Wining Wife®

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Tag: marriage

My Birthday Dinner Date (Wearing My Gorgeous Rent The Runway Dress)

Dinner date!

So, Wining Husband took me out to dinner tonight, though my birthday isn’t for a couple more days. We went to a little place called Pasquini’s Fine Italian Food. My husbs made the reservations last week, and we drove down. The food there is very good, and they have an amazing wine list (We had Decoy). I strongly recommend it if every you are passing through Live Oak, California (or if you’re living within an hour of Live Oak).

*Below are some affiliate links, and if you click, and purchase, I will receive compensation. I was given $25 by Rent The Runway to try out their service, but any thoughts below are my own.*

I’ve been wanting to try Rent The Runway for a long time, but I was nervous – I mean, I’m a plus size gal, and what if their clothes didn’t fit my curvaceous body? YIKES! Plus, I was not aware that they carried plus size designers including Kay Unger, Adrianna Papell, or Badgley Mischka. Remember that Vogue pattern I was in love with? The one I thought merited a James Bond party just so I’d have occasion to wear it? That’s a Badgley Mischka.

Since I had a special occasion approaching – my 37th  birthday (and hey, who doesn’t want to look FABULOUS on her birthday?) I thought “I must have a special dress.” I was offered a discount on the service at Rent the Runway, and so, I decided that I’d try it out.

I went to the website and entered my information in. If you select your style, the type of occasion, and answer questions about what colors you like to wear, you will receive suggestions based on your size and the availability of dresses for your event.

I was floored. I had no idea they’d have so many amazing dresses in my size. Locally, we have to drive an hour and a half before we can find decent plus-size shopping for my post-baby body, so to see so many options when I get so frustrated shopping, was great. I quickly found some options that I thought would work great with my orange hair, and selected a dress by IGIGI. It was the Azure Amrbosia Dress.

Azure Ambrosia Dress – $35.00
from: Rent The Runway

 I decided “what the heck” and ordered the “grab bag” accessory to go with the dress. I have a TON of earrings and necklaces, but none of them formal enough to wear with the dress. The earrings they sent wound up being the Slate & Willow Cerulean Plume Earrings – they were absolutely gorgeous! The pictures don’t do them justice. I mean, beautiful, sparkling, and absolutely gorgeous with the dress.

Cerulean Plume Earrings – $15.00
from: Rent The Runway

I clicked “reserve” and reserved the outfit for this weekend. Then I began stalking my UPS man. Not really, but you know, I was even more excited than when I’m getting a delivery from Mood. Well…maybe just as excited.

Soon it was Friday, the promised delivery day. There was a knock at the door – and WOAH there was my box.


I was super dee dooper excited, and just had to rip into it. Did I mention that you can have two sizes sent for the same price? This was a great option since I’m kind of between sizes at the moment because that whole triathlon thing? It still hasn’t gotten off the ground, and I’ve well…

…enough of that. I ripped into the box and saw the dresses, neatly packaged with garment bags and a handy tag to remind me of my return date (return shipping is pre-paid, so all you have to do is drop off the return envelope with your items at a UPS store.):

Say it with me:






In all seriousness though, I found the careful wrapping a great thing. I LOVE that you get an extra size for no extra charge. The earrings came in a box, and boy!



I was so giddy. I felt like Becky Bloomwood in Shopaholic. They’d even thrown in SAMPLES. Samples! (perfume and a hair serum) – Samples! Such service!

Today, before we could go out, I had to get Spanx and nylons…so we did that, and I got some new mascara and eye liner by Smashbox while we were at Nordstrom.

I then, (horror of all horrors) changed in a gas station bathroom. I went in wearing jeans and a t-shirt and no makeup and came out diva-fied.

It was kind of like when Clark Kent went into a phone booth and came out as Superman. Kind of. It was more private and slitely skeevy, and I came out as Super Wining Wife, ready for action and adventure. (How was it that no one saw him changing in there?)

We had a great time (as you can see from the first picture – AND – I got tons of compliments on my dress, including a girl who said royal blue was her favorite color and she thought it was awesome with my hair. I strongly recommend the services at Rent The Runway, and I’ve already put together a shortlist for dresses for New Years (and Thanksgiving).

In fact, I may have to sign up for a pro account with them. I mean…how aweome is it to get a new dress and new accessories in the mail? Particularly when they are designer brands?

