Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Science Confirms Turmeric's Health Benefits-- It could also be an ideal contraceptive.

        I've heard so many good things about turmeric and decided to read more about it. It's a bit hard to find a good source nowadays because everything on the internet sounds so made-up and just too good to be true. This article about turmeric from Green Med Info is a good piece to start your reading. Green Med Info provides evidence-based natural medical information.

            Turmeric is a spice that is normally use for cooking. It gives flavor and color to a curry. It is also used to give color to cheese, butter and mustard. Curcumin, the main active ingredient of turmeric, is a strong antioxidant and has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Research also shows that it has an antibacterial, antiviral, and anticancer properties. Sounds promising right? The research and studies are all about curcumin and not turmeric. Turmeric only contains 2-6% of curcumin.

According to science, the effects of turmeric (because of curcumin) is comparable to the following medications:
  1. Lipitor/Atorvastatin(cholesterol medication)
  2. Corticosteroids (steroid medications)
  3. Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine  (antidepressants)
  4. Aspirin (blood thinner)
  5. Anti-inflammatory Drugs
  6. Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug)
  7. Metformin (diabetes drug)
The University of Maryland Medical Center wrote the following doses as recommended for adults:

  • Cut root: 1.5 to 3 g per day 
  • Dried, powdered root: 1 to 3 g per day
  • Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 to 600 mg, 3 times per day 
  • Fluid extract (1:1) 30 to 90 drops a day 
  • Tincture (1:2): 15 to 30 drops, 4 times per day

Recently I've been mixing 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp on our fried rice and 1/4 tsp on an over easy egg. I also switched to using coconut oil to make it healthier.


Turmeric Fried Eggs
Heat your pan and when it's ready add coconut oil. Turn the heat on low flame.
Add 1/4 turmeric on the oil.
Crack an egg and cook just like how you would normally want your egg.
Salt and Pepper to taste.

The turmeric won't change the flavor of the food.

Husband's breakfast: Turmeric Fried Rice, Bacon-Wrapped Potato,
Swedish Meatballs with Homemade gravy and Turmeric Egg 
I got so excited reading the articles about the positive health benefits of turmeric until I stumbled upon a research about its reproductive health benefits.

The research Curcumin as a potential non-steroidal contraceptive with spermicidal and microbicidal properties by Naz, R.K. et al. from the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology , Volume 176 , 142 - 148 wrote this conclusion: 

Findings suggest that curcumin can block sperm function and bacteria/yeast growth. It can potentially provide an ideal non-steroidal contraceptive having both spermicidal and microbicidal properties against vaginal infections.
        I also read the articles Can curcumin provide an ideal contraceptive? and Curcumin: a potential vaginal contraceptive. These studies make me wonder about how much curcumin should one ingest to have this effect. India is known for curry and curry is made of turmeric.Why is India so populated? 😓

👀 but even if India is still populated, I think I will stop making yellow rice and yellow eggs for now. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Tallest of all the Marines


My brother is home for Christmas and New Year, his birthday and my birthday. I'm so happy!

I'm so proud of what he had become. He is such a responsible young man. I couldn't even imagine that he's the same younger brother that I had. He was good but he was also a bratty teenager.

Thank you so much US Marine Corps!

It's a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for our family. ❤

For all military, especially Marine families, let me share this story about a young Marine named Michael who wrote a letter home to his mother while he was in the hospital after having been wounded in Korea in 1950.  A Navy Chaplain named Father Walter Muldy apparently was given the letter, checked the facts and concluded what was in the letter was true. A year later he read the letter in public for the first time, to a gathering of some 5,000 Marines at the Naval Base in San Diego.  Here is the letter:


Dear Mom,
I wouldn't dare write this letter to anyone but you because no one else would believe it. Maybe even you will find it hard but I have got to tell somebody. First off, I am in a hospital. Now don't worry, ya hear me, don't worry. I was wounded but I'm okay you understand. Okay. The doctor says that I will be up and around in a month. But that's not what I want to tell you.

Remember when I joined the Marines last year; remember when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael every day. You really didn't have to tell me that. Ever since I can remember you always told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel. You even named me after him. Well I always have.

When I got to Korea, I prayed even harder. Remember the prayer that you taught me? "Michael, Michael of the morning, fresh chord of Heaven adorning," you know the rest of it. Well I said it everyday. Sometimes when I was marching or sometimes resting. But always before I went to sleep. I even got some of the other fellas to say it.

