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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thrifty But Not a Magician

I'm a thrifty person.. maybe too thrifty at times. I like to find myself a good deal or two (make that every single time I go shopping), and I rarely ever buy anything for sticker price (even at T.J. Maxx or Marshalls). I am a bargain shopper at heart, and maybe that's why I'm going to try to make my $25 wedding dress work. I have to come to the realization that weddings are expensive. I think I have, and that is why I want to push back the date yet again. I can stretch a dollar, but I'm not a magician.

As more family members talk about the wedding, I just want to hide. I'm the only person who does not believe it's going to work with such a tiny budget (which gets smaller by the day). The wedding everyone else wants is expensive, no matter how much you try to cut corners. The wedding I want *emphasis on the word I* is very simple and only involves the closest friends and family. It would be everything I want and even more, but unfortunately I'm the only one with this vision.

Photo Source: Young House Love

Instead of planning, I'm delaying the whole process. Everyone still believes it will happen in August, and I'm going to let them believe. I know it's not that easy, and I will not plan a wedding and be completely broke from it. I'm smarter than that.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pushing the Date Back...

Life is constantly changing, and it's hard for it to ever stay the same for too long. A lot of developments have been made on the wedding front, but my mind isn't on the wedding anymore. I'm thinking about pushing it back again. I know everyone is going to think I'm crazy, but it makes sense to me. I'm not sure if I can wait much longer to be legally wed. We might take the plunge and go to the court house on a Wednesday afternoon. More details to come later.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Making a List

With 9 months of planning ahead of me, I have to set my priorities and actually start planning now. I'm going to have to warn you that I am a professional procrastinator. While 9 months may sound like plenty of time to normal people, I know that I'll probably put off everything for another month or two. To better prepare myself, I'll make a list of some things I should start worrying about now...

  • Book Restaurant - This one requires a deposit to reserve the date and also a meeting of the parents. I try to avoid wedding talk with my parents, and oddly enough my dad brought up the need to meet Hubby's parents. He suggested dim sum one weekend, and he even added the subject of the wedding into conversation. It was super weird, but I'll take it. I need my parent's help/hook up to book the restaurant, and this may be the perfect opportunity.
Imperial Inn Restaurant in Philly - Photo by Dave H. from Yelp
  • Come up with new name for Hubby - This is purely for blogging related purposes. I think he deserves a cooler name. Technically "hubby" is not his actual title.. at least not for another 9 months.
  • Wedding Dress - I need to work quickly and set up an appointment to get my dress altered. I have a seamstress in mind, but she also happens to be in Lancaster. I was too impressed with Mrs. Sushi's alterations, and I think I might just have to give her a call. Since I'm uncertain of how it will turn out, I also need a back up plan. That will consist of going to multiple bridal shops to try on wedding dresses. I just wonder when I'll find the time to go shopping. I'm not so sure I want to do it alone either. =/

Is it possible to transform my vintage dress find into this amazing Monique Lhuillier sketch? I think it's worth the try.
  • Save the Date & Wedding Invitations - I know I'm probably crazy, but I think I'm going to try to DIY my invites. It needs to be extra special with a dash of my creativity in the mix. I don't think I can settle for normal or expensive invitations. The STDs will be my first attempt at a DIY project for the wedding, and it'll be a test as to whether or not I can handle it. I need to start brainstorming pronto!
Do you remember these kusudamas? Well I ended up buying a lot of the paper I used for the kusudama on the right, and I'm going to find some way to incorporate that into the invites and STDs.

While the to do list for the wedding will never end until the actual wedding day, I will need to keep myself somewhat on track. Hopefully I can tackle some of the tasks above and get prepped for this planning thing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Having a Date...

There is something about having a wedding date that makes this wedding feel very real for the first time. It also sets a deadline for me, and it's also a very scary deadline too. In the year and a half that I've been engaged, I didn't actually think that the day would come. You know.. when the date is set and I have no other choice but to plan and stress until the wedding. It's kind of sad to leave the carefree side of being wedding obsessed (just obsessed with no action). I have a feeling that this planning process will be stressful and full of conflicts. The process alone coming up with the date was stressful, and I can only see it getting worse in the upcoming months.

I am glad that I'm somewhat prepared for this journey. I've had two sisters go down the aisle, and I saw firsthand a good portion of how heavily involved this process can be. I know how much stuff should cost (well the price 5 years ago), and I know that this can be a very expensive affair too. Weddingbee and many other wedding sites have instilled in me the confidence that I can pull this off. I've gathered so much inspiration, and I am in awe of how brides can put amazing weddings together everyday.

