Friday, September 28, 2012

The elusive lace dress.

Bonjour ESB,

My humble request is for any insight in regards to this dress. 

I have attempted your suggestion of Reverse Googling the image and have come up with nothing but Pinterest boards and tumbles all without reference. 

Something similar would be appreciated but I am hunting down this dress in particular. There is no date, invite list or budget set yet, it all hinges on the dress and this is only dress I've seen that I feel like committing to. 

Merci for any help and kisses from Paris

love Moi. 


Bonjour Chérie,

S'il te plait don't waste any more time pining over a dress you haven't seen from the front.

Mayyyyyyyybe it is awesome. Maybe it's an old curtain that has been artfully photographed.


p.s. Is there a groom??

Thursday, September 27, 2012


1. I have linked to BHLDN twice in the past 8 days. Unsnarkily.

2. I have sponsors and I actually like them and I sometimes worry that I mention them on the blog a) too much or b) not enough.

3. I just emailed Malin + Goetz, again, to beg free product for review. WTF? I mean, yeah, $48 for glycolic acid pads is def not in the budget right now, but HAVE I NO SHAME?

4. Omigod I hate myself. I'm going to target to shop for a new mattress cover and a bamboo flatware organizer and maybe a tiny digital kitchen scale because my big stupid plastic one with the matching plastic bowl does not fit in our new cupboards. kthxbye

Photo by Jed Root via Kylea Borges via Egle Šlipaitytė

Best places to eat/drink/be merry in CHICAGO?

Dear ESB -

I know it's last minute but I'm going to Chicago this weekend and the last time I went was over 5 years ago with my frat-tastic and very cheap college boyfriend (read: all we did was eat pizza and go to some weird Dave and Buster's style bar). 

Do you know anyone who could give me some tips on the best places to eat/drink/be merry? Or would you be willing to put it out to your readers?

Thanks much!


Just call me A MIRACLE WORKER.

Actually, Hillary is the miracle worker. (Remember Hillary? She's the one who overshared her wedding over here.) She's a graphic designer, obvs, and she lives on the north side with her very cool husband and a cat.

Here is Hillary's Guide to Chicago:

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. I realize that most cities are, but they are really distinct here (like, segregation distinct). In my opinion, there's little reason to spend time downtown, aside from going to museums. You'll probably want to hang out on the north or west sides. As an ESB reader, my guess is that you'll prefer the following neighborhoods: Logan Square, Wicker Park / Ukrainian Village and Andersonville. There are other great places to hang out (West Loop, West Town, Ravenswood/Lincoln Square, pockets of Lakeview, Pilsen), but these are the areas where I spend the most time.

Chicago is on a grid system. Getting a brief understanding of how the streets are set up will help you get oriented. The train system here is the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), but is also referred to as the "el" (which stands for elevated). The trains are fairly easy to understand. You'll probably only ride on the blueline (Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village and Logan Square), redline (Lakeview, Andersonville) and/or brownline (Lakeview, Lincoln Square) – all of which can be caught downtown.

Things are changing here a ton right now. It seems like a bunch of new stuff has popped up in the past year (and there's a lot of new stuff on the horizon). I'm actually suggesting a few places I haven't been because they've been so hot. Fellow Chicagoans, please chime in!


Stay at Longman & Eagle (in Logan Square) if you can. Otherwise, there's a new hotel in Lakeview that looks nice called Hotel Lincoln. There's another new hotel which I just heard about called Acme Hotel Company (which is downtown, in River North).

(Longman & Eagle)


Art and architecture are some of the best things Chicago has going for it. The new(ish) modern wing at the Art Institute is pretty special and there's an exhibit I want to check out right now about a local architecture firm, Studio Gang. The MCA is fun and managable. If you are really into architecture, the Architecture Foundation's boat tour is popular. You could also take a trip out to Oak Park to see the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio and/or head down to IIT to see the student center by Rem Koolhaus and the other buildings by Mies van der Rohe.

Millennium Park is pretty slick – it's fun to just walk around all the different areas and the big installation art there is pretty great, even if it's a bit touristy.

If you'd rather listen to music, I'd check what's happening on Oh My Rockness. If you don't know anything specific, and just want to hear live music, I'd check out the Empty Bottle – it's my favorite venue. If you want to check out comedy (it IS Chicago)… I'm sorry, I'm not much help. Live comedy kind of scares me. I saw Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind once and really liked it. Or you could check out Second City.

If you are sportier or more outdoorsy, you could try any of the following: kayak the river (fun but kind of gross); bike/walk the lakeshore path; get drunk at Wrigley; hang out in one of many many parks; go to the beach.


Man, there are SO many good places to eat and drink in Chicago. There is no way I could cover everything worth covering. I think people sort of find their niche. Mine centers around beer. There are tons of fancy-pants cocktail bars in Chicago but my husband is a beer blogger so we frequent breweries and beer bars. Here are some of MY top suggestions of places to eat and drink broken down by neighborhood (this list is SO not inclusive)...

Logan Square / Avondale:
Gaslight Coffee Roasters – this place is new and I actually haven't been there during the day (it soft-opened last Saturday) but I went to an after-hours party there Friday and it was pretty slick.
Lula – Probably my favorite restaurant in Chicago, totally classic.
Hot Doug's – A classic Chicago dog is pretty great and you can get it anywhere, but might as well get it here along with an antelope sausage and some duck fat fries.
Kuma's – Great great burgers.
Longman & Eagle – Great drinks but better for drinking AND eating b/c the bar space isn't big.
Revolution Brewing – One of our many many local breweries.

(Hot Doug's courtesy of Todd Markle)

Andersonville / Uptown:
Hopleaf – This is a very popular Belgian bar – classic Belgian and new American beers alongside mussels and some great sandwiches.
Coffee Studio – Great coffee bar (owned by 2 alums of my graduate design program).
Tweet – One of my favorite places for brunch – good vibe and great breakfast cocktails.

