Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The First Supper

We had our first meal in le shoebox last night. There was no furniture, no plates, no real utensils. Just surrounded by faithful friends who are always available to help. Whisperer, Greenpeace, and Marathon were kind enough to help us get started on the transition process.

We dined on take out from Islands and toasted with our paper cups and beer bottles. For the first time, I was overwhelmed with the joy and pride of being in our very first home. It was one of the best dinners I've ever had.

The movers are coming for our stuff today. As I type the contractor is still putting in the flooring. He still has to paint the kitchen and put a second coat of paint in the closet. Our cabinet doors are still somewhere drying. For the past 5 days. 

It's going to be an interesting night.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Besides HK-style cafes, K likes to try new places to eat. Not hip, new, raved-about places but smaller places yet to be discovered. I, on the other hand, am not a fan of this. I rely on previous experiences, recommendations of friends, and yelp. However, since we've been dating/married, I've been more willing to go along on K's food adventures. In general, this has worked out favorably.

We visited Cook's Tortas last night and was very pleased. They have a range of tortas ranging from smoked salmon to carne asada. You would think with a menu like that, it wouldn't be authentic, but it is.

We picked it up to go since there was a basketball game on TV last night.

I also tried their pineapple celery aqua fresca and it had a unique taste. Kinda strange, but good. Hard to explain.

Hooray for another new place under my belt.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mishap. Again.

Awhile ago, my father bought my mom a beautiful Tod's bag. She loved it but left it here when she went back to Hong Kong. I wanted to keep it from feeling neglected so I used it. One day, I tossed a bottle of water in the bag and the water slowly leaked out into the bag. The beautiful leather bag. 

It left such a dark stain that there was really no solution. So MOH and I dashed off and went to buy a replica. My income had no business buying that bag but I felt so guilty. I stashed the stained one in my room and years later, she discovered it and teased me for buying a replica. I should've just bought a new and different bag, she teased. Yea, mom. OK.

That experience left a deep scar on the bag, my bank account, and me. I never put water bottles in my leather bags again. Until this past Sunday.

I thought the bottle was empty when I tossed it in but alas, it was not. Nor was it closed tightly.

This was the result.

At least this time it was my own bag and this bag has had a good run for about 2 years. It's my go-to Fall bag. It has beautiful gold metal accents and (formerly) gorgeous, rich leather. RIP beautiful bag. We were so good together.

It also got on my wallet, but it covered it well enough that you can hardly tell there was a water stain. And also because I just can't afford to replace it right now.

The bag, the wallet, my bank account and I are devastated.

Monday, November 17, 2008


On Saturday, we spent much of the day indoors packing away. The air was so awful that we didn't let Louie or ourselves out for most of the day. We now live in a fort of boxes. 

For dinner, K wanted to dine at a - shocker -  Hong Kong style cafe and he decided to try Harbor Kitchen. Harbor Kitchen recently replaced Regent Cafe on the corner on Garfield and Valley in Alhambra. Regent Cafe was one of our go-to places, but according to the manager, had to close because of rising rent and operations costs. 

As it turns out, Harbor Kitchen is not a HK cafe! Evidence: there is no chicken steak or pork chop rice on the menu. Rice does not come with your dish. Spaghetti is not an option. Soups are not automatically served upon ordering. It's deceptive because the menus look exactly the same like those at cafes as well as the sponsored place mats.

You'll notice that the advertisements in the menus, prevalent in all cafes with updated menus, are similar to those at the Cheesecake Factory. 

And it's very uncomfortable drinking cold water out of a stainless steel cup.

Harbor Kitchen is a happy medium between cafes and traditional Chinese restaurants because it serves the traditional food but in smaller portions and with the coveted iced lemon tea. (The iced lemon tea isn't listed on the menu but they'll gladly make you one if you ask for it.) We ordered the broccoli beef and the clams with green onions and scallions. 

The broccoli beef was too salty  for my taste and the clams was decent. Didn't taste like anything spectacular but coupled with the above-par quality of service, it was good enough for two people exhausted from packing and smoke.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So far

BathKitchen Man is wrapping up today. K dropped me last night and snapped photos of the progress.

I love this tile combination. It reminds me of the NY subway.  Except much, much cleaner. (I also love the Top Chef tile mosaic banner in this season's kitchen!) The spout (where the water comes out?) will be installed today. 

This is the Hutton Single Washstand from Restoration Hardware. We saved a lot of money by purchasing the base from RH and then buying the marble from elsewhere. I'm sure it's not Italian Carrera marble like you get from RH, but the savings was worth it.

PaintFloors Man will come on Friday and start sanding down the kitchen cabinets to paint them white. I wanted to replace the cabinet doors but the cabinets are some weird size and would require custom doors. Custom doors = $$$. A fresh coat of paint will do. Keeping the appliances from the previous owner will also save some dough.

After the cabinets is the flooring and that's it. It's coming along, folks! From the way things are going, it looks like we'll be moving in during the week of Thanksgiving. Great, great fun that should be.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Must Love Dogs

Y'all know that I love Louie.

