Archive for August, 2007

Commuting Sucks: Buses Suck!

So I went to a client’s office to do a bit of work and since it was the end of the day when I finished, it was off to Caltrain I went. However, it’s not as convenient for me to get there as when I’m at my office. So, yesterday, I tried to metro train and boy was it slow.

Then today, I figured the bus would be faster. OMG.. it was even slower. Well, part of the reason for it taking me about 50 minutes (grrr….) was that I waited around 20 for it to come. Since I used to work around there, I’d see this same bus pass by all the time, but today, it didn’t work out for me.

I missed my regular train AGAIN and it was just infuriating. What’s a girl to do? Well, I decided that the next time I have to go and do some work at that client’s office, I’ll just go there in the morning for a few hours, then head over to my office. That way, I can have a more predictable ride to the train station.

Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments (1)

New Lens

So we recently got a new toy…70-200mm f/2.8 IS! Whee! I haven’t used it much yet, but I’m sure it’ll help me get some tighter shots at weddings of the couples during ceremonies. Can’t wait to use it at my friend’s wedding next week!

With my 28-75 Tamron lens, I can usually only get the entire body if I shoot vertically and just about half of other body horizontally. Can’t seem to get any closer with the shots since I have to sit at least 4 rows back. I’ll be shooting an engagement session for a friend this weekend so we’ll see if it comes in handy or not. Yikes it’s a heavy lens!

Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments (1)

Good Wedding Idea - Gathering Photos

As a semi-recent bride, I realized that there was the big task of gathering photos from guests who took pictures at the wedding. Some people were pretty diligent about sending/burning to dvd, but majority of the people I’d say, pretty much just have them on their computers. What’s up with that?

I suppose part of it is that people forget to give you photos and find it somewhat inconvenient to upload photos. Additionally, they could burn a cd for you, but maybe they forget or never see you. So what should one do?

Well, at a recent wedding that I went to, the couple left some self addressed stamped envelopes with a blank cd included. This would give the guest nearly no excuse to send their photos. You can’t say you don’t have any blank cds, nor can you say you don’t have a proper envelope. It’ll pretty much boil down to you being lazy since the couple already made it so convenient. Then you feel guilty every time you see the envelope so you end up burning your photos and sending them off.
Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments

More Bare Necessities

So I recently wrote an entry about the basic makeup “starter kit” and how to get a good balance between quality products and practicality. After some research and some shopping (and returns), this is my near-final list.

Makeup Bag/Case
1) e.l.f. Cosmetic Organizer - $7.50 (has slots for brushes, compartments and a removable bag. I suppose this is optional as well because you COULD put it all in a big freezer ziplock bag to carry around, it would just look kinda ghetto.)

Tools
1) e.l.f. Total Face Brush (for blush primarily) - $1
2) e.l.f. Eye Shadow Brush - $2 (bought 2 @ $1 each tho not vital since shadow comes w/ that stick pad)
3) e.l.f. Defining Eye Brush (Angled Liner Brush) - $1 (I might get the Sephora Professional $13 instead)
4) Shiseido Eyelash Curler - $16.50
5) e.l.f. Blending Eye Brush - $1 (not a vital starter kit item; can get by w/o this)
6) e.l.f. Brow Comb & Brush - $1 (not a vital starter kit item; can get by w/o this)
7) e.l.f. Powder Puffs - $1 (not a vital starter kit item; can get by w/o this)

Face Stuff
1) Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - $30 (not a vital starter kit item; can get by w/o this)
2) Shiseido The Makeup Dual Balancing Foundation - $35
3) Jane Oil-Free Powder (Colorless) - $3.79
4) Jane Blushing Cheeks Blush (Blushing Baby Doll) - $3.79
5) MAC Eye Shadow (Nehru color) - $14 (i’m using this is an eyeliner tho can be used for lids)
6) e.l.f. Brightening Eye Color, Silver Lining (Eye Shadow) - $1 (one could buy any first set that looks natural on them. My friend happened to give me one but adding one in here makes the list more complete.)
7) Mascara (not a vital starter kit item tho apparently people say it really helps)

Total Cost of “must haves” for my makeup starter kit: $82.11*
*Note that the expensive items by Shiseido and MAC were highly recommended by a friend of mine and I had tried them on during my lesson.

