Happy One Year!

Birthday
Tassel garland DIY here

It’s been one year since my very first post. I can’t believe I kept up with posting on this blog for a full year, posting 3 times a week, scheduling posts to go live at midnight. I first started this blog when I was still a housewife, beginning to find new hobbies. This was one of them, and this one actually stuck. Sometimes posting was a pain. I would remember that I needed to write a new post around 11:45pm with only 25 minutes to go live. Those were some of the nights I had to stay up late in order have posts for readers the following day. It was more about my own self-discipline and trying to keep myself on a tight schedule. I knew if I was too lenient, I would continue to let myself slip. But I stuck with it! I’m really proud.

Today deserves a celebration. Happy one year to my little blog!

In lieu of today, I’m featuring some of my proudest posts. I love to look back and see what kinds of projects I’ve completed, recipes I’ve created, and reminisce at trips that I took. I hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane!

My favorite DIY projects:

1. The $10 Dresser Revamp (By far my favorite project so far)

Complete

2. The Ultimate Wire Holder (so useful)

Displayed

3. The Reupholstered Bench (seriously, talk about drab to fab!)

DSC01785

Here are my favorite recipes. These are staples at home!

1. The Legendary Steak (people rave about MG’s famous steak. I kid you not!)

Baking

2. Yummy Fruit Tart Recipe (This recipe has been pinned over 500+ times!)

Glazed

3. Light & Creamy Pasta Recipe (I just made this dish the other day; it never gets old)

Light and Creamy Pasta

And then there’s the many, many different trips I took this past year. Each and every one of them were so memorable. If you’re going to any of these places, check out my posts for ideas of what to do and eat!

After our trip to Europe, the travel bug bit me! MG and I just booked a trip to Japan and Hong Kong in October. We can’t wait to travel abroad again!

Thank you to all of you who read my blog. The support and love you’ve given me continues to spur my creativity. Keep coming back for more!!!

With all my heart,
Jay

  

Anniversary in Yosemite!

Hi guys! I’m taking a break from the wedding series for a little bit to update you on my weekend in Yosemite. Sorry, I’ve been MIA for the past few days on the blog. With the July Fourth weekend and our weekend getaway, I simply didn’t have time to update.

On the day-of, we had a nice dinner in San Francisco at State Bird Provisions (really creative restaurant!).  If you’re wondering how we got a reservation, we didn’t. We just walked-in, and got there 10 minutes before the place opened. We were 3 parties away from getting seated, and we didn’t make the cut. Our wait ended up being 2 hours, so we walked over to Japantown to kill some time. I’ve always walked past Pika Pika and giggled at how silly those photo booths are, but since MG and I had nothing else to do, we decided to take pics for our anniversary! I must say, these are the best pictures we’ve ever taken together! Evar!

Watermellon

Swing

Sweethouse

Balloons

Camel

Art
^^^ My favorite one!

All the instructions were in Japanese. We had some trouble, needed the worker’s assistance, but then we just ended up doing our own thing anyway. Eep! So fun!

Then this past weekend, MG and I decided to go on a last minute road trip to Yosemite. I’m so glad we made that decision! We had such a great time hiking, swimming, and soaking up the sun. It’s our first actual road trip together, just the two of us (because driving between Austin and Sugar Land during college doesn’t count). We saw all the waterfalls as Yosemite (Bridal Veil, Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls, and Vernal). I even got to swim in the freezing Merced River. Beautiful views! I wonder if I’ll ever grow a pair to hike Half Dome… probably not. I’d rather eat ice cream instead!

Vernal
Hiking up the misty steps takes you to Vernal Falls

Misty
We took a selfie but the mist came right at us at this particular moment!

View
Just amazing!

Pretty

Half Dome
At Glacier Point eating ice cream on a 99 degree day!

Looking
Looking at the beasts hiking on Half Dome – they waved at us!

Swim

We stayed in Mariposa at an Air bnb unit (The Tackroom). Our host was so sweet and even put together an anniversary basket filled with treats, a bottle of red wine, and a bottle of champagne. Totally worth getting an apartment for a hot shower and a comfy bed at the end of the day.

Have you been to Yosemite? What did you think of this park?

Have a great day,
Jay

  

2 Year Wedding Anniversary

Today marks two years that I’ve been married to my Mingus!

Peep

We’ll be going to dinner in the city tonight, not sure where yet. Then this upcoming weekend we’ll be going to Yosemite National Park. I’m a total fan of the outdoors. For our one year we went glamping (glamorous camping at Costanoa). This year will be a whole new outdoors adventure.

I keep discovering new things every year that I’ve been married. We’ve had a few fights along the way, but we come out stronger and learn more about each other. Here’s just a few things that I’ve come to know in the past year.

