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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)

Sunday
Jan052014

Something of Substance

For once?

Nah. Just a time to check it, me thinks. I haven’t been around for a while, yeah? So like all good bloggers, I’ll give ya a little Year in Review and just go from there, K?

First of all, welcome all you newly engaged brides. You’ll find some really great rants on here and some pretty good information too. Just use the search function and you’re bound to find what you need. From veils, to RSVPs, an open letter to Wedding Guests (in case you need it) and an excellent alternate registry. I still do a bunch of  TruLu Couture wedding pieces, but most are custom. I am working on a pretty lace little capelet, though….

For everyone else, here’s where we’re at:

The year 2013 did not start of so well for T30SB. I got incredibly sick when I was overseas in January and I swear, I wasn’t 100% well until like, March.

On top of it, I was getting to a stress level at my job that was ridiculous. And I mean ridiculous. If I didn’t cry in my cube, it was a good day. I tried to assuage the stress with a January hot yoga class (love me some hot yoga!). In said class, I had an anxiety attack. Nothing like thinking you’re having a heart attack in a 105 degree room, sobbing into your sweat rag, praying everyone in the class will continue to ignore your complete mental melt down (they did).

I think when I was at the office all day on July 4th was when I had had e-fucking-nough and started really looking for a new job. I wouldn’t find it until October! Sheesh! More on that in a sec.

We didn’t do a whole lot this year except try to catch up. At least that’s what is felt like. A lot of that had to do with finances. For instance, we finally met our 81 and 86 year old neighbors when our Red Oak tree dropped a branch on their roof. No damages,  but now we know how much an arborist costs.

I had to get a new bumper and radiator and all sorts of crazy crap done, all because someone caught the edge of their bumper on a bush. In their own yard. I’m not saying it was me. I’m not saying it wasn’t, either.

I think having been unemployed for so long, then buying a fixer-upper house, effing up on our taxes while I was unemployed and then little annoying things like an arborist, all gave me that feeling of needing to catch up.

Once I got my new job (and new paycheck!) I felt like I could breath again. Isn’t that little sad? That money chilled my ass out?

At any rate, I felt less stress about everything and am settling into my new role. If you can believe it, I’m actually doing my product development gig in the world of FABRIC! I know, amazing, right?

The Candyman and I have been married for four years now. I’ve learned marriage is work. The Candyman is much better at finding the solutions than I am. For instance, we started arguing about dinner. Remember, I was Susie-fucking-homemaker before I started working again. I worked late all the time. I still do. I don’t get home until 6:30-7pm every night. The bummer is that The Candyman can’t really cook. He’s pretty good at making one thing at a time, but has a hard time coordinating an entire meal. He’s excellent at grilled cheese sandwiches and popcorn. Anyway, this left all the cooking with me. The daily stress of figuring out what to cook for dinner was just as bad as the damn job. So The Candyman took the lead. He made  lists of dishes, planned out a few weeks of meals and put together a shopping list. Once I saw all he had done, I sat down with him and paid attention. We put the meal list on the frig and when I’m running late, The Candyman acts as my sous chef. He gets all the goodies out and prepped for cooking, so that when I come home all I had to really do is throw everything together.  I clean more afterwards and he helps more before. It seems to be working, though we do have to plan all our meals. This is sometimes painful, but I think we’re saving money by doing it.

Does that sound like common sense to anyone? The above compromise? It seems simple, but sometimes simple is hard to see in a marriage, no?

On the activity scale of 1 to 10, 1 being sofa loaves and 10 being globe trotters, The Candyman and I are ranking at a solid 4. I travel for work, The Candyman never does. The furthest The Candyman travels is the four hours it takes him to drive to the North Carolina coast. My parents are three hours south. We have had little time or extra money to take time for ourselves this past year. The Candyman turns 40 this year, so there needs to be an adventure, just for that, right? I think so too!  I want to go someplace interesting like Mount Rushmore or see the Mayan ruins. I need to get my culture on.

I did work with a couple of brides this year on some customer projects. I even ended up being a bit of a wedding coordinator on my own anniversary. Long story, but here’s an additional tip to any bride who still may be reading at this point: make sure you don’t leave your goddamn wedding license in the goddamn hotel room. It does you NO GOOD there.

