Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Working on my bokeh.

Artsy close up of our tree.

Christmas and babies threw up on our fridge.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Everything but the Cow:Pumpkin Cream Sauce

I love pumpkin. Seriously, like LOVE it. I eat anything with pumpkin in it. In fact, there's an open bag of Laurel Hill's pumpkin seed tortilla chips on desk staring me down. Anyways, awhile back, I stumbled across pumpkin cream sauce.  
(Williams-Sonoma)

Doesn't sound dairy-free friendly does it? Also, there's no way in hell I'm paying whatever the asking price was at the time for a jar of sauce. I can make it from scratch for a whole lot cheaper. I Googled around until I found a recipe I liked. Thank you Washington Post. It was a relatively short list of ingredients, no fuss directions, and best of all, I could tweak it to make it dairy-free.





Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce (adapted from The Washington Post)
Serves 4

Ingredients:
8 to 10 ounces gemelli pasta
1 medium shallot
3 medium cloves garlic
2 sprigs sage leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup soy milk
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (parmesan is a hard cheese and is considered to contain very low, next to none, levels of lactose, feel free to omit)

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions (6 to 7 minutes).
Meanwhile, mince the shallot and garlic; finely chop the sage.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic; cook for 3 minutes, stirring, until they have softened. Add the pumpkin puree, chicken broth, milk and half of the sage. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste; keep warm on the lowest setting.
Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, then add 2 tablespoons of the cheese and mix well. Divide among individual plates and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese and the remaining sage.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Everything but the Cow:Black Raspberry Chipotle Chicken


Garnished with sesame seeds and served with a side of white rice.
(Yes, I know brown rice is healthier, but I grew up on the white stuff.)

Sweet and spicy. YUM! I followed the Black Raspberry Chipotle Chicken recipe from Stonewall Kitchen with a few adjustments.
  • I didn't pound my chicken cutlets thin. I was being lazy and just left them as is.
  • I didn't use the Stonewall Kitchen spice rub. I used Kansas steak seasoning from Dino's Park n' Shop. Not sure what's in it, but I think it gave my chicken an extra zing.
  • Halved the amount of cilantro. I HATE the taste of cilantro, so I reduced it. I probably should have used the full cup the recipe called for to balance the heat.
  • Substituted rice vinegar for cider vinegar. I didn't realize I was out of cider vinegar and was far too lazy to go back to the store.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Free Cupcakes!

Who wants one? Of course you do. Who doesn't? Wait, not everyone. I actually know someone who doesn't like cake!

So how do you get one? Well, you have to put some work into it. Hop over to my baking blog, Delightful Cakery for details.

Basically, you need to enter through Facebook. If it happens that you don't have a Facebook account, let me know and I'll figure out another way to qualify you for the giveaway.

Good Luck!

Pumpkin cupcakes from Baby J's shower.
(Baby J will now be known as Baby M. J was her last initial, now we know her first name!)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Creative Lighting I

I took a second photography class from NESOP. It was called Creative Lighting I. This was the class description:
This ten-week course is an intensive and thorough foundation that will help you produce more effective and consistent results using natural, ambient, and found light sources. It provides a complete review of essential camera functions including meter, exposure, histogram, highlight alert, dynamic range, autofocus, drive/advance, and white balance as well as strategies for addressing a variety of different and challenging lighting and subject situations indoors and out. Quantity, contrast, color, and direction of light are discussed in detail. Additionally, the course will provide instruction for backlit subjects, using window light, and the use of a reflector for fill, accent, and background lighting, helping you to use existing light effectively in your photographs.
To be honest, I wanted to take Creative Lighting II so that I could learn how to use a flash. But according to the website, you had to take this course before tackling the flash course. I said to myself "It can hurt have a strong foundation in the basics." At least the second half of the syllabus sounded neat.

So I signed up. The syllabus said that we'd get to the cool stuff (backlighting, reflectors, etc) around week 8. That was a long time to wait. I decided to sit through a class or two before dropping. Things progressed well enough...albiet, slow to my liking. I learned new things, and relearned some old things. Then we went past the drop date and things started to SUCK.

It wasn't the material or the instructor that sucked, it was fellow classmates. Week over week, we would go back to the same basic concept. Week over week, the instructor had to explain it again and again. Ugh. It got so bad that I started crocheting in class. At least it gave me time to work on what seemed like a never ending project.

I was able to bring in a couple of photos for critique. This class was structured much differently than my first. There wasn't a set amount of time set aside after lecture to review photos. We were just to bring them in when we wanted. Sometimes, we came really close to spending almost all 3 hours of class talking about photos. This usually happened because 1 or 2 people would bring in a ton of photos rather than just picking out a handful that they had specific questions on.

