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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


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.