tea, scones, and a whole lotta will & kate.

[image courtesy of: aspiringkennedy]

They're gettin' hitched and I can't wait to see this fairy tale wedding! It is 4:15 am, in my pajamas, tea in hand and scone in the other, you can count on me being one of the millions of eyes who will be glued to the television admiring all the hats and fascinators, all of the beautiful royalty, and of course oohing and ahhing at the dress. The dress! I like to think my personal invite got lost in the mail. So, I guess this is what I'll do...(and apparently, I'm not the only one...!)


fancy schmancy.

Last night, we had two of our friends over to try out a four-course meal. Why? Oh, just because. It was Wednesday, so why not?

[Course 1: baby arugula salad over french fried Hawaiian
purple yams topped with a poached egg and drizzled
with a miso balsamic vinaigrette.]

[Course 2: carrot ginger soup topped with a dollop of
crème fraîche, chives, and balsamic vinegar droplets.]

[Course 3: Japanese curry infused with malbec and shallots
with brown rice, blanched asparagus, and roasted Japanese
eggplant, broccoli, baby bellas, kabocha, and deep fried
lotus root. Garnished with scallions and fresh avocado.]

[And finally dessert: lemon ricotta cheesecake with a
graham cracker crust and lemon-infused strawberries.]


green thumb.

I don't know what's happened, but the older I get, the more I want to build/plant gardens of various plants. It started with the succulents and now I think I'm adding herbs to the list. For our housewarming party, our lovely friends Tara and Mike brought us a basket full of herbs: cilantro, parsley, basil, and chives. And I won't lie--we've been using them like nobody's business. It was a sort of starter kit for us until we were able to plant a life-size garden in our back yard. And then I saw this. This raised garden kit looks exactly like what we're looking for. Isn't it so lovely?



the perfect chair.

Does anyone know where I can actually purchase this chair? It would be perfect in our living room and I think Ryan might actually fall in love with me all over again.



have a hoppy hoppy easter!

My dearest readers, what are you up to this weekend? Ryan and I are having a lovely Easter brunch with my side of the family and then meeting up with his side of the family later on for a late lunch/early dinner. In other words, lots of food! We also plan on meeting up with some good friends for a nightcap later on at night. Sounds like my kind of day. Hope your Easter is lots of fun and filled with food, too.




happy hump day!

Sometimes, all you need is a little melty bubbly manchego over sliced apples on homemade bread all drizzled with a little bit of orange blossom honey to start your morning. Lucky for me, today's my day off so I am enjoying every last morsel of this. Happy Hump Day!


succulent garden.

One of Ryan's and my first dates involved going to a gardening center, picking up some succulents, and building terrariums. I think it was then that I felt that I could be with him forever. Since then (three years ago!), he and I have built up quite a collection of succulents around the house. And the collection continues to grow. They're so easy to care for and so beautiful to look at. I can't get enough! These succulents above from Succulent Love would be the perfect addition to our home. Aren't they just beautiful?



oh land.

I might be a little behind on this, but I just discovered Oh Land. Watch and listen. So pretty!


one month later.

Today marks the 1-month anniversary since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that rattled Japan. As it now stands, 13,116 are dead and 14,377 are still unaccounted for. 151,000 survivors are dispersed throughout the 2,300 shelters across the country. Despite the fact that these shelters were places where people could go for heat, running water, and three hot meals during their time of need, they have become a place people want to leave. There is little to no privacy available for those who want to grieve over their loss.

On top of the high emotions among them, there is the constant worry of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as it tries to maintain cooling temperatures so as not to overheat and cause severe nuclear damage to the surrounding areas and all over Japan. Officials even stated today that they would have to enlarge the evacuation area to more than the current 12-miles. This could mean that more people would have to leave what little is left of their homes to seek safety.

