Friday, May 29, 2009

Dita Von Teese Makeup Tutorial

Check it out!

Obviously this is not a video for beginners, but I think I won't have a hard time figuring it out. I like that she lists all the products...although I wish she'd named the eyeliner brush. I like the thought of that gel liner...seems more forgiving than liquid.

Wedding Ring Dilemma

I'm on the mailing list for Brilliant Earth, the lovely company that made my engagement ring. I was pleased to note they've started offering "matched sets" online, including adjusting and contouring one of their existing wedding bands to my e-ring setting:

Cute, right? I hadn't realized it, but somewhere in the last few days I got very, very attached to this band, thinking I could just swap out the diamonds for pink sapphires. Sigh.

So I emailed BE and asked them what their stone stock was like and whether we could get a discount if we bought a wedding ring because we also bought my engagement ring there...I wouldn't be so pushy, but I noted that the price for my engagement ring setting has now gone down about $200! So I felt like it was worth asking.

That led to me being shot down on all fronts when their customer service rep told me no, there was no discount, and no, they were no longer able to source pink sapphires in that size...I had wondered why all the pink sapphire wedding bands disappeared from the site a month or two ago. How could I have known? Not only do I not like diamonds, I really think they're going to clash with my e-ring, and I'm not one of those girls who just wants to wear just a wedding band. I want to wear both! I love the idea of a wedding set.

So, I'm super bummed. This leaves me with a few choices:
1. Try on their plain bands to see if I like them with my e-ring.
2. Have them custom-design something without stones to go with my e-ring.
3. Try to find a vintage or vintage repro setting at another jeweler, either with pink sapphires or (more likely) with detailing, but no stones.
4. Have another jeweler custom-make me the exact ring I want, but with unethically-sourced stones.

Out of all of these ideas, 2 and 3 are looking the most appealing. I've found a few alternative ideas online. Here they are for your judgment:

This is from an antique jeweler in SF. I like the engraving along the sides, and I could see if they'd offer it with just pink sapphires, no diamonds, but ultimately I don't know if it will really go with my existing ring. It's also very expensive.

Another pink sapphire and diamond option. I like the milgrain detail, but other than that I think it's just okay.
Pretty engraving, but perhaps too organic for my e-ring setting?
Again, not sure if this will "go".

Also very pretty. I wish the band were curved.

This one has potential! Not sure about the flower design, though.

Again, possibly too "organic" feeling.

This one is from greenKarat, another company that uses renewed metal. This design is not quite right, but they'd also do custom work...then again, if I'm going custom, why not go to the source and get something better matched to my e-ring?

This is a pretty floral ring with lavender sapphires. This company does lovely engraving and custom work, so I could potentially get exactly what I want if I give up on renewed metals and sustainably mined gemstones. Which sounds unappealing when I put it like that.

That same company offers this ring as a men's wedding band, but they'd offer it thinner, I bet. This is pretty.

Another from that company, this time with diamonds.

This ring is from Brilliant Earth. I really like it but I don't know how it would look with my e-ring, and I think it's too wide anyway.

Another from BE. It's a good width but again, not sure if it would go.

This ring is from some antique store online; it's a reproduction, and I like the slight curve. It's also very reasonably priced! I think it might work with my e-ring.

So, any thoughts?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Review of Frostbite

It was just alright. Mostly set up for the next books, it felt like.

Doesn't that look like Summer Glau on the cover, though?

OMW Week 21, WW Week 11

Gained half a pound this week. Sigh. I worry that I've hit some sort of set point for my metabolism. Not sure what to do about this, maybe increased exercise will help?

However, the birthday dinners for Mr. T may have had a hand in contributing to this. I'm trying to be better this week, although more birthday dinners are looming.

Review of Wishful Drinking

Isn't this cover awesome? This cover made me want to read the book, so it did its job. Good work, cover designers and marketing team!

However, I'm sad to report the content was not as good as its packaging. You really shouldn't judge a book that way, it turns out!

It was surprising; I read Postcards from the Edge, which was a fictionalized account of Carrie Fisher's life, and I really enjoyed it. So, the question is: what happened? Was that book edited within an inch of its life to make it publishable? And if it was, what happened to that editor when it came time to release this one?

I think part of the problem is that the book is most likely a (close to) verbatim script from Carrie Fisher's one-woman show. And while the jumping around, non-linear style might work when spoken in front of a live audience, it really didn't work on the page.

