Recession Mama

{September 22, 2009}   Cowboys Crazy

By Heather

Cowboys Star

I was fortunate enough to witness sports history this weekend. Well sports stadium history anyway. The Dallas Cowboys had their first home game in the new stadium. Yes, the stadium is BIG. And yes it is really amazing. But after looking at the old stadium anything looks good. Unfortunately, the Cowboys didn’t dazzle like the stadium. They lost to the Giants. (can anyone scream turnovers!)

Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, is a proud papa of this new stadium. So proud that video aired before the start of the game compared the stadium to the Taj Mahal, Parthenon and other historical monuments. That might be taking it a bit too far. But I’m going to give Mr. Jones the benefit of the doubt and take it as a joke. I was giggling anyway.

The jumbo tron is well…. JUMBO! It’s so big I was distracted during the game. At 159 x 72 ft. it’s large and in charge. You can’t take your eyes off of the thing. I darn near got motion sickness while watching the Cowboys Cheerleaders do their high kicks.

Photo by Star-Telegram





Photo by Star-Telegram


Bye the way… this Jumbo tron doesn’t do anyone any favors. You can see fuzz, nose hairs, zits, any little defect on someone. I saw Jerry Jones scratching (picking) his nose, and a player tugging on his jock strap. I even saw a hint of cellulite on one of the cheerleaders and she burns thousands of calories a day dancing and kicking. Couple a too big screen with HD TV and you have some “reality” television. I shudder to think what I would look like on that thing. Stay away fan cam! Stay far, far away.

So was the whole thing worth the cost of admission ($340 a ticket for our seats), knocking down an entire neighborhood, and paying ungodly sums of money for refreshments and t-shirts and other merchandise? NO! But I was happy to be there anyway. I was happy to be in a stadium that was all shiny and new. I actually felt a little proud.

Just for the record the $10 truffle mac-n-cheese wasn’t any better than microwavable Kraft. My nearly $20 margarita (that’s for 1 not a pitcher) made me break into a sweat and left red splotches on my neck and chest. But it did help lessen the sting of a humiliating Cowboys loss. Sort of.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I haven’t included pictures of me at the stadium. That’s easy to answer. I forgot my camera. Ooops. I tried to take a pic with my phone, but frankly it looks horrible.

Cowboys - Copy

 Here’s a better picture of the outside.


(It really does glow like this at night. It’s like walking into a space ship or “Heaven” as I heard someone describe it.)

 Hey Jerry… if  you’re reading this blog, feel free to reimburse me for the refreshments. Better yet… how ’bout you cover next year’s season tickets. Just send the loot to my house.

Until then, make sure you’re not caught on the jumbo tron scratching body parts and tell quarterback Tony Romo to stop throwing interceptions.

See ya at the Thanksgiving game!

Check out the Cowboys and their new stadium @


{September 20, 2009}   Economical Emmy’s

By Katy

Kate Walsh at the 2009 Emmy Awards

Kate Walsh at the 2009 Emmy Awards

For last night’s Emmy Awards, “Private Practice” star Kate Walsh wore a strapless, flowy J. Mendel dress, Louis Vuitton shoes, jewelry from the Stephen Russell Contemporary Collection.  But what surprised me was when Kate showed E!’s Guiliana a $30 clutch and that she used SUAVE hair style products.  Now Suave…that was smart advertising!  It just got a major plug at the Emmy’s.  When would Suave ever get mentioned at an awards show?  Kate also mentioned that besides using Suave hair products, her look wasn’t her choice.  Instead, frugalistas voted for which hair style Kate would be wearing on television’s biggest night.

Here were their choices:


Obviously, she chose the modern bob in the middle, and I think it looks sexy and fresh!  I also think it’s sexy and fresh to choose a high-low mix for an awards show.  It’s how real people dress anyway.  Well, maybe not that HIGH.  But I definitely like to mix a Chanel bag with American Apparel and J. Crew.  Before words like “recessionista” and “frugalista” came into our post-recession vocabulary, I think truly stylish, and of course, girls without trust funds, always dressed this way.  But now, it’s fashionable to be frugal.  I wonder who else dressed for the recession at last night’s Emmy Awards.  And what do you think of Kate’s economical elegance?

