Tag Archives: Yow Yow!

In My Emails

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One of my favorite things about running Yow Yow! is the variety in the emails that I get to my inbox. I must’ve looked at this one for a few minutes this morning and laughed for a good minute. First off, what?! Ocean Spray considers me an influencer? Secondly, and the most important part here, they want me to enter to win an 8 pack of 60oz Ocean Spray juice that I could literally buy at my grocery store.

I promise you I’m not that in need of juice that badly, but thank you.

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Beauty for Breakfast Has Moved

Hey all!

Since we weren’t able to keep up with Beauty for Breakfast that much anymore on the blog, I’ve decided to move it over to Instagram Stories! Every day for the last… mmm 15 or so days, I’ve been taking a product from my morning routine and talking about it for 10 seconds. As you can imagine, this took some practice to get it down and sometimes we have to do a couple of takes. Other times we talk about the product in 3-4 installments! It has been a really fun series for me on Instagram Stories. I know some of you have been following here on Yow Yow! too though. Don’t worry – you haven’t missed anything. I’ve basically only gone over all of the ones on Stories that I’ve written posts about here.

Additionally, we will also be doing “Beauty Before Bed!” to discuss the products that we use at the end of our days. We haven’t gotten to that series yet, but we’ll be there soon!

Follow us here!

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Is It Time to Make a Move?

When we first created Yow Yow! back in very late 2008, I didn’t have a lot of options for platforms at the time. There was Blogger and then there was WordPress. I had a 50/50 chance of hating or loving whatever I chose so with Kevin’s recommendation, I picked WordPress. Not many people know this about me, but I grew up using technology at a very young age and was very heavily influenced by my family. I wasn’t coding by any means (I’m still not to this day if you’re wondering), but I dabbled in some very light html and was creating some pretty janky starter websites while I was still in elementary school using Expage and Geocities (RIP) I never could figure out CSS though and just gave up.

When Xanga and MySpace came around – oh man… the pressure was on to always have the best looking layout out of all of my friends and peers. I was constantly updating things to make sure that I was still on point with the trends and using things that were relevant. So when people tell me that they were very surprised to learn that I made the jump from music to tech in my professional career – well… it’s actually not that much of a surprise because before music, there was only tech for me.

I’ve spent a lot of time this year reflecting on 7 years of Yow Yow! We’ve definitely written way too many posts to give up now so that’s not even an option for me. I really love this blog though. It’s not my life – which we’re okay with, but it’s such a genuine extension of myself and who I am and have grown up to be. I know not everyone agrees with me. Some people have strong feelings towards Yow Yow! and not always positively, but I can respect the opinions of those close to me even if we will disagree.

WordPress has been good to me for so long and I am very grateful to the platform for allowing me to write with ease since I was 19 out of my dorm room, in my university’s library, in Seattle coffee shops, in my studio, and all my various homes. Recently, I had a conversation with my friend Pat about moving away from WordPress and exploring Squarespace.

“Katie, as you grow up – Yow Yow! needs to grow up with you too!”

I mean he’s not wrong… did we really think we could continue using one of WordPress’s free templates forever? It’s time that we make something that is a little bit more us and a little bit more representative of the person I am now instead of the girl I was in college.

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So, what does that mean for us? Yow Yow! will be on hiatus soon – within the next month for a little over a month so that I can focus on my other work – you know, the one in which I get paid for ;) – After this time period, we will begin to migrate things over and we’ll start fresh. By fresh, I mean a new look; the intent is to still keep all of the content in one place. In the meantime, I’ll be spending my extra free time pushing as much content as I can before I’m on the road. It’s not going to be the easiest thing in the world, but I’m looking forward to starting something new with Yow Yow! Ultimately, I think it’s a good move for us.

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Wedding Wednesdays – We Can Have Our Cake and Eat It Too!

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I consider myself a better than average baker. I sincerely enjoy baking and one time I thought I enjoyed baking so much that I baked 110 pies over the course of a three month fundraiser. If I could have any job in the world, it would probably be to open my own bakery. With all that being said, choosing wedding desserts was both fun and one wedding task I may have had the highest expectations for. If you’re going to charge me $7/slice (and that’s cheap by San Francisco standards), then it better be the best damn cake I’ve ever tasted. Not to mention the unfortunate fact that throughout cake tasting, if I thought to myself “I could make better frosting/cake” then it was automatically vetoed.

