Thursday, March 31

Baby H

Daddy Bruce with our niece, B.

Two weeks before my little sister had E, George's little brother, Bruce, had a baby girl. They are both about five months old now and we're becoming quite the international family. Bruce lives in Ireland, along with the rest of George's family, so we haven't met his gorgeous baby girl in person just yet. Thanks to facebook, we've been watching her grow. And of course, I have to share another one from my side of the family!

Little Big E.

hello sandwich

The blog of Vogue Living editor Ebony Bizys is full of all things Japanese (read cute, colorful, graphic, amazing) but right now she has posted detailed accounts of what is going on after the earthquake and tsunami. Her personal story of how scared she was really hit home for me. Hearing someone's story, for me, always means more than a general news story in terms of making me understand how important, life changing, things are. Whether it's a natural disaster or one of the endless wars in the news everyday, it's the personal story that moves me to action.You can read an interview about Ebony here.

Group Photos

Be Crazy!

Now be serious!

We had another Supper Club this month and the theme was Tried and True (favorite recipes that people ask you to make often). The results were a varied hodgepodge of dishes: peanut butter and jelly "hors d'Ĺ“uvres," bbq (ribs, sausages, cheesy corn), knishes, salads, flan and my contribution stir-fried instant noodles, that surprisingly all ended up tasting delicious together. I'll be sharing my "secret" noodle recipe later. Trust me, it's super fab. But no food pics this month. Instead, I'm showing off our group photos. These are always so much fun to take and even more fun to look at later. We're very bad at our serious faces though.

Wednesday, March 30


Although no one would exactly call me an outdoorsy person, fine artist and illustrator Danna Ray manages to capture all the moments of camping and being outside in the great, big wild so beautifully, that even an indoor person like me gets it. When I actually do go camping, it's quite fun but it's thinking about going camping that makes me dread it. The bugs, the heat, the fresh air. Ugh.

You can see more of Danna's work on her site or buy a print here or on etsy. I'm thinking this would make a great wedding gift, especially of the socks sleeping beneath the blanket of grass. Artist found by way of halcyon days

spex club

Spex Club offers some hipster frames that are cheap enough you can try out several trends at once. All frames are $58 and only $88 with a prescription. They also have a wide selection of frames on sale for half off right now ($29/$44). I like to try on many, many styles before I actually buy. Wouldn't it be nice if they had a feature where we could virtually try on these glasses? by way of design for mankind

Monday, March 28

jinxed. by my mother.

Buddha love my mother, but she is the bearer of bad news, doom and destruction and general superstitious heebie-jeebies. My parents live in Illinois and rarely come to visit, but when they do, my mom can't help but unleash all her gloomy predictions upon me. She visits fortune tellers regularly and I know she asks what lays ahead for her daughters. So yes, she does love us and cares deeply about our futures, that I am sure of. But can you stop jinxing me now?

A mere three weeks ago, within moments of stepping through my front door, my mom said to me, "This is a bad luck year for you." Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold the phone. I already had a bad luck year, I told her. And guess what, I'm still here. And if I have another bad luck year, I can try again in 2012. I try to stay on the optimistic side of life. Yeah, things suck now, but they always get better. Just forge ahead and think of the good things in life. But it's really hard to do that when eerily, my mother's ominous predictions of misfortune start to reveal themselves.

Right now, we're pouring money down the drain for a rental property (courtesy of my sometimes flighty parents). There's a lot of stress related to a former tenant trashing the place and leaving us an entire storage unit's worth of trash we have to remove before repainting, fixing holes in the wall, broken steps, doors and windows, etc. And I just happened to quit my job and my steady income.

Yesterday, George says to me, "I don't want to add to the bad news, but I think the washing machine is broken." Yep, kinda knew that. And this morning, while I am drying my hair, the cord starts melting and plastic-burning smoke is filling the air. Yep, knew that was coming too. So is it bad luck? Or a series of maddening coincidences with bad timing?

