Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Breast Cancer Site

Almost every day I click on the Breast Cancer Site because it helps fund free mammograms for women in need. The other day they were advertising something that looked interesting (don't remember what now) from their store. As I surfed around, I saw lots of cool stuff, including jewelry, clothing, and crafts made by artisans around the world. (I bought something for the BMs -- hope it's as nice as the picture on their site.)

I thought these Shona stone statues were really neat and could possibly be used as a cake topper, sit on the sign-in table, or given as a gift to a couple. They also have different designs, like a dancing couple in the shape of a heart or a family of three (maybe for an expecting couple?). The statues are handmade by a tribe in Zimbabwe and I like how they have a very modern, minimalist look to it. Unfortunately it wouldn't fit in very well with our theme, but maybe a future gift for someone (or when we have a place to decorate). And the best part is that each purchase is for a good cause -- a portion of the price of each item goes toward a free mammogram for someone in need. They also have a one-cent shipping special right now!

Ribbon resources

The other day I went to Artistic Ribbon, a wholesaler of all kinds of ribbon. I've been wanting to go for a while but never got a chance because they're not open on the weekends and they close before 5pm. So on Monday I took off half a day from work to run all sorts of errands, including getting ribbon. I imagined that it would be like a store where you can peruse the aisles or look at neatly displayed samples. Instead, it was on the third floor of an office building and right when I got off the elevator there, I was met with a window where a woman asked what I needed. When I explained that I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted but needed to see what the stuff looks like in person, she rang me through the door and I went inside their cavernous space of tall shelves stacked with boxes. I knew that I wanted something fairly narrow, like 1/4" or 3/8" which was good b/c she didn't have much in those sizes so I didn't have a huge selection to sift through (I hate making decisions!). She showed me a booklet of some satin ribbons, then a box of some sheer. Of course I had issues deciding but she was quite patient with me, fetching roll after roll, checking prices for me, opening the rolls up so that I could compare textures and colors and also match it against my invite. I finally settled on a cream colored sheer ribbon. They only sell rolls (not by the yard) of ribbon so I got one 100 yard roll and it was less than $8, with no tax! Granted, this was a cheaper quality ribbon, but it is still a great price (they had $16 chiffon ribbon from France which was reaaally nice but not for my purposes b/c it was not stiff enough).

All in all, I think Artistic is a great place to go if you need a lot of ribbon and want to see what it looks like in person. It's even better if you know what you're looking for
so you can ask for it directly instead of having them pull out box after box (their site has all their stuff online so once you narrow down your choices you can check it out in person; the website doesn't represent the textures very well). They have a huge selection and their prices are decent, however, I noticed that Paper Mart also sells ribbon for a much lower price (but with shipping, I think it turns out to be about the same). I've never ordered from Paper Mart, but it seems pretty popular and they sell all kinds of interesting stuff in bulk too. Of course, there's always M & J Trimming in the Garment District, where you can buy ribbon by the yard and all kinds of neat stuff, including lace, flowers, buttons. Their store is pretty cool too, if you ever need to decorate anything.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Seasonal differences

It's a gorgeous spring day today -- yellow tulips and purple hyacinths are in bloom outside -- and I'm blogging about autumn leaves! Yes, I have to brag a little about the minute progress of this weekend. It's not complete but I started to shellac one side of the many leaves we collected last year. It is quite tedious to brush each individual leaf, especially when sitting on a hardwood floor. I felt like an old arthritic woman after a few hours and I'm not even close to being done! I did manage to break a a few of the fragile leaves though. :P

Here are some of them drying. If not for the newspaper underneath, I think the leaves spread out in their various colors are quite pretty. Perhaps we can lay them out like so on a table the day of.
LEFT TO DO: I think the medium-sized leaves will need an additional coating on the back b/c we'll likely use those as place cards and ppl will actually be allowed to touch them but for the little ones I'll leave less protected and probably scatter them on the table (to psych ppl out, haha) or use as decoration in some way. And of course, still have a whole other stack of leaves to begin on. Will we need so many? Yes, damn the 450!

4/23 UPDATE: I finished all the leaves and painted the back of some of them. Unfortunately, I added a little too much water to the gel and it took forever to dry and the watered-down solution didn't make it as stiff. Also, the water made some of the leaves more wrinkly (instead of the perfectly flat leaves from before). When my mother saw me doing this, she called me crazy. I now agree with her and I dread the thought of doing anything more with these leaves (like writing ppl's names on them). I hate leaves very much!!

