Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Wish List 2012 Edition

When I start Christmas shopping for others, I end up finding lots of things that would be perfect for me! It's horrible. I know.

Please tell me I'm not the only one.

So, I'm trying to keep shopping for myself at a minimum and honestly, I don't need a single thing on this list, but since you were dying to know, here's my wish list for 2012.

{1} - So luscious 
{2} - I <3 lace. 
{3} - I promise I'll keep them clean! 
{4} - Because you can only have so many pairs of green pants before you move onto a new color. 
{5} - I've got a crush on hammered gold. 
{6} - One can never have too many boxes of stationery. 
{7} - I only need 5 of them - CJ&J<3 
{8} - A little holiday dress! 
{9} - Gold polka dots! It's all in the details. 
{10} - Fun on your finger 
{11} - Just 'cause 
{12} - I have big bag syndrome.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Just Sayin'

Not much to post except that...

I love my husband.
I love our baby.
I love our family who has helped us tremendously.
I love our friends who are a constant source of encouragement.


I'm exhausted.

I promise I'm not a bad mommy. This is part of some diaper rash therapy prescribed by our good friend. Mommy was up way past her bedtime to keep an eye on this guy while he was on his tummy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


One of the things that Chris and I always pray for is to be thankful for what we have. This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for family and friends, especially those who have supported us during this crazy week with advice, prayers and helping us out at home. Between a newborn, jaundice and Chris out with the flu and then me, it's been a very insane week. Thanks to those of you who have been praying for us or caring for us in our home while all this has been happening.

I'm especially thankful for my two boys.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Let Me Introduce Myself

Hello! I'm today's guest blogger, Baby Justin. I'm new around here so let me tell you a bit about myself. I'm 6. Yes, that's right, 6 days old. It's been a pretty crazy 6 days. The first few days I was at the hospital with my Mom and Dad, but the last 2 nights, Mom and I had roommates and man, was our roommate noisy! He cried all night so Mom and I had a really hard time sleeping. Then we moved into my new house and had lots of visitors. I met a lot of my aunties, uncles, grandmas, cousins and new friends. But on Sunday night, my Dad got food poisoning and it seemed like that was pretty rough on both Mom and Dad. I was okay though. I was still waking up every three hours to do my thing. The next day, I went for my first doctor's appointment and they said I was jaundiced. I'm not sure what that means, but it ended up being kind of cool because I got these new sunglasses and sat in a box with blue lights. I hope to get out of here today though because I am itching for a change of scenery.

Like I said, it's been a crazy 6 days. What can I say? I'm livin' the fast life.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

GILT + Baby Gap

Okay, seriously, how cute is this?

I'm getting ready for my OB appointment right now and was looking through my e-mails and stumbled across one I thought I'd share with you. GILT released Baby Gap's new winter collection online today and is being sold in advance on GILT. I'm a sale kind of girl so I always wait for SOME type of markdown or discount before I ever buy anything from GAP, but I'm making mental notes of what I will buy when I'm ready!

babyGap Newborn Fox Gift SetbabyGap Garter-Stitch Hoodie
babyGap Cashmere Hooded SweaterbabyGap Dot Pants
Just a hat and his birthday suit. Love it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving Prep

Growing up in an immigrant family, holidays were never a huge deal for my family. We sent Christmas cards, but never had a tree. We had "Thanksgiving" dinner, but there was always a lot of roast duck, soy sauce chicken and char siu in place of turkey.  It's just the way we grew up with Chinese parents navigating themselves in a new culture and family.  However, when Chris and I got married, we decided that we'd be a little more traditional when it came to the holidays.  For our first Thanksgiving, we were invited to my aunt's home for Thanksgiving. Our second year, we were planning on hosting at our home with a full on Thanksgiving dinner, but my nephew was sick in the hospital and we were spending a lot of time helping my brother's family my taking turns at the hospital that we were too exhausted to do anything.

