Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On Falling In Love - My Wedding Toast

Well, Scruffy and I got married last Saturday. We decided to spend about 5 minutes during the toasts thanking our guests for coming, so we split the time evenly (as California Law dictactes) and each wrote about 2.5 minutes of material. Scruffy, being his kind and generous self, wrote a long list of thank yous and heartfelt thoughts, and I being myself, wrote a treatise on the nature of love.

I've been asked if I will publish this. I'm starting here, and we'll see if anything else comes of it.

"It’s a strange and dangerous business, falling in love. It’s one of the few adventures that happens both completely separate and yet totally entwined. There you are, in your life, with your family, your friends, your home, and your plans. Your heart, walled up in its own safe haven. Maybe you’re happy, maybe you’re not, but you’re you, and you’re there, contained within yourself.

Then, all of a sudden, because it’s always sudden, you meet someone. A smile. A conversation. A sweet gesture. And the walls around your heart begin to crack. And if you’re both very lucky, their walls are cracking too.

And so you go along with your daily life, seeing that someone more and more, watching your defenses crumble, wondering what’s on the other side. At some point you stop caring that your carefully built walls are falling to dust. Even later, you start helping, because you’re tired of being safe at the cost of not knowing what’s on the other side.

And then, if you’re both very lucky, the walls give way, and you see that someone, your someone, who quietly owns your heart, standing in the rubble of their own shattered castle. You realize that the thing on the other side was them all along. Your hearts have always shared a wall, because that’s how you two were designed.

Slowly, wonderfully, everything changes while kind of staying the same. Plans become Our Plans, home becomes Our Home. Your friends and my friends, Our Friends. And then, if you’re both very lucky, your family and my family, become Our Family.

It’s a strange and dangerous business, falling in love. There are fantastic failures and terrifying triumphs. And there are moments when it can’t possibly ever, ever work. But if you’re both very lucky, sometimes it does.

As I look around the room today, I think back on our own journey, the story that couldn’t have a happy ending but did. And I look at the people who love us, Our Friends, and Our Family, there is one thing I know without question: we have both been very lucky."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Passing Thoughts

My grandmother is in her last days, and I fear I've begun the grieving process already. She recently moved closer to my mother and I, after having been 1500 miles away for the past 20 years, and I find that what I most regret is those 20 years.

Because of the distance, and budget, I haven't really been around her much. When I learned that she would be moving down here, I got very excited, as to me, it meant a chance to bond with this woman whom I have always loved but never known well.

Sadly, this was not to be. About a week after she moved here, she entered the hospital with pneumonia, and it seems she will not be returning to her home.

I'm angry, I'm heartbroken, I feel guilty, and I'm a t total loss for what to say to her, or how to help my mom.

But beyond my feelings, which while justified and important are not particularly helpful, I have come to know something about myself.

You see, two days before I learned that my grandmother would be leaving us soon, I also learned that in 60 days, I would no longer have a job. Massive lay-offs. And I blinked, took a deep breath, and started updating my resume. That was it. No tears, no panic, not even anger, just acceptance and action.

Five days after the news about my Gram, and I'm a bigger basket case today than I was on day one. Stay with me here, because this isn't about my feelings.

The most important thing in my life is the people in it. This message has finally been driven home in such a way that it is absolutely unmistakable. No job, no salary, no dream, nothing is more important than my family and chosen family.

I'm not sure what this means for my job search, but I know that nothing is going to get me out of Southern California and away from my parents and close friends.

I do know that many of my friends and family will probably have to endure a lot of clinginess in the coming months, as I try to make sure they know exactly how much they mean to me.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

In Defense of Ben Affleck

None of the intellectual properties discussed below are mine, I have no ownership, claim or sponsorship and retain no rights beyond my own commentary.

"The Internet" exploded yesterday when Warner Brothers announced that the co-star of the next Superman/Man of Steel franchise would be none other than Wing Wearin', Argo-Directin', Lesbian Lovin' Ben Affleck. Hashtags like #betterthanbenaffleck and #benaffleck are still top trending this morning, and with good reason.

