Category Archives: Fashion

The End of the Dress Saga

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Last time I talked about dress shopping, I shared my internal conflict over this flattering but perhaps too-traditional David’s Bridal dress:

David’s Bridal Allover Lace Trumpet Gown

If you recall, I had originally envisioned myself in a short white dress with a little bit of funk.  Then I stumbled into this gown on a “just for fun” shopping trip with my mom and bestie.  I tried it on and, “Bam!” I felt like a bride.  Next I agonized over my simultaneous disdain for David’s Bridal and love for this dress.  I pondered looking for a used dress online and many of you told me to go for it.  In fact, in the days following that post, I came *thisclose* to buying a used version in my size off of Recycled Bride.

What I didn’t tell you last time is that all along, there was another dress…

One day, months ago, before I even took that trip to David’s Bridal, I was wandering through Etsy in search of short wedding dresses.   Somehow, looking through pages of dress pictures that didn’t really strike my fancy, I stumbled upon one dress that made me pause and look closer.

It was short!  And cute!  And a little bit vintage but still a little bit funky!  All of a sudden, I was enamored.  It turned out that the dress was made by a super-talented designer, the lovely Iselle of The Little White Dress.  To torture you, I’m not going to tell you which of these dresses is the one, but here are a few of her pieces.

“Chloe”
“Imani”
“Annabelle”
“Elisa”
“Ivanka”

One of these dresses (sorry, I’m really not going to tell you which one) literally made my heart flutter.  I had to get more info!  And that’s when I discovered THE BEST PART!  Iselle is based in San Diego!  “OMG, it’s meant to be!” I thought.  I was hesitant to buy a dress online without trying it on, but because we now live in San Diego, I contacted Iselle and arranged a visit to her studio to try on a sample of my dream dress!  Of course, I was terrified that the dress wouldn’t wow me in person and I’d be back at square one.  Luckily, despite all my stress about whether it would actually look good on me, I LOVED IT.  Waves of relief washed over me as I realized, “Yesssssssss!  This IS the one!”  Mission accomplished!

Plus, Zach and I totally stole a page out of Dana’s book and negotiated a labor exchange with Iselle, the dress designer.  Although totally worth it for the awesome hand-craftsmanship of her dresses, the $500 price tag was a little high for us!  So, we figured, “It doesn’t hurt to ask!” and inquired if she’d be open to discounting the dress in exchange for us helping her out with something.  It turned out she really needed help building a website, and Zach just so happens to be experienced in that area!

Basically, I am thrilled that my dress-finding journey has reached a successful “end.”  (Nearly the end since the dress isn’t actually made or in my hands yet.)  I am so so SO glad that I held out and ended up getting a dress made by a small, independent designer, and one that fits my initial vision much better!

Has anyone else gotten a discount by offering up your labor or skills?  Anyone buy their dress off of Etsy?  Which one do you think is “mine?”

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#WEverb12: GROW

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12. toss [GROW]: 2012 was the last time for ________________

I finally, finally, finally went through all the clothes still loitering in my old bedroom at the parents’ house this summer.  There was stuff in there from way back in high school.  Man, I used to shop a lot!  I remember when I worked at Chick-fil-a and I did actually spend most of my money on clothes from Forever 21 and Delias and all those silly mall stores.  It was funny to reminisce about that with Zach because he’s never seen that side of me.  I’ve been shopping at thrift stores and penny-pinching for travel or bigger things since we’ve been together.

I was definitely more fashionable back then, but the importance of if has faded to me, rightfully.  Nowadays I find thrifting more enjoyable anyway because I can find things no one else has!

Needless to say, Ohio Thrift got a huge donation of early-2000s-era fashion after I cleaned out the old closet!

Ugly Duckling Syndrome

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Confession: Wedding planning has turned me into a way more superficial brat than I used to be.

There’s nothing like imagining walking down the aisle with all those eyes on me, plus getting professional photographs taken of myself, to make me worry like crazy about how I will look.

Yes, I know everyone says brides ALWAYS look beautiful.  I know I have dreadlocks so I won’t seem like a traditionally-styled bride no matter what, not that I want to.  But I still feel tons of pressure to look my best!  This pressure is mostly self-inflicted, and lately I’m just feeling like an ugly duckling!

Pardon the bitchfest for a moment, but my two main complaints are my weight and my skin.  In a way, the weight is the easy one.  Too many desserts and cervezas have taken their toll on my midsection, but if I really commit to healthier choices I know I can shed a few pounds by June.  I don’t want to be unrealistic and go on a torturous diet, just lose the beer belly and get more fit!  I know if I can pull it off I’ll feel much more confident on my wedding day!

My skin has always confused me.  First of all, my skin tone is very uneven, freckly, and red.  I blame the Irish in me.  I’ve tried several different makeup regimens over the years but I always end up looking shiny by the end of the day.  With an outdoor summer wedding, I’m really worried about looking like a sweaty beast in all the pictures!  Secondly, I have really dark under-eye circles.  No matter how much sleep I get or how little caffeine/alcohol I drink, they remain.  I’ve even tried this:

The concealers I’ve tried never really hide my circles as much as I’d like, and they too end up melting down my face after several hours.  I’m really worried about how I’m going to DIY my wedding makeup when I’m not even satisfied with my day-to-day look!  I’m terrified I won’t feel confident and I won’t like how I look in the photos.  I know these concerns are totally stupid and conceited, but I can’t help feeling stressed about the beauty aspects of the big day!

Has anyone else been infected with Ugly Duckling Syndrome while planning “the most important day of your life”?  Anyone have advice on longer-lasting makeup brands?

A Venue Decision!

