Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wedding Wednesday- Saying Yes to the Dress

Several of my engaged friends have started looking for wedding dresses and have asked me for any tips/advice on going dress shopping so here it is:

1) Wear real underwear.
Depending on where you go dress shopping, you may be in the changing room with your mom, your bridesmaids, your sisters, cousins, and/or any future in-laws while you get dressed. They don't all need to know that you wear hot pink underwear with giant polka dots on it. Trust me.

2) Be realistic about your budget.
The price tag of the dress is only about a percentage of what the final thing will cost. Alterations, tax, and a veil added on another $1,700 to the cost of my dress. Luckily I was prepared for that. Don't get surprised or get sticker shock at the last minute. This brings me to #3.

3) Veils are really, really expensive.
When I bought my dress, I wanted to see how it would look with a veil, so the consultants at Kleinfeld brought out this gorgeous veil that went with my dress perfectly. It was $1,250. I thought that my jaw was literally going to hit the floor when I saw that! Kleinfeld told me that they could do it for $1,000 and I said no thank you. That is more than some girls spend on their dresses! Eventually I did find a great veil, but it was still not cheap. Don't get sticker shock when you see that.

4) It's ok to shop around.
Places will try to pressure you to buy the dress, veil, accessories, etc. from there at once. (Remember- most of the consultants do work on commission.) If you're not ready, don't buy into it. It's better to sleep on it and shop around than drop a lot of money on a dress you end up regretting buying. Also, when I was buying my dress, I saw a gorgeous pair of chiffon flowers for my hair that went perfectly with my dress. I wanted to get them but once again could not justify that $350 price tag. I looked around and found something nearly identical on Etsy for $40.

5) Be open minded.
I tried on a lot of dresses and all of them were nice but were just missing something. I asked the consultant what she would recommend for me. When she came back with one dress, my mom and I both looked at each other like "is she deranged?" Guess which one I bought? Don't be afraid to ask for help if you're not loving anything.

6) Don't look at the size label.
This is for your own good. Bridal runs small. Really really small. Like several sizes small. The size that you are in street clothes is most likely not the size that your wedding dress will be. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the dress size on the order form. Trust me, it's better for your self-esteem if you don't look.

7) Don't buy your shoes first.
This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but it needs to be said. I have a friend who found the perfect dress online and knew that it was THE ONE. She found a pair of shoes on sale that matched the dress and asked for my advice. I told her that it was not a good idea to buy shoes until she had actually bought a dress. She ended up buying the shoes anyway because they were on sale and she was afraid that they would not be around for much longer. Turns out the dress she fell in love with did not work for her at all. Now she is stuck with a $100 pair of shoes that she can't return.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Blogversary Giveaway

Thank you to everyone for your bloggy well-wishes. I still can't believe I've been at this for 2 years now.

To celebrate, I am doing another giveaway. This one is open to current followers only. The winner will receive a Lilly Pulitzer Pencil me In Case in the Limeade Floaters print.
I have one of these in the Navy Floaters print and love it. It is the perfect size for keeping all of the small items that usually fall to the bottom of your purse and clutter it up. (I am a chronic purse clutterer and always try to keep a case in my bag to organize my constantly growing collection of chapsticks and lip balms, pens, lotion, anti bacterial, and earbuds.)

I'm going to keep the rules for this giveaway simple.
1) If you are a current follower, comment on here for one entry.
2) Put my button on your blog for a second entry.

This giveaway will run through Wednesday, February 2nd, at midnight EST.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Whaleflipflops!

Today, my blog enters the Terrible Twos.

It will proceed to assert its independence, cry, scream, kick, and declare "Mine" whenever humanly folks.

Seriously though, I am a little verklempt. 2 years ago, when I first started this blog, I had less than 5 readers, all of whom I knew in real life. Today I am at a lot more than that. At a wedding last Sunday, someone I met for the first time said "I saw your J. Crew dress and after reading your blog, I knew right away who you were." Blogging has been an emotional journey. My life has seen many ups and downs, failed relationships, bad dates, projects I swore that I would start and never did, and you have been there through it all. You laughed with me when a guy on a date told me he had never heard of Casablanca, cried with me and supported me when I got laid off, and celebrated with me when I got engaged.

