Saturday, October 29, 2011

anything you can do, i can do better.

and by "you", i really don't mean you reading this blog. i mean the hypothetical "yous" of the weddingverse. and the statement is still a slight exaggeration.... okay, eff it, it was a catchy title.

moving on...

i've been feeling very inspired to sew things in the last couple months. and with each successful project, i get a little more ambitious. so ambitious, i will note, that as of the last couple days i'm asking myself why i can't sew my own wedding dress. eh? eh??

so i realize that this week i've been talking about wild things like paleo dieting -- which by the way, polotek and i have started the challenge and i will document parts of the journey on my former blog "le petite pane", now "le petit paleo" -- and now crazytime talk of me thinking i'm vera wang or justin alexander or maggie sottero or something.

well, shut your trap and bare with me. this is my blog and i can talk crazy if i want to!

i now have a new fixation, and until i become familiar with the actual ins-and-outs of what it would require, i'm seriously considering it. armed with a good pattern or tutorial, i can be pretty nifty with a needle and thread. plus, i've been making my way through my exhaustive list of inspired projects since june...

ha, that guitar case was a serious test.
so here is how i got to thinking DIY wedding dress...
i have been discussing the search for the perfect dress a lot in the last couple weeks. i'm slated to kick-off the dress-a-thon with my stepmommy and aunt at christmastime in new york city. i'm waaaaay excited to do this. appointments are being scheduled. we may even hit up klienfield's, the shop from "say yes to the dress"!

but as we know, "in a new york minute, ooOOOooo, everything can change..." ha, please excuse my random inside joke reference. i know it will make at least two people laugh.

too priceless not to post!

anyway, i'm on the mccall's site looking for some other dress the way they are having an EPIC SALE until monday where you can get printed patterns for one and a half beans. dead cereal. aaaah, i got 7 patterns for $1.50 each!!!!

so i'm looking for a couple patterns i can mish-mash together to make a dress like this one or this one, and i saw this. and i'm like, pretty pretty princess, much? ick. but then as i looked a little closer at the take-your-pick of styling and imagined much prettier fabric than the ones used on the model, i kind of warmed up to the idea of trying to make a formal dress. maybe all the easy sew patterns i was looking at beforehand gassed me up a little, but i'm thinking...i could totally do this!

i then put it up on pinterest, half joking. hmmm, and also half serious. then while doing some web surfing, i came across this blog post by a bride who did the damn thing. then i'm thinking...well. she did it! amaze.

from a cost standpoint, i could probably make about 10 dresses for the price that it costs to buy one in the store. and while i am still technically an amateur seamstress, practice makes perfect, right? i have several months to create mock ups and iron out the kinks, but then again, do i have the patience for this?? i dunno. in any case, if this does happen, i would likely recruit a master seamstress to help advise me with the tough parts...grandma, are you reading?

well, i invested the dollar and fifty cents and ordered the pattern. once it arrives, if i give the pattern a good lookover and if i still think i can really pull it off, i legit may try to do it. though i definitely wouldn't start 'til 2012, and YES a dress form would be purchased :::cough, cough::: {christmas present}. then i could use all the dresses i see over the holidays as inspiration for fabric, colors, and embellishments...

or shit, i could just find my dream dress in new york and that would be the end of it. i'm also completely fine with that option, because who am i kidding? others have tried and given up, and i certainly have crafty-project-ADD.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

happy birthday to me!

how sweet it get packages in the mail.

i LOVE getting packages in the mail!
and i especially love getting packages in the mail on my birthday.
especially wedding-related packages....

with save-the-dates inside!!


happy birthday to meeeee!
i will share what they look like once they start coming to a mailbox near you. hell, maybe one will even come to your YOUR mailbox!

