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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year, Big Changes for {Not So} Single Girl in Everybody's Wedding World

In just about 12 hours, I can say I'm officially GETTING MARRIED this year.

2014 was a year of a lot of big changes in my life, mostly unexpected, some exciting, some plain ridiculous. 2015 is going to be about changes I want to make and things I want to do.

That said, one of my big 2015 goals is to [finally] finish writing my first draft of my book! As my days as Single Girl draw to a close, I feel it necessary to document some of my exploits in my memoir. Part of finishing that book is stepping up my blogging game, as I've failed so very miserably this past year.

And stepping up the blogging game means SGIEWW has finally moved to a real domain from that ridiculous Blogger URL! Here we are at NotSoSingleGirl.com where I plan to stick around for awhile.

Stay tuned in January for a whole lot more wedding chat and our very first contest and giveaway! I'm also looking for guest bloggers with your own wedding world story to tell. If you're interested, please email MoralesPartyofTwo@gmail.com to get on board.

Thank you to all of my loyal readers who have stuck around through the good, the absent and the Reddit incidents of 2012-2014.

May your 2015 be filled with as much champagne as I plan to consume this evening.

xx

Monday, December 15, 2014

I found the gown! (and it was nothing like Say Yes to the Dress) #SorryNotSorry

Its true.

I found the gown.

I said yes to the dress.
Before you read the end of my wedding dress saga, I encourage you to read:
The story is still a bit different than the usual "I went to the boutique, I knew it was the one, and I bought it...and I loved it 8 months later". I wish it would've been that way to keep me from pulling my hair out and stressing eating fudge. But instead, I pulled my hair out and ate a ton of fudge.

I first tried on this gown back in October during a trip to Chicago for Amy's baby shower. Amy, my mom and I went dress shopping which lead a nightmare experience of basically not being able to get into any of their teeny tiny samples and being SO embarrassed until they lead me into a "plus size" room of 15 samples which were 10 or more sizes larger on me. I won't recount the tale any further but it remains, I said no to the shitty bridal boutique, not to the dresses.

I actually tried MY dress on right there in that plus size room, with tears streaming down my face in embarrassment still. The sample was so big that they had it clamped every place possible. I couldn’t even see the beauty in the dress with all of the turmoil.

Fast forward to earlier this month, I was at a boutique in Scottsdale trying to find a dress and I saw MY dress on the mannequin front and center in the store. I had them pull it and it was a size small, but I was able to wedge myself into enough to know that maybe I should have given this dress a chance previously. However, with a [Price Much Larger than Necessary and Far over the Budget] price tag, I wasn’t ready to make any rash decisions after I had come this far in the process.

The wedding dress search was quickly becoming a serious and calculated business. In and out of appointments. Identifying dresses on the hanger I'd already tried on and pass over. I consider myself an expert after 50+ dresses tried on. After a couple more boutique visits, I couldn’t even find a dress I wanted to try on. Nothing seems to top the dress I had already left behind twice. I started thinking about it more and more….having dreams about it…the obsession was growing.

The growing obsession is nothing new for me when it comes to shopping. Too often, I try on a pair of shoes and love them, but pass them up. For weeks, I think about them and the tension grows and grows until I MUST BUY THE SHOES. Sometimes they're sold out and sometimes not, but either way its meant to be, whatever the outcome. I felt basically the same about MY dress....but like 1000000x more obsessed.



So, I had to have the dress. Its over budget. It takes 9 months to order. It might cost a fortune to alter. DO. NOT. CARE. Must. Get. The. Dress. 


I hit the internet just to make sure I wasn’t being ripped off by an upscale bridal boutique (I always price check on all things in life) and just happened to find MY dress in MY size as a sample, on sale, at a bridal store in Idaho (of all places?) for [An Amount More Reasonable But Still More Than I'd Like to Admit]. If I paid in full up front, they would give me a two day grace period to decide if I wanted the dress...and if not, would allow me to return it for only the cost of shipping and a $30 restocking fee.

So, I did it. I bought the sample. And she got here two Fridays ago. I took it immediately to my seamstress who quoted me about $400 in minor alterations. The dress is in pristine condition and literally took my breath away. So, after much ado, I present, MY DRESS. Finally!

And in my hands. No waiting. Paid for in full. I could not be happier in this turn of events.

I'm just a blushing bride in a beautiful dress. TROLOLOLOL.



Please, bitches, you think I'm going to post a photo of the dress after all that?

