Friday, December 28, 2012

Wedding Planning Update: Flowers, Cake, Invitations

So I just thought I'd do a small update on my wedding planning so far. We have made some progress lately.  Already have a cake and flower vendor, and someone to do our invitations.
And even better news, my dress came in!  I went to try it on a few days ago and it fits SO nicely!  I was actually really surprised that it fit so well.  I don't think I will need to have much done for the alterations.  After wearing it for a second time and having it fit so well, I fell in love with it even more!  I wish I had a good picture to show, but the one my sister took from her phone was really blurry.  The dress actually has a corset inside, which I didn't notice the first time I tried it on because it was so big.  The woman there said it was good for me because I'm so petite.  I will probably go back to do an actual fitting sometime in March. 
We chose A Cake Life to do our cake.  We found them through The Wedding Cafe's Wednesday Night Workshop.  Kristen had contacted us through email after attending the workshop, and we scheduled a cake tasting with her.  The cake tasting cost $25 which we paid through paypal, and we got to try 6 different flavors.  She brought a selection of their most popular cakes, and we discussed our design and how the whole ordering process works.  All of the cakes were delicious and very moist!  We ordered 72 cupcakes (3 different flavors) and 1 round cake for the top of the display. Kristen has been really patient with us and it's very easy to communicate with her.  I'm really looking forward to seeing how our travel-themed cake will look.
For our flowers, we actually contacted someone we knew from high school.  Candi's Flowers is a business Alanas friend owns.  She has done flowers for many friends weddings and her prices are very reasonable.  I'm not a huge fan of flowers so I know I didn't want to spend that much.  We just ordered flower bouquets for us and the bridesmaids, a flower piece we could put on the arch (which she is also providing) and boutonnieres for the fathers.  We really didn't know where to start with the flowers so she was really helpful!  We've also paid the deposit with her, and I can't wait to see how they turn out!
Our wedding venue, Queen Emma Summer Palace requires us to have valet parking with 50 or more guests.  We also found Prestige Valet  though the Wedding Cafe.  I got a quick reply through email with a quote for the event.  I also attempted to contact Elite Parking who said they would email me back as they were working on the rates for 2013.  I still haven't heard from them, so we just went with Prestige Valet.  I thought it was a little weird that we didn't have to sign a contract.  We just paid a deposit to secure the date.  They also had great communication from the start and were really easy to work with.
I'm excited to see how everything will turn out!  It's actually turning out to be much more stressful than I thought it would be, but I'm glad to be making some progress.  5 more months to go!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dreaming of...Peru?

So this idea all started about a month and a half ago.  I was on my lunch break at work and saw a blog post linked on Facebook about hiking the Inca Trail.  I really wish I could find the blog, because it was really well written, but I can't seem to be able to find the link again.  Anyway, we had been debating for quite a while as to where we should go for our "honeymoon", and we were pretty set on going back to Europe.  However, after reading this blog, I was inspired to do something different.  I've always wanted to see Machu Picchu, and since we've already been to Europe I thought going to Peru would be a nice change of pace.
We had been looking at airfare for the last month or so trying to set a date to go.  I was debating for a long time whether I should use my miles or just pay full price for the round-trip ticket.  Luckily the ticket prices have slowly been dropping the past month, and the price just dropped $250 yesterday so we took a big leap of faith, and bought our tickets!  We leave May 9, 2013 for 18 days in Peru!  I'm excited, but scared at the same time.  If anyone has been to Peru or hiked the Inca Trail before, please let me know if you have any advice!
We still have to book our flight from Lima to Cuzco, as well as out 4 day trek to Machu Picchu.  We are probably going to go with Peru Treks after hearing a lot of good recommendations from different blogs, and on Tripadvisor.  I will update on how the booking process goes, as well as how we will be training for the hike. 
As far as the actual wedding planning goes, we have secured a flower, invitation and cake vendor and well as the valet parking that is required at our venue.  My wedding dress should also be coming in sometime in December, so I'm really excited for that!  It's really nice to see things finally coming together.  I can't believe we only have 6 more months! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Color Run: My Experience

The Color Run Hawaii
This past Saturday we did our second 5k run this year: The Color Run!  Claiming it's "the happiest 5k on the planet" it was so much fun! 
We actually stayed up really late the night before making our crayon inspired "District L" shirts.  We go there early, a little after 8:00 so we got to run in the first wave.  There were 8,000 participants and they were releasing the waves every 5-10 minutes.  I was happy to be in the first wave because at the starting line they were handing out free color run merchandise and extra color packets.  Unfortunately we didn't get anything because we weren't standing close enough to the front.
Overall the run itself was pretty easy.  The whole course ran through a residential area so it was paved the whole way.  There were 4 places on the course where the color zones were where volunteers throw color on you.  The actual color is in powder form so it does get in your eyes and mouth.  After the race was over, they had a color throw for all the finishers.  This was definitely a great finish to the race and it looked pretty cool watching it from afar (there are a bunch of pictures on the color run website). 

