Tag Archives: beautydart

Beauty Grab-Bag: Lush, Sparkle, & Kittens

So for this week’s Grab-Bag I have a few fun things to share. Firstly, my parents were recently in Quebec and my wonderful mother brought me back some Lush goodies (they’re cheaper up there because you don’t have to pay the import tax), including a new cleansing lotion called 9 to 5, and I love it.

It’s made with almond oil and dove orchid extract so it makes your skin really soft. It’s also supposed to be a make-up remover, but if you wear a lot of eye make-up it’s not strong enough to get all of it off. As a cleanser it’s really nice. I usually use a cleanser you have to rinse off with soap, but this one just needs to be wiped away with a face towel—and I tell you, it’s gentler on the skin. So far I’m really liking it.

Another great recent Lush product (recommended by my sister) is this Coconut deodorant powder. I’m a bit powder crazed, so when I saw this was a deodorant I was a little disappointed, but when I found out you can use it like a powder, and it has smell stopping deodorant-like properties, I got excited about it. It smells really nice and coco-nutty, similar to Lush’s trichomania solid shampoo. For the summer, just to be safe, I’ve still be using a real deodorant along with this powder, but I think in the cooler weather I’ll be able to use it alone. Also, as much as we like to pretend it’s not true, we sweat in other places but our underarms—and for the particularly dreaded boob-sweat, this stuff really works wonders!

In a post last week I discussed my search for purple wedding flats, well I found a pair, but they’re not purple. I was at DSW, and I came upon these. They were the most comfortable pair I tried on. Obviously if they were in purple it would be ideal, but silver kind of works too, I just can’t decide if I should keep looking for something similar in purple, or just stick with these.

They were $60, they’re gray suede, and they’re a perfect mix of cute (with the bows) and dress-up (with the sparkle). These pictures don’t do them justice, the sparkle is really nice, and since my dress is tea length and fifties inspired, the pointed style works too.

What say you readers? Keep looking or keep these?

Another recent purchase is this MAC eyeshadow, the color is ‘filament’, it’s very shimmery. It’s the first real eyeshadow I’ve bought at MAC since I stopped working there. I used to only buy the palette size, but for everyday use the palettes get unwieldy and it’s nice to have some that are stand alone. It’s not a new color and it sort of looks like fairy dust, which is appropriate since tomorrow for Beauty in the Movies we’re saying farewell to Summer with a bit of Shakespearean magic in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Oh right, I promised kittens, my sister recently adopted a couple, and they’re excessively cute, one of them is a Maine Coon named Thora and I think she’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Her paws are enormous, which only add to the cuteness. I didn’t get a good pic of the other guy, so I’ll save him for another day.

She’s pretty darn cute isn’t she?

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for Beauty in the Movies, and also don’t forget to tell me about your best beauty buys!!


Filed under shopping

The Basic Beauty Essentials Everyone Should Have—For Real

There are a lot of fun items involved in beautification, there’s lipstick, eyeliner, deep conditioners, toners, and hundreds of other “important” things for you to buy and use, but sometimes it’s the simpler items that are essential. You always keep them stocked, you use them more than pricey products, and they’re available at your local drug store. It’s not usually that exciting when you re-stock them, but if they ever stopped making any of these products (god forbid) you know you’d be really upset. If I run out of any of this stuff, or lose any of these tools, I have to make a rush visit to the drug store to replenish ASAP.

A lot of these items also have multiple uses, they’re tools, honest to goodness tools, just like hammers and nails. Who needs a pliers when I have a cuticle clipper? I’ll never forget working at MAC and listening to one of the very masculine stock guys going on and on about the wonders of nail polish remover and how it could erase sharpie marker. He was impressed by the untold usefulness of beauty products, and so am I, most women have an arsenal of tools disguised as beauty products sitting on their bathroom shelf—we’re savvy like that.

Hair elastics are about as essential as it gets if you have hair past your chin. I’m a Scünci girl, Goody is alright, but I don’t find them as well made. I like the no damage elastics without any metal on them, and they’re strong too. Hair elastics have many purposes, I never have rubber bands so they end up being used for a multitude of things, like bundling pencils or keeping shutters closed, oh yeah, and putting your hair in a ponytail too.

