Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wedding Report

This past weekend seems to have been wedding central. I know of at least three in my extended circle of friends. Because I'm nosy and actually love weddings, I volunteered to report back to bellybee on the wedding I attended. I apologize in advance to the bride and groom and their entire families should any of them read this through the serendipity of the web and think me less than grateful for their hospitality, which I'm not. Having gotten married myself, I also know that to plan any wedding is a big pain. Herding 100 people around is not to be taken lightly.

Having said that, the wedding was classy, but surprisingly typical. The bride is a Ren Faire/Victorian porn/theater kind of person, and the groom, while quieter, is after all marrying her and from what I've seen can definitely keep up. And not much of that was reflected in the wedding, which was disappointing.

The invitation was made with artwork specially created for them, which I think is classy: it had a stained-glass Japanese effect if that makes sense, and the autumn colors were carried throughout the wedding without the two-tone team-sports effect you sometimes see. The wedding was at the Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa at 3. The ceremony took place in the courtyard and the reception in a small banquet room just off the courtyard. A pleasant place, but unfortunately at least 93 degrees that day and some seats in the full sun. Sept/Oct is a great time for Bay Area weddings, but you cannot count on the weather! As you walked in, there was the guestbook table, with a framed invite. I liked the tea set:
Someone (a "hostess") was assigned to woman the guestbook table and offer guests small boxes of tissues (that's what's in the basket). I thought that was kind of weird, actually - I guess I just never assume people will be overcome with emotion for me. But I could be wrong. :-)

I was also a hostess. My duty was at the gift table, where I stuck cards to presents with double-sided tape. On the table, they had set up a Japanese laquer tray for cards. Classical music before and during the wedding. They walked in to Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, second movement. I thought it was a good choice.

The ceremony itself was modern, pleasant, and slightly Christian.  The pastor at least was mic'ed (cordless); I don't know about the bride and groom. Here are the bridal party, the flower girl, and the bride walking in.

Then, interesting touch, the two mothers went and got a beautiful wedding kimono that had been lying in state on a table by the door and draped it over the bride. The bridesmaids also got ceremoniously decked with antique black silk kimonos. I can't recall if the bride is part Japanese, but in college we all had beautiful antique kimonos (long ones) because we had a cheap source, and would wear them sometimes to class on special kimono days. So this was a personal touch on her part.

After the ceremony, the pastor announced that we were all to stay in the courtyard while the bridal party took photos. So the bar at the back of the courtyard opened, and waiters wandered around with champagne and hors d'ouerves. They had naturally set up the bar before the wedding started, and it was a full bar, and free. The picture-taking went on for about an hour (!) - and oddly after awhile they came back out to the courtyard and took millions of photos while everyone milled around and watched them. I say oddly because I am a fan of the receiving line, but I think that's just me.

Finally at 4:30 we started to go in for the sit-down dinner. They had a table set up outside with everyone's name cards and what table they should sit at - color-coded by their meal choice. You took it with you to your table. I thought this worked well, though my friend who hostessed that table complained that some people took the wrong cards and others were missing their cards, so I guess there's only so much you can do! The seating was grouped by interest rather than randomly, so we were sitting with other college-era friends of the bride, at what we quickly discovered was the geek table. (There are always geeky men around me. It's one of those things.) At least the conversation was pretty natural.

The reception went slowly - or at least it did to those of us wanting dinner. After we'd all been seated, someone announced the bridal party for all the world like they were stars in a show, and they trooped in. The bride and groom sat at a table by themselves, and the bridal party was distributed amongst the guest tables. The first dance, the food, the slightly strange wedding dancing, the garter toss, bouquet toss, and the cake cutting were all entirely normal. We left pretty soon after the cake. Here's some cake cutting.

They did do the smashing of the cake, but carefully. And watching them clean each other up was cute. You can see her dress a bit better here - it was quite simple and nice, with a corset-like back. Of course not in bellybee's style. :-) Here's the bride, and a shot of the bridesmaids' dresses.
And here's a shot of me with the bride and the friend I hung out with for the entire time: my roommate from my junior year of college, who I hadn't seen in more than 5 years. Didn't stop us from immediately making snarky comments about anything and everything going on. 

So, in summary, a nice wedding, though not what I was expecting. I keep thinking about what the bride emailed me a few days ago - that they'd get the ceremony over nice and fast so that everyone could enjoy themselves. But I think that's the wrong approach. After all, all those people were there to see them get married (and surely that's why they themselves were there?) A party with people we didn't know is a bonus at best. Perhaps it's hard to seriously display your emotions without feeling like you're on a reality show? I don't know. As I said, herding 100 people is hard enough without having to be genuine at the same time. Anyway, thanks to bellybee for inviting me to post, and all the best to her!   