So, this is the year...except that our baby is due and we may have JUST gotten out of the hospital when Thanksgiving rolls around.  We're going to try our best and although it won't be a perfectly homemade Thanksgiving, it'll be the closest thing to it with a newborn. This is the reason why our mantle is also already decorated for Christmas. I do NOT do well when I'm sleep-deprived so I had to start all the holidays early so that we have SOME Thanksgiving and Christmas to celebrate. 

Anyhoo, here are some yummy recipes we've collected over the years for Thanksgiving!


Monkey Bread I Recipe

Williams-Sonoma Pumpkin Dessert Squares. Photo by the_amynator

Mmm, I'm getting hungry!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Week 38 - CHECK!

Just saying hello today. 38 weeks down and we're heading into week 39.  I had some false labor the other night, but it just means that my body is getting ready for the big day.  Thank goodness for the Internet and free wifi at Target.  Of course I'd be the one to go into labor at Target right? :) Photo credit to Charissa!

While I was looking up info about contractions, besties Charissa and Mel were trying on super cute Target clothes.  I can't wait to shop again!

The Nursery

The baby's room is done! Just in time too (no pun intended...for those of you who get my little joke! :))!

Here are a few photos of the finished room. I managed to forget to snap a photo of our zig zag rug, but that's going to have to wait because this mama is exhausted and ready for a catnap.

Now, we just need a baby and it'll be complete! :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day

I'm sitting here watching election results with my husband and eating patriotic jello as the baby wriggles inside me with excitement at what the next four years might bring. Well, it's either that or the sugar.

I've been voting by mail since I reached voting age (I'm just too practical), but am always jealous that I don't get an "I voted" sticker. Can't I get an "I voted by mail" sticker? Just sayin'!

Birthday Boy

This weekend was Chris' birthday and it was a chance for him to eat all the high cholesterol foods I haven't been letting him eat the past couple of months. He's been really disciplined about it so I figured that he could cheat on his birthday.

Instead of oatmeal, we went to Plum's for brunch. We've been meaning to go try it for awhile now, but we never could find a good excuse to get our butts out of bed on a Saturday morning and drive down to Costa Mesa for breakfast.  But a birthday did it! Chris got BACON and EGGS and POTATOES. He was a happy camper. I had the Northwestern waffle which really just a waffle and berries, but the clincher was the homemade whip cream. Nothing beats homemade whip cream. 

For dinner, we went to Chris' favorite restaurant, Lawry's. We actually considered having our wedding reception here because Chris loves the hunky beefiness so much, but I didn't want to get up 4 am to get married since they only offer lunchtime receptions. 

Anyway, here we are. I was able to snap a photo before Chris sunk his teeth into a big piece of BEEF. Another food he hasn't had much of lately. For his birthday, I bought him a shirt from J.Crew that he'd been eyeing and a new work bag from the Tumi Dror collection since his was stolen back in August. 

Happy birthday, love! Hope you enjoyed all the cholesterol. Back to oatmeal and whole grains, your favorite!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Type A

Hello! My apologies for a very late post this week. It's nearing the end of week 37 here and it's been super busy around. I know most women go through a nesting stage, but my nesting is less out of preparation for the baby and more out of fear that I won't want to do anything around the house when I am a sleep deprived zombie. I am REALLY grumpy when I am sleep deprived... REALLY, REALLY GRUMPY.

Aside from exhaustion, discomfort, irritability and being extra emotional (doesn't this make you want to spend a day with me?), I have been nesting and getting everything under the sun done. My type A personality thrives on lists and crossing things off my lists. Then recopying my lists so that they're neat again. Here's my newly updated weekly list on the right and my daily to do list on the left. I know I'm nuts, but now you know too and we can all move on. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Operation Christmas Child

Every year, our church has something called Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan's Purse. I'm sure many of you have heard of it or even participated in it.  All you do is fill a shoebox full of goodies, toys, gifts and daily necessities. These boxes are sent all over the world to needy children.

