Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Colors revisited

ColorBlender.com calculated the above blend of colors when I inputted a close approximation of the red that I'd like to use. I like the orange (and I did use the light gray for something) but I wish that I could see complementary colors (opposite colors on the color wheel) too. For example, I think complementary colors would help me get an idea of what color flowers would look nice on the cake. There will definitely be red on the cake (in a wide band on the bottom and maybe in a double happiness symbol on the top tier) but I want some flowers scattered throughout and I can't decide what color they should be. Narrowing down the color would also help in choosing the type of flower (baker needs to know relatively soon in order to order the right molds, if necessary). I want an elegant look (not playful) but not many flowers fall into the categories above.

But ColorBlender.com has definitely been helpful (it confirms some of my color choices) and I owe its discovery to the China Bridal message boards. The boards are my new obsession! I've never been a fan of the other boards but CB is actually helpful, especially with all those crazy/stupid Chinese traditions. And a lot of the ppl are going through the same stuff so I've found a lot of answers.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Wedding rings, first look

To continue recapping my weekend.... On Saturday we checked out some wedding bands. As usual, fiance had no opinions about what we should get but had plenty of wisecracks about how having a tattoo would be easier or if he went and got a hexnut from Home Depot it'd make no difference to him. I'm sure the jeweler, whose profession was being mocked, was not amused. Neither was I b/c I have no idea what I want either. I can't decide whether to get one with a row of little diamonds or to just get a plain band. Some ppl tell me when you have kids you don't want to wear your e-ring b/c it gets in the way but you'd still like some diamonds so a wedding band with little diamonds would be ideal. However, I'm not crazy about the gap between the e-ring and the band when they're worn together. The jeweler did say that she could make one with a notch in it so that it fits together but of course you can't wear that alone b/c it'd look weird. And I am a kinda plain girl, so I don't mind the plain band but diamonds are pretty....

Two that I saw that I liked: a plain band with two lines etched into it near the top and bottom edges, and a thin band with a row of very little diamonds on the front (not all around). We were in a bit of a rush so I didn't get to follow up with more questions or browsing so we'll have to pay another visit, hopefully when I have a better idea. I'd have to say, though, that when I put on the bands with the e-ring, even though they may not have matched and probably were not the right size, I felt like they fit and things felt complete. Weird, corny and probably silly, but so be it.

I was also thinking of getting a set of pearls to go with the white dress for a classic look but not sure if she carries them.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Minister meeting

Busy weekend. Met with officiant, baker, and DJ. Also (finally!) picked up my evening gown from the tailor. (Un)fortunately, most of these meetings were not what I expected. I thought that the meeting with the minister would be boring but she was actually very nice and accomodating, open to lots of ideas. This being a Christian ceremony, she explained how she really wants us (and our guests) to understand how this is a celebration of our love for God. We will have two premarital counseling sessions (one fairly close to the day of to hammer out the ceremony details and one at least a week before the second meeting to really get to know her, her thoughts on marriage and for her to get to know us). She said that it's important to get to know her b/c we'll be sharing some "intimate" info, I think she said. But what struck me was that I was reminded that this will actually be a very intimate act between us and God. As a very private person, I always found the idea of being "on display" for a day daunting and uncomfortable but to see it as very intimate really changes my perspective. And throughout this planning process, I really lost sight of the role that God plays. It is after all God that brought us together and I believe with God as our center that he will hold us together. And now I feel better about everything b/c even though a million things may go wrong on that day, none of it will matter.

