28 May 2009

the Walkens are coming!

I know this isn't how it really happened, but in my mind there were 8 Christopher Walken impersonators driving north on Interstate 5 this morning. In a van -- that's an important detail. They were also in full costume, as I imagine it, and hopefully making frequent stops for food where they all wandered aimlessly about the mini-mart en masse.

No, I haven't started taking hallucinogenic drugs. My friends & colleagues who are responsible for the play I'm currently rehearsing are doing a one-night command performance tonight of their previous show, All About Walken, in Stockton, CA. Yes, Stockton -- the city recently recognized not only as the most-foreclosed-upon city in America, but the Most Miserable Place to Live, as well. (Who wants to change their honeymoon plans?!) So if you're in the area, go check out the show. You could probably use the laugh.

27 May 2009

a cautionary note

Note to self: do not go up to someone you haven't seen in a few months, and loudly ask her, "isn't your wedding coming up in less than a month?!" She just might pull you aside (as you're already kicking yourself) and quietly tell you that the wedding is off, and she just came out.

{Just in case you were out there flattering yourself that nothing could be as messed-up as your plans.}

It broke my heart a little to hear it on the day that my state's Supreme Court decided that she's no longer allowed to get married. Because I'm sure the effects of her decision weren't already traumatic at all.

But I threw my arms around her and said "Congratulations!" anyway.

26 May 2009

smacked in the face by reality

I was at a barbecue yesterday, at a friend's house. About 3 or 4 people had their kids with them -- all babies under the age of two. People in our little social circle are just starting to get to that point in their lives. At one point, one of the guys took in the whole scene in the backyard, and said, "Some of our friends are having babies. Holy crap -- we're adults!"

Seriously, when did this happen? Because I remember being a kid, and thinking that the adults around me knew pretty much everything. And here on the other side of that equation ... maybe I just didn't get my manual yet. I should check the mail.

Also, this happened between Mr. UB & I today, via text:

Me: I found a half-flattened ping pong ball in my jeans from yesterday.

Him: Is there something you need to tell me?

Me: Apparently I stole a ping pong ball.

Him. From??

Me: Probably the guys playing beer pong. Either that, or I picked a stray ball off the lawn & forgot I had it.

Him: Aw, man! I love beer pong!

Thank goodness we found each other. I can't imagine anyone else understanding either of us.

22 May 2009

part great news, part back to the drawing board

We had two fabulous pieces of news yesterday. First, Mr. UB is getting a promotion in 3 weeks. Woo hoo!! He'll be working long hours, but at least he won't be on overnights, so there's a slight chance that I'll get to see him, at least occassionally. Second, His Parents are going to be able to give us more than they originally thought to help pay for this wedding thing, which is a huge relief. Even with all my wheeling, dealing & scheming, we were coming perilously close to bumping our heads against the budget ceiling. How close? Let's just say that my get-a-crapload-of-pizzas idea was back on the table. But more on that later.

We picked up our rings yesterday. They're lovely, and exactly what we wanted. My photography skills, on the other hand, well ...

That's Mr. UB's ring. It's a tungsten band with a diamond embedded in it. I was trying to take one of those pictures where the shadow of the rings looks like a heart. Apparently, I need a stronger light source. D'oh!

There's both of them, in the same place I photographed my engagement ring. Kind of soft-focus. Totally on purpose. Really.

That's both rings just sitting on the book from the earlier pic ... yes, Shakespeare. Much Ado, to be specific. No, not Romeo & Juliet -- that didn't end well, remember?

My sub-par picture-taking aside, we're thrilled with them. And the jeweler we used, J. Rothstein, couldn't have been nicer, or easier to work with. They took the materials we brought them in trade, and are still working on selling some of it.

Another wonderful discovery that happened this morning was Cake & Art. They were recommended by our not-really-our-wedding-planner, Ania (she can't do our new date, but she's continuing to share her resources. LOVE her). It's a tiny little shop in West Hollywood that's been there for 30+ years. Mark (one of the 2 cake gurus there) spent about an hour with us, looking at my magazine tear-outs, flipping through their catalogue, and sketching up a basic outline for us. He asked many more questions than we were prepared to answer, and was very sweet about our sleepy-eyed stammers & shrugs in place of actual responses. (I rehearsed until 1:30 a.m. last night, and the Mr. is still on his farked-up sleep schedule.) He came up with an idea that will incorporate several ideas from the rest of our decor, and suggested cake flavors that will compliment the tastes in our dinner menu. Hello! Are you kidding me?!? Oh, and the cake was super-yummy -- enough to snap me out of my Morning Grouchy Phase. (Note to self: cupcakes for breakfast cure that.)

