Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sewing machine!

Remember my post about how I never DIY and I don't sew and don't own a sewing machine and stuff like that?


I got a  sewing machine  as a present from my mother-in-law!!  She spoiled me and Dave big time with other Christmas presents too (camcorder, clothes etc).

This looks promising, right?

I am so excited.  :-D

Now that I have a sewing machine, and to show utmost graciousness for my MIL's gift...I will learn how to use it!

And make something...

Like this.


Or this:

Barbie ® Outfits!

Something to do with Dave's old T-shirts...

......wait a second.  

I'm just posting baby related stuff to make!  

Hee hee!  NOT PREGNANT but eventually. 

Speaking of babies, my SIL had her baby boy last Monday :)  

If you want to be happy, hold a newborn :) :)

Also I want to reorganize the guest room.  It is a disaster.  We literally have no more closet space.  

This room needs a lot of single-life stuff decluttered.  Plus I need to make room for the sewing machine!!!

I want this to be a room where I can escape into a creative and crafty mode after being in a cubicle for the whole day.  

I love my job but I never want to do what I do at the office at home.  Ever.  
When I'm home alone, I just want to do stuff like crochet, scrapbooking, calligraphy, and now, sewing.  

Plus I can only fund these pastimes with a paycheck.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

10 Reasons to Have your Reception at the LDS Cultural Hall

Here's a novel idea on how to save big on your wedding.

Rethink the location!

In Utah, expect to pay about $3000-$4000 for a venue with a buffet on about 200 guests.  If a sit-down dinner, expect 2-3 times more of the costs.  While this may not seem like a lot, for some people, it is a lot of money to spend on for a few hours.  $3000-$4000 is a decent amount of money to spend on furnishing a 2 bedroom apartment.  Furniture lasts longer than a reception.  

I could say use someone's backyard or marry at the beach.  But this post is to convince those who really want to save money to...USE THE LDS CULTURAL HALL.

This was a good post of the cultural hall wedding.  Read HERE

Cultural Hall?  Ew Alina.  No way.  Not the basketball hoops or court floor....  

Well think of it this way: people are going to the reception for YOU.  Not because of the reception location.  Otherwise, they're not really your friends!

A former work colleague shared with me great insight about his parents.  His family is mega-rich and his dad is a CFO of a huge corporation in UT.  When his parents got married, they had their wedding in a backyard and his mother's dress was $50.  And guess what he said?

"The people you invite will probably spend the same amount on your gift regardless of the location"

Honestly there are so much pros going the LDS Cultural Hall route.  Mainly because you have control as a consumer and avoid the hassles that come with booking a venue to catering

Here are 10 reasons.

1. Tables, chairs, and tablecloths (ivory or white) already stocked.  No need to rent these items.

2. Kids can run around in circles around the cultural hall, you don't need to worry about them knocking over some vase and paying for it. 

3. You can reserve the hall for up to two days. No overtime charges or pressure of setting up within an hour of the event. 

4. No worry about outside elements.

5. LOTS of parking.  No need for valet.  

6. Accessible restrooms already stocked with toilet paper.  Accessible for wheelchair access! 

7. Accessible and decent kitchen to prepare food. 

8. You can bring whatever food you want and save big there.  A lot of the food I've seen offered at reception venues for a 
buffet is really meager and you pay a lot for it.  

9. Can fit groups of 200-500

10. It's free.

Well what are the cons?  There aren't many.  

1. DIY--decorating the cultural hall is tons of work.  A lot of people will skip out and go pay a venue to do this (especially the cleaning up part).  Even if you have no family in the area to help, it is very rare you don't have friends in the area who are willing to come help you out and decorate. You will find out who your real friends are, they will drop everything to come help.  We helped some good friends of ours with decorating their cultural hall reception the night before the ceremony when they had no family in the area, and we even brought our 1 year old in tow.  Were we tired? Yes. Would we do it again? Yes. 

If you are worried about the cleaning up part after the reception...just hire a cleaning service to come help you out after the party's over.  It will cost way less than paying a venue to do it. Most likely a venue outsources their cleaning too.  

2. No lit candles.  But most places won't allow them anyway.  

3. The basketball hoops.  But in the end, seriously, no one cares about them!  People like seeing the cultural hall decorated and want to eat good food. 

Our reception was at a cultural hall and it was great.  I've uploaded our wedding pics so you can get ideas.  It wasn't a fancy reception but it was lovely and happy :).  No matter how big the party is, the end result is the same -- you got married!  And that's what matters!  I have yet to meet anyone that was disappointed for having their wedding at the cultural hall but more people disappointed with their choice of venue (expectations not met, low quality of service, lots of money wasted etc). 

When people get married they need to plan beyond the wedding, and what things can cost after the party is over.  Furniture costs a lot!  Also rent!  

Looking back, I'm glad we chose wisely and saved our money for after the wedding. 

 No need for chair covers.  People just need a place to sit, eat, and talk. 

Even now I don't regret the basketball hoops :) 

Lots of people =FUN

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tips on Buying a Wedding Gown without going broke

Dave and I have been super duper sick and quarantine ourselves to separate bedrooms in the evenings.

In the meantime my diet is Gatorade and popsicles to sooth my throat.

It's soo sad!!

Anyhow, a new post...

In this economy, Wedding Dresses can be expensive!  How can you not go financially overboard with a dress?

You can borrow or rent a gown but this post is for those who are BUYING a dress at a STORE.

