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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Blog Fun (59)

Tuesday
Feb082011

Lip Strength

I had a post all ready in my head for today. It was about how after 3 months of loafing, work-out wise, that I went back to the gym. Finally. It was going to be about how my armpits ache from lifting weights. How my sides are screaming at me from doing side crunches. Shoulder blades from swimming, calf muscles from the elliptical - all aching. And how I had to finally find a gym (the YMCA) because I was getting...mooshy. Not fat. I haven't gained weight. But stuff is shifting and hanging and my clothes feel funny and I HATE when my clothes feel weird. So this post was going to be all about that and what going back to the gym can do to a person's psyche.

But then last night The Candyman and I were snuggling into our bed together and he did something to inspire a different kind of post.

As we snuggled down together in our giant, comfy Bed of Love, I grabbed my latest book assuming The Candyman would put on what he calls his Zsa-Zsa's (what he wears to get to sleep while I read. You can see them here.). Instead, he said he wanted to do some reading too. He reached into the drawer of his nightstand and I couldn't imagine what he was digging around in there for. What was in that drawer anyway? You know what he pulled out? Greeting cards. Yes, that's right, greeting cards. They were old cards that I've given to him over the years for birthdays, Valentine's Day, whatever. He carefully pulled out each card and read whatever sentimental notion I had written him at the time. He was all smiles and cooing (in the most manly of ways, of course) and after we has done reading, he donned his Zsa-Zsa's and snuggled up while I read my book.

And I thought to myself, "This guy is SUCH a keeper." And then I started thinking about whether or not I thought that when we first met.

I definitely knew The Candyman was different. As most of you regular readers know, I totally picked The Candyman up on-line. If you're new to T30SB, you can grab the back-story here. There were moments in that first blind date that were definitely different than other blind dates.

First, The Candyman was a little late for our date, which I know now, is weird. That boy is the epitome of punctual. So, I was waiting for him to get there (with all the anxiety of "is he going to show up" knotted up in my tummy) and I was sitting directly next to the entrance, as that was the only place to sit and wait since the bar was absolutely packed. The Candyman flew into the restaurant and right past me, using his full 6'6" height to scan the restaurant. He was clearly flustered. He wandered into the bar, looking...searching, his head snapping left and right as he made his way through the crowded bar. The whole time I sat rooted to my chair just watching him look for me. There was no intended malice, or any real reason why I didn't stand up and make it easy for him to find me. I just sat and watched with a stupid little grin on my face. Finally, he turned around and found me. He saw me smiling and a slow, easy grin came to his face as he walked, nay sauntered, over to where I was and greeted me for the first time.

After that first date, I didn't see him for several weeks. I'd warned him of this. I had a crazy job. Commitments. Trips to take. People coming in from out of town. "I am a busy girl," I told him over the phone. "My dad is coming in for the weekend so I can't see you again for a while." I figured that a few weeks of waiting after one pretty good date would send him back to Match.com to find a more accessible kind of girl. It had happened many, many times before so I was actually expecting it.  That weekend, as I was driving around town with my dad, my phone rang. It was The Candyman. I thought it odd that he was calling since he knew my Dad was in town. I made small talk in front of my pops and told him I'd call him when I got back home. After I got my dad situated with the remote control and a martini, I bolted up the stairs to call The Candyman. I felt like I was 14 years old again, calling boys while my parents suspiciously eyed me from the other room, pretending not to listen, but totally eavesdropping.  Our conversation was easy and comfortable. The Candyman has a thick North Carolina accent that can be quite soothing at times. I felt soothed. As a rule, Type A personality disorder doesn't include the word "soothing."

