You thought he was gone. But now he’s come back again. Last week it was funny, but now the joke’s wearing thin.

I obviously haven’t written anything here in a while. And in my last few posts, I’ve kind of threatened to give up blogging entirely. In the last few weeks, I’ve had a few friends and family members comment that they miss seeing my blog posts. The thing is, I feel like the first few years of this blog told my story of a person from Indiana with a dream of moving to NYC, how I did it, and how life in NYC was different. I’m weeks away from having lived here for three years. It’s not news anymore. I don’t feel like I have much to say in the “girl from the midwest in the big city!” department anymore. My wide eyes have been replaced with very tired eyes.

In the last year and a half, my career path took a left turn, and it’s affected my desire to write. Writing used to be a huge part of my daily activity at work. I moved here with the intention of going into publishing/editing. I took two publishing classes at NYU, but then life got in the way, and I had to find jobs that had nothing to do with writing so I could continue to live here. One of those jobs (and the one after it) focused solely on email marketing. I was no longer being paid to write all day. 

As a result, my thought process shifted a bit. My brain wasn’t constantly thinking of things to write about; it was thinking about how many people would open and click on my emails and then buy things, and how I could improve that. I stopped having random moments in the middle of the day where I’d get an idea for a blog post, and spend 15 minutes writing an outline for it in an email draft, and get really excited about getting home so I could actually fully write it. Every day, I’d have that nagging guilt that I should probably write something. I still read lots of other blogs, and I comment on them with my WordPress name. People were still finding this blog and subscribing to it, which just made me feel even more bad that I wasn’t writing. During this time, I also had a few other things taking up real estate in my brain – complete absorption in my job (and getting really, really good at email marketing), and planning a wedding. The wedding took up the bulk of my time/headspace last Spring/Summer, and left me way too frazzled to even think about writing. Except for that one thing I wrote for someone else’s blog.

(In case you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook and missed it, I wrote an essay/blog post about dealing with feeling like an inadequate bride for A Practical Wedding last year, and it was published a few months ago.)

There have been a few very NYC-centric things in my life recently that I’ve thought about writing about. We saw Book of Mormon (and it wasn’t my favorite musical of all time, and I thought it was too derivative of other shows. However, I loved it.). I got to go to an event at the NYSE and stand on the podium where they ring the bell (and fool a lot of people with an instagram caption. No, I didn’t actually ring the bell). We’re looking for a new apartment, and struggling to find something in our price range (even though it’s significantly higher than our last search) that’ll let us have a dog. What it’s like to work with people who are much younger than me, and much more “New York” than I will ever be, at an insanely popular, cool company. I got an iPhone a few months ago, and I’m worried that it’s affecting my ability to live in the moment because I’m too busy thinking about how I will present what I’m doing online instead of just enjoying it. But I don’t want to write about those things. Especially that last one, because if I keep trying to document everything I’m doing in the moment (or even shortly after it), it lessens the experience. I don’t want to become that.

I may or may not keep writing here sometimes. I may get a second wind in a few months and start a brand new blog. Maybe I’ll become a mommy blogger (in the very, very, distant future). We’ll see. I still tweet a lot and I’m on Facebook entirely too much, so you can keep up with me there.

To quote my favorite book of all time, The Perks of Being a Wallflower: “So, if this does end up being my last letter, please believe that things are good with me, and even when they’re not, they will be soon enough. And I will believe the same about you.”

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So, I’m married, and survived the hurricane.

It feels weird to say that my life feels a lot more calm and relaxed than it has been in the last 6 months, especially considering the past 3 weeks. I’ve: gotten married, spent 4 days on an island (that isn’t Manhattan), and experienced one of the worst storms ever. But I’m finally not completely overwhelmed!

So, first off – the wedding. It was completely wonderful. It was so nice to see so many of my friends and family all in one place, to celebrate Andy and I. Even though I never really got to a point where I loved living there, going back to Indiana always seems to recharge me in a way that NYC just can’t. I’m sure those of you who weren’t at the wedding want some kind of recap, but I think it’s best told through pictures. Wedding pictures!

Our honeymoon was lovely. We went to Key West for 4 days, and enjoyed the beach and riding bikes all over the town. We decided that our budget was best spent on delicious food, so we ate amazing lobster/other seafood dinners every night instead of going snorkeling or on any other excursions. We went to the Hemingway house, which was really interesting and full of polydactyl cats. We’re already talking about making it an annual anniversary trip.

Despite how wonderful the wedding/honeymoon were, my favorite thing about it is that it’s done. Wedding planning is NOT for me. Through our pre-marital counseling, we joked about how were really going to try to make it last forever, just so we never have to plan a wedding again.