Scünci Elastics, Medium Black, $2.69 for 28

My hair is a battle ground for hair accessories, only the strong survive. My strands snap hair elastics like nobodies business and they laugh at silly little hair clips. I’ve tried dozens of hair claws and clips, so when I found these heavy-duty, no-slip gripped clips, my hair finally met its match. They still break sometimes, but they stand up to my hair like nothing else. They’re also essential for keeping curtains closed and you can clip them all over your bathroom so you always have one on hand.

Scunci No-Slip Grip Jaw Clips, $3.19 for 2

There is always one of these looped over my bathroom doorknob, if you have bangs or even long layers around your face, you need one of these to push your hair back when you put on a cleansing mask, or just wash your face everyday. I treat them like crap and they always end up looking ratty, but you can throw them in the wash, and whenever I lose them I realize how much I need them, especially if I’m in need of a bang trim.

Scunci Hairband, Assorted Colors, 5 for $5.69

One of my favorite things about beauty supply stores is the huge tub of bobby pins you can get for like, 2 bucks, so cheap and they last forever. Unfortunately when you can’t make it to a real beauty supply, you have to settle for the slightly more expensive (but still pretty cheap) Conair or store brand bobby pins. If you’re growing out your hair, or you like to wear up-dos, you need bobby pins. They’re also great for cleaning up nail polish in the corners of your nails, unlocking doors, and so many other little things.

Conair Brush Styling Essentials Matte Minis Bobby Pins, Black, 60 for $1.29

Ok, so this one is hard to use as anything but soap, although Wendy does try to re-attach Peter Pan’s shadow with a bar of soap, but mostly I just love this stuff because it’s extra gentle and I have very sensitive skin. I try to get someone with a BJ’s membership to buy it for me or let me tag along on a trip because they have it there in bulk. I’ve been using it forever and it never disappoints in making my skin soft and irritation-free.

Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar, Antibacterial, $4.49

A cardinal rule of skin care is “don’t touch your face”, and it’s really true, my skin has gotten so much better since I started following that rule, I should have listened to my mother when I was teenager. If you must pop a pimple or squeeze a blackhead, use this loop, it’s worth the $9.00 to keep your skin clear and satisfy the urge to pop. It looks like a torture device, and you can go a little squeeze-happy with it, but it’s a great thing to have on hand when you need it, always clean it off with some rubbing alcohol (another essential) between uses too.

Tweezerman Skin Care Tool, $8.99

These are an ultimate essential product, I actually buy mine in bulk at Costco, but I’ve tried these Johnson’s wipes and they’re good too. I know that Terrence Howard thinks they’re essential for other reasons, but they’re great for cleaning out your makeup cases, and they can be critical for makeup application. If it’s hard to get a straight line on your eyeliner, or if you screw up and need to wipe it all off, you need some of these babies on hand.

Johnson’s Baby Hand & Face Wipes 25 for $2.99

I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t wash my hair that often. It takes literally six+ hours to dry and it doesn’t get greasy very quickly. So when I shower I need to protect my hair from the water, otherwise the steam has a field day creating frizz. I like these Goody shower caps because they’re super cheap, brightly colored and they last a long time. My fiance things that shower caps are hysterical, which is why I’m considering ordering one of these immensely silly caps from Urban Outfitters, because he’ll get a kick out of it, it’s fun—and who cares? You’re in the shower anyway!

Goody Shower Cap Large, $1.49 or

Urban Outfitter Shower Caps, $8.00

This tool is probably the most essential of my essential products. It’s meant for clipping cuticles and it does an amazing job with its super sharp edges, but it’s also great for clipping the tags off clothes. To me, it’s a standard do-everything tool. I use it to open stubborn products and I pretty much use it as a pliers most of the time, I have a toolbox with a legit pliers, but this guy works better for everything. I’ve had mine for about six years and it’s still pretty sharp, I think I might send it back to Tweezerman for a sharpening and re-aligning though, because they let you do that, so it’s worth the investment too.

Tweezerman Stainless Steel Cuticle Nipper, $24.99

We all need a nail file sometimes, especially in a nail emergency—this is a no-brainer. I’ve also used them to sand wood, but I’m weird, I use a lot of these products for art projects. These Trim boards are the way to go. I’ve bought cute nail files with hearts and patterns on them, and they’ve given me cuts under my nail, seriously—those things can be dangerous. Stick to these, they’re effective, last a long time, and the price is right.

Trim Salon Boards, Grit Heavy Duty/Medium 2 for $2.29

Ok, so now I want to hear about your essential items, I’m sure I’ve left some great products out, but I think it’s different for everyone. These are items that are either very cheap, or last forever and are used often, you can get them at the drug or beauty supply store, and you always need them, extra points for products with multiple uses! Let’s hear what you got!


