Staying Shiny

My life as a Uber-geek in a Bridal world

Light At The End Of The The Tunnel

Life has been crazy.  There have been so many changes with work over the last few weeks that it's a bit mind blowing.  I'll call it a "re-invention" of our business, but it come with a lot of hiccups in the road.  In the long run I know it will be good and it will hopefully mean a lot less headaches for me, but it's been stressful.  In just about a month our alterations department will be officially shut down.  Due to a bunch of circumstance beyond our control, we have lost most of our seamstresses and there is a serious lack of qualified seamstresses out there.  It has made life tough, but it will take a huge headache out of my life in the future.  I have been feeling very overwhelmed lately with everything, but I think I can see the glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel now.  Tonight was my last "crazy" Thursday night of alterations...ever!  It was a long day (10+ hours) but it went fairly smoothly and there were no casualties.  I got everything done that I needed to and I even had enough time to eat.  If you know me, you know how big of a deal this is as I rarely take the time to eat at work.

I can hardly wait for the second week of August.  J and I are both on vacation together that week.  We have no major plans and I like it that way.  I think we may just head out to the farm so I can spend the week riding Jack.

Here's hoping the light keeps getting brighter...

Turning Back Time With Winnie The Pooh

I had the pleasure of taking my 2-year-old niece, Ms. A, to her first movie today.  Since she is a big Winnie the Pooh fan and so am I it seemed like a natural choice for her first trip to the movie theatre.  We both loved the movie!  Her first movie was a huge success.

I have to say that the choice to do this film in classic 2D animation was brilliant.  I got very nostalgic watching the pages of the book turn and the words being visible on the corners of the screen at various points in the movie.  I loved the way they blended A.A. Milne's original stories together the way the first Pooh film did.

Jim Cummings played Pooh and Tigger and was stupendous as ever.  Mind you, he's been playing these characters for years and has a voice acting history that spans countless years and amazing films.  Bud Lucky was new to the Eeyore voice and did a respectable job.  He captured the gloominess of Eeyore, but I could tell it was a new Eeyore voice right away.  John Cleese was a fantastic narrator and I particularly enjoyed the scene at the beginning where he tries to get Pooh out of bed.

However, there were a few things that I really didn't like in the film.  Craig Ferguson as Owl was very disappointing.  I understand movie companies wanting to included big name voices in films to sell more tickets, but in this case I felt it wasn't needed.  It's Winnie the Pooh!  People will see it for that reason alone.  I felt this version of Owl was missing his smug, yet very innocent superiority.  He came across as, well, kind of a dick.  He was the cause of most of the confusion in the film and it almost came across as though he was aware that he had messed up instead of being genuinely ignorant of his faults.  I don't blame Ferguson for this.  I think it was a poor casting choice and a bit of bad writing.  They really didn't need to hammer the "Back Soon/Backson" joke down the kids throats.  I think the point of Pooh for the young ones is figuring things out with the characters and seeing how their imaginations can take them on crazy and silly adventures.  I also wasn't the biggest fan of newcomer Jack Boulter as Christopher Robin.  Maybe I'm too much of a nostalgic fool, but I really think they didn't need to mess with the perfection of the original film.

Overall, this was a great movie.  I will watch it again and probably again.  It was a great first film for my "Auntie" date and a nice return to my childhood for an hour and ten minutes.  Stay for the credits, the pictures are worth it.

8 honeypots out of 10

"Wicked" Saturday

I had the pleasure of getting to see Broadway Across Canada's version of "Wicked: The Musical" yesterday. I have been wanting to see this show since it first came out as I read Gregory Maguire's book years ago.  When my Mom heard it was coming to our area, she decided to organize a girls day out with me, my sister and sister-in-law. Since I majored in Technical Theatre in University I find myself watching stage productions with a much different eye than most people.  I find myself always sitting down in the theatre and checking out the types of lights in the roof, where they are focused and looking for the little details that reveal what may be coming later.  I was in awe of the stage to start with.  The Time Dragon set was impressive and I spent the first few minutes looking at it closely through a pair of binoculars.

It really is a magnificent design.  I could tell that the dragon itself was going to be mobile and that we would be in for a treat of moving set pieces and I wasn't disappointed.  I was also intrigued to see spotlights and operators hidden in the set pieces on both sides of the stage.  I was curious how they would be used as the angle they could light at was obviously very steep and would create drastic shadows.  Once the show started, I realized how those shadows where a well designed part of the show.

The cast I saw was incredible!  It consisted of an excellent assortment of well-decorated actors and dancers including a former cast member from So You Think You Can Dance (Natalie). I was most impressed with Anne Brummel who played Elphaba.  Her voice was so powerful and her stage presence was immense.  She really embodied the character well.  All of the cast was really excellent, but she really stood out.  The design of every aspect of this show was very impressive.  The set was amazing and a character unto itself.  The costumes blew my mind.  I particularly loved Elphaba's costume near the end of the show and one of the black and white dresses from the "Dancing Through Life" number.  The projections were fabulously done and created very real moments, particularly in the rain scene.  Above all, I loved the lighting.  I'm a bit of a lighting snob since it was my focus in school, but I loved the design on this show.  Kenneth Posner made excellent use of color and moving lights.  There was a very powerful moment at the end of Act one where Elphaba flies for the first time and the lighting was amazing.  I loved that she almost looked like a floating head in a sea of black with all of the lights focused on her body and amazing shadows cast below.