Lincoln Square / North Center:
City Provisions – Cleetus (the owner and head chef) is amazing. Go here on Sunday for brunch or to buy food out of deli case or off shelves.
Fountainhead – Great beer bar with excellent roof (food = meh).
Tiny Lounge – Cool little cocktail bar – gets super crowded at night on the weekends; good food.

Intelligentsia – One of the biggest coffee brands in the city, the downtown location is hip (but doesn't have a ton of seating).
XOCO – Rick Bayless's taqueria. Good for lunch if you are downtown.
Pastoral – Great sandwiches or picnic basket-type meals to go. Also great place to pick up wine or foodstuffs to take home with you.
Watershed – One of the only bars downtown that I frequent. Everything here is from around the Great Lakes region. Bluegrass on Thursdays.

(Chicago-style pizza courtesy of Time Out Chicago)

Lakeview / Lincoln Park:
Bowtruss – Another new coffee place. I haven't been to the location but I'm currently drinking my buddy Max's collaboration blend.
Heritage Bicycles – and general store and coffee house…
FishBar – I love this place – I've had so many good experiences here. It's cool and casual and has a great staff.
Pequod's – My husband's favorite pizza in the city.
Gingerman and Sheffield's – If you end up at Wrigley, these are the only bars to go to nearby that aren't frightening. Good beer bars.
Delilah's and Local Option – 2 bars in this preppy area that don't feel like they belong here. Delilah's is a whisky bar, Local Option a beer destination – but both are kind of punk rock (at least in my estimation).

Wicker Park / Ukrainian Village / Bucktown:
Piece – Pizzeria and microbrewery – more of a sports bar but really good pizza.
Big Star and Antique Taco – The former has amazing food but I've had crappy service there; the latter I've never actually been to but heard good things.
Map Room – Classic Chicago beer bar.
Small Bar – Another (smaller) beer bar that I think has been revamped a ton since I was last in (have met the owner a few times).

West Loop / West Side:
Girl and the Goat – one of the most talked about Chicago restaurants (Stephanie Izard won Top Chef). I hate hyped places but this lived up to everything I had heard.
Haymarket – Chicago brewery kind of sports bar(ish) but the beer is good.

(Girl and the Goat by Anna Knott courtesy of Chicago Magazine)

Maria's Packaged Goods – Another hip beer bar (in Bridgeport).
Pleasant House Bakery – This awesome savory pie place is near Maria's in Bridgeport.
Simone's – ANOTHER hip beer bar (in Pilsen).


Downtown is full of large chain stores. If you are from a tiny tiny town, this may be fabulous for you. The sales tax is HIGH but there's a huge selection. We have all of those cheap-but-trendy stores like Forever 21, Zara, Topshop, H&M, etc. Check out Michigan Avenue and State Street. If you are looking more for fancy name-brand stuff, you'll want to do the Gold Coast area around Oak Street. I think the best area for boutique shopping is Bucktown (Damen between Webster and North, maybe – and then down Milwaukee). Penelope's is my favorite boutique (on Division in Uk Village). Haberdash for great for men (River North).
Akira is a local chain here. Dovetail looks awesome but I haven't been yet. We have a Madewell in the 'burbs and the 2nd BHLDN shop in the US.

Home stores (new + vintage):
Scout, Brimfield, Post 27, Broadway & Edgewater antique malls (right near each other), Orange Moon, Roost, Jayson H&G, Wooly Mammoth (these two new places look good but I haven't been yet: Roadtrip and Caza).

Foursided, Marguerite Gardens, Hazel, Haymaker, Art Effect, Martyn George...


I find the guides, now renamed Rather, to be highly reliable.

My friend Jess wrote the Chicago design*sponge guide.

For a laugh before you come, check out #SOYEAHDUH (a Chicago GIF blog)

Image at top: Millennium Park's Crown Fountain via A AS Architecture

I know the city guides are sorta taking over the blog. BUT YOU GUYS KEEP ASKING FOR THEM. (p.s. Email me if you want to write up Barcelona or Paris.)

Seeking: A Dress Like This

Dear ESB,

I saw this dress on the internet and kind of loved it. I traced it back through a few tumblrs to its source, only to find out that it's from Swedish designer Ida Sjostedt's couture line and is inaccessible to me for a bunch of reasons, such as having to go to Stockholm for an appointment.

So I'm wondering if you or your readers have ideas about dresses (available in the US!) that are similar to this one. I'm not wedded to specific elements of this dress (open to different sleeve lengths and necklines, for instance), but I like that this dress feels modern and even stylish, while still looking feminine and romantic. Thoughts?



There are a couple of quite lovely options if you search 1950s + 1960s at Mill Crest Vintage.

Something like this?

Or this?


Which is from the 1940s. Who knew?

Tis the season when brides fall in love with dresses on Pinterest and freak out about where to find em. I've got another such post on deck for tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Seeking: Vancouver wedding venue

Hello ESB,

My fiancé and I have just moved to Vancouver from Australia and are trying to plan a wedding in a city we don't know. We have the reception venue locked in, I have the dress, but have no idea where we can have the ceremony. 

The wedding is this January, so it will be stupidly cold and most certainly raining (we're from Perth, rain and cold are novel concepts). We have been looking for an awesome industrial or art gallery space around the Gastown/downtown area but the search has been less than successful.

Can any of your amazing Vancouver readers recommend a great ceremony venue/space for about 35 people? We have been looking for over two months now and badly need some advice from a local or at least someone who has been here longer than one month.

Slightly freaking out about sending this!!


I put out an APB on twitter, and the sweet Ashley Moore offered to write up a few suggestions for you. (When I saw her Vancouver photo series, I knew she was the right lady for the job.)

Here's Ashley:

First off, kudos to you on your work planning a wedding in a new city! It’s tough, and Vancouver is a city with so many choices for wedding venues! I lived there for 10 years and got married there in 2011, so I’m happy to share some local knowledge with you!

