San Diegans, go eat this cupcake!

Well, I really suck at this whole bridal diet thing because I just can't stop eating food that tastes good. I ate an amazing lemon cupcake at Influx, a super cute cafe in San Diego. The boy and I had sandwiches+lattes+cupcake there, and after we ate it we were slightly disappointed that we didn't find this place before ordering at Sprinkles. If you live in San Diego and are in need of a cupcake fix, I highly recommend this place! Out of every cupcake I have had in San Diego (and I have had A LOT of cupcakes,) this is by far the best.

Bloggers in other cities--what's the best cupcake in your neighborhood?


The Communal Aspect of Wedding Websites

Earlier this week, A Los Angeles Love posted her thoughts on this Wall Street Journal article, which basically outlines how much money you would lose in the long run if you never had a big wedding. I was annoyed at the patronizing tone of the advice that the article gives at the end. I'm making my invites and all the paper products. Making the centerpieces. We're not even having a DJ. We're not even having cake, they're cupcakes. No planner. No coordinator. No rehearsal dinner. No Sunday brunch. And I'd still get a big fat lecture from Brett Arends about my lack of a retirement plan.

Today the boy sent me this follow-up article from Yahoo Finance. This paragraph stood out to me, given that I think of myself as a pretty active member in the online wedding community.

Now throw in the community aspect of Web sites, and the battle to steer clear of the $18,000 wedding is nearly lost. Commiserating online with other brides-to-be on floral arrangements, DJs and videographers hardly inspires independent thinking (and budgeting). We take our consumption cues from our peers and often embellish them, writes Ron Wilcox, author of "Whatever Happened to Thrift: Why Americans Don't Save and What to Do About It."

Did Laura Rowley not do any research? Does she not realize how many blogs out here in wedding land are devoted to the chic yet cheap wedding (10k Wedding, A Practical Wedding, 2k Wedding...just to name a few) and that message boards are flooded with budget and pricing questions?

Before I complain some more, I do see her point. If we see enough lavish weddings or trends then we begin to think ZOMG I REALLY NEED THIS, THIS, THIS, AND THAT FEATHER HAIR PIECE (because that's what I thought/wanted yesterday).

I admit, I like pretty things. But, c'mon. We're smarter than that. We rely on each other for information. We share tips and strategies and new ideas so that we aren't cut from the same tulle skirt. We don't just see the latest Sylvia Weinstock cake and all of the sudden must have it and then commiserate with one another about how we all can't have it. No, one of us would probably try and copy it and then post DIY instructions so we can all have one!

I proudly think that we are all independent thinkers and researchers who are just trying not to get shafted in this big wedding world and still like looking at pretty pictures. It's an infinitely better community of people than the whiners that Yahoo Finance describes.

To my friends who are in the thick of their wedding planning--thank you for being part of my community.

Birthday Cake

[Chocolate ganache from Bristol Farms and candles from Papyrus]

Happy Birthday to my friend Melissa! We had Indian food at Punjabi Tandoor and chocolate ganache cake. I'm happy but stuffed like a pinata.


Honeymoon: Check!

[Images from Lonely Planet Kyoto and Tokyo]

We booked our plane tickets yesterday and will be spending 10 days split between Tokyo and Kyoto, and maybe a day trip to Mount Fuji if we're not too exhausted. Let the unnecessary amounts of planning and research begin!

(I'm the one in the relationship who insists on making itineraries and planning on where to eat and on what day. Drives the boy nuts.

...We're going to have so much fun!)


Collaborative Mini Guest Book

[From Elise Blaha's mini book collection]

A guest book is something we have only recently thought of, even though I was pretty gung-ho about it pre-grad school craziness. (Actually, I was pretty gung-ho about everything weddings pre-grad school, but it seems all of my creative energy is being zapped by academia).