In short, I loved the show and I am very grateful that I not only got to see it, but share it with some pretty awesome women.  Fingers crossed out next outing will be to "Beauty and the Beast" in December.  For now, I'll just try defying gravity!

Bridesmaids: A Cautionary Tale.

As a Bridal Consultant, there are a few questions that I get asked by customers on almost a daily basis.  "Do you love your job?"  Of course I do!  I get to play Barbie for a living and help people's dreams come true every day.  "Do you ever have any really bad Bridezilla's?"  Occasionally yes, but the honest truth is usually the major problem is Bridesmaids.  Why the Bridesmaid, you ask?  Because most girls have NO idea what it means to be a Bridesmaid.

Girls, if a Bride asks you to be a part of her wedding party it's because she wants you to be a part of her special day.  HER special day.  It is not your wedding, so shut your mouth, smile big for the camera, and give her all the attention she needs.  It is her wedding gown so even if it's not your taste, be happy for her and keep your opinion to yourself.  I'm not saying you shouldn't say something if it really makes her look terrible, but wait for her to give you her cues first.  If she is beaming in the gown and has tears in her eyes, maybe you shouldn't say something like "I just really hate dropped waist gowns because I think they make hips look big, but if you like it than get it."  You know that all she is going to focus on now is her hips, even if it doesn't make her look bad.  That is just being passive aggressive.  Don't get me wrong, I will be the first to tell a Bride if I feel the style of dress is wrong for her, but I am never mean about it and I always find a better option right away.  I have seen Brides make the wrong decision on a gown because a Bridesmaid likes a different one better (because it is more to the maids own taste) and regret it later.  I've gotten frantic phone calls after the dress has been ordered asking if it's possible to get a different style because they have realized their maids pushed them into the wrong gown.

Do NOT give ultimatums.  If the Bride wants you in a floor length gown, wear a floor length gown.  If she wants you in vomit green, wear it with a smile.  Don't say, I won't wear that.  Don't threaten to drop out.  If you truly feel that way, DON'T agree to be a Bridesmaid in the first place.

Be aware that agreeing to be in the wedding party may come with a lot of out of pocket expenses.  Travel and Hotel may me required.  Most Bridesmaids pay for their own gowns, alterations, shoes, jewelry, hair and makeup so please be willing to do so.  If you don't feel you can afford to fulfill the Brides vision, take her aside and respectfully let her know.  Don't do it in front of everyone and don't be bitchy about it.  Be prepared to spend anywhere from $100 - $500 and you haven't even bought a gift yet.

Be aware that even though just about every Bride says she wants to pick a dress that her maids can wear again, chances are you never will.  Even if the style may be one that can be worn to other occasions, chances are there won't be much call to wear a lavendar or coral gown ever again.  If it's what she wants, just do it.

Please don't make the Bachelorette party about you.  Don't leave her in a corner and forget about her.  Don't take off with some random guys you meet at the bar.  Don't pick a fight with one of the other Bridesmaids.

I see way to many Brides who are stressed out because of their weddings already get pushed over the edge by one of their Bridesmaids.  It's uncalled for.  It should be about the happy couple that day whether you agree with the centerpieces or not.

To the maids who do understand what their role is, Thank you!  You make my job and hers a lot easier.  Even if she puts you in the most unflattering dress in the most hideous combination of colors imaginable, you are a true friend.

The Hunger Games : A Review.

I'm a very avid reader.  I typically have 2 or 3 books on the go at any given moment and read at least 5 books a month.  A couple of weeks ago a very awesome person bought me a Kobo e-reader as a thank you gift.  I will admit, I was a little resistant to it at first.  I love the feeling and smell of a real book, but I have warmed up to it very quickly.  I love being able to take tons of books with me not matter where I go so I can read whatever I'm in the mood for.  I will still buy books, but this is great for ones I'm not sure about wanting to own and read again.

I say all of this because my Kobo is what lead me to read "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins.  I came across it on the Kobo homepage and I remember hearing it was good but I really didn't know anything about it so I thought, why not give it a try.  I'm glad I did.

The Hunger Games is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the central city, The Capitol, controls the fates of all those who live in the outlying Districts.  Each District is kept under a heavy handed rule and have little contact with the outside world except once a year for the annual televised Hunger Games.  This brutal competition pits one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district in a fight to the death for the entertainment of the crowd.  Every child in each District is eligible and a random draw is held to choose the contestants each year.

The Hunger Games follows our main character, Katniss Everdeen, through her heartbreaking decision to volunteer for the games in order to save her sister and her subsequent journey into the politics and strategy that is involved in surviving the games.  She is tough, smart and very easy to relate to.  It is difficult to imagine the choices she is forced to make at such a tender age, yet Collins manages to make us understand.  Katniss is forced to fight and kill in order to survive, not only for her family but also for her fellow tribute from her District, Peeta,  when it is announced that 2 people from the same District could win the games.

I don't want to spoil anything for you so I won't say any more.  I do recommend that you pick it up and read it, and soon!  If you have ever read and enjoyed the classic book "The Chrysalids" by John Wyndham I promise you will love this.

12 solid mutant toes out of 10.  Pick up a book today and get reading!