The only gripe I had about The Color Run was the parking and the traffic.  From the time we got off the freeway in Kapolei it took us about 40 minutes to actually park the car.  Traffic was so bad!  No one was there to direct cars and people were just parking anywhere, so it felt really disorganized.  A lot of people I knew actually had to park really far and walk a long way just to get to the start line.  Even though they have us a map of places to park, I felt like with 8,000 runners, it wasn't nearly enough.  The parking was free which was nice, but hopefully if they do it again next year, it will be better.
The color actually washes out pretty easily.  You can pretty much dust it off since it's powder.  Before I showered, I took a lot of it off with makeup remover and it came right off.  
Overall, it was a really fun experience and I highly recommend doing it!  I would definitely do it again next year!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pinterest Test # 2: Baked Chicken Taquitos

Baked Chicken Taquitos
I made these for dinner last night after seeing rave reviews on Pinterest.  These came out amazing, and they were so easy to make!
I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, except for the garlic.  I used about 2 teaspoons of garlic powder instead of the fresh garlic it called for, and 4oz of cream cheese instead of 3oz. After baking for 20 minutes at 425F they came out prefect.  Brown on the edges and very crispy!  They were also very flavorful and they tasted great dipped with salsa.  I would probably add a little more cheese next time, even though it calls for 1 cup.  But I really love cheese, so that's why I would have liked a little more.  Overall, these came out so good!  It's quick and easy for a weeknight meal.  Definitely something I would remake!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Engagement Photos

Yay!  We finally got our engagement photos in!  I was so excited when we got the CD in the mail.  Our photographer Shannon Sasaki was amazing and did such an awesome job!
We took our engagement photos at Hawaii Loa Ridge a few weeks ago.  We were both pretty nervous before the shoot and didn't know what to expect.  She did a great job making us feel comfortable and we actually had a lot of fun.  The photos were uploaded for us to view online by the next day.  After choosing which photos to edit we got the pictures on a disc a few weeks later. 
The pictures turned out amazing, and the best part was they were free!  They were actually included in the 6 hour package we purchased, so it was a really good deal.  I highly recommend her!  I can't wait until she does our wedding!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pinterest Test #1: Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
I found this recipe on Pinterest through a friends post, and I knew I had to make it right away.  We bought a bag of whole wheat flour and had been looking for recopies to make with it (other than muffins).  After looking through all the reviews, I decided to give it a try the other night.  I think most people are really intimidated by making bread, but this recipe was so easy!  It really helps that there are step-by-step directions with pictures on the site. 
I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, but instead of using a stand-mixer I did it by hand.  I think it might have been easier to mix the dough with a stand-mixer, but it's not impossible by hand.  It just requires a little more work.  The directions say to mix until it doesn't stick to your fingers, but even after adding a little more flour, it was still sticky.  So we just covered it and let it rest.  After the hour, it wasn't as sticky and it was easy to form the dough into rolls. The recipe also calls for 2T of yeast, but I used just under 2T, because after opening 2 packets of yeast, it still didn't equal that amount.
Al together it took about 2 1/2 hours or so, most of the time the dough it rising.  The wait time is definitely worth it, because these taste amazing!!  I brushed the tops with butter like the blog recommended, and I think they turned out great.  They are light and fluffy, and slightly sweet because of the honey in them.  We got 24 rolls out of this batch and had a lot of leftovers.  They keep really well in an airtight container.  We just reheat them in the microwave and it tastes just as good.
I highly recommend trying this!  Really easy to make, and it tastes amazing!  I think I will make this for thanksgiving this year.  Great find on Pinterest! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September Update: In Photos

