Sunday, January 31, 2010

For Poorer

Fact: currently, my lovely fiance and I are broke as a joke.


The state of our finances is not a surprise. Last year, we lived in a pretty cheap city, and we each made a salary. This year, we've moved to a city with a ridonkulous cost of living, and with me in grad school full time, we're living on the earnings from my work-study job, Mr. O's freelance work in news production, and his second job waiting tables. Basically, our rent doubled and our joint income got cut in half. We knew that this year was going to be the leanest one we've ever had.

Even though we were prepared, I'm not gonna lie: it's been tough sometimes. We get the rent and the bills paid every month, and we have groceries in the fridge, but between our determination to stay out of credit card debt and our commitment to cover all the minor wedding expenses that pop up, we have virtually no room in the budget for leisure expenses.

Since we've had to cut the extras so short, I've been missing the things we did together and the dates we went on in years past: trying different restaurants, going to the movies, taking road trips, and so on. Boston is a fantastic city, and I have had many pangs of wishing we had more budgetary freedom to explore it.

However, there are two bright aspects of our brokeitude. The first is that we've been such a good team during this transition. Mr. Octopus and I have communicated a whole lot about how to manage our finances, and I feel very reassured by the fact that our general money stress hasn't been compounded by fighting. I'm sure that this is not the last time over the course of our lives that we'll have tough financial times, so it's comforting to know that we can manage it together, peacefully.

The second is that we've really been reminded to appreciate what we already have. Our dates these days consist of anything that's free. Our Friday night this week involved homemade pizza, beer, and watching Food, Inc. on the Netflix website. It was very quiet and very low-key, but we made it fun! It also makes the days that we do scrounge up a little extra cash--like this morning, when we went out to breakfast for the first time in what felt like one bajillion years--seem extra special.

We went to The Friendly Toast in Kendall Square, and it was TOTALLY worth the 40-minute (!!!) wait to be seated.

I think my picture is blurry because Mr. O was getting the shakes from being so excited to eat his meal.

Our year of stingy living has not always been fun or easy, and I will not miss it at all when I graduate in May and get a job again. But it has been a good learning experience, and it's given us the opportunity to support each other. Last weekend, I was feeling a little sorry for myself, because our lack of funds forced us to turn down a friend's invitation to something that sounded like a lot of fun. Mr. O was very sweet in sympathizing with my disappointment, but also reminded me that even the security to pay the rent and bills every month is a luxury that many people don't have, so I needed to buck up. He was right, and it totally helped.

When you're going through something tough with your significant other, how do you support each other?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Guess What!


What have we here? Oh, only the reason I've been stalking the UPS website and lurking near the entrance to our apartment building like a total friggin' creeper.

Our save-the-dates got delivered this week! Hooray! Now I just have to gather up my list of addresses and go buy some stamps so I can get these bad boys right back out in the mail.

I can't wait to show you my STDs, guys. (Snicker.)

Monday, January 25, 2010


Lately, I've been spending a fairly ridiculous amount of time pondering our guestbook options. It seems like a really small detail, but in my defense, I'm pretty fond of keepsakes like that, and Mr. O is literally the most nostalgic person I've ever met in my life, so a guestbook full of messages from our friends and family is something we would both definitely cherish. Also, it's a way, way more entertaining mental diversion than my grad school assignments.

I've narrowed the options down to two, but now I'm waffling like an Eggo about which one to choose!

Option One: Postcards

Mr. Octopus and I have had a fairly nomadic life together, moving from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas to Boston in the span of five years, so I thought it would be cool to gather up an assortment of postcards from all the places we've lived. Our guests could choose a postcard and write a little note on it, and we would put them together into an album after the wedding.

I MAY have screeched out loud over the greatness of these vintage-style postcards from zazzle seller feedmelinguini.

Option Two: MyPublisher Photo Album
The other choice I really like is to assemble a whole mess of pictures from the course of our relationship and publish them in a photo album. Then, people could use metallic markers to sign the pages. I like the idea of being able to show people a photo timeline of the years we've been together. The one downside is that many of my favorite pictures of us couldn't be included, because they were taken on--how quaint!--my old film camera. But we would get to feature some goodies like these, from our old-timey college years:

Road trip to Niagara Falls

This was taken at a regular ol' frat party, but we are so in luuuurrrve!