I used to make a box every year before I was married. Since Chris and I were married, we began making it a yearly tradition to make two boxes. One for a boy and one for a girl. When we have our baby, we'll probably add a third box to our yearly contribution. It's a lot of fun shopping for goodies to put in this box and praying for and wondering who the recipient will be.

Usually, you never find out because you turn the box into church and it gets shipped off to Samaritan's Purse where they sort and send the boxes off to where they are most needed. But, I found out this Sunday that if you pay for your shipping online, you can follow your box and see where it goes! How exciting is that? No, I probably won't get to see the child's face, but I will know which part of the world our box was shipped to. That's kind of neat!

So, here are our boxes, ready to be shipped off.  I can't wait to see where these end up!

My Love Affair with Target

Many of you probably love Target as much as I do.  However, since I had summer vacation and then pretty much went straight into maternity leave, I've had a lot of time on my hands.  As my pregnancy progressed, it was harder and harder for me to take walks around the neighborhood for fear that I needed to use the restroom or a place to sit and rest so I now take walks in stores - namely Target. It means that I make more trips to Target than I care to admit. Really, Target never gets boring for me.

I love when they release new items such as the Shops, Nate Berkus and even the newly designed Target line, Threshold. I'm looking forward to seeing the new Neiman Marcus collab that is coming soon. I love coasting through the aisles and end caps looking for bright red stickers calling my name with 30, 50, 70 and the even rarer 90% off.  The icing on top are the Target stores with Starbucks (another love affair, but that will have to wait till next time) where I can do all my leisurely shopping while I drink an iced caramel macchiato (currently decaf).

This weekend, I went into Target to see the Nate Berkus collection and to pick up my hammered bowl and came across a new set of goodies to fall in love with. Here's what I'm currently eyeing...

So if you come over to visit in the next month or so, you might see some of these items in their new home. :) Like this guy --

Happy Wednesday! Who knows... it's very likely that I'll run into you at Target this week. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Little Surprises

Don't you love little surprises? Today, we got a couple of surprises when my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and nephew came to visit.

Auntie Plum bought these wonderfully soft bamboo Aden + Anais swaddling blankets for us. I was just eyeing these at Nordstrom a few weeks ago and decided I couldn't splurge on another set of blankets. They match our room perfectly too!

Auntie Cherry, Tay Tay and Kylie sent us some world famous Byrd family art canvases. 
They're absolutely perfect and painted with so much love.  Also a perfect match!

Chris and Baby Jack at lunch. Jack was 0.5 of the 1.5 Italian people sitting at our table at Pizzeria Mozza. Have you eaten there? If not, you need to. And you need to get the Mozza Caprese. Our friend Grand introduced us and now I'm hooked. Oh and the Butterscotch Budino...and the Caramel Copetta. Okay, I'm starting to lose focus here.

And just 'cause...I'm a sucker for cute stationery. This one is going in the mail today for all the wonderful little surprises we got!

Happy Weekend! Looking forward to some more rain tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Tundra Endeavor

No, I didn't get to see the Endeavor on it's tour across LA, but my husband had been pretty excited about seeing the Endeavor being pulled by the Endeavor.  On the 405 northbound heading toward Torrance, there's a big billboard the reads "The Tundra Endeavor" so I was anxious to check out the video. I mean...VIDEOS.  I should have known they'd release a series of videos. There are several, but here are two of my favorites. 

And just so you know how pregnant I am. When I watched the Mission Accomplished video, I teared up. 5 weeks to go!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Rain & Other Thursday-like Tidbits

I was looking forward to Thursday all week because the forecast said it would rain.

I love rain.

Let me repeat that one more time.


Wait, I lied.

Let me restate this truthfully.

I love rain EXCEPT when it's a school day.

