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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A Pastry Post: Sartorial Suit Adventures

Pastry’s Quest for the Perfect Suit: A Guest Blog by Pastry

When Cucumber and I started our process of planning a wedding, we decided that, rather than a tuxedo, I would wear a suit. I own one already, and (because I am pretty cheap) had hoped that I might be able to skip the expense of one, and wear what I had. So with this in mind, I took it into my tailor, hoping that some minor modifications would make the suit fit me like a glove and look god-like. This was my first reality-check when it came to me and suits. Because in his (very brusque, VERY funny) way, my tailor informed me that my suit was off-the-rack and off-the-rack suits are not for me. Why?

  1. Off-the-rack suits simply look AWFUL on me. I have a very short rise in my pants (queue rimshot). Because of the way that pants sit on my waist, off-the-rack suit pants tend to sit very low and make it look like I have an obsession with an early ‘90s Hip-Hop legend.

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“A sartorial god amongst men? A role-model for today’s fashion-challenged youth? Or a victim of bad tailoring?”

Often times, an off-the-rack jacket will look fine on me, but the pants will need so much work, I might as well go custom. Additionally, in the case of suit-separates, they CAN work really well, in-theory. Calvin Klein pants in their slimmer fits (paradoxically) tend to look pretty damn good on me. Their jackets, however, are a problem, because…

  1.   If anyone were to describe me, “small” is not an adjective that would be chosen. I’m convinced that in a parallel world, I made a pretty solid defensive football player. I played for a bit as a kid, but a unfortunate formation of my ankles that made running extremely difficult and football practice miserable (I was strong as a bear, so I worked well on the line, but during practice I was consistently at the very end of the distance running game).

Plus, who wants to play football outside in the Arizona heat when there’s Nintendo games to be played?

But ultimately, while this shape may have really benefited me on the grid-iron, when it comes to fashion choices…not so much.

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“Do you have anything in a lightweight wool, preferably in a dark-gray sharkskin weave? And the pants should be flattering to the trailer.”

Adulthood left me with a suit-jacket size of 50R but pants in the 36” waist range. Finding a suit that accommodated these factors was NOT going to be easy.

So knowing that I wouldn’t just be able to use my currently owned-suit meant that I would need to purchase a new one. And I now knew that I couldn’t just run down to the local Saks Off-Fifth and pick up a nifty two-piece. Something custom was in order.

Now, most tailors will do custom clothing (or know someone who will), and my tailor was no exception. When I started to inquire about his custom suitmaking practice, however, he shut me down pretty quickly. “I’m not the guy to make your suit,” he told me, in his densely Italian manner. A flash of irritation crossed my mind for a brief second (thinking he was somehow judging me unworthy of his talents), before he followed-up by saying, “my suits start at around $8000.”

Remember that I’m cheap. So imagine what my reaction must have been to that lovely piece of news – that my wedding attire would be many times the price of Cucumber’s wedding dress. We do tend to challenge gender roles, but this wasn’t a statement I was desperate to make.

Fortunately, Phil (my tailor) is nothing if not helpful. He told me to look into online made-to-measure clothing. I had looked into this a while ago, but had found (through reviews) that when they arrived, they were usually non-customized separates that were picked off-the-shelf as close to the measurements as possible and just shipped.

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Man wearing oversized suit — Image by © CJ Burton/Corbis

Oh yeah. It’s fully custom. Isn’t it obvious this was made just for me?

Phil, however, informed me that online made-to-measure had improved dramatically over the past few years. Apparently suits can arrive on one’s doorstep, with a nearly perfect fit. And if any tailoring is required, the suit-makers will often include a tailoring budget to allow for some small alterations.

With this all in mind, I ordered a suit from www.blacklapel.com. With my obsessive nature at researching all options before ordering, they fit my desire to provide as many customized options as possible, while maintaining the price point that I wanted to hit.

