Monday, January 25, 2010

New Zealand Honeymoon: A Scary Start

Scene: It's 2 AM on our double-decker 747 airplane. We're two hours out of Los Angeles, somewhere over a dark Pacific Ocean. Mr. Cowboy Boot and I scored the bulkhead seats (front row with extra leg room) for letting the flight attendants know we were on our honeymoon. Mr. CB is snoozing away next to me while I read and combat heavy eyelids in hopes of beating jet lag. Three crew members, including the flight's safety manager, are sitting facing us.

The phone rings and the safety manager answers it. She's a Kiwi with a sweet smile and a primped outfit. Her face drops as she receives word from the person on the phone. She lowers her voice and turns her face into the wall, speaking softly into the receiver. My stomach drops, my palms sweat and I grab for my new husband. What's happening?

She hangs up the phone and her accent comes over the loudspeaker, falling on the ears of passengers clad in eye masks and itchy blankets.

"It seems there's been a little problem. Our pilots told me we hit what they think is a pelican. Unfortunately, the bird went straight into the nose of the plane," she says statedly. "The bird has damaged our weather radar, prohibiting us from being able to see storms over the ocean. So, the safest thing for us to do is turn around and head back to Los Angeles."

A gloom of disappointment and frustration, much of it from exhaustion (after our wedding, after driving for two days to LA, after trying to stay up just to catch our plane and fight jet lag), washes over us. The anxiety in the air is tangible.

The safety manager comes back on: "Before we can go back, we have to dump our fuel otherwise we'll be too heavy to land."

I picture sailors on their anchored boats holding umbrellas as drops of oil rained down on them. Later, I learn that the jet engine fuel simply dissipates in the air--not that that sat well with me either.

Mr. CB and I discuss how lucky we are that the bird didn't go into the engine, recalling the Sully Sullenberger incident in the Hudson River just a few months prior. I mean, there can only be one Sully, right? What were the chances that we could recreate that heroic landing?

After another two hours of flying in circles, we land right back where we started at the glowing towers of LAX. They release sections of the plane (first class first!) painfully slowly until we finally make it to a bus to take us to a hotel where we wait in line to get a room. It's 4:45 AM before we finally hit the bed. After crying, bickering, and very seriously considering not even going to New Zealand, we finally fall asleep. We'd already wasted 1 of our 10 short vacation days and the travel time was starting to look overbearing.

At noon, the next day, our flight takes off for a second time out of Los Angeles, its travelers marked by their weary, sinking eyes, disheveled hair, and apparent disdain for a second go-round in the security line. This time, we make it to Auckland safe and sound (albeit at midnight, forced into another makeshift hotel until we could finally get on with it the following morning).

What we didn't know at the time was for our betterment. A few days after arriving back from our honeymoon [Don't worry! I'll fill you on that too!], we're eating dinner with my parents in LA. My uncle, an aeronautical engineer who builds planes for a living, had filled my mom in on the real story of what could've gone wrong. Apparently, the nose of the plane doesn't only hold the weather radar, it's also where the plane's speed is measured. My uncle would take a bird in the engine over the nose any day. Had the bird made a bigger dent, moved a little to the left, or something we might have gone too slow and...

Well, you remember the Air France flight that disappeared into the ocean outside of Rio de Janeiro. That could've been us, or so my uncle says.

Was it scary? Yes. Am I glad we still got on the second plane? Absolutely. I can't wait to share our adventures with you. But until then, just give someone you care about an extra kiss or hug today. We were thisclose to ending up at the bottom of the Pacific. But what's life without a little risk, right?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

P to the W to the C

What does that spell? Post-wedding chop!

I did it, everyone. I had to. It was down to my waist and I couldn't stand the static, tangles, and hair-always-in-my-way. It was heavy, unhealthy, and ready for a trim.

(sorry for the blurry picture. taken on a phone!)

But, instead of a trim, Ms. Buttons and Heidi Klum inspired me to get back to my high school days and go short!

Drum roll please...

I'm donating my 10+ inches to Locks of Love, a non-profit that makes hair prosthetics for financially-disabled youth with long-term medical hair loss. Donating is very, very simple to do. Here are the rules:
  • Hair must 10 inches from tip to tip
  • It must be sent in a braid or a ponytail
  • It must be sent dry: have your stylist braid it and chop away, then wash and re-cut
  • The hair can't have graced the floor
The new 'do will take some getting used to but at least Mr. CB says he likes it more than my long hair.

Will you be chopping your hair after your wedding?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Love at The Ranch: Our Video Teaser!

To say that nothing went "wrong" at our wedding would be an understatement.

We ran out of appetizers 15 minutes into our cocktail hour. Storm clouds swelled throughout the day forcing our ceremony from an expansive meadow into a cozy barn. The photo booth backdrop didn't end up being quite enough fabric to encompass a large group of guests. Our band played for longer than planned (score!) but that meant we had to skip our end-of-the-night dance party playlist which I'd been looking forward to. The bluegrass songs I picked for our band breaks brought the dancing to a halt every time the band took a break; I could never figure out which songs would keep the energy high between live sets. You can't go from fiddle and washboard to Jay-Z, right?

But calling everything above a "wedding failure" depends on your perspective and mindset. According to me? Nothing went wrong at our wedding. And that's because I didn't have a strong definition of the word "right." Here's a teaser of our wedding video, made by my brother, to give you an idea of how it all played out (note: you can make it full-screen):

I knew that our wedding was going to be what it was going to be no matter what. There was no controlling it which is something I tried to keep in mind while planning it. I put my best foot forward, I planned decor that spoke to me, I infused the whole thing with details that were reflective of us, but stressing over hiccups was never worth it. Especially not on the day of.

