Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bridal Baby Bump?

One week ago, for the fourth time in 6 weeks, I found myself praying to the porcelain god. You know, tossing cookies. Ummm…. Hurling.


Get it? A veggie puking? I crack myself up.

I know what you’re thinking, because I was thinking it too. So were the veggie girlfriends, Momma Veggie, SIL Veggie, and pretty much every other woman in our lives.

That’s why while Mr. Veggie was holding my hair and bringing me glasses of water I was counting on my fingers. Hmmm it’s March now and August is 1..2.. 6 months away. And crying.

“I’m not going to be able to drink at our wedding.” (Sob)

“And I wont fit into any wedding dresses.” (Sob, Sob)

“I’m going to be a pregnant bride.” (Loudest Sob)

Note: Do not try to be rational when you are throwing up. It doesn’t work.

If available, my rational self would have responded to irrational me as follows:

“Miss Veggie, you get drunk after 2 beers, how much are you really planning on drinking anyway?”

“And look, here’s a couture maternity wedding dress designer."

“But most importantly, Miss Veggie, you haven’t taken a pregnancy test, have a fever and a stomach ache, and are currently having your period. Maybe you’re not pregnant at all."

Oh rational self, you’re too clever. Mr. Veggie and I went to the doctor the next day. After some tests and belly tapping it became clear. There’s no fetus in my belly, but there is a parasite. Blastocystis hominis has taken up residence in my stomach. Apparently it comes from contaminated drinking water and leads not only to stomach issues, but also to weight loss and fatigue. Hmmm... is that why the only thing I've wanted to do for the past few weeks is lay around and surf wedding websites? I have kindly urged it to leave with some strong antibiotics. I'll let you know how it goes.

After some thought, it certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world if a little veggie sprout decided to come along in the next few months. I mean its no secret that Mr. Veg and I are already sharing a house(truck) so no one would be too alarmed. It wouldn’t be perfect timing, but it wouldn’t change the fact that Mr. Veggie and I want to honor our love for each other by getting married. Plus all of our friends and family would be able to give their love and best wishes to veggie sprout before he or she even entered the world. And there is no more beautiful site than a gorgeous big-bellied gaia goddess momma-to-be. All the same, I think we’ll be extra careful for the next little while.

Congrats to any pregnant brides out there, whether it was a fully planned or surprise sprout. Have you had to adjust your wedding plans much? Have any hints for other mommas-to-bee (ha ha)? Have any of you other bees been scared into celibacy for a while?

Inspiration 2.0

I have a problem. I really like inspiration boards.
That was an understatement.
I love them.

Well, let my addiction and source of hours of procrastination be your eye candy. I unveil Veggie Weddin-spiration Version 2.0.

Any ideas on where to use the amazing, yet prohibitively expensive fabrics? What do you think of having so many colors? Too much? Most importantly, is there a place in the wedding party for moustaches?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I am calm. Really I am.

I don’t know if you bees remember, but down here on the farm us Veggies were having a bit of a venue crisis. After much crying, and begging, and more crying, and supportive words from Mr. Veggie, it became clear that we were not going to get our date at our venue.

I tested out a mantra: “I am calm. I am at peace. All is well."

We were left with two options, find a new venue or switch dates. I was a mess.

Should we stick with the same venue and move our wedding to September, even though this would be extremely inconvenient for our friends and family who work at prep schools? Or should we backtrack and try to find another venue even though I felt as though I’d contacted every camp on this side of the Mississippi?

At this point I was repeating that mantra like a full-fledged Buddhist monk.

Funny enough my biggest concern through all of this was our STD’s. In the back of my mind I was pretty sure we would find another venue or that somehow the date would work out, but I was absolutely distraught at the idea of re-sending out STD’s. I’m not really a crier. But we’re talking full-on tantrum here.

After a few days (weeks) of thought I think I’ve figured out why I was so upset.

