Monday, November 25, 2013

A wedding reflection

Dear ESB,

I had the task of writing myself a letter, which would be sent to me at an undisclosed time in the future (part of an arts/culture experience in my city). It was a few weeks after my wedding so I ended up writing to myself about the day, in a selfish attempt to keep it fresh in my mind and preserve the memory. This was about two months ago and I just received the letter back, and it was really lovely to read. 

I just wanted to recommend to any brides out there to write down their thoughts and feelings from their wedding day, and tuck it away for safekeeping. It might be that people already do this?! - but it was definitely worthwhile for me. While the photographs capture the details and the setting, the note helps to preserve what you were thinking and feeling. x

You got married to a wonderful man on the seaside in Cornwall a few short weeks ago. You were uncharacteristically relaxed on the morning of the wedding. B gave you a pill to help you sleep the night before. You felt it make your eyes go heavy, but your brain spun, not for too long though, and then you were asleep. In the morning everything went smoothly; you were the vision of calm. The bridesmaids were a great distraction and they made you feel spectacular. Remember that – you felt great, and calm, and ready. His eyes were welling up when you came down the aisle, and you could sense the overwhelming joy and pride in his gaze. Your heart beat a bit faster. You couldn't stop smiling. Your legs felt a little bit wobbly. You were nervous people would see them shaking slightly under your dress. You loved saying the vows, you loved staring into C’s eyes. It was the best moment. And the wedding was filled with so many wonderful moments. Being surrounded by friends and family. The way everyone cheered when you were announced into the reception room. Swirling around the dance floor to Stevie Wonder. Excitement and laughter.

This one seemed perfect for Thanksgiving week. xooo to all of you.

(Photo by Debs Ivelja)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

a vegas elopement in polaroids

I dig all the photos from Stephanie & Micah's lovely little Vegas wedding (see more over on their travel blog), but the polaroids? OH MAN THE POLAROIDS. 

Expired polaroids slay me every time.

A few words from Stephanie:

So our little story goes like this...

We're both from Australia, have been together for 8 years and just recently returned to Melbourne after 15 months of overseas travel. We were never really interested in getting married, but now that I think about it, it was just that we never wanted a wedding. When we began planning our way back home to Melbourne, it felt very right to get married as a beautiful way to end the year long travel adventure we shared.

The idea to wed in Vegas honestly started out as something we'd kind of joke about. However after we discovered Gaby Jeter (our wonderful photographer) and realised that Vegas has some pretty charming aspects to it, we couldn't imagine being married anywhere else.

Organising a wedding/ elopement/ private ceremony, whatever you want to call it, in Vegas wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, and actually a bit of a nightmare at times. After reading countless online reviews about the infamous Vegas chapels, that we only imagined would be really cute and kitsch (so wrong), we saw a recurring theme of people being scammed, and we kinda didn't want to be scammed on our wedding day, you know?

Being able to choose our own celebrant and ceremony location helped to keep the level of Vegas tacky-ness pretty low. Because neither of us had ever been to Vegas before, we relied on Google maps to help us find photo locations (like the gorgeous Tod Motor Hotel featured in our pictures) and then Gaby would confirm if the colourful mid-century buildings we liked were still standing.

All in all, I can't recommend eloping enough (Vegas or not). It's incredibly romantic, it's fun, and you get to spend the whole day with your beloved prancing around in beautiful clothes with (maybe) the biggest secret you've ever kept. Then you get to call your family and friends back home and share the beautiful, happy news. Our parents and a couple of others did already know - couldn't quite do that to them!

Now that we're back home, we're having a little party to celebrate our marriage - minus any wedding stress. Just an opportunity to wear my dress again(!) and celebrate with our nearest and dearest.

- Stephanie & Micah

Dets on Stephanie's attire + her unanswered Dear ESB are over here if you missed em.


look who didn't need any help

July 8, 2013

Dear ESB,

My boyfriend and I are eloping to Vegas in two months time and we're very excited! Before everyone shudders at the thought, we are getting married by an officiant in the desert under an old tree. We originally loved the idea of an old Vegas chapel, until we read all the terrifying reviews.

We have found a great photographer that takes photos only on film and are going to be taking some shots around various mid-century style locations in Vegas and also in the Nevada desert.

Because we are eloping nobody knows and therefore my sisters and girlfriends can't help me in terms of my outfit, makeup and hair. So I'm counting on the sisterhood of ESB - please help me!

This is my dress [pictured above] (except I will be wearing a white slip underneath). I know it's going to be boiling hot, but it's going to be hot regardless of what I wear.

My flowers are going to be a bunch of white daisies. These have been ordered already.

Now for the things I have no idea what to do:

I was thinking for shoes white, pointed heels, like this but where do I find something like this that doesn't cost the earth? Also open to other suggestions for shoes that don't look like this... (I don't like my toes however, so maybe no open-toe suggestions)

I have straight, medium length brown hair...any suggestions for a hair style? 
I've absolutely no idea.

