Homemade Wedding Dress Part II

I ordered fabric for my dress before finalizing the design because I know how much the fabric choice would make the dress. I landed on a cotton and silk blend organza in ivory. Due to the softness and delicate nature of the fabric I decided to hand sew the entire dress to ensure that nothing was ripped or ruined via a machine. 
My under skirt was a simple cotton broadcloth that I died in a variety of bright autumn colors in an ombre color pallet with pink at the top, orange, red and purple on the bottom. It added the perfect brightness under the over-dress to make it pop a little more than just the white with a white under skirt (which would have been more historically accurate). 
I topped the dress, after many trials, with a black ribbon belt that wrapped around be about four or five times to add structure. 
My actual undergarments consisted of a long white tank top (cheapo target version) that I could wear my corset over (Jas Townsends Stays) which worked perfectly for the structure I needed. My socks were also from Jas. Townsends and were an off-white knee high. While my shoes were regency slippers from American Duchess (they no longer make them) all tied on with black ribbons and my garters (one blue and one new). 
Here are the results, with the amazing Jennifer Erikson of Fort Collins
and photos by the wonderful Stefan Rodriguez 

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How to Afford a Wedding

If you are engaged, or thinking of becoming engaged, or long term lovers wanting a wedding, you probably are in the process of being horrified at the expenses that come with weddings.
But wait….it gets better….
You will think you have a budget nailed down and then you’ll remember all of those people you haven’t paid yet. Like your hairdresser and makeup artist, your limo driver, your photographer, or the tips for wait staff at the wedding.
It’s fun! (I’m more sarcastic in this one)
Also, your budget will change because you’ll fall in love with a $3,000 dollar dress, or $500 veil, or want new shoes that are $200. No doubt there are ways to keep the costs low, and there are ways to avoid the wedding money pit. However, just be prepared to spend a lot, and maybe cry a little because of it.
Here are some tips that I found helpful, and discovered along the way.
1) Be realistic on what you can afford.
This is a huge one, I know of so many people that plan one wedding and then get sticker shock when they get the bill and their checking account can’t keep up. Even if you CAN afford a more expensive venue/photographer/florist be mindful that unexpected things happen. Our list of unexpected events included but are not limited to: $2,000 on car repairs/maintenance, $700 on medical bills, $1000+ court fees (custody agreement for my stepdaughter), $1000+ to help family members, being laid off of a job and much more. So, my advice is don’t kill yourself to have gold china-plated, when no one will really care anyway.
2) Plan to save more than you need.
See above for more information, but also because of extra costs, those get bothersome. It’s always better to have some padding in the checking account for unexpected events.
3) Ask for money instead of things.
Maybe it doesn’t seem personal enough, but we have lived together over five years, so having more “stuff” didn’t make sense. This is not true for everyone, but I found getting money a much better way to plan out what we need and how to spend it on experiences, such as our honeymoon. Sure everyone wants nice stuff, but I want memories more. PLUS they don’t go out of style in 10 years. This also helps with extra wedding expenses as many people will send gifts before the wedding and parents may be able to help more ahead of time (thank you amazing in-laws, friends and aunty)
4) Pin down a guest list and REALISTIC head count.
I messed this one up good, because we kept inviting people thinking many people wouldn’t come. Then all of the sudden EVERYONE was coming and we hit our venue capacity in NO TIME. SO, if you are planning, set a number to invite and ONLY invite that amount. Then check your numbers, check with relatives, ask many questions about how many children are coming etc. etc. etc.
This was the best part for me, personally. I made a huge amount of the things we used in some manner for the wedding. I made my dress, I put together the flowers for myself and the bridesmaids/attendant of honor + head pieces for the bridesmaids, I dyed white silk petals to orange, I stamped all the treat bags, I made signs, etc etc. I cut cost every way I could so that we could do more with food + fun. It ended up that everything looked REALLY nice too. I know not everyone is crafty, but with some patience, maybe some good friends, and some YouTube tutorials you could save THOUSANDS on your big day.
6) Be realistic on your limits.
Limits may be money, but also your patience, time, and mental fortitude for everything. So be honest about what you care about the most and what works the best for YOU to not be a crazy person. I didn’t do a seating chart, for instance, because everyone is an adult and could figure out where to sit/eat/get along with people. I also didn’t make centerpieces because the venue put out roses and I had some simple candle holders + Alphonse Mucha art work in frames. No one missed the centerpieces and then everyone could talk without a giant thing in the way and it made more room for the large group we had. I might also add, most people won’t notice or care or judge as long as the food is good, there is access to alcohol, and the music keeps the mood happy.
7) Vote with your money.
We knew our budget would be small, but we also knew that the money spent should go to something we care about. We both loved our venue, The Mercury Cafe in Denver, and we knew its importance to the community. They also only charged for food, linens, staff tips, and then our cash bar. This made everything more affordable and it literally made for the most beautiful wedding we could have imagined. Other places we considered were the zoo, local museums, a historic park etc. we just wanted the money to go to something that supports others and the Mercury Cafe has done that for over 30 years!
8) Cut what makes sense.
We started with a charcuterie and $1,000 on the bar + dinner. We ended with a cash bar and dinner, which there were leftovers of. The reason? We didn’t have an extra $2,000 for charcuterie and booze, or rather, we felt the money should be spent elsewhere. We’re glad we did, especially when we realized over half of the people coming didn’t drink (kids/medical reasons/sober) and that those that did would not mind spending $10-20 on some cocktails or beer. I wanted an open bar, but in the grand scheme of things it worked out just fine and no one complained.
On another level I ended up not scheduling the photographer for the “getting ready” shots and the hairdresser and makeup for everyone. First of all it would have been a logistical nightmare to get everyone in the same spot to get ready, second of all, as a photographer, getting ready shots are really hard unless your have a good setting. My apartment with five extra people staying with me, was not the place for the wedding morning. So we skipped it and had the photographer stay at the reception longer. Not to mention my dress required historic, and not attractive, undergarments that I frankly did not want pictures of.
9) Coupon, shop sales, dollar tree it.
My favorite thing for saving money was going after Halloween 2016 and getting kid’s activities for about $5. The second best part was couponing the crap out of JoAnn for everything from ring bearer pillows to garters and flowers. By using the 40% to 60% off coupons and shopping sales I probably only spent half as much otherwise. Also, the Dollar Tree filled in gaps for LED lights, ribbon, leaves for the flower girls, crayons for the kids table and much more.
10) Make sure its fun.
It sounds silly, because Bridezillas….AHHH (I’ll let you in on the secret that Ryan was way more stressed the week of).
But why have a wedding if its miserable? Yes I was stressed, and at times I wanted to give up, but most of all and overall I had fun making everything and sharing Ryan and I, and our weirdness, with everyone in a big, silly party. I will cherish all the love and family time for my whole life, and that made it all worth while.