For a January wedding, inside is definitely the way to go. I won't bother listing the many gardens that are available for weddings, such as Van Dusen Gardens or the UBC botanical gardens, (which is where I got married). And since you said you already had a reception venue, I’m not going to list any of the multitudes of hotels/restaurants downtown.

Vancouver Art Gallery - You might be surprised to know that you can rent space at the biggest gallery in town. They have a few different rooms of varying sizes and prices. I’ve seen photos from wedding in their courtroom that are beautiful! (here are the photos that made me fall in love with it. Full disclosure, these ladies were my photographers, they were pretty awesome.)

Steamworks Brewing Company – More than just a great place for lunch! They have some lovely looking back rooms that would be beautiful, right by the harbor and Waterfront station.

Shebeen Whisky House – Owned by a group called the Heather Hospitality Group that owns a lot of other restaurants/cafes in Gastown (which are totally worth going to even if not for your wedding). Not sure if you’re a whisky person (or if your groom is), but this place is pretty cool looking. At the bottom of the page they say “Shebeen opens at 6pm from Tuesday-Saturday, but can open other hours for private events.” Note: If you are inviting kids to your wedding, this place may not work.

Scotia Bank Dance Centre – They have a few studios you can rent and they all have SO many windows, so even if it’s grey and rainy you will get lots of light inside.

Roundhouse Community Centre – The Exhibition Hall at the Roundhouse is very industrial feeling, with lots of iron, wood and such. It’s pretty big, so definitely bigger than what you’re looking for, but I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention it.

If none of these work out, I would suggest taking a walk through Gastown and downtown and popping in to places that look like they might fit. Many of the restaurants have private space for events.

I hope this helps and all the best with the wedding planning!

[Thank you thank you, Ashley! And many thanks to the ladies of Gucio Photography for lending their photos.]

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

While you all are shopping....

Dear ESB, 

Okay, so I never thought I'd be writing into a wedding advice column, but then I discovered you and got engaged and am slowly losing my mind. I guess that's just the way it is---once the ring hits the finger, your mind sorta implodes with girl fairy tales and calligraphy.  

Anyhooo.... So, I saw this dress on your site and I fell in love. But, it's sold out in my size! I'm a 6/8 and the largest they have is a 2! My friends, who think it's very me, say I should buy it and try and get it taken out. But, I'm nervous that would ruin the dress. 

Do you think I should try that? Or do you have any other dress suggestions that might be sorta similar? 



Sadly, you can't let out a size 2 to a size 6. At BEST you'd get a couple of inches, but then the beading would be effed.

Has anyone seen anything similar? Or similarly fantastic?

It really is a fantastic dress.

(Check out Bona Drag's entire ceremonial collection over here.)

What do I wear on my Mexican honeymoon?

Aug 2

ESB - 

My fiance and I are planning to abscond to SF for a private ceremony at City Hall before heading south of the border to honeymoon in Mexico this October. We're staying here and absolutely can not wait. I know this sounds like a petty worry in the world of wedding planning hardship, but I'm not getting anywhere on my own, and google is no help. 

The thing is - I want to look and feel completely fabulous on my honeymoon. I want to look in my closet and every once in a while come across something that brings me back to the feel and smells and sounds of the days we spend together there. I want our future kids to see photos and think, damn Mom and Dad were sort of hot. 

I have done the backpacking thing. I have owned my fair share of Chacos and utilitarian bags. But my hostel days are over and I want to - at least for a week - feel more like an international woman of mystery than a seasoned 'off the beaten path' traveler.

My problem is that I can't seem to find designers or retailers that capture this feel and I don't know how to look for them. Can you or your readers point me toward a place or two that will give this flip flop wearing non-profit gal a little Mexican bond girl style? 

A million thanks,
Channeling my Inner Salma Hayek


Sept 21


Is it too late???


Sept 21

No! We don't leave until next month and I still haven't gotten anywhere!


Sept 23

K, what size are you? Aaaaaaaaand are you busty?


Sept 23

Fairly medium all around, size 8 in most bottoms, 6 on top, not particularly busty, definitely bigger hips/legs with somewhat smaller top half. 


OMG BEST. You get to wear all the sexy halter-y things that I can't.

Pictured above: Velvet Robbyn Dress ($65 down from $130) at Shopbop, Undrest Brazilian String Bikini from Madewell ($140 down from $200), Tucker Silk Kaftan ($138 down from $345) at Saks,* Valentine Peep-Toe Wedges from Loeffler Randall ($150 down from $375, also avail at Saks)


Monday, September 24, 2012

I want both parents to walk me down the aisle

Hey ESB,

So, ever since I knew it was allowed, I've pictured both of my parents walking me down the aisle. My mom is on board with the idea, and my dad mostly is too, except for the fact that he thinks it would upset my stepmom (something I was anticipating, but hoping wouldn't be true. She's weirdly jealous of my mom, who's been divorced from my dad for 22 years and rarely speaks to him).

My pops, being awesome, told me that it doesn't matter what my stepmom thinks and if I want to process down the aisle with both of my "real" parents (stepmom, while a nice lady whom I like, was very hands-off for my childhood and adolescence) then I should do what I want. It's my wedding and I don't get any do-overs.

But. But. But. I don't want to cause strife between my dad and my stepmom. If she asks him to tell me "no," that he wants to do it himself, and we do the double-parent walk anyway, there will be a lot of resentment and mistrust (granted, these are negative themes that have built up during their marriage in various ways, and this would just be another big straw to the pile).

Do I do it the way I've always wanted because, like, it's my wedding and stuff? I love my dad so much, and I don't want to make his wife mad at him :(

<3, Torn


This one's your dad's call. If he says he wants to do it, LET HIM FUCKING DO IT.

Why do women tie themselves in knots over things that ought to be simple??