Some of the tidbits she relays were awesome--like how George Lucas told her she couldn't wear a bra with her white gown in Star Wars, because "people don't wear underwear in space" (but apparently they do wear bikinis?). Most of it was just sad, although you can tell she meant it to be funny--one of those laugh about it or you'll cry kind of stories. She talks about the string of awful men her mother dated and married, about her own struggles with mental illness, her failed marriages, her drug addictions, electroshock therapy...and on and on. It was pretty bleak.

So, I'm sad to say I don't recommend this one, but I am still a fan.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Review of 30 Day Shred

The editor in me really wants to put a hyphen in that title!

Every bridal blogger ever seems to be doing this video. Really, that's almost not an exaggeration. After running into it again and again in my internet travels, I gave in and put it at the top of our Netflix queue. Mr. T was curious about it once I explained it to him, and he actually ended up doing the DVD first, before I could!

The DVD has three levels. You start with level 1 and work your way up...or at least, some folks do, I'm sure. We're still on level 1. It's only a 20-minute workout, which is genius. I mean, when you're coming up with reasons not to work out, who can argue with, "It's only 20 minutes, just do it!"? She breaks the 20 minutes into 4 5-minute segments: 2 minutes cardio, 2 minutes strength, 1 minute abs. The cardio is stuff like jumping jacks, jogging in place, jumping rope with no rope, and punching while in a squat position. The strength moves require hand weights, and are mostly compound moves using both upper and lower body: squats with bicep curls, etc. The side lunges with the anterior raises KILL me. I am shaking by the end of them! The ab work seems like a huge break. At the end of my first time I was panting, sweating, and red-faced, and I thought: "Holy crap, what have I been doing at the gym the last 5 months? Why was that so hard?"

So, it's a pretty intense workout. I'm just not sure it's enough. Is 20 minutes really enough? It's also pretty hard on my knees. I'm not sure if I'm just doing the lunges with poor technique, but I don't think I could do this one every day like Jillian recommends. It's nice to mix it in with my gym workouts, though. Mr. T is getting obsessed with it and has done it a ton. In fact, we decided to buy it and are waiting for it to arrive before Netflix can have their copy back!

Jillian is not warm and fuzzy at all, which I actually appreciated. After seeing a clip of her on the Biggest Loser, however, I've come to realize that she IS being warm and fuzzy on this DVD...for her!

Mr. T and I discovered that if we play the DVD on the computer there's enough room for us to both do the workout at the same time, so we got an extra set of hand weights and we worked out together twice this weekend. It was fun. Mr. T is much better at the strength stuff than I am, of course, but he's panting away just like I am! We bump fists at the end. Nauseating, huh?

Wedding Shoes: Check! Or, putting the cart before the horse

In one of the most out-of-order wedding decisions I've made to-date, I bought my wedding shoes this weekend!

It seems odd to buy shoes before I've even been measured for my dress. However, I'm not totally crazy. I do need to know how tall my shoes are in order to determine the length of the skirt, so that will actually come in handy during the measuring process. Also, I brought the dress design with me to the shoe store, plus the fabric swatch, and I was in very, very good hands once I got there.

You see, I went to the store my good friend M. manages. She is a shoe guru and gives you the kind of customer service you dream of: those shoes run small, those run wide, those can be stretched, those are comfortable, those are cute but hurt your feet; she can recite a litany like this for every shoe in her store. Plus! M. is another of my bride-to-be friends and she is having the same dressmaker work on her wedding dress, so, in addition to having the sketch of my dress design, M. knows the dressmaker's work and has a good feel for what would look great with the dress designs.

Funnily, M. pointed me toward two pairs of shoes that I'd already been ogling online, so this was good confirmation of my advance research. After trotting around in both of them, I declared I couldn't decide, and thanks to having a gift certificate from a friend and a little help from M.'s employee discount, I didn't have to: I bought them both. Now I just need to decide which will be my wedding shoes, and which I'll wear to some other wedding-related event. ;-)

May I present to you: Sheer awesomeness in shoe form:

Shoe #1:

These shoes are hot, and they look hot on. M. said they're surprisingly comfortable, also. The MOH said they made my legs look great. mmmmsexy shoes.

And shoe (boot, really) #2:

Le sigh. These fit in with the Victorian feel of the corset and are amazingly comfortable thanks to the low heel and lovely padded insole. They were a little tight on my monster calves (thanks, San Francisco hills!), but M. says the store can stretch them for me. She recommended waiting until I'd lost all the weight I'm going to before deciding on that (once again, excellent and expert advice).

I've been so careful about spending money that this seemed really extravagant to me, but the shoes quickly made me feel better. Sigh. Shoes. The hard part will be waiting until the wedding to wear them!

Suit Shopping!

