Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.

The saying,“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue,” comes from an old English rhyme and was a part of every wedding related rom-com movie I watched during my childhood. I still remember the Friends episode when Monica and Chandler decide to get married in Las Vegas and they doubled up a blue sweatshirt from the hotel gift shop as her “Something Borrowed” & “Something Blue.” #efficient

Growing up as a Korean American, this was one aspect of Western weddings that I found so sweet & personal for the bride. I always dreamed about the moment when I myself would be able to pick these four lucky items for my own wedding day. From popular culture influences to sentimental items from my friends, each charm holds a special place in my heart.

Something Old: Perfume

This Chanel Chance Eu Tendre is my signature adulthood scent. It was the first perfume I purchased when I moved to NYC, embarking on this new chapter of my life. It signifies a constant in my getting ready routine & reminds me of how grateful I am for the past 4 years. It was comforting to have this familiar scent with me as we opened another new chapter of our lives.

Something New: Wedding Shoes

You could argue that everything from my wedding dress to my wedding ring was “something new,” but the shoes were a different level of iconic. Cue Sex & the City music - I’m a sucker for all things Carrie Bradshaw and had always fantasized about wearing Manolos on my wedding day. Even before I was engaged, I started saving up for a pair of the blue Manolo Blahnik Hangisi pumps. When the day came to commit to the purchase, I had second thoughts. I’m a big dancer and had a multiple pieces of choreography during our wedding, so I opted for the much more comfortable open back/slip-on Lurum in silver. They were the quintessential pair to pay homage to Carrie while fitting in with our needs & aesthetic.

Something Borrowed: Jeweled Belt, Floral Hair Comb

Two of my amazing friends, who are already married, let me borrow their wedding belt & hair comb for my wedding ensemble. The beautiful pieces completely elevated my look and it felt doubly special that my friends were so intimately part of the process. Besides these items, we borrowed a lot of time & energy from our friends and family and it was a humbling reminder of the love & support surrounding us on the big day. Similar belt options from BHLDN & hair piece from Jennifer Behr. Thank you M & S! <3

Something Blue: Bridesmaids’ Bracelets

I considered everything from a garter, a ribbon on my bouquet, to even something as obscure as my pedicure color as my Something Blue. When I thought more about the significance of Something Blue - “love, purity and fidelity…to ward off wicked spirits” - I realized that my bridesmaids were my safe haven, my rocks, my loyal ride-or-dies and it would be perfect to make them my Something Blues. For their wedding gift, I got these Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti bracelets. We all wore them on the day of and I know that I can forever call them my Something Blue.

Did you have these four items on your wedding day or are you planning them now? Hope this gave you some ideas and inspiration!
Love, MH

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Something old

Perfume

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SOmething NEW

Wedding Shoes

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Something borrowed

Jeweled Belt

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Something borrowed

Floral Hair Comb

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Something Blue

Bridesmaids’ Bracelet

TIPS & TRICKS: Mismatched Bridesmaids Dresses

Congrats!! You’re engaged! If you’re just as excited about your bridesmaids’ dresses as you are with your own wedding dress, you’ve come to the right place. Time to get down to bridesmaids business. Because I’m a crazy person, I personally picked each dress for my 8 bridesmaids based on their own styles. However, it took me a good two months to decide which dresses would make the final cut. Here’s what I wish I knew before I went down the bridesmaids dress rabbit hole.

Don’t be overwhelmed. Keep it simple. There’s only three things to consider: Style, Color, & Fabric.

STYLE:
We’re going for mismatched dresses here but you do have options in hemline & necklines. You can also have half your bridesmaids in one style & half in another style, all girls in different styles, or even just dress your Maid of Honor to stand out.

Our wedding was a black tie event so all my girls wore long gowns, and I chose as many different necklines as possible, all silhouettes with no sleeves: strapless, sweetheart, tank, halter, v-neck, faux wrap, & a one shoulder.

COLOR:
Do you want your girls in the same color, a similar color story, or all different colors? Your color decision will impact the types of Fabrics you should look for in the dresses.

My vision was a blush color family with gold accents. I wanted my sister (Maid of Honor) to stand out in an all gold piece and also wanted Jon’s sister (future, now current, sister-in-law) to have a shimmer as well.

FABRIC:
Do you want bridesmaids dresses in the same, similar or all different materials? Remember, different fabrics take color differently.

If you’re looking for the same exact color on everyone, stick to one material. If you’re looking for color variation, it’s okay to diversify. Ideally, try to see all the dresses in person at the same time, so you can see how they will look together on the big day. Knowing I wanted different shades of blush, and given that our wedding was in the middle of the summer, I opted for light & airy fabrics. To add dimension, I was purposeful about choosing tonal prints, hints of shine and a lace dress.

