Monthly archives of “June 2011

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Style : Engagement Shoot

Or, the day the internet at large gets to see my face.


Despite the fact that I’m pretty ridiculously easy to identify and track down IRL, I still have issues about The Grid, The Man, and The Government. Namely, that I would like them to not be all up in my shit. I know it’s like Mel-Gibson-in-Conspiracy-Theory paranoid, but I do have some unfortunate psychology tendencies in this area, that may or may not extend to being ethically against marriage as a civil contract.


But I digress.


I decided to introduce y’all to my less than super-adorable face today, before posting our engagement pics tomorrow, for a very good reason. Said pics are hands down the best photographs ever taken of myself (even counting the super-adorable phase I went through at age 3), and I think the before and after is wonderfully illustrative of what a shower, some make up, good lighting, and an even better photographer can do for one’s usual slumming around the house self.


I decided, in my typically procrastinative fashion, to pick out what I was going to wear for our engagement shoot at 11pm the night before. Mentally, I had gotten so far as to decide it would be a dress (80% of what I wear is dresses), and as it was forecasted to be about 50 degrees in mid-May, tights and some kind of sweater/jacket options were in order. And shoes that I could walk [a lot] in.


I worked backwards and settled on black mary janes for cuteness and comfort and paired with black footed tights (because as much as I wear footless tights all the time, I think they look slightly awkward). Next up was the dress:



Anna Sui for Target dress



…with my khaki trench…

 P1000887-1…and with my favorite $3 target cardigan



H&M red dress



…with striped KnitWit hoodie.

(Not an hour after this pic was taken, this hoodie died (dyed?) in my hand wash basin, as I, diligently following the instructions on the hang tag, submerged it in warm water. Despite the fact that I’ve successfully hand washed 2 previous KnitWit hoodies, this one was not having it and is currently 3 shades of gray and still hidden in our hall closet drying rack. This was the point in the evening that crying occurred, and there was much consolation from #TBCB=Travel Brigade of Cyber Bridesmaids on Twitter. Lesson learned? Never leave laundry for midnite the night before, and always err on the side of Dryel.)


P1000909Philip Lim for Target

(Are we sensing a theme here?)


And the big winner. H&M and leopard.



Mostly because it spins well.


While I would wholeheartedly do not recommend going through your entire wardrobe at midnight the night before, it was actually kind of fun. Despite the late hour, and being several beers in (or because of it?), Scott was fairly helpful and much silliness ensued…



The three of us in my favorite family portrait.

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Wedding : Photographer, Jimena Roquero

Okay, so it was probably pretty obvious who we chose as our photographer from that last post.


But allow me to officially introduce the unbelievably talented Jimena Roquero!


Pictures speak—or in this case swoon—louder than words. So without further ado, here’s a smattering of my favorites:


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Nicole & Anthony


IMG_0061 como objeto inteligente-1

Nicole & Anthony – City Hall


_MG_0454 como objeto inteligente-2

Ana and Raul


Queenie & Daniel engagement 186 ©Jimena Roquero Photography

Queenie & Daniel



Carla & Blair

(This wedding is totally down the street from where I work! Oh NY!)



Becky & Eugene


Lauren & Charley


Go to Jimena’s website and blog to drool more!!

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Wedding : Photographer, How We Found & Chose One

A whole week on our wedding photographer selection and engagement photos, with a little bit of shopping in my closet thrown in. Because I like the pretty.


Me © Jimena Roquero Photography


The single best [aesthetic] thing that the blogosphere has taught me re:wedding planning is that wedding photography DOESN’T SUCK ANYMORE. (Sorry. Apparently I just want to scream it from rooftops.) In fact, quite the opposite is now true.


Originally, I didn’t care at all about photography—we were just going to hand cameras to our friends or find a student off Craigslist. But once I learned that there are brilliant photographers out there and you don’t have to go into debt to hire [many of] them, photography definitely became a high priority (read: higher budget) area for us. This probably shouldn’t have been surprising given that we both love (and participate in) art and photography anyway.


Since we [ironically] picked a venue that had no restrictions on date selection, we decided we should choose a photographer next and work around his or her schedule. Well once I started looking it was like opening Pandora’s Box…or Veronica’s Closet?…Victoria’s Secret? Whatever. I just wanted to shop, and shop, and shop…


I began by bookmarking people aimlessly, and then by creating a list of people we might actually hire.


(At this point I was so naive, I did not even know there were superstars of wedding photography, and I definitely bookmarked several and nearly emailed one.)


In addition to scouring blogs, APW’s Wedding Elves, and Offbeat Bride’s Offbeat Vendors, this process also included posting a wanted ad on 100 Layer Cake’s new marketplace, and I have to strongly recommend this to anyone looking for a great photog on a tight budget. I won’t name names, but we were approached by several photographers looking to expand their portfolio and/or geographic reach, and believe me our budget was a fifth of what they’d usually charge. In addition, several incredibly promising up and coming photographers also bid on our listing.


