Ooh, my favorite!

Gifts for HER
December 11, 2013, 10:25 am
Filed under: Beauty, Fashion, Gift guide


And finally, here are all of my very favorite things from the past year; perfect for a gal with varied tastes and complex sensibilities. Everything here I know well and use regularly, and each of them brings me great joy. Here goes….

1  Slip-on Chucks  I’ve mentioned them before but they’re so cute and easy. They’ll get so much use, I promise.

2  Champagne coupes  My very favorite drinking vessel. I prefer to buy vintage on Etsy, but they are just as nice new.

3  Gretchen Kelly art  If you’re tired of over-used prints try adding original pieces of artwork. Gretchen’s one-minute pose series is just lovely, and would be such a meaningful gift.

4  Wilder magazine  This lovely quarterly magazine is for anyone fascinated with our natural world. Past issues have included features from gardeners, foragers, farmers, chefs, fashion designers, and artists. A truly eclectic magazine that’s a welcomed departure from mainstream media.

5  Josie Maran eyeshadow  This is a great neutral palette, but the other sets are great too. And as always, it’s formulated free of chemicals.

6 Sorel boots  Stylish all-weather boots? Seriously, these are kinda hot. I love them for our outdoor adventures or for rainy days around town.

7  Alexander Wang tank  I literally lived in these tanks all summer. So incredibly sleek and sexy, they are the perfect closet staple.

8  Burberry London trenchcoat  An investment piece for sure, but probably the most versatile and timeless pieces I own. It’s one of those special garments that make you feel instantly chic, even when paired with slip on Converse. And what gal wouldn’t love a timeless trench under the tree? (One thing we like to do for our gift-giving is to pool resources and all go in on one big piece.)

9  Belvoir Elderflower cordial  We all love elderflower liqueur (think St. Germaine), but this guy is organically grown in the UK and contains no preservatives. It has a beautiful aromatic fragrance and taste that makes it the perfect addition to the barcart. I love a small amount with vodka and soda and a squeeze of lemon.

10  The Flavour Thesaurus book  Less on the prescriptive side and more on the informative and fun, this is the coolest book to have on hand if you’re curious about why pairings work (or don’t). Think peanut butter and chocolate or lamb and mint. I particularly like the section on cheeses.

11  A Martha or four  I know this isn’t an actual gift, but my kooky little chickens have been such a big part of my year and they bring me so much joy…and the most beautiful eggs. It’s not a decision to be made lightly as it’s a huge commitment, but if you’ve got the time and energy, knowing more about your food is priceless. And the entertainment value is better than anything on television. Here’s one of my favorite online sources for chicken info.

Birthday goodies
December 10, 2013, 11:53 am
Filed under: Gift guide, Home

Processed with VSCOcam

Festive flowers | Pioneer Square Pantry tote Gold plated jigger | and a sweet b-day card

In the midst of the holidays our family also had my birthday last week, Mari’s birthday this week, and mom and dad’s 33rd wedding anniversary next week. It sounds crazy but somehow we manage to keep it low key; and really, it’s all part of why I’m such a sucker for this time of year. I got some fun b-day goodies last week and got a few questions when I shared them on Instagram, so I figured I’d share some details here.

–  The winterberries, pepperberries, and cotton blossoms are from Marigold and Mint, and I have to say that I am fascinated with the cotton. I love the billowy, softness it’s added to its little nook in the house.

–  The mini tote is from Pioneer Square Pantry, who is responsible for some of the coolest events and products happening in Seattle right now. This handmade little guy  also comes with a jar of their killer granola (remember when I first mentioned them?). You can pick this up at Stumptown Coffee Roasters on 12th Ave in Seattle, and grab a bag of coffee too.

–  The sexy gold plated jigger has already gotten quite a workout, and brother got it from Umami Mart in Oakland. They have a great online shop too, and I also use them for barware for the restaurant.

Gifts for HIM
December 9, 2013, 10:38 am
Filed under: Gift guide, The Finer Things


I had my guys chime in on this one so I would be sure to include their favorite things from this past year. As with the home guide, these are only things they know and love, and use all the time. I’m really proud of this guide because they are all products of character, and are so reflective of the wonderful guys I have in my life (with nary an electronic). Enjoy!

