An amazing '50s dress at Posh Girl Vintage Dresses

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Time keeps on Slipping, Slipping, Slipping.....

I haven't posted in a while and I feel I better put something up here but sadly the last few weeks have been a combination of incredibly hectic and very stressful so I'm lacking in the cheerful and light department. The good news is that we are officially at the 2 week mark today till I get to see my honey again!! This thought alone is thrilling after five long months apart. I can not wait to get off that plane and be in his arms again. So I am trying to keep that thought at the front of my mind and not get bogged down in all the trials and hassles which I swear are purposely creeping up out of nowhere just to try every last nerve I have.

I am supposed to be picking up my dress today but instead I am watching a mini-blizzard outside my window. What would normally be a lovely snow fall has transformed itself into frosty white mounds of evil piling up against my garage door and standing between me, the Dress and about 1000 other tasks that require leaving the house to accomplish.
Image Source: Activity Village

Another option for today was to make my annual Christmas Rum Balls but given my high state of agitation I'm afraid that more rum would go into me then the mixing bowl. Even I can see a disastrous combination on occasion- me passed out on the floor in shower of cocoa, powdered sugar and nilla wafers would not be a pretty sight to behold! (Plus the Nilla Wafers are one of the numerous things on my shopping list- grrrr)
Image Source: Joy of Baking

So I decided my best course of action to keep out of mischief was to write a bit here:) Hopefully next time I write I will have some pictures to post of the Dress- Keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I love My Mailman

Just a quick one today (well, quick for me anyway!;) because I have to share what arrived in the post earlier. Today was a brilliant day for mail, I got my first shower present, this months Vanity Fair with Kate Winslet on the cover who I just love to pieces and then to my great excitement, the garter I ordered a little over a month ago from etsy seller Peterene Design!

I'm a big fan of buying from independent businesses/crafts people when and where possible and when the item turns out this beautiful then I couldn't be more thrilled with the results. Now when it comes to bridal/wedding traditions I'm not a big one for some of them. I have no intention of letting my honey reach up under my dress in front of a crowd of family & friends- it's just not on my list of things to do in my life time. Also since I'm not totally convinced about the bouquet toss (too many weddings where I was forced to declare my single status in honor of this tradition have left a bad taste in my mouth- do women over the age of say 12/13 really enjoy it? Any thoughts?) having a garter toss would just be odd. But I still love the idea of wearing one. They may be slightly old fashioned but that's part of their appeal to me- that and the same appeal of any nice special undergarments- only you and (hopefully) a special few know that you have them on. So when I stumbled upon Peterene's site I couldn't help myself, my only problem was choosing between all that she had to offer. I finally narrowed it down and in then end this is the one that arrived this morning!
Image Source: Peterene Design

Maybe because I have so few tangible wedding related things here in the states it was just such a thrill to get this today- It made an otherwise gray & rainy Friday morning infinitely more cheery. Have a good weekend everyone! xx

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Playing Dress Up

Hello my lovelies, below is the story of my dress hunt- I tried to reign in some of the bitterness from the early part of my experience (mostly unsuccessfully I suspect?) but there is a happy ending and, more importantly perhaps, pictures!

There's a conspiracy in the world that no one tells you about (but I suspect most of you reading here will have some experience with it...)- wedding dress sizing has nothing to do with your street dress sizing. I'm not talking a little difference here & there, I'm talking nothing-nada-you might as well make shit up because it has that little in common with reality. When I walked into the 2nd store the sales woman sized me with her eyes and said "You're about an 8 right?", since that's what my jeans are I answered yes and the ensuing pain and suffocation I suffered as she tried to lace me into a completely inappropriate for international transportation corseted puffball of a dress (her reasoning- every mother wants to see her daughter in a "princess type dress" at least once, even if the princess in question is turning blue from lack of oxygen) was enough to make me dizzy. It was not a good look and I refused to leave the dressing room, mostly for fear of passing out and doing myself and the too expensive dress harm in the fall.