Filed under shopping

An Ode to Costco

If you’ve read this blog before, you may have gotten the impression that I’m a wee bit obsessed with a little store called Costco, and if so, well you were absolutely correct. I do a lot of my shopping there, and since moving to the suburbs I have an even greater appreciation for it. If you don’t have a car, Costco can seem pretty darn worthless, trying to fit a 2 pound box of cereal in your purse and then carry it home on the train, it’s not easy and not elegant. You also have to be a member to shop at Costco, or have a friend who will take you (I’m always willing to bring someone along with me into this wonderful world). Regular membership is $50 for a year, and for $100 you get an impressive “executive” membership which means you get money back on what you spend. If you’re like me and do a majority of your shopping at Costco, the $100 is totally worth it—for sure.

In order to give you a little insight into Costco, what it’s all about, and why I have a (maybe unhealthy) love of it, I attempted to document a typical trip to the magical superstore. It was kinda hard since I’m scared of people, and hate getting yelled at for taking photos in stores. We tried to be real covert—so please excuse me if the pictures are kinda lame. Like this one for example, I almost dropped the camera in the fish freezer when someone walked by, which would have been all kinds of gross.

Costco has come under fire about selling over-fished fishes, especially cod, so I’ve stopped buying it there. I’ve been sticking to salmon and flounder, and I’m hoping that they get themselves together and stop selling those poor cods. Bad form Costco.

Costco is a big ol’ warehouse where you can get most anything. Eyeglasses, tires, office supplies, underwear, shampoo, prescription drugs, meat, a huge tub of cheese-puffs—and so, so, much more. There is an optometrist, pharmacist, baker, photo lab, and butcher all on the premises. I think when most people think about discount clubs they think of items like this one gallon jar of mayonnaise. It kind of makes me sick just looking at it.

And while, yes you can purchase most condiments in gallon sizes at Costco, I assume (and hope) most of the people who buy them own restaurants, or have a lot of extra space in their fridge. The majority of people who shop at Costco are buying more practical items in bulk, like granola bars or paper towels. There is also some great produce; five huge avocados for $6, six heads of Romain lettuce for under $4, two pounds of blueberries for under $6 and dozens of other fruits, vegetables, nuts, spices, meats, and cheeses, all at unbelievable prices. Alright, I know I sound like an advertisement, but I am continually blown away by the price difference between Costco and the supermarket.

Costco also treats their employees pretty well, at least compared to other superstores like Walmart and even Target. 85% of Costco employees have health insurance (compared with less than 50% at its competitors), and they renegotiate employee contracts every three years which provide things like paid vacation, bonuses and benefits. They also have an insane return policy, I mean they will take anything back, even years later. I’ve seen people bring in moldy fruit, used clothing, and broken electronics only to receive a cash refund without any hassle—truly astonishing. I can’t get into the impact that Costco has on small businesses but I’m sure it can’t be good, I try to buy stuff at the farmer’s market, but when you’re broke, Costco gives you the ability to eat healthy foods on a budget.

As much as I love Costco I can’t deny that it can be incredibly wasteful. Chips go stale, cheese becomes unrecognizable, you get so sick of cheerios that you never want to look at that stupid yellow box again, and don’t even get me started on some of the packaging. I mean does spinach that’s already in a sealed bag really need a huge plastic case clamped over it? No, it really doesn’t.

There’s also a stigma (and joke) about buying crap in large quantities, but sometimes it’s not crap it’s healthy stuff, and when you buy in bulk you’re forced to eat more of it. Of course that’s not always a good thing, and a certain percentage of the time you end up with a rotting pile of something in your crisper that you feel guilty about. I used to never buy fruit, it was so expensive at the grocery store, and then I felt precious about eating it, and then it rotted in my fridge. Buying large quantities of fruits and vegetables can be wasteful if you don’t eat them regularly, but at the same time, when they’re in your fridge you’ll find a way to consume more of them, and they don’t feel like a luxury.

Speaking of luxury, Costco has some fabulous luxury brands, perfumes, cosmetics, and of course, my beloved Fekkai shampoo. I’m so glad they re-stocked it.

