it will stay fresh for up to a week, so I don't have to manage to arrange a 50-hour day, the night before the wedding. Fortunately, my mom gave Mr. UB a lovely cook book for Christmas -- probably because she knows that all I make for dinner is reservations, but moving on -- and it contained one or 2 things that seem to fit the bill: white fudge and flavored gum drops, both from BetterHomes&Gardens.com. They're both made with 6-7 ingredients, which you mix, pour into a pan & cut into squares when it's set. I can do that. Similarly, these marshmallows are one-cake-pan-at-a-time yummies:The white ones, I mean.

There's just one thing that's making me crazy: no one that I've found will tell you how much you need. They don't even give you a ballpark figure. They just say annoying things like "Have lots!" and "Celebrate with abundance!" Gee, thanks guys. I will. But my abundant celebration will be happening on a budget, and I don't want to a) run out & screw half my guests out of their hard-earned sugar coma, or b) over-order & thereby sentence Mr. UB & I to a year of jelly beans & fudge, 3 meals a day. (My 6 year-old self would've been ecstatic at the idea of this. Today, my skin & my thighs say thanks but no.) So ... anybody out there have a formula for candies/person?