Friday, July 22, 2011


According to the National Weather Service, it felt like 116 degrees in New York.--NYT 7/22/11

When I left for lunch, I was freezing. FREEZING! I had goosebumps all over my arms. When I went outside, I could feel the heat make water droplets and gas off the cool air on my skin. It was a weird sensation. It felt a lot like what I imagine taking a cold shower and then running a blow dryer over that skin while standing in the sun is like. (In case you wanted to try to simulate it later for fun.) It was like I was a cold front interacting with a really hot front, and I was just waiting for a cloud to form around me and a miniature tornado or thundershower to spontaneously pop out of that cloud. At the very least, I thought I'd have my own contrail.

It makes me really want to try one of those mango-pineapple drinks from McDonald's.

It's also so hot that trying to move faster is just too hard:

Like my brain is like: Stop walking like a tourist.
And my body is like: But too much exertion will produce dire circumstances. Believe me, Brain, you know how I like fleeing instead of fighting. I just can't move faster. Slow and steady wins the race, etc.
And my brain is like: Yes. You're right. I'm sleepy. I'm so, so sleepy anyway.
And my body is like: Well, look, I'll put on a sweater to keep warm, and you can sit at your desk in the cold air for the rest of the afternoon and not have to worry about the heat for awhile.
And my brain is like: High five!
Body: High five, Brain!

Now I'm back and wearing a mohair sweater over my sundress, trying not to put my head on my desk to take a quick nap.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Superfull Bus

Empty Bus

Empty bus behind the superfull bus. Seriously we are the only people on the bus besides the driver and an old lady.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wedding Advice X

"I'm so g*d-d*mn glad that I only have to do this once in my whole life. This f*cking sucks."

Don't worry though--no matter what, it'll be awesome.

Original Post:

Not Loving Your Wedding, The Follow Up
via A Practical Wedding by Meg on 1/12/10

I opened Pandora's Box last week, asking if people didn't like their wedding. It seems that everyone has some part of the wedding experience that they didn't like - which is not surprising, given that weddings are part of life, and in life nothing is perfect. What's shocking and sad is that women don't feel empowered to mention that they didn't like part (or all) of the wedding and planning, so we endlessly perpetuate the same miserable cycles. "Oh yes, I loved picking out my invitations, you should totally do that." (What you'd like to say, "F*ck invitations. Seriously, forget that sh*t." (slams head repeatedly on the table.)

After reading through all (117 at this writing) comments, and thinking it through, and discussing it was my wedding-partner-in-crime David, I've got some things that need saying:

For the not-yet-wed:

* No matter how many times people tell you that the wedding is YOUR DAY, it's not. The wedding is 'our day.' It's a day for you and it's a day for the people who love you. Make your decisions accordingly. Maybe that means you let your mom invite her cousin that you dislike, because it's really important to her, maybe that means you include a blessing in the service that you otherwise wouldn't. Think of the compromises you make as small gifts, ways to make the day 'ours' instead of 'yours.'
* For all that the wedding is not your day, it is YOUR WEDDING. Period. The wedding planning process is when you start to learn (under fire) one of the key skills of being a full-fledged grown up: standing up for what you want and what you need, gracefully, kindly, but firmly. If you want a courthouse wedding, and your mom wants a big church wedding, you need to remember that it is you and your partner who are getting married, and it is ultimately your emotional needs that need to be met. In the end, if you are happy, your mom will be weepy and happy and sad all at once, just as she should be. On the big scale you need to make choices that are right for you, even if your parents disagree. You'll repeat this over and over in your adult life, making decisions about jobs or parenting or any number of things. You'll make these decisions differently than your parents might wish you to, but following your gut. And then you'll take responsibility for the result - that's the great thing about being a grown up. Because here is the key thing I learned: when people tell you they want you to do XXX, what they really mean is that they want XXX to make you happy, or they want you to be happy doing XXX. If you agree to do it, because you don't want trouble, fully knowing that XXX will make you miserable... nobody wins. So it's your wedding! Be brave, relish your status as a grown up, and stand up for what you need. (And go find a joyful wedding graduate who did something similar to what you want to do, and show them the pictures, so they can really envision it).

