Archive for February, 2007

Warm weather dreams, cold weather realities

Monday, February 19th, 2007

Um, my hard drive croaked on Friday, which means it’s gonna be slim pickins until the tech people get my new one sent out and I no longer have to use The Beard’s machine. My old hard drive had tons and tons of links to great gowns, jewelry, vendors, and such, so it’s a real bummer for me to have to go out and grab all those again. Maybe the whole data retrieval thing will pan out. Until I know more, though, my posts will probably be a little shorter than usual.

LDS Wedding Gown White Size 14

Brrrr, it’s cold where I am. This Millennial Sun almost-temple-ready number looks like just the thing for brides who are ::shudder:: getting married in the dead of winter. But, personally, I’m dreaming of the days when it’s once again warm enough to don a dress like this momma-friendly (i.e. maternity) dress from Nicole Michelle:

The 2pc Lace Wedding Gown Medium White

For the bride that doesn’t play by the rules

Friday, February 16th, 2007

You know what’s cooler than a non-sucky garter? A garter built to hold a flask, that’s what. Juliette makes it easy for frazzled brides to get a quick nip in the dressing chamber, the church hallway, and on the way to the ceremony.

Crunk style in purple...

...or silver!

They may be a tad pricey for something that most people use once and toss. But, hey, it comes with a three ounce flask! You could find another use for a pure silk flask garter, right? And it’s almost like wearing a piece of history, according to Juliette:

The garter flask holder played an important role during prohibition. Its message was loud and clear: a woman who wore one didn’t play by the rules!

Yee haw!

A little bit about labradorescence

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

First off, thanks so much for all of your well wishes! It means so much to me to have you all following my progress as I shop around. How many other brides-to-be can say they have as many fabulous peeps as I do? Not many, I’d wager 😉

Now let’s get down to business. At lease one of yesterday’s commenters expressed interest in my labradorite ring…which, of course, did not come with today’s mail like I was hoping it would. Labradorite is really such an interesting stone. At first glance, it will look gray, mossy, or deep green, but if you wiggle it around in the light you’ll start to see all sorts of wonderful fiery blue, pink, yellow, and orange lamellar intergrowths. In this sense, it can be almost opalescent, though the correct term is actually “labradorescence.” The sparkle is subtle, however, and so labradorite’s charms are easily overlooked.

You can see the diffuse blue lamellar intergrowths in this sphere:

See the sparkle?

What are lamellar intergrowths, you ask? I was just getting to that. Mineral Galleries says:

These intergrowths result from compatible chemistries at high temperatures becoming incompatible at lower temperatures and thus a separating and layering of these two phases. The resulting color effect is caused by a ray of light entering a layer and being refracted back and forth by deeper layers. This refracted ray is slowed by the extra travel through the layers and mixes with other rays to produce a light ray coming out that has a different wavelength than when it went in. The wavelength could correspond to the wavelength of a particular color, such as blue. The effect depends on the thickness and orientation of the layers. If the layers are too thick or too thin no color shiller is seen. Also if the viewer does not observe from the precise angle or if light is not supplied from the proper angle then no color shiller is seen. The labradorescence is truely a one of a kind mineralogical experience and must be observed in person in order to truely appreciate its beauty.

Anyhow, the labradorite in my ring looks more like this:

See the rainbow?

Fun fact: A more intensely color stone of the same feldspar family is known as Spectrolite.

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

What’s the big Valentine’s Day surprise, you ask? It’s that yours truly is engaged. Yes, N.t.B. has entered the ranks of those who are not only obsessed with weddings, but also articulate their expressing by spending thousands of dollars on stuff with no practical purpose! But pretty is purpose enough sometimes, right? Are you with me here?

I know ya’ll love reading about the who, what, when, and where of two people deciding to spend their lives together, so here’s a dramatic re-enactment of the proposal:

Aw, isn\'t that sweet?

Just kidding. The Beard was totally mushy about it, all with the getting down on one knee and the wearing of the ceremonial tie. And while they have not yet arrived, I am getting not one, but two engagement rings! A classic ring set with labradorite and a more modern ring set with Swiss blue topaz.

What’s this mean for the blog? Well, it probably means that you’re occasionally going to have to listen to me while I ramble on about my own wedding planning experiences. And I may just have to bombard you with reviews of the schwag I actually bought, the schwag I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, and the schwag I wish I had enough money to buy.

First up? Books, of course. I wouldn’t have sprung for wedding planning books…being that I don’t have much need for them…but, heck, this blog is a job, which means that all my books on nuptial know-how are tax deductible! Whoo! I naturally went for some of the more eccentric titles:

Anti-Bride Guide: Tying the Knot Outside of the Box

I Do but I Don?t: Walking Down the Aisle without Losing Your Mind

Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides

As an aside, I’m sorry to have to disappoint all the romantics out there, but it wasn’t a Valentine’s Day proposal. I just thought I’d save it up so I’d have something sweet to post for V-Day. So happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Just in case you’re jonesin’ for some cuteness, here is a picture of some pigs in love, courtesy of Go Veg:


Gemstones, the easy way

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

I’m not particularly concerned with reality. At least not where gemstones are concerned. Sure, it’s neat to possess something that’s relatively rare, but these days it’s pretty hard to tell what’s rare and what’s not in the world of gemstones. And we’re no longer savages dazzled by the blood of the sun, either. You could say I fall right into the “pro” camp where created gems are concerned.

