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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Holing up

We had some minor home fix its and additions that had us holed up at home for the whole weekend. Good news is our bedroom ceiling is all patched up. –We had to damage the ceiling for our air conditioning unit to fit (there wasn’t enough space). While it does not look pretty, due to the fact that we did not restore the “original state” since we had to make sure that we can get the unit out in case we need to. That was day one. For that I am quite thankful.

By the evening, we hurriedly went back to Landmark-Makati in hopes of getting those (darned) white Christmas balls that we were supposed to get last week. Again, there were none. Arrggggh. So, we thought maybe it wasn’t really meant to be. We just have to get the white using other Christmas decor.

In the end we managed to complete our Christmas décor hunt. In our chosen colors- red, aqua and white.

red white and blue?

red white and aqua blue decor- say hello to our feathered Christmas birds!

Hopefully by Nov 30 our tree will be up.

Day two, we are back to sawing, painting, sanding, cleaning up sawdust, and plaster. We smoothed out plaster, wiped out wood glue, installed a hook for the Christmas chandelier, permanently placed the clock by using screws this time and not with command strips. #adulting

By night, we got this neat ladder/trellis type shelf up. –This is going to be decorative/storage space and emergency sampayan (indoor clothesline) in case of rainy days! We also had hooks attached to it so we can hang a swag for Christmas.

our multitasking ladder shelf

I am loving our newly made multitasking ladder shelf!

Not bad right. I am quite pleased with how it turned out! Also just in time for our upcoming “Friendsgiving”! -We called our close friends for a little get together before everyone gets too busy with the holidays. 

Then we went out to Akira to celebrate. Having a Izakaya night on a Sunday. We deserved it for the hard workday/s. hahahaha!

feast for the tummy and eyes too!

feast for the tummy and eyes too!

I am very much excited to decorate and get the tree up for the festivities!

 

 

 

 


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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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My prenup dress adventures: the roundup

I’ve been real busy. Sorry for being missing in action for the past few days.

But I got a lot of messages/questions about my prenup gowns. I was planning on sharing these after my prenup shoot but maybe the time is now.

So, I will let you see my dresses and as an added bonus: I will also share my list of my trusted seamstresses!  

I am having a small victory right now.

After all the frustrations and tears from my hell of a dammed/fail red dress, I finally have another red dress that is like a gazillion times better than the bloody hell of a dress. Wanna see what the fail/bloody hell of a dress looks like? see it in my past post here.

While I was moping about the fail one, mom suggested we salvage it by getting it altered. After all she knew a good seamstress. (Ate Helen who made most of my mum’s cocktail dresses and the one who did a superb job on my lilac goddess gown) So, off we went.

Sharing a photo of my absolutely, gorgeous lilac gown. This was made by Ate Helen. Perfection in just one fitting. This is why we are her “suki” (a long standing customer).

my lilac gown

my Lilac gown that was made by Ate Helen from AyenMil Fashion Boutique

But there was a catch. Ate Helen is fully booked. There is simply no snippet of time that Ate Helen could do the extensive alteration. So, she begged off. We understood.

In case you are wondering about Ate Helen’s contact details? here they are:

Tell them Pam referred you. Ate Helen calls me shobe. =)

Tell them Pam referred you. Ate Helen calls me shobe. =)

So I was dragging myself out and moping along the way all the while telling mum that all is lost on the failed dress. When mum stopped walking to admire two gowns on display (a gold and orchid colored gown) and even ask for the shop owner.

the gowns on display

the exact gowns on display that caught our attention- photo taken from Tita Nedy

Apparently they were made by the owner of the shop and also a seamstress named Nedy. She made the gowns and is willing to sell it to me for a low price after seeing the first red dress that was a maximum fail. I thought the orchid gown was divine. But I already have a lilac gown and getting the orchid gown would be a repetition of color. Mum asked if she be willing to fix the dress, to which she simply said, save you the trouble. Get another one done.

I told her I really wanted a red asymmetrical dress, and that I liked what she did with the orchid gown. If she can make me one in red, it would be perfect. While taking my measurements she asked me about the fail gown. I told her the story, she chuckled. And said I will make you one that will make you forget the fail one. I smiled and hoped for the best.

After a three weeks. I was back in her shop twirling around happily in my new red dress! She made a wonderful concoction of satin and soft tulle in a bright candy apple red color with dainty sequin flowers! She thought the color would be perfect with my personality and skin tone. Tita Nedy was just like a fairy godmother, my dress was freaking fabulous! (I now call her tita Nedy)

red copy

my candy apple red gown made by Tita Nedy! -I really, really love it!

Only after the first and only fitting did I know, she makes curtains and dresses. Go figure.

The dress would need a few embellishment adjustments, and would be sewn the next day and my dress will be ready to wear!  Awesome-ness.

Loving my red gown like I do? I am sharing Tita Nedy’s contact details:

Tell them I sent you and send my love to Tita Nedy! =)

Tell them Pam sent you and send my love to Tita Nedy! =)

I may have also told you about the champagne gown that features the hunchback of Notre Dame look. I am scrapping that gown off too.

It is now replaced with the ivory-that-turned-out-to-be-champagne dress. This is made by Ysabelle.

ruffled and sexy!

ruffled and sexy! precise tailoring from Auntie Chai-Yong of Ysabelle  

This is supposed to be my non beaded ivory-dance-dress that turned out to be the champagne-cocktail-dress. Not to be used at the wedding dance, only for prenup shoot or party purposes. Honestly, even if they did not get the color right, I love this dress. More of the back story here.

prepare your Chinese speaking skills and head on over! Look for Auntie Chai-Yong and tell them Pam sent you. =)

prepare your Chinese speaking skills and head on over! Look for Auntie Chai-Yong and tell them Pam sent you. =)

Last and definitely not the least. My white RTW gown. Remember the time I was frustrated with looking for seamstresses? And opted to look for RTW but because of my petite size I was getting no luck? The post is here.

Well, I managed to snag one beautiful RTW gown! While it was far from the styles I usually wear. *I dislike garterized backs, and I think halters make my shoulders look huge. But this gown managed to work on me. It fits comfortably and it looks unique.

this white gown is rtw!

this white gown is rtw!

I got this from Giovanna at 168 mall. (Sorry I lost the paper bag with the store’s details but I am sure that the store is on the third floor.)

So, those are my Prenup gowns. I will be mixing them with my existing dresses for the shoot.

 

*All my reviews, opinions, and other stuff expressed here are my own and based on my own experience. This is not a sponsored post, I paid for all the gowns including all the fail gown/s mentioned. I withheld the contact details of the fail/bad seamstresses and instead posted the good ones I encountered. Positive vibes! 

**Love my gowns? These will be worn on my prenup. That means apart from fittings, I will wear these once. And these will be kept at my closet. If you are interested in my gowns, I am willing to sell them after my prenup shoot. -For reference I am (depending on the brand) a size 2 to 6, usually fits extra small to medium. For more details, leave a message.