December 23, 2009

Hardwood Floor Refinishing

The oak hardwood floor in our house was old and looked dirty, with many scratches that showed the traffic pattern of the people before us. There were places where the protective coating had worn out and the wood turned gray and black, which didn't look nice. We wanted to resurface the floor before we move in to make it look new again. Since sanding the floor will create tons of dust, we wanted to do it before we move things in. We began on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11 and rented a floor sander from The Home Depot. These sanders are very heavy and uses a very large sheet of sand paper. The base moves in a small circular motion to sand the floor and we started with 24 grit to remove the old finish, followed by 60 grit and 100 grit. I pushed the sander around for 10 hours that day and returned the sander the next morning. It didn't come out perfect because there are some deep swirl marks that we couldn't get rid of. For the most part, the floor is a lot better than when we started. From a standing height, I can't tell where the swirls are anyway; only when I am crawling on the floor and look carefully can I see them.

New House

We bought our first house and closed the deal on Nov. 2, 2009. The search process seemed long because we were going out to open houses almost every Sunday and we saw many houses in the area we wanted to live. The general requirement was that it should be within 20 minutes driving to work. Then there are other requirements such as 3 bedrooms or more, 2 bathrooms or more, 2 attached garages, among other things. We looked for houses in the $200k to $300k range, as well as some that are in the 400k range. Each time we see a house, we would rank it from 1 to 10, where 10 being the ideal house. Each time Jenn and I will be pretty close; 5, 6, or 7 are common, and a few that gets the 8 rating. We began to realize that price does not necessarily correlate to quality, and the 430k house is not ranked higher than some that are $280k. By September, we were not seeing many new listings, so we felt we should make a decision at that point. What we did was making a trade-off matrix in Excel, with each relevant aspect of the house contributing to a total score. In each category, such as the back yard, we would have a few choices, such as big private yard getting a score of 9, small public yard getting a 1, and we give some categories different weighting factors. Each house would get an overall score, and very quickly we see a house that has 80% of what we want, and is still under $250k. That's the one we eventually decided on.

July 28, 2009

House Hunting

Jenn and I are thinking of buying a house these days. In fact, it constantly occupies my mind. Jenn had been looking at houses ever since she moved to the Capital Region, and we have been looking together since summer of 2008. Jenn was looking to buy a house because of the notion that renting is like throwing money into the toilet. I don't completely agree with that concept, but in the long run, paying a mortgage and end up owning a house is better than paying rent and still don't own anything in the end. Jenn didn't buy because of many reasons, such as having to take care of maintenance by herself, under-utilization, snow removal, yard work, etc. Last year we were looking because Jenn was deciding whether to renew the apartment lease or buy a house. She ended up moving to a different apartment.

Now that we are married, there's even more reason to buy a house. Our population has doubled, our stuff is doubled, we want to do things that living in an apartment cannot offer, and our combined income can let us support the extra expense of a house.

The short term financial outlook is worse in buying a house, because there are expenses that are not applicable when we are renting, such as maintenance, snow removal, landscaping, property tax, insurance, etc. The long term prospects can be the same, good, or very good in buying a house. It all depends on how long we stay and how much the property appreciates in that time. The case that it will be worse than renting is relatively low chance.

What does a house enable? It will have a yard, so we can have outdoor party like barbeque and a private space to be outside with nature. We can plant a garden. Maybe we can have a pool. House will have more space for storage and make things organized. There will be room to put a piano that Jenn wants. Maybe a sewing machine, a woodworking bench, a garage, a place to do car wash, our own laundry machines, nice entertainment center, big screen TV, king size bed. That's why it is worth the trouble and cost to move to a house of our own.

June 14th 2009 Honeymoon Day 7 (last day)

Sunday was the last day of our honeymoon. We booked a flight back to New Bedford in the afternoon, but we still have many things that we wanted to do. In the morning we went on a Van Tour by Gail. She said her mother started the tour business on a buggy in the 1920's, and she took over the business many years ago. She drives the van around the island and tells stories about the buildings, landmark, the people who lives around there, and where are the things worth seeing later. One interesting thing we learned was that Nantucket has a cranberry industry. The way they harvest them is to flood the growing area with water so the berrys float on the surface and that makes picking them much easier. Gail also explained that the island is constantly being eroded away and many houses on the edge of the shore either get washed away or had to be relocated. Those houses are very expensive, and sometimes they will pay another owner to move their house so they can move the house from shore to the lot across the street.

