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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Travel (22)

Saturday
Jun132009

Manila

Howdy, folks! I am now in Hong Kong and am enjoying a day off. I've been up since 3:30am (hello, jet lag!) and was out and about fairly early. It's around noon now and I just had to come back to the hotel to cool off. It is sweltering outside. It's not the heat really, but the humidity is sooooooo thick. It started making me sleepy so I cut my shopping excursion short.

Besides, I wanted to get in some groovy updates! It was my first time in Manila and I have to say, the trip went well. I hung out with my agents Clark and his wife Carol when we weren't working. They had me over for dinner one night and I got to meet their new yellow Lab puppy Chuckles and the infamous Shakespeare the Parrot who speaks both English and Tagalog. Impressive. They have "staff" at their house and Margie immediately brought me a glass of wine, plopped me in a recliner and proceeded to give me the most amazing foot massage for the next hour. I asked how often Clark and Carol partook of the ritual and they simultaneously announced, "Six days a week!" Apparently Margie gets Sundays off!

On my second day in Manila, we finished with work fairly early (meaning, on time) and they offered to take me shopping at Green Hills (you local Nashville folks might get a kick out of that!). Green Hills is a local shopping mall that has an area of stalls dedicated to selling pearls. It's basically where pearl dealers set up shop to sell direct to the public. You can get lost in all the little hallways as every stall looks sort of the same.

I was hoping to find something great for my wedding dress, but I was really overwhelmed by all the choices. I stopped at so many places and saw really gorgeous things. Clark and Carol were so patient, wandering around with me. I knew that they were probably bored to tears, so I was about to give up when I happened across this particular booth.

So funny! The Filipinos have the strangest names. There's some politician named Boy Blue. Girls go by Precious, Princess, Darling and Tinkerbell. Boys get named DingDong, BingBong and BongBo. I'm not kidding. But I am digressing....

I found a gorgeous fresh water seed pearl necklace at BabyRuth and haggled with them from 1200 pesos to 900 pesos. I asked if they had a matching bracelet and they did not. However, Miss BabyRuth salesgirl offered to make me one on the spot for 400 more pesos! Check her out!



So, for the huge grand sum of 1300 pesos ($27.65), I got a beautiful pearl necklace and matching bracelet that just might work with my wedding gown! If not, I can still wear it with a ton of other stuff! The necklace has the same matching clasp as the bracelet.

The only bummer is that I couldn't find matching seed pearl earrings at the same shop. I could have taken a few more minutes to look around at other booths, but I didn't want to torture my accommodating hosts! I'm sure I can try to find something in Hong Kong, or even at home. We shall see!

What do you guys think?

I also want to thank everyone for all the awesome comment love. I've got some responding to do! Please be patient, I promise I'll get to it all. Now, it's either time for an afternoon cocktail or a nap. Or both. I've got a ton of Hong Kong wedding stuff to share with you! Stay tuned!

Thursday
Jun112009

More from "The Try On"

Hi Everyone!

Ugh. Jet lag is the worst. It's 6am in Manila and I've been up since 5am! First, a few comments about Manila. I had heard the traffic was bad. They ain't lyin'. It takes about an hour to go approximately 8 miles on the freeway in any direction. I spent the better part of 5 hours on the road yesterday. Ick. It's also the rainy season. I was lucky yesterday in that is was just hot and humid as hell. It was pouring this morning, but seems to have slacked off a bit. I don't even want to talk about what this does to my hair. Ever see that Friends episode where they all go some place tropical and Monica's hair freaks out? That's what I got going on. It's hot. I know you're jealous. ;)

Anyway, I finally have a second to download, then upload the pictures Sharon (my photographer's wife) took when I tried on The Dress. You can see that it's pretty wrinkly, but you get the gist. I mentioned a few posts back about how I think I'm going to be a nervous bride. Want proof? Check out my facial expression in this one!

Nooooooooo, I'm fine. Not nervous at all.

Here's a shot of the back. I think once this gets all steamed and suck that it's going to look just lovely. Something these pics made me realize - I really like the color of this gown an awful lot! Sharon, thanks again for coming with me!

