Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blog of the Week(ish): Maddie the Coonhound

Have y'all already met Maddie the Coonhound?

I might officially be the last one to know.

p.s. Happy Halloween! I'm planning to a) drag H to a dive bar in Austin, or b) stay home at my MIL's and give candy to her neighbors' grandchildren. Probably b.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

So you want to get married in New Orleans (or, ESB: Hurricane Edition)


What happened was, I got one request for a New Orleans travel guide and one query from a bride who wanted to get married there and NOBODY on twitter was responding to my pleas. Then kidchamp stepped in (as she is wont to do) and bragged about her badass friends who threw a badass wedding in New Orleans.

Sarah and Judd live in Brooklyn with their ungrateful cat, Doug. She is a book editor and he is the lead singer of Visible From Space, a New Orleans-style funk rock band.

I'll let Sarah take it from here:

There is no party like a New Orleans party.

My husband grew up there, we spend a lot of time in the Crescent City as it is (we live in New York), and when we got engaged a couple of months after Hurricane Katrina, we felt a responsibility to bring some joy back to the city that had brought so much joy to us – not to mention bring in a hundred party-ready tourists who would no doubt have the time of their lives and then keep on coming back and spending their money in the Big Easy.

The three most important aspects of our wedding were the music, food, and drink. We wanted an all-out party with a live band and endless dancing, so we eschewed the traditional sit-down dinner in favor of a concert-like reception in the Parish Room at the House of Blues. The ceremony was held outdoors in their Voodoo Garden, which is essentially a bar. (See "most important aspects.")

(Image courtesy of House of Blues)

After extensive research all over the South, we hired a live (and local) band – The Boogie Men  who already had Lyle Lovett's "She's No Lady" and Rick James' "Give it to Me Baby" in their repertoire. Done. The House of Blues catered with a long list of passed hors d'oeuvres and buffet items from their excellent menu (hush puppies, fried oysters, brisket, etc.), and they accommodated my desire for a mashed potato bar, served in martini glasses with toppings like shredded cheese, chorizo, sour cream, and hot peppers.

We used a local party decorator for just a few table cloths and centerpieces for the larger round tables (we needed enough sit-down space for grandparents and a rotating cast of exhausted dancers) and everything else was covered by the already-awesome interior design of the Parish Room. The Boogie Men played on an elevated stage which added to the concert-like vibe and high cocktail tables scattered around the fringe of the dance floor gave people a place to pause, chow down, then get back to the party.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Most of our guests arrived in New Orleans on Thursday night, since, if you're going to a wedding in New Orleans, why not get down there a couple days early to eat your face off and bask in the 85-degree April temperatures? We offered special rates at three hotels which we chose for central location (i.e. the French Quarter) and relative proximity to our events. Most people stayed at the Royal Sonesta which is a beautiful, large hotel on Bourbon Street and is home to my very favorite red beans in all of the FQ: Desire Oyster Bar. There's an interior courtyard with a pool, and I'm here to tell you the Bridal Suite is perfect for a group of moms and bridesmaids getting ready on the morning of, and enjoying the in-room Jacuzzi with your husband the morning after!

On Thursday afternoon we had lunch with my parents at one of our favorite restaurants, NOLA (an Emeril Lagasse spot); if it had been around in 2007 we probably would have gone to our new favorite Domenica at the Roosevelt Hotel (Chef John Besh). That night we gathered everyone in the courtyard at Pat O'Brien's, a legendary New Orleans bar and perfect for large groups. We drank hurricanes and hung out by the fire fountains until the wee hours. Even my grandmother made her way to Pat O's! We did not avail ourselves of karaoke that night but a different group could have a lot of fun at the on-site piano bar.

[Editor's Note: Given that our east coast friends, Sarah and Judd included, are currently weathering Hurricane Sandy, I had to include this Hurricane recipe, courtesy of Pretty Fakes.]

