Wednesday, January 29, 2014

forgive me while I post a wedding dress*



$695 at The Dreslyn (via Turn of Fraise)

*Here's me admitting I'm not totally done with weddings.

Monday, January 27, 2014

What if some people don't "just know"?

Hi, ESB. 

I'm writing with a quandary that's been rolling around in my head for a while. I'm in a great relationship. He is supportive, funny, kind, handsome and all of that. We have a relationship well founded in trust and support- no questions there. We've been together for five years and have shared a home for most of that time.

Of course conversations eventually turn into questions about marriage. It isn't a huge "must do" for either of us. I would at some point like to have a celebration of love and families coming together but nothing even close to the whole cupcake-bride-with-a-big-expensive-string-of-events.

A week ago we had a really good but hard and honest conversation. We both admitted that we see so much compatibility but lament a sometimes meh sex life and aren't entirely sure if we are each other’s "the one.” We both expressed our frustration about not knowing and anxiety about whether we are the kind of people that ever might "just know.” A lot of people say they had that feeling before getting married. And I'm sure for some people it is true, but isn't there also a leap of faith a bit? If we were to break up would we just be throwing the baby out with the bath water? I've never been one to believe that marriage is the final destination or an easy time. Inevitably there are things you compromise on. I have a partnership that is mutually dependent and supportive. I love him, I'm attracted to him and I love sharing my life with him.... but what gives about knowing about "the one"? 

I'd love it if people shared how they know/don't know/knew/thought they knew/never knew they found a partner for life.

Thank you!


Fuck "the one."

Is sex important to you? Is a meh sex life a dealbreaker? For either of you??

Because if it ain't working now, marriage won't fix it.

p.s. I posted a similar dilemma here. And Dan Savage has a lot to say on this subject -- listen to his podcast, I beg of you!!!

Image: Ernesto Artillo

Thursday, January 23, 2014

speaking of women in suits....

I know I said I was bored with weddings, but when I saw these photos……… I MEAN COME ON

I had to post a few.

Claire + Leslie recently founded O'Harrow Clothiers, based in Silver Lake, and are already kicking ass with their Pocket Squares for Well-Mannered Rebels and button-downs for both women and men.

And, from Claire, re their suits: 

I got mine from Theory and Leslie got hers made by Requisite Clothing, highly recommend them. 

(Photos by Rad + In Love -- check out more from this rad Palm Springs wedding over on their blog)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

His family bought me an engagement ring


Longtime reader, first-time writer, etc., etc. I really love your blog, and kept following it even after my wedding-ish thing, which was a year and a half ago. My question/dilemma is only semi-wedding related, but, I dunno, ESB is such a good forum for so many dilemmas of this nature. I'd love to know what you think.

My sweetie and I are pretty non-traditional. I'm queer, and he and I both are pretty non-conforming when it comes to gender presentation (I'm female, but I regularly get mistaken by strangers for a boy. I don't really mind - I like my androgynous style. And he has a very queer/feminine style). We didn't even really get engaged, but we did decide that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and, at his urging, we threw a big party to celebrate this event. (That's when I first found ESB, actually - during my months-long quest to find a non-traditional-but-still-super-special dress for our party). The party was fun! 

Then last Christmas (6 months after our party), I got a completely unexpected gift from his family: A diamond ring. Clearly an engagement ring. It was from his whole family: parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc. As I opened the gift, they all stared at me expectantly with tears in their eyes. It was like THEY were proposing to me. It was a lovely gesture, but also kind of... weird? It felt weird. I thanked them all profusely, of course. I put the ring on my finger that day, but it was too big and after Christmas was over I put it back in the box and have not taken it out since then. 

The fact that I have not worn the ring since two Christmases ago has not gone unnoticed by his family. We live near them and see them fairly frequently. Nobody's said anything about it to me, but they've asked my sweetie why I'm not wearing the ring. He's actually lied and said that I do wear it, and that they just haven't seen me wearing it. So I guess that means now I really do need to start wearing it so they don't realize he lied? But: I'm really not an engagement ring person. I'm not a jewelry person at all, actually. My sweetie knew exactly what he was doing in not buying me an engagement ring (we don't wear wedding bands, either). And it feels incredibly weird to me that his family essentially bought me an engagement ring. Maybe I'm projecting too much here, but it feels like they were disrespecting the terms of his and my relationship, and trying to impose their own terms on it (i.e. "She's not wearing a ring? But how will anyone know she belongs to him?").

So I guess my question is: What do I do about this? Do I just continue to not wear the ring, since nobody's said anything about it to me explicitly? Do I try to remember to wear the ring every time I see them? I really, really don't like it, and don't feel comfortable with a diamond engagement ring on my finger. Am I thinking too hard about all of this?




