Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Goal: Size 10 by 10/10/10

{Photo from}
Two weeks ago, I made a new commitment to myself: Get to size 10 by 10/10/10 (our wedding day).

I decided to jump-start my health and make being healthy in an integrated way (mind-body-spirit) a part of my life, not an add-on. It's convenient to make the "due date" our wedding date. And ultimately, I want to live life to the fullest with my husband-to-be and our children. Practicing a fit lifestyle every day starting now will allow us to do it.

It didn't start off easy:
  • Day 1 (9/21/09): Bootcamp with 74 others at 5:30 in the morning (I am not a morning person). After 40 minutes of intense jumping jacks, sprints and relays, I got so dizzy I had to lay down or faint! Nonetheless, my friend and I walked half the lake (1.5 miles) afterwards.
  • Day 2 (9/22/09): I decided to walk my dog, Munch, around the lake (3 miles). I had believed for the longest time that I needed to lose at least 10 lbs. to even run, but that day I told myself I could jog if I wanted to. And I did! I've never run without stopping until that day.
Ever since then, I've jogged every day -- even Munch is having trouble keeping up. Woo-hoo!

To motivate myself, I wrote out what I'd have to give up to reach my fitness goal. I vowed to give up:
  1. Being too hard on myself (this one is tough because I tend to be a perfectionist)
  2. Carnitas (oh, Trader Joe's $3.99 carnitas are my cryptonite!)
  3. Feeling bloated (yes, I can't wait to give this one up!)
  4. My "big" clothes (Crossroads Trading Company, here I come to trade in)
  5. 1-2 hours every day (to exercise and cook instead of watching TV right after work)
  6. Believing that I will fail after 2 weeks (so far, so good)
  7. Believing that jogging the lake or beach with Munch isn't fun (so not true!)
  8. Resistance to changing the status quo
Week 2 is coming to an end. I have yet to buy a scale, but I'm gauging my success so far by the way I feel and how my clothes fit. To date, I'm definitely feeling less pressure on the waistband and I'm feeling confident that my resistance to change is lessening.

If you have any stories or tips to share, please let me know! Thanks!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Our Musically Romantic Wedding...a sneak peek

{Photo of She & Him as featured on}

I just got Round 2 of our save-the-date designs from Lollipop Events & Design (LED) and I'm floating on cloud nine because they are looking so darn luscious! (I won custom Save the Date design through their online contest in August). It took a couple phone consults to narrow down the look and feel (from mid-modern century to bluegrass/art noveau).

We used a snippet of a She & Him song as an intro to our event details (above is a photo from our inspiration board). Lollipop took the initiative to label the front of our Save the Dates "A Musically Romantic Wedding." Since my fiance is a classical/Spanish guitarist, the STD is going to mimic a guitar, complete with a diecut for the guitar sound hole and f-holes.

Because of the back and forth, I was happy that LED provided 4 design options for the front cover and 2 for the inside flap. Design elements I requested as must-haves included the use of the Rosewood font, orange and peacock blue colors, and an art noveau floral motif. I suggested birds as a nice-to-have. LED went a step further and included musical notes/bars as a design option. Very cute. I can't wait to share the final and printed design!

{Photo of JL Stiles}

Onward to actual music. Our wedding reception venue is STRICT on amplified music since it's situated in a residential neighborhood in the sleepy, seaside town of Sausalito. Therefore, we can only have acoustic music. Nonetheless, we're not discouraged from having a bluegrass slant to our festivities. We've just confirmed our friends, J.L. Stiles (solo guitar) and Quinn DeVeaux (with the Blue Beat Review), are going to be performing. My checklist of to-dos is shrinking fast.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Lovely Illustrated Invite by Molly McCoy

I used to volunteer for a nonprofit arts organization and found a designer named Molly McCoy 6 years ago to create a poster for an upcoming opera performance. I fell in love with Molly's artistry immediately.

We've stayed in touch over the years, and even worked on a design for a gala invite for my previous employer. Molly just wrapped up this design. As you can see, pictures are worth a thousand words. All of the illustrations are drawn from things at the wedding site. The invitations were offset printed in dark gray and she hand-painted accents with inks and water colors. What a memorable invitation!

Click here to see the full-size version>>

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Parisian Bridal Shower

Here's how the bridal shower I threw for my sister turned out. I was quite pleased and we placed huge fuchsia paper pom-poms all over the room and even pinned some to the (conveniently) cork board wall. By the way, I actually spent $4 on the flowers instead of $10 as I previously budgeted -- I bought potted mums (fuchsia) instead of cut flowers and placed them in pink flower pots.

GRAND TOTAL = $64.74 or $3.24 pp

{All photos by Vera D.}

I also created a scrapbook for my sister's bridal shower gift and I had the attendees complete a "Dear bride" letter I downloaded from 100 Layer Cake. I used scallop-edged scrapbooking scissors and chose the navy-pink motif (there are 4 colors to choose from). My sister said it looked like "Parisian" stationary! Download the free template here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bridal Shower Style Under $125

It's a Jaime Thing just tweeted Peter Som's Spring Fashion Week 2010 as inspiration for a bridal shower look.

