Winner of the Shabby Apple Giveaway - Nikkiana!

Congratulations Nikkiana! I couldn't find an email address for you, please contact me (my email is on the contact page) so you can claim your prize.


peace, love, and cupcakes

Have you entered the Shabby Apple Giveaway? Tomorrow's the last day! 

[I had fun doing this photo shoot. The cat never has fun during these photo shoots, but I know that when she sees the final product, she's thankful she didn't squirm out of my arms in desperation. Now I just need to make the boy pose for one of these!]

To brighten up this super crappy year, I am looking forward to spending time with my family and friends this holiday season. We will be making our perilous trek from San Diego to San Francisco and Sacramento on the 23rd, where I finally get to see my Dad (he just left the hospital and will be recovering,) my family, the boy's family, and some good friends I only get to see a few times a year.

When times are hard, it's difficult to be far away. Days like these, I wish I lived close by, so I wouldn't have to plan out just one week of time to see everyone I love.

On the agenda is a visit to one of our favorite restaurants in the city, The House, and I hope to have lots of cuddle time with my baby nephews and niece!

With a mountain of work (finals and work deadlines) I am counting down the days until I get to go over the river and through the woods on the 23rd. It's been pure chaos lately.

Hope your holiday planning is sweet and merry! I'm going to have Elf playing in the background while I toil away at my finals. xoxo


Shabby Apple Giveaway - Francine Skirt - CLOSED

Tis the season to give, and what better way to give than with a Shabby Apple Giveaway! I've had my eye on any skirt with a bow, so I'm going to give one of you the chance to have this adorable pencil skirt, the Francine. For those of you unfamiliar with Shabby Apple, it's an online boutique of sweet and flirty women's dresses. As readers familiar with this blog know, I'm a sucker for dresses!

To enter, you must:

Like the Shabby Apple Facebook page, then leave a comment below telling me you did. That might be a pretty boring comment, so to make things interesting for me and you, let us all know what your plans are for this holiday season while you're at it. 

For an additional entry, you may also: 

Tweet, Facebook, or blog about this giveaway and leave a comment here with the link.

This giveaway will close one week from now on December 8th at 11:59 PM. A winner will be chosen at random from the comments.  
Don't forget--include your email address so I know how to contact the winner! 

 Good Luck!



20% Off Sarah Perlis + Eternity Ring Love

I never got a wedding band (we opted to use the money to get the boy the gold wedding band of his choice) so whenever I see that Sarah (who made my engagement/wedding ring!) having a sale my heart skips a beat. Isn't this one just lovely?

Sigh...maybe one day??

Go visit Sarah's website here for more beautiful jewelry.



Giving Thanks

That turkey above was really, really good. The gravy that you see directly behind it, even better! Some of the best turkey I have had. For the first time, the boy and I spent Thanksgiving at my godmother's who whipped up a fabulous feast. It was delicious.

My godmother and I share an affinity for sparkly pretty things. Here you can see the pretty tablecloth she set out, and the pink glass peaking in the corner. 

 Yams are underneath this cloud of toasted marshmallows. Mmmmmmm...

Even though I had a horrible paper to write (ugggghhhh) the boy and I managed to have fun with his time off from lab. It was really nice. We spent the day at the zoo, which I always love. I've been to the zoo several times, and each time the hippo, Otis, is smushed up against the glass and looking positively lazy. This time he was actually posing on this rock, so I took the opportunity to get a photo with him. Hi Otis! [These lucky folks got Otis to smile.]

After the zoo, we had dinner at one of our favorite spots in La Jolla, PrepKitchen

[Photo from PrepKitchen]

That dinner was amazing. The boy's dish was particularly good--a turkey leg with polenta. This was fall off the bone good.


To top it off, we shared a pumpkin bread pudding. We were full of food and happiness. 

Annnnnnnnd if that wasn't enough, we also saw The Muppets, which was SO GOOD. It totally made me smile all the way home and had me in love with Amy Adams (and her wardrobe!) again.

