Monthly archives of “August 2011

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Weekend : #YayNY and #Irene

There is nothing quite like a joining of forces between Team Practical and a hurricane to realign one’s priorities.


With three weeks until the wedding it has been painfully obvious that I am deep in the throes of Planning. The kind of Type-A checklist-driven-the-world-revolves-around-my-wedding, right? planning that I would seriously fault myself for if it wasn’t so damn common.


Enter Yay New York and Hurricane Irene, poised to knock me right off my feet (and schedule).

 

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Making time for the Yay New York party in the midst of our madness was non-negotiable, but I hadn’t really had time to get excited about it until I was sitting at my desk Thursday morning. I had been too busy being up picking out an outfit and shaving my legs at 1am, dragging myself to yoga at 10am, and slogging through the rain with 3 outfits (yoga/work/party) worth of crap at 11am to even think about what the point of it all was.

 

Once I started reading Meg’s live-blogging, I found myself hit by not excitement over partying and raising money for a good cause (well maybe a little of that), but by what really mattered—the very personal impact of the day on the couples getting married. For the first time, something I have read over and over, but had never felt for myself, hit home: We are so, so privileged to have the option to marry. And I am so thrilled/relieved/proud to be living in a state that is *finally* extending that right to everyone.

 

Philosophically, I’ve always been a supporter of gay marriage, but I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that it’s not my place to fight for it. But Meg managed to convince me otherwise both in her writing that day, and in her thank you speech that night—which I wish I could quote to you all, because the lady is even more eloquent, funny, and persuasive in person than advertised.

 

The gravity of all of this made me determined to treasure that evening, even when I had a million and one things on my mind and to-do list—from the lovely dinner with my fiance before the party, to getting to see faces (Meg! Zan! Sarah! Rachel! Mary!)  in person(!), to the happy, glow-y dancing in a night that became my de facto bachelorette when my actual party was canceled due to Hurricane Irene.

 

I momentarily wished I could hear above the awesome music to actually converse in person(!) with these ladies who I virtually chat with all the time, until I realized we could go back to chatting on Friday, but the physical connection of being there dancing, actually together in the same state/city/room, was what was magical that night. And we danced our faces and asses off—not that I was surprised, because MY people are always the ones that dance. If Yay NY was a glimmer of the joy and fun I have waiting for me at my own wedding, then it is going to be so, so worth it. And every single person in love deserves the opportunity to have that, and all that comes after.

 

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Friday morning I woke up slightly hung over, to the news that my Saturday night bachelorette party had been canceled because of Hurricane Irene. (Which Sarah, as awesome as she is, did her best to resurrect for me.) I thought my friends were overreacting just a teensy bit, so I started reading the news. Whereupon my commitment to wedding-planning productivity on my day off gradually dissolved, and by the time Bloomberg announced that transit was shutting down at noon Saturday, I was having a mild panic attack and my canceled bachelorette was the least of my concerns.

 

I went for a run, trying to quell the physical sensations of anxiety that were gushing through my veins with a persistence I hadn’t felt since the days leading up to having minor surgery last February when I discovered my phobia of anesthesia. “I don’t do natural disasters,” I thought to myself. Whenever shit has gone down in NY, I’ve been in LA or vice versa. And then it occurred to me that maybe my old roommate Kim was the good luck charm, not me, as I had experienced Hurricanes Gloria and Bob right there on Long Island, and of course, as soon as she left the state we had a horrible heat wave, earthquake, and now hurricane…

 

Why was I so panicked, you ask? This is why:

 

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My beloved, and inappropriately close oak tree, which has weathered Gloria, Bob, and my entire childhood, is nearing the end of its days. I had to stop ignoring this imminent threat last March when a Nor’easter (That came out nowhere! Life is less stressful when you don’t watch the news!), knocked down tons of huge trees in our neighborhood, and Scott insisted, moved ours about 4 inches closer to the house. I denied it, but he was totally right. This big girl has to go.

 

But, we’re procrastinators, and have a wedding to pay for, so she’s still here.

