Archives – May, 2009
For whatever reason, whenever I start to get down, I always think of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. Over and over again, she’d smile and say, “Whenever the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” Brilliant.
Because I like to stay on the “half full” side of life, I always find myself encouraging others to do the same. But I’m not so sure if I’d be able to stay positive if the Mister ever decided to get cold feet and pull a Mr. Big on me. Being left before the nuptials is one DON’T, I’ll gladly DO without.
So, one must wonder how Joshua Opperman – founder of IDoNowIDont.com – held it together long enough to create his online store. After the “supposed” love of his life up and left him and his $10,000 engagement ring, he was left heartbroken. And when he tried to return the barely worn trinket to the store, he was greeted exasperatedly with a big “poo poo” and “good day, sir.” Because the store would only offer him a fraction of his money back, he felt as though his heart was broken… again.
Instead of staying down, though, Josh decided to mend his broken heart by selling the gorgeous engagement ring to the highest bidder. Thus, an incredibly unique idea was born, which spurned an even more unique online phenomenon. Over the course of time, Josh turned his idea into a full blown online store, taking the notion of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” to a whole new level. Now, with added sections for all jewelry types as well as wedding dresses, it seems as though the slamming of love’s door has opened an abundance of windows for all those involved.
Future brides and grooms can cut costs and save hearts (and bank accounts) of their previously fallen comrades. Beautiful thing, isn’t it? So, if you’re looking to buy a big rock for little money, I suggest taking a gander. You just might find the deal of a lifetime, and breezily become one more hero who turned an epic tragedy into flawless victory. <Sigh> Happy endings are the best.
And what I really hope is… when the idea came to him, he belted out the loudest verse of, “THE HIIIIILLLSSS ARE ALIIIIIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUUUUSIC!”?? Because – well – that would also be brilliant.
May 28, 2009
A Unique Bridal Shower Keepsake
Bridal showers have really started to come into their own. While Saturday afternoons filled with tissue paper and taffeta are still a popular choice, many friends and family members have opted to “Robert Frost” the traditional bridal shower and choose a road less travelled.
These less travelled roads have helped bridesmaids morph a simple, afternoon shower into a pre-wedding day party. Everything from themed Couple’s Showers and Luaus to on location events and signature drinks have become more and more popular with the taste of today’s bride. And rightfully so. Every bride is unique; so, why not create a custom shower that she’ll love?
One way to ensure that it will be a day she’ll love and remember is by giving her something she’ll treasure through the years. At my sister-in-law’s shower, instead of doing games, we handed each woman (married, single, young, old) in the room a note card. On the note card they were instructed to give their best marital advice. One by one, the ladies stood up, read their card aloud and gently tucked it away into an envelope designated with their name.
All the envelopes were bound within a personalized book (pictured above), and their words of love and encouragement still provide guidance for Lindsay (my SIL) when she’s having “one of those days.” Below are some of the words of wisdom that will live on in bridal shower infamy. Please enjoy!
- Spend every day you have together as if it is your first… and every night as if it’s your last. The key is to keep it fresh. (Dottie Kennedy, married 59 years)
- Communicating YOUR words is not as important as listening to THEIRS. (Chris Wagner, married 32 years)
- Hold hands in the car. (Elyse Featheringill, age 7)
- Marriage is a choice; so, choose to love one another each and every day. (Les Kroemer, married 29 years)
- Above all else, put each other first. You are a family now. So, make decisions for each other, and not everyone else. (Denise Kidwell, married 34 years)
- Always remember that patience is a virtue, and on MANY occasions, you’ll have to be very virtuous. (Kelly Brandenburg, married 3 years)
- Marriage is a compromise, but it’s not always 50/50. Some times, he might need more; so, give it to him gladly. Because there will be times when you need more, and hopefully, he’ll return the favor. (Nancy Curd, married 11 years)
- Always kiss each other goodnight. (Madeline Russell, age 9)
Of course whether you choose to follow their words or make the rules up as you go, one thing I always encourage every couple to do – from wedding showers to their golden anniversaries – is be kind to one another. And if all else fails, husbands, remember why you asked her to marry you, and wives, remember why you said yes.
