Honeymoon Choices

Ahh…
The honeymoon the thing I truly look forward to after our wedding. Jhon and I had our share of travels together but we only had traveled alone once but I doubt it still considered as ‘alone’ because we visited his family in the Philippines so there was still ‘adult’ supervision if you know what I mean.

So at last, we can have a private holiday or vacation. It’s not for touchy-feely purposes eh? Okay, maybe part of it. Lol It’s just nice to finally travel with each other for once. We have fun with family trips but sometimes our preferred itinerary is not always the same as others.

ANYWAYS!

Jhon and I like plenty of similar things and that includes travelling. We love landscapes, architecture, history, food, new experiences, new scenery, new cultures and a little bit of shopping.
Since day 1, I knew where I wanted to go. Turkey.


It has beautiful history of Islam, Catholic and Greek Gods. What comes with history is beautiful architecture, weather is cool/cold and the food! No need to worry about Halal food and I love my share of kebabs.

The problem is as months and years passed, there seemed to be more naughty groups creating chaos in Turkey. Initially, it was not that bad since the commotion is only near the borderline. We just need to avoid those places but recently, there was a bombing in Istanbul itself. SEDIH! I was so torn because I’ve been eyeing solely on Turkey (my mistake) and now it’s getting more and more dangerous. The stubborn me refuse to let go, the logical me said withhold.

Next, was New Zealand.


It would be the similar price range but 11 days cut to 6 days. New Zealand is known for their beautiful snow-capped mountains and natural scenery. They also have a little adventure here and there and we get to visit the Hobbiton movie set! Food may be a little difficult. We would probably eat only seafood there which is not a problem since they are known for their seafood!

I also wanted to go Japan.


April is a perfect season to see the Sakura flowers and the sushi. ALL that sushi! We were never hardcore in sushi like Unagi or those squid tentacles thingys but we sure love our salmon sashimi, Udon, Ramen, Teriyaki and Oyako don. Plus, it’s Japan. I don’t see the need to truly explain.

But what do Turkey, New Zealand and Japan have in common? Jhon need to get a Visa. For me, it’s no big deal. Just apply lor. There’s nothing we can do even though it’s tedious. Tell me, why do they need a bank statement for??? Annoying sey. I was told it’s even more leceh to get a Visa to go Japan if you are a Filipino.

So, our plan B is finding locations where he can go without a Visa. Err… besides Asian countries, the places available are pretty out there in terms of location and expenses. Places like Africa, Morocco, Peru (although I wish to go one day), Columbia, Israel, Coast Rica and more. Perhaps I will put up a post of the list with pictures for my fellow Filipino readers or who have partners/ friends who are Filipinos. I know now why you all 'hate' your passports. =/

The only places we can consider are pretty limited since we have to consider prices too.
Although we have no issue having an Asian country for our honeymoon, we had saved a lot of money so we want to go somewhere special. But if all fails, I don’t care, a vacation is a vacation. At this point, I am just being choosy.

So why not Korea?
My sis went to Korea for her honeymoon, I just don’t want to be the same lol. Childish, I know. But I think Jhon can only go through Jeju only.


Why not Maldives?
I would LOVE to go Maldives but the money I can spend for a 10 days trip at Turkey is immediately cut down to 3 days. Wut?


Why not Fiji?
Yeah, why not Fiji, JHON?? I am somewhat inclined to them because it does have factors I like. Adventure, nature, landscape, culture, beaches and more. It does cost a little bit more but better than Maldives in terms of itinerary. (I drafted this quite sometime ago and recently, Fiji was attacked by a typhoon)


Why suddenly so stressed ah? I also blame myself for wanting the 'special' honeymoon. But I don't want just a beachy-shopping trip leh... I want adventureee!!



   

Swallowing My Words

Way back in 2015, I had wrote "To hashtag or to not hashtag. That is the question." I had concluded and declared that I will not have a wedding hashtag because I think it's mainly for socially popular accounts and/or has guests who are very active in Instagram. Jhon and I are neither.