So we went back to normal life for a week, which was very welcome. Of course, normal life at the end of October in NYC means one thing: Halloween Costume Preparation. In NYC, Halloween is a HUGE deal to most adults. There are usually days filled with parties, and parades, and even workplaces (well, mine anyway) encourage (or, like mine – require) costumes. We spent last Saturday running around the city gathering items for our costumes, completely oblivious to anything else that was going on in the city. (Meanwhile, the kids get some terribly made costume from the store, and they have to Trick or Treat at CVS and the grocery store. And they don’t get to wear their costumes to school…I have no idea how they learn that Halloween is fun.)

Then Sunday we discovered that we were going to be without subway access indefinitely, and that our offices would be closed on Monday. Like Irene last year, we decided to go over to Kris & Erin’s since they live further away from the water and closer to grocery stores/restaurants.  We ended up staying there through Tuesday afternoon, when the storm was over.

I had a lot of people contact me, worrying because of what they saw on the news. And yes, it got pretty scary in parts of NYC. But not where I live. We didn’t lose power or internet. There are a lot of trees down, and it’ll take some time to clean that up.

But we’ve definitely been affected. My office is in Soho, and it still doesn’t have power (as far as I know – it’s closed indefinitely). The subways aren’t fully running, so even if it did have power, I wouldn’t be able to get there easily. The bus that gets me to the closest train station is running, but it has to take a major detour to get past all the trees in the middle of the street. I’ve been working from home all week, but Andy was able to get into his office today and yesterday. Most of my coworkers don’t have power right now, but we were able to get two temporary office spaces for the people on our team in Manhattan. I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back in the office (hopefully next week!). I’m really glad that I can work from home.

We’ll be celebrating Halloween in November. We have a party tomorrow, and my work one will be rescheduled whenever we can. And THEN, we can get back to normal…. right?

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In which I get a new job for my birthday. Again.

I don’t know if I just have a bad case of “I still think I’m in school and need a fresh start every August” syndrome or what, but today’s my last day at my job. It’s also the day before my birthday. Hmm, are we seeing a trend here? (In my defense,  for my previous two birthdays, I really needed jobs and was lucky to find them. This year, I just happened to have a great opportunity in August.)

I’m happy to announce that I’ve accepted a job at Warby Parker, and I start on Monday! Does that company name sound familiar? It’s the awesome online company I bought my glasses from last year. Or, you may have seen a segment of it on TV or an article in Vanity Fair this month – this company’s blowing up! I’m really excited about the new job. WP is awesome. I’ll be managing their emails, and I’ll get to use ExactTarget (the love of my email nerd life) again. It’ll be my first marketing job where I’m promoting a tangible product that I actually love and use, so that will be a welcome and exciting change.

I looked back at my posts for the last year, and realized that I’ve only blogged…20 times. The year before, that’s how often I wrote each month. I’m not sure how I feel about writing this blog anymore. For the last 5 months or so, most of my spare time has gone to wedding planning, and that’s not something I like to write about in great detail (but OMG – 52 days!!). But it’s not only that – after living in NYC more than 2 years, the everyday things (like laundry and public transit) aren’t that exciting anymore. It’s just life. And mine’s shaping up to be everything I could ever want in the next few weeks.

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In which I offically become a legal New Yorker

I don’t know if you all would rather see no blog posts at all more than boring blog posts about wedding planning, but that’s what I’ve been doing. And honestly, it reflects how my life has been the last few months.

BUT! You guys!! I did it! I finally checked off that major thing that’s been on my to-do list for more than TWO YEARS.

I went to the DMV and got a New York driver’s license. Even though I don’t drive anymore (because I’m sure as shit not taking a driving test again, especially in the city).

And it was terrible. I know that all DMV experiences are expected to be terrible (except for the lovely Indianapolis ones that tell you your wait time and are clean and fast. Maybe it has to do with being a BMV instead of a DMV? Is there a difference in their functions?). But this was pretty awful.

My team at work has been blessed with Summer Fridays, where we can leave at 3 PM if our work is done. I took last Friday as an opportunity to go get my license, since I’m officially 1 month away from having an expired out of state license. And I wanted to make sure I was all set to vote here in November. I got to the DMV on 34th street (right across from THAT Macy’s) shortly after 3 PM. There were at least 300 people (I know it sounds like I’m embellishing, but I counted) waiting when I got there, and the DMV closes at 4. Not looking promising.

I haven’t had such a soul-sucking, fluorescent-lit experience since my junior year of high school. About a half hour into it, I had read 2 chapters in my book and moved about 6 feet.

Around 3:58, there were still 75 people ahead of me in line, and another 150 or so waiting on the benches in the middle section. At 4:00, they shut the door, but luckily didn’t send those of us who had already been waiting a long time away. I guess that’s why they close their doors so early.