1  Heston Blumenthal at home  Andrew’s (and one of my) favorite cookbooks, it’s a cool take on traditional dishes with an added dash of new-age techniques. For the experienced cook it would be a great way to add a new dimension to their cooking.

2  Whiskey shaving products  Brother Thani loves these products from the Portland General Store. Hand crafted products made from vintage recipes, and without the use of chemicals or artificial fragrances. Since Andrew has gone beardie I’ll be adding some of these into his gift mix.

3  Opinel pocket knife  Andrew had gotten one of these for me to use in the yard, and his friend Steve had coincidentally gotten one for him. I always wondered what you actually use a pocket knife for, and now that I have one it turns out you use it for everything! This is a great knife, and all the guys love it.

4  Tajika copper scissors  I’ve gushed about these before, and still they are quite special. There’s an interesting shift in seeking out and adding artisan elements into the home. Each time you go to use it you’re handling a gift, a piece that someone has made with their hands, imparting their care and energy into an artform. Even something as simple as cutting a piece of paper becomes different. A very special gift.

5  Best Made Kevlar Gear bag  This bag is badass. And sexy too. Andrew uses it as a travel bag, a tool bag, an outdoor trekking bag…it’s good for anything, really. And sexy too.

6  Tomii Takashi wood bowl  Since we live off salads throughout the year, and since Andrew makes the best salads ever, I got him this wood salad bowl for his birthday. Like a well-cared for pan, a wood salad bowl will naturally season over time and help elevate your leafy greens. This hand-turned bowl from Japanese artisan Tomii Takashi is simply beautiful, and the perfect reminder that the energy embedded in an artisan craft is priceless.

7  Best Made Lumberlander blanket  I got this for Thani on his birthday last year and it gets lots of use on his San Francisco picnics in the park. He said he gets a lot of blanket envy, but still won’t let anyone sit on it while they’re eating. A successful gift indeed.

8  Quadrago  We all have, and love this game. It’s Connect Four on crack! And really, we could all use a little more (non-video) game time in our lives.

9  Porlex coffee grinder  One of the greatest let downs is seeing a pretty apparatus and then finding out it works like crap. This is not one of those things. Good-looking and one of the best coffee grinders you can get. Andrew knows his coffee, so you can count on this one.

Gifts for HOME
December 2, 2013, 11:29 am
Filed under: Gift guide, Home


I always struggle with the onslaught of gift guides this time of year, not because they aren’t pretty to look at, but because there often isn’t much meaning behind the picks. Anyone can go online to find things to lust after, but I guess I want more: things that aren’t just pretty, but also functional and reliable. So, after some encouragement from friends and taking inventory around the house I figured a nice compromise would be to share a selection of some favorites that I know and love, but also use regularly. Today I have home and kitchen goodies that I think would make great and meaningful gifts. Enjoy!

1  Marble Pastry board.  A beautiful slab of Spanish marble that makes pastry dough easier to work with by remaining cooler than room temperature. So pretty too, even just sitting on the counter it brings me joy.

2  Askinosie Chocolate Hazelnut spread.  Never again will you find Nutella to be acceptable! My favorite is to warm slightly in a double-boiler and pour over ice cream. But really, the applications are endless.

3  Yarai Mixing Glass.  A beautiful and, more importantly, functional addition to a barcart. I get many of my cocktail supplies from this source.

4  Curry Easy by Madhur Jaffrey.  A gorgeous cookbook that makes Indian curry and cuisine so accessible. A UK published book that’s somewhat hard to find online, there are a few available and it is worth every penny of shipping across the pond.

5  For Life Stump teapot.  We use these at the restaurant and at home and they’re so sturdy and cute. The pot comes with a basket for steeping loose leaf tea, so it’s perfect for a tea routine. Lots of colors to choose from too.

6  Salt from The Meadow.  Part of our holiday tradition is to travel down to Portland just to stock up on supplies from The Meadow. But even without a trip to the fabulous shop, online shopping is just as rewarding. If you’re unsure about what to get, try a Salt Set.

7  Ikea PS cabinet.  I love our PS cabinet for the extra storage it offers, but also for its industrial-sexiness and overall neutral look so that styling is easily made your own.

8  Le Creuset braiser. So versatile in the kitchen, these french ovens will get lots of use by the cook on your list. This braiser is a great gift because its the cooking and the serving all in one.

