Monday, June 30, 2008

Travel plans....

Our big trip this summer is a short tour of Asia. My cousin is getting married and his fiancee is Japanese, so they are having receptions in both Japan and Taipei.

FI has never been to Asia and we all haven't been to Japan, so this should be an exciting trip!

We will be traveling to both Japan and Taiwan over a 12-day period. The wedding in Japan is in Kyoto, so we'll be there and we also will stop over in Tokyo. Then we'll head to Taipei.

Mom actually wanted to also go to Osaka and Malaysia as well! I managed to talk her out of that otherwise we'd be flying/training every 2 days and basically have only 1 full day in each city.

Our itenary will be:

- 7/18 - leave US for Japan
- 7/19 - arrive in Tokyo, head to Kyoto
- 7/20 - wedding in Kyoto
-7/21, 22 - sightsee in Kyoto
-7/22 - travel to Tokyo
-7/23, 24 - sightsee in Tokyo
- 7/25 - fly to Taiwan
- 7/26 - wedding in Taipei
-7/27,28,29 - sightsee in Taipei
-7/30 - leave for US

We have a hotel in Kyoto and will stay with family in Taipei. However we still need to figure out where we're staying in Tokyo.

I've been assigned the trip coordinator for Japan since I didn't want to go on a guided tour and Mom isn't good with this whole internet research thing and Stephen is too busy to help out. Thank goodness FI has stepped in and offered to help plan. He's already found the nature-related sightseeing places he wants to go to near Tokyo so that's 1 day planned already.

For Taipei, I'm already thinking of the fun things and places I want to show FI. I actually totally want to get cheesy glamour-shot style engagement photos done! It's much less expensive and they have so many options and great packages. So that will be 1 day covered.

For the other 2 days, I'm thinking....
- get yummy egg pancakes for 30NT (about $1US)
- get hair washed for 90NT
- go to Shi Lin Night Market
- go to Gu Gong National Museum
- wander around Xi Men Ding
- go to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial
- take the supremely clean and awesome subway system
- check out one of the giant department stores (which is basically a multi-story mall all contained under 1 storefront)
- wander around and eat random food

That should be enough to get us through Taipei...

Monday, June 16, 2008

My shoe organizer!

Remember my post where I vaguely mentioned buying a shoe rack for my cube?

So I did and I set it up under my desk and I put all the shoes I had under my desk on it. Then I started bringing in all the dress shoes I had at home to work too.

I finally ended up with 18 pairs of dress shoes at work!
Looks good, doesn't it? Now I can pick and choose different pairs to wear because I can actually see them.

My friend Ann was shocked I had 18 pairs of dress shoes. I was shocked she didn't have 18 pairs of shoes.

That's not even all of my shoes! I've got a few more dressy shoes, lots of fun sneakers (in different colors), several flip-flops, and rain, snow, and hiking boots.

Although I don't think I have a shoe fetish or addiction. I've never had to hide my shoe purchases from anyone. I even like showing them off to FI when I get new ones.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The coolest bride ever...

As I said in my previous post, Joan gave the bridal party matching blue Old Navy flip-flops, which we decided to wear to the reception/ceremony site.

After we got into our dresses, we asked Joan if we could wear them until we had to take pictures and then the ceremony. She said sure so we were off and running in blue flip-flops.

We did have our white sandals all ready to wear and we changed into them for the wedding pictures and the ceremony.
After the ceremony and group pictures, we went upstairs to help Joan with the bustle and veil. And we asked if we could wear our blue flip-flops during the reception. Joan was like, sure! I don't mind.

So yay! We got to be super comfortable during the set-up and super comfortable during the reception too. And flip-flops totally matched our dresses too. What a cool and awesome bride!

A very long day...

I'm back from NoVA from Joan's wedding. What a great event! Although I am completely exhausted. Not only were we up for over 17 hours on Saturday, our flight back on Sunday to NYC was horribly delayed. We ended up waiting on the tarmac for 3 hours. We didn't get back home until 1:30am.

But a quick run-down of our schedule Saturday...