  • Rev. C was also very understanding about how some of our relatives may not necessarily understand English so she suggested incorporating bits of Chinese here and there (like perhaps saying a line in Chinese during the vows part or during the ring exchange) but not to necessarily translate the entire service (though we could since it will only be about 20 minutes long). She also reassured me about the importance of including my non-Christian family (she's done a lot of work with couples with different faith backgrounds; she even asked if I wanted to incorporate some Buddhist stuff since that is what my parents sort of raised me with, to which I promptly said no since I am not Buddhist in any way). And I really appreciated how she went through a sample order that we can follow (doctoring parts here and there to personalize it, of course), including how we'll sign the marriage license thing with the witnesses and everything during the rehearsal the night before (but she won't sign it until it's official the following day) so that there won't be this weird spot during the ceremony where we stop to fill out paperwork and stuff. She also read us parts of prayers that were really beautiful, so beautiful that I want to share it but I know that I'll butcher it by paraphrasing so I won't even try.
  • Rev. C also pointed out that when picking out the readings, we should consider the tried and true stuff like 1 Cor. 13 (the one with the love is patient, love is kind, etc.) without being concerned that our guests may find this repetitive b/c it is actually very different when you're hearing it at your own wedding. She also said it was OK to have non-Biblical readings but that there must be at least one New Testament passage.
  • Rev. C's daughter is also engaged so aside from all her experience doing weddings, it is good to hear her perspective about being on the other side (though I'm pretty sure she's officiating at her daughter's wedding).
  • Rev. C stressed the importance of counseling during marriage. She said that studies have shown that premarital counseling often doesn't do much -- the key is to get counseling if you need it when problems arise b/c ppl often wait until it's too late. I think she said she'd give us something to recognize the signs. She is a former social worker so she's had experience counseling ppl for many, many years. Maybe that's why it was so easy/comforting to talk to her.
One thing I forgot to bring up was her fee. I'm sure it's reasonable but just for info's sake. Wow I didn't think I'd go into all this detail about just one of the meetings but I guess I'm so excited/relieved/happy about it all. And I'm really too tired to go into the mediocre (and worse) meetings right now.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Despite my funk, I do look forward to the decisions about the cake and these pictures make me happy.

I love the different textures of each layer (above) and the monogram on the second tier. Instead of the monogram, though, I think I'd like it to be a double happiness character in red. And instead of a flower topper, I can't decide whether or not to do a red gumpaste ribbon, with it draped down the sides, like below.

Similar look but with a real ribbon:

These flowers also add a gorgeous texture (but are they considered white flowers and hence, bad?)

A different combination of a ribbon and flower texture look.

A different ribbon look to incorporate some color (not crazy about the daisies though).

Other textures/background flowers I like:

In a funk

I can't wait to start my "new life" with my Dear (I know, such a cliche) but really, I cannot wait. Mostly I cannot wait for this process to be over. No more surfing the web incessantly to find unique ideas that I can incorporate, then to actually weed out the fluff that I will never use (b/c of cost, time, or laziness), and to finally do/make what I decide on. (I hate making decisions and all this planning has really made that obvious!!) No more growing out the hair, trying to get my skin in shape, taking care of the nails and getting used to having them long, etc. -- in other words, I want to go back to my sloppy, low-maintenance self. No more looking for vendors (this has begun already b/c I am so tired of looking for the right person to do makeup, flowers, or DJ). And I can unsubscribe from all those wedding-related emails that provide mostly useless information but tease me with good content once in a while. No more arguing about what's 'best' (b/c no matter what I do, there is discussion, suggestions, etc. all of which do not help me) and then trying to defend my decisions (it's hard enough to come to a decision and then to have to change it to accomodate who the wedding is really for, b/c it's really NOT about the couple). What's worse is that I am having doubts about all the decisions that I've made already, like the restaurant, photographer, and dresses. Sigh....

Still left to do:
- hair and makeup
- find accessories (jewelry, veil)
- get shoes for red dress
- get comfortable insoles for other shoes
- flowers
- cake design and flavors
- printing & assembling invites
- favors
- meet with officiant
- settle with DJ/MC (iPod?!)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Chinese information

In working on the Chinese part of the invitation wording, someone passed this along to me. I think it's the standard traditional wording (do Chinese ppl ever dare to break tradition?).

She also sent other wedding-related links from what appears to be Hong Kong sites.
  • Wedding.esdlife.com is like a Chinese version of The Knot. It has an English site but it's not as loaded with info as their Chinese counterpart so if you know someone who can translate for you (or if you can read Chinese), it's worth a look. Also, you have to keep in mind that the price estimates are off b/c it's not an American site but I thought that general stuff, like the info about the traditions was helpful.
  • i-Wedding Club is all Chinese, but I was able to glean some info thanks to the rudimentary Chinese classes in college.
There is also my old standby, Good Luck Life, by Rosemary Gong. The book's site has some useful/interesting tidbits but I'd definitely recommend reading the full book -- it not only helps to explain wedding traditions but also other Chinese holidays and special occasions (like what to do for a baby's one-month celebration).

