Friday, May 27, 2011

Close to 100...

Not days until the wedding (thank goodness!), but posts!  I can't believe how much (or I guess by some people's standards, how little) I've written to be shared with the world.  It's been really awesome!  On top of that, getting to know so many people, through your comments and your own blogs.  I want to do something to commemorate 100 posts and awesome followers...I'm thinking it's giveaway time! 

I've thought about a food related giveaway (seriously, I need to make these cookies that Carrie over at The Silver Lining shared...I have the candy waiting in the fridge, I just need the time!).  Or maybe something fun and summery...nail polish?  A frisbee?  I'm not sure! 

Tell me what you guys would love to see in your mailbox, and I will do my best to make it happen.  But when we hit 100 posts AND 30 followers (I'm at 23 right now!) I'll make a giveaway so great that...well, there will be a giveaway.  I guess I can't make promises about its greatness :) 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dainty, Fragile, Plain, Simple

These words generally do NOT describe my wedding band.  Need a refresher?




All personal photos above.

As you can see, there is some ba-linnnnnnnnnnng happening on my hand.  It's super sparkly, and it makes me happy.  I guess I've never been quiet in what I do: not in the way I act, not in how I dress (I love bright colors and fun patterns), so why would I get something a little more quiet for the band I'll have to wear for the rest of my life? 

EXCEPT...I've noticed there seems to be a trend happening.  This might be a New York City trend, rather than a worldwide or countrywide trend, but please, correct me if I'm wrong. 

I notice a lot of women on the subway (and yeah, I totally creep on people's wedding rings.  Like you wouldn't either?) with very simple bands on their hands.  No other rings, not even on the other hand.  Just a very classic wedding band.  And you know what, as flashy and loud as I can be sometimes, I really love the flexibility this simpler option gives.  Typically these women look to either be uber professional OR they seem to be the kid-wrangling type of women.  So it can work in both realms.

I'm not sure if this is a look I would rock everyday, but I'm f open to having an option, depending on what I'm going for.  Here are some looks that I found:


Source.
I love that there is still a little something-something going on here.  Maybe I can pull this off with just my band once in awhile?


Source.
This ring is a little more heavy and a little more intricate.  I love it though!  I also like that it looks a little more casual.


Source.
Simple, thin, classic.  Who ever thought such a simple look would be swoon-worthy?  If you really know me, you probably wouldn't have guessed I would think that.  But I love it!


Source.
This is Weddingbee's Mrs. Bunny  and I love the design of her band.  Something a little bit more to it, but still simpler.


Source.
Honestly, this one is my favorite of the bunch.  A little something, but the subtly here makes this all the more beautiful to me. 

I think I like the idea of having some flexibility in what I wear.  Will I ever actually follow through on that flexibility?  I'm not sure.  Whenever I remove my engagement ring, my finger feels naked and empty.  Its become a part of my everyday life (I never, ever remove mine) and it's natural to have it there.  I'm not sure if I'll feel the same way once I have my ring and band combination.

Another concern I have, whether I was to remove the engagement ring and wear only my wedding band, or perhaps even have a secondary back-up wedding band, is my feelings about the rings after our wedding.   Obviously, my engagement ring is important to me, because this is the ring Mr. C was holding when he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.  My band will be important because that will be the ring Mr. C puts on my finger when he vows and makes marrying me totally official and all. 

I'd love to get your input!  Do you ever remove rings, whether engagement rings or bands?  Would you consider "back up" rings that were more about a fashion statement then the symbolism behind the ring?  And really, tell me, do you love BLING? 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Free Stuff

In the wedding world, not a lot of things come for free.  In fact, most things are pretty darn expensive.  So when something free pops up, it's a moment when we all should rejoice, and then, upon the end of rejoicing, immediately take full advantage of the free! 