Anyways, the feedback from my photos was fantastic. I was told that I'm a risk taker, but it works in my favor since it results in very interesting shots. I do need to work on exposing my photos correctly. One thing I'm struggling with is figuring out how to make my photos less flat. Here are the photos I shared:

All images are straight out of camera (SOOC) and have not been retouched.
Top: Looking down from the observation deck of the Willis Tower, Chicago. Photo is too flat in terms of contrast.
Middle: Chicago at night looking towards Lake Michigan. The photos is a bit dark.
Bottom: Baby D. I didn't compensate for being in the shadows, so all my photos had a blue-ish tint.

Image SOOC. Should have changed the metering mode. My camera took into consideration
the super bright (white) sky underexposing the actual focal point (image on the camera's LCD)

After 10 weeks, I'm so glad to have my Tuesday nights back. I'm glad that I was able to finish the baby blanket I started. I'm glad that a learned some new things about photography. But I won't be signing up for the next class in the series. It's going to be the same cast of characters, thanks, but no thanks. I think I'll just stay home and read the manual for my flash.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Everything but the Cow:Black Bean Cakes

Black Bean Burgers. Say it with me, YUUUUUUUUUM. If you've never had one, you are missing out. I was first introduced to them in college. A friend and I decided to throw a dinner a party. Actually, she probably decided to throw it and I just went along for the ride. Anyways, she made these AMAZING black bean cakes. Of course, what made them good was the slightly spicy monterey-jack cheese.

Of course, now a days, cheese isn't my friend. So I scoured the interwebs looking for something that caught my eye. I decided to try Annie's Eats version of black bean burgers.

Black bean burger - black bean patty, baby spinach, and guacamole,
on a sandwich thin (it's either whole wheat or multi-grain).

Black bean patty topped with spicy mayo and guacamole on a bed of baby spinach.
Served with chicken-mango-jalapeno sausage and roasted baby carrots.

Black Bean Burgers (adapted from Annie's Eats)
Yields approximately 6 patties

Ingredients:
¾ cup panko (plus extra for coating patties)
3 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
2 large eggs
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. salt (I omitted this since I was using seasoned black beans)
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 shallot, minced
Directions:
  • Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Combine the panko with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and mix with a fork to blend.  Add the mixture to the skillet and toast the panko, stirring frequently, until light golden brown.  Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • Place 2½ cups of the beans in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or a fork until mostly smooth. (I cheated and used a hand blender).  
  • In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, 1 tablespoon of the oil, cumin, salt and cayenne.  Whisk to blend.  Add the egg mixture, toasted panko, the remaining ½ cup beans, bell pepper, cilantro and shallot to the bowl with the mashed beans.  Stir together until evenly combined.
  • Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, about ½ cup each.  Lightly pack into 1-inch thick patties. I recommend chilling patties for a bit so allow them firm up a bit before handling.  (At this point the patties can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before cooking.)
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Coat patty in panko crumbs on all sides. Carefully lay half of the patties in the skillet and cook until well browned on both sides, about 8-10 minutes total.  Transfer the cooked burgers to a plate, tent with foil, and repeat with the remaining oil and bean patties.  Serve warm.
Since the recipe made 6 patties, I placed them on wax paper and froze them in tupperware. Makes for a quick dinner when your fridge is empty.

Next time around, I'll add the salt, up the pepper, add some corn kernals, jalapenos, and season the panko.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Red Dress: the end

Hey y'all. So sorry for the radio silence the past month. I know I'd be irked if I were you. So I'll try my best to get back on the horse and blog regularly. I've finished all my crochet projects (2 baby blankets, 2 pairs of baby booties, and a scarf) and don't plan on going anywhere or throwing any more parties (we had a very successful murder mystery party, to be blogged later), so you should have my undivided attention. Now where were we? Oh yea, I'm about to tell you about my red dress...errr, what was to be my red dress.

Pull up a chair, grab a bowl of popcorn, and maybe a tissue or two. Get ready for the finale to my red dress saga.

Disclaimer: My memory is really fuzzy about the whole situation now (or maybe my brain is choosing to supress memories), so the timelines may not line up.

Last time I saw my dress was on June 24, 2011. I was over the moon giddy about it. It was gorgeous and looked exactly like how I had pictured it in my head (and also how Charles had drawn it).

(personal photo)

Dress as I saw it last. (personal photo)

My last fitting was to take place around July 1, a week after the previous fitting. However, due to illness, Barbara had to reschedule. Sure, no problem, we still had over a month to finish it. Well, pretty soon it was August. Then it was 2 weeks until W-day. I was pretty calm about my dress up until this point. Barbara would set up pick up dates/times and then would cancel them an hour before the appointed time. I had internal conversations with myself for awhile before finally voicing my concerns to Jake. We could keep rescheduling, but eventually I needed the dress. And if she's too sick to finish it, I needed time to take it to another seamstress.

