Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lower boroughs traverse

This past weekend, we scouted out some photo locations, beginning with the SI Ferry. We had just missed one, so we waited in the new terminal for half an hour before the next one arrived. The day was very windy and it started to drizzle/rain as we boarded the boat so we stayed inside for the ride to SI. I think we stayed on the right side of the boat (I've forgotten all my boating terminology -- is it starboard?) to get a view of the Statue of Liberty. Once we arrived in SI (about 20 minutes later), we had to get off, walk around, and wait to go back on the ferry for the return trip. This time around it was no longer raining and we went up to the top deck, where I think it'd be easier/nicer to take pictures uninhibited by the roof on the deck below.

On our way back, we passed by the other ferry (the older one, which doesn't have a deck along the sides of the boat, just in the front and back, hence not optimal for many photo ops).
close-up (sorta) of the Statue of Liberty; I think the ride to SI gives you a closer view

returning back to Manhattan

closer view through the glass of the Brooklyn Bridge

As we approached Manhattan, I also noticed that the view on the other side of the boat is of Governor's Island, which provides a quaint background, something unexpected for New York.

Then we drove to DUMBO, in search of a nice cobblestone street to take pics with the cab (didn't really find any). We also located Brooklyn Bridge Park after much turning and driving through bumpy one-way roads. The park has awesome views of both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge (too bad my camera decided to malfunction at this point). Next to the BBP is Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, which has the remains of an old tobacco factory (and now used for parties) and other interesting old structures. However, if you were to take wedding pictures in that park, it costs over $100. After many phone calls to the NYC Parks Department, the consensus seems to be that taking pictures in a city-owned park is free, if you're in a group of 25 ppl or less, and so long as there is no special setup required.

So it's decided -- we will take pics with the bridal party in DUMBO, with the cab, and at Brooklyn Bridge Park after the ceremony (I think we can get some fun, interesting, playful pics there). Then just the two of us will go on the SI Ferry (the wind and all will mess up our hair and such, so best to save for last) and by then we'll have spent maximum time with the cab (rather than letting it sit, waiting while we ride the ferry for an hour).

After the arduous day, we went to Red Hook for a late lunch at Schnack. The burgers & fries are comparable to the Shake Shack (definitely less greasy) but unfortunately I don't think I'd ever go back. It took a while to get my food due to a mistake (for which they apologized and gave it to me for free) but the worst part of the experience was the dead roach floating in Dear's lemonade. They claimed a true neighborhood experience or something like that, in which case, that's a pretty gross neighborhood. My "Best Deal" burger was not bad (very filling -- I couldn't fit dinner that night) and I thought the height and composition of it made a good pic:

Friday, September 22, 2006

Extra cake?

If you are the groom, stop reading! (though the chances that he is actually reading this are very slim.) I had always thought that the idea of a groom's cake (which are supposedly making a comeback) was just another wedding industry excuse for brides to spend more money so I thought I'd never even consider having one. The idea behind a groom's cake is that it is a gift to the groom from the bride (I once read that the traditional wedding cake is sometimes called the bridal cake or something) and it is often made to reflect the interests and tastes of the groom. Traditionally, the groom's cake would be sliced up and packaged for guests to take home. There are some superstitions about single women sleeping with it under their pillow and some variations on how a future husband would be in store for them.

Unlike the tiered white cakes that are often seen in weddings, the groom's cake is more casual and fun. So, for instance, if I were to get a groom's cake for Dear, it'd be the face of his latest watch (also the wedding gift I got for him a while back). The thing is, I think the idea and first glance at the cake would garner oohs and aahs but then afterwards, it's just a tiny detail that most won't appreciate. And Dear, being the practical person that he is, would probably rather save that extra money for some gadget that he can play with for longer than five minutes, rather than the extra calories the cake would be. However, I am also concerned that there isn't enough cake for everyone (we were going to supplement the existing tiered wedding cake with a dessert bar). So should I bother with this (somewhat expensive) detail? Any brides out there doing a groom's cake?

Here are some groom's cakes I thought were interesting:

And if I were to have a groom's cake, it'd be like this. But instead of a poker chip design, it'd be like this watch face.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Great lengths

It's funny what a wedding will do to you. For me, I've gone DIY-wild. For the mothers, they've both permed their hair (old Chinese women with wavy/curly hair -- phenomenon not often found in nature but oh so prevalent). FMIL dyed her hair... twice. The first time it came out purple (I really don't understand how this happens -- is the chemical composition of your hair more skewed to be the color purple as you age?) then supposedly she dyed it to a more natural shade. I'll know for sure tomorrow when I see her. My mother bought a whole bunch of makeup b/c she thinks she will apply her own makeup, even though she's never done so in her entire life. (I tell her my makeup artist can do her too but she wants to save me money.) And for my uncle, he will travel from Indonesia all the way here!

