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Promise me: No. Chicken. Dance.

We need a DJ for the wedding.  Which inexplicably is now less than 7 months away.  I just noticed that on the nagging countdown timer on the upper right corner of this page & now I’m completely distracted & panicked.

What was I talking about?

Oh, DJ.  So, I’ve realized throughout this wedding planning process that I’m a smidge of a control freak.  Maybe not control freak so much, it’s just this: when I do things, I know they’re done. And most likely perfect.  When anyone else does things, I have a sneaking suspicion that they are completely opposite of what I would ever want.

Having learned this about myself, and having come to terms with the fact that I do not have the 47 hours in a day required to do all this stuff myself, I made a list of things I could live without controlling.  Things that, should I put them in the (legitimately) capable hands of my fiance & should they (inexplicably) go horribly awry, I could live with the aftermath.

So he got the DJ pick.  We have utterly opposite taste in music so finding someone who could make us both happy was going to be a job within itself. 

I had one rule.  And I wanted it in writing.  If the DJ plays “The Chicken Dance”, he is not getting paid.  Period.  We are not traditional people, we are not having a traditional wedding & I do not want any hint of traditional cheeseball DJ antics.  Despite our painfully opposite music taste, this we completely agreed on. 

After hours of research & reviews, Richie found a clear front runner & we set up a meeting with Scratch Weddings (http://scratchweddings.com). Here’s what I dug about them:

1) Scratch has over 700 skilled, trained, marquee-level DJs nationwide who have done over 15,000 events for over six million guests.

2) They’ve collaborated with Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Snoop Dogg & Michael Jackson. (Seriously- good enough for Snoop, good enough for me.)

3) Scratch Weddings offers the option to select from a number of DJs paired to each couple based on their personal style, taste and musical interests with online access to DJ bios, photos, videos and music mixes.

4) Couples are assigned a professional wedding music manager to work with them, their wedding planner, venue and their DJ to handle all musical details of their wedding.  There’s guaranteed DJ replacement in the event of an emergency and liability insurance.

5)  Scratch Weddings earned the 2011 “Bride’s Choice Award” on WeddingWire, the 2011 “Best of Weddings” award on The Knot and consistently receives five out of five stars on sites like Yelp.

Personally, I like that there are hundreds of DJs. So god forbid a freak chainsaw accident happened and our DJ was unable to spin a record, they’ve got backups on deck.  And Richie is geeking out over the fact that they have a DJ school founded by Jam Master Jay of Run DMC.  In fact, he kind of wants to enroll.

So we’re going with Scratch! 

Here’s what’s cool- based on their first impressions of our (impossible) musical tastes, they emailed us links with bios & pics* for their top 6 recommended DJs:

DJ Trife: http://bit.ly/kE9S6U

DJ Vida Ventura: http://bit.ly/zB5EZb

DJ Dan Chaves: http://bit.ly/ks5wTA

DJ Stef Nava: http://bit.ly/zy36zG

DJ Jon Blak: http://bit.ly/ApHuJA

DJ Alias: http://bit.ly/mcoSjA

*Um, I’m sorry but pics are IMPORTANT! Call me some hybrid of insecure &/or shallow, but I am SO not having the stereotypical NYC supermodel DJ spinning our wedding. Because I’m a chick. And I’m allowed to be occasionally irrational about these things.

The next step is to narrow down those DJs based on their mixing styles (check it out- they really do have different vibes!).  Then we’ll go in and meet with our fave who will spin live for us.  How cool is that?!  I’ll take some video of it & share with you guys on here.

Best of all, they’re completely on board with our “no chicken dance” policy.

If my body’s a temple…then I painted a wall?

I got a tattoo.

Sh*t, I planned on having some big build up to reveal that fact, but I got excited typing and skipped right to the good part.

Anyway, it’s not really wedding-related so I don’t know if I should even be posting it here, but damn if it doesn’t fit under the category “Fine, Change”.

I get asked about the “7″ tattoo on my shoulder all the time so I thought I’d take to the blog to explain my ink a bit.  Mostly because the next 20 times I’m asked, I can just forward an easy link :)

It's just my number.

