Thursday, September 9, 2010

Flying, Lying and a Broken Toe

I don't think I have been this stressed out, since college. Many of the contributions are my own dang fault, but still. I want to share a few recent are-you-kidding-me moments without sounding like I'm hosting one, big whinefest. By the way.. Thank goodness I started blogging, so I can capture such ridonkulous happenings. It's either this, or write a really random book. Blogging makes a little more sense, plus it's free and is published immediately. Bah!

My sister Vanessa's wedding is a week from Saturday. I am an idiot and a procrastinator. Why do I wait until the last minute to get my things in order? Especially when I procrastinate as much as I do...Why wouldn't I go out of my way to try to prevent stressing myself out for such a huge event?

My list of TO DO's:

Travel - Up until 9pm this evening, Justin and I have had no transportation to MN for the wedding. In my defense, for months we have been weighing our options for flights. We keep debating whether or not we plan on bringing lil' Romeo and deciding if it would be cheaper to just drive instead. A 23-hour roadtrip isn't exactly "fun" when we've done the drive as many times as we have. It's torture. Over the past few weeks, flights have bolted from $300/person to $700-800/person. To fly with a pup, runs $150-200 one way. Are you kidding me right now?! We have begun to open up the idea of taking a train (Ha! How cool would that be?!) but turns out, prices start at $550/person and takes around 35 hours to get there. No way. After all that said, we were checking out flights again tonight and came across some departures from Atlanta, and BAM! We found them cheaper than we've been finding all along. All I can say is Thank you, Lord!

My Dress - This is the department, in which I am an idiot. How many times have you gauged a dress size based on losing a few pounds? I might be the only one. Vanessa chose some really cute bridesmaid dresses from JCPenny's online catalog. They are a really pretty color, and look super flattering too. I ordered my dress back in April, and ordered "about my size", with motivation to make it fit after losing a few poundski's. I don't know why I stupidly neglected to consider the fact that bridesmaid dresses run small anyway, and it ended up being much smaller than I expected. I've been pretty successful in dropping some lbs, but each time I've tried my dress on, I'm not even close. I kept pushing it aside in my mind, quoting the magnificent Tim Gunn, and tell myself, "make it work, Alanna, make it work!" Last week, I tried it on again. Closer than before, but still no go. Trying not to panic, I panicked (because it felt good, OK?!) and began asking around for some alteration suggestions, to see what my options would be. I went to a place nearby for an estimate of how much trouble I was in. If I have gotten a grade for time management, I would have gotten an F. The seamstress told me there was absolutely no room or extra fabric to work with, so 'sorry'. Great. I decided to try to contact JCPenny, to see if there was anything they could do. Yea, I could've done that sooner, but I kept telling myself I could figure this problem out without having to exchange or mess with the hassle.

