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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 Life (82)

Monday
Oct292012

107 CARATS

Let’s catch up, OK?

I’m back from China.

And I even have a teeny bit of wedding stuff. Check it…

I went out to dinner one night in Hong Kong and I walked through the wedding district and found a gown that only the very cruelest of brides would make their ladies wear. But then again, everything is fair game in The Orient.


Sequined patchwork chiffon anyone?

Stone encrusted…something. Not even sure what to call this except “wrong.”


Bowtiful Bridal Barbie

Later that night we visited OZONE, the highest bar in the world. It’s located on the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong. Talk about fancy-pants. Holy-mother-effing rich bitches, people! My miniscule champagne cocktail cost HK$298, the equivalent of about US$42. It’s all about the views, apparently.

OH! And right outside the Most Elitist Bar on Earth? The Most Giantist Diamond on Earth. Check THIS out:

The_Thirty-Something_Bride_YellowDiamond

That’s right. You are reading that correctly. Pick your jaws up off your keyboards.

So, before I left to go overseas for two weeks, I thought I’d FINALLY get one of those expensive shellac style manicures to last me the duration. Be warned ladies, they don’t always “take.” Mine lasted less than 24 hours.

I’m still contemplating going back to the shithole that performed this monstrosity and demanding my money back. Doubtful it will do any good, even with pictures as proof, but whatever.

So when I got to Hong Kong, I was a hot mess - physically. I had God-awful cramps, my lower back was thrashed from the 28 hours it took me to get there. I also had a wicked pinched nerve starting from my lower right shoulder, traveling up under my right ear. I was considering a massage, but my boss said, “No! Let’s go get fire cupped!”

Not familiar with fire cupping? Here’s a great description of the process. Basically, it’s a Chinese homeopathic treatment, similar in style to acupuncture. I’d always wanted to try it, so figured, “Why the hell not!” I could barely walk to the place, I was in such pain. I laid down on the table and some little Chinese lady started working my back like nobody’s business. She massaged my aching muscles with her teeny tiny little fingers, and I swear she she could pin-point each little aching nerve. After about 25 minutes, I heard another lady come in with a bucket full of glass. I knew it was The Cupping Lady. I could hear her lighting the alcohol soaked cotton and the “whoosh” of the ignition into the glass cup. She started with just one, creating a suction on my back and running it along my shoulders, and down the sides of my spine. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. It hurt, but felt incredibly good at the same time. A painful release, perhaps? My boss had just finished up her treatment and walked in to see how I was doing. She snapped a few photos for me.

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Yes, that’s my skin bubbled up in there. The heat in the cups sucks the the skin and blood up into the cups. The suction is insane. I could seriously feel some sort of pull all the way inside my chest. It was amazeballs. And a little scary.

After about 15 or 20 minutes, they come and slide a finger around the edge of each cup and magically, it just pops off! Cray-zee. Much like a long-ass-deep-tissue massage, I was totally woozy afterwards. They gave us hot water to drink and told us to drink lots of water that night. I ambled back to the hotel, somewhat disoriented in my new-found physical bliss. I felt amazing. The pinch in my shoulder? Gone. Cramps? What cramps? My lower back was a non-issue. The aftermath was a little gruesome though.

Bruises. Big, nasty, deep bruises. The cupping lady indicated to me that the worse the bruise, the more “toxins” in that area. Note that GIANT bruise on my right shoulder where I had my pinched nerve. Makes sense, right? Even if it was all bullshit, I wasn’t in any pain and that was fine by me.

I celebrated soon after with one of my favorite Chinese dishes, Chairman Mao’s Pork. Super yum and of course, totally low-cal! Smile

The_Thirty-Something_Bride_ChairmanMaoPork

Other than those mini-outings, I had very little time for shenanigans. The new company I work for has shorter trips, but no days off while I’m there. Yes, a bit of a bummer, but I get home quicker and after being home (and by “home” I mean “unemployed”) with The Candyman for such a long stretch? Oh, I missed him horribly on this trip!

So there’s a quick update for you. The house is still work in progress. There is one box left to be unpacked and it’s in the studio, which is a disaster area. It’s the project for next weekend, for sure. I did buy some super-cute beaded collars from a fabric shop in mainland China. I’ll write about those when I can uncover them from the pile o’ lace that is my studio.

Have you missed me? Even a little bit?

Just lie and tell me you did.