So Christmas is done. We took down the tree and decorations today. The time with our families was drama-free! On both sides! Amazing! The Candyman got me the much-coveted Paperwhite.

He also surprised me with a beautiful pair of Tiffany pearl earrings about five days too early. He hid them from me in the suitcase I used to pack for our trip to see family. Oops. It was such a  sweet gift though and I love the ear-bobs, as my grandmother used to call them. 

Oh, and I’m totally growing out my actual hair color and then I think I’m totally going to cut my hair short. I have got some serious gray going on and I just want to see what I look like. If it’s old hag, then I’ll just dye it again, but I want to know: How gray am I really? Stay tuned.

So for the first time in over a year, I feel like I can breath again. I’m sewing for pleasure. I’m building friendships. I might even be starting to exercise again, but let’s just keep that a secret. I can’t be counted on for continuity.

Happy New Year, y’all.

Monday
Apr152013

The Little Nooks

I’ve been focusing on a lot of negative energy lately. There’s been too much bad juju floating around me and I am sick of it.

This weekend, I FINALLY had a free moment, several of them, in fact. And they ALL STRUNG TOGETHER! Kick-ass, right? So after I had a girl-friend lunch with two glasses of wine, shoe shopping, a massage AND a facial, I walked around the house and took pictures of the little parts of the house that I love and that are coming together quite nicely, thank you very much. Lookie!

  TheThirtySomethingBride5

I love the hallway. It’s 30’ long and I actually found a runner for it. Love the hallway. And we have art picked out for the side walls. We can’t wait to get the pieces, but we have to save the pennies first.

I also love my TJ Maxx special – the orange lamp. I just picked up the cute little succulent plant and it makes me love the lamp even more. And succulents are just SO COOOOOL, right?

TheThirtySomethingBride2

I like where this is going. This is the guest bedroom. The Candyman wants to make it ‘The Nashville Room.” You’ll see why in a second. But I like this little part of the room. The quilt used to be on our bed, but we’ve moved it here because it looks better. The beside table is a family antique.

TheThirtySomethingBride3

The bedframe that I spray painted matte black looks fine, but I think I want a fabric headboard now. So far, I’m OK with this.

TheThirtySomethingBride4

It’s the guitar wall, hence ‘The Nashville Room.”  The Candyman thinks the other bedside table should be a vintage guitar amp. The idea is growing on me. And yes, The Candyman LOVES Johnny Cash.

TheThirtySomethingBride6 

We bought a cowhide rug! I just realized that might be inappropriate for my vegan friends. Sorry guys, cuz I love it! It’s a gorgeous brindle color and looks somewhat awkward with our goose-neck couch. Once we get that sucker recovered though, it’s going to look BAD ASS!

We also got three vintage Danish post-modern tables. They are amazeballs. We got them refinished for a song and they look so good with the hardwoods and the rug.

 

The other side of the room has a big ass plant. We love our big ass plant. It brings a really mod feeling into our mid-century house. Love. Love. LOVE!

My last favorite little area is my bathroom. I finally got it all pulled together. I didn’t know what to do with the old ceramic soap and toothbrush holders (there are FOUR), so I bought these little votive holders and planted little kalanchoe plants in them. The just finished flowering and I don’t know if the containers are too small the allow them to flower again, but I still like how they look. The pink flowers? I pulled them off a tree in our backyard. Booya. I stuck them in an old spice jar and voila.

So there are my little nooks of happiness. Where are you finding yours?

Sunday
Mar032013

Making Wedding Decisions, It Happens In Life. All Da Time…

So there are two (TWO!) women in my department getting married this year. It takes every ounce of strength I can find in the depths of my soul to not to be in their shared cubicle (THEY SHARE THE SAME OFFICE SPACE!) asking about preferred photographer style, flowers, shoes, you know…all the shit.

I’m itching to know all the details, but I’m pacing myself. I’ve offered up my accessories skillz, should they want/need any. I was tickled pink  when my opinion was asked about a potential venue/family timing conflict. I soundly shared my wedding knowledge in what I hoped was a non-biased approach. I was trying to keep the what-I-would-do-versus-socially-accepted-versus-do-what-the-fuck-you-want perspective. I hope I did okay.

It got me to thinking about some of the decisions I made as a bride. The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. The Brilliant.

