Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How to cut watermelon for little folks

Am I the last one to find out about cutting watermelons this way?!

It totally makes sense.

I wish I knew sooner but better late than never, right?! :^)

(Image from U Try It)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Self-sufficient people

Collin and Aaron on a lazy Sunday afternoon a couple of months ago when it was too freezing to play outside...

...just watching TV and helping themselves to some fresh strawberries (washed, of course) straight from the fridge.

(Aaron usually is the fridge bandit, despite his young age. No big deal.)

Disclaimer (haha): Sung and I always, always handpick what they can watch on TV. We don't like the ads so we usually just turn on Netflix or Amazon Prime for them. It's been perfect because if you use Chromecast, you can stream most things on your computer onto your TV. It's life-changing! ;-)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mumford & Sons

I don't think I've had a favorite, favorite band since U2, really.

Well, I've known these guys since "The Cave" days back circa 2010, but when Sung and I saw them perform live on SNL the other weekend (isn't SNL the best), I don't know about Sung, but boy, I couldn't have been more excited for their new album to come out on May 4th!

(Yes, I've watched this video like, 17 times in a row just now.)

I also just found out that they're coming to Coney Island on June 2-3 (I'm going on the 3rd), so I shall see whether Sung might want to come along! :^)

Also, has your perception of a celeb changed dramatically depending on whom that celeb marries?

Well. Marcus Mumford married Carrey Mulligan in 2012...

...and they are the sweetest couple ever. They are so young... Aren't they so handsome together?!

I've always thought Carey Mulligan is a great actress. If you haven't seen her in "An Education," please do so right away!

(Photo from The Daily Mail)

That's all for today.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A very cute store+some really great deals!

Have you heard of this lovely shop called Smallable?

Well, there are some real cute designer toys on sale right now!

Some of my finds, all under $20:

Palomar crumpled city map for New York City (100% waterproof!), $9.09 (They also have Paris, Berlin, and London :o)

Modello cardboard fire truck, $12.86

And a patrol car, $5.06

Djeco mobile, $9.74

Paperpod cardboard castle, $22.73

Locomotive train track, $12.12

Norev racing car set, $12.88

Makie polar bear rattle, $14.62

DwellStudio stamp set, $18.94

I supposed I'll be stocking up for a certain someone's birthday...

Happy shopping, everyone!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How to find work-at-home jobs

Have you heard of these two phenomenal women (who are also working moms!) who created a nifty website to help other moms find work-at-home jobs???

Yes. You read it correctly.

When PowerToFly, a job-matching platform exclusively for moms at home launched in August last year, it was targeted primarily toward women in tech. Since then, "it’s had tens of thousands of women across multiple industries register for the site and apply for jobs with nearly 700 big-name employers like Buzzfeed and Hearst" and now, there is a myriad of jobs to be had, it's quite amazing!

(The company also launched its own app, PowerToFly Connect, last week: it "serves as a sort of social network and news site for this new community of remote workers.")

I am a work-at-home mom myself so their mission -- to give the women "the flexibility they need to raise a family and pursue their careers at the same time" -- really truly struck a chord with me.

Kudos to the ladies for their awe-inspiring initiative!

(Logo of PowerToFly)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A beautiful print shop

How lovely is this print shop by a Ralph Lauren art director Sarah Tolzmann?

All images below are from the print shop; please also check out Sarah's fabulous blog Note to Self:

Have a gorgeous Monday!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The most compelling Kickstarter campaign ever

"A guitar is designed to be strummed; piano keys are pressed; drum pads are tapped; violins are bowed. But what if a single instrument could be played with any of these techniques?"


If you have ever wanted to learn to play a guitar, violin, bass, banjo, ukulele, piano, or the drums (and the list goes on) but just don't know where to start or how...well, the ever-phenomenal Kickstarter has just the wildly amazing musical invention for you (that now has only 3 more days to go on its funding campaign! Go back the project before it's too late!).

Some tremendously genius folks at Artiphon have come up with a single instrument device called the Artiphon Instrument 1 that lets you "play any instrument, style, and sound" and "adapts to the way you want to play," no matter your style and skill level.

You can basically "strum a guitar, bow a violin, tap a piano, loop a beat – on a single instrument" with just your fingertips, and even "assign a different instrument to each string; for example, play a bass on the bottom and a guitar on the top."

Isn't this such a mind-blowingly awesome concept?!

And of course, the compact, sleek, and portable design really deserves a design award. I mean, look at how totally handsome it is...! :^)

(All images from Artiphon's Kickstarter campaign)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How to make good small talk

(Image from The Wall Street Journal; click to enlarge)

The Wall Street Journal reports that we are getting less and less good at the art of elegantly starting, sustaining, and stopping conversations. (With strangers, maybe, but even with friends and family!)

It says that so much of our lives have moved online, we've become less adept at in-person interactions.

(I myself am guilty. I sent out a total of 6 e-mails and exchanged 178 text messages, and spoke in person with just maybe 11 people all day today: three of them were my family; two of them were Starbucks baristas; four were my kids' teachers; one was my bank teller; and another person was a parent at Collin's school.)