I got the 7 a few years ago.  All I can say about it is that 7 is just my number.  It seems to follow me around every where I go.  My birthday’s March 7th, every significant date in my life has been on 7th (or 17th, etc).  If I’m going to win money in roulette, it’s going to be on a 7.  It felt like it was on my shoulder long before it was there.  There are a lot of symbolic, spiritual, meaningful associations with 7′s, like:

-The number of notes in a major scale

-The number of days of Creation

-The number of stellar objects in our Solar System visible to the naked eye

-The number of colors in the rainbow

-The number of chakras

-The number of spots on a ladybug

But none of those we’re responsible for the ink.  It’s just…my number.

SO, when I decided to tat up again it had to be something that was equally meaningful.  I’ve been thinking about writing something on my wrist for a while now.  I wanted something that was powerful to me, something that would put my head in the right mental space, something that would inspire me every time I saw it.  I think the wrist is particularly intense tattoo real estate; it’s literally a pulsating life point on your body.  So I wanted a phrase that was aligned with my philosophical way of life.

I started understanding Law of Attraction (more specifically, Abraham-Hicks) a few years ago & it’s changed just about every part of my life.  I’ve learned that happiness is a conscious choice.  Rather than just observe life and let the good and bad things I see dictate my mood, I choose each thought with care and make a conscious effort to focus on the positive in a situation.  I try to see the beauty in every person & focus on things I appreciate every day.

We all need reminders, and I can have just as effed up a day as the next guy, so writing something on my wrist that reminds me to stay focused on the positive is legitimately helpful.

Come to me this thing I want

The phrase “Come to me, this thing I want” is so beautiful to me.  It comes from an Esther Hicks quote in which she says something to the effect of:

It’s a Universe of inclusion.  Come to me, this thing I want or come to me, this thing I don’t want.  In other words, whatever you think about, you get.

I don’t want to waste my time worrying or…energetically pre-planning negative events.  Seeing these words every day helps me reframe.  When I know what I don’t want, I more clearly know what I DO want.

What is it you want?

Focusing on that, versus the LACK of that is so much more effective.  Sounds new age-y (and I get that that freaks some people out), but it’s just science.  Ask Einstein.

Smart guy.

And for the law of attraction skeptics out there, let’s say this is all a bunch of crap.  Worst case scenario from consciously focusing on the positive?  You feel better!  Thinking about stuff that makes you happy…makes you happy.  So even if you can’t wrap your head around the whole “manifest destiny” concept, finding a little better thought than the one you currently hold on a subject will lift your overall mood.  And that joy can lift the spirits of people around you.  And THAT joy can rub off on the people around them.  And (CUE SWELLING MUSIC!) suddenly the world’s a better place :)

Side note- if you’re into this stuff, I highly recommend my friend, Scott Raposa’s music.  He takes Abraham quotes & mixes it into really amazing ambient electronica tracks.  Check it out:  http://music.scottraposa.com/album/law-of-attraction-directly-from-source

Big thanks to the beautiful and talented Miss D’Jo at Lark Tattoo (http://www.larktattoo.com/index.php/artists/missdjo/0 )

Rach

Expansion in the Blogosphere!

So, most of you know I’m now a double blogger. In that I’m writing not one but TWO blogs these days, the second being for the Huffington Post’s new wedding section:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-fine

And because you guys have known me for a while now & I can pretty much say whatever I want here without fearing complete misunderstanding, I gotta take a sec to share my first HuffPo blog…and, more specifically, the battery of comments that followed it.  Because THIS you gotta see.

 

I Now Pronounce You… Girlie 

by Rachel Fine, Huffington Post Contributing Writer

 

Why, hello readers!  My name is (currently) Rachel Fine and I’m beyond honored to be writing for the Huffington Post.  Thank you for joining me on this, my inaugural blog posting.

Before we get started on the intricate minutiae of going batsh*t insane trying to plan a wedding over the next 12 months and 2 days, I think you should know a little about me.  First off, I mentioned my name.  And I should say some more things about that, particularly in light of the fact that despite its permanency for the last 29 years, I’m trying very hard to embrace changing it.  You can’t have a last name like “Fine” (which yes, is my real last name — and yes, sucked as an awkward kid) without some attachment.

It’s been fantastic from a career perspective.  Working in music and television, it’s lent itself nicely to critiques (“Fine music to unwind to!”) and show titles (like Fine Time, the new show I’m working on for Howard TV).

So when Richie Wilson proposed to me a couple of months ago, the first thing that went through my head (after a minute of complete exhilaration and happy tears about spending my life with the man I love) was some sort of panicked mental expletive about trading the snappy and entertainment industry-friendly “Fine” for the, umm, sort of plain “Wilson” that I’ll be sharing with 650,293 others. Plus, can we please discuss how uncomfortably close it is to Rachel Bilson?! (who is actually on my TV right now promoting some new show that does not contain any sort of fun play off the word “Bilson.”  Sigh.)