It all goes back to me generally not being good at completing projects, and me seeming to attract little mix-ups like this, and most of all putting way too much pressure on myself to make the wedding perfect. I’m an ADHD over-achiever, with some serious self-doubts when it comes to the ability to follow things through. I was viewing the wedding as an opportunity to show off the detail-focused, budget and time responsible, grown up version of me. Resending the STD’s would flaw our perfect wedding image from the very start.

Of course, in the moment I couldn’t put words to any of that, but now that the venue crisis is over, I can say “Miss Veggie, chill out”. The wedding is a wedding, nothing more, nothing less. It’s an opportunity for us to be surrounded by people we love, eating good food, dancing, and listening to good music.

Oh yeah, did I mention that our venue crisis is over? O-V-E-R.

The Veggie crew far and wide pulled together once they heard that our venue basically booted us from our date. While Mr. Veggie and I were debating the possibility of changing dates and staying at the same venue, some amazing veggie friends and family sprung into action researching other summer camp options. For two weeks they (and we) called, emailed, and googled their little hearts out. And, in the end, it all worked out for the better.

I’ll unveil our new venue shortly. Mr. Veggie is afraid we’ll jinx it if we announce too soon, and I can’t say I blame him. So, I’m testing out a new technique… I think they call it patience. It’s a new one for me. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dress Dilemma- Chapter Three: New Zealand (Again)

When we last left off I had gotten over my painful breakup with Adele Wechsler by trying on some pretties by Nicole Miller. But I still wasn’t sure that a brand new dress was right for me.

A few weeks later, after visiting several bridal shops in the U.S., I went back home to New Zealand empty handed with a picture of Nicole Miller HG0013 firmly positioned on the desktop of my computer and a better idea of what I was looking for in a dress. I had bookmarked the websites of a few used-dress websites and checked them daily, ok, more like hourly to see what was on offer. Turns out there were more used dress options than I knew existed. They were gorgeous, reasonably priced, and reused. I was sold. This was definitely the route I was going to take.

But then, one day while killing a few hours in Hamilton waiting for Mr. Veggie something caught my eye. How could I have not seen this store before? It’s only two doors down from the Salvation Army (a must-visit whenever I’m in the big city). And look at this pretty little number. Pay no attention to my angry looking face or body language, I was actually very happy. Note to self: no hands on hips on the big day.

Yeah, I know its blue. Just ignore that for a minute. This is the Didion Rose dress made by Annah Stretton. She is a Kiwi designer that uses kiwi fabrics.

My thought line here is this: buying kiwi-made supports our local economy. It also saves me from having to ship an American bought dress over to NZ for alterations, thus lowering the carbon footprint of the dress. And, although it is a fairly expensive dress, it is still under $1000 kiwi, which with the exchange rate comes in way under the price of any American dress I found.

But local doesn’t necessarily mean eco. And, this is still a new dress that would be made for me for just one day.

So I did what any sensible girl would do. I went to try it on three more times with various girlfriends. The third time they had the ivory color in stock, so I took some more pictures (with a cell phone, sorry), so I could truly deliberate.

In the end I decided that I liked it, but didn’t love it. The shape wasn’t the most flattering (hello hips). Neither the eco footprint or the pricetag were low enough to justify me buying a brand new dress. Goodbye Annah Stretton. You really are fabulous. Maybe we’ll meet again some day.

By this point the dress hunt was making my brain hurt. Local or not? Eco fabrics or conventional? Used or new? What size, what style, what color? Sanity gone. I need a break from all this dressing.

Was your dress hunt stressful? Please tell me I'm not the only one. What were you most worried about? Any thoughts on how I should proceed?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dress Dilemma - Chapter Two: New Jersey

When I last left off I was sitting in a puddle of my own drool admiring the Adele Wechsler EcoCouture collections. Well, reality check time. Those gorgeous frocks are way out of my price league. I mean way out. Like half of our total budget out.

