Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Trouble in Paradise!

One random-sample pat down, turbulent flight and missing tolietry bag later, I've arrived in Hawaii.

As we did not have any wedding-related work planned until the start of business hours Monday, we did like any respectable tourist, and headed to the beach. Ala Moana beach park, to be exact, as it was close enough to my parent's hotel and a tad bit cleaner than Waikiki's pools of sunscreen.

After a bit of snorkeling, Sak and I sat on the beach mats to get some sun. For fun, I muddled around taking ring shots on my toe.

As you can probably guess, my ring was quite sandy after this, and I didn't want to put it on. I gave it to Sak to hold while it dried enough to flake the sand off. He put it in his lap. Then, while my brother and I took pictures of my parents in the water, Sak stood up.

It took me about three minutes after that to remember that my ring was not in it's normal spot on my finger. I threw a look to Sak, waving my empty left hand around expectantly. His face fell, and my heart with it.

"I don't have it," he said.

Panic knocked at the door, but I refused to let it in just yet. How far could it have gone? It had to be around here somewhere. We started searching the towels and beach mats, pockets and beach bags, even the snorkel gear cases in case it had fallen inside. My brother wondered what we were up to, and his eyes grew wide at the news. He eyed the area I most feared. The sand.

Could it have fallen off the security of the mats, into the unforgiving, shifting sands? I will not lie, I was very upset at this point, but Sak had just about lost it. Infinite apologies were uttered every couple of seconds. All three of us sifted through the sand over where Sak had been sitting, feeling between the sticks and stones for one small piece of metal.

My parents, who were in the ocean with my sister, looked back to see our frantic efforts. To an outsider, it probably looked like we were simply playing around in the sand. My dad came over, interested, only to flip out at the news. Immediately he began crafting plans of finding a metal detector (not exactly useless anymore...), but my mother came up from behind and calmly stated that it couldn't have gone that far.

Five minutes turned into ten, which turned to fifteen, each minute more nauseating than the last.

I ran my hand over an area about a foot from where Sak had sat. One pass, two passes, three passes...something shiny caught my eye! It was my ring! It was about an inch and a half down in the sand, and practically a miracle that we found it. My dad huffed and puffed for a bit, and instructed me never to take it off again. Sak, still feeling that it was all his fault, went to go pull the car around for us. It was safe to assume we were all effectively "beached-out" at this point (except for my little sister, who had no idea what had happened, and did not want to leave for the life of her).

So the moral of the story? Be careful with beach ring shots. Be very, very careful.

(Apparently not such a rare type of accident?)

Have you had any "near-misses" since your engagement started?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Or in Hawaiian, Mele Kalikimaka!

See you in paradise!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


It's Christmas Eve, and how am I spending the day in the freezing coastal town of Salinas, California?

Getting my toes done, of course!

Unbeknown to me, Mom-Penga had arranged pedicure appointments for us girls (herself, sister and myself) in preparation for our impending Hawaii trip. (Not pictured is Dad-Penga's spray tanning appointment...just kidding!)

Can I say this is important for a bride to worry about? Of course not. But when you plan on taking plenty of beach pictures with sandals and bare feet, it certainly doesn't hurt.

Especially when you have the nastiest toes on the face of the earth. I apologize for the image, but I have this horrible bad habit of chopping my toenails off too short - every, single time. Most recently, this over-zealous clipping resulted in half of my big toenail accidentally tearing off (sigh).



Luckily, the salon artists restored my poor toe to normalcy! The filled-in nail not only looks better, but will keep sand from rubbing against the weak, thin parts of the torn area.

I think I'll need another pedi before the wedding, since the chances of me messing up my toes again is just too high. I do really like the pinkish color I picked today, but for the wedding I'll probably match "our colors" and go with a red shade.(And if you're ever in Salinas, Hollywood Nails is the go-to spot for cuticle care!)

Anyone else splurging on a mani/pedi before the "big day"? What will your wedding-toes look like?

The Unofficial Officiant

Recently, Sak and I were presented with another hurdle the destination wedding decided to throw our way. Officiants. Sure, it would have been easy enough to book someone already in Hawaii, but we had to be difficult, didn't we? You see, we have the blessing of being quite good friends with one of our pastors, and it just seemed like a perfect idea to have him marry us. More meaningful, perhaps, since he already knows us as a couple.

So we talked to him, and as luck would have it, he was already planning a vacation with his family there that same summer! And as they hadn't firmed up their plans yet, they moved their schedule around our date.

At this point I was pretty happy, we had our officiant, and he was someone I knew, what could go wrong?

Saka-Dad, even more practical than Sak himself, pointed out: "Is a California minister legally allowed to marry people in Hawaii?"


Well, as it turns out, no - they are not. Only folks licensed by the state of Hawaii can perform Hawaii marriages. It makes sense, I just hadn't thought of it.