Your sweetie needs to tell his family, very sweetly, that he lied. That you're not an engagement ring person, you never wanted an engagement ring, and while you appreciated their gesture you thought it was kind of... weird. (Because, yes, an engagement ring from his family? is HELL OF WEIRD.)

Then sell it and buy yourselves a juicer or something.

Ellinore Erichsen for Madame Figaro by Jimmy Backius via Fashion Gone Rogue

Monday, January 20, 2014

aaaaaaand now I need this tub brush

clearly i'm a bigger fan of erin's blog than i was willing to admit.

she gets the thing about pretty cleaning supplies. and she had a toilet brush obsession tooooooooooooo

p.s. do you know that search trick? type into your browser: "site" [colon] "" [space] "search words"

for example, if i wanted to search this blog for toilet brush mentions, i would type: "toilet brush" (put the search words in quotation marks if you want both words to be a requirement)

i use that trick ALL THE TIME, though it doesn't work as well for searching esb as i'd like -- all the tags on the side of the blog give me false positives. might be time to clean up this space.

(tub brush from brook farms general store)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

An update from the tiny house

Last week, someone pinned this photo, which led me to this post, which led me over to Reading My Tea Leaves, where I spent 4 or 5 hours reading the entire archive of tiny apartment survival tips.

Erin’s voice is a little… chipper? for my taste. And she’s a weirdo neat-freak (wipe down your window sill EVERY DAY? that's more like a once-a-year thing for me). But.

I was inspired to go through my books that have been languishing in the basement, making piles to donate, to sell, to keep. Aside from several stacks of plays I just couldn't let go of (you never know when you'll need to reference Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), my "to keep" collection is a lot smaller than I feared it would be. If I don't remember reading the book and/or don't remember what it's about, or even if I loved it but will likely never read it again, why should I let it take up space on the shelves??*

We're also ready to let go of our enormous box of DVDs, though H insists he wants to rip them all before we sell them. And the CDs have to be crossed-checked. He's got grand plans to put all our movies/music on a hard drive that we can access wirelessly....

Anyhoo, the more stuff we get rid of, the better I feel.

In other news, California just completed the driest year on record, the squirrels are so hungry they're eating our succulents, and my skin is flaking off. But my hair looks great!

How are you?


*Update on the shelves to come, someday. We've decided to redo them.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


pretty much sums up my mood.

mildly interested, but... dubious.

happy wednesday! (LOOK! I BLOGGED!)

image via sawako beerens. anyone know who took it?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Real Talk (semi-wedding related. but real.)

Firstly, I want you to know that no matter what you write or post about; weddings, style, life, snarky pointed mocking retorts, I (and a whole slew of other fantastic powerful ladies) will continue to read with gusto. [Editor's Note: YOU GUYS ARE GONNA MAKE ME CRY]

Secondly, I am having a major life crisis that neither therapy or friends can advise me with complete raw honestly, and although I haven't written a "Dear ESB" about it, I have read other letters with somewhat similar root situations and comments with valuable information which have helped me along my way. These letters from desperate women are possibly their last stop before making a major life-altering change, and there's something about the community you've built here which fosters that. I would like to think I would never let myself get to that place, however, at this juncture I am at my breaking point. 

I’m engaged to, in an ideal world my ideal mate, the guy who if you told me I'd be with forever when I was younger I would have shit myself.. but he's not who I thought I was getting. The person I thought he was when we met is not the person I am with now, and possibly I am not who he thought I was too. 

We had a quick moving-in and a quick engagement, but we've now been engaged for about a year, and due to extenuating circumstances I haven't started planning the wedding. Friends all around are getting married and dating and in love with their partners, and I am just meh for myriad reasons. Everything is just.. almost right in theory, but just not quite right. The idea of us together is better than what we actually are.

I have been in several significant relationships, he has been in few. I am a bit younger, he is approaching 40 and very ... well very much an "old habits die hard, you won't teach me any new tricks, I'm a peter-pan kind of stubborn person" man-child. 

We are both in creative professions and work odd hours which leaves little time and regularity for dates, regular plans, etc. We both maintained that we had never been in love before being together. We were friends for years before becoming romantically involved. We were both heavy drinkers when we met years ago, he has since cleaned up completely (no alcohol/smoking/drugs) and I still imbibe occasionally, but his sobriety has been a crutch which allows him to willingly avoid social and community engagement with myself and friends (not going out on New Year’s, leaving weddings early, avoiding dinner parties). 

We currently live in Chicago, where he has no friends or community, and I have old history. He has made no effort to meet people, find his own community, etc. citing that we are only here temporarily so why should he bother. 

When we started having some problems we went to therapy together (both he and I have been seeing therapists separately prior), but after a few months, our therapist doubled his rates, and although I thought we were making progress, we kind of haven't put in the effort to find a new one. 