Now let me tell you about the second thought that went through my head.

It’s a lot to adjust to, the idea of marriage. I don’t know why, but I’ve always identified strongly as a very “Independent Woman.”  As a teen, I was the only female in a nationally competitive drum line.  Prior to working full time in entertainment, I was a Senior VP in corporate America.  I’ve always thrived in a man’s world, and to do that, you almost gotta shut off your girlie side.  I’m starting to think there may be a whole generation of chicks like me who grew up with “Free to Be… You and Me” on repeat and are now having a tough time embracing their inner girlie-ness.

The idea of excelling at any domestic-type activity always had a Taming of the Shrew vibe to me.  As if cooking my man a pot roast would somehow invite the destruction of my inner being via a 50 foot Godzilla version of Donna Reed.  And seriously, this underlying belief system has been in place since kindergarten, when I vehemently declared blue as my favorite color due entirely to the teacher’s strict insistence on pink nap time blankets for the girls.

Here’s a fun example of how not kidding I am about my utter suckitude at domestication: About 4 years ago I got a hankerin’ for slice-and-bake cookies.  I made 4 of them.  The gas company called me immediately (I swear to you this is true) highly concerned about a probable gas leak due to the dramatic spike in usage versus the prior 10 years.  Because I turned my oven on  (or stove?  I always mix those two words up.  The inside part that I now use for storage, not the top part).

Luckily I can order in like a champ.

My point is, the idea of being somebody’s wife kinda freaks me out!  Am I alone here, or are other modern day Rosie the Riveters out there struggling in silence?

And now I gotta plan this wedding.  And I’m supposed to have highly developed lifelong preferences on the cakes and the dresses and the flowers for the big day of my dreams.  And I like… good cake.  And… pretty dresses.  And flowers… that smell good.  But beyond that, I seriously have no clue where to start.

So maybe you can help.  I’m gonna need a lot of advice over the next 12 months and 2 days.

Something blue,

Rachel

 

Relatively innocuous, no? So when I saw 90 people fighting in the comment section, I was pretty surprised.  Here are a couple highlights for your perusal (in fairness I’m grabbing all the whack ones, not the awesome people who were supportive and insightful):

Just curious, why do you believe “independe­nce” is “rarely cooking” (it is the example you gave of your definition of an independen­t “self-imag­e”)? You honestly think women today who cook aren’t independen­t? Did it ever occur to you that maybe people (man or woman) cook because it’s cheaper and healthier, not because they are conforming to a dated stereotype­?  

Don’t do it. Love him forever w/out marriage will keep it fresh. Marriage is great for a few people but most divorce.If you are lucky enough to have love cherish it .Why ruin it ?

I have zero interest in marriage. Having someone occupy my space for more than 2 days makes my skin crawl.  

I think you would be well advised to drop the marriage idea, at least for now.  

Hey, I have a suggestion – dont get married.  

You will be great wife just the way that you are just like you were a great girlfriend however you may need to step it up a notch in the cooking department

Well, you can blame parasites for your dilemma.  You ladies need a man in your life so that any of your children down the road have some chance of being healthy in the chronic arms race that our species (and others) wage against parasites.  As Darwin argued, the nature of men is shaped by the choices made by women (female choice).  Your husband to be may not have a fancy, colorful, peacock’s tail, but he certainly has some virtues that you found attractive­.  If you are lucky, you have chosen well. May you both have a happy life together!  

Sounds to me like you don’t even know how to be your own person, nevermind being someone else’s partner. Call off the wedding and wait a minute. You’re not ready.  

my question is, if you aren’t excited to become a wife and form a partnershi­p (and therefore no longer be just an individual­)… why, why, why would you get married???

The point I don’t understand in this article is wanting to be independen­t, but also be married.  Those things contradict each other.

 

And there you have it.

