Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Well Spun!

Some wedding updates. We booked a videographer!

Top five reason why we hired one:

1. Because every single thread I read about wedding regrets was about not having a record of vows, toasts, dances, etc. besides photos. They basically said: "It was nice to get 5 photos of our first dance from the professional photographer that we hired, but I mean we spent half a grand in dance lessons and skipped cocktail hour to practice!" Err...or, "We let my cousin record, but half way through my maid of honor's speech the battery died," or, "I really wish we had some record of when we said our vows at least."

2. This bring ups my morbid reason for wanting one, which is: If I die before Jon, shouldn't he have something more than our wedding photos to cry over and obsess about? And vice versa. I mean hopefully, at that point, we'll be about 120 years old and still have our vision and some method of watching our high definition digital recordings, from 2009, but in books or movies the widow or widower has some wedding video that plays in the background of their melancholy.

3. I'm told that the day will be over like THAT. Yeah, just like THAT. POW. THAT. I've spent the last few months of my life obsessing over details and such and all I get to experience is the actual day that would be over like THAT? Well, might as well have footage to obsess over and edit.

4. Which brings me to the fact that it might be fun to edit and share with folks who can't make it...or make them watch all 9 hours of fun! Whichever works best.

5. And back again, POW! Like that it's over! It kind of scares the crap out of me that I'll probably be too anxious to remember much. Besides it might be cool to show our kids one day too. I know I love looking at my parents' wedding album, but if they had a video I'd be all over that too. (I think that they even might, but it's on super 8 or something and no one has a projector or the time to convert it to data. Hmm...I have time...)

So last week I emailed a few videographers: Wes Jones, Lillie Studios, Avvento, and Well Spun. All of them got back to me pretty quickly, but Well Spun was the only one to offer a package of raw data in HD quality, so we went with them. (I know the super 8 stuff is cool right? Unfortunately, we feel that in 50 years HD will look like that and super 8 will look like what watching a Nickelodeon at a museum will be like--besides with video software you can make HD look like super 8.)

I was in a bit of a tizzy for a couple of hours because when I called Wellspun about my date, Brianna, the woman helping me, said that two of the three videographers they have on staff for the NYC area were booked and the third one might be booked. She called the bride who didn't put down a deposit yet and found that the bride decided to go with someone else. Yay!

Really. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This morning I had to write my rejection letters to the other studios. It felt much like writing rejection notices to authors. I also imagined this is what it feels like when people notify me of not getting the position I applied for.

The people I contacted were all very gracious in their replies. In fact, Luke from Lillie Studios offered a discount to anyone I recommended because of my honesty of why we ended up not using them. Score!

In any case, while our video will look closer to this (but more HD and yes that is Mrs. Candy Corn from than the videos on the Well Spun website, hopefully I can get my hands on some video software and figure out some cool editing tricks.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Goals: Week 9

I really didn't accomplish any of these things last week at all. I just feel so unmotivated to do anything right now. I feel ill and tired. I wish it were summer.

Revise resume again and distribute to people.
Edit some more pages of Jon's Grandpa's autobiography.
3) Make some mTurk earnings.
Read more pages of Infinite Jest.
5) Return books to the library and pick up some more.
6) Get wedding dress delivery thing notarized.
7) Get flat rate box from the post office.
Finish scanning companies.
9) Collect unemployment.
10) Deposit check.
11) Figure out insurance.
12) Finish three things on this list.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bridesmaid and Mother Dresses

On Friday, I went to RK Bridal, Macy's, and Adrienne's to look for dresses with my mom and bridesmaids (Wee--Lisa--and Spam--Samantha).

RK was kind of a bust since there was only one lady working in the Mothers' Dresses section. It was very confusing and slow going. My mom found a dress, but she wanted to keep her options open. Choosing a color for her was the bigger issue it seemed.

We still had a lot of time before the appointment at Adrienne's so we went to Macy's to see what was available there.

