Monthly Archives: March 2009

Limos are Outlawed…AKA How We Got Engaged…


So obviously, I said yes.  But the story is ever so much fun to tell, and I am really tempted to tell this story as a toast to my new husband on our wedding day, but not sure if that would be crossing the line.  I mean really, he’s got it coming, but do I want to spend the first moments of our marriage torturing him? 

Rewind to three weeks before the YES.  My guy tells me that he’s going to a batchelor party on the upcoming weekend and that strippers have been completely outlawed by the future bride to be of our friend.  I’m on the fence about the whole stripper/batchelor party thing.  It doesn’t really bother me when it’s a man who wouldn’t go to titty bars otherwise.  I always try to work in a “titty” into my posts.  Anyhoo, my guy tells me that the party will be a bbq at his friend’s house with all the guys.  Great, I say, go forth and party. 

On the evening of the party, I invite some friends over for some drinks.  I get a phone call from my guy around 10:30 who is obviously drunk as a skunk asking me if we want to go for a ride in the limo with him and the guys.  I pass because we are having a good time on our own.  I ask who has paid for the limo, and he tells me that the father of the groom paid for it.  How.  Nice.  I go to bed around 1am, and apparently the limo drops off my guy at 5:30 in the morning.  He sleeps alllllll day.  I mean all day.  He wakes up around dinner time. 

The next weekend is the wedding.  As my guy is an usher, we go to the rehearsal dinner.  While I am standing in a circle of strangers talking to the bride, I mention that it was so nice of her FFIL to pay for the limo at the party.  The bride and all of her friends uncomfortably stare at me as if I just said the stooopidest thing ever.  Well it turns out later that it was stupid because the bride-to be-pulls me aside and says, “I was under the impression that Aaron paid for the limo.  I thought you knew.”  There goes my jaw.  And my bladder.  And my humility…out there on display.  Suddenly I realize that everyone has been REALLY nice to me tonight.  They probably think that I’m either a really cool girl for not putting up a fuss over the limo or a really stupid girl for not knowing what her fiance does.  Turns out, I’m the later. 

Out in the parking lot on the way home, I point blank ask my FI who paid for the limo.  He confesses.  I ask him why he lied, and he doesn’t really have a good reason.  I point out that he just made me feel stupid in public in front of strangers.  He feels bad, yadda yadda yadda.  Whatev.  We go to bed.

Next morning:  I start to wonder how much this limo cost.  At this point of our relationship, I should point out, we are living together, we need a new roof, and I want to be engaged.  He refuses to tell me.  OH NOW I NEED TO KNOW, BUDDY.  Thinking that it was around $300, I overshoot it and say, “$500?”  Him, “Higher.”   Me, “$700?  $1000?  $1500?”  Eventually, him, “It was $1700.”  Bomb.  Explosion.  Silence.  I don’t know what to say.  I went in the house and sat in the shower for an hour because I knew I could be alone there.  He left.  And I decided to go for a run to clear out my head before I call the movers to help me pack my things. 

Okay I’m gonna go ahead and leave this as a cliffhanger.  Aren’t I clever to trick you into coming back tomorrow to get the rest of the story?  Really it’s because I need to get in the shower now and go to work.  I hate work.  Come back tomorrow for the dramatic conclusion!

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More Traditions, Less Pounds

marie-antoinette-3Last night I started a post on entitled, “Regional Differences in Weddings” and man, did it take off!  I started it because being that I’ve grown up in the Midwest but spent considerable time in New Jersey and done some other traveling here and there, I couldn’t help but notice all the cultural nuances that go unmentioned that really are wonderful traditions.  Some traditions I would like to steal and incorporate in to our wedding, and some traditions I will never touch with a ten foot pole. 

One lovely tradition that recently came to light is the bridesmaids’ luncheon.  From what I understand from the discussion board, this is when the someone close to the bride hosts a little get together right before the wedding so that the bride can thank all the women in her life.  We are doing something similar but with a twist.  My mother and I will be hosting the luncheon, and it’s actually a bridesmaid’s excursion to Chicago for a day of good shopping and good food.  We are doing this in September this year which is still a year away from the wedding.  Everyone has asked me what we will be doing in Chicago (gotta love the task-minded women with whom I’ve surrounded myself), but really, I just want us to have a relaxing day…maybe get a mani/pedi and then walk around Michigan Avenue and Navy Pier. 