 

And so I panicked. All through a Friday planning meeting at our venue (wow, there are a lot of trees there too) with our wedding stage manager, all through a Michael’s shopping trip to pick up things I could craft with no power. And all through Saturday AM’s beach yoga class that for the first time in 2 summers was moved indoors. I panicked through a Trader Joe’s shopping trip which resulted in a shit ton of chocolate-based products, and through a Saturday spent doing everything I could on the computer/internet in case we were out of power for days on end, watching CNN compulsively and downing said chocolate products.

 

Somewhere in there we also “battened down the hatches,” which resulted in the two of us being covered in so many mosquito bites they made us violent with rage for the whole weekend.

 

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I panicked straight through Saturday night until a 1am brooch bouquet crafting session, until we settled into a sleeping spot that I hoped and prayed was out of the way of a tree branch (doubtful) and passed out from sheer exhaustion at 3am. I promptly woke up at 5am, and panicked through the worst part of the storm until Scott got up and convinced me that everything was really fine by standing outside and smoking.

 

Twitter confirmed, and finally I was brave enough to go outside and discover this:

 

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I’m calling it a triumph.

 

What did I learn from all of this? From googling “what to do if a tree falls on your house” and reading the fine print on my homeowners insurance?

 

I learned that being a homeowner is a game changer. (Being parentless helps too—as I realized when Scott’s mom called him more times last weekend than in the entire 5 years we’ve been together combined.) I am officially a grown up. There’s no way around it. If I don’t stockpile water (in empty tequila bottles), or pack an emergency bag, or pay the homeowners insurance bill at 11pm the night before a hurricane, no one else will.

 

It was frightening, and yet liberating, as I finally felt justified in my worrying.

 

And what did I learn about worrying?

 

Less chocolate, more vegetables.

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Wedding : Exhaustion

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Monday night Scott and I fell asleep on the couch together. At 11pm. (Our usual bedtime is 1:30.) This only after I protested his cuddles by saying, “Don’t talk to me until October.” I lost 2 hours of productivity to this unplanned cuddlefest, plus the motivation to go to yoga this morning because I was all confused by my random sleeping and the horrible, horrible allergies I woke up to.

 

My panicked, productive side wishes I could say this was a one-time lapse into laziness, but the same thing happened again last night.

 

I think I’ve hit a wall.

 

Truthfully, the exhaustion started at work last Friday after a particularly productive week. (But no yoga, I think the skipping my weekday yoga is wreaking havoc.) Suddenly my back felt all twisted out of shape and weak to the point where just staying upright was a chore, and all I wanted was to do was do my work lying flat on the floor. Which, obviously, I couldn’t. Friday felt like the longest day ever, culminating in an awful crowded train ride home that I think got my rage adrenaline going enough that we were able to squeeze a couple errands in when I got home and I didn’t pass out immediately.

 

Maybe that’s all carrying over into this week?

 

Or maybe it’s from Sunday, where I worked for twelve solid hours planning and ordering the decorations for the wedding, catching up on blogs, and blogging myself. (Decision fatigue, anyone?)

 

When did wedding planning and blogging become work?

 

I guess when I allowed it to make my life so structured that I fight being hugged by my fiancé because “there’s not enough time.”

 

And yes, I know that that fiancé-hug-related stuff is the point of the whole thing, but it’s so hard for me to switch into that, when Type-A, goal-focused, workaholic me is chomping at the bit 24 hours a day lately.

 

Anyone else experiencing/have experienced this? Did you feel distanced from your relationship because of all the work?

 

Right now, I’m clinging to Becca’s post about the emotional reawakening that occurred for her the day of the wedding, while of course, trying to remind myself this might not look like this for me.

 

Tell me your stories!

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Style : YayNY

Ok, more opinions and polling today! You know you love it.

Yay NY = Thursday, and I have to pick out something to wear, so I made Scott endure a session of dress-up, and my best ode to ANTM:

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So, the options are:

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1) These are the pants I wore to the prom ten years ago, and I’ve always wanted to wear them again. Pro: sparkles.