I had stumbled on the Wedding Chicks because their wedding blog is full of pretty pictures and great inspiration.  But then I was looking around a little more last night I found this amazing section:


Screenshot from Weddingchicks.com.  Smiley added by me :)

Ohhhh...can you see what it is?  DIY & Downloads.  Hmmm...interesting.  So I clicked, clicked, clicked.  There's a whole section of free wedding downloads! Guys...FREE WEDDING DOWNLOADS.

Now, Mr. C and I have been going back and forth and back and forth and...(yup, one more time) back and forth about our wedding invitations.  I could have sworn they were going to be the death of me.  Really what I was looking for was some sort of tie-in.  Something that would make all our paper products match, bring some uniformity, and lord knows, I have no freaking idea what to do with any sort of design software (I tried my hand at a free 30-day trial at Illustrator.  I quickly gave up).  So having these options is great for people like Mr. C and I, because I don't need a fancy-pants design software NOR do I need to pay someone who has and uses some fancy-pants design software. 

Here are some of the great freebies that Wedding Chicks makes available:


Source. (I actually really really love this, but thought it was too casual for Mr. C and I)

Source.

Source.

Source.


Source.

There are so many options on here, from invitation suites, monograms, signs, cards, and many other things you could think of.  It's really a great resource for anyone who is as graphically and financially challenged as Mr. C and I. 

So what did we end up downloading?


Source.
This here monogram!  It's easy to personalize with your wedding colors (I did purple swirls with an orange letter) and your intended initial.  I pulled in the monogram with some of our other already designed paper goods, and it fits in really well!  So we plan on including this monogram with favors, on the candy bar, any signs that will be around, and of course, as part of our invitation suite.  It was such a great moment to find something the clicked really well, and best of all, was free!

Have you made any really great (free or cheap!) wedding discoveries lately?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm baaaaaaaack...

...and I'm tan!  Well, more like burnt.  I need to be better about applying sunscreen (I used 50!  Oy!)

I had an AMAZING weekend in Miami.  I have wonderfully, incredible, amazingly generous, fun, and fabulous friends and family.  I couldn't believe how willing they were to be there for me, to buy me dinners and drinks and massages, and generally celebrate little old me.  I'm seriously so lucky.

I don't have any pictures to share yet, because Mr. C was at his bachelor party weekend in Vegas, and unfortunately the Busy Bee household only has one camera.  We decided girls were far more likely to take a sufficient number of pictures, so off he went with our camera.  I've already harassed all the lovely ladies for their photos, so once I have them, I'll be sure to share with reviews and thoughts about everything we did.

Anyone else have an awesomely fabulous weekend? 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flying Away

Guess where I'm heading today...Let me give you a few hints:



Source (1), (2), (3)
Figured it out yet?  MIAMI!  Wahoo!  I'm flying out this morning to meet my sister, Mom, Aunt, Cousin and Family Friend.  On Friday, almost all my Bridesmaids will be meeting up with us for a fun filled bachelorette weekend!

I realize that we're still 5 months from the wedding, and therefore I still have 5 months of single-dom before the wedding, but we knew we wanted to do a trip, and our schedules required a trip earlier than expected.  Mr. C is actually going on his bachelor party this weekend too!  Between us and our bridal party, we have some wacky schedules.

I have NO idea what we're doing, but I can't wait to tell you about it when I get back.

Anyone have any last minute Miami must-dos?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birdcage Centerpiece Project: Spray Painting

It's been a little while since I told you about how Mr. C and I found the perfect birdcages at a Christmas Tree Shop.  When we found them, they were different colors.  One was white with hints of pink, and the other cages were green with hints of gold.



We wanted to have cohesive colors and there were not enough of the the matching birdcages.  So we knew that we were going to paint these birdcages to make them all match.

Our first attempt, we used paint thinner to pull some of the paint off the birdcages before spray painting them, but later we got lazy and didn't thin them before the painting, and it still seemed to work ok.  We wanted the birdcages to look "antiquey" so we did some Google searching before deciding what colors we needed to buy.  

On the Krylon website, they include a number of different tricks for whatever effect you are hoping to achieve, including terra cotta, animal print, and distressed ivory.  For our birdcages, we used the advice to create an antiqued metal effect.