Married…and Other Adult Titles

I got married about two weeks ago.Holy buckets Batman, that seems like a weird thing to say. But it’s true! On October 21, 2017 I married the love of my life, aka BAE of almost seven years in a really pretty ceremony and reception at The Mercury Cafe in Denver, Colorado.

Stefan Rodriguez Photography

From Stefan Rodriguez Photography http://www.stefanrodriguez.com/

Which is reason numero uno why I haven’t been active for so long, because weddings have this habit of completely taking over your life, especially the last two months before them.

Not only do you get the marvelous joy of all the planning, because I did it all myself, but you also get all the comments, and questions, and glueing and last minute sewing too.

It’s fun!

I don’t mean that totally sarcastically….

Overall the wedding was truly great, and we had a REALLY good time at our $10,000 day/party/event. But what was truly the best part, was that we were able to get to see and be surrounded by so many people that truly love us.

I promise to post more and now my husband and I will shortly return to podcasting as SJW and Apathy Man.

To come…. how to do a wedding + honeymoon for under $10,000 (total)

How to stay sane when planning a wedding

Why you should do the wedding YOUR way

Let your freak flag fly.

Write soon



Early Tea Culture in England


Acta Historia- The Global Journal

In the early 1600s the Portuguese and Dutch brought tea through trade from China. By about 1610 tea was regularly coming to Europe and being consumed by the upper classes as a luxury item. By 1657 roughly, it was a common item in England, and it was being served in the popular coffee houses in London and around the country.

Guess how much a pound of tea cost at the time? Around £10 and in today’s money that would be roughly £2,000 in today’s money or $2,500 USD! Per ounce that would be $156. Since most workers earned only around £50 a year, this made tea an exclusive treat for the wealthy.

Queen Catherine of Braganza, the Portugese wife of Charles II, introduced the custom of taking tea in 1662 in the English royal court. In about a century the culture of tea was bringing 7 million tons of tea…

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Why We Mourn Celebrity Deaths

geek, love, musings, Uncategorized

Bulletin: Debbie Reynolds has also passed away, a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher passed away. Debbie was 84, Fisher was only 60. It’s just two more names to a very long year and roster of celebrity deaths.