I gave good ol' Penny's a call. A nice, little, Jersey-accented man, who I'm pretty sure looked just like Danny DeVito, began asking for my info and I told him that my dress didn't fit. Now, what stinks, is JCP has a policy - no returns after 90 days. Fine! I'm not returning anything, just exchanging for a different size. Mr. DeVito informed me that whether an return or exchange, I would have to pay for a whole new dress, since I was past the 90 days. Uhh.. NO! I had to come up with a quick excuse (other than the fact that it didn't fit, because I didn't think everything through). Within a millisecond, I began to bawl my eyes out, in effort to achieve some pity from the little dude. I think he was blindsided, as I proceeded to tell him how the dress didn't fit because I was pregnant (Sidenote: I am not. I repeat, not preggo). I continued to whimper about my desperation for a new dress and whattyaknow? Jersey-DeVito-man began helping me "calm down" by doing breathing exercises and comforting me, saying, "It's gonna be OK! It's not your fault! Try to remain calm, it's not good for the baby.. Heee Heee Hooo.. Deep breaths, ma'am!" Ohh bless his heart! I felt guilty lying, but he totally fell for it. He submitted my "situation" with a request to excuse the fee and told me my new dress was on it's way. I just had to wait for a call from some corporate hotshot, whether or not I would be 'approved' to have the fee waived. Since this conversation took place last Friday, I wouldn't be hearing from anyone 'til at least Tuesday (Thank you, irrelevant Labor Day that I worked anyway). So I wait impatiently all weekend. Finally Tuesday hits. No call. I waited a little longer before calling them to find out whether or not I would have to pay, as well as confirm that my new dress had in fact, been shipped to the store (where I would make the exchange). Some irritable woman answers (just my luck) and overused the word 'unfortunately' more times than I could count. "Unfortunately, the man you spoke to did not complete the order properly. Unfortunately, that dress no longer exists. Unfortunately. there's nothing we can do.." I waited on hold, while she checked every database in the U.S., and supposedly spoke to her 'Superior'. Mrs. Unfortunate had no pity for the fake-pregnant girl. 3-4 times, she said, "Why don't you just tell your sister to choose new bridesmaid dresses." Are you insane, lady? Have you ever been in a wedding? Have you ever been married? That's not how these things work. When a desperate situation comes up 1.5 weeks prior to the wedding, the MOH doen't rearrange every other responsible bridesmaid's plans! The MOH makes it happen. I have royally let myself down with this unnecesary, postponed, "unfortunate" situation. Blagh.

So, I'm stuck. Stuck with the original dress and had to think fast. My friend, Jody, suggested another alterations place and encouraged me to give it a shot. After 2 emotional meltdowns, I grabbed what I needed and headed to the shop. There was a nice man behind the counter, whom asked me a few questions before the Queen Bee - a woman with a heavy German accent and classy style - came to see what my dilema was. I gathered that the woman and the man were married, and she was the main seamstress. She examined everything and told me the same thing Alteration Shop #1 said: not possible. Her first suggestion was to "go to the mall, and find a new dress". What?! What is with these suggestions? Everytime I have blabbed out my desperate situation, I have made it clear that my sister didn't know and that I didn't want to tell her to avoid stressing her out. I can't just 'go find a new dress' and show up like "Surprise! It's me! Idiot Maid of Honor!" I continued to press the need to alter the dress I had, and that it was my only option. Madam Germany seemed to understand, and instructed me to go to a certain fabric store to search for an exact match of the fabrics, so she can add panels to the dress. Uhhmm.. the chances of finding the exact fabrics are nonexistent. Oh good grief. I booked it to the fabric store, searched high and low for the same fabric and nothing. In near tears, I found a woman named Pamm - who introduced herself as "Pamm. [awkward pause] With 2 M's". Pammy totally reminded me of Yvette Nicole Brown, who has made an appearance on The Office and played a few other roles, including the show, Community. She escorted me throughout the store for over an hour, trying to match my dress with anything possible.. even drapery and plastic tablecloths. No matches. All of a sudden, while digging through Clearance, we hit a mini jackpot. We found an almost-perfect match of the outter layer of chiffon. I couldn't believe it. I picked out another fabric for the bottom layer, but couldn't find a match, so I went with the closest I could find. It felt pretty good to return back to The Frau, for her to tell me, "You did good!" It's not quite a 'happy ending'..yet. The dress will be with Frau until at least Monday, so I'm praying and praying it looks good.

Injuries - After coming home from an emotional day of bad news, cries for help and fabric hunts, Justin comforted me, telling me we could relax for the evening and watch a movie. Aughh.. yes, please. I was making something to eat when it happened. I had been talking to Justin, who had walked into the other room, when I noticed he stopped responding. I peeked around the corner, to find him sitting on the couch, bent over and holding his right foot. I assumed he stubbed his toe and asked if he was OK. I could tell he was in quite a bit of pain, because he didn't say much, and just kept telling me to 'give him a minute and he would explain'. After a while, Justin finally told me what happened.. He had turned quickly, and rammed his right-pinky toe on the base of the couch. He said that when he looked down, his little toe was pointing 70 degrees in the wrong direction, and out of instinct, he grabbed it. In that moment, he re-set his disfigured toe and was in so much pain, he could barely speak. He wasn't exactly sure if it was broken.. but since the pain wasn't really going away, we got it elevated and on ice. He made it through the night and attempted to go to work, but no success. He was in way too much pain, so we found a new Dr. (of course, we don't curently have a Doc, as ours recently left to a different practice. Typical.), made an appointment, and went in for an x-ray. Sure enough.. it's broken. The doc said Justin would have to be out of work for 3-6 weeks. Oh. My. Goodness. What are we going to do?

