Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oregon 2011 - Day 4

Last day. *sigh* It started much like the previous days, only slightly later. My internal clock was finally getting in tune with pacific time. Yeah, just in time for us to get on a plane and go back to our life on eastern time, right?

Anyways, we met up with the "extended" family for a dim sum (chinese tapas) lunch at Legin Restaurant. Do not go here if you are ever in PDX. The food is just OK, it's cheap, but it's not as good as say, Wong's King. During lunch we handed out printed save-the-dates to those that I did not have email address for (aka, all of them). And as I talked about before, folks were thoroughly confused and thought we were handing out the invitations. It probably did not help that I just handed them the printed photo with no words or anything. OOPS!

Us kids (and my mom) ditched the adults (aka dad and his friends) to take advantage of the Adidas employee store. Whoohoo for 50% off retail! I lost track of how much time we spent there. I also did not want to keep track of how much I was spending while I was in there. Suffice to say, I was good and did not buy a ton of stuff, but both Jake and I made purchases that we will put to good use. 

You guys remember Ked's? I remember that I just HAD to have them in my youth. But my parents were kind of broke so I ended up with knock-offs that my god parents brought back from China for me. Well, apparently they are making a comeback. See exhibit A from JCrew:


Anyways, I scored myself the Adidas version for $25. Whoohoo! I normally wear shell-toes. And I would have gotten a pair of the "keds" and the shells, but but I decided against a second pair for the sake of the wallet (even though they were 50% off) and the sake of my suitcase. Now that is what I call self control. *pats self on the back*

Shopping makes me hungry, how about you? After working up an appetite and not wanting to end our joyous hanging out session, we sibs (keep in mind this is me, Jake, both my brothers, my brother's girlfriend, my "adopted" brother, and my mom) decided to grab a snack at Mojo Crepes. Um, HELLO! Crepes and ice cream, together?!?! HEAVEN!

Left column: (top) Jake digging in. (bottom) A and P (my newly "adopted" brother).
Middle: Mojo - nutella, strawberries, bananas, and vanilla ice cream.
Right: (top) Crepes menu. (bottom left to right) Harris being all asian , wall art.

****This is getting a bit long. I'm going to break this post up into two. Stay tuned for the conclusion.***

Did you miss a day?
Oregon 2011 - Day 3
Oregon 2011 - Day 2
Oregon 2011 - Day 1

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Project Bubble

We interrupt the Oregon 2011 recaps to share the latest craft project. Oh believe me, it's a good one!

Have you seen these awesome chalkboard speech bubbles? They are the latest rage in photobooth props.

Playing Grown Up on Etsy

Well, they may be awesome, but they come with a hefty price tag. Two of the speech bubbles shown in the photo above will run you $52! It is fabricated from wood, so in theory, they are heavy duty and should last quite a long time.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, get this, you can make your own for way less! Jordan Ferney's super crafty sister figured out how to make them for a fraction of the cost and not out of wood. For step by step instructions with photos, see Joran's blog post, DIY chalkboard talk bubbles from Oh Happy Day.

Following the tutorial, I was able to create 6 good sized bubbles

Here is my materials list:
  • 2 Elmers 20"x30" black foam core boards - $7.95 (company screwed up and gave me my money back, but did not refund the shipping charges)
  • 1 box of 12 count white chalk - $0.79 (+tax)
  • 1 box of 12 count colored chalk - $0.79 (+tax)
  • Boning knife (or some other straight edge used to smooth out the contact paper)
  • Exacto knife
  • Styrofoam sewing spools (free!)
  • Gray acrylic paint (leftover from Project Yay)