And for make-up, I want to keep it all quite romantic and natural, no red lips.

Thank you in advance!!

- Secret bride


Nov 11, 2013

How did you accessorize???


Nov 11, 2013

hello :)

I wore white patent leather pumps by Marc Jacobs, Satomi Kawakita tiny pearl studs (from Catbird) and that was it!


Photo by Gaby Jeter (with more to follow!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

speaking of ebay....

Should I repair my favorite favorite favorite but overly-shredded pair of boyfriend jeans thusly? (I'm not even joking about this.)

I could also run them over a few times and hopefully pick up a little grease off the street. (That is a joke.)

And then I would probably have to rock em with black stilettos so as not to look like a hobo. (Not joking.)


I am this close to dropping $420 on eBay* and buying one for our porch.


The timing isn't ideal, what with me being not-so-employed right now........ Will someone else pls buy it so I can't?

(Photos by Laure Joliet for The Animal Print Shop via Anne Sage)


*Update: This one's not vintage. I don't want it. Which, PHEW.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Dear ESB,

Please help a pants-lovin' lady. I am wearing these beige silk pants to my wedding. I love them but am worried about looking too casual even for my outdoor-picnic kind of wedding. I am wearing some killer heels with them (obvs), but what top should I wear to kick this into fancy mode?

Also, pants week was amazing but so long ago. I want more?


With you in mind, I just did a pants-loving bride post for A Practical Wedding. I even stole your phrase.

My choices may or may not be TOO STYLISH for the APW crowd, but I think you'll dig em. (Pay special attention to all the sexy sleeveless tuxedo-y tops.)

Frida Gustavsson by Hasse Nielsen for Vogue Germany December 2013 via This Is Glamorous

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A wedding reading for an introvert

When one has been at great pains for half one's life to secure independence for one's self, as I found it necessary to do, one has to accept the disadvantages of the situation as well. One cannot have the one without the other. 

Among these disadvantages is the fact that no one can tell from appearances what are the things I lack... [If I were to marry] I require (1) Some one to superintend my digestion, (2) Somebody who can laugh with me and who has cheerful spirits, (3) Some one who is proud of my company and who constrains others to treat me with becoming respect, (4) Some one who can read aloud to me without making a book sound idiotic. 

It is precisely we solitary ones that require love and companions in whose presence we may be open and simple, and the eternal struggle of silence and dissimulation can cease. Yes, I am glad that I can be myself, openly and honestly with you, for you are such a good friend and companion... 

Though I may seem at times somewhat distant from you, through the gray mist of my own moods, I am never far; my thoughts always circle around you. 

—Friedrich Nietzsche

Says our lovely, anonymish friend:

It was a mashup of a few different passages, and it seems long but clocked in at just under 2 minutes. Since the letters were written in the first person, I opted to read them myself. I never would've guessed those words would be what moved me to tears!

Note: The words pictured above belong to Nietzsche, but they are different words. Beginning something like, "Smooth is is a paradise / For those who know how to dance."

[CENSORED] the Follow Up!

Hi ESB, 

Remember me? [I do remember you! But I'm not linking to your Dear ESB because let's not get you in trouble.] I just wanted write you with updates (and pictures!) about our wedding. 

It. Was. Fucking. AWESOME. 

FH (now H!) and I decided to use my mother's $3,000 gift along with our own money to put on the wedding WE wanted and could afford. This meant that our May 2014 date got pushed up to October 2013, as I had initially wanted, and we also opted to have an after-wedding dinner at a local restaurant instead of a formal reception. We also decided to use a portion of the money towards a 'pre-honeymoon' and spent three days before the big day alone, exploring our in-between city of Charleston, South Carolina, and enjoying each others company before our families and friends arrived. 

Our wedding was quiet and intimate, with a whopping grand total of 50 guests. Everything went as planned, so much so that for the first part of the day I was actually waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was especially anxious about how things would go with [CENSORED] and the dinner plans. But after I was dressed and preparing to walk down the aisle, I took a deep breath and decided to let whatever was going to happen, happen... and it turns out that that included choking up and crying like a baby halfway through the ceremony as I did my wedding reading, an excerpt from "Selected Letters of Friedrich Nietzsche." 

People always say that weddings are communal events, and ours definitely would not have been possible without the help of our family and friends. My grandmother officiated the wedding, our amazing friend Luc took the pictures, a close friend acted as impromptu wedding coordinator, and [CENSORED] my in-laws graciously paid for our wedding dinner! Your amazing advice coupled with that of your amazing commenters about [CENSORED] was completely correct. So thank you!

[CENSORED] Now That The Wedding Is Over


So much to you, Ladyfriend.

I actually started crying when I first opened your email.

(Photos by Luc Alexandre)

Monday, November 11, 2013

looking for a dress like THIS

Hey ESB,

I'm sure you're totally bored with dress questions but I'm wondering if you and your amazing readers could help me out on my search?

