Monday, January 28, 2008

Why I Plan to Vote For Hillary Rodham Clinton And Think You Should, Too

Okay. I had said a while ago that I wanted to pen an entry about why I plan to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Think You Should, Too. Then I came down with the Plague. I went to Philadelphia to celebrate Alissa's birthday, where I saw some of my favorite politically-minded people and got to dissect the issues and hear their opinions without having to build a common ground for discussion first or getting tripped up on major, divisive, deal-breaking issues like gun control or abortion, which can derail even the most respectful of intentions in debate, rather than just talking about the merits of candidates. It was really enlightening, actually, and I feel more favorable toward Obama than ever before.

To that end, I am not anti-Obama. I think Barack Obama is a charismatic candidate, one I will be happy to cast my vote for should he receive the Democratic Party's nomination. This isn't an anti-Obama essay; it's a pro-Rodham Clinton one.

Let me be very clear: Hillary Rodham Clinton is NOT the perfect candidate, a flawless gem, easily electable, or a public figure whose personal ethics and morals perfectly reflect my own. In fact, I think her success, achievement, and influence DESPITE the endless cataloging of her flaws and public scrutiny of her personal life is one of the things that make her the best candidate for president.

Reason# 1: She is incredibly well qualified and good at what she does.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is incredibly competent. She is smart. She is effective. She is well traveled, worldy, and articulate.* She has been an excellent representative for the state of New York in the U.S. Senate. If she were a man, her campaign would have the ability to focus more on this fact, and non-New Yorkers would know more about it.

She thinks well on her feet, a quality that was first demonstrated at her college graduation from Wellesley in 1969. She was the valedictorian and the president of the college government and as such, was scheduled to speak right after the keynote address by Sen. Edward Brooke. During the senator's speech, he made some assertions about poverty and anti-war activism with which she disagreed.

Standing on the podium that day, she set aside her notes, and off the cuff, more or less ripped the senator a new one in a speech that earned her a standing ovation, inspired a feature article in Life magazine, and included this statement: “The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible."

She was 22. She had not yet met her husband, although it's worth noting that she was at Yale Law School getting her law degree when they met.

*In my mind, those are minimal requirements to be "the leader of the free world," but then, I didn't vote for our current president- who, prior to his first 'election'- had never been outside the United States except for a short trip to Mexico, and one gets the impression he spent more of his time there at Senor Frog's, but that's an entry for a other day.

2. Her presidency would serve as a means to an end in terms of breaking the glass ceiling and widening the scope of future presidential candidates.

I think that we, as a country, need a larger pool to draw our leadership from. For too long, our presidential candidates have had the same matrix of identity. They come from similar backgrounds, have intertwined family connections, cookie-cutter religious affiliations, not to mention identical characteristics in terms of race, religious and gender. We keep electing Christian (AND Christian-Non-Catholic* at that) white guys born with silver spoons in their mouths and wondering why Washington seems so out of touch with the reality of the average American.

*We've only had one Catholic president, despite the fact that being Pro-Life alone motivates voters to go to the polls more than almost any other single issue, and that guy got assassinated. And that was forty-five years ago.

My point is, we need more choice for leadership. We need viable candidates who are DIFFERENT than what we've had, again and again and again. We need candidates who are women, who are people of color, who grew up working class, who think globally and act locally, who understand that education is the key to success, who can lead an America that is truly a meritocracy, or at least more of a meritocracy than it currently is.

The presidency of Hillary Rodham Clinton would be a stepping stone for this country, a means to that end, an intermediate step to that larger talent pool. (So would Obama, I acknowledge that.) It's true, if she is elected, all of our presidents in the last 20 years will have come from the same TWO families. If she serves four years and gets elected to a second term, the West Wing will have been occupied by the Bush and Clinton families for nearly three decades. Nepotism and elite Washington insider connections? Absolutely.

The thing is, though, that first woman in the White House will *have* to know those ropes. She has to to have a key to the Old Boys Club, or she's never getting in at all. Is that sad? It's downright tragic. Do I hate it? But someone has to be first. Someone has to break this glass ceiling. Candidates like Carol Mosely Braun, my personal favorite candidate in the last presidential election, will never get a shot without it.