For those already wed:

* It actually doesn't matter if you liked your wedding. It matters that you can talk honestly about it, it matters that you come to terms with your feelings about it, that you understand what mistakes you made, but it literally does not matter if you liked it. What matters is that you feel empowered to move on, and that you like your marriage. When I was in the last month of planning, dealing with the great dress debacle, I remember sinking down on the couch wearing my soon-to-be-wedding dress, putting my head in my hands, and saying "I'm so g*d-d*mn glad that I only have to do this once in my whole life. This f*cking sucks." And yes. That's the magic of weddings. Once you do it, you never have to do it again. (Or if you do end up having to, you can make a whole different set of mistakes the next time...)
* Didn't like your wedding? Well. Excellent. Because you have a lifetime of entertaining ahead of you, and now you can make each party better than the wedding. It doesn't mean you need a vow renewal, it means you need a great anniversary party, or a 30th birthday party, or a just-because party. It means everything is uphill from here (and isn't that the way you want it to be?)

So stop worrying about screwing it up, because if you do, who cares? Life is too short for regrets. Stop worrying and start playing. Roll up your sleeves, remember what you really wanted in the first place, get messy, create. Because as much as I told you about the mistakes we made? Non, je ne regrette rien.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wedding Advice IX


I am polling a few former brides about ceremony times. Can you give me your opinion?

The church can have the ceremony (it will not be a mass) at either 1:30 or 3:30. Those are their set times, as they have a mass at 5:30 on Saturdays. The reception venue is really close by. All on local streets, it will take about 15 minutes to drive there, maybe 20 if there is a traffic jam. Via public transport should take about the same. With parking etc. let's say 30 minutes door to door max. Also sunset is at 5:48 p.m. Cocktail hour start time is flexible, but we'd want to start sometime between 5 and 6.

Should I have the ceremony at 1:30?
Pros: Plenty of time to take pictures between the ceremony and the reception in daylight; time to check in to the complimentary hotel room and relax; we can attend our own cocktail hour, which I would like to do.
Cons: long gap (about 2 hours) during which time the guests have nothing to do; I'm afraid some ppl will skip the ceremony.

Or at 3:30?
Pros: very small gap between ceremony and reception; ppl should definitely attend both the ceremony and the reception.
Cons: Not much time for pictures; by the time the ceremony and receiving line wraps up it will probably be 4:30, leaving less time for pics in daylight, about 1 hour. Not sure if that's enough time. More of a rush to check into our complimentary hotel room, but I suppose someone else can do that for us.

Opinion? 2 bride friends went for 1:30. My parents are going for 3:30.

My ceremony started at 2:30--though my invitation said 2pm (people will inevitably be late--and I'd rather have them wait than for me to wait for them to show up/have them show up late during the ceremony).

The ceremony took about half an hour, but my wedding party was small--my cousin, my sister, and my flower girl. If you have a lot of girls, it could take a long time getting down the aisle. The ceremony itself (without mass) was nice and short and sweet: old test, new test, gospel, homily, vows, ring exchange, blessings, prayers, booyah.

So between about 3 and 3:30 was my receiving line, and we also had a small snack session (sandwiches, soda, cookies/pastries) in the basement of the church for our guests b/c we knew that they had some time before getting to the reception and would probably be hungry after a) getting ready b) driving over c) the ceremony itself, unless they had an early lunch. Then by 4pm we finished family portraits (which we took in my backyard across the street from the church, so minimal travel time getting there), and we got to the reception around 5 where we got to mosey with our guests/set up things.

A lot of people got there earlier, but the reception place didn't seem to mind so much--if anything, early people got drinks and hung out in the cocktail area (we didn't have cocktail food--just drinks b/c we had a 12 course dinner coming up)--and at worst they could have been waiting outside for a short bit. My reception start wasn't supposed to be until 5:30, but like a I said a lot of people showed up early and it wasn't an issue.