Jake encouraged me to call Barbara up and talk to her (I hate talking on the phone, I do so much better via email). I don't remember if I actually talked to her, if I just left a message, or if we played phone tag. I probably left a message...or two. After not hearing back, I started to panick. I emailed her two students to see if they had heard from her or if they could just get in touch with her for me.

Neither one of the students had heard from her. I want to say a day or two later,  Barbara informed us that she had been in and out of the hospital. She also let me know that my dress just needed to be hemmed. With one week before the wedding, I asked if I could just pick up my dress as is and take it to someone else to finish the hem. I didn't receive a response.

J, one of her students, took pity on me and tried to contact Barbara. J literally stalked Barbara for me the week of my wedding. I was busy doing wedding things and couldn't go to her apartment to pick up the dress myself. I think we had a pick up time scheduled on Thursday. J went for me. She called Barbara's phone and rung the doorbell over and over, but got no answer.

At this point there really was no hope. Both J and I were ready to give up. At least I had my wedding gown to wear right?

On the Friday before the wedding, as you can imagine, is jam packed with last minute things. I was so frazzled that I had to kick my family out of my house for a bit. I hated having to do it. I wanted more than anything to spend time with them, but I had shit to deal with.

J took the day off (I don't even have words to thank her enough for taking a day off from work for me) and sat outside Barbara's apartment. The plan was that she would take the dress and finish the hem herself. After staking out for hours, J took a break. On a whim, she went back one last time and caugh Barbara coming out of her apartment. She looked awful AND refused to hand over the dress saying that it wasn't finished.

It didn't matter that all of our guests had been told not to wear red. It didn't matter that the schedule of events all surrounded this dress. The red dress wasn't going to happen. I remember waiting for my manicure to dry when I got the phone call from J. I could tell that she was clearly shaken up. Me, being me, I tried to be strong and just brush it off. I fought back the cracking voice and tears. In my most courageous and calmest voice, I assured J that she had done all that could be done. In fact, she had gone far and beyond anything I could have every asked for. I told her (and myself) that there was nothing to do but let it go. Once I was in my car, I lost it for about 30 seconds. I wiped the tears away and told myself that I didn't have the time to deal with this shit. I still had labels to finish. I still had to decided if I was going to put the baby photos on display. I still had a rehearsal to make it to.

I drove home pretty angry that Barbara was screwing up something so simple. I just didn't understand why it was happening. My heart pounded out of my chest and my hands shook like crazy as I worked on the labels for the dessert station. I kept yelling out "What did I do to deserve this?" At some point, I ran into my bathroom in tears. Even though there was no one home, I'm a wierdo. I let myself cry for a few minutes. I just needed it out of my system.

After that, I went straight to my computer. I needed to know, so I emailed Barbara and asked her bluntly "Why are you doing this to me? What did I do to deserve being screwed over on my wedding day?" I even asked her if money was the issue. I think the exact words I used were "Is it the money, because I'll give you the damned money." She wrote back saying that I could pick up the dress 7pm. As you can imagine, I would be hosting our rehearsal dinner at that time. With one last glimmer of hope, I sent J back to Barbara's apartment. I emailed Barbara from rehearsal dinner with a note saying that I was giving J full authority to pick up my dress for me, just in case she had an issue with the arrangement.

J was there at 7. She ended up outside Barbaras apartment ringing the doorbell every 15 minutes and calling her phone for over an hour. Again, no answer. This time it was really time to give up. So in the middle of rehearsal dinner, I finally let the last flecks of hope go.

My wedding day happened without my Chinese dress. Everyone still had a blast.

A week after my wedding, I received an email from Barbara saying she had just been released from the hospital and that she would make it up to me as well as refund my money. She apologized for how she handled the situation and blamed it soley on the fact that she didn't know how to handle being told that she had colon cancer. I don't mean to sound like a heartless person. I am truly sorry that she has been diagnosed with cancer. But as a business, she should have handled the situation much differently. As a business she should have recognized that she wouldn't be able to deliver the product and called in help or something. As a business, there is just no excuse.

I was given a full refund, minus $0.50 because she wrote the wrong amount on the check. I just let it go. I probably could have asked for monetary compensation for all the time, gas, wear and tear on my car, and etc. for all the times I drove out to her attic studio. Like the time she left the skirt of my dress in the trunk of her daughters car that got towed, but she didn't bother to cancel the appointment that time (talk about a waste of my time). I just wanted to be done with this horrible person.

So that's the saga. Not exactly a story that you look back on and think is funny. It happened to me. That's my nightmare wedding story. Maybe someday I'll have a REAL dressmaker make my dress. Technically, the design was my brain child, not hers.