Sunday
Aug192012

One Day? We’ll Move In.

That’s what we keep telling each other.

'”Honey, one of these days, we’ll actually move into this house.”

It’s all house all the time. It’s been the daily back and forth from old house to work to new house to old house. Gathering mail, managing the paint guy, the floor guys, the electrician/handyman (who, by the way is hot in a very dirty, Brett Michaels sort of way), the cleaning crew (sanding and\ entire house’s hardwood floors is EXTREMELY dirty work – sawdust sticks to EVERYTHING) and still trying to keep it all together at work, with family, my marriage.

Last week I was SO LUCKY to have my folks come up to help me and The Candyman with stuff we don’t know shit about.

Like:

  • How to remove and replace a mailbox.
  • How to square up a gate and make it close like it should instead of scraping along the cement on a ghetto-style wheelie thing.
  • Weed. Like the wind. My mother is a master weeder.
  • Solve multiple plumbing issues.
  • How to reconnect your gas stove when the granite installers don’t.
  • How awesome your shit can look if you own a power washer.
  • What plants are what and when to cut them back.
  • Rewire some scary wires in the bathroom.
  • How to drill through bathroom tile.
  • Why 17 bags of pine bark is better than the expensive pine straw…for now.

The Candyman and I learned a lot from the folks. We learned that we have very few tools. We learned that my dad has them ALL. ALL THE TOOLS!

So here’s what been done so far:

  1. Wallpaper was stripped in two bathrooms and dining room.
  2. Entire house was painted – trim, closets, doors, everything.
  3. Carpet pulled up in five rooms.
  4. All hardwoods refinished.
  5. 5 layers of linoleum and floor boards – ripped out to the studs in the kitchen, hallway and laundry room and replaced with hardwoods and tile.
  6. Granite in the bathrooms and the kitchen.
  7. New fixtures in the kitchen.
  8. New registers in the WHOLE HOUSE. Registers are the little grate thingies with the louvers that spew out the air, or suck it all in – as is the case in our old house. I think there are 36 of them.
  9. Replaced all the outlet and switch covers.
  10. Scrubbed, primed and painted the laundry cupboards.
  11. Removed and replaced a toilet and it’s seat.
  12. Primed and painted all kitchen cabinet trim and the drawer interiors.
  13. Lined half the kitchen cabinets.
  14. Rented a shop vac and sucked up my weight in sawdust.
  15. The Candyman dug up about 90% of the Spider Flowers (those little fuckers smell like skunk).
  16. Removed the sucky ass bullshit pond.
  17. Trimmed about 500 bushes. OK, maybe 20.

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It’s getting there! Looks SO MUCH BETTER with hardwood in the kitchen. I’m excited to be photo journaling the process, albeit with my iPhone.

I’ve got Pilo the Painter combing back on Tuesday to finish painting the floor boards and shoe molding (refinishing hardwoods tears up the baseboards). Once he’s done? The moving in can being! We’ve moved a few things already – TruLu Couture stuff mostly. And it looks like we’re going to have to pack and move ourselves. Gah. We got a moving quote and it was so fucking expensive. I knew we’d have to do this part ourselves, but oh well. That’s why there’s a truck in the family. To move our shit for cheap.

We will eventually hire some dudes to do the heavy lifting. Guess I’ll be figuring that out next week. And rugs. I need some rugs for the  lovely hardwoods.

And we’ll need to figure out what to do with our too-big pub table. And that fourth bedroom. And. And. And.

Oh and guess what? I’m going back to China soon! It’s been too long since I’ve had some serious char siu bao.

Weddings? WHAT?

Though I have been thinking about them lately. Go figure.

Wednesday
Jun132012

Life via Hipstamatic.

I know. IknowIknowIknowIknowIknowIknowIKNOW!

I’m sorry. I suck.

I do.

But life gets in the way. And life is real, just as I hope this blog has always been. Me likes to keep it real.

So here’s what’s been going on. I’ll try to keep it brief by using bullet points. Otherwise, we’ll be here all day.

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And so it begins…..

  • New job. Whoa. Hm. I’ll try to explain. Joined at a VERY busy time for the department and jumped in, swimming. Then two weeks later, my boss is no longer with the organization. And then it was just me, drowning. But I’m treading water now, catching my breath. Things are getting there.
  • Ten of the 12 weeks I’ve been working like a crazy person? The Candyman and I have either been out of town, or had someone staying in our house.
  • My dad turned SEVENTY!
  • The Candyman turned THIRTY-EIGHT!
  • TruLu Couture is in a retail location, Lineage Bridal.