Remember how we didn't have a rehearsal? By not practicing the way something was "supposed to be," we had no expectations. Nothing could be a mistake because there was no "right" way of doing it. Sure, I forgot to hand over my bouquet to my MOH for a few minutes and we needed a shove to get us moving down the aisle for our recessional, but who cares?

One of the things my aunt said during her rehearsal dinner speech was that ceremony is sacred. That you do ceremony. You don't practice ceremony. And for us, this worked. We wanted it to be organic and that's what it became.

I'm not trying to tell you not to rehearse. And I'm not saying don't have high standards for your wedding--it should be as special as you want it to be. What I'm saying is: find the balance that works for you. Find a way to have a wedding that doesn't make your stress level sky rocket and then, walk down that aisle with your head high regardless of everything. Love your wedding for the way it unravels--as planned or otherwise--because that is the best gift you can give yourself. It will let you live on cloud nine for just a little bit longer.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Love at The Ranch: Buy My Dress

After much thought and consideration, I've decided to consider offers on my dress. I so wanted to indulge all the comments that told me to keep my dress, cherish it, and watch my future (possible) daughter twirl in it down the road. But, there were very convincing arguments for selling it as well. Not only will I be making another bride happy and making a conscious decision to recycle, but you gals (and guys) gave me some great ideas for what to spend the money on: a high-end photo album, a weekend escape for our one-year anniversary, a less-expensive replica of the dress for memory's sake.

To be honest, we've been trying to get our finances in order (Mr. CB's had three ACL reconstructions) and could use this towards a down payment on a house. It would just be a start, but a fairly good one.

So, without further adieu, make me an offer!

Julianna, by Christos, sells for $3650 in bridal salons. She's had $450 worth of alterations but she does need a new button for the bustle. She has no tears, holes, or stains.

She's a size 2 and will fit someone with the measurements: 34-24-34. She's cut to a length of 5'5" (including heels). I'm 5' 2 1/2" and wore 2 1/2" heels.

If you're interested, comment below or send me a private message (PM) and we can discuss the details. :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Love at The Ranch: Thank You Cards

There were two things we really wanted to include in our wedding that didn't happen: 1) our dogs and 2) our calligraphied "thank you" signs. The reasons we didn't include our precious pups as ring bearers? Debated here.

Our "thank you" signage, penned by Pretty Pen Jen, never made it out of the cabin where all of the ladies got ready on the morning of the wedding. There was too much going on and they simply got left behind. Halfway through the night, our photographer, Tec, asked if I wanted someone to go grab them but I declined his offer saying, "We'll shoot them when we get home." And that's just how our thank you cards came to be.

This makes me giggle.

I knew I wanted a thank you card with a full-bleed image on the front (as you see above). The website I found that had this option was Once I'd made the card above, though, I started playing with another format (see below) and ended up splitting our order between the two cards. I just couldn't choose between the two!

We bought 50 7 x 5 cards (25 of each) at just under $2.00 per card. The total (with $10 of shipping) came to $85.

I was excited to have two different cards for a couple of reasons. I felt like card number one would go to our more silly guests who we knew would laugh when they saw it. The other reason was that certain households were receiving multiple thank you cards (i.e. one for my parents and one for my brother), so it was nice to switch it up. I also knew certain friends would be at each other's houses and, should the card be out somewhere, it might be fun to see a variation of it.

I'd never ordered or heard of but I was really impressed by the quality. The cards were thick and the images printed flawlessly. Bonus: Cardstore uses 130-pound heavy white card stock that also happens to be recycled from 100% post-consumer waste. The paper is produced by 100% wind power and the printing process is also eco-friendly.

The other bonus?

They print your return address on the back of the envelopes for free! Below, you'll find an image of the thickness of the cards (and the skis that Mr. CB just won't put away, even when his nagging wife asks him to!). :)

Interested in outtakes of Odin (black dog) and Rio (red dog) from the shoot?


"Profile picture? This is my better side."

"Ants are more interesting than this!"

Rio says, "I'm outta here."

Odin says: "Are we done yet, dad?"

Are you including your dogs in the wedding? Or are you doing anything creative with your stationary?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Love at The Ranch: Too Soon?

It's only been three months since our rustic, ranch affair, but I think I might be ready to say goodbye. No, not to you, Hive, and certainly not to Mr. Cowboy Boot, but to Julianna, my beloved, floating pool of ivory tulle. She originally came into my life in the Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue and made me tingle, flit, and giggle like a school girl.

I love her and adore her, but alas, she hangs there so lonesome and without any future plans in sight. In fact, I don't really want to wear her again for fear of shaking off the significance of her debut.

It's hard to write this and face letting go of The Most Beautiful Dress I've Ever Owned. I feel like a little girl releasing her mother's hand on the first day of Kindergarten--the separation anxiety is tangible.

The reality is that my dress, by Christos, has been documented in the most meaningful way on my wedding day and nothing can change that. Not only has it been photographed with me in it as a blushing bride, but Mr. Cowboy Boot has painted me in it on a three-times life-size canvas which I promise to share with you upon its completion.

It would make me happy to see another bride have her own blissful day in this ballerina-like dress and I would also find some peace of mind to know that I'd be lessening the impact on the planet (even if it's just one dress). Not to mention my credit card will smile.

To be honest, I'm scared. I'm nervous to watch her float out of my grasp, like a balloon slipped from its string. But, I'm also scared of the financial debt she's incurred (even if it's minimal over a lifetime). I tripled my dress budget when I found her, agreeing to pay the extra myself, but I never did. I never had that extra cash flow.

So, hive, tell me: would you sell your dress to make up for a few grand or would you keep it for a sentimental twirl down the road?