Parents or parents-to-be, in case you weren't aware of this, when your elementary age children go to school on a rainy day, they act as if they have NEVER SEEN RAIN BEFORE IN THEIR LIVES.  It's as if water falling from the sky were a completely novel phenomenon, miraculous and earth-shattering. It's like the first earthquake I experienced when I was in elementary school. I remember thinking aliens had invaded the Earth (Chris says I have a very vivid imagination). I digress.

Every time it rains, I have to make a big deal about it. I say, "Oh my goodness boys and girls! I had no idea!  I had no clue! I was completely unaware that....none of you have ever seen rain before!" When they begin protesting that yes, they've seen rain plenty of times in their lives and no, it's not completely new to them.  That's when I jump in and say, "Oh, then why are you guys acting like this is the first time it's ever rained in your entire lives?!"  We all get a laugh and then they calm down....well, most of them do.

So, although it is a school day, I am not working right now so I LOVE RAIN.

You can imagine my disappointment when this is all I saw, all day long!

Darn you Orange County and your perfectly mild weather!

Okay, okay, I admit it was a very nice day, even without the rain, but I LOVE RAIN.  We'll just have to try again another day.

So now it's time for other Thursday-like tidbits! Remember when I said Nate Berkus was coming to Target? Well, lo and behold. I was making my nearly daily trip to Target (I know. Really, I think it's an illness) and found a small end cap of Nate Berkus items in store...EARLY! Not to mention the Patch items were on clearance. It was a good, good day. 

After this, I went to the post office to mail off a little package of goodies to one of my October brides.

When the postal worker saw that the sender was "When Love Happens," he said, "When are you going to send one of these to me?" Perplexed, I smiled as he continued and said, "When will love happen for me?" I laughed out loud...maybe a little too loud.  Sorry mister, my packages aren't THAT magical. 

Anyway, happy Thursday! Chris and I have a full weekend. He gets a day off tomorrow to make up for all the traveling he did in September (I saw him for HALF the month). We start our video lamaze (thanks Jackie!), one last piece to complete in the nursery, breastfeeding class and we're watching our two little nephews. We're all baby, all weekend!  Hope you have a happy one!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I'm clumsy. I admit it. I trip. I fall. I run into stationary objects. I drop things. Things fall out of my hands. Last night, as I was getting ice in a cup, I managed to pull the cup away while ice was still coming out. Oops. Once, after dropping something, my husband asked, "How is it that you're so precise and exact when you're scrapbooking or making flowers, but you're so clumsy with other things? It doesn't make sense!" I know, I know. You're thinking, "But Joan, you've got it so together. I don't believe you." (HA!) I am admitting it now -- I am super clumsy.

When Chris and I got married and we decided that the bridesmaids and I would enter from this winding staircase, my first thought was, "Shoot. I'm totally going to eat it down this staircase."  This is a shot of Chris and I during the grand entrance. I'm looking down the whole time hoping I don't fall or trip on my skirt and how embarrassing it would be to tumble down a winding set of stairs in a white dress in front of 220 people.  I was even wearing flats since you couldn't really see them under my dress and...well, I didn't want to fall. My bridesmaids had to do the staircase in heels AND with no one to hold on to.  They're amazing...and they're also not clumsy.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I had just purchased these Lucky Brand wedges. I am a teacher so comfort is key when you literally sit for about an hour out of your entire workday and part of that is the 15 minutes you sit and scarf down your lunch and right after school when your feet feel like they're about to fall off. Lightweight and much more stable than any spindly heel, these shoes pretty much go with everything.

When I was about 4 months pregnant, I wore these to a Father's Day lunch for Chris and my brother, Frank. They were the first time I really wore them when I was pregnant.  Chris found a parking spot on the same block as the restaurant and in the 300 yards from the car to the restaurant, I managed to trip....three times.  That's one trip for every 100 yards!  I was wearing the most unclumsy type of high heeled shoe, yet I managed to be clumsy in them. My bad ankle from the trampoline accident of 2011 (also another demonstration of clumsiness) only makes matters worse.

