Thursday, October 28, 2010

gotta go to work gotta go to work gotta have a job

So the job search continues. Luckily, I have a few leads, including 2 interviews next Tuesday. Yes. 2 interviews in one day. They're pretty close to each other, I'll just have to kill a couple of hours downtown. Anyone wanna hang out between 12 and 2 on Tuesday near DuPont Circle/Farragut North? Holla.

Robyn's looking for a job, too. But first she needs a car. So we'll see how THAT all pans out. She's applied at PetCo and is waiting to hear back from them. Any retail store is a good option right now, since places are hiring seasonal workers. Any tips on places that'll hire a high school student part-time, that could potentially set her up for a full-time job after graduation in a couple of months? Even if it's just get-experience-here-and-these-types-of-places-will-hire-you-later.

Job hunting is so boring. Also I want soup.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

public service announcement

I just reposted this in Google Reader, but it's SO IMPORTANT that I need to link it here, too. Just in cases. You know. Anyway.

Read this blog entry immediately.*

Designer dresses. For, like, nothing. To rent. That are sent to you with a free backup size, and a postage-paid return envelope. They dry clean the dresses. You get them for 8 days. HELLO, SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE!!!

Just sign up. Like, yesterday. WHEW! I feel better now.

*Also start following that blog because My Ship writes it, and it's about the weddings she plans, and I'm now her business' DC-area branch. Do it do it do it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

they said it couldn't be done

This morning I ran 10 miles. OK. 7 miles. I ran 7 miles and walked 3. In the Army Ten-Miler. Whatever. In any case

F*CK. YES.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

lay your weary head to rest

I got my gown! It's AH-MAHZING. My mom, sister and I went to Staten Island today (yesterday) for the Brides Against Breast Cancer Gown Sale. Tomorrow (today) is the last day it's going to be there before moving on to the next location. I highly recommend going if you can. Everything is organized by size, and couture is separated from non-couture, so you have a better idea of the price ranges as you're looking. I tried on about 15 gowns, and the dress I ended up with was the 3rd one. And one of the attendants (who was a volunteer) had insisted I try it.

In the interest of full-disclosure, my parents bought me this dress. I'm planning on covering any and all alterations, but I would never have been able to purchase it on my own. My parents totally rule. After seeing me in it, my mom said, "That's your dress," and threw down the cash without a second thought. I am incredibly grateful, and I don't want to misrepresent myself as super bargain-hunter chick. Normally, I totally am that chick. Just not today. And the sale price was still way below retail, plus the proceeds 100% go to the Brides Against Breast Cancer projects, which is awesome and makes me feel a hell of a lot better than if I'd gone to the b*tchy salon in Philadelphia. But it wasn't cheap, and I thought you should know.

I'll post pictures of some of the dresses I didn't get another time. I can't find the manufacturer's pictures of my gown anywhere. It's a Pronovias (my fave!) with short sleeves and a trumpet-fit, but it's not "Magda." I don't know if maybe somebody owned it before and altered it a little from the original. In any case, it fits like a GLOVE, and I just have to have it hemmed an inch or two. And maybe add a lace panel to the neckline since I'll be kneeling/bending/contorting in front of a priest.

It's not what I pictured myself loving, but it's also not very different from the dresses I'd imagined wearing for my wedding. It's like...a combination of the things I've loved about different styles. Which I never thought to put together. Anyway. I'll stop being cryptic. Because I need to go to bed anyway. Tomorrow we're going to Hershey Park with The Pecks, so I need my rest. Peas.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

honey do

I'm not supposed to look at honeymoon stuff until about 2 months before the wedding.
We're going to find last-minute deals.
And then go.
Because I can't be trusted to try and narrow down travel itineraries so far in advance.
And The Foliage is fully aware that if he takes over, I'll just hound him about it and make him miserable.
So neither of us is supposed to look at any of that stuff.

But...oops.
I kind of fell in love with a place.
Specifically, this place:




Source

Swoooooooon!!!

It's on the island of Ibiza, off the coast of Spain, in the middle of the Mediterranean. And it's incredible. It's a working, organic farm that sells its produce as well as house-made preserves. It has bikes for you to borrow so you can tour the island and visit the beaches...there are a ton of beaches. A ton. It's eco-friendly, using gray water to irrigate the crops and all of the buildings were refurbished using green techniques. It looks...just absolutely amazing. And for 1 week, it'd cost about $1,400. Not terrible.

The beach closest to the hotel. Facing North toward Barcelona. Image courtesy of the hotel's website.

I'm thinking we could spend a week there, and then a second week on the mainland. One week of relaxation, followed by a week of exploring.