It got me thinking to my post-wedding decisions. There are so many parallels to the planning world that I’m starting to think that marriage and the road I took to get there (it involved a trip down Wedding Planning Boulevard) don’t parallel life – they are life.

I. Am. Brilliant.

I know, I know.

Sometimes it take me a while, but you know, I get it.

So I’ve been shopping for bath mats for about 3 months now. I’m serious. I have purchased and returned 4 different bath mats and two different colored towel sets. I have been to Bed, Bath and Beyond 9 times in those three months. I’ve been to Anna Linen’s, Front Gate, Pottery Barn, Wal-Mart, Target (at least  5 times), JC Penny, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus (uh huh), and eighty billion other establishments, all of which sell BATH MATS. THE IMPOSSIBLE FUCKING BATH MATS!

Exhausting.

So one Saturday night, I bribed The Candyman to go to Bed, Bath & Beyond with me. I bribed him with the promise of snacks. The Candyman will do anything for good snacks. So we headed to the BB&B and wandered the aisles of what-about-this-in-the-foyer and the endless rows of of-course-we-need-these-OXO-accessories. I dragged him through towels over over to bath mats and pointed out the multitude of flaws in the selection of colors, sizes and pile height. I pointed out how lacking they were in colors to match our shower curtain. The Candyman dutifully agreed. We wandered in and out of vignettes of shower caddies and body poufs. We ended up in shower curtains, looking at prints and noting the color co-ordinations to OTHER BATH MATS.

The Candyman casually says, “Why don’t you get another shower curtain and match to it?”

What? Do WHAT?

Because I have spent so much time trying to fit a round peg into a square hole, I forgot that could change the hole to match a peg. Any ol’ peg. Or in this metaphor, the goddamn shower curtain.

$39.99 later, minus my 20% off coupon, plus tax, I entered into a  new realm of bath mats; shapes, sizes and colors attacked my senses. I don’t have new towels yet, but I do have two perfectly colors and sized BATH MATS, a new shower curtain, a new clock, acrylic canisters that hold cotton balls and cotton swaps. I have a cool new acrylic tissue box.

I got little mercury glass candleholders from West Elm months ago that have been sitting in  that bathroom doing nothing spectacular. But inspiration had taken hold (THANK YOU SHOWER CURTAIN) and I saw these adorable little kalanchoes that I immediately decided to plant in the candleholders. And they look SO FUCKING CUTE in my new bathroom! I have kept them alive for a week so far. I’m hoping to find towels sometime soon and then I’ll show cute pictures.

My whole point in all this is this: sometimes you need to let go of something to find the right thing, be it BATH MATS, bouquets or whatever it is you think you need.Try that and see what happens.

Monday
Dec312012

Happy Fucking New Year

It’s been a while since I’ve bitched. I’m feeling the itch somethin’ powerful.

Here’s the deal. Haven’t seen many posts have you? No, you have not. It’s not that I don’t want to write or don’t have anything to say, it’s just that I am so fucking busing and so fucking tired every goddamn day that I simply can’t find the energy to do more than play a game of Scramble on my iPhone and fall into bed at 9:30pm.

Work has been horrid for both of us. The pressure of both of our jobs is bordering on insanity. Between the three members of my immediate team, there were weeks where at least one of us was crying. Not run-to-a-bathroom-stall-and-silently-sob cry, but at the desk, head-in-hands-bawling.  Not good.

So I was looking forward to my 11 day vacation with MUCH anticipation.

The Candyman and I planned to visit the folks at Christmas for a few short days, then skedaddle back on home for a staycation holiday. We were going to rip down an old fence, take long walks in the woods, go out to eat, see some movies and simply rest ourselves and de-stress.

I also had to do just a little shopping to prep for my trip to China. I leave on January 4th. 

But no. My Dad was sick when we arrived for Christmas. He infected both me and The Candyman. We returned home coughing, snorting, sniffing, blowing, hawking up lung oysters and feeling generally disgusting and miserable.

I have done NOTHING since we got back from Christmas except be sick. I went to the doctor today and now have a fresh stock of drugs to try to beat the mucus uprising in my lungs. All I want is good goddamn night’s sleep.

