Rings On Our Fingers

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Choosing the engagement ring was a collaborative effort. I had certain things in mind that I let Mr. Road Trip know about (like the fact that I wanted a square stone or setting and that I really liked the halo look over a solitaire, for instance) and then he went out looking for something he liked that took those parameters into consideration. (I also told him I was not interested in him spending 2 months salary on a ring, or even 1 for that matter–I love a good deal and didn’t mind at all if my e-ring fit that bill!) When he was pretty sure he’d found the right one, then he took me to see it just to make sure I’d like it.

Hello, Pretty! | image via Pink Shutterbug Photography, cropped by Miss Road Trip

Hello, Pretty! | image via Pink Shutterbug Photography, cropped by Miss Road Trip

All was not perfect in jewelry-land, however. Within a couple of months I was bringing it in to have the setting tightened and had to bring it back several times that first year before they finally fixed it semi-correctly (it no longer rattles or swivels in its setting, but the last fix was a bit sloppy, if effective). Mr. Trips suggested we just get me a new ring altogether, and I could wear my e-ring as a right-hand ring if I wanted. (And while some of the issues are definitely a fault of the original setting, it doesn’t help that I’m a big ol’ klutz and often misjudge doorways and such, but only one of the repairs was due to my klutziness–thank goodness for the Care Plan!)

By this time we’d also determined that the “basket” of the ring wasn’t of a size that was going to fit in the standard wraps, and the blue and white sapphire stacking bands I’d been eyeing would leave a definite gap–a look I was not fond of. So while a part of me was sad to give up that traditional stacked-ring looked, another part of me was anticipating the possibilities of a stand-alone band, too.

Sterling Silver & Diamond Band via Kay Jewelers

Not specifically this style, but something along these lines. | Sterling Silver & Diamond Band via Kay Jewelers

In fact, it didn’t take me long to have a new ring-vision in mind, a wider band with openwork/filigree details, millgrain edges and a bit of sparkle. Yup. I could be good with that.

There were a few rings I kept going back to, and since none of them were considered wedding jewelry, they were much more budget-friendly which was also nice. (For the record I did try that sort of ring from the Scott Kay line and while it was pretty, it felt horrible on my finger–big and clunky, even though it had a smaller footprint than the others I’d tried.)

Of course I wasn’t the only one getting a ring, this time, and on our 5th anniversary (which was also T-1 year til the wedding) we did a little ring browsing to see what he might like.

Tungsten Carbine Band from Kay Jewelers

Tungsten Carbide Band via Kay Jewelers

While I didn’t expect him to go for something ornate–that just not Mr. Trips’ style–I did sorta expect him to prefer a brushed finish or maybe a dual finish, and he thought he would to. Surprise, surprise, in person he was drawn to the the high-shine of a Tungsten Carbide band and it looked really nice on him, too.

We mostly knew what we wanted (thought I was still dithering between a couple of designs) but hadn’t pulled the trigger. Come February I was antsy to cross something off the massive to-do list, and since we’d just come off the holidays and were entering birthday season for both of us, I proposed (hah!) a practical solution to Valentine’s Day: why not gift each other our wedding bands?

Of course, when T selected a tungsten band I knew there was no way we were paying jewelry store mark-up when there are other options. Like many a Bee before me, I headed to Amazon.com to purchase his band and it arrived on February 13th–just in the nick of time!

Unfortunately, work had been more than a little hectic for Mr. Trips (winter is always a bad season for accounting departments, it is what it is), so we didn’t go pick up my ring until that weekend, but that was just fine because the sales associate at Marks & Morgan reminded us of a slightly different ring, one that included sapphires as well, that I eventually decided would be more to my liking.

Hers & His wedding bands

Hers & His wedding bands

So we each have our rings, now, and even though they spend most of their time in their boxes I have it on good authority (straight from the engine himself) that Mr. Road Trip takes his out and tries it on just as often I do mine.

How often do you (or did you) try on your ring before the wedding day?

A Practical Valentine

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Not two words that usually go together, right?

Despite the bad reputation Valentine’s Day often gets, I’ve always been fond of it and enjoy doing mostly fun, silly things on the day. Since it’s so close to Christmas and Todd’s birthday is in March and mine in April, we usually concentrate on cards and smaller gifts. This year, though, I had the idea that we could kill two birds with one stone (though a lot more romantically than that phrase suggest).

For our last Valentine’s Day before the wedding, we gifted each other our wedding bands.

It turned out to be a very, very good idea, especially in hindsight.

I’d ordered Todd’s ring and it came in the night before, just in time to wrap it up along with his cards and chocolates. I gave him one set in the morning before work, and planned to give him the ring and the other set of card and chocolate that night.

