Saturday, December 15, 2012

Design over function

In the DIY world that is blog land, I see a lot of tutorials to make gorgeous stuff that really have no function. I enjoy reading about it, but not like I'd waste time, money, or supplies to recreate it.
It's when you have to use these things in everyday life that you get frustrated. Case in point:

The concept is great. Picture menu, neat inserts with great descriptions, horrible!!
The rivets and laminating have sharp edges and you can't fully open it to figure out what to eat. It's too distracting.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wrapping presents

I used to think that the wrapping was the gift. In fact, often times, the wrapping was more costly than the actual value of the gift!

Gifts from me were always too pretty to open, so my friends would find ways to preserve as much of the elements as possible. I loved using Kraft paper, beautiful handmade tissue papers, cellophane, gold leafing, mini ornaments, chiffon ribbons, rhinestones, etc. I could incorporate almost anything into the wrapping of a gift.

Now that the majority of my gifts go to kids, or folks that whip out sharp pocket knives to slice through all the "fluff", I just don't feel like putting in the effort. Not that I don't care about wrapping, just that unless you're turning a significant age, getting married, or having a kid, don't expect more than commercial wrapping paper or a gift bag stuffed with coordinating tissue. Also, if it's a time when everyone is receiving gifts, you can bet all your gifts will have a theme so I don't have to stop wrapping just to label it.

Can you tell which are for Ella? Yeah, and the rest of Ryan's gifts are wrapped in silver paper. Ha!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chocolate covered honeycomb

I was introduced to Violet Crumble as it was losing its presence in the US. If you've never had it, it's light, crispy, and delicious!

For some time there was a substitute, the Canadian version, Crunchie. But those have disappeared from shelves, too.

But guess what? You can still find comparable confections to satisfy the craving... in milk AND dark chocolate versions!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday shopping

I usually don't shop at malls in December, but this year a few people were SO difficult to get the right gift.

I'm surprised how *not* busy the malls are. Ella didn't have to wait too long to ride the train.

Even the food courts have empty tables.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

More bags for gifts

I really love making bags! I like making Ella's clothes, but the idea of a bag that can be used multiple times without needing to be laundered gives it a utility factor. Although, I'm pretty sure Ella has used her pajama pants that I've made her over 10 times already. ;)

So I decided to make a more neutral bag for my friend's son. Although I considered making it more "boyish", he's still an infant and she would get way more use out of it.

The bag fits a PBK bento box and a Thermos Foogo. The bag isn't insulated, but I figure it'd be more for dry snacks and the Foogo itself is great* at keeping drinks cold for hours!

I adjusted the measurements from the last bag, since this box was wider and shallower, and to accommodate the drink.

Regardless of size, I just love the bag itself for its finished look. It makes me look like an awesome sewer!

*Not a product endorsement, just speaking from experience.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Champagne Brunch

I forgot to mention, yesterday we went to the Hale Koa Sunday Brunch, in celebration of Fridays birthdays.

It's one of the perks of US Military, Veterans, DoD Civilians, and retirees Nd their guests. It's a decent and affordable brunch that has free all-you-can-drink champagne, really delicious lamb, and house made ice cream. They do have the usual fare: omelet station, crispy bacon, petit fours, etc, but those other things can easily make it worth your dime!

We usually go to celebrate these birthdays since my mother-in-law loves lamb and my dad loves the value of the Hale Koa buffet (what can I say, I've been going since I can remember!). It's the best time to go since the holiday decorations are INSANE!

This year there were real gingerbread mansions, animated winter characters, picture ops, it's sometimes just worth it to check out the decor (we had our reception here 4 years ago ... every banquet hall had a decorated tree!! Less decorations for us to pay for!!)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A breather, sorta

I took a couple days off from blogging. The past week was crazy and I was tired! Not to mention this was a very busy weekend. Friday was my father's and mother-in-law's birthday. With work and running around doing errands, by the end of the day, I was too exhausted.