One more problem with buying in bulk is storage. I’ve been routinely hit on the head with falling boxes of cereal, nearly cried when everything in my freezer shoots out and attacks me (nothing hurts more than a pound of frozen chicken cutlets), and I’ve found myself thinking “maybe the 10 pounds of oatmeal wasn’t such a great idea” when I can’t fit anything else in the cabinets. If you have space, it’s wonderful, if you don’t, it seems totally ridiculous. What I’ve learned is that you choose wisely. Stick to buying things that can sit around for a long time, don’t have to be refrigerated, and are used on a regular basis, like laundry detergent or of course cheese-balls.

Look at me with my loot, see how happy Costco makes me? Actually I used to have panic attacks when I went there due to the crowds, but I’ve learned not to go before big holidays, or on weekends or Thursdays (the orthodox community does a lot of shopping here, especially for shabbat).

I’m sure you’re just dying to know what I bought on my trip, so I’ll end with a little graphic for you to enjoy. Click to make larger.


Filed under shopping

Whoops! Elle Actually Does Care What I Have to Say

There is some back story to this post, it all started with one of my first posts on this blog. I wrote about a letter I sent to the editors at Elle about how pissed-off I was about a piece of advice given by their resident advice-giver, E-jean. You can check out the original post and the letter I wrote to the editor here. You can also check out the angry rant I wrote after I received the July issue of Elle, and not only had my letter failed to be included, but there were zero negative, or even lukewarm, letters printed at all. As you can tell by that post I was pretty annoyed at Elle and fed-up with magazines in general. So when I received my August issue, I tossed it on the coffee table without glancing at it, and there it sat—until yesterday.

I had a lazy Sunday, I was blown out from attending Meatfest the day before, it’s an annual BBQ and ode to succulent, fattening, tasty meat held by my sister and her boyfriend. I ate a “bacon explosion” which consists of bacon, sausage, and cheese, all rolled-up, covered in spices, and smoked until delicious. I ate lamb chili, and tried hard to forget I was eating baby sheep because it was so damn amazing. I ate a lot, and for the occasion I made cornbread covered in bacon, and I ate some of that too.

Anyway, I overindulged, and I spent the next day recovering. My day involved a few accidental naps, some aspirational internet shopping, and a lot of in-depth vegging. It seemed a good time to finally put a dent in the accumulation of magazines on my coffee table. I grabbed the August Elle, and after reading the same old crap about Drew Barrymore and some boring stuff about home hair color, I flipped to the “letter to the editor”, or “mail bonding” as they call it, page to see if they had any less-than-positive readers this month. A negative letter caught my eye, and I spotted the name “E.Jean” and thought “Alright! At least someone got to have their thoughts about this lady put in print”. As I continued reading the letter sounded strangely familiar, and I almost fell off the couch when my sluggish meat-infused mind put it all together and I saw my name in print. I squealed, and then I thought “whoopsie! Maybe I should have held off on my little rant”.

Here it is, highlighted in pink, click the image to view it larger.

I can’t say that I’m not a bit embarrassed, but I’m really glad they printed my letter, so thanks Elle! That being said, I stand by most of my rant, but I may not cancel my subscription just yet because I’m still a total sucker for pages like this:

Pretty isn’t it? A good makeup collage can mend all wrongs (well not really, but it doesn’t hurt). Makeup is the only thing in the pages of Elle that I can even remotely afford anyway, so I have to hold on to something. I’m super psyched that Elle published my letter, and I hope that if enough people continue to speak their minds, I’ll actually be able to relate to some of the stuff they publish. For the moment I can say that I enjoy looking at the cosmetics pages, and maybe one day Elle will catch-on that most of the women who read their magazine would like fewer items that are “Priced upon request” and more that are available at say Forever 21 or Macy’s.

As for Ms. E. Jean, I still think it’s about time for her to retire, and if Elle needs a new advice columnist—well, I’m currently available.


Filed under acceptance

Beauty in the Movies: Reality Bites

Welcome to the mid 90s, when you didn’t have to have glossy hair, a svelte body, or perfect clothes to be attractive. When grunge ruled, and MTV was actually interesting. I was only nine in 1994 when Reality Bites came out, which in some ways has made it more nostalgic for me, because although I didn’t understand half of it, I thought these characters were so damn cool that they made a permanent impression on me. Years later as I was watching it again, just after graduating from college, it was strange because even after having seen it dozens of times, I could suddenly relate to it.

