Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

A look back on Halloweens of the past:

All personal pics
2007: Amy Winehouse and a half-assed lumberjack.

2008: Holly Golightly and a lumberjack.

We missed 2010. C was studying so I stayed in Chicago and went as Flo the Progressive girl. My largest regret in life is not getting any pictures of that costume. I'm sure C dressed as a lumberjack while he was in the library studying.
2011: Black Swan and yet another lumberjack.

Here's a better shot of the Black Swan costume, since I'm quite fond of it:
As you can see, we tend to not put too much thought into our costumes, C especially. But what have I learned from this trip down memory lane? I am damn lucky to be marrying someone who looks so hot as a lumberjack!

What were you for Halloween this year?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Short Distance Relationships

Mr. Unicycle lives in Milwaukee. I live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, which is about a 2 hour drive, 1.5 if I'm coming from work--which I usually am. Most people in LDRs would kill for this kind of proximity. I even know people who live this far apart and don't consider their relationship to be an LDR (granted, they are middle aged divorcees who don't feel the need to see their SO every day, but still). Even though 2 hours isn't that bad in the scheme of relationship commutes, it still feels pretty bad.

Image via Google Maps. MS Paint job by me.

I only see Mr. Unicycle on the weekends, because it doesn't really make sense logistically or economically to drive to Wisconsin for an evening or an afternoon. And I don't even see him every weekend. Sometimes he has to spend the entire weekend studying and I have to stay home and entertain myself. It's not hard to entertain myself, but it doesn't stop me from missing him. Being in an SDR has it's perks, I suppose, but it also has its cons.

Hey, 2 hours on the highway is quite a distance.

  • Every time I visit Mr. Unicycle it's like a mini vacation, and we plan fun things to do together.
  • Absence really does make the heart grow fonder, and we fight a lot less now that we don't see each other every day. Not that we fight a lot. Okay, we do. We're that couple. The couple who bickers publicly and makes everyone else feel uncomfortable and then secretly is sweet to each other, but only behind closed doors. Like Dionne and Murray.
  • We've been able to work on being by ourselves and living our own lives, not depending on each other for everything all the time. 
  • I don't bother him when he's trying to study. He doesn't bother me when I'm trying to watch Jersey Shore. Or blog. Or make wedding crafts.

  • Every time I leave Milwaukee my heart breaks all over again. 
  • If we skip a weekend, I have to go 2 weeks without seeing him, which sucks.
  • My friends and family always complain that I go to Milwaukee too much and I'm never around. I rarely make spontaneous weekend plans because each weekend is pre-planned and dictated by his study schedule.
  • I hate driving on the highway. It terrifies me, and I'm pretty sure I'm bad at it. Plus, it's expensive, and it uses up a lot of time. Our weekends together aren't even 48 hours long, ever.
  • Planning a wedding is so much more difficult when the bride and groom don't live in the same city. Every time we try to meet with a vendor, we have to do it on a weekend and choose one when he'll be able to come home.
  • I'm not a middle-aged divorcee, so I would like to see him every day. 
Personal pic
This is the face I get when we say goodbye.

Looks like there are more cons than pros. An SDR is better than an LDR though, because at least we could visit each other for just an evening if we had to, or if there was an emergency. But it's also worse, because we get no sympathy. No one cares that I often go weeks at a time without seeing Mr. Unicycle. It's like having a paper cut. It hurts so bad, but it's the definition of a pansy injury.

Are you in an SDR? LDR? What are your pros and cons? You have sympathy for me, right?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Saying No to the Dress

My first dress appointment was at David's Bridal. When I got there, they asked which dresses I was interested in, and I had to admit that I hadn't even been on their website yet, so I had no clue which dresses I wanted to try on. My consultant led me around the store and asked what I thought of a bunch of different dresses. I agreed to try on some that I knew I wouldn't like, just because I felt awkward saying no. After we'd picked about 7 dresses or so, we went to the fitting room.

Photo source

David's Bridal was very organized about the whole thing--the consultant picked out a slip (crinoline/petticoat) and a bra thingy for me, so that I would never be nakey in front of anyone. (I would still advise wearing modest undapantz and a strapless bra to try on dresses, because not every dress salon was as accommodating.) She helped me into each dress and explained the logistics of trying on wedding gowns (you put your arms up and they slide it over your head) and then did up the back for me. And guess what? Most of the sample sizes did fit me.