{September 20, 2009}   Show Off That Smile!

Love to have a bright, white smile? Who doesn’t! But it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Here is today’s guest writer, Judy, in her own words:

Hi there, I’m Judy, Heather’s older neighbor growing up. My dad was her buddy. He was retired, so spent a lot of time puttering in the garage and Heather was always there. She’d also come to the back door during dinner and ask if Mr. “Hanglebur” (my family name is Hamburger) could play. My mom would say “Mr. Hanglebur has to finish his dinner first.”

I’ve been a dental hygienist for over 26 years so will tell you about tooth whitening on a budget. First of all, everybody’s enamel has a shade, just like your eyes and hair, not all are created equal. You need to have your teeth professionally cleaned by a hygienist; this gets off the extrinsic stain from coffee, tea, smoking. Toothpastes that say they whiten may keep your teeth CLEANER, but they don’t change the color of your teeth. If you get stain from any of the above mentioned, the trick is to brush (and floss/pick) your teeth more OFTEN to keep it off (4 times/daily for smokers).  To actually change the color, you must have a tray (preferably a professionally made one for YOUR mouth) to hold a whitening get (peroxide gels of different strengths) against your teeth for 30-60 minutes daily for 2-4 weeks. That’s my recommendation right there! Whitening products can cause sensitivity, so then you use them every other day, etc. (High acid food/drinks such as pop are the real culprit in sensitivity) The ultra-violet light activated systems that you see on makeover shows do work, but they can be painful and must be done with proper protection of the gum tissue. You then must also wear the trays for several weeks (that’s what they don’t tell you) to KEEP the lighter shade. I do NOT recommend those systems. They are much more expensive and risky. The trays have the same result but take 2-4 weeks. Also, don’t waste money on whitening paint-ons, they don’t work. The white strips are fine, but they are at a much lower percentage of peroxide and also don’t fit exactly, so get on your tissue and can cause irritation and sensitivity. So there you have it. And for what it’s worth, I like the Arm and Hammer brand of toothpaste. It has the most baking soda and keeps my coffee/tea stain off the best. Plain old baking soda is also great toothpaste, but doesn’t have the fresh flavor or fluoride! Red wine is the worst for staining; I won’t drink it in public at all!


{September 18, 2009}   The Lead Story That Means So Little

–by Carla

This week I heard the wonderful news that the recession was over.


You’d think this former news girl would at least post a link or have the mindset to have remembered where she heard such a thing, so here’s a picture instead. I’ve got two gorgeous baby boys under age 2.5 and they both had yucky nose issues this week (their 2nd summer cold in 2 months…ugh) so I’ve been up to my thick Lebanese eyebrows in tissues, hand sanitizer (or as Toddler Boy calls it “hanitizer”), baby Vick’s and gunk stuck in my hair (that last one is pretty normal, actually). So you’ll pardon me for not accurately detailing for you what should have otherwise been the top story on every station across the country: “The Recession Is Over!”.

Um, K.

This news had about as much impact on me as did the news that we WERE in a recession when it broke at the end of last year. Hello, I’d just been laid off. Not a real shocker. But even before then, while I was still anchoring the news, about a year and a half, maybe 2 years ago, we did story after story about this expert or that analyst saying we WERE already in a recession, or explaining why were weren’t ..and so on. I was so tired of those stories. Then when Lehman Brothers failed a year ago and the cards came crumbling down, it was clear to everyone on earth and possibly even some passing aliens just outside our stratosphere that we were in deep doodoo. But the “official” news that we were “actually” “in” a recession came months later. (Once again, if I were a journalist worth my salt, I’d look up that information, copy the link, paste it here and let you know, but I haven’t showered in 2 days, my hair is clumped up in 2 clips and I’m wearing the same thing I had on yesterday. Having 2 sick kids is a total beat down.)