Well, as the day got closer to my wedding date, I found myself posting just a tad more wedding related pictures on my Instagram. There's when I figured, hey, why not just do a hashtag to log our wedding stuff together so I am just a click away to reminisce to our wedding planning/day in years to come?

Sure, I have a more in depth log in my blog but even I have my short attention spans moments and don't want to read.

So.... yea... we got a wedding hashtag after all.

Zura + Jhon = Zurjon

Actually, Jhon has been actively using this nickname ever since we were together; 8 years ago. So I guess, no harm no foul. 

Itu je, I want to report. haha

   

Kisah Tok Kadi

[Tales of a Marriage Solemnizer]

Here's my one of my little secrets.
I was never the 'gatal nak kahwin' girl and never obsessed with weddings but one of my guilty pleasures was watching 'Say Yes to the Dress' on special days where you get free channels on cable. That and birthing reality shows. Yep.

We have TLC 24/7 by now and I still dabble in those shows.

I don't know why but something about watching these ladies choosing dresses and being happy was fascinating. Not to mention when the opinionated family members and/ or friends voice out. But ever since I am getting married, watching such shows actually gave me added stress when the BTB was having a stressful situation. It is because of that, I try to completely avoid them.

Until I came across 'Kisah Tok Kadi' on Suria at my sister's maternity suite.


"Kisah Tok Kadi is a light-hearted drama series that revolves around the life of a young popular ‘tok kadi’, Shahrul, who successfully conducts solemnization for couples each week. In each episode Kisah Tok Kadi shows some of the unique experiences that he faces during solemnization and how he tackles those challenges."
 - Kisah Tok Kadi (tv.toggle.sg)

It was the first episode and like I said, watching wedding shows triggers my own wedding stress but at the same time, it was interesting. It's like watching a horror movie or something gory. It's disgusting/ horrifying but you can't look away. I'm not saying the show 'Kisah Tok Kadi' disgusting and horrifying eh... lol I am trying to be relatable but I kinda went sideways there.

Anyways, the show is interesting because it shows the goings and in comings in a Malay wedding besides revolving the life of the tok kadi. I am pretty sure some of the situations are relatable to many BTB & GTB. You know, the standard 'war' between the elders & youngsters, culture & modern and many more.

Some moments can be pretty annoying but trust me, some of these things actually happen eh! Maybe in some instances are exaggerated for entertainment purposes.

The only thing that I am a liiiitle not keen is that the Tok Kadi is single. I generally try to be as open minded as possible but a single tok kadi who give relationship sermons are a tad hard to swallow. Sometimes having all the information in the book does not matter when emotions are on the rise. We are not robots, okay? =P Theory and practical lessons should come in hand in hand. With that said, the advises on the show are pretty spot on.

They also touched base a little on marital & single life too.

There's plenty to learn from watching this show AND some of the wedding stuff they used is from ACTUAL wedding vendors! So you can refer and check the vendors at the end credits.

You may check out on the tele on Monday at 9:30pm or just watch it on toggle.
Don't worry for my non-Malay BTB, there's English translation. hehe

   

Wedding DIY: Bunga Rampai

Bunga rampai, translated as assortment of flowers are usually passed around after the solemnization of the bride and groom to close relatives. Bunga rampai is not exclusive to weddings only but also circumcision ceremonies, engagement etc. It is not mass distributed like wedding favours with just an average of 30 pieces per side.

[che-mid.blogspot.com]

It is basically made of several types of flowers and pandan leaves which are thinly sliced and mixed with perfume such as jasmine, rosewater or whichever is preferred. It does not have a great meaning behind but just to fill the ceremony with flowery fragrance.

[diaterimanikahnya.blogspot.com]

Making them is fun but not really to a small percentage. Some families like to go modern and have actual potpourri and perfume because it requires less work. The thing is, the fragrance hardly last long.

There are many ways to present it. In a box, in a simple netting with a bow, cute little mini baskets or in an acrylic container. Usually, there is not much thought needed for how the bunga rampai is presented. But me, I wanted to put a little more effort than just a box or netting. The smell seems to bring me youthful memories revolving weddings. I have 2 choices in mind; to go traditional or unique & modern.