In other news, I am plagued with mosquito bites both old and new. The old ones have left unsightly bruise-like marks that everyone says looks like Dear beats me (when the opposite is more true). The new ones are itching like mad and I'm hoping won't leave a scar.

I'm also half way done with my veil! It's a bit tedious to do all the sewing but it's really not that difficult and I love watching it come together. Woo hoo! There's no way these things should cost upwards of $100.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The guestbook

Guestbooks have always baffled me. I never know what to sign besides my name, and that always reminds me of how I feel when I am visiting someone's office and the security guard stops me at the front desk to sign in. At the banquet, there is the red cloth (which I've always liked the idea of b/c you can actually hang it afterwards, as opposed to putting away like a regular guestbook b/c I really can't imagine anyone having the desire to pull it out to read through). For the ceremony, I thought I'd do something like Martha's idea of using iron-on transfer paper to customize a plain sketchbook.
I even got a red sketchbook from Borders, but I couldn't figure out what I should put on the cover. Plus Dear forbade me to do any more DIY projects.

Then I read about using photography books on Weddingbee, akin to how ppl create photo albums with lots of white space for guests to sign on. I loved the idea of not doing something traditional. So since we're having a fall wedding and there is a fall theme going on, Dear suggested we do a book of fall photos. We ordered this from Amazon, and it finally arrived today (after I got a notice of delay that it wouldn't arrive until a month after the wedding).

Since there wasn't a "Look Inside" feature with this book and no bookstores carry it w/o being special ordered, we took the gamble that there would be enough pictures and white space to sign on. And I think there is, plus the pictures are really nice. The colors are so vibrant and it reminds me of why I love autumn. The pictures also remind me of the times we've hiked Bear Mountain in the fall and also of the leaves we gathered last year. I can see actually putting this book on my shelf and occasionally taking it out once in a while to look at the pretty pictures and to read guest comments along the way. And under $15, this is a very inexpensive guestbook alternative!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Much to do + transportation

Remember that feeling of having a huge project due when you were in school but being totally unprepared for everything b/c you've been procrastinating? I wish I could say I had that feeling when I was doing my thesis but I was actually quite ready for that. This wedding thing, I'm not. Come to think of it, this is more like a project at work b/c I can handle the written word, the research, the hours of reading and writing for a school project. But I can't make decisions and I dislike dealing with ppl (which is why I'll forever be a peon on the corporate ladder). Oh, and you know those nightmares ppl have? I don't have those b/c I can't sleep!

Anyway, things I have to do somewhat soon:
- finalize program (then print it, cut it & assemble)
- contact bartender
- get liquor
- find out what's up w/ the ceremony musicians
- guestbook
- compile must-take photos
- finalize flower selections
- lose a few pounds
- shape eyebrows
- pick our first dance song
- decide which cab to rent for the day

That's right, I have to decide between cabs. Today we went out to the Dyker Heights area of Brooklyn to meet this guy who showed us two models of checker cabs to choose from. The guy is super friendly, gave us brief histories of the cars, gave a little run through of the two, and even gave us a neat suggestion of decorating the car with a garland of flowers across the front of the car (by the windshield), which I think would be really nice.

I think the cabs are the coolest thing (so classy and different), especially the two jump seats in the back (which I didn't know about), which allow us to seat up to 4 ppl in the back (or more, I imagine). I think we can even fit 6 altogether, plus the driver.
the jump seat, folded out

view of the two jump seats, the one in the foreground is folded up into the back of the front seat

view of the full-replication dash, complete with original air conditioning, meter, and a bensi box tape deck (for easy removal when authenticity is important)

Anyway, these are the 2 choices. Which one do you like?
1965 two-color checker cab, which appeared in "Breakfast at Tiffany's", "The Producers" and other films

1968/69 checker cab which appeared in "When Harry Met Sally", "Ghostbusters II", "Catch Me If You Can", among others

Both are really roomy with the jump seats in the back. I'm leaning toward the one-color b/c it has the taxi meter of old (you flip something to start it and it spins around, he said) but I kinda like the uniqueness of the two-color one, though it isn't as memorable as the other one. Someone decide for me!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


This was the site last month. Will it be ready in time?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Overseas relatives

Yesterday my uncle called all the way from Indonesia. He is planning on coming to the wedding (if he can get the visa)! I haven't seen him in 20 or so years and I have no recollection of having ever met him when I was last in Indonesia (back in the first grade). I'm excited and I'd love to show him and his family around my favorite city (New York, of course!). I'd be so honored too, that he'd make this long trip just for my wedding.