Well, one day I was with an advance detail way up over the front lines. We were scouting for the Commies. I was plodding along in the bitter cold, my breath was like cigar smoke.
I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when along side of me comes another Marine I never met before. He was bigger than any other Marine I'd ever seen. He must have been 6'4" and built in proportion. It gave me a feeling of security to have such a body near.

Anyway, there we were trudging along. The rest of the patrol spread out. Just to start conversation I said, "Cold ain't it." And then I laughed. Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute and I am talking about the weather.

My companion seemed to understand. I heard him laugh softly. I looked at him, "I have never seen you before, I thought I knew every man in the outfit."
"I just joined at the last minute", he replied. "The name is Michael."
"Is that so," I said surprised. "That is my name too."
"I know," he said and then went on, "Michael, Michael of the morning ..."

I was too amazed to say anything for a minute. How did he know my name, and a prayer that you had taught me? Then I smiled to myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me. Hadn't I taught the prayer to anybody who would listen. Why now and then, they even referred to me as St. Michael. Neither of us spoke for a time and then he broke the silence.
"We are going to have some trouble up ahead."

He must have been in fine physical shape or he was breathing so lightly I couldn't see his breath. Mine poured out in great clouds. There was no smile on his face now. Trouble ahead, I thought to myself, well with the Commies all around us, that is no great revelation. Snow began to fall in great thick globs. In a brief moment the whole countryside was blotted out. And I was marching in a white fog of sticky particles. My companion disappeared.

"Michael," I shouted in sudden alarm.
I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and strong, "This will stop shortly."
His prophecy proved to be correct. In a few minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The sun was a hard shining disc. I looked back for the rest of the patrol, there was no one in sight. We lost them in that heavy fall of snow. I looked ahead as we came over a little rise.
Mom, my heart stopped. There were seven of them. Seven Commies in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats. Only there wasn't anything funny about them now. Seven rifles were aimed at us.

"Down Michael," I screamed and hit the frozen earth.
I heard those rifles fire almost as one. I heard the bullets. There was Michael still standing. Mom, those guys couldn't have missed, not at that range. I expected to see him literally blown to bits. But there he stood, making no effort to fire himself. He was paralyzed with fear. It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the bravest. He was like a bird fascinated by a snake. At least, that was what I thought then. I jumped up to pull him down and that was when I got mine I felt a sudden flame in my chest. I often wondered what it felt like to be hit, now I know..


I remember feeling strong arms around me, arms that laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow. I opened my eyes, for one last look. I was dying. Maybe I was even dead, I remember thinking well, this is not so bad. Maybe I was looking into the sun. Maybe I was in shock. But it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again only this time his face was shining with a terrible splendor. As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him. He grew bigger, his arms stretched out wide, maybe it was the snow falling again, but there was a brightness around him like the wings of an angel. In his hands was a sword. A sword that flashed with a million lights. Well, that is the last thing I remember until the rest of the fellas came up and found me. I do not know how much time had passed. Now and then I had but a moment's rest from the pain and fever. I remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.

"Where is Michael," I asked.
I saw them look at one another. "Where's who?" asked one.
"Michael, Michael the big Marine I was walking with just before the snow squall hit us."
"Kid," said the sergeant, "You weren't walking with anyone. I had my eyes on you the whole time. You were getting too far out. I was just going to call you in when you disappeared in the snow."
He looked at me, curiously. "How did you do it kid?"
"How'd I do what?" I asked half angry despite my wound. "This marine named Michael and I were just ..."

"Son," said the sergeant kindly, " I picked out this outfit myself and there just ain't another Michael in it. You are the only Mike in it."

He paused for a minute, "Just how did you do it kid? We heard shots. There hasn't been a shot fired from your rifle. And there isn't a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there."
I didn't say anything, what could I say. I could only look open-mouthed with amazement.

It was then the sergeant spoke again, "Kid," he said gently, "every one of those seven Commies was killed by a sword stroke."

That is all I can tell you Mom. As I say, it may have been the sun in my eyes, it may have been the cold or the pain. But that is what happened.

