Ooh, my favorite!


All-American Summer
August 6, 2012, 10:11 am
Filed under: Personal, Travel

I’m back from the most perfect summer holiday. My first time in the “middle” I fell in love with everything about the countrysides of the Michigan. It was an Americana getaway to a place with stronger history than we have here in the West; everything from the historic Victorian homes with gorgeous porches (similar ones we’re tearing down in place of cheap condos here in Seattle), to the epic late night thunderstorm, the nightly symphony from the crickets, and friendly greetings from the Amish riding past in their horse and carriage. I hadn’t had such true feelings of summer since my last stint at summer camp in the Rocky Mountains when I was 8. It had been far too long.

More than anything I’m so excited that I have my guy’s lovely family there waiting for our return next year. The anticipation is already here. Here’s hoping you’ve got the chance to reconnect with the summer’s of your youth. Kiss!

Dirt roads lined with farms and perfectly weathered barns.

Summer watermelon.

Evening walks by the Hersey river.

After dinner bike rides dodging grasshoppers and butterflies.

Amish country.

A roadside Amish stand. Honor system, of course.

Workin’ the clothes line.

Hangman in the sand at Ludington beach on Lake Michigan.



These are a few…
July 20, 2012, 10:23 am
Filed under: My favorite things, Personal, Seattle

Summer was in full swing until this morning with our thunderstorms, but still it’s been hot and muggy by our standards. Even if the sun’s hidden by the haze I’m so just happy that I get to wear summer dresses and shorts (of appropriate length, ahem). Another great week flew by with goodies from the farmer’s market, evening walks, and sour cherry pie making. Yeah, it wasn’t hot enough to not make pies, thank god. Hope you’ve got some sexy weekend plans.

Happy weekend to you. Kiss!

Snacking on sardine sammies. I have been craving these like none other (with purslane!). I know sardines get a bum rap, but it’s pretty much the same as eating tuna BUT it’s much more sustainable, has more omega-3’s, and fewer toxins since it’s lower on the food chain. My favorite brand is the Spanish brand Matiz Gallego.

Babysitting Chase & Chloe. I had the pleasure of visiting these two every day for dinner and a long walk through Volunteer Park. Westies love the sun so we all got a little sun-kissed.

Late night date nights. I love going for evening walks, which is probably the hardest part about working nights at the restaurant in the summertime. This week though, we got to bop around for bubbly, snacks, and dinner AT the movies. We went to see Top Secret at Central Cinema. It’s such a great spot. The vintage trailers were my fave.



These are a few…
June 22, 2012, 10:27 am
Filed under: My favorite things, Personal

I’m feeling much, much better. I don’t hate the world anymore. I had a weird week at work, and honestly sometimes dealing with people can be so hard. Really…just so incredibly hard. (Hence the Voo Doo Tea post yesterday.) I realize that I internalize the disappointing interactions I have with people and eventually it gets to be too much, but more than anything I simply can’t believe how unhappy and ugly people can be. It just got to be too much for me and I couldn’t shake it.

I get to meet some really wonderful people everyday so I’m hoping that in time I can be better at remembering those interactions. Until that day comes I have my own little regimen of therapies to help me deal when things sometimes get to be too heavy and draining, and I hope the next time you’re feeling a bit beat up you can take solace in these ideas and take the time to care for yourself. In the meantime, have a killer weekend filled with happy interactions.

Kiss!

Eating my feelings. Sounds cliché but the first thing I do when I feel blah is to eat. This isn’t eating for the sake of eating though, at this point it’s more about feeding your body and soul. As much as I am compelled to gorge on pasta I first go for something light and clean. I say save the carbs for dinner…helps you sleep better too! 

I decided to go with the GORGEOUS King Salmon lox from Sitka & Spruce for lunch. (For dinner my guy took me to Delancey for pizza!)

Shopping my feelings. I felt much better after lunch but still needed a pick-me-up so I headed down to Nordstrom and somehow scored this Alexander Wang tee on super-sale. Hell. Yeah.

(A word of warning: DO NOT attempt jeans shopping when you’re feeling fragile. Stick to flowy tops and dresses, and shoes.)

Chocolate coating my feelings. A no-brainer. The perfect accompaniment to all the tea I have been drinking. (Gorgeous packaging isn’t it.)




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.

Cheerio!

 



The Wedding Planner
May 29, 2012, 10:43 am
Filed under: Personal, Restaurants, Seattle | Tags:

I suppose I should start by saying that I have never been into weddings, never really wanted my own, and have only ever been to one or two that have been truly special and representative of the couple that was being celebrated. (Hey, I have a low cheesiness threshold.) But it was, however, a completely different story when my brother and Mari asked me to plan their wedding back in February. They were in the midst of moving down to San Francisco, and gave me free reign to do whatever I wanted! So yes, the best wedding I ever attended was the one I planned for my brother.

The only criteria we decided on was that it be small, meaningful, and very us…which essentially meant good food and hospitality for our friends and family. I was lucky enough to be able to use our restaurant as the venue for the reception, and the talents of our chef for the menu planning. Outside of that it was all about transforming the restaurant into a magical evening.