We began to ask around for crutches, since it's beyond excruciating to walk. We keep going through the craziness of how often we stub our toes or bang knees on the coffee table, and we forget about it in 30 minutes. Somehow, this was different. Our buddy, Andy, was able to track down some crutches really quick and was even sweet enough to drop them off at our place. To make a long story short (yeah, right), Justin and I spent the day running to his work to file 'disability' for the next few weeks and set up paychecks. From his work, we were given paperwork which the Dr. had to fill out. We rushed to the Dr.'s office, where we had to pay another co-pay, as they required us to sit with the nurse while she filled 3 pages of Q's. It was the most frustrating thing, because not only was it inconvenient to go to the Dr.'s office at all, but we had to leave and return with an appointment, but it's so beyond painful for Justin to move around, up and down 6 flights of stairs (of course we're on the 3rd level.). We headed back to the Dr.'s office, for the 5-minute paperwork to be completed, so we could wait for 45 minutes, and pay the co-pay, without even being seen by anyone important. Gimme a break.. The only, tiny good thing we can find, is that Justin has time off for us to travel to MN.. which means it's no longer necessary to use his vacation days. Of course, I'd rather him be comfortable and undamaged, than have some 'free vacation days.

Speech - I am so flippin scared to give my MOH speech at the wedding. What is wrong with me?! I can do this.. I am just so anxious and nervous. I have no clue what I'm going to say, yet. This is a major stress for me right now. I'm sure it will work out, but I can't wait for the speech part to be over with. Wahh!

Wedding Prep - I still have yet to print, personalize and assemble my sister's wedding programs, which I am making for her. I'm not as worried about this task as I am other things. Assembling should occur tomorrow if all works out.

So there you have it. An extremely uncondensed version of my status of insanity and panic. Sometimes, I wish I had no responsibility for anything. I just want a little break. Hmmmm.. That'll never happen. I'll keep ya posted!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Soundtracks: The Perfect Score

It's really hard to narrow it down to my all-time favorite film scores, but of the many I love , these 5 are absolutely phenomenal. These scores couldn't be MORE different from each other in genre/style, but beginning to end - I love them all.

If you have never seen Requiem for a Dream, I'm not quite sure I'd like to be the one to say, "Go see it!!!". It's exhaustively heavy and realistic about the effects of drugs and addiction. The score totally compliments the movie's intensity with a mix of electronic beats/synth/strings. It's gorgeous, mysterious and motivates paranoia at the same time.

Requiem for a Dream
Check it Out
Featuring: Music by Clint Mansell

I posted a while back about how bad Justin and I wanted to see Inception, and it was as good as we hoped it would be - if not more. The score totally pumped up the suspense with the booming strings and constant movement. It's sweet, yet twisted. Just listening to it, practically has me on the edge of my seat.

Check it Out
Featuring: Music by Hans Zimmer

I have recently fallen in love with the Friday Night Lights soundtrack/score. Since Justin and I were first dating (almost 7 years ago), I knew how much he loved the movie and the music in it. As the movie is mega inspirational with a few sports-fan cliches, the score totally fits. It's psychedelic, therapeutic and contemplative. The whole score plays as almost one unified track, building and decreasing with the key points in the film. In the words of my husband, "it says a lot without saying anything". Amen!