So you can see that a recession “officially” having come to an end will likely mean little or nothing to most of us. It may do a little something something to Wall Street and Wall Street types, but there’s Wall Street and then there’s Main Street…and there are a bunch of houses for sale on Main Street. In fact, the story on the TV news the other night that followed the news that the recession was over was (no shiz) “150 Blockbuster Video employees are losing their jobs as the company closes several stores…” bla bla bla.

The financial experts and analysts and the smart people who do numbers and money for a living may have a sense of what’s going as far as “official” data, but it doesn’t change a thing for me or my family. I’m still a (very happy) full-time stay-at-home-mom now and we’re still living on a cop’s salary…and having a great time adjusting to this little curve ball.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited to see what happens in this new period of economic recovery, but I also think we need to be realistic about it and not think that life (those of us for whom life changed, that is) is automatically going to snap back to the way it was..with us gobbling up everything we could possibly cram into our ginormous houses that we could barely afford on 2 incomes and charging every last purchase we made, paying the minimum each month on our credit cards, putting debt out of our minds, leasing new cars every 2 or 3 years and not putting money away for the future.

Wait, come to think of it, I don’t want that life back.

{September 15, 2009}   Fundraising in a Recession

By Heather

If I told you how much we had to pay in property tax last year you would probably gasp. I know I did. I also nearly cried when I wrote the check. I am grateful we could cover it. But still…. it hurt.

Much of that check went to the public school district where my son now attends kindergarten. “Well at least we don’t have to cover private school tuition,” we thought. School was covered by the property tax.


But not really. We soon discovered that because of the “Robin Hood Act” in our state , 70 percent of the district’s tax dollars actually end up in other schools.  That leaves parents to cover the rest. And thus the fundraising has begun.

Every school does this. You probably did it too. As a kid, I hocked candy, books, popcorn, ornaments and other crap to my neighbors and relatives. My next door neighbor, Mr. Hamburger, never failed to contribute. He even forgave me the time I collected his money and forgot to turn in his order. I got into BIG trouble with my parents.  (I had to work for the money to pay him back)

I can now add wrapping paper saleswoman to my list of items. Our first fundraiser is to sell wrapping paper. There’s also something call “Scot Bucks.” But I haven’t figured out what those are yet. It sounds like Monopoly money to me.

I’ve also purchased fundraising goods such as bumper stickers, yard signs and t-shirts. In November, the parents will hold fundraising auction. They’re asking for donations from $500 to $10,000 or more. GULP!  

Yes, we live in a highly ranked, highly desirable school district, but our school will not get many of the basic teaching tools  unless parents pay for them. The same parents who’ve already paid a fortune in property tax.

The fundraising efforts of mom’s and dad’s help pay for supplemental teacher salaries, all technology needs, sports equipment, school supplies, art and music programs, and facility upkeep.  

pencil erasers

The elementary school is in an old charming building in the middle of the neighborhood. But the community has outgrown it. So many of the classes are held in portable buildings. Our tax money will not be used to add much needed extra space. Parents are raising money for that too.

We feel grateful and fortunate to live in such a great community so I don’t want to complain, but I do see a potential problem. We’re in a recession. So many parents will not be able to pitch in financially this year or next. I don’t think this will send our wonderful school into ruin. But it could affect what new teaching tools could be purchased for our kids in the future.

But it is what it is. And whining won’t solve the problem. So I guess I better dust off my sales skills and get selling.

Wrapping paper anyone?

By Katy


Lehman's tower in NYC

One year ago, Lehman Brothers collapsed.  They filed for bankruptcy on Monday September 15, 2008 which created a domino effect that caused our current global economic crisis.  Today, the pundits say the recession is essentially over.   But is it?

