Even though I live in New York City, home to Kleinfeld's and other pillars of the wedding dress industry, I decided not to go wedding dress shopping there. I wanted to visit my parents in Ohio and I thought that we might have better luck finding a good deal on something fabulous in the Midwest. To prepare for shopping I compiled a list of adjectives I knew I wanted my dress to exemplify: elegant, simple, classic, natural, with an interesting focal point. As far as silhouette goes I was pretty open, because I had no clue what different styles would look like on my figure. So, I planned a trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan with my Mom to check out a couple stores.
First, I got an appointment at The Brides Project, they sell gently used wedding dresses at discounted prices. All of the people who work in the store are volunteers, and all of the proceeds go towards the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor. I love the idea of recycling a dress that was worn once and donating to a good cause as well, so this was an ideal opportunity. The store was stocked from wall to wall with wedding dresses and my Mom and I with the help of two kind volunteers got to flip through the racks of dresses. I had never tried on a wedding dress in my life and this was a wonderful introduction into the fantasies and foibles of the bridal world. I must have tried on 10 dresses each one of them teaching me a little bit about what I like and don't like on my figure. We didn't end up finding anything quite right at this store, but I will certainly consider donating my dress to them after our wedding and I would absolutely recommend that people check this place out. The prices and the mission can't be beat!
The second store where we had an appointment was The Gown Shop in downtown Ann Arbor. Ariel and I actually went to high school with the owner, Stacy Fork, a fun little connection! The shop was very private, contemporary and chic. It was quite a different experience at The Gown Shop we did not do any hands on browsing, in fact the dresses were hanging guarded in a separate room tantalizing us from afar. We sat down in an elegant private dressing room with our dress expert and she asked me a series of questions about what I was looking for in a dress. This boutique features dresses from the trendiest designers, with one of a kind looks that are expertly constructed and made from very lux fabrics. Our incredibly knowledgeable consultant grabbed us four dresses that she felt best met all of my criteria. In the end, much to our surprise, we ended up buying a dress! The dress was made by Magdalena Gmyr a Toronto based designer known for her figure flattering, architectural designs. The Gown Shop is the only store in the United States that carries her gowns and the dress we found is a retired design, so those two facts make if feel like an extra special find. But just wait I haven't told you the best part...The dress was a SAMPLE, so we got a great deal too! HOORAY!!!
Hello! I have been off the radar for a couple of weeks because I have been in rehearsal for "Dial M for Murder" at the New London Barn Playhouse. I am playing the character Margot, who was made famous by the impossibly beautiful and blonde Grace Kelly in the 1954 Hitchcock film adaptation. For various reasons the director and designers considered giving me a wig to play this character. I tried on brown wigs and red wigs and blonde wigs, and it was one of the blonde ones that The Barn had in stock that ended up looking the best. So I braced myself for a blonde transformation. Eleanor Seaman, who works in the costume shop, became interested in costuming from making things for events like Comic-Con and this summer she has expanded her skills into becoming a wig expert. She has learned to custom make lace fronts for wigs so that they blend seamlessly into a persons hair line and give the appearance of natural hair growth (that sounds like an ad for Rogaine). This process can be applied to improving the quality of even the cheapest halloween wigs.
Eleanor mummified my head in plastic wrap and then traced my natural hair line with a permanent marker. She then strategically put masking tape on the plastic wrap so that it would hold the form of my head once she lifted it off. The next step is to place this on a head form and use my hairline to cut a piece of the lace material. Eleanor told me that the most difficult part of this process is getting the lace front to lay flat to the persons forehead by a series of discreet tucks and pleats underneath. The part that is most impressive to me is that she then applies individual strands of hair through the lace and ties them into tiny knots.
As it goes in theater, there were last minute changes and I ended up going with my natural hair in the show. But I am glad to have gone through this process because it gave me a little more awareness and respect for wig making. Thanks Eleanor! - <3 ~ Mer
I recently entered the Lilla Rogers Studio Global Talent Search (GTS). It is a yearly contest put on by Lilla and her team to find up-and-coming artists in the surface design world. I know it is going to be a great challenge and wonderful chance to showcase my work and be put in the running to win two years representation from Lilla Rogers and a slew of other amazing opportunities. The idea of a contest if very daunting to me. I entered the 2013 Fabric 8 Contest from Spoonflower and Robert Kaufman Fabrics. The theme was "Geek Chic" and my design made it to the top 100, which was really exciting and encouraging. GTS feels like the ultimate in career/life changing opportunities. Wish me luck as I leap into it with nerves and excitement leading the way.
