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Okay, yall remember when I referred to myself as a Broke A$$ kinda bride?? If not, I’ve noted it  here for your reading pleasure.

Recently a couple of friends brought David Tutera’s wedding design contest to my attention, and I decided to enter.  As you may already know, I am IN LOVE with David Tutera (if you didn’t know, I raved about it here). The thought of winning this contest makes me wet my pants just a teeny bit.

Anyhoo, in order to enter the contest you have to create a pinterest board that expresses my “wedding style”, using pins and posts from the Bridal Guide. Here’s the trick: you can only have 12 pins. It took me a month of fiddling around, adding pins and deleting pins to get down from 46 to 12, I finally submitted my board last night!

Wanna take a look? There’s a screenshot below, and here’s the link: Renee’s David Tutera Pinterest Board.

Take a look and wish us luck!!

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The Breakfast of Champions and Chunky Brides everywhere is a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit on top.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say this looked downright tasty! FOOLS!

I can deal with larger than normal thighs, but I want my pre-baby-weight looking midsection and flabby “winged bat” arm bits gone! How can I wear a strapless dress and look like my arms are going to fly me away at any minute??!? I don’t want to go down the aisle looking like I’m attending a shotgun wedding because I’m expecting. (I’M NOT expecting!)So oatmeal for breakfast it must be.

 

Keep in mind, this isn’t the fancy-schmancy Quaker oatmeal, that’s all delicious and flavored. Nope. That’s stuff’s my favorite thing to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner but when you are trying to decrease your sugar intake and lower your cholesterol AND lower your calories, the fancy flavored stuff’s gotta go.

 

 I’ve got a TUBE of oatmeal, like that kind that your grandma would make on the stove on a cold winter day, and sprinkle some brown sugar on top and send you off to school on. I added blueberries and bananas and a hint of brown sugar. To “treat” myself, I even served it in my favorite cereal bowl, with Winnie-the-pooh and friends frolicking around the outside. I know – I’m a big old kid.

 

Each bite alternates between “not too bad” and “who put cardboard in my cereal bowl?” The burst of blueberries and bananas are tasty and yummy, and the oatmeal sans brown sugar and fruit (guess  I didn’t mix it up too well) is depressing and bland and very gross. I wonder if this is what hot cereal is institutions from the 1900’s used to taste like.

FACT: Oatmeal should not make you go “thank God THAT’S over” when you finish eating.

 

Whatevs – if it helps me to get my fat a$$ back on the weight loss wagon, then I’ll eat oatmeal everyday!! Wonder if a little cream would make it better… do you think Bailey’s has a lot of calories???

Good-bye, donuts. Sayonara, Arbor Mist.

Losing weight is one thing, but having an end date and specific goal is even tougher!

If you’re thinking “Your name is not Heather”, then you would be correct 🙂

We’ve got, what? over 15 months until the wedding? While some people say “plenty of time! Rest and relax!” I think of it as a great opportunity to take my time and really think out some of the cool things I want to do… like BRIDESMAID INVITATIONS!!

I got a bit Pinterest-happy and decided to finally try one of the cool ideas I’d “re-pinned” to my Beach Bridesmaid Board… while mine didn’t turn out exactly like the inspiration, I still think I did a pretty good job:

What do you think? It’s my first Pinterest project. This one seemed to turn out pretty well, so I’ll be experimenting with others as we start planning the wedding. If you’re interested in checking out my pinterest boards. You can view them here.

Fingers crossed that these cute invites will melt the hearts of some of my close friends and persuade them into putting up with my wedding mania for the next 15 months. Wish me luck!!!

It’s funny how getting engaged seems to gain you entrance into the “secret circle”. I’ve had more people share stories about their weddings than I could ever ask for. Sometimes the advice/ story time is helpful, and sometimes it’s downright weird and unsolicited. Example:

About two months ago, shortly after getting engaged, D and I were in the Barnes & Noble. I wanted to find the perfect wedding planning book, and he was kind enough to come along with me to the B&N to assist me in my quest.

We must have been there 45 minutes to an hour, easily. The wedding/ self-help section was stationed at the door to the B&N storage area, giving us a good view as one of the associates ferried books in and out of the stockroom by the cart load. By the fifth round out, we’d sparked some light witty banter, which really helped us to NOT yank our hair out by the roots. By the end, I was sitting indian-style in the self-help section, surrounded by every type of book, binder, bridesmaid guide, wedding toast etiquette and Southern Living Guide to Weddings ever made. We were both readily confused, and a little tired. And this was just buying the wedding planner! Wait until we pick out invitations!!!

We (finally) select a wedding planner and an etiquette book, and head to the front. The associate that we’d bantered back and forth with was there to check us out, and upon seeing our selections felt that the checkout process was a perfect time to add to our camaraderie with stories from her own wedding.