Thus, our hunt for the most delicious wedding cake in the world, began. Let me also preface this post with the fact that I am one of those weirdos who enjoys a slice of cake as much as a slice of pie so not having a wedding cake as some people do, was not for me. I’ve never hopped on the fancy cupcake train, except for the occasional red velvet Sprinkles cupcake because who wouldn’t jump on that train? Cupcakes were out. Eric and I tasted several cakes before having what is quite possibly the most delicious, mouthwatering, and moist carrot cake in the history of the universe, which is obviously what we eventually settled on. Seriously, the bakery we settled on delivered a slice of carrot cake to our door after being out of it during our officially scheduled tasting and it took me one bite to know I was in love, with a cake. Carrot cake? You might ask yourself. Yes indeed, my absolute favorite cake flavor because really it’s all about the cream cheese frosting. Obviously we are not so crazy to believe everyone will enjoy carrot cake as much as my fiance and I do, therefore choosing our second flavor of classic vanilla bean. One of the best parts of cake tasting besides the obvious, eating a lot of cake? Getting to enjoy a cake tasting with my mom when she was visiting. Involving family or members of the wedding party in cake tasting is a great way to include them in wedding planning while also enjoying a delicious treat.

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After finding my soulmate in a cake, I turned to the next item on the dessert ticket: can we have cake AND pie? I first learned to bake a pie because my fiance’s favorite dessert is apple pie. On his birthday every year, I bake him a homemade apple pie and over the last seven years, I’ve had plenty of time to perfect my pie crust; not to mention the aforementioned pie fundraiser. It was obvious to me that we should have both cake and pies if only to personalize the wedding to our tastes and what people know about us. Most of my friends have had a pie or two or four that I’ve baked over the years so getting to showcase our love of pies on a dessert table as an alternative to cake (if God forbid you’re a cake hater), seemed like the perfect compliment to our heavenly carrot and vanilla bean cake.

Mixing up your dessert at the wedding is a major trend these days. Some people are living out the cupcake dream while others are focused on pies, s’mores, doughnuts, ice cream sandwiches, or a candy bar among other creative ideas. Stay true to who you are as a couple and what desserts you enjoys on your average Friday or Saturday night. If cake isn’t your thing, you’re honestly better off because you’ll save a ton of money and there are still plenty of desserts to carry out the traditional “cake” cutting if that’s what you’re worried about. Eric and I have major sweet tooths so for us, the more dessert the merrier. Did I find a way to incorporate whipped cream at my wedding? Absolutely. Because who said we can’t have our cake and eat some pie too?

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Make It Stranger

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We were so curious, we just HAD to try it out! Interestingly enough, I had some trouble coming up with what I wanted to use for this. Just to be clear – the blog’s name is Yow Yow! (believe it or not, this is something that my coworkers still try and debate with me because of the conflicting URL) but I wasn’t allowed to use just one line. I thought maybe I could put my location on the second line, but SEASF just looked really weird. This combination above still doesn’t even look that great, but it’s the closest thing we got!

Want to play around with making your own Stranger Things logo too? Click here.

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Instagram Stories

It was 7:00 AM on a weekday when I learned about Instagram Stories for the first time. I was 24% awake checking my inbox, checking my Facebook, checking my Instagram and then lastly landing on my Twitter – my normal daily routine. It was my Instagram feed that I learned about Stories though and it came directly from (almost) the source – Eva Chen, herself. Her latest post directed me to the Instagram account where I watched the video of the feature for the first time. What were my thoughts initially?

a) It’s too early to be watching something with this much high energy

b) I’m probably not going to use this

c) Would I ever be able to figure this out?

d) Is… this… Snapchat stories?

If you’re wondering if it’s normal for me to have at least 4 questions for almost everything in life – it’s true. This is actually my real life. all the time.

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I quickly learned from my fellow colleagues/millennials (that’s what they call us at work) that this is exactly like Snapchat stories, but you know what? In the two weeks of using this product, myself, I’ve come to realize that no one really cares that it might be a copy cat. Meanwhile, Snapchat doesn’t know what to do with themselves so they went ahead and decided to create a super racist filter.

I had my doubts that I would be able to use Stories successfully, but after doing a deep dive with one of our interns, I felt pretty confident that I would be able to get the hang of it. I’ve learned a lot though and what I like the most about the product though is that it’s something to support the photos in my feed. Yes, I may spend a fair bit of time trying to curate the perfect feed, but Stories is different. It’s a little bit more “unscripted,” and it allows people to see the outtakes in my life. There are some things that make better photos and then there are things that make better snapshots in the form of instant photos and videos and THAT is stories.

One of the biggest complaints that I’ve heard about from people about Snapchat is that 1) it kills their batteries, but 2) they have to have a separate follower base. With Instagram, it’s a 2 in 1. I don’t need to create a separate follower base for Instagram Stories because they are already there. I actually had Snapchat over a year ago, but deleted it because I was over it. Meanwhile, I still had a lot of friends using the app and sometimes went back and forth as to whether I should download it. Well, now I have my answer.

After a couple weeks of using it, I’m officially hooked. I don’t normally include a lot of my friends in the photos in my feed, but it has been fun bringing them into my stories and highlighting the things we’re doing every day. How does everyone else feel about it though? Are you Team Snapchat or Team Insta Stories?!

