Sunday, October 26, 2014

Inspiration: Hoods and Capes

The recent heatwave has finally subsided, and though it's still far from cold, the 60-70 degree days have been enough to spur thoughts of outerwear DIYs.  Last year, I played with faux leather accents and an A-line houndstooth shape.

This year, hoods and capes have been occupying my mind:

Givenchy Hooded Cape - my Pinterest link pointed here, but the pictures were dead, I *think* the blogger is Chicmuse here.  If you know the real source, please do let me know and I will fix!

Hooded Coat - sourced from TheHunt here

Street style photo - cape dress - sourced from Harper's Bazaar here

It, of course, remains to be seen whether I can successfully create my version of one of these, but I'll definitely try!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Eats: Beyond Pho

Growing up in Indiana, I didn't learn of pho until college (yeah, I know).  And until California, I didn't encounter all the other delicious Vietnamese dishes that our family has come to love.

So far, our favorite place is Ben Tre in Millbrae:

5-Spice Chicken w/ Garlic Noodles - tender chicken perfectly cooked and seasoned on top of a bed of garlicky noodles - how can this combo go wrong?

BBQ Pork Chop Rice Platter - the marinade / flavoring of the pork chop is amazing!

Bo Tai Chanh - beef carpaccio w/ fantastic lime flavor

And from Vung Tau in San Jose:
Delicious Shaking Beef w/ tomato rice (the salad underneath is tasty too)

Banh Khot - crispy little spheres filled w/ shrimp

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Before & After: Bathroom Renovation

It's been awhile since I've done a home post, and primarily, it's because our bathroom has been under construction for awhile.  I'm happy to say it's finally complete!

When we first moved in, the bathroom needed some major updating - carpeted floors (ick), tiny tiles w/ endless grout, chipped brass fixtures, and a leaky shower head.  Here are some before and after pics:

Updated fixtures (with a shower head to spray down the tub - yay!) and tub, replaced tile surround with stacked stone and porcelain 

Replaced shower doors with frameless glass, updated tile and fixtures, extended the bench

Ripped out carpet and replaced with the porcelain tile you see in the above pics, replaced maple cabinets with espresso, updated sink / fixtures / mirror / countertop / lighting, painted a pale gray

And finished it w/ some espresso and stainless steel accessories.
I LOVE the Ikea Droppar jars for Q-tips and cotton balls.  The styling caddy is convenient since it declutters the counter and allows me to put the straightener away even when hot. 

Next up, I'd like to create some artwork for the walls.  Given that I'm not particularly artistic, this will be interesting :)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

DIY Script Shift Dress

I originally bought the Ikea Britten Nummer fabric a while ago, but it wasn't until this pin that I finally made up my mind on what to sew with it.

DIY Script Shift Dress

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 2-3 hours (I kept having to readjust the armscye after I Frankensteined a sleeve onto this bodice from a commercial pattern)

Pattern:  Dress from this tutorial and sleeves from a commercial pattern  (any will do, but just keep in mind the above for adjustments)

  • 2 yds of fabric (mine is Ikea's Britten Nummer - link above)
P.S.  Funny story about that giant shin bruise.  My 3-year old bounced onto our bed as she usually does, except that her knees hit my shin.  Her reaction?  "You should have moved, Mom."  I couldn't help but laugh.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sewing Supplies: Sale Alert

Columbus Day sales are almost upon us and it's a great time to stock up on some sewing supplies.

Jo-ann Fabrics 10/10 - 10/13

  • Simplicity Patterns, $0.99 each
1353 - Leanne Marshall was one of my favorite designers from Project Runway and the dress options in this pattern look versatile
1607 - LOVE the criss-cross neck detail
1610 - pretty halter neck option w/ a full maxi skirt
1611 - a simple maxi silhouette with sheer panel options
1873 - a pretty fit and flare dress pattern

Also costumes galore here.
  • 60% off Fleece
    • Would recommend solid colors for simple outerwear or loungewear
  • 50% off Home Decor Fabrics
    • I have an affinity for the classic prints found in the Home Decor section.  Pick something washable in 100% cotton.  I'd recommend making something with structure - here are some of my past projects:

Happy shopping!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Eats: Ramen Fest San Jose

When Cee originally told me about a ramen festival in San Francisco, my husband and I were beyond excited.  The night before we were going to go, I decided to look at the Yelp reviews in order to systematically hit the best-reviewed ramen booths.  I was disappointed to see that the event had been rated w/ 1 star citing overall chaos and massive lines (some people waiting up to 5 hours).  Unable to summon the motivation to brave the crowds, we decided to wait for the SJ one instead.  Touting a much larger venue, and presumably valuable logistical learnings from SF, Ramen Fest in SJ is currently being held over 2 consecutive weekends (10/3-10/5 and 10/10-10/12) downtown.  The vendors vary each weekend.

Tatsunoya from Kyushu Japan - Hakata Ramen, Tonkotsu Broth
My favorite of the festival!  I generally prefer the thicker type of ramen noodle as it seems to absorb flavor better, but this perfectly picked up the rich creaminess of the broth.  

Tsujita from Tokyo / LA - Miso Tonkotsu
Another rich broth with very generous fatty flavor (in a good way), but though I liked the thick noodles, I prefer traditional tonkotsu over miso.

Kohmen from Tokyo - Jukusei Tonkotsu 
My second favorite!  This used a soy sauce tonkotsu, thicker noodles, and more veggies than the other vendors.  Broth had great depth, noodles soaked up the flavors well, and the veggies were a welcome departure.

Ramen Vendors (we went during the late afternoon to avoid the crowds)

Spacious venue - one side held a seating area and the other held vendor booths

Doraemon was at Ramen Fest too!

And because we were feeling rather gluttonous, we also stopped by Cafe Lattea:

Totoro Art in a Matcha Latte

Brick Toast w/ Sesame Ice Cream

Total food coma, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

15-Minute Reversible Infinity Scarf DIY Tutorial

It was starting to get chilly here and it put me in cozy clothing mode (of course, today will hit the 90s, but oh well).  I couldn't resist making this reversible for the versatility and visual interest.  :)

Reversible Infinity Scarf DIY

Difficulty: Very Easy

Time: ~15 minutes

  • 2 yds of 2 coordinating fabrics (would recommend soft, drapey fabrics like knits / silkies / chiffons)
1.  Cut each fabric into identically sized rectangles - you can customize the measurements to your preferences.  I'm using 14 x 80" for each rectangle.

2.  Put the right sides together and sew down each long side.  Flip right side out.

3.  Put right sides of the short ends together and sew.  Leave about a 2" gap and blind-stitch shut (great tutorial here).

Finished scarf!  


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