Photo source
The store looked pretty much like this, surprisingly enough.

The first dress I tried was one that the bridal consultant chose, so I had little interest in actually seeing it on. Nevertheless, I actually almost started tearing up as she slid it over my head. This was the very first wedding dress I'd ever tried on! I was about to become a bride sort of! Since crying in front of strangers is awkward, I pulled myself together, but as soon as I exited the dressing room, my mom started bawling and whimpering like a wounded animal. Okay, not that bad. (Wouldn't that be weird though? I wonder what the bridal consultant would have done.) She was just so happy/sad/emotional? to see her baby all growed up, I suppose.

I really loved the sweetheart neckline on this one, and the fact that it wasn't strapless. So even though the consultant picked this one, it was actually pretty helpful to see it on. The rest of the dress was too boring, and too dang white.
All personal pics, all David's Bridal dresses. Sorry I don't know the names of them.

I liked the sleeves on this dress, which was supposed to be an Ivanka Trump knockoff, but the fabric of the sleeves seemed very chintzy to me, and it was oddly baggy, so it gave me football player shoulders. The bodice did nothing for my bod either.

The consultant threw on a veil because she thought that would help her make a sale. Psssh...

This next dress is one that I actually had seen online beforehand and requested to try on. It's the VW351007 ball gown in the White by Vera Wang line.

I loved it with this overpriced and very DIY-able flower sash, and thought it would look even better with some tulle cap sleeves, perhaps? Alas, this dress didn't bring my mother to tears; it made her laugh. It doesn't look that ridiculous in the pictures, but I felt pretty ridiculous in it. I could barely exit the fitting room with all that tulle around my ass, and when I tried to sit down, I needed an extra chair on either side to accommodate the miles of tulle.

Meh. I don't really like much about this little number.

This dress was kind of cool, I guess. But that's not quite the reaction you want to have toward your wedding dress. Plus, that drop waist made my already large hips look enormous.

This dress made my mom cry in fear. She hated those 3-D flowers so much, but I loved them. The rest of the dress, however, was terrible. I don't need a dress that's tight around my hips, thank you very much.

And that was the end of our appointment at David's Bridal! Our next stop was House of Brides, where I showed mild interest in the Cinderella dress (not a Cinderella dress--the Cinderella dress from the Disney line by Alfred Angelo):
Image via Alfred Angelo
We weren't allowed to take pics in the store, booooo.

Photo source

My mom loved it and was ready to drop (my) cash down right then and there. Naturally, the consultant loved it too. I thought it was too much bling. The whole top, in the boob area, is encrusted with bling, and the entire skirt is made with sparkly tulle. Yikes. If you couldn't tell from the previous dress pics, I am not into bling.

Speaking of bling, the 3rd dress shop was a disaster that results when you take too much bling and combine it with awful 90s appliques and slap them on an already ugly dress. I won't divulge what the store was called, but they only sold their own designs. And their own designs were...yucky.The consultant asked what I liked, and I gave her the mental list I'd developed from the first 2 dress stores--sweetheart neckline, straps or sleeves, ball gown, no lace or sparkle. The first few dresses she grabbed looked like this, except white:

I told her I wanted one with less sparkle, but she continued to pull hideous blinged-out dresses off the rack for me. Finally, she let me look around by myself, and I discovered that I hated every dress in the store. So I humored her and tried on a few ugly sacks of sparkly poop before booking it out of there a full half hour early.

When we got to the final dress store, Brides by Demetrios, we were tired, sick of looking at dresses, and suffering from food comas after having just binged at lunch. The bridal consultant asked me a series of in-depth questions before pulling any dresses, which seemed promising. I rattled off my list of specifications for her and she scribbled away, nodding all along. Then she asked about my budget. I didn't really want to say anything about a budget just yet, because I was really trying dresses on for fun and to see what looked good on me, so I was open to trying on grossly overpriced gowns if need be. I compromised and told her $1,000, even though my real dress budget is about...$500. I know, what was I thinking?

Image source
I needed a picture here.