Apparently at HER wedding, the photographer brought an assistant/ intern, and the assistant/ intern cut herself on SOMETHING… the SOMETHING doesn’t really mattered. What MATTERS is that there was blood everywhere, and it got on the bride’s dress. There were bloodstains from the assistant/ intern in all of her pictures. Eventually, the photographer had to photoshop them out, and the good news is she got the pictures for free.

Now, this is an interesting story, for lots of reasons, but the only thing I could think of at the time was “why is she telling me this story? How is this supposed to make me feel confident that our day will be wonderful, and happy and bloodstain-free?” I immediately felt selfish that I was thinking this way. She was only trying to be helpful, and here I was acting like a jerk.

I can’t help but wonder, is there an etiquette rule for this? I mean, here we were, buying an etiquette book, but I didn’t see anything in the book that would cover a situation like this. Am I supposed to say “Wow, thanks for over-sharing your horrific story with me. I really feel like we bonded over that story” or is it better to say ” Oh no! How awful. I’m glad everything came out alright in the end”.

Ok, now I’m being a jerk. I know better. The truth is, I don’t need an etiquette book to tell me what was the right response. I know I should have followed the same steps that any hospitality person knows all too well: LEAD.

 Listen

Empathize

Apologize

Discuss & Direct

I guess technically it should be called LEADD. 🙂

LEADD is a coping mechanism that’s great for everyday life, whether you’re talking about a blood-stained wedding dress, or a new mother is sharing the intimate details of nursing, giving birth and baby poo. It’s a pretty decent guideline that will help keep you out of trouble by saying the wrong thing and smooth away any awkward situation created by the offensive party.

So from now on, whenever anyone shares their horrific wedding stories with me – everything from assuring me I will cry constantly, that it’ll rain on my wedding day, that I will be depressed, or pooped on my someone’s child – I’ll simply LEADD!

Ha! Take that etiquette books. Perhaps there should be a separate chapter on this: Things to Say When Someone Tries to Rain (or Bleed) On Your Wedding Parade.

The “boyfriend bench”: a (preferably air conditioned) location used by boyfriends, fiances and husband as a place to rest your butt while your girlfriend/ fiancee/ wife is shopping. Typical a good location to get wifi so you can play games on your phone.

We really need to get on the wedding wagon and get ourselves registered. We are both REALLY bad at procrastinating given the opportunity, so there’s always the chance that if we’re not on the ball we won’t have a registry started until AFTER the cruise!

I was thinking that we could register at like, Target and Macy’s… maybe Crate & Barrel too? All three places should great great options to find the things we really need for our home and new life together, and to get them for reasonable prices. If our last shopping trip together is any indication of how this will go, I think I will find a good girlfriend to go with me to go do the  Macy’s/ Crate & Barrel stuff and spare D and me both the stress and angst of the gift registry experience.

I mean, I think I could get him on board with going to Target, but he might stab his eyeballs out if I take him to Macy’s or Crate & Barrel. Those stores are simply NOT man-friendly shops. Whenever we go shopping outside of like “man-friendly” stores like Target/ Best Buy/ Lowe’s I can literally SEE his brain checking out as I ask him about Vera Bradley purses, cardigans, furniture, dishes. I don’t blame him. It’s really my fault. What boyfriend cares about such things? And he honestly takes the best way out: he finds the nearest “boyfriend bench” and plops himself down and starts playing games on his phone.

“Boyfriend Bench”… his term, NOT mine.

I looked up the term on Urban Dictionary, and this is what I came up with:

1. boyfriend bench 49 up, 10 down
 
The bench designated for boyfriends to sit on, usually outside a fitting room, while their girlfriends shop and try-on clothes.
Mark: Dude, I hate shopping with my girlfriend.Ron: Let me guess…she makes you go store to store and hang out on the boyfriend bench.

Prime example of him utilizing the safety of the Boyfriend Bench:

Earlier this week, I drug him to a clothing store while looking for cardigans and twinsets on sale. Within 3 minutes he located the large, upholstered and comfy “boyfriend bench”, plopped down and began playing his “Plants vs. Zombies”. To be honest, I’ve been in that particular store probably 80 thousand times and never noticed that this bench existed. It’s like he had a little built-in homing beacon that drew him in, like a little green Martian being called to the Mothership. As much as I was irritated that he “checked out” on me, I was also in awe. Without any fuss I picked my purchases and collected my boo and we headed home. I learned a lesson that day.