After we came back from the tour, we went to get lunch. We went to a restaurant called the Brotherhood of Thieves. They have a pub feel and the restaurant looks like completely under another building, so it has a tight-quarter feel but not in a bad way. Food was good and service was fast. I find that every restaurant on Nantucket had very good food, but they are also pricy. I think everything on the island is extra pricy due to the type of people who live there and vacation there. In comparison, things are Martha's Vineyard were not so "upper-class".

It was time to fly back to the mainland. We got a taxi and very quickly we were on our way to New Bedford. The flight was about 30 minutes and it was a clear day, so we could see from the airplane the ocean and the different islands beneath us. It was a nice flight. Once on land we had to call and wait for a taxi because the New Bedford airport is such a small airport that even parking is free. Funny that our destination is the parking lot for the ferry.

I was happy to see my car in the parking lot. We loaded the trunk with luggage and head back home. When we got back to Albany, we decided to take our sea bass to Shining Rainbow for them to cook us a dish. We actuall had them cook it in two different dishes, although they turn out to be kind of similar. We also ordered some other food to go and had an easy dinner at home.

To finish the week with a relaxing evening, we rented a movie from Redbox and I was glad to be home.

Overall, the trip was a lot of fun, and right on budget. There were many cloudy days and the water was too cold to swim, but I think we got the most out of what was available to us. It really doesn't matter where we go, as long as we have each other, we will have fun.

June 13th 2009 Honeymoon Day 6

In the morning we went downstairs to get breakfast served by the inn. They actually have a menu for breakfast, so we get to pick from among a few different choices such as sausage or pancake or fruit platters. I forgot what we ordered but it was delicious. I asked if we could stay one more night there, but the inn was all full. The innkeeper helped us find three other bed and breakfast places and we picked Centerboard Guest House as our next lodging.

Because we cannot check-in at the Centerboard until 3 pm, we put our stuff in the Union Inn lobby and went out to tour the town.

We got a map from the Union Inn and the innkeeper had told us about a walking route that will take us to see different parts of the Nantucket town. We followed that route and went towards a historic light house on the beach. People were waiting in line to go up the tower. We also waited in line and got up there to see the view from the higher vantage point.

For lunch, we walked to a sandwich place that the innkeeper recommended. It's called Something Natural. We later found out that it is a local favorite, and it is actually not easy to see unless you are specifically looking for it. It was in the midst of a residential area and we had to walk into a large driveway to see the shop which is like any other house. The inside reminded me of College Town Begal. The food was so-so, I thought. Maybe I didn't order the right thing, but the portion is definitely on the large side.

We walked along a residential area by the beach and there are several public access paths that goes to the beach. We went to the end and there was a hidden path that leads to a flight of stairs that goes down to the beach. To get back to town, we walked along the beach and decided to stay for a while, trying to enjoy some time on the beach, since it was a relatively nice day. The water is still too cold to swim, so we just stayed on the sand. There are a lot of shells and dead crab shells and seaweeds. That's very different from the beach I am used to in Hawaii, which is just sand and rocks. But we managed to find a spot without too much people traffic and stayed until we had to go becuase we reserved a spot for a sailing trip.

We went back to the pier and got onto a sail boat tour called Endeavor Sailing. The sail boat takes about 20 people, and we sailed out to sea for about 90 minutes. It was our first time on a sail boat. We both wanted to try it, but we thought the fishing trip was more fun, because we were actively engaged in the activity rather than just sitting and looking out on the water. Jenn did volunteer to help raise the sail on the boat, so everyone watched her pull hard on the ropes and see the huge sail went up.

After we came back, we went back to Union Inn to take our luggage to Centerboard, and then went out looking for a restaurant for dinner. We somewhat randomly chose to stop at a restaurant called Dune. It is a new restauarnt, has a modern and hip style inside, even though you can't tell that from the outside. The food was excellent, but the server was terrible. We were disappointed by the slow response and almost non-existent attention we were treated with.

After dinner, I had the idea of seeing sun set by the beach, so we try to run to the stairs that goes down to the beach. We were tired from all the walking around during the day, but we still made it. By the time we got there, which was around 8 pm, the sun had already gone down. It was also cloudy, so it wouldn't have been a clear sun set.

