Food continues to annoy

At a certain point you'd assume people would figure out what you can and can't eat. Fancy sandwiches not something I've ever eaten in two years of corporate lunches. Ranch - typically includes yogurt, something that doesn't agree with me. Any bread other than sourdough - typically has dairy, again something that doesn't agree with me.

I'd originally planned on bringing leftovers today but I forgot. I also today decided to draw the line at picking chicken breast out of a chicken caesar salad sandwich on sourdough. The only edible part where ranch dressing could be wiped off of was the chicken. For me that's too much work for something to eat.

Answer? Foraging one's own food at a local Indian restaurant. Bringing the ToGo food back to the meeting and then eating during the presentation. Rude? Maybe. But better than me biting off a coworker's head due to being hungry.


Had to happen sometime...
I'm about to cheat on the tableware setting I thought I'd have forever. (Heck I've had some of the pieces since my twelfth birthday).
Original Dishes

You've read about this Dansk setting in Mooflyfoof's post about China. It's a lovely setting. I loved it and thought I'd never stray from it, until today.

Today we finally started the task of creating a registry. Merrily, unaware of what was about to happen, I went searching for open stock. The Dansk page came up empty. Naively, I went page by page to see if it was mismarked but somehow available online at the store (I really didn't want to go into the store - that would be wayyy too much temptation.) And... then it happened. My eyes feasted upon this lovely setting from Noritake. I could have been strong. I could have resisted the temptation. But no... I didn't. No, what did I do instead? I *shared* the temptation with cubes! 
 Dishes that Scream Us

A quick IM to cubes and we *knew.* These dishes screamed *us.* Yep, we're not being practical or frugal. We already have 7 somewhat incomplete, inconsistent Dansk place settings.

I've tried to keep this blog free from wedding posts, but felt I should come clean to friends that I too fell prey to the lure of new dinnerware. I could justify this by saying the current place settings may go to a really good home (a home we all know and love), but who am I kidding. On this day of all days - Earth Day - I decided that I don't want to be practical or environmentally conscious. I like the idea of a set of dishes that we picked together.

Amateur Hour

Everyone knows I dislike people on bicycles. For the most part, they're rude; they think they're better than everyone (they're saving the world by biking to work instead of driving a car); they think rules (like traffic laws) don't apply to them.

Last year a man on a bicycle knocked me to the road in a crosswalk (spraining my knee), picked up his bike and rode off.

Today two men on bicycles rode against traffic at full speed through the construction barricades at the corner of Valencia and 16th. The path through the barricades is tight-there's not much room between the construction and the traffic. There's not enough room for a pedestrian waiting for the light to change and the handlebars of a bicycle. Today while waiting for the sign to cross a bicycle turning left from Valencia onto 16th cut through the barricade. I'd been watching for traffic coming to the left and twisted my ankle as the bike hit me. I caught myself from falling by clutching the barricade and avoided getting hit by the second bike by swinging my purse and connecting with the rider's head. He wisely decided to ride his bike in the traffic lane instead of through the barricade. Other than to call me a B - neither paused, apologized, or asked if I was ok.

I do not understand why you people who ride bicycles to work are so rude and so careless. I know there are a few people out there on bikes who are considerate and watch out for pedestrians. But those few don't make up for the rest. Today, looking forward to walking on my swollen ankle I hate all bicycles. I also issue a warning to all-ride close to me and I won't look to see if you'll avoid hitting me, I will swing my purse at you first. I'm tired of getting hurt by your bikes.


Cake Topper for Our Wedding Cake
One of the items for our wedding that is very important to both of us is a cake that I can eat. In the early planning phase, it looked as if this might not be doable. Opal pointed us towards Cafe Gratitude just as they were expanding their catering to include/promote Wedding Cakes.

When I first called Cafe Gratitude, they were already scheduled to do one wedding cake the day of our wedding but would check to see if they'd be ready to do two by October. Fingers crossed, breath held for 10 looong minutes. Phone rings. They can do it! We quickly scheduled a cake tasting. All of us - Icka, cubes, and I agreed on our first choice. Then we brainstormed on what the cake would look like. Between the tasting and when they came back with the quote, there were other couples waiting. Deposit made. Dessert that I'm going to make everyone eat secured!

To go with this incredible cake, we found a handcrafted wedding cake topper from The Builder's Studio on Etsy ( We're both very excited about our cake/cake topper and I just had to share it.Our Wedding Cake Topper


The terms "offbeat" or "DIY" seem cliche. Many wedding sites highlight eye candy designed to make a bride swoon. Yet... These same sites link to vendors providing that "DIY" look. Maybe growing up in the City (San Francisco), visiting art installations/galleries weekly, attending a host of art and arts-and-crafts classes, and devouring and internalizing interior design and architecture magazines has biased my perspective. When I come up with an idea, I can't tell you where I saw it. I'm not trying to be coy-it's an artifact of growing up with constant stimulation/inspiration.

