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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Recap

We've survived the holidays! This year we celebrated Christmas Eve with my family in Orange County and it was so much fun to hang out with all my sisters and their beautiful families. We made a gingerbread town, attended mass and then came home to eat some yummy homemade pho and open presents. As always, it was a loud and rowdy get together full of laughter and inside jokes.
Christmas Day was spent with Tuan's side of the family. Again, we had delicious homemade Vietnamese food and opened more presents. The day was pretty low key and we even managed to fit in a Christmas Day family nap. I really hope that Parker enjoyed his first Christmas! He received a lot of new toys, clothes and books so I'm going to put some away and give him a new toy to play with every few weeks. The one thing he didn't get was storage for all his toys so I'm going to order the P'Kolino Monster Storage bins for him.
[Family photo in front of my sister's beautiful Christmas tree]

[Working on my mini gingerbread house. Next year's gingerbread decorating promises to be a lot more competitive.]

[Our gingerbread town complete with a commercial building and turrets]

[Parker opening gifts on his first Christmas]

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The End of an Era

Three years ago my husband, brother in law and I started a photobooth rental company called Memory Box Photobooth. With the help of my sister Tania, we worked hard to create a brand, deliver excellent service and build a solid reputation in Southern California special events industry. We've come a long way since the day Tuan showed me his first sketch of a potential logo for Memory Box and last week we sealed the deal on another milestone - we are selling the business.

In the last year, Tuan and I had a baby, Minh got married and Tania has become a certified yoga instructor. Priorities have certainly shifted and we came to realize that it was time for us to pass the torch and sell the business to someone who could dedicate more time and energy to it as oppose to stretching ourselves thin trying to keep everything going. Luckily for us, we found the perfect buyers in my friend Amanda and her boyfriend Mike. I'm over the moon that they are taking over Memory Box because Amanda is as crazy about customer service as I am!

So that's it folks. It's the end of an era. A year ago today, I had 2 Memory Box emails, a work email and my personal email set up on my iPhone. Today, I am down to just my personal email and am feeling much lighter for it. It is so nice to have our weekends back! Thank you to all our clients, friends and family for supporting us these last few years. We've had the chance to work with some amazing people.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Family Christmas Tree Farm - San Diego

Saturday we paid a visit to the Family Christmas Tree Farm in Santee in hopes of buying a mini tree for Parker and Kaden. We arrived at the farm around 2 PM and I was excited to see that it was not very crowded (better for picture taking). Overall, the farm is not very big but there are plenty of large, lush trees that were available to for guests to pick and cut and a large variety of pre cut trees as well. The farm also sells a good selection of wreaths and tree clippings so you can make your own garlands. It was no forest in Oregon but who could complain about walking among Christmas trees in 70 degree weather in the middle of December. Next year, I think the farm would be really fun to visit at night when the strings lights are on to set the holiday mood.

Family Christmas Tree Farm
300 Pepper Drive
El Cajon, CA 92021
[Test shot of Tuan in his cool Ray Bans]

[The Noble Firs are my favorite]

[My favorite guys among the Monterey Pines]


[Sweater and leggings: H&M, Shirt: Gap Kids, Shoes: Toms]

[The money shot! I love this photo]


DIY Clay Gift Charms

These clay gift charms were a result of a failed handprint ornament project. I had originally planned to make salt dough hand print ornaments with Parker. The day we were suppose to do the project, I thought "Clay is more durable than salt dough. I should use that instead." So I went to Michael's and excitedly bought a package of white clay. Turns out that clay is too hard to make good hand prints on. We had to practically smash Parker's hand into the clay to get a light imprint and he wasn't having that. UGH. Pinterest fail.
Instead of tossing out the extra clay, I decided to make clay gift tags instead. This is a really easy project and it makes your gifts look extra special. The whole thing literally took 30 minutes.
Clay Gift Charms
Materials Needed
-Rolling pin
-Circle cookie cutter (you can use any shape really)
-Knead the clay in your hands to soften it up.
-Roll out the clay.
-Use the cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
-Stamp each shape.
-Use skewer to poke a hole at the top of each tag. You will need that to loop your ribbon through.
-Bake in oven according to directions on the clay packaging. Bake time will vary depending on how thick your charms are. I baked mine for 20 minutes at 275 degrees.
[Tools you need to make your clay tags]

[Rolled and cut circles]

[Stamped circles]
Sorry for the inconsistency with the photos. The photos above were taken with my phone. The photos below were taken with a real camera.

