Thursday, November 22, 2012

Goodwill Hunting: Thankful

This year, I'm thankful for having families nearby. I have my sister and her family just a couple of miles away.  Over the summer, our cousins moved near us from Seattle. There is just nothing like families. One thing for sure is the free baby-sitting! :)

People move here from all over and, sadly, it's just not that common to have family nearby. I didn't realize this but now I know it is such a blessing to spend Thanksgiving with families. For dinner this year, I'm making a green bean casserole, stuffing, and mash potatoes. And then I found this deviled egg dish from The Shop for $5. I might just have to make some deviled eggs.

Let's see what lili is thankful for this year.

Next month, Happy Holidays.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Vilynx addiction

Happy Thanksgiving week!

I'm super excited to be part of this startup, Vilynx. I know. I'm back in the startup scene. Crazy right? This time around, I'm in the heart of Silicon Valley so it's a bit different. Just a bit.  

These people work day and night, literally. I've never met a group of people that are so passionate about what they do. The company is spread out all over the world: seven in Spain, one in Hong Kong (no, not me, wish it was though), four in the Silicon Valley. You'd think it'd be hard to communicate and get things done. It's actually quite the opposite. I'd send an email to our developers in Spain at 4 pm my time (1 am their time) and get an email back within minutes. With the team all over the world, things actually get done around the clock. What a model.

In the short seven weeks I've been with the company, we've accomplished a lot. We were at two large technology shows: DEMO and GMIC-SV. At DEMO, we launched the iPhone app. We presented on stage and received great feedback from the panel judges. Shortly after, we launched Vilynx for iPad. At GMIC-SV, we won 3rd place at appAttack. Then last Friday, Android arrived!

If you take personal videos (and if you don't you should start), you need Vilynx. It allows you to access your family videos that are stored across your devices. If you're like me, you're taking more and more videos using your phone and storage quickly becomes a problem. I now take my videos using Vilynx, and they're all stored in the cloud account(s) of my choice, automatically.

I would say my favorite part about Vilynx is the sharing option. There's a tab for all videos that my Vilynx friends share with me. I don't have to search everywhere to find a video from an email anymore. They're all there in one place.

Another feature is the revolutionary user interface which displays 4 highlights of a video and plays 5 seconds of each highlight which makes browsing easy.

There is more. And with the holiday season around the corner, you'll just have to play with it. But be careful, it is addictive.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall boots

Fall is my favorite season of the year. The vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges are just fascinating to me. I don't always slow down to smell the roses but I do pause when I can to enjoy the beautiful Fall colors.

Of course, it's not only the colors, it's also the boots that make Fall so special.

Stuart Weitzman Women's 5050 Boot0, $595

These over-the-knee boots are simply timeless. They are the "celeb" boots of Stuart Weitzman and have been seen on Angelina Jolie, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, Selena Gomez, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, and Fergie. They've been out for several years now (since 2009?) but are still very popular.  In fact, they're often sold out.  Wasn't sure if they'd be too "Pretty Woman" like so I went to the Stuart Weitzman store to try them on.  Of course, they ran out of the black nappa so I tried on the suede. To my surprise, they were very stylish, classy, super comfy and simply timeless. They're definitely on my wish list.

Another one on my wish list is the Paul Green Optimist, $489

With Paul Green, it's hit or miss in terms of style but the quality is exceptional. I walked into Nordstrom's one day and these boots in graphite caught my eyes. I had to try them on and what a mistake. I didn't want to take them off. I've had dreams about them ever since.

First on my "got-to-try-on" list are these 7040. Kate Beckinsale looks so cute in them. 

FRYE Women's Veronica Slouch Boot, $328

As seen on Miley Cyrus, Leighton Meester, Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Minnillo, the Frye Veronica gets really good reviews.  The Veronica line has quite a few styles, colors, and heights to choose from. These are on my "got-to-try-on" list.

Donald Pliner Danee $350

The Danee is part of Donald Pliner's Western Couture Collection. I've always wanted a pair of cowboy boots but couldn't find one that is subtle and not too Western. The Danee is perfect. I especially like the versatile fold-over cuff.  I bought this at Nordstrom's during their sale over the summer! These have become my go-to boots.

I thought I was done with this post and then I saw these: Attilio Giusti Leombruni (AGL) Double Buckle Boot  $545

AGL's are made in Italy. I'm going to have to make a trip to Nordstrom's to try these on. 

Next time, when you're waiting in car pool to pick up your kids from school, instead of staring at your smart phone, look around and enjoy the beautiful Fall colors.  And, see if you can spot a beautiful pair of boots on another mom walking by.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Toasted pumpkin seeds

I saved the seeds from two medium sized pumpkins this year and toasted them. It turned out very good so I decided to share the recipe. Most of the recipes out there have long baking time (an hour or more) but this one saves time and energy. 

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds (enough to cover your cookie sheet)
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • 2. Rinse and dry pumpkin seeds. I spread them on a baking sheet and let dry for an afternoon.
  • 3. Toss seeds in the melted butter, add garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well and coat the seeds.
  • 4. Spread seeds evenly on a baking sheet
  • 5. Keep an eye on them. Bake for 5 min, check and stir, then bake for another 5 min, check and stir, until they're browned. Depending on size of seeds it'll take anywhere from 5 - 20 min. Mine were ready in 10 min.
  • 6. let cool before serving.
  • 7. Enjoy! Warning... these are addictive.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

I don't bake cake. I never had to. I have a sister-in-law who is an amazing baker and she lived a block away... until we moved. She made my wedding cake and B's birthday cakes every year. I was spoiled. The one time I attempted to bake a birthday cake for my husband was a decade ago and it turned out to be a disaster. 

But today, something changed. Jebu picked a lemon from our lemon tree and he wanted to make a cake with it. Well, it's Friday and for a change, we had the time. I remembered I really liked a cake my friend served at her son's birthday party that used olive oil so I googled lemon olive oil cake and I found one on epicurious.  

I tweaked the recipe a little. I used less sugar and less salt.  Jebu was such a good helper. We had a great time baking together and the result was delish! 



  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for greasing pan
  • 1 large Meyer lemon
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
  • 1/2 cup sugar + 1 tbsp
  • a pinch of salt

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.
  2. Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and whisk together with flour. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
  3. Beat together 5 yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). I used a Kitchen Aid Mixer for this step.  
  4. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.
  5. Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with pinch of salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.  I used a hand mixer for this step. 
  6. Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
  7. Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. 
  8. Optional: Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 tbsp sugar. 
  9. Bake until puffed and golden. Use a tooth pick and insert in center of cake to test. It's ready when it comes out clean, about 45 minutes. 
  10. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 hour. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.

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