Here’s the thing.  Any time you’re in the public eye, you’re on the less fun end of a very critical “fan” base.  And 95% of the time, I let that stuff roll off my back- in the words of the great Bonnie Raitt, I can’t make you love me if you don’t.  So these comments didn’t hit my heart on a personal level (puhleeze- if I can handle 4 pages on a fan board about my massive, giant, horrific, disgusting nose without running to a surgeon*, I can handle anything). But these comments were just WEIRD.  Like maybe they really misunderstood me? Maybe I wasn’t clear in my writing? Or maybe it’s all part of a bigger “sign of the times” debate happening globally about gender roles & identity?  Interesting either way, wanted to hear your thoughts since you guys know me better.

xoxo,

R

 

*yet. No promises.

 

The Engagement Party

We FINALLY had our engagement party (and I FINALLY have a minute to write & tell you about it!)

I knew I wanted to have a party while my dad was in town.  And I knew he was going to be in town a good three months before he was here.  Yet somehow, we were less than two weeks out and I still had an unsent evite sitting open on my computer, missing such crucial details as “location”.

Richie & I knew we wanted to do something nice for our engagement party.  We could agree on three things: we wanted good food, I’m all about atmosphere & an open bar was a requirement.   It doesn’t sound that challenging, but six venues later, we weren’t any closer to finding a spot that wasn’t either lacking one of those components or wanted the equivalent of our future kids college fund for three afternoon hours on a Saturday.  Ok, slight exaggeration, but SERIOUSLY, one place quoted us $6500. (in state tuition-ish, no?!)

Thank the good lord that my friend Sandy (aka “Cruise Director”, so named for her extensive knowledge of all things awesome in NYC) suggested one of our old haunts, Cibar in Union Square.  Over the past 5 years, I can remember (fuzzily) many late nights that ended in that pink velvety lounge sipping dirty martinis with my girls. The vibe is awesome, the drinks are amazing & the snacks rule.  And what I came to learn, working with Lisa & Gina, is that the staff could not have been more accommodating.  Next time you’re in NYC and looking for a hotspot, let me Cruise Direct you straight to Cibar:  http://cibarlounge.com

Look how cute this place is!

So after working out the (completely reasonable!) details with Gina, I went in to meet with Lisa & plan the menu. I’ll share what we did food & drink-wise, in case you’re planning a party yourself.

Beer: Amstel & Stella

Wine: Bordeaux & Pinot Grigio

Signature Cocktails:  Green Apple Vodka Martini with a sprinkle of cinnamon & a http://bulldoggin.com Blood Orange Martini

Food: hummus & crudite, cheese plates, apple & brie quesadillas, chicken skewers, edamame, mini pigs in a blanket, mini kobe burgers, pizza & mini cupcakes.  SO DELISH!

(Side note, my favorite part of the menu planning was tasting all the signature cocktail options.  It’s a serious job. And must be taken seriously. At least until you stumble out.)

The evening was a blast.  And I remember that primarily in hindsight by looking at the pictures photographic genius Bennet Cobliner (http://bennetcobliner.com) took. Because I may have had one too many to remember 100% of the details.  But what I can piece together via the photographic evidence was just fantastic ;)

Here are a few of my favorite pics-

How can you not love this pic?!

This is Angelo, Richie's best man/hetero lifemate

This is Tim, my music partner & great friend. He co-wrote the album with me.

 

My dad & me :)

 

Gotta love Ronnie.

 

This is one of my best friends, Ellie. Not only is she half of http://melandel.com, she's also now legally an officiant & marrying Richie & me!

 

Any SGU fans? David Blue (aka my college buddy) in da house.

 

I'm not certain how this picture came about, but I'm very happy it did.

 

Our friends in Cibar's backyard

 

I would love to know what they were discussing here.

 

Ronnie's speech was classic.

 

 

Hot Up Boot Camp.

I want to be HOT on my wedding day.  Not every day hot, exceptional hot.  I want to look back at those pictures when I’m old & wrinkly and be all “DAMMMMNNNN!”.  I don’t even use phrases like “I’ll be all ‘DAMMMNNNN!’”, but that’s seriously the level of hot I’m looking for.  I intend to put a Kardashian to shame, that’s all I’m saying.

So I’m trying to figure out what goes into that hotting up process.

