Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Disasterous Dress

As soon as Justin & I got engaged I knew what kind of dress I wanted.  Something simple and short.  Not like hoochie short, but maybe a tea length or knee length gown...I looked around town and nobody had a short dress made for a bride--they were all very bridemaid-ish looking and that wasn't going to work.

I got online and after a few days, I found the perfect dress!  It was an ivory raw silk Ralph Lauren gown that still had the tags on it.  The owner lived in KC and had two sizes available--I ordered the bigger one knowing that we could tailor it in because, yeah, losing weight to fit into the smaller one didn't sound like fun--or possible for a girl who likes to eat!

The dress arrived in the mail and it was gorgeous :-)  It was strapless with rows of pearls and irridescent beads along the top.  The rest of the dress was just plain raw silk with princess seams, but the dress nipped in around the waist, was fitted at the hips and then flared out at the bottom.  It didn't technically have a hi-low hem, but the back of the dress dropped down just a few extra inches.  It was perfect!

Well, except for the fact that it was HUGE.  It was a size 10 and in the past I had worn a dress size 10 for other weddings.  This must have been a street-clothing size 10.  But oh well, I'd just have it tailored!

My tailor referred me to the "seamstress of all seamstresses" back in April...I called the gal right away to make an appointment and she asked that I bring the dress in June.  That I did.  I went to her house, put the dress on and she pinned me up--after pinning up the extra fabric along the zipper, it fit like a glove.  I was so excited!!!

When I went to pick the dress up a few weeks ago, I realized I forgot my undergarments.  I quickly threw the dress on and it seemed a bit big...but I knew I hadn't lost any weight, so I decided I'd try it on with my undergarments when I got home.  And when I did, I realized the top of the dress was still HUGE!  The rest of the dress was huge as well.  It didn't fit in the waist or hips and it kept falling down.

I called my tailor and begged her to look at my dress as I didn't have time to keep going out of town to the seamstress.  She told me to come to her shop as soon as I could--I got down there and she took 1 look at my dress and immediately knew what was wrong.

Turns out, all the beading was on one string--which crossed over all the seams.  There was no way to cut into the top of the dress without the entire beading coming off.  Hmmmm, I wish the seamstress would have told me that back in June!  We're still not sure where she took in the dress--or if she even did--but I know I paid her quite a bit for doing "something."

The only option we had was to tack in bra inserts and fill out the top of my dress.  I ran to Jo-Ann's, picked up the inserts and my tailor got busy.  She called a few days later and I picked up the dress.  The top was staying up but the waist/hip area was still big--but nothing we could do!

I started to become very concerned about how the dress fit...but I'm also very picky about things so I wanted to make sure I wasn't over-reacting.  Justin and I had just finished a huge meal at So Long Saloon and I decided to try it on--maybe a little extra belly bloat would make it fit!  He got me snapped into the dress and as soon as I turned around, he asked "Why do you have lumpy circles in your dress?  Because they're glowing."  Crap.  Those were the inserts we sewed in.  I checked all the mirrors in our house and sure enough, the inserts had become lumpy around the edges and they were definately glowing behind the dress fabric.  Low lighting or bright lighting didn't make a difference.  I was going to have headlights on my chest when walking down the aisle!  When I turned to the side, the dress billowed out and even made it look like I had a pooch.  I REALLY didn't want people to think I was sporting a baby bump at our wedding!

I called it a night and decided I'd give myself a pep talk and try it again in the morning.  Justin thought the dress looked "fine" (yes, those were his exact words) so maybe it wasn't too bad.

Saturday morning came and I slipped into my dress, put my veil on and got in my shoes.  I took one look in the mirror and burst into tears.  The dress went from being the ideal gown to a big, hideous mess.

I pulled myself together and called Mom.  I told her about the inserts and said I was going dress shopping--if she wanted to come along, she could.  DRESS SHOPPING JUST 1 WEEK BEFORE THE WEDDING.  IF ONLY THE SEAMSTRESS WOULD HAVE TOLD ME BACK IN JUNE that my dress couldn't be fixed! Thankfully, Manhappiness has two bridal stores and I found a dress by the end of the day.  The clerks were all very impressed with how composed I was considering my wedding was in just 7 days...and I think Lil Debbie had fun dress shopping with her last daughter to get married off...I figured Mom was having fun and why freak out?  It only makes things worse.