5 SHOPPING TIPS:

  1. When shopping online, filter the dresses by multiple color options in one search to see what styles are out there (ex. Pinks, Nudes, & Metallics). Your initial vision might have been to stick to one color but you may find that there are nice variations & color combinations out there that you never considered.

  2. Create a visual collage of the dress contenders as you go. Make sure it looks cohesive on the screen before you order them. Also, make sure your girls can try on the dresses within the return policy window.

  3. Best time to shop is during new season launches or holidays - Black Friday, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. There are always coupon codes or crazy sales, need I say more?

  4. Traditional retailers are great but don’t hold back from a Google search if you can’t find the exact color/size you need. One of our dresses was sold out in the size we needed & I actually found it on Amazon!

  5. Research, Research, or Delegate Research. Keep your eye on a few favorite dresses. Take time to make showroom appointments with your friends, watch for sales or new styles. You might change your mind over time and you don’t want to be locked in too early.
    Recommended Retailers: BHLDN, Bloomingdale’s, David’s Bridal, Jenny Yoo, Lord & Taylor, Lulus, Nordstrom, Revolve, Shopbop, TJMaxx

Left to Right: Jenny Yoo, Adrianna Papell, Monique Lhuillier, Oleg Cassini, Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang, Jenny Yoo, White by Vera Wang

Although the process was tedious, it brought me so much joy to see how beautiful my bridesmaids looked altogether. Seeing my friends from different walks of life come together as a new mismatched family made our wedding day that much more special.

Are you contemplating a color palette? Are you hunting for the best dress deal? Email me and I would love to help! Always looking to vicariously wedding plan. ;)

Love, MH

Photography: Sally Pinera // @sallypineraphoto

Jeju in 48 hours

Jeju is a short flight from Seoul and a popular vacation destination for couples. Since my parents went to Jeju-do for their honeymoon, Jon & I thought it would be meaningful to go to Jeju to celebrate our engagement. While the main event of our Jeju trip was our engagement photos, with a personal tour guide & ambitious itinerary, we were able to check off some major Jeju bucket list items.

Manjanggul Cave - 만장굴

Underground lava tubes! *Insert flashbacks to middle school Earth Science - Stalagmites! Stalactites! Sedimentary Rocks?* Strict covered shoes policy that we somehow evaded. Last call for tours is 1 hour before closing.
Pro-tip: Bring a poncho or a hat because rain water drips unexpectedly down there.

Osulloc Tea Museum & Innisfree Cafe - 오설록티뮤지엄 & 이니스프리 그린카페

The one westside spot we visited, Osulluc Tea Museum & Innisfree Cafe is a two-in-one stop. Run through Osulluc’s green tea fields for that epic instagram photo and enjoy green tea sweets at the cafe. The Innisfree Cafe offers brightly colored tea and snacks, along with a beauty shop with Jeju exclusive skincare products. Great place to start your morning.

Cheonjeyeon Falls - 천제연폭포

There are two entrances to the park that lead to the foot of the waterfall. If your mission is to get to the foot of the waterfall quickly, use the east entrance ~10 min walk. Experience a different vantage point of the waterfall from the west entrance, and a beautiful bridge (Seon Imgyo - 선임교) you have to cross to get to the base of the waterfall. Spot the signage indicating that “you can be died.”

Seongeup Folk Village - 성읍민속마을

We were lucky that our tour guide drove us through this Folk Village on our way from the west to east coast of the island! We only got to admire the beautiful traditional buildings from the car and wish we got more time to explore, eat & shop in this area.

Seongsan Ilchulbong - 성산 일출봉

Iconic crater you can hike. Difficulty level: easy-moderate. I only say moderate because at one point my mom almost gave up and we had to convince her to keep going. Uphill route is mountain steps and downhill route is wooden steps. I would assume the views from the top are beautiful but we unfortunately had foggy and drizzly weather! Regardless, it was great to breathe the mountain air and eat yummy treats.
Pro-tip: Food is not allowed on the hike - plan time to eat before or after the hike so you’re not forced to eat all your food at the entrance like us.

If you want to cover everything we did and thoroughly enjoy it in 2 days, I suggest you plan your itinerary with some extra travel time. Jeju island is covered with hundreds of “Oreum” (오름) - essentially defunct volcanos that are like hills. Although this makes for scenic routes, it also means limited roadways from coast to coast, which equals lots of travel time. We left the island wishing we had more time to explore but saw enough to catch the Jeju-bug & want to come back to visit again!