Avington Coffee Table from Target
Our brand new Avington coffee table from Target!  Bought after a crazy drive, getting lost in Kapolei one night.  We actually intended to get a coffee table over a year ago, after we moved into our new place, so it was was about time.  It was really easy to assemble, and great quality.  It was about $140, but it's very nice and made from real wood. 
 One day a couple of months back, I saw a puzzle while shopping at Barnes and Nobel.  It was a scene from a town in Cinque Terre, Italy, and it immediately brought me back to last spring when we were there.  Although I've never done a 2000 piece puzzle before, I knew I had to buy it. Another reason we bought the coffee table was so we could do the puzzle on it, but as you can see, the puzzle is clearly too big, so we had to move it to the floor. 
 The above picture is after our first night of working on the puzzle.  It took about 4 1/2 hours to get this far. 
And this is the most recent shot, from a couple days ago.  It's been about 2 weeks since we've been working on it, and I've lost count of how many hours we've put into it.  We are planning to frame it after it's done, but I think that in itself will be a big challenge. 
Awesome lemon raspberry muffins!!  Made from a recipe I found on Pinterest made with whole wheat flour:
I'm thinking about doing a few blog posts reviewing recipes I've tried on Pinterest.  I've tried several others that have come out amazing, and they've become staple dinners in our house :)
Kainoa getting ready for a trip to the store!  We took him out to Petco last week.  I don't know if he enjoyed it too much, because he seemed more scared than anything, but he definitely enjoyed the car ride!

As far as wedding planning goes, we met with our florist last week.  We had a consultation with her, and hopefully will get an estimate by the end of the week.  We had out engagement photos done yesterday!  We had our engagement session at Hawaii Loa Ridge, and it was so much fun!  Our photographer Shannon Sasaki was amazing!  Even though we were both nervous at first, she was super easy to work with and so much fun!  We had a great time and I can't wait to see the pictures!
Work has been crazy lately.  I finished my training, and have been on my own for the past week.  Even though it's been super busy and stressful, I do like my job, and I'm learning a lot. 
Hope everyone is doing well!  Sorry for the lack of life lately has consisted of work and puzzle time.  Btw isn't it crazy that it's almost October??  I can't believe how fast this year is going!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Hunt For The Prefect Dress: Bijou Bridal

I first found out about Bijou Bridal a couple of weeks ago on Wedding Wire.  I was looking at different bridal salons in Honolulu and came across this one, which had just opened.  It was brand new (opened just a month or two ago) and I only saw one review on Yelp, which was 5 stars.  I decided to give this place a try, so I called to schedule an appointment for Saturday at 11:30.  Unlike Davids Bridal, I had no problem contacting them, and they were very friendly on the phone.
I arrived a few minutes late for my appointment, and we were greeted by a couple of ladies at the reception desk who were very friendly and energetic.  My consultant was Brenda and she was really nice.  She asked what kind of style we were looking for, what our budget was, and let us look through the racks to see if anything caught our eye.  We actually pulled 7 dresses to try on and she got me started in a fitting room.  The first dress I tried on was one I saw an a mannequin in the front of the store.  As soon as I saw it I knew I had to try it on, and I loved it!  Since it was the first dress I tried on, we went through the other 6 dresses but I didn't find anything I liked better than the first one.  A couple I really loved, but once I tried on the 1st one on again, I knew it was the prefect dress.  My mom and sister also loved the first dress too, so even better!
The customer service was great.  Brenda was really knowledgeable about the dresses, and gave a lot of helpful suggestions.  She wasn't pushy at all, and helped me find a great dress.  The showroom is actually pretty big, and I like that they allow customers to browse the racks freely.  We were the only people in the store, so everyone was attentive, but not overbearing.  As you can see in the pictures, the mirrors were huge and allowed you to see the dress really well.  The dressing rooms were also quite spacious.  They had a good selection of designers, but the dresses are definitely more expensive, compared to Davids Bridal.  I'm not sure what the range was, but the dress I chose was $1500.  They had a 10% off opening sale going on (until August 12), so I saved $150!  They didn't seem to have a huge selection of bridesmaids dresses (only one rack), but if you purchase a dress with them, you get 15% off bridesmaids dresses too. They are located in Honolulu, around Kakaako (600 Queen Street) right near the Bridal Boutique.  There is free parking in the building and appointments are recommended.
Overall, I had a great experience here!  I highly recommend this place!  I will make an update when the dress comes in.
Here are a couple of the dresses I tried on.  The one I chose is the last one:

David Tutera for Mon Cheri Solange #112209

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Hunt For The Prefect Dress: Davids Bridal