If you are a bride reading this blog... you will find a gown you will love! You will!  Just keep reading below


Look up on Google or BBB for reviews of the stores you're going to.  Some reviews you can easily tell that they were written by upset divas but you'd be surprised how some bridal shops are run by shady people.  Examples of what they do:

You put your deposit down but the store doesn't use the deposit to order your gown.  They would use the deposit to pay their other bills and order your gown at the very last possible minute.  That's how some brides get their gown late.

Or purposely order your gown in the wrong size so that you have to use their in-house seamstress (this is the cash cow of most bridal shops...especially David's Bridal).

I say this all the time in the my blog USE YOUR CREDIT CARD to avoid losing your money to dishonest and/or unprofessional wedding vendors.

Then go to stores where they're likely to sell gowns in your price range.  You don't want to have a $500 budget and go to a boutique where gowns start at $1500.  If you're not sure, you can always call or email the store ahead of time.


Did you know bridal shops sell their gowns to other stores to make room for their new gowns??

There are two that I know of in Utah and gowns start at $50-$99.  They usually don't go over $400.

Angell's Originals located off 40th South and Highland Drive in Salt Lake City.  Their flagship store is Fairy Godmother's Bridal.

BX2 located at Union Square on 94th South and 700 East in Sandy.  Their flagship store is Bridal Expressions.

They are worth checking out!!


Get an idea how much alterations cost before purchasing your gown, if possible.

Temple fills are the most expensive alteration ranging $200-$400 alone.  Keep that in mind before buying a strapless gown.

Most bridal gowns need a bustle...but you can learn how to do that on on YouTube!

The more ornate or intricate the gown, alterations will run higher.

If you need to alter your gown, go to an independent seamstress and save at least 40% of alteration costs that you would in-store.  I recommend Jen Jackson. You should also check out her facebook page, she does a great job with temple fills!


These are the best!

Bridal shops sell their sample gowns before Christmas to make room for the following year.  A sample is the gown you try on at the store, and then the store orders the one like the sample in your size.

Samples are usually in excellent condition because of the fabric.

You should go to this one!!! Next Saturday!!!!  This store carries fancy designers like Anne Barge and Monique Lhullier.

Alta Moda USED to carry Vera Wang and was the only store in Utah that did but not anymore :-( so you'll have to drive down to Las Vegas for your Vera Wang gown.

But anyhow...GO!!!!!!

You can find additional information HERE

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fabulous shopping spree and food poisoning

Yesterday was fabulous...until dinner

We've been married 6 months as of yesterday! No pulling a Kim Kardashian on this one, hah.

We decided to celebrate by going out for lunch and dinner, and shop for clothes and other goodies the entire day.  We went to Melty Way, a grilled cheese sandwich shop for lunch and it was good. Dave stopped at Dick's sporting goods to buy a gift for one of his brothers.

I stopped at Bed, Bath, and Beyond to browse but didn't buy anything since I didn't bring my 20% off coupons. There was an engaged couple there with their scanning gun and list...I pity the fools. Read my registry post HERE

I stopped at the Dollar Store for Xmas decorations but didn't see anything I liked.

At Target, I picked out a sweet gift for my sister-in-law. Target had women clothing for 30-70% off clearance too.   

We stopped at World Market for some wrapping paper and funny ornaments.

Then we headed off to the mall! I stopped at Nordstroms and Sephora and ended up with funky colors of nail polish from Sephora for one of my sisters since she loves nail art. Dave went to J Crew to buy an outfit for Christmas with my family. At J Crew, they have these suede flats in pretty colors. I saw a pair of bright blue flats my size that were marked down to...$49.99!!! Retail is around the $130 range. Even better, J Crew had a sale yesterday of 30% off your entire purchase. So these Italian leather flats ended up costing me $35. That was way cheaper than what I've seen at the J Crew outlet in Park City.

You can find the shoes HERE  The color I have is "AZURE" blue.  I hope to get other pairs in black and "jazzy purple"

One of my favorite uncles once told me that because of my age, I needed to budget more for better grown up clothing and decent haircuts and color. 

That, and other factors were what pushed me to shop at stores like LOFT and more recently, Ann Taylor. I like these stores because most of the clothing fits my frame and work well in and out of work. I'm slowly weaning into pants that aren't the color of denim so I bought grey pants along with a pretty and delicate ivory knit sweater. HERE and HERE

We stopped at Crate and Barrel and purchase another ornament.

After shopping we went to Olive Garden. Our waitress was a sweet gal but she had a bad day since she didn't come to check on us often and she forgot my soup. We could tell she was crying. Dave ordered a chicken alfredo pizza which we ended up sharing since my soup never showed up.

I fail at reminding myself that when I get sick at restaurants it is usually from:
1) cheese on pizza or 
2) grilled chicken not cooked all the way. 

Within minutes, my stomach was acting up and off to the restroom I went. It got worse and my meal ended up on the bathroom floor.

This lady in the bathroom heard what happened, offered to help and she went to go get Dave ("He's Asian. And he's wearing all black").  I took a hot bath when we got home and Dave went to the grocery store. 

Along with what we planned to get grocery wise, he got Pepto, Popsicles (for hydrating with the sensation of eating) and a mini Xmas tree!  That made me feel better.

My stomach felt iffy throughout the night so I didn't make it to church today. 

Interestingly enough, I had food poisoning the day after our wedding. Inconvenient coincidence.  I think it was from traveling between airports (germ-ville) and because I was sweating soo much underneath my dress and got extremely dehydrated.  So, DRINK MORE WATER THAN USUAL ON YOUR WEDDING DAY.

At Olive Garden, I did barf on my black flats but they were old, inexpensive pairs from Payless. 

My new pair of flats will make for that pair which Dave threw away, along with the leftover pizza.