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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 Important Love Stuff (47)


What We Have Here is a Marriage.

You know, The Candyman and I have been through some shit ever since we got engaged. We came home from a blissful 2008 newly Engaged/Christmas/New Year's vacation to find out The Candyman's not-for-profit organization had lost it's grant and was going toes-up. For the first six months of our engagement, The Candyman was unemployed AND studying for the Tennessee Bar Exam. And we were planning and saving for a wedding! Happily, I was employed.

About the time The Candyman found a new job, my company merged with a sister company and this happened. We managed. We continued on. We married and the wedding was more than I ever imagined it could be. Things have been good. Blissful. We'd saved enough money to buy a new house, so we put ours on the market. We weren't in any rush.  We're smart. We've saved. We weren't planning to blow our savings wad on a fancy house. We just wanted an extra bedroom and planned to only use part of our savings for a slightly larger, modest house. Our salaries could definitely afford it.

Then this happened. And then this happened. We've been in a  bit of a tailspin ever since. We had our house inspection yesterday and it went really well. We are well on our way to changing the "Under Contract" sign in front of our house to "Sold!" Just one more step - the appraisal. Once we jump that hurdle, we'll be closing on September 3rd. Keeping the fingers and toes crossed that all goes as smoothly as it has so far.

And then we will have no place to live. Literally. And soon after that, I will have no job. What's a Candyman and a Thirty-Something Bride to do? No clue.

But this is where things get kinda weird. Weird in a good way, but freakish all the same. The Candyman has some good friends/law school buddies who have been requesting his presence in another city. He's been politely refusing since we, uh live here, not there. These same friends now know my impending employment doom and have requested his presence again. The opportunity for The Candyman is a big one.

So, believers in fate, can you deny this cosmic chain of events:

1. Our house is under contract for 97% of the asking price after only 74 days when there are over 50 properties for sale in my neighborhood, 20% of them in foreclosure.

2. Pending unemployment doom allows for freedom of movement and decision making.

3. Our nest egg is untouched.

4. A friend of mine who lives in this other city is friends with the HR director of a job I just applied for in that city. I had no idea.

5. Two other past employees from my current company recommended me to the same man (unknowingly) as a candidate for an open position. That man is considering the position as a virtual one, meaning I can work from home from anywhere in the country.

6. Two weeks ago The Candyman's boss was worried that their company might not make it through another winter.

7. This other city is smack-dab in the middle between The Candyman's family and my family.

What the hell is the Universe up to? Is it pointing us in a direction and giving us a slight shove? Is there a wrong decision to make? Stay and let life direct us or go and take life by the nads?

I know The Candyman wants a shot at a giant career and this is his opportunity. He's been refusing it before now because of me. I had the big-money career and he's been sort of floating around and getting by, but not doing what he really wants to do. He stayed in Tennessee when he wanted to go back to North Carolina for me. He stayed and took another bar exam for me. He struggled through unemployment here for me.  He's in a so-so job for me.

I've been thinking about my mom a lot this last week. She was a Marine Fighter Pilot's wife. We never lived any place longer than 3 years. I can't tell you how many times my Dad would take off (literally) to some next place on the globe, leaving my mom to pack up house and home and tote us kids to that next place. Even now, it feels like I spent years in the back of that station wagon, driving to that next place. I remember pit stops at Gaga's house and another at Popey and Nanya's house. Little did I realize then that it was mostly because we had no place to go: base housing wasn't available, or our stuff was still in transit, or we hadn't found a house yet. We were killing time. I kind of feel that way now. Once we close on our house (still assuming all goes well, knocking on wood right now), we won't have a place to go. We'll be killing time until my job finishes up in October.

What I do know is that it might be time for me to do some sacrificing. It's my turn to figure out the unemployment game. It might be my turn to live someplace that is unfamiliar. What I do know is that it is my husband's turn to make an important career move. He's sacrificed his for the past three years for me. I need to do this. I want to do this. For him.

I think what we might have here folks, is a marriage.


Ask and You Shall Receive

I was inspired by the comments my MOH and readers left on the blog yesterday. A lot of really good points were made, ones that I think need to be shared on a grander scheme.

Yesterday’s post surrounded bridesmaid dresses, but more importantly communicating your wants, needs and desires to your maids in regards to their dresses. I think we need to take this a few steps farther. Further? I can’t ever remember which to use when.

