Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review: UV Gel Manicure

Big fat waste of time.

I went in for a polish change a week and a half ago (Sunday the 19th, to be exact). The manicurist asked if I wanted to try the OPI Axiumm line of UV gel polish. She promised chip-free color for three weeks, as well as instant-dry nails. It was more money, of course, but hey! Three weeks!

Once complete (it took twice as long) my immediate impression was somewhat unimpressed. The timeline cancelled out the "instant dry" perk, plus my nails looked really dull. They had none of that fabulous, just left the salon sheen. Flat, matte color. And not even the color I really wanted, since the options are limited. My nails also had a weird, gooey feeling, in spite of being set. I think that was from the SIX layers of polish they put on.

But hey, three weeks!

By the end of week one, we were going strong. Sort of. Not really.

My cuticles were starting to show froth and there was definitely chipping. The edges began to show slight curling, which turned out to be the first signs of peeling.

Day 10 - full peel began and the first offender popped right off. Super gross, and it left my nails feeling dry and brittle.

Day 11, ten days shy of my promised manicure lifespan, and the rest were gone.

I am irritated. It was basically the opposite of what I was promised. I do not recommend it, and will not try it again. I'd rather just sit under the nail dryer.

Thumbs down!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sometimes I Forget.

Sometimes I forget that it really happened, that the wedding is really over.  After 22+ months of planning, it's so surreal to just be ... done.  The last few weeks, I've caught myself a few times thinking about projects I could do and ideas we could try.  I hear songs and move to write them down on the "must play" lists.

Being married is so much better than I ever knew it could be.  Life is returning to what appears to be our new normal.  But after spending so much time planning that single event, sometimes the habit is hard to break.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Beer Me Strength, part 2 - The Bottling

 While I (not so) patiently await for our disc of pro pictures to arrive from our photographer, I have one last wedding planning recap left to share - one I am particularly proud of, the making of our wedding favors. 

When we decided to make our own beer for the wedding, we knew it was going to be a full-family experience ... at least, the bottling would be.  We left the brewing to our resident expert.  However, converting several Ale Pails worth of I Do Brew into 175 brown bottles called for a morning of super family fun.

Practicing capping bottles.

The Muscle.

Here's to BrewSeester MOH, fill 'er up and drink 'er down!

Constant supervision by the assistant Brew-puppy.

One down, 174 to go.

MOB and I dunked the pasteurized bottles in a second sanitizing solution, assembly-style.

 We really enjoyed our job.

  The beer actually carbonates in the bottle, so BrewSeester added the magic fizzies to each.  

And slowly, but surely, the boxes filled up.

After a couple weeks of carbonation, the beer left the bottle shop (Seester's kitchen) and headed to Labeling (MOB's kitchen).

 The finished product!  The I Do Brew, care of Schmitz and Giggles Brewing Company, a Belgian-style wheat ale with hints of citrus and spice - brewed with love and the passion of the Brewmaster!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Let's Fall in Love: Evolution of a Wedding Dress

I bought my wedding dress a year and a half before the wedding day.  The thing is, however, I didn't see my wedding dress until the week before.  How does that work, exactly?

This is the dress I ordered:

Only when I tried it on, we thought it would look better like this:
And also better in ivory instead of champagne.  So then I waited.  The designer (Jasmine) had to approve the changes and then place the order.  We got the thumbs up and the waiting continued.  I struggled with an epic case of Dress Doubt for the next four and a half months.

But then the call came.  The Dress was in.
And it was pretty good.  But then again, it could be better.

 So I ordered more organza, and made the sash wider.
But still, I wanted more.

So I added little satin buttons down the back, which came from my mom's wedding dress.

 And decided I needed a bow and long organza tails too.

And when we first tried the bustle like this:
I went ... meh.  Turns out, it was a huge pain in the hoo-ha for the seamstress too, since there was an unattached layer of organza over the train.  I was dead set on a French bustle, but in order to make it work, she had to get creative.

So then it turned into this:
Just a little more ... complicated.  There were roughly ten points of bustle in there.  One layer French-bustled, the other layer over-bustled.  Oh, and the tails from the sash were pinned up too.

Because the alterations work, especially the bustle, were so complicated, the seamstress was doing work basically until the very last minute.  We had to wait for her to finish when we went to pick it up.  I did not see my finished dress until I put it on the morning of my wedding. 

