Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wedding Confession: Helen of Troy Can't Even Cut It

Thank you so much for all of your kind comments and emails on my last post about our engagement.  While I rarely wish stress on anyone (only every now and then - I have bad moments), knowing I'm not alone in my anxiety does make me feel a bit better.  How is it that no one wants to feel this anxious about a wedding and yet somehow we all get sucked into it?

I've been looking at wedding dresses online - because it makes total sense to start looking for a dress before you even know what time of year you're going to have your wedding.  Seriously, though - I'm not actually looking for a dress.  I'm just scoping out the scene - what do I like?  What's out there?

I want a simple dress - something short and not too bride-y, maybe I'll even forgo white and do a peach or champagne color.  I pinned several dresses from Anthropologie the other day, and I liked one of them so much that I started thinking oh my gosh, I need to go ahead and get this!


Reminder:  No wedding date.

I didn't let that stop me -  I started, as one does I do when one buys I buy clothing, to envision myself in the dress at my wedding.  In my head, there I was cuttin' a rug at the reception, shaking it around, having an awesome time.  Then I envisioned myself walking down the aisle, and something went terribly wrong.  I came face to face with My Inner Bride.  I'm not going to call her a bridezilla because the word's overused, and I'm not sure I'm ready to pile that onto myself quite yet.  But this gal - My Inner Bride, she's a treat.

Her problem with me in this adorable dress?

I look too normal.  I'm not...wait for it...glowing.  That's right.  That's the problem - I'm not glowing.  According to MIB, when I walk down the aisle on my wedding day, jaws should duh-rop.  Everyone watching me should think to themselves  Oh. My. God.  How have I failed to notice all of these years that Katie is the most beautiful woman to ever walk the earth?

I know - seriously?

MIB wants me to wear something like this:

Wedding Inspirasi

And when Navah sees me, she should be overcome - o.ver.come. - by the realization that she has made the best decision ever, thinking to herself Wow! this is the best decision of my life.  I'm marrying someone who looks exactly like Kate Winslet.  

I tried to explain to MIB that I look exactly 0% like Kate Winslet (though wouldn't that be fun) and that no wedding dress could change that.  And what's more, I'm pretty sure if Navah were running this little Katie's-like-a-celebrity-on-her-wedding-day fantasy, it would involve me slightly tripping as I walk down the aisle, catching myself and making a witty and self-deprecating remark and Navah thinking to herself Wow, this is the best decision of my life.  I'm marrying someone exactly like Tina Fey.

There are probably 18 things that you want to try to explain to MIB right now.  I'm with you, but her brain has been sucked out by whichever wedding myth it is that says The Bride is supposed to look more beautiful than she's ever looked in her life and preferably more beautiful than anyone else has ever looked in the history of the world.  You know that scene from Love Actually where Kiera Knightley's character watches the video that her husband's-best-friend-who-actually-loves-her made of their wedding?  And she looks sort of disgustingly ethereal the whole time?

That's what MIB's looking for.

The whole thing reminds me of when I went to pick up my high school senior pictures from the photographer. I remember driving over there and being all fluttery.  I had never had professional photographs taken before - at least not as a semi-adult and not of just me - and I was so excited to get them back.  I waited to look at them until I got back into my car, and then I sat and slowly opened the cover to  All the pictures just looked like me.  It was a huge disappointment.  It's not that I think I'm ugly, it's just that I get these ideas in my head about things like Portraits and Weddings.  Hmm....perhaps it's not MIB so much as plain old-fashioned vanity.

The ridiculous thing about all of it is that I'm not The Bride here.  I'm A Bride.  There's another one - my intended, the person I'm super excited to be marrying.  I've always been sort of bothered by the Focus On The Bride - like maybe the groom wishes everyone at the wedding would come over and tell him that he's never looked better instead of making jokes about how ridiculous it is that he ever got someone as great as the bride to marry him?  That's something we don't have to worry about at our wedding, so you'd think that maybe I could do away with the whole be-the-most-beautiful-person-in-the-room/ever business.  Oh, but that vanity is a sneaky little thing.

The truth is, I can't remember a wedding I've ever been to when I didn't think that the bride looked stunningly gorgeous.  Not a one.  There's just something about the day - the energy, the excitement, perhaps the nerves.  Everyone is kind of glowing.  So I guess the only danger here is that I'll let my vanity run away with a dress that would really make me happy and comfortable on The Big Day (perhaps not calling it that would help).  The other day on A Practical Wedding, a bride wrote about how she was sort of ho-hum about her wedding dress when she bought it but that on her wedding day, she was so happy that she was comfortable and wearing a regular bra.  I thought now, that's the right attitude.

