Our Wedding Chronicles: A Frustrating Question

Wedding invitations typically include attire guidelines. Couples decide attire based on a few different things, from the vibe of the party, to the theme or motif of the wedding, or the style of the venue. The invitations, coupled with the attire guidelines, are meant to help guests figure out what to wear to the wedding. If a guest is a well-experienced event attendee, they might even pick up on the colors of the wedding from the invitation (given that the invitations are cohesive with the overall wedding style). When an invitation arrives that is clearly 1-3 colors, you can probably guess that these are the colors that the bridal party will be wearing–avoid wearing these! It will be awkward. You will look like you did not get the memo, like you semi-belong in the bridal party but did not coordinate with everyone else, or like you are trying to upstage the wedding.

My wedding invitations state “Attire: Black Tie.”

I have received numerous inquiries about what “Black Tie” means, if I really mean “Black Tie,” or if “___ or ___ is okay instead?”


We are in the 21st century, people! You can easily search what “Black Tie” means on the internet. Also, if I didn’t mean it, why would I have it foil-printed on heavy paper invitations that I spent hundreds on? Yes, I mean it! Folks then like to ask if certain other types of attire are acceptable. But I cannot imagine that anybody I invited does not own a nice, formal suit. My dad even said his friends were asking if they really have to wear a tuxedo or what kind of suit to wear to a “Black Tie” wedding. You know what he said? He told them just to wear a tie! Again, WHAT?!

There is a line below the stated attire that details what the Marines should be wearing [Marines: Blue - White Dress "B"]. Even if you are not familiar with military uniforms, it’s clear that this is a formal, military wedding in which you can expect Marines to be dressed to the nines. Why would you come dressed in anything less than your best? Come on, y’all. How often do you get the chance to clean up nicely? You will be photographed with me in a fancy dress (yes, it’s fucking fancy) and my husband in his Dress Blues and a bunch of other awesomely dressed people. In a ballroom. A replica of the White House ballroom, to be exact. It’ll be great. I hope these people dress up. I swear, this is not asking very much.

//end rant

Weird Habits

Do you have any habits that just don’t make sense?

When I’m driving in an unfamiliar area, I usually take off my sunglasses as I get closer to the destination. This is not weird–it makes me feel like I’m seeing in HD so I don’t miss the location.

But also, when I’m driving in an unfamiliar area, I turn the music down as I get closer to the destination. Usually right when I exit the freeway. You know, so I can see better. And if there are passengers in the car? You best believe they need to lower their voices. Shut up–I can’t see when you’re being so loud!

sunglasses on = I know where I'm going

Sunglasses on = I know where I’m going

Let the Birthdays Roll

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In the restroom at Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen

This weekend, I celebrated 24 years of life. With all the wedding madness, it was too much to plan anything big. I take a lot of opportunities to celebrate life daily (or at least weekly) so I didn’t see a need for a party or organized effort. I’m also doing the OC Heart Walk this weekend, which I am really excited about.

I spent the weekend in San Diego because of a work event. Rob came down with me on Friday and we had a bomb dinner at The Lion’s Share. I started drinking on an empty stomach so there was absolutely no time for food pics when dinner came out! After some starter salads, we opted for a few shared plates–beef wagyu satay, antelope sliders, and yellowtail tartare. All amazing! Had a couple of Jameson/ginger beers as well.

After dinner we met up with another friend TJ and his sister, who were also celebrating their birthdays in SD. They had a little pre-party and then got bottle service at Bar West in Pacific Beach. Rob and I didn’t stay too long, but it was nice to see them.

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I worked 9-5 on Saturday (my actual birthday), which wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened. Kimi and Alex were super awesome and trekked to SD in the rain to party with lil ol’ me. After some drinks at the hotel bar, we got ready for dinner and headed over to Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen in Hillcrest. Again, BOMB. I had some pork belly and short ribs with celery puree. OMG. We walked across the street to a bar called Harvey Milk’s and had some birthday cake shots with dessert. We met some fun folks there and got our partying fix in for the night. [I swear I'm not getting old.]

After dinner and drinks, I just wanted to chill! So I ordered Lone Survivor in the hotel room for $18 -_- It was worth it! Super intense, graphic, and devastating in so many ways. I would say that we did a lot for my birthday! And I’m happy with how it turned out–had a ton of fun. Kimi and Alex are seriously the best for making that trip.

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I rounded out the humble festivities with my parents and dinner at home. Gotta thank them for these past 24 years. It was a nice change of pace not to do anything big this year. Maybe next year I’ll use my quarter-century celebration as an excuse to get crazy again.

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Yes, we get our birthday every year. But if you’re not constantly celebrating life, then by all means, use it an excuse to have an extravagant birthday party. Bring folks together who you don’t regularly see, but love nonetheless. Do what you want on your birthday! Life is beautiful and to see another year is even better. Thank you to everyone who has shared this 24-year journey with me. I’m looking forward to more adventures and life-long learning.

Made by my cousin, Kelsay!

Made by my cousin, Kelsay!