My first choice is bunga rampai presented in handkerchiefs folded into a basket or tanjak (traditional hat). Does that not brings in memories? This question is obvious for orang yang tua aje. =P

[shadelica.wordpress.com]


Handkerchiefs comes in quite cheap. I love it this way because it's nostalgic and fragrance sticks to the hanky. It's an easy, cheap and fun for those who like DIY.

As for the modern version, I want crocheted mini bags! How cute is this? It's cute, presentable and unique.




My mom and my FMIL are crochet queens but my mom is retired and has not been crocheting for YEARS. We considered having Jhon's mom to crochet some for us. Remember she did this for me when I visited Philippines in 1 day?


In the end, I decided to self-learn how to crochet. I've always been interested in crocheting but never had enough motivation to until now. My only knowledge in crocheting was doing chains; endless of chains. haha I then attempted to crochet a cactus.


I did many trial practice runs of cacti before I had the confidence to do butterflies, flowers and eventually various types of baskets. As usual, the world wide web and especially YouTube has always been my solid source of information and TA DA! My DIY bunga rampai for his and hers. We are exchanging 20 mini crocheted baskets each since our ceremony is small compared to the usual 30.


We are exchanging gold and silver trays so I had the baskets' color to match.
You can't tell in the photo but there's also a bit of glittery tinsel within the threads. The gold looks yellowish on photos though but it's a light shade of gold.

I bought my thread and crochet needles at Golden Dragon Store at Chinatown. They have a large range of needlework related stuff and much, much more. Their prices are pretty okay too.



As cute as the baskets looked, they looked bald and in need of an accessory. I did considered crocheting flowers, origami roses from pandan leaves, just sticking plastic flowers or ribbons on the side. It was until we had our visit at Pasar Larkin at Johor to buy our bunga pahar we saw these.



Actually, it took us a while to choose the right design and color.
One: I didn't bring the crochet basket so we can't gauge properly what size accessory would match
Two: Spoiled by choice in terms of design
Three: Standard debate between Jhon and I in what's the best choice.

With a glue gun in hand, we stuck these babies on my baskets. it's amazing how an accessory can make a difference. They look more complete now. All we need to get is organza or tulle to act as a see through barrier to avoid the thinly sliced pandan leaves slip through the holes. I am going to leave the top open because I find the greenery of pandan leaves and flowers pretty.



For an amateur, I am proud of my attempt.
Bunga rampai baskets DONE! All we need to do is fill them up the night before the big day.





   

Baju Kurung Perempuan Yang Berseluar

[Women's Malay traditional outfit with pants]

That's what I saw on FB the other day. A commotion of a wedded couple who wore this on their wedding day. The lady wore pants instead of a long skirt.

[Source: Oh! Media]

The wedding outfit designer was by Rizman Ruzaini. I could be wrong but I think the groom is his brother.

Commotion No.1: 
How come wear hipster fashion and wear pants instead of the 'traditional' long skirt? Where's the culture?

Answer:
It's actually an official traditional outfit in Perak only tailored to a modern twist.

[Source: alambuanaputrinun313.blogspot.sg]

Commotion No. 2:
She wears Hijab but her pants are so tight fitted and a little short (exposed ankles).
THE HUMANITY!

Answer:
No doubt Islam is very clear, even in terms of modesty. But since I don't wear Hijab nor is even near perfect and even if I do, I don't see myself or anyone else have the right to outright shame and preach.

With that said, with the slight adjustments on the pants (I personally don't wear tight pants/leggings anyways) I find the outfit cool and nice leh! I like it so much maybe I should consider tailoring for Hari Raya. haha Amacam? Then nak jalan senang, duduk pun senang.

If Versari Ade have this outfit, I want to wear also even though I don't have any Malaysian or Perak blood. haha Check this design by Syomir Izwa for Malaysia's outfit for Miss Universe 2013.
I loike!

