The Past 5 Days (According to my iPhone)

The past 5 days have been so much fun! I’ve been going out a bunch, with friends and family.

Starting on Wednesday, look at this delicious roasted chicken! If you want to recreate it, check out my recipe here. With the leftover chicken, I usually make chicken salad for sandwiches. It’s a great recipe!

Chicken

Moving onto Thursday, my in-laws picked me up at 10am, and I spent the entire day with them, until 9pm. Most people would find this frightening, but I’m fortunate enough to have lovable in-laws. I’m not even lying to you. We went out for Dim Sum in a very well-known restaurant called Koi Palace (a must if you are ever in SF). Afterward we headed over to Westfield to shop in Union Square!

Here I spent a nifty amount on some clothes at Madewell. I’ve been eyeing a pair of jeans, and I figured it’s finally time to spend some money on some quality products. I’m at that age where it’s about quality over quantity, and it’s important to invest in key wardrobe staples. I’m happy to say that at 26, most of my “college clothes” aka tanks, low-rise jeans, and t-shirts have been donated or sold. I’ve started buying grown up clothes, but I still I get moments of weakness at XXI (don’t you?). Got these Madewell Skinny Skinny Jeans and also the Perfect Chambray Shirt in a light wash (the one and only one left at Madewell located in Colorado; I’ll get it via mail this week). So excited for these pieces and can’t wait to show them off in Japan in 2 weeks!

Jeans
Madewell Skinny Skinny Jeans – Rip and Repair Edition

Chambray
Perfect Chambray Shirt – Similar Here

After shopping we went over to dinner at Shanghai House again (I went here in my previous post). Twice in a month. I’m such a lucky girl! And of course, Purple Kow again! I introduced this to the in-laws, and they enjoyed it!

Purple Kow

On Friday, I hosted a progressive dinner for Bible Study groups all around the East Bay for our church. I’ll share more about this in a separate post. Basically, different groups of people come for different courses of dinner (appetizer, main course, and dessert). It’s a really great activity! Anyway more in my next post.

Progressive Dinner

Saturday was a girl’s day! 3 girls and a mall means lots of shopping (yup, again). One of my friends, Jess, was willing to get some new clothes to change up her wardrobe, so I was on a mission to get her some new clothes. We made her try on a bunch of different things to get a sense of her style, and she ended up getting some items. I love helping people shop! I seriously find joy in it! To reward my hard work, I bought myself a sweater from Zara and a t-shirt from Brandy Melville. Yay! I’m going to be stylish in Japan! After shopping we got some groceries and made dinner at home. The rest of the night was filled with makeovers – testing out make-up and doing facials. So fun!

Facials
^^^ This picture actually creeps me out quite a bit!

Just a few random things – Olive and Lily (MG’s sister’s cats) are still staying with me. There’s not a dull moment having three cats playing in the house.

Lily
Lily is a people kitty. She doesn’t play with the other cats. When she tries, it ends with hissing and fluffy tails.

Olive
We joke that Olive is Chubs’ girlfriend. They wrestle and run around the entire house like it’s a playground.

Chubalee
And here’s my Chubalee, wanting to play fetch with that little fuzzy white toy. Oh and he’s standing next to my new booties I ordered for Japan. Aren’t these uber cute?

Sam Edelman
Sam Edelman Petty bootie – Yay! Gosh, I’m ready to go to Japan in my new cute clothes!

What have you been up to? There are days where time seems to go by too quickly and that was exactly how this past week has been. How about you?

And a very important question, what kind of Fall staple pieces are you buying to gear up for colder weather? Do share!

Happy Monday,
Jay

  

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
—–
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

  

Tea Ceremony & Shopping Trip

Weekends seem to go by so fast. Dinner on Friday. Run a few errands, and it’s already Saturday night. Go to church and take a nap, it’s Sunday evening and you’re prepping for Monday already. Don’t you feel the same?

Friday night was date night. MG and I went to Cheesecake Factory, and I totally forgot how delicious this place is. First off, that dark brown bread is YUM. I’m pretty sure I had two full loaves, oops? Then I reunited with the White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, and we found ourselves in love again. So maybe date night wasn’t actually with MG, it was with Cheesecake!

My church was hosting a women’s event on Saturday. I had breakfast with a few girlfriends, and afterwards we headed over to Hakone Estate & Gardens in Saratoga for a tea ceremony. This garden has quite a view!

Hakone Garden

The tea ceremony is a traditional Japanese event, usually a casual time for the family to serve guests. The Japanese culture is extremely detailed, a very big contrast to American traditions. I always feel like I’m on the go all the time and things move so fast. But the Japanese culture is very particular, and I am impressed at how they appreciate the little things. For instance, before you drink the cup, raise it because it shows appreciation to everyone who has prepared the tea. Also, the tea cup has a front and a back. The front should be facing you in the beginning. When you are about to drink, rotate your cup 180° so that the guests are now looking at the front. When done, rotate it again so that the front is facing you. This is so that you can appreciate the artwork on the cup. Now that’s meticulous.

Tea CeremonyThe powdered tea is shipped from Japan. You whisk the powder into hot water until it foams. In those three sips of tea, there are 3 oranges worth of calcium. Pretty cool right?

Of course no weekend is complete without shopping! Especially since it’s October that means 1) I need to start prepping for the Fall (yay dark jeans, boots, jackets, and scarves!) and 2) summer sales! As you might have been aware, I am a JCPenney shopaholic (my love also described here). Look at my awesome goodies. You’ll definitely be jealous when you see how much I paid for things!

Clothes - deals!White tee for $3. Levi’s shorts for $5. Cute pencil skirt for $5. This pencil skirt is perfect for dressing up with a fancy shirt or dressing down with a t-shirt. 

Peephole dress
Peephole dress for $14. Adoring the print and color of this dress.

Faux Leather Jacket
Vegan faux leather jacket by Joe Fresh for $49.

I’ve been trying to find a leather jacket for this Fall season, but I can’t justify spending $300-$500 on a jacket. I simply can’t though I really wish I could. This jacket from JCP is the perfect find for me. Great cost and a great looking jacket. I’m excited to put the dress and the jacket together with some cute boots. Now… where to find those boots?

Don’t forget that if you shop at JCP, there are coupons every weekend. MG also bought some things, and we spent over $100, which means I also get a $20 discount. Have I enticed you to check out JCP yet? Are you also craving cheesecake now?

What did you do this weekend?
Jay
—–
Joe Fresh Vegan Leather Jacket

  

Rafting Weekend

This weekend was amazing and so much fun!!! Pictures won’t do it justice but at least you’ll get the idea.

We went lazy river rafting on Saturday. Floating down the river is always so relaxing (not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand). Life is good (know the song anyone, anyone?).

Good friends? Check.
Sweet tan? Check.
HAWKward moments? Check.

Have a looksie:

RaftingThis is the gang!

Rafting close-upsApply and reapply sunscreen. Scary face and dorky face!

RaftingBroski koala-ing is a yearly tradition. You know you wanna!

Lazy Rafting
Cannonball!

Rafting
A beautiful pic of me and the hubs!

This was my first time on a rope swing and damn, it was fun.

On Sunday, I went on a shopping spree and treated myself (I’ll always be forever 21!) Look at my damage:

Loot

Pillage
Essential t-shirts are SO necessary. And my cat is never camera shy… He seriously tries to get all up in there!

Today is boo boo’s birthday. Happy birthday crazy Chylee Seng, I love you dearly.

Chy's B-day

Random plugin: We found out that Chubs loves to eat spinach this weekend – what a health nut!

Chubs

What did you do this weekend?

Love, Jay
—-
Info on the rafting company