We run a non-profit organization and have dedicated our lives to living simply. While financially it would be possible for me to get one of those dresses with a ton of scrimping and saving, I just cannot justify spending that much money on a dress I will wear for one day. I understand that some brides work really hard to find ways to buy their dream dress, and I appreciate that, but that’s just not me. Honestly, (please don’t kick me out of the bride club), its not that important to me. When I walk down the aisle I want to be feeling my absolute best, which means knowing that I am wearing an ethical dress from an ecological standpoint, but also a social one. Spending thousands on a dress is not a responsible decision for me to make right now.

Having said that…. I want to look pretty on my big day! Small tantrum over. I promise.

Fast forward a few weeks and I was home in the U.S. visiting with Veggie Sis K (for Kale?). (There are 4 Veggie Sisters, E-Eggplant, T-Tomato, and C-Carrot, will also make appearances). Sis Kale got married in 2005 and still had a surprisingly large stash of bridal magazines. Knowing that I wouldn’t buy these for myself, she had them waiting for me upon my arrival. I promptly dug in.

Wait. What’s this beauty?Source

It looks so airy and light. Elegant without being stuffy.

Me: Who makes this?
Veggie Sis Kale: Nicole Miller.
Me: Isn’t she the one who does those funny fabrics with prints of sunglasses and wine bottles?
Veggie Sis Kale: Umm… yeah, in 1992. Welcome back to the world of fashion.

A few weeks later Mamma Veggie, Veggie Sis Kale, and Veggie Sis Eggplant brought me to the Nicole Miller Boutique for our bridal appointment. The consultant was fantastic, if a little confused by my wedding-day wishlist. I surely didn’t help the matter by being a bridal dunce. I wore the wrong undies, the wrong bra, and didn’t know anything about what I was looking for. Luckily Veggie Sis Kale took control of the situation. I ended up finding a few Nicole Miller dresses that I liked, although my top choice was still the HG0013. Could it be the one?

I went home and did some research. (Pro) The price was better, (Con) but at retail value, still a lot. (Pro) Nicole Miller is sweat-shop free and made in the USA, they also support animal rights. (Con) The dress is made out of metal-tafetta, surely not an eco-fabric. (Con) It is still a brand new dress made just for me for one night.

Best to sit and think on it a bit more.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dress Dilemma - Chapter One: New Zealand

I’ve talked about Mr. Veggie’s outfit, the veggie dudes, and the bridesmaids. I’ve posted about the veggie sprouts. But, I haven’t talked much yet about my dress. Maybe I’ve been avoiding the subject because it is steeped in inner conflict. Let me set the scene.

A well-intentioned me sits at my computer surfing the web for wedding ideas. On one of my shoulders (shall we say the left shoulder) sits a beautiful eco angel. She whispers encouraging words in my ear and fills my head with lovely wedding-day dreams. A petroleum-covered slug sits on the other. The eco angel is winning the battle. She is armed with our electronic save-the-dates, our local and organic inspired menu, and our beautiful travel-minimizing venue. But the petro-slug isn’t done yet. He has an armament too. What card could he possibly hold that might pull me out of my eco wedding bliss?

He has Lazaro LZ3700.

And LianCarlo 2891.

Oh and Sposo Di Gio (style #?).

Oooh. Pretty. So very, very pretty.

But eco angel, you have your own armament of eco-friendly wedding dresses, right? Please tell me you do.

Note to designers: not all hippies want fairies and toadstools on their wedding gowns. Some do, but I don’t. And, not all eco brides want to turn their wedding into the rennessaince festival. And furthermore, I appreciate that many eco-friendly brides are going for a casual look. And, usually I would be right there with them. But this is my one and only day to leave the Birkenstocks behind and feel all glammed up. And I want to go for it. Isn’t there any designer who understands that eco doesn’t have to mean hippie-casual? Is there any eco designer who has braved the elegant couture bridal scene? Can I have eco and elegant?

Yes. Says Adele Wechsler.
The Sunray.

The Haze.

The Magnolia.