Todd's gifts

Todd’s gifts

Now, Todd doesn’t often buy me flowers, it’s just not his thing. In the 5+ years we’ve known each other, he’s sent me flowers exactly twice. Once as a thank-you for helping out with a project we were both volunteering on (just before we officially started dating), and once for Valentine’s Day 2011 (or was it 2010? It was during my last cellphone contract, so one of those). So when he gave me a stripey sock monkey and 2 cards that Thursday morning but said I had to wait until I received a signal to open the second, I didn’t immediately think it meant he had sent me flowers.

Pink striped  socked monkey purse hanger

We love the Pier One commercial with the singing sock monkey, this little one that now rides around on my purse prompts lots of renditions of that little ditty.

Well, he tried to.

Around 1:30 I got a text apologizing for the flowers not arriving. You see, 1-800-FLOWERS had sent him a confirmation email on Wednesday saying that the order was being prepared for shipment, despite 2 florists telling them on Tuesday that the item he ordered was out of stock (it was a martini-glass vase filled with roses)–that last bit we found out when he went to track the order and found it had been canceled. Not subbed for a similar item, canceled.

This, of course, put Todd in a foul mood and, after trying to be zen about it, eventually made me feel rather guilty in a third-party sort of way. In the way of if I didn’t like to make a big deal out of holidays then he wouldn’t have felt compelled to try and send me flowers sort of way. Irrational, but sometimes my brain runs that way.

The long and the short of it is that we both tweeted about the snafu, but they reached out to me, not him, and when I explained that it was a little late to fix things and I was more concerned about Todd getting his refund processed (because, no, that didn’t happen immediately) they said they would follow-up with him and never did. But on Monday I did receive these:

Make-Up Flowers courtesy of 1-800-FLOWERS that I didn't ask for and didn't really enjoy.

Make-Up Flowers courtesy of 1-800-FLOWERS that I didn’t ask for and didn’t really enjoy.

Not what he’d ordered and way too full of lilies for my sinuses to handle, I was actually reluctant to sign for them. This was 1-800-FLOWER’s way of apologizing (the card even mentioned that the delivering florist was not responsible for the delay, hah!) but neither Todd nor I were very impressed.

The point is, as screwed up as his surprise turned out, it was good we were having a relatively low-key Valentines because knowing that the rings were the real gifts meant that all the rest was just icing and easily ignored. I’m still not quite able to think back on the flower debacle and laugh, but trying on my new bit of sparkle does make things easier.

His and hers unmatched wedding bands.

His and hers unmatched wedding bands.

Todd was still set on the tungsten carbide high-polished band, so I found a vendor with positive reviews via Amazon and crossed my fingers it wouldn’t somehow be subpar since it was only costing $39.95. I needn’t have worried, Todd was thrilled by it and it fit just right. Since my ring was going to be a local purchase, we headed to Marks and Morgan that Saturday evening (when we’d last gone shopping we had the best service there). I thought I knew which ring I wanted, but when we got there they showed me another and, oh, I had to make a decision after all.

In the end I went with a sterling silver openwork band with diamonds and lab-created sapphires (the link is from Kay, their sister-store, because M&M doesn’t really have an online store to link to). It’s reminiscent of my engagement ring but not too matchy-matchy and well-priced at $159.

I can’t say how often Todd tries his band on (though he joked about doing it when I gave it to him), but I fully admit I slip mine on every 2-3 days to admire the sparkle. After all, it fits differently than my current ring, so I have to get used to the wider band, right?

That’s totally my story and I’m sticking to it.

Wouldn't these make great covers for our wedding vows? Tempting...

Wouldn’t these make great covers for our wedding vows? Tempting…

Aren’t those little books absolutely adorable? I found them (Don’ts for Husbands/Wives) via Paper-Source when I was shopping for stocking stuffers. They’re full of all sorts of out-of-date yet charming suggestions for how to have a happy married life.

Pretty Book and Flower Icon


How do you decide what to give for Valentine’s Day?

5 Years In, 1 Year Out

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Friday, November 2, was our 5 year dating anniversary and also brought us exactly 1 year until the wedding!

Suddenly my Inbox is full of countdown emails from various wedding websites and we can finally say we’re getting married in less than a year!

For our actual anniversary we went to the local Greek Food Festival but didn’t stay too long–last year we closed it down and then came home with friends to play cards until 3am–this time we were home in jammies before 10pm! Then, Saturday night we had a slightly more “proper” anniversary dinner at Buca di Beppo, which recently opened in the mall, followed by going into every jewelry shop for some impromptu wedding band shopping.

Todd went in thinking he wanted a brushed-and-shiny two-tone look, only to find he liked the look of highly polished Tungsten Carbide band.

Tungsten Carbine Band from Kay Jewelers

Tungsten Carbide Band via Kay Jewelers

And I’m still set on an open-work band with plenty of sparkle.

