The Worst Souvenir Ever

We bought the worst souvenir ever while on our honeymoon in Paris.

Coffee and map reading.

Coffee and map reading.

I know what you are thinking –

How is that possible? It was your honeymoon! Everything should have been oozing romance and perfection. What prompted you to purchase something that would have been anything less than satisfactory?

I had such HIGH hopes for this souvenir too, it makes me so sad to think that it is now hidden away in my closet, stacked between heavy books not easily moved.

It is not a common souvenir.
In fact, it was custom made, right before our eyes.
One of a kind.
A complete original.

It is not one of those cheesy dime-a-dozen key chains with the Eiffel tower or a neon-green shirt with ‘City of Love’ sprayed across the chest in obnoxiously large font.

Nope. It is way better that.

It is a charcoal drawing/sketch of my portrait done by a seemingly talented artist who was standing right along the Seine, just next to the Eiffel tower.

As if, this was the most convenient place for an artist to create art.

Moments before we found the artist.

My camera bag is only slightly large. Moments before we found the artist.

He caught our eye because he had just finished a sketch and it was stunning. The woman looked beautiful. She had deep shades to show the contour of her facial bones and her eyes were smiling. Immediately, Mr. Speedy asked how much and agreed I would be the subject.

However, the artist’s work that we just saw, and approved of, was taking a break so his co-worker promptly stepped in and began my sketch.

This is so exhilarating! We can frame this and always remember our honeymoon and Paris… I thought as I sat and positioned myself to look at the artist.

I used to be an model for the Art Department at grad school and it was my favorite job ever. This brought back a flood of memories and kind of gives a person a whole new level of value that they can keep to themselves. I can be the subject. I am the subject. I am being art.

However, after some time and sketching, it was apparent something was very very very wrong.

Mr. Speedy kept snooping, peeking over the artist’s shoulder, and making these contorted faces as if he just bit into a rotten apple.

And when the artist was finally done and wiped his brow, as if to say You were difficult… but I am a master, I held my breath hoping it was a notable likeness.

To my horror, this is what he saw in me:

My neck is a size XXL. Just to let you know if you buy me a button up.

My lips are NOT that lush. Those eyebrows… did he miss out on how the thickness? My neck is a size XXL. Just to let you know if you buy me a button up.

Man. I am a man.

Man. I am a man.

WHAT IS THIS.

WHAT IS THIS.

We payed the artist, and walked away with our sketch (if you can even call it that, it is more like a long-lost twin brother), and wondered how on Earth did the man think that this looked anything like me?

“I feel like he looked at you, and any type of flaw, like your thicker eyebrows or freckles, he altered your face. I don’t like it. I love your face and this is not it,” Mr. Speedy said.

It’s true – my real features are pretty plain – I have small lips, large eyes, thick eyelashes, crazy eyebrows, freckles, and a very thin neck.

Mr. Speedy things that this portrait looks like….

  • Me as a male football player
  • Me as an male army sargent
  • Me if I got lip injection, a nose job, and tweezed all my eyebrows out
  • Me if I was not me

I guess in the future, if we REALLY want a portrait done, we should probably go with an artist who is a bit more legitimate than a man sketching tourists along the Seine.

Sincerely,

Lily

p.S. On a completely unrelated note, I just figured out our iPad has Photobooth which means I can take pictures like this:

20140717-183610-66970429.jpg

Our First Date and My Horrible Outfit

People probably assume that Mr. Speedy’s first date with me was simply perfect.

And many parts of our first date was absolutely perfect- from the appetizer of fried green beans, the two full-bodies wines that enhanced my sudden need to get to know his curious lips, and the way he focused in on me when I spoke, as if I was the only person in the restaurant.

But one thing about our first date was totally wrong. Almost unthinkable. Completely my fault.

My outfit.

First date hat? Only if we are going on a safari or you own a very large water vessel.

First date hat? Only if we are going on a safari or you own a very large water vessel.

I have been on first date’s prior to the one with Mr. Speedy and without fail have had some sort of epic malfunction. I always had a tendency to work myself into such an state of anxiety and nervous sweat over my outfit and fashion choices that I usually ended up causing more trouble and less appeal.

