4.14.2014

Alice's Teacup


What to do when your wedding dress is purchased and it's your last full day in NYC??  Indulge in tea at Alice's Teacup, of course. 

My mom and I had such fun unwinding here... It's whimsical and girly; as if you've stepped into a storybook.  Their selection of teas is impressive and their teatime treats are absolutely delicious.  Come on an empty stomach!!


Alice's Teacup Chapter I
102 W. 73rd Street
New York City, NY

Alice's Teacup Chapter II
156 E. 64th Street
New York City, NY

Alice's Teacup Chapter III
220 E. 81st Street
New York City, NY




There's no doubt you'll need a way to burn off all those scrumptious scones.  I highly suggest a little shopping.  After all, it is New York!! 




weekend.

On Friday I was at the rug shop running an errand and I stumbled across this beauty.  The rug's aquamarine/teal color is unbelievable and it is made from the unraveled silk of Indian saris.  I'm currently trying to convince myself that we don't need this in our house...


Some of you that follow me on Instagram or Twitter are probably aware that I got a weave last week.  Okay, not an actual weave... But tape-in hair extensions.  I decided to get them for a little extra thickness and length in our engagement photos, but I honestly don't know if I can stand them until then... You weave girls are brave, brave souls.  I'll do a more in-depth extensions review video later but to sum it up this Kardashian hair is super heavy, painful, and takes yours truly a solid 45 minutes to wash, blow dry, and style.  But... John loves it.  And I have to admit, that kind of makes it worth it. 


Chelsea28 Tank7 For All Mankind Jeans.  Prabal Gurung x Target Heels.

John and I met up with friends, then he took me to ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro for din.  I cannot wait to go back here.  After I've fit into my wedding dress and gotten married, that is... Because there are just too many fantastic dishes.  The Soup Dumplings were filled with a warm onion-and-gruyere soup that spilled into your mouth when you bit into the soft dumpling.  The Kaya Toast triangles were coated with a coconut jam that we dipped into an "egg cloud" mixture that tasted like the best French Toast I've ever eaten.  Although it wasn't the star of our dinner, the Diver Scallops Vegetable Pad Thai was delicious and served in a more conservative portion.  We left feeling perfectly full and happy. 

Pork Belly Buns... Barbecued yumminess you tuck into soft little steamed buns and garnish with tangy ginger cole slaw.

This weekend I debuted one of my favorite NYC purchases: Bond No. 9's Saks Fifth Avenue en Rose.  It's a modern rose-floral with notes of dates, amber, musk, and sandalwood.  The floral gives the scent a decidedly Spring feel, while the other notes add a hint of sex appeal and femininity.  It is perfect for Spring and Summer and it makes me feel girly and sexy.  Best of all, I could smell it more than five minutes after spraying it, which is a real feat where my perfumes and body chemistry are concerned. 


We took my weave and the new whip out to the Denver Auto Show Saturday night.  But before all that excitement, we spent the day doing grown-up homeowner things like spending 2 hours at Home Depot.  Don't get me wrong, I would rather be at Saks or Neiman's... But there is something comforting and secure about working together on a home and making these little changes as a team.  At times I still don't feel as if Denver is my home, but improving our house together definitely helps.  



I was wearing a tank top Saturday and by Sunday snow was falling outside.  Just another day in this crazy bipolar weather we call Denver.

Hope your weekends were wonderful!!








4.10.2014

The Search Commences.

My confidence bolstered by the plate of macaroons and encouragement from SH and my mother the night before, I headed out into the chilly N.Y.C. morning excited and happy.  This would be the day I found my wedding dress!!

 
A great way to work the crop top trend is to pair a crop cami under a sheer shirt.  Details:  Trouve Open-Back SweaterFree People Lace Crop BraTrouve Pencil SkirtVince Heels.  Herm├Ęs Birkin Bag.  House of Harlow Ring.

We arrived at a charming bridal boutique, Gabriella, in Soho.  The sweet owner was there and was surrounded by helpful, friendly stylists.  The setup was great.  I put on the dresses, and was able to walk out into a brightly lit room with gleaming wood floors and giant mirrors in front of the platform to get a good look at each one.  It was one of the best-arranged bridal shops we saw.

Romona Keveza.  Marchesa.  Jenny Packham.  Angel Sanchez.  Reem Acra.

All beautiful dresses.  Yet my dress wasn't there.  Nothing tugged at my soul and said, "I'm the dress you'll marry your husband in!!"  My heart broke.