5:30am - Hair stylist/make-up artist arrives, starts rolling our hair in curlers.
5:45am - time I actually sit up and put on my glasses and stumble over to get my hair curled.
7am ish - Annie arrives with breakfast for all of us, Joan and Annie C. go and figure out how to get the coffee going.
7:30am - Joan surprises us with bridesmaid care packages which include a Tide stain pen, hair spray, shampoo/conditioner, blue eyeshow that matches our dresses, AND awesome Old Navy blue flip-flops that also match our dresses. We all decide immediately that we were going to wear them all morning.
8am ish - All of us have our hair done (the curls are all pinned up with bobby pins, I think I had about 50 pins in) and we bridesmaids are attempting to iron everyone's dresses (we tried doing a faux steaming at first with the ironing board covered in aluminum foil and using the steam function while hovering the iron over the dress... which didn't really work, so we switched to a pillowcase over the dress... which worked much better).
8:30am - I'm working on my make-up.
9:00am - we start to load everything into Joan and Annie's cars.
9:10am - Joan realizes her wrap for the evening hadn't been ironed, so she pulls out the ironing board to iron it.
9:20am - Everything and everyone are loaded in cars, I make Joan do a mental checklist (engagement ring, undergarments, dresses, shoes, makeup, veil, etc.) .
9:50am - We get to Glenview and unload the car.
10:20am - We're all dressed and have checked out our gorgeous bouquets. I've put the veil in Joan's hair (per the hair stylist's directions).
10:30am - the boys finally arrive (30 minutes late!) and go get dressed.
11:00am - Joan and Ben have their first meeting and I'm summoned to go get Joan's wedding present for Ben, which he opens slowly but then much more excitedly when he realizes it's a Wii.
11:30am - Family portraits, I'm in charge of yelling directions in Chinese to help out the photographer.
12:00pm - Ceremony starts! We're on time! But it's super duper hot, so I'm hoping it'll be quick
12:20ish pm - I've passed tissues to Joan and to her mom. I've also managed to shake away a bee that had crawled into my bouquet.
12:30pm - Yay! Husband and wife! Smoochy!
12:40pm - We've directed everyone to the front of the mansion for a group photo. For now, everyone's on the porch in the shade. I don't remember how to say "shade" in Chinese.
12:45pm ish - Joan and Ben have come out and joined everyone in front. Annie C. and I decide it would be hilarious for everyone to do the wave. So I yell instructions in Chinese and English and run back and forth once. Hope the videographer got all that!
1:00pm ish - We've secured the bustle on Joan's dress and removed the veil. Now it's the fun part of the reception - eating and talking to friends. We take lots of photos. I show off the ring (and FI) to my NoVA friends. At first I was going to share a plate with FI, but Dan recommended that I take a "cool" plate, and it was a cool plastic plate that looked like real china. A bunch of us pull up chairs in a circle to talk and eat.
2:45pm ish - Russ (the best man) and I do our toasts. I actually do triple the talking as I translated Russ's speech into Chinese and did my speech twice - once in English and once in Chinese. Felix notes that Joan and I both tear up at the same point each time I did the speech.
3:00pm ish - First dance and all variations of family dances. Everyone else comes onto the dance floor and joins in too.
3:50pm - Since guests were starting to leave, we staged a fake send-off for Joan and Ben, complete with lots and lots of bubbles.
4:00pm - We're out of Glenview and a bunch of us go over to Tony and Steph's to cool down before the evening's Chinese banquet. After getting slurpee and getting gas, I fall asleep as FI drives.
4:30pm - Everyone chills, eats fruit and snacks, watches tv. I continue napping.
5:30pm - We all leave for the banquet, caravaning over.
6:00pm - At the restaurant. Joan was super-smart and thrifty and collected all of the flowers (including bouquets, ring pillows, and pomanders) from the day and reused them as centerpieces. The tables are all named after rooms in the White House since Ben works for the federal government. We're at The Oval Office.
7:00pm - Food is arriving and the eating is underway. Chinese banquets are always both predictable yet different. There's always a few standards - duck, walnut shrimp, a cold appetizer platter, noodles, soup. But at least 1 or 2 different dishes - a nest made out of fried pieces of taro with veggies and seafood inside and incredibly yummy desserts - sesame balls with red bean paste and pineapple buns with custard.
10:30pm - We've given the bridesmaids' bouquets to the flower girls and I know it's late in the evening because I've started sticking flowers in my hair (3 orange roses). I help rally Joan and Ben so a bunch of friends could take pictures.
11:00pm - Finally home!