The best part: they don't charge by the serving. I haven't found anyone else who makes wedding cakes who doesn't do that. They quoted us $380 for a 4-tiered cake. I was ready to slap down cash right on the spot, but Mr. UB wants to go eat more free cake. I suspect we'll do both. (Don't let their admittedly weird website put you off -- go and talk to them. I dare you not to love them.)

I'm very pleased to have the cake business sorted, because we got an estimate from the caterer we thought would be on the cheap side. They're quoting us almost $4500. Ouch. So: who wants pepperoni? Seriously, we could be the Pizza Wedding. That's cool, right? Sigh ... probably not. But it's time to start poring over the estimate one line-item at a time, and seeing what else we can figure out. I've never attempted to feed 110 people before ... will someone out there kindly remind me not to do it again? Thank you.

19 May 2009

goodies in the mail, and other things that make me happy

I am officially a fan of Etsy. I love working with the vendors on there, because they are so accomodating and helpful. When I wasn't sure what color seam binding to get, I got this:
from here ... which I used like this:
to make these:

Also on Etsy, I've been eyeing one of these:
which I found in this shop. But I wasn't sure which color would best match my dress. I asked the seller to describe them, and she did better than that:
This stuff makes me so darned happy. It's rare to get anything in the mail that's not a bill or crap advertisements. And both times, I looked at the return address on the envelope and thought, "Who the heck sent me this?!?", only to be made all smiley by the prettiness inside.

Another thing I got in the mail, which was less mysterious as an envelope because it had the company's logo on it, was these:
I read about them on Budget Savvy Bride's blog, where she raved about them. And while they're not exactly fancy wedding china, our beach party is hardly going to be a formal affair. Plus, I like how eco-friendly they are. So far, I'm pretty impressed with the company's prompt & friendly customer service.

Other random happy-making things: I've started rehearsals for the play I booked. I'm going to be playing Faye Dunaway, Cher, Kim Basinger, and a couple of free-floating bimbos. We're all having way too much fun with this show. (Side note: to the guy who tried to chat me up yesterday by asking if I was an actress ... what gave me away? The fact that I was holding a script? Or that I was walking toward the door of a theater? Nothing gets past you, does it Sherlock?)

I found this material at a sidewalk sale:

$5 for the whole bolt. I think I'm going to make table runners from it. Or rather, I'm going to ask my friend Meg, who can sew, to help me make table runners from it.

My fiance makes me very freakin' happy. He just does.

I just found out that our rings are in. We're going to pick them up Thursday morning. The jeweler managed to sell $374 worth of the materials we gave them, to help offset the cost. Yay, offsetting any cost!

Oh, and this. This makes me very happy:

18 May 2009

if you live in California ...


or shut the eff up.

Thank you. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

14 May 2009

a return to self-control

After breaking the seal on my shopping hiatus last week, I am pleased to report that my willpower has returned. I almost bought this today, but I didn't. Firstly because I'm not making frivolous purchases right now. But more importantly, because I need all the help I can get. I'll be surprised if my bouquet doesn't wilt in my hands -- I'm that good with plants.

Besides, the metaphor is just so ... very ... apt.

13 May 2009

pretty and cool

White & green striped orchids. I have no idea if they're available in California in August, but I love them anyway. For the centerpieces -- not the bouquets.

Sometimes, you just gotta have a wishlist.

12 May 2009

boldly going where I try not to go

In an attempt to solve my flower dilemma, I've been cruising The Knot. Which I usually prefer to think of as The Not, as in "I'm NOT going to get caught up in the 'how can I compete with that?' crap that they not-so-secretly promote." But from previous forays into their territory, I do know that they're an excellent resource for almost too many photos, broken down by category to the nth degree.
I like the ivory roses, and the blue leaves tucked in between them are called dusty miller. Its incredibly hardy (always a good thing) and comes from Italy, which would be a nice detail since I lived there for 4 years.

The blooms are pretty tiny, but I really like the color of these blue tweedia. They look great tucked between the fluffier white flowers.

I like the hydrangeas' look much more when they have other things mixed in.