For most of us, we’ve never met these people. We’ve never shaken their hand or even had a glance from them. We haven’t had meals and we haven’t had coffee or any type of human relationship. Yet we mourn them when they die. We cry and we hold onto relics and we tweet and share and mourn. All around. It’s not the same is it would be for a grandma or a friend, but we care and our hearts ache.

It’s odd. In all reality that we care so much about people we know only from movies or books or television. People that are almost god-like that dance and sing for us. It’s not a normal intimacy, yet it breaks us when they’re gone.

However, it’s nothing new either, when rulers died and today when they die thousands cry and attend candlelight vigils and show up for funeral processions. This has happened for as long as there has been written records and it has happened all over the world. When someone we recognize as a person we “know of” or celebrate, then we care just that bit more.


Funeral procession for Queen Victoria in 1901

We celebrate our close relationships and we celebrate those that are disconnected. Think of celebrity weddings and engagements. We celebrate because they give us a feeling of connection or inspiration or drama, maybe theatrics, maybe laughter.

For Fisher, it was Star Wars, she was Leia and the things that character did were loveable and fun and millions looked to that character,  year after year and generation after generation.

Reynolds was a dancing queen and someone that touched generations with her movies, comedies, and poise.

We love a feeling that is attached to celebrities and their artistic contributions. We have emotions around people that play a part  because that’s the whole point of art.

Leia was a “Princess” that fought the bad guys, was beautiful, and had time for romance in her own terms. She broke down stereotypes and led underdogs to success. The feelings surrounding first time viewers are seen in my 9 y/o step-daughter just now becoming a Star Wars fan. We all had those moments too. Those moments of awe and inspiration, carried forward by a performer that we loves and adored.

Debbie Reynolds was not only Debbie, but she was Kathy in my grandma’s favorite movie, Singin’ in the Rain, which we watched hundreds of times in my house growing up. The movie is amazing, and the dancing spectacular, but the emotions of my grandma and of loving dance and of music and comedy are all there on the couch with me.

The story goes on, but with each death we recognize we have something attached there. Even with artists that I didn’t know  well, such as Prince, there is an important acknowledgement to his musical contributions. His music shaped people and genres and the loss of someone so young and talented is very sad.

We attach our loves, hopes and dreams to characters and performers and artists, that when they die we see our own immortality. Our own failure to fight death and disease and sad accidents. And we mourn because they were friends, they journeyed with us for a time in our lives and made us feel something. They were a part of our own life and our own path and maybe changed how we felt about the world.

It’s not a silly thing to care that they have passed on and no longer can share their talents, because they’re real emotions and ideas. And as we send on those celebrities and maybe family members that also passed, let’s just imagine them all getting to have a final picnic, having a dance, maybe a cocktail, and going onto whatever is next. I like to imagine my grandma and Reynolds are having a good laugh right now.


Hamilton and History


Acta Historia- The Global Journal

The musical Hamilton has brought in a new wave of love and interest in the founding fathers. It has done so with hip-hop, jazz, pop and broadway as its home, yet is it an accurate portrayal of history?

Most historians are suspicious of many mainstream accounts of history. Many ask, what will be left out? What will be mis-said? And what will perpetuate legend and myth without bringing something new to the table?


Yet Hamilton is something new in this telling of the founding fathers. Unlike mid-century musicals and movies that held the founding fathers in a shining god-like light, Hamilton makes the viewer confront historical myths and human mistake.

What helps Hamilton is its base on Ron Chernow‘s massive book on the life and times of Alexander Hamilton and the struggle around the revolution. Chernow’s book resonated with Lin-Manuel Miranda, and when Lin-Manuel sat down to write Hamilton…

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I Had a Dream

musings, Uncategorized

I had a weird dream last night.

It was part magical/happy and part Dali-esque trippy.

The magical happy: the Cheeto had not been elected president. Which yay! But somehow I was in power….which…woah, I don’t think so. Because I’m not sure that’s where I want to be AT ALL.

Regardless, there was a certain current president there. And he touched me on the shoulder and he told me to stay strong and keep fighting.

I was standing in this white room surrounded by people and a podium and cameras and journalists. Yet I was the one on the podium, in front of the people and the president was telling me to keep fighting. To resist. To move forward.

I’ve never been one to hold politicians up on pedestals, but I do care for Mr. Barack Obama, I quite like his wife, and his family. As far as presidents go, he has been a really good one.


Obama at CSU in 2012, shot by Rebecca Lee Robinson- I waited for 9 hours to get to see him and to get this shot.

I don’t agree with all the actions or inaction Obama has taken as a president, and I wish he could have done more than he did during his two terms. I understand though, with a congress that blocked most changes, and the checks and balances we have as a nation, that progress is slow.

