Tag Archives: Yow Yow!

Wedding Wednesdays – How to: Register for Wedding Gifts

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Let’s talk gifts. I LOVE gift giving and I especially love buying a wedding gift for a couple. I mean, how could you not? It’s legitimately the easiest gift you’ll ever buy, the couple chooses the exact gifts their hearts desire and all you have to do is click purchase and your gift is sent directly to their door! Wedding registries can be a very controversial topic for some and it’s a subject that people can get extremely judgey about so take a breath because as always, this is just simply one woman’s opinion and that woman, is me.

Eric and I went the old fashioned way and registered at three different stores, linking each registry through our website, but before I get into that we must talk about all of the hip new registries on the block. There are so many different ways to register these days, it’s really insane how many start ups have been created to tackle the “issue” of wedding registries. I’ll give one example because it’s the only alternative we ever looked into and that is, Blueprint Registry. Of course I’ve participated in purchasing gifts for friends through the Honeyfund and Zola sites as well. Blueprint Registry is a new way of looking at a wedding registry. It allows the couple to create a homepage and shop for a variety of items from a variety of stores all on one website. It also allows the couple to shop “room by room” in their integrated system, taking an overwhelming task of what one needs for their house and organizing it in a very systematic way. What drew me to Blueprint was the idea that it wouldn’t matter what store each item was from while also allowing guests to narrow their search by price. I decided to ultimately stick with tradition primarily due to the concern I had over return policies through Blueprint Registry. Things get complicated when the items are integrated into one system instead of using each store’s website and we ultimately decided to go with our gut and register at: Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, and Heath Ceramics.

I have to be honest, I love shopping and I love housewares and kitchen gadgets so registering for our wedding was basically my dream. My dream came crashing down pretty quickly after I realized stores no longer give you a barcode scanner to scan items in their store. First off, what’s with that? If you’ve watched enough rom-coms that involve weddings you know that you’re supposed to get a “gun” to scan items in a store when you get married and it looks fun and it looks easy! Well now we can all thank technology for allowing us to download a freaking registry app that allows one to roam the store freely, scanning barcodes like a crazy person. That might still sound fun to you, but let me tell you, if you’re registering at Crate & Barrel or Williams-Sonoma like we were, both of their apps are glitchy, slow, and not nearly as fun as what I can only imagine those scanning guns were in their hay day. I know, I know, first world problems, but bear with me.

A little backstory on Eric and my registry. We have been living together for three years in an adorable San Francisco, 500 square foot, apartment (or what Craigslist lovingly referred to as a “junior one bedroom”). Now, over these three years one would think we would have a well stocked apartment or kitchen, but not Eric and I, oh no. We have been waiting until we get married to actually buy things that don’t snap in half when you use them (like our Target knife, terrifying) and so our registry was a big deal. We needed everything under the sun you can think of, including the obvious, a KitchenAid Mixer (pistachio color obviously) and the not so obvious, a garlic press. One thing we did that I would highly recommend is to make a list of things as you notice them missing in your kitchen, things you wished you had or things that need replacing. Likely, the stores you register at will load you up with all sorts of helpful lists, tips, and tricks on how to best utilize their wedding registry. Not only that, but when you check-in at the stores in person, they’ll probably give you an adorable wedding gift. At Crate & Barrel for example, we got two free stemless wine glasses! The other thing is to consult the internet. I found great, comprehensive lists of recommended items that I brought with me to each store for registering in order to make the task less daunting. No matter how much preparation you have going into building and creating a wedding registry though, it’s going to overwhelm you at some point and don’t you worry, that’s normal. Trust me, you have no idea how big of an industry dish drying racks are until you begin your wedding registry.

The last thing I want to say about registering is to focus on creating a registry that speaks to you as a couple and your life together moving forward in your marriage. I think the main reason alternative registries are growing is due to the lack of personalization one can have in purchasing a wedding gift through a traditional wedding registry. For me, I get excited about buying someone new sheets or glassware, but that’s not for everyone. Some people want to participate in your honeymoon by buying you an adventure on your Croatian getaway or getting you a restaurant gift card to contribute to future date nights. Not everyone even has a wedding registry at all these days and that’s okay too. Just note, older family and friends may find it challenging to not have any ideas to go off of and many people frown upon asking for money to pay off your student loans after the wedding (trust me, we considered this). Eric and I chose Heath Ceramics as our sort of outlier store. Heath Ceramics is a gorgeous and incredible local ceramics shop started in Sausalito by Edith Heath where we registered for all of our dishes and serving platters/bowls. To us, shopping local is important and we fell in love with Heath Ceramics after moving to San Francisco. Their attention to detail and handmade craft makes their dishes special and unique and something we hope to keep forever. What’s the real adventure about registering for wedding gifts? Choosing to wait to open them all until after the wedding and allowing them to stack up until the big day. If there’s one thing I am, it’s impatient. The fact that I haven’t completely spoiled the entire registry is only due to the fact that Eric locked me out of our registries by changing all of the passwords.

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Wedding Wednesdays – Building a Wedding Website

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At brunch this weekend with Katie, we both realized it had been far too long since I’ve blogged about wedding planning. Time is flying by and all of a sudden the wedding is just over two months away, 73 days to be exact but who’s counting? It’s a weird thing when you’re engaged for a year and a half because for so much of the time it feels so far away and then all of a sudden, in the blink of an eye you are completely freaking out with excitement that it’s just around the corner! So with that, I’m back and anxious to discuss the importance of a wedding website.