After ordering, they informed me that because of the Chinese New Year, they were running behind schedule and wouldn’t ship for 8-10 weeks. However, when I happened to check it this morning, their website informed me that my suit had already shipped. By coincidence, Cucumber informed me that I had a package waiting for me at home, and that it appeared my suit had been compressed to the rough density of a black hole prior to shipping.

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“Sure, it distorts time and space. But the fabric of reality drapes off the shoulders extremely well.”

I don’t know if I should be delighted or scared about my suit arriving 6 weeks earlier than expected. We’ll see soon I suppose…

First Truly Important Wedding Purchase

In terms of wedding purchase excitement, this item is perhaps the thing about which I am most pleased. Presenting, a key wedding item in the form of a 73″ wide and 70″ tall Giganotoasaurus stand-up cutout for our reception photo booth. IT IS GLORIOUS. And, was reasonably priced as a mere $39.95 on Amazon. I AM SO EXCITED.

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Bridal Beauty Wars

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I forget to shave my legs.

About once every month, either when I am sitting in the sun passively admiring the tiny golden hairs on my calves or when Pastry is rubbing my furred leg during a House Hunters marathon on the couch, it strikes me that it may be time to purge my lower legs of their peach fuzz. I am by no means a low maintenance lady as I tend to spend an obscene amount of money at the CVS beauty isle (to the point where the CVS employees know me by my epic coupon usage for frivolous moisturizing items – I live in the desert! Containing every water molecule possible is key!). However, with prepping for the wedding in three months, the pressure of bridal beauty shenanigans lays mightily on my mind. Which, honestly, continues to surprise me every time I catch myself fixating on my gel manicure timeline by which to have perfectly crafted nails for each important event in the next month or so.

It’s really hard to avoid how YOUR WEDDING IS THE MOST SPECIAL DAY OF YOUR LIFE AND YOU SHOULD LOOK THE MOST BEAUTIFUL YOU HAVE EVER BEEN THROUGH THESE 137 STEPS OF GLORY stories. I got my nails done last week after a rough day and at least 5 people have commented on how fancy I am now and my bridal exfoliating, buffing, waxing, plucking, beautification plan. (I am fancy, damnit.)

InStyle has a 21 item check list detailing skin brightening serum, facial timelines, brow
specialist (??!!??) appointments, deep conditioning treatments (I’m okay with this – See live in desert and desperate to keep self akin to swamp thing), hair trimming schedule for maximum hair growth, sparkle-inducing hair glazes, hair and makeup trials, weekly manicures (“think medium length with rounded square edges!”), clarifying mud masks for your back and butt, teeth whitening, spray tanning, keratin treatments for your hair, one more haircut just ’cause, a homemade mask made out of local honey and oatmeal, hand treatments for supple finger skin (ew), acne prevention in the for pesky pimples, more clarifying mud masks this time not for your butt, and increased water intake for “luminosity.”

On the fairly conservative side, this bridal beauty guide would cost over $2,000. I made a horribly colored Excel spreadsheet to illustrate this point. Estimates

Vogue also has a detailed wedding countdown broken into weeks. According to them, I should have been meeting with my dermatologist and brow specialist (???!!??) already as well as booking a time “for a complexion check-in” to work toward getting the rest skin results on my wedding day. I mean, I felt like I splurged last month when I bought some CVS knockoff brand serum for $20 AND I even used it on my chest!  Woo! Vogue also suggests I time my waxing needs carefully (see forget to shave legs) as well as prepping with a “depuffing” facial.

Which made me just think about getting a facial from a bunch of puffins…

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Hello, we are your beauty team today! First we will be starting with a nice sand eel and herring mask, already masticated, followed with a serum of fish scales.

I’ve also decided that “Supple Finger Skin” should be our team name the next time we go to play trivia or do some other team activity with absolutely no explanation given. In my dream world, there might be another lady wedding prepping at the same time though, and she might give me a knowing look then say, “Supple finger skin IS such a priority for your special day, right?”

And, now apparently I need to find a brow specialist for the two hairs of my eyebrows that grow within inopportune areas. Hard, hard pass, bridal beauty guies, hard, hard pass on it all.