Macy's was a success! On the 8th floor is their bridal salon (in the registry dept.). If you want to try on Demetrios dresses, this is the place to do so. They also had Bill Levkoff bridesmaid dresses, which my mom tried on and liked. (See the taupe colored dress with the front and back below.) The dress fit her petite frame nicely, and we both liked the back. My grandma though thinks it looks like a knotted up bedsheet--and I guess it kind of does, but in a very elegant way. I like it a lot. She wanted to get a light pink color, but in the end she got a color called watermelon. (See the color board on the bottom.) Her dress should come in April.

The great thing about Macy's was that the saleswoman helping us was very helpful in guiding my mom to make a decision. She was by no means pushy, but she wanted us to have conversations about what we thought about each dress and color out loud. It was very effective in narrowing things down.

We hopped on the F train, but it was broken (when is it ever working properly?), and we got to Adrienne's. Connie and Anthony were pretty helpful and not pushy at all. I'm so happy that the Gina person that all the shitty reviews were about was not working there. The store was empty except for us. Pretty sweet!

Spam tried on a bunch of Jim Hjelm dresses based on color and style for us to choose from--we also pulled a Badgley Mischka dress that was the prettiest color ever! In person, it looked like the color purple of an orchid. Unfortunately, it seems that the style was the only color it came in, and the style was kind of dumb. (I have a thing against asymmetrical waists.)

Jim Hjelm
Jim Hjelm - by solaz on

Spam tried on the dresses above. (Starting from top left.) I thought the blue (ink is what's it's officially called) would look really nice on her, but we tried on a blue dress and the color was extremely dark. No one liked it. We also tried on the style of the blue/brown (truffle, officially) dress because I thought that it would look really nice on her (she looks a bit like the model in the blue dress). It looked like a garbage bag.

Then we tried on the pink (hibiscus, officially) dress, and though I liked the color on her, she really hated it. The dress itself is pretty plain in the front, and the back though kind of pretty in photos is more like excess material. Wee's boyfriend Chris described it as drape-y, which he also used to describe the color, which is really odd for drapes I think. (Pink drapes?)

When Spam tried on the darker pink color (blackberry, officially), both the color and dress were contenders. The thing was that the dress style was not similar to the dress I wanted Wee to wear. Spam really liked the color though, so we held that thought.

Spam tried on the dress I wanted Wee to wear, and it fit very nicely on her. My mom kept saying that the blackberry dress was fancier though. The deep V of the dress though was something I didn't think would look that great on Wee.

Wee finally came in (she and Chris were stuck on the F too), and she took turns with Spam with different combinations and colors. Wee tried on the red dress (the one I wanted her to try on), and then the blackberry and then the hibiscus.

When Spam tucked in the straps of the red dress, it looked so much more elegant. (Plus the red dress had pockets, while the blackberry dress didn't.) So we decided that we'd get the red dress and remove the straps. Spam would wear blackberry, and Wee would wear hibiscus.

Colors and Styles
Colors and Styles - by solaz on

This board has the whole shabang including colors and styles of what the ladies will be wearing. (Though note, at this point, Jon's mom Gean hasn't officially found her dress yet, though she was leaning a lot towards the platinum colored dress featured here.)

I really like how all the styles feature something around the waist. It sort of all goes together. And they have interesting folds and gathers and are really pretty colors that works in a June wedding and that they like.

Plus they can totally wear it again if they shorten it!

Styles - by solaz on

Here's a board with the styles. Wee and Spam will be wearing the same styles, but they will be strapless. Gean will be wearing the platinum dress (I think), and my mom will be wearing the style on the right.

Colors and Flowers
Colors and Flowers - by solaz on

Here's a board with all the colors and some flower options. Here you'll see the platinum and watermelon together (mom dresses) and hibiscus and blackberry dresses. Flowers featured are roses, ranunculus, orchids, lilies, calla lilies, chrysanthemums, and some other ones that I forget. The flower site I'm thinking of using is or (where I got the centerpieces for the engagement party). I've decided against peonies. They're nice, but way too feathery. I want very structured heavily petaled flowers.

Now that the dresses are on their way (should be in April for the bridesmaid too), I am stressing out about a videographer. Why is it so much money for someone to just shoot a wedding? And why can't they just shoot a wedding and give you the raw footage versus editing it? I don't want an edited wedding. Have any ideas?

My Barbie would wear...

Carolina Herrera

There's a gallery on Which designer would your Barbie wear?