Cel's Tips:
  1. Apply contact paper in small sections and use a straight edge to smooth out the contact paper.
  2. After applying the contact paper to the foam board, allow it to sit over night. I let one board "cure" and did the second one immediately. Both work, but the edges of the contact paper will stay down if you give it more time to adhere.
  3. Use your exacto knife in small strokes with equal pressure. Go over a cut a 2-4 times. If you try to brute force it, you will end up with jagged edges and little pieces of foam everywhere, plus you get less precision.
  4. I read this somewhere, treat the surface of your new board by coating it with a layer of chalk dust. I scribbled all over each board, rubbed it in with a dry paper towel, and then wiped each board clean with a damp paper towel.
After completing the bubbles, I patted myself on the back, but realized that I was not done with the project just yet. I needed a handle on the back. I looked through the craft store for ideas. Originally, I thought about just buying prefabricated pieces of wood to use as a handle. But I realized that the wood would be pretty heavy relative to the board. Also, none of the pieces I found were the right size. While browsing for a new crochet needle, it dawned on me that sewing spools were about the size I was looking for, and I had some at home to boot!

Now, I do not sew, but I do have a VAST collection of cross stitch/embroidery thread, some of which is on spools. Long story short, I learned how to cross stitch around the age of 12, maybe as early as 10. While I stopped when I started high school and cross stitching is a granny activity, I cannot bring myself to throw out my supplies.

Some of the spools were styrofoam, which is exactly what I was hoping for. They were old, grungy, and ugly. So after unwinding all the thread from them, I painted them with leftover paint and hot glued them onto the back of the boards. Yay for using my hot glue gun for the first time since 8th grade (another object that I am super glad I did not throw out when I moved to MA).

Styrofoam sewing spools

Painted spool glued to the bag of the speech bubble.

Painted spool

Not too shabby for a grand total: $21.52 and an afternoon of work.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Oregon 2011 - Day 3

After having the [new] house all to ourselves for a few days, it was nice to wake up to a full house. My parents and both my brothers had come up to spend the weekend with us (in actuality they came up to spend it in the big house and to see their friends). It was nice to just spend time with everyone and catch up.

After breakfast, I busted out a batch of my famous Oreo cupcakes. Only this time, I made them sans eggs. A friend of mine is allergic to eggs. I could not find egg-free substitute (egg beaters are 99% real egg), so in the end I just called uncle and went with applesauce. Hey, do not knock it, it works.

For lunch, the entire family gathered around and feasted on hot pot for a couple of hours. Let me back up and explain, hot pot is Chinese fondue. Instead of cheese or chocolate, soup is used as the base. Assorted meats, seafood, tofu, and veggies are thrown into the pot. Some of you may know it by it's Japanese name, Shabu-shabu.

Left column (top to bottom): Fish balls, veggies, sliced beef.
Middle column: Fish cakes, part of the spread.
Right column: Jake and Dad chowing down, the pot filled with with yum. 

After we hung out with the fam during the day, for dinner we took a long drive down to Corvallis to see some old friends that I had not seen in awhile. Unfortunately, one of them had to stay home with icky bronchitis. The rest of us chowed down on pizza and microbrews at American Dream Pizza, a local college hangout across the street from my alma mater. I've been dreaming about American Dream's jerk chicken for years. Years, I tell you. Oh and their chocolate chip cookie.

I'm such a dumbass. I had my cookie all wrapped up and was saving it for later. Well, guess what I did with it. Nope, I did not eat it. I. LEFT. IT. ON. THE. TABLE. I just about died when I realized what I had done. You do not understand. I have not had one in almost 5 years. These are the thickest, softest, tastiest cookies EVER. They are seriously THAT epically good. At least I took a bite of Jake's cookie before I let him have it.

Top: Jerk chicken salad with honey mustard dressing
Middle: Broccoli, cheese, and pineapple. Seriously, soooo good!
Bottom: E and A with their egg-free cupcakes

*All photos by me. Please excuse the crappy cell phone pics, I totally forgot to bring my camera with me.

Did you miss a day?
Oregon 2011 - Day 2
Oregon 2011 - Day 1

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oregon 2011 - Day 2

Day 2 was fairly low key, just as the previous day. We found little things to explore around Portland. We found a cute cafe nearby to grab yummy breakfast. Arleta Library Bakery Cafe. Along the way we spotted a a moss covered roof that had Jake giggling about for 15 minutes.