It might not be the typical “Say Yes to the Dress” story, but certainly is quite the story, as all things in my life usually are. Expect a few blogs over the holidays as I have a lot of material I'm working with these days as wedding planning gets into full swing.

xx

Friday, December 5, 2014

Always the bridesmaid, even when I'm a bride...

So, this blog was started because I was single and all my friends were getting married. Over the past couple of years, I have played a role in more than 7 weddings and attended more than 12 weddings. I expect to see this number rise over the next 5 years as more of my friends reach milestones in their life.

That said, when I got engaged in October, I was very excited to finally be the brides because I have some 27 dresses status shit going on in my closet (no, I have never re-worn a bridesmaid dress, no matter how cute it was for the wedding). What I did not predict when I got engaged was that I would be taking on several other important roles in 2015 as well.

First, I'd like to mention that my Matron of Honor, Amy, and Groomsman, Jared, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on December 3rd. I've been bestowed the title of Godmother to little Summer Elizabeth, which is a huge honor after being Maid of Honor in their wedding just a little over a year ago. Something I knew was happening (clearly had 9 months to prepare), but was surprised at how excited I am to see that little girl over the holidays. I'm not a huge baby person, but I'm willing to make the exception for that cute little thang.

Second, I got asked to be a bridesmaid in my dear friend, Sasha's wedding over 4th of July weekend in Chicago. I was so surprised, but excited at the opportunity, but I had to be realistic with myself as to what it means to be a bridesmaid while also being the bride in my own pending nuptials. Was I ready to be both the Bridezilla we know and love AND bridesmaidzilla?

Nikki in her true form: Bridezilla and Bridesmaidzilla
I have to consider my relationship with the bride. While we have admittedly not been particularly close over the past couple of years due to my relocation to Phoenix, for almost a decade Sasha was one of my best friends who I spent a lot of time with. Even now, we make the effort to get together, even just for breakfast, whenever I'm in town. She has always been my cheerleader, no matter what bad decision I was planning to make. I absolutely felt honored to stand by her side on her wedding day.

What do I have to offer the Bride? Since I am far away from my hometown and also planning my own inconvenient wedding from afar, I have to expect I will not be able to make special trips for the bridal shower and bachelorette party, but will do my best to plan multiple activities on multiple weekends. To be clear, I want to be there but it is expensive and I have a big ass wedding of my own to pay for. I can only do my best.

What I will be lacking in physical presence, I have promised to make up for in advice, direction and opinions for the bride. Unlike myself, Sasha has been blissfully un-submerged in wedding culture up until this point. I sometimes wonder what sleep was like before I had wedding nightmares, primarily not about my own wedding. I wonder what possibilities my closet would hold without a rainbow of chiffon and satin dresses and if there is a year I will not awake dizzy with champagne after a night of twerking (lezbehonest-- never!!!) Sasha has no idea of the pain and anguish involved in wedding planning. The minute details that can basically ruin your whole day (OR YOUR ENTIRE WEDDING?!).

But I will teach her and help her and do all I can to make sure she never has to learn those lessons the hard way, because I've watched them and am now experiencing them myself.

That's all I can promise to do as her bridesmaid. Be present. Be helpful. Do my best.

So, that's it. I'm a bride and I'm a bridesmaid in 2015. Both happily unexpected. Going to be a very busy year for this lady, that's for sure. This weekend, I have an appointment to try on a wedding dress (yes, just one) followed by an appointment to try on bridesmaid dresses.

Call me crazy, but I'm thrilled to in this wedding world. Some things don't change, no matter how much life is changing for us.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

5 Reasons Why Wedding Planning is Awesome for Men

Wedding planning is awesome and fun and amazing for the most part, don't get me wrong. But there are a lot of really not fun parts of planning a wedding that must be done as well. Because many women spend much of their early adulthood helping their friends plan weddings and visualizing their own fantasy future weddings, most brides go into the process with a pretty decent idea of what super fun and super not fun parts of planning must go on. The burden of understanding the most minute details of weddings is both a blessing and curse. Some days, I think it might be a curse. The days when every bridesmaid has a dress demand (or lack there of because they are too busy to respond) and the deposit on your venue is due in 30 days and you realized your wedding bands will cost twice as much as you thought they would and its hurricane season in your chosen honeymoon location.....You get the picture...

Men do not share this excitement or this burden of wedding planning. This also makes wedding planning for men way, way more awesome. Here's why:

1.) You have one basic choice for attire.