Reality Bites is the quintessential Gen-X film. The story centers around a group of friends who’ve just recently graduated from college (although one of them dropped out) and are living and working in Houston, Texas. Lelaina (Winona Ryder) was the valedictorian of her university and is an aspiring video artist, Vickie (Janeane Garofalo) is a promiscuous retail manager at the Gap, Sammy (Steve Zahn)—well I’m not sure what he does, but he’s gay and struggling to come out to his parents, and Troy (Ethan Hawke) an unemployed genius who thinks he has all the answers.

A love triangle sits at the heart of this film. Lelaina and Troy, who’ve been long time friends with obvious sexual tension often leading to hostility, form the first two points. The third point is occupied by yuppie TV producer Michael (Ben Stiller) who also directed the film. Lelaina is stuck between a stable, successful guy who obviously likes her, and a moody (but sexy) friend who is hot-and-cold towards her. The film also deals with AIDS, homosexuality, growing up, figuring out who you are, and of course falling in love. Those are all big issues, but they’re dealt with in a natural and human way, the weight of the issues isn’t thrown in your face, and if it is, it’s followed by a laugh.

There aren’t too many movies that touch on art and its meaning. When the documentary Lelaina has been passionately working on for years is given the MTV/Real World editing treatment by Michael’s TV station, she is not only disappointed in him, but devastated that something with so much meaning to her was butchered and reformed into something both embarrassing and unrecognizable. It’s an unfortunate result of having your work recognized, others often forget that artwork is an extension of a person, and not a thing to be corrupted in order to fit a need.

Ultimately a lot of this film revolves around which guy Lelaina will choose, but it’s the details that make it great. There are tons of cameos—David Spade, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Renée Zellweger, and Anne Meara (Stiller’s mom) to name a few. Swoosie Kurtz is perfect as Lelaina’s big-haired, Texan mother, wearing one of the most amazing shoulder-padded, puffy-painted T-shirts I’ve ever seen. This film is ripe with excellent 90s fashion, from Vickie’s lunchbox purses and 60s mini dresses to Lelaina’s grungy shirt-dresses and mary-janes. We also get to see just how gorgeous Winona Ryder is, as she spends most of the movie in baggy t-shirts, unflattering pants and very little makeup, while still looking enviously beautiful.

The depictions of friendship in this film are incredibly frank—the fights, the fun, it all feels true to life and the actors pull it off really well. I especially love the relationship between Lelaina and Vickie, it doesn’t come off like we are being forced to believe these people are friends, it’s just obvious that they are, even when they’re mean to each other. Janeane Garofalo manages to give her character depth without turning into a cliché. The scene in the diner where she discusses her fear of testing positive for HIV is both really funny and really moving. Reality Bites is basically just a romantic comedy, but the supporting characters lend a charm to the story, they take it down a notch while still remaining three-dimensional characters. Without Vickie and Sammy telling Lelaina to get her ass off the couch and stop calling Latoya Jackson’s psychic friends, you wouldn’t have much of a story.

The film has an awesome soundtrack too, U2, The Knack, Juliana Hatfield, Lenny Kravitz, and of course Peter Frampton. The scene featuring the Knack’s My Sharona is one of the most iconic in the film, and who could forget the Lisa Loeb song Stay and the accompanying video which ran on MTV Constantly. Ethan Hawke actually discovered Lisa Loeb, and the use of her song on the Reality Bites soundtrack propelled her song to #1 before she had even been signed.

I can’t think of any other film that captures the fears and struggles of the post-college years as well as this one. It’s probably one of the most difficult times in life. You’re supposed to be an adult, but if you’ve been in school your whole life, it’s a major shock when you’re thrown into the real world and told to sink or swim. Things have only gotten worse with the recession, and the kids who have just graduated from college this year have even fewer opportunities to get started in their chosen field. You come out of college with a whole lot of (often useless) knowledge, a huge pile of debt, meager life skills, and no idea what you want to do with yourself. Even if you do have an idea of what you want, you have to figure out how to do it, and in the meantime everyone keeps asking you what your plans are. Come to think of it, that pressure isn’t just reserved for recent college grads, but everyone.

I’ve heard people talk about how annoying this film is, or how whiny or pretentious it is, and yes, I can see it, but I think that’s part of the charm. It’s sort of implied that the audience has one-up on these characters. They’re 23, but they think they know everything, they’re incredibly smart, but they haven’t lived at all, and all of them are remarkably naive. I’m not really a Ben Stiller fan, but one of my favorite moments in this film comes when his character offers perfect, and funny insight into Troy’s personality by using a reference to Hamlet’s Yorick monologue. While Troy is all abstract thought and irony—laughing at all the people who care so much, he’s the joke, because nobody wants to be around him.