This leads to the next conspiracy afoot in the mass market bridal dress world: If you don't want a floor length, beaded strapless dress with a train that weighs 50lbs (minimum) you're obviously a freak. Even the supposed "destination wedding dresses" were either more of the heavy beaded same or so plain that I could have bought a nightgown & achieved a similar effect- not the look I was going for really. Now considering that it takes six months for an ordered gown to come in (!!?!) & I have to be on the plane to England in Dec it was off the rack or not at all as far these shops were concerned. To be fair, my observations are based on the experiences of the 2 shops that I was able to find within 60 miles of where I live. I'm sure brides to be on the coasts or in major cities might have more choice or luck (but I suspect they are just as shocked about the sizing!) but here in exile not so much.

I made a valiant effort with these two shops (hey, I went in to them willingly- that's got to count for something!) even when I got so tangled in a dress from the first shop I didn't know which way was up & I feared I might have to buy it because of damage incurred from the panic attack suffered trying to free myself. Luckily, with deep breathing, repeating my willow mantra and preforming inchworm-yoga like maneuvers, I managed to to release myself from the evil death trap disguised as a harmless pile of taffeta and lace (seriously, I could have suffocated under all that tulle or been crushed under the weight of the beads!! While I was appreciative that the 1st store wasn't keen on the "hard sell" approach a little assistance might have been nice). By the 3rd dress at the 2nd shop the dazed, frustrated look on my face was too much (or maybe it was the way I flinched & did an instinctive duck & weave move when the shop woman tried to pin a veil & tiara on my head...) and mom hustled me out to freedom where she admitted that a traditional dress "might not be the right choice for me." I could have wept with joy.

I realize now that by having done research online and knowing that there were dresses out there in the world that I did love, I had ruined myself for what these 2 shops were going to be able to provide. I already had a picture in my head of my gown and none of these dresses had even come close to removing it- in fact I beginning to think nothing short of a lobotomy could. Sadly, the dress in question was vintage and had been sold before I ever laid eyes on it. How tragic to fall in love with something that can never be yours, to have the picture of yourself standing there in THE DRESS next to your dashing honey in his handsome suit go *poof* before it was ever fully realized.
Image Source: Posh Girl Vintage

Image Source: Posh Girl Vintage

When I saw this dress I knew I was done and when I saw the looks on the shop assistants faces when I showed them these photos and said this was the type of dress I wanted I knew I was done for. Incredulous, bewildered and sympathetic doesn't quite cover it. Then my mother got crafty and got online. She found a website that reviewed dressmakers and found one that was highly rated in the city about an hour and half from us and we made an appointment to go meet the woman who would become my angel, my deliver from the depths of tulle-strewn hell.

Having read other's stories about dress making disasters I was forearmed with questions and was on watch for warning signs. Though my angel was younger then I expected, her portfolio was beautiful and full of other wedding dresses she had done in styles ranging from traditional to decidedly offbeat. She had 2 in her shop to see in person, one almost complete and the other 3/4ths finished- both beautifully done along with street clothes that were well made. She was incredibly calm, professional and sweet- when I showed her my photo's she was enthusiastic and full of ideas about fabric and details. Initially concerned when I told her my timeline (I went to see her in early August) when she saw the dress she said it wouldn't be a problem to have it done by early December. She said she would do a muslin dress first from my measurments and then make the real dress from that. My only concern was that she was heavily pregnant at the time (due about 3 weeks after we met) with her 1st child but she was so perfect in every respect that I decided that if she was up for it then I would trust her to know what she could take on during this time.

Luckily, my instincts were right on, I had my 1st fitting of the real dress yesterday and it is beautful. Her little girl was in the shop with us and she is the mini-angel befitting her mother. Because the temptation of a baby to cuddle was too much for my mother I have no photo's but the next fitting will be around Thanksgiving so hopefully I will have some to share around then!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Procrastination Two-step

Image Source: Photo Bucket

Two posts in as many days, I am on a roll here people! I really suspect this is just avoidance behavior on my part as I have a to-do list longer then a roll of toilet paper but this morning instead of of tackling anything on it I couldn't help but be drawn into reading about the last week leading up to Guilty Secret's wedding this past Saturday. Oh beautiful girl, your story has made me laugh and cry- I can't wait to see and hear all about this special day and those sparklers!