1. Marriage is about complimenting one another.

What I mean is that when I’m feeling down, he needs to be my motivator. When he’s feeling stressed, you need to be the comforter. If you’re both having a bad week, go out and celebrate that the week is over and a new one is starting. Focus on the positives.

2. Inspire each other. 

What are your significant other’s strengths? Make sure you encourage those skill sets and continue to be the one to inspire creativity. In the past year that I was a housewife, I started many new hobbies. Not once did MG ever tell me to stick with just one. I picked up the guitar, signed up for a half marathon, started blogging, and decorated the house. When I decided to go back to work, he was there to look over my resumes until I landed a job. This past weekend I even picked up watercolor painting. Hobbies help you to balance your time, cause every once in a while you need some personal rest.

3. Just talk.

Talk about work. Talk about your friends. Talk about TV shows and movies. Talk about what’s bother you, stressing you out, what makes you happy, even the little things that make your day. Talk about everything (yup, even what you had for lunch). Carve out time for one another so that you can have these moments to catch up on each other’s lives. I’ve come to realize that sometimes life just gets busy. You come home from work, cook dinner, eat, shower, watch some TV, go online, then you head to bed. Eventually your spouse becomes just a roommate. It happens, and it’s no one’s fault. So give each other some time every day to talk. But just some advice, your husband might not remember what you talk about right before bed so pick another time to talk. Ha! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

To my MG: To many more escapades with you!

Husbands/Wives, what kinds of things have you learned while being married? Please share some advice!

2 years

Come back on Wednesday for more wedding posts! This time around we’ll discuss venues!
Jay
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All photography by Orange Turtle

  

The Most Important…

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you begin wedding planning? THE DRESS!

You’ve got the ring, now it’s time to start the dress search. It’s every girl’s dream to find the most beautiful, gorgeous-est, amazing dress for the big day. There are shows upon shows of girls looking for their dresses. It’s such a big deal! YAY!

But nope. Not for me. I hate, nay despise, dress shopping. I love normal shopping. I can spend hours. Ask any of my friends, I can shop for 10+ hours and still go on; it’s a talent. But I cannot do dress shopping. The only other time I had to find a fancy dress was prom and that was dreadful. I don’t know what it is, I suppose just having this set expectation but never finding what you really want.

Don’t let me get you down though. That’s only me! Maybe you’ve got some great girlfriends to take you out. My sister and mom lived in a different state, so that took a bunch of excitement out.

Let’s start with the design of the dress. Don’t exclude any ideas! You’d be surprised at what might be a glamorous fit for you.

Take a look at the styles below. I’m a firm believer in wearing whatever makes you happy. Don’t listen to those apple figures means this dress. Full-bodied means this. To me, that’s trash. Try each style on and find out on your own which one makes you feel beautiful.

Wedding dress

Secondly, decide on fabric. I’m no expert at all, but in the end it comes down to, do you want something crisp, satiny, lacy, or with tulle? Having a fabric in mind will help with the search. Obviously there are a bunch of other type of fabrics, but if you wanted something satiny, there are materials like Charmeuse and Organza. This helps narrow down the choice of dresses. Within each category of fabric, there are many other different styles and fabrics.

For me, I looked at styles/designs online. I was drawn to A-Line dresses, and I knew I wanted lace. I went dress shopping with my sister and mom at 3 stores, all in one day during my Christmas holiday. I tried on everything from recycled dresses to boutique ($10k+ for designer). Worst experience… I’m just really picky and have high expectations of myself. Plus, I was looking for something original, which I couldn’t find in stores.

Look at dresses online! Don’t be scared to purchase a dress online. Wedding dress seamstresses can work miracles. If you come across something you can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably it! Just buy it.

I was looking at wedding dresses on Etsy around 2am, even though I had work the next day. I came across one dress, called MG, showed him the pics, and told him I really loved it. Immediately then and there, I purchased it. It was $200 and even if it didn’t work out, there wasn’t much money invested. I had gotten my dress! When I showed other people, all I got was confused looks. They didn’t see it then, but I saw the potential. Like I said, I wanted something original.

il_fullxfull-3

il_fullxfull-1

Look for a highly-recommended wedding dress seamstress! I want to emphasize again, highly-recommended and wedding dress seamstress. Wedding dresses are delicate and detailed. The seamstresses that have expertise with these kinds of materials will be your best friend. 

I learned the hard way… I dislike telling this story. It brings bad memories. I found a designer in Los Angeles who would help me alter the dress to a design I had a mind. I thought she would be awesome (take note, this is in past-tense)! One, she was in LA, a city known for fashion, and for another reason, she was on Project Runway! You have to be great if you’re on Project Runway right? Wrong again. I travelled three times for dress fittings (which all added to the cost of the wedding dress), and when she finally mailed me the dress 1.5 months before my wedding, nothing fit correctly. Everything was lopsided. It was horrible. It was obvious she had never worked with wedding dresses before.

