Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Makeup trial

So, how did the real purpose of the trip to Verona go?

I'm not too sure. Here is the before picture:

My main concern is that I want to cover up the spots and speckles and zits, especially on my chin. I also want strong eyeliner, no/little eyeshadow (I think eyeshadow on Asian women just makes us look sleepy), and no/little blush (I hate pink with my skin tone).
Here is an after picture:

Looks pretty nice here, right? I like what she's done with my eyelashes--she glopped on more mascara than I had ever thought possible. She definitely evened out my skin tone, but did so by putting on an awful lot of foundation; I felt very made-up.

Here's another after picture, in harsher light:

I look like death warmed over with a mask on, especially in the area between my eyes and nose. And it looked even worse after several hours, when the foundation layer had absorbed, and the powder was coated on top. I really didn't like it.

What did my sweetie think? He said, ".....it looks nice. But not like you. You look really...Asian."

I have no idea what that means, but it didn't sound happy, to me. He is on record as not liking makeup very much (after all, he dates me, and I never wear the stuff), so he didn't really know what to say, and kept telling me that it didn't matter--I should do what I wanted. But, while I want to look bridal beautiful (read: perfect), I also want to look like the prettiest me he's ever seen--and obviously this was not it.

As for Laura, she was very unhappy--she felt the makeup made her look old, and I had to agree it wasn't the most flattering look on her (no pics for privacy reasons :-).

So, while I think the makeup loooked reasonably nice at first, and while I also think its ultimate failure was probably my fault, because I asked for even skin tone, nonetheless, I think I need to go back to the drawing board. I am thinking, since I hate heavy makeup, that I might try doing my own. This will be something of a challenge, since I never wear makeup in real life....but I have nine months to learn, right?

C is for cookie

Friday my friend Laura and I ventured out into the wilds of Verona, New Jersey, for a makeup trial. We were a bit early, so stopped in a bakery for a snack. There, we saw these:

I can do without Elmo or Big Bird, but the Cookie Monster--complete with chocolate-chip cookie shoved in his mouth--I love it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hair ornaments

Once upon a time, I had very very long hair, and I used to buy fancy hair ornaments for it all the time. I rarely wore them--very very long hair is quite heavy and doesn't put up with a lot of nonsense. Then I cut it, wore it short for a while, and now that it is (not quite as) long again, I do not have the same navel-gazing life I used to have. That is: I can barely make sure my hair is brushed, much less decorated, before I leave the house each morning.

But, here comes the wedding, which is an opportunity to do all kinds of girly things I don't do in everyday life: wear a floor-length, designer dress. Wear big flashy jewelry. Wear expensive, bright red shoes. Get my makeup done. And: get my hair done and ornament it.

So, I have become mildly obsessed with vintage hair combs. Here are some currently on eBay.

From thefunkyjunkco:

From rdshow:

From Simitra:

(Something blue, perhaps?)

There are people who collect these (I have been outbid on several because I can't bring myself to spend significant amounts of money on a comb), and I can see why. I find them beautiful and fascinating.

These are big, Spanish-style combs, that would stick out dramatically. If I were wearing a large bun/chignon, they'd be way cool, and would beg for a fancy veil.

Alas, I am focused on the not-quite-Conehead, and there's just nowhere for one to go on that sleek, cylindrical shape.

Aren't they gorgeous, though?

Monday, May 21, 2007

More veil thoughts

Here's an interesting item I found on eBay:

It's a 50's ad, featuring a pretty, simple veil and simple instructions on how to make it at the bottom. I like this; it's definitely something I'll keep in mind, though I fear it will not go with the haristyle I am currently fixated on.

No, not the Conehead, but this:

The first time I saw this picture, I thought, "Ew, that's a little wild." The second time I saw it, I thought, "Hm, it's interesting." By the third time (and, you understand, viewing something multiple times does not happen by accident), I was thinking, "Hmm, it's everything I like about the Conehead, without the Coneheadiness." It looks like it requires a lot of hair, though.

And, of course, it absolutely will not go with that veil :-).

Friday, May 18, 2007


What can I say? I'm obsessed. But I really like this one:

(More name changing....it's hard to make up names!)

I would ask my dad to write a double happiness for me, since this one is another stolen jpeg. And this is yet another 2-color design, but I didn't like it as much all red or all black. This is nice combo. Letterpressed on a white textured paper with a red pocketfold: gorgeous.

I suspect I am going to be spending a lot more on invites than I really wanted to....

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I detect a theme.....