Our room at the Centerboard was a below grade room, so it feels somewhat damp. I wouldn't say I like it a lot, but for the price it was a good place to stay.

July 7, 2009

June 12th 2009 Honeymoon Day 5

The flight to Nantucket was in the early morning, so we got up at around 8 AM, grabbed a quick breakfast, and rolled our luggage towards the bus station, which was a short 5 minutes walk. We got on the bus, paid $2 each person, and took a nice ride to the airport, which is located in the middle of the island. The airport is as simple as can be. There was no security check, no bag check, because everything is carry-on. The Cape Air counter agent told us that the fog is forcing the airport to be closed and no plane can fly until the visibility picks up. There are people who waited since 6 in the morning to fly to Nantucket. We waited for about an hour before they told us to board. The plane is a 7 passenger 1-engine turboprop. The luggage gets put in the wings and in front of the cockpit. I was sitting in the front row, right behind the pilot, and looking at the pilot working with the flight controls was interesting. The small plane and the fog made me nervous, even though I knew it was probably as safe as any other flight. The flying was a short 30 minutes. Upon landing, the plane was in the fog the whole time except the last 10 seconds before touchdown. Both Jenn and I were amazed by the pilot's skills without much of the modern electronics to guide the plane.

We took a taxi from the Nantucket airport to our next bed and breakfast: Union Inn. On Nantucket the only town is the Nantucket town, so it is simply "the Town". Union Inn is located in the town and the town itself is very walkable. The innkeeper was very friendly and welcoming; he told us what we could do for the two days we are on the island. The Inn looked like an old house with large wooden planks for the floor that made it uneven, and our room was on the second floor with a detached bathroom. They made the bathroom look very modern with glass door shower and large mirror on the walls.

One of the things the innkeeper told us about was fishing trip. There are boats that take people out to sea for a 3 hour fishing trip, and that sounded like fun, so we went. They are called Just Do It Too. Apparently there is another one called Just Do It on the shore of Cape Cod somewhere. We went out to sea at 4pm. On the way, we saw a colony of sea lions on the beach. They watched us as we passed by, with fishing poles in the water trying to catch some blue fish. We stopped at a ship wreckage spot to fish for sea bass. It was pouring rain while we caught a few sea bass. Good thing we had our yellow Black Dog raincoats on, only the bottom half of our bodies were soaked. Jenn kept getting spider crabs but those we don't keep, so we just throw it back in. On the way back, we used yet a different pole to catch strip bass. The ones we caught were too small to keep, so we put it back to the water. After all is done, we came back with a bag of sea bass filet. The captain of the boat told us we can prepare the filet with lime juice and tomato. We went to the nearby supermarket to buy the ingredients and an ice box to keep the fish. We decided to eat the fish for dinner, so we tried marinating the fish in our room, while watching TV. After about an hour of preparation, the fish turned from a translucent color to an opaque white. We ate it with diced tomatoes, french bread, onions, and champagne. They went together nicely.

June 22, 2009

June 11th 2009, Honeymoon Day 4

After another night with calming ocean sound, we got up on Thursday morning and had breakfast again on the Balcony. That morning was slightly colder, but we still finished the breakfast looking out to the beach. We walked on the beach a bit but not many people were there. The water was too cold to go in for a swim. We took the bus to Edgartown, got our bike and continued our journey south towards the south shore. Just before reaching the beach on the south side, we saw the resort Winnetu, which is kind of out in the middle of nowhere but has nice access the the vast shoreline and beach on the south side of the island. We stopped the bike and went lie down on the beach for a while, just relaxing. It was a perfect day to bike. Afterwards we took a different way back towards Vineyard Haven, which is another town slightly north of Oak Bluffs. This bike path passes by the airport. On the way we eat a lobster roll in a diner next to an airfield that usually takes people on a biplane ride for sightseeing. That day they were not open probably due to weather. We kept going on the bike for a while until we got to Vineyard haven. The different towns looked quite similar, I thought. We walked around town, ate an ice cream sundae, and then biked back to Oak Bluffs to return the bike 5 minutes before 6 pm, which was the due time. The rental people already went home, but we called them to say that we did not return the bike late. For dinner, we had a fisherman's platter (fried seafood) and jumbo shrimp at a restaurant called Nancy's. The restaurant was on the harbor and had a view of the boats and water. Service was good and food was good.

