life of a cuddlebit

my random ramblings


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no stopping christmas

The tree is up!

We managed to assemble and decorate the tree, it turned out nicely!

our tree

here is Pepper photobombing our tree

The feathered birds looked right at home in the tree!

I might add some ribbons but it is looking good. At night it looks “glowy” like the rice lights had extra brilliance. See?

from day to night

from day to night

We also hung the ornament chandelier we got. -kind of missing a few more ornaments here and there because we have run out of ornaments. But it can hold on its own, maybe next year we add more. For now it would look like that, plus a few more ribbons. -For that I have to run to the neighborhood bookstore to get some ribbons.

awaiting ribbons

awaiting ribbons

The dining table also got a Christmas touch.

feeling festive!

feeling festive!

Yes we have bunnies on the table.

That’s about it for the Christmas decorations. Finishing up in time for our Friendsgiving this weekend!

Christmas is right around the corner! I am so excited for the holidays! 

 

 

 


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our craziest christmas shopping adventure yet

Last Sunday, Kei announced that we are going to Trinoma. He wanted to check out a Ramen restaurant that his brother recommended, and will (finally) go hunting for Christmas stuff for the home.

Before we headed out, I checked about what events are in Trinoma… apparently there is a mall wide sale -nice, because I thought we could go look for some Christmas ornaments,  and Plains & Prints are having a preview of their holiday collection! Of course I wanted to check it out! 

Off we go to our first stop.

hanamaruken ramen

hanamaruken ramen

Their specialty is pork ramen… although I am not that fond of pork, I am pleased with their ramen! as well as their green tea!

true to their slogan, it is indeed happiness in a bowl

true to their slogan, it is indeed happiness in a bowl

We are sure to be back!

Next we wandered off in search for Plains & Prints. We found it easily enough and true to what I saw online there is a preview shopping for their holiday collection!

preview for the holiday collection

preview shopping for the holiday collection

There were a lot of people inside the store and the fitting room was packed! I saw some dresses that I already saw online. After trying on some dresses. We agreed on one -the Tigerlily dress. It features cap sleeves, a rather structured cut and embroidered lace detail on one side, in a deep red color.

The dress I got. Tigerlily dress.

The dress I got. It has a Cersei Lannister feel to it-not that I am complaining. I am just happy to have it in my size.

I can wear this up to Chinese new year because of the color. While the cashier wraps the dress in the box, Kei jokingly chants “long may she reign” -in reference to game of thrones Cersei Lannister. Such a geek. lols.

one red dress

I got one red dress. Not bad.

Done with Plains& Prints. Since we are off from a good start, we thought going to find Christmas ornaments would be easy. -We are going for red, aqua and white color theme for our tree. 

we are going for this color combination

we are going for this color combination

We looked at TrueValue (they have a sale too) and went out with two boxes of shatterproof ornaments (we got medium sized red and aqua balls) and a string of rice lights.

Next would be looking for the white balls and some smaller red and aqua to add dimension to the tree decor. -Thinking that Landmark Trinoma would have lots of white decor, we trooped to the department store only to find out that there are no more white decor left. Somebody brought all the white decor in bulk. Not one to back down from our chosen color theme, and also to finish our Christmas stuff we thought of going to Landmark Makati. And we really did go. 

After a few mins of traffic, we arrived at SM Makati.  And promptly got distracted by one of our favorite store -Crate and Barrel. They are offering 50% off in their Christmas items. They are so thoughtful to offer that! Of course I have to hunt down the Christmas chandelier I wanted.

Crate and Barrel display at their Megamall branch.

Crate and Barrel display at their Megamall branch. – The first time I saw the ornament chandelier. 

This was the price before.

Since I really like the chandelier, I took this photo hoping that it goes on sale and I can justify getting one.

Since I really like the chandelier,  I took this photo hoping that it goes on sale and I can justify getting one. 

Looks like I got my wish granted. The chandelier’s price went down to below 1k.

Of course I had to have it. But there is a catch. There are only two remaining and both of them are used as store display. Both have their box missing in action. We thought to hell with it, just a box anyway we will just get another box. 

So we got it. Along with a tiny white photo frame ornament that has 2015 engraved on it -since 2015 is our wedding year we could place our wedding photo there.

Kei feels right at home with the soft pillows.

Kei feels right at home with the soft pillows.

And we shopped while seated in the “exhibit” area of Crate and Barrel in the middle of the mall. – So much win! Much thanks Crate and Barrel Makati team! 

After getting the chandelier we went for a quick grocery shopping and left everything at the package counter. So we can get right back to going to Landmark and getting the white and smaller ornaments.