Love, Michael


Michael, Michael of the morning,
Fresh chord of Heaven adorning,
Keep me safe today,
And in time of temptation
Drive the devil away.
Amen



Thursday, December 8, 2016

I loved you at your darkest



You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


- Romans 5:6-8 (NIV)

I know it is still too early to talk about the death of Christ since we're still in the advent season but this verse has been on my mind lately and as we prepare and rejoice for the coming of Christ, I believe it is also important that we reflect about the ultimate reason why He has to be born as an ordinary man.

Love... let's not focus on His death right now but instead let's reflect on the extraordinary kind of love that God has for us.

We are powerless. We are ungodly. We are sinners.

We wanted to be saved. We try our best to take control of our lives but sometimes we fail. It's very disappointing and humiliating to give our best, to offer everything that we could but still end up losing. We become helpless, vulnerable and incapable.  We are weak. We are powerless.

Our time is also confusing. Most of us are becoming self righteous. We preach love, peace, respect and forgiveness but we couldn't practice it to those who are against our opinion and beliefs. We become our own gods. We are ungodly.

Even though we try our best to become good, we often fail in how we act, how we think, what we say and what we do. We fail to do what is right through our thoughts, deeds and words. We are sinners.

And yet, with all these ugliness in our hearts, during the darkest moments of our soul, Jesus came for us. You'll know how much someone matters to you by what you are willing to give up for them. How much do we matter to God? So much He gave up His only Son to lead us, to save us, to bring us back to the right path.


Pink Church in Vietnam

His amazing, one of a kind love could sometimes leave us doubting. We find it difficult to see anything special about us that would make us feel worthy of this kind of love. God's ability to love us doesn't depend on us but it is His character. God is love. 

The more we become aware of our sins, the more we doubt God's ability to love us. Our sins are poison, it distorts the image of God. It prevent's Him from entering and working in our lives. So He came... to help us heal, to restore us and to wash away our sins.

Through cleansing our hearts and seeing God's love may we learn to strive harder to become good Christians. May the humbleness of God by giving His Son to reach us on our level, sinful man, will be enough to impress us and encourage us to turn away from sinfulness and to love our neighbor more.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop: Husband's Genius Plan



The New York Times Square Ball Drop experience could easily end up on anybody's bucket list. It is a big event that would require you to carefully plan for it especially if you are not willing to spend $250-$300 for a pass. By approximately 3:00 p.m., the bow tie of Times Square which is the blocks from 42nd to 47th streets between Broadway and 7th avenue will be fully closed to traffic and pedestrian. Revelers are expected to arrive early and the time that barricades will be put up will depend on how fast areas gets filled up. The earlier you arrive, the closer you will be to the action.

The sound system is set up where Broadway and Seventh Avenue cross, and the video screens on One Times Square (where the Ball is lowered) are easily visible.

There are no portable restrooms and there will be no licensed food and beverage vendors in the area during the celebration.

The celebration begins with the lighting and raising of the New Year’s Eve Ball at 6pm, Festive purple and yellow New Year’s Eve hats along with purple balloons tied with purple mylar ribbon and red scarves were distributed last year. I will update this post for the 2017 Times Square New York New Year's Eve schedule soon.

With all the mentioned important information, there's no doubt that you really have to plan for this. That's 9 hours of no available bathroom and no food and drinks to buy plus you have to stay in your block once the NYPD barricades the area.

We tried to get close to the stage for 3 consecutive years with our friends but only succeeded when my husband and I decided to go by ourselves.

We booked a reservation for an NYE 5-course dinner at 9 pm, usually at this time it will range from $150-$300 per person. The NYE countdown parties starts at 11 pm, it costs from $200-$1000 and the cheapest tickets doesn't come with a real filling meal.

We had dinner at the Dervish Mediterranean Restaurant and ended at 11 pm. I was hoping that because we were already in the area, we could easily go inside pass the other barricades. Wrong!

We were observing other people who were trying to get inside the 7th avenue get denied by the NYPD officers. I was already feeling down and losing hope. I felt like it would be another failed attempt.


Husband had an idea of booking a hotel reservation for Marriott Marquis. He booked for a date that would allow us to cancel it without a penalty and then he edited the date that would look like we are staying there for the New Year.

At first I didn't agree because I was so nervous that we're going to get caught but he said he really wanted to make it happen for me. We casually approached the officers and showed the confirmation of the booking. He let us in and gave us an escort.

It was amazing! I really wanted to cry when we were singing New York, New York. It's a dream come true. It's a blessing. It's New York!

