Tag Archives: Yow Yow!

Farewell, REDEFINE

Sometime after Yow Yow! was born, my brother had connected me to a young woman named Vivian Hua. She ran her own music and arts magazine and I thought she was a badass. I had already been writing for Yow Yow! on the side, but I HAD to be a part of her project and what she was doing. Through REDEFINE, I covered Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot both back in 2012. They were my very first press passes ever and soon after that allowed me to pave the way for my own press passes for Yow Yow! REDEFINE wasn’t the first place that I had seen my name in a byline before, but it was the first place that truly meant something to me. I was able to combine my love for both writing and music into one and it was exciting. My stint with REDEFINE as a contributing writer only lasted a year, but it was a fun experience to say the least. We were super pumped to check off another box within music.

Thank you Vivian for giving this opportunity to me and many writers and we wish you the best of luck on your future endeavors!

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My Favorite Posts of 2016

Typically when I write “end-of-year” posts, I’m always pulling up what I wrote the year before in another tab as a reference. I already know that I didn’t do too much writing this year so it will be ambitious to find 12 posts that I really liked as opposed to last year when that feeling was so easy for me! That being said, I think there are going to be a few treasures in here that we can highlight. They may not be the posts that rank to the top in terms of views, but they are the posts that I enjoyed writing the most and the ones that you know I probably re-read a dozen times before feeling comfortable posting. Thank you all for another fantastic year… now let’s head into our 8th year of Yow Yow! This blog is now older than my previous Polly Pocket collection (7 years!)

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  • This Happened Tonight – I honestly don’t know if this is enough to consider it one of my favorite posts, but this is me totally just fangirling out over here. It might be on my list of funny moments in 2016, but whatever the case – this needed to belong on SOME list and I chose this. I think I like this post just because it reminds me a little bit of how I used to write in the old days – you know back in 2009/2010 – no filter – just blagh! whatever I felt like spewing out at the time. If you read the post though (and you know me!) then you know I’m suppressing my feelings here for the sake of appearing normal on Yow Yow! If only this weren’t so short lived…

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  • Happy 7th Birthday Yow Yow! – We’ve never celebrated a Yow Yow! anniversary like this before. The number 7 has no significance to me or Yow Yow! but after all this time, you kind of just feel like you need to do something different. We were already doing regular outfit photos, so I thought – why not throw in a balloon?! One of the best parts about this post is that Aritiza decided to feature this photo above for their Instagram account. I was ecstatic, but very quickly commenters started to notice that the balloon didn’t actually look like a “7” and actually looked like… male genitalia. So almost immediately, my excitement did a 180.

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  • Looking Back: Space Girl – It’s a weird thing to be in front of a camera. I’m not a natural by any means. Every shoot, Elynn probably takes on average 15-25 photos and while we sometimes get 2-3 really good ones, the rest are of me opening my mouth, fixing my clothes, talking, being awkward, you name it. We’ve come such a long way… this post was incredibly special to me though. Space Girl was everything to me when we were in college. I never could get comfortable in front of the camera and having this helmet on made me feel invincible. When we stopped using it and went back to outfit shoots, you can plainly see how hard it is for me in these photos, but I will never forget the gateway that Space Girl provided for me to get me to where we are today.
  • Wedding Mondays – I know what you’re thinking. How can you choose a favorite? We’ve highlighted so many incredible wedding videos in 2016, but one that I keep going back to (in addition to Mandi’s of course!) is this one featuring Jean (from Extra Petite) and her husband Nick. To this day, we still can’t wrap our head around the three dresses, but we think it’s amazing. Secondly, Long Haul films is no longer doing wedding videos so that makes this one extra special. (see what I did there?) Also, when I was in Boston this past fall for work, I got to stop by the Boston Library and see this venue myself and we fangirled the  same amount we did for BJ Novak. It was just as amazing in person as it is in the video…
  • Revisiting Casual – I like to look at “Casual” as something we continue to pass on. Every year, I’ve gotta share it with someone new and last year that was Manan. Together, him and I watched the entire series from start to finish and he loved it as much as I did! No surprises there – everyone I’ve ever shown this too has fallen in love with the series so it’s not too late if you decide to hop on the bandwagon. We’re still accepting fan club members. In all honesty, relationships are hard, okay? I’m never 100% content with mine and in 2016 it’s tough to date. If I knew in the long run that I was going to be okay then I would love to have that off my shoulders, but if Casual has taught me anything and if life has taught me anything – it’s that it’s all about timing. We have to let things play out the way they are supposed to. Thank you Casual for continuing to be a positive force in my life year after year.