Lunch at Bergdorf's.

As we got in the taxi headed to meet SH for ladies' lunch at Bergdorf's I felt horrible.  I was more than aware that if I couldn't find my dress in New York City it likely wasn't anywhere, and I would have to wear a trash bag to our wedding.  I wanted to cry.  I even told my mother that I was ready to call everything off and wave my white flag of defeat.  My dress doesn't exist.  

I was sad, but you can't really be sad at Bergdorf's.  There are too many sparkly, beautiful things and too many fabulous people.  Lunch there is delicious, but more than that... It's an event.  We sat next to So You Think You Can Dance host Cat Dealy.  Cat didn't look as if she couldn't find her wedding dress.  Rather, she looked glowing and relaxed.  

I wondered about the Oscar dress from the day before.  But I knew there was a reason I wasn't quite ready to go back and scoop it up.  There was something missing.  Would it be beautiful??  Yes.  Would it be The Dress??  Not quite.

After lunch my brave, patient mother and I went to our afternoon appointment.  The feel was a bit more upscale than other places we had been.  We were quickly ushered back to a private room complete with couches, mirrors, and a separate dressing room.  It was nice that Mama P was able to sit outside the dressing room and get the "ahhh" factor when I came out.

When I explained my wedding to the stylist, she immediately reached for a dress.  The designer had brought the dress in a few days prior to see what the brides thought of it... A few days later they would be taking it out of the boutique again.  It's incredible that my appointment was scheduled in between these crucial dates.  I was the only woman to try this special dress on.

I put the dress on and walked out into the room.  My mother started to cry.  I had to admit, even to my hyper-critical self, the dress looked stunning.  It wasn't what I had pictured in some aspects and it was everything I had pictured in other aspects.  Either way, it was beautiful.  Regal.  Classic.

I have to admit, I kind of expected the angels to come singing out of the Heavens when I tried on The Dress.  Well... They didn't.  I didn't cry, I didn't get the chills.  The anxiety of the past two days was still resting heavily on my shoulders and I couldn't shake it.  There were a couple changes I knew I wanted to make to the dress and I couldn't ignore the fact that it would look much better on me minus ten pounds or so.

I bit my nail.  Could this be The Dress??

I didn't want to take it off.

We kept trying on dresses to be sure, but none of them clicked like that first dress.  So we put The Dress on again.  My heart thrilled.

Questions raced through my mind.  Is this really the one?  How do I know?  I love everything about this dress.  I want John to see me in this dress.  I should really stop eating PB&J's as my afternoon snack.  It really is timeless. 

I walked to the end of a long hallway and the staff and other customers watched while I walked toward the mirror.  That was it.  I could see myself walking toward my future husband, I could see him kissing me in this dress.  We told the stylist we wanted this dress.  The Dress.  


They gave us champagne to soften the blow of the price tag.  And they gave us a beautiful coffee table book about weddings in a white gift bag with shiny ribbon handles.  It was such a special moment for my mother and I... We sat there on the velvet sofa and just smiled.

We got back to the hotel and I took a shower to wash off the dresses and the measuring tape and the hands.  I felt all my stress and anxiety from the trip rinse down the drain... It was the first time I could breathe deeply since Tuesday morning.  I came out and lay on the bed next to Mama P.  I felt sad that I didn't get that teary-bride moment in my dress.  I didn't cry, glitter didn't rain down, and no angels were singing.  What was wrong with me?

My mother told me that I am far too analytical and detail-oriented to cry over a dress.  Naturally, she said, I would pick it (and myself) apart first.  I think this is so important to say to anyone shopping for a dress that has no doubt been bombarded with the idea that these magical, mystical things do happen when you try on The Dress: it doesn't always happen that way.  And that's okay!!

I could never be someone who chose a dress online, tried it on in a shop, and was thrilled to bits and squealing with happiness as I said, "YES!!!"  No, no, no.  My experience was way more complex, critical, and time consuming.  It was a slow burn that finally ignited in the final moments of our appointment... And only after piecing apart the additional custom changes we would make to the dress.  

This T by Alexander Wang dress is from last year, but I love the flattering, slightly-sheer mesh panels and the fit.  Any T by Alexander Wang piece is incredibly flattering... If you haven't tried his pieces, you must!!  I added my Trouve leather jacket for a more edgy look.

A great family friend met me for a drink that night at the Gramercy Park Hotel.  The history and atmosphere of that place is incredible; I was thankful I had my leather jacket on because I felt like one of the Beatles may walk around the corner at any moment. 