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Chinese banquet

I've come across quite a few ppl (in person and through reading blogs) who don't want to do any kind of an Asian banquet or food (with the exception of sushi). I, however, loooooove the Chinese banquet. I've left Western-style receptions hungry and I often am amazed that this could be the case even though they are usually more expensive than the Chinese banquet. And their choice of food is usually just 3 types: chicken, fish, or beef. I hardly ever order chicken or fish b/c I think it's very hard to prepare (meaning it's often overcooked), especially when it's not cooked on-site. I much prefer the Chinese banquet, not just b/c I like the variety (and often quality) of the food, but also b/c each element has a meaning.

To begin with, there are usually nine courses (nine connotes 'everlasting' in Chinese) in a banquet. Another reason for so much food is to symbolize abundance and also the family's wealth. Also, all the food is served whole (including the chicken's feet and head; the fish with its eyes, fin and tail; the lobster with its head and tail) because serving only certain pieces is considered 'broken.' According to Rosemary Gong in Good Luck Life,
The wedding banquet menu is carefully selected for a culinary balance. To accomplish this feat, various cooking methods are adopted to achieve an array of flavors to awaken the palate. Cold balances hot, salt neutralizes sweet, boiled offsets fried, steaming equalizes braising. The presentation and color of the food is also important so that the combination of courses harmonizes with the eye as well as the tummy.
To illustrate, here is a sample menu of what I remember the banquet hall offered for their basic meal (plus my editorial comments, as always :P [pictures don't do this food justice, but these are from a banquet in a London Chinese restaurant, courtesy of]):

  • Cold appetizer platter: roast suckling pig with crispy skin (yum!!; this symbolizes virginity), pickled jellyfish (I love the crunchiness and surprising lightness of this), ham and other cold cuts (some places have the thinly sliced 5-spice beef that's popular in Shanghai-nese cooking)

  • Walnut shrimp: huge fried shrimp (prawns?) coated lightly with a sweet mayo sauce, plus tossed candied walnuts; since some of the ILs have issues with the heavy sauce, I am leaning towards the salt and pepper variety, if it's offered
  • Shark's fin (for prosperity) or bird's nest soup (symbolizing youthfulness and long life): both are Chinese delicacies and take hours of preparation so it is usually* very flavorful and good!

  • Stir-fried lobster: symbolizes the dragon, the essence of the husband; sometimes these are served in pairs (pairs are a good thing to Chinese ppl)

  • Braised abalone, sea cucumber, and vegetable: long leafy greens, though difficult to manuever with chopsticks, are often served whole to wish long life
  • Crispy, whole fried chicken: symbolizes the female part of the marriage equation, the phoenix (Chinese mythological bird); often served with colorful shrimp chips
  • Whole steamed fish (symbolizing abundance): the fish is never flipped (deriving from old fisherman's superstition of flipping the fish like flipping a boat) but the waiter will usually de-bone it for each table when it arrives
  • Fried rice and noodles, often served as a pair (I think the noodles symbolize long life)
  • Red bean soup (red for good luck and long ago my Chinese teacher told me there was a meaning to red beans, like friendship or something, but I forgot): this sweet dessert soup sometimes has lotus seeds added to it to 'wish the blessing of successive sons'; if I had my druthers, I'd rather have the coconut milk tapioca soup with taro, which I like a lot better b/c I'm not a fan of beans
  • Wedding cake (often served with the sweet soup) and I don't remember if fresh fruit is also served, or if that is just something that happens after regular Chinese dinners
Somewhere I kinda remember there being a T-bone steak which I don't like the Chinese preparation of so it probably won't be on our menu. With all this food, served family style, there is usually a lazy susan in the middle of the table (and hence, no room for centerpieces). There are also the requisite pots of tea and bottles of soda in the middle (7-Up is usually there b/c the translation of it means 'happiness' or something -- another thing I forgot from my Chinese teacher). *Some restaurants, of course, have better cooking than others. I'm pretty happy with the place we picked -- the last time we were there, there were quite a few non-Asians there b/c I think it's listed in Zagat's. Plus b/c FFIL knows the ppl there, they won't serve sub-par food in order to 'save face.' Yum and yay! All this talk of food is making me hungry!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

At-home 'facials'