Batman and Superman have 75 years of portrayal behind them. Even with the top grossing film not made by James Cameron of all time coming out last summer, many would be pressed to tell you who Black Widow and Hawkeye are, however every kid who's ever seen a television knows what black ears and a cape, or blue tights and red briefs mean. Everyone loves Batman and Superman, and every fan, geek, nerd, and cosplayer has a very specific and meaningful (to them) opinion about their story and franchise. As someone who has at one time been all of the above, I fall into this category myself.

But here's the thing guys, and I want you to hear me out on this: We. Don't Get. A Vote.

Remember when this guy:
Got cast to be this guy:

And won the freaking Oscar?

Do you also remember when this happened?

For those not motivated to click, that link shows a fairly comprehensive collage of (pun intended) everyone loosing their minds. People HATED the idea that the pretty-boy star of Knight's Tale, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Brokeback Mountain would be touching their precious fandom and ruining The Joker. One blogger suggests "Johnny Deep," which, Porn Industry - if this hasn't happened yet, take note.  Point being, Heath Ledger shocked the world with how incredible his performance was. Honestly, there are days when I'm still pissed for hours that he died and can't make more movies.

But Claire, you say. Heath Ledger was a good actor. I mean, c'mon, Ben Affleck was DareDevil!!! Have you SEEN Surviving Christmas?

He loves that people remember this, by the way.

Yes. And Tom Hanks starred in Splash, James Earl Jones narrated Judge Dredd, and Robert DeNiro's work before the first Godfather movie was... well, it wasn't the The Godfather. Do you think any of those actors should have been limited by their early work?

Seriously. Look at the big climactic scene from splash, and tell me you can see him losing it over a volleyball 16 years later.

what's mermaid for "your hair's in my face?"

Moreover, anyone who thinks Ben Affleck isn't good actor has clearly never seen Chasing Amy, a fantastic film written and directed by Kevin Smith (and if you haven't seen it, go. Go now. Stop reading this blog, and go see that movie, because oh my god what are you doing with your life?). The film is also a good argument for Joey Laure Adams, Jason Lee - basically everyone in the film because Kevin Smith is amazing.

And since we're talking about amazing directors, let me point out that the man himself, Joss Whedon has endorsed Affleck as Batman, as has Kevin Smith. There are not bigger geeks in this world than those two, I checked. If they can get behind him, maybe give him a chance why not?

Incidentally, if anyone who reads this happens to know either or both of them, they should totally work together on something because it would make all the money ever. Just... all of it.

But there's a deeper issue here, one as old as reboots and franchise resets themselves, and that is the rabid, viral nature of fan ownership. Those of us who have followed a story or character for years, in some cases our whole lives, well, we're a little entitled. We feel like since we have such a personal stake in these characters that the franchise owners owe us, and are obligated to make us happy.

And now comes the part where I make the really unpopular point I've been heading towards: They're not.

So while I'm at it, let me say a few more unpopular things:

1) They're not making Firefly again, stop asking.
2) Man of Steel, judged on it's own merits, was quite good.
3) George Lucas has every right to do whatever he wants with his own intellectual property, and if you don't like it, don't buy it.

For anyone still with me, let me repeat that filmmakers, writers, and content creators are IN NO WAY obligated to make you happy. Tell me this: did you watch every episode of Buffy because you were laughing the whole time? Are you eagerly awaiting this year's Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special because you can't wait to see how the Tenth Doctor's Happy Ending is treating him? Did you see Revenge of the Sith because Attack of the Clones was such a stellar and fantastic film?

"Around the Survivors a perimeter create"? Come on.

But Claire, you say (again). These are good franchises! Their writers are amazing! Except Star Wars, but c'mon, it's freaking Star Wars!

Yeah, and this is freaking Batman vs. mofoin' SUPERMAN!!! And rumor has it they will be following this storyline, wherein hate on Affleck will be well deserved, but not because he's Ben Affleck. Actually, in a way, the casting was brilliant, because you're (spoiler alert) kinda supposed to hate him, at least if they follow the story above.

Maybe I will be proved wrong, and in 2015, I'll be writing about how much I hated this choice. But in the meantime, I'm going to wait, accept that this decision isn't about me, and well, just kinda move on with my life. Because seriously, new Doctor this Christmas. EPIC!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Say Yes to the... wait, what?