But where to explore?

Here are things I want:
-Cool architecture, bonus for churches (like that's hard in Europe, I know)
-Great wine
-Even better cheese (fromage quality is paramount here, people)
-Doesn't take forever to get there after leaving the island

From Ibiza, it's easiest to get to Spain, specifically Valencia and Barcelona. France (Cannes, Monaco, Marseilles) is slightly more difficult to access directly, but not impossible. Then there's Italy on the other side. OR we could go South to Northern Africa. Which could be cool. I just don't know. Ideally, we could walk to Holland from Ibiza, but that's probably not going to happen. I really, really want to go to the Netherlands someday. It's a life list kind of thing.

Anyway. Step 1 is to get a job so we can afford to take any honeymoon, period. Step 2 is to make sure that job offers enough vacation time. Step 3 is to get married. Right. Focus. Baby steps. Blah.

Monday, October 18, 2010

i'm pretty obsessed with this



Thanks, Robyn! Now do your f*cking homework or I'll come downstairs and taunt you again. No, really.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

yeesh

When I was in my senior year of high school in Delaware, my application for admission was accepted by University of Maryland - Baltimore County, which is just outside of Baltimore. I drove down several times before the school year started, and my dad made sure that I knew to take the Fort McHenry Tunnel - not the Harbor Tunnel - and to take 695 to Catonsville.

I now take 495 to 95 every time I go to Delaware, and vice versa.

All that is to say, I JUST NOW realized what the "inner" and "outer" loops are. All these years...I've been so confused...man, I can be ridiculous amounts of dumb...

Friday, October 15, 2010

paperback writer

I have a problem. With paper. I love it...much more than I should. It's pretty intense. When The Foliage and I wander around areas with lots of cute shops (I'm looking at you, Georgetown), he never really has to worry about me dragging him into a clothing boutique or a shoe store...but as soon as he sees a Papyrus or Paper Source he'll try to drag me to the other side of the street. Because he knows what's coming. I think I left him with the greeting cards for about an hour once while I examined every single loose-leaf offering I could find. Yeah. Oops.

So this whole wedding invitation thing? Kind of a big deal. At the very least, now that we've agreed upon a loose theme, I can automatically eliminate a lot of designs as I search. Before getting engaged (hell, before I even met my fiance) I would peruse the motifs and materials of thousands of invitations on a weekly basis, and goodNESS I wanted them all. This whole pick-one-style thing has really helped.

But it still isn't enough.

I find myself so bored with so many invitations I see nowadays. Does everything have to be a flat card? Is the only dynamic option a pocketfold? Seriously? It hurts my paper-loving soul. On the other hand, I don't want to pay for postage on 50 tiny boxes that open to Victorian-style pop-up bliss. When we made our engagement party invitations, we took them to be hand-canceled at the post office and it was $1.22 per piece. They weren't even heavy! They were in square envelopes! Yeesh. So when you're talking about postage on each invitation, it adds up pretty quickly.

Erin of Corndog Industries offers some really cool designs. I'm especially in lust with her Ouija Board suite. The envelopes become planchettes! Genius!

519 Weddings does all custom work, at pretty awesome prices. And they come up with PDF suites that you can print locally, so you have a lot more control over the total cost. Just LOOK at their travel-themed set. Just look. And attempt to keep your jaw off the floor.

My mom has been making painfully fabulous cards and invitations for, um, ever. Oh, and she's also a kick-ass calligrapher. Score! So we're going to be making the invitations, for which I THINK we have a pretty good idea. Now it's just a matter of making a sample, and then making the actuals. Luckily, she found this place which is in NEWARK FREAKING DELAWARE where we can DO OUR OWN LETTERPRESS! Seriously. SERIOUSLY. Lots of CAPS. Because I am EXCITED BY THIS. We each have to do a prerequisite workshop to learn how to use the machines, which is about $120 per person, but then you rent the studio for $10 per hour. You buy your own paper, they provide the ink. And obviously everything else. For letterpress? $300ish for letterpress? Uuuuummmmmmmthejoy. The JOY.

So I'll keep you posted on progress. And if you live in the area, totes jump on this gravy train. You can come with us when we do the workshop if you want! I'm guessing it won't be until early next year, but feel free to join.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

to infinity and beyond

Source
Last night at dinner Robyn mentioned her current grade in Statistics. And it's, you know, not great. I said, "I thought you said you were liking Statistics!" She said she was, and she had no idea how her grade could be so low. We reassured her that there will be more assignments and tests to bring up the grade, and that there's plenty of time left in the semester, and suggested that she talk to her teacher about what's hurting her so far.