I found my look for less yesterday at Banana Republic.

The silk Boho dress was only $89 ($40 off original) and the silver weave leather peeptoes $32 (in-store only)! Yahoo!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bridal Shower on a Budget

My little sister's bridal shower is this weekend, and I tasked myself with the decorations and favors.

The wedding entourage chose a tea party theme, and I upgraded it to a Parisian tea party with pink, black and white as the main colors. My sister got engaged in Paris, so I thought it would be a nice tribute.

I did all my shopping yesterday -- hitting Paper Outlet, the Party Warehouse, Ichiban Kan (a Japanese equivalent of the 99 cent store), Pier 1, TJ Maxx, IKEA and Target (whew!).

Here's how I fared (all totals include tax at 9.75%):

$2/pp incl. tax for favors
  • Eiffel tower mini gift bags 2-pack $0.50 ea. x 10 (Target)= $5.49
  • Scallop edged premium tissue paper $2.99 (24 sheets) = $3.28
  • Rum raisin votives for $0.38 ea. x 20 (Pier 1 Imports) = $8.34
  • Body lotion/bath gel for $0.68 ea. x 20 (Pier 1 Imports) = $14.93
  • Tealight votive holders for $1.49 for 4-pack x 5 (IKEA) = $8.18
TOTAL = $40.22

As for the decorations, I'm borrowing a couple Eiffel tower candle towers from my own MOH, and stringing hanging paper lanterns and garlands. I'm using black and white polka-dot gift wrap as a table runner and pink flower pots to hold white flower topiaries.

  • Eiffel Tower table decor - free (borrowed)
  • Paper garland (pink) - $1.50 x 4 = $6.58
  • Hanging paper lantern - $2.50 x 2 = $5.49
  • Pink flower pots - $1.99 x 3 = $6.55
  • B/W polka dot gift wrap (as table runners) - $0.50/yd x 3 = $1.65
  • Flowers - $10
TOTAL = $30.27

GRAND TOTAL = $70.49 or $3.52 pp

I can't wait to see how it turns out! I'll post photos next Monday.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Inspiration #37: Leaving Your Mark

This has been circulating the blog world, and I couldn't resist sharing it with you. I had been considering whether or not to do a wish tree or some other way to gather blessings from friends but when I saw this, I was smitten. Pictures are worth a thousand words. Photo of Paul + Cassie by Jonas Peterson.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Win a Bare Escentuals Makeup Artist for Your Wedding

My favorite wedding design site, 100 Layer Cake, has partnered with Bare Escentuals for a contest offering a BE makeup artist to get you dolled up for your big day! Two runner ups will win a year supply of the new Matte foundation SPF 15. I just bought it at Sephora last week and apparently matte is supposed to minimize your pores and fine lines. I don't know about you, but at 31 I need all the help I can get.

To enter the contest click here: Bare Escentuals + 100 Layer Cake

Photo by: Thayer Alyson Gowdy

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Inspiration #36: Guitar Pick Boutonierre

I've been meaning to make boutonierres for my fiance and his groomsmen. He's a musician and so are his buddies, so it's only natural that I create guitar pick boutonierres. Where a rosebud would normally go, I'm hot-gluing a guitar ornament! My inspiration comes from Fritts Rosenow (of San Francisco) pictured above.

I found this set of 4 guitar ornaments on for only $4.69 + shipping. Not too shabby. And since my fiance is a guitar teacher, he's got lots of picks laying around the house. I just need to head to the local floral supply shop and pick up floral wire and tape. A spool of bargain ribbon at Target runs $1.00. Wouldn't you agree that boutonierres for about $2 a piece is pretty sweet?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why Follow the Herd?

Lately, I've been buying lots of baby gifts all of which seem to feature a safari theme. Lions, giraffes, tigers, elephants. All so adorable. And so baby. But safari can be grown up. Sophisticated, even Paris Hilton hot. My venue is certainly not safari friendly (heck, it's a historic 19th century Episcopalian garden and arts and craft reception hall), but if I could choose my venue all over again, it might be a zoo!

I recently had the great joy of tagging along on a friend's tour of the local zoo for her wedding and I was impressed by what the venue offered. The zoo is the perfect place for a wedding if you and your fiance are kids at heart and it's versatile to boot. The zoo we visited had an arts and craft "great hall," exhibits, an animal encounter for the cocktail hour, carousel (perfect photo opp!), and of course 2 baby giraffes (and baby zebras and gorillas). Those were the first things we laid eyes on, and the oohing and aahing were non-stop.