9  Glassybaby votives.  These are the colors we have at the restaurant (and a few that I stole at home) but any color from this local Seattle company would make a girl happy.

10  Vic Firth pepper mill. These were Vic Firth, and now they’re directly from the maker? I don’t know what the story is but I do know they make a kick ass mill. Lots of shapes and colors, our set gets lots of use and still works and looks like a million bucks.

11  Lucite nesting tables.  I’ve had these for a few years now and I never tire of seeing and playing with them. A sexy gift with an aesthetic that will last beyond the trend.

Hot water bottle
December 5, 2012, 11:50 am
Filed under: Gift guide, Health, My favorite things

Trees hot water bottle

Why has the power of the hot water bottle become so underestimated and underutilized? Seriously, I want to know because they are nothing short of magical. I remember in high school I would hide one in my sweatshirt pouch for football games. Unflattering, yes. But at least my fingers and tummy were cozy and warm. Oh, and once I had a sore back so Andrew created this awesomely strange contraption where he managed to fasten the hot water bottle to a back brace. I walked around the house with it for quite a while. Talk about unflattering.

In a more normal fashion, I rely on them to thaw my perpetually frozen toes and to help with aches and pains from running around the restaurant. I’m still not quite used to being on my feet so much so with my trusty bottle I’m snuggly and relaxed in record time after a long night at work.  Of course they’re a drugstore staple but I thought this one here would make a great holiday giftie with the 100% lambswool cover (water bottle included). I wrap mine in a dish towel and pray it doesn’t come unwrapped, so this…this would be quite nice.

Available at Leif, $64.


Cuppa Tea
June 4, 2012, 12:01 pm
Filed under: Gift guide, Personal

Kettle / Paper Tea Bags / English Breakfast Tea / Vintage Tea Set / sugar cubes / Tea Spoon

A lot of my life is centered around my Thai-ness: Thai restaurant, Thai food, crazy Thai Dad. But there’s a whole other half to me [ha!] that’s pretty much the polar opposite of my Thai-ness and that would be my British-ness: British Breakfast tea, British bath time, brutally-honest-yet-somehow-polite British Mom. You can see why I’m a tad neurotic, no?

So for today, in celebration of my other half and Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee I shall be having a proper cuppa tea.



Gift Guide 2011: For Him, the essentials
December 15, 2011, 6:57 am
Filed under: Gift guide

These are the guy essentials: things that every man should have. Yes, there are places for video games and the obligatory toolset, but things appear to have shifted, and really, these are exciting times for us gift-giving ladies. Today’s man is rugged yet stylish; he appreciates what’s cutting edge, but values the classics. Here are a few things that the guys of today should have…much of this based from observing and talking with my guys, so consider quality assured.


1.  Areaware Magno wooden radio Handmade in an Indonesian farming village. For every tree used, a new one is planted. Stylish and sustainable. ($150)

2.  Root organic liqueur A Pre-Prohibition era liqueur recreated, but remaining true to traditional methods. A must for his bar. ($30 here)

3.  Braun Analog Watch A reissue from the 70s, this watch is all about minimalism and sophistication. (Brother gets tons of compliments!) ($200-$285)

4.  Wood Puzzle Who wouldn’t appreciate an interactive gift? Skip the video game and go analog. ($49)

5.  Stanley Classic 8-ounce flask  Utilitarian and still sleek. BPA free too! ($20)

6.  The Hill-Side Selvedge Chambray scarf Fact: 4 out of 5 women agree, more men need to wear scarves. Do it.   ($83)

7.  Jonathan Adler’s Boom Box Match Strike Because a sense of humor is essential. ($42)

8.  Wolverine 1000 Mile boots  A faithful recreation of a true American classic. Rugged and sexy. ($340)

9.  Labourerur waistcoat The finishing touch to a mans wardrobe. Dad loves the one he got last year! ($140)

10.  The Hill-side handkerchief Every man should own a proper handkerchief. ($40-$55)

11.  Piel Frama of Spain A brilliant (and oh so sexy) way to combine phone and wallet. A certified favorite. ($98)

12.  Eco-friendly cork journals Another thing women can’t resist, a man who takes notes. ($10-$14.5)

Gift Guide 2011: For Her, the basics
December 14, 2011, 6:33 am
Filed under: Gift guide, My favorite things


The holidays are a great time to give the gift of basics!  I’m talking about our go-to pieces: the ones we use most, the foundations of our style and routine. Often times these basics are the things we most long for, but getting them (for ourselves) can sometimes seem indulgent so they are easily swept aside or compromised. Investing in a silky-soft tee, a stand-out umbrella, or specialty skin care products shouldn’t be hard…but it is. This is precisely why going basic will help you shine this year. Trust me, she’ll love you for it.

