Bridal Beauty

This post really got away from me. It’s very personal and kind of gross. Consider yourself warned.
 
My person beauty routine is one of those things that I still feel a little bit immature about. Perhaps it’s the vast array of things women can participate in, or the extravagant amount of money they can spend without thinking, or maybe just the fact that my ‘beauty mentors’ didn’t really buy into much of that stuff that leaves women walking around on the street like they just stepped off the page of a glossy magazine.
But I also feel like nature has dealt me a few disadvantages to boot. (*Pout*) I do what I can to work around them, but some facts still remain:
My skin is unruly and super sensitive. I first started seeing a dermatologist a couple years ago to get some relief to my decidedly adolescent skin. I’ve tried every single product in the store, with results ranging from seriously enraged pores (and worse acne) to extreme allergic reaction and eyes swollen shut. My doctor is pretty cool (I think I tend to crush on anyone who actually helps me) and my skin is officially “Okay”. Not really close up worthy, but relatively blemish free. I still battle my pores (they’re so big & unsightly), and shiny skin on part of my face while the rest is dangerously dry and needs constant moisturizing.

Note: I feel a little self conscious about how vain this post is getting. But hell, we’re talking about beauty. And weddings. Ok, carry on.

Hair removal is a seriously frustrating topic for me. (And awkward to discuss, too.) I don’t wax. (Gasp!) I’ve tried it on my eyebrows and it seems like a lot of pain for not much in return. Shaving is a mixed bag. No, that’s kind of a lie. Shaving my legs is probably the only area I feel I’ve mastered. Everything else results in varying degrees of irritation, due to skin sensitivity (see above) and being blessed with ridiculously coarse curly dark hairs. (Yes, gross, moving on.) Under my arms is only a little tricky, but results aren’t lasting. And then I have to wait a couple days for irritation to subside before I try again. Not ideal, but I’m not huge on the sleeveless tops anyway, so oh well. I’ve pretty much decided I will be waxing the armpits before the wedding. I have not yet decided at what point I will begin subjecting myself to such torture, although I hear it gets better the more you do it. Yeah, uh huh.

 Finally, the ‘lady bits’: I think my age group is one of the first to go through puberty with the impression that pubic hair is to be removed. As a teenager, I tried shaving. Holy hell. I won’t even begin to describe the results but they were ghastly. At some point in my 20s I gave up. I keep things trim and tidy, but coupled with my self consciousness over my weight, I’ve managed to steer clear of bathing suits altogether for a while now. This seems particularly childish. But I’m mildly terrified. I’m still not sure about facing the dragon before the wedding, but I know at some point, I should. Maybe. Probably. Anyway.
The least of three evils is my hair. In general, I actually really like it. It’s pretty healthy and very shiny. I’ve definitely mastered using a few basic products to keep it that way. I’m completely obsessed with the girl who does my hair. She is a genius with color and cut. This has allowed me to keep my hair long and wear it down most of the time.

Putting it up in any way besides a variation of a ponytail is still a challenge, though. It never turns out looking polished and tidy, the way I envision when I first reach for a stack of bobby pins. This might be easily remedied by using hairspray, but I have a serious aversion to it. This might be a product of growing up in the 80s and early 90s, when every Sunday my head was doused with the stuff until I emerged a giant pouf of girls and soft waves. Regardless, I like to touch my hair. I like it to move and look natural. But naturally free of little baby hairs and frizz poking out is eluding me. This, clearly, is the least of my problems.
All of these issues that I manage daily seem to be utterly daunting on the one big day that I’m supposed to look perfect. Yes, there’s Photoshop for the pictures, but I’m still going to have to face real people. And while day to day, I’m pretty sure I look fine, this one day I want to look radiant.

 Thankfully there are professionals, otherwise I would collapse in a heap of tears by mid-afternoon on that day. I’m still toying with things like teeth whitening, tanning or spray tan, spa treatments and massages. Other than brighter teeth and more even skin coloring, I am definitely getting my butt back to the gym. I lost a solid 25lbs between getting engaged a year ago and mid-summer. But I’ve been slacking off pretty bad, and (I think) it shows.
I don’t actually know how to sign off this post. I suppose the only way I can is by taking a second to realize that the wedding is still just about marrying the man I love. And who loves me, exactly the way I am.