One more thing, I want to give a shout out to my awesome friends that were all working behind the scenes  trying to get my dress for me (completely unbenongst to me). Your actions speak volumes and your friendship means the world to me, and I can't thank you enough for your valiant efforts.


Previously:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

FAQs

Q: Where are you going on your honeymoon?
A: We I finally decided on Bora Bora about a couple of weeks ago.

Source

Q: When are you going on your honeymoon?
A: Originally, we were hoping to honeymoon sometime during Old Man Winter's stay. But according to literature, the best time to go is either April/May or June/July/August. Seeing as how we are in October now, I think we'll have to wait. Maybe we will try for late March or early April.

Q: Why were there cops at the end of the reception?
A: They came to shut down the party. The neighbors weren't big fans of us partying while they were trying to sleep. I think they were just jealous that they didn't get an invite to join in on the fist bumping. Oh yea, the venue, while it looks totally secluded, is smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood. A ritzy one at that.

Q: Celia, are you changing your last name?
A: Legally, no. Socially, yes. Legally, meaning as far as the goverment is concerned, I'm Celia Hung. Socially meaning, as far as Facebook, friends, and family, I'm Celia Perkowski.

Source

Q: Why not change it legally?
A: 1) I'm lazy. I don't want to fill out the paperwork. I don't want to stand in line behind sketchy people. I don't want to have to deal with going from one office to another to get EVERYTHING changed over. 2) I'm cheap. I don't want to pay any fees that go with requesting the name change. 3) I am attached to my last name. And it's pretty awesome. How many of you can say that you are Hung? (Yes, I know that line works better for guys. But I'd like to think that I have pretty big kahunas.) Our future children will carry on the Perkowski name, in case you are wondering.

Q: When are you going to start having kids? All your friends are having them.
A: Woah there Speed Racer! We'll get there when we get there. For now, we are content with playing with and spoiling all your little one's. And to quote my mother, "if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?"

Q: Do you feel different now that you are married?
A: I don't understand this question. Am I supposed to feel different? The only difference is that after the wedding I was exhausted and and broke. Oh and not having to plan our wedding anymore is glorious.

Q: Now that the wedding is over, what are you going to do with all that free time?
A: HAHAHAHA. Oh, I had dreams. I dreamed of sitting on my couch with a beer and being lazy. That has so not been the case. I continue to go, go, go. Most recently, I helped out with a baby shower two weeks ago. I need to edit the photos I took and get them to the parents to be. Not to mention, I still need to look through our wedding photos.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Everything but the Cow: A Photo Journal in Dairy-Free Cooking


About a month before the wedding, I found out that I am VERY lactose intolerant. I've always had a bit of a belly, but I have been able to hide it well (aka, just suck it in or wear loose fitting clothes). But it got the point where I looked like I was 5 months preggers. At first I just blew it off as I have a tendency to gorge myself during meals. Jake equates me to a puppy that will eat any and all food placed in front of it.

I thought it was food related, so I went gluten free for 2 weeks, but that yielded null results. Then I met with a GI who was pretty sure that my problem was dairy. 60% of Asians are lactose intolerant, so it wasn't a far fetched idea. She told me to go on a dairy free diet for 2 weeks. Um…dairy free is nearly impossible unless all you a) cook all of your own foods, b) are a vegan, c) don’t go to Vegas for your bachelorette party during the diet, and d) schedule cake tastings during said diet. I checked in with my GI after 3 weeks and told her I was failing at the diet and asked if there was an actual test they could give me.

There is. I don't know why they didn't just administer the test in the first place. This is how the test goes:
  • Fast for 12 hours before the test. You aren’t even allowed to drink water. I was dying by the time I got to the doc’s office.
  • Gulp down the 'drink' they give you. I think it was glucose powder and water. Next, you blow into a machine that reads the level of hydrogen in your system. The theory is that if your body can’t breakdown lactose, it will create a lot of hydrogen. The first measurement is the baseline. Then they take measurements every 30 minutes for the next 2.5 hours. If you reach 30 points over your baseline (everyone’s is different) at the end of test, then you are lactose intolerant.
  • My baseline at 9:30am - 10
  • 10:00am - 13
  • 10:30am – 84 (the nurse said ‘oh wow’)
  • 10:50am – 94 (they decreased the time to 20 minutes and again, the nurse said ‘oh wow’)
  • 11:15am – 92 (they meant to do it 10 min after the last test, but he took too much time in moving his car)
  • 12:00pm – skipped because obviously the test was positive

Now that the wedding is all over, I can concentrate on controlling what I eat. Luck for me, this aligns with my goal to cook more. And lucky for you, I will keep a photo journal (along with the recipes) to share with you all. I decided to call it 'Everything but the Cow' even though it's a misnomer. It just has a nice ring to it. Let me know if you can think of something better.

