Archive for January, 2010

Indie dress love

It’s going on my inspiration board. Check out these Seattle-based indie designs by Wai-Ching. (Why are so many awesome things from Seattle?) This designer is super cool, especially with her use of thread and organic details.  Specfically, I love this kimono dress:

Awesome, right? Super comfy looking. Total honeymoon gear.

And while the dresses are slightly out there for a wedding dress (but very pretty) here are my top two favs that could work:


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That’s a good question.

I went to Vera Wang’s wedding site for dress ideas, and was greeted not only by dresses but also by housewares! Dishes! Sheets! Vera’s got the entire market cornered on weddings, and conveniently, she makes it easy for you to register for everything on her site. (Can I register for a wedding dress?)

Before I blog about Vera Wang dresses, I did notice that I could take a couple’s quiz to find out exactly what kind of couple J and I are. Are we modern? romantic? Will this tell me something new about our relationship? (No, probably not).

But, of course, I want to know what kind of couple we are. So, I answer the slew of questions including….

6. Your idea of a romantic meal is?

a) A spread from the local gourmet shop
b) Candlelit dinner for 2
c) Chinese food in front of TV
d) A picnic in Central Park
e) Breakfast in bed

Easy. We’re the first one for sure, and it doesn’t even have to be local or gourmet. I can’t tell you how often we’ve gone to the grocery store on a Friday or Saturday night (hot date). Especially in Seattle, there was a 24 hour indie market called Metropolitian that we could walk to from our house (like Whole Foods but not WF). Nothing is better than wanting food at 1am, and a brisk walk and $20 later, there’s cheese, chocolate and wine.

Anyways, back to the couples quiz. There are other questions that are harder

9. If you were to compare your life together to a movie?

a) Two Weeks Notice
b) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
c) Must Love Dogs
d) You’ve Got Mail
e) Shakespeare in Love

Well, that’s sort of an unfair question. What a terrible lineup of choices! If you haven’t seen these movies, here’s the plot in one sentence

a) Dysfunctional relationship
b) Really dysfunctional relationship
c) Dysfunctional relationship
d) Dysfunctional relationship
e) Unfortunate circumstances

Plots that are good for romantic comedies, bad for classifying couples. (Side Note: How to lose a guy in 10 days? Really? On a wedding site?)

Anyways, the votes are tallied, and we’re announced! Bah-da!!

That means….what? Nothing?

There’s no little summary, no little congrats, explanation or anything. But what does it mean? Does it matter? Really, am I’m going to be love everything on the site regardless of what kind of couple we are?

She’s telling me that we’re perfect for Vera Wang. Now register.

Side note:

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Well, it didn’t take long for me to have my first official wedding-related meltdown.

No, it doesn’t have to do with bridal shows (we skipped the one last weekend in favor of ski-clothes shopping at REI) and it doesn’t have to do with family or favors, or even the fact that I, gasp, went into a wedding dress shop without my engagement ring on my finger. (It’s being reset, for those curious. But, J was concerned the wedding dress shop would be suspicious.)

Right now, the problem appears to be that there isn’t a single place in Chicago where we can have a beautiful wedding and be within our ideal (and small) budget.

This is just how I felt. Otherwise, this has nothing to do with this post.

Now, I know that the above statement probably isn’t true, but it sure feels like it. And, realistically, I’ve only been wedding venue hunting for maybe a few days. But that darn wedding machine keeps showing me gorgeous gardens, old mansions, and classy venues that I love, and then find out to rent for a few hours would cost twice as much as my car.

If you google “average price of a wedding,” the number that comes up is $20,398. Ideally, we’d like to half that. Unfortunately, my zip code averages between 40-60k per wedding! Good god.

To stay grounded, I’ve been checking out Offbeat Bride, a website dedicated to off-the-path weddings and DIY ideas and an online component to the book. Feeling stressed that everything felt expensive, out of reach and impossible to have the wedding I really wanted, I fled to the site for some reassurance.

But, yesterday the headline was about a couple that got married for $100. At sunrise. In a cave.