Lucky

I’m gonna take a minute to just gush about Brandon.
He is so strong and so calm, I’m just in awe of him sometimes.
He had to travel to New Jersey for work, so on Sunday I dropped him off at the airport. As we were driving towards the airport he noticed a giant hovering beast in the sky. He always notices planes, and can usually tell me what kind they are and what they’re doing. After a few seconds of staring, mouth agape, he decided that it was a 747 coming in to land. He also informed me that even though it looked like it was just hanging there, it was probably going around 300mph.
I know all of these facts seem highly irrelevant to our lives, but his passion and excitement are contagious. It’s not all that often he gets too worked up, but this is one of the things he geeks out for.
As we continued our trek towards FWA, the giant plane disappeared behind the trees, presumably to land. And then a few moments later, Brandon spotted it back in the air, climbing and turning around.
I guess even giant planes need to practice, and apparently that’s what they were doing. He came around and then took back off again, just as I was pulling up to the terminal.
All morning on Sunday I had been feeling kind of anxious. Usually when I have to drop him off, it’s a quick trip over my lunch hour and my brain doesn’t have much time to stew over missing him until I get home that evening. This day was rough, even though I kept telling myself he would be back soon. So as I pulled up to let him out, he gave me a kiss and told me that I should go park down the road and watch the giant plane. It’s a ‘nothing’ thing, but after he left, I needed something.
This is what I got. It was breath taking.

I stopped snapping pictures for a second and watched it touch down, tires screeching, dust flying. And then all at once it was off again.
Seriously, that was a huge effing plane. Pictures can’t capture it.
I don’t know why, but I felt calm. I’m sure a part of my subconscious remembers going up to the Detroit airport when I was very young to watch the planes with my family on the hood of our car. Part of me felt like it was something important that Brandon wanted me to see, because he loves airplanes so much.
But as I drove home watching the plane circle around in my rear view mirror, even though I missed him, I knew how lucky I was to have someone in my life who wants me to experience things like this.
That evening I did my best to fill the hours. I baked, I watched way too many reruns of Sex and the City, I spent a few minutes video chatting with Brandon, and finally headed to bed where I felt a little lost. Also, the cats were up half the night wondering when Brandon was coming to bed. I knew it was going to make for a long day yesterday, but I had small hopes that the tiredness would be numbing to my missing pangs.
He called me to wake me up, and again when he got to the airport at 4:30 yesterday evening.
And again at 5:30 when his plane was supposed to be taking off. “Delayed 2 hours,” he said. UG. I knew there would be a missed connection in Cincinnati, and then a very long drive home. I kept tracking the arrivals and departures on the CVG website, but it didn’t stop his ride home from taking off while he was still somewhere over Pennsylvania.
He called after they landed, told me they were getting a rental car, and he’d be home sometime around 1a.m.
Luckily I knew this to be overly optimistic, and combined with breaks to stretch, get food and shake off the sleep, he crawled into bed just before 3a.m. Not once did he sound particularly aggravated about the whole situation. He just does what needs to be done. Even though I was barely awake, I could tell by how tightly he snuggled up against me, he must have missed me a little bit too.
He was gone for a whopping 36 hours.
I just can’t get over how lucky I am to know him, to love him, and someday soon to marry him.

Quickie

Invitations arrived yesterday. I like them very much. I do think there’s something a little bit anticlimactic about actually finally holding something in your hands that you’ve been working on for weeks and months, but they’re pretty cool & I’m betting that my excitement will grow as the time comes to actually use them.

Also we booked our baker on Sunday. Delicious cakes, totally accommodating of our budget, and really helped us (me) build our style ideas so we’d have a totally personal design. Loooooove them. (Cake is never anticlimactic.) The Cake Canvas

That’s all for now!!