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Just An Update

So… should we just hand Yow Yow! over to Mandi? The front page alone has 3 of her Wedding Wednesday posts! In all seriousness, we’ve got a few posts lined up that we’re hoping to write this weekend, but when we look back on the month of July, it pretty much looks like a blur. We were in Seattle for 3 weekends in a row this summer. Work has been picking up and come fall, I’ll be on the road on and off for about a month and a half and I may have just gotten back from a quick weekend jaunt in Los Angeles.

We’ve still got a pulse over here though and even though I’m headed into my busiest work season yet, Yow Yow! is still really important to us. However, we should just set expectations now – all daily updates can just be found at my Instagram and now with Instagram Stories, we’ve more active than ever! See you all there!

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Wedding Wednesdays – You’re Invited!

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I have learned a lot about wedding planning over the last year and much of that is thanks to my wonderful wedding planner. One of the most random things I learned is in regards to stationery and choosing your save the dates and invitation suite. I learned that your stationery can set the tone for your wedding day. I didn’t realize choosing stationery for one’s wedding required so much thought. And so, we set out into the wonderful world of paper goods knowing that we had to choose invitations that both expressed our vision for the wedding weekend and was conveniently under budget.

First, our save the dates. We chose not to pursue the modern save the dates highlighting an engagement picture because that just didn’t suit us as a couple. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love having two of my favorite people featured on my fridge in a gorgeous professional photo, it just never felt quite right for Eric and I. Picking out save the dates are incredibly fun because they can be playful and unique. You can choose an adorable engagement photo or you can choose a vintage postcard depicting the Yosemite Valley. I love the simplicity of our save the dates and practicality as I assume they will end up in everyone’s recycling bins eventually. Don’t lie to me, we’ve all been there, none of us scrapbook anymore.

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I have been an avid follower of Rifle Paper Company for a long time now and am completely obsessed with their gorgeous flower prints. I knew our wedding planner was the perfect match for a while, but when did I really know? It was when she sent us an invitation suite that highlighted a colorful Rifle floral print, without me ever mentioning my dream of Rifle Paper Co wedding invitations. I was sold from the second she sent it. Not only were the invitations all of my favorite colors, but they were done in letterpress, which is an especially nice touch for those who want to add a little somethin’ somethin’. Sure, they weren’t customized Rifle invites, but who has that in their budget anyways? The best part about our invites, Eric, our wedding planner, and myself designed the suite from the ground up. We had inspiration from Etsy, duh who doesn’t these days, but we took the original invitations and went wild. We were able to take our overall vision for the wedding and display it in something as simple and low key as an invitation. This my friends, marks our first wedding DIY project. Eric and I went crazy at Paper Source shortly thereafter buying necessary craft supplies and painstakingly put the final product together. We created our very own assembly line and, singlehandedly, glued envelope liners, taped belly bands (yes that’s a real thing), and stuffed 120 envelopes.

Lastly, but certainly one of the most important considerations is that of the wording and addressing of a wedding invitation. Do you have any idea how sexist an envelope can be? Dr. and Mrs? I mean really. The approach Eric and I took, and advice I felt worthy of sharing on this post is that the envelope should be labeled for who you know best. Everyone should get a label before their names and so as to not make assumptions, all the women can be assigned Ms. (instead of Mrs.). Next, if a couple is living together they can be assigned the same line on an envelope otherwise they each get their own line. Note, if you’ve known each individual of a couple for the same amount of time my personal default was to put the woman first. We’ve earned it ladies.

For example, Ms. Amanda Thomas and Mr. Eric Spishak would be an appropriate way to address an envelope to my fiancé and I. We’re on the same line because we’ve been living together three years and dating almost seven years total. We’ve worked hard to be on the same line after all of these years.

As for the wording of the invitation, I’m a big fan of some formality with some fun. You want to keep these classy and timeless, but still have your personality shine through so as to not have your invitations feel stuffy and impersonal. We hope we nailed that little tidbit in ours, but nobody’s perfect. We are also financing a majority of our wedding therefore we get to invite everyone to our wedding instead of the traditional, so and so’s parents invite you to their daughter’s wedding. You know what I mean.

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There are a lot of ways to modernize wedding invitations these days including RSVPs online, which a lot of people do. Personally, I love getting mail and find the tradition of mailing an RSVP a non-negotiable so we chose to keep it traditional. Minted and Wedding Paper Divas are online stationery companies that make purchasing and designing stationery an easy and painless process. Long story short, our wedding invitations and save the dates were not something we wanted to break the bank, but they were an important way to express ourselves and set the tone for the wedding weekend. We had a lot of fun creating our own invitations, licking over a hundred envelopes (Eric literally licked all of them, I have to be honest), and learning that there are two ways and definitions to spell stationery (or stationary).

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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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