For zoo chic style, I just love this wedding shot by Lillia Photography of a same-sex couple's wedding day at the San Franciso Zoo:

If you follow the Offbeat Bride, you might have also caught this off-the-wall yet creative wedding, also at the San Francisco Zoo. The self-described "nerdy-gamer" couple used Hungry Hippos as centerpieces, played Rock Band, and took their photos on the carousel.

Here's a sophisticated zoo wedding at the Santa Barbara Zoo, captured by Wedding 64 & Art:

And to cap things off, here's an Los Angeles Zoo wedding by Furious Photographers. I think I was drawn to this one because the bride also has an orange and blue color scheme like I do AND she's sportin' peacock shoes under that dress. How's that for a bit of animal print?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Videographers Who Rock. Literally.

Jeff and Heather from W. Video Productions on Vimeo.

You might have already sat through a bunch of video clips trying to figure out whether or not hiring a videographer for $3,000+ is worth it. I had just about given up on hiring a videographer when I met the wife-husband team, Christy and Mike Wohlert, behind W. Video Productions. Their video of Jeff and Heather is splendid. I honestly have never been riveted by other wedding videos online (okay, except for that infamous dance-down-the-aisle to Chris Brown Youtube video) until I watched Jeff and Heather's!

As I mentioned before, I'm a reality TV addict. As I watched W. Video Productions work, I felt as if I were watching a show and I compelled to watch it to the very end. Eclectic shots were blended together into a fabulous music video that highlighted the best moments of the day. I also found their shooting and editing techniques to be sophisticated, the music choice not too cheesy and appropriate, and the price just right! In fact, $1,200-2,500 is such a reasonable price. You've probably got friends like mine who paid 2-3x as much for a video, or those who paid less and got mediocre work.

I interviewed W. Video Productions to share a little insight on their style and inspiration:

1. Why did you decide to go into video? What are you passionate about?

We decided to go into video in part because we didn't have a videographer for our wedding and it's something that we really regret. We had a friend with a little hand held who did his best to put together something nice, but when we look back at the day, we wish we would have had something more professional - after all, it's something we'll have for the rest of our lives. Maybe we should have taken the money we spent on chair covers and put it towards a videographer :0).

The thing we're most passionate about is capturing the emotion in a wedding and creating a video that displays that emotion and feeling.

2. How would you describe your style? What do you think sets you apart from other videographers?

We have a very modern and artistic style. We shoot more like a photojournalist than like a typical videographer. We like to be creative with angles, focus, and depth of field, which gives a fresh and engaging look to the video. Anybody can turn on a video camera and shoot video. The thing that sets us apart is the ability to capture the emotion of the day, and from that, create the Art Film. The Art Film is our favorite part of our package, and is an artistic 5 minute "music video" containing some of the best shots of the day. Its our way of creatively interpreting and expressing the couple's wedding day in a piece they can share with all their friends and family.

3. What is your favorite part of a wedding?
Is it clique to say that our favorite part is when the bride walks down the isle and we shoot the grooms reaction? It's incredible to capture that moment. We also really enjoy the toasts...we have heard some of the best, most hilarious, most touching, emotional toasts and also some awkward ones. That's a part of the wedding that you really don't know what to expect.

4. How do you know what music to use? Clips?

Weddings give off a certain vibe from the couple, the ceremony and also the location/decor. We try and find songs that express that same vibe. Also, we like to use songs that grab you emotionally. If a piece of music can make you feel something inside, it's a great piece to use.

5. What has been your favorite wedding so far? What made it so special?

This is a hard one. Each wedding is so unique and special in it's own way. We'd have to say that our favorite wedding was one of the first weddings we shot and we were just getting started with the business. We got a call the day before the wedding from a friend of the groom. He shared with us that they didn't have money budgeted for the wedding video and would love to let us come and shoot the wedding to help build our portfolio. The wedding was spectacular. The couple that got married was so in love. They have the kind of love that makes you want to be a better spouse. And, everything about the day was perfect. We'll be talking about that wedding for a while.

6. What would be your dream wedding to film?

Shooting a wedding in another country would be pretty amazing. We love to travel, and you learn a lot culturally from being a part of a wedding ceremony in another country.

Thanks for sharing, Christy and Mike (the happy and talented couple below)!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Asker and You Shall Receive...a nifty pew flower arrangement

{Photo by Jason Chong}

For $5.99, the IKEA Asker makes decorating your pews stylish and for a great price and half the time of making floral pomanders! My friend Linda W. recently helped decorate her friend's wedding, and I couldn't resist sharing how she creatively used the Asker container, which is often used to save countertop space as part of an IKEA kitchen organization system. She attached the vases onto the pew by tying a satin ribbon into a loop and securing with a bow. You'll probably want to ensure the floral arrangements stay in place by using floral foam bricks inside the vessel. Here's the close-up:
{Photo by Jason Chong}

{Photo by Jason Chong}

If you've done something similar with IKEA containers, please share your story!

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