Wedding Update: Lemons and Other “Un-Traditions”

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my wedding….probably because I’m trying my hardest to make it NOT consume my life.  I’ve witnessed friends on the verge of a breakdown because they can’t find the perfect color napkins or the DIY favor she was obsessing about turned out ugly or her Bridesmaids went postal on her.  I so do not want this to become me.  I have a list of things to do and really just want it to be as simple and as painless as possible.  I’ve already come to terms with the fact that it probably won’t be the prettiest or most meticulously planned wedding.  To me, that’s totally fine.  I just want to have fun and not stress out too much about it.  There are also wedding traditions that I just find un-necessary and wasteful, so I’m just omitting them all together….No bridesmaids, no paper invitations, no wedding cake.  Some might find this to be sacrilege, but it’s our day, so we’re just going to do what we want.  I almost opted for no flowers, but thought that it was a bit much to walk down the aisle with nothing in hand.  I did, however, decide instead of flowers as centerpieces, I wanted lemons.

I like the idea of using lemons because they’re photogeni and they can be re-used to make lemonade.  I’m not particularly eco-friendly, but don’t like to be wasteful.  My vision is to find glass bowls (like the Crate & Barrel Charleston one below) and fill them up with a bunch of lemons and one lime on the top (as a finishing touch).  This was also the inspiration for the color palette of the wedding….lemon and grey (see Pinterest inspiration board below).  Yeah!  Making progress on wedding planning.

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My Mom, the Fruit Whisperer…and 5 Fruit Picking Tips

My mom never pretended to be a good cook, but there were (and are) a few culinary skills she’s good at.  She excels at making boxed brownies and cake mixes look homemade.  She’s great at fruit cutting, a skill that is just as important as cooking in the Asian culture.  Oh, and she is a rock star when it comes to picking fruit.  That’s why I call her “The Fruit Whisperer.”  In other families, there are secret recipes handed down from generation to generation.  In my family, it’s the art of picking fruit.  Growing up, without fail…after every meal, we’d have a plate of perfectly cut fruit.  And I knew, before even taking a bite into it, that it would be juicy, sweet, and the perfect texture.  So how does one go about picking the perfect fruit?  It’s an art and a science, and takes years of practice, but here are a few tips to get you started:

Apples

Let’s start with the basic apple.  I like mine firm and crispy, and don’t understand people who like them mushy.  That’s just plain weird.  To select a firm and crispy, it should feel and sound like just that.  What does that mean?  Pick up the apple and feel it.  It should feel firm with no mushy spots.  Mushy spots mean mushy apple or rotting.  Ew!  Once you’ve confirmed it’s firm, flick it like you would if you were to flick somebody’s ear.  The sound of it should be crispy, vibrant, and sort of echo (vs. flat and dull).  Check out the demo here (sans noise, which would have been helpful.  Working on it!).

Apple flick

Created with cinemagr.am

Berries

Berries are usually in wrapped packages, so difficult to feel…but usually it’s more about the fragrance and smell.  For example, with good strawberries, you can usually smell them with a simple sniff.  The smell of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are a bit more faint, but still there.

Grapes

Grapes should be firm and you can usually feel them through the plastic bags they come in.

Watermelon

OK, here’s the big kahuna and one that’s taken me years to really “get.”  Watermelons are complex and take a combo of sight, sounds, and touch.  The overall shape of it should be symmetrical and not lopsided.  Color should be bright green (if it’s light green, it’s over ripe) with a spot of yellow (where it used to rest on the ground in the field).  The belly button should be small.  And finally, you need to give it a good slap to really know if it’s the one.  Imagine that you are make believe slapping somebody’s face…palms open, good amount of force.  Whack it and then listen.  It should sound hollow and you should be able to feel a slight vibration.  I was at the Whole Foods the other day slapping away and taught this technique to the fruit guy who worked there.  It works…for real.

Other Melons

Melons are a bit like watermelon.  Their shape should be smooth and symmetrical.  Cantaloupes are better if the surface is smoother/ pattern is denser.

Hope this is enough to get you started.  If you have any other fruits you’re curious about, write ‘em down below in the comments and I’ll ask mama if she has any words of wisdom.