So, my dear Fiance, John, and I went to Jos A Banks to explore tuxedo rental options. I’ve never personally shopped for any sort of men’s suit or rented any tuxedos, so I really wasn’t sure what the process entails. When we got to Jos A Banks, the salesman pulled out ONE book with a variety of tuxedos that all look basically exactly the same. Every rental comes with the same package deal, including dress shoes, and varied little in pricing (98% of options were between $150-$200). There is no trying on of the tuxedos for fit and style—just point at a picture, he takes the measurements and you come and pick up your rental on your selected day. When I asked him when we should place our rental order, he said 2-3 months before is ideal but as long as you give 48 hours’ notice, it’s really fine. No big deal.

That’s it. That’s the process.

ARE YOU SERIOUS? That’s it? That’s so easy. Let’s just review a little on what the Wedding Dress process is. First off, there’s Pinterest with an estimated 100 million dresses for you to pin and fall in love with before you have ever stepped in a store. Soon, you will begin to cry because an estimated 75 million of the dresses on Pinterest are a.) over budget designer gowns; b.) made in China only—buy at your own risk; c.) have a broken link and no description and lost forever to the interwebz. For men, while the might venture over to Pinterest and have a peek at a few groom attire options, their biggest take away from Pinterest is that they want to wear sneakers with their suit and superhero t-shirt under their tuxedo shirts.

With the dress scope narrowed down to what is available, a bride might actually step foot in a boutique and try on the wedding dresses. With more than 15 unique silhouettes and literally hundreds of variations in between including length of train, material used, details, bling…the list goes on, every single dress is completely beautiful and unique. While you budget might narrow your selection down, there are so frickin’ many options. Y’all have heard plenty from me about trying on dresses. It’s literally impossible to not try on a dress and select it. Wedding dresses on a hanger are not what wedding dresses on a body look like. Suits on a hanger look like suits on a body.  This, too, is highly unfair.

If you can find the perfect dress in all that mess, it takes 6-8 months to be ordered and then altered. You can’t just show up 48 hours ahead of time and pick it up, and have it fit gloriously.

2.)    You never have to think about something until asked to have an opinion on it.

Many women have spent countless hours thinking about their weddings far in advance of actually getting engaged. Every detail from colors to season to seating cards to what music will be played as they walk down the aisle is assessed many moons before it is necessary. If they didn’t think about it before getting engaged, it will certainly consume them soon after the wedding planning begins. Its truly pervasive in a brides life. Just this morning, John wasn’t feeling well and told me he was calling in sick to work because he has plenty of PTO. My response was, “HOW MUCH PTO? IS THERE ENOUGH FOR THE WEDDING AND HONEYMOON?”

I feel bad that this was my response, but it is seriously life consuming. There are just so many details for a bride to consider and always more details to consider as time goes on. There is literally no end. I dream about it. I have anxiety about it. It infiltrates everything all the days.


Men do not have this issue. Wedding planning isn’t a pervasive, overwhelming thing they think about constantly. They don’t ever consider what sort of pocket an invite should be presented in or the gloss of the paper an invite is printed on. They don’t think of whether gladiolas will be in season for the bouquet or how we will take photos between the ceremony and the reception. They don’t consider that photographers and bands must be booked a year or more in advance. They just don’t—until you ask them. Then they have all the opinions. But until you ask them, they’re just dandy in the bridal ignorant bliss.

3.)    WeddingWire is not a part of your daily life.

WeddingWire.com is the train wreck you can’t stop watching. Bitchy brides come there to vent their frustrations and take it out on others using the forums for what they should be used for: asking questions about wedding planning. All day and night, brides snark off to each other, trying to reign as queen bitch of WW. While it’s the Mean Girls club of the wedding world, it provides tons of answers and opinions, which people have no problem holding back. If you ever wondered if you walk down the aisle while singing a love ballad to your beloved future husband, go ask on WeddingWire.com. They’ll give you all the answers you need.

If you’re a man, you don’t even know what questions to ask and therefore, you never get sassed by bridezilla internet trolls who literally have nothing better to do than troll around and be rude to other women).

4.)    You don’t care if you look skinny or tan in your wedding photos.

John and I were discussing future fitness goals for 2015, which is a pretty normal conversation. John’s goal was to get stronger. I asked if he wanted to lose a few pounds (not because his skinny ass needs to, by any means) or tone up a bit. He looked at me like, why on earth would I want to do that specifically next year?