My mother, who apparently believes I'm marrying rich or that I'm printing money, thinks that I should be getting monthly facials at this point. She heard about this from my aunt and they think that this will somehow give a better base for the tons of makeup that I'm to put on (sounds more like a scam told to my aunt to get more business out of her). Anyway, b/c I can't afford monthly facials, I've been trying at-home remedies. My latest experiments involve lemon juice, which I've read lighten skin b/c it is a natural bleach. I really need to do this b/c years of summers have darkened mostly my face while the rest of my body remains ghostly white. I don't want to look like my face doesn't match up with my body especially since I have a low-cut dress. Also, for some bizarre reason, my forehead is much darker than the rest of my face. (Yes I'm a freak of nature with chameleon and zebra characteristics!) So anyway, here's what you do:
1. juice some cucumber (skin on) by grating it
2. mix cucumber juice with freshly squeezed lemon juice
3. put mixture on your face for 15 minutes and wash off

Because I forgot to get the cucumber, I've just been using lemon juice. Some who tried just lemon juice tell me it's too harsh so this may not be advisable for those with sensitive skin. I've also heard that if you use cucumber juice only, you can leave it on all night. But plain lemon juice works for me and after one treatment I woke up to lighter skin! I also felt my face get smoother and tighter as the juice dried, almost like a toner. I was really surprised and even got a compliment about it at work (I don't think I've ever gotten a compliment on my skin)! This solution works for ppl who are born light and got dark through sun exposure so it doesn't work for naturally dark ppl. I've also read that you have to continue with this regimen daily at the beginning and then once in a while to maintain the results.

Some additional things you can use on your skin with lemon juice (unfortunately I don't remember what these ingredients do, just that they are good):
- honey
- yogurt
- egg white

I used to mix a spoonful of plain yogurt with some lemon juice and ground up oatmeal to exfoliate my skin but that was too labor intensive for me. So I've been exfoliating with baking soda. I just mix a spoonful of it with a few drops of water to make a paste and spread it all over my face. I think this can be a bit brutal (hence only done weekly) so I don't really rub it, just wipe on and off.

I also occasionally spread egg white all over my face to tighten it (my mother's been doing this for years and I think that's why she looks 10 years younger than what she really is). And boy does it tighten it -- you feel it pull your skin taut and after you wash it off, your skin is sooo smoooth.

I'd like to start up steaming my face again also. I used to boil some water, pour it into a bowl and hold my face over it with a towel over my head. You can add slices of lemons into the water or other fragrant oils (like lavender) for a nice fragrance. I used to think that steaming was useful b/c it opens your pores and makes it easier to remove blackheads but every time I would do this, I noticed that my skin felt softer too.

One last natural, at-home remedy that I've been trying to keep up is putting some olive oil on my lips, then brushing them with a toothbrush. The oil hydrates your lips and protects it from what could be some irritating brushing and the brushing exfoliates for kissably soft lips!

But all this doesn't mean that I won't get at least one professional facial before the big day (I need to get some extractions done!). I am eager to try a spa that my dermatologist recommended so hopefully it's not too late to try them out during Spa Week ($50 treatments throughout the city!). I wonder if facials can be considered a medical expense?

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Productive weekend

We got quite a bit accomplished this weekend compared to previous weekends. Saturday I dropped off my dress at Pinpoint for alterations/repair. They changed their name to "Pinpoint Bridal" on their awning (probably to secure more wedding business, which is probably more lucrative) and they remodeled so it was a little difficult to recognize the place. Like my previous excursions to look for a dress and the last time that I was there for an estimate, it was pouring. This time it was cold too, and at times it was sleeting. But finally, that part is done. Why did it take me so long, you ask? Well I was torn between Pinpoint, who gave me an estimate of about $400 for everything (beading to cover the side rip plus on the other side for symmetry, beading for the rip below the zipper, bust dart, bra cups, sewing in a bustle, shortening straps, hemming the bottom) and a friend of a friend who has experience in this. As I was deciding, a co-worker offered a tailor that her fellow churchgoers all go to and trust. She promised that it would be a good deal, etc. but for weeks she was never able to give me the information. So when I finally decided to forget her, the friend of a friend had already moved on and is too busy to help me out. Anyway, it's finally done and I can pick it up in July, then get it cleaned.