For example, years ago, I went on a date one evening during the hot summer and selected a beautiful, backless black dress to wear. With beautiful black strappy heels. Two problems- backless dresses are unforgiving for those who wear a bra and strappy heels are not good for a runner’s feet. I ended up using SURGICAL TAPE to attach a strapless bra (basically it looked like swim goggle for boobs, minus the straps) to my bare sides and getting a blister so bad that I bit my lip throughout the date, and caused my lip to bleed.

I have never wore that dress again. And ripping surgical tape from your ribcage is not worth any date- no mater how fine the food or man.

Another mishap was when I wore a tiny strappy salmon colored shirt that had a shelf-bra (a.k.a. not a real bra). I had no idea we were going golfing for the day in the scorching sun, with no golf cart. By the end of Hole 8, I had so much boob and armpit sweat going on, not to mention the shelf-bra conveniently misaligned with every swing of the gulf club, I was lookin’ for a sand trap to do a face-plant in and die.

But all those other dates were  just mere practice, leading up to this memorable first date with Mr. Speedy.

Mr. Speedy set the bar high, from the feeling that jutted down my spine after I first saw him and the way he flashed me a smile. I knew I had to contemplate and plan out my outfit carefully. An outfit that represented me and all that I was and shoes to match. And maybe a piece of jewelry that was classic and timeless. My taste.

Without question, I knew I just had to wear my most-loved Ann Taylor necklace-

I love this necklace. Also, my cousin and I are weird.

I love this necklace. Also, my cousin and I are weird.

I also remember telling myself to not show-off my tongue-in-the-nostril trick during the date. Mr. Speedy didn’t need to see that.

I wanted to be comfortable, but didn’t want to wear jeans or a dress. It was the beginning of May and fairly warm, but not warm enough for shorts. For some reason, I got it in my head that I was going to wear black leggings.

LEGGINGS.

Let me just state that I NEVER EVER WORE THESE LEGGINGS, other than underneath my jeans in winter for extra warmth. I was not one of those fashion-forward girls with cute long tunics and sweater dresses and ankle bracelets that seem to dazzle freely when leggings are worn.

This was probably my first mistake, trying to introduce a new article of clothing that day of the date, and if you are reading this – please DON’T EVER DO THAT ON A FIRST DATE. It is like suddenly deciding to get your eyebrows waxed an hour before you have school pictures. You show up with your flesh red and irritated and everyone can’t decide if you were rubbing your forehead on a tree trunk or contracted some kind of eyebrow chicken-pox.

Since I had no experience wearing leggings and lacked a top that went beyond my waist, I had to go shopping hours before the date to find something decent. With my cousin beside me, we scoured through racks of clothes until I finally found what at the time, I thought was the coolest top I could find.

It was a midnight blue tunic top with three-quarter sleeves and a boatneck collar. It had no real form to it, other than it cinched around my waist, and fell down past my hips. It was completely plain, with no pattern. The sleeves connected to the main shirt not at the armpit, but at the elbow. It was completely out of the ordinary and not something I had ever worn.

It looked very similar to this-

The sleeve was like this. Totally connected.

The sleeve was like this. Totally connected.

In my mind, this top was the culmination of what I was trying to present to Mr. Speedy. It was hideously shapeless, offering absolutely no indication if I had a shape. Boobs? He wouldn’t be able to tell. Could he see down my top? Nope, he would see an ankle if he was lucky. Did I have sexy little curves? Who knows because with this top I looked like a flattened pancake. I basically was wearing a burlap sack with a pretty chain of pearls around my neck.

I was leaving literally everything up to his imagination. Nothing was to be revealed.

I showed up to the date, wearing this terrible top, my skinny legs sticking out beneath my shapeless torso. I remember feeling SO incredibly self-conscious wearing this odd top, unable to judge how my chest may have looked or where my armpit was hidden beneath the webbed-like sleeve of the shirt. I kept thinking that if I were to lift my arms out, I would totally resemble a starfish.

“Hi, I’m Lillian and am a human starfish. Please accept me.”

This is basically what I felt like the entire night.

