Wednesday, December 22, 2010

chic togs for the kiddo

I am completely smitten with the new All Saints children's collection! Hailing from the UK, All Saints Spitalfields offers super cool, completely design-conscious clothing for men, women and children. I'm diggin' how the collection manages to walk the line between classic and trendy with just enough edge to make it interesting and unique. I'm thinking Mia may just get a pair of their leather boots as a late Christmas gift this year. For a peek at their charmingly punky-chic children's collection, click HERE.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

baby, it's cold outside

Yes, yes, I know. It's been a while... a month and a half to be exact. My apologies for being such a neglectful blogger. Life had sort of taken over the past few weeks and I found myself just inundated with... well, stuff I had to do. I think the holiday season has a knack for whirling us all about and before we know it, it's a new year.

But I'm back blogging. And in full Christmas spirit to boot! In fact, I've been finding myself tuning into our local easy listening station -- you know, the one that devotes the whole month of December to playing Christmas songs. Yes, yes, I know. I may as well wear a big dork sign on my forehead. But hey, it's Christmas! We're allowed to be dorky, sentimental saps this season, right? Anyway, I'm always thrilled when they play Wham's "Last Christmas" and the Glee cast's "Baby It's Cold Outside." My top two Christmas faves definitely. And because I think Chris Colfer and Darren Criss did an absolutely fabulous rendition of a classic song, I included the clip in this post. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dan Mills - Socks

I am lovin', lovin', lovin' this song! I heard it on satellite radio during my drive into work, and it made me smile. It reminds me of a time when my baby girl was merely five months old. She would always sleep with us at night. We (my husband, baby and myself) would spend cold winter nights bundled up and huddled in bed. One morning while making the bed, I was fastidiously trying to smooth out these incorrigible lumps under the sheets. See, I'm a bit of a bed-making Nazi --- tight corners, smooth sheets, even draping on both sides, please! After some rooting around, I dig out one of my husband's socks. Sigh, I thought. He's always leaving his socks all over the place. Then I notice another lumpy bundle closer to the foot of the bed. Darn him, I thought! It's undoubtedly the mate to his rogue sock. I pull it out and ashamedly discover that it was one of mine. Oops! Sheepishly, I continue making the bed. Again I notice a small little lump at the very bottom of the sheet. I reach in and pull out the teeniest, tiniest, multi-colored striped sock. I immediately smile. A little family of rogue socks. My heart melts...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

the graceful and loyal crane

I've always loved origami -- the traditional Japanese folk art of paper folding. I love the beautifully printed, sometimes gilded, always colorful sheets of paper. I love the concentration it takes to precisely fold a single paper square, manipulating it just so. And I'm always delighted when all that folding results in nothing short of miniature sculpture. My favorite of all origami shapes is the majestic crane.

According to Japanese culture, the crane symbolizes honor and loyalty. It is a beautiful, graceful and strong bird that is extremely loyal to its partner. And actually, it's one of few animals that mate for life. As such, the crane has become a popular symbol for weddings and anniversaries.

I've been thinking of using an origami crane theme for my parents' anniversary dinner. They've been married for 35 years. Amazing, right? With four boisterous kids, I'm sure those years haven't always been easy. Definitely an inspiration...

Love these paper crane cupcakes. On a side note, I was thinking these would make a great children's birthday party idea. A variety of origami animals atop cupcakes would be adorable. You could also set up an origami craft table complete with paints, glue, beads and rhinestones for kids to have fun with.

Colorful cranes serve as a backdrop for a wedding banquet.

A curtain of cranes surround a wedding couple.

Paper crane cake toppers, place cards, invitations, decor and even a fabric crane boutonierre.
The possibilities are endless!

(Images via,,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

glorious apple pie

Look at these gorgeous apples. We picked them fresh off the trees at an organic orchard just an hour and a half from where we live. It was really a ton of fun. What's more, we were able to get varieties of apples not normally found in stores. You can read about our little apple pickin' excursion HERE.

We took home these Glen Seedling, Stayman Winesap and Virginia Winesap apples with the intention of baking a homemade apple pie. I found a basic recipe online and customized it to my liking. It's hard to say how many apples you really need as it really depends on the variety of apple you use. Just make sure you get enough to overfill a pie plate. I used a mix of 10 Winesaps (smaller tart and sweet apples) and 4 Glen Seedlings (large tart apples). You can also use Granny Smiths; but I like to mix the sweet and tart to get just the perfect balance.