On the other hand, all my HK relatives won't be able to make it. However, I received a gift in the mail today from my aunt. Supposedly it's what all the "young people" are wearing nowadays. But I wonder on what occasion I can wear it (it's a bit too casual for my wedding). Maybe the rehearsal dinner? Anyway, I took pics b/c I really like the packaging.

front of the bag

back of the bag (the top of the bag folds down and an attached ribbon feeds through a slot to the front, where it is tied into a bow)

Inside the bag, the jewelry box is a very interesting pod-like case that closes with a button (it's not so fuschia-like in real life, I just went a little overboard when adjusting the contrast).

The box opens from the middle to reveal the necklace inside.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

The penguin suits

Who knew that picking out tuxes would take over two tiring visits, with one lasting over 3 hours? I fully trust Dear's opinion on menswear (he, after all, has had more experience in that department than me). And with something like a tux (minimal color selection, 3 basic shapes revolving around the number of buttons), I figured how hard can it be, especially since he had done some research and even gone to the store to get the process going?

Well the salesperson strongly suggested that I come back with fiance since in her experience the bride may veto all decisions that the groom ever came up with. So I went to the Men's Wearhouse in Queens Sunday evening with fiance. It was crowded and we had to wait.

What drives me mad about the concept of the store is that there isn't anything for you to try on. I had trouble picturing what would look nice on Dear (I have reservations about ivory on Asian skin, even though my dress has a bit of an ivory tinge but I want him to stand out from the GMs, who will "match" the BMs) but there was nothing there for him to try on. The best I could do was hold the swatch of the vest next to his face and even then I couldn't really tell. I also couldn't tell which style of tux looks best on Dear since he couldn't try anything on, so we just relied on the opinions of others, who said 2-button.

I know customer service is their thing at Men's Wearhouse and they pride themselves on it but I thought it was a very assembly-line kind of service (as if they had been trained on certain points and they had set answers and scenarios to spit back at you) but what can you expect for something with limited choices and is quite simple? For example, they have a set of vest patterns for various colors. On top of that, few patterns are nice. The pattern I liked best (and what we ended up choosing) unfortunately has a lot of black stitching throughout, so it actually makes that vest look like a much darker red, which is much darker than the red of the BM's dresses (unless I switch dresses for them, which is likely). When I brought this up to the salesperson, he tried to fake it by saying it's OK b/c the underlying red is still the same (or pretty close) as the red of the dresses, even though I didn't bring a swatch at that time. The next day, when he saw the swatch, he realized I was right but he still insisted that it's very close, when it's clearly not. I didn't give much of a fight b/c I realize there's nothing he can do (and I really don't care enough to try to find exact matches elsewhere) and I'm OK with the different colors (plus I may have to change the dresses anyway). The ties are also very limited -- all are clip-ons, with no choice for anything else. The process is at least, somewhat streamlined. Once we picked out the type of tux for everyone who needs one, the salesperson punches in all the info that he had written down on our group's folder, gives us this looooooong receipt with all the info, and then measures whoever needs measuring. Then when the others go get measured, all they have to do is give our group number, get measured, and be on their way. Only we have the ability to change any of the specifications so even if someone hates our choices, they can't change it (when he said that, I thought how great that'd be for BM dresses but alas women wouldn't want to rent that, would they?).

So the GMs will be wearing what I recall is the "Rio" vest and long Euro tie in burgundy (the pattern consists of textured vertical stripes created by stitching in different directions -- does that make any sense?!). Dear will wear the same thing but in ivory. In fact, everyone will wear ivory shirts so as not to look weird (or dirty) if it were next to white. The fathers will wear the same pattern vest with bowtie in gray. My brother will wear the burgundy ensemble but a bowtie to bridge the difference between the fathers & GM (but I never asked if he'd be OK w/ that b/c I have a feeling he wouldn't want to wear a bowtie). As for tuxes, the only interesting thing is Dear's tux, which will have an edged lapel (instead of a full satin lapel) which I think looks very smart. And supposedly this was the "hot look" during the Emmys.