Hopefully if I work really hard, I can kick MIB to the curb and end up in a dress that's comfortable and relaxed and makes me feel good.  And maybe if I'm lucky, I'll glow.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Small Space Adventure Update!

I mentioned before that our new apartment is adorable but small.  I didn't mention that two of our dear friends live there now, and we were able to rent the apartment because of a lucky heads up from them that it would be available.  Last week, we had dinner with them - a bittersweet affair to say the least.  In addition to the sadness of spending our last evening with them while we live in the same city (or state, or even region of the country), we were getting excited about moving in and making the place our own.  I took a few measurements in preparation for buying a new couch and making sure that some of our other pieces of furniture will fit.

One of the really exciting things about this move is the whole downsizing part that I spoke of earlier.  Because our friends are moving across the country to Oregon, they didn't want to take a lot of their furniture with them, and we negotiated which pieces we would buy.  It's a huge bonus - we're getting rid of a ton of furniture that's big and bulky and that we don't like - goodbye super uncomfortable futon! - and we don't have to move as much.  We're gaining a new, smaller kitchen table, an already-mounted flat screen television (squeal!), and a little coffee table.  And we're getting rid of A TON of furniture that wouldn't fit anyway and that we don't really like - you know, those pieces that you've acquired over the years from friends or family that were necessarily inexpensive at the time but that don't really reflect your style?

The one thing that we're going to buy new is a couch.  I cannot even tell you how much we're not going to miss the futon.  We're not.  We contemplated burning it, but that seemed too much fun to be a good idea environmentally unsound and wasteful.  But buying a couch for the living room will be a little bit challenging - we have neither a big space nor a big budget.  We want something comfortable that we can really sink into, but if it's too bulky, it will overwhelm the small space.  Anything longer than 85" is not a possibility, and it can't be very deep either (theirs was 75" long and 38" deep).  The criteria are turning out to be a bit cumbersome, but I'm sure we'll find something great.

In the mean time, I found this awesome tool online - floorplanner.  You can do your own little residential floor plan for free, and I put one together so that I could give you guys a preview of the new space.  Some of the measurements are approximate, but it's basically accurate.

Pretty cool, isn't it?  There's a bookshelf in the top right corner (it's light blue in the shot below, though not in real life) - it's actually a built-in, but I couldn't figure out how to create that on the floor plan.  The window over the little table looks into the galley kitchen, and I made the beginning of the hallway (next to the bookshelf) that leads to the bathroom and bedroom.

So, as you see, the space is fairly narrow - as DC row houses generally are.  The main living area walls are painted an awesome light, punchy green, which I'm quite excited about.  And I'm thinking a charcoal gray couch will look perfect in there, as will my awesome mid-century modern desk craigslist-find from last year.

And here's a little treat - a terrible night-time picture of the backyard that I took with my camera phone.  The picture might be awful, but it's a Real Backyard!

Moving day is finally set for May 31, we've made our first drop-off at Goodwill, and we've listed most of our furniture on Craigslist.  The next few weeks will be really busy and a little uncomfortable, but I think June's going to be awesome!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Navah and I Are Getting Hitched!

I would like to tell you that the last week has been amazing, but that would be only a partial truth.  In some ways, it has been.  Sharing this excitement with each other and with all of our friends has been exhilarating.  There has been a lot of squealing, which is always great.  And a congratulatory email every 10 minutes really breaks up the work day.

But as much as I wish that we had remained calm and collected about this whole process, I have to admit that within less than one week we were both having anxiety dreams.  I can't remember mine when I wake up, but they involve the need for very intense problem solving.  Though we make daily promises to each other to relax, there is just something about the knowledge that there's a wedding to be planned that makes all of life a little more stressful.

Every phone call with family has the potential to turn into a wedding conversation.  Don't get me wrong - our families are incredibly supportive, and in some ways, having a lesbian wedding lets us off the hook a bit.  There are fewer preconceived notions about what a wedding should look like when it's two girls getting married.  And it helps cut down our numbers a bit as some more distant family members just can't get behind it.

Even so, there are still any number of issues that can have me in tears or proclaiming elopement (which I actually really don't want at all) within minutes.  You've probably guessed the first one.  Money.  I'm not even in a place to say everything that's happening around money, though I will say that it's happening only one week in and before a single vendor has been chosen - which of course means that it's all about how much this whole shindig should cost and who's paying what.

