Sunday, October 28, 2012

Baking a Wedding Cake

If you're not careful, your wedding cake will cost as much as you pay in rent.  So does one save on wedding cake?

I could say "Don't buy a cake" or "Buy pie or cupcakes" and be done with today's post but it wouldn't help much.  Not that they aren't good alternatives.

Before baking or buying a wedding cake, here are some of my thoughts about it:

The cake is usually cut toward the end of the reception.  Some people don't eat cake, and the only people that will go out of their way to eat cake are the guests that arrive late when the rest of the food is gone.  You just don't want to have a ton of cake left over.  

Dave's cousins love baking and offered to make our wedding cake!  I lucked out there big time. But you CAN bake your wedding cake if:

  • You pick an easy recipe.  We did lemon meyer pound cake.  This flavor turned out to be a huge hit at our wedding and Dave's cousins mentioned how much they loved the smell of lemon while baking in the kitchen.  Also, pound cake is the most forgiving and easiest cake to work with.  It's not likely to break like airier cakes and cause frustration.  
  • You don't care about ornate details on your cake like cala lilies, lace piping etc. But if you have a hookup with an MA in sculpting then you're good.  Fresh flowers arrangements done right can make your cake look stunning.  I loved how it turned out!  

Our wedding cake

The ingredients turned out to be roughly $150 for this 3-tiered cake shown and it was a decent size.  

Some things we did to save:

We had the top layer as real cake and the second and third tiers were styrofoam.  (I had a cousin who used Rice Krispies as an alternative to styrofoam that worked just as well).  Styrofoam turned out to be a good thing because (1) if it was all real cake, it would be so heavy to carry.  (2) We just had to do one slice during the cake cutting and still leave the cake looking nice to display through the remainder of the reception instead of a gaudy sliced mess at the cake table. 

We did sheet cakes with the cake flavor, but no fondant, just buttercream frosting for guests.  Very easy to do.  

You do not need 100 slices for 100 guests.  Like I said earlier, plenty of people skip on cake and the slices are pretty big.  You will be fine getting a cake for 50-75 people instead of 100 and still have plenty to spare even for 100 guests.  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mercury Glass

My wedding dress sale didn't go through today :( another seller beat me to it and the buyer bought another dress before my appointment.

Oh well!  That's how it rolls.  If the bride doesn't buy a dress the day she walks in the store or from a ksl buyer, chances are she'll go somewhere else.

So it's still for sale!


Ever see these types of vases, admire their antique silver-like appearance and wonder what they're called?

From Pottery Barn

It's called "mercury glass"

I think it is one of the most beautiful decorative pieces anywhere.  My favorite pieces are candlesticks and vases.  They bring more light and sparkle to your living space.

They are sold in a lot of stores.  It is possible to DIY them but I just prefer to buy.

Here is a picture I took at Z Gallerie at Fashion Place Mall

This is at Home Goods across the street from Fashion Place.  Exactly the same stuff "at a price that will make YOU 'Home Goods' happy"

Some people collect the real deal of mercury glass, but I'm not really into collecting and trading antiques so buying the authentic thing is not much of importance to me.  I just want to get the right pieces for our house.  I'm thinking about buying a couple to place on our console table, which gets the most sunlight in.  

I've seen them at Pottery Barn, Z Gallerie, West Elm and Home Goods.  Home Goods has the best price for them, but the stock always keeps rotating bi-weekly, so it's important to check often.

Can't wait to get my hands on some of them soon!  They are perfect for the holidays and all year round. 

Financial Mistakes to avoid before your Wedding Day

I did my research before my wedding (probably for years) to avoid the financial mistakes I heard about when wedding planning.  Read some of these tips to avoid these mistakes.  There are tons, but I'm listing the most common ones.

USE A CREDIT CARD as much as you can for all wedding deposits and purchases (assuming you pay all balances in FULL each month).