Halloween 2003. He was "a monkey with a mullet" and I was a firefighter. Okay, a SEXY firefighter. Forgive me, I was nineteen.

Or some recent shots:

Vacation to Alaska!

Daffodil's got better things to do than look into the camera for a family portrait.

Although I do feel that, for propriety's sake, some pictures (from back in the day, before we were real grown-ups) that absolutely crack me up will not be able to make the cut.....

.....because it is so obvious that hearty amounts of alcohol were involved in the photographic process.

I didn't even bother to put down my can of Miller High Life for this one. The champagne of beers!

I'm leaning towards the photo album, because I think it's more personal and we'll both really enjoy looking back through it, but I'm not sure.

What are you doing for your guestbook? Which one of these options would you choose?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Two Roads Diverged in Wedding Planning...

...and I am not sure what to do.

Remember how I was super excited about the florist I met in Pittsburgh? And how all that was left was to dot the i's and cross the t's before she would officially be the person to bring my roses-and-dahlias-and-jewel-tones bouquet ideas to life?

Rich colors! Lots of petals! Waaaaaaant!

That was before the final proposal came in at $200 over budget. I asked if there was anything we could do to bring the price down, but she said our only options were to either start from scratch on the plan for the bridesmaids' bouquets and drastically change their overall look, or to start eliminating things entirely from the proposal. Given that the only things we asked for in the first place were bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages, and no one who was originally listed to receive flowers wants to forgo them, there's nothing we can cut.

I know $200 over budget doesn't sound like that much, but when we were only planning to spend $700 in the first place, it's a pretty big jump above where we hoped to be. I'm very tempted to say, "oh, what's another $200, it's just a drop in the bucket!", but I also worry that it's easy to drop an extra one, two, three hundred dollars here and there and suddenly be thousands of dollars over the budget you had originally planned for.

So as far as I can tell, I have three options: suck it up and pay the extra money, start over on the bouquet plan, or (sigh) start from scratch and find a new florist altogether.

What would you do?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why the Wedding? Part 2

When I left off, I was contemplating the negative portrayal of modern brides and weddings that I've been noticing in the media and in my interactions with people. There seems to be a school of thought that says that most people throw big weddings for less-than-awesome reasons, or that the act of having a wedding itself is inherently wasteful and unnecessary.

But I think that it's totally legit that Mr. Octopus and I decided to have the wedding we're having. Yes, it's going to be big, yes, it's going to be what most people would consider traditional and what some might consider fancy, and yes, it's going to be expensive. But I really believe that it was the best possible choice for us. Here is why:

Because I wanted to give this transition in our lives a heavy weight. Mr. O and I will have been together for eight years by the time we come up on our wedding day. We were boyfriend and girlfriend for a very, very long time, and becoming husband and wife feels like a major rite of passage to both of us. We both wanted a fairly long engagement (sixteen months) and a big wedding because we wanted to really feel this change.

Because I want to say my vows in front of all our people. I think it's very beautiful and very meaningful to gather everyone who knows and loves us together to hear us publicly declare our intentions and commitment to be together forever. I love the concept of having my friends and family bear witness to our vows. I want everyone to hear me promise to be Mr. O's wife, forever.

Because of the opportunity to have so much love in one place. I feel like that was kind of a hippie, New-Agey way to say that, but it's really how I feel. I can't imagine any other situation in which we could gather our loved ones--all of our friends, all of our family--in one place at one time. I am so looking forward to having this day to celebrate with everyone who is important to me.

Because I want to have a once-in-a-lifetime throwdown of a party. Mr. O and I place a huge value on experiences. I have never once regretted spending money on having an amazing travel experience, going out to a really special meal, or otherwise doing something fun and interesting that I can look back on happily. Yes, we could put a down payment on a house with the money the wedding will cost, but having this one incredibly special experience instead of upgrading from our one-bedroom apartment outfitted in craigslist-chic decor was more important to us right now. As one review of One Perfect Day put it, "weddings, unlike most other things we purchase, reliably deliver heart-stopping measures of joy."

Plus, our people are spectacular partiers. I would never purposefully give up an opportunity to unleash my friends and family on some booze and a dance floor. It's going to be epic.

So there you have it--the reasons for our wedding, none of which involve an elaborate performance art piece I've been concocting ever since I first laid eyes on a Barbie doll. This was a conscious and purposeful choice that Mr. O and I made with our families, fully aware that we had other options, but wanting this one the most. So in your face, anonymous Internet haterz!