It was while walking to Landmark that we noticed people running. Confused and a bit worried, we got “adopted” by Octagon and let us stay at their store. Apparently fire broke out in Glorietta 3. Causing panic to a lot of shoppers. After a few mins. We were all let out. This was mission abort-our shopping trip has to stop. 

Kei and I calmly walked back to SM Makati, back to Crate&Barrel then to the supermarket package counter to get our stuff and go.

On the way home we stopped by Cash and Carry to have Jollibee for a quick dinner and found a cute striped shirt for Kei- that we got and then we went home.

So yeah. This was by far our craziest shopping trip ever. – I mean we do multiple mall runs on a day but going to multiple malls and having some sort of action drama tops the list. 

the haul excluding the grocery

the haul excluding the grocery items and Kei’s shirt. 

Hopefully this coming weekend we can complete our tree.


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WE got featured & covered

Finally got the time to write! As I have mentioned in my earlier post, I will be writing about the magazine feature.

Way before I got engaged, one of my favorite pastimes would be looking at bridal/wedding magazines or websites. I am just drawn to all the dreamy gowns, beautiful flowers and all that glamour. I feel happy reading love stories of other people, kind of like getting to them better even if I did not know them and I was just reading a magazine.

So after the wedding and right after the photos were sent to us by our photographer, I knew I wanted to submit our story for a chance to get featured at Wedding Essentials Magazine. (This was the magazine that I usually look at.) 

Submit I did and I waited, and waited. Then I got a email telling me that we got picked to be featured! (yey!) A few more emails confirmed that we are really in! An anniversary issue at that! (more yey!) Then we got invited to a their event. -It is  a posh bridal fair complete with fashion show. Held at Manila Hotel.

Off we go.

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Kei and me at the Wedding Essentials (Tadhana) Bridal fair –I got glammed up and is  wearing custom separeates from Aoui Regala. 

We enjoyed watching the (bridal) fashion show, getting to mingle with people, the food… the celebration but nothing compares to this!

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getting our own cover! – taken at the event 

Seeing our face on the cover! I can check off being a magazine cover on my bucket list in life. hahaha!

And of course here is the feature.

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Happy and grateful to have been one of the couples picked by Wedding Essentials to share our story on their magazine.

We managed to haul quite a few magazines to give to family/friends and our sponsors.

img_20161008_124936

thankful and grateful for this opportunity. 

 

 


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resize the bling

One day, I woke up to realize this.

sorry to let you see this.

sorry to let you guys see this 

That is my wedding band on my finger. I am now getting fatter! Yikes.

While I was not that bothered about getting a bit fat, I was real sad that I cannot wear my wedding band. I love my bling of course and I wouldn’t want to remove it. What was I to do?

Get my band resized! ASAP.

So, off we went to see our church mate Atchie Helen -who has a jewelry shop and also the one who made our wedding rings. *For those asking: Atchie means sister in Chinese.

We gave her our rings. Mine to be re-sized a size bigger, Kei had his ring cleaned. And because she made our rings, our re-size is free! Thank you so much! 

*But just to make it clear, she also does a re-size for rings that are not made by her for a fee. 

Then the stones of my wedding ring was counted, then the ring was weighted – all of that was recorded. -She explains to us that when the ring comes back they would check it for the stones and the weight – ensuring that there is no switching or getting a lesser gold/value. She is thorough, careful and clear like that. So, you can rest easy that you are not going to be deceived!

Next, I also asked her to create a ring for me. Gave her my tiny sapphire and a peg of what I wanted.

remember this? my tiny sapphire is about to be made into a ring!

remember this? my tiny sapphire is about to be made into a ring!

I was honestly worried that my sapphire is too small but contrary to what I fear, Atchie Helen told me that it would do well and is actually a big stone for the design I wanted. To compensate, she will make the whole design bigger. Atchie Helen then helped me with picking out the metal, we opted to make the ring in 14K rose gold (to contrast the blue color-14K gives a pink tint I wanted, going with 18k would give it a deep saturated pink that I did not like) with white gold bezel to clearly show off the navy blue of the sapphire. I appreciated this part as if it were all up to me, I wouldn’t have thought of all that. She even educated me about jewelry and jewelry design in the process. Awesome. 

The price of my made to order ring? The original peg has a price of almost 40K. 14K rose gold and a (smaller) sapphire. (*the peg was a British design hence, the huge price tag.) With all the customization and enlargement of the design, Atchie Helen gave us a price below 15k. Sure I have my own stone but, that was a huge price difference. *Even if you cut the price of the peg into half, the quoted price was still way more affordable! 

Then after a few weeks, we got a message from her telling us that our rings are ready to be picked up! Euphoria!!! 

I was excited to go get my rings and see her and also go to her new shop at Ongpin! I have been waiting for this! 

I could stay here all day!

I could stay here all day! 

