Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Day 14: Giverny/Paris

I'm the worst! It's been 2 whole years since my vacation. 2 YEARS! But let's close out 2014 by finishing up with this final recap.

On the last full day of my stay in Paris, I woke up an hour late with a nasty head cold, but I dragged my ass of bed and down to the train station. First on the agenda: visit the Village of Giverny to see Monet's Gardens. Which was to be followed by catching the sunset from the top of the Eiffel Tower. 

Thinking that I had plenty of time, I made a quick stop at Poilane. The interwebs had told me that this was THE BEST bakery in all of Paris. It conveniently just happened to be down the street from my apartment. 

If you are planning on visiting the Eiffel Tower, buy tickets ahead of time. I made the dumbass mistake of just showing up. I stood in line FOREVER. And, only made it part way up. In my defense, all the signage at the base said that the top was closed. But what they didn't tell you is that you buy tickets to get access to the 2nd viewing deck. And once on the deck, there is a ticket booth where you can purchase tickets to go up to the very top. Just save yourself the time and hassle and purchase ahead of time. 

Monet's house in the background.
The famous lily pond.
The bridge.
Gorgeous blooms.
Perfect dahlia.
Colorful ivy in the village.
Gateau millasson (french flan).

See, "closed." Maybe I misread it?
View from the 2nd balcony.
Dear Paris, I love you.
In 2005, I sat at the end of the green and took pictures of the tower with my Minolta Dimage X.

Truth: I'm huddled behind a bus stop trying to get this shot.

And that my friends, is the conclusion of my 2012 European adventures. 

Day 13: Paris
Day 12: Paris
Day 11: Versailles
Day 10: Edinburgh/Paris
Day 9: Edinburgh
Day 8: London/Edinburgh
Day 7: London
Day 6: London
Day 5: London/Greenwich
Day 4: London
Day 3: London
Day 2: Cambridge/London
Day 1: London
Day 1: London - prefunc

*All photos taken by me with Nikon D7000.
**Don't steal my photos. It's not nice and makes you an asshat.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hello Kitty Quilt

Hello Kitty Baby Quilt
approximately 35"x44"
Top - wall hanging panel purchased from Fat Quarter Shop (no longer available).
Binding - unknown cotton from my own collection.
Filled with 100% cotton batting.
Machine sewn with 100% cotton thread.
Machine washable (cool wash, tumble dry low).

This was my first try at whole cloth quilting. I'm not going to lie, I'm a big fan. Not having to piece the top together made the job go a whole lot faster. Although, really, I just ended up using the time to draw in the diagonal quilt lines. And even then I screwed it up. Luckily, I caught it before I started quilting. 

Technically, the quilt top is not considered quilt shop quality material (read: not soft). To balance it, I chose a voile which is  silky and soft. I love this stuff. Hey Free Spirit, please re-release the voile in Sky. Thank you! For the binding, I was able to pull a print directly from my stash (woohoo for making more room). I think it was a Riley Blake print I purchased from Pick Your Plum eyons ago. It was a subtle teal with green dots, a perfect complement to the green already in the quilt top.

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) experience

It's been almost 2 years since my RA diagnosis. Some days are better than others. And some days just suck. I haven't been able to figure out what triggers my flare ups. It's obvious when I do manual labor. But it's not obvious the rest of the time. I've had a sneaking suspicion that it has to do with my diet. When I cheat and eat dairy and gluten, I go hog wild. If I've had a little bit, what's a little bit more? 

Before, during, and after our tropical vacation (Caribbean cruise), I had a perpetual flare up that went on for weeks. It just would not go away. I made up my mind  to take care of myself. (Another deciding factor was that I may have eaten my weight in food during the cruise, woops).  Of course, I never just ease into things. I decided to go full boar start both Cross Fit AND the Autoimmune Protocol at the same time. More on Cross Fit another time. My hope with this "diet" challenge was to see if my RA could be managed through diet (whoohoo, no meds?). Let's see how I did, shall we?

Week 1: September 2-8
Piece of cake. I chalk it up to being a 4 day work week and having prepped enough food in advance during the work week. I ate the same thing for breakfast everyday and have yet to make AIP porridge again. I didn't notice any changes or major cravings. Although I could have used a chocolate chip cookie. Rookie mistake: not packing enough food on the first day. I was starving by the afternoon.