Monday, October 24, 2011

my big, fat....self.

we had an awesome shoot on saturday. i'll share more about the experience after we get to see the photos in a few weeks. i know that the shots ananda took will probably be amazing because i did get a glimpse of a couple on her camera screen. she's fab. marco and i loved the shoot.

however, the more important issue of today is when i was looking at a few behind-the-scenes photos taken by a friend of mine who helped out, something i saw was pretty saddening. i noticed how big i've gotten. ugh.

i actually look pretty cute in this one -- did you think i would post a "whale" photo of myself on here?!?!

as i was flipping through my friend's pictures i couldn't help but ask, "oh dear god, why am i so HUGE?!"

well, i actually DO know the answer to this. and it seems to be a recurring theme in recent conversations polotek and i have had. we know that the way we have been treating our bodies is not good. and i don't want to turn into one of the klumps! my knees are already bad enough, i doubt they could stand eddie murphy weight!

i know it's definitely a "thing" that brides-to-be (and bridesmaids) get all self-conscious about their scale digits and do all kinds of crazy stuff. diet pills, starving themselves, liposuction, ordering a dress in their "dream" size. ummm, no thank you. not for me. that sounds dreadful!

what i'm planning on doing is changing over to more paleo-focused eating. maybe this is my crazy thing. well, i mean, it's not really all that crazy. but it is a little unconventional. and i'm ready to take things in a new direction.

i specifically want to follow the guidelines of the bulletproof diet, as outlined by dave asprey. but i'm not planning on going cold turkey. i know doing that won't work for me. you should really read about it, but in a nutshell the diet is not based on moderating caloric intake at all -- what it requires is for a person to eat things that will keep their blood sugar levels low and insulin levels low, thereby allowing less storage and more burning of fat. the things you eat in a paleo diet are mostly comprised of natural fats (50-60% of your calories in a day, whaaaa?!) and protein, and lots of vegetables.

now, i know to some of you reading this, this new way of eating may sound completely cuckoo-pants. at first it did to me, too. but i know people who have been living the lifestyle for quite some time, and have seen the results firsthand. right now i am reading and trying to absorb as much about it as possible. SO MUCH is different from how i think about eating.

here are some initial things that i know will be challenges:
(1) eliminating (even a little bit of) grains / starches / sugars - the top culprits of high blood sugar.
(2) cutting back on the booze because of the sugars produced by alcohol = massive frowny face -- womp, womp -- i should probably walk away right now...
(3) lots of veggies....blah
(4) all that fat???
(5) my birthday is this week / i have people coming to visit in early november / the holidays AKA food-binge-o-rama is right around the corner.

some positives:
(1) all that fat!!!
(2) the diet seems to require very little, if any, exercise for most people. (hellmuthaf*ckinyeah!) :D

to that last point -- let's be real. people who know me know that i can avoid exercise like the plague. i'm quite good at it, actually. i'm so over trying to convince myself that i love to exercise. because i don't. i think if i did then i'd be doing it right now, instead of researching paleo dieting.

whenever i psych myself up to exercise, the time rolls around and i suddenly have too many other important things to do. like clean the house. or sew something. or upload pictures of fabric samples to pinterest. ha, molto importante!

my plan is to try to EASE into it. 
what does that mean? good question. for now it entails a two-week challenge of no grains and starches EXCEPT for up to one cup of rice each week. then, after that, i'll pick up one new small change every week or so afterward.

interested in chronicling my possible success or utter failure with me? i thought you might be. look for me to hijack my friends' group fitness blog, or revive my dormant blog, le petit pane. i guess i may have to consider changing my blog name, being that the title is a mish-mash of french and italian that means "the little bread".

either way, i'll keep you all posted on which channel i will share my frustrations. because, trust me, there WILL be frustrations.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

smiling for the camera.

i'll be turning 26 on the 26th this year! you only get one of those ___ on the ___ birthdays, so i better live it up! i'm trying to decide what big extravaganza we'll have for my 2011 born day....

oh wait, we are about to spend $15,000 (plus) dollars on a wedding.

well, in that case, i guess i'll just order take out and watch hbo with polotek.

on the upside, i got an awesome birthday gift from a friend this past weekend. it is being used, and will continue to be used!

