Obligatory post about wedding DIY stuff

Caps lock O-M-G, guys.  It’s less than three months until my wedding!

More and more wedding tasks are filling my agenda lately, including the obligatory DIY projects brides take on in a desperate bid to be as awesome as everything on Style Me Pretty.  Luckily, they’re going pretty well:

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(Toss bags, that we’ll fill with lavender buds.  The poem says “After the couple seals their vows with a kiss, toss the lavender to celebrate their wedded bliss”)

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(Personalized Cornhole boards in our wedding colors, for cocktail hour.)

I’ve also addressed all our invitations, made framed chalkboard bar menus, and am working on a directional sign.  Still to go are the bean bags for the Cornhole game, and designing/printing the table cards.

 I also had my first dress fitting last weekend, we had our first round of pre-marital counseling (which was super boring and depressing…I think maybe the minister is used to only counseling people about to get divorced…), and had a very fun bridal shower last Sunday.

It’s starting to feel very real!

Blueprint Cleanse, part 4

Well, I’m just about over the hard part!  In another hour or so, I’ll crack open my last juice on the juice-only portion of the cleanse.  Hooray!

I could easily keep going on just juice, and in fact, very seriously considered extending the juice-only part of the cleanse using a local juicer.  But, in the end, I think this length of time has been perfect to get me to reset.  I’ll be doing 5 days of easing off the cleanse (first raw vegan – then vegan – then vegetarian – then just healthy) and will consider myself officially “finished” on Friday evening.

Yesterday I felt great and had a ton of energy all day and experienced none of the supposed “detox” symptoms, which I attribute directly to adding salt to my juice.  Isn’t it coincidental that most of the supposed “detox” symptoms of cleansing are the same as the symptoms of hyponatremia?  Seriously…if you’re going to cleanse…make sure you’re getting adequate sodium, and you’ll have a much easier go of it.  Don’t let all the nonsense about “you have to experience the headaches and stomach issues to truly know you’re cleansing” get to you.  It’s just silly.

Today, too, I felt totally fine, and only felt hungry when I stretched the time between juices a little longer than I should have, when I went to a movie.  Yesterday, I didn’t even finish my last juice…I just wasn’t hungry for it, I already felt full.  I’m looking forward to seeing how much food it takes me to feel “full” on real food again.

As of this morning, I was down another 1.5 lbs, so 8.5 lbs total (that’s 4.5 from the cleanse itself, 4 from the pre-cleanse).  That’s fantastic.  My skin also looks better, and perhaps most oddly, my sense of smell is greatly improved.  My original goal, though, was to reset my cravings, and unfortunately I’m not totally sure that has happened. A big, crunchy salad does admittedly sound great.  But so does a bacon cheeseburger.

One other surprising consequence: it’s made me think more creatively about food.  Watching Carl eat taquitos yesterday, remembering what they tasted like, I started thinking about how I could come up with a better recipe for taquitos and make them myself.  (I’m thinking shredded chicken,  green onion, roasted chiles, and mozzarella cheese, rolled up in a corn tortilla and then baked instead of fried.)

I’ll probably do one final post on this once I’m back to eating normally, but in general, I liked the cleanse.  I think I might do another in February.  Using a structured program makes it especially easy–I didn’t need to think about anything, I just drank my numbered juices, and that was it. If you have more specific questions, let me know.  Otherwise, I’ll return to the “regularly scheduled wedding programming” of this blog soon :)

Blueprint Cleanse, Part 3

Well, I’ve survived the first juice-only day and am another 3 pounds down as a result.  That’s 7 pounds total after three days: wow.

The rest of the day yesterday was ok.  I had a few hunger pangs, but mainly I just missed the  ritual of eating.  Today, I didn’t wake up hungry or anything, just kind of bored with the idea of drinking more juice.

As for the rest of the juices (I described the first two in my last post) the spicy lemonade is tasty, but leaves that “maybe you’ve been drinking margaritas too long” citrus aftertaste just under my tongue.  The beet juice is probably my least favorite.  The flavor isn’t overwhelmingly beet-y, but just kind of generally unappetizing.  And the cashew milk was tasty, though it reminded me a lot of Slim Fast shake.  It at least felt substantial, which was better than most of the other juices throughout the day, and I was happy to have it last.  The pineapple-apple-mint is still my favorite.

