Monday, July 31, 2006

Trading punches

This was a somewhat interesting weekend where we got quite a bit done. Starting Friday night, we assembled invitations. The solution for the minor mistake in the Chinese wording was taken care of by punching out a heart shape right over the character that shouldn't be there. And to make that look less obvious, a bunch of hearts (in two different sizes) were also punched out in random places to even it out. After getting the approval from both sets of parents (this fix will only occur on their invites b/c our guests won't even notice it) we set to work. Note that approval from my mother included the rejection of having only two hearts b/c they were "too far apart" which makes it look like we're distant from each other (also too plain and random), three hearts b/c "having three hearts in the relationship is bad," four is obviously bad (sounds like "death" in Chinese), five is bad b/c it's an odd number (don't get that one at all), so it had to be at least six hearts. Also note that she really liked the double heart (two hearts punched really close together so that it's like joined) and insisted that be there. Anyway, punching took forever and one of the punches didn't work as smoothly as the other so that was a real pain. But then we got into a rhythm and even involved the out-laws. Both of them insisted on helping but it was difficult for me to communicate how to do things (FMIL needed specific guidance on holding the punch the right way -- she was so afraid she'd make a mistake) with the language barrier. Both of them had issues with the tape roller and consequently wasted some and also dug grooves into the paper but I can't complain b/c together we got a lot done. After this, we were able to assemble a whole bunch of invites (gluing the ribbon & seal, putting in some of the enclosures, rubbing cornstarch on the glue dot to prevent it from seeping through the sheer ribbon and sticking to the inside of the pocket fold), count them, and put them neatly into several shoeboxes. However, we are still not done b/c this doofus left some ingredients at home.

The next night we started to experiment with the favors. My intention is to engrave the 300+ champagne glasses with a double happiness sign and stamp on our date and somehow include our names or monogram. I want ppl to be able to use this glass in the future and think of us when they do (but will you remember who it's from if it's not personalized?). So we started by punching out a double happiness sign (imported from HK, by way of BM's sister) into Contact paper. I punched a total of three pieces and got very tired so fiance took over by stepping on it, which seemed to work a lot better b/c I wasn't strong enough to actually punch through the paper after the third time. After getting the "stencil," my first experiment with the engraving didn't work out very well b/c some of the engraving chemical ran off the little square I cut and it started to engrave a big smudge next to it. FMIL didn't understand what happened and thought that she could clean the smudge away by using glass cleaner wipes, paint thinner, and/or soap and water. She just couldn't grasp that this wasn't paint or anything that coated the glass but something that removed bits of the glass (basically scratching the surface away) and is totally permanent.

Seeing as how tedious this particular project is (stamping will be even worse b/c as you try to stamp onto the rounded glass, the ink will make the stamp slip) I am ready to call DIY quits. However, programs still need to be made, menu cards, possible petal cones, my veil, and other sundry items. I may need to bribe the BMs over to help w/ the glasses!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Mmmmm... cake...

Today I had the best-est cake that I've had in a very long while! We met with the baker again today and she gave us two samples: mocha cake with raspberry filling and lemon cake with strawberry filling. I was a little worried b/c when we met with her previously, the mocha sample was a little dry and the fillings did not have much flavor. But I was astounded today -- the raspberry and strawberry flavors were very apparent, the cake was not dry, and altogether it was not very sweet (Chinese ppl do not like overly sweet things). Now the hard part -- which flavor to choose?!

The lemon cake with strawberry was very fruity-tasting and that's why I like the mocha one a smidgen more. I like the balance of the mocha (not very sweet, even notes of bitter) with the raspberry, where the contrast of each flavor heightens and complements the other. I also found the strawberry flavor a little artificial tasting but so far fiance, FFIL, and my brother both like the lemon/strawberry more.