We arrived to see this. I really dig the look of her shop! Bright, modern and it has the space a lot of jewelry stores lack. 

Full house. That is Atchie Helen, the one wearing glasses.

Full house. That is Atchie Helen, the one wearing glasses.

This is a normal scene at her shop. After all Atchie Helen gives the best price and the best quality. She is comes from a family of jewelers (her dad and grandpa are jewelers too) and very much knowledgeable in precious metals and colored stones, but her expertise is actually diamonds. She designs the pieces she sells and can do made to order pieces!

The shop carries jewelry for just about everyone, young and old, male and female. Necklace, bracelet, rings, earrings, pendants, pearls, gemstones, diamonds and even corals for babies! There are also statement pieces and sets that doubles as a good investment for the future.

Unlike other jewelry stores that feels so stuffy, so uptight and judgmental… more so, once you told them what your budget is. Here they ask you what you are looking for and what your budget is. Giving you all the options they have to match/maximize your budget. Sometimes if it is permissible, even give a discount instantly to help you get what you like! #nojudgment

*So guys if you are looking for engagement rings, you know who to look for. She can very much find you a diamond within your budget. Just show her your peg and you will be amazed at her selection! There are also colored stones that look absolutely pretty! Trust me. She even accepts repairs and  re-fashioning of old jewelry into modern settings.

After all that gushing, here is the big reveal! Here is our wedding rings!-Mine is re-sized and Kei’s was cleaned.

oh shiny!

oh shiny! looking brand new

Looking good, even better when worn. The photo does not do justice to the brilliance of the ring.

Feeling like a hand model. perfect fit! 

Feeling like a hand model. finally a perfect fit!

Just beautiful. Comfortable too! Now, on to the next ring!

Wow! I said that aloud when I saw the final product of my made to order ring.

absolutely in love with my new ring!

absolutely in love with my new ring! -14K rose gold ring with blue sapphire in white gold bezel

It was bigger and better than what I expected it to be!

And because I am pretentious, I stacked them together. #feelingrich #fancy

stacked rings #fancy

stacked rings #fancy

It looks good together but admittedly a bit much. hahahaha!

So I will be wearing the wedding band on my left hand and the sapphire ring on my right.

Before we leave the shop, we requested to have a photo with Atchie Helen.

meet our favorite jeweler Helen!

meet our favorite jeweler Helen! 

And because we visited her new shop and is considered as “friends of the shop”, she gave us a small gift!

here is our bunny modeling our gift

here is our bunny modeling the fan -that was given to us as gift with purchase

How apt! We are huge fans of her wearable artwork and investment pieces.

Till the next time! 

Just leaving Atchie Helen’s Contact details here in case you guys need it. Her shop is easy to look for! Its just across Mañosa Restaurant!hdr

Check out more of her creations on Facebook!

*All my reviews, opinions, and other stuff expressed here are our own and based on my own experience. This is not a sponsored post.

**Mention that you are a reader of Pam & Kei’s blog and you would be sure to get a good price.

 

 


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from paper to fabric

I designed my wedding entourage’s attire. (only the design not the execution) -if only I knew how to sew. 

Our inspiration/motif was a sunset.

photo from google

photo from google

That means blue, purple/plums, pinks, peach with the accent of gold and silver. So we created a color palette and some fabric swatches.

 

my fabric swatches!

my fabric swatches!

Then I went on to sketch my designs for each of females on my entourage. Floor length gowns for the maids of honors and cocktail dresses for the bridesmaids.

yes, I sketched those.

yes, I sketched those.

On my mind all the bridesmaids wear peach with gold accents. The maid of honor –my sister and my best friend get different colors. For my sister it was to be blush pink accented with silver (her skintone is on the cool side), on my best friend it is going to be peach and gold accents (my bestfriend has a warm skintone). I was so excited I even brought beads to be used for their dresses!

*I also designed all of their dresses according to their body type. -I also got their approval before I finalized my sketch and placed in their bridesmaids kit.

I also designed our flower girls’ gown! – I actually created this close to the real thing! -photo of the gown I had in mind using photoshop. I felt the need to illustrate the color shifting of the skirt. This is the peg I gave.

princess-y and poofy!

princess-y and poofy!

– For all the males we picked out colors we liked them to wear then went to look for polos and ties in that color. *easy because theirs was rtw.* The little boys had theirs made to order from another seamstress. -We did however pick out their colors to match their partners.

We got Bonaobra Couture to make the entourage gowns. Their shop fairly simple (divisoria area) but it is accessible to the majority of our entourage. -this is the main reason why we chose them. (we do however have two of our entourage that lives in the south) *I also believe that their gowns look better than the others within the same vicinity.-they are also priced a bit higher*

We went to give them my sketches, the beads to be used and fabric swatches. Paid the down payment and told them to start.

