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Vanity by Numbers

Two mama  of the bride/groom stories from my former blog entitled “As the Bobbin Winds.”  Someday, I wil actually write a book about my alterations adventures.

Yesterday, I had a mother of the groom bring a dress over for a consult.  She had “ordered a 12” but she swore it was “more like an 11.”   However, “I’m usually a 16, but thought I could make it to at least a 14” by the time this wedding came along.  She wanted to know if putting a corset back into the dress was a) a possibility; and b) if it would look good.

I have time this week (thank you, summer!) so yes, it’s a possibility, but to be perfectly honest, any corseting below the waistline would look like she bought a dress that was too small and was trying to make do.  She agreed, and I have never been so happy to see someone head off into the sunset with her feet firmly planted in reality.

The worst client I’ve ever had was a mother of the bride who I’m sure has not been ever told no in her life.  I always find it so strange when I meet someone who is old enough to be my mother has the maturity level of someone in middle school.  Perhaps it speaks volumes about my state of mind that I equate immaturity with spoiled, but this woman seemed to encompass both traits.

“I’m a size 18 on top and a size 12 on the bottom, so I ordered a 14.”  This math does not equate.   I explained everything I could do to make it fit better, and suggested that she perhaps re-evaluate her choice.  “I’m a 12, so a 14 should certainly fit.”

So after approximately 24 hours of work,  6 (yes, that’s right, SIX as opposed to 2 – 3) appointments,  she sat in my office crying because I had ruined her dress, ruined the wedding, and ruined any chance for her to have a decent picture of her and her daughter on her wedding day. (On a redeeming note, her daughter also brought me her dress and wished me luck dealing with her mom.)

Altering clothing does not equal plastic surgery.  If you have little chicken wing folds on your armpits and you have not purchased a dress to cover that, I can’t fix it.  I can’t magically make more fabric appear.

To hell with sizes.  Buy what fits–and when in doubt, but a size larger.

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Let’s live tweet an alteration!

This week, I got a call from my friends who own the bridal shop with which I work.

A bride ordered her dress in April.

The dress came in Thursday (9/4).

The wedding was (is?) today–as in she is celebrating with her family and friends RIGHT NOW.

We arranged for a noon fitting:
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After a pesky 4 hours of work, I began altering the dress at 5 pm. I also decided to live tweet the alteration to keep the owners abreast of how it was going. I thought I was so smart–except that I hated stopping to take pics.

Live tweeting a rush job? Fail!

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Thankfully, the alteration went SO SMOOTHLY. I got lucky–the beading was easy to tie off (so I only had to fill in a minimal amount on the end) and the bride requested that I not hem it.
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Taking in the side seams, adding bra cups, re beading and adding a bustle all done in time for me to make it to the bar for the fourth quarter of the Packers v. Seahawks game. Disappointing outcome, but great to see all of my Packer fans together again.

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Are you a Packers fan? Check out http://www.packerseverywhere. To find an official viewing spot in your town. It made all the difference for me when I moved out here and away from the homeland.

ANYWAY, the owner picked it up at 8 am the next morning. I’m still a little sad that I wasn’t able to be there for the final fitting, but judging from the lack of panicked text messages, I’m hoping it was awesome.

My New Toys

I bought myself 3 new fancy toys this summer. I tend to be pretty damn cheap, so this was a big deal for me.

1) After many, many years of borrowing one/going to someone else’s house to serge the tiniest part of an alteration, I finally bought a serger.

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A Brother 1034D–delightfully basic, great reviews, great price, differential feed. Loving it so far!

2) We got married 4 years ago. So many of our dear family and friends gave us gift cards to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They finally turned into this:

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A Shark Navigator Liftaway Pro.Our house is primarily hardwood with a few area rugs, and this vacuum is perfect. The microfiber pad attachment? Brilliant. I love it.

3) I had an old Garmin eTrex gps that bit the dust 2 years ago. After a lovely conversation with a Garmin rep, I finally–FINALLY–traded the old unit in for a credit toward a Garmin Forerunner 15.

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It arrived the same day as a necklace honoring my homeland.

So far, I LOVE the watch. I’ve never had one before, so I can’t comment on missing any of the advanced features that other watches provide. It tracks my distance, pace, calories, HR. Love using the heart rate monitor strap in my cycling classes–makes teaching much more focused!