How did you choose the type of wedding you're having? What does it mean to you?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why the Wedding? Part 1

Have any of you read One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding, by Rebecca Mead? If you haven't, a quick summary is that it's a non-fiction sociological-type book exploring the inner workings of the wedding industry. I read it a while ago--way before Mr. Octopus and I were engaged--so I don't remember that much about it. But the other day, a particular statistic Mead had quoted ran through my mind, so I looked the book up on Amazon.

What struck me once I got to the page, though, was this quote from the Washington Post's review of the book: "
The somewhat unsettling truth is that, whipped along by the wedding industry, the American wedding has been turned into an ego trip for brides....the glossy bridal magazines...exist to convince the bride that it is her privilege, her right -- indeed, her obligation -- to become preoccupied with herself, her appearance, her tastes, and her ability to showcase them to their best advantage." Ouch!

Intrigued by this pretty strong condemnation of modern weddings (and brides), I delved a little further into the wilds of the Internet. This New York Times column posed the question to its readers: if you were offered a large sum of money to spend as you pleased, or to direct specifically toward a wedding, what would you choose?

Here are two sentiments that really jumped out at me from the comments:

"A ‘perfect wedding’ is part of the bride’s conditioning, her fantasy day since she received a Barbie doll for Christmas...this is the bride’s big day; the groom is part of the scenario. It’s performance art for him. He’ll go along with it as long as he’s not paying for it."

"The big wedding ritual is a sad conflation of a once-understandable desire to have family and friends support a (formerly) once in a lifetime event between what was typically a young couple. Now? It's a different game. The wedding industry is a big fat scam, and the socialization of glamorous wedding days are just a silly ego trip or fantasy-land event. Grow up."

Oh, SNAP. Anonymous New York Times commenters really don't pull any punches.

It's not just anonymous Internet comments, though. In the months I've been engaged, there have been quite a few moments in which people have not been shy about letting me know that they find weddings frivolous, wasteful, and unnecessary. Given that I am planning what most people would call a traditional, "wedding-y" wedding, I've been a little perplexed about how to handle these comments.

On one hand, when I read things like the quotes above, or hear remarks from others, I want to just dismiss them outright. The level of intensity (as well as the sweeping generalizations!) is, in my opinion, preeeetty overinflated. Besides, it's not their money and has nothing to do with them, so why should they even care?

But on the other hand, it's true that my parents, Mr. O's parents, and Mr. O and I are, collaboratively, spending a pretty hefty chunk of money on this event, and I think it's perfectly reasonable to expect that there is a sound rationale behind the choices that we're making. And as I've said before, I really take issue with the media's portrayal of women who are planning weddings, including things like the quotes above. So I decided: I want to explain, clearly, why Mr. Octopus and I chose to have the wedding-y wedding, and what it means to us.

Up next: the explanation for why we're doing this whole wedding thing.

How do you feel about these types of perceptions of weddings and brides? Have you noticed remarks like this during your wedding planning?

Monday, January 18, 2010


When I first started shopping for my wedding dress, the thought of a veil hadn't really crossed my mind. I was sure I wanted one--I love the classic bridal look they create--but 'veil: wear one' was as far as the plan went. I tried on a few different styles here and there, and mostly went "ehhhh...". Until, out of curiosity, I donned the biggest, bride-iest, veil-iest veil in the store. A big ol' cathedral-length veil with a thin ribbon trim that extended past the train of my dress. I saw the way the light ivory tulle floated out from my hair, hovered behind my shoulders, and trailed lightly behind me on the floor, and I was in pink-puffy-heart love. I knew that I most definitely wanted to wear what I super-classily deemed "the big-ass veil."

And then the attendant told me that it cost $175. Yooowwwwch. The veil was bee-yoo-tiful, all right--but $175? For a long piece of tulle attached to a plastic comb? Couldn't do it.

I still really, really wanted a big-ass veil, though. Solution? Hire Bridesmaid Clara's amazingly talented seamstress mom to make one for me instead! She feels sure that with a few inspiration pictures and some Internet research, she can turn out a gorgeous cathedral veil with no problems, at an itty-bitty fraction of the retail price. Hooray!

Now, some pictures!


Cute, wreath-bedecked French bulldog is an added bonus of this picture! (Source.)

