Thursday, March 30, 2006


This past Saturday a friend told me how it rained on her sister's wedding day so they had problems taking pictures outside and they ended up going to Grand Central. I never thought about this b/c all the places that I wanted to take pictures at are outdoors:
  • Staten Island Ferry (25 minute ride each way provides view of lower Manhattan's skyline and the Statue of Liberty, plus opportunities for the veil billowing in the wind)
  • Stone Street (for its quaint, cobblestone streets, proximity downtown and how it reminds me of European street cafes)
  • Noguchi's Red Cube? (not sure about this one but it provides a different, Modernist backdrop and it's red!)
  • Battery Park
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park and Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park for views of the Brooklyn Bridge at the foot of the bridge
  • Brooklyn Heights Promenade
  • Brooklyn Bridge (if we had time and energy, I'd like to walk the bridge for pictures right under the famous arches)
  • other cobblestone streets in DUMBO, which is close to Brooklyn Bridge
But what if it rains?! Winter Garden?

Let's eat cake!

We RSVPed to attend "Celebrate the Cake II" at Michael C. Fina -- a cake-tasting event with a bunch of pastry chefs. It's a little odd b/c they are like a gift/registry store and cakes (which they don't sell or have any partnerships with) are totally unrelated to what they do. At least at the Target event almost every station was related to what they sell (makeup, hair products, registry items, etc.). I hope it's not like that episode of Martha's Apprentice where they try to sell wedding cakes to ppl.

In a recent Daily Candy, they were talking about Insolia inserts which sound very comfortable. These inserts provide comfort when wearing high heels by shifting weight from the ball of the foot to the heel. The main reason why I don't like wearing heels is b/c of the pain in the ball of my foot. Though pads work, they don't last throughout the day for me. So I'm excited to try these for my wedding shoes. It sounds too good to be true (and I'm often disppointed by these things b/c my feet are so temperamental!) but with a free 30-day trial and free shipping (probably included in the price already), it's worth a shot. Also, the price is OK and if you buy 2, you get the third for free.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Music and stuff

Today we met with an old friend of fiance's who started his own entertainment company. I've seen him emcee weddings but I think he usually works with a DJ who takes care of the music. Even though he's a nice guy, I'm really not sure about 1) having a DJ and 2) booking him. His packages consist of the usual stuff -- all the stuff that I don't like about DJs and clubs. Even though we told him that we don't like hip hop and reggae and all that stuff, he still seemed to steer us toward the lighting, smoke machine, etc., stuff that I don't like. Ideally, if we had an unlimited budget, I would want a rock band that plays covers. If only I knew of a band like Hep Alien (Lane's band in Gilmore Girls) -- a band just starting out, trying to make it big.

In terms of the ceremony, at the service that I went to today, the prelude and offertory music was a sonata by Bach for piano and violin and it was soooo beautiful (I love the sound of strings, especially violin!). So I would really like that at the ceremony. The church could provide an organist, which would be really ordinary, but BM knows of a violinist who said that she'd play for us. Now if we could just find a pianist.

I've also been thinking about makeup lately. BM's friend is a BM in another bridal party and recommended someone who does both hair and makeup as a sidejob. I was so excited b/c she's worked on ppl that I know and they were happy but when she sent me some pics, I was not thrilled. Showing it to my mother and BMs, they didn't think it was that great either. So I'm back to square one now. :(

I did come up with an idea for my flowers though. A few weeks ago, someone in my small group gave us all these ribbon bookmarks with a charm on one end. While playing with it at a recent Bible study, I thought that I could incorporate this ribbon idea with the idea for my bouquet and instead of a charm hanging at the end, it could be pomander of flowers. I'm not sure if making a pomander of fresh flowers would be easy or not.

My friend was describing what she did as MOH for her sister's wedding and she said that they got up very early to get to the flower district Friday morning and it was a lot of work. She said that b/c their family is so big, they had to do a lot of stuff (besides the usual stuff, every close relative got a flower too). So maybe, with one less BM it won't be so bad for me? However, I will not have someone who knows how to arrange flowers. :(

Monday, March 20, 2006

An open house's closed doors

This weekend, in our quest to find affordable housing and to be somewhat settled in it prior to the wedding, we went to a couple of open houses. The first one we found in the NYTimes, called Flagg Court in Bay Ridge. I think that complex has great potential: a couple of old buildings joined together with a huge courtyard in the middle, which gives it a campus quad feel. There is a gate that encloses it but you can also enter into each of the separate buildings through doors on the side. They also have a sizeable parking lot and tennis courts (which need quite a bit of work and are currently being used for storage). Unfortunately, the apartment had much to be desired (tiny, odd-shaped rooms, all electric cooking, in need of much upkeep, mostly rental) but I think it has character that, if used to its potential, could rival Peter Cooper Village.

