Tidying Up: Wedding dresses

breannaandgraham89[1]The Dress, a wedding dress, to be precise, is probably a dress you will only wear once. Although these days some people do clever things with their wedding dresses on pinterest or facebook (I’ve seen people wearing them once a year on their anniversary and doing photo shoots and dying their dresses a new color and wearing it again), most people don’t. And even if you wear it again once a year, every year (assuming it still fits through the years), it’s not exactly getting a good deal of bang for its buck.
My mother and my grandmother both have their dresses in storage at my grandmother’s house, gathering dust. For reference, my grandmother’s dress is over sixty-five years old. But my mother didn’t wear my grandmother’s dress and I didn’t wear either of their dresses. They didn’t pressure me to either; they both encouraged me to find my own dress.
A couple of weeks after my wedding, my dress is dry cleaned and preserved in a fancy box. I looked at it and thought: what now? Because, by the way, the preservation is not cheap. Preservation is necessary to keep the color and fabric from degrading like an old photograph. So if I do decide to take it out every year, I’m going to have to pay to do this every year. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll notice that I’m also a big fan of Marie Kondo’s KonMari method, so seeing this beautiful dress take up a space where it isn’t loved and enjoyed, made me feel a bit down. I also can’t imagine that any daughter of mine is going to want to wear my dress, though since she won’t be able to, she probably will. But we’ll get to that.
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As my dress took up some serious space in my childhood closet, my brother got engaged. He and his fiance, E, had a super speedy engagement because her parents live in another country and just happened to be in town a little more than a month later. Thus, began the search for a dress. Since their engagement was so short, my now sister-in-law needed to get a dress off-the-rack. She also wasn’t dying to spend a whole lot of money. I began Google searching.
Lone behold, there are second hand bridal shops. Having been to my share of Goodwills and thrift stores, I’ve seen wedding gowns hanging sadly and disused. Let me assure you: this is not the kind of place I am talking about. We went to a consignment bridal shop called Sparrow Bridal in La Mesa, Ca. If you look up Sparrow Bridal on the Knot or Wedding Wire, you will see that they have amazing reviews. Sadly, they are no longer in business, but I want to tell you about the experience anyway.
My maternal units (mother and grandmother) and I hustled E to the bridal shop and found some beautiful options. E found the most beautiful dress that I describe as Audrey Hepburn meets Rita Hayworth: a lot of class and just the right amount of vavavoom! Not only was E’s dress in practically perfect condition, but it was far more reasonable and glamorous than anything else we found that was new and at a comparable price. Most importantly though was the actual experience. Sparrow Bridal was run by the most lovely woman, Laurie MacDonald, who consigned with brides and made her own bridal accessories, like belts and garters. She also worked with small local vendors and artists for jewelry and other items for the day of the wedding. Laurie had the most happy and wonderful demeanor and helped E choose dresses that fit her style and also to provide suggestions on how and where any tailoring should be done. Over all, it was just lovely.
The experience at Sparrow Bridal made me realize what an opportunity there was to consigning my dress. I got in touch with my bridal shop (Theory– perhaps I’ll do a post on them later), and they had their own consignment shop. Theory bridal is in a few different cities and I loved their boutique, so to me, this seemed like the best option.
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LVD is the sister consignment store to Theory and they were very responsive to my inquiry. Within a couple of days, I had a phone call with the manager and was well on my way to handing over my dress. The idea of another woman wearing my dress for her wedding made me so happy. Not only was I recycling it, but I was making someone else happy who may not otherwise be able to have this dress. The only issue for me was shipping. At the time, LVD had only one location in Nashville (a few months ago they opened a second location in NOLA), and I had no clue how to ship the dress. Luckily, that wasn’t a problem either. LVD told me to simply unbox my packed dress and hand it over at the Dress Theory where I purchased it.
My dress sold and I’m told she went to a very happy bride. This happy bride got the feeling of satisfaction, a little money for her sold dress, and a whole lot more storage space.

Misguided Musical Ambitions & Completely Rational Musical Love

Once upon a time, around the age of 11 to be precise, I thought I was a lyrical genius. Despite not playing an instrument of any kind or the ability to read music, I thought that my mildly good voice and affinity for writing were the essential ingredients to making me a musical sensation. I will not out the friend who supported this unattainable dream that she and I could be the new M2M (yes, I understand that knowing what we know now that was not a very high musical aspiration; but at the time, M2M was pretty freaking cool). I kept our song lyrics in my binder in the hopes that people at my new school would somehow happen to notice and I would be able to humbly explain how cool I was. HA!

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This passion for music, although it led to some misguided notions, also led me to be that person who (when she finally got an iPod c. 2009) constantly had head phones in her ears. In college, I would listen to my iPod (RIP) all day long while riding my bicycle to and from class, singing (albeit quietly) “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae and “Bicycle Race” by Queen shamelessly. In public. Totally fine admitting that now.

