Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm Going to Disney!

I'm off to Orlando this morning! My work is sending me to a conference in sunny Florida this week, and Darren and Sophie are tagging along for the ride. We'll be going to a couple of theme parks, visiting family, and gorging on buffets no doubt. I'll be blogging in between *working* and playing, so stay tuned!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

Wow, I had a great Thanksgiving weekend. It was filled with lots of the usual: food, family, bonding, games...My aunt and uncle hosted a great Thanksgiving dinner. The decor and presentation were so nicely put together and well thought out. Sophie had so much fun--her usual bedtime was shot all weekend long. She stayed up till the wee hours of the morning running around and having fun with her cousins, aunts and uncles. We got together twice again after Thanksgiving night, squeezing what we could out of the weekend. I felt sad today, realizing that the it was all coming to an end and that we all had to go our separate ways....until Christmas, everyone!

A very contented person

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I'm so thankful for loyal best friends, a kind and thoughtful husband, supportive parents, a flexible job, a great kid, and a happy life so far. Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hungry Kids

As we get into this season of bounty and abundance, I am more and more reflective of those who are less fortunate. Nothing tugs at my heartstrings more than stories of children who go hungry. This video was an eye-opener, but I couldn't resist watching (and sharing).

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's in the Mail

There are few things in life that fill me with equal amounts joy and terror. Sending holiday cards (and addressing all of them) is one of these things. I got an early start this year and ordered mine as soon as I discovered Mr. Boddington's Studio, a stationer in NYC who makes these beautifully vintage looking cards. The cards are letterpressed and make me nostalgic for the days when people got something other than bills in the mail (before my time, apparently). I won't post the actual card I ordered, since 99.9% of the people who read this blog will be receiving it!

Calling Cards

How cute are these personalized calling cards from Rifle Paper Co.? It would be neat to have these ready in your purse (or diaper bag) to hand out to other moms. You never know when you'll be meeting a potential playdate!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Let the Family Time Begin

Thanksgiving isn't until Thursday, but for all intents and purposes our holiday has begun. Most of my family (that's over 40 people) gathered over the weekend to commemorate my grandfather's passing. It's a strongly held cultural and religious tradition for us and distance is no obstacle, as aunts, uncles, and cousins traveled thousands of miles for the event. One Buddhist ceremony and two buffets later, here are some hasty images I managed to capture...

My teenage cousins

...and more cousins

...some of their moms (my mom has 6 sisters!)

my grandma (who has 11 kids) and mom

This is a child who knows her buffets

...and so is this one.

Geisha lipstick

Cousins, nephews, and uncle

Cousins, cousins, cousins (we're all real tight)

Burning off some calories after dinner

Friday, November 20, 2009

For Sale (The Chairs, Not the Kid)

I'm in full nesting mode lately, and I've been re-arranging and re-thinking my furniture set-ups. I'm going to try and sell off these two chairs. I hope I don't get stood up by Craigslisters!

Update: The chairs sold and were picked up the next morning! Woohoo!

Excuse're in the shot!

Rainbow Cake

image via Whisk Kid

This is the most beautiful cake in the world. And I'm determined to make it for Sophie's next birthday party, goshdarnit. The idea and recipe are from the blog of Whisk Kid.

Corralling Toddler Clutter

Apartment Therapy recently blogged about grown-up solutions to toddler clutter, which is a constant battle at our house. My solution to this is two-fold:

1) Resist the frequent impulse to buy toys for Sophie whenever we go out, and
2) Large straw baskets in every room. I throw all her toys into these baskets every night before bed. During the day, they're accessible enough that she can get her toys out herself.

Done and done.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Designer Spotlight: Jill Sharp Brinson

The December/January 2010 issue of House Beautiful arrived the other day and had me drooling at the feature of Jill Sharp Brinson's Atlanta home. I love this home in every single way.

The built-in bookcase and balcony make a dreamy reading area

This Pottery Barn wall sconce is a good substitute for the sconces shown above.

I've always thought that black and white zigzag complimented rustic interiors well, and apparently I'm not alone!

Love that natural trestle table

Restoration Hardware makes a similar double sink console. And that vase is from Pottery Barn's collection from a few seasons back.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Partridge in a Pear Tree (Almost)

image via Real Simple

Are you crazy like me and have already been thinking about Christmas decorations? I favor simple clear or white glass ornaments on our main tree (we put up two trees) and these bird lights would look perfect nestled among them.

Etsy Goody: Twig Hairpins

image via Real Simple

Oh, how I wish my hair was slightly wavy so I could rock these Tiny Twig Hairpins. Apparently, they're so much in demand that the Etsy seller, The Sparrow's Nest, had to temporarily close her shop to catch up on orders.