According to the hippy-dippy types, I’m going through “detox” symptoms from the juice “cleaning out toxins” in my body.  This included a rather unpleasant couple trips to the bathroom yesterday evening post beet-juice (and fyi….if you drink a bunch of blood-red beet juice, then have a rather *explosive* time on the toilet, it looks like you’re bleeding internally, just fyi) as well as a headache last night that got progressively worse.  Unfortunately, for the guru set, I’m pretty sure these symptoms are much more likely to have been caused by lack of certain electrolytes, namely sodium, which happens because you’re drinking a ton of water on the cleanse.  

You only get about 12% of your recommended daily intake of sodium from your juices, and even Blueprint tells you that if you’re feeling low, you should add some “Celtic Sea Salt” to one of your drinks.  (For the record…I have Italian sea salt and have no idea what the difference may be.)  So this morning, I got a bit of salt with my first green juice–not enough to taste, but hopefully enough to clear out the last traces of this headache.  I think I’ll repeat for every other juice today.

More updates tomorrow.

Blueprint Cleanse, Part 2

It’s official–the cleanse has begun!

I did the vegan diet (mostly raw) for the past couple days to prepare, which was not too big of an issue.  Yesterday, however, I was experiencing some pretty intense carb cravings though.  Watching other people eat mashed potatoes at lunch was torturous, and Carl’s dinner of taquitos (which I normally don’t even like that much) looked like a 5-star meal to me.  Still, I resisted.

I got a bit of a mild headache around 5pm yesterday, which may have just been from lack of calories, to be honest.  I fixed the zucchini, tomato, avocado dish for dinner again, then snacked on pistachios and blueberries throughout the evening, and the headache quickly subsided after I had some more food.

Today, I woke up and weighed myself and got a nice bonus: I’m already down 4 lbs, (Though, considering I’m coming off the holidays, it’s not the surprising…I’d been eating like crap.)  This morning I had some green tea, and then dove into my first juice, this green number:

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I was worried, based on the many blogs I read, that it would be disgusting.  Verdict: it’s not bad at all.  To me, the overwhelming taste profile is cucumber, even though cucumber is the 4th ingredient after romaine, apple, and celery.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I *enjoyed* the taste, but it’s certainly palatable.

I have work today, but it’s a fairly light day for meetings, so hopefully my juicing will not get in the way of anything.  Tomorrow, the maid-of-honor (she’s also doing a juice cleanse, but not Blueprint) and I have plans to hit a yoga class and a steam room after.  (Thank you 24-hour fitness, for having free 3-day passes on your website!)  More to come later on.

Update 11:13: The second juice (pineapple, apple, mint) is DELICIOUS.  It tastes like a pineapple mojito.

Blueprint Cleanse, Part 1

So, last week I realized I’m about 4 months out from the wedding, my dress will be arriving soon, and I’m woefully behind on any sort of weight loss regimen.  Le sigh.  That’s when my occasional-diet-fanatic-and-sometimes-vegan maid of honor chimed in asking if I’d have any interest in joining her for a juice cleanse.

Truth?  No.  But I have even less interest in having fat arms in my wedding pictures.

So, after reading what felt like half of the world wide web that relates to the topic, I signed up for the Blueprint Cleanse.  The cleanse itself is fairly straightforward.  You pay them (a lot of) money, they overnight you eighteen 16-oz numbered bottles of fresh pressed, unpasteurized juice in a cooler bag, enough for three days.  You drink the juice (in numbered order), water, and herbal tea, and that’s it.  For bonus points, you can get a colonic, but there’s just no way in hell that’s happening.

Why am I doing this?  Just for weight loss?  Not exactly.  I don’t really expect to lose much weight from the cleanse itself (most folks online report about 5 lbs over the 3 days, mainly water weight).  But I do expect to reset my taste buds/cravings/mental attitude so that I’m not constantly craving junk food.  And cutting out that crap, and replacing it mainly with vegetables–over the long term, e.g. the remaining four months until my wedding–WILL hopefully result in weight loss.

