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  1. Wedding Recap! Part Two

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    I’m back with the second part of the wedding wrap-up blog, focusing on the fashion of the day!

    Ian and I both knew that we wanted a classic, 1940s style for the wedding clothes, without being too kitschy, expensive or risky.

    While I really wanted to wear one of my Grandmas’ wedding dresses, but neither of them fit right. I contemplated looking for vintage dresses, but I was too scared to order online. What if they didn’t fit? What if there is damage the seller didn’t note? What is it wasn’t “the one”? Etc. And I had really no interest in going wedding dress shopping and paying eleventy-million dollars for something I’d wear once and wouldn’t be 100% me.

    Look at me, trying so hard not to bawl!

    Instead I enlisted the very talented Todoruk Designs to create a wedding dress that brought my favourite elements of both my Grandmas’ dresses together. The princess seams, sweetheart neckline and the light blue were all inspired by my Grandma Marchant’s dress, while my second layer, a white jacquard silk, bore a very strong resemblance to my Grandma C’s dress.

    Underneath, I wore pieces from What Katie Did - specifically the CC09 bra, the CC09 tap pants, the Harlow garter and seamed stockings that I bought 4 years ago or so (but had never worn).

    I made my own veil - and am still in awe of how well it matches - with tulle and lace from Fabricland. It wasn’t perfect, but I really wanted something handmade and am pleased with how it turned out! I made it out of this Butterick veil pattern, using Look B but ditching the blusher and making it a bit shorter. Originally I was going to have the blusher as a separate piece, but I got really lazy and nixed it completely.

    I stitched it all by hand, because the last thing I wanted after mucking around with that tulle (cutting out tulle and tissue paper at the same time is something I am NEVER EVER repeating) was it getting eaten by my machine. All and all, I think it cost about $20 to make.

    My shoes were Baylee Winter White by BAIT. Now, there was a bit of drama with my shoes. I originally bought different BAIT shoes, which were blue, way back in August 2013, but I came to terms a few weeks before the wedding that while I liked the shoes in generally, they didn’t go with my dress as well as I’d hoped, and that I should buy the shoes I had been lusting over for a whole year.

    I bought the new shoes in my usual 8.5 size, three weeks before the wedding, but to my horror they didn’t fit! I think it was because BAIT used a different lining in this pair than they usually did. So I hastily sent them back and sent a panicked email to the company asking them to expedite the return because it was for my wedding. Generally they can’t send the replacements until they receive the first pair back, but luckily for me they made an exception and sent them to me once I sent the return package tracking information.

    When I got the size 8 shoes, they STILL didn’t really fit, but at this point I had to make do and so I bought a bunch of insoles and stuff that made them fit. In the end they looked beautiful, we very comfortable (I wore them all day and night with a very short breaking-in period) and I didn’t fall on my butt. Actually, I broke the cap off from dancing too hard - which I didn’t notice until I finally unpacked my wedding stuff when we got back from the honeymoon.

    Thanks to the generosity of my family members, I was able to wear the pearl necklace my Grandma Marchant had worn at her wedding, 70 years + one day before, and the earrings my Grandma Callsen wore to her wedding. I actually forgot to put them on, but luckily remembered once I got down to the lobby. Even now I get stressed looking at my getting ready photos and seeing that I’m not wearing them!

    The vintage mink stole and muff I’m wearing in the outdoor photos were borrowed from my maid of honour Bailey. I was very warm wearing these as we walked through the snow, and everyone thought it was hilarious to ask me to stick their hands in my muff to warm up their fingers (myself included).

    Ian and Tom wore the midnight blue suit from Black Lapel, and Ian's shoes were by Ecco. 

    Apparently he had some family members running around for him on the morning of the wedding trying to find him a matching belt. I also gave him a beautiful watch from Fossil that I am in love with and wish there was a women’s version.

    The bridesmaid and groomslady dresses were from 20th Century Foxy, and I thought they were stunning, and I’m told they were very comfortable.

    Nicola, Ian’s groomslady, wore a sash to match the men’s ties. NOTE - if you are planning on ever getting a sash from David’s Bridal, give yourself plenty of time to order it in store. This was a last minute item that wasn’t available in store and had to be bought online, and the shipping cost more than the sash. But it looked amazing, and it’s our fault for not being on the ball.

    So, there's all the fashion stuff! 

  2. My six-month shopping ban

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

    I’ve been thinking about doing this for a few weeks now, and I suppose with a new year getting underway it’s the perfect time to do it.

    As of January 1, I've undergone a six-month shopping ban.

    My shopping ban is inspired by one of my favourite Canadian personal finance bloggers, Cait of Blonde on a Budget, who started her year-long shopping ban in July.

    My mantra for this challenge is: Do I want/need this more than I want a house, or to be out of debt? as those are my two main goals coming out of this. I doubt I will reach either of those goals after six months of a shopping ban, but I know I will be much closer than I would be without the ban.

    When I say ban, I don’t mean I can’t buy anything. But I did take a hard look at my needs versus wants, my shopping habits as well as some gaps in my wardrobe, and I’ve decided that there are a lot of things I can go without buying until July 1 (or longer).

    There’s a few reasons why 2015 is the perfect year for me to do this.

    1) I accomplished a lot of my wardrobe goals in 2014
    Last year at this time, I posted my wardrobe goals for 2014. Luckily I’ve hit on most of them, particularly in the shoe department. I bought a pair of sandals, everyday Oxfords, warm winter boots, and shoes I had been lusting over for more than a year (which I wore to our wedding). I didn’t do as good on the sewing front, except that I did sew up that green blouse. I do have plenty of fabric in my stash to make a few Smooth Sailing blouses, and work-appropriate blouses are in my allowed list.

    2) I want 2016 to be the year Ian and I become homeowners
    I am so so so so so sick of living in a rental. I know a lot of people wax poetic about how great it is to rent, how you don’t have to do anything, etc etc but it just doesn’t work for us. For one thing, there are several issues, both cosmetic and structural, with the house that we rent that the landlord has yet to fix in the 2+ years we’ve both been here. Unfortunately, it’s also not easy for us to find another place to rent that will allow two cats and a big German Shepherd dog. So we’ve set our eyes on buying a house - and a real house, not a condo (No offense to those who do own condos, but I’m not keen on being a slave to a condo board and paying condo fees). Now that the wedding is done with, buying a house is the next leap we want/need to do before kidlets come along.

    Anyway, on to my ban rules (which are heavily inspired by Cait’s rules):

    Banned items (not inclusive):
    Books, magazines, etc
    Vinyl albums/online music
    Clothing (except allowed items, listed below)
    Household items
    Take-out coffee, when I have access to a coffee maker.
    Take-out/restaurants, when I have access to a kitchen
    Electronics or appliances

    Allowed items:
    Needs: Housing, groceries, etc
    Toiletry/cosmetic basics
    Transportation expenses (bus pass, insurance, car payments, maintenance, parking up to $270/six months)
    Gifts for others
    Date night out once a month (all the rest have to be $0)

    Approved items - Home:
    New hampers
    Hat organization system
    Weekly flowers
    New Otterbox case for my phone

    Approved items - Clothing:
    Knitting and fabric supplies up to $200, BUT
    I cannot buy anymore yarn until I use up my stash (except gifts for others)
    I cannot buy supplies for new sewing projects until I finish current projects and finish make-do and mend items (except gifts for others)
    3 classic, work appropriate button-up blouses (me-made or ready-made)
    Cardigan (me-made, in progress)
    fleece-lined mittens (me-made)
    2 pairs fleece-lined tights/knee-high socks (ready made)
    1 pair of wool stockings (ready made)

    Approved Items - Beauty:
    Sleeping cap
    Glass nail file
    Sea salt scrub
    Gel nail polish foils

    If I had started this ban 6 months ago, I would have saved $1,196, or 10% of my overall spending* (although some of that was probably allowed spending). I also would have cut down on the $944* I spent on restaurants, fast-food and coffee shops, for a total of $2,140.
    It’s interesting to note that when I look at the year as a whole, I spent $1,810* on shopping and $1,433* on restaurants/coffee/fast food, meaning I did much better in the first half of the year on curbing my shopping habits than in the latter part (and I already took wedding- and gift-related spending out of the equation).
    *as calculated by Mint

    The main reason behind this ban is to lower my credit card debt and try to speed up paying it off. Besides doing the ban, I am also planning on lowering the payment I’m putting on my card each month. That sounds counter-intuitive, but after I make my $500 monthly payment, I have no money left over for other purchases, like a bus pass, groceries, etc, so I have to put all that on my credit card, which is pretty pointless and also racks up what I pay on interest.

    Being the realist that I am, I know this won’t be easy. In particular, the take-out food and coffee will be a big challenge. On hectic mornings, I usually skip breakfast at home and grab a big, cheap breakfast at work that, combined with some snacking, will carry me until supper time. I’m definitely going to miss that, but I plan on buying healthy, easy to take meals to keep at work - like cans of lentil soup, oatmeal, granola bars and nuts to keep at my desk - for those hectic days where I can’t seem to remember my head, let alone pack a lunch. This will be even more challenging since there is a chance we could be thrown into an election.

    There are some things that (I think) will be easier than others. Like I said, I am fairly set with my current wardrobe, outside my list of allowable items, so I don’t think I will hear the siren song to Etsy any time soon. I am pretty frugal as it is and don’t like buying what I know I can get for free, and rarely buy books or magazines anymore - instead I often check them out from the library, or through one of the library’s e-reading services. Ditto for music, although our beautiful and fairly new record player makes this one a little bit harder.

    The 6-month mark is not a hard and fast rule, but merely meant to be a checking in point where I can reevaluate what I need and what I don’t need, and to see where I am in my progress. I hope I have the willpower to extend it all the way until December 2015!