So I waited in the first line. At about 5:20 (down to about 35 people ahead of me), the security started asking people at the end of the line if they were exchanging out of state licenses. I WAS! So they pulled us over to a new line on the other side of the floor (and I was THIRD in this line! Progress!) This was the area that the people taking the driver’s ed test normally waited, but since they were long gone, they were trying to get through the rest of the line.

At this point, I was kind of nervous that I didn’t have enough or the right documentation and would have to come back (I had: birth certificate, soc card, Indiana driver’s license, a utility bill, and a current credit card). Luckily, I was okay. It took about 3 minutes for them to check it, do my eye test, and take a picture. I mentioned that I would be getting married in a few months and changing my name, and asked if I could update my license online, and they said I’d have to come back again for that. Awesome.

Then, they gave me a number (B216) and told me to go sit on the benches and wait for my number to be called. I was SO relieved to finally sit down, because standing up for that long in that place made me feel like I had just woken up from a 6 hour nap after drinking a bottle of nyquil.

Then I looked at the numbers on the board – a group of A’s (for the people from my first line), but the Bs were at B461. Um, how was I supposed to wait for my number to be called? At first I thought they were counting down, but quickly saw that they weren’t. The people sitting around me had 204 and 209, and they were wondering the same thing. After a stressful 20 minutes or so of having no idea what was going on, the number went from B499 to B200 (because, you know, why not?), and I was thankfully called about 10 minutes later. Another 10 minutes and $60 later, I was finally FREE.

I went to the first floor of the building, which incidentally had a Mrs. Field’s store. I needed to do some emotional eating after that experience, so I got a cookie and some lemonade.

I still didn’t even leave the building with my new (or old…) license. That should come in the mail in the next week or two. I probably should have taken care of this when I was unemployed, because I’m sure 3 PM on a Friday isn’t the ideal time to go there, but I’m just glad it’s done.

So two years in, I’m officially a New Yorker (on paper)!

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Possible Side Effects of Planning a Wedding.

Good news: we’ve officially set a date for the wedding!
Even better news: It’s this year! I get to be Andy’s wife THIS YEAR!
Scary news: Now we have to plan the wedding in less than 6 months.

All of this means that we’re heavy into wedding planning. Well, it means we should be. And we’re getting there. We have a date, location, caterer (because we were smart and picked a location that does the catering), engagement pictures, an awesome bridal party, and my dress. Planning an event that results in a commitment to spend a life together can get pretty all-consuming. And I suppose it should be. It’s a pretty big effing deal.

We wanted a very short engagement, because I knew I would go insane if I had to think about planning a wedding for more than a year (and by a year, I really mean 15 minutes. But we can’t get married in 15 minutes…right?). And since an outdoor January wedding in Indiana seemed like a bad idea, it had to be in the fall. We get to keep our same anniversary, so that will probably make our lives easier in some way when we’re old and people ask us how long we’ve been together. But having such a short engagement means that the wedding will completely occupy my brain for the next five months, whether I want it to or not. And so far, it is. For better or worse, in sickness and in health.

Will it occupy Andy’s mind as well? Yes, probably. But for some reason, all decisions seem to default to the bride. Everyone asks ME what’s going on, and what I want. I’m apparently supposed to have opinions about what everyone wears, how their hair looks, what we’ll eat, and every single other detail of the day. Why? Both of us are going to be part of this marriage. And the idea that, “Oh, well girls just LIKE planning weddings” is a complete lie. I’m sure some of them do, but I am not one of them. Liking dresses, dancing, good food & pretty things is not the same thing as liking to call vendors, juggle budgets, and make everyone who is close to you happy, while at the same time preparing (both logistically and emotionally) to commit to a person for the rest of your life. It’s not. Don’t get me wrong – I want us to have a wonderful wedding, and I know we will. I just don’t think I have the bride gene. (But I feel like I’ll be much better at “wife” and “mother” when the time comes…)

There have been a few things I’ve enjoyed doing. I’ve made a wedding playlist for my iPod. It’s certainly not all inclusive, but it has songs that I’ve always wanted to play either during the ceremony or at the reception. Songs I’ve loved for a long time. Songs that I USED to be able to listen to without becoming inexplicably misty-eyed. But now, when I think about them in the context of marriage, they suddenly turn into musical onions being held in front of my face. I could be at work, WORKING, and listening to these songs, and then I just start sniffling, even though I’m really thinking about URLs and landing pages and query strings. I’m not typically a crier. I didn’t cry when he proposed. I didn’t cry when I lost my job last year. I just…. don’t really cry. Unless I’m listening to “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds, “Question” by the Old 97s, or “Mahna Mahna.” Obviously.

