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#Jockwedding: The Bridesmaids

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Selecting the bridal party was one of the most exciting and also difficult part about this whole wedding thing. The both of us are fortunate enough to have a lot of close friends to choose from and if we could we would have everyone we loved be a bridesmaid or a groomsmen. Having nine bridesmaids and nine groomsmen is kinda pushing it already and also we wanted nine because it represented the amount of years we would have been together by 2014.

In one of my rare blog posts, I thought it would be nice to introduce the bridesmaids. Hope this post doesn’t seem too awkward, hope I haven’t quite forgotten how to write.

Bridesmaids and Maid of Honours from The Dahlings

As I went through high school, university and ultimately came out to work, I have been blessed with very close friends who were with me all the way. In high school I had The Dahlings, a group of 11 girls who remained close years after high school. Although it has been tough to keep in touch especially in recent years with careers, relationships and distances to juggle, I still think of them as my Dahlings.

Esther (Maid of Honour)

Esther and I met in Form 1 when we shared the same pesky chinese POL class but only got really close in Form 3, when she and I sat next to each other in the same class. We bonded while slogging for our Interact Club projects, as well as with the rest of the Dahlings,  and we carried this bond into college where we would do lots of firsts together – first time driving on the highway, using a digital camera to take silly pictures, DIY projects.. and we shared many, many dreams together. Esther and I can go on and on about our great big dreams. One big dream was in 2003: Fresh out of form 5, I discovered I was pretty alright at this software called Photoshop, like HEY i can remove pimples and such! I can work this Photoshop thing, no prob. I was also messing around with Frontpage, a software found on the spanking new Windows XP that could make websites and I thought HEY! Let’s do this. Let’s make websites. Prom was also rolling around and Esther and I thought we had what it took to start up a prom dress and accessories review website. We had a digital camera and all that. It would so totally work.

Imagine if we kept it up, we’d be reviewing shops even before blog shop reviews came around. :) Many other great big dreams came after that that never really worked out. But we yearn to get over it and make something happen, one day. :) I like the fact that we get inspired together and it is a lot of joy to have someone who is on the same page as you always.

Despite The Dahlings being strewn all over the globe, I get to see Esther almost every week as she has moved down to Singapore for over a year now. Needless to say, it’s pretty amazing having one of your childhood best friends so near when you have moved so far away from home.

She has been a great pillar of support when it comes to my wedding. She was there to give me ideas, to put me on the right track, to vacuum away any dust bunnies tumbling around my wedding-crammed brain…. I really don’t know what I did to deserve such an amazing person to be one of my two maid of honours. You hear so much about bridesmaid dramas but Esther and Mun Teng have been absolutely amazing and I have never felt more blessed than this.

Mun Teng (Maid of Honour)

 

I love Mun Teng a lot because she is raw and real and funny and basically the most genuine person ever. We were primary schoolmates but we got closer in high school and even closer when she sat behind Esther and I in Form 3. Volleyball and Interact Club played a huge part in our lives and again, like the other girls, we bonded over that.

As people left Subang, came back to Subang and left Subang again, Mun Teng slowly became the one friend that I would meet whenever I am back in Subang. Many firsts with her too…discovering make-up in Form 2 and me making her look like a clown (wish we had a picture), going Genting for the first time with friends, late night mamak sessions during college, going clubbing and discovering that I’m a crying drunk and her laughing at me…the list is endless.

Her brutal honesty is also an acquired taste but the Mun Teng today is a better deal than the Angry Munty we had to deal with back in high school…so we love her all the more now! She’s also Aunty Munty as she nags like an aunty! Haha!