We walked to dinner.  I told him about my dress.  And I realized then that if my decision about my dress were quick and easy, it would not be my dress.  It wouldn't be me.  I'm complicated and picky and am obsessed with fashion... It only makes sense the dress is customized.  And instead of being sad that I wasn't emotional enough, I was happy that I had found the dress that fit my personality perfectly.  It was totally me; it was The Dress.







IN RGRDS TO DRESS PHOTOS:  Since I'm a blogger/vlogger, basically all of my life is public.  People ask me personal questions all the time; it just comes with the territory.  So naturally, I imagined that I would be sending dress photos to everyone I know.  I was shocked to feel so protective and personal about The Dress when I found it.  Part of it is my perfectionism... I want people to see the dress when I look my skinny best and when all the custom changes are complete.  But the other side to this is how special and important this dress is to me - and John.  John is adamant about the fact he won't see me or the dress before our ceremony.  And it has elevated the dress's significance even more to me.  I may be more open to photos as our date gets closer, but for now I'm cherishing the fact that this extremely heartfelt, emotional piece of our wedding is more private.  And... I would love to surprise my guests with the finished dress when I walk down that aisle!! 

BRIDAL TIP:  We chose to go dress shopping during the week when we would get more attention and time from stylists than on a packed Saturday.  I recommend this to any bride doing wedding dress shopping.  I have to say, the stylist at this last boutique (we'll call her "T") was the best I worked with during our entire trip.  She was attentive, helpful, and made me feel comfortable standing there in my knickers!!  One of the best things she did was give my mother and I some alone time to think about the dress and just soak it all in.  T, if you're reading... You were such a blessing!!  

4.09.2014

the hunt begins.

I felt decidedly nervous as I woke up for my first day of wedding dress appointments in NYC.  I swear, my heartbeat was audible in the warm cavern of our taxi.  It pounded even harder as my mother and I waited in the lobby of the first bridal boutique with all the other brides-to-be and their mothers, friends.  All at once it was 11:15, the elevator doors opened, and a swarm of women and perfume squeezed into the ancient box headed upstairs.

At Mark Ingram Atelier, we were greeted with a space that has been decorated perfectly in soft, feminine tones by an interior decorator.  The dressing room wasn't huge and the beautiful curtains didn't quite meet in the middle, but I ignored that fact as I shimmied out of my clothes and stood there in my favorite lace panties.  It's an odd practice to stand there unclothed while everyone else in the room is dressed, complete with shoes and accessories.  I felt a little like I was on display... Chilly, and on display.

I tried on a few dresses and kept my mind completely open, as I had promised myself.  (I hadn't picked out a specific dress before going shopping, I just had a very vague idea of what I wanted to look like on our wedding day.)  I tried on various styles yet nothing really spoke to me.  I was surprised to find that the style of dress I had pictured for so long didn't feel right.  It didn't do my figure any justice, didn't feel bridal, didn't feel special.

A Monique Lhuillier, a Carolina Herrera.  Beautiful, gorgeous dresses (a fashionista's dream!!) but I knew I needed to keep looking.  My mother stayed very quiet and didn't say much.

Finally I stepped into an Oscar de la Renta that made me swoon.  I loved the way it moved, the way it felt when I walked.  But somehow I didn't see myself walking down the aisle in it.  It photographed terribly.

The Palm Court.
 
After our first round, I was happy to go back to The Plaza for lunch with my mother in The Palm Court.  As we admired the stained glass ceiling, I began to think I would find my dress at the next appointment: Kleinfeld's.

Milly TopDVF Skirt.

We explored the Eloise gift shop in the bowels of The Plaza.  Our hearts thrilled as we relived one of our favorite children's books we read together over and over again.  As we moseyed through the pink rooms, fit for a Plaza Princess such as Miss Eloise, I became more and more convinced that my dress would be at Kleinfeld's.  The afternoon just felt full of promise and positivity for some reason.



We were greeted at the front desk at Kleinfeld's and sat down to await our appointment.  I could see beautiful dresses, the platform they showcase on Say Yes to the Dress, and camera crews filming a bride and her family.  The whole scene made me nervous and I was glad I didn't apply to be on the show.  I can't imagine having that pressure in addition to what I already felt.


Peeking into Kleinfeld's.

The dressing room was very tiny, but the saleswomen were helpful and encouraging.  Dress after dress after dress went on and came off.  I could hear clapping and squeals from all around me as other brides found their special dresses.