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2) This may be the clear winner, summery and full of sparkles.

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3) Soo somfy, and something I could actually wear to work and not have to change from.

 

 

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Wedding : Hair

All right ladies, I don’t have time to fuck around. I need help. #TBCB help. Too many decisions, too little time, too much to think about.

 

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Hair:

So I got it in my head that my dress, which nods to Gibson Girl/Edwardian-ish-ness, would be perfect with a soft, high bun and bangs. I’ve been growing them out since the winter, but I was kind of counting on cutting them.

 

Without giving the dress totally away (Scott, turn back), here is kind of an idea of what it would look like (albeit with less messy, overgrown bangs):

 

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So then, I was gathering pics of me with bangs last winter, and I wasn’t too thrilled with what I saw. Sigh. Most of the pics were of me in hats, so that’s not too helpful.

 

Sometimes they look cute:

 

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Sometimes I look 9 years old:

 

badbangs No, srsly, what’s up with Mayim Bialik in the middle picture?

 

It’s been a loooong time since I last had to whip up an updo. Like senior prom.

 

SOOO, if I don’t get bangs – what do I do? I’m pretty confident I can put my hair in a bun, but more than that with all the other shit I’ve got going on that day? Not so sure.

 

Here’s some of my hair inspiration: http://ny2cabride.tumblr.com/tagged/hair

Thoughts?

 

UPDATE:

Wow guys, thanks for the opinions, which sadly have served to confuse me more. Some more background. Sadly, I don’t have the hair/makeup savvy friend, and I don’t have the budget to hire anyone, not to mention I’ve never met a stylist who doesn’t overestimate my hair—but despite all this, I’m still considering finding one ASAP.

 

This thing is, my hair is super fine, super straight and super slippery. Graceful wisps, and tousled curls, and basically anything soft and like an actual Gibson Girl (which I know, is perfect) needs professional help. Except  the professionals never believe that unless they shellac the shit out of it, my hair will only hold a curl or a style for a half hour.

 

I probably should’ve picked a dress around my hippy hair.

 

I did some quick and dirty messing with it in case that influences anyone.

 

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Wedding : Independence, stage fright, bridesmaids, showers, and funerals

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When you think about it, we all begin our lives being pushed around in chairs (or something even more glamorous like the green spaceship I saw the other morning) like little kings and queens. Now that I’m a grown-up, it would seem as though it’s all downhill from there…

 

Then again, many of us end our lives being pushed around in chairs, and that’s not exactly something we look forward to. Truth be told, as wonderfully relaxing as it may look to some of us between the ages of 4 and 80, the chair-pushing never actually makes us happy because it fucks with our independence. And to many of us, freedom and independence seem as necessary as air. And so those of us can never relax into being pushed or carried, no matter how appropriate it may be, because we will constantly be thinking about how we should be doing the work ourselves.

 

That is me. In this wedding, in this life, needing to walk on my own.

 

I chose not to have bridesmaids for several reasons: Scott didn’t want to choose anyone for a wedding party, I didn’t think I could count on the people I did want to choose for either geographical or emotional reasons, and I didn’t want to pick and choose among the people I did know I could count on. I also didn’t want anyone to feel the resentment that often comes with the financial and time commitments associated with the word “bridesmaid.”

 

I thought I could [and maybe I still can] craft a wonderfully “DIT” wedding where everyone who wanted to contribute could contribute however they felt they could. Where people could have little roles or tasks that were manageable, without feeling like they were as swallowed whole by this wedding as I have been.

 

But it turns out, when you’re someone like me, it’s not that easy to ask for help—to the point where your brain has decided that there really isn’t anything for anyone else to do anyway.

 

And when your problem is as extreme as mine, when it comes to things that you really cannot do—like throw your own bridal shower—and others decide to do it for you, you may wind up FREAKING OUT.