Before
^^^ I looked like a behemoth. My right boob is larger than my left. One cap sleep is longer than the other. My designer had the audacity to say that it was ready for wedding day…

I cried daily trying to figure out what to do before the big day. My parents scolded me for being so confident on one dress and also proposed the idea of purchasing a new dress. But my pride told me that it would come together. I still had hope for this dreaded dress. Then I found a wedding dress seamstress in the Bay Area. And my life changed.

She worked wonders. She created miracles. She made the dress of my dreams come to life. Like I said, a seamstress that has experience with wedding gowns is what you want. Wedding dress fabrics are a whole different beast. Go with someone that has experience. Go with someone that has been referred to by a friend or highly recommended on Yelp. You’ve already paid so much for your dress, another $300-500 for alterations so that your dress fits like a glove is totally worth it.

Found a dress where the style and fit is perfect? But maybe you wanted a different neckline. Perhaps you wanted straps for the dress. Or there’s a layer of fabric that doesn’t tickle your fancy. Guess what? A good wedding seamstress can change it. If you have an idea on how to alter, more than likely they can do it. All options are open when it comes to the dress.

In the end, after 6 design drawings, 3 Los Angeles trips, lots of tears, and fighting for a vision, my dress became the perfect gown. No one has it. No design matches it. And it was exactly what I wanted. 

Side

Cap sleeve

Tiers

Back

Dress

Front

Side

My favorite part about the dress how the tiers of lace flow. When the bustle was put in, the back was still flowing beautifully. I love that there are cap sleeves. I love that there’s a criss-cross braided back to keep it modern. Everything was perfect. Even my veil had a pieces of the lace from the dress.

Veil

Girls, get the veil. It puts the entire dress together! 

I agree that the dress is important but…What matters the most is how you feel when wearing your gown. If you’re concerned/stressing about one part of your dress, it’ll show. People can see through your smile. It’ll be visible in pictures too. Make sure the dress makes you feel like you’re invincible. That’s how you know it’s the right one.

Mrs’ do you have any other advice? What was your dress shopping experience like?

For you Bay Area soon-to-be Mrs’, check out Novella Bridal. They have affordable dresses, and I found my miracle seamstress there.

Happy shopping!
Jay
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Fun fact: MG and I exchanged gifts prior to our ceremony at the first look. I made him a scrapbook of our history, including tickets to movies, plays, and shows, poems we made up for each other, and various other trinkets. He gave me a board of all my dress designs, including the one I chose and a final picture of me in the dress. Looking back at my dress story, it’s a good story to tell isn’t it? I just hope no one has to experience it, ever…

Gift

All wedding day photos by Orange Turtle Photography

  

Wedding time!

Wedding season is upon us! June is a month that’s near and dear to me.

MG and I got married on June 30, 2012.

Shoes

Our two year anniversary is almost here! To celebrate and to relive that glorious day, I am going to be on a 5 week blogging theme dedicated to weddings, showing you pictures of my wedding and tips to ensure a smooth planning process (or at least as smooth as can be). I was one of the early ones to get married. I wish I had some wisdom and advice from friends during my engagement on how to plan; it would have been so helpful. So I want to do just that – share some advice. I really hope that you find these posts interesting and that it helps you get creative when planning. If you have questions along the way, ask!

Here’s a few snippets of what’s to come:

  • Tips for the invite process
  • How I shopped for my dress (I designed it)
  • How we picked our venue
  • Scheduling
  • DIY decor
  • Reception table decor
  • Photography expectations
  • A traditional Chinese tea ceremony
  • First look
  • Ceremony and reception
  • Plus, lots of tricks of the trade to have a cost-efficient but gorgeous wedding

Before we begin, know that MG and I wanted to keep our wedding costs to a minimum, while also having the wedding of my dreams. We had about 210 in attendance at our wedding because we both have large families and also both go to church. We found ways to cut costs by purchasing items online and DIY-ed many decoration pieces.

Before you begin the planning process, chew on this:

1. How many guests and what’s your budget? That’s the very first thing to think about!
2. If you like it, purchase it. You’ll rack your brain with wedding things because there’s so much out there!
3. Enjoy the process. Remember that in the end, you’re marrying someone you love. Wedding day is one day but you’re marrying the person for a lifetime.

Tea ceremony

J ready

Getting ready

Table

Decor

Cake

Stay tuned! And if you’re not planning a wedding yet, start your wedding pin board. It’s never too early! Or at least, come check out the pictures.

Happy Monday!
Jay
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All photography by Orange Turtle Photography