Monday, March 29, 2010

Cake!

Four Seasons asked me to send in a picture of the cakes I liked.  I said, "I don't really care; just make it taste delicious!"  So no fondant or whatever for us.  Butter cream frosting all the way.  Also no fondant flowers.  I don't understand fondant flowers -- why not just use real ones?  So here's the cake I am going to send them as a sample:


I like this cake because it's simple, pretty, uses (I'm going to ask for) real flowers, just stick 'em on there.  Also I like the edging along the bottom -- very simple, and it recalls pikake, which will be the accent flowers for the wedding.

If we can't achieve such a smooth cake without fondant, no worries!  Bumpy cake it is.

Bouquets!

Of course the one piece missing from the puzzle is bouquets.  I've been looking at pictures, and although I initially thought that I would be most interested in something very unstructured, free-form (think: JCrew wedding promo pics), now I'm leaning more towards something simple and structured.  I initially wanted at least some kind of dangling pieces to blow in the wind, but the more I look at pictures, the less concerned I am about that piece.  I think that the orchids are so beautiful, and the big ones that I like are so structured and clean-lined, that a simple, small, structured bouquet would be best.

For overall concept, I want bright, popping colors; round shapes; very similar bridal and bridesperson bouquets, something along the lines of this:



I think that for my bouquet, I'm actually leaning towards the green-colored bouquets:

I actually like this one a lot because of the bright colors, the green with the purple centers, the round shape an carefully composition that suit the clean lines of the orchids.  I think as a larger bouquet (maybe 10-12" in diameter?) it will be magnificent.


I think the bright green color is going to be very pretty against the white of the dress, and may be the only green that shows up in the wedding pics.  Which is fine  :)

For the bridesmaids, this is a little harder because purple orchids tend to be less large and magnificent.  Perhaps therefore smaller round bouquets (6-8" diameter) of white orchids would work, especially if matched with some kind of bright greenery to tie in with mine:


Or even have just the white orchids, but get the ones with purple in the center, minus the leaves sticking out in this one (I think this is my fave choice):


I think the white flowers against the purple dresses we picked will be beautiful.

The groomspeople and groom will be wearing maile, which is great, so they may not need any boutonniere.  However, if they did, here's a cute simple one:



Mom, can you print this so Gram can see it?

Love, Lauren

Sunday, March 28, 2010

SF Ballet's THE LITTLE MERMAID

Great night day and night yesterday with our friends.

We started off by going to Universal Cafe in San Francisco with Hawk.  Food was great -- I had biscuits with gravy and a poached egg and sausage.  And mango mimosa.  Needless to say it was heavy food.  Will and Hawk played a board game (while I napped), then off to Tartine Bakery for some delicious chocolate croissant. Great!

Later in the evening, Will and I met Gina and Vishal at Jardiniere, a French restaurant right next to the Opera House.  Highlight of the meal was a "wild boar" appetizer -- apparently a wild boar had gotten into the pig pen at Jardiniere's pork supplier farm, and a while later there is a hybrid wild boar / regular pork dish at the restaurant.



Then off to the ballet.  This particular The Little Mermaid was originally created in Denmark, Hans Christian Anderson's home, and the program notes said that this story may be the most autobiographical of all of his fairy tales.  According to the notes, Hans Christian Anderson fell in love several times, with both women and men, but nothing really worked out for him.

The program notes continued to say that in this particular ballet, there is a character called the Poet, who is always present throughout the story, who has created the mermaid as a projection of his suffering and love for the Prince, who is getting married to a woman.  I had thought about The Little Mermaid as a literary piece before, mostly considering the story as an exposition on feminine sacrifice and self-violence -- there are women cutting themselves I think three times in the original story, ending in the mermaid's complete disintegration into "sea foam" because she will not kill her beloved prince.