We didn't have the wherewithal to plan one of those wedding weekends with activities up the wazoo – as mentioned, we basically stuck to the three tenets of food, drink, and music. If you wake up in New Orleans on a beautiful sunny Friday morning in the middle of the French Quarter and can't amuse yourself until the rehearsal dinner, well, there's no helping you. But some things we could have told people to do?

• Start your day at Cafe du Monde with an order of beignets and cafe au lait. 
• Walk down to the French Market and acquire some tchotchke to remind you of your trip.
• Walk along the Mississippi River; if you're feeling brave, take a ride on the Steamboat Natchez.
• When it's next time for alcohol, get thee to the Old Absinthe House (conveniently located next door to the Royal Sonesta) for the best Bloody Mary in the city. We've done several taste tests, we know this to be fact.
• If you really feel the need to go to Audubon Park or visit the WWII museum, that's great, but shouldn't you be eating lunch? Some of our favorite lunch spots are Stanley's, Acme Oyster House or Felix's for po' boys; Sylvain for their giant fried chicken sandwich; the aforementioned NOLA or Domenica; and Desire Oyster Bar for oysters, red beans, and cold beer.

(Beignets from Cafe du Monde by Rachelle Bowden via Chicagoist)

And for my husband's favorite sandwich of all time (the debris po' boy) and site of our rehearsal dinner on Friday night –  run, do not walk –  to Mother's on Tchoupitoulas and Poydras. We rented out the then-newly renovated giant back room at Mother's (Mother's Too) for about 100 people but any time of day is a good time to be eating those po' boys. My favorite is half fried shrimp and half fried oyster, because I'm indecisive like that. The "debris" is made up of all the little shavings from their roast beef po' boys that fall down into the vat of meat juice as the slices are being cut. Then they scoop up mounds of flavorful, juicy beef and dump it on a loaf of French bread (always order your po' boy "dressed" with mayo, cabbage, tomato, and pickles) and your job is to eat it before it falls apart. Did I mention they also serve root beer?

(Oyster po' boy courtesy of Lick My Spoon)

After the rehearsal dinner most of our group wandered back to Bourbon Street and found themselves a good time in any number of small, elegant bars (The Carousel Bar at the Hotel Montleone; the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt) or loud, smoky, cheap-drink dives with live music, mostly cover bands, playing all your favorite drunken singalong hits (Cat's Meow, The Bourbon Cowboy, Fais Deaux Deaux, The Famous Door, Fat Catz, Funky 544, the list goes on...).

It may or may not be true that some members of the wedding party spend some quality time at Rick's Cabaret. I'll not comment further.

On Saturday morning, the bridesmaids (wearing BCBG) and moms gathered in the Bridal Suite at the Royal Sonesta while the groomsmen got into their seersucker suits and smoked custom rolled cigars (which we'd ordered and picked up from the Cigar Factory on Decatur); those became party favors at the end of the night as well.

Eventually, I walked a few blocks through the French Quarter in my wedding dress (Claire Pettibone – perfect for the shabby-chic, romantic FQ vibe) with my dad to the House of Blues; the photographer, Stacy Marks (highly recommend him), documented our journey.

The wedding party huddled up at the bar at the HOB and my dad and I shared a champagne toast upstairs in the ultra-fancy Foundation Room before the ceremony began. Then we walked in to the Voodoo Garden to get the party started:

After the ceremony, our guests were led outside and along Decatur Street by a New Orleans Dixieland jazz band and did a traditional second line dance up to the front entrance of the House of Blues. Sadly I have no photos of people waving their "Sarah & Judd" handkerchiefs around, as we stayed behind to take wedding photos and eat mashed potatoes before commencing the real party upstairs in the Parish Room.

People danced until they dropped, then got up and danced some more.

Including my mom.

The cake was one of our favorite New Orleans desserts rather than a traditional wedding cake. A chocolate doberge (pronounced "dough-bash") from Gambino's, which is twelve alternating layers of yellow cake and cold chocolate pudding, all encased in a thin chocolate fondant icing. Because the doberge cakes are so heavy, we found out they didn't stack well, so we just ordered like seven of them and didn't worry about a pretty display. Once people started eating it, there were no complaints. 