Another all-encompassing part of the wedding is the color scheme. We chose peacock feathers because they’re pretty, I’ve loved peacocks since I was a kid, we’re obsessed with NBC, and we wanted to have a bigger color palette to work with since I don’t want the bridesmaids to dress alike. The only problem is, now, whenever I (or anyone else close to me) sees anything with a peacock feather design or color on it, it’s suddenly “OMG KRISTIN YOU HAVE TO USE THIS FOR THE WEDDING!!!” Which might explain why I bought a dress in jewel tones, a small kleenex box with peacock feathers on it, and a blank notebook with metallic peacock feathers (for planning, right?). And I have two boards on Pinterest filled with peacock stuff for the wedding. I’m glad we picked a fairly popular color scheme, because it’s been really easy to find stuff for the wedding. And there are plenty of great ideas out there for ways to incorporate peacocks. But will the peacock tunnel vision go away after the wedding? It seems like I can’t even walk through a clothing store without my eyes immediately being drawn to blues and greens.

There are also a lot of… other ideas out there. Since I’ve kind of had a one-track mind lately, even when I’m trying to relax and watch TV, the wedding sneaks its way into my thoughts. Everything becomes an inspiration. Joel Mchale’s shiny expensive suits on The Soup? Oh, Andy could wear something like that! Watching Back to the Future because Andy bought it on BluRay? Hmmm, I wonder if we could get a DeLorean as our getaway car… (If anyone has a resource for this, please let me know. I’m serious.)

I think this all stems from the guilt I feel when I’m not working on the wedding (you know, after I come home from my 10+ hour days…). I know I have a lot to do, and not a lot of time to do it. It’s making it feel like a chore. I just bought an e-book about planning a wedding in 6 months. It suggests breaking things down by month (as in, 3 big tasks each month), and says what things I need to focus on each month. And I was already right on schedule for the first month! I can handle that, and it’s much less daunting than every single other planning “helper” I’ve seen so far. According to The Knot, I have 158 days to accomplish about 287 tasks. And people wonder how the term “Bridezilla” came to be.

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OHHHHMMMmygoodness I need to make some changes.

The last few months have been extremely stressful for me. Between work, trying to begin the process of planning a wedding (and more importantly, a marriage), my shoulder injury, and just the everyday chaos of living in NYC, it’s all started to take a toll on my energy and body.

I finished physical therapy about a month ago, and it’s been amazing to come home immediately after work (and not have to spend $50 a week on an inconvenience). My shoulder is mostly better, but it still pops and gets sore frequently. I’ve been going to my regular ballet class for about a month, and I can do everything except a few port de bras (arm) moves. I haven’t been doing the stretches that my physical therapist assigned, and I’m getting worried that my shoulder is starting to revert back to injury mode. I really don’t want that to happen, and it’s stressful to have a constantly sore shoulder.

Another area that my stress from the last few months has manifested itself is on my face. (Sorry if this paragraph is gross….) When I was a teenager, I had fantastic skin. Then when I was around 22, I started getting random breakouts. I’ve been using Proactiv off and on since then, but the last few weeks, my skin’s gotten out of control. I’ve had 4 GIGANTIC blemishes (one at a time) that turned into massive red scabby bruises that lasted almost two weeks. Ew. I’ve tried so many different remedies, and nothing seems to work. I think it’s time for some major stress relief activity – and a dermatologist.

So, I definitely need to do something. Like always, Groupon sensed that I needed some stress relief, and offered a 20 Yoga Classes for $20 deal – at the yoga studio right off my subway stop! I obviously bought it (because really, if I go to only 2 classes, I’m still getting a huge discount). I have to use the classes within 45 days after starting them, so that’ll be a pretty intense schedule. They have something every day in the evening, and I’m going to try to do all of the classes on my Groupon.  I recently had a ballet Groupon for my school (yeah! they did a second one!), and I didn’t get to use all 10 classes in 5 weeks (largely because of physical therapy). Even though the 6 classes I made it to cost less than the normal price, I was bummed that I didn’t make it to them all. Now I’m just going once a week.

Since I have tomorrow off, I’m starting with the mid-day “lunchtime bliss” yoga class. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve taken yoga before, but had trouble getting into the spiritual part of it. I don’t know if that’ll happen again, but I do know that I’m craving the stretching and relaxation part of it. I don’t think I’m going to turn into one of those people who swears by yoga and thinks it’s the best thing ever, but we’ll see. Like any other athletic endeavor I’ve tried, I know I can at least get into the clothes.

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Dear Hollywood: Please don’t ruin my favorite YA books (vol. 2: Hunger Games Edition) – SPOILERS

If you’ve had a conversation with me at all in the last year, you probably heard me say one of the following if the Hunger Games comes up:

(If you mention you’ve read it/are reading it): OMGGG!!! YAY!!! I’M GLAD WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT NOW! HUNGER GAMES! KATNISS!!! PRIM! RUE! BEST BOOK EVAR!!!! WE NEED TO DISCUSS IT IMMEDIATELY!!!!