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  • And When We Give Back – It was such a surreal experience to be speaking with students that had been accepted to Seattle University as the class of 2020. Let that sink in a little bit. When I was a kid, I used to think that college was almost the end all be all. It was hard for me to imagine being a woman with a career – not because I didn’t want to have a career, but because it just seemed so far away. I’m fortunate that my friend who works at admissions asked me to do this panel because it put a lot into perspective. It was a very humbling experience to be giving advice to students as to why Seattle U was a great school for me even though I kind of do this in my real life job too. Additionally, it made me appreciate my parents in a way that I haven’t before. Seeing the parents of these accepted students was a little bit entertaining; they were SO nervous. I wondered how my parents were able to handle me going off to college with such ease and tranquility when that is very clearly not the case for most.

  • To Be a “Leftover” Woman in China – Never have I ever ugly-cried so hard over a YouTube video, but this struck a chord with me. It’s 2016 and the pressures of settling down or being in a committed relationship are still very much a priority for most. It’s overwhelming at times! I loved hearing the stories of these young women – young women that I can identify with and find to be so brave for doing something like this. I’m glad the video had a happy ending too, a newfound perspective for their parents.
  • A Girl and Her Bed – I never write pieces like this and I remembered being very on the fence about it because it seems abnormal for me to dispel some serious feelings about a part of my daily routine. In reading it over though, I think the post is kind of beautiful. I’m using words that I don’t normally use and I’m being vulnerable in a way that I haven’t with Yow Yow! before.

  • “The Panic in Central Park” – Is this my favorite TV moment in 2016? Yes. I must have watched this episode at least 25 times and at one point, once a day for a week. We had given up on Girls the season before this one, but after hearing about how much commotion this episode stirred, we hopped back into it. Luckily, for this episode, you didn’t need to know what was happening before it. It was like it’s own standalone episode and it was a beautiful piece. Marnie may be one of the most annoying characters in the series, but in “The Panic in Central Park” she was all of us. We’ve all had that scenario – some version of it, sometimes shorter or longer or more fun or less fun than what Marnie had, but we all got to the same theme at the very end of it.
  • Our Twenties: How We’re Doing – “Be good to yourself” – a friend once advised me. Too many times in a year, I find myself complaining about how I don’t have this or don’t have that. How annoying for those around me that have to listen to this! The truth is, your 20’s aren’t easy. They were never supposed to be so it’s important for us to cut ourselves some slack. Earlier in 2016, I wrote about my New Year’s resolutions. This post though was sort of like our midpoint review. Initially this started out as a mini-project with Casper, but I ended up actually enjoying this more than I thought I would and had a lot of fun with it.
  • Aging and Alone in Manhattan’s Chinatown – I have a thing for pieces that remind me of my sweet Grandma Ruby. This profile by Mantai Chow truly captured a look into the life of an elderly living in Chinatown. I remember watching this video and thinking back to how I never worried about those that lived there because they had what I believed to be a strong community. In reality though, it seems much more lonelier than I thought. These individuals are more brave than I could ever be especially this woman profiled. Hearing her story was one of the highlights in Yow Yow’s 2016.