 

The Hotel Cock Block

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“Blocking a hotel rooms is a great way to help guests find a reasonably priced and convenient place to stay near your wedding activities! Simply follow these easy steps to look into blocking your rooms!”

Three weeks later, a delegation to my mom to take care of business, numerous in-person meetings, forgotten emails, and a few minor snafus in the meantime, our block went live for our guests.

AND, IT DID NOT WORK. Queue confused calls and texts from guests.

Grumble, grumble, hiss, hiss, obscene gesture, boo.

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I asked my mom to take on the whole hotel block contract shenanigans in January as I figured it would be an easy-peasy phone call and contract to arrange for a small grouping of rooms at the hotel located literally between the ceremony and reception site. We want between 12-15 rooms. That’s it. She emailed, called, and met with the sales people of this particular boutique hotel. They signed a contract, a contract which requires us to pick up 90% of the rooms in two months with no resell clause. The sales lady very clearly told the mom that only the standard room is offered as part of the block for $150 a night. Suites, though we can book them for $200 a night, are by contract only and if guests book a suite it does not apply to our block of 15 rooms. Sure, okay, so they will offer the standard rooms when guest call, right? Yep. Moving on…

Pastry’s mom calls the first night to book her room. They tell her the option is a suite for $200 and that the only other option “is a handicapped room that is much, much smaller” for $150. Say, wha? Pastry’s uncle calls – They give him the same run around, book him a suite, and tack on the resort fees to everything something that is clearly waived in our contract. My best friend calls and ends up with a suite. They have now booked four rooms, all suites, for $200 a night and fees, and none of them count toward the hotel block.

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Summary of my feelings.

Now, my mom is an epic lady who has managed many, many people for her entire career. She sent perhaps the saltiest email ever to the sales manager at the hotel. Please read the following in a deep, threatening voice of a lady not with whom to fuck.

“We have a major problem with the implementation of the contract we signed for the wedding. Our guests have started to call to book rooms and are being offered only a suite rate of $200. One guest was told the $150 rate was only for a handicap access room, another guest was told that only group sales could handle her request. I am very disappointed in this poor service and the confusion it is causing for our guests is unacceptable. I have an early appointment on Friday morning, but I will call you as soon as I am free.  My expectation is that when are guests call they will be offered the $150 contracted rate. The $200 rate for suites should not be offered at all as we contracted specifically for 3 suites and I have already booked them.  When we speak tomorrow I will look forward to your solutions and expect prompt corrective action.
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The hotel then groveled sufficiently and another friend had no issues when booking her room the next day. Mind you, this is also the same location of the $136 tacos. So, I am not convinced they deserve any business at this point let alone our glorious personages in residence eating tacos at our leisure. But, life and planning move on…
They were very lucky they had to deal with my mom rather than me.

 

 

 

The Rehearsal Dinner = Taco Eating Contest

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In a recent Taco Eating Championship, the grand prize winner managed to scarf down 103 tacos in eight minutes. The second place winner trailed at 59 tacos. (The tenth place winner ate only a total of seven tacos which makes me think I should enter a taco eating contest as I can definitely put that many away in a short amount of time. Plus, free tacos.)

Pastry and I are attempting to plan our wedding rehearsal dinner. Counting just the wedding party of awesome, family, and kids, we are around 22 adults and 5 kids for the event. There is a snazzy restaurant literally between the wedding site and the rehearsal site IN THE HOTEL IN WHICH WE ARE ALL STAYING. It serves fancy tacos. And, it almost always only has about one table full. Despite all that, the food is really great (which makes me really wonder why it’s so empty all the time). We figured, awesome! Fun taco place conveniently located! Bright colors! Sangria! No issue getting a table! This will be swell!

They want a minimum of $3,000. MOST EXPENSIVE TACOS EVER. It averages out to $136 a person for TACOS. 

I figure in order to get your money’s worth, each wedding party member would need to eat at least 54 tacos and have two glasses of sangria. “Why, yes, I will have the pulled chicken taco that likely cost you a total of 73 cents to make, and about 53 additional tacos for my doggie bag, please. Wait, no, make that 37 chicken tacos and 16 carnitas tacos, please.” 

