Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fairy-Tale Wedding? Disney Can Supply the Gown

I am not sure what I think about this. Thanks to Kathleen for sending this article from the WSJ my way.
Princess-Inspired Designs Aim to Attract Older Crowd;Subtle Mermaid Styling

February 22, 2007; Page B1
Walt Disney Co. has made a fortune out of turning little girls into princesses. Now it plans to turn big girls into princesses, too.

In a move to expand the reach of one of its most popular franchises, Cinderella and her regal friends are moving into the bridal business with a line of wedding dresses and accessories. Disney has teamed up with couture bridal designer Kirstie Kelly to transform blushing brides into their favorite princesses, complete with billowing gowns and crystal tiaras. At a cost of $1,100 to $3,000 for each gown, brides will be able to walk down the aisle in dresses inspired by Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine or Ariel.


As Ms. Kelly sees it, Cinderella is "classic glamour" -- the dresses in her line come in high-shine satin with ball-gown skirts and make generous use of silver embroidery and crystals. Snow White has a slightly more conservative look dubbed "sweet elegance." Ariel and Jasmine models are considerably racier. Ariel, who played the title role in "The Little Mermaid," has a "sultry allure" and is "comfortable showing her body." Jasmine, from "Aladdin," is "bohemian chic," and her various dresses are big on sheath and lace. In all, Disney will offer 34 princess designs for its first season.

The new wedding gowns, which will go on sale made-to-order at bridal boutiques in North America in June, are an effort by Disney to extend its line of princess paraphernalia to older consumers. Created in 2001 when the company's consumer-products division started packaging its female characters, Disney Princess has grown into a craze among little girls that is fast approaching annual sales of $3.5 billion from costumes, dolls, bedroom furniture and other regalia.

In thinking of ways it could reach outside the core princess crowd of 3- to 6-year-olds, Disney homed in on women who had grown up with the characters. Brides seemed an obvious target.

"Most brides, even the cynical ones, want to be a princess on their wedding day and see their husband-to-be as Prince Charming," Ms. Kelly said recently at her bridal boutique in the upscale Brentwood district of Los Angeles. To date, there are no plans to offer prince costumes for grooms.

But don't expect the gaudy princess costumes that kids run around in. Ms. Kelly says her designs are more about capturing the "mood" of the princess than creating an exact replica of each of the cartoon characters' outfits.

That means using more subtle colors than the startling pinks, yellows and blues of the mini-princess world. The Cinderella designs, for instance, come in refined ivory and champagne, rather than the bright blue of the original attire. That also means including only delicate features from the characters' costumes. One of the five Ariel designs has a subtle mermaid styling to the skirt, for instance. Another has waves of shell-like beading cascading down to the hem.

By making the designs more subtle versions of the characters, the company hopes to appeal to more buyers. "No bride wants to look like she's at her sweet-16 birthday party," says Sandy Ferreira, who has ordered the princess dresses for her Distinctive Designs Bridal boutique in Rockville, Md. "There needs to be a sense of elegance."

Still, some of the dresses go places the princess costumes wouldn't dream of -- namely a sexier look. For the newer princesses, Ariel and Jasmine, the designs feature dropped necklines and backs and bare shoulders. (In an unrelated move, Disney also is using a sexy version of Cinderella in an advertising campaign that features actress Scarlett Johansson in the princess's blue dress.)

The dresses aren't Disney's first venture into weddings. The company has a popular wedding service at its theme parks. Thousands of couples have been married to such tunes as "Someday My Prince Will Come," with their wedding rings offered up in a glass slipper before being whisked away in Cinderella's coach. Yesterday, the company unveiled a new wedding-planning service from celebrity party planner David Tutera, starting at around $75,000 for 50 guests.

Until now, brides who wanted the full princess experience had to design their own gowns. In its research leading up to the decision to make the dresses, Disney found that brides tend to spend more on their dress than they plan to, which amounts to an average 10% of a $26,000 total budget.

The midrange market marks a shift for Ms. Kelly, who usually designs couture dresses costing as much as $20,000 for celebrity clients, including some of the cast in the movie "Wedding Crashers."