I explained why I was now adding 4 days a week of running into my normal fitness regimen of Crossfit during 2015. In addition to the fact I have to order a wedding dress in 2 months that I will wear in 10 months, I explained how if I was going to pay $3000 for professional photography, I better look skinny…and tan. Both.

John just looked so bewildered at the thought. SMDH.

5.)    Your biggest wedding wish is to have a photo booth.


After John and I got engaged, my mom, who is very fair human being, asked John what he was looking for in a wedding. I truly believe she had heard plenty from me already, so she was curious to see if John was on board with my fantasy wedding plans. John replied, “I just want a photo booth”. So honest.  So simple. If you asked me that question, I have no idea where I would even begin to answer, but I’m certain it would not consist of a single, 6 word sentence.

That’s all it takes to make the man happy. A photobooth.

I am so lucky to have such a laid back man in my life, seriously, but man, how easy to guys have it in this wedding planning process? If only I could be so easy going about this mess of planning a wedding. Alas, knowledge is dangerous. I have too much of it to turn back now. In the case of wedding planning, men have the right idea. Ignorance is absolute bliss.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Wedding Dress Saga, Part II: Saying "No" to Shitty Bridal Boutiques

Saying "No" to Shitty Bridal Boutiques 

I was panting, crying and in a cold sweat. I opened my eyes to the bright lights and thought, "Oh, good, it was just a nightmare", and then I realized, nope, this is reality. I'm sitting in my bra and underwear, sobbing and sweating in the House of Brides dressing room after not fitting into 8 size 14 samples.

I'm a street size 10.

The consultant came back in, followed by my mom bursting in behind her yelling about the ridiculousness of the situation (in true mom form).

"WHY WOULD YOU EVER PULL THESE DRESSES IF THERE'S NO WAY FOR HER TO FIT INTO THEM? WE SPECIFICALLY ASKED YOU TO PULL DRESSES FOR HER TO TRY ON?"

"Ma'am, I would've never guessed. She looked like she should fit into the normal samples just fine, but we can go to the "other room" of dresses if you prefer".

My cheeks glowed red with embarrassment and shame. The "other room" she was referencing is a small area in the back of the store, also known as the "Diva Room" with a handful of size 18 and up dresses--- about 10% of the size of the dress selection in the rest of the store.

Because it wasn't bad enough that of 8 dressed labelled larger than my normal size dress couldn't even be pulled over my hips, now I was doing the walk of shame to the plus size gallery in the far reaches of the store. Gone were the mannequins in sparkle and lace gowns. Gone were the elegant pedestal front and center in the dressing room for brides to present themselves on.

I entered a room with one small, three sides mirror and two modest dressing rooms, nothing like the bridal dressing suites beyond those walls. The lighting was dim--- at least that shaded the burning red in my cheeks. Here I was again, back to being the fat girl. My MOH trailed in behind us, saying "You know how small bridal runs-- its not just you". But it was just me, alone, in my FFG body at that moment. My worst wedding dress nightmares realized in the flesh.

There are some things that don't change when you loose weight. While they might not affect you daily, or even monthly, there are feelings, experiences and memories that you never loose even after the weight has come off. I've written extensively on my blog about FFG (former fat girl) issues because I feel like they're things that a lot of women can relate to. We all have insecurities about our bodies, no matter the size. And now I'm expanding on the FFG girl issues as part of my wedding experience- for better or for worse, right?

I'll never forget the first time I realized that I was really a fat girl. Not big boned, Not curvy. Fat.

I was in Dubai in spring 2012 at breakfast with the CEO of my company, getting ready to go to an all day client training course. I spilled a bit of water on my blouse and the CEO, an obese man himself, demanded I go change immediately. I protested, knowing it would dry well before our clients showed up. He said to me, "When you're a fat person, people will judge you harsher. They will not only call you fat, but also sloppy or stupid or smelly. They will look down on you for any reason they can. Don't give them that reason.".

I marched up to my room with tears stinging in my eyes. I knew his words were true, but that didn't make them hurt less. It was the first time I realized I was fat. I'll never forget the feeling. The knot in my throat. The burning of hot tears in my eyes. I'll never forget standing in the mirror without any excuses left.

And now, 100 pounds less-- far from plus size, I was still standing in front of the mirror without any excuses as to why I had to be in the backroom of a bridal boutique trying on dresses literally 10 sizes too big for me, literally falling off my body without clips to hold them up.

Is there no middle ground? Is there no one in the bridal business who has come to the revelation that one size does not fit all? The House of Brides did manage to have one of the dresses I originally wanted to try on in a plus sized sample. I put it on in a size 18. It was fall off my body until the consultant clipped it.