In an article of New York City’s wildest and MOST EXPENSIVE tacos, the most costly option was $36 for a lobster and filet mignon taco at Dos Caminos. LOBSTER AND FILET MIGNON TACO. A. Yes, please. B. Even if we bought each rehearsal dinner attendee New York’s most expensive taco, it would still only be $792!

Look at its apparently reasonably priced glory…

Steak taco

For $3,000 we could order 55 of them and have them flown first class from New York to the desert. 

“Well, no, we’re not flying first class to our honeymoon, but our rehearsal dinner tacos flew in on American Airlines from New York just last night. They enjoyed a glass of champagne and their Bose headsets. Yes, I know, still so reasonably priced from that one Mexican restaurant! I mean, I was looking forward to eating 53 tacos the night before my wedding, but one must just prioritize sometimes! We’ll just have to see who is getting married next for the next opportunity to have a family taco eating contest. Watch out for my mom, she loves herself some carne asada.” 

$136 per person for tacos. Pffft. 

 

 

 

Flowers are slowly driving me mad.

Flowers are slowly driving me mad.

730f04fd81cb732aae13f2ea1a21f11fTranslation: I’ve reached my first wedding planning hiccup and it makes me want to fire bomb a peony-selling establishment just out of spite. Okay, maybe not that extreme…But, it’s just been a truly odd experience having wedding flowers, something I assumed would be easy, be the hardest and most frustrating part of planning this shindig.

So, I adore flowers. I love getting them, I love picking them, I truly light up when I get to put them in my hair. I stop to smell them on walks. I am now contemplating hitting every flower I see and just calling it quits, spray painting some Home Deport stir-sticks gold, and putting them in dollar store plastic containers on each reception table. There. Done. Le Home Depot chic wedding theme.

Stir Stick Art for Every Table

I thought the flower process would go something like this…

“Hey there, established and reputable vendor, we’d like bright and colorful with lots of texture for this total price point, bonus points for creativity and the ability to let us rent a giant tree for an odd community art project for the middle of the reception.”

“Yeah! Awesome! Here’s the quote with an item breakdown by unit. We buy wholesale and offer competitive prices! Also, here are some other creative ideas in your price point! We’ve worked at your venue before and this will totally work there!”

Reality:

Me: “Hi, yes, I did call earlier. No, I can’t come meet you in the middle of the work day as, uh, I work. Clear over there, huh? Sorry, I can’t drive an hour away to talk about succulents for 20 minutes…Your minimum fee is $5,000? Would you take a kidney donation perhaps as a down payment? No? Liver? Wait, I need that…Yes, I can send you a pinterest board for ideas. Oh, and we’re just going to discuss that after I drive way over there? Okay…”

60 miles of driving later…

Florist: “We’ll send you our proposal in the next week and should you not accept it within 48 hours, it will self-destruct, rendering your computer, left side of your face, and hopes and dreams useless. Also, we will not provide any details and instead quote you a totally random total cost with no justification whatsoever. Additionally, our proposal will consist of cropping pictures from your pin board that you sent us and just naming random flowers in the text. For no additional cost, we will also forget to update sections and writing a long detailed section about the use of pastel yellow ribbons. Because when you said ‘saturated, bright yellow’ we thought you were tasteless and decided light yellow is the way to go. Here’s a free bouquet toss bouquet. YOU WILL TAKE IT AND LIKE IT, YOU WEDDING HEATHEN. Enjoy this bouquet of PINK BEARS. That will be $4,000 and a kidney.”

Also, it seems like all florists are really technologically challenged and they all just REALLY want to talk on the phone. Maybe it’s a lonely profession amongst the flowers and they just want a bit of human contact…But, they really want to call me in the middle of the work day. This is time consuming and I don’t want to have to get obsessed, fall in love, break up with floral ideas anymore. Also, NO LIGHT YELLOW RIBBON.