Now I can only hope that people will understand that I have the knowledge and background to get most of the planning done. I know there will be deadlines, and I'm no stranger to pricing in the wedding world. It doesn't shock me like most people. Hmm.. now if only I can convince others that it's "normal" to pay a couple hundred (thousands at times) for a wedding gown.

Oh and Hubby and I will be paying for this wedding with our money. I'm a very stingy and thrifty gal, and I'm going to make every dollar we spend stretch out like no other. While I'm sure Hubby's parents will help us along the way, I really would rather have no financial assistance. It will help me budget the way I want to and spend more in areas where I deem necessary.

Next step - put a deposit for the restaurant. Our date is still available. We just need to go there with some cash monies. Maybe we'll get around to it today. Then this will feel even more real...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blog Worthy News

There is some exciting news that I have been meaning to share for quite some time now. We have a wedding date!! Well it's not exactly set in stone, but it on its way to being official soon. FMIL consulted with a family member to determine the luckiest day for our wedding. It was a somewhat bothersome process, which I'll explain in a later post. I'm just glad that we have a date in mind and can work towards getting a wedding planned.

So this wedding date is 9 months away... 9 months!!! Part of me wants to freak out because I am no where near ready to start planning. Then I have to realize that I've been wedding blog stalking for the past year and a half. It should have prepared me for what to expect, right? Well I do know what to expect, and maybe that worries me the most. Somehow we'll make it work. Step one.. book the restaurant. *tries to remain calm*

Oh and there's a second part to this exciting post too! So I think everyone knows how much I adore Weddingbee. Well this post came up in the classifieds, and I jumped at the opportunity. I knew there was a good reason why we live so close to Philly =). I emailed Mrs. Candy Corn as soon as I saw the post on the front page, and I patiently waited a whole weekend for a reply. I usually have no luck with freebee offers, but I guess luck was on my side this time around because we were picked!! After some back and forth conversations via email we scheduled for an engagement photo session for next spring. I am super excited!! I am going to meet a beeeee, and we're going to have our first photo session ever.

I guess you could say that this marks the beginning of the wedding planning process, and you'll see me more often here. I bet you guys have been waiting for my return... haha. Who am I kidding? I only have 2 readers... Hi, Anthony! Hi, Hubby! Hi, Jen! Hi, Brittney... wait, that list turned into more than two in a matter of seconds. Well I'm back, and I'm ready to attack. Be prepared!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

*chirp chirp*

Yes, I have been absent but for good reasons. I swear! I celebrated my birthday this past week, and eating at an all you can eat sushi buffet is a great way to start off the celebration.

Hubby and I are also in the process of purchasing a nest of our own. We'll be busy packing in the next three weeks as we get closer to our big move in date.

Plus I've been making frequent trips to one of my favorite stores..

I didn't exactly leave empty handed. I found some good deals, and I could not resist buying some yummy items.

This Martha Stewart Paper Flower Bouquet kit is fabulous! I thought it's pretty stupid of me to pay so much money for tissue paper and a few supplies just to make tissue paper flowers. Well it was on sale, and my 50% off coupon worked on top of the clearance price. I tried it out, and the results are great! I ended up curving the tips before folding them accordion style, and I love how fluffy the flowers turned out. This kit makes 27 flowers!! Yes, 27 amazingly beautiful flowers! I am going to have a flower making party, and everyone is invited. =) If you have some tissue paper laying around, feel free to make some of your own using this tutorial from Matha's website.

Oh and yes, I bought something else too...

I bought pretty Martha Stewart paper on sale for 75% off the original price. I made kusudama flower balls to satisfy my crafty side. This entire project cost me less than $0.94 to make. I used two ginormous pieces of Martha Stewart paper (18" x 18") and cut them into 3 inch squares with my amazing paper cutter. I used 60 squares to make this one ball! 60 is a big number, and this was truly a labor of love. I also glued a piece of ribbon to complete the look. I bought 20 yards of it for $0.10 at Jo-Ann Fabrics last year. I'm cheap, and it definitely pays off.

Then I decided to make another one, and this time I timed it. One kusudama flower ball takes me 2.5 hours to make. Now just times that by 14+, and that's how many hours I spent last December making them for Christmas presents.

Aren't the two of them so cute next to each other hanging in the tree like they're best buds?

I officially call this project a huge success, and I'm getting excited about making more of these for the wedding. I'll be making them in all different sizes in lovely shades of pink, cream, and a lighter green. I'm sure they'll look amazing together.

