life of a cuddlebit

my random ramblings


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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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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

 


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much, much darker than expected a review: L’oreal Paris Excellence Fashion Hair Dye In 6.35 Intense Copper Brown

beforeI have half-half hair. I meant half brown, half black. My roots are on full show.

See photo on the right.  I don’t really like it, I mean who wants ugly roots showing?

Been dying my hair for years now and my goal is always a evenly toned medium to light brown hair. For most of the time, I dye myself using a box of hair dye. It is convenient that way.

Not to mention doing my hair at home is loads cheaper too!

So, I went out to look for a new hair color! And spotted the L’Oréal booth (in Sm department  store at Makati) that offers free application upon purchase of their boxed hair dyes! I hurriedly went to ask how to avail the free application. Then I go choose hair dyes. Sadly, there are not much to choose from, but eh… choosy pa ba ako?! Go na lang ng go!  

*my mum’s go to brand for hair dye is loreal.  So I decided to try it out too. 

And since I am a huge sucker for beautiful packaging, the new boxes got my attention. The time I arrived (lunch time), there are only two colors from their new collection. Intense copper brown and Violet brown. I picked the intense copper brown thinking that it will be lighter, thus showing up better on my dark hair.

I went to buy one box of Intense copper brown then went back to get another one.

I usually use one box of hair dye, but since I am trying to grow my hair longer I have to use two now. >_<

this photo was taken at home. after I got my hair done, I took home one of the box.

This photo was taken at home. After I got my hair done, I took home one of my two boxes. Of course the tube of color is now used up, so this is a slightly incomplete set. 

Opening the box you will get to see the standard set: tube of colorant, color developer, instruction leaflet with gloves, hair serum, and the after color conditioner.

Cutting to the chase, I waited in line for my hair color application, after I filled up a survey form.

There were a lot of ladies waiting in line!!!

Then it was my turn.

the process

looking like a egghead is part of the process of getting my hair done! lols!

Quickly hopped on the chair and let the Loreal trained staff do her magic on my hair. I used up two boxes of the product! They did a good job in sectioning my hair and applying the product thickly.

*Hindi nila tinipid, talagang sinimot ang two boxes! 

Of course the dye smelled a bit strong, but it did not sting at all! The product felt creamy. The light colored mixture of colorant + cream developer turned out darker and darker as the time progressed. Once my hair was covered with the hair dye, I have to wait for 45 mins for the color to develop before rinsing.

While rinsing, the staff asked me what color did I use. I told him that I got the new 6.35 Intense Copper Brown. He gasped and said out loud that he was worried. Honestly, I am worried too. Apparently the color I picked does not really show up on dark haired people, they got complaints about it.  Sad-ness. 

Looks like I made the wrong move. 

This was the result of the wait.

it was dark. real darker than what i expected.

It was dark. Real darker than what I expected. It looks like my natural hair color.

So, I went home to gauge the reaction of the family… My parents took one look at me and said: o, bumalik ka na sa tunay na buhok mo?! (You went back to your natural hair color?!)

Yeah, I look like I did not color my hair at all. The color only shows up on Intense light (pun intended). 

The next morning after I took a bath, I quickly checked my hair again.

the final color

the final color

Got the box and looked at my hair again, and again and tried to take a photo under the bright indoor light.

Real dark, way dark. I really wanted to like this product but I was let down. I might consider getting my hair dyed after resting it for a month or two. I personally felt more comfortable with lighter hair. 

 

Bottom line: I think Loreal hair dyes is made for those who wanted to cover grey/white hairs.  For the mature set. Or those looking for a dark hair dye after getting bleached blond hair. This would work really well. I also liked that after getting my hair dyed with Loreal it did not become dry, instead it appears to have improved the condition of my hair.

 

*The L’oreal Paris Excellence Fashion Hair Dye booth can be found in SM Department Store in Makati. The free application service will be available till July 23, 2015. See their facebook page for more of their promos.

**All my reviews, opinions, and other stuff expressed here are my own and based on my own experience with the product. This is not a sponsored post, I paid for this (from) my own pocket. *Price? I got one box for 495php. Since I got two boxes i paid 990php.


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Searching for the wedding gown: We found our gown designer

This is the continuation of  Searching for the wedding gown: Thoughts on the dress

We are scheduled at three o’clock. Says Kei who just got a reply from the designer.

Great, we can go eat lunch before meeting her. That was our plan.

So, lunch is served. We dined at Mitsuyado Sei-Men. Where we got our usual.

lunch

A large three cheese tsukemen, one order of gyoza, and black pepper chicken

Once done with lunch, we headed over to her shop. We arrived quite early. Excited much!  

look up!

look up!

It is located at the second floor of Dona Consolacion Building.

mel orlina building

Going up, we are greeted by this.

Mel Orlina shop

We arrived at her shop in a very busy time. There were a lot of brides to be along with their families who are in the process of fitting their gowns. The place was packed.  