After that enlightening experience (and about three other ones just like it), I finally figured out that sometimes a good way to maintain positive communication in a relationship is to make sacrifices… I find another companion to help me with someof the regsitry stuff, he doesn’t have to sit on the bench and burn throguh cell phone battery playing games on his phone. And honestly? I don’t mind. I’ve scheduled some time to go with a friend to help, and will enlist D’s assistance with Target (again, read: MAN-FRIENDLY) after I’ve learned alittle of what’s required during the registry process. I’m pretty sure I can set him loose in Tar-jay with one of those procing gun thingies and let him tag stuff ot his heart’s content. It’s a win-win, right?

Any suggestions on things to register for? Besides boyfriend benches and cardigans?? :p

So I went to my first bridal expo recently.

I was sucked into checking it out by one big four letter word: FREE. I am a sucker for free stuff. Who isn’t?!? Buying yourself a peppermint patty is nice, but getting one for free-99 is even better. This is just an indisputable fact.

I was looking at one of those wedding websites, and stumbled across a list of upcoming events in my area, notably one that was happening at a local golf club. And it was free. And better yet, if you were one of the first 50 brides to show up, you got a bag of free stuff. The event started at 6:30, but for a fleeting moment I considered leaving work just a titch early so I could be one of the first ones there. Never mind the fact that I get off at 5:30 pm and the golf club was only 15 minutes away. Don’t stand between me and free swag.

I talked a friend of mine into joining me, and it is a true testament to her friendship that she didn’t flinch when I asked her, but loyally signed up for the adventure. So off we trotted, ready for free stuff and bridal mayhem.

You can bet your sweet rear end that I got my free stuff!!! I think I was number 10 in line, and granted I’m pretty sure the swag bag was just a marketing play, and any bride that showed up was going to get one. Unfortunately, the swag was mostly coupons and fliers. Boo. It did come in a semi-cute bag, so it wasn’t a total loss.

The expo itself was actually not bad at all.  It was not a huge event, probably no more than about 20 vendors offering everything from jewelry to officiants to dance instructors. In one of the golf club’s banquet rooms there was a little area set up to look like it would for a wedding, complete with harpist. There was a server going around offering themed cocktails, called the “Honeyoon”. Vendors gave out chocolate, pens, random stuff. The officiant was giving out free nail files, which was a little weird.

One thing I noticed straight off upon arrival was the number of dudes that were there for the event, accompanying their fiancees. Clearly they’d left their man-cards at home. I mean, I love it when D comes with me to stuff, but really? Bringing your guy to a bridal expo? While you’re at it, why not make him grab a purse and join you at the hair salon?? First of all, why would he enjoy that (not the salon, but the expo? but then again, he probably would not enjoy the salon either)? Secondly, what kind of wimp must he be to actually go to that without complaint? And finally, how did these dudes survive this event without stabbing their own eyeballs out?

Am I being too harsh on the dudes? I don’t really think so. There was a HARPIST there for heaven’s sake!

Another thing I noticed fairly quickly was that there was not a lot at the expo that represented services that I needed. After visiting tables for videographers, caterers, table linens and chairs, the only two things I think we really need from the expo was a dance instructor and a stationary company. It’s so nice that our wedding package with the cruise covers so much: cake, champagne, officiant, music, flowers, linens, an officiant. We can even book a photographer through them, and the whole shebang comes with a wedding coordinator. It’s kinda nice,  and pretty much means I’m wasting most vendors’ time at events like this. But I make good use out of the free stuff they give me! I gave D the free chocolate and already ready used that nail file I from the minister. It’s still in my purse right now. Everybody that loves free stuff say whaaaat!

There is another bridal show coming up in July, one of the bigger ones in Central Florida. I think this one will be my second (and last) bridal expo. I’m bringing a bigger entourage this time too, my bridesmaids are coming along for the ride, so we can divide and conquer the freebies better. 🙂 Who knows – maybe in the process I’ll discover other things I need, but when being honest with myself I know that I’m only going out of curiosity to see what a bigger show is like, and also for the free stuff. Did I mention I’m a sucker for free stuff??

I mean, who wants to pay for nail files and pens when you can get them for free-99? 🙂

– renee

Pimp My Wedding, Yo!

Ok, anyone that knows me probably also knows about my obsession with wedding shows: my current favorites include “My Fair Wedding with David Tutera” (LOVE him!), “Say Yes To the Dress – Atlanta” (my hometown peeps represent!), “BrideZillas” and now after last night, “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding”.

My wedding probably has very little in common with any of these shows, so I don’t watch them for inspiration,  watch them purely for entertainment value. 🙂

As we go through our expenses for the wedding, I can’t help but wonder how awesome we’d be on one of those shows… how much “entertainment value” we’d bring to one of those shows. Can you imagine me, D, my friends and family and their caravan of crazy on “Say Yes To The Dress” or BrideZilla? They’d have a field day!! I absolutely REFUSE to consider “BrideZilla”, because I refuse to stoop to the level of b!tchiness required to make a successful episode of that show.