It gets better

I’m not gay.
I’m just different.
I’d say I only experienced a very moderate amount of bullying and teasing at school.
But for a small farm school in the middle of nowhere, Indiana, we had our fair share of freaks & geeks. And gay and lesbian teens. Some of them were my friends. Hiding out together in creative writing and drama clubs, we carved out a little safe place.
I couldn’t guess what happened during the rest of the day for some of my friends. For me, early in high school I was eschewed as a nerd, a freak, ass-kisser, brown-noser, and suck up. Once I started dating, I was mostly referred to as a slut.
I was more or less oblivious to a lot of the commentary, since I didn’t have that many friends to feed me the rumor mill. And the things I did hear, while stinging, I managed to learn to disregard. I was a smart kid, and I got along with my teachers very well, which allowed me a lot of privileges (in that limited high school world). And I was very flirtatious, touchy, and I had sex.
All and all I escaped relatively unscathed.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of kids who don’t.
The media has been full of blips of kids, gay, lesbian, or just different, who have taken their own lives because of bullying and tormenting from their peers and lack of support from those who are supposed to care for them. My heart breaks for these kids.
At a very terrible and low point in my life, I did contemplate its end. It’s not a secret, and my amazing family is the reason I am here, and whole. And happy.
The point is, there are places where bigotry and narrow-mindedness don’t exist. Sometimes you can go there, sometimes you have to make them for yourself. And after you find a place where you can love yourself, and surround yourself with people who love you, it gets better.
Writer Dan Savage has begun an amazing project of compiling inspirational stories of men and women (and everything in between) telling their stories of how their lives have gotten better even though at some point they thought that it never would. Check them out at http://www.itgetsbetterproject.com/
Also, there is an amazing resource for young adults (or anyone) who is feeling lost, depressed, or suicidal. Apparently these people have been helping kids since I was in high school, but they’ve gotten a fresh boost of publicity and attention along with the deaths of the kids they’re trying to help.http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Take a look, remember that the only way to end bullying and intolerance is to lead and love by example, and help end this tragedy.

The Rules

I’m not sure at what point in my life it occurred to me that I don’t seem to process things the same way that most people (appear) to.
The end results, or mid-results as they may be, are shaping up pretty much the same as the socially accepted construct, but I honestly feel that I’ve gotten here on my own terms.
There are milestones and guidelines set out by the great ol’ American Dream, regarding everything from dating and sex, to marriage and family, and beyond. There are norms like monogamy, feminine nurturing, and all sorts of things that go along with settling down and being domesticated. Some of these are relics from the 1950’s but even with women aligning themselves under the Feminist Cause, much remains the same, except women spending more time in the workplace (and still fighting to get equal pay.)
And in a world where the most common advice I get for my upcoming wedding is “Don’t do it,” it’s no wonder I am still working on writing my own definitions of what my marriage can and will be.
A lot of people have told me over the years that I ‘date like a man,’ insomuch as I don’t have a natural gravitation between sex and love. I think as a teenager, I wanted to believe there was, and when I was very much in love with a very sweet guy, I said and did things that fell well outside the acceptable standards for even a teenager. I spent a lot of time being ashamed about the things in my head and what my body felt.
When I left for college, I took advantage of the opportunity to redefine myself. Plus in college, it seemed more acceptable to be a ‘sexually liberated female.’ On the surface at least. I still struggled a lot with depression and how to define my wants (a family and kids) with my needs (emotional and physical companionship). As I got myself out of the funk, I started to accept that one person might not be able to meet all my needs, and my wants would just have to work themselves out in time. It seemed logical that if I couldn’t sustain a monogamous relationship, who was I to think I deserved the chance to raise a child.
I feel like I’m being vague enough to give off the perception that I cheat, which, physically speaking, is untrue. I’ve lived, more or less, under pretty strict guidelines of ending things when they don’t seem to be working. The few exceptions were by far the worst circumstances I ever put myself in. And the day that I found myself breaking up with/moving out from said relationship and simultaneously hearing him scream at me that he had been planning to propose, I knew that I was not cut out for doing things in a normal fashion.
So I dated, mostly without emotional attachment. I had great friends whom I loved, and all those elements combined, I was started to feel whole.
Enter Brandon. From the first day we met, he has challenged me to re-evaluate opening myself to things I’d written off. He has become my favorite companion, and our wants follow a similar strain. He has helped me break down walls of self sufficiency and even a little hidden distrust for his gender. And so when he proposed to me almost a year ago, I wholly and gladly said yes.
Basically from then on, I’ve been in brand new and very scary territory. Even before our engagement I’d known how much I wanted to be with him, but I never cared much at all for the wedding day. I welcomed the idea of being married, but having witnessed many close friend and family members get married, I felt sick at the idea of planning a wedding. Months before he proposed I started trying to prepare myself to face the dragon. I knew as much as I wanted things to be quick and painless, Brandon has a wicked traditional streak that meant we were going for everything from the poufy white dress to dinner and dancing with all our friends and family in attendance.
So far, I’ve been working it out. I still feel sick thinking about all the money we’re doling out for this blip of a day on the grande radar. Especially when I think about how all that money could be spent getting us closer to being able to start a family.
I don’t even think that the term “baby crazy” fully encompasses how I’m feeling these days about this whole matter. Before Brandon, I had started to write off the possibility that such a blessed and monumental event would ever happen for me. And now, I look out at the next few years with utter dread over my 30th birthday and whether or not a healthy family is still in the cards.
Yes, I am fully aware that 30 isn’t that old. If you’re perfectly healthy and have been so your whole life. But I’m not; I’ve struggled with my weight for almost a decade to varying degrees. I’m back towards the healthier side of things, but still feel that I have a long way to go.
And I’m aware that babies and children have the capacity to fully exhaust a woman of only 20 years. I’m not so naive as to think I still have that same energy and vigor.
So all of this makes me cringe to think of waiting another day, let alone year, let alone 3-5 that Brandon speaks of, before starting to think about conceiving a child. It rattles me to the core, frankly. And when I try to focus my attention on more present things, the wedding financials seem to further irritate my already fried sensibilities.
All of this finally seemed to overflow last night on our way home from Josh & Madeline’s (beautiful!) wedding. Part of me feels like an ungrateful selfish bitch who should be content to have the true and unconditional love of such a great man, who is willing to take on my own past mistakes and messiness in order to have that family that I dream of, at a date to be determined, when it makes budgetary sense. And part of me wonders why we should spend a small fortune on this 30 second blip of a ceremony while my ovaries are already plotting their own demise?!?
Clearly I’m overwrought with my own emotions, but no matter how much I tell myself that fact, tears don’t stop welling up in the corners of my eyes. I don’t know what the answer is. I’m not even convinced there is an answer to be had. For him, the wedding is pretty much as important as it gets, and for me, I’m clearly obsessed with having a family and being the best mother possible.
So now I’m utterly lost in my head, replaying every choice I’ve ever made, wondering which ones I could have made differently to avoid this grief. I wonder what is broken in my head to not be convinced that what has been offered to me is enough. And most of all I worry about hurting the one perfect thing I have going for me.