In that conversation, The Candyman told me that for our second date, he wanted time with me. He said something along the lines of, "I don't want to meet you at 7 o'clock, just to spend a few hours with you. I want to spend the day with you." Whoa. Really? With me? So that's what we did. I met him early in the afternoon and we went to see an exhibit at The Frist Museum. Then we went out to dinner at The Tin Angel. Then we went to see a band play at The Family Wash. I remember sitting on a bar stool, watching the musicians play. I was getting tired, so I leaned my head on The Candyman's shoulder. It was definitely not a move I'd made before. I wasn't even really conscious that I had done it until The Candyman leaned his head down and murmured, "Mmmmm...tenderness." I snapped my head back up, determined not to show weakness! Tenderness was for the meek and girly and stupid! I would not be those things! NO! I was conflicted. It was an unusual feeling for me.

When we parted ways at our cars late that night, The Candyman planted one on me. And I mean, planted one on me. I can't even find the words to describe how that kiss went. We still joke about that kiss. It was very passionate and came a little bit out of left field. It surprised me; shocked me even. As I was driving home, I kept thinking of the lines from the movie Pretty in Pink:

Iona: Does he have... strong lips?
Andie: How can you tell?
Iona: Did you feel it in your knees?
Andie: I felt it everywhere.
Iona: Strong lips.
Iona: I know I'm old enough to be his mother, but when the Duck laid that kiss on me last night, I swear my thighs just went up in flames! He must practice on melons or something.

When I ask him now why he attacked me with his lips that night, he tells me that he wanted to make sure I knew he was serious. That he liked me. That he really wanted to kiss me a lot more. And now, with time, a wedding, jobs lost and gained, a move to a new state and everything else behind us, I still really like to kiss The Candyman. Whether a fleeting, "I'm going to work now" kind of kiss to the amorous ones that lead elsewhere, I still really like to kiss The Candyman. Wait, did I mention that already? Strong lips, indeed.

Friday
Dec242010

A Very Zombie Holiday (An Instructional Video)

Have you zombie-proofed your home for the holidays?If not, this easy instructional video (courtesy of The Candyman) will ensure your holidays are safe and happy.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

HAPPY HANUKKAH!

HAPPY KWANZA!

ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS!

All zombie-proofing aside, all of us here at The Thirty-Something Bride are wishing all of you the most wonderful of holidays! If you're traveling to and fro to visit family, I wish you short lines at the new body scan/body grope set up at the airport (go for the grope, you know those scanner things will be proven to cause cancer in like 5 years.). I wish you exact change on major toll roads. I wish you safe roads and light traffic. Watch out for the other guy and for crissake, don't drink and drive.

Be safe.

Be merry.

Be happy.

Be nice to your (future) mother-in-law.

Thursday
Dec232010

Where Are All the Humans?

There are so many things I could and should be doing at this very moment. For instance - I have to go deal with my 401K. I have been putting it off for days and those days have now turned into weeks. I just don't want to get on the phone. I don't want to have to punch in the last four of my Social Security number. I don't want to speak to an automated anything in order to "direct me to the right department." Because you know what? All of that stuff is bullshit. They don't direct shit. Because if they did, then WHY when I finally get a speaking human being on the line, do they then ask me the same fucking questions?

I have gotten to a point where I just can't stand calling anyone for anything. We've had SEVERAL issues with our new cable company with whom we bundled our phone, TV and internet service. In the two months we've lived here, we've had 2 technicians come to our house to try to fix whatever is wrong. Both times they said they would be here in a convenient four hour window. Both times, that window came and went with no technician arriving. This meant more phone calls and more auto-bullshit just to get to a live, speaking human to find out where the human who was supposed to be fixing our issues was.

Where are all the humans?

A similar issue happened with a furniture company. They delivered merchandise that was broken. Awesome, right? You've just spent a big, fat wad of cash on something and you're all excited for it to show up and it comes and it's broken and the delivery guys are out the door so freakin' fast that you have no idea what just happened. So you call. And you go through the litany of the issues after having punched in the number that properly corresponds to your particular "issue." Wouldn't that be just the dandiest thing? For all of us to have numbers that succinctly sum up our problems?