But I was totally thinking the whole time, "Any parent who heard 'I don't know' about a low grade would roll their eyes and not believe her." I have been there, though. The feeling of, "What?! I thought I was doing really well!" And being blind-sided by a teacher's negative assessment. And, MAN, is it ever frustrating.

So watch your BACK, Statistics teacher! Some awesome work is comin' atcha.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

it's a little bit funny

I wish this were my office...

I was able to get every single full-time job I've had to date (that's been 4 of them now) without a degree. And now that I have a degree...it's proving very difficult to find full-time employment. Oh, sweet irony!

Monday, October 11, 2010

newsflash

Yesterday I assisted in the coordination of a wedding for the very first time. My Ship had been contracted as a full-service coordinator for a wedding about a year in advance, but as the date got closer, and the couple kept changing things...and there were nearly 350 guests...she realized she needed help. I've been throwing and have helped throw more large-scale parties in my life than I can count. Plus I'm awesome. So clearly this collaboration was smart. Here are some things I learned over the course of the day:

Great caterers totally make or break a meal-centric event. And I don't mean by food quality. These people were on.it. They had a fleet of, like, 27 staff. And were totally unfazed when the pre-bagged vendor meals went missing. And the band demanded plated meals because they didn't like the bagged ones. If they hadn't been so fabulous and we'd had to babysit them...the whole day would've been a disaster.
Hiring friends isn't necessarily a good idea. See above. Part of the reason the caterers were great was that they were not friends of the couple. Unlike nearly all of the other vendors. If your photographer is a family friend, and the two of you have an uncle/niece sort of dynamic, and he's uncomfortable seeing you in your undergarments...you're not going to get any getting-into-the-dress pictures. Maybe that's not important to you (it probably isn't to me), but maybe choose a photographer based on style and vision and isn't the father of your bridesmaid. This guy took pictures like they were going in Spark Magazine. Pose, smile, tell me your names, done. Nothing candid, nothing remotely artistic. Blah.
If you have a planner...talk to him/her. Showing up to your reception with toasting glasses which you've never mentioned before, AS you're being announced is a bad idea. Emailing your planner and the emcee the "script" for the evening, as they're both on the way to the venue and have no printer is also a bad idea. Scrawling a list of names and numbers and scratches and scribbles on the fronts and backs of 2 pieces of paper and calling it a "seating chart"...very much a bad idea. Communicate with your vendors!
350ish guests is too many. Especially when you haven't hired any sort of trolley service to go between the church and the reception. Which are both in downtown Baltimore. Especially when it takes AN HOUR to get people from cocktail hour to dinner, because there are only 2 small elevators that go between them. It's just too many.
20 Bridesmaids/Groomsmen = sh*tshow. Need I say more?

I am so glad that our ceremony and reception are in the same place, that the site is so easily accessible, that our guest list is totally manageable, that we're not dealing with a band or emcee, that we won't have a sweetheart table, that we're not obsessing over flowers, that our photographer freaking rules (and that she's become our friend but didn't start out that way), and that we're taking our pictures before the ceremony...so so glad. I am so excited to not feel confined by so many arbitrary wedding traditions that we end up with a crazy-packed timeline, and only 20 minutes of dancing.

Show up. Get married. Hang out. Eat. Drink. Dance. Not necessarily in that order. Man, I'm pumped.

I'm not linking to vendors because I don't want the couple or non-awesome vendors to somehow find this post and be p*ssed. Plus, the only couple I know getting married in Baltimore already has everything planned, so I don't think anyone I know would benefit from the links. But if I'm wrong, email or comment to ask about specific ones.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

may contain spoilers

The Foliage and I just got back from seeing 2 movies tonight with Robyn. The 2nd one was "The Social Network" and blah blah blah it's really popular and it was exhausting. The 1st one though...was "It's Kind of a Funny Story" and it was pretty great.

There was one scene in the movie where the main character says that he has no friends, and someone nearby comments on what a hard realization that is. Like it's inevitable. That, yeah, duh, everybody realizes eventually that they have no real friends in the world, and that day is tough.

I had exactly that realization one day. It was 5 or 6 years ago, and I'd just broken up (for realsies...not for "let's still hang out all the time"sies) with my first Very Serious Boyfriend. I had spent the last year or 2 of our relationship working full-time at night and going to school full-time during the day, and my car at the time kept locking me out* which relegated me to walking ev.er.y.where. So the very little free time I had was spent with the VSB.