(If you mention you’ve heard of it and were wondering what the fuss was about): You really should read the book before the movie comes out. WHY WOULDN’T YOU?!? IT’s SOOOOO good.

(If you posted on Facebook in the last week that Hunger Games fans are basically the same thing as Twilight fans): I’m debating unfriending you on Facebook…

To say that I’ve become a little obsessed would be an understatement. I’ve read each of the three books FOUR times, and I was Katniss for Halloween (I wanted to get it in before next year when there will probably be a lot more…)

So of course, I was pretty stoked about the movie. After watching it and talking about it with Andy (who did not read any of the books, and knew a little bit about the plot from me/the previews), I think I’m ready to give my opinion on it. Because I’m sure you all were dying to know.

[If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you might want to stop reading here and come back after you’ve seen it. Same thing with the books. And if you saw the movie but haven’t read the books, GO READ THEM. There’s a lot of backstory missing!]

Overall Reaction:

When coming out of the theatre, I was content.  (Except for my actual theatre experience. I’m going to need to see it again in a few weeks when the theatre’s not filled with teenagers screaming about team Peeta and checking their phones every 30 seconds). I enjoyed seeing it onscreen for the most part, and a lot of it was exactly how I pictured it. Jennifer Lawrence was absolutely perfect as Katniss, and I officially take back everything I’ve ever said about how I think Effie Trinket should have been Kristen Chenowith, because Elizabeth Banks was flawless. I really liked some of the extra scenes that are used to tell the story during the actual games (because a voiceover from Katniss the whole time would have been pretty boring).

LOVED:

  • Jennifer Lawrence. Holy Crap. She was perfect.
  • The Capitol costumes! Specifically, everything Effie Trinket wore, and the green tunic/black pants that Katniss wore in the Capitol apartment. I want that outfit!
  • Buttercup’s brief scene at the beginning. He could have gotten more screen time.
  • Lenny Kravitz as Cinna! This was the one piece of casting news I was the most “WTF?!?!” about, and I think he was great. I just wanted to see more scenes with him.
  • The Gamemaker control room! It was really cool to see why they sent the fireballs, and how they orchestrated everything, and how Snow already hated Katniss from the beginning.
  • Haymitch during the games. I liked seeing him trying to get sponsorships, suggesting the “Star-Crossed Lovers” thing to Seneca Crane (and whhhhhhat? I would think a mentor making suggestions that would only benefit his tributes probably wouldn’t actually fly in the Capitol…),  and the little notes they added with the parachutes, since they couldn’t really communicate that Katniss understood what he was thinking without them.
  • The scene where Katniss shoots the arrow at the Gamemakers’ table during training. I was getting mad for her when they weren’t paying attention.
  • The Reaping. The video was great (and should have been the opener to the movie, rather than the stupid text and the interview), and they really communicated how much District 12 hated it.

HATED:

  • Peeta: The Boy with the MEH. Peeta is supposed to be charismatic and funny and LIKABLE. He just reminded me of a big pile of non-delicious dough. His only good scene was when he had the camoflauge during the games, and that was good because of the makeup artists, not him.
  • Gale: He was slightly better than Peeta, but since there was absolutely NO backstory given, no one who watches this and hasn’t read the books will know that he and Katniss aren’t a couple, and how/why they hunt together., and that their dads both died in the same accident. And Gale would never scare off a deer that Katniss was about to shoot.
  • The chariot costumes. What a letdown. Those were supposed to be their whole bodies on fire, and they’re supposed to look like coal. And everyone else in the parade is supposed to look totally lame by comparison.
  • The interviews/other tributes (or lack thereof). I wanted to see all of the tributes on stage together, and have them show how Katniss got wayyy more camera time in the games than the other tributes.
  • The Uprising in District 11 when Rue died. Isn’t that supposed to be in Catching Fire?