I gotta run folks. I need to drag my jet lagged booty to the gym and try to regulate with a little exercise. I leave tomorrow for Hong Kong and meet up with my friend Lisa from high school. She's been living in China for the last two years (she's headed home in July) and we are planning a last hurrah of sorts for Saturday night/Sunday day. I plan to get my shopping on and have some well deserved girl time with my old, dear friend.

Thanks for all the comment love y'all have been sharing. It's been so awesome to check in a read via my Blackberry. Keep it coming! Much blog love from the other side of the planet! :)

Wednesday
Jun102009

JPGS from Japan!


Hey everyone! I'm safely in Japan awaiting my flight to Manila. I am so tired I don't know what to do with myself. I only had about 2 hours of sleep on the flight, but did see three movies I've been meaning to watch (He's Just Not That Into You, Marley & Me, Revolutionary Road). Movies on Demand is the best part about flying first/business class. Well, that and the free booze. :)
Right before I left the U.S. I got an email from Jonathon Campbell with two more sneak peeks from our engagement shoot. Thought I'd share them real quick before I pass out from exhaustion.  

How freakin' handsome is The Candyman?
Thanks Sharon for the last minute picture sharing! This made my day! OK, I seriously need some sleep. This jet lag is going to blow. More from Manila!

Monday
Jun082009

The Dress!

Hey everyone! I am totally frantic, trying to get myself together to leave the country for a month! I leave TOMORROW! This is probably going to be my last "live" post for a few days. I do have some other stuff planned to auto-post, but I never feel like those are my best work. Y'know?

At any rate, y'all know that my dress arrived about a week early, which was the best wedding news EVER! I met Sharon, my photographer's wife (we've become fast friends!) at Arzelle's on Saturday morning to simply try the dress on. I brought my veil along too.

I'd had two cups of coffee that morning and had also stopped at Starbuck's for an indulgent Grande Skinny Hazelnut Latte, extra hot, no foam (it took me a year to learn exactly what I wanted AND how to say it). Sharon had run into unexpected road work so was running a little late. I was pacing in Arzelle's like a caged animal, I was so excited! I did get to see other brides trying on gowns and that was pretty fun.

Sharon arrived and I hopped into my dress FAST! It fits! Well, all except the boobs, but that's totally expected. I don't think I'm going to have to worry about a weird bra or those even weirder fake boob bra things. I'm pretty certain they can build some pads into the gown and all will be good.

I put on the veil and Sharon actually got a little teary-eyed. It was so sweet! I felt like I was going to pass out. It was all really REAL, if that makes any sense. I didn't think much about the dress or the veil or the moment, I was just sort of freaked out. Nervous. I think I'm going to be a nervous bride. I don't want to be a nervous bride. I want to be a happy bride. Maybe an early morning yoga class the day of The Big Show would help the nerves. Hm. Food for thought.

So, I know you all are dying! Here's the photo op of the first try-on!

I think I was talking to Sharon when she snapped this one.

Here's my self-portrait!

Sharon snapped a few pics with her mac-daddy camera and I hope to post those before I leave. I know that she and Jonathon have been crazy busy with photo shoots as of late. They are so popular!

So, I think the alterations will simply need to be in the boobs and maybe a little taken in at the hips. The dress is just about a quarter inch too large right at the top of my hip and it makes one of the pleats across the front stick up, but I may be looking too hard. Also, one of the straps was constructed twisted, so they will need to repair that. The length is perfect, almost too short! I tried on a pair of three inch heels and they were too tall for the dress. I'm definitely going to need low heels. Boo. :( Probably good for my knees and feet though! In reality, the dress is near perfect-fitting. Hooray!

I've scheduled the actual alterations appointment for the end of July. I get back the first weekend in July, but I thought it best to wait a few weeks prior to the fitting. I tend to lose weight overseas and don't want to alter it too small if I do lose prior to a fitting. It would suck if my dress was too small the day of.

I am just so relieved to have my dress in and know that it's on its way to perfect for The Big Show!

Next time I post live, I'll either be in Manila (The Philippines) or in Hong Kong, depending on how busy Manila ends up being. Keep your fingers crossed that I avoid the H1N1 virus (the mayor of New Orleans is currently quarantined in Shanghai) and that my A330 doesn't have the same Air France issues.....yikes!