so purrrrty.
this gorgeous little gem is a ceramic ring holder -- aka operaqueenie-ass-saver. because jean pockets are evil crevices that no one should give into the temptation of putting valuable things inside. ok, that was a tad melodramatic. but i could go the rest of my life without experiencing the insanity of losing my ring again. insurance coverage is underway.

in other news, remember that wedding fair i went to a while ago? well, THIS GIRL put her name in a basket for a free engagement photo shoot and won!!! SNAP! now, i would have much preferred to put my name in for something and won myself a free wedding, but, 'tis the luck of the draw. besides, i never win anything in raffles and the like, so i will rejoice in this victory.

i will also rejoice in the fact that ananda shorey (yes, with an N, and not an M), the face behind the photos of bliss fotography, is very talented and also very awesome for shooting our ugly mugs gratis. now i'm prepping things for the shoot which is this saturday at the ferry building (my east coast peeps, check out the hyperlink if you are unfamiliar with SF landmarks).

that means it's time to tame the mane, press the clothes, veet the legs, paint the nails, wax the furry... brows. i can't wait to dish about the experience and the photos! squeeeeeeeee!

my wedding goddess, the one-and-only schniz, already sent me some inspiration for the shoot...lots of pretty pictures i love to look at. there is this one...i'm so in love with her tulle skirt. there is actually a fantastic etsy shop that she appears to have gotten hers from. i must have one...putting it in the sewing projects queue!

i'm also a fan of this shoot. i dig her style, it feels somewhat reminiscent of my own...

and i like the use of props in photos. i much prefer fun prop shots to a bunch of canoodly kissy pictures. polotek and i are thinking of incorporating a couple things or elements that people identify with us as a couple -- our little whiteboard, our iphones / laptops / miscellaneous apple devices, movies, music (my guitar?). i think it's really neat how this couple incorporated the banner and scrabble pieces!

alright, so let me know if you have any cool ideas for our shoot -- and let me know quick, because we only have 1 day!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

the natural bride.

i read a blog post this morning that got me thinking. it's from "a curl's best friend", a blog co-written by a high school friend of mine, which really is a must-stop-shop for natural hair -- it gives great tips and inspiration, style ideas, hair recipes (!!!), and talks in-depth about the real issues and struggles of maintaining naturally curly hair of ALL types. the writers, antoinette and shanti, also interview an assortment of ladies and gentlemen about their thoughts on natural hair, how they care for their own hair, etc.

anywho, today i saw an interview post that brought a recurring thought i've had in the last several weeks to the forefront of my the crap will i wear my hair for the BIG DAY?

i've been natural for about 4 years and have never looked back. well, except maybe when i try to pull off a pressed 'do on really humid days. but i definitely don't miss the insanely torturous burn of creamy crack. or having to pray before every perm that my hair doesn't fall out.

i'd say my mane is about type 4b, and there are lots of things i can do to style it. i love the versatility of my hair. however, most of the "diverse" things i can do with it defy the normal conventions of beauty as it is represented in what we see everyday. while i'm fine rocking my twist out to work or out for drinks, i feel i have to think twice when i'm considering my hair for a fancy occasion or a formal event. let's take it to the styleboard...check out a series of various styles i have worn over the years...

i've always loved to keep people guessing about what style i'd have the next time they saw me...
in short:
the battle for black women everywhere = euro look vs. natural look

clearly, this is/has been an issue for other brides-to-be than myself. now i will say that i tend to air on the side of a more european, tamed and straightened style for special occasions, and it is worth heavily noting that i make, wear and sell handmade wigs and other hair pieces. and the reason why i like to make wigs for myself is because i like the fun of it, and i like to change things up once in a while. but i feel i now have to ask myself if my desire to go euro for the big day is driven by years of fashion media brainwashing that make me think i should look a certain way?

i think the bride featured in the post i mentioned earlier is so beautiful. 

seeing her pictures definitely inspires me to wear a natural style. i also found some other lovely styles on the interwebs, but when i see 99% of them, i'm like....but would that look good on ME?? let's take look at some of those...

click the photo and it will get bigger ;)

luckily, i have 341 days to figure this out and get it right. but right now i'm planning to rock a simply-styled wig for the wedding (see: carla). but what does it say about me that i am inclined to wig it up?

i'm also am contemplating this same dilemma for my engagement shoot {more to come on that -- it's this week!}, but it seems like less of an issue right now -- namely because those photos don't cost thousands of dollars!

cast your votes, people. tell me what YOUR thoughts are on this matter....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

diamonds and 'girls'.