[A special gift for my nephew Nolan. I love how the white tag pops on the kraft paper. I used the star stamp on my kraft paper to tie everything together.]

[I have a billion gold letters leftover from the advent calendar project so I decided to use those on my gifts this year]

[Parker "helped" me put gifts under the tree. Mostly he just knocked everything over and use the boxes to scoot around the living room.]


I definitely did one of these this morning. Little man is teething again (I think) so none of us got any sleep. Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Kids Clothing from Color Me Whimsy

How do you shop the best boutiques in South Korea's Namdaemun Market without leaving your house? You visit! I've always been a big fan of South Korean childrens clothing and I'm especially loving the bat hoodie which Parker needs immediately. Happy shopping, Mamas!

More about Color Me Whimsy

We are an exciting up-and-coming boutique, combining both a British sense of style and South Korean fashion sensibilities. Our aim is to offer you a true alternative to what the mainstream has to offer. Run by Ju Lee and Marsha Annon, New York City and Byun Young In, Seoul, South Korea - we are one global family.

We want to introduce you to what we believe is some of the very best in children's clothing that South Korea has to offer. All of our items come from small boutiques within Namdaemun Market which is not only South Korea's largest and oldest traditional market, but one whose influence spans Asia's entire fashion industry. The market's success is in many ways connected to its independent distribution system, and although most of the boutiques are small, almost all of them produce the goods they sell themselves from inside the marketplace.

We have been buying from here for a couple of years and have never been less than satisfied with the items we have received. Not only is our little one Yerrhum always comfortable and stylish, the quality of the material used is top notch and maintains it softness even after multiple washes, (my daughter loves messy play, so everything is worn only once before needing to be washed).

We have selected from the very best designers and we are sure that you too will be happy with your decision to purchase something cool and beautiful from us, Color Me WHIMSY.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What Baby Really Wants for Christmas

My friend S sent me this list today and all I could think was "OMG #7!" Yea, I'm turning 29 next month and I'm still saying ohmygod like I'm in middle school. Don't judge me. The list is great and everything on it is everything Parker is obsessed with minus the bobby pins and dog hair. I'm not sure if my glasses are going to last much longer.

Here is a picture of Parker playing with a hole in the baseboard in his room. Everytime he is close to it he is compelled to stick his finger in it.

Christmas Card from Minted

Our Christmas cards should be arriving any day now! Tuan and I are pretty exited about them. Parker modeled through his fever like a champ and the photos came out better than I had hoped for. I'm really loving this simple design from Minted and how all the colors come together.
I can't believe he is 10 months old already!
[Wanna know how to make a baby lose his mind? Throw shiny glittery things everywhere.]

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Consuming Galactagogues

Milk production hit a new low yesterday with my total after 2 pump sessions a measly 1.5 oz. Sometimes it's hard to imagine that I used to pump 12-16 oz a day. To combat my diminishing milk supply, I'm going to start eating more lactation cookies and taking fenugreek pills. Most women see an effect in 24-48 hours. Luckily I am one of those women and was able to pump 3 oz today!
[I've heard that taking fenugreek makes you smell like maple syrup. Weird right? I'm not sure if that would gross me out or make me want to eat pancakes all the time. I'm leaning towards pancakes. ALL. THE. TIME.]

Saturday Morning

No matter how many toys we give him, he loves playing with the sound machine that came out of the Cloud B Sleep Sheep.

Pom Pom Slippers - Splurge & Steal

I'm in love with these pom pom slippers from Anthro but cannot justify spending $58 on them so I've settling for these $10 pom pom ballet slippers from Target that are just as cute for a fraction of the cost.



Actually, Tuan bought the Target ones for me for I got them for FREE. Woo woo! They are very cozy and perfect for keeping my feet warm.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cat in the Hat Party Outfits

Happy Friday! Yesterday I received this message via Facebook from a friend.