I used music to get in to character for plays and rehearsals and block out the world. I use music to take me back in time to happy moments of my life like in my carpool where we would sing all the way to school and all the way home. My friend and I would even harmonize and sing duets. There were no musical boundaries. Music takes me back to the heartbreaks where I would listen to one song on repeat over and over again and make it my anthem. To this day, “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles induces feelings of embarrassment at just how heartbroken I was over someone who did not care a lick about me. If you are not familiar with it, “Gravity” is a horribly heart-wrenching, beautiful masterpiece and I highly recommend it.

Because I now work in an office job where I have little to no privacy, but get phone calls fairly frequently so I can’t always be plugged into headphones. I have gotten into a habit of not listening to music, which quite honestly, depresses me a little. Then one day, I’ll turn on Pandora stations and find music I’ve never heard before. Or Brandi Carlisle comes out with the new album, By the Way, I Forgive You that I listen to while getting two fillings at the dentists office. My love resurrects from the pit of silence and all the obsession bubbles up to the surface and asks me how I ever survived silence. This has happened more than once now, so I’m sure it will happen again, but at this moment, I am blissfully enveloped by The Wailin’ Jennys “By Way of Sorrow” on their Pandora station.

Now that I have less time to discover new music, I wonder how you are discovering new artists and music. The radio only seems to play the same 100 songs over and over again and most of them sound the same. What are your anthems? What song has touched your soul?

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Back to Reading

I feel like most people who write also love to read. This makes sense, because to be good at writing, you really must be a reader. We learn all of our best writing habits from reading without even knowing that we’re doing it. This is how we learn to spell and where to put those annoying commas (just kidding, I love commas; for me it’s really where not to put commas).

What I mean to say is that reading is important and I love reading. However, in the past few years, I haven’t been as much of a reader and that makes me sad. Towards the end of last year and this year I’ve been picking up my reading again. In honor of reading, I wanted to share with you some of my favorites I’ve read recently.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane written by Lisa See

tea girlThis novel is so inspiring. It is both a family drama and a coming of age tale of a young woman, Li-Yan who grows up in rural China and tries to strike a delicate balance between the the practices of her culture and her hopes to live the life of an educated woman. I learned so much while reading this as I had no previous exposure to the cultural differences between regions of China. I also found the woven story-telling between times and places to be an extremely effective way of building anticipation and exploring different characters. I highly recommend this pull at your heart strings read.

 

This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
this isI couldn’t tell you what it is that makes me this way, but for me, there is nothing I love better in a book than something that makes me cry giant crocodile tears. It makes my husband so concerned and he doesn’t quite understand it, and his reaction makes me laugh. So we come full circle?

This Is How It Always Is is a big crocodile tear book about Rosie and Penn and their five boys. However, their youngest is not quite the same as the others and so it begins. Claude becomes someone new, bringing on  changes, questions and challenges that seem like all too much for a child. This novel explores the growth of the family and the people around them as they all discover who this child is and how to help on the journey of growing up.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

bernadetteThis one is mostly a break from all the tears. So if you aren’t like me, and prefer a book with lots of laughs, this is one for you. I knew I had to read Where’d You Go, Bernadette? when it was described to me that the relationship between mother and daughter greatly resembled that between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Although the daughter in this situation is quite a bit younger than Rory when we meet her, the dynamic between mother and daughter is one of selfless love, silliness with a touch of dry humor and absolute stubborn will. I enjoyed this book for all the laughs, but I loved this book for the characters and their individual evolution.

 

That’s all for now! What are you reading? What have you enjoyed? I’d love to hear about it!

Fall Declutter

When I lived in Los Angeles, space constraints and frequent moves made it impossible to hang onto things I didn’t care about. Since coming home to San Diego, I have more space. Not only do I have more space, but I am reminded every week at family dinner that I actually have two spaces because my childhood bedroom is still not cleaned out. Does anyone else have this problem?
So, I’m working towards the declutter. Here are my steps towards a clutter free closet.
1.) Recycle anything that is too destroyed to wear.
  • Denim can go to Blue Jeans Go Green. Bonded Logic turns denim into insulation for homes and they, in turn, donate a portion of their products to build homes for those in need for charities such as Habitat For Humanity. You can donate at Madewell or send in your items.
  • Cut up t-shirts, ratty towels and sweatshirts into cleaning fabrics. This will allow you to get the most out of the fabric and use fewer paper towels!

2.) Sell anything that is in excellent condition, high quality, or high-end label to a thrift store or online.