Let’s start with the obvious.  My dream weight is a buck 17 (perhaps you’ve noticed my obsession with sevens…and yup, it’s pretty much that arbitrary).  I can’t break 122 to save my life.  And frankly, that’s working hard for it- I rest comfortably at 124.  I know there are people who would roll their eyes at my quest to drop 5 lbs, but let me tell you, I’ve come a long way to get to the point where 5 lbs matters. I look at working out as my job (and a caloric penance of sorts for eating total and complete sh*t all day).  117 is the lowest healthy BMI for my height and I think being a healthy weight is more important than being Kate Moss.  Besides, I’m built too naturally Jessica Rabbit-esque to risk looking emaciated (I’ve gotta have at least 10 lbs in knockers alone?!).  My goal may sound crazy, but I have yet to meet a girl who is 100% satisfied with her weight as it stands.  And while I think I look fine in person- I’m a size 2 and I don’t have “problem areas” to defensively dress- I recognize (and am thankful) that my world is often on camera & that cameras completely suck balls, as far as the whole adding 5 lbs thing goes.  Point being, I want to be 117.

(I'm way more the one on the right)

So there’s that.

Also on the hot up list- I’m doing laser hair removal.  Ok, that wont necessarily show up on wedding pictures, but come on!  Who doesn’t want baby smooth legs all the time??  Plus, there was a groupon.  So a couple months before the wedding, I’ll be relatively hairless.

Annnnd while I’m at it- I’m getting a tattoo removed.  Don’t you worry- I’d never touch my “7″.  This one’s a smidge south- the ‘ol “tramp stamp” was such an awesome idea in college but much like Crystal Pepsi, it just doesn’t pass the test of time.  There should be a law that you have to take some emotional maturity exam before they can start inking you.  Or maybe move the age limit to 25.  I’m just saying you need to know what it is you truly stand for before you permanently declare it on your skin.  I kick around ideas for new tattoos all the time- I don’t think I’m done with the ink.  But I feel more settled into who I am at this point in my life & I don’t think any new work would be the result of a drunken stumble into a shady parlor.  Side note on removal: I’m fairly certain having a limb amputated is less painful.  You’ve been warned.

I’m willing to say that I know all of this is a little screwy.  I get that the Utopian version of me would look lovingly in a mirror and find peace & self-acceptance & unicorns & rainbows & valium.  I was inspired and slightly horrified by http://www.ayearwithoutmirrors.com , Kjerstin Gruys self-imposed mirror ban for the year leading up to her wedding- have you heard about this?  How the eff she’s avoiding mirrors for a year is beyond me (although in fairness, she doesn’t get picked apart on “fan” sites, so you gotta give me a little room for neurosis).  I give the girl props.  And would offer the girl xanax.

But I digress.

Here’s my favorite part of the story- Richie’s jumped in my hot up for the wedding boat!  We have a dentist (periodontist, actually) that we adore here in NYC, Nicholas Toscano, DDS ( http://www.manhattanperiodontist.com ).  He does all our dental work- we both did deep cleanings over the summer & I have a whitening hobby (slash mild obsession) that Dr. Toscano assists with.  He’s just a good dude, does a great job, really cares about his patients & pretty much treats our teeth like they were gold capped gangsta gems :)

Although Richie had braces twice as a kid, they never really “took”.  So he sat down with Dr. Toscano (follow http://twitter.com/DrToscanoDDS !) to see if there was anything he could do to permanently fix his teeth. And while you’d never know it to look at OR talk to Richie…he now has braces!  Dr. Toscano did Richie’s Invisalign.  So in about 6 months, Richie’s teeth will look amazing.  I didn’t know anything about Invisalign, but I’m completely blown away.  You don’t see them!  You can take them out!  I’m not sure why anyone would get the old school metal train tracks with this technology readily available.

Richie looks fantastic in that lipstick shade, no?

Oh- and here’s the coolest part.  Richie trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu almost every night.  And Dr. Toscano didn’t want Richie to have all that time training with a mouthguard in his mouth instead of his Invisalign.  So he’s creating CUSTOM INVISALIGN MOUTHGUARDS for Richie!!  How cool is that?!

So that’s the plan.  Don’t get me wrong, I would marry Richie with imperfect teeth as quickly as he’d marry me with stubbly legs and an outdated tattoo.  But the wedding is kind of a natural hot up deadline.  It’s nice to set some life goals that we can accomplish over the next twelve months, three weeks and one day.

xoxo,

R

Wedding Weekend: Richard & Kristin Christy

I’ve attended a good number of weddings.  But now, in the midst of planning my own, I’m seeing the entire event through a whole new set of eyes.  Case in point- last weekend’s wedding of two of amazing people, Richard Christy & Kristin Jenco (aka Kristy Christy).

Richard & Kristin

Richard & Kristin are two of my favorite people.  They are kind, genuine & an absolute blast to hang out with.  I was honored to share their wedding with them.