Only slightly later when I was making tofu soup in the kitchen and recounting all this to J that I suddenly burst into tears. For some reason it seemed so unfair that people get away with having weddings that are like that. Not that I really want to get married in a cave (we live in the flattest part of America) but maybe it was some sort of jealousy/resentfulness that they really knew what they wanted, and I, well, just don’t.

But J, being the good fiance that he is, mopped up my tears, ate my soup, and reassured me that even if I didn’t know exactly what I wanted now, we’d work together to figure it out. The venue and date is certainly the biggest and most daunting things, but there are lots of options for us and we just need a little more research. And eventually, we’ll find a location that will be great for our wedding, our own perfect little cave.

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other people’s weddings

In wedding planning, inevitably someone sends you links to other people’s weddings. Sometimes they are very nice (you should really think about having flowers like this couple!) and other times they are cautionary tales (there is no way you want to have hot pink two piece ball gowns at your wedding.)

Someone recently introduced me to wedinator.com which has all sorts of wedding fail. It is highly amusing what some people have at their wedding.

But I won’t be looking at it at work. Reason? This site is Tasteless.

Let’s hope we’re on track for a nice, tasteful wedding. I will be as soon as I really start in on locations. That’s the next step.

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I’m thinking about attending a few bridal shows.  Live in chicago and/or want to come and join me? (more…)

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Can someone explain to me this trend in wedding dresses?

Now, I know that dresses tend to look alike. For example, many brides in the 80s had big sleeves: big puffy marshmallows were the thing. When I hit prom  in high school, two piece dresses were the big rage. (I’ll find pictures). These days, strapless is the norm with 88% of all dresses lacking shoulder fabric.

This is all fine and dandy, except now for the growing popularity in see through dresses.

Ok, the last one is Betsey Johnson, who gets a pass because a) she’s awesome and b) I don’t think she meant this to be a wedding dress. (It strikes me as more a “running errands” sort of dress). But, the others are real wedding dresses! The one thing that I will say about these models is that they look pissed off. Maybe its supposed to be some sort of statement, like “check me out, ex-boyfriend!” Maybe it’s the look of “this dress is horrible” sort of pissed off. (Do they ask before modeling, “does this make my rib cage look fat?”)

I first saw this trend on this show I am slightly ashamed to admit I have watched (Say Yes to the Dress) where this woman had the corset/see-thru combo. It was something. Now, I am all for whatever the bride wants to wear, in my opinion, it’s best to leave the lace and transparent fabrics to Victoria Secret.

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I’m procrastinating planning this wedding.

And what better way to procrastinate than to throw a big party!

I have a good excuse though; it’s called Japanese New Year. Now, the Japanese celebrate the new year on the 1st just like we do. Ever since I can remember, my mother would prepare the house for the 1st. She’d spend at least three days cleaning and cooking strange dishes that we only ate once a year. Then, we’d invite friends and families to come over and celebrate with us.

After I graduated college, I found myself in Boston for New Years, and I decided to throw our new years party myself for my friends. That was 2005 and since then, the tradition has been carried on. J’s been my trusty sous-chef ever since.

Now, we may not have the exact same dishes or cook things exactly like my mom did (and the past two years, we’ve waited until MLK weekend for many of our European friends to return from holiday). But, I think we stay true to the spirit of celebration of the new year. (And I have profound appreciation now for all my mother did by herself all those years.)

Thanks to Keri for these lovely images below!

Some of our dishes are traditional for new years like burdock root and carrot (金平牛蒡, kinpira gobo) or fish cake (蒲鉾, kamaboko). Others are fun to make and eat as a group, such as enlisting the guests to roll maki rolls.

Everyone comes and helps out, and it’s a great time. This year, we had probably somewhere around 30 people attend, which is about the capacity of our little cozy apartment. J and I shopped and cooked (up until 3am on Friday, up again by 10 on Saturday) but everything turned out really well. (Especially this delicious variation of a Castella (カステラ, Kasutera)

At some point though, right when people were arriving and things were not completely finished, I had a moment when I felt slightly on the verge of a meltdown.

“I have no idea, babe, how we’re going to do this with three times as many people for our wedding,” I lamented.

He laughed. “Darling. We won’t be cooking at our wedding!”

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