Another thing I wasn't crazy about MW is the seemingly sleazy salesppl (most of them, anyway). The guy who eventually set up everything for us was pretty nice, and I think he worked as well as he could to satisfy us with what he has, but his manager, who first sat with us reminded me of a car salesman. I think he didn't really want to work with us either b/c as soon as his peon was free, he pushed us off on him so that he could go off and twiddle his thumbs. We were also accosted by this guy who wore awful cologne when we first walked in and he was so eager to sell Dear a suit. When the tux salesperson walked us over to show us the shoes (Dear has issues wearing rented shoes, and I don't blame him), the awful cologne guy immediately rushed over, eager to sell his suits. I think that happened at least twice.

So the male attire was pretty simple (yet exhausting for me) -- it only makes me feel worse for what I put others through when I was trying to find a dress. :(

RIP pc275

I know it's a Chinese taboo to have any association of morbidity with a wedding (and that's why I couldn't go last Saturday), but I cannot, should not deny what's happened. It's the least I can do for my dear friend pc275. I know you would have wanted to be there for my wedding and I would really have wanted to see you there, to share with you my special moment and then to share with you yours (I know you would've been next!), so wherever you are I'll know you'll be there too.

I keep telling myself this is not how it was supposed to be, you were supposed to graduate, become a doctor, get married, have your 3.5 kids by the age of 30.... I see/read/do things and my instinct is to tell you about it but I pause and then realize that you're not here any longer to share with. I'm sorry for all that's happened in the past, thankful for the good times we shared, glad for all you've taught me. I hope you know that my life has never been the same since you befriended me 9 years ago and asked me to be your roommate. I may have been a total b* to you at times, and I'm sorry -- I hope you've forgiven me. You asked me many years ago, as college freshmen, if I'd have you as a bridesmaid (way before marriage was even in the picture). I should have asked you when I had the chance (I'm sorry for that too!). Is it too late to ask you "Will you be my honorary BM?"

Such a young life with so much potential, with so much left to do, I'm sorry you're not here. I think daily of you and I will do the same on my wedding day. Rest in peace....

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

My cookie day

This past Saturday, Dear and two of his GM drove out to the far reaches of Brooklyn to deliver a pig and some pastries in exchange for my hand in marriage. I feel really bad that one of the GM drove for 2 hours from CT to get to NYC to do this. Thankfully my mother didn't insist on rescheduling this two days before, when she realized that she had mis-read her Chinese calendar. I also am relieved that Dear was allowed (at the last minute) to come inside, otherwise the GMs would have been completely lost in a sea of outdated traditions, amongst ppl they've never met.

While we waited for them to arrive, two of my aunts (the ones who kept feeding my mother all the traditions that need to be followed) gave me marriage advice. Most of it I barely understood (or ignored, since they can be quite annoying) and I just nodded my head. The only thing I remember is my aunt telling me my duties as a wife would be to cook and clean (I wanted to wring her neck for that) and that I would have to say good morning to my ILs (as if I lost all common sense or politeness). It's just so different to hear this subservience junk, as compared to the advice I got at my shower.

Anyway, when the entourage arrived around 11:15 (I think), I scurried upstairs since I wasn't allowed to be seen. I hovered at the top of the steps to catch glimpses of what was happening (mostly saw ppl's legs and feet) and I also tried to listen so that I could picture the events happening below me -- have to watch the tape that GM was shooting. In the meantime, pictures that the other GM shot help fill in a lot of the blanks.

roasted pig and six boxes of pastries, later to be divvied up

I actually watched as the car was unloaded -- I was surprised that everything fit b/c I had heard stories of how ppl had to fold down their seats to fit the pig but there was room to spare in the trunk. Sounds gross, I know, but the pig was covered in paper and taped to the box. I love the wooden red tray that the pig came in.

Dear presented two coconuts to my mother (forgive the odd shot -- he doesn't want his picture publicized so I cropped him out). The coconuts symbolize fertility or something so they're not divided up and given out to the rest of the family. (That's my aunt in the background.)

After the coconuts, two envelopes of money were presented, one for the numerous dried goods that were requested and one as dowry money. Two pairs of chickens and a pair of pants for my brother were also in the lineup. The chickens were completely intact (with neck and innards) and raw (not what I expected, but better than what some old lady told FFIL while he was ordering the cakes in the bakery -- she said the chickens had to be alive and sqawking).

