Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wedding Planning Hooplah, Part 2: The Blowing of the Mind

Good Afternoon Readers.

I suppose that I should begin this blog post with a bit of back story, as to why my mind is totally and completely blown.

Right after I got engaged, like most brides, I made a bee-line to find my perfect wedding dress. My mother and I took notes and made appointments with the usual big-box bridal shops: David's, Alfred Angelo's, and also at a few smaller boutiques in Seattle: Cicada, Blue Sky Bridal, and Belltown Bride, to name a few.

I was especially excited to try on dresses at one of my all time favorite stores: the flagship Nordstroms in downtown Seattle.

The scene of the mind-blowing.

When I went in to make an appointment, there was one dress in particular that caught my eye...a lovely silk ball-gown with pockets. I've promised my mother that I am NOT going to describe the dress too much until AFTER the wedding, so please accept my apologies, Readers, for the lack of wedding dress detail. However, I FELL IN LOVE with this dress. It was simply gorgeous! The perfect shape, color, fabric, detail, price, EVERYTHING!

I made the appointment and made a note to the bridal consultant that I was interested in this particular dress. She wrote down the style number, designer, my measurements, and for the time being, all was well.

About a week and a half later, I went back into the store to browse. I looked around, and found that the dress was missing. I panicked a bit, and asked the receptionist there (yes, Nordie's has a receptionist for the bridal department...I know, right?) about the dress...she told me that the dress was no longer in stock, as the bridal department was "inventory based" and that dresses "rotate out" every sales quarter or so. I was heartbroken, and cancelled the appointment.

Well, Readers...I guess that this letter I sent to Nordstrom Corporate tells the story best. I changed the names to protect the innocent, and took out the style and designer of the dress in question to appease my mother:

 To whom it may concern:

My name is (Orb Weaver), and I am writing this afternoon because I am a heartbroken bride.

I live in downtown Seattle, and I have always admired the Bridal Suite located in the Nordstrom flagship store. I adore shopping at Nordstroms, as the quality of clothing/shoes and customer service is second to none. During the vast majority of my visits to your store, I am very happy with the customer service experience.

That is not the reason I am writing today.

When I first became engaged, I got very excited and of course, made a bee-line to the Bridal Suite to set up an appointment. While I was there, I saw what I can truly say is my dream wedding gown: the (dress). This gown to me is what the Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle was to Ralphie in A Christmas Story.

I made the appointment with a bridal consultant by the name (Bad Bridal Consultant). Not long afterward, I received an email from (Bad Bridal Consultant) asking me the usual battery of bridal questions: wedding date, dress size, style, etc. I answered her questions, and let her know that I was particularly interested in the (dress)gown.

About a week and half later, right before the appointment, I went into the bridal suite to browse...and was shocked to find that the gown was nowhere to be found! I panicked a bit, and asked the salesperson there at the time (I'm afraid I can't recall her name,) if the dress was still in stock...she told me no, since dresses "rotate out" every sales quarter or so. I later went onto the Nordstrom bridal website, and was heartbroken to find that the dress had also been taken down from the site.

I called later, asking the bridal consultants there at the time if there was any, ANY possible way to find the dress. The consultant assured me that she would check to see if there was anything that she could do, and that I could expect a phone call from her by the end of the day. I also emailed (BBC), letting her know about my predicament. I didn't hear from either (BBC) or the bridal department.

I ended up cancelling the appointment, as my dream wedding gown was apparently no more. I bought another dress at a different bridal shop (which, unfortunately, I am now stuck with because this particular shop does not accept returns or refunds).

Fast forward to today. I came into the bridal suite to look at shoes/accessories.

My heart sank to my stomach and broke into a thousand pieces.

There was the (dress) Gown. The very same one that I was repeatedly told no longer existed. Had I known that this gown was back in stock, I would not have bought the other dress.

I was simply shocked, and nearly burst into tears. There is my dream dress. The PERFECT dress! But unfortunately for me, the dress is unobtainable, due to either the negligence or the dishonesty of the sales staff.

I brought this to the attention of one of the wedding stylists, her name is (bridal consultant who knows what she's doing). She asked which bridal consultant I had booked my appointment with, and when I gave her the name, she then informed me that Miss (BBC) no longer works with Nordstrom. This certainly explains why my emails to (BBC) went unanswered.