Pumpkin Pancakes:
 

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com
(Serves 2)
     1/2 cup plain soy milk
     1/3 cup pumpkin puree
     1 egg
     2 teaspoons vegetable oil
     2 teaspoons vinegar
     2/3 cup all-purpose flour
     1.5 tablespoon brown sugar
     3/4 teaspoon baking powder
     1/4 teaspoon baking soda
     1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
     1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
     1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
     pinch teaspoon salt
  1. In a bowl, beat egg and brown sugar. Add milk, pumpkin, oil, and vinegar.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine. Batter will be thick.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Spread the batter out. Brown on both sides and serve hot. (I used a nonstick pan and did not grease it)


Chicken Salad Sandwich, Sweet Potato Chips, and a Brownie:

 

Chicken Salad recipe    
     Chopped chicken breast (I'm lazy and buy day old rotissery chicken from the super market. Costco has the best tasting chicken!)
     mayo
     dijon mustard
     sweet relish (adds a nice crunchy sweetness)
     pepper
     paprika
     toasted pine nuts (adds some texture)
     salt - optional (I omit since the chicken is already seasoned)
  1. Combine all the ingredients to taste. I didn't specify how much of each as some people like more mayo, while others like less).
  2. Spread it on whole wheat or multigrain bread with some greens. Alternatively, you could eat it by the spoonfuls, like Jake.
*The brownie was Betty Crocker box mix.
   


Turkey/Butternut Squash/Spinach Enchiladas:


Serves 4
     1 lb ground turkey
     1/2 lb butternut squash
     spinach
     2 c shredded cheese (I only used 1 c of pre-shredded cheddar)
     8 burrito sized tortillas
     1 package of enchilada mix (I imported Lawry's from Oregon)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Make the enchilada sauce, follow directions on the packaging. I usually had 1/2 c of water to mine to get a little more sauce out of it. I also noticed that mine was a little bland, next time I'll add to it.
  3. Brown up ground turkey. Don't forget to lightly season your meat. It's all about layering flavors. Add butternut squash when turkey is just about done and continue cooking. Do not overcook the squash. You don't want mushyness. Strain (if needed).
  4. Add enough enchilada sauce to meat/squash mixture to coat. You can add more to make it saucier, but it will leave you with less sauce to cover.
  5. Coat bottom of 9x13 pan with enchilada sauce (~1/4-1/2 c). Grab a tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, handful of spinach, and turkey/squash. Roll it up, leaving the edges open. Place in pan, seam side down. Repeat for remaining 7 torillas. You might have to smash some of the enchilada's together. (I only made 7 the way I filled my enchiladas, plus my pan was pretty full).
  6. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  7. Pop in oven for 15 minutes. 

Enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Chicago: Teaser

*I misspoke in my previous post. I fogot that my camera had gone to Las Vegas.*

Personal Photo

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nursery cuteness

This year, our friends [and the two of us] have welcomed 6 little one's into our lives.

D - March/April - Massachusetts - #1
A - April/May - Massachusetts - #1
R - July - Oregon - #2
D - July - Texas - #2
L - July - Colorado - #2
H - August - Massachusetts - #1
(Haha...all our friends in MA are only on kid #1, while our friends in the rest of the country are have it in the bag and are onto #2)

And soon, it will be 7. Baby J, I can't wait to meet you! So, naturally, I have come across some baby things, such as SUPER ADORABLE nursery designs as you have already seen here and MELT YOU HEART baby shoes like this. Today, I found nursery decor that makes me want to go running to my printer.

Perfectly Imperfect

How CUTE are those alphabet signs? I followed the links to the source only to find more awesom-ness.
 
The Handmade Home

They are called alphafantastical insta-decor. That name just makes me giddy. Check out Ashley over at The Handmade Home for more gorgeousness, great ideas, and freebies!


P.S. Yes, I am avoiding the wedding recaps. Why? It's because a) I need to talk about the red dress that never was, and b) I tend to focus on the bad things or things that weren't to my standards. You'll see.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pictures! Pictures! Pictures!

Pics ah Heeeehyaaa!!!!!!!! (Jersey Shore anyone...anyone?)

Check out the blog post by our AMAZEBALLS photographer and his wife Jason and Lucia Angelini:
Boston Wedding: Celia and Jake at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. Lucia is a freaken ROCK STAR! Girl just had a baby and within days, she was back to editing our photos! I shit you not. I ♥ them, as in Jason and Lucia! I also ♥ the photos.   

Our first look, and one of my favorites. Jason Angelini Photography

Contact us if you want to see more ;)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

High on lights

O! M! G! People. Our. Highlight. Video. Is. Here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Check it out!



Celia + Jake from Boston Wedding Films on Vimeo.