Experience the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop - 👍



Aall wishes submitted after December 28, 2016 will be printed for
 the New Year's Eve celebration on December 31, 2017.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Anniversary at Istanbul, Turkey

It never fails to amaze me and make me feel blessed to watch a movie and to be able to say "Hey, I've been there!". I've never imagined that I would have the opportunity to see other parts of the world and travel with the love of my life.

Husband and I recently watched the movie Inferno at the iPic Theater. We were invited by our good friends to experience this fancy wine and dine movie theater at the South Street Seaport.

We tried the Premium Plus seats which costs an additional VIP fee of $10, with this fee we were able to enjoy the cozy leather reclining seats, a blanket, a pillow and the free tasty unlimited popcorn.The premium plus seating also allows you to push a button to call the waiter if you need to order more food, drinks or popcorn while the movie is still showing.

The theater serves gourmet style food options, expensive but it was really good. Husband ordered the Grilled Farmers Market Pizza and I love it!

Now let's throwback to our anniversary trip to one of my favorite cities, Istanbul.

The last destination of Robert Landon's adventure in Dan Brown's Inferno is in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Basilica Cistern is located in the southwest of Hagia Sofia. Constructed for Justinianus I, the Byzantium Emperor (527-565), this big underground water reservoir is called as “Yerebatan Cistern” among the public because of the underground marble columns. It is also called the Sunken Palace.


Inside you will find two Medusa heads which are used as supports under the two columns at the northwest edge of the cistern. One rests on its side, while the other is placed upside down, supposedly to rob the monster of its power to turn onlookers to stone.

Basilica Cistern

One of the Medusa Heads


When we were inside the cistern, 
we took advantage of dressing up as royalties and had our picture taken as one of our souvenirs.

Hagia Sophia
Inside the Hagia Sophia Museum
The Hagia Sophia is one of the historical architectural wonders that still remains standing today.
 It is the biggest church constructed by the East Roman Empire in Istanbul. 

another beautiful mosque
The Blue Mosque is a historical mosque in Istanbul,
the mosque has blue tiles surrounding the walls of interior design.

Inside the Blue Mosque


Topkapi Palace



The Topkapı Palace or the Seraglio is a large palace in Istanbul, Turkey that was one of the major residences of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years of their 624-year reign.





I hope you are inspired to visit Istanbul by this post. 
Let me end this post by saying thank you to our awesome friends, Archie and Sheryl, 
for taking us to the iPic Theater. Cheers for the awesome friendship and more double dates!





"When swimming into a dark tunnel, 
arrives a point of no return when you 
no longer have enough breath to double back. 
Your only choice is to swim forward into the unknown 
… and pray for an exit. "
- Dan Brown, Inferno

Monday, November 28, 2016

Things that you can DIY for your wedding

I am sure that there are a lot of things that you can DIY for your wedding. 
Here are the following DIYs that we did for ours.


1. Wedding Booklet/ Wedding Ceremony Program Guide / Wedding Missalette



We handed our guests a wedding program guide during the ceremony. It has the names of the bridal party and the entourage and as well as the readings that we chose for the mass.

It's something that we really want to have but are not willing to spend more than $100. I was looking at etsy to order the program, staples to have it printed and as well as considering to just print it at home. All of those choices are either tedious or expensive.
I found OvernightPrints.com and got a good deal. We paid $42.38 for 50 booklets plus a 2.5% cashback from Ebates.

We had a 12 page-5.5 x 8.5 booklet. It was colored and printed on gloss paper.

You can make the pages through a word document file and set the pages on the same size and upload it on their website page by page.



 You can download a fancy font and cliparts.
Design your page through Photoshop or you can do it on a word document.

3. Wedding Card Inserts


I purchased the wedding silhouette images from Etsy and made these cards on a word document and then I had these printed through VistaPrint on a glossy card stock for less than $40 for 100 with back side. I initially made this to write all the names of the bridal entourage, the Godparents and as well as our readers.

3. Wedding Favors



We had 2 wedding favors during our wedding, one is our something blue Moroccan Mini-Tagine and the other is our Native Box from Philippines.

The boxes are also called Lauhala Boxes from Hawaii.

If you buy these boxes online it would cost around $3.50 per box, but since I did it myself, 200 boxes only came out to less than $100.

I bought the boxes plain, the lace ribbon, a pack of 100 Silk Petal Hydrangea from Etsy and flat button pearls from Amazon.