So we could either -
a) Get legally married at the Honolulu courthouse, and married before God with our un-licensed Pastor.

(source) At least it's pretty!


b) Have our pastor apply for a license to perform weddings in Hawaii.

The grand master plan? Try for B, and if it fails, go with A.

Luckily, becoming a licensed officiant in Hawaii isn't that hard. You do need, however, to show proof of your ordination papers. When we let our pastor know this - he cringed.

"I'm not technically ordained." He said.

Errr. WHAT?!

The color drained from my face. Yet before I could contemplate the concept of being deceived by a man of God, he continued to explain that his ordination papers misspelled his name by one letter, so it was very difficult to "prove" his identity with them. He just hadn't bother getting it fixed since it didn't effect his ministry in Salinas.

I wish I could say we have a resolved problem at this point, but I can't. At this point, our Pastor has tasked himself with getting his ordination papers corrected, and then we will try again on getting him a license for Hawaii.

To celebrate our Pastor's eventual certification, I think we should give him his very own
wedding conch shell

So the moral of the story? Going out of your home state to another state or country often includes laws on what you can and can't bring in. This includes officiants!

Are you using an officiant you know? And has anyone else had trouble "importing" their officiant to their wedding?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Because 7 Dresses is Just Not Enough

Engagement photo time is coming up soon, and it seems I have more outfits than necessary. Well, what's one more?

Noting the suggestion of needing a shorter, solid-print dress, I picked up this B. Darlin dress from Ross for $8.99:

messy house alert!

It's a taaaaddd tight on me, but hey..it was $8.99 and it has pockets! I couldn't refuse.

However, it is strapless. And I'm scared of the effect gravity may have on strapless dresses, so let's add a halter, please.

Taking a piece of white scrap fabric, I cut out two, 27" x 4" strips.

I sewed them in half length-wise, flipped them inside out, and stitched them onto the dress by hand.

That's all there is too it! Just tie the straps around your neck!
I even tried some red lipstick for effect!

Such a poser!

Do you think it helps the overall look any? It certainly helps my "please-don't-fall-down" fears, so mission accomplished!

And to go with my dresses, I also picked up these shiny silver sandals for $12.99 (also from Ross).

We'll add to that some hair flower pins borrowed from a recent bride/family member.

And a crocheted jacket for the windy-side of the island?
I think we have a winner! My first white dress ever!

Then Sak, curious as to my parading around in a dress all day, ended up wanting to play dress up too. Who knew that he just happened to have a white silk shirt lying in the back of his closet? Unfortunately, he ran away before I could snag a picture, but you'll see him soon enough!

We're ready for some pictures now! Let's go!

How many engagement outfits did you (or will you) have?

Scouting Schedule

One of the biggest set-backs to planning a destination wedding is the inability to see anything in person. One is forced to rely on wedding planners, internet pictures or local family members in order to make large dollar decisions on venues and vendors.

Luckily for me, however, we're taking a scouting trip very, very soon. I'll finally get to see, in person, the places that I've booked months ago. But the battle is not over yet.

We won't be in Hawaii very long - only a week. And that week happens to include New Year's Eve and Day, which means all businesses will be closed. Yet somehow, through many e-mails, phone calls and one accidental double booking, we have a schedule.

A three day, super-compressed, meet-the-vendors schedule.

Now, to make sense of the many back-to-back appointments, I drew up a little timeline in Powerpoint:

Sweetly dubbed, "A page so everyone's on the same page".

I plan to hand these to Penga-Mom, Saka-Aunt, Penga-Dad (who doesn't really care but would probably like to know where we'll be), and the occasional stranger that wants to tag along.

I also double-checked all the appointments with Sak, making sure it's physically possible to drive from one appointment to another within the given time frames. Even though Hawaii may be physically small, their highways are notorious for traffic jams during certain times of the day.

With a schedule in place, I'm feeling more confident about the upcoming trip. Now if only I had the time to go through and "pack up" the necessary inspiration photos, we'd be all ready to go.

Anyone else meet with multiple vendors in a single day? How did you stay organized?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yukata? Yes!

My mother called me today, to tell me a certain international package had come in the mail! (I usually have packages sent to her house since my apartment complex is prone to "misplacing" boxes.)

She went ahead and sent me a few pictures of the contents:

Two brand new yukata from Sak's parents in Japan! Whee! If you remember, I previously wrote about how much I wanted to wear something from Sak's culture for our wedding. Now it looks like I'll be able to - at least for engagement pictures!

I love how the geta (shoes) also match the yukata fabric!

The geta are worn with tabi, which are socks made to be worn with sandals.

