Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shower Me!

MOH is hosting my first bridal shower! It's this coming Sunday at her parent's home in San Francisco. I'm so excited!

Initially, I was trying to plan my own shower. MOH finally stepped in and told me that as much as I wanted to, I was out of luck-she was hosting and would be planning and I was not to worry about a thing. She selected these lovely invites from Wedding Paper Divas. Love them!

I'm super excited to see so many of my favorite women all in one place! Since most of my extended family is in Socal, we will also have a shower down there so not everyone must travel! My bridal party (except for Doctor K who is about to graduate!) and B's family, along with my mom and grandma will be there. Almost 20 all together which is a lot more than I was excpecting!

The only thing I have to worry about it what to wear!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Bach-Fest!

As a preface, I LOVE Las Vegas. I almost moved there for law school but decided to stay in CA. I've probably been to Vegas over 50 times. Forty of those times was to go water skiing at nearby Lake Mead with my family. Since I turned 21 I've gone a handful of times for various birthdays to party it up. I'm not a huge wait-in-line club person, but I do love to dance and can definitely get my drink on. My best memories of Vegas are the times where we ended up doing something completely random. My worst memories are trying to fit in at some overpriced club that wasn't fun.

We were always planning on doing a Jack-n-Jill bachelor party. I could seriously care less about strippers and the like, so going to Vegas together seemed like a ton of fun. Many of B's groomsmen are married (or pretty much married) and I've become great friends with a couple of their SOs. One big party seems like the perfect plan.

Now it's time to pick a place to stay. Since I'm no big shot gambler, I don't have a ton of connections in Vegas. We're looking to have a girls suite and a boys suite. So far our best bet seems to be the Venetian. We were told that Venetian's new sister property, The Palazzo is super nice and has slightly larger rooms. Since their smaller suite can sleep 6-7, it's actually quite a bargain despite the fact that it's one of Vegas' most expensive hotels.

Our group will be a random mix of my single bridesmaids, married groomsmen, my brother and his girlfriend and us. Like I said, you wont find us waiting in long lines for a posh club, but because it's Vegas-we do want to do something super fun.

The itinerary for now is to have a kick back night of drinking and catching up on Friday night (we'll arrive late afternoon). Have a boys day (who knows) and a girls day (pool and drinks please) on Saturday and meet up that night for our big night out.

Would love to hear any feedback on Vegas or joint bach-parties in general!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Oh Nadine!

Alright, so I left the last shop feeling confident that the Maggie Sottero Nadine dress was the one. Despite seeing some lovely dresses during my las shopping trip, I just kept comparing them to the Maggie, and none of them were comparing.

Maggie Sottero Nadine

I decided to come back to try on the Maggie. I called the shop, talked to an extremely rude lady on the phone and asked if it was at all possible to have the dress steamed or pressed as it was extremely wrinkled. The rude girl gave me a ten minute lecture about how long it would take to steam the gown and how much work it would take. I wasn't expecting the lecture, so I squeaked out an "ok, just asking" as she caught her breath. Later, Mina called me. She told me she did not want to clean and press the gown because every time you do that to a gown it loses a little of it's luster and she would want to make sure this was my dress before she put my gown through the process. Wait? What? My gown? I have to order this particular gown? As in the sample? She then told me that Nadine was discontinued as of April 15th and I would be purchasing the sample (at a discount of course). This dress is a size too big which is better than a size to small. But there are some issues. Enter that sinking feeling. Are you kidding me?

Let me back up and say that I have now been to six dress stores and they all treated their samples a bit differently, but this particular shop was the absolute worst. Gowns on the ground, thrown into their plastic bags etc, etc. This particular sample was very wrinkled with about four noticeable marks and stains. Why? Oh why?
Mina suggested this satin bolero that mimicked the rouching of the dress. This one was too small, but you get the idea. Thoughts?

I came in to try her on and to really look it over knowing that this was the actual dress. I still loved it, but I just felt so frustrated. The gown was offered to me at 30% off. Decent, but not what I was hoping for. I was assured the stains would come out and was told the gown would look just like new and would be altered perfectly. I left feeling so confused. Was this a sign that this is not my dress?

That afternoon I ventured into a nearby shop, Miosa Couture. I had called the store, talked to the owner who was exceptional and invited me to stop by. I had time, found a parking spot and was there within five minutes. Wow! What a gorgeous boutique. I was told that each gown is custom made to fit the bride and that they use a special "built in" corset that aids in creating a beautiful shape. 2009_05_14-1

People-this place was amazing. I felt completely out of my league. The fabrics were amazing, the dresses felt great. I had two favorites and was told it would be no problem to combine the two to create my "dream gown" for the bargain price of $2900, including all alterations and my undergarments.