My vote is 1:30--you're going to be up early getting your hair and make-up done--might as well get married sooner than later so that afterward you can relax and not worry about rushing through the rest of the evening.

Two hours is not a lot of time in between the ceremony/reception--plus if it's a gorgeous day, people will enjoy the city views. besides i think that unless your ceremony and reception are at the same venue (or even if it is), people should expect some lag time in between.

Honestly, there will be folks that have to run to the bank/cvs to get your card before your reception--give them time to do so! And some guests may want to go back to the hotel/home to change into evening attire have the chance to do that...or put on evening make-up, etc.

Only losers who don't care about your marriage will skip your ceremony and only show up at the reception--and why accommodate them? Anyone who wants to witness your wedding will def. come to your ceremony regardless of the time in between--and again 2 hours is not that much time!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wedding Advice VIII

RK Bridal and a Reasonable Price to Pay for a Dress

How was RK bridal? I had a recommendation to go there from another friend.

Do you think I can get a designer dress (plus all the alterations, taxes, etc) for $3000? I want to die for thinking that number is reasonable, it's so high, but just a sanity check!

RK Bridal is def. worth checking out--if not to buy your dress, but to see what's available for the quality and price of a non-super-designer dress. (They carry stuff like Casablanca for brides, but Jim Hjelm and others for bridesmaids/mother of the bride.)

I just went with Doris. Her experience and my experience at RK were similar, I think:

--We went first thing on a Sat. morning (opens at 9:30, I believe); there's likely to be a short line if you get there early (9 to 9:15) b/c it's first come, first served--but if you're one of the first, first-time for a wedding dress women, you should be fine wait-wise
--You sign-up on a sheet, then they assign you a consultant; then you describe the dress you want (show a picture or tell them no lace, some lace, no straps, no tulle, medium train, etc.) --Then the consultant tells you some designers you and your bridesmaids/mom should look through the racks and the consultant will try to help you find dresses too
--You pick 5; she picks 2 (this is a Saturday remember); then you try them each on; and go in front of the mirror outside; then you let the saleslady know if you liked the dress or not, or what about the dress you didn't like, so she can try to figure out if they have anything else.
--(On a side note, Jon's cousin got her dress from RK and went during a weekday--she said she got to try on a crazy number of dresses)

This is totally low pressure sales:
--They're not ones to tell you that you look gorgeous--and make you buy something on the spot. (Kleinfeld's is a little more like that.)
--They write down the dresses you're interested, and tell you how to come back to see them again, if you want, with a actual appt.

These dresses at RK can mostly be found online, so make sure you have the designer and style number written.

Also, no pictures--though again, have a friend posed ready with a stealthy cell phone cam, and it might work. Note too that dresses start around $500 and go up, but dresses are made of nylon and other fake materials; I found a silk charmeuse ballgown that was about $1050 though. It was a great deal, just not THE dress.

I think you can get a designer dress with all the works for $3000, but it'd be very, very simple. for instance, my dress was pretty simple, but they were asking for 4K (but b/c of the trunk sale, I got it for less)--I still think it's worth it though b/c i haven't seen another dress that I'd rather have gotten married in.

Also, to give you some perspective, I told Rita at Kleinfeld's that my budget was $3000. Unless you're thinking of a beach-wedding type dress, it might be difficult to manage finding a designer dress less than $3000.

Still, my advice is to get the dress that you love, but make sure that the price doesn't make you feel sick! If the PoB dress that's $10K and screaming at you to try it on, don't. But if you think you can swallow a $4K or $5K price tag without feeling horrible, esp. cause it's on sale, then def. try it on.

Kleinfeld's alterations are all-inclusive and is either $500 or $600--I didn't use them b/c my grandma did my alterations, which was just the hem and the bustle. If you want to add beading and stuff like that you may want to use Kleinfelds, but if you need a simple hem and bustle, I'd get that done elsewhere.