This is basically what I felt like the entire night.

OH AND MY SHOES. If the top choice wasn’t terrible enough, I wore these really old black ballet flats. The only pair of ballet flats I owned and the only non-flipflop shoe that would go with the leggings. These babies were so abused that one of my shoes was losing its sole and would kind of make a clapping noise with every step I took. Clap-clap-clap! It was applauding throughout our entire date. Thrilling.

If Mr. Speedy had any negative thoughts about my outfit, he didn’t show it. He was charming. Intelligent. Talkative. Intense. Honest. And all the kind of good looks you hope to find in one man one day.

Half-way through our date, I excused myself to the restroom even though I didn’t have to go. I just had to get away from everything that was passing between us over the table and take a deep breath. I could feel it weighing down the air, as we talked more and smiled and laughed, it was closing in on us. It. It was finally here. That immeasurable lifelong love. It was happening. It was right out there, sitting down at a table, just waiting for me.

I took a deep breath, looked at my reflection, and told myself this was it- he was here.

I completely forgot about my starfish costume of a top and applauding shoe, and went back to the table, excited to where the night might lead.

______________________________________________

I won’t go into further detail about the rest of our date but I will say that there was the kind of kissing that lasts for hours and such a feeling of calmness, I felt like I finally was where I belong.

And my outfit? I have never wore the leggings or the top since that date even though the night was more than I could have imagined. My shoes Mr. Speedy threw into the garbage one day, when I wasn’t looking, and replaced them with brand new shoes. What a gentleman.

If you ask Mr. Speedy these days about my first date outfit, he usually says-

“That outfit was… tastefully conservative and… left much… to be explored.”

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what you wear or don’t wear when you go on a date. In the end, if you are sitting across from the person whom you were put on this planet to spend a lifetime with, all that matters is if they see truly see you and you truly see them.

Lesson of First Date Outfits: Do not wear something you normally don’t wear, especially if it makes you feel like a starfish. Also, be sure your shoes are noiseless.

Sincerely,

Starfish Lily

Bride-to-Be Fail

When I am not running or thinking about running or thinking about running while I am running, my mind seems to wander into planning my upcoming nuptials.

This is all fabulous and wonderful and dandy until I remember these three things:

  1. I’m indecisive: Sometimes I really like the fact that Mr. Speedy confessed he wants a bigger wedding (140ish guests) rather than eloping (I REALLY WANTED TO ELOPE OR HAVE A TINY BABY WEDDING). Sometimes I really don’t like that we are having a bigger wedding and want to run away and elope and kiss and go to the spa. Sometimes I like the thought of wearing a white dress. Sometimes I like the thought of wearing a green dress. Sometimes I like this or that and other times I dislike this or that.
  2. I’m abnormal: I am not your typical bride as in I am not really into all the little details of a wedding or traditional bride things. The thought of designing centerpieces makes my head hurt. Half the time I think ‘YAY I CAN DO THIS’ and half the time I think ‘AH HOW DO I DO THIS…. I’m going to go eat pretzels and pretend I’m Audrey Hepburn.’ The only thing that I am sure about is the man who will be my husband.
  3. I’m on a budget: I think, unless you are the daughter of a Sultan or someone who owns several large vineyards, this statement is common. Budgets are a must and by golly, they really are something.

And after having these thoughts in my head, I relate myself to a movie, specifically Bridesmaids and this scene:

I get this. I am her. She is me.

I get this. I am her. She is me.

Bahahahahha.

No, really, I am a weird bride in training. And I am not really poor, well… not entirely.

My most recent blunder happened yesterday with my two lovely bridesmaids:

I found a bridal shop that carried these dresses we liked for bridesmaid attire. I got to the appointment early and once inside, noticed that the mannequins were plus-size mannequins. I didn’t really think much about that other than how wonderful a shop is showcasing ‘real’ woman curves. But as I sifted through the mountain of lace and frilly dresses, I noticed that the sample size on all of them were rather, large. And then I noticed that all the staff were curvier women. And then I noticed that two brides that were getting fitted in their gorgeous gowns were also curvier. And then I noticed the one bride had spanx in places I did not even know that you could wear spanx. And then, on the wall, were a variety of framed newspaper clippings all about the shop and how they were known for delivering plus-size styles to real brides.

