Sunday, January 17, 2010

THE DRESS...and...What NOT to eat at Olive Garden!!

I took out the dogs Saturday and was surprised to see, by this footprint that was left in the snow on our patio, that we must have been visited by Sasquatch last night!

The highlight of the day, however, was wedding dress shopping in Springfield. Jenni's mom, Donna, and I had to drive through thick fog both ways. Strangely, the fog seemed to leave up just outside Quincy on both the trip there and back. Nonetheless, the drive was a nice way for Donna and I to get some time together, just the two of us, since before our kids got together, we had never met...highly unusual in little ol' Quincy IL. especially when we both had kids at the same grade schools and high schools.

Jenni had already done some dress shopping in Carlinville but hadn't found much and so her next stop was in Springfield at David's Bridal.

My experience with shopping for wedding dresses had been confined to small shops in Quincy so I was amazed at the difference at this shop. While the brides had appointments, there were no less than 12 girls trying on wedding dresses at the same time. It was sort of an assembly line approach--sign in, get a consultant assigned to the bride, provide the consultant with the list of dresses by catalog # that you wanted to try on (the idea was that you had figured this out online and came to the store with your list of favorites--Jenni had 12). You were then assigned a dressing room and the consultant started tracking down the dresses on your list, hopefully with a match in close to your size.
There were lots of ancillary sales pitches going on at the same time. Men's Wearhouse was there hawking their tuxedo rentals to the brides. And of course, David's has a host of wedding items besides the dresses to stationery lines, shoes, bags, jewelry, special bras, slips, headdresses....enough to keep a young girls head whirling.

They have pedestals for the brides to stand on (lucky since all of Jenni's dresses were at least 6 inches too long!!) and couches and chairs for the 'judges'.

Here's Donna, and Kate Abbott, one of the attendants who happens to live in Springfield, in the judges station.

This was some of the best people watching we'd ever found and were totally entertained by all the people around us, from the gorgeous little twins dancing like ballerina's in the flower girl dresses they tried on, to the group of 'tough looking' individuals (ok, some we weren't sure of gender) who were helping this big tatoo-covered-motorcycle-mama pour in to an appropriate gown.
But despite, the constant stream of modeled gowns, we three 'judges' were all in agreement that hands-down Jenni was definitely the prettiest bride in the store.
The 'perfect' dress turned out to be about the fifth dress Jenni tried. But, of course, I'm not going to show it here--Kyle reads this blog!!

However, this was Jenni's smile when she had it on....

... and that smile said it all...this was THE PERFECT dress!!

Although we were there specifically for the wedding gown, Donna and Kate did try on a couple of bridesmaids options. Now that Jenni has her dress, some new ideas started taking shape on dresses that weren't considered before but would complement the style of the wedding dress. I was surprised that one of the few opinions Kyle has expressed about his expectations for the bridal party was that the girls should definitely have long dresses and dresses that were all the exact same style. Jenni was pleased that he offered an opinion and more than happy to comply.

Kyle also got attaboys from the other brides and the consultants who complimented Jenni on how pretty her engagement ring was. I did get a better appreciation for the unique Asccher cut diamond after having a look at some of the other rings flashing around the store.

I was a bit surprised that the cost of the dress itself only made up about 60% of the total cost. Because of the way the bottom of the selected dress is made the alternations to shorten it will be considerable, then there are all the under garments needed. Finally there is the cost of having the dress preserved after the wedding. These were all things that we as a foursome considered necessary. That still leaves Jenni to work on a hairpiece, shoes and jewelry.

While there are still those items to complete the wedding day ensemble, we all considered our shopping day a great success and decided, since none of us had lunch and it was already aftger 5pm, we'd do an early 'celebration dinner' at Olive Garden.

This was a really nice way to end our day together but turned out to be a disaster to my Weightwatchers points. I had not eaten out since the new year since I am tired of seeing my budget and my waistline destroyed by the amount of restaurant dining that had slipped in to our lifestyle.

I had assumed that we'd be finished looking at the dresses by 4:30 and would then likely be home by 6pm for dinner so I hadn't done any restaurant pre-planning which I've now proven is an important part of Weight Watcher success.

I knew from past experience that Olive Garden Zuppa Tuscana soup was 3 points (less than a serving of their salad with dressing) and that breadsticks were 3 points each, not a problem. However, because I was HUNGRY and had not planned ahead, I decided to go with the same entree as Jenni, the Manicotti Fromaggio with Shrimp. Geez!!! When I got home and checked the Olive Garden Nutrition site, I not only found out that this entree had cost me 25 points, but that another entree I considered, the Venetial Apricot Chicken would have only been 7 points.

This is the reason if you REALLY do weight watchers it REALLY works. You re-educate yourself on how to eat. You see, if I'm really honest with WW, then I know that I could have easily saved 18 points with one different choice that would have made absolutely no difference to my enjoyment of the dining experience.

What does 18 points meam to those non-WW folks reading. Well that means I have to, for example, do 102 minutes of high-intensity Nordic Track to make up for that one poor choice. That is one heck of a lot of exercise!!

That's why WW is a lifestyle change. You become educated on the impact of your choices and how simple adjustments can mean big differences.

The other thing I KNOW but allowed to bite me this time is to PLAN AHEAD when eating out. My choice would have been different had I checked the nutrition values before we went to eat. When I have my laptop with aircard I can take a few minutes before I go in to a restaurant and makes these choices based on the nutrition info. A lot of successful Weighwatchers today are doing this with their iphones!

But, I had been very good all week and so this one slip up will hopefully not have a major impact on my Monday weigh-in.

I had, however, sent a 'hot text' to Kyle to warn him off the 'doggy bag' Jenni was bringing home when I realized the points that were in the half of the entree she had left. That apparently was good since Kyle's weigh-in was this morning (Sunday) and he is now down 14.6 lbs!

Ok, I'm off for 34 minutes of Nordic Track, trying to make up for 1/3 of that Olive Garden entree mistake!!

Hugs, C

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