[Just hanging out with my Muppet buddies]

On a more serious note...

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all of the experiences I have had in my life thus far. I am thankful for the love I have received, the places I have been, the knowledge I have the accrued, and the possibilities that my life has to offer. The fact that I got to eat a delicious Thanksgiving meal, visit the zoo and see so many animals from around the world, have a romantic dinner by the ocean, and see The Muppets, all with my best friend and love, is quite a weekend. I'm quite grateful that this is my life.

I am thankful that my friends and family have their health and are fed well and live in warm homes. And although my Dad isn't doing so well (he's back in the hospital and I hope he is out by the time I go back home,) I am thankful for the education and experience of the doctors and medical staff who are helping treat him and make him better so he can go home and be with us.

I am thankful that I have this public vehicle to share my life with you, and I am thankful that you share your life with me so I can read about the love that other people share around the world.

Hope everyone had a wonderful, delicious Thanksgiving.

Let the holidays--whatever you may celebrate--begin!


A Birthday + San Diego Beer Week

Things are getting better. Have I mentioned how great the boy is? I love him. He's been so patient and supportive. Big emphasis on the word "patient", because I know a gigantic portion of the population wouldn't be able to handle weepy Mo rambling on about life, death, the past, and making weird pop culture references while doing so. Yeah. From talking to me for hours when he has other work to do, to going on midnight runs to McDonald's for my friend and enemy the McFlurry, to doing more chores to help out, he's really stepped it up. On another sunny note, my Dad is recovering at home (he was in the hospital last month) and slowly eating more and regaining strength. I have high hopes for December and 2012.

This week we celebrated his birthday by going to Beer Garden at the Lodge at Torrey Pines, which was sorely needed! Sun, good food, pretty place, alcohol, plus the love of my life? Yes please.

There were ten stations with food from local restaurants and brewers, and it was all. you. can. eat. And the food was incredible! I'm not a beer drinker (shhhh! don't tell the other people that went!) but the boy loves it and is getting into craft beers. He's already planning for next year.

[The event took place on the patio at The Lodge at Torrey Pines.]

[There was live music while we got tipsy and ate lobster.]
[Each attendee got a baby glass to try all the beers.]

 [One of my favorites: Boursin Cheese Ravioli, Parmesan Cream, Rock Shrimp, Asparagus and Baby Tomatoes from Pamplemousse Grill]

[Another favorite: Main Lobster “Salchicha”, Piri Piri salsa, Cilantro pistou from Karl Strauss]

 [The boy's favorite: Lightly Smoke Trout, Crushed Potato-Fennel, Green Apple Salad, Pommery Mustard from The Shores]

 [Fresh bread from Sadie Rose Baking Company]

Hooray for a successful birthday for the boy! Three cheers for being a wonderful husband and life partner. :)


A Blooming Halloween

Thank you to everyone for your support on my last post. After writing it, I felt better. You're a great audience, thank you. 

I'm doing a bit better but still not completely present. I've also been struggling with some family health issues, and our family cat of 17 years died two weeks ago, so basically October 2011 is in the running for worst month in my life. 

For some therapy, I decided to make my Halloween costume using this Martha Stewart idea. There's nothing like a trip to Michael's and Paper Source to make me feel better momentarily. That, and adorable trick or treaters coming to my door and getting excited over my pink Pocky and Hello Kitty candies. Those kids were too adorable. (Tick tock, Mo.) 

Here's how the costume came out: 

[My Halloween costume, based on this Martha Stewart tutorial]

[The whole ensemble--I'm holding an arrow because I was part of a food chain. My fellow editors were a bunny and a wolf. :) ]

I used: 
+1 plastic headband
+PVA (I think double-sided tape works well too)
+floral tape (regular tape is helpful when attaching the tissue paper)
+floral wire (I glued this to the green paper to make the leaves bendable)
+pink tissue paper
+green paper with fibers
+bees from Michael's (I found them in the floral department)

I'm happy with how it came out and love how colorful it looked!