I was also excited to see how a few things I’ve thought about doing in theory ended up working in actuality.  For instance- no formal sit down dinner.  The Christy’s had great passed appetizers and then buffet stations.  It was really nice not to have the flow of the evening dictated to us- we never had to stop the party & sit, waiting to be served.  When we were hungry, we ate.  Easy!

Another thing I was happy to see was the reception held at the same location as the wedding, immediately following it.  We’re planning to do the same thing- we’re going to get married & start the party there ASAP.  Why kill hours in between and make people travel? Especially if you’re not getting married in a religious location where it might be inappropriate to have a reception.  It was great to enjoy a quick, fun ceremony and then immediately celebrate the hell out of it.

Another was the flip flop basket.  I’m a HUGE fan of the flip flop basket, ever since I first heard about it a few years ago.  The basic idea is that most women hit a point where your ridiculously stylish shoes start to strike you as just ridiculous & your forced with the option of sitting immediately or risking amputation.  So why not change into a brand new pair of flip flops, available in assorted sizes & provided by the bride & groom?  Easy solution & we all keep dancing.  In fact, I’m SUCH a fan of the flip flops, that I decided to make Kristin a  special bridal pair as part of her gift. Check em out:

Seriously, how awesome are these?

Yup, those jingle bells do jingle with every step.

I wanted them to be super comfortable because I figured her feet would be killing her. So I went fuzzy.

So comfy!

(I included 12,000 pictures of them because they took me a solid week to make)

Speaking of creative gift components, I also made them chalices of sorts, based on what I guessed liquor consumption levels might be ;)

These look about the right size.

Overall, the wedding was an absolute blast.  What I most admired was the sense of Richard & Kristin that I got from the evening.  It was a true reflection of who they are.  There was no formality or pomp & circumstance about the night- it was just their kind of party.  And I think that’s my biggest take away.  I want my wedding to be a true reflection of us.  One hell of a party that shows our spirit, our sense of style, our idea of a perfect night.

Richard & Kristin, I wish you a lifetime of happiness & I love you so, so much.

Before I sign off, I thought I’d share a few more of my favorite pics from the wedding.  Enjoy!

xoxo

R

About to head out to the venue!

In the limo & on our way!

Having a blast!

George Takei always makes a wedding more fun.

With Claudio from Richard's favorite band, Coheed and Cambria.

The infamous hot Lisa G pic discussed on air. She looked great!

And my favorite of the professional pics-

We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Blog…

Ok, I suck.  It’s been way too long between blog posts.  And while I’d like to blame it on things like impromptu trips to Florida, AC, Philly & Wisconsin (and I sort of do), I take full responsibility (except see above).

First off, before I even get into wedding-y stuff, the response to my last blog post was…amazing.  I got emails and facebook messages and tweets from so many of you who were touched by our sentiment.  I wish I had the words to tell you how much it hit my heart to know that what we wrote was so well received.  It’s always a little scary to take a stand that you know full well will (and did) alienate some people.  I can tell you that in hindsight after the TENS OF THOUSANDS of webhits my last post received, not only did I feel heartfelt appreciation from so many of our gay friends, but I also received a couple messages from people who stopped to rethink their position and have started to feel differently about the issue.  That’s beyond words amazing.  It takes a lot to admit you may have been wrong about something (ask Richie- I think he’s heard those words come out of my mouth maybe once? And if pressed I might still deny it), so I wholeheartedly congratulate those of you who paused to reflect.  I know, I know- a little blog that made a couple people think is a drop of water on a blaze, but it’s also indicative of the fact that change begets change and one voice can inspire thousands.  So, you know, say something.

Speaking of saying, I need to say one more thing about the subject before I return you to your regularly scheduled blog, as promised by the now slightly misleading blog title.

My dad LOVES the picture Richie & I took with NOH8.  Loves it.  To an embarrassing extent.  Like, he’s had it printed in 8x10s, had it blown up to poster size, mounted it on foam core board, and had some sort of canvas portrait created as well.  I literally can’t get away from myself, which is completely creepy.  I’m waiting for my next birthday present to come wrapped in custom marriage announcement wrapping paper as I sit home in my NOH8 pic checkered pajama pants, cuddling with my custom printed throw blanket, sipping coffee from a mug with my face looking sternly back at me.  Essentially, our duct tapped faces are everywhere & it’s gotten slightly out of hand.

