Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nontraditional Wedding Planning

Wedding season has begun! The invitations are trickling in, and I have my own on the brain despite the fact that my savings account is not permitting an actual date to be set as of yet...

I've been exploring some of the web resources for nontraditional brides, as I had my cheesy, formal princess wedding when I was 18 (50 people, $5000 budget- not bad, but the whole thing was kind of lame). This time I want to really reflect my fiance's and my personalities and tastes, especially since we're (I'm) paying for it ourselves (myself) entirely-- that means we can do things that the older folks may disapprove of. Chris is a little concerned about his conservative Italian side of the family but I think (hope) we'll win them over with fun.

My Etsy Treasury East featuring a pink/purple butterfly & pirate theme

I particularly love OffbeatBride and AntiBride - Girls after my own heart! I envy the liberties some of the brides take with little concern for the reactions of others but I think I can throw a terrific party that pleases a bit more than it shocks.

My criteria for the ceremony are, in order of importance: 1) Outdoors 2) Inexpensive or Free. To this end, we may resort to a standing quickie ceremony in the Arnold Arboretum (no furniture allowed!) and then have the ceremony at a nearby Sons of Italy. But that is only if my former middle and high school doesn't allow me to hold it in their lovely Sunken Garden for a reduced or nonexistent fee (they still love me for some reason, despite my somewhat exorbitant rebellion and eventual dropping out).

A former private estate, the school is absolutely stunning and the grounds immaculate. And not too far away is a fantastic little pub, part of a chain owned by local former students, where you can rent the top floor (the Attic), complete with stage! My favorite bartender and friend Tommy's fabulous party band, the Beantown Project, will be the main musical selection, and then we'll set up an ipod dock later in the evening for people to play their own lists.

I adore the black laquer and hardwood throughout the pub, as well as the unique wrought-iron light fixtures. Wide magenta ribbon bows around the chair backs should inject a bit of liveliness to the dark atmosphere.

We'll have towers of cupcakes instead of a traditional cake, with edible sugar butterfly and pirate flag toppers by SugarRobot on Etsy (how.freaking.awesome?). For favors, I plan to have a skull with butterfly logo designed and have it custom etched on pint glasses, which will be filled with homemade fudge in bright cellophane (they will most likely sub in for bouquets on the tables, because I don't want the expense or waste of a lot of cut flowers!) and the same design on temporary tattoos (which I hope people will don during the wedding so they match the bride and groom!)

I want to do handmade, plantable invitations (paper with wildflower seeds embedded!), and wear a handmade, two-piece corset and tulle skirt combination. I'm still vacillating slightly on the color, because I think magenta would be awesome but all of my girlfriends beg me to reconsider and go white with the black trim as they think the magenta will be overwhelming and clownish... what's your opinion? Love your comments so feel free to let me know what you think of the plans!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Supporting "the Girls": Selecting the Right Bra

Most women are wearing the wrong size bra- so the popular wisdom goes. For the lucky ladies who can wear halter tops and for whom bras are an unnecessary extra, it is probably fairly easy to find something that does the trick just fine (pardon me if I am wrong!). However, if you are rather more generously endowed, squeezing your girls into a too-small, un-supportive bra may be diminishing your "total package" or ruining your look. The correct size and type of bra will leave a smooth line beneath your clothing, make you stand up straighter, make your waist look smaller and make you look younger and perkier. Yes, please?

Photo by the incredibly talented Beat on Flickr

Some of the telltale signs you're wearing the wrong size include the ladies falling out of the cups when you lean over, the dreaded "four-boob," and generally spilling on the sides, bottom, or top of the bra. It's quite possible that as insane as it sounds, if your bras are not fitting you could be bigger than a D cup. Bigger than a DD even. Do they exist, you ask!? But of course, and not just by custom order or specialty store!

I recently discovered, through a marathon dressing-room session at Marshall's-- wherein I snagged all of the biggest bras I could find in several different cup and band size--, that I am not, in fact, a 36DD as I had assumed all of these years, but more accurately a 34FF. I allowed myself a moment of eyes-popping-out-of-skull before remarking how amazing I felt when properly supported and forgetting all about that pesky, "embarrassing" size. Forget about the number (or letter(s) ), once again, ladies. And don't make the mistake of just going up and up in band size if you don't feel your bras are fitting properly; most of the support comes from the band so if it's too loose you're doing yourself no favors! A good band will actually eliminate the back fat situation (if you've got lots popping out above and below, try a wider (3-hook minimum) band instead of a bigger inches measurement.