We went back the the beach house to rest and plan for the next day, because we didn't know where we are going next. We decided to take the airplane to Nantucket because there was no direct ferry to the island. We also found a bed and breakfast there for Friday night which was reasonablely priced. After packing we went to bed early because we had to wake up early in the morning.

June 10th 2009, Honeymoon Day 3

In the morning, I got up and got breakfast from the dining area down stairs and brought it to our room to eat on the balcony while looking out to the beach. I thought that would be a nice thing to do to have our private breakfast together. The meal included orange juice, muffins, bagel with cream cheese, cheerios with milk, and waffle with syrup. It's not as fancy but we had enough food.

We took a nap before heading out of the inn. We walked to the town center of Oak Bluffs and checked out the several bike rental places to see what they offer. We decided to rent from King Rentals mostly because they are cheaper and the bike looked newer. We got the tandem bike which was bright red and looked like brand new. They gave us a chain and lock and off we went. Jenn was sitting in the back and she couldn't see where we were going because my back was blocking her view. It was scary for her in the beginning, but she got used to it after a while. We biked to Edgartown, which was another harbor town south of Oak Bluffs. It has more sail boats parked in the harbor and it has more small local shops for gifts and clothing. It was around 5 pm when we got there and we didn't want to ride the bike back thinking it will get dark soon after we have dinner in Edgartown. The bus doesn't take the tandem bike because it was too long, so we decided to go back by bus but leave the bike locked by the bus station. We went for a stroll in town and looked for a restaurant to have dinner. Jenn utilized her iPhone and found Détente. This was a small restaurant that is not very easy to find. It has a bar and a dining area with about 9 tables.

It was a Wednesday and the restaurant were full by 7 pm. All of the guests were couples. One couple was cerebrating their 20 something anniversary. The overall atmosphare was upscale and the service was excellent. The food was also excellent. We got a trio tartar with beef, scallops, and tuna for appetizer, and shared a flounder dish for entree. We also ordered dry rose Champaign and finally a bread pudding for dessert. It was a nice romantic dinner.

We went back to the bus station but we had to wait some 40 mintues for the bus, so we went into a near by shop called the Black Dog, a local brand that sells casual clothing for men and women and kids. We each got a bright yellow rain coat because we know it was going to rain the next few days and we were going to ride the bike back the next day.

After we came back by bus, which was a short ride, we walked around Oak Bluffs and saw what kind of stores they had. There was an arcade place and we went in to play. We played many different machines and got those tickets to exchange for toys. We played until the arcade was closed, at 10 pm, and walked back to the Beach House.

June 9th 2009, Honeymoon Day 2

Like I wrote last time, the bed at the Melville House was very comfortable. We had a good night's sleep. Breakfast was served at 10 am by the innkeeper Stan. We had muffins, banana bread, cereal & milk, orange juice, strawberries, and scrambled eggs. Everything was fresh and tastes organic. Stan says they try to be as organic as possible, which suits our style. Stan also gave us a tour of the house, which has a couple rooms used for their massaging service called the Bradley Technique. The house has more bedrooms on the second floor, which look out across the street to see other magnificent houses that were built in the 1800's.

After we packed up our luggage, put them in the car, we drove to the ferry service to see what time they have ferry to Martha's Vineyard. The ferry leaves at 6:30 pm, so we decided to walk around downtown and visit the whaling museum, one of the main attractions in New Bedford. The Whaling museum tells the history of the town, showing its past glories as a prominent whaling port and how it gradually faded into a historic town as the industry waned. The museum closed at 5 pm, and we went to a near by Thai restaurant called Spicy Lime. We didn't have much time, so we eat super fast and brought the main dishes with us as take outs to the ferry. We drove the car to the ferry's parking lot and took the shuttle from the parking lot to the ferry dock. Everything was just in time and we could have missed it if we didn't run down the street to the car from the restaurant.

There were only 4 other people on the ferry, which could easily carry a hundred. I guess it was a Tuesday and summer hasn't officially started yet. The ride was 1 hour and mostly smooth, except when the boat is out on the sea it gets a little wavy, not enough to get us sea sick.