So, it came as no surprise that my dad sent our picture to a popular website to have custom postage stamps printed so our smiling faces could haunt the upper right hand corner of every letter he mails out (also, who even sends letters anymore? But I digress).

Imagine his surprise when his order was rejected & he received this email:

__

Dear Frank,

Unfortunately, we are currently unable to accept the image you have submitted as part of your order.

For this reason, your entire order has been canceled and your credit card will not be charged. We were unable to accept your image for the following reason:

This image was not accepted because it did not meet our content guidelines. Click here for more info on our content
guidelines.

Please note that owing to privacy concerns, our customer support representatives do not have access to any submitted images and they cannot provide additional details on why your submission did not meet our content guidelines.

We thank you for ordering from us and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We encourage you to try again.

__

So naturally, I looked up content restrictions and found this:

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Content Restrictions: You agree not to upload, order for print, or otherwise transmit or communicate any material for any unlawful purpose or that is obscene, offensive, blasphemous, pornographic, sexually suggestive, deceptive, threatening, menacing, abusive, harmful, an invasion of privacy, supportive of unlawful action, defamatory, libelous, vulgar, violent, or otherwise objectionable.

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Ok, seriously.  Blasphemous? Pornographic? Deceptive? Obscene?  Do I need to post the picture again?

What about our pro-marriage equality statement did they find so thoroughly offensive?

There are many companies who print custom photo stamps.  I thought long and hard about whether or not to publicly blast these guys on here (umm, obviously I found the CEO’s home address and I’m not gonna lie- it might have been fun to start a friendly campaign of sorts- perhaps exploring stamp designs more…overtly…in violation of the aforementioned “content restrictions”), but ultimately I’ve thought better of it.  When I look at what happened as a whole, it just serves as a reminder that as open as NY has proven to be post-equality vote, the rest of the country’s just not there yet.   If more people speak up, hopefully we can get to a point where any loving relationship….can be pictured on a postage stamp?

Sigh.

Ok, so it’s now clear that my blog post title was a complete (but unintentional!) lie.  Seriously though, how could I go back to dress shopping (OMG! I have so much to tell you!) and cake tastings (I’m trying the chocolate peanut butter invention next week!! Wheee! Free cake!!) when the custom postage stamp industry had some ‘splainin to do? :)

 

Love to all of you-

Rach

Love is Love.

I interrupt this frivolous blog to bring you an important message.  Feel free to tune out if you were hoping for a diatribe on save-the-date etiquette (which I totally have questions on…but now’s not the time).

Richie and I released our engagement announcement today.  And we waited until now for a very specific reason.  As I type this, same sex marriage is being put to the Senate floor for a vote in New York.

Although I have strong beliefs across the board, there are very few political issues that I speak about publicly.  Coming from a family I love that happens to be filled with staunchly opposing political viewpoints, I’ve learned to shut my yap & just enjoy playing dominoes with the people I absolutely adore.  Because at the end of the day, they’re so much more than a party ticket.  Nothing I say will change their minds, just as nothing they say will change mine.  And instead of the frustration of trying again and again to craft the perfect argument that will cause some big “a ha!” moment where they’ll all see why my perspective clearly makes the most sense, I learned a long time ago that I don’t need someone to agree with me to make me “right”.  And when you really let go of that quest for approval of your opinion, you’re free to just love and appreciate other people, exactly where they are.

That being said, there are times when it’s important to take a stand.  When sitting in silence legitimately hurts another person.  I have too many gay friends not to stand up and say that equality matters.  I’ve watched them be mocked behind their backs, rejected by family, passed over for employment, turned down for adoptions.   I’m not speaking theoretically, I’ve seen every one of those examples first hand.  And it breaks my heart. 

So why is the word Marriage important, versus a Domestic Partnership or a Civil Union?  Very simply, our country tried “Separate but Equal” and we saw how well that turned out with Jim Crow Laws.  The truth is, separate is never equal.  It’s separate.  It separates.  It inherently teaches our children that one group of people are of a different class than another. 

I believe our grandchildren will look back at this time in history with some shame, and that saddens me.  It saddens me in the way our country’s discrimination towards women prior to the Suffrage Movement and, more poignantly, the dark blemish our practice of slavery left on our Nation’s history saddens me.   

All this to say that today, as this vote goes to the Senate, I’m encouraged.  I feel the excitement, the ground swell of change.  I feel an awakening and an awareness of an evolving generation that says “enough is enough”.  For the first time, I think progress is truly imminent.