The instructions were relatively simple, and included buying black paint and either a gold, silver, or bronze paint, depending on your preference.  Mr. C and I went with gold.  

The first step is spray paint the body of the birdcage black.  Then you use the gold to puddle it on top of the black paint.  Because we bought both colors in spray paint, we didn't use a cloth to dab the gold on the birdcage, but sprayed it on, and used a cloth to distress the color more.  It was a trial and error process until we found the effect that we really wanted our centerpieces to be.  

Unfortunately, when we started doing this, I was babysitting Baby J, and Mr. C was painting on his own, so we don't have any pictures (we didn't want the baby around the spray paint!  danger!)  But really, we found it to be a trial and error process, and the technique will depend on your personal taste, whether you want the project to look more black, gold, or whatever other color you may choose.

Have you ever spray painted?  It's so fun!

Personal photos.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Do You Need A Theme?

I saw on Twitter last week that a lot of people were having trouble with Blogger.  I posted this on Thursday from my phone, and haven't really been at my computer since.  I just checked, and for some reason, this post had gone missing!  So I'm re-posting, and sorry if you are seeing it or reading it twice.  But it got a lot of people talking/commenting so I figured people were interested in it, so it would be worth posting twice!










A few weeks ago, I had a moment of panic that the wedding was coming and we weren't DOING anything.  You read all these blogs, and brides constantly have some sort of project going on, whether it's decor, paper, even dresses, there are some crafty brides out there, and they are constantly trucking along to make things perfect for their wedding day.

I...I'm not like that.  I'm crafty-ish.  I'm DIY-ish.  But all that matters is I'm ME, and I'm getting done what I want to be done.  But I still have all these ideas for projects and things I want to happen, and Mr. C thinks I'm a nutcase.

But in part of my panic, I told Mr. C I was worried that our wedding wouldn't be cohesive. All the projects wouldn't make sense, the colors wouldn't work, and our guests would be confused. Mr. C nodded, and told me of course I should be worried about cohesiveness, as our wedding didn't have a theme.

I have to admit, I was terribly insulted by this. A THEME?! Really, what was this, a 7 year old's birthday party? Weddings don't have themes. Weddings have color schemes and beautiful projects.

Or do they? There are many, many beautiful weddings that come together under a theme. If the couple wants that theme to be obvious, it will be. And I suppose there are other themes that aren't quite as in your face.

As for us, I keep repeating 'rustic elegance.' I'm not quite sure if this is a 'theme' or if this is even enough to make our wedding projects come together in a cohesive way.

What do you think? Where do you fall on the theme/no theme debate? And does 'rustic elegance' count?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tappity-Tap!

I grew up dancing.  I tapped, I jazzed (is that a verb?) and I took ballet.  But tap was always my favorite.  My very first time in New York City, my mom, sister, and dear Mimi did many first time New York things: horse drawn carriage ride through Central Park, lunch at Tavern on the Green, and of course, my very first Broadway show.  We saw Crazy for You, and I remember standing outside the theater during intermission, tapping down the sidewalk, singing, and telling my mom and Mimi that I wanted to tap on that stage someday.


For some reason, I never got involved in theater before high school.  But I danced and I danced and I danced.  In high school, I came back to New York and saw Rent and Fosse with my school's art club (I am NOT artistic, but I joined the art club for their yearly trip!).  Senior year, I came back with Bridesmaid A and a friend when they had auditions at NYU and we saw 42nd Street.  We didn't do these classic shows at my high school, and I was sad I never really got the chance to dance like this on stage.