But I'm nothing if not multi-tasker so as I ignore the little things on my list such as go through my clothes, belongings and generally try and figure a way to condense my life to two suitcases and a carry on bag for a flight that is a little over a month away, I am also going through the extensive amount of music I have managed to accumulate on my computer. I mean seriously, I could hit play and not hear the same song for a little over a year with what I have on here- How did this happen? Did the files breed when I wasn't looking? I love music, I love having it on while I work and play and many of the moments of my life are wrapped up in lyrics and rhythms that can be brought back in a random song played on the radio. But apparently I will also download any old thing that catches my eye (or ear) because the amount of crap in my music library is shocking. I wont name names here, because one woman's atonal garbage is another's heartfelt favorite but I'm seriously starting to wonder if I've been downloading music in my sleep because I don't even recognize some of this stuff. Sigh.

As I sit here, type and listen to music that varies from good to bad to god awful I realize that after being hyper-organized for months concerning the visa process I am slightly burnt out with to-do lists and having every last thing planned. This is not a good state to be in when facing a trans-Atlantic move or an April wedding. It's all about small steps forward at this point and apparently realizing that the weight of the music in my laptop isn't exactly going to tip the scales at the airport at the end of the day...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Why Florists Don't Wrap Flowers in Red Tape

Image Source Virgina Star

Obviously there's been a little bit of a gap here, things have been more hectic then I even could have imagined. But there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel so I thought I might try for a 2nd post at least!

Let me start by saying to any couples out there going through the fiancee visa process be strong, if you don't drink you may want to start, if you do you may want to look into getting some sort of discount card for your local liquor store/wine mart and really try and keep your sense of humor during the whole thing because it is set up to suck the life and soul out of you and start about 1000 fights between you and your intended over the stupidest things ever. This doesn't even cover the "discussions" you may have with family members about the wisdom of them purchasing plane tickets to your wedding BEFORE you have said visa or about why you haven't sent out friggen Save the Dates yet (not much point in saving a date if you're not sure the bride will actually be allowed to attend is there? Just saying....).

Being organized helps when you are digging your way out of the mountain of paper work as does having a minion or two to help you put the mountain into a nice orderly presentation binder (hole punching 6 months worth of phone records alone is enough to make you reach for the wine, have it near by. It's also useful to lure the minions with.)

Once everything is punched, (including the wall, countless times) prepped, and proof read to the point of blindness; once you've driven a considerable distance for less then 5 minutes of finger printing, bound it all up and handed it over to the Fedex guy to deliver it to the courier who will in turn take it to the consulate- You exchange one incredible weight for another. The weight of waiting. The weight of second guessing. The weight of trying to squash the urge to tackle the Fedex guy, rip the application package out of his hand and double check it one last time even though you know it's irrational and you're pretty sure such action would lead to you either a.) being arrested b.)being banned from Kinko's for life or c.) both.

So instead you walk out of there (looking over your shoulder no less then 12 times in case you catch them drop kicking, setting alight to, or otherwise mistreating your precious package) and try not to think about the fact that you and your love's fate now rests in some stranger's hands and their interpretation of all the information compiled in that 4 and 1/2 in binder. You push all the What If's out as much as possible and send out a silent prayer to any Deity that will listen that whoever that stranger is that they will look kindly (and god help you, swiftly) upon your love and grant that small but Oh So Important (and none to inexpensive) piece of paper in your passport that allows you to travel un-hindered to England and marry. Because in case you'd forgotten in the 6 months it's taken to put the damn thing together that is in fact the point. Since you are going to be on the computer anyway (compulsively checking your emails for some sign that the consulate has received your baby, I mean package..) now might be as good a time as any to re-acquaint yourself with the joy of weddings, the beauty in the details and the humor of things that didn't go perfectly but came out wonderfully anyway. Now is the time to pray that you and your love will have the chance to experience that all first hand.