The American Red Cross, the Japan Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, along with many other organizations are doing their best to donate to the massive relief effort to help rebuild Japan. Another one of these organization is Relief By Design (remember this print?), a charity started by my brother-in-law where artists can design a print and submit it to the website (some of which you can see above). They are available for purchase on the Tsunami Relief Poster Project website with a $5 donation and are high-resolution images you can print up yourself at home. The best part is that 100% of the proceeds go to the American Red Cross to aid Japan in rebuilding their country.

I don't normally ask people to donate anything to anyone on my blog. But this means the world to me and I know that this cause would give Japan more help. And hope.

Thanks so much.



rainy day ramen.

Today was one of those days when I woke up with the sky completely overcast, thunder rolling, and lightning snapping away. And the first thought that hit me was: mmm, ramen. It's hard to find a good bowl of ramen in the area that isn't in a styrofoam package. I'm talking real, good, stick-to-your-ribs ramen. So I decided to make it.

I've been experimenting with different broths and the one that I seem to get right is the miso broth. So, as a special treat, here is my recipe for rainy day ramen. Bon appetit!

Rainy Day Ramen
serves 2

2 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp. miso paste (I used red miso paste)
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 eggs
4 stalks chives*, chopped
dried egg noodles, individually portioned (available at Asian markets)
sesame seeds
hot sesame oil (for drizzling)
(optional: left over cooked chicken, shredded)
*I used chives today but also use scallions when I want!

1. Heat the chicken broth bringing it almost to a boil. Do not let boil! Add miso paste and stir in until smooth. Bring heat down to a simmer.

2. In a separate pot, boil the noodles until cooked, usually about 5-6 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Using that same pot, fill with water and bring to a simmer. Add vinegar. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl. Using a slotted spoon, stir water until a whirlpool forms and add the egg gently into the whirlpool. The vinegar will coagulate the white and the whirlpool holds it together. Cook this for about 3 minutes and scoop egg out with slotted spoon. Congrats, you've just poached an egg! Place on top of cooked noodles in bowl. Repeat this process with the other egg.

4. Sprinkle chives and sesame seeds on top to your liking. (This is when I also added my shredded chicken on top.)

5. Pour in the miso chicken broth.

6. Drizzle hot sesame oil on top of poached egg in ramen.

7. Eat eat eat to your heart's content!

What do you like to eat on rainy days?


the art of eating in.

Although this book came out last year, I only recently got my hands on a copy and have been so inspired by it. The author, Cathy Erway decided on a whim to not eat out while living in New York. And what started out as an challenge turned into a two-year experiment of diligence and commitment. It definitely made me rethink our eating out habits that Ryan and I have become comfortable with. It's not that we eat out for every single meal. That would be absurd. But we do eat out much more often than I'd like to.

Yesterday and last night, we hosted not one, but two housewarming pot-luck parties. The first one started early in the afternoon with both sides of our families over. The table was overflowing with spinach salad, shish-kebabs, potato salad, five-spice chicken, Spanish tortilla, roasted red peppers, ceviche, oodles of Chinese noodles, and an array of desserts including an English trifle, ooey-gooey peanut butter chocolate brownies, and a French mille-feuille. You could say it was sort of a United Nations smörgåsbord. Then, when the families left and our friends came over, another feast was just around the corner. And again, a smattering of different cuisines were presented to us--sweet potato lasagne, napa cabbage rolls with noodles, spicy chickpeas with rice, kale and avocado salad, cheese and asparagus tart, spinach and jalapeño dip inside home-made no-knead bread, oats and dates squares, and fancy deviled eggs.

After yesterday's festivities and while I read this book, I can't help but want to cook-in more often. I love how the idea of a pot-luck just brings everyone together sharing different types of foods, cultures, cuisines, tastes, and ideas. I wish I had taken photos of the dishes last night but I was so caught up in the moment that I had forgotten to! I went to bed thinking that there truly is an art to eating-in and I closed my eyes feeling so warmed by everyone's eagerness to bring what they loved to make and felt so much gratitude and love towards my family and friends.