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Fun shoes at the Lineage Bridal grand opening.

  • We’re house hunting. This activity is inserted into random chunks of time.
  • We finally launched Charlotte’s CRAVE book, of which I was the city partner for several months.
  • I’ve reached maximum density and have decided it’s time to move my ass versus sit on it.

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Late night cupcakes for the new septuagenarian and father to T30SB.

The new day gig took me on a trip to L.A. last week (hence the radio silence) and while my days were packed with people trying to sell me things, I had the opportunity to take part in a few of my favorite things about Los Angeles:

Lindbrook Drive & Westwood Boulevard, Westwood Village, California

  • Avocados.
  • Morning runs to the beach.
  • Dinner in Westwood with an old friend.

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Some place tapas, Santa Monica, California.

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Santa Monica Pier, California

  • Beach air.
  • The San Fernando Valley.

Early morning, El Segundo, California.

Mingled somewhere in there was a day spent tossing my cookies (no, not preggers) and having a giant ass anxiety attack.

What?

You think I got off, scot-free? Unscathed from life altering events? Fuck no, dudettes. I crumpled, in true form. It was so typical of me and I was so unimpressed with my behavior. I took on too much, again. I let shit get to me again. I took it out on The Candyman again.

They say learning is a process. They also say that repeating a certain behavior over and over and expecting a different result is a form of insanity. Sometimes I get the two confused. They’re hard to tell apart.

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Home, sweet home. Dawn, the Charlotte Airport. Red-eye flights blow.

I feel the need for a spa day something awful! Who wants to join me?

Tuesday
May292012

Failure to Complete

So I haven’t posted a whole lot about weddings these days. It’s mostly because my mind has been more than occupied with my marriage these days than anything else.

Not that there’s anything wrong. Don’t freak y’all. Me and The Candyman are solid. However, I have been learning a lot of interesting things about both myself and my husband in the last couple of months.

We knew that me starting a new job would be a transition. I would no longer be at home cleaning, cooking or running the errands that would make our weekends lovely and generally stress-free weekends. We knew that added income would be an enormous weight off of our shoulders. We knew that The Candyman would have to pick up some additional ‘chores’ to help out. I knew that I’d have to let some of my neurotic cleaning go.

But knowing shit doesn’t mean you get it right.

Last week I came totally undone.

Here’s what happened:

The Candyman and I had a fight. We hadn’t blown up at each other in a while. We do that sometimes; we have a big, fat blow up that reminds us we need to pay the hell attention to each other. We haven’t been doing a whole lot of that though. But there’s a reason! A reason!

Since the weekend before I started to the new full-time gig, we have either been out of town or have had people staying with us EVRY SINGLE WEEK, except for two. So since March 3rd, we’ve been seriously on the go. The two weekends we spent at home were busy catching up with everything – cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping. How do people with kids even function? I have no idea.

So, we’ve been strung out, busy as shit and not eating right. I’m trying to work my 10-12 hour days, keep the house clean and filled with food. Through my company, I was able to get a decent gym membership and I’m adding workouts back into my schedule (the flab issuer is a whole other blog post).

So naturally, I wasn’t feeling 100%. I was run down; exhausted. I had promised myself I wouldn’t let any of this happen. I promised myself I wouldn’t bring the job home. I promised myself I wouldn’t give too much of my self away.

And here I am, doing all the things I said I wouldn’t. Goddammit.

So this where the meltdown comes in. All this crap has been going on and I’m pretending I’m in total control. So The Candyman and I argue and afterwards, I didn’t feel so hot. I go to work, I’m feeling piss-poor and I can’t tell if it’s because I’m upset or if something is physically wrong with me. The days goes on and I’m literally chugging water to try keep the contents of my stomach inside my body. I sit through two 2-hour vendor meetings and I can barely function, praying I don’t puke all over the conference table.

A co-worker tells me I don’t look so hot. Shortly thereafter I’m puking my brains out in the bathroom, barely closing the door behind me before I’m wretching into the toilet. OF COURSE someone walks in and is all “Are you alright?” DUDE. So not alright. At this point, I go home.  I get into my car, thankful for my now-empty stomach and as soon as I get out of the parking lot, I start sobbing.