It's a pretty classic first-relationship-ending story. You've spent all your socializing energy on your now-ex's friends, and now you don't even know who your friends are. And the people you thought were your friends are comPLETEly unreliable. You've grown apart. You think, "this can't be right...something must be wrong with me...it's my fault we have nothing to talk about." And you hang out with the people who used to be your friends, on their terms, while they do stupid things like sit at home and...well, that's it. They just sit at home. And complain about things that don't really affect them, but make no attempt to change anything.

So that happened. And I got pretty depressed. Which happens to me sometimes. So I started doing things. Saying "yes" to anything that could potentially result in a [safe and] good time became a personal policy. And I told myself that the only people I could rely on were myself and my family members. To save myself from the disappointment of believing in people who would just let me down. And I closed myself off.

Until BAM I met a couple of girls who were totally awesome, and I was all, "Oh...you mean humanity doesn't suck?" And I became reacquainted with a guy who I'd known in high school, but who I hadn't spent a whole lot of time with since, who also surprised me by totally not sucking. And I met The Foliage, and almost wrecked it because I didn't know I was still closed-off, and had to figure out how to undo that. So now I have 3 best friends and a husband-elect** beside my family. Oh, and his family which is my family-elect. I once felt so alone I felt like the universe could just swallow me whole, and now I couldn't feel isolated if I tried.

I think the movie made depression kind of "glossy" and the ending was pretty clean, compared to what it's really like living with that particular disease. Just acknowledging the problem doesn't make things all hunky dory. Not by a long shot. But I liked that ultimately the guy wasn't alone. As cheesy as it may sound, I think it's important for depressed people to know: you're not alone.

Also I want pretty much all the songs on the soundtrack.

*A 1996 Saab. 1996 was not a good year for the company. A friend once commented that my car was "like a kid with Downs Syndrome throwing a tantrum," which is probably offensive to children with Downs. But hey...I'm just quoting for crissakes.
**Totally stole this term from a friend. Love it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

it's a difficult situation

Sooooo roadblock. In the whole Farthing House ordeal.

We've still not been able to do anything about the roaches. Partially, because it's expensive, but more so because even if we bring someone in with professional-level poison...there is just far too much clutter in this house for any treatment to be effective. Bugs can hide a million places even in the cleanest house...and this is far from that house.

Leaf and I have tried to employ a few strategies to get Grandpa Tom on board for cleaning up, but nothing works. We don't want to sneak around and start cleaning ourselves because it makes him very nervous, and ultimately, it's his house. What he says is what goes. Which is right and fine. Except that we can't rid the house of the bugs yet.

Last night it came to a head.

I'll skip over the details of Thanksgiving-o-Rama 2010, but this Tuesday we ended up suggesting to GPT that we host the family for the holiday. At Farthing. Which he didn't say "no" to, but mostly avoided addressing. Which is about as close as you can get to a "yes" with that guy. So then we tried to gently bring up cleaning the dining room. So people could, you know, GET to the table. Which they currently can't. Seriously.

As usual, he and Robyn misunderstood one another when they were discussing something mundane, and then they both blew up. It would be hilarious if I weren't living with it. Anyway, he got mad, and nixed the whole thing. Direct "no." So. We dropped it. Until yesterday, when Leaf brought it up again. I came home in the middle of the talk, during which GPT had begrudgingly agreed to host the family for the holiday.

During the discussion, I was looking around the room, and he said something about how he hadn't put that stuff (referring to the piles of boxes and papers and garbage lining the perimeter of the room) there, and blah blah blah. His usual "logic" for why the room is the way it is. Basically, his claim is that all that stuff has accumulated since Nana passed away. This past March. I said something to the effect of, "The first time I came here was 2 years ago, and it looked exactly the same; all this stuff was here."

And...yeesh. Sh*t.hit.the.fan.

GPT was PISSED at that statement. He was extraordinarily offended and refused to believe it was true. We would absolutely not be welcome to help him go through anything; everything is exactly where it's supposed to be, except for stuff that he says Robyn and Brendan have thrown on top of the piles.

Leaf thinks that GPT feels as though I throw everything in the garbage. Which isn't inaccurate; I threw out and donated a lot of stuff during the bedroom clean-up. It doesn't matter that the 2 pieces of furniture - which are WAY too big for this room - which he pointed out and said we had to leave in the room, I have been very careful not to damage, and have actually incorporated them in here nicely. For him.  To respect his wishes.

So we can't clean. But we're going to surreptitiously place roach poison allllll over the kitchen, and maybe in the bathrooms, and we'll see how things go. For the time being, we're going to spend Thanksgiving with my family, and all of Leaf's family is invited. Hey! Leaf's family who's reading this! You're invited to Thanksgiving with my family. Lemme know if you're coming. Gr8 thx.