I tried on dresses I had seen a million times before.

I resembled a woman ready for the convent.

I reminded myself of 17-year-old Brittany at prom.

I started to feel overwhelmed.  My hip actually began to hurt from stepping in and out of dresses held up 3 feet high.  I slowly realized that I hadn't found the dress.  Even at Kleinfeld's, where I had convinced myself I would find it.

We left and searched for a taxi.  A discouraged feeling filled my stomach.  Did I do something wrong??  Did I overlook something??


I was thankful when one of my best friends met my mother and I for dinner at Todd English's Food Hall.  My heart felt full and happy to be with them.  SH and Mama P both encouraged me that I would find the dress the next day.  We decided to go to our room and order hot tea and macaroons as a little night cap.  Over a sugar high, I remembered how much I missed SH, being silly, girl time with my mom, and great friends from college who know all your secrets.

My mother and I stayed up into the wee hours, talking and watching TV from the plush bed at The Plaza.  We saw 2:30 AM before we finally drifted off to sleep.









4.08.2014

4.07.2014

weekend.

Friday morning Mom and I ended our NYC trip with a scrumptious little breakfast at Sarabeth's on Central Park South.  Lemon ricotta pancakes with blackberries were my poison of choice.  I found myself greedily sipping their Four Flowers Juice; an addictive blend of orange, pineapple, banana, and pomegranate juices.


We collected our bags from the gleaming, sparkling lobby of The Plaza and I felt a pang in my stomach as we walked toward the car.  It wasn't from the cool NYC breeze, it was sadness.


I had a love-hate relationship with travel as a child, but as an adult I definitely lean toward the love side in regards to traveling.  No longer is travel the burdensome lifeline to keep my family together; it's a peek into another culture, another place.  My slightly nomadic childhood has manifested itself as wanderlust in my adult years.  I feel this restless need to explore; to be stimulated by new cultures, new foods, new people, and new views.  NYC, London, and Paris tug at my heart on a near-constant basis. 

Living in one of these places would not solve the problem; the problem is me.  I sometimes worry I will always have a restless heart; that I will always feel the need to be constantly on the move.

I came home with a suitcase slightly weightier than before; I returned to a fresh bouquet of tulips, a sweet kiss, and my dear dogs barking happily.  My restless heart doesn't feel quite so restless in these moments.

I woke up on Saturday and couldn't remember where I was.  The pile of giant down pillows was missing from behind my head, and there was no crystal chandelier above me.  But I was comforted by dogs bounding up the stairs to greet me in the morning.  Ahhh... Home.

Sheer Open-Back Sweater (Trouve).  Pencil Skirt (Trouve).  Medium Pashli Bag (3.1 Phillip Lim).  Peeptoe Pumps (Giuseppe Zanotti).  Fiber Lashes Mascara (Younique).

I strategically avoided my unpacked suitcase most of the day and we went to dinner with John's friend and his new fiance at Jill's in Boulder.  For some reason, I can't stop wearing all-black since I left New York.  Maybe I'm just loving looking dark and mysterious... Or maybe I'm subconsciously in mourning since I left??

Leather Jacket (Trouve).  3/4 Sleeve Maxi Dress (old - similar here).  Strappy Heels (Vince). 

Sunday morning... Surprise, surprise... More black.  After church, I got my nails doneI'm trying to keep the claws polished so they grow in time for our engagement photos.  Oh, the struggle... I'm telling you.  Do you know any tricks for immediate nail growth besides paws-and-claws maintenance??

Side Note:  Is anyone else watching Eric and Jessie on Sunday nights?!  



Your Lady in Black,







4.05.2014

The Plaza

"I just love, love, love The Plaza." - Eloise.


Before this week, I had never stayed at The Plaza.  I usually favor the trendy, boutique hotels when I'm in the city visiting friends.  

But this trip was different; wedding dress shopping requires a certain elegance and sophistication typically not found in NYC's boutique hotels, with their dark lighting and music bumping loudly throughout the halls.  

No, wedding dress shopping called for The Plaza.  A place where history swirls and circles around you as you walk in.  A hotel that calls for proper posture and a nice dress.  A regal location where tea isn't just a beverage, it's a separate meal during your day.  





I firmly believe there is nothing better than fluffy hotel robes and room service after a long flight.  I've never been one to hit the ground running after a long flight (unless it was for a work trip).  Drink lots of water, pull the blackout curtains tight, and enjoy the dreamiest snooze of your life!!