It’s pretty awesome.

Here’s some more pictures of the dress on me:

At the end of the night, Baby Girl was super happy to have mommy back home


Messy Beautiful Love Book Launch

Love is easy.

Marriage is HARD!

There, I said it. Even in a good marriage, there will be times when you and your spouse are struggling to get along, when you have one thing after another coming at you from all ends of the spectrum, or when some hurdle comes up that causes a great deal of stress.

Love is not neat and orderly. You can’t put it in a box at the end of the day and expect it to stay in the same place. It grows and changes and shifts and…

You get the idea.

I was selected to be a reviewer and part of the book launch team for Messy Beautiful Love by Darlene Schacht. I’ve been reading the author, Darlene’s blog The Time-Warp Wife for a while and inspired by many of her posts on how to make a stronger marriage.

Yup, I’m old fashioned like that. I don’t talk a lot about my beliefs on here, but I do think that it’s important for us marrieds to make our marriage a priority in our lives. Yes, that means even when you have children. I have two. One is 16 and one is 8 1/2 months old. Marriage is still important!

In fact, the best way to stay together through the tough stuff is to stick together through the simple stuff. That means making your spouse a priority in your life. Yeah, it’s not easy in an age where work expects us to be on-call 24 hours a day, but it’s necessary. After all, tough stuff ends, kids grow up and move out, friends change jobs and situations, but at the end of the day, at the end of the season, at the end of the career, you have your spouse.

Enough of my soap box.

Messy Beautiful Love begins when things get messy. Financial problems, aging parents, a chronically unhappy spouse – all things that are beyond our individual control threaten to derail us on our quest for a long, happy, and healthy marriage if we let them. The book talks about surrendering your relationship to God, and waiting out the storm, while coming together as a couple. Look, it’s easy to be married in the honeymoon period. It’s considerably tougher when you wake up and realize that you’re in this lifeboat together, and what you do not only affects you, but it affects your spouse and your marriage.

The book talks about how it’s important to be your husband’s cheerleader – whether you’re with him or he’s out of sight. How many of us know that person in our group of friends who says awful things about her husband when he’s not around? I’ve written on why this sort of thing bothers me in the past. I don’t like husband bashing, and I don’t like it when people constantly husband bash. Isn’t this the person you stood next to and promised your love to? Religious or not, we owe our spouses our respect, love, and kindness.

In all, the book promises to be one that focuses on how to get through the tough times together – not just the easy times. You can pre-order it, and when you do, you’ll receive over $50 worth of free goodies.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received on having a long and healthy marriage? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Life: Inexpensive Dates with Your Spouse


lunch-2007-04-03a (Photo credit: flakyredhead)


It’s so important to continue to date your spouse after you get married, and especially after you have kids together. However, it’s not always cheap to go on dates – and not having money for a date can be a deterrent for many couples who would otherwise go out. In Success in Life Through Personality Engineering, my co-author (Murali Chemuturi) and I give a list of ideas for inexpensive dates. Here are a few suggestions.


  • Go on a walk around a park together, take a picnic lunch made at home, enjoy the picnic lunch
  • Visit a library book sale – our local Friends of the Library sale has books for as low as 25 cents! It can be fun to explore these sales together
  • Take advantage of some of your local businesses and farms. Many of the local wineries here will have new release parties where the tasting is either free or only $5 a person
  • Go out for dessert together – this will get you both out of the house, and you won’t spend as much money as you would on a full dinner
  • Visit a restaurant that has a happy hour menu or cocktail menu, often you can try out their dishes as “small plates” for far less than you would pay for a full meal
  • Try having lunch out instead of dinner, if you want to go to a fancy restaurant; lunch prices are usually less than dinner prices
  • Keep a jar filled with low-cost and free activities you’d like to try out. When boredom hits, pull an activity out of the jar and do that
  • Volunteer together – it can be a lot of fun to team up with your spouse to help others, plus by working together toward a common goal, you can help build your relationship


What do you and your spouse like to do that’s inexpensive or free? As a family, we enjoy going to our local observatory, which is volunteer-led and always free. It could also make a very romantic date for a couple. Please leave your thoughts in the comments.



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Life: Don’t go to bed angry

By remembering that Wining Husband is my best friend, it helps to resolve differences when they crop up. He and I promised one another to avoid going to bed angry when we got married.

