Nix the Hawaii Vacation

Good-bye (*sob*) week-long vacation in tropical paradise where everything is pineapples and kisses. Good-bye cute red bathing suit (that I was scared to wear in the first place). It was nice to plan for a second honeymoon while it lasted, but unfortunately we decided we can't do it financially (wwhhhhhhhyyyyyy) and can't afford the time away from our work (nooooooooo) and school (save meeeeee!) commitments. You were all so sweet to help with my (obsessive/anal/scary) planning. 

Instead, we're looking for a vacation closer to home that will take less time (are we nuts?) and cost less money (score!)

My latest obsession is Santa Fe, which looks very pretty and relaxing, with a vibrant art scene that includes the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Sedona is also on the list, because I've never seen red rock country before since I grew up among forests and am now surrounded by water and sand. 

One day, we'll make it to Hawaii (before we have kids please!) In the meantime, I can manage reading by the pool. In a not so scary bathing suit.




Things That Are Happening

Did you miss me? I've been gone for a while, I know, I'm sorry. I had a very long weekend, had a good friend visit, and then my week was packed with non-stop work, school, and Ugly Betty and Buffy on Netflix streaming. My TV boyfriend (who has an insane amount of argyle sweaters in his wardrobe) really missed me too.

Here are a few things happening in my neck of the woods.

1. Thanks so much to Brandi for eating lunch with me at MIHO Gastrotruck, because this portobello mushroom burger rocked my world. I can't wait to go back (as luck would have it, this truck parks a couple blocks from my office!) For those of you planning a park wedding in San Diego, they also cater!

2. If there is one time to avoid San Diego, it's the end of July when Comicon rolls into town (unless you are going to Comicon, then of course you have no choice.) Despite my insatiable appetite for pop culture, I've avoided Comicon and the daunting race to get tickets online. This year tickets sold out in one day. 

My kind coworker accidentally purchased too many tickets, so guess who gets to go to Comicon finally! We get to brave the crowds with all the other geeks that understand obscure pop culture references. I can't wait.

3. I'm still on my mascara kick.

My newest mascara try is Fairy Drops. So far, does a much better job of lengthening without clumping. My lashes typically aren't visible--huzzah for some actual length!

4. I would like these very much. Especially if I get to wear this dress with them.

I'm in for a weekend of more work, but hopefully I can escape outside! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. :)


Mail Art #2

This month's mail art is for my friend Rosanna, who celebrated her birthday last week. I used kraft board, packaging tape, green twine, and a page from a free Paper Source calendar I received with a purchase. I also made the envelope, but haphazardly put it together in a lazy fashion. My former art teachers would be so disappointed in me! This would also make excellent wrapping paper to make gifts extra special and personalized.

I have a craving to use some vellum for March, or maybe I will be brave and draw next time? Any suggestions?

To see last month's mail art of a whale, click here. Send some love through the mail!


Asking for a Raise and Other Truly Terrifying Things

When I shared my goals for 2011, many of you commented that you would also like to be more assertive. It's hard, isn't it? For me, it's a struggle and gives me all sorts of anxiety. How do you share how you feel and what you want without the other party loathing you in the end? How do you do it without being seen as difficult, picky, argumentative, entitled, and just all around not nice?

I also feel like whenever I DO assert myself, I get weird reactions from people. They get defensive. They look uncomfortable. They don't expect me to even fathom ever being unhappy. What's a cute little Asian girl like yourself capable of complaining about? Shouldn't you be drawing unicorns in your Hello Kitty notebook?

My goal to be more assertive came to the forefront of my mind when I listened to this today.
On NPR, they featured this story about women and how they don't ask for raises, and that this may be a large factor as to why there is a wage gap (women make 78 cents to every dollar a man makes.) A research study had one man, and one woman, ask for a raise with the same exact speech. Observers noted that the man was seen as well deserving for the raise, but the woman? She was viewed as aggressive and unlikable. Great.

Despite my awkwardness and anxiety-laced talking problem, I have indeed asked for a raise. Many times. But if it weren't for someone encouraging me (thank you sister,) I would have just sulked back into my chair. Like the women in the story, I really needed that push and counseling.