W Magazine FIVE MINUTES WITH: Richard Nicoll and Linder Sterling via Indigo Clarke via Catbird

Sunday, September 23, 2012

welcome to my world

Instead of writing a wedding-y post for tomorrow, I spent the morning googling "vintage industrial shelving" and "heavy duty shelf brackets."

I thought I was looking for this:

(Robert Reck for The New York Times)

But then I realized this is the closet unit we've got going on in the bedroom. (On the wall. There is no actual closet.) I don't really want just a better version of the same thing in the living room.

So now I'm thinking we might use heavy duty white shelf brackets to do a set of four shelves and a long desk for two. Basically, the elegant version of this.

Have I lost my mind? H seems into it.

Friday, September 21, 2012

What should our Wisconsin wedding party do/eat in Brooklyn?


I'm a grad student in Virginia planning a courthouse wedding with my partner in Brooklyn this December with our families shipping in from Wisconsin. We feel very strongly about getting married in a state that allows all of our friends to be married, which has caused some family grief over travel and location, but we simply can't care about all of that BS. Our values, our wedding, and the fact that they support our relationship outweighs their frustrations with how we are actually signing the documents.

Here's the thing: I've only been to Brooklyn once, at least four years ago, and my partner has never been there. We are using you and my sister (grad student at Columbia and former Brooklyn resident) as our sources of trustworthy recommendations. The only things set in stone are a courthouse wedding at the Brooklyn Courthouse in the early afternoon and rooms reserved at the NU Hotel. Oh yeah, and Love & Brain will be doing our videography! We would like to keep activities in the relatively small vicinity of Downtown Brooklyn due to unpredictable and cold December weather. Also, moving a group of about 10-12 adults across the city (when only one is a Big City person) sounds stressful.

My problem is this: our families present a bit of a culture clash. Mine: urban, architects and musicians. His: rural, mechanics. We have 6 adult siblings between us, and their interests fall all over the map. The two of us are urban and veer toward trendy. Again, our wedding, our rules, but seeing as we have already asked our families to come all of the way out to NY we would like to find an activity for a December afternoon and a nice restaurant where we can treat these 10 adults (and possibly three of our nieces) to a fun experience after the ceremony.

I am looking for your help in recommending the following things:

An activity within a smart distance from the courthouse or NU Hotel for the afternoon of 12.12.12 that will be neutral enough to be enjoyable for most of our group.

A restaurant for the evening of 12.12.12 that is affordable enough (under $600 for all of us), family friendly, but also nice enough to celebrate our marriage.

Is this even possible?


I brought back my expert.

Matthew Downes is currently in Wyoming, preparing a 12-course Austrian-style dinner for 18, but he was kind enough to write up a few restaurant recommends while sitting on the plane:

I can’t think of a more robust location for dining than Brooklyn. There tends to be an overarching theme of good, wholesome, seasonal food in this borough, but it certainly comes with plenty of variety. Given the size of Brooklyn, you could traipse near and far for great eats, but Smith and Court Streets in Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens provide enough choices for those staying off Atlantic Ave. Dining anywhere in New York always adds up, but if you can stay away from the more expensive cocktails (though I’m not sure you should!), you should be able to fit the food within your budget.

Char No. 4: I think this is the perfect spot to bring a crowd from a varied background. It’s hip enough for the urbanites, but not pretentious in the least. The food has a southern accent, but this is no BBQ joint. I highly (highly) recommend the pork nuggets as a little tasting tease. Think chicken nuggets, but oh so much better! Other notables include the house cured lamb pastrami and the hangar steak. It’s definitely meat heavy, but there are plenty of vegetables to go around and a risotto in case there are any vegetarians among the bunch. It is a whiskey bar and they have a huge selection of bourbons and ryes. For the best Bloody Mary ever! Chipotle and Bourbon marry perfectly for this drink enjoyed any time of day.

(Char No. 4 by Noah Sheldon via New York Magazine)

Seersucker: Another Southern inspired restaurant, Seersucker is a great neighborhood joint. The décor is soft and simple and very inviting. You’ll find favorites like biscuits, fried chicken and collard greens with potlikker, along with delightful creations combining Southern soul and local produce and meats. Though this dish won’t be around in December, the Upstate Duck Breast, paired with sweet corn, beets and burnt sorghum, is a great example of a Southern chef cooking in Brooklyn.

Buttermilk Channel: Moving from Smith Street to Court Street, you’ll find some great options for a wedding meal at Buttermilk Channel. Like many of Brooklyn’s restaurants, Buttermilk Channel is just a great neighborhood restaurant serving up quality seasonal food. While the South has moved further north with culinary influences on many menus, including Buttermilk Channel’s (Fried Chicken and Cheddar Waffle anyone?), it’s the attention to seasonal produce that I find most appealing here. The clean approach to using amazing local products is evident in the Mediterranean inspired Warm Lamb and Romaine Salad. They also have a full vegetarian menu making it the most vegetable friendly of the group.

(Chicken and Waffles from Buttermilk Channel)

Prime Meats: Another Court Street favorite, there is nothing Southern American about Prime Meats. A great décor with plenty of dark wood and leather, this Bavarian style menu offers up plenty of meat, which might be what the doctor orders if a chilly wind blows through in December. The rustic menu isn’t fussy, just delicious, with great little spins on ingredients, such as pretzel dumplings. The wursts and schnitzel are great, as well as the spätzles. Prime Meats is definitely the most expensive of the four and can fill up fast, so definitely inquire as to what they can offer.

Finally, just a few more suggestions in the neighborhood. For a great cocktail, perhaps after dinner, hit up The JakeWalk. For something more divey and arguably the best jukebox in the city, I recommend Boat Bar on Smith St. And one more brunch suggestion, in case you need to cure the wedding hangover, is Mile End. They serve up scrumptious Montreal-style Jewish deli food. A step above Katz’s Deli, in my opinion.

(Karlsbad Old Fashioned from The Jake Walk)

Please Note: I let Matthew off the hook on the activity front (that is if COCKTAILS don't count as an activity), so please have at it in the comments.