Over the course of the movie all the characters learn a major lesson; they don’t have anything figured out, but it’s alright, because neither does anyone else. Part of growing up is learning that you don’t have control over anything, and the only real power any of us have, is over who we decide to be.

This era is having a revival right now, so if you want to get the look check out the fashions below. Have a great weekend, eat some good food, have some fun, and please tell some people about this blog!


Filed under Beauty in the movies

Beauty Grab Bag Fun-Time

Looks like this might become a regular post. As I spoke about yesterday I’m feeling the wedding stress, and also it’s just fun to post about random things together.

Last week I brought you Winston the cat, this week I bring you Maru.

Maru is from Japan and if, like me, you’re an internet cat video aficionado, you probably already know him, but his videos never fail to be funny and adorable. You have to watch until the end to see his astounding box sliding abilities, it’s worth it, promise.

Box Jumping!

Alright, I have another little treat today, my friend Jessica has a good beauty buy to share. Here is a pic of her loot.

Here’s the story in her words:

“I got it at Bendel’s—was planning on just buying powder in a summer heat makeup emergency but they talked me into Fig body souffle, debuting exclusively at Bendel’s this week. Then to my surprise—all the stuff on the right came for free, pistachio scrub, lip gloss, foundation primer, a travel size mini powder of the one I bought, in a cosmetic pouch.

I love everything—and my favorite is the scrub it smells ridiculous. I will totally buy it again. They got me, and I’m glad!”

God I love free samples too, and this is an especially good set. I should point out here that I want to encourage (really encourage) people to send in their good beauty buys, because I know you have them, and I want to see them, and so does everyone else! They don’t have to be from Bendel’s, they can be from the drug store, or Sephora, or wherever you are surprised and delighted by something—a deal, or a product, or whatever, and send pictures!

While we’re on the subject of cosmetics, here is a new launch I’m very excited about. Combining two things I love, MAC and Disney villains, check out the MAC venomous villains collection!

These collections aren’t available until September 30th, and I’m a little disappointed that Ursula from The Little Mermaid didn’t get her own collection, I mean come on! The dude from The Princess and the Frog gets a collection, but no Queen of Hearts, or evil step-sisters either—seriously?

I am however jazzed for the Maleficent collection:

And the Evil Queen too:

I’ve loved the Disney Villains since I was a kid, I always thought they were more interesting than the princesses—well except for Ariel. When I was in 10th grade my friend Kevin bought me this mug at the Disney store for my Birthday, and it’s still my favorite mug!

Also, it’s August which means Fall is coming. So recently I can’t stop thinking about cute jackets and boots, it always happens this time of year. Here is a quick collage from polyvore. I really want a new fall jacket, I want one every year though, here are some cute options.

I don’t want summer to end, but I keep getting little flashes of how nice it feels to be cozy in a  pair of boots and socks, or maybe it’s just that I still wish I could go back-to-school shopping every year, or maybe it’s because fall is my favorite season. Whatever the reason, I love picking out cute new fall clothes, even if I can’t buy them, they’re so fun to look at and dream of jumping in piles of leaves!

Meet me back here for Beauty in the Movies tomorrow when we head back to the 90s for Reality Bites, grunge is SO hot right now—and don’t forget to send me your beauty buys if you’d like to have them featured! Don’t be shy!
Autumn boots and coats by justinez featuring TopShop

Waterfall Jacket
110 AUD – generalpants.com.au
More Don’t Ask Amanda jackets »

Joseph mega check tweed alcor jacket
95 GBP – flannelsfashion.com
More jackets »

Quest Blazer
$100 – modcloth.com
More blazers »

We Who See Lace-Up Boot
$128 – urbanoutfitters.com
More We Who See boots »

Frye Dorado Riding at Zappos.com
$498 – zappos.com


Filed under cosmetics, shopping

The Stress of Weddings

I’m getting married in 79 days. Writing that feels scary. I feel like it wasn’t too long ago that I had months to plan, but now it’s all come down to these last 79 days and suddenly I feel like each day flies by in an instant.

