Friday, November 30, 2007

JL no more...on paper

As soon as I found out that our marriage certificate was ready for pick-up on the Wednesday morning after our Disneymoon, I left work early that day and drove straight to the courthouse to pick up several notarized copies. I then headed straight to the nearby social security office and put in a request for a new card to go with my new name. I left the place with an official letter of my name change (card would be mailed to me 2 weeks later) and along with the marriage certificate, I proceeded to change my name on my bank accounts, credit cards, frequent flyer mileage programs, Amazon, ebay, pretty much ANYTHING that I could think of. I wanted everything to reflect my brand new name! By Saturday afternoon, I received my new driver’s license and weeks later, new passport. I’ve heard newly married women taking months, even years sometime, to change her name. I did it in less than 2 weeks flat (not including processing time of others beyond my control).

I always knew I wanted to change my name after getting married. I wanted to have the same last name as my husband. One, less confusion (are you Mrs. C or Ms. L?). Two, unity. Before the wedding, I contemplated on how my new name should read.

1) First Middle OldLast NewLast
2) First OldLast NewLast
3) First Middle NewLast

I was sad that I would be losing my Maiden name so option 2 was tempting. I also didn’t want to lose my middle name (my Chinese name that my dear aunt gave me) so option 1 was nice as well, although a little bit too long. I ended up deciding on option 3. Decision was already made prior to the wedding.

I changed my name so fast that I didn’t get a chance stop and give a thought about what I just did! One day I woke up as a L and by the end of the day, I was a C. When I was at the counter at DMV, I suddenly realized that they would be taking away my old license that I quickly took a picture of it using my camera phone. I was a L for 29 years and it was bittersweet to say goodbye.

I never thought I would be saying this, but I was so glad to have a camera phone!

It’s been almost 3 months now and on paper, I am JC. However, often I find myself pausing between my first and last name when introducing myself at work. I am sure it will take a little longer for me to be comfortable saying my new name.

JL will always be a part of me. I grew up as JL, had my first job as JL, went to college as JL, got married as JL. Nowadays, I don’t long for the L anymore, because I know I will always remember it (plus there are some documents, such as Citizenship Certificate, my diplomas, student IDs, that can’t be changed so they will serve as reminders!). However, I am curious and anxious to find out what being JC will bring!

New driver's license, taken using my SD800.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

what is sugarlens blog?

When I started sugarlens blog in April, I was really into taking pictures of anything and everything. Actually, I started the blog BECAUSE I wanted a place to showcase my work online (easy access for friends and family). Soon I found that it takes a LOT of work to edit and especially to organize thousands of photos. Also, my artistic ability to see things more than the way they are is limited that I didn’t think I would be able to keep the interest of my (2 or 3) readers, not to mention my own interest! So that idea was out of the window pretty much from the very beginning.

So, the content of the blog took a different turn. While it still consisted of random pictures I took, it was more personal, more about me. While it was not a play-by-play of my day (ie, wake up at 6am, go to work, come home), I blogged about the little moments that shaped my life. From April to early September, I was heavily occupied in planning my wedding and you can see that majority of the posts from that time were about the planning process and accomplishments. The blog acted as a journal to help me remember the joy of wedding planning!

Now that the wedding is over, what should I blog next? I have been on a blog-craze lately – getting inspired by fellow bloggers. Few of my favorites are: Black*Eiffel, Oh Happy Day, the SCOOP, How About Orange, Oh Joy! and a lot more!

I love their unique finds and their commentaries on them. Maybe I can do that? I won’t have to take any pictures of my own. I will simply find cutesy stuff online and post them. Easy. But honestly, I enjoy looking at the pretty things, but finding them would be another issue. Also, do I really have the time to do that often enough to keep my blog updated? And to be honest, blogging about current trends doesn't have the personal feeling I want. Most importantly, I don’t have the audience. Basically, I would be posting about things only for me to look at (I am sure Luke won’t be interested). What’s the point of that? Ten years from now, do I really want to look back and see the stuff I thought was cute back in 2007? No.

So, I’ve made up my mind. My blog is not to educate or to influence or to inspire. I will still write about the little moments that shape my life, and if it happens to educate or influence or inspire my readers, great! I will write about our weekends, our dog, our friends, hobbies, cooking, books, movies, and more. Whatever I write, it will be personal so that I can look back years from now and remember. I may post about a fabulous find every so often, but it will be because I happen to come across it, not in search for it. The blog will reflect the original tag line – “This is a story about us….through sugarlens”.