My mom is just grasping conversational English after thirty years of living in the United States (which I am so insanely proud of her for) so she's not exactly reading my blog yet. But if she did, I want to say this: Mommy! Stop jinxing me. No more superstitious nonsense, okaaaaaay??? You're ruining my life!

And yes, I still call my parents Mommy and Daddy. Or Ma-Ma and Ba-Ba in Chinese. But when I am talking about my mom instead of to her, always, always, it's my mother who did something to drive me batshit crazy.

There! It's off my chest. Now up to the rental house in my half-blow-dried wonky hair to do some painting. I will be taking lots of pictures to share later. Stay posted!

winter. it just won't quit us.

Some shots I took while walking the dogs yesterday. The snow came down in wet slushy flakes that soaked all of us. But it was beautiful and really not too terribly cold. I think the spring flowers will survive this, they've gone through worse in past years. All photos by Linh Trieu, ©Fresh Fish Creative.
Snow on my phlox and ground cover.

Snow coming down fast and furious on the spirea.

Snow on the red blossoms in my neighbor's yard.

Winter and Spring still duking it out.

Snow on a poor dead bunny.
Snow on daffodils.

Snow on a pine tree. Which looks normal, but it's supposed to be spring right?
Basically, snow everywhere.

Sunday, March 27


Styled by Linh Trieu / Photographed by Elizabeth Cook
for Cooking with an Accent: An Immigration Lawyer's Cookbook

My mom is making pho today. I can't wait to have some later! Pho brings to mind an intense, long and stressful project I worked on years ago with an immigration attorney. She was my husband's immigration lawyer, she was my client, and not only did we help produce the cookbook, we were even a part of it. Cooking with an Accent featured her immigration clients, favorite recipes from their homeland and each person's immigration story. I chose pho, which I had never made, but loved to eat. My mom made it for me and I just brought over all the ingredients, put it in a bowl, then styled and shot it. Totally cheated of course. But I have to say it was more effort than the other Vietnamese client who made grilled hot dogs. While neither of us cooked anything, I still felt superior. :)

I now know how to make pho, but I don't use the recipe in this cookbook. My mom gave me directions but she cooks from memory. Her directions were long, her measurements were eyeballed and I was thoroughly confused. I use this recipe instead and although not as good as my mom's (of course), it's still amazing.

The following images are from the cookbook Beth and I worked on for free. We were young, we were dumb and we almost blew our heads off working on this project. But we gained A LOT of experience and I'm still proud of working on it. I was the project planner, designer, art director, food stylist and editor. Beth was the photographer and we scheduled and styled the shoots together. George came up with the title and also did some major editing. Would I ever do something like this again? Yes, definitely, but for free? Never in a million years, not for all the experience in the world. You can buy one for yourself here but I cannot guarantee that all the recipes work (see above where I mentioned my mom's pho recipe). Click on the images for a better view.


Our radio/boom box. Garage sale find, $5.
Tivoli Audio Radio with ipod plug-in, $149.99
Product Tip and Image Source: Rachel @ Elephantine

The only time I listen to the radio is in the car. Usually it's tuned to NPR or the new comedy channel. But we don't exactly have a radio in the house. Sometimes we just sit in the car to finish listening to a really great program or skit. I hate, hate, hate the "boom box" we own. It's big, it's ugly, it's got no class. And thankfully, it resides in George's man attic most of the time. But this Tivoli Audio Radio, ohmygoodness, heart it.

They come in several color combinations, but the walnut/beige is my fave.
My birthday is in two weeks, maybe someone will buy this for me. :)

no more clutter...kinda

Fabric Wall Decals and image from Mae.
by way of design is mine

I love these wall decals, but don't have a lick of space left in my kitchen. Maybe if this were were a cloud and rain mobile, I could hang it over my island. As I looked around, I knew it would never work. There are just too many things visually competing for attention. So this image just inspired me to de-clutter my kitchen. Also known as cleaning. I am the master of filling up a blank slate with so much other crap that it makes me look like an uncontrollable hoarder. I am trying really hard to edit my things so there is room for a serene, simple space like this in my house.