[Source: Murai.com.my]


   

The 3rd Cousin's Wedding

Have you have any cousins who are quite a distance in your family tree, i.e. your grandmother's sister's daughter's son to a point even if you met outside, you wouldn't know it?

Yeah, that's the cousin my family and I went to. My mom was obviously close with my great aunt and aunties lah but I was too small to remember and we barely kept in touch. Not once in a year kind of deal.

Anyways, it was a nice wedding. We just sat down, smiled, salam and ate while Mak did her best, socializing.




Can tell me why Mak is always hardly ready for the camera?


Anyways, Congratulations to my 3rd cousin! 


   

Testing with Henna Stains & How to Remove it Quicker

Among all the things during the wedding preparation, the most thing I am fussy about is the henna. I’ve touched base on the reasoning behind henna and my preferences here.

I (along with Mak and Jhon) do have an unpopular opinion on henna. We love our henna tints bright and/or reddish. What is popular and common is those dark stains; brown even close to black. No offence to other BTB, the first thing that comes to our head when we see dark colored finger tips, we think of frost bitten fingers. =P

I did go back and forth from DIY to engaging a henna artist but still refuse to pay more than S$100 for it. I was recommended 2 henna artists that are more affordable.

Inai by Rini (IG: #inaibyrini) & Rubyz Henna (FB: Rubyz Henna)

Too bad, was late with Inai by Rini as she is fully booked and as for Rubyz Henna, I was still 50/50 just because the fear of not having the stain I like even though she had sincerely and nicely share info on what makes the stain dark and what to do to avoid it.

Then, Mak bought henna powder at Pasar Geylang Serai and I took it as a sign to DIY. I am not very particular in designs (as long as they are not too intricate) and I happy to have it old school style, just capping at the fingers and toes with a circle on the palms of the hands.


You know what’s the best part? 1 packet is just S$1 lah!! That is minimum of S$79 savings! Lol Opps.. ter-auntie.

Since we still have a few months before the wedding, we decided to try and test the color for fun. I am no way shape or form a henna expert. Everything done is either from my mom’s knowledge with henna and trial and error. So for those who prefers a lighter or brighter stain because you prefer it so or you are doing it because your parents wants to, see my tried and tested henna experiments.

Note: 
☀ All henna were removed once completely dried (longer stayed, darker it is)
☀ Rinsed with water only
☀ Colors WILL turn darker over 1-2 days before it hit its peak and fade naturally. It’s a matter what’s the initial color
☀ No additional oils or ointment were used
☀ Besides different body temperature, skin reaction, natural skin color also effects the henna stain.
☀ For some reason, if I look under natural light, it looks reddish. If under fluorescent light or under a shade, it looks brownish. Why? I dunno.
☀ I had a few designs in my mind. I used tape as a guide or to make sure I have perfect straight lines. I have shaky hands.

 Henna Paste Test 1


This is just the basics, henna powder (from India) and asam jawa (Citrus helps to activate the henna). Amount of juice needed depends on the amount of powder used so you have to eyeball it.
The paste dries in 2-3 hours. The outcome of the first henna test was light orangey in color. Perfect for those who just want a light stain on their fingers.



Henna Paste Test 2



My sister had bought the paste for S$3.50. It claims to give a red stain so I tried. This henna stains REALLY fast, within seconds so be careful. I had it on for 1 hour. Color came out is beautiful red but the aftermath feeling sucks.  My fingers shriveled a little and felt a little numb. I applied a little moisturizer to rid of the dried feeling. Suddenly I have the horrific thought of botched henna that ruins my skin!

Maybe it’s solely meant for nails and designs not to put as a glob on your fingertips. =P Since it has the fastest stain, there is no need to leave it on for too long. I think 30 minutes should be enough. It does not smell like henna too. It smells like ointment but the scent is not that strong. Another thing I dislike is that the stain is all blotchy and not unified. Yucks. Perhaps should’ve take out the paste and mix it even though it’s supposed to be ready to use. What else could explain the blotchiness?


Henna Paste Test 3


My mom went secret chemist on me. She just randomly add lime juice AND a little bit sis’ henna paste from Paskistan on top of the first paste I did. She put on her fingers and it looked reddish so I tried on my own.

