Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How I Have Missed You...

...my fellow bloggers! 

Sorry to have been MIA but between the travelling, jet lag, catching up with family, there hasn't been much time to blog (although I have been reading!).

Things are ok here. Some good, some not so great, but I will get into it all a little later. Just wanted to say that I hope you all had great holidays and are enjoying your time with loved ones. I will try to write some posts soon!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Anniversary Babe!

One year ago today, Mr. Milk got down on one knee next to the Christmas tree in my small San Francisco apartment and proposed. He took me completely off guard and I spent a good part of the day in tears. Happy tears!

I can't believe we have been engaged for a year! Where has the time gone?! But we have done a lot too, including the start of this blog, to document our wedding attempts. In 9 months from today (exactly) we will be husband and wife! Can't wait! I love you babe! 

Merry Christmas

Wonderful Blogger Friends,

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas with your families, friends, and loved ones! Thank you for all your support, and for being such a great part of our lives. We wish you lots of love, laughter, happiness, and health.

Chocolate Lover and Mr. Milk

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Quick Update

Made it to London with only 3.5 hours delay after fears that they would completely cancel our flight due to bad weather! Wish us luck for tomorrow!

Pretty Eyes

I found eye shadow in our wedding colors! It totally matches the colors of our invitations (except the one in the last quadrant). Not sure if I will be getting these, or if I would use them if I had them, but I thought it was cool when I came across them while doing some last minute shopping the other day.

What do you ladies think? Go for it or stay away?

Monday, December 21, 2009

We Are Leaving on a Jet Plane!

As you read this post, we are gathering our last minute things, shoving them in the overly packed suitcases, and getting ready to head to the airport for our long-ass flight to Cyprus. We have spent the last two holiday seasons away from our family and friends so we are looking forward to this Christmas. Unfortunately we waste 2 days as we have a stopover in London, both on our way there and on our way back. While this may sound like a good opportunity to some, being jet lagged does not inspire a "lets hang out in London" attitude. Luckily we both have enough friends living there that we don't have to pay for accommodations. 

I have to say though, travelling is no longer fun. The airlines have done their best to squeeze every ounce of fun from it, and they have succeeded in my book. Tickets are ridiculously expensive, airlines charge for every. single. little. thing (then they tell you "we will be serving complimentary beverages during the flight" - nooooooooo, I actually paid hundreds of dollars for your lousy beverage!), and they charge you for checked-in luggage but have weight restrictions on your carry-on! The latest craze for those flights that don't charge for luggage is to limit it to one piece. Not really too much of an issue, except when you have trans-atlantic flights! Aaaargghhh

To top it all off, this is the first time in 5 years of travelling back and forth to Cyprus that we booked our flights with British Airways and they have been threatening to strike! Lets just add more stress shall we! We've tried changing our flights but of course everything is already booked during the busy holiday season. We can get to London but then who knows what will happen the next day when the strike is supposed to have started and we are scheduled to be flying to Cyprus. Luckily, FMIL is a travel agent, and has made two one-way bookings from London to Cyprus for us on a different airline. Prices are ridiculous this late in the game though so not sure how that will work exactly!

Rant over! Thanks for listening.

I will try to write some posts while I am in Cyprus, and post some pics so you can see this little spec on the map :)

Are you travelling for the holidays?  Hope you all have safe travels with less craze getting there than we are having!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Kick Ass Bloggers

The lovely Carolina Bride was sweet enough to pass this award on to me

So I need to pass this on to 5 Kick Ass Bloggers. Here goes:

Miss T
A Los Angeles Love
Burning River Bride
Party Planner Gal
Salt Says

You guys are all awesome! Pass this on to 5 more bloggers!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday's with Mr. Milk - The Wedding Car

After attending a wedding fair in Vancouver I am now inandated with emails from tons of wedding vendors, especially limousine services. As I received another email today, I thought I'd pick your fine people's brains on the subject of transporting yourself to the wedding.

I've seen everything from antique cars, to insanely large limos, to tiny smart cars or mini coopers, to Ferraris transporting brides and grooms after the ceremony. I can see why people would like antique cars. There's something classy about them that suits the grandiose texture of a wedding and adds a little romance to an otherwise mandane task. I can see why a young couple would make a statement by driving in their mini Cooper. Perhaps they are environmentalists or just outspokenly 'modest' about their preferences. I can also see why someone would take the opportunity to rent an exotic car; afterall, what's another $1,000 to rent a Ferrari for the day when there are so many other expenses to worry about?