To actually make a decision, first I tried to categorize what I liked, which I would call a very West Coast, over-exposed, dreamy aesthetic. Then we focused on what Scott liked: crisp, clean images, captured emotions, and interesting-without-being-wacky-for-the-sake-of-being-wacky composition. No seriously. We spent several evenings flipping through portfolios of photographers who always put the subject in the center, or always cropped things awkwardly, or GOD FORBID, “artistically” tilted EVERY photo 45 degrees.


Once our dueling aesthetics were brought to the table, we turned to logistics. I was unequivocally not allowed to fly someone out for more than our budget allowed. And since I wanted to do an engagement session—believe me, we needed the practice—that meant that someone local was key. This narrowed the field considerably.


In the end our short list came down to 2 APW Wedding Elves, 1 100 Layer Cake vendor, and another photographer who I had bookmarked after an appearance on Snippet and Ink. After lots of emails, 1 Skype call, and 1 in person meeting, we had reached a decision…



(I wanted to extol the virtues of the photographers we couldn’t pick by name, Scott said I shouldn’t “call out” the runners up. Compromise is, if you want recommendations for other excellent photographers in NY or Boston in what was a close race, leave a comment or email me!)

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Blogxiety: What it Is & How I Have It


me, in 2001, with friends.
through the accidental magic of film cameras.


I don’t exactly make friends easily.


I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older, and  have been thrust into situations that have taken me outside of the real-life group of girls I’ve been proud to call mine since the age of 13. These forced interaction situations—camps/trips, college, study abroad, work, film sets—where I can generally make friends in my shy, gradual way, have a solid history of working way better than parties or bars, where I’m usually a complete mess.


But as one gets even older (womp womp), those types of situations kind of thin out, and honestly, I can barely keep up with the friends I do have half the time.


Enter the internet.


Yup, I’ve had a history of internet buddies too.


Oh yeah, it’s confession time.


I wrote fan fiction.


In 1999.


About the TV show Roswell. (And maybe Harry Potter, but let’s not give away all my secrets.)


There was a lovely group of girls (and a few guys) called the Raddish Brethren (long story), who absolutely rocked my world. They took a horrible socially anxious (no seriously, I was medicated) teenager, and gave her an escape. They didn’t know about the anxiety and depression, and the stress of senior year with the tests and the college applications and the what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-with-my-life (which someone could’ve told me DOESN’TGO AWAY), and the prom and the drama.


They just talked about television, college, jobs, and life after high school from their lofty perches of a few years older than me. And writing. Oh, the writing. It didn’t matter that we were writing about Roswell. We were writing, and reading, and critiquing and loving.


That group of online friends got me through a really shitty time without them even knowing it. They taught me that I could put myself out there, and people would still accept me, and I took that knowledge with me to college and beyond.


And then somewhere along the line, I think I kind of forgot.


Nearly a year ago, in the midst of another (still ongoing) stressful time in my life, (Because let’s face it. For most people being engaged isn’t fun. It is many things, some of them good, some of them bad, but it is rarely fun), I found A Practical Wedding.


And it was a game changer.


Not only because the content gives me the coping mechanisms to get through this process not just unscathed, but actually having learned a thing or two, but because of the plethora of smart, engaging (DERP! Is that a derp?) women.


The kind of women I need in my life during this process. And really, for always.


So from day one, despite my social [and virtual] anxiety, I just jumped right into commenting.


But then, a lot of these smart, fabulous women had blogs. Where they were smart and fabulous. And when I starting reading them, I allowed myself to get really, really intimidated by said smarts and fabulousness, because, as someone easily intimidated and dissuaded, my blog and lest we not kid ourselves—life, is pretty lazy and half-assed.


Thus the onset of blogxiety:

A debilitating inferiority complex that prevents one from fully interacting with or learning from all the awesomeness around you, and sends you crying into your room that you’re “just not good enough.”


And so I often lurked, sometimes commented, and almost always felt intimidated by these lovely ladies and their blogs. The anxiety would start as a pit in my stomach that grows into a screaming “not-good-enough” monster until I’d have to close the window.


That is, until a few months ago when I swallowed my fear, and joined Twitter, and started to get to know these awesome ladies of the blogosphere that much more. When I think about it, this alone is quite a triumph of courage over blogxiety. As someone who seriously flounders when it comes to initiating a friendship, Twitter goes against all my principles of “speak when you’re spoken to.” But I’ve tried to swallow the fear, just pipe up, and butt in, and I think so far people like me… maybe… I hope.


Now [most days], I can read the awesome blogs of these awesome ladies and feel supportive of such wonderful women going around and changing their worlds and the worlds of others, instead of scared shitless that I’m not that cool.