How was your Halloween? Did you dress up?


White Glasses, Yay or Nay?

[The Webb frame in Black Crystal and Crystal Matte. This is a "virtual try-on," a feature that lets you upload a photo so you can see what you would look like with the glasses on]

Ah, glasses.

My prescription gets worse every year, and again, my current glasses aren't letting me see to my full potential. Last year, the boy purchased some frames from Warby Parker. He loves his frames, and the delivery was swift and customer service super nice. So, I might jump on the Warby Parker bandwagon myself. And I have my eye (pun intended) on the Webb frame.  

But I need your help. I am really tempted to get the "crystal matte" but I'm not sure if they'll look OK. I've always just gotten black, except when I was 9 and got blue with pink flecks, and when I was 13 and had a Lisa Loeb obsession. 

What do you think, white glasses? Yes? No? Stick with black? Get some orange frames?


When Life Gets Busy, Crafts Suffer

Where did I go? I'm heading into week 4 of the quarter, and it's showing in my crafts, and basically all aspects of my domestic life. I will, however, brag that I was able to wash the dishes AND do laundry this week. Also, I've noticed that I have missed out on several weeks of my favorite podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour, which is just inexcusable. I think it's a travesty when NPR is not included in my life. I have however been able to squeeze a teeny tiny bit of time for one of the best craft times of the year--Halloween! I swear, if I wasn't up at night reading about AACR2 and MARC records, I would be crafting up a storm.

I've planned two crafts for myself, one is my costume (soon to come!) and the other is *drum roll please* Glitter pumpkins!

[You can make your own glittered pumpkins too, here are the instructions]

I think this craft came out OK and I probably should have taken Martha's suggestions on the colors. Blue with bits of orange peeking out? Not that cute. But I just couldn't resist the blue! I also sprinkled some glow-in-the-dark glitter in there, which I did not know existed before Saturday.

Also, how did Martha NOT get glitter on the stem? If you're doing this craft, I recommend finding pumpkins with very long stems so you have a better chance of not getting the stem bombarded by glitter.

Still, even with these shortcomings, they are pretty eye-catching in the middle of our table. And the mini-pumpkins I got? Too adorable.

What's your favorite part of Halloween?


Miss Your Faces



9 Years

Yesterday marked 9 years of being a couple. I didn't mention it, and neither did he, because like the past couple years we have just FORGOT. So much for being romantic.
But even though our wedding anniversary has masked our dating one, I still think fondly of the fall of 2002. And despite not remembering, I think last night's evening of him washing dishes and making dinner while I gabbed on about my day was plenty romantic enough for me. :)

Here's to almost a decade of being together! 



Tell Me About Yourself

Thank you to elephant is love for the Tell Me About Yourself award! As part of the award, I'm supposed to write 7 random things about myself. I'm feeling particularly boring these days, but let's see if I can gather 7 tidbits about yours truly.

1. I was an Asian Tracy Flick.
Or some might say I'm still Tracy Flick, but I like to think I've calmed down since then. Really. I didn't tear down any campaign posters and then lie about it, but I was definitely aggressive about what I wanted in high school and stressed myself out about being (my idea of) "perfect". And then I went to Berkeley and met a bunch of other Tracy Flicks and got humble really fast. There's nothing like getting a paper with no mark on it, just the message "REWRITE" in red, as a way to shake someone up and say WAKE UP!

[Did you watch Asian Annie (the counterpart to Jewish Annie) on Community? Hilarious! I creepily have several outfits that look just like that...cute glasses, Annie!]

2. I can lick my elbow. Go ahead, try it. I'll wait. 


...Did you do it??? Did you? Our nerdy doctor friends found out that I can only lick my right elbow because my right shoulder is double-jointed. 