A few more attempts at designing my own invitations:

(Names changed to protect the guilty)

This one is a "tea length" invitation featuring a Chinese papercut. Alas, the Chinese do not have a tradition of elaborately beautiful papers like the Japanese, but they do have a tradition of very intricate papercut designs. This one features the double happiness symbol as well as a dragon and a phoenix--traditionally representative of the Emperor and Empress, respectively, and used often for weddings.

Both of these designs are 2-color, which adds a layer of cost. Sigh. I have expensive taste, what can I say?

I've really been enjoying playing around with these invitation designs. It has inspired an urge to quit my job, get a graphic design degree, and set up an invitation design business out of my home.

In the course of the wedding planning, I have felt similar urges to:

Quit my job and start up a floral design business.

Quit my job and start up a wedding cookie favor business.

Quit my job and become a wedding hairstylist.

Quit my job and become a wedding photographer (OK, this one would be in a totally different reality).

Quit my job and start up a wedding dress sewing business (again, this would be in a dimension where I am someone with a much greater attention span and a much bigger apartment).

I sense a theme running through these....

On the other hand, I have no desire to become a DJ. I do not expect to have any urge to become a wedding officiant. And I have zero, I repeat zero, desire to be a wedding planner/consultant because you know what? Being a middleman sucks.

Friday, May 11, 2007

In which I lack equipment and knowledge

So, here is a first attempt at designing an invitation, which I did very quickly in Word:

(Names obscured because this is the Internet :-)

It's very plain, and I think my sweetie would like it (I haven't shown him yet). It may be a bit too plain for me, but I think I could come around, especially if I decided to splurge and do letterpress. You see, this place will take your design and letterpress it for a very reasonable price. I could be happy with a plain invitation if I could have letterpress.

The problem with designing my own, of course, is that I lack the tools (and also the design training, but if I keep it simple we won't worry too much about that). For example, I would need to provide the file as a pdf (at the very least: they'd love a Quark file), and I have no means of making a pdf. The little double happiness in the middle is a jpeg I swiped from somewhere; by no means is it a printer-ready piece of art. Somehow I would need to get my hands on a hi-res piece of art, preferably one that's "vectored" (like that term? I learned it yesterday) so that I can size it at will and still keep the quality of the image.

On top of it, it has occurred to me that it might be nice to ask my dad to write a double happiness for me--he's known in his family for his beautifl Chinese calligraphy, and it would be a nice, personal touch. Then I would need a scanner to get the art into my computer, and who knows how you scan something as a vectored piece of art?

All of this is going to cost money; I certainly am not going to invest in a scanner or a piece of software that costs hundreds--that would sort of defeat the purpose of designing my own.

On the other hand, I'm saving a lot of money in yarn these days--what else am I going to spend my craft money on? :-)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Veils of time

Several years ago, long before I met my sweetie, possibly even before I started dating seriously--so, let's say 1999 or 2000--I was standing in front of Saks Fifth Avenue, waiting for a bus to take me home. For those of you who don't know it, Saks Fifth Avenue on Fifth Avenue is a gorgeous, elegant store. The kind of store Carolyn Bessette Kennedy goes into to buy a $4,000 off-the-rack little black dress before flying up to Martha's Vineyard in her husband's small plane. The kind of store with a lunch room for the real Ladies Who Lunch. The kind of store where li'l ol' me goes in to browse, but never to buy. Once I was given a $50 gift certificate to Saks, and it took me two trips and six hours before I found something I could buy--and yes, I looked at the hair accessories.

Saks has gorgeous windows. They are always chock full of beautiful designer clothes, often gowns of the crispest silk faille or the most glorious structured wool suits. I walk by and drool. And, in January, they have wedding clothes.

So, in January of 1999 or 2000, long before I met my sweetie or even started dating seriously, I was standing in front of a Saks window which featured a dress, a tuxedo, doubtless some frippery accessories--and a veil.

The veil was glorious. I don't remember who the designer was, but it was a long, cathedral-length veil, draped mantilla-style over the mannequin's head--not poufy at all, just smooth and elegant as it fell down over her outstretched arm--and edged in at least nine inches of heavy, luxurious alencon lace, all the way around.

I'd never seen a veil like it. It was breathtaking, and the lace was substantial; it looked almost quilted, corded and beaded with pearls, and the extravagant width of it screamed expensive in the best way. It clearly had weight--the veil's drape was entirely due to its lace edge. I fell completely in love with.