Week 2: September 9-15
I was very gung-ho about researching recipes and cooking my food in week 2. But at the same time, it began to feel like I had lost my life to working out, grocery shopping, and food prep. This is also the week that I cheated during one meal. We host a monthly dinner club, which happened to land during my challenge. I tried to give myself a free pass, but I felt SOOOO guilty about it. It made me stop and realize that I can't be so hard on myself; it's OK to cheat. I did notice that the morning after cheating (not like a ate a lot), I woke up with a minor headache. Tip: don't EVER offer to pick up fresh donuts when you are on a restricted diet. Just say no!

Week 3: September 16-22
This is where things start to breakdown. While I was still excited to find new recipes, I failed when it came to execution. I found myself making the same things as week 1. Frankly, I was tired of eating meat and salad all the freaken time.

Week 4: September 23
Yup, I didn't even make it through the first full day of week 4 before I finally gave up. I had been hemming and hawing about giving up through the weekend. I'd experienced flare ups every week so far and the bloated belly had returned. So when a box of Wondermade marshmallows arrived on my doorstep and I said to hell with it and promptly tore the box open and devoured the sugary treat. Tip: don't order yummy treats while you are on a crazy diet. Hell, don't even look at regular recipes or food blogs. It'll just kill you.

Final thoughts:

  • Whole30 is hard. Whole30 AIP is really hard. If you are going to do it, be prepared. Have recipes ready and make time to prep food. 
  • It is possible to dine out while on this crazy challenge. Sushi, if you eat that stuff, is really safe. But I was able to go to an American Bistro and have them customize a salad for me with no problem. My only complaint was that I asked specifically for no pepper on my grilled chicken and they didn't listen. Thankfully, black pepper is safe for me.
  • With only salt and herbs allowed as seasonings, I learned how to properly salt my food. Previously, I had under salted everything. I have an irrational fear of over salting after an incident when I was 15. 
  • I'm getting really good at cooking meat: sear it in a pan, throw it into the oven, but most importantly use a temperature probe! Don't be guessing at how much time you need. 
  • Coconut milk is not my friend. Thanks to the reduced diet, I was able to figure out that drinking full fat coconut milk (steamers and smoothies) has adverse affects on me, aka bloating. 
  • I think I may have figured out a trigger food: sugar! Raw honey, maple syrup, cane sugar, etc. I'm pretty sure that when I eat too much of it, my finger swells up and becomes tender. I need to experiment more with this, but for now, there are cupcakes to be eaten.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Oops, I did it again.

My poor HTC DNA.

Oops, I did it again. I dropped my phone one too many times and finally cracked the screen. Hmm, that photo kind of looks familiar, right?

Oh yeah, I broke the screen on my last phone in the same fashion almost 2.5 year ago! It was even the same corner!! Oy, I'm such a klutz.

HTC Incredible circa 2012.

Maybe I should stay away from phones that has the glass going to the edge of the phone. Better yet, maybe I should use a case on my phones. Oh wait, I have them. (I love the Seidio surface cases.) But for whatever reason (cockyness?) I remove the cases and thus end their lifespan prematurely. 

At least I leave the Zagg Invisible Shield on. After my first breakage, I swear by them. Unlike Bill Hader in the Tmobile commercials, I was able to continue using my phone while I waited for the phone I wanted to be released

And just like last time, I will continue to use my phone as is (I looked up how to replace the glass, and it's a pain in the ass) for the next few months and hope that the Google Nexus 6 gets released sooner than later. Maybe since the glass is cracked so badly, I won't reach for it so much. I'll take any reason to break my internet habit. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Christmas in July

I got new toys for our upcoming Caribbean cruise! It was an investment that I thought about thoroughly. I could have rented from Lumoid or BorrowLenses, but with a tentatively planned trip to Australia and New Zealand (2015!), it made more sense to just purchase. Maybe I can rent it out to friends =)

     - as recommended by GoPro; I may try to use it in my dSLR later.
     - will be using this with my Joby GorillaPod
     - I tried the Wrist Housing in Bora Bora and hated it. I had to hold my arm at awkward angles. I finally just took it off my wrist and hand held it. But I was constantly paranoid that I was going to drop it and owe my friend a new GoPro. 

With my limited testing to date, I've found that when the Touch BacPac is on, the GoPro HERO3+ gets pretty damned hot. Like, shockingly hot. Hopefully, it won't be an issue since I don't plan on leaving it on all the time. I just need it enough to see what I'm shooting. (When I used my friend's original GoPro in Bora Bora, it was a complete shot in the dark as to what was being captured.)