The paste dries in 2 hours. The color is more saturated and slightly reddish compared to the first henna trial which we liked. By far, our most preferred shade. I’m pretty sure we don’t have to be redundant with the asam jawa with lime juice though.



I tried all 3 types in 3 different days. By the end of the process, I was walking around like this. Haha Suka jadi orang gila? Well, You can literally see the different colors huh?


How to remove henna stains quickly

Henna stains usually naturally go away after 1 to 3 weeks depending on the stain darkness, skin and daily hand washing. Sometimes people don’t want that lingering stain or when it starts to disappear, it looks less appealing. Some BTB might want to keep the stain as long as they can because it’s a memory of their wedding day. To each her own.

There are many ways to remove henna stains quickly but here are the much safer ways. Note that stain removing still requires time and it’s impossible to remove it immediately. Henna stains only your skin cells so as your dead skin cells are removed, the stain is removed as well.

1. Hand Washing
There’s a reason your henna artist say, don’t wash your hand especially with soap 24 hours after henna peeling. Hand washing or the act of washing dishes or having showers naturally remove your dead skin cells. The often you get water on your hands, the more likely the stain will fade. Do not wash too often or your hands will get dry unless you always have a lotion ready to moisturize.

2. Scrub/ Exfoliate
Scrubbing or exfoliating your skin does increase the process as it helps promote removing of dead skin cells. Similar with constant washing, constant scrubbing will lead to dry skin so be careful.

3. Olive Oil & Salt
Mix olive oil & with a little bit of salt and soak in a cotton pad. Gently rub the cotton pad on your fingers and replace when needed. Both are great emulsifiers of henna stains. Since olive oils are moisturizing, you can safely use this often with breaks in between.

4. Exercise
Did I hear a groan? Lol If you are an active person who works out often on land or water, your henna stains will tend to remove faster due to all that sweating and removing of skin cells. Spending time under the sun also will increase the fade.


I mainly focused on normal daily hand washing, washing of dishes, showers and in between, I attempted at the olive oil + salt method which I refer to cleaning sessions. I rubbed the concoction on average of 30 minutes and you can see the difference in just 1 session.  It took me 3-4 days to achieve that last photo.

Henna stains on your nails are harder to remove compared to skin. With the steps above, it may reduce the color but by the end of the day, the only way is to wait for your nails to grow and trim it.

***

Ooh! I found out a way to reduce the stain on your nails. Use those nail buffers as they make your nails smooth, it removes the top layers hence removing the stain too. Of course, do this sparingly because you don't want to over buffer your nails!


Pardon my lame attempt at nail buffering. I have those squarish types and I had difficulty getting at the edges so it turned out like that. lol Also, the picture was taken a few days after I tried buffering my nail. I thought I could make it proper eventually but this mak cik has no skill. This mak cik only know how to trim nails aje. I am pretty sure the outcome will turn out more proper for the rest of you. haha At least you can see the difference after I buffer my nail.

The point is, you can buffer/ smooth your nails to remove the henna. Patience and basic skill is needed though. Why would anyone want to remove it? Well, I personally don't fancy the color AND you won't have to deal with the receding stain. Maybe you do, then it's okay, it's your nails. hehe

I do this for SCIENCE! (okay, maybe not)

   

New Member of the Family!!!!11!

Introducing my sister's daugther, Nadia Aqilah.

She was born through caesarian on 1st February 2016. Ideally, I would take news like this top priority but for some reason, I was told not to post until a period of time.

But here she is at 2.36 kg.


With her Omah.


Face palm or shy?







With Tito Jhon.


As I posting this, she is slightly over 1 week old and I got her a Carebear teddy. I had a pink one when I was a wee little girl too. I actually had a little squabble with Jhon because he wanted to get a bigger one, a long side a gigantic teddy AND a barbie doll. -_-


Tell me how am I suppose to deal if ever have our own baby? 

Anyways, Welcome to the world, Nadia Aqilah, may you grow up to be a smart, good and all the awesome things in life.