  • Let’s Talk About New York! – We made it to 12 posts! With all the trips we took this year, how could we not include our favorite one? It took me 26 years to get to New York, but I couldn’t have asked for a better traveling partner and tour guide. Mandi and I took the next step in our friendship and explored New York City together. She was a pro – obviously having done grad school there and me? Well, I could barely have a successful run on the subway without having a mini freak out. There was never a moment for us to stop because we were constantly on the move. And even though we had made a very packed itinerary for our trip, we only ended up doing half the things we were supposed to. I guess that just means we have to go back.
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Yow Yow’s Top 10 Posts of 2016

If only the posts I wrote in the month of December were written earlier…right? December is always the month when I have the most time to write posts, but that doesn’t seem to count for too much! Actually I have really enjoyed sharing my top 10 posts over the last couple of years on Yow Yow! because even as I work on the post, it ends up being a surprise to me! All the time, I’m wrong about what I think will do well or will be stunned when something I wrote that I didn’t spend too much time on goes viral. Every. Time!

This year, we finished out Wedding Wednesdays with Mandi as she finally got married in September! However, her and I are both planning on writing one more post to conclude things. Still, her series continued to do really well in 2016 and you’ll see that reflected in the rankings below:

With that, here are our top 10 posts from the year 2016:

  1. Wedding Wednesdays – Engagement Shoot Adventure
  2. Is It Time To Make A Move? (I know…we’re a tease!)
  3. We’re Not Moving to Squarespace
  4. Wedding Wednesdays – “It’s a Fritz Bernaise”
  5. Wedding Wednesdays – You’re Invited!
  6. Wedding Wednesdays – Building A Wedding Website
  7. Our Twenties: How We’re Doing
  8. Happy 7th Birthday Yow Yow!
  9. Looking Back: Space Girl
  10. Wedding Wednesdays – We Can Have Our Cake and Eat It Too!
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Count Em’ 1, 2… 60? 2016

Every year, this list just keeps getting easier and easier for us to make. S/O to Spotify for curating a playlist for us that captures the top songs we listened to in 2016. I was going to say that now, instead of having to go through all my seasonal playlists, I can just go through one, but if you know me, then you know I’m going to do my due diligence and scan through everything. There’s a couple of differences between this year and last year’s list though. First, it’s not in the order of which songs I was introduced to first the way we’ve always done it. If I’m correct, Spotify arranged it by play count which makes sense, but I’m also not 100% sure that is true either. Secondly, I created a playlist last year that featured all of the songs on this list and that was fun for us! Spotify’s playlist this year though includes 101 songs… and we’re only going to include 60 on this list. I’ll still share the playlist at the end that Spotify created, but it’s not totally on par with our list because I think Spotify missed a few favorites. In fact, I think Spotify played favorites to those that were more mainstream tracks!

1.Zendaya – Something New
2. Drake, WizKid, Kyla – One Dance
3. HONNE, Izzy Bizu  – Someone That Loves You
4. Ella Mai, Ty Dolla $Ign – She Don’t
5. Ariana Grande – Knew Better / Forever Boy
6. Fifth Harmony, Ty Dolla $Ign – Work From Home
7. SG Lewis, JP Cooper  – Shivers
8. Tove Lo – Cool Girl
9. Jeremih, Ty Dolla $ign – Impatient
10. Terror Jr. – Say So (Vasco Remix)

(omg let’s just get all the mainstream jamz and Ty Dolla $Ign outta the way!)