Anyway, grammatical issues aside, let’s talk about talking, OK? As in communication. You gotta do it. It was something that I thought I was doing during my wedding planning process, but totally wasn’t. You might think that the people in your life know what you’re thinking about your wedding. They don’t. They don’t have a clue. And guess what? It’s not really a high priority on their day-to-day list of things to do in life. It just isn’t. You want it to be, but it’s not. You are going to have to embrace this and deal with it. I wish I had. It would have made things a lot easier on my poor little brain.

Much too far along into the planning process, I met Liza Hippler*, a Bridal Coach. She offered to coach me in the latter stages of being engaged. I also attended one of her Maiden to Married seminars. I so wished that I had met her immediately after getting engaged! It would have made the journey to my wedding day so much easier.

I’m going to try to share with you some of the words of wisdom Liza shared with me. One of the first tasks put to me was this:

  • Set an intention for why I’m getting married.

Sounds simple enough, right? Why are you getting married? Are you knocked up? Is it just “time?” Is it because you love your fiancé bigger than the whole sky? Whatever the reason, that’s your mantra. Keep that as the meaning behind what you are doing.  For most brides, I’m going to assume that you’re getting married because you do, in fact, love your man bigger than the whole sky and want to spend the rest of your life with him. Right? Put that intention down on paper. Like on the front of your wedding binder. Or on the bathroom mirror. Tape it to the fridge, on your car dashboard. Are you getting the point? Good. Let’s move on.

Personally, I think that most of my friends and family didn’t really know what to do with the fact that I was getting married and having a wedding. My friend Alecia was probably the most girltastic about it. Lots of SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-ing, offers to help, lending an ear, etc. She rocked. My other gal-pals were pretty hands-off. This wasn’t meant as a slight, or that they didn’t want to be involved or anything like that. They just knew that I was on top of it. And that’s not to say that they didn’t do anything or offer to help. No, that was not the case. However, most live far away and couldn’t really be hands-on so the bulk of stuff fell to me, and I was OK with that. I like being busy and in charge.

But as the planning progressed, there were several things that weren’t falling into place. They were things that made me feel out of control, a little blue and a lot frustrated. Most of those things had to do with other people. And that is where I totally fucked up. I expected people to know what I wanted. I expected my friends and family to know what to do and how to do it. My thoughts were, “Well, they know me, they should know.” That, my friends, is bullshit. And it's totally unfair to your friends and family.

You cannot expect people to know what you’re thinking. You can’t set expectations for people and not tell them. It’s just not fair. You can’t assume that people are going to do what you think they need to do. This may sound like a no-brainer, but when you’re knee deep in guest lists, menu planning and budgets – all bets are off when it comes to rational thinking. The best piece of advice Liza gave me was that I needed to start asking for what I wanted. Sounds simple, right? Oh, it was so hard.

I remember a conversation I had with my MOH when she was planning her travel out for the wedding. She was laying out plans and telling me about flights and such and I just remember thinking, “No. No. No. No. No. No. No. This is not what I want. Not at all.” And I was frustrated because I knew she had so much to juggle: work, husband, kids. I didn’t want to tell her “No. No. No. No. No. No. No. This is not what I want. Not at all.” I thought I was going to have to start researching different flights and times and how to best handle the situation. In retrospect, I think I was unintentionally plotting how to best manipulate the situation in order not to ruffle feathers or upset myself or my MOH. And in all this clutter in my head, I remembered the advice Liza gave me in a session: “You are allowed to ask for what you want.” So instead of the “No. No. No. No. No. No. No. This is not what I want. Not at all.” I was able to just say, “I want you here. I want you here on this day because of X, Y and Z. Can you do that?” And the planning and chatting stopped and she said, “Let me see what I can do.” And you know what? She did it. There was no manipulation. There was no gnashing of teeth or pulling of hair. Afterwards, I was like, “Whoa. That really works.” In Liza’s words, “Use asking for what you want as an opportunity to grow.” Really great advice.

But what if  my MOH wasn’t able to do what I wanted? What then? Liza had my back on that one too. The other ah-ha question she asked me:

  • Can I let go of what I think or know I want?

Could I? Would I harbor resentment because of it? Would I want to waste my precious time being engaged to The Candyman pissed off at the people I love? The direction then was to go back and read my intention and then answer the question. The answer was a resounding NO.

Once I got asking for what I wanted down, lots and lots of things became much easier to do. I remember being irritated with my mom over stuff she didn’t know about the wedding. I mean, I had blogged about it for crissake, why didn’t she know? Because she wasn’t reading my blog. Um, WHAT? So in a bit of a hissy fit one morning I barked into my cell phone, “You know what, Mom? All I need for you to do right now is listen to me when I call to bitch and read my damn blog.” And she did. And she even left comments. That made me happy.

