Introducing...Miss Pug!

This blog will be ala Weddingbee style where the blogger is known by an icon. A while back, they had a post on characters remaining for new "bees", and I instantly knew what I would be...Miss Pug (after my dear furbaby)!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Trashing the Dress

We had a fun trash the dress session with our photographer, Rachel Robertson. She found a run down building covered in graffiti to get some grungy, urban shots. Next we headed over to the state park and got some cool shots in the forest. Finally, we headed to her friend's pool to do some underwater shots. Looking graceful underwater is definitely not easy. Most of my shots didn't turn out so well -- not because of the photographer, because of the "model". Here are some of my favorites from the day.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Photobook - Mixbook

I created a photobook of me and my maid of honor using mixbook. I hadn't heard of this photobook company until one of the nesties posted about it. It's a little different than the other digital photobooks because it allows you to make collaborative books, get pictures from various online sources, and creates a "scrapbook" feel. I decided to give it a try in my quest to find the best digital photobook. After signing up for mixbook, they e-mailed me a code for a buy-one-get-one-free book, so I thought this would be great since I could give her one and keep one for myself.

Mixbook is online editor, so there is no software to download (yay!). As I mentioned earlier, you can get pictures from various online sources, including Facebook. You can even grab pictures from your friend's album. I tried this, but the resolution on most of the pictures was not high enough. However, you can also get pictures from Picasa, SmugMug, etc., so those photos will most likely be higher resolution. I haven't tried the collaboration feature, but that could be fun if you're not a control freak like me.

The templates are pretty cool. I'm a scrapbooker, so I loved all the different layouts and embellishments. It's a little hard to scroll through all the available options since it isn't really organized, and it took me a while to understand how to use and place the items. I love the pre-made templates...I got a professional looking book without much work! If you are more creative, you can start from scratch...just like a real scrapbook!

They have both square and rectangle books. I went with a 8.5"x8.5" album for this one to match the Shutterfly album I made as my "Will You Be My Maid-of-Honor?" book. It cost $29.99 for 20 pages, then $1.00 for each additional page. The classic rectangular books are similar in price. There is also the option for a soft cover which is a great option at $12.99.

The only downside for me was the shipping (not sure if this is because it is to Hawaii or if it is the same for everyone). If I ship USPS Media Mail, I have to wait about a MONTH to get my book! The next option, 2-day air will cost me about $30 for one book. I opted for the $7 USPS Media Mail, so I won't be able to post a review about the actual quality of the book until then. For now, here is a link to the online version of the book:

Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

Friday, April 2, 2010

Photobook - Picaboo

A fellow knottie posted a coupon code for a free large album on Picaboo, so I decided to take advantage of it and create a photobook of our Seattle engagement pictures.

I downloaded the software to my computer and chose the pictures that I wanted to add to the album. The software was easy to use, but I little slow and clunky at times. There were a variety of pre-set layouts, and you are able to add/move/delete things around as you please. You aren't able to automatically create a panoramic spread, but it is possible with some outside manipulation. The fonts are a little limited, unlike MyPublisher, where I could use any font on my computer. I really liked the ability to change the brightness and contrast of pictures and easily turn them black-and-white or sepia. My favorite feature is that you can make your own pictures background images for your page. There is also a large number of background images that come with the software.

The product pricing is okay. I got my album for free (just paid $8.99 shipping), but the regular price of the album is $39.99. They have other album types, but they can get pricey. I am interested in trying the flush-mount album because it offers thick, lay-flat pages, but those start at $349.99. I'm not ready for that investment yet.

The quality of the book was okay. I thought MyPublisher was better, but that was also a much more expensive album. These pages were not as thick and didn't have a "rich" feeling to it. I also preferred the silky-matte finish of the MyPublisher cover to the high-gloss finish of the Picaboo album. I am interested to see how the $26.99 "classic" MyPublisher album compares to this one.

Here is a link to view the book I created in Picaboo:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Photobook - MyPublisher

I am on a quest to try out all of the photobook companies out there. My photographer's package didn't come with an album, so I am planning on designing my own. Ideally I would like to find a flush-mount album with metallic pages, but it is difficult for brides to do this because many album companies will only work with professional photographers. In case I'm not able to do this, I'm planning on doing a "coffee-table" book, but I'm on the search for the best company to use. I've decided to do mini-albums at each of the various companies to test ease-of-use, layout options, price, and quality.