So we chose to celebrate our engagement by standing up and saying something:

Love is love.

-Rachel

UPDATE 06/24/11 10:51 PM ET: GAY MARRIAGE PASSES IN NEW YORK!!!!  New York is now the 6th (& largest) state in the Union to adopt gay marriage!  Here’s my favorite quote: “when Republican Roy McDonald famously defended his unexpected decision, saying “fuck it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing” — the scale in favor of gay marriage seemed to tip.”

What an amazing day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Heinous dresses.

I’m back in town from my first weekend away from Richie since the engagement.  Missed him!  I spent time with my family; Richie had the “work” assignment of covering Ronnie Mund’s appearance at a strip club in Indy.  Tough day at the office, eh?

While I was home, I finally had the face-to-face chance to sit down with my sisters annnnnnnnd ask them to be my bridesmaids! :)  I don’t want a big crazy wedding party- just my two sisters & one of my childhood best friends, Cyndi. 

It’s got me thinking dresses & I thought I’d bring the debate to you guys because you’re awesome at this stuff.  Generally I despise bridesmaid dresses (no offense, Cyn- I loved* the dress I wore as your Maid of Honor and am going to wear** it all the time).

Here are the priorities: 

-I want the three of them to look and feel beautiful & elegant.

-I want the dress to be appropriate for different ages, my sisters are (mumblecough) years older than me (I was a flower girl in one sister’s wedding & a 10 yr old bridesmaid in the others) and I don’t want them to feel like their wearing something out of the juniors section that they’re uncomfortable in.

-I want colors that complement some of the design elements.  One thing we’re dealing with is a unique shade of blue in the wall behind us and some centerpieces we’re looking at that are made of old amber/brown glass.  So maybe in the neutral/blush colors?

-I don’t want them to spend a boatload of money.

What do you guys think about using three related colors for dresses rather than them matching?  Like different shades of the same basic color.  What about doing that AND using three different style dresses so each person looks their best?  But then how do you tie them together?  Use the same material maybe?  And how do you coordinate it with the groomsmen?  I feel like the whole matching cummerbund thing is very prom-esque.

I’m prepared for your genius thoughts on all things bridesmaid dressy.  Go.

Use these for some quick inspiration:

 

The dresses are awful enough to have distracted me from the shotgun the first 3 times I looked at this pic.

 

Where the "bridesmaid dress/ curtain" comparitive originated.

 

Perhaps camo IS the best option. At least no one can see you.

 

*read: theoretically appreciated

**read: remember it fondly

Cake & eat it too!

I’m going to be honest & say that aside from the ring, the wedding planning component I’m most excited about is cake shopping.  Mostly the eating part of the cake shopping.

Let’s talk wedding cakes.  I have questions.  And you guys always seem to have answers.

First off, is the cupcake fad over? Or is that still happening?  I like the portability of this dessert option, but have concern over A) triteness and B) over-it factor for our work friends.  I don’t want the wedding cake to be a tired extension of Cupcake Wednesdays.

Second, can you go with any flavor or are there rules about this?  For instance, I could live on chocolate.  Richie could live on peanut butter.  Can we just have some kind of crazy chocolate peanut butter cake or is that way too out there?  Wait, If we did that, wouldn’t we need to have some sort of non-peanut option for allergic people?  I feel like 74% of the population is allergic to peanuts (source: made up).  Can you have a cake that is all different flavors?  Or then is everyone cutting into each tier to get to the kind they like, the way I would with an unmarked box of chocolates?

Third, umm, can we schedule tastings with dozens (hundreds?) of bakeries?  And if so, uh, how am I just now finding out about this?  And why aren’t more people regularly taking advantage of free cake?!  I actually went out and bought a piece of cake last week when I clearly should have just flashed the bling & begged to be fed.

I’m just not into the giant, flowery, gaudy, drawbridge & princessy looking mountains of frosting.  And I’m not even exaggerating.  Please tell me at least one of you has seen My Big, Fat, Gypsy Wedding.  Because if I don’t post this recurring monstrosity, the terrorists will have won. 

Yep. That's Ken & Barbie on there. And their friends I think. Subtle, just like I like it.

Thoughts on more non-traditional/less weddingy looking cakes? 

Sweetly*,

Rach

*thought ” Fondantly,” might be too much of a stretch

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