Monthly Archives: June 2010

Tales From Huntington Lake, Part II – GUEST POSTER ALERT!

My twin sister Katy – also known as my “twister” or my “twibling” – is a fashionista. She has a blog where she features some of her pieces and sells them to lucky clients. She has a degree in fashion design, and has made all sorts of fantastic stuff for herself and for her friends and family. For me, she’s made two ties, several curtains, tote bags, a couple pillowcases, a scarf; for Jessica she made a beautiful blue dress and for Cristin a stunning red one; and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are a few of her fantastic pieces, as photographed by Drew and modeled by friends several months ago on a beach in Inverness, CA:

Katy

Suzanne

Jessica & Katie

Cristin

Awesome, right? You know I’m right.

Anyway, about a year ago, Katy added wedding clothes to her steadily-growing repertoire, and she’s currently working on her second wedding dress – this one for the mother of my good friend and groomsman Andrew. I’ve blogged a bit about Katie & Lyal’s wedding once before; this time, I asked Katy to do a guest post about the clothes she made for the event. Aand now, without any further ado, here’s Katy to tell you some more.

Hi there, I’m Katy. I am Bret’s twin sister and was asked to guest post on his blog – very exciting! He has asked me to tell y’all about our good friend Katie’s wedding, getting to make her wedding dress, her now-husband’s wedding shirt, and my maid of honor dress. So….here goes!

Katie & Lyal

Katie and Lyal have been together since high school (and share the same birthday!), and I have had the pleasure of having Katie as a friend since we were babies. They decided to get married (finally!) and honored me by asking if I would make their clothes for the special day. Katie originally had an idea for a dress that we ended up kicking to the curb pretty quickly because of the wedding venue and the comfort issue. She told me she wanted a long-sleeve fitted calf length dress covered in antique lace. Though that sounds lovely, it just didn’t strike me as Katie’s style. What we ended up with was actually almost the opposite.

As delicate as the dress was, it was perfect for dancing

I had never made a wedding dress before and though I knew I could do it, I was a little overwhelmed at the idea of making something so big and so special for someone who means so much to me. In the end it was absolutely perfect (if I do say so myself) and totally worth all the time and effort. We found some great pieces of antique lace at this really cool store in Berkeley called Lacis and all the fabric came from Stonemountain & Daughter. The dress is made of a simple, soft and beautiful cotton with a double overlay of silk chiffon for the skirt and the flutter sleeves.

It laces up the back and has a blue sash that laces into the back as well. We chose a square neck line highlighted with lace and an empire waist with double layered flutter sleeves. The dress took me 21 hours of sewing alone to make, not to mention all the fittings and consultations.

The back

The two Katy/ies the day of the wedding

I had never made a man’s shirt either, but school taught me well:

Lyal and his groom shirt, looking dapper as a snapper

I was able to get Lyal to find a shirt he liked the fit of, then knocked off the pattern and changed it around to get the design we wanted. Turned out it wasn’t that hard! Though getting Lyal to agree to certain things was (like NOT wearing a Daniel Boone hat like he wanted*).

*[Editor’s note: Sound familiar?]

The shirt is a slightly darker blue then the sash on Katie’s dress or my dress and has abalone buttons decorations and at the mandarin collar neckline. I also had the incredible privilege of being the Maid-of-Honor at the wedding. The color we all chose was light blue. Katie and Lyal both have blue eyes and the setting was on the shores of Lake Huntington in the Sierra so it seemed quite fitting. I made a simple dress that I knew I would later dye to a more easily wearable color. That ended up being brown that I achieved with Rit Dye in my parents’ washing machine.

The lovely Katy in her Maid of Honor dress

In the end, the Hannon-Michel wedding was a perfect one and I can’t wait to celebrate the union of the Walker-Turner clan. Bret and Jessica are absolutely, unequivocally, and immeasurably the coolest and most amazing brother and future sister-in-law, ever. I love you.