Yesterday, we went out to get Ella's Christmas present. A Maxtrix bunk bed!

She actually wanted to sleep in her bed! She's too young to sleep in the top bunk, but she's allowed to play up there. She loves it. She slept in it last night, napped in it today, and during her "free time" today she played by herself in the tent.

I was able to work on lining Christmas envelopes and sewing Christmas presents, so more on that later this week. Well, maybe. Depending on how much more I need to get done for Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy anniversary!

4 years ago today, I married my best friend. We've only been legally joined for a third of the time we've been together, but it still gets better everyday.

Delicious Edible Arrangements delivered at work (at the precise moment when this prego-mama was getting hungry, too).

YouTube Video

Delicious Alaskan King Crab buffet dinners at the Oceanarium with a mermaid show.

A stroll around City Hall to see the Christmas lights.

What a wonderful day! I don't know what could've made it better. Oh wait, I do...

Ella darted to the snowmen and exclaimed, "Mommy, daddy, Ella, and brother!"

She's going to be a terrific big sis :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advanced skills?

Im really not sure what 2 year olds are supposed to be doing. I hear some kids can read by 18 months, but of the kids I can compare to, there's none of those genius levels here.

Ella does her own activities and I don't even have to ask her. That's pretty advanced in my opinion.


Coloring in objects:

She just sits down and starts doing things to occupy herself. I have to check on her because she can be so quiet, I don't even know where she is!

Prize balls

When I was a kid, my favorite thing to do was go to work with my "big sister". It's complicated, but I won't go into details at this time. There's a significant age difference, so basically, I was really young and she had a full on career.

She'd take me to work with her on the weekends, and we'd have lunch at Yum Yum Tree. I would always order the same thing - Teri chicken sandwich and fries. Sometimes we would go into Child's Play, an educational toy shop that I wanted my bedroom to look like.

On a few occasions she let me pick out a toy. I would always pick out a prize ball. It was basically a handful if novelty toys wrapped up in yards of crepe paper. Honestly, the toys were pretty lame, but the fun was in unwrapping it!

For some Christmas gifts this year, I decided to make my own prize balls! They're not as ball-shaped as I imagined, but hopefully they're still fun to open.

I added a rhinestone to indicate where to start unravelling. I made these for Ella's cousins. They usually give Ella a small gift, so I usually try to give them something as well. Last year, I made the older one a ruffle pencil pouch, with a set of colored pencils and an unruled composition book. The younger one, I made a set of those Anthro knock-off bracelets. I know it's not fancy, but handmade takes some time, so hopefully they realize the effort that goes into their gifts.

Again, since no one reads my blog, I can post what's in them!

It's all basically the same, but in different colors:

Each prize ball contains a shade of pink Essie nail color, a sparkly nail clipper, a nail file, a pair of handmade cabochon bobby pins, and two scented glitter pens.

Since they didn't grow up when prize balls were popular, I hope I don't have to explain that I didn't just give them a wadded up ball of streamers...

Monday, December 3, 2012

More gift making

I followed the Lunch bag tutorial over at Pink Penguin and turned this:

Into this:

I'm so glad I finally finished that clutch so I could lift the self imposed ban on making bags! I wasn't sure what to give my teenage cousin for Christmas. I really don't even know what teenagers like. Although, I know she loves everything Japanese culture like Anime, Taiko, and Obento!

This lunch bag was the perfect size for a double stack bento box/utensil kit I picked up on sale at Longs!

I don't know about her, but I would love receiving this as a gift.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Wet hair

This pregnancy has been tough on my hair. Last time, I had gorgeous healthy hair with minimal care. I could do no harm.

This time, it's so sensitive, even drying on the no-heat setting leaves the tips fried and frizzy. I even have to wash it everyday because my scalp feels so greasy and gritty. Basically I'm stuck waiting hours for it to dry.

I have a Twisty Towel, to keep my hair out of the way while I dries, but man that thing has seen better times. I quickly made one to replace it!