Now, if you happen to be considering a cleanse yourself, and are reading half the internet to figure out whether to do it or not, let me just say that you’re going to encounter a lot of crap that has absolutely zero science behind it.  They’ll talk about “removing toxins” (reality check: your body does that on it’s own.  Just think about it, otherwise alcohol would kill you after one crazy night) or “giving your colon a rest” (reality check: your bowels don’t need to rest.  They’re not an old school Nintendo system.)  And you’ll also encounter a lot of naysayers telling you that juice cleanses MAY cause this or that or whatever, but they also usually are just working on guesswork, or talking about an unstructured program.

Bottom line: if you’re doing a “structured” program, like Blueprint or Cooler Cleanse or any of the other “big name” guys, you’re cutting back to about 1100 calories, barely any fat, and tons of vitamins each day.  Should you do it forever?  No.  Can you do it for a little while to jump start some weight loss?  Yep.  Ignore the rest of the bullshit the cleanse companies and/or cleanse naysayers try to sell you on.

Anyways, rant aside, today was my first “prep day”.  (They recommend you cut out or at least back on meat, dairy, processed foods, caffeine, and replace it all with fruits and vegetables leading up to the cleanse.)

For breakfast, I had half a cantaloupe and maybe 1/2 a cup of pecans.  This brought on a realization: unless they’re fried onto a piece of chicken or baked in a pie, I don’t much like pecans.  I also downed about 8 oz of green tea (which is allowed on the cleanse.)  By 11:30, I was definitely hungry for lunch.

Lunch brought a green salad with tomatoes, kalamata olives, carrots, and cucumbers, topped with a balsamic vinaigrette, with a big glass of water.  This was especially depressing, as my work cafeteria was serving up my absolute favorite–mac and cheese.  But, I persisted, and stayed content till about 4pm by sipping on more green tea.

At 4, I downed around 20 pistachios and about 20 blueberries.  The pistachios, which were salted, were the most delicious thing in the world at that moment, but they only kept me full for another little while.  More water ensued.

Around 6, I stuck a sweet potato in foil into the oven, and sauteed a zucchini and two tomatoes with a clove of garlic, olive oil, and Louisiana Hou Sauce.  Then I topped it with half and avocado.  Again, the most delicious thing in the entire world.  I’ll say this–at least the diet it making me appreciate the food I *can* eat.  But, once the sweet potato came out of the oven, I realized that much like pecans, sweet potatoes are much better laden in butter and sugar. I nibbled a bit, before ultimately pushing it aside.  Still more water.

So, overall today, I think I had about 1000-1100 calories, and at least 96 oz of liquid (either water or tea).  I’m not starving, by any means, but the few glimpses of bacon, beer, or gouda in my fridge has me definitely craving already, and I’m already noticing just how much delicious food is prominently displayed on tv.

Tomorrow is another prep day, and then I’ll “do the juice” Friday-Sunday.  I’ll report back with how it’s going, and whether I’m losing any weight as I go along.  Wish me luck!

Super-me vs. reality-me

Image This post isn’t entirely wedding related, but something I’ve been pondering a lot lately, and something I think a lot of my friends face too.  And that’s the incongruence between “Super-me” and the real me.

“Super-me” is how I think of myself in my head.  It’s a combination of how I wish I was, and how I think I could be if I could ever just truly got all my shit together.

Reality-me is cool, but not nearly as awesome as super me.  Let me show you with a day in the life of each of the mes, to give you a better understanding:

Super-Me wakes up at 6am and goes on a 30-40 minute jog each morning, then showers, straightens and curls her hair daily.  She puts a trendy, cute, figure-flattering outfit on her size 6 frame, and she never forgets to put on jewelry.  

Real me finally stops hitting the snooze button around 8:00 and throws on a t-shirt and jeans, again.  I drag a brush through my  hair, and almost always forget to put on earrings.

Then, Super-Me goes downstairs, feeds all the animals, and waters her glorious garden, plus does a quick-clean of the kitchen before heading into work.  At work, Super-Me is acutely focused all day long, and is incredibly productive while working at her standing desk. She never misses an email, and her inbox is incredibly organized.  She takes the stairs, not the elevator, to get places.