=] I will end this post with a picture of us.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

my relationship with Disney World

Disney World will forever be a special place to me. It is the destination of my family’s first vacation in the US. It is the first major vacation Luke and I took while dating. Lastly, it is the place we picked to start our married life together. Before I start to forget the little moments of our Disneymoon, I want to write about it. I also want to back-track and reminisce about my visits to Disney in the past.

We booked our Disneymoon trip back in April. It was a lazy Sunday morning and I was flipping through the Travel section of the Post. At that time, our honeymoon destination was still up in the air. We wanted to go to Greece, but timing was an issue. Within 1 hour of seeing the Disney ad in the paper, we booked our trip (flights and all)! Yes, we love Disney THAT much and the deal was THAT good.

Ad from the Post.

Disney is infamous for its over-priced food (whether inside the parks or the resorts). I remember when my parents took my brothers and me to Disney when we were young, we would get roast beef sandwiches from Arby’s before heading to the park for the day. At that time, outside food was not allowed so we would keep the sandwiches in the car and around lunch time, instead of paying $10 for a chicken sandwich, we would go to our car and have our roast beef sandwiches. Hey, when you have 5 mouths to feed, you think of ways to save money whenever you can!

Luke is too cool to eat roast beef sandwiches out in the parking lot. However, that doesn’t mean we splurge either. During our previous 2 trips to Disney together, we only ate at a couple of sit-down places. Our first visit there, we stayed off-ground and had a suite with a kitchen. We actually went to a grocery store and cooked a couple of times! Majority of the time though, we grabbed food at counter-services. Don’t feel bad for me; it was a treat to just eat inside the parks!! I feel like I’ve made it!

I am rambling… The incredible deal that we found this April that made us book the trip so hastily was because of the Disney Dining Plan. It was FREE when you book a 5-nights/6-days stay at a Disney resort. Sign us up please! After the payments have been made, we waited patiently for September to come (to be honest, we looked forward to Disney more than the wedding itself), waited patiently to eat at all those amazing restaurants Disney has to offer, but were always too sensible to splurge.

Now nearly 3 months after our Disneymoon, it’s time to reflect. Our Disneymoon was different from the previous 2 trips. Instead of rushing to get on as many rides as possible, see as many shows as possible, we took it easy. Basically, we stopped and smelled the roses. We held hands, strolled around the parks, took in the atmosphere, ate way too much delicious foods, posed for photos, and just unwind. We visited all 4 Disney parks and EPCOT still holds its place as our favorite.

As mentioned, we came to this trip with the DDP included so we could eat at those fancy, over-priced restaurants that we once avoided. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here I post a few picture of us pigging out.

Here is me at 50s Diner at MGM and Tangierine Cafe at EPCOT.

Clockwise from the top: me enjoying a slushie at AK, Luke having his lunch outside at Tony's Town Square Restaurant, me eating a strawberry short-cake sundae from Mrs. Potts' Cupboard, me picking on fries at Restaurantosaurus, and us dining at Narcoossee's.

Luke and I will never stop cutting costs wherever we can. Despite that it was our honeymoon and people always say, “Oh, it’s a once in a lifetime and you should treat yourself!”, we kept it real and stayed Pop Century Resort. And you know what? Staying at a value resort did not make our honeymoon any less amazing, any less special, or any less magical.

The following photos are courtesy of (the BEST unofficial Disney website).

Our colorful bigger-than-life resort.

We stayed at one of the 80s buildings this time. Last year we stayed at the 60s, picture below. The Yo-Yo you see here is actually a staircase.

To my surprise, one of my favorite memories of the trip was not from dining at a fancy restaurant or from the thrill of a ride. It was this: After a long day at Animal Kingdom, Luke and I went back to Pop and got counter-service food at Everything Pop (he had salmon and I got shrimp noodles). We (or rather he) carried the tray of food and went back to our room for a quiet meal together. It was a simple evening, most people probably won’t think twice about it, but to me, it was a special treat.

Luke carrying the tray of goodies.

While at Disney this September, we took advantage of the Bounce-Back Program and booked our anniversary trip for next year! We will be on the DDP again! Can’t wait to try more restaurants! But I know that I will grin just as hard if I was handed a roast beef sandwich in the parking lot. For 2 reasons: 1) I will be at Disney World, and 2) I will be with my bower celebrating our blissful marriage! So there you have it, my relationship with Disney World. It has been long and deep and I can't wait for it continue for a very long long time!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Catch-All Part I

I am going into work late today. The boss decided to have a meeting from 3:30 to 5pm. For those who know me, 3:30 is my quitting time. So, since I will be staying later, I might as well go in later. =]

Up until a couple of days ago, my blog has been neglected for a very long time. Now I am back full-force, I want to update it as much as possible! So here are a couple of things I've missed in the past few months. This is a catch-all post.

