Post-Nuptial Adventures…Or, how we’ve been married for over a year and are still as crazy (in love) as ever.

So, uh, it’s been over a year!

I’m now 33, I got a new tattoo, I’m still considering a Subaru. We bought a new house. The wiener dog still eats shit, and probably still thinks I’m too old to be wearing flower crowns. Pastry’s engagement ring, Edison, met a watery, very drunken, very nude death on our honeymoon in Jamaica after Pastry did a Bob Marley shot at the pool bar and beelined to the nude beach. (Please also note, it was no longer a nude beach after 5pm, and my very pale, naked husband ran past a whole group of very confused Jamaican fishermen.) In other news, I’ve taken Cookie Monster’s advice to heart, and Triscuits are now a “sometimes food.” I’ve recently been flirting with summertime’s smelly pee experiment as I keep eating grilled asparagus for dinner. I am a joy to be around. Bridal Magazine Carla is also married at this point after a very epic Mexican-American and Russian wedding featuring opening champagne with a SABER and a mariachi band! I’m ABD in my dissertation pursuits, and about a year from finishing. I told Pastry that should I ever consider another degree, certificate, minor, program, class anything, just slap me and yell “REMEMBER ALL THAT TIME YOU LOST WRITING SNARKY BLOG POSTS BECAUSE YOU WERE TRYING TO CHANGE THE WORLD!”

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WHAM! BAM! POW! DR. PEPINA, NO MORE DEGREES!

I study and teach courses on failure, so hey, forgotten blog. You’re not a failure – you were just put aside for, oh, 14 months. (Horrifying moment of consideration that we could have a TODDLER at this point. I’m still working on the whole keeping houseplants alive business.)

Oh yeah. And, our wedding was AWESOME.

Me: “How would you describe our wedding?”

Pastry: “Uhhhhh…A whimsical explosion of color and sound. The vows were my favorite part because it was what we were there for.”

Me: EYEBROWS OF DEATH.

Pastry: “Well, they were the vows we said to each other in front of our friends and family. I could write entire blog posts, and I might now, about the wedding itself. But, putting me on the spot.”

Me: EYEBROWS OF UNDERSTANDING.

First point: Can an explosion really be whimsical? Would it have to be filmed by Wes Anderson in that case? And, because of that, would said explosion both be  super annoying and also have a great soundtrack with a pleasing ka-boom of a retro color palette? Wes Anderson themed weddings, turns out, are a thing.

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This was not our wedding.

Pastry: “What do you want to drink with dinner?”

Me: “I think I’ll fuel the asparagus project and have some water.”

Pastry: “I’m having white wine.”

Me: “I WANT WHITE WINE.”

Pastry: “No. Only water for you.”

Me: EYEBROWS OF SADNESS. (He pours me a glass of wine.)

Not much has changed. But, we still go on lots of adventures, and have lots of tales to tell such as how Gary, the inflatable pink dinosaur at our wedding, was the real star of the whole weekend, took pictures with another wedding party, and pretty much generally stole the show. How unexpected family members rocked out at karaoke. How the rehearsal dinner ended up being exceedingly tame, and how herding groomsmen is, in fact, worse than herding cats, especially when they are very stoned cats in my mom’s hotel room. How I found a white feather that had so much meaning to me. How there was a mystery of a broken wine bottle that we figured out a year later. How we share our pie and talk about how amazing the whole crazy, dinosaur, purple LED lighted, fiesta, succulent, insanity of our wedding was perfect.

But, now for white wine with my Pastry.

EYEBROWS OF HAPPINESS.

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Pastry Post: The Lead Weights of the Suit Industry

It’s been a little while since I made my first post about suits, and I decided I would have a follow-up for that one in regards to the experience of trying to find my sartorial glory prior to posting the update to my previous post.

But before I begin, I’d like to talk a little bit about power supplies.

Stay with me. I used to work for a computer manufacturer, and one day, we were meeting with a new chassis manufacturer that would, in theory, provide us with our computer cases and the internal power supplies to go with them.

Now power supplies were (and are) an oft-overlooked piece of hardware when spec’ing out a computer build. One that can provide a steady stream of power while absorbing the occasional power spike can save your expensive investment from an early, smelly, death.

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“If ONLY they had spent an extra $20!”

Now it used to be (and I may be accidentally aging myself here), you could tell the quality of a power supply by how heavy it was. The heavier it was, the more capacitors, resistors, and other groovy electrical components were built in to it and it could signify a good buy.