And then it dawned on me- I was in a plus-size bridal shop.

This really isn’t THAT big of a deal but it would be equivalent to Mr. Speedy going to a Big & Tall shop to get fitted for his tux. Slightly out of place. Slightly awkward. Kind of like that one scene in Pretty Woman, when she shows up dressed like a hooker in a high-end boutique. Totally not fitting in and not the right client:

I just wanna shop!

I just wanna shop!

But, despite my minimal curves and obvious mistake, the bridal salon and staff were simply AMAZING.

The ladies that helped us were warm and welcoming. They knew the dresses from left to right and listened to me babble on about how I am not sure this color would look right or this and that. You may have forgotten that I bought my wedding dress online, so I never have had the experience of the wedding salon. But, boy, it was good. They offer you coffee and there are massive displays of ornate jewelry, hair combs, and veils. It is like walking into a freshly-made fluffy cupcake- cozy, airy, and sugary. I loved it. Romance is all around you.

We settled on some deep green gowns:

Our wedding is a 1920’s/Gatsby theme, so I plan to accessorize the outfit with vintage elements and acccents. They are very flowy, elegant, and the best part — you can wear a regular bra with this cut! I know my girls (I am talking about both my bridesmaid and my chest) would be happy about that.

I highly recommend the shop we went to- even if you aren’t plus-size. Here is their website and if you click on the ‘About’ tab (something I did NOT), it is pretty obvious that it is a plus-size place…. whatever. Any size was welcomed! 🙂

I still feel slightly like an idiot….. only me…..

Sincerely,

A non-plus-size-but-I-like-to-shop-at-plus-size-shops bride

PS Anyone else done this?

PSS This is very similar to a time when I threw myself a birthday party at an ‘Apple Orchard’, ready to pick apples, and only to find out that I actually asked everyone to meet me a Apple Orchard store on a random dirt road, that sold apples and fruit from wooden buckets. And large pickels.

PSSS It will be a miracle if this wedding indeed turns out like a wedding with my super attention to detail and masterful planning skills.

The Meatball Saga

So Mr. Speedy and I are moved in and all. We are enjoying nesting in our love nest and all. I am trying to cook new recipes. And all.

This week I attempted to make meatballs.

This so pretty. So... simple, right?

This so pretty. So… simple, right?

Meatballs were a very vital substance to my diet growing up. My mother would cook them, with a side of spaghetti, and they always came out as perfect little orbs of tender meat. She would add an egg or two to make them hold together, some bread crumbs and seasoning, and make it all look so easy.

One thing that my Mother never did was attempt to cook dinner while While You Were Sleeping was on in the background. I suppose this is where I went wrong.

Ahem-

Mr. Speedy went out for a quick run and it being my rest day, I stayed in to prepare a romantic dinner (it was our 15 month anniversary) of scrumptious meatballs and pasta. My Mother had texted me earlier all the necessary ingredients – a pound of ground beef, a pound of ground turkey, some chopped onion, two eggs, a big pile of ketchup, some Italian bread crumbs, and various spices- which I had picked up at the grocery store conveniently on the way home from work.

Mixing them all in a large bowl that was partially warped due to the dishwasher, I could see straight into the living room and view the t.v. and sympathize with a miserable Lucy (Sandra Bullock) in her monotonous ticket-booth job. I had the skillet already warmed up with olive oil, and using a spoon, dropped balls of mixed meat into the pan. Sizzle sizzle, they hissed at me and began to cook.

And this is where I went wrong. Well, this is where I made my first mistake.

Proud of my beautiful orbs of beef and turkey, I poured myself a bit of wine, leaned in the kitchen entryway. I was completely relaxed, admiring the fruits of my culinary labor sizzle and completely confident Mr. Speedy would be drooling all over it. I turned my attention to the movie and watched as the nurse hears Lucy say she was going to marry that man. GASP. She just did what!?! I love this scene. I love how then Lucy has to play it cool with her pretend engagement to a dreamy, successful man. I suppose if I saw Mr. Speedy get mugged, and I rescued him from getting squished by a train, I would totally impersonate his fiancé to stare at him while he slept…

This is me. I am her. The end.