CAN’T BELIEVE THEY LEFT OUT:

  • The backstory, the fact that everyone in the districts is poor and hungry, Katniss/Gale’s history, a better explanation of why Katniss feels like she owes Peeta and can’t kill him. You know, minor details.
  • Madge! I knew that she wasn’t in the movie, but I wonder what they’re going to do for Catching Fire, because she’s more important there. They just killed their opportunity to do the backstory with Haymitch and Madge’s Aunt and Katniss’s mom.
  • At the reaping, where was Haymitch?! He’s supposed to drunkenly fall of the stage and majorly embarrass Effie/all of District 12. I still want John C. Reilly to be Haymitch. In the movie, this character turned around too fast. After the movie, Andy and I were talking about it, and he had no idea that Haymitch was a previous victor from District 12. And he didn’t once actually say “Stay Alive” as advice. He was good at calling her “Sweetheart,” though…
  • The Avoxes, and that whole backstory. When Gale and Katniss saw the hovercraft while they were hunting, I thought they were going to do that scene there, and just have the Avoxes be very…. freshly Avoxes. There wasn’t enough in the movie to show how and why the districts hate the Capitol, and how the Capitol doesn’t give a shit about the districts, and this would have communicated it.
  • The first part in the movie that made me go “WHAT!!!!!! IN THE BOOK SHE….” was when Katniss finds water 2 MINUTES into the games. She’s supposed to look for almost 2 days and be near death from dehydration. And THEN find water and get attacked by fireballs.
  • The other tributes. I know there are a lot of them,  but some of the main ones (Clove, Foxface…) barely got any screen time. And the name “Foxface” is only mentioned once. At the end. By Peeta (and we can all agree that Peeta is not clever enough to come up with that name).
  • The Games. Um, why were they only like 40 minutes out of a 2 1/2 hour movie? I feel like they totally rushed through them (especially at the end). I know they had to minimize the violence to make it PG-13 so teenagers could watch it, but they didn’t really show very much at all.
  • Thresh’s death! He was too awesome and badass to not get any screen time there. And at the Cornucopia, he wouldn’t have known that Katniss had allied with Rue. There needed to be a few lines in there where that was communicated, because it made no sense for him to spare her life otherwise.
  • Again, the other tributes. They could have at least showed how some of them died. Or actually had cannons for all of the deaths. I feel like they missed a bunch of them.
  • The Muttations at the end of the games. When I saw the Gamemakers designing them, I got really excited. They’re supposed to be scary and resemble each of the dead tributes. Didn’t happen.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie (even if this review doesn’t sound like it…). I’ll probably see it again in the theatre and buy it on DVD. For what it lacked in backstory, it made up in other ways (such as the Gamemaker scenes).

(You may have noticed that this post is called “Dear Hollywood: Please don’t ruin my favorite YA books (vol. 2).” Volume one is about The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which finally has a release date! September 21!)

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Bridal Email Overload, Part 2: How David’s Bridal Can Suck Less at Email

In my last post, I wrote about the ridiculous amounts of email I was getting from David’s Bridal. Most people would just let it go, or tell me to set up an email address just for the wedding. Several people actually told me to do that. But what about the MANY email conversations with my family members about the wedding? If I get an email from a vendor we’re considering, and want to forward it to my dad or Andy, I don’t want to have to constantly go back and forth between email accounts.  Also, I’m definitely not setting up a second email account on my phone. No way. And after the wedding, I get to completely dump my old email address and use my new one with my new last name. It’s already set up, and completely empty save for a few welcome emails from Google. Sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I just log into that account and admire how clean it is. I can’t wait to set up my crazy label system.

I’ve been working in copywriting/email marketing for about 4 years, and EXCLUSIVELY in email marketing for the last 6 months. I send between 10-20 marketing emails a week, and take a ton of precautions to make sure that I’m not sending too many emails to the same audience on any given day. I don’t want to annoy my readers and cause them to unsubscribe. There are certain ways to make your email marketing relevant, useful and timely for your customers, and it’s not even all that hard to do. And it’s REALLY easy to allow people to customize their preferences, and I really don’t understand why a company like David’s Bridal wouldn’t do such a thing.

Instead, they do this (and this is after deleting quite a few- I just did a search in my email account for David’s Bridal. The “priority” flags were added by Gmail, not me):

Here are a few recommendations I have for David’s Bridal:

1. Send a Welcome email: Out of all emails your company will send, the first one sent is the one of the most likely to be read. Make it count. It should introduce the types of emails you’ll be sending, and perhaps even give the reader an idea of what to expect from your email program. Simple.

2. Know Your Audience: So, David’s Bridal knows that I bought a dress from their store. They got that information the same day that they got my email address. So why, pray tell, did they need to send me 14 more emails over the next week with more pictures of wedding dresses? I’m not in the market for a dress anymore. I just bought one. From you. K?

3. Let me tell you what I want, what I really really want. As I learned from the barrage of emails from David’s Bridal – the company offers a lot of other wedding related products. Since the only thing I’ve done for the wedding is purchase a dress, it’s safe to say that I might be in the market for bridesmaid dresses, tux rentals, invitations, or photography (well, the first two from this particular company anyway…). Too bad I already unsubscribed from your emails because you sent me too many about something I didn’t want. Now you can’t market your other products to me as easily.