In the WSJ article "How to Be a Better Conversationalist," Dr. Bernardo J. Carducci, the director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast, notes the following key steps that can help develop our conversational intelligence:

-- "Getting Started" stage: You signal your desire to talk with a simple opening line based on something both of you are observing or experiencing in your shared surroundings. ("Hot enough for you?")

-- "Personal Introduction" stage: You should mention something about yourself, state your name if appropriate and provide hints for topics to talk about. ("It seems like the whole city is on vacation this week.")

-- "Pre-Topical Exploration" stage: You and your conversation partner are looking for common ground. This is a good time to ask questions, and to refer back to and build upon things said earlier. ("Did you get a chance to get away this summer?") When the other person introduces a topic, you should respond—or quickly offer an alternative.

-- "Post-Topical Elaboration" stage: Your job is to keep the conversation going. "Good conversation is topic-building," says Dr. Carducci, so you should make links between subjects. ("I took a 'staycation' and saw some excellent movies.")

(The article adds that as in every stage, you should be careful not to talk too much but don't let the other person hog all the airtime, either. If this starts to happen, mention something about yourself when he or she takes a breath.)

-- "Wrap Up" stage: Here, you signal that the end is near and show appreciation ("Nice chatting with you.") Demonstrate that you were listening by summarizing highlights of the conversation ("Thanks for those movie recommendations.") Look for a way to stay in touch, if you would like—offer a business card or ask if the person is on Facebook.

Great tips, right?

(For Dr. Carducci's book "The Pocket Guide To Making Successful Small Talk," click here.)

Favorite toy from Restoration Hardware

Did you know Restoration Hardware always has some real cool toys, games, and little gadgets for folks of all ages?

It has, over the years, become one of my no. 1 destinations for small gift ideas or whenever I need to buy a nice gift for a young person.

As their reputation holds, toys and gifts I've gotten from Restoration Hardware have all been well-made, good looking, and never flimsy, which is what a lot of kids' knickknacks tend to be.

Like, this one, which was a ton of fun for Collin back in the day (when he was about 2 1/2 years old, in love with his first lightsaber):

A Superhero in a box! (On sale right now for $22! :o)

Isn't this such a cool gift idea?

I have to say, I was so pleasantly surprised at its high quality. (If you have ever bought a children's Halloween costume with such sub-par craftsmanship that you absolutely didn't mind throwing out your $45 purchase after only single use, I think you know what I mean... ;^)

(Image of "Superhero in a Box" from Restoration Hardware; there is a massive sale going on right now so stock up!)

Monday, April 6, 2015

A better time to travel to Europe?

The news of the euro falling to a near 12-year low against the dollar is truly shocking but has also gotten Sung and me thinking... Thinking about going to Europe with the kids.

(Because the euro will recover soon -- and it should, of course -- and we will always want to travel to Europe, perhaps now is the right time?)

It would be quite special because we have never been to Europe together since our honeymoon (in Greece) back in 2007!

(Yup, that's me, 2 babies+some 40 lbs. ago. I'm not proud to admit that I never lost the baby weight, but my life is what it is now and I'm happy and grateful to be healthy and strong. :^)

I wonder where we should go though...with two boys...... I've been reading some uber amazing travel posts by my most favorite bloggers here, here, and here, but I don't think I'm going to be half as graceful, calm, or classy (not sane for sure, to be completely honest) when I'm traveling with my children.

Believe it or not, we did Seoul (twice!), Orlando, Nashville, Hawaii, Poconos, Boston, and DC+Virginia so far you see a single post on any of our travels? (OK, I'm half kidding. I'm going to get my act together and do some posts on our travels soon. :-)

Also, did you know that Chanel hiked the prices of their more coveted bags in Europe because of the falling euro? So much for getting a Quilted Boy Bag while I'm in Europe. Ho hum!

Friday, April 3, 2015

7 things every kid should master

Leading psychologist Susan Engel's brilliantly insightful article for the Boston Globe detailing the seven abilities and dispositions that kids should acquire or improve upon while in school is just so heartwarming.

Some of the capabilities she noted were obvious; but some were actually not that intuitive (even though I've been a parent for a while now) so I was real happy to find out what they were. :o)

For Susan Engel's book "The End of the Rainbow: How Educating for Happiness—Not Money—Would Transform Our Schools," click here.

(Image from Small Fly)

One cool RC toy for (young) boys

Did you know that this RC Hot Wheels flying car actually does fly so...well???

You can actually fly it quite high and the remote control works wonderfully. Yes, we were totally surprised!

Incidentally, Amazon has it for $14.48 (instead of the $60+ we paid for it last year!) right now so do check it out!

(Just pics of us hanging out at a nearby high school parking lot on a lazy Saturday afternoon when we didn't have anything going on... :^)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Down-right genius IKEA hacks

Click here for a roundup of 17 budget-friendly yet genius IKEA hacks featured on the cool and hip Supercompressor!