Melody (Bridesmaid)

 

I would say Melody is the first real female friend I had. As in, we met at an age where I was morphing into a woman in the sense that I:
1) Started bitching
2) Started to fall head over heels in love with boys
3) Started to think too much
4) Loved to indulge in heart-to-heart sessions

Mel played a huge role in forming me into the person I am today. When I met her in Form 1, I was still the timid, shy and awkward prefect from primary school compared to her eye-rolling, eloquent, big-girl-magazines-reading and sassy super confident self. It was a breath of fresh air to me! I could be sassy too! She came from a very prominent all girls primary school and I always assumed that’s where she got her confidence from.

We got close as librarians in Form 1 where she would read to me love letters from her then online sort of boyfriend and I would point out cute senior boys to her to which she would tease me about endlessly. Interact Club became our LIFE! With the other Dahlings, we also had many happy afternoons of volleyball training. That pretty much summed up high school for us.. Interact Club and Volleyball!

I’ve had the most ups and downs with Mel throughout high school and as one of those who stuck around Subang after uni, I saw Mel a lot whenever I was back in Subang. When she left for Australia, I felt myself getting pretty upset knowing that it’ll be hard to ‘just hang out’ again.

I do miss Mel a lot.

Amanda

When I first met Amanda in Form 1, she was already hot stuff among the boys. I always tell her that back then I thought she was an ice queen, a real cold…. well, for lack of better word, bitch.

But as we went through high school, I started to see the cold layers melting away revealing this super funny, kooky, nutty, genuine person. One of the things that is constant about her throughout the 14 years that I’ve known her is her loyalty and it is one of the things I really love about her.

She has left home for a really long time but every time she returns from Australia, we still get on like a house on fire. And when you have a friend like that, you know she’s one of your best friends. You never say goodbye, you just keep talking from where you last left off.

Shevie

Shevie is beyond a cousin to me. Not only is she my god sister but growing up, it has always been us three kids: Jolene, Mervyn and Shevie. We were siblings! Mervyn and Shevie fought. Mervyn and I fought. Shevie and I never ever fought though I may have raised my voice at her a few times when we were kids. Sounds like Mervyn was public enemy no. 1. Haha!

I won’t say she is the sister I never had because she pretty much is the sister I have always had! We got on great as kids and we still get on great as adults. Despite not seeing each other as much as we would like, we are still on the same wavelength which is pretty damn awesome. I’m also very proud to see that this younger sister of mine is bursting with creativity, confidence and passion and that basically sums up who she is today!

Lie Yuen

It’s hard to imagine that I met her for the first time back in A-Levels when all I remember and love about her is from uni. Now THIS is the sister I never had. We were each other’s family in uni along with my other girls Cze-Yin, Nien, Brenda, Zhu Zen, Poh Yee, Socknee for the five years in Sungai Petani. We were housemates from my first year right up to my final year and the amount of things we learned about each other is pretty bottomless.

We did so, so much together. I talk so much about how I love my high school girls right, so dentistry is also five years, as long as high school. This is high school + living in together, some real bonds were formed right there!!

Usually huddled in my bedroom, we would talk about our families, our insecurities, our dreams, our fears, our friends. She would always layan all my excitement be it a youtube video, new cosmetics, something weird on the internet… anything. She was always there laughing with me.

Sure, we annoyed each other as people who get close to each other do, but I truly truly am grateful that I had her with me throughout uni. I have never been that close to a friend before. I think the most similar relationship (in terms of communication) that I can think of is my relationship with Chee Kiang and that’s saying something! Haha!

Elizabeth

I met Elizabeth when we were in form 3 or form 4 as she was also on the board of directors of her Interact Club at a neighbouring school. She had a genuine friendliness that was wayyy beyond her age.. that was what I remembered most about her.

College and university happened and while I still thought fondly of her, we drifted out of each others’ lives.

It was only when I started working in Johor Bahru that we reconnected and she is one person who can talk to anyone and everyone. She has a very big heart that never judges and is ready to do anything for a friend. She knew all my girls from Subang and is pretty close to them and I could bring her to meet anyone I came to know in JB too! She is THAT friendly. For a period of time, she hung out at our apartment pretty often so much so that I told her she might as well be our adopted daughter.

