Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Let’s Talk About Fit

*I wrote this post before the wedding, but held off on publishing it until now.*DSCN4353Shopping for wedding dresses and realizing I had just found THE DRESS

When we last chatted about my wedding dress I mentioned that I had the teeny tiny problem that it didn’t zip up.  Somehow or other by chest had inflated 2 inches in the last few months when I wasn’t looking?  After that I watched what I ate, hit my bikini boot camp classes in the rain when no one else (save for one other lady) showed up and it was paying off.  A few pounds lost and half an inch from my chest.  But it was too late.  I tried my dress on again a month away from the wedding and the zipper was still a good 1.5 inches away at the top.

My mom told me to stop worrying about losing the inches and just take the dress in for alterations.  I called the dress shop up at 6:30 pm on a Friday and sheepishly asked if they had an appointment for the next day.  And I even more sheepishly said the wedding is in July.  Luckily I was able to get in at 4:00 pm the next day.  Phew, I was lucky because I almost left it too late.

The seamstress was really nice.  She ripped apart a seam near the zipper but there wasn’t enough seam allowance to allow us to let it out.  Taking the zipper out and changing it to a corset back is simple enough so that is the direction we decided to go.  (Sigh, I’m going to miss you zipper with pretty little buttons overtop…)  DSCN4361I had enough silk left over from my hair flower so I brought it in, in case the seamstress wanted to use it for the modesty panel.  I also brought the miscellaneous bonus pieces from my dress in case they could help and I think she contemplated using parts for the lace up.

After the zipper was replaced with a corset back the chest was too large (oh the irony)!  They had to take it in now, but I also had to switch out from my bust minimizing strapless bra for something that wouldn’t smoosh the girls down quite so much – the Victoria’s Secret Biofit 7 Way Bra.  I also picked up a pair of Spanx Simplicity Panties so I wouldn’t have to worry about sucking my tummy in all the time during photos.

After two rounds of alterations my dress was ready to pick up just a couple of days before Mr. Gazelle and I had to leave Calgary.  I was so lucky that they were able to make all of the alterations in time.  If I have any advice, if you are worried that your dress won’t fit, don’t put it off.  Just get it altered.  I feel beautiful in my dress and I’m happy with the changes that were made to it.  Now I can’t wait to wear it!!DSCN5212 - cropDid you have a dress fitting conundrum?  How did you handle it?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gazelle Bridesmaid Dresses–Revealed!

Something that I was never able to share with the Hive before the wedding were our finished bridesmaid dresses.  My mom, being the awesome seamstress that she is, offered to make the dresses for our girls.  We settled upon Butterick B5322 for MOH-T:

B5322Image via Butterick

And for BM-D, she would get the strapless version of Simplicity 4070.

4070Image via Simplicity

My mom would adjust the skirt of the patterns to include box pleats similar to our Alfred Sung inspiration dresses.

D438Alfred Sung Style D438 / Image via Toronto Dresses

You guys, Mama Gazelle was awesome and amazing.  She made several treks out to Calgary (a 7 hour drive one way) to fit the dresses on the girls to ensure that the girls would feel beautiful and that the dresses would fit perfectly.  Plus, not only was she making the two bridesmaid dresses, she was making our Flower Girl’s dress and her own dress.  She had to pull a couple of all nighters the week of the wedding to finish everything off, but at the end of the day everyone looked so beautiful.

First up, our super cute and adorable niece as our Flower Girl:DSCN5134DSCN5498

Next up BM-D:DSCN5127DSCN5128

And finally MOH-T:DSCN5131All together:DSCN5509Model shot!DSCN5572

*All pictures courtesy of our awesome guests – thank you!

Even though the girls could pick any shoes they wanted (except preferably not black) they both chose the Dasa from Nine West in pewter satin.DSCN4959

Mama Gazelle then made a tie for each dress in a matching fabric to the shoes.

I think the girls looked amazing and their dresses fit them so well.  Many thanks to Mama Gazelle for all of the hard work that she put in.  It definitely paid off!

Did your bridesmaids order their dresses or are you having them made?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gazelles Take Manhattan–Day 5

Our last day in New York for our honeymoon! We had a few hours that day before our plane was scheduled to leave so we figured we would make the most of it.

Mr. Gazelle had one thing left on his list of things to do in New York before we left. Eat pizza. I scoured Yelp trying to figure out where to go but it seems like every place had its fans or its negative feedback. While it would have been great to go to one of the pizzerias in Brooklyn that some of the Bees recommended I was worried we’d have issues with time.