And I just learned of China Bridal from Weddingbee, which I'll have to investigate tomorrow.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Secret engagements

And just like that, I got invited to another wedding. Normally this wouldn't be worth noting except that we found out about this potential wedding/engagement just a few weeks ago and the wedding is in July. Talk about a short engagement! And the couple has only been dating for less than a year. I don't see what the rush is about and I don't know why it has to be before my wedding when we got engaged way before they did. Unless she is preg-o?? And b/c they are related (or future ILs for me), I don't appreciate the secrecy of their engagement either (we found out about it through the grapevine. If their union is to be a joyous occasion, why the clandestineness?

On a related note of idiocy, the invite is addressed to just me b/c fiance is still considered a child by Chinese standards b/c he's unmarried so he's (implicitly) included on his parents' invite. While that saves on the invites being sent out (the Western way is to send a separate invite to anyone over the age of 18), I think it really shows how constricting Chinese families, or their views on relationships, can be.

But going back to how ppl like to keep their engagements secret, there was big drama a few weeks ago related to my cousin who's getting married a month after me (again, ppl raining in on MY parade! :D Haha, I say that only with half-truth b/c there will always be ppl to remind me which anniversary we're on.). The first hullabaloo was related to how his wedding is so close to mine -- there is some Chinese belief about not attending another wedding within a month of yours b/c it's bad luck or something. I have yet to understand this outlandish thought (any insight into this would be appreciated) but thank God the misunderstanding was cleared up and his wedding is a few days more than a month after mine. The second drama is why keep it a secret? For once, my mother said I did something right by consulting elders for choosing the right date (even though I really didn't want to, but fiance thought we should be 'obedient' in that way). My entire family knows about my wedding b/c my parents did eventually call to announce the good news to everyone whereas we found out about this cousin's wedding when an aunt dragged it out of his mother when she noticed that they were making weird plans at a restaurant. But I really wonder if not spreading the news is a common Chinese thing b/c I think my parents kept quiet about it for a few weeks at first whereas I told my close friends almost immediately. And when word got back to my mother through one of my friends' parent, she was surprised (maybe even a little upset) about my friend and her parent knowing. What's the logic behind that?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

'Professional' facials

I finally got my Spa Week treatment today at Euphoria Spa. My appointment was postponed for weeks b/c they had a flood back in April when there was a lot of rain. On the continuum of facials, this one falls about the middle. The best (and most expensive) facial I've ever had was at Bliss Spa in SoHo. You start off with a full spread of snacks: brownies, cookies, cheese and crackers, lemon and cucumber water, red and white wine, grapes, strawberries, and other fruits. The bathroom and locker room is stocked with all sorts of health and beauty aids (kinda like those bathroom baskets that ppl create for weddings), including their own lotions and soaps. You get a customized facial, complete with a wonderful massage of the neck, shoulders, decollete, and arms, down to the fingers. It was soooo relaxing and blissful. The massage bed was also warmed and so comfortable that I almost fell asleep. Afterwards, my skin was so smooth and clean and I didn't have a pimple for the next few months. But alas, I can't afford Bliss (the tip I left there was equivalent to how much I paid for the facial today). On the other end of the facial spectrum is the facial at a Chinatown shop. Often they will try to sell you packages (if you pay for 10 treatments, each one will turn out to be about $30 for the low-end). On top of that, I've had experiences where the ppl will denigrate you thinking that this is a way for you to add on more expensive treatments. Sometimes the treatments will be OK, sometimes bad, and I often look like a wreck afterwards and I'll still break out. Also, needless to say, there are no freebies (drinks are not usually offered either). However, they don't make you strip (something I never understood the need for when you're just getting a facial) and you can keep all your stuff with you in the room instead of locking it away in a locker.

