Friday, August 29, 2008

More or less?

I'm avoiding cleaning to do something more fun. Since I don't want anyone attending the wedding to guess at what it may look like, I'm asking you dear friends to help me with your opinion on colors.

The background that's important to know is that our wedding colors are burgundy and golden yellow. Our invitation were inspired by this illustration. Basically, we have a lot of color options.

Our reception's dance area is a beautiful glass ceiling. But as night falls, it will be black. I thought it would be nice to continue the outdoor feeling by adding some paper lanterns. Based on discussions with the hotel, it is only possible to hang lanterns on wires that will run the length of each pointed ceiling section (there are three sections, each with a chandelier).

For the sake of cost, I've decided that if I do decorate, I'll have them set up two wires in the middle section. The center or middle area where most people will dance since the left side is where the DJ will set up (see black speaker) and the right side is where people come in and out of the ballroom area through the arches. The lanterns I hang will be tied to different lengths of fishing wire to add dimension.

The big question that I must answer by the end of the weekend is what color lanterns to buy. So I've generated two mock ups of what the room might look like once set up. (Thank goodness for Photoshop!) Obviously there are caveats to keep in mind when looking at this. For example, I don't know that these are the actual sizes of the lanterns. These simply represent size proportional to other lanterns. All in all, I think this is a pretty good visualization of what is possible.

The difference here is that one color has been removed:

I don't have a preference at this point, just thoughts about why one might be better than the other. They both look nice, it's a question of what seems appropriate for a wedding evening.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Head Scratch

My mother-in-law to be asked if my mom should be extended an invitation to my bridal shower. Keep in mind that my mother is some 500 miles away. She thought it would be a good way to make her feel included, meet the in-laws, and have her involved more in my wedding plans. I agreed and she called my mom last week about it.

I was surprised this morning to see this e-mail from my dad to my brother [and me]:

"MIL called asking mom to go to the bridal shower. We need to attend a wedding for a friend's son that day. All we need is for one of us to go to the wedding. Since mom doesn't like to travel alone, I'll go to the shower, and she can go to the wedding. While up there, I can also meet MIL, see the hotel and the wedding ceremony location, and also see some model homes with you. I'll arrive in the morning and leave in the evening. I won't stay overnight. Just want to make sure that you will be free that day to drive me around."

Huh? It's hard not to laugh after reading this. It just sounds ridiculous. I immediately called Tim to ask exactly what his mom discussed with my mom. When I read the e-mail to him, he just laughed. Where do parents come up with these decisions?

My dad did later write and acknowledge that him coming by the shower would be odd but he only meant to stop briefly to meet my mother-in-law and drop off a few gifts. (Gifts? From who?)

I have to give kudos to my mother-in-law. She is wonderfully kind and thoughtful. I'm lucky to have her. I'm glad that at least some of our parents will meet before the wedding.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Makeup is a Mystery

There are times when I seriously think I should have be sent to a workshop on why I need to do all the things that women do when planning a wedding. I’m a very organized person, so getting things done is not the issue. The big problem for me is understanding why certain things are done and in what manner I should do them.

Frankly, I probably rushed into a lot of things because I didn’t think my final choice would matter all that much. In some situations, I had the impression that I did not have the time to do the research I needed to do.

One of the most foreign subjects for me has been hair and makeup. I didn’t start moisturizing regularly until my mid-twenties. I didn’t start moisturizing before bedtime until five years ago. Eye cream is something I dabble in when I remember. Exfoliation is something I started doing only because of the wedding. Facials? I’ve never had one – ever. It’s been a very slowly evolving process.

As for makeup, the only thing I can say I consistently do is fill in my brows. That’s something I remember picking up after reading some Glamour magazine article talking about putting on a minimum every time one steps out of the house. The logic made sense to me and I’ve found that the few minutes it takes to add a bit of shadow is worth how it frames my plain face. Most work days, I’ll also throw on a bit of neutral eye shadow. Lipstick is unlikely because I’m not one to remember to apply it every couple of hours. I stand a better chance with tinted lip balms.

With all that, here’s what I have done in the past four months. In May, I had my first makeup test with a recommended Channel artist. She did a very nice job, but given that it was my first run. I just felt it average. Also, she charges $300 which was above what I had budgeted. After thinking about it for a month, I told her that I couldn’t go with her due to price.

