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Books | Manolo for the Brides - Part 4
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It’s not hard to be dedicated to love, tulle, and cake

Getting recognized as a great resource by a great resource–what could be better?

Ever since Polka Dot Bride won the first ever Wedding Blog Awards, um, award, I’ve been keeping an eye on the site. Every now and again a certain Abby chooses a new blog or photog to highlight in categories like “Best New Wedding Blog” and “Best Use of Photos.” Long story short, the site has introduced me to some fab blogs.

Now it seems that we’re this month’s “Most Dedicated” blog! Go us! I’ll tell you, though, it’s easy to be dedicated when you absolutely, positively love what you’re doing. I mean, I’m humble…but I’m not that humble. For example I’m not so humble that I won’t use this webbish award as an opportunity to suggest that you ready yourself for the eventual release of iDo, which can now be pre-ordered on Amazon and elsewhere!

So many books, so little time

In my most humble opinion, there are far too many bridal books out there that push the “princess for a day” message. La la la, it’s your day, don’t worry about your budget, your loved ones, or something as silly as, say, the weather. Oh, and if you don’t feel a sense of perfect bliss as you tie the knot, you’ve obviously done something very wrong.

Um, yuck? If you know a bride-to-be who’s just a little sick of all the hype, do her a favor and present her one of the books below the next time she shows up on your doorstep because she needs to rant about how she feels alienated by the ubergirly bridal guides her FMIL gave her for her birthday.

No reason to throw thoughtfulness out the windowIt takes a bit of work to make a wedding organic
There's no need to sacrifice ideals or happinessA checklist for the soul
Say the words YOU wantAny bride can be eco chic

Or maybe you’re a bride-to-be who needs a little help going green or wants to hear from an expert that, yes, it’s okay to buck tradition. After all, getting hitched is a rite of passage…not an all-purpose excuse to toss common sense out the window or go megashopping.

Of course, if you don’t fancy any of the books above, you’ll just have to wait until June when my book comes out!

Put a cork in it

I officially finished the first draft of my book last night–it was technically already done as of this past Sunday, but then I was reading it over, which meant there was a lot of, “Oh my gosh, what was I thinking using that word” and “This sentence has just got to go.” It has been a looooong two months, but there have been some nice little surprises to lessen the load.

Last week, I was lucky enough to receive some samples from Placetile Designs, which brightened my day considerably as my mail usually consists of nothing but mortgage insurance adverts and coupon booklets. I received some of these:

Keep things fresh, erase, repeat.

And one of these:

It does double duty as a napkin ring

Company founder Kristin Bowen came up with the wonderfully clever idea of using erasable ceramic tiles as place cards and favors at her own wedding in 1999, and her guests loved them. The concept evolved to include all sorts of neat things, like wine cork place card tiles, menu tiles, napkin ring tiles, table number tiles, tiles for identifying foodstuffs, and a bunch of other lovely stuff you can write on with dry erase markers. So far, the wine stoppers are at the top of my potential book release party favors list.

For bigger, complicated receptions where there will be lots of attendees who don’t know one another, place cards (or at the very least, table numbers) are a must. I’ve always personally preferred place cards that double as favors or are integrated into favors because I like when everything in a tablescape has a definitive purpose. I’m envisioning a table with a erasable table number tile and wine stoppers or tags printed with guests names. If the bride and groom send the table number tile home with a guest, it automatically becomes a to-do list tile. Such is the beauty of being able to erase and rewrite.

On the off chance that the stuff from Placetile Designs is a little out of your price range, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You can decorate your own erasable tile place cards and table numbers using the instructions here. Be aware, however, that you need to find tile that works like a dry erase board because some tile will hold onto the marker permanently. Check to be sure that what goes on can indeed come off before you buy bulk tiles, then go nuts with the paints!

Gone With the Groom: A review

Every now and again, I get a book to review. It’s one of the perks of this gig–no one is sending me free designer wedding dresses to review, so I have to content myself with books about weddings. Sometimes those books are fiction, which is great because I love a good story. Once in a great blue while, I’m actually surprised by what I get.

A Heartsongs Cozy Mystery, la la laCould it just be cold feet?

So what was so surprising about Janice Thompson‘s Gone With the Groom? It’s a Christian wedding mystery. Somewhere along the PR line, I either failed to notice that the book is from a Christian imprint (Barbour Publishing) or the public relations jockeys failed to tell me. Not that it matters much to me whether a book is Christian, Islamic, or pro-FSM–I’ll read just about anything.

