The New

Please join me in welcoming to the Internet, which strives to be everything that HitchDied was on, only even better.

A lot of engaged-types have lingering worries about the post-wedding time, from “will we still bang?” “will I miss the excitement of planning?” “Where will my crafting energy go?” “How will I write all these thank you cards?” My big worry? “What will I do with my blog?”

I’m still not entirely clear on the answer to that question.  I know that I will still have things to say about my wedding and weddings generally for quite a few months. And then I will have things to say about being married and trying to be a grown up that will tap into the same honesty+jokes atmosphere of HitchDied the pure-wedding blog.  As I prepare for that transition, there is one thing I’m certain of: “I want to own it.”

So HitchDied is now at, with the full archive of the old site and its comments intact. If I figure out the back end stuff properly, the old site should start redirecting to the new one, but you’ll definitely want to resubscribe to the RSS and update your links to keep your access to my Incredibly Important Observations on Wedding Culture uninterrupted.

Thanks for taking a few seconds to make this move with me! Stay tuned for‘s first exclusive post this afternoon. I’m going to review Bridesmaids a week after everyone else did. You know you want it.


Arising Under

If I were telling the story of how I met Collin the way Ted Mosby would, I’d have to start with a little legal lesson on 28 U.S.C. § 1331, which grants jurisdiction to federal courts on all matters arising under federal law.

Back in December of 2007, § 1331 was the only part of my Legal Process outline that I’d completed. So when I met my friend Dennis to swap outlines one morning and he said, “I forgot I’m meeting with my study group, why don’t you join us?”, and they just happened to be discussing federal question jurisdiction, I obnoxiously stepped up to the chalkboard and started diagramming and explaining. I made about half of my best friends from law school that morning. And I made the connection that led me to the guy I will marry: I met Matt.

[Sidebar, I got a B- in Legal Process, which is tied with Ethics for my worst grade in law school. I studied extensively with Matt for both classes. Matt got an A in both classes. I think he won the award for best paper in Ethics, too. What. a. jerk!]

Just before Spring Break, when we handed in the briefs that marked the end of our first year legal writing class, Matt and I shared pre-noon shots with our study group. Later that afternoon I finally met his now-wife Carrie, whose first impression of me was that I was so drunk I passed out with a french fry in my mouth at around 3PM. If someone told her then this chick would be family one day, her head would have spun off her neck.

In our second round of finals in the Spring of our 1L year, I vented to the study group about some boy drama I was suffering from at the time. Matt found me in the hallway later for a private moment where he said, “Look, I know we don’t know each other well, and it’s probably not my place to say anything… but you deserve way better. Get out of this situation.”  This was when I started to think of Matt as a friend and not just the MVP of my study group.

So it was that by the end of my first year of law school, I felt comfortable calling Matt and Carrie my friends. We had some memorable hangouts that first summer. Carrie actually extended an invitation to Collin for the Flag Day party that I threw with my then-roommate Abby, but he was too engrossed with his studies to come. [Collin would later say, in a moment that definitely helped me fall in love with him, “She said you were fun and that I’d like you, but she failed to mention that you were also gorgeous.”]

Matt and Carrie even met my little brother John that summer. It was hilarious to me when John was in for Christmas one year and I tried to introduce them and Carrie was like, “Uh, I met John back when you were my friend instead of my brother’s girlfriend.” Oops.

Anyway, the last Saturday night before our second year of law school began I had plans to celebrate Carrie’s birthday. It was Collin’s birthday too, because they are twins, but it took me a long time to realize that. The rest is history.

So Matt and Carrie introduced me to the man I’m going to marry, and I owe them, gosh, more than I can really conceive of for that. But beside that, they’ve been wonderful friends to me, and they’ve enthusiastically welcomed me into their family. We’ve shared so many happy fun times, from goofy house parties to their wedding to trips to California to our regular “family dinners” on Sunday night.

The gang, on the night Collin and I got engaged.

Matt and Carrie moved back to St. Louis today. We spent our last “family dinner” (special Tuesday edition!) stuffing wedding invitations. I think we were all grateful to the task for distracting us from how hard it is to say goodbye. Our lives won’t be the same without Matt and Carrie just a few miles down the road. Pittsburgh won’t be the same without them. But as much as I will miss having them around all the time, I’m so comforted to know they are family and will always be in my life.