The other tradition that sounded charming (and closely related to the bridesmaids’ luncheon) was the bridal tea.  Someone on the discussion board described this as a drop-in occasion where the bride has displayed the gifts that she has received so far in a pleasing way around her house.  Tea, little sandwiches, and what not are served, and the ladies lunch.  What I like about this is the nostaligic feeling that I get when I think about a relaxing tea party with ladies that I love before my wedding.  What I don’t like is the whole parading of the gifts.  I don’t intend on doing this.  We will have delicious food for sure. 

Then there are some local traditions that I’d rather forget.  The following, in no particular order, are traditions that I am going to try to not have at our wedding: 

The Receiving Line:  150 guests times 30 seconds of chitty-chat = We’ve missed out on our cocktail hour to which we are really looking forward.

The Bouquet Toss:  I always hated being singled out and usually tried to blend in with the crowd until someone would shout, “THERE!  THERE’S A SINGLE GIRL!  GET HER!  TIE HER TO THE STAKE!  BUT LET HER CATCH THE BOUQUET FIRST!”  I will not be doing this to the few single women left in my life.  Period. 

The Dollar Dance: CRIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGEEEEEEE  It’s so awful.  How tacky (THIS IS MY BLOG, AND I CAN SAY TACKY IF I WANT TO) for a bride and groom to blatantly beg for money from their guests who have already purchased them a present.  Gross, gross, gross.  NEXT!

The Stretch Limo:  I will not be forking out $600 for a limo so that I can get that shot of me in the limo looking out the window.  Not worth it, folks.  No one cares.  I’ll be driving myself that day unless I can con my cousin David to shuttle me around. 

The Unity Candle:  Our ceremony is going to be outside, and even if we had a candle, it would be a bitch to keep lighted.  Why do people have a unity candle anyway?  Those who love unity candles will say it’s because it symbolizes the joining of the man and the wife in holy matrimony.  The cynics such as myself will say no one knows and people have only had unity candles because they have been brainwashed into thinking it’s a necessary piece of their wedding day. 

The Favor:  We will not be giving out little notepads, key chains, candles, elephants, candy bars, bubbles, bells, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.  That list gets 5 “etc”s because litterally the list of useless crap that is available to purchase for favors is the longest second only to Santa’s naught/nice list.  Why do people give out favors?  Same reason why people have a unity candle.  Because.  We will be totally forgoing the favor in lieu of a photobooth.  I like the idea of a photobooth because if people WANT the photo, they will GET the photo.  There is no waste.  Plus it’s fun.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. 

Here are some traditions that I am considering for the abandonment pile:

The Garter Toss:  If we aren’t doing a bouquet toss, then it seems kind of silly to do a garter toss.  I am keeping this one on hold though, because how else am I going to show of my died crinoline!  I know…I’m strange.

The Wedding Cake:  We aren’t really cake people, and even if we were, we’d have a hard time swallowing the $500 it can take to get a cake (pun intended).  Instead we may do cheese cake.  Now we ARE cheese cake people.  Or maybe something else…but cake is definitely not a priority for us.

The Chicken Dance:  I really don’t have a feeling about this one way or the other…I will just tell whomever is running the music that IF a guest requests the GD chicken dance then play the GD chicken dance.  Same with the macarena, electric slide, cha-cha slide, hokey pokey, and any and all Shania Twain music.  (shudder)

The Disc Jockey:  We are considering nixing the dj for a band instead.  We like this idea a lot and have found a band that we want.  It’s a matter of budget at this point…

So that was the “more traditions” part of this post.  The “less pounds” part is that I’m down to 195lbs.  27lbs to go to “normal”.

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Lucinda, you little harlot!

lucinda-dress-jpegOh Lucinda dress…How I love Thee…Let me count the ways dollars.  Is anyone else stalking this dress?  It is so lovely and simple and classic, it is the shape that I have always thought of when I heard the word “bride”.  I never thought about what dress I actually wanted for myself, but when we first got engaged and I first started looking for dresses, I found this one almost right away.  I did what any mature, well-rounded adult does when they find mecca…I called my momma.  Then I called my maid of honor, my bridesmaids, my high school swim coach, and the President.  They all had to know that I’d found THE dress.  Somehow when I first started looking, it didn’t matter that the dress cost $2500. 