She ended up bringing me a bunch of dresses that fit some or none of my criteria, most of which were pushing $1,000. I wasn't allowed to photograph them, not that I wanted to. I convinced her to let me try on the only tulle ball gown they had in the entire store, even though it was well over my "budget." She was afraid I'd fall in love with it and wouldn't be able to afford it. Hah! Don't worry lady. Definitely didn't fall in love with it.

And that was my first day of dress shopping. It sounds like it was a bust, but considering what I thought it would be like, it was actually quite refreshing. And I enjoyed making fun of the overzealous and fake salespeople with my mom.

Did you have trouble finding "the one?" Did you try on any dresses that were laughably hideous?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


...and I don't mean dinner reservations. I've already talked a little about my insecurities about my looks. Let's be real here, people. I'm a female living in America, which is to say, I have body issues. I can't go a day without being subliminally reminded that my worth lies in my looks, and I also can't go a day without looking in a mirror and seeing, well, not a supermodel. The fact that I look young is also a constant source of embarrassment for me. Sure, I joke about it all the time. I roll my eyes and shake my head in irritation when someone tells me I look like a 12-year-old, but to be completely honest, it's humiliating. I don't care if you think it's a compliment because it means I'll look young when I'm 50. It's hard enough trying to navigate post-college adulthood and juggling new responsibilities with pressure to still act young and carefree. I don't know how to act around adults because I'm not quite sure if I'm one of them or not. It certainly doesn't help that I look like I belong in junior high. And it certainly doesn't help my self-confidence to be constantly reminded of my childish looks by every bouncer, hair-dresser, and barista I meet. Disclaimer: I'm not fishing for compliments!

Photo source
If only I could look like this woman on my wedding day. Oh wait, foiled by Toddlers and Tiaras yet again.

To add to my hang-ups, I'm also very short, yet not exactly petite, which means most clothing just...doesn't fit me. That's part of the reason I like sewing so much.
Photo taken by Mr. Unicycle. He was testing the lighting.
This is me trying to look cool like all of those fashion bloggers who do cool poses in their outfit posts. On top of all my other qualms, I also just look...stupid. Kidding! Look at dat hottie!

Okay I'll get to the point already--I was not looking forward to shopping for a wedding dress. I'm used to clothes not fitting me right, and I've even accepted that I'm a size large in several popular clothing stores that I patronize. So I figured the sample dresses at wedding dress shops wouldn't even fit me enough for me to have a good idea of what they'd look like on me. Plus, I didn't want a gown consultant or any other customers (or even my own mother, for that matter) seeing me in various states of undress. The whole idea of wedding dress shopping just terrified me--what should I wear? Who should I bring? What if I can't afford anything? What if I don't like anything? And again, what if nothing fits me?

My mom nagged me to pick a day to go dress shopping, and I kept putting it off. Everyone thought I was nuts for not wanting to try on dresses right away. We finally ended up booking a bunch of back-to-back appointments on a Saturday afternoon in July, a good 4 months after the proposal....

Coming up next, you'll see some actual pics of me in wedding dresses!

I know I'm not the only one with wedding dress reservations. Who else dreaded shopping for a dress? What caused your reservations?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Save the Date!

After our engagement session pics were in, Mr. Unicycle and I set about the arduous task of choosing a pic to use for our Save the Dates. I briefly mentioned here that we wanted to make Save the Date postcards and have them printed FO' FREE from Vistaprint. It wasn't that hard to decide on a pic because most of them were definite no's. Firstly, we hardly even got any with the banner. If Jenn hadn't kept reminding me to pull it out, we probably wouldn't have had any. Second of all, it was hard to read the banner in most of the pics because the wind was so strong or we were too far from the camera.

Exhibit A: We look like awkward doofuses, and you can't read the date.

 Still doofuses, still can't read it.

 Almost a good one, but the 12 was still billowing in the breeze. Also, my fabulous shoes are nowhere in sight!

For once, we don't look like doofuses, but our sign does.

When we finally settled on a pic, I turned to my artist bridesmaid to design them. We'll call her BM Artist for lack of a better name. She did a fabulous job and even redid the design when I was a bridezeela and sent it back for edits.
Personal Pic
Here's us dressed as Pee Wee and Miss Yvonne.

