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?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kale Chips

I've never been a huge fan of kale.  I know I should like it because it is known for its antioxidant properties and is a very good source of Vitamin A, C, K, dietary fibre, etc.  I just hadn't found the perfect recipe, until I came across one on

1 bunch of kale
sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F
2. Wash and dry kale
3. Remove stem (you can save this for vegetable stock or compost)
4. Tear green leaves into roughly 2" pieces (if you have kids, they'll love helping you with this step)
5. Spread the greens on a baking sheet
6. Sprinkle olive oil and salt on top
7. Toss
8. Bake for 20 min and you have these delicious, crunchy, nutritious snacks that you just can't stop eating!

Photo courtesy of

The best part is, the kids love them too!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Growing Potatoes

My dad is the one who encourages me to have a backyard garden.  He likes to grow things from seeds.  I, however, don't always have the patience.  When he told me about growing potatoes, I thought that's easy enough.  So about three months ago, I stuck some end slices from a potato in the soil.  The end slices have the most "eyes" where the potato sprouted.

Today, I got this.

Look closer...

It cannot be easier.  So save your potato ends.  Happy gardening. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mario Badescu has some of Mario Badescu products right now, ending in one day and three hours.  If you're not familiar with GILT, it is a members-only shopping site but it's really easy to join.

I'm shopping.

Mario Badescu

I just put the 2 Cellufirm Drops in my cart and am thinking about getting the Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater.  

Also, GILT just recently lowered its shipping to a flat rate of $5.95!  Stock up!

Or, if you miss this deal and still want to try Mario Badescu's products, Click here

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vintage Spoon Garden Markers

To complement my herb garden, I ordered these beautiful vintage spoon garden markers from my dear friend at Curiously Sappy.  They were custom-made for me and arrived in my mailbox yesterday, within 3 business days after I placed the order.  Unbelievably fast.  

look at the creative packaging (and the ring!)

just what I ordered

   and now they've been carefully placed in the garden.

They complete my garden.  Thank you, Amber!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bedside Lamps

We are in the market for a pair of bedside lamps.  Why is it that I always give myself so many options?  I do know that I want something round and maybe something crystal.  I have narrowed down my selection to the following:

Stacked Crystal Table Lamp Base
Pottery Barn's Stacked Crystal Table and Bedside Lamps $150 - $190

Alexis Ceramic Table Lamp Base
Pottery Barn's Alexis Ceramic Table Lamp Base $99

Chelsea Column Table Lamp Bronze
Restoration Hardware's Chelsea Column Table Lamp $225-$295

Crystal Banister Table Lamp
Restoration Hardware's Crystal Banister Table Lamp $245 - $355

Empire Egg Table Lamp
Restoration Hardware's Empire Egg Table Lamp $235 - $285

Anthropologie Monochromatic Lamp $268

Which one do you like?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My daily skin-care regimen

Now that I've aged another year, I'm taking my skin-care routine a little more seriously.  I'll have to admit that I didn't listen to my mother on how important it is to take good care of my skin when I was younger.  I just thought that it'd be a long time before I had to worry about that.  Who knew?  That day came while I discovered my very first wrinkle.

I've always been a skin-care products junkie though.  I would buy them and display them in my medicine cabinet to collect dust.  There is a reason why they come in beautiful packaging.  My excuse was that I didn't have time.  Over the last year or so, I'm finally more "settled" in my skin-care routine.  Here's what I'm doing daily and the products I love.

Immortelle Brightening Cleansing Foam

I use L'Occitane Immortelle Brightening Cleansing Foam for a gentle and refreshing wash.
Dark Circles Relief and De-Puffing Eye Serum

I then use Darphin Dark Circles Relief & De-Puffing Eye Serum around my eye contour.  I've used this product for years now.  It's weightless so it absorbs quickly.  Darphin also has a Lifting & Firming Eye Serum.
Cellufirm Drops

For a light-weight face serum, I love Mario Madescu's Cellufirm Drops.  You can use this on your eyes too.  The green color is so lovely and it smells refreshing too.

Sunscreen is important!  I use Mario Badescu's Oil Free Moisturizer (SPF-30) for my face and Eye and Lip Sunscreen - SPF 15.  It's a good idea that you keep your SPF in the purse in case you need it during the day.  

Oil Free Moisturizer (SPF-30)Eye & Lip Sunscreen (SPF-15)

          For Mario Badescu's complete line of products, click here.

Immortelle Brightening Water

Again, I cleanse with  L'Occitane Immortelle Brightening Cleansing Foam as in the morning, but I follow with L'Occitane's Immortelle Brightening Water at night.  This alcohol-free toner is very soothing and smells wonderful.  

My sister gave me Intelligent Nutrients' Anti-Aging Serum a while back and I've been hooked ever since.  Their products are all organic.  I use the Anti-Aging Mist and then the serum after my cleansing. 

Wrinkle Corrective Eye Contour Cream

For eye care at night, I'm sticking with Darphin: Wrinkle Corrective Eye Contour Cream.

And finally, probably my all time favorite: Shiseido Future Solution LX Total Regenerating Cream.  If you have combination or oily skin, this may feel a bit heavy at first.  You'll get used to it and it's worth it!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The low-maintenance me

For my birthday this year, I got some organic herbs to plant in my garden and some worms, among other things.  (We won't talk about the other things here because this post is about the low-maintenance me.)

Part of my effort to get back to the basic and simple life is to have an herb garden.  The herbs I picked out are: tricolor sage, Red Rubin basil, English lavender, chives, and rosemary.  I just need to find a perfect spot to plant them and good recipes to use them in.  I'm actually thinking the front of the house.  Why not?  They're so beautiful, smell delicious and very edible!

Oh yes, live worms.  I've never been more excited about worms.  Worms are soil's best friends.  They can improve the physical structure and fertility of the soil, exactly what I need.  In this Chinese take-out box, there are roughly 500 tiny worms.  I sprinkled them all over my gardens and under the fruit trees.   
Welcome to our home, little worms.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy 1st Anniversary!

A year ago, we moved. We moved from the Midwest to the West Coast. From a spacious home to a home a quarter of the size.  From the familiar to the unknown.  From being a business owner to a desperate housewife.  From having a strong support group to not having any friends.  From feeling settled to starting over.  It was more than a move: we uprooted.

I was not happy about the move. Can you tell? I wanted so badly to be excited about it. After all, California is the best place to be, right? But, I wasn't. I loved the Midwest. Yes, there's electricity and running water. It was my home for many years. I missed my friends and family. I missed my business and colleagues. I missed how it spoiled me. I even missed the extreme weather there.  

So, one day during our weekly trip to the local library's story time, I came across this book by Leslie Levine called Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home? I had to take it home with me. The first chapter was titled "Uprooting: A Major Upheaval."  Levine said in this chapter that "…moving is an immensely traumatic experience."  It is so true, but I already knew that.  I was going through that.  My whole life was disrupted, I thought.  I was forced to say good-bye, yet was expected to embrace the unknown.  Part of me was so angry and sad, but I told myself that I had to get my family settled in and make this a home.  Having my mom and dad around and my sister and brother-in-law living nearby helped tremendously.  I was thankful.  But I needed more.  I was looking in this book for help.  And then this sentence caught my attention, "To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul."

Tomorrow is our one year anniversary in this new home.  I can happily say that we've settled in. Maybe not rooted quite yet, but settled.  We have made this new town our community.  The kids are happy at their new school, my husband loves his job, we have great neighbors, and I've made some wonderful friends.

No, we have not unpacked all 188 boxes, nor have I found my go-to hairstylist, but we're getting there.

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