Fast forward seven or eight years, and I am looking at veils. Way back when I saw my Dream Veil, I thought it would be an indulgence, but one that wouldn't be too terrible. Now, I laugh: I don't remember who the designer was, but I wouldn't be shocked to hear that that veil cost $8,000 or more. Veils are crazy expensive, especially when you consider that they are pretty simple things: a circle of netting and some lace edging, maybe with a comb sewn on. Sometimes they don't even have the lace edging, and they still run into the hundreds of dollars. I honestly don't get it. There are a lot of things associated with weddings whose expense I don't get, but veils are #1. Designer wedding gowns are ridiculously expensive, but at least they involve some work to create; veils are, well, veils. There's not a lot of there there, and on top of it, you wear the veil for maybe an hour, while you wear the dress all night.

So, needless to say, I won't be investing in my Dream Veil, even if I could find it lo these many years later. But, sadly, the cheaper veils don't do it for me. I am seduced by that nine inch border, something that is so far out of my price range I couldn't even make it myself for the money I am willing to spend. I could easily have a two-inch or even a three-inch border, but....well. It's not the same.

Ha: I guess there is something I am very particular about :-).

So, I am leaning towards skipping the veil entirely. I have been thinking about it, and I realized that I envision myself walking down the aisle without one. I don't want one obscuring my face. Or my hair. Or the dress I love. Or my view of my sweetie.

But that veil in the window of Saks: I'm telling you, it was glorious.

Monday, May 07, 2007

We had to laugh

I've been looking long and hard for an invitation which is Chinese, but not tacky. Chinese themed invitations generally seem to feature a lot of metallic gold and glitter and foil stamping; they are also often on cheap card stock, such as you'd expect a birthday card to be printed on. I am a paper snob, and I want luxurious, thick card stock. If I could justify the cost of letterpress, I would go for it. I love the textural quality of good paper, and I'm not into the flashy glitter.

Finally, I stumbled on this invitation from White Aisle.

That symbol in the lower right corner is the Chinese "double happiness" character. Each half is the Chinese character for "happiness" and two happinesses together is a traditional good wish for a wedding. I would very much like to incorporate this into my wedding. I like the dragon, too: it's graphic and interesting, Chinese without being flashy. I think this invitation is unusual and interesting, and it's reasonably priced, so I ordered a sample.

What do you know? My sweetie hates it. The dragon is too "in your face". He wants something classic, simple and (to my mind) dull. As we discussed it, we started to giggle. Once again, our opinions are directly opposed.

What could we do? We had to laugh. And it's back to the drawing board for me, perhaps literally: I am starting to think of designing my own.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The lazy bridezilla

I am finding that being a bridezilla requires stamina, stamina I don't have. It requires sticktoitiveness (I love that word) and organization and grim focus on What You Want. I have none of these things. I read blogs of brides who have interviewed fifteen photographers, a dozen florists, half a dozen DJs, and I get tired.

So far, we've interviewed three photographers, and though we have agreed we should probably meet more, the thought of doing so is daunting, and so the process is stalled while I procrastinate. I interviewed three florists, and have gone with the first one I met, mainly because she seemed like she'd be fairly agreeable to work with. Next week we start with DJs, and if we have to interview more than two or three, I can already see I will quickly want to give up.

People appear to visit dozens of venues before picking "the one". We visited three. The dress search seems to usually comprise a hunt involving months of legwork; I got mine in a single intense frenzy of two hours. I read about brides who have hard-negotiated prices from florists, photographers, venues, etc.; if I get a price that's too high, I go elsewhere.

Does this make me laid-back or lazy? I don't know. On the one hand, I do want the wedding to be everything I want, but on the other, my wants are fairly open and flexible. I want red flowers, but since I love almost all flowers, I don't especially care which flowers they are. I want the photography to be good, but I also don't want to spend piles of money on it. I want people to be dancing, but do we have to have exactly the right DJ or our wedding will be ruined? I love our venue, but I picked it as much for price as for any other reason. I booked the hairstylist on the spot after my trial because I couldn't imagine liking someone else so much more as to be worth the extra effort.

Is "good enough" really good enough, or am I cheating myself by not being very specific and demanding, by not exhausting every option to be sure I choose the best? I think it's a symptom of the bridezilla culture that I'm even wondering this. I mean, this is usually how I make decisions in my regular life, too: I check out a few options, then go with the one I like best and don't worry too much about all the ones I haven't seen. So far my somewhat-spontaneous and not-rigorously-researched decisions have generally worked out.

How else, I ask you, would I have found my sweetie? :-)