I am still twirling with excitement over these three things.

do you have any recent purchases that have quickly become must haves?

Summer is what?!?! Over?!?!?

What!?!? Summer is over?!?!? What on earth did I do?

I certainly didn’t keep up my blog.

Here are some of the highlights:

1. I subbed a ton of spinning classes this summer, and was given 2 regular classes! So every Saturday morning and Wednesday night, I’ll be at the gym to kick some ass.

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2. Our garden exploded with tomatoes.

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Jars of sun-dried tomatoes, salsa, pickled jalepenos, and diced tomatoes are lining our pantry shelves outside–I am so proud of myself for overcoming my fear of canning and jumping right in.

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3. Camping for the fourth! Beautiful weekend in the mountains!

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4. So much running with my girls–so thankful for all the fun and the friendship, especially in the last few weeks. Another highlight–one of my runner girls has been training for the Nike Women’s Marathon in October with Team in Training, and I’ve been happily helping her with some of her fundraising efforts.

5. Three whole married years with my favorite person! Love you babe!

6. This is the first summer since I was 20 that I did ZERO traveling. On one hand, I’ve been so exhausted over the past year traveling to see family seemed like the most insurmountable hurdle. Call it intuition or what have you, but it seemed very important for me to stay low and close to home this summer. I am thankful I did, but could not have imagined the reason my intuition was right.

We found out almost a month ago that my husband has colon cancer. Surgery day has come and gone, and we are waiting waiting waiting to find out the next step. My emotions have been all over the place, and I am happy to find solace in my time at the gym and my running therapy session with my runner girls.

7. Holy crap, wedding season is upon us. ::big breath in:: Here we go.

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I’ll exhale in November.

::sigh:: I Guess That’ll Do

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Story time, as the bobbin winds style.

I deal with many, many different personalities when I alter dresses. Some are delightful, some are despondent, some are excited, fretful or utterly blah.

The worst is when self conscious meets the need to assign blame.

Who better to take that blame than a person you will likely never see again?

I’ve had a mother of the bride (who wore a 12 on the bottom and an 18 on top so she bought a 14) scream and cuss me out because I couldn’t make the dress fit with the available fabric (again, a 14 can’t be expanded to an 18 without panels, even with the zipper reset to the end and the side seams let out as much as possible.). Didn’t I know that she needed the dress to hide the part of her arms that made her self conscious? Her daughter’s wedding was ruined. RUINED!

Or the bride who was so upset that her grandmother’s dress was supposed to be eggplant and arrived in the color AUBERGINE? Why didn’t I fix that?!?!?! How could people like me sleep at night? It doesn’t matter that I have no affiliation with the people who ordered the dress. If you’re there at the exact moment blame must be assigned, it’s your fault. How can people like you sleep at night?!? my wedding is RUINED!!!

I had a mother of the groom bring me a beautiful dress–a silver satin slip dress with a heavy lace overlay dotted in sequins. It needed a simple hem. Although I had never worked with that fabric/used the factory hemming technique before, but this is not my first rodeo. I take great pride in my work, and was very pleased how it turned out.

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When she came for her fitting, she became absolutely unglued when it was a half inch longer than she wanted, and looked longer in the front than in the back.

Fitting tip: when you lean forward to look down, the hemline looks longer in the front than in the back.

Admittedly, I had erred on the longer side to ensure that I could reposition the hem. My bad. In her eyes, the dress was irreparably ruined and she didn’t have time to shop for another and WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!?!?

OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!!!

I guarantee my work, and assured her I would adjust the hem and have it ready by 9 am the next day. When I called her (at 9, as promised) she told me she had to go straight to the doctor because she thought she was having a heart attack.

Oh my.

I spend the rest of the day alternating between feeling terrible (How could I have messed up the hem by making it a half inch too long?!?) and rolling my eyes (This is why we have fittings. To make things perfect. ). The second round looked even better.

She returns that evening. The look of sheer sadness and the pain of a lifetime shadowed her face as she tried it on.

With a large sigh, she declared “I guess that’ll do.”*

She then (after changing out of the dress) asked what the charge was for the work. I told her, and she handed me a check she had already filled out. “Well, this is what I’m paying you.”

I can’t help but be sympathetic. I can’t imagine how much stress needs to build up to ave a half inch bring you to your knees. As my very wise mom pointed out, there is likely something bigger going on in her life that is manifesting itself in a dress disaster. I hope her day/week/whatever gets better.