Love, MH

5 Things I Learned from our Engagement Photoshoot in Korea

This past April, Jon and I had the pleasure of having a faux-wedding in Korea with all my relatives. We took some time that week to jet over to Jeju Island to eat yummy seafood and work with Jeju Luce Studio on what we in the states would call "Engagement Photos." We survived a grueling 5 hours of indoor and outdoor photography time with our sisters by our side to iPhone document every moment.  Looking back at these photos now, I would do it all over again (not sure Jon would say the same...) Below are 5 tips for any couples planning a photoshoot in Korea!

1. Plan your outfits with purpose.

          In Korea, most studios offer outfit rentals - specifically, wedding dress & suit rentals. Because these studios produce the "pre-wedding"/unofficial wedding album shots for couples, the available outfit selections were a bit too extreme for me. I wasn't planning on wearing a wedding dress that wasn't my own in any photos or memorabilia. That being said, I was very clear with the studio which outfit concepts we had planned to shoot: 1) Casual Couple Look,  2) Formalwear, 3) Casual Hanbok, 4) Summer Chic. These outfits were chosen with specific settings in mind as we had contracted to shoot in the beautiful outdoors of Jeju Island. However, when we ran into the problem of torrential downpour during our shoot day, we were able to work with the photographer to match our outfits to the indoor studio sets.

2. Practice your facial expressions & poses.

          Let's be honest, everyone has a good side and a bad side. It's even better when your partner's good side is the opposite of yours. As strange as it sounds, it helps the photoshoot flow when you have experience gazing lovingly into each other's eyes and kissing gracefully without cracking up every 5 seconds. Practice in front of a mirror - smiling with your teeth showing and then with your lips together, a stoic stare, or a mischievous expression, stand with all your weight in your back leg or find a flattering angle for you to sit down in a chair. No matter how amazing your photographer is, you will get the most out of your camera time if you're familiar with how your body and face look at different angles. 
*Short girl tip: tippy toe when you kiss your tall man & stare at his chin or upper lip, not his actual eyes to avoid an awkward, strained neck line!!*

3. Listen to your photographer.

          When you have no idea how to move, where to look, or how to stand - listen to your photographer! The person behind the camera can literally see the whole picture! They can see how you fit into the frame, how the background looks, & what props can enhance the images. We were losing the will to live in 1 hour of freezing rain, with no concept of up or down, in the middle of an abandoned forest, and still managed to get stunning shots by just listening to what our photographer wanted from us. Our photographer was a fantastic director. Even though he used basic English and 90% Korean instructions to Jon who is a Chinese American... we made it out with gorgeous shots, which means you can too!

4. It's okay to have a vision.

          If there is a specific shot you are envisioning, SPEAK UP! Good photographers are happy to help you capture your vision. Something as simple as a "walking shot" in our Hanbok (right) just felt more natural for us than the "traditional standing shot" (left). Only a slight difference but look how much happier we look! :)

5. Don't forget to DO YOU.

          At the end of the day, make sure these photos capture the essence of you guys!! Don't spend time & energy just to have fake staged photos and not a single one of your true colors on set. HAVE FUN!!

Hope these tips were useful! Let me know if you have any wedding planning questions in the comments below because I will be working on more wedding posts in the upcoming month.

Love, MH

Photography: Jeju Luce Studio // @jejuluce

Me, Myself, & Manhattan.

Born in NYC and raised in the 201, I have been a city girl all my life. There's something about the romance of the city skyline & the energy of the nonstop pace that captivates me every day. I've traveled to and lived in many cities throughout my life and I can confidently say, there's no home like NYC.

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The beauty? Every neighborhood in NY has its own pulse. Every building, its own history. The Flatiron Building and Flatiron neighborhood are no exception. The building itself is shaped like a triangular wedge or clothing iron, and is an iconic building in NYC. Not quite as famous as the Empire State Building, or as bustling as Times Square, the Flatiron neighborhood is the perfect destination for anyone looking for that local NYC charm.

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You can find families spending the afternoon in the playground at Madison Square Park, and tourists lining up for burgers and milkshakes at the original Shake Shack. I've spent countless afternoons shopping down 5th Avenue, followed by pasta & gelato in Eataly - taking a spin class at Peloton and grabbing a smoothie at Terri. Just when I think I've done it all, the neighborhood continues to evolve and offer new experiences. That's the essence of NYC.

I'm excited to redefine this blog as a space to share with you the corners of NYC & beyond as I see it.
Let's explore, share & discover together the beauty of the world around us.

Here's to a new chapter!
Love, MH

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Trench Coat: 7 For All Mankind
Tee: Madewell
Denim: Zara
Shoes: Gucci

 

Photography: Hyemi Shon // @heyms