I think FFIL's first reaction was shock that the mocha cake was dark (chocolate is practically black in color, which is a terrible thing to Chinese ppl, yet there is no problem with FMIL's dress being black -- I roll my eyes for yet another spin on logic vs. superstition where exceptions can always be made by the old folk for them to get their way). He also thought the cake was a little bitter, which I think is not such a bad thing (but I am one of the few ppl in America who prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate; what can I say, I have a sophisticated palate, haha!). Besides the flavor though, I like the idea of a different-looking cake (can you imagine how dramatic the dark cake would look coupled with the white fondant on the outside when you cut into the cake for pictures?)

My mother and I can't decide (she likes both too) which one we like. We'll see what my father says (he is very picky and I think he has a very Chinese-y palate). In the meantime, I may just settle for different flavors for different tiers and give the lemon one to the old Chinese ppl and the mocha to everyone else.

But other things to keep in mind -- the baker was saying that you have to be very specific to the Chinese restaurant about the way that you want the cake cut b/c oftentimes they'll slice it however they want, even cutting tiers in half so that you just get this glob of messy cake (maybe even without any frosting) on your (paper) plate. She says that they're mostly used to cutting Chinese cake, which is not very tall (and is usually just one layer) so they might think something like our 5" tall tiers composed of at least 3 layers is meant to be cut in half. Aiya! So we may have to designate a cake-slicer from among our friends (or someone to supervise the cake-cutting). My boss, who used to be in catering, is always called upon to cut cake whenever something special is being celebrated in the office b/c he always cuts a concentric circle in the middle so that the middle part can be saved and the celebrant can bring it home (like a mini cake) so I was thinking that I'd ask him to cut it. HAHAHA -- that would continue the running joke but I don't think anyone would find it funny and it'd probably be weird.

Anyway, I'm pretty satisfied with our baker and we made it official by giving her a deposit. I'll hold off on giving a final review until after everything is said and done but so far I'm happy and she's been pretty accomodating and helpful with the designs and flavors. Check out Silk Cakes if you need a cake for any special occasion!

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Find your wedding fragrance.
Learn how to choose a signature scent.

This, apparently is on my list of reminders from Since when did planning a wedding become this huge to-do when ppl can lose all reason and have an excuse to spend tons of money on the tiniest (and often useless) details? I understand some people rely more on their olfactory senses and may want to remember their special day through smells and fragrances but really, this is not something for everyone and I hate that the wedding industry is trying to convince us all otherwise. People/marketers hear 'wedding' and out comes the list of things that must be done (i.e. expenses that must happen). It starts with the diamond (before DeBeers made all women covet this particular type of carbon, sapphires and other gemstones were commonly given), then the dress (why does it have to be upwards of $1000 for a bunch of fabric that happens to be white or some close shade of it?), and then the plethora of things that magazines and websites encourage you to take part in (bathroom baskets, fancy flowers, second dress for the reception, etc.) so that your event stands out but it doesn't b/c everyone else is doing it and then you have to do it so that you can keep up with everyone else. But, after visiting a store that sells bridesmaid dresses, I'd have to say that this is the biggest ripoff. These are nothing but evening gowns or cocktail dresses (if you're going for the shorter length) yet there's this huge industry of being measured months in advance so that a dress can be specially made for you ("custom-ordered" is the phrase, I believe) in the chosen color and style. Yet, upon closer inspection, the one store I visited explained that dresses are not custom-made but the company's dress size that is closest to your actual measurements will be ordered for you and you will have to get the necessary alterations. Hmm... some lapses in logic:
- Why not just buy off the rack if things aren't specially made for your body?
- I believe the actual dress is not made until you put the order in. That seems a bit inefficient to me. I'd be happy with fewer style and color choices if that means there'd be stock pieces readily available that you can buy off the rack (with the probable exception of looking for sizes very far from the norm). What is up with that?
- Why can't the BM dress companies be like every other industry where you make a whole bunch of stuff, store it in a warehouse, keep some in stores for ppl to see in person, try on, or buy, and when you run out (or need a less popular size) have it shipped in from the warehouse? And if it's an out of the ordinary order, have it specially made then. You could even do this all online -- lots of ppl shop online, why not for BM dresses? Show all the styles and colors available and anyone can order from anywhere in the world. Saves the bridal party from the headache of getting together to be measured, picking out the dress, etc. (Sites like CoCo Myles are jumpstarting this trend but not fast enough.)

