Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tying the Knot: Wedding Dress Shopping pt3

Dress Shopping Day #2: Saturday

After our first two appointments from the day before I had three dresses floating around in my head. DressA: exactly what I had envisioned myself wearing. DressB: something I would have never picked but absolutely loved. And finally DressC: I liked it but it would need a bunch of extra alterations done to make it perfect.

At this point I had an opinion in my head about what I wanted to do about these dresses and apparently my family had taken a "secret vote" the day before as to what dress was #1 but weren't going to tell me until everything was said and done. So my mom, J's mom and my MOH headed to our last appointment for the weekend. This store was a smaller boutique style place similar to our first stop but unfortuantely didn't take appointments. Thankfully we lucked out and only waited about 15 minutes for an available consulatant while we went through all the racks and started pulling dresses.

One of the first things I noticed at this store was that they carried the same designer as the one from DressA. I was quick to ask if they carried the specific style (to see how price compared) but they didn't. However it was a very good starting point for our appointment as about 80% of the dresses I tried on here were from the same designer. I tried on a handful of dresses, most of which were great dresses. They fit me nicely, they had all the details that I said I wanted but none were thrilling me. I just couldn't get DressA or DressB out of my head. My mom was busy snapping pictures of all different angles and all different details about each dress so that if I left without a dress I could look back an know everything about each dress.

I finally found one more dress that was really fabulous, we'll call it DressD. It was very, very similar to the first two dresses and had exactly what I wanted in terms of style. And I can bet that had we come to this store first, this dress would have been my first choice. But standing there in that dress I was back to my internal battle of "do I love this dress so much more than either of the first two?" "is this my dream dress?". Because I'm practical I couldn't let my emotions tell me what to do. We started pulling up pictures of the first two dresses on phones and cameras. We compared dress prices and alterations prices. I imagined what type of veil and shoes and jewlery I would want for each dress. At this point, I was seriously confused.

I'm not sure who mentioned it but somehow the idea got tossed in that we should go back to the first place and see if they would let me try DressA and DressB back on. There had been so many dresses between when I wore them and when I was wearing DressD that I thought it might help clarify my decision. The kink in the chain however was that J and I were headed back to San Diego the next day so my options were to either make a decision today or place an order without actually being in town. Our consultant at this final store ended up taking my measurements and creating a file for me just as if I had placed an order for DressD but without actually placing it. That way, if I eventually decided that DressD was the one I could call and finalize the process. So we left and headed back to The Bridal Collection with all intents of doing the same process there with those two dresses.


On our way back to see DressA and DressB I gave them a call because technically you had to have an appointment to try on dresses. I told them I was there the day before and loved two dresses and was wondering if I could come try only those two back on today. She was hesitant at first but when I told her my circumstances about being from out of town and leaving the next day she said it was alright to come in. Unfortunately Miranda had left for the day but at this point I didn't need her expertise in picking dresses, I just needed to get back into the two I loved and comapre them to this new option.

DressA was the first one I put back on. It was exactly the dress of my dreams. Every part of it was exactly what I had seen myself walking down the aisle in. I put on a veil and some jewlery and stood there. I looked from the front, from the back, from both sides. I walked around wearing it, I sat in a chair, basically I did everything possible in this dress to see if it was "the one". Then it was DressB's turn and the process started all over. Veils, front, back, walking, sitting, etc etc etc. I still couldn't believe I loved this dress given the fact that I would have never picked it for myself.

By this point my family was pretty quiet. They had already said their opinions about both, the pros and cons, the comparison to DressD, everything except which was their favorite and they just silently let me think which I am so grateful for. I can't even tell you how many times I changed into the two dresses. I'd be standing there in one thinking "okay I know my decision about this all" and then I'd want to put the other back on and I'd be back to square one. Back and forth, back and forth.

Until I really let myself go, let myself take in everything that I had experienced, everything that was said about the three dresses and even let my logic take a back seat. Finally, I put my wedding dress back on for the last time and walked out to see my family. I stood on that pedistal one last time and said "This is it! This is the one!" And in that moment, DressB became mine! The dress that shocked me. The dress I doubted on the hanger. The dress that was fit for someone with exactly my body type. The dress my mom and I cried to. The dress that literally made my heart flutter each and every time I put it on. It wasn't everything I had imagined for myself.... it was better!

I had done it, I had found my perfect wedding dress.

I headed back to the dressing room and my measurements were taken. We talked about how fittings and alterations would work being an out of town bride.  The paperwork was signed and all the formality was completed. And we celebrated!

I am so thankful for every part of this whirlwind dress shopping experience. Thankful for my family for being there with me through it all. Thankful for my amazing mom for giving this dress to me. Thankful for a consultant who knew what and when to do exactly the right thing. Thankful for my my perfect dress and thankful to be on this journey towards marrying J.