Today's facial was slightly better than the Ctown ones but way below the Bliss one. There was no first-class service (just water or tea at the end, and served in a plastic goblet) but everyone was very nice and no hard selling. Because this was a Spa Week special, the treatment was just 45 minutes long (it is usually 60 minutes and costs about $300). It started out with an antibacterial cleansing and then a bunch of other stuff she swiped all over my skin. Then came the painful (but necessary) part -- the extractions. She was a lot more gentle than other places I've been to but I think she just uses her fingers and not that tool with the metal loop and needle on either end. She also said that the gunk was coming out pretty easy and she didn't do many extractions. I don't know if that's b/c of the time limit or if I really have fewer clogged pores nowadays. I'm not sure whether there was any microdermabrasion but something was tingly at one point.

Then the best part -- called a microablation. She said this method used to be used (still continues to be used? don't remember) in hospitals to hydrate an area. In fact, she had to hook up a bag connected to a tube, much like what you see in hospitals. What it is a saline solution sprayed on your skin, "conducting a plasma field to the dermis."
This supposedly reduces acne, tightens and brightens skin, and does a bunch of other stuff. It was a really weird sensation b/c there's quite a bit of water coming at you through this wand thingy and every once in a while you feel a zap (a bit like static electricity). There was enough water that she had to wrap a thick towel around my head and every so often mop up the water off my face. This was kinda refreshing but it ended all too soon. Then she gave me a quick massage (not a very good one), slapped on some moisturizer and lip balm and that was it. I was not crazy about the lip balm (I hate it when it's applied sloppily b/c it gets all over the place and it feels so greasy) but afterwards she was good enough to show me all the stuff she did for me (extractions here and there, pimples in random places). She also pointed out that I touched my face as I was coming out (I'm not very conscious of that, hence all the pimples) which I really need to stop. Another thing I learned was that all my water drinking pays off -- she could tell from my skin that I am a "water drinker."

Perhaps I would've raved about this place if I got a full treatment (instead of the special, which felt incomplete) but the overall experience was not bad.
I like that the owner is just starting out (she opened the place a few years ago) and I think she does all the treatments herself so it is very personal service. That can also be a drawback though, b/c she talked quite a bit. I'm not a fan of talking during facials (how can you even talk as your face is being smushed back and forth?) but I guess it can get really boring for the facialist. Anyway, the spa was recommended by my dermatalogist (the owner is a patient of his, I think) and when she learned that, she was so happy. Consequently I think she treated me a little better than she would have otherwise (or maybe I just imagined it). But I think I have to see how my skin holds up and whether I break out in the coming days to really decide whether I'd go back or not.

All this talk of facials reminds me of my recent visit to Amy's Salon on Pell Street in Ctown. I was in bad need of a trim and my friend thought they did a good job on her. The only downfall is that they really try to sell you a lot of stuff (like highlights or perms when you go in just for a haircut). The owner said that she can be a one-stop shop on my wedding day -- she does hair as well as makeup. I'm not sure about the makeup part but she seemed very confident about doing hair. I really liked my haircut (she pointed out what was wrong w/ it and I could see what she was talking about, not just some fiction she made up) and she explained how she designs hairstyles based on your features and it's like art for her, where she fashions it for you all in her mind w/o having to look at any pictures or anything. And unlike all the other things she kept trying to sell me, she said it wouldn't be necessary to do a hair trial with her b/c she'll do it well the day of and I can save my money. But I digress. The relevance to facials is that she also does facials. And despite my bashing of Ctown facials above, I am a bit tempted to try hers out. She said that there's some serum that would use that would totally change my skin type so that it's less oily and less prone to break out. Back in college, someone told me she used to have terrible acne on her forehead and she went for a few facials somewhere in Ctown and now her skin is perfect -- I wonder if this is the place she went to. But aside from all the wonderful promises of the treatments, I am wont to believe Amy b/c I got the feeling that she was telling the truth (even though she was trying to sell stuff, she didn't try to sell me stuff I didn't need). I also find truth in her statement about cheaper places that don't customize the facial to you -- they just do a simple exfolation or something -- and that's why it's so cheap (which has been my experience). The package (a lot more expensive than other Ctown places) would include hand treatments as well (she may have said eye, it got lost in the translation for me). So ends this rambling facial post (I am exhausted from running around trying to find the spa today -- it's in a location that I'm not very familiar with and Google Maps completely misled me -- so this may not be completely coherent).