Instead we selected Lombardi’s, hailed as America’s first pizzeria. I had been here years ago and I fondly remembered their clam pie (pizza with no tomato sauce and freshly shucked clams and garlic on top). We got there early and managed to get a table right away in the tiny restaurant.DSCN5948Perhaps our eyes were bigger then our stomachs because we ordered a large pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms and anchovies. You have no idea how excited I was about the prospect of anchovies on top of my pizza!!DSCN5951The crust was perfectly chewy and the tomato sauce was so flavourful.DSCN5953DSCN5955After we ate all the pizza we could possibly eat we hopped on the subway back to our hotel. We made a quick detour at Grand Central Station so that we could see the ceiling in better light than when we were there the other evening.IMGP4131We decided to continue on foot to our hotel so we could see the New York Public Library.IMGP4141IMGP4148And one last look up Fifth Avenue.IMGP4147With that it was time to head to the airport and begin the journey home.

So what are Ms. Gazelle’s tips for honeymooning in New York?

  • Prepare for a lot of walking. Bring comfortable shoes! And if you are going in the summer you may want to plan on multiple costume changes.
  • Do a bit of research before you go. Restaurants seem to get packed, so if there are any places you are really keen to go make reservations ahead of time.
  • Also falling into the research category has to do with visiting museums and attractions. We could have saved some money with a one day City Pass since we visited the Museum of Natural History, Top of the Rock and Empire State Building all in one day. Initially this wasn’t the plan so I didn’t look into the City Pass too much. We also could have gotten a discount by buying a combo Top of the Rock/Harry Pottery Exhibition ticket package. When we visited Top of the Rock we weren’t sure if we were going to make it to Harry Potter though.
  • The unlimited Metro Cards are great, especially if you want to hop on and off the subway. It was really easy to get around…except on the weekend. Watch out for signs for closures and detours around various stops.
  • If you plan on lugging around a DSLR camera but you don’t want to look like you are lugging around a DSLR camera, then look into some of the great camera bags turned purses. Mr. Gazelle got me a Kelly Moore B-Hobo bag for my birthday and it was terrific to have in New York. It was great for carrying my camera, an extra lens, my point and shoot, plus wallet and cell phone.DSCN5844

And with that, the Gazelle honeymoon is over! Time to get back to talking about our wedding!!

Do you have any great honeymoon tips to share with the Hive?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gazelles Take Manhattan–Day 4

Our final full day in New York dawned and Mr. Gazelle and I were at a bit of a loss.  We had a few things we were keen on seeing and doing but we weren’t really sure how to spend our entire day.  So instead we decided to play things by ear! 

We figured we’d need a bit of a snack to get us going.  A friend of mine suggested a visit to the Doughnut Plant since apparently their doughnuts are delicious!  We weren’t able to make it to the actual Doughnut Plant so instead we grabbed one of their chocolate doughnuts at the Dean & Deluca near our hotel.DSCN5896With the rumble in our stomachs settled we hopped on the subway and made our way to our next destination.  Katz’s Deli.DSCN5911DSCN5906Friends and Bees said that this was the number one place to go for corned beef and pastrami sandwiches.  Mr. Gazelle and I split a corned beef sandwich and it was delicious!DSCN5900DSCN5903DSCN5904The sandwich was amazing and well worth a visit even though it is a bit out of the way.  Sandwiches run from $11.10 to $17.25, beers are $4.40 to $8.00.

After feeling suitably stuffed post lunch we decided to walk it off with a stroll over the Brooklyn Bridge.IMGP4062Whoowee, it was a hot one out there!DSCN5917The bridge is such a cool structure to admire up close and the views of the city are really neat too.  I highly recommend a visit!  IMGP4075IMGP4073After we made our way back to Manhattan we decided to hop the subway to check out Battery Park so Mr. Gazelle could get a bit of a better view of the Statue of Liberty.  IMGP4111Even though we were only planning on being in New York for five days we picked up a 7 day unlimited ride Metro Card.  We loved the flexibility it gave us to hop on and off the subway and we got a ton of use out of it.  DSCN5921From Battery Park we walked up through the Financial District, past the New York Stock Exchange.IMGP4126After all of this time outside in the heat Mr. Gazelle and I were ready to cool off.  We started with some delicious salted caramel frozen yoghurt from Pinkberry, a place I have heard people rave about.DSCN5922Then we headed indoors to check out the Harry Potter Exhibition!DSCN5926Mr. Gazelle and I are huge Harry Potter fans and it was awesome to see some of the props from the movies so up close and personal.  The detail that went into the props was just astounding!  Stop by and see it if you are in New York up until September 5th, otherwise it will be down in Sydney, AU at the end of the year (I’m looking at you Mrs. Jaguar and Miss Teaspoon!).