  • Apples (enough to overfill a pie plate) peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2 pastry sheets (I used Pillsbury ready made pastry sheets)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water (remove 1 Tablespoon of water from the 1/4 cup to compensate for vanilla)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 egg white beaten

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, core and slice apples. Don't slice them too think as it will take longer to cook. Submerge in a bowl of very cold water to keep them from turning brown while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to thicken. Add water, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and keep on a very low simmer. Careful not to burn it.
  • Working quickly, remove apples from water and place on paper or cloth towel to dry.
  • Place bottom crust into pie plate. Make sure you press crust into the plate so that there is no air between the crust and the plate. Brush the crust with the beaten egg white.
  • Remove sauce from heat. Pour 3/4 of sauce over your sliced apples (make sure the apples are not overly wet) and toss together. Save the rest of the sauce for later.
  • Pour apples onto crust, filling pie plate generously and mounding it just a bit.
  • Cover with a lattice work of crust and seal edges of pie. I used the tines of a fork to pinch them shut. Gently pour the rest of the sauce over the crust, spreading it out evenly. Brush with egg whites and sprinkle a bit of sugar on top. This will give the crust a nice, sparkly sheen.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until apples are soft and pie is a nice golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for one hour. This will give the caramel sauce time to thicken. Enjoy!

Sauce covered apples overfill a pie plate.

A lattice top crust covered in sauce. Best to spread the sauce evenly to give an even golden color. You can use a pastry brush to hep you with this.

Golden baked, yummy, sweet and tarty apple pie. It really came out quite well, if I do say so myself. It's got a nice caramel cinnamony flavor without it being too sweet. And the mix of apples were a good balance. Just perfect for chilly autumn evenings!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

diggin' wide leg jeans

I'm on a total wide leg denim phase at the moment. I find them so much more fun and versatile than skinny jeans. You can dress them up or down. They can look tailored or slouchy. High waisted dark denim wide legs are my fave. They make your waist look teeny tiny. Throw in a pair of chunky wedges and your legs look like they go on for miles. Not an easy feat for petite peeps like me. In my opinion, they're really the perfect base for a super stylish outfit.

Here are some of my favorite photos featuring these oh so chic jeans. Enjoy and Happy Friday, everyone!

(Images via Glamour UK, Vogue, and

Monday, November 1, 2010

One simple question

I find this video rather inspiring. I love how one simple question can offer a glimpse into somebody's heart. What about you? Where would you wish to wake up tomorrow?...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Most of you know by now that I work at an ad agency. It also happens to be an ad agency where Halloween is a really huge deal . 100% participation is expected and the department teams get downright competitive as to who's got the best costume. I've aligned myself with the creative team and together we are showing up as the cast of Mad Men. We're all pretty psyched about it mostly because it just seems so apropros. And also because we plan on drinking martinis all day Friday. :)

I think Sergio does Roger Sterling proud. A couple of martinis, a ciggy and lots of attitude are all he needs to churn out advertising genius.

My big plans to hunt down the perfect Jane Sterling outfit never came to fruition. Shame considering there are so many vintage shops lining Melrose (which is just a few miles from our office). Luckily, a below the knee black dress, a tweed cape, some vintage accessories from my own closet seemed to fit the bill. Put in a well-placed cigarette and a haughty expression and I might barely pass as Jane Sterling. Here's Nick channeling his inner Don Draper. Shaken not stirred please!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Fun Things

I recently visited Mitsuwa, our local Japanese grocery store. I cruised down the snack aisle and immediately noticed how different Japanese snacks are packaged. The package designs seem less commercial, more creative, downright artistic even. For example, the engineering of gum and mint dispensers were well thought out, forward thinking and considerate of how the packaging might be of more service to the user. Gum wasn't just wrapped in flimsy, disposable papers. Instead, there were housed in pastel-colored, plastic dispensers with innovative little sliding tops. Candies were shaped to appeal both to your palate and your eyes. I was most charmed by these delightful, little packages of "dolls". So adorable and so very detailed. According to Sato, our Japanese au pair, the manufacturer of these snacks are very traditionally Japanese, known for producing their goods the old-fashioned way. True quality craftsmanship from inside and out. Gotta love it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fun Things

Love this packaging. I always find sardonic wit to be fabulously entertaining. And these tin canisters definitely have that in spades. I'm also digging the retro-ish spin on primary colors. Who needs plain old orange when you can have creamsicle? Or green when you can have chartreuse?

(images via KnockKnock)

Sweet Valley Confidential

The Wakefield twins are back! And yes, I'm excited. The Sweet Valley series were one of my favorites growing up. And now they're coming out with a prologue. Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later... is due to hit shelves in March 2011, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm totally going to buy one!
These books have a soft spot in my heart. I collected and read the Sweet Valley Twins while in grade school; and then graduated to the more "mature" Sweet Valley High series when I entered middle school. I had a huge collection of the pastel colored books. I remember taking such great care of them, as I did with all my books -- relishing every word and carefully handling the covers so as not to break the paper binding or wrinkle the pages. I wish I had saved them not just so my daughter could also one day enjoy the stories, but also because I think there was a bit of an art to the way they illustrated the covers. I could get into a whole spiel of how cover art for young reader books have changed so much over the years, but I won't.
Instead, I'll leave you with an excerpt of Chapter One from the new book. It's a bit grittier and definitely more adult in nature (umm, Elizabeth Wakefield crying after an orgasm?? Whuaaattt??) than the Sweet Valley stories I remember, which begs the question: Who exactly is the intended audience for this book? Current young readers? Or old, sentimental fogies like me? Or maybe today's young reader is more advanced in terms of subject matter? Eh, who knows.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's Apple Picking Season!