In wedding photography and bakeries, it's standard to pay in full before the service is performed, so in case the service was shoddy or the cake was wrong/gross, you can dispute the charge on your card until the vendor fixes the issue.  It may be a bit cheaper with cash, but it is much better to use the credit card to protect yourself as a consumer.

Know EXACTLY the policies and terms of NON-REFUNDABLE deposits before you reserve anything!  Anything!!!
Deposits that are required to place an order on a gown, reserve a videographer, photographer, reception hall, view online invitation proofs are non-refundable.  Read the fine print on the vendor's policy on cancellations, change of date, etc before you make that non-refundable deposit.  On average these deposits are $500!!

Get an itemized receipt of your cake, caterer, reception costs, photography stuff, and gown etc, keep them in a safe place.

Keep an Excel spreadsheet of expenses and guest list
Dude, no joke, I showed my dad my wedding planning spreadsheet.  He took a look at it and said:

"Wow this a business plan?"

Okay maybe it was over the top but it worked.  From the number of guests, I could pinpoint how many invitations we needed, postage, food, and other things.  It worked out so well for us.  I linked worksheets together...if one guest was added it would change numbers on my other worksheets.  Haha.  So try that or another method that works best for you that you don't go overboard with budget or lose track.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

7 Reasons not to Have a Wedding Registry

If you were invited to our wedding, you would remember that we didn't have a gift registry.

A lot of people were on the fence with me about that.  I heard:

"You'll get seven crockpots/vases/toasters etc"

"You're doing a disservice for people that want to get you a gift"

"You won't get what you want"

And other stuff.

I convinced Dave that we shouldn't register for gifts.  My reasons were as follows:

  • Registering eliminates the surprise factor for the recipient.  
  • Registering eliminates the creativity and imagination factor for the giver.  
  • Registering gives away how much people spent on your gift.
  • Registering limits the giver's shopping options as well as ours.  I love many stores...I couldn't get myself to pick "the one" store to get all our things that are essential for married life, as told by sales associates everywhere.  Truth is...the ONLY thing that is essential for your married life is your BRIDEGROOM.  
  • People who REALLY want to get you a gift, do want to get you something you like.  
  • Anything we got as a gift was good; we didn't have anything homey since we were both living at home with our families prior to marriage. 
  • I wanted to test out a theory I made up:  that being, we were less likely to receive duplicates by not registering.  If we registered for a crockpot, chances are somebody is going to look for one similar to the one on our registry and get one that's cheaper.  That's how people get stuck with a ton of duplicates, according to yours truly.  

We ended up with a butt load of gifts. After returning from our honeymoon, it took us FOR-EH-VAH to carry our gifts from the car to the apartment...the elders were at the apartment complex and helped us carry gifts to our place but it still took a while!  It took a while to open all of our presents too, it was long but so much fun!  So many wonderful surprises!!!

We received a ton of cash gifts and gift cards.  We never mentioned anything about wanting monetary gifts (you shouldn't ask for money anyway) and it helped us get pretty much everything else that we still needed.

We also got a lot of beautiful gifts that we couldn't have thought of ourselves had we registered.

The only duplicates we got were:
  • 2 vacuums
  • 2 handmixers
  • 2 sets of knives
  • ZERO crockpots.  I received one for my birthday later though :)

We kept and returned one of each duplicate.

That's what happened when we didn't register for wedding gifts!  

Did couples really end up with seven toasters before wedding registries were invented??

Selling your Wedding Dress Part II

Wow more traffic for the wedding dress post!  You should read it again and again HERE

I'm having writer's block with home decor but I've got plenty to share on wedding stuff...particularly money related.

If you are on the market to sell a used (or maybe unused) wedding dress, try some of my tips, I think they'll help you increase your chance to sell your dress!

For me, the goal was to recoup some of the costs of my gowns, not make a profit out of it.  Plus, two wedding gowns take a ton of space and I wasn't interested in keeping the gowns for posterity's sake.