Then we experimented with different ways that we can protect the leaves that we gathered and pressed way back in October. Yes, we gathered a lot of leaves last fall, laid them between paper towels and newspapers and weighed them down between books. This produced perfectly flat, dry leaves, still retaining the color. However, they are kinda brittle and I had intended on
dipping them in paraffin or beeswax but I misread the instructions on the web and it turns out that waxing should have been done INSTEAD of pressing them. So, recalling an art teacher who sprayed our work with aerosol hairspray to preserve it (she said it was the same thing as those expensive art shellacs), I thought we could do something similar. Fiance suggested hair gel, since he has a whole bunch that he once bought but never used b/c he didn't like that stiff look. At first we thought to try to spray it like spray gel by diluting it with a lot of water so that it could still be misted, but the concentration wasn't strong enough and the leaf was still pretty brittle. We were eager to see what happens when the leaf dried up so we took a blow dryer to it. Interestingly, it dried the leaf in a kinda curled up way -- an effect of the gel holding it in that position against the force of the air, I guess. Then we diluted the gel w/ very little water and 'painted' it on with my finger (since we didn't have any brushes). I also put some on half of the leaf in the back to see if it's better to do front and back or if just front is OK. This time we didn't use the blow dryer and in the morning, the 'painted' leaf looked pretty good. It has a sheen to it (otherwise it is kinda dull) and is definitely stronger, especially the part that is gelled on both sides. The surface is also not completely shiny so you can still write on it. Woo hoo! So this afternoon we bought 2 paintbrushes from the 99 cent store and hopefully next week we can get these all gelled up.

Today we also went to our banquet hall to meet with FFIL's connection and to ask all our questions. The guy seemed a little abrupt at times but he, like this other guy that FFIL knows, seemed pretty important -- when the other workers saw us all, they were bending over backwards to bring us tea and food. Anyway, the guy said that there would be a renovation in August (they are closed for that whole month) and he assured us that it would be all done in time for us. Thank goodness b/c I think they really need an update. I think some of their updates have already begun, with new tablecloths (they were being delivered as we left) and new chairs (woo hoo!! no need for chair covers!). We also got a rundown of what's included in the basic menu (not sure whether he's giving us a discount b/c he knows us), with upgrades to lobster salad and something else, if we wanted. We're supposed to meet up w/ him again in September to hammer out the specifics of the menu and to check out the renovation. He can also provide a dim sum buffet for our cocktail hour, for which the dim sum are charged by the piece, not by the plate as at regular dim sum time. Some other points:
- we can bring our own alcohol for the bar, which is cheaper than for them to provide it
- they can provide a bartender for the night for $150 (he recommended 2 but I think one will be fine)
- we have the place until 11:30pm and we can begin setup as early as 4pm
- he can provide food for our vendors
- he can provide a different/special menu for 'lo fan' who may not want to eat such exotic fare
- we have to decide on what color tablecloth; their options are Chinese red, cream, white, pink (definitely not pink!)
- the option for chair covers is $2.25 per chair and they only have a gold color (it's very Chinese-looking, even with a frog closure -- like what they have w/qi paos -- sewed onto the back)

And besides all these done items, I managed to get a whole lotta AGITA from the out-laws re: invitations but that griping will be for another time b/c I actually want to be able to sleep tonight.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Celebrate carbs and calories!

The "Celebrate the Cake" at Michael C. Fina was an interesting cake-tasting experience. They are sort of like a high-end department store with jewelry and watch displays upstairs and home goods like cookware and china downstairs. I think they also do invitations for special events. After we checked in, they gave us drink tickets to pick up champagne or water, which was nice. There were eight cake designers/bakers there. Our first stop was Martin Howard, the pastry chef at Brasserie 8 1/2. Since this was the first one, I remember it most vividly. The sample was a vanilla cake with triple berry mousse and buttercream frosting, which was sooooo good! The berry mousse was very intense and multi-dimensional and the cake was moist. Just thinking about it gives me shivers!! Unfortunately the cakes start at $10/slice(!) and his designs are a little too obtuse for me (hence I did not take a picture).

Next up was The Cake Studio. I liked that they were thoughtful enough to present nice trays of mini cupcakes for everyone so it wasn't as messy to slice (but it ended up being messy for the tasters b/c the thick frosting really got in the way when trying to remove the cake liner). The person manning the stand was a little snooty b/c when she saw me taking pictures, she told me not to show them to any designers (the designs weren't that nice anyway). Their cakes were super rich: The first one I tried was a red velvet, which was really sweet and a little too heavy for me. The other one was coconut something or other and not very memorable. I couldn't finish these cakes and had to chuck them. I think their cakes start at $10/slice and they also don't do sheet cakes on the side so it'd be a very expensive (and big) tiered cake for us. I am a little hesitant to post pics of their cakes but b/c I'm keeping this blog for remembrance's sake (and I'm not showing it to any designers), I will.

