Monday, March 29, 2010

Wardrobe Malfunction

I was absolutely thrilled to be a recipient of the Susan B. Anthony List young leader award. I feel completely honored and thoroughly undeserving.

But it was QUITE the journey to get to DC for the Gala. As I mentioned previously, J's dad passed away last week. The day after his funeral I got sick as a dog. There's a nasty stomach bug going around and I got it big time. I was the type of sick where I moaned and called on Jesus. It was awful. I got it on Sunday and spent all day Sunday and all day Monday in bed. I SHOULD have spent all day Tuesday in bed too, but I had tons to do to get ready to leave for Washington DC on Wednesday.

Finally Wednesday rolls around. I'm still weak and tired but so excited. I got to the airport in plenty of time, got through security with no problems, and got to the gate in time to find out that my flight had been delayed 3 hours, which would mean I'd miss my connection and get to DC at 8pm, smack dab in the middle of the Gala. I went to the desk and asked for a different flight. I had to go BACK out to get a new ticket, and then go through security AGAIN. I was SO tired and frustrated, but ended up getting to DC just an hour later than I'd expected.

I spent WAY too much time getting dolled up, and met my good friend Emily. She drove to the Willard. We got out of the car and handed the keys to the valet.

Then I heard the valet yelling after me "Ma'am, Ma'am!! I don't mean to be dirty... but your DRESS!". I reached behind me and realized that my dress was completely undone, from the top ALL THE WAY to the bottom... my zipper had completely broken.

So I ran through this fancy pants hotel in the company of politicians and millionaires with my dress hanging completely open for all of our Nation's Capital to see my bizniss. Needless to say, I was mortified. Emily and I went to the front desk to get a sewing kit, but in the back of my mind I was thinking "yeah right, this is unfixable". I panicked. I was certain that I'd have to miss the Gala and turn around and go home.

Then I remembered that we'd passed a Filene's Basement on the way to the Willard. I asked the lady at the front desk how far it was, and thankfully it was just a couple blocks away. Emily and I ran to the store, (as I called J and my mom to tell them what happened... later I find out that J called my mom and said "she really got me this time" because he didn't believe me! He didn't believe me beacuse I wasn't crying! lol! Come on! No time to cry!!!!) grabbed a bunch of dresses, tried them on, found one that was fine, threw the dress and my debit card and Emily and had her buy it for me, threw my old dress in the trash can, and ran back to the Gala. OMG. I was sweating and my hair was frizzy, but praise the Lord, no one knew that they almost got a show with their dinner. And all I missed was the VIP cocktail reception. ;-) They say I'll laugh about this someday... we'll see.

I started the evening in THIS dress:

And ENDED the evening in THIS dress...

I’ve got a Fairy Godmother…

Well, not really a Fairy Godmother… really an Aunt. A brilliantly talented Aunt who is serving as my pre-wedding skin care personal trainer. Here are a few of her tips for my normal skin, to get in prime wedding shape by May (and all around good shape after that!). Luckily you can find these tips here on the Aluminum Bride… because I think she should package, market and sell her skin care brilliance for a hefty profit. ;-)

Here ya go ladies...