All Dolled Up

Sophie's been getting primped and pampered lately, and the little lady in her is really beginning to enjoy these feminine rituals. Last night, I took her with me when I got a pedicure, and she was fascinated. She sat so still as the nail technicians kindly painted her toenails as well. Then today, she went to get a haircut and for the first time Sophie sat in the chair all by herself, letting the stylist work on her 'do.

First pedicure

The tangle of hair before the haircut

Go ahead, make me beautiful.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Food for Thought

I read this over at OhDeeDoh today and it really resonated with me:

In the end, all presents either get well loved and then discarded, garage-saled, or given away to friends or family. It might be shortly after they're given, or not until later on in college or adulthood, but sooner or later it happens to everything. That is unless you give experiences as gifts instead of stuff and things.

My parents immigrated to the U.S. when I was really young, and we never had much in terms of things. I remember maybe two or three toys I was given on Christmas. But my memories are rich with the many family car trips we took to the beach, and to see the autumn leaves change colors, and swimming every weekend in the summer and ice skating every weekend in the winter...Those are the things I really treasured, and I hardly ever think about what few things I had.

Duck for Turkey Day

Since I have a multicultural family, it's important for me to expose Sophie to all sides of her mixed heritage. Oh sure, she can drink green beer on Saint Patrick's day in a few years, but it's not so easy for me to think of fun Vietnamese things that she could enjoy. For now, I'll settle for finding children's stories to which she might be able to relate. One timely story is Duck for Turkey Day, which tells the story of a Vietnamese-American girl dealing with her non-traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Here's the gist, from Barnes and Noble:

Before Thanksgiving, Tuyet's class makes turkeys out of pinecones and sings turkey songs. So she is dismayed to learn that her family will be eating duck for their holiday dinner. She breaks out her own money, but there is no turkey to buy at the Saigon Supermarket. Although Tuyet has fun on Thanksgiving, she is nervous about telling her class that she didn't eat turkey—until many classmates reveal that their families dined on dishes like lamb, enchiladas and tofu turkey. A lighthearted reminder about multicultural traditions during the holidays.

Props to my thoughtful husband, who found this in our local bookstore!

Michou's 30th Birthday

Yep, I managed not to take a picture of the birthday girl on her celebration day. Here's who really matters!

I can't believe my younger sister is so old now. She turned the big 3-0 on Thursday, and over the weekend I returned to Sea Pearl to celebrate with my family. They have a prix fixe lunch menu that's only $12.99 (that's a good price for this restaurant). We had a nice time and the kids were on their best behavior. I think my sister enjoyed her low-key celebration. Happy Birthday Michou! Now your age matches your looks.

I kid, I kid.

Cranberry-Clementine Sauce

Thanksgiving is only a week away, and for a lot of large families like mine that means: potluck. One thing I'm bringing this year is a cranberry-clementine dressing made from scratch. It's both tart and citrusy, flavors that always remind me of the holidays. And while 90% of people are fine eating cranberry sauce out of a can, I say "why settle?" when this delicious sauce is so easy to make?

2 clementines
2 cups sugar
2 packages (12 oz. each) fresh cranberries
1. Cut clementines in half and, leaving on the skin, slice as thinly as possible.
2. Place in a pot with the cranberries, sugar and 1 1/2 cups of water.



Clementines...3 ingredients! If it got any easier, it would be coming out of a can.
3. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool before serving.

recipe from Domino Magazine (RIP)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tea Party

image via OhDeehDoh

I don't usually push Sophie into "princess-y" things, but is this tea party the cutest idea for little girls, or what? Even I can't resist it. The photo and idea are from a new book by Janeen Sarlin called Princess Tea.

Balance Bikes

I'm thinking about getting Sophie a balance bike next Spring. Apparently, they're an easy first step in teaching your kids how to ride a real bike. They'll start walking with the bike at first, and in no time your kiddos will be running along, keeping balance perfectly! Plus, these bikes are so cool looking, right?

Skuut Balance Bike, $94

Sophie's Two Year Well Visit

The weather is miserable today, but we braved the wind and rain to go to the pediatrician's office for Sophie's two-year check-up. She was so much more rambunctious than usual, and it was tiring to keep her occupied while we were waiting. But it was nice to see our favorite pediatrician again, and he confirmed that she was looking good.

The good news:
Height - 34.5 inches (61%)
Weight - 31 lb (89%)
- good eating habits

Things we need to work on:
- more effective time-outs
- no more bottle!
- be firm at nighttime