All in all, a fun and exhausting and exhilarating day! Congratulations Joan and Ben!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Shower theme: SPA

For Joan's shower, since she had requested a spa day (I'll have a post of that too), we decided to extend that theme to the party. All of the decorations and favors centered around pampering and being treated like a princess.

For the favors, we made little gift bags with mani/pedi kits. (I have no idea why that pic is off by 90 degrees). We found everything at CVS.

For prizes, we went to Sephora, one of my favorite stores EVER! We got a range of lotions and soaps for all 3 of our games. Last time I got a gift card there, they wrapped it with a red ribbon that had a little metal charm on it. At first, I was like, is that a microphone? The saleslady laughed, and said, no, it's a make-up brush. Way too cute. So this time I asked for 7 of the ribbons so we could wrap our prizes.
For decorations we went with the basic pink and bridal theme. Wedding dresses, bells, a shower sign, and Disney Princess paperware! Caroline excitedly called me when she was shopping for supplies and wondered if princess paperware would be going overboard. I excitedly replied it did not.

And the most gorgeous cake (courtesy of a Vietnamese bakery in NoVA)!
Finally, among friends, I'm known as the shower bouquet girl. I'm the one asking for a plate, pair of scissors and tape and collecting every ribbon, bow, fake flower, and tissue paper off the presents. I love the concept of a practice bouquet. Not only do you have something to practice with at the rehearsal (duh!) but you feel all warm and fuzzy inside because the bouquet represents all the good wishes and hopes your friends and family have for you.

We didn't have quite enough ribbon and no bows (!) so Stephanie taught all of us how to make tissue paper roses and we used up all the scrap paper making roses for Joan.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Shower game 3: How well do you know the bride?

Our last shower game was a short quiz "How well do you know the bride?". We realized too late that by playing Bride Bingo first, we'd inadvertently give away a few of the answers.

In planning the shower, Caroline and I realized that there are 2 main types of shower quizzes:

- How well do you know the bride? - where you have specific questions about the bride that her friends and family should know, e.g. where did she go to school? what's her favorite food? etc.

- How well do the bride and groom know each other? - where you first quiz the groom on questions about the two of them and then you quiz the bride

The first version of the quiz that got created ended up being more like a quiz we'd give Joan with some very risque questions that we kind of didn't want to know the answers to. So Caroline and I tooled around with the questions, took out the risque ones and added a few of our own.

We realized we didn't know a few of the answers either. But since these were questions about Joan, we'd have her answer the quiz too and then we'd have an answer key.

After answering the quiz, we had Joan announce the answers and then we all scored each other.

The scores ranged from .5 (Leslie gave Felix* half a point because he spelled Joan's major as "maf") to 6 or so. Not bad for a 10 question quiz with some questions with multiple answers (e.g. Joan was a double major).

Friday, June 6, 2008

Shower game 2: BRIDE

Today I'm back in NoVA. This weekend is Joan's wedding whom we just had the shower for. I'm at Caroline's house writing this post. We'll be heading over to the rehearsal shortly. Right now I'm listening to her and Felix practice the song they are performing (he on the piano, she singing) at the ceremony tomorrow. I've been doing puzzles with Zoe. Now she's drawing and I'm typing away...

So back to the shower...

The 2nd game of the bridal shower was BRIDE - aka a customized version of BINGO. There are some cool programs online that let you upload a list of words and create your own versions of BINGO. Just google "bingo", "make your own", "word lists", and there will be a bunch of sites you can use.

So I came up with a bunch of words relating to Joan and Ben - their names, colleges, employers, careers, favorite tv shows, movies, sibling names, screen names - and plugged them into the website. Caroline told me to add "Prada" as a joke. Apparently the first thing Ben bought after he started his new job after college were Prada boots. He returned them though.