It didn't need much designing, per se. I just wanted the front to be the picture we chose with "Save the Date" written in a cool font, and on the back I gave her a list of things to include and let her do her thang. Here's what she came up with:

Amazing, right? They look better without the cheap editing job I did, obviously. They also look better with a stamp and an address on them:

And here's what it looked like after it arrived in the mail:

Boo, their stamp went over my lovely design!

So what did I learn from this wedding project?
  1. Addressing large quantities of letters is hard, even when you do it by hand and address them informally. I am so not looking forward to the invitations.
  2. BM Artist is amazing and selfless and I owe her one for making these look so adorable.
  3. It was nice to delegate something to someone else for a change!
  4. I love Pistilli Roman.
What do you think of our save the dates? Would you ever send hand-addressed postcards for something wedding related, or am I nuts?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stop Being so Ranunculus

Flowers bore me. They really do. They all look the same to me and I have no interest in learning the names of all the different breeds/species of flower. I can't think of anything more boring than horticulture, can you? The only flower-related knowledge I've gained in my years of trolling wedding blogs is that I don't know the names of 99.99% (repeating of course) of flowers. Did you know this is called "ranunculus?"

Image source
I'm gonna start using that word in my everyday life. Like "You're being ranunculus! What are you thinking?"

And these are called Billy Balls (I can't make this stuff up, people):

"That guy's got a lot of billy balls, I tell ya."

These flowers are actually my favorites, and I knew about them long before I began mentally planning my wedding:
Image source
"Gerbera" just sounds like a baby making bubble noises. Or a man motor boating someone. Poor taste?

Anyway, these flowers are all pretty and everything, but show me a picture of any flower and I'll tell you it's pretty. 
Image source
Except this one. That flower is so ugly it makes that man's mustache look downright sexy.

If you know anything about me by now (besides my distaste for flower decisions) it should be my extreme cheapness. I'm not what you'd call frugal, because then Mr. Unicycle would like me a lot better. Rather, I like to spend a lot of money on a lot of cheap things. And from what I can tell, buying flowers for your wedding entails spending a LOT of money on a few expensive things. That doesn't work for me. Why do you think I choose Old Navy over the Gap every. single. time?

I honestly don't know how much a single centerpiece would cost for my wedding. I know it has to do with what type of flowers you pick, what time of year your wedding is, what florist you book, and what type of flower receptacle you use. But whether the centerpiece is $40 or $200, it's too much for me. We're having about 20 tables (plus or minus a few), so if you know basic math, even $20 a table is going to be...well, money we could have spent elsewhere, to put it less mathematically. So what am I going to do instead of hiring a florist?

Paper flowers!!!!!!1 Exciting stuff. I'm going to make all the bouquets and probably the boutonnieres out of paper (btw why is that word so hard to spell?? What gives, wedding people?) and the centerpieces will all be made of crepe paper. Other than that, there will be no flowers. I already made a prototype or three for the centerpieces. Ready for some crappy pics?

Personal pics
Not sure which looks worse, the bright one or the dark one. So you get both.

Personal pic
I was too cheap to buy those foam spheres from the craft store, so I wadded up newspaper instead. Here's a tip: Don't do that. I'm going to copy Mrs. Penguin's idea for the rest and use paper lanterns instead.

Personal pic
Artsy close-up shot.

The yellow paper ball things are similar to what I'm going to actually end up using, but I didn't like how that paper looked so just ignore it for now. I'll do another post about centerpieces later.

I haven't started crafting the bouquets yet because I know they'll get smashed/ripped/ruined or even lost in the next 8 months, so I'm going to wait until we get closer to the wedding. I haven't even decided what paper flower tutorial I'm going to use yet, but these lovely paper blooms have made their way onto my pinboard so far:

Imge via Weddingbee DIY

Yes, these are ranunculus. And ridonkulus. Tutorial here!

Image via Martha Stewart

Image via Weddingbee DIY

Image via A Field Journal

Image via Martha Stewart

Image via Aunt Peaches

Do you think anyone will miss real flowers? I don't think so. These bad boys look so realistic in the photos. Plus, I kind of think the whole smelling flowers thing is a conspiracy. Maybe my nose isn't sensitive enough or something, but they always just smell like plants to me. I'm sure my guests won't mind smelling crepe paper and dried glue during dinner.

Do you have any other paper flower tutorials? I'm collecting them, so show me your links!