The pig is ushered into the dining room/kitchen to be chopped up.

My other aunt examining the pig for the best angle to chop its head off.

This aunt eventually did all the chopping b/c everyone else was too scared or didn't know how. From upstairs I just heard each person pass the buck and tell the other person to cut it. This is also the aunt that kept calling one of the GMs "pretty boy" in Chinese, which I couldn't stop laughing about from upstairs.

The pig, slowly being divided up.

Did I say how much I really like the box? It comes with handles too! I'm thinking of turning it into a planter or a magazine rack or something. Let's hope all this rain hasn't completely destroyed it as FMIL left it outside in her backyard.

The pig's head, returned to the groom, along with its tail.

The groom also got a wallet (with some money in it), a belt, some of the pastries, some of the pork, all the bed linens we had bought, and two of the chickens back. My mother also returned half of the dried goods money and a significant portion of the dowry money for Dear to buy a suit. She also put red envelopes with a small amount of money in each of the things that the groom took away and everyone there got red envelopes for helping out (the GMs, my aunts).

My mother and aunt dividing up all the pastries into the more decorative red boxes to give out to the rest of my family.

Along with the pastries, they also delivered the invitations (way late) complete with the cake cards to get even more pastries, and a slab of the roast pork.

sample of the pastries

I think one of the pastries is missing, b/c I thought there were supposed to be six types. I tried two of the ones above and they both have a very flaky crust (must be a lot of lard) with the thick and sweet lotus seed filling often found in Chinese pastries. The one I had on Saturday reminded me of a plain mooncake without the yolk centers. This morning, the one I had threw me for a loop as it had thin slices of pickled ginger in the middle, along with half a pickled egg (the kind that you get when someone gives birth -- ick!). I really want to try the large almond cookie but I feel guilty b/c it's really huge!

After the guys left, my family had a small lunch (just pork and rice, no vegetable!!) b/c I think my parents forgot/did not know that they were supposed to cook a meal for all of us. The pork tasted pretty good (not very fatty), was about 100 pounds altogether I think, and came from the meat market on Catherine Street by the Golden Carriage bakery. Not having dealt with them, I give them an A for value (about $1/lb), taste, their thoughtfulness to provide the red tray (I later learned the box cost extra but a nice touch), convenience, and general doing exactly what was asked of them at the time they were asked to.

Here's looking at you kid, er... um... pig? And my mother wanted to get the pig cards (like gift certificates) instead of the actual pig.... I think aside from the huge headache of all this, things turned out alright and definitely created some memories (and only lasted about an hour).

Saturday, September 2, 2006

The dress saga draws to an end

I think I'm about due for an update on this cold, windy, rainy day (I hate how the wind is shrieking outside my window). And on this day that hurricane Ernesto is passing through, my Dear and his GM (sans brother) are delivering a pig and some pastries (plus chickens and coconuts) and a butt-load of money. This is the dowry thing that I vehemently opposed but gave up on in the end. And all I can do is sit upstairs b/c the debate over whether or not I can see all this has teetered in the direction of I'd better not be seen. I'll post how this all finally goes down. But for now, I owe an explanation on what happened with my dress, the bane of my existence. Brace yourself, it's a long story....

I was supposed to pick up my dress on Tuesday. Seeing as how it was never ready the eight other times I either called or visited them, I didn't expect much difference this time around except that I have just over a month left and their excuse of "you have time" would really not hold water with every passing day. However, I called the week before to make sure, even though she "promised" it'd be ready by the end of the month when I went to see her 3 weeks ago. So when I called, they scrambled around a bit to find out whether it was possible, I heard some mumblings and the answer was yes, it will be ready. Unlike the other times, I didn't get a runaround answer so I was fairly confident/excited/nervous that I may finally be in possession of my dress. I think I even had a spring in my step as I walked there. The seamstress was all smiles and cheery when she saw me (very different from our last face-to-face) which made me less mad when she couldn't find my dress hanging on her racks. No, it was on her sewing table b/c she was NOT DONE! She said it'd be definitely done the following day (to which I lied and said I was busy so I needed it today b/c I really don't want to be traveling back and forth) or she could try to finish it up tonight and I could try back an hour and a half later. I asked her what else she needed to do and she muttered something incomprehensible but I think she meant she needed to do everything I had asked her 5 months ago b/c she hadn't worked on it since I last saw it. Grr! I didn't want to wait that long (nothing around there to do except for a Starbucks when I had plenty of work to do at home) so I headed downtown dejectedly, with the "promise" that I could pick it up anytime tomorrow. (On a somewhat bright note, I found a $20 bill on the floor, which I debated with myself on whether or not I should take it.)