I was thinking of doing a poster in which everyone signs their names (like this amazing piece from Anna Bond,) or a cute poster that people could sign around an adorable graphic (like this cutie pie from ellothere,) or I thought of doing a blurb book of old pictures of us throughout the years (like this one from Deanna and Jesse's wedding, one of my all time favorite weddings in the blogosphere).

All these ideas got vetoed by the boy. He didn't want to hang the poster up, and he didn't want old pictures of us, because god forbid our friends and family know what we looked like before 2002. Instead he suggested everyone decorate or write or do whatever the hell they please with a piece of paper, and we would combine them all to make a book. Hm. Did the boy actually come up with a wedding idea that wasn't 1. totally sarcastic or 2. used to make fun of me?

Enter the collaborative mini guest book! For inspiration, I'm turning to the queen of mini books, the very talented Elise Blaha of enjoy design. Haven't visited her blog yet? Well, she too is getting married and offers scrapbooking workshops and other goodies to buy, so I insist you go visit it now! All her mini books have such character and I love how each one is unique.

For tips on how to make a mini book, visit Elise's tutorial here.


We Might Stay Here #1: Claska, Tokyo

We were thisclose to buying our plane tickets to Japan last night. My fault really, I was too tired to get back on the computer and instead decided to read under the covers. I'll update once it's official. =D

I also wanted to thank everyone for their input about typhoon season. After checking weather history and our own schedules for 2010-2011, we realized that skipping the country wouldn't be possible...well...for a very long time. A long weekend away we can manage, but a couple of weeks? It just won't fly in the future with our school and work schedules. We even talked about ditching Japan altogether and going somewhere new, but our arguing just put us right back where we started. SO...

We're going to suck it up and hope for some sunny days and eat a lot of ramen to compensate for any bad weather. You can help me pick out rain boots later this year.

I've also been doing some obsessive hotel and ryokan research. I'm a fan of boutique hotels, and I've realized that they don't really exist in Tokyo. Every time I do a search on tripadvisor I'm bombarded with a lot of business hotels.

But, I did find one that looks promising. I'm intrigued by Claska, an arty 9-room boutique hotel located outside the city center that was voted hotel of the year by Wallpaper Magazine. It's further from the action and would require a good walk to public transportation, and it's not exactly cheap but it also isn't as expensive as the Conrad Tokyo or the Park Hyatt which are both hovering in the $400-500+ USD a night category. And, we all know we need that extra money for ramen and paying for the wedding.

Onward with the research! If anyone has any hotel tips, feel free to shoot them my way!


Check, Check, and Check!:Updates

+I purchased our lanterns today! I bought 36: red, grass green, pink, and this dahlia print lantern that Abbie suggested. I think they are going to look so pretty above the dance floor. Thanks for the great suggestion, Abbie!

+I was debating whether or not to get people parasols (our venue is going to be HOT, and I mean temperature-wise, not sexy) but I didn't want to spend $4-7 on a parasol for each person. Instead I only bought one, for my grandmother, who really does need it at her fragile age. Sorry guys, you'll have to endure 15 minutes in the sun or you can temporarily use your programs as sun shades before you hop back to the tent with chilled drinks.

[Parasol for my grandmother]

+My parents went cake tasting for the Chinese banquet. My Dad went cake tasting. CAKE TASTING. This is the man who wanted a worklight for father's day. "It was great, we just ate for an entire hour while he drew pictures!" He was referring to pictures of the proposed cake. According to my Dad, "chocolate does not go with Chinese food" so that flavor is out. To compensate for the lack of mocha and banana cupcakes in San Diego, one entire layer will be mocha (the boy's favorite) at the banquet, and one will be banana (my favorite.)

+We booked a hotel for the wedding night!

Still up in the air...
+The invitations. Which give me a headache just thinking about them.
+Decor: potted plants, garlands, pretty things, etc.
Inspired by the EAD post about Coca-Cola, I was thinking about getting a bunch of green bottles (like the one below) and putting red flowers in them. What do you think? The big problem would be who I'm going to get to help me drink 20 something bottles of soda, and who will help put the flowers in the bottles the day of.