Monday, May 15, 2006

Choose your battle: the invitation

After months of contemplation, design, and tweaks here and there, I still can NOT say that the invitations are done or even close to being done. We're not even at the assembly stage! Nope, we're hung up on the invitation wording! Those who know me know that I like to be unique -- I hate cliches, blending in with everyone, following stereotypes, etc. And since words are my thing, I really wanted our invitations to be worded differently. Instead of the traditional "Mr. & Mrs. ____ request the honor of your presence" I made a simple change of "J___ & R___ together with their parents, Mr. & Mrs. ____" because it was different and I thought that we were primarily hosting (i.e. paying for) the event (which I also later learned is what the Knot suggested for situations where everyone pitches in, which isn't exactly the case for us but close enough). However, the outlaws thought differently and told me that's not how it is done traditionally with Chinese ppl (ironic, since these words are NOT in Chinese) but that no matter what, the parents' names should come before the children's, even if the kids are hosting it. Fiance later told me that that is their way of saying it is borderline insulting and that b/c that's what everyone does, they think it can't be any other way (nothing like other ppl's judgements to shame you into behaving like lemmings). So I tried the various permutations: "Mr. & Mrs. ____ together with their children J___ & R____ request the honor of your presence at their marriage" (sounds like the parents are getting married) or "Mr. & Mrs. ____ together with their children request the honor of your presence at the marriage of J___ & R___" (close, but not quite clear that we are, in fact, the "children" being referenced). I can think of no compromise here (any thoughts before Friday, the day we go to print, would be helpful!!) -- there is just no way to add "together with their children" after our parents' names w/o it sounding weird. So as of now, we are stuck with the traditional wording with the parents' names first, with no mention of us also inviting ppl to our wedding.

And that's not the whole story -- the battle began earlier with the RSVP. First of all, I'm not getting the postcard RSVPs that I've always wanted and always thought to be the next coolest trend. They found it tacky and insulting b/c ppl would think we're too cheap to pay the full postage, that ppl would not want others to read what's on the postcard (b/c there are such deep secrets enclosed within postcards), etc. Besides that, they had issue with
the wording "__ of # will be attending." I purposely chose this wording b/c I know that there are ppl out there who think that receiving an invitation means that they can bring their entire extended family and of course, give a meager $20 gift. The outlaws and my parents think that this will never happen (I know it happens b/c ppl who recently got married told me and I know of ppl who do this). And the old standby, they thought this wording was insulting b/c it limits ppl (hello?! that is the whole point!!); my mother went so far as to say you want to celebrate so the more ppl who come, the better (yeah and their seats will magically fit inside the restaurant and be magically paid for). Have you noticed how everything they have objection with is b/c it is "insulting"? Ppl have to stop playing the victim, stop being so concerned about "saving face" (if there was any to lose in this instance), stop finding reasons to be insulted -- they just need to stop. And the objections to the RSVP didn't stop there. The details are now blurry, but I remember instances of FFIL picking out little things he misinterpreted as being grammatically correct. Just in case you ever wanted to try, there's just no way to explain the rules of English grammar and to reconcile that with Chinese "etiquette"/logic.

All this(!), to say, I'm not getting the words I wanted and as a co-worker said, this battle is not worth it. She thinks this is petty and that invitations are such a minor part of the wedding and ppl just look at it twice (unless you're me, I peruse and peruse, picking out flaws to amuse myself with) before they rip it up and throw it away. Gee, thanks. That kinda makes me feel better.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Floral monograms

So I finally have something to show for my floral monograms! After debating between a very simple one with flowers hot-glued to a piece of a fabric and a more complicated one made with styrofoam and lots of flowers, I finally decided that it wouldn't be too difficult to do the complicated one and that it looks a lot nicer. Unlike the leaves project, I didn't consider this as tedious. Actually I thought this was kinda fun, a bit like knitting (adding stitch by stitch is similar to adding flower by flower).