So the first place I visited on my search for the perfect dress was Davids Bridal.  I was a little hesitant after reading the horrible reviews on Yelp, but it's the only place open late on weeknights, so my mom and I went there on Friday night.  When I called to make an appointment a couple days earlier, I was put on hold for 10 minutes (wtf) so I just hung up and called back later.  They sounded a little busy and the second time I called I left a message with one of the associates who said she would give me a call back to see what they had available.  Eventually, I was able to get a 6:30 appointment on Friday.
Fast forward to Friday at around 6:00.  We got there pretty early and checked in with the woman at the reception desk.  She was very friendly and explained about discounts and perks you get with purchasing at Davids Bridal.  Our consultant was finishing with another customer so she told us we could look around until she was done.  I was actually really nervous to try on dresses, and I didn't really know what to expect.  It was a little overwhelming at first because it was my first time.  My consultant’s name was Maria, and she was pretty good.  She was very friendly and knowledgeable.  Since I had a favorites list saved on Davids Bridal online, she pulled a few from my favorites list and we worked from there.  I think I tried a total of 7 or 8 dresses, which was a little too much, in my opinion.  I thought a lot of them looked good on the hanger but not so much on myself.  I only found a couple that I really liked, but none that I loved.  A lot of the dresses has things I really liked and disliked.  I walked out empty handed, but overall had a good experience.  I had a pretty good consultant, and she wasn't too pushy (it's obvious that these girls work on commission) so that was nice.  I didn’t find any of the associates to be rude, like I had read on Yelp.  But I guess it really helps when you have an appointment.  They weren’t busy either, so maybe that’s why I had such a good experience.
I am going to the Bridal Boutique and Bijou Bridal next weekend, so hopefully I will find my dress soon.  I can’t believe it’s only 9 more months!
Davids Bridal Collection Style WG3477

Oleg Cassini Style CRL277

Davids Bridal Collection Style WG3263

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wedding Planning: Our Photographer

We actually started our search for a photographer several months ago.  We wanted to start early so we could do our research and make sure we could book our wedding date.  We did a LOT of research, reading reviews and looking at portfolios, and eventually narrowed it down to three choices:
Alvarado Photography
Pinky Photography
Shannon Sasaki Photography
As far as our budget, I was willing to spend a little more on photos, especially since we chose not to have a videographer.  We set our budget at around $2,000-$2,500, (for 5-6 hours) which is actually on the cheaper side for wedding photography.  We were also looking for someone who was really comfortable to work with, and LGBT friendly.  I started to email the photographers in April trying to get some price quotes so we could see who fit into our budget.  We got really quick responses from everyone, and I was quite surprised that everyone fit into our budget.  Pinky Photography was actually the most expensive out of the three, then Alvarado Photography and Shannon Sasaki.  Shannon's prices were very reasonable for wedding photography, and she asked to schedule a face-to-face meeting.
We met with Shannon about a month later.  She was so friendly and upbeat, even though we met so early in the morning.  She explained about the different packages she offered and her contract, and we got to see some prints and different samples of her work.  I loved her style.  It's very fresh, modern and candid.  Her prices were very affordable and she was lgbt friendly.  Soon after meeting with her, we decided to book her for our wedding.  I thought about meeting with the other photographers, but the price of her packages were too good to beat.  We chose a 6 hour package which was $1300 and included a free engagement photo shoot.  We haven't scheduled out photo shoot yet, but I'll definitely update when we do.  I would definitely recommend her if you're looking for an affordable photographer.  However all three we considered were reasonably prices for wedding photographers, so if you're looking, definitely check them out.
I'm also going dress shopping tomorrow!  Unfortunately I've been putting it off for quite some time just because I've been so busy, and it's hard to coordinate schedules with my mom.  But I got an appointment at Davids Bridal tomorrow, so we will see how it goes.  I've heard really bad reviews about the place, but I'll definitely blog about the experience.  We are also planning to visit a couple of places next weekend as well, so hopefully I'll find my dress soon :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: The Maze Runner- James Dashner

It seems like after The Hunger Games, YA dystpoian novels have become so popular.  I decided to pick this book up after hearing so many good reviews.  A lot of people say if you're a fan of The Hunger Games, this book is similar.  I hate to say, I would have to disagree.  Although I wanted to like this book, I finished it and felt a little disappointed. 
The concept of the story is pretty unique and one of the main reasons I wanted to read this book.  The main character named Thomas, wakes up in a box with no memories of his life prior to that day.  All he remembers is his name.  He wakes up in a place known as The Glade, a large meadow surrounded by a gigantic maze.  There are about 50 other kids living there, all boys around his age who came there the same way he did.  All the kids there are assigned varrious jobs, but the maze runners have one of the most important.  Their job is to solve the maze and try to find a way out, but it's definitely not easy.  The maze doors close every night and the maze walls change everyday.  On top of that, the next day after he arrives, a girl is sent there with a message, and everything is about the change.
Other than the interesting story line, this story was an easy read.  Each chapter has a cliffhanger ending so the story moves pretty quick.  The story is also a lot more violent than I thought it would be.  For a YA fiction piece, some parts I thought were a little graphic, but the action in this book will suck you in.  There were some parts where I was completely hooked, and others that were a little slower.
The character development was the one this I was really disspointed with.  It is severely lacking throughout the entire story, which sucks because I think the characters have so much potential.  Unlike The Hunger Games, it's hard to develop a personal connection with the characters, and you don't get emotionaly involved at all (at least I didn't).  Another thing I didn't like was all of the "unknown" factors.  I mean, it's ok to a certain extent (keeps you guessing), but when it's dragged out it gets old.  You don't really start getting answers until the last fourth of the book, and when you do, it's not as surprising as I expected it to be.  It took me about a hundred pages to really get into the story. In the begining, the kids in The Glade use different words (mainly substituting swear words), which I thought was an interesting choice on the authors part.  It turned me off a little at first, but it gets better as you read. 
I didn't exactly hate this book, but I didn't love it either.  It was an entertaining read, but I feel like it is definitely written for a YA crowd.  The concept I liked a lot and I thought it was different.  I actually liked the ending, and it almost makes me want to go out and buy the next book, but I'm not sure if I want to get it yet.  Has anyone read this trilogy before?  I've also heard a lot of good things about Divergent, which I'm planning to read next.  Let me know if you have any other good reading suggestions!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Challenge Nation Hawaii! My experience...