Image at top: Trent Bailey via Brooklyn Bride

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rachel Comey for the groom

Naurns says these shoes are Rachel Comey.

Let's have Rachel Comey for all the grooms!

(Those bone boots are 50% off, so GET ON EM.)

YAY! And: Yes.

Headpiece by BHLDN but I don't even care because she's rocking it.

Grooms' shoes by I don't even know but they are AWESOME.

(Go check out the rest of the photos by one love photo and get all the dets on

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Where can I find this Gucci dress for, like, $200?

Dear ESB, 

I'm going to a wedding in the Hudson Valley this fall and I'm trying to figure out what to wear. I like the idea of wearing a long floral dress, mostly because I fell in love with this Gucci Drew Barrymore is wearing in a 2006 Vogue. 

Any suggestions for where a girl can find a feminine long dress that doesn't look like a potato sack? Preferably in red or some other rich color (under $200). 

I can probably be convinced of going in an entirely different direction if you have something in mind.

Thank you!


How bout something like this Rachel Zoe?

(On sale for $259)

(If you're a 0/4)

(Or you could just go with this red jumpsuit)

Photo at top by Mario Testino for Vogue, February 2006

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

blah blah blah wedding, blah blah blah money

Dear ESB,

From the beginning, my fiance and I really wanted a small, low-key backyard wedding. We live in an urban apartment with no yard, so that was out. My parents are divorced and both remarried, and both offered up their backyards, but I know that weird divorce issues would arise for all parties involved if I chose one or the other of their homes. So those were out too. BUT... my fiance's parents have a beautiful winter home in Arizona with a desert-y backyard, patio and pool. It's perfect for an early spring wedding, and they generously offered the space to us. We talked to my parents about it (my parents are paying for the wedding), and they thought it was a lovely idea so we excitedly accepted their offer. Everyone's excited.  

My question is this. I am feeling concerned about how much my future in-laws will be contributing to this wedding, by virtue of it being at their home. Even though my parents will pay for the whole wedding and we will be there to do all the manual labor of setup/cleanup/etc, I know my in-laws will still spend lots of time and energy getting the house ready, and I'm sure they'll be spending money on things that they won't even tell us about. It's a huge contribution that they're making. So, should they also be responsible for hosting a rehearsal dinner? I know they are planning to, but should my parents offer to contribute to that, since my in-laws will be contributing so much to the wedding?  

And, if it WOULD be good etiquette for my parents to offer to contribute to the rehearsal dinner, how do I suggest that to them? It seems kind of rude for me to go around making suggestions for what my parents should do with their money, which they are so generously spending on us. (I guess I should say here that both my fiance and I are in our early 30s, and we already feel weird about my parents paying for our wedding, but that's what they wanted!) Is it rude for me to ask my parents to also offer to cough up for the rehearsal dinner? Should I just let them do what they think is appropriate and keep my mouth shut?  

I Hate Money Stuff


Dear IHMS,

YOU should offer to pay for the rehearsal dinner.

I Hate Money Too But There It Is

COMME des GARÇONS by Daniele Duella + Iango Henzi for i-D

Monday, September 17, 2012

Here's a wedding shoe for you....

The Hyde Pump, new for fall from Marais.

These flats are pretty cute, too.

Look Ma, I'm a real estate expert!

East Side Bride,

Love your blog, hate wedding planning, hate moving to LA.

I currently live in Chicago, my fiance lives in LA (Koreatown). I'm not that into living there, so we are looking for a place that is close to downtown but not K-town. A short commute is key. Will I hate Monterey Hills?

I feel like I should just move to Los Feliz but being a mid-western girl, I want some trees. Chicago is so easy, every neighborhood has a stereotype, why aren't other cities like this?


-- Lost in LA


gimme a stereotype. what are you aiming for??


Hip young professionals and hip young families. People who spend more money on their art than their cars.


Sounds like Silver Lake to me. If you can afford it, you will love it.

And don't worry... there are trees!

(Monterey Hills is NOT hip. And I think you'd feel isolated that far out.)


Maybe I should give you a little more to work with. I snack on kale chips, organic beef jerky and carry around a water bottle. We are both corporate professionals but we have some esoteric interests. So a creative, hip, yuppie community. Being able to go for runs in the neighborhood is a key for me.


Like I said, Silver Lake.

Image via YEAH! rentals (anyone know who the photographer is?)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Seeking: Rehearsal Dinner Dress, Size 16

Dear ESB,

I had a fight with the woman who was making my rehearsal dinner dress and we decided that canceling the order was the best course of action.

She made changes without telling me and then when I asked her to undo the changes, she told me that she would rather sell the dress to someone who would appreciate it.

Anyway, my wedding is about a month away and I am trying to find a dress. I am looking for a reasonably priced (under $200) white lace shift. I am hugely busty and generally wear a 16 everywhere else. I have looked around and not been able to find what I'm looking for in my size.

I was hoping you might have some ideas for me. I ordered a couple of things from ASOS, but they're not quite right. Oh, also I'm 38 and need something age-appropriate, but not frumpy.

Thank you!



Will this peaches and cream Diane von Furstenberg fit you??

Because it is awesome.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blog of the Week(ish): Brick House

It's been a while, eh?

I'll be honest, I got a little bored with the internet over the summer.... But now that we own a motherfucking HOUSE, the whole wide world has opened up.

Enter: Brick House

I spent approximately 6 hours on this blog yesterday.

Creating a "for the tiny house" board mostly just so I could pin the FAUXDENZA. Obsessing about kilim pillows (and ducking over to ebay to browse kilim pillows). Debating about whether we really need a new duvet cover (we do not really need a new duvet cover). Realizing we do, in fact, need a pillow-y headboard (Jamie was way ahead of me on this).

Morgan gives me a bit of a complex because she is constantly re-shopping and rearranging rooms that were already gorg. Her house will never be finished. Which is also what is fascinating about it.