For most people, the party continued well into the morning hours on various hotel balconies along Bourbon Street, and probably a few clubs that should remain nameless. In part because we knew how much fun everyone was destined to have at the wedding itself, we refused to partake in a day-after brunch (we had that Jacuzzi, after all) so our family and guests were on their own come Sunday morning. 

Something tells me nobody had any trouble finding a hangover-curing brunch.

(Unless credited otherwise, all photos are by Stacy Marks)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Do I have the product for you!

If you liked the Cuppow, you will loooooooove Vino2Go!

Though I have to admit, I'm a little confused. Is the wine glass built in, or is this just a jar you put your wine glass in? And, if so, could you put a martini glass in it instead??

(I will spare you the story about the time I tried to sneak a martini into the movie theater. In my tote bag.)

Via Kate Arends

Dress Quest but Not for Me

Dear ESB

My best friend who was in my wedding (and went far far far above and beyond what any bridesmaid could do) is now getting married! I am beyond joyed for her. She has asked me to be in her wedding (which I am so happy to be able to support her) and she has shown me the dress attached which she has fallen in love with. 

How great is that right! But as always happens, the is dress sold out and the Australian designer will not make any more.

We've been scouring the internet however I was hoping you and your readers might be able to suggest another designer who has a similar style. Also it would be preferable if the dress was under $3000. 

The BM who wants to help



Chloé at My Theresa ($3,229 incl. duties)

Fun Fact: They are calling this color "Gris Albatros." Sure looks ivory to me.

Photos at top by One and Only Photography via Once Wed

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dear ESB: WTF do I wear to a wedding in Palm Springs?

I have a fashion dilemma and you are the only person who can solve it.

What does one wear to an early November wedding (5pm, outside) in Palm Springs with the reception (outside) at a fancy hotel? Bride is from southern California, groom is from snotty Connecticut and is a total prepster. I literally have no idea what the deal is - they said jackets with ties optional for dudes, and dresses for women. (Shit, I guess that means I can't wear the gold lamé jumpsuit I had lined up.)  

Last time I got invited to a wedding outside of New York, the dress code was "Mountain Casual" and I nearly blew a gasket when I TOTALLY got it wrong and showed up looking like a lumberjack. So, yeah. I need your help. Any advice would be gratefully accepted - I think I need to buy something this weekend, since I'm pretty much sure everything I own is inappropriate.

Fanks, lady.


The key to Palm Springs is looking expensive but breezy. Like you just stepped out of the pool (cocktail in hand) and threw something on.

Something like this, though maybe without the $495 price tag.

(And with wedges or heeled sandals, obvs.)

If you're willing to brave the meatpacking district, I'd go to Scoop and Trina Turk and maybe Calypso St. Barth. Bird, in Brooklyn, also has the right vibe. Find something on the sale rack in a bright color and/or a bold print that makes you feel like a fabulous celebrity-in-exile.

Palm Springs wedding guest photos at top by Max Wanger via 100 Layer Cake

Dear ESB: Please just tell me what to do.

Long time listener, first time caller.

Me and the FH have been together for 8 years. I know I know you would think that I would have had used all this time wisely to diligently plan every detail of our wedding… but… I haven't. See we’ve been too busy living abroad, and traveling, and making art (I'm an artist), and enjoying each other's company and living this amazing opportunity. so much so that we haven't really focused ourselves on picking out flowers or bunting or... well anything really. We are so happily engaged, living in London (loved your recent what to do in London, by the way). We’d like to get married next year, but the problem is that we can't decide where.

We’re both American, and our families live literally across the US (with sets of parents in the East coast, midwest, and west coast), and siblings and friends spread similarly far and wide. No more than 2 people live in any one time zone. We’d like to make this wedding an opportunity to bring our 4 sets of parents (both separated and happily remarried), siblings, best friends from across our travels, and everyone is game and excited to celebrate what has been 8 years in the making....

