Thursday, March 31, 2011

Posing for Photos Tutorial - Part 4

It's been a while since I touched on my Posing for Photos tutorial. Earlier posts:

Part 1: Some Introductory Thoughts
Part 2: Arch Your Back
Part 3: Keeping Your Chin Level

For this part, I will discuss prop use.

A lot of people bring props for their engagement shoots, which is a really great thing. Sometimes, though, it seems like the people getting their photos taken get lost behind the prop itself, like the photo becomes about the prop and not the people. This is certainly ok, but if if you find that you're constantly hiding behind your props, it's time to change how you're using them.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Trying on Dresses!

Way back in 2010, my mom, sister, and a few other bridesmaids joined me as I went to try on some dresses at an amazing shop called Little White Dress. I found my wedding gown that day, but I'm saving that for another post!

I found LWD through my dress designer's site. I was trying to locate anyone in Colorado who carried the designs, and came across two shops. LWD was the first one I called, and although they didn't have my style in shop, the lady who helped me, Rachel, told me she would try and locate it and get back to me.

A few minutes later she called back with bad news. The designer had sold their sample. We got off the phone and I stared at my computer for a minute, trying to figure out what to do.

The phone rang again, Rachel on the other end. She had located a sample to borrow in Ohio of all places. OHIO! I paid a quick borrower's fee via phone and they ordered the dress to come in. It was amazing of her to go to the trouble of finding a dress out of state for me, and gave me such a wonderful impression of the shop.

Armed with confidence in Rachel and her magic, we descended upon LWD and I tried on dresses. Here was everything I didn't pick.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Gifts for the Bridal Party, the second

Hey, Bridesmaids & Maids of Honor!

Don't look at this post!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A quick note

The half-size larger shoes are in and they fit so much better! Doing my due diligence on this issue was SO worth it!

So, anyone need a purple pair of size 9 Betsey Johnson Nelsons for $50?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cake Toppers Part 1 - Having a Cow

Last Friday I spent some time finishing up the cake topper that represents me. As you remember, I'd found an extremely cute pattern that I wanted to try and sew:

After buying the pattern, I realized that the stuffed animals were not tiny; they were at least 10-1/2" long. A bit too big for a cake, I thought, so I trucked off to a copy machine and re-sized the pieces by 50%.

That placed them firmly at about 5" an animal, and a fine size for our planned cake.

The pattern called for fleece, but I decided to pick up sheets of 8-1/2" x 11" felt instead. The fabrics are very similar in nature, but the felt sheets came in a wider variety of colors. I wasn't sure if Dr. Light wanted a brown or grey squirrel, so I just picked up everything. They were only 30 cents a piece.

The first thing I did was cut out my cow pieces according to pattern and start sewing them together. I admit, I'm not terribly good working with tiny things, but I did my best to remain diligent and not let my frustration get the best of me. It's hard to tell, but I decided to use brown spots for the cow's back.


Next was a lot of slow pinning, sewing, and turning the cow right-side out. I made her horns black so they'd stand out from the spot. The ears would come later after she was stuffed. I was unable to turn her tail and horns right-side out because they were so tiny, but the stitching hardly shows.

Squishy AND blind!

Next came the stuffing and sewing on ears. I chose to glue on some tiny black balls I bought for eyes, and after a moment of thought, I made a funny-looking veil for her, too.


I did some spot-fixing, as the fabric at her neck and belly didn't quite line up the way the pattern suggested. I'm sure this was my error and not the pattern's - felt can get pretty slippery with such small pattern pieces.

I'm so pleased with how the cow turned out. The squirrel's going to be much harder, as I don't have a specific pattern for it. I'm going to use the pig pattern and hope I can form the head into something less piggy and more triangular/squirrelly. And add a big, fuzzy tail.

Monday, March 21, 2011

If the Shoe fits....

I'm not sure I ever posted a picture of my chosen wedding shoe.

Betsey Johnson - Nelson

Back when I ordered the shoe, it was FLYING off Amazon's shelves - so quickly that when I got it, I knew it was a mite small, but couldn't order the next size up. I figured I'd deal with it since it wasn't that bad. The shoe was a size 9.