If you like a really lighthearted mystery novel with lots of references to the big G, you’ll probably get a kick out of this book. If, however, you’d prefer something a little darker and more realistic, I’d advise you to look elsewhere. This book has got plenty of sugar and you may just get a cavity if you’re not used to the brand of storytelling where everyone loves each other and proclaims it loudly and proudly, all the flippin’ time.

The big problem with the story is that it’s convoluted. The titular groom disappears two weeks before the wedding, and no one who knows him can believe that it’s just cold feet. Enter Annie, MOB and crack amateur detective…for some reason, everyone in town spills their guts when she comes a’callin with her notepad. She has her theories about who’s to blame for the groom’s absence: the big pharma company, the groom’s own deadbeat dad, the shifty local photog, and the MOG’s “political enemies.”

Why the scare quotes? Well, I’m hard pressed to believe that a local paper from one of Atlanta, GA’s suburbs is going to send a reporter all the way up to the snowy north to tail a woman running for town council. I’ve been a local paper reporter…they won’t even give us overtime to cover the city council elections, much less chase candidates up and down the coast.

It’s pretty obvious from the start who the culprit is…just look for the most stereotypically suspicious character and you can’t help but guess right. You’ll have to suspend your disbelief with a system of complex pulleys if you intended to sit down and enjoy this book. I’ll state for the record that I’m no big mystery fan, but I’m plenty able to identify the plot holes a’plenty in Gone With the Groom. I won’t say don’t buy it–it’s a fun little story. It just could have been a lot better.

Birthdays, books, and the blahs

Today is my birthday, and this is how I feel inside:

Seriously dressed to kill

I’ve known brides who could just as easily have said, “Today is my wedding day, and this is how I feel inside.” Not because they didn’t want to get married, but because their weddings did not unfold as expected.

Ready for a personal, off-topic (i.e. NWR) post? Good…so am I. Right now, I’m under contract to write a book…a book about weddings, natch. There are lots and lots of reasons that the book probably wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t started writing for The Manolo. One of the reasons–I’m convinced–that the publisher was so open to taking my book on was the fact that I could say that I had a readership.

So even though I’m feeling kind of blah and I can’t just stop what I’m doing to pamper myself and play, I wanted to give ya’ll a big dose of my gratitude because you’re part of the reason I’ve had so many good things happen to me this past year! And somewhere in all that gratitude is a big hug of thanks for The Manolo as well! This is me inviting everyone to join me in dressing up and putting on the nearest tiara (something I do every year on my natal anniversary) so we can all be extra fabulous and super fantastic the whole day through. Nothing, I think, lifts the birthday blahs like a good tiara.

And maybe a good laugh…under the cut, you’ll find a funny video–funny because it’s so true–that I pulled from Stupid Wedding Crap. If you’re at work, be aware that there is a bit of profanity.


The Dressmaker: A review

I picked up The Dressmaker by Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck hoping for lighthearted story with a happy ending, but ended up drowning in a cautionary tale of the true cost of creative genius. Or something like that anyway. I will not tease you into reading this novel by saying that it had a happy ending because when it comes down to it, there is very little happiness to be had in the whole of the book. The characters that populate its pages are living dream lives they cannot appreciate. Deep in their hearts they know they want something else, but they are at a loss to understand just what that something else is.

The Dressmaker

Middle-aged tailor Claude Reynaud is a man wholly unable to derive any pleasure from his successes. Women who move in the most influential circles flock to his Reynaud for the privilege of serving as his living canvases at upper crust soirées, weddings, and other grand events. (more…)

The Dressmaker and The Dressmaker

This is what I’d look like if you told me I could have an individually designed dress from The Dressmaker in Edina, Minnesota:


The bride in the photo is no doubt so happy because, one, she just tied the knot and, two, she was wearing one of Kristen Olsen‘s fabulous handcrafted creations. A preliminary visit to The Dressmaker involves discussing designs and browsing fabrics. Measurements are taken and the cost is determined. Several months before the date a muslin is created and expertly fitted. A handful of fittings later, and you’re ready for your final adjustments!

And speaking of dressmakers, I’d like you to know that I’m sitting on a half finished review of Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck’s The Dressmaker. I read it quite some time ago, but it’s one of those stories that you just have to mull over for a bit before you can talk about it.

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