After starting budgeting negotiations with my parents and my FI, I realized that this dress was beyond my means.  *sigh*  So I started on the hunt for the ever so ellusive other perfect dress.   I felt attraction for several styles of dresses, but time after time, I returned to pictures of Lucinda to day dream.  Even the description that those tricksters at jcrew used to describe her reeled me in:  “A classic ballgown design in softly rippled cloqué fabric with a full-bodied drape and a very festive rustle.”  I WANT A FESTIVE RUSTLE!  Whatever that is. 

A member of posted about how she had put an alchemy bid out for the exact same dress (copier…even though she did it before me…COPIER!  BLASPHEME!) and had had several people bid on the job.  For those of you unfamiliar with and their Alchemy program, you must try it.  Think of something you’ve always wanted and could never find/afford/imagine.  Then go and use the alchemy program at Etsy.  You can write a little diddy about this perfect thing and post it out there in Internet Land.  People will bid on your “thing” if they think they can produce it.  You can interview them, see what they would charge you, etc. etc. and decide if you are going to use their services or not.  It’s brilliant!  (I am currently using Etsy Alchemy for my invitations which I will post about soon.)

So I put in an alchemy bid for the Lucinda dress, and within 12 hours, I had about a dozen bids on my post.  The nice thing about Etsy is that you can go look at the “shops” and see what the bidders have previously made.  This is a good way to weed people out.  I had a couple of very nice ladies who put bids out for my dress, but when I went to their Etsy shop, they only had stuffed animals and other odds and ends.  Sorry ladies, I am looking for an experienced and qualified seamstress.  So you can write them a little “thank you but no thank you” message and decline their bid.  If you find someone who you think is super capable and talanted, then you can accept their bid and discuss payment terms and delivery and what not. 

I am currently in the discussion phase with Etsy user, BeyondtheReflection, who wrote an amazing bid back to me for only $375!!  This includes my initial fitting, a muslin mock up of my dress, additional fittings, materials, crinoline, final fittings, etc, etc. and voila!  Faux-Lucinda will be all mine.  Maybe I can call her “Fauxcinda”.  Or I can lie and tell people that she’s the real deal and watch them pout, quivering in jealosy.

I do have a little worry about whether or not an Etsy seller could totally con someone out of money.  It is important to do research on any potential seller so that those who prey on the indulgent and temporarily-aloof brides-to-be don’t take your precious pennies.  I went to this woman’s website which included examples of previous dresses and costumes that she had created by hand.  I have also asked for references that I can call and for our bid to be drawn up in an official contract.  She is in Chicago, so fittings and meetings will be a cinch, and I get a general good feeling from her.

Could she be a criminal?  Could she take my moneys?  Sure…but the way I figure it is that in worst case scenario, she swindles me out of $375 and I reverse charges on my credit card.  Best case scenario, I have a custom made and fitted beautifulbeautifulbeautiful gown that is made out of lovely perfect fabric for my lovely (perfect?) wedding. 

I will keep you updated as time goes on as to how this goes…who knows…maybe you could have Lucinda too.  At this point since I am calling my dress a she, an unsuspecting reader could stumble on this blog and think that we are bartering over loose women.  Don’t correct them just yet.  Let them ponder over their deluted musings…


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Gocco, Glue, and Glitterati.

fontIn my fantasy, I always have beautiful stationery.  I write hand written notes by ink nub on spectacular paper.  People save these letters for years because they are handcrafted and lovely.  In reality, the only things that I handwrite are my grocery lists and the grades on my students’ papers.  Lately, I have been totally suckered in to stalking beautiful stationery for invites, table numbers, etc. etc…I know that my budget of 67 cents for our wedding will not allow much wiggle room for this fantasy to come to come to life.  So I will be Doing It Myself.  (Why do they call it a DIY project?  Are they trying to trick someone else to doing their work for them?  Clever little monkeys.)

Let’s start with what I already know.  I KNOW that I am not sure what a gocco is.  In my imagination, a gocco is a little dwarf that comes while you sleep to produce mass invitations.  Am I close?  I don’t even know how to pronounce “gocco”.  Is it a hard G like “gotcha” or is it a soft G like “giant”?  I prefer to pronounce it with the soft G because it’s more fun.  Try it.  Gocco Gotcha.  Eh.  Gocco Giant.  Brilliant!

I ALSO KNOW that I have issues with commonplace art supplies as well.  I am a horrible judge at how much glue to use.  You know the kid whose art projects were always bumpy because instead of unclogging the Elmers bottle they just squeezed really hard until it splurted all over their construction paper snow man?  You too?  Oh good.  Did you ever switch your bumpy snowman with your neighbors when they ran first out the door for recess?  No?  Shit.  I guess I’m alone here.

My point is here, folks, that my DIY supply experiences are limited.  I have these fantastic visions that start to come to life until I get bored or frustrated at which point, the piles of paper, ribbon, yarn, what have you go into a box somewhere until my FI finds them and asks me, “What the heck is this?” and I shrug and say, “Dunno, must have been something your nieces brought over”.  Having little kids around sometimes is really handy.

So when I read a blog yesterday about downloading free fonts, I was intrigued.  Here is a way to personalize things (sorta) without any mess at all.  Worst case scenario, I download a really pretty font that turns out to be a monster virus and we have to throw away the computer.  No biggie.  So I downloaded a font, followed the directions, opened a word document and gave it a go.  And……….it worked!  I am a DIY genius!!  Go ahead and worship me.  I have arrived.  I now have a word document with my name typed in forty different fonts.  THIS IS GOING TO BE SO HANDY….everyone is going to want my name typed over and over.  Maybe I could sell it.  I could start an Etsy store.  I can quit my job!  Someone take my picture!

The amount of free fontage out there has given me a little glimmer of hope that my beautiful stationery will come to life, but we’ve got miles to go before we sleep…

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The bracelet that broke me down…


Modern.  Clean-lined.  Simple.  Those words could pretty much sum up my style.  I sound so cool, right?  I knew it.  I practiced.  No actually, I developed that style because working for pier1 for several years brainwashed me.  Our store was the number one ranked in visual appeal in our region, and our manager, a finicky gaygaygay man, could spot an unrully tassle or thumbprinted water goblet at 100 paces.  As I moved into my very first “grown up” apartment during the time that I worked for pier1, I cultivated my collection of “stuff” and evolved into a very finicky straightstraightstraight girl. 

So when I moved in with my FI whose house was decorated by his ma (don’t even get me started), it literally broke the mold to merge our two households.  Seriously.  I broke things secretly so that they didn’t have to be displayed.  I had to gradually weed out doilies, flowers, and mismatched candles for the first 47 days that we lived together.  Now we’ve been living together for about a year and a half, and our collection of stuff has evolved with our relationship into a comfortable modern English countryhouse feel.  Is that an official style?  Now it is.  Art Deco, Early Americana, Comfortable Modern English Country Feel…too long?  Superfluous wordage is my trademark. 

Anyhoo, what’s my point?  The point is as we started to plan our wedding, my choices started off very modern, clean-lined, and simple.  I was looking at tulips and orchids and square cut glass vases.  I professed that I wanted little to no decoration throughout the wedding and on my person.  I didn’t even want a veil or any jewelry  or any detail on my dress so that my ring could stand out as my sole decoration. 

Yesterday, I met my clean-lined adversary in the bracelet pictured above.  I was sitting in my graduate class trying to pay attention to the current discussion entitled “What is a Document?” (Librarians are nerds, okay?), when my mind wandered and I started stalking the WeddingBee discussion board.  An interesting thread on Etsy vendors led me to Noaki, a woman who sells STUNNING vintage jewelry.  I saw the bracelet listing, and my heart did a little booty dance in my chest.  I knew I had to have it.  I haven’t wanted something so badly since I refused to leave the Playschool play house display at the local Toys R Us when I was three (Mom:  It’s time to go!  I’m leaving!  Me:  Okay, bye.)  I bought it immediately so that I wouldn’t throw a full blown temper tantrum in the middle of my grad class.  That would be embarassing. 

It’s frilly, it’s pretty, my FI’s mom would probably approve.  It’s my very first fancy-schmancy thing.  And I love it.  I haven’t even purchased my dress yet.  I will either find a dress that “goes” with this bracelet, or so help me God, I will be walking down the aisle commando!

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Momma’s got a headache.


I’m  not very lucky very often.  It’s safe to say that I’m generally unlucky.  I’m the girl who steps in the gum (occupational teacher hazard).  I’m also the girl who has to throw away perfectly good pans because she leaves the plastic pancake flipper resting in the hot pan rather than on the responsible spoon holder while she steps into the next room to watch the cat bounce into the window while bird hunting, meanwhile back at the ranch…the pancake flipper has become a melted plastic pancake.  That last sentence was obscenely long-winded, excuse me. 

So when I received an email yesterday saying that I had won $50 from a drawing done by a local wedding website, I wahoo’ed!  My fiance said to me over the newspaper, “It’s a gimmick.  No one just gives out $50.”  Deflated, I went back to reread the email.  I actually didn’t even remember entering the contest (which is irrelevant because my memory is equivilant to that of the melted pancake flipper).  I replied to the email asking for more info about the $50, and the webmaster lady reminded me about the drawing (In a rather snooty email, I might add.  I’M SORRY I FORGOT YOUR CONTEST, OKAY?).  She gave me the address and told me I could pick up the cash between 2 and 6pm.  I promptly ha-ha’ed at my fiance and hopped into the shower. 

I was going out to meet friends for dinner and drinks, so I stopped at the address the webmaster lady gave me on my way there.  Apparently the webmasters of this local wedding website share their office with a computer store.  I walk in and explain that I’m there to pick up my $50 because I won the drawing, and the annoyed looking man said he had no idea what I was talking about.  What was this? I thought, Are they tricking people to come here and buy computers?  Shoulda known!  Finally another office lady came around and said “Yeah, so and so mentioned that someone would be coming along for money.”  Okay.  She gives me a $50 bill, I thank her, and walk out to my car.   I thought it was strange that no one even asked for identification or anything.  So if anyone else wants $50, go to 1047 State Street, Bettendorf, Iowa.  Ignore the rude man and ask for the lady who gives out cash. 

So did this responsible bride-to-be safely tuck away that $50 bill with her other $50 bills in her hope chest?  Heck no!  She spend it on a little food and a lot of vodka with her other wonderfully irresponsible friends.  $50 goes a long way during double bubble happy hour.  Today, momma’s got a headache.  I’m so lucky it hurts.

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I’m a little fat and a little crazy.



fat-bride-cartoonIs anyone else considering breaking up with their fat asses?  We are at 542 days to go now, and maybe I should switch my countdown over to pounds…

That would be 28 pounds to go until I am in a “normal” weight range.  That would be 48 pounds to go until I am at my doctor’s goal weight for me.  Is anyone else trying to lose weight before their wedding?  What a dumb question.  Excuse me…let me rephrase that:  IS ANYONE NOT TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT BEFORE THEIR WEDDING?  And if you are not, also where do you live so that I can come kick you in the pants.  Kidding.  Maybe. 

I have wonderful friends.  Really lovely ladies.  Really lovely tiny ladies.  They range from size 6 to size ZERO.  And they would never make me feel like I wasn’t wonderful or beautiful intentionally, but trying on wedding dresses and being told that my size would have to be special ordered because they don’t carry circus tents is my worst nightmare ever.

Okay, okay, I’m exaggerating…A LITTLE.  Are you sitting there thinking, “this gal is either really fat or really crazy”.  Let’s meet half way.  I’m a little fat and a little crazy.  I am 5’9″, so a healthy weight range for me is between 135 and 170 (although I think someone tall like me weighing 135 would probably look like a skeleton).  My “normal” weight would be 168lbs…scroll up, scroll down, do the math, and yup:  I currently weigh 196lbs.  My “goal” weight (the middle point of the “normal” BMI ranges) is 148lbs. 

I am doing a bang up job this year, I must say, of keeping to my New Years Resolutions, and with the 8lbs that I lost in 2008 plus the 19lbs I’ve lost this year, I’ve lost 27lbs….moremathmoremathmoremath, and yup:  I started out at 223lbs. 

So let’s recap:  I was really fat:  223lbs.  I’m still fat, but less so:  196.  I want to be “normal”: 168.  I want to be “really normal”: 148lbs.  And I have 6 months until I will not be able to hold back my dress hungry bridesmaids any longer. 

Isn’t this blog fun?  Neuroses and numbers all before nine o’clock.


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543 days to go…

crying-newborn-baby-photo1Look at my little blog being born!

My name is Jen, and I live in the Quad Cities (Iowa/Illinois area).  I teach by day and stalk ideas for our wedding by night.  You will come to learn that I am an obsessive, relentless, picky person hiding behind the facade of a reserved and demure bride to be…

Check in each day to see what I’ve dug up or to hear my ramblings.  Feel free to post and ramble with me…


Filed under the random