What I love most about Southern California is that we have everything we could possibly want within driving distance. Beaches, deserts, mountains, farmland. You name it, California's got it. It never ceases to amaze me what California has to offer. Take for instance, this weekend. We decided to visit Riley's Farm, located in Oak Glen which is about two hours from where we live.

Riley's Farm offers acres of U-pick fruit -- apples, cherries, berries, pears, pumpkins, peaches etc. You can find a link to their site HERE.

After a fairly quick drive (I think we made it in just 90 minutes), we found ourselves parking underneath a bountiful apple tree. We were excited! If the parking lot had apple trees bursting with such large, ripe fruit, we couldn't wait to see what the rest of orchard would look like. Mia had her heart set on a caramel apple. Evan actually wanted to press his own cider. And all I wanted was to get the perfect apples for my first attempt at making an apple pie.

The farm had a colonial schtick going. Employees were dressed in 18th century garb. They had archery classes, candle making demos, live cider pressing of your picked apples, a colonial store with homemade goodies, good old-fashioned hay rides and even live skits of colonial stories. The white and black house pictured above is actually their restaurant and bakery where they serve homemade everything -- chicken pot pie, chowder, apple turnovers, sweet potato pie, hot chocolate, hot cider -- all in the dim glow of lanterns. It was a little gimmicky; but after a while, you kinda come to appreciate the effort everyone takes to make your experience a fun one.

Varieties of apples were grouped all along the orchard, but we're talking acres of land here. The ones we wanted, Virgina Winesaps and Glen Seedlings, were all the way at the back of the orchard. Up the hill. Behind the red barn. Past the apple cider makers. Beyond the small creek. Around the bend. To the left of the pumpkin patch, and just a little further past the berry crops. In short, it was a hike. Okay, okay, I may exaggerate a little. But it took some stamina to get there, man! Mia tried to help as best she could. She insisted on carrying the camera bag. My little sweetie pie.

Though after a couple of minutes, Evan ended up carrying Mia and the camera bag. What a nice Papa! :)

When we finally found the trees we wanted, we went at it. A bit selectively at first. Here's Mia saying that this one's no good cause it's got a little blemish. But the rule is, you keep what you pick. So we went right ahead and put this one in the bag.

There were tons of smaller trees around for the kiddies to pick from, but Mia loved to get the apples high above the branches. All she needed was a little boost from her Papa.

Sato, Mia's Japanese au pair, shined a couple baby ones for them to snack on. These Stayman Winesaps really were delicious! Since it was a rather chilly autumn day, the apples were kinda cold to bite into; which made them even more delicous-tasting. Unlike what you'd get at the store, these organic apples had juicy, sparkling flavor. Seriously like apple soda! Except without the carbonation, of course.

We filled up our two bags. No sense in taking more than we needed. In the end, we walked away with Glen Seedlings (large green apples that are very tarty), Virgina Winesaps and Stayman Winesaps.

After about an hour and a half of hiking and picking fruit. We got hungry. Mia had been salivating over a chocolate chip cookie she had seen in the bakery window at the entrance of the farm. The thing was about the size of her head. Hence, here's the two of us running down the trail in hot pursuit of unusually large chocolate chip cookies.

Mama, of course, couldn't keep up. We leisurely walked the rest of the way. I mean, no sense rushing past the beautiful scenery, right?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Humbled Commuter

I'm in my third week of working at the new gig. It's been terribly busy, but luckily, I'm enjoying it. Although I will say that the traffic in Los Angeles is absolutely, incredibly, awe-inducing.

The first couple of days I'd leave a little more than two hours early to make the 40-mile trek up the 405 freeway. Then I realized that it's a matter of finding the sweet spot window and then driving alertly to ensure you're maximizing all possible lanes (i.e. lots of crazy weaving). After a couple weeks of commuting, I thought I had it handled. I had the Laws of Diminishing Traffic Returns figured out. I'd leave home in the morning as late as I dared to risk it; and then I'd obnoxiously weave and dart in between lanes, cutting off slow pokes and other semi-catatonic commuters. I took pride in driving aggressively. I got this, I'd say. The 405 ain't no thang, I bragged.

This past week brought rain to Southern California. And so the stage was set for my humbling... Today the 405 schooled me with two car accidents and a never-ending expanse of slick, wet road glowing with the hotness of brake lights galore. Three hours from Orange County to Santa Monica. At hour two, I completely surrendered and bowed down to what has to be the earthly manifestation of hades.

Besides that, I have to say that I'm enjoying the new job! LoL

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Heart Asian Poses

Never take a boring photo again. Next time you're mugging for the camera, try one of these cute and quirky Asian Poses. Adorable, right? :)