All this to say, I really wish I could wear these - 

 {1}  {2}  {3}  {4}

And I can't even wrap my mind around these -

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Focusing on the Positive

If you've talked to me at any point through my pregnancy, you would have noticed that I'm not in love with being pregnant. And at 5 months when I told my friends how uncomfortable I was, they said, "You're uncomfortable NOW? Just wait till the end!" They were right.

This week has been especially tough. It became even more difficult to sleep through the night. I wake up every couple of hours and no matter what position I sleep in, I cannot get comfortable.  I started getting pains in my drums and thighs... I mean legs and thighs (I am getting ready to cook dinner). I have to walk very slowly when I'm out because of all the pressure and because my tummy feels like it's going to bust open.

Did I mention that I still have 6.5 weeks to go? (Insert appropriate emoticon here)

So this morning when I woke up and was still feeling tired because I really didn't get any restful sleep and had pains in my leg, I just went back to bed hoping to wake up feeling better. I woke up and didn't feel any better, but forced myself to go out. As I was driving, I was encouraged to have a better outlook on the day and to find the positive in everything. So, here's my list of awesome, positive things that happened today -

1. The nursery is nearly done. I'm waiting for one last item to come in the mail to hang up, the slip cover for the chair to come back from the dry cleaner and one bookcase to be spray painted. Then it's cleaning, setting up and settling in. Then I'll be able to post some photos! Here's a sneak peak. Excuse the mess...and the newspaper... and the abundance of blue painter's tape. Chris spent his entire Saturday nailing, drilling and leveling.

2. Gas is still expensive, but I still have 3/4 of a tank.
3. It is significantly cooler this week than last! At least the weather won't make my hot flashes WORSE.
4. The baby knows how to do summersaults - or something that feels like summersaults. I'm trying to spin this in a positive way because sometimes when he does these, I feel like he's going to break through my skin. 
5. Did some grocery shopping at Whole Foods and the employees are really nice there. Everyone greeted me with a smile and asked if I needed help in a not-overpushy-kind-of-way. Even the solicitors are nice there. The man collecting donations outside said, "Are you ready to have your baby?"  When I responded with an emphatic YES, he said, "Oh, your baby is going to be so lucky to have you as a mom!"  
6. I have a recipe for dinner tonight that involved olives, Chris' favorite. Let's just cross our fingers it turns out tasty!
7. An elderly man who was wearing a shirt that said NAVY across the front was walking past me at Ralphs and he said, "Hi! How are you today?" With no references to my big, preggo belly.
8. HIMYM is on tonight.
9. I bought an awesome present for Chris' birthday.

Time to make dinner! Stay positive and go watch HIMYM.

Friday, October 5, 2012

33 weeks down, 7 weeks to go!

I'm starting 34 weeks this week and I am carrying a honeydew around with me. Actually at the end of 32 weeks, I had an ultrasound which showed that the baby's belly was on track for 32 weeks. However, he was 2 weeks ahead for height and 3 weeks ahead for head size. He was already a little over 4 lbs. at that point. Oh my goodness. I've gained 6 lbs during my pregnancy. If I haven't gained that much weight, why is the baby so BIG?

We've got tall genes on my side. I've always been tall for a girl (especially an Asian one). All of the girl cousins are around my height and all of the guy cousins, like my brother, all hover around 6 feet. When I told my Mom and Aunt they laughed and said, "all the babies on our side are always over 20" and 8-9 lbs."

Fantastic. I'm trying to focus on the positive, that our baby is healthy and that he'll be a tall Asian boy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Nerdy Nursery Prints

I'm a little (okay,  a lot) late in posting, but I've been super preoccupied with getting the nursery finished and tending to things that need to be done before the baby arrives.  Okay, and reading.  I read The Mark of Athena in two nights. 