According to CNN, only 59.2% of adults in the U.S. are currently employed.  So if I have 100 friends, almost half of them would not be working!  And you know what?  Although I am not consciously keeping track of whether my friends are working or not, I fear this statistic may be true.  On the other hand, even when we are working, some of us are not seeing the same amount of pay as before.  Now let me ask you, are companies scaling back with salaries and pay in order to survive during these hard, economic times or are they taking advantage of workers’ willingness to work under any circumstance?

I talked to a recent grad who just got a job.  Lucky right?  Well, she has to move to another city, and since the job is a government position, the hours and pay are less than what it should be in a “normal” economy.  A hotel employee told one of my relatives that he’s working three jobs these days!  Imagine that!  He has three jobs!  But he says it’s the only way to make ends meet and he barely sleeps.  As for me, I have worked this year, and I have not worked this year.  I have gotten paid less than my “normal” rate, but like the two people above, I am also not complaining because it’s absolutely better to work than to not work!

Happily ever after with my financial decision?

Happily ever after with my financial decision?

I have also postponed a wedding until 2010.  If you’ve been following this blog, you already know that.  You know that I just hired a wedding coordinator, and we’re looking at locations for a wedding next Summer.  What you don’t know…I’m still skeptical about paying for a wedding!  I have the entire amount saved up already, but I still think about whether or not I want to spend that money on one night.  My fiance and I think about putting that money into our retirement fund.  We think about paying down more of our mortgage and refinancing.  We think about buying the unsold unit next to my place, knocking down the wall, and building a bigger loft.  We think about starting a small business.  And sometimes, yes, we think about using the money for a wonderful party celebrating our union with our friends and family.  And no, that doesn’t have to cost the equivalent of annual private school tuitions.

I think this is what this recession has taught me.  You can have money or you can not have money…this recession is the BEST thing that’s happened to everyone…if you’re willing to learn and not repeat the same mistakes.  My recent lesson:  It’s important to think about our choices when it comes to money.  Just like it’s important to think about what we put into our bodies — healthy fruits and veggies or fattening fried foods and lots of sweets — the choices we make today will affect our health, physically and financially, later down the line.  Make healthy and wise choices today, and we’ll live better when we’re older.

When I was in my 20’s, I didn’t think about money.  I thought I had plenty of time to pay off the debts, to save up for retirement, etc.  And if I were to have a wedding in my 20’s, I would’ve done it without even thinking about it.  Now, I would’ve thought about whether I should be getting married or not.  But I wouldn’t have thought about the financial aspects so much.  Now that I’m in my mid-30’s, I don’t have as much time to save up for retirement.  And like most of you out there, I lost about 50% of my retirement account in the last year and a half.  Only this last quarter, did my 401K skip back into positive territory.  So I’ve been wrestling with this dilemma for awhile.  I thought postponing the wedding until next year would help ease my conscience.  It did for about one day.  But I’m taking this one day at a time.  Just like marriage, right?  Right?

We spend a gazillion dollars (a rough estimate) each year in this country taking care of our pets. Our beloved little fur balls, our hounds…the ones who lick us relentlessly or rub their faces on our ankles…the ones who have huge chunks of our hearts. And anyone who has ever had a sick pet knows…money can become an issue. But for many pet owners, yours truly included, there is nothing we wouldn’t do for our furry children, even in this economy. Case in point: this week’s guest writer, one hell of a funny woman…Barbara, who takes us on an adventure that we all hope has a very happy ending. Here she is, in her own words:


There was a joke I loved as a kid.  It involved a very wealthy man who had little use for his family and the punchline was “He gave all his money to the Asthmatic Cat Foundation.”  I repeated the joke as often as I could.   I thought the Asthmatic Cat Foundation, or rather the idea of an asthmatic cat was the funniest thing in the world….I mean..ASTHMATIC CATS!!!  Who would have thunk it.   That is until I heard a joke about a parrot that had constipation forced upon him via a cork and asked an overweight visitor if someone was trying to make her fat too. 
This does tie in to what I’m about to tell you.  Nearly five years ago I adopted two tiny sister kittens, which, in time became cats.  Paris and Emily are Siamese mix but there’s little resemblance beyond that…