Holy motivation, Batman!

So after small fits of panic ensued this afternoon after looking at our To-Do list, and our already busy schedule, I made a deal with Brandon to stay in tonight and hash out some big stuff.
So tonight we managed to do all of the following in under 4 hours:
-Finalized the guest list. Finally. Got a few more addresses too, bringing us up to about 75%.
-Blocked rooms at a hotel
-Made final revisions to invitations, and ordered them!!!
Went to Wendy’s Bridal to finalize bridesmaid dress selection. (Also got started looking at tuxes, too.)
-Called the baker (had to leave a message, though)
-Ordered Brandon’s wedding band

And picked up my dress for Josh’s wedding, and ate a little dinner. And rocked my normal awesomeness.
Things I need to follow up on: confirmation on the hotels (never got the email), and the baker, still.

Progress

I think somehow we’ve actually managed to get some things checked off our increasingly urgent “To Do” list.
We started accumulating flowers for the centerpieces, I booked an officiant to perform the ceremony, mostly settled on a bridesmaid dress (I just need to go look at fabric swatches to pick a color), helped Mom pick out her mother’s dress, finalized the invites & are ready to place the order in the next week or so (whenever we find time to duodecuple check everything).
Yes, it’s a word. Look it up.
This pretty much leaves my list at finding a florist for my bouquet and writing vows & ceremony stuff. Probably should get the rest of the silks in hand for the bridesmaid bouquets and boutineers before I go to a florist, so that everything matches. Which means I can reasonably put that off until December.
Crap. Still need to book a baker. (Yes I’m writing things as I think of them.)
Ok so my real To Do list for this month is as follows:
*BOOK THE BAKER
*Go to Wendy’s to look at Mori Lee swatches and tell Tiff & Jessie
*Finalize guest list, order invitiations & call hotel to set aside rooms.
*Work on registries
*Work on ceremony music
*Research vows & ceremony ideas

Now on top of all of that, my brother is getting married on Sunday. It’s October, and the forecast is calling for 80 degrees and pretty much the most awesome weather ever. I’m still going to go get a sweater dress tonight from Macy’s, in grey to coordinate with one of Brandon’s favorite shirts (yes, I’m that kind of girl):

Well at least we’re headed in the right direction, but we need to gain a little momentum to keep on track, I think. I’m not hating the planning right now, so I guess that’s really all I could ask for.