A stick glue and a glue gun are your best friends for this DIY. We also added hershey kisses with stickers at the bottom inside the tagines and boxes for sweetness. 👌❤


4. The Flower Girl Dress


What I used:
8" Lined Crochet Tops (Peach)
Tulle (Coral, Light Pink and Cream)
Chiffon Flower with Pearls and Rhinestone (Salmon)
Lotus Fabric Flowers with Rhinestones (Peach)




The tutu dress required a lot of patience and time to make. Since it was my first time to make this dress and I wasn't really willing to make a sample, my dresses had some flaws. ✌

But it's ok.. the dresses photographed nicely. I will make another post for the instructions of how to make a tutu dress. I will try to make it better than my flower girl dresses.






If you need help, especially for the wedding booklets,
I can email you the word documents that I used so you can just edit them. 

An Elegant Coral and Gray Wedding


  
We wanted to keep our wedding simple and elegant when we were planning for it and so we chose to have coral and gray as our main colors.

Main is the keyword. We didn't go crazy about sticking to only those 2 colors. We used some variations of corals such as salmon, peach and even light pink and we also had different levels of grays and silver. 

We used cream, champagne and ivory as our neutral.

Bridesmaids dress - David's Bridal



 Robes are from Wedding Prep Gals

Bride Robe in White
Bridesmaids and MOH in Coral
Mother of Bride and Mother of Groom in Champagne
Mother of Bride, my beautiful momma





I made the tutu dress for my flower girls since I couldn't find the right color that I like. I didn't want them to be wearing just one shade of color for their dress because I thought it would only look dull.

I purchased most of materials from etsy and amazon.
The tulle skirt is in mix of coral, light pink and some cream.
The crochet top is in peach.
The accent flowers are in coral with beads.






The baker for our cake said that we are one of the easiest couple to work with. 
We didn't want any complicated detail, our florist just added a few coral flowers on the cake
for a pop of color.



We weren't also particular about the kinds of flowers that we will have for the centerpiece.
Our florist used ivory and cream hydrangea, coral and peach roses, and pink baby's breath with some coral petals at the bottom.


What do you think of our color combination? ❤

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Birthday Breakfast



Before we start preparing for our thanksgiving dinner today, 
I made a quick and easy heavy breakfast for hubby's birthday.

Sweet Chili Ribs, 
Bacon-Wrapped Carrots, 
Roasted Vegetables, 
Fried Rice and
 cupcakes for his dessert. ❤

Sweet Chili Ribs

👉Rub salt and pepper on the ribs
👉Put it on a deep baking pan and double cover it with aluminum foil.
👉Bake for 1 1/2 hours on 375 deg F.

👉Remove the aluminum foil cover.
👉Brush and coat the ribs with Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce
👉Put it back in the oven without the cover for 5-10 minutes.
👌Serve.


Bacon-Wrapped Carrots

👍Wrap the carrots (sliced carrots or baby carrots) with bacon.
👍Bake for 30 minutes on 375 deg F.



Roasted Vegetables

👍Add broccoli, cauliflowers, baby potato and carrots.
👍Drizzle with olive oil.
👍Sprinkle salt, dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried oregano, dried basil
👍Bake for 30 minutes on 375 deg F.
Birthday breakfast for the best husband ever!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How to Have The Best Wedding Ever

Whenever a bride talks about their wedding preparation, usually you will hear that she's exhausted, she can't wait for it to be over and the worst, the soon to be bride and groom are fighting.

I am very blessed with my husband. He participated and took control of the things that I don't really enjoy such as making a list, negotiating with prices and requesting other people's help. I will share a few helpful ways that made our wedding planning fun and somehow easy.

1. Make use of Google Docs

My husband and I didn't have the time to actually sit down, talk and compare notes and ideas. What we did was we made a joint google account and used google docs. This way, whenever we have time we just checked the files, added comments and shared the links and pictures through it.







2. List your priorities and start planning using that list

a. Choosing a church and the Reception Venue


CHURCH - Our number one priority was finding a church that would marry us in the afternoon so that our reception will be in the evening and it should be just 20-30 minutes away from our possible reception venue.

After we finalized our church location, we listed all the venues that are approximately 30 minutes away from our church.

We had our wedding at St. Mary's Nativity Church and our reception at Chateau Briand Caterers.