Here’s the story of how, with some great help, I planned a wedding reception for 75 of the couple’s closest friends and family IN JUST 2 MONTHS:

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Poms and streamers

Decorations

The first thing we did was settle on colors and decorations. Since many of our friends (and us) come often to the restaurant I wanted to be sure they felt like they were walking into a party and not the dining room they were all so familiar with. The best way to achieve the biggest transformation was to create a series of tissue paper poms to be suspended from the ceiling. There are tons of shops on Etsy that sell them, but we settled on a peacock scheme and ordered 5 different colors of tissue paper so we could make our own. With an assembly line of people to fold and fluff it was not a bad undertaking. The hardest part was rigging a system with our high, open ceilings, but that’s what my guy was for. 270-ish poms later the ceiling was filled and the doorways were lined. I also created a cozy space in the bar with a crepe paper and tinsel curtain. The goal was to stay away from prom decor, and I admit there were times I was a bit nervous about this, but in the end I assure you the poms were anything but cheesy prom. They really are beautiful.

Update with more info on the poms:  We ordered high-quality tissue paper online from CrepePaperStore.com. Each bulk pack was about $28. FROM A SINGLE PACK we ended up with 30 large, 18 medium and 36 baby poms. (Our poms were made with 10 sheets each.) To fill our ceiling we ended up with 265 total poms and that cost about $200.

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The dining room just before guests arrived

Set-up

As a takeaway for the guests I ordered custom M&M’s and filled large candy tubes. The other finishing touches were huge white 36-inch balloons, large white tablecloths, and lots of candlelight from basic tea light holders.

I also rearranged the dining room and bought some small tables to create a more casual lounge seating area with the booths. So with some tall tables for standing and mingling there were also basic table settings and the cocktail tables to break-up the room, making it easy for people to mingle.

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Mari just before the ceremony and her bouquet I threw together. 

Flowers

I was probably most  apprehensive about doing the flowers. I’ve practiced arrangements here and there at home, but nothing like creating a cohesive set.  My strategy here was to buy as many of the most beautiful flowers I could find, so all I really had to do was place them together. We used mason jars as vases which is a sweet, inexpensive, and on-trend option. Also great because now I have lots of jars for canning this summer.

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Our flower cart and bouquets

I was actually getting nervous because my guy and I had this unbelievable collection of flowers and there were some other (legit) wedding planners that were eyeing our stash. I couldn’t really blame them though, we killed it with the shopping!

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Food

Of course the thing I was most excited about was planning the menu. I’m not afraid to say that I am an appetizer aficionado, seriously. So I set out to create a menu with a series of smaller bites that was substantial enough to serve as a full meal. My favorite part of any wedding are the appetizers as dinner is always short on execution. Here we had all of our favorite Thai dishes in smaller sizes.

After the menu was settled it was all about the flatware. I found Crate & Barrel to be the best spot for basic pieces. The key here was to plan: lots of post-its, lists, plating and arrangement testing, and multiple trips to the store.

Here are some of my favorite dishes from the reception:

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Noodles with crab and wontons in mini to-go boxes (duck pastry above)

Ba Mee Hang is an egg noodle dish that we served with crab and hand rolled won tons. It’s always hard to decide how to serve noodles so instead of trying to make a giant bowl look appetizing (and easy to serve) I decided to pre-serve them in mini Chinese take-away boxes with small chopsticks. The presentation was perfect, and so easy to grab and eat while mingling.

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Tom Kah shots with grilled prawns

Tom Kah soup is a popular Thai soup with lemongrass and coconut, which is another dish that can be difficult to serve to large groups, so instead of a heated tray I thought a small shot with a grilled prawn would be much better. These were a hit!

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Thai Iced Tea we bottled

A wine and Thai Iced Tea station was set up for people to serve themselves in the bar. We also had mini bottles of champagne on ice with striped straws which eliminated the need for a ton of champagne glasses.

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 The spread

Here’s a quick glance at the table with lots of familiar and more traditional Thai bites. The other end had some larger dishes (a curry station, pork belly salad, rice, etc).

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After the party had come and gone I came to realize the DIY aspect is what made the wedding for everyone, and really, there’s no need for over-the-top extravagances that can’t be afforded. For us, it was about planning the best party we could to celebrate with the closest of friends. So, restaurant resources aside, I hope you feel inspired to plan, decorate, flower, eat, and drink your way through your big celebration!

More fun party and entertaining help from my Lucky Valentine party.



Getaway
April 11, 2012, 8:09 am
Filed under: Personal, Seattle

Northwest getaway staples: Games, sunglasses, lipstick, Rescue Pastilles, rainboots, one nice dress, umbrella

I’m heading out the door, on the way to Lummi Island to watch movies, play games, walk on the beach, and oh yeah…visit one of Food and Wine’s newly-named Best New Chefs. Thank god we’d planned to go before the announcement; our reservations are safely secured. Can’t wait to share the fun (and dish on the dinner goods). See ya next week!



Break
April 2, 2012, 2:48 am
Filed under: Beauty, Health, Personal

Ok, so…to be honest…I was feeling kinda pretty yesterday….

Ugh! That’s really hard to say out loud! But do you ever have those days where you just feel content? God knows it doesn’t happen often enough for most women; in fact, every other day I feel quite the opposite. When it does happen though, doesn’t it feel great? So I’m not looking forward to the flip side of this with the inevitable event that knocks me on my ass, BUT STILL…how often I wish there was a way to bottle that voodoo and create more of these days. The funny thing is that while my jeans are the tightest they’ve been in a while (love pounds, hee hee), it meant a lot that I was able to let all of that go and appreciate what I am just right now.

I don’t know what the trick is to bottling this feeling, but I figured a start might be to give ourselves a break. I don’t want to measure up to the images I see in the glossies or on TV, and I hope you don’t either.

Kiss!

 

[My new favorite orange lipstick & nail polish. Vegas Volt – MAC lipstick, Lasting Sensation – MAC lip liner, Tart Deco – Essie nail polish]




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