I have begun and abandoned several entries about Wedding Dress shopping, mostly because they started getting very preachy, and that's not what I want to do here.

Suffice it today, I went shopping at two different places, and my experiences were very different. The first place I went to was a large national chain, like Shmavids Cridal or Blalfred Blangelo. Only real, and not ridiculous. My mom and I made an appointment about a month in advance, and showed up early, with an iPad and a Pinterest Account full of dress ideas, all pinned directly from their website.

We had to wait about 20 minutes for a consultant, who ended up being the person who greeted us in the first place. She asked me about the dress I pictured. I mentioned that I had gone through their website and pinned every dress I liked in their collection. She glanced at what I had, asked me more questions, and took off to find my dress.

A couple of caveats that should be mentioned:1) I'm a costumer, and a picky one.
2) I'm a big gal (I range betwee 12 and 16, depending on how much I work at it)
3) I'm a people pleaser

When our consultant came back, she carried three dresses, none of which were on the pinboard I had showed her. Remember the part where I said I'm picky? Well that goes double for my wedding dress. Even when I was single, I always researched wedding dresses. Because of reasons. Important not-at-all girly reasons.

Long story short, I hated every dress she brought me, and eventually settled on maybe liking one that I kind of didn't like at all. I told her I'd think about and we left. After thinking about it some more, my mom and I decided it was not a good experience overall. We felt rushed, they asked my mom to move several times while I was dressing, and the fact that we had to wait 20 minutes when we had made an appointment was frustrating.

Contrast to the place I ended up buying my dress: Jinny's Bridalin Huntington Beach.
I am not in the employ of or being compensated by Jinny's Bridal or any of its affiliates
First, if you weren't absolutely certain there was a bridal shop in the stripmall down and across the street from Bella Terra, you'd probably miss it. And from the outside, it's not quite as glamorous looking as some of the salons I've seen in Pasadena and Los Angeles, or even Downtown Fullerton. However. I arrived, and was immediately greeted by a friendly associate. Every person in the store made it their business to assist me however they could.

My consultant was an adorbable recent High School grad who was practically dwarfed by the dresses she carried, but she was helpful and thorough, and showed no signs of irritation when I asked to try two dresses on a second time.

My mom found my dress, and I'm kind of mad about it. I had this picture in my head of the dress I wanted to wear, and my mom picked something completely the opposite. Wanting to make her happy (people pleaser!), I tried it on. And I cried. This dress was so beautiful, and I felt beautiful in it. We both turned a little paler when we looked at the price tag, but we gulped and put down a deposit. I was so happy and pleased that this piece was done.


About a month later, I got a call. It was Jinny herself, the owner of the store. My dress had been discontinued. I was heartbroken. Not just because I had loved that dress so intensely, but also because darnit, I thought I was done! She offered to help me find a similar dress, and I told her I understood, having worked at a Bridal Salon years previous.

After I hung up, I cried. I called my mom. I called Scruffy. I thought some more. I called Jinny back. Would she sell me the floor model at a discount? Why yes, yes she would, I just needed to come back and make sure it fits.

I went back with most of my girls this time. We put me in the dress, we tried on veils and tiaras and all manner of things. And at the end, we got a $1300 wedding dress for about $800, and the store will split alterations with us. I was elated, not only to be done, but to have such a beautiful dress, at a great price, and to purchase it from such an awesome store.

The moral of the story (for me): 1) Shop Local
2) Try the weird dress your mom picks out
3) Be Flexible. Stuff happens with Weddings, sometimes you gotta roll with it.

So there you have it, my first in-depth planning entry. How'd I do?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Glorious Purpose

I have been filled with purpose lately. I'm not sure if it's because I've finally settled into my new routine, or because I'm bored.

Don't get me wrong, my job is awesome. But much of it has ceased to be challenging. I've been here almost six months, and while I will always be learning how to be better any anything I do, I've gotten pretty darn good at processing loans for {REDACTED} Bank.

I'm itching to create. To write. To stretch.  And the weirdest thing is this comes on the heels of some stressful changes. Scruffy just got laid off, and Scruffy Jr. and the Scruffette are leaving next Monday to spend the summer with their mom.