In the end, the whole thing turned out for the best.  I found a dress that fit my personality and it probably made for better pictures than the Ralph Lauren gown!  Ironically enough, I found the style number for the dress and it was 911...Everything happens for a reason :-)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Name Change

We're married! And tired! Here's a sneak peak from our big day...more pics to come!

But back to the marriage part.  Since it's finally official and a marriage usually includes changing your name, I've updated my blog name to include Justin!  Haha :-)

Unknown to me, Justin caught a quick pic while the photographer was doing some bridal shots after the ceremony!

Friday, September 17, 2010


2 years ago this month we adopted a feral feline...most of you know him as Malcolm but we also like to call him Malc-Man.  Kinda like Bat Man.  After all, he's black and he can accomplish the most unbelievable things!

Mitzi checking out Malcolm for the first time--he was so itty bitty!

Speaking of being black, I really wanted to name him Cracker when we first got him.  Lots of people thought it would be funny, but in our household, I just can't start throwing racial slurs around like that! 

For the time being, Mitzi was the Alpha animal.  But now Malcolm is bigger than her!
Even though Justin was in Texas when I brought him home, he thought we should name the cat Lucky...that name was WAY to common for animals so we decided to draw inspiration from the cat himself.

As a kitten, he looked like a little black panther.  And next thing you knew, we had decided on the name Malcolm.  Like Malcolm X--the notorious leader of the Black Panthers.

Malcolm has managed to live up to his namesake.  He's black like Malcolm X, he's very independent, quite weird and Muslim.  How do we have a Muslim cat?  Well, Malcolm X was Muslim and Lil Debbie never lets us bring him with us to her house for Christian holidays.  The only logical reason has to be because he's Muslim. 

His favorite hobby, 2 years later--laying around and sleeping with Mitzi!
In fact, Lil Debbie never lets us bring him to the farm.  Maybe that's because Lil Debbie isn't one for house cats--we wouldn't want him to end up like J.T., would we?  When we were little, our one and only house cat was named JT What those initials stood for, I have no idea.  He was the BEST cat ever and one year we bought him a Christmas tree ornament from Wal-Mart and had his name engraged on the back.  Not too long after that, JT "forgot" to use his litter box and Lil Debbie banished him from the house.  We were all freaked out and she promised us that he'd be okay outside.  From that day forward, we never saw him again--apparently it was quite traumatizing as we continue to remind her about losing our cat!!!

The only thing that Malcolm seems to want from Lil Debbie is chex mix.  Not love or attention--in fact, he usually walks off when she comes to our house.  But he LOVES her chex mix--it's about the only human food that he will eat.  The month of September marks the end of Ramadan, the annual month of fasting for the nation of Islam.  What better way to celebrate his observance than with a HUGE bag of her homemade chex mix???  I relayed the message for him back in August and he still hasn't gotten his chex yet. 

In fact, I better remind Lil Debbie to get on the chex mix.  I'm pretty sure Justin and I would enjoy some as well ;-)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Another Favorite

For the past week and a half, all of our meals have been made in the crockpot.  I love casseroles just as much as the next person, but slow cooked meals require so much less prep and mess--and that's exactly what my meals work!

I found this awesome website that has been a huge  Some gal started it in 2009 as a New Year's resolution to use her crockpot every day for 1 year without ever reusing a recipe.  And she did it!

Personally, I love her website.  It seems that so many crockpot recipes I would find were basically some version of chicken and rice or things were heavy on cream-of-whatever soup...which is fine, but frankly, it gets old after a while.

I absolutely love Indian food and was over the moon to see that she successfully made a few different Indian dishes in the crockpot.  Some of the recipes are in this week's rotation but last week I tried the Tandoori Chicken and it was out of this world!  The blogger used a whole chicken but I've read other places not to slow cook a whole chicken--apparently the internal temperature doesn't reach the correct temperature quickly enough and it increases your risk for food poisoning.