Who would have thought my dress would be the fourth one I tried on? Who would have thought the whole process could take only two days? I definitely didn't!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tying the Knot: Wedding Dress Shopping pt2

Dress Shopping Day #1: Friday continued

If you've forgotten from PART 1, I was convinced by my consultant, Miranda, to try on a dress she picked out for me and thought would be a perfect fit for my body type. She knew it wasn't something I would have picked out for myself but I was down for anything at that point. And remember, there was already a dress that I loved, we'll call it DressA.

I slipped into it, she zipped it up and I turned to look in the mirror that was in the dressing room. Immediately I felt "it"; a bit hot, like my heart started beating louder, and as cliche as it sounds, almost like I couldn't take in a full breathe. All I could manage to say at that point was "huh....?" because I was almost in shock that this dress was nothing like the idea I had in my head but took me by such surprise.

I went to show my family and I can't remember exactly what was said but that it was all positive things. It fit me almost perfectly, was so unique and so different than the other dresses I had tried on. But I could sense my family sensing my hesitation. I was fighting a battle between "what I thought I wanted" and "what I was completely loving". This dress was suddenly and shockingly in the running, as DressB.

We started addressing pros and cons of both dresses. I put on a veil and a hair piece with this dress for comparisons to DressA. I looked in the mirror from the front, the back, both sides. I looked at pictures of myself wearing both. My MOH tried on a bridesmaid dress they had there in navy to stand next to me wearing both dresses. We even tried to trick my mind by having me look in the mirror in DressB, close my eyes while DressA was held up and then open my eyes.

Finally Miranda suggested I walk to a different part of the store to a different set of mirrors to see myself walk in DressB. As she'd been doing the whole time, Miranda perfectly timed my walk across the store with my mom following me so that we could have a moment to ourselves. I loved having everyone there with me that day but there's something about having your mom there that tops everything else. I turned to look at her with tears in my eyes to realize that she was crying too. She gave me a huge, huge hug, told me how beautiful I looked and I thought to myself, "is this the 'moment' I was missing earlier?"

At this point it was getting close to the end of our appointment so I went and put my regular clothes back on and said I needed some time to think about it all. I was so torn between these two dresses! My dream dress and an amazing surprise dress. Miranda even asked if I had other appointments set up and was surprisingly happy when I said yes. So we gathered our things and headed to the next appointment.


Because of budget and my overall thrifty-ness I knew I would have to look at David's Bridal while searching for my perfect dress so this was the second place on our list for the weekend. I knew ahead of time that they can have great prices, lots to choose from in a variety of styles, and discounts for bridesmaids if I purchase my dress through them. I was a little unimpressed by the beginning of our appointment and the seeming chaos that was inside the store. We were just set to look through the dresses ourselves (but not pull any) without any sort of guidance even before we met with our consultant. We wandered around finding a handful of options and finally met with our consultant.

Just like before, I was able to tell her things I did and didn't like and got assigned a room to start trying things on. She was very friendly and started bringing in dresses for me to try on. Some were automatic no's and there were a few styles that I hadn't tried on before. After about five dresses there was one that was definitely a consideration. But it wasn't perfect. I hated the very bottom edge of the dress, it was almost as if someone had sewed a thin strip of tulle around the edge of the dress and it simply just didn't work for my taste.

We met with someone from alterations who was able to pin the edge under and assured us that it was not a problem and could definitely be changed. I was a little leary about needing to change something like that but otherwise the dress was everything I had said I wanted. There weren't really any other good options to consider at this point from here so we started to pack up and I changed clothes. Since there was still DressA and DressB from before I said I needed to think about things before I made a decision. Then my consultant dropped the bombshell. This dress, DressC, had been discontinued and the dress that was hanging in my fitting room was literally the last one in my size of this style! They could hold it for the day but that was it. I was going to have to make a decision about DressC fast! By this time I was confused and everyone was done for the day.

The day had been hijacked by the start March Madness for these two ladies!

We left and my mom and I drove home. We talked and talked about all three dresses and eventually ruled out DressC. DressA and DressB were regularly more expensive (which I was nervous about) but once all the additional alterations costs were added to DressC to make it perfect it wasn't worth it in the end.

There was one more appointment at a different bridal boutique set up for the next day so we called it quits for the night, I went to dinner with J's family, and we would see what the next day would bring.

PART 3 is coming soon!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tying the Knot: Wedding Dress Shopping pt1

I've been having a bit of a delima when it comes to posting about my wedding dress shopping which is why it's taken me so long to finally write this post. I knew I wanted to document the process but J and I are taking the tradition about my dress very seriously. In no way will J see my dress (or really anything close to it so he has no room for imagination) until our wedding day. There have been very few things that he has had strong opinions about through this whole process but this was definitely one of them. So I appologize off the bat that there will be no picture of my actual dress (until after the big day) or even the ones in the running.


