Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Am I not makeupable?

I don't get it. I don't think I'm ugly. I go about my daily business with no makeup (too lazy!) and I think I look fine. I'm a "go natural" girl, and with the right camera angle and lighting, I can even look cute sometimes. On the rare occasion when I do apply my own makeup, I usually look better than without.

So why is it that it took me 6.5 makeup trials (the 0.5 was a repeat to give one of them a second chance) to finally decide on a MUA? More importantly, why did I come out of a bunch of those trials feeling ugly and bloated and generally like a colorful clown? Granted, I am pickier than most about a lot of things. But makeup is one thing I thought I'd be low key about. After all, I was just going for a natural look. Is it really that hard to apply less makeup? Or maybe it's because after accepting ~$100 from a customer (for just a trial, mind you), the MUA somehow feels like she owes it to the bride to use lots of product (i.e. cake on the makeup)? I know I know, they say that for a wedding, you need more makeup than normal so that it shows up in photographs. I had one MUA tell me that I would look too pale and lifeless without a lot of blush (i.e. rosy pink cheeks). Does that mean I should go delete all the gazillions of pictures of me without ANY makeup on? Can't there be some sort of compromise between natural and just enough makeup for the camera?

At one point, I considered that maybe I'm just not makeupable. Some girls are naturally pretty or have nice features and look hot no matter what MUA you put them through. Other girls may have features that are harder to work with. And maybe I belong in that group. I started wondering which of my features were problematic for the makeup realm. Maybe it's my Asian single eyelids. They're big, but they don't have that natural fold that some lucky folks have. Or it's my hard to curl downward-pointing eyelashes. A couple trials, my eyelashes separated from the fake ones making my side profile look really funny. Or is it my pale skin? I had a couple trials where my face just looked too yellow or cakey or dark. In one trial, I looked so bloated I felt like I had gained 10 pounds. Who knows, maybe I had too much water to drink the night before.

Well the good news is, I finally found a MUA that was able to achieve my natural look. At the end of the trial, I still looked like myself--but just a prettier version. But, I still haven't figured out why it's been such a bumpy road for me, and I'm super anxious how the wedding day makeup will turn out!

I ended up picking Fu-Yi from Beauty Creator. Ignore the hair, as I probably won't be going with this style. Here a picture of how the trial turned out:

And I leave you with some pictures of my makeup trial diasters:

Bloated, cakey, and yellow

Too heavy on the eyes

One eye was darker than the other eye (I think this is after she already tried to fix it)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I finally figured it out

When I applied to be a bee, one of the questions was why I want to be a bee.

I thought about the kind of answer the committee might want to hear--that I was a very giving person and sincerely wanted to help everyone along with wedding planning. Part of that is true. When I have friends who are getting married, regardless of how close I am to them, I am very eager to share tips and advice and anything that could help them along. I've volunteered to be a DOC for several friends already! So in that sense, I do like to give. But is my main motivation for writing on weddingbee to give back to an audience full of to-be brides? The honest answer is if I could only give one answer, that wouldn't be it.

Then I thought about the intellectual answer that the committee might also like--that I am a journalist or scholarly type who loves words. But as anyone who may stumble across my blog knows, I am not even close to being a great writer. I do have a particular writing style though which is me! But in SATs, vocabulary was not my forte. I am more the geeky math type.

So then, what is it? I was really afraid to consider that maybe I'm an attention seeking whore. Maybe I just want the fame that comes with being an online weddingbee celebrity. Maybe I just love myself so much that I love everyone loving my words. Yes, a lot of that is probably true. But hey, I'm not a narcissist at heart!

Tonight, as I was driving to a Macy's wedding registry event, it finally came to me. Here I am, writing to the void because I don't want any of my wedding guests to read about my wedding, less I ruin any surprises for them. I even  created this brand new blog to avoid writing in my existing xanga blog. But, I desperately want to share my lofty ideas and dreams with friends, strangers, anyone who will listen really, even if they're not my real life everyday friends. would be the perfect outlet for that. I would have a group of friends who understand and can relate to what I'm going through, and yet I don't have to worry about ruining surprises for my wedding guests. I simply wouldn't mention that I write on there. And for the few that find out, hey, they're probably just as crazy as me and it's okay to let them in on any surprises. :)

I wonder if anyone has been in my shoes? Is there a way for me to attract an audience without exposing myself to wedding guests?

Disclaimer: I did leak this new blog site to a few close friends in the beginning, and because of that, there are some entries that I'm still afraid to write about. I'm guessing no one follows anymore though because after the 4-month hiatus, I didn't make any announcements about coming back.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Evolution of our DIY pocketfold

Warning: Details overload! Don't bother reading the last 6 paragraphs unless you really care about the history of how our DIY pocketfold came to be.