1. Get thee to Walmart, K Mart, or the like and buy a pack of the cheapest, thinnest, nastiest wash cloths you can find.
2. While you are there, pick up a new sheer foundation. Most places will let you return the item if you do not get a good color match. Ask before you buy. I like Cover Girl Smoothers. Select a color that matches your own skin color just above the jaw line. If you have a break out – just dab a little concealer on the lovely little zit and tap it with your fingertip to blend. Wear your make-up a sheer as possible any place that you are not having a break out. People usually notice the nose, mid forehead, and cheeks. If those are blemish free, the eye assumes that the rest of the skin is clear. If one has heavier makeup in that area, it looks like you need to cover something – and you don’t. Trick the eye.
3. For over-the-counter products, Olay and Neutrogena are pretty good. Pick up a day moisturizer with SPF of at least 30 and wear it every single day. Don’t waste your money on department store brands. You are paying for packaging and ads.
4. For cleaning your skin. Remember that make-up remover and skin cleanser are two different things. Any day you wear make up, you will have to remove the make up before you clean your skin. In my opinion, oil based products work the best for make up removal. So…. Buy a jar of cheap old Ponds Cold Cream. At the end of the day, remove your make up by GENTLY massaging the product into your make up so that it “joins” then tissue it off. Do this as many times as needed – usually only twice is necessary- until not a trace of color shows up on the clean tissue.
5. When you are done removing the make up – take one of the cheap wash clothes and use warm water to remove any oily residue. Use a fresh cloth each day.
6. Do NOT use any kind of toner. Toners are a colossal rip-off. They say that they remove any left over make up. Hello! If the make up has been removed, there isn’t any left over. Also, only 5% of the cost of toner is for actual product. The rest is packaging and profit. Needless to say, most manufacturers train their people to sell toner.
7. Now, you can clean your skin. Yea. At last. Pick up any Skin Cleanser in the Olay or Neutrogena line for normal skin. Just follow direction. This will go very fast because you have already done most of the work.
8. Choose a night cream for normal skin and apply. The whole cleansing process should take less than 5-7 minutes.
9. Now for the big guns…….. After one week of the above routine, use the microderabrasion kit (Olay Regenerist) I sent you.
10. Let me know how your skin is responding as we go along.
11. In the morning – are you a morning shower person? – just rinse your face with water – do not let the shower beat on your face.
12. If you want to be really aggressive, while you are in the shower (or when you get out, I guess), use the exfoliator I sent you very, very, very gently. This will give your skin a beautiful surface for make up application. Most professionals will tell you to use the exfoliator once or twice a week but that is because people are too rough. I have been exfoliating almost daily for over 30 years and have never had any irritation. But you must be very light of hand! Note that the product I choose did not have any “natural “stuff like crushed apricot seeds etc. These “crushed” products have sharp edges and can cut the skin. Always choose a product that has “spheres” or “beads”.

Friday, March 26, 2010

J's Dad

My beloved J lost his father last week. Please pray for the repose of the soul of his dad and for comfort and consolation to J's whole family. It was a sad week. His illness was a direct result of years of smoking. Please consider J's father the next time you pick up a cigarette... I'll get off my soapbox now. ;-)

Monday, March 15, 2010


We bought our DIY set of invites ages ago. Probably a year or more. I absolutely fell in love with them and had to have them!!


I still love them, but the quick, easy, cheap part of the DIY has turned out to be a bit of a hassle. I spent HOURS (literally) mewing over different fonts. I loved the J in one font, but the C in in another and after days of combining fonts and changing sizes, kerning, and character spacing (with some help from the graphics guy with whom I share an office) I finally came up with something I was happy with.

Invites? Done.

Now on to the direction cards. Our kit came with an itty bitty card on which we were supposed to write the directions. BUT, we needed directions to the Church AND to the reception venue. 1 itty bitty card. 2 sets of directions. Now what? We decided to scratch the itty bitty card that came with the set all together and use matching card stock, we have to cut them out, which will be a bit of a hassle, but this way we can print double sided. (apparently you can’t print double sided on the perforated paper that came with the invite set)

Direction cards? Done.

Now those pesky RSVP cards. I wanted something with a little splash. I was about to buy one of those fancy monograms I’d blogged about, but then I thought “I wonder if I can do that myself” so I did.

RSVP cards? Done.

Now I’ve emailed all of our info to the printer who said she could do raised type for $56 for the invites and the RSVP cards! This sounds like an OUTSTANDING deal and will save me the gray hairs of trying to print out the invites ourselves! Without further ado, our invites:

An eensy weensy version with names/dates erased to protect the innocent! hahah!