Using the old one as a template, I cut out 1/4" seam allowance on the finished edge of a towel folded in half lengthwise (after summer, Target has beach towels for like 5 bucks). I tucked in a small piece of elastic on the mouth end of the whale-shaped cutout. Serged the cut side together and that's it!

The whale mouth goes at the base of the neck and the tail wraps around the length of your hair toward the top of your head, then twists back down and is secured with the elastic.

So easy and cheap to make. No need to spend $15 for 2! A $5 sale towel makes 2 quickly, and you can easily arrange the scraps to make a third.

Quick and easy Christmas gift? Definitely!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Making presents

This weekend, I'm busy making presents!

Since no one reads my blog, I'm sure it's ok to post about it. My nephew really loves Cars, and his Cars pajamas. So much that if its in the wash, he'll wait, sans clothes, until the laundry is done.

I went out and bought a couple Cars long sleeve shirts and some fabric to make pants.

Ella tried them on "for size". I think that was a hint for mommy to make more for her!

Ryan thinks its funny that it seems we don't buy her pajamas anymore since it looks like she wears only stuff I make.

Friday, November 30, 2012

30 Days of blah blah blah

Guess who made 30 days of blogging?!?  ME!!

Honestly, in the beginning, I was tempted to schedule 30 different posts and just let it publish a 'new' one everyday.  I don't think I even scheduled more than a day or two out at a time.  Usually it was written during the day and scheduled to publish in the afternoon (you know, in case I had second thoughts).

It's amazing that I actually posted every day.  Ryan complained about my blogging maybe enough times to count on one hand?  I think it helped that I didn't waste too much time trying to find something to post about, although most of the topics were things on my mind for the day or just random stuff.

Oh well, I actually survived NaBloPoMo.  Maybe next year I'll link up to one of those blogs that get people to read your stuff, you know, so someone actually reads this stuff.  Or not.

On a funny note, here's a picture I got from my co-worker.  The email subject said it was a picture of me:

Silly, I'm not a stick with a baby in my mid-section!  I'm 42 inches around the waist and right on schedule (vertically 33 cm).  So there... just because some days my joints don't hurt and I don't have to waddle, and from behind I don't look pregnant, doesn't mean I'm a stick.  Plus, my hair is straight and I have bangs.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Decorations are up

Last night, after the art sesh, we went downstairs to decorate the living room.

We're hosting my friends' holiday get-together at our house this year, but there is no way that I can keep up with the our hostess friend's mad design skills. She seriously makes her house look like the interior of Pier 1!

Anyway, since this will be the last opportunity for a pink Christmas (we'll be more gender friendly next year for Everett's first Christmas), Ella and I are sticking with a pink, black, and sparkly color scheme.

If you're wondering, yes, the tv is on. We're listening to KSSK's all-day Christmas music. I love it!

Ella does a really great job hanging ornaments. For all of 2 minutes. She was more entertained with her blood orange. I'm sure if we were glueing glitter and rhinestones to a construction paper tree she would be occupied for 2 hours!

I still need to think about a wreath, I've just been so busy crafting other stuff, I haven't really had a chance to think of something yet. I better get on it, the party is in 3 weeks (oh yah, and I'm due in 6)!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New supplies

Ok, I guess we're enablers...

This Crayola gadget turns markers into Airbrush!!! She's having a blast. Pun intended, hehe.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Starving artists

My high school friends got weird college degrees. I'm talking Art History, Asian History, that kinda weird. Only one person (other than myself, and we happen to share birthdays) got a normal degree that helps you get a normal job with normal pay. The rest, well, are underemployed. Happy, sure, but still... someone has to pay the bills.

When I was told by one of them to let Ella be creative and do art, I laughed it off thinking, "Really? I don't think so!" Of course, then I end up with this kid who only wants to "draw color" in school and "paint paint" at home.

I love her masterpieces! long as she knows she better make it a financially successful career or do it only as a hobby.

Monday, November 26, 2012

So girly?