You may have recalled from a previous post that there were several elements I really wanted in our wedding invitations: 1) vellum overlay on cardstock, 2) boarding pass, 3) magnet recipe, 4) personal touch!
The reason I'm dedicating a whole post to our DIY pocketfold is because it has become the backbone of our invitation suite. Here it is:

I will dedicate another post on DIY steps on making the pocketfold above. But for those who might be interested, below are the nitty gritty details of how this pocketfold came to be!

Choosing a size:
I used Mrs. Cupcake's 3rd and 4th tips on DIY invitations as the basis ("when designing, START WITH YOUR ENVELOPES!!!!!" and "Work backwards with dimensions."). Since I really wanted boarding passes (which should be about 8" tall to look good), my invitations were going to be pretty big. A search on envelope sizes at led to A9 (5.75"x8.75")as the outer envelope. From there it was easy to work backwards. The pocketfold would have to be 5.5"x8.5", which luckily is a standard 8.5"x11" folded in half.

Choosing material:
Pocketfolds don't come in that size, nor do pocketfolds have special pockets for boarding passes. I designed my own template starting with a 11"x17" sheet. I originally wanted to make the main pocketfold using the lavender metallic cardstock from, but the paper didn't do so well on the multiple folds (too voluminous and slight tearing on the outer folds). Disappointed at first, I soon realized also carries their #29 vellum in the 11"x17" size (score!!). So I decided to use that instead. But because it's too flimsy on its own, I had the idea of still incorporating the lavender metallic cardstock but on the inside instead. I figured any tears resulting from the single fold down the middle would be hidden by the outer vellum.

Vellum overlay:
With the translucency that comes with vellum and the lavender cardstock underneath, I knew I was one step closer to my vision of "copying" the overlay flower on pink cardstock invitation. On our preliminary wedding website, my fiance had put the words "It started with a promise" on the bottom of the page with an eiffel tower picture. I guess he was referring to the "promise" engagement ring he gave me when proposing in the Eiffel park of Paris. The webpage totally inspired me to write that poem about our engagement. Put 2 and 2 together, and I knew I wanted some sort of overlay -- either poem on Eiffel, Eiffel on poem, or Eiffel and poem on blank cardstock. Unfortunately, the cardstock I wanted was too thick to print on, so I started researching different ways to achieve my goal. I even visited a demonstrator from to get some ideas. The wonderful lady introduced me to the world of heat embossing! I ordered a huge eiffel tower from (to fill the 5.5"x8.5" as much as possible) and decided to print the poem on the vellum overlay. Originally, I was just trying to test out which shade of purple looked nicest by printing a different shade on each line of the poem. My mom really liked the look of the rainbow colors, so with some tweaking, I used that inspiration as the basis for the final product -- a vertical gradient from light purple to blue for the poem text.

Eiffel tower:
I bought a ton of embossing powders for the eiffel tower. White was too white and some silvers were too dark. I finally decided on a mix of sparkly whites and silvers, which is actually what the eiffel tower really did look like during the white light show that took place right before the proposal. Usually at nights it basks in a soft yellow light, but apparently around 1am every night (or at least when we were there), it has a beautiful sparkly white light show that lasts a few minutes. One of the questions I had during this process was, should we glue the vellum and cardstock together? The obvious answer was NO! We want guests to know the poem overlay and the eiffel tower are separate. We WANT them to lift the vellum and enjoy the beauty of the eiffel on its own, maybe even touch that raised embossing!

Boarding pass slot:
I knew from the get go that I wanted a slit/slot somewhere in the invitation suite. My original idea was to have it on the inside of the invitation, with the boarding pass in the very back. But after showing some friends the draft, they said the boarding pass should bask in its own solo glory. Otherwise people won't even notice the hard work I put into making the slot! And so I moved it to the back of the pocketfold, so that it's the first thing guests see when opening it. As for making the slot itself, I need to thank a wonderful lady at Cranberry Hills for suggesting that I punch 2 holes and use an X-acto knife to cut parallel lines. I bought a long reach 1/8" hold punch which was perfect for my use.