I started off with a 12"x36"x2" block of styrofoam from AC Moore. This cost about $7. Next I got a bunch of red hydrangeas from Save-on-Crafts. A dozen of them reduced the price of each to $1.50. I also got some green wire to create something to hang it all with. I then printed out a really large version of the monogram that I had designed in Illustrator. I made it big enough to stretch across a few sheets of paper (you have to set your print preferences to 'tile'), or about 15"x15" (my letters are more square in shape). I taped the papers together in their appropriate places, which was a little tricky b/c each sheet printed with a slight margin and the "R" didn't print out exactly as I wanted. After that, I pinned the paper in place with straight pins (they leave such a small mark that it's hardly noticeable, yet are long enough to hold the paper in place). I first tried push pins (too short) and tape (didn't really hold after I cut parts of the paper) so I recommend straight pins.

Now to the cutting.... This was a bit tedious and at times, painful. I began with a box cutter that I extended and locked at the exact thickness of the foam so that the blade would cut it without going so far through the other side that it would cut my thighs (I left the foam on my lap). However, I think that I didn't plunge the blade in totally straight so that it seemed slanted and I switched to a pair of sharp, metal scissors that I pushed through to the other side so as to form a bunch of slits (kinda like a dotted line). I got tired of this and tried a wooden pencil which definitely got straight through to the other side and then I "connected the dots" with the blade. Pushing the pencil through hurt the palm of my hand after a while but I eventually got it all done with either the scissor or pencil. The parts "carved" with the pencil were quite rough and I attempted to smooth it out with the blade but got lazy and just left it with the ridges, since the flowers would cover it all.

Because the foam's width was only 12", about 3" of each letter did not fit on the foam. I cut those missing parts out of another part of the foam and then connected it with some toothpicks and hot glue. High temp hot glue is not recommended b/c I could see it start to melt the foam but I didn't want to buy another glue gun nor did I want to buy a whole tube of styrofoam glue for a few pieces.

Here are the full letters put together. I think the connections are barely distinguishable (top of the "J" stem and bottom of the legs of the "R") but for that last piece, which was cut out of the very end of the scrap piece of foam so it was a little disfigured.
I also wrapped a piece of the wire around the top of the letters so that I could attach a ribbon from it later on. For the "J" I had to also tie a piece of string around the stem (I just happened to have green string too) and then twist the wire around that so that the wire goes from front to back. In retrospect I don't know why I didn't just use the string instead of the wire -- the wire kinda cuts into the styrofoam whereas the string doesn't and is easier to attach.

Then the fun part of adding the flowers! I pulled off each of the individual flowers of the hydrangea blooms and then pushed it into the foam. The best part about this was no need for glue! I think hydrangeas work well because you get so many flowers from one stem -- I still have a bunch left over that I can use for something else (the picture below shows how many flowers I got from one stem, with the deflowered stem next to a full one). My mistake, though, on the first letter was putting in the flowers without flattening them a little.
This makes it look more lush and uses more flowers (the "R" weighs significantly more), but if you look closely you can also see the foam showing through. For the second letter I flattened and also tried to position the next bloom in such a way so as to hold it flat. Also, I should have put the flowers on the sides first so that the letters are easier to handle as more flowers are added.

From the pictures, I see that the camera flash makes the green foam in the background stand out more so I'll have to go back and add more flowers or add dabs of glue here and there to hold the petals down. I also have to buy a length of ribbon to tie to each of these and find a place to store these so that they don't get dusty and/or flattened. I was also thinking that after the ceremony, I may put these on an easel by the entrance, stand them up on a table (for which I'd have to make a stand with the leftover foam and perhaps the hydrangea leaves), or lay them down either on the cake table or the sign-in table. Aside from some of the foam showing through, this is near complete and you can see how the slight roughness or unevenness of the foam doesn't affect the overall shape (unfortunately my photo-taking skills leave much to be desired).

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It fits!

I have been neck-deep in crafts lately but nothing is complete yet. I am quite excited about it all though and just wish that I had more time to do everything (even crafts unrelated to the wedding, like knitting, since I got a bunch of wonderfully delicious yarn!!). But I digress, b/c this post was really supposed to be about the various reasons for my agita. However, after meeting up with BM and venting to her, I have less to complain about. Instead I am verrrrry happy that her dress fits her! The BM dress that I got her (yes, I am going the traditional Chinese route where the bride provides for her maids' attire) at the sample sale was umpteen sizes too big, so alterations in the States, even in Chinatown, would be costly (one place priced it at $100-$200 -- the cost of a new dress -- while another place refused to even do it). But b/c the dress was only $20 at the sale, I figured it wouldn't hurt to buy it and see what happens. Recently my friend went to China, where she knows of a good and very inexpensive tailor, and offered to get the dress altered for me. I provided her with BM's measurements, some rough pinnings and the alterations came out great (maybe the hem is a tad too short but nothing we can't fix) and it cost less than $10! Yay!! Now about the other two BMs....