Challenge Nation Hawaii!  Pre-race
So today I competed in my first ever Challenge Nation race!  It's an urban adventure race/scavenger hunt around the Honolulu area.  Registration was $50, but I got a deal through Groupon which I only paid $20 for, and there was also a special registration price if you registered before May 30 which was $30.
This was their first year in Hawaii so there was a huge turn out.  There were about 650 people competing in teams ranging from two people or more.  I raced with my sister and the other half, and our team name was District L.
Each team was given a list of 12 clues.  We had to complete 11 out of the 12 and take a photo at each stop with all team members.  We could walk or use public transportation, and we were allowed to use smart phones as well.
The registration took place at Gordon Biersch at Aloha Tower.  We got there early, at about 12:00 (event kicked off at 1:00) to get our bib numbers and sign a waiver.  As 1:00 approached they asked for team captains to form a circle so they could start handing out the clues.  There was a short count down and the race started promptly at 1:00.  There was a huge rush at the beginning as everyone tried to get their teams organized and figure out the clues.  Our strategy was to figure out all of the clues first (or as much as we could) and then head out.  It took a few minutes to figure out the clues, but they weren't too hard.  
 Take a photo of a license plate containing X or Z in its license number.
 Find a person with an out-of-state drivers license and take a photo with them and your team making the shape of the state with your hands (it's supposed to be North Carolina)

King Kamehameha Statue
 Monday is officially his big day. Find the spot his likeness was drenched in flowers and give us the best impression of his pose
Kawaihao Church
 Find the "Westminster Abbey Of the Pacific". When the clock is pointing to a number (:05, :10 etc) snap a photo with your teams bodies spelling out HNL
Find this aPEALing object. You want the one given to Hawaii by the Department of Treasury in 1950, not the other replica in town.  When you find it, act out your most American scene with the target.
 There are two of these memorials in town that the guys in the next clue will never put out (HFD). Find the older of the two.
Mission Houses Museum
Take a photo with any building or structure older than 1850. When you reach it, act out a scene from that era in Hawaiian life.
Iolani Palace
 On the southwest grounds of this one-of-a-kind regal feature, you'll form a human pyramid.  You'll know you're in the right spot if you can see a coronation pavilion nearby.

Hawaii Theater
Find any stage, theater performance hall etc, that is not within 100 yards of any other clue site. May we suggest an old post office that's now a theater?  Once there, along with at least one other stranger or another team, act out your favorite movie or play scene.
 Find a screw that's not a Philips or a Flathead and is more than a whopping three feet in diameter. Give us your best maritime pose in the photo.
Did you know you were wearing a clue this whole time?  Find the ten coded digits on your body and ring them up to hear your next challenge:  Take a photo with any boat captain or behind the wheel of a boat.
We finished in 1 hour and 19 minutes, in 69th place!  Challenge nation was so much fun!  The clues were a easier than I thought they would be, and closer in distance than I had anticipated.  We were able to walk/run everywhere and finished in pretty good time.  There were 164 teams competing that day so I think we did really good.  A word of advice for future participants: read the clues carefully!  There are specific directions for each stop, and they do penalize you for mistakes at the finish line.  I would definitely do this again next year!  Has anyone else competed in Challenge Nation? 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What's going on?!