Clockwise from top left: Menu, Pane Dolce - Pearl Bakery brioche with whipped honey butter, organic maple syrup and seasonal fresh fruit, Portland’s Best Biscuits-n-Gravy - Thinly sliced house-roasted pork loin nestled between two savory biscuits and smothered with peppery rosemary sausage gravy; served with Library Fries, Jake not too excited about being photographed before his coffee.

I think this is the restroom building at the Mt. Scott Park.

Jake likes to troll around real estate websites looking to see what his money can buy him in different neighbohoods around the world. Yes, world, not just country. He had found a handful of homes in the West Hills area of Portland. West Hills reminds us of Beacon Hill in Boston. The homes are all within arms distance of one another and are very narrow, you can literally see through the entire house from the street. The only good thing about these homes is that they sit up on the hill overlooking downtown Portland. I tried to tell Jake that the homes were older and that the homes had no land, but there is no getting through to that guy once he has made up his mind. So we drove through the area to check things out and pull his head out of the clouds so to speak.

While the weather was cold and rainy, your typical winter day in Oregon, (it was sunny and mid-40's the day before) we took to trapezing around Pittock Mansion. In all the years of my life, I never knew this place existed! We are going to have to go back on a clear (and warm) day just for the views.

Top row, left to right: Creepy dolls in the children's room. Old school intercom system. Moss covered wall on the property.
Second row: View of downtown Portland from the property, note it was a cloudy day otherwise you'd see Mt. Hood. Signage.
Third row: (top) Ceiling in one of the side rooms. (bottom) Music/sitting room. Sweeping stair case. Foggy, moss covered trees.
Bottom row: View of downtown Portland. Pittock Mansion from the back side.

That night we were going to meet up with friends for sushi and drinks. I thought one of the girls was bringing her husband, but he had plans for guys night out...down the block. The smart thing would have been to leave Jake with the boys after dinner, but they were pretty hammered. But it all worked out. I got my girl time and Jake was there to see how much I missed them, how much they missed me, and how much fun I've been missing out on.

Me and my girls at Bartini. They have THE best pomagranate martinis!

*All photos taken by me, except the last one, Jake took that one.

Did you miss a day?
Oregon 2011 - Day 1

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ikea + paint = new hobby

I have watched a lot of HGTV in the past year. I have a learned a lot of tricks to decorate or redecorate on the cheap. I have learned that one can upcycle a cheap furniture find.

I love Ikea stuff because it's CHEAP, but sometimes, I just do not love the colors or the hardware they provide. Granted, you can always buy it, sand it, paint it, and change out the hardware. But we do not have a garage or a shed or even a backyard for me to properly set up for sanding and painting. Not to mention, I would have to get a bunch of stuff (like sandpaper and a mask) and be OK with being covered in wood particles.

So bottom line, the idea of sanding has stopped me dead in my tracks. Then I found this article last week by Caroline at Armelle Jewelry. Caroline painted the dresser WITHOUT sanding it down!



How awesome looking is that dresser after a coat (or two) or paint!?!? I might just have to try this sometime soon. Oh wait, maybe I should wait until this whole wedding business is over with.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Meltdown #1

I think this might be my first official bridal related meltdown. I seem to recall a previous one, but I'm far too lazy to search through my previous posts to find mention of it, let me know if you remember it.

I'm running on 3 hours of intermittent sleep. For the life of me I could not fall asleep last night. But when I finally did, oh say around 3am, I could not stay asleep. What's eating me? Well, ready yourself for a not so peppy post.

Weddings planning is not rainbows, puppies, unicorns, and sparkles. There are people that LOVE wedding planning. You people are whack. You are probably on crack or something. You have to be. (*disclaimer - I still love you guys, I just think you must be smoking something. Maybe you should share.) I HATE wedding planning. And I'm a person that plans EVERYTHING.