May 26, 2009
They say that love is the international language. So, here are a few wedding facts to celebrate the feeling known around the world:
- Instead of rice, peas are thrown at Czech newlyweds. (All I know is, people had best be throwing lightly. I’m not trying to dance the night away in a white dress covered in green stains… not good.)
- Historically, Danish men and women cross dressed in order to confuse evil spirits. (My cousin Kelly wanted to do this for a Halloween themed wedding… shortly thereafter, she was overruled… by everyone else helping her pay for the ceremony.)
- Most Moroccan women take a milk bath before their wedding day to purify themselves. (A good cleansing never hurt anyone… unless, in this case, you’re lactose intolerant.)
- One of history’s earliest engagement rings was given to Henry VIII’s daughter, Princess Mary, at the ripe old age of two. (I’ve heard of being prepared, but that may be playing it a little TOO safe.)
- The most expensive wedding ever was the marriage of Sheik Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s son to Princess Salama in Dubai in May of 1981. It cost a staggering $44 million. (Hmmm, right around my bridal budget :))
- In South Africa, the parents of both bride and groom traditionally carried fire from their hearths to light a new fire in the newlyweds’ hearth. (I think we’ll just stick with the unity candle.)
- Queen Victoria’s cake weighed an extraordinary 300 pounds. (Please refer to I Love Wedding Cake, But Seriously???)
- Stag parties were first held by ancient Spartan soldiers, who kissed their bachelor days goodbye with a raucous party. (Haha, figures. I mean did you see the movie 300??? Those men were all sorts of crazy!)
- Diamonds set in gold or silver became popular as betrothal rings among wealthy Venetians toward the end of the fifteenth century. (Thank goodness! I love me some bling!)
- A Finnish bride traditionally went door-to-door collecting gifts in a pillowcase, accompanied by an older married man who represented long marriage. (Seems like a lot of work, and Lord knows I’m not trying to strain myself :))
No matter what traditions your culture, religion or families may have, just remember that they all play second fiddle to the love that made it possible to showcase them in the first place. John Lennon said it best, “All You Need Is Love!”
May 22, 2009
My friend, Tonya - The Riveter
During the era known as the Roaring 20s, women became more empowered than ever before. Not only did we earn the right to vote, but we also shortened our skirts, along with our hair. We smoked cigarettes and sipped on moonshine. We became… to put it quite frankly… more like men.
On our way to the top, women have become increasingly successful in all walks of life. Professionally, physically and emotionally speaking, more and more women have adopted Rosie the Riveter’s battle cry, and the “We Can Do It!” mantra has spread like wildfire. Every woman from high powered executives to stay at home moms are proving to not only be strong and eager, but they are also determined and able.
In lieu of Jessica Biel’s interview in Allure Magazine’s upcoming June issue – set to arrive on newsstands May 26th – she firmly states that her career has to take a front seat to any sort of marriage talk. While trying to capture more dramatic roles and “hide her pretty” (which is borderline certifiable, if you ask me), she is not able to focus on love or a marriage completely.
But why not? I consider myself to be the most successful woman in the world! (As you all should!) Sure, I don’t have a lot of money in the bank, and the majority of my clothes could probably be donated to TLC’s What Not To Wear, but that doesn’t mean I’m not rich in love and looking fly. I have fun at my job. I have fun at home. I have an amazing family and incredible friends, and all of it seems a little bit better because I’m sharing with a man who loves me… in spite of the slightly malfunctioning wardrobe and horrendous singing voice.
Why do some women feel they have to choose? If the whole goal behind the “I am woman, hear me roar!” sentiment was to ”have it all,” why do so many think they can’t? Having it all shouldn’t be unattainable! It should be totally… uhhh… tainable! Otherwise, why were all our fabulous predecessors working so hard?
I say, go out and have it all, ladies!! AND have it all with a side of cheese fries and a chocolate shake!! You totally deserve it :)
May 20, 2009
*Welp, there they are. Just like they always are… watching, judging, taunting… an ever present reminder of what once was and what may never be again. Thank YOU, oh torturous villain, for cursing my day. I should just get rid of you. Throw you out, along with all the low, self loathing esteem you inflict on my daily existence. Instead, I keep you close, as well as the little bit of false hope… that maybe… just maybe … I may fit into you again.