What I Learned From Dress Fitting Stress

[This is a post that is going to talk about weight, specifically me worrying about my weight and body size even though I am a thin person. So you might not want to read this if you struggle with disordered eating or body image problems or even if weight talk just makes your eyes roll. But it does have a happy ending.]

I bought my wedding dress in August. It fit snugly when I bought it. I weighed myself and I took my measurements and I said, “Self, if you are bigger than this, your dress won’t fit.”

Doesn’t that sound like a recipe for neurotic disaster? It was, and I wish I’d never done it.

Do you want some overly detailed background on my body image? I hope so, because you’re getting it: I think I’m probably a couple standard deviations right of center when it comes to body satisfaction. A big part of that is because I am thin, so society isn’t constantly telling me that I’m lazy, unhealthy, or a bad person, even though I’m usually at least one of those things. In my adult life I’ve weighed thirty pounds more than this and ten pounds less than this and at all points I felt great about how my body looked. [Granted, thirty pounds more than this at best puts me into the “in-betweenie” category. This isn’t that remarkable a feat of personal body acceptance, but sometimes it seems like any woman who loves her body has a supernatural resistance to the kyriarchy].

Losing a lot of weight was weird for me, especially because I didn’t try to do it. I was simultaneously terrified that I was sick, delighted by all the positive attention weight loss brings, guilty because I didn’t “earn” that praise, excited by my new clothes, mournful for my lost DD boobs, fearful that the weight would come back and I wouldn’t love my old body anymore, and immensely irritated because, really, what is so praiseworthy about being thin that a possibly sick person deserves credit for shrinking? [See also]

I wasn’t sick, at least not physically (anxiety can make you lose weight because you burn more calories when you are panicking. That stress is so much more likely to kill you than fat is. Thin != healthy). My weight settled into a happy place where the Wii fit doesn’t make my avatar flop like a wet noodle and I get fewer “eat a sandwich” comments (Sidebar: don’t say shit like that! You don’t get to tell other people what they should eat or their body should look like).

But weddings make you do the wacky. The spectre of my snug sample wedding dress made me worry about my weight in a way that felt foreign and wrong. I went on a new antidepressant and almost immediately gained five pounds. Five pounds which no one but me and the waistband of my jeans noticed. This brought on a minor freak-out that involved a lot of internet research about how much seams can be let out and trying to convince myself I could always buy a new dress (those attempts at rationality always ended in tears). And then, and understand I feel like a traitor when I confess this: I tried to lose those five pounds. I upped my cardio [I already exercise almost every day because a) It tremendously relieves my depression b) I like being reasonably “fit” such that I can lift heavy things and run up flights of stairs without getting winded c) I am mostly unemployed and have a lot of time to kill] and tried drink more water, less beer, and to snack on fruits and veggies instead of cheese and crackers.

I avoided weighing myself to try to hold body hate at bay. But with two weeks to go before my dress fitting, I stepped on a scale: I had not lost one pound. And I cried. I’m ashamed of that, but it is true.

But I somehow snapped out of it. I wore a really tight dress on my birthday, one I’d previously intended to return for being too small, and I felt like a million bucks in it. Maybe I actually was a little slimmer even though my scale number stayed the same. Maybe not. Maybe I just let go and got to be the person I normally am, the person who loves her body, so I felt the dress looked sexy instead of too small, even though nothing had changed.

I realized how much I missed the feeling of loving my body and feeling sexy without subjecting myself to judgment and fear. So even though putting myself through more cardio and dipping carrot sticks instead of pretzels into my hummus might have, possibly, made my dress fit when it otherwise would not have, it doesn’t matter. The moral of this story is not “I worried about my weight so I exercised a lot and then my dress fit, hooray!” The moral of this story is after finding out my dress fit, I realized the stress and the bad feelings about whether or not the dress would fit were not worth it.

I’m writing this and sharing this (with trepidation, because the last thing I want is to perpetuate diet culture and body hatred) so that I remember that over these next two months. I want to look good on my wedding day, sure, but I want to love myself for the rest of my life. So I need to let myself love my body regardless of what clothes it fits into.


Last week was busy. How busy? Collin’s parents were in town. My aunt was in town. Five of Collin’s high school/college friends were in town and staying at our place on various evenings. My future brother-in-law graduated from law school. Bridal Hootenanny member Liz had a birthday. I had my first wedding dress fitting since I bought it back in October. We had to get the invitations for our wedding ready to mail. Collin ran in the Pittsburgh marathon. All that, and a circus. [That’s not a metaphor.]

I was tired all the time and hit my emotional limit at least once every day. I popped my anxiety pills like breath mints and got too drunk on Friday night. I had random crying jags. I snapped at Collin a bunch of times. I looked like shit. I developed an ugly rash on my arm (I think its the same kind of
atomic eczema I had after the bar exam). I slept fitfully even though I pretty much collapsed into bed each night.

I don’t want to feel that way the week of my wedding.

But it will be very much the same kind of week: many people in town, a full calendar chock-a-block with social obligations, a lengthy list of tasks to be accomplished, and emotional energy running high.

I need to develop a strategy to deal with these pressures with more aplomb than I did this week. And I’m too tired and worn down at this point to develop it properly. I know I need to get as much done ahead of time as possible. I know I need to get more comfortable delegating responsibilities and being assertive about my needs. And I know I need to schedule downtime during wedding week. But even with these strategies I feel less than confident I’ll have the wherewithal to withstand wedding week.

So, marrieds: how did you hold up during your wedding week and do you have any crucial tips for me? People I know in real life: Will you slap me in the face if I need to snap out of it during wedding week? (Without leaving a mark that might show in photos?) Everyone else: what strategies do you rely upon in stressful crunch times?

Could I Care Less? Let’s see.

Dudes, I care a lot about my wedding. You can probably tell that by how I write about it so much? I am not one of those breezy “it’s just another day” engaged ladies. I am a Bride with a capital B and occasional silent “zilla” suffix.

I’ve spent so many more hours and dollars tears and furrows on this wedding than I’d really care to admit.

And yet, I am regularly confronted with wedding things for which I can not summon even a crumb of enthusiasm: Table numbers. Escort cards. Out-of-town bags. Favors. Centerpieces. Pretty much everything that can be categorized as a “detail.”

All of which are things that are on the agenda for this week, while my mother-in-law is in town. Which is bizarrely shifting my thinking to a place where I believe I hate my wedding or at least don’t particularly care about it. I have a weird detail-induced false consciousness going on here.

But Viki’s picking up my slack, so boxes are being checked even though my heart is not in it right now. Viki is awesome. She pretty much single-handedly assembled all of our centerpieces this afternoon. Seriously, I pitched in with a little Windexing here and a little price-sticker-peeling there, but she was the heart and the brain of the operation. I was like, the gall bladder. Helpful, but hardly vital.

So cheers for friends and family being on Team Wedding. I’m still hoping my interest and excitement in my wedding pop back in to place in a timely fashion, but at least I’m not the only one who knows how to fly this plane. [Could I mix any more metaphors into this entry? Probably not? I’ll just end here, then.]

May 2011 Brides Magazine, By The Numbers

I was scheduled to deliver a movie review to y’all today, but to my amazement I didn’t receive promotional tickets to EITHER of the wedding movies that opened in theaters last weekend. Maybe Something Borrowed and Jumping the Broom would have held up a little better against Thor if they’d attempted to court my tens of readers! But they missed that boat, so in lieu of a movie review, I’ve got another magazine review for you. Enjoy!

# pages: 298
# pages of advertising: 196 5/6

# pages featuring some content regarding the Royal Wedding: 43
# of pictures of Kate Middleton: 3, plus one cartoon
# of pictures of a model pretending to be Kate Middleton:13
# distinct pieces of sapphire jewelry on these pages:  15

Average price of makeup in the Brides Magazine Beauty Awards feature: $24.79
Average price of makeup picked by Brides readers: $12.29
Average price of fragrances selected by Brides Magazine: $75.56
Average price of fragrances picked by readers
: $59.30
Average price of hair products selected by Brides Magazine: $23.81
Average price of hair products selected by readers: $8.45
Average price of skin products selected by Brides Magazine: $23.90
Average price of skin products selected by readers: $19.09

# of “50 wedding websites you can’t live without” that I do not write for: 50 [See above re: delusions of blograndeur]
# of “50 wedding websites you can’t live without” that are about anything other than peddling wedding stuff: 0.

Guest Post: Magazine Re-review

In case you missed it (I did, because I was up to my nose in invitations), I wrote a guest post for So You’re EnGAYged about the representation of gay couples in wedding magazines.  Or (spoiler alert) the total lack of representation.