I have a collection of them, actually. Like a complete nerd, I used to wear them around college with my Rainbow sandals on cold days. However, for some reason, they are all made with printed fabrics. I'll need to find some plain white ones for Sak and I to wear!

We'll also have to figure out how to wear it properly - tying an obi (sash) is no joke! It can become quite complicated if you have an intricate kimono on.

(source) Just look at all the stuff going on in that belt!

Luckily, I'll probably end up only trying a butterfly obi knot. It's much simpler, and commonly seen on yukata. Isn't it cute?

Sak will use the men's obi style, which looks like significantly less work:

The yukata were sent to us ahead of our engagement picture time for the sole purpose of practicing with the obi tying. I've got about a week to learn, but I think they will make for some pretty awesome photos!

Anyone else have cultural outfits that require instructions? Are you wearing any as part of your wedding or engagement ensemble?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Penga's Quick and Dirty Line Art Tutorial

Ever have a hankering to make professional and fully custom motifs, designs, monograms, etc., all on your own? You too can create pretty, crispy lines like the ones floating around on my save-the-dates, program comics, and the pictures I've done for you, dear readers. Yes, I know you want to. Let's walk through it together!

Tools: I'll be using Adobe Photoshop CS2, but the method is more or less similar for other versions. You'll need a starting picture to vector over, some good music to jam to and your mouse-clicking hand. (Note: The following method is only one of many to create decent line-art. For me, this is one of the simpler and faster methods for PS. I understand there are far easier ways to do this in Illustrator, but unfortunately I don't have Illustrator ($$$$)! )

1) Open up the graphic you want to trace in photoshop. It can be a picture of a flower you like, someone's head, a drawing, whatever! I'll use a photo of a peony I found on wikipedia, and a sketch of one of my custom mons for our example. It doesn't matter what the image quality looks like at this point, just pull something up. (Note: click the images to make them larger!)

2)Now, in order to get a nice, clear crispy looking image, we'll want to use a high resolution. Go to Image -> Image Size, and use a big number. Typically, I'll use 300 pixels per inch for simple images, but if I'm really worried about quality, I'll up it to 600. Keep in mind that the higher resolution you use, the larger the file size will be, so be careful if you have computer memory limitations. After you change your resolution, your image may appear larger. No worries though, just zoom out until it's a normal looking size again.

3)Next, let's set up our working surface. If your "layers" window is not already visible on your screen, go to Windows -> Layers to pop it up. Now make a copy of your background image by right clicking the "Background" layer and copying it. Delete the original layer that has the symbol of a lock on it. We'll want to modify this image, so we don't want it locked.

4)Now let's pretend we're sticking a piece of tracing paper over the picture. Slide the opacity bar over to lighten your picture (mine is set to 50% in the image below). This will make it easier to see the new lines you're going to draw on top. (And if your pic is black and white - go to Image -> Adjustments -> Color Balance and change the color to something else. That way you can see your black lines when you trace over them. )

Once you change your opacity you'll notice that you can see through the image. You may want to add a blank white layer underneath the image layer for better visibility. Just use Layer -> New -> Layer to add another layer.

5)Add a new layer on top of the picture. Click on it to make sure the little paintbrush icon is highlighted. That means you're working on that layer. You don't want to end up tracing on top of your original image, since you won't be able to seperate the lines that way.

6)Now it's time to pick what kind of pen you'd like to trace with. You can play around with this until you find something you like, which can be fun since there's so many options (you can even make your own!). For now, I'll use a default pen setting ("Permanent Marker Medium Tip"). I changed the pen diameter to 5 pixels instead of 32, since I want fairly narrow lines.

7)Double check that you're still on the new empty tracing layer and then click the pen/vector tool. It looks like this:

8)Click first where you'd like to start your line, and click again to draw a segment. You can continue doing this for as many segments as you like.

If you click and hold, you can bend the line by moving your mouse around. That's how you get those clean curves.

Now, if your last segment was a curve, and you don't want to continue that curve, press and hold the "alt" button down and click the last point you made. This will allow you to continue making rounded segments as you please.

9)Once you're done drawing your segmented line, right click and pick "stroke path".

Then press "OK"

10) Now you should have your line. Right click the mouse again and say "delete path". The line is now complete!

11)If you want tapered ends, click "simulate pressure" button after going to "stroke path".

12) If you'd like to fill in a block of area instead of making a line, click "fill path" during step 9 instead of "stroke path".

8) Continue stroking lines and filling until you're finished!

9) Once done, delete or hide the starting background/image layer. You can hide a layer by clicking the little "eye" in the the layer window.

You can now save and use these images however you like. I resized mine down to a smaller pixel size (not smaller pixel per inch size!) and saved as a .jpeg.

Easy no? Now I have a pretty peony to stick on some wedding stationery of some sort. :)

Show me what you can do! Or share your own tips and tricks if you're already a pro!