We got to Martha's Vineyard, in the town of Oak Bluffs, and it was very cloudy and windy, and cold. I know our next lodging, the Isabelle's Beach House, is on the beach and should be a short walk from the ferry. We found the house in no time and checked in. After we recollect ourselves we went downstairs to microwave the Thai food and watched HG channel on the TV while enjoying the Bangkok fried rice and dunken noodles. Our room is on the second floor, has a small balcony on the side of the house and has a view of the beach and ocean. At night you can hear the waves hitting the shore, which is nice. The bed is not as comfortable as the previous night; just average spring mattress.

June 21, 2009

Yay! We are married!

Please check out our website:

We will also be posting pictures from the wedding and honeymoon! Thank you to all who helped out!

June 10, 2009

June 8th 2009, Honeymoon Day 1

We drove on I-90 East towards Massachusettes, passing by many little towns along the way. Paul drove the whole way, and Jenn couldn't help but fall asleep. Paul took pictures of Jenn falling asleep; she wakes up occasionally and wonders where she was. We arrived in New Bedford, MA in the evening. The bed and breakfast place is nestled within a historic residential neighborhood. We took our luggage inside, then went out to look for dinner. Few restaurants were still open at 9, but we found Freestone Grill and dined there. We ordered salmon and scallops and fish chowder and beer. The chowder was very good. They also had live music playing in the background very loudly; we couldn't really hear each other, plus Jenn had a sore throat and couldn't really talk. We used gestures and noise to communicate.

The room we stayed at is called the Garden Room, at the Melville House, which was a wedding gift from a whaling merchant to his daughter in the 19th century. Herman Melville (Author of Moby Dick) once stayed there when his sister was living in the house. Our room was nicely decorated and everything was organic, including the bedding, pillow, towels, and soap (Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap). The foam bed was very comfortable.

May 11, 2009

Favorite Bridal Hairstyles

The Half Up-Do
From, see full article on this half up-do here.

Customize your own half up-do from these fabulous accessories:

ivory hair clipHandcrafted hair clip

Elegant and Simple Up-Do

Love the elegant simplicity. Try these clips to create your own look:

May 6, 2009

30 days to go!

In Progress:
Send email form invitations for ceremony only guests
Make programs
Put together lavender baggies for favors
Order 4x6 prints and insert into photo album favors for reception guests
Get or make gift card box - Thanks Maggie!
Choose playlist for reception music
Make flow and responsibility list for Friday-Saturday
Plan games for reception

Not Started: 

Finalize ceremony procedures
Plan seating chart
Print out names for photo albums and insert
Finalize father-daughter dance song 
Buy gift for Jenn
Pick out Bible verses
Make slide show

Design and make centerpieces
Decide on decorations for church and reception hall, how to incorporate Chinese traditions
Assemble and send invitations
Plan church reception food and drinks
Buy gifts for groomsmen
Buy unity candle
Get ring boy and attire and accessories
Buy gifts for parents
Buy gift for Paul
Make guest book from engagement pictures
Buy wedding bands
Plan girls night/day out with bridesmaids

April 20, 2009

Lavender Sachets for Favors

For cost effective and useful favors, we bought bulk lavender from Glenbrook Farm and little sheer mesh baggies ($10 for 50) . We had them in two large baskets at the entrance of the church so that guests could grab one or a few as they walked in. During the send-off, our wedding coordinator organized the guests into two rows and tossed the lavender blossoms at us as we exited the church. A bunch ended up in my hair and my dress, but it was lots of fun and smelled really nice too. Guests could also take the sachets with them and use them at home to scent their closets.

April 17, 2009


Here are some bouquets ideas I loved.