Still, rather than being depressed, I'm filled with this anxious desire to create, as though my brain is a hot fire that will burn up if I don't make something.

It's kind of exciting, actually. While it might not necessarily indicate that I'm more emotionally stable, it's certainly more productive than the last time I was nervous and anxious, where I elected to do exactly nothing.

The problem isn't lack of creativity or even really lack of time. It's a Blue Sky issue: I'm staring at a blank page with no restrictions on what to make and the options are endless. And of course, to choose one project is to deny others...

For now. 

I think that's the thing I need to remember when I'm in this particular place at all times. To fully execute one project is not to deny every completing another one.  It's just to say, "this is the thing I am doing now," not "and this is all I will ever do."

Huh.  I guess my friend Mai has a point with this whole writing meditation thing.

Friday, April 5, 2013


Being engaged is a weird place to be sometimes.

I am decidedly not married. I slipped and referred to Scruffy as my Husband and got an well-intended earful. I can't file taxes as married. I have no legal say in anything Scruffy does, and no rights to his property. And while we are *planning* to make a life-long commitment to each other, it has not yet been made.

It's weird, when you're looking for someone, dating someone, or committed to someone, you think of getting engaged as having a certain finality. Not so, I am discovering from many a married friend. I've gotten lots of Free Advice over the past months about what it's like to be married, what I should do at the wedding, and of course, horror stories about marriages and engagements gone wrong. But the upshot is that being engaged and being married are very different.

No, I am not married. Not until I walk down the aisle and say, "I do."  Presumably Scruffy will say the same. Otherwise I'ma look really dumb.

But I'm also decidedly not single. This was driven home at a wedding I attended recently. When the bride went to throw the bouquet, I caught myself starting to shuffle to the clump of single women. I realized I had already achieved the "goal" of that little exercise: I was engaged to be married. It was an odd feeling, sitting with my married friends, watching a ritual of which I was no longer a part, not really being a part of either group.

But the weirdest thing for me is day-to-day stuff. Saying, "my fiance," which sounds pretentious to me, but saying anything else is inaccurate. Realizing Girls Night will now actually mean a night out with the girls, instead of an attempt to find a man. Coming home to kids that are not legally my step kids, and certainly not my genetic issue*, but still look to me for guidance and tutelage.

There's good stuff, too. Planning the wedding with my Mom has been an excuse for us to talk on the phone every day, and its brought us so much closer. Planning things with Scruffy is awesome too, because every time we think about it, we get happy. And stressed. But mostly happy.

This is a transitional period, and I suppose its meant to be. It's just weird sometimes.

*I use this term here it's archaic sense, meaning "to issue forth". They aren't issues. They're adorable.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Back in MY Day...

Such a loaded phrase. "Back in MY day..." 

I don't like this phrase, not just because of the condescension with which its normally used, but because of how rigid it is. To idolize the past and dismiss and devalue the present is to decide the best is already behind you. You have peaked, and will never again attain the levels of joy you once had.

Does that sound pleasant to you? To declare that your best years are already behind you, and now you're just coasting until you kick the proverbial bucket?

I think the thing that bothers me is that it denies the inevitability that the world has changed. And furthermore, it nullifies the world's *right* to change.  To evolve. To blend the old and the new, and come up with something unique and special that has never been before.

And it's exclusionary.  To say "back in my day" is to say, "my day is over, it's your day now." Well, that's great, except that now I can be part of your day, but you can't be part of mine. My glory days are over now, and you missed them. I've added all the things to my life I'll ever add, and you're just not on the list. Sorry.

How depressing. And limiting. What about stories? What about cultivating a shared history? Don't you want to pass on your legacy? Your experience? Too often, our own children are too young or too disinterested to benefit from the years of experience we've gained. Shouldn't we pass our knowledge on to someone who can use it?

But I think the biggest issue I have with the phrase "back in my day," is that it implies that "my day" is over. Last I checked, I was upright, above ground, and breathing. Every day I'm a live, every day I draw breath, every single second of my entire existence is "my day." Because, figuratively and literally, the day we stop adding to our lives is the day we die.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Forced Perspective

"And I say hey, it's just an ordinary day, and it's all your state of mind. At the end of the day, you've just got to say, 'It's alright.'"