With puffy eyes and a tear streaked face, I looked in the mirror and I felt beautiful. It was a beautiful dress. Everyone thought so. Finally, one dress I could feel beautiful in at this horrid boutique. I thought for an instant-- maybe this is the dress I will get married in.

What the consultant said next killed me. She told my mother that she would order this dress for me in this size 18 to "make sure it fit" because there was no way to ensure a smaller size would fit me.

My jaw dropped and the hot tears welled in my eyes again. This dress was falling from my body. And like that, I asked to be taken out of the dress. I wanted out ASAP. I could not accept this as fact. I would not wear a size 18 on my wedding day.

I worked so hard. I continue to work hard on my health daily. I deserve better than this.

As I pulled my fitted tank top back on over my barely there runners boobs, the consultant swung by to ask if I'd like to go look at tuxedos next, since I don't have to try those on. I glared, marched out and haven't looked back since.

I don't blame others for my sensitivity and my FFG problems. I don't blame my MOH for being a naturally thin person who was complaining all those tiny samples I tried to get into were absolutely huge on her. I also don't blame the consultant who was clearly not very experienced with their stock and thought, for some reason, that I was the correct size to squeeze on in.

What I do blame is the boutique. They lost a customer because of the inability to train the consultant, inflexible sizing, no return policies and requirements to view tuxedos on the way out, dress purchase or not. How tacky can you be? For a boutique that claims to have over 3,000 designer dresses in house, it is shameful that there was not one sample that fit onto an average sided women's body properly. And even more shameful that of those 3,000 dresses, less than 20 of them were over a size 14-- the average size of a women in the United States. I'll say it again--- wouldn't you want your brides feeling good, buttering them up to spend MORE money, not running out shamed by your selection and feeling miserable?

I really never thought that a shitty consultant or poor boutique policies would get in the way of me purchasing a dream wedding dress, but it truly did hinder my experience in this case, and mustered up some extremely difficult memories. While I continue to work on my own self esteem, I hope that the bridal industry continues to improve to meet the needs of all types of women and continues to educate their consultants on sensitivity.

Everyone has their own shit in life. Weddings tend to bring up much of that shit for a lot of people, even in the best cases.

The very next day, I went to another boutique, with awesome consultants and a large selection of dresses to try on. While I may not have found THE DRESS, there are better shops out there.The moral of the story is: don't settle for less. Don't settle for a business that blows. Don't settle for a dress because you feel like its your only option.

When the right time comes, the experience, the dress and the vision will all come together even if the bridal industry still can't get its shit together at all.







Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We have a Venue! (and a date...I guess that's important too.)

Wedding things are happening.

Save the Date, Bitches. September 19, 2015.

I've spent the better part of the last decade thinking of what it would be like to get engaged, meet the man of my dreams, wear a stunner on my left hand and what my wedding would look like. For the most part, all of these things have happened just as I had always dreamed of.

I got the love-at-first-sight moment with John

I got the romantic proposal and was super surprised.

And of course, I got bling blinggggg that is 100x better than I imagined.


Hello Wedding World. Here I am.

So now, I get to plan the wedding I have always dreamed of with the man I never imagined I could manage to convince to marry me at all. My time to be a bridezilla has finally come.Since I've thought so long and hard about this, it should be of no surprise that I am absolutely focused on my vision of wedding bliss. There is no stopping this train now. First stop, pick a date and a place.