It didn’t take the cheap, crap manufacturers long to figure this out, as evidenced by our first meeting with one of these said manufacturers.

“How much do you want the power supplies to weigh?” they asked, as if it were an obvious question. We were perplexed, because a power supply’s weight shouldn’t really be variable. It should weigh whatever it weighs.

Turns out, this manufacturer would add weights to the power supply in order to make it heavier than it originally would be, thus giving the impression of quality. We didn’t buy from them.

But as I’ve noticed, items that give the APPEARANCE of quality are rife in the custom clothing industry. And things like functional sleeve buttons are the lead weights of the fashion industry.

When Cucumber and I were suit shopping, we dropped in to a suit store in which you’ve probably heard of. It didn’t take too long to figure out that the off-the-rack section wasn’t going to work for me (as I have mentioned, off-the-rack suits and I just don’t get along), but they had a section in which you could have custom clothing made for you. Not that it was bespoke, just that it was a brick-and-mortar form of made-to-measure. Not a bad thing, as long as you accept what it is.

But the sales rep was desperate to make a sale.

The sales rep that we had talked to was a nice enough guy, but it was pretty obvious that his commission went up drastically when custom clothing was ordered, as he was fairly well pushing us that direction from the moment we walked into the store. Can’t say I blame the guy, but the tactics in which he tried to push us towards custom were just kinda slimy.

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You want a suit? I gotcha suit. Full’a canvas! N’stitching!

N‘Buttholes, aye..aye.. mean button holes!

One of the tactics he used, was in talking about how obviously high-quality the made-to-measure suits were, because they employed the use of pick-stitching in construction. Pick-stitching is (anymore) entirely decorative. It used to be that you only saw it on really high-end clothing. But like our friends who add weights to power supplies, the pick-stitch was quickly adopted by low-cost manufacturers as a way of bringing the appearance of quality to cheaper clothing.

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A stitch in time may save nine, but it ain’t fooling anyone into thinking your suit cost more than it did.

The other item he mentioned: functional button holes. I am not a fan of them. Why? Because I’m not convinced of the utility of buttons on suit sleeves in the first place. There’s some debate about the origin of buttons on suit sleeves. The most obvious (and likely correct) source of buttons on the sleeves are a vestigial form that came from the ability to adjust the garment to better suit the wearer whether it be from the owner gaining or losing weight, or simply because it’s hot or cold.

The other origin story of suit buttons involves snot, and is therefore my preferred version. The story goes that Napoleon (or Alexander the Great, or Admiral Nelson, or Wellington, or whatever historical figure you like) repeatedly saw his men wipe their noses on the section of sleeve in which we now see button holes. So disgusted was he by the lack of professionalism, that he had his men sew buttons onto that spot, making it painful to wipe one’s nose.

Now I don’t know about you, but my nose isn’t such that it can only be wiped on one small section of sleeve. Thus, like at Waterloo, Napoleon’s efforts would be for naught.

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“Napoleon (with stereotypical French accent): Ah hah! There is no WAY they will THINK of wiping their noses somewhere else! Now, let’s go invade Russia! There’s plenty of time before winter!”

Functional button-holes on suits, nowadays, are just another attempt at indicating quality. They don’t really offer any real adjustment – buttoning them all doesn’t reduce the size of the sleeve, and unbuttoning them just makes the sleeve split. In short, it looks awful. Worse yet, it’s advised that when you have functional sleeves, you leave 1-2 unbuttoned so that one can tell it was “custom made” (laa dee dah).

Here’s the thing I don’t like about all of this stuff – it’s an attempt to make it seem like your clothing is something that it is not. It’s an attempt to make your suit look fully bespoke (i.e. patterns made specifically for you, fully canvased, etc), and sold for a much higher price than it actually is. After having it tailored to me (which will be discussed in a future post), it looks really great. It fits well, and it will totally serve the purpose for which it is intended, at a price that was acceptable to me.

Adding pick-stitching, functional button holes, and whatever other flair you want is, to me, the same as buying a “Limited Edition” badge, and sticking it on your car.

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It might be time to discuss just what exactly is “limited” on your car.

The irony of all of this? On my new suit that I ordered made for me (despite the fact that I didn’t order it this way), it came with functional button holes.

That Time Pastry Gave Me a Pep Talk (Yet Again)

I’ve been a bit of an anxious pill of recent. I’ve been having anxiety dreams every night around my job, my doctorate, losing our dogs, Pastry not sharing his pie with me.