3. She already knows how the sausage is made, from a perspective other candidates don't have.

On Sept. 12, 2001, the world turned to America with compassionate hearts and open minds. In that terrifying, tumultuous time, the international community was by our side. We had an opportunity to show the rest of the world- no strangers to acts of terrorism and fear- that we, too, could be vulnerable. We, too, had a mass graves in our country. We, too, were bleeding in our own streets. We could have shown that a government by and for the people could be HUMAN, not an imperialist ambassador of cultural demise, hawking McDonald's cheeseburgers and Baywatch. We had a chance to unify, lead and demonstrate the goodness of a democracy in action. We had a teachable moment. AND WE BLEW IT.

Our government squandered every shred of goodwill directed at this country after 9/11/01. We were metaphorically sacked by the visigoths and at the moment, our preisdent is playing the fiddle while Rome burns. Our next president has a lot of work to do to re-establish our good standing in the hearts and the mind of the world. Hillary Rodham Clinton, as former First Lady, is better poised to do this than any other candidate at this time. She has already made the public relations tours, toured the holy sites, shaken hands at the state dinners, drunk the tea, seen the folk dances, received the tokens of goodwill from heads of state. She has an intimate knowledge of not only the key players in front of the cameras and media coverage, but the diplomats and dealmakers who are in the room when the peace treaties are knocked out.

She has already seen how the sausage is made, and she has the stomach for it.

4. The first woman president is going to face a storm of pain in the ass questions she shouldn't have to even think about, but Sen. Clinton is well poised to answer them.

When Nancy Pelosi took over as Speaker of the House a year ago (the first woman to hold this office, by the way), the pundits immediately began wringing their hands over whether or not she could both do the job and still have enough time for her six grandchildren. Um, WTF?

To paraphrase Gloria Steinem, no man has ever had to answer questions about how he balances work and fatherhood. The first woman president is going to have to answer all these pain-in-the-ass questions about what kind of mother she is, whether or not her child or children will suffer because she's busy running the country.

Hillary Rodham Clinton's personal life has already been stripped down, publicly exposed and endlessly analyzed in every possible way. Everyone knows which way he husband hangs and what he does with his cigars. Whatever you say about her family life, the fact remains that Chelsea Clinton is a functional member of society, educated at Stanford and Oxford. Chelsea Clinton was called "ugly" throughout her adolescence by everyone from Wayne and Garth to Sen. John McCain. (Citation: Corn, David (1998-06-25). A joke too bad to print?. Her parents' sex life and marriage became a national joke when she was a teenager, and she's still managed to avoid the public scandals involving drugs and alcohol that have plagued the Bush daughters.

There are also going to be a bunch of pain in the ass questions about the role of the First Gentleman. Traditionally, the role of First Lady has been a combination of hostess and goodwill ambassador with a passionate commitment to one or two pet causes. In my opinion, the first First Husband is going to face all kinds of jokes about which china pattern he'll choose for the West Wing and who wears whose pants- blah blah blah. The Clintons have had that for years, anyway, and who better to the blaze the trail of a man in the role of ambassador with one or two key causes than a former President?

4. She's shown she can stand up to the bullshit with a tenacious grit and singularity of focus.

In 1992, she wanted to talk about universal healthcare, and all the rest of the country could talk about was her headbands. Sixteen years later, Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey's reports that 40 million people don't have health insurance. Headbands are out of fashion, but she's running for president with universal healthcare as a key point of her platform. The woman does not give up. We need a president with that kind of dogged sense of determination, because things are pretty grim at the moment.

She has been called every name in the book. She got a little misty-eyed talking about her concerns for the state of the country (when I regularly want to gnash my teeth and vomit blood at the current state of affairs in this country) and the difficulty of the campaign. No one mentions the fact that this is right before a primary in a state where AN ARMED GUNMAN broke into her campaign headquarters and took her campaign workers as HOSTAGES AT GUNPOINT. Yeah, the campaign has been hard, in some way harder for her than anyone else she's been running against so far, and STILL she's picking up endorsements left and right, winning primaries, and stumping the issues.

4. She's not "likable." So what?

People don't like women who are wealthy and powerful and aren't nice about it. Oprah is wealthy and powerful, but she's super nice about it. She gives away Philosophy facial cleanser and eyebrow kits and the occasional car and scholarship and people love her for it. (Although Michael Moore has a hilarious chapter on why he wants Oprah to be President of the United States in his book "Dude, where's my country?" It's worth the price of the book for that alone. Run, Oprah, run!)

