Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone! 

We're back home in Kansas for the holidays. It was over 50 degrees when we got in, which was disappointing. We want snow! Then 2 days later, we got about 2 inches. It was beautiful and just perfect for the boys to get their "snow fix." Then today, it's only been about 6 degrees all day. Now that's a bit too cold.

I went with my mom and mother-in-law to hunt for good deals at Salvation Army. 

We found a wooden nativity set for $2.99. I've always wanted one so this is perfect.

Then I saw these wooden santa stocking holders for $2.99 also. They're so cute. I had to have them.

The question is, how am I going to take these back to CA?

My mother-in-law found this quilt table runner for $3.50. How beautiful. 

Let's see what lili found for Christmas. Next month, New Year Resolution!

Oh, one more thing, I just want to share that I've been working on this for Vilynx. So fun. 

"2013 has been a significant year for Vilynx. We cannot wait to unveil all the exciting things we've been working on. But today, we just want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. From our families to yours." Vilynx

Video powered by Vilynx

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving! This year, I'm thankful that my mom is here to spend this very special time of the year with us. We decided to go to LA to visit some close friends. I've spent many holidays here in LA during my univ years. This trip certainly brings back some beautiful memories. 

These photos are probably too summer-y for Thanksgiving but they'll have to do. I found these vintage glasswares at the Thrift Shop late summer when my lemon tree was in full bloom. I had to take the photos then because my lemons look so perfect in the beautiful green bowl. The green bowl was $6.99 and the yellow glasses were $1.00 each. 

Happy Thanksgiving, lili! Next month, Holidays!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Goodwill Hunting: Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! 

The leaves have started falling and with the strong wind we've had in the last couple of days our front porch is looking a lot like Autumn. Husband has been really busy lately so there's nothing high tech added to our Halloween decoration this year. We did get some decorating help from yeye and nano during their recent visit. And of course we have to thank our dear neighbor boy who helped us with the spider web. I think it turned out pretty nicely!

For this Goodwill Hunting post, I had to cheat a little. Went shopping at the Thrift Shop with a friend and she found this perfect Halloween T-shirt by Old Navy for $2.50. It's in great condition and it's just the perfect T-shirt for the occasion. I had to borrow it for the post. 

Happy Halloween! Let's see what kind of deals lili found.

Next month, Thankful.

Wait... at the very last minute, Husband made time to surprise the kids. This was projected on a window in the front of the house. I think it scared away some trick-or-treaters. Double-click to play the whole video.

video powered by Vilynx

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A beautiful video of Hong Kong

Lately, I've spent a lot of time curating videos using the Vilynx PRO player, a brand new video chaptering technology.  Yes, curating! I tastefully (and logically) select scenes from a video I feel that are most aesthetically pleasing (and relevant) and then display them in a grid format so that the viewers can quickly get a sneak peek into the video. It's fun! While browsing for a video to play with using this new toy, I stumbled upon this beautiful video of Hong Kong. It's only been a couple of months since we were there but I'm already home sick. This fast-paced, unique, and spectacular Pearl of the East has a very special place in my heart. 

   Video powered by Vilynx PRO

Original video can be found here. Special thanks to Zuzana Mullerova. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Back to school

Back-to-school to us means back to the crazy schedule of activities. Among swimming, soccer, flag football, drama, and Mandarin, I could almost put myself in the "Tiger Mom" category. Well, almost, not quite. I think you have to have some kind of musical instrument. And truly, I don't fundamentally agree with the Tiger Mom method of raising kids. That's a whole other topic though.

We just started taking futbol seriously. Our weekends now mean driving all over the place for practice sessions and games. It's worth it though, I keep telling myself. The boys enjoy it. If nothing else, they do get some exercise and learn about team sports, right? With that, they need the appropriate wardrobe. We bought some soccer shirts from a local soccer supplies shop. Then I decided to check out Savers for soccer shorts and successfully found these.

Gebu being the picky dresser even approves. In fact, he was so happy that he gave me a hug and said how I'm the best mommy in the world. These were $2.99 each at 50% off. So I took them both home for $3.00 total!