And now, some Weddingbee love:

Mrs. Cherry Pie

Mrs. Caramel

Mrs. Daffodil

Mrs. Lemon

Oooh, Lawdy. Something about those long, floaty veils just gives me the tingles. I can't wait to see what Bridesmaid Clara's mom comes up with.

What kind of veil are you going to wear? Or are you going to skip it altogether!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Organizational Tips from a Compulsive Bride

Sometimes I suspect that if a scientist looked at a cross-section of my brain, things might actually be divided up into neat, color-coded, size-ordered, alphabetized compartments in there. As I've said before, I am a compulsive organizer; it really helps me think, and keeps me from getting stressed. Wedding planning can be quite a beast when you think about aaaaalll the things that need to be planned, done, and coordinated, but I've had a pretty smooth time working through it all so far. The tools I've used to stay on track have been super-helpful, and I've felt mellow about the wedding about 90% of the time (which is a pretty good track record, I think!). So, I thought it might help anybody who's getting a little bit swallowed up by all the STUFF involved in wedding planning if I shared some tips on the organizational things I do to keep myself sane.

Contracts Binder:
I only use my binder for information from and contracts of vendors we've already booked. I like having one place to keep all my set-in-stone, binding documents. You can prepare this way before you actually sign with anybody--I did! I bought a bunch of el cheapo dividers at Target, labeled them with the vendors I knew we would need to book, and have been filling them in with the contracts of the people we've chosen as things move along.

Day Planner:

This is what the inside of my planner looks like--I recommend the Savannah College of Art and Design line sold at Barnes & Noble, mostly because they're pretty. (Source.)

I carry this thing with me everywhere. I picked one with lots of room and wide-spaced lines, so I can list appointments, my daily to-do list, and jot down a little note if I exercised (part of my new accountability plan for wedding fitness!). I also break down some of my big tasks into smaller, more manageable daily stuff. It's also really helpful to remember all the appointments set up for our periodic trips to Pittsburgh.

Budget Spreadsheet:

I made my own budget tracker in the Google Docs version of Excel. I plugged our overall budget number into the tool on Martha Stewart's wedding website to put together a basic budget plan, which I then customized based on costs I already knew about or thought I could reasonably change. My budget spreadsheet is divided into the various categories where all the money's going. Once I come up with the totals spent for each item, I color-code the expense according to who paid for it. The over/under column helps me keep track of places where I went over the planned expense, or under it.

Giant To-Do List:
I have a master list of things that need to get done between now and our wedding in September. Like my budget spreadsheet, it's also a Google Doc. I used my favorite (and only) wedding-planning book to come up with a basic idea of tasks that would need to be done as the months go by, and I add my own notes as they come up. I keep it updated several months in advance, because I like knowing what I've got ahead of me.

My Favorite and Only Wedding-Planning Book:


Miss Scissors already told you all about this one, but I've got to throw my weight behind it too. I don't own any other wedding planning guide at all. This book is so comprehensive and helpful--whenever I've got a dilemma or am wondering about something, I just flip straight to the relevant chapter, and Mindy's usually got a good answer. I have used the suggestions in this book to make a lot of wedding decisions.

This type of organization and preparation is probably not for everybody. I totally get that for some people, this kind of stuff might be intimidating or cause feelings of anxiety and pressure. But I LUUUUURRRRVE it, and if you do too, I hope these ideas were helpful!

How do you keep your wedding planning in order?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Reluctant Exerciser

I hate to exercise. I really wish I liked it, but I just don't, and never, ever have. I am not naturally athletic at all--in fact, you might go so far as to say "super-clumsy and awkward"--and if I had the choice between exercising and sprawling on the couch with a blanket and a book or a movie, I would pick lounging every single time.

But I do exercise. I often struggle to keep it up regularly, but I do it. I exercise because I recognize that my body does feel a lot better when I'm staying active, and because it's apparently not just an urban legend that regular exercise helps you manage your weight and stay toned. And now, with the wedding approaching, I'm trying really hard to exercise several times a week, so that I look and feel great when the day rolls around. So for all you grudging and reluctant exercisers, maybe it will help to see some of the things I, your kindred spirit, do to keep myself motivated, active, and fit.