Because It’s Juuuuuune! June! June! June!

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June is busting out all over!

Who could forget the utter joy of Carousel? It’s June! In Maine! (And let us delicately ignore the themes of domestic violence. I hate myself for agreeing with Richard Rodgers–it’s my favorite R&H musical too.)

This enforce runs through my head every June. It’s a really exciting month for me–it starts the 2 month hiatus from my 8-5 job (aka, kicks off ladies who lunch season.)

First, a recap of last month.

The good great stuff of May:

1. Fabulous and fun time running a half marathon with my runner girls.
2. Lots of spin subbing and few great playlists under my belt.
3. I GOT MY OWN CLASS!!! Every Saturday at 7:00 head out to the gym and I’ll kick your butt (or at least make you sweat (which auto correct just listed as swear–lol).
4. We painted the house!!! Old color on the right, new dark blue gray on the left. It looks divine.

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Onto June goals.
1. More strength training. I went to an ab focused boot camp this am, and am appalled how far I’ve fallen. Run for 13ish miles? Sure. Two hours of spin? Bring it on. One minute of side plank dips or v-ups? OMG. Torture.
2. Finish getting my paperwork filed, and get some business cards with 100% correct info. Feel appropriately lame until I do.
3. Clean out my closet. There are some serious de-cluttering Goodwill trips in my future.
4. 60 minutes of yoga per week. Whether it’s an hour long class or three twenty minute sessions, I need to get to it!
5. Make one spinning playlist a week.
6. Participate and kick ass on this plank challenge.

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7. Keep up with blogging!
8. Do something social at least 2x per week AFTER 7 am. The majority of my social life currently happens early.
9. Eat lots of green food. Eat lots of real food.

That’s all to kick off week one of summer vacation–a very, very hot kickoff to summer. Tomorrow this one will get shorn:

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And I’ll show you what happened to these innocent little plants:

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Spoiler alert–it’s pretty leafy back there in the garden area.

 

What are your big summer goals? Let’s hear ’em!!!

 

Let’s Talk Podcasts

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What is the one thing all my workouts/sewing/adventures have in common? My love of listening to podcasts.

I can’t do music when I work–the desire to flip to the next song is so strong. Give me a good story, game, or information? I’m yours for hours.

Here are some of my favorites (all available on iTunes).

1. Good Job Brain (www.goodjobbrain.com)

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Do you like pub trivia (or as autocorrect insists, pup trivia?) This podcast is an awesome collection of cocktail facts and fun trivia. It is my current favorite–I have listened to every episode available, and love when the magic blue circle lets me know when I have a new one waiting. I’m actually sad I was not aware of this podcast during its Kickstarter days–I would have loved to be an original backer.

2. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (The NPR news quiz)
Clearly, I like trivia. I also like smart celebrities.

Carl Kasell is my favorite:

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3. The Suze Orman Show
!

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I love a good Suze Smackdown, and I have learned so much from listening. Roth IRA FTW!

4. Chicken Thistle Farm Coop Cast

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The husband and i both love this podcast. We have learned a lot from their stories on the farm, and have gotten a lot of great tips on raising our garden and chickens. i love how they are very dedicated to living pasture to plate.

Also, The post on Heromine the pig giving birth was absolutely riveting.

5. The Mötley Fool

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Lots of great investing tips and market talk. It makes following the stock market/investing feel so much less intimidating.

Other favorites:
Storytelling: This American Life (stories from modern America, constructed around a weekly theme); The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (rebroadcasts of the radio show from the 1950s–including commercials!!); To The Best Of Our Knowledge (stories from modern America);Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar (another rebroadcast of a 1940s/50s radio detective series)

NPR: Planet Money, Playback, Sunday Puzzle, Car Talk, pop Culture Happy Hour, and many more

Quick and Dirty Tips: Money Girl, Legal Lad, the House Call Doctor and Get Fit Guy are favorites; Modern Manners Guy amuses me with his impolite judgements of others impoliteness)

Smart Passive Income

I have yet to find a fitness podcast I really love.

This is the audio that keeps my fly wheel spinning, my feet smacking the ground for just one more mile, and the hula hoe weeding one more bed.

 

Do you have any favorites/recommendations? Let me know!!

 

Ashleigh Lawrence

Ashleigh Lawrence - Personal Trainer and Strength Coach

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