3.) Anything that can’t be sold that is in good condition, donate!
  • Salvation Army
  • Goodwill
  • Father Joe’s Village
  • San Diego Rescue Mission
  • Women’s shelters
  • Animal shelters (they need towels and blankets the most, but sometimes have thrift stores of their own)
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Image courtesy of Audible.
I’m hoping that once the clutter is gone, it will become clearer what I’d like to do with this space and how I’d like to change things around to feel more like my own space. I recently read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which has really helped to inspire me. It’s also really helped me to realize that some of my sentimental habits are a littttttle overboard. For example, all those tchotchkes I have from Bar Mitzvahs and Sweet Sixteens and college: why do I have them?
However, Kondo emphasizes strict adherence to all of her rules. I’m really not going to do that. I am going to have more stuff than Marie Kondo and that is ok with me.
How about you? Have you read Kondo’s book? Are you an organization maniac or a hoarder? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
PS. Kondo’s book is now available as a manga, which sounds like so much more fun.

Easy Ways to Enjoy the Sun More this Labor Day Weekend

Summer in San Diego is one of my favorite seasons. While it’s perfect year round (yes, we’re spoiled), summer is when people sit out on their patios, have barbecues and soak up the delicious sunshine. Growing up and living in San Diego, I am a verifiable sunshine addict and I always loved that last weekend of summer: Labor Day. In honor of this joyous end to the season, here are some of my favorite tips for soaking in that vitamin D.

  1. Get outside and into the water! Find something new ! I am a personal fan of sitting by the pool, kayaking and paddle boarding.
  2. Protect your hair! Too much sun can turn your hair dry and brittle and damage the color. Wear a hat and/or use a leave in conditioner with UV protection. Here are some of my favorite picks:
  3. Slather on that SPF! Going back to school or work is a lot less fun if you’ve been burned. My favorite sunscreen this summer is another pick from Sun Bum, their Original 30 SPF Lotion.I used it while I was in Arizona and I can honestly tell you, I have never found a better sunscreen. It’s my favorite because it doesn’t feel like sunscreen, but like a lotion. None of the oily mess I’ve experienced with so many alternatives! Plus this one is BPA & paraben free, vegan, and Made in the USA.
  4. Sunglasses- I haven’t always been good about this one, but as I’ve gotten older, my eyes have gotten more and more sensitive and I find myself buying more sunglasses. Try this pair from Maven in San Diego.

Sunglasses from Maven SD

Love that sun and embrace your Labor Day Weekend, but make sure to take breaks from the heat! No matter how you protect yourself, too much sun can be damaging!

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Exfoliating with Trish McEvoy

Hello hello!

I am sitting here, close to but not in, a super sunny window that faces the sea, just dying to be outside in the sun. The sky is an epic shade of blue today and I can see the trees rustles in the ocean breeze, no rhyme intended.
And while I’m dying to be out in the water, I’m reminded of what I’m here to talk to you about! Sometimes exfoliators are a little harsh and sandy, so I tend to be pretty picky. One that I can recommend for sensitive skin is the Trish McEvoy’s Beta Hydroxy Pads Daily Exfoliator.
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These pads gently exfoliate your skin, so this is a perfect solution for people with more sensitive skin that don’t want a harsh exfoliating wash or have trouble with redness after exfoliating. This product is refreshing and easy to use on the daily. I swipe across my face and neck in the morning after cleansing and before makeup.
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However, I would like to include that this product doesn’t replace my cleansing exfoliator that I use once a week. It doesn’t quite have the exfoliating power I feel I need on a weekly basis, but it’s a good supplement for daily use without hurting my skin. I also love these when my skin is acting up. If I’m having an issue with a breakout or some problem spots, these are the perfect addition to my routine to help exfoliate the problem area without damaging the skin.
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So, while I recommend these for problem or sensitive skin, I’m not sure that I would invest in having them for the every day if your skin is generally normal. I keep them on hand for when I’m having skin issues or for convenience when I travel.
What’s your favorite exfoliator?

New Eats: Soda & Swine, San Diego

One of my favorite things to do is try a new restaurant and I am so lucky to live in San Diego where there’s always a new, surprising local restaurant for me to experience.

Sitting at the bar at Soda & Swine
Recently I got to try a great new-to-me restaurant while at Liberty Station in Point Loma called Soda & Swine. This open, mid-century style restaurant was such a surprise in the best possible way. The atmosphere is the perfect mix of fun and sophistication with a corn-hole game outside and  a custom-built, glass-topped Foosball table that actually spans the room and accommodates multiple games at once.
For starters, Soda & Swine has some amazing cocktail and snack options. We chose to go old school with gin and tonics because they actually carry my favorite California gin from St. George, which I previously posted about here. We also ordered their spiced crispy chickpeas. I could have eaten all of these by myself, but I grudgingly shared.
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Gin & Tonic at Soda & Swine with St George Gin

Soda & Swine actually specializes in meat balls and baking (they bake their own bread!), but they do have vegetarian and vegan meat-less ball options with different and unique sauces! I enjoyed the bovine (beef) slider with traditional marinara and soft fresh bread. My man got a meatball pot pie, which was just as amazing as it sounds with a flaky crust and filled with their mouthwatering pork meatballs!img_4098
I recommend sitting at the bar if you get the chance to go with just one other person; the bartenders are really great and can give you great suggestions!
PS: There’s also a location in North Park!