I left the theater, I swooned and I sighed, and I told Bridesmaid A that I wanted to dance and tap forever.    My freshman year in college, I had my chance to be apart of a classic musical.  There was an organization that put on a musical every year, and only first year students were allowed to perform.  I remember the anxiety I felt.  I didn't have a ton of friends, I was painfully shy, and terribly afraid of being laughed out of an audition for a musical (I can tap, but please don't ask me to sing for you).  In high school, everyone knew I was the dancer, and certainly not the singer.  I choreographed the musical our senior year in high school, and at the last minute, our director added me to the show.  He knew I loved to perform, but wasn't the talented singer that so many of the other students were.  I think with many high school performances, the singing is much more important, and they figure most people will fake their way through the dancing.

So I almost didn't go to my allotted audition time.  But my roommate, Bridesmaid S convinced me to go. They split up the audition - first we did a monologue and a song in front of the director and music director, and then we were sent to another room to dance.  I sang a few bars of the song I had prepared, and the music director interrupted me and asked me to sing scales.  I froze, and then decided to be honest.  "I'm not a singer, I don't really know what that means.  I'm more a dancer, actually."  

I think that honesty saved me.  She laughed, told me to sing "Do, Re, Mi" with the piano, only had me suffer through it for a few moments, and sent me upstairs to dance.  I wasn't prepared to dance either.  I wore jeans.  (Apparently I didn't read the audition notice very well.)  But we were taught a short combination, and after we performed a few times, the choreographer sent the other four people out of the room, held me back and said, "Oh!  We have a dancer!  Hurray!"  She asked me to do a more complicated combination, including turns and a leap.  I wore jeans, but I tried to dance the best that I could.  I knew that was my chance.  

When I saw I was called back, I was excited...but terrified.  There would be so much singing!  I remember getting the sheet music and a CD with the song we were meant to sing, getting to a difficult part and thinking to myself, "Well, they won't make us sing that part, it's so hard!"  But of course, of COURSE that was the part they made us sing.  

But they also made us dance.  And I danced the shit out of the number we learned.  I made absurd faces. I got into character.  I pushed my way to the front of the other girls.  I remember someone laughing at me, and pointing in my direction, but I knew...if they were laughing AT me, well I would never see them again.  And if they were laughing out of enjoyment, well that was only to my benefit.

Here's where the story gets even more interesting.  The next day, I went to the offices where they were posting the cast list.  I ran into one of the guys who had also been auditioning, I had recognized him at auditions because he lived on the other end of my floor.  

"Congratulations!  You're in!  I'll see you later tonight!"  I was shocked!  He must have confused me with the other Jen that we'd hung out with at auditions.  We both had the same last initials, and I wasn't positive he had clearly heard either of our last names.  I picked up my pace and walked over to the posting.  My finger trailed down the paper, and it was true!  I was in!  I had been cast as an ensemble member of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.  

Some of the cast members of this show are now my greatest friends in the world.  We recently went to see the show on Broadway, with Daniel Radcliffe.  


It brought back all those memories of when we were on that stage (not the Broadway one, but our own stage).  When we knew all these lines, we had our own choreography, and our sad, student made sets and costumes.  When we became best friends, inseparable since that day.  

In particular, I remember sitting backstage, watching the number Brotherhood of Man.  The big, final closing number.  I remember being hopelessly doe eyed, watching Finch sing, feeling my heart pitter patter.  I had the biggest crush in the world on our Mr. Finch.  

While we watched this number on Broadway, I couldn't help but squeeze Mr. C's hand, and tear up, remembering those feelings I had for him.  How far we've come, and how far we have to go.  But we are going together.

We're under six months to our wedding, and I get more and more excited every day for the future.  But sometimes it's great looking back to the beginning, and thinking of the excitement and adventure of our beginnings.

And yes, I will share with you a picture of Baby Busy Bee and Baby Mr. C at 18, and yes, in stage makeup (which, geez, they really over did it!).  








Personal photos, all videos from YouTube

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On the Hunt: Dress Shopping, Trip 2

Subtitled: "Inadvertantly Finding Options When I'm With Another Bride"

After the trip to David's Bridal in April, only two weeks after Mr. C and I got engaged, I didn't do any other serious dress shopping.  I definitely kept looking at blogs, magazines, and designers' pages, but it wasn't anything intense.  In the meantime, Sister J got engaged and was planning her wedding quickly, so I switched roles and stepped in as her MOH and we went out dress shopping. 