The simplicity of these is also gorg -- magnolia blossoms & leaves.

Another hydrangea mix, with orchids & lilies. Not the orange, but I love the balance of this.

Just a simple mix of roses & lisianthus. I'd go with jade roses (the pretty pale green ones) instead of all-white, but I played with lisianthus when I made my trial run to the L.A. Flower Mart, and they're great.

Another thought: I'm mulling over the various merits of planning to buy the flowers when I get to S.F., which would give me one more thing to do up there, versus getting them the morning that I leave L.A., since I'm obviously going to be driving up with all of my d.i.y. crap. I guess it all depends on how to store them for the ride, and whether I can get the hotel to provide a frig that's not filled with airline liquor bottles and $5 cokes.

And now, a confession: I went to another place I've been deliberately avoiding for months. I shopped. In my defense, I've been helping out with the merchandising at S lately, and I spend my Mondays in a stockroom filled with goodies that taunt me. And I've been very good: no non-wedding related purchases since ... well, since I started making wedding-related purchases. And I get a pretty sweet employee discount ... oh, hell -- I'm totally trying to justify this, when really I think that all I need to say is this:
For the record, it's very hard to photograph a shoe on your own foot, and yes, that's my giant stuffed St. Bernard in the background. His name is Bernard (British pronunciation, with the accent on the 1st syllable.)

All bouquet pics from The Knot except the last one (which I lost -- let me know if that's yours!) Shoe pic by me.

08 May 2009

indecisive = me

I apologize for all of the non-wedding related rants & dancing bird videos I've posted recently. I actually have been working on wedding stuff ... I just haven't been writing about it. If I had to give a reason for the disconnect, I'd blame my elevated level of general (aka non-planning) insanity. I've been busy, which is good, but tiring. Also, I like to rant. It pleases me.

I noted last night that my little "subject cloud" on the right shows a greater incidence of things like "insanity", "silly" and "rants" than it does "veil", "shoes", "programs", "favors", etc. Ah, well. I am what I am. But I'll try to get back on topic today.

The main area I've been working on is food. Post-ceremony dinner, and reception buffet, to be specific. I think my main reason for being reluctant to go here sooner is that these are likely to be the two biggest expenses of the whole nuptual circus. Which makes my guts contract just a wee bit, because I don't think I can get around it by being clever this time. Sure, our ceremony site is a city park, and I found my dress on eBay. But I don't see myself pulling off a similar cost coup on the food. I've never fed 120 people before. Not even accidentally. I've seen it done, in my few experiences as a cater waiter, and the amount of waste behind the scenes makes me barf at the thought of it. Whatever we choose as our final solution, that ain't happening on my watch, I promise you.

I'll confess to having thought, "Can't we just get a crap-load of pizzas?" But Mr. UB withered that thought with a mere glance. And while some people make pot-luck receptions work beautifully, its not right for us. So we're meeting with caterers. Two of 'em, who we found via great recommendations. I'll keep you posted.

For my next total conundrum: flowers. We're not going to have many of them at the reception (hooray for the more cost-effective power of candles!), but I would like to carry a few of them in my hands down the aisle. I'm a contrarian, but not that much of one. The problem is ... what kind of flowers? We're getting married in August, in California, where the temperature tends to climb upward during the afternoon. And my favorite flowers, tulips, like to do this in the heat:

No bueno. Also, I've decided that I'd like to have a little color involved here, since everything else is so neutral. I like hydrangeas, but I don't know if I want them for this.


I saw a great bouquet on Southern Weddings that had gerbera daisies mixed in with roses, but I don't know if I can make that look like anything other than a great big polka-dotted ball o' petals. (Did I mention that I want to do this myself?)


How early will I have to get up to S.F. on the day before to make it to the Flower Mart, and will the control-freak in me be okay with just "seeing what's there that day?" (Answer: hell, no.) Sigh. I'm going to go to work, and stop worrying about this drivel for a few hours.

Suggestions in the comment section are welcome. Solve this for me, and I may just buy you a pony.

credit bouquet 1

credit bouquet 2
(no disrespect to the owners or creators of these bouquets - they're just not me)

07 May 2009

this makes me ... decidedly less happy

Forgive me if I lapse into irrationality here (wait, I'm a bride - that's expected of me) or if I swear (which my aunt has said doesn't upset her) ... but what. the. hell. is up with all the Dieting Brides out there? Did I miss the memo that said I won't be eligible for a marriage license until I drop a dress size? Was there an episode of Oprah where "Everybody Gets A Complex!" Or is something far more sinister going on?