(Because really, being cool is something I don’t have control over. I didn’t in high school, and I don’t know. Being cool is in the minds of others, which I have no control over.)


Since I’ve come this far, I want to push myself even further out of my shell and make a scary request:

A lot of you, who may or may not actually read this, have mentioned or written about your honeymoons on your own blogs. Or maybe you haven’t. But chances are either way you’re soon going to get an email from me (or you can email me first and volunteer! less scary!) asking you if you’d consider guest-posting on my new blog about honeymoons. Because I know you all have awesome stories [and pictures!], and I’d like to hear [see!] more of them!


Ok, enough of this scary stuff, next week is all about wedding photographers and engagement photos! Good times and lots of pretty!

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Wedding : DIY Confusion


IMG_20110613_211250 my “to-get” list so far


In case I haven’t previously mentioned this, we are having a DIY wedding. In the sense, that is, that we are doing [almost] everything ourselves. From soup to nuts. Or, in this case, from appetizers to flowers.


We have some vendors. Our venue, for one. They are providing us with a building. It has bathrooms and a roof. This is good as it means no hiring of Port-a-Potties or tents, which was a deal-breaker for me.


We also have a vendor who is providing dinner, gelato and coffee. This is an excellent start, as we can do away with cake, and I don’t have to worry about getting one of those giant, nasty coffee makers. But we want to supplement with some extra appetizers, and real dishes. Paper and plastic (or better yet, bamboo and corn’) are great but not at my wedding, and especially not when I have bins full of flatware sitting at home.


IMG_20110506_203331 Not my house. But it could be. If I spend $300 on fancy shelving.


We will rent some chairs. That will be a vendor. And don’t tell me I can live with the chairs, because that would be lying. There are ugly chairs, and there are these:




And of course, our lovely photographer, who I will get to next week.


But other than that it is all DIY ATT (“all the time” LOLz) over here.




I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing.


People are always talking about “crafting” and “projects” and insanity and hair-tearing-out.


And I’m not sure what that is in reference to.


See, I’ve got a spreadsheet. And I’m humming along on it rather nicely. Sure, I’ve got things to do, but they don’t involve sewing anything. [Yet.]


I bought myself Handmade Weddings for my birthday thinking it would get me crafting, er…something.




I even briefly considered making tablecloths out of burlap, as inspired by this wedding.


But then I started pricing burlap on the internet.


I would need approximately 64 yards for 8 tablecloths and burlap is not *dirt* cheap.


So for $150+my sewing time, I think I can probably scrounge up 8 tablecloths somewhere. Or head to the fabric store in Brooklyn Heights that has $1 a yard fabric.


But I briefly considered the burlap, and have been enjoying telling it as my “I’ve lost the plot” story. “I was going to order 64 yards of burlap off eBay, until I realized, I don’t know how big 64 yards of anything is! What if a truck pulled up with giant bolts of burlap and I couldn’t get it in the front door, much less near the sewing machine!”


Silly DIY bride.




Maybe my eerie calm is because I’ve done this sort of thing before? I mean, I’ve worked in interior design for 3 years, and before that in enough art departments to understand exactly what one can do with an IKEA…


But I still feel all this pressure to get crafting NOW, before it’s too late!


And so, I’ve started to hate on my easy-peasy plans, and think they’ve all been overdone:


~handmade photobooth with random fun cloth backdrop with camera equipment we already own

~brooch bouquet with brooches I already have courtesy of several generations of female relations (see photo above)

~centerpieces with milk and art deco glass vessels and antique books from our own house…heck, I may even be able to use our own gladiolas

~paper lantern lamps (these courtesy of IKEA) for our venue that doesn’t come with its own lighting

~glass-paned door seating chart with glass doors from out attic


See you guys, I’m some bunting and felt mustaches away from ORDINARY!


Isn’t it ridiculous? The contents of my house have handed me a super-trendy, SUPER-EASY “DIY” wedding, and I’m over here being too concerned with being “original” to appreciate it.


Classic me.


And if it wasn’t for Becca’s well-timed post on her wedding decor last week, I would still care.


But as it stands, this is what we’re doing, it’s easy, and I’m going to have to learn to deal with it.

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House : The Great Cleanout


Last month, when I was having my really shitty week—on my actual birthday, in fact—I had an appointment to see a man about an estate sale. And it did not go so well.


To make a long back story short, in 2006 I moved back into my childhood home that I inherited after the deaths of first my grandparents, and then my mom. It was bursting at the seams with 3 generations of paraphernalia, which I have been slowly and painfully paring down.


(For a longer version of the story—with pictures!—go read about my bathroom.)


Heading into year 4 of this process, a lot of what I’ve been learning about psychology and productivity and general get-it-done-ness, kicked in to say HIRE SOMEONE! (Well all that, and watching Cari Cucksey on HGTV.)