Total Cost of what I spent on my makeup starter kit: $127.08 (Original shopping trip was $186. Hmm.. with a little research, I ended up spending LESS money on makeup and getting more items.)

Shiseido’s eyelash curlers seem to suit people with smaller eyes so that worked for me. There are plenty of curlers starting around $3 but I got lazy and didn’t research. Besides, I opened and used mine already so it would be gross to return.

Shiseido has a reputation for making good quality products so I bought the foundation based on my friend’s recommendation and having tried it out. Plus, the color worked really well on me. However, there are many liquid foundation options out there starting around $4.

As for the MAC eyeshadow, I would be using it potentially 3 ways: eyeliner, drawing in some brows, and dramatic eyeshadow color. Plus, MAC has a reputation for making quality products that are often used by performers, which indicates to me that the makeup stays on well.

I think I found a good balance between splurging on items that are important, like foundation primer and liquid foundation, and going cheap on things where you don’t need to spend as much (blush and eyeshadow). People say it’s important to buy good brushes, but just because a brush is inexpensive, it can still be good enough to use for most people. My e.l.f. brushes haven’t arrived yet, so I don’t know if they’re any good yet but I read a lot of positive reviews.

If you are a professional makeup artist, sure, buy the best stuff out there, but why would a regular gal need to waste her money on it? I say they sell “professional” brushes to make women feel like they’re special when they use it. Is it worth it? Are they even what actual practicing makeup artists use, or is it one of those marketing ploys?

So for $127, someone can own a basic but reasonably comprehensive makeup set. Adding some mascara to the mix and maybe some fake lashes, a gal can do her own wedding makeup for around $150 if she is starting from zero. A bride could even leech some products off of friends and buy ones to fill in the gaps. Chances are, someone with a similar skin tone could loan a few items to save money.
Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments

Observing Strangers

So I recently photographed a wedding (well, I was merely an extra shooter), and it was a weird feeling than normal. I didn’t know anybody except for the bride (we met a few times) and I was left to pretty much do my thing and make friendly conversation with the guests. For all the other photographs I’ve taken, it was for friends and somehow that makes a big difference.

I suppose it’s like going to a party where you don’t know a single person except the host. And of course, you can’t tag along with the host the entire time because they have responsibilities to other guests.

Overall, I still managed to take my usual detail shots that people seem to compliment me on. I also managed to *gasp* ask strangers to pose for photos. Hehe. 791 photos taken…still weeding through to find out how many keepers I have.
Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments

The Bare Necessities

So it took me 30 years to get there, but I have arrived. Yes folks, I mean girling out. I mean, learning about cosmetics. “What? You don’t know how to put on makeup? What do you do for weddings?” exclaimed my friend when I told him I recently learned the basics of the fine art that is makeup application. I told him I didn’t wear any. You know, cuz I just look THAT good naturally. *teehee*

Why am I bothering to learn finally? To get in touch with my more feminine side? Not really. I’m being practical (as usual). I’m going to HK in the fall to throw a small celebration for our wedding with J’s folks and I didn’t want to hire a makeup artist and figured since it’ll be just a dinner, I would do my own makeup. Then I realized, “Crap, I don’t know how!”

Recently a friend came over, brought her supply and went over step by step to teach me what she does for makeup (everybody has their own way I’m sure). Then we went shopping for my very own “starter kit” of makeup supplies.

Holy f’n crap! Makeup is damn expensive. I swear I reacted to the prices like a guy would who went shopping with his girlfriend in Sephora or department store. And the catch is, while the individual parts don’t seem too bad (on sometimes) it adds up… fast. Kinda like a wedding does.

I kept questioning my 2 friends who were there about whether or not this or that was “really necessary” as I wanted to basically buy the minimum amount of makeup that would let me get by. Here’s what I got:

Tools (cuz I guess using your hands would be ghetto for certain things.. and cutips won’t do)
1) Sephora Professional Blush Brush - $8
2) Sephora Professional Eye Shadow Brush - $4.80
3) Sephora Professionnel Angled Liner Brush - $18 (!!)
4) Shiseido Eyelash Curler - $16.50

Face Stuff
1) Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - $30
2) Shiseido The Makeup Dual Balancing Foundation - $35
3) Benefit Georgia Face Powder - $28
4) MAC Sheertone Blush - $17.50
5) MAC Eye Shadow - $14

Total Cost: $185.98 after tax. This doesn’t include eye shadow w/ some different colors because my friend gave me a compact w/ some of that. The 1 eyes shadow that I bought has just 1 color (blue-black).