I admit that Sen. Clinton comes with a lot of baggage, and her husband provides a certain liability. I've heard some people say she's riding on his coattails; others say he comes with a lot of baggage dragging her down. She can't "get it right" either way, but when it comes down to it, she gets shit done.

Also, I think think of any other woman currently on the political scene who would be poised for the presidency any time soon. If not Hillary Rodham Clinton, then who? If not now, then when?

I keep coming back to the speech she gave at 22: "The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible."

It's time. It's time to make what appears to be impossible, possible. It's time put a woman- a smart, well-educated woman with legislative experience and international influence- in the White House.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sick Daze

Been in alternating DayQuil/NyQuil haze since Monday. Hate it. Unless you've been trying really, really hard to get in touch with me or have been emailing me with the not-so-surprising news that one of my former high school classmates turns out to be, for all intents and purposes, a child molester, I've been hard to reach.

Sorry 'bout that.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

One big check mark off the list!

I did it! I picked a wedding dress this weekend! Thank you all for your feedback, ideas and support. Without a further ado...

It's dress #3, the one I felt so pretty in and couldn't eliminate no matter how much I tried to psych myself up for a reasonable and prudent $99 David's Bridal gown.

The dress is really wonderful. I didn't want to let myself admit how much I loved it because getting a dress at an upscale New Jersey bridal salon didn't jive with the vision of the kind of bride I fancied myself to be. But by God, I love this dress. It was the only one I giddly jumped up and down in, and the only one I didn't want to take off.

My mom came up from Lancaster, and my sister came down from Boston with more varieties of strapless bras, corsets, body suits and lingerie in general than I thought existed. I had on the sample- in its completely unzippable size 10- but with Amanda's help holding it in place and hiding completely behind me in the three way mirror and the right undergarments, it looked kind of... amazing.

Does that sound arrogant? I don't mean to. The bodice is kind of sculpted? I guess? So there isn't any boning or metal underwire, but it wasn't slipping down, either. I didn't notice before that the beading around the edge of the bodice isn't continuous, so it won't rub under my arms. It's made of raw silk, so it's lighter, weight wise, than any of the dresses I tried on at David's or Alfred Angelo, with the exception of the high-low hemline one. (My main issue with that one was that I felt very exposed on top, and I just didn't feel confident enough that added straps with applique lace from a craft store would look right.) I think I'll be able to dance, hug everyone and sit comfortably, etc without too many problems.

The dress comes directly from the designer's studio in Canada, and she doesn't charge for customizations. It's not made by sweatshop labor, which makes me feel that I'm not sacrificing my principles even though I am so much less Indiebride than I originally thought I'd be. The salon measured me three times. I had the bodice start 3.5 inches from the hollow of my throat so that it's definitely high enough to cover my armpit chub (which, by the way, was caused mostly by 3 out of 4 strapless bras), and it's extended a little bit lower than my natural waist. I requested that it be made without a train and with one less layer of crinoline, so it will be a ball skirt only, which makes it distinctly less A-line and triangular. The sculpted ruching kind of cinches me around the waist in a flattering way. The look is more hourglass and less Giant Triangle.

Anyway, Grace asked me in the comments what had been helpful so far, and I want to tell you, because I am so grateful. Becky and Michelle, thank you so much for being generous and reassuring and always among the first to chime in with ideas and support. Michelle, thanks for emailing me dresses from eBay in incredibly overly optimistic sizes. You think I'm much more svelte than I am, but hot damn that was a much needed slef-esteem boost. :)

Jillian and Nikki, the most beautiful and elegant brides who ever married each other, thank you for sharing your experiences and commiserations and thinking of me on Newbury Street. Coincidentally, Becky had suggested the same Jessica McClintock that caught Jillian's eye on Newbury Street. I went right to the Jessica McClintock store near my job and tried it on that very same day. It was lovely, but the top was totally inadequate for the girls. My boobs oozed out in every direction. Run! Run away!