In the vows my husband and I said to each other when we got married, we had our marriage deputy (my father-in-law) give a speech about what makes a good marriage. Including in the quote in our vows was a bit about not going to bed angry. We never go to bed angry – and believe me, like all married couples, we have our disagreements.

To me, not going to bed angry means that you don’t take a grudge with your spouse. Even if you don’t resolve the argument, you remember that you love this imperfect person next to you. You remember that you’ve promised this person a future. You remember all the wonderful things that sharing a life with this individual means for you. Sure, you might not see eye-to-eye, but at the same time, who wants to always agree with their spouse? It would be like being married to yourself, and if you’re like me, that would be booooooorrrrring!

Instead, it’s good that we challenge one another. What else will make us grow? I promised my husband to be his student and his teacher. Sure, we might not agree all the time, but we can definitely learn from one another. It’s hard to admit when I’m wrong, but when I realize that I am, I quickly apologize and we move on. Vice-versa is true of Wining Husband. If you’re going to bed angry, you’re holding onto resentment. Your spouse is only human. Many things that we argue about really don’t matter in the long run of things. I mean, I honestly cannot remember what little thing it was that sparked the last argument we have. What I do remember is my husband holding my hand the entire time I was in the ER having medical tests done. What does matter is having mutual respect and honesty in a relationship. Those are paramount to having a good life together.

Success in Life through Personality Engineering

Commitment doesn’t just mean commitment to your spouse when it’s working. It means looking at the person you’re arguing with, remembering that the person is fallible, and has his or her own flaws and strengths, and remembering that you love that person. It means choosing to take a deep breath and find a way to resolve differences rather than shout out angry words. It means saying “I need to take a break and have some space in the other room for a few minutes” when you feel flooded with emotion. It means that you look at the other person and you want no harm at all to ever come to that person – least of all from you. That’s why it’s so important that when you climb into bed next to your spouse, that you do not harbor feelings of anger. Anger breeds discontent and resentment which are killers for a marriage. In my book, Success in Life Through Personality Engineering (Co-authored with Murali Chemuturi), I talk about healthy relationships and sustaining a marriage. It is vital to keep resentment out of relationships, because it can lead to contempt. By resolving conflicts quickly – or agreeing to discuss an argument later, and going to bed together as a couple – contempt can be kept out of relationships.


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Theme Song: Pink MartiniLet’s Never Stop Falling in Love

Just Married!

So, a week ago, my husband and I decided, for a variety of reasons, that we would go ahead and get married. We still are planning on having a religious/traditional wedding next year on our two-year anniversary. It’s always good to celebrate love. We went out to a local bridge and said our vows, in front of our officiant – my husband’s father – and then we went out to lunch and drank champagne to celebrate. I don’t think I’ve ever made a better decision than the one I made in marrying him. We followed up our marriage ceremony by heading off that evening to participate in my second firewalk – his first. The first firewalk was 4 days before we met. It was just as amazing a second time. We each crossed the fire once on our own, and then twice holding hands. Talk about a spectacular way to celebrate a marriage! We finished off the evening by both participating in an arrow breaking ceremony. There are photographs of the event, that I will post as soon as I have them available to me. Meanwhile, here’s a picture of us a little bit before we walked over 1400 degree coals together.

Mr. and Mrs. Firewalker before our walk across the coals

I couldn’t imagine a better partner or friend. Here’s to many years spent in the future with the most wonderful and supportive husband a gal could dream of  🙂


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Saturday Night Date Night

Theme Song: “By the Cathedral” Keren Ann

So tonight we went to a wine tasting, dinner, and to see the film The Avengers. It was a pretty good time!

Hope everyone is having a lovely Mother’s Day weekend! What do your plans involve?

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Supporting Gay Marriage…Or as I Like to Call it, Marriage


Theme Song: “Lounge Act” Nirvana

For almost a year now, I’ve worked as a volunteer with a very important organization, Stonewall Alliance. They offer support services and community for all members of the LGBTIQQA population (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, and Ally) locally. Many of my friends belong to this community, as do I. I cannot tell you how much it means to me that President Obama has offered his support to the issue of equality for all couples when it comes to marriage. It should not ever be a fight for one member of a relationship to visit the other in the hospital because they are not legally married. It should not be an issue when our soldiers are off for their partners to receive support and aid as any married couple would. The fact that one is a member of the LGBTIQQA community does not make he or she any less capable of deep commitment than anyone else. In fact, one only has to look at many of the relationships in politics or Hollywood to understand that relationships only last so long as the people committed to the relationship work on it and not only commit once to one another, but continually commit themselves to the other individual in the relationship.