I had been engaged once before.  The first gown I paid $250 for and then my wedding was cancelled.

Fast forward a year later, I was blessed to marry Dave.  I gained a bit of weight and didn't fit in my gown.  I also started thinking that for a bride that had her previous wedding cancelled, I should "one-up" my wedding dress; a better gown for a much, much better groom!!!

Being engaged a second time around also brought a different attitude in how I felt about wedding planning.  I just didn't feel "bridal"

But when I tried on my second gown, and after placing my order, I felt like a bride!!  The dress was $970, which was in my price range.  I took the advice of one of my sisters "If you can spend a lot, spend a lot".  I don't think it matters and shouldn't judge much whether you spend $100 or $10,000...if you can afford it, go for it!

I sold my first dress for $200, and my goal is to get $600 for the second gown.  If the sale goes through, I would have paid as much as someone who had rented their gown from Pamela's for $420.  Or bought two dresses for $210.  See my logic?

Getting my chola face on

Since today is my husband's birthday, I want to post this picture here:

The day my wedding was cancelled was probably the most painful thing I've experienced to date but it turned out to be one of the best.  My Heavenly Father prepared me in becoming wiser and ready to marry Dave.  Thank you my love for choosing ME, for accepting ME, for loving me, for being patient, kind, and generous.  You are far more important than myself or any problem I face.  I am so happy, happier than I ever expected marrying you!  Happy Birthday!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why I BUY instead of DIY a pillow

My blog is sure not a DIY and crafts blog.

Some reasons I avoid the DIY route.

Don't have much space to paint furniture, I'm in an apartment.

I don't have a sewing machine

I don't know how to use a sewing machine (ok, I could look it up on YouTube but I'm lazy and come up with excuses ).

For me it is easier and cost-effective to buy instead of DIY.  I figured that buying a pillow ranging from $15-$30 is less costly for me than to:

Buy fabric

Buy a sewing machine

Buy fabric scissors

Buy the right thread

Spend my weekend working on something that would be a Pinterest fail.

It's just not my thing at the moment.

Sometimes I see stuff that is store bought that I think looks a lot better than what I could attempt with DIY...

4 ft sunburst mirror I bought for $80 at Tuesday Morning.

Before deciding to buy the mirror, I looked at some options.

I looked at DIY sunburst mirrors on Pinterest,  I either didn't like them or couldn't make time to make a cool one.

Blah DIY

Super cool mirror.  Learn how here  Sunburst Mirror DIY

I then looked at price comparisons of similar mirrors at other stores and I figured for the price, it was a good bang for my buck.

Everything you see in this picture I did not DIY. 

*Sigh*...I may not be as frugal but I'm helping the economy, yeah?? :)

Why DIY when you can BUY!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Power of Pink

This weekend was good.

Note from Alina: If you clicked on this post from Pinterest for the HERE

On Saturday after selling the wedding dress, I discovered that Fashion Place Mall opened a Z Gallerie.  I love how the store sets their interiors by color and how it's all glitzy.  I haven't bought anything there yet, but I like going there just to look and be surrounded by all da bling-bling.

That's me, peeps 


Z Gallerie's bedding usually is geometric prints.  I can't recall seeing any floral/solid for a while now at this store.  


Today I was planning to go back to Z Gallerie but I decided to stop at Home Goods instead.  The store re-stocks every Monday and Thursday with new items so there I went!  They are ready with their holiday decor, so beautiful.  There's no point in buying a tree for our apartment but maybe I should buy ornaments anyway....

"tis the season to be glitzy!"

There are a lot of Buddha statues at every decor store I went to.  I'm trying not to fall into the Latina stereotype in which I get a porcelian Buddha, cat, or elephant in our living room

 Left: Z Gallerie Buddha water fountain.  Right: Home Goods Buddha for $40 at the $25 and under shelf

Left: $300 Italian chest.  So exquisite.  Right:  Modern bright red coffee table for $250.  Beats what they have in Ikea IMO

 I liked this red section at home goods.  Lots of great stuff

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month I thought about getting something pink.