The Problem With Do-It-Together

…is that sometimes within an hour of getting his hands on the paper cutter, your fiancé will break it.

Collin, I still love you.

A Stream-of-Consciousness Recap of My Day in Invitation Land

[…I’m very tired and I’ve had a generous glass of wine. So when I say “stream of consciousness” I mean “stream of nonsense.”]

Today was invitation printing day.  “Wait,” stalkers of my personal calendar of to-dos shout, “Wasn’t that last week?” “WAIT!” stalkers of my brainwaves that tell myself to do things before I break down and schedule them on my personal calendar of to-dos add, “wasn’t that LAST last week?”

YES. OK. ALL RIGHT. I have put this off a little bit.

Why? Probably because I knew I was going to have the micro-stroke I had this afternoon before heading over to Staples to print our invitations.

I reviewed the proofreading my wedding planner had sent back to me. I sent the corrected version to a trusted friend. Then I looked over it again myself, because like Mulder, I trust no one. I misspelled Chicken Piccata. I had the old exit number listed for the directions from the Turnpike. I figured if I found those two, there must be dozens of other errors lurking. I stared at my proofs until the surface of my eyes crystallized. Ok. Time to take measurements so I know the dimensions the cardstock backings need to be cut.

Where is my ruler? I know I have a ruler. Where is my box of stuff I put in the old desk that came with my last apartment? Collin just bought me a desk, so I really should move that box into these fancy new varnish-smelling drawers. NO, THERE’S NO TIME, WOMAN!

Ok, fine. I’ll combine the powers of the two pink drafting triangles that are in our filing cabinet for some godly reason to sort out how big these inserts are. Should my borders be 1/8″ or 1/4″? Why don’t we use the metric system? WHAT AM I SAYING? We killed Osama bin Laden! So use our nonsense measures and learn to love eight as a denominator, OK, rest of the world?

Ok I have my measurements. I have my proofread documents. What file formats does Staples accept? Only .jpg and .pdf?  WHAT? Where’s my .eps option? Or at least .tiff, AMIRITE, dorks?

Collin, I need your help. I have to save these files as a .pdf. Let me use your evil Mac! (Any port in a storm!)  What? I can do that with Word? Microsoft Word? Just come home and help me. HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME.

Take two vistaril. Breathe deeply. Let Collin take the helm for a minute. Ok, we’ve got our .pdfs.

WHERE DID MY 1/8″ OF BUFFER GO? I need that or my custom cutting will be a disaster!!! EXCLAMATION! I have to re-scale my main invitation? Oy. Vey.

Is that a freaking hyphen in that phone number? I WILL CUT YOU. I mean, yes, I literally will cut you, specialty document, but I am really saying I will figuratively cut you for containing, at my own fault, my #1 typographical enemy from my law review days.  I will not shame Volume 71 this way. You’re getting en dashed!

Ok. Phew. Taken care of. What’s this, I didn’t put the website on the info insert? Oh, well, that’s an easy fix. Except that additional line of text brings me over-size.  Maybe I should put the URL in the directions as a first-letter cipher?  Or just adjust the between-line spacing until I’m back in my box. If I must be so dry.

Ok. Ok. Crises solved. Let’s go to Staples!

What what what! They’ve raised the price of custom cutting to $2 a cut? Well clearly I should just buy a hinge paper cutter for $30, right? That will save me like $10 whole bucks! That’s like a large pizza, at least on pick-up special.

Fast forward 5 hours. 1 hour spent doing “soothing” yoga. 4 hours spent cutting. And watching Veronica Mars. And cutting. And cutting.  Homegirl can solve an entire b-plot case while I cut just one small stack of cardstock. And I still have oh so many papers to cut.

Thus far, my invitations are my definitely the most “D-I-WHY?” experience I’ve had in wedding planning.  If only I’d ordered the cheapest of the cheap invitations and washed my hands of it.   But I’ve come this far, and dammit, I’m going to finish these invitations that no one but me and Viki will hold on to.

So do you have any podcasts or dialogue-heavy movies to recommend while I continue my paper-cutting mission over the next few days?

I Bought A Million Lipsticks So You Don’t Have To

Remember when Mouse was getting married and she reviewed a million makeup products and it was hugely helpful to anyone DIY-ing their wedding makeup? Well, I’m getting in on that action, only I’ll be covering more cheap-ass drugstore crap because I’m, well, cheap.