"Mary, hope you are doing well! I wanted to ask you for a favor.... I love your blog and I adore the way you dress Parker! I can't seem to figure out how to dress Milin unless it comes in a set together... Haha. With his birthday coming up I was wondering if you had an ideas for an outfit."

My first thought was "Yay! Someone likes the mini looks I've been putting together!" Shilpa's adorable son Milin was born a couple of weeks after Parker. I've been Facebook stalking his development and he is the cutest baby! Anyhow, my second thought was "Holy crap, this baby's birthday is after Parker's and I haven't even thought of birthday outfits for little man yet. I better get my shit together."

Here are the little outfits I came up with for baby Milin. I tried to stick to the color scheme without making him 1. wear a cat in the hat costume (SO CUTE) 2. look like he's trying to hard sell cat in the hat gear. I hope this helps provides his mama with inspiration on how to keep Milin looking stylish and comfy at his first birthday party.

Need help putting an outfit together? Just leave a comment below!

Some notes:
1. All these outfits would look cute with this red cardigan from Zara.
2. If it's your birthday, you are allowed to wear yellow pants that scream "Pay attention to me!"
3. I would add these suspenders to this outfit to dress it up even more.

Fish Tank Tales - Damsels

It's been almost 3 weeks since we set up the fish tank and every week we have been adding more and more animals. The first week we only had live sand and rock. The second week we added a handful of hermit crabs. After they didn't die, and we had the water tested, we added three damsels (and more hermit crabs)! It is so exciting to see fish swimming around the tank. At $4 a pop, they are good experimental fish to start with. Parker and Kaden (and Tuan) love to sit in front of the tank and watch all the fish action. I can't wait to add more fun friends to our tank.
[Little man watching the blue and yellow damsel]

[Parker likes to pat the tank to get the fish's attention]

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Screaming Santa Photo + My Review of Eileen the Santa Lady at Seaport Village

One of the fun things we did with Parker over the long weekend was taking him for pictures with Santa. We decided to head down to Seaport Village the Friday after Thanksgiving because, from what I could see online, the Santas there looked the most legit plus I the thought of heading to the mall on Black Friday made me cringe.
It was a drizzly morning and we arrived at 10 minutes before Santa arrived. I wasexpecting a crowd and was excited to see that there was only one family ahead of us. The photos took longer than expected because Eileen (the Santa Lady) didn't have any helpers that day. At first, Parker was very curious about the man with the white beard and his fuzzy suit. But as soon as it was time for his solo pictures with Santa, this happened.
[Look at those precious teeth! Poor kid. Oh well. Maybe next year will be better! Haha]
The 5-10 minute photo session cost us a total of $32 (including tax). $25 for a CD of the photos + $5 because Tuan and I wanted in on the fun. Overall, I think it was worth it. I wanted the CD because I didn't know how the photos would turn out since the set up in the gazebo didn't have any lighting equipment. I edited the photos in lightroom when I got home. All I can say is that Eileen must be making a killing on these photos!

[Merry Christmas from Santa and the Nguyens! Check out Santa's pimpin belt. Haha]

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving Wrap Up + Finger Foods on the Horizon

Hey Mamas! I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving weekend. The long weekend was a much needed break for me. It was so nice to sleep in "late" and to spend the days with Tuan and Parker doing fun family stuff and taking lots of photos. We had a total of 3 Thanksgivings this year and had the chance to see all of our family and friends. Little man chowed on some sweet potato and turkey for his first Thanksgiving. This week I'll be roasting some veggies in the over and *gasp* not pureeing his food. One step closer to independence!

[Trying to get him used to using utensils by letting him hold his own spoon during feedings]

Monday, December 2, 2013

Peppermint Pretzels

We picked up our Christmas tree from Costco yesterday. On my way to the register, I picked up a bag of these peppermint dipped pretzels. I have to say that these are my fave peppermint noms after peppermint Oreos and peppermint mochas. They are so delicious and I love the snowflake shape. So festive and fun! These would be great for a party.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bunting Advent Calender Tutorial

After much consideration, I decided to make a bunting advent calendar for Parker and Kaden this year. The problem with a lot of advent calendars that I found online were that the pocket for gifts was too small to fill with anything significant. I settled on the bunting design because 1. it allowed me to make the pocket as big as I wanted 2. it very easily doubles as festive decor for the house and 3. it's a lot of bang for your buck! Here is my simple tutorial on how to create your own bunting advent calendar.