But what pisses me off supremely about this is why the need for all those measurements if things are not custom-made but just ordered to the closest size? Just provide the regular sizing chart that is made known for clothing catalogs and websites. Why the secrecy? Are we too dumb to match up measurements to a company's size specifications? Oh wait, how else can they justify charging you $200 per dress when a very similar dress can be bought off the rack for $80? And BM dresses are usually a pretty simple silhouette and design (minimal beading and other detail work) so it's not like it's even justified to charge so much (unlike wedding gowns).

All this to say I am hoping to buy something off the rack for my BMs (yes, that part should have been taken care of months ago but it's hanging in limbo b/c of intense drama that I really don't want to go into). We'll see how it all goes.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tea ceremony

Traditionally, according to my research, only the groom's family participates in the tea ceremony, which is performed more publicly. All elders are served, beginning with the parents, then oldest relatives to youngest, from aunts and uncles down to older siblings. I think the paternal side goes before the maternal side, so for us I guess it will be his maternal grandmother (since the paternal ones are no longer around), paternal aunt and uncle, maternal aunts and uncles. Since he is the oldest child, it will just end there.

The bride serves her parents and elders tea by herself (w/o the groom or help from a 'lucky' woman) before the groom picks her up. This serves as a thank you for raising her before she bids adieu to her family. It seems like the bride's family gets shafted in this aspect (what, no public respect is due for them?!) but if you really think about it, the bride's family is spared the expense of buying jewelry or giving out gifts (usually in the form of money) and instead, they get portions of the pig and pastries that the groom delivers in exchange for her.

It seems though, nowadays, once the groom gains admittance to the bride's home, everyone eats one meal (considered the bride's last meal at home) together and the bride and groom serve tea to all the elders again. And I think there is now the giving of gifts (so they're not spared that expense but at least they get extra food?).

I'm not sure how this will pan out for us since I don't plan on doing the door games to "win" the bride from the protection of the maidens. My excuse is to not break the tradition of viewing the bride before the ceremony. Otherwise, I've heard of ppl who first serve tea to the bride's parents (and all her relatives) in her home after the groom does the games thing. Then they go to the groom's house and serve tea to parents and elders. I guess that makes more sense for ppl who don't have a church ceremony b/c that takes up a lot of time. However, I do know of ppl who've done both (traveling between the 2 homes and then going to church) and that saves them from doing the ceremony during cocktail hour.

I was thinking of doing the entire tea ceremony thing the night before (it'd be way easier if we did this at a hotel since we live in 2 different boroughs, 25 miles apart, about an hour's drive, depending on traffic). The only question is when to fit that in since there will be rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, plus I think this makes it inconvenient for the relatives who have to specially schedule in this extra bit, as opposed to being at the cocktail hour/banquet anyway (though if they go to the rehearsal dinner, they'll be there anyway).

One other idea I had was to make the tea ceremony a part of the reception, out on the dance floor so that it serves as entertainment as well (instead of those silly games). I guess someone could narrate what's going on but I think it'd be pretty boring: "Here the couple is pouring tea to first aunt and uncle. Here they are pouring tea for second aunt and uncle...." Maybe to toss things up a little, the narrator can describe what the gift is (though that can also embarass the giver, but maybe that's a perk? :D). The only slightly interesting thing about this would be an explanation of the history and reason for things:

