31 July 2009

hello lethargy, my old friend

I knew this would happen. After the last two days' absurd level of productivity, today came up bust. And yet I feel like I've been "doing stuff" for hours. Sure, most of that was cursing at my bank & resetting my Target.com password. Oh, and ascertaining that I am in fact teaching tonight -- which was apparently meant to be a surprise. (Boo!) I love it when that happens.

Beyond that, I managed to replace a few out-of-stock items on our registry with things that are still available, update the list of RSVPs, and realize that the Mr. & I really do need to collaborate on the whole honeymoon registry idea ... but at least we have an account now. That's the good news.

The bad news is that we waited too long to make a deal with a hotel in L.A., and my I-hate-that-piece-of-crap cell phone currently only transmits voices via the speaker function. And my brain seems to be incapable of tallying any more receipts. Won't they organize themselves if I continue to stare at the pile on my desk?

Which is (yet another reason) why I am oh-so-grateful for Mr. UB and his amusing ways. Via text:

Him: Pierre just asked if we'd like some tropical fish linens as art touches on the buffet tables, and some tiki torches. I said yes linens, no torches. Sound good?

Me: (gulp) Not sure about fish linens - might clash with rest of decor. Can we see a pic?

Him: He says they're black with colorful tropical fish.

Now, I think that thus far I've been pretty damn zen about a lot of things. The band we wanted doubled their asking price: hello, iPod. One of the groomsmen is too broke to fly out: ask a friend to step up, or we'll just have uneven numbers. We don't have a fancy "getaway car" for the photos: will anyone even remember that?

Also -- I love me some Pierre. The guy is giving us such a deal that he'd be justified in just tossing the food out the window as he drives by. But instead he keeps thinking of all these additional touches to add in for free. But this horse needs to be reined in pronto.

Me: (trying not to hyperventilate) Gently suggest that the seashells are a minor decor touch. This isn't the Enchantment Under the Sea ball.

Him: Oh crap, I just approved one of the waiters to be dressed as a great white shark a la Eagle vs. Shark.

Okay, perhaps I deserved that.

Him again: And I've got a midget dressed as an octopus wearing a sombrero filled with chips & salsa -- for the cocktail hour.

He makes me laugh. But I still may strangle him -- I haven't quite decided.

And then I got this text from his former roommate:

I'm going to be there! Not bringing anyone, can't wait to meet your bridesmaids. You got a sister?

It's a good thing I live on the ground floor ... because I may just jump out the window.

29 July 2009

all the news that's *safe* 2.0

Chapter 2: Monday -- my Bachelorette Party

I picked up my MOH, Our Lady of the Holiday, from the airport & we grabbed a late breakfast, then bought a few supplies for the planned festivities. While we were in line waiting to purchase them, we noticed the lady behind us staring at the contents of our basket: 2 bottles of champagne, 6 trashy tabloids and 1 clinical-strength deodorant. So we looked at her basket: tofu, cucumbers, lettuce. She sighed & said, "Your basket looks like way more fun." That's just how we roll.

Next stop: the Mondrian Hotel in Hollywood, where Holiday had booked us waaay-too-nice of a suite. She kicked me to the spa where I got a super-yummy body scrub & massage (purrr), and by the time I made it out to the pool my friends P. and M. had joined us. (Life in L.A. would be so much more tolerable if I could spend all my afternoons chilling by that pool ... I should look into that.) We took lots of photos, giggled at the trashy mags, and got reprimanded by a pool boy for sneaking in an "outside" bottle of champagne. (Bat eyes & hand him empty bottle. "Sorry!") We also wondered why you would wear a flourescent green sweatshirt and then act like you didn't want to be recognized, Spike Lee? The best quote of the afternoon, by far, came from H. herself: "Unfortunately, he also spoke English."

We stayed until they closed the pool, then went upstairs to get cleaned up. P. couldn't stay for dinner, but she did tell us we HAD to order the butterfish. The rest of us agreed that "butter fish" sounded like slang for a person with a really slammin' body, who'd had something "unfortunate" happen to her ... anatomy. Trust me -- after the 2nd bottle of champagne, this was high-larious.

My friend K. was off work in time to join us for dinner, where we did order the butterfish, decided it was delicious, and still laughed like 6 yr.-olds about its name.

After dinner, M. had to leave us (she had an early start the next day) but we were joined by J. and a 2nd K. at a bar in Hollywood. We went there because a) it was close to the hotel, b) it's pretty cheap, and c) you can order cocktails in both a beach pail and a fish bowl. I'm sorry to report that there were no fish in the fish bowl ... at least, I really hope there weren't. But there was free popcorn, which I kept getting up to refill just to make people stare at The Boots as I walked by. We stayed until the lights came on, then went back and passed out in the hotel's much-too-comfy bed.

On the way to drop Holiday back at the airport, we sealed the experience with breakfast at Sprinkles cupcakes.

Thanks to each & every person who was able to join us & celebrate with me. It meant the world to me. I couldn't have imagined a more perfect day.

(And to everyone who couldn't make it because we did this on a weekday: stay tuned ...)

all the news that's *safe* to print

This past weekend saw lots of silliness on behalf of both Mr. UB & myself. I'm going to leave out a few details because we're not anonymous here, (hi, family members we told about this blog!) but what follows is most of what happened.