Aldo Wallet: Aragan in Turquoise
Wow, I feels like this happens every other month!  Once again, apologies for the lack of posts recently.  I feel like I just get so busy, I'm just too tired or lazy to blog anymore.  Just thought I'd update a bit :)
 I'm probably really late on this trend, but I've been in love with mint lately.  I bought a couple of mint colored tank tops at Forever 21, and just bought a new wallet at Aldo!  I think it's the prefect color for spring/summer.
I've been reading a ton lately!  I've read The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larson and Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.  I'm currently reading the last book in the trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest, which I'm about half way through.  It feels really good to be reading again!
Speaking of Game of Thrones, I can't even begin to express how much I love this series!  I just watched the season 2 finale this morning and I can't wait for season 3!  After reading the book and comparing it to the first season, I think the book was better, but the show is still great.  It's so addicting, and it makes me sad because I don't have HBO lol.  I'm planning to write a review soon about this series, so look out for that!  Does anyone else watch/read Game of Thrones?
As far as the wedding planning goes, we've been putting this off as well.  But we finally got the ball rolling again, and are meeting with a prospective photographer tomorrow morning!  Hopefully we will book a photographer soon!  We also decided on wedding colors which are teal and green.  If you follow my Pinterest I uploaded several inspiration pictures.  I'm also hoping to start wedding dress shopping soon, so I'll definitely blog when that happens.
Hope everyone is having a fantastic month so far!  I can't believe this year is almost half over!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

NOTD: L'oreal Club Prive

This is one of the newer colors from L'oreal and I believe it was released with their spring collection.  I've been looking for a good mint green color after my bad experience with Essie Turquoise and Caicos, and after I saw this at the drugstore, I had to pick it up.  I really love the color!  It's a turquoise/minty green color, but more on the blue side.  The finish is more like a jelly finish, which I've never used before, but I like it.  I was surprised that it looked so glossy with no top coat.  I love this color for spring!
The application on the other hand, was a mess.  Not as bad as the Essie polish, but it was still difficult.  I've never used L'oreal nail polish before so I wasn't sure how the application would be.  The brush is quite stiff and narrow, so it doesn't cover much of the nail.   It was hard to apply.  Even when I didn't wipe any excess polish off of the brush, I felt like it didn't apply much polish on the nail.  It was opaque in two coats, but the initial application was very streaky.  When I applied the 2nd coat it was a little sticky and I found it hard to make it look smooth.
So I guess I'm still on the hunt for a good mint green nail polish!  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April Myglam Glam Bag Review

Well I just got my Myglam bag for April.  I was really hoping for some better things this month, but I'm beginning to think this might not be worth the money each month.  I was pretty disappointed with the items in this month's bag.
First of all, the bag is absolutely hideous!  It's a gross metallic pink, kind of has a  fake leather feel to it.  It's probably just my opinion, but it's definitely not something I would use (perhaps if it were a different color.)  It feels very cheap and has a weird smell to it (like paint), very similar to the bag last month.  Here is what was included this month:
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Ransom
Dermstore Lip Quench Moisture Infused Lip Treatment
All-Belle False Eyelashes
Myglam All Over Shadow Brush and Eyeliner Brush
Like I had suspected last month, they included two more mini brushes.  The one they included last month came in a plastic wrapping, but these don't.  I'm not sure why, but I think it might be a little more sanitary that way.  The brushes are a lot smaller than the one from last month and don't feel so nice.  They're a little scratchy, but thankfully they don't smell nearly as bad as the other one I got.  I'm not crazy about the false lashes either since I don't use them.  I also wish the packaging was in English, or came with an English translation.
I'm pleased with the Urban Decay eyeliner.  I was scared I was going to get a weird color like the bright pink one, but I'm happy with the color I got (Ransom).  I don't really need another purple eyeliner, but this will be nice to try out.  I did try out the lip balm today and it's alright.  It seems to have a slight tint to it and a fruity scent, which I'm not that fond of.  But it is very moisturizing and a good size too.  I liked these two samples the best out of the bag.
I also noticed there was no full-sized product included this time, nor were there any coupons.  I feel like there is a lack of variety with Myglam.  We've already seen a bag with Urban Decay and Dermstore, two bags in the past have had Freemans products and we got more makeup brushes in this bag too.  It sucks to see that the products have been going downhill.  I feel like the first bag was so promising, but since then I've yet to find one that I'm impressed with.  I'm a little tired of getting drugstore and infomercial type products with Myglam.  I also feel like they only send skin/hair care products rather than makeup.  I think the first bag in December was all makeup, but since then I've noticed there have been less and less makeup products, so I'd definitely like to see more of that.  I think I will be canceling my subscription this month and sticking with Birchbox.  Although they are sometimes a hit or miss, I feel like they have more variety and I actually use the stuff I get in my Birchbox.  
Anyone else get a Myglam bag this month?  What are your thoughts?