House Beautiful (the most legit home decor mag IMO) March 2011 issue.  Yes! Men do love pink ;)

For our wedding we compromised with our favorite colors.  Dave loves black and I wanted pink.  It turned out great and it is such an EASY wedding color combo.  (Black, light pink, and ivory)

Our wedding cake!  It was lemon flavor.  Yummmmy!

 Then I saw this!!!  A rosy pink ruffly pillow located in the little girl's section.  I asked Dave if I could buy it.  It was $15.  There was another one but decided to buy one today.  I think I may buy the other one too but not sure yet.  It is in our guest room.

It's so fluffy I can die! Lol.

Readers...should I go buy the other pillow tomorrow?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

10 Tips for How to Sell Your Wedding Dress FAST

*Edited on 8/7/2015 for aesthetically pleasing text and a few grammar changes.  Original post on 10/12/2012

Today I sold one of my two wedding dresses!

I will say that it took me a while but I learned a couple of things from the sale for anyone that is trying to sell their wedding gown in Utah.

Here are some of my tips to sell your gown fast:

1.  Don't use Craiglist to sell your gown!  I only got scammers when I posted my ad.  Here's how to avoid them: 

  • They use incorrect spelling and/or grammar.
  • The area code is out-of-state AND they don't introduce themselves
  • They always send you a text message like this: 

  • To screen a scammer, always ask them something to the extent of "Hey!  You should try the gown in person to see if it fits and if you like it" It's a legitimate thing to say to a potential buyer and it screens scammers because they're not willing to do deals in person.  I asked this to one of the many scammers in both English and Spanish because initially I thought this person just didn't know English.  Check out the response below...

        {I always report scammer phone numbers to this agency HERE}

2. Use your local classifieds.  I used, the local listing for Utah. 

3. Be patient! I kept renewing the ad several times for a period of months after our June 2012 wedding.  Hey wait a minute...isn't this supposed to be "How to sell your wedding dress fast, Alina??"  Why yes it is.  Keep reading below.

4. Renew the ad on a Saturday before NOON.  Before, I would always renew my ad during the week on my lunch breaks.  But Saturdays is when most brides surf the classifieds online and visit bridal shops.  I did just that today and within an hour I got a text that didn't sound scams and it sold at 3pm!  I didn't publish the text because of confidentiality.  A legit buyer will send a text message like this:

"Hi alina!  My name is _______.  I was wondering if you still have the dress you posted on ksl?"

5.  Create your ad NOW, asap after your wedding.  The fall/winter months are the best times to sell a used wedding gown.  Lots of people are going to get engaged and plan on shopping for The Dress first thing before anything else within this time.  Plus it's hard to get a ton of cash if you decide to sell 3 years down the road. 

6. Make sure that your ad has the buyer's questions answered before she makes the call.  The size, color, where you bought it, is it clean or not, any alterations and the price.  Be honest, don't make someone go out of their way to try on the dress to find out it isn't what they thought.  Don't waste their time and lose a sale! 

7. The price must be right if you want to make a quick sale.  Start with 50% of the original price and increase/decrease it from there on facts such as the style, the year of the gown, condition, where you bought it, and the brand.  I like to keep the price at increments of 100s because it's a cash sale and too much of a hassle fiddling around with $1, $5 bills and coins.  Be open with OBO in your add if you're selling the gown at $500 or more.  

8. Clean your apartment/house to a "T", get your pets/kids out of way and have a full size mirror.  No one wants to do a deal in a stinky place.  You want to show people you really loved your gown that much, enough to care for it after the wedding and maintain it in decent condition.  Your living area should reflect that too.  Dress to impress, obviously you are not in a business suit, but wear a darker wash jeans instead of yoga pants and comb your hair and put on some makeup. 