"Honey, I just can't talk to you right now. I'm a number 12 today."

"That's fine dear, I'm dealing with a 4 myself."

What baffled me most about the furniture issue was that when I called, the human told me that they don't have anything to do with the delivery company and can't control it. Um, hold up a second. You charged me to deliver that furniture. The furniture shows up with your furniture store name splashed jauntily across the side of the truck. Everything I sign has your furniture store name on it, yet you have no control over their delivery?

What. The. Fuck. I call total bullshit on that one.

During the cable fiasco, I was so fed up that I called a dish company to see about just switching over. Once I got to a human, I was transferred and put on hold for a nearly 25 minutes. Then I was disconnected. I thought I might be jumping from the pan to the fire and abandoned the switch over out of sheer frustration.

Then we had another issue with our cable. Part of the sign-up package was that we were to get Showtime and The Movie Channel for free for some period of time that I have now forgotten. During one of our issues, most of our premium cable channels just went away *POOF* right into thin cable air.

So I called.

Punch in numbers. Punch in numbers. Punch in numbers. Talk to a clueless guy. Talk to another clueless guy. They were able to get us the Showtime station back (along with my guiltiest of pleasures station, Bravo), but not The Movie Channel. The human told me that he couldn't "find" that package and the best he could do was set up Showtime and then have someone call me back about The Movie Channel.

Good thing I wasn't actually waiting for that call to be returned.

And you can't even write an email to someone to complain. Why? Because you get some automated bullshit in reply. A few years ago I wrote an email to Customer Service of a product I have been using for the majority of my life, Dove soap. I have to use Dove. Have to. I suffered from Eczema as a child and still have really sensitive skin issues. I can't use anything else for more than a week or else my body retaliates by breaking out all over in little red, itchy patches. So, a few years back Dove changed the packaging on their body wash. You can no longer store it upside down to get the last bits before buying another bottle. Personally, I think they did this on purpose. I think it's a whole marketing ploy to get consumers to buy more earlier than they really need it. It's wasteful. It's frustrating, standing in the shower, trying to shake out what you know is in the damn bottle and yet you can't get it out.  I've tried balancing the bottle between two shampoo bottles in an attempt to get it out. I leave the bottle precariously perched in some bizarre construction of shower accessories only to come back and find it has fallen into the tub, or slid onto its side.

So I wrote an email to Dove's customer service department. I wasn't weird and irrational. I just stated that if they cared, I disliked their new packaging and told them why. I have been getting auto-bullshit from them ever since. First, I got an auto reply for my email. Then I got another. Then I got another with a coupon for a  product I don't use. Apparently, I am now on some Dove soap email list that I can't get myself off of. Why? I just wanted to share my thoughts about crappy packaging in hopes that my little comment might join in with lots of similarly thinking people and the assholes would go back to a bottle you can turn upside down. 

Am I anal retentive about this kinda stuff? You betcha. But for some reason I feel I'm validated in doing so. I've worked in retail. I've been a retail store manager. I've been a waitress and a bartender. I can look around and figure out if a restaurant's people are in the weeds or if they just simply suck. I seethe when I see a cashier head off to lunch when there's a line of people 10 deep (it's poor scheduling on the managers part). Back in the day, I used to work at The Limited. It was one of my first jobs as a teenager. I loved it and worked hard there. Somewhere in my late twenties, I went shopping at a Limited and was shocked at how poorly the store was managed. I wandered into an open fitting room with a pile of clothes to try on. I couldn't find anyone to get me another size, even after I wandered out half dressed. I decided to mess with them some. I went into the fitting room and took every single alarm sensor off every piece of clothing and put them all in my pockets (dealing with shoplifters can teach you some interesting tricks). Then I went and hid all the clothes in random fitting rooms and around the store. Seriously, no one was watching me AT ALL. Then I walked up to the front and stood in the doorway and of course, the alarm went off which sent the manager running. I smiled, pulled out all the sensors and handed them to her. I explained what I did and why. The look of shock and horror on her face made my point. Was I a bitch? Yeah, I was. But that's how over it I was.