For this first installment, I’ll be reviewing long-wear lipsticks.  My lips are the same color as my skin, so long-wear lipstick is essential to my efforts to avoid unpleasant “Jeez, you look tired/sick/ugly today” comments.  For years, I relied on Maybelline SuperStay in Spice to look like blood pumps through my lips like a regular human.  A few months ago, it was discontinued, and I had to find a new everyday lipstick. These are the products I tried on my journey:

Maybelline SuperStay 24 Hour

Suggested Retail Price: $9.99
Color(s) I tried: Eternal Sunset, Won’t Move Mauve, Forever Chestnut
Pluses: In relaunching this brand, Maybelline has in fact improved the formula so it wears longer and more evenly (the old version sometimes flaked off a bit over the course of the day, especially as you got to the bottom of the tube). And like the original, it really does not come off on glasses or clothes or faces so long as you don’t use anything oil-based over it. So yay for that. It also applies a bit more easily with a new slanty tip on the applicator.
Minuses: The problem is with the color. From what I can tell, there isn’t a neutral shade to even come close to replacing Spice, a problem which is exasperated by the complete absence of matte-finish colors. Additionally, Won’t Move Mauve and Forever Chestnut look very different when applied than they do on in the tube (both come out darker and duller). That being said, Eternal Sunset is a great red-family lipstick that feels glam without making Collin make fun of me about “clown makeup” the way my old favorite red does. But it’s certainly not an everyday OR wedding look for me.

L’Oreal Infallible Lip Color

Suggested Retail Price: $11.49, but currently on sale at Ulta for $6.00.
Color(s) I tried: Henna
Pluses: The packaging is cool, like a lipstick spaceship. The balm that comes with it tastes like delicious fruit snacks.
Minuses: Everything else? 1. It is about as infallible as the Large Hadron Collider. 2. It seems like every time I put it on I ended up with lipstick on my teeth. 3. It dries out my lips like crazy, and between that and its very reflective shimmer highlighting every line I felt like it gave me the lips of a 45-year-old woman.

Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Liquid Lipcolor

Suggested Retail Price: $10.99
Color(s) I tried: Best Bubbly
Pluses: I tried this on the recommendation of Bridal Hootenanny member Megan, who made it through an entire wild Halloween party and into the next day with Joan Holloway-red lips. And yes, this is the heartiest of the bunch. It will. not. come. off. Even if you use oil-based balm or gloss over it. Which is nice, because…
Minuses: It doesn’t come with a balm topcoat. And it really needs it, because alone it has the same dried-up wrinklifying effect of the L’Oreal one. Also, the color selection seems kind of limited. This color was a little lighter than what I wanted, and I couldn’t find anything that didn’t seem too pink or much darker (it does not help that every shade was heavily pearlized).

Cover Girl Outlast All Day Lipcolor

Suggested Retail Price: $8.79
Color(s) I tried: Forever Fawn
Pluses: Hallelujah! It’s the right color. Sadly, it took me five other lipsticks to realize the matte finish is key, because it still looks like it could conceivably be my actual lips even when the topcoat has dried up. There are many, many colors and next time Cover Girl goes on sale I’ll be trying more.
Minuses: The finish here isn’t quite as smooth and natural as the Maybelline lipcolor, which is a shame. Also, the color and the topcoat come in separate tubes, which means I can never find the topcoat when I need it.

My current wedding day lipcolor plan, which has had the day-in-the-life test drive but still needs to pass the photoshoot test to be confirmed, is a layer of the CG Forever Fawn with a delicate application of the Revlon Best Bubbly on top, which provides just enough shimmer to make it a little more glam without highlighting every line in my lips as much. Using the Revlon on top also allows a little more flexibility with what I can use as a topcoat: I’ll probably wear some gloss when we do photos but just do topcoat balm for the wedding itself. Which means the total price of my lip makeup is going to be around $22, or about as much as I’d spend on a higher-end brand’s lipstick. And no, I will not be doing the math to see how much money I had to spend to get to here, because that will bring tears to my eyes.

Which reminds me: STAY TUNED for our next installment of the HitchDied Guide to Makeup I Bought, on my hunt for cry-proof long-wearing eyeliner!

[All images are from Ulta, rehosted. No one paid me to try or to write about any of these products, and I hope that makes you happy, because it makes my bank account pretty glum.]