Finally it was time for our last dinner in New York.  We chose to save the best for last with a visit to Tom Collichio’s Craft.  Mr. Gazelle and I are also huge Top Chef nerds so of course we wanted to visit the head judge’s restaurant.DSCN5937I will say that this was the most expensive restaurant we ate at, but the service here was unparalleled.  They congratulated us on our honeymoon as soon as we walked in the door and brought us a glass of sparkling wine to kick the dinner off.  We dined on some of the most amazing fois gras, pork, duck and beets I think we’ve ever had.  Our server’s favourite spice dusted doughnuts for dessert were out of this world.DSCN5945The kitchen had their own way of saying congratulations as well.DSCN5947Appetizers are $10+, mains are $29-$50, side dishes $9-$18 and wine is $40+/bottle.

One of our favourite experiences on the trip though, without a doubt.  With full bellies and somewhat sad hearts that our honeymoon was almost over, Mr. Gazelle and I hopped in a cab and made our way back to the hotel to call it a night.

Are you huge fans of Harry Pottery and Top Chef like we are?  Did you indulge your nerdy side on your honeymoon?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Gazelles Take Manhattan–Day 3

Our second day in New York was admittedly more for me – shopping and afternoon tea.  Day three was Mr. Gazelle’s day!  We started our day with a trip to the American Museum of Natural History.  We picked up the all inclusive super saver tickets that would get us into the Hayden Planetarium, the IMAX shows and two special exhibits – The Brain and World’s Largest Dinosaurs.IMGP3852Check out how excited Mr. Gazelle is to see the show at the planetarium!IMGP3864In between special exhibits we checked out the rest of the museum.IMGP3851The museum is huge!!IMGP3896Ms. Gazelle even found the gazelles!  There was so much to see that it really is impossible to tackle it all in one day.  We were there on a weekday, but there were still huge groups of kids all visiting that day so it was pretty busy.

Gazelle’s top tip for seeing the museum?  Download the AMNH Explorer app before you go!  The museum has free wi-fi and this made it easy to get around and find things easily (like the bathrooms).

After the museum we made our way over to Rockefeller Center.  It was time to relax, grab a beverage and enjoy some sunshine at the Rink Bar.IMGP3972Beers are $9-$12, cocktails are $10-$13 and wines are $9-$17.  Drink specials from 5 pm onwards though!

We then visited the Top of the Rock.DSCN5816In the elevators on the way up!  While the Top of the Rock is not as high up as the Empire State Building, where else can you actually look at the Empire State Building?IMGP3995The views of Central Park were amazing too!IMGP3982Tickets for entrance to the Top of the Rock are timed and it never felt very crowded up there.DSCN5835This was one of our favourite things that we did in New York.  Thank you to all of the bees who suggested that we visit here!

It was back to the hotel for a quick change, and then on to dinner.  On our way we decided to stop and check out Grand Central Station quickly.DSCN5844Then on to Les Halles on Park Avenue for dinner!DSCN5846Les Halles is a Parisian style brasserie and also the home base for Anthony Bourdain.  We also just happened to be there on Bastille Day so it was insane!  The food was delicious – my steak with bĂ©arnaise sauce was cooked perfectly.DSCN5852We capped dinner off with crepes suzette, because nothing says romance on a honeymoon like food on fire!  DSCN5863Appetizers range from $7.75 – $19.50.  Entrees range $20-$36.  Wines run $39 and up, but select wines are 50% off on Mondays.

It was a short walk to the Empire State Building from the restaurant.  We thought we would check out the views from the top at night.  DSCN5892Check it out, I’ve got tickets!DSCN5872On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights there is a live jazz saxophonist on the 86th floor.IMGP4038Even though it was about 11 pm it was still really busy up there – in fact it took us ages just to make it to the 86th floor.DSCN5882IMGP4041We decided to buy passes to the 102nd floor as well.  DSCN5889It is teeny tiny up there, but the highlight of the visit was the fellow in charge of the elevator to get up to the 102nd floor.  He was a hoot!

Day 3 was packed and we had a ton of stuff planned for our last full day in New York.  Time to get some rest!

Have you been to the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building?  Which did you prefer?  I’d definitely recommend the Top of the Rock!!!