In college I was accused of cheating. A professor felt that I couldn't have developed a particular approach/formula on my own. I then set about documenting everything I read or saw (created a crosstagged database). The *next* accusation was that I was lying about what I was reading.

So why am I bringing up college in relation to weddings? Both academics and brides want you to believe that no one else had ever thought of designing a problem solving flow chart/soreadsheet or outfitting a ceremony/reception the way that they gave.

Weddings aren't original. Trying to make them unique/original by purchasing "one-of-a-kind" DIY accessories won't make your ceremony or reception unique. Creative thinking does! Going over what is important to both your fiancé and you will! It's the "why" you chose something that makes your day stand out. And by stand out I don't mean for photographers looking for eye candy to showcase their skill or even your friends or family. By stand out, I mean things that remind your fiancé and you of why you're getting married. It's your day! If someone else's premade DIY project reminds you of why you fell in love or an interest you share then use it. If the unique thing doesn't scream "US" then don't buy it. Weddings aren't about keeping up with 'The Joneses'. Weddings are - and always should be - about your fiancé and you! If your day is turning out to be a cookie cutter event, step back and rethink it. You don't want to walk down the aisle to someone else's tune. Be yourself-march to your own drummer!

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DIY Wedding Favors Take 2

Brides should not be allowed to perform math. Yes I have an engineering degree and yes I have taken many advanced mathematics courses - Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Equations. But I am a bride. That means however rationally I usually approach an event or a tradeshow giveaway, anything wedding-related will be viewed through emotion-colored glasses.

I ran numbers for my dream wedding favor - a personalized cook booklet (see yesterday's post) - last night on the train and inadvertently used a price per bundle instead of the per book price (for example, $11.97 versus $3.99). You can guess what happened - immediate sticker shock ($1800 for 150 cook booklets) and heartbreak. (For 150 books, the bulk price ends up being $527 - 25 bundles or 100 books at the $13.57 bundle price ($339) plus an additional 10 bundles or 40 books at the $14.26 bundle price ($143) plus an additional 3 bundles or 15 books at the $15.16 bundle price ($46).)

I realized my error only after a night of trying not be heartbroken (and slightly - ok more than slightly - freaking out my fiance when I baked a chocolate cake at 10 pm at night). My fiance when hearing the wrong costs tried opening my mind to other alternatives - possibly using FedEx Kinko's to copy/bind the booklet. If you hadn't guessed it by now I'm pretty stubborn. Once I get an idea into my head it'll take a force of nature to dissuade me.

So in an attempt to convince myself that booklets weren't feasible (after all if they couldn't be done the way I wanted, then they shouldn't be done at all!), I decided to look into what it would cost to create a booklet at FedEx Kinko's. After a quick (well not so quick) look at card stocks, specialty papers, and ribbons, I came up with another DIY project. It's also a cook booklet. But... unlike the Mini Photobook this DIY project matches the look and feel of our Save the Date Postcards and soon-to-be designed Wedding Invitations. This DIY project incorporates our wedding colors - purple/navy/ivory/silver. It requires less design expertise than the Photo Minibook approach (for the Photo Minibook, each individual recipe or page is laid out in Photoshop and saved as a JPG).


  • 2-hole paper punch
  • Paper cutter
  • Scissors

Raw materials needed

  • Half of a sheet of 8.5"x11" Metallic Speckled Plum Vellum (
  • Half of a sheet of 8.5"x11" Natural Cream Linen Card Stock Cover (
  • Either a 2"x2" or 3.25"x4.75" Photo Sticker with Our Names and Wedding Date (
  • 5-8.5"x11" Sheets of #70 Sand Paper cut in half for 10-4.25"x 5.5" 2-page spreads or 40 individual pages (
  • 5" of Navy Wraffia Ribbon (

Raw materials for 150 cook booklets (not including tax or shipping) is approximately $211. Double-sided copying costs at FedEx Kinko's for this project are approximately $120 ($0.14 for 750 pages).

This DIY project is much more labor intensive than the Mini Photobook. Realistically your fiance and you (and any crafty volunteers) are cutting 1,050 pieces of vellum, card stock, and paper in half; punching 3,600 holes; adhering 150 stickers to the card stock covers; assembling vellum, card stock and 10 pieces of paper into a booklet 150 times; and tying 150 knots.

Now... on the plus side, you have 150-4.25"x5.5" cook booklets in your wedding colors with 40 individual pages of recipes/photos for roughly half the cost of a 3.75"x2.5" Mini Photobook with a glossy white cover and 18 individual pages of recipes/photos. As usual my fiance has taken an idea and improved upon it - mending my heart in the process.