Updated Checklist

  • Get engagement pictures - round 1:  3/7/09, round 2: 4/11/09, round 3: 4/25/09
  • Make guest book from engagement pictures - in progress
  • Assemble and send invitations - in progress
  • Finalize ceremony procedures
  • Make programs
  • Get ring boy and attire and accessories
  • Get or make gift card box or bird cage
  • Reserve or design and make centerpieces
  • Decide on decorations for church and reception hall, how to incorporate Chinese traditions
  • Choose playlist for reception music
  • Buy wedding bands - in progress
  • Buy gifts for attendants, parents, and each other
  • Plan church reception food and drinks
  • Buy unity candle
  • Pick out Bible verses
  • Make slide show
  • Plan games for wedding
  • DONE: Book hair and makeup 
  • DONE: Buy/make veil and tiara
  • DONE: Decide on location for getting ready, Stockade Inn
  • DONE: Buy dress for first dance and reception
  • DONE: Buy ballroom dance shoes
  • DONE: Get flower girl and attire and accessories
  • DONE: Buy QiPao
  • DONE: Choose song for first dance, start rehearsing - At Last, Etta James
  • DONE: Create website - Thanks Paul!
  • DONE: Identify ceremony coordinator - Angela Ledke, Joy Chen, Nuo 
  • DONE: Book Florist
  • DONE: Book videographer
  • DONE: Make or get favors 
  • DONE: Get marriage License

April 15, 2009

Tree Favors

The thought that our guests would plant a tree after they go home from our wedding was inspiring. Not only would we make an impact on reducing greenhouse gases, as the tree grows, our guests would also remember our special day. We didn't end up using this favor for a few reasons: 1. We had guests from abroad and wasn't sure if they would be allowed to bring botanicals home. 2. Lastly, what if they lived in an apartment, then the tree would go to waste?

I still love the idea though, maybe for a future baby shower when all guests will be local and have houses. These are only $1.99 each when ordering 100 or more.

April 13, 2009

Bulk Flowers for Center Pieces

Ordering bulk flowers is the way to go if you want to save money on center pieces. We had our wedding coordinator arrange the Calla lily center pieces while we and the guests were at the ceremony. They came out beautiful and no one could tell that they were not ordered from a florist.

Here are a few great sites for getting Calla lilies and other flowers bulk.

Peach colored Callas from, plus free shipping on all orders.

Standard White Calla Lilies, 35 inches long from Fifty Flowers

If I was more brave, I would get bulk flowers and make our own bouquets, but I didn't want the added stress and I'm really not that crafty. I'm glad we could at least same some money with bulk flowers for center pieces, thanks to our talented wedding coordinator's flower arrangement skills!

February 28, 2009

Bridal Beauty

Bridal beauty tips from

Shoes $99.95 free shipping

Wedding Favors

Custom Labels from

Green wedding favors, personalized seed packets, bulbs, tree seedlings

Cherry blossom fans also from Beau-Coup

Engagement Guest Book

We were fortunate to have terrific photographer friends who took our engagement pictures around the Capital Region. We designed and oryered our book from which offers free book creation software. The hardcover book was beautiful and professionally made and the software is also easy to use. You can also use code (NEWBLURB) for 20% off your entire order.

Some other options for engagment guest books:

Apple Photobook, $29.95 for hardcover book, have to buy the iPhoto software first

Shutterfly leather $39.95, suede or cloth $29.95


February 11, 2009

Remaining Items to do

  • Book Florist - in progress
  • Book hair and makeup - in progress
  • Buy/make veil and tiara
  • Decide on location for getting ready - need to know from hair/makeup
  • Get engagement pictures - round 1 tentatively 3/7/09
  • Make guest book from engagement pictures
  • Assemble and send invitations - in progress
  • Finalize ceremony procedures
  • Make programs
  • Get flower girl and attire and accessories
  • Get ring boy and attire and accessories
  • Get or make gift card box or bird cage
  • Book videographer
  • Make or get favors -
  • Reserve or design and make centerpieces
  • Create website - Paul in progress
  • Identify ceremony coordinator - Joy Chen, Nuo Sheng
  • Decide on decorations for church and reception hall, how to incorporate Chinese traditions
  • Buy QiPao
  • Choose song for first dance, start rehearsing - At Last, Etta James
  • Choose playlist for reception music
  • Buy dress for first dance and reception
  • Buy ballroom dance shoes
  • Have engagement party
  • Buy wedding bands
  • Get marriage certificate
  • Buy gifts for attendants, parents, and each other
  • Send Corey list of vendors for church reception


We've signed the contract with our photographer! They are a husband and wife team, located in Clifton Park, NY. Check out their website: Imagine Portrait Studio.

We chose them because they were fun to talk to which helped us relax.

We also finalized the invitations. We'll keep them a surprise for now, but thanks to Grace and Maggie for making bows!