Being in Phoenix and planning a wedding in Chicago-- let's just say its tough already. Here's 5 reasons why looking for a venue long distance is a pain in the ass:
  1. Fisheye lens on cameras are liars. They make ever ceiling look high and every landscape plush on a website. If you can't see it in person, don't begin to believe it.
  2. WeddingWire & the Knot reviews are basically all perfect because everyone thinks their wedding was the best...the best for them. Nobody wants to discuss how low and basement-y their banquet hall was and how they were envious of the wedding going on next door (Perfect for you is usually not perfect for Bridezilla over here...I clearly have a thing with ceilings, no?).
  3. Rustic is in all over the Midwest. Every country club to fancy venue is pushing how rustic and romantic their rooms are. I hate rustic. I hate medium color wood. I hate shabby-chic. Not for me.
  4. Any place can be made beautiful for the right amount of money. A banquet room in photos can be made to look glorious. Little do you know, each panel of the pipe & drape in the room costs $100 to hang and the lighting was done by an outside decorator for $10,000.
  5. What is beautiful inside, might be terrible on the outside. Location is everything. I went to a beautiful wedding once and all I remember about it was that it was in a banquet hall attached to a strip mall with a liquor store in it. Smdh.
Okay, so, before I even went to Chicago, my mom went to visit some of the venues that I was considering. I'm in a predicament because I have 60% out of town guests and 40% in town guests who live all over the top half of Illinois. So, we started with trying to pick a central location, near the airport to ease the burden for all guests. The only thing around the airport were hotels and banquet halls. My mom visited 6 of these locations and ruled them out for three reasons:
  1. The location was just bad. Views of airport tarmac, industrial parks or being located within walking distance of a Walmart was a no-go.
  2. Hotels and Banquet Halls have multiple weddings going on and I'm the type who wants to be either a.) the Best or b.) the Only. Let's say this is the only child in me.
  3. If my mom didn't feel strongly about them, I would hate them. My mother is a much more reasonable human than I am. She doesn't even believe in big weddings, I'm pretty sure, but she's indulging my fantasies anyways.
So, then we looked into the city of Chicago. Sales tax is 10.5%, which means we'd be paying literally $5k in taxes. I'd rather spend that on something awesome for my guests honestly.

This brought us to a location recommended by my father and grandmother which is a bit north of city in a sleepy little historic town, as their long time friends have the exclusive catering rights at this location, which, while it costs a bit more (read: A LOT more, like everything in frickin' weddings do), we know we will get top notch food and beverage and hopefully a little extra something for being besties for 30+ years.

And when we arrived, I was enchanted. Literally. I fell in love.While some girls have the "Say Yes to the Dress" moment, I got the "Say Yes to the Venue" moment instead. We drove down a winding road canopied by the beautiful fall trees and out into the plush lawns where the impressive white mansion sits on the 42 acre property. I just about cried seeing the rose garden still in bloom and the Italian fountains flowing. Not to mention the gorgeous antiques within the mansion-- I feel like its so Great Gatsby. Everything I always pictured my wedding venue to be. Romantic. Grand. Impressive. Historic. Beautiful. Indoor. Outdoor. Plush. Luxurious. Opulent. The list goes on. The Lehmann Mansion was constructed in 1912 as a summer home for Edward J. Lehmann and his family, and has been extensively and beautifully restored to the grandeur of its elegant past.

I literally could not be more excited. I feel its so perfect for John & my's pending nuptials next September. I can't help but get a little emotional imagining everything come together. Stay tuned for more wedding dress dilemma updates this week, because everything is not all rainbows and cookies for this bride to be.

Also, get the full image of my wedding by followed the Morales Party of Two Pinterest account, where you can stay up to date on all of our wedding inspirations.

Without further ado, here I present to you, Lehmann Mansion in Lake Villa, Illinois:













Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Three Incidents indicate that "Say Yes to the Dress" is a big, fat lie.

Its true. "Say Yes to the Dress" is a big, fat lie. Everything about it is a lie, basically. At least in my experience. Maybe that's because of my personality or my resting bitch face or drinking too many mimosas in the waiting area...but seriously ladies, I've never been so deceived in my life.

These days, single ladies have an image of what wedding dress shopping is going to be like because of the huge amount of wedding shops that are trending across the cable networks. With the expansion of Pinterest, you can plan your dream wedding from the comfort your couch while snuggling your cat and answering your Tinder pings (#foreveralone). However, the reality of the situation...well, at least, my experience, is that you've been fed a terrible, terrible wedding deception.

So, this past weekend, Tiffany and I decided to go out browsing wedding dresses to get a feel of what's out there at what price point, etc. Also, because I am of tall stature and what I call "athletic" built, I had no idea what the best silhouette would be on my body (Bridal Boutique Terms: amazon, plus sized, only should wear ballgowns in order to contain DAT ASS). Like most women, I had several specific dresses at each boutique I wanted to try on. I was as prepared as I could be and it was time to make my appointments and head out. Let me share with you several separate incidents that occurred while visiting 3 boutiques in a weekend.

Incident 1

I was recommended a boutique by a co-worker that catered to "plus sized" bridals, meaning their gowns start a street size women's 12 (huge, right? There's something inherently wrong with this philosophy). I thought, "Great! I'm a street size 10, so I will be able to try on basically any dress in the entire store because even the smallest sample will fit".