A destination wedding can mean a couple of things. It can mean that most of your family and friends are coming in from various parts of the country therefore, for them, it’s a destination wedding. It can also mean that you chose a wedding venue that’s in a national park conveniently located a 3-4 hour drive from an airport…oh wait that’s what we did. Either way, having a destination wedding of sorts means there is a lot of pressure on a good wedding website. Not only am I having a destination wedding, but I’m having a wedding weekend, making the wedding website even more significant. Knowing the importance of a clear, well done wedding website and luckily marrying a software engineer, Eric and I set to work on building our wedding website from the ground up. That’s right, we did not use Squarespace (*gasp!)

The goal of a wedding website should be to exchange information with your guests without actually having to participate in a million different texts, calls, and emails asking the same questions. Your website should be clear and succinct, you don’t want to overwhelm your guests, but you’re covering a lot of ground so truly more information is better in this case. Your website should also be personal and unique to you as a couple. For example, Eric and I have been together for almost seven years and wanted to share our story for those who might not know it already or those who want to hear it again! We also shared a myriad of photos depicting us throughout our relationship, which we had a lot of fun picking out and putting together in a slideshow. Most importantly, our website has travel and lodging information so that our guests can feel at ease in booking their flights and accommodations. Lastly, guests want to know what to expect for the day or weekend so include information such as a schedule of events, anticipated weather, and requested guest attire.

Not everyone chooses to have a wedding website, but they are a nice thing to have and can be easily included on your save the date or on an invitation insert. Absolutely if you are planning a destination wedding a website should be considered and created prior to sending out save the dates. If you can’t code an entire website like my better half, then I would strongly encourage a predesigned/pre-built wedding website engine. Thankfully for me, I got to sit next to Eric and dictate all of my website desires while he did all of the hard work. We think it turned out pretty great, and we’re always working to update it and add additional information as the big day gets closer. The update we’re most excited about? Adding a road trip playlist, curated by my famous bridesmaid who is a big deal in the music industry, and road trip suggested stops for everyone on their drive from the Bay Area to Yosemite.

Interested in how ours turned out or want to just stalk our wedding plans? We don’t judge, check it out here: mandianderic2016.com

Yes, it does sound like we’re running for president, but vote for us and check out our labor of love for inspiration for your own website!

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Wedding Wednesdays – Hiring a Videographer

I’m not sure when the obsession started. Thinking back, I know I was not always one of those girls who had their entire dream wedding planned by the age of 13, but somehow the obsession began. The obsession with wedding videos that is.

Hiring a videographer was the most “no-brainer” decision I have had to make throughout the wedding planning process so far. Other decisions have been debated at length and pro/con lists have been made, but a wedding video for me was an obvious yes, no questions asked and no debate to be had. I speak for myself in this blog because I’ll be honest, Eric definitely could have left a wedding video behind. But because he’s been sitting next to me as I silently cry through countless strangers’ wedding videos and because he loves me and is a perfect human, he obliged to my big ticket wedding desire.

First, the hunt for the perfect videographer was not easy. I had very specific ideas in mind as to what makes the perfect wedding video. I did not want a “music video”. Instead I wanted a video that includes the toasts and the vows, a video that captures moments throughout the day that photos simply cannot.

Second, it’s important to know going into the hunt for a videographer how crucial a video even is to you. Wedding videographers are not cheap, in fact, they are ridiculously expensive and if you think you can live without a wedding video then it is probably not worth it to you to splurge. Eric and I met a couple at a catering tasting that said it was the easiest thing for them to cut once they went down this road and found the cost to be prohibitive. You do you, this is your big day and prioritizing what’s important to you and your fiancé is all that matters.

Third, if you’re on a budget like we are, I would highly recommend finding a videographer who is more “up and coming”. What’s fun about our videographers, for example, is that they are a group of guys who honed their skills after years of filming skateboarders. The famous and flashy videographers are great, but it’s so much more fun to work with a bunch of hardworking and talented vendors who are on the verge of making it big, saving you some money while still getting the high quality product you’re after.

Lastly, there are some ways to make your video more affordable. Most videographers offer several different packages based on the amount of time you are requesting them for, the film used, and whether or not you want toasts or vows included. As much as I would love to have Super 8 film strewn throughout our video, it is extremely expensive and for our budget was just simply not worth the cost. For us, we were able to choose the middle package and squeeze it in our budget.

The best part about the process of hiring a videographer was getting to work with the wonderful creator behind Yow Yow! who understands my wedding video obsession better than anyone else. Each time I found a new videographer who I thought might be right I would text Katie immediately to give me a second opinion, trusting her judgment and eye for talent and quality completely. When we landed on Grimace Films, Katie and I celebrated because we were mutually in love with everything about their videos. We decided it would be fitting to post one of their sample videos below for those who appreciate a well-done wedding video. Obviously stay tuned for our wedding video, which we will undoubtedly post after our wedding this fall!
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Wedding Wednesdays – Engagement Shoot Adventure

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Part I: The Photographer

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, it’s so important to figure out you and your fiance’s priorities from the beginning of the wedding planning roller coaster. If your fiance’s priority is beer and yours is music then those are the two things you should focus your time, energy, and money on. Photography has always been top of our priority list for our wedding so finding the perfect photographer was crucial. First and foremost we knew posed portrait style photos were not our thing. Eric and I have never taken professional photos together and are pretty silly people generally so imagining ourselves standing together like we’re going back to high school prom doesn’t suit us. Based on our preference, documentary style photography is what we were looking for. It was also important for us to take into account our venue, Yosemite National Park. We wanted to choose someone who is no stranger to photographing the outdoors and not just any outdoors, basically the most magical and dreamy outdoor space imaginable. Having these qualifications we set out, with our amazing wedding planner, to find the perfect match.

