Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Leading Man in my Life (for now)

This is Oliver. No middle name, I felt Oliver was strong enough to stand on its own. He is our 7 month old yorkiepoo. LC and I got him when we moved into our new "dog-friendly" apartment. We both knew that he was getting ready to leave and I thought it would be a great idea to get a little puppy to keep me company while he is gone. ha!

For the most part, Oliver is a good dog. He loves to go for walks, play fetch, he licks away my tears when I am crying at movies like The Last Song, and most importantly he hasn't chewed up any of my shoes. He loves everyone and every dog. Even the mean ones. He also loves to start crying at 5am on a Saturday morning because he has to go to the bathroom or simply because he just wants to play. At 5am. On a Saturday morning. And sometimes he forgets that he is potty trained and that our floor is not the grass. Dogs, especially puppies, are a lot of work. My mother tried warning me about this, but like good daughters usually do, I didn't listen.

There are some mornings when I actually look forward to work (like when he makes me chase him outside for 15 before coming in) and other mornings when I could simply snuggle up with all day.He's good practice for what's to come and overall, he's a pretty sweet dog.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Yesterday, 3 of my bridesmaids and I set off to look for the PERFECT bridesmaid's dress. I have 7 girls in my party and not one of them is shaped like the next. I brought my sister with me, who's got more curves, my cousin who's just tall muscular (she runs track for UW-Whitewater) and one of LC's sisters who's shape resembles my sister's but just a bit smaller and shorter. I was worried that it was going to be stressful having 3 different opinions, but we had a lot of fun! I enjoyed playing dress up with my girls.

The first store we went to was Miss Ruby. It was the first time I had ever gone into a little boutique type store like this. When we got there the sales associate explained how the store was set up and we were left to sift through the dresses and find ones that we all liked. We found a good amount to try on and even a few of the dresses were in the running.

Allison in Jim Hjelm Style JH5051

After our appointment at Miss Ruby, we went and got lunch. Our next appointment was at Bella Bridesmaid. Before I got engaged, I had never heard of Bella Bridesmaid and didn't realize that it was a franchise until a few weeks ago when I realized they had one in Chicago too. I went on their website and saw the different designers they had at their store. I was love but I knew that if we went there and I found something I loved, chances were that it would be more than I wanted my girls to spend on dresses. I had actually thought of canceling the appointment because of the price point, but I didn't and I'm so happy that we went there.

First of all, I want to say that customer service was PHENOMENAL!! This is really important to me because I deal with clients all day at work and I know how that can make or break a sale. From the moment we walked in there and were greeted by Kathleen, I knew we were in good hands. She asked if I had been to their website and asked if there were any designers that stuck out to me. There was one in particular, LulaKate. I had first discovered LulaKate from Nina over at According to Nina. She was looking for bridesmaid dresses for her own wedding. I went onto Lulakate's website and immediately fell in love. These dresses would be perfect for what I was looking for. And what I love most about them is that they don't look too "bridesmaidsy". I could easily pick a dress out of the collection and wear it to a shower or rehearsal dinner. So, I picked out the dresses that I liked. A few from LulaKate and a few from Jenny Yoo. Here are a few of my faves.

Kelly, Allison and Melissa all in Jenny Yoo dresses

The rest of the pictures, the girls are in LulaKate, you can see which one I favored

Kathleen said not to make any decisions until the dresses were clipped and fitted to each girl. She also took the time to add sashes to the dress and add some broaches for some added bling. If I had to rate them on my experience I would give Kathleen an A for wonderful customer service. I even left with a little personalized card, that she hand wrote, thanking me for coming in. She also wrote down the dresses that I liked along with their cost and the name of the color I am looking for. And since I have 7 bridesmaids, I have decided to do 2 types of dresses with each girl alternating styles. One dress will be strapless and the other dress with have one strap.

After leaving the third ward, we traveled west to Brookfield and shopped at Savvy Bride. This was our last stop for the day. I love this store. I've been here before to look for dresses and this is where I got my bridesmaid's dress for Becky's wedding. However, I was a little disappointed in their customer service and their selection of dresses. The woman who was supposed to be "helping" us was no where to be found. And when I did find her she was watching a bride try on dresses. It was annoying. Needless to say, we did find some that we liked and that were in a good price range.

I just love the look of the two dresses together!