*That’s right. I’m talking to you, constant mocking reminder, too-small-for-me, favorite pair of jeans… and today, it appears, you win… again.*
Yep, (fill in your name here), who hasn’t been there? If you’re anything like me, you’ve been endowed with many, wonderful things in your life. But of all the wonderful things you have, you seem to be missing any sort of metabolic capabilities or even a small sliver of Giselle Bundchen DNA. And because these two things are missing, they can make everything else seem a little bit more lackluster.
EVERY day (every, single, forsaken day), I have to work at my weight. Heck, I’ve been dieting (in some way, shape or form) since I was 16, which basically means I’ve been hungry for last nine years. Awesome.
And not only am I hungry, but I always seem to want super horrible foods at the most inconvenient times - for instance, during The Biggest Loser Finale, while perusing the latest issue of Victoria’s Secret or right before a bathing suit clad vacation. Yet another dose of awesome.
And no time in all my weight loss / maintenance years has ever been even remotely as this one: The I’m-Gonna-Be-in-White-Dress-in-Front-of-Millions Time. Never – in all my life – have fudge brownies, mint chocolate chip ice cream or raw cookie dough looked more appetizing, and never – in all my life – have I been less inclined to eat them. Because even though my Mister thinks I’m beautiful in every sense of the word - I want this same sentiment spread to every one else sitting in the audience.
So, I’ve gathered my decade’s worth of trial and error data and come up with a few tricks that have truly helped me along. One, stressing over it will only make it worse. (Probably why so many women cling to Yoga.) Two, every one is different; so, don’t expect the same routines that worked for a friend to work for you. Three, no matter what a girl’s body type may be, she is liable to have just as many insecurities as you. (Kind of nice to know we’re all in the same boat, isn’t it?) And finally, of all the fad diets, crash cut backs and insane techniques you can use to lose weight, nothing will EVER work better than good ‘ole fashioned healthy eating and daily exercise.
If you’re currently taking the same journey as me and looking to trim down, shape up or simply get healthy for your big day, here are a few sites I’ve found incredibly helpful: WebMD.com and LoseWeightLossDiet.com - pretty clever name, yes? We’re all in this together, girls! So, get out, get going and rest assure that there’s at least one more person looking to take out her bathroom scale!
May 18, 2009
With all the details and dotted lines surrounding a wedding day, it’s easy to see why wedding planners have been used over the years. With everything going on inside a bride’s head, does she really have time to make sure her future mother-in-law is equipped with the correctly colored tussy mussy? Or is it simply an unnecessary fussy?
Of course while some wedding planners have proven to be their bride’s greatest ally, it seems as though they could be be next in line for the endangered species list. At least from my experience, of all the weddings I’ve been to and brides I’ve know, I can only think of a handful that required their services. Nowadays, couples - armed with instant online intelligence and overly helpful friends and family members - can empower themselves with greater ease. They can “Google” and file share it. They can order and overnight it. They can even question and understand it… all with the click of a button and without leaving the comfort of their own home.
Don’t get me wrong; I loved J. Lo just as much as the next guy when she kicked bridal booty in The Wedding Planner, but does that mean I’d hire her to do work I’m capable of accomplishing myself for a super-sized fee? Eh, probably not. Like most brides, I have a limited budget and hideous economy to work with, and I’m more than happy to give up the help of a woman (or man) for a the love of killer pair of vintage stilettos and several, extra guests.
But I’m curious to see how many people used / are using / will use a wedding planner AND how many enjoyed or are enjoying their experience?
May 15, 2009
With personalization becoming a key ingredient in today’s wedding planning stew, an onslaught of brides have started leaning more towards “trend” and less towards “tradition.” This growing community of soon-to-be-newlywed women yawn at the “Brides of Yore,” happily taking their place as the Brides of We-Want-More. And with all the possibilities neatly lined up online, it’s easy to see why today’s bride – looking to tailor a one of a kind wedding - is in full bloom!
