Friday, December 21, 2007

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Things have been very busy over here for the holidays. We're taking off tomorrow, but thought that we'd share with you some of the new tradition or two we have started this year. It is, after all, our first year living together, our first (and only!) Christmas being engaged, and the first time we have been around our home for the holidays. (Last year we were moving in December, and the previous years we were still in student mode.)

One of the first things that we did was cut down our Christmas tree.

The tree farm.

Calvin hard at work.

Enjoying the sunlight- it was cold that day!

Ready to go in the living room.

We have a Christmas tree!

I made Christmas stockings for us- we each picked out the fabric that we wanted.

Hoping that the pattern I made works out as I'm all set to cut the fabric.

Stitching it up. The sewing machine was my grandmother's (she was phenomenal seamstress), and the drawer in it still smells like her.

Hanging off the bookcase, since we have no fireplace.

We are headed back to Cleveland tonight to celebrate Christmas with our families, so earlier today we celebrated our own Christmas here, complete with waking up at 5:30 in the morning (just like we were kids!) to unwrap gifts.

Since we are leaving town, I probably won't be blogging much. But have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Meg (and Calvin)

P.S. I would love to hear about any holiday traditions that you have started this year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Getting your hands on the professional photobook

Awhile back, Mrs. Ant did a phenomenal series of posts about the process of designing and getting professional photobooks yourself.

In my internet exploration this morning, I came across a professional photographer who basically acts as a middleman for you so that you can order the various albums that are typically only available to professional photographers.

Albums like these:

Jorgenson Albums



Who is this mysterious photographer? Rick Taylor. The Albumart homepage, while not necessarily designed in the most user friendly way, has most of the pricing information about all of the various albums available.

Since our photographer doesn't really do photo albums, we've been planning on doing our own at some point after the wedding. What are you planning on doing (or did you do) about a photo album?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

shoes humor

Note: I've got a slightly sarcastic (and definitely quirky) sense of humor. This post is not intended to offend at all.

I'm amazed at the amount of things that I'm supposed to care about for the wedding. Food, makes sense to care about it. Entertainment and locale as well. Even the invitations to some extent.

The latest issue to surface: bridesmaid shoes. I just don't care about it. They're not my feet, they're not my shoes, and they'll only appear in a small number of pictures. So I sent an email to my (3) bridesmaids. My maid of honor thought it was hilarious, and I thought it was pretty funny too, so I thought I'd share it with all of you.

"I've now gotten questions from two of you regarding what shoes to wear for the wedding in May, and I thought it would be a good idea to make sure that everyone is on the same page. There's also some things towards the bottom that you should know; I know that I've mentioned some of it to some of you, but I don't remember who knows what.

So shoes.

Given that the dress is burgundy, hot fuschia shoes, like these,

(from here.)

are probably not a good idea. Holographic Doc Martens are also probably not a good idea. And I'm not really feeling the Chuck Taylors.

(image found here.)

Additionally, I hate to be a bitch, but Ugg boots are just not really appropriate when there isn't snow on the ground.

(image found here.)

If we were getting married outside in February, fine. As the wedding is in May, that pretty much rules them out.

That said, I'm thinking along the lines of something that meets this criteria:
1- some sort of dressier sandal/shoe. I don't care about color at all- black, silver, striped, leopard print- whatever color floats your boat, so long as it isn't hot pink patent leather. Heels or flats- your choice.
2- you should like them.
3- you should be able to wear them again for something else."

The email went on from there, but I've got a question for you. No, it's not what shoes recommendations you are giving to your attendants. It's better than that.

How are you keeping wedding planning humorous?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Say "aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh"

This was me earlier today:

Image found here.

Okay, that's not actually me, but I did go to the dentist this morning for the first time in quite awhile. (This is what happens when your insurance plan changes and the dentist you've been going to since before you were born retires.)

Anyways, as I was at the dentist earlier today, I remembered something from a trip to the (old, awesome) dentist awhile back.

(Cue smokey haze and nostalgic music.)
I'm reading Highlights magazine in the waiting room, as I wait patiently for my turn to get my teeth cleaned. My mom dropped me off so that I could run in while she parked the car and brought my brothers in. There is a woman getting her teeth cleaned before me, and when she comes out, the hygeinist (I think her name was Sue, but it might have been something else) tells me that the woman is getting married that Saturday, and wanted to come in and get her teeth cleaned so they were pretty for her wedding day. I think it very strange that someone would want to go to the dentist right before their wedding to get their teeth cleaned. Won't regular brushing be good enough?

(Smoke gradually clears and focus is on present day Meg.)

I'm scheduling an appointment in May, not long before the wedding so that I can have my teeth look nice and pretty for the wedding.