This is me. I am her. The end.

And then I smelt burning. Something was definitely burning.

DSC_0019

Burnt. Burnt. So burnt.

Quickly, I turned the burner down from high to low, suddenly remembering that my Mother had warned never to use HIGH heat, always MEDIUM heat for meatballs. That was my second mistake. Ball-shape no more, they had become warped and misshapen under the high heat just like my mixing bowl.

Then, I did what any newly housewife-in-training/cook would do- I concealed all evidence of the disastrous meatballs. I plopped them neatly on top a bed of pasta, smothered in sauce, and grated a colossal serving of fresh parmesan cheese on top, making it look like a gourmet meal.

I strategically continued to cover the burnt areas with more sauce and cheese....

I strategically continued to cover the burnt areas with more sauce and cheese….

A few more spoonfuls of warm sauce, and the meatballs were hidden away… deep down there, just waiting to be discovered.

Mr. Speedy came home from his run, showered, and scooped a helping of the meal, eager to eat.

“Do you smell something burning?” he asked.

“Uh… burning? No.” I said sheepishly. “I mean I did have a candle going [lie] and I did light a match for that [another lie]. Also, I believe the dryer makes a funny smell [super big lie].”

“Huh,” he said and twirled his fork with some food. Then he took a bite, slowly inspecting the taste, and looked directly at me.

I quickly realized I had no idea who I was dealing with because I completely expected him to spit out the food, and accuse me of feeding him hockey-puck chunks of scorched beef.

But instead, this great handsome man whom cares oh-so-much about me and my cooking ego, explained that it was the BEST meatball he had ever had. The best. He quickly ate one, two, and then a third. He even said that he actually preferred the burnt crust because it made them crispy, almost like they were fried.

And I, taken aback and melting due to his endearing comment about the most horrible meatballs one could ever come across, showed him that I still had a huge bowl full of uncooked meat that I could make more meatballs with, you know, since he liked them so much.

“OH no….,” He said, rubbing my shoulders. “Let ME cook these, you go sit and relax.”

And you know what Mr. Speedy did? That man baked them on a cookie sheet until they were golden brown and perfect. I mean PERFECT. He could not have rolled them into better balls and he could not have timed the baking down to a better second. We even watched the rest of the funny love triangle between Lucy and Jack and Peter while they baked (Mr. Speedy obviously can multi-task in the kitchen).

We feasted on his balls (that sounds bad, you know what I mean) the next day, but only after he assured me that my meatballs were just as delicious and tasty.

Honestly, if this is not love, then I do not know what is.

Sincerely,

The-one-who-burns-things

PS I also managed to shrink multiple dress shirts of Mr. Speedy’s in the dryer this week. He simply stated that I am learning and it is okay, they are just expensive shirts… but that I’ll get the hang of it.

PSS I think I need to sent away to a boarding school on cooking and cleaning, and learn the basics.

PSSS At least I am an excellent kisser and companion in bed with long legs (I mean that in terms that I am very good at cuddling, not the… never mind. I don’t even know. I give up).

No One Told Me

I was just browsing old pictures on the computer and came across this gem:

Do you see what I see?

Do you see what I see?

I think I was distracted by the ceiling, which apparently, was distracting and terrifying me.

But, do you see anything the matter with me? Perhaps, my outfit?

I find it interesting that my sister let me borrow this dress for a LBD party we were invited too but failed to TELL ME THAT IT WAS SEE-THROUGH AND SLIGHTLY INAPPROPRIATE.

I mean really-

Not even my Mother said anything!

Not even my Mother said anything!

How did I not notice this sheer area at the hip/pelvic region?

How did I not get noticed by another girl in the group that would have told me politely ‘EXCUSE ME, BUT YOU ARE LOOKING SLUTTY- YOUR PANTIES ARE SHOWING.’

Thank geeeeeee I had black panties on…. or panties at all for that matter. I would have pulled a Britney Spears before Britney pulled one.

Has anyone done this before?