Bride and groom are bedecked in the traditional red bridal costumes (for me, not the exact traditional thing b/c I don't want to wear the pajama-like qua and instead opt for the body-hugging qipao and I doubt that fiance would want to wear anything but a tux). The narrator can point out the phoenix and dragon embroidered on my dress, Chinese marriage symbols the phoenix being a mythical bird-like creature that represents the wife and the dragon representing the husband. Somewhere along the continuum of my Chinese education, I kinda remember learning about the joining of the phoenix to the dragon as something great -- a "match made in heaven" so to speak. Of course, I could be making this up, but who will correct me? ;D Anyway, the narrator can also elaborate on how tea is like the national drink of Chinese ppl, how serving it is a sign of respect (hence youngest male should always serve it when dining out), and how the teacup must be held with two hands. There is a 'lucky woman,' supposedly designated by the fortune teller, who helps move the process along by pouring the tea, setting it on a tray and passing it to the couple. Also, the bride and groom kneel while the ppl being served are seated in chairs. I think they address each person by rank (like first aunt on father's side) as they serve. In return, the bride and groom receive gifts of gold and money in red envelopes. I've seen ppl put all sorts of jewelry (often necklaces and bracelets, not so much earrings) on the couple and also putting the red envelopes on the tray that the tea is served on so that the couple seemingly don't touch the gifts at all (not sure what the reason is for this). And after this, it'd be the boring roll call....

Monday, July 24, 2006

Something to consider

This weekend we were in suburbia celebrating a cousin's birthday. The cousin who recently got married recommended against going immediately on the honeymoon b/c you are so tired that all you want to do is sleep, which is a waste if you're in some exotic place that you want to explore. Someone else chimed in that they were so tired they slept for the first 5 days or so. She suggested Turkey, where they honeymooned and it sounds really nice (good, fresh, cheap food). But is that a safe destination right now? The State Department has no warning against it, but it is awfully close to Iraq.... Spain has been our standby but I've heard many negative things about it (unfriendly ppl, not much to do). Aargh! Decisions!

Meanwhile, we also bought a ton of stuff this weekend (what else is there to do in suburbia?!). We bought stuff for the children's bags: little bags/backpacks (really lunch sacks that can be reused later on), books of stickers, coloring books (which we later returned b/c they don't fit in the bags), crayons, and various Pez dispensers. We still have to get some snacks to put in too. We also bought some containers to hang pew flowers, two giant glass vases for the centerpieces at the front of the church ($20 each from Target's clearance section), and a hefty footed glass jar to use at the sign-in table ($13, also from Target's clearance). I'd post pics but they are all at fiance's place.

We also gave out some of the invitations since we don't see some of them very often and they loved them! It was great to see their reactions and know that some ppl appreciate the hard work that went into them (I was even asked for an extra RSVP card so that she can keep a full invitation for her collection; on that note we received 2 RSVPs back!). I was called OCD (yay!) just b/c I was unhappy w/ the Postal Service's stamp colors (and there's no way I would pay twice as much for a customized stamp). :P But we have about a hundred more to make before we can send them out to the general public. Oh did I mention that there's a minor typo in the Chinese that we have to fix also (otherwise I'd be done by now!). :( My goal is to be completely finished by this weekend!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I've refrained from talking about work b/c in some ways I'm afraid (paranoid, even) that someone will find out about this site. Not that I mind telling ppl what's going on with the wedding planning b/c they certainly do ask and I do tell (and in some ways this site would make it so much easier to share the details) but I don't want them to know how much I've abused my job. For one, everyone knows you're in this 'work limbo' b/c you basically have a second job once you start wedding planning and you're very often distracted -- I can't tell you the countless hours I've been surfing when I should not have been. Two, I've used various office resources to varying degrees, details which I won't divulge here. So I feel really bad that my boss has been really understanding and nice about everything. I felt especially guilty (yet kinda special) when my boss called a meeting to arrange our schedules for the upcoming year's projects (he normally doesn't but wanted to make sure things didn't conflict with my personal life). I have been (still am) concerned about the timing of everything b/c a huge project comes to fruition right around the time of the wedding. Things always pop up so I may feel especially guilty if I were to go on a long honeymoon (which I want to, but from the looks of not planning any part of it, aren't likely). I was also really touched when he was doling out assignments and a co-worker (newly married herself) said she'd take whichever one would help me out the most. Awww... I am so lucky that I work with such a great group.