I have made many dear friends through blogging, and have had opportunities presented to me that I never would have otherwise been given. I am grateful for all this and more and for all of you for sharing your lives with me and for allowing me to share mine with you.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Third of a Life Crisis

I am a walking contradiction. I am very cynical and people have described me as cold in the past. On the other hand, I wear my heart on my sleeve and get emotional very easily. It doesn't take much, good or bad, to turn me into a blubbering mess.

At my friend's wedding this past Sunday, I found my first grey hair. It caused a lot of emotions (none good) inside me. For the first time, I can say that I truly felt old. Later, TLS found an old picture on facebook of the two of us from my 21st birthday. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have always had a struggle with my weight and appearance (including a brief bout with anorexia in middle school). Even when I was a size 4, I felt like a very fluffy size 4, and that I was bigger than all of the size 6 and 8 girls I know. Anyways, I noticed that since that day, the then-skinny RAG had lost a lot of weight and I had gained it all and then some. TLS showed me that picture to try to show me how long we had been friends and how far we'd come since that night, but it just stirred up more negative emotions in me.

One thing that very few people know about me is that I never graduated college. I was in school for all four years and had a very rough senior year. A roommate and friend passed away. Several months later, I got very sick and was hospitalized and needed to have surgery. In between all of this, I lost a lot of time from all of my classes and failed nearly all of my classes. In trying to keep up in one class, I got further behind in another one, and so on, it was a domino effect of sorts. I walked with my class but did not receive a diploma. My plan was to go back the following year to finish up my degree, but then the place that I interned at wanted to hire me and created a position just for me. With the job market at that time being horrible (a friend of mine who graduated cum laude and was on the Dean's List ended up working at Target because that was all she could get), I decided that it was more practical to take the job, rather than turn it down, go back to school, and then not find a job a year later. It then turned out that one of the classes I needed in order to graduate was only offered at my old college in the spring semester. At 2pm. Two weekdays. That meant that I couldn't work and finish my degree, and that got pushed on the backburner some more.

Growing up, I was very spoiled. My parents gave me a lot but I also always had a job ever since I was 15. When I got laid off last December, it was a mix of emotions for me. On the one hand, I was glad that I had more time for my friends and family that I didn't have before when I was staying in the office until 9pm on some nights, but on the other hand, I was scared, upset, and felt like a failure. I cried A LOT. I still don't have my command sponsorship approved which means that for now, I'm still not allowed to apply for any jobs. I have been unemployed for a year now, which is the longest that I have ever gone without a job.

My 5 year reunion is coming up and I see all of my friends who are married, have jobs, have children, and some of whom are going for advanced degrees. I don't want children by any means, but all of my friends here have children. Plural. People hear my age and they automatically ask how old my kids are and if I want to have playdates because they automatically assume we have kids at our age. I met a 22 year old not too long ago who already has 3 children. I just feel insignificant around all of them and all of my friends who have accomplished more than I have at this point in their ages. (I do realize that I should take this with a grain of salt- a friend recently confided in me that she is jealous because without kids, TLS and I are able to travel around Europe on a whim, and she and her husband have not been able to do that because of their children- it's too difficult with strollers, etc. and far to expensive.)

After the wedding, my plan is to take online classes to finish my degree. My worry is that with that, my job prospects will still be limited. Finding a job on base is hard. People wait over a year to get a job, but I guess one out of two ain't bad.

Sorry for turning this into an emotional rant, but I've been an emotional wreck today and have needed to get it off my chest. I'm turning 28 this summer, which feels too old to be so unaccomplished. So I've decided that I'm turning 24 instead, that way I'm still in in my early twenties.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wedding Wednesday

I apologize for not posting much this week. (Or you know at all.) Tomorrow I am going to run two very important wedding-related errands- have my first dress fitting at Kleinfeld, and dropping off my signed contract with payment for the bridesmaid dresses.