What you should do: A preference page. When you send out the Welcome email, tell me to click on “manage my preferences” at the bottom (and make that possible…), and let me tell you what products I’m interested in receiving emails about. And let me tell you if I’d rather get emails every day, or just once or twice a week. David’s Bridal’s email volume is high enough, it would be totally possible to do this.  Also, don’t send anyone four mass emails a day. OVERKILL. And don’t disguise marketing emails with subject lines like “About Your Special Reservation Layaway.” Let me pick if I only want to receive transactional emails from you.

4. Remember that brides are kind of into monogamy: I gave you my email address because I trusted your company and decided that I wanted to hear more from you. I don’t want you to pimp my information out to random other companies. Not cool. Also, when I filled out the form at the store, I wasn’t necessarily giving my consent for you to share my information. I wanted YOU to be able to contact me with information about when my dress would be ready and what I need to do for alterations. That =/= having a company call me about a “vacation” I’ve won. Jerks.

Part of why I’m so overwhelmed by planning the wedding is because of the way the wedding industry aggressively markets to brides, and how we’re told this is supposed to be the most important day of our lives, and if we don’t BUY ALL THE THINGS, it won’t (I know that’s not true, but that doesn’t make it any easier to avoid). I don’t like being told that I have to buy favors and garters and flowers, or tell other people how to dress, or care about table cloths.  I really, really, just want to someone else to do all of the research, and let me just pick between a few options for everything. (And yes, I realize that I should probably hire a planner). Until that time, I’ll just have to be mollified by Practical Ryan Gosling.

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Bridal Email Overload, Part 1, aka: Why I can’t wait to change my last name and email address

I haven’t written in a while, because there hasn’t been a ton to write about, and I’ve been busy, and I’m not in the business of turning this into a wedding blog. (But if you’re looking for one, I highly recommend A Practical Wedding. It’s been the primary thing keeping me sane through this whole planning thing). I’m still going to write about wedding-related things sometimes. I guess that’s better than no blog posts at all, right? (If you started reading this blog because of all my job search posts – sorry! My next post will be about email marketing strategy. Is that better?)

So, since I last wrote, I haven’t really become any less overwhelmed with the thought of planning a wedding, but I have checked one thing off from my wedding to-do list (one thing. That’s it): I went to Las Vegas a few weeks ago to do the part that I’m most excited about – dress shopping!

I met up with my mom and sister for a long weekend, and we found my dress! We went to a few smaller boutiques, but ended up purchasing the second dress I tried on (out of about 20 total) – at David’s Bridal. A lot of brides (especially in New York) tend to scoff at DB, since it’s a chain and generally has lower-priced, “off the rack” dresses. I don’t even know how many people asked me if I was going to go shopping at Kleinfeld’s simply because I live in NYC (Ballpark: everyone I’ve had a conversation with about dress shopping). I just can’t justify (or afford) spending more than a NYC months’ rent on a dress.

Anyway, so I had a lovely customer experience at David’s Bridal. My consultant was wonderful, attentive, and understanding. I’m really happy with the dress I picked out and can’t wait to wear it when I marry Andy.

However.

As part of their on-boarding process, when you walk into the store, you have to sit at a table and fill out a form about your wedding. Since most of our wedding’s still a big question mark, I left a lot of it blank. I didn’t know the date or the specific location or who would be in the bridal party and what our colors are. I did, however, know my email address, but I was kind of hesitant to write it on the form. (Why? Because I’m this person.) But I did anyway, because maybe if we throw more wedding information at me, some of it might stick and motivate me to actually plan the wedding.

I went back home from the trip the next day, and then… the emails started.

There were sometimes FOUR a day. Emails about wedding dresses, photography by David’s Bridal, invitations by David’s Bridal, bridesmaid dresses, tuxes at Men’s Wearhouse, Mother of the Bride Dresses, surveys about my customer experience… it was kind of crazy. Of course, I set up my awesome email filters and sent them all to the black hole that is my “Wedding” label in my Gmail account.

But then they started invading my inbox. Only, they weren’t just from David’s Bridal anymore. They were from random vendors in Las Vegas who clearly do not understand the CAN-SPAM act (they didn’t have any kind of unsubscribe option, and when I replied to the email asking to be taken off their list, the email bounced). Where did THEY come from?! And since it was coming from a different email address than DB, it wasn’t filtered into my Wedding Black Hole label.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I soon discovered something worse than invading my inbox: hijacking an after-ballet coffee shop outing with my friend, via my phone. Last Wednesday, I got a phone call from “Chefmaster USA” telling me that I had won a contest that I had entered during a bridal show in Las Vegas, and that I would receive a three-day honeymoon to Costa Rica, free wedding invitations, and a coupon book for more discounts. I mentioned that was odd since I hadn’t been to a bridal show at all, and definitely not in Las Vegas, but didn’t rule out the possibility that well-meaning relatives hadn’t been to one and signed me up for contests.