Sweet Melissa Patisserie next door was alright. I liked how they had these pretty cookies on display (a sample of what to give out for favors, I guess). Their cake sample was some sort of a cream puff, which I didn't really care for and a chocolate thing which I didn't try b/c we're not going for any sort of a chocolate cake. Their buttercream cakes start at $8 and fondant, $9.

I was surprised to see Ferrara, from Little Italy, there. They had a very traditional tiered white cake on display and a gigantic sheet cake for tasting. They gave huge slices of raspberry and chocolate mousse cake, with big bowls of other fillings that they offer on the side. The raspberry mousse was not as good as the triple berry one from Mr. Howard, but their prices are right: $5.50 for tiered cakes and $1.50 for sheet cakes, where sheet cakes feed 120. I think they don't do fondant and I think I tasted lemon too, which I didn't like.

Then there were some gorgeous, but crazy expensive cakes from the Sugar Room (Juan Arache). Someone said, and I kinda agree with them, they're so beautiful you don't want to eat it for fear of ruining it. I'm not so sure that's a good thing b/c I want guests' mouths to water at the thought of eating the cake, not afraid to eat it. I didn't try their cake b/c it was chocolate. I think they were $15/slice for the really fancy one w/ the sugar flowers.

Cakeline (Cynthia Peithman) had a sample of white cake with pistachio and strawberry fillings. I didn't really like the pistachio but it had a nice green color. The strawberry was alright. I thought her cakes were pretty though (see right).

Michele Brown Baking was our last stop. I don't remember what her sample was but it's interesting that she offers demo classes at her bakery (too bad it's in Glen Cove). She charges $6/slice (starting?) for tiered buttercream cakes and $2 more for fondant.
We did not even stop at the last place, Cake Diva, b/c their cakes were kinda ugly and they seemed to be groom's cakes, which we're totally not doing. Plus I was so stuffed!

At the beginning, while we waited for some friends (they're getting married in June!) to get their drinks, we were accosted by a "Registry Specialist." I shouldn't use such a strong word like accosted b/c the man was actually very nice and he really made me consider registering with them (especially since they have Le Creuset!). He said that he would guide us on creating a registry, which is what I think we kinda need b/c we have no idea. We're probably missing all the crucial things out there and we're probably going to end up with a stocked kitchen and nothing else. But I'm not so crazy about such a 'specialized' store (there are only 2 in NYC, one of which is in Brooklyn and not as fully stocked as the one on Fifth Ave.) b/c in order to buy stuff from them you have to trek all the way there (I think he said their online registry is not as good as their store).

Anyway, this was definitely one of the nicer bridal events that we've been to. But we'll see whether or not I get any spam related to this! Speaking of which, the spam continues from that stupid Bridal Expo -- I got 2 registry offers from Macy's, with the 2 different names that I gave out to different vendors so they must combine spam lists! X(

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Ceremony ideas

From AnneAlex I got some really good ideas for programs. I like how they write "You are invited to participate in a group photo" and "The bride and groom will greet guests during the reception" at the end b/c I dislike receiving lines and Chinese ppl do the toasts at each table during the banquet anyway. I also like the readings that they use, though I'm not sure who comes up with the elements of a religious ceremony (minister? us?). And I'm not sure if I can include a non-religious reading in a religious ceremony (I really want to include both a reading from the Bible and, given my love for reading, 'secular' literature). But if it's not possible, I'm OK with the Christopher Marlowe poem that AnneAlex used.

Clicking through her site (and someone else's), I also got the idea of 'audience participation': instead of the usual clinking of glasses to make us kiss, they suggest variations of making guests act out how they want us to kiss. This may be a bit dangerous as I know how rowdy some ppl can get so we may have to have the DJ/MC pull couple's names out of a hat (and not include certain ppl's names :P).