We had this conversation a while ago in the wee hours of the morning:

“Pastry! Pastry, wake up.” 

“Grrruuummmblrgh, wha?”

“I had a really bad dream and it made me cry…”

“Shwaaaaa? Ssssyou’okay?”

“Yeah. But it made me really, really, really sad.” 

“Wha happen?”

“You wouldn’t share your pie with me.”

“What?” (Alertness achieved.)

“Your pie. We were eating pie together and I asked you for a bite. And, you said no. And IT DESTROYED MY ENTIRE WORLD AND I WAS SO SAD AND I HYSTERICALLY SOBBED AND WOKE UP CRYING.” 

“But, I would always share my pie with you.” 

“I know.” (Sniffles)

“Because I love you.” 

“I love you, too.” (Snort cry) “And, I will always share my pie with you, too.” 

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The Pastry, he knows what to say to calm down his crying fiancee in the middle of the night after a sad pie dream. He’s also just given me another excellent pep talk around all the wedding shenanigans, but we’ll get to that later.

Last summer, we went to the Bridal Expo (as detailed in  The Bridal Expo: We Laughed, We Played Bridal Bingo, We Tasted Terrible Cake). I signed up for a free Bride magazine ’cause why not have a glossy and pastel advertisement for all things wedding directly delivered to your neighborhood mailbox that you forget to check but every two weeks? I would say I waited for its arrival, but I completely forgot about it until my first issue arrived last week.

The cover is a skinny, gently spray-tanned blonde in a delicate white dress (of which the cups are slightly ever so aggressively cupping her non-boobs in a spritz of organza), holding some loosely assembled flowers in a attempt to look like she just casually gathered them from her classic French garden near the ocean bluffs. Her neck is like a Photoshopped swan, elongated and devoid of creases while adjusted for exposure and tone. Her bushy brows have definitely been seeing her brow specialist according to her bridal beauty six month prep list.

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Inside there are hundreds of pages of slender, slightly tan, usually blonde sprites in ethereal gowns with delicate details, slouching delicately on a chaise or grassy knoll no belly rolls to be seen. (To be fair, there are also lots of advertisements featuring puppies, of which I am a fan, and a editorial on Janet Mock’s wedding, of whom I am also a fan, so it’s not all horrible). Flipping through the magazine, I was disheartened. I am loud and fairly fat with bright red hair, freckles, and cleavage that necessitated ordering my bridal gown in a size 20 in order to not squish my built-in flotation devices. I have arm creases (something no one ever has in magazines; see above), neck wrinkles, and persistent hormonal pimples on my chin, moving from side to side every month depending on which ovary would like to mock my skin care regimen.

All the featured weddings in the magazine were pastel, delicate, blush and champagne in a celebration of adulthood’s love. These were adult people pledging their commitments (and perhaps eventual financial ruin considering the cost of eight tier cakes) to each other in appropriate ADULT FASHIONS. And, it made me ponder our wedding, a shindig that my mom pointed out is a perfect combination of my first and grade birthday parties (dinosaurs with an awesome volcano cake to be followed the next year by a Hawaiian themed luau with hot dogs and pineapple on skewers along with giant paper flower construction).

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My first grade birthday party cake looked almost exactly like this one and I still remember it ever so fondly. 

I began to question the purchase of foam dinosaur masks for our photo booth, and thus soon spiraled into a judgey, insecure cloud of wedding anxiety .

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Internal monologue: “Will people judge us? What if they think this is silly or dumb or childish? But, who wouldn’t want to be a triceratops in a fancy suit or gown? I mean, I would…But, maybe not. This is dumb. But, I really want a picture of my friend Brian who is almost 7′ feet tall and Pastry’s conservative mom wearing dinosaur masks…”

Then we got our engagement photos back. And, all I could see was arm creases, chin pimples, and bra back fat in my bright purple gown, unruly red hair blowing in the desert wind. And, I know Pastry only saw his own perceived flaws when he saw the pictures as I’m fairly certain most wedding photographers forget about the groom as a person and use them more as a prop, leading to some bizarrely awkward Pastry poses as directed by our paid paparazzi. I’ve also learned that anytime we are directed to touch noses, we should just glare at the camera in our best emo couple look as it will certainly result in a better photo. NO NOSE TOUCHING PHOTOS. NO. There were…some really bad and awkward photos of us both. It was not heartening.