To maintain a luxurious look at lower prices, the 38-year-old designer found a Chinese factory three hours outside Guangzhou that was experienced at making wedding dresses.

She used cheaper materials in parts of the dress that don't meet the eye. The Snow White-inspired dresses, for instance, combine silks on the surface with polyester fabrics underneath.

In designing the dresses, Ms. Kelly says she spent night after night watching animated Disney movies such as "Cinderella." Then she tried to imagine what the modern-day equivalent of each of the princesses would be.

She pictured Sleeping Beauty as a creative type and labeled her "pretty romance." Her dress features an elegant A-line skirt with pearl-like beads and crystals at the hem. By contrast, Belle, from "Beauty and the Beast," "knows who she is" and would be a doctor or lawyer. Her dress with "stylish sophistication" comes in taffeta and features her signature roses.

Some of the princesses skew slightly older than others, Ms. Kelly felt. Belle, for instance, is an older bride, perhaps 30-35, while Snow White is younger, maybe in her early 20s.

Ms. Kelly sketched out various designs for each princess, which she plans to unveil at Bridal Week in New York in April. Disney hopes by the end of the year to offer the dresses in around 500 boutiques in North America, and has plans to move into Europe and Japan as well. It's also launching a line of costume jewelry for each princess with pieces costing $45 to $295.

Other accessories will follow in October, including bridesmaid and flower-girl dresses, as well as shoes next year. For now, Disney is recommending existing brands of shoes for each outfit -- for instance, Jimmy Choo for Cinderella and London Sole ballet flats for Snow White.

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The Annals of Being a Bridesmaid #2

Another entry (names changed to protect the innocent and long-suffering). We love this woman's attitude!

My worst bridesmaid story involves many separate weddings, all leading up to the worst. In the past 2 years, I have been a bridesmaid 4 times and a reader/guest book watcher/ insert other crappy job, numerous others. Until last Saturday, I had caught three bouquets at the past weddings because as everyone knows, if you’re single you are forced to go up and catch the bouquet. [Ed. note: Erin finds the bouquet toss to be the perfect opportunity to hit the ladies room.]

In the past, the running joke had been to “aim for Jessica” (uh, me). Ha ha, isn’t that clever? The first or second time I heard it, I tried to make a joke out of it and say that I need more fake flowers in my apartment anyway or I appreciate the opportunity to practice my superior catching skills.

Regardless of the impressions of friends, I do not view my self as a desperate single. I have a good job, I’m currently working on my MBA and I like to think that I am reasonably attractive. I also have a boyfriend whom I have been dating for quite awhile, who is also in graduate school and looking into getting his PhD. I am happy where I am and truthfully would not want to change anything until we were both out of school anyway. However, if you were to ask my engaged/married/pregnant friends, because he has not purchased the obligatory iceberg for my hand, I must not be happy.

Last Saturday, at my best friend from high school’s wedding, while wearing my 3rd consecutive strapless burgundy bridesmaid dress, I reported front and center to the “single’s circle,” ready to await a parcel of flowers hurled at my head. To my surprise, I did not see any flowers aiming in my direction. Had the bride mercilessly decided to by-pass my presence and give it to one of the 3 eight-year-old flower girls that so desperately wanted them? Alas, no. My friend had snuck up behind me to HAND THEM TO ME. Yes, that’s correct. Apparently neither my catching skills at the last 10 weddings, nor my luck at finding a man who would possibly want to marry me could be trusted, and to ensure the traditional joke and folly, she thought that singling me out (no pun intended) and handing me the bouquet was best.

To top it all off, the person that caught the garter was her 10-year-old cousin, who appeared mortified to have his picture taken with me. He must have thought that being single was contagious. I could have cried, laughed or even run out. Instead I chose to smile; after all was her day and someday even if I never marry and am eaten alive by my various cats, I know that I will have a very lovely apartment. It’s a good thing I like fake flowers.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Annals of Being a Bridesmaid: #1

Thus begins our special feature: The Annals of Being a Bridesmaid, wherein we share some of the best entries we received to our Single Girl's Registry. While we thank the awesome folks at Random House for doing the contest and look forward to hearing who won, we almost think $200 doesn't cut it for what some of you went through.