Chapter 1: Sunday -- his Bachelor Party.

Mr. UB was kept in the dark about any specific plans. All he knew was when he'd be picked up (11:00 a.m. Sunday), what to pack (swim trunks, something nice for going out, and a change of clothes) and when he'd be home (5:00 p.m. Monday).

I got a text from him around 9:30 p.m.

Him: You're the greatest thing that's ever happened to me.

Me: Glad to hear it. Now back to your debauchery.

My first thought was that texting me mid-bachelor party was kind of a weenie move. My second thought was that he's my very thoughtful weenie, and that I appreciated the reassurance.

That's all I heard until the next day, when I got another text.

Him: I'm home. Remind me to tell you what happened to R's boots.

Apparently he was taken to San Diego for a planned afternoon by the pool & night on the town. Except that in a major fail, best man Double-L didn't keep an eye on the Mr's water intake. So after a little too much sun, he wandered upstairs & fell asleep. He woke up momentarily to text me, then passed out again until morning. The rest of the guys enjoyed a very nice steak dinner, but they were all in bed by 10 p.m.

Him: I think I slept through my bachelor party.

Yep -- that's my weenie. In his defense, they're going to try again next weekend when they go to Vegas for R's birthday, since I have to stay home for work.

Oh, and he says I'm not allowed to tell you what happened to those boots.

my sphere of influence expands!

I've been chosen to join the Weddzilla team as a guest blogger! I'm going to be reporting on the roller coaster ride that is the final countdown to our big shindig -- 17 days and counting! There will also be recaps & a post-mortem of how all this planning/scrambling/making it up as we went along turned out.

A big shout-out and lots of love to the Weddzilla team for finding my rantings amusing enough to share with their readers.

My plans for world domination are right on schedule. Mwah ha ha ha hah!!!

26 July 2009

the best part about Oregon

Every time the Mr. & I go to Oregon, we get to visit The Kitty People. No, that's not their actual name, but a) I'm doing my best to protect anonymity here on the interwebs, and b) that's what I call them. Not because they have an uncannny sense of balance & can see in the dark -- at least, not to the best of my knowledge. Those topics have actually never come up in conversation. I call them that because they have 7 cats. And 2 dogs.

The night before our most recent trip to Oregon, my back did something peculiar. I coughed while wearing too-high heels and it spasmed. (Are those details germane to the injury? I don't know. But that's what stood out in my mind as it occurred.) So I was very concerned. Partially with being in massive amounts of pain for the duration of the getting-there, partially with being a giant-ass drag on the planned 4th of July festivities. But mostly because, as I said to Mr. UB, "I can't bend down ... you're going to have to hand me kitties!"

When we got to His Parents' house, I retreated to bed old-lady style: with heating pad and Tiger Balm. Fortunately* this proved to be just what I needed, as my back snapped back into its intended alignment with a quiet pop that left me gasping for air & crying. But hey -- at least I was, once again, ambulatory.

So while everyone else was enjoying barbecued salmon & local microbrews, I was on a mission: Drag Mr. UB away from his dinner every time I located another family member with four feet & fur.
This is Dit -- who always lets me slurp him up first.

Houston -- guess where they found him?

Mo -- you can't tell in this photo, but he's actually part whale. Mo = a lot of cat.

Mo's best friend, Prissy -- the only cat in the world larger than Mo.

Princess knows she's beautiful.

Molly likes to hide under the dining room table. But I find her.

Seemore had to be retrieved from his hiding place in the garage ... amateur.

No, I don't think this is a cat. This is Simon, the dog who may as well be a cat -- he's kind of high strung. As in he hates it when people leave. He used to snarl & bark while blocking the door as soon as the good-bye hugs began. This time he bolted outside when the front door opened, then shook so hard I thought he was going to shatter while his mom held him. I think he's awesome.

I need to get the photo of Barry, aka Doggie #2, from Mr. UB. He's a great big slobbery St. Bernard. (Barry. Not Mr. UB.) I only patted him on the head, and somehow still came away covered in slime. Unfortunately, the bachelor party started 45 minutes ago, so I won't have access to it, or the Mr., until sometime after 5 p.m. tomorrow.**

*Kinda. And lest you think I'm some sort of huge weenie (especially if you knew me when I was a whiny kid) I'm pretty stoic. But that shit hurt.
** Of course the fact that his bachelor party is today has nothing to do with why I'm posting pictures of cats on the internet. I'm above needing such distraction. How dare you!

blessed reassurance

I don't know what's gotten into me, but I'm having mini-mental freak-outs with increasing regularity. Only in my head, mind you -- one of the advantages of knowing I'm nuts is that there's nothing particularly novel or spectacular about these little "moments" I have. At least, not as events, per se. But their subject has shifted away from "Why isn't *insert topic here* more successful/lucrative/likely to make the people who were mean to me in high school green with envy?" ... the white noise that used to narrate my day when there was nothing good on the radio.

