Friday, September 28, 2012

Fab Five Friday {9/28}

Been losing my motivation lately...

1. Another new show I tried and like - Go On. Because Matthew Perry is the funniest Friend and because John Cho is so adorable.

2. Random run at...550am... (This was taken at the end of the run, or else it would have been still too dark to get pictures of anything.)

3. H and I are hooked on The Walking Dead

4. Getting my renewed passport!

5. SLEEP. Lots of it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Random Picture Wednesday {9/26}

beautiful garden in a friend's backyard

Monday, September 24, 2012

Photo Books Roundup

via gallery leather

I was chatting photos with a friend many weeks ago, and she was looking to make some photo books herself. So I thought I would put together a list of places you can get photo books made online.

I've printed pictures from online services many times before (with mixed results), but I've only gotten photo books made once with Picaboo. The quality is decent, but the book turned out thinner than I expected. I don't regret it though.

I have also ordered a blank journal from Paper Coterie before with an uploaded picture, and the quality was really good. They also ship fast. They have a lot of personalized products, a lot of which involves kids, so it's worth taking a look if you are interested in getting something for a particular child.

Other photobook sites include:

Adorama Pix

Blurb Books


Pinhole Press




Here are some photo book reviews, and there is also a site devoted entirely to photo books (including reviews, samples, and coupon codes). Speaking of which, if it matters to you, it wouldn't hurt to look for some coupon codes once you decide where you want to order your photo book from. I have also noticed a lot of coupon codes near the holidays. It might save you a few hefty dollars or even shipping costs!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fab Five Friday {9/21}

1. Going running at one of my most favorite parks

2. And seeing this on my run

I'm trying to get (back) into running. It's so hard.

3. Finding this at a local library - brings back old memories!

4. A homemade bulgogi dinner

5. Another successful game night. And making new friends!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Random Picture Wednesday {9/19}

random view of downtown [instagrammed]

Sunday, September 16, 2012

[e-Book Review] Workshift by Anne Bogel

For anyone who is interested in creating a "better blend of work, life, and family," you might be interested in  a new e-book Work Shift by Anne Bogel of The Modern Mrs. Darcy blog.

Contemporary females of the 20-21st century, particularly wives and mothers, are always struggling to "have it all." It is the epitome of the feminist dream, to have meaningful work, a solid marriage, and loving family relationships. However, Bogel argues that a new paradigm of work/life balance is emerging: that you can still have a job, earn reasonable income, and still spend time with your family without having to choose. This is known as the workshift, or "share care," where both partners trade off in their job and household responsibilities. In other words, both work and family are blended together.

Excerpt: "There used to be - 20, 30 years ago - a hard line between work and family. Mothers could join the workforce full-time, or stay home with the kids full-time. Some women were able to find something in the middle - something that combined both - but it was hard to do. 9-5 work was the norm...But more and more, today's women don't have to choose. The black and white world of working mother vs. stay-at-home mother is giving way to grey...Men today also want to spend more time with their families than the generations before us did, and are engineering new work/life arrangements to make it happen. They're also trading high-stress, high-salary jobs for fulfilling work that lets them enjoy family time - and enjoy more of it."

This book is particularly fascinating to me because I have recently starting thinking about my work and family situation, both present and future. Both my husband and I have a 9-to-5 job, but we are interested in (slowly) transitioning that to something more flexible in preparation to start a family so that we can be more present for our future kids and hopefully, one day, become our own boss. Whist we haven't figured out yet how that would happen, it is reassuring to see that we are not alone in our thinking. In fact, Bogel includes many success stories and different ages and stages this workshift could take place. This may be something we will refer back to from time to time.

Overall, this e-book was a quick and easy read. It's aimed at females, particularly mothers or mothers-to-be, but I think husbands and fathers should read it too. How successful the workshift becomes depend not only on the flexibility of your schedule but also on the commitment of your partner. After all, times are changing. Shouldn't we all?