D to the I to the A to the M...

oh. my. ring. 
i just experienced the most intense 12 hours of my life. 
i lost my ring. and found it. and now i need a drink.

this is the bottle of wine that i will have consumed entirely by the time i finish this post.

8:40 AM: i'm getting ready to leave for work, go over to my jewelry tree and pick out earrings while calmly commenting, "babe, i can't find my ring. have you seen my ring?"

8:43 AM: after searching frantically around the area i always put my jewelry and not finding my ring, i start to panic. and cry. and freak out, "babe, where's my ring?!?!"

8:50 AM: i quickly re-trace my steps, which has to go back two days -- because i didn't wear it at all the day before due to cleaning the apartment. polotek and i look around all the 'practical' places. no ring. i have also missed my bus for work. i start to cry again.

9:07 AM: polotek has driven me to work and is pulling up to my office. during the ride i recapped all the things i did in the last two days, and the last time i definitively remember having the ring on my finger. still no clue where it could be. polotek is level-headed and tries to console me, but i cry again before getting out of the car. the people walking by on their way to work probably think he is breaking up with me.

12:45 PM: after an excruciatingly long morning at work because of my obsessive worrying, i call polotek to see if he found the ring when he went back home to look. nothing. i make a list on my phone of places to search when i get to the house.

3:16 PM: i text with apey about her trip to hawaii and tell her i can't find my ring (which she warned me the week before that i should insure ASAP). she is equally freaked that i have no idea where it is, and my eyes start watering at the thought that it may not be in my house as i thought all along. i start thinking that maybe what i remember doing in re-tracing my steps is not what actually happened. i can't recall seeing the ring when i cleaned the apartment the day before, and start to wonder (a) if i left it at the grocery store or (b) if it fell into some random thing that got taken out of the house and thrown away or (c) if someone somehow snuck into our place while i was there, without me knowing, and took the ring and left. no kidding.

3:30 PM: i walk into my place and greet polotek's visiting brother. he tells me that he and polotek looked thoroughly for the ring earlier that morning all over the apartment to no avail. he asks what i was wearing when i last remember having it, and if i have checked my jeans pockets. he helps me move furniture and volunteers to search the stinky, nasty trash that should have gone out before he arrived. i decline his offer but continue looking around the apartment.

5:30 PM: i arrive at my voice lesson and my teacher can see that i am not myself. i tell her about my lost diamond ring and try to sing the crazy thoughts out of my mind. it works for the most part until i go home, and drive home with preoccupied thoughts of where the ring might be. i begin to dream up patents for a lo-jack for fine jewelry.

6:45 PM: i'm making dinner and polotek's brother asks me if i'm okay. he says i don't seem to be myself. i agree that i am not myself.

8:00 PM: we finish dinner and start re-hashing the places searched for the ring. polotek and i split up looking in various places for the ring. i start in the closet, sifting through the laundry and pockets of clothes i may have touched in the last couple days. polotek goes for the trash. the stinky, smelly, gross trash that has all the old and moldy food from the fridge that i threw out. the trash with a ripened stink that has been shielded from us thanks to a solid, snapping plastic lid. the trash that i was too embarrassed to have a guest see, and planned to get rid of before he arrived, but never tossed due to thinking that my ring may be in there.

8:05 PM: polotek fashions himself a face mask out of a dish towel because the stench of the garbage is THAT BAD

and we are searching.
....searching. ing.

no ring.

8:35 PM: we switch up where we are looking, polotek goes into the closet. i tell him i already looked there. especially in the laundry basket and the pockets of all my jeans.