+Fabric backdrop--I may purchase lots of yardage of this which I think goes really well with everything else.

[Hop dot cherry from Heather Bailey]

+Some other stuff I'm not remembering now because my brain is fried! We're movin' along.


Love Cookie

[Love shortbread cookie from Extraordinary Desserts]

We managed to celebrate with some late night dessert! Here's an absolutely adorable cookie (I asked if they sold them in bulk, thinking of our wedding, but alas, they don't make these any other time of the year!) that we brought home after we had chocolate bread pudding and chocolate chip ice cream. Hope your Valentine's Day was just as yummy. :)


Happy Valentine's Day and Asian New Year!

[Semi-homemade Valentine's Card from a good friend]

[Paper cut of a tiger from my mother]

Happy Year of the Tiger and Happy Heart Day! The boy doesn't get home until 11 tonight when I pick him up from the airport, so I hope this holiday doesn't totally consist of me doing homework and my laundry. Then again, I do like clean clothes. 

Have a great holiday everyone!! xoxo


Will We Regret Going to Japan in September?

I'm interrupting my daydreaming to other cities for this very important question.
[And I'm having a crappy week and only got 5 hours of sleep, so I'm focusing on something happy that I will actually get to experience--our real honeymoon.]

The only month that is open for us to take a honeymoon relatively close to the wedding is September because of school. We hear, from the reliable source that is the Internet, that September is typhoon season in Tokyo. For anyone who is familiar with Japan, what do you think? If we go, are we going to be rained on and hating life, or do you think it could go either way? Your thoughts are appreciated.


I'd Like To Stay Here #3: W Hong Kong

The other day, I was watching a Yan Can Cook special about noodles. I basically craved Chinese food all week, I think we ate it four times in a row after I watched 30 minutes of Martin Yan eating noodles.

[Side note: my sister met Martin Yan and got the boy and I a signed copy of Martin Yan's easy cookbook. We now have Martin Yan's well wishes for a happy marriage.]

If I were in Hong Kong and had food coma, this is what I'd want to drowsily stare at--this gigantic, amazing butterfly mural!

Actually, I would probably just want to lie by that amazing pool, not necessarily sleep here (although I guess I wouldn't mind that either.) But it's all about the pool and that mural. Such great eye candy.

[Images of W Hong Kong from The Cool Hunter]



I'd Like To Stay Here #2: Ikies, Oia, Greece

When I think "honeymoon" I think of Greece, and most likely my picture looks a lot like what Ikies offers to its guests. I'm in love with the last photo in which you can move in and out of the room via a jacuzzi. It's in the Collector's House Suite (which also has its own spa,) and when I showed the boy and he saw the 950 euro price tag (roughly $1,300 USD,) he told me he could get me a wading pool from Target for $26.99 and we could hang out on our porch and pretend we were in Greece. He just thinks he's so funny, doesn't he?

2. Ikies, Oia, Greece

[Images from Ikies]



I'd Like To Stay Here #1: Tigerlily, Edinburgh

I'm up to my ears in hotels/b&bs/resorts/rentals. First, we needed to book a hotel near our venue, so I am well versed in San Diego County hotels now. I am also on my way to knowing way too much about Tokyo hotels, and just at the tip of ryokan knowledge in Kyoto. But this isn't about Japan or Southern California, this is about places that I would like to stay at in places I unfortunately won't be visiting. But I thought I'd share the daydream with all of you.

1. Tigerlily, Edinburgh

[All images from Tigerlily]

Pink curtains and sofas. Glittering gold walls. Candlelight. Fluttering modern chandeliers. I feel like this hotel was made specifically for the "I love pink and great design and I'm not ashamed of it" demographic, which I so shamelessly fall under, and I'm totally eating it all up. They offer a girls weekend package complete with a personal shopping experience, meals+flirtinis, a VIP entry into a club, and afternoon tea. This sounds perfect for a bachelorette, friends' reunion, or um, a bloggers' retreat? What do you say?

