Tuesday, March 29, 2011

saying no is saying yes

I am slowly making some progress in streamlining my life... to have more focus in what I do and how I do.

To start what seems like a possible chain-reaction process, I said "no" to a request that I would normally take on... It's hard to say "no" when I know the option to say "yes" leads to the tempting implications like money, career, etc. etc. but I knew "no" would be what I would have wanted.

Now that I chose not to do certain things, it feels like I am opening brand new doors. It's difficult to imagine exactly which path I would end up taking based on some of the decision/s I am making right now... but for now... it feels pretty good and that's important.

I am definitely saying more "yes" to these roo moments.
walk with roowalk with roowalk with roo

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Japanese stationary coming soon!

I can't wait to finish all the prep-work so that I can share new collections of beautiful Japanese stationary at our baum-kuchen shop! Still lots of work to do but I am aiming for next weekend to launch.

Stay tuned.
traveler's notebook

rejuvenated {inside and out}

I have finally caught some moments to breath this weekend. Good homemade food, plenty of giggle time with little roo and our first adventure to LA zoo... ending the night with a scoop of ice cream and 40's black and white French movie.

Little roo LOVED the zoo. She was excited to see other kids running around and to meet all these moving creatures for the first time. It was simply amazing to think that she was absorbing the brand new concept of "flamingo" (see the last pic!) for the first time.

I also did a mini break-through exercise which my partner in crime shared with me. The idea was to list all my favorite past projects and write down "what" they were... and more importantly "why" I liked those projects and "how" I made it happen in order to figure out if there is a pattern that might emerge... It was an interesting way to look at projects and what those projects brought to my life. I highly recommend it if you get stuck with what you are doing... (doesn't it happen to everyone time to time? or is it just me?)

So tonight I feel pretty good... ready to start a new week!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend full of giggles and smiles:)
P1010789P1010911P1010915LA zooLA zooLA zooLA zoo

Friday, March 25, 2011

Be there...

I am happy that we are done with this week.
It was one of those weeks that felt very long w/o enough time to rest or get rejuvenated.

Hubby powered through the last two days with little roo. While I buried myself in the project, they filled their days with grocery shopping adventure(s), making homemade pasta in the kitchen and playing with special socks. Hearing loud giggles from her room is so priceless. I am happy that I can work from home and still be close to her while I work... but my work-day is definitely different from my roo-day.

Week like this makes me want to go back to little roo's photo collection and appreciate how much she has grown from the day 1...  I sometimes do wonder if I am spending enough time with her. I know the way of parenting will never feel "enough" because there is always something more I can do with her and for her... but I hate to wake up on one morning to find her all grown up.

I want to make sure to be there and feel the moment with her everyday.

p.s. pics from the homemade pasta:)
homemade pastahomemade pastahomemade pasta

Thursday, March 24, 2011

soaking some sun

Hi friends,
How's your week so far? I hope you are all doing well.

I've been away from writing for a few days and I have missed this place. It has been a busy week with work (did I just work 10 hours straight for the first time after I had my little roo?)

I have a lot of inspiration to share with you... so I figured that I would start with these. Some snapshots I got from the Arboretum. It was such a peaceful place, especially on the weekday afternoon. So many little spots to picnic, kick some balls and just relax.

I loved bathing some sun between recent rainy days. (yes. we have rain in LA)

I hope to find sometime this weekend to do some shop updates. I have a lot of goodies sitting in our living room right now waiting to see some bright lights!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thank you...

Thank you everyone for reading the SOS messages from Japan I have posted on the other blog... When I checked last night, the blog had hits from 200 visitors.

I am still searching for online information that needs to be shared immediately but thankfully I am seeing less and less of those urgent messages with life threatening situations. Also I have read that the baby I have mentioned in this post have gained her conscious back.

I am thankful for people like this brave individual who has taken his own risk to gather and deliver relief supplies to the hardest hit area before official aid organizations were able to reach... and I am thankful for an incredible online/offline community that has a great power to make changes. I know Japan has a long and hard way to its recovery but I also know that each one of us can continue to be a part of the process.

Today I tried to step away from my laptop to have some moments to reflect. Even after a year, I miss Norm dearly. Hubby and I have talked about him and what happened to him many times in last 365 days... trying to make sense out of it...

...and everytime we end up with the same conclusion that we need to be living our lives everyday.

So we will.


p.s. I have collected some photos I have taken in last few years that felt peaceful... I imagine him watching us from peaceful places like these...
a beautiful placethings that are beautifulthings that are beautifulthings that are beautiful

Friday, March 18, 2011

SOS messages from Japan

Dear friends,

I was going to have Blogger Day of Silent today... but when I woke up this morning, I realized that somehow I should find a way to contribute my time and skill to make a difference... even a small one. 