I just don't understand why customer service is so hard. I also don't understand why someone would take a job where giving good customer service clearly makes them unhappy. The surly cashier. The person who talks on the phone while you're waiting to be taken care of (as a rule you give the customer who is standing right in front of you the priority service). The barista who is standing there, with your completed Skinny Hazelnut Latte (extra hot, no foam) in her hand, talking to her co-worker about her mamma's inability to purchase decent Christmas gifts while I'm screaming in my head, "Hey you, ASSHOLE! All I need you to do is HAND ME MY COFFEE and you can blather on and on all you want. JUST GIVE ME MY COFFEE!" And then when she finally does hand my coffee to me, I take a sip and get a mouthful of tepid foam. *sigh*

The Candyman thinks I'd be a happier person in general if I just let this shit go. He's right, I should. I think I have too much of my father in me to do so. I'll bet you money he's currently writing a letter to the editor of The New York Times. Or his congress person. Or my husband, arguing about the 10th amendment.

But I don't just complain. No, I don't. When I get exceptional service, I tell people. I tell the people who give it to me and I tell their boss if I can. I tip well. When I get exceptional service, I tip VERY well. I've been super friendly to the cashiers I've run into these last few days because I know they are in hell. I tell them funny stories while they bag my merchandise. I joke that I don't have enough money to pay for what I'm getting and as soon as I see the flicker of "godammitnowIgottavoidthissaleandgetamanager" in their eyes, I whip out my debit card and slide it through the machine. Then everyone laughs and holiday hilarity is enjoyed by all. And these people remember me. They remember the kooky lady who tipped 30% last time. They remember holiday hilarity and ring me up with a smile.

So maybe that's the tactic I should take when I go call the 401K people. I'll tell them I want to cash it all out because I'm moving to Aruba to raise llamas. Then, when it's time to pay out, I'll tell them I'm kidding and just want to roll it over into a IRA. Think that will make it any easier to do? Maybe. But first, I gotta get the human on the phone before I decide to fuck with them. And that is them actually fucking with me. It's a cyclical mind-fuck, these automated call centers. And the machines are winning.

Can't I please just have a human?

Tuesday
Nov302010

Hand Job. Consider the Width....

Seriously. You have to consider what you're about to hold onto. How big will it be? Will it be heavy? Will it be slippery? Will it make your hand sweat? Will there be thorns?

I'm talking about your bouquets, ladies. What? You thought it was something else? Huh?

More specifically, I'm talking about the stems of your bouquet. The size of your bouquet and the flowers you choose will determine the "hand job" of your bouquet. Certain flowers have really thick stems (lilies and tulips can have them, for example) while others are much thinner (mum varieties). I personally think that a bouquet you can't wrap your hand around looks ridiculous. Yes, there. I said it. RIDICULOUS. I mean seriously, folks. Are you caring a bouquet or a freakin' wide load parcel? 

Source

REALLY? What the hell is wrapped around that sucker? 

Source

Pretty, but definitely a two-handed job here. 

Source

Seriously gorgeous and way too big. Maybe if you're walking the aisle solo and don't have anyone's arm to hold onto, yes. Otherwise, no. How did she even keep this thing straight with one hand? 

Am I crazy to think that these giant 2-handed deals are ridiculous? Should your bouquet weigh enough to use for last minute, pre-ceremony bicep curls? To be honest, I never even gave it a second thought when I planned my flowers. As I'm sure you all know, flowers weren't a huge deal to me, even though I still paid $1500. I loved the way the flowers of my bouquet looked, but I didn't like the stems or the hand job part at all. Here's a quick picture of them: 

Jonathon Campbell Photography, natch. 