I don’t think the Gypsy show would be my sort of gig. I don’t even think I’d want it to be! Fortunately, I would make a bad episode of “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding”, mostly because I’m not… well, I’m not a gypsy. That said, their idea of “pimp my wedding” is on the ass-end of what I would consider a lovely wedding. I mean, there’s adding a little sparkle, a little bling to an event, and then there’s this show. That American Gypsy show reminds of what would happen if the Jersey Shore went to far and Snooki said “wow, that’s over the line”… like a Swarovski crystal nightmare. Any show where the new bride moves into a trailer after getting married should either be called “My Big Fat Redneck Wedding” or “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”. I swear, I think my wedding would have more in common with a redneck wedding. I’d take muddin’ over booty-shaking gypsy 5 year olds. Straight up.

A great show for me and D would be “Rich Bride, Poor Bride”, or, better yet, “My Fair Wedding With David Tutera”. LOVE HIM! I would pass out from utter happiness if that man were to show up on my doorstep and pimp my wedding. Can you imagine? He turns HOT MESS into HALLELUJAH!! That man could make a couture dress out of a potato sack and turn a Chick Fil A meal into a 7 course meal. Okay, that’s exaggerating but you get the idea. Did I mention I’m obsessed with David Tutera? He’s like, a wedding GURU. Seriously.

I guess in lieu of having someone else pimp out our wedding, D and I will have to pimp our own wedding. Better yet, we’ll let Disney Cruise Lines pimp it out. That’s right, “My Big Fat Cruise Line Wedding” is on!!! I think the package they put together for couples to get married during their cruise is amazing. I’ve even picked out some starfish-shaped bling to add to my bouquet, and there aren’t any gypsies, Snooki look alikes or Bridezillas in sight.

I wonder if TLC would want to pick up our show for a season??

– renee

Engagement announcements are now ordered!! Yippee!!!

It’s a little thing, but still it’s a step.

We have toyed with the idea of creating our own engagement cards, going to Wal-Mart to print them, using Staples, Shutterfly, Walgreens… it was all too much. We could never come to a consensus on what to do! Each option had its pros and cons.

Last night, while randomly surfing through his Living Social offers, D came across an offer for http://www.simplytoimpress.com. It was for $40 worth of cards for only $15. We jumped on it! Within minutes we’d created and ordered our cards – something that we’d agonized over for weeks boiled down to literally less than 30 minutes.Dustyn joked that we must have finally hit the “easy button” of Staples fame… it could not have been easier.

So far I highly recommend Simply To Impress. Once we get the cards later this week we’ll see, but the proof looks awesome. I posted the proof on pinterest this morning (being sick at home, not a lot to do!) and it has already been re-pinned about 25 times! Wow!!

Anyway, like I said, it was awesome to have one task down in the 80,000 tasks we have for this wedding. Next stop – engagement photos and saved the date cards!

Wow.

So a few days ago, I posted about how my contact information had been unknowingly shared with a realtor via David’s Bridal (see: We’re Broke, Our Wedding Isn’t Going to Make You Any Money!). Having asked to be taken off the mailing list, I was VERY surprised to receive the SAME EMAIL from the SAME REALTOR less than 24 hours later.

Now, you might argue that it can take a few days to take someone off a mailing list – this is true. Working with mailing lists at work has taught me a few things, and the emails she is sending are not using “mailing lists”. For one thing, there was no option to unsubscribe, and for another, she wouldn’t have been able to add the email addresses in to the “to field” – it all would have been blind copied. She is simply copying and pasting names into the “to” field on her own email account. Only this time, she got smart and the second go-around she at least used the “bcc” field. Tricksy Baggins (sorry, a Lord of the Rings reference).

Getting the email again got me fired up… so I did what I should have done in the first place. I called the DB store and asked for the store manager. I told her what was going on, how I did not give them permission to share my info with a REALTOR, and how inappropriate and unprofessional this was. Clearly this store manager has taken a few customer service classes: she listened to my situation, empathized with how frustrated I was, apologized for the inconvenience and took immediate action.

She was unsure how a realtor got on their vendor list in the first place, but she assured me that she would contact corporate and have her removed, and would make sure that I did not receive future emails to my personal email address. Bam. Problem solved.

I feel a bit bad for realtor lady – she was just trying to drum up some business – but the tenor of her approach was inappropriate, and I think she needs a few lessons on how to network. Gaining contact by stalking future brides via email is out of control, but she’s not the only guilty party – someone within David’s Bridal allowed this to happen. I don’t know if my complaints ruined her relationship with the store. Should I feel guilty??