(Image of Unalibreria by Elia Maurizi and Francesco Pepa, the geniuses behind Teste di Legno. If you would like to read up on their creations, the amazing design and architecture magazine Tyylit has a nice feature here.)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A great Bobbi Brown sale

I feel silly writing a post about this but this has got to be quite an exciting sale:

Bobbi Brown is having a Friends & Family sale right now and you can totally take advantage because no code is necessary!

It's a whopping 20% discount on everything, so now is the time to load up on your favorites and staples! (All-time bestsellers here.)

My personal favorite has been this cult-classic, easy-to-tote rollerball of the best-selling Beach fragrance. I love it because it captures the clean, fresh, and lightly intoxicating notes of sand jasmine, sea spray, and mandarin, and is totally wearable everywhere. I like rollerballs more than sprays because I really like to dab on just a weeny bit every time, for just a hint of fragrance.

(Image from the real nifty Polyvore, where it's been sold out for a while now; dash over to Bobbi Brown to get it for $20 instead of $25. :^)

The sale is on now through April 3, so stock up while you can!

The boys make me laugh

Collin and Aaron are funny.

Their personalities couldn't be farther apart, and yet they thoroughly, whole-heartedly enjoy each other's company and make each other laugh all the time.

Sung and I couldn't be more glad that we have two boys.

They are the best.

A foolproof way to put on a duvet cover

Oh, how I love the Real Simple magazine!

(I've been a collector reader since 2002, all the way from Seoul, Korea. Going through a local magazine agency to subscribe internationally and all. Need I say more. :^)

This has got to be the best duvet cover trick you will find out there.

It saves SO much time, it's unbelievable.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Cover that thing

OK, this may not be such a secret but here is my tip for anyone who wants to make crisp but moist (not dry!) grilled cheese:

Cover that pan and use very very low heat!

Low and slow is all you need to remember...

That's all.

(I usually make the boys' less golden brown, like above. Sung and I love an almost burnt, deep brown grilled cheese -- crispy on the outside and super chewy and gooey inside is how we like them!)

Oh, and I like to use a dollop of mayonnaise (per sandwich, in addition to the melted butter to griddle in) to make the outside real crisp and surprisingly buttery.

Apparently, griddling both sides of each of the bread slice makes quite a difference, but I never have the time or patience so I just wing it this mayo trick instead. :o)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Awesome cupcake toppers

Oh wow. Have you ever seen these amazing cupcake toppers?!

I found them by chance while browsing through Etsy -- this uber creative seller, Thick and Thin Designs, totally rocks!

You can even customize the toppers with any color you like, and all the toppers are completely reusable.

What an absolutely brilliant idea!

I'm especially glad I found them because I have never seen any construction-themed cake/cupcake toppers before. The boys will love these!

(All images from the shop Thick and Thin Designs)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Look at what I bought today

Isn't this picture of Drew Barrymore stunning?

And isn't the shirt she's wearing simply amazing???

I bought this sweat shirt (in black) just minutes ago, over at because according to Drew Barrymore, "all proceeds go to help employment opportunity for foster kids in LA," which I think is such an awesome way to raise awareness (and funds, of course). I'm also very happy that I found such a handsome graphic shirt! :-)

Don't you just love this fabulous woman?!

(Image from Drew Barrymore's Instagram)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Favorite: Warby Parker

So again, after I had my second child, my eyesight started getting real bad real fast.

I actually started wearing eyeglasses after college but only whenever I was at the movies or driving at night. Naturally, because I wore my eyeglasses so seldomly, most people did not know that I wore them.

And then one day, not too long after the Aaron Man came into the world, I realized I really couldn't see very well, like, even in daytime! So I started to wear prescription eyeglasses everyday, which was no biggie, but I also started to notice that whenever I put on my sunglasses... I felt like I was legally blind.

(In the meantime, this is me, bespectacled.)

As in, I had racked up a good number of designer shades over the years (because they were so in) but could no longer wear any of them because I could not see anything.
(Me when I would try to look groovy but could not see anything much.)

And then to my rescue, Warby Parker launched prescription shades! :^)

The price range they offered was so sweet ($150 for prescription sunglasses, anyone?), I just had to try their shades! (If you're not familiar, Warby Parker is known for their Home Try-On Program, which is a real smart way to choose frames -- you select five from their website, Warby Parker send them over to you for free, you get to try the different frames over a span of five days till you decide; if you don't like any of them, you're not obliged to buy a pair and best of all, return shipping is free as well! Yup, some have called them the Neflix of eyewear. How befitting! :o)

So, long story short -- OK, this is not short, but -- this is how my life has improved since:
I'm wearing my prescription shades everywhere!

All in all, I've owned two pairs of Warby Parker frames thus far (this from their original series and this) and they are simply awesome.

For those of you who would like to know... I was first sold on their idea back when they first launched in 2010, solely because of this part of their mission statement:

"Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15% of the world’s population cannot effectively learn or work. To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need."

(And of course, because they also said that they "will not design anything that we will be embarrassed wearing in 20 years"... More on their history here.)

(Top image of Griffin and others from the Warby Parker website; nope, this is not a sponsored post or anything, none of the product links I feature are affiliate links or simply put, offer no monetary gain for me :o)