The rigors of model-dom

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Subtitled: I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day.

Or, er, yeah I do.

I actually get out bed at 6:00 in the ayem (grunt) to PAY someone to be personal paparazzi for me and The Good Man.

Today was our engagement photo day. Part of the package deal we got with our wedding photos.

Well all righty, then.

I was terribly nervous and not terribly prepared. Yesterday I realized that my nails and toes were a MESS and we had dinner out with friends last evening. Time just ran out.

So…I had a “special” offsite meeting at work and at least got that cleaned up.

I agonized over what to wear. So did TGM. We’re both awfully independent cusses, so really, we didn’t consult with each other much on color or style. And yet, we intuitively ended up blending together just right (we’re all pycho psychic that way).

I wore a purple patterned dress with some fun red shoes. TGM wore a blue button down, nice jeans and his new leather blazer (he looked hoooooooot).

We trudged up to San Francisco for a variety of locations for the shoot.

It was kind of a crazy day, one of those oddball times where nothing seems to come together and then yet it did. Our photographer forgot her camera battery, so right away off we went to obtain a new one…until she remembered she had a spare “emergency” one tucked in her bag. She was terribly embarrassed but need not have been. We ALL do stuff like that…

Later I got dive bombed by a little blackbird in the park that I guess wanted some hair for it’s lnest because it tugged out a few strands and *freaked* me OUT.

All weird sh*t aside, once we got going, it all came together. Our photographer is really great and super creative and very professional.

Who knows if the pictures all came out ok or if TGM and I just ended up looking dyspeptic in all the shots. Could go either way.

But at least TGM and I had some fun ideas for locations. Our photog says she gets a little tired of all the same locations in SF. Baker Beach (with the Golden Gate in the background…you’ve seen this photo…over and over and over), Palace of Fine Art (a MAJOR wedding photo location…just, ugh) and hanging off a trolley car (uh…no).

Instead we picked Nob Hill, North Beach and AT&T Park.

We have a few weeks for the photographer to get up uploaded so we can see how they all came out.

But for today. Whoosh, am I tired. I mean, really tired. How can posing and smiling big cheese and kissing my handsome man wear me out so much?

But it did.

Ah well, this is the next milestone in our journey toward getting hitched. Just over 70 days remain.

Ba-KAH!

An ode

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To the humble cupcake.

Not all cupcakes are humble. Just mine.

Recently, for whatever reason I can’t rightly explain, cupcakes have taken on a certain caché, especially with my fellow Gen X’ers.

And there is a big trend toward really pretty cupcakes.

Many folks are even having these pretty cupcakes for their wedding cake. (no, not mine…)

A really powerful, domestic and “womanly” woman at work makes cupcakes with some frequency. She proudly walks in the office with a trendy cool container full of lovely pink treats.

*sigh*

I detailed recently about making a birfday cake for my ownself, and since then, I’ve been pondering better icing recipes.

So yesterday I decided to make cupcakes, which gave me a chance to whip up some frosting.

The cupcakes? Well. They taste good, anyway.

The Good Man and I ate plenty.

But pretty? No. The frosting turned out an odd consistency. Yummy, but weird.

So when TGM and I had eaten our fill, I packed up the rest and brought them to work.

These wolves will eat anything.

Although, I have to say, there *is* something uniquely satisfying watching people eat my sad little creations. Something weirdly “female” to make good eats that people enjoy.

The reviews so far have been “tasty, not too sweet, but yeah, the frosting looks weird.”

Oh well.

Martha Stewart need not worry about giving up her crown to me…yet.

Here’s a blurry iPhone photo to give you the idea.

And I soldier on…

Group Therapy

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A personal blog really is just a form of confessional, right? No priest or therapist but a forum to air your issues.

With that in mind, I need to talk about a *painful* recent incident. It’s taken me these many days to be able to discuss it without wincing.

You see, as you know, I’m soon to get hitched to The Good (nay WONDERFUL) Man.

And as such, I need to wear what they call a “gown.”

I’ve worked for nine years at a company in which our multi-billionaire CEO wears old jeans with large visible holes. And we’re a company full of engineers. You can never set the dress standard terribly high with engineers.