Instead, my inner iPod is currently set to this: "I'm getting married! Like, soon! Holy crap! What does this mean? About us? About me? Does it have to look like anyone else's marriage? Will it look as unfathomable to people on the outside as other marriages have looked to me? Will people treat us differently? Will we treat each other differently? Am I really going to live with a man who thinks being organized is having two separate piles of clothes -- one dirty, one clean -- on the floor?!?" (See why I keep this junk to myself?) (Yes, I see the irony here.)

Which is why I was made oh-so-very warm & fuzzy inside to read this, over on Mr. UB's blog:*

"The fact is, she doesn't know what she wants, all that she knows is that *variable* calls her by name from the darkest part of the night, and it grows more and more difficult for her to resist the temptation to go screaming into the shadows."**

Okay, so maybe in his blog it doesn't say "variable" ... but it kinda should -- I have a short attention span and internet access. And yet, his reaction is not to follow me screaming into the abyss ... but to try his best to procure said thing for me.

It must be love! Or something that requires Ritalin. But I'm betting on the former.

*What? You're not reading his blog? You should -- he talks about non-wedding stuff over there. Sometimes.
** Lest you should think that I'm completely wretched, I want to point out that he was talking about cheese here.

23 July 2009

because there have been requests

A couple of people have asked about the boots that I mentioned purchasing a while back. There have been inquiries about a visual. Which I suppose is to be expected -- you can hardly write about shoes (or boots, in this case, but I'm pretty sure the rules are the same) without showing a picture of them. We females are genetically designed to need an endless supply of things to wear on our feet. Or, barring that, photos of them to keep us entertained.

Case in point: two days ago I stopped by the shoe repair, where I picked up not just the three pairs I had planned to retrieve, but also a extra pair that had been living there long enough to establish residency. Where had I been going before I remembered to do this errand? I was on my way to Target to see if the sandals I'd been eyeballing ... which happened to be the exact same color as the pair I'd forgotten about ... had gone on sale yet. Realizing that such insanity was probably grounds for Mr. UB to call off the marriage, I went straight home.

What does all of this mean? Probably just that I'm a) insane, but b) still capable of exercising self-control. Except when they have a shoe sale at my place of employment, where everything is 20% off wholesale, with an additional 20% discount for employees. That's my only explanation for how I even came to try these on ... let alone purchase them. (If you are reading this and related to me ... I'm sorry.)

Ahem. I know. Don't worry -- I will not, in spite of the fact that many of my friends think it would be "awesome", wear them under my dress. I plan to wear them over dark skinny jeans -- that way they look more "I'm hot and I can kick your ass", and less "Have you seen my pimp?" At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

I'll be road-testing them at the bachelorette shenanigans this weekend. Yes, I'll report back on how they are received. (If you are related to me and still reading this: really, I don't know what's gotten into me.)


Two of our friends are going to do readings at our wedding. (That's what you call it, right? When somebody reads something during the ceremony? "Doing a reading"? ... Why does everything associated with weddings sounds so pretentious?) Ahem. Sorry. I'm more prone than usual to those kinds of outbursts as the Day draws near. Where was I?

Oh, right. Two of our friends will be reading something during our ceremony. (Much better.) When we asked them, we didn't have anything in mind. And I've been only moderately successful at finding things to suggest to them. The interwebs are chock full of ideas ... but I manage to read roughly 2.3 of them at any given time, before my brain glazes over & I find myself skimming just the first two lines before deciding "nope!" and moving on.

Fortunately, our friends are a) resourceful, and b) know us oh-so-well. And independently of each other, they came up with two passages that could not represent the Mr. & I more perfectly.



Dr. Seuss

It's all starting to come together. (Which is a relief, because I had my first bona-fide anxiety dream about the wedding a few nights ago. It was the night before the wedding, and we realized that we'd forgotten to write a ceremony. Thank goodness T. and R. are there to make sure that doesn't happen.)

22 July 2009

more almost-free stuff!

One of the goodies that came with being picked as a couple for a Minted.com design challenge was a $250 credit toward any of the beautiful paper things on their site. The obvious choice (meaning something they have that we need): thank you cards!

I love these -- they're the perfect colors (sage green, white, slate) and the flowers look a lot like these:

I love it when things look like I planned them. It makes me feel smarter.

Now I just need them to hurry up & get here -- because "stuff" has started to arrive! The wedding fort* is acquiring a second wing.

*I didn't come up with that phrase. Elizabeth did. But I wish I had.

21 July 2009

look! i made ... goo.

I don't want to go so far as to say "I should've known better" ... but I think it's time to acknowledge my limitations.

I can design invitations. Build a website. Make paper flower-ball doodads. But this is what happens when I attempt to make homemade marshmallows for our candy buffet. Sigh. Not even my tray of the Place de la Madeleine from Fauchon can help this ... goo.

It doesn't look anything like the picture that came with the recipe. Cutting it into squares only marginally improved its appearance, and was a far messier operation than anticipated. (I now have vanilla marsh-goo between my toes.)

Also, I was promised "a lot of marshmallows" ... by my count, there are maybe 60 here (the tray is holding 3 layers of little snot-cubes). The recipe's author & I appear to have different definitions of "a lot." Then again, we clearly have many, many differences ....