Meanwhile in overall nuptial planning, Pastry has been on a one-man endeavor to get submersible LED ice cubes for the wedding reception. The Pastry loves all things tech and LED with a passion (as in he has a lot to say about the color range of certain LED bulbs over others), and the ice cubes make him very happy. I fully admit these are not my thing. And, queue epic wedding judgement…

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Cubes in question.

Pastry ordered a bunch in a ton of colors so we could decide what might work the best. And, I was less than enthusiastic while he danced about excitedly with his flashing cubes of freezable gel. He put them in drinks for my mom and I while we were constructing a giant flagging tape curtain (a story to itself). My response was “meh.” He brought them out on the town for St. Patrick’s Day much to the great fascination of drunk people. I didn’t say anything, my silence speaking for my now verging on rude response to the light cubes. I said something akin to “well, I guess we could do yellow and orange cubes…You know, keeping it in line with the color palette of the reception space as I want to keep it only in warm tones…” (Please read that again with a snotty affect.) Pastry asked me to rate how against I was the cubes on a scale from 1-5 and how I felt about including his favorite color of purple, five being “if you do it, there will never again be any roasted carrot salad (favorite recipe ever) ever again.” I said a 3.

Here is me waxing poetic about including purple light cubes. Note this is only about the inclusion of purple as a choice, nothing else.

“I’m afraid that too many colors will take our already on the verge of a kid’s birthday party-esque wedding reception with it’s crazy colors, dinosaurs, ribbon curtains, karaoke, and giant dinosaur over into a fully tacky rave. I’m trying to keep the color palette limited. Adding purple will make it look like a Laker’s dance party in Vegas. I want this whole thing to be fun and colorful, but also really classy and carefully curated, and finding the balance of including a giant dinosaur and purple light cubes is hard…” 

Oh, the snobbery. As if I hadn’t been happily ordering dinosaur masks, colorful fans, making fifteen foot long curtains out of bright pink ribbon. The purple light cubes, they so obviously were the ONE thing that was going to take this over the line. (Uh, not really…That may be the 7′ dinosaur cut-out, ten foot tall tree, or uh, the gigantic dress I’m wearing…)

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I’m the owl on the left. Pastry, right owl, is just trying to be nice.

 

So, Pastry sent me this today.

“So, I had a thought about how worried you are about the wedding and the fear that it will all be silly…

And my thought is: fuck it. 

The day is about you and I, inviting our friends to enjoy the celebration of the union of two very silly people. If someone has a problem with the way in which we choose to celebrate? That’s their problem. Because, honestly, who wouldn’t want to attend a free party with free booze, dancing, music, and photo booths with dinosaurs? Eliminating the bagagge that it being a ‘wedding’ carries, what would your reaction be to being invited to said party? You would totally be like ‘BEST. FUCKING. PARTY. EVER.’

Just keep focused on the fact that this shindig is basically us in party form. And, that everyone coming loves us and will enjoy everything that is there. Because if you’re worried what someone might think about dinosaur masks [and purple light cubes], the thought they are going to have is ‘of course there are dinosaur masks.’ Trying to hold an ultra classy affair with people discussing the better part of trade negotiation while they lament the color scheme of the room is not us.

And, additionally, my thinking is that I wouldn’t care if someone didn’t like the dinosaurs or the purple cubes — We’re both going to love them.” 

And, then he drove over to pick me up for lunch and took me to eat fish tacos in the sun. And, we had a discussion about the German pop band Dschinghis Khan, their epic dance moves, and its applicability to our first wedding dance. (Also, how the guy in the blue looks like the love child of Yul Brynner and a Vulcan princess.)

 

I am very lucky. And, he is very right. The expectations, guidelines, and overall weddingness of weddings got to me.

So, I looked at our engagement photos again with a new viewpoint. In the less staged pictured (see NO NOSE TOUCHING guidelines), I can now see us. I can see how Pastry looks at me with his eyebrows raised in jest, how he holds my hand naturally in promise, and how I look at him like he’s going to share his pie with me forever. It took us both a little bit to become okay with the flaws, the bad angles, the chin pimples, and all. And, now all I see is love and a future of purple light cubes, dinosaur masks, and pie with two forks.

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The Mid-Year Planning Lull…Plus Muumuus

I’m still kicking in the desert, planning our nuptial shindig ever so slowly with the Pastry. We entered the mid-planning timeline lull from about October to end of December in which we made some easy decisions, finally booked a florist,  did our tasting at the venue, and generally wandered about no doubt eating too much cheese. All in all, terribly boring things which were quite fun for us while still remaining uninteresting blog fodder. Then there was the joy of a the first dual family holiday season…which actually afforded no drama whatsoever. How dull to get along with both your old and new families. (Though Pastry and I did spend an epic evening drinking bourbon with my mom whilst watching Step Up All In on her 3D TV, making snarky remarks and critiquing dance choreography with perhaps too much intensity.)