What I'm having difficulty appreciating is the massive, prom dance limousines that seem like they are made for screaming teenagers with beer in one hand while the other is used to moon bystanders. Not cool. What's the point of driving in a 12-passenger Escalade limo anyway?  Not to be critical of anyone who likes that kind of thing, I guess it just ain't my cup of tea. Not to mention that in Cyprus I'm sure limos of that size would have a tough time getting around all the round-abouts (traffic circles).

As I type this I realize that the church and the reception are at the same venue, and that we are spending the night there too. Which means we won't be driving away together... 

So what do you feel is a cool vehicle to use for your wedding? Any unique ideas out there?

Until next Friday, this is Mr. Milk signing off. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Impromptu Hair Trial

So yesterday I had an appointment to get my hair cut. Mr. Milk has a family friend who is a mobile hair stylist and she has been cutting my hair for a couple of years now. She comes to your house with her bag that looks like a carry-on trolley full of sprays, scissors, curling irons, hair dryers and so on, sets up her plastic tarp on your floor, and away she goes! Its actually really convenient. 

As I was waiting for her to arrive in the morning, I was thinking about my day and realized that I had a fitting for my dress in the afternoon. It occurred to me that it would be fun to have my hair styled to get a complete picture of my wedding outfit! So when Valentine (the stylist) came in, I asked her if she had time to do an updo. Now granted she won't be the one doing my hair on the actual day - although I do wish I could take her with me to Cyprus - but she was game and had the time and we went for it. She didn't have any of her "bride hairdo" tools so we ran down to the store and picked up some booby pins and she spent an extra hour styling my hair.  I stupidly forgot to take my camera with me to the alterations appointment so can't show you ladies the overall look, but I did get Mr. Milk to take some pictures of my hair when I got home. 

This was a really quick, unplanned thing so not as neat and tidy as it could be. I'm not sure about the coil parts of the updo. I envisioned a bit of a softer look mostly consisting of loops so that it looks more flower like (if that makes sense). Here are some pics of inspiration:

(Not sure where this one is from)

above three pics from the knot

So what do you ladies think? Like it or not so much? Any other recommendations? 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bittersweet Decadence Cookies

With the holidays just around the corner, I'm even more in the mood to bake! So I wanted to share another of my favorite recipes from Alice Medrich's cookbook Bittersweet with you. These cookies are to die for (if you like chocolate)!


1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
8oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups pecans, chopped into large pieces
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into chunks (or you can use store bought chocolate chips)


Preheat oven to 350oF. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment or wax paper

Chop the chocolate

In a small bowl, mix the flower, baking powder, and salt together thoroughly. Set aside

Place 8oz of coarsely chopped chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove chocolate from saucepan and set aside (keep water simmering for use in a further step). 

In another heatproof bowl whist the eggs, sugar, and vanilla thoroughly. Set the bowl over the simmering water and stir the mixture until it is lukewarm. 

Stir the eggs into the warm chocolate mixture.

Stir in the flour mixture

Stir in the chopped pecans and 6oz of chocolate

Scoop slightly rounded tbsp of batter onto the cookie sheets, placing them about 1.5 inches apart.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. The surface of the cookies will look dry but the center is still gooey. Place on cooling rack and let cool completely.

And enjoy! 

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Girl Effect

My pal Buhdoop (check out her blog!) posted about this the other day and inspired  me to look into it further. The Girl Effect is an organization that encourages the investment into young girl's futures in the developing world. Check out this video that describes it far better than I can

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday's with Mr. Milk - Going Home for Christmas: A Rant

In 10 days we are going to Cyprus for the Christmas holidays. We haven't gone back for the holidays for three years now, so the whole trip comes with more hype than usual. See, I'm torn when it comes to spending the holidays with family. It's not that I don't want to, or that I don't enjoy it.... I guess no matter what I do, I always seem to find myself returning to Canada in desperate need of another holiday!

This year there's an additional stress factor. You guessed it! The wedding! 

There's something to be said about living far, far away from immediate family. Although I love the comforting feeling of having lots of people who care about you around, the downside is the incredible amount of energy it takes to see everyone and to please everyone's curiosity of the ins and outs of your private life. The key word is "private" (which by the way does not exist in the Greek language!).

Oh, back to the whole "added stress" for this year. How about the fact that we now have TWO families and that part of the holidays will be spent with BOTH at THE SAME TIME? 

About a month away from our trip, I start getting excited. Not for the same reasons that excited me when I was a kid: the plane, the experience of travelling, the massive airports... No sir! I got plenty of air miles to ensure I never get excited about being on a plane again! My excitement now comes from reminiscing the homey smells, the Christmas love that you can just feel in the air when you are around family, and maybe a bit of the cool hype that comes with people's excitement to see you after so long. 

And cuuuuut! The excitement ends 2 days after we land in Cyprus and the feeling of what, wedding, how, wedding, who, wedding, how much, wedding, wedding, wedding, comes back! 

Everything is going to be oooookaaaayyy.

Until next Friday, this is Mr. Milk signing off.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Need Your Help Ladies

So the situation is as follows. The day after our wedding is our best man's 30th birthday. I big birthday if you ask me. 

We would like to celebrate his birthday at our wedding. While we will have a separate cake for him to blow out candles and such, we want to do something more. Problem is, we don't know what. Short of having a lady jump out of a cake for him, I am stuck for ideas.

What do you ladies think? Any fab ideas to celebrate our best man's birthday at our wedding?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm In Love...

... with the postman! 

He brings me all the goodies I order online and has made mail fun again. On his most recent trip he brought me this:

As some of you might recall, I was the lucky winner of the Stamp Yourself Happy GiveAway hosted by The Professional Bridesmaid and Barbara Kua Calligraphy. Barbara is super super talented and our stamp looks great! Thanks Barbara!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sushi Making Class

Mr. Milk enjoys bbqing. He sees it as his contribution to making dinner. I can make the sides, veggies and so on, and he can bbq the protein. Well now that winter has set in and it gets close to freezing outside, being on the balcony to bbq is not much of an option.

For about a year or so, Mr. Milk has been interested in making sushi. He's been saying that we should buy the tools required to try make some at home. Well about a week ago he flat out asked for a class. He requested it as a Christmas gift - even though we haven't decided if we are getting each other gifts this year. I looked around online and found a sushi-making class that was taking place this past Friday at a cookstore close by. It was for 3 hours and they had a special offer for couples, so I booked it. When I told Mr. Milk he was excited about it and changed his Friday night plans to go to the class.

The chef, Ron, was a sweet Japanese man who talked to us about the history of sushi, its origins, and then began to make some food. He was hilarious! He was an excellent sales man, pitching some of the products sold at the store. He made sweet potato tempura (which we later used to make rolls with), told us how to make the perfect sushi rice, and went on to teach us how to make California rolls, dynamite rolls, spicy tuna roll, nigiri, and his "famous" party log with salmon, shrimp,crab, avocado, cucumber, and fish roe. The thing was HUGE! After he'd made the roll, his wife walked in and was startled by the size of it. His response? "Thats why its called the party log!"  hehehe

The whole experience was a ton of fun, we left feeling full, and able to make our own sushi! Now all we need is the ingredients and tools! Here are a few pics from our attempts!

Our work station

Making a dynamite roll 

All rolled up

Sweet potato tempura roll

California roll

We both really enjoyed doing something together that was not wedding related for a change. What kind of things do you enjoy doing as a couple (that doesn't involve wedding planning)?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy SITSmas

!Happy Holidays!
Merry SITSmas

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season full of love and laughter! Thank you for all your comments and support!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday's with Mr. Milk - How To Make Your Own Direction/Map Card

It feels like we are getting more into the detailed work with the wedding planning. There's so much to do and so much to plan for, so it feels good to actually get some tasks completed. Chocolate Lover gave me one task that I could have some fun with: designing our directions card for our wedding invitations.

If you don't know the difference between vector and bitmap files, this is a good reason to find out. Here's my explanation: If you take a picture (in the form of .jpg, .gif, .png, etc.) and increase it's size, you'll notice that the quality of the picture gets worse. That's because if the picture is made up of 100 pixels, by increasing the size of the picture (which is saved in a bitmap form) you are effectively increasing the size of each pixel, hence making the tiny little buggers more visible to the eye. The result is a more grainy look which is characteristic of low quality pictures. 