Fitness Classes
I love doing group exercise classes for two reasons. One, they push me to work out hard, for a good amount of time. Left to my own devices, I will pop onto the elliptical machine for a fluffy 25-minute "workout" while catching up on my Oprah reruns on the little TVs and call it a day. Two, they force me to get my money's worth out of my gym membership. One of my friends refers to her monthly gym dues as "charitable donations," and I strive to avoid that. I might hate exercising, but I REALLY hate feeling like I'm pouring my money down the toilet. I am much more likely to go to the gym when I feel like I have an "appointment" at a certain time. I am super, super uncoordinated, so I often look and feel approximately like this while in my fitness class:


but I think it's fun, which is really a high endorsement coming from me. If you don't have a gym membership, I've heard that those classes where you run around and do workouts on playgrounds and whatnot also get GREAT results.

Exercise Videos

My personal favorite Jillian Michaels-ism is when she tells me I should be "gargling my heart."

I rely on this woman for all of my home fitness needs. I own 30 Day Shred and No More Trouble Zones, and they are both fabulous. They're really challenging--No More Trouble Zones much moreso than 30 Day Shred, in my opinion--which is what I want in exercise DVDs. My philosophy is that if I'm going to skip the gym in favor of springing around my living room in a bra and pajama pants, it should probably be the equivalent of an actual gym trip. I think Jillian's DVDs are.

Trick Yourself Into Exercising
When Mr. O and I lived in Las Vegas, we sometimes liked to go hike in Red Rock Canyon (which was right near our apartment) or travel outside the city to Mt. Charleston. That way, it's not an hour and a half of cardio! It's a quiet, scenic date with your fiance!

Bonus of desert hiking: you might, to your GREAT excitement, come across a wild burro!

Reward Yourself
This might sound frivolous to some, but for me, it's actually a really important motivating factor in keeping myself active. If I don't have anything to look forward to and to spur me in continuing to work out, I will give up, for a long period of time, until I feel guilty enough to start again. So, I give myself little presents for accomplishing my goals. Note: your reward for exercising shouldn't be something totally counterproductive--i.e., food. Although I have an epic passion for desserts, I try really hard to avoid that "but I deserve it" type of emotional eating.

Here are some relatively inexpensive things I do treat myself to: manicures, pedicures, new makeup, a DVD, a cheap-ish article of get the idea. Works wonders for my drive to keep it up!

What tips can you share to keep your motivation for exercise high?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

True Medical Confessions: The Sequel

I am a fainter.


It is not dainty or feminine, like Victorian literature would have you believe. In fact, it is super unpleasant and embarrassing. Thank God Youtube didn't exist at the time I did a spectacular faceplant in the lobby of my pediatrician's office--at the age of twenty, no less--after receiving a bunch of shots in preparation for my college semester studying abroad. Every time I've fainted, it's been immediately following something involving blood, needles, or weird body stuff.

What does this have to do with my wedding? Well, it involves extremely beautiful earrings like these....

(Sources: first two from here, last pair from here.)

.....and my current inability to wear them. I have unpierced ears. Well, actually, I had pierced ears--when I was six. My mom took me to a piercing place in the mall and we had them done. I got sick of cleaning them and taking care of them very quickly, though, and took them out. I don't think I've had a pair of earrings in since I was maybe seven years old, and all that's left is the scar tissue from where they closed up.

I've wished occasionally that I never took them out, especially whenever I'd notice how pretty my friends' earrings looked. But now that I'm browsing the Internet looking at wedding porn every day, I keep noticing images like this:


and how beautiful and "finished" a great pair of earrings can make your whole bridal get-up look. It's caused me to give more serious thought to re-doing my piercings. I would love to wear earrings on my wedding day (and any other day), but to be honest, I'm really scared about it! Since every time I've fainted has been triggered by my squeamishness about needles, I've since developed a major phobia of being in any situation involving them. Mr. Octopus accompanied me to a doctor's appointment involving a blood draw a few months ago; he'd never seen me in a situation like that before, and was shocked by how white and clammy I got. (I believe the exact quote was, "oh my God, I can't believe how sweaty you are! The back of your shirt is almost soaked through!" Thanks, honey, that's helpful.)

I feel like nearly everyone I know has pierced ears, and I really would love to have them myself, both for the wedding and just for my everyday life. I love to wear jewelry, and I'd love to start wearing earrings on a daily basis. On the other hand, I am certain that a trip to get my ears pierced would be accompanied by heart pounding, trembling, copious sweating, and would possibly be topped off with a grand finale of blacking out in the piercing shop. Oh, and an encore of some dry heaves and retching (which always happens when I come to after fainting).