You can get the new e-book here or kindle version here (both for $8).

* I was provided with an advanced copy of Work Shift e-book for my review. I was not compensated for my review, and all opinions are of my own.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fab Five Friday {9/14}

This week has been somewhat of a roller coaster. I've been sick since last week, and it got better this week, but I feel really exhausted. I think my body is telling me to rest, but it's really hard to. Anyway, onto this week's review!

1. Garlic & Sapphires book - written by a former restaurant critic of the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, you KNOW it will be a delicious read

2. My new favorite granola bar. A tad too sweet but still yummy.

3. Cool clock H and I got

4. Looking forward to The Mindy Project! Here is the first episode.

5. One of the biggest things that happened this week was the unexpected bonding with a friend and the realization that, whilst I knew that there are certain topics that are better suited to discuss with a particular friend over another, I never felt more refreshed than these few weeks to have "discovered" certain friends with whom I can speak frankly to and about more private and personal concerns. It's great to have people who motivate you to be positive and who genuinely want to be your friend, not just a party-friend.

In other words, people who would tell you a good daycare center when you ask for recommendations rather than point you to a shitty one. (Just an example.)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fashion Feature: Amren Tulano

Today, I am happy to feature Amren Tulano, an up and coming fashion line whose two co-founders I have had the pleasure of being close friends with for years. Please read on to learn more about them!

1. So, Amren Tulano. How did you guys come up with that name?

From our names: Amy Tung & Karen Elano
Amy + Karen = Amren
Tung + Elano = Tulano

2. What is the focus of your company?

We are first and foremost a high fashion company but with the added benefit of also striving to be responsible, sustainable, and charitable. The scope of how responsible and how sustainable a business can be is never truly ideal, but we aim to continuously improve and maintain as much as we can this ultimate ideal.  We also want to break the stereotype that sustainable fashion is dowdy, not attractive. We want our customers to look good on the outside and feel good on the inside.

3. That sounds great, but what does “high fashion” mean exactly?

High fashion features finely crafted pieces with an emphasis on high quality materials. Each design is tailored for a certain look and inspiration. It is often more unique and what everyone calls "designer.”

4. What would you say your design style is?

Modern simplicity with a touch of drama.

Photographer: Tommy Wu of Tommyphoto

Model: Isabelle Du

Hair & Makeup artist: Michelle Arcilla

5. How has it been working on fashion projects together?

Amy: It's great working on fashion projects together! Each of us has a different style and a different set of skills and talents that is brought to the design and execution table. We also balance each other
out in shortcomings so that we can create a design/product that is creative and wearable at the same time. Being able to throw ideas back and forth in conversation helps formulate the idea and is very helpful during the process of figuring out the answer to "so how do I make this?"

Karen: Working together on a design process is a conversation about inspiration. We start with an overall idea go back and forth about our interpretations then decide on execution. We each have a different style but we always come together on what we want the person to feel when wearing our pieces. Having another person to keep you on track and provide creative criticism, I think, helps keep the design moving forward and have direction.

Photographer: Michael Liu of Amfect, LLC

Model: Teara Michelle Spivey 

Hair & Makeup Artist: Kelsey Ramirez 

6. Who or what would you guys consider to be your inspiration(s)?

Our inspirations are drawn from everything around us. It's free form. Whatever stirs something inside
us, draws us, or attracts us becomes our inspiration for a future collection. We document quite a few of our inspirations on our blog. We do however have some basic inspirations that we draw the core of concept from which are the ideas of a confident person, a feeling of accepted presence, shine, mystery, wonder, allure, and depending on how much influence which one of us has on a collection, either more sophistication and modern simplicity (Karen) (modern simplicity) or more spunk and drama (Amy).