Back in March J and I took a trip back to CO to get a handful of wedding related items checked off our list. I mentioned before that one of my favorite parts about our trip was our engagment pictures but the number one reason we planned the trip was to start the process of finding my perfect dress. I decided it would be easier for me to purchase the dress in Colorado, given the number of times that we'll have to be back for other reasons, rather than purchase the dress here in California and have to figure out how to transport it later.

Dress Shopping Day #1: Friday
My mom, J's mom, J's sister/bridesmaid, my MOH and I all met at The Bridal Collection to start our first appointment of the whole process. I had known before we started that they carried some designers I loved already and couldn't wait to see what my consultant as well as my family would choose as well. I had no idea what my mom envisioned me wearing, I knew J's mom loved full skirts (thanks to her Pinterest), and I was sure my two "sisters" would have their own thoughts too.

We met Miranda, my amazing consultant, and gave her a quick intro/breakdown of what I thought I wanted. She took us for a tour around the store showing us the different designers and telling us to pull anything that we wanted to try. She gave us a few minutes to browse and popped in every once in a while to say "what about this?" or "would you consider this one?". Then it was finally time to start trying things on.

I went into the dressing room while my family got seated around one of their rooms of mirrors. I loved that I had full control over everything and got to decide what dress I wanted to try on first. It was a bit surreal to be trying on wedding dresses, I have to admit. The first dress definitely looked different on than it had on the hanger and it made me start to question exactly what it was that I wanted. Like I mentioned with the bridesmaids dresses, I was certain I didn't want satin but Miranda suggested I at least try one on to be sure that it was a no.

This is the only picture of a dress you'll actually get simply because it's so, so, so unlike what I would actually wear that there's no room for imagining what my actual dress is like from this one. And yes, that's my expression of gosh-I-hate-satin-and-geeze-is-it-heavy!

I tried on a few more and by the time I was in the third dress we really started to get on the right track. I loved this dress. It was pretty close to what I had described being my style, it wasn't overdone but definitely felt bridal and I really, really liked it. At this point they pulled out the veils, sashes, faux fur wraps and as they say on "Say Yes to the Dress", jacked me up! I was really loving that dress and so was my family. Granted I didn't get that oh-my-gosh-this-is-it feeling like you hear of but I thought that was fine, I just wasn't that type of bride. I stood there and stood there and stood there, just looking in the mirror and at my family thinking to myself "this might be it".

Because she's amazing like that, Miranda suggested we take it off and try on a few more, just to be sure. We got into the dressing room and there was a dress in there that she had pulled for me. She said to me, "I realize this isn't something you probably would have pulled for yourself but are you willing to give it a shot?" She told me this dress had a very specific body type that it looked good on and she thought I was perfect for it. So I figured, sure! While we're here I might as well.

So this doesn't get too long.... 
stay tuned for PART 2!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

99 Things

I saw this list on Caroline's blog Simply Smithwick and wanted to see what I've done and haven't done. Bold are things I've completed and I linked up to previous posts for the few that I actually have blogged about.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing 

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing 

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie 

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial 

71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Got a tattoo

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Love These Two

follow me on Instagram: jaymeeryn

This is what I happened in our house yesterday before we went out to celebrate the big birthday of the night. J having a conversation with Ollie complete with his interpretations of Ollie's responses. Makes me love my boys and my silly little family that much more.

J: Hey Ollie. 
O: Sits up and looks right at J.
J: Did you know grandma is coming tomorrow? I know, I'm pretty excited too.
O: Turns his head and looks at me. Did you hear that mom? Grandma's coming. Looks at J.
J: Yep you're right, Grandpa too.
O: Stands up and shakes.
J: Now don't get too excited.
O: Sits back down. Sorry dad.

Sometimes we swear Ollie knows English sometimes and just doesn't tell us. Have a fabulous Tuesday everyone.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dear Monday

Linking up with Megan today.

Dear Monday,
You have come far too quickly these last few weeks.
Maybe it's the weather.
Maybe I'm more busy.
Maybe all I want to do is have fun.
But the weekends are much too short.

Dear J,
Today is your birthday!!!
I couldn't be happier that I get to spend it with you.
And will do so for the next 70+ years.
I hope you have a fabulous day
and I can't wait to be home with you tonight.
Your Fiance

Dear Cupcakes,
I made only mini-versions this time.
There are tons.
I hope people are ready to chow down!
With Love,
Mrs. Homemaker

Dear almost In-Laws, 
J and I can't wait for you to get here. 
Even though we still have to work, 
the mini-vacay will be awesome.
Talk to you soon, 
The Future-Mrs. 