Swoon. Let me try one of those puppies on. Stat.
Oh yeah, we live in New Zealand. No such luck.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bite-Sized Veggies

Maybe its just that time of the month, but I can't get those little veggie sprouts out of my mind. Here's an inspiration board I did devoted just to them.
Sources: Top row (l-r)- The Children's Place, Autumn Star Designs, Amazon, J. Crew, J. Crew; Middle Row (l-r)- Project Wedding, Velvet and Tweed, City Wendy, Chasing Fireflies, Oncewed; Bottom Row (l-r)- Newsies!, Oncewed, Kyle Hale, Chasing Fireflies

It's undecided as to how many boy sprouts will make it down the aisle. But either way, they are both getting dressed up. Mostly because I can't resist baby-sized suspenders. Oh my goodness! Paired up with a newsboys cap, a tie, and a vest, and the Little Mr. Veggies will be looking dapper.

MIL Veggie has offered to make the flower girls' dresses. She is aflutter with patterns and fabric swatches and design ideas. I can't wait to see how they turn out. I'll be sure to keep you updated. Don't you love the pic of the little girl in red chucks and a tutu?

This is just an inspiration board, not the actual items we will use. As I start my kids clothes hunt, any hints on where to purchase eco-friendly kids clothes that wont break the bank?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sweets for my Sweet? - Not Exactly.

OK... OK... I know Valentine's Day was a month ago, but give me a break. It's summer here. And the surf is pumping.
Mr. Veggie doesn't really like candy. He certainly wouldn't like to get a little box of sugar hearts that say things like "Tweet me." and "LOL". He wouldn't want me to buy a greeting card. Ever.

So what did I do for my very own Captain Planet on the most Hallmark-y of days? Well, the way I figure it, the best part of Valentine's Day is knowing that someone has taken the time to do something special for you. So, I took a minute to make him some home-made valentines out of things we had lying around. Some were out in the open and some were hidden.

The first one was on his computer. I've been playing around with graphic design projects lately, and this was one I came up with a few months ago. I secretly put it on the desktop of his computer and so began the scavenger hunt.

Summer is in full swing here in the southern hemisphere and the tomatoes are practically jumping out of our garden. What better way to say I love you than with some juicy goodness?

A beany heart. This was my favorite poem because I worked his morning farting habit into it.

A garlic braid heart. Tough to find.

Scrabble heart. Need to use our favorite 2-letter word. What rhymes with Qi?

*All photos personal photos.

And the final heart was made out of something black and lacy. I think I'll save that picture for our archives and not send it out there onto the world wide web.

The scavenger hunt reminded me of when we were first dating and used to leave each other little notes in secret places. More than once I went into full blush mode when I discovered one tucked in my pocket or in my laptop case while I was in front of a room full of students. The joys of new love.

I think I might do something like this for Mr. Veggie the day of the wedding. That is if I manage to have a few spare moments during the final push. I'm sure there'll be plenty of time (yeah right!).

Did you get or give any special eco-friendly Valentine's treats? What are the little things you do to say "I Love You"? Will you be finding a way to incorporate them into your big day?

*All photos personal photos.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Introducing the youngest members of our bridal party, our nieces and nephews. On his side: Scotty (turns six tomorrow), Brady (will be 5 by the wedding), and Mikey (turns 1 the week after the wedding).

On my side: Annie (3 years old by wedding day) and Matilda (2 years old by wedding day).
Photos by Unfinished Dad

Who says two-colored socks and mullets went out of style in 1992?

I know its a stretch to include anyone under 3 in the wedding, but we're going to try. Our wedding is all about family, so there's no way that we could leave any kiddos out. And, I'm not sure if you noticed the twinkle in these girls eyes, but they are all pretty feisty sprouts. Annie + Brady = excitement. I guess we'll have to expect the unexpected.

Any ideas for incorporating the itty-bitties? I like the ideas of a cute little red wagon, or a vintage trike making their way down the aisle, but when I look at photos wagons seem a bit cumbersome and awkward. Am I crazy for wanting under threes to be in the wedding party? Should it be walking tots only? Anyone have a babes-in-weddingland story of success or utter disaster?