In June, I went for a trial run with an Asian beautician who does both hair and makeup. I think she thought it a bit odd that I wanted to do a trial run of the makeup. It’s like she expected me to just show up on my wedding day and have perfect makeup. Yeah, right. Inside the salon, everything seemed to go well. I was a little frustrated with how long everything took but felt I couldn’t complain much for the price. Hair and makeup would be less than $150 though I’d have to drive 20 minutes to her salon. I felt like it was put on pretty thick to cover my freckles and blemishes. (There’s an Asian artist for you.) Unfortunately, when I recently looked back at the flash photos we took afterwards, I realize that I look like a ghost. No kidding! She tried to lighten my skin color and so my face doesn’t match my neck one bit. Yuck!

Technically, I’m still booked with her, but this week I need to tell her that I just want to do my hair. The debate is whether to bring a picture and tell her the truth to see if she can change things, or just say that I’ve decided to do my makeup myself?

Last month, my friends took me to Nordstrom’s to help with my frustrations over makeup. They sat me at the Bare Escentuals counter where a decent woman applied my makeup. It was an introductory job, and we all felt very satisfied with what she did. It looked natural and didn’t feel heavy. I talked with her and negotiate $100 for makeup (and she’d come to the hotel).

I went again this weekend to experiment with colors and try out my individual, false eyelashes. Since I wear very little makeup on a daily basis, it was hard to gauge what was the right amount of makeup, plus the store lighting was awful. I knew that I would need to go outside. Even just walking through the mall, I felt like a clown, probably due to the long false eyelashes. Driving home, I could see in my visor mirror that the pinkness of the makeup on my face did not match the natural color of my neck. It felt wrong.

I happened by another makeup store. I was curious to check out a new sheer foundation by a local makeup artist. The guy at the store approached me and we talked about the product. He offered to try some on me but I explained that I was already wearing makeup for a test run. I told him I was wearing Bare Minerals. I took advantage of the situation and asked what he thought of it. He said it looked fine for day wear and that the lipstick color was perfect for photos. He advised that you want to go a little more dramatic than normal for wedding photos. He cautioned me that Bare Minerals while a great everyday product, is not ideal for photos. He says it has a finish that shows up poorly in photos. He definitely encourage me to try the foundation that I picked up. When I left the store he also offered his services for my wedding.

Tim’s probably not the best person to ask for makeup opinion, but in the grand scheme of things, his opinion matters most because I want him to think I look beautiful at the wedding. He said it looked a bit dramatic. I asked if he recalled the other times I’d had makeup trials and he seemed to like those other times better.

We snapped a couple pictures. The ones in the shade looked fine. However, whenever we used flash, be it to reduce the harsh sunlight or illuminate the inside of a building, my face looked a bit shiny. Granted, I have oily skin, but it had only been a few hours since the makeup session. I can’t imagine I got that oily. Plus, the shine was consistent all over my face leading me to believe it was something about the makeup.

I looked at the pictures again later and checked my face in various lights. I felt uncomfortable. Wearing the makeup for more hours did not change the shine. I also noticed my eyes felt a little agitates and tired. I don’t know if it was the eye shadow products or the false eyelashes. When I took off the makeup, my skin felt slightly irritated. I don’t recall any of this happening as a result of the other two makeup trials. Am I imaging things? Am I allowing myself to be influenced by the concerns I’ve read on the Internet and by the makeup store guy?

I wrote the makeup gal late yesterday evening. I told her that I am not confident in the makeup and explained my concerns about the pinkness and shine. I asked her for suggestions on what might be done to correct the problem. Part of me wants to stick with her, but another part of me just wants to do it myself.

So now, I truly understand why it's so important to start shopping around early. I know that I shouldn't make commitments until I've experimented with many products and talked to several people. It's tiring, but not I see why it would have been better to have several sessions over a period of a couple weeks so I could compare more easily. Leaving it until two months before the wedding is stressing me out!