We love, like LOVE it!!! Thank you Mike and Michael of Boston Wedding Films.

Jake's favorite part is where he dropped a Venn diagram reference in our wedding video. To quote hime. "Sorry ladies, I'm off the market now."

Paula's favorite part is our first look, where I tapped him on both shoulders to confuse him.

All of it is my favorite. I was afraid that our song choice might be dated in 10 years, but our cinematographers think that it'll stand the test of time. Either way, I'm glad we went with it!

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Random Thursday

It's been a long week or two around these parts filled with friends, babies, soul searching, new routines, and crafting. I owe you guys recaps and and wedding related "glory", and I'm dragging my feet. In the mean time, I leave you with some randomness.

How adorable are these little ballet slippers? Baby H is 8 weeks old.
(I think I cropped this photo in too tight..)

Remember my post on revamping an Ikea dresser? Apparently there is a whole community out there that repurposes Ikea furniture. They call themselves Ikea Hackers. I found a blog completely devoted to Ikea hacks. I can't even tell you how many hours I spent surfing through it. Some of it is pretty ugly, but there are a couple of gems in the mix!

I found out I was REALLY lactose intolerant not too long before the wedding. It's not a reach to say that I have a lactose allergy. In searching for non-dairy recipes I stumbled across Dairy Free for Baby. The authors' little one's are not only extremely intolerant of lactose protiens, but soy protiens as well. It's gut wrenching to read about what their babies have gone through.
As you know, one of my new found hobbies is photography. (If you've figured me out, you'd swear that I have some form of ADD/ADHD and jump from one thing to another.) While perusing through one of my favorite food/photo blogs, Cannelle et Vanille (Aran's photos make me drool all over my keyboard), I learned that the author was going to be teaching at a craft retreat in Colorado. And you know what? I am going to go. I get to learn about food styling and food photography at one session. AND. I can learn about lifestyle photography at another session. I have friends that live in Fort Collins, so I can visit them while I'm out there.

Speaking of photography. My camera and I are about to go on our first trip. I purchased my camera last November, but it hasn't been outside of Massachusetts/Connecticut! Crazy! I am headed to Chicago for the weekend. My BFF Jack and I are ready to explore. While I am there, I hope to take cool photos much like the Bonnie Tsang does on her trips. Of course my photos won't be anywhere near as amazing.

Bonnie Tsang Photography

Thursday, September 8, 2011

10 in 115

10 in 115 is my take on 100 in 1001. 100 in 1001 is a personal growth project in which you make a list of 100 things that you want to do and the goal is to complete your list in 1001 days.

You could joke that I just finished 100 items in 700-ish days. But with all these crazy ideas in my head, I think I should jot them down and see how I do.

Target date: 12/31/2011
  1. Finish the 2 crochet projects that I have started.
    • I start projects, but rarely do I finish them. Usually, I just mess up towards the end and then proceed to unravel the entire thing.
  2. Make a profit off a cupcake order.
    • I lose money on most jobs. Guess its time to get serious and raise the prices.
  3. Clean out my closet and take out all the old clothes that I do not wear.
    • I still have articles of clothing I bought in Hong Kong 6 years ago that I have never worn or will ever wear.
  4. Cook a three course meal.
    • I haven't cooked a good meal in a long time. And to think, I used to cook every night for my roommates during my internships. 
  5. Throw a dinner party.
    • Even better, a murder mystery dinner party.
  6. Clean out my car.
    • It was looking pretty bad just before my sunroof shattered. Insurance covered the clean-up, but now that the family is gone, my car is now one large trash can. Don't believe me? There are two empty Starbucks cups in the center console storage thingy. I had to move them from the cup holders in the center console to make room for my fresh cup of coffee the other day. Yea...that's pretty bad.
  7. Explore Chicago with my BFF Jack.
    • OK, so this is a gimme since we are planning to do this at the end of the month. I just need to buy my plane ticket and book the hotel.
  8. Redecorate our bedroom.
  9. Design, create, and mail out Thank You's to our wedding guests.
  10. Plan my trip home.
    • Winter isn't the best time to go home, but I'll take what I can get.

Let's see how I do at the end of the year, then perhaps we'll move onto 100 in 1001.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jill: an interior designer?

Last year I saw this set up and swooned. Curtains used as the headboard? Genius!

HGTV Dream House 2011 - Master Bedroom via HGTV

If our bed frame looked like that, I would have redecorated our bedroom immediately. Instead, I said to myself, I'll figure it out after the wedding. Although, I have to admit my head was swirling with different ideas for a about a week. I was trying to come up with ways to change color of our furniture without replacing it or painting it. I'm still working on it.