 

I have always had a problem with “stage fright”. This stems from an incident, at 3, where I tripped over my uncle’s foot and slammed my head into a chair leg. I still have the physical and emotional scars. I cried, he cried, the entire room (it was a party) swooped in on me, and I remember feeling frantically that the thing I wanted most in the world was for all of them to stop paying attention to me. To this day, when someone bestows kindness on me in a stressful situation I still cry.

 

But I am, in my deepest darkest heart of hearts, a performer. This lasting affects of this incident have made it difficult, but I pursued. Four was a particularly tough year: first I ran out of our “exhibition class” at dance school, and it took me 5 years to return to dancing;  my first appearance at a wedding—as flower girl for my godmother—resulted in me screaming “I quit this wedding” as soon as I saw everyone looking at me, and running down a side aisle into my mother’s arms. I spent most of the reception (and many other family gatherings), playing under the table.

 

Despite returning to ballet, I frequently lost my shit before going on stage, and thusly, never performed quite the way I did in rehearsal. I suffered through auditions, but the fear affected me so physically that they were always disastrous.

 

I spent my teenage years having birthday parties that involved day trips or vacations with 1 or 2 close friends, and avoiding the larger “surprise” parties my friends tried to throw. At 16, I spent 6 months not speaking to the lovely Aimee, simply because she tried to throw me a birthday party. The only party I ever enjoyed was once I thought was for someone else, and then it wound up being for me too. Surprise.

 

Ironically, in the last year, I’ve taken a couple of acting classes and that is like a whole new ballgame. Improv exercises still freak me out, because—like dancing—you’re really still being you. But I found that playing a character is becoming an advocate for someone else, and that is something I know how to do. Even with only a few weeks to work on a monologue or scene, I realized I will fight desperately to make this character heard (and to make others do the same) no matter what I may look or sound like in the process. It was exhilarating.

 

But when it comes to being me in a room full of people there to celebrate me?

 

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Let’s just say that my shower began at 2pm, at my friend’s parents’ house about 10 blocks away.

 

And where was I? I was sobbing hysterically in the shower, then on the couch, then while trying on clothes in a frantic effort to not think about how whatever I picked would be what I was wearing at my only shower ever.

 

I had not been expecting this.

 

I had seen 75% of my shower attendees at a wine-tasting “high school reunion” trip the day before and there was zero anxiety about any of it. The stressful conversation Scott and I were having about money until about 1:30pm when I freaked out that I hadn’t gotten ready yet may have had something to do with it, as could’ve the fact that I hadn’t eaten anything other than a protein shake all day.

 

Or maybe I just missed my mom.

 

Cause, you know, showers are mom things.

 

Whatever the reason, all I knew was, I really really didn’t want to go.

 

And worse still, I realized the wedding would have a crowd five times as large, and what if I didn’t want to go to that either?

 

Suddenly the reasoning behind going to Costa Rica, and having only twenty guests, and just slipping upstairs from hanging out to change my dress before having a quick ceremony and maybe a slightly more special than average dinner, all made sense to me.

 

And I felt like I had lost the plot and royally fucked up.

 

It’s hard to go “celebrate” when you’ve got all of this on your mind.

 

As my bff (who abandoned me for Seattle at the beginning of July), counseled me on the phone afterwards, “You could’ve told everybody.” (She was mostly referencing the mom part.)

 

She was right, I could’ve told everybody, but as I told her, that wouldn’t have made it a shower, it would’ve made it a funeral. And we already had one of those.

 

Ironically, that funeral made me feel how most wedding grads talk about their wedding.

 

I was so utterly surrounded by love and support. People came out of the woodwork for my mom—and for me. (And some people not coming. I could still tell you the people that didn’t make it. All with good reason, that is just the nature of these things.) Truly, it made me see that I wasn’t alone, even though I was. And it helped me understand the importance of ritual, which is something I should probably remember now.

 

But the funeral is a whole other story, and post.

 

The shower.

 

I survived.