As you know, Japan was struck by multiple layers of disasters in past six days and it is still continuing. Just like you I have seen so many news/videos online and TV both in Japanese and English... However after 3-4 days of trying to gather information, I realized that real truth is not shared on mass media... Please read this post written by Tatsumi Takuro (which I have translated in English) about the glimpse of what the reality is.

There are individuals who are writing blog posts and leaving comments on other people's blogs (especially on celebrity blogs with high traffic) desperately asking for help.... so this morning I started to aggregate and translate these SOS stories from Japan in hopes that someone can provide relief or help.

Here is what I have collected/translated so far. 
Japan SOS: http://japansos.blogspot.com/ 

From what I could gather, some Fukushima neighborhoods near nuclear power plant are having very difficult time receiving any relief supply because people who are delivering the relief goods are afraid of being exposed to radiation... Many of them are running out of food and water. Even after they have survived the earthquake and Tsunami, they are still fighting for survival. Though some residents would like to evacuate the area, they have difficult time doing so due to lack of gas fuel.

I understand it is very frustrating to read about all these stories because we are so far away and there is very little we could do to help… but please read them and share these stories with others as it would greatly help to bring heightened awareness to what is really happening there… right now…

and maybe these stories can help in some ways to expedite the delivery process of supplies...

Thank you,


p.s. i want to thank my hubby for giving me a day to bury myself in this task... and watching little roo all day today. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

For Japan With Love

Last night... hubby found me in tears when he came home after a long day.

After I put our little roo in bed, I was browsing some Japanese blogs and found blog posts from a mother with 8 month old baby girl who escaped Tsunami and was stranded on a rooftop for 3 days without food, water, heat, warm clothes... until they were finally rescued by a helicopter. The baby girl who inhaled a lot of water and mud while they barely got away from the gushing tsunami water had no clothes nor diaper to change... stayed in wet clothes through freezing days/nights... By the time they were on the helicopter being taken to a hospital, the baby's temperature dropped so low that she became unconscious...

In order to gather as much as information I could, I watched a lot of videos and read many news in last few days... but nothing had hit me like this post written by a mother who is just like me... writing as she was going through the event... She never gave up nor is giving up with the hope that her baby Soula will come back to smile again.

After reading her blog posts so many times, I looked around deeper and came across so many other blogs/comments that were left by desperate mothers with their young babies who are struggling to sustain babies' lifelines... formula, diapers, clean water... because they are still left behind waiting for rescuers or they are at some kind of evacuation locations without any supplies coming in.

It has been emotionally challenging days for me... It's the combination of Norm's one year memorial that is approaching this weekend and the fact that there are people like the mom and the baby who have survived the initial disasters but are at the edge of life/death because they are lacking basic stuff we take for granted...

I wish I could share little roo's formula with babies in Japan... I wish we could bring our gasoline from our cars so that supply tracks can mobilize themselves to deliver food and water to people who need them...

Tonight I have donated our savings to ShelterBox through For Japan With Love. I am thankful for Ever-Ours and Utterly Engaged for organizing this... I know that some of these ShelterBox have already left Tokyo to Iwata Prefacture (via ShelterBox updates). I hope that these boxes will get to those mothers who are holding their babies... and give hopes and warmth to their hearts. 

Tomorrow... I will be joining the Bloggers Day of Silence. Instead of blogging or reading other blogs, I will be using my time to focus on doing what I can do the best in my life and praying for more people's lives to be rescued... and have their basic needs to be met.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ever since we got into the month of March, I've been thinking a lot about life. Midnight visit to ER for a family matter, reflecting on the first year memorial of Norm's sudden departure... everything about this month makes me realize that we have very little control over what happens to us and it would be a loss if we don't make the most out of our day... everyday...

Personally I have been contemplating about many of the hats I wear in daily basis... and my need to take some hats away in order to either replace those hats with something more fitting on me or simply wear less hats all together.

I don't know what it really means yet... but here are few things I know.

Between hubby and I, we have been taking care of our little roo full-time and that's something we don't want to compromise.

I am craving for doing something that is uniquely me and creative... including working more on my baum-kuchen shop and creating something that is more tangible.

Well... how are you doing? Did news like the ones from Japan make you rethink of your life too? 

Monday, March 14, 2011

mmm.... {strawberry shortcake}

I think it's official... that my guests will always be served with a little bit of strawberry shortcake from babycakes recipe!

My friend thought I was using her as an excuse to make more vanilla frosting but I really wanted to share this yumminess with her.