FAM-ILY Forget About Me, I Love YOU

I know, I know, blog posts are supposed to be light hearted and heavy on the DIY. But I have to say, the closer the wedding gets, the more philosophical I become! I've been thinking a lot about family and what it means to me. Of course, I've been utterly blessed with my nuclear family. We're close. And loving. And everything that I hope my new family to be. But my parents got "stuck" with me. J CHOSE to be my family. MY NEW FAMILY. J and I are creating a family. That feels so important. Its our responsibility to bring up little kids to be functioning and happy and productive members of society. I feel like our marriage will be adding something to the world. And I'm proud and excited.

Okay, now on to the invites...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Music to My Ears

Taking advice on Mass songs. We're having a worship band led by Adam Bitter. Here's one song that's a no brainer, "Hold My Hand"! I've adored it from the minute I heard it! :-)

I want a fantastic Wedding Mass, in fact, that is the part I've been dreaming about the most. We're having a wonderful, dynamic priest and a great band! I want our guests to be led deeply into prayer and have an amazing experience. Any suggestions???

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I ♥ My Ring

I obsessed over my Dream Ring (DR) for months before J proposed. J and I went ring shopping and when I tried it on I felt like Cinderella! It was my glass slipper. I had an aha moment. I had my heart set on this bad boy and if it was anything different I would have been crushed. Of course J KNEW I had my heart set on it... so he did too! :-) The night he proposed I spent hours photographing my ring. (I know, how romantic! hehe!) And here's what I came up with:

I LOVE my ring and I love photography, so it’s no big surprise that I spent soooo much time shooting my ring. I have a decent camera that allowed me to get in close for some great detail. But I wished I’d come across THIS website before I started shooting. For anyone that wants a great shot of their bling, but doesn’t know how to get one, Ann Ruthman is your answer! Ann Ruthman offers tips on how to photograph your ring with a point and shoot camera to get some excellent shots of it! We've all seen pictures of rings that look like this:


Her website will teach you to take your ring off, find good light, set your camera to macro mode, set up an interesting background, take a gazillion pictures and edit the heck out of them (if you have the knowledge and capabilities)... and pretty soon you'll be taking pictures that look like this:


Happy photographing, girls!!

How I Knew J was the One

Today J and I celebrated (well, gave each other cards, not much of a ‘celebration’) our four year dating anniversary. Being with J for four years is like one of those Twilight Zone episodes where it feels impossible that we’ve been together for FOUR WHOLE YEARS and at the exact same time feels impossible that it has ONLY BEEN FOUR YEARS!

Four years and one day ago a couple girlfriends and I were having a girls night after the television show that J directs and I produce (I assistant produced at the time). One of the girls mentioned J and I went on and on and on and on about what a wonderful guy I thought he was. Finally she interrupted my soliloquy to say “Do you like J??????” It was like a light bulb went on in my head “Um, yes. I think I do!” I was giddy and embarrassed at the same time. J is a lot older than me and we come from different religions. I didn’t think that a ‘real’ relationship was possible for us. But dang. But he was so cute and so sweet that I had a MAJOR crush. The next evening a mutual friend was having a party at a club. J walked in with his buddy and I got tingly. It felt like we were drawn to each other that night.

(wow, check out my short hair!!)

I was convinced immediately that I wanted to be with this man. But it took him a little bit longer to be so sure about me! We dated for a couple months. Then he got sent to St. Louis for a big event that the TV Network we work for was putting on. A girlfriend and I decided to go to St. Louis too even though we didn’t have to work. We drove. During the event this girl got really sick. She decided to fly back to Birmingham, leaving me to drive 10 hours alone. Ugh. Awful. Well, J thought it was pretty awful too, so he gave up his quick and easy 1 hour non-stop flight to drive back 10 hours and through 5 states so I wouldn’t have to be alone.

Before we left I had prayed for a sign that we should be together. I asked specifically for rainbows. During our 10 hour drive through 5 states we saw 10 rainbows! It was his sacrifice and all those dang rainbows that had me convinced that J was the one for me. Every day over the past four years has been filled with thoughts of him. Every day I’ve come to know and love him more. And in only 80 days I’ll be his wife. I can’t believe how lucky I am. I hope it doesn’t rain on our wedding day… but if it does, I pray for a rainbow!