So, that also brings the dilemma of whether or not to invite them to the wedding. I really feel like they're a big part of my life (how many hours do I spend at work? more time than with fiance, sadly) and I would really like to share it with them, especially my boss. I think at least one of them is really curious to see how everything turns out, from my reactions throughout the day (since I am usually reserved and quite stoic at work) to all the details I've been working on. And the truth is, I would like all but one of them there -- there is one co-worker who is very likely the black sheep of the group b/c she does different work from us and is, in short, of a different era (in terms of thinking, values, technology, etc.). I do talk to her but sometimes I think she can be... er... closeminded about a lot of things, especially cultural things (though she has surprised me before). I'm almost positive she will be repulsed by half the menu. And what she will manage to eat, she'll find not fitting to her taste (she thinks take-out Chinese is representative of Chinese cuisine and I really haven't been able to convince her that it's really Americanized food). But all this to say, I can't invite everyone but her. And to throw in another wrench, another co-worker is vegan. Also do I invite their significant others too? It's weird b/c I haven't met all of them and I think it may be weird for them, especially the gay ones. Yet I think they'd probably enjoy it more when paired up. Hard to say... to invite or not to invite?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

DIY flowers redux

Following up on my previous DIY flowers post, here's another from Better Homes and Gardens. From that site, I've been immersed in researching flower-decorating ideas. Following is my work-in-progress, draft vision.


For the banquet at night, I was thinking of gathering a bunch of shiny buckets (probably of different sizes) and arranging them in various groupings -- some scattered by the sign-in table, some by the cake, some on the head table? -- instead of having just a few of the giant floral arrangements that many florists will make. I think the same groupings can be made for the front of the church in lieu of the main altar centerpieces. The only thing left to figure out is what flowers to use. I think I will need at least some flowers with some height, like the gladioli at right (though I'm not a fan of the gladiolus, so maybe some branchy orchids or willow?).


Ideally, some of the buckets for the banquet decorations would come from these buckets hanging from the pews, via Martha. Using less arranged pieces would also make it easier to give out the flowers at the end (they'll likely last longer too b/c they'll probably be sitting in water, not stuffed into foam).

Here is also an interesting idea from Martha, but not sure if it'd be tacky/too casual. It looks like they used a Chinese tea container too -- can you imagine other Chinese tins, like cough drop tins?Other ceremony decoration ideas:
lush head of hydrangea from Knottie AllAbtDetails

same example in purple, from

Or, instead of a ribbon hanging from the flower, flowers hanging from the ribbon, from

And maybe once the ceremony is over, all the pew decorations can be gathered into one big container for the reception welcome centerpiece, like this:

Most likely it'd be a double flower for the groom, just one for GMs.
I do lke hydrangeas but not sure if it'd be easy to find an appropriate color (purple would clash with the red, I think).

Here's a good how-to on corsages (sans feather please), which I imagine is similar to making boutonnieres.

- simple orchid bouquet how-to

- calla lilies (I like the color but not sure if it will be available

- red bouquet ideas

Some bouquet color combinations that I like:

And I love the orange of this Mokara orchid. Maybe something like this can be used on our cake? (from


I've also heard that you can order flowers through Whole Foods (specifically the one at Columbus Circle, though I have a feeling any of them would) and Costco.