With that said, I tried boneless-skinless chicken thighs knowing the dark meat would soak up all the flavors.  After 8 hours on low, it came out FANTASTIC!  I've tried other Indian dishes at home and they were terrible...but this was so good that I took the leftovers for lunch (well, pretty much just rice & the sauce since I still can't do much meat) on Friday and I've found myself thinking about it everyday.  No joke. Plus, Justin has a strong dislike for anything Indian but he loved it as well and thinks we should eat it at least once a week!  Overall, it's not as "Indian" as other dishes, especially curry dishes--so if you've never tried Indian, this might be a good dish to try.

So here's the I said, I used thighs instead of a whole chicken and I skipped the food coloring.  We didn't have any on hand and I was not about ready to drop $4 on a new bottle of red dye.  Also, if you don't have some of the spices and you're not sure if you'll like them, check around to see if you can buy them out of a bulk bin.  I bought the cheapest cardamom that Dillon's had and just one bottle was $7...

Tandoori Chicken
3-4 lbs chicken (thawed or frozen, doesn't matter)
1 cup plain yogurt, divided (you could use sour cream, instead and that's what we used)
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
6 cardamom pods, or 1/4 teaspoon ground
1 tablespoon cumin
6 cloves garlic
5-6 drops red food coloring (optional)
1 lemon, juiced

In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup yogurt/sour cream with all dry spices, and the red food coloring. Place chicken into a 5-6 quart slow cooker and pour cream/mixture on top of meat.  Toss garlic cloves on top and squeeze on the lemon juice.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4.  Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of yogurt/sour cream.  Serve over basmati rice...we also enjoyed ours with naan on the side!

It's really that easy--but you would never know by tasting it!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Broken Record

This was my first week in the classroom to present the Life Skills curriculum.  Granted, I didn't think we would get started this week b/c I was still in the process of scheduling several schools before we broke for the long Labor Day weekend.  But, those schools are now scheduled so I'm off and running!

This past week I was with just the 6th grade classes--our district has 10 elementary schools and about 18 sixth grade classes.  Come the first of October, I will add the 8th graders to my schedule...but luckily I'll only do 1 eighth grade team this semester and the other 3 teams will be in the Spring.  I haven't done a count to know how many students I have, but I know there's more than we accounted for as I ran out of books within the first two days!

They always say, that when you teach someone, they teach you new things as well.  What have I learned so far?

1.  The kids are completely fascinated with my earrings...and I haven't even worn anything fun/bold yet!
2.  They think I'm tall...if only they could see Justin!
3.  They have NO problem testing boundaries when the teacher steps out for a minute, but they also redirect very well :-)
4.   They seem very eager to learn

And I'm glad to see they're interested in Life Skills.  Really, I am.  This week we focused on Self Image and Self the end of Friday, I was a broken record.  We talked about everything from defining self-image to doing a reflection activity of who we are as a person, to things we want to change about ourselves to setting a goal that will be worked on for the next 15 school weeks.  Next week's topic is about decision making...and not just making GOOD decisions but HOW to make decisions.  To me, that is such a basic part of life but it's also very obvious that many younger children do not know how to make decisions...regardless of how simple or complex that decision is.  Some of them have had every waking minute of their life planned for them--while some have never experienced structure and just float through life as things fall apart around them. 

I'm sure that as the weeks pass, the students will teach me more and more each day.  I've also learned during the past week to wear comfortable shoes!  On Friday, I wore a pair of shoes that I wear all the time and I can walk anywhere in...but by the end of the day  my legs were throbbing, I was exhausted and even after a good night of rest & Tylenol, my legs still hurt all day Saturday.  Apparently the Life Skill necessary for me to learn is how to pick out better footwear!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Random Dozen

Everything in our life is pretty much at a stand-still right now, so there's not much to blog about!

Random Dozen

1. What is your favorite Mexican dish?

I can't decide between tamales or the veggie chimichanga at La Fiesta--I crave them both on a regular basis!

2. When you were a kid, did you get started on your homework right away after school, or did you procrastinate?

Honestly, I remember doing chores right after the bus dropped us off and that's it.  Surely we had homework???  I really don't remember having any homework until high school math.  And I didn't just procrastinate--I cried everytime I had to do it!

3. What is your favorite store for home furnishings?

Ummmm, probably Z Gallerie...but most of their stuff is beyond our budget and their closest store is in Omaha!  So I just look online and daydream :-)
4. When you were young, did you like school lunches?