Greg Balkin of Brightwood Photography is a genius. He is one of the most talented photographers I’ve ever seen and that’s just taking into account his outdoor photography. The emotions and love he is able to capture between the couples he shoots is even more extraordinary. It took us all of ten minutes to decide we had to have him photograph our special day. Finding out Greg recently relocated from Southern California to Seattle was just the icing on the cake. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, my fiance and I met in Seattle therefore making this a match made in photography heaven.

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Part II: Adventure Love Story

Instead of the usual engagement shoot, our photographer specializes in what he coined as “Adventure Love Stories”. Adventure Love Stories reframe engagement pictures as an excuse to get outside and explore together as a couple while getting to know Greg and documenting the entire weekend or “adventure”. The best part about our weekend was that Eric and I have already spent our last 7 years together exploring the outdoors, going on incredible camping/backpacking trips, and adventuring so this was a huge selling point in choosing Greg to be our photographer. I do have to be honest though, as much as I absolutely love camping and backpacking and as much fun as an adventure sounded I was somewhat anxious about how I was supposed to pull myself together for a weekend photo shoot after camping?! How’s a girl, who’s not that photogenic to begin with, supposed to be photographed with bedhead and after sleeping on the ground all night with day old makeup? It sounds ridiculous and vain, but if you had 200+ photos taken of you, you’d consider this a legitimate fear as well. I obviously decided to suck it up and trust Greg and also figured worst case, no one has to know these photos exist.

Eric and I chose to have our adventure with Greg in one of our favorite places in Washington State, the state that brought us together. And so, two weekends ago we hopped on a plane from San Francisco, drove several hours in the car, and took a ride on a ferry boat to Olympic National Park, and if you haven’t been, consider this your plug that you should immediately plan your trip. Olympic National Park has some seriously wonderful memories for Eric and I so choosing it for our engagement shoot was a no brainer. We have summited its mountains, hiked along its rivers, explored its rugged beaches, and watched the infamous Elwha Dam removal over the years all the while knowing it to be one of the best kept secrets in the country. Naturally, the camping trip turned into a spontaneous backpacking adventure leading us to one of the Olympic Coast’s most beautiful beaches near La Push. This spur of the moment decision also led to hilarious pictures of myself and Eric in formal clothes (including heels mind you) carrying our hiking boots, tent, sleeping bags, and REI backpacks. Note: should you choose to do your own outdoorsy photoshoot, keep in mind that heels, no matter how chunky, are a poor decision.

Lucky for you, I’m here to share a handful of my favorite photos from the weekend. While looking through them just remember we hadn’t showered, we slept on the beach overnight, and my naturally curly hair doesn’t tend to agree with that damn misty coastal climate. Also, huge thanks to Julia for the last minute Tyra Banks modeling tips, without them I would have looked like a limp noodle neck monster.

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Hello

It’s been a long time since we’ve gone an entire week without writing on Yow Yow! We actually don’t like it very much because it feels pretty unnatural and almost like we’re missing a pivotal part of our daily life.

I really miss those days when Yow Yow and my work life were 50/50. These days 100% of my time is going into work and when that happens, I recognize that I’m just not as happy. It’s not that I don’t love my job though. I actually really enjoy it and find it challenging and stimulating, but no one should have to put 100% towards it and not have something else on the side that separates their work from their life. I just spent the past two hours doing work though and now it’s 10:00 PM and the rest of the night is going to Yow Yow! I know we can’t make up for an entire week, but we’ll do the best we can.

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Wedding Wednesdays “It’s a Fritz Bernaise”

Let’s talk bridesmaid dresses. As we move further and further into the 21st century and we embark in 2016 there is one major trend in bridesmaid dresses and that is, wearing all the same dress is not as popular as it used to be. Of course there are still the more traditional weddings that follow the classic matching dress route, but for our wedding I decided to go rogue.

At first, I wasn’t sure just how different I wanted my bridesmaids to be and so I took one of my bridesmaids dress shopping. I first want to say how lucky I am to have six of the most obliging besties out there willing to wear just about anything I ask of them, but I really wanted to include them in the decision making process. For months I took note of each of their preferences of colors and styles, knowing that Katie hates strapless dresses as much as I do and that Amelia would prefer not to be in a dress made completely of tulle. Knowing what makes each of my girls feel their best made the shopping day 100x easier because that was my ultimate goal. While I’m dressed up in the prettiest of white dresses, I want the women next to me glowing, comfortable, and happy as well.