Allison in Bill Levkoff Style 527

So, now I have to make the final decision to pick one of these or to keep looking. Honestly, the only thing holding me back from the LulaKate dresses is the price that each girl would have to pay. I know that they would never say anything to me about it, but 3 of my girls are in college and one just had a little baby so I have to keep their financial situations in mind. Any kind of advice would be really helpful right now!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reality Check

Last week Wednesday, my BFF Rach and I went to go and pick up our bridesmaid dresses for our friend's wedding. Becky's getting married in one month from today. Well, we got the bridal store and the girl asked us if we wanted to try them on. Rachel didn't want to (she had just had a baby) and I said that I would, so into the dressing room we went. I took the plastic off of the dress, looked at it, and thought "Wow, this dress looks really big I will probably have to get it taken in". WRONG! I put the dress on, Rachel attempted to zip it and it would not zip all the way up! I got it to the middle of my back and it was a no go. Crap! I made her try hers on, we got it zipped but it was tight. We both shared a good laugh about it and then headed off to Cheesecake Factory. Don't worry, we were both thinking of our friend and her wedding. I had salmon she had a soup and salad.
I got back to my sister's house (where I was staying for the week) and I told her about my problem. I tried it on again, maybe Melissa would be able to zip it. Nope. Reality set in. I have a month to fit into this bridesmaid dress. I month to fit into this dress that I thought I would have to get taken in. Sure I could have just let it out, but my wedding dress is the same size and if I go and try on my wedding dress and it doesn't zip? I would be having a bigger mental break down. Hard core motivation set in. I worked out everyday before working at the base, I didn't consumer more than 1200 calories a day, and I drank a shit ton of water. I was feeling great by Sunday. I had scheduled an appointment for that day to see a seamstress to have her look at the dress and see what could be done. Before I left, I told my sister that I wanted to try on the dress and see how far apart the zipper was. And guess what!? IT ZIPPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have never been so excited in my life about fitting into something. It's still a little tight and there's still more work that needs to be done, but I'm definitely back on track. I weighed myself yesterday and I've lost 5lbs since last week. I'm sure some of it is water weight, but I will take it!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Please, Come Home Soon

Here we go again, another 6 month deployment to the Middle East. LC left on Tuesday to go overseas. Another 6 months. We've done it before, and I've learned that it doesn't get easier with each deployment. This time was different though. Unlike the last deployment where I was sad before he even left, it really didn't hit me until the day of that he was leaving for that amount of time. On the morning that he left, we just kept telling each other "no tears" followed by a kiss. And surprisingly I didn't front of him. As soon as he got on the plane, the water works came. But all in all, I held it together pretty well.
Tonight, I finally got around to watching this youtube/facebook video that's been going around. I've been putting it off for obvious reasons. It's a compilation of military members reuniting with their families. It's wondering and amazing. The feeling you have when you see that person cannot even be put into words so I'm not even going to try. The video is 10 minutes long and I cried from start to finish. I couldn't help myself.

I have some candid pictures of our "reunion" from his last deployment. A friend of ours took them and I think it captures the emotion as best as possible.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Run 1/2 Marathon...CHECK!

Well, I have one more thing to cross off of my bucket list. On Sunday, my sister and I ran our first 1/2 marathon together. It was by far the hardest thing my body has physically endured (and this includes basic training). I started training a few months ago for it, but because of my decision to take a summer class, time to train became less and less. My goal on Sunday was just to finish with my sister by my side and I did just that.

We started running her pace, she runs a little slower than me and it was really hard for me not to speed ahead. Almost painful. But I did my best to stay with her. Finally, by mile 5, she told me to just go ahead that she felt bad for holding me back and that I will meet her at the finish line. So I went, and by mile 6 I was feeling really great. Like I could do anything. The longest I have ever ran at this point was 6.2 miles so the fact that I could go further made me so proud. I had rediscovered my love of running. At mile 8 I was getting bored and I decided to stop and wait for my sister. I already wasn't going to get the time I wanted because I started out running her pace and not mine, so what difference does it make? She couldn't have been that far behind, right? I waited 15 minutes for that girl before I finally just said, "The heck with it" and I ran off. By mile 10 I wanted to die, and my love for running was gone. I pushed myself to keep going and I finished 13.1 miles...right behind my sister!! How and where did I miss her?! As I crossed the finish line I looked and I shouted, "Melissa!" She had a big grin on her face and we high-fived each other!

The last few races I've ran with people, it's really hard to stay together on the same pace especially when you're not training with them. So when she moves to Chicago (fingers-crossed) we will train for our next 1/2 together and run that thing side by side, start to finish.