Archive for February, 2010

While I’m not trying to drop a size or two to fit into my wedding dress (a course of action, incidentally, I could not advocate LESS… especially since I’ve already been down that self-inflicted road as a bridesmaid), I have to admit that you’d be hard pressed to find one bride-to-be who wouldn’t like to /isn’t trying to change some physical feature prior to her day in the spotlight.
And it occurred to me that I spend just as much time trolling the net for recipes, workout info, weight loss advice, hair care enlightenment etc. as I do wedding planning and other various wedding-related lore. So I think it’s only fair that I expand my ramblings to include the wonderful worlds of health, nutrition, fitness, beauty – whatever it is that it takes to make a girl look & feel all purty-like.
Anyone who’s met me knows that it’s no secret that I like to eat. A lot. Seriously. Because of this, I’ve had to learn all sorts of tasty, exciting and  smart things with which to feed myself. And, for those times that I couldn’t care less about the caloric or fat content of a family-sized serving of Pad Thai noodles (delivered hot and steaming from Springrolls… yummm), I’ve had to learn how to counter those lapses. Because I’d be lying if I said they didn’t happen. I’d likely be struck by lightening as well – but who’s judging, right?

Do yourself a favour & buy the damn dress in a size that already FITS you.

Enter Sparkpeople. I shudder to think of the man-hours that went into creating this behemoth of a site. But I’m eternally thankful to the folks who logged the time to do so. It makes my life so much easier to manage. Ok, it may not pay my bills or help me find spiritual enlightenment, but it helps to manage the girth of my arse. And that’s no small feat.
Sparkpeople is an online community that provides anything you could possibly need to stay motivated in working toward your own personal health & fitness goals. In addition to a virtual library of feature articles & videos (including online workouts: I, personally, am a fan of the New YOU Bootcamp) on nutrition, fitness, health and general well-being, Sparkpeople features a slew of forums/teams categorized by interest, geographical location, age, gender, you name it… there’s someone else out there you’ll click with for one reason or another. You can also find recipes, track your daily calorie consumption, sweat a few of them off and log that info as well. Need a new exercise idea to keep you motivated and/or interested (because – let’s face it – if boredom wasn’t such a huge factor, none of us would ever be out of shape)? There are plenty to be found. You can even set up our own personal Spark blog to ramble on about your struggles and accomplishments.
With its detailed (and I do mean detailed) Nutrition, Fitness, Weight & Measurement Trackers, you can keep a firm handle on your love handles (or lack thereof, as the case may be.) You can enter everything manually or you can enter a few parameters and let the site do all the work (ok, not the work, but at least most of the planning) for you.
Oh, and did I mention the best part? FREE. That’s right, kids. Free! No fees of any sort are involved in using this bad boy. That’s why it’s so deserving of this mention. Go. Check it out. You may be a bit overwhelmed at first (it is massive) but you won’t be sorry.

February 24th, 2010 Finding Fabulous, The Confessional | No Comments

In the past few months I’ve taken to watching Slice TV’s lineup of “reality” wedding shows (Wedding SOS and Rich Bride, Poor Bride on a regular basis and Bulging Brides on the odd occasion that I feel like my self esteem might be getting just a bit too healthy) because – who’s kidding who – I enjoy TV wedding porn as much as I do the online variety. And, no, I don’t mean anything unsavoury or that you couldn’t watch with your Grannie or a toddler in the room. I just mean the pages upon pages of wedding photos one can find online to either A) drool over & covet, B) discard in peals of laughter, or C) glean fabulous ideas.
The general brattiness & self-centered “I want, I want, I want”-iness of the majority of the featured Brides (and – let’s be fair – Grooms) on these shows makes me want to cringe and avoid the mere mention of my own wedding. Honestly, my biggest fear is being lumped in with some of these princesses (again – meant as an entirely non-gender-specific insult). How did some of these couples manage to even forge a relationship with another human being, never mind take it to the point of walking down the aisle? The self-absorption is pretty outstanding. Well done, talent scouts… you’re made of hardier stuff than I.
One of the things that strikes me as incredibly odd (and this is more than likely the production company’s choice of ‘star’ than it is brides in general) are the number of women who pay no heed to the cost of anything. In other words, if they want it – they must have it: price be damned. More puzzling, to me, are the number of women there seem to be who aren’t shelling out any cash of their own and who are leaving the distasteful matter of money entirely in the hands of their doting parents or their befuddled groom-to-be.
Watching these shows really puts the entire wedding planning process into perspective for me. I’ve learned that people lose their ever loving minds while putting together their (presumably) blissful day. Ordinary folk who probably read flyers when they land on their doorstep, watch for sales and may even clip grocery store coupons on occasion, flip their proverbial wigs when making purchases for their wedding.
One episode (of Rich Bride, Poor Bride I’m almost certain; I PVR them all, so they tend to blur together after a while) showcased a girl who paid $500 for the tiara she wore. Really? I thought paying over $100 seemed like madness (I didn’t, incidentally, but that’s another post.) Another highlighted a couple who dished out close to $2,000 on a cake. Honesty, does anyone even EAT the cake when they go to a wedding? Seems like pretty pricey prop for your photo album. Oh – and, my personal favourite: a girl who paid $600 for her veil. Her VEIL! $600! DOLLARS! Are you kidding me!? The pricetag on my dress wasn’t much more than that. Mind you, I did buy it at a boutique’s outlet store AND off-the-rack. But that’s how I roll.
So, thank you Slice TV – and spoiled Brides & Grooms everywhere – for teaching a valuable lesson in what NOT to do during this entire experience. I’m really beginning to feel rather virtuous and – I won’t lie – just a wee bit smug.

