Monday, December 31, 2012

Onward to 2013!

2012, you were too good to me. I am extremely thankful for an amazing year. I married my best friend, got to celebrate it with all my loved ones, went on an unforgettable honeymoon to my favorite place in the world, and even got to celebrate my 30th there! I can't wait to continue on this journey and make it the best for myself and those around me. The new year often comes with many resolutions but for me I just want to keep it simple (just like last year): Be happy and healthy and always stay inspired! To another great year! :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Hello there! Just wanted to pop in to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season filled with love and happiness (and lots of sweet treats!). This is the macaron Christmas tree that I made for our holiday dinner; complete with tiny macaron presents as well :) It was my first time making a macaron tower and I'm very happy with how it turned out. I have so much more to share with you all. It's good to be back! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween & Mini Blog Break

Happy Halloween everyone! This was one of the fun-shaped macarons that I made. He's so cute with his spooked face. While you're reading this, James and I are on our way to Seoul for our honeymoon. I will be back in a few weeks with lots of pictures to share! See you then! :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Getting Richer

I love richer and deeper flavors as the weather gets cooler and we head into the holiday season. I made these chocolate and speculoos macarons last week in addition to the birthday ones. I love how they turned out. I'm still working on the recipes and will share them when they're ready.

Have a fun and safe Halloween if you're celebrating this weekend! :)

I love speculoos and the spread is so delicious.  I especially like the look of  the biscuit crumbs on top :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lovely Couple

I had a really fun time taking photos of my friends this past weekend. 
They are one of the sweetest couples that I know. I bought new lenses for my camera and they were nice enough to be my test subjects :) This is one of my favorite photos from the session. It's hard not to get a good photo of these two. They're so lovely together ♥

Monday, October 22, 2012

Birthday Macarons

Sprinkles make everything so much cuter! I made these lemon macarons to celebrate my friend's birthday. A sweet treat for a very sweet friend. Happy 30th Kristen! :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Colorful Leaves

We haven't had the chance to go see the foliage this year. The weather is going to be beautiful this weekend so I hope we're not too late! Happy Friday everyone!

Btw, these photos were taken a few years ago just around James' neighborhood. The colors of the leaves are truly amazing. I love fall ♥

Monday, October 15, 2012

DIY: Simple Notecards

Today I want to share a simple way to make pretty notecards out of plain cardstocks. 

You will only need craft paper punches (any shape you like) and plain cardstocks. Here I used a flower-shape puncher and a mini-round hole puncher. You probably already have these materials at home if you love crafts as much as I do. If not, these punches usually cost $5-$10 a piece and a stack of 100 cardstocks is around $5. It's a good investment if you need a lot of notecards or if you can use the same craft punches for other projects.

Use the paper punches and punch out a design that you like. You can do the whole border or keep it simple like I did with this design.

This DIY is very versatile. You can chose cardstocks in any color and paper punches in any shape that you like. It's a fun way to use your creativity :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Snuggle Me

Just want to share a pic of the fluffiest teddy bear I've ever seen :) Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Busy Planning

Our honeymoon is right around the corner! James and I decided to take a late honeymoon so that we could spend time with our family who flew in for our wedding. Japan in the fall is so beautiful. We were there five years ago and we can't wait to go back. We're also going to Seoul for the first time. I'm so excited! There's so much to see and do (and eat!). I can't wait but first I need to get more planning done :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wedding Colors

While I was planning for the wedding, I was often asked what my wedding colors were. Picking them was very easy for me because I knew I wanted the rich royal colors of a traditional Vietnamese/Chinese wedding. Red and gold have such a cultural and historical importance in all of our celebrations. Plus, I've always loved these colors because of all the historical Chinese drama I used to watch when I was younger. They remind me of the beautiful settings and costumes of the royal court.

Invitations set the tone for the wedding so my theme and colors were on full display. I accented the red and gold with touches of pink, cream, and blue. Since I enjoy making things, I decided to make our invitations too. I had fun designing them and picking out the papers, envelopes, and stamps. I only needed 60 invitations so I was able to print everything out at home.

These envelope liners were another DIY project that I did. I made a simple template and cut them out of these pretty gift wrapping papers. It's a lot cheaper than buying pre-made ones. (Future DIY post, maybe?) I have to thank my sister for helping me find these beautiful papers. I love the light blue color. It contrasts with the red nicely. The birds and the cherry blossoms matched with my theme too. I also later found out that this print is named "Double Happiness". How perfect is that?

Btw, many of you were curious as to what inspired me to paint my vases turquoise. It was because of the blue color in these envelope liners :)

I was so happy that these stamps were available this year. The dragon and bonsai stamps were the perfect finishing touch for our wedding invitations. I really love how our invitations turned out :)

What colors would you pick for a special celebration?  I would love to know!