All I had to do was show up at their cooking show the next night…in Las Vegas. I told them I couldn’t do that because I was in NYC, but perhaps my mom or sister could stop by to pick up my prize. Nope. I was a little skeptical about the whole thing, but, like many other brides (as I found out while researching this company), I had entered a few random wedding-related contests online, so who knew?

So, the lady told me that they had a few other cooking shows in the New York area, and I could maybe go to one of them to get my prize. Okay, now we’re talking. The closest one was in Cherry Hill, NJ (two hours away by car, too many hours away by public transit…). I said sure, and they told me that my fiance and I would BOTH have to show up at 8 pm on Friday night to pick up our prize. I asked if she could email the information about where to go, and she said she couldn’t, so I wrote it down on a napkin. After I got off the phone, I told my friend (who had been sitting there the whole time) about it, and we immediately went to her apartment around the corner to research it. I was hoping I had actually won something, but still feeling skeptical.

Yeah, it turns out it’s similar to a timeshare presentation. According to several different bridal message boards (hey, I found a use for them!), David’s Bridal gives out our contact information to this company, and they contact engaged couples who shop there (so, you know, those of us who do not have a Kleinfeld budget and would likely jump at the chance for a free honeymoon), and then tries to sell them $3500 pots and pans. No joke.

Sure, it was a little disappointing, but I was more annoyed about my contact information being given out than not getting my trip to Costa Rica. From what I read about other brides’ experiences with this company, EVERYONE who gets contacted “wins,” and the people who show up actually do get the prizes. On Friday morning, I got another phone call from the company to confirm that I’d be attending the show, and I said I wouldn’t be able to because it was too far away. She then tried to get me to go to a different show, and I said, “No, we actually just bought new pots and pans, so we don’t need new ones.” And then she hung up pretty quickly.

So, I wasn’t exactly harmed by this in any way (other than annoyance), but I really don’t like that it even happens. I’m glad I didn’t actually go out to New Jersey for this. The night I got the Chefmaster phone call, I did something that, as an email marketer, is kind of like a punch in the face to a company: I not only unsubscribed from the David’s Bridal emails, I also clicked “Report as Spam.” (Note- don’t report an email as Spam unless a company truly is exhibiting sketchy behavior. It affects their ability to send legit emails. In most cases, clicking “unsubscribe” is sufficient. If it doesn’t work, THEN you can report as spam).

But really, what I wanted to do was help them. David’s Bridal has a LOT of potential to have really effective, useful email marketing. I have some suggestions for them in my next post.

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5 Things I’ve learned in the four days I’ve been engaged

  1. My fingers are freakishly small. Confession: Andy and I looked at rings in November, and had my finger measured. (But I still didn’t know he had bought a ring, or when/how he was going to propose.) We thought I was a 4.75, so that’s what he bought. It turns out, that’s still too big. All weekend I was scared to wash my hands/do the dishes/shower etc. while wearing it. So I went to a jeweler last night to get a ring guard (a little strip of metal that wraps around the inside of the ring to make it fit my finger snugly). I’ll probably get it actually resized, but I want to see how my finger size fluctuates first.
  2. Not writing a blog post for a few months + a huge, exciting announcement = blog traffic success. Whoa.
  3. Brides are scary. Especially on The Knot’s message boards. Someone please smack me in the face if I ever act like them. I signed up for it to read the articles and access the wedding planning resources (because they force you to sign up to view those things…). I was browsing their message boards, and all of the people on them seemed really mean and quick to attack other brides who had stupid questions.  It seemed like half the people on there were 19-year-olds with stupid questions, and the rest were people who got married a long time ago, but are still obsessed with wedding planning a belittling the 19-year-olds. It’s entertaining to read, but not exactly as helpful as it could be for a wedding planning resource.
  4. Weddings are expensive and overwhelming. Like, the average cost of a wedding in the US is comparable to the average entry-level salary. (Don’t quote me on that – but I believe they’re both around $27k). I’ve only scratched the surface in this whole planning thing, and it is overwhelming. I’ve bought a wedding magazine that weighs more than my dog, and watched plenty of “Say Yes to the Dress,” but anything beyond that makes me a little panicky.
  5. People have very different ideas about when planning should start. A lot of people have been telling me to wait a while before I start planning and to just enjoy being engaged. And I am enjoying it. But a lot of other people have already been asking if we’ve set a date yet. (Which, you know, requires SOME wedding planning). And the timelines I’ve looked at online say things like “Buy your dress at least 6 months – 1 year before the big day” and “Send Save the Dates a year in advance if people will have to travel.”  I don’t want a really long engagement, which makes me feel like I need to get cracking!
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