We are 2 days shy of the 5 month mark and I feel like NOTHING is done. I had hoped that by this point all of our vendors would be lined up. I had hoped that I would just be working on DIY projects in my spare time. I had hoped that we'd be all laid back and zenned out. Instead, I'm lying awake last night, stressed out, and FREAKING out about everything.

What's wrong?
  • I cannot find frog buttons for my Chinese dress. Who freaken knew that they would be this stupid hard to find? You would think that living in Boston of all places, you know a city with a large Chinese populations, that I could find buttons. What about New York City...nope, I struck out there too, what the crap?
  • I realized at 10:30pm last night that I had completely flaked on returning the contract to the hair and makeup vendor. It stated in bold and underlined words that the contract was to be signed and returned within 7 days. Here I am at 9, 2 days overdue!!! And to make matters worse, I can not just print it out, sign it, scan it, and email it back right then and there because our internet is broken and I'm out of printer paper. (Update, I took care of it this morning at work and all is good.)
  • At 5 months, we do no have a videographer contracted. We are not even in communication with a single videographer!!!! Seriously, how did it get to this point. I was yelling at Jake last night that we are not going to be able to have a videographer, one of the caliber that I want at our wedding because we waited this freaken long. Why did I wait on this? I knew better. Venue, photographer, videographer are 3 vendors you get upfront so that you get what you want when you want it. UGH!!
  • Flowers...let's not talk about center pieces. The sheer thought of the topic just makes me want to throw a traditional Chinese banquet so that we do not have to even deal with this.
  • The groom. Oh where do I start with this one? He sees wedding planning as a chore, like taking out the garbage. Such a thing he couldn't be bothered with. WHAT THE CRAP?!?! Poor Jake, I spent a good 15 minutes last night blaming him for all this stress. I've said it before, if it were just up to me, we would go to the courthouse and have a backyard BBQ afterwards. But noooooooo, Jake wants a *shiny* full blown shindig. Him and his bright ideas. He said let's get married and then must have thought that fairies would come out of the woodwork and make it all happen. Maybe they will pee rainbows and poop sparkles while they are at it. (But everyone knows that unicorns poop rainbows!)
  • Me. I cannot half ass anything for the life of me. I am an all or nothing kind of gal. Either I do it and I do it right, or I just do not do it at all. I wish that I could just stop caring and outsource everything, but I cannot. Have I mentioned that I have a full time job during the day as well?!

That's enough venting out of me for now. Sorry guys, I just could not pretend to be happy-go-lucky this morning. Maybe if I get some sleep...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum...

...I smell a DIY project brewing.

I just purchased chalkboard contact paper, foam board, and chalk.

Any guesses as to what I'm up to?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

5% off JetBlue flights!!!

Get 5% Off Jetblue Flights!

Just register for the Terra Blue Chips sweepstakes and they will email you a 5% off Jetblue code.

-Book now through 6/30/11
-Travel now through 8/26/11
-Blackout dates 5/31/11 and 6/30/11 to 7/12/11

Oregon 2011 - Day 1

When I relocated to the Boston area about 4.5 years ago, I told myself that I would visit home every 6 months. Well, unfortunately, I've been averaging once a year. This year, we didn't think that we would make it to Oregon at all. It didn't make sense for us to fly West in late spring/early summer and then have my friends and family fly East a couple of months later.

Enter fast thinking. We changed things up and decided to visit my family for Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is like Christmas to you guys. Family all around, food up to your eyeballs, and instead of presents, you get lucky red envelopes filled with money. Great idea, I hadn't spent New Years with the fam since I moved here.

Enter slow to book tickets. Jake and some of the guys have started a annual ritual of heading to Florida around February for weekend of golf and bridge. Originally, they had planned to go during Valentine's weekend. But one of the significant others veto'd it. The weekend of Chinese New Year was decided upon and tickets were booked immediately.