Please just tell me what to do. Options are:

(A) LONDON - I’d love to get married in London where we live now and have really defined ourselves as artists and individuals, but it's soo expensive (my dream is a civil ceremony, dinner, and dancing in this museum that I love and but it's like $9,500 just to rent the venue for the night.... And that’s the cheapest museum I've found in London! I was thinking of spending more like $15,000 on the whole shebang). Plus this would be asking everyone we know to hop across the ocean, which just adds to the expenses and guilt (esp as parents would like to help pay). Can I somehow negotiate/sell my soul to get my dream venue on the cheap? I am saving and saving (have $5000 saved on my own so far) and willing to make every scrap of invitation and décor but is it selfish to ask everyone (including my artist friends) to come across the pond?

(B) USA - the only place that hold resonance for both of us is my hometown where we haven't lived since 2005. My parents have moved away and we don't actually know anyone who lives there anymore (FH's mom lives like 3 hours away).... so everyone will just be traveling anyway (there's a tiny museum there that I could rent for like $700.... plus all the plane tickets back and forth to organise it). It would be nice going home but I've heard scary stories about people planning weddings remotely even in their hometown… and I'd be diving in pretty blindly here.... is this just a bad idea?

I’ll confess I was hoping just writing this down was going to resolve things for me, but I think I just need your straight up guidance here.

Love, Artist in Abeyance


This one's easy. LONDON!

Anyone have venue suggestions?

Photo: Adrian Crispin for Dazed and Confused

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Marriage is not a walk in the park

Dear ESB,

I wrote to you a few months ago. You diagnosed me with "Post-Nuptial Know-It-All Syndrome" and I was cured that very instant. My friend is happily engaged and I am totally on board and happy about it. (and a little bit ashamed of my earlier behavior...).

But now... my own marriage is in trouble. Yes, Karma's a bitch...

My husband has a very stressful job, which he used to enjoy a lot. Until now. He lost a lot of weight from stressing and is always tired. If we meet up with friends that haven't seen him in a while, they all are worried. So am I. I thought he was just really stressed out about his job. But... he told me he is stressed out about everything. About life. 

Before marrying we talked about eventually buying a house and starting a family in the not so far future. But the not so far future is happening now and he is freaking out. About buying a house. About having children. About marrying me. About everything. He doesn't know what he wants and he keeps telling me "he doesn't know whose life he is leading." He has no idea what he wants to do and is just really losing it.

With every inch of my body I want to hold him and tell him everything is going to be all right. This man has helped me through the worst time of my life and has been my rock. But now that he's in trouble himself he doesn't let me near.

My heart tells me to hang on to him and to be near him and to never let go. But my head tells me to keep my distance. To let him figure it out. If he wants to work out these issues alone, then I should let him do that. If he wants to stay married and work it out together, then let's do it! But if not... then not.

What should I do? Listen to the heart or the head?

Oh boy, marriage is not a walk in the park...


Lady, I am so so sorry you're going through this.

You have to let go. Give him space. (ALL THE SPACE HE FUCKING WANTS.)

Your husband seems to be having some kind of early-life crisis, and you can't help him through it. Not if he's telling you he's not sure he wants to be married.

Therapy might help. Meds might help. Quitting his job and moving to fucking Florida and becoming a surf bum might help. He needs to figure it out on his own.

In my experience, men take a lot of time to work through their shit. He'll either come back to you or he won't.... And that sucks. But clinging will only make you feel clingy and him feel suffocated.

Kelly Mittendorf by Tak Sugita for Razor Red Magazine via Fashion Gone Rogue

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Have a wedding caftan!

Yards + yards of.... mid-weight satiny draped poly.


Current eBay bid is $38. You've got one day + one hour left to make it your own.

Via Memoirs of a Disco Queen, with special thanks to Amy for the heads-up!

Alexa Chung's little lace dress

Love the dress, love the hair, love the little gold flats (and bare legs)..... She could be on her way to the courthouse to get married, no?