However, progress has been made. It has also been because of his strong leadership and ability to connect with people that this has happened.

On a personal note, Obamacare has made my life manageable by having care and aid during tough times and medical issues. Having changes made to student loans, at least government, mean I can manage until I establish my career and finances. There are actual jobs for people and most are paying better than before.

Environmental initiatives have been taken to limit the damage humans have done. It’s probably too little too late, but it’s an effort to not totally eradicate life on this planet.

These are all important things. Not to mention national debt reduction and more people in jobs. It’s not perfect, but he’s picking up the pieces of a system that failed a lot of people.

Which is why so many of us supported Bernie, and then Hillary when she adopted much of the same rallying cry.

But… the electoral college, a system that isn’t really working so hot, has lead us to Trump. It’s also the fact Hillary wasn’t super likable, or that many people felt rejected by liberal elitism. Add in some racism and nationalism and people with a lack of true information and news and you have what we have. A narcissist that really wanted power for his own interests and ego, and that would and did say anything to win it.

THIS is what has depressed me and worried me to my core since Trump first announced he was running, it burned more after the primaries, and I felt like I had been thrown in a fire pit when he was elected.

It’s been almost a month, and I’m still feeling depressed and scared. As a history nerd, and with a BA, the parallels to the rise of Naziism and other eccentric fascist regimes terrifies me. The fact many white-supremacists support him, terrifies me.

The fact we also have a right-wing controlled house, congress and presidency is concerning. We also have Trump that will place someone in the supreme court, which will shape laws and movements in this country for decades.

Needless to say, I’ve been having a hard time. I’ve been feeling hopeless and frustrated and trapped. I have been cut off, and reserved and just feeling shitty. At times I don’t have a lot of hope for what the next four years will bring. At times, I’m so scared I can’t leave my bed. I know I’m not alone.

This dream I had, this novel idea of the President, someone I admire, telling me to move forward, is pretty intense. I think it has more psychology than symbolism behind it. I know that it is really my own voice telling me “get it together” “move” “resist” “protest” “fight”. This little voice, speaking above my anger and hatred to the Cheeto, telling me “I must go on and I can’t stop now”.

The battle hasn’t fully begun, we wait in the trenches for first gun-fire, but I know I can’t stay behind and die before I even leave the trench. I know I must clean off my shoes and tie my hair back and put on my Nasty Woman shirt and fight for another day, a future, a better situation.

I encourage you to do the same.

Take a dream, foster it, don’t let it die

Keep Track


This was one of the first things I saw this morning:


It really struck me too. Because it’s something so basic and simple, but yet it’s happening. These things are either being tucked away and hidden or new nastiness is seeping through the cracks to the mainstream.

Right before the election I head an analyst describe the Trump movement like fracking, we had tapped into a hidden oil stream. Except this time, it’s a sludge of hate, bigotry, lies, racist and misogyny and still people are making a lot of money on it.

Back to the tweet.

Which is really a picture of what Amy Siskind posted on her Facebook:

1. Acts of hate – for the first 400 per SPLC, I could name many that I had seen covered by the media. Then I noticed the count exceeded 700, and I realized I knew very little about those additional 300.
2. Reporters critique their own paper’s coverage of Trump, then delete it (see attached which disappeared overnight, after 2k+ retweets).
3. A president-elect is openly (on Twitter!) trying to take away our freedom of expressions, First Amendment rights: targets this week include SNL, NYT and Hamilton.
4. The media, including traditional media, covered an alt-right conference and published their demands, which included a ban on immigration for 50 years of anyone not white, and an all white nation.

5. Major media following Trump’s reality show storylines, instead of reporting as traditional media/journalism.

6. Democrats advocating for a Mitt Romney appointment to SOS [secretary of state] – a man with whom we agree on almost nothing on policy, but because he is competent and not a racist or a bigot.

7. The pace of untraditional, unorthodox acts, and conflicts of interest by Trump are coming so fast and furious, they’re barely getting coverage.

8. Utter outrage by the left at the complacency and largely silence of our elected leaders. Watch of a Tea Party-esque type uprising.

9. A request for tolerance for, and understanding of, white supremacists.
What observations would you add?

Let’s pick this apart, and let’s be honest about what is happening right now with “media” and with the coverage of this election.