Unfortunately, I have to finish re-designing a wedding gown for my friend to sell online (hint: a TruLu Couture’d Monique Lhuillier will be posted soon!), find a new overseas suitcase (a most difficult task for a 3-week China sojourn) due to a busted zipped on an old one, pick up travel crap at Sephora, de-Christmas the house, do laundry, pack, try to get my nails done (if I don’t, I chew my nails down to the nubs when I fly) and oh yeah, get healthy.

Seriously? The suckiest ass vacation in the recorded history of all vacation. Has to be.

And here it is New year’s Eve and we’re house-bound watching The Walking Dead Marathon, coughing and hacking our way old episodes. Hooray.

Happy New Year y’all. Despite my sickly surliness, I hope yours is safe and wonderful.

Bah.

Monday
Dec032012

Miscarriage: The Angel of Grief

No, not me.

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A while back I asked my special writing friends if they could write a blog post that they didn’t have the nerve to write on their own blogs, to do so and I’d post on my blog anonymously. I always feel like there are posts that I just can’t write since I’m not an anonymous blogger. Those posts tend to well up and bloggers (if they are anything like me) have these posts rolling around in their noggins, driving them up the goddamn wall. I gave my special writing friends the opportunity to share. And they did. You can check those out here, here and here.

One of those special writing friends took her sweet damn time getting her post to me, but it’s well worth it. It’s about her miscarriage and her constant struggle to get pregnant. This is not my first friend to go down this road; the trying and failing, the miscarriages, the IVF’s, the anticipation and the disappointment. From the sidelines, it’s painful to watch. It kills me to see folks so hopeful and to have their hopes dashed every month.

One thing I do know is that the women I know who have all been through this come out stronger on the other side. Whether choosing to remain childless, adopt or (in one very Sex in the City Charlotte-esque fashion) a friend who was trying to celebrate the adoption of her second son with a girlfriend luncheon but was just so sick all the damn time. As I understand the story, gal pals ran to the drug store and came back with a pee stick. Yeah, after being told she would never conceive, she was preggers.

I think I know now why this post took my friend so long to write. It’s something that is still ongoing with her; it’s a constant. I want to thank her for the incredible strength in writing this. Lady, you are so brave and I’m so proud of you for keeping at it and for sharing your experience with everyone.

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“The first thing I want you to know is that you had nothing to do with this. This ISN’T your fault, there was nothing you could do to prevent it, OK?”

My OB GYN said this as she squeezed my hand. I nodded, trying to keep it together as my husband and I sat in the little office, me on the exam table and him, trying to be my rock with his arm around my already convulsing shoulders.

At some point at eleven weeks, the little blob in my tummy stopped having a heartbeat. There was no physical indication, but somehow I just had this feeling that all was not right and it was confirmed at the longest OB GYN visit in my life.

After the DNC, followed by a massive breakdown on my projected due date, I still wasn’t totally ready to move on but I started to feel better about things but not without tons of insecurities that no book or website (that I can easily find) ever discusses.

So let’s discuss them now.

There are tons of books and videos and websites and even people who give you information on getting pregnant, being pregnant and enjoying the fruits of your literal labor. But until it happens to you, the reality of a miscarriage isn’t something that’s openly talked about.

On one hand I regretted and was almost embarrassed that I told people I was pregnant. Sure, I waited till about five weeks but really felt stupid for doing so after I miscarried. Really, I shouldn’t have and you shouldn’t either because on the other hand, everyone I had to then tell about the loss offered up a ton of support.

All of a sudden, I’m getting stories of people - lots of people - who have been through the same thing. “My mom miscarried several times before she had me.” “My girlfriend did too, also at 11 weeks.” “One of my friends lost her baby at six months,” just to quote a few. Two of my aunts told me they’d had miscarriages when they were younger and were a lot more sympathetic than I ever imagined they’d be.

You’ll come to learn that people you’ve known all your life have had one or more than one miscarriage, women you’ve worked with who had stillborn babies and that 99% of those women have gone on to have several healthy, happy kids! I started to believe what my OB told me - this is something beyond my control.

I’m not saying that I’m glad all those other women had to suffer the same pain (or worse) than I did but boy did it help!! It was SO comforting to know that I wasn’t an anomaly; I wasn’t doing anything wrong. A good friend put it in even more perspective for me: a miscarriage is your body’s way of making a difficult decision for you. Either terminate now when there’s something amiss, or not at all and then my husband I and would have to deal with the issues later on.