Move over Gnomes

I love gnomes.  They’re friendly, cute, and add a ton of personality to any garden.  But recently, I stumbled across some unidentified alien-robot-like metal figurines, which are equally as cute.  We were strolling around in downtown Mill Valley and wandered into an outdoor lighting store called Illumigarden.  Here’s what we saw…

Anyway, I’m not saying that I want to diss gnomes now.  Maybe they can be friends with these illumi-creatures and hang out together.  🙂

Home sweet home

Home is where the heart is, but my heart is in 2 places.  As much as I love SF because it’s the place that I met my future hubbie to be, part of me will always think of LA as home since that’s where my ‘rents are.  This weekend I took a quick trip back to LA and was reminded of all the things that I love about being “at home.”

Fresh homemade soymilk every morning with a side of the Los Angeles Times

My mom’s flower garden…

Our family magnet collection on the fridge.  I recently added the Eskimo magnet in honor of our Alaska trip.  🙂

3 Random Tips for Jars, Stains, and Fruit

I’m no Susie Homemaker, but I get by around the house!  🙂 Anyway, here are 3 random tips that I picked up along the way.

1.  Rubber dish gloves for stubborn jars…creates more friction.  I also hear if you run the jar under warm water, that loosens it.

 

2.  Dish washing liquid for greasy stains.  I’m sure you’ve had those oh crap, WTF moments where you stain your favorite blouse (see me below).  No need to run out and get a special something something for it….just use something you already have at home- dish washing liquid.  It’s supposed to get rid of grease on plates, so why not on clothes and fabric couches?

 

3.  Wait to wash fruit until just before eating it.  Fruits have a natural coating that keeps moisture inside, and washing will make them go bad faster.  I’ve made that mistake one too many times!

 

If you want more clever tips and tricks with everyday household items, check out this BuzzFeed post “19 food tips you need to know.” You’ll never look at CD holders and hot dogs the same way again!

 

 

Mix one of a kind pieces with your mass produced sofa

I live in a SF apartment which means it’s too small, there’s not enough closet space, but I have beautiful built in shelves and bay windows (see below).

You’ll probably never see a picture of my entire apartment since it’s kinda a disaster zone.  No, I’m not a hoarder. My place looks “lived in,” which means it’s definitely not ready for prime time viewing.  Probably one too many nicknacks lying around and shoes bursting from the closets doors.  What I can contribute to home improvement are little suggestions on how to space save and beautify.  I’m not DIY Martha Stewart, so I can guarantee that there will be absolutely NO CRAFTS.  I don’t have the patience for them and they’d probably all look like crap if I tried.

Anyway, here’s one of my home tips for the living room:  Mix unique one of a kind pieces with your mass produced sofa for a more “homey” vibe.

There aren’t many specialty home stores, so everybody’s place starts to look the same.  You, too, probably shop at these places:  Crate and Barrel, West Elm, Room & Board, Pottery Barn, and Restoration Hardware.  And if you get the catalogs, you probably know the pieces by name….the Reese couch at Room & Board, the Petrie at Crate and Barrel.  Case in point: The other day one of my friends came over and pointed to my couch and said “hey, I have the same one.”  I’m not knocking these pieces (I love ‘em as much as the next guy), but don’t want my place to look like the catalog-staged rooms decked out from head to toe in mass produced stuff.  Your home doesn’t have to be THAT matchy matchy.  It comes across as sterile and not very “homey.”  One thing I like to do is find a statement chair to complement the room. I’ve had great success snagging these at estate sales and garage sales, discount stores like Marshall’s, or even used stores.  Doesn’t have to cost you an arm/leg!  I personally love the mid-century modern look (think Mad Men), so here’s what’s filling up my living room these days…

Crate and Barrel accent pillows from a few seasons ago.  Love the bright, bold pattern and colors.

Said pillows on my beautiful mid-century modern couch

Striped accent chair that doubles as a desk chair and additional seating for our L room

Happy Friday! Send a Turtle Card.

Friday’s have nothing to do with turtle cards, other than they are both things that make me happy.  In this fast paced world of uber smartphones, rushed last minute texts, and mass facebook status updates…sometimes it’s nice to get a personal, handwritten card from a friend.  What makes it even more cheeky is that the card features turtles, one of the slowest animals on earth.  Get it?

For more cute cards, check out Smudge Ink.

Happy Friday! Shakers and Succulents

Friday’s make me happy, so in honor of that, here are a few things that make me happy…

Cow salt and pepper shakers- Spotted at Dottie’s True Blue Café in SOMA.  Comfy in the hand and easy to use.  Aww!

Succulents- If there was a type of “trendy” plant right now, this would be it.  They’re bright, vibrant, vivacious…and require very little attention!  Meet Ziggy, my one year old zebra haworthia, and my friend’s backyard beauties.