You're not tied into using Kleinfeld's unless after you get the dress you decide you want to (though note that they will charge you up front for it, but that can be credited to your balance later on). To save on tax you probably want to ship to NJ. Kleinfeld's shipping requires a signed/notarized contract, but it's really simple, and it's $50 (vs. the 8.725% tax you'd have to pay on a $3000 dress otherwise). You must guarantee someone will be home to receive it too.

I hope I didn't bum you out about dress prices, but you're pretty much guaranteed that you'll never spend this much in your life on a dress--and why not it be for your wedding day? No one's going to remember letter press invitations or chiavari chairs or spectacular lighting--they will remember how beautiful you looked in your gown though. So no regrets!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Wedding Advice VII

Experiencing the Inevitable and Kleinfeld

We are choosing a venue for the reception and we already experienced a bit of the someone wants us to do XXX and we don't scenario. Haha - part of the process, clearly! I scheduled an appt at Kleinfeld for a day they are having a Priscilla of Boston trunk show. I liked her dresses when I saw them online. Do I need to do anything else to check out the trunk show or all ppl with appointments that day can check it out?

Compromising is def. part of the process--the greatest part is that you have a partner in your fiance to help you stick up for what you both want and vice versa.

So Kleinfeld--basically they encourage you to check out the trunk sale regardless if you are interested in those dresses or not--so you're set. This the blog I wrote about that experience (and Pronovias too I think), but I also rewrote what I remember down here about Kleinfeld:

When I made my appt. I had no idea what trunk sale was happening, but I had picked out 5 dresses from their system like they recommended. I guess it depends on when, but I got the first appt. on a Sat. morning, and there were so many women--so much estrogen in the waiting area--it was weird!

The woman who helped me, Rita--short, old, Italian lady, perfect!--introduced me to the Amsale representatives and told me and my sister to grab some dresses I'd like to try on before other women had a chance to get them. The first Amsale dress I tried on was the one. I tried on others from the trunk show, and I tried on the dresses from my top 5. The Amsale rep. came by with some other dresses to try on too--but we kept coming back to the first one.

So after trying the other dresses, I put the first one back on and was taken to the front area where all the trunk show dresses were/mirror is. (Have you seen Say, Yes to the Dress?) There they tried on some veils, and then Randy (he's on the show) and Nicole (she's on the show too) told me how awesome I looked. With the trunk sale price, I saved $500 but was $500 over my original budget. I had an appt. at Pronovias at noon, so I told them I had to think about it.

I came back that afternoon--said I want to buy the dress--they put me in the dress again--took my measurements--I signed some papers (I can go into this with you if you want)--paid a hefty sum for the deposit--then left the store with that paperwork and a promise the dress would come about 6 weeks before the wedding.

Re: measurements: my advice--if you fast when you're stressed out, don't allow them to order a dress that has some room b/c you'll be floating in it by the time you need alterations. And if you stress eat--take that into consideration. Habits won't change b/c you're getting married--they'll probably be worse (so be prepared)! Expert or not, they don't know your habits, so make sure you speak up.

If you like the PoB dresses, you may also want to check out their flagship store before your Kleinfeld appt. That way by the time you have your Kleinfeld appt. you'll know exactly what you're looking for--but will get the trunk sale discount. (Also, designer's salons tend to be more personable than Kleinfeld's...maybe some champagne and photography won't be an issue? Yelp! reviewers could probably tell you if you do a search too.)

I also recommend bringing/wearing a nude strapless bra and boy shorts. Your family/friends/the woman helping you get into and out of dresses will see you wearing just these in between dresses. Don't worry about shoes--they have ones you can borrow--and you won't get alterations right away anyway.

Photography is prohibited at Kleinfeld's, but if you buy a dress you can take photos of it in your dressing room I think. If you have a camera phone/friend with a camera phone, I'd ask her to turn off her sound effects, and try to take photos with it if the saleswoman runs out of the dressing room for whatever reason.
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