One reader sent in the above picture with this simple but very apt message:

"They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Enough said."
Very true. But of course Valerie & I can't be completely silent when your dress looks like it was repurposed from Holiday Inn Express bedcovers after they upgraded their look from "English Garden" to "South West."

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Monday, February 19, 2007

The "F" Word

The thing about being a Bridal Wave (ahem) straggler is that when you are finally done attending all your friends' weddings, you may find you have yet another one to go to that you weren't expecting: yours.

If you are anything like Valerie and me, princess dresses and tiaras make you break out in hives, and if you read The Bridal Wave, you know the wedding industry is designed to make even the mightiest woman into a complete sucker. (Isn't it funny that all the near-hysterical headlines about marriage being on the decline fail to mention that the wedding industry is booming--and doesn't appear to be concerned about all the New York Times U.S. Census stories? Here's a fun fact: If you were born after 1977 you have been labeled a “Millennial” also called an “Echo Boomer” or “Gen Y.” You are the children of baby boomer parents and you outnumber the generation before you, which means that you are responsible for the projected 22% that the bridal market is expected to grow from 2002 to 2017. )

So like we told you in the book, if you WANT to get married, chances are good (88%) that you will...once you've survived the recycling of Mr. Not-Quites, the trauma of your Grandfather trying to set you up with his elder care aide, and having your butt fall asleep while sitting at the singles' table. What do you do then?

Enter Kelly Bare's new book The "F" Word: A Fiancee Tells Her Story From "I Will" to "I Do". Kind of like a big sister to The Bridal Wave, Kelly's book picks up where ours leaves off, and through her really smart essays (she had me at "engagment," her possibly Freudian-slip of the keys when tried to type "engagement") she continues the good fight in demystifying all that "Happiest Day of Your Life" propaganda. So if you or one of your really cool friends is heading for a lobridemy, check this book out.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Why do I care about ads?

This has been a TV-heavy weekend for me. Lots of couch time. Lots of TiVo. I should have done a Valerie’s Reality, but I watched so many different shows in a row that they’ve all blurred together. Unfortunately, Brothers and Sisters I had to watch live, and therefore had to suffer through the commercials. Here then, my thoughts on a few of them.

Purell- The first time I saw their tagline, “Imagine a Touchable World,” I thought it was sad that so many people have become such germaphobes. On second viewing (I rewound, thank you TiVo,) I came up with a different theory: when they researched the commercial they had a focus group full of "heavy Purell users" i.e., germaphobes. Imagine eight of these people sitting around a table, talking about Purell situations, and probably skeeving each other out in the process. For them the world is untouchable. I'm glad not to relate. I admit that I am more of a slob than most, but I am also never sick. I touch doorknobs without fear, safe in the knowledge that germs don't live on metal surfaces, or so I tell myself.

Kleenex- This ad featured a woman talking about her struggles in life and how she overcame them. The she spoke about crying and then you find out that she is schilling for Kleenex. Their tagline, "Let It Out" is lame. Is their strategy, "celebrate crying"? I guess that could be ok. Crying can be good. But Kleenex seems more like nose blowing to me. I guess it would be hard to have a 30 second, inspirational story that hits its zenith when the protagonist blows her nose.

I did like a few commercials today. One for the Toyota Tundra and one that of course now I can’t remember. Oh, and I am liking the “so easy even a caveman can do it” ads more and more. Unfortunately I am not sure what brand they’re for. Is it Geico? I’ll check after posting.

I have been watching a lot of TLC, Oh! and WE this weekend. I have nothing interesting to say about that, but feel I must confess.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A casualty of the Bridal Wave

Sounds like someone was in desperate need of our book.....and a Psychiatrist!

Dumaguete City, Philippines - published on - A woman who got mad that her boyfriend of 12 years hadn’t gotten her a valentine’s day gift flew into a rage yesterday and chopped off her left nipple after cutting off her boyfriend’s penis first.

Reynato Reyes, 41, said that his girlfriend had wanted a wedding ring and had been asking for marriage due to stress and nagging from her mother who was dying from cancer.

The girlfriend herself also wanted to have children before she got too old to “play with them”, he said and her mom had hinted on several occasions that Reynato was a loser and that her daughter would be better off without him.