So we got them to make the sketches to reality. Which they sort of did. 

the final output- the gowns in action

the final output- the gowns in action

But not without difficulty as there are some made a bit tight (this was easily remedied), one that was made in a different color than I expected (surprise! surprise!) and one completely off from the design- that was modified. The flowergirls dresses are almost perfect save for the 3d flower applique issue that I slaved over.

what the kids wore

what the kids wore – actual dresses and the suit for the little boys

Two of my bridesmaids had their dresses loosened by an inch. easy enough.

What they had major issues on were the gowns of my sister and my bestfriend. My two maids of honor.

See my sister’s (the only one in pomelo pink from the photo above) gown is supposed to be blush pink- probably due to miscommunication from shop to the sewers it turned out to be pomelo pink, that was really my mother’s chosen color for her own dress. *I wanted it like a ombre of colors-the mature set wears deep colors and the younger set wears lighter colors.* -My mother and Kei’s mother also had their gowns made at Bonaobra. But I wont be posting it-they are a bit shy. For the record their gowns are beautiful.  

My best friend’s gown presented another problem in the waist drape detail. They totally failed this one. (see the long peach gown from the photo above)

*Which I never knew until I asked Jo about her gown the week of the wedding. She thinks there is something wrong with the gown but she does not want me to worry about her or her gown that she kept silent. After much prodding… and self blame.

explain to us what happened

Photo taken inside the shop. -please explain to us what happened. 

She went on to send me this photo that she took when she tried out the dress, before claiming it. (this photo was taken Sunday afternoon) I got to talk to my bestfriend – Tuesday night. two days has passed!!!

I was so sorry that my best friend blames herself about the dress. I was furious. It was not the way I designed it to be! The draping was supposed to hug her thighs to show her curves, but there it was all the draping design placed on the waist. Maximum failure.

So a plan was hatched that we get her gown the very next day and get it altered by (Wednesday) afternoon. 

I was so shocked and sorry with what I saw that I went full on bridezilla mode and called Bonaobra Couture to demand that they fix that feaking skirt pronto. *maldita mode 100%* I told them I don’t care what they are going to do, if they were going to go with the original design or come up with something else I want it fixed!

They were forgiven for the wrong color on my sister’s gown – I will mark this ok because they owned up to their mistake and apologized profusely, and also for the flowergirls’ appliqués – That I ended up doing but I don’t blame them that much for that because maybe that was all that they could find given that its hard to match ready made appliques to fabric color.

But this was the third. With me, three strikes and hell breaks loose. You know me, I wont judge easily and always give a benefit of the doubt.  

*Funny thing was for every fitting of our entourage we pay them upfront so they would have any doubts about us. Most of the female entourage’s dresses was already claimed, save for three dresses –the two maid of honor gowns and my mother’s gown. We only have one more payment with them and we are all cleared.

We demanded that they fix my best friend’s skirt first before they get the final payment. That means they only have 1 day (Thursday) to fix the skirt. *by Friday afternoon we are all going to the hotel for the wedding on Saturday afternoon. This was a very tight schedule.*

Good thing that they were able to pull it off. I don’t know what would happen if they did not.

3 of 5So what is the verdict? I give them 3.

They owed up to their fault. Heard us out and acted on our complaints to try to make it a bit better. Its not perfect, sure. But in a way it did console us a bit. Their stitching looks clean even if it was re-altered. Despite all the trouble we encountered they managed to pull through and fixed the situation.

 


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Heartfelt Reality

It is finally here! Our long awaited wedding and also prenup/pre-wedding photos.

finally here!

finally here!

These are what we got from the package we chose of course. Save for the prenup prints those were wedding gifts (Thank you very much!) from our friends at RealityBox. -The bunny is not included, it is one of our home decor.

*This was by far the most time consuming review post I have made. -and I mean this in a good way.  I have combed through 17gb of photos. That would be 1,141 prenup photos and a whooping 2,990 wedding photos and then choosing what to post here. Usually when I am choosing, I end up just viewing everything over and over and smiling all by myself like I am crazy. (this went on for about 10+ times, kaloka lang) So, that explains the long gap from my last post.

I sort of posted snippets  of our wedding and prenup through photos. This time Im going to tell you about the wonderful photographers who took the photos. – or you could say team RealityBox.

I got to know RealityBox through a friend’s wedding. *We were still in the wedding preparations at that time.* I liked how they did the on the day avp and bugged Kei to call them. Little did I know Kei is actually close friends of the founding duo of RealityBox (Jeri and Harry) and that we are all churchmates.

*for those asking we are all Anglican-Episcopals*

with our friends who also trusted RealityBox for their wedding.

with our church friends who also trusted RealityBox for their wedding.