I narrowed it down to two stores, mostly in order to get an idea for what various styles and fabrics would feel and look like in person. And so, Sara and I set out to Weddington Way and the Nordstrom Wedding Suite. I have to say, neither experience was particularly special or deserves any spectacular accolades, but it was helpful to see the dresses in person. Weddington Way, for those of you who aren’t engrossed in the wedding world, is an online bridesmaid shopping bonanza where they have a zillion different colors, styles, and brands of dresses. Lucky for me, they have a pop up shop in their San Francisco office meaning we were able to show up and see a lot of their dresses in person. Nordstrom was similar in that they had some of their dresses, but do not stock all of the ones they advertise online, making it somewhat of a disappointment. For example, the brand Sara and I ultimately fell in love with were Donna Morgan dresses. We happened upon her catalog sitting at Weddington Way and then again at Nordstrom and Sara had tried on one of her strapless dresses in the Chantilly color, a champagne color of sorts, but with a fancier name. We were in love with the mismatched styles of dresses in this pale pink color and that was where our vision was born.

Now I hate to be cliche, but I wanted to choose a color that complimented the outdoors and didn’t outshine it by any means. We’re getting married in Yosemite National Park for pete’s sake, we don’t need to go crazy! I was drawn to the paler colors that would blend in nicely with green sequoia giants, natural grasses, and earth tones. After a quick search Sara and I realized that the three styles of dresses we liked the most unfortunately didn’t come in all the same color and so our grand plan evolved. We settled on this sort of crazy, sort of brilliant idea that we should have mismatched colors and mismatched styles and include a gorgeous floral print that would somehow tie it all together and become a gorgeous bridesmaid set. Once again, because I have the greatest bridesmaids in the world, everyone happened to agree with our crazy idea and went all in, purchasing their dresses during perfectly timed Black Friday sales.

Choosing your bridesmaid dresses should be fun and should actively include the women wearing the dresses. As set “wedding colors” and wedding trends go in and out of style, choosing bridesmaid dresses becomes easier and easier. It becomes about what makes the ladies you care about most feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful while finding dresses that compliment your own dress and style of wedding. If your dress is of a vintage inspiration, have your bridesmaids wear dresses that tend towards a similar era instead of something modern. And I mean really, at the end of the day it’s most important that you can twirl in it, you can spread your legs apart, and that it’s a Fritz Bernaise. You really can’t do much better than that.

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Happy 7th Birthday Yow Yow!

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We’ve never done anything to celebrate any of Yow Yow’s birthday in the past other than write a post about it, but 7 years of me committing to something deserved a celebration. This year we have a balloon. Next year, maybe we’ll get a cake!

We started this post on a plane leaving Seattle coming back to the Bay Area after the holidays and it was written mostly on my phone in the notes app. I remembered thinking that 7 years was a long time for a hobby. The last time I had this kind of serious commitment was when I collected my Polly Pockets for 7 years. This feels more productive than that. Embarrassingly enough, as I was writing this I started getting a little emotional. (luckily no tears!)

Yow Yow! is now as old as a child entering the 2nd grade though for the longest time, Veronica and I used to say that I raised a toddler in the form of a blog. We’re finally past that! Yow Yow! was an unplanned project though. It was never meant to be a hobby, but a side project and a little bit of a time waster for my classmates at school with me. It’s amazing that we’ve kept this going for as long as we have and I’m even more grateful that my friends continued to pass it along within their networks making Yow Yow! what it is today. We’ve really grown up with this and if you’ve been here for awhile, then you know that the archives from 2009-2012 are sometimes a little bit like reading the diary of an adult teenager. I dare you to go back and look.

It sounds weird to say this and I’ve been thinking for weeks about how best to write this, but… Yow Yow! is the truest and most honest form of my identity. I’ve tried a lot of different things in life and had other interests, but this is special. When I can’t feel like myself in person for whatever reason, I can through this outlet. When I’m writing on Yow Yow! I’m happy and I’m excited to share things that I hope people will be just as excited to read as I am to write about it. At the same time, there’s a lot of vulnerability that comes with this; my life and this blog aren’t always filled with joy. It’s important for me to capture those moments too. After 7 years, I’m incredibly proud of all that we’ve accomplished. We’ve met and worked with such amazing individuals. I’ve allowed other people to write their own thoughts on here too! Yow Yow! will probably never have my full and undivided attention because I like having a job, but even though we’ve showed signs of slowing down, Yow Yow! still has a heartbeat in it.

The list of thank you’s after 7 years is long. Thank you to the friends and family that have stayed by our side, shared it with their friends and even passed along little bits and pieces that they thought I would enjoy writing about. While I’m doing all of this on my own from the time I get home after a day of work until I fall asleep, I’ve never felt alone in this process and if I did, it’d be much easier to say goodbye to it. Here’s to 2016 – our 7th year, more adventures, more fun, more projects, and of course more wedding talk!

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Looking Back: Space Girl

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If you’ve been following my Instagram and Yow Yow! lately then you may have noticed that we’ve been doing a lot of posts on what I’ve been wearing. We did this back in 2011-2012 also, but back then things looked a little bit different. I remember when I expressed to Veronica back then that I wanted to showcase some of my outfits on Yow Yow! but I didn’t know where to start. You know how in photographs, people are always like “what do I do with my hands?!” well I was always like, “what do I do with my face?!” I couldn’t pull off that sultry blogger pout and I hated having to try and force a laugh every time to get the right shot. Honestly, I was awkward and it feels funny to admit this now five years later, but I was pretty insecure about this.