Lately, I have been motivated to clean when I look at pictures. A picture of my bedroom in the afternoon sunshine with the bed perfectly made caused me to look around the room and notice the current state it was in: two-week-old sheets (yes, I know, gross), a goopy layer of dust on the headboard and clothes everywhere. So I took 15 minutes to take care of that before I could get back to work.

What motivates you to clean?

My beautiful cash register is a landing pad for junk. Oddly, the microwave cover
always ends up on top of the napkins instead of in the microwave.
For now, I just moved everything that doesn't need to be in the kitchen to
the dining room table. But at least you can see the cash register again. I may need
a new way of displaying photos and cards to really visually clean up this area.
Hat and gloves in the fruit bowl, fresh flowers in the dog water pitcher?
Where's my counter? Oh there, I see a small corner.
That paint swatch has been in the same place for three years
as a reminder to repaint the kitchen one day. I keep my hot sauces
in a Borden's cheese box that you never even get to see.

Saturday, March 26

Spring into Dresses

» En Plein Air Dress by Eva Franco, Anthropologie, $258
» Orangebear Contrast Pocked Check Shirtdress,, $28
» Apple Baby Blossom Stitched Dress,, $32.99
» Bodega Bay Dress, ModCloth, $44.99
» McIntosh Dress in Orange, Spool No.72, $54
» When in Rome Linen Stripe Dress,, $48.99
» Catworld Crochet Collar A-Line Dress,, $25
» Embossed Basket Dress by Ganni, Anthropologie, $168

I wear dresses year round but spring and summer are the best and most simplest times to throw one on. You don't have to think about layering to keep warm. Or covering your legs. Or the inevitable static cling that happens when fabrics rub together and your entire skirt is bunched up embarrassingly around your lady parts. I've said it before, but I'll keep saying it: I am so happy that dresses are back!

Wednesday, March 23

metal cars

Photos by Linh Trieu / ©Fresh Fish Creative

Since George has expanded his toy car collection, I've really come to appreciate vintage metal cars, with their chipped paint jobs, missing wheels and worn edges. I buy them for him every once in a while, although I have no idea what he likes or what is "valuable." Per my usual modus operandi, I buy what I like. As for the green car, picked up at a garage sale for $1, it was the little man and dog inside that appealed to me. Turns out it was a Matchbox car Made in England by Lesney. Yes, that is all gobbledy-gook to me too, but according to Mr. Car Collector, it's supposed to be a good thing.

Tuesday, March 22

guilty as charged

This dog will make you laugh so hard. For all my animal lovers out there, especially you Lab owners. And believe it nor not, this is by way of Tosh.O.


by Sarah Shreves on design*sponge

Another great sentiment about home from design*sponge. Maybe because our families are far away and  our lives aren't filled with little Georgies, but my most favorite thing is to have friends over.

the employee lounge

photo by Tina Magee-Jenks, backyardINK
by way of The Employee Lounge

Tina and I had a great first day working the streets and shooting yesterday. We are not. I repeat. Not. Gangsters. Just out working our tails off for our new blog, The Employee Lounge, which I mentioned a little bit last week.

I chatted up our subjects about how they would make Kansas City better while Tina captured their souls, shot by shot. Even though I kind of knew the people we saw yesterday, because they've taken my lunch order, made me a drink or held the door open for me, I learned even more as we talked about their passion for the service industry and their goals for Kansas City.

We had some shy folks out there, but for the most part, everyone was very supportive and friendly. We could not do our blog without their participation, so we really, really appreciate it! I'd like to ask one teeny favor from you guys: if you're on facebook, please look up The Employee Lounge and "like" our page. Yeah, yeah, I haven't figured out to add the plug-in yet. Error code and all.

And on another note, I had so much fun yesterday, I said to myself: I am so happy I quit my job!!!

Monday, March 21

jumping for jumpsuits

A prime example of how long lines lengthen your legs
versus a cropped pant to make you look like a tree stump.
It's hard to keep a straight face while posing in jumpsuits.
Is my hair providing enough of a distraction?

