Sunday, September 30, 2007

Colds and Coughs, bronchitis

So, this past Chag of Sukkot we spent with Barry's sister Karen in Elizabeth, NJ. It was a really nice visit and I was so glad we went to them. In the past we have always gone when everyone else would be there -- Tammy and co, and Barry's parents. This time it was just us, two of our girls and Karen and co. It made for a much nicer and easier time. We got to have more "quality" time with one another.

Unfortunately, though, little Rena, who is SO cute, had a cold and cough. And I held her alot. And I came home last night with an absolutely miserable cough. It kind of hit me hard and fast. I was coughing all night long and the coughs were to the point of retching. Finally, after hours of this I was feeling like I could not breathe well. I asked Barry to take me to the hospital. Right before we left I threw up. My stomach had not been bothering me at all, before or after. But the coughing induced the retching and ultimately, the vomiting. I actually felt a little bit better after that but I knew it would come back again. So, off we went to the hospital.

It was a quiet night and I was seen immediately. They gave me two prescriptions: one for Tylenol w/Codeine, and the other for a Z-Pac. The Tw/C was for suppressing the coughs and the Z-pac is an antibiotic for what they say is an infection in my throat. I took the Tw/C while I was in the hospital (they only gave me 1 pill #3). They idd not know that I have a very high tolerance for Codeine due to my having taken it so much in my life. I usually need 2 #3 pills to have any effect.

Barry and I went to the pharm immediately to fill the prescriptions and it was fasted filled prescriptions I had ever had -- after all it was 4:45 AM! I came home and took another Tw/C and the first 2 of the Z-pac. Then I lay down on the couch in the LR (I can stay propped up more easily in the couch than in my bed) and tried to sleep. I think I may have gotten 2 hours of sleep. I am going to try to sleep some more a bit later.

I hate this bronchitis!

Mission Accomplished

So, in my last post I discussed the difficulties in finding a gown for my daughters' wedding. And it turned out to be that the first gown I had actually seen (online) and had ordered was actually the best one for me! Last week, I took two of my daughters (stepdaughters, actually, but I hate that term!) shopping for outfits to wear for the wedding. We were successful -- R got a cranberry skirt that has a dropped yoke, comes to just below the knees and has a black net overlay with black velvet flocked floral design on it. We got her a black mock wrap top to wear with it and we need only to buy a cranberry shell to wear under that. D got a black satin taffeta skirt with gussetted inverted pleats that are black lace. A black crochet sweater completes it but we need to find a contrasting color long sleeve shell for her to wear under that. And, while we were shopping for them I spied a chocolate brown silk charmeuse gown that had a brown beaded and crocheted sweater overlay. It is a very open crochet and the beads are tiny little copper beads and there are also tiny little copper sequins. There is a beaded fringe on the bottom of the sweater and at the bottoms of the sleeves, which are a 3/4 length. That outfit was marked size 20W -- but there is no way that sweater would fit a 20W!! I threw the sweater on me just to see the fit and it was perfect. I had this idea that it would look fabulous over the new brown gown that I had already purchased. So, I got an extra gown as well -- that is too big for me but I can turn it into a long skirt, if I wish. As I was walking to the cashier to pay for my purchases I passes a section of shelves holding a collection of evening bags. Amongst those evening bags was one covered in chocolate brown silk, with little copper beads and sequins! It was like made for this outfit. So, I purchased that too!

Now, I must backtrack a bit. Just a few days prior to this I had come home from work, and then took off immediately for Bridgewater, NJ -- a little over an hour away. Why? Beccause Y, my machatenus had asked me if I could please pick up a gown for her there. Apparently, a friend of hers has this gown that she really liked and she was going to borrow it from her friend. But, the gown was too big for her. It was taken to a seamstress to be taken in but the seamstress said she would have to take it apart and re do it as it was WAY too big for her. She noticed the tags were still on the gown so she decided to try calling Loehmanns, the store where it came from, to find out if they might still have one in her size (size 6). They were able to locate one in the Bridgewater store. She then asked to purchase it over the phone using her credit card and to have it shipped to her in laws who live in Pennsauken, NJ. Loehmanns refused, as a matter of policy. No matter how much she begged, they refused. So she asked me to go and get it. They would only old it for 24 hours. So, I went and picked it up. Now, you should know that when I saw the gown it set off in me a flurry of insecurity about mine. Why? Because her gown was gold and glitter and really pretty and she is a size 6!! My gown is brown and not glittery or shiny and I am a size 14! Anyway, even though I was feeling insecure about this and was thinking that maybe I will find a different gown, I happened to spy a pair of shoes that I thought would be perfect for my new brown gown. They were a pump style with a peek toe and a rather high heel. But there was a 1/2 inch platform under the ball fo the shoo so it actually was wearable, and comfortable. The shoes have a cushioned innersole. They were rather inexpensive so I purchased them.