Where I was working back then, we had a Space Helmet (the one pictured above) and Veronica and I kind of came up with this idea that we would create an alter ego for myself. Space Girl was born. You wouldn’t think that it would make such a difference to put this helmet on and shoot a photo, but it did. In the helmet, I wasn’t worried about what my face looked like and actually Space Girl got a little wild sometimes. We definitely had way more fun with this helmet than we thought we would. Looking back on it now, the idea seems really silly, but it helped me overcome something that I’m much more comfortable with today. So to celebrate our 7th birthday, we wanted to take a look back on some of Space Girl’s greatest looks shot on campus at Seattle University and some of the worst Photoshop editing jobs I’ve ever done. Thank you to all my friends in college who let me entertain this idea for a year.

If you’re wondering whatever happened to the helmet… we had to leave it behind as it officially belonged to Seattle University. However, Kevin knew that Space Girl was such a huge part of Yow Yow! and me too so he bought it for me on Amazon after I graduated. It now has a place in my home sitting in my living room. :)

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Yow Yow’s Yearly Recap

We didn’t intend to be as late on this post as we actually are, but unfortunately, we’ve just been a little bit under the weather. Also, if I’m being honest, I was actually dreading writing this post for the longest time because I knew how these stats would look and I wasn’t particularly excited about them. In 2015, these are the most dismal numbers we’ve ever seen. But instead of throwing ourselves a pity party, we’re going to share the numbers and then we’re going to move forward because I paid for another year on this domain and we’re not going to let it go to waste. I’m still really excited about Yow Yow! I went through each month in 2015 and quickly scanned through all of the posts that I wrote – some that I laughed at and some that I had forgotten I had even written this year. Writing in 2015 was hard and it’s often times difficult to juggle this and a full-time job that I really care about, but if we can do this for six years, we can do a 7th.

Stats from 2014 will be on the left and italicized while stats from 2015 will be right and bold:

1,400,602 total visits to Yow Yow! – – – – – – – – – – – 1,471,487 total visit to Yow Yow!

In just 2015 alone, we had 70,885 visits to Yow Yow!

10,113 Posts 2,878 Comments  – – – – – – – – – – – 11,003 Posts 2,989 comments (cumulative)

Top Post of 2015 – “Meet: Cathy Nguyen” 1,988 views (written back in 2009)

Top Post written in 2015 – “I Like Your Style…Kiernan Shipka” 303 views

Busiest month in terms of views – January 2014 (11,072 views)  – – – – – March 2015 (6,923 views)

Most popular day: Wednesday (probably due to Wedding Wednesdays!)

Most popular hour: 9:00 AM (5% of traffic)

Total WordPress.com followers: 1,476

Total daily subscribers: 2,027

Credits + References

Worked with

  • Sugar Brand Cosmetics

In 2015, we were reached out by a few brands and companies, but due to my work schedule and other time commitments, I was unable to fulfill certain requests and posts. We’ll try again in 2016!

Top Referring Sites in 2015 Were:

  • Facebook.com
  • Pinterest.com
  • Twitter.com
  • Quora.com
  • Bloglovin.com

Most of My Visitors Came From:

  • The United States
  • Canada
  • The United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • France
  • Australia

(same order as last year)

Other:

*In 2015, my friend Mandi got engaged and we gave her “Wedding Wednesdays” as a column to share her journey as she gets closer to walking down the aisle.

*We tied our Instagram account a little bit more closely to Yow Yow! And this was HUGE for us!

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*We had one of our photos used on Moorea Seal’s Instagram account.

*Things that we tried for the first time and wrote about: SoulCycle, Dry Bar, being a +1 at someone else’s wedding (also first holiday wedding on Halloween!), dyeing our hair, and attending our first Golden State Warriors game.

*Concerts we reviewed: Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift.

*We tried two places in LA that we had once blogged about on Yow Yow! previously: Eggslut + Milk Jar Cookies.

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*We showed love to Smilebooth and Canyon Child.

*We got in front of the camera again to do our OOTD fashion posts – the first time since 2013.

 

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Favorites of 2015

Whoops! We’re already two days into the new year so we’re just a little bit behind on this, but we couldn’t move forward with other posts without writing this one first. 2015 was good to us, but we’re even more excited for 2016 and what’s ahead!

Favorite Style Icon: Olivia Culpo

So we have to admit, Olivia wasn’t always on our radar, but in 2015 she kind of came out into her own. After being linked to Nick Jonas for quite a while and splitting from him earlier this year, she started to wear the “single-girl” look flawlessly. We might even go as far as saying that she was the role model for a lot of newly-single girls. She sort of rebounded with Tim Tebow for a bit, but that didn’t make headlines as much and instead she was being recognized for what she was wearing day to day and on the red carpet. Additionally, she’s part of the Revolve Girl Gang with all of our favorite fashionable bloggers!

Runner Up: Kiernan Shipka

Favorite Getaway: Los Angeles

It’s so hard to pick a favorite! This year we went to Austin and Portland for the first time which was so much fun, but honestly spending some quality time with one of your best gal pals and talking wedding stuff with her is hard to top. I loved staying with Gelesia and seeing LA through her eyes. It also doesn’t hurt that we love a lot of the same things and can eat six meals a day together. She also doesn’t mind standing in being my photographer for a weekend – the feeling is mutual though ;)

Runner Up: Austin

Favorite artist of the year: Kehlani

We haven’t stopped listening to Kehlani since we first learned about her this summer. Now, everyone knows that I’m a huge fan of the girl anthems and she’s our poster girl for 2015. Kehlani’s music really hits home to a lot of people which is why she’s actually one of the most successful artists of 2015 said …everyone. I also read this feature on her the other day through The Fader that I would recommend. You can either listen to her music first or read this, whatever the case, you’re going to be sold on her. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been blasting her album on the 101 up to San Francisco and singing at the top of my lungs. In case you haven’t realized it yet – she’s a badass so when you sing like her, you feel like one too.