The first company I tried was MyPublisher. They offer a 20% discount if you go through the Costco website. When I went to their webpage, they had a buy-one-get-one-free offer for new customers (but it didn't work in conjunction with the 20% off). I decided to take advantage of this offer and made a parents' album for our parents.

SOFTWARE: I downloaded the software and decided to go with the "deluxe" book, which is 15" wide by 11.5' high. It is printed on premium 182-pound high-gloss archival-quality paper, which is 75% heavier and thicker than the best paper used by any competitor (according to their website). I would suggest narrowing down the pictures you want to use for your album before adding them to the software, as it can take a while. Once it is loaded, all of your pictures are shown at the top of the window and the book is shown below. You simply select the template you want to use then drag the pictures onto the page. The software is pretty intuitive and easy to use. It ran a little slow on my computer, though. It took me almost a full day to create my book.

LAYOUTS: The layouts are okay. There are nice, simple layouts organized by number of pictures per page and whether or not you want to add text. What it was missing is the ability to easily create panoramic spreads (where a picture spans two pages) and the option to adjust opacity and use your own pictures as background images. These are two options I really wanted. Of course I could always create the layout I wanted in Photoshop and simply upload the layout as a single image, but that's just a little more work and time than I wanted to spend on this project.

PRICE: I thought the album was a bit pricey. My deluxe album was 66 pages and came out to $104.49. I got another copy of the album for free using the offer provided on the MyPublisher webpage. Shipping via FedEx was $14.98. It came out to about $60 per album.

QUALITY: I thought the quality of the album was excellent. The pages felt nice and the print quality came out clear (make sure you use high-resolution images, especially with such a big book). The book is big! It is really nice, especially for the full-page spreads I created, but might be a bit big for my taste (disclaimer: I love cute, tiny things -- I'm still searching for a small 4"x4" album that I saw sampled at The Wedding Cafe).

Okay, enough talking. Click below to flip through the book I created!

Click to view

Monday, March 22, 2010

Much Mahalos

I made my own photo thank you cards and got them printed at Costco.  $14.99 for 50 cards and $5 for each additional set of 25...the best deal in town!  They were ready the next day and came complete with envelopes.  This is actually take 2.  The first design I created had a black border around the whole card, but it didn't print right.  Luckily Costco took them back, no problem.

I'm currently working on writing the thank you notes on the back, and it is taking l-o-n-g.  I had really wanted to start them on the airplane of our mini-moon when I was still in wedding-planning-super-ambitious-mode, but since I wanted photo cards, I decided to wait.  Now I got my photo cards but lost my ambition.  I just keep reminding myself that having to write a lot of thank you cards shows how lucky we are to receive so many gifts and have so many people celebrate with us.  I've got about 25 done...125 to go!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hey There, Movie Star

Our videographers, ImagineWurks, are awesome! They responded quickly to my emails and were so easy to work with. Perhaps most important of all, I love their work! I wanted a ceremony highlights video but didn't need it to be a same day edit, and they agreed to do it for me. While we were on our mini-moon, I stalked their vimeo site every day. When I saw our highlights video posted, I was so excited. I think I've watched it over fifty times already. Mr. Pug says I'll get sick of it, but I don't think so. It makes me smile each time I watch it. It is like reliving the day all over again. I am so glad we decided to go with videography!

Eye Candy

I looooove detail shots.  They are a great way to remember all the little decisions you made throughout the planning process.  All of those months of choosing the theme colors, going to cake tastings, looking through tons of magazines, staying up all night searching the web for inspiration, and cursing myself for deciding to do my own invitations...this is what it is all about!  These are the things that your guests may overlook, but that you and other knotties drool over.  I admit that I was a bit worried that the results would not live up to those pictures in the magazines that I dreamt of, but they exceeded my expectations.  Mr. Pug and I were both stoked at the way everything turned out!

Invitation & Rings

Rings on Our Wedding Day Newspaper

My Bouquet

My Bouquet & Shoes #1

MOH Bouquet & Shoes #2

Obligatory Dress-in-Window Shot

Groom's Gift - Custom Jordans with Wedding Date

I Went With the Purple Shoes!

My Bouquet

Detail Shot of my Dress's Neckline & Bouquet  

Gazebo Florals

Orchid Aisle

Table Number, Centerpiece, and Table Tent

Table Setting, Favor Box, and Program/Menu Card

Chair Covers & Uplighting
Card Box & Guest Sign-In
 Wedding Cake
1001 Folded Origami Cranes

 Best Wishes from Micky & Minnie

Congratulatory Letter from President & Mrs. Obama

"i do" Letters and Mini-Pug

Getting Beautiful

Remember my H&M trial?  After examining some of the pictures, I decided to request a few changes be made for the actual wedding day.  For my hair, I wanted a little poof at the top and the curls to be more defined (not so "smooshed").  For my make-up, I wanted my eyebrows to be a little darker and my eyes to be more dramatic.