And here's the big thing that I an't get over: A few months ago a stone fell out of my engagement ring. It's a family ring, fairly old, so not totally unexpected. As it's kind of an awkward every day ring anyway, we had talked about getting me something smaller for every day wear..  He took it in for repairs, and I forgot about it. 

One night a few days later (three days before our anniversary of our first date), I was planning to meet some newly-married friends for dinner at the restaurant where I work (my partner had never been to this restaurant in the 12+ months I had been working there despite my asking).. I asked if he would join us. He said no. He then walked into the other room, came out with a box in his hand, and said "if you're going out, you might as well wear this." All casual like.... 

It was a gorgeous ring, similar in style to mine but smaller, more appropriate for every day. It was exactly what I wanted. I asked "where did you find this!?" he said "I had my eye on it for weeks and finally got it at the place I took the other ring for repairs!" 

We tried it on but it was too small (which I thought was strange because he knows my ring size and if he had been planning on it for weeks then why not get it resized, right?) so I asked if I could wear it around my neck tonight so I could have it on, and then we would take it to get sized tomorrow.. 

His response was... well basically he was astounded that I was still planning to meet the friends, thinking instead that I would just stay home with him. I was astounded that he wouldn't want to go celebrate with friends who were just married. The argument escalated, and it came out that he had just found the ring by accident the day before (which is why he hadn't sized it properly yet) and that he was planning on giving it to me for our anniversary days later, I was baffled why he would give it to me in such a casual way, feeling almost like he just didn't feel like I was giving him enough attention by wanting to go out that night so he gave me the ring early to keep me home. Selfishly. 

I never went out with the friends that night. 

I wore the ring until mine was repaired and then I took it off, put it back in the box, and explained to him that every time I looked at it I just thought about the bizarre and strange way he gave it to me, and that it would be really great if he could find a more loving way to give it to me so that the energy attached to it was more.. LOVING. 

I don't need anything special.. It could have been wrapped up in a Christmas present. It could just be a quiet moment in our home. It could be on a walk or in bed for all I care, just not "... you might as well wear this.." I know we were already engaged but it just seems so lazy. 

For all the other problems we have I think stem from laziness. Or at least a lack of effort on his part to build a life with me that is engaging, inspiring, and full. I don't need to be perfect like one of those couples who have engagement portraits done or blog about the bread they just made, but I live a passionate life and I feel like I've lost some of that passion since we have been together. My friends have noticed it, my family has. The ring is symptomatic of a larger problem, and it just happened to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. 

I believe on some level that I love this man, I love the potential he has within him that I truly believe he is unwilling to tap into because of his depression, anxiety, sobriety, or laziness. We all have problems and I suffer from some of the same ills. I am not martyring myself, nor am I blaming him for everything. I'm just wondering how much of this is me being crazypants and how much of this is something I am unwilling to be OK with for the rest of my life. I don't feel like I am the best version of myself when I am around him. 

Maybe that's my answer. 

Anyway, I don't know if you will even publish this and/or if you even are still going in this direction on the blog or whatever blah blah blah.. I just.. I don't know. I think I just wanted to write this all down to see if it made more sense in black and white. 

It doesn't, BTW. 

so yeah. sorrryyyyyyy


The ring part, whatever. You can’t throw it back at him and demand that he give it to you LOVINGLY. That’ll never work.

The guy part? Drop him right this very sec.

Collage / GIF by Ernesto Artillo

Friday, January 3, 2014

Because I must.

Your outpouring of support on yesterday’s post (okay, 27 comments, 2 of them are mine, but still) has put me on Cloud Nine. I actually caught myself daydreaming, “Maybe I'll never blog about weddings again...”

But then J.Crew released this ugly-ass wedding jumpsuit, and they're all omg we're so edgy, who says you have to wear a gown on your big day? and so of course I had to post it here if only to point out that it is ugly.* 

Right?? I can't quite figure out why... I think because it's neither form-fitting nor slouchy, it's just sort of there. And also THOSE HIDEOUS BOWS GOING DOWN THE BACK. They are hideous.

And also I don't really like lace. There. I said it. I don't really like lace.

Someone should take my wedding blogger card away.

via Refinery29 and also Jezebel (with thanks to Rachel and Meghan for the heads up)

*I would also like to point out that we've been discussing wedding jumpsuits here on ESB since May of 2011.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I don’t know where this blog is going.

This morning I coded your basic standard “Dear ESB: Can I pull off these Jeffrey Campbell booties?”* and it filled me [with self-hatred] [with dread] [with... nothing]. It’s a new year, and I can’t bear to post the same old shit.

And yet.

I’m not ready to wipe myself off the face of the internet.

So. For 2014, I’m telling myself: Post whenever you feel like it, and don't feel guilty when you don't feel like it. Let the blog become something else, if it wants to. [Need one more sentence here to complete rule of threes.]

Louis Vuitton via Vaunte via Pennyweight