Fortunately, I know myself pretty well. Which is why I made sure to note these while I was at Target buying the supplies for this experiment:

They make white ones!

Now who wants a snot-mallow? Anyone? ... hello?

holy crap - we're legal!

While we were waiting in line at the courthouse to get our marriage license, Mr. UB kept me entertained with his impression of Ben from "Lost." It's very good, and therefore really creepy. Should I have been concerned that he was trying to weird me out at that particular moment?

service with an "eff u!"

I received many text updates from both Mr. UB and his best man Double L during their romp through Tuxedo Land on Sunday. After traipsing all over the city, they settled on a store that has locations across the country -- helpful, since 2 of the grooms-guys live in other states -- and no reflective fabrics were involved. All seemed well. I just needed to swing by the store to look at the ties they'd picked, to make sure the colors were going to work.

Foolish, foolish me ... thinking it was going to be easy. That I'd fretted over not being there for no reason. It turns out I had plenty of reason to worry ... I was just worried about the wrong people.

I knew something was amiss from the beginning. Salesgirl asked me for his last name. Then for our wedding date. Then for his home phone number. Nope -- nothing. No record of their having been in the building for 90 minutes just 48 hours ago. Oh, joy.

(Whipping out cell phone) Hey, babe. They can't find your information. I'm sure it's here, and boy am I enjoying watching her try to act like nothing's wrong.

(to Salesgirl) He says E* helped them.

(watching Salesgirl walk into the back & pick up the store phone) Oh dear.

Have you ever known from the very first second you heard someone's voice that you were dealing with a complete idiot? Because when Salesgirl handed me the store phone, so that I could talk to E* myself, the voice I heard belonged on a gum-chomping teenager behind the counter at Hot Topic. And I don't think I'm being unjustly harsh, based on the ensuing conversation.

Yes, they had been in the store. They had tried on lots of options. She didn't write any of it down. They hadn't officially registered with the store. Oh wait, yes they had ... we found the form he filled out somewhere random -- not filed, and not with its information entered into the computer. They hadn't been measured for sizes. Oh wait, yes they had ... those were written somewhere else, on pieces of paper not attached to his main card. There were no notes about what styles/colors they wanted anywhere on any of the various pieces of paper. But E* remembered what he liked. Oh wait, no she didn't ... because what she told Salesgirl to show me was the designer he'd said didn't fit him well. And there was a vest, which I knew he'd decided against. And she brought out 2 different shades of green ties, not 1 green & 1 blue, which is the only thing I was supposed to drop by and register my freaking opinion about!!! Ahem.

I wanted to go all 'zilla on Salesgirl, but it wasn't her fault. And I really wanted to sink my talons into E*, but what's the point? Sure, you can yell at stupid people, but it doesn't help.

So I left & went next door to Starbucks, even though their parking lot had a snarky sign about "No Starbucks Parking!" Take that, E*!

(Why do Frappucinos cause such dragon breath? What's in those things?)


I hate it when I'm unfairly accused of making things complicated. Yes, I have planned a wedding that includes a ceremony in one city, a dinner afterwards that is not the reception, and a reception on a different day in another city, all because I really don't want to get married in Los Angeles, a city that I have no emotional attachment to despite my having lived here for (gulp) a decade, and also because this way I can maintain the illusion that I had a small wedding while still indulging my desire to have a big silly party with all my friends. I will cop to every bit of that, and throw in a cheeky grin that says "ain't I just the darnedest?" on top of it. But this ... this is just silly.

Before we decided to have people RSVP via email, I designed a card to include with the invitations. Since I didn't want my time/effort/creative brilliance to go to waste, I used it as a picture on the website page that tells people where to email their replies. Simple, right? Not so much.

Now I'm getting emails saying that the "form" on our site is broken. People are apparently spending upwards of 20 minutes attempting to type into the graphic. Even though a mere fraction of an inch to the right it says, and I quote, "Please email to the above address & let us know if you'll be able to join us!"

Reading is fundamental people. It isn't that complicated ... well, this part isn't, anyway.

20 July 2009

it's the little things

Reason #237 why I adore him: I can text him from Target.

Me: U have time for a Google search?

Him: Sure

Me: What's the difference between powdered sugar & confectioner's sugar? Is there one?

Him: They're the same thing, per whatscookingamerica.net

I mean, seriously. He was at work. And he didn't even hesitate. Awesome = him.

So why not one more question?

Me: What about parchment paper vs. waxed paper?

Him: Waxed paper is wax coated, parchment is silicone coated, and only parchment paper is safe to use in an oven. Wax paper will melt and smoke. Like crazy.

Me: Good to know.

Him: U cooking something?

Me: I think my questions are far more interesting absent a context.

Why yes, I do approach every activity from a position of "how can I make this more entertaining?" It works ... kinda. I amuse me.

17 July 2009

i shall attepmt to remain calm, but no promises ...

We all know about the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride in her dress before the wedding. I have no clue about the reason for/origin of this "rule" -- bad luck? not as exciting? just one of those Things You're Supposed To Do? Sure, I could probably Google & find out, but I don't particularly care. It's important to Mr. UB, though, which means I'm happy to play along. I think it's kind of adorable that I need to warn him when I post pics of my head thingy, petticoat, etc.