Really, and fully, the media didn’t think we would be where we are now. Those that wanted it, now have it, and those like Breitbart are celebrating because they are getting free coverage of their issues. Their issues are amalgamations of “research” by a non-profit that Mr. Breitbart owns, that he has sent to media organizations to get coverage on. Which elevates his non-profit and then Breitbart can turn around and make sensational and ridiculous articles on. Making a strong, never-ending money making oil that has pulled many a good journalist into the mix. On the Media analyzed this today, which you can listen to here. All around you have someone that was very skilled in media manipulation and he won the game. He denied the presidency from someone that was actually skilled and delivered it soaked in sludge for the American public to devour.

The problem is that we didn’t start talking about this, really, actively talking, until now.

We let Trump dominate our news streams and say horrible things, and NOW we’re seeing the depth of his work and his plan to get where he is now.


As someone with a MA in journalism, I am literally screaming on the inside that more was not done to analyze this relationship. This is also where I say, WE NEED BETTER JOURNALISM PRACTICES!


WE NEED REAL JOURNALISTS DOING JOURNALISM- meaning people with education, experience and standards

WE NEED TO HOLD PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS AND STATEMENTS- something we obviously didn’t do enough of with Trump because we didn’t take him seriously. Which means we also need to TAKE EXTREMIST GROUPS SERIOUSLY AND CALL THEM OUT.

AND I do not mean groups outside of the country, no I mean the ones that are our neighbors that hide behind confederate flags and Facebook memes.

Things have changed on a personal level for me. And maybe I have just had it with being bullied in my life from employers and “friends” and ignorant assholes online. I’ve changed and I’ve had it and that means that I have been actively not taking crap anymore. Which means I am butting heads with more people, where before I would walk away or not say anything. I’m sick of being a “nice girl” and never getting anywhere so I’m done with it, and I want to demand accountability. This means that I have been called names on social media and bullied.

I pissed off one guy for calling him out on his ignorance on the definition of “Celtic” peoples. I admittedly called him a douche. But instead of even reacting to my comment, he instead tweeted out my name to his 34,000 followers. Who decided to start attacking me in his name. I was told I was ugly and stupid and that my money spent getting my BA and MA would have been better spent on plastic surgery.

Other comments I have made on simple things such as a New Yorker comic, which was today, in that I liked the comic. Someone decided I needed to be called a LibBitch due to the way I wrote “You.Made.My.Day.”.

These are only two examples of the hundreds of statements I’ve heard since I was a teenager, including: Feminazi, libTard etc. Granted there have been others that were meant to be offensive such as dyke and cunt, but I don’t find those all that offensive, so…..

Even if these little things have happened to me, little things because they’re done behind a safety blanket of social media, they don’t matter that much. They sting a little. I’m getting a thick skin from this year. Yet, they’re VERY small potatoes compared to the OVER 700 crimes committed that are considered hate crimes in the last WEEK-AND-A-HALF. Crimes that involved physical assault and the ruining of property. Crimes that have threatened safety and families. Disgusting, cowardly and horrendous crimes that are creeping out of the sludge.

And like Siskind points out, our lack of thorough and high-quality journalism has meant that we worry more about Hamilton (a musical I LOVE btw) “offending Trump” than we are about the hate-crimes committed or the human rights violations dealing with the Dakota Access Pipeline.

While giving air-space to people like Richard Spencer, we’re not taking the time to fact-check and deeply discuss what people like him are saying and what it means that they’re saying these things. We’re not looking at these White-Supremacist meetings as anything serious, yet that’s how we got here in the first place. We’re not freaking out about Trumps administration because we’re distracted by all the other sludge he’s drowning us in.

And maybe, just maybe, we all (us historians and journalists and and left-leaning peoples) feel so low and shaken by this election that we are wanting to be optimistic and play by the rules of nice. Yet, as someone that has always played nice for 25 years and I’m regretting it, I say we only play nice when others are also going to follow the rules. So far, the Trump-ites are not, and I am refusing to play nice while we descend into allowing such extreme ideas become the norm. I refuse to let the sludge become a part of our normal existence, and you should too.

Keep track of the changes. Speak out. Refuse to be idle.

Being a Bookseller (As told by Merida from Brave)


Old Firehouse Books

We start out all bright eyed and bushy-tailed, hopeful to save the world from a lack of reading!


It all seems like fun and games, a world of endless possibilities and joy!


Then we start to realize it’s not all fun and games.


You realize there is a lot of work and practice that goes into becoming the excellent bookseller you were meant to be.


You realize no one reads signs, in a bookstore, because…READING? (So you go home and do this.)


You will think about food and eating way more than you thought possible (mostly because you are surrounded by delicious restaurants.)


You’ll also try to eat between customers…. and look like a goober.


Some days are less exciting than others. (Oh the culling!)


While other days are brimming with excitement!



Some days you can be a total dork and have way too much fun!


At times you might…

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