Thursday, October 26, 2006

How it all came down: the morning of

We woke up relatively early (definitely not as early as the day before) to get our hair done in Ctown. Of course, before that we gorged ourselves on the breakfast downstairs in the hotel then we were on our way. I think we were pretty close to the schedule that BM wrote out the night before and we got to Ctown before the salons were even open. It was eerie to see a place that's usually bustling be so quiet. But even though it was quiet, my cousin still had some trouble finding parking. Anyway, my 3 BMs and I went to Amy's Salon on Pell Street while my mother went to her usual hair dresser (she got a perm weeks earlier but got her hair blown out for the day). Amy was late but 2 other hairdressers were already there when we arrived a little after 9. They started working immediately while I waited for Amy. The BMs had decided to all do their hair with curls, half up, half down. I'm not sure how they exactly felt about the end result (I think they turned out really preeety though), but I don't think they were exactly fond of the hairdressers.

As for me, I was OK with my hair and not so crazy about the ethics of the hairdresser (more on that later). From the back, I really liked how my hair turned out. Unfortunately, she also left out these stray tendrils, like vines in a pumpkin patch on the side of my head that I didn't care for. When she curled them, it didn't look so bad, but I kept thinking to myself that I'd pin those up once I got the chance. But I never did until way after, at the banquet. In the meantime, the hair kept getting flatter and flatter so that in some pics I look like a Chinese gangsta b* from the 80s gone wild, with 2 tails (OK, more like I had these weird stray hairs that looked quite messy, which is a shame b/c otherwise the pic would be perfect). I also liked how she did the front of my hair (she created a bump in the front to help elongate my wide face) but with the addition of the headpiece, it got flattened out a bit. The veil did not help either (which I put on in the hotel, in a rush, without supervision). Anyway, the headpiece was positioned in such a way so as to be easily removable for the dress change, plus she showed me (more like BM) how to put the flowers in that we brought over for the second dress, which I appreciated. Overall, I thought going to the salon was a good deal when compared to the many other non-Chinese hairdressers that I spoke with (which ranged from $100 for just hair to $400 for both hair & makeup). However, if you were to compare to other places in Ctown, the prices at Amy's are just average (they'd be considered cheaper if she didn't play her tricks on me).
Wow, I have natural highlights!

how to add the flowers later (sans headpiece)

I won't go into the crazy details about pricing but just know that I think the usual price for a bride's hair is $35 while the price for the BMs should be $25. She ended up charging me $35 for my hair and $30 for the BMs' hair. Though it is somewhat par for the course with a Chinese business -- I feel like they are always scamming -- it's still not cool. And she tried to scam me even more by giving me back $10 less in change, which became her tip (but would have been much less if I had my druthers). Prior to this, I loved the haircut that she gave me but b/c of her disgusting behavior, once again, I'll have to find a new person to cut my hair (and I do need one now that I don't have to grow out my hair!!). :(

AMY'S SALON: B for hair, F for ethics
looks OK in the hotel, I guess

After this, one BM, my mother, and I hailed a cab and headed back to the hotel. We were only slightly late to meet my makeup artist, Alaine, who had already set everything up in the hotel room. The other 2 BMs stayed behind to finish up their hair and then went to a friend's place to get ready.

I met Alaine one day when the new Sephora opened up by where I work. That day I was sorta thinking about buying stuff to do my own makeup for the wedding, but also keeping an eye out for potential makeup artists. I think a part of me wanted to get an Asian artist b/c our features and skin are different, so I befriended Alaine (I liked the makeup that she had put on herself) immediately after she was done helping someone else. Lo and behold, I found out she was indeed a makeup artist (not just a salesperson) and I asked her to send me a portfolio. I could tell she was just starting out with weddings (her entire portfolio was just models and actors) so her prices were affordable, at just $50 for the bride and $40 for all others (that includes travel to wherever you are). Those unused to the world of wedding markup might not think this is such a great deal, but I've been quoted anywhere from $75 to $200 (also the $400 quote for hair & makeup that I mentioned above), and that's not including travel expenses. Unfortunately, I believe her prices have gone up, so if you're interested, you'll have to contact her directly at alaine83 at Anyway, after I found Alaine, I did some other research (I am so indecisive that even after I make a decision, I reconsider it again and again) and I thought her work comparable to even the $200 makeup artist from Bobbi Brown that lots of ppl have raved about on their blogs.
Alaine's makeup kit

I enjoyed working with Alaine -- she is friendly and easy to get along with. Even after the wedding, we have kept in touch (we sorta bonded after I learned that she spent some time in Indonesia and that I went to college with her cousin). Most importantly, I like the work that she does, especially with the eyes (I think she made mine look bigger!). She gives a very natural, not overly done look (but just enough of a little something so that you know this is makeup for a special day) which is exactly what I wanted since I never wear makeup. It was pretty comfortable too -- I barely remembered I had on makeup. I just wish that I had asked her to stay for touch-ups b/c it did wear away a little as the day went on. I also wish that I had my makeup done before the BM b/c she sorta had to rush for mine (and there wasn't enough time to add false lashes). :(

You can sorta see the makeup in these pics:
And because I got tired of smiling (I don't do it often, so give me credit!), I look like I'm grimacing here, so I shrunk this photo and then edited out my mouth below so that you can still sorta see Alaine's work.

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