On the Fourth of July weekend I went to visit Pedar in Idaho. He is in a production of "Les Miserables"
in the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. I thought it would be a perfect time to take engagement photos to capture this joyous time in our lives as well as the stunning Idaho landscape. We found an incredible photographer, Meredith Adams, Brilliant Light Photography. Before meeting her I was totally impressed browsing her website by the connections that she seemed to make with each couple and
also the way that each couple's distinct personalities shined through the images. The name of her company is no joke, the light during our photo session was truly "brilliant."
We met Meredith in Camelsback park in Boise. The park has a giant sand dune at it's heart that, thankfully, we weaved our way up avoiding the straight vertical climb. I did not wear the right shoes for such an athletic endeavor. Oops! Atop the sand dune there were paths with all sorts of yellow grasses surrounding them. I immediately felt welcomed by Meredith, we joked about sharing a name, talked easily about her background in photography and also told her all about us. We made a very nice connection, she is even going to go see Pedar in "Les Mis!" I created an engagement photo Pinterest board that I shared with her in advance and she carefully took my inspiration into account while she guided us through our photography session. It was very fun and relaxed and I think the end results show an honest depiction of our relationship (except that we don't usually frolic in fields).
Pedar and I are both so pleased with how the pictures turned out. We are hoping to use one or several as save the dates for our wedding. Meredith Adams really delivered on the photos, she promised only 50 shots and gave us 200 to choose from! It is going to be a challenge to narrow it down.
We planned ahead and brought some props with us, including the picnic blanket that Pedar proposed to me on, which came in handy in separating us from some of the sharp grasses. I would love to share some of my favorites, so Ariel and I have created a Flickr that showcases our 50ish favorite pictures!
I hope you enjoy browsing them as much as I have!
It was not a challenge for me to figure out who I wanted to ask to be my bridesmaids, the more pressing question for me was how? I scoured the internet for ideas but nothing I found stood out to me as perfectly suitable for me or my friends. But, in another wedding related search, while looking for what people have used as substitutes for throwing rice, you know so the birds don't explode (old wive's tale?), I found a design for homemade confetti poppers. The poppers are made out of plastic push-pop containers that you can find at most craft stores in the baking section. I thought about buying confetti to put inside of them, but it just seemed so wasteful and messy to me so I opted for making my own confetti. To make my own confetti, I tore colorful pages out of magazines and three whole punched my way through the pages until they looked like a herd of caterpillars had gotten to them. For some added fun I bought some shiny white and gold pom-poms to stuff inside for a more textured explosion. I covered the push-pop in gold and white polka-dotted paper, and tried to keep the design simple, graphic and self explanatory, "POP."
One of my bridesmaids is spending her summer in the outdoors and so I wanted to cater her popper to her lifestyle. So I filled it not only with bio-degradable confetti but also with seeds! Hopefully some of them will take root and sprout!
Under the confetti I hid this message at the base of the stick to be revealed once the poppers have burst open. So it should be right in their sightline once the confetti has settled. I have put these babies in the mail, now all I can do is wait. I hope they say yes!!!
Back in February, I signed up for the Lilla Rogers MATS (Make Art That Sells) Bootcamp. Lilla Rogers is a well respected and well known art and illustration agent. She offers great classes for those of us interested in making art a career. I had never taken one of her classes before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I signed up with the goal of adding to my portfolio and honing my illustrative style. Every month since February we received a project theme from Lilla. I have to admit that sometimes finding the time and energy between my full-time design job and surface pattern design work, can be a challenge, so I decided to give myself a break and go at my own pace with the class. I didn’t meet all of the monthly deadlines, but I do feel like having the structure of the monthly assignments and the wealth of knowledge that the Facebook group provided were a great way to stay inspired to continue pushing towards my goals. I feel like I still have a lot to learn, people to meet and most importantly, art to make, but I am confident that I will continue to forge ahead and make my surface pattern design dreams a reality.
The last Bootcamp assignment for July was to illustrate a drink as a personal project for yourself or a loved one. This is my “Ultimate Bloody Mary” that I created for a dear friend who loves all things savory. I'm really happy with how it turned out. Cheers!
