Archive for the ‘Preparations’ Category

Chich’en Itzá and Other Last-Minute Info

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

If you’re coming to Mexico next week and are planning to stay in the area after the wedding, come join us on a group trip to Chich’en Itzá on July 6! More information and a sign-up form can be found in Field Trip: Chich’en Itzá.

El Castillo, Chich'en Itzá

We’ve also added some additional tidbits about travel arrangements in Travel Info, covering airport transfers, mobile phones and other useful stuff.

Update: We’ve added yet more information on registering with the US Embassy while traveling abroad and carbon offset programs for sustainable travel.

Popcorn and Projects

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Late into the night, the projects go on. Popcorn is a good friend.

Panic? Who’s Panicking? :-)

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

The weekend was mostly a blur of wedding preparations, as the remaining days until our departure for Mexico dwindle to (gulp) a mere eight.

We began Saturday with a detour into the long-ago, at the remembrance for my former colleague, Tom Buchholz. Seeing some of the old crew from my now-distant NASA engineering days at Lockheed was a pleasant dip into a previous life, even if the occasion was marked with sadness. Many of us were enthusiastic, fresh-faced college grads back when we worked together, and the stories brought notes of a simple and happy nostalgia.

The old Lockheed crew and Tom Buchholz\'s sister, at his remembrance.

The remainder of the weekend was mostly about the wedding, with marathons of shopping and preparation dominating the days and nights. The good news — we have our final haircuts, I now have a mostly complete wardrobe for the big day, Karina has an awesome new hat for the beach, and after much effort, Karina has shoes for her wedding gown. Plus, we’ve now had an opportunity to gape at a full-size Star Wars action figure made from Lego (okay, that may have been a bit of a meander from our laser-like focus on wedding prep…).

By the way, exactly who is that Lego guy above? Do you know? Oh, and in case you’re wondering, no, Karina is not wearing pink high heels to the wedding!

A Sunday Ride, Happiness, More Wedding Plans…

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Like the previous weekend, Sunday was marked with another late afternoon bike ride (after Karina’s study stretch at the Kaplan Center). This time, the direction was south toward Hermann Park. Particularly memorable — the synchronized, impromptu cheers of Go! Go! Go! from the passengers of the park’s mini train as Karina huffed her way up the Miller Outdoor Theater’s steep and grassy hill. Her exertions were crowned with a burst of applause upon reaching the crest. The rest of the ride was quieter as we wandered the grounds and sat for a time watching ducks at the lake shore.

With a certain thematic alignment in these last weeks before the wedding, Karina and I went tonight to hear Matthieu Ricard speak at M.D. Anderson. An expansion of his TED Talk, he discussed the tantalizing possibility that happiness can be attained through a conscious process and mind training. He also touched upon some of the empirical data collected in numerous neurobiological studies (like this one) which weren’t yet available at the time of his 2004 TED appearance. A fascinating discussion — one that was enough to inspire us into a bout of lately-neglected meditation after we got home.

In wedding news, the last straggling invitations finally went out and we finalized a large number of (seemingly endless and, for me, somewhat bewildering) details. Karina has also continued her quest for shoes and myriad other items related to the ceremony and reception, and she’s scheduled for a dress fitting early tomorrow. Much remains to be done (programs, playlists, wardrobe details, etc. etc. ad infinitum), but there’s definitely been some progress!

Bikes, a concert and, oh yeah, a wedding!

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

While Karina was away at her conference in Kansas City, the post office dropped off a long-awaited package at our door — Karina’s beloved and much-missed mountain bike (a sexy all-black Jamis hardtail), shipped all the way from the Philippines by her mama.

By the time Karina came home the following week, the neighborhood bike shop had already (secretly) finished putting the pieces back together. I made excuses to stop by the shop, where we began ogling the new KHS rides. That’s when they rolled out Karina’s Jamis… and her eyes just about popped out with surprise!

Semi-dressed-up as she was for a day of studying at the Kaplan Center — and despite the 90-plus-degree Houston weather — she climbed aboard that bike immediately and rode it all the way home!

By the following weekend, we were riding the neighborhood up toward the new Discovery Green downtown and west toward the Montrose, finally landing at Niko Niko’s for gyros, souvlaki and tabouli. What started out as a quick jaunt to the park and the grocery turned into an all-afternoon bicycle excursion.

Karina and her Jamis at Discovery Green

In other news, we had an evening of 80s-90s retro fun when we finally were able to go to the long-delayed Cure concert. It was sensory overload — in a good way — and we spent a good portion of the four-hour concert on our feet dancing, though Karina may still be sore that they didn’t play her favorite, Friday, I’m in Love.