My MOH and I went to several stores and both of us tried on a TON of dresses. Some of which were really bad and did not even make it out of the dressing room. Eventually we decided on the Ashley from Lulakate.
Those of you who have been following my wedding plans from the beginning may remember that the Ashley was not one of my choices for bridesmaid dresses. Originally, I had wanted the Alex instead.

After seeing it in person, I realized that with the ruffle on top and a sash, it would have been too much flair, so the Ashley with its cleaner cut was a better fit for me.

One of the things that I love about Lulakate is that each dress comes in a variety of skirt styles. Each bridesmaid can select what style skirt fits her body and personality better, which means that the dress is more likely to be reworn. It also helps that the dress is in silk shantung, which works great as a nice evening dress.

I had originally wanted navy dresses, but after seeing the color in person, I realized that the Lulakate Navy is very purpley, so we instead decided to go with Nidnight. My MOH is going to have a Dusty Pink sash, and my bridesmaid is going to have a Jasmine sash. Unfortunately, I can't post pictures of the color swatches, but they are all available here. To any bride who is looking at bridesmaid dresses, I highly recomment Lulakate. The sales reps are very friendly and the color, fabric, and dress style selection can't be beat!

As some of  you know, one of my best friends decided in November to not be in my wedding party. I was very upset by this since she has been my best friend for over 10 years and I had known for years that I wanted her to be in my wedding, but what can you do? She had told me to ask someone to take her place, but since I had asked friends to be bridesmaids back in April, I thought that it was rude to ask someone else 7 months later. I felt like it was telling someone that they are second best and I did not want to make any of my friends feel like that. One of TLS's friends was in Afghanistan and TLS had planned on asking him to be in our wedding when he came back. We decided to just not ask him and keep the bridal party at 2 and 2 (TLS's two older brothers and GNB and KMH).

Originally, the Lulakate dresses were supposed to be cheaper because we got a discount for buying 3 dresses from there. When that didn't happen, the price went up. I didn't think it was fair to ask my bridesmaids to pay any more than they already were, so I said that I would pay the difference for the two of them, which is what I am off to do tomorrow.

Friday, January 7, 2011

CSN Stores- Swoon

Like many of you, I am a huge fan of CSN stores. They have a huge variety of products that span the range from clothing, to modern furniture, to table lamps, to kitchen goods, and so much more! In the past, I have been fortunate enough to do two product reviews for them and got a Metrokane Rabbit wine opener, and a Le Creuset baking dish!

I was once again offered the opportunity to do a product review for them. Since my old silk jewelry roll has pretty much bitten the dust, I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to replace it! I found this beautiful jewelry case from Reed and Barton on the CSN website, and knew that I simply had to have it!
I love everything about it- the color- the fact that it's sturdier than my old Banana Republic roll, the earring bar, the many necklace hooks, all of it!

My mother had the clasp on my pearl strand fixed and I am picking it up when I'm in New York, I cannot wait to bring this case back home with me complete with my pearls and a new piece of jewelry from Tiffany in it!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Help Me Spend It

As some of you may know, I have not had a great couple of days/week. It has been an endless array of budget spreadsheets and drama that culminated in me crawling under my covers today, crying to Harrod the teddy bear, and pretty much refusing to get out of bed. Yes. I know. Not my finest moment.

I had a business meeting on base today that I simply could not reschedule so I finally had to put on my big girl panties, a Lilly polo, some pearls, and waltz out the door. After the business meeting, we had a spouses' association meeting that I was required to be at. We had several door prizes at the meeting for members in good standing, and I won the motherload. A $100 gift card to Tiffany & Co.!!!!! Just last week, I wrote in this post how a big white bow on a little blue box can instantly brighten your day. And oh yes it does! In between that, and a hilarious early wedding gift from a friend I spent the rest of the evening on Cloud 9.