Goals: Week 8

1) Revise resume again and distribute to people.
Edit some more pages of Jon's Grandpa's autobiography.
3) Make some mTurk earnings.
Read more pages of Infinite Jest.
5) Return books to the library and pick up some more.
6) Get wedding dress delivery thing notarized.
7) Get flat rate box from the post office.
Finish scanning companies.
9) Collect unemployment.
10) Deposit check.
11) Figure out insurance.
12) Finish three things on this list.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Goals: Week 7

This week is going to be a little hectic...

Revise resume again and distribute to people.
Edit some more pages of Jon's Grandpa's autobiography.
3) Make some mTurk earnings.
Read more pages of Infinite Jest.
5) Finish Deja Dead.
6) Follow up with interview people if I've not heard back from them by Thursday.
7) Get wedding dress delivery thing notarized.
8) Get flat rate box from the post office.
9) Get to the train on time (both ways).
10) Find bridesmaid dresses. (Do not get ripped off.)
11) Make some headway in scanning companies.
12) Get marriage license.
13) Figure out how to collect unemployment.
14) Finish five things on this list.

Friday, February 6, 2009

January 20, 2009, Part 2

Note: Times are still approximate.

12:55 PM: I went to the Air and Space Museum to warm up and got tickets to see the Blackholes and Cosmic Collisions shows in the Albert Einstein Planetarium at 1PM and 1:30 PM. The shows were good though pretty dumbed down, but I expect that it is because they meant it more for kids on field trips. I was so comfortable in that theater.

2:00 PM: I went to use the bathroom at the museum before making my way back to Reston, but the lines were extraordinarily long. The museum itself looked like a bus station. People were sprawled everywhere and kept coming in. I couldn't even tell where I could exit. It didn't seem like anyone was leaving the building.

2:15 PM: I eventually found an exit and tried my luck getting into L'Enfant Plaza, but I got a little lost. Things looked a lot nicer at 4:45 AM, when it was quiet and empty. There were ambulances and fire trucks trying to get through the crowds of tired, cranky, and selfish people.

2:30 PM: I arrived at the end of the line to get into L'Enfant and being that there were two lines leading to the entrance, I estimated that it would take a few frustrating hours before I could get inside. Plus, there was already a report about someone falling onto the train tracks, probably because of the crowds, so I decided to try my luck elsewhere. I called Jon for help.

Between 2:30 PM and 3:30 PM I walked to Federal Center, which looked like a long wait too, then Capitol South, another long wait, then to Eastern Market, which was closed down for some dumb reason, and when I was about to give up all hope and wait on whatever line that was required of me at Potomac Avenue, I saw the line-less entrance of Potomac Avenue.

On the Metro map, it doesn't look that far. (View walking from the center large dot to the right along the Orange line.)

But it was 2.6 miles according to Google Maps, and I was nearing the end of my ability to stand up straight. I couldn't even seem to stop by any restaurants or coffee shops to sit down either because they were packed.

On the way there there were kids selling Inauguration hot chocolate and Inauguration hot dogs ($2 grilled) along with the guys selling T-shirts, tote bags, and the like. I wish my camera had been working.

Also they shut down this huge highway (I think it was 395), and all these pedestrians were walking on it including me. It seemed like one of those apocalypse movies. It felt a lot like the 2003 Blackout where you're not sure what to do, but you know you want to get home safely.

The good thing about walking all the way out there was that I was able to get a seat because it was in the opposite direction of where I needed to be. About two stations in, it became standing room only again.

3:30 to 5:00 PM: So it took me about an hour and a half to get back to West Falls Church or about 17 stops. I took notes on how congested the station looked from the inside versus my impression of when I passed it on the outside and how many people got on the train. People were a lot less aggressive to get on the train going home.

Another half hour or so later the bus arrived in Reston Town Center. For whatever reason, it was FREE! I was never happier to be back in Reston--well maybe that time we were stuck in Deleware for 3 hours, but still.

Here's my collection of Inauguration memorabilia: red hat, badge, knitted hat, hand warmer, flag, and Metro map.

The badge is pretty cool, and apparently it helped some people get into places they normally wouldn't have been able to be in.

