Friday, April 29

Our Very Un-Royal Wedding

Watching the Royal Wedding this morning, Kate licking her lips nervously, William with the slightest smile on his face looking like he was trying not to laugh, it reminded me of my own wedding day. Even though we only got married in the dining room with our friends standing and sitting where they could find a spot and not filmed live for the entire world to see, I was still a nervous wreck. My shoulders shook as I laughed through the entire ceremony. I am just thankful it was short.

As the Asian in the relationship, you would be pretty safe in assuming that I was the most recent immigrant in this relationship, but you'd be wrong. When George I and got married, he wasn't fresh off the boat by any means, but I was definitely more American. He was on a student visa from Ireland, I had just gotten my citizenship. We had two choices: extend his student visa or get married. So what the hell, we got married....ten days after meeting with our immigration lawyer and talking to George's friend Brian who is a pastor.

The wedding album below is what we had to put together to show immigration that our marriage was real. Otherwise, I don't think we'd have one. So thank you, Mira, for making us take the time to compile this moment in our lives.

At the time I loved to make books. This one was already made, but I did cover it with hand made paper. It's not a very big album and half the pictures inside are of our friends and family.

The keys to our hearts. Very cheesy now that I look back on it, but I loved them when I put this together.

This was the invitation to our first wedding.
I got everything from Paper Source and made them by hand.

George wrote the poem for our invitation: 
From two different worlds
Brought together by love and held by a promise
To love one another forever and always.

We invited about 50 people and had plans to get married in our backyard.
Tiki torches were placed in a circle so we could be surrounded by family
and friends. But it rained and we got married in our dining room instead.

Brian looking a little exasperated by our non-serious wedding day antics.
I wore white slacks from J. Crew and a lace camisole with no bra. George wore
J. Crew khakis and a blue linen shirt that neither of us bothered to iron.
Rosalie put my hair up halfway and stuck some babies' breath in.
We were definitely low key, I had no interest in wearing a white gown.

Our cake table consisted of an Andre's cake, Luanne's cake server and knife,
a bowl of mints, George's graduation sash with his country colors, a vase of roses,
and for some reason a He-Man figurine.

Both George and I had just graduated from college so our budget was nil.
This photo makes me laugh. We were so tacky and happy with so little.

Thanks to good advice from my bestie Rossana, I invited my parents.....
but only three days before the wedding. We had plans to keep it a secret from our folks.
Thus my parents came to my house on a Sunday in their casual best while George's parents
were kept in the dark. They found out later and were, understandably, a bit peeved with us.

The rain did let up finally and the girls braved the sodden ground to catch the bouquet.

I remember feeling fat on my wedding day. And now I only wish I was that "fat."

This is a terribly long post already, but earlier when I mentioned our first wedding,
it meant that we ultimately had a second wedding. Our. Real. Wedding.
The one we actually told our families about.

I designed my own wedding invitations but this time I got them printed....even the envelopes.
They did not match the red of the invites, but we were still on a budget. Now I have a ton of
red envelopes that have our address but say the Trieu Family.

I designed a trifold invite, printed on glossy stock in two colors, red and black. It was all very modern and clean. My family hated, hated, hated the invites even though I used red, a lucky color in Chinese tradition. But it was a very non-traditional card at the time and trust me, there's no pleasing my family.

The response card was a tear-off postcard.

For our second wedding, we had a traditional tea ceremony and then a seven-course wedding banquet. Since a lot of our guests were from out of town and unfamiliar with our wedding customs, there was a separate invite for the tea ceremony along with a description of what that all entailed.

I planned both weddings in an extremely short amount of time (one day for each). For me, getting married wasn't about all the finery much to my family's dismay. Plus I hated all the attention. I made lightning quick decisions about my dress, the cake and what restaurant to go use. I'll always treasure the memories and be happy in knowing that even on a non-existent budget, we still had our big day and we paid for it all by ourselves.

Tuesday, April 26

Ahem.....It's Our Turn

After one month of starting The Employee Lounge, Tina and I are finally getting our own moment in the spotlight and we're looooving it. Ha! We had no idea our service industry blog would be so well-received, but thanks to Kansas Citians who love their food and the restaurant world, we just got our first piece of press. Follow this link to read all about us in the Pitch's Fat City blog! They, of course, did not credit Tina, but fyi, she set up the shot and took this picture for our article.