The last Big Picture advice that I carried with me in the latter part of planning was to indulge in everything bridal. Because I was a Thirty-Something Bride, I didn’t feel like I could be that giddy, “I’M GETTING MARRIED!” kinda girl. I never had been, why start now? I had always been that cool, slightly indie-chick who made fun of girls with acrylic nails and fake tans. But I wanted to be that girl (not the acrylic nail/fake tan girl, but the giddy girl). I wanted to be all, “SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, I’m getting MARRIED!” But I don’t think people expected that from me. My own assumption crippled me. I can’t blame anyone else. It was me who did it to me. People don’t magically know how you feel. You have to open your mouth and say stuff. And then you have to be ready to not get what you want. But if you don’t ask for it, you can’t really blame anyone but yourself if you don’t get it.

So take some time and make a list of things you want or need from others in your wedding planning process. Do you want your MOH by your side every moment? Let her know. Don’t direct her, but just share what you want and expect. It’s only fair. Need alone time prior to walking down the aisle? Make sure your planner (or whomever) knows to clear the way a few minutes before you do your aisle gig. Do you want your maids to have their dresses in hand, ready to go the month before the wedding? Make sure they know. Just make a list of things that you know you want and communicate it. It sounds easy, but it can be really hard. But please trust me when I tell you that it is totally worth the effort you put into this task. It will keep you sane. I promise.

*Liza has recently given birth to her first baby girl, Sailor. She writes a Mommy Blog called Blahggy and it's really good. She's currently recapping labor. I am so not wanting kids now.


Things of Love

There are few things I love as much as I do The Candyman. If I were to really think about it, there probably isn't anything I love as much as The Candyman. Like right now, I'm thinking "What about Louboutin? Do you love shoes as much as The Candyman?" And while the answer is definitely no, I think separating obsessions with love might be the proper dialogue. Like, I really really love roasting marshmallows. I like when they catch on fire because I like the burned, crispy taste on the outside. Same goes for grilled cheese sammies. However, what good are pretty shoes and burned marshmallows without The Candyman to share them with? It would be no good, my friends, no good at all.

So today is The Candyman's birthday. As a mini-tribute to the man I love, I'll share with you some of the things he loves.

Vietnamese Pho Soup


Kate Winslet


Great Danes


Trailer Park Boys


Howlin' Wolf




The Dobro


Being in the water - any water - for long periods of time.


Family (Jonathon Campbell Photography, natch!)

Happy Birthday, Sweetie-Pie!


Choose Your Legacy

This evening, I write this post with a bit of a heavy heart. I'm going to try to get where I need to go in a round about way, so I request patience until I get there. I write like I talk and as I'm sure The Candyman can confirm, my way from point A to B tends to be a meandering route at times.

Tabbs, I'm sorry I didn't answer your call, I was on the phone with my friend Barb from LA and you'll understand why I didn't answer or feel much like talking later. Barb and I go way back and she is a dear, dear friend. When I lived in LA, I was far from my east coast family, worked retail and could never get home for the holidays. I missed many Christmases, Thanksgivings and Easters since all  those holidays are surrounded by massive shopping days and well, when you work retail management, you work. Period.

I don't really remember how it happened exactly. How Barb and I became friends, that is. I don't think she liked me much (we were co-workers) and I never paid much attention to her. Something happened to change the tides though and suddenly, we were friends. Boom. Just like that. She invited me to her house one holiday, knowing I'd be flying solo. In all honesty, I was dreading it. I'd played that role before - the token Misfit Toy invited to a family affair. Gawd, that sucks. Families get drunk and fight at the holidays. Oh, yes they do. I have born witness to MANY such instances. But you know what? I think I'd rather watch a round of family feud  than eat solo on Thanksgiving. But Barb's family wasn't like that. Or maybe they were and I just felt so at home I never noticed. It doesn't matter, they became my second family. My family away from family. I fought with Barb's sister just as Barb did. Her mom Linda taught me how to make a kick-ass Sherry Cake and that you should DEFINITELY drink while you cook. Her dad Harold taught me a little about gardening. Her sister Nancy taught me a LOT about gardening. It was just a great family to be around, faults and all. You might remember me telling you a little about Barb here. She was the person behind my something borrowed.

This is us on my wedding day. She'd just given me her Dad's ancestor's wedding band to tie into my bouquet!


