Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dog Days

Summer is in full swing here and I can hardly find the time to sit at my computer.  Our days are full of swimming, swinging, picnics, painting and laying around of course.  How's your summer treating you so far?

Photo credits from top:
1. Antoaneta 2. Life Magazine-1950 via Luella Loves
3.missginny 4. source unknown, via Brown Button
5. -34 6. source unknown, via oracle fox
7. girlhula 8. source unknown, via weheartit

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beard Papa's

I woke up today craving one of these giant cream puffs from the Japanese bakery, Beard Papa's.

I had one Sunday night while catching up with a friend and they were so, so good.  I'm no puff expert, and in fact I expected them to be too sweet, but I never turn down a dessert (strict policy).  I was pleasantly surprised by the flaky pastry, and rich, but not too sweet cream filling.  Beware: there's no glamorous way to consume a giant cream puff with delicious filling oozing out of it.  

You can order them by the dozen, and we both agreed they would make an unexpected substitute for cupcakes at a party.  Just pop a little paper flag on top and call it good.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reasons to move to Paris (and why I'm not)

(Taken from This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek found via Words & Eggs)

"But it's Paris!"  I said to my sister a couple of months ago.  We were eating a late lunch at a Thai restaurant and I had spent the last ten minutes explaining why I should move to Paris.

A new opportunity had presented itself to my little family and we were grappling with a big decision.  I sat across from her and tried to explain why cheaper living, no language barrier, better weather, a better daily schedule, better connections for Jeremy and the opportunity to continue my work would somehow not compare to living in the City of Lights.

"You should definitely move to California," my sister said

"But, it's PARIS."  My only argument was dwindling.

A month before, my husband, the one who talked me into this whole move-to-Paris-for-eight-months thing, approached me with cold feet.  The dollar was tanking even more than normal and he had started looking for other options for the coming school year (see our original plan here).  It looked like all of the money we've been saving may still not be enough for us to be secure. He had found a school in the South Bay area of California and wanted to check it out.  I was surprised, confused, and maybe a little mad too.

I started to see this adventure through his eyes for the first time.  While I was strolling the streets with the girls looking for my next pain au chocolat, and lounging on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower, he would be slaving away for long hours at school.  A very good school, mind you.  He would often attend school on Saturdays and get few breaks.  The family togetherness and great relaxed schedule we hold dear would be gone completely.  My responsibilities would increase greatly and I'm not sure if this blog or my budding business would have to be put on hold.  We would also return to the states with little to no real connections in the culinary world.

Nine months of imperfection is fine with me, but being poor in a foreign country with two small children is a very real thing that I don't want to experience. 

So, after months of debate, we are moving to the South Bay in September and staying until July.  We are in love with the French Culinary Institute there (especially their nationwide connections) and feel really good about our decision. The classes are only three nights a week, which will allow my husband to continue working full time from home with us.

 (This is San Francisco, also by Miroslav Sasek)

The reasons I wanted to move to France vary, but all fall under the category of "change is good."  I love the growth that comes from being uncomfortable and in a new environment.  I love to see how other people live and do things.  I want to let go of my "American dream" more and focus on experiences and living in the moment instead. I've realized that moving to a new state can still do all of this for me in some way.

Of course, we can't let France go completely. Continuing to learn the language and prepare ourselves for international travel is a big part of our life. We are already planning our trip for part of the summer next year.  We are hoping to stay for a month or more.

Sometimes you're life is heading one way, and then you suddenly realize things aren't right and you just have to go with it.  I'm very loyal to my decisions so it was really hard for me to change my mind, but wisdom is calling and I have to listen..

Sorry for the long, incredibly personal post. I've been putting it off sharing this news for so long.  I promise I'll be back with something upbeat and pretty tomorrow!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Work it.

Even though I don't work a regular job, I have a borderline obsession with office supplies going on. Don't you love these wooden tape dispensers from Uma?

I think they would play rather nicely with this lacquer office set from West Elm

Do you have a quirky obsession?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Weekend!

I'm in Seattle on a borrowed computer (and reunited with my other half), but I had to share some parting words of wisdom with you.  Isn't this print the best? I want to hang it by my bathroom mirror.  Find more here.

I hope your weekend is the best!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer hair

It finally feels like summer around here this week.  Finally.