Do you think we will end up with this?
Or this?

We are family- I got all my bridesmaids and me!

Let's have a look at the family scales:

First there's Mr. Veggie's family. Nice and nuclear. Two parents. One brother. Niece. Nephew.
Notice how we all fit on one couch.

Then there's my family.

*All photos personal photos.

We don't even fit in one picture. I've got steps, halves, dads, moms, the works.

Why do bring this up? Well, because I am going to have all of my sisters as bridesmaids. Since I have moved around a lot in my adult life I have many good friends from all over. My friendships tend to come in waves, stronger some times with certain people, weaker sometimes, mostly depending on where I'm living at the moment, but my sisters have been a consistent force in my life since as long as I can remember. Plus they're all really rad, amazing women. Who could ask for better bridesmaids?

That means four ladies for me. Mr. Veggie would like to have his brother stand on his side. 4-1.

I also am really close with my (very tall and shaggy haired) little brother. So, he needs to be in the wedding party. I'd love to have him stand on my side, but that brings the score to 5-1.

I guess it would be o.k. if my bro stood with the other dudes. It would also appease his sense of masculinity. 4-2

My brother-in-law (Veggie Sis K's hubby) is a second brother to me. We even went on a road trip together this past summer without my sister since she had to work. But I feel like if I include him then I should also include Mr. Veggie's sister-in-law who I also absolutely adore. 5-3

Wait, who's going to be watching all those adorable little veggie sprouts while us grown-ups are doing wedding party duties? Maybe best to leave out the in-laws. 4-2

Bridal parties don't have to be evenly matched. Right?

So, do we leave it at that? Four ladies and two guys? Or does Mr. Veggie recruit two extra dudes?

The problem is that a lot of his "dudes" are actually "dudettes". He has several close girl friends, but not too many guy friends that he feels super close to anymore. The dudes he does feel close to are childhood friends and live overseas, so he feels bad asking them to take a major role in the wedding. Also, Mr. Veggie is a bit older than me, and many of his friends are older than him. Wouldn't it be weird for one of his 50+ year old friends to escort my 20 year old sister down the aisle?

I don't know... what would you do?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

DIY for non-crafters

I am a non-crafter in a family of crafters.

Veggie Sis K - quilter and sewer extraordinnaire. She made us this quilt as a house-truck warming gift.

MIL Veggie - knitter and sewer. She makes us each something warm and cozy every Christmas and has taken on the flower girl dresses as her special wedding project.

Momma Veggie - baker and overall crafty queen. Some of her famous Christmas cookies made it past customs this year. Shhh… don't tell them how good the snickerdoodles were. She's making our wedding cake.

SIL Veggie - photographer. Here's one of her "just messing around with the kids one day" shots. Amazing.

And me? I can grow a mean veggie garden, but thus far my craftiness has remained untapped. But every now and then I get the urge to release my inner Martha and do a little project.

I was inspired by all these beautiful hand-made notes to do a little thank you card for Shari, our friend who created our gorgeous STD's. I remembered Veggie Sis K whipping up these cute little fabric flowers in about 15 seconds when I was visiting them over the summer. If it took her 15 seconds, I was fairly sure I could conquer it in under an hour. I'm sure there are better tutorials out there for making these, but here is the tried and true method of an absolute non-crafter.

Step one: Find some fabric scraps. But wait Miss Veggie, if you're not a crafter why do you have a bag of fabric lying around? Well, because I am a wannabe crafter, so I picked these up at our local recycling center (dump) just so that I'd be ready when the mood struck. Remind me to talk bit more about the recycling center later. It's one of my favorite places on earth.

Step two: Cut fabric into strips. I didn't measure, but i'd say mine were about 6-10 inches long and 1-2 inches wide.

Step three: Do a running stitch (ooh look at me and my crafty lingo), in other words, an "up-down" stitch along the edge of the fabric.

