Monday, December 26, 2011

Buster the Silky Terrier

Just wanted to say hello and to share pictures of Buster, the small, silky pup I spent Christmas Eve with. Hope you all had a wonderful three-day weekend!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Christmas is in just 2 days! What are your plans? My sister is coming for a last minute visit, and I'm so excited! I can't wait to show her the holiday lights in our neighborhood (my favorite house, pictured above, hangs huge stars way up high in all their trees), take her to the best donuts ever, and ask her how to pick the right coral lipstick (she's a makeup maven).

Wishing you all a very happy holiday! xo

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Dare and a Proposal: Trang and Long's Story

When I think about people getting married, I always wonder what the proposal was like. Who proposed to whom? Where was it? Was it dramatic or simple and private? (And, while we're at it, does anyone ever really propose at a sports game via the Jumbotron or does that only happen in the movies?) However they happen, proposal stories are one of my favorite kinds because they're always so sweet and show lots of thought.

My friend Trang recently told me her proposal story — her longtime boyfriend, Long, popped the question while they were in Italy — and the way she described him made me laugh. She described Long as being as "straight as an arrow" and someone who's never even run a red light. It was funny to hear her say this because Trang's bold and endearingly cheeky — almost the exact opposite. Here's her playful story about how he proposed:

Long and I watched Love Me If You Dare, a love story about childhood friends that play an intense game of “Dare," a couple years ago. Later that night, we went to a sushi restaurant for dinner where I dared him to steal a decorative glass cat sitting by the cash register. He really tried, but in the end, he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. After that, every time we went to the sushi restaurant, I would teasingly dare him to steal the cat. He could never bring himself to take it, and we would always leave the restaurant laughing about how nerdy he was. He declared that he was willing to give me anything I wanted as long as he didn't have to steal it. And I would insist that the stolen glass cat was all I really wanted.

This year, on our 10 year anniversary, Long took me to Italy. On our last night in Venice, we took a walk and stopped at a little square where kids were launching pretty flying ornaments that lit the sky, and a man was playing a guitar and serenading passersby in Italian. We stopped there and suddenly, Long pulled the glass cat out of his pocket, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was such a beautiful, quirky, funny proposal with a perfect gift that only meant something to the two of us.

Isn't that the cutest story? 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Anthropologie Smell

Have you noticed the amazing way Anthropologie stores always smell? I finally asked one of the sales ladies what it was this weekend, and she told me it was this Capri Blue candle in Volcano. The description says it smells like tropical fruits and sugared oranges and is "redolent with lightly exotic mountain greens."

p.s. Have you seen anthro's tumblr, etymologie? I just found it, but I like it. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

A few favorites from the SF Renegade Craft Fair

The San Francisco holiday Renegade Fair this year was (once again) brimming with cuteness. I picked up a few really great gifts and a bunch of business cards because I love looking at all the creative logos and feeling the different types of paper. My favorite "business card" was this matchbook from type.lites, a line of eco-friendly candles. So clever! 

And a few of my favorite vendors were: 

Nosh This — Their salted caramels have adventurous mix-ins such as 12-year-aged balsamic vinegar, bacon, and black tellicherry pepper. I bought an assorted box as a gift, and I'm really hoping she shares!

ImagineNations — awesome decoupaged vintage globes.

Leafcutter Designs — They are masters of curios & projects and operators of the World's Smallest Post Service. They turn your custom messages into tiny letters the size of a dime and send it, along with a magnifying glass, to your recipient. Such a funny idea. You can see how tiny their letters and packages are here. (p.s. this rainy day activity kit made me giggle.)

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's-Not-Too-Late Gift Ideas

How is it that Christmas is already next weekend? Thanks to the wonder that is the internet, I've  knocked out a big chunk of my holiday shopping (all promised to deliver before the 25th!) This weekend I'm aiming to finish up the last of it so I can spend the rest of the holidays well-relaxed and with lots of cookies :) A few friends and I are hitting up the Renegade Craft Fair and I can't wait! Last year's fair was super awesome (hello, $1 letterpress cards!) If you'll be in or near San Francisco, you should definitely check it out. And for shopping inspiration, here are some fun gift ideas for all the other last-minute shoppers out there. 
 Pantone Christmas ornaments for the designer(s) in your life. (I work with 5 and am a total designer wannabe.)
Not Plastic Bottles, $30. Glass carafes that are as pretty as they are green.

 iPhone pouch, $75. Hand-crafted from premium wool felt and fancy Italian leather. The clever pocket on the outside holds credit cards and cash — perfect for quick trips for coffee or pizza.

 Cashmere undies, $45. Cashmere + right next to your tush = ridiculously luxurious. I hope everyone gets a pair of these this year.

 Soledad Proano necklace, $48. This would be so pretty to wear with a t-shirt and jeans.

 Chalk piggy bank, $85. You can write what you're saving for in chalk. I'd write "trip to Europe." What about you? 

 Leather camera strap, $75.99. Classic, old-school goodness.

 Wood pens, $10. To make writing to-do lists more fun.

Heart signet ring, $1125. A splurge, but such a pretty one. 

(Top photo by Allora Handmade)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Nails

One of my greatest life pleasures in high school was getting my nails done — acrylic ones with over-the-top airbrush designs. For junior prom, I wore a simple silver dress with fuchsia nails airbrushed with a tropical scene complete with flamingos, palm trees and a fading sunset. Needless to say, the whole nail art revival is really speaking to me. I like the look of natural nails now over fake ones, but I still couldn't resist when the manicurist pulled out her jar of rhinestones to bling out my snowflake manicure.

p.s. pretty nails make typing at work so much more fun, don't you think?