Monday, April 25

Peak Performance

I stopped volunteering last year because I was so burned out. Between my office job and freelance work, my schedule was already full. Still, I took on yet another non-profit fundraiser because I love to coordinate special events so much. When I started volunteering a few years ago, I got a lot of my girlfriends involved. With every meeting and every event, we grew closer and now, we all actually help each other out quite often. Which is the case with Peak Performance for Children.

Thanks to my good friend Della, I'm now helping her coordinate this event. In addition to leading all the committees, I usually end up on or am the only member of the design team. This is my logo for this year's event. I'll share other collateral pieces as they're developed. Event details coming soon too!

Wedding Shower Invitation

Some wedding shower invitations I designed last week.

UPDATE: Since Chris is harassing me for more information about my invites, here are some additional details. After trolling the blogosphere for inspiration, I was finally inspired by an oval. Yes indeed, the oval is where this all begins. Sometimes Often, I get creatively blocked and just looking at other people's work help jog my brain into action.

Kat, my friend and neighbor. She is hosting a wedding shower for Christine and Garrett and asked for something bluegrass theme. I went for the warm, casual, country feel of bluegrass music rather than anything musically related.

Originally this piece was going to be black ink printed on color paper, but Kat didn't sound too enthused so I chose colors to match their Save-the-Date cards (PMS 173 and Black PMS 5)  and printed on cream stock. These were just color copies.

Cowboy Rhumbahut, Poplar Black, Viva la Rivoluzione, Yella Belly

80# cover, Sundance Warm White by Neenah Paper Co.

Most of my friends are on a budget, thus they ask me to design things, and I help them save even more money by making some budget decisions. As a designer, I would love to get everything printed and matchy, but as someone who is always watching their dollars, I make certain adjustments.

++ Printed envelopes? Never. Yeah, it makes the whole package look great, but people spend seconds looking at envelope before it's torn open and thrown away. If you want to make it look special, use a stamp. Or choose a color envelope. 

++ Print versus Copy. Copiers are fast, easy and inexpensive for small jobs. With a nice paper, you get  instant quality for less money. I would love to be able to letterpress every single job I get, but the reality is that the money isn't always there.

++ Paper. Spend the money on paper, it makes everything feel better.

++ Do it yourself, but think of how much time you're saving and how big the job is. Sometimes, it's better to just pay someone.

Wednesday, April 20

favorite comment

Public Enemy #1. Don't let that pink dress fool you. She is vicious! Especially if you pretend to attack her dad, Jason.

Our Supper Club is an exclusive group, but the hosts get to invite guests every month. With a core group of eleven people and one nasty little dog, most of our tables are bursting at 13-14 dinner guests. Bella is my new nemesis. I do provoke her every chance I get but I kind of find it amusing to scrap around with a five pound dog once a month. Anyhow, that's another story. We get a lot of jokesters (also known as OUR FRIENDS) who like to complain about not getting an invite. I have to share this facebook comment from our friend Jamie. He is so sarcastic, love him. Well, he heavily hinted at wanting to come to Supper Club for the last week or so and thanks to Matt and Sloane, we will finally be including him. But just this once.

Tuesday, April 19

Dashing Bobby

Image Source:  Keiko Lynn

Now this is how you wear a bow tie and vest. This is the boyfriend of one of my favorite style bloggers, Keiko Lynn. She has an amazing sense of style, makes her own clothes and is a whiz at make up. She's so awesome and I'm so jealous.

Image Source: Keiko Lynn

New Dress

My new favorite place to find cheap vintage dresses is Cowtown Mall on 31st and Gilham. This one was $5! The length is okay, but I'm going to hem it up and make it a mini dress instead. What do you think of my boots? Kat gave these vintage leather beauties to Jeanne, but since Jeanne has monkey feet (her words not mine), she gave them to me. They're a smidge too big, but with inserts and thick socks, they are absolutely perfect. Everything in this outfit is either vintage and/or gifted.

* Vintage Liz Roberts Inc. Dress from Cowtown Mall - $5
* Vintage Corelli Boots - gift from Jeanne
* Vintage Blue Blet - $1
* Owl Necklace - gift from Tina
* Jade Bracelet - gift from my mom
* Gold Bracelets - $1.50

April Supper Club

Instead of cleaning and setting the perfect table for Supper Club this month, I made a hand-drawn, hand-colored poster. It only took about three hours, hahahaa. In hindsight, I probably should have showered and set the table before I started this project, but I honestly thought I could whip it out in say, half an hour. Of all the ways I've decorated the table, this little poster got a better reaction from my guests than any flowers, candles or napkins. It was so great seeing everyone ooh and ahh over it.