When you buy a digital camera and the salesperson says this one is 2 megapixels or 6 or whatever, that's what they are referring to: The number of pixels that will be captured by the camera's digital processor and hence the number of pixels that will be printed on the paper. The more pixels you have the better it is for printing larger size photographs. This doesn't mean that a 10MP camera will print a better picture than a 2MP if they are both printing on 4x6 paper. You can still only see 72 dots per inch (or dpi) on your screen, and when you print you can still only fit so many pixels in a given area. So as a side note to this week's post, if you are thinking of buying a digital camera and if you are not planning on printing on anything larger than 8X10, a 3.2 MP camera will do just fine.

Now back to the topic. Unlike bitmap, a vector graphic is one that uses mathematics in order to calculate its shape. For instance if I am using software such as Adobe Illustrator to draw a line which may contain 100 pixels, and then I extend the line by dragging one of its corners, then I am sending a signal to the computer that I want the line to increase in size and the computer then adds pixels to fill the space. So if I double the size of the line, it should now have 200 pixels as opposed to 100 pixels that are twice the size. So vector files = quality is untouched and bitmap files = don't mess with the size! 

To draw our directions card for our wedding venue, I wanted to trace a Google Map image in order to keep the proportions correct. I started by placing the image below into Keynote (Apple's equivalent to Power Point but 1,000,000 times better - no bias here).

You can do this by using a screen capture tool, pressing the "Print Screen"  button on your PC, or Shift+Command+4 on a Mac and selecting the area you want to capture.

I then traced the route using a line drawing tool. You will find this under "Shapes" in Keynote. What this allows you to do is to click along the line of the road while a line joins the point you are on with the previous one. The more clicks the smoother the line. This being a graphic tool, the line is a vector file so there's no degradation to the quality of the image if it is resized later. 

Below is a picture of the tracing process. Don't worry about making mistakes. You can always click on a a single point along the line and either move it or delete it.

Once I had the lines traced I played with the sizing of the stroke to emphasize the highway. To do that, you first select the line you want and then from the Graphics Inspector you change the stroke of the line. Although in the picture below I used two thicker lines to emphasize the highway, you will see later on that I then changed to a single line of stroke thickness 23px for the highway and 6px for the side roads. 

I then added some directional arrows and text, again from the "Shapes" menu, and removed the now traced satellite image by moving it out of the way. A couple of more details included a blow-up of the traffic circle close to the hotel, and some labels to indicate the road names, etc. 

Then I selected each item and from the Graphic Inspector I changed the colour as shown below. To make the filled area representing the Mediterranean Sea, I used the line art tool again but this time I added three more points to connect the 90 degree triangle that takes up the bottom left corner of the map. You'll see that by connecting the first point of your line to the last one, you end up with an area filled shape. 

A quick copy and paste into Adobe Illustrator and my job is done. The beauty of using Keynote was its simplicity. Once in Illustrator I could resize up or down with no loss in quality. 

I hope you've found this useful. What programs do you use for your design work? 

Until next Friday, this is Mr. Milk signing off.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Under My Umbrella-ella-ella

I am not a creative person by nature. My creativity is limited to the kitchen! I can whip up a pretty tasty meal with whatever I have in the fridge and pantry. I guess that's why baking is more of a challenge. Although I enjoy it just as much, it requires more precision. Anyway, when it comes to the wedding, I'm one of those brides that looks around for hours and hours on the web and at other bride's blogs in order to get inspirations and ideas. Needless to say I spend waaaaay to much time online!

So on one of my searches I came across photos like these ones:

Photos from here and here

I love how the parasols look! I totally want pictures like that! So I went ahead and bought some! I found these beauties at Save On Crafts.

I bought three in this aqua color and will be purchasing some white or cream ones as well! Can't wait to use them! Are you using any props for your photos?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Before I reveal the winner of the Chocolate Cookbook giveaway I just want to say THANK YOU to all for participating!

So without further ado...

The entry was:

Congratulations to the Sassy Bride on a Mission Cassandra!  

If you could get in touch and send me your info I will ship this off to you ASAP!