Photo by Morgan Satterfield for Brick House does Bjork

Do we love this?

Or is it too renewing-my-vows-in-Machu-Picchu......?

Such a fine line.

Via Oh Joy!

trendy vs. timeless

Hey ESB,

I have a family wedding this fall and need some accessory guidance. This is the dress (though I'll be wrapping it a bit differently). I'm pairing it with some sleek pewter pumps I already own and some raw smoky quartz baubles.

The issue is, I'll be toting a rather large vintage camera, phone, yadda yadda yadda -- a clutch isn't going to cut it. Can I rock this bag or am I totally mixing genres?

Sort of unrelated, but I don't have lots of dollars to work with.  For me, this is kind of an investment piece. Wondering where you and your readers would rank it on the trendy/timeless spectrum.

Thanks for your wisdom!

-The Bag Lady


On a scale of trendy (1) to timeless (10), that bag rates a 3. Maybe a 4.

I recently spotted the new Coach "Legacy" Leather Duffle on because im addicted....

which sent me into a 30-minute tailspin searching vintage Coach bucket bags on ebay and etsy.

There are QUITE A FEW. And they are excellent.

This one from Bel Modo is $115, and looks to be in pristine condition.

But shop around, they come in a bunch of different sizes. (And if the seller says "BEST OFFER TAKES IT HOME!!!!" don't be afraid to offer half the list price.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What should a couple of Angelenos do in MIAMI?

Hey ESB,

I know this is last minute, but I thought you and my fellows readers might have some tips on places to see/do/eat in Miami. I am taking my husband there for his 30th birthday next week, and neither of us have ever been there. 

Why, you ask, did we decided to pick Miami for our trip? Well, we're both really curious what it's like, love cuban food, and imagine it's somewhat like LA in that it has lots of hidden neighborhoods worth exploring but with warmer beaches. Other than rollerblading, what do cool people do in Miami?

We're not into night clubs, but I am looking forward to going out for some fancy cocktails at the Delano or somewhere swank (he's a teetotaler, but loves a good club soda). We love food. We love living seeing cities from different angles. I love gardens. He loves pinball. Oh, and he loves Miami Vice.

Our home-base will be this awesome airbnb rental in North Miami.

So, I'm looking for suggestions for a great coffee place (like Intelligentsia or Handsome or Cafe de Leche), a delicious birthday dinner, and other secrets I might not otherwise find on yelp. (Is it just me, or is yelp the least helpful thing these days?)



I put out a tweet, and the universe gave us Caro. This lady grew up in Miami, went to college outside of LA and decided to return to her hometown, where she spends her free time eating, tweeting and drinking gin. She is awesome.

Here are Caro's recommends (and a few non-recommends) for Miami:

First things first: Miami, like Los Angeles, has awful terrible public transportation. If you're feeling adventurous you could venture onto a bus, but you might get shanked, aggressively cat-called and offered questionably sourced narcotics all from the same person. Or at least this is what I have been told; no self-respecting native would be caught dead on a bus. One of my friends just got punched IN THE FACE by a stranger on the train last week. He dislocated his jaw. This is a true story. This is not a joke. Legit, punched.

Coral Gables and Downtown/Brickell/Design District have some free “trolleys” (read: glorified bus) that are more bourgeoisie-approved, clean and probably safer since they don’t run through questionable parts of the city like the metro does. (Think: park your car once and use the trolley to get around the general area.)

I would recommend renting a car. Car2Go just launched as a more eco-friendly Smart-car sharing alternative you could look into, your rental is right on the edge of their “home area” and it looks like you might only have to walk a few blocks to get to a car.

Once you have a car, you’re going to want to stock up on some snacks for your stay, head to the nearest Publix and hit up the bakery for some croquetas de jamon, pastelitos de guava y queso and some chocolate chip cookies because they are fucking amazing. You might also want to pick up some Limon Pepino (Lime-Cucumber) Gatorade, because I’m pretty sure it’s regional and it is delicious! Side note: unlike California, supermarkets don't sell liquor here  – only beer and wine –  so if you want to buy your own booze you'll have to search for a separate liquor store. I know; it sucks.

As you suspected, Miami has a bunch of little neighborhoods with their own personalities, so I've organized this list by geographical area.

Coral Gables ("The Gables")

Eat: Eating House – some of the most creative, fattening, delicious food in Miami served by the nicest people in town. Come for a casual weeknight meal or the highest-calorie Sunday brunch (1-5PM) of your life (Cap'n Crunch Pancakes covered in condensed milk. Carbonara Eggs Benedict etc etc), either way don't miss the tomato salad (served with nitro-blasted coconut milk, micro herbs and edible flowers for extra fanciness).

(Carbonara Eggs Benedict from Eating House via Thrillist Miami)

Their menu changes daily, but mainstays and crowd favorites are the Pasta Carbonara, Chicken and Waffles and Charred Corn. (Pro-tip: for instant street cred with the staff, be sure to order a Carpano on the rocks. It's sweet vermouth and it's delicious.)

Do: Walk around Miracle Mile. Plenty of cute shops and a great Argentinean bakery for empanadas and dulce de leche filled pastries.

The Biltmore Hotel is dripping with old school charm. Everything they do there is top-notch: food, cocktails, service. The pool at the Biltmore is one of the most unique in Miami, and being off the beach never gets that packed. Splurging for a private cabana will get you the 5-star treatment without spending 5-figures. Cabanas start at $89 a day.

More: Fairchild Tropical Garden (for lots of greenery and exotic flora), Matheson Hammock (waterfront park with boat access and a great romantic seafood restaurant, Red Fish Grill)

Coconut Grove ("The Grove")

Brunch: Green Street serves brunch every day until at least 2 PM, and offers a perfect cure to that Tuesday morning hangover.

Drink: Grab some Icees from A.C.'s in Kennedy Park and enjoy your brain freezes at the waterfront.

See: Burn Notice, set in the old Coconut Grove Convention Center

Calle Ocho/Little Havana

Eat: Versailles – Versailles is the epicenter of Cuban culture in Miami. When the Heat win the playoffs or Castro finally kicks the bucket (or when we pretend he does), Versailles is the place to go with your cazuelas (Cuban for pots and pans) and make as much noise as possible. Other than the culture, the draw here is the food. Beyonce and Jay-Z make Versailles their first stop when visiting town, completely shutting down the back room of the restaurant, but hey, sometimes you just need some moros and platanitos in your life. Anything with pork will be good. For a snack, head to their bakery and pick up some pastelitos and coffee.

(Colada via Arroz y Frijoles)

Cuban coffee is served in three iterations: Café con leche (whole milk lightly stained with espresso), Cortadito (equal parts milk and espresso. Served in a 5 oz cup) or Colada (Sugar stained with espresso, served in 1oz shots. Approach with caution. It’s served in small quantities for a reason. It is jet fuel. It will get you wired. I don’t care how much you think you’re intolerant to caffeine. This is a different beast, trust me.) You can find it all over the city these days, but dozens of little “cafesito” windows line Calle Ocho (8th street) and will provide an authentic experience.

Azucar – Local ice cream shop with some rad flavors, including: Café con Leche, Platano Maduro (sweet plantain), Elvis (peanut butter and banana) and Balsamic Strawberry.

Also recommended: Catharsis, LaCasita

See: Maximo Gomez Domino Park

Do: Viernes Cultural (Cuban ArtWalk), last Friday of every month.

South Beach

Delano is spot on for drinks with a classic South Beach glamour feel. They have a few bars at the hotel: Rose Bar in the lobby, FDR in the basement and a bar out by the pool. I recommend mojitos at the Rose Bar (some of the best in town) or craft cocktails downstairs. Sister hotel Mondrian sits on the opposite side of the island and serves 16 different kinds of caipirinhas. Their west-facing location makes them a perfect spot for watching the sun set over the Miami skyline. Get the chilli-passion caipirinha, it balances passionfruit with siracha for an all around awesome cocktail.

Eat: Choose any of the Pubbelly establishments: Pubbelly Sushi, Pubbelly or Barceloneta are all on the same block and are all tapas style: Sushi, gastro pub and Spanish, respectively. After dinner you can walk over to Purdy Lounge for some drinks and a relaxed local vibe. Their fourth outpost, Macchialina, is Italian and physically distant from the first three, but still delicious and cozy. Get the Americano cocktail and don't miss the short rib and tallegio lasagna.

More recommendations: HaVen (gastro-lounge-meets-acid-trip), Lime (fast-casual-Venezuelan take on Mexican food),

See: Juvia – Get a drink and the Salmon Nashi appetizer, enjoy the view and then leave. This place is pure atmosphere; the panoramic views of Miami Beach are unparalleled and the ambiance is classic see-and-be-seen South Beach. The food, however, is forgettable.

(Miami's South Beach by Alexandra Roberts)

Drink: Broken Shaker – Unfortunately they're closed until November 2012, but if you ever come back, you MUST pay them a visit. The bar chefs behind the cocktail consulting company The Bar Lab created a secret garden drinking den and will wow you with their classic and off-the-cuff cocktails. Walk in, order a "Bartender's Choice" (specify what alcohol and flavor profile you prefer), sit down for some Jenga or battleship or play a little ping pong and say hi to their resident cats.

Do: A Duck Tour – I know, they're super cheesy, but embrace the cheesiness. The Duck Tour down here will give you a good overview of South Beach, drive you down Collins and then through Biscayne Bay were you can peep celebrity houses on Star Island and the mansions used for Miami Vice and Scarface. The highlight of the tour, though, is when they hand you a super soaker to hit unsuspecting tourists on Collins Ave.

Walk around Lincoln Road, it’s the Miami equivalent of Santa Monica Blvd, featuring shops, great people watching and plenty of living statues.

Go to the Beach. The Boucher Brothers provide excellent cocktail, umbrella and lounge chair service on the beach and will treat you like hip-hop royalty. If you’re willing to skip the star treatment, head to South Pointe Park near the southern end of the island for easier parking and fewer crowds.

Crash a hotel pool party. Because the party doesn’t have to stop when the sun comes up. Or you can hit the pool at the Loews for a more relaxed atmosphere.


Eat: Edge Steak & Bar for a swank yet approachable date night. Nestled on the 7th floor of the Four Seasons, they excel at service, food and cocktails without being pretentious about it. Stick around after dark for cocktails by the fire pits outside and you might get treated to s’mores featuring graham crackers and chocolate made in house, or come early for their $1 oyster and half-off drinks happy hour (4-7, weekdays). Their signature steak rub and hot sauce are delicious and made from the peppers growing right there on the 7th floor.

Drink: Blackbird Ordinary for expert craft cocktails and a relaxed vibe.The bartenders have plenty of sass, but they make a good drink, so take the attitude with a grain of salt, your Cara Cara will be worth it.


Do: Take an airboat ride through the Everglades; gators, herons and the theme song from Deliverance playing in your head all day. There a few different companies that offer them, Everglades Alligator Farm is one and they offer a gator wrestling show and a walk through their snake room after the ride. Make sure you stock up on insect repellent beforehand because the mosquitoes don’t quit down there in the swamp.

On your way back to civilization pick up some locally grown exotic fruits and milkshakes at mega-sized fruit stand Robert Is Here (Robert is actually usually there, and super helpful) and some fresh squeezed juice at Palacio de Los Jugos (Mamey or Guarapo, which is made from sugarcane, are both amazing). 

Design District/Wynwood

Eat: Micheal's Genuine Food & Drink, Sugarcane, Mandolin Aegean Bistro, Joey’s

(Miami graffiti by Alexandra Roberts)

Drink: Panther Coffee owners Joel and Leticia have been in the coffee business their whole lives and decided to bless Miami with their expertise, brewing in-house roasted artisan coffee in the middle of uber-hip Wynwood. They source the beans from Nicaragua, Brazil, Columbia etc and their artisan drinks are the best in town. Grab a cappuccino and oogle their antique Perfekt roaster. [Editor's Note: Here is your Intelligentsia.]