I had a great conversation with Scruffy last night. We were talking about social injustice, and how its unfair that so few have so much when so many have so little.  I was getting riled up, until I looked around me.  I saw walls and floor that kept out the cold. I saw lights with the power on and a fireplace that would turn on if I lit it with a match and burn all day if I wanted. I saw musical instruments and games systems, and all sorts of creature comforts. I realized I had food in my fridge, and a bank account that, while only by a margin of 86 cents, was in the black. And I had a huge support network of family and friends.

I realized that I was richer and more educated than 75% of the global population, and that was being conservative, and here I was complaining that the teeniest bit of the top 25% had more than me. I realized that "rich" and "poor" is a giant matter of perspective.

I live in one of the more affluent counties in a state that, were it an independent country, would have the 8th largest economy in the world, and my household makes about 10 grand a year less than the people around us. It's a big difference, but if we were in another area, our "meager" income would make us superbly wealthy.

And we have chosen to live where we do. That's the piece a lot of people miss, I think. We made the choice to live here, and we made the choice to participate in the activities we do, and spend our time the way wes spend it.

Would we be more comfortable if we never had to ask for money, or go without certain things, or choose which bill to put off? Absolutely. But still, even with all our worries, we are exceptionally fortunate in being who we are, where we are, exactly at this time in history.

BAM! Perspective.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sewing New Seeds

I've loved to sew since I was six. When I was a kid, I would beg my mom for quilting scraps and use her sewing machine to make an endless supply of small pillows and "purses" which were really just pieces of rectangular fabric sewn in half. I would give them to my mom, who would accept them graciously, though I'm sure she sighed inwardly.

In high school, I made a few of my own Halloween costumes, and took quite a few costuming classes in college, but it wasn't until I took an internship at the Renaissance Faire that I really learned to sew.

About ten years ago, I was dating a man (let's call him Captain) who worked for the original Renaissance Faire. More on that part of my Geek later. Anyway, he wanted to share his passion with me, so he asked if there was a job for me in the Costume Shop. I had no idea when I met the Costume Director that I would be meeting a woman who would change my life.

I should probably start by saying that this woman, who we'll call Momma, can be very intimidating. Large, loud, and opinionated, never afraid to offend people and always saying what she thought. Because of this, she acquire several unkind nicknames, and reputation for being... well, a bitch. On first meeting her, I was completely terrified. But out of love for Captain, I decided I could get over and stick it out for the three months I would be working for her.

Well, three months turned into 7 years. Momma became my boss, my mentor, and my friend. I even lived with her for a while when Captain and I were having financial difficulty. And she taught me so much more than how to sew. She taught me how to handle delicate situations, and the psychological value of a clean workstation. She told me stories from her past, and taught me how to craft an excellent punchline. But most important, Momma taught me to believe in myself, and helped me learn to love and respect Me.

Momma died almost three years ago, and I still cry every time I remember that I'll never see her again.  Never hug her, and tell her I love her, never hear another story, never learn another nifty shortcut. She is survived by literally hundreds of costumes she made over the years, and I smile every time I see one at Faire.

And in a way, she's survived by me. She used to call me her Little Principessa, and joked that she would adopt me if my mother ever passed away. She taught me almost everything I know about sewing (just not everything she knows), and I haven't done it much since she passed, it was just too painful.

Today, I'm making a large number of costumes for my little brother's Latin club, and for the first time, it doesn't hurt to look at a sewing machine.  I'm still miss her, and I still wish I could call her and ask her how to deal with crinkle chiffon, but I'm okay.  I like to think she's watching me, whispering in my ear when I'm doing something clever, and screaming, "CLAIRE-BUH! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" when I do something wrong.

Don't worry Momma, I bought extra and its still a week before opening.

Friday, March 8, 2013


It's weird being a stepmom.

I used to have this picture in my head of how my life would look when I found my future husband.  Even though I was a stepkid twice over, I always pictured I'd find someone who was unattached and we would build our lives together.  It never occured to me that the love of my life might already have a life to blend with mine.