3. If all goes well, I graduate this spring!!!! By the end of this year, no more working full-time and going to school part-time. Let's take a big sigh of relief together. 

[From here]

4. I ate at Burger Lounge with the boy for lunch. I had a quinoa burger with white cheddar. I think this is the best burger in San Diego, it is SO yummy!

5. I already have a boy name and a girl name picked out for our future children. I'm not telling you for fear that you will laugh or tell me that someone horrible in your life was named that. I realize this is crazy since we are 1) not pregnant, and 2) not ttc. Although, I feel like one step in the right direction knowing what that acronym means!

6. I love working with kids. During a corporate job interview having nothing to do with kids or art or education, I admitted that the best job I ever had was working with kids at an art and science camp. 

I didn't get the job. 

7. I'm in the market for a good printer (for photos and scrapbooking, plus all the basic b+w printing I have for school,) and a tablet to read eBooks. Any suggestions?? 

The award indicates that I have to tag people, but it's hard to choose among all my blog friends. Consider yourself tagged, and if you feel inclined, tell me something random about yourself in the comments. :) 

Hope everyone has a lovely start to the week! 


My Fairy Blogmother

I'm back from a long weekend in the SF Bay Area and Sacramento. I visited my in-laws, my parents, my grandmother, my cat, and attended the red egg and ginger party of my adorable newborn nephews. Before I left, I got a pretty exciting surprise in the mail. 

Do you remember this travesty?

 Yeah I know, let's not look at it for too long. It hurts, doesn't it?

My blog friends, women I have never met but only know in this wonderful and sometimes crazy world of the Internet, continue to amaze me with their generosity and kindness. I want to thank you all for the comments on my post about my bag. I carried it every day, and also wouldn't have bought it originally had I not found it on sale for 50% off...hence, the sad, sad day of the suntan lotion massacre of summer 2011.

So, what was the surprise package? And who sent it?

This gorgeous yellow version of the same bag (!!!!!!), sent by, none other than, my fairy blogmother--Abbie!

[Tano Boogie Bucket in lemon line, a present from my blogger friend, Abbie of A Glimpse of the Girl Next Door.]

As you can see, I've already started carrying it. We're going steady. I think it's gonna ask me to the prom and pick a corsage that matches my dress.

Abbie, I promise I will take good care of it and will not leave it teetering on a bathroom hook at Starbucks only to see it fall to a devastating death. I'm going to hug it just like in the photo above. Forever. Or until it falls apart.

Have you ever had a fairy blogmother or acted as one?


An Elephant and Embroidery Love

[Check out my blog buddy, elephantislove, and her etsy store here]

A couple weeks ago, I won a great giveaway from the lovely elephantislove for a beautiful notecard set from Sarah of Sometimes I Swirl! Thank you to both for hosting the giveaway, and for introducing me to a beautiful Etsy store. I've been admiring Sarah's embroidery work. Here are some of my favorites:

[Three Colorful Flowers from Sometimes I Swirl]

 [Embroidery Flower Garden from Sometimes I Swirl]

Dreamy, no? I have never tried embroidery, but these are so lovely I'm curious to try now.


Playing With My Camera - San Diego Zoo

I bought a new toy for my camera--a telephoto zoom lens! After the power outage on Thursday (more on that later),  I spent some time enjoying the fresh air and lack of crowds at the zoo. I wanted to see how close I could zoom-in to the animals. Turns out, pretty close!

Here are some of my favorites:

I just bought a membership, so I hope to visit my zoo friends more often for regular portrait sessions. :)


StoryCorps: The Voices of 9/11

[From StoryCorps' 9/11 Animated Shorts Series, She Was the One]

Groggy from cold medicine and cloaked in a Cal sweatshirt, I woke up the morning of 9/11/2001 to my phone ringing. (A real cordless phone, because I didn't even have a cell phone yet.) It was my first month in the dorms, and I was still getting used to being on my own and learning about the world around me. I had just met my roommate, who became a lifelong friend, and I didn't even know the boy. He was probably sleeping in a dorm room a half mile away.