Next up, where I'd love to be in Greece!



The Winter Blues

I know, I know. I live in San Diego. Yet I still have the winter blues. I feel like I transform into another person once warmer weather rolls around. My hair is shinier, my face is clearer, and that 5 pounds I gained over Christmas slowly disappears (or I hope it does before April 24th...my first cheongsam fitting! Egads!) For now I sit on a lonely Thursday night, after I finally caught up on Lost, huddled by the space heater with the cat. 

I'm also starting to hate how long my hair is getting. It's weighing me down and it is the longest it has been since...hm...well I don't remember when it's been this long because by this point I would have chopped it up to my shoulders or chin. But all you brides out there know that I can't. I've already committed my hair to my wedding. It's got an appointment on July 3rd and if I cut it off it can't make it to that appointment. My hair is analogous to my current state of wedding planning.

I am so ready to get married, just like I am so ready to cut this hair. 

But time is moving by fast, and I've come a long way since starting Pink Argyle. I started sifting through my old blog posts and reminiscing. 

This time last year I...
+was waiting on graduate school
+hadn't picked a venue or date for the wedding 
+was obsessing over dresses
+made an amazing dinner with two of our very good friends for Valentine's Day

This time two years ago I...
+was not engaged yet
+was not an auntie yet
+hadn't even considered going back to school
+was still anti-skinny jeans (they are all I own now)

Anyone else got the I really want to cut my hair/speed the months up/so that we can have a really fun party/see all of our friends/family/go on an amazing vacation/be done with my first year of grad school/why does In N' Out and cheesecake taste so good/winter blues?



17 Dozen Cupcakes To Call My Own

[Our cupcake order, with corresponding decorations, from Sprinkles]

It's official. We have dessert. After all the stress and debate about what to order for dessert, ordering was a piece of cake (or cupcake!) The woman who took my order over the phone was very nice and emailed my confirmation out asap, like we were still on the phone when I saw my order pop up in my email. She also walked me through all the decoration options and even made some suggestions after hearing that red was a main color. Kudos Sprinkles for an easy ordering process!

I got 17 dozen: 4 black and white, 4 peanut butter chocolate, 4 vanilla, 3 red velvet, and 2 coconut. That's a total of 204 cupcakes.

We might supplement those 204 cupcakes with some fruit tarts and chocolate chip cookies for those who do not like cupcakes or who want something less rich.

So far we have Italian food, a punch and lemonade bar, wine and beer, and now Sprinkles cupcakes. I hope no one goes hungry.


Has Your Wedding Taken Over Your Life?

Proof that our wedding has taken over ours:

+The boy came home with a black eye and a bloody scrape on his cheek. My first question was "what happened?", followed by "does it hurt and do you need ice?", followed by "Man, I am so glad it is the end of January and not the end of June," and as soon as it came out of my mouth, I thought he might get mad at me for being so selfish, but instead he said "THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT AT FIRST!"
Who cares if you fell during basketball and slammed your left side on the basketball court, who cares if you have head trauma, who cares if you are spitting up blood, THINK ABOUT THE PICTURES WE COULD HAVE RUINED. We were both laughing that that was one of the first things that popped into our heads.
Poor thing was not feeling well all weekend, so we spent Saturday in the ER and a lot of time at home with a bottle of Advil and a cloth ice bag they gave to us at the hospital.

And some more updates...

+Because of the extra down time from the boy's injury, we started watching True Blood and we are hooked. Don't tell me what happens!

+The suit arrived and it fits! We both now officially have clothes to wear.

+We booked a guitarist to play during the ceremony and cocktail hour. Woohoo!

+I have to return the bag. It just doesn't match the dress or the shoes, and it's much bigger than I expected. I do like the idea of a clutch to carry money and my cell phone in, so I might get something else, it just has to match this time.


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