Dorys texted me from the parking lot a little before 10:30 am to let me know she was on her way.  We had a table set-up for her as requested by her assistant a couple days prior.  I really liked working with Dorys and her office because they were very professional and documented everything for me.

Dorys started on my MOH's hair first.  MOH and I had decided on a side pony, and I absolutely love what Dorys did.


Next she did my hair.  She confirmed the changes I requested and then got started.  At first, I thought the poof on top was too much...

But once we put the veil on, I was happy with the way it looked.


I also loved the way my make-up turned out.  Dorys really listened to what I wanted and delivered.  The only disappointment with the whole experience is that I had requested airbrush make-up (and paid extra for it), but she was unable to do it.  When she went to set-up her machine, she realized that she was missing an important piece and was unable to find anyone who could deliver it in time.  She felt really bad about it and had to do our makeup with traditional foundation.  I was surprising laid-back about the whole thing, determined not to let anything ruin my day.  There was nothing I could do about it, so I just let it go.  In the end, I was happy with the results, and the make-up stayed put throughout the night without sweating off or feeling heavy.  Dorys also sent me a refund for the airbrush makeup fee and a giftcard to come in for a free make-up application since she felt bad.  I would have preferred she refund me for the whole make-up application, but I can use the giftcard for my upcoming TTD shoot, so it works out well.  Here's a few pictures of the make-up and a picture with Dorys.

Before (eew...)

After (ahhh...)

A Better Look at the Eyes

MOH, Me, and Dorys

I was really happy with the results and felt beautiful the whole night!

Oh, Happy Day!

I went to bed early the night before determined to wake up refreshed and stress-free.  I had restful sleep free from any wedding nightmares (throughout the planning process, I had dreams of the wedding day arriving and things not being ready -- we forgot to send out invitations, the officiant didn't show up, etc.).  I woke up as the sun started streaming through our hotel window, looked over at Mr. Pug, and gave him a kiss as I wished him Happy Wedding Day!

We took our time getting ready and headed downstairs for a big breakfast complete with eggs, bacon, fruits, toast, guava juice, and coffee.  After weeks of dieting, it felt good to splurge!  After breakfast, we headed back up to our room, and I sent Mr. Pug to the adjoining room so we could get ready separately.  Our videographer, DOC, and H&M arrived at 10:30 to begin the first day of the rest of our lives.  I couldn't believe the day was finally here!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wedding Stress

The wedding has come and gone faster than I could have imagined.  The months of planning, the sleepless nights, the depleted savings -- all for one day.  I admit that in the last week or two before the wedding I was seriously wishing we had just eloped.  I broke out in hives all over my body -- something that had never happened before -- and the doctor concluded that it was probably stress-induced.  I wished I had a planner to just take care of everything so that I could just show up and enjoy the day.  Well, it was too late for that, so I worked hard the week before the wedding to do some serious planning and to communicate my vision and all the information to my Aunty who was acting as our DOC and the many, many helpers who had so graciously offered to help us.  My goal was to leave everything in their hands on the wedding day so that I could relax and enjoy the day.

The day and night before the wedding we were running around like chickens with our heads cut off.  We had to pick up items from our vendors (tuxes, chair covers, etc.), deliver centerpieces and favors to the catering office, and check into our hotel rooms.  At the same time I was still doing last-minute tasks like print table tents and guestlists for the reception table (they were purposely last-minute since I didn't want to have to redo them if things changed).  On top of that, we hadn't packed our overnight bags for the hotel or our suitcases for the mini-moon we'd be leaving on the day after.  I was also trying to find time to meet up with some out-of-town guests that had just flown in for the wedding since I knew I probably wouldn't get to see them much at the wedding.  In the rush of things I lost my cell phone and we got locked out of our hotel room.  Things were just not going well.  Then my brother said something that helped.  He said that there is always something that doesn't go right at weddings -- I'm just getting mine out of the way early.  Tune in next time to see if he was right ;)

Over the next few weeks, I'll continue my series of posts to catch you up on the rest of my planning, a recap of the wedding, vendor reviews, and of course, pictures!