See how the ribbon doesn't go all the way down and how the stems are kinda poking out? That annoyed me. Why? Because I was afraid that the stems, having sat in water, and by the sheer nature of what they are, might get something on my dress. You know, some sort of flower goo or ooze. No one wants goo or ooze all over their hand job, right?

I had given my florist the left over lace from my mom's mantilla that I made my veil out of. I wanted her to wrap the stems in it so that is was tight and thick (the lace, that is) and covered all the stem parts. I wanted it to look more like this, but with the lace and my grandmother's pearl pin.

Flowers by the wonderful Hilary at Brocade Designs

There was plenty of lace left over for my florist to accomplish this, but I think she was thinking to use it sparingly as she only wrapped one thin little layer around the satin ribbon. And my grandmother's pearl pin was up way too high on the bouquet. I just didn't care for the hand job construction - that's all. And the lace didn't even really stay on all that well. It's a good thing I didn't really care about it. However, since hindsight is always 20/20, I'm going to share what I learned. Make sure you talk about what you want your hand job to look like with your florist. Think about the width and girth of your hand job, particularly if you have small hands. If you care about this, talk to your florist and be specific.

Your bouquet will be in your hands all of 10 minutes during the ceremony. You'll have it for pictures, of course, but as soon as you get to the reception, it will be totally out of sight and out of mind somewhere on your table. This is not a terribly big deal, unless flowers is your thing

So have you given any thought to your hand job? Your FLORAL hand job, that is? If you've already tossed that bouquet, what were your thoughts? Did you talk it over with your florist or were you (un)pleasantly surprised? Do tell. 

 

Monday
Aug232010

Things to Come...

To avoid becoming a newlywed cliché, I’ve decided to hit the gym a little harder than I have been as of late.  I used to go in the mornings all the time, but when The Candyman moved in with me, I started going in the evenings because we like being lazy together in the a.m. It’s just nice to snuggle up and hit snooze a bazillion times and have coffee with my guy. However, I’ve been lazy in the evenings too – just so tired and stressed from the day that I can barely drag myself home to make dinner, much less work out!

So I’ve decided that I need to start going back in the mornings. Not every morning, but I have got to get back into some sort of routine. My life may turn upside-down when we move to North Carolina.

There’s a woman I used to see there most mornings. Her name is Beth and I totally blame her for anything and everything related to this blog. It’s true. I remember getting ready with her in the locker room when she was planning her wedding. I asked very few questions because, well – I didn’t care. Not that I didn‘t think her getting married was fabulous or that I wasn’t happy for her, I just didn’t care about weddings. Remember, this current obsession is relatively new.

So about a year after her wedding, The Candyman and I got engaged and I was lost. So lost. I was freaking out, struggling and depending on The Martha and The Knot. Not good. I was starting to look at photographers and again, was freaking out. I ran into Beth one evening at the YMCA, a rarity for her. I basically accosted her and demanded to know everything she could tell me about her wedding and who she used – all while she’s puffing her way through a workout on the elliptical. Poor girl was just trying to get her workout on and she ends up with a crazy bride all neurotic in her face.

She tells me who some of her vendors were and she mentions that she was featured on Ashley’s Bride Guide. And I’m all, “What’s that?” And she’s all, “You haven’t heard of ABG? What about Snippet and Ink? What about Style Me Pretty? You need to get on-line!” And I’m thinking to myself, “What the hell is this lady talking about, that’s ALL I’m doing these days, is trying to find stuff on-line!” I was just looking in ALL the wrong places.

It can happen when you’re an idiot bride like I was.

If you need someone to blame for all this, you can blame Beth.

So I see Beth and totally accuse her for my blogging craziness and I find out SHE’S got a blog too! And really, who doesn’t these days, right? It’s a foodie blog, so go check out Eat. Drink. Smile. And update yourself on the local eateries as well as Beth’s travel foodie love.