Check out what lili found!

Next month, Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beauty and the Beach

We had our annual Hong Kong trip but this year we didn't go to the beach. I really wanted it to be a tradition to go to the beach in Hong Kong but it just didn't work out this year. It rained almost every day while we were there.

My friend saw this Willi Smith skirt for $5.99 from a local thrift store and thought I should try it on.  I hesitated. It's perfect for this month's theme but it's not something I would wear. I tried it on anyway and it actually looked cute. I could wear this to a beach-themed party. I was still indecisive until we remembered that white tags were half price that day. It came home with me.

Let's see what lili found for Beauty and the Beach.

Next month: Back to school.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pomegranate update

I've been checking on the pomegranate tree every day. Today, I got worried. I only saw 2 pomegranates at first. I looked and looked and found this. The weight has pulled it down lower and it was hiding behind some branches.  In just a few days, this pomegranate has more than doubled in size. Is that even possible? I wonder when it's ready to be harvested.

Aug 15, 2013

Aug 12, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Garden update

We just came back from our trip to Hong Kong. It's nice to be back but it was also hard to leave.  The boys were starting to speak Cantonese more. Jebu started to use complete sentences towards the end of the trip and I could tell B could understand some complex conversations. It was pretty amazing to see that they can learn so quickly but it's sad we had to leave when they're just getting used to the language. But now, we must get back to practicing our Spanish!

One thing I missed while away was my garden. I moved some bell pepper outside before we left for Hong Kong. To my surprise, we came back to these healthy bell pepper plants ready to fruit.  They were planted from seeds on the window sill. The seeds are from some organic bell peppers I got from Trader Joes!

Even more of a surprise, our 2 1/2 year old dwarf pomegranate tree has 3 baby pomegranates! 

 I'm now more motivated than ever. Next thing I think I'll plant is some Asian greens.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Goodwill Hunting: Hail to the Red, White and Blue

I haven't been the most organized this year. I didn't even dress us in red, white and blue for the 4th. I guess I'll blame it on how busy this summer has been. We did have a fun-filled 4th of July weekend though.

I haven't done much shopping lately but I did manage to find a few things I bought a while ago for this month's Goodwill hunting.

Red: here's an Fair Isle yoke cardigan I found at half off for $2.00. Not sure if I would ever wear this but I saw the refashion potential. Now I can't remember what that potential was.

White and Blue: I'm not sure why I bought these. They make a super cute outfit for a baby girl and they were half off. The off-white cardigan ($2.00) and jeans ($1.00) are by Janie and Jack.

I love the details of this hooded cardigan.

Check out what lili found this year. 

Next month, Beauty and the Beach. 

Hope you had a good 4th!

4th of July weekend

We had quite an eventful 4th of July weekend this year.

On the 4th, we went with my sister's family to Monterrey Bay Aquarium.

Photo of B by Yee-yee

Photo of Gebu by Yee-yee

B took my phone for a while and I ended up with a bunch of interesting photos and videos.

Jelly fish, Photo by B
Find the fish, Photo by B
That night, we went to see fireworks at the Palo Alto Baylands Park.  What a great spot. We were able to see fireworks from all the cities along the Bay.

Friday, husband had a day off and the boys had summer camp. We rode our bikes and dropped off the boys at camp and then went on to breakfast at our favorite cafe. The four-hour kidless morning was precious and we made the most of it.

Saturday, we went camping at Mount Diablo State Park. This was our first time camping by ourselves and everything turned out great.

The boys enjoyed climbing through these amazing rock formations at Rock City.

The views are breathtaking.

 Zion Peak rock quarry

We did some hiking.

Watch out for Poison Oak. They were everywhere!

Back at our campsite. See that plant in the middle of the photo? That's Poison Oak. 

 And then the million dollar sunset.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Lovin'

Hope you're having a great summer so far. We're done a little bit of traveling and reunion with husband's family. It's such a blessing to be with family but always hard to say goodbye.

I had help with this month's challenge. My good friend Bee saw two of the same blouses in different colors at The Shop for $5 each so she bought both and gave me the white one. Perfect! We're both Anthropologie fans and this shirt is by Edme and Esyllte which is a brand Anthropologie carries. I don't know how much this costs originally but did find a pre-owned one on eBay for $28!