If you are unable to find a good fit on your own through trial and error, do make a trip to a lingerie store (not Vicky's or Frederick's; one that specializes in foundation garments, not bedroom outfits!) such as Lady Grace, and be professionally measured. Once armed with your new knowledge about what size actually fits you properly, GO SHOPPING! Lady Grace and similar specialty bra shops have plenty of stock but it may be heavily weighted toward the hideous category. Big boobs can have pretty bras, too! Fayreform is a new brand catering toward full-figured ladies and their high-end options can be found for as little as $7 at Marshall's, so keep an eye out. They are also carried at better department stores like Nordstrom, where you might be able to find a seasonal deal to bring them down from the $60 range, and HerRoom.com sometimes has them on sale also.

A few other excellent web resources:

HipsandCurves, catering toward plus sizes (with band measurements beginning at 38 and cup sizes up to J)

Bravissimo for the larger cup sizes (D-KK) with smaller band measurements (28-40)

BiggerBras carries every size imaginable, pretty much, although the interface isn't perfect and the sales aren't that inexpensive

BraExperience has a huge variety of sizes and styles, and a decent sale section, as well as a promo running right now! (use promo code "BE55OFF" when adding to the shopping cart to receive 55% of Sale Priced bras. (Only Valid on Style # beginning with dsx))

I've also heard wonderful things about Lane Bryant's boob-wrangling devices, though I have no personal experience.

Have you been fit properly for a bra? If not, do you suspect you could be wearing the wrong size? I hope this has been helpful. Get out there and treat your girls right!

Happy bra shopping!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Can We Talk about Sweatpants for a Minute?

Many of you are moms, and very, very busy, and some of you are diligent and actually go the gym (nice!). I do understand that it is sometimes necessary to don some sort of "comfy pants" to venture outside of your house-- perhaps in an emergency; or if you are genuinely on your way to or from some sort of athletic activity. One of the fashion faux pas (how do you pluralize that?) sweeping the nation (I hope it is not happening in other countries too!) over the past five years or perhaps more is the acceptability of pajama pants and sweats in public. Really, honestly, unless one is literally making a mad dash to the store or has terribly sick babies or (as mentioned) is going immediately to exercise, one oughtn't be wearing that sort of thing out. Penguins and duck and bunny jammies are for the eyes of people who already love you. Pajamas are for sleeping and lounging, not walking about town or going to class. And goddess forbid you have any sort of words emblazoned across your arse; even a school name is wretched but "Bootylicious" or "Sweet" or "Apple Bottom" across your tuckus will make it a) look wider b) look trashy c) look dumpy, or flat, because sweatpants are not doing you any favors unless you have that bubble butt. I am sorry to be harsh, but someone had to say it.

Even this model doesn't look particularly good with something (don't ask what) written across it.

Yoga pants are slightly better than those god-awful capri-legging and ankle-elastic ones people are bafflingly bringing back into vogue... Not being one to worship runway fashion, I think there's been quite enough eighties revival already, and I could do without them deifying the weird kid in third grade, who wouldn't wear a coat and whose tube socks were always showing beneath the too-short elastic ankles of his sweatpants while he ate strawberry-flavored air for lunch.

This poor booty wants to look sexy but its owner is having none of that :(

Even if they are showing on the runways and in magazines, do reconsider sweatpants and stretch pants-- they can make almost any girl look fat, and certainly every girl look worse than they could in a structured dark jean or a pinstriped trouser. If pants with a waistband that doesn't give are your big issue because you just had a kid or you've gained a bit, for the love of all that's holy, get your mind off the number and buy a flattering pair that fits even if you have to go up a few sizes and/or have something tailored so it fits your biggest bits but nips in around your small ones. Forget the size. Examine how it makes your body look. Find someone to be objective if you cannot be. You will feel so much better about yourself if you see how beautiful you can be with three seconds more effort (like a button); and a non-stretchy waistband is helpful for reminding you when to stop stuffing handfuls of kettle corn down your gullet (for example).

These girls will never, ever have more bangin' bodies than they do now, in college. And they're wasting it all!

Some of you will dislike my vehemence on this subject, as I banish your favorite comfortable clothes to the same hell reserved for Crocs,Uggs, and Leggings Used as Pants without a Tunic (very similar to the sweatpant situation but even worse because everyone sees EVERYTHING, girl.) Sorry about that. But don't you want your booty to look the best it can?


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