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This Lull is also not doing much wedding planning.

So, nuptial updates…Just because I should endeavor to not forget where we are in all of this planning.

Final reasonable florist was reasonable, producing a super creative mock-up of textured flowers, a giant manzanita tree for a wishing tree, and multiple stone, concrete, and glass containers filled with a bizarre array of desert plants. We’re going to do a 10 foot tree in the reception space with a table set up to write wishes for us on colorful tags with long ribbons. The guests will hang the tags, effectively decorating the space for us with bright ribbons, and then we’ll eventually pull them all off the tree. I’m planning on framing them in a large art piece to go in our house. This all theoretically works…But, there is now a chance of a drunken Midwestern relative knocking over a massive tree in the middle of the YMCA showdown on the dance floor…Which honestly might be fine if just for the story and minus the rental costs.

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An even more intense wishing tree likely in Lam Tsuen.(Queue outdated Mrs. Doubtfire reference.) Watch out for the drive-by fruitings!

An Origin Story of Wishing Trees: Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
“In the past, whenever there was a festival, villagers would throw joss paper into these two trees and make wishes. The higher the branch the joss paper landed on, the more likely it was the wish would come true. People from all over Hong Kong still come here in their droves to make wishes during festivals; however, as it’s not just local villagers hoping to try their luck in the trees anymore, measures have been introduced to protect the wishing trees from becoming buried in paper. Nowadays, wishes are more tidily made by tying joss paper to nearby wooden racks or imitation trees.”

We went to do our tasting and figured out the menu. It was glorious. And, there will be tons of food. I find this exciting (because I get to eat it all) and boring all at once (because talking about a menu for an evening four months away is…boring). Weirdly, lots of people want a full rundown of the whole menu. Essentially, there will be bourbon, snacks, steak, chicken pot pie, tiny grilled cheese sandwiches and cups of tomato soup, a whole bunch of local produce in vast variety of salads, tiny dessert shots, and lots of pie. No favors though as our favors to our guests consists of 5 hours of open bar and a large selection of pie. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!

I obsessed over what to wear for engagement photos. It’s included in our photography package. It seems like a good plan. I’m going to wear a ballgown and try not to fall in a cactus. Pastry wants to embrace his newfound love of sweaters (he had never owned one prior to last year and now wears them all the time). I just keeping thinking about what our future children will say about my questionable outfit choice. “Jeeeez, mom, showing so much leg in such a weird bat-winged dress. You look like an eggplant in a tropical muumuu.” To which I say, “Well, tough, little Adomicus. I may have looked like an elephant-eggplant hybrid, but you’re stuck with a terrible name so I have the last laugh.”

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Muumuu Inspiration = Muuspiration?

I bought a bunch of shoes and used everything wedding planning to procrastinate from writing actual critical analysis papers for ye olde doctorate. Read a chapter, pin dinosaur related items to wedding board. Read four sentences of social construction book, suddenly become enthused about our wedding website! Consider writing outlines, remember blog suddenly and update for first time in months! Look up muumuu patterns! Order another pair of gold wedges! Inquire about Pastry’s suit ordering timeline! Sketch ideas for flagging tape 20 foot curtain with magnetic attachments for outdoor reception area! EVERYTHING WITH ENTHUSIASM THAT IS NOT ACTUAL WORK! Sigh. Then return to work 10 minutes later.

At least there will be lots of pie and bourbon in four months.

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Sweating in Another Woman’s Bustier

Last Saturday, I decided it might be time to start looking at large puffs of white tulle in possible consideration for my wedding attire. There was a sale at David’s Bridal, so I convinced my mom this was an excellent plan, made an appointment, and then spent the morning fighting with billowing white fabric in a tiny, tiny little dressing room.

She’s coming for your soul…in a handcrafted, artisan gown with hand painted roses…

When we arrived, they were already running behind for the day, so they let us loose to wander through the racks of dresses. Sorting through white and cream dresses is easier said than done as, well, they all look the same. We hemmed and hawed, ooh-ed over the fancier options, chatted about the finer points of sparkly appliques. I found I was attached to large ball gowns with lacy things all over, bonus points for three dimensional flowers.

The reality of the “fairytale” of finding The Dress, getting lost in a sea of white things in clear body bags.