So, I want to thank you for reading this! Thanks to my ‘sister’ Katie for being super amazing, my ‘brother-in-law’ Lyal for being awesome and loving Katie, and my twibling Bret for being the coolest and asking me to write this for him.

Ciao,

Katy

What Are Those Things On The Sidebar There?

Disclaimer: what follows is a shameless plug. Read it at your own risk.

So: in my internet wanderings, I have stumbled upon a couple of wedding blog awards. One of them (The Wedding Channel one, sponsored by The Knot, which I gather is semi-evil) seems to think that all weddings blogs are written by and for brides/women only. While this may be nearly true, I happen to be a dude (last time I checked, at least), and have a wedding blog, which you happen to be reading at this very moment in time. Voting ends on July 2nd, also known as this Thursday, so if it tickles you just so, click on the thing over here to the right ——> and nominate me! You have to pick a category, and I think this fits best into “Wedding Planning Blog.” The downside is, to nominate, you have to sign up (for free) for their site and then leave a comment. BOOOOO. But: do it anyway! Yeah!

I could win a $1,000 Amazon gift card (or a $100 one, or nothing at all), which I would promptly spend on presents for all my fine readers.*

*Either that, or stuff for my wedding. Probably the latter.

Secondly is a contest over at aisledash, a cool wedding site I haven’t yet fully explored. Voting for that one ends July 22nd, so you have time. That acknowledges me and my ilk, and therefore has a “Best Groom Blog” category, and plus there you vote with a typical-looking entry form.

The winner of each category receives a “one-of-a-kind Waterford crystal award,” which I didn’t know what it meant until I looked it up. It seems it’s a company that makes stuff out of crystal. Did everyone know that already? Maybe everyone did.

***UPDATE*** – as my dear mother points out, the aisledash one requires that the blog be live for 6 months. Since I started this guy in April, I don’t qualify. Ah well.

ANYWAY: if you want to vote, that would make my day. If you don’t, I love you anyway.

Goodbye and happy trails,

Bret

Sometimes, We Just Need To Laugh

And often the best way to do that is to look at this:

Love,

Bret

Monday Bits Of Tid

It’s Monday. You may be aware of this. Garfield the cat famously hates Mondays, for no apparent reason – he’s a cat, and has no job nor earthly responsibilities to speak of besides a self-imposed mandate to be rude and lazy and vicious to his owner and co-pet Odie. What’s the deal with that? Why does he hate Mondays? Or is that the joke? That he’s a cat and has no rational reason for even caring what day of the week it is, let alone latching on to the western custom of despising the day that demarcates the end of freedom and the onset of despair? That’s no joke, my friends. That’s cutting social satire.

You tell 'em, buddy

Anyway, since I have no earth-shattering news about our wedding nor ground-breaking words of wisdom to impart, I thought I’d simply run through some wedding miscellany and minutiae. Misc & Minoosh, as the case may be. That sounds like a fun show about two oddball detectives who solve crimes by poring laboriously through over little odds and ends before finding boring but incriminating evidence. They earned their nicknames by being the best of the best in the field of forensic miscellany. Actually… that doesn’t sound fun at all.

Firstly, I was curious about the word tidbit. It turns out that “titbit” is an acceptable alternative, though I can’t say I’m in any danger of using it. The word may have come about in the 1600s from “titmouse” + “bit,” hence bits of food eaten by a titmouse. How about that.

Hey: try saying “titmouse” without giggling or at least smiling. It’s not juvenile – it’s human nature. Like people falling on their butts. I hope I’m never too old to be amused by that. Unless they break something, then it’s not funny. That’s just mean.

Secondly, I now have a Twitter account, conveniently named @AllThingsZilla. I’m not so sure about Twitter. OK, that’s not true – I am sure I think Twitter is a great medium for a great many purposes. What I am unsure about is my ability/desire to update it with any regularity, not to mention make it interesting. I’ll try to put jokes up there and other little bits of wedding tid. Check it out! Twitter for all!