We just spent the time looking at other people’s gowns, and also the trinkets displayed in her shop. Apparently they have a consignment deal with Jacatel.  So they carry accessories too!  Convenient! (I already have my eye one of the earrings!)

beautiful!

I find this beautiful!

One by one the people left and it was now our turn.

We get to see a tired but still smiling Mel Orlina. I told her what I wanted a mermaid gown with appliqués/beaded, with a dramatic skirt, low back, colored petticoat, then showed her my pegs. She then rummaged through her stash of fabrics and lace and brought out a bag of appliqués similar to my peg.

 

Then Mel sketched her vision of the gown keeping in mind my preferences. Then voiced out her reasons on why she designed the sketch that way. The sketch looked modern and feminine. I liked it!

This designer got Kei smiling at the sketch, schedule and price.

This designer got Kei smiling at the sketch, schedule and price.

She also guaranteed to us that should I have a change of heart on the design, she will be willing to change the design for me!

We also find her price reasonable. (below 100k)

 

I knew our search is over.

We instantly felt at ease. We liked her.

Kei booked her on the spot.

* I do a happy dance*

After we wrote down our names on her schedule, we found out that she is almost fully booked for 2015. Whoa, that fast?!

*Lucky for us!* 

See more of her creations here.

 

Mel Orlina Couture

Address: 2nd floor (unit 201), Dona Consolacion Bldg., 122 Jupiter St., Bel-Air Village, 1209 Makati

Phone: 7520312

Email: melorlinacouture@gmail.com

Office hours: Mon – Sat: 10:30 am – 7:30 pm

 

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

**Start planning early. You get to pick the suppliers you like, rather than having to look for your second choice.

 


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Searching for the wedding gown: The Mi Sueño experience (part2)

We have been here before and we are back again as Mi Sueño’s new gowns has arrived.

all the new dresses

They called us to take a look at their new offerings, and this time we were told that they have a lot of new ones from their sister company, Atelier Diagonal. (The affordable version of Pronovias.)

I still had my same request. A mermaid / fit and flare gown.

But the Mi Sueño ladies are really determined to get me to wear a ball gown. So, here goes my attempt to carry a ball gown. This gown is from Pronovias and is named ALCANAR.

alcanar

I must say, this looks ok. I didn’t look smaller, or fatter. What sorcery is this?!

To add, the dress is not heavy at all. We were told it was because of the micro tulle fabric.

The second dress I tried on is a strapless, fit and flare, lace, tube Atelier Diagonal gown named PEDRA. It looks rather plain, but is very flattering. Maybe take it up a notch using a beaded sash?

ADpedra

I do look slender on the dress. Which I like.

And lastly Kei picked out a gown he wanted me to try on. It was an Atelier Diagonal gown named PALAEM.

Sounds like hunger games’ capital to me.

It looks like a fusion of traditional and modern. A-line gown, that has a sleeveless lace queen anne neckline detail, and a keyhole back. It reminds me a lot of Mary Watson’s wedding dress from the Sherlock series.

It looks good. But, it looks better when worn!

See, no armpit fat! Hello sexy back!

See, no armpit fat! Hello sexy back!

Of the three gowns I tried on, this is the winner.

And so the price has to be known. The first one exceeds 100, the second and third are of the same price of less than 100 but not lower than 90. Considering that the gowns are not embellished/layered this sounds a bit much. But then again they are imported from Spain. We have to think this over.

That sums up our Mi Sueño experience part 2.

 

Taking photos is allowed. Appointments are a must.   

Their boutique, fitting room, lighting, friendliness are still the same as our first experience with them.

Gowns– I to fit 1 pronovias ball gown. And two Atelier Diagonal gowns. The pronovias gowns feature classic silhouettes, gorgeous lace, and best of all a hidden corset with boning! Atelier Diagonal gowns however does not have that built in corset. They have clamps to make the gown fit. They would alter the gown to fit you perfectly once you decide that you are going to take the gown.  My only gripe is still the same, their gowns don’t have any bead works. I love sparkly stuff!

Price– I was mistaken with this….each of the two Atelier Diagonal gowns I tried on is priced 90,000 (that is with their discount) I stand corrected from my previous post that Atelier Diagonal dresses range from P35,000 – P60,000. The Pronovias ALCANAR ball gown I tried on, costs a whooping 135,000.
Contact them: 

Tel. No.: 848 – 7277 to 78 / 622 – 4361 / 622 – 4368 / 622 – 4372
Mobile: +639175778366
Email: misuenobridal@gmail.com
Address: Penthouse of The Athenaeum Building at 160 L.P. Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati City, Philippines

 

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

 

The first RTW wedding gown search : The Mi Sueno experience (part1)

The second RTW wedding gown search : The Adorata Weddings experience

The third RTW wedding gown search: The Rosa Clara experience

The fourth RTW wedding gown search: The ivory and white experience

The last RTW wedding gown search: The Mi Sueno experience (part2)