I'm not sure if I've talked about my dress budget before. A year ago, it was $500. That quickly jumped to $1000 once I saw what $500 would get me. I decided I wanted $1000 to include all alterations and hopefully a veil and shoes (realistic?). With my discount, the Maggie Nadine dress would be within budget. The Miosa custom dress-not so much. Fortunately, once I came home and uploaded my pics, I still loved the Maggie dress the most. Whew! I have to admit that the Miosa dress did feel better on, but since none of them really fit, none of them really spoke to me.

So I had a decision to make. I decided to make one more stop that day. House of Fashion is a well known bridal shop in Sacramento. They also have an outlet, HOF II about ten blocks away. Gowns are purchased off the rack. Once I walked in I was told they only had one (ugly) dress in my size. The lady was very nice and suggested their main store. I explained the situation and she sympathized with me, telling me it was only a matter of time before Nadine ended up at the outlet. She asked if I was a gambler. Ha. I know the price will be lower once it gets to the outlet. But who knows when that will be. I think I'd feel comfortable if they took another $100 off.

Should I work my mad negotiating skills? Do I go back to Alfred Angelo and get the sequined bust dress? Can I please where jeans and a black top to my wedding?

Saturday, May 16, 2009



For my fifth store, I met up with FMIL at Downtown Gowns in Vacaville. I had read some great reviews of this smaller shop and thought it was worth a trip while I was in town. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of larger samples available to try on. The owner was very polite and helpful and I was really impressed with her taste. I thought every dress was beautiful, but left with thought is of the Maggie I had tried on previously.

Would love to hear what you think!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Next stop was also spur of the moment. I had hearings in downtown Sacramento and decided to stop by House of Fashion afterwards. I had heard some pretty bad things about this shop, but thought it was worth checking out since I had the time. It was a quiet Monday. I arrived and was instantly introduced to my attendant, Mina and her assistant. From then on it was literally a tornado of dresses. I hated the first two they put me in and they seriously had those dresses on and off me in less than two minutes. The third dress was pretty, but not quite right. I thought the skirt was really pretty, but it just didn't feel right. I believe it was by La Sposa.
Then I saw the fourth, Nadine by Maggie Sottero. It was like a breath of fresh air. Finally! The simple, asymmetrical dress I was searching for! Mina was seriously a dream attendant. She didn't fawn over me but she definitely knew her stuff. Before I could finish describing the "messy" bustle I was looking for-she had the back manipulated to exactly the look I've been hoping for. Mina was a seamstress for many years and really understood the look I was trying to describe. She even found a lace bolero for me to try with the dress. While I want to have one made from alencon lace, this really helped to give me a visual.
I was so disappointed with how the pictures came out. Part of that is because the sample was extremely wrinkled. Believe me when I say that this dress was really beautiful and fit so well. It was slightly big, but I loved the cut and loved that there was no beading or embroidery!
It was time for some serious decision making!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Shopping trip number three was completely spur of the moment. I was up in Roseville for work and had a two hour wait until my appointments. I had seen that there was a new Alfred Angelo store and it seemed like the perfect way to kill two hours. I walked in on a Monday morning and was the only customer in sight. I was presented with a small catalogue to look through. As I flipped the pages, I thought about leaving. I didn't see a single dress I wanted to try. I pointed to a few dresses, and told myself I had nothing better to do. To my surprise, she had every dress in my size (or a little larger).

alfred angelo style 2007

I picked this first dress only because I had never tried anything like this before. I was seriously shocked at how much I loved it. I only had my phone to take pictures, so you can't see the beautiful lace on the bust area. The skirt was layers of chiffon. My favorite part was the way it fell in the back. I kept this dress on for a long time because it felt great. But I knew it just wasn't my dress. It just wasn't enough. For a split second I thought about this as a reception dress. As in two dresses. The price was in the $600 range.

The above dress was the most expensive dress I tried. I loved the fabric and the way the skirt was very random in its pick ups. I didn't love the plain ballgown look. While we both agreed this is a very pretty dress, I told my attendant (who was a doll) that I really liked an asymmetrical bodice. I hadn't seen any in the catalogue, so I started browsing the racks for anything with an asymmetrical look, just so I could see the difference for myself.

I found this dress on the racks and thought it was way too "blingy" for me. But it was in my size, and had the bodice I was looking for. I was really just trying to remind myself (and convince my attendant) that I loved what this type of dress did for my figure. When I came out in this dress, my attendant laughed at how right on I had been. I loved, loved, loved this dress. It was in the $800 range and felt so great on. It had the sweetheart neck and the asymmetrical bodice. I wasn't in love with the skirt, but we talked about making a few alterations so that it would have a more luxurious look. As soon as I got this dress on my attendant had her first appointment show up. I was also now running late for my work appointments, so I scurried out of this dress and planned on coming back with friends.
Had I found the one?