Since some of you expressed that assertiveness is something to aspire towards, I'm going to share what I did, because 78 cents per every dollar? We just can't have that.

1. I practiced. I'm blessed that I have two older sisters to lend me advice, and so I would rehearse what to say. The bullet points to hit. The key factors as to why I am awesome. Write them down and say them out loud.

2. I brought documents or examples that highlighted my work.

3. I didn't drink caffeine because pure adrenaline was enough to fuel me. I wanted to stay as calm as possible and let as little emotion show as possible.

4. I really, truly believed that I deserved what I was asking for, and I think that was really the key in overcoming my sheepishness.

5. I talked and talked and talked to people I trust before and after any negotiation.  They are probably tired of hearing my voice by now.

Do you have a hard time asking for what you want? Does anyone else have suggestions on how to ask for a raise?


A Love/Hate Reaction to B H L D N

[The front page of BHLDN, the new line for weddings from Anthropologie]

Yeah yeah yeah, I got married, I know, but how could I resist?! Anthropologie+weddings? How long could I have kept myself from this website? Apparently not long because it launched today, and here's what ran through my head while perusing the website: 

1. Kudos to Anthro for making photos easily downloadable. The photos are also large, making it easy to see details. They know we want to share photos and save them so that we can hem and haw over our purchases and splash them all across our blogs.
2. There is a "My B H L D N" in which you can create mood boards using the photos. Another plus for all the crazy creative planners!
3. All the visuals are gorgeous. Would you expect anything less from Anthro? Exhibit A is below.


4. Fashion is very Anthro-esque with plenty of vintage flair, artistic touches, and all-around feminine ferocity. Some of my favorites are below!
5. So here comes the hate, B H L D N just reminded me about all the insecurities that come with being the bride. That first page for instance (see up top,) they had 5 chances to add some diversity to that photo shoot, but instead chose 5 tall blonde models. And, to be fair, this is pretty much all of the WIC from what I've consumed. Aaand okay, to be fair again, there IS an Asian model on the website, she just isn't on the front splash page. 

It's just been a while since I've looked at wedding porn, and then I took a gander at B H L D N and it all came rushing back to me. Oh yeah. I forgot! Wedding porn makes me depressed!

[Side note: One of the dark days during wedding planning was being told at the bridal shop that I couldn't take any photos of myself in the wedding gown because the designer was afraid of having photos of random people in her designs on the Internet. Well, news to the designer, people larger than a size 0 and shorter than 5'9" will be wearing your designs!]

6. "B H L D N"? Is this supposed to be "beholden"? You'd think they would have come up with a easier name, I've probably typed and said a jumble of all those letters, BLDHN, BHDNL, BLNHD, BLHDN.

There is some definite eye candy on this site, and if you like Anthro you'll likely be dazzled by B H L D N.

I just wish it hadn't made me feel so crappy.

My New iPhone Case

Thank you to everyone who commented on my iPhone case dilemma. It was a tough one, how do you pass up an iPhone case that was so clearly named for yours truly? ;)

In the end I went with the Jill Bliss case as her artwork always makes me so happy. In fact, we have the same art hanging up in our living room! Brings back fond memories of hiking through the canyon and sketching wildflowers for art class.

As for aesthetics, this is great! I love how it looks. For actual functionality, I'll report back. My Speck case only lasted me about 3 months so I hope this lasts longer!

For those of you looking for a unique iPhone/iPad case, uncommon has a ton of options and even lets you customize a case. I've had a little too much fun poking around their website.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thank you for supporting my blog and being part of my community. :)
Hope today is a lovable one!


A Face for Radio

[For other NPR valentines, click here]

Happy Valentine's Day weekend my friends! We are cooking, but we get to choose what the other one cooks. I chose a cake, to which the boy made a troubled face, the kind of troubled face that accompanies a tilted head. It looks like this:

And I think I have been tasked with either making a calzone or ossobuco, so wish me luck! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.