FIRST

So Meg of A Practical Wedding just posted the new book club book. And it's not like a surprise since the book has been all over the comments and mentioned repeatedly. But oh, MAN! These ladies are going nutso in the comments! Like mean, passive-aggressive, guilt-assigning nutso. It's ridiculous!

It makes me think of high school, when I had to read books I absolutely hated for AP English class. "Heart of Darkness" comes to mind. Immediately. And violently. Because I really, really hated it. I still really hate it*.

But, hey, I've read it. And I can hold my own in a discussion about it. And I can commiserate with other people who hate it (and there are plenty of us). People just need to CALM DOWN. And remember that there will be other months. And other books. And that maybe they should relish this opportunity to decry the book they hate so very much, to maybe "win" people over to their side, in an intimate, intelligent setting.

The Internet is such a crazy place sometimes.

*Others include "Red Badge of Courage" and "The Awakening"...both of which made/make me want to slam my face on something blunt and shiny.

workin' on my fitness, he's my witness

And we're back! Or...I'm back. And The Foliage is back. So, yeah, we're both back. Into being our healthy, active selves. It has been a WHILE. After running the other night, in the cold, I've decided that I just hate summer. The humidity just makes me want to lay down somewhere and breathe heavily.

But this cool weather! This I can handle. I mean when I'm moving. If I'm still, I'll complain about the cold. A lot. Because I am a wimp about temperatures. Anyway.

Last night, I went to BFit in Logan Circle with my friend Barbara Lee, who had never been. Some girl I'd never seen before was teaching the class while the regular teacher, Amy, was on vacation. Now, I thought Linda - the studio's owner - was supposed to teach that class. But Linda was also out of town. And now that I know that's Amy's usual time slot, I will never go on a Wednesday evening ever again. Because Linda makes me want to die. But Amy...Amy makes me want to drown. Which is - I've decided - the manner in which I'd like to die the least. Out of all my options. But I'd do it to escape Amy's class. Is how brutal she is.

BFit Studio - sans happy hour workout crowd

Today I'm sore, but I'm also really excited for exercise. And after running 3 miles Monday, without even straining, and no soreness the next day...I'm even excited again for the Army 10-miler this month! Which isn't to say I'm optimistic. I have strong doubts that I'll be able to run the whole thing. But I think I can at least run more than half of it by then. I've got a couple of weeks to train still.

In my over-enthusiasm for exercise, I've been looking up places to go in DC, and ummm there are plenty. If you're in the DC area, I highly recommend WelcomeOmDC. It focuses a lot on yoga, but there's no shortage of other disciplines featured, and there are really well-rounded lists of local studios. AND they tell you about places that are offering free/deeply discounted classes in blog posts. Love!

They also caused me to look up this place:

Stroga
Seriously, I just want to go to be in that studio. Look at all that space! In DC! NorthWEST no less. Unbelievable. I sweat the District.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

a play in two acts

Source

I just wrote a loooooooong post all about how frustrating bachelorette party planning is. And then I came up with the solution* while typing. Which is really how this whole process has been going.

Act I, Panic
Scene I, Ranting
Scene II, Verge of Tears
Scene III, A Light Bulb is Illuminated
Act II, Nevermind
Scene I, Seriously Everything's Fine Now
Scene II, Smug Joy

I am like a one-woman three-ring-circus.

*The solution, BTW, is to have whatever bachelorette festivities there are take place on Friday of Wedding Weekend. So all of the sisters can feasibly be in town. I'm not always cryptic.

Monday, October 4, 2010

what do you think you're changing?

In the vein of continuing to be secretive about wedding details, I'm not telling you WHY I came across this site today. But I did come across it. And it's amazing. What a great project - to take low-income residents of a neighborhood, and employ them while training them in artisan skills*. And then selling me the results at crazy low prices. I can't wait to visit!

Source

 *Strikingly similar to my sister's plan, except hers involves a lot of flour sifting.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

maybe you're wrong and maybe i'm right

That's not us.

There has been a great big wedding development.
It has to do with the food.
And I'm not telling you.
Mostly because certain family members would probably be upset at how non-traditional it is.
But I had the idea, and when I told The Foliage, he was immediately excited.
Which never happens when I tell him wedding ideas.
Seriously, ever.
But he was excited about this one. And I was, too.
So we sealed the deal (with a high-five, duh) and everyone else can enjoy their delicious surprise food.
Sometimes being engaged doesn't suck.