One area that has really started to blossom is the notion of colored bridal shoes… because let’s face it, GIRLS.LOVE.SHOES. It’s in our blood. You show me a girl who isn’t totally envious of Carrie Bradshaw’s closet (Blasphemy!), and I’ll show you a girl who simply hasn’t found her way. As a former / recovered shoe underestimate-er, I can vouch that in due time and with the right pair of killer pumps, all girls will eventually give in to their baser instincts and fall in love with “sole” power.
Brides - who have fallen victim to such power – tend to wear shoes that reiterate their personal style in a number of ways. Since the majority of “I do” gurus incorporate color into their wedding, many white or ivory clad brides use their shoes as a means to incorporate themselves into the color. With today’s popular wedding colors spanning from Tiffany’s blues and candy apple greens to hot magentas and dazzling reds, the bridal shoe can easily become a stand out accessory. Not to mention, it’s a fabulous way to spice up the “something blue” tradition in your attire.
But no matter what your preference may be, never underestimate the power of a great shoe! Whether they’re white, gold, green, red, silver or orange, just make sure your shoes are fierce! I suggest taking a gander at online stores such as Shoes.com and Zappos who make finding tootsie toppers fast and easy by narrowing down details to find a match. Enjoy!
May 13, 2009
If you’re a bride-to-be, you’ve more than likely come to the inevitable conclusion that planning a wedding is a lot of work. From booking sites and saving dates to finding flowers and inviting guests, wedding planning can take its toll on any future Mr. and Mrs. But stress is the last thing you need on the most photographed day of your life… it’s bad for your complexion :)
So, the one question I’ve found myself asking brides over and over again is, “If you had it to do all over again, what’s the one thing you would change about your wedding day?” Because while everyone who’s ever been married can offer 1001 pearls of wisdom, many of them aren’t pertinent to my particular taste or style. Buuuuuut, if I can avoid a potential wedding day disaster by learning through other bridal debacles, I might as well take advantage. Here are some of the “do over” moments from former brides, still working in the wedding biz!
- Carolyn Siderys, Merchandise/Marketing Manager for Marilyn’s Keepsakes (Married in 1982): “If you truly favor something – whether it’s a flower, a color, a theme, whatever – do NOT let someone intimidate you into doing something else.” When Carolyn met with her florist, she knew exactly what she wanted. Armed only with the idea of her perfect bridal bouquet, she informed the florist she wanted a timeless look of fully blossomed, ivory roses, but after several back and forths with the florist, he convinced her to do something that would coordinate with her Fall Wedding. On the day of her wedding, Carolyn’s hope for a “timeless” bouquet looked more like a “timed out” display. “It was a dead arrangement – filled with brown baby’s breath and completely, closed roses… not exactly an accessory a bride wants to ’polish’ her look.”
- Amy Furrow, Bridal Consultant/Customer Service Rep for Marilyn’s Keepsakes (Married in 2007): “I would’ve invited less people for sure. I like the idea of having a more intimate setting of close family and friends.” Amy said it’s important to invite people you’ll still be excited to see in your wedding album, no matter how many years pass between looks. Having a smaller guest list will also keep costs down and sanity up. While you might think it’s a great idea to include your mom’s cousin’s dog breeder when the invites are sent, you just may end up changing your mind years (or let’s be honest – weeks) later.
- Lindsey Kroemer, Wedding Photographer (Married in 2006): A new trend that seems to be making its way into more and more weddings is having the bride and groom face the guests during the ceremony. “I wish we would’ve taken the more traditional approach and kept our backs to the guests while the priest faced everyone.” While good in theory, because it allows your loved ones to see YOU during your celebration, it doesn’t always work out for the best. She says it’s important to not only consider ceremony site, photography rules but everyone should realize that just as clearly as your guests can see you, you can see your guests. This can make it less about you and yours and more about you and your dramatically sobbing, insanely waving aunt three rows back.
- Cheryl Simms, Wedding Accessory Sales Consultant (Married 1995): “I encourage everyone to wait at least a day before hopping on a plane and flying off to honeymoon.” Cheryl cringes as she remembers her early flight after a late, late night of 100 smiles and 1000 dances. “Your body needs a minute to recover, because there’s nothing worse than starting a vacation in a bad mood.”