11. Zayn  – Like I Would
12. Ellie Goulding – Here’s to Us
13. Tweet – Addicted
14. The Weeknd, Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming
15. NAO – Bad Blood
16. Local Natives – Dark Days
17. Kehlani – Distraction
18. Luke Levenson – Smoke
19. Solange – Cranes in the Sky
20. Nick Jonas, Ty Dolla $Ign – Bacon

21. HONNE – Treat You Right
22. Yuna, Jhene Aiko – Used to Love You
23. Banks – Mother Earth
24. Drake – Controlla
25. Sebastian Mikael – Mine
26. UNO Stereo, Majerle – Got U
27. Leon Bridges – Lisa Sawyer
28. Cashmere Cat, Selena Gomez, Tory Lanez – Trust Nobody
29. r.e.l – Plateau
30. Joey Bada$$ – Devestated

31. Anderson Paak, Talib Kweli, Timan Family Choir – The Dreamer
32. SOSUPERSAM – A Little Wrong
33. Bruno Mars – That’s What I Like
34. Chance the Rapper, Kanye West – All We Got
35. Charles Bradley – Things We Do For Love
36. Flume, kai – Never Be Like You
37. PJ, Jevon Doe – Tell Me
38. Alex Newell, autolaser – This Ain’t Over (Autolaser Remix)
39. Clarens – Worship
40. Khalid – Location

41. Maren Morris – 80’s Mercedes
42. Janelle Kroll – Down to You (My Confidante)
43. JP Cooper – September Song
44. THEY., EstA – Bad Habits (Esta Remix)
45. Tom Aspaul – New Moon
46. Snakehips, Malika – Falling
47. SG Lewis – Holding Back
48. Frances – Borrowed Time
49. Kiiara – Gold
50. Yellow Claw, Yade Lauren – Invitation

51. LEON – Treasure
52. Ang Low – Life Goes Down
53. Gary Clark Jr. – Things Are Changin’ (Live)
54. Ambre Perkins – Boomerang
55. Kanye West– Real Friends
56. Maggie Rogers – Alaska
57. Kungs, Cookin’ on 3 Burners – This Girl
58. Mura Masa – What If I Go?
59. Frank Ocean – Self Control
60. JoJo – Mad Love

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We’re Not Moving to Squarespace

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

In September, I wrote a post about how I thought it was time to move on from WordPress. In all seriousness, I actually believed that that was the right decision to make and I was excited about Squarespace given everything that I had heard about it. I still think Squarespace is amazing, but at this point in time, it’s not right for us. I’m realizing something about myself that has to do with this decision. When I find that I’m too comfortable, this sense of urgency comes over me and I immediately feel like I need to make an exit. (Points to that time when I lived in Seattle for too long and then needed to GTFO)

We can be impulsive in that way sometimes. So after I finished traveling for work, Pat and I sat down and we imported 11,000+ posts over to Squarespace. I spent some time trying to find a template I liked and trying to familiarize myself with the editor. I also ended up purchasing a premium account, which is… 12x what I was paying for WordPress. Over the next few days, I felt like I was almost forcing myself to find reasons to love it and that’s not what I wanted to be doing over my holiday break. In the 2.5 weeks I have off, I wanted to spend this time writing A LOT and I didn’t want to have to go through 8 years of posts cleaning everything up so that pictures were resized for a normal person and not a giant. I also didn’t want to have to fix all of the videos I had ever shared and I knew that that’s what I would’ve done if I had stayed because I’m OCD like that. I wasn’t going to let Yow Yow! look like shit.

We cancelled Squarespace premium. I’m getting a refund back. We still have WordPress. I should’ve been more thoughtful about exploring different themes and templates within WordPress already, but I was so desperate to get out of this that it didn’t cross my mind. For now, we’re keeping the same layout, but we made some subtle changes. We changed the text of our headers and we removed the color image header to make Yow Yow! in black. Thank you Leanna for creating this beautiful banner for us back in 2013. It has served us well for the last 3 years! The idea for a new template hasn’t been thrown out completely, but it’s not a great time for us right now. I hope to revisit this in the future.

Lastly, there’s a little bit of embarrassment that comes along with this post, right? It’s kind of uncool to say you’re going to do something and then take it back a few months later especially when you write a post about it and it’s something serious, but at the end of the day, we’re human. I knew you would understand and things like this happen all the time so thanks in advance for giving me a break. :)

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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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