Thirdly, as I mentioned previously, I’d like to make bread for my wedding. Or at least, look into the possibility. It sounds a little bit like a logistical nightmare*, mainly since homemade bread really needs to be eaten the day it’s baked to achieve maximum deliciousness. And making enough bread to feed 150 greedy, selfish people on the day of my wedding doesn’t really seem feasible.

*[I know it’s hip to say “band name!” when a phrase comes up that sounds like a band name, but I still can’t resist it sometimes. And ‘Logistical Nightmare’ is a pretty good name for a metal band.]

BUT – and I can’t really figure out how I didn’t think of this before – what if I made the dough a week or so prior to the wedding, then FROZE the dough, and then had a friend thaw it and bake it the day of the wedding? WHAT IF THAT??? I will tell you: that sounds like a serious plan. I can even think of a friend already who might be just the guy for that, and his name is Isaac. He is an expert breadmaker, and in fact I just spent Saturday night at his housewarming party noshing on his fantastic homemade pizza.

via breadcetera.com

Of the questions that remain, one of them is: what kind of bread? My favorite bread to make is from the Joy of Cooking and it’s called Buttermilk Potato Bread. It’s dense, moist, hearty, and fantastic. It can be made as cloverleaf rolls, which might be just the ticket for the wedding. Two rolls apiece, so 300 total – I think a single recipe made about 36, so 8 or 9 recipes. Yipes! But really, making a lot of dough isn’t a huge deal on its own.

The worry, of course, is that as all these DIY things start to add up, it might get pretty insane. Bread, pulled pork, flowers, linens and dishware… oh my! Not to mention other stuff we haven’t though of yet. Luckily, we have a lot of time to plan, and I’m fully open to taking several days off work (which I’d want to do anyway) and just bust my ass doing this stuff. We may just end up buying baguettes from the Cheeseboard, and I don’t think anyone would complain about that.

Fourthly, I wanted to share this cool thing that my excellent friend Genevieve emailed me. It’s a short NPR story about a Washington couple that raised the $3,800 they needed for their wedding by collecting 400,000 recyclable cans. First I want to know how they’re doing a wedding for $3,800, and second I want to know where they kept almost half a million cans. And third, I want to know how they got so cool. Because that’s a great idea. Anyone have any creative ways Jessica and I can raise $10K? Spill it!

Fifthly, and finally, I wanted to say thank you. For reading. I owe you a debt of gratitude that cannot be paid, and I love you. Every one.

Good day and good cheer,

Bret

I’d Like To Call It “Fropupo,” If I May

There’s an old Halloween episode of the Simpsons where Homer buys a monkey’s paw from an old, mystical, potentially evil guy at a fair. The guy, in addition to selling odd items, also sells frozen yogurt, which he calls “Frogurt.”

In college, in the dining hall, there was a frozen yogurt machine, and everyone called it “froyo.” Every time I heard that I would politely correct whoever said it by saying, “oh, it’s actually Frogurt.” But no one seemed to agree with me, even when I referenced the Simpsons episode. I felt, and still feel, that frogurt is just simply better wordplay than froyo, which is perhaps because I am prone to portmanteaus.*

*[A portmanteau, also called a blend, is the joining of two words and thereby combining their meanings, like motel or spam.]

In any case, I bring this up because, as I make my way through life, I like to give new names to things and feelings and situations as they arise. This may help explain my glossary page on this site, populated by ridiculous expressions and terms that have come about because of my incessant need to make puns out of everything. My best man and best friend Drew knows all about this – in the past few years, our every interaction does not go longer than a few minutes without one of us making a pun about something, generally in the form of a portmanteau or a spoonerism. As I’ve mentioned perhaps too many times, we are crafting a blog of jokes that will go live at some point in the near future.

And so, as I get more and more serious about the possibility of making pulled pork for my own wedding, one of the first things that comes to mind – before questions of quantity, quality, price, logistics, and so on – is what am I gonna call it?

And in the end, it seems the only logical thing to call it is fropupo. In case it’s not painfully obvious, it comes from frozen pulled pork, and I find it sounds best when rolling the r and making it sound quasi-Italian, perhaps accompanied by a hand gesture. Try it out at home! Just don’t say it three times in front of a mirror – God help your soul if you do that.