The other open houses that we went to we came across while driving through the neighborhood. Because fiance couldn't find a parking space, I went in by myself to this nice condo on the second floor of a 16-unit building. The unit was pretty nice (2 small bedrooms/2 bath, plus laundry room), but twice our budget so I thanked the agent after taking a quick look and left. Since it was just on the second floor, I decided to go down the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator. Bad move! I realized that the fire doors do not open from inside the staircase so I had to go down all the way to the parking area. Unfortunately there was no way out of there that I could see -- I tried all the doors and they wouldn't open, including the one that I walked out of. The "Exit" sign pointed to the garage doors which didn't open despite my frantic pushing of a button on the side. I hoped that they activated by motion sensor so I started jumping up and down to make it recognize me. Of course that didn't work. So I walked back up the bird poop-laden driveway to try other tactics. To make matters worse, I really had to pee. The lot was desolate except for a sad beat up Hyundai and there were walls all around that reached way above my head. I thought for a brief moment, am I going to die here?! I had to pee so bad that I thought of at least relieving myself in the corner since there'd be no one around to see me (but I didn't). I called fiance, who still hadn't found a parking space yet but said that he'd come get me once he did. He couldn't help laughing at me though (it is somewhat funny in retrospect). I thought about calling the realtor, who had given me her card but she'd probably laugh her head off at me, plus she probably didn't know how to free me either, nor could she leave the apartment empty. And I think her card just had her office number. So I tried all the doors again, this time also trying a door that I had not seen behind a corner. Whew! That door opened and led me up a few steps to the lobby. Freedom!! I will now think twice about taking the stairs, especially in newer buildings!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

To floral monogram or not?

As I mentioned before I wanted to do a floral monogram on the church doors. But I slightly modified the design to make the letters wider to match the logo thingy that I designed. But is it too wide? And our logo has serifs but these letters do not, so does it even matter that I made it wider? More importantly, do gerbera daisies make it seem too casual? Will a white satin-like cloth in the background dress it up a little?


Oh man, have I been stressed. I have to do my taxes, plus all this wedding stuff, and trying to find a future abode is just plain crazy!! On top of all this, we're trying to plan the honeymoon, which is another cause of stress, even though it's supposed to be a fun thing. We've settled on Spain but with the strong Euro, it's hard to plan something reasonably within budget without staying in hostels. One really neat idea that I'm exploring (though quite expensive!) is a luxury train tour called Al Andalus Expreso. It sounds so cool: an old restored train (they describe it as a "luxurious moving hotel") that goes through Andalusia (from Seville to Cordoba to Granada and back to Seville), the mountainous region of Spain. Along the way they stop and give tours of stuff, including Alhambra Palace. I think it's cool to travel overnight on a train too, kinda like a land cruise. They do have a honeymoon discount but at around $2000 a person for just 5 days/6 nights, I'm not sure we can afford it. I believe it includes drinks and all meals (some of which are on board, which would be an interesting experience). It'd be nice to go all out for once and not do a budget vacation though. Of course, while we're on the other side of the lake, I'd want to visit Madrid and Barcelona, so that will be more tacked on to the price.
Aside from all this, I've been getting stressed about stupid details like how flowers will work out (I saw a great paper flower idea but some say it's bad form to carry fake flowers), whether our monogram is OK b/c I designed it with his initial before mine, how the church will be decorated, what to put on the RSVP cards (should we ask for music requests? would it be too much to ask for guests to fill out other things?). I think this is partially the fault of getting all these great ideas from websites. Yet I can't pull myself away -- I'm so addicted!!

But these are such minor things. I have yet to:
  • fix my dress (I am waiting on a co-worker who said her fellow churchgoer knows of a great seamstress in Jersey City. Each week she's not been able to get me the info. I'm setting myself the deadline of this Monday -- if I don't hear from her, I will decide between Pinpoint and my friend's friend.)
  • do BM dresses (a friend is going to China, who knows of a tailor that can do drastic alterations for a low price so I have to get one BM's too large dress pinned and measured out in time for her departure; still haven't figured out what to do about other BM's dress)
  • find a DJ
And despite all that I have to, I am just blogging!! (Speaking of which, I enabled anyone to post comments. So post away, unless you're a spammer!)