Our set up. personal photo
Then Val introduced me to this:

via Nothing But Bonfires


Drama and clean lines? Yes, please! I am going to try to merge the two ideas together when winter comes. Right now I've got one too many things on my plate.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Drama-rama

With a two year engagement, you would think that we had everything nailed down and all set to go welllllllllllllll before the big day. Well, you would think. And I had hoped. But alas. It was not the case. We had to move the location of our tent a week before our wedding. That's right, a WEEK before!!

From the very first moment that we fell in love with our venue, we knew exactly where we wanted our reception. We wanted it outside, in a tent, smack dab in the middle of the grounds. We wanted to be surrounded by all the neat sculptures that make the park what it is (and it wouldn't be too far from where cocktail hour would be). At the time we were told that we would need to build a floor for a tent since the ground is slightly uneven. Sure no problem, how much could a floor cost?

Original tent location. (personal photo)

We met with our planner, the event coordinator for the museum, and our caterer for our final walk-thru and hashed out all the nitty gritty details with 30 days to go. Ceremony and cocktails on the terrace. Reception in the tent on the main lawn (center of park). Bathroom trailers in front of the carriage house. Paula contacted the tent company for a quote on the tent floor. The estimate was pretty hard to swallow. We hemmed and hawed for a bit and decided that since the RSVP numbers came out lower than expected that we would go for it. THEN, the tent company went out and surveyed the location to get the actual cost. Both Paula and I were hoping the number would come down. WRONG, it went up. WAY up. Try 67% higher. As it turned out that the ground is sloped by 4 feet in that location. The tent company would have to rig up a serious floor for us.

We had to move our tent. We knew there were two other locations available to choose from if we wanted to keep our reception outside. One was the back parking lot. Jake hated the back parking lot. It would have been far away from any neighbors, but we would have been removed from the sculptures and its a parking lot with a GIANT dumpster. The venue and our planner claimed that it would all be covered up and you would never know that we were in a parking lot. But we couldn't see it.

The second was in a secluded spot by the two black hearts sculpture. I disliked this location. It's by two giant black hearts AND there are neighbors through the trees on either side. After scoping out the property, I was hoping a third location would be possible. Unfortunately for us, there are water lines that run underground and is not a dig-safe location. At least that is what I have been telling myself. The venue never gave us a reason.  

I was hoping this spot between the trees would be a possibility. (personal photo)

Technically, there was another option that I considered. I considered moving the ceremony to be somewhere in the park. The cocktail hour somewhere else (I can't remember the life of me where now). And having our reception on the sculpture terrace, under the stars. But there isn't that much space on the terrace. We would have had to contend with a giant sculpture in the middle of it. The lounge and photobooth areas would be detached, lighting would need to be rigged up, and what would we have done with the parasols we were planning on hanging from the ceiling?

personal photo

In the end, we went with the black hearts location with a full floor (one that didn't cost us an arm, a leg, and our first born). We pissed the neighbors off enough to have them call the cops. Whoops. Everyone partied like rock stars and had a blast. How many people can say the cops shut down their wedding reception? 

Our tent all lit up. Photo by DJ Raffi Music and Lighting Productions via Marrero Events.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Go Speed Racer, Go!

Let's try this again. I had this post written yesterday, but Blogger crapped out on me when I went to publish it.

I must be a glutton for punishment. I thought my days would be spent doing nothing but lounging on the couch with a beer in my hand after the wedding. Turns out that my hands do not know how to be idle.

Yesterday marked the first full week in which life has returned to "normal." But in that time, I haven't really stopped doing stuff. Last weekend, I crocheted almost from sun up to sun down. I have been frantically trying to finish the baby blanket that I started a month before the wedding. There's no deadline, but I think part of my brain views this as an unfinished project from the wedding and that I must finish it asap. Whatever the case, I am so close! I promise to post photos of the finished product.

Work has been hectic, I guess it's good to get thrown back into the muck of things. I must say, my boss was really supportive and tried to keep my plate empty knowing full well that I was designing things at my desk.

Most recently, I signed up for my second photography class. Session begins in two weeks and I am super excited. I decided against taking any more "basic" courses on how to use my camera. Enginerd here likes to learn things ahead of time by reading manuals, online tutorials, asking others for tips, and just tinkering on my own. I've moved on to learning about lighting. I don't think this course covers flash photography, but I will need to toy with that on my own with Old Man Winter approaching.

And as of two nights ago, I will be baking for a wedding. It's not a big gig in terms of quantity or income, but I've got to start somewhere. Plus, its for a friend.

In Jake's world, he started his new job this week! Whoohoo for new adventures.

OK, now let's talk about the wedding recaps. I can technically do them just based on the awesome photos my maid of honor took. I remember thinking, where the heck is my maid of honor? a bunch during the wedding, but now I know. And it was totally worth it. But I also want to turn the clock back and share all the projects I slaved over, and the process of arriving at big decisions like finding my wedding gown. Oh and not to mention, I also need to share all the drama that ensued the week of the wedding. I'm not sure what order I will do it all in, so just hang tight while I figure it out.