ViviYian heart logo:
Early on while brainstorming wedding logos, I doodled a bunch of designs on an 8.5"x11" blank paper. My fiance and I settled on the scribble heart with a V and Y (our initials) drawn at the top and bottom. Since the initials weren't in-your-face obvious (my brother thought it was just part of the heart design), and since we had blank space on the back of the invitation, I decided to write "vivi" and "yian" on either side to reinforce the initials and remind guests of our website name. And then a flash of brilliance came across me -- this horizontal logo could fit into the invitation edge that peeks out of the envelope, so that it's the first thing guests see when they open it! (unless they use an envelope cutter boohoo).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

4 NO-NO's to reach 242

If I had to choose a wedding venue all over again, I'd still pick the same one. It is the only venue out of 22 where my eyes actually teared up during the first visit. Because the mansion itself IS the reception area (as opposed to standard hotel ballroom partitions which can be expanded/shrunk), we have a numbers problem. The max we can accommodate is 242 people, and that's squeezing 10 people per 5' table (small!) with only a couple feet between each table. It also means having 3 tables with less than perfect views. In other words, it's a COZY 242. An ideal number would be closer to 200.

In trying to reach 242, we have performed several big wedding etiquete NO-NO's:

1) We polled guests early on over email to get an idea of who was definitely not coming. The way we phrased it was hey, please let us know your mailing address. But if you already know you can't come, please let us know as our venue has a strict capacity limit. I thought we were doing them a favor by giving them an out if they're for sure not coming. That way, we don't send them an invite and they don't have to feel obligated to give us a gift. Several people who weren't coming still asked for our addresses to send us a gift, but we replied politely saying thanks for the well wishes but a gift isn't necessary. In retrospect, I wonder how many of our guests felt we were rude for our preliminary RSVPs?

2) Our second no-no was polling parents with kids to see who wouldn't mind having their kids babysat in a separate room at the wedding reception (if it came down to that). While we could have made the wedding adult-only, we felt it was rude to turn away kids especially for friends traveling from afar. The answer depended on several components. Some kids are young enough to sit in parents' laps. Others are old enough to require high chair, yet too young to be left with a babysitter. Regardless of age, parents have varying degrees of attachment and trust for babysitters.

3) Early RSVP dates didn't seem to be a no-no at first, not until my parents said so anyway. They're forcing us to give their guests a later RSVP date just to be polite. Because of our tier system, lack of a save-the-date,  and the fact that each invitation is handmade with lots of time, we have decided to invite guests in waves starting with guests who live far away. The first wave had an RSVP date of 3 months before the actual wedding date. I figured for those who have to buy international or cross-country plane tickets, they should know within that timeframe whether they can make it right? But is it rude? I'm not sure if I'll ever know what our guests really thought of this.

4) The biggest no-no is giving varying answers to guests with +1. Our general lines of thinking were: we don't want guests to be alone and not know anyone at the wedding, and we want guests with husbands, fiances, and serious boyfriends/girlfriends to be able to bring their SOs. But we've broken that rule a few times along the way (mostly to decrease our count except for one case), and I've had several awkward and hard conversations with friends. I have a group of 4 childhood friends in LA. I'm not close to any of their husbands/fiances/boyfriends, all 4 are local to the wedding venue (and don't have the trouble of traveling by plane), they're all good friends with each other, and I didn't want to play favorites by inviting one of their SOs and not the rest. Because they come as a package of 4, it actually could make a difference in meeting our max. I let them know early about the space issue and that I may not be able to invite their SOs. I told them I'd send them invitations last in case we have space. I've also had awkward conversation with someone who wanted to bring a date just because their ex was bringing an SO, and another friend who wanted to bring a sibling. It was really tough to explain that I would rather have one of *my* friends attend than a stranger or acquaintance who's not even an SO. Maybe I'm not sympathetic enough to know why certain people feel the need for a support system at our wedding, but sometimes I wish they'd put themselves in my shoes and trust that I *would* let them bring a date if we have space, but just please don't force a space from me now. On the other hand, I have one friend who I couldn't make a bridesmaid due to some girl politics (she had a falling out with another bridesmaid, and I wasn't made aware of how much she really wanted to be a BM until too late). I felt bad about the whole bridesmaid thing, I know she can't really drive long distances by herself, and she doesn't have any close friends attending my wedding. So, I've decided to let her bring a +1 even though she doesn't have a boyfriend. I know it sounds like a double standard, but it's sort of like college admissions--we have general guidelines but each person needs to be considered on a case by case basis, with the overall goal that we can't accept more than 242! Or maybe it's more like college financial aid. :)

So for the past 6 months or so, and especially now that invitations are starting to roll in, I've been tweaking my excel sheet numbers to see how close we are to the maximum, at the same time trying to predict who will actually RSVP yes and no from the remainder. My hope is that we'll be able to invite my childhood friends' SOs, accommodate all kids in the same room, allow friends who want to bring that +1 that is not an SO, and maybe even fit in a few of our tier two guests (highly doubt it though). While I know we absolutely need at least 10-20 NOs, I know I'll still be really sad if/when people respond "regretfully declines".