Friday, March 17, 2006

SPAM or reasons to not attend bridal shows

Ugh! I got a second call from those annoying 21st Century Todays Bride people. First of all, can they come up with a less cheesy name for their scam operation? Second, it's just wrong to prey on ppl who are going through a happy time in their lives. Their plot is so corny that I smelled fish when they first called. A seedy-sounding woman calls me, addresses me by the fake name that I used to fill out all the stupid forms at that horrible bridal show, NY Great Bridal Expo, tells me that I've been selected out of all these ppl to win some prize. The woman tries to play up the whole thing but the prizes are kinda corny too: a free trip to blah blah place, $500 to spend at some mail order place, and one other thing that's completely vanished from my mind. The catch is to go claim these prizes, which you can only do in person with your fiance, at a crackpot hotel in Brooklyn. There, they're supposed to show you their cookware and cook stuff for you. No thank you!! I've read how similar scams push you to join their club (or pyramid scheme, or whatever you call it) and ppl actually run into debt b/c their crap is so expensive. And I do mean crap!! I've seen pictures of their stuff and it looks like the stuff that college kids would buy in the supermarket out of desperation for something to cook with. And they won't stop calling me!!! In retrospect, at that horrible bridal show (I can't believe ppl actually paid to go there -- I got free tix somehow), I remember some person asked us to fill out a card with a yellow highlight through it and wouldn't tell us what it's for. I assumed it was a registration for the show b/c the woman was hollering for us to fill it out and I think she said that we had to fill it out. I didn't think it was for a vendor b/c none of the other vendors specifically asked for your info. (They were just optional drop offs to be included in raffles for prizes that I doubt even existed.) And to elaborate on the cheese, the woman offered pens for ppl to fill out the forms but asked for all the cheapass, used, dirty Bic pens back. The Club Wedd event thrown by Target was sooo much better -- they gave out FREE pens (pretty nice ones too), plus all this other stuff and I didn't have to give out ANY of my personal info. The only halfway mediocre thing about the corny bridal expo (and it was very crowded, not just w/ ppl but some pretty crappy vendors too) at the hotel was maybe 2 decent free magazines. Everything else was just wasted trees. And though the show was free for me, I feel like I've been paying ever since. I keep getting junk mail (of the paper and email variety, everyday!) for services that look a little too shady for me (imagine gaudy postcards with the word 'special' all over it and emails from ppl named A-Class). And some things are just really stupid and irrelevant to me -- I'm NOT INTERESTED in locations in Long Island, CT or upstate NY. I found a photographer, thank you very much. I don't need any more dresses. These ppl should do at least a little homework before wasting their time and energy.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A possible 'first dance' song

Words to songs, though they may have a great melody, can totally kill the song for me. For instance, my co-worker suggested the James Blunt song "You're Beautiful" and I've thought 'nice song' when I've heard it on the radio. However, when I looked up the lyrics, I was totally put off and it's completely inappropriate, in my opinion, for a wedding song. But at the wedding that I was at this weekend, they played a song that I've always liked but never thought about using at our wedding. It was good enough that fiance and I actually got up to dance. The translation (included below) is a little cheesy but I don't want to give away so much (by providing the actual song or title) so that there is at least a little element of surprise on the big day. In any case, we really need to track down a DJ as I feel like the clock is ticking for that. But I'm really disinterested in finding one....

This weekend we also went to Staples to buy some cardstock for the RSVP postcards, directions, and the invites. They've got this great scam going where the stuff that's on their website is not necessarily in the store. I'm not so surprised at that as I am about them not carrying their housebrand of paper in-store (that's what I wanted b/c it's a little bit cheaper). Also, they didn't have the exact thing that I wanted in the bulk pack and so we had to buy more packs of the smaller size, which is more expensive than just getting the 500 pack. They did have the heavier coverstock in the 500 pack which turned out to be cheaper per sheet than the lighter stock, which totally doesn't make sense to me. So we were forced to buy the more expensive stuff b/c paying for shipping makes it not worth it (we didn't qualify for the free shipping). The service there sucks too -- two clerks avoided me when they saw that I was trying to approach them to ask a question. And when I cornered the third one by catching her by surprise, she was upset that someone actually asked her for help. Another clerk actually asked if I needed help but she looked mortified when I proceeded to ask her my question. She didn't really know the answer but fumbled around for a somewhat satisfactory one and was completely relieved when I got distracted by fiance calling me over. Anyway, I can't wait to finalize the wording for the invites (waiting on the decision about whether or not to have a cocktail hour) so that we can start printing, cutting, and gluing (oh my!).

Here're the lyrics for the song that I mentioned above -- extra credit to the person who can guess which song it is. :)
When I’'m alone
I dream on the horizon
and words fail;
yes, I know there is no light
in a room where the sun is absent,
if you are not with me, with me.
At the windows
show everyone my heart
which you set alight;
enclose within me
the light you
encountered on the street.

I’'ll go with you,
to countries I never
saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’'ll go with you
on ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer;
with you I shall experience them.

When you are far away
I dream on the horizon
And words fail,
and, Yes, I know
that you are with me;
you, my moon, are here with me,
my sun, you are here with me,
with me, with me, with me.