Now comes the very happy dilemma of what do I spend it on? There are several items on the Tiffany & Co. website that I have been lusting after and are now suddenly a lot more within my reach.

Mini Bow Earrings, $125
Alphabet Disc Charm on a chain, $115

Bead Earrings, $100 (I do have the bracelet that matches these)

Also, TLS and I have a small registry at Tiffany. We wanted a pair of flutes for the wedding from there and our original plan was that if no one bought them for us, we would get them ourselves. I can't find them on the website any more (and am hoping that they are still available in store!) but they were the pearl flutes and cost $95 each. I don't know if I should be selfish and use the gift card to get something for myself, or get us the flutes for the wedding. Thoughts? What would you do?

Also, I am going to leave you with a picture of the hysterical gift that my friend brought to the meeting tonight.
Backstory, before TLS and I started dating, I would always refer to him on facebook as "some guy." My posts always said "sending a package to some guy" or "on the phone with some guy." After our first date, he asked me if he was still going to be called some guy, and I said "of course, why would that change?" That nickname has grown exponentially through the help of facebook, and now most of my friends simply know him as some guy. Even in person. (When we got engaged, I even got a facebook message from the past national president of my sorority congratulating me on my engagement to some guy.). So one of my friends here got me a tote bag from 31 Gifts to use for after the wedding:
You may have to enlarge the image to see it clearly- but it says "Mrs. Some Guy" on it in lime green! So amazing! I was cracking up all night long from it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wedding Wednesday

Help me pick a dress for my bridal shower. (Yes, I realize it's a little over 2 months away.) I love this print and know I want a dress in it. I think it will be perfect for a shower.

Choice #1:
Lilly Pulitzer Jonah Dress in Sealed with a Kiss

Choice #2:
Lilly Pulitzer Jolie Dress in Sealed with a Kiss

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January 1

TLS and I went to Pilsen, Czech Republic for New Year. Pretty much everything was shut down (and I do mean EVERYTHING, including the cathedral so you couldn't even go inside of it!). In the evening, a few cafes and bars opened up. Very conveniently, the bar/restaurant across the street from our hotel was open, so we decided to go there for dinner and drinks. We had way too much fun there and somehow ended up ordering food and beer for 4 or 5 because everything sounded so good that we just had to try it!

One of the items on the menu was beer cheese. It sounded just interesting enough for us to get, so we ordered it. I took two bites and knew that it wasn't for me. I don't do soft cheeses at all. I passed the plate on to TLS and he seemed to enjoy it. After a couple of minutes, he said "you might like this soft cheese more, here try it" and speared a bit on his fork and gave it to me. I took one bite and nearly gagged. Then I said "TLS, this is butter!" That's right. He was eating butter with a fork off his plate thinking it was cheese.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the man I'm going to spend the rest of my life with.

Just thinking about that day made me smile after a very aggravating evening.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Random Snoopy Post

Saw this Peanuts tribute comic today and it made me smile all day. Here's hoping it will do the same for you.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Rabbit Rabbit- Happy New Year!

Pictures from Daily Bunny
I hope everyone had a fun and exciting New Year. I can't wait to catch up on everyone's blogs and hear what you all did!

Things I'm Looking Forward to this Month:
*Going back to NY
*Two of my friends are getting married in the same week- a girl whom I grew up with(her mother was my Hebrew tutor in elementary school), and one of my best friends from high school!
*My wedding dress finally coming in (this is part excitement and part dread- I definitely didn't lose all of the weight that I had told myself I would!)
*Finally getting a haircut- I always put things like this off as much as possible, and now it's gotten to the point where pretty much my split ends have names, families, and lives of their own.
*Getting around to actually uploading all of my pictures from all of our trips the past few months.
*Starting my resolution of writing one card or letter to a friend a day for the entire year. I packed two cards already addressed and stamped into my bag for the weekend, and will write them in Pilsen! (If you'd like to get mail from me, please email me at whaleflipflops {@} gmail {.} com.)

Happy 2011!