Curious as to how diamonds are grown? Here’s a how-to from Gemesis:

The technology used to produce gem quality diamonds suitable for jewelry markets was conceived in the 1970’s by Russian scientists in Siberia, perfected in the late 1990’s at University of Florida laboratories, and production engineered at the turn of the century in Gemesis manufacturing facilities. The container in which a diamond grows is centered in the production machine and consists of a carbon source, metal catalysts and a tiny diamond seed.

Gemesis Cultured Diamonds photoApproximate pressures of 850,000 pounds per square inch and temperatures reaching over 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit are applied to this container. Under these conditions, the carbon source dissolves in the molten metal mixture and grows, atom by atom, on the diamond seed. In just over three days, the pressure and temperature are returned to normal; the container is broken and the hardened metal core is removed and immersed in acid.

And here is a rainbow of ready-to-wear (and clickable) baubles set with created gems:

10kt. White Gold, Created Ruby & Diamond Pendant

Mmmm, orange


14K Yellow Gold Pear Created Emerald and Diamond Filligree Earrings

0.50Ct.T.W. Sparkling Round Cut Diamonds, Oval Shape Chatham Created Blue Sapphire, 14Kt. White Gold Bracelet

14K Yellow Gold Round Created Black Opal and Diamond Ring


Happy almost V-day, Ty and Renee

Monday, February 12th, 2007

A love that overcomes

What I’m about to share is sort of old, but is just so lovely that it deserves to be passed around. In October of last year, Ty Ziegel and Renee Kline were married in Metamora, Illinois. As KSDK so aptly put it, “they promised to love one another in sickness and in health…somehow that pledge seems a bit superfluous.”

According to the Times Online, Ty, a Marine stationed in Iraq, survived a suicide bomber attack that left him partially disabled, burnt, and disfigured almost beyond recognition.

“I don’t remember saying it to Renee, but I’d have understood if she’d said, ‘Yeah, I’m out of here,’” Ty says.

He had seen other badly wounded soldiers and marines get dumped by their girlfriends in hospital. Sometimes they would be cruel to their girlfriends and chuck them pre-emptively to spare themselves hurt. But quietly and with little fuss, Ty, 24, and Renee, 21, resolved to stick it out.

Renee felt sick with nerves before going up the aisle, but she had no second thoughts. She looked radiant in a white dress. “You’re beautiful,” Ty told her. He wore his combat medals and a Purple Heart for being wounded in action.

Donna had been shocked when she found out the extent of Ty’s injuries, but she told her daughter she simply had to “follow her heart, and that we’d make it work, if she wanted it”. Today she is convinced that they will never part.

Becky recalled that on Valentine’s Day in hospital in 2005, Ty was so wounded he could hardly speak. She and Renee taped a pen to the splint on his hand and he wrote as best he could on a dry erase board: “Ty and Renee”.

“Well, we think it said ‘Ty and Renee’,” Becky laughs. “Then doctors removed his ‘trake’ – the tracheostomy tube in his neck that had been feeding him when his lips were too burnt – and he said, ‘Renee, will you be my valentine?’ I cried.” His next words were: “Do you want to make out?” Months passed before they could, but at that moment she knew that he hadn’t really changed.

I’ve read the story plenty of times but it still leaves me teary-eyed. If you love to peak into other people’s nuptials as much as I do, some of Ty and Renee’s wedding photos can be found here.

The tale of the saga that Ty and Renee have endured has been making the rounds lately and you see a lot of comments talking about ‘pity’ and ‘obligation’ and notions even more presumptive. But to those people, I say that if the thought of Renee still loving Ty seems so foreign, try imagining yourself telling a disfigured loved one, “I’m sorry, I can’t love you anymore because you’re too weird looking.”

Personally, I wish these two all the love and luck and abundance in the world.

Photo by Nina Berman

A wedding web-cast? Sweet!

Friday, February 9th, 2007

Granny tested...granny approved

I stumbled across a pretty neat service the other day…it’s particularly great for those of us with friends and family scattered all over the globe. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could show off your engagement photos, picture slide show, or even your wedding video without having to put it on YouTube or use one of those applet things that are covered in ugly logos? Now you can. OurWeddingCast lets people watch your wedding slide show or video from anywhere on a personalized web site. It’s downloadable and stays online for an entire year. And, even better, the OWC people will work directly with your videographer if you want them to!

Click here to see a sample wedding web-cast as well as how the general cast site is configured.

Want a *free* wedding web-cast? OurWeddingCast is running a special giveaway for engaged and recently married Manolo for the Brides readers. To win it, all you have to do is e-mail your name, phone number, and wedding date to by Tuesday, February 13, at 6 p.m. EST. Put Manolo for the Brides in the subject line so they know you’re a reader. The entrant whose wedding or future wedding falls closest to 12 p.m. on Valentines Day of 2007 wins the web-cast!

Here’s a hint: Don’t think that your wedding (whether it’s happened or set to happen) can’t be the winner because it was a month ago or isn’t for another month and a half. As long as your wedding date falls closest to V-Day, you’re in like Flynn.