After all that, I could just say how happy I was that the Inauguration was two Tuesdays ago and not last week's Tuesday. Reston finally got hit with a snowstorm this winter.

It's more or less melted now, but if the Inauguration occurred on a snow day, I have no clue what I would have done.

Overall, I'm happy I participated as a volunteer, if only to not have to experience watching this momentous occasion alone. (Sad but true.) Josh was a good person to watch it with--as well as the other millions of people around me.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I think the interview went okay. It was a bit strange though. Nothing that I'm used to really--they asked about my hobbies; we talked about Snuggies. Not sure I'll get the position, nor am I sure that I really want it. The commute there was crowded (even at 8:30 to 9:30) and there was a delay on the Metro. We shall see.

I also had lunch with Jennifer at National Geographic. Man, she is awesome! I am totally kicking myself for not taking the ed production job at Simon & Schuster. My ass is black and blue. Things might be going south as far as freelance oppt. there though, which is a pretty big bummer.

Meanwhile, I am reading a book I got out from the library. (Yes, I went!) I forgot how scary/sketchy library books can be though. I think it gave me pink eye. Maybe it's the book or my mascara that's really bugging me right now.

I feel totally blah right now. (The book/pink eye/freezing my ass/probably not being employed at any capacity anytime soon is kind of a depressant.)

By the way, it was like 20 degrees today--and I was walking around in my suit and flats and a wool coat when I should have been wearing my Inauguration Day outfit.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

January 20, 2009, Part I

Note: Times may be off, but in order to access my phone to check the time, I would have had to expose my hand to the freezing air a little bit more than I wanted to, so most times are approximate.

3:20 AM: I woke up and got dressed: underwear, bra, heavy knit tights, thick knee socks, undershirt, thermal shirt, turtleneck, cashmere turtleneck, cords, scarf, Uggs, long down coat, gloves, and hat.

3:30 AM: Jon drove me to West Falls Church station to take the train in.

4:15 AM: I got onto the first train, but I was immediately pressed up against strangers and the doors.

Newport News had a camera guy in the train by me--people were eating the attention up.

I also made sort of friends/allies with some couple that must have thought I was fifteen because they were so concerned about me, which in my situation of being squished and overheated was nice.

For 13 stops (from West Falls Church to L'Enfant Plaza), people were trying to get onto the train. (The stop I got on was the third from the first stop.)

4:45 AM: I arrived at the Mall, but I couldn't gain access, along with a lot of other volunteers, to the north side of Air and Space Museum where volunteers were to meet up.

The Capitol building looked decked out and ready.

5:00 AM: Volunteers (and other folks too) found a way to get past cops. We went to our meet up spot.

6:00 AM: Our team went over to our area to cover (the second jumbotron on the left side of the Mall facing the Capitol; red arrow points to second Jumbotron on map below) where we were to help by giving information to people if they needed it.

A nice guy named Josh was my partner for the day. (He works at the patent office and is going to Catholic University for law school.) We waited for the sun to rise, griped about the hand warmers we were told we'd have, and learned to deal with freezing. Boy scouts and girl scouts were distributing the flags you saw on TV.

7:00 AM: Jumbotrons showed information about where to get warm, etc.

8:30 AM: The refreshment stand opened, and Josh went to get us some hot chocolate with the $10 stipend for food that we got. I held down the fort.

9:00 AM: A volunteer distributed hand warmers. I got one for Josh too. On the Jumbotron, they started showing the concert from Sunday, which was interesting to me because I hadn't seen it.

9:30 AM: Josh returned with hot chocolate, and it was the best hot chocolate EVER!

9:45 AM: I went to get more hot chocolate. On my way there, while trying to take photos of the Capitol during the daytime, I found that my camera battery was dead. I was bummed, but more cold than bummed.

10:15 AM: I returned with coffee for us (they ran out of hot chocolate, and the coffee was disgusting) and stuffed the hot dog in my purse for later. I got the hot dog to use up my stipend money: that is I spent $2 each for hot chocolate/coffee and $6 for a hot dog.

Inauguration day hot dog! (Taken later that day.) It was good.

10:30 AM: Josh told me that my camera battery was just playing dead because it was so cold. So I put the battery in my glove near my hand warmer. In the meantime, he took a photo of us for me.