8:40 PM: polotek comes out with my jeans in one hand and a diamond ring on the tip of his finger. "where did you say you put the ring, again?"

my savior!! oh, how i LOVE this man! the first thing i feel after PURE elation is sorry for my poor baby searching through the funktastic trash. that yucky stinky ass trash that had all the old crap from the fridge. and sorry that i didn't get a picture of his garbage odyssey.

IN MY JEANS POCKET. good golly, miss molly.

so after all of that (!!!), let me tell you about {in my best Smeagol voice} the precious.

we were less than two months shy of the three year mark when i went with polotek to mervis diamond in tyson's corner, and tried on what must have been dozens of rings. after an hour or so, i whittled it down to about 5 or 6 rings, each with something i liked about it.

but what i got was even greater than i could have ever imagined. 

what was in the wooden box presented to me at the beach in carmel was custom designed by polotek. 

the only one like it in the world, it was 2 carats of the shiniest diamonds i've ever seen.
and it was drop dead gorgeous.

::: gush :::

he took all the things i loved about the rings i tried on: round diamond in the middle, small round diamonds on either side that wrap only halfway around {because srsly, who needs diamonds on the inside of their hands?}, bar settings to separate the complementary stones, the primary stone set as low a possible {he remembered how i didn't want too much elevation off my hand}, platinum {ahem, need i say more?}.

jeebus. i thought i loved this beauty before! now i've been seriously been scared straight about losing this baby. insurance, anyone? yes, please! 

my baby loooves me. he thinks i'm speeeecial. he wants to kiiiisss me. and be my huuuuusband....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

feed me, seymour.

now, on to the next challenge. schniz, polotek and i are looking at our options for the biggest line item of this whole shebang.

foooooood. and booze.
actually there is far more that caterers handle, too. including (but not limited to): linens, china, silverware, servers, set-up, breakdown, decor, yada yada...
all that schtuff costs money.

i can't say how lucky i am to have a dear friend with a catering company in her family!!! this is awesome because we get to talk to and possibly work with a company who we can trust, is bound to be more understanding, will work with us, and we know will aim to please. this is a very good thing. we have already chatted with the company about possible options, and i can't wait to see what they come back with.

there is also another caterer with potential. we've got some personal testimonies about their good quality, and they seem to be willing to work with us and our rinky-dink catering budget.

the line that we currently have for the caterer is $5,000, but that was (1) before we realized we were going to invite up to 200 people, and (2) before we had any flipping idea how much food and drinks cost for a wedding. we want quality AND affordability, but we would definitely be willing to pay a little extra if it guarantees a good time had by all.

the last thing we want people to think is "boy, did they cheap out of the food..." i embrace my food snobbiness, and i feel the food should reflect our tastes. but we have to find that happy balance of also being able to afford it all.

really, this is the one major thing that threatens to break the budget, and it seems to be this way because of all the mouths we will have to feed. but like i have previously said, polotek and i want to include our peeps without exclusion. it's so hard to do the: "i REALLY want so-and-so to cooooome, but we can only have xx people." especially when you have a ton of family, like me.

the good thing is we have lots of ideas on how we can put this together and save on some of the costs. like ditching the expensive traditional flower centerpieces and getting more creative with the table aesthetic. i'm also planning on making some table runners with a lovely fabric that schniz picked out, and that will lower the cost of linen rentals. maybe we will even go with faux chinaware. and yes, some people will be asked to come as singles. sorry if this makes you sad, but everyone will certainly still have an awesome time. and eat awesome food. and drink to their hearts' delight.

not to reveal too much, but a couple noms we are considering include a mac-n-cheese bar (a bride fave!), cookies (a groom fave!) aaaand...yes, i know what you really want to hear: haribo gummi bears! contain yourself, i know it's very exciting. did you know you can buy them in 5 lb bags on amazon? five pounds of heaven is what it is.

so, we'll see over the next several days how things shake out with estimates. i'm sure my pie-in-the-sky ideas of what we can have at the reception will be brought back down to earth. so stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

making it "officiant".

tick another day off the calendar! only 352 more to go.