So now that we know who to blame (because it certainly can’t be me), I figured I’d make today’s post as a more personal update. There are several uber-cool things coming up this week (sneak peak below) but I keep getting questions about things to come and I’m getting tired of explaining it over and over again so I’ll just share the whole shebang here:

  • Most of you know that the day-job will be kaput at the end of October. That is still the case.
  • We have sold our house and will be closing on September 3rd.
  • The Candyman will be going to Charlotte, North Carolina, to start a law firm with a few other lawyers. He’ll be leaving as soon as we finish loading up the trailer with all our stuff.
  • I’ll be staying in Nashville, living with a friend until the end of October and then I’ll join The Candyman in Charlotte.
  • All our stuff will be in storage until we find a place to live!
  • Packing sucks.
  • I will be looking for employment in the Charlotte area (Anyone need an excellent home décor product development manager? I just happen to know someone…..).
  • The blog will continue. It might even take the lead for a while as a response to the question, “So, what do you do for a living?”
  • TruLu Couture will continue, only better. Promise. More time = better stuff.
  • I’ll continue to share the Nashville love. I’ll just extend that love to Charlotte folks too. You know they want some.
  • Yes, it’s all very scary. I’m terrified. The Candyman is terrified. But we’re also giddy with excitement.
  • The way that karma and fate have been working in what seems to be our favor, it’s kinda hard NOT to take the reins and create the life we want versus letting life happen to us.
  • Did I mention that packing sucks?  No, really. Like it totally blows.

So that’s the gist of all that’s happening with The Thirty-Something Bride. It’s crazy, but fun. There are also some highly annoying issues that I’d like to point out:

  • I really wish that the new owner had waited to forward her mail. HEY LADY, you don’t own it YET! I make no promises as to keeping track of your mail, as well as my own.
  • You cannot forward mail FROM a PO Box TO somewhere. Did you know that? I didn’t. This makes a temporary living situation a real fucking pain in the ass regarding mail. Please don’t send me anything if you don’t freakin’ have to.
  • When in the hell did I accumulate so many “services” that require canceling?
  • Since when did CARDBOARD become so expensive? Dude, you want to charge me $4.96 for a BOX? What a fucking racket. I know what business I need to be in. The box business.
  • And when did I get all this STUFF? No, seriously. When did this happen? And why do I have such a freakish attachment to it? Do I really need to keep the running shoes I ran my first marathon in? YES! YES, I DO! And the tin foil blanket thingy they give you afterwards? And the newspaper that lists where I placed? And the empty champagne bottle I chugged with my parents and cousin afterwards? YES! YES, I DO! Now, take every significant life experience and multiply that by stuff and you have a shitload of stuff.
  • HEY NEIGHBORS! Yeah, you. You know, you total douche bags who have been parking in front of our house for like, I don’t know, 2 or 3 years now? Yes, YOU. You, who refused to park in your own driveway? Next weekend you’d better move your damn car or we’ll have the truck driver just go all Monster Truck on your POS Honda with your handicap sticker. And it’s totally clear that you are not, in fact, handicapped. Unless you are retarded, and this could very well be the case.
  • And since when does bending over to put things in a box tun me into an an old effin' lady? Seriously. I'm not even lifting anything. That job belongs to The Candyman. However, I've got a pinched sciatica that hurts like a bitch. God, I hate packing. Have I mentioned that yet?

Whew, OK. Now that’s out of my system, here’s a little taste of things to come this week:

 

 This is a picture (by Jonathon Campbell, natch) of a painting of thistle. It will all makes sense tomorrow, I promise. And you'll need to participate in this one. So make sure you check things out on Tuesday. There are all sorts of people involved and it's for an amazing cause and oh, I just can't WAIT to post! Oh, this has something to do with that field trip I took. Remember?

And later in the week....

Get ready to have your ass kicked by the most AH-mazing Unfake Wedding I think I've ever come across. For reals.

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