Impulsive Buyer Probs

I’m still learning how to manage my money. Such is a key woe in the life of a twentysomething. Sometimes I look for bargains on a few goods I need or enjoy… for the past couple of weeks, that’s been lipsticks. I used to buy candy all the time–if it was being sold where I was, you better believe I bought some. I didn’t wanna stay on the road to Diabetes Central, though. Anyway, these small purchases do add up. But after these latest ventures, I think I’m through buying these for a while. Long story short, splurge a little on yourself… it’s okay as long as the purchases are something you will consistently use!

I’ve had full lips all my life. Au naturel, baby! In my years of learning to apply make-up (which are still occurring), I always shied away from lip color because I thought I would look like a clown. But recently, I decided to own it!

This morning, I left my apartment with these in my purse. Depending on the day, this might be 4 too many lipsticks.

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I eventually found myself at Target picking up some last-minute travel necessities. Then I remembered I’ve been meaning to find some lip primer. I usually like to stand in the aisles and research some products on my phone. But I was short on time, hungry, and had to pee so today was not the day to find the best lip primer bang for my buck. After quickly scouring lipstick sections, I found a single lip primer for sale.

NP Set Lip Primer, $14

NP Set Lip Primer, $14

I normally put on chapstick before lipstick or gloss, but my lips get dry quickly, giving my lip color a cracked, uneven look. When I got home, I spread some of this new lip primer on (without any chapstick) and then applied some of the dark lipstick I recently bought (NYX Butter Lipstick in Licorice color). Hours–and some snacks!–later, the dark lipstick is holding steady! I’m pretty excited about this, as I have a weekend full of adventures and new lip colors coming up.

After I settled in for the night, PJs and DVR on lock, I got to showing my mom my purse full of goodies. Realizing it was only 8pm, we moseyed on over to CVS for some more lip awesomeness. I had decided on 4 colors, but Mom picked out 2 more for me. “They’re so cheap, who cares if you don’t like them?”

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I’m certainly hoping these drugstore buys don’t have too many harmful chemicals in them! But I do plan on adding some higher end pieces one I find the shades that really suit me. Refinery 29 provided a great place to start–definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for some killer lipsticks.

Sure, I am getting out of control buying all these… Okay, yeah, it’s getting out of control. But my birthday is coming up and I think I will be satisfied with 10+ color choices for a while. Also, I’m about to paint my nails, which means I’m not spending money at the nail salon.

Thank you for sitting through this rant of vanity. Now go out there and buy some lipsticks! Or whatever relatively cheap products give you fleeting happiness. Happy weekend, all!

Finding Great Dives: No Malice Palace – NYC

I’m not much for crowds so if I’m spending a night out in a packed bar, it WILL be worth it. I rarely find bars with good music (read: non-EDM) and decently priced drink nowadays. The best way to do so is to ask people who enjoy the same types of spots.

On my most recent work trip to NYC (one of my favorite places ever), my friend introduced me to No Malice Palace and here I am writing an entire post about it. Some of my other friends swore by this place, claiming they would be dancing non-stop.

So Matt brought me here after dinner on a Friday night. Got there about 11:30pm and met up with Gwen, who will be gracing my wedding with her beautiful voice. My friends were right—it was tough to catch up over the amazing(ly ratchet) music! The DJ kept spinning song after song after song that was just hitting too hard.

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Naturally I went back the next night with my big sis. We arrived to a completely empty bar at 9:30pm, which was actually nice because we had time to talk. But even the background hip hop was on point! By 11pm, the place was packed and we had to hit the dance floor for a few songs before leaving. I love this place because the crowd is just full of good vibes and people are not extra forward… just extra fun!

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It can be easy to miss because there is just a small neon sign hanging outside that says “NMP” in red. But don’t miss it. Seriously. EVERY SONG.

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It’s my birthday, are you down?

For my birthday, I’ve decided to participate in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk alongside The Angry Philanthropist. Instead of organizing a bar gathering or a Filipino party, I wanted to give my birthday to something bigger for once. [The added benefits included saving money and consuming far less calories.] Join our team or donate here: Donnaly’s Fundraising Page.

It’s been a while since I’ve volunteered my time. In high school, I was involved in a couple of clubs and completed a couple hundred hours of community service. It was nice to give to worthy causes and those less fortunate, but of course this was in my limited worldview and from a point of unrecognized privilege. In college, I volunteered a few hours… mostly to maintain my scholarships and fulfill class requirements.

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed the differences with volunteer work, charity work, philanthropy and the organizations that exist for these purposes. I have also been exposed to the need for structural and policy changes so that communities who need extra assistance don’t keep slipping through the cracks. The underlying principles at work here evade my feeble mind, but it’s so great have friends all throughout the spectrum making this world a better place. They also don’t mind helping me understand all this madness.

I personally like volunteering when possible, as long as I believe in the cause or event. Sure, I’m not a sustainable part of the system and I’m not fixing much in the bigger picture. But every little bit counts somehow, some way to somebody.

I’m really excited to do the Heart Walk to further the efforts of heart disease research and help spread life-saving information. It’s also nice that it’s a walk! Definitely an easy way to promote a healthier lifestyle. I feel connected to this cause because heart disease is the leading cause of death for Filipino-Americans over 65. That’s crazy! And so unnecessary. I hope you’ll take a second to check out my personalized page and make a donation or even join our team! The more, the merrier :) Every little bit helps.

It would be so awesome for your to help make my birthday bigger than myself. Thank you in advance for your generous support!