I had read good things about the Vows Bridal Outlet in Watertown, MA (although the store is called Vows, the website, is actually bridepower.com).  Sister J didn't have as definitive an idea what she wanted, and she actually HATES shopping, so she tried on a few dresses and then sort of gave up.  We'd only been there for about half our appointment, so I asked the consultant if I could try on a few things.  I told them my budget, my style, and time of my wedding and they brought me a few options. 

Apologies in advance, I have NO idea who the designers are, so I can't link you to a real dress, but you'll have to settle with staring at them on me!





Here was the first dress that I tried.  The belt was added on, because initially I thought the dress was too plain and needed a little something extra.  This actually looks quite a bit like the Oleg Cassini I tried on at David's Bridal, huh?  What can I say, I think it makes my waist look smaller and my boobs bigger.  That's not a bad thing, right?





 I was really, really into this second dress.  I think it's because it was so...different.  I was really enthusiastic about being in a dress that no one had ever seen before, that was out of the box a bit.


 Now looking at it, it's really not flattering on me.  The pleating of the fabric draws more attention to my midsection and makes me look wider than I am.  But it is a very interesting dress.


Although when I showed Dad Busy Bee pictures, he asked me if I wanted an animal nest as a skirt, he could find me one in the backyard.  Oh Dad Busy Bee, you are soooooo hilarious.


This third one was a bit more simple, with more focus on the beading and added design here.  I don't look so happy about it though.


Although I certainly won't complain about the shape it gave me.  I don't know if I would have survived an entire day in this sucker.  Breathe, much?


So that was how I stole Sister J's thunder.  Although, she did manage to pick something out that day, just at another location.  I took the consultant's name and schedule, but didn't end up going back for that second dress.  I just wasn't ready to pull the trigger yet.  This was still almost 15 months before the wedding, and I wanted to be sure that I was really ready to buy THE dress.  That ONE dress that I would marry Mr. C in.  And none of these were it.

Have you ever been dress shopping with another bride? 

All personal photos

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day Dreaming

As you all probably know, I'm unemployed.  Technically, I'm not super-totally-completely unemployed anymore.  I currently work 20 hours a week for an embarrassingly low wage, and volunteer another 14 hours a week in the hopes of getting a full time job at that place.  So I'm no longer home all the time, wallowing in my sadness.  But the continued hunt is (very, very often) discouraging.  Things don't necessarily go exactly as we want them to.  And what do I want?  I want to be a lawyer!  I want to be busy and important and have many important books that smell of mahogany.

But that doesn't mean sometimes I don't day dream about other things...

Yesterday, I was walking to the subway and there was a For Rent sign on an office around the corner from Mr. C and I's apartment.  I started thinking about the space as I'd seen it from the street and what could be done with it.  And then I thought about all the baking I've done lately...cookies for a cause, cookies for Mr. C, treats for my mom, Easter desserts, and cupackes for a cupcake party.  WHAT IF...What if I opened a bakery in that space?  Sure, there is no kitchen, but that's fine!  It's just a few steps from my apartment.  And so what if I had to run up three flights of stairs all the time?  My calves would be SMOKIN'.

This is, obviously, unrealistic.  But it's fun to dream sometimes, huh?

What do you day dream about?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hunting for THE Dress

The week after I got engaged, Sister J, being the very excited MOH that she is, wanted us to go wedding dress shopping.  I wasn't sure if I was ready, but she was really excited to start looking at pretty dresses and wanted some girl time together to celebrate.  So I headed up to Massachusetts, and Sister J made an appointment for us at David's Bridal.  Mom Busy Bee, Aunt Busy Bee, and Bridesmaid A came along as well.

Now, there are pictures of dresses ahead, so Mr. C, I have to kick your cute butt out.