Group photo (taken on the day of our wedding-on the reception venue) with Team RealityBox (first row)  –we saw RealityBox’s works though our friends Charles and Diana’s wedding (2nd row, couple leftmost), then there was me and Kei in the middle (still in 2nd row-front and center), to the rightmost was Randy and Wency -another couple-our friends too, that also booked them for their wedding)

A few days after our friends wedding we met up with RealityBox team and told them that we wanted them for our own wedding. –I saw their work and I loved it! Saka, iba na yung tried and tested diba? Discussed about details and they emailed us their rates. A quick phone call and a meet up after, we are booked!

The next time we got to meet them would be to discuss/plan our prenup shoot. Instead of a whole day for prenup, I requested to get a two part half-day prenup. One in Salon De Ning of Manila Peninsula for our glam set and one laidback set in UST. –for the simple reason that I don’t want to look haggard on photos! Arte ko lang. To which they agreed.

On the first day-Salon de Ning, Ayala Triangle shoot of our prenup shoot things went rather smooth. Save for the equipment scare we got. *the camera lens got fogged up due to the change in temperature when we left the hotel to shoot at the outdoor location.* But it ended well, team RealityBox even got “effect shots” out of the foggy lens.

see the fog effect on the left photo?! It is not photoshopped! The camera lens fogged up due to the changing temperatures, our photographer used the fog to create the ethereal shot!

see the fog effect on the left photo?! It is not photoshopped! The camera lens fogged up due to the changing temperatures, our photographer used the fog to create the ethereal shot!

The second day-the UST casual shoot, we were caught up with, it coincided with USTET that was a major setback in our shooting and the weather was not really cooperating that time. It runs in extremes: extremely hot and extremely wet. Major headache.  Not really the ideal shooting conditions but RealityBox stayed by our side. We went way past out shooting time. –inabot na kami ng gabi. See more of our prenup pictures in this post. 

Straight out of a fairytale - UST at night

Straight out of a fairytale – UST at night

On both shoots we got a mix of different shooting conditions (indoor, outdoor, lowlight, overcast..etc) and troubles (weather, gear, traffic, crowd control…etc). Team Reality Box overcame all those obstacles and managed to bring out the best outcome possible.  –pakiramdam ko na-challenge sila ng bonggang bongga! Sorry Guys! We are really looking forward to the wedding day, knowing that our photography team rocks.

-We also asked them to refrain from posting any photos of our prenup so that it will be a surprise for our guests. Which they did. -ang tagal nilang naghintay ah. 

they really waited. this was posted after the wedding

they really waited. this was posted the day after the wedding

As for the wedding day…*I prayed and stayed up all night before the wedding worrying about the next day (wedding day) as it was cloudy/rainy the day before the wedding. But despite all the prayers, you just cannot control mother nature.

It was really pouring that (whole) morning (no make that the whole day)! *sigh* so much for outdoor shots.  Again, we made do with what we have dealt with. With a heavy heart, I know that all we are getting are indoor shots. I just hoped for the best. –sa lahat ng araw…my goodness sa kasal ko pa talaga.

*RealityBox came knocking on my door early morning. I was a bit shocked by their number that day. There were 4 photographers, 4 videographers, 1 on site editor, plus 3 assistants. Basically they were 12 persons in their team. Full force.

I was actually feeling down due to the weather but the Reality Box photographers managed to make me smile and even laugh by talking to me (joking around), calmed me down by assisting other wedding suppliers, all the while shooting (posed and candid) pictures. I almost forgot that it was raining like there was a typhoon that day. But we cant do anything about the weather kaya carry on na lang.

the groomsmen

our dapper groomsmen

They went on shooting by teams, some were focused on Kei (groom) and another team on me (bride) then the others went to take pictures of the details and also lend out a helping hand to others. They also managed to get a sort of short interview from us that they used in our avp.

Our lovely bridesmaids

Our lovely bridesmaids

On the way to the church, it was still pouring. There was no way to get photos of my entrance. Its either the camera/equipment get wet or no pictures. I was honestly worried for them. In that time, I am okay even if I don’t have photos of that moment as long as I am sure that their cameras are going to be fine. –Cameras are expensive! I mean I should take care of my suppliers the way they take care of me right?! *brides-to-be please take care of your wedding suppliers. Paying them does not give you the right to be bossy or to be insensitive. Also make sure that you have food and time to rest for all of your suppliers and their crew. They get hungry and tired too. 

definitely pouring

really pouring…OMG! paki ingatan ang camera please. 

