Planning Update #2.

I wanted to update about the wedding planning more frequently, but the actual planning precludes it and, well, much of everything.

-We changed the date to April 14, 2007, and are booking the Vault Room at the City Museum early next week.

-My friend Monika is coming along for my first bridal gown appointment. We're going to I Do I Do Bridal in Chesterfield. I would have preferred a shop with a pun in its name, but St. Louis is strangely lacking in The Princess Bridals.

-I found The Gown. I Do I Do is the only retailer in the area that carries the designer, and they don't have the gown in stock. (If they did, it would be $999.) So my plan goes a little something like this: I'll try on other gowns by the designer tomorrow and figure out if the sizing is consistent. Then I'll go online and buy it for nearly half the price. (Salespeople love me.) That is, if I can get over buying something as important as a wedding dress from some creepy website.

The thing is, I have a feeling that the spaghetti strap, A-line style will be the best look for me, but you never know. I thought I wanted a princess-cut solitaire engagement ring, and when I tried a few on, they looked like dead hobos had taken up residence on my ring finger. (True story: I never remember if the ring finger is called something else. I always confuse it with the index finger. When I was Googling all of this so I wouldn't sound troglodytic, I discovered this site, and now I know I have balanced emotions and a balanced ego and that I should stay away from pinky rings.)

-I have a meeting with a potential florist, RW Designs, on Thursday. He and I connected right away; I found myself telling him I was more rock star pink than girly pink and that if even one rose made its way into my bouquet, I would go Linda Blair on him, and it made him laugh instead of get freaked out, which I like because I was trying to make him laugh while also making sure he understood just how very much I hate roses. He asked me what my colors were going to be, and I had a hard time answering. Here's what I'm thinking:

Fuchsia and black and/or magenta, but richer, more mature versions than the Crayola colors (deep pink mini calla lilies).

Pale and deep bluish purples, maybe with some pink or white thrown in (This is one where the flower would dictate the colors because I love hydrangeas so much. Stephanotis or snapdragons might be nice accompaniments).

Bright pink, deep sky blue, black and white, something very simple, with a Japanese -- not anime, Michael -- feel (jasmine, and cherry blossoms, so that could be a cool spin). We need to hit up Dave for some help; he likes the sort of Japanese art (highly stylized, muted colors) I was getting inspired by. I can just see the invitations now, printed on sky-blue paper with hand-drawn (by someone other than me) cherry blossoms like in the photo, with our details flush-right in a delicate serif font, all lower-cased. Yes, serif. I wish I knew the name of the font I'm imagining; I think I saw it in Martha Stewart Weddings.

I need to stop. Now.

03-31-2006 3:52 PM - comments (2)

The People's Court.

A few minutes after the Dave Lenihan/Condoleeza Rice/racial slur incident last week, a friend had this to say:

"That word doesn't even register in my subconscious. It's not a word I use or think about, so I would never have used it by accident. The fact that he used it, even inadvertently, makes it obvious that he's racist, so he should definitely be fired."

I did the whole picking-my-jaw-up-off-the-floor thing. Maybe this will reveal something about me, but I don't think he should have been fired. I'm almost entirely sure it was a mistake, and while KTRS has the right to fire anyone it likes (that pre-Christmas present to the staff sure was nice), I think the manager made a terrible mistake by sending that message. There are so many legitimate issues concerning racism and prejudice in the media, and this is really going to have a boy-who-cried-wolf effect.

It was frustrating to hear my friend claim not to have a prejudiced bone in her body in spite of the telling fact that she clearly understands what the word Lenihan mistakenly used -- coon -- refers to. To go all Freud on the guy and declare him to be a racist is not only ironically judgmental but it also shows that the conservative movement's smug, contrived exhaustion with political correctness might have some value after all.

She also seemed to have been swayed by the changes that have taken place at KTRS since January -- your typical AM news-types replaced by small-time shock jocks. Like other lifelong St. Louisans who were disappointed by that seemingly seismic shift, her first reaction to the incident (and I think incidents like these require contemplation, not jerked knees) was to make Lenihan the proverbial scapegoat.*

The day after the slip-up, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch summed things up in a front-page story, tacking on a graf about two radio hosts who used a racial slur on air in the '90s and were subsequently fired. The final graf detailed minority construction workers' recent discovery of a hanged raccoon. I found the last paragraph, in particular, representative of how dangerous next-day stories can be when reporters feel the need to go above the 5Ws and singlehandedly determine (or worse, manufacture) context.

If we are to assume reporters write at an eighth-grade level -- and I think a quick scan of the Post backs up this assumption -- doesn't it follow that unsophisticated readers would deduce what the reporter** so clearly laid out for them: that these incidents are analogous to one another?

I have no idea if Lenihan were a good talk-show host; he'd only been at the station for two weeks, and I don't care like fuzzy local AM radio enough to tune in. But I get the feeling that the "color-blind" people who were so quick to label Lenihan racist last week could benefit from reassessing their own prejudices and feelings about race, as we all could.