While Chee Kiang and I share a lot, A LOT of friends together, Eli is someone that we have together. I know she sounds like a daughter haha but I don’t really know how to explain. I guess you can say we click with her equally.. and that’s saying a lot! Also, do you know how rare it is to have someone you know from home living in JB like you?

Pei Nee

We met at work at the end of 2011 at my last posting as a first year dental officer. She was doing her first posting in JB at that time. It might be quite hard to believe but my first impression of her was that she was a bit of an ice queen too. Similar to Amanda, the layers melted off to reveal the funniest, sweetest, most down to earth person ever.

I quickly caught on that we were on the same wavelength in the way we talked and the way we thought. She had a cheeky edge too and I absolutely love her sense of humour. Similar to Eli, you can bring her to meet anyone and by the end of the night, she would be closer to the person than you are! That just speaks volumes of how genuine she is. As savvy as she appears, she has a little naivety to her which is extremely endearing.

Dennis (bridesMATE!)

Lastly, having to decide between She Dee, Sush, Chien, Min Dee, Melissa, Abby, V-ng Yan, Li Peng from high school, Cze-Yin, Brenda, Nien, Socknee, Zhu Zen, Poh Yee from uni, Jillian and Yi Pei from work, my cousins Jacqueline, Yen Yen, Kai Ning… it hit me. I had to have my korkorbear as my bridesmate!!

When I first knew of his existence, Dennis was my primary school’s head prefect, two years my senior. We became fast friends when I entered Form 1, even more when I entered the Interact Club where he was the Vice President. As a 15 year old, he had wisdom wayyyyyyy beyond his years. Whatever boy problems I had, he was there to decipher them for me and he was one of my strongest pillar of support throughout high school. Any dilemma I had, he had a solution. He was like my oracle. The older brother I never had. He was the older brother most of us in the Dahlings never had.

While he remained our close confidante throughout high school, he was a very serious grounded boy. The ultimate teacher’s favourite. After high school, a new side of Dennis started to take shape. Mamak sessions through the years were filled with stomach hurting hilarious stories that Dennis brought back from his many adventures traveling the world. Like Elizabeth he too has a big heart and with an open mind, he embraces new experiences and crafts them into amazing tales to share with us.

Can’t wait for the day when they are all in the pretty dresses I picked out. :)


#JOCKwedding: The Long Awaited Proposal

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I know it’s like 10 months after I got engaged…. but if I don’t put this up, I might never forgive myself OR be able to keep posting about wedding stuff.

There was even a write up by one of my best friends, Melody, on Wedding Guide Asia, but I believe my old abandoned blog deserves this story. (COZ I REALLY WANT TO LAUNCH INTO THE OCCASIONAL POSTS ABOUT WEDDING PREP. :P)

This was what I wrote like, a week or so after the proposal:

***

We have talked about our wedding, whenever that may be, for ages already. It was just a bashful lingering unspoken question mark as to when he would finally ask me. Okay, maybe not so unspoken. I try to cleverly mask it with a playful facade but with deep threatening undertones whenever I ask “When ahhh”. HEHE.

Due to our busy schedules, taking time off to go away together is rare. The first suspicion I had was a weekend in Langkawi back in December 2011. Nothing.

A staycation at Pan Pacific Orchard last October. Nothing.

Then he said, “Dear ah, for our anniversary this year we go Luna Bar and celebrate k?”

Luna Bar was the place where we celebrated our first anniversary. It was to celebrate a year of being awkward around each other, of only holding hands and nothing else. I remember having lunch with the girls at Su-Hsien’s house that Saturday back in December 2005 and they said “Oooh!! Your anniversary tonight! Shouldn’t you be excited?” I wasn’t really. A year on and we haven’t even had our first kiss yet. There was still this blushing wall of shyness between the both of us.