Reynato said that if he had married his girlfriend like the mom wanted, she probably (the mom) would not have stopped nagging them anyway and he saw no need of marrying her as it kept their relationship much more alive that way.

He said the girlfriend, Loreli Belmonte, 32, had warned him that if he did not get her what she wanted after staying with him that long, then she would cut off a part of her body that he loved the most.

Reynato says that he did not take her seriously since she herself loved her own breasts and had forced Reynato to pay for her to get a breast augmentation two years ago.

Reynado says he immediately forgot about the threat when he went to work that morning and that upon coming back home from work later that evening, he found a gift-wrapped box sitting on the floor of his living room.

Just then, Loreli walked in from the bedroom and straight out asked him for “the ring”.

When Reynato failed to produce a ring, Loreli calmly walked toward the box, opened it and took out a brand new machete.

Reynato tried backing out the front door and was obstructed by a chair behind him. He fell backwards and hit his head on the arm chair knocking himself out.

When he came to, he was lying on a hospital bed with unbelievable pain in his groin.

He learned from the police as they questioned him that his girlfriend had indeed cut off her left nipple after cutting his penis off and had then proceeded to call the police and tell them exactly what she had done.

Doctors did manage to stitch Reynato’s penis back and he says he is ready to forgive and forget and would take her back as soon as she is released from jail.

thanks for sending my way, Scott!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Fun VD Facts (valentine's day that is)

Thanks to Scott for passing on these fun VD facts. There are ton more if you click on the link above

File under No Duh
"More than one-third of men would prefer not receiving a gift. Less than 20 percent of women feel the same way."

We've all thought about
"15 percent of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day."

Makes you wonder about those November birthdays
"According to the condom company Durex, condom sales are highest around Valentine's Day, which are 20 percent to 30 percent higher than usual."

"More at-home pregnancy tests are sold in March than in any other month."

Strategic marketing?
"Penicillin, a popular treatment for venereal diseases such as syphilis, was introduced to the world on February 14, 1929."

What? I thought we outnumbered men
"For every 120 single men who are in their 20s, there are 100 single women in the same age range."

Personally, all I ever want for VD is a box of chocolates, preferably bought on Feb 15 for 50% off. And yes, I have been known to buy it for myself.

The Great Bouquet-Off


A tacky tale for VD (what my brilliant friend, Paddy, calls Valentine's Day)

Not so long ago, in a land not that far away, ok, at the ad agency where I used to work, V-day in my office was all about what I called, "the bouquet-off": which girl got the best/largest/most flowers. Flowers were held at the side entrance and all day long girls made lame jokes about how those gorgeous long stems had to be for them, "are you sure my name isn't on the card?" For many, the joke was one of those half-serious things, where you hope that the receptionist would say, "as a matter of fact, they are."

Now, I am not one for flowers, in fact I have specifically told Tommy not to get my flowers because I think that cutting something down in the prime of its life is sort of depressing, giving it as a gift, even worse. (Though a friend's recent gift of cut tulips did make my day...) Anyway, i am getting sidetracked.

The competition was unspoken, but I can tell you that I was very vocal when my then-boyfriend took me at my word and didn't give me any flowers.....nothing. I was so psyched to have a boyfriend for once and I was beyond bummed to not get that call from reception. We got into a fight that night.

That I am married to him today, while the girl who got 3 dozen long-stemmed beauties is still single, is a testament to the fact that we should not got too caught up in number of stems in our vase. I was sucked into the materialism of a Hallmark holiday and acted like a spoiled brat.

For years we see commercials for Zales and Kay, telling us that love means little black boxes. Unrealistic expectations of romantic gestures set many couples up for a V-Day fight. Not exactly what Cupid intended.

Of course, V-Day is another reminder to singles that they are nobody's valentine. In our book we talk about Bridal Wave Danger Zones and how to respond when your mother calls to ask how you are fairing, all alone on yet another Valentine's Day. Also, with the holidays being the time with the most engagements, many women are still reeling from a slew of their friends I've Got Big News engagement calls when, before they know it, they are hit with another round of calls, the V-day engagements.