But now he's taking this a bit further. He doesn't want me to see what he's wearing before the wedding. As in I've been banned from the expedition with groomsmen to Men's Warehouse this Sunday. Hence the title of this entry ...

Allow me to explain: it's not that I'm some crazed control freak who wants to micro-manage what my man wears, or disregard his opinions about things. Hello -- he has to wear the damned thing, of course he should get what he wants. But ... um ... this is the same man who caused the Irridescent Teal Tie Incident a few months back ... so I have concerns. And I'm trying to stay reasonable -- really trying -- but I don't know about this.

I tried everything, from mentioning that I would consult him on a video game purchase, to acting hurt, (am I proud? no -- I'm human) to outright begging. No dice. What am I supposed to say when he tells me that picking out his tux feels like the last autonomous act of his single-dom? I can't compete with that.

Fortunately, I had one last weapon in my arsenal: his Best Man's cell number. While the above discussion was still going on, I was furiously texting, with lots of things in all caps and way too many exclamation points. And while it turns out that the bastard drives a much harder bargain than I expected from such a normally mild-mannered dude (his 1st response: "What's it worth to you?") ... I have secured his having-my-backness. It's costing me money, drugs and lapdance lessons for his girlfriend, but it's worth it. Now I just have to figure out where to get drugs. And money, for that matter.

So: LL -- if you're reading this, let me re-itereate: NOTHING REFLECTIVE!! Or I'll make you guys wear those effing ties!

*Please note that the purpose of this entry is to (hopefully) get the Bridal Blogoverse to weigh in and take my side, regardless of my argument's merit. And babe: love you!

16 July 2009

the Actress Diaries, ch. 5

I swear I didn't plan this, or ever think it would work out this way. But my awesome, silly day job has landed me yet another TV gig. Allow me to explain:

One of my students works on Saving Grace, which is a previously-obscure-to-me series on TNT starring Holly Hunter -- being the only person in America without cable, I'm behind the curve sometimes. (Having watched an episode online to prepare for the audition, I'm now obsessed. Hurry up, Netflix!) She knew that I'd done my thang on House recently, and gave me a heads-up that her show was also planning an episode in a strip club. Thank you, Hollywood, for being predictably awesome. She took in my pic&res and had clearly sung my praises to the folks who make decisions about these things ... and woo hoo!! I booked it.

We shot two days ago. I'm disappointed to report that I didn't get to snap a picture with Holly Hunter, but I did get to watch her work ... and wow. (Warning: geek-out imminent.) It was amazing to be "right there" while someone I admire so incredibly much worked out a scene with the director & other actors. Talk about your fantasy acting class.

And then things just got silly.

Extra Guy playing club patron: Where'd you get the nickname Coco?

Me: (long pause) In the script.

Extra Guy: You don't look like a Coco.

Me: (another, longer pause) I'm not.

Maybe it was his first day. I really wish I could wear my engagement ring while I'm working sometimes. (Astutely figuring that Coco the Stripper is not, like me, engaged, I left it at home.)

I got some nice screen time again, but no dialogue (again -- dammit!) It's a pretty funny scene -- a man's wife sends his priest to the club to drag her husband away from my charms. (There should be more scenes with priests in strip clubs. Can somebody out there make that happen?) At any rate, it didn't suck to hear this take after take. "Look at that, Reverend. Perfection named Coco. God made that. God is great." Hehe!!

Not that I take that kind of thing to heart, mind you. But it made up for this -- copied verbatim from the character description in an audition notice for the next day:


Anyone who's still wondering just how, exactly, I became the snarky delight that I am ... please read that again.

... at least my agent thinks I'm a "great actress."

more coveting

So ... very ... tempted ...

I think that's the sexiest pair of bikini bottoms I've ever seen. And it's on sale ... down from $250 to $90 ... surely that's worth something? Now where did I put my trust fund -- I can't seem to find it anywhere.

Curse you, Agent Provocateur!!

15 July 2009

2 more points in the "happy" column

(yes, I know I'm posting a lot of stuff today -- I've been busy, not lazy!)

1) I've started getting feedback about the invitations, and all of it has been so nice. I'm all gooey-smiley from hearing so many lovely compliments. I was a little concerned that they would turn out handmade-looking-in-the-bad-way. So phew/yippee!!

2) My uber-fantastic MOH, Our Lady of the Holiday, has put things in motion for my bachelorette activities! I dragged my feet about discussing I wanted to do with her -- I'm so not good at "hooray for me!" kinds of events. But now I'm getting excited -- she's booked us a suite (a suite!!) at the Mondrian here in town, where we will a) laze by the pool, b) wander into the spa for pampering, and c) be perfectly positioned to jump into a night of pub crawling/ generally silly behavior.
The one thing I wish I could change: because she & I both work weekends, we're doing it on a weekday -- which means that most of the people in my life with normal jobs can't join us. I'd change that if I could, but I figure the party would be somewhat senseless without me there. So we shall soldier on without them.

I'm planning on making that night the debut of my new boots.*

*I didn't lie about not buying them, babe. But I found out
the next day that staff got 40% off. It's like they were taunting me -- I'm a weak woman!!

vive Pierre!