A few years ago, Barb's mom died of cancer. I found out the day before I was leaving to go on an overseas trip and there was no way I could go to the funeral. It totally sucked. Today, Barb called me and told me Harold is super-sick with the cancer. It's way advanced and in several locations. I want to be strong for Barb, but my heart is just breaking. I so wish I could be there for my friend to give her the hug she needs and the support she deserves. Barb hasn't had it too easy herself. She was injured at work almost a decade ago and she's had multiple surgeries, including a spinal surgery to try to rectify the situation, all to no true avail. She's had a parade of lawyers and simply horrid people offering her paltry sums of money to make her go away. I don't know, how much is ten years of your life worth to you? $40K? Yeah. Me either. The fact that she was able to get to my wedding was a miracle in and of itself. I honestly can't imagine getting married without her - as selfish as that may sound. She is my touchstone and just a damn fine person all around. She's the person I can scream GOD DAMMIT to and in the very next breath discuss theology, religion, loving God and how we pray. There is no judgement, no second-guessing, no hidden agendas - only friendship tried and true.  

Since Barb has been in and out of hospitals and in various stages of health, she's leaned on her Dad a lot. Harold has been taking care of her and today, she was riddled with guilt. She feels like she should have noticed he was sick. She should have tried harder to get him to go to the doctor for regular check-ups. She should have been taking care of HIM, not the other way around. I'm smiling through my tears as I write this, because it's just so funny. Aren't people funny? A daughter is injured, a father cares for her. Or course! A father is ill, a daughter nurses him in his time of need. Of course! But the guilt we place on ourselves when the curve balls come is so interesting. I did my best to ease her of her unnecessary guilt. She said that her heart and her head weren't exactly communicating clearly with each other. I'm not sure mine are speaking the same language right now either so I think I get it.

I consider myself lucky that I have both parents still healthy and living and that I haven't ever lost anyone in my immediate circle. My posse remains in tact and I'm eternally grateful to The Big Guy for keeping it so. The Candyman hasn't been as lucky in his life. He's a regular when it comes to losing loved ones. The man knows how to professionally grieve. I don't. I'm terrified of what will happen when I lose someone on my team. I have a feeling I'm going to lose my fucking mind, if I'm being completely honest. Losing Barb's mom hit close to home, but I still think I'm in denial about it. When Barb mentions her mom in the past tense, I have to remind myself she's gone. In my mind's eye I see her forever with a full smile on her face, elbow deep in a mixing bowl of food, calling out directions to those helping in the kitchen. I try not to think about the thin woman in the rented hospital bed who decided to spend her last days at home with her family close by. I don't let myself remember that. I just can't.

So in order to NOT think about it, I took my dreaded O Magazine and headed to the tub. I was reading this month's damn Suze Orman article. She gets on my nerves fairly consistently, but like a midget on a unicycle, I just can't not look. The article is 10 Priceless Strategies for the Next Decade. And as an aside, is S-U-Z-E pronounced SOOZE or SUSIE? I hate when people eff with name spelling like that. I actually knew a Gynipher. It's JENNIFER, people! That stupid-ass spelling does NOT make your name unique, it makes it stupid-ass. I'm just sayin'. So anyway, I get to SOOZE's last financial tip and it's this:

Choose your legacy. This is all about the deathbed test. Will loved ones describe you in terms of what you bought for yourself, or will they talk about who you were and how fiercely you loved? Make that question your guidepost, and I will 100 percent guarantee that life will be richer than you can imagine.

And you know what I thought? "I need to blog about this." Honest to God, I did. Why? Because it all just came full circle: what I write in this blog nearly every day, how I struggle with myself sometimes and how I remember Barb's mom in the most wonderful of ways. Their home was not a rich home in terms of things, but it certainly was rich in so  many other ways: always welcoming, always full of friends and family, always a place to take your sick, wounded or stray animals for care and love.  And yes, I'm relating this to planning a wedding. To the brides who read this who are stressing over little things like the bows on the bouquets and the font on the place cards. Choose your legacy. The more meaningful the union, the more you will be remembered for it. I'm not saying you shouldn't care about your fonts (I just loves me some Sloop ScriptOne!) , just try not to obsess.  For in reality, your wedding is one day. And that guy in the tux? He might one day get sick or you might, or his brother might or something could happen and the font will be a forgotten thing.  But what you will have is the memory of the love you defined and committed to on that one day. 

And in the meantime, if you pray, please add my dear friend Harold and his family into them. And if you're not the praying kind, then send out some positive vibes of health and happiness and love into the universe. Those vibes are bound to land somewhere and if it's even CLOSE to my California friends, I'd be one happy chick.  

Choose your legacy. Remember the love.