Cindy, thanks for sharing that this element of your wedding was the most stressful for you. While I don't love that you cried, I felt so much better hearing that, especially since you only had four months to plan your wedding and it involved green cards and mothers-in-law from other countries and international immigration attorneys and STILL the dress was the most stressful bit. :)

Lauren, thanks for affirming the evils of strapless, even though I'm going strapless after all (but with a custom bodice and thoughtful foundation undergarments). Grace, thanks for your good humor and thoughtful follow up. Julia, thanks for reminding me about what's most important. Tanii, thanks for offering to sit around and bedazzle my gown, if needed, and for reminding me that if all else fails, I could always wear jeans. You ROCKED your bridal jeans. ;)

For Gwen and Steff and HDL and Kelbaby and everyone who's heard my rambling book proposal "Planning Guide for the Fat Bride: If you've never seen 200 pounds on the scale, this book is not for you;" thanks for listening. Liss, thanks for having my back and offering to terrify shopowners with me and always, always being there. Melissa (Ladies, this is the wedding videographer. Videographer, these are my ladies ;) , thanks for reading and getting to know me and telling me you never regretted splurging. Because I just did exactly that. (Oh, well!)

Best of all, Amanda and Mom. Thanks for driving down here with little notice and running into a mall for underwear off the Mass Pike four minutes before it closed and for politely asking the loud ladies to be quiet when the Bond Villian Seamstress was shouting over them directly into my face as she measured my boobs. Mom, there are simply no words. Thank you is insufficient, but I'll say it again. Thank you!

Alright! This officially ends Gooey Girly LoveFest 2008. For now, anyway. I have my dress! I HAVE my dress! Woot!

Coming soon... Why I plan to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Think You Should, Too.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wedding Dresses. Again.

Hi, Joel! Bye, Joel! :)

I know that there are a handful of people who are rolling their eyes right now, because it's not like me to be super-focused on things like weddings, or to fret over girly details like this. I have half-composed rants about the presidential campaigns and Deep Thoughts about phases of life in the works. I promise I haven't gone Bridezilla about my "special day" (gaggedy vomit); the dress is just a very emotionally charged purchase for me. Please don't judge me for caring so much about this. There isn't anything else about the wedding that's occupying my thoughts like this, I swear. I just want something I feel good in, despite my issues with my body. If you don't want to read about wedding dresses, please come back very soon for much less frivilous content.

Also, I do want feedback, both pros and cons, and suggestions. So, truthfully, tell me what you think, even if you don't like some of these dresses. (I'm not sure *I* like some of these dresses.) There are some pretty kickass ladies out there who feel pretty protective of me, which I love, because my loyalty streak makes me feel the same way about them. Speak your minds, please. Just do it nicely, m'kay?


So... I'm all over the map on wedding dresses now.

My first choice is still to add a halter to this one, above, but the seamstress I'd like to work with thought she could make it look "okay," but felt it would really look like a strapless gown with straps added. Don't love the sound of that. We're going to meet up at the end of the month at the store and see what the options are once she's seen me in the damn thing.

Cutting the skirt on a dress with the right bodice, as many of you suggested, isn't as easy as it sounds. So now I'm thinking of abandoning the idea of tea-length for now.

The pickup skirt would make me look like a frilly, multitiered wedding cake, wouldn't it? Although for some people, that might be what they're going for. If you haven't seen this, it's worth clicking the link. Seriously.

And then there's this one. It's not really budget friendly, and yeah- it's strapless. But I felt so pretty in it, and my armpit fat was surprisingly contained. My sister listed all the reasons it would negatively impact the enjoyment of the wedding day- really hot in August, underarms scratched up by the beading, hard to sit in, not exactly garden-friendly. I was just about ready to dismiss it altogether, but I find I just can't eliminate it just yet. Eh?

Finally, there's this one.

I like the halter top. It's fairly light and easy to move in, but it's a pretty run-of-the-mill standard cookie cutter wedding dress. I have no idea if it could be made into a tea-length dress. Or I could suck it up and just wear it, unaltered and not tea-length. I could ask the seamstress to follow me to a *different* store to see me in this one and compare the feasibility of adding a halter to the first one or cutting the skirt off this one, but... ugh. Who am I? Who's blog is this? HALP! I've been abducted by Pod People.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Helpful Hint

Don't want to have your picture taken as you leave court after your arraignment? Then don't stuff your seven-year-old son in a hot oven. How 'bout that? Who are you, the witch in Hansel and Gretl?