*I have no idea if there's a proverb about a scapegoat, but I have been watching "Dawson's Creek" reruns.
**The reporter in question is normally pretty sharp, and I'm not just saying that because he's a Mizzou grad. I have a feeling it was at an editor's insistence the raccoon graf be added.

03-28-2006 12:12 PM - comments (0)

The Belated Bling.

I've finally uploaded photos of my engagement ring to Flickr. My mom took them at home in Houston, so if the resolution is a little grainy, it's because she desperately needs a new camera. You'll notice I don't have a future in hand modeling (side note: Must I hate everything about myself in photos?).

Married and engaged readers: Do you find yourself staring at your ring obsessively? I even drive with my hands on top of the steering wheel (I used to be a 10-and-2 purist) just to have an excuse to look at it.

03-23-2006 7:50 AM - comments (2)

Destination Unknown.

The newspaper industry tries to make its last gasps count for something.

03-21-2006 11:09 AM - comments (0)

Pleasant Surprises.

About once a week, I come home to find a package on my doorstep from either my mom and my aunt. I really hope when I get to a place in my life where I can afford to do so that I am as generous and thoughtful as they are.

Getting packages is one of the few things that can make me forget what I terrible day or week I've been having. If only I could magically alter those credit card offers and MU Alumni Association groveling requests for donations into big brown boxes...

03-13-2006 10:31 AM - comments (1)

Sunday Successes.

Because I hate Sundays so much, I've decided they're meant for two things: cleaning the apartment ever-so-slowly and cooking. Tonight I made lamb chops with a black cherry preserve, balsamic viniagrette and shallot sauce; sweet pea, onion and parmesan risotto; and wilted arugula with butter and white wine. I was impressed primarily because I've never cooked with lamb before, and it turned out well (well, medium, anyway). The success is due in large part to the meat thermometer we picked up at Target today. Next month's purchases: a cast-iron skillet and a reversible grill pan.

On an unrelated note, I had a shot of Jose Cuervo and two margaritas last night and (1) sang Joan Jett and (2) rode a mechanical bull. I suppose there's a first time for everything, including cooking with lamb.

03-12-2006 8:59 PM - comments (0)

Goodbye, Bad Idea Jeans.

A friend and I are going shopping tomorrow, West County Mall-style. I've bought a few things here and there over the past few months, but I haven't had one of those regret-filled binges -- you know, the kind where the Nordstrom bags are so heavy they leave indentations in your arms -- in at least half a year. She's using her tax refund. I'm bearing in mind I owe the government $358 for some godless reason.

Despite what Michael would say, I'm a very efficient shopper, and I tend to prefer shopping by myself (tomorrow's company excluded, of course). I make far more impulse buys when I'm with someone else, especially friends who think everything looks dazzling on me. I suppose they are the best kind of friends, though. I've become better at knowing my style, and this vastly differs from knowing what I like on a rack. I am perpetually drawn to colorful A-line and flounce skirts that emphasize my waist and button-up cap-sleeved shirts. I adore '50s-style dresses and delicate sandals with short heels. The sale racks with winter's striped sweaters and shrubs (that's my mother's word) call out to me, and I join the frantic crowd of shoppers desperate to find the last pair of forest-green corduroy pants in size 5/6, the kind I wouldn't have even looked at when full-price because they were only attractive after an hour of shopping intoxication.

I always try on too many denim jackets, especially the very '80s acid-washed ones. I gather up my selections with both arms, often dropping the camisole the salesgirl insisted I try on to layer under the too-thin T-shirt she insisted I try on, and, perfectly disheveled, I stare at the jewelry and belt racks, looking for the perfect match at buy two, get one free.

What I've discovered while cleaning out my closet over the years is that I look good in some things and very bad in others. Keeping these rules in mind is the only way that in six months I won't be holding up a pair of veritable Bad Idea Jeans that are paler than my skin and barely reach my ankles.

* I need to avoid sleeveless shirts so I don't cry when I see photos of myself.

* I should stick with three-quarters length shirts and V- and scoop-necks to emphasize my chest and neck and hide my arms.

* Capris are not a good idea for 65" girls such as myself. The only exception to this rule is if they are accompanied by a pair of summery sandals with some height, ones that can be worn with more than, say, one outfit.

* Because I have reddish-brown hair, I look good in greens, browns and blacks, but I own far too much black. I should never, ever wear yellow or red.

* I prefer and have always preferred flare over boot-cut jeans, and no matter how trendy they are, super low-rise jeans are meant almost exclusively for tall, thin girls.

* I like a round toe for my Mary Janes but square for everything else.

* Skirts and dresses should reach mid-thigh; anything longer makes me look like a kindergarten teacher, and anything shorter makes me look like a prostitute.

* Dresses should always come in closely at my waist. Belted dresses are the best.

* When it comes to jeans, the darker the better.

* Peacoat/three-quarters-length jackets are more flattering on my body type than jackets that hit the waist.

* Polka dots are always good, as are whimsical designs; something that stands out, but not obnoxiously so.