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Remember my state debate from this post?  Well, here’s the follow-up…

Time was ticking away.  More and more people kept asking me if we had set a date yet, as their calendars were booking up for next summer.  My online search for an affordable spot in California was proving fruitless.  More than anything, we just wanted to decide on a place and set a date so that we could give people enough advance notice in this over-scheduled day and age.

So, after much discussion, we made the decision I somehow knew in my gut we would make all along:

We’re getting married in Arizona!

After examining all factors, we decided that having our wedding at Zach’s parents’ house in northern Arizona would allow us the most freedom to DIY and be the most affordable, despite the cost of renting tables and chairs.  We talked to his parents about the idea and they were thrilled!  They’re happy for an excuse to do more work on the house and give some of their relatives an extra reason to come visit.  We’re happy because we know there’s lots of fun stuff for our guests to do in the area, and the hotels are affordable.

I’m already drawing inspiration from gorgeous photos of backyard weddings.  The mission now is to turn this:

into this:

Source: Young House Love

 

It’ll be a challenge but I think we can do it!  I’m so excited to dance the night away under the gorgeous Arizona stars!

Did anyone else have an at-home backyard wedding?  Was it worth all the DIY work?

The Quest for the Dress and ALL THE FEELINGS!

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Ok, let me be really, really honest for a second here.  Most of the time, when I look at wedding dresses, I think “Wow!  Why would anyone wear that? It looks like a cupcake!”  So when envisioning what I would wear on my wedding day, I was really at a loss.  First I wasn’t even sure I wanted to wear white.  Eventually, I decided I did want a white dress but I wanted it to be short!  A casual, barefoot, short-dress, groom-in-suspenders-and-no-jacket outdoor wedding seemed pretty us.  So I started looking at white cocktail and reception dresses online.

The first one I ordered and tried on didn’t wow me.

BCBG Maxzaria Floral Applique Dress

So I sent it back.  Yay free returns!  Then I made a big mistake.  I ventured into the most (in)famous bridal store of all time.  You know the one I’m talking about.  David’s Bridal.  Honestly, I had no intention of buying a dress there.  I’d rather buy a used or independently-designed dress and feel better about where my money is going.  But my mom and best friend really wanted to be in on the dress shopping while I was still in Ohio.  I too wanted to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience with them.  So I repeatedly emphasized that we were only going “for fun” and to see what shapes looked good, not to buy.  Also, I really didn’t expect to find anything I liked.  I envisioned a whole store full of cupcake-dresses.  But off to the DB we went!

They hardly had any short dresses, of course.  I tried on a few tea-length gowns and they weren’t very flattering.

Don’t know the style of this dress. It’s kinda 50s but kinda meh.

I don’t even remember how I ended up trying on this next dress.  I wanted to try something long just for fun, even though I was pretty set on short.  So I put on this dress, and all of a sudden BAM!  Oh my God, it looked amazing!!!!!!!!!  (Not to toot my own horn, judge for yourselves, of course.)

David’s Bridal Allover Beaded Lace Trumpet Gown

I couldn’t stop smiling.  My mom and bestie were loving it.  I loved the classic, slightly-vintage elegance of the dress.  Here’s the kicker: I’m not the most body-confident person ever.  All I ever see when I look in the mirror are the improvements I need to make.  But as I looked at myself in that dress, I didn’t want to change a SINGLE THING about my body.  As cliche as it is to say it, I felt like a BRIDE!  “Nooooooooooooooo….” I started thinking, “You’ve got me, David’s Bridal!”

But don’t think the story’s over yet, because despite all the pros, there are several cons to this dress, and I am the world’s most indecisive bride.  First of all, it’s just SO DIFFERENT from what I had envisioned.  Not short, not casual; I don’t even know if I can legitimately rock this baby with my dreadlocks.  I definitely can’t get super jiggy with it on the dance floor.  I love it, but I worry it just isn’t ME enough.

Secondly, and this is a big one, my bestie and I are 99% sure that this is the EXACT SAME dress that a friend of ours wore about a year ago.  A friend that is probably coming to our wedding.  Uh oh.  That’s a big no-no, right?  I’m sure that she’d be cool with it if I explained the situation to her, but I don’t like the idea of people seeing me on my big day and thinking “that’s so-and-so’s dress!”  Argh, F U David’s Bridal and your massive popularity!

I ended up trying on one more long dress that day.

Forgot the name of this style too

I liked it and it was much more “me” but it just didn’t make me feel drop dead gorgeous like the last one did.

Conundrum!  We left the store empty-handed, despite my mom’s willingness to pull out her credit card at the slightest indication (she’s awesome, but as I’ve said before, we’re paying for this ourselves).  Since then, I’ve been stalking the dress all over the internet, looking for it used and in my size.  I still have the same reservations about about it not being “me” enough and being the same dress a friend wore.  But I feel like if I could find it used for a good price it would be a sign to go for it, as buying used would also allow the purchase to fit better with my consumer values and budget!  No luck with that so far though.

What do you think, my wonderful readers?  Should I go with the ooey-gooey gushy-mushy feeling in my gut and just buy it?  Or is the fact that a friend wore it a big no no?  Should I have faith and hold out for something that fits my original vision?  Was anyone else totally blindsided by ALL THE FEELINGS when dress shopping?

My (Lack of) Style

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Here goes my first attempt at a fashion post.  And I’m taking it OH. SO. SERIOUSLY.

Sometimes, when you’re me, you look in your closet and realize you have no shirts.  Your few trips to thrift stores since coming home from travels have yielded a few cool skirts, pants, and dresses but your tops are all…meh.

So you ultimately decide that it is totally cool to rock a crazy khanga shirt with an unevenly-cut keyhole made by a Tanzanian seamstress that you got in the Peace Corps.  Hey, aren’t the skinny jeans and tunic top a somewhat stylish shape nowadays?  Or is this outfit really something I should not present in public again?

Tanzanian clothing