9. Post enough pictures of the gown ell your gown faso that buyers can have a great idea of what the actual gown looks like.  Front, back, detailing etc.  It really does help to post your own picture with the gown on instead of on a hanger.  

10.  If somebody calls you to see the gown today/last minute (and in my case, less than an hour of the renewal post)...

You Say "Yes!"
(to the showing, not to The Dress ^_^) 

The longer you wait between a scheduling a showing, chances are they'll go to someone else to buy another gown.  Give the buyer an incentive too.  When I spoke to the prospective buyer on the phone, I told her I would throw in my goofy bridal slip at no cost if she wanted to buy the gown that day.  

To end today's post, I'll post a picture of the dress that was sold and how the bride saw it when she came over to the apartment.   Sorry this is not a blog quality picture, this was taking on an iPhone 4.   

Farewell lovely gown! You made a bride-to-be feel beautiful and so happy today :)

Good luck with selling your gown!  Please comment below with any suggestions, opinions, or questions on selling your gown. 

**NOTE If the real reason for trying to sell your wedding gown fast is because your wedding got called off, please read this post  HERE

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Why Dave is Home?

I love home interior magazines and dream about my future home being featured in one of the magazines I adore reading!  And show off!! 

Getting married was the thing that really made my imagination for decorating come to life.  In college I didn't give much thought.  

After our wedding, I wanted to show people what we bought to decorate our apartment and make it our first home so I kept posting tons of pictures on Facebook.

It got to the point where I realized I wanted to share my pictures with everyone and possibly get feel feedback (positive or constructive) hopefully from people that know what they're doing.  And talk about interiors, colors, furniture, etc.  

How I came up with the blog name:

Well....there's this golfer named Davis Love

And my husband's name is Dave.

I didn't want to do "Dave is Love" or "Alina + Dave" because it would seem like a newly-wed blog which I didn't want.  

You know, those blogs that have the girl always writing about their weekend, their "adventures" and "trials" and how they made smoothies and cook together and how they're so awesome in love, 


then they stop writing for months because there's nothing to write about their married life.  

Yeah, not for me.   I hand-write all that stuff in a journal which all the juicy details will be released to the public upon my death :) 

I realized I love two things: 

1. Being home with my husband after a long day of hard work for both of us
2. Decorating our place and anything that needs decorating/design in the home.

Then the thought came!

"Dave is Home"

This name hadn't been taken yet as a blog name, it was meant to be!!

To end this post I'll leave a picture of the two of us: 

(For those that want to know but don't want to ask, Argentina + South Korea = Awsum babiez)
June 1, 2012.  It was a beautiful day!
Wedding Photography by Amanda Abel

And this:

 It's true!  The best thing I have at home is the man I share it with.  He is gracious, generous and kind to me and everyone else.  I love being with him.  

I could live in a cave or trailer park as long as I'm with the man I love!  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Good luck in Yellow

Just  quick blog post today as I like going to bed at a reasonable time

Yesterday's dinner was Chinese and my message in my fortune cookie said:

"Focus in on the color yellow tomorrow for good luck!"

I'm sure that fortune worked pretty darn well for everyone today
 with the exception of  Lance Armstrong, who stepped down as the chairman of the Livestrong Foundation today...what a bummer.

On a brighter note, yellow is the color of being happy!  It is used for gender-neutral nurseries. can the color yellow work best if you're thinking about using it as a paint color?

Yellow (or canary, mustard, buttercream, golden rod etc etc) paint works best 
if your room has a lot of natural light exposed for the majority of the time, or lots of big windows.  I've noticed this as I browsed through pictures with yellow color schemes.  

Here is article from about decorating with yellow. 

I know there was a specific article on yellow PAINT from BHG but I have to look back at my magazines and go find it because it's not online.  Once I find it I'll post it or at least reference the issue and page number. 