Via Vogue Paris

Shop Bona Drag (obvs)

A Rather Non-Standard Tour of London

Hi ESB – meeting my fiancé in London for a long weekend at the end of October. He goes to school in Ireland, so we have been to London together before. Looking for some suggestions of things to do/eat outside the standards (we’ve already done Buckingham, London Eye, Westminster, etc.).

Thanks a bunch.


When this reader volunteered to tackle London, I had NO IDEA how far beyond the standard her write-up would be.

I hope you like taxidermy! And jars of moles! And olde-ass pubs! (Okay, I guess olde-ass pubs are pretty classic.)

Anyhoo. Without further ado, here's Patricia.....


The first thing to mention (which you already know since you've already been) is that London is big. Luckily the public transport is quite good – provided you don't have a great attachment to the idea of personal space – and you can get pretty much everywhere you'll need to by bus or tube. The tube is very easy to navigate with its iconic map, and it's quicker than the bus, but if you know which bus you want and where to catch it from, that’s a better way of seeing the city (from the top deck at the front) and getting a sense of how the areas bleed together.

On the basis that you will use at least some public transport, then the first thing to do is buy an Oyster card (a swipe card that you can charge up with money for individual tickets or purchase a day/week travelcard on) rather than buying paper tickets which are sold at such a premium I've heard it referred to as a 'tourist tax'.  The few minutes it takes to fill out the form is definitely worth it.

If you are a confident cyclist then give the Boris Bikes a go – it's a relatively new scheme introduced during the reign of our current mayor of blond absurdity, Boris Johnson, where you can pick up a bike at any station across central London and return it to any other docking station around town within the half hour for a small fee. They are fun, particularly in the park, but London is not the most cycle-friendly city and cab and bus drivers can be somewhat aggressive. That said, I am a notorious bike wimp, my husband cycles everywhere and you're probably braver than me.

That said, although London is not 'walkable' in the sense of walking all of it or across it, walking is really the best way to see the city. My favourite longer walk, to see old and new, industrial and fancy aspects that make up London, is along the Regents Canal from Canary Wharf, up through Hackney to Islington, stopping for a drink in Angel, re-joining the canal on the other side, through to Camden, then Regents Park including the zoo and then up past the massive mansions to Little Venice and Paddington (see route here).

Big ones worth doing:

One of the great things about London is the free museums. I know you probably want to avoid the over-touristed honeypots (and rightly so) but there are a few of the big ones that are totally worth visiting.

The British Museum in Bloomsbury is totally one of my favourite places in London and even if the massive collection of Roman, Greek… isn't really your thing, then take a walk through from Senate House to Museum Street as the Great Court is an awesome vaulted space filled with soft cool light and a real contrast to the wood panelling elsewhere.

(Great Court at the British Museum via Foster + Partners)

The Victoria & Albert Museum is one of the Big Three museums just south of Hyde Park (the others being the Natural History Museum, which is great but uncomfortably crowded, and the Science Museum, which has an awesome interactive area in the basement if you've a kid with you). It’s a gorgeous building, has a great collection of fashion, textiles and ceramics among lots more and there are usually some interesting exhibitions on. Also, have lunch in the V&A café with its lovely tiled rooms and pretty decent quiche.

The Museum of London and National Portrait Gallery are also great if you are nearby.  But please do steer clear of Madame Tussauds, the Tower of London and Harrods. Overcrowded and awful.

Bloomsbury – Holborn – The Strand:

If you are into zoology, animals or just taxidermied esoterica then The Grant Museum of Zoology at University College London in Bloomsbury is small but packed to the ceiling with around 67,000 specimens preserved in various ways, including my favourite jar of moles. For just £12 you can also adopt a specimen for a year and have your name displayed on a small plaque in front of the relevant animal (although most of the exciting big ticket items are already taken, we just adopted a lizard that sprays poisonous blood from its eyes for our son).

