Saturday, February 27, 2010

Shanghai Flavor Shop

dumplings from the Shanghai Flavor Shop in Sunnyvale, CA

I am not usually big on Chinese food, but in China I fell in love with soup dumplings (added to a favorites list that included house fried rice and scallion pancakes).  Anyway, we had a team lunch a few weeks ago and went to my favorite place for dumplings in the Bay Area - check them out.  Soooo good with the perfect crunchy bottom.  I should note that I never eat anything else there.  We just order 6 buns per person and dig in.  Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, February 26, 2010

in vain I have struggled...

{dish towel from Brookish on Etsy}

I got my fiance this dish towel for Valentine's day with Mr. Darcy's proposal from Pride and Prejudice (I also got us Cirque du Soliel OVO tickets too so don't feel sorry for him getting a dish towel).  Anyway, I thought it was wonderfully romantic.  Seeing this quote made me want to read Pride and Prejudice which I downloaded for FREE on my Kindle (old books tend to be free on Kindle which is cool).   

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


A while back, we did an online design service for our living room.  It was so much fun - made decorating very easy.  I would do it again for our bedroom, but Sherry and John at are now incredibly popular and it is hard to get on their list. I am having to go it alone... which makes it hard to make decisions!  I don't know what I am doing when it comes to decorating.

Anyway, last weekend I tackled curtains.  Here is the before...

And here is the after.  I think it is a big improvement.  The next step is to get a rug and a bench (or telephone table) to go under that big window. Long term a headboard or bed frame would also be nice - but for now it is a work in progress. 

I should also mention our awesome new camel colored blanket.  My mom got us that for Christmas!  She saw my post about camel colored blankets and answered my call.  I love it - it definitely keeps me warm (without the four digit price tag of Hermes). :)

p.s. what do you think of this rug from Pottery Barn for this room?   I keep saying I am done with Pottery Barn... yet I keep coming back as it is just so easy...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Candied Meyer Lemon Peel

As I have mentioned, we have a meyer lemon tree that produces the most fragrant, sweet lemons I have ever tasted.  While I was making the Tartine tart a few weeks ago, I decided to try the candied zest in order to make use of the entire fruit. 

Things seemed to be going well. 

The lemons were easy to peel in strips. 

Until the whole thing cooled into a brick.  It was supposed to stay syrupy - but I must have gotten the sugar too hot.  Here are the little peels immersed in their sugar cement. 

Well, this weekend I decided to melt the sugar again and rescue them.  Here they are.  This book mentions that the sugar replaces the water in the cells of the rind, which I thought was interesting.  It tasted like homemade candy. Definitely captures the aromatic quality of the rind, but I don't really know what to do with it now... or how long it will keep without its sugar syrup.

Overall - my vote is that it wasn't worth the effort.  

Monday, February 22, 2010

Vanilla Sugar!

As I like to have some vanilla in my coffee - yesterday afternoon I made vanilla sugar.  Turns out it is super super easy to make.  I used this recipe from Baking Bites as my guide.

It was simple - I started with 2 cups of sugar, and one split vanilla bean.  I also scraped the seeds out and threw them into the sugar, but that isn't required.  The vanilla bean pod on its own will flavor the sugar.  Now I just need to let it sit for a week!  The best part is - I can keep adding sugar as I deplete it, as the vanilla bean will last for a long time (I've read about a year).  I want to store it in my Whitney Smith bird sugar bowl.  I think that this would make a good Christmas gift for co-workers or friends as it is pretty inexpensive to make and quite wonderful. 

I also want to thank Peter and Meaghan for the Pryex set!  We have been trying to move away from plastic tupperware for a while now, and Peter and Meaghan just got us the most awesome set of glass storage containers (one used for vanilla sugar making).  Thanks so much!  

Friday, February 19, 2010


Last Sunday we saw Ovo from Cirque Du Soleil and I highly recommend it. So much fun! 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


My sweet niece Daniela! She is looking soo cute at almost 5 weeks! 
She is going to have us wrapped around her finger with that little smile. 
Luckily my fiance and I have practice spoiling nieces so she doesn't have to worry. :)

Sasha Adler - House Beautiful, March 2010

I am obsessed with the following elements of this photo in my most recent issue of House Beautiful:
  • The yellow cotton velvet (I am now reconsidering velvet as an option for upholstery)
  • The mirrored, tufted headboard
  • The grey walls
  • The crisp preppy sheets
{House Beautiful scanned by Semigloss Chic}

In the article she says that the bed comes from, but the site seems really hard to use - for example a search for "bed" came up with shoes and benches and all kinds of random stuff.  I expect search to be better than that... 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Some adorable photos of my sweet niece Cecilia. 

I can't help it!  She is just so cute!

Cecilia with her cousin Helen on Christmas eve

Wearing Auntie B's cowgirl boots!  

Computer Scientist Barbie

Look's like Barbie has a new career - as a computer scientist!  Although it is still a little bit much (binary on her t-shirt and pink geek chic glasses?), it still seems pretty cool.  I must say that I LOVED Barbie when I was little - my favorite being Garden Party Barbie circa 1987 (check her out below). I thought that she had the most beautiful outfit.  My second favorite Barbie was career Barbie's day to night reversible suit circa 1984 (also below).  I loved the night skirt and the little briefcase full of plastic pencils and paper.  Don't worry, I still have both.  My nieces will thank me someday.

{image from Toys I Have Loved}

{Image from Amazon}

p.s. I might have to buy computer scientist Barbie for Daniela and Cecilia... just because it would be fun to let engineer Barbie play with my old school Barbies.  Too bad I don't have astronaut Barbie to round out the group. :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Mardi Gras!