Hooray for delegating: our catering dilemma is solved! (Note to self: you're allowed to say "you handle it, babe" sometimes. He likes coming to the rescue.) My awesome amazing lovely fiance is also resourceful, dammit!

Ever since the Psycho Caterer Incident, this task was officially Mr. UB's to handle. He was entirely willing, mind you ... but I'm not so good at admitting that I can't do something. Even if that something is only "continue dealing with this crap." But it's official: they broke me. And it doesn't matter because Mr. UB has pwned the mutha!*

He found Pierre. And I kind of want to hug him. (Pierre, I mean. I definitely want to hug Mr. UB.) He's worked at our venue before, and collaborated with the decorator lady there. Every detail that we're planning elicited an "oh, perfect -- that's easy!" from him: it's only the reception, it's "small", we want a buffet, we won't need staff there for the whole event, we already have a cake. (They're going to cut the cake for us at no extra charge!)

And the absolute best part: when he heard that we were hoping to feed 110 - 120 people for between $3000 - $4000, he asked a few more questions then guaranteed that he would do it for "not a cent over $3500." We're talking plates & glasses, all the buffet stuff like ice buckets & beverage jars, a bartender, waiters ... everything! All he wants from us is a good reference ... um, hello: done. Seriously, I want to drive to where he is & hug him.

If that wasn't endearing enough, he's promised to be there himself on the day of, to make sure all goes smoothly. And he "warned" Mr. UB that because his business relies entirely on word-of-mouth, he's going to put more effort into the deliciousness and presentation of the food, rather than frills like fancy china. It's like he's inside my head!!

So please -- help us make good on our end of the bargain. If you're anywhere near Los Angeles and you need someone to cater an event, talk to Pierre. You won't regret it.**

*Nerd-to-English translation: kicked butt and solved everything
** yes, his website is a little chaotic. Call him anyway.

14 July 2009


One month from tomorrow: I will marry the man of my dreams.

One month from tomorrow: I will step boldly into a new adventure.

One month from tomorrow: I will change my name.

One month from tomorrow: We will celebrate surrounded by our loved ones & their love for us.

One month from tomorrow: We will vow, and kiss, and dance.

One month from tomorrow: He will call me his wife.

ps ... it's almost tomorrow.

08 July 2009

it just gets better

She was serious. Insane Caterer #3 has responded to Mr. UB's email, and she was serious. She claims that we never discussed our budget (sure, because it's easy to forget that insignificant detail in a vendor meeting), and reminded him that she hadn't even included a price for renting china. Which is odd, because he & I both recall talking about how we'd like to use eco- (and wallet-) friendly bamboo.

Other things I cannot begin to fathom: If we're paying $350 each for two chefs, and somehow have the only buffet in the world that requires six waiters, then what pray tell do the other three kitchen staff do? Forgive my ignorance, but if they aren't cooking the food or serving it, then what exactly are they doing? I imagine it's pretty special since it costs $300 per person.

Also, we really look forward to the explanation of her $2000 "production fee", which as best as I can tell from the fine print seems to include nothing more than driving the food to our location. Yes, of course -- the cost of fuel has skyrocketed in the last few years, and I'm sure that most people hold their events in her freaking kitchen, so naturally we'd expect to pay a 20% premium to have the food delivered to our venue.

Now I just have to figure out how to let the person who recommended this psycho know that "it didn't really work out."

On the upside, I managed not to swear today. At least, not here in print.

07 July 2009

I'll be here if you need me

{A caveat if you're squeamish about these sorts of things: I'm probably going to swear in this entry.}

I've been acting like the guy in the picture up there. Well, kind of. Actually, I think I've been doing rather amazingly well with the whole shindig-planning thing, considering where I started and how steep the learning curve has been. I've been coasting along, checking items off my list (or rather, the list in the book my mom gave me.) Dress: check! Venues: check! Invitations: check! It was all going so ... very ... well. Until.

Until the fucking caterers got involved. (Hey -- I warned you.) I don't know what the hell it is about caterers. My interactions with their kind prior to this was limited to about 4 gigs as a cater waiter when I was hard-up for cash. And nobody at those events was visibly insane. Well, there was one client, but I can hardly blame the catering company for her behavior. But getting back to my point: either it's time for some Primal Scream Therapy, or I'm going to just stick my head in the sand & wait for them all to go away.

Caterer #1: Mr. UB & I had a meeting/tasting with one catering person, who was recommended by our friend/informal consultant. We loved the food, but were a little put off by the amount of the quote. Granted, we had asked her to give us the absoloute highest estimate for what we want, with all the bells & whistles, so that we could scale things back if necessary. Still, she was about $1000 more than we want to spend, so we moved on.

Caterer #2: A friend of mine recommended someone she's used before, who happens to run a restaurant I really like. They were nice, but their quote included things like a $200 fee for bringing our own alcohol. I'm sorry, but if I'm bringing the booze, why the hell would I give you $200? We'd already be paying your bartender to serve it, so what, exactly, is that fee for? Because the alternative is to buy the liquor from you at $6 a beer. And that just isn't going to happen. Also, thanks for giving us a price for 12 hours of staff, when we told you we only need five.