On October 31st My Honey and I got the 1st and only official notice from the British Consulate that my visa had been accepted and that was when Fedex knocked on my door and returned my carefully prepared application binder (minus the application of course but with all the supporting documents-result! This is not always the case). I hadn't slept at all and when I ripped into the box and dug out my passport I was shaking. We never received a confirmation email or any other communication from them. In fact they had the application for less then 24 hours, all told from the time I sent it to the courier till I got it back was 4 days. We were incredibly lucky that it was so quick (oddly enough though it only seems quick afterwards...) it can take A LOT longer.
I still check my passport periodically to make sure that the visa hasn't magically disappeared. So far so good, now on to the business of getting ready to move to England and actually planning the wedding... Yikes!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Every Story has a Beginning...

Hello there! I've actually had this space for a while now but have been slow to start. I've had the chance to read a few great blogs (some of which are listed on the side) and tonight I have decided to jump in as well. The biggest part of my delay was my trying to figure out how to start (something about all this empty space is a little daunting...) but the obvious way is with the engagement story, so here we go.

It was a beautiful day in Southern England & My Honey took me to a lovely park outside of our city. I thought we had just gone out for the day trip to celebrate his newly acquired drivers license. When he suggested the walk after lunch I was fine until we got to the base of the "hill" he really wanted climb. You couldn't see it from where we started and initially I was told that I didn't have to go up if I didn't want to but, oddly enough, when I saw it & said "hell no" not going up wasn't an option anymore! Towards the top there was a bench under a tree (from the bottom you couldn't really see the bench & the tree looked like a shrub) and I was told to aim for these.

After a few minutes of debate I eventually relented & we started our climb. About a quarter of the way up, My Honey started to look worried. Luckily I kept my inner monologue to myself but I suspect the look on my face spoke volumes and while things have improved greatly since my 2nd ankle surgery, I am sadly far from fighting fit when it comes to steep hills. MH walked behind me (perhaps to keep out of the way of my gaze or to catch me if I started to tumble backwards- a little of both maybe?) which meant that when we finally got to the magical bench he was several feet behind me. I was so excited to see it that I summoned the rest of my energy in one last burst and joyously collapsed on to it. Well wouldn't it just figure that the seat of the damn thing wasn't actually attached? The look on MH's face as I started to pitch forward was priceless (I'm sure mine was pretty amusing as well) but luckily that innate survival instinct kicked in & I managed to cling limpet like to the back of the bench (while praying that at least it was somehow anchored to the ground). Since I'm here writing to you and not dead or in traction somewhere you can see that I survived the bench malfunction with only minor bruising and an even more elevated heart rate.

We managed to put the thing back together and sit (very gingerly) on it. The view really was beautiful and MH made some Moroccan Mint tea appear out of no where, both of which cheered me up & went a long way in helping me keep the inner bitch firmly in place but after about 30 minutes I suggested we start back to the car. I was losing the will to live every minute I thought about the walk down (and up again & down... we'd gone over several smaller hills to get to this one...). MH got up then, I thought to put the thermos etc away, but instead he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was only a few minutes later when he started to look really worried that I realized I hadn't actually said yes! Once we cleared that up we enjoyed a celebratory cup of mint tea . I did balk a bit when it dawned on me that that bench is now a part of our life. (I believe my exact words were "we've got to come back to this damn bench now don't we?" These may not be the most romantic words ever uttered after an engagement but then that bench didn't try to kill you now did it?) I will say it's amazing what someone saying they love you & want to spend the rest of their life with you does for exhaustion- the walk back to the car wasn't nearly as bad as the walk to the bench had been;)

We got to spend the next few days giggling a lot and marveling over the whole "engaged" thing before I had to get on a plane to come back to the states and the crashing reality that is planning a wedding on a minuscule budget from several 1000 miles away & dealing with government agencies but that's for another night. For now let us enjoy the memory of a cool breeze, beautiful view, an incredible man plying me with mint tea & words of love- splintered butt and all!