Turtles, dolphins, and fish, I'm ready for you! It's a damned shame that we didn't get into the ziplining excursions. *sigh*

Disclosure: The Lumoid link is an invite from my personal account. Sign up and I will receive $5 toward a future rental. Borrow Lenses link gives me nada. But I have rented from them in the past and highly recommend them. GoPro, Best Buy, Joby, and GoPole link are not affiliated. They have no freaking idea who I am.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Home Improvement: Anthropologie Corrigan Chair, River Reeds

I have been obsessed with the Corrigan chair for months. Probably close to 8 months! I first became enamored with it I saw it on the Anthropologie website. Then I was smitten with it after I sat in it. Since then, like a stalker, I regularly stopped in ALL the Anthro stores in the area just so I could sit in it some more.

A couple of months back, I made up my mind to purchase the chair, but only after I received a bonus from work. Well wouldn't you know, the chair went on sale just before the bonus payout. SCORE, right? (wait, it gets better before it gets sad.) Then, the 20% off sale items Sale was announced. Double score, right? My dumbass decided to wait a few more days. I woke up on July 5th to find that it had been sold out online!!! (Yea, I do this to myself all the time.) Panic and sadness ensued. Followed by phone calls to one of the stores. 

A couple hours later, this happened.

Sale, plus 20% off, no shipping fee, and instant gratification. Not bad for a slightly used chair (the store got it new in November).

Yup, our temporary curtains are sheets of fabric held in place with binder clips. It's totally avant garde.

Ahhh, LOVE it! Now I just need curtains. After seeing the chair in our living room, DIY curtains full of texture have been added to the queue. Just imagine, white, floaty curtains that mimic my wedding dress. SWOON! 

Friday, July 4, 2014

My Closet: J.Crew Cleo Stripe Canvas Loafers with Bow

Happy 4th of July!

These loafers are totally festive, so I thought I'd share them with you today. Truth be told, I thought I hated loafers for the longest time. Now I can't get enough of them.

J.Crew Cleo Stripe Canvas Loafers with Bow

I have a weakness for bows.

  • Cotton/acrylic/poly upper
  • Leather lining and sole
  • 9/16" heel
  • Made in Italy
  • Color - Sandy Reef 

My notes:
  • True to size - purchased in 7. 
  • I believe these are hand made? My left shoe is cut just slightly different (higher sides), but it's not enough to be uncomfortable (and deal with the hassle of swapping). If you can buy them in person, ask to try on multiple pairs. You may need to mix and match.
  • These are super comfy. 

  • Purchased from: J.Crew (online)
  • Year: 2014
  • Number of times worn: multiple

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Closet: L.K. Bennett Doris Bootie

I've been eyeing these booties ever since I saw them at the Nordstrom Women and Children's Half Yearly Sale. But they weren't available in my size ANYWHERE. I guess that's good for my bank account right? Fast forward to last week, I found them at Nordstrom Rack for 80% off!!!

L.K. Bennett Doris


  • Suede upper
  • Leather lining
  • Leather and rubber sole
  • Patent leather with covered heel
  • Side zip closure
  • 3.5" heel
  • 0.5" platform
  • Made in Spain
  • Color - Bordeaux

My notes:
  • True to size - purchased in 7. (I'm also a 7 in the Shilo)
  • Pointed toe does make for a narrower toe box. But I think it'll relax a tad when I break them in. Sizing up was not an option as my foot flopped in the 7.5.
  • The color is more of a deep purple than wine.

  • Purchased from: Nordstrom Rack
  • Year: 2014
  • Number of times worn: New without box (the soles were pristine)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Day 13: Paris

It's now May 2014. The last time I blogged about my sabbatical was A YEAR AGO! I realized that it has taken me FOREVER to finish the recaps because I hated my photo editing software. I've upgraded temporarily and things are so much better.

OK, on with the show. I want to finish telling you about Paris so that I can tell you about India, NYC, oh and Bora Bora all before I catch my next adventure. So here we go.

Day 3 in Paris was wet. It rained and rained and rained. I passed the hours with a little indoor picnic of wine, foie gras, bread, and yogurt. I surfed the web while some news channel discussed the latest in Syria (it was the only channel I could get in English) and contemplated exploring Les Catacombes. Being lazy and cold, I decided to stay indoors and wait out the rain.

via Instagram
Lucky for me, it did stop raining while it was still light out. I was able to get out and explore the neighborhood around me.

First stop, Pierre Hermé for some world renowned chocolate. I'm still haven't broken the seal on my itty bitty canister of hot chocolate I purchased.
Their pastry case was ridiculous!

Directly across the street from Pierre Hermé is the St. Sulpice Cathedral.