Before I had any kids, my biggest fear was that I wouldn't know how to raise them. First of all, I didn't have a "mother" that would doll up, get mani-pedis, or teach me how to shave. Second, I was a tomboy. I could throw a football better than most boys in my elementary and I was always first of the girls picked for team games.

When I had my daughter, I panicked. I don't know what to do with a girl?! I don't even have spa days with my 'girlfriends'. We watched lame tv and sat around the kitchen munching on junk food.

To at least have done it, if my daughter ever asked, I started being, "girly". Got a pedicure, gel manicure, and even got a Brazilian (wax). It was so weird for me, doing it alone. Most people getting these services were with gal pals or tweens going with their moms and getting the lite-version.

At least now that I've done it, I won't feel so embarrassed if Ella ever asks me lady-questions. Although, I will tell her a good epilator is way better than shaving.

But something tells me, she's already more girly than me.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's in the bag

I am excited because...

You know what that means!!! I can make bags!

I don't know why it took me so long. As I was cleaning up (still relocating the craft room to the new space in the living room), I decided to just finish it. I'm sure it could have been done better, more professionally, but whatever. I gathered the contrast sash, attached the button, tacked down the sash, and added a Velcro closure. That's it.

Holds my phone, some cash, and a pack of gum. Ideal for a night on the town without any kids! As if that would ever happen... I didn't say the clutch was practical! Sure is pretty, though :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Family bowling

Every year, my family gets together to bowl. It's been going on for what? 40-something years? Or longer?

Back in the day, it would be on New Years Eve and followed by a large party with strands of 100,000 firecrackers, suckling pig over a fire, and lots of uncles and aunties laughing with beer breath. Now that the families have grown and have families of their own, maybe there will be a potluck following bowling or maybe a small gift exchange among families.

Now that we have Ella and one on the way, it's a little more difficult to participate. I definitely can't bowl, but at least Ella has an interest. With a little bribing she bowled 10 frames!

She'd rather play arcade games, but she did want to keep the alley shoes!

She's a 6 1/2, but the smallest they had was a 9. Paper towels are great for more than stuffing your bra... Oops, I meant drying up spills! ;)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Crazy drivers

We don't do Black Friday. We used to, back when there was CompUSA to get the really cheap electronics. Then there were cyber deals like 60% off electronics on Amazon. But now days, we actually would prefer paying regular price if it didn't mean standing in line.

If anything, we go out to check out the crowds and get our first taste of Christmas.

Today, we seemed to encounter the worst drivers ever!
1) Home Depot parking lot, a guy started backing out while I was standing by our car with the stroller. We didn't even know he was in the car and he didn't bother checking before reversing. He actually wanted to fight?! Dude, the world doesn't revolve around you.
2) Ryan was running in a crosswalk at a light where he had the right of way. A woman wanted to turn and didn't check if it was clear.
3) Nordstrom parking garage, a woman in front of us decided she wanted the stall of someone leaving. She proceeded to reverse. If you have to reverse, it's too late. Especially when there is a car behind you...and more cars behind that. Lady, you wasted two minutes, almost hit us, and there were 3 empty stalls like 50 yards away.

I don't think we're leaving the house next year.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Turkey Day!

Dry brining the turkey is THE WAY TO GO! It was delicious, juicy, and so flavorful (and the lemongrass helps too). I don't think I could eat it any other way.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

And so it begins

The turkey is dry brining in the fridge, I finished baking two dozen cupcakes for my maple bacon cupcakes. All I have left to do is take a nice, hot shower and get to bed!

Still a lot of cleaning to do, but I'm sure getting up at 5am will take care of that.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Drawing a blank

Recently, I've been seeing links for Pregnancy Brain popping up on sidebars.  Which may or may not be related to the shock I felt when I realized my search cache dictated what advertisements I see (yes, I hold a BBA in MIS, shaddup).  I haven't specifically looked up the term this time around, so it's not just a dumbfounded moment.  I've really been feeling my mental acuity is not quite as sharp as normal.