Traveling to the 1950s to Bake a Cake

Today I traveled far and wide as I rode BART from 16th Mission to Pleasant Hill. I flipped through the pages and recipes of a cookbook from 1954. I could imagine a "Donna Reed"-styled homemaker busy preparing these dishes for fellow transplants.

When things get hectic, I tend to get stressed out. Growing up I would deal with stress by traveling to faraway places in my head. More recently I would deal with stress by retreating into my nest or taking off in Ghost. While hiding out in my nest, I would cook or bake. For those who always wondered how I had a freezer full of prepared lunches and dinners now you know. Today was another stressful day - especially for a perfectionist. Nothing I did at work today met my internal standards. So, wanting to accomplish at least one thing and do it well, I felt compelled to bake.

One of the themes at our wedding involves cooking, which both cubes and I enjoy. Highlighting our combined love of cooking and the women who influenced my cooking led to a search for those tomes I grew up with. My paternal grandmother traveled a lot with her husband who ran a travel agency specializing in the Far East. From her and my aunt my love of the Orient was born. One cookbook I came across while helping clean out her storage was Rangoon International Cook Book published in 1954 by The Women's Society of Christian Service of the Methodist English Church, Rangoon, Burma. My grandfather's favorite place to visit was Bali and growing up I frequently confused Burma and Bali. For this reason, I thought it only fitting to flash back to the past to make a Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (recipes in the late 50s frequently used shortenening in place of butter) from a cookbook produced in Burma.

Luckily cubes helped me with the cake as I misread teaspoons of vinegar as tablespoons. So far the cake looks good, rising nicely. We'll know for sure whether the effort was a success in about 5 minutes when the cake comes out of the oven. Keep your fingers crossed!

Ideas for DIY Wedding Favors

I'm addicted to all things wedding or DIY at the moment. So of course our wedding favors would be a DIY project. We've had two different ideas - at two different points in time - about what they should be. First we thought a cellophane pouch with two fortune cookies (the art piece at Burning Man on which my fiance worked last year and at which he proposed had a fortune cookie dispenser).

Then we thought a booklet with some of our favorite recipes as cooking and eating out are two activities that have been and are central to our life. My inspiration for our cook booklet came from my background as an events photographer. One of the services I offered clients was a Mini Photobook that included shots or collages from an event with quotes or well wishes from the guests. In "small" quantities these albums were cost effective. For example, 20-3.75" x 2.5" 20-page, softcover, stapled booklets was roughly $61 (

Our guest list - like most couple's - is going to drive many decisions. Right now it looks as if it's going to be somewhere between 100 and 150. So, not thinking about the longevity of the item and only looking at budget, this makes fortune cookies the clear choice. 350 fortune cookies with 4 personalized messages run $67 - $54 for the cookies ( and $13 for the cellophane bags ( The cook booklet is more attractive for a keepsake but possibly too much for our budget - for 100 guests we'd be looking at $339 and for 150 guests we'd be looking at just under $600.

Maybe we still get 10 cook booklets - 6 for our wedding party, 1 for my parents, 2 for his parents, and 1 for us.

The Difference Color Can Make
Lots of wedding porn/blogs start with an inspiration board - what do you like or what's your vision. Those boards look like something out of Martha Stewart - kinda not the feel we're looking at. Cubes proposed for the first time at Spurious Causality and we explored the Neverwas Haul shortly after. That's driven/influenced the overall feel for us - hence one of the reasons we chose Swedish American Hall in SF (built in the early 1900s).

We had our cake tasting last night and that got me thinking about whether hydrangeas or dahlias or a combination of the flowers (both are in-season in October) would go best with our cake choice (the raspberry frosting is pink/rose colored).
If we choose Dahlias for In-season October flower If we chose Hydrangeas for in-season October flowerColors if both in-season October flowers are used

Blending Present with the Past

Growing up I spent hours flipping through my mother's cookbooks. I remember her light blue Joy of Cooking cookbook, her Time Life Foods of the World cookbook series, an Adventures in Cooking cookbook, a Jello cookbook, and more. I also spent many an afternoon talking with my Aunt Mary about cooking. Her collection included Chinese, Wok, Fondue, and Wine themed cookbooks. When I graduated high school I received pamphlets from my Grandmother along with an old (now it's called vintage) Oster Blender.

Cooking is a big part of my life and my relationship with Cubes. In the search for one-of-a-kind table decorations, I thought of stacking vintage cookbooks on the silver-plated trays that my Grandmother and mom found. While some vintage cookbooks/pamphlets are cheap, I discovered that I wanted to include those cookbooks I remembered from my childhood. I also decided that I wanted to include some of Cubes's mom's cookbooks. I might not decorate every table with cookbooks, but the scavenger hunt will be fun!


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