So instead, we went two weeks after New Years, just for a couple of days (as opposed to a full week). It was a bittersweet trip. Usually, we run around like chickens with our heads cut off. This time around we just enjoyed what little time we had with family, friends, and each other.

Day 1 - Other than my appointment with the dentist, we had ZERO plans. (Yes, I still see my dentist back home.) We started the day with breakfast at a local chain called Biscuits Cafe. YUM.

Breakfast at Biscuits Cafe.

After breakfast, I visited my dentist while Jake napped in the car. We followed that up with a stop at Jamba Juice. Seriously Boston, get on the Jamba Juice wagon! And without hesitation, shopping at my beloved Nordstrom Rack ensued. There's a Rack here in MA, but it's not the same; the shoe selection just isn't good. I walked away with a beautiful pair of Tory Burch pumps at 50% off. We also made a pit stop at Tiffany & Co. to look for my wedding band.

For dinner, I really wanted to show Jake, McMenamin's Kennedy School. McMenamin's is a local brewpub chain that I HAVE to eat each time I'm home. The Kennedy School is an old school that they took over. Some of the class rooms are individual bars. There's a full service family restaurant on site and a movie theater.

That water fountain is just too cute!

Stay tuned for Day 2.

(All photos were taken by me.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

JetBlue: PDX --> BOS

I think I'm more excited about this for myself than I am for our family and friends. JetBlue has added new flights to their schedule, and not just any flights. They will soon (beginning May 29) fly direct between Portland (OR) and Boston!

I love Alaska, but you have to bring your own entertainment.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Honorable mention

Last week I was interviewed by the Boston Herald. One of their journalist was doing a story about online save-the-dates or invites, more specifically, a video.

For those of you who are not trolling wedding blogs and websites on a daily business, one of the latest trends to take the wedding business by storm are video announcements. I've seen everything from real live movie to stop motion clips where a bunch of still photos are strung together.

I spent about 30 minutes talking to Carley, the journalist, about our save-the-dates, our reasons for sending them out via email, and what not. Now I bet you want to know why we emailed them. Here goes:
  1. I'm going to be completely honest, I'm cheap. I probably saved us at $50 in raw materials cost (printing, paper, envelopes, postage). I don't even know how much it would have cost to have someone else design it, maybe in the $100 range for a graphic designers time?
  2. I grew up during the big tech boom and I work in the tech industry. I embrace technology with open arms and will use it to my advantage.
  3. Just about everyone we know has email. We only had to print and mail three physical save the dates and they were all for those in our grandparents generation. We had to print out 4 others and hand them out because I didn't have their email addresses.
  4. It's green. Save a tree people. Yes, I'm a tree hugger. What? I'm from Oregon, it's only natural.
  5. We don't know if EVERYONE wants to slap pictures of Jake and I up on their fridge for a better part of the year. If they want to, they have the option of printing it out and doing just that.
Carley and I talked about a lot of things. Including how they were received. Our guests (you!) fall into two categories:
  1. Excited! Most people loved them. Many thought the pictures of us as youngen's were super adorable.
  2. Confused. Haha, yea it never dawned on me that people wouldn't know what they were. But it happened. I blame cultural and generation gaps. Chinese people have zero clue when it comes to new fangled western traditions. Chinese weddings are all very cookie cutter. Similar invitation, similar decor, similar food, and etc. (I've been meaning to do a post on this stuff). So when I handed them out to my "extended" family (they aren't blood relatives, but I've known them all my life and call them aunty and uncle) they were all very confused and just assumed it was the invite. Let's talk about the generation gap. We also handed one to Grandma, to whom we had to explain that it was not the invitation. I can't blame her, STDs are a trend only from the last couple of years.
Anyways, back to the article. I thought that we'd get more of the spotlight in the article. I thought that our AWESOME save-the-dates would be published in the paper along with it. Such was not the case. We were only briefly mentioned, but it sure beats nothing at all.

Oh I bet you are wondering how she knew we sent them out via email...Paula told her! I haven't a slightest clue how she got in touch with Paula, but it's not important.