Photographer: David Cutts

Model: Rain Valdez

Hair & makeup: Michelle Arcilla

7. How did you guys decide to start Amren Tulano?

Both of us were in research and preventive medicine related jobs before going into Amren Tulano. Although we love public health and preventive medicine and think it is a very important field of work and study, we were continuously drawn to the artistic outlet of fashion because of the ability to create and be creative for a hopefully useable product. It's wearable art. So we decided that we wanted to fuse these two passions and create Amren Tulano, a brand that doesn't compromise the culture and creativity of fashion potential and still upholds basic values of public health advocates in business and product responsibility.  From a public health advocate and environmentalists' perspective, the fashion industry is often at complete odds with the goals of public health advocate and environmentalists. So why not add to the number of companies that are trying to bridge the huge gap between excessive fashion forwardness and important responsible ideals like fair trade, sustainability, reducing chemical run-off, increasing wind power, decreasing waste, and all kinds of other public health and environmental concerns? And that is how Amren Tulano got started. We aim to change how the public views sustainable fashion into something attractive. And we aim to change how the fashion industry views sustainable and responsible practices as something important, profitable, and just simply the right thing to do.


Photographer: Steven Larson

Model: Mikey'a Pickett

Hair & makeup: Celina Yun

8. Now for a fun question: If you had to spend 1 month in one outfit only (assuming you can
change your undergarments, you can wash that outfit, and you didn't have to sleep in it), what would it be? Compare this question to the "if you were stuck on an island" type of question.

Amy: Mine would look like this Alexander McQueen dress.

Karen: And mine would be a flowy and airy maxi dress like this.

Spring 2012 Mulberry
From London Fashion Week 2011

9. Can you give us an idea of your current projects and what fans can expect to see in the coming months?

We are currently working on making a few items for a tv web series. We are also working on our upcycled/organic fabric mix 15 piece Spring/Summer 2013 collection, as well as pieces to put on etsy. Over the long haul, we plan to produce a limited edition organic and sustainable fabric produced line, which should be exciting. Our followers can also look forward to us being on Fashionstarter as part of the emerging designer database.

Photographer: Tommy Wu of Tommyphoto

Model: Isabelle Du

Hair & Makeup artist: Michelle Arcilla

Thanks Amren Tulano!! Give them a LIKE on Facebook and keep up with their latest news!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fab Five Friday {9/7}

1. One of my favorite moments of this week: holding our friend's baby ;)

2. Pangea Organics Facial Scrub - I never knew my face could GLOW like they say in the magazines, without being oily!
3. Yummy mango pudding and red bean dessert from a local Chinese cafe

4. Rubber ducky soap!

5. I've shared this many times on Facebook, but I can't believe I didn't do it here. It's a hit sensation!! And H watches/listens to it almost everyday.

If you are interested, here is a very interesting article that discusses the music video and its maker.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

E-Zines Roundup

via abelow pr

With the ease of technology and the proliferation of creative minds everywhere, e-zines, or electronic magazines, or web-zines, are becoming more and more popular. I personally prefer flipping through a traditional magazine in my hands, but once in a while, I still love to look at e-zines online for their super gorgeous pictures and designs. Here, I share some of my finds in hopes that you may find one (or a couple) that you would enjoy.

:: Sweet Paul Magazine ::
A beautiful magazine from front to back, including recipes, crafts, designs, and cupcakes. Who doesn't like cupcakes?! The current issue's feature is Beach Life.

:: Festivities Magazine ::
"A magazine to inspire the home entertainer with quick party tips, elegant designs, tutorials and recipes for celebrations. In [the latest issue], fall celebrations: Halloween, Apples, Johnny Appleseed and Dia de los Muertos!"

:: Anthropologie Magazine ::
Produced by everyone's favorite Anthropologie store.

:: Rue Magazine ::
Like an upscale boutique, it's perfect for an (aspirating) home decorator and entertainer.

:: Lonny Mag ::
Home decorating. I want to live in this magazine.

:: Frankie ::
Let the Australians show you what's hip in food, arts, culture, fashion, and more.

:: Style Me Pretty ::
Ethereal inspirations for brides and weddings.