Monday, September 29, 2008

Brilliant Earth Refer A Friend Discount

If anyone's in the market for some fair trade bling, let me know--looks like we could both get a discount! See below, from the BrillianT Earth newsletter:

Refer a Friend
Tell a friend about Brilliant Earth and you’ll both receive
a discount of $100 off a purchase of $1,000 or more. Please use reference code: REFBE101508.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Guest Blogger

I've invited a friend who attended a wedding this weekend to guest blog her impressions about the wedding, so we should be hearing from her soon! Readers may know her as the saucy bilunabirotunda.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wedding update

I know some of you are thinking: Wow, these book reviews are really nice, and of course stunningly well-written, but WTF are you doing about the wedding that is ostensibly the reason for this blog? So, an update:

1. Mr. T's cousin's wedding is coming up in a couple of weeks. I'll be making notes of ideas to steal. I notice they are using Honeyfund, so it's mutual! ;-)

2. On November 1, we plan on hitting all the stores for decor and favors--50% or more discounts, yay! (Does candy last that long? Hm...)

3. I'm also planning on buying pumpkins this year and experimenting with some of the designs found in this post.

4. I've contacted our potential venue and asked to schedule a tasting. Last night Mr. T and I were debating the merits of pork versus beef. I think he's going with pork (that one's his decision...I'm going for fish. And don't worry, vegetarians, we've got you covered too).

5. Most importantly, we've started thinking about what we want to do for our 11th anniversary this year. The MOH is having her annual Halloween party on the date itself, so it looks like we'll be celebrating on 11/1 (appropriate for an 11th anniversary!).

More updates to come--on 11/1, I think things will really pick up!

Review of Candy Girl

This one I read right after I got home from vacation. It was a really quick and funny read, but I'm not sure it's for everyone, as I'll discuss in a moment.

First, why did I choose this book? you might ask. Well, first, I loved Juno, and Diablo Cody wrote the screenplay.

Second, when I saw her on TV at the Oscars, she was wearing leopard print, my favorite! She looked so awesome in her black hair and leopard dress and tattoos amongst all the glitterati. See below for evidence: Girl loves her some leopard and cheetah print! I also like how she always wears flats. Maybe the stripper shoes ruined her feet for heels?:

Then I found out she used to be a stripper before writing Juno. Hm, interesting. So when I found Candy Girl, which tells how she went from copywriting at an ad agency to being a full-time stripper, I had to check it out.

Her writing is really smart and funny and tells the journey of a "normal" girl deciding to fully embrace an alternative lifestyle. You cringe with her as she awkwardly learns how to do a lap dance and are happy when she makes good money. I know the feminists out there are probably outraged, but she entered the trade of her own accord and discovered that she loved it. A lot of the stories are gross, as you might expect, but mostly the book is fascinating.

One of the more interesting parts of the book is her boyfriend Jonny, who wholeheartedly supports her and never gets jealous. The parts about him and about their relationship really shine.

Anyway, if you're not squeamish, prudish, or a militant feminist, I recommend this one.

Review of I Love You, Beth Cooper

This is another vacation read. The author used to write for the Simpsons, and the cover looked great (there are actually versions of this drawing used all throughout the book), so I had high hopes for this one.

I was not disappointed. It was a totally entertaining trip through one teen's graduation night. Denis is his high school's valedictorian, and uses his speech at the graduation to tell everyone (gently) what he thinks of them, and then confess his unrequited love for the head cheerleader, Beth Cooper.

The head cheerleader ends up showing up at his house that night for his "party" (consisting of him and his one geeky friend) with two other cheerleaders, promptly followed by Beth's army boyfriend and two of his thug friends, and a hilarious chase through the town (including a gas station, the high school locker room, another party, and a lake house) ensues. Meanwhile Denis and Beth actually get to know each other.

They don't quite end up happily ever after, but it's close enough to leave those of us who like a happy ending satisfied, but not close enough so that it's a typical book ending.

I saw this book playing out in my head while I read it, like a 16 Candles type movie. I wouldn't be surprised to see it in the theaters someday.

I recommend this one as light and fun summer reading. Or winter reading. Or Fall. Really, it's entertaining and worth it.

Review of Certain Girls

I took three books on vacation and finished 2 and started the third...still not sure if I'm ever going to finish the third, but that's another post.

The first book was Certain Girls. I had been on the library waiting list for this one for like, forever. Chick lit is very popular at the library, apparently.

I picked this one because I read its predecessor, Good In Bed, and liked the snarky plus-sized heroine. However, my one word review for Certain Girls: Meh.