Friday Night Lights
Check it Out
Featuring: Music by Explosions in the Sky, Daniel Lanois & David Torn

Atonement is one of the sweetest, romance/war movies I've seen in a pretty long time. I saw it in theaters a couple times and absolutely loved it. I usually could care less to watch Keira Knightly talking, but I found the score so beyond intriguing and tragic. As the movie is about a letter, typed on a typewriter, throughout the entire score is a compilation of typewriter sounds fused with piano and strings. I thought it was really original and refreshing. I can't help listening to this score and feeling like I need to problem-solve or cry myself to sleep. It's simply amazing.

Check it Out
Featuring: Music by Dario Marianelli and Jean-Yves Thibaudet

One of my all-time favorite scores to enjoy while I'm reading is Lady in the Water. Unlike many people who saw the movie, I LOVED it. Yeah, M. Night Shyamalan has totally lost credibility over his last few films, but this one oh-so breathtaking. It has a constant mystical/magical/imaginative, find-what-you're-looking-for attitude, with a sort of mysterious energy. I think I have this on default every time I'm sinking into my Twilight novels.

Lady in the Water
Check it Out
Featuring: Music by James Newton Howard, A Whisper in the Noise, Amanda Ghost and Silvertide


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake! A Bridal Shower Inspired by Marie Antoinette

My younger sis, Vanessa is just weeks away from tying the knot! I can't believe it's almost here. This will be my first time as a Maid of Honor (er.. "Matron", but that word just seems so drab), and I'm pretty excited. I can admit it's been beyond challenging to be the best MOH in the history of MOH's, since I have to do everything from a billion miles away. I was excited to be able to fly home last weekend for her "Bridal Shower Weekend" - just like I had when I was getting married. Although it's exhausting to have 3 or 4 showers in 1 weekend, it's nice to knock 'em all out at once. I could only be home for a long weekend and Vanessa's job @ Mayo Clinic is super demanding, it worked out pretty good. We set the dates for the showers and coordinated everything over the phone, and I have to say, it was a pretty successful weekend.

Of her 4 showers, I hosted 2 of them. Her lingerie/personal shower and a relative shower. I was lucky to have Stacie and my sister Lanae's help for the showers. My sweet mum was extremely helpful too. I could NOT have pulled them off on my own. A few weeks ago, I made a post about my inspiration for the showers I was hosting . For the 1st shower - Lingerie - I really wanted to go with a french/Marie Antoinette/Shabby Chic theme. Florals, luxe, garden party, sexy, sweet, pastels, you get the point. For her other shower - Relatives - Lanae and I decided to drag out the Marie Antoinette theme with a pinch of Circus/Moulin Rouge/Party Time feel.. We pumped up the colors, with reds and made it a little more flashy.

Obviously, invites are KEY for any party/shower/event. It sets the whole tone! I spent a while trying to come up with something creative for each shower's invitations (bring on the DIY!), and with some inspiration, here's what I came up with. For the lingerie shower invites, I found perfect cornflower blue cardstock and matching tulle. I added a strip of baby pink lace around the top with a hot pink bow, to simulate a Antoinette-esque thigh-high. Along with each invite, I sent an 8x8 scrapbook page/sleeve with instructions for the girls to decorate the page with their favorite memories and photos with Vaness. I was really happy how much the girls got into it.. Those who couldn't make it to the shower, shipped it back to me and those who came, snuck the finished page to Lanae or me so we could assemble it and give it to her during gift-opening time. I wish I could take credit for such a sentimental idea.. She absolutely loved it.

It was pretty challenging to stretch the tulle as smooth as possible. I used my lovely lil hot glue gun and a strip of ribbon to hide the seam while playing with the whole thigh-high idea.

For the Relative Shower invites, I went with Antoinette meets Circus/Moulin Rouge. Since it was more of a home and kitchen suply shower, I included recipe cards with a fun little poem I wrote based off of pieces of some I found online. I was pretty happy with how they turned out!

I made it to the Twin Cities last Thursday morning around 9:30am and hit the ground running. Shopping, shopping, shopping all day long for supplies and decor. Since I only had just over 24 hours to transform my parent's home into everything Antoinette, I had to get moving quick.
Unfortunately, we faced plennnty of challenges with the flowers Lanae ordered (she works in a flower shop, and could get them wholesale). Long story short, they were more expensive than expected and completely out of season. We were able to pick some up last minute, as well as combined with with loads of arrangements Stacie had.

