Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our First Christmas Tree

So it's a little small....
and it's a bit prickly...
but it's potted (alive!)...
and very special because...
it's our very first Christmas tree!

I loved the idea of getting a potted Christmas tree because the tree would still be alive, shed less, and still have that wonderfully piney smell. At first I had my heart set on a 4' tree, but when we got the nursery they only had a handful of very sad looking 4' potted trees left. There were, however, plenty of 2' trees so we settled on that. We've had it for about 3 weeks now and I just love turning on it's twinkly lights every night.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New furniture!

After a month of furniture hunting for our new home, this past weekend we finally decided on a lovely rustic-meets-modern coffee table, side tables, and sofa table. I really love the refreshing and nature-inspired look of grained wood surfaces but our home is also very modern. We found the perfect mix of a warm and rustic look with clean modern lines when we found this lovely set of tables at Living Spaces:

When I first saw this pretty set of furniture, it immediately reminded me of this set of occasion tables that I had recently spotted in the Crate and Barrel catalog:  

The crate and barrel coffee table alone was $499 while we snagged our whole set of one cocktail table and two end tables for under $400.  Same sleek design and quality hardwood material, but we got a set of three tables for only a fraction of the price! I also much perfer the muted metal of our table set rather than Crate and Barrel's shiney stainless steel because it gives the furniture a more earthy and grounded look (as opposed to the office-furniture vibe of shiney metal). 

Our other truly unexpected find was a beautiful floor model sofa table that was marked almost 50% off. The table first caught my eye because it had the same style as our cocktail table set with a metal frame and ardwood surface but upon closer inspection the wood had a smoother finish and lighter stain. Nevertheless, it had the same rustic but simplistic feel and the gorgeous natural wood surface that I really loved. Also, it had really unique details like 3 bolts along the outer edge that gave the table a lot of character. When I was doing some more furniture research later that day, I saw this coffe table version of the sofa table we had just purchased: 

From the weathered metal frame down to the three bolt detail on the side, the look of this table was a dead-on match to our new sofa table. This close cousin of our sofa table was from Restoration Hardware priced at over $1000. We got our sofa table for under $200. While our sofa table definitely isn't an european antique crafted from a reclaimed brickmaker's table, it also has interesting origins that we have traced back to a boutique woodwork shop in India that specializes in hand crafted wood furniture-- a very cool find I was not at all expecting the find at Living Spaces (which I have always deemed as being a retailer of cookie-cutter style furniture). I was really pleasantly surprised! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I can't believe Thanksgiving is just a week away! Then Will and I will be off to the Windy City! Aside from the cold weather ("cold" for California), I love absolutely everything else about this time of year...especially all of the great food. Recently, I've rediscovered pumpkin as a star ingredient of autumn and winter time dishes. I have always loved pumpkin pie, but for a long time that was the only use I knew about for the orange squash-- aside from pumpkin carving of course. Lately though, I've suddenly come across pumpkin in all sorts of foods, from soup to bread to pasta!

A few nights ago I had a delicious pumpkin and sage butter ravioli from an Italian restaurant just a few blocks from our home. The fried sage and sweet spices were a perfect compliment for the creamy pumpkin filling. 
Last weekend when we visited my parents, my mom made a delicious pumpkin mi fen (rice noodle) with sweet sausage. Pumpkin is actually considered a super health food in Taiwan and lately there has been a

For the trip home, I also happened to bake some pumpkin bread for dessert. It was from mix since I had a bit of a crazy week but in the future perhaps I would try a recipe from scratch.

And of course Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without my beloved pumpkin pie! 

To top it all off, pumpkin is very low in calories (just 26 cal for 100 g), high in fiber and anti-oxidants, and is one of the highest sources of vitamin A among vegetables (a good thing for me because I don't like carrots so this is a fine alternative source for vitamin A). Now that's icing on the pumpkin pie~ 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween Weekend Wedding

This past weekend Will and I attended our first wedding together since our very own two months ago! Time really flies...It was beautiful weather for an outdoor ceremony in Huntington Beach followed by a fun-filled reception, that was just oozing with the personality of the couple, Charlyn and Justin. When the dancing started, they were prepared with a big box of fun props for everyone to dress-up in! Pirate swords, masquerade masks, mustaches.... hats and super cool glasses!