Even with that difficult situation they still managed to take photos of me and my entrance even if it means their equipment gets wet. –That was a risky move. Pero sinugal talaga nila. Buwis buhay. For that I am grateful.

ready to walk

its time. -ready to walk

Due to the weather, we started late. The ceremony was supposed to be 3:00pm, we started close to 4:00. I was not expecting that half of our guests will not be able to come. But there were a lot of people in the church that got me as a surprise. I was so happy seeing that there are people who came despite the terrible weather that I walked down the aisle greeting everyone with smiles. *Kei told me that I took a long time walking down the aisle. I was more like greeting everyone down the aisle. so much for poise.*

RealityBox in Action

RealityBox in on the move. *see the four photographers?

guests managed to come!

people still came to be with us!-Thank the heavens!

Despite the delay everything went well.

we are married!

we are married!

Since we cant go outdoor, RealityBox managed to take wonderful shots of us indoor. Here is one of our group shot.

group photo after ceremony

our entourage

*And off we go to the hotel and get a few more pictures then run off to the reception. Together with half of the photographers.*

By the time we got to the reception, the other half of the RealityBox team were already at the reception venue. -that means no time wasted and more details captured. 

reception!

reception!

The rain never ceased, but the ballroom was packed! The atmosphere of the event was so warm that was a sharp contrast to the rain outside.

At the reception, we had the usual cake cutting, toast, Chinese reception dinner, a couple’s game, speeches from our bestman and maid of honors, songs, we danced and had three avps (audio visual presentation) from RealityBox. One growing up, the prenup, and the wedding avp. *there was another “bonus” avp that they never got to show due to the time constraints. so technically we have four avps. -Its not an easy feat to create avps. Specially avps that made most of our guests ask us who created them. Safe to say they were impressed. 

*If you are interested to see our videos here are the links. Our growing up avp- https://vimeo.com/150632567 , Wedding Slideshow –https://vimeo.com/149873598 , Wedding AVP (with the Interview)- https://vimeo.com/149572037

I only have nice words to say to the RealityBox team- those guys are insanely talented. We love them and they loved us back.

Thank you so much for being with us all throughout the journey.

We are happy that we got you guys as our photographers.

Our photos are beautiful because RealityBox made them so. Thank you.

*We enjoyed the experience with them so much that we are actually on their wait list for a photoshoot! (yes. we booked them again! that is how much we love them!) See you guys soon! 

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We clap. -A candid shot of us by RealityBox on as wedding guests on our friends wedding. See, even if this photo was a stolen shot RealityBox managed to make it look absolutely dreamy. In my opinion, the whole photography team of RealityBox deserves an applause.

5outof5We give them 6 out of 5! Exceeded our expectations.

As their tagline states ‘romance redefined’-They really did deliver. There is a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life that is associated with love. As it is true romance is doing something special or unexpected for someone you love, even though you don’t have to, RealityBox did just that for us.

They weathered the sweltering heat, non-stop rain, unruly crowd and flood plus more. Managed to patiently accompany us despite the not so ideal situations and stuck with us even if at times we were the ones ready to give up. They held on for just one more shot. -Major overtime na kami and yet they never left our side or complained. They were steady and optimistic in every situation.

-If you think that they only did all of that because they were our friends, the answer is a huge fat NO. They climbed up a mountain even if they never did that before, just for a client. Outrageous. I know. 

-Most are not aware but RealityBox has an advocacy for Out of School Youths. They share the gospel to OSYs, teach them photography and offer them part time jobs to help OSYs! how is that for paying it back?!  Supporting RealityBox also means supporting their ministry!-Told you these guys are awesome.

Best of all they are also reasonably priced. Get to know them and see more of their works- www.facebook.com/realitybox

see more of their videos here: https://vimeo.com/realitybox

*All my reviews, opinions, and other stuff expressed here are our own and based on our own experience. This is not a sponsored post, we paid for the photography package from our own pocket. 

**I must also say all photos/most photos of my wedding related reviews posted here are taken by RealityBox. That explains why there are so little photos of them, because they are hard at work on that day. 


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high hopes & heartbreak in white

Warning-this is a long post. But it does have pictures.

*also you can click on the pictures to enlarge.

I am actually dreading writing this. Honestly, I have been keeping silent about my wedding dress as I am on the fence.

But then again how do I even start? Shoving all my personal feelings aside I am going to handle this review as objectively as I could muster. No influence by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased. God help me please.

I think I have may spent a quarter of my life dreaming about THE wedding dress. I may be shallow to some that I obsess about it a lot but to me, I have been dreaming of this for the longest time so sorry, I am not sorry!

To me it was going to be the most expensive dress I am going to own. So it better be something I really, really like.