11:30 AM: Things started to get good. Important people were showing up! My camera sort of worked sometimes!

Then people showed up that people actually recognized like Bill and Hillary!

And Obama! and that guy with the four-letter name:

At least Obama came out without that punk so people didn't have to cheer/boo them. When people first saw Bush on the scene, he was booed and that was followed by a round of the chorus: Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Good Bye.

12:04 PM: Obama took his oath:

Crowd shot:

Unfortunately, for the poet, but I guess fortunately for me, the area started clearing out around this time. Here's a better shot I took while cleaning up people's trash.

12:45 PM:
The Inauguration itself seemed to be over. I was so freakin cold and exhausted from being cold. I headed to the Air and Space Museum to seek refuge, warmth, and a seat. (The last time I sat was in the car with Jon that morning. And my hips and legs ached from walking down the stairs from the fire alarm incident the previous Friday night or maybe even from Kendo that previous Sunday morning.)

It turned out to be a very pretty day though still chilly.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stuck in Snow

Jon went to Boston this morning for a meeting, but his return flight was delayed.

What's this?

Just a little snow.

Goals: Week 6

Nearly forgot about my goals for this week. (By the way, if you like setting goals and seeing how well you keep up with them you might want to check out Joe's Goals. Jon uses it, but I don't really care for it since something like that sort of makes me not want to accomplish my goals if it's just going to yell at me about it.)

Email people to expand network.
Edit some more pages of Jon's Grandpa's autobiography. I said I'd get it done by the end of this month...
3) Beat last week's mTurk earnings.
Read more pages of Infinite Jest.
5) Go to the library.
6) Excel in interview on Thursday. Yup, I've an interview, but I don't know how I really feel about working full time again.
7) Get wedding dress delivery thing notarized.
8) Get flat rate box from the post office.
9) Fix up resume.
10) Finish four things on this list.

*Invitation design is done! Stefanie proofed it and everything. Now I just gotta mass produce and emboss it and tie it together and learn calligraphy/trace addresses and figure out Jon's parents' guests. Woo!

Baby Shower!

Mital and Gajan's baby shower was pretty awesome--with food from Roma's (the tortellini was divine), a chocolate fountain with fresh fruit, cake from Carlo's, and homemade delicious Indian food, oh and Mital being pregnant and all, how could it not be? Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the day to share, but I've included a few relics.

This is a photo of the card with the booties I made. I found the rustic ribbon somewhere in our apartment and wrote on it: "Made Especially For Baby S...[full last name, but in case Mital and Gajan mind their names being on the Internet] With Much Love" twice to tie the booties together. I put some cash in the card, put the booties in the glassine envelope that the card came in, used the remaining rustic ribbon to tie it together, and hoped that it wouldn't get lost in the shuffle.

We were a bit late to the baby shower because Jon and I had our last meeting with P.Diddy where he basically told us that we could get married. Now we just need to provide a certificate of Jon's baptism for P.Diddy, so that P.Diddy could send out the forms for the church to approve of him marrying us.

The directions to get there worked beautifully, and we saw a few signs pointing to the baby shower. Apparently, Hetal went out in her PJs to post them around the neighborhood that morning before setting up the rest of it all. All the cars parked on that one street also helped us find the place.

The party was down in the basement, but before we could proceed, we had a bit of paperwork to fill out: writing out name tags, guessing the number of Skittles, and signing the stuffed dog.

About half an hour later (kidding), we worked our way down and were greeted warmly by everyone. They had just finished playing a game based on fill-in-the-blanks on a napkin regarding the baby.

It was great seeing everyone, especially because I hadn't seen many of them for so long. We got to catch up a bit.

Mital even gave in to opening presents because at first she was really against it since she hates opening presents in front of people. Mital and Gajan got a lot of really cool things for the baby. Unfortunately, BabysRUs screwed up the registry somehow so she got a few double items.

Besides the napkin game that we missed and losing the Skittle guessing game, another game was for the men at the party. They were to eat baby food and guess the flavors. Jon, after much insisting, was going to participate, but once he realized how it was going to operate backed out.