George and I hosted this month's supper club at Chez Bristow and the theme was Fast Food. Our instructions: choose a fast food restaurant, your favorite item from their menu and create your own version of it. Usually I am much better prepared to host, but I've lost track of the days recently. Time is flying by and it was our turn before I knew or was ready for it. The last minute prepping could have led to what I had jokingly called "Mass Hysteria Supper Club Meltdown." Instead, we all ended up in the kitchen, falling over all each other laughing and ended up having a wonderful time. For the food pictures, I "enhanced" everything in iPhoto to play up the artificial colors that remind me of fast food. Unfortunately, Rachel made all of her ingredients herself, even the bun, and it was disgustingly delicious. I think we all went into a food coma last night. A big thank you to my friends for another fabulous Supper Club!

Sunday, April 17

Kansas City Snapshots

This week, Tina and I were out earlier than usual for The Employee Lounge to catch up with some brunch places for the blog. That left us driving around the city on a busy Friday lunch hour unable to shoot or talk to any more employees. It was cold and gray, but the cloudy skies provided great light. We turned the lens around to the city and I snuck out my camera too.

As an amateur photographer, I am always intimidated by real photographers, their knowledge, their backgrounds and especially their big, fancy cameras. I bought and love my DSLR but for me, it's just a bigger point and shoot. My list of things to learn grows by the day and one of them is definitely grasping F-stops and other photography lingo to really understand my camera and what it can do.

Thankfully, Tina graciously offered to teach me some tricks and pumped me up with flattery. I am excited to see what she captured that day and I'll link to her as soon as she posts. Click here to see Tina's view of KC.

Top to Bottom: 
(1) Top of Building and gray skies taken on Jefferson off Summit. (2) Really raw almonds at the spice store in City Market (3) Railroad tracks from Beardsley Road (4+5) My muddy, then semi-clean wellies (6) Ceiling art at Spool in the Crossroads (7) Birdies' bikinis seen from the outside (8) A graffti art wall on 18th Street (9) A plane attached to the telephone pole in the Crossroads All photos taken by Linh Trieu ©Fresh Fish Creative

Thursday, April 14

Love Your City

City Market from Jon Lemmon on Vimeo.

Great video by Jon Lemmon of our beloved City Market and I absolutely love the shirt worn by the girl in the video. After years of admiring other city's open markets, like Pike Place in Seattle, and all the farmer's markets in Santa Barbara, I have finally come to realize that our market is just as awesome. Not that I haven't always liked it, but with the new(ish) signage, the garage sales on Sundays, the new businesses reinvigorating the area, it's all coming together for me.

Vietnamese Banana Cake

I took a visit to the City Market this week and got a ton of veggies for $10.50. Only half my haul is pictured above. The same produce at the supermarket would have been at least 3-4 times as expensive. It's not as convenient and you do have to plan ahead, but I definitely need to make more of an effort to go down there! A lot of times, there are "on their last legs" produce offered, like these super ripe bananas which were $1 for an entire basket.

I found this recipe for Vietnamese Baked Banana Cake on Almost Bourdain and it sounded like my mom's banana cake. It didn't look like hers, but I gave it a go because the recipe and steps sounded so ridiculously simple that even a novice baker like myself could make it. The end result was a deliciously rich, banana-y dessert that I will be making again soon. Very soon. Because I still have more bananas! I much prefer it hot out of the oven, but traditionally it is eaten cold. And next time, I think some whipped cream or ice cream would make this standout dessert even more amazing.

Bananas are so easy to prep! Peeling and slicing only took moments. Then some caster sugar was added to give the bananas a nice syrupy coat. The rest of the ingredients (eggs, butter, flour and condensed milk) got mixed together and the bananas folded in. That's 20 minutes AT THE MOST. I didn't have a deep round cake pan like they had shown over at Almost Bourdain, so I used a rectangular pan instead and it tasted just as good. I just sliced them into squares and rectangles instead of pie shapes. All the sugar gave it a crispy crust with the filling being a hot custardy texture. The house smelled like heaven.

The next morning, I wrapped them up in some cellophane and butcher paper and tied it up nicely with my unending supply of baker's twine. Over at The Employee Lounge (my other blog), we recently chose an Employee of the Month and an Honorable Mention. Along with their gifts, I also delivered some home-made banana cake. Short story long, this is a great dessert, hot or cold and easy to make. Definitely give it a try.