My advice for singles, go ahead and feel bummed for yourself if you are so inclined. If there is any one day to wallow, Valentine's Day is it. Just keep it to today though. A pity party can be just what the doctor ordered, but don't let your bad mood be the guest who you can't get to leave.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Bridal Wave Hits the Sunset Strip

After leaving sub-zero temperatures in NYC, we did what anyone fleeing winter would do: we rented a Mustang convertible so we could arrive at our reading in style.(Sadly, no sooner did we get to Hollywood and park the car for lunch did someone clip our driver's side mirror and leave it dangling. Note to the hit and run driver on Martel: karma's a bitch.) But we did arrive on Sunset to see our book cover and mugs staring back at us from the Book Soup window:

Before it startd, I 'fessed up that the motivating factor for me to work at Book Soup during college was its proximity to the Viper Room, because I hoped Johnny Depp might drop by and realize we were meant to be. (What can I say? I hadn't met S. yet.) But Johnny & I were not meant to be, as he never dropped by, though plenty of other celebs did. When school started again, I could not keep two jobs and quit BS. Before I left, however, I helped get Val a job there. And who did she wait on her first day?

Yes. Johnny.

After doing a bit of reading from the book, we got to sit back and enjoy our friends read selected entries from our bridesmaid horror story contest (which by the way, ends Thursday, 2/15, so you still have a few more days to enter). A big thank you to our super-talented friends Lynn Chen, Ali Davis, Kathleen Kindle, Noah Laracy, Susannah Laracy, and Will O'Hara!

Wine was on hand thanks to the fabulous people at Bodega Wine Bar.

Valerie signs a copy for the lovely Lynda Kay of Lonesome Spurs.

My pal Andrea Meyer, whose novel "Room For Love" comes out this September from St. Martin's Press!

Here are some more scenes for everyone who couldn't be there. Hope to do something similar on the east coast when the weather is warmer!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

How eighties!

So I am not a fan of 80's nostalgia. I lived it and wore neon without irony. I think I feel about the 80's the way my mom felt about me coming home with a treasure trove of thrift store finds from the 70's. She didn't think it was a treasure.

Anywho, the other day Tommy and I went to Bed Bath and Beyond (I tend to always need things that fall into the "beyond" category) at the Beverly Center, where you have to pay $1 for the privilege of parking. Paying to shop will never make sense to me.

Just after pulling into the lot we realized that between the two of us we didn't have a dollar to our name. We parked and began the desperate game of searching the car for change. Frustrated that we only came up with $0.50 we decided to just go in and figure out the dollar later. And in that nanosecond when the door was closing Tommy realized that we had locked the keys in the car.

I bet not many of you could do this anymore. Thanks to the mighty key FOB, most of us are spared from that dreadful moment when the door is closing just as you recognize what you've done. Not us. We kick it old school with our keys. So now we are locked out of our car without a dollar to our name.....or our cell phones! That's right, we left them at home. I always have my phone. Always. So now we are penniless and unable to make a phone call. Just try finding a pay phone these days.

Thankfully, the kind manager of Bed Bath and Beyond called Mall security who helped us get back into our car....for free! They did break our door's lock, but I'll just add that to the list of our car's quirks. Our quick trip took about an hour and a half: just long enough for Stella to get tired of waiting for us and pee on the living room floor. awesome.

All I could think throughout the whole ordeal was "how very 80's."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Martha Stewart Living Radio

Listen to us:

Wednesday, February 7, 1:00 p.m. EST
Kerry Nolan's Living Today (Martha Stewart Radio-SIRIUS channel 112)

Cynics Rejoice

My friend Jacque sent me this link:

Capitalizing on divorce rates, and, as they put it, the "what do i do with the ring?" scenario that follows, the good folks behind are just trying to help out with your loss--getting only 25-35% of the ring's original retail value when you try to sell it.


Gives new meaning to the term "conflict diamonds," doesn't it?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Candace Bushnell Time Change

Hi everyone,

If you are a SIRIUS subscriber, you'll get a double feature of us today:

Today from 6:30-7:15 EST, catch us on Candace Bushnell's Sex, Success and Sensibility (SIRIUS channel 102)

Then turn the dial to channel 159 to listen to us on
Father Dave Dwyer's Busted Halo