I wonder from a guest's point of view, how serious these no-no's are?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Invitation preview - eiffel

As mentioned before, Yian proposed to me in the Eiffel park of Paris so we tried to work that into our invitation with a poem about his proposal. Imagine the following poem in a top to bottom gradient of purple to blue text centered on a semi-transparent vellum overlay:

It all started with a promise
In the Eiffel park of Paris
On bicycles, the two of us
A man on bench, a pair of ducks
Tower lit up for all to see
Then Yian Chuin got down on one knee
Took out a heart ring, words galore
"Love more, learn more, and travel more"
That's what it means, the hole in heart
Strengthens our bond, never apart
Please join us, the tenth of July
Witness our vows under the sky

Right below the poem a little to the right is a picture of this Tiffany heart ring which my fiance proposed with:

The vellum above is overlayed on top of the following lavender cardstock that has an embossed Eiffel tower:

I had ordered a custom eiffel tower rubber stamp from (they are awesome!). I used my Bidex Rotary Trimmer to score the 8.5"x11" lavender cardstock and fold it in half. I then used versamark slow-drying ink and stamped on the center of the right half. Then I poured the embossing powder (which was a mix of whites and silver) all over the image and tapped the excess back into the tray. Final step is to go over the entire image with the embossing heat tool to melt the powder and make it rise. The ink actually takes a long time to dry, so to speed things up I stamped 10 cardstocks at a time and then heat embossed them back to back.

In a future post (as I am visiting Yian in LA this weekend), I'll share with you the vellum pocketfold in conjunction with this cardstock!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Invitation preview - Sticker labels

Here's a sneak peak at our personalized wedding invitations...well more like, just a sneak preview of the sticker that goes on the outside. :) First impressions count!

I stamped scrap vellum paper with either our "Handmade" or "Handmade because you're worth it!" stamps using versa mark slow-drying ink. Then I poured embossing powder, heat embossed, ran them through a Xyron 2.5" sticker machine, cut them out, and voila! Maybe not as fancy as our alternative faux wax seals, but hey, this simple sticker tells guests that our invitations are handmade! And, another hidden benefit is it saves me 20 cents per invitation at the post office because these stickers are flat (as opposed to faux wax seals).

In another post, I'll show you the faux wax seals that I made with thick embossing powder. Those were a pain to make. Each required 3 layers of embossing powder and then I had to deal with issues like a) the hot goo sticking to the stamper, b) the seals curling when cooled, c) the seals cracking when bent, the d) the sticker adhesive not binding as strongly. Mostly because of the time constraint, only the first 30 or so invitations got those seals. The rest have so far been getting these babies instead. So simple yet...still nice in my opinion!

My 2 favorite colors so far have been the black and the shimmery blue/purple/silver in the top right corner. I think the remaining invitations will get one of these 2 colors!

If you could stamp any saying or logo on the outside, what would it be?

Flowers for the dresses

I'm back now after a 4-month hiatus. :) I doubt anybody still follows my blog but it's all good. Sadly, Miss Taco has a new identity but I'm sure she has a great story to tell and I wish her all the best!

I'm happy to report that the bridesmaids' dresses as well as my dress are here! I've decided not to post my actual wedding dress since I want it to be a surprise for my fiance and any guests that may stumble onto my blog. The bridesmaid's dress is the real deal, though I've kept her anonymous. I've been thinking about flowers to go with the dresses. I'm actually quite fond of magenta/fuschia, but somehow, those colors seemed to clash with the bridesmaids dress colors. I guess I should have thought about that earlier when picking out our wedding colors! In any case, I emailed my bridesmaids about a dozen or so pictures (all like the following but with different color combinations and my actual dress), and all of them really like the following flowers:

So there you have it! We're going to have all white flowers for the bridesmaids, and a white/blush peony bouquet for myself. One of my bridesmaids thought the all white looked too 'plain', so I think we might spice it up by have a few different types of white flowers for variety and texture. But for me, I looove peonies (something I did not know before wedding planning started!) so mine will be all peony. There's something about the closed and half open ones that is just so soft, fluffy, and romantic. My mom, who was initially against white flowers because they symbolize death in Chinese culture, is now on board as well. I think she realized after seeing my combinations with other more colorful flowers that they just didn't go as well with my choice of color for bridesmaids dresses. And plus, it's not ALL white. Mine has pink in it, and the bridesmaids--well--their dresses are plenty colorful enough!