Monday, April 16, 2012

NOTD China Glaze- Agro

This is the other color I bought from the Capitol Colors collection from China Glaze.  Agro is a really pretty olive green color with gold shimmer.  This color looks amazing in sunlight, when you can really see the shimmer. 
The formulation on this was great.  The swatch you see above is only one coat, so this polish is very opaque.  This polish was a little thicker than Fast Track so the application wasn't as smooth.  But because it was so opaque in one coat, I had to be really careful applying it.  It lasted quite a long time on my nails.  I wore this to The Hunger Games premier and it lasted a good 5-6 days without chipping. 
I'm really beginning to like China Glaze nail polishes!  Are there any other good colors you'd recommend?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wedding Planning: Venue Reviews

Sunset Ranch
Sunset Ranch
 This was one of the first sites we visited.  Sunset Ranch is located on the North Shore at the very end of Pupukea Road.  The view from this place was incredible!  It's also quite secluded and feels very private on the ranch which was nice. The woman who gave us the tour was very helpful (I can't remember her name) and answered a lot of our questions.
  • The rental fees were for an all-day rental (10am-10pm) and gave full use of the facilities.  They don't book more than one event per day.
  • Location!  The view here was amazing, and overall the property looked great (despite the storm from the previous week).   Unique location that not many people know about.
  • Allowed outside catering.
  • Outdoor and indoor space (they had a barn that you could hold the reception in), or you had the option of setting up tents on the lawn.
  • Guest suites were included in the cost.  You can use these for the day to get ready in and they included en suite bathrooms too.
  • Free parking on-site.
  • Price!  For a party of our size (about 80 people) it was $3,000 for the site.  This was the most expensive place we saw.  They were willing to offer a Kamaaina discount, and had a Facebook promotion that would take $250 off, but even than it was still out of our budget.
  • Bathrooms, although included in the guest rooms were only for brides and close family to use.  Other guests were to use the portable AC restroom trailer.   It actually looked pretty nice, but I could see a line forming easily (only one mens and one womans bathroom).  The concept was interesting, but I guess I would prefer something indoors.
  • The site was quite big, and I think almost too big for under a party our size.  Also, since it's on the North Shore it's a long drive for a lot of our friends and relatives.
  • No smoking allowed on property.  Not that I smoke, but a lot of friends and relatives do, so that would be a problem.
While this place was amazing, and it did meet a lot of our requirements, it was out of our budget and a little too big, which is why we chose to keep looking.  

Kualoa Ranch
Kualoa Ranch Moili Gardens
Kualoa Ranch was the second venue we visited, and this one was much more reasonable than Sunset Ranch.  They had several different sites that we could chose from, and the views were great!  The tour was very through and we got to see all the sites.  Kristi who did our tour was really helpful.
  • Price was reasonable.  For up to 150 guests, an all day rental was $1500, half the price of Sunset Ranch.  For certain sites like Secret Island, it cost more and there were time restrictions, but for the most part, the sites were reasonably priced.
  • Choice of different sites within the venue.
  • Allowed outside catering (at an additional cost)
  • Great outdoor spaces with nice views.  Each site also had a covered pavilion area which would make a nice reception area.  Good size for our party.
  • Free parking on-site.
  • Catering fee was something like $2.50 per person if we chose to use outside catering. 
  • Location was a little far, and through it is secluded some of the rental sites felt very touristy and felt a little dated.
  • They don't really provide an on-site room to get ready in. 
Overall they offered a competitive price, but I wasn't too keen about paying extra for the catering.

Hawaii State Art Museum
Hawaii State Art Museum Courtyard
This place was right in the middle of Downtown Honolulu.  I didn't even know the building existed, let alone rented the facility out for events.  The building looks nice from the outside, very European.  They had several rental options.  We didn't actually take a tour of this place, we just went there one day to look around.  I did email them for some information though.
  • Location is right in downtown Honolulu, so it's pretty central and convenient.  
  • Rental options included the lawn in front of the museum, or the courtyard upstairs.  I loved the courtyard and it would have made a nice and intimate setting for the reception.  There is also a nice open garden downstairs too.
  • Allows outside catering.
  • Prices quoted are only good for a rental period of 5 hours maximum.  I would prefer an all day rental so there isn't as much time constraint.  I don't plan on the wedding going all day, but it's always nice to have some flexibility.
  • Overall it's quite expensive.  Not as bad as Sunset Ranch, but considering it's only 5 hours it's not such a great deal.  For the courtyard option it would be $2400 for the 5 hour period.  
  • It's only available Tuesday through Saturday after 4pm, which wouldn't work for us since we wanted a day reception.
  • Because it is a museum, there are a lot of rules to follow in regards to decorations etc.  
I really liked the look and feel of this place, but for the price I think it's a little out of our budget.