(Yes, I specifically selected the worst pictures of Louie from throughout the years. =))

I'm a bit worried about transitioning Louie to le shoebox. It has no yard and much less space, not to mention neighbors with whom we'll be sharing walls. Louie is a really mellow fellow and doesn't even like to exercise more than once a day. He barks only when someone is at the door, but in a condo, there is much motion and noise with people throughout the building. I plan on taking a day or two off from work when we move to help him get settled.

K's biggest worry are the new floors. Does anyone else have dogs + wood floors? Do the dogs scuff and scratch the floors? K's actually contemplating some dog shoes for Louie. We're also getting a shag rug and when we brought a sample home, Louie didn't display any desire to rip and destroy it. I wonder if he's just waiting until we bring the entire rug home to ruin it.

Since we're getting all new furniture, it's only fitting that Louie does also. Not that he actually sleeps in his own bed, but on the rare occasion that he chooses to, we need a dog bed. I've been seeing these fatboy dog beds on undrgrnd. Seems a bit steep for a dog bed, even at a discount. 

The outdoor beds from Jax and Bones are perfect. I love the fabric choices. Still steep.

girl and a dog creates matching pillows and dog beds. You can use your own fabric or pick one of their choices. Looks good in theory!

Louie would never go for a dog crate/den sort of arrangement, but these looked pretty cool ... or kind of sad? I'm not sure. (From DenHaus)

And probably the mother of them all, this $1000 dog bed from Muleh.

I also think Louie would love a replica of himself to play with. This etsy artist takes a picture of your dog and makes it into a "stuffed portrait." It looks nothing like the actual picture, IMO, but I love it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Everything I know about lighting, I learned from Candice Olson. (I hope tater doesn't kill me.) In all of her designs, she uses "layers of light" that adds this amazing look and depth to her rooms. It probably also helps that her show is shot with this pretty, soft lens that makes everything look beautiful. 

I don't care for some of her furniture choices, but the lighting is always awesome in her spaces.

In my current house, I have lamps that we've collected throughout the years. I am the proud owner of an imitation mickey and minnie mouse lamp and this bear lamp I received when I was in the 5th grade:

Love the dust? It's a crazy mess in the house right now. There are no two lamps that are the same in our current place so part of furnishing the new house has been picking out all new lamps. I had no idea the variety of lamps that are available out there. Don't go lamp unprepared. You'll be blinded. So far, we've purchased these lights:

When we went shopping for floor lamps, we were unprepared for how expensive, IMO, they would be. It turned out that recessed lighting ended up being a better investment given the price of a good floor lamp. We got 8 cans of 4" lights in the living area and it makes all the difference in the world in a small space. We also did this in the kitchen and bathroom also, and its beautiful! I will have to remember to snap pictures that next time I drop by le shoebox.


I'm way behind on my TV watching. I just watched the last 30 Rock episode on Hulu and catch a rerun of Part I of the Season Finale of Top Design. I realize that Part 2 has already come and gone, but like I said, I'm way behind. In Part 1, Preston puts three plates on the wall in plate of an art piece and even though I didn't like his idea, this reminded me of an Anthropologie display that was featured on Apartment Therapy San Francisco awhile back that I love.

If I was living by myself, I'd have no problems having this display in my dining nook. However, it's probably a bit too much for K. Lucky for me, they also featured a much more doable version of the display.

I don't like this display quite as much. Too eclectic? Too kitchsy? I don't know.

This sweet picture discovered through Google Images makes me smile.

While some would prefer to search high and low for their plates in flea markets and estate sales every weekend, I prefer to hit up Anthropologie. I love Anthropologie. I love simple modern but there is a part of me that longs for lace, ruffles, and florals. It's full of beautiful things that are mass manufactured but manages to feign the history of things much older and much more personal. It's like flea market shopping without all the work! These plates would be perfect on my plate wall.

Full Bloom

I sent K the pictures, already giddy over the visuals of doing this in our dining nook. His reply: I don't get it. I don't think we should do it in our house if I don't get it. If this was wedding planning, I would've done it anyway. Since we have to live with it, it's probably better that I don't start stocking up on plates. Yet another lesson I'm learning on the road of the happily ever after.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Shower Scenario A

I was the first of my BFFs to get married. We had all participated in weddings in one way or another, but it was the first time that it was one of us. The girls threw me the most thoughtful and beautiful shower ever. 

Since MOH recently got engaged, I've been collecting shower ideas. I love looking at beautiful parties, and the other BFFs are probably still tired from my shower. Any veteran wedding party member can tell you that the honor of being in the wedding party is a pricy one. So here are some ideas for Bridal Shower Scenario A:

(From Modern Vintage Events, as spotted on Design*Sponge)

(From Amy Atlas)

MOH returns from her stint in Europe next week. I miss her so much. She has missed so much of what has been happening in this country. In Rome, when a restaurant chef found out they were Americans, he put his fist in the air and said, "OBAAMMMAAA!" 

Hope defies language barriers.