(Photos by Nathalie)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

May and Calvin's Garden Wedding

Every other week, my mom finds a way to subtly ask (and sometimes not so subtly) when Alan and I are going to get married. I think the most horrendous thing she could ever imagine for me would be if I didn't get married before turning 35, but honestly, I just don't see what the rush is. We'll eventually get married when the time feels right, but until then, it's just not at the top of my list of things to do. But then, every once in a while, I'll see a wedding like my friend May's — which is amazing — and I feel like I might just change my mind. (Don't tell my mom!) 

I love everything about May's wedding — the colors, her dress, all the flowers (by her talented mom!), and the crafty details. Isn't it the most beautiful day? She says, "We felt so lucky that all of our loved ones would be traveling from near and far to share our special day with us so we decided that what was important was to make it very personal and to spoil them with our favorite eats and treats." They had catering by RoliRoti, a San Francisco Ferry Building staple (known for his porchetta sandwiches), and instead of a wedding cake, they had a "cake" made up of three cheese wheels. I think the raddest part of the reception was the cigar and scotch tasting bar they set up for guests to enjoy.  

To see more of her gorgeous wedding (and there are lots more pretty details to look at), you can check out the full post on Style Me Pretty.

p.s. Pictures from my friend Jennifer's beautiful, ocean-side wedding (she's May's sister!)

(Photos by James Moes)

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Ainsley House Holiday Tour

After spending lots of time with family and friends and seeing twinkling lights everywhere, this weekend it finally felt like the holidays. My parents spent an entire afternoon teaching me how to cook Cambodian desserts, I played Just Dance for the first time (best party game ever), and I had tea at the Ainsley House in Campbell. It included a special tour of the historic house (which was built in 1925 and home to a successful Campbell business man in the canning business) all decorated for the holidays. I love touring old homes and imagining what it must have been like to live there so many years ago. Quiet evenings in the den listening to that radio must have been something else.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sharon Montrose Animal Photography

How awesome is Sharon Montrose's animal photography? Any of her prints would make a sweet Christmas gift. I've got my eye on the goose print.

p.s. Can you imagine trying to take pictures of full-grown lions and bears in your studio? Amazing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My (Mildly) Roaring 20s: Interview Questions

One of my very smart and also very good-looking friends in college once got the weirdest question while at an interview for a top tier medical school. The interviewer asked her, "So, why does a pretty girl like you want to go to med school?" It made my jaw drop when she told me, but she brushed it off (which made me feel a little bit like we had traveled back in time to the 1950s).

I'd think about it from time to time, especially whenever I'd be getting ready for an upcoming interview myself. Sometimes I think about my friend and I imagine her sitting in this huge office on a velvet wing-backed chair talking to this faculty member — a good ol' boy with a pipe in one hand. I wonder if she was sweating (I'd be sweating). Sometimes I think about how I'd respond. It wasn't until this week that I saw past the question's chauvinistic exterior and saw it for what it really was: something to throw her off the trail.

This week we started interviewing candidates at work. I always drink lots of coffee beforehand so I can be sure that I'm focused — picking your new colleague is a big deal. You spend almost all your waking hours sitting inside next to the people you work with, so if you have a say in the matter, make sure you try to pick someone you think you'll like. But that's way easier said than done.

To me, interviewing candidates sort of feels like going on a blind date where you're both trying to see if you're compatible in the short time you have before the check arrives. The problem is that, just like on the first date, everyone tells you what you want to hear. I find the hardest part is getting them to tell me something different, something that tells me who they really are. We're interviewing a few more people this week, and in the spirit of getting to know these good people who have come all this way to talk to us, I'm considering asking them something different beyond the standard stuff. Now I don't want to scare them away with a bunch of atypical questions, so instead I've narrowed it down to just one:

If you had to watch a TV marathon of either MSNBC's Lockup or MTV's Teen Mom 2, which one would you watch and why?

The responses, I think, should be quite telling.

What's the craziest interview question you've ever been asked?

(Top photo via This Time Tomorrow, bottom photo via Pinterest)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gift Ideas Under $25

As much as I love giving gifts, somehow I end up being kinda terrible at it. I never buy things in time unless I happen to see something I think someone would like and buy it months and months in advance and hide it away in my closet. We have about 2.5 weeks left before Christmas so I'm hoping this year I can get it together. Here are some of my favorite gift ideas for under $25.

(clockwise from top left)
Travel bags for lingerie and shoes, $20 each: These bags are so handy for trips near and far. I use mine all the time.
Printed pouch, $19: For lipstick, spare change, pens and pencils.
Geo beaded necklace, $23.99: I love this. I got a set of these necklaces for my friend Jennifer for her birthday earlier this year, and she says they're her most-inquired-about accessories.
Thank You Notes by Jimmy Fallon, $9.60: So funny and has a cute guy on the cover. It's like what every coffee table book aspires to be.
Sushi dunk plates and chopsticks, $23.80: Perfect for friends who like to entertain or who just like their sushi.
Paris photography calendar, $24: Pretty pictures of Paris. All. Year. Long. YES.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tesco Subway Grocery Shopping

Alan and I carpool to work, but if we took the subway, shopping at this virtual grocery store would be the raddest way to wait for the next train. That's what these lucky commuters in South Korea can do. Tesco plastered pictures of their stores' products on glass walls in the subway, with all the "shelves" organized just like how they'd be in a physical store. To order items, shoppers just scan QR codes with their phones, and the items are delivered to their home that same day. Isn't that clever? Remembering to buy milk or toilet paper on those days you run out would be so much easier.

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