So here is a quick recipe for the strawberry shortcake! mmmm.....

3 cups white spelt flour
1/2 evaporated cane juice (looks like sugar. I get mine from Trader Joe's)
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons coconut oil (make sure to melt the oil before measuring!)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup hot water
vanilla frosting
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350F°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
2. Mix the flour, evaporated cane sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add the oil, vanilla and hot water and combine it until a slightly moist dough is formed.
3. Dust the counter with flour. Roll the dough through the flour until it is coated on all sides. Gently pat the dough into a 1" thick rectangle and cut out 8 shortcakes with 3" round cookie cutter.
4. Place the shortcakes about 1" apart on baking sheet.
5. Bake the shortcakes on the center rack for 16 minutes (rotating the sheets 180 degree after 9 minutes)
6. Let the shortcakes cool on the sheet until they are completely cool. Cut them in half horizontally and spread the side with 1 tablespoon vanilla frosting.
7. Top it with strawberry and enjoy the yummy strawberry shortcake:)
strawberry shortcakestrawberry shortcakestrawberry shortcake

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Today... little roo and I headed out to my parents' house to listen to the Japanese news (my parents get all the Japanese TV channels in real-time). We watched the news as the fourth morning after the disaster unveiled from the darkness. I have confirmed the safety of my family and close friends in Japan... but my heart goes to people in the affected area... and the areas that are still threaten by the nuclear power plant.

I am watching the news closely and praying for the aftermath to end soon...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

new in the house

It has been an interesting process to find my new routine with little roo. I do have to give it to all the full-time moms out there... It is amazing but also pretty exhausting to accompany our little people all day long... everyday.

For last few days I had a HUGE help from my friend... inside and out of our house.  Extra food in the refrigerator, great company over wine in the evening, little sunshine smile in the morning... and flowers everywhere in the house.

Aren't these wild flowers pretty? I especially love the ones with a drummin' bunny we scored during the flea market adventure!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

mini vacation

Hubby is out of town so little roo and I are enjoying our own version of a staycation this week! Our lovely friend from Michigan is visiting us until Wednesday then there is a playdate, lunch, wine, etc. scheduled till the very afternoon he comes home.

Caring for little roo for full-time makes my life little more straightforward. No switching gears between multiple responsibilities... My only job is to simply be happy for people around me. The days are not any easier/difficult than any other work days I usually have but just different.

I'm reading a PDF version of "focus, A simplicity manifest in the Age of Distraction" by Leo Bobauta right now.  Since life gets little more complicated than I would like it to be, I sometimes need a good reminder that it's okay to let go of some stuff - both emotional and physical "stuff" I tend to get stuck with.

I'm working on simplifying my life and probably will be working on it for a long time... but like anything else, I think we should get an A+ for getting started, right?

p.s. thank you Suzanne for a lovely Polaroid card! 
polaroid card

Friday, March 4, 2011

how to make {vanilla frosting} in vegan way!

fruit with vanilla frosting
I love having friends over at our house... because that means I can make more of this delicious vanilla frosting from Babycakes vegan recipe book! When Corey & Liam were with us, we had the frosting (which was more like vanilla sauce at room temperature) along with homemade crapes. Yum:)

I promised to share the recipe with Corey and Liam so here it is!

1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk
3/4 cup dry soy milk powder
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups coconut oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. In a blender/food processor, combine the soy milk, soy powder, coconut flour, agave nectar and vanilla and blend the ingredients for 2 minutes.
2. With the machine running, slowly add the coconut oil (make sure to melt the coconut oil first) and lemon juice, alternating between the two until both are fully incorporated.
3. Pour the mixture into an airtight container and refrigerate for min. 6 hours or for up to 1 month. (you can use the mixture as vanilla sauce if you keep it at room temperature for up to 1 week)

Super easy, right? I bought most of the ingredients at WholeFoods. Vanilla sauce is great with crapes and fresh fruits... and frosting is well... good for pretty much everything.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Inspiring space {the Lab}

It has been a roller-coaster kind of week... driving lots of miles, attending a grown-up meeting with little roo in my arm (I am thankful for sweet peers who did not mind little roo voicing her opinions here and there during the meeting), a project that felt little too heavy to lift (but I was able to finish it in one piece:)... and everything else in between... so I am excited that things are slowly calming down tonight.

My little sis and I were doing some secondhand shopping at the Buffalo Exchange in the Lab last weekend. I enjoy browsing the space at the Lab. It's called "anti-mall" and you can see why - open, fun and creative. The whole space feels like an installation art.

I think you would like visiting here if you are ever in Orange County.
LAB in Costa MesaLAB in Costa MesaLAB in Costa Mesa


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