Sterling Silver & Diamond Band via Kay Jewelers

Sterling Silver & Diamond Band via Kay Jewelers

Not necessarily that ring, but something along those lines. We decided a while ago that, rather than getting a ring custom-made to fit around my engagement setting, I’d get stand-alone ring and wear my engagement ring on my right hand. At first I was against the idea, but then had so many problems with the setting that not wearing it every day seemed like a not bad thing. And, hey, it’s more shiny things for me and I’m not going to fight that!

Ring shopping was a nice way to walk-off dinner but it wasn’t all fun and games. We went into one of those all-but pawn shop jewelry stores, just on a lark, and I regretted it immediately. There was a very wrong feeling in that place and we made a polite circuit of the cases and got the hell out of there. Not that I really expected my dream ring to be in there, but a bride on a budget needs to examine all options.

One more thing I decided, with a year left to go, was to scrapbook this last year of wedding planning, Project Life-style. This will not only get me to take more photos of us and our wedding activities over the next year (something we’ve been really bad about, so far), it’ll also be nice to have a definite reason to scrapbook again. It’s a hobby from way-back for me, but now I do it digitally.

Title Page for our Project: Wedding scrapbook using the Becky Higgins Tourquoise Project Life Kit

The Cover page to our Project: Wedding Album!

The Saga of the Ring

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

I am walking around sans engagement ring. Again.

It’s in for repairs. Again.

This is, in fact, the third time in 8 months that I’ve had to take the ring in, and every time it’s been because of the setting. The first time (with only a month of wear under it’s band) the setting was loose, the stone was rocking in the setting and it was rattling.

Within 2 days of getting it back it was rattling again but I just chose to live with it. Turns out, they never actually sent it to the jeweler that time (which I suspected when they called me to come get it the next day when they’d originally told me it’d be a week), a fact I found out when I brought it in this time.

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

The second time, this past January, I reached into the fridge with my left hand and one of the prongs caught on the shelf, snapping it clean off. My bad, totally, and since I’m right-handed not something I’d normally do. A fluke. I brought it in, dropped it off on a weekend (because they send out the repairs on Mondays), and got it back within a week. Unfortunately, I could clearly see which prong had been replaced–it was not a seamless job by any means. Kinda shoddy, honestly, but the repair was covered under the Care Plan so I didn’t want to cause a scene.

Here it is, the end of May, and the stone was so loose in it’s setting it was rotating like 30º. It looked like MC Esher had designed the ring. And not in a good way.

So I decided to take it in and talk with them about shoring it up a bit better. Fact is, I don’t think those 4 measly little corner prongs can handle the stone. It’s just not enough. My plan was to explain that this was the 3rd repair in 8 months and that the setting being loose was a constant problem. As a solution, I suggested making the 4 corner prongs double prongs, couching in each corner of the cushion cut stone better, or adding 4 prongs, 1 on each side of the stone at the mid-points. This would make the stone more secure and ensure that I wouldn’t need to constantly bring in the ring for tightening. A win-win for both parties, right?


First I was told that it would be $45 per prong to change the setting. I get that the price of gold has gone up since the last time I had a ring worked on (about 6 years ago, or so, I had an antique ring–WWII era–repaired, all 12 prongs retipped and several re-seated, for around $50), but $180 for 4 prongs? Really?

But that turned out to be a moot point as another associate (I’m guessing the manager from the I’ve-been-doing-this-26-years speech he gave me*) told me that they couldn’t add prongs to this ring. That no jeweler, anywhere, would do it (which, you know, sounds like a dare to me!), and it’d be like creating a whole new ring.

I get that I’m not a jeweler. But I’m not your average consumer, either. I can look at the side of the ring, especially when the stone is cock-eyed, and see there’s a rim running just under the top of the ring, a rim that the stone partially sits on, a rim that runs the entire inner circumference of that setting. You’re seriously telling me that prongs could not be attached to that to secure the primary stone?

Not to mention that there are 26 stones in the halo and band that would not have to be reset, so spare me the “create a whole new ring” crap.

They even asked me if I just wanted to get a different ring.

Uh, no. It’s my engagement ring, it’s the one Todd officially asked me to marry him with, no I do not want a different ring. I want this ring to be sturdy enough to wear every day without rattling around like a bird in a cage!

But, again, we have the “Care Plan,” so I left the ring there. Supposedly Mr. Manager is going to chat with the jeweler, once said jeweler has had a chance to evaluate the situation, and will be calling me to let me know what my options are. Supposedly they’re going to bulk up the prongs that are already there, to handle the sturdiness issues, but we shall see.

I’m not exactly holding my breath.

*He also did the hold-up-one-finger-mid-sentence (my sentence) so he could go back to another client. I get that he was helping someone else, but you finish with them before you come help the chippy out whose not helping me, rather than adopt a supercilious air. I’m willing to bet he works on commission. At this point I doubt I will support buying anything from this store again.

Pretty Book and Flower Icon

Have you had any problems with your engagement ring?
How did the store handle it? Were they willing to work with you
or did they blow you off?