Today, I have proof.  Part of what I do includes updating a tracking system with information and soft copies of files to support such information.  This is where it gets really weird, I scanned in a document for "Tom" and labelled it, "Scott".  There is no one, has never been anyone while Ive worked here in the last five in a half years, named "Scott".

I am so beyond the point of having "Brain Farts", these are "Brain Sharts".  Instead of my brain deflating in a quiet pffffft, other stuff unintended stuff shoots out.

Monday, November 19, 2012


So the latest in blog land are bloggers complaining about bloggers admitting their lives aren't perfect and their houses aren't always clean. Well, I don't care read either of those types of posts in their entirety.

But my house is definitely NOT clean, and I'm stopping here so I can go clean it for the 42 other people that will be in it on Thursday!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stroller canopy

We may buy the most expensive stuff, but sometimes it's worth it. When my husband (then, boyfriend) and I took his niece to the zoo, we pushed her around in her red Chicco stroller. We really did NOT like it. We're both on the taller side, but we weren't able to adjust the handlebar. We both ended that day with sore knees.

When it was time to get a stroller for Ella, we shopped around and found the Bugaboo had the best push and navigation. It was pricey for a stroller, and of course we wanted the limited edition (black frame), so it was even more expensive. What can I say? We want what we want, practical or not.

Anyway, with the second one on the way, it felt like such a waste to buy a whole new stroller (although we did end up getting the City Select stroller for its tandem capability), and I wanted to use the Bugaboo again.

The timing was amazing, I saw the tutorial on Honey & Fitz to make it yourself! I wasn't about to dish out a couple bills for a new canopy, and I love the idea of sewing it myself. It took me a few months, but I finally got around to it and finished it!

Here are some before and after shots:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stuffed up and cramped

Around this time of year, I typically get a sinus infection. I don't know if its the changing of the weather or the low immunity from being on the go in preparation of the upcoming holidays and parties.

I feel it coming on now -- difficult to breathe, phlegmy, wheezy, post nasal drip. Ahh and being pregnant meaning I can't just take some strong OTC decongestant and pass out til I'm better.

You know why else being pregnant sucks? Leg cramps. Not only have I had the tear-inducing calf pains in the middle of the night. When I try to flex my foot to stretch it out, I end up triggering a cramp in my shins. I just can't win. Although, I don't seem to get really bad cramps if someone helps massage my legs and feet before bed. Also, dropping hints would help if someone read my blog. ;)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Holiday cheer

I've been doing most of my Christmas shopping online, my goal is to have it done by December. It's amazing how much things have changed in 10 years. We used to have to go to the mall to buy presents and fight the crowds for ridiculous sales.

I still like going to the malls, but it's more for the people watching. Christmas shoppers are crazy folk! Admittedly, online shopping doesn't have the same "Christmassy" feel. Until now! Check out what I saw when I opened a box that came the other day:

Say what?! Red and Green packing peanuts!! Christmas is coming ya'll~

Thursday, November 15, 2012

1001 reasons

There is a local custom derived from a Japanese tradition of folding cranes to show dedication and perseverance. Usually it's done by a bride-to-be prior to the wedding to show her dedication and loyalty to her soon-to-be husband. I've seen them on long strands and hung decoratively at a wedding. More commonly, the couple will send them off to have the flat cranes arranged in the shape of something significant. The easy way is to line them up and have a stencil display the design, but I think it's more dramatic to arrange the cranes into the design. It's also more bad-A if you do it yourself!

For our wedding we folded 1001 cranes together and I arranged them to have it framed. After the reception,
The break down crew bumped it and pieces fell off. It's been 4 years, but we finally fixed it!

Since it was professionally framed, we had to cut off the backing and remove the glazier points before we could start repairs. Not to mention repeat the process to reassemble.

It took a few days to tack down every crane with E-6000 (I never knew of this awesomeness before, else I would've used it to begin with), but I admit, it was worth it.

Ryan even mounted it in our living room! Isn't it gorgeous?