We printed out a bunch of them and used Zoe's bingo chips as markers (We did end up borrowing a lot of her stuff for the shower. Good thing she was invited!).

After each word was announced, we made Joan explain the significance. That actually came in handy when playing the 3rd shower game.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Shower game 1: Pictionary

I was down in NoVA a couple of weekends ago for my best friend's shower and bachelorette party. She's going to be my BM and I'm her MOH. The next few posts will be all about the weekend.

We played 3 games at her shower. I decided we wouldn't go with the usual games of toilet paper dresses or versions of the newlywed game, so instead I picked Pictionary, BRIDE (a customized BINGO) and a "How well do you know the bride?" quiz.

We borrowed the easel and newsprint of one of the flower girls (daughter of our other best friend) and used her markers too. She was very nice in lending us supplies.
Here's one of the guests trying to draw "27 dresses".

Some examples of our artwork... The top is "Flower girl".

For Pictionary, I kept a google docs spreadsheet open everyday for the two weeks leading up to the shower and kept track of every bride-related word I could think of.

I started with the usual wedding and bridal terms, then expanded to include the things I learned as I've started wedding planning, and finally adding wedding-themed tv shows and movies.

Here's the list:

27 Dresses
bachelor party
bachelorette party
Bed, Bath & Beyond
Best Man
bridal chamber
bridal shower
bridesmaid dress
Buff Brides
changing your name
Chinese banquet
cocktail hour
Crate & Barrel
cutting the cake
destination wedding
double happiness
Father of the Bride
father-daughter dance
first dance
Flower girl
Getting hitched
gift cards
guest book
hair and makeup
head table
hong bao
Made of Honor
Maid of Honor
marriage license
mother-son dance
My Best Friend's Wedding
name cards
open bar
Platinum Brides
rehearsal dinner
Ring bearer
ring pillow
roast pig
rose petals
Runaway Bride
seating chart
Shotgun Wedding
Something borrowed, something blue
Something old, something new
string quartet
Table centerpieces
table settings
tea ceremony
thank-you cards
The Bachelor
The Wedding Banquet
The Wedding Planner
throwing rice
Tossing the bouquet
unity candles
Vera Wang
Victoria's Secret
wedding bells
wedding cake
wedding coordinator
Wedding Crashers
wedding favors
Wedding March
wedding party
wedding photographer
wedding programs
wedding shower
wedding toasts
wedding veil

I kind of went overboard, as we only ended up using 10 or 15 of them. But always useful for the next shower!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Planning the run...

I have been pretty bad at posting for the last couple of weeks. Life had been very busy with wedding showers, bachelorette parties, weddings, family get-togethers, the list goes on.

However, I will endeavor to catch up on my posting.

So onto other ramblings about my life...

The next big Filene's Basement's Running of the Brides is in August 2008 in Boston. My BM (who's shower and bachelorette party I just held as I'm her MOH) did it last year and was even featured on the news in Boston! They were the first ones in line at midnight and waited on line all night and were the first ones to run into Filene's. She's encouraging me to run it as well, volunteering herself and my MOH (who did volunteer herself later) as helpers.

We've also recruited my MOH's husband and my brother. I'm promising them free food and a road trip if they come along and help grab as many dresses as they can.

I've even recruited my FI's good friend, who had heard about the event as a good way to meet single women (the helpers of the brides). :) So I told him I'd give him a legitimate reason to attend the event and meet the ladies if he'd come and help me grab dresses.

My mom, who wants to be there when I pick out my dress, has nervously agreed to come as well. She seemed overwhelmed by the concept and thought it was quite unfair that you could take as many as you wanted at a time. "They should limit it to 6 each time!" she exclaimed. So her job will be the guard of all the dresses. I told her she has to be extra mean and grouchy and not let anyone take the dresses away.

The FI is planning on coming along, but doesn't want to come inside. He doesn't want to see the dress before it's time.

I would like to make t-shirts for the whole team. They're not only cool souvenirs but it also makes it easy for us to find each other.

Some more helpful hints. BM says they were actually waiting about 2 groups behind them when she was at Filene's.