Our consultant finally met with us, an itsy-bitsy lady of approximately 19 years of age with a large arm tattoo and badly dyed blonde hair. She then proceeded to quiz me about everything not wedding gown related.

“How many bridesmaids are you going to have?”

“Uh, five plus a brides…dude. Bridesdudes? Bridesmanfriend? Wedding guy? So, six. One guy, five ladies. But, ten total considering each side. This is like a bad word problem.”

Blank stare. “Okay, what are your colors?”

“Well, we are attracted to bright colors and are just going to let them all pick their own outfits, so purple, yellow, orange, pink, red…”

“You can buy swatches here for them.”

“Well, I was thinking more the ol’ low key hand everyone a paint swatch and tell them to go wild in outfitting themselves…”

(Stare.) “Where is the wedding going to be?”

“Oh, in a traditional garden and then a super modern reception. Plus there is a bright boutique hotel next door, so it’s a little bit of everything….”

“Okay, I’ll pull some dresses for you. Let me go get you a bridal slip. What is your bust size?”

“Eh?”

“I’ll get you a bustier to put on, too.”

So, I then found myself in a tiny dressing room with no mirror, struggling to latch myself into a used bustier and can-can-esque bridal skirt. Essentially, like this…But, you know, with proportional legs and two feet.

Seriously, why do her legs look so short?

This ensemble as a good look for me, kinda like Ellie the Arizona brothel girl trying to make good on her new marriage life. Waist, boobs on display, flashy shirt, I was excited to try on the expensive white overlays! I was ready to can-can dance!

Now, being as I sang opera, I have spent a good portion of my life trying on fancy ball gowns. I look GOOD in a fancy gown. I know how to walk with a train, gently lift the sides of a full skirt to move gracefully around an obstacle (yelling tenor), and wear a large costume with presence. I expected the same feeling of putting on a gorgeous gown to sing. So, when tiny consultant handed me my first gown and I crawled through the layers to put it on, I was expecting a GREAT FLOOD OF EMOTIONS like Randy from Say Yes to the Dress has promised me through multiple seasons. Instead, I looked like a white- sequin-embroidered tank.

With slightly more sparkle…

My waist was gone, I couldn’t move my arms, and I looked super dowdy. Eh. Glorious. My philosophy in clothing is that it is never the person or their bodies’ fault that something does not look good. The sole issue is with the design. So, take it off and try again. So, on to the next gown…Eh again. Slightly lumpy white panzer tank. A few more dresses in, and I was muttering something about looking like a sparkly, waistless Moby Dick while trying to throw yard of poof over my head in a confined space. Ready the harpoons, Ahab!

Throughout this whole thing, the consultant would just hand me gowns in the tiny dressing room to crawl into them myself. That floaty, full tulle shirt you so adore? It actually weights about 30 pounds. I decided to do some bicep curls with a particularly large and heavy dress. I asked the consultant for something different, and she brought me a Glinda the Good Witch ball gown with metallic embroidery. The mom has now joined me in the claustrophobic room, and with two dresses in there with us, basically cannot move for the cloud of white skirt. The dresses resembled armor, the waists and side rigid with embellishment.

It’s a good look for a wedding, right? Will fit right in with our Rustic Rodeo Clown in Paris theme…

I’m was now sweating profusely and my loaner bustier plastered to my sides with perspiration, slightly reeking of ball gown dreams and disappointed budget realities. Tiny consultant pulls some entirely different dresses, I decide to go rouge and take off my can-can shirt against her wishes, and I actually end up finding quite a pretty champagne colored strapless gown with an A-line skirt and white embroidery around the bust. During this entire time, another bridal party has been lurking outside my room and commenting on every gown. They vastly approve of this final, slenderizing gown. My mom, rightfully, thinks it looks a bit cheap, but presents a good starting place for style at another roomier and higher end locale. We decide we are done, and I return to stuff the can-can slip back into its drawstring bag and peel off the sweatiest bustier in the world.

So, wedding dress shopping, not a magical and fun affair as The Wedding Industry Machine would so like you to believe. I was mostly struck by how unflattering the gowns were in general and how they would not do any woman any favors. And, how the majority of dresses in my size very much wanted to cover me completely with frilly white lace. Meanwhile, my inner Ellie the Brothel Girl very much wants the impressive cleavage to fly free on the wedding day. So, I made a couple more appointments with very different salons, and bought my own bustier. Because, if I am going to have to sweat in tulle in the pursuit of a dress, I might as well do it in my own lingerie.