Post Script: I slept on this post before I decided to go live with it. I wasn't sure if I wanted to post it at all. As other bloggers might attest to, sometimes you need to "write it to get through it." I am thankful every day for the the ability to do that! This is indeed a wedding blog that shows pretty pictures and gives advice and is often times totally snarky. But this is also MY blog and sometimes the rants and the tears and the snarkiness and the funny happens. It's all part of life and I think sharing is an OK thing to do. Others may disagree (including my husband) and that's OK.  But in some small way, I hope that the way I write through my thought processes is beneficial to others. At the very least, it's beneficial for me! It's why I started blogging in first damn place. :)


Cupcakes & Clash of the Titans

All day yesterday I had this DIY project mulling around in my head and it's STILL mulling around in my head, but it got me to thinking about cupcakes. Yes, cupcakes. So last night after The Candyman and I had eaten dinner and watched Bones, I decided to make some cupcakes. From scratch. And frosting. From scratch. At like 8pm. Weird, right? But I totally wanted to make some cupcakes! More specifically, I think I wanted to use my bad-ass KitchenAid stand mixer that I registered for, didn't get as a wedding gift, but got for Christmas from my folks. SWEET! If you enjoy cooking at all, I highly recommend this sucker.

I pulled out the recipes I used when I thought I might bake my own wedding cake. Remember that? You can read about it here. And here. Thankfully, it only took me two tries to realize I am not a fancy cake baker.

So anyway, I decide to make a half batch since I only have the ability to bake 12 cupcakes at a time. I'm mixing away, and I'm realizing that something doesn't smell right. It doesn't smell bad, but it doesn't smell real good either. I taste the batter. Hm. What? I taste it again. What the eff? Something is just not right in a nasty, but not rancid sort of way. I check my  fresh ingredients and they are OK. I check the vanilla and almond extracts. Wait, where's the almond extract bottle? Oh, I used it up and it's in the trash. I go and grab the bottle sitting on top of the trash and there it is. Anise extract. Not familiar with anise? It's basically freakin' BLACK LICORICE. I HATE BLACK LICORICE. So image if you can the lovely taste and aroma of butter, vanilla and Sambuca. Um, vomit. And the only reason the damn stuff is even in the house is because The Candyman uses it when he makes Pho soup. It's all his fault, right? Right.

So I clean up the nasty licorice batter and start over. Why? Because I want some goddamn cupcakes. I get it right this time and bake up some lovely treats. Once they've cooled, I go to frost them with the kick-ass butter cream I've made (sans anise, thank you very much) and I can't frost them. They are so light and fluffy that they just fell apart. I think the I let the KitchenAid have it's way with the batter a little too long. So in order to get the frosting on them, I basically have to take a big giant spoonful of frosting and just plop it on top and push down on the frosting to make it stick. They are the world ugliest cupcakes. They are the white trash of all cupcakes. Here, look:

These are cut in half for sharing with office mates, but still. These are effin' ugly. They do taste scrumdili-iscious though!

So I bet y'all are like, "What's up with the Clash of the Titans blog title, Louise?" I know I would be. So, they remade Clash of the Titans. The trailer is bad-ass. The Candyman has been walking around the house going, "Release the Kraken!" for the last couple of days. Every time the trailer comes on he's all, "Did you see that freakin' scorpion, honey? Did you see the Kraken? RELEASE THE KRAKEN!"

I totally want to see this movie, but it has nothing to do with scorpions or releasing the Kraken. I LOVE Clash of the Titans. The original, starring the oh-so dreamy Harry Hamlin, was the first movie I ever went to with a boy. Actually, it was a big ol' group of girls with a big ol' group of boys. It just so happened that all the girls in the group were "going with" a boy in the group of boys. Sneaky, right? I was "going with" Bryce Tani. He was so cute. So shy. And sooooo cute. We sat next to each other in the movie and he held my hand. It was the first time I had held hands with a boy and it was sooooo dreamy. Almost as dreamy as Harry Hamlin from Clash of the Titans

About the time the Kraken was released, Bryce had nerved himself up to put his arm around me. I was in giddy-girl heaven. I looked down at all my other friends and they too were nestled in the crooks of their boyfriends arms screeching appropriately at the scorpions and Medusa and yes, the Kraken. So when The Candyman asked me if I wanted to go see a total dick-flick with him, you know what my answer was? "You betcha, babe." I have every intention of looking dreamily into his eyes as I get that giddy-girl feeling when he reaches over to hold my hand. I will screech appropriately at all the scary parts (no fakin', I get scared at movies!) and nestle into the crook of his arm when they release the Kraken. I can't wait.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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