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Makeup 'trial'

Ah gone are the days of the free Shiseido Studio and the next best thing we're left with is Shu Uemura. On the tip of a friend who sent me this info:
Eminent Japanese makeup artist Shu Uemura got his start in 1950s Hollywood beautifying movie stars like Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine before moving on to develop his own skincare line and run a private makeup atelier in Tokyo. Mr. Uemura opened his first boutique in Japan in 1983, and has since expanded his artistic empire to locations around the world. New York's flagship store offers the full range of his cosmetic and skincare creations, as well as signature beauty tools like his much-celebrated eyelash curler and handmade sable and goat-hair makeup brushes. The boutique's minimalist design keeps the spotlight on the colorful products, and four stations stockpiled with testers encourage customers to sample the goods. There's even a sink where you can try the brand's revered Cleansing Oils. The most unique feature, however, is the Tokyo Lash Bar, where customers can choose from false eyelashes of all colors and sizes and enjoy free applications. (The brand is known for creating fab lashes, including mink and diamond ones for Madonna and Oprah.) In back are two private studios where, by appointment, makeup expert Soul Lee teaches clients how to apply a customized color palette, shape their brows, and apply lashes. The latest trend in eyewear-individual lash extensions-is also offered.

Bridal parties can book after-hours atelier services for up to twenty people, with Champagne and hors d'oeuvres included. The best part: the price of the service is redeemable in products.
I went to check it out on Saturday. Unlike the Shiseido Studio of yore where there was absolutely no selling of products, I felt like there was at least some hard-selling involved at Uemura. The makeup artist that worked on me (Jason) was alright but I don't think that he did his best to accentuate the positive and deaccentuate the negative. If I had the perfect face I think his work would have been really great (a simple, understated look that's not too over-the-top but not too plain and ordinary). In the pictures that I took of myself, depending on how I angled my face, I looked either alright or bad. So if I angled my face just so, I would look nice for pictures but not terribly great in person. However, I learned some interesting/useful tips from Jason:
  • using a sponge to apply oil-free liquid foundation, tap foundation on to get the most out of it (instead of smoothing it over the skin)
  • put concealer on top of the foundation so that it matches well
  • use eye concealer and foundation above eyes to open up the eyes by brightening that area (he also lightened the inside corner of my eye using light eyeshadow, or some other powder that I don't remember anymore but I think he had said to use an angled brush)
  • he applied a very light blush instead of a bronzer for me, and then a slightly darker (but still quite light) rose color on the apple of the cheek so he said if I were to do my own makeup on the big day, put on the blush and then put on five times more b/c it's so subtle that it's not noticeable otherwise
  • his idea for a 'bridal look' is a flawless face (quite a bit of foundation, concealer) and simple makeup
  • to apply a strip of false eyelashes, first put it gently on the lid to measure how much to use, cut it to length and then put a small bead of glue to put it in place (I think he squeezed out a circle of glue and used the back of his tweezers to apply the glue -- the details are a little fuzzy now)
  • he applied waterproof liquid eyeliner before and after applying the false eyelashes (interesting that he applied this using another brush and was able to 'paint' it on)
  • he emphasized the importance of exfoliating, especially for oily skin (like mine); he said it's OK to lightly exfoliate daily with a towel
  • also exfoliate the lips with a toothbrush
  • put foundation on the lips as well to make lipstick last longer (not sure if I agree with this one as I've read contrary opinions)
  • use primer before applying the foundation to make makeup last longer (I already knew this but it bears repeating)
  • for oily skin, apply a colorless matte powder to control shine
  • tweezing eyebrows is better than waxing b/c it's not as irritating to the skin
  • he drew my brows in pretty thick b/c of the 'dramatic' arch of my right brow (not sure I like bushy brows though)
Because the place was so hot (A/C not working and the bright bulbs around all the tables were blazing hot) I think he applied more foundation than normal b/c he wanted to cover all the red and I was totally flushed. One good thing about Uemura is that their background is makeup so I think they have more color selection than Shiseido. But still not sure if they have the best products for me.

If I were to actually use the makeup artists at Uemura for the wedding day, I'd have to call them about a month in advance and book them for $75 if I go to the boutique (they open at 11am on Saturdays) or if a person came to me, it would be $200-250. Supposedly they only schedule appointments about 2 weeks in advance and he said that even he doeosn't know his schedule so far ahead b/c he travels a lot. This 'trial' was pretty much free but I felt guilty after he created a chart of all that he did for me, even coloring in the diagram with the stuff that he used. So after he kept telling me to look over the chart, when he asked me if I wanted to buy any of the products, I caved and bought the matte powder.
(I didn't get to keep the chart so it was not very useful for me anyway -- boo!) Also, if you want to try their lashes, you have to buy the pack ($12), plus the glue ($5). I couldn't resist buying a set b/c I really wanted to see how it's applied (not sure if I have the hang of it yet though). But I forgot, are these lashes reusable? Well anyway, this 'trial' turned out to be about $50 but at least I have something that I can keep using so kinda worth it.