*You can see more of my wedding theme/colors in these posts: Wedding Dessert Table & Traditional Dress :)
*Envelopes, invitation papers, and gift wrapping papers were bought at Paper Presentation in NYC.
*Gold card stocks for the invitations were bought at Paper Source.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fun Macarons

Aren't they cute? :) Earlier this year, I was working on a tutorial on how to make these fun-shaped macarons after the great response I got from my Hello Kitty macarons post. Many readers wanted to learn how to make them and it inspired me to experiment with new shapes and recipes. I want to write up a foolproof recipe with clear instructions and techniques so that making macarons doesn't have to be so intimidating. I had to put this project on hold to plan for our upcoming wedding at the time but now I'm eager to start again. So please stay tuned for more updates on this project!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pretty Frames

I'm loving these new picture frames I bought for my photos. They really match well with the photos, don't you think? My customers at SoWa have been buying them as Christmas gifts for the Paris-lovers in their lives (kudos to early holiday shopping!). It always makes me feel so happy to know that my photos make other people happy :) Have you started Christmas shopping yet? Any Francophiles in your lives?

Friday, September 28, 2012

DIY: Painted Vases

For our wedding centerpieces, I wanted beautiful turquoise-color vases for a nice pop of color and to also tie in the touch of blue that we had from our envelope liners. However, I didn't realize how difficult it would be to search for vases in this color. They were always either the wrong shape or too expensive. As a result, I took matters into my own hands and did a small DIY project :)

I bought clear glass vases from the dollar store and two cans of spray paint (I used valspar's exotic sea in glossy finish). I was able to have the perfect vases for my wedding centerpieces in a few easy steps:

1. Clean and dry the vases thoroughly.
2. In a well-ventilated area, space the vases out on a drop cloth or newspapers (to protect the floors).
3. Follow the instructions on the can to properly spray on the paint.
4. Allow them to dry completely before using.

Extra Tip:
Remember to spray on a light coat each time and wait for it to dry before adding another coat. It took me 3 coats to have a nice opaque finish.

It was very simple and the whole project only costs me around $25 ($15 for 15 vases and $8 for 2 cans of spray paint). That's only $1.67 a vase! Pretty awesome, huh? I love how versatile this project can be. You can spray paint old picture frames, furniture, etc. in any colors you want. The color selection for spray paints are really amazing right now. They also have many different types of finishes like matte, metallic, stone, and velvet. I can't wait to do another DIY project like this. Time to find things to spray paint and give them a fresh look :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wedding Flowers

Today I want to share pictures of the amazing flowers that Dana did for our wedding. You've seen glimpses of it here and there but they were so beautiful and deserve their own close-ups. I can't thank Dana enough for her wonderful work. Everything was so gorgeous!

I love how rich and vibrant the colors of my traditional dress and bouquet are in this picture :) Picking the flowers for my bouquet was very easy. I love peonies, garden roses, spray roses, and cymbidium orchids so they were a must. Dana also added white hydrangeas to make it look nice and full. As for the boutonnieres, I wanted them to be small and simple to have a clean and elegant look. James' boutonniere had a mini blush pink cymbidium orchid and two pink spray roses. Dana added a nice touch to each of the boutonnieres with ribbons, pearl pins, and small greeneries.

(left) Best Man's boutonniere: mini white cymbidium orchid; 
(right) Boutonnieres for our parents and brothers: mini dark pink cymbidium orchids

My sister's Maid of Honor's bouquet was lovely as well. I love the soft romantic colors. Her bouquet had mini white cymbidium orchids, pink spray roses, cream roses, pink lisianthus, and white hydrangeas. It would make a beautiful bridal bouquet too if you like lighter color flowers. 

Our pretty centerpieces (pictured right & below) had cream roses, pink roses, and pink spray roses. I kept them really simple because I know they will not stay on the table for too long. We had a traditional 10-course banquet (not including desserts!) and the centerpieces are removed at the start of the reception to make room for the food :)

I really love our wedding flowers and I hope you enjoyed these photos! ♥

Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Autumn

Did you know that this past Saturday was the first day of fall? We happened to go apple-picking that day so it was the perfect way to kick off my favorite season :)

We went for our favorite apples. They're the best apples ever!

Filling our tummies and bags with Honeycrisp apples :)

Love the white and blush-colored pumpkins they have this year

Parlee Farms is one of our favorite places to go for apple-picking. The staff are friendly and their apples are delicious!

Fresh apple cider donuts

They're so cute!

Dusted with cinnamon sugar and ready to be enjoyed. So fluffy and yummy!

As always, we ended our apple-picking day by baking and eating an apple pie for dessert :)