They have different color patterns and decidedly different dads as Emily is nearly twice the size of her sister…or sister-cousin, or whatever. Cats in heat are complete whores.
A few months ago Emily began doing ..something… repeatedly.  At first I thought it was one hairball she couldn’t get out..or perhaps she was choking on a piece of candy, a diet coke bottle cap…a kibble…a mouse…whatever it was…a lot.   HaaRRamphFF…BlaSCHmenPH…SHManoRIFF!!!  She sounded possessed and ended each episode with a long, pronounced swallow.  Cats can be gross.
To the vet we go! The vet suspected Emily had asthma.  Asthma! Funny!  She had a blood test and an X-ray at $150 a pop.   Once the tests came back showing this was LIKELY the case, I picked up steroid samples.  The word “samples” made me think they would be free, but these cost $17 and change.  And what the hell?  Steroids?  They bulk you up. Emily is a big, big girl, 18 pounds.  Turn her human and you’ve got a pissed off 280 pound Olympic weightlifter with acne.   
If they worked, we had proof she was indeed asthmatic, but the pills were no cure. The closest thing to that would be allergy testing with a starting price of $300.  Allergy shots are extra. Stop gaps, aside from steroids, were people antihistamines and asthma inhalants.
Stop gap number one – the ‘roids did their thing.  Her attacks stopped, and by the way, I bleed too.  Cats do not enjoy swallowing pills.  Emily got me twice with her sharp little teeth.  The second time was so nasty that I went to a clinic inside a drugstore only to be told they don’t treat animal bites.  I paid 15 bucks for a tube of Neosporin, band aids and a bottle of rubbing alcohol and went home to operate on my finger.  I define surgery as poking in the cut with rubbing alcohol sterilized tweezers.  It hurt, but within a few days I forgot about it.
After the pills ran out I moved on to phase two of Treating Emily, a steroid shot.  Cheap!  Only about 30 dollars! This was supposed to be good for two months, but didn’t work, and neither did Zyrtec, which involved more cat bites.
I called the vet and told her I wanted to go ahead, plunk down the serious cash and get my prize cat tested for allergies.  But the catch is she had to be steroid free for two months, which would mean weeks more of HAMPushSCHEE or SmushsclOTH!  It was time to get her an inhalant.
It’s easy to get a cat inhaler.  After a couple of days of phone tag, my kind vet told me to go here.
This nifty gadget cost me 70 dollars, but I needed the medicine that goes WITH it.  After more phone tag she told me to get Flovent.  I have insurance but Emily isn’t on it.  And this stuff isn’t cheap.  And you need a prescription.  She suggested two magic words  – Canadian Pharmacy. 
Here’s a fun fact – The Canadian Drugstore… ….isn’t in Canada at all.  Their customer service center, which I called, is in Barbados.  Oh man, this was one ass-whipping of a phone conversation. 
“I would like some Flovent HFA 125/120”
“How much do you weigh?”
(F#$@K Off!)
“One hundred and…(I give the indecipherable but polite Barbadian my weight…in kilograms.)
“Are you taking any other medications?”
(Like I would tell you?)
 “This isn’t for me, it’s for my cat.”
“How old are you?”
“I’m four.”
“We need a prescription.  Who is your doctor?”
(Gyno, internist, dentist?  Which one?)
“My cat’s veterinarian.”
“Today we are offering a four percent discount if you give me your checking account routing number.”
(Not in this lifetime)
 “No, thank you.”
“The medicine will be shipped from New Zealand.  Is that OK?”
It took four weeks and cost fifty dollars and Emily does not like it.  In fact she runs when I come near her with the thing. But she’s better and soon we go in for testing…and I’ll let you know how it goes.