And to round out the day, a short walk through Le Jardin du Luxembourg as the sun set.

And end with this:

Day 12: Paris
Day 11: Versailles
Day 10: Edinburgh/Paris
Day 9: Edinburgh
Day 8: London/Edinburgh
Day 7: London
Day 6: London
Day 5: London/Greenwich
Day 4: London
Day 3: London
Day 2: Cambridge/London
Day 1: London
Day 1: London - prefunc

*All photos taken by me with Samsung TL225..

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Lima by Ona Bags

Last time I was home, I dug my Dad's old film camera out of it's hiding place. While we've moved a few times, it's been in the same drawer, in the same dresser, for at least the last 24 years. It's quite possible that it has been in there for longer. 

Instagram @_celiamhung

As a child, I remember playing with the camera, as in, popping the back open and exposing the roll of film that was in it. No one told me that was bad! Anyways, the camera is in great condition. How the battery didn't explode and leak after all these years is beyond me. I probably should replace the deteriorating light sealing foam, but I think it'll be fine for now. The plastic/rubber camera strap had to go, though. Between hand oils and material degradation, it was a sticky mess (ok, not really) that I'm too prissy to want to get on my hands and clothes. 

I decided to go with The Lima camera strap by Ona. Let's just go through the pictures first.

The packaging details make me weak in the knees. I'm such a sucker for details.

Beautiful leather and waxed canvas.

Shiny buckles, it's like bling for my camera.

The padded neck strap is stiff fresh out of the box, but it'll relax and mold to my neck nicely. I like that the strap is small and proportional to my frame and my camera. I was a little worried that it would be too long even at the shortest length, but it turns out to be perfect.The masculine look with the leather, waxed canvas, and brushed hardware all make me giddy. Not to mention, it looks pretty awesome with my camera.  

Now that I have a new battery, a handsome strap, and a roll of film, I'm ready to go out and shoot. Now if only the weather would cooperate. 

Yashica Electro 35 sources of info:

**Ona bags has no idea who I am. I really just wanted to share their pretty packaging with you. And of course my photos. =D

Friday, May 2, 2014

For Sale: Kate Spade Karolina Bow Pumps

For sale: Kate Spade Karolina Bow Pumps

Size 6.5
Brand new in box
Worn once or twice around the house, but heel is in pristine condition.
Dust bag
Originally purchased from
Pet free and smoke free home.
Shoe specs can be found here.

Asking for $200. Contact me for inquiries or questions.

Why am I selling them? I'm a doofus and purchased them in the wrong size. Well actually, I first purchased them in a size 7 and thought they were too big. It was winter, my feet were cold when I tried them on. Yada, yada, yada. So I swapped for a pair of 6.5's. And then they sat in my shoe cabinet for the last year. Now that I want to wear them, I'm finding out a little too late that they are too tight in the toe box. Maybe my feet grew? I heard that it can happen. Probably not though. *Sigh*

Friday, April 25, 2014

Anthropologie + BHLDN at Chestnut Hill

Guess what? I got to attend the Boston area BHLDN opening event at Anthropologie last month! AHHHH! I've been a huge fan of BHLDN since they launched (see here). But being a tactile person, I really wanted to be able to touch their products. Well, now I can!!

Anyways, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Window display from the inside.
Champagne and sweets were served. 

The treats were delicious! So. Good.
Onto the BHLDN section. It's tucked away in the back corner of the Anthropologie.
Pretties on display.
The dressing room.
Guests can sit in the Astrid Settee while the bride-to-be tries on dresses.
The gowns.

Mercury and milk glass, oh my.
So pretty! I wouldn't mind having this in my home for a dessert station.
One side of the runway (it was 'y' shaped).
I believe this is the Anthropologie store manager kicking things off.
The BHLDN manager, I think.
Fashion show!

I had arrived early enough to be able to scout out a great position for taking photos as I wanted to give a full report to my bride-to-be friend who couldn't make it. Somehow the 'media' gallery' formed around me. Guess I picked a great spot. I tried taking photos with my dSLR, but the models moved with quickly and without my external flash, my camera and I had no chance. Luckily, I was able to take video on my phone. Sorry for the bumpy video, the woman to my left kept elbowing me every time she brought her big camera up to her eye.

I had a blast at this #AnthroEvent and can't wait for the next one. Oh yes, I get to participate in their birthday event next month. I don't know that I'll have time to take pictures. I might be a little busy (aka CRAZY) buying up the store. Credit card, you better be ready, because you are coming to the party.