So the standard of dress in my world has dropped considerably.

Once upon a time, I wore dresses and panty hose to work almost every day.

Now, it’s real, real hard to get my heiny into a pair of hose. I mean, why?

(Which begs for a slight aside…on the night that my love and I were engaged, I knew we were going to a REALLY nice place for dinner. Wanting him to think I’m a class act, I got out a dress from the back of my closet and bought a new pair of hose. My love observed the shimmy/shake/jumping dance it takes to get into those things and through hysterical laughter said, and this is a direct quote: “Never do that in front of me again.”)

Obviously with all this in mind, the thought of actually purchasing a wedding dress scared me sh–less. It took my best friend flying in from Las Cruces for the weekend to get me to do it. God bless her.

Once the dress was procured, the dress-making people told me, emphatically, that I had to go to Nordstrom to get measured and fitted for a “foundation garment”. (For those not paying attention, that’s a bra in street speak).

Well. If I was traumatized by going to buy a dress, can you imagine what this bit of news did to me?

I was immediately taken back to my youth. Twelve maybe? My mom took me to the Mervyn’s at Coronado Center in Albuquerque where a severe, middle aged woman roughly measured my burgeoning assets, and picked out the ugliest sturdy white device she could sell. No flowers. No lace. A utilitarian boob holding device.

To be fair, my mom did nothing wrong. She was being a good mom. No one could have known how traumatizing that would be for me. But it was. Traumatic.

So, needless to say, I’ve been avoiding the “get measured for a bra” task on my list of “to do’s” for the wedding.

With the day of my first dress fitting well nigh, this last weekend I had to “do the deed”.

I reluctantly trudged into Nordies and waited in line for one of the nice women working there to help me.

As I waited, it seemed the sturdy middle-aged woman with the Eastern Bloc accent was going to be the first finished with her customers, and would be the one assisting me.

FLASHBACKS FROM ‘NAM! Or Mervyn’s. Anyhow.

Much to my pleasant surprise, a young lady hidden behind Helga or Gilda or Gerta hung up the phone she was on, stepped forward and said to me, kindly, “how can I help you?”

I quiveringly told her I was getting married soon and was, to my own utter disbelief, going to be wearing a strapless bra and needed a garment to wear under.

She smiled kindly and said, “do you need to be measured?”

I woefully nodded.

Together we went to the dressing room where she quickly measured my assets (less burgeoning now, more succumbing to gravity).

She left the room to pick out items to try on. I stood there, shivering like a Chihuahua, waiting.

She brought in a few choices. Said cheerily, “ok, let’s try these on!”

She took one off the hanger, opened it up and held it out to me.

I complied.

She said, “Bend over and shake into it.”

What?

“Go ahead,” she urged.

I complied.

She fastened it up behind me.

Oh dear god. I am now wearing this contraption. I. Can’t. Look.

“Oh, now that’s not bad,” my new intimate friend Lilly, chirped.

I looked. Really, it wasn’t that bad. But it made my generous assets, uh…how to say this…made them burble up over the top. Many women like this. I do not. I prefer the “keep ’em stable” approach.

So we moved on to the next one. Shake, shake, fasten.

Hmm. I looked. This one not so very bad at all. I raised my arms up (the litmus test of a strapless device). Everybody stayed where they should.

Lilly pointed out that I was “getting good separation” which sent me reeling back to those old Platex bra commercials, “lifts and separates!”

So ok. We shook, shook into a couple more and decided that device number two was a winner!

Ok, so bra is done. That wasn’t so bad.

Now we needed a garment for the rest of the stuff that has to look good in a nice dress.

Out came the Spanx. You’ll recall the “Spanx and a sash” advice previously discussed.

So I was cool with the Spanx idea.

Until my little friend Lilly suggested I should get a “heavy duty” pair in a size smaller “to really hold you in”.

Uh. Well. Ok.

So she brought in this wrestler’s suit. Which is appropriate, because that’s what we had to do to try it on.

Lilly actually chose to HELP ME with this task.

This was more than a shake, shake, folks.

As we grunted like overworked longshoremen to get the device installed, about halfway through the job, I started laughing.

