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!