I think so!  Morganville used to have homemade food and it was way more appetizing than what they serve nowadays.  My favorite lunch was the chili crispitos with nachos...yum!

5. Is religion a crutch?

It most certainly can be when they use it to promote some crazy political agenda!

6. In your region, what is the "big" (most popular in the community or state) high school sport?

K-State recent years, it was all about football but now our basketball program is changing that.  Go Frank!

7. Do you consider yourself rich?

Financially--we're anything but rich...As far as having what I want in life--yes!

8. Which of these would you have the best chance for success in administering:
B) Heimlich Maneuver
C) Changing a flat tire

Probably 'B'--I used to be CPR certified but I wouldn't trust myself to do it...changing a flat tire--yeah right.  But I could definately pull in on someone's stomach for awhile!

9. Which dance would you prefer to learn & why:
A) Salsa
B) Hip Hop
C) Waltz
D) Swing

You don't even want to see me attempt to dance...

10. What's the worst news you've ever delivered to someone?

A few years ago, our former hired man died in a car accident (in the ditch by my dad's field) while my parents were on vacation.  Eddy was a fixture in our lives for the longest time and Dad thought the world of him...I hated calling Dad & having to tell him over the phone, but I had no other choice :-/

11. Name something you learned in college that had nothing to do with classes or academics.

How funny!  Justin and I were just having this conversation last night!  College prepares you for handling yourself in the real world...skipping class=poor grades=expulsion from the college...skipping work=wrecking havoc on your job=losing your job!

12. New variation on an old question: If there's a song in your head that just won't get out, what is your favorite (or most repeated) line in that song?

I have had the new Adam Lambert song in my head all week long now.  And I'm not even an Adam Lambert fan.  I could never have identified any of his songs prior to this week...and now it won't stop playing in my head!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

24 Days Left!

Today is September 1st.  Holy cow.

Our wedding is in just 24 days.  Holy cow.

We got engaged almost 15 months ago and started planning a small wedding.  Holy cow.

A small, simple wedding...what a romantic, intimate way to say your vows and celebrate your marriage...yeah, right!

Justin is one of seven children.  He has a ton of aunts & uncles plus cousins and their children.  He grew up in a small town, moved to Milwaukee in High School, played junior college ball outside of Chicago, transferred to KSU and has since worked at two different places.  My family isn't near as plentiful as Justin's, but there's still a bunch of us!  I also grew up in a small town, spent 2 years at Creighton, transferred to KSU and have since worked at numerous places and become involved in various boards and community projects.

In our 27 years of life, we have met TONS of people and we think the world of everyone we have come to know.  We realized we couldn't afford a 500-person wedding and frankly, I feel they can become very we went with the small, intimate wedding!

HUGE mistake.  Because the reception venue only holds about 80 people we were limited to family--and not even all of our family members at that--college roommates and a few coworkers.  Such a small guest list causes issues that you can all imagine, so we'll leave it at that...because if I even think about it my head starts hurting and my stomach goes crazy.

We have had our wedding day go from being an Away Game day for K-State Football to a Home Game day--thank you, Snyder, for changing the schedule in hopes of becoming Bowl eligible!  Hotel prices literally doubled, thus automatically requiring a minimum two night stay and everything in Manhattan & Wamego was either booked or refused to block off rooms for a now our guests are staying in Junction City! 

Thankfully, a lot of the big stuff is done & major issues have been resolved.  Regardless of wedding size, I came to realize the amount of planning is the same.  The only difference with a small wedding is you end up with hurt feelings when it's all said and done. Lesson learned...but we have to keep moving on til the big day is here and over with!

My dress is done being altered so I pick it up this afternoon...and we need to file for our marriage license sometime this week.  After those two items are marked off the list, it's down to dealing with the final details as they come.  Thankfully, they're spread throughout the month but I just want to get them all done with...and now!  lol...Something tells me that I could be a frazzled wreck between now and September 25.

On top of it all, Justin's crew found out they're leaving for Hurricane Earl no later than tomorrow morning and they were told to pack for 2-weeks.  When they responded to Hurricane Ike in 2008, the 2-weeks turned into 4 weeks.  If that turns out to be the case with Earl, we'll cross that bridge when it comes...who knows, I may be picking Justin up from the airport just hours before our rehearsal starts!