I remembered, “never do that in front of me again” and wondered what The Good Man would have to say about all this. Two women wrestling a recalcitrant pair of Spanx. Hot? Yeah, probably not.

Not to be deterred, Lilly demanded that I focus.

Give it up for Lilly’s tenacity. She got that damn thing on me.

There I stood in all my pre-matrimonial glory. Highly steel belted Spanx lashed to a sturdy strapless bra, all my bits and pieces sucked in to within an inch of my life.

And I looked at me in the mirror and said, “yeah, ok, that will work”.

Blessedly, on the removal, the Spanx shot off of me like Evil Knievel out of a cannon, and I was free to breathe once more.

The rest of the day I walked around like a chastened dog, tail between my legs, terribly embarrassed but glad I got the “framework” for my new pretty dress.

It didn’t erase the “incident” at Mervyn’s in the early years, but it helped. Turns out “getting measured” isn’t all that terrible. I also bought a couple of pretty, nicely fitting bras for everyday wear.

With lace! Man, has bra technology improved.

Wonder if my best good friend and Matron of Honor will be as kind to me as Lilly was when it comes to getting those Spanx back on…

She has until August to think about it.

Where has all the good taste gone?

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Chalk it up to the fact that Tim Gunn’s faboo style book is currently on my bedside table.

Or maybe blame it on the fact that I’ve been looking over The Good Man’s shoulder as he’s doing research on a tux for our upcoming nuptials.

Perhaps the fault lies with the fact that The Good Man and I attended a “semi-formal” wedding yesterday.

In any event, I’ve been thinking a lot about men’s suits lately. What works and what doesn’t.

I realize “fashion” is surely a subjective thing. But Mr. Gunn, of “make it work” fame, emphasizes fit and perspective when wearing clothes (and I agree).

And the old idiom, “don’t let the clothes wear you”.

So when a link titled “GQ’s best suits under $500” came across my blog bleary eyes, of course I clicked with alacrity to see what’s doin’.

The Good Man and I had just been talking about how it’s totally possible to buy a nice, well fitting suit for not a terrible amount of cash.

And here was a link to a slideshow to perhaps prove the point.

Oh was I disappointed when I took a look.

All of these suits listed as “the best” were all sort of…eh..: shoulder shrug : to me.

There is a trend lately to have only the top button fastened, which is fine by me, but if the suit fits well, you don’t get as much of the terrible pucker as seen here:

Also, look at this one. From what I can tell, it’s not a cotton suit (rayon blend the website says), but damn, look at all those wrinkles (all down the arm and the pants).

Did I miss a memo? Are wrinkles in? If so my crow’s feet are ready to take flight.

I don’t mind a casual suit like that, but it needs to fit! It also looks a little tight across the model’s tummy. My rule of thumb…if it makes the model look fat, it ain’t doing ANY favors for you.

Have we lost the concept of pants that break, jackets that fit and lay nicely, and a color that accentuates the coloring of the man wearing it?

A suit doesn’t need to be spendy to get the job done.

You can take a scruffy, fashion challenged guy and put him in a suit that fits and it’s simply awe-inspiring.

None of those listed as GQ’s “best” gave me even one *sigh* of appreciation.

I like this one the best, but even still, it’s not firing me up (and oh those SHOES! But that’s a whole OTHER post for another day).

Either I’m an ol’ fuddy, or we’ve lost our sense of style.

I blame (appreciate?) my maternal grandmother for giving me at least a modicum of a sense of style. Her tenet was that no home should be without a full-length mirror. No domicile of mine has ever failed this rule.

You can TELL it when someone doesn’t have one. The outfit looks good until your eyes travel below the knees then it’s a mess.

Lines, people. Check the lines.

Ah well, let’s head off to the weekend. It promises to be sweltering in the Bay Area, so my fashion will be reduced to flip-flops and the minimum acceptable amount of clothing.

Oh, and socks of any sort with flip-flops are a NO. Honestly, I’ve seen people tuck the sock between the toes and slide on the flips. Not ok. That’s the fastest way to see my “bit into a lemon” face.

I once saw a lady at work who did this with *pantyhose*. Tucked ’em between the toes and slid on toe divider sandals.

I almost passed out.

Just say no.