Throw me something (in California) mister!

Wish I could be there - a Super Bowl win on top of normal Mardi Gras craziness is something I want to see!

A cute shot of Patrick and Memaw at Mardi Gras in 1993  :)

update:  a little Drew Dat!
King of Baccus Drew Brees on Sunday sent by my mom's friend...

the gossip bench

I want one.  They are so little and so cute!  Just have to find one at the right price (< $200).  It would go perfect under the big window in our bedroom - recovered in a French striped natural linen or a lux cotton velvet.  I could just see sipping tea and reading a magazine in one of these little guys.

{from ebay}

More inspiration (thanks for finding this Audrey)!

Monday, February 15, 2010

happy blog birthday

Today marks 1 year since I started this blog.  When I started, I really didn't know what to expect - what I would write about and whether I wanted people to read it or not.  In the end, I realize that it is mostly something that I enjoy doing for myself.  In ways it is like a journal and like the seasons - something that captures the moments of my life and marks the passing of time.   It allows my friends and family to see what I am up to, but also allows me to share the things that I discover with people in the world that I will never meet.

Some statistics:

Thanks to everyone for reading.  Cheers to year 2!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

whole heart. whole life.

Instead of red hearts...

Happy Valentine's Day my love 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Google + weddings

What will they think of next?

p.s. we are using Google Docs for our wedding planning... like our wedding website!

Friday, February 12, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics

Tonight is the opening night of the 2010 Olympics.  I am excited to watch the games - figure skating, snowboarding tricks, etc.  It reminded me of when I went to China in 2008 just before the summer games and saw some of the fantastic buildings constructed for the occasion - like the Birds Nest stadium above.

What is your favorite event?  I don't want to miss anything!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

blooming buds

My Christmas cactus might be a little late, but the blooms are just stunning.   So worth the 5 year wait. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

geaux penguins...

Before Oklahoma and before China, we celebrated my fiance's birthday observed (since I would be out of town on the actual day). Here is his pile of presents. 

So what did he get?  Among other things, a penguin cocktail shaker from my mom (soo cute).  He is keeping our champagne company. Note the champagne is in a champagne flute in our crystal pattern (a lovely Christmas gift from his parents).  :)

A Geaux Tigers shirt from me (matches our snuggie).  Dave has wanted one of these shirts for so long (I think he thinks Geaux is funny) - so now he can finally run with Tiger pride.

Happy Birthday!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Black and Gold dessert!

I had a few people over to watch the Super Bowl.  Since my fiance wasn't going to be around (work travel), I decided to use my spare time on Saturday to make some food for the game.  Since our meyer lemon tree is full of fruit - and conveniently Saints colored - I thought that it was a good day for iron chef meyer lemon.  

Since it was one of my 2010 goals to make something from every cookbook, making this insane lemon tart from Tartine seemed like the perfect thing to try. 

I also had all the tools to make the dessert.  Katie Cole had given us a tart pan and cooling rack for our wedding - both of which I used here!  Thanks again!  A word of warning - this Tartine tart actually uses THREE recipes (the tart, the dough, and the lemon cream).  This is a trick Julia Child also uses, which makes it hard to fully estimate how long a given recipe will take. 

The finished product!  Not so bad!  Served on a red Whitney Smith cake plate that my future mother-in-law gave me for Christmas.  I love it!  

Amy and I enjoying the finished product!  Served with homemade whipped cream on top. :)

I should note that I am getting married in the year that the Saints won the Super Bowl and Amy is getting married in the year that Bama won the BCS Championship (her hubby to be is a fan).  Hopefully good luck coming our way this year! 

Monday, February 8, 2010

who dat? nobody!

Speaking of the New Orleans Saints and the Super bowl... the commercials.  Which was your favorite?  The most memorable for me was the Google Search ad.  Loved it!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Champs!

I am sure that New Orleans is going crazy right now!  What a fun game!  Geaux Saints!

Our door decoration - letting the neighborhood know how we feel. 

The final score!  Who would have thought. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

who dat dog

Cullan's dog Jerry getting into the spirit!  Check it out - over 120,000 views!  Excited for New Orleans!  Feels like the whole country is cheering for the Saints.

Lizard I can hear you laughing in the background.  So good to see everyone on YouTube!

Friday, February 5, 2010

breathing out...

Something sweet for Friday.  

Perfect for a snow day. 

Spring is just around the corner. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Iron Chef Sage

At restaurants lately, I have seen brown butter and sage everywhere (Charleston, Atlanta, New Orleans, San Francisco).  So I decided to have an iron chef sage night (it is the one herb we planted that has survived the year).  We had some Trader Joe's chicken ravioli and acorn squash that seemed like it would go well with sage.   Here are the results - tasted good but overall a little disappointing.   I probably wouldn't make either one again. 

Roasted Acorn Squash from Tyler Florence
(the cookies came out soggy - not sure how to get around that)

Butter and Sage Sauce from Mario Batalli
(seemed very oily)

The brown butter and sage sweet potato pasta I had at FIG in Charleston - insane!
Seriously one of the best restaurants I have been to lately.

Note, my future in-laws made a brown butter pasta with fried sage a few weeks ago and it was so good!  I have to find the photos I took and that recipe... 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hope for Haiti

A few weeks ago there was a celebrity telethon for Haiti.  My fiance and I watched and we kept calling hoping to get through - eventually we just donated via web (so no celebrity took my call).  Anyway, just realized that Google has put together a bunch of cool tools to help us help Haiti.  Check it out.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

birthday boy!

 What a year it's been!  Just a few reminders of the year gone by.  Cheers to the next one!

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