Anyone else making a trip to the dentist before the wedding day? Are you doing anything else to prep your pearly whites?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

To read or not to read

This may have come through in my last post regarding a certain article in a certain magazine, but just in case there was any ambiguity-

I don't really like bridal magazines. Yes, that even includes you:

Image found here.

I just don't get it. Nearly all of the information found in the magazines is available online- even the projects that aren't officially published find their way into the blogosphere. I must confess that I have purchased a few magazines (3 in total; two Martha Stewart and one Bride and Bloom- the latter which actually had very few ads), but haven't really found them to be particularly useful or inspiring.

Maybe this is because of the non-traditional nature of much of our wedding day. No need to worry about the veil, since I'm wearing my mom's; no need to worry about cake since we aren't having it. Poofy dresses were never really my style, and the bridesmaid dresses are from J Crew, so that right there eliminates 90% of the magazine.

I can't count the number of times that I have picked up a bridal mag, only to put it down, trembling in fear, and reached for the nearest Vogue instead- although it has just as many (or even more!) ads, the photographs are much more stimulating.

I'm a DIY kind of gal for a lot of things, but so many items in the magazines are really expensive, and that just doesn't fly with me. I'm also pretty against a lot of the "wedding industrial complex", which means that if a company advertises items that are absolutely necessary for getting married, it makes me want to run away as fast as my heads, waving my hands and shrieking in fear. For a translation:

Items like this:

If you must, inflatable wedding arch available purchase here; originally spotted here.

Make me want to do this:

Original images found here and here.

Seriously. Does anyone else feel this way?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wedding Identity Theft?

I have a confession to make.

I don't really like bridal magazines.

In a place where Martha is revered for her creativity, I just haven't been able to get that into it. Over the course of our engagement thus far (it's been almost a year!) I have purchased a grand total of three magazines: 2 Martha Stewart Weddings, and one Bride and Bloom. I must confess that despite the over the top nature of the Bride and Bloom, it is filled with tons of pretty pictures and hardly any advertisements.

When Calvin and I registered at Macy's, they gave me a free subscription to Modern Bride. (Why me and not Calvin? Well, according to Macy's (sexist) policies, I'm the "primary" person on the registry, despite the fact that we put Calvin down as the primary person. I guess they figure that having two X chromosomes better qualifies me for wedding planning.)

Never one to turn down an opportunity to look at pretty pictures for free, I accepted the offer, and my first issue of Modern Bride arrived at my doorstep today. (Note: this is the Feb/Mar issue; never mind the fact that it is the beginning of December.)

It contains some true gems:
"High-glam gowns with dramatic details and just enough flash ensure a wedding-day look that's remarkably radiant." Because you won't look radiant enough on your wedding day unless you have a blinged out gown.

"When honeymooning in a fabulous locale, you need sunglasses to match." Um, no, you don't. $10 Target sunglasses will work just fine, provided that they offer the right UV protection.

And then there was this:
"Wedding Identity Theft: Copycat brides are stealing ideas from those close to them. Is it a compliment- or criminal? And how can you protect yourself in a sea of sameness?"

In my mind, this is absolutely ridiculous. If you see an idea on a website or bridal magazine, and you do it for your wedding, and people like it, why is it wrong for someone else to do the same or similar thing? I honestly believe that there is no such thing as "wedding identity theft." (Well, except maybe in the case of someone else pretending to be you meeting all of your vendors and showing up on your wedding day wearing a white dress. But that would be wedding theft, not wedding identity theft.)

Weddings are steeped in tradition, which is why so many brides have bridesmaids, wear a white dress and veil, cut a cake and have a first dance. As a victim of plagiarism (I had some of my own work published under someone else's names), I am acutely aware of the problems with stealing someone else's work. But using the same save-the-date magnets that someone else did isn't plagiarism. You can be inspired, you can borrow, and you can even downright copy someone else's look- but imitation truly is the greatest form of flattery, and it certainly isn't "wedding identity theft." True identity theft can wreck havoc on your finances that can take years to sort out. "

It is quite possible though that others disagree with me. What are your thoughts about "wedding identity theft?"

Monday, December 10, 2007

A little bit of shoe help

Thanks to all of the feedback on Friday's post- I did wear my shoes on Friday, and they looked fabulous. (For those that have been following along, I did not wear stockings, and I discovered that I have red nail polish that matches the shoes perfectly, so my toes looked very pretty.)

Given the narrow heel problem that I have, I picked up a pair of these heel liners from Target.

Image found here.

They worked fairly well- my heel did not come out of the shoe at all, and I found the gel cushioning comfortable. Way more comfortable than heel liners that I'd picked up from Payless.

Given the packaging, and how the Kiwi heel liners stuck to the shoe, I thought that I would be able to reuse them in variety of different shoes. Turns out that isn't the case. So be warned: if you do get these heel liners, plan on keeping them in the shoes.