This was... just one of those days.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Tower of London, 1999

I've been going round and round in my head lately, thinking about my upcoming marriage, the way relationships evolve, the parts of the past you take into your future, how you can pick some friendships right back up where you left off, but other relationships seem to fall apart while you're trying to maintain that connection.

This past weekend I had 36 fantastic hours with College Roomate Jo. Our visit not only reminded me how much she means to me but also that I'm same person I've always been.

And that's okay.

Roosevelt Monument, 2008

EDITED TO ADD: More of the photos from our weekend in DC are here.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Uber-Wedding Planning Post

This post is for the ladies. I occasionally get requests- mostly from my client-brides-turned-friends, bless them- for wedding planning details as they unfold. It's 2008, and being in the actual calendar year of the wedding has me all motivated.

I occasionally get on the wedding planning websites and message boards, but I don't really have time to put together a bio, which means no one on TheKnot takes me seriously. Also, a lot of those ladies give me the heebie-jeebies. IndieBride is somewhat better, but I find their no-frills thread directory a little less than user-friendly. And, well...

You know, Alissa wrote a fantastic post about the general IndieBride/Knot split back in July.

"On the one hand, we have The Kn0t, which is laden with some of the b1tchiest, elitist women I have ever run into in my life. The cut each other down like there's no tomorrow, and if you don't have the biggest, most expensive, WICiest wedding ever, they will take you down, and then tell you that you shouldn't come to their space if you don't want to take the beatings. Lovely. On the other side, we have These people, oh they are the nice ones. They are creative and funny and unique and don't give a rip how much anything costs. Except they do, but in the opposite direction. These people will build their own barn, out of scraps they have collected in the woods, and then after the reception they will donate their barn to some wildlife refuge something or other to save the environment and also...give squirrels a place to live. Or something."


So this is kind of my equivalent to a planning bio on TheKnot. I'm going to post pictures and links and ask for suggestions from my blog friends and people I know, especially about dresses, which I really, really want to get checked off the "to-do" list soon. Blarg. I knew dress-shopping would be my least favorite thing. I was right. Go, me!

Before I jump into the dress/neckline/shoe thing, I want to catch you up on the basics of the event as it's shaping up. Right. Okay.


We're getting married in the Hershey Gardens in August where our blissful wows of undying love will be punctuated by the sounds of screaming by people riding the Sidewinder. Sweet! We've chosen to get married in the Oak Grove, which will hopefully muffle the sounds of amusement park thrills somewhat.


As guests arrive at the ceremony site, our ceremony musicians, Cantiga, will be playing Celtic-ish versions of classical music. They are a Renaissance Faire band who won't be wearing their garb. Several of their CDs recently became available on iTunes. The group includes a harpist, cellist, violins, Irish flute, etc. as well as a percussionist who's bringing a bodhran (the circular drum thingy that I became obsessed with wanting to learn to play after seeing the Four Bitchin' Babes in concert.)

The musicians will play their own pieces, as well as more traditional wedding music at our request, i.e. Canon in D, but Cantiga style. FIRST REQUEST FOR SUGGESTIONS: I'm looking for ideas for processional music, folks. Remember, we're going for Ren Faire-inspired, without making everyone feel like they ought to be gnawing on giant turkey legs and flashing their plus-sized boobs. As the wryly proud but weary owner of plus-sized boobs myself, Ren Faires are my place to SHINE. But we're not getting married at a Ren Faire, a decision that is totally and completely on purpose. Huzzah!

I kind of like the prelude to Bach's Suite No. 1 for the cello, which you can hear played by Yo-Yo Ma in this YouTube video. It's a tribute to Salvador Dali, which is totally random for this post, but the important thing is the music.


The ceremony will include a number of non-traditional traditions, including some adapted from Joel's Jewish and my Catholic upbringing. Emphasis on ADAPTED. Gwen, our Jewish Bridal Ninja, has agreed to say a Hebrew blessing over the wine, which we'll be drinking out of a Navajo wedding vase made by one of Joel's artisan friends from Moab. We're going to include a holy water blessing, but the water will be collected from Matrimony Springs in Utah, blessed by the guy who brings Nanny communion in the nursing home, and stored in the mayonnaise jar that my dad has always kept holy water in since our house was blessed in 1985.