I honestly believe that there should be a better way of helping brides find their dream dresses. I would have loved to have been in contact with ANY bridal consultant regarding this, not just the one I was assigned to. Plus, I'm confused as to why the (dress) gown was brought back, if it were supposedly "no longer in stock" simply a few weeks ago!

Needless to say, I am very, VERY upset and disheartened with Nordstroms right now. I honestly feel as if my concerns regarding the dress were brushed off and ignored by your sales staff. Again, had I known that the (dress) dress would be back in stock in a matter of WEEKS, I would have bought it at the first opportunity.

The worst thing of all is that I feel I can no longer trust ANY of your sales staff. I would certainly like to think that you have your BEST stylists working in the bridal suite, given how important a wedding gown is. Now that I've been lied to/brushed off by the bridal staff, I feel that I'm probably going to be brushed off and deceived by the rest of the sales staff, too.

So here I am. I'm stuck with a wedding dress that I feel can't hold a candle to the (dress). I've lost faith in the integrity and professionalism of the Nordstrom's Sales staff, and I am a very, VERY unhappy bride.

I lost my dream wedding gown. I lost it because no one at the department bothered to find out if the gown would be back in stock. I lost it because my wedding stylist couldn't be bothered to check her email or stay in contact to answer my questions.

And there it is, hanging on the display rack in Seattle. And there is no way I will be able to walk down the aisle in that dress, because of the negligence and dishonesty of your bridal sales staff.
Thank you for your time,


Yes, Readers, it's a bit melodramatic, but I'm sure a few of you understand the emotional ups and downs that go along with planning a wedding. While I was writing this email, I was trying my hardest not to cry. I was simply in a state of wedding gown shock. And let me assure you, Readers, that there is no shock quite like the shock of seeing the wedding dress you were constantly told, "No! It's out of stock!" hung up, front and center, on the display rack merely a week after you conceded wedding gown defeat.

Are you ready for the mind blowing?

About a week after I sent the above email, I got a phone call.

From the Nordstrom Regional Manager.

Offering me the dream dress.





Readers, I'm going to give you all a few seconds to absorb what it is that you have just read.

My head pretty much exploded right then and there. After taking some time to compose myself, my mother, and a close friend and I went into the Nordies in question to meet with the bridal department manager regarding this whole debaucle.

They got the email right away, and spent a few days tracking down what exactly happened to make sure that I wasn't an insane bridezilla out for the blood of any and all people who didn't give me exactly what I wanted.

This is totally not me. And if I start looking/acting like this, kindly send Mothra my way. Image found here:

Apparently, the bridal consultant I was assigned to was let go right after I was supposed to have my appointment with her. This is why I didn't hear anything back from her when I emailed her all my questions.

Also, the wedding stylists who were working when I asked about the dress (when it was missing) did not know their stock. If they HAD, they would have known that they could easily order that style of dress from other stores. THIS is where they messed up royally: instead of figuring out which dress I was talking about and seeing if they could honestly find it (which they should have been able to), they just brushed me off and pretended that they didn't know what I was talking about so that I would just "go away".

The manager assured us that this conduct by their staff was "unacceptable" and that Nordstrom would be doing everything that they collectively can to make up for the mistake.

Not only are they paying for the dress itself, but they will also be paying for alterations and dry cleaning.

Holy. Effing. Moly.

Readers, I honestly thought that email was going to go down the usual customer service black hole. But no.

What's the opposite of a customer service black hole?

A Customer Service Supernova?

Nordstrom: the customer service supernova. Image found here:

All I guess I can say at this point is that I am going to be a Nordstrom's customer for life. These people, seriously, are the best.

All Hail Nordstroms!!!! And All Hail Nordstrom Bridal!!!

All Glory to the Customer Service Supernova!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Preview.


Below is a video which can give you an idea of the knitting project (and VERY belated birthday gift for my older brother) I am currently working on.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Funny Valentine

I LOVE Valentines Day!

My creative genius of a sister has always been the queen of card making. While we were living together, she would make these beautiful, BEAUTIFUL cards for every holiday. Valentine's day was especially fun, and our apartment would be awash with pink paper, ribbons, and scrap booking supplies of every kind.

I've never been much of a scrapbooker, but I decided to take what I learned from my sister and try my hand at making my own valentines this year. I wanted to incorporate crochet/embroidery in some way, and after a bit of trial and error (I found out the hard way that sewing card stock that had already been glued makes the paper buckle and wrinkle like crazy), I am quite pleased with the results:

Happy Valentine's Day, Readers!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Liesl" Evening Purse!