When I first got engaged everyone kept saying, “oh you must be so busy with the wedding” and “you’re probably so stressed out” and I kept wondering what the big deal was, it seemed so easy. We were so ahead of the game, we got engaged in June, I had my dress ordered by July and the venue booked by August, all that done with more than a year to go. There really wasn’t much to do after that—until now.

I know I’ve done a few other posts about weddings, but I can’t help having them on my mind, and in less than three months I’ll be married and I won’t obsess over them anymore, promise. I hate that I’m obsessing over this wedding at all, but it becomes a huge part of your life and for at least a few months, it occupies most of your thoughts. It had seemed so far away for so long that I can’t believe how close it is now, and it’s pure anticipation from here on out. In the next couple weeks all those final arrangements are being made and people are going to be asking me a lot of questions about things I’m not sure I know the answer to. For example, “what color would you like your chair covers”? I actually asked if I could just have the chairs without the covers, but you can’t, so I don’t really care what color they are. Details like that don’t worry me, I know all those trivial little details won’t really matter, and if they do matter to someone, I’m glad it’s not me. I’m more concerned about the weather, or nervously laughing during the ceremony, or not being able to walk in my shoes.

There is also all this stress about changing your name, I’m not sure why some women chose to keep or change their names, but needless to say it’s an incredibly personal choice. Since I am one of seven granddaughters, with no grandsons, I always thought I’d keep my last name. I like it, and it never occurred to me that I would want to change it. In spite of all that, I think I’m going for the hyphen, because I like my last name, but I like his too and it just feels right, much like the way it felt when we decided to get married in the first place. It will however involve paperwork, which brings me back to the stress.

When you’re involved in a wedding there’s a whole bunch of stuff to keep track of, and it’s not that these things are terribly hard, there are just a lot of factors working together. You have people coming from all over, you have to arrange a hotel, and transportation, and of course the guest list and seating chart. If you can afford to hire a wedding planner that’s fabulous, but if not, it can become a full-time job. While some of us can shake our heads and think, “that’s crazy, when I get married I’m doing ___ or ___”, you never really know until you start researching and planning for yourself. Trust me, these things can snowball, that’s how they work. Not to mention that even uttering the word wedding gets you charged extra on everything from flowers to music, people know there is money in weddings, and even a restrained event can cost you dearly.

People don’t seem to understand how expensive weddings are, especially in and around big cities. Getting married in Manhattan, or even the outer boroughs, can cost double what it would anywhere else. When we first got engaged I thought we’d have one of those beautiful little weddings you see in Real Simple or on Theknot.com, you know with ball jars as vases, mismatched table cloths, and everything handmade from etsy or by someones mom. I thought “we’ll be thrifty, we’ll be simple and different—do a buffet, rent a tent, it will be sweet”, and  you know what I discovered? It costs twice as much to have an event that appears laid back, quirky and handmade. Maybe if you have a lot of land, or a lot of people willing to help, you can do it on a low-budget, I’m not sure. I was shocked to see how much less expensive it is to have your wedding at a catering hall, and that’s what we chose, because I can’t spend all my time stressing about this, and I don’t want anyone else to either. It might not be a custom experience, but I’ll know that the people we’re trusting to hold our wedding have done this before and do it all the time, they know what they’re doing, and I don’t.

Getting married itself is stressful enough, all the pressure that “wedding culture” puts on to it just adds fuel to the fire. Even if you walk down to city hall and exchange vows in front of witnesses, it’s still a stressful event, because it changes your life even while things stay the same. The ceremony is deeply significant, whether you have a big party or not, that moment you exchange vows you’ve entered into something new. My name will change, all the sudden—boom, new name. I’ve seen it on facebook, and in the office, one day someone is Jane Doe and the next week she’s Jane Smith, or Jane Doe-Smith, and even though it’s the same person it denotes something has changed. In my post about my incredible bridal shower, I spoke about how the wedding craze that consumes America loses sight of what weddings and marriage are all about, I think the same thing happens when you get caught up in the planning.

I’m really excited to marry my fiancé, and I can’t wait to celebrate with all my family and friends, there will be so much mirth, so much enjoyment in just 79 days, I can’t wait. What I need is to keep telling myself that the stress will pass, and things will fall into place, it will be perfect in its imperfection. The favors won’t be elaborate or custom-made, the cake won’t be gourmet, and some people might think the ceremony is a bit different, but all that stuff doesn’t matter, because as long as all the big stuff comes together—we’ll be married at the end of the night, and that’s the least stressful part of all.


Filed under acceptance