life of a cuddlebit

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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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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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some more pearls for grandma

My grandma (mother’s side) recently turned 85 last July 24.

For that joyful occasion, I got her a pearl necklace.

grandma's pearls

The two strand pearl necklace I got for my Grandma.

I don’t know why, usually grandmas love pearls. I dislike them for that reason. No pearls for me. 

But my Grandma likes them so much, she collects them. She has them in a pale pink, white, cream, gold and grey. No black. (black is not a good color according to Chinese superstitions)  I don’t know the exact count of her pearl collection.  

All I know is she adores them. She wears them daily. She even matches them with her outfit!

She always has a single strand of round pearls, with pearls studs on her ears. They are her fashion staple.

 

So, when I was looking for a gift for her birthday, I need to get her something I never got her before.

(On her past birthdays I got her a ink portrait, a pink fluffy bathrobe, swarovski necklace… etc)

I never got her pearls. Till this birthday.

She loved it! Even my aunts liked the unique shape of this necklace. 

Awesome-NOT.

 

Apparently, the necklace doesn’t fit.

That left us all baffled. Before I gave it to her I tried wearing it at home, along with my Mum, my Sister, even our Nanny tried it on, it fits us all. ( twisted to two strand)

But when Grandma tried to wear it, she cannot twist and loop the necklace into two strand.

Its just a long weird strand of pearls on her.  I need to get the necklace re stringed with additional pearls. 

 

That got us thinking, do people’s heads grow wider as they age? We think it does.


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replacing buttons

Last Saturday, I tried my hand in repairing/upgrading two of my clothes. (Saturday’s post is here

These are the clothes that needs new buttons. The abused,comfy,fave blue nautical sleeveless one lost one of its buttons and the lilac shirt dress we got on sale with the awful pearl-ish buttons (they have to go!). *I sort of dislike pearls, for me pearls are for the more mature group… but that’s just my opinion*

the before

My project -the before shot

Got all my materials from Michelle’s located in Tutuban Mall in Divisoria. (They sell their buttons by the dozen and the place is a crafter’s wonderland.. full of beads, buttons, ribbons, lace, etc. But, as with most crafting stores, the storekeepers are hardly any help at all.) 

thread, button and reciept

thread, button and receipt 

Then I went to work. Sewing felt therapeutic for me. I chatted with my sister while D.I.Y.-ing the clothes. Till I have attached the last button. I am quite happy to have restored the blue nautical sleeveless shirt using the plain white buttons. The lilac shirt dress also looked better with the berry colored flower buttons! *looks more age appropriate for me! hahahaha!*’

finished project -new buttons!

finished project -new buttons!

I am pleased with how the project turned out, wearable clothes again! Also happy to have spent time with my sister. Not bad for someone who almost flunked Home Economics.  

While writing this, I am wearing the comfy blue one right now.