I pulled a pictures of a few dresses ahead of time, but because we weren't being super serious, I didn't have much in mind.  But still somehow, I ended up putting on veils and being in the store for over two hours!  There was a mini panic attack at one point, because we had only been engaged for two weeks, and I couldn't believe I was wearing wedding dresses.


We're so excited!!  Also, there are no pictures of my mom because she CRIED when we walked through the doors.  Oh, Mom Busy Bee!

The first dress I tried on was Style 9V9743.  I liked the soft, flowy, Grecian feel to it, but I think ultimately was looking for something more structured. (Also, for the future, don't take pictures from this angle.  So many chins!)

The next dress, Style 9BR1035,  was to satisfy Mommy Busy Bee.  She wants sleeves in the church, so we thought we'd try something that wasn't strapless.  I actually don't hate the way this sits on me, and I think it complements my collar bone and shoulder line.  But other than that, the dress was just a big ol' "meh" for me.


I look super grinny in this picture.  Honestly, looking at the photo, I hate the dress on me.  I don't know if I liked it then, or was just smiling that big because everyone was harassing me that I didn't look happy.  This dress, Style N9829, was supposed to have more gathering, so maybe the sample was whack or the size was whack, but it really doesn't look anything like the photo on the David's Bridal website.

Also, note that Sister J is the one holding the dress up on me.  I'll explain that later.

At this point, I was tired, getting cranky, and definitely hungry.  Style 9E9351 was fine.  Not too thrilling, and the beading looked and felt cheap to me.  I was pretty much checked out by now, but Sister J had grabbed one more dress for me to put on.
 

This one, Style 8CT314 by Oleg Cassini, was by far the favorite of the day.  I liked the beading, the shape, and the detail on the train and bustle.  And look!  A happy smile, instead of the forced cheesy grin or the cranky get-me-out-of-here stare from before.


Sister J had worked at David's Bridal long ago, and knew this dress didn't sit on me quite right, so she kept pulling it down to get the dropped waist effect that seemed to be much more flattering on my figure.

This was at about the two and a half hour mark.  Our consultant put a slight amount of pressure on me to buy then and there, but I think she may have known from the beginning, with so much time ahead of me, that I wouldnt' be buying then and there.  So we left (after Sister J and Bridesmaid A started going nutso and trying on all sorts of crazy headpieces), met up with Mr. C who had just bused in from NYC, and got our eat and drink on.

It was a fun experience, but I was sort of relieved that it was over!

Having been to other bridal salons, in retrospect, I'm able to say that part of my negative experience was due to the David's Bridal consultant.  When we arrived, she seemed so great!  She told us to show her some of the designs we liked, asked about shape and cuts, and she told us she would pull anything for us. 

Instead, she refused to pull anything that wasn't plus size (I'm a size 12/14 in street clothes, so I'm probably right on the cusp for wedding dress plus sizes), refused to let me even try something that she didn't think was going to be flattering, and pulled dresses that were made from certain materials I told her right away I didn't like.  After the first 40 minutes of the appointment, she was difficult to find.  I think she had another bride she was helping, as well as a bride coming in for a fitting.  But rather than tell us we had gone over our appointment time or that she was double booked so she would be running around, she didn't say anything, and just disappeared.   

At that point, Sister J helped me in and out of most dresses, pulled some dresses she thought I would like, and held me into the dresses that were either too big or too small so I could get an idea of how the actual dress would fit me.  Sister J became my personal David's Bridal consultant, because the one who was being paid to be there, wasn't doing her job.

You can probably tell, I wasn't a fan of the David's Bridal experience.  And most of the dresses I liked were in their highest price range.  But luckily for me, this was just a fun test run, within weeks of being engaged, and I wasn't out for some serious shopping.  What I did learn from this experience was exactly what shapes looked good, that I didn't like a whole lot of fuss on the dress (which is shocking...I love fuss normally!), and that it would probably be better to have a smaller crowd when I was out shopping - too many people made me stressed out!

What was your first dress shopping experience like?  Have you ever been to a David's Bridal?  

All personal photos.