But it also happened that evening while looking out at Kuala Lumpur from 33 floors above. I have always thought of that as the moment our relationship really and truly began. Our first kiss got the ball rolling to many years of openness and intimacy.

So like with all the weekend getaways and staycations,I just let it happen. Because who knows right?! Arranged friends to cover for me at my weekend job, told my parents I was coming home… it was a lot of effort to take but it might happen, fingers crossed.

I just thought it *might* happen but I didn’t know for sure.

A couple of days before we were to go back to KL to celebrate our anniversary, I was rushing for my HRMIS submission. Only government people would know what that is and will shake their heads in pity. It is sort of like an online KPI submission thing, a government initiative to go paperless but hoo boy, it only works with Internet Explorer and the server is super unstable. Key in your password wrong twice and you’re ban from entering until you get your main office to reset the password for you.  I don’t know who said this but I think one of my seniors or colleagues said “Facebook also got a lot of people enter everyday lah won’t crash also?”

Right, so, the only computer at home that has Internet Explorer was Chee Kiang’s desktop. He was doing his night calls so he wasn’t there to lunge for the computer going, “NOOOOOooooooooo” as I fired up the computer. I needed to use Word and I saw that under most recent documents was the file called “Locations”.

My eyes skimmed the top part of the word document and I saw a few words.

“Luna Bar”, “Camera 1″, “Karthik”…….

I panicked and immediately closed the browser and curled into a ball and started crying my eyes out. I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT WAS REALLY HAPPENING!! I didn’t allow myself to read the entire thing as I have already spoiled it so much. Chee Kiang would have been so upset!

I calmed down after 5 minutes of wailing (i know, so drama. But I was home alone.) and started trying on dresses. :P

I tried to enter denial mode, to regain that element of surprise. But nothing could stop me from smiling at him that extra bit more, or stroking him lovingly whenever. :P hahah Not that I don’t always, just that I threw in and extra amount of affection as all happy girlfriends do.

I spoiled my own surprise on Wednesday before the proposal (8/12/12). I willed myself to believe that it wasn’t going to happen on Thursday. By Friday I could feel a slight nervous flutter in my tummy but somehow I was more calm than nervous.

By Saturday, it was THE day. There was still a possibility that it might not happen but there were just so many clues that I kept picking up on. Like when I ‘ter-saw’ his whatsapp messages. One was from Esther, one of my best friend of 13 years, who said, “Do you think Jo will buy it?” and also from his dad “Video ok. All Ok.” I hastily told myself, ALRIGHT. THAT’S IT. ENOUGH WITH THE CLUES! STAY! AWAY!!

We travelled back from Johor Bahru on Saturday morning as we had to attend a friend’s wedding dinner the night before. I saw him constantly typing away on both his Malaysia and Singapore phones. I pretended not to notice. I’m usually super kepo and will ask annoying things like, “Who ah? Why ah? Say what wor!” My oblivion was a sign that he probably picked up on.

As the hours trickled on, the nervous bubble in my belly was welling up. But every time I reminded myself that it was him, the one that I feel most at ease with, most in love with, most comfortable with, most safe with…. why should I be scared? I had him to accompany me throughout this very exciting moment!

When I arrived home, I picked up on another hint. -_- Already anticipating something would happen, my mother said “Tonight must wear nice nice okay! Remember to wear your false eyelashes… memorable occasion!” … I just pokerfaced back at her and looked away before her eyes started giving more away. No more spoilers! Noo!

On the way to Luna Bar, I would sneakily try to feel his chest for any increase in heart rate. The man was so calm it was unbelievable! I thought when a guy is about to propose, they clam up and go all quiet and nervous.

It has been about seven years since we last stepped into Luna Bar together.

How did seven years go by so fast?

He hugged me in the lift and asked, “How long have we been together?”

I didn’t know how to answer and just smiled awkwardly while snuggling into his shoulder. IT’S COMING!!