For the first time in a long time, I have long(ish) hair for summer.  I've been searching for new styles and I thought I would share my favorites with you:

I'm loving a classic braid, especially braided off to one side.

Hair braided or piled on top of the head looks so effortless, yet put together.

(source unknown, found via Pinterest)

I'm also loving a side bun, with a little bit of mess to it.

What's your favorite hairstyle for summer?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Man Box.

On Father's Day, my Dad and I went on a grocery run together.  I think we were talking about holidays, when he offhandedly mentioned an idea.  He said someone should make a box for men with all of the cards they needed for the year.  My Dad has always been good at remembering occasions, but bad at planning ahead.  I can recall walking around the mall the night before my Mom's Birthday or their Anniversary with him many times.

Well Dad, your wildest dreams have come true.

Introducing The Man Box.  A little something I whipped up as a late Father's Day present.

Just open the little drawer and you will find a Birthday card for my Mom, an Anniversary card, a package of thank you notes, a Valentine's card and one for Mother's Day too.  I made most of the cards myself, but also threw in a couple I found at the store.

The girls and I delivered it to his office this morning.  The best part?  His assistant is going to be in charge of the box so he'll always be on time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I wrestled two very wild girls into the pool for swimming lessons (why are my kids the only ones who screamed intermittently throughout the class?!)

I am rocking the messy bun like nobody's business (and trying to pretend it was on purpose instead of my only option)....

And planning to start refinishing this bad boy during nap time.  All of this while taking some precious time with my sister before she leaves the country on Sunday.

Take that crazy-week-with-husband-out-of-town!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hello Monday

Here's a little pick me up to start your Monday right:

Have I ever told you about my obsession with vintage graphic design?  These images of ads designed by Lora Lamm sure hit the spot.

My husband is out of town all week so I'm already counting the days til the weekend (pray for me).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Take me back: Mid-Century love

Lately I am loving the sturdy, clean lines and shapes of mid-century design.  I would love to go this direction with our home.  Thanks to a great turn-out at our yard sale last weekend, we are ready to start over with our decor.  It was so liberating to get rid of all the things I was so tired of staring at!  I got so into it I was bringing new things out to sell during the whole sale like a crazy person.

Out with the old, in with the new.

After doing a little Craigslist research, I came across a little vintage shop in Walla Walla that specializes in mid-century design.  My parents offered to watch our girls tomorrow so we can go check it out.

We're hoping to find a TV stand, dresser, chair and lamp in the next couple of months to add to our existing furniture.  I can't wait to see everything come together. 

Here's to new beginnings!

P.S.  What is your favorite era of design?

Image sources: One (original source unknown, found via Pinterest), Two, Three (original source unknown, also found via Pinterest), Four, Five (Photo by Thom Filicia)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Packaging staple

When it comes to packaging and design, I'm pretty sure that humble kraft paper can do no wrong:

Especially if you add maps,


or fabric flags! 

 And, how cute is that speech bubble?
Image One
Image Two
Image Three
Image Four

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gender Reveal Party

A while back, some good friends of ours, Kimberly and Ryan, asked me and some other friends to help them plan a gender reveal party.  Baby number three is on the way, and they wanted to do something new and different.  Kimberly knew she wanted the gender of their baby to be revealed to everyone, including her and Ryan, at the party in the form of a cupcake.

I had a blast planning this special party with friends for a friend!

We decided to use yellow and orange as the main colors of the party.  I set to work on the invites, which featured Kimberly's darling silhouette.

The only one to know the gender was a friend who made the cupcakes for the party.  There was a lot of speculating going on as we set up Saturday.  We could hardly wait to see if the filling would be blue or pink.

The food was an assortment of Kimberly's favorite cravings (fit to match the orange and yellow theme, of course), including little cups of potato soup.  A few cupcakes, without filling were set out for the kids.

Guests were encouraged to vote for a gender.  Orange for boy, and yellow for girl.  I made wooden pins to represent the two teams and we all had fun seeing what Kimberly was having based on old wives tales.

A "boy" banner and a "girl" banner were waiting on the mantel for the big moment.

After lots of eating and chatting the big moment came.  Big boxes of filled cupcakes were passed around:

The Mama and Daddy-to-be before the big moment:


It's a boy!!!

The guests left with big smiles and bags of dipped pretzels:

Congratulations Ryan & Kimberly!  Thank you for letting us share this special moment with you.

*All photos by Swoon