For Craig's birthday, Jeanne and I were sisters in solidarity....we both took a ride to crazy town and wore our "cool" jumpsuits. It was a rainy, afternoon barbecue. I was wearing knee high socks, my wellies and a comfy sweater. I looked like a perfectly normal person. So what do I do? I change into an unflattering, one piece that made my butt five miles wide. I even contemplated big bangs to complete my outfit. My motto, anything for a laugh, often comes to bite me in the ass.

Jeanne's 70s jumpsuit showed every line and every curve so underwear was out of the picture. Luckily for her, she is the workout queen and although not exactly the most flattering, her butt looked great. Meanwhile, my 80s-era jumpsuit consisted of a lot of material, if you can't tell by the pleating, the pockets, the wide lapels and the shoulder pads. Regardless of the amount of material, it was still a very thin material. Which meant a full-on panty was out for me too. And do you think my out-of-shape butt cheeks can handle a thong right now? No, no, no, no, no. In the interest of self-preservation, I will refrain from sharing that picture. You can thank me later.

Breaking it down...
• Yellow jumpsuit-free, courtesy of Miss Jeanne
• Gold belt-$2, estate sale
• Shoes-$4, garage sale
• Gold bracelets-$1.50, estate sale
• Gold bird brooch, gifted.

Believe it. You too can look this (good, crazy, fugly) for $7.50.

eye spy

©Fresh Fish Creative

Spotted on my morning walk, a tree with eyes. Does anyone know what this tree is called? I did a google image search but my searches resulted in a round up of models leaning dreamily up against trees with their eyes closed and tree frogs.

loretta flower

floral design and photo by Loretta Flower
by way of Poppytalk
floral design and photo by Loretta Flower

Wouldn't it be nice to give someone a bouquet of flowers in a vintage vessel? You can pick these blue mason jars up at estate sales for about $1-$2, or at an antique mall for about $5. Either way, it's still an inexpensive way to make your gift unique, charming and special.

Saturday, March 19

love letter to japan

by Jesper Waldersten
by way of where you can see
more images of people sending their love and support.
I love this song (Love Letter to Japan by The Bird and The Bee) and in light of the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown disasters, I am sending all my love and my prayers to Japan, especially to the people and the families whose lives are forever changed. This is a list of organizations providing aid to Japan from the American Red Cross to Shelterbox. You can make a donation here.

Their official video was not my favorite so I attached some other youtube versions. The first one has lyrics but the images or typograpy....not so much. The second one is a great remix.

tidal by matt yow

by Matt Yow

Have you gotten your free font today? Thanks to Matt Yow and his generosity for sharing Tidal with us. by way of designworklife

Friday, March 18

full moon, big head

@ Craig's house, Supper Club Turducken night, I believe.
©Fresh Fish Creative
Craig's facebook profile picture from when his email was hacked.
We never believed your passport was stolen or that you were stuck in Europe.
And you can believe we are not going to send you money!

Tomorrow, March 19th, is my friend Craig's birthday. He sells wine, has a big head and a bubbly booty. He is an artist, a maker and a do-er who used to have long luscious curls cascading to his shoulders. He is super-competitive, has a beautiful wife who loves to clean (for reals), listens to records, likes to dress up for Halloween, talks about opening an Etsy shop to sell vintage cowboy shirts (do it already!) and is celebrating a birthday on a full moon, the biggest full moon in 18 years. Happy Birthday, Craig-eeeee!!!
61 photos taken at two-minute intervals of the lunar eclipse on December 21, 2010.
From Sam Javarouh, as seen on his blog, A Daily Dose of Imagery.
You MUST, MUST, MUST click to see a better view.
by way of Pinterest


I've been meaning to get down to Donna's Dress Shop on 39th Street for quite some time, but between the snow storms and my DAY JOB, it was next to impossible. Howeveeeeer, spring is around the corner and I have time on my hands now. For now, let's just look at the beautiful jewelry Donna's been posting on facebook. She has a crazy good eye for the good stuff.

Big Wheel Necklace, $26
Celluloid Clamper Bracelet, $32
Hand-painted, slave necklace, $36
Blue Teacup Necklace, $28