I am looking for a wedding dress that is simple, inexpensive, but with a natural waist and a full skirt. I'm not talking poufy, just enough volume to define my waist.

Our venue is very modern and all white, so I'm thinking my dress should also be pure white (or another color) as opposed to ivory, which I'm afraid would look yellow against the white in pictures.

This is my dream dress in every way, but it's $12,000 and I would rather spend $1,200, well, less, preferably:

I don't normally love lace but the Houghton is so modern and structured! Sigh. I'm at a loss. Any suggestions on similar dresses or any white dresses with my desired shape? Custom isn't an option for me locally, unfortunately.


Out of ideas.



I'm alive, b/t/w. Just feeling even lazier than usual. Last week I was in a mad push to meet a grant deadline. And then I met it. And now I'm in the very important fucking-around-until-I-figure-out-what-my-next-project-is phase.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Still not sick of ring questions..?

Hello esb

I'm recently engaged and looking for a ring. I went through your whole "rings" tag and love your style so I thought I'd ask you: are there any cool opal rings? That aren't itty bitty stacking rings, but also don't look like they arrived this morning from 1985? I don't know if I just have bad luck, but I didn't think it would be this hard to find an opal ring I liked. The only parameters I have are that it be yellow or rose gold and that it be pretty and modern and not tiny or surrounded by 10000 diamonds (or, really, any diamonds at all). And that it not be a weird cluster of opals. 

I didn't think this would be some kind of unicorn hunt. Is it just the nature of the opal to be used in really cheesy settings?

Please don't say "don't get an opal it will break."

(also, if I can piggyback a question for your readers - I liked your Chicago travel guide, but do you or your readers know of anyplace in the Chicago area to look for cool rings, à la Catbird, Erie Basin, etc? not necessarily opals :) )


Does it have to be OPAL? Opals are fugg.

What about moonstone?


Moonstone is awesome. Opals being fug is my problem! I have what must be the ONLY pretty opal ring in the world, and it makes me want another, but I am having NO LUCK. Something about opals just makes them want to be in ugly shapes, settings...


I included this rainbow moonstone (pictured above) in a roundup I just did for Barneys.

In light of recent events, you may or may not want to patronize them.*

*Should we be boycotting Barneys AND Macy's? I honestly don't know how to respond. But I will be spending that $200 gift card the Barneys PR team sent me as a thank you.

Monday, November 4, 2013


also: wedding bikes are so 2009

(via bhldn)

I'd rather eat glass

Dear ESB

Clearly I adore you, since I have never tiptoed near marriage and yet read your blog like an obsessive preteen. You are my guru, and as such, I'm hoping you can guru me out of this. 

To sum up: I spent 8 years with a guy who, 3 years ago now, decided to go suddenly sociopathic. He stopped coming home at night, stopped taking my calls, and put a pin in things, finally, by sleeping with his best friend's girlfriend. We haven't spoken since I fled the city where we lived. 

It was ugly. And despite the time that has passed, I'm still trying to figure how it's possible to know someone and then not know them in such a violent way. I'm getting better, but I'm still single, and it doesn't feel nice to think about. 

Here's the rub: Since we were together for so long, I became very close with his family and especially his younger sister. As the ex ceased speaking to both me and her during his meltdown, she and I became even more enmeshed. I love her deeply, and in some ways I took over the role of older sibling. And now she's getting married. 

I knew this was coming, and had sort of prepared myself for the thought of looking super hot and taking some banging date and going to the wedding and celebrating her and the love she's found and letting it all wash over me, but when I got the Save the Date, I could feel my heart in my mouth and wanted to puke it out. Suddenly, the reality of being at a wedding with his whole family and seeing him - with the best friend's girlfriend, who is now HIS girlfriend - felt pretty much like a worse alternative to eating shards of glass. 

And so - what to do? I hate the idea of not being there. I hate that I could make the day dramatic. I hate myself for still letting him have this control. I hate that he is taking one more thing away from me. I hate the thought of disappointing her. But when I imagine myself in that space, I want to crawl under the earth. 



It's okay not to go.

Iggy Azalea by Harper Smith for Paper Mag (October 2013) via Fashion Gone Rogue via kelly edmonson

Friday, November 1, 2013

Help from readers on how to hide away from it all (erm, in North Carolina)?

Hello ESB

I'd appreciate some last minute advice from your lovely readers about hanging out in North Carolina/Smoky Mtns.

You've helped me before when me and my now Mr were planning marriage. I got stressed. It all worked out (we got married at City Hall and then went bowling)

Anyway, as life moves on, so your problems change. I am getting over a miscarriage and we want to just bunk off somewhere a bit different to help us pick up the pieces of my slightly bruised and crappy uterus.

We've booked a cabin in Smoky Mtns and are flying into Charlotte so any advice for around them thar hills would be aces

Have a great weekend lady


Help a lady out,  you guys

♥ ♥ ♥

(No idea if this is a photo of the Smoky Mountains. Also: No idea who took the photo. Pls let me know if you know.)