The snark has all but disappeared from our heroine as she plays wife and mother. The book alternates between two narrators: Cannie, the boring housewife and worried mom, and her whiny teenage daughter, whose name I can't remember now. The daughter is approaching her bat mitzvah and chafing at her mother's constraints, the mother is worried about the daughter's grades dropping...blah, blah, blah. Of course it all comes around at the end to a kind of resolution, and we do see one or two snarky comments, but this portrayal of a suburban family is not quite what I signed up for. If I hadn't been trapped on a plane with it for hours, I'm not sure I would've made it. But I did.

So, meh. Not worth the wait.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm alive

I'm just drowning in work. I'm trying not to think of all the catch-up I'll be doing next Fall after TWO weeks off.

In the meantime, enjoy this STD, courtesy of either Offbeat Bride or Weddingbee, who can remember these things?

I love this, but you'd need to have nice handwriting (or a friend with nice handwriting) to really make it work.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Off to Dairy Land

Hey everyone,
I'm off to visit my grandma with my mom in the lovely midwest! See you in a week!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Review of Blood Is The New Black

I can't remember how I heard about this one. Possibly Jen Lancaster's blog, or maybe just through random associations on Amazon. It's a takeoff on Ugly Betty/The Devil Wears Prada, only this time, the hapless intern working at the fashion magazine discovers she's working in an office full of vampires! She also discovers that the 10 "winners" of the magazine's recent model contest will actually be killed, not photographed for the next issue, so she goes about trying to save the potential victims, getting help from a hot guy who also turns out to be a vamp, her best friend, and her estranged mother who (of course) also turns out to be a vampire. But a good one.

I don't have a ton to say about this one--it was fun, it was trashy chick lit, it was a good summer read. The writing wasn't terrible, and it kept me entertained. Still, it was just fluffy enough that I don't think I'll be picking up the inevitable sequel. But you never know. Perhaps I'll be in an airport someday and pick it up for a quick read on the flight.

One interesting thing about this book was the list I found at the back of it--some library patron had forgotten to retrieve her shopping list, which contained typical items like "triscuits, cheddar, jalapeno's" [sic], as well as fancy items such as champagne and a couple of bizarre things. "Masks" was listed twice; the first time as "masks-underwear" and the second as "masks!!" WTF? Also on the list were the following:
high ceilings
large windows
shaded porches
thick walls

I'm considering submitting it to Found Magazine.

Review of Little Brother

My two word review? Read it!

I loved this book. It comes with top geek credentials: Neil Gaiman and Wil Wheaton recommended it, and so I requested it through the library system after I read their reviews. It took forever to come in, since there were many holds on it--apparently lots of folks agree with Neil and Wil!

Once it came in, I started to read it one evening, and I was up until two in the morning. I was totally hooked. While it's true that the 1984 concept has been done before (and the author admits to reading that book many times in the afterword), Doctorow does a great job of updating the idea. Bonus points for setting the novel in San Francisco, where the author clearly lived at some time--he describes getting a Mission burrito in great detail--which made it feel all the more real to me. In the book, terrorists blow up the Bay Bridge and the BART system. One teenager, Marcus, and his friends are in the wrong place at the wrong time, and are picked up by the military for questioning, held prisoner in a Guantanamo-like prison on Treasure Island. They are released after a few days of interrogation and humiliation, and told they will be arrested again if they tell anyone. One of their friends is missing and the military claims to have no knowlege of him, so they believe him to be dead.

Once they get home, they discover SF has become a police state, with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) given carte blanche to monitor all internet traffic and to track people using the RFID chips in their FasTrak and FastPasses. Marcus starts to fight back by creating an alternate internet that can't be tracked. They also start switching RFID tags so that the DHS's attempts at tracking people's movements are disrupted. It's a true David and Goliath story, and you can't help but root for Marcus and his friends.

I thought it was a nice touch that the attack itself is not the real focus of the story, but rather the issues of privacies being stripped in the name of "security"--security that can't find the terrorists, but works to harass average citizens as they go about their lives.

Finally Marcus receives a letter that the friend he thought dead is actually still alive and imprisoned on Treasure Island, and this motivates him to finally tell his parents the truth, as well as his missing friend's dad. They take the story to an investigative reporter, who publishes it. Marcus is picked up again by DHS, of course, but there is ultimately a happy ending.

The scary thing about this book is that I could imagine all of it happening. Particularly in the last few years, with the Bush Administration's actions in tapping phones, searching email, demanding to know who checked out certain library books--all of it in the name of security, but as Marcus pointed out in the novel, nothing feels any more secure than it ever did.