(All images, unless otherwise noted, from

Monday, July 10, 2006

Another wedding

This past Saturday was fiance's cousin's wedding -- the wedding that we found out about just a few months ago, even though they are first cousins by blood relation. Prior to this whole getting married thing I really never paid attention to the traditional (aka FOB) Chinese wedding b/c I always found them lame, silly, cheesy, and a bit boring. This one was about the same but I got a totally different perspective b/c all the siblings, who should have sat at the head table with the bride and groom, refused. Their excuses were that their kids would disrupt the proceedings (more reason for me to prepare packages to keep them entertained and fed) so me and fiance, along with his parents and brother were moved to the head table. I thought this quite inappropriate since we are not considered as important as the siblings, yet we were treated a lot better. But I can't complain b/c this was my first time sitting at the head table and the service was 10x better than it is otherwise. There was one waiter who was dressed nicer than the other waitstaff who tended to just the top two tables on the stage. We all had gold-rimmed chargers where they placed each new plate of food on. Normally they would probably change your plate after a few courses but they changed it for us for each new course. Most of our courses arrived in some dramatic (i.e. tacky) fashion. For instance, the first course, lobster salad (with way too much mayo), arrived with smoke rising through a bowl of dry ice, disguised with flowers on the side. The fish course (overcooked of course) arrived on a silver (chrome?) stamped stand, the soup came in a giant gold tureen (instead of the usual ceramic ones). The rest of the tables just got regular stuff without all the fanfare. Of course all this fanciness didn't prevent them from serving the (dry) cake on paper plates with plastic forks at the very end.

Like most traditional Chinese weddings, they played various games like blindfolding the bride and having her guess which one is her husband by feeling the calves of various men, seeing how long bride and groom can kiss (cheesy b/c they just stood there with their lips touching for the duration of a sappy love song), weird cake cutting/eating, carrying the bride around the room and having the bridal party follow suit (groomsmen carry bridesmaids). Thank goodness they didn't play more risque games like moving an egg from one pant leg to the other. But all this was lost on me b/c I could barely see what was happening from the stage (the stage is behind the dance floor, where all the action takes place). So while we were treated very well with the food, we didn't have such great views of what was going on. For the most part, I didn't really care, especially when it came to the bouquet toss b/c no one tried to pull anyone from the stage (whew! my last chance at ever being forced to do that).

How they strayed from the traditional (which I think is a major faux pas) was the introduction of the family. Usually the MC goes down a list of both the bride and groom's relatives, going from the closest relation (parents, siblings) to as far as aunts and cousins. They only introduced the parents at the very beginning when they entered in before the bridal party. No one else was introduced and for all I know, ppl probably thought I was closely related to the groom since I sat at his table.

What I liked about the wedding were the flowers, the bride's makeup (though it didn't look so great in my pics), and the bride's second dress (unfortunately I didn't take any pics of that on my camera though). The BM bouquets were all made of opened lavender roses with a collar of broad folded palm leaves and tied with a maroon cloth for the handle. Three colored pins in a row held the fabric in place. The GMs wore the same rose while the groom had a calla lily in a purplish red. The bride's bouquet was composed of the same calla liliy that the groom wore and the same roses that the BMs carried. The parents' boutonnieres were a maroon orchid (about the same color as the groom's lily) and the siblings (boutonnieres are given out to close relatives at Chinese weddings to distinguish them from everyone else) had the same lavender rose as the BMs, but tied with a sheer lavender ribbon into a loopy bow. I liked the flowers b/c they were really fresh-looking and the colors were really vibrant. The bride's makeup was also very nice -- subtle (not overdone) with some glitter on her cheeks and decolletage.
Her evening gown was a strapless gold dress with a knot detail at the top and at the waist. It fit her perfectly (she said she didn't have to get any alterations) and she looked great in it (unlike her wedding gown, which didn't fit as well).