The following day, I headed uptown again after work and I waited 15 minutes or so for the seamstress to appear while some doofy guy (her son?) played around with his new digital camera. When she finally came out, FOR ONCE the woman recognized me, understood my plight, and simply brought my dress down from the rack and had me change into it. I slowly unzipped the bag and examined the dress. From the front it looked normal. Then I flipped it to the backside and... gasp! It was not a horror show! I didn't have to go berserk and sit in the corner rocking back and forth, lamenting the day I stepped into Pinpoint Bridal! I looked at the side -- oh, it was beautiful!! I looked at the other side, oh, it was nice too!! I crawled into the dress (instead of stepping into it b/c it's a tight squeeze past my hips) and attempted to zip it up (I still need to lose a pound or too, darnit!!). When I walked out and looked at myself in the mirror, I didn't hate my dress anymore (still don't loooove it, like most everyone else does theirs) but I was satisfied. I was shown the bustle (a very simple one with a single button) and she made other adjustments (lowering the position of the bustle b/c it was so high it fluffed up in the back) and pinned in bra cups so that they can be sewn in. I changed out of the dress and she went to make these changes by hand while I waited.

Meanwhile, a million ppl decided to come in and ask about this or that, including this very annoying woman with a high-pitched voice (who incidentally is getting married on the same day as me) who wanted to check whether her dress was ready a week early (ha! does she know who she's dealing with?). To stretch my patience further she didn't have the ticket number so that they couldn't easily find the dress amongst the hundreds they have hanging. When they eventually found it, she saw they had done absolutely nothing with it either but they "promised" it'd be ready next week (poor woman, I feel your pain!). After half an hour or so, the seamstress was finally free to go back to finishing my dress and I finally tried it on again and everything was as good as can be.

At the beginning of my dress search, even ordinary dresses garnered oohs and aahs from onlookers (maybe that was false, maybe it was the newly-engaged glow) but ever since then, no one has had the same reaction with this dress (other than the day I bought it and I think it's quite nice and I like that it is different). Oh well.... I packed my dress up in a large shopping bag (to the horror of the seamstress, until she realized that I still had to clean it) and went on my way. I dropped the huge thing off at BM's office (she actually has an office with a door that locks!) so that I didn't have to lug it back and forth. The following day, I brought the dress to Little J Cleaners around 20th and Park during my lunch break and left it to be cleaned. That was the easiest part by far. They were very attentive, looked at the dress, quoted me $170, and proceeded to note the details of my dress for their reference. The person who recommended Little J to me suggested that I don't have them press it (b/c my dress is so delicate), so I told them so, with the option of coming back a few days before the wedding if I couldn't get it pressed by a friend of a friend. They were very accomodating and I can pick it up next Thursday! Whew, such a relief (and extraordinarily easy)!!

We'll see how the cleaning turns out but for now, my review of Pinpoint Bridal is B-. I am satisfied with how things turned out (not perfect, but workable) but I think they have many things that need to be fixed. 1) They have serious commitment issues -- this charade was dragged out for many months and caused me much agita! If things aren't possible by a certain time, don't promise me that they will be, only to disappoint me and waste my time (the worse one being showing up at this inconvenient location only to be turned away). I think in general, seamstresses take a long time so no matter where you go, I advise you to say you need it at least two weeks before your actual date. 2) There are communications issues -- their command of the English language is limited and at times I couldn't understand what she was trying to tell me. 3) The worse offense of all -- the man (her husband?) who works there and sometimes answers the phone. At first I liked speaking to him b/c he speaks better English and I could actually get answers out of him but he's one of those sleazy ppl who tells lies to appease you or is extra nice when he needs your cooperation but whenever I would tell him that I need the dress NOW he'd give me stupid excuses like "you have time," "you don't need it now," etc. Excuses are one thing but I don't like how patronizing (in a mean way)/condescending he was. Aside from these issues, her work is decent (I think it's easier/less headache when you need simpler things done, not refurbishing) and her price is OK. Just remember you should pad your due date with them so they don't screw around with you.