From the Grant Museum you can walk through Bloomsbury and the British Museum, down to Sir John Soane's Museum just off Lincoln's Inn Fields. It is the lovingly preserved home of architect and collector Sir John Soanes and was described by the Oxford Dictionary of Architecture as “one of the most complex, intricate, and ingenious series of interiors ever conceived” – it's crammed with so many paintings, statues, models and antiques that the house itself has been adjusted in order to integrate and display. Another high volume, small space experience.

A little further down on the Strand, Somerset House is a lovely neo-Classical building (now, incongruously, home to the Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) around a central courtyard which has fountains and cinema in the summer and skating in the winter and is an oddly quiet space to sit and have a coffee. It also has a terrace out back overlooking the Thames. And the Old Bank of England pub (which used to be the bank of England), right next to the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, is quite impressive surroundings.

South Bank - The River

Everyone will tell you to walk along the South Bank and that's because they're right, it's nice. Start at St Pauls, across the Millennium footbridge to the Tate Modern (another big one worth visiting) along the South Bank and up past the British Film Institute, National Film Theatre and the Hayward Gallery to Waterloo Bridge and then Westminster opposite the Houses of Parliament. If you head across the footbridge after Waterloo Bridge to Charing Cross station, stop for a bottle of wine and an illicit affair at a candlelit table under the low stone arches of the cellar at Gordon's wine bar, the 'oldest wine bar in London'.

(Gordon's Wine Bar via Adventures in Pubs)

The Tate Modern has a good permanent collection (including glorious Rothko) and there is also a temporary exhibition, finishing this Sunday 28 October, using the underground spaces below the gallery called 'The Tanks' and designed by Herzog & De Meuron (they of, among other things, the Beijing Olympics Bird's Nest Stadium and this year's Serpentine Pavilion).

The River Thames is geographically and historically very much at the heart of the city – if you like outdoorsy type activities (and have brought waterproofs with you, which, if you haven't you really should – London in the Autumn can be WET) then a different way of seeing parts of the city is by kayak. I have done a sunrise kayak on the Regents Canal and it was an oddly peaceful experience – I haven't braved the Thames, but I want to do this one now.

Pro-tip: the 453 bus is a cheap alternative to a sightseeing bus. You can catch it from Lower Marsh after having an excellent espresso at the a lovely ex-scooter repair shop Scooterworks and it takes an absurdly touristic route from Waterloo, across Westminster Bridge, past the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, and Regents Street up to Regents Park where you can hop off and wander down Marylebone High Street which is fancy, but quite nice. Alongside all the organic bakeries there is VV Rouleaux for trimming shopping, Skandium for overpriced Scandinavian style, my favourite, lovely, woodpanelled, organised-by-geographical-area bookstore, Daunt Books, and Tracey Neuls for weird looking shoes. You'll come out onto Wigmore Street at the back of Selfridges department store.
(Bus route here.)

(The Tanks courtesy of the Tate Modern)

Clerkenwell – Barbican

The Barbican is a big arts centre and residential estate built in the 1960s and a famous example of brutalist architecture. It's pretty interesting and you can take an architecture tour on Wednesdays, Thursdays and weekends, and, if you don't fancy the trek out to the glasshouses at Kew Gardens, on weekends you can visit the Barbican conservatory – the second biggest conservatory in London. The arts centre hosts many and various film, music and art exhibitions – currently including the London International Animation Festival.

Around Clerkenwell and the city there are all sorts of old da vinci code sort of stuff including the Temple Church built by the Knights Templar. Have a wander around inner or middle temple if you can – this is where barristers chambers are. Freemasons Hall is between Holborn and Covent Garden. This area also has some cool old pubs including The Jerusalem Tavern (current building dating from 1720) – it's really tiny, so get there well before 5pm if you want to get a seat up at the back. And Ye Olde Mitre built in 1546 behind Hatton Garden – another one to visit early in the day as later it gets full of chainsmoking lawyers in the alley outside.

Spitalfields – Brick Lane – Hackney:

If you're not interested in big museums and shiny things, then East London is the more interesting part to wander around – Broadway Market and London Fields are full of hipsters and nice coffee. Head to  Columbia Road flower market on a Sunday morning - it is packed full of people but quite fun. The Last Tuesday Society has a shop on Mare Street full of curiosities.