Again, not reason at all to jump for joy or whatever but it’s true. Our bodies are such amazing things and while it wouldn’t be the end of the world or necessarily anything negative to have a child with a disorder, at least it’s one less thing to worry about for now.

But once you get over that, there’s the other stuff to deal with - suddenly it felt like everybody around me was getting pregnant. Some meant well and almost have a regretful tone when telling me and I’d put on a brave front, smile and squeal with excitement with congratulations. Truth be told, inwardly I was angry and hurt. Unnecessarily so, sure but I couldn’t stop the inner voice that screamed, “That should be me! WHY isn’t that happening for me??!”

By the way, if you’re pregnant and you have friends who’ve either miscarried or who are having difficulties getting pregnant, before you say “We weren’t expecting to, it just happened!” to us, just please don’t. It doesn’t make us feel any better or help us any to know that your pregnancy was unexpected and, maybe I speak for myself here, but it frustrates me more to know it was just so damn easy for you. Yet here I am, stressing out and trying hard every month to no avail. So just tell us you’re pregnant and let the conversation flow from there.

It’s so easy to feel like the universe is against you because Everybody. Is. Knocked. Up. People who shouldn’t even have kids together are having kids because they were careless and here I am, trying everything I can to have a child and nothing is sticking. It becomes this petty competition and I found myself saying “If this couple that just got married has kids before we do I’m going to lose my shit.” My husband then has to talk me down from that ledge and remind me that a) it’s not a contest and b) no one’s doing it to spite us.

Honestly, I know they’re not and even after two years it’s still a challenge to just take things in stride and not feel like the kid who got picked last in kickball. Far as I know, while there are books and sites talking about miscarriages and online message boards (which I avoid like the plague because the people on there can be idiots) that touch on miscarriage, the information isn’t as readily available as sources for pregnancy/raising children.

Then there’s the trying hard thing. How hard is hard? Everyday? Every other day? There’s conflicting information online so my best advice is to just ask your doctor. Don’t Google it, don’t go on message boards. What worked for one person, may not work for you. Just ask your doctor and try your BEST without putting any strain on your relationship with your spouse. There are two parties involved and it’s easy to forget that - don’t ever assume your spouse is on the same page as you and TALK about it.

That said, the silver lining to all this is that it has strengthened our marriage and we both know with confidence that even if we end up never having kids, we’re 100% happy just him and me. Still, though, we’re trying and doing what we need to and giving it our all until we’ve exhausted all options.

The reason I wanted to write this post is really to just share what I went through. It helped me a lot to have other people to talk to about this (without having to go on a message board) and it’s helped me deal with the grief and stress enough to have the confidence to give it another shot. I’m keeping this anonymous because it also involves my husband and my family and while I’m an open book, they may not be.

Since our miscarriage, I’ve had friends go through the same thing and it’s heartbreaking to see them so stricken with grief but it’s part of the process. I know exactly what they’re going through, and I do not hesitate to just listen or talk to them when they need it. You’ll find someone you know who also isn’t going to hold back from lending a shoulder to cry on.

Miscarriages are going to happen. I’m not saying it’s going to happen to you but if it does, don’t be afraid to tell someone. There is nothing to be embarrassed about and while you don’t have to announce it on Twitter, odds are you’re going to have a friend who’s been through the same thing, or a friend of theirs who has who is going to be willing to talk to you.

If you can stomach it, and you don’t get into a mental rage when reading bad grammar or flat-out idiocy and you prefer anonymity, find a message board. There’s also the website Unspoken Grief that deals with miscarriages and loss that I found through Babble.com which also has some good articles on the topic. There are also books, apparently, but sometimes flipping through a book written by a doctor isn’t the same as commiserating with others who understand.

And you know what? If you decide it’s not for you, don’t let anyone pressure you into having kids again or trying. It’s your life.

If you’re reading this and you’ve had a miscarriage and are trying again, I wish you the best of luck and I hope it’s helped a little to know that you’re not alone. And if I had to leave you with one thing that I hope sticks, it’s this: barring alcohol abuse, drugs or smoking, it wasn’t and never will be your fault.