Marriage has many dimensions to it. There’s the emotional level – the commitment we make to our partners on a daily basis. I don’t think there needs to be any kind of ceremony or ritual to make for an emotional marriage between two people. There’s the spiritual level – the deep level bond two people have between themselves and their spiritual life, and it is often celebrated in the form of a ceremony with others. There’s such a breadth of religious beliefs in the world, that I don’t want to limit what is possible there, so here I mean spiritual in the largest sense possible. This can tie into the community sense – the community’s recognized support and acknowledgement of the relationship, but these two can be separate. There’s also the legal sense – the sense in which certain rights or privileges are granted based upon the community recognition of a couple’s official status.

What is sad is that we often deny marriage in the community and legal sense to those who are fully committed to one another in all senses of the word. In the past we have also denied interracial marriages and interfaith marriages. Isn’t it time we allow ALL people who would like to marry to be able to do so?

Marriage is a dynamic relationship, it has been shown to alleviate stress, lead to happier lives, and extend the lives of those who are in this particular relationship. Why deny the right to commit oneself fully, with the community support and legal benefits and rights, that heterosexual couples are able to receive to others based upon who they love? To me, that seems like too far a step back in time.


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Forcing Incompatibilities


Image courtesy of

Theme song: Pink “So What”

Sometimes, you have to meet the right person in order to know just how wrong the wrong person was.

I think it’s interesting how sometimes, we want our story to be more important than real life and so we’ll try to force compatibility out of incompatibility with others in order to do so. I’m at a point in my life where I no longer want to be someone I’m not just to get along with others. But when I was younger, I would do that all the time. You see, growing up, I wasn’t someone who fit in with the crowd. I preferred reading books to shopping for clothes, writing stories to going to the movies, and sports to makeup.  I was content to march to the beat of my own drummer. I was a kid who’d read the Bible because I felt like I should know what was in there – not because I believed that it was true.

Things changed at some point. Though I was always the philosophical kid, I met someone in high school who changed me. I gave up watching The New Mickey Mouse Club – which may have been for the best, but I also gave up other things. I gave up creative writing club, Amnesty International, stage crew, radio club, acting and dancing classes, several close friends, and babysitting. I gave up the music I loved to listen to – exchanging rap for hard rock. I went from being the girl who would sing loudly to passing cars with her best friend in front of the house in exchange for being quiet. I went from being confident to being very self-conscious. I wanted a black dress to wear to prom, I wound up wearing a white one at his insistence. I began to give up the traditions I’d grown up with in exchange for his traditions. In essence, I gave up me. When the relationship ended, I had to re-define who I was, outside of the relationship. Some of it was because of his insistence that I change, but I also allowed it to happen. I’d been too afraid to be who I was – for whatever reason, and too afraid to lose the attention he gave me.

Parents stepped in, but for different reasons. We were too serious about each other too young – far after I gave up my first activity. When I look at various life events I’ve experienced, I look at that period and think, “Parents should have stepped in much sooner.”

Later in life, I met up with the same boy, only he was grown up. I convinced myself that our story would be a romantic love story – even though we had nothing in common. Once again, I found myself being changed. Before him, I had a list of reasons not to get married, denoted by random numbers I’d come up with when a friend would complain about a spouse or I’d read random marriage stories (full disclaimer here, I’m still not entirely sure I believe in marriage. The main reason I wasn’t sure marriage worked was because in most cases, the woman winds up giving up a lot of herself for the sake of the relationship. Granted, relationships in general require that we compromise on some things – and I haven’t always been willing to compromise!)  Once again, I gave up many things that were important to me – graduate school, reading for fun, alone time, friends, traditions, and more.

Granted, I don’t blame him for all of that. It takes to to tango, and I was at a place, at 30, where I was freaking out about the fact that I was single. I let a lot of things slide. “You don’t like brown? I guess I won’t wear my favorite brown shirt then.” “You act strange at parties because you get nervous? I guess I won’t be going to parties anymore.” “You have a problem with the holidays I celebrate? I guess I won’t be hunting Easter eggs anymore.” “You want me to denounce the traditions I grew up with and embrace yours? –

but wait, I can’t. I never considered myself so, but I cannot give up the ideas and traditions of Christianity.” When I realized that, and realized how much of myself I’d been letting pass by – I was the sort of person before we were together who always had to be doing something, out in the world. With him, I was the sort of person who worked all the time. I no longer had balance. I started to reclaim who I was.