Forward to the sweater purchase. When I got home I tried on my gown, over the crinoline, with the new sweater, shoes and bag. It is PERFECT!! All I need now is a pair of earrings.

Mission almost completely accomplished...

Friday, September 7, 2007

Mission Possible, Gown found!

Mazal Tov! I finally found a gown that I really like. And, I did not break the bank in doing so. I did not even come close! So, the gown I finally decided on is the brown one with the full sweeping skirt, pictured in my last post.

In my last post I left off just before I would be going to a gemach in Fair Lawn. I went, looked, saw nothing. And I would never recommend this gemach to anyone. I nearly threw up when I went in. This house is a pig sty. Enough said. I then went to a gemach in Englewood. This is a nice gemach, with a nice, albeit small selection of nice gowns and dresses. And the person who runs the gemach is very sweet and nice and helpful and REAL. But she did not have anything for me at that time. She would call me the next day, though and tell me she had something and I did go again for a look-see. It was nice and the right style for me but it did not fit me right. This is a really good gemach owner!

Subsequent to that I went to a gemach in Boro Park. This gemach had literally several hundred gowns. The interesting thing about this gemach is that all of the gowns were either made or ordered especially for the gemach. These were not hand me downs, altho there were several of those interspersed throughout. Also, most of these gowns were thick and heavy -- like armor! I really do not understand why, in the name of tznius a gown must be thick and heavy like armor. If a gown covers the collarbone and the elbows and the knees, and is not clingy or sheer -- isn't that good enough? Must it also weigh a ton and protect you from the slings of imaginary arrows? For a woman like myself, who is HOT all the time, these are completely impossible gowns to wear. Needless to say, I had no luck here.

The next day, instead of eating lunch, I visited the "Bridal Building" -- 1385 B'way, NYC. Everyone told me to go there. So, first I researched it: I found their website online and then called them. I was told that for sure I could find MOB gowns there and plenty of them as it is two floors of gown wholesalers who are willing to sell to the general public. So, off I went, expecting to spend some time browsing the hundreds of gowns there. Well, I arrived and went upstairs -- and almost all of the spaces there were EMPTY! There were only four wholesalers still there -- and they had pitiful little to offer. I asked where everyone had gone and was told that there had been a disagreement with the bldg mgmt and thus many had taken flight -- some to Bklyn, some to other places in Manhattan and some to Queens. Crap! I forwent my lunch for that???

Upon returning to my office after that fiasco I decided to call a store in Teaneck that sells gowns -- Mishelyne's. I asked about their hours: 9:30 AM - 6 PM. No late weeknights and no Sundays. Grrr! They cater to NON working women, obviously. Anyway, I snuck out of work early, in the hopes of making it to their shop before they closed. I got there at just after 5:30 PM. They do have a nice selection of gowns and I tried on four. Only one was ok, but I would have to order it in my size and color and it takes at least 12 weeks to arrive and then there are fittings, and I am committed to it. I decided to "think" about it.

I went home and found that two of the gowns that I had ordered from Zaftique that had been backordered had arrived. I eagerly ripped open the box and tried them on. The purple one looked TERRIBLE on me and it was NOT a gown -- it only came to my mid calf. The brown one, mentioned above, looked nice. But it needed a little something, it was kind of plain.

So, I played around with it. I put on a crinoline under it (a moderate A line crinoline, not very poufy, just enough to give the skirt a little flare). That was better. But, it needed more. I took it off—and put it on again: this time over SPANX (support underwear), a really good bra, and a slightly sheer brown long sleeve top to make it more tznius, and the crinoline. Ok, it was getting better. Then I found this brown, slightly iridescent crocheted oblong lace scarf/shawl that I had and played with it. I finally draped it in such a way that from the front it looks like a lacy jacket and from the back a u shaped drape. I put on a brooch and voila, I had a beautiful gown. Of course the scarf will need to be sewn into place. It really looks nice. And it is VERY comfortable. And it is very ME. And, it only cost me $139!!! (Not including the crinoline or the sewing of the scarf onto the dress).


Sunday, September 2, 2007

Mission Impossible: buy a machatenista gown!