This is, of course, very silly.  First, even unattached people have lives beyond the significant other.  They have friends, family, career worries, money worries, goals, needs, and foibles.  It's very easy to lose sight of this as a single non-parent, because your life is simply your life, and while it involves others, it's not inexorably linked to anyone's.

The second reason I should have kept an open mind about finding someone attached is kind of sad, but true.  The number of divorces holds stead at a little more than half of the number of marriages.  This means that, statistically, if I meet someone willing/ready to marry, chances are they're already divorced.  In fact, five of the six men I've dated were then or are now divorced, and two of them have children.

There's this whole paradigm shift when you start dating someone with children.  The picture of what your life is going to look like starts to shift.  And there is always a moment of freak out.  Mine started the evening of the first full day I spent with Scruffy's kids.  I was not at all convinced that I was going to be able to handle sharing Scruffy not just with children, but with children that weren't mine.  I would forever be linked to a person that Scruffy had loved before me, and for about an hour, that was completely unacceptable.

I got over it for selfish reasons.  I literally cannot picture a person existing that I could ever love more than Scruffy.  So I resigned myself to give it a college try, though in the back of my brain, I thought I knew that I would never be as happy as if Scruffy had never met his first wife.

But the kids changed my mind.  I don't know quite when it happened, but they stopped being something I was going to have to get used to and started being status quo.  Then the started being that brought me such joy.  And now, I can't imagine my life without them.

It's still hard, because even though I love them, I'm not their mother.  I don't know what each scar is for, I can't tell them baby stories, and there's always this feeling in the back of my brain that I'm being judged by the "real" parents around me.  While I might know rationally this is untrue, the fear is still there.

We make it work though.  I tell the kids stories about my family, and ask them about their scars.  I do my best, and I love them, and all my parent friends tell me that's what matters.  We have fun together, and love watching movies and playing games and dancing and just being a family.  This is, of course, at ages 8 and 9.  We'll see how the tweens and teens go...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Things Nobody Tells You About Buying a Wedding Dress

There are probably hundreds of articles about the best way to buy a wedding dress.  Personally, I don't think there's one right way to do anything, just the way that works best for that person at that time.  But after my experience shopping for (and purchasing) a wedding dress, I'm pretty confident there's a wrong way.

So, in an effort to help future brides avoid my headaches, and perhaps give some past brides a chuckle or two, I present to you:


 1) You're gonna be topless or in your underwear in front of a total stranger. 

It's funny, I had been a bridal consultant in my late teens, but this piece had somehow slipped my mind; you will be in a dressing room in all your strapless bra glory with someone you probably only met that day.

2) Pick who you shop with well.

Everyone has a different sense of style, so even though its important to pick someone with good taste, make sure they're also someone who respects *your* taste. I personally recommend limiting the group to 1 or 2 people.  As they say, too many cooks spoil the soup.  I was fortunate that my shopping companion was not only perfect for me, she was also my mom. 

3) It helps to be tipsy.

Buying a wedding dress is stressful.  They are, for the most part, white, which makes most of us feel bigger than we like.  They are almost exclusively expensive.  If you drink, consider having a glass of wine before you go.  If you don't, consider meditation or yoga, something that will help you arrive in a happy, relaxed state.

4) Go local.

I'm a big girl who's trying to lose weight, used to work in Bridal Retail, and works as a freelance professional costumer, so I have very specific ideas about clothing.  All of this makes me a very picky shopper.  Now, as I said, every person is different.  I've heard many storeis of girls who went to large chains like David's Bridal and Alfred Angelo, and found the dresses of their dreams.  But if you're picky like me, a large chain store might not be for you.  They have a script they follow, and they bring their own style and opinions to the table.  A smaller salon will often offer a wider selection of designers and prices, and if you're lucky, they'll let you pick through the racks yourself.  I had an excellent time at Jinny's Bridal.

5) Try on that weird one your mom likes.