Caterer #3: One of my students told me that a friend of hers who used to be in the film biz now works for a catering company. She swore that by using her name, this person would deal straight with us. The Mr. & I met her for coffee, where we explained what we're hoping to do (a casual buffet), for how many people, and what our budget is. She really seemed to get it, and we really clicked with her. Or so I thought. She emailed us today ... and somehow "we'd like to do this for between $3000 - $4000" got us a $13,000 quote.


I let Mr. UB email her back. I was afraid that all I was capable of writing was that little stream of invective above.

And bless him, not only did he manage to compose a letter that was beyond-polite. But he also sent me this text:

100 pizzas from CPK = $1500. Beer & wine only = about $500. No caterer = priceless.

Me'n the ostrich are staying put. He can take it from here.

photo source

06 July 2009

back from a happy 4th of July

I hope everyone out there had a wonderful 4th of July. Nothing commemorates our forefathers telling the British to eff off 233 years ago like blowing stuff up, does it?

Mr. UB & I celebrated by making a whirlwind trip up to Oregon to visit His Parents. (I was just excited to see that they do not, in fact, live above the Arctic Circle -- it was actually warmer there than in L.A.)

So, what exactly does one do on the 4th in rural Oregon? Why, go to the St. Paul Rodeo & Parade, of course!
His Dad had entered his pride & joy, a 1934 Ford that he's been restoring for the past 8 years, in the parade. And let me tell you, if it wasn't quite clear that Toto & I were no longer in L.A. before the parade started, it sure as heck was once things got underway. To wit:

Rodeo queens!
Vintage fire trucks!

Vintage ... other vehicles!

Other oddities: a non-marching band
As someone who used to wear the full St. Pepper-esque wool uniform, complete with heavy uncomfortable hat, to competitions in Barstow in freaking August, I have very little respect for people in casual clothes who ride the parade route. But they did sound pretty good.

That's more like it. This drum corps brought it.

Little girls riding wooden horses on a flatbed truck? Why not? Take that, Imperial Britain!

Give us Liberty or give us a gigantic inflatable creepy pumpkin head! On second thought, we'll take both!

Here come the Mr. & His Dad. Work that crowd, Actor Boy!

More vintage cars with extra-cool passengers:
I think this is a Chevrolet. But I'm positive that those Australian Shepards in the hipster 80's shades are called Lollipop & Lulu.

No idea what year/make this car is, but the tiny lap passenger is a rescue dog called Eeyore. (Are my priorities showing?) The only hair on his body is whiskers & a faux-hawk. He also has a spiked collar -- 'cuz he's a total badass, and that's how he rolls.

Me and His Parents. One of these hats is being worn ironically -- can you guess which one?

Other things spotted after my camera battery died: a guy riding his horse on top of a semi doing some fancy lasso action, the world's tiniest buggy being driven by a woman dressed like a pilgrim (and pulled by a pony, natch), and a tractor hauling the biggest spool of hose I've ever seen (I think they were one of the event sponsors?) We had a blast.

02 July 2009

perhaps I was overly ambitious: part 3

cost breakdown of invitations

I fear that these ended up costing more than I thought they would -- if I could even remember what I thought these things "should" cost, when I first got on this crazy ride. Ah, my long-lost naivete .... Nonetheless, I'm thrilled with how they turned out, and pretty amazed with what I was able to make happen within our budget. These figures are for a guest list of approximately 110 people.

cardstock in 2 colors: $81.00
printing: $58.01
envelopes: $25.00
envelope liners: $ 0.87
labels for addresses: $12.98
postage: $70.40
decorative stamping: $25.88
raffia ribbon: $4.20
glue sticks & dots: $7.29

total: $285.63
cost per piece: $2.10

I decided to go with cost per piece due to the one-page & two-page variations of our invitations. The vast majority of them are one-page, since we're able to include everyone at the informal party in Los Angeles. I suppose I could've figured out what percentage of the total were 1- or 2-pagers, and gotten a precise average cost per invitation ... but frankly, that's more math than I care to do.

Some of the things that helped me keep costs down:

* I found the envelopes on Craigslist -- someone had leftovers in the exact color, size & amount I needed.
* I quickly realized that it was cheaper to get cardstock from the manufacturer, even with shipping, rather than buy it 1 piece at a time whenever Michael's had it in stock ... not to mention the gas & time I saved.
* I lined our envelopes with a roll of wrapping paper on clearance from Target and leftover wallpaper I already owned.
* Rather than pay for a liner template I doubt I'd use again, I made my own.
* I bought a pack of full-sheet labels from Office Depot and cut them into wrap-around address labels.
* I taught myself how to use Photoshop, which allowed me to design our invitations, address labels & save-the-dates. It took some time, but I got exactly what I wanted, and there was no charge for proofs when I took my ideas to Mr. UB.
* We emailed our save-the-dates, which saved paper, printing & postage for that.
* All the invitations include our website, where people can email RSVPs -- again, no paper, printing or postage.