Free Printable Valentines + Cute Cupcakes

See, Valentine's Day doesn't have to be totally materialistic. Here are a few freebies for that special someone. Click on the links below to visit the creators' blogs, and then download away!

[Kiss Me and Carry On card by 74 Lime Lane]

[Owl Polaroid card by My Owl Barn]

[Color Me In Valentines by Yellow Heart Art]

And if you're looking for something to buy for someone that 1) likes cupcakes 2) loves owls and 3) lives in Southern California (not that I can think of anyone that fits all three criteria) then you need owl cupcakes. Now. Said person might also accept this gift for 1) her birthday 2) her wedding anniversary or 3) any day at any time of any year. 

[Owl cupcakes from Blue Cupcake via My Owl Barn]


Chinese New Year + LACE

Happy Year of the Rabbit my blog buddies! We had a lovely, sunny Saturday with good friends in Los Angeles at the Chinese New Year Festival and LACE. I also had the pleasure of visiting the Honey My Heart booth and meeting Jella!

[Mo and Jella at the super cute Honey My Heart booth. I swear I did not dress to match the booth or Jella! What can I say, pink is a great color.]

[Some of the adorable goodies available! Each corner of her booth was crammed with cuteness. You can view more of her work here.]

[It was a gorgeous day in L.A. Chinatown.]

[After the festival, we recuperated at Urth Cafe and then had dinner in downtown Santa Monica. Tiramisu and Japanese tea latte from Urth Cafe, wild mushroom ravioli from Fritto Misto. Mmmmmmm...]

Annnnd now I'm back in my usual spot in front of the computer, doing what I do best: procrastinating from my workload. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and congratulations to Jella for her first show. :)


My Mom's Ring Pillow

[Treat and trinket tray, Heather Bailey]
I saw this "treat and trinket tray"  on Heather Bailey's website, made with the same fabric we used for the ring pillow, and realized, I never showed off my Mom's craft skills! My Mom made our ring pillow, and it came out so cute. There is a wide white ribbon in the middle, and then thin ribbons sewed in the middle to tie the rings on. We used the Hop Dot Cherry fabric from Heather Bailey.
You can see more of my Mom's craftiness on my post about my prom dress. 
For more Heather Bailey project inspiration, visit the group flickr page.

Hope everyone has a lovely Friday and weekend!


Update on Operation Hippo

[The new baby hippo at the San Diego Zoo! Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo]

It's February, and since I have had a month to chew on the resolutions I made for the New Year, and seeing as how Chinese New Year is soon upon us, I thought I'd give you all an update on Operation Hippo. What is Operation Hippo? You'd think it'd have something to do with an actual hippo, but it's just a silly safe word the boy can say if I start yelling at him. Which happens. A lot. The cat gets scared and cowers in the corner. 

One day, I want to be a much calmer parent (once we have those hypothetical children,) so this was what we came up with to help me stop. The rule is I can't talk for 5 seconds once he says it. 

Things I have learned since adopting Operation Hippo: 
1. Screaming and yelling happen at a much more frequent rate surrounding the holidays. There was much less need for OH once mid-January came around. 
2. Spending more time together and him playing less video games with obnoxious headphones on also greatly reduces the need for OH. 
3. Less school work also reduces need for OH, but OH is at an alarming peak during finals. 
4. Hippo is a fun word to say. Say it. Hippo. Cute, isn't it?
5. The boy will milk OH for all its worth and will even use it when I am not yelling. 


Me: Ugh, you didn't take out the trash like I asked you to. And what's this? [picks up empty container off counter] Y'know, the trash can is right here, I don't see why you just leave your empty contain---
Me: What?! I wasn't even yelling! I was requesting at a moderate tone---
Me: Stop it! You can't hippo me when I'm not yelling!
Him: Well, now you're yelling. Hippo. 

It's worked. And I hope it continues to work. It really only works because I really do not want to continue yelling and am conscious of it. Hearing the word 'hippo' is just a reminder. Unfortunately it can have annoying repercussions as evidence by the example I provided. Hippo. 

How's it going with your New Year's resolutions? 

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