Since I'll be busy packing and working on craft projects, it might be a little quiet on the blog front. No worries. I'll be documenting all of my crazy adventures, especially everything wedding related. While I'm away, please enjoy some pumpkin ice cream from the Woodside Farm Creamery. It is delicious and makes me super happy. It also makes me look at the camera funny. Hehe.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Joe Simon Wedding Films = Amazing

I can't help it. I love wedding videography, more than I could ever have imagined. Typically I think of the not so lovely VHS quality of the 90s. Being introduced to wedding blogs has completely changed my mind. Take a look at this...

Kate + James's Cayman Island Wedding Highlights from Joe Simon Films on Vimeo.

That cute couple is Mrs. Kitten from Weddingbee and her husband. Aren't they just adorable? I love the combination of the HD and Super 8mm film. It looks so yummy. Joe Simon is just super talented, and I even heard that he is very reasonably priced.

Also check out their awesome wedding trailer...

Kate + James Caymans Wedding Trailer from Joe Simon Films on Vimeo.


Joe Simon Wedding Films at
on his very own blog
on Weddingbee
on Facebook
on Vimeo

Good News!

Scrolling through my old entries, I realized I never did share my bit of good news. I am officially employed, and I have been working for the past 2.5 weeks. How does that translate into wedding terms? That means I can actually start planning this wedding. *happy dance*

After months and months of gathering inspiration and over a year of reading Weddingbee religiously, I can finally make my vision come to life. This means so much to me. You have no idea how long I've been waiting for the "ok" to start.

While I still have quite a bit of planning ahead of me, I will start posting some inspiration and projects to get me through this process. I actually have a solid idea and theme for the wedding, and it's going to be amazing (to me). I hope you guys will enjoy this new chapter in frompoketoido.

Thanks to everyone for sticking around and being patient in my non-planning phase.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

4 Years & Counting: Finally at the Beach

We left off...
  • stuck in traffic
  • went outlet shopping!
  • found some great deals
  • headed back on the road with the beach as our final destination

We were back on the road after a few hours of shopping, and there were definitely less cars on the road at this time. It was already late in the afternoon, and I felt somewhat guilty for taking so long to get to the beach. That was our original destination after all. No worries. Hubby is awesome, and he totally sees the benefit of our pit stops. =) It still took us some time to get to Ocean City. There are a lot of traffic lights down there, and I'll admit that frustration hit me a couple of times. Luckily I wasn't in the driver's seat.

After spending the day on the road and shopping, we finally arrived at the beach!! We quickly found a spot (after convincing Hubby not to park in one of those expensive parking lots) on the road and walked as fast as we could to Paul Revere's Smorgasbord to see if we made it in time for their early bird special. We did not. All was well once we hit the sand and water.

Since we arrived somewhat late, there were less people around, and that meant we had more fun enjoying the beach experience. I have this fear of water though, and I didn't go very far into the water. On the other hand, Hubby loves the water and goes out quite far. This is the first year with his contacts, and he enjoyed being able to see me from out there. =)

Less people on the beach meant that we could park our sheets right by the water. Sweet!! All of our belongings were within view, and I was able to snap pictures the whole time.

We're silly people, and we like to take silly pictures. That green stuff is celery. Hubby was not much of a fan of that until he found the combination of celery and peanut butter. Yumm! I asked if he has ever tried ants on a log (celery with peanut butter topped with raisins). I think maybe homemade dirt (worms inside crushed oreos) and ants on a log are a Downes thing...

Hubby had this idea of burying me in the sand, but I'm not a fan of sand in weird areas of my body. We stuck with burying just my feet.

The sand was super heavy, and my feet were glad to escape. Hubby did mark my sand grave with my name. How sweet of him!

Burying my feet was not enough, and Hubby was on a role. He wanted to dig deeper, and he was the cutest little kid out there. He eventually found water and could dig no deeper (possibly limited by the length of his arms). An adorable older couple saw his determination to dig to the other side of the world, took a few pictures of their own, and took a picture for us too.

The beach was super fun this time around, and we soaked in quite a bit of sun. No worries. We used spf 70, and I reapplied several times through the day. No burning, tanning, or skin cancer for me (*crosses fingers*). After sitting back and thinking about how great our day had turned out, I was so glad that Hubby suggested making our annual beach trip on our anniversary.

After enjoying our late afternoon on the beach we were getting hungry. Food and board walk coming up next!

4 Years & Counting: Shopping on a Friday
4 Years & Counting: Off on an Adventure
4 Years & Counting: Outlet Shopping Pit Stop

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Inspiration Board

Pinkberry + Wedding = Yummm!

I <3 Pinkberry... more than I should ever love fro-yo. I cannot go to New York without stopping by for dessert, and it doesn't matter what time of the day it is. Now only if I could serve Pinkberry at my wedding like this super lucky couple. Swooon!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Vintage Made Modern

OMG... so I was browsing through Weddingbee, and I came across this stunning design from the oh so famous Monique Lhuillier...

I immediately envisioned my fabulous vintage number (I'll be blogging more about this later), and my heart skipped a beat. I have been trying to brain storm ideas on making my vintage dress more modern, and this is the perfect inspiration. The lace, neckline, and flutter detail perfectly match mine. I am itching to show this to my future seamstress and let her work her magic using this great inspiration from one of my favorite designers. Swoooon!!

Let me remind you of what my dress looks like...

Okay so Monique makes her design look gorgeous and totally fabulous, and my dress just looks old and vintage. It's okay because I paid $25 for mine, and Monique is worth thousands of dollars (way beyond my budget) more. I think my beauty has potential. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

4 Years & Counting: Outlet Shopping Pit Stop

In our previous chapter we did the following:
  • wake up, pack, and drive
  • traveled down 13, hopped on 1, returned to 13
  • eating pit stop at Sonic in Dover
  • joined fellow beach goers in traffic
  • took an adventurous short cut
  • then returned back to traffic
Shall we continue?

We left off in traffic, and can you guess what happened next? Yes, we were stuck in more traffic. While this is perfectly normal for a weekend trip to the beach, we didn't want to stick with the norm. We wanted to take a break from being around other cars and stretch our legs a bit. Solution? Shopping!!

Outlet shopping! The Tanger Outlets are conveniently located by Rehoboth Beach, and they have a great selection of stores. Last year we decided to make it tradition to stop by the outlets before getting to our final destination. For us it's a great way to take a break and hopefully return to lighter traffic.

Bathroom, anyone? It's also the perfect rest stop for a bathroom break. Hubby took this picture just as a guy was walking in to go to the loo. For such a well traveled area, I expected the restrooms to be dirty, and I was pleasantly surprised to find them updated and very clean.

We enjoyed playing around with odd merchandise. I guess that's why they end up in the outlets since no one really spends full price on them.

You might remember my earlier post about this dress. It sure was fun to try it on and act like I was actually planning a wedding. Hehe.

Our main shopping goal was to find Hubby some up to date swim trunks, and I think that's our goal every year we travel to the beach. He's super picky, and I can actually understand why. There is a lot to consider when looking for the perfect pair of swim trunks -- elastic or draw string around the waist, zippered or velcro pockets (or even any pockets at all), length, and match-ability. In the end we stuck with his old navy blue trunks and decided we'll try again next time.

Hubby did find some super deals on Haggar No-Iron dress pants at a super low price of $12.99. He usually buys them from Costco for around $20, but he hasn't had much luck there in some time. The Haggar outlet had a great variety of colors, styles, and sizes (29 length is so hard to find normally). Hubby ended up buying three pairs for work. Yay!

I had some luck myself at one of my favorite stores, J.Crew. There was an additional 20% off all clearance items, and I found two tops and a bottom for around $30. I don't think I could ever purchase their clothes at the somewhat reduced outlet price when it's not on clearance. It never beats buying them on sale in store. I have found two items already that I purchased for $15 or less on sale in season, and they had them in the outlets for usually more than double what I paid.

We spent probably a good two hours walking around the outlets to waste time, and boy did we have a great time. It's not often that we get the chance to go outlet shopping, and we try to take advantage of it when we can. The Tanger Outlets actually had some high end new additions, which included Kate Spade (oh how I adore their shoe collection), Michael Kors, Cole Haan (another favorite), Kenneth Cole, and even BCBG. We will definitely be back next year.

With another pit stop crossed off of our to do list, it was time to head back on the road again. Will Hubby and Yin ever get to the beach? Stay tuned to find out!

4 Years & Counting: Shopping on a Friday
4 Years & Counting: Off on an Adventure


from left column to right column
cake from Sweet & Saucy Shop, lighting, lettuce table setting, seating cards, Mrs. Cupcake's candle lit cups, and the gorgeous couple Mr. & Mrs. Glitter

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bella Figura Sample Sale!!

Remember when I blogged about sweet letterpress invites? Well you can get your hands on your very own letterpress sample now through August 31st at a reduced price of $1 per sample with free shipping. These babies originally retail for $5, and Bella Figura is quality letterpress in my book. I find myself drooling over their invitations on a weekly basis since Cynthia blogs for Weddingbee Pro.

Why is Bella Figura holding a sample sale? It is to benefit the organization American Forests, and all proceeds will be donated to the cause. Isn't that great? Bella Figura is an eco-friendly letterpress shop, and they use 100% cotton (tree-free) paper. 1% of their sales are donated to environmental causes. Now that's a great company!