 

DSC_0211-2me, being showered, looking a lot more bad-ass that I felt 

 

Shaky, and not really myself, but trying. And yes, maybe it would’ve been better if I had come clean, and been honest to my friends as to what was going on. At least maybe pulled a few aside and clued them in.

 

But sometimes… even though my friends are here geographically, they’re miles away emotionally. So I tell stuff to you guys.

 

Hi you guys. (And the 2 in real life friends that read. Now you know. 😉 )

 

I guess maybe I should send this to them. So then they’ll know. And my secret will be out.

 

And I can enjoy my wedding.

 

Hi, my name is Keriann. I have social anxiety, and have been off medication for six years. I do a lot of yoga, avoid caffeine and sugar, and just generally will myself through the scary.

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Weekend : Road Trip

In the spirit of Wednesday, and the major FAIL that was to be last week’s working weekend (and I don’t mean wedding work, I mean 3 different real work jobs), I thought I’d post about how I did not work—on work or wedding—in July.

Funtime weekend #1:
One of Scott’s old bands had a reunion show that we drove up to CT for. It’s been a couple of years since I last slept in a car for a band, and I’ve never slept in a car with a member of the band. But I’m getting ahead of the story (which—like that day—is pretty monotonous).

We aimed to pick up our rental car and hit the road around 9am. The state of the rental car office should’ve been my first clue that it was going to be the loooooongest day ever.

When we finally got up to the counter, we were so lucky as to be standing next to the Most. Amazing. Transaction. Ever. Starring people who didn’t understand the stupid rules of rental cars. No, you cannot add a 2nd driver who doesn’t have a major credit card. No, you cannot pay as the 1st driver with a major credit card that is declined(!) and say you’re “just going to pay in cash when you return it.” No, at this point, complaining that you’re getting a Navigator and not a Tahoe is not a good idea. Let’s just said that if the Enterprise employees could pee in these customer’s soup (car seat?), they would’ve done it.

Alas, we never heard how it all ended up because our car was ready. Our first car. Whose front seat did not adjust forward from “gangsta recline.” Luckily we were able to switch the one next to it, which did just fine to CT and back. And while I’m bitching, let me just say something about Connecticut drivers. Wow. Unless there was some kind of “don’t speed today” memo that we missed, they give Florida snowbirds a run for their money. 55 and not a mile over. Plus as much rubber-necking as inhumanly possible for the slightest roadside excitement.

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Somewhere around 2:30, we got to the venue, where I discovered that waiting for a band to go on when you’re with the band might be even less interesting than waiting for a band to go on when you are (or are with) the lunatic that sits outside the door hoping to get a glimpse of them.

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But the pluses included getting to sit (on a chair!) inside the venue’s outdoor patio area blogging while the band rehearsed, and being looked after by a total doll of a venue owner who kept asking if I needed anything.

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And then we went to dinner at what was quite possibly the worst “restaurant” (snack bar in a bar?) that I have ever been to. The whole day was like National Lampoon’s 90’s Band Reunion, but this was really the worst. Honestly, it was so shockingly unbelievable that I couldn’t even get upset about it. They were out of everything and everything they weren’t out of, the cook—on his first and last day—had trouble making. Like had trouble making grilled cheeses and Caesar salad. I was treated to the saddest, barely toasted, BLT ever.

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And then we waited. And attempted not to drink too much since we were driving home that night. And waited some more. And mingled awkwardly with people Scott hasn’t seen in fifteen years and may or may not have hooked up with. And didn’t drink some more. One vodka soda and part of a beer and I was sober and bored out of my skull for about 4 solid hours of waiting, as a reunion of people we didn’t know and their toddlers swirled around us.

Did I mention by this point, my well-used phone which had already been charged once, had died?

So I played Angry Birds on Scott’s phone. And waited. And we manned the merch. And waited. And Scott drew things. And we waited.

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And then they played. And it was just like the rehearsal but with more people. Include a Russell-Brand-alike who was their biggest fan.

And after the set a kid (he was probably my age), came up to Scott and told him they played the first show he ever went to and he loved them. And it was adorable and kind of sad all at once.

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And then we waited.