Of course, it won’t be frozen when it’s served, but making that much pupo (see, it works without the fro) will almost certainly involve some freezing. It might be pointed out that were I to go for painful accuracy, I might be tempted to label it frotharepopu, from frozen thawed reheated pulled pork; but punnery is not an exact science, and sometimes we must forego accuracy in favor of linguistic ease and aesthetic beauty, both of which fropupo possesses and frotharepu does not.

In any case, I’ve started doing some research on the feasibility of making fropupo for 150 people, and my initial reactions are: I’m hopeful. Cautiously optimistic. Guardedly excited. Reports on this research will be forthcoming over the next few weeks and months.

We’ll see!

Have a great weekend.

More Like “Hatering” Am I Right!

Jessica and I have experienced, shall we say, frustrations surrounding the issue of catering. As excited as we’ve been about landing such a sweet deal on such a sweet venue (and we’re still thrilled about it, bien sur), we’ve encountered a certain amount of sticker shock when it comes to catering. The Bridezilian Room has a list of approved caterers that range from semi-cheap to very expensive, including one that justified its minimum of $90/person by claiming that they use only organic ingredients.

I wonder if they know that I’ve actually been shopping before? Like, at a farmer’s market?

In any case, it’s becoming more and more clear that we’re not going to be able to afford a traditional catering job for the wedding. We had some promising leads, but whether it was caterers not getting back to us or being unwilling to cut the price by allowing us to, say, provide our own linens and tablewares, fitting food for 150 into our $10K budget has become untenable.*

*[Recent joke from Drew, which you unfortunately already know the punchline to: Did you hear about the guy who wouldn’t accept Hamiltons as payment? He was untenable.]

The benefits of using a caterer include more than just the food. They do all the set up of chairs and tables, for both the ceremony and the reception, they either serve the food or (if you choose a buffet meal) maintain the food, and they clean up. Since there’s a $1,000 cleaning deposit on the line, this is a major benefit.

Luckily, because we are having our wedding on a weeknight, we have other options available to us. As far as we can tell, these are the main permutations we can choose from:

  1. Catered wedding. Not looking good at this point.
  2. Drop-off. We’d use an approved caterer, but just for the food itself – they would drop it off and then high-tail it out of there as fast as their little caterer-legs can carry them. This would reduce the cost significantly, but we’d have to figure out how to do all the setup, breakdown, and cleanup.
  3. Potluck. Or some sort of variation thereof. On weeknights, the Bridezilian Room allows you to skirt the approved caterer list, for a $600 fee. The main requirements are that you cannot pay another caterer, and the volunteers who help set up and clean up and serve food must attend a meeting or two with the staff. We’ve gotten more and more excited about this option and are exploring it – would we get, say, 10-20 friends and family to cook up big batches of delicious food? Could I make enough pulled pork in advance to feed 150 people (minus a couple vegetarians)? Does pulled pork freeze well? Would we just buy food from a restaurant? A combination of bought food and prepared food? Who’s going to do all the work?
  4. Secret Option 4. Secret Option 4 is one we only recently discovered, after Jessica called the Room to inquire about all this. It turns out that we can do the following: Officially use the “non-catered option” (so, $600), but hire two staff from an approved caterer at $30/hr each (so for 8 hours, $480), and get whatever food we wish. Even though we’re already down $1,080 in this case, we could reduce the food costs by a TON and probably come out way ahead, and it would settle the issue of setup and cleanup. A lot of questions remain, of course: Is two staff really enough? (AG Ferrari, who Jessica called afterwards and who are familiar with the Room, seems to think so, but we’re a bit suspicious) Who’s gonna make the food? How did Carrot Top ever get famous, and why does he look so odd?