Our friends had a very modern, very cool, purple and silver theme. The purple up lights cast a romantic hue on the absolutely gorgeous centerpiece arrangements of flowers, vases, and candles (I couldn't do it justice with my lil camera), but also gave a great party vibe when the DJ dimmed the lights and everyone hit the dance floor.

so we really had a lot of fun with the Kanye West shutter glasses... 

Attending a wedding as a married couple felt different-- like the way attending a friend's graduation feels a bit different before and after your own graduation. Throughout the evening Will and I would reminisce about our own wedding but there was also another unexpected effect was how much happier I felt. I have always loved attending weddings and of course I am always thrilled for the newlyweds; but after having experienced my own wedding and marriage, I can truly say that marriage is such a blessing. I am much more excited for the couple because I myself absolutely love being married and I know firsthand that this is such an exciting time in life!

Will and I are really looking forward to 2012, when more of our friends will be tying the knot!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

September 3rd: Our Wedding Story

Looking back on our September 3rd, I am simply amazed at how faithful God has been to us. I could count blessing after blessing in how everything and everyone came together for our wedding. Throughout the eight short months we had to plan our wedding, we have learned and grown so much; God has taught us to be patient, to compromise, to trust, the deeper meaning of friendship and sacrifice, and that a truly "perfect" wedding is simply one where two hearts come before God seeking sincerely to become one in Him.

Hearts became the theme of our wedding because we loved how it represents the deepest part of who we are and the very part of us that we want to be joined together forever. Will and I also often use hearts in our chat messages, texts, cards, letters, and emails to each other and it always makes me smile. With the heart symbol as my inspiration, I began designing the stationary for our wedding starting with our save-the-date postcards and formal pocketfold invitations.

At the same time, Will and I were on the search for an elegant and romantic wedding venue with lots of character. We found everything we were looking for at the historic Ebell of Los Angeles. The beautiful Ebell clubhouse, built as a women's club in the late 1920s, included a pretty courtyard garden, stately art salon housing rotating art pieces, and gorgeous lounge ballroom with glistening floor to ceiling windows and magnificent chandeliers. We loved that the Ebell was so rich in history, distinctive architecture, and elegant vintage pieces like a rustic grandfather clock and antique patterned couches. Coupled with the fabulous staff and delicious French inspired cuisine by Chef Louis Pechan, the Ebell was absolutely perfect for the timeless and romantic evening ballroom reception we were envisioning.

For our ceremony we discovered nearby First Congregational Church of Los Angeles and immediately fell in love with the grand cathedral architecture of the church and majestic organ lights that made the sanctuary glow with color. Also a historic landmark of Los Angeles, the church felt like a perfect meld between old and new, traditional elegance with a colorful modern flair. Although our first impression of the regal sanctuary constructed in a revival gothic style seating well over 700 guests was actually quite intimidating, we soon realized it would be the perfect setting to reflect the sanctity of our marriage ceremony and the seriousness of our vows.

Although I never really intended to be a DIY bride, I've always enjoyed artistic and creative endeavors so when it came to our wedding, I decided that I wanted to design and hand-make many of the details myself; before I knew it, our wedding had evolved into a pretty massive arts and crafts project. We bought two paper cutters, dozens of ribbon spools, and ordered card stock from online wholesalers. We recruited our friends for many long nights of paper-cutting, pattern-punching, card stock-glueing, and ribbon-tying. I shopped around for decorative elements and bought monogrammed mugs from anthropologie spelling out "love" for the guestbook table and a small antique-looking wooden chest for our card box. We also added many personal touches such as displaying our parents wedding photos at the welcome table, creating a photo guest book with our engagement pictures, including our favorite recipes along with heart-shaped measuring spoon as wedding favors, and hand-painting table numbers on wooden plaques. 