1.  T by Alexaner Wang Every girl needs a proper tee. Yes, it’s worth the price tag! ($81)

2.  The Row curved-square sunglasses A classic yet modern shape that will get tons of use. ($325)

3.  Truman Handcrafted iPad Portfolio Forget the masses, go for handmade. So basic and so sexy. ($100 limited quantity sample sale.)

4.  Handmade Cooper bracelets from Etsy shop Orange is the Sun  A casual pop of color is a must for every jewelry box. ($24 each)

5. Rag & Bone Newbury booties  A great basic shoe that will work with everything, year-round. ($495)

6.  Skin & Bones organic face cleanser  Don’t forget the basics refer to skin care too! Handcrafted, organic, very special. ($40)

7.  butter London in Yummy Mummy A classic color that’s essential for any polish collection ($14)

8.  PAPERSELF faux lashes Intricate patterns cut from paper. Not an every day basic, but fun and flirty is a vanity must.  ($19)

9.  Body brush Handmade in Sweden. Perfect for pampering but best with regular use. ($26)

10. Luxury eye mask from Etsy shop Bib Bon Every girl should sleep with a mask, and this is the ultimate. (I have two!) ($35)

11.  Josie Maran Argan lip treatment  Keep lips kissable. No GMOs, parabens, pthalates, sulfates. ($18)

12.  Color Wheel Umbrella No girl should be without an umbrella. Is there a better way to brighten up a rainy day? Nope. ($40)

Low-key Valentine
February 10, 2011, 12:30 pm
Filed under: Gift guide, Smile, Sweets

I don’t think I ever fully grasped the concept of Valentine’s Day. It’s just that it all seems so contrived: roses, dinner reservations, chocolate in a heart-shaped box. Bleh. I’m not saying I’m not up for a built-in date night (on a Monday at that!) but I think I’d get the most out of Valentine’s Day if we just kept it low-key (I mean, super low-key) but still meaningful. Here’s my recipe for a mellow evening for two (or just you) with some fun and useful gifts sprinkled in.


1.  Sayuri Nigori Sake – One of my favorites. Unfiltered so it has a sweet milky texture.

2.  Tea glass – A beautiful Turkish-style glass meant for tea, but would look just as good with some Sake it in.

3.  Poco Dolce chocolate squares – A local SF chocolatier specializing in a little bit of sweet and savory in their chocolates. Available at Whole Foods.

4.  Cold plate – Comes with a porcelain plate, a cooling pad, and tray to make sure your cold items stay cold. Perfect for sashimi!

–  Not pictured – Swing by Whole Foods on your way home from work. You can pick up the Sayuri and Poco Dolce, but even more awesome is their Genji* sushi. This is what puts the low-key in this date night.

5.  Reusable chopsticks and case – For on-the-go. No more icky waribashi (disposable) chopsticks. I must have these!

6.  Good music played on a nano through a balloon USB speaker – Nothing says I love you (or I love me) like pulling together a playlist.

7.  A fun game of Scattergories – Will be extra fun after a few glasses of the Sake!

7a. Solo Valentine’s can replace item #7 with a favorite movie. I’d go with Priceless, a super-cute French movie with Audrey Tatou. But if you’re feeling fragile you could always choose a Michael Bay (as director) movie; the explosions will keep you entertained and distracted.

So what do you think? Super simple and still sweet. Just please promise that you won’t eat your sushi out of the container. If you’re not into the cold plate just find the sexiest plate you can and channel your inner sushi chef for plating.

* Whole Foods Genji sushi uses compostable containers and sustainable fish where possible. And it’s just plain good.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


January 20, 2011, 7:41 pm
Filed under: Beauty, Gift guide, Smile, Yes please

While these little guys have already made the blog rounds I couldn’t resist sharing as an accessory to yesterday’s first aid kit. Hooray for Cynthia Rowley! Limited edition, and a portion of the proceeds go to a good cause. Assortment of 20 for $10 here.

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