In all honestly, having a sheer area on my dress right near my nether regions was just foreshadowing the rest of this night.

It was a bachelorette party for my cousin and after a yummy Mexican dinner, we drank at a friend’s house, piled into a mini-van and made our way to a club. I, being a naive non-drinker, thought I’d be bold at this party. I downed 5 (or 7?) shots in-between quick sips of diet coke. It was all warm and fuzzy and grand until I got into the dimly-lit club, fruity drink in hand, and was surrounded by swarming, sweaty hooligans and flashing lights.

I spent the remainder of the night heaving into a toilet while my sister held back my hair and chatted with bride-to-be (I had a great support system in the stall with me). I don’t remember what they chatted about but I do remember every time one of them asked me how I was feeling, I just grimaced at my projectile vomit and said-

“It was that darn Mexican. That was it.”

Apparently, I blamed the tacos for my behavior.

I’m really grateful I had them around to help me but really- did they not notice my strip of sheer material???

Note to self: Always check clothing from all angles before going out in public. And don’t drink shots. Ever.

Those party days are over now.
And by party days, I mean just that one day.
I don’t think I have drank a shot or been to a club since.

Sincerely,

Lily

Bridesmaid Beauty Blunder: Wax

Due to my hairy-like-animal eyebrows (thank you, Italian Mom), I have to get them waxed.
Some girls can totally get away without having their tiny hairs professionally ripped out of their skull with a scalding hot substance- but I am not one of those girls.

If I let my eyebrows go ‘natural’ for a tad too long, I get comments like these-

“Wow, you have hairy eyebrows.”
“Your eyebrow is waving hi at me. Gross.”
“Your eyebrows are…. actually, you have pretty eyes.”
“Those are getting trimmed soon, right?”

These comments are mainly from my barbaric little brother, Louis, so they don’t really cut me deep but he generally spews the truth.

I don’t know if you have ever had the pleasure of having hot wax brushed upon your delicate skin, but it is just sensational!

And sometimes it is oh-so-sensational, that you not only go home with beautiful Brook-Shield’s-worthy eyebrows, but also beauty burns:

Don't I just look like  a model?

Don’t I just look like a model?

Did I mention that I am standing up in a wedding this weekend for a dear friend?

Yep… I’ll be a bridesmaid… that one with the burnt eyebrow disease. That won’t be awkward at all.

I am starting to fear that people will get close to me, gawk with the realization that I have a rare form of genital crabs that lives in burnt eyelid land and is transmitted through hugging…. and then they will flee. (I have none and never have had any crabs FYI)

I digress. People,  I HAVE A PLAN.

If anyone starts to repel away from me or says “OH HEY, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR EYELID?”, I am going to make this face back at them:

EYELID. WHAT ABOUT MY NEON GREEN HAIRS?

EYELID. WHAT ABOUT MY NEON GREEN HAIRS?

Judging from this picture, it is also noticeable that I have spider-like eyelashes. This makes me think that I should probably just wear sleek dark glasses like that guy from X-men who shot lasers out of his eyeballs, so no one has the chance to gawk at the upper portion of my face.

I am pretty sure wearing shades during the wedding is not acceptable.

Luckily, the bride-to-be is a gorgeous girl and everyone will be gawking at her beauty. Please see this picture for proof:

Look at dem brows.

Look at dem brows.

I honestly doubt anyone will notice my burnt eyelids, especially since I plan to utilize cover-up and all other forms of makeup known to hide blemishes.

Speaking of blemishes, this is my bridesmaid dress:

Snug as a bug.

Snug as a bug.

Actually, I kid….. as in THAT IS NOT WHAT I WILL BE WEARING. The dress I am wearing is a very pretty aqua color with a boat neck collar.

But if I were to wear this crocheted-masterpiece-of-a-gown, no one would notice my burnt flesh… Mr. Speedy is gonna marry a real winner in the beauty department. Someone please remind me not to wax my eyebrows a few days before the wedding. That would be great. THANKS XOXO.

Sincerely,

Lily

HAVE A HAPPY MEMORIAL WEEKEND!

DO NOT BURN YOUR BROWS.