"Hello?" I said with my eyes still closed.
"Are you up?" It was my sister.
"No, we're both sick, we were sleeping. Why are you calling so early? What's wrong?"
"Go find a common room with a TV. Is there one on your floor? Go watch the TV."

With my sister still on the phone, I shuffled out of bed and to our dorm's common room, where I found a group of people already glued to watching the news. The rest is a little foggy to me.

She Was the One brought tears to my eyes and makes me want to hold onto the boy and never let go.

Take care of your loved ones and community, blog world.

With love,



When Bad Things Happen To Good Fashion

 [Mo+purse during happier times]

My Tano Boogie Bucket suffered a horrible fate on Sunday, thanks to a can of suntan lotion and my trust in a wobbly hook in the Starbucks bathroom.

"I'll be fast," I told the boy. Little did I know what torture I'd inflict on one of my favorite fashion pieces by choosing to pee at that time, in that place, and with that bag slung over my shoulder. I shut the door, and put my bag up on the hook. It wobbled. But I didn't want to waste any time, so I didn't think anything of it and just left it there to teeter over the thing piece of metal. And then, before I could even turn around, I heard this huge *POP!* like a firecracker or toy gun, and I turned my head (slow motion like in an action movie right before something epic is about to happen,) and saw an exploded can of suntan lotion and my red bag limp on the ground. Patches of the leather slowly turned a darker shade of red as the oil seeped over it.


Everything inside--my wallet, the cards in the wallet, my iPhone, my keys, my glasses--were all soaked and still smell like suntan lotion. I came out with my hands filled with oily wallet, bag and phone, which the boy greeted with a "what happened??"

Neutrogena attacked my bag, that's what happened.

Here are snapshots of the damage.

Do you think there is anything I can do to save my bag? Because the boy is already planning its funeral.



The Weekend Recap: L.A. and The Getty Villa

Sunday night, or in this case Monday night, is like the worst night of the week. I'm filled with the dread of the weekend being over and my work-week responsibilities flooding my head. While I can relish these last moments away from my work email, here's a recap of our weekend!

The boy and I went exploring in L.A. Our main stop was the Getty Villa, which was lusciously grandiose and had me in love with Corinthian columns and rosettes. There were so many details at the villa, from painstakingly made mosaics in the garden, to precisely carved flowers on the ceilings. There was a lot for the eye to see among the gardens and architecture, not to mention the entire collection of Roman, Greek, and Etruscan work the place holds. One of the more memorable things we saw in the collection was a mummy. You can see a video of the mummification process on the Getty Museum channel here.

Prior to the Getty Villa we had some trendy dim sum at Bao. This was definitely not our parents' kind of dim sum (ie, it was really clean, there's a cocktail bar, and they were playing Sufjan Stevens) but the food was good and the experience worthwhile. Still, I think next time around we'll be going back to Monterey Park for our dim sum.

We also had a coffee tasting at Balconi Coffee Company.

The boy has a siphon coffee maker, and a chat with the incredibly knowledgeable and friendly owner has motivated him to learn more about his siphon and its capabilities. I know squat about coffee, but enjoyed the ride. My cup tasted like blueberries!

We ended the day with a good burger with our friends, and a stroll around the beautiful Venice Canals before I downed even more caffeine for that late-night drive back south.

Thank you to miss t. for the recommendation!!

Every time we drive to L.A., we have the "where do you want to live" discussion. Ultimately, higher powers are going to determine where we live in four years after San Diego, but we still play this game as if we can decide ourselves. When I lived in Northern California I would have never thought of living in L.A. (I think it has something to do with the Norcal vs. Socal ideology,) but it's really grown on me the more we go there. Sure, it might take 40 minutes to drive 6 miles, and that guy on the road, well, he sure does like to use his horn, but L.A.--it's slowly charming me.

How did you spend your Labor Day weekend?


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