For the last band who were the guys that invited them to play at this reunion of people who used to play in bands and now had a lot of toddlers running around wearing those punk rock baby earmuffs.

And then perk #2, when the last band played, I got to sit off on the side of the stage behind a speaker and hope no one noticed while I full on slept with music raging around me.

And then at 2am, we left.

12 hours after we had arrived.

17 hours after we left home.

On 5 hours of sleep (my bad), a protein shake, 2 eggs, and the worst BLT of my life, we hit the road back home.

And then an hour and a half into the drive, 1 awful McDonald’s coffee, and the world’s most expensive large fries later, we gave up. And slept in a parking lot. Of a different McDonald’s.

And woke up 3 hours later to dawn at a Connecticut McDonald’s and finished the drive home.

I didn’t get to stop at Stew Leonard’s, but I did get to see Scott play in a band.

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Wedding : My Face

Now that our invites are in the mail (what what), I’m hoping for a vague return to focusing on more than one thing at a time, including this blog.

 

Today I really need your help and input.

 

Tomorrow morning I am scheduled to have a patch allergy test to help to determine why my face looks like this:

 

P1000036-1 What? It was Christmas, a new camera, and “funhouse” settings…

 

And I really just don’t feel like dealing with this on top of everything else right now and am probably going to cancel.

 

The redness and tiny bumps that sometimes turn into tiny pimples started at the beginning of 2007, about six months after I moved back to NY. By May, it had spread from one cheek to both, and a little while later the bridge of my nose joined in.

 

I thought it was the shitty air in the bar I worked at, or the shitty air in Scott’s apartment, but by 2008 I had left both and the redness stayed.

 

In 2009, I finally got health insurance and my ass to a dermatologist, who has since been throwing lotions and creams at me with little to no effects.

 

At one point I had a blood test for allergies, and the positive result for dust mites seemed to answer the question. The house was a mess and we had quite a bit of organizing/cleaning to do. I know dust makes me sneezy, but hypo-allergic bedding and lots of cleaning in the past  hasn’t made a lick of difference in my face.

 

Recently I stole Scott’s acne medicines, and actually saw some improvement, and so got my own Rx for it. This was when the derm suggested a patch test. It consists of missing 2 half days of work for them to affix my entire back with testing patches and tape (which I am definitely allergic to) for 48 hours in the middle of the hottest, muggiest summer I can remember where I can’t shower or “sweat it off.” Even if an allergen is found that means I’d have just 7 weeks to figure out how to avoid it and maybe see some results…

 

Or I can just actually wear makeup on my wedding day.

 

I know there was some conversation on Twitter about good, green, beauty products that flew right over my head, so if someone could direct me to any of those suggestions, or their own ideas for redness reduction, they would be my face’s personal hero.

 

Thanks ladies, and know that those of you who also have skin conditions—I’ve seen your pics and they’ve given me great hope.

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Style : Honeymoon

I’m taking a break from the intensive invite DIY that is our living room right now to brave the mosquitos in the yard, sip some tequila and blog.

 

Ahhh.

 

Breathe.

 

A few weeks ago Scott helped me to brush up my rusty photoshop skillz and learn to make an inspiration board. I picked our honeymoon (because let’s face it, it’s all I want to think or talk about) as a subject, and I was really pleased with the results:

 

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1… Technically, we’re going to be based in Atrani, not Amalfi, but it’s only a 2km difference, and “Amalfi Honeymoon” had a nicer ring to it. 

2…  linen scarf
3… Vintage Capri travel poster by Laboccetta, 1962
4… 70s Balmain sunglasses
5… striped sun hat via Pinterest
6… beachy tunic
7… Anthro bikini
8… jute Keds
9… maxi skirt

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With the exception of the super-cute Keds (though I’m not sure how well they’ll fair on uneven Amalfitane scalinatelle—staircase streets), none of this awesomeness will be in my suitcase, but I’m slowly curating my own inspiration-board-worthy honeymoon wardrobe…

 

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…More soon!