So, today I spent the day with my mother "shopping" for a gown to wear to my daughter's wedding. This was not my first foray into the world of gown shopping. First, a few things to understand: my choices are very limited: limited by my size and shape, limited by my budget, and limited by the constraints of tzniyus: The gown must not show any cleavage, it must come to the neck, it must have sleeves and the sleeve length must be at least 3/4 length, it cannot be backless, it cannot be see-through, it cannot have high leg baring slits. Additionally, I had hoped to purchase a gown in the color champagne or gold. we are.
I began my gown search, on the internet. With my limited time and resources I thought this might be a good way to find a nice gown. I began, first, on eBay. It so happens that I do most of my clothing shopping on eBay anyway and so am a seasoned, veteran "eBayer". I know how to shop that way. Unfortunately, what I want or need has not been available -- certainly not meeting all the criteria listed above.
Then, I started looking at the online "stores" selling gowns. I found a few options that seemed do-able - at least via the pictures. The first gown I saw that I really liked was this one:

The color is champagne and even though it was not perfectly tzniyus I figured a good seamstress could fix that for me. It was also quite reasonably priced at $250. So, I placed the order. It arrived and I tried it on. Basically, it fit me, although it would have needed some nipping and tucking in the chest area, and of course a lining at the top to make it tzniyus. It looked good from the front and from the rear, but from the sides it looked AWFUL. So, I returned it.
Then I decided to peruse the gowns that were available at the place where Chloe bought her wedding gown. These are really not the kind of gowns that I normally go for. However, there were three that I thought were possibilities. They have been backordered since I placed the order, but I learned this past Thursday that 2 of them became available and had shipped. I expect to get them on Tuesday. The three of those gowns are:

This gown, the brown one with the full sweeping skirt is my favorite of these three -- at least in the pictures. I will not know how any of them look on me until I receive them.

I also discovered and actually visitied their "showroom/warehouse" in the city. It is really conveniently located one block away from the Port Authority. I had hoped to see a very specific gown when I went there but they did not have it in stock. I can order it but if I do, I am committed to it. I find that really odd, to be honest. This is a stock design, in a stock fabric, in a stock color, in a standard size. It is not custom made in the least. That I have to commit to it in order for them to order it for me, is BS, as far as I am concerned. However, here is a picture of that gown:

As you can see, this gown is perfect in that it meets much of my criteria: it is 100% tzniyus without having to have a seamstress make it that way. The downside to it is that it is only available in three colors: Cranberry (shown), Brown (rich dark chocolate brown), or Silver Blue (a pale icy periwinkle color). I sent a copy of this picture to my machatenus and asked for her input. I thought it might be too dressy. However she said it was not too dressy, it is beautiful and she suggested the cranberry as being the best color to buy.

The thing is I have to order it without having tried it on -- so that makes me a bit nervous. Also, it takes 12-14 weeks to get it -- and I am so much more into immediate gratification!

Thus, before I actually order it I must see the gowns from Zaftique (the three above pictured ones, plus I must investigate the gemachs in my area (Monsey, Teaneck, Fair Lawn). To that end, I went to gemachs in Monsey with my mother. Most of the gemachs we went to had very little in my size, my color, or my budget. Only one, actually had a good selection of gowns, albeit not in the color I wanted. This was the last gemach I went to. It turned out that the woman who runs that gemach is the sister of someone I know who lives in Teaneck! Anyway, I tried on about 8 different gowns there. Most of the gowns looked awful on me. One of the gowns was an Alex Evenings gown that has the feel of a Spencer Alexis outfit -- very romantic and vintage-y style. And, it was champagne. But it just looked ho hum on me. Another gown, one that I really liked was a burgundy/black gown, with a high empire waist. It was a burgundy underdress with a sheer black overdress. It was a loose empire style with a high v-neck. I really liked it, it was comfortable. and would have needed minimal alterations. It was $400 as is the dress from RKBridal. But my mother feels it is not an appropriate dress for a machatenista. It is too "young" looking. She hated it. So, for now, I have deferred to her -- but I might change my mind, we shall see. The last gown I tried on was really way out of my price range but we kept coming back to it as a really perfect gown for me so I decided to just put it on to see how it looks. It was a sort of muted lilac underdress, with a sheer navy overdress, with gunmetal beads from the neck to the toes, fully beaded with long sleeves. Despite being so heavily beaded, it was not a heavy dress. I slipped it on and it was PERFECT for me. It needed minimal alterations (nip and tuck in breast area, and slight shortening). was priced at $1100!!! How nice it would be to be wealthy...

So, now, tonight, I am going to go to Fair Lawn to look at some more gowns at a gemach there. I will report later on that experience.