Make sure to leave me some comment love. The Internet, Skype and email is my touchstone home for the next 24 days!

Tuesday
Apr282009

How to Honeymoon, Part Numero Dos

OK, so I'm jumping all over the place with my blogs, right? Veils to travel to CAKE (it's coming)!

I'm going back to the travel part of having a honeymoon and how to do it a little less expensively than an all-inclusive resort or hotel somewhere. My Modern Bride magazine called out 3 places (might have been a few more) under $200 this month. Conde Nast Traveler was all excited about their "under $250" specials. I am sorry, but that is not a deal in my book.

I digress (I think). The last time I mentioned honeymoons, I was talking about my solo vacation in 2004 (prior to meeting and loving The Candyman) in Hawaii. The Candyman had never been further west than Texas in all of his thirty-something years, so I was bound and determined to show him the Pacific. I had a big ol' pile of frequent flier miles to my name and Home Away at my fingertips, so I got to planning. I wanted to try a new place (not that there was anything wrong with the place I stayed originally). I wanted a change of scenery. I found another cottage two blocks over called Savannah's Cabana! Terri Cordell, the owner of the main house and her family were just the sweetest people we had ever met. They made us feel really welcome and the cottage was perfect. We had less of a kitchen than I had a Kailua Beachwalk, but it didn't matter. All we really made was coffee and lunches to go.

Our "home away" in Kailua, Hawaii!

Our protective yard Buddha!

In the shared yard - a great place to chill and chat with the neighbors!

A slightly sunburned Candyman!

Savannah's Cabana was $135 a night, plus a cleaning fee and taxes. We stayed over Labor Day weekend and instead of the rates going up, we got a small discount. Their site doesn't mention this, so they might have changed it, I'm not sure. Again, we were a block away from the best beach ever.

Looking south on a Friday afternoon.

Looking north on a Friday afternoon. Note the crowds.

OK, so for our honeymoon, I wasn't sure what we should do or where we should go. Part of me just wanted to jump in the car and head up to Gatlinburg, TN, or Asheville, NC, and hide out in a cabin for a week. But, Asheville reeks of patchouli and Gatlinburg can get a little too mountain-like (Deliverance, anyone?), so I started searching all sort of crazy places that I'd always dreamed of going. Lo and behold, Home Away served up what I was hungry for. I found Sueno Del Mar in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, on the Mexican Riviera. Never heard of it? Good. That means fewer people will be there! Kidding (sort of). If you've ever seen "When a Man Loves a Woman" (Meg Ryan plays a drunk and Andy Garcia her pilot husband), you've seen Zihuatanejo (scene in an infinity pool). If you've seen The Shawshank Redemption, you've seen Zihuatanejo. It's where Morgan Freeman meets up with Tim Robbins at the very end of the movie. See, you know where it is!
Check out these photos of the place!

All photos courtesy of Sueno Del Mar

Amazing, right? We are going at the end of their low season (could be rainy), so got the lower rate of $165 a night (this is a 2-bedroom), but the owner Harriet Garfinkle, gave us a discount of 10% since we are just 2 people! Sweet! I did opt to pay $150 more to have them stock the kitchen with groceries for the week. We'll see if this was worth it, but my guess is that it will be. Upon receipt of 50% of payment (standard), Harriet sent me the most comprehensive guide book I've ever seen! All about where to go and what to avoid, what to eat, what not to eat and all sorts of little things you'd never think about (i.e there are scorpions in Mexico. Holy $H*T !). Harriet has also been updating us via email on the crap going down in Mexico. Mostly that stuff is happening in scary border towns and larger places like Mexico City. If you're smart, most of that kind of stuff can be easily avoided. I read a few articles that state most problems Americans have in Mexico are Tequila related. Thankfully, I learned my lesson with Tequila long ago and I now avoid it at all costs.
On Home Way, there are 8 reviews - all give 5 out of 5 stars. On Trip Advisor, there are 28 reviews - all with 5 out of 5 stars.
Lastly, check out their website with amazing photos and one honeymooner's description of their paradise. Harriet also called out my BLOG! Thank you, Harriet!!!! We can't wait!!!

If you want to book Sueno Del Mar, email Harriet at Travelzihua@gmail.com and tell her Louise sent you!