The head table decorations included napkins and chair covers embroidered with the usual phoenix and dragon. There was also a tall floral centerpiece (see below), while all the other tables just had the usual display of liquor and soda. I'm still trying to figure out whether the centerpiece had real flowers in it b/c it looks like the fake gel water in the vase. The roses at the top were definitely real though.
The favors were given out at the end as ppl left -- a short, stubby lavender candle in a crimped glass jar, covered with a tulle circle and tied with a ribbon. Another ribbon, with the couple's names and date on it was glued onto the side, as were a few tiny silk flowers. Then, as if it weren't enough, someone decided to glue on pearls to the top of the tulle circle. It was weird and totally useless b/c half the pearls fell off already. Oh well. After getting the favor, The MOH's husband also stopped everyone for a final picture. So ended the third wedding of the year for me.

Weekend update

There are a million things that I want to blog about and in many cases I've started the entry but haven't yet finished it so, like everything wedding planning, I have a lot of things hanging in limbo. To the reader who inquired about tea ceremonies, I will do some research and give my take on it sometime this week (hopefully!). For now, I am due for a little update. My family and I have been toiling away since July 4 weekend on painting our door and fence. Things need to be pretty, nice and orderly for when the pig is delivered. We're not planning on doing the bridal door games on the day of, otherwise I'd have a cow that our door was painted very badly. So, in short, between the rain, my multiple tasks and events, I've been painting. Note that we're still not done -- we're finally finished with the primer though and we have do the whole thing again with the final coat.

When not painting, and while in Queens, I've been assembling invitations (all the stuff is at fiance's place and he has more room). Thankfully, my BM helped me out a little this past Saturday (she too got frustrated w/ my anal specifications for gluing) while the World Cup blared in the background (I can't believe I missed so many games this year due to wedding planning!!). With fiance's help, we finished the web site announcement cards (last minute addition), glued a few more invites and ribbons, cut the remaining RSVP cards (I hope I printed enough!) and decided on adding a vellum back to the little seal on the front. The vellum makes the invitation look more polished, the little extra that fulfills the missing thing that I couldn't quite put my finger on before. However the fact that the glue pens we purchased from Staples sucks was fully confirmed and I need to buy some better adhesive.

Earlier in the day, BM also took me to her hairdresser where I could test him out for the wedding and also be all done up for the wedding I was to attend in the evening. He works kinda slow (and smokes at every chance he can get) but in the past I've been happily surprised with his handiwork. What I've always liked about him is that he does what works with your face shape. For instance, I was set on having a wavy look in the front that would shield my large forehead and mask some of the angularness of my face and he tried that at the beginning but then said he'd try something else since my face is round and would change it back if I didn't like it. Turns out, I did like it. He gave me a little bump on the top (totally can't remember what that's called) to elongate my face and in the back, he did a very simple twist with the ends hanging in a slightly messy look. At first he curled all my hair and that made me wonder what I'd look like with a perm but as the day wore on, I think the curls in the back fell out. He spent a lot of time getting each of the pieces in the exact right place and finished off with some hairspray. I didn't end up looking like my head was totally stiff like the place I tried in Brooklyn so I was pretty happy. The only thing is I'm not sure how this would work on the day of, especially since I will be wearing a veil and possibly a headpiece (I would have brought those for him to see except I don't have them yet b/c I can't decide on anything!). I think he'll be able to work it in though.

pics in the car

hair after the long day of running around
After this we went to Sephora b/c I wanted to pick up a foundation. I met my potential makeup artist there and she tried on various foundations for me. I really couldn't tell the difference between all the ones that she tried on me (Nars Oil Free, Lorac Oil Free, Chanel, Bare Minerals kit, and another one that I don't remember) b/c I think I need to feel it on me for longer than 2 minutes. So she left the Bare Minerals one on me (the kit consists of a liquid primer and a powder that you brush on over it, and some darker powder that you can use as blush) and gave me a sample of the Nars to try during the week. (I am wearing the Nars right now and it makes my face look flawless yet is not very oily and gloopy but I haven't come to a final decision yet -- what else is new?) I also said that I wanted to try on a different lipstick so she put Sephora's #83 on me and I really like it. All previous trials ppl have put some sort of pink on me and it just never sat well with me. An added bonus to this little trip -- I only had to put on my eye makeup for the wedding in the evening!