What are you waiting for? Head over to Bella Figura and order some samples! You'll get your one chance to touch and appreciate the amazing-ness that is known as letterpress, and it's for a good cause. Don't mind me as I start drooling over Bella Figura's fabulous invitations...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Blogging About Wedding Planning

For the past few weeks I have been consistently blogging. It brings a smile to my face, and I enjoy the process so much. It keeps my spirits lifted, and life is swell when I can blog about it. Sometimes I wonder why I didn't start blogging sooner. Then I remembered why. I just had to take that leap to escape my past and start new.

This wedding blog has been in the works since I first started reading Weddingbee back when Hubby popped the question. Why not mix my love for blogging and weddings together? While I wanted to start right away, I knew that I couldn't. We did not plan to get married until we were financially stable, and a summer 2009 wedding did not sound feasible. We were right. It definitely was not feasible, and now we just have to push it back to summer 2010... or do we have to push it back even further? I'm pessimistic. I don't think it can happen next year, but I know that somehow it has to happen in order to make everyone happy.

Then that brings me back to blogging. Sometimes it saddens me to blog about weddings when it's so far away. I was reluctant to blog when I was first engaged because I knew that a wedding would be in the distant future. There was no use to blog so quickly with no intention of actual planning, except for in my dreams. Will I just keep blogging about my dreams and inspirations? I have no real wedding planning experience. I feel like I'm a fake.

I wonder if any of my inspiration will eventually come to life? The wedding that is destined to happen isn't my dream wedding. I guess it never was to begin with. I just accepted it because I knew that there was no way around the traditional Chinese/Viet wedding. I'll get into more details about that later.

Should I continue blogging about weddings? Yes, I think I should. While it may be a year (or maybe even two) away, I need to blog to keep sane. Life doesn't always go according to plan, and this wedding probably won't go according to plan either. At least I can keep track of my inspiration, experiences, and feelings on my blog. Maybe I'll even have a few people following this site (shout out to the one person who is following me -- He and She Reviews) who might even like my posts. So I guess I'm here to stay. =D

[Edit] I just checked on Google Reader and happily saw that I have 4 subscribers!! Yay! My combined viewership of 5 people really excites me. Thanks guys for supporting me. You guys rock!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

4 Years & Counting: Off on an Adventure!

We woke up at a reasonable time in the morning, even after having such a long tiring evening the night before. Unfortunately there was a lot to be done (packing our beach gear, lunch, & car), and we didn't leave the house until close to 10AM. For us that's pretty much normal, and we went with the flow.

We were not the only folks headed towards the beach (you know all of the other hundreds of people who were flocking down there too), and Hubby and I did not want to face too much traffic. I suggested taking 13 down to Middletown to get on Route 1. We would save money on tolls and enjoy the open road a bit. It just so happens that there was a lot of traffic at the Middletown exit, and Hubby turned back around to continue on 13. Later we went back on Route 1, didn't like the traffic, and hopped back on 13. We got off just in time for Sonic!!

We didn't intend to make the pit stop, but it was now or later.. we chose now. Since they serve their full menu all day long, we didn't have to choose just from the breakfast menu. I decided to go with a nice breakfast burrito to start my day, and Hubby chose 3 or 4 items from the dollar menu. You can see the size difference of my burrito next to his $1 burrito in the bottom left.

We enjoyed our satisfying lunch break, and before long we were back on the road again. We hit more lights and drove through Dover in broad daylight, which is very unusual for us since Hubby and I prefer late night Sonic runs. Later we joined back with our fellow beach travelers on Route 1.

Traffic... we saw a lot of cars on our way down. Luckily we had each others company to keep our spirits up. I noticed a lot of cars from other states, mainly Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Am I the only one who thought that Delaware beaches only attracted Delawareans? I was definitely surprised, especially after our trip and seeing that many bloggers visited Rehoboth this summer. Hubby never likes to be stuck in traffic. Instead he likes to find alternative routes, and this is where the navigation comes to play. We took a short cut...

We were surrounded by farmland! It was a welcoming sight, and boy we were glad to be away from civilization for a short while. It's amazing how you can get off a busy well traveled road and come across such a beautiful scenery.

Later we had to face our traffic problems and continue on our trip down south. The nice short cut was definitely too short. I enjoyed the peaceful drive while it lasted.

With traffic continuing to build up, will Hubby and Yin struggle to keep sane? Stay tuned for the next chapter of our adventure!

4 Years & Counting: Shopping on a Friday