Runner Up: Leon Bridges

Favorite Guilty Pleasure: The Affair

I know – I can hardly believe that I didn’t select Vanderpump Rules again for the 3rd year in a row. When I was negotiating with Comcast earlier this year, they threw in Showtime for me and I spent that time getting all caught up on this addicting television series. I only had it for 90 days so when the show returns for its next season, I’ll have to ask for this back. I absolutely love love love the show though and it’s crazy because the characters aren’t at all likable. In fact, Noah Solloway is kind of like the worst human being ever and so is his daughter Whitney – jesus. Regardless, we’re hooked and we can’t help it. When I first heard about the show, I thought it was all romance and drama, but now it’s turning into a murder mystery and we don’t hate it.

Runner Up: Super Girl

Favorite item purchased this year: Oak + Fort Scarf C15

I’m never letting this piece go. The first time I saw this scarf featured on Oak + Fort’s Instagram, I knew I had to have it. Yeah so that’s another thing this year, we developed a really unhealthy habit of seeing things on Instagram and then buying it right after. Real talk though, this oversized scarf though sometimes bigger than my entire body is the comfiest coziest piece I’ve ever owned! I love wearing it with my dresses or using it as a blanket when I go out somewhere. You really can’t go wrong. The other day I was strolling through Nordstrom and two people working the floor had complimented me on it… one right after the other in the same department. Even everyone else knows how strong of a piece this is.

Runner Up: The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale purchases

Favorite albums (in no particular order):

  1. Kehlani – You Should Be Here
  2. Leon Bridges – Coming Home
  3. The Flavr Blue – Love Notes
  4. Justin Bieber – Purpose
  5. Little Mix – Get Weird
  6. Beat Connection – Product 3
  7. The Internet – Ego Death
  8. Alina Baraz – Urban Flora EP
  9. Miguel – Wildheart
  10. Madeon – Adventure

(We are very happy to see two Seattle groups on here! Well, I mean I made this list so I chose them, but they had a great year!)

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Favorite online past time: Instagram

Oh goodness, isn’t it obvious? We love Instagram this year more than ever! If you’re not following me yet, come and join us! You’ll likely see more daily updates there when we can’t always get to the blog itself.

Runner Up: What other apps do we need to be using?

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My Favorite Posts of 2015

As we were writing our top posts of 2015 the other day, I realized that a lot of them hadn’t been written by me! They were, in fact, written by Mandi and she’s so deserving to have many of those posts receive that many views this year because she had worked hard on them. In addition to that, she was honest and vulnerable and I know through speaking with her she spent a lot of time putting her thoughts together and getting second opinions from Eric and I. After writing that post though I was a little embarrassed that my own writing hadn’t been the majority, but I realized that even though many of the posts didn’t receive as much viewership, they were still very enjoyable to write and I didn’t want them to go unnoticed. So here are our top 12 posts (one for almost every month!) and the reasons why they meant something to me.

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  • Super Bowl 49 – We’re Comin’ For You – Never have I ever written a post with so much emotion! I still remember this day like it was yesterday. That Packers game was nuts and I remember being heartbroken watching the majority of that game and wanting to throw in the towel and drive all the way home to South Bay before the game was even over! It’s not bandwagoning, it’s just heartbreak and disappointment. Luckily though, we had reconvened at Mandi’s to finish it out and it was worth the wait because that’s where this photo comes in.

  • “After Us” – Watching this Wong Fu Productions video this year was super relevant to me and it was a great reminder to pick myself up again after a split. Additionally though, I became much more aware of the videos that Wong Fu put out and found myself watching video after video after video. I’ve never been the most “Asian Asian,” but I have to admit that I do find comfort in watching these videos that feature predominantly Asian characters and their life experiences similar to mine. It’s kind of an interesting way for me to identify a little bit more with my roots when it’s not my usual.
  • I’m 25. – I feel very blessed this year to have had the best birthday celebration that I’ve ever had. Thank you so much to everyone that helped ring in my 25th birthday and for making it so great. It really has been a year of fun, experiences, and lessons (some good some bad, but still worth it!)

  • Wedding Rules You Can Throw Out – Quite a few people in my life have come to me this year asking me for advice and opinions on wedding ideas and wedding planning in general. Now, I’ve never been close to marriage, but I am really flattered that people value my thoughts on this. It’s not for everyone though. There are definitely people that disagree with my views against tradition, but I felt really good about writing this post and laying it all out on the table.
  • Find Foxy Films – When my brother’s friend Phil started his own film production company and started sharing short stories, I was intrigued. These are the types of stories I LOVE sharing on Yow Yow! – so raw, real, and personal. Phil is embarking on his own battle right now with Stage 3 Nodular Hogdkin’s Lymphoma, but that isn’t standing in his way. It’s inspiring to see him continue pursuing his dreams even while he’s still receiving treatment.