I hate confrontation and I’m getting *uncomfortable* telling these people that I’m unhappy and trying to give them direction on how to make things better. Do I give the Asian woman or Nordstrom gal another try? Should I grovel and try and get artist #1 to take me back for the $300? It just seems so expensive… . ARGH! Now I really wish I'd learned better techniques for applying makeup. HELP!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympic Sleep

Why do moths leave a powdery residue when you smash them? I just hit one flying around me as I sat down to blog and now I've missed the weather report. :(

Part of me could fall asleep the minute I put my head down. Another part of me sense my second wind is coming. The Olympics are awesome to watch but the network is torturing me and many people on the West Coast. I don't think I've gone to sleep before 12:30am since the Olympics started!

The swimming was awesome, the gymnastics controversial, and the injuries heartbreaking at times. I don't have cable so my only link has been the network and an occasional check of Telemundo for those less mainstream events. It's really amazing to realize that a group of people can all of a sudden switch from gregarious and talkative to silently focused on a grainy analog image of bodies splashing in the water to a photo-finish. I love how these games bring people together.

Thoughts so far:

- It's the strangest thing to hear that a shooter was disqualified for doping? It's not really an athletic contest. (But I heard it was probably a drug that helped prevent any hand shaking.)

- Where did all these fast Jamaicans come from? Did I miss them in 2004? The 100m sweep was amazing.

- I'm Asian and I *know* some of those Chinese girls were under 16. Give me a break. How much cheating is going on with China? I love the ideal of the Olympics but it's situations like this that really tarnish the image.

- Even in China, it's all about the money.

- What will they be replacing baseball and softball with?

- Kerri and Misty are *the* bomb.

- The commercials have been pretty cool. Tim likes the United commercial. I thought the Coke commercial with the birds was cute. The GE ones have been pretty funny too.

- What will Phelps do now?

- I feel for Alicia Sacramone and hope she knows that no one blames her

- Football? Oh year, that.

- Why is all the good stuff shown after 10pm? It's not live, just start earlier so we can watch live with the East Coast!!!! Some of us don't have Tivo.

- This tiebreaker rule in gymnastics is lame. Make them both go again.

Ack! A bug... gotta go!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our take away

If you remember back a few months ago, I was researching the ideal wedding favor. I came up with something that spoke to our travel interests and doubled as a table card - luggage tags.

Unfortunately, the tags I thought I wanted were a bit outside of the budget. Most people I know budget less than $2 per favor, but I'm willing to go as high as $3 if I really like what I find. Now that I've revisited the task, I've found some appealing options. (I also wanted to share in case someone else is interested as it's hard to find well-priced, good choices.)

1) Two-tone leatherette tags: Tim tends to prefer these. I think it the design probably appeals to the males better. It's not the greatest material but it doesn't look like it will immediately fall apart. ($2.52/each + optional printing)

2) Color luggage tags: I like the idea of selecting tags that complement our colors - burgundy and gold (brown or tan). I'm waiting for the samples to arrive to see if I like the quality of the leather. (ranges $2.15 to $2.55 each)

Honestly, I like them both. I've been trying to picture how they will looks set up on the reception table. The luggage strap allows for the tags to sit upright so people will find their names. Either way, I think it'll look awesome. I just need to figure out which color scheme I prefer. I figure I have another week or so to make up my mind.

On a funny note, remember the Crate & Barrel tags that originally inspired the whole idea? Within two weeks I happened to visit four different stores last month. Someone seems to have bought out all the neon green luggage tags at the those stores. How much do you want to bet they'll appear at some one's wedding some time soon?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Changing the details

Now that there will soon be a man seeing me every morning and night, I’ve considered what to do with my current stock of underwear. Do men really care about what their women wear?

I have underwear, I swear, that I can date back more than ten years. It’s still mostly wearable. If you examine closely, you would see that the small elastic threads woven into the band are disintegrating. No doubt the years of hot dryers and stretching it over my bum have worn them down. Still, the cotton is in good shape. Gradually, I have thrown out a majority of the underwear from that era of my life as I convinced myself that underwear that needs to be held up by my pants is probably not ideal. The other thing that works well is asking myself, “what do you want people to see if you end up in the hospital?”

How do people decide when it’s time to throw out underwear? Until there’s something clearly wrong with it, it gets worn, washed, and restocked into my drawer, then the cycle repeats itself. With clothes, the criteria are complicated yet clear, it’s either the wrong size (i.e. it’s too small) or it’s gone out of fashion. Underwear is such a daily thing that I don’t really think about it. Unless I need something that doesn’t create panty lines, is low rise, or has athletic qualities, it’s just something to keep my bum covered. I'll pick the color or fabric that fits my mood. My inventory runs the gammut - granny panties, thong, lace, bikini, boy shorts, in cotton, spandex, nylon, and mesh. It used to be all cotton, but the synthetics have creeped in over the years. I still like the idea of natural, breathable fabric, it just doesn't hold up the same way. Maybe it is kind of like clothing in how it evolves.