Then again, reality bites. There is the budget to consider, the restrictions. (I wouldn’t want to wear something that would look a lot like my cousin’s dress-long story-she is another bride to be that would have her wedding the month after my wedding). Not exactly the best situation but we got to work around it. She will be having a ruffled skirt so, ruffles is out of the picture for me.  Sorry no more dramatic skirt for me.

that red box holds my wedding dress.

the red box that holds my wedding dress.

When I found and met Mel Orlina and booked her to be my wedding gown designer I was over the moon. See the post here.  I did all the usual stuff a bride to be does. I combed the internet for reviews about her and all of them are glowing reviews. So I am expecting all that I read to be the same experience I was going to have.  That’s what I thought back then.

Most of what I wrote on the past post is not really my sentiments anymore I am sad to say.  I may be the first to say this but even if the gown designer is talented, there is no replacement for a healthy client-designer relationship. Its about understanding what your client wants and hearing out their requests/ suggestions and ultimately the brainchild of both your ideas will be the finished product.

On the first few meetings it was all about the design. So we started the dress mid of the year June. My initial design was a mermaid gown with dramatic skirt and low back with colored petticoat.  –this did not happen, I had to change the design, for the reason above. No dramatic skirt for me. 

And design process went until August. By that time I already got three revisions. No more colored petticoat and no more dramatic skirt. What stayed the same was it is a mermaid gown and low back.

sketch my dreams

sketch my dreams ( you can click on the picture to enlarge)

Here is the second revision (left) and the final design (right). If you look closely you can see the first sketch was hidden by the second revision as she sketched over the initial drawing. All is well. I love what I see.

So here is me on the fitting of the lining. Look at the fit! yey!

left-pardon my "villain" face. middle-yep, Im pretty pleased face. right-the fit was perfect

left-pardon my “villain” face. middle-yep, Im pretty pleased face. right-the fit was near perfect

Lining fitting is the first fitting. The shape of the dress-to-be looks really good.

This is the second fitting. Mel personally pinned out all the embroidery detail on the dress. –you can see her in the middle photo. That is her wearing the orange dress. I am really happy with how it turned out. * she personally pinned my embroidery. 

all lines and no floral design, I want it timeless

all lines and no floral design, I want it to look modern but at the same time it has to be timeless.

Later on that week, the dress even made it to instagram.

not bad right? I had high hopes!

not bad right? I had high hopes!

Next time I went to her shop I was told that there would be beading on my dress. My issues started here-Third fitting.

I remember looking at my dress for the first time and asking Mel, “I thought there will be no pearls”. She assured me that those are opals as there is a note attached to the garment bag that stated no pearls. I took her word for it.

the first time I saw my dress with beads

the first time I saw my dress with beads. That would be Kei and Mel holding the dress as I just took a snap. I did not get to fit the dress that day-there were too many people  on the shop. I returned next week. 

Once home I went on to google the Swarovski opals and pearl beads. I have a hunch that those beads are not opals.  I attached the swarovski chart as well as my guess of what they attached. See for yourself.

just to make it clear

just to make it clear. (click on the picture to enlarge)

Those in my dress are Swarovski flatback pearl cabochons. Opal flatbacks have facets.

I felt deceived, but giving her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it was all they had. And also another thought that says, no matter.  They should have told you first and be upfront if they cannot accommodate your request. Or maybe demand more payment to accommodate the request; or suggest replacements I mean come on, there are a lot of options!

But the beads are already glued and placed. I would really be a huge pain in the ass had I disapprove of it and get them to replace everything. *I really dislike pearls. sobs.

So I ended up consoling myself that those aren’t really “real” pearls, that I can live with it. So, I did. But I really felt bad that my request was not followed despite the fact that we agreed upon it previously.

And this was the third fitting.

here are the girls as they helped me fitting the dress.

here are the girls as they helped me fitting the dress.

Surely you have to give a closer look at the dress.

no more pins!

no more pins!

I am also feeling that my sleeves are kind of “off”. It falls out of place and moves about… They told me that there is a trick to it using tape. They let me try the dress and used tape to hold it in place. It looks and feels ok, but the slightest perspiration or sudden movement would make the tape useless.

spot the difference

spot the difference

On my fourth fitting, I was yet greeted with another problem. There is a crystal missing from my dress. I caught their attention and they said that it will be fixed. I also asked again about how do I keep the dress’s sleeves in place as they move around when I move and looks loose that is not really flattering to look at.

where have that sparkly gone?

squint my eyes… where have that sparkly gone?

I went back mid week to check on my dress. (I have a shoot that day near Makati so I went back to check and fit.)- I clearly recall the day was Dec 2, 2015 a wednesday. *I was worried as the wedding day is so near. 

the only time I went to fit the dress with make-up on. Kind of like playing dress up

the only time I went to fit the dress with make-up on (flowers are props from my shoot)

Again I asked about the missing crystal, as it was still missing.

where art thou?

where art thou?