The wedding that night was alright -- details on that to follow -- and the following day we skipped church to check out some open houses. Still nothing to report there though we did come across some very nice buildings that would be nice to live in.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

No time for leisure!

It seems like most New Yorkers are staying put this long holiday weekend -- the subway was as crowded as ever today and the highways and streets haven't been that much better. We didn't go anywhere this weekend either but at least started to complete more tasks. On Saturday we started off by seeing a sad apartment in Forest Hills. The apartment was nothing out of the ordinary -- quiet street, somewhat close to the train station, but it didn't jive at all with me. I didn't like that the kitchen was in the middle of the apartment, and like the bathroom, had no window. The size was alright but I was really put off by the ditzy owners (the woman even had the hair twirling, but she was not blond) -- they were clueless about whether it was cooking gas or electric, how much of the maintenance was deductible, and I didn't buy their story about moving to a rental in Astoria.

Afterwards, we set about making the next component of the invitations -- something to put on the outside so that it's not so plain. My intention was to put our monogram thingy that I spent many hours designing in Illustrator, which consists of a double happiness character with our joined initials, but no matter what combination, our initials just looked weird when stamped on (it looks fine on the computer and printed out though). So in the end, we stuck with just the double happiness character, stamped on with what appears to be dark red ink in some light but more magenta-like in other light. We also embossed the 240+ little things with a clear powder so that the stamped image is smooth and a little raised. This was quite a messy project (thank goodness it was not very hot nor humid as the powder sticks to anything that is moist, like sweat and even oil from your hands, and b/c it is powder, we couldn't turn on any fans). After stamping (this started to hurt my fingers b/c you have to press quite hard to ink it and to get a good impression), you sprinkle the powder on the wet ink before it dries, tap/brush off the excess powder, then you melt it all over a heat source, such as a toaster. I stamped and sprinkled while fiance melted. Then I cut each thing to about 1.5" square while fiance started to trim the directions sheet (which was a disaster to print, as it is double-sided). I assembled about 15 full invitations, complete with ribbon and stuffed RSVPs, for the relatives in Hong Kong since FAIL is going there in two days and will distribute them for us. I find that a little strange as none of them will be coming and they are getting it probably a full month before everyone else is. Plus my mother, last minute, decided not to do this for our side of the family and insists on mailing it herself. Whatever, I really don't care right now. I'm less enamored with how certain parts of the invites turned out also, though it looks nice sealed in the envelope. Whether I decide to change some things here and there till I'm more happily satisfied or not, I'll post pics of how the invites turned out once they are mailed out/distributed.

In the meantime, for those interested in getting customized stamps, I ordered mine from Simon's Stamps, which arrived very quickly and is decent quality. I had heard good things about Stampworx 2000 -- they are even recommended and used by Martha Stewart Magazine -- but they never responded to my email. I suppose if I really cared, I could have made a trip to their office somewhere in Gramercy Park I think, but I chose to go the easier way by putting the order through the Boston-based Simon's Stamps -- their website is so easy and convenient to use! You can upload your images, preview it, and receive your stamp within a week. I also thought that if Martha endorses Stampworx, they must jack up the price -- anyone who's ordered from them can confirm? My stamps are a bit small (all less than 2") so they cost about $8 each and shipping was about $2. The one bad thing is that I made the mistake of ordering a regular wooden handle stamp (as opposed to the wooden block art stamp) for one of them and it is a little harder to use b/c the surface for the art stamp is raised more so that even if you press it deeply into the stamp pad, ink doesn't go where it shouldn't. Sometimes the corner of the wooden handle stamp touches the ink and leaves an impression behind even though it's not part of the design. So, lesson learned, be sure to order the art stamp!