February 11th, 2010 The Confessional, Wedding WTF | No Comments

Isn’t shopping online à la eBay, Craigslist or Kijiji a bit cheap? If I buy things at a discount/dollar/department store, won’t people consider it (*gasp*) tacky?

Offbeat Bride posted a great article on this very topic. The short and simple answer is: for pretty much anything you can insert into that sentence, the answer is YES.

Pronunciation: \tak-ee\
Function: adjective, tack-i-er, tack-i-est.
Etymology: Americanism; appar. identical with earlier tack(e)y small horse, pony, poor farmer; of obscure orig.
Date: 1880-85
1. not tasteful or fashionable; dowdy.
2. shabby in appearance; shoddy: a tacky, jerry-built housing development.
3. crass; cheaply vulgar; tasteless; crude.
4. gaudy; flashy; showy.


What most people fail to realize is that you can spend all the money in the world on a wedding… and it can still be the tackiest event ever staged. Allow me to rest my case with the following link.

Money and taste do not always go hand in hand. The thing is – the T word gets bandied around far too often, when what’s really meant (for the most part… and, clearly, there WILL be exceptions) is clichéd.
Well, of COURSE your wedding is going to be clichéd. You’re planning to stand in a big white (or pink, or red, or whatever colour suits your fancy) dress in front of all your friends and family, surrounded by flowers & tulle, fairy lights and glitter (see? The road to Tacky can often be quite short), to promise to devote the rest of your life to another human being in a ceremony that’s already been done millions of times by millions of people. So originality isn’t really something that’s easy to come by. And why should you kill yourself trying to have the most unique wedding of all time. There’s nothing wrong with taking the basics and adding a few of your own flourishes. And the fact is: it will be the only wedding ever to star You & Your Leading Man/Woman… that alone will make your wedding an original. And that, in and of itself, precludes it from being clichéd and/or tacky. Hopefully.
But there are no rules that say you MUST buy your wedding favours/ decorations / shoes / jewelry (this really is a list that can continue on for days) at Le Fancy Pants Bridal Boutique Of Wedding Wankery. You’re welcome to, if you actually enjoy the idea of paying WAY more than you need to on items you’re going to use once.
It’s a wedding. It’s a ritual. Rituals by their very nature are done to death (yes, I do realize that can be taken quite literally). Something that’s done to death becomes a cliché… and from cliché it’s a quick jaunt to tacky. Much like beauty: tacky really is in the eye of the beholder.
As far as I’m concerned, the only truly heinous and unwavering moments deserving of the Tacky Scarlet Letter are the following: Including registry information in an invitation; Requesting, outright, to be given cash gifts only; and Dollar Dances (or any variation on that theme).
Everything beyond that is open for interpretation. Because, although, an idea itself might sound tacky – it’s the execution of said idea that really counts. And there is a point where the whole “is it tacky” question really becomes a case of good ‘ol unadulterated snobbery.
So if shopping on eBay or at your local Dollar Store (hey – they have some incredibly pretty trinkets for decorating… on which I’ll elaborate at another time) is what makes you (and, more importantly, your budget) comfortable,  I say have at it. Chances are, your guests will be none the wiser – unless you’ve got a foghorn in place of a voice box, like me, and like to share everything… with everyone. (What can I say? I have no shame. I’ve made my peace.)
And if anyone is tactless enough to have a problem with where you’ve purchased your table decorations or how much you’ve paid for your favours & invitations… screw ‘em. Seriously – do you honestly have time to waste caring about what someone with their head that far up their own arse really thinks? They likely spent 4 times as much as you did for their own wedding… and didn’t have nearly as much fun.
[Note: the author wishes to let it be known that she fully expects aspects of her own wedding to be brandished with the Tacky wand. She also wishes to let it be known that she’s totally cool with that.]

February 9th, 2010 The Confessional | No Comments