And yet another update on my never ending pile of knitting projects!

Readers, I bring you the new and improved "Liesl"!

The photo here doesn't show it, but this  little purse SPARKLES! The yarn I found was just simply TOO fabulous! I'm bummed, though, I was looking for more of this yarn and it seems that this color has been discontinued...but there are tons of other colors available.

Plus, Readers, I bring you a first...I am going to include the pattern I used for this little purse!

This purse is a fairly quick knit, but I did crochet the strap.

I take NO CREDIT for the mini cable stitch in this pattern...partially because it's a stitch that I've known for AGES, since I was knitting dishcloths in high school! You can find a good tutorial on this kind of stitch in one of my fave knitting books; Vogue Knitting Stitchonary. Red Lion also put up a good tutorial on their website:

Readers, I must ask you to bear with me; this is my first time writing my own pattern.  If it looks confusing, I apoligize. This pattern has only been tested by me, so if you have ANY problems with it, PLEASE leave me a comment and I'll try to figure out what I forgot to put in!

"Liesl" Evening Purse

*Filatura Di Crosa "Cristallo"; 1 ball of lilac
*US size 4 straight needles
*Small purple zipper
*Crochet hook (I used a smallish one; I believe it was a US F (3.75mm)
*About a square foot of fabric to use as a lining (I got a "fat quarter" of cream-colored clearance cotton at my local fabric store).
*light purple sewing thread

Cast on 45.
Row 1 (RS): P1 (K3, p1) 8 times.
Row 2: K1 (P3 K1) 8 times.
Row 3: (P1, Right Twist 3sts) 8 times, K1
Row 4: K1 (P3 K1) 8 times.

Repeat rows 1-4 until your piece measures about 9 inches. Cast off in pattern.

For the strap, take the crochet hook and ch until you get to the length you want. Turn, and sl st across.

Weave in all ends.

Sew purse together at the sides. Make a little "mini-pouch" with the lining fabric, stitch in place using the purple sewing thread.

Sew in strap, then sew in zipper.

Block it and flaunt it.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Borsht: it's not just for hipsters and babushkas!

Guess what I did today?
Fill a large pot about halfway with water. Put in about two good spoonfuls of vegan-friendly chicken flavored stock substance.

Chop up a bunch of root vegetables (and cabbage), mostly the kind that made you say "EWWWW!" as a kid.

Put the beets and ONLY the beets in the vegan friendly chicken flavored stock substance. Stew till the beets lose their purpley-ness.

Do a bunch of other stuff that I didn't feel like photographing :-P

Enjoy what is, in my opinion, the world's most beautiful soup. 
Oh yes...Russian food is ORGASMIC on a frigid Pacific Northwest night.

Yes, Readers, the writer of this blog is a Babushka in the making (although I DO NOT plan on becoming fat and jovial until I have at least three grandchildren).

I hate to blow my own trumpet, but I am a good cook. My repertoire is small, however, and I have a talent for burning things in my pre-historic oven with the broken temperature gauge.

As much as I love cooking, I haven't been doing much of it lately. This is mainly because my apartment, while awesome, has the world's tiniest kitchen. I don't have room for a microwave. I don't even have room for a toaster!


So, when I DO cook, it had better be something effing special.

I used to make a similar borscht to this on a daily basis while I was working at Pike's Place market. Back then, the owners of the cafe I worked at had borscht down to a science. Even though the work space there was, if it can be believed, TINIER than the kitchen I have now, I was able to whip up a batch of this stuff in about twenty minutes.

This one, because I kept on having to stop, clean dishes that I needed, stop again, peel the carrots because I forgot, stop AGAIN, run to the corner store and pick up the vinegar that I needed for the finishing touch...took me the better part of two hours.

But DAY-UM, it was WORTH IT!

Borscht gets a bad rap. I'm ashamed to admit it, (even though I have a strong Russian heritage), but I was quite...shall I say...biased in my opinion before I started making it myself.

This is probably because the borscht I knew so well was the cold, canned stuff you find in the "ethnic food" aisle next to the gefilte fish and udon noodles.

I also, sadly, have to admit that my first experience even hearing the word "borscht" was from watching the Rugrats when I was a kid. And lemme tell you, the makers of that cartoon had something against borscht.

*hangs my head in shame*

On that note, readers, I leave you with the glory that is Russian soup.