- Tammy Kopitzke, Bridal Store Consultant & Service Rep (Married in 1979): “It’s been such a joy helping my daughter plan her wedding. Everything from big decisions to small details are discussed, and while she makes the final call, it’s really great to be included, which is why I wish I would’ve asked my mom for more help,” Tammy says. “I was young and stupid and thought I could do it all.” In the end, however, she would’ve loved the extra advice. Since weddings can be such a special time for mothers and daughters to bond, Tammy would encourage every girl to let their mothers be a part of the fun!
- Tonya Copley, Marketing Manager for Online Bridal Stores (Married in 1999): “I would have reconsidered having an open bar. I married a fraternity boy, and all his ‘brothers’ were all too eager to turn our reception into a frat house thrown down.” While this may not always be the case, it’s important to consider the expense as well. Some reception sites may charge a flat fee per person, while others may charge by the bottle… which depending on the number of guests who enjoy a good drink (or two or 12), could get pretty costly.
And even though I’m not a bride who can talk about what I would do differently, I’ve been to enough weddings to know one thing for certain. No matter how dolled up (or down) you choose to get, be sure to still look like you! Every bride wants to look incredible, but there’s no sense in looking amazing, if you don’t look like yourself… after all, the man waiting at the other end of the aisle already thinks you’re the prettiest woman ever… so make sure he gets to see you!
May 11, 2009
Let it be known that I love love love Jennifer Hudson. One, the girl is nothing but class when it comes to being a survivor. Two, she’s got killer curves that go on for days, and three, the she can SANG like nobody’s business. That’s right, I said SANG. It’s actually the appropriate verb when a person can “sing” with unrealistic, super human abilities.
And just when I thought I couldn’t be more proud of the girl, Ms. Hudson up and “pops” the question to her beau-to-be, David Otunga over a delicious birthday dinner. Granted, he’d already asked her a couple months prior, but I dig that she got him his own 5 carat, beyond blingin’ engagement ring. It’s a fresh and different idea that I’m certain could catch on… ’cause Lord knows most celebrity trends do at some point or another. (Personally, I’m guilty of sporting the Rachel bob from Friends about two years too long… oops.)
But I’m still curious to know what everyone thinks of “man” engagement rings. Do you consider it a fashion do? Or a fashion don’t? If money weren’t an issue, could any of you see yourselves buying your man a pre-nuptial band? Or dare I even say, dropping down on one knee and asking, “Will you marry me?”
May 8, 2009
My beautiful mom, Denise
With Mother’s Day weekend right around the corner, I’d like to take a minute and toast the woman I love most… my mom. At the end of this year, she will easily make the most beautiful Mother of the Bride ever to grace the runway… errr, aisle, and it’s such a blessing to know she will be there holding my hand through it all, just as she’s always done.
Her name is Denise Joan, and she is the one lady I could not live without. For my entire 25 years of existence, she has been the voice inside my head… pushing me to be a better person. I can always hear her reiterating, “Kill them with kindness, Mary… be the bigger person… love with all you have… seek opportunities and embrace challenges.”
And even though she’s the voice inside my head, I inherited very little from her besides my blonde hair and blue eyes. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on who you ask – haha), I am my father’s daughter in every other aspect of the word. I have his Charlie Brown cheeks and over-sized heart. I am annoyingly stubborn, extremely loyal and way to honest for my own good, and while it’s obvious to everyone what nature gave me from him, it’s less obvious what nurture has given me through her.
Just as she still – even after 34 years of marriage – brings out the best in my dad, she also brings out the best in me. She is a warm heart, a helping hand, an encouraging hug and a shoulder to lean on. She has an inner strength that easily surpasses my outer strength, and it is that strength I’m counting on to get me (and my Papa!) through all the wedding day events / toasts / exchanges / dances / embraces / etc.
I want to thank her for all she’s done and continues to do, each and every day. I would not be half the woman I am today without her love and support… I love you, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!
I encourage all of you to leave a story about your “Mother of the Bride.” After all, she’s only assigned one day out of 365, when we all know, she deserves waaay more than that :)
May 6, 2009