  • Natalie Tran – Asians in Media Talk – This is one of the first times that I ever struggle and discuss the issues that I’ve faced with my identity and being an Asian American. This was a particularly difficult post for me to write because I like to think it’s 2015 and this stuff doesn’t have to exist, but it is real and there are times when I get uncomfortable having to answer questions about my “Asian-ness” to other people and face the prejudice from others about those that I choose to date as well. I’m very optimistic about this and how things will look in the future and I think these things just take time.

  • Wedding Mondays – It’s so hard to choose a favorite! I didn’t think that I would be able to, but honestly this one made the most sense to share. I actually knew Justin in college so watching this video made this all the more memorable for me. I’m sure that next year when my own friends get married, they will find themselves on this list too.

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  • The Best Time to Visit Seattle – We took quite a few trips this year in 2015, but we never have a bad time when we return home to Seattle. During this trip, I got to see some of my favorite people and eat all of the things that I crave when I’m in the Bay Area.
  • The Instagram Project – It sometimes seems a little crazy how much time I may spend thinking about the perfect picture to post, but Instagram is a great daily outlet when I can’t get to writing a post on Yow Yow! everyday. While it does take some added time, I’ve actually enjoyed the pictures that have come out of this project even more and am looking forward to continuing on with it into 2016.

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  • Last Weekend’s Halloween Wedding – I just noticed – today – that the title of the post said “Weeding” instead of “Wedding.” How did no one catch this?! Oy… so embarrassed. Anyways, this was the first time that I could ever go through and talk about every detail of a wedding – what I liked and disliked – cause I didn’t know the couple! We won’t have this opportunity for a long time! Also it was my first themed wedding ever – v. steam punk and it was quite the experience.

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It was so hard to narrow this post down to just 12 favorites and this took me the whole evening to go through a whole year of posts. I know I’ve written repeatedly this year that I didn’t get to write as much as I would have liked to and at the volume I’m used to like in the past, but I’m very proud of what I’ve put out. There are things that I’ve written on Yow Yow! in 2015 that I could’ve never had the experience or knowledge to write about back in 2009. I think this is the reason why I sometimes feel the need to keep pushing. There’s so much more for us to discuss on Yow Yow! and it’s important that we see it through. Thank you for reading. :)

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Yow Yow’s Top 10 Posts of 2015

So the funny part about this post is that most of these were not even written by me! They were written by Mandi! So while this just means that I probably need to put in a little bit more work into Yow Yow! (which we all know) – I also want to highlight how proud I am of Mandi. It has been so fun to share in this experience with her and give her an outlet to share her views throughout her wedding planning process. It really has been seamless. Since we’ve started doing this, I know a lot of her friends and family have told her how much they enjoy hearing about her planning when they are afar. I’m glad that Yow Yow! has been a place for everyone to come together, which reminds me that a long time ago, that was one of the reasons we made this blog.

With that, here are our top 10 posts from the year 2015:

  1. I Like Your Style…Kiernan Shipka
  2. Wedding Wednesdays – Finalizing a Venue
  3. Review: Ariana Grande’s Honeymoon Tour
  4. Wedding Wednesdays – Wedding Confidence
  5. Introducing: Mandi
  6. Wedding Wednesdays: Picking a Venue
  7. Wedding Wednesdays: Will You Be My Bridesmaid?
  8. Wedding Wednesdays: Wedding Dress Shopping
  9. Wedding Wednesdays: Hiring a Wedding Planner
  10. Wedding Wednesdays: Guest List
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Count Em’ 1, 2… 60? 2015

Honestly, I was looking forward to writing this post the post after I turned on my “Vacation” responder. This is actually one of my favorite posts to write every year because it’s a great way to look back on all the things I’ve listened to that I loved – all for different reasons. There were more albums than ever that I loved listening to over and over again. Every year, I say that these are not done in any particular order – that’s kind of false this year. There is at least a little bit of order. I started from January of 2015 and worked my way all the way down to December 15th so if you listen to it from top to bottom, you might get a sense of different feels from the seasons and throughout the year. One thing that we’re doing this year that’s completely new is that I made a playlist of all these songs so you can listen to it straight from Yow Yow! It didn’t take that much extra work, but I thought that it would be nice to have. It’s at the bottom for ya!

1.Daniela Andrade – Crazy (cover)
2. Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
3. BenZel, Stevie Neale – Wasted Love
4. JOY. – Stone
5. Novo Amor – Weather
6. MisterWives – Our Own House
7. Body Language – Reset
8. Trey Songz – Slow Motion
9. Jaymes Young – Habits of My Heart
10. Maroon 5 – Sugar

11. Drake – Hotline Bling
12. Andy Grammer – Remind You
13. Twax, Solomina – Movin’ On
14. Gorgon City, Laura Welsh – Here For You (Bearcubs Remix)
15. FKJ, Jordan Rakei – Learn to Fly
16. Who is Fancy – Goodbye
17. Cashmere Cat, Ariana Grande – Adore
18. Oddisee – That’s Love
19. Tinashe ft. A$AP Rocky – Pretend
20. Jhene Aiko – The Worst