After all that hard work, it's a good thing we spent $700 for museum glass ;)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How does your garden grow?

This year, Ryan and I celebrate 4 years of marriage (and 12 years of pulling our hair out, hehe), which means we've had this AeroGarden in the box for 4 years!

We got it with credit card reward points, but added the kits to our Wedding Registry. We finally had the counter space to set it up... In a few weeks, we should have some fresh herbs... that is, if it lives that long.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Whole Foods

- jokingly called Whole Paycheck, lives up to the nickname.

We're trying to eat better, and by better, I mean less takeout. Living in Hawaii means groceries are imported by barge being harvested before their prime and nutrient rich states. Local produce, not impossible to find, is costly to obtain.

Food intended for ~4 dinners, for a family of 2.5 cost $100! I'm sure on the mainland that could be the monthly bill to feed a family of 5, and maybe even stretched more with extreme couponing (no such luck here, stores put limits on savings and discounts).

Ohh the costs of living in paradise.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holidays I don't have

Working in the private industry sucks sometimes. Like when it comes to holidays. The state and feds have a gazillion holidays like Presidents' Day, MLK Day, Kamehameha Day, and Veteran's Day, that we don't observe.

It's pretty difficult to get anything done when everyone else is out shopping, dining, and sleeping in. I do admit, traffic is AWESOME. Oh yah and observing holidays such as extra Independence Day, Day After Thanksgiving, and Additional Day for Christmas.

Oh, heh, I guess working private not sucks sometimes.

By the way, I'm not trying to rub it in. I was just getting this in writing to remind myself that there are benefits to not having awesome family fun days. :/

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The holidays are coming

My reminder to pack my labor and delivery bag popped up on Friday, so I realize there are a dozen things I should be doing instead. However, I also realize the time I have with just my daughter is getting shorter.

I love doing fun projects with her since she's such an awesome helper! Today's activity was making and decorating holiday sugar cookies!

Don't mind the McDonald's and the mess (it's laundry day). :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Toto-lly Awesome!

As an Anniversary/Birthing gift, the hubby wanted to do something really special: he got me a Toto Washlet!

It's the S300 and you can read all about it. But I'll share my thoughts.

I got to use it a couple times. Amazing! I can't wait to use this instead of the peri-bottle after I deliver. Most people think having a bidet is awkward and embarrassing, but after the sensitivities that come with pregnancy (tmi warning: hemorrhoids) and after (tmi again: perineal lacerations), the last thing I wanted to do was touch down there with abrasive tissue! The peri-bottle is great, in theory, but realistically it takes a long time to get warm water out of the faucet when you really have to go (or try using cold tap water HA!) and the bottle only holds a finite amount of water.

The downside is, it's a little pricey. Actually, Toto in general is on the high side. But they make excellent and efficient products and we've had the toilet itself for 2 years and never had to do a double flush! There are other brands of washlets at Costco and Home Depot, but I don't think it offers the same features and quality you get with Toto. We did benefit from a Holiday sale, but these can normally leave you $800 to $1200 in the hole. Admittedly with the steeper prices you get the functionality of a Washlet that will chlorinate your water and clean your toilet or even auto flush when you're done. How neat is that?!

I did not receive compensation for this, and wrote this completely on my own. Toto has no idea who I am, and probably doesn't care. I just really love my Washlet!

Friday, November 9, 2012


I used to worry that Ella would be shy or that she would be too afraid to do things on her own.

That I would have to hand hold her through life and be a helicopter-mom.

I guess I didn't have to worry so much.

She demands independence so much, she throws tantrums when she can't do things "by self".

Instead, I should've been worrying she won't need me anymore.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ear infection

After day 3 of a fever, we took Ella in to the doctor. She has an ear infection, and a prescription for antibiotics as proof.

This little one hasn't complained at all about the high fevers, congestion, or even an ear ache. Kids are so resilient...

Here she is running around the living room doing her lion dance. Where this energy comes from, I have no idea.