You see, I'm a former fat girl (FFG). I might still be fat by some people's standards-- I don't really care. I can run 10 miles and lift a heap of weight. I'm athletic and consider myself not fat. Being a FFG, you have an innate fear of things being too small because when you were a FG, you were usually trying to squeeze into the largest size a store offered. If it didn't fit, too bad, so sad-- head over to Lane Bryant. That was my life for many years, and something I am still very in tune with. That said, the thought of a bridal boutique only having size 4-6 sample dresses (Read: the approximate size of my thigh), was terrifying and embarrassing all over again. It doesn't help when your skinny, married friends talk about how they were "swimming" in sample dresses because the samples were all 8's and 10's. THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT, FRIENDS.

So, I call up this boutique and they basically tell me to fuck off. "Oh, you're a size 10/12, you really won't need to come here. It might ruin the experience of our other shoppers". So, regular shops basically think I'm too fat for their samples and the plus size store thinks I'm too thin. Fabulous. I was fat shammed and thin shamed all at the same time. A swing and a miss. #bridefail

Incident 2

So, Tiffany and I head out to a mid-range boutique. Maybe a step up from David's Bridal, but certainly not high end. They had a large selection of Maggie Sottero gowns, which can cost up to $7500, but plenty sale and wholesale sample items as well. I thought it would be a great place to get my feet wet with a variety of styles and sizes. As suggested by the appointment maker, I brought a short list of dresses I wanted to try.

First off, the consultant they gave me was an older women who had about a 42% grasp on the English language and was about 42% of my 6'0 height. I don't even think she could reach the top of my head with her arms up and on her tippy toes. So, I showed her my list. She pointed to the vast racks and said, "Oh yes, they're all in there, you can pick them out." and walked away. UMMMM, what? I was already on my second mimosa and feeling a bit snarky, so Tiffany and I set out to find some of my dresses and have some more mimosas. The consultant failed to mention they were sorted by size AND style...so we had to start over twice. Thank god for mimosas.

Because the consultant couldn't even carry those 150 million pound ball gowns, we were hauling them all over. Then Tiffany would help me get into them while the consultant stood in the corner looking overwhelmed by the huge person in a huge dress standing in front of her. WE MEANT BUSINESS.

Let me describe what getting into a ball gown wedding dress is like. Imagine a tube sock. How you have to put it on your foot and scrunch it up and pull up little by little until its up to your knee. Now imagine that you are the foot. Getting into a wedding dress is like rolling through a white tube sock with your entire body. Now imagine that you are a foot wrapped tightly in toliet paper layers and you will put the tube sock over yourself and over the layers and force it on smoothly, without clogging up any of those delicate layers...and then remain in there while hot lights blaze down on you forcing you to sweat uncontrollably from a mixture of claustrophobia and hell, its a damn work out getting in there. That's what putting on a ball gown wedding dress felt like to me.

Needless to say, ball gowns are out of the running. Also, Tiffany sustained some serious arm scratches from beaded bodices. Those things are dangerous.

Incident 3

 Let's discuss David's Bridal. I have no issues with David's Bridal. They have many beautiful dresses for a reasonable price in many sizes, which is what I was interested in. They also have some lovely higher end, designer lines available. A couple of those dresses sparked my attention, for sure. Once again, just looking, trying, etc. to get an idea of what even looked good on me and put some of my FFG melodrama to rest.

Tiffany and I went to a David's Bridal store nearby. The attendant in the front immediately tried to get me to fill out a credit card application and then informed me that they had neither of two designer line dresses I wanted to try on because only a select few DB's carry those lines. This is not indicated anywhere on their website, which I kindly informed her, and she laughed and said "I know, isn't that weird?" Um, not weird, irritating and inconvenient. Moving on.

My consultant was assigned to me and I showed her the style of the dresses in the designer line I loved. She asked what else I liked which I explained to her that I had an open mind but I wanted something with some pizazz but not too trendy. I spotted a modified ballgown on a mannequin immediately and asked to try the sample. She said they only had it in a size 4. FFG insecurities were creeping back in full force.

I tried on four underwhelming gowns. Pretty but not stunning. The consultant basically told me they had nothing with more "flare" and I should go try to find the designer line I liked at a different nearby store. She gave up after 4 dresses and 25 minutes. She didn't even try to sell me anything. I must be a real bridezilla bitch. #bannedfromDB

Conclusion

I knew that wedding dress shopping wouldn't be easy for me. I have my FFG issues and I'm picky as hell. I've never been a person to make a quick decision shopping. I usually pass a pair of nice heels up and then I think about them for days and days and days until I finally give in and go back to buy them. I lust over things. I let the obsessed bubble up and boil over before making a decision.