The Bridal Expo Adventure: We Laughed, We Played Bridal Bingo, We Tasted Terrible Cake

Pastry, my mom, and I went to a massive Bridal Expo at the downtown convention center. And, it was gloriously fun for all the wrong reasons.

The first adventure in the bridal convention was purchasing and printing tickets. A venue we have been considering had a link for two-for-one tickets for the reasonable price of $12. So, I decided that would be a great option as Pastry AND my amazingly snarky mom could also attend for the festive people watching and cake tasting. I bought a duo of tickets planning to purchase one at the door and went to print them out. 100 pieces of paper later, I had, well, 100 different bridal expo tickets laying on the floor of my office. They all had different bar codes, so I freaked out in case I had accidently charged my debit account $600 in Bridal Expo tickets. But, nope, only a $12 charge on my card for a mere 100 tickets! Deal of the century!

“Bwhahahahaha…,” said the paper-eating printer, “I shall print Bridal Expo tickets till the END OF TIME.”

On our way there, my mom was sitting in the backseat of my car, imparting wedding advice. The snark runs deep in our family.

My mom on us planning a fairly non-traditional wedding and what would make both families uncomfortable: “You know, I think you should draw the line at animal sacrifice. I mean, if you sacrifice a chicken at the ceremony, you will lose a few people.”

My mom on reception activities: “Have you two considered those giant hamster balls for people? That would be fun!”

My mom on her possible wedding attire: “Maybe a giant quinceanera dress! Those are so great…” (She really does love them.)

Upon arriving at the expo with our 937 printed tickets, the attendant checking people in handed us nametags, your choices being “guest,” “bride,” or “groom,” mixing ours up so I ended up with the groom tag. Previous to our arrival, Pastry and I put together basically a list of Bridal Bingo, things we were expecting to see at the show. Points were awarded for the following categories:

  • Wearing a veil with regular clothing
  • Wearing a tiara with regular clothing
  • Wearing a veil AND a tiara
  • Rhinestone shirt with reference to bride in any way
  • Reference to “her special day”
  • Reference to “fairytale” or “happily ever after”
  • Crying in public
  • Debates over color names, g. white, ecru, cream, champagne, etc.
  • Coordinated bridal party outfits
  • Coordinated bride and groom outfits

Bingo2

The Bridal Expo Bingo card for your enjoyment.

Perhaps my favorite siting of all of the above, was this classy groom along with his fiancé, perusing a floral booth. I stalked him down for this picture, slightly terrified he would figure out what I was doing and go all Sons of Anarchy on me.

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You can almost feel the romance waft off of him…

Otherwise, it was a very full convention center full of an exceedingly diverse group of people. The gender split was not as female-heavy as I thought it would be, and the grooms in attendance seemed happily amused participants. We did see one groom in a pure white three-piece suit with a bright blue tie and matching blue shoes. He definitely won most overdressed. There were giant parties of bridesmaids in customized matching shirts and a pair of exceptionally preppy couples wearing matching orange outfits. I fell in love with a crazy expensive bouquet of succulents, pheasant feathers, sunflowers, herbs, and other weird things. Pastry and I kept remarking that a bunch of the couples looked like they were 12.

We went to pretty much every photo booth option possible, and tasted enough cake to henceforth decide NO CAKE at our wedding as we are serious about wedding pie. A drunken DJ who smelled so strongly of rum I thought I would get drunk standing next to him, enthusiastically introduced us to all his vendor friends throughout the fair. Another high point was an outlet mall weirdly promoting themselves with half-naked men in suspenders with a bunch of semi-horrified ladies milling about them. So, Pastry stepped right up, introduced himself, and took an amazing picture with the stripper-esque men to the vast amusement of the entire crowd.

And, then we found my mom some brightly colored quinceanera dresses in the wedding dress section, and it made her day.

We had crossed most of our items off the list by the time we left (after searching for an exit for 20 minutes) except the “crying” item. Lo, on our way back to the car, we happened upon a girl walking down the street crying with her boyfriend. She didn’t have a veil on, but I maintained it counted.

Bingo!

The next morning my mom emailed me a link to a coupon for a discounted human-sized Hamster Ball Experience with the note, “Don’t say I didn’t help with creative wedding ideas.”

“WE ARE GATHERED HERE TODAY….ROLL, PASTRY, ROLL!”