* Though I own a good number of thongs, I always, always prefer the fit of low-rise bikini and boyshort underwear.

* I own too much black and hot pink underwear and need to branch into white, beige, pale blue and green.

* I can't wear wireless bras. My current favorite is the Body by Victoria shaping full-coverage bra, but tomorrow I plan to try on the new Ipex bra everyone's been orgasming about.

* Cleavage is my best weapon against skinny girls, but I should only opt for it when my upper arms are covered, otherwise it's a wash.

* I need to stop buying cute ringer Ts with ironic sayings. They make me look very well-endowed, but all I ever use them for is pajamas.

* Panty hose is the devil, but it makes my legs look pretty good. (I've heard "the sun" can provide similar results, but I'll wait for more information.)

* Long necklaces might be all the rage, but I can't stop liking choker length and simple pendants.

* No matter how adorable they are, little purses are completely impractical. I'll keep my Mary Poppins bag, thank you very much.

* I've found some of the greatest jackets and dresses at Goodwill and should remember that the next time I try on a $168 Banana Republic sundress.

* I didn't care for Ann Taylor Loft when I first shopped there a couple of years ago. Either I've grown up, or it's gotten cooler. Either way, having one three-quarters of a mile away from our apartment is bad news bears.

* I wear too much black eyeliner and am trying to wean myself off of it, or at the very least, apply a thinner line of it.

* No, I do not need the free gift at Clinique or Lancome. So far, CoverGirl AquaSmooth powder and/or the Bare Escentuals starter kit I got for Christmas works just fine, as does my $1.99 NYC eyeliner. I will spend a little more on my lipstick (MAC, and still a good deal) and mascara (Dior's trumps the drugstore brands, which is the only way I can justify the expenditure).

* Along those lines, perfume is one of the few luxury items people on a budget can own without paying haute-couture prices. I never have a problem choosing Chanel or Dior over Estee Lauder if the price difference is negligible. I've never spent more than $120 or so on a pair of shoes (I nearly lost it over a pair of Marc Jacobs silver star heels, but even I realized they were ridiculous). The only Coach purses I own were gifts from my too-generous aunt. I still feel guilty for spending close to $300 on a red BCBG floor-length halter dress for a black-tie gala more than a year ago. I was too scared to try on a Missoni T-shirt at Saks the last time I was there for fear I'd somehow break it. But by God, I will smell wonderful!

* Yes, I am very much a girl. All apologies to my male readers and/or the female ones who are above such jejune materialism.

03-10-2006 1:03 PM - comments (3)

Planning Update #1.

We had an appointment with the facility coordinator at the City Museum today to scout out reception locations. It's our first choice for a ceremony/reception in St. Louis; in fact, we really are just deciding between that and having a destination wedding (I'm really liking the Sandals resorts now. I also liked the El Dorado Royale, but there was a weird sandbag-type thing in the ocean to keep the shore from eroding, and it detracted from the experience. That may sound picky, but when you're paying that kind of money for a vacation, it probably shouldn't come with sandbags that start looking like whales when you've had a couple of mojitos).

We were originally interested in the Architecture Hall and the Vault Room -- Architecture Hall is larger and has a dance floor, while the Vault Room had a nice space for the ceremony itself -- but we ended up really falling in love with the First Floor/Mezzanine. It's gorgeous -- beautiful mosaic, an aquarium, sparkly trees, etc. The only problems? It can't be rented on the weekends because the museum is open to the public then, and the guests would have to mill around the museum after the ceremony for about half an hour while the dinner tables were set up. But as Michael pointed out, if there's any place where people can have fun by killing time, it's exploring the City Museum. (Oh, and we can only have 100 guests. But that might work to our advantage, because the thought of getting married and dancing and all that stuff in front of near-strangers terrifies me.)

So our only real option is to have a Sunday evening ceremony and reception and hope people don't mind. We're thinking Jan. 14 or Feb. 18 if we decide on the First Floor/Mezzanine and Feb. 24 if we go with Architecture Hall or the Vault Room.

I made the mistake of researching catering prices. Wow. Who would have guessed rubbery chicken with some dried-out vegetables would run us $50/hour? I had my heart set on Wolfgang Puck Catering (the menu does look pretty good, but really, I just like the name Wolfgang), but I don't want to give my dad a stroke. We're thinking the Butler's Pantry now and probably hors d'oeuvres and an open bar for about four hours. Maybe people will drink enough that they won't care they're not getting a (forgettable) sit-down meal.

Of course, there is always the destination wedding route. As my mom said today, if we do that, my parents will pay for both the wedding and our honeymoon. That's incredibly appealing, as is getting married with just a handful of our friends and family watching. We could always have a more casual reception back in St. Louis, but I think by the time we get married, I'll be tired of all the planning. I kind of already am.

Any thoughts?

03-07-2006 8:59 PM - comments (4)

Inquiring Minds Want to Know.

MU's favorite son really isn't dead at the hands of a same-named Times reporter, right?

03-01-2006 11:11 AM - comments (3)