So I was pretty clueless when we went to the stores. When I walked into Sephora (this great big makeup store), I didn’t know where to begin. They have dozens of different makeup brands and all the brands sell the same items. I asked my friends where would one begin and they said you just pick one and go with it. Alternatively they heard of different brands their friends use so they’d try it out and see if they like it. That seemed somewhat random to me.

I felt like I should pick up a copy of “Makeup For Dummies” or something as there are a gazillion things you could buy. It would really make your head spin. However, since I had a list of just the basic products I’d need, I stuck with it, it’s just picking the brands was the hardest part.

Then there are the high price tags. Apparently, makeup doesn’t really go on sale, which totally says a lot to me. It’s like all the cosmetic companies around the world banded together and said, “Hey, women will pay whatever to look as beautiful as the Photoshopped models on magazines. Let’s make sure we don’t put stuff on sale.” Companies put stuff on sale to move the product off the shelves. I suppose they have no problem selling products because they’re all relatively the same price. Of course, the packaging is all very cute and pretty so it makes it enjoyable to buy.

Anyhoo, after realizing how many items I bought at “retail price” and w/o any form of bargain hunting, I decided to search the web for deals on the products I bought and found none. Then I know there had to be bargain cosmetic brands and I’m sure they’re not low quality. Maybe they just don’t have the big names. I found 1 brand (Jane Cosmetics) which had a lot of good reviews from users and they are sold in drugstores, which means they’re not super expensive. Then there’s this brand that’s sold at Target called Sonia Kashuk. Apparently their brushes are good quality and they are significantly cheaper than the brand name ones.

So the goal is figure out a practical “starter kit” set. Of course, certain items you do want quality for, like foundation items because it’s the first thing you put on and the closest thing to your skin. Just like a house, nothing else matters as much as the foundation. Too bad nobody sells a “starter kit” for fashionably challenged folk like myself. Then again, skintones are different on everybody so one size doesn’t fit all, but at the very least, it would steer your on the right course.

I would say this is a good set of stuff to put together. I bet if you have the right colors, one could do their own wedding day makeup and save money in the process since I assume you would use this in the future. If not, then get it done professionally.

Tools
1) Blush Brush - $X
2) Eye Shadow Brush - $X
3) Angled Liner Brush - $X
4) Blending Brush - $X (optional as it’s not a vital starter kit item)
5) Shiseido Eyelash Curler - $16.50

Face Stuff
1) Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - $30
2) Shiseido The Makeup Dual Balancing Foundation - $35
3) Jane Oil-Free Powder (Colorless) - $3.79
4) Jane Blushing Cheeks Blush (Blushing Baby Doll) - $3.79
5) MAC Eye Shadow - $14 (i’m using this is an eyeliner tho can be used for lids)
6) Other Eye Shadow - $X (for color on the lids)
7) Mascara (optional item tho apparently people say it really helps)

Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments (1)

Back Up!

So my computer has a fairly large hard drive (150gb & 300gb). Of course, with me taking photos only in RAW mode these days, my hard drive is fast filling up. What do to? Should I get an external drive for backing up my data? Should I upgrade to a larger hard drive?

In the meantime, I’ve been burning dvds to back up all those wedding photos that I’ve taken at my friends’ weddings. It would be a shame to lose them if my computer died suddenly. I do have photos from 2001 onwards being backed up on cd, but at 700mb, they just take up space. Time to burn dvds!

Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments (1)

Disappearing Vendors

What happens when one of your wedding vendors disappears or goes out of business and you don’t know about it? This happened very recently to a friend of mine. With about a month to go, the bakery where her wedding cake is coming from closed shop. But who actually knows when the shop closed as it so happened that her mom wanted to drop by to pay the balance.

Thankfully the deposit wasn’t that much money but still, I would be SOOOOO pissed off because not only would I have lost money, but I would also have no cake! Luckily with one month to go, there are plenty of bakeries (especially the Asian ones), that can take a cake order 2 weeks in advanced.

What’s the moral of the story? I suppose it’s good to check in with your vendors with 1 month to go, because you can always scramble to replace nearly any vendor though it might cost you a bit more to do so. Just call/email them with some random question just to make sure they still exist.

Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments