Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays!

knit hats and scarves for sculptures
birds with hats and scarves
be merry and bright
On a walk last week, Alan and I discovered these bundled-up birds. It makes me smile to think about someone sitting at home knitting these tiny scarves and hats (with ear flaps!) Each time we walk by it's fun to see what's changed—the green scarf is the latest addition. Hope you're all having a lovely holiday season. See you back here in the new year! :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Gift Wrap Party

christmas wrapping paper
Did you guys have a good weekend? Alan and I did a lot of gift wrapping. We made an afternoon of it and listened to Christmas music and ate Christmas cookies.

heart gift wrap
My favorite gift wrap this year is covered in hearts. It's not exactly holiday wrap, but I think the red and gold make it count.

ugly christmas sweater
And it wouldn't have been a proper party without my favorite Christmas sweater. Aren't the mini jingle bells the best? ;)

p.s. How to tie a Tiffany bow (I tie all my bows this way!)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Flicks: Christmas Movies

list of best christmas movies
What are your favorite holiday movies? Growing up, my family would watch Home Alone every year, and I can't believe it still hasn't gotten old. Here's a list of my other favorites: Love Actually, Die Hard, Elf, Sleepless in Seattle, Home Alone and Edward Scissorhands. They make me feel warm and cozy every time. I plan on watching a few of these (and maybe a couple of new ones) while wrapping gifts this weekend. If you have any other recommendations, I'd love to hear. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

wanderBITE: Poutine + Ketchup Chips in Vancouver, BC

capilano suspension bridge
vancouver sky tram
sunken garden in butchart gardens
The dictionary defines wanderlust as "a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about." Since I'm very much a homebody, I wouldn't say wanderlust is quite the right word to describe how I feel when I want to go on an adventure. A more accurate description would be closer to "wanderbite" because my favorite thing to do when I'm in a new place is to find all the good places to eat. Are you the same way? My current wanderbite is for Vancouver ever since a Canadian friend put thoughts of poutine in my head.

Have you ever had poutine? It's a total comfort food made with fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. When I was last in Canada years ago, you could get poutine everywhere—even at McDonald's! It's delicious.

ketchup chips
In Canada, you can also get Lay's in flavors like ketchup, dill pickle, roast chicken, and even poutine (the best being the ketchup flavor, of course). Ketchup-flavored chips might sound weird, but I've had a terrible craving for them for the past few years. Every once in a while, I'll stroll down the chip aisle at the grocery store hoping that I might just see them...

Have you ever had either? Or have you been to Vancouver? A friend who went recently told me she had a really great, relaxing time.

(Top image of the Capilano Suspension Bridge, sky tram photo by Kris Runner, Butchart Gardens photo by Roshan, poutine photo by Randy Mayor, ketchup chips photo by Jennifer Molnar)

p.s. They use milk bags in Canada!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Stay-Warm Uniform

heart sweater
comfortable brown boots
When I drive home from work at night, before the heat kicks in, my teeth chatter and I get those uncontrollable shivers. You guys, it is officially cold. (At least for this California lady ;) Thank goodness for layering! I think I wear a sweater most, if not all, days of the week. So adding a button up underneath is an easy (and warm!) way to add a little bit of variety to my uniform.

{I'm wearing an Old Navy heart sweater and polka dot chambray shirt, BDG mint jeans, and Frye boots.}

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Which Piece of Makeup Can You Not Leave the House Without?

best mascara for straight asian lashes
I have a friend who wears lipstick to work every day. When she forgets it, people comment on how tired she looks, so she feels naked when she's not wearing any. Do you know the feeling? For me, it's mascara. Even if it's just in my head, I think I look really weird without it. My newest obsession is Shiseido's Perfect Defining Volume mascara which does wonders for holding a curl and adding length and volume—especially for stubborn, straight lashes like mine. What one piece of makeup do you have to wear?

p.s. the most makeup I've ever worn while eating donuts in my life below.

eating donuts

Monday, December 17, 2012

On My Desk

classic desk accessories
Two of my favorite things on my desk right now are 1) this smooth leather notebook for writing notes and to do lists and 2) this grey felt iPhone 5 sleeve. I was debating between a case and a sleeve, but in the end the sleeve won. I like being able to hold my phone without anything on it, and this sleeve keeps my naked phone from getting scratched up when it's in my bag.

Big Black Umbrella

big black umbrella
opening an umbrella
I was happy for the rain this weekend because I got to pull out my big black umbrella. It has a curved wooden handle, provides cover for two, and makes me feel like a chic tomboy. I got mine from Target, but if you don't mind splurging a bit, this classic umbrella with a surprise blue sky underneath is fabulous. I got it for my sister for Christmas one year and love seeing it open when it rains.

mailbox for letters to santa
p.s. Isn't this mailbox the cutest? Did you ever mail letters to Santa as a kid?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Life Lately

holding a coffee mug
For your Friday morning, here are four super short stories on what I've been up to lately. Chapter One: This is the secret to how I survived work this week—lots and lots of coffee. And creamer.

upward facing dog
Chapter Two: My sister's pup Petrie came over one night for a sleepover. As a non-dog owner, I kept calling to ask her what his non-verbal communication meant. She insisted it didn't mean anything that he would just sit longingly by the front door with his back turned to me. I worried he wasn't having a good time, but Sophie said I was reading into it. 

la pastaia san jose
Chapter Three: Alan and I went to his company's holiday party last Friday. It was in a cute restaurant downtown, and the invitation billed it as an appetizers-only event. So we were super confused after eating our seventh round of shrimp cocktail and crostini when everyone took their seats to eat plates of pasta, tri-tip, chicken, and mashed potatoes. We were really full that night.

nordstrom cafe raspberry white chocolate bread pudding
Chapter Four: Roy and I made a friend at Williams Sonoma. Here are a few fun facts about her:

*She has a mini dachshund.
*Her brother got a mini dachshund to copy her.
*She hates washing dishes and will make any excuse to avoid doing them.

I think we might spend too much time there, haha. On one of these shopping trips, we had dinner at the Nordstrom Cafe, and I finally tried their raspberry white chocolate bread pudding. (So good!)

Anyway, I'm so happy it's Friday and can't wait to relax. I hope you have a good one!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Cheer

animal ornaments
Alan's been busy with his new job and studying for finals, and I've been busy hanging out with my mom and eating everything she makes. Between our two schedules, our apartment's been looking a little dreary for this time of year. I came home one day and decided to make merry. First, I pulled out our ornaments, sparkly garland, and string of lights.

sprinkle-covered chocolate rings
Then I made a hot cup of tea and ate a plate of chocolate rings covered in sprinkles. Because sprinkles make everything nice.

mini Christmas tree
And I found a spot for our glittery mini tree. This might sound blasphemous, but I think we might skip getting a real tree this year! Last year we went to a Santa Cruz tree farm to chop one down, and it died within two weeks. I think I'm still recovering from that tragedy.

(sprinkle-covered chocolate rings + mini tree from Trader Joe's)

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Unsexiest Gift Guide: Presents for Practical People

One day I was talking to Nathalie about gifts we'd love but would never buy ourselves. Nathalie wanted a full set of glass tupperware, and I wanted matching wood hangers for my entire closet. It turned out the things we wanted weren't extravagant at all but exactly the opposite: We wanted practical things we could use. So, in case you're shopping for a very sensible person, or if you're a pragmatic person yourself, I've pulled together a list of my favorite practical products of all time. I present to you the 2012 Unsexiest Gift Guide. (It even has a dry-heel treatment on it. Don't say you weren't warned! :)

French jelly jars
French jelly jars for flowers

Aside from being sturdy drinking glasses, French jelly jars (with easy snap-on lids) are amazing for storing chopped-up fruit, shaking up homemade salad dressing, and holding flowers. I use mine to store fresh-squeezed juice, but they could be used for storing almost anything. ($3.25/glass)

natural nails
nailtiques formula 2 review

Nailtiques Formula 2 is a clear nail protein that strengthens brittle, cracked, splitting nails. My nails would break even if I undid my seatbelt the wrong way, but since I've started using this they've been strong and healthy. ($13)

tempur-neck pillow review
My mom first introduced me to Tempur-Pedic countoured pillows when I told her I was waking up with neck and shoulder pain. Ever since I've started using one, I sleep like a dream. I even got Nathalie to switch to one when she was having neck pain (which has since gone away). They come  in different shapes and sizes for back sleepers and side sleepers. ($89-$159)

body back buddy review

Giving a Body Back Buddy is like giving an insta-masseuse that works on call 24/7. I love mine.  ($34.95)

heel tastic review

Even though it's almost winter and we're far from sandal weather, who doesn't want to slip between flannel sheets with soft smooth heels? At first, I was skeptical about Heel Tastic, but it really is the bee's knees. The PedEgg doesn't hold a candle to this. ($10.50)

resolve stain stick review

Resolve Laundry Stain Stick has saved so many shirts from spaghetti sauce and coffee accidents I can't even imagine what the state of our closets would like without it. My favorite part is that you just apply it to your stains, throw your clothes in the hamper, and wash them a week later when it's actually laundry day. ($7.44 for a pack of three)

cutest mini vaseline

Mini Vaseline: What I wear on my lips each morning and night. Each jar lasts a lifetime, and now it comes in the teeniest mini jar! I love how there are 156 reviews on Amazon esteeming the cute packaging. ($2.99)

(Second French jelly jar photo by Buckets of Burlap)

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Next Best Thing to a Real Massage

Body Back Buddy Review
Massages are one of my favorite ways to unwind after a long day of work. The problem? They're so expensive! So, earlier this year, I bought myself the Body Back Buddy. I was skeptical at first (how good could a piece of plastic really be?), but as it turns out, amazing! I automatically reach for it as soon as I get home. It makes it really easy to control the amount of pressure you want and gets my knots out.

If you have company over, just beware that some of the knobs may look a bit... suspect, haha. I used my Back Buddy once while my friend Stacy was in the middle of telling me a story, and she couldn't take me seriously/stop laughing. But then, another friend told me a lady at her work even uses her Back Buddy in meetings. They're so awesome. If you rate shoulder rubs up there next to pizza and puppies, I'd highly recommend it! And for under $35, it's very affordable.

Have you used one? Would you give it a try?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Magical Train Stations

Last night, my dad took the train back to Portland. We waited with him at the train station which always feels like such a magical place. An elderly gentleman wearing a plaid toggle coat made sure everyone found their way to the right platform and onto the right car. Such a charming gesture.

All these people coming and going. I like to think the people arriving have all just returned from a fantastic adventure, and everyone else is waiting to go somewhere exciting and new.

Do you know the feeling? It's almost like the feeling I get when I drive over lit-up bridges at night. Sophie kept saying the station reminded her of Harry Potter :)

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