I don't suggest that my methods here are the best idea for everyone out there. It certainly helped that I had tons of free time this spring, as the acting biz was slow. I may not have been able or motivated to invest as much of my time as this took if I'd been busier. (Then again, if I'd been busier I probably could've afforded to out-source it.) Besides, I really enjoyed "the thrill of the chase" -- being on a mission that had me swinging by the gift wrap aisle of Target when I was just there for paper towels, or hunting down the company that made our cardstock (which was far more difficult than it should've been in 2009.)

Ultimately, it comes down to this: I'm stubborn. I have very particular taste, and I'm loathe to trust my vision to other people when I have the time & ability to do it myself. But I'm also very proud of myself -- so there.

perhaps I was overly ambitious: part 2

So, after all of that craziness from yesterday's post, these are my final results. I know some people wait until their recaps to reveal the look of their invitations, but I'm not sqeamish about that. If you're invited & you don't want the "spoiler", please skip this post!

There are two basic variations on our invitations: ceremony-&-reception, and reception-only. Without question, the absolute hardest part of our planning process has been deciding who we can afford to include at the ceremony. So it is extremely important to me that our invitations reflect an equal amount of care & handcrafting, whether the envelope contains one piece of paper or two. Also, I didn't have enough paper to line all of our envelopes identically, so I'm including pics of both liner colors.

These are the basic pieces I created:
One-piece invitation:

Two-piece invitation:

And here they are, all bundled up & ready to go.

I wish that the little gold swirlies (the same ones from our save-the-dates) printed on the address labels showed up better in my pics, but here's a close-up that's slightly sharper:

Please, Mr. Postman, take them away!

01 July 2009

perhaps I was overly ambitious: part 1

Here we go: Invitation Construction-Palooza. As I documented each step of this little undertaking, I did ask myself, frequently, "what the hell was I thinking?!?" ... lest you a) think this crap is normal, or b) know me & fear that I've lost it completely. Then again, maybe I have. You be the judge:
That's what I started with. I designed the invites using Photoshop & paper samples from Michael's. Mr. UB and I picked the same 2 colors -- hooray! -- and he really dug my design. I thought about printing them at home, but a) my printer couldn't handle cardstock (I tried) and b) I'm sure I would've spent at least the same amount in ink as I did for Kinko's to print them.

I thought about having them cut by Kinko's, too, but the margins on my screen weren't matching what appeared on the page, and I was too paranoid to risk it. Solution:
Good thing I already own that paper cutter. (Why do I own it? Because somebody decided that even though paper is 8.5 x 11, actor headshots should be 8 x 10. I suspect the same person who decided to label garbage bags in gallons, and garbage cans in quarts. But I digress ...)

So I cut the ceremony invites to 4.5 squares, and the reception invites to 6.5 x 4.5. Then I cut the gold paper backing to 5 x 5 and 7 x 5, respectively, and started glueing.

That's the one that my printer ate halfway through, but hopefully you can get the idea. The next thing I had to deal with was unexpected: they started curling as the glue dried.

Who says book learnin' doesn't have practical applications? So after I left them to flatten overnight, I moved onto the next step: hand-stamping every piece.

Say it with me now: What was I thinking?!? Not only did I have to re-ink between every piece, and wait (again) for them to dry before the next step, but it took me 3 tries to find a level surface that didn't randomly leave blank holes in the middle of the designs. D'oh! Good thing I over-printed by a lot. Here's to not wanting to have to go back to Kinko's saving the day.

While I was waiting for the ink to dry, I cut the ribbon that was going to hold the pieces together (or just fancy things up a little, for the people we can only invite to the reception.)

Also, I discovered on my test piece that glue dots, rather than a smoosh of glue stick, was the way to go. Hello, trip to Target. And since I was already out & about, I took my test invite to the post office to get postage. The woman who helped me weighed it & pronounced it 1 oz. stamp-worthy ... until she noticed the knot in the ribbon. "Oh no," she told me, "if it isn't just flat paper, it's an extra $0.20. You have to take that off."

Oh, you silly Post Office Lady.

Do you realize who you're talking to? I am a Bride on a Budget. I have been researching every detail online to the brink of carpal tunnel syndrome. I have been arguing with vendors that I don't have to pay that much, or even have that at all. I have been defending my ideas, plans and vision for this shindig with friends, relatives, and even my darling fiance -- and holding my own in a non-'zilla way most of the time. And you think that you are going to talk me out of my pretty, shiny raffia ribbon? Ahem.

"Well then let's just pay the extra 20 cents. Yes, I like the wedding cake stamp very much. No, I don't want the red, white & blue star to make up the extra 3¢. Let's find something else. Thank you!" (Use every acting class you've ever taken to insert sincere smile here.)

So each one of our lovely envelopes will have one wedding cake & three Tiffany lamps.
The colors work. And the "extra" cost for keeping my raffia ribbon will be approximately $22. With everything else that we've saved money on, my regrets = zero. (I normally strive to say "us" rather than "me", but I'm the one with the issue here, so I'm owning it.)

Back to the salt mines. The first batch is drying on my floor.
Time to stick a glue dot on the back, tie a freakin' ribbon around it & stuff it in an envelope.

More to come: the final product, the cost breakdown, and why the f*** I did this by myself, despite multiple offers of assistance.