This ballet changed my mind about how to interpret The Little Mermaid.  As a story examining feminine sacrifice, as I previously thought it was, it is rather repetitive, and does not really give an explanation for why women would be so willing to be self-destructive for their love.  As an allegory for desire, specifically homosexual desire, it makes perfect sense.  As a projection rather than a literal act, the mermaid's sacrifice becomes poetic rather than overdramatic.  This ballet made a clear division between the ethereal world of the mermaid and the absurd, class-centered world of the prince:



If the mermaid is an ethereal, not-of-this-world presence in comparison to the Ralph-Lauren-esque world of the prince and his court, then through this allegory, the Poet (HC Anderson) is stating that the love/desire of a gay man for his straight beloved is also ethereal, out of this world, too delicate and otherworldly to exist comfortably in the materialistic, class-centered world above water.  There was never a chance that the mermaid -- the Poet's love for the Prince -- could ever exist above water.  It was doomed from the start.

This production also examined the mermaid's loss of identity when she goes to the sea witch and asks to be created a human.  After she saves the prince from drowning, the little mermaid watches as he awakes to the caresses of a Catholic school girl (the Princess) in a drab gray dress.  To the little mermaid, this drab gray dress represents access to the prince.  So she takes the dress to the sea witch, and in a violent and disturbing scene where her outfit and tail are ripped from her, the little mermaid emerges naked (she had a nude leotard onstage) and with legs.

The costuming in this staging used references to cultural identity (and loss thereof) to underscore the plot point of the mermaid's loss of identity.  The mer-folks' costumes were modeled after (I think -- check the notes) Indonesian formal wear, and the drab gray dress that the mermaid wants so much is clearly European (little white collar and all).  When she trades her vibrant, jewel-toned turquoise mer-clothing for the drab gray dress, she is giving up culture and identity in order to become something that the prince would find acceptable -- even if this is drab and gray.  In her vibrant, jeweled, exotic mer-garb, there is no way they can be together; she needs to trade it in order to acclimate.

When you put Yuan Yuan Tan in that role, a SF Ballet principal dancer who I have been just DYING to see live, the ethnic aspects of this action are further emphasized.  I don't think it is a coincidence that all of the marketing documents for this ballet feature Tan.

And finally, when you take the mermaid as a metaphor for the gay experience, the storyline becomes even more tragic.  The gay Poet is essentially willing to give his body and soul, cut himself apart as the mermaid does, in order to trade his bright, vibrant, jewel-toned artistic male self for the drab gray dress that is nevertheless comfortingly conventional and entirely female.  Like the mermaid's tale, the aspects of the Poet's personality that make him beautiful and otherworldly (e.g., the personality that allows him to create these beautiful stories) also make the Prince totally inaccessible to him.  If the Poet could become a boring, conventional female, perhaps he could have access to the Prince.  In the little mermaid, he plays out this fantasy -- he gives her legs, lets her on the boat with the prince.  But even with this transformation, the mermaid is not equipped to pursue being with the Prince -- she is not the right class, can't figure out how to act to fit it, not a Princess.  She still fails.

This could have been an incredibly depressing ballet, but they did a wonderful job of closing it.  The notes say:


The little Mermaid is left alone. Her pain reflects the Poet’s own painful situation. Each seems the shadow of the other–each abandoned by the object of their intense love. They are one–creator and creation. It is the Poet’s love for his Mermaid that gives her the soul that will make her immortal, just as she, “The Little Mermaid,” will immortalize him. Courageous, they search for a new world.
This seems to me something like the terrifying stage direction, "Exit Chased by Bear" which is in Shakespeare's Cymboline.  How do you create this scene with the magnificence it deserves?  SF Ballet chose staging that would make Ed Iskander proud.  Using a black backdrop and a black stage of tiny glittering lights, they actually lifted the Mermaid and the Poet into heaven.  It was amazing.

Aside from the music, which I thought was sometimes great and sometimes strange, this was a great show.  Interesting premise, well thought out, well staged, and the first time I have seen Yuan Yuan Tan in a featured role.  I was so, so happy.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wedding and Bridesperson Dress Shopping in Los Angeles!

A great weekend in Los Angeles! Gina and I woke up early and headed to SFO. I of course arrived a little bit late after a slight misunderstanding and language barrier with the otherwise very nice driver of the parking garage van. We boarded the plane and got to LA.