Yellow accessories are fun.  I don't have too many things in yellow but here are two photos of mine:

This is from the model apartment.  Our kitchen is exactly the same as this one but we don't have the accessories.  I love a yellow lemon and green lime combo, obviously a practical combo anyone can do

Yellow Bamboo table cloth from Williams-Sonoma that was  on clearance for $20 instead of $90.  It's a bit big on our table but I don't care, I love it.  They had one also in green.  

Anyone trying out yellow in interiors or elsewhere?  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lighting in Your House

About two weeks ago, my neighbor downstairs came to visit me to work on an activity for the young girls in our church group.  Our apartments have the exact same layout, but she noticed that our living room seemed lighter than their apartment. "I should have gotten lighter furniture!" she exclaimed.  I told her no, the only difference from her apartment to mine was the lighting we had; we added an extra floor lamp to our room and we are on the top floor, we get more light coming in that way.  
Our first piece of furniture in our bare apartment, May 2012

The September 2012 Real Simple issue on page 127 had a great article interviewing this one lady, Melanie Freundlich who specializes in custom light spaces. 

This is a great article for anyone who wants to improve their interiors with lighting and good thing it's online for everyone to read!  Melanie clearly explains how to illuminate your rooms to its prime, right here

So to end this blog post I'll post a pic of our living room again, this time with the lamp in the picture.

Our living room July 2012

Shopping list
  1. Throw pillows are from Target.  The end pillows were on clearance for $15.38 each.  They have a nautical Newport look to them, I'll take a picture later of those pillows later...The ruffly pillow by Xhilaration was roughly $20
  2. Sectional was from a discount furniture store now called The Warehouse off 6600S and 900 E, next to the RC Wiley. About $600-$700 tops (off topic...we saw couch like ours featured on "Hardcore Pawn" on TruTV one evening.  Are we ghetto or what!?  Hahaha!
  3. Coffee table was on clearance from World Market for $100.  This is a super good table.  
  4. The lamp was from Target.  Can't remember how much but again, gift cards from the wedding.  And it lights up the space very well.
  5. Centerpieces are from Pier 1 Imports. I think the blue was $40 and the faux plant was $14.  I love it, it reminds me of our beach honeymoon in Newport! 
What are some things you do to lighten your living space or life in general? (and I apologize in advance for the cheesiness of this question ^_^)

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Blueprint for a Clean House and Broken Heart Survival

On Sunday, the current Parade cover story featured an interior designer I haven't heard of called Nate Berkus.  Why hadn't I heard of him before?  His ideas are fantastic and so relatable to regular joes like me.

He lost his partner in a tsunami.  Losing someone you love hurts. A whole lot. "How to Survive the Loss of a Love" was a book that saved me when I was going through one of the toughest times of my life, before I met Dave.
{You can read reviews and order it on Amazon by clicking here}

Anyhow, back to the Parade article on Nate Berkus, he is launching a new home goods line at Target on October 21...less than a week!  I went online to to preview his new collection, it led me to the Target webpage, and there is a video of him and another design enthusiast, Nicole Gibbons decorating from his collection!  Jealous!!  The collection is beautiful and I can't wait to acquire some pieces, especially the chevron vases that look similar to this:

{originally from the Made by Girl blog}

Lastly, Parade had an exclusive video feature of his design tips.  I won't share all of them here, because this is deserving of viewing here:  VIDEO

His best design tip, which I agree and try my best to follow is to....clean your house!


{images from WikiHow: Clean-a-House}

What's the point of buying all of this beautiful stuff if you put paper, bills, clothes, and other stuff all over the place to hide it from all of its glory and beauty??  This tip has been around for generations of the matriarchs of my family.

That being said, I'm posting a picture of our living room.  I cleaned it just so I could take a picture of it to post online.  As Nate said, it costs nothing except for your time. But it pays off.
{Living Room: Dave is Home}

What do you think of the Nate Berkus line for Target?  What about his design tips on this past Parade issue?