In other news, BM and I went to the Bobbi Brown counter at Bloomingdale's in SoHo and it was a bit of a disappointment. I did not like any of the makeup
she applied (lips too red, foundation too cakey) but I did get some eye cream. She said with my upcoming wedding that I should apply it both day and night, otherwise a night application would suffice. Yes, prior to today I was one of the few over-25-year olds who don't regularly use eye cream. But I suppose that it's about time that I admit that I am aging. *sigh*

Thursday, May 4, 2006

What is it?

Pop quiz: what is the diagram at right?
A. abstract art
B. a depiction of a straight and narrow path vs. a less direct road, symbolizing the obstacles in life
C. two lines
D. bulging beer can
E. contour of my tummy roll before and after the miracle product, SPANX

If you chose A and E, you are Coorrrrect! That's right, after putting on a pair of SPANX
Power Panties, the tummy roll disappears, just like magic! Not only that, there are no panty lines, the thighs are slimmed, and all that extra fat and cellulite is squeezed in for a thinner, smoother shape. I first heard about these from Weddingbee and I was eager to try them out not only for my tight-fitting qipao but for other dresses in my wardrobe that show off my tummy roll. I also wanted to slim my thunder thighs so that I could sit down in my qipao without ripping the seams. So after breaking out a sweat trying to get into a pair, I was pleased to say goodbye to the roll and to slip into the qipao with less strain than before. This time I was able to sit more readily and there were no unsightly bumps and ridges under the dress. Never mind the minute mini muffin top that the tightness created -- it didn't show! And surprisingly, once I got them on, they were pretty comfortable. Maybe I will wear control top hose on top to really reign things in.

I'm thinking of getting the
Higher Power version which controls all the way up the body (and below the boobs, of course). Would this be an appropriate Mother's Day gift? hehe

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

A GG wedding

I've noticed that I've become more aware/interested in anything wedding-related, including weddings on TV shows. Since I am a diehard-psycho-fanatic of Gilmore Girls and I'll take every opportunity to blab on and on about this show, I thought that I should recap the recent wedding of Lane Kim, best friend of Rory Gilmore. And maybe describing all this may provide some insight and interesting ideas to incorporate. (I'm one of the few strange ppl who learn life lessons while watching TV so I've also included my newly acquired wisdom on stuff.)

To accomodate all involved, Lane ends up having three different celebrations on the same day, which I think is a good solution/compromise for everyone. It actually turns out kinda fun and everything moves along quickly. The first thing was "the grandmother's wedding" -- a Korean Buddhist ceremony which her devout grandmother demands and travels all the way from Korea for. Lane wears a Korean hanbok for this part.
I'm not sure if the red circles on the cheeks are part of the tradition or if this is a parody of how some Asians may apply makeup.I also don't know whether or not the tea drinking is really a part of a Korean ceremony, or if it's a Buddhist thing, or something just made up.

After the grandmother leaves, everyone heads to the church for the Christian ceremony (the "mother's wedding"). Actually, they run b/c there is a limited number of seats. I thought this part was hilarious b/c Mrs. Kim shouts "Go!" and everyone starts running except for Lorelai and Chris, who are stunned and confused. When they learn what's going on, they're both like "I thought this was the wedding!"

I guess it's more of a casual type wedding b/c the maid of honor, Rory, is dressed pretty casually. (I like her flowers.)

I like Lorelai's dress (especially the 2-color sash) -- I think it could pass as a bridesmaid's dress (too bad brown is not part of my color scheme).

