Saturday, September 27, 2008

Say Hello to My Not-So-Little Friend

Confession: I didn't even want a dog. It wasn't that I don't adore the four legged friends, but Mark and I weren't even living together yet and I knew I would get stuck taking care of one, feeding it, potting training it, parenting it. Truth be told, I wasn't ready to be a mommy. Mark, on the other hand, couldn't live another day without one. Every night he would come over and research the heck out of different breeds and post pictures on my desktop. This is typical of my husband when he wants something.

One day he actually got me to agree to just "go look" at one with him. If you are smarter than I am, then you know what happened next. It was a classic story of girl meets puppy, girl can't put puppy down, puppy has found himself a new home. Yes, I am a sucker, but this is what I was up against...

He stole my heart in such a way that if I couldn't have him, a piece of me would have just died right there. But luckily, this was all in Mark's master scheme and we were actually not just there for a visit, but to pick up our new puppy and take him home! He was so so tiny! Here we are on his first field trip outdoors.

Though the first few days/weeks/months were tough and chaotic, Diezel (named after Mark's favorite basketball player, Shaq Diezel) brought so much joy to our family and became a much needed playmate for my nephew's dog who was also living with us.

Fast forward 3 years later and you would hardly recognize my little lap dog. Diezel is... uh, well, here's Diezel...

Clearly, he has grown. And so has our relationship. I would describe our current relationship like that of a big sister and her pesky little brother. He gets in to all my stuff, wants whatever I am eating, and follows me all around the house to the point where I am constantly tripping over him. Just like a little brother, he can be quite a little nuisance, but just like a little brother, I love him. We always celebrate this day every year because this is the day we became a party of 3. Happy anniversary Diezel!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Birthday Gift from Disney!

While I might have to argue whether Disneyland is indeed the happiest Place on Earth, I will not argue with their current promotion I got in my email this morning. Between September 18th and an undisclosed date (just do it now!), visitors can sign up to receive free admission to one of the Disney theme parks on your 2009 birthday! I read through the FAQs and the offer seems pretty straight forward. Anyone can sign up; I just registered the hubs and I and thought you guys might share in my excitement! Check it out HERE :)

It might not be my #1 happiest place, but I sure do look geekishly happy the last time I was there!
*Yup, thats me... the 3rd Minnie ears from the left!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bittersweet Goodbye

Its that time of year. Time to unload the beach mats out of my trunk, time to properly cover and store the pool loungers, time to say goodbye to Summer. I went in to full comptemplative mode today when I realized that this may be the last summer in our "family home." (We are currently selling my mom's house.) While there are great things in store for all of us, I realized that this home houses the pool that each of my nieces and nephews learned to swim in. Every summer I have had the pleasure of witnessing their progress, their fancy dives, and their innovative pool games, and I am pleased to report that even the youngest of the bunch now jumps in the water without hesitation. (It is quite a sight to see a 2 year old with no fear what so ever of the deep end; its actually a little frightening!)
Here is my final farewell to summer and the pool that has harmoniously brought so much joy to our family...

Today marks the first day of autumn. While it is hard to say goodbye to the long, sunshine-filled days of summer, I have to admit I am a huge fan of fall! I love everything about it and though I will miss our pool days, I welcome the change of the season with open arms!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


My good friend, Andrea, has blog tagged me! I was told to fill out the questions below and then tag 4 other people. Game on :)

4 things I did today
*Had lunch and a therapeutic brain dump with my wonderful husband
*Paid a little visit to one of new favorite people, Kelly at Once Upon a Cupcake (separate post with details to follow!)
*Got invited by Kerrie to the Ceremony Magazine party next week!
*Cleaned out my email *If you emailed me at the markessaxo domain earlier this week, I just got it today for some reason. I believe I have answered all emails so if you didn't get a reply, please resend! Thanks!

4 things on my to do list
*Bridesmaid dress shopping for my cousin's wedding :)
*Get a desperately needed haircut
*Launch my website
*Plan our next vacation

4 of my guiltiest pleasures:
*Checking my blackberry/email
*Snacking when I'm not necessarily hungry, BAD habit!
*Jon & Kate Plus 8! reruns
*Spoiling my nieces and nephews

4 random facts about me:
*I am a total wimp when it comes to horror movies. I won't even watch the previews. I think the last scary movie I watched was the Blair Witch Project and it gave me nightmares for days :(
*I have never purchased a lottery ticket. I almost did the day before I got engaged, but just wasn't feeling the moment. I want to be the girl who gets "a notion," buys her first lotto ticket at a hole in the wall liquor store or maybe even an airport (they sell them there right?), and wins big!
*I am a hybrid mix of Filipino and Puerto Rican. I think I get asked this question more than anything.
*I research the heck out of my purchases; I rarely make impulsive buys. I do lots of online window shopping and read every review available. So this means you will not find me at a mall or out shopping unless I know precisely what I am looking for. The exception to this would, of course, be shoes ;)

4 people I tag!
*Jen M.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Jewelry is NOT this Girl's Best Friend

For the last couple weeks, my engagement ring and wedding band have been sadly neglected in my jewelry box while my poor, naked ring finger has been battling some sort of allergic reaction. This picture does not even do it justice...