Dear Headache, 
I am not a fan. 
Please leave soon. 
Or else. 
Much Appreciated, 

Dear Tutoring, 
You and I used to be friends. 
The extra money sure was great. 
But now I'm having a change of heart. 
You're more trouble than it's worth. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Nail Files: 3x

The Nail Files

Today I'm sharing my current polish!

I believe it was a little over a year ago that OPI released a combo pack in their Bright Ideas! colors that included three polishes and one Rapid Dry top coat. My set was part of my Easter basket last year from my mom. I typically don't wear many cooler colors when it comes to nail polish so admitedly I haven't worn the blue polish ever. Oops.

But this week I decided my toes needed a summer color and what better way to do that than with Atomic Orange! I love this color but the polish itself is a little thick. It usually takes three coats to get even coverage without streaks. Plus, incase you haven't noticed, this set of polishes are the minis! I think they are just so cute, little miniture versions of the normal bottles. But I do think the tiny brush makes application a little more difficult. Regardless though I stuck it out and applied all the necessary coats between doing laundry and house work one night this evening.

I love this color and would consider buying a bigger bottle when this little guy runs out.

Link up with Tara and Vicki!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Strawberry Jam

On Monday night I tried my hand at making homemade jam for the first time. I found the recipe in one of the spring editions of Bon Appetit that my mom gave me the last time J and I went home. I had read it on the plane and knew I wanted to try it.

The recipe is seriously so easy! (to get the full details, click on the source link for the top picture to be taken to the Bon Apetit site.) Basically you quarter some strawberries and throw them in a pot with suger and a grated granny smith apple.

You bring the pot to Medium-Low heat stiring so the sugar doesn't burn until it starts to melt.

I cheated and used a potato masher to squish everything up but the strawberries eventually get soft enough that you can just use a spoon if you'd like.

Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow to reduce for about 10-15 minutes. I don't think I waited quite long enough but since it was my first time I errored on the side of caution. I didn't want to ruin it! Here it is coming together quite nicely, starting to look like real jam!

Once it's done you transfer it to a jar or bowl, thankfully I saved an old spaghetti sauce jar that worked perfectly for the amount that I made. You let it sit for a little while and once it's cool enough to handle you cover it and put it in the fridge.

*Please excuse the crappy cell phone pictures. As luck would have it, right as I put the pot on the stove and took a picture of Ollie eating a straberry, my camera battery died. And I couldn't exactly wait for it to charge since the stove was cookin!*

I tried the jam the next morning and it was absolutely delicious. J tried a bite of it and said "that tastes like the real stuff! It's bomb [dot] com!" I can't wait to let other people try it and to possibly try different variations of it. I'm thinking a mixed berry might be amazing. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries maybe? Or an orange mango possibly? The options are endless.

So tell me friends, have you tried something new in the kitchen lately? 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tying the Knot: Bridesmaid Dress Options

I mentioned in this post that I wanted all my bridesmaids to wear navy in our wedding but that I also wanted them to have the freedom to choose a dress that they loved and that was individual for each one of them. Well a few weeks ago, the only bridesmaid I have out in California and I went shopping.

I decided that it was going to be easiest and most logical to get the dresses at David's Bridal. This way no one has to get a dress they've never actually tried on if I picked a small bridal boutique in either CA or CO, the color would be exactly the same, and David's has pretty decent pricing and sales often. There's also the plus that they work with Men's Warehouse so if J ends up wanting a more uniform look with color between his guys and my ladies, MW has access to all the same colors as David's.

After looking through the store and trying on a handful of styles the day we went shopping I was able to narrow it down to 7 different options for my 4 ladies. I figured a little guidance would be good so that the dresses all worked together well and so everyone knew to avoid satin. Oh boy do I hate that shine! 

Here's what we're working with! 

The first three styles are Cotton Sateen which doesn't look nearly as shiny in real life as in these pictures and the last four styles are chiffon. 

The color is Marine which is a classic navy. (Unfortunately I couldn't find a single pictures of any of the 7 dresses  in that actual color!) They will all wear black shoes of their choice as well. This way someone who wants 4 inch heals and someone who wants flats can both be happy and it also avoids having to buy a brand new pair of shoes for one day that they might not ever wear again. 

My maid of honor as well as one bridesmaid have actually ordered their dresses already and I am so excited with the choices that they made. I think both their dresses suit them perfectly and they've both said to me how they can totally see themselves wearing the dress again for a different occasion! I can't wait to see which dress the other two pick and be able to see my wedding ceremony starting to take shape! 


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