I’d be curious to know what the average number of panties stocked by American women is. I must say that I probably have a good months worth of underwear, partly from trying to infuse my drawer with newer looking underwear but also because it certainly saves me from doing my laundry more frequently. (After all, small loads waste water so why not wait until the load is full.)

As I try to streamline my closet and drawers for Tim’s impending move, I find it hard to let go of underwear that’s still good but maybe not the most attractive. Going back to my earlier question, “do guys really care what underwear you wear?”

When I asked Tim this question the other day, his honest but appropriately worded answer was, “I notice when you wear panties I like.”

There have been many clearance sales over the past month. I made myself browse through the piles of colorful panties to look for cute patterns and colors that would be eye-catching for Tim. I want cute, I want playful, I want sexy, but I definitely can’t stand uncomfortable. A part of me is having fun because the stuff I picked out is cute. Another part of me wonders how long it will matter – does it, will it always?

I tested the first new pair out last week, a black nylon panty with lace edges and a red and pink cherry pattern. Yeah, he noticed. :)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Unusual ceiling

Help!!! How do I hang lanterns when the ceiling doesn't allow for hooks or clips? Anyone know if there is a magic way to attached fishing line so I can hang some paper lanterns so that they look like they're floating in mid-air?

(I've been told by the hold that they could use tape for my lanterns. Somehow I doubt tape can hold up a ton of lanterns and I don't like the idea of blue painter's tape all over the yellow cross beams.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


It's official, Tim has given notice at his apartment. We have until August 31st to move him into my place.

Originally, he had considered moving in in July, but we put that off because of a Yosemite camping trip that had been scheduled back in February and could not be changed. The extra time sounded like a good thing at the time, but frankly the time has flown by and neither of us took much advantage of the extra month.

Quite to my dismay, I'm the one who is behind. You see, since he's moving into my place, I'm the one holding things up. It's very true that empty spaces tend to fill up if given the chance - it's called entropy. In the four years I've been here, I've managed to go from supplies to fill one bedroom and kitchen to completely filling (and overfilling) a kitchen, hallway closet, dining room, living, and two bedrooms (including two walk-in closets). Thankfully, the early roach incidents kept me from storing things in the one-car garage.

Now, I have two week to PURGE. I have a box on the floor of the kitchen and two boxes strewn about my bedroom waiting to be fed with treasures that I must abandon. My attitude towards the move has taken some adjustment. Tim patiently has been pointing out that I've been only willing to make minimal space for him rather than giving him half the space. It's really hard, I've been the only one here for four years. It's taken me many weeks to see that I've taken the wrong approach towards welcoming Tim into "our" home.

I totally understand how this can be awkward for him. After all, everything has been put where *I* think it should go, not where *we* decided. I lose perspective at times because I'm struggling to let go of things that I've been used to having around. At times, the though has crossed my mind to simply throw everything out and start over just to make it quicker and less painful. Since I'm such a bargain hunting shopper type, however, it isn't in my nature to give away my stuff for nothing and pay full prices for new stuff. (Besides that would be a waste of resources and an example of bad consumerism... .)

My strategy thus far has been this:

- eliminate clothing that I have not worn in two year or know that I cannot fit into without losing 10 pounds
- remove items that will become obsolete (e.g. futon mattress to be replaced by Tim's bed, analog tv)
- remove items that will be upgraded by wedding gifts (e.g. mismatched dishes, glassware, and utensils)
- move into storage items that are unlikely to be use in the next six months (e.g. Xmas decorations, extra furniture, extended sets of kitchenware, linens, photos and CDs that have been copied into iTunes)

The garage will become a temporary staging area for incoming and outgoing boxes. My poor car will have to suffer a dull "stoning" from the neighbor's tree each evening as the wind and squirrels knock down the season's seed harvest from the branches.

I get a small reprieve tonight, however, as we'll be watching and cheering on our favorites on the "So You Think You Can Dance" finale. Woo hoo!