{September 11, 2009}   We Will Never Forget

–by Carla


Our world changed 8 years ago today. Most of us will never forget where we were on September 11, 2001 when we heard the news that America was under attack.

I was single and living in Dallas at the time and just waking up when my Dad called to tell me to turn on the TV. He said a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I rushed to turn it on and still had Dad on the phone when we both watched in horror as the second plane hit. He said, “Carly, we’re being attacked! You need to get to work.” I screamed, told him I loved him, and threw the phone down. At the time, I was the editor (producer) of an afternoon radio news program and didn’t normally go into the newsroom until 10am, but today was different. It was just after 8am, I tossed on a ball cap and ran out the door, speeding as fast as I could from east Dallas all the way to Arlington, about a 25 mile drive. On the way, the anchor of the afternoon news called me on my cell…because no one could believe what was happening. He was near a TV when the Pentagon was hit. He screamed, I hit the gas even harder, barely able to breathe now as I zoomed down the highway at nearly 90 miles an hour.

That day, the newsroom was quiet and somber and bustling…all at the same time. The morning anchors were still on the air, broadcasting what they were seeing on live television…when the towers fell. The silence was deafening, both in the newsroom and on the air. It was at that moment that I knew we had to jump into action. We, as news people, had to step up and cover this story…so we started sending reporters all across Dallas/Fort Worth: federal buildings, DFW International Airport, schools, malls. Word had spread that schools were sending kids home, that offices were clearing out, that malls were closing. Our newsroom was located on the ground floor of the Ballpark in Arlington, a giant baseball stadium, and the surrounding offices were closing and sending people home.

There was no news clock that day. News came in as it happened. As editor, it was all about not letting the story get to me, just getting the facts out as quickly as possible.

It was only when I got home late that evening, after being in the newsroom for 12 hours, that it hit me. I’ve never told anyone this, but my Mom and brother stayed the night. We wanted to be together, we were all so scared.  We stayed up late,  what else, watching the news…

I had not met my husband yet at that time, but now when I think about the risks that police officers and firefighters take every day, and then I think back to the enormous sacrifices that were made that day, I cannot help but get choked up.

To first responders everywhere, not just my Don, but all of you, Thank You.


{September 8, 2009}   Marriage and Massages

By Heather


My husband and I were recently talking about our 10 year wedding anniversary which is coming up this Friday, September 11th. I asked him to name his favorite moment of the wedding. He quickly answered “The shot table and the reception…”

(insert eyebrow lift from me)

“And of course saying I do,” he added.  

(insert smile from me)

We’ve been together for 13 years. Most of the time it feels like we just met… other times it feels like a hundred years. Occasionally, we want to whack each other on the head with a frying pan. Thankfully, we’ve never actually done this.

We had a “frying pan” moment over the weekend thanks to a massage. It was just 50 minutes, but it felt like an excruciating 24 hours and a HUGE waste of our money. Money that I want to demand back, but I’m afraid it might get someone fired. So I probably won’t.

We were out-of-town and decided to treat ourselves with massages. The plan was simple.  We would take turns at the spa while the other one watched the kids. I would go to the first appointment which was at 8 am. He would go at 9. They were 50 minutes each. I asked to leave a few minutes early, so he could make it to his treatment on time.

Best laid plans. Right?


I rolled out of bed and got to my appointment 15 to 20 minutes before my session. I told the therapist I needed to leave early. He said “fine.” Then he kept talking.

I’d like to point out that I LOVE massages. I’ll let almost anyone give me a massage as long as they knead me like a loaf of honey wheat bread. Nothing can deter me from getting a massage. (not even a life threatening MRSA staph infection which I got from a spa in Vegas)

I’ve paid a lot of money over the years for spa treatments and I’ve had my fair share of “AWESOME” and “FRIGHTENING.” But this is the first  a massage has caused me to point my finger and yell at my husband in a hotel hallway. (Not my finest moment)

Consider some of my more disturbing massage moments. There was the massage student who rubbed my abs and asked me to call him sometime. Ewww. The nice Italian woman who rubbed my boobs with olive oil. Ickkk. A man in Greece who grabbed my ankles, pulled them over my head to my ears while straddling me. Wowza! Thank goodness I was wearing underwear. Or how about the therapist who ran out of the room only to return and announce that she had diarrhea. Ughh. None of this has EVER made me scream at one of the people I love most on earth.