Frosting Is Hard…Or, How I Learned That Bing Is the Best Porn Search Engine Out There

While perusing a wedding venue website last night, Pastry and I got distracted by the terrible photography featured in their front page gallery. Vampire groom tries to suck the life out of wane bride, blurry wedding party barely discernable through the ficus tree leaves, the inception picture of another framed wedding picture, the always popular waiting-to-be-hit-by-an-oncoming-train romantic railroad image, and a bunch of cakes that looked like I made them (this is definitely not a good thing). From looking at a these cake pictures, we then determined that “frosting is hard.” And, that the artisan, hand-made look of dubiously applied icing is a ploy by high-end bakers to just slap some of that stuff on a cake willy-nilly, feature it on Pinterest with some soft lighting and a few random figs, and then charge extra for the selected “romantic rustic” look. I say without any doubt that I too could make some of these cakes with a Betty Crocker mix, loose-handed spatula use, and just throwing some mixed berries at the thing from approximately seventeen feet away.

It’s all fun and games until Uncle Lambert tries to eat the decorative ivy.

One of the newest trends in bridal cake is the “nude” or “naked” wedding cake, made famous by a little French wedding of one Jolie-Pitt family. Nude cakes are often tagged as “Whimsical! Rustic! Charming!” with an ode to the glories of whipped mascarpone (one of the world’s most glorious foods in my opinion) or fresh cream. However, the reality of cakes is often far removed from stylized food shoots, as the before mentioned frosting layers will either a) compress under the weight of the tiered cake as they are not sturdy enough to hold up the layers, b) create a glorious landslide effect with your top layers making a literal slide for it across the table, c) offer the opportunity to see if your guests have figured out that you stuck actual flowers in the cake as they try to choke down an entire real rose.

This conundrum of cakery reminds me of perhaps one of my favorite bizarre wedding things ever. A good friend of mine was invited to a wedding of an acquaintance a few years ago. Upon reviewing the wedding information, the friend stumbled upon the bride’s wedding blog. It detailed the bride’s struggle to coordinate everything, her inner musings on the overall attractiveness of her bridal party, her militant march upon having HER day be the perfect fairytale day, and how getting liposuction on her arms would lead to the best wedding pictures imaginable. And, how everything was to be sea themed, down to the starfish cupcakes.

Patrick? Patrick?! Can you hear me?! Noooooo…

However, instead of gracing her wedding cupcakes with delicate fondant starfish, the bride decided to put real starfish on the cupcakes. Nothing like a bit of crunchy, salty dried echinoderm to round out the buttercream and vanilla. And, because ingesting starfish is not perhaps high on the list of most wedding goers, the bride then have to post signs all around the cupcake display warning guests to not eat the cupcake decorations. My question for this ill-advised décor choice is that happened to all the starfish afterward? Were there just frosting-bedecked starfish in little piles all over the venue? Did people take them home as a pleasant reminder of the dangers of considering aesthetic over functionality? Did the kids at the wedding have tiny starfish dance-offs at their tables? Did Uncle Lambert crunch through three before he figured out what he was eating? So many questions…

But, back to the before mentioned undressed confections of note…

As I was explaining this whole nude cake trend to Pastry, I put the search term “nude cake” into Bing without thinking through that life choice very much. AND, HOLY GOD, SAFE SEARCH WAS NOT ON. La la la, pretty cakes, wedding cakes, flowers on cakes, search “nude cake,” click, BOOM, CAKE PORN. Upon retrieving a page of pixelated, uh, goings-on usually involving interesting uses of frosting, Pastry and I dissolved into a fit of laughter on the couch to the utter judgement of our previously napping canines. “Well, Bing is the premier search engine for dirty things,” Pastry knowingly informed me.

We then decided to try a couple different search engines to see the differing results for our inadvertent pornographic cake search. Google brought about articles on cake trends and pictures of cake with a few questionable items. Yahoo brought mostly appropriate cakes yet again. Bing brought all the cake porn, ALL THE CAKE PORN, one could possibly find.

So, morals of this post are as follows:

  • Finding a good photographer is important lest your best wedding photos be framed through a house plant.
  • Nude cakes are a pretty, fleeting trend which your geologist friends will enjoy as it reenacts a landslide area on your dessert table.
  • Don’t trust Uncle Lambert to stay away from eating odd things. Or, just accept that it will just happen and hand him a canapé along with the directions to the local Urgent Care.
  • Try not to put actual creatures, dead or alive, on your food as a non-edible decorations as this does not tend to go very well.
  • Should you be looking for cake porn or really porn of any matter, Bing should be your search engine of choice.