Sugarcane, Mercadito, The Corner are all serving up great drinks. Democratic Republic of Beer (tiny bar with 500+ kinds of beer).

See: Wynwood Walls as an intro to the Miami street art scene. The Walls are actually a curated gallery featuring hyper-famous street artists (Shepard Fairey is represented there). Check out mini-documentary, “Here Comes the Neighborhood” for a great teaser. Then, wander the neighborhood (in your car, because it’s still “up and coming”) to browse plenty more larger than life murals.


During August and September, a bunch of Miami’s best restaurants participate in Miami Spice and offer prix fixe menus at a discounted rate. Standout deals include: Bourbon Steak (a Michael Mina Restaurant).

For a taste of local flavor before you arrive, be sure to watch the "Shit Miami Girls Say" videos on YouTube. They are spot on, you will see.

Also, I would recommend watching locally-produced documentary "Cocaine Cowboys" so that when you go on the Duck Tour and they tell you Miami Vice spurred Miami's economy in the 70's you can tell them that THEY ARE WRONG, because it was totally the cocaine trade.

[Editor's Note: FUCK YEAH. NOW I NEED TO GO TO MIAMI. p.s. Be sure to check out Caro's six tips for MIAMI-fying your wardrobe.]

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Inapropro Bridesmaid


So, I told all of my bridesmaids to just wear a black dress for the wedding to keep things simple (and so that they could wear the dress again). Also, we are all New Yorkers and black is kind of our uniform. This morning one of my bridesmaids sent me this, and asked my opinion.

Now, I'm no prude, and I want my girls to feel beautiful, but we will all be taking family photos (including my 95-year-old grandpa), and the ceremony is not going to be at a club- it's a garden wedding at 5pm at an antique-but-formal estate in upstate New York. I picked the only 3 dresses without cut-outs to send her, and am hoping for the best. 

Am I crazy? Or are these kind of sexy for a wedding? Which would you choose?

-Hoping grandpa doesn't have a stroke


How old is your bridesmaid? FIFTEEN??

Call me a pissy thirtysomething, but none of these dresses are appropriate for a wedding.

Images courtesy of Nasty Gal

Monday, September 10, 2012

amazeballs wedding tie!

M. Dash got married (again) and she sent me these photos of  *CORRECTION*: his tie from General Knot & Co. in action.

My bad. Sometimes I forget that Pierrepont Hicks is not the only tie company in the world.

p.s. The pics from M's first lil Korean courthouse wedding are over here.

Stuck in the middle

Dear ESB,

There are so many opinions flying around for this wedding and I don't know whose is right. Especially since it's over something I don't feel strongly either way for. My problem is this:

I was born and raised in Houston, TX, and that is where my family (there's no extended, just immediate) currently resides, with the exception of myself. This is also where the majority of my parents' requested guests and all of my childhood friends live. The Boy's family all (as in, about 75 people) lives in Northeast Texas around 6 hours away from Houston. The Boy and I live and go to school in Nacogdoches, which is very close to the middle of the two. 

My mother (who has also just taken over the wedding in general, due to her not having one because she and my father eloped) is VERY, and I mean very, adamant on having the wedding in Houston. It's tradition to have it where the bride is from, all of her friends wouldn't travel for my wedding, blah blah blah. Okay, I get it. 

My Boy, on the other hand, would really like to have the wedding closer to where his family is because his father can't travel in a car longer than two hours due to a neck injury years ago and both sets of grandparents are around that age where traveling is not the easiest thing in the world. Also, much of his family would not be able to afford or be willing, for that matter, to travel to Houston, so he's worried that if we get married in Houston, most of his family wouldn't come. I understand this as well. I think it's a little lame that his family wouldn't travel 6 hours for their own flesh and blood's wedding, but his extended family really is their own breed of people so I can get it.  

Then there's me, caught in the middle, lacking any strong convictions towards getting married in Houston or getting married in East Texas. I have, however, put my foot down on getting married in the town the Boy is from simply because there are no wedding venues and it's just not a very pretty area. I would be willing to get married in the Nacogdoches area, which would be equal traveling for both families. But if I told my mom I was even considering getting married anywhere other than Houston she would have a fit and probably pull funding for the wedding. 

I do like the idea of getting married in the city I'm from, and I've even found a few outdoor venues that I LOVE. But I also like the idea of getting married in Nac, the town we met and grew our relationship in, and it's a gorgeous area so it would be easy to find a nice outdoor venue. I don't know. My only requirement is that I get married outside. The city matters not to me. It just matters to other people. And I want to keep my mom happy because she's my mom and I do love her at the end of it all. But this is also mine and the Boy's wedding and it should be what we want. I just don't know what I want. 


-Stuck in the middle

P.S.  I'm also highly understanding when it comes to his dad not being able to travel. I'm very close with his dad and know that he's in a lot of pain and being in the car for even 30 minutes is sometimes excruciating for him.  


Dear Stuck,


You want a pretty wedding, and you want your mom to pay for it, and you say you're "highly understanding" about your boyfriend's dad's injury but seem perfectly willing to ask him to spend 3-6 hours in a car.

My first thought was: Get married at City Hall in the stupid shithole town you're not willing to have your wedding in (with the Boy's father and grandparents in attendance), and then let your mom throw the stupid wedding she wants in Houston.

My second thought is: You're too young to get married.


Photo by ishi

Friday, September 7, 2012

Please Assess This Dress

Dear ESB,

After our destination wedding, we are having a welcome party/reception. I am contemplating this dress, but not sure if it is too prom-y. 



Hahah I read that as "too PORN-y."

It's not too porn-y, but, since you brought it up, it does sorta look like a prom dress.