It was instantly replaced by Mel replaced with a smaller crystal than the rest. (cringe) I was told that it would not be obvious. But the O.C. in me just screamed my head off.  See for yourself.

did you see it?

what is the difference?  did you see it? -Just a close up photo of the dress laid flat in its box.

I was shocked.What happened to quality?

That time I was stunned and at the same time a bit angry. I decided that I have to solve the falling sleeves issue. I will not risk it and will not be using tape, I wanted a permanent solution not some quick fix that would probably fail. I do not want to have to worry about my split straps moving on the day of the wedding. I asked that they offer me a solution.

And this is what Mel came up with.

is it only me or does it look like a bra strap?

is it only me or does it look like a bra strap?

I also pitched in my proposed solution. And these were the result.

make the off sleeve run to the back

make the off shoulder strap run to the back 

Admittedly, both options of looked awkward.

go ahead and choose

go ahead and choose

But, still I don’t want to revert back to the tape solution. So, I insisted on the thick band that was my proposed solution. I went home troubled.

Then proceeded to regret the morning after. Prompting me to email Mel and propose another solution.

Here is my email to her.

a desperate call for help

a desperate call for help-the next time I see my dress again will be the week of the wedding, I only have the last fitting left.

And my proposed “fix”.

this was exactly the photo I emailed to her

this is exactly the photo I emailed to her

And if you did read my email you can see that at that time, I wrote that I felt pressured to decide at once. I will have to clarify that one.

It’s true that Mel’s shop is packed every time I go there (I took it as a good sign, since there are a lot of clients); everyone has to wait for their turn, get assisted by the girls (shop assistants of Mel) and a real few minutes to talk with Mel. The last part is kind of a grey area. You see you can be talking to her while she is doing something else-at times talking to other brides, potential clients or assisting another bride. Basically, she is busy most of the time, you are very lucky if you got all her attention. Then again, I can only visit her shop on weekends since I can’t go there on weekdays as I have to work.  So, I really have to be patient and wait and also try and maximize my time in the shop. I also cannot blame her if everything is rushed, there are a lot of clients and only one of her so it’s but normal that she cannot really zone in to each and every problem/question/fitting. There are days that are ok, there are days that are frustrating and there is also those days that I come out of her shop almost close to crying.

I have also proven that my hunch was right. This is a photo from my last fitting.  Those were freaking pearls. – #pearl

#pearl

Instagram again! and I learned that is really is #pearl – no second guessing. This is proof that what I have on my gown is not opal but pearls. 

Just breathe deep and carry on. I had to remind myself that.

Then again, due to the nature of a gown designer’s work…it must be imperative that she be hands-on regarding each and every one of her brides’ needs right? After all you only get married once!

Fast forward to the day of the wedding, my dress looked good. A lot have been complimenting my dress.

the dress in action

the dress in action

For me, I liked that it made me look tall. I am also glad that on some pictures, it looks like soft flowing water.

like soft flowing water

like soft flowing water

There is also the embellishments that filled out the bodice.

beading

beading

I love my dress. I truly do.

I made it again to Mel orlina's instagram, only I was nameless there (I thinks). *All the other brides have names.

Photo taken on the day of the wedding. – oh wow! I made it again to Mel Orlina’s instagram.  I can’t help but notice that I was the only one nameless there . *All the other brides have their names posted along with their picture.

But there is this haunting feeling at the back of my mind that it could have been better, had issues and agreements have been prioritized and more focused communication. After all, you only get to be a bride once; feeling rushed and at times neglected definitely feels downright sad.

Summing it all up.

The dress was okay, they got the job done.  I regret the experience.

Mel is sorely lacking in service. It was only the girls in the shop that really made sure that the fittings are comfortable and assisted, thanks and kudos to each one of them. But even if the girls are helping out, it will not replace having the time you get to talk to your designer (about the dress) and your designer explaining the options possible. Having the peace of mind that your designer truly understands what you want. It’s the goal.

But because time was limited and there was also the way everything is rushed and busy at Mel’s shop.  It caused me bouts of doubt, anxiety/stress and sadness. That could have been avoided if there were at least a min of 30 mins for focused time for every client, as well as the simple “stick to the plan agreed upon”.

Still, I am thankful to them for making my dress. Not exactly what I wanted but that was it.

fairRating 2.5 out of 5. Barely made it.

Heartbreaking for someone who I had high hopes for. Do I recommend them? If you are Makati based and can really monitor your fittings/requests I’d say go check them out if you like them. If you are not from Makati, you better think about it.

 **All my reviews, opinions, and other stuff expressed here are my own and based on my own experience. This is not a sponsored post, Kei paid for the wedding dress from his own pocket.

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”― Maya Angelou