Lots of pet time over the past week.

Love Igby, even though she is totally spoiled rotten. And we got a few visits from Luna, the downstairs cat. She snuck up, hung out with us, got stuck between the couch and the wall, and later refused to come out from under the tree.


Mom’s pho. So good on a cold morning. My and BJ’s goal is to learn how to make this and our own bun bo hue.


I hope everyone had a good holiday! It’s been crammed with family gatherings for us. We’ve been traveling back and forth between our place and my parent’s almost everyday. The drive across the city takes a little while, but it’s been worth it to see all my siblings in one place and I get to indulge in some of my mom’s cooking. This Christmas has also been special with BJ’s mom down here for over a week (I’m looking forward to her adobo chicken!), she’s been a good sport with our huge and boisterous group of cousins, uncles, aunts + their visiting family.

This break, I’ve been able to pick up the camera more. The place where I usually develop my photos called to tell me they going all digital, so I had to pick up my film and find another lab. Makes me a little sad. My dad is letting me borrow his old canon slr, but I’m becoming more convinced to save up for one of my own.

Getting back into work mode is going to be hard after waking up around 11am for the past few days…


Got a new watercolor pad, and I’m going to start doodling more for fun…

Things I’ve been reaching for in the bathroom cabinet:

  1. Face Stockholm nail polish: It was about time I replace the chipped nail polish that have been on my fingers for over a month now.
  2. Mario Badesco Enzyme Cleansing Gel: One of the few face washes that doesn’t leave my skin dry, has few ingredients, and it smells good!
  3. Malin + Goetz Face Moisturizer: Originally bought for BJ but I stole it. Super moisturizing without being greasy


I really do love this time of year, although it always comes sooner than I realize and sometimes I don’t soak it all in before it’s gone. Looking forward to some baking, crafting, picture-taking, and hanging out with friends and family.

On Sunday, my siblings and cousins came over for the day. We packed ourselves into 3 cars and headed to Discovery Green to ice skate—for most of them, their first time on the ice. Lots of other Houstonians had the same idea (you should see how excited our city gets when it actually snows) so the rink was roughly as crowded and chaotic as a livestock pen, but it was fun nonetheless. Afterward we all went back to our place, ate shepherd’s pie and candy, rediscovered the charms of Home Alone, before ending the night in a quest for frozen yogurt. I hope these all form part of a new family tradition. The thing about having multiple sides of your giant extended family in one area is that traditions don’t always have a chance to emerge and stick; one year, you go to one aunt’s, the next year maybe you’re at your uncle’s on the other side.

I have an endless supply of kraft paper at work and, since I gave away all my wrapping paper during the Great Moving Purge of 2011, I thought I would try making my own with the help of these stamps from Yellow Owl Workshop. BJ was let down a bit that our freakishly odorless fraser fir didn’t fill the air with those signature evergreen smells that mark the arrival of the holidays. His words. I grew up with the plastic trees, so I really didn’t get what I was missing out on. But it made sense after he band-aided the problem with a “Christmas wreath” candle that has our place smelling recognizably Christmas-y. In winterless Houston, these measures are necessary. For decorations, I’ve been working on Confetti System-inspired ornaments after seeing it on esb’s pinterest. I have a soft spot for soothingly repetitive crafts (beading, papercutting, the like) and this falls right into that category. Plus, I think they’ll work well as year-round decor, right?


block printing

Each year, during the block printing lesson, I make a new image for my demonstrations so I don’t up pulling the same prints. This time, I was less prepared with my imagery, so I did a quick sketch of my kiddos while they worked (well, at least one of them. The other was daydreaming so I made him stay super still while I drew) Although there a few more chunks missing from it than I would like, I like how it turned out overall.


A mishmash of the weekend:

  1. Finally bought some frames for our prints. We have more wall space now and lots of spots that need covering up.
  2. The workspace is beginning to shape up. A ledge and a good light is next on the list. I had pizza two days in a row this weekend. I had one of the best slices ever at Flying Saucer.
  3. Found a way to reuse the Totokaelo wrapping that was too pretty to toss.
  4. My other favorites in Houston are from Grimaldi’s, Kenneally’s, and Dolce Vita – which is where we met up with Mai & Gabe for brunch Sunday. I want to try to recreate the blood orange drink.

Last week was a tough week, but I’m determined to make this one better. Plus, I have a few things to look forward to once this week ends:

  • ice skating with my siblings and cousins at Discovery Green
  • Christmas movie marathon at our place
  • Winter break !!!


head above water


Almost Friday. Been trying to keep my head above water and not get too overwhelmed by all that needs to be done at work. Teaching seems to have taken over everything lately. Today it felt really hard as I left the house at 6am to barely make it in time for a meeting with parents before 7. It’s easy to get emotionally drained when you’re also dealing with some of these kids’ personal struggles. Especially when you don’t know how—you’re not trained—to help. Looking forward to relaxing & refocusing this weekend.