Basically, each guy got one spoon and dipped it into the unlabeled baby food jar, tasted it, and then passed it to the next person. Even if double dipping into the same jar didn't occur (but it did) this would have been fine for at least the first round, however, there were 7 rounds with everyone using the same spoon as the first round. Also Jon would have been the final contestant at the end of each of those rounds, which grossed him out a bit. He bowed out.

What we learned from the game was that Gajan hates the pea-flavored food. I guess it's a good thing he tried it out before giving it to his kid.

I, however, won a game! It was the best game too because I was very good at it. I scratched my best with my nail, and it revealed

And while I did not win a baby nor a million dollars, I did win some rather tasty chocolate:


Monday, February 2, 2009

Birthday Pudding and a False (Fire) Alarm

On Friday, January 16, I was very productive if I do say so myself.

I got out of the apartment to deposit some checks and get gas for the ride up that night, then I went to H. Titty to get pudding ingredients (milk), and since it was FREEZING, I left my groceries in the parking lot to go to the GAP to return a sweater that Jon hated because it was too itchy and browse whatever leftover holiday sales there were. So I returned the sweater, bought a blouse and dress from the GAP, visited JCrew and Anthropology, and then went to PaperSource to get a shower card for Mital.

When I got upstairs, I needed to warm up, so I checked my reader and email before unpacking everything. Then while I was putting away the dishes, I also put away some know to mix things up a bit.

About halfway between doing all of this, I heard an alarm of some sort. It was either two or three "beeps" and then it would stop, and then it would start again. It sounded faint, so I didn't think much of it. About five minutes later, it was still going, so I checked out the window looking for the building on fire making all that racket. It looked calm and cold out, so I thought that maybe I should check my hallway to see if anyone else hears it.

When I went stuck my head out the door, I heard the alarm a lot more clearly. The silent parts? It was saying to evacuate the building immediately. The woman down the hall by the elevators was also in the hallway, but I didn't ask her what she was going to do--I mean the voice said to evacuate, so that was what I was going to do.

So I grabbed my coat, boots, and purse, and made my way down the steps. My cellphone was dead, so I couldn't reach Jon immediately to tell him that our apartment might burn down. Jon and I really don't have a plan for emergency situations, which is dumb because the survival book I worked on said to have a plan.

At around the eleventh floor, I got tired of running down and around and around and down. I was also a little more wary--I mean what if I was running straight into the fire? Jon and I live on the twenty-first floor, which is the top (besides the roof), so if there wasn't a fire on my floor, it had to be below us, if not the roof. And maybe tired isn't the right word, I was more dizzy than tired really. Anyway, it wasn't until about the sixth floor that I saw anyone else evacuating. And by the time I got to the lobby, a lot of people and their pets and kids were there. I guess it was a false alarm?

I was a bit traumatized, and I didn't want to stand around waiting for something to happen, so I went to Jon's building to try to talk to Jon about this situation. As I was exiting, a firetruck pulled up. I don't know what happened after that regarding the alarm.

I went to Jon's building, and I tried going up, but after 6 PM you need a key card to go upstairs, and it was about 6:15. Of course, I didn't realize this until I realized that I wasn't moving. So I gave my cellphone one last shot and called Jon down. We decided to eat some Thai food until it blew over and the elevators weren't inundated with people returning to their apartments.

By the time we got up, it was getting late, and we still had to drive up to NJ that night. I also still had to finish unpacking the groceries (they were still thawing out, which was a good thing since I hadn't put away all the perishables), make the pudding for my dad, and wrap the booties/write out the card.

The pudding didn't take too long. The recipe was very easy. Note: These photos suck, but we really had to leave soon or risk falling asleep on the road.

Pudding in the Pot:

Fancy star tins for the birthday boy (I love these tins!):

Cupcake tins (removed parchment liner) for single-serve pudding cups. NOTE: Pudding is hot so it is a good idea to use a muffin tin to support the sides while you are spooning it in as well as using it to maneuver so that you do not directly hold the muffin molds you have finished or are working on. I figured this out and left two of the molds empty for my hands to grasp--plus you can use the tin for transportation.:

While waiting for it to cool a little more, I wrote out the card and wrapped up the booties. Then it was time to go!
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