Mr. T got some gift cards for his birthday so we did a bit of shopping this weekend. Both of us have felt frustrated with feeling so limited in the money we can spend because we're saving for the wedding. I like to think of it as good practice for saving for a house (or condo, or whatever), but still, we couldn't go on like this indefinitely. Mr. T definitely felt a lot better finally being able to replace some of the clothes he's worn out in the last year. (Boys are so much harder on their clothes. I don't have that excuse, alas. All my clothes are still okay, sigh.)

Along the way we also decided to make our first excursion into suit shopping! Mr. T is looking for a slim-fit retro style suit, like the Justin Timberlake Dolce & Gabbana one from the GQ cover (but without the $2300 price tag). We went to Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Ben Sherman, and Armani. Macy's had really limited stock, it felt like, but then again no one came over to help us, so we could've missed something. Mostly the suits looked boring and boxy.

After Macy's we went to Armani (the store with the cafe, not the upscale shop) and not only was their stock sparse, not one person offered to help we left. There wasn't anything out in Mr. T's size, so we couldn't do that one on our own.

Bloomingdale's was our next stop and they were right on it with the customer service. The employee sized Mr. T up in 30 seconds, literally, and brought him a selection of suits to try. Mr. T just tried the jackets on for most of them...I guess that's how guys do it. Why bother with the pants unless you think you're going to like the whole thing? The suits were nice but not quite right. The one we liked the most was priced at $1085 and was a "Zegna" (which I'd never heard of before). Here's a photo:

We were joking that he looks like a mafioso with the blazer and white tee look. I was surprised by how thin the pants were but Mr. T says that's just how it is with suits, especially nice ones. This one was closest to the slim fit Mr. T is looking for, but he wanted to look around more, so even though the employee offered him 50% off (I would've caved. I'm weak.), Mr. T stuck to his guns and left the store.

We went to Nordstrom next and the employee there put Mr. T in the exact same Zegna coat in a different pattern (and it was more expensive at Nordstrom, which I hadn't expected). He told Mr. T that their sales happen in June (hint, hint!). Mr. T also tried on a Hugo Boss coat but it was boxier than the Zegna. The employee also crushed Mr. T's dreams of a three-piece suit a la the D&G Justin Timberlake look...he said that because vests add $300 to the price of a suit, they weren't doing well, and suitmakers weren't offering them anymore. The only three-piece he had was one of the boxy ones we didn't like.

Disappointed, we left Nordstrom, had a little retail therapy at Puma (we both got sneakers...mine are a fabulous pink glitter fabric!) and we stopped in at Ben Sherman. Ben Sherman definitely had the cuts we liked but their selection was small, and Mr. T didn't think the suits felt formal enough for a wedding...they were more like stagewear for a rock band.

I told Mr. T he should go custom if he really wants the perfect slim-fit, three-piece suit without buying that D&G one. He's considering it (know any suit-makers?), but we'll also visit some more stores, like Brooks Brothers, Sak's, and Neiman Marcus. I had no idea it would be this challenging!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Music fit for a Hallowedding

As I mentioned, I've started work on our wedding playlist. Any suggestions are welcome! I'm looking for both Halloween-appropriate songs as well as fun songs about love. So far on the list:

Monster Mash
Dead Man's Party--Oingo Boingo
I Put A Spell On You--either Natasha Atlas, as a nod to my belly dance friends, or Screamin' Jay Hawkins, who does the creepiest version
Every Day is Halloween--Ministry (for later in the evening)
Halloween--Siouxsie and the Banshees
Spellbound--Siouxsie and the Banshees
Whistlin' Past the Graveyard--Tom Waits
Bela Lugosi's Dead--Bauhaus (I'm worried about the length of this song, though. 10+ minutes might push my family over the edge. Maybe I can shorten it.)
This is Halloween--Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack or the Marilyn Manson version
White Wedding--Billy Idol
What a Wonderful World--Joey Ramone
Love Cats--covered by Paul Anka
Clap Hands--Tom Waits
Carnival-sounding music by Beats Antique, Pentaphobe, Tom Waits, Man Man

Coincidentally, or maybe not since our wedding dates are exactly the same, the Creepy Cupcakes blogger also did a post on Hallowedding music, so now I have some classical inspirations too! I'm enjoying researching music and putting our playlists together...way back in the day I loved crafting a fine mix tape...this is like a mix tape dedicated not only to Mr. T, but all of our guests!

OMW Week 20, WW Week 10

Wow, those are big numbers up there!