Some serious flower-arranging techniques, thanks to Lanae & Stacie
What's a shower without flowers???
At about midnight, we decided to take a "break" and make our tissue pom flowers while we watched Marie Antoinette.

I might bore you to death with the hundreds of photos we took while prepping and getting everything in order. You can ask anyone who knows me.. I don't do small parties. You gotta go big and you gotta go all the way.

For decor, I wanted to go with a Shabby Chic style.. Very garden-party.. Very lavish.. Very Antoinette. With the help of my friend Erin, I was able to make some rad garland with a sewing machine and lots of fabulous cardstock. I found loads of cute prints and punched them out with a 2.5-inch punch, in order to sew them into long strands of garland.

I added some random pieces of tulle to a few of the pieces

Vanessa loved.
I also made an adorable strand of cupcake-liner garland, which totally added some frou frou to the whole theme!
I spent quite a while deciding on the menu, drinks, music and favors.. I wanted everything to be so perfect. I made a perfect french playlist on my ipod, full of Edith Piaf, Charles Trenet, Carla Bruni, Yael Naim and some Django Reinhardt.. It totally set the mood.

For the menu, here's what I came up with:

Drinks served --
French Blueberry-Pomegranate Punch (with Raspberry Sorbet)
Pink Lemonade
Cran-Raspberry Mimosas (with fresh raspberries)
"Death in the Afternoon" (Pastis & Champagne)

Hors d'œuvre's and desserts served (minus the macarons I planned to bake, but ran out of time, Augh!) --

Chocolate Croissants
Four-Cheese & Florentine Quiche, French Crudites
Feta & Artichoke Tarts
Sweet Brie Canapes with Raspberry Almond Chutney
(Stacie's) Roasted Red Pepper Crustini's
Fresh Fruit and the most amazing Maraschino Fruit Dip
Homemade, Gourmet Cupcakes in Red Velvet & Chocolate
Complete with toppers printed with "Ooh la la" and Je t'aime"
(Stacie's) Homemade Raspberry Creme Cupcakes
There were so many different options to do for Favors.. But I decided to go with Vanessa's favorite, White-Chocolate (Almond Bark) dipped pretzels --

Favor tags said: "Merci Mon Ami -- White Chocolate Pretzels"

A few more pictures from the evening...

We also made some tulle poms (same technique we used with the tissue)

One of the few things I completed while in SC.. A simple veil (for fun) with a ruffle flower.. She was such a pretty little Bride-to-Be!

Prizes for game-winners were a little bags full of pampering & mani/pedi supplies.. lip gloss, nail files, toe separators, buffer and a cornflower blue nail polish. We played the "Purse Scavenger Hunt" game and a memory game with a tray of 'naughty items' (condoms, penis sucker, handcuffs, etc.).
With our Mom, before the evening got rolling
Before opening presents, Vanessa had to participate in a "How Well Do You Know Your Groom" game, which we called Jon to ask him a bunch of personal questions. For every question Vanessa got wrong, she had to eat 1-2 marshmallows. Vanessa and Lanae arranged this game for my lingerie shower, and I thought it was really fun for me and everyone else.
I wanted the game-portion to be enjoyable and not dreaded (as usual), and I found this idea on a bridal website a couple weeks ago.. We had the girls break into 2 teams for a relay, to see which team could put on nylons while wearing oven mitts. The girls got really into it and it was absolutely hysterical!

What a fabulous and memorable night!

The next morning was Vanessa's 2nd shower - Relative brunch - and in the afternoon more relatives came over for the other shower I was hosting (with Lanae's help). We were able to keep up the decor with a few things added and new food made. We had some new games and fun prizes, like Candyland's caramel popcorn. With the final shower the following day, I'd say it was exhausting and well worth it!

[Special fonts included on invites, favors and cupcake toppers can be found free @]
Related Posts with Thumbnails