If you are catholic, finding a church here in New York can be a challenge because some churches won't marry you unless the bride or groom is a resident of that neighborhood. It could also be frustrating because sometimes you also want to get married in a church with a good looking interior aside from the fact that sometimes your church might not be convenient in terms of location and parking space.

What you can do if you choose to get married in a different church is talk to your parish priest to contact the church that you like and just hope that they will say yes. 

Chateau Briand, outdoor cocktail hour 
RECEPTION - It was also important for us to have an amazing wedding but won't put us in debt for the rest of our lives. 

After listing all the venues in the area, we visited our top 3 venues base on pictures and site reviews.

Have a date in mind but do not make it a set date. Ask for the quote of your chosen date and then ask for the dates that are cheaper than you "preferred date".

I wanted to have a 5 or 8 on our date. Guess what? May 8 for a 5pm-10pm at Chateau Briand was available. The only thing that we really didn't like was the date fell on a Sunday. May 28, which is a Saturday, was about $50/head more than May 8. No way that we are going to pay that much just because we wanted a Saturday...

Chateau Briand, indoor cocktail hour

After getting the quote for our final date, husband negotiated with 2 more other caterers. Chateau Briand didn't adjust their rate but gave us additional food and stations for our cocktail hour, plus we both fell in love with their cocktail hour room. It was amazing!

We had the indoor and the outdoor garden for our cocktail hour. 








3. Make a spreadsheet to compare wedding vendors

I made fun of my husband when he did this but it was honestly very helpful. He listed all the vendors and compared their services, prices, how many reviews they have and rating

WEDDING VIDEOS

We chose Shutter and Sounds Films for our video. They were expensive but we had 2 videographers and 2 highlight wedding videos. The videographers were so patient and the editors were so understanding and accommodating when we wanted to make some changes on our second highlight. Check out our 1st wedding highlight!


WEDDING PICTURES

We had 2 photographers from Le Image to take pictures for 10 hours. You would think that 10 hours should be enough, but no..you need at most 15 hours of coverage. 
The additional hours from Le Image was very expensive so we decided to ask our friend Redford Mancio to take getting ready pictures. He also took pictures from a different angle than our official photographers during the wedding and the pictures came out beautiful. Please check him out.



FLOWERS

We chose Stylish Events to make our reception centerpiece and the rest of the flowers for Chateau Briand. It was the last detail that we had to discuss. We wanted to make our own manzanita centerpiece but I thought it would be tedious and it would require us to pay somebody to arrange it and to clean up. Husband and I took extra work just so we can afford the centerpiece and I am so glad that we did. The flowers were beautiful.
For the bouquets, I decided to use Silk Flowers from Lily of Angeles because nobody is actually going to remember what kind of flowers we are going to hold. As long as it looks good on pictures, it's good enough for me.
My girls were holding silk flowers and my bouquet had Real Touch Flowers. Real touch flowers are more expensive than silk but still cheaper than having a real flower bouquet.
I went to a cheap flower shop that makes altar decorations for regular masses and saved a lot by doing so.


Tutu Dress for the Flower Girls


DRESSES

Our entourage paid for their own dresses except for the flower girls. I made the flower girl tutu dresses because it is cheaper that way.
For the wedding gown.. please save for it! My dress was close to $2000 and I thought that was it. The store had to order my size and then alter it so that it would fit me perfectly. I ended up paying over $3000 in total. 



Maggie Sottero, Zendaya

4. Stick to your budget and prepare/save for it


Getting married, especially in New York is really expensive but we had a fixed budget for our wedding and worked around with that amount.

We didn't anticipate the cost of the photographers, videographers and flowers plus the CASH TIPS. We chose a very beautiful reception venue, we got an amazing DJ, MC plus Percussionist for the reception dinner and thought it would all just go to waste if we don't get good quality pictures and videos. So definitely prepare for it and talk about it as a couple and do not spend much for little things. Prioritize! 

Also, be aware that most of the vendors will only accept cash or money order. We were not able to use our credit cards which was really a bummer because we were hoping to collect miles from the wedding expenses.



5. What matters most is how you perceive your own wedding

It is only for one night. People are going to forget about your wedding. The most important thing is your own perception of your wedding. When you look back, you will not remember the details but you will definitely remember how you feel from the planning to the actual wedding.
Make sure you are having fun and try no to stress out with every detail. Don't pay attention to the small things but rather look at your wedding as a whole. It is a celebration of love and union.