February 4, 2009

Calendar of Events

To keep track of what we are up to, visit our Google calendar called "PCJZ wedding planning". If you don't have access, please let us know and we will add you!


February 3, 2009


Invitation Wording

Here are a few wording choices for our wedding invitation, including the one we picked: 

Choice 1:
Together with their parents

Jennifer Zhao
Paul Chen
request the honour of your presence
at their marriage
on Saturday, the sixth of June
Two thousand and nine
at three o'clock in the afternoon
First Reformed Church
8 North Church Street
Schenectady, New York

Choice 2:
How beautiful is the day
that is touched by love...
Together with our parents, we
Jennifer Zhao
Paul Chen
invite you to share with us a
celebration of our love
The ceremony will be held at
three o'clock in the afternoon
 Saturday, the sixth of June
Two thousand and nine
at three o'clock in the afternoon
First Reformed Church
8 North Church Street
Schenectady, New York

Choice 3:
Some things are meant to be..
The honor of your presence
is requested as
Jennifer Zhao
Paul Chen
are joined in marriage
Saturday, June sixth 
two thousand and nine
at three o'clock in the afternoon at
First Reformed Church
8 North Church Street
Schenectady, New York

Choice 4:
With joyful hearts
we request your presence
at the ceremony uniting
Jennifer Zhao
Paul Chen
on Saturday, the sixth of June
Two thousand and nine
at three o'clock in the afternoon
First Reformed Church
8 North Church Street
Schenectady, New York

(Picked) Choice 5:

God has led two lives
to take one path
Jennifer Zhao
Paul Chen
together with their families
invite you to share in the joy
of their marriage
on Saturday, the sixth of June
Two thousand and nine
at three o'clock in the afternoon
First Reformed Church
8 North Church Street
Schenectady, New York

Chinese Touch

More Chinese wedding items at China Bridal

Invitation wording in Chinese


()________()_________ ________________行結婚典禮並於是日下午_______時假座_____________________________酒樓敬備喜筵







January 21, 2009

Bridesmaids dresses

J Crew Sydney in Tea Rose

Except in stores, cost was $128 + tax
This version has pockets and has slightly thinner material.

Bridal Shows

Sun, Jan 25, 2009 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM at: Vapor Night Club at Saratoga Gaming & Raceway - 342 Jefferson St., Saratoga, NY 12866

Sun Jan 25, 2009 11-3pm Hall of Springs Saratoga Springs, NY
Cost: $5

Invitation Inspirations

Dandelion DreamForget me not weddingSome more ideas from Erickson Designs

Make my own invitations

Know-how on how to make invitations and cards

Website that sells papers for scrap-booking

Wedding paper divas

Green wedding DIY

Date and Location Set!

Date: June 6th, 2009
Ceremony: ~3pm
Church Reception: ~4pm
Location: First Reformed Church
8 North Church Street
Schenectady, NY 12305

Dinner Reception: 5-10pm
Location: The Stockade Inn
1 North Church Street
Schenectady, NY 12305

January 4, 2009

Likely wedding venue candidate

The First Reformed Church of Schenectady for ceremony - 518 377 2201
$1000 for facility rental. Can do reception for extra cost. Can throw birdseed on the way out.

The Stockade Inn for reception

Renaissance package (most basic)
  • 5 Hr open bar w/ call brand liquors, house wines, & imported beer
  • 1 Hr cold hors d'oeuvres
  • Butler passed hors d'oeuvres
  • Champaign toast
  • Salad
  • Entree 3 choices
  • Ivory chair covers and floor length linen
  • $88.84 per person

Saturday Brunch
  • 5 Hr open bar
  • 1 Hr cold hors d'oeuvres
  • Champaign toast
  • Salad, Pasta, Meat, Potatos and Veggies buffet
  • 11 to 4 pm
  • $67.25 per person

Open bar means:

  • Coors Light, Michelob Ultra, Sam Adams, Heineken, Amstel Light (choose 3)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio & White Zinfandel
  • Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Sierra Mist, Ginger Ale, Club Soda & Tonic
  • House Vodka, Gin, Rum, Tequila, Triple Sec, Bourbon, Scotch, Whiskey, Absolute Vodka, Dewars Scotch, Bacaradi Rum, Captain Morgan Rum, Tangueray Gin, Jack Daniels, Seagrams 7, Kahlua, Amaretto, Johnnie Walker Red, Vermouths