Last week I justified only going to the gym once since I was taking 5 hours of belly dance workshops. However, I would've been better off going, as I only lost a half-pound last week. Sigh.
I think part of it was that a couple of my classes ended up being more lecture than dance. Also, it's hard to exert yourself in 90 degree weather. I don't think I was functioning at my best, frankly! Live and learn. I'm back in the saddle this week, though! Mr. T and I worked out this morning.

I was pretty good at the festival and only bought one pair of (freakin' cute!) pants and a tee shirt. I had told myself pants were okay, but the tee was unexpected. Still, I don't feel bad. It was easier not to spend money this year, as opposed to last year, when I felt agonized about it--I guess I've trained myself!

This week Mr. T celebrates his birthday! I will try to behave myself among all the cake and delicious cocktails. Mmmmcake.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

OMW Week 19, WW Week 9

Another 2.5 pounds lost! That makes 13 total. Hooray!

This week I've only been to the gym once, but I have a good excuse--I have 4 hours of bellydance workshops to get through today, two hours tomorrow, and two hours on Sunday! So I'm enjoying the sleeping in while it lasts (and hoping that I'm not in too much pain after all that dancing!).

Posting will be light until next week. Please wish me luck as I attempt to not spend my money on shiny sparkley things at the belly dance festival over the next 5 days. Mmmmjewelry....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

OMW Week 18, WW Week 8

Another 1.5 pounds gone! That makes 10.5 pounds total, hooray! I rewarded myself with a new pair of workout pants--I only have the one pair at the gym and they have a hole in the pocket. I pretty much got the same pair except they are black with pink stripes instead of black with white stripes. I love black and pink together.

Mr. T and I also got ourselves some 5-pound weights for home. They were heavier than I imagined. 5 pounds sounds like nothing, but when you have one in each hand, it's substantial, actually. I think Mr. T is going to use them while he is on the bike, and I'm going to try an exercise DVD that all the brides are blogging about called 30 Day Shred...supposedly you need hand weights to do the routines. Even if I hate the DVD, though, weights are a good thing to have around.

Finally, I got myself another Nalgene (BPA-free) bottle for work. Now I have one at work and one at the gym (hooray for drinking water without toxic plastic chemicals in it!). Now I just need another for home and I'll be set.

Tuesday I went to the gym and realized I'd left all my clothes at home after I'd washed them. That was disheartening! I'll have to make it up the rest of the week.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Mr. T and I have decided we're serving two signature cocktails, wine and beer, and champagne for toasts. The venue is letting us bring our own alcohol, so we're hoping to take advantage of some cash savings in this area.

The problem is, I have no idea of what quantity to buy. Most wedding articles are either for wine/beer/champagne only or for a full open bar. What about for signature drinks? It's mind-boggling to try to do the math.

I was looking up costs for 1.75 L bottles of vodka and tequila, and they're much cheaper, but Mr. T thinks they're too hard to work with behind the bar. I kinda don't care if the bartenders have a hard time with our bottles. Is that terrible of me? I mean, it's a significant savings between two 750 mL bottles and one 1.75 L bottle.

Luckily (although, we're still paying for it, but I suppose we're lucky in that it's just taken care of and I don't have to add all this into my calculations), the hotel provides bartenders, non-alcoholic drinks, glasses, napkins, etc. So we're just looking at booze, really. Oh, and margarita mix, because I refuse to use the high-fructose corn syrup kind.

Mr. T is going to ask his brother (the chef) for help figuring this all out. His bro caters weddings frequently, so he might know or at least help us estimate.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Jaguar Ring!

How much do I love this ring?!!

Mr. T would never, ever wear this, although it is titanium, so I've been pondering how this would look with my e-ring. Sadly, I don't think they offer it with a thin enough band. Sigh. So awesome.

Wedding Progress

I've been slowly emailing out our save the dates. We were originally going to print up postcards for this, but it's more eco-friendly and also cheaper just to do emails, so that's our route. I have zero regrets about not printing something--we posted our engagement photos on our wedsite, so folks can see them (and they can see a number of them, rather than just the one or two that could fit on a postcard). So anyway, I think I have about 20 more emails to send out or so. Phew!

Some folks seem to be getting confused about whether they're supposed to RSVP to the save the date. I guess I'm just so immersed in wedding world that the purpose of the save the date message seems self-evident to me: save the date. But for the few STDs (hee hee) we have left, I'm going to put "invitation to follow" in the email, and hopefully that will make it more clear.

This weekend I also worked on the playlists for the wedding. So far we have a lot of 80's music, as Mr. T pointed out. I have about 5 hours done (which is as long as our entire wedding, ahem) and Mr. T hasn't contributed any of his music yet! Nor do we have enough dance music on's mostly dinner/reception-worthy tunes. Hm.