I'’ll go with you,
To countries I never
Saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’'ll go with you
On ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer,
with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you
On ships across seas
Which, I know,
No, no, exist no longer;
with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you,
I with you.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Cake flavors

Some yummy flavor combinations that a magazine article on Sylvia Weinstock suggested:
- hazelnut cake with raspberry cream and chocolate mousse
- white cake with pistachio and apricot buttercreams
- yellow butter cake with blood-orange, key-lime & raspberry fillings

I like the idea of almond, chocolate, or hazelnut cake and the following fillings (though not necessarily together):
- chocolate
- raspberry
- mocha
- strawberry
- coconut
- hazelnut
- pistachio
- apricot

Some flavors offered by the cake baker we met with:
- green tea cake
- praline buttercream
- chocolate truffle ganache
- 100% pure fruit preserves

I'm also considering red velvet cake b/c of the dramatic red color.

Some sites to check out to find vendors:
- wedding consultants:
- DJs:
- flowers:
- wedding photojournalists: (this is the only site that I've used and I found some decent ppl but most were beyond our price range)

Monday, March 6, 2006


According to the Postal Service, postcards should be:

Dimension Minimum Maximum
Height 3-1/2 inches 4-1/4 inches
Length 5.5 inches 6 inches
Thickness 0.007 inch 0.016 inch

Any item smaller than the minimum dimensions is not mailable.
For postcards, length is the dimension parallel to the address.
Postcards must be rectangular and be made of unfolded and uncreased paper or card stock.

The 3.5x5.5 inch height is perfect for fitting into the pocketfold and four can be cut from 8.5x11 cardstock with little waste. I'm guessing 60 lb. stock should be OK (no idea how heavy .007 - .016 inch equals and I left my micrometer in high school).

Sunday, March 5, 2006

The Chinese Dress

Check! This is probably the task that was completed the quickest thanks to my mother. (Delegation is a beautiful thing!) She's been keeping an eye out for dresses, in particular the Chinese kind (qipao or cheongsam, I think it's called) for me. The other day she presented a few business cards of the places that she visited and liked. I didn't think much of them but today we decided to go check them out in Chinatown. (man, I couldn't help but notice how touristy everything is now) The first place I walked through by myself, since we agreed to meet there and I was very early. The ppl kept asking if I needed any help but since I had no idea what I was supposed to look for (does it have to be red or have the dragon and phoenix on it?), I kept saying no. I must've walked the store three times through (they have a lot of knick knacks too) while waiting for her so the workers must've thought I was acting suspiciously (not everything that they sell requires a lookover) so they kept following me. That was pretty irritating and weird and I ended up buying a little white bag that I thought I could use as a bridal purse or something. I now have buyer's remorse b/c I think the bag is too white and I don't like how they charged me more than the bag is really worth (it's a very simple design and I heard them say 'oh how much should I charge her'). Anyway, when my mother finally showed up, we went through a couple of their dresses and she said there should a dragon/phoenix on it and it'd be best if it were red). I tried on the only one that they had with the dragon and phoenix and it was quite fugly. It looked like it was more suited for an old woman. So they showed us others, some red, some with cap sleeves, some sleeveless. They were all unspectacular but they would brush off our complaints of how it didn't quite fit (too loose here and there) or that they weren't really appropriate for weddings b/c they weren't red, yet they just said you could wear teal and it doesn't need the dragon/phoenix thing. I'm glad we didn't settle b/c the last store we went to (more like some rented space in a larger, undeveloped shopping mall on Grand Street) had this beautiful red dress with gold accents (including the appropriate dragon/phoenix). I like it b/c it is slightly different from the ordinary Chinese dress with a keyhole opening in front and is sleeveless. It fits perfectly (though a little too perfectly as my tummy roll is very obvious) and is better constructed than other dresses that I've seen b/c it is lined so it falls over my body nicer. I just need to get shoes (maybe slippers?) and bodyshaping underwear to go with it.

Yesterday we met with a cake baker and I was quite impressed with her portfolio. She charges $4 per slice or $3 for sheet cakes, not including delivery charges. I think that is low on the cake cost spectrum for fancy wedding cakes but expensive compared to Chinese cakes (which can be flavorless, too spongy and/or dry, and not that nice). Though the flavors are tempting I'm not sure if I would justify spending so much on cake. At the same time I'm not a fan of the Chinese cake so maybe we'll check out Veniero's (ironically I hear they are cheaper for cakes b/c it is much simpler -- fresh fruit, cream, white cake, I imagine).

Upcoming: we really have to work out the music situation. The problem is that I dislike loud music and I think most DJs are like that but from previous experience, a lot of ppl have complained about how boring live music is (be it jazz or a slightly more upbeat rock band). This coming weekend we'll be headed to an out-of-town wedding so we won't be able to get much done but at least I'll be able to steal some ideas. :)