There are a couple of things about my shoes, though, that I learned (and would not have learned if I hadn't worn them). First, I am not used to walking in 3" heels, and while I can do it, I definitely need to practice. Given their height, though, they are pretty comfortable, with decent arch support. And they did not rub or pinch in any uncomfortable way at all, which is a very good thing.

Second issue is my feet have a tendency to slip forward in the shoe. I know there have got to be solutions out there for this, like these:

Foot petals found here.

My only question is how well do these work? Is there another product that works better? What do you recommend to keep your feet from sliding? (I hate to spend money (even $2) on something that isn't going to work.)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Shoe dilemma

You may recall, after much blood, sweat and tears, I found my perfect pair of shoes. Yes, these shoes:

Mr. Dahlia and I are off to see the Nutcracker Ballet downtown tonight. These are perfect shoes to go with the little black dress that I intend to wear. I need to begin breaking them in, and practice walking in them. And I got red shoes in part because I would wear them multiple times after the wedding. Only thing is, the wedding isn't until May.

Is it wrong to wear my shoes before the wedding day? If you were in my shoes (pun partially intended), would you wear them tonight?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Probably my least favorite part of wedding planning thus far has been meeting with florists. Over the past several months, we have met with six(!) floral designers. This is especially ridiculous to me, since flowers are a lower priority for us, and at one point in time talked about not even having any flowers. This is more than the total number of vendors that we met with for all the other elements of wedding planning combined. Calvin, being intimately involved with every single wedding planning decision, was eager to join in the fun.

When meeting with florists, we had a sense of what we wanted. We knew that we wanted some mixture of high and low centerpieces, and did not want peonies or roses. We knew that we wanted something wonderful altar arrangements for the church. We wanted reds. And both of us really liked the look of tightly bunched carnations (ala Mrs. Lime, but a darker colored carnation), and we liked branches.

This posed a challenge to many florists. Yes, we know we are getting married in May. Yes, we know that pinks and yellows are abundant during that time. Yes, we know that dark red is not much of a spring-y color, nor is it readily available. But if we had our first choice, we'd be getting married in the winter. But that's not how my funding worked out, so May it is. May with deep red flowers :-)

There was one florist who rose to the top of the list. His ideas were extremely creative, and not only did he have a "vision" for the reception, he had brilliant ideas for the church as well. (One of the things that bothered us about the other florists was that not a single one spent much time discussing arrangements for the church. While the reception will be fun, there wouldn't be a reception without the ceremony.) As an added bonus, he was the only florist with whom we met who had worked at both the church and the reception venue before.

Our florist had the brilliant idea to combine both carnations and branches. But not just any branches- no, he will be incorporating red dogwood branches into both our low and high centerpieces.

Red dogwood growing naturally- image found here

In a vase- image found here

Both of us thought that it would be very cool, very modern, and very red, as did my mom. A nice variation from the various branch-style centerpieces. We were sold- so the deposit was sent in last week.

Both of us are very relieved that the florist is booked. Although it was fun to hear all of the different ideas that each florist had, it was significantly more exhausting than any other part of the vendor search, and it was frustrating to go to so many fruitless meetings.

What has been the most frustrating part of wedding planning for you? How have you handled it?

(And for those of you that are more DIY inclined, red dogwood branches are available from Nettleton Hollows.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Name Game

This New York Times article about name changes caught my eye, since it discusses the various combinations that individuals can do with their names. One couple interviewed for the article had an inter-family softball match to determine which last name! While I wouldn't want to leave such an important decision up to a ballgame, it is a pretty original way to resolve the (potential) issue.

Growing up, I always thought that I would assume the name of my (future) husband. While I liked my last name, it was one of those that are deceptively difficult to pronounce. One of my least favorite things in high school was the first day of school, where I would inevitably have at least 5 teachers mispronounce my name.

In college, however, things began to change. I became excited about my work, and presented some of my research at a professional conference. When Calvin and I started dating, it was a given that I would keep my last name. We tossed around the idea of somehow combining last names, or each taking the others' last as a second middle name (we still might do this, but for me it would be a second middle name, since my current middle name has a strong family history), but we knew that we would each be keeping our own names. For me, this doesn't so much hark back to the women as property days, but is a large part of who I am. I'm published under my own name. I've presented my work under my name. And I don't really want to change it.

The one thing that I am struggling with, however, is how to make sure that people know after we are married that I did not change my name. I'm not too concerned about my colleagues; in my department, it is far more unusual to change your name than it is to keep it. It's more the relatives and parents' friends that I am concerned about.

If you kept your name (or plan to), how did you let people know? Did you correct them, or just let it slide?