A Wedding is a Day, A Marriage is a Lifetime

J and I are getting married in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church requires some form of marriage preparation before you can get married. We chose to go on an Engaged Encounter weekend.

Let’s be honest here. I was DREADING this. Absolutely dreading it. J is the sweetest man ever, but he’s more of a “doer” than a “sayer”. He’ll do sweet things for me all day long, but when it comes to whispering sweet nothing in my ear, he’d probably tell me that my ear smelled nice… or something goofy like that. Poor J was dreading this weekend even more than I was.

First things first. It was FIVE hours away. They offered weekends in Birmingham but none that worked with J’s crazy traveling schedule. But even WITH gas money, the EE in Mobile was $100 cheaper than the one in Bham. That helped convincing J that the long drive was worth it.

And it REALLY WAS worth it. It was such an amazing weekend. We listened to talks given by couples that had been married for 50 + years and one that had been married for almost 30 years discuss the trials and joys in their own marriages. The ups and downs and how they dealt with them. It was inspiring to hear stories of couples who have had a lifelong, successful and happy marriage. Who remained committed to each other despite human weaknesses.

After the talks we split up and wrote love letters to our fianc├ęs, based on several different questions. J’s not much of a “sayer” but he’s a darn good writer!! After we wrote our letters we got back together to read and discuss them. I LOVED reading what J wrote to me. I KNOW J thinks I’m terrific, but to have a love letter that says so means so much to me! We were able to discuss some minor issues we have, our hopes for the future, how to resolve conflict and how to make decisions. The whole weekend was so edifying and fruitful. I feel like J and I really connected and grew as a couple. If you would have asked me prior to the weekend if I thought J and I would get a divorce I would have said “I hope not”, but after this weekend I’d say “DEFINITELY NOT!”

I highly recommend making an Engaged Encounter weekend or doing some other form of marriage preparation. The statistics they told us about on the weekend were that 1 out of every 2 marriages ends in divorce, but only 1 out of every 500 marriages of couples who attend an Engaged Encounter end in divorce! I like those odds!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010



I just found out that I have received the Susan B. Anthony List Young Leader Award for 2010. They give out four awards every year to young women who exemplify leadership in the pro life movement. Have to say, I'm wondering how they couldn't have come up with someone better than moi! Maybe I should offer some recommendations of some really outstanding young women. Maybe they thought "heck, this girl has potential... and she won't be considered YOUNG for much longer... so let's hop on it!" Hehe!

But heck, for right now I'm going to bask in it. I'm thrilled to death!! THRILLED. They are sending me to DC for a Gala at the Willard Hotel, which is so fancy I'd never even heard of it and subsequently passed out when I googled it. BEAUTIFUL! Don't tell the organizers, but I'd be happy in a Holiday Inn!! :-)

The ONLY problem (other than their lack of discernment in picking ME) is that the gala in DC falls in the middle of my busiest wedding planning stretch ever. At first I thought there is NO WAY I'm flying to DC in the midst of this hectic time. But then my Dearest reminded me that it is quite and honor, a once in a lifetime opportunity, and that I can sleep on our honeymoon!!

March 19: Drive to St. Louis
March 20th: Bridal Shower in St. Louis
March 21st: Engagement Pics in St. Louis
March 22nd: Drive back to Bham
March 23rd: Back at work
March 24th: Trip to DC for Gala
March 25th: Fly back to Bham, prepare and film TWO shows, Mom comes in town
March 26th: Fun with Mom in Bham
March 27th: Fun with Mom in Bham
March 28th: Bridal Shower in Bham
March 29-April 1: Fun with Mom in Bham
April 1: Fly to St. Louis with Mom
April 2nd: Good Friday in St. Louis
April 3rd: Bridal Shower in St. Louis
April 4th: Easter
April 5th: Fly back to Bham
April 6th: COLLAPSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!