Here is Lane in her dress. I think this is the nicest long-sleeved gown that I've ever seen. It's kinda old-fashioned vintage-y and I like it. I also like how her veil is folded onto itself in the back. Considering that this is what it started out as -- conservative Mrs. Kim asked Lorelai to adjust the wedding dress she wore ages ago to fit Lane but Lane didn't want to wear a voluminous dress that hides her figure so Lorelai ruins it by pouring coffee on it -- it is a huge improvement! (With the long sleeves and wide dress, I think Mrs. Kim's original dress was modeled after a hanbok.)It even has pants underneath! (Do hanboks have pants underneath or is this just a testament to Mrs. Kim's conservatism?)
I like Lane's makeup. I think I will aim for this look.

After the ceremony, there is a quick outdoor reception. It is an assembly line that starts with a buffet, which all the Koreans line up at (Rory tells Lorelai the Korean food is not for her), get their food in takeout boxes, drop their gifts into a bag that Lane holds, say goodbye, and drive off. I think this is how most older Chinese guests would like weddings to be -- eat and run. But at least Mrs. Kim's guests bring a gift... not sure this holds true for the older Chinese guests.

After all her family pack up and go on their way, the real party begins. They serve hot dogs and fries for this part. The coolest thing about Lane's dress is that it's totally converted to a knee-length one and the collar opens up to reveal some color (and gasp! skin).

Check out the collar and shorter veil. I like how she lets down her (curled) hair too.

Their cake looks interesting (though I don't remember seeing this while watching the show), modeled after the White Stripes album cover, I'm told. I think the theme for this part of the day is sorta "hip rock band," totally fitting for Lane.

For entertainment, Lane, Zach, and their band play. They play a good rendition of "I'm a Believer" and if they were a real band, I'd hire them for my wedding. They are the inspiration for my wedding music search. I think this is the only part of the entire day that Lane planned. Maybe that's the key -- each person who wants something specific done should plan it themselves.

Of course, this is all make-believe (there was a very short timeframe from proposal to wedding, there seemed to be hardly any planning on Lane's part, there didn't seem to be invitations b/c ppl didn't know what's going on half the time, Lane didn't even know about her dress or what it would finally look like, etc.) but at least I got to GG gab!

Anyway, I got these images from http://opposites-are-polar.net/index.html, where it says they are public domain. Going through the screencaps also reminds me of when I was looking for a photographer and the documentary style that I prefer. Maybe I can specifically point out to our photographer that this is how I want the day captured.

In the future, perhaps when I am bored, I can recap the older GG episodes that have weddings. Who knows, there may be some good ideas to glean or at least pretty pictures to ooh and aah over.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Cookie cards

The other day I received a wedding invitation from a friend and instead of the usual enclosed cookie card, she included a Starbucks gift card. I think this is a great, creative idea, and a good alternative to the traditional cookie card. We already got our cookie cards from my favorite Chinese bakery earlier this year so we'll go the traditional route. But to follow up on that previous post, I did some research on the reason for this custom, and the following is what I learned.

According to Rosemary Gong, a bride will have a 'cookie day' about a month before the wedding where the groom is supposed to deliver a pig, pastries, and all sorts of other types of food depending on various regional customs. I've always thought of this as more of a 'pig day' b/c delivering a whole roast pig is such a big spectacle but I guess the cookies are supposed to be the main event. Gong says the pig (symbol of purity) is supposed to be carried in headfirst and there's supposed to be lots of fancy pastries too, all of which is to be divided in half and returned to the groom (for example, if he brought two chickens, he would get one back). The pig's head, feet, and tail are also returned. What remains is then distributed amongst the bride's relatives. Here's where the cookie cards come in: Gong says that for brides who are too busy to set aside a day for this, they can send out the cookie cards to their relatives so that they can redeem them for pastries on their own. From my experience, it has always been whoever is a guest of the bride receives a card along with their invitation, not just relatives.

Similarly, a while ago, my mother said that the 'new' thing to do over in Hong Kong is to give out cards that relatives can redeem for food (in lieu of getting a portion of the pig and other food) at certain Chinese restaurants so that ppl can forego the headache of getting and delivering a pig. According to Gong, lucky money (hong bao, or lai see to you Cantonese ppl) can be substituted with a list of what the money is intended for written on the envelope. I think for ease, my parents would rather do the card thing only but I think the experience would be a good story to tell future generations.