What to do? If you were in my situation, would you pierce your ears, or just leave them be? Any other fainters out there have some tips on making it through and coming out conscious?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bust Out the Umbrellas....

...cause it's shower-plannin' time! (Har har. Oh, puns.) With Bridesmaid Erica's own wedding a mere three months away, her fabulous wedding party (including yours truly) has teamed up, compared ideas, and delegated the jobs!

(Bridesmaid Erica, I don't know how much you actually read my blog, but don't read this post!! K BYE.)

The theme of Erica's shower is "Asian/Cherry Blossoms." We decided on that because our lovely bride has a great affinity for Japanese culture (she's visited Japan a bunch of times, speaks the language, and lived/worked there for a year and a half after college). She also loves cherry blossoms--as evidenced by the gaaawwwgeous tattoo of them she has on her ribs!!--because they represent both Japan and her hometown and wedding location, Washington DC. Maid of Honor Kelly has been collecting all sorts of things in the Asian/cherry blossom vein for decor and favors over the past year, and now it's my job to keep up the theme by planning the food and drinks menu!

Given that my favorite food group is appetizers--seriously, my daily meal plan would consist exclusively of baby quiche and phyllo cups full of melted brie cheese if I had my way--I am super pumped about this responsibility. I have been diligently Googling and racking my brain, and here are the ideas I've got so far.

Chicken and beef skewers with dipping sauces

(Sources here and here.)

Don't these look delicious? I think they'd be really tasty with little side dishes of teriyaki sauce and peanut sauce.

Asian-spiced chicken wings


Dave Lieberman from the Food Network recommends seasoning them with Chinese five-spice and serving them with creamy cilantro sauce. SLOBBER.

Summer rolls


I thought these might be a nice, light addition to the menu. I mean, I can easily make an entire meal out of the aforementioned chicken wings, but maybe more sensible people might not.



Especially because Erica loves these!

Asian-themed salad


My particular favorite spin on this type of salad involves spring greens, mandarin oranges, almonds slivers, and crispy noodles.

Specialty fortune cookies

I know some people don't find fortune cookies particularly tasty, but I actually like them, and what about if they're covered in chocolate? A thick layer of chocolate quadruples the deliciousness of basically anything! Also, these have a particular meaning, because Erica's fiance proposed to her with a message inside a fortune cookie.

Non-Asian food that still sticks to the theme

(Sources here, here, and here.)

I thought it might be nice to include some options that weren't strictly based in Asian flavors, but stayed in line with the general decor scheme. Dessert sushi = adorable. Snacks served in bamboo boxes = adorable. Cupcakes decorated with little cherry blossoms = HIGHLY adorable.

My menu-planning skillz are failing me a little on this one. What are some ideas for Asian-themed drinks (boozy and non-boozy) that would be yummy at an early afternoon shower? I was thinking about maybe some kind of lychee punch?

Has anyone else planned a friend's shower before? Have any advice or suggestions, about the menu or otherwise?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Afternoon Glamour Shots

Mr. O and I got engaged when we still lived in Las Vegas, thousands of miles away from our families and friends who we left back on the East Coast. I was so excited to share my engagement ring with them that I hustled straight out to the pool area in our apartment complex to take some really lame pictures, which you've already seen. Those were the last glamour (or, in this case, extremely non-glamour) shots I took of it.


Given that this is a pretty accurate depiction of how I feel about my engagement ring:


and given that my winter break from grad school was six weeks long and I had nothing else to do other than moon over Daffodil and watch the entire series of The Office from start to finish, I decided to use some of that time to feature my precioussssss a little more attractively than what I've shown you before.

My only regret in these pictures is that they were taken in Boston in the throes of winter. I was essentially trapped in an arctic cave and there wasn't enough sunlight anywhere in the apartment for me to be able to catch a little of its sparkly qualities. You'll just have to use your imagination as far as blinginess goes.


Sitting on a piece of glass made in my hometown, which is famous for its glass artistry:

Hanging off a miniature statue of Christ the Redeemer, which Mr. Octopus brought back for me when he traveled to Rio:

Perched upon Mr. O's Wii remote:

And, my favorite, sitting on the spire of Mr. O's little ceramic version of Heinz Chapel, the place where we're getting married:

Have you taken beauty shots of your engagement ring yet? If not, you should try it! It's fun!