I didn’t plan to cry, but cry I do. The big, ugly, sobbing, nose-running kind of crying. I cry all the way home, gulping huge breaths as I sob over my steering wheel, hoping my tear-blurred vision doesn’t get me killed on the freeway. I get home and continue to sob. I’m starting to scare myself a little because I can’t calm the fuck down. My head is blazing hot and I’m feeling like I’m going to barf again. I dig into the medicine cabinet and find ONE Xanax left over from wedding planning and suck it down like nobody’s business. I spend the rest of the night comatose. The next day, I work from home, afraid of re-creating the public potty scene from the day before. By the time The Candyman gets home, we’ve both realized how we’ve messed up. We both know what we have to let go of, but it’s SO HARD.

I want to be phenomenal in all I do. Not just average. The reality is I can’t do it all. I’ve said that before and yet I still keep trying to be better-than-average. But how can you be better than average when I I’m behind on everything.

I didn’t blog last week because I was going to port over the blog to another host and it just didn’t happen. I tried and failed.  I had to actually finish my taxes that still need to be completed (yes, we have an extension). I had to work on a wedding gown for a friend. I had to figure out my 401K shit. Please note the word “had.” What about the word “want?” I WANT to sew for myself. I want to plan something special for The Candyman’s upcoming birthday. I actually want to go to the dentist. I need a cleaning something awful. These don’t seem like unmangable things, right?

So suddenly as I write this post, I’m thinking of change. All kinds of change. Clearly, changes with this blog because I’m writing more and more about life and less and less about wedding crap – which I still love. Don’t think I’m not still drooling over letterpress and Lhuillier. Don’t EVEN think that. But how helpful am I being to brides? I’m not so sure. I feel like the next chapter is coming that it might be The Forty-Something Wife. But God, how fucking boring would that be?

Monday
May142012

Smoochable Rooms

So the last time The Candyman and I were looking at houses, this happened. I love that post, mostly because of the fact that is one of the VERY few times he’s commented on my blog (though he reads it almost every day).  He doesn’t say much, but when he does, it’s GOOD! Smile 

So we've fallen in love with a house. It was the first house we looked at. And we haven’t looked at a lot, but enough to use the first house as a point of measure. It’s SOOOOOOOOO cute. It’s so very us. The yard is huge and is a certified Nature Habitat. Cool, right? And Our House has nearly everything we want, love and need. And we’d pay the list price in a heart beat, only ALL the other houses in the neighborhood are selling for $35k-$60k less than the price of Our House. Not a good sign.

A little further research shows that there is to be an expansion of a main artery in Charlotte. While park land and privately owned institutional  land are “protected” from the project and completely buffer Our House, it won’t do much for property values in the long term.  All that, and someone put a cash offer on it the same day we looked at it.

Sigh.

I don’t think our house is Our House.

But it was sooooo cute. Lookie:

Property Photo

Property Photo

Property Photo

The yard is in full bloom now and it’s freakin’ incredible. There are a few things that aren’t perfect, but no house is, I know that much.

We tried not to have love at first sight. We tried to keep it all business. It’s hard though, when there are things you just adore about a house.  So we keep looking.

I owned my last house that The Candyman moved into with me a few months before he popped the question. We decided on the house we’re renting together, but it was a decision we had to make quickly after The Candyman has already looked at a gazillion properties here solo. We knew this house wasn’t a permanent home, though it’s been a good house for us thus far. It’s weird to be looking at houses together. This will be the first home we buy together. How weird is it that I’m doing this for the first time and I’m 41? My parents did this when they were practically teenagers, they were married so young! This is The Candyman’s first house and he’s like a little puppy he’s so excited.

This weekend when we looked at Our House as well as others, The Candyman was getting on my nerves a little. Each house we went into, he’d let the realtor wander off, then he’d grab me and smooch me in random rooms throughout the house. I didn’t want anything to distract me. I’m busy looking for lifting drywall tape, sloping floors, gapping windows and fireplace placement. Exhausted of his antics after the fourth or fifth grab and smooch, I pushed him off and said “WHAT are you doing? Look at the house! Pay attention!” And he smiled at me, all patience and kindness and said “I’m just checking to see if the room is ‘smoochable.’”

Smoochableness is an important house attribute.

Tell me you’re first house house hunting stories. I need to know that Our House is out there somewhere.