(Little Shop of Horrors via WorthPoint)

Spitalfields Market and the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane are great places to browse around and eat things – particularly curry and a salt beef bagel from the Brick Lane Beigel Bake.

A great aspect of London is the preponderance of parks, so you really should spend some time in one – I think everyone has their 'own' park and my latest greatest discovery is the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park near Mile End tube. If you're East in the daytime and like woodland and overgrown tombstones then it is definitely worth a wander.

Wilton's Music Hall in Wapping is the oldest surviving Music Hall in London and a good place to go for a drink in the cool old theatrey décor of the Mahogany Bar.

(Salt beef bagel from Brick Lane Beigel Bake by Rob Greig via Time Out)

Sad walrus

As an addendum, as it's waaaaaay South in Forest Hill SE23, but The Horniman Museum is a gem – it has everything from amazing aquariums, to a poor sad taxidermied walrus. [See photo at top]

[Editor's Note: Please feel free to offer more restaurant suggestions in the comments. Patricia shied away, freely admitting that most of the foods she likes "involve offal."]

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


"Organic Oval with Diamond Pave" (doesn't that sound fancy?) by Kathryn Bentley via Stefan Sisters

Happy Tuesday

I thought you might enjoy this Amy Adams for Band of Outsiders shoot. 

I'm a sucker for polaroids. Always.

Also: There's a new Dear ESB over on 100 Layer Cake! (It's been a while. Let's hope they don't eat me alive...)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Q: What is one kajillion x better than engagement photos?

A: Elopement photos!

When Meaghan wrote in with this wee update.....

Hey ESB,

I just wanted to give a big thank you to you and your readers for all the suggestions on my question about how to tell people once we'd eloped (especially whoever thought I was serious about the "news item" thing... amazing!).

We went the postcard route, and had a blast picking out cards, especially some of the weird ones we found in vintage stores (although we went with more traditional "I heart NY"-type ones for the famjam).

As for coworkers and local friends, we just told when it came up in conversation. A lot of people thought we were joking (which, let's be honest, that wouldn't be a particularly funny joke) but the rings convinced them. 

Overall, it was a great day. We wandered around with a photographer (whose services we had won a while back), drank coffee, and tried not to squint too much in the pictures.

I knew we had to see em.


Photos by Kateryn Silva (See tons more over here. NYC, I do miss you so.)

Do I invite my "surprise!" biological father?

Dear ESB,

My longstanding boyfriend and I starting to discuss the realities of getting married in the foreseeable future. There are a lot of aspects to us getting married that fill me with joy and smiles and happy thoughts.

However, one of the things that slightly overwhelms me is the guest list. See, I'm adopted. I've been close to my biological mother and her family for about 10 years now. They are awesome and it is important to me that they be at my wedding if/when we have one.

The issue that stresses me out is my biological father. He's only been in my life for a few years. I contacted him in a "surprise! you have a 30 year old daughter!" kind of way (he didn't know about me). He's been enthusiastic about my presence in his life- but if we get married I don't know if I want him there. He's such a nice man and he and his extended family have been so welcoming to my presence. Still- I'm not that close to them, he and my birth mother haven't seen each other since the drunken night of my creation, and when my boyfriend and I get married I don't want my wedding to be "about" all of these biological/adoptive relatives meeting each other for the first time. 

I feel like he would be absolutely crushed not to be invited, and it feels like a douchey thing to do, especially when I kind of uprooted his emotional life in the first place by making contact with him. He also has a 5 year old son who I've met a few times and who I adore, which makes the thing even harder. 

I don't want my wedding to be awkward and stressful on myself, my birthmother, my parents, etc. I don't want to be worrying about this man being around and having to make awkward emotionally loaded small talk with him at my wedding. I also don't want to deeply hurt someone who, you know, made me. 

Do I just suck it up and invite him trusting that everyone will be kind and polite to one another for my sake? Do I adopt (heh) the "it's our day" mentality and just don't invite him if it's too much of a pain?