I guess it doesn't look that bad but it is itchy, annoying, and seemingly here to stay. I hadn't worn it in over two weeks and the rash appeared to be healed, but I wore it out to dinner last night and it flared up again. I immediately googled "allergy to wedding ring" and the results were abundant. Here's what I learned on DermaDoctor:
It can happen a day after your spouse puts the ring on your finger, a month later, a year later, even several years later. Suddenly, one day, you notice that the skin beneath the ring becomes red, itchy and irritated. The bad news is, your skin might be allergic to the metal in the ring. All metallic jewelry still contains some small percentage of nickel. Purity is a pretense. There simply is no such thing as pure gold jewelry. While no one is surprised if they break out to their $9.95 pair of earrings, they are horrified when it happens with the real thing. For finer jewelry, prolonged contact with the object is typically required to cause the rash. Gold and sterling silver molecules invisibly wear away over time allowing nickel to come into contact with the skin. The longer that you wear a good piece of jewelry, the more the microscopic "good" metal molecules are worn away, exposing the nickel molecules to the skin. This is how you can suddenly become allergic to an object worn “forever”.
We joke that maybe my ring finger has expensive platinum taste! hehe :)

I read of many home remedies and did some research on hypoallergenic metals. A test at the dermatoligist could reveal specifically what is causing the allergy - exposure to nickel or the gold itself. I've always had to buy hypoallergenic earrings and can't fall asleep with any costume jewelry or I get little red rashy bumps and the area gets infected. I just didn't think it would be the case with my most expensive bling. Total downer :(

***Update 9/19***

Thanks for all your comments guys. But I am pretty sure it is an allergy. I haven't worn the poor thing in weeks, because it almost immediately flares up when I do :( I think we will get it re-dipped for now and then perhaps consider another metal in the future! ;)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

05.25.08 Celebration Time, C'mon!

Our first dance...

...followed by a series of heartfelt speeches...

I am so glad we hired a videographer, because to be 100% honest I cannot recall what anyone said (with the exception of the exceptionally memorable words of our best man)

This is me getting ROASTED by our best man! It was pretty bad!

He always has this effect on me <3

A few of my favorites :)

It all just flew by. If I could give any piece of advice to brides to be - make sure to take a step back to take it all in. When I think about our wedding I don't immediately think of the flowers, the favors, or our seating chart, but I do recall noticing my mom's hand slightly trembling as she came to hug me just before the ceremony. I remember smiling at my brother and him saying "oh my god" right as we began to walk down the aisle. I picture my sisters making faces at me during our first dance and I recall my nephew not leaving that dance floor all night. And then there was my husband... hugging me so tightly during the last dance, fighting off tears while whispering vow-like utterings in my ear. It is all so firmly engraved in my memories.

Thanks for letting me share the details and pictures with you guys! :)
XOXO, Vanessa

Photo Credits: Sarah K Chen & Jonilyn Photography

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Passport to Love

Here are some pictures of our invitations. These babies were nearly the death of me, but we so wanted to do something unique and play on the travel theme. They were printed on Stardream paper by the lovely Pixies at Prim and Pixie. The assembly was probably our most labor intensive DIY. It was a painfully, frustrating process but after all is said and done, I love the final product and I think it got our guests excited about our day.

BTW, I've been asked quite a bit about the calligraphy on the envelopes. In spite of what the experts at Paper Source told us, we were able to print on stardream envelopes. I patiently hand fed the envelopes (purchased from into our regular, old laser printer and the hubs sat there with the embossing gun and carefully dried each one. We were told that the ink would not stick to the paper but the intense heat from the embossing gun remedied that problem. Note: Leave it on a second too long and you'll be left with a burnt envelope and a cursing fiance.

And I don't think I ever shared our save the dates on this blog. So here is a picture of the postcards I designed and had printed through vistaprint....

Thursday, September 4, 2008

05.25.08 Details, Details!

Photos by Jonilyn Photography
Our easel directed guests to their seats. The tables were named after places that Mark and I have visited or hope to someday visit. The backgrounds of each card doubled as our table signs and as the vintage postcards that guests signed for our wish board.

Floral Initials - an idea borrowed from the uber talented Mrs. Pootiekins,
CLICK HERE for DIY directions

Our wish boards - click here for more details on this project

Tablescapes - Florals by Flower Allie

I love this aerial shot. I have seen Jonilyn do it at a few weddings now and I think I may even call it one of her signature shots :)

Maui was our sweetheart table, and our honeymoon destination!

Aren't candles completely mood altering?! We wrapped each of those bad boys with ribbon, so we were thrilled that they successfully added to the elegant ambience of the night.

Sarah later had some fun with the candy and took my two favorite ring shots

We opted to serve our guests bite size desserts in lieu of cake. Each table was treated with one of these dessert trays. The grand piano is the Madison's signature piece - made of chocolate, filled with creme brulee and berries! DELISH! This picture was taken by one of our guests...

I have to take a moment to praise the wonderful staff at the Madison. I cannot be more grateful for all the guidance and flexibility was offered to me from their staff. Patrick, the owner, was one of the biggest selling points of this place. He is perhaps the sweetest man you will ever meet and everything we requested was met with his infamous line "my pleasure." We could not have had such an amazing day without him. Christina, their coordinator, was a doll and was willing to do anything day of to make sure the details looked fabulous. Both were present the whole time during the wedding, making sure everything was flawless. Seriously, if you are venue shopping still - I recommend this place without any hesitation at all; it does not disappoint. And if you haven't eaten there, I HIGHLY recommend it! The food is exceptionally fantastic. I'll even go with you! ;)

That's all for now. I am going to
attempt to take some photos of our invites to share with ya'll.

Stay tuned for the finale, coming up next!