Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tree of Love

Only 12 days to Christmas. In the midst of packing for our trip and finishing up Christmas shopping (I have 30 on my list!), I had to stop at L'Occitane's site to get stocking stuffers.  I really like L'Occitane's website.  It's easy to navigate and very sophisticated.  For the holidays, they have a holiday tree decorating contest on the website.  You get to decorate your tree in the L'Occitane Winter Orchard.  How clever!  My six-year old and I had a great time decorating our tree.  He named it Tree of Love.  It's such a fun activity to do with kids and you can upload your own photos as ornaments.  It also makes a great last minute Christmas card.  Try it out!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why Lemons and Chambray, Part 2

Why Chambray?

I haven't known this word for long.  In fact, I remember exactly the first time I encountered this word.  It was a few months before my wedding when my then future mother-in-law (now known as Nano) called from New York and told me she bought a St. John dress as a revenge to my then future father-in-law (now known as Ye-ye) who just bought an expensive toy.  Here's how the conversation went (more or less):

Nano: I bought a St. John dress to wear at your wedding. I can't believe I spent so much.
Me: You did?  I love St. John!
Nano: Yeah, I figured I should treat myself if he (Ye-ye) can buy himself an expensive toy.
Me: Haha, good for you!  What color is it?
Nano: Chambray
Me: Cham what?
Nano: Chambray... it's a silverish blue.  That's the color of your wedding, right?
Me: Yes, I can't wait to see it.

You know how there are words you just can't stand (one of my friends can't stand the word "moist") and there are words you love?  Since then, chambray has become one of my favorite words.  And I just knew someday I would incorporate that word into something I do.

What is chambray?  According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of chambray is: a lightweight clothing fabric with colored warp and white filling yarns.  You'll find this word in most sewing books.

The color of chambray is generally a soft indigo blue.  Blue has always been my favorite color, but chambray just sounds so much better.

Chambray is the fabric of my husband's shirt refashioned into my favorite tunic, without his consent.

Chambray to me represents this life-changing event, my wedding. It simply represents love. That is why chambray.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why Lemons and Chambray?

By now, I should talk about how I came up with Lemons and Chambray.  First of all, I need to thank lili who was instrumental in helping me finalize the name.

I started this blog a few months after we moved half way across the country.  We moved into this little old house.  There was really nothing attractive about the house itself.  It had a practical layout, it was in a very nice neighborhood, it was on a relatively large lot and had a ton of expansion potential.  But the one thing that made me smile was the lemon tree in the backyard.

When life gave me these beautiful lemons, I had to do something about them.  I searched for recipes, I thought about selling them at the local farmers market, I gave them to friends and neighbors, I even used them to clean.  And of course, I made the perfect lemonade.


1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup lemon juice (from our Meyer lemons)
4 cups cold water

1. Dissolve sugar in water in a small saucepan on low heat.
2. Juice 6-8 lemons, enough to yield one cup of juice. I use this wonderful Chef'n Citrus Juicer which makes juicing fun!
3. Add the juice and the sugar water to a pitcher. Add 4 cups of cold water, taste and adjust for desired strength. 
4. Serve with ice.

To me, lemons are more than a wonderful fruit that are full of vitamin C, they also represent our new beginning.

Next time, I'll talk about why chambray.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Ever since Anya Hindmarch's I'm Not A Plastic Bag, I've been obsessed with canvas totes.  I was one of the lucky ones years ago to get my name drawn.  Here's my very own I'm Not A Plastic Bag, still unused and with its original tags.  Once in a while, I'll take it out of the closet and admire it.

One year for my birthday (actually it was a just-because kind of gift), my dear friend at lili sent me this cute tote that she hand-made.  It's reversible!  You can see from the wear and tear that I use it all the time.  I need a new one.  (hint hint!)

A couple months ago, I almost bought some Marc Jacob perfume just to get the free tote.  How cute is that tote?  It was very tempting, but I didn't need any perfume.


So, after a bit of online browsing, spying, magazine flipping, and memory jogging, here are a few of my favorites.

I've always been a fan of Ballard Design's furniture and home decor but had no idea that they made totes.  This one is on sale for $12!  See their totes here.

Ballard Designs - Limited Edition Shopping Tote - $12

I spied a Saltbox tote at swimming lessons the other day.  I stared at it for a minute and had to get closer to see what brand it was.  I got so close that it was a bit awkward but I didn't care.  I had to know.  

Saltbox - basketweave large tote in squash - $75

A few weeks ago, I met up with a dear friend at ylookblue for some girls time and I spotted her Rootote.  She got it from a consignment store.  First thing I did when I came home was to get online to find it.  I didn't find one exactly like hers but I found this.  The best part is that it's only $20!  They're very well-made and their signature outer zip pocket comes in handy.  Check out their other styles here.

Rootote - Stiped Tote Bag - $20

Today at a local bookstore, I saw these.

Bungalow360 - Eva Reversible Pelican Tote - $28
Glam Naturale - Canvas Eiffel Tower tote - $49

You can find Bungalow360 totes here or Glam Naturale here.

Branching away from canvas, there's Seabags.  Their totes are made from recycled sail.  I'm partial to the Recycle Tote.  You can also build your own for $155.

Sea Bags - Recycle Tote - $120

They made one for J. Crew!

Sea Bags for J. Crew Sail Tote - $198

And then there's Orla Kiely which I mentioned in my Fall Bags post.  I'm drooling over this one.