The lift opened on the 33rd floor and a shell shocked Daryl and Kim stared at us. They were part of the surprise and I guessed as much that they were supposed to be somewhere else with our friends and family. Without much expression, they muttered to each other “eh what are you doing here man”. If I was being how I am normally, I would pipe up and make a big hoo hah about how awesome a coincidence it was, bumping into close friends all the way in the middle of KL! But I remained quiet because I was really curling into my shy cocoon already with every second.

Chee Kiang would explain to you what my shy cocoon is. When he asked me to be his girlfriend the first time in 2001, I curled up into a ball, not knowing how to answer him. When he asked me to be his girlfriend for the second time back in 2004 , I curled into a shrimp position (as we were lying down on a bunk bed on a train to Langkawi). Oh, he knows my shy cocoon. Always mocking me about it. >:((

We settled in at the spot where we sat to celebrate our 1st anniversary. I’m not sure how much the skyline has changed since then but we could still see KL Tower and KLCC clearly and a little bit of Genting Highlands in the distance if you squint hard enough. This was supposed to be a predinner kind of thing where we would head on to a steakhouse Jalan Tun HS Lee for a proper dinner.

Daryl and Kim, who almost blew their own cover, came to join us as they were “waiting for their friends to arrive”. It was all a blur of catching up, prodding our jacket potato half heartedly, generally me being awkward.

We then got up to leave Luna Bar as the sun was setting (that was his excuse for why we should go to Luna Bar before dinner: to see the sunset!), I thought to myself, “eh? not here meh? Hmm.. this is turning out to be even more of a surprise.” I smile slyly to myself. Still being awkward though, mind you!

We went down the lift and he showed me this picture.

“I want to show you your anniversary present. During my grad trip, I put this lock on a fence in Paris which had many similar locks. We need to go back to get it!”

In my mind I thought he had prepared a treasure hunt thing for me that night.

We kept walking towards the exit and then he stopped for awhile and felt his pockets, “Eh dear, I think I dropped the keys upstairs. Check your bag see whether got or not!”

I dug around my bag a bit. No keys. Side sly smile from me again intermingled with awkwardness.

“Okay we go back up to see.”

When we got back up to the bar he said, “Alright, you check the seats just now, I’ll go look in the toilet.”

It was pouring cats and dogs and if you’ve been to Luna Bar, you’ll understand that there’s a possibility of getting drenched at various parts of the bar.

I dashed past a bit of rain to search for the keys and when I looked up, a huge bouquet of roses was placed on the bench. It was like they magically appeared!!

I turned to my left and he was walking towards me with a cheeky smile and Daryl was behind him holding a video cam!! As much as I was anticipating something the entire night, it still came as a surprise! Oh god the anticipation.

He said, “Look up there!” pointing at the mezzanine floor.

Through the rain and my giddiness and my inability to make out faces past 15 metres or so (bad astigmatism), I could see a group of our friends holding placards that said, “Jo will you marry me?”

Me being me I just went, “OMG who is up there?!? I can’t see!!”

“Go up and see laaa”

I got up the stairs with my big bouquet of roses and they were all there!! A handful of my closest friends and our family members all cheering!

I was of course a little bit dazed and was slow to absorb all the effort he made. I suddenly noticed they were all wearing JO.CK tops! In pink and blue!!

According to him, pink and blue are to represent Team Kitty and Team Tiffany. Since I kinda go a bit mad at Hello Kitty accessories and Tiffany coloured items. :’) He knows me.

There was a LOT of glitter on the placards. :’)

And then there was a bubble machine. A BUBBLE MACHINE!!! Later on I asked him how come he decided to put a bubble machine and he reminded me that when we were at Marina Bay Sands a few months back, the gigantic bubble machine started spewing out bubbles during one of the evening water shows..I told him, “DEAR. SO MUCH BUBBLES!! This is the moment!! You can propose now!!” He remembered. :”’)

Anyway, after settling down a little, he brought me over to wear the bubbles had its maximum effect, took my bag and placed it aside and said, “Now for the important question…”

He got down on one knee and took out a velvet dark navy box, “Jolene Lai, will you marry me?”