Our officiant is a teacher at Joel's school and an ordained member of the Interfaith Council of New York, but the simplest way to describe her is to say that she is Strega Nona incarnate. I love her.

Joel has three groomsmen and a junior groomsman. I have two attendants, two flower girls and a Best Dog, who will be attended to by a co-worker/friend/Bridal Ninja In Charge of Canine Affairs who wishes very much to wear a bridesmaid dress. First. Instance. Ever. in Womankind. I'm touched. (Fred is our Best Cat in Absentia, and Ollie is the Jr. Best Cat Who Will Also Be Lolling in the Air Conditioning at Home, Dear God.) Alissa is also a Bridal Ninja in Charge of Ceremony Blessings. There are also two Musical Bridal Ninjas who will sing during the ceremony, provided that one of them is able to fly in from England in time and the other one has resumed talking to me by then.

After the ceremony, Cantiga will be moving with all of us to the nearby gazebo for cocktail hour. They will begin to play more rollicking, Ren Faire type drinking songs. I still might ask them to avoid anything with the word "grog" and/or "nonny" in it. SECOND REQUEST FOR FEEDBACK: What do you think?


The reception will be held in a tent just beyond the gazebo. Our biggest extravagance of the entire wedding is an air-conditioning unit for the tent. Woo hoo.

Here's where we get to the fun part that I have "inspiration pictures" for. Wow, I feel like a real knottie now. Huh.

The tent will be lit with round Chinese paper lanterns.

The florist, dear, sweet man that he is, was really genuinely excited when he found these wrought iron trees to form the basic structure of the centerpieces. (Also? He has a dog named Wheezy. Love that.) The centerpieces will be more or less like the photo above with colors that keep more in kind with the basic color scheme.

I'd like to line the path up to the bathroom with luminarias, but not pink ones.


The wedding colors are chocolate brown and aqua. Yes, I know I will probably hate myself in twenty years. Screw you, Me in 2028! (The aqua is inspired in part by the opal in my engagement ring.)

What kind of flowers do you think would best accent this color scheme? I think a very light pink might highlight the aquas and brown quite nicely, but I know Joel and the other men who will receive boutinierres wouldn't be thrilled with pink roses.

The florist recommended Sahara roses.

What do you think? To beige-y blah?

I like this bouquet from Bride and Bloom magazine, but I know hydrangeas won't hold up in the heat. I like the pink astilbe(the fluffy, branchy ones), though.

Regarding that thing about hating myself in twenty years? See, I have developed a theory about this since our last discussion of paper parasols and wedding trends. This is partly drawn from Michelle's comment about everything looking dated at some point in the future.

I think, no matter what, in ten years I will think whatever I choose will look dated and probably a little bit silly. In twenty years, I will be horrified at the tackiness. In thirty years, I'll be hushing my sarcastic, tweenage, hypothetical daughter as she shrieks with laughter ("POOP BROWN?!? It's so ugly BWA HA HA HA!") with the same wry, "That was the style then, sweetie" that my mom gave me and Amanda about her Love Boat Wedding. In forty years, I'll probably start to think it all looks quite charming and vintage. In 50 years, I will think it looks elegantly antique, and in 60 years, I won't remember if I had melted crayons or nursing home pudding for lunch, let alone what I wore to my wedding.

On the other hand, if my great-great-grandchildren display at photographs of Joel and me at all, they will probably chose to frame and show a portrait from our wedding. So in many ways, a woman's wedding dress is the dress she'll be immortal in. This is also the reason you should hire a professional to take your wedding pictures (PIMP! MILESTONE IMAGES! PIMP!).


You'd think finding a photographer would be the hard part for me, right? Except I have this total photo crush on Anne Ruthmann, who we are so, so lucky to have booked. I have absolutely no photography-related stress at all. She is a force to be reckoned with. A force, I say!

I just found Melissa Costantino of Pea Patch Videography, and we're in the negotiating phase. I love her style. I love that she knows how to white balance her camera, and I love that she uses very minimal transitions and special effects, unlike some of the more terrifying videographers out there. The new trend seems to be creating wedding trailers, I guess? And they're all about drama and suspense and building tension. That's cool, I guess, but part of me just wants to duck and cover by the time I get to the end of the first sample trailer. It's like the preview for Final Destination 4: The Wedding. (Cue deep movie announcer voice: "Coming summer 2008!" BAM!) Um, hold me?

