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Well, this is the most drawn out vacation posting ever.  Oh well.  If you’re catching up, here is where we left off.

So, happily we all got there in one piece (with our luggage, miracle of miracles) and had a pretty chill night.

Eric is a freakin' princess

Eric’s parents were nice enough to rent a house for the entire week for us, themselves, and Eric’s sister (Linsey), her husband (Jason), and their two kids (Cooper and Claire) to stay.  It was so generous of them.  There is no way Eric and I could have afforded a week in a hotel!  Plus it was nice to be able to sprawl out and relax in a house, and it allowed for a lot of family bonding time.  It’s a good thing I like his family, huh?!  ;)  Seriously, though, they are awesome and I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful second family.

cuddle time

Our laziness continued well into the next day.  We knew that once the wedding craziness began, things would be go-go-go, so we enjoyed our quiet before the storm.  We slept in, played some pool, ate a late breakfast and went to Target (I know – not the most exotic destination for the first day of vacation, but who doesn’t love Target?).

a little male bonding

Around 5pm, Suzanne (the super sweet and beautiful bride) picked Linsey and myself up to pick out our áo dài!  The áo dài (pronounced ow zie) is the Vietnamese national costume and is basically a (very) tight silk top with long sleeves and high neck that opens on the sides and flows over silk pants.  Usually it is custom made so that it fits like a glove.  Because it is so tight but also covers most of the body, there is a saying that the áo dài “covers everything but hides nothing.”  I was honored that Suzanne asked if I would like to wear one, but also glad we were renting mine so it would fit well, but not too well.  ;)

the peace sign is an ancient Asian photo gesture - look it up

After Linsey and I picked out our áo dài, she headed back to the house to take care of the kids and Suzanne and I continued with wedding prep.  First we went to her final fitting for her áo dài.  She actually had hers custom made and it looked amazing!  You’ll see.  Then we stopped at Lee’s Sandwiches for some Vietnamese sandwiches (awesome) and headed back to the hotel where the bridesmaids were staying to make the little boxes for reception favors – all 375 of them!  It was after 9pm at this point, and I laughed really hard when I realized just what we were supposed to do.

Suzanne had ordered a ton of little clear plastic boxes (unfolded) and planned to wrap two ribbons around them – one larger navy ribbon and a smaller silver ribbon tied into a bow – then add a little silver stuffing so that, on the morning of the wedding, Whole Foods could add a single chocolate covered strawberry into each one.  Beautiful idea, crazy execution!  :)  Actually, we had a lot of fun.  It was Suzanne and myself, of course, and her four bridesmaids (three friends and her little sis) and one of her cousins. We listened to music, drank wine, and DIYed 375 of those dang boxes!  Thankfully at one point one of the bridesmaids convinced Suzanne that the boxes looked just as cute with the top ribbon tied into a knot rather than a bow.  The bow was really slowing us down!

showering Suzanne with love and exhaustion

Around 1am we convinced Eric and Matt (and by convinced I mean coerced) to bring us additional (and vital) supplies – an extra pair of scissors, more tape, and ice cream.  Of course, by the time they got to the hotel we were almost done, but that ice cream sure soothed our cramping fingers sugar cravings.  Suzanne and I are lucky girls.  :)

We finally got back to the house around 2:30am, and Eric and I passed out almost immediately.  Good thing, too, since we were back up at 7!  I wanted plenty of time to get around, have breakfast, and drive to Newport Beach to meet the rest of the ladies for mani-pedis.

true to form, this was all either chipped or peeled within two days, but it was pretty while it lasted

This was my first ever manicure or pedicure, a fact that seems to shock a lot of people.   It was a lot of fun – my favorite parts of the morning were the massages, the mimosas, and being asked by the girl who did my nails just what the heck people do in Oklahoma.  The poor girl looked genuinely curious by the concept and probably thought I live in a teepee or log cabin.  It would not be the first time someone thought that!

After our pampering, it was on to Javier’s, an upscale Mexican restaurant right on the beach, for the rehearsal lunch.  The food was amazing, and the margaritas (and mango daiquiris) were strong.  My kind of place!

incredible

The lunch was a lot of fun – maybe too much fun since I had to hand the keys to the rental to Eric’s parents.  Hehe, oops.  I mean, I wasn’t drunk, but didn’t think it wise to test my limits.  You can bet I got a good teasing from that!

happy and a little tipsy, A LITTLE, I SAID!

After lunch, we drove to Laguna Beach for the rehearsal of the afternoon (aka Western) ceremony.  Holy cow, you guys.  The location was insane!

i wanna goooo baaaaaaaaaaackkk

The rehearsal was hilarious.

it doesn't get much better than that suit

The boys were hamming it up.

And the beach was cold but beautiful.

Some people were tired.

And some people were just plain goofy.

After we played on the beach a while, we went back to the house to clean up and then headed to the Disneyland hotel bar for a tiki party!  I forgot to take pictures because honestly I was so tired, but it was fun!  We didn’t stay too long, but it was a perfect end to a fun day.  We all went to bed pretty much as soon as we got back because the next day was the wedding day!

To be continued…

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