Step four: Pull it tight and tie a knot in it. I added an extra stitch in the middle of the flappy part to make the fabric stay overlapped a bit.

I love them! So adorable.

They look super cute with buttons on them.

But, since I'm not a crafter, the only buttons I have are the extra ones from a new sweater MIL Veggie bought me for my birthday. So, I left mine with no buttons. To attach them to the card stock, I just did one single stitch through the bunchy part of the flower and the paper. I suppose you could use glue, but the only sticky things I had lying around were duct tape and packing tape. And here's the finished product.

Too easy right?

I know I've seen these used in weddings before, anyone have any good ideas? Any improvements on my hodge-podge manner of constructing them? Anyone seen a proper tutorial for these little cuties?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Double Booked

Sometimes life just isn't fair... like when your computer breaks and then your fiance has to go away to a conference for a week and he leaves the same day that your monthly friend comes along and you have cramps so bad you can't even stand up and then the wedding venue sends an email saying that oops they've double booked your venue.

Wait. What?

Oh yeah, I had a melt-down this week. Well, technically several meltdowns. One via Skype with little veggie sis, one via phone with Mr. Veg, and several on my own. These lapses in sanity were prompted by an email from our wedding venue letting us know that our date was no longer available.

Their timing is impeccable. I had actually sent out the last few Save-The-Dates that morning.

This post was supposed to be about our amazing Save-The-Dates, created by the incredibly talented Shari Amos. It was supposed to be about how I was so excited to send them out that I couldn't sleep the night before. It was supposed to be about doing our first wedding project and having it come out perfectly and just how we (I) imagined. It was supposed to be about getting emails from people telling us what they were going to grow for our big day. But its not.

It is now about me trying to be a calm and peaceful soul. It is about me trying to roll with the punches. It is about being thankful that Skype is only video and not sensory, because I really would have pummeled that camp director in person.

What will happen? Where will our wedding be? When will our wedding be? Is it all ruined (like I was feeling yesterday)? Or is it just clearing a path for a better thing to come along (how I hope to be feeling tomorrow)? Stay tuned. Only time will tell.


Things to be aware of when sending out electronic save the dates:

1) If the file name attached to your email includes "STD", non-wedding-savvy folks on the guest list may be a bit hesitant to open it. And you will be the butt of many family jokes.

2) Yahoo will actually freeze your account for a few hours if you try to send an email to too many people (apparently 300 is too many).

We hemmmed and hawed about sending e-STD's, but in the end it fit with the overall feel of our wedding. No frills, budget-friendly, and most important, a low environmental footprint.

Our STD's were designed by our good friend Shari Amos, a graphic designer who does wedding invites (lucky us!). I am in love with them. I couldn't fall asleep last night because the 18hr time difference meant that people might open our email as early as 1am our time. I might even sacrafice a small tree and print a few up as keepsakes... that's how much I love them.

Work it!

Me: "Look at me and think about how you're going to feel the day we get married".

The camera comes out and suddenly Mr. Veggie's smile looks like the Joker. Me: "Relax your cheeks". Him: "They are relaxed"

All photos taken by the amazing Ross in exchange for a beer and a bowl of veggie chili.

Which do you like? Which would you use? Hah! That's a trick question because the one we actually chose isn't posted here. You'll just have to wait to see it.

Dirty Hippies

Now that we had a venue, it was definitely time to send out Save The Dates. I had wanted to do this in December, but it took longer than I thought to firm up a camp and then we got really busy during our southern hemisphere summer season, and then oops! We have a wedding date and its only 8 1/2 months away!

First step: Find a nice picture of us.

Good picture, scrubby clothes.
Good picture, no faces.

Good picture, scrubby clothes.

Good picture, ah- crazy hair!All pictures personal photos.

"Mr. Veggie, throw on your best pair of overalls. It's time to get purty for some pho-tography".

Its nice to have amazingly talented friends who will come by your house after working all day, put up with your shenanigans, and capture you on film. Stay tuned for some shots that our friend Ross took in what I guess could be called our backyard.