So I emailed some folks about an estate sale. And I procrastinated. And I emailed again, and finally, on my birthday, someone came by to assess our situation.



And the answer?


We’re fucked.


Because we don’t have *enough* stuff for an estate sale.


Apparently the right time to have had one was 2006.


I know psychologically I wouldn’t have been able to handle that, but OH CRAP.


Because we still have too much stuff for your average yard sale.


Cause yea, we’ve already had 3 of those, and I’m SO over them.


We also have too much stuff for me to singlehandedly list on ebay at the rate of an item a month.


At this point, we’ve consolidated everything into one bedroom (and a half a shed), so it’s not bothering anyone, but that’s kind of the problem. Out of sight, out of mind.


My best solution right now?



I’m bringing it all to the wedding.




I’m getting a cargo van and loading it up with bins of glassware, vintage suitcases, lamps, knick-knacks.


I will play records, and find some Super 8 to project on the screen (because we have every Super 8 thing know to man except the fucking camera).


It’s all coming, and then some of it can stay, and I can get my house back.

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Summer Style : Nicole

Third in a series of helping out my friends…sartorially. 


Nicole’s “makeover” was less of an intervention and more of a roast, as it was her birthday weekend, and she had her sister and several friends over who were eager to dig into the most embarrassing items in her closet. Luckily, I forgot to photograph those, though you can get an idea by checking out the orange terry-cloth dress in the background of the photo below.




I’ve known Nicole since the 7th grade, and back then she was known for wearing psychedelically-patterned tights with clashing dresses. The closest she gets to that these days is the well-worn purple striped dress pictured above, as she has since become an accountant, and started dressing like one. Her favorite color is brown.




I tried to help her work with what she has [brown] in the two photos below, picking some of the better fitting items, and skewing them towards the cuter end of business casual with a cardigan.





Nicole’s Pinboard focuses on office-appropriate neutrals that can transition to after-work events: lots of cardigans for layering, her beloved brown with a few pops of color and fun patterns thrown in, and some comfortable but cute wedges and heels.


Fullscreen capture 652011 84753 PM.bmp

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Wedding : The Where, Part 2

final-exteror-shots-13 pc: Villa Buena Onda 


When we got back home from Costa Rica, I was surprised to find myself more anxious than excited. As much as I wanted the Costa Rican wedding we’d been fantasizing about, I worried that it was awful far to ask our guests to travel, and while a relative bargain, seemed like an awful lot to ask them to spend.


I already had a sneaking suspicion that the “who” was more important to me than the “where,” but it took a while for me to admit this, as wrapped up as I was in my dreams of infinity pools, fruity drinks, and monkeys.


So I decided that before we went full on CR, I should at least research the kind of wedding we could have here in NY.


And so began several months of agony: Summer 2010.*



Plan B


I began looking for a beach house that I could gather all our guests. (Just like Costa Rica!) We even visited a few on the North Fork, although finding a place that would allow a wedding = not easy. I began checking vacation rentals further afield, and just about every “alternative” (i.e. non-catering hall) venue in the entire Northeast corridor.


I kept thinking, if only I can find the perfect place, then we can change our plans! Then I can trade tracking flight prices for making bunting or some other deliciously DIY task…


This period in my life resulted in more pro/con lists than I care to admit to—oh yes, multiple pro/con list as inspired by everyone from Martha Beck to Suzy Welch to an APW commenter’s mother (sadly, I don’t have that link to credit). And on top of the lists, there were pages of writing, writing, writing about what I wanted and I why. The more I desperately tried to explain myself to myself (and Scott), the more I dug myself deeper into confusion. This wedding was taking on significance way larger than a party, or even a long weekend.


But I persisted. I bookmarked “real weddings” I loved, and found myself more and more drawn to ones like Britta’s as posted on APW—weddings focused on community, not exclusivity. Because I’ve spent enough of my life excluding, and would like some communing please.


So finally, I sent out a survey to my friends, even though we hadn’t found a decent local alternative.


And the results?


A fucking dead heat. 5 Costa Rica, 5 NY, 1 “whatever you want, I swear.”


The survey results became the hot topic of discussion at a Labor Day barbeque, and anonymous or not, it became subtly clear where everyone stood. The survey may have technically been tied, but it was looking like Costa Rica was losing. If all ten of my closest friends couldn’t pony up and come, then I didn’t want to do it.


And that sucked.


I cried.


Because I *did* want to do it.


But I didn’t want to do it alone.


The "Who” was more important than the “Where.”


And only a few weeks after realizing this, the perfect [-ly imperfect] venue fells into our laps.



*It was in the midst of this madness that I found APW, so I don’t regret any of it one bit. In fact, I even wrote in to Meg to ask her thoughts on a destination wedding!