You really never know what you're gonna like until you try it on.  I had an idea of a soft, casual chiffon dress.  My mom brought me one that was satin and had a lot pleating, and I didn't really think I'd like it seeing it on the hanger.  But I LOVED it as soon as I tried it on.  In fact, that was the dress I decided on in the end.  So keep an open mind and try on suggestions you don't immediatly hate, even if they seem weird.

6) Don't buy a dress you've worn for less than 20 minutes.

Seriously, girls.  You are going to wear this dress for eight hours minimum.  You will dance, hug, walk (or if you're late, run), cry, laugh, eat, drink, and sit in this dress.  Do you really want to commit yourself to dropping that kind of dough on a dress you don't feel comfortable in?

7) Add $200-400 to every price tag.

This one I knew about from my time in the industry, but no list such as this would be complete without mentioning: Tax and Alterations.  Nobody is a perfect size 6, not even perfect size sixes.  Chances are, something on your dress is going to need to be adjusted, and with alterations, you get what you pay for.

Let me say that again: you get what you pay for. Yes, your tailor can probably hem the dress, but a professional alterer will work more frequently with wedding dresses and will know how make those changes while preserving the style and look of your dress. 

8) Don't over-research.

I'm a planner.  Not as in a Wedding Planner, as in a person who makes plans and keeps journals and spreadsheets and folders.  So both times when I went shopping, I had spent hours pouring over catalogs and websites, and had created online records and documents of which dresses I liked.  What I found was that a) stores and salons often have the previous season's dresses which b) you will not have seen before and will only frustrate the sales associate and yourself searching for. 

Its good to go with some style ideas and pictures for reference, but don't kill yourself pouring through an entire collection.

9) It's supposed to be fun.

Try to keep things in perspective.  You've met the person of your dreams, and are preparing to spend your life with them.  Your Wedding is the beginning of that, and it's an important day, but in the end, its a single day out of your life, and your wedding dress is a garment you will realistically only ever wear once.  You want to be happy with it, but not having the dress you want will not ruin your marriage, or even your wedding.  Remember the reason you're shopping in the first place, and you'll be fine.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Say "Yes" to the...

I haven't posted much for a while, mostly because my life has been in constant upheaval for... well for almost three years.  To quote one of my favorite movies, let me sum up.

I met the love of my life (my Scruffy-Looking Nerfherder), and we moved in together in Long Beach.  A few months after we moved, I was laid off, and started working for a new company in Lake Forest (where I had ironically moved *from*).  A few months later, I had some seriously expensive legal and auto troubles.  Long story short: change your address with the DMV when you move.

Fast forward to last summer, the Nerfherder finished college and found a job, allowing us to move closer to work in a bigger place so his kids from his previous marriage could come live with us.  We became an instant family and have much joy and fun together.  More upheaval, the Nerfherder lost his job, I lost my job, and we just about killed our credit getting through Christmas.

There was good though.  My Nerfherder found a new job more in line with his skill set (he's an amazing artist and wants to make video games and movies).  I found a new job working for a large, stable company and I'm really loving it.

And for my 30th birthday, the whole family was treated to a trip to Disneyland.  We got the rockstar treatment, and during the Christmas Fireworks, my Scruffy-Looking Nerfherder became my Scruffy-Looking Fiance.  We are getting married next Christmas, and are having a lot of fun planning.

Today I'm doing something I've never done before: I'm going shopping for a wedding dress.  I'm both looking forward to it, and not.  I've gained a lot of weight over the last three years and I'm not overly happy with how my body looks.  Plus while I don't know what I want, I know what I DON'T want, which is about 80% of what is currently popular in Wedding Dresses.  Add to that the fact that I'm still having some anxiety about the whole Wedding Process.  I fully intend to do this only once (no seriously, if he dies or we get divorced, I'm eloping to Vegas with my next husband), so I want to make sure I'll be happy with the choices I make in 40 years.

Still, I've gone online and pinned the dresses I like in our price range from the store we're going to.  My mom is SUPER excited, and she's one of my favorite people in whole world, so I know we'll have ridiculous amounts of fun.  And I know that I'm going to burst into tears the first time I see myself in a wedding dress.  So there's that.

So that's my life right now.  New job, new kids, new relationship status, and planning a wedding.  Should be a bumpy ride, but I'd love it if you came along anyway.