BF and I both definitely want a wedding ceremony at my parents house with friends and family, so no eloping or city hall. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. 

Fuck me,
Lots o' Parents


I'm surprising myself a little with this one, but I think you should invite the guy.

Photo by Vincent Lappartient for Dazed and Confused

Friday, October 19, 2012

let's play "does this look too much like a wedding dress?"

Hey lady!

I'm going to an evening wedding in Manhattan in a couple of months and I've kind of fallen in love with this dress. My only concern is it kind of looks like a wedding dress.  

What do you think? Would it be tacky?


Dear Guest: if there's a chance the photographer's going to have to label you 'not the bride' in photos, your dress is too long & too white. is something a wedding photog friend of mine tweeted recently.

so, yeah. no. you can't wear that.

the good news is, you just found a gorg wedding dress (under $300!) for a reader or two.

What the hell do we buy our parents as a thank you gift?

Dear ESB,

First off, this site has helped me keep my sanity for the last year since getting engaged. Thank you for constantly reminding me that I'm not crazy or an idiot for thinking about weddings as I do.

That being said, any suggestions for gifts for the parents? Both of our parents are helping us pay for the wedding and we wanted to give them something at the rehearsal dinner. 

Something beyond the traditional pocket watch (what the hell is that about? seriously - is that a thing?) or expensive frame for a future wedding photo (blah, boring and BORING).

Please help! We're getting married in two and half weeks and I can't think of anything that isn't overdone or cheesy.


k, i just need to ask a few questions about the parents:

shiny or matte?

sweet or salty?

happy or sad? (just kidding)

joan baez or led zeppelin?

harry potter or james bond?


OK, for my parents:

shiny or matte? Both!

sweet or salty? Again, both!

happy or sad? (just kidding) Ha ha - thankfully very happy.

joan baez or led zeppelin? I can't believe you didn't include Korean church hymns on those choices! Because the answer would be Korean church hymns and classical music (no joke)

harry potter or james bond? Bond for sure.

For the in-laws:

shiny or matte? Shiny

sweet or salty? Sweet!

happy or sad? (just kidding) Happy with a touch of ennui

joan baez or led zeppelin? Joan Baez

harry potter or james bond? Bond



I had this chocolate* all picked out............

For your parents:

The Bacon Truffle Collection from Vosges.

I haven't sampled the truffles, but I can promise you the bacon chocolate bars are BEYOND. (As in, maybe the best chocolate I've ever tasted.)

For the in-laws:

Le Chocolat en Rose Truffles (also from Vosges), inspired by Edith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose."

But then I reread your query and realized you want something to give them at the rehearsal dinner.

Womp womp.

How bout a gold coffee spoon set? Or a couple of little gold-leaf bowls? Or A REALLY GOOD BOTTLE OF BOURBON.**

My favorite cinematographer recommends Hudson Baby Bourbon. He says "Old Potrero Rye is also very nice... If you want a west coast thang."

(Image at top by Alma Haser via JE;SU, Hudson Baby Bourbon photo via There Will Be Bourbon)

*As a newly minted member of The Tiny House Club, I have quickly come to appreciate gifts that are decadent and impermanent.

**See above

I found your cake topper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The good news: It's one-of-a-kind and fully functional!

The bad news: It's $1000.

Michael Leavitt for {far4}

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Free People steps up their wedding game

In addition to the Mara Hoffman, obvs, I'm also digging (clockwise from top left): Cold Shoulder Maxi ($608), Embellished Shift Dress ($450), Embroidered Maxi (okay so it's 100% Polyester, but $198!), La Boheme Ruffle Dress (perhaps for our Feist fan? $450)

Any one of these would be terrif with a vintage-inspired Wrangler

You're welcome.

look who's carrying THE DRESS

the dress the dress the dress.

now avail at free people.

wedding high-tops

do it do it do it.

i dare you to.

or: anabela's lovely little see by chloe sandals are still available in a couple of sizes. (see her "wedding style diary" here)