After a period of moping and kicking things and generally feeling sorry for ourselves, when we decided to actually embrace the non-catered option, we started to get really excited. We love to cook, and so do many of our friends and family. We can pretty much choose whatever we want – a hamburger bar, a taco station, or even a hamburger-taco fusion bar. Or something else, if that’s not your thing. When seeing proposed menus from caterers, we just weren’t all that excited about rosemary chicken breasts and arugula salads and pomegranate polenta and stuffed this on a bed of grilled Chilean that. It’s not that we don’t like that food – we do. It’s just not thrilling, especially because before we got into all this we had dreams of barbecue, which is very thrilling.

So, there’s a lot of work to do yet. But we’re feeling much better about our options – and the fact that we have options. I do love the idea of Jessica and I actually making some of the food for our own wedding, as well as having our loved ones contribute some as well. I keep having to remind myself that we don’t need that many different items – a main or two, a salad, a few appetizers – we just need a lot of actual food.

Any thoughts or suggestions, dear readers?

I’ll leave you with a few photos of stuff Jessica and I have made in the past, to whet your appetites:

Cutting gnocchi dough

The gnocchi balls, about to go into the boiling water

Chocolate mousse

Pizza!

TWINNERY!

Look – sometimes I just don’t wanna write about weddings. Or love. Or relationships. Or what I like to call “lovelationships.” Last night, I went up to my friend John’s house – he of the cinema room in his basement with HD projector and a 9-foot screen – and Jessica made a rare appearance as well, since she’s on vacation. Joining us were everyone’s favorite cousins Chris and Julien, and we watched Shutter Island which really should be called Shudder Island because it’s pretty disturbing. At first the movie was playing really choppily so we called it Stutter Island, but then John fixed something and so then it was Butter Island, as in Smooth As.

This is our idea of humor.

Anyway, as Julien was telling us about some of the movie ideas he and Andrew had been concocting – including a “reverse Good Will Hunting” called Bad Won’t Gathering – it reminded me of a little project we dreamed up when Drew, Julien, Andrew and I lived under the same roof and discussed ridiculous ideas on an hourly basis. I managed to dig it up from my computer files, and it is with great excitement and trepidation – and not an insignificant amount of giggly shame – that I present to you the film treatment for:

TWINNERY!

[PS – as Jessica was preparing to take a shower, she popped her head out of the bathroom to ask me something, and noticed what I was typing. Her voice dripping with friendly condescension, she asked, “Oh boy… you’re not writing about Twinnery, are you?” to which I replied, “you bet I am, baby!”

I’m thinking perhaps of calling any non-wedding related post a Twinnery, by the way.]

Scarlett Johanssen and Sarah Silverman are sassy, sexy twins (or are they?) fighting over twins Sylvester Stallone and Matt Damon in… TWINNERY!

In a world plentiful with shag carpets, plastics surgery and all things twin comes a tale of twins and twins and more twins. Twins who look almost nothing alike. Twins who look very much alike. Twins with matching tattoos, even. Twins in a world of twins, where logic doesn’t go much farther than 1 + 1 = twins.

Most people get plastic surgery to look more and more twinnish with their twins, but that’s the last thing Scarlett and Sarah want. They couldn’t be more different— from looks to personality to lasciviousness.

But when they both fall for the same twin (Matt Damon), the heat gets turned up… until they find out that his twin is Sylvester Stallone. Then the heat gets turned down. But then it gets turned back up again when the lying, deception and usual shenanigans of your typical romantic comedy/thriller get doubled!

With Glenn Close and Merryl Streep as Scarlett’s twin mothers, who end up merging into one monstrous GleenClose/MerrylStreep two-headed beast – the villain in the film. Also Starring Rick Moranis and Rick Moranis as the twin fathers of Matt and Sly.

ScarJo and Sarah Silverman compete against each other on reality TV show America’s Next Top Twin, while Matty D and Sly are on Project Snake Eyes— Making of the Perfect Twins (a cross between Project Runway and American Chopper.)

It’s a parable in the World of Twin, populated by such realistic duplicates of your favorite celebrities that you’d swear you were watching computer-controlled puppets, digital skins animated to romantic and comic perfection by dorks, weirdos and computer nerds. Which is true!

FIN