Orla Kiely - Oval Stem Medium Tote - $150


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Empire Egg Accent Lamps

Remember I needed your help to pick out my bedside lamps a while back?  It wasn't easy but the decision was finally made.  I picked the Empire Egg Accent Lamps from Restoration Hardware.  There was just a slight problem: they have been discontinued.  I called the 800 number and they said they were completely sold out according to the computers.  As I was about to give up, we walked by our local Restoration Hardware store and I thought, why not?  I entered the store and talked to a sales associate (actually I think she's a team lead), Lauren.  She was extremely helpful!  She typed on her computer, talked to a couple of her fellow sales associates, made numerous phone calls, and told me that there's hope and that she's waiting for a call back from another store.  She took my info and then we said our goodbyes.  That same afternoon, I got a call back and an email from her giving me the good news!!!  A week later, I got my lamps.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fall bags

Fall is here and I'm seeing orange everywhere.  Here are a few handbags in the beautiful hues of orange, red, and brown that I picked out.

Anya Hindmarch

Foley and Corinna
Jet Set in Poppy
On sale $346.50 (originally $495)

Transatlantic Bag in Red (more like a rust orange)

Badgley Mischka Platinum Handbags
On sale $249 (originally $475)

Orla Kiely

BCBGeneration Handbag
Kaira Medium Satchel in Red

On sale $416.50 (originally $595.00)

Bayswater Satchel in Conker High Pebbled Matte

Fox Lock Oversized Bag in Fox Brown Maxi Grain Nubuck

J Crew
Edie Tote in Flame

J Crew
Edie Pursette in Flame

Linea Pelle
Mel Crossbody in Natural

Linea Pelle
Dylan Medium Tote (Fall) in Crimson

Kate Spade New York

Olivia Harris
Bowler in Taupe

Thursday, September 15, 2011


My ex-roommate is a tornado-chaser.  Well, not really, but he does love to watch thunderstorms.  I never understood that.  Being born and raised in a big city, I never learned to appreciate storms.  We could not see the lightning, only the glow.  And then I landed in the midwest where there's no high-rise buildings to block the view.  I remember seeing lightning for the first time from sky to the ground, just like it in the movies.  It was amazing.  Thunderstorms came by quite often in the midwest where we lived.  Just like everything else, when there's an abundance, you just take it for granted.  Here in Cali, at least this part of Cali, there's no storms.  Really, there may be rain, but storms, never.  At least not the midwest definition of storms.

A few nights ago, on our way home from dinner, we saw flashes and thought we heard an airplane.  It wasn't an airplane, it was thunder and the flashes lightning!  Now, what comes next, children?  Rain!  I have never felt this way about rain.  I felt like we were brought back home.  It was such a familiar feeling.  We sat on the porch and watched the rain.

After a few minutes of that, the kids were soaked.  We came inside the house and had to listen to Madonna's Rain.

"Rain... feel it on my fingertips, hear it on my window pane..."

No, we didn't.  What we did do was to google about lightning and here's what we learned.

  • Thunderstorms too have their favorites places
  • Highest lightning flash frequency is 159 flashes per year in Central Africa
  • Florida has the highest flash frequency in the United States
  • Our part of the country is a Tiffany blue (at least we got the pretty color) which means we only get two lightning flashes on average in a year per square kilometer
  • The mid-west gets 30 lightning flashes on average in a year per square kilometer

HRFC (High Resolution Full Climatology) Annual Flash Rate
The color variations in the map display the average annual number of lightning flashes per square kilometer.

To find out more about lightning and thunders, go to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration) website.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today marks the 10th anniversary of this life-changing tragedy.  Although it didn't personally affect me or any of my travel plans, I vividly remember that day.  I was driving to work as usual and listening to NPR.  They were talking about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center in New York City.  My immediate reaction was that it must be a new plot for a movie.  I turned to a different radio station and sure enough it was talking about the same thing.  When I arrived at the office, the front lobby, the offices and the hallways were empty.  I walked down the hall to the kitchen and everyone was there gathered around the TV.  So it's real.  It really happened.  I stood there with the rest of my coworkers and watched the second plane crashed.  We were speechless.  I couldn't really wrap my head around what just happened and why.

After a while, we walked back into our offices.  After all, there's work to be done.  I sat down and called my boyfriend (now husband) to tell him what happened.  I then started writing an email to my family overseas to tell them how much I missed them.

This morning, I turned on NPR when they were reading the names of the victims.  My kindergartener asked what I was listening to so I googled images of the event and show them to him.  I wasn't sure what was going through his mind but he asked three questions:

"Are they reading the names of the people that died?"
"Do these people have kids?"
"Did the bad guys die too?"

He then looked at the photos some more and went back to his Lego's.  

Growing Mushrooms (in a kit)

My sister got this mushroom kit from a local Whole Foods Market.  It's from a company called Back to the Roots founded by two college kids (sorry, they are kids compared to the old lady me) two years ago.  They reuse coffee grounds from Peet's Coffee to grow mushrooms in these kits.  What a great idea!  This is usually when I ask myself, "why didn't I think of that?"

Day 1

soak in water for 24 hours, spray water daily

Day 7

See the baby mushrooms?  The kit even comes with a spray bottle!

Day 8

Day 10 - Harvest!

No mess, fun, educational, easy, and very tasty!  I'm ordering the refills to grow some more.

To purchase, click here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Today's Harvest

This morning while working in the garden, I decided to go a little deeper into the ground to see if there are more potatoes.  To my surprise, I harvested these today, all from one potato plant.

I put them in a basket. 

Don't they look like something you'd buy from the farmer's market?

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