But, when I started to reclaim myself, and the things I wanted out of life, I started to realize that there was no way in which we were compatible for one another. And things, eventually, became crystal clear that they would not work out.

Why am I writing all of this? Publicly? I don’t know, I suppose it’s because I want to save other women (and men) from making similar mistakes. It’s not the only relationship where that happened, but it is the only relationship where it happened to such a degree that a year later I’m still undoing the “not-mes” that had occurred. I finally once again have a wardrobe that reflects my personality. If you find yourself forcing incompatibilities into compatibilities, it’s like putting too much stuff in an already overflowing closet. At some point, that door will open, and it will all fall out. You’re not alone – others I’ve talked to have done it, but if you’re doing it, don’t marry the person. At some point you will want to be you again.

The truth is, you don’t have to like the same music or the same people in order to be with someone. Why do we fool ourselves into believing that we have to meet some sort of imaginary checklist the other person has? Moving forward, if  being around someone makes you uncomfortable, and you find yourself saying you like things you don’t like or acting in a manner that goes against who you are, think hard about what that other person really is adding to your life. You should be able to be yourself when with your partner. My current partner is supportive, and I can always be myself around him. I never have to pretend to be someone else, and more importantly, I never have to pretend to like anything I don’t like. It’s so important to find someone you love who loves you for exactly who you are. And with all the crazy stuff that  happens in life, there is nothing more important than being yourself. Sure, that means we don’t always agree, but it also means we respect and love each other completely.

Have you ever compromised yourself for someone else? What happened?


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Engagement, Letting go of Fear, and Fuzzy Bunnies


Theme Song: “One Night, One Kiss” – The Russian Futurists

Current Projects: Client work, laundry, cleaning the bathroom

So, first off, I got engaged! YAY!  That’s a really good thing. Unlike the woman on tv who runs amok afraid of commitment and long-term relationships, I am in one, and it’s awesome. I was reading a post by Charlie Penn over at Man, Wife, and Dog on Huffington Post today about reasons why we should believe in marriage. There are so many good reasons to believe in marriage – if your marriage is a healthy one. One of the greatest things about marriage is that you have someone, presumably  your best friend, there with you when the going gets tough. It’s amazing how many proverbial rocks can be flung at you in life. When you have an advocate, hanging out with you, believing in you, it makes everything that much better!

Then we come into letting go of fear. At my church’s sermon on Easter Sunday, the pastor talked about how when the three women came to clean Jesus’ corpse, there was instead an angel there. The angel said, first, “Don’t be afraid.” It got me thinking about a lot of things – this sermon. First, I thought about how many times we are afraid – and how that fear really does hold us hostage was a big point that resonated with me. Even with the firewalk last year, sometimes I still am afraid of things – all kinds of things! When you let fear take you as hostage, you become frozen and cannot move. And it got me thinking – sometimes two contradictory fears can really mess with you – the fear of success and the fear of failure. If you’re someone who holds both of these fears, I can feel for you. I’ve been known to get “stuck” between these two fears myself.

The sermon accompanied a book I’ve been reading, Work Like You’re Showing Off. This book has a chapter on “letting go.” It’s important to be able to let go of stuff that holds us back. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about negative thought patterns. Yes, I did a firewalk – and that was *awesome!* I’d recommend it to anyone who has something they want to overcome in terms of fear. At the same time, I still struggle sometimes with self-doubt. (YUCK!) I think part of i
That gets me to the second thought on letting go of fear – sometimes we’re comfortable being held hostage by the things we fear – because it is what we know. If I were to let go of some of my hangups, the need to analyze everything, little nagging fears etc., then that would mean venturing into an uncertain future. And that gets me back to the original topic of the post – marriage. In order to commit ourselves, we need to let go of a lot of past crap that’s hanging around. In some ways there are lots of things that can go wrong in a marriage, but the truth of the matter is, it offers a lot of things that can go right – and there’s a lot of stability.t comes with analyzing everything – even stuff I don’t need to analyze.

Last year I did a firewalk (it happened to be just a few days before I met my fiancé). What are you doing to overcome your fears?


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