Mom, Gram, and Ash picked us up in LA. We headed over towards Jenny Yoo and stopped for breakfast. I gave everyone the beautiful linens and handpainted Vienna eggs for Christmas that Ellen and I had picked up in a lovely fine linen store in Tampa. Mom also opened the pirate pin from Ellen:



Then off to Jenny Yoo. We tried on several dresses and Ashley and Gina found two that they liked. Ashley liked the Reese:


and Gina liked the Lyla:


This is great because there is one more "sister dress" in this collection that has the matching waistband and triple hem, called the Adelle:


and Anna will be able to choose whichever she likes best. The purple color featured in the Reese dress is probably the color for all three of the dresses.  Here's a video of us trying on the dresses:



I also tried on a few more wedding dresses, and found one that I liked a lot from Jenny Yoo. It will look beautiful blowing on the beach! I also tried on more dresses from JCrew, but did not like any of them as much as my current dress. Here's a video of the wedding dresses:



Following the very nice visit to Jenny Yoo, we went to lunch at House Cafe nearby (excellent -- I had a great artichoke, characteristically) and then headed over to JCrew.

Here's a video of Ashley and Gina trying on the dresses:



We found two dresses that both Ashley and Gina liked, the Juliet:


... which is even in the right color, and the Serena:


... although both Ashley and Gina agreed that they liked the Jenny Yoo dresses better. The woman at JCrew, Asheley, was very helpful, knowledgeable, and professional. We did not have an appointment but they squeezed us in anyways. Amazing!

Tired and hungry, we nevertheless soldiered our way into Nordstrom's "just to check," and then came back to the beautiful hotel. Mom had booked beautiful rooms at Hotel Amarano, which is somehow linked with Outrigger, so we got these fantastic rooms for free! Yay!

Mom and Gram headed out for dinner with Scottie's mom, and Gina and I spent some time sitting in a cafe, reading and writing our blogs, and having tea with honey and lemon. Then Ash picked us up and the three of us headed out for dinner. We went to the Eclectic Cafe, an artsy, adorable restaurant nearby Ash's apartment. We had chocolate fondue for dessert -- delicious. Then we picked up some champagne, which Vishal had thoughtfully sponsored for this occasion. We headed back to Ashley's house, where Ash mixed elderflower liquor and passionfruit vodka with the champagne, and Gina read Vishal's toast. It was nearly a perfect evening -- we only wish Anna were there!



The next morning, we got up (some of us -- e.g., me -- more groggily than others) and headed back to Ash's apartment to eat at Aroma Cafe nearby her house. Again, another artsy eating institution with an interior filled with books and whimsical decorations. Even a bookstore right in the middle! It was wonderful, also the food:



We discussed wedding plans, trip plans, flowers. Then we headed for Ashley's house where we practiced the hula dance. Wonderful! It was an amazing weekend, and we got a TON done. What a fun time.

Love, Lauren

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Honeymoon plans

I'm thrilled to announce that we'll be honeymooning in Fiji immediately after the wedding.  We'll be spending five nights at Namale and six nights at Vatulele, and everything I've read about these spots tells us that we have an amazing time ahead of us!

Fiji features world-class beaches, great weather all year, and arguably the best scuba diving on the planet.  (You can tell who planned this honeymoon).  Here are a few pictures to whet your appetites:





We already checked, and unfortunately mothers-in-law are not allowed to join us on this trip.  We'll make it a family adventure next time!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sam's Hurling Match

This weekend we went all the way up to San Francisco for a wonderful day, featuring breakfast with Gina and Vishal, followed by Sam's hurling match, followed by our favorite veggie sushi at Cha-Ya, and finished with a Magnetic Fields concert in Oakland. Whew! Can't ask for much more.

At Sam's hurling match, we met a nice woman named Liz who works as an English teacher in a Menlo Park middle school. She was from Ireland and we talked about all sorts of things -- especially hurling. Liz said that hurling is a very Irish sport, so old that it is mentioned in the legends of CĂșchulainn, perhaps the greatest Irish hero. Gina and Vishal were so piqued by Will's description of hurling that they came with us to the match, and even convinced two of their other friends to come. So Sam had a sizable cheering section.

Even though the Cal Bears were a larger team than Stanford, Stanford still prevailed and brought home the victory. Hooray!