The writing in this book is great--you absolutely believe that the narrator is a very smart 17-year-old boy. The technology went over my head frequently, with all of the discussions of RFID (arphid), SMTP, and DNS, but even though I didn't understand everything, it didn't hinder my enjoyment of the story at all. Additionally, even though the "bad guys" in the book were unconditionally bad and one-dimensional--one of Marcus's classmates plays the big dumb malicious tattler with relish--I didn't mind too much. When you're that age, things do seem pretty black and white. The novel probably would have benefitted from someone with an opposing point of view who wasn't ignorant, stupid, or evil, but ultimately this book was a total page-turner, slightly frightening, and completely entertaining.

Better still, the author is giving away this book online--he claims, "
For me — for pretty much every writer — the big problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity" and he would rather give the book away for free to get his name out there. He claims it's been proven to help book sales. I just love that attitude. So check it out risk-free!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Speaking of saving money, you can read/download Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere for free right now. I already own the hard copy, or I would be uber-stoked about this, but I had to pass it on!

Review of Take the Cannoli

Sarah Vowell is probably most well-known in the mainstream media as the voice of Violet Parr in Pixar's The Incredibles. However, she's been writing for a long time, plus appearing regularly on NPR's This American Life. I think I may have first seen her in Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns), a documentary about They Might Be Giants (which is great, if you haven't seen it).

So, with all that, I'd been meaning to check out her books for awhile, but hadn't gotten around to it until the carte blanche of the Public Library system, which magically allows me to read books to see if I like them...without paying. It's crazy!

I was pondering which book to start with. I saw her on David Letterman when she was promoting Assassination Vacation, but I was worried that book would be too history-laden for me. She's a girl who loves history. And I am not that girl. After reviewing my options, I decided to start with Take the Cannoli, which I believe is her first, and covers a variety of topics (not just historical sites or assassinated political figures).

And my thoughts? I really liked it! She is wry, witty, funny, and someone you can totally imagine being your friend. In fact, she completely reminded me of one of my high school friends. I was thinking it wasn't laugh out loud funny but then I did laugh out loud during a couple of the later stories. I particularly enjoyed the story about her going to a goth club in goth drag. She is asked to come up with a goth name, and the most evil name she can think of is "Becky," because she believes that all things sweet and good have darker undertones than those traditionally considered goth, like the name "Raven," for example. The goths are impressed that she's mastered the concept so quickly.

She even manages to make the history interesting, so I'm reconsidering the other books. I recommend her work! Especially if you like David Sedaris-type non-fiction vignettes (though he is a bit more outrageous, as you might suspect).

[Updated to add: this book had a "Teen" sticker on it at the library. I have no idea why. I wouldn't say that the subject matter makes it at all a teen book. Weird.]

Reunited, and...

...it feels so GREAT!

Brilliant Earth emailed me late yesterday afternoon to let me know my ring was ready, so I picked it up this morning. Hooray! It fits much better now. Snug enough that it won't fly off my hand, but not so snug that I need to lick my finger to get it off (ew).

I'm excited to show off the ring when I visit my relatives next week. I'm used to being the odd cousin from California, so I imagine there will be more of the same, but it's the Midwest so everyone's awfully polite about it.

In other news, I emailed a certain San Francisco custom corset dress maker to see how much lead time a dress would take. They said at least 6 months, although they encouraged me to come as soon as I can. So I think I'll probably make an appointment within the next couple of months. Here we go!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I miss my ring, and other musings

I mean, FPO is great, but I miss my pink sapphire loveliness. We were only together for such a short time...I hope Brilliant Earth calls me soon. I am going to Wisconsin next week for my grandmother's 90th birthday, and I'd love to take the ring with me!

This weekend 7 of the library books I'd requested came in at once. Whoops! Time to get reading! I'm almost finished with Sarah Vowell's Take the Cannoli, but that's a very short one. I suppose all the books will be useful for my trip...lots of time spent in airports.

It's almost October! I'm excited to see all of the Halloween decorations popping up in stores. It's hard to restrain myself from buying them. On November 1, I plan on going crazy at the sales!

I'm also thinking about scheduling a tasting at our hoped-for venue...sometime next month. It's hard to believe that things will really be ramping up soon.

It's also the beginning of football season. Aside from potentially preventing us from booking our venue, football is Mr. T's other love. Our friend was talking to Mr. T about football, and he said, "It's so weird that you like football so much. I guess I'm too metrosexual to like it." Mr. T replied, "I'm machosexual." Then he came home and proudly related the story to me. I think he's hoping it will catch on as a term. Machosexual: A man who likes personal grooming, clothing, and shoes, but still enjoys macho things like football. Then he asked me, "Are you going to blog about this?" I said, "Probably."