Which leads to... THE LIGHTING ROUND ! (dunt dun duuhhh)


Formal dress shopping has always been- to draw from antiquity and literature- my Achilles heel, my personal Moby Dick (great white whale=fat bride metaphor intended). Here's what I've decided. I'm sorry; I personally can't do strapless.

This wedding planner-turned-blogger writes far better about the reasons why not everyone (read: me) should wear strapless. It's not a weight thing. I know plenty of women in every size clothes come in who have looked GORGEOUS in strapless. Pit Tit happens to skinny chicks, too. I give you (courtesy of the same blogger) Sarah Jessica Parker, with armpit fat.

You're welcome. I seem particularly afflicted when it comes to Armpit Fat. Also, the better the bra, the worse it gets. Too much sharing? Sorry. But it would be worse if you saw me wearing a strapless dress. Run away, run away! Strapless is just not for me. I have determined that I do want to wear an off-white or ivory dress, because I'm so pasty that bright white washes me out and makes me look like a corpse.

So here's where I am with this. All praise the halter neckline, like the one on this dress.

This was a flattering top for me. The boobs have a little emphasis without being the whole shebang. The cut is slimming around the armpits. Just sayin'. This dress, among others, helped me determine that I don't want to wear an A-line, full length dress. It makes me look like a wide, wide triangle. (Triangle man, Triangle Man, Triangle Man hates Person Man...) The train will get dirty dragging on the ground in the garden, and if there's anyone in the world who can't keep a white dress clean for a whole day, it's me.

As a result, I am digging the tea-length trend, see above, what with the garden dirt and the August heat, and- minus the strapless Pit Tit factor- I loved the way this dress with a high-low hemline moved and swished when I tried it on. The only thing I didn't love was how all the beading gave me serious Chub Rub issues on the insides of my upper arms.

Now, I LOVED this tea-length dress at Alfred Angelo, especially once we added an aqua accent ribbon around the waist, except for the strapless pit tit nightmare. And folks, believe you me, it was BAD.

Here's another view of the same dress.

So the question is, can I turn a strapless dress into a halter neckline? How high maintenance is that? Just thinking about it makes me all tired. I just want to put on an old t-shirt with holes in it and lay on the couch morosely eating Spaghettios.

So let's recap. I am looking for a tea-length or high-to-hemline halter dress without a train. I can't find any tea-length dresses with halter necklines. Period. Anywhere.

Yes, I've heard the suggestion about getting a bridesmaid dress in ivory, and the ladies on the Indiebride boards love Coco Myles. She lets you design your own dress online and then promises to produce it for like, $175 or less. You can't try them on first, but you can ordser swatches. The mailing address is a P.O. Box here in Stepford. Part of me wants to pitch a story about this service just so I can see the dresses up close. Journalistic integrity, anyone? Indeed.

I showed this Design-It-Yerself sketch from the Coco Myles website to my co-worker/bridal ninja who said, "It looks like a nightie." True.

Now, I kind of love these dresses by Stephanie James. I like the flirty, offbeat factor, but a lot of them are crazy poufy, and I don't want to look like a vintage caricature of myself.

Also, she makes her gowns out of a boutique in California, which I don't see myself dropping by anytime soon. That's not happening.

So maybe some sassy shoes? Which will have to be flats, to keep me from sinking into the grass. So... ballet flats? Something like these maybe?

Would aqua flats that match an accent ribbon around my waist be too much? What if I added vintage shoe clips for offbeat sassiness? Or if the shoes were ivory and the shoe clip were aqua?

What do you think? About any of it? All of it? Especially regarding dresses: HELP. ME.

Okay, this is the longest stretch of time I've spent thinking about the wedding. Yikes. I officially need to go read some Tolstoy or pen a feminist rant about the sizist trend of uexploiting little people at Super Sweet 16 parties on MTV. Or maybe I'll just be laying on the couch, moaning feebly and hitting the refresh button on your comments.

Ideas, suggestions, feedback: Bring it on, ladies. :)