When I moved into my NYC sublet last fall I was excited by the challenge of living compactly.
My bedroom is about 8 ft. x 8 ft., so I'd say it is pretty petite! But thankfully the ceilings are spacious!
To emphasize the height of my room I created this accent wall using a khaki faux woodgrain wrapping paper. I hung it with the woodgrain running vertically to maximize the visual height. The wrapping paper is actually vinyl! The fact that it is vinyl helped me in the hanging process, because unlike regular, paper, wrapping paper it doesn't bend and tear. I bought two rolls of the paper on sale at T.J. Maxx for a total
of $5. Then I hung it up using a heavy duty double sided foam mounting tape. It was a really fun simple project and it has not only made my room feel taller, but has made it feel like home to me!
I just started a society 6 account for my designs. I like the society 6 platform because you can easily upload your designs onto a variety of products. Putting the art onto a surface really brings them to life. I'm really enjoying the process. You can check out my society 6
Ariel made this cute map of all of the places that Pedar and I have lived, mostly together sometimes apart. I love the little icons, especially the crab! I think it would make an adorable save the date!
Let me begin this post by saying, I was absolutely oblivious to the fact that Pedar was about to propose to me. We have been talking about getting married for a long time but I had no clue that he had taken steps in reality to make this happen! Although, I did spot him having a serious conversation with my Dad at the grill a few weeks back, but when nothing happened I figured I had just imagined the whole thing.
So, Pedar was visiting me for a couple weeks in New York City between acting contracts (so proud of him, it is such a challenge to be a working actor). We had been planning a picnic for days, but it kept getting put off for rain or trivia nights, you know, important stuff. But everything finally lined up and Pedar picked me up from work with a backpack stocked with picnic goods and we went to Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park where we found a semi-shady spot with a great view of Columbus Circle.
This is us right before the pivotal moment. That is the face of a man with a secret plan!
We ate an amazing smorgasbord and then snuggled on our picnic blanket. I saw him awkwardly feel around for something in his backpack behind him. Suspicious, I leaned in for a kiss and felt around in the grass behind his back. Guess I’m kind of a snoop. I felt something! He quickly grabbed the object and brought it out in front of me. It was a little box that he had made when he was 5 years old (kudos, Mrs. Bate for having the foresight to save this)!
He sat crosslegged with this box in his hands, feigning ignorance I said “What is that?” to which Pedar responded “You know what it is.”
He untied the piece of string and I opened the lid of the box
Inside was a beautiful vintage diamond ring!
Pedar said, “Will you marry me?”
To which I responded, “Of course!!! Yesss!!!”
He put the ring on my finger.
The ring belonged to his Grandma and it shimmers like it is brand new. I couldn’t have handpicked a more beautiful ring and it fits my finger perfectly without us having to get it sized or anything! Ariel made us this cute picnic blanket for Christmas!
We were absolutely cracking up with joy, laughing and crying all at once so swept up in all of the feelings. So many feelings. We seriously couldn’t stop giggling and trying out calling each other fiancé and Beyoncé.
We went and celebrated at Tavern on the Green. I had no idea it had reopened!
It was like another little magical nugget for the evening!
They have this amazing outdoor space with strings of mini-chandelier lights.
Feeling extra fancy, Pedar bought us a bottle of champagne. There is this goofiness about our relationship that has inspired in both of us a freedom to embrace our cornball romantic sides. We danced under the lights to a song by Steve Tyrell (one of my parent’s favorite singers) and to me everything was a blur except for us. I was and continue to be elated!
This was the BEST day of my life so far!
I am so thrilled that I get to marry this wonderful special human who has been a constant source of love and laughter in my life! I am so looking forward to our wedding day, and even more so I am looking forward to being married to him. ~ Mer
PS: Look at what I came home to see on my chalkboard calendar! <3
This year I embarked on a brand new adventure! I decided to tackle the amazing world of surface pattern design. If you're not familiar with what a surface pattern designer does, we create patterns and illustrations to go on different products i.e. fabric, paper products and home goods to name a few. The real possibilities for application as a surface pattern designer are basically endless. The thought of which is so overwhelming and exciting :)
I think the first step for all new ventures has to be a great business card. I was so happy with how mine turned out. The yellow edge painting is even more epic in person! (Cards designed by me. Printed by Iron Curtain Press Los Angeles)