Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bringing back my first blog: She Gets Around

Stay tuned, folks! Geocities is closing its site for good, so I have to move my creative writing from 2003/2004 here.

Remember, I was 21 and 22 when I wrote all this stuff, so keep that in mind as you wonder why I subjected myself to baseball games and fickle fuckers.

I have learned more lessons since then (and even repeated mistakes I warned others against), but these articles really do show I had it together and knew nothing at all at the same time.

So read on, my friends! All the articles will be tagged with She Gets Around so that you can check them all.

Hope you enjoy ♥

P.S. I'm trying to change all the dates to when I originally wrote them, but the dates are approximate -- my memory is going in my old age ;)

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Fake (but one-day-will-be-real) Wedding: location

So I had a few location ideas including the Ottawa Rowing Club and the Aviation Museum, but I loved the idea of a location where we could hold the ceremony (if we go the non-Catholic route), take our photos and hold the reception. No need to rent extra vehicles, no to-and-fro across town, no lull between church and party.

I think my ideal is Billings Estate Museum. According to Virtual Museum Canada,
"The Billings Estate Museum was the home and property of the Billings Family, one of Ottawa's founding families. Five succeeding generations inhabited the architecturally unique Billings house, Ottawa's oldest residence, from 1829 to 1975. Designated by the National Historic Sites and Monuments Board, the imposing house is the centrepiece of the Museum which also includes outbuildings, an historic cemetery, fragrant and colourful flower beds, heritage plantings and centuries-old pathways on a lush green site of 8.4 acres. Museum exhibits illustrate the intertwined stories of family and community life over 200 years and showcase the diverse collection of over 24,000 artifacts owned by the Billings Family. An extensive programme of special events, school programmes, adult learning workshops and lectures, and other activities animate this landmark of local history throughout the year."

I already found out that renting the property is only $150/hour and includes use of the grounds, the kitchen in the house (for the caterer), indoor bathrooms (no portable bathroom rentals), a white tent with a wood floor, and I can bring my own caterer and get my own alcohol. That's a deal!

I googled Billings Estate for pictures and found tons of images from people's weddings. Lots of couple chose the location just for their photos, but why not stay for the whole day?

I think it will be perfect for an outdoor reception, and this way if it rains we have our Plan B right there with the tent.

More details to follow!

The Fake (but one-day-will-be-real) Wedding

OK, so here is the Type A in me: I'm planning my wedding early. How early? you might ask.

Early. So early, I don't even have a ring yet.

But no matter! I, just like every other woman out there, am thinking about that big day. I'm not booking locations -- though I admit to taking phone calls at work about venue sizes and catering costs -- I'm just sifting through all the wedding information out there so that when Chris proposes (and he will) I will be ready!

We agree that if we had $20,000 it would be put towards our first house, so we'd like to do a wedding under $10,000 for a few reasons:
  • We don't have any more money than that to spend;
  • It helps us keep our guest list in check since family members already make up about 60 people on our (preferably maxed at) 100-persons guest list;
  • Chris bet me we could get married sooner rather than later if I could do it under $10k (and Lord knows that 's a bet I'd love to win).
And my goal, however impossible, is to do the ceremony and reception with 100 guests in tow (plus Bride and Groom) for $5-$7k max, attire and rings for $3-$5k max, and everything coming in under $10k. Chris didn't include rings in his bet, but I intend to. Why? Because I'm that good a at finding a deal. I could have my own series à la Dog: Bounty Hunter, but this time it could be Paige: Bargain Hunter. Of course, I don't have tattoos, sport a mullet, or carry a gun. Instead I wear eye liner, sport an angled crop 'do, and carry a handbag. Close enough.

The other thing to remember, as an FYI: Chris doesn't really get the whole "wedding" thing. I talked him into accepting marriage, but the big wedding just isn't his thing. Truth is though, I don't think it's mine either. So ladies, throw away your notions of yours truly in a big puffy white dress with 250 guests and a six-course meal. I'm going old school...

My ideas so far (and I promise there will be dozens more on this topic):
  • Outdoor picnic/tea party theme
  • Morning ceremony, noon reception, photos post-reception when everyone is just a little bit tipsy and very, very, very happy
  • simple lace dress: sweetheart neckline and mermaid fit
  • vibrant-coloured shoes
  • Purple iris bouquet
  • No attendants (but if we have any, just the MOH and BM for signing the registry)
  • BBQ steak from my grandparents' Maple Manor Farm, baked potatoes, cold salads
  • Handmade invites and a wedding website for RSVPs

You can be a winner, too!

I could never afford a full-price Badgley Mischka pink calfskin tote, but Winners makes dreams come true. I got such a $498 (that's USD, my friends) tote for a mere 248 CAD! It seems stores are only selling shorts that barely cover your lady parts, but I can get Calvin Klein shorts that have an adjustable length (too cute!) and a 50%-off price marker ($29.99). I saw a girl drooling over a pair of flats in the window at the Rideau Centre's Nine West store; I found them for almost half their current retail value -- and that model only just showed up in Canadian stores.

I'm not saying it's always a walk in the park; have you seen some of the women in a Winners store? They're ready to stab you with a snapped hanger to get the last pair of size 9 Coach flats (despite the fact that you cry "They're a size 6! The tag is upside-down! Look at my childsized feet as proof!"). Plus, Winners puts their magnetic tags in backwards in the jeans and you are guaranteed to leave the store bruised and battered after trying them on (but $40 for a $200 pair of jeans is worth a few broken blood vessels).

Here are some tips to snagging deals and steals like you never knew existed.
✓ Visit Winners (and not just one location) often and be prepared to browse EVERYTHING
✓ Always check one size up and one size down
✓ If you have a single-digit size, check (your size plus 10) for misplaced items
✓ Scan the racks for fabrics and colours that attract you instead of wasting time checking every item
✓ Find out which Winners stores have the Runway labels -- the high fashion names you usually only find at Holt Renfrew -- because there is usually only one per city (in Ottawa, it's the Merivale location)
✓ Try everything on since you don't know why the piece is at Winners: mistagged? Badly made? Snagged stiching? Or just your luck?!

Without Winners, my overstuffed closets would be lacking, and my wardrobe threadbare. When I walk into one of its stores, the world makes sense -- or at least the price tags do. It's like a little taste of heaven in a strip mall, a shopping plaza, a box store or an outlet centre.

My friends ask how I can afford these great Kensie dresses, Via Spiga heels, Guess jeans, and Diane Von Furstenberg carry-ons. "Easy," I reply. "I shop at Winners. You can be a winner, too!"