I don't wear blouses very often but I've been drawn to them lately. It might have something to do with lili's May Flower post last month! I found this pretty white blouse with satin ruffles at Savers for $3.99. It's a Target cross-over by Behnaz Sarafpour. 

Find out what lili found this month.

Next month, Hail to the red, white & blue.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Last day of school

Tomorrow is the last day of school which means it is my baby's last day in Kindergarten. Earlier today my friend was saying how she's feeling a little sad that her little one is finishing up Kindergarden. It didn't really hit me. I mean, I heard her but it didn't hit me emotionally, until tonight.

Tonight, we had the most amazing end-of-the-year class party where we honored the teacher and celebrated a wonderful year. There were some funny stories told, many laughters, and a few tears shed.  We received a beautiful year book that was put together by our home room parent and an individualized, month-by-month photo/work journal from the teacher. It's so much fun to see the transformation, from the handwritings to the drawings to their faces. Things could really change so much in a short year.

The kindergarten year is special. Kinders are still babies. They're cuddly, they adore their parents, they make the cutest sound of giggles, they may still have those chubby cheeks, and some, like Gebu, even have all their baby teeth in tact. And, they do give the best hugs! In 1st grade, it's quite a different story. They're officially in grade school and have started their journey to becoming independent.

Looking back, I'm most thankful that I got to spend the time I did in class with the children. They grow up too fast. It has truly been a great year.  I feel very lucky to be part of this wonderful class.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What is so special about June?

June is the beginning of summer and end of school year. June is for weddings. In June we celebrate Dads. In June we celebrate Grads.

A lot of marketing campaigns use the catchy phrase "Celebrate Dads and Grads with this and that", because it rhymes. I thought it was cute too so when we decided to run a contest at Vilynx I thought I could steal that idea. I sat down to write an announcement for the contest and I started with "Celebrate Dads and Grads with Vilynx..." And that was it. I was stuck. I had to walk away from it. And then at the 11th hour, I thought, what about the June brides and grooms? What about summer?

My fingers started working away and came up with the intro:

"The month of June is full of video taking opportunities. There's Father's Day in most countries, graduations, and it is traditionally a popular month for weddings. At Vilynx, we want to help you preserve these beautiful moments, forever."...

I sent it to Michelle, my social media expert (she has over 1000 friends on Facebook!) to ask her opinion and she suggested to add "Summer is here!" So simple and so brilliant!

Then I worked with our resident graphic design genius, Helder, to put the whole thing together. And just like that, the contest is ready to go!  And I named it The Vilynx June Challenge. Find out more here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May Flowers

May is almost over. It's been a very busy month. I can't wait till summer.

As it should be, flowers are blooming everywhere right now. I just looked up my May post from last year and realized I did something very similar. I took photos of flowers around town and posted them. This year, I took photos in my own front yard! Inspired by husband, B & I played with the built-in photo editor on my Android phone to beautify the photos. Here are the before and after photos.

These are calla lilies from bulbs I planted a couple of years ago. 


I used the "instant" effect and added border.

Then my new calla lilies in a pot from Mother's Day.

original pic before editing

I used the "punch" effect and added a black border.

Here are alyssum from Mother's Day. They smell so good.

I used "bleach" effect and added border.

Gerbera daisies from Mother's Day. I used several effects here. 

This is called "vintage". I had to try it but not impressed.

Black and white. I think it looks really interesting with the details.

Then there's "punch". Striking! Love it.

My strawberries this year are almost as pretty as my flowers so I had to show them off here.

I used "punch" here again and added border. Like it?
So back to Goodwill hunting. I went to Savers again for this month and like last year, I found a purse. I've actually been looking for a small cross-body that's just big enough for my keys, phone and a couple other small things. I found a Vera Bradley cross-body in floral print for $4.99.

It may not be the ideal cross-body but it'll do for now, especially for $4.99!

Let's see if lili found any deals this month for May Flowers. Next month, Summer Lovin'.

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