A real life diamond ring was right in front of me. I started to well up and found myself digging at the ring, it wouldn’t budge out. Realizing that I was digging at the ring for quite a bit, I stopped because I probably looked quite desperate doing so..hahaha.. :|

After he placed the ring, it was all a blur to me! As I told him later, I don’t think I even said yes. HAHA!


Yup. Had it resized since Chinese New Year already.


My mum is probably the happiest here..haha.


Our wonderful friends who helped out that night.


Some pictures of the gang as they waited patiently upstairs before our supposed arrival, haha!

..

***

So yeah.. that was pretty much what I wrote almost 10 months ago. If I were to continue writing from where I left off, I might not be able to sum up exactly how I felt afterwards so I will just leave it at that. ALSO, it has been a wedding year. Friends’ wedding, planning our own… oh god. I overdosed on wedding stuff until some months I give myself a couple of weeks off to not think about anything wedding related.

Nonetheless, I absolutely love the whole conceptualising stage, the ideas that are flowing, some DIY projects here and there.. all that I have been sharing non-stop on facebook and instagram. So thought why not put it on the blog too… as and when I feel like it!


Making Instagram Magnets!

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Just for my friends on Facebook, I decided to come back and blow the dust off this old blog to have a platform to do a mini tutorial on how to make your own Instagram magnets!

From my Sticker Monster days, I have plenty of left over A4 magnetic paper. One side is magnet and the other side is of a paper kind of material! Fits right into my HP Inkjet printer. Those were the days when I had big ambitions to make pretty magnets for the sticker business. Those days are now long gone. :(

ANYWAY, yes so you will need:

1) A4 Magnetic Paper (Source: A4 Inkjet Printable Magnetic Paper)
2) Epoxy square stickers (Source: 25mm Epoxy Square stickers) – they have glitter ones, matte ones and so forth!


A great addition to our already brimming with magnets fridge!


I was ecstatic when these epoxy squares arrived in the mail! :D


The first step is to scan the epoxy stickers. We need the dimensions of these squares in order to know how to size the Instagram pictures!

Fire up photoshop and get the actual pixels of the image. This shows you the exact size of the square when you print it out.

After getting the Actual Pixels, open up Image and go to Image Size. Select Document Size’s dimension in millimetres. The numbers will come up automatically. 25.57mm by 25.23mm. I’m not that anal so I’ll just place it at 25mm by 25mm.

Open up one of your Instagram (Square!) pictures and change the image size according to the size of the scanned epoxy square sticker. As you can see, I made it at 25mm by 25mm. That’s my new dog Beezer by the way! Angel is still alive and kicking.. and kicking Beezer whenever she gets the chance.

In true Jolene Lai fashion, I can get quite excessive with the things I do. So open up all your favourite Instagram pictures! Resize it all! (I used automated action. Go google it lah. Malas wanna explain so much). Open up a new empty document and go for 1000pixels by 1000pixels. Start copying each image and pasting it in.

Woot!! All done! :D You can print preview and see if it will come out nicely.


Printed it out! I think there’s something wrong with my printer or the quality from the facebook pictures I saved. Maybe should try directly from your Camera Roll (or SD card if you are using Android!), might be clearer, who knows.


This is the fun part! Take your epoxy stickers and place over each square picture.


Flatten it down. No need to worry about air bubbles but just give it a few presses for good measure!


Love the bubble, glossy, 3D effect!


And cut! :)

This will make great gifts. You can go on tumblr and steal inspirational quotes by teenagers or crop out gorgeous pictures on Pinterest uploaded by bored housewives. Anything can be made into epoxy magnets!

As you can see, I am more active on Instagram than my blog here. So do follow me on Instagram!