:: Utterly Engaged ::
Ideas and inspirations for weddings.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

[Recipe] Chinese Sausage Rice

I'm not one for following recipes - they all tend to end in diaster. (Which may explain why I failed in all the Chemistry lab classes in college.) So these are more like "cooking guides" where everything here is "approximate" and you can tweak it to your liking.

I first thought of this "recipe" when I came home after work one day and found the gas not working due to some street repair mishap. I didn't want to drive out again for food, and frozen pizza just wasn't the same in the microwave, so I made dinner from something I remembered reading once upon a time.

- white rice
- a package of Chinese sausage, defrosted
- water

You also need a rice cooker.

(To those who may not know what Chinese sausages are, they are different from Western type of sausages. They tend to be sweet instead of salty. For more information, check out an intro by Serious Eats.)

First, measure out and wash your rice as you normally would.

Then, take out your Chinese sausage, and cut them however you like. They would be easier to cut defrosted, even partially. The first time I made this dish, I cut them into diagonal slices; the second time, into bite-size chunks. It doesn't matter.

Next, put the cut-up sausage into the rice cooker with your pre-cooked rice. Yes, the idea is to cook them together.

Here is where it gets tricky: you need to adjust the amounts of water yourself depending on your rice cooker. The first time I made this, I added 1.5 times of water for everything, but it wasn't completely done so I had to add more water and cook it a second time. The second time I made this, I doubled the water in the beginning but the rice turned out mushy. I think this was because the slices from the first attempt were easier to cook than the chunks from the second attempt. So I havn't fully perfected the ratio yet for my rice cooker. In any case, it's always better to add less water in the beginning and add more as you go along - just be careful of the steam!

What happens is that the oil from the Chinese sausage will leech out into the water. When it's all finished cooking, mix everything, and you will get a very tasty blend of well-oiled rice with sausage. We used to cook the Chinese sausage by boiling it first then frying it, so this "recipe" makes it a lot easier, faster, and energy-efficient (in terms of energy used for cooking and for washing dishes).

The good thing about this rice cooker technique is that, while the meat and the carbs are cooking away, you can cook your vegetables. Obviously for the first time (when my gas was out), I couldn't do that. But the second time, I decided to go the lazy all the way and simply have steamed corn. I used a wok, filled it halfway with water, and placed a steamer basket* with corn. I left the cover on and let it boil for a good 10 minutes or so before checking up on it.

By the time everything was done cooking, I was able to finish reading half a magazine and was not at all tired out from cooking like I usually was. Yay!!

So, the first time I made this, H had a food-orgasm. He volunteered to bring the leftovers to work the next day (which never happens), ate them straightaway the next day (which also never happens), and texted me again how good they were (also which never happens). If you have a carnivore** in the family, this would be a great dish to try. If you also have kids who you can still get to help out with the cooking, this would be an easy dish to try too. Enjoy!

* I would recommend finding the steamer basket from a local Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshall's, or other like stores. I got mine from one of those stores for less than $5.

** I would imagine that this one-rice-cooker-cooks-all technique can be used on veggie sausages as well, but I have not yet to try. If anyone tries it, I would like to know how it turns out!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Links to Explore

Here are some interesting things I found in the Internet-mosphere this week. I can't believe it's September already. Have a great weekend all!!

These Roald Dahl mugs are adorable. I would get them for my kids. When I actually have kids. (PS: I always thought his name was Ronald.)

Secrets to finding heels that won't kill you - that would be nice

Skinny people can be unhealthy too. I used to be one of them. I sure hope I'm much better now.

Fall Movie Preview: 20 Movies to see this Oscar Season

Coke endorsements. For health organizations.

I already knew that boba, or tapioca pearls, are perilous (haha) for you, but, sigh.

Hipster soups, huh? I want.

If you ever need to make your food taste awesomeR. I'm not sure which I want to try.

Hmm. Sugar found in space. ET made some cupcakes?