no, i didn't count it. it's just that every time i log in on the knot, i see this countdown calendar blaring at me. it has no real effect on me now while it's almost a year out from the wedding, but something tells me i'm going to log in one day in early september next year and have a panic attack.

anywho, we now have someone to administer our vows. hence my lame and punny title to this post. and i'm not sure how this reads, but i'm actually really excited about this. exclamation point!

so i don't want to offend anyone reading, but polotek and i are more secular-minded in the way that we lead our lives. to those who know me, i'm sure that my beliefs can seem somewhat agnostic, but i am actually roman catholic (polotek is baptist), and i'm not sure if many of my friends know that. i'd say we're pretty casual christians.

therefore, the fact of the matter is that my church-going in the years since school has pretty much been for going to funerals. and messiah sing-a-longs. gotta love handel.

does that make me a bad person? man, this conversation is getting heavy. so long story short, the reverend who will administer our vows has a special connection to me. he is the reverend of a church in the small town of haymarket, va (the real virginia, for those reading in the dc area), which is the family church of my stepmother. i first heard him speak at my nana's memorial service, and was so extraordinarily touched by him. i had the privilege of hearing him speak two more times since then. and each time i felt that the things he said weren't "preachy", but poetic. beautiful. poignant.

i remembered afterward making the joke that "if i went to church, i'd go to THAT church to hear him speak." ha.

so you get the point. i think he is perfect for our wedding. now i really can't wait for showtime!

Monday, October 3, 2011

a very important date!

what could be a better start to my monday, than to hear that we are officially booked for our wedding venue?!?! ten pages of contract, four days, and one $2000 deposit later -- we are in business!

looks like the BIG DAY will be friday, september 21, 2012 -- also known as polotek's last chance to make a run for the hills.

at this point, the race is well underway. schniz and i have been joking that at the pace we've been planning this thing, it may be ready by december.

aside from the venue, caterer, and invite list, the wedding decisions and discussions are fun and easypeasey -- so excited to share it with y'all. speaking of sharing, this seems like a nice point to introduce the story of polotek and operaqueenie's first date.

first off, i'll have you know that we were fixed up by a mutual friend, and went on a sort of blind date. i say "sort of" because we did see each other's facebook pages first. in fact, that was the first contact...

so, i'm over a friend's house -- who i lovingly call my "jewish aunt" or "tante" -- and we are watching american idol {not that i'm a fan of that show, i just like to make fun of the contestants}. i start going on and on about how one of the singers, a white boy with dreadlocks, on the show is such a product, and how they were manufacturing some "unique" cookie-cutter template of a singer blah blah blah, and she jumps in blurting out that i had to meet this guy from her job who has dreadlocks. she works as a recruiter for a software company, and after being thrown off by her interruption, the first thing that i say is:

  "so he's a nerd?"
  "well, he's kind of nerdy, but he's a nice guy."
  "he's a nice's ugly?"
  "he's not ugly, but he's probably shorter than you."
  "well, almost everyone is shorter than me."
  "he's on facebook -- we can look him up!"

...she pulls up his facebook page...

malcolm-jamal warner, anyone??
  "ok, he's not bad looking..."
  "at the very least, you could make a new friend." {i had just moved to the dc area} jewish aunt matchmaker then proceeded to send polotek a message on facebook, saying that he should meet her niece who is new to the area {he was definitely surprised to find that she had a black "niece"}, and that we should get together sometime. then she made me change my profile picture to one she approved.

from this...
she wasn't a fan of the open mouth photo.

to this.
yay! mouth closed.

then i went home.

when i got back to my craptastic apartment {i'll save that story for another time}, i had a facebook message from polotek titled "the definition of awkward is...", and in the body it said, "this." but then he went on to say that my jewish aunt is pretty cool, and since she has vouched for me like she did, i must be worth meeting.

so we set up a date.

we met at my fave sushi place of the moment and had dinner. hit it off right from the start. decided to catch a movie with a couple of his friends afterward. they didn't hate me. when i got back home and dished to my roomie, i was all googly.

aaaand the rest is history {in the making}.