I've been working on the nursery pretty much as soon as we found out we were pregnant. That's just the kind of person I am. I like to get a head start on things. I began looking online for ideas, getting ideas and making Pinterest boards.  But for the past, oh, I'd say... 4 months? I've been looking for artwork to hang up in the nursery.  One day, I came across these and almost made me change the entire direction of our nursery because it was major cuteness. Check out these adorable prints from Mint Parcel.
Just in time for Halloween! These scary guys aren't so scary when they're cute!

I just wish she had a Darth and Luke to add to this collection, but I'm in the process of buying these guys anyway. I would make my brother proud.

Little superheroes!  My favorite here are Batman and Robin. Okay, and the hulk 
because he looks like broccoli!

Chris gets a long weekend so it'll be time to finish putting up shelves and frames in the nursery so we can share it with you here! Happy Thursday!

And special happy vacation shout out to Charissa who is on her way to Japan! Enjoy and eat lots! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Good Reads

An overall exhaustion has set in here as I enter the eighth month of pregnancy.  I've been waking up every 2-3 hours every night with one waking between 4 and 5 am where I can't go back to sleep till 6 or 7 am. I guess my body is practicing for when the baby comes.

When I can't get back to sleep, I pick up one in the pile of books I have on my bedside and do some reading until I can doze off again.

As if I didn't have enough to read, I want to add two new books to my collection that I'm very excited about.

Casual Vacancy - JK Rowling's novel out TODAY

The Mark of Athena - Rick Riordan's 3rd installement of the Lost Heroes series coming Oct. 2

I know you might understand why I want to read JK Rowling's new book though my hopes are not high because I've never read anything to top my love of Harry Potter and I don't think I ever will. The second one, you may not understand as well.  Rick Riordan is actually a children's author and I fell in love with this series when I was teaching 4th grade.  It's the next best children's series I've read after Harry Potter.... and I've been waiting about a year for this book to come out.  I know a few of my teacher and librarian friends have been too. Nerds unite!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Baby Bump

Up until about 4 months, people on the street wouldn't have necessarily known I was pregnant. In fact, when we were in New York on a very crowded subway back from Citi Field with Chris' best friend, a man offered me his seat. Later, I asked Chris if the man offered me his seat because I'm a girl or because I'm pregnant. Chris, being the smart man he is, said that he offered it to me because I was CLEARLY pregnant.

Yesterday, I went to drop off a letter to our neighbor's home that was accidentally delivered to our home. I also wanted to drop off some freshly baked cookies to them for picking up Chris' iPhone5 off our porch on Friday while I was out with my friend Mel in LA. They're an elderly couple in their 80's. We jokingly call them security since they're home all the time and the husband regularly patrols the neighborhood for us. It's only been a few weeks since I saw them last, but when he saw me he said, "OH! It looks like you swallowed a watermelon seed!"

I mentioned this story to a friend yesterday and she complained about how I haven't posted any pictures of my baby bump. It's true. I've taken very few pictures of myself while pregnant. So for those of you curious to see our little watermelon... Here he is at 32 weeks with Hello Kitty.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Long Awaited Day...

You think I'm talking about the baby, but I'm not! :)

Chris had already been living in our current home for a couple of years when I moved in after we were married in 2010.  The house was already furnished when I stepped foot into the house and in an effort to save money after the wedding, we only made some minor changes to furniture and decor.  I have a pile of framed photos to hang, which I haven't done. Shelves sitting in the closet, that have not been hung.  Somewhere along the way, I got so busy with my long commute to work and my Etsy shop, that  I abandoned all my little projects.  We do hope to move within the next handful of years to make room for more kids, but for now, I am content with making small adjustments here and there to make our place more homey.

Enter Nate Berkus, Oprah's interior designer!  His collection hits Target October 21st and the date has been sitting on my Google calendar for months.

Come October 21st, I will be at the Target store right when it opens to collect my sea urchin and hammered bowls.