I can handle too much oil, horrible music, chanting and a little weirdness. But I CANNOT handle a chatty Kathy who talks and talks and talks when I’m trying to relax.

This was unfortunately the case. The therapist told me about his daughter’s surgery, his life as a single parent, the three months he spent trying to pass a kidney stone and Amber, the therapist, who had a crush on the hotel’s personal trainer. Then he delved into my parent’s divorce, my arthritis, how often I pick up my kids, etc. He talked so much he forgot to massage half of my body. He got my back and left arm. The rest was left high and dry. Then the wind-bag ran past our time. That made my husband late for his massage.

He was mad, I yelled it wasn’t my fault in a crazy person way. Then we spent the three hour drive home in silence. (or as much as you can with two kids) Relaxation ruined.

Later when we got home he walked by, gave me a little pat and said I love you. The frying pan moment was over. 10 years of wedded bliss restored!

 This takes me back to our conversation about our wedding day. I told him that although I did enjoy the “shot bar” at the reception my favorite moment was feeling so calm and certain about marrying him.

“I never had a doubt.”

Then without blinking he actually asked if I would book massages when we celebrate our anniversary later this week.


Now that’s love.


{September 6, 2009}   Wedding Update Part 2

By Katy

Just in case you were wondering or even cared, I haven’t posted anything on my wedding lately.  That’s because the Fiance and I have not really been working on it.  My last wedding update already told you that we decided to put it off until next year so we can save more money for the wedding, on top of the emergency fund.

Well, we finally started working on it again this past month.

First of all, we kind of have a date.  Now, if you know the Chinese, you know that we’re kind of a superstitious group of people.  My friend (and one of my bridesmaids) had her mom look up our “lucky” days, and she told us that our lucky day would be in July of next year.  Next, we cut down the number of people we can invite.  We are now only inviting 150, instead of 200.  Finally, we hired a celebrity wedding coordinator!  OK so I could’ve saved some money by not hiring one, but I’m saving my sanity with this move.  Plus, she’s definitely in the know so hopefully she’s got some connections to help negotiate better deals.  And since hiring her (it’s only been days), we already think it’s a good move.  The fiance and I are HUGE procrastinators, and we know she’ll help kick our butts into gear…in a nice way of course.  Next, she recommended another location, which I have to share.

Ceremony set-up inside Figueroa Hotel

Ceremony set-up inside Figueroa Hotel

The Fiance and I could walk over to this location.  So on a hot, muggy, slightly smoke-tinged (the fires are still not out) afternoon, we checked out the Figueroa Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.  It’s decorated in a Moroccan theme.

Poolside at the Hotel Figueroa

Poolside at the Hotel Figueroa

It’s gorgeous, and it’s sooo reasonably priced.  I think we can get away with doing this wedding for $125/person, including everything.  And from what the staff at the hotel tells us, most people don’t even need to decorate with a lot of flowers because the hotel staff fill the space with candles and gorgeously ornate lanterns.  So I would only really have to pay for a photographer and a DJ.  And since this is in downtown Los Angeles, it would be close to our rehearsal dinner/wedding banquet location.  The only downside?  The Fiance and I are obviously not Moroccan, we are not familiar with Moroccan customs, and we’re not even big “Casablanca” fans.

Is this place above the beginning of a beautiful friendship?

Is this place above the beginning of a beautiful friendship?

Nothing about this place really screams us.  Does that matter?  Is the Figueroa Hotel the beginning of a beautiful friendship or just another beautiful location meant for some other engaged couple?

et cetera