On "Say Yes to the Dress", women try on four dresses and fall in love. They burst into tears and and know this is THE dress. They have bridal consultant who ask about every detail of their wedding fantasy and go on wild goose chases to find the dress they just know the bride will love.

That is television. The above is real life.

While I obviously picked three "this could only happen to me" incidents, I don't think that this is only happening to me. There were so many positives that came out of this shopping trip. And I found a dress that I absolutely loved and had a consultant who was all parts funny, supportive, truthful and professional. The dress lust is growing...but I'm not done looking yet.

I don't think I'm going to have that tearful moment when I put on a dress and know its the dress I'll get married in. I've accepted that reality. I apologize if I ruined your day by revealing the ugly truth about "Say Yes to the Dress". Surely there are brides who have the perfect wedding dress experience, but it wasn't me. I'm proud to come out and say that. I hope that some one else out there doesn't feel like they're the only one who just can't "say yes to the dress".

Someone really needs to give me a wedding reality show, seriously.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'm back, bitches.

But seriously, it's been a year.

And quite a year it's been. 

You'll notice my new blog title. Aren't you curious about that?

Let's start back in September 2013 when I wrote my last blog post.

Around that time, I literally swore off dating. After the love triangle, I was done. Order the cats, forever alone, long hair...don't care. Being in the prime of my mid 20's, I finally felt content in my single girl lifestyle. 

I even started ghost writing under and alias for another blog. I could never really get into it enough to gain traction and I was super busy in the gym and at work...excuses, excuses. I know. Whatever, things happen. But then, THE THING happened.

I met a man who changed it all. 

Oddly enough, he's not the man you think I'm talking about. He's not the love of my life, Prince Charming who just proposed to me on a beach in San Diego last weekend (!!!!).

No, he's the man who I dated right before my husband to be. The one who made me realize the difference between mediocrity and what love should be. Without him, there probably wouldn't be a future hubby and me. 

It's amazing how clarity comes to you in the most unclear of times.

So, in December, I met this guy through the Chive Social  Group, which is a group of young, mostly single folks in Phoenix and many thirsty men and women vying for attention, primarily on a Facebook group. At some point, one of my friends was convinced to have a huge open house party with this social group in attendance. Viola! Instant NYE plans!

In the weeks before, I started dating this guy from the group who was a little (a lot) socially awkward, alright looking and had a lot of expendable cash. As usual, I was wooed by gifts and expensive surprises. Flowers to the office, Tiffany's bracelet for birthday, the works. Mostly, he really liked me so, so much....so much that underneath it all, I was creeped out. I tried to give it a shot but by NYE, I was basically over it and found him barely tolerable.

Of course he insisted on coming to the party. I felt slightly obligated to him because I drank all his Dom Perignon immediately. He proceeded to spend the rest of the night hanging all over me being all jealous if I was talking to anyone else and following me around like a lost puppy. The final deal breaker was when I was holding a conversation with a friend and he came up and sensually licked my shoulder. I just shook violently and screamed "NOOOOO, noooo, NOPE, allllll the no's" until he legit ran away. I spoke three words to him between then and when he left the party later the next day. 

Now, I already knew that dude was mediocre as hell. What happened after I drank all the Dom Perignon but before the licking incident is the important.

That's when I had one of the most profound moments of clarity in my whole life. That's when I knew I couldn't settle for mediocre love. Call it love at first sight, if you will--all I know is I've never so clearly known something to be true about a person I'd never met. 

When John walked in the door to the party, time stopped. Everything around me stopped. My head stopped fizzing from too much champagne and too many selfies. It was him and me. It was one moment in time when we caught each other's glance. Time stopped. A whole life of possibility flashed before my eyes and I knew. I knew I had to have him. That everything was leading up to that very moment of clarity. 

It was him and it would always be him. I knew it then and I knew it last weekend when he proposed 10 months after our first date. 


It sounds so corny when I write down. But it's all true, I swear to you. 

If there's one piece of advice I can give to one single girl from a former single, it's stop settling for less. Stop settling for mediocre. The time will come, no matter how much you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

This blog is going to change. I'm not single. I have no more tales of 24 mini golf dates. In fact, I'm pretty normal and settled these days. But with that said, I promise you many more crazy moments, truths, real talk and plenty of wedding babble to keep you entertained. 


This girl is not so single but I'm certainly more in a wedding word than ever before. 

I love you all so much. I'm thrilled to be back with a new view to share with my bitches.