Top Shelf open bar means:

  • All 5 beers
  • all of above plus Grey Goose Vodka, Ketel One Vodka, Stoli Orange Vodka, Stoli Raz, Beefeater Gin, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Canadian Club, Johnnie Walker Black, Dewars Scotch, Makers Mark, Cointreau, DiSaronno Amaretto
  • $7 per person to upgrade

Cake provided from Villa Italia included. We need to visit Villa Italia for consultation ($30 fee for tastings 518 355 1144)

Possibly block out rooms for the guests at the Inn for $119 for 1 king bed and $139 for 2 queen beds.

Near by hotels:
Parker Inn - 0.5 mi, 9 min walk
Hampton Inn - 0.5 mi, 10 min walk
Holiday Inn - 0.8 mi, 15 min walk
Days Inn - 0.8 mi, 15 min walk
Econo Lodge - 0.9 mi, 15 min walk

wedding gown alteration

Amore Clothing - downtown Albany 123 State St. (some good reviews)
Appt made for Sat. Jan 24th at 1pm

Hong Kong Custom Tailors - 1531 Central Ave.

Futia's Formal Wear and Custom Tailors - 251 Central Ave.

Angela's Bridal - 1811 Western Ave. Westmere Plaza (it's got some pretty bad reviews)

Caruso's Custom Clothier - 1823 Western Ave. Westmere Plaza

Khymanyo Studio - 265 Broad St. Schuylerville and 6 Franklin square Saratoga Springs

January 2, 2009

Hair salon


Rumors - 595 New Loudon Rd, $100 and up for bride

JCPenny - Latham Circle Mall, Crossgates Mall, Clifton Park Center

Salon Vatora - 211 Old Loudon Rd, $55 and up

SuperCuts - 231 Wade Rd Ext Ste 104, Mohawk Commons

Namia Dasa Hair Salon - 960 Rt 7

Changes Salson - Rt. 9, 3 miles north of Latham Circle. $75 for bridal styling. There is a bridal suite, wow.

Valerie Hair Studio 751 - 751 Rt. 7. $45 and up.


Studio Orlo - 1475 Balltown Rd.

Ecco Salon - 133 Wall St. Schenectady. $70 and up.

Hair Razors - 1728 Union St. Schenectady. $65 and up.

Other cities:

Shelley Salon and Day Spa - 2 Greenbush Ave. East Greenbush, has thermal ionic straightening. They do nails and facial. Bridal updo $75.

Platinum Hair & Nail Studio - Town Center Plaza in Halfmoon.

Jean Paul - Stuyvesant Plaza, bridal updo starting at $95.

A&Co Salon - 1321 Central Ave. need to call for consultation.

Studio I Hair Designers - 3 Forrest Dr. East Greenbush. $65 and up.

Bellezza - 137 Vly Rd Colonie and 46 Fuller Rd Albany. $70 and up.

Spa Li Ve - 1800 Western Ave. Guilderland. $55 and up.

Poiema Salon & Spa - 2093 Western Ave. Guilderland.

Hair Petals Plus - 113 5th Ave. Troy. They do hair nails silk flowers and wedding planning.

Other things:

Skindeep - facials, hair removal, on-site off-site make up application, etc.

Aesthetic Science Institute - for $8,100 and 600 hours of education you can become a beauty and skin care expert and pass the NYS Board Exam for a license.

Tux rental shops

Tuxego - Peter Harris Plaza - going for wedding consultation on Thursday 8th 7:30 pm

Tux Connection - 681 New Loudon Rd next to Meat Market

Men's Wearhouse - 18 Wolf Road

Futias Formal Wear and Custom Tailors - 251 Central Ave., Italian immagrant tailor

Mark Thomas Men's Apparel - Wolf Road Park, not sure if they do rentals

The Waldorf Tuxedo - Lark and Lancaster st. More expensive, "oldest shop in town"

Ferri Formals and Bridals - 1608 Union st. Schenectady

Choppa & Son Formal Wear - 1020 Central Ave.

Hong Kong Custom Tailors - 1531 Central Ave.

The Tuxedo consists of shirt, tie, cufflinks, vest, jacket, trouser, and shoes.

Tuxedo rentals appear to run from $50-$130
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