Naively, I thought these things wouldn't come up.  We want a simple wedding - nothing too fancy.  But simple is in, unfortunately.  Rustic, barn weddings are the thing.  Every other wedding picture I see is some bride in a short dress romping through a field.  So simple doesn't exactly mean inexpensive.

And, to be honest, we only want the simple that we want.  So while it might be cheaper and in some ways simpler (though not in other ways) to have a wedding with 15 people, we'd really prefer somewhere around 100.  While it would undoubtedly be cheaper to prepare our own wedding food, it's definitely not simpler to be preparing noshes two seconds before you put on your dress.  Though Navah would prefer to just put disposable cameras on all the tables, I feel really sad about the idea of not having professional photos of the day.  And I could go on.  There are so many little decisions to make, and every one of them is complicated, and every one of them seems to cost money.

I've been obsessed with John and Sherry's wedding over at Young House Love, which at first had me excited about what a beautiful wedding we could plan on a small budget and has more recently left me convinced that I'm a horrible, superficial person because I think that $4000 is a small budget can't seem to figure out how to plan a wedding on $4000.

I would like to wrap this post up with a lesson learned, a pithy quote, an answer of some sort, but that seems false at this point.  I'm still excited to plan this wedding, and I'm trying to take in the comments that I read all over the interwebs that It's Just Not That Big of A Deal and that The Day Will Happen and Relax.  And I'm still head over heels for Navah and so happy that at the end of all of this, I'll get to call her my wife (which I will - I've told her that I will no longer user her name - only Wife).  But for now, my emotions have fallen prey to all of the stories about this day and what it's supposed to be.

So here's to trying to relax and remember how flippin' awesome it is that (1) I get to marry Navah, (2) It will be legal here in good 'ol DC, and (3) It will happen, and It will be awesome.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our Small Space Adventure: The Teaser

We're officially packing.  In less than a month, Navah and I will move into our new apartment in another lovely D.C. neighborhood - Eastern Market.  Living here in the Logan Circle area has, in many ways, been wonderful.  We've been blocks away from many of our friends, and being able to walk to campus while we were in law school was invaluable.

But there are some things we haven't liked.  First and foremost - the price.  The new apartment is significantly less expensive, which will allow Navah and me to allocate more money toward paying off student debt (mine) and saving for a down payment on a home.

Second - the concrete-ness.  DC is actually a fairly green city.  I always see trees on my way to work, and there are several little grassy traffic circles where I can head for a walk with Jammer.  But the fact that I just wrote that sentence is a sign of the struggle here.  Grassy traffic circles?  That's the green space I'm getting excited about?  No, we needed something more.  The new place has...drum roll please...a backyard!  Seriously.  A backyard.  Like a hey-I-just-let-the-dog-out-the-back-door-to-pee, we're-having-a-garden-party, ooh-aren't-these-hot-off-the-grill-steaks-delicious backyard.  If you've never lived in DC, you probably don't realize what a big deal that is.  But I'll tell you - it's a big deal.  Backyards are not easy to come by.

Third - the lack of a fireplace.  To me, any place that doesn't have a fireplace can't really be considered a home.  Perhaps it's an emotional weakness on my part, but I just have a thing for fireplaces.  And the new apartment does not disappoint.

But - there's always a but - the space is much smaller than where we live now.  Navah's very concerned that we'll feel cramped and on top of each other.  Though I fully acknowledge the validity of those fears, I can't help but focus on how adorable and cozy the new place is (did I mention the fireplace?) and how good it's going to feel to get rid of So Much Stuff.  Navah grins at me with a raised eyebrow every time I bring that up.  Yes, I'm a bit of a packrat collector.  I have numerous plastic bins filled with fabric yarn, paints, colored papers, markers, and old odds and ends that I Just Know will be the key ingredients for an awesome craft project down the road.  And I haven't even mentioned shoes or t-shirts or books.  I recognize that this might make someone doubt by ability to actually get rid of things.

Hear this: I'm absolutely committed to turning over a new leaf. (It doesn't hurt that we'll be able to store some of our stuff at Navah's parents' until we end up in a more permanent, larger space.)

Apartment Therapy must have intuited our position - this week they ran a series on the best small spaces.  I was definitely inspired by the conscious and beautiful use of space.  I can only hope to make such well thought-out choices.

This apartment is only 397 sq feet!

For now, I continue to gleefully make lists of all the furniture that we'll sell on Craigslist and throw clothes into boxes for Goodwill.

Here's to feeling A LOT lighter.



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