First, some context: I stay away from most cultural references to "what I'm supposed to weigh" on purpose. I skip Celebrity Diet Plan articles because those are written by publicists who don't give a damn what anyone actually eats, as long as their client's face gets magazine space. I change the radio station when some deep-voiced Announcer Guy asks me, "Ladies, have you ever said 'I feel fat today?'" because that garbage drives me berserk. I've never been on the Atkins/Grapefruit/Stand On Your Head diet, and I firmly believe that the Master Cleanse is a dangerous crash diet wrapped in a more-organic-than-thou disguise. Why? Because I was anorexic for 17 years.

It still feels a little strange talking about this, but for all those years everything I felt about my body was tangled up with feelings that I was the only freaking person who felt that way, which made me extra-ashamed. So now I talk about it.

The thing that's pissing me off today is how many brides out there, whose blogs I truly enjoy, occasionally go on at length about their goal to be a dress size "x" by their wedding day. I mean, seriously -- what causes this? Why are spunky, feisty, unconventional, creative-as-hell women sucked into the "it has to look like a magazine" vortex over this one particular issue? It makes me want to scream, "You're marrying your same-sex partner at a Day Of The Dead-themed hoe-down, officiated by your very best Wiccan friend ... and you're not eating bread after 6pm for the last month before the big day?!?" This is insanity, ladies.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm all about making a decision to be healthier in your general life. Cutting out fast food and making exercise more of a priority are wonderful things ... IF YOU'RE GOING TO CONTINUE THOSE PRACTICES AFTER THE BIG PARTY. Go for it, make a lifestyle change with my-blessing-that-I-know-you-never-asked-for. But if, after the pictures are taken, you're going to be like a female body-builder & grab a half-eaten donut from a very-surprised stagehand (which happens, by the way) ... then please ask yourself WHY you're doing this. Your fiance loved you enough to ask you to marry him, without an asterisk about a size-6 dress being involved ... and we know how visually-stimulated guys are. So tell me: what's your real motivation?

Women have so many mixed-up feelings about their relationship with food. I can remember being in a restaurant with my family when I was about 6, and after watching everyone order saying to my dad, "I'm glad I'm a kid because I can still have a burger, and grown-up women can only have salads." The messages start when we're young, and we don't even know that's what they are. But if you're trying to change your body just so you'll look "perfect" in the wedding pics, then don't. Because there isn't any such thing. I've seen girls who grace magazine covers in bikinis turn down a glass of water at a photo shoot, to avoid "bloating." I've watched friends starve themselves for 3 days before a big job, in order to look "great." I used to do all of that crap, and worse, myself.

I don't claim for a second that any of this is easy. It's not. It took a lot of years, and a lot of really hard lessons, for me to drag myself out of the rabbit hole. But I do say that your lovely location, your gorgeous dress, and the gaze of the person you love will do much more to make your pictures look amazing than one dress size smaller ever could.

Besides ... doesn't being hungry make you grouchy? I can't imagine trying to plan my damned shindig on a fuse that's even one micron shorter than it already is. (Think about it: how crabby do you get when you don't get lunch until 4pm? Multiply that times 17 years, and you'll know how amazed I am that anybody, from my mother to my oldest friend to my fiance, still talks to me.)

this makes me happy, too

I was horrified by the recent passage of Prop 8 in California, for so many reasons. But it seems to have done some good by sparking a reaction across the nation. Yesterday, Maine joined Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Iowa by making it legal for same-sex couples to marry.

Of all the arguments that I've heard against same-sex couples being granted equal civil rights (anyone sensing my bias here?) ... almost none of them have come from people my age or younger. Which makes me think ... hope ... wish: We're winning. It's not over by a long shot, but the idea that some people should be treated differently is fading a little more with each new generation. And I don't want to question the reasoning of "the other side", or try to convince them they're wrong. I just want to celebrate with all of my friends who now get to make four of their closest girlfriends dress like clones of each other, and guilt people they haven't seen since high school into buying them a toaster oven. Woo eff-ing hoo!!

Oh, and for the love of dogs, can we please stop asking that vapid beauty queen what she thinks about this? Or anything else for that matter? Thank you.