We wanted a soft and romantic color palette so we chose blush rose, sage green, champagne, and brown as our wedding colors. Our florist incoporated lisianthus, hydrangeas, lilies, roses, eucalyptus, and branches in our wedding florals to accent our colors while keeping a flowy and organic feel to all of the arrangements.  My bridesmaids wore rosy pink tea-length dresses with a lacey shrug and champagne Steve Madden heels with bows (they were a great find, on sale at over 50% off!) that matched the sash of the dress and the champagne vests and ties of the groomsmen. I chose to rent my wedding dress instead of purchasing one, but had a custom hanger personalized with our names made for the dress from an Etsy shop. My dress had lovely lace detail, intricate beading, a classic A-line silloute, and a sweet and girly bow in the back. I also especially loved my ruffly wedding shoes from Nordstroms that were in the softest shade of blush. We also incoporated our colors into the seating cards using a pink heart to designate the salmon entree choice, a light brown heart for chicken, and a green heart for vegetarian. 

When the long-awaited day finally arrived, there were so many unforgettable moments that our wedding day actually felt much longer than just a single day, yet it that passed by so unbelievably quickly that everything seemed like a blur. 

I will never forget the echo of the big double doors of the church opening as my dad walked me down the asile, Will's calm and composed voice repeating our wedding vows and my own shaky and emotional voice, laughing together when our DJ accidentally announced one of my bridesmaids as a groomsmen and vice versa, making our grand entrance into the reception down the grand staircase of the Ebell, how we sang "Marry Me" by Train to each other as we danced our first dance, my dad's very moving speech and toast (I never knew he was so eloquent!), Will and I thanking all of our guests and especially our parents for all of their love and support (I teared up a bit....I couldn't help it!), singing happy birthday to my grandfather who's 84th birthday was the very same day, throwing our shoes at our groomsman Mike who tried to embarrass us during a newlywed game, and finally dancing the night away with all of our friends (we were so wonderfully surprised that our friends joined us on the dance floor! We didn't hold back and we are so glad many of our friends didn't either!). 

We are filled with gratitude for the many people who truly made our wedding an unforgettable and fairy tale day: Our parents' unending support that made our dream wedding possible, family and friends who flew in from all around the country to celebrate with us, fabulous vendors and coordinators who made sure our special day would be just the way we envisioned it, our wedding party and friends who spent all day cutting paper for programs and spent all night gluing invitations, talented friends who led praise, sang, and put together a truly memorable slide show, church leaders who counseled us and prayed for a us, generous family and friends who showered us with mountains (literally) of gifts...

Most of all, I know I am the luckiest girl in the world because I was marrying the most kind, patient, understanding, and supportive man I have ever known. Will has truly humbled me in everything I thought I knew about love. He encouraged me to indulge in my creative vision for our wedding and drove me all around the city visiting wedding vendors and exploring venues. Though not a very arts-and-crafts person by nature, he dove headfirst with me into an immense DIY wedding project. I took the lead on most of the wedding preparations, but when we had trouble with a rude and dishonest vendor, when we thought we had almost lost our church venue, when we were missing 1/3 of our wedding favors two days before the wedding, and when I ultimately dissolved into tears from stress and frustration, Will would always calmly take over (he was always much better than me at handling these sorts of situations) and reassure me that I wasn't planning our wedding alone. On our wedding day, I was overjoyed with the final realization that from this day forward, no matter what we planned next, no matter what our next big project was, no matter what challenges and surprises lay ahead,  no matter where God leads, Will and I would always be facing it together.

The verse in our wedding ceremony program from Psalms 115:1 reads "Not to us, Not to us O Lord but to your name be the glory because of your love and faithfulness." Our prayer is that starting with our wedding day and continuing with our marriage and throughout the rest of our lives, we will glorify our Heavenly Father and always remember that it is He who holds us together with His love and faithfulness.

Our Wedding Vendors: 
Ceremony Venue: First Congregational Church of Los Angeles | Reception Venue: The Ebell of Los AngelesPhotography: Pix of LifeWedding Dress and Bridesmaid Dress Rentals: Beautiful Day Wedding | Groom and Groomsmen Tux Rentals: Frair Tux Shop | Coordinator: Events by Lynette | Floral: Ninfa's Flowers | DJ: Steve Kikuchi of High Resolution DJs | Makeup and Hair: Etude Lounge | Photobooth: Photobooth Love | Cake: King's Hawaiian |

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