Real me usually remembers to feed the animals, but almost never has time to water the garden or do much of anything else before rushing in to work for my endless litany of meetings.  My inbox, despite valiant efforts, is a huge effing mess.  I do a good job at work, but make it harder on myself by not being as productive and organized as I could be.  I rarely take the stairs.

After work, Super-me comes home and makes a healthy, organic, and most of all, delicious meal–from scratch–for herself and her fiance. Instead of sitting in front of the tv the rest of the night, she takes the dog to the dog park, reads the current “it” book, brushes up on her Spanish with Rosetta Stone, or bakes amazingly complicated desserts, like French macaroons.  She treats herself to one, and only one, glass of red wine.  Around 10:30, she goes to bed, and has magnificent, mind-blowing, Cosmo-worthy sex with her fiance, every single night.

I usually get home around 6pm carrying some take out, and/or make a not-healthy (but tasty) meal with at least some pre-prepared ingredients.  Then we watch a couple hours of tv, and/or I do more work on my laptop until it’s bed time.  By that point, I’ve usually had at least 3 glasses of wine.  I never know what the “it” book is and so am currently re-reading Harry Potter for like the fourth time.  I rarely do things that are Cosmo-worthy.

On the weekends, Super-me wakes up no later than 9am, and heads straight to the farmers market with her already-planned out menu and list of ingredients for the next week.  She cleans the entire house top-to-bottom, does all the laundry, and hits a yoga or dance class with one of her friends.  She always has a great social activity planned for every weekend, whether it’s having friends over or going to a hip party.  She never feels antisocial, aggravated, or lazy.  She writes handwritten thank you notes for everything, and is fantastically good at craft projects.

Real me sleeps till 11am or so, and then maybe does one of these things all weekend.  Half the time, I forget to plan anything for the weekend, so we just sit at home and watch Netflix.

So, I think you get the gist.  It applies to weddings too. I torture myself with these gorgeous DIY wedding blogs, featuring countless thin and beautiful brides who have hand-crafted every single damn thing at their wedding, and have managed to keep their wedding budget to a fraction of what mine is.  Super-me could do that too.

Recently, a friend of mine posted something on the Facebook that was a similar rant, but with a focus on parenting. Her plea was why all her female friends and herself were trying to turn themselves into Stepford wives and be perfect all the time.  Our men aren’t perfect.  And they don’t beat themselves up over taking a nap, or eating the occasional fast food, or not looking like David Beckham.  So why do I feel the need to be Marissa Mayer at work, with a body like Gisele, who cooks like Ina Garten, keeps house like Martha Stewart, plans a social calendar like Carrie Bradshaw, and has a sex life like Megan Fox?

I don’t really know what the solution to all of this is.  But I do wish I could either find a way to be a little more like Super-me, or a way to stop obsessing about her.  Either one would likely do, and make me a happier gal as a result.

On a quest for the perfect bridal jewelry

According to the many pesky “wedding checklist” calendars, I should be determining my accessories this month.  Seems a bit premature to do this before my dress has even come in, but, hey, sparkly things!!!

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I LOVE these earrings (pictured above).  They just evoke old Hollywood glamour to me, vintage Liz Taylor.  Or rather, I would love them, if they were about 3x larger–the total size of these is just a bit over an inch, whereas I’m hoping for at least 3″ or longer.  I mean, I’m gonna have some pretty big Texas hair at this wedding–I can’t have my earrings getting lost in the mix.

Nordstrom’s has some that are somewhat similar, but just “not quite it”.  Saks has these, but again, a bit small for what I’m wanting.  Anyone seen anything similar to that anywhere recently?

I also think I’ll need a necklace, and other than “pretty” have no real ideas for what it should look like.   Maybe something like this?  Or maybe just a classic look:

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And is it possible I might just *have to have* this bracelet?

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It’s time to bling me out, friends.  I’m looking for old-Hollywood vintage style with a whole lot of bling.  Under $500 total hopefully, for everything, so we’re talking CZs and crystals, definitely not the real thing.  Who are your favorite designers? All suggestions appreciated!