In the mean time, I'll leave you with this random photo. I'm tired of posting nothing but text. Aren't you tired of looking at nothing but text?




Me in a giant clog. Amsterdam 2005.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Down to days: 0

I didn't want to be the bride that was up all night working hard to finish a project. I wanted to be the calm and collected bride that was nothing but happy and relaxed on the day of. Psh, I was smoking some good crack that's for sure.

I started off calm, or at least so I thought. But then I got ansy. I couldn't and wouldn't  sit still. I tried for a little bit and then would fidget. I remember people telling me to just sit down and relax. I remember telling them "you don't understand, I have been going nonstop for what seem like forever."

I did one last "project" on my wedding day. I wouldn't call it a full project, I just added a finishing touch to Project Ring Car. I needed to add something to secure the rings to the car. Baker's twine was looped through the "roof" of the car, like ribbon would be used on a regular ring pillow. I don't remember if the videographer got this, but I know our photographer got a picture of me tying the rings on just before the ceremony started.

Bottomline, I am a complete nut job to have done all this.


Countdown:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 and 5
Day 6 and 7
1 week
2 weeks
3 weeks
1 month
2 months
3 months
4 months

Monday, August 29, 2011

Down to days: 1

  • Woke up early to place all the escort cards in their respective envelopes. Thankfully I had the smarts to put them in alphabetical order long ago.

  • Packed up most things and got them ready for transport to the hotel. I recognized that I needed help and asked N to check me in and take a bunch of stuff to the room.

  • Jake took my family out on a duck boat tour while I went back to the spa for a manicure.

  • Made little signs for all the different things that would be served for dessert.

  • Fielded phone calls and text messages left and right. I wanted to throw my phone out a window. I remember yelling "just leave me alone! why won't you people just leave me alone?" Thankfully, I was alone and no one ever saw that ugly side.

  • Had mini meltdowns throughout the afternoon. I tried hard to choke back tears. There's only so much you can do when you are handed bad news (more on this later). Luckily, my pride was nice and strong and I was able to stifle the sadness and focus on tasks that needed to be done.

  • Had my family bust out some last minute DIY project. Project baby photos. I really had something different in my mind, and was ready to just call it. I really shouldn't have done it, but after hearing my dad say "you should do it", I couldn't deny the man.

  • We rehearsed and had a blast at the welcome dinner. I felt bad that people got lost and what not, but what could I have done?

  • After the welcome dinner was all wrapped up, I headed home to make signage for the photobooth and build-a-cupcake station. Somehow, I completely forgot to make one for the guestbook. *sigh*

  • "Quickly" packed my bag and headed to the hotel with all the guys's suits/shirts/shoes in tow. Well almost all the guys's. As we found out the next day, we forgot all about Jake's suit. Why did I do that? I had grand plans to stage all their outfits together for photos. Let me tell you, on the day of, I threw most of my ideas in the wind and just let my photographer do whatever.

  
Countdown:
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 and 5
Day 6 and 7
1 week
2 weeks
3 weeks
1 month
2 months
3 months
4 months

Down to days: 2

  • Woke up early to finish gluing all the name/table assignment tags to the escort cards.

  • Hit the spa visit for a few beauty treatments. Stupid me waited too long to schedule a manicure and pedicure. I actually had to come back later in the day for my pedi and the next day for a mani.

  • While my siblings folded the last few pieces of paper for the origami balls, I fit all the pieces together to form them.

  • I was supposed to pick up my Chinese dress after my pedi, but my seamstress cancelled like 30 minutes before I said I would be available to swing by. Good thing for internet phones.

  • Greeted a friend and her two toddlers at the airport and helped them get situated with the rental car and their hotel. Thank God I met up with them, because traffic on I95/128N was atrocious. And this was at like 9pm! Oh and whole new respect for mom's out there, especially one's that travel cross country with a 4 year old and a 2 year old in tow without her husband! Mad props!

  • Picked my dad up from the bus stop at 11pm. I should have sent Jake, but I was out and about and still on this "I am Superwoman" kick.

  • Finished putting together the last of the origami balls and cubes. Me and my stupid ideas. There was more work than there was return on those damned balls. I may have thrown one or two of them out of frustration and exhaustion. There are just some things that you shouldn't work on when you are exhausted and stressed out.

  • Stamped all the escort cards with a clear stamp to make it look more like a watermark. I don't think anyone even noticed this. I shoulda just went to bed.

  • Passed out cold.


Countdown:
Day 3
Day 4 and 5
Day 6 and 7
1 week
2 weeks
3 weeks
1 month
2 months
3 months
4 months