Queen Emma Summer Palace
  This was actually one of the last places we looked at.  I started to feel like we were running out of options especially for our budget, so I was really happy when we found this place.  I actually heard about it from a co-worker who said he had been to a wedding here once.  Queen Emma Summer Palace is located right near Oahu Country Club on Pali Highway.  It's actually a historical site, but can be rented out for events.  
  • Very reasonable and budget friendly!  They actually have 2 sites you can rent: Prince Albert Terrace which is $400 for all day rental, as well as Emmalani Hale which for a party our size would be about $400, also for all day rental.  At a combined total of about $800 this is by far the cheapest place we found!
  • The site is really nice.  Small and intimate so I think it would be the prefect size. I think this would also be a unique place to get married, since it is a historical site.
  • Indoor and outdoor space.  Although the indoor space seems a little small, they also allow tents which would be nice for additional covered outdoor space.
  • Allows outside catering.
  • Parking might be an issue.  With a party of 50 or more they do require a valet service, so that would be an additional cost.  
  • Since this is a historical site, the palace hours will coincide with our actual wedding.  This place can get a bit crowded, at least it was the day we went there.
  • Weather could be a problem.  It's located on the Pali so there definitely is a chance of rain.  
So after going to look at this place and talking to some of the staff there, we decided on Queen Emma Summer Palace for our wedding.  There are some downsides, but the cost is definitely what sealed the deal.  It's incredible affordable and the place itself is really nice.  I think it would be prefect for a group our size.  We are hopefully meeting with someone on Monday to pay the booking fee, and that would secure the date!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wedding Planning: The Hunt For The Perfect Venue

Wow, the past few months have been pretty busy!  I'm finally getting around to writing this post, and I'm happy to say I think we have finally settled on a wedding venue!  Finding a venue that was within our budget and that met our needs turned out to be a lot harder than I thought.  It took us about a good two months of researching and visiting several sites to finally decide.  Here are some of the things we were looking for:
- Allows outside catering
Since my father-in-law offered to cater our wedding as their gift to us, this was at the top of our list.  This actually ruled out a lot of venues in town, namely hotels, that didn't allow outside caterers.  We found a couple sites that we liked (Laniakea YWCA), that we couldn't use because of this condition, so we just had to keep looking.
- Outdoor venue 
We really wanted to have our wedding outdoors.  This is Hawaii after all, and finding an outdoor venue wasn't too difficult, however I would have preferred to have a "plan-B" (aka an indoor space) in case of rain.  A lot of the venues we went to see had a nice big outdoor space as well as an indoor or covered area. 
Well, quite frankly we don't have a firm budget.  We have a rough estimate at about $10,000, but nothing really set in stone.  I think the cheaper the better, but finding a cheap venue in Hawaii wasn't easy!  The sites we visited ranged anywhere from $800 to $3000 for anywhere from 5 hours to a full day rental. We were hoping to find something under $2000, but again, the cheaper the better!
- Parking
We would have preferred free parking (or parking fee that was included in the rental fee) and something that wouldn't be a hassle for our guests.  Most of the places did offer free parking, but some would leave guests needing to find street or public parking, which would be really difficult.
- LGBT friendly
To be honest, this was the most nerve-wracking part of the whole process, for me at least.  We were fortunate to find that people were very accommodating and didn't get any negative reactions for anyone.  For most of the venues they had never had a same-sex couple married there before, so they were equally excited.

Now on to the list of places we were considering
  • Sunset Ranch
  • Kualoa Ranch
  • Hawaii State Art Museum
  • Queen Emma Summer Palace
  • Bishop Museum
  • Waikiki Aquarium
I will do a separate blog about each venue with pros and cons, and you'll see the one we ended up choosing.  If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

NOTD: China Glaze Fast Track

When the China Glaze Capitol Colors collection was released, I picked up two colors: Agro and Fast Track.  I had never used China Glaze nail polish before, but I have to say I'm really impressed with the quality and application! 
Fast Track is a really pretty neutral beige color with lots of gold shimmer, which looks amazing in sunlight!.  As soon as I saw the swatches for the collection I knew I had to buy this color.  It's a great neutral color and it's work-appropriate (compared to some of the other really bright ones from this collection.)  Application was nice!  This polish was more sheer compared to Agro so I used two coats here to build the opacity. 
Anyone else get polished from The Hunger Games collection?  What did you think?