Our awesome photographer, Heather Hopkins of Dolphindance Photography released this to us a while back as teasers. While I am usually a private person and hesitant in sharing personal photos on the Internet, I want to give Heather as much credit as possible! Everyone said she did a great job and I agree whole-heartily! I know pretty much no one reads my blog, but just in case that someone other than Luke is here and you happen to be a bride, give Heather a call! I really want Heather to do a session with Pargo....but I still need to convince Luke that it is necessary. :)

We celebrated my 29th birthday a week after the wedding. Luke gave me this backpack from LL Bean! It has my new initials and I can't wait to lug it around Hawaii in a few weeks. Overall, it was a very nice birthday. We went home to celebrate it with my family. Next year will be the big one!

Speaking of birthdays, Pargo turned 2 earlier this month! As presents, we gave him a whole drumstick (with skin and meat and everything) and new customized food and water bowls. He enjoyed the drumsticks, but I don't think he likes the food bowl as much as his old one. See, Pargo is a picky eater and he likes to pick through his kibbles (his current favorites are the red and green ones). Now that his new bowl is much smaller, he doesn't get lots of room to dig through them. Lately I have found more kibbles laying on the carpet. That dog!

Pargo was very patient while I took a picture first.

Yum, chicken!

No, we did not get a new dog! Finally, a few weeks later, his presents arrived. By then, Luke had already given him a haircut. I got the bowls from this talented lady.

Lastly (I am running out of time...), I made a shadowbox of our Disneymoon! In it, I put the park maps, our Key to the World, a luggage tag, plane ticket stubs, "Just Married" button, and a congratulations autograph from our pals Mickey and Minnie. I embellished it with some Disney stickers. It was an easy project. The hardest part was figuring out what to NOT put in it. Personally I can think up a lot more things I want to put the box, but there was no room. This easy project actually took a few weeks to finish because I couldn't decide. But it's done now and hanging in our bedroom. :)

If you look close enough, you can see my reflection...=]

There will be a Part II to this post because I am out of time and need to get to work! I didn't think I had this much to write....!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's here! It's here!

I rushed home from work today because I knew there was a package waiting for me. Actually I was supposed to have gotten it yesterday, but I wasn't home to sign for the package. To make sure that it didn't happen again, Luke went to the post office at 8am this morning to pick it up for me. Just as I thought, he put the package under our tree like it was a Christmas present. Silly bower! Of course I wasn't going to wait until Christmas to open the package so I ripped it open and I present you -- Print Gocco!!

Sitting under the tree...

How did I discover this neat screen printer? Well, let me tell you. Shortly after the wedding, I learned about weddingbee. Now you may be wondering what the heck am I doing reading a blog on weddings now that I am happily married. It turns out, weddingbee is more than just about weddings. The bloggers (or the bees) are all really creative in DIY projects. Sure they are all wedding-related DIY projects, but that didn't stop me from wanting to do something DIY as well!

One thing the bees all have in common is that they all have this machine called Print Gocco. I did more research and was amazed by what this machine can do. I started dreaming about making cards, prints to hang on the wall, etc. After much thought (and with Luke's buy-in), I went ahead and purchase one off etsy. Fast forward to the present, the machine is now in the house, on the floor, ready for action!

Realistically, I won't start playing with it until after the holidays. However, I will start playing with my first design soon. I have no idea what kind of design I will come up with especially since I am not a good drawer, but with photoshop and a little manipulation, hopefully I can come up with something decent.

Print Gocco is actually quite expensive. The machine itself is a one-time cost. but the supplies is another story. Each time you print a design, you have to use 1 screen and 2 bulbs. Those are NOT cheap. I have already bought some supplies (screens, bulbs, inks) to last a while from this place. I did my research and they are the cheapest. The lady I dealt with, Judy, gave me free shipping because I made such a big purchase. In addition, you get an additional 5% off if you mail the check to her.

Extra supplies

So this is it. I don't have an excuse not to get creative now. Oh wait, yes I do. I still need to buy paper!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, November 23, 2007

First Tree

When Luke and I went to Disney for our honeymoon, we only got a couple of souvenirs. We are showcasing our babies for the first time this year, and hopefully for many more years to come! Ta-Da! Our first Christmas tree together ever! Luke bought the tree online from Target and it arrived in less than 3 days. It's approxmiately 4.5 feet. Luke calls it a "truppy".

We have 10 Mickey ears in different colors randomly hung around the tree.

Big Head Mickey representing Luke.

Big Head Minnie is me.

Of course, this is Pargo.

Big Head Donald is for all the fishies.

In front of our tree with Pargo. No presents under the tree yet...hopefully it will change soon. :) Wish everyone a happy and safe holidays!!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!