The other day, I checked Amazon's site on a whim and found that they had replenished their supply and immediately ordered the 9.5. It's worth having a shoe that fits properly. Having purchased a shoe that fit...sorta, I figured I'd post some advice for brides that are considering buying shoes online.

Buy two sizes and return one.

Seriously. I'm sure I'll be able to sell the 9, since whenever I post pics of it people get that cartoon tongue syndrome where their tongues roll out of their mouths and flop on the floor, but it would have been easier just to return the too-small size to Amazon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cake or Retirement?

Over the past few weeks, Dr. Light's been ribbing me about our retirement. As we'll be filing jointly next year, he's been trying to remind me to get my 401ks in order.

Yes, 401ks.


I have two orphan 401ks out there that I never rolled over after I left those jobs, and while they've been slowly collecting money, they are in separate banks under separate types of investment, and I really didn't have a good handle on my money. In fact, I'd say I have money fear, leading me on a long-time campaign of sticking my fingers in my ears and yelling "La la la" at the top of my lungs.

I know it's ridiculous.

One evening, Dr. Light pulled me aside to show me the retirement profile he'd done online, and basically laid it out for me that I needed to get my butt in gear, since without my contributions doing more than sitting where they were, I was holding us back. He wasn't being mean or rude, just honest about the necessity of where our money was going.

Well, I had the chance today to call the two companies that hold my 401ks, figure out what information I needed, and then open an IRA through my bank - USAA. Despite many frustrations such as having to call three different companies and talk to four different people and STILL not be able to access one account online (I'm looking at you, ING/Morgan Stanley - it's the future, people, get with it!), I think I finally am able to consolidate my funds and help Dr. Light and me enter our marriage with a retirement plan fully intact.

I must stick a little "YAY USAA!" in here because they were so super helpful and informative. I'm really lucky my dad served in the Air Force so I was able to have them as my bank, my car insurer, and pretty much every other money-related holder under the sun.

Even if USAA isn't your bank, I recommend that before you say your "I do's," you and your fiancée look at how your retirement or other funds are going to work together once you're married. Consider this another item on that huge wedding checklist that includes more fun things such as cake tastings. However, you can afford a lot more cake with a good retirement plan.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Running in Circles

I am the laziest worker-outer ever. I mean it. I swear I'm gonna work out and do it for about two days, and then...nothing.

After I stopped doing the 30 Day Shred because my knees just can't take the squats, I pretty much haven't exercised. I'm coasting on my dad's genetics, and I know that's not really the answer since it doesn't get my heart going or help me stay healthy (and not just thin). I knew I needed to find something to get me motivated, but I wasn't sure what.

Last week my sister tweeted her intention to buy a video game after work, but then later reported she had bought something better. I checked her link and found this.

Stamina 55-1610 InMotion E1000 Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical machine that not only had great ratings but was affordable? I admit, I purchased it that day.

The little machine came a couple of days later because I'm an Amazon Prime member (totally worth it), and I immediately assembled it - and even THAT was easy. I hopped right on and gave it a ten-minute tryout.


- Easy to use, though if you have balance issues, put it in a doorway.
- The stride is not quite as long as a regular elliptical, but that doesn't really matter. I still felt it in my calves the next day and it got my heart rate up.
- I love that I don't have to watch a video or stare at the wall in a gym. Instead, I can pick this little guy up and put him in front of the tv, my laptop, or what-have-you and let the minutes whirl away very quickly.

I did my first real workout yesterday (20 minutes, will do more next time) and it was over so quickly! Because I'm a nerd, I put on Farscape (which I had not seen before), and I plan on making this my workout entertainment.

I'm very happy with this purchase, and with the wedding in mind, it's going to be a very simple and fun way to hopefully tone up a bit more and also make myself more healthy overall. If you have the spare money and this looks appealing to you, I highly recommend giving it a try!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Gifts for the Bridal Party

HEY! Maids of Honor & Bridesmaids!

Don't look at this post, ok?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Honeymooners

About 2% of you are probably wondering where Dr. Light and I are honeymooning. Well, now's your time to guess. See if you can figure it out from the following photos!




No? Not clear?


Actually, I'm kidding.

I have no idea where we're going.

Dr. Light approached me one day and asked if I trusted him enough to let him plan a surprise honeymoon for the both of us. It took me approximately .0876 seconds to say yes, and there it was. He's been making plans at work, when he's off and I'm at work, and generally any time I'm not there to bust his secret.

It's kind of a mutual deal on our part to trust each other. My wedding dress is currently hanging in our guest closet behind a pile of orange vinyl fabric, and he's under strict orders not to look at it. The honeymoon information resides in the second drawer of his bed-side table, and I'm under the same orders to avoid it at all costs.

The dress lurking in its natural habitat.

I love that we have a way to both prove we're in this relationship with utter trust, even if it's something silly like a wedding dress or a trip. We want each other to have these surprises, and we're willing to maintain them for ourselves.

I also gotta say: it's awesome. I never thought I'd be that girl who got the chance to take a surprise vacation, to learn on the way to the airport that I was jetting off to any number of surprise destinations. I don't even know if we're going somewhere hot, cold, muggy, tropical, arctic, or temperate. I don't know how to pack. The only thing I do know is that I needed to update my passport, and that's been done for months now.

The only person who knows where we're going (aside from Dr. Light's travel agent) is my sister. She's under strict orders to never tell me, and she's keeping that secret tight. At some point we'll be getting together so I can show her my favorite outfits for certain climates, and at some point when we leave for the wedding, she'll put together a suitcase for me.

So why joke about Detroit, you might ask? Because Detroit is our code word for the undiscussable honeymoon. It's also a destination people don't really dream about for their honeymoons, which makes it perfect for our humorous discussions. We've already "planned" several exciting day trips, including zip-lining through burnt out car factories, learning how to buy a house for five dollars, and seeing the sights without getting mugged.

In any event, I'm over the moon to have something so major be in his hands. He's a great planner and I know he's put a lot of thought into what we're going to be doing. Dr. Light is a bit worried that he'll pick something I won't like, and I keep having to reassure him that unless it involves having my skin peeled off by tiny kittens, I'll probably be ok.

But seriously, this is so cool.

Would you ever consider letting your fiancée plan a surprise honeymoon? Where would you want to go? Would you plan a surprise vacation for YOUR fiancée and be able to keep it a secret?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nailed It

This weekend Dr. Light and I were running some errands at the mall when we stumbled across the MAC Wonder Woman makeup line. Have you seen this? It's retro and cute and AHHHH! In other words: I love it. I ended up buying the blue nail polish.

As I was purchasing it, I realized that I had given very little thought with what to do with my nails on that day. I'm not really a regular nail-painter, but nail polish helps me overcome one fault that plagues me all the time.

I am a horrendous cuticle picker. It's an outward reflection of my anxiety, and I've been doing it for as along as I can remember. It bugs me and I think it bugs Dr. Light too, as last night when I was discussing nail ideas with him, he pointed to my thumb and basically told me that I should make an effort to have my hands look nice for our wedding day photos. I couldn't agree more. (And I really don't want to post a picture of my cuticles here. It's just embarrassing.)

The layer of polish on my nails makes me aware that if I start to pick at my cuticles, I will probably wear the polish down a little - so it really helps keep me honest, so to speak. I've decided that in order to break this habit, I'm going to try and keep my nails nicely painted until after the wedding. It will also give me a chance to try out various colors that I may want to wear with the dress!

H49 & B56

I'll do my best to try a group of soft pinks and reds, nothing too outlandish. A lot of salons carry OPI, so I'll purchase some "starter" polish from that line and find some shades I like.

Does anyone have any good recommendations for polish that isn't too expensive, but is a reliable brand?

Monday, March 7, 2011


Friday of last week was a really tough day. It was just like any other Friday, except for the fact that I had decided to taper off my anti-anxiety medication, and I was feeling it a LOT. I think it accounted for the somewhat scattered "OHMYGOD bridesmaid dresses!" post, and quite a few frantic tweets.

A little history. I've been a very anxious person all my life. I'm not someone who can just take a deep breath and calm down - I wish it were that simple! Instead, I spent my life feeling tightness in my hands and not being able to really get perspective on how to handle the day-to-day crises life sometimes tosses our way.

In 2006 I elected to start taking Lexapro, a medication that targets anxiety rather than depression. It worked wonders for me. My boss at the time, my ex-boyfriend - they all commented on how much BETTER I was handling things - so I figured Lexapro was going to be my buddy for the foreseeable future.

Five years down the road, the Lexapro was still working great, but I started to feel like I was getting too few highs and lows. It was hard to get really ramped up and exuberant for things, and I missed it. I was also afraid that I would miss that excitement that should happen for the wedding and honeymoon.

So I'm taking it back. I saw my doctor last Monday and we decided to taper me off the Lexapro. She prescribed Wellbutrin for me, but I haven't started taking it yet. Wellbutrin is a different class of drug, so it shouldn't affect me the same way the Lexapro does. However, I wanted to see what life was like off the Lexapro; I wanted to remind myself how the highs and lows felt.

I admit, the thought of not being on anti-anxiety medication scares me a bit. I know I have the option of going back on it if I want to, and if the wedding planning starts really affecting my ability to sleep, I will. Until then, I'm going to try life drug-free and see if spontaneous giggles happen a lot more often.

I'm still tapering off the Lexapro, and probably will for at least another week. I hope there aren't any more really bad days (I don't even know how to describe the feeling, but it was weird!). So bear with me. And tell me YOUR stories if you've chosen to try and do the same.

Are you handling your wedding drug-free (if you've used SSRI type drugs in the past)? How does your pre-wedding anxiety treat you?

Friday, March 4, 2011


What do you do when you're sitting at your desk at work and you have that sneaking suspicion that you need to take your wedding a lot less seriously, drop the idea of matchy-matchy bridesmaid dresses, and just go tell your girls to find their favorite season-appropriate purple dress?

Both from Modcloth

Or, or - what if it would make more sense to make the bridesmaid dresses? There are some great patterns out there!


Someone talk me off this ledge. Help, help, I need an adult!

What do you do when you suddenly start rethinking your choices?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Unrelated, yet inspired

Over time, I've been saving pictures from blog weddings. They're photos that inspire me, photos that I think I'll show our photographer to give her an idea of memories I'd like to have. I don't have sources for these, as they've been saved over the last six or so months, so I will state right now: these aren't mine and I'm not claiming ownership. So there.

Also, most of these have nothing to do with our wedding style or theme. They are just...awesome.

Do you save photos that excite you for your own wedding, even if the subject of the photo is unrelated? What unrelated items inspire your wedding ideas the most?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oh, chet!

About the time Dr. Light and I got engaged, DIY ideas blossomed in my head. I wanted to learn everything, DO everything. And I will still get about 90% of it done. However, one item that I wanted to DIM (do it myself) was our cake toppers.

We all know that Etsy can provide some of the most amazing toppers ANYWHERE. For example:




So. Adorable.

However, my desire to make our own cake toppers took form in the idea of little crocheted figures of our favorite animals. For Dr. Light, a squirrel. For me, a cow or a poodle.

Pictures like this were my inspiration:



They were so dainty and fun, and as a sew-a-holic, I love anything made from fabric or yarn.

So, I decided to teach myself to crochet. I bought some books. I had my mom work with me because I kept doing my loops the wrong way. I bought some big, thick yarn so I could see what I was doing and practice practice practice.

Do you know what I'm going to admit? I still don't know how to crochet. It's 8 months to the wedding, and I've realized that crochet is a skill that I'm not going to have time to pick up and perfect before the cake toppers need to be done. I never practiced, and my crochet books are sitting by the bed, oh-so-lonely.

This weekend, my pal Beverly and I hit up JoAnn Fabrics while we were waiting to get massages (oooh, heavenly!), and we sat down to look at patterns. I was flipping through a Simplicity book when I came across these:

I'm not sure why I didn't think of this before. I sew. That's my strength. The sewing machine and I could rule the world if we tried hard enough. So why aren't I SEWING the cake toppers?

My favorite pattern is the top one with the cow, pig, and horse. It would be really easy to turn one of the designs into a squirrel for Dr. Light, and if the stuffed animals are too big, I can take the pattern to a copy machine and re-size it. These, I can do. As soon as Simplicity has another pattern sale (or I get antsy and buckle down to buy it normal price), I'm picking up all the tools to sew us some adorable cake toppers.

Has anyone else had to re-evaluate a skill you wanted to learn for the wedding? Have you had to identify a strength you have and change a project to match it to get a task completed?