Materials Needed
3 coordinating fabrics, 1/2 yard each
5 yards of trim/ribbon (I used ball fringe)
1 spool of matching thread
5 sets of Thickers
1 isosceles triangle template with legs that are 7 in and a base that is 6 in

1. Cut out triangle template on cardstock or any thick paper (I used one side of a manila folder).
2. Use your template to cut out your fabric triangles. You will need 16 triangles cut from each of your 3 fabrics. Match your triangles into pairs (8 pairs for each fabric type). This is the longest step of the process.
3. The front of the bunting pocket will need to be a little lower than the back. Take each "front" triangle and fold it half an inch down from the top. Sew with 1/2 inch seam allowance to make a neat edge. Repeat 24 times.
4. Lay each front and back triangle right sides together and sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance on both sides.
5. Flip each triangle pocket inside out. I used a chopstick to make sure the point was extra pointy. You can use any pointy stick to do this.
6. Press each triangle so it's flat.
7. Starting 6 inch from the start of the trim, sew all the triangles onto the trim leaving an inch between each triangle. You can space it out even more if you like but keep in mind how much trim you have!
8. Lay the bunting on the ground and admire your handy work.
9. Using tacky glue, apply the thickers in random order numbering each triangle at random 1-24. There are sooo many options for how to number each little flag. I chose to use the thickers because I have terrible handwriting and I liked the look of them. The only problem was that each set only had so many number 2s so we had to buy a lot of sets.
10. Let glue dry, hang your advent calendar and fill it with little treats!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mini Me Look - Olive Coat

Happy Monday, Mamas! I'm sooo excited that this is a short week. We had our first Thanksgiving last night with my family in Orange County and I'm still sleepy from my food coma. This weekend was super productive. Tuan and Minh got the fish tank up and running and we are going to be able to add hermit crabs and shrimp by the end of the week! Woo hoo. Tuan and I also did three mini holiday sessions before the Thanksgiving party and I can't wait to look at all the photos tonight.

Let's get to the fashion now, shall we? I found this handsome man in River Island gear on the I Am Galla blog. Hope you enjoy today's mini me look!

[River Island jacket & bag]

Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Friday!

It's finally Friday! Thanks for checking in today but I have info to share. I didn't manage to complete my weekly roundup of fun winter events (check out Red Tricycle for a good list), I didn't put together a cute mini me outfit and I didn't manage to take any nice photos of the quilt I finished last weekend. It's been a hectic few days.

You know what did happen last night? I baked these jalapeno cornbread muffins for my office Thanksgiving potluck. And you wanna know what happened this morning in the car? Parker said "ma mum" for the first time!! That makes up for the lack of everything else in my book. Hope everyone has a nice weekend :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Custom Silhouette Ornaments

I'm in love with these laser cut silhouette ornaments from Le Papier Studio! The design is simple but still very special and unique. Would it be too much if I ordered one of these for Parker and made hand print ornaments?


[$30 for an ornament with the whole family]

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mini Me Look - Black Tie

You know what we need more of? Babies in suits. It's an instant way to make your regular baby a dapper baby. Surprisingly there are very few well made suits for baby boys. Thank goodness for Zara! Enjoy this black tie mini me look that would brighten up any holiday photo.
[Hunky guy spotted on Pinterest]

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Nativity Scene for Baby

I made some space in one of the cubby holes in Parker's room this weekend for his nativity scene. My intention was to make one but clearly that wasn't happening so we bought this wooden peg doll set from Target instead. Target saves the day...again! I also bought the little wooden house from Target (it turns into a shelf). Parker loves the colorful wooden dolls and none are safe from his grabby little hands. I keep having to tell him not to smash baby Jesus and one of the wisemen went missing for a couple of days. I'm actually really surprised that the angels still have their wings. The only thing missing? The ox and the lamb. This will just have to do for now.
Checking this one off our Christmas activity list!
[Perfect for baby's little hands]
[Mary used to have a halo...until Parker pulled it off]
[A close up of the 3 wise men]

[Forgive the crazy hawaiian shirt. We went to a luau themed birthday party this weekend.]