21. Jamie XX, Romy – Loud Places
22. Death Cab for Cutie – You’ve Haunted Me All My Life
23. Madeon, Kyon – You’re On
24. Godwolf – Resist
25. Tep No – Karma, You Got Owned
26. Miguel, Wale – Coffee F******
27. Alessia Cara – Here
28. Ta-ku, JMSN, Sango – Love Here
29. Big Wild – Aftergold
30. Mariah Carey – Infinity

31. Little Mix – Black Magic
32. Trey Songz – About You
33. Foxes – Body Talk
34. Niykee Heaton – Bad Intentions
35. Autograf – Dream
36. Alina Baraz, Galimatias – Fantasy
37. The Internet – Under Control
38. Disclosure, Sam Smith – Omen
39. Alesso, Roy English – Cool – Sweater Beats Remix
40. Rationale – Fast Lane

41. Kehlani – You Should Be Here
42. Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean?
43. JoJo – When Love Hurts
44. Beat Connection – Illusion
45. SG Lewis, Louis Mattrs – No Less
46. Lion Babe – Treat Me Like Fire
47. JP Cooper – What Went Wrong
48. The Weeknd – Tell Your Friends
49. Jess Glynne – Ain’t Got Far to Go
50. Daniela Andrade – Telegrave Ave/Sober

51. Tinashe – Player
52. Banks – Better
53. Disclosure, Lorde – Magnets
54. City and Colour – Lover Come Back
55. Zak Abel – Say Sumthin
56. The Flavr Blue – Majesty
57. Leon Bridges – Coming Home
58. Goldroom, Nikki Segal – California Rain
59. Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown – All Eyes On You
60. James Vincent McMorrow – Cavalier

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The Cobrasnake and His Influence on Hipster Culture

Does this photo jog any memories for anyone? No, I’m not talking about that Myspace swag that girl has got. Way back when, we used to be a little obsessed with a photographer named Mark Hunter AKA The Cobrasnake. He was the ultimate hipster and he had a very distinct way of shooting his photos. In fact, we loved them so much that in Yow Yow’s original layout, we would swap out our header every month for about 2-3 years for one of Mark’s photos. I remembered that I both loved and hated doing this. I loved it because it made the blog feel a little more fresh every month, but I hated it because it was so much pressure! Mark gained popularity fast and it was tough for me to be able to keep up with his photo postings, but I didn’t want to miss any published album for fear of missing the perfect header shot. Sometimes, I’d be backlogged for months catching up. While I loved these photographs for the way he shot them, I also was a little mesmerized with his lifestyle – constant parties, music festivals, tagging along with his bff Steve Aoki and then-girlfriend Cory Kennedy who was really just an IT girl in her own right. There were celebrities everywhere. There were also photos that you didn’t want to see – the ones that featured nudity, intimate moments, and my least favorite… vomit – especially when in action. Such is life though, right? And Mark captured it all. It’s been a few years since we’ve visited the site, but it’s still up and running! Mark is still taking photos and these days featuring a new wave of celebrities probably – gone are the days in which Paris and Nicky Hilton reigned. Bring on the Bella Hadid’s! In this Vice article, Mark Hunter looks back to describe the last 10 years of shooting.

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Wedding Wednesdays – Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

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I’ve always considered myself extremely lucky when it comes to friends and lady friends in particular. I have arguably the most incredible, inspiring, strong, beautiful, hilarious, and intelligent women surrounding me. Because having fifteen bridesmaids is what one might consider, excessive, I chose six of my best ladies to be my bridesmaids with the plan to continue including the other ten or so in other meaningful ways. The first and most important way to make my six bridesmaids feel special was how to “pop the question”.

I have heard horror stories from friends who have been bridesmaids in countless weddings and I have to be honest, you get a lot more negative stories than positive ones. In contemplating “the ask” I wanted to ensure my bridesmaids felt cherished, loved, and that just as I am asking them to do this favor for me, I too would do anything for them. My bridesmaids are spread out across the country from California to Washington to Oregon to Texas and Montana making it important that distance did not mean they got skimped on a personal ask. All of these considerations led me to the obvious, a bridesmaid box filled with a mixture of things that represent both the wedding weekend (Yosemite National Park, adventure, etc) and our friendship.

I chose unfinished cigar boxes so that I could paint them myself (with some help from my wonderful fiance, both emotional and technical). Painting the boxes turned out to take several days and it was not exactly the most fun task. In the end it felt good to spend so much time on something for each of the ladies who are undoubtedly going to spend much of their own time helping out on our wedding weekend, bridal shower, and bachelorette party. Next, I went on a hunt for the perfect trinkets to fill the boxes, which ended up being: Malvi Marshmallows, trail mix, bandanas, a cute Instagram print of myself with each bridesmaid, an airplane sized Fireball shot, and a Yosemite postcard with a love note written on each one. Thankfully, each of my bridesmaids accepted my proposal because let’s be real, they all knew this was coming for at least a year before I was even engaged.

In the end, I would recommend putting a little time into asking your own leading ladies (or gentlemen or both) when asking them to stand next to you on such a big day. Consider their likes, dislikes, and what would bring a smile to their face. If your bridal party happens to live near you consider asking them in person over brunch and bloody marys (because nothing is better than a good bloody)! My fiance also spent time asking each of his groomsmen in a personal way. As he is not one to talk on the phone generally, making the effort to call each of his six besties to ask them individually was a truly special gesture. This goes to show even the smallest action can make the biggest impact and that the best part about this whole thing is having your favorite people by your side.

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