Enclosure for printed and mailed STDs. You'll note that "Save our Date" and "August 20, 2011" are nice and big for those that may miss it in the smallish photos. I printed the STDs a tad smaller than I should have.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Contest fail!

We totally failed at attempting to win our planners' Facebook contest.

A very short lived contest in which the winners received $150 off their current planning package was kicked off on 3/1 and was open for submissions up until 12pm (EST) on March 5. In order to win, we were to try and get as many friends and family to "like" Marrero Weddings and Events on Facebook AND to post "Marrero Weddings and Events is Celia and Jake's wedding planner."

I'm not sure if it was just a lack of communication to our friends or what. I refrained from spamming peoples email with a request in hopes that folks would see it on Facebook, either on our pages or via a friends page. No such luck. When Thursday rolled around, I decided to beg for help via both my blogs. It helped some, but we were so far out of the running that any efforts, while valiant, were futile.

Oh well, it just was not meant to be. Maybe we will win a bigger prize somewhere else.

A big THANKS to all those that did try to help us. Your efforts were heroic and did not go unnoticed. Thank you! Thank you!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Please help us!

Please help us! Our wedding planner started a contest on Facebook. The couple with the most posts wins $150 off their planning package.

$150 may not seem like a lot on a wedding scale, but every little bit counts!

Like Marrero Weddings and Events on Facebook and then post the following on their wall:
"Marrero Weddings and Events is Celia and Jake's wedding planner"

Contest ends Friday, March 4 at 12pm (E.S.T.).

Now let's talk about some stats. You are might be thinking "naw, they don't need my help, they have plenty of friends." SOOOOO not true. In fact I'm begining to think that either our friends just don't like us, or you are all thinking the next person will help us.

There are 3 couples in the contest. We are dead LAST as of now (3/3 7:55am EST).
Amy and Sean - 28 posts
Kate and Doug - 17 posts
Celia and Jake - 15 posts (that's including the 2 posted by Jake and myself! I don't think the other couples made posts themselves.)

In any case, I'm bribing folks to help us out. It turns out that cupcakes are a great bargaining tool.

So please, help us out if you have Facbeook. (Don't tell Paula, but you can always hit the "unlike" button later). Oh and I'll give you a cupcake if you do this.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

(airline) Discount!

We scored a discount for you guys, well some of you guys, on air travel!

For those of you who book Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, you'll get 7% off for travel to (and from Boston) between August 17 and August 23, 2011.

It's not much, but it sure is beats nothing.

Use discount code: ECCMB2303 for Hung/Perkowski wedding. Not valid for Hawaii or Mexico and some cities may not be available. Let us know if you run into any trouble.

We know that not everyone can hitch a ride on Alaska, so we tried to negotiate for a similar discount through JetBlue. No dice. Sorry ya'll, we tried.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Milestone: hotel blocks

We have hotel rooms blocked off for ya'll! And discounted to boot!!

August 19-21, 2011
Room: $99 (+11.7% tax)/night
Parking: $8/day, unlimited in and out privs
Caveats: In room Wi-Fi is not complimentary (but it is on the lobby). Also, there are all sorts of rules about not bringing alcohol into the hotel. I shouldn't have to tell you to just hide it in your bag and to keep the noise level down. We'll turn a blind eye (most likely we will be partying with ya'll).

Use this link to book your room with our group discount: Hung/ Perkowski Wedding Room Block

Some of you may be thinking "Gee, The Westin is really nice, but too pricey for us." We understand, that is why I spent a lot of time negotiating with the hotel to give you the biggest bang for your buck. $99/night is really good for the area. But, it is the only hotel that makes you pay for parking and does not have free wireless internet.

With that said, you are more than welcome stay at one of the handful of hotels that are next door to The Westin. I'm far too lazy give you the links to each and every one of them, but the Google map below has them all. If you do choose to stay elsewhere, just let us know. We want to make sure that you are taken care of.

View Larger Map