Aside from the interludes above and the daily routines of work and studying, we spent most of our free moments prepping for our fast-approaching event in Mexico. The first of the invitation replies are trickling in. Karina has been madly hitting the malls picking up the necessary odds and ends, while I’ve been doing my part by procrastinating as much as possible and uttering such classically counterproductive ignorant-groom phrases as, “Don’t worry, honey, even if we don’t do a single thing more between now and the wedding, everything will still work out fine…!”

post-holiday update

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Karina left for her conference on international medical missions at the University of Missouri – Kansas City today. We just finished a nice good-night video chat, but now I find myself with time on my hands in the suddenly very empty house. It seems like a fine time to do a belated post on the holiday weekend!

Last week’s events included a benefit for the Rice Boniuk Center at the Dharma Cafe, where Suneeta (our teacher at Hugh and Donna’s cooking lesson event a couple of months back) prepared some tasty dishes accompanied by music and a silent auction.

We spent part of the Memorial Day holiday camping at a primitive site in the nearby Sam Houston National Forest. It was a very brief getaway, but it felt great to be out in the quiet where we could actually see stars… away from all things electronic. The sun was hot and the ground beneath the sleeping bag was hard — and it was all wonderful. In my urge to get away from civilization, I was inclined to bring nothing but the barest gear, water and a few PowerBars and turrones, but fortunately Karina was much smarter and talked me into bringing a few other goodies like sourdough, cheese and wine. That made the evening, and it kept us from going to bed hungry!

In wedding prep news, we met with Vickie (pictured below) and Debra again to work out more details. It feels like things are getting close now, but a million bits and pieces seem to remain. We made a lot of progress on invites, and the bulk of them are out and on their way now (that’s my part of the assembly line at right). We also found a local photographer that we really like — and as you probably know, we’re quite picky about that. We really wanted a photojournalistic style, and not so much of the typical stand-em-up-and-shoot look.

P.S. Several people have asked about suggested attire for the wedding — I’m still working on that page! But in the meantime, think beach chic. Lightweight, cooling fabrics, beach-friendly sandals or shoes, pants and dresses. And the wedding color is cornflower.

Weekend Update

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

We accomplished a lot this week. As you can see in the photo, Karina had her first taste of Cajun crawfish, though I think her southern genes (southern Philippines, that is) felt quite at home and content with the whole shellfish scene. [update: Karina tells me she’s had crawfish many times before, and that she’s had the Cajun variety before, too, though I’d argue with the idea that Joe’s Crab Shack really counts as such!] We also managed to finish off season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Major accomplishments, I know. On a more substantial note, Karina has largely secured a gig as an adjunct prof at Lone Star College, with just a few bureaucratic details left to handle before finalizing a slot for the fall semester.

On the wedding front, we received nearly all of the materials for the invitations and we’ve assembled the first batch. Now we’re just waiting for the laggards at the sticker printers to get their act together so we can get these out the door! Karina and Daisy also did a heavy-duty shopping expedition over the weekend to get more ideas for the various bits and pieces.

By the way, we’re getting really close — did you notice that? We are noticing it more and more, every day. Yikes! As another gentle reminder, if you’re planning to attend, please be sure to book your room soon to make sure that you get a spot. The rooms we’ve been holding have been released for general consumption, so they might disappear any minute. And let us know if you’re coming!

Weekend Update

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Lots of progress in the last week! First and foremost, we’ve booked all of our travel and hotel arrangements for the Azul Beach — we’ll be there from July 2 through July 6. We’ll then be heading out of the resort to see more of the country, perhaps moving eventually to towns toward the interior. We probably will take at least one day immediately after the Azul Beach to see Mayan ruins in the area. No specifics yet, but if you’re interested in joining us, let us know!

By the way… not to be too repetitive, but if you are planning to come, you may want to book at the Azul Beach as soon as possible. Our room-holding period has ended, and the accomodations we’ve been holding for our guests are being released to other parties. If you’ve booked already, please let us know to help us plan the event.

In other wedding news, we managed to get the wedding invitations designed after a few marathon Photoshop sessions, and they’re now out to the printer. We’re hoping to have most of the pieces in hand in the next day or two — and the first volleys should be winging their way to their destinations by the end of the week. We also started poking around various stores getting ideas for reception decor. That’s Karina at right visualizing a candle-and-ocean theme (no, it’s not going to look anything like this!).

Despite the wedding busy-ness, we did get out to do a few other things in the past week, including volunteering at the Sprint for Life benefit at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The photo at left was taken at the finish line, where we helped set up the recovery area and greeted runners after their run.

And in totally random news, we saw a SmartCar in Houston the other night after stopping by the River Oaks Theatre. Cute little thing. As it turns out, we didn’t see a film there, but we did watch Iron Man elsewhere. Our review — two thumbs up (both for the car and the movie!).

May Day!

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Believe it or not (and it is definitely hard for us to believe over here), the Fourth of July is right around the corner, and our wedding in Mexico is coming upon us fast!

We’re beginning our final preparations now, and we wanted to remind everyone that the rooms that we’ve been holding at the Azul Beach hotel for our guests are soon going to be released to other parties. If you’re planning to come (and we hope that you are!), and you’re planning to stay at the Azul Beach, please be sure to book your room as soon as you can. The rooms are going to be released by Monday, May 5, and they’re expected to be filled up quickly after that date.

If you would like help with setting up accommodations and/or travel, please feel free to contact our planner, Vickie Griffith at:

voice 1.281.744.2989
voice 1.877.372.LOVE

You can also get more information about the hotel in the Travel section of our site.

We hope to see you soon, and do feel free to contact us, too, if you have any questions!

Invites and More…

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

We’ve been working hard (um, maybe you should read that as “agonizing”) over the invitations this week, working as we are now against the ever-accelerating flow of the calendar. Is it really May already??

If you’re reading this blog, then you probably have already received a save the date card from us (if not, let us know!). But you’ll still be getting a formal invitation, too, and we’re on it. Now. After much back and forth about whether I should design and produce the thing myself (not a bad idea, except for the tight timeline and my sloth-like production pace) or if we should just source it out. In the end, we are (as of this moment) planning to do a hybrid piece… we hope that you’ll see for yourself soon enough! The final balls will be rolling by the start of this upcoming week. We’ll keep you posted.

In other news, we spent part of the day yesterday wandering around Crate & Barrel, gathering ideas for decorating in Mexico (and getting some book shelves which will serve as a new home for both books and the aquarium which has been gathering dust on our living room floor ever since I brought it home from my now-former office). As I write this, Karina is busy organizing her wedding stuff and working on the millions of odds and ends. I’m also busy writing a page for this site about suggested attire, in case any of you were wondering.

Okay, back to work! :-)


Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Spring is here on the Gulf Coast, and we’ve tried to take good advantage of it in the past week. In a nostalgic turn toward childhood days (my childhood, at least!), we ran out to buy a bat, mitts and a softball last weekend so we could play ball at the park across the street from our place. Despite a lot of rust and slightly creaky, post-winter-hibernation bodies, we’ve been having a great time!

In wedding news this week, we’ve been busy on invitations (yes, those are still coming!) and getting to work on all the myriad details. These sessions have been running late into the night — yes, because we’re night owls by nature but also because we’ve been running long days as I hop from coffee shop to coffee shop to work and as Karina buckles down at the Kaplan test review center in the Village. That’s where she is now, even though it’s Saturday, but we’re planning to have some sunshine time tonight before the sun sets. I’m ready to play ball again!

Gerry and the Filipino Barong

Friday, March 28th, 2008

In December of 2007, Gerry and I visited the Philippines. Like many vacations, it seemed short with frantic hops from one airport, pier and terminal to another. We did cover enough places to add to our shared memory pile, celebrated our first anniversary, and shared wonderful time with friends old and new at Marj and Den’s wedding. As Gerry continues to share with me his places on one side of the Pacific, it was wonderful to be able to share with him more of my places, too, on the other side. More importantly, this trip included a stop to have Gerry’s wedding wear done.

We started with Manila, where he was born and lived ’til he was five. I also spent my college years there. We stayed at Maita’s place, which was my happy place during those years. It still is. It was like traveling back in time in a strangely quiet way — being in the same space but now intersected with Gerry’s.

We decided it would be an appropriate touch to have Gerry wear the traditional Filipino Barong on our wedding day. We went to a special shop — Tesoro’s of Manila — in the Ermita district, known since 1945 for fine barong materials that represent well the garment’s cultural history. After browsing the many different fabrics, the resident tailor-craftsman, Mr. Saturnino Calumba, crafted one just for Gerry.


Barong Tagalog

The barong comes in many forms and styles. It is usually worn in special and more formal, dressier occasions in the Philippines. Many Filipino men continue to wear the barong on occasions abroad. Certain styles can be as formal as the tuxedo, which in the Philippines’ warm climate is not practical. It offers a more physically relaxed feel without taking the value off of an occasion as a more casual linen shirt might.

Mexico’s tropical climate and the beachside breezes where we will be celebrating will certainly make the barong feel at home.

We will very soon post links here or in The Wedding page to sites on barongs for whomever wants to explore this practical wear further. You’ll never know — you might just fall in love with it. 😉

I’ll continue sharing more about this trip sometime in Our Story.


Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Pantone 278 U color swatch

After looking at a ton of fabrics and dresses, we chose this color to reflect both the skies over the beach of our wedding day in Mexico and the serenity, contentment and happiness our marriage has brought for both of us.

The Flow of Our Colors

Thursday, March 27th, 2008


One of the moments I truly enjoyed in preparing for this wedding was the process of choosing colors. We went by the route of letting the colors seek us and speak to us rather than the other way around. Like a wonderful moment, amidst the sea of colors, fabrics, catalogues, interesting places, exchanges, and material, the one color was brighter and it made us smile. This is the celebration we wish to share with you this July—hoping you’d carry the warm smiles back with you.

What is our color? Up next.

Thanks to Daisy, Vickie, Debra, Nikki, and Nathan for your thoughts, color picks, and fun comments! It helped a lot!