I had anxiety about all of these changes and alterations from the moment I ordered it, until the moment my mom helped me step into it.   But then the dress was on.  My mom zipped it up.  And it was magical.  All the stress, all the nervous, all the "will I look fat," and "I hope it's right" ... it all went away. 

And this is the dress I wore on my wedding day.

(all photos care of family and friends)

Project Clean Out: The Closet

Our house is a mess. The influx of our awesome new wedding gifties has thrown the presence of our existing crap into sharp relief. We moved in a year and a half ago - me from a 700 sq foot apartment and Mr Cheesefries from his mom's house. Sometime between then and now, our house got FULL. With a subdivision garage sale coming up in October, it's the perfect time to clean up and clean out.

The kitchen was actually the easiest part. It doesn't get much simpler than "everything must go." Perfect garage sale fodder. The daunting task was starting on my closet and packed dressers. Yes, I have more than one ... of each. I'm That Girl.

My walk-in closet was this weekend's target. I didn't have the heart to take a before picture - it was that bad. Instead, I just took everything out completely.

The pile on the bed was as tall as me, but the closet was finally a clean slate.

I have a confession to make: I am a Wishful Shopper. I looooove buying things that will fit "in 10 pounds," especially dresses and skirts. I also tend to hang onto items for years, whether I wear them or not. This had snowballed into an overstuffed disaster that left me with more things I wasn't wearing than things I do. It's frustrating, stressful, and it made me feel bad about myself. Everytime I opened my closet it was a reminder of all the pretty things I can't have because I'm too fat. Ive done this as long as i can remember, even when I was much smaller. It certainly doesn't help a girl's self esteem and it's been a very hard habit to break.

So I started sorting. One pile for trash. One pile for donation. One pile for consignment. One pile for the prize closet. I moved a wardrobe's worth of "incentive-sized" clothing to the guest room. I have a ton of things I wasn't ready to part with,but I can't handle looking at it on a daily basis anymore.

The process took about ten hours total, but it was so worth it. It's like a weight has been lifted. Being able to open the door and know I could grab anything is a fantastic feeling.

At the end of the first day of cleanout, I also have quite the pile for consignment.

And lots of extra hangers.

My shoes are happeeeee now that everyone has a cubby.

I am tackling my dresser this week. One drawer at a time! It's like a sigh of relief.

I'm going to say it right now ... The swimsuit drawer (my gateway drug of wishful shopping) is going to be ugly!

If anyone has recommendations for a good consignment shop in St Louis, I'd live to hear about it! All proceeds are going directly into my LV fund - a super worthy cause.

When was the last time you cleaned out your closet?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lessons Learned

A few weeks ago, Nain from View from Down Here posted six fantastic lessons she learned about wedding planning as she approached her big day.  They resonated with me then, and standing on the other side, they are more true than ever. 

Lesson Number 1:You WILL upset people. Oh yes, you WILL upset people. (I say in my best Wayne's World impression). See, I'm a huge people pleaser. I hate making people sad, mad or hurt. And I have quickly learned that when it comes to wedding planning, you cannot do everything right. Throughout the course of a year of wedding planning, I have upset many people, I am sure. And made many angry. I'd like to say that I haven't always cared how people have felt when I've had to make certain decisions, but that's totally not true.  I care a whole lot.  I don't want to tick anyone off or hurt anyone.  But decisions had to be made.  Who is in my bridal party? Will I upset this person  if I don't ask them to do something during the ceremony? Will I upset my friends who have kids if I don't invite kids, because, let's be for weddings equals a lot of money. That was one of the reasons behind my decision not to invite past or current coworkers.  Too many people, and I don't want to pick and choose at the risk of hurting others.  Decisions had to be made. And I'm not going to lie...many of them have sucked. They just have.

Lesson Number 2:
Sometimes the things you want, you just won't get to have. I'm not going to go into what these things are exactly, but let's just say the little pieces during the ceremony that I thought would mean a lot to me have been vetoed by those who will not be named. Same with the reception. I personally wanted Buffalo Wild Wings to cater the reception with a keg of Guinness and my cake being Duncan Hines yellow moist with chocolate icing...but....that didn't happen.

Lesson Number 3:
Dude. Weddings are expensive. It is one hell of an industry they have. Everything costs money. Everything. Did you know there is a fee to cut the cake? Seriously? Wouldn't one assume that if you buy the cake from somewhere, they'd just cut it for free? No, no, they don't do that. It'll be $75. The dresses, the food, the postage to mail the save the dates, the postage to mail the invitations, the postage to put on the RSVPs that people don't seem to want to all costs money. My parents are actually footing the bill for this ceremony, and I feel so so bad about it. It's a lot of money. I feel like they should just take this out of my inheritance or something because it doesn't seem fair to them. That, and it seriously makes me question my career choice. Possibly I should have considered something in the wedding planning industry. It seems pretty lucrative.  Oh wait...that's right...I hate planning events. Scratch that.  I'll keep my job.

Lesson Number 4:
Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has been to a wedding for so-and-so's son or cousin, and they think that you should do it this way, or play this song, or you shouldn't have a receiving line or you should have receiving line or you shouldn't have a receiving line. Oh you should have chair covers, or no, you shouldn't. It kind of goes to the same lesson #2 that you don't always get what you want. I wanted to walk down the aisle to the Ave Maria, but I got that one nixed several times by several people because that's not what they played at this person's wedding or so-and-so's wedding. It's quite frustrating.

Lesson Number 5:
The ceremony is about you, but the reception really is about your guests. This one took T a bit of learning...coming up with what we wanted to do at our reception, I kept reminding him that we are throwing this reception as a thank you to our guests for coming to our wedding. It's about them, not us. The ceremony and the honeymoon...those babies are ours and ours alone. Yes, we'll have a blast at our reception, but I really care more about others having fun at the reception and remembering our wedding as a fun and beautiful night. (Do I think they'll remember the chair covers? No, I don't...but that's another story for another blog post)

Lesson Number 6:
I have more I could come up with, but I'll end with this one. It's the most important one. You must never EVER let the wedding planning take away from the whole point of it all. It's about the love you share. You must never lose sight of the fact that you're doing this, you're taking this huge step in front of all you love and care about, because you love each other so much you have decided to say, yes, I will spend the rest of my life with this person. Sure, there have been moments in the midst of this planning where T probably thought I was crazy, and yes, there were probably moments when I said "why doesn't he care what color the ribbons are that go on the chair covers? Why doesn't he care about the font on our invitations?" But through it all, I think T and I have been good at keeping the eye on the prize, which is each other. Every time I'm going nutty, he tells me "think of Dublin" and that calms me down. That will be us...we will just get to spend a week together, no worries, to take a deep breath, step back and revel in the love that we share. I think too many brides lose sight of this and focus only on that day. I want to focus on everything that follows that day - the rest of our lives together. That's why I'm saying yes to this man. And that's what truly matters.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spoiler Alert.

Our photographer blogged our wedding yesterday!  Squeeeeeeeeeee! The pictures are supremely awesome, and barely a handful compared to the full gallery.


I am dying to see the rest, and I know y'all are too ... but you're just going to have to wait for the recaps.  But have no fear.  You can see the rest of the preview on Matt's blog.

And apparently after I tweeted about it, he had a record number of hits on his site.  High five, tweeps!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

This is for real!

Today is the day!

612 days later, it's now just a few short hours until I will be walking down the aisle on my Daddy-O's arm, ready to promise myself to The Fiance. It's been such a long, amazing, stressful, love-filled process, but I am so happy to be here. I feel so lucky and so loved.

Kenny - I love you. I cannot wait to marry you. I've been counting the minutes to this moment since the day I met you, even when I didn't know it.  It took me six years to see that everything I wanted was right in front of me all along, and I will spend the rest of my life showing you just how much I love you, and how grateful I am to have you.  You've made my life. 

In a few short hours, I will be promising you to have and to hold, but I will also make a few others:
I promise to laugh at your silly jokes.
I promise to make you waffles and cupcakes whenever you want.
I promise to check whenever you ask "hey what's this?"
I promise to not make you spend all your money on me everytime we go to the mall.
I promise to take Tucker out at night, at least sometimes.
I promise to put laundry away and do dishes.
I promise to watch football games with you and not ask dumb questions.
I promise to not make you watch the silly shows I insist on DVRing.
I promise to listen to your "home remodeling scenarios" and not commandeer the decor everytime.
I promise to be your friend and your support-system.
I promise to do my best to be healthy and happy for a long life together.

But really, I promise to love you forever. What we have was not love at first sight, but it is love everytime I look at you.  I can't wait to be your wife.

See you at the alter! (I'll be the one in the white dress).