Circle Garland DIY

I truly believe that decoration can change the entire look and feel of an environment. After I painted the walls in my home, it became a more comfortable environment. Typically people stick with white, but I painted a dark navy that almost looks black during the day. I love it! To add some fun aspect, I stenciled the opposing wall with a yellow lattice pattern. I’ve also put up curtains which makes any room feel more grand. I’m starting to really love this home decor thing. I’ve been asked to help decorate a dentist office recently. I immediately accepted the offer and will be starting on designing this week. And of course, I’ll be taking you along the journey via my blog. We’ll see where this takes me! I’m so excited for the opportunity!

Perhaps you saw the decor at the bridal shower from my weekend post (previous post here)! I helped with that! Today’s post will be a DIY on how to make those circular garlands. Perfect for parties! It’s great to use as a backdrop for pictures as well!

These are so easy to make but it does take time. It took me about 3 hours a day for 5 days to make 15 garlands. Worth it when you get some great photos!

Chubalee

What you’ll need:

  • Paper to cut circles (I made about 225 circles for 15 strings of circles)
  • Circle cutter (similar one hereOR circle punch (affordable one here)
  • Cutting mat (I used a piece of plywood)
  • Fishing line
  • Hot glue gun with extra glue sticks

Directions: Cut out circles, line them up in a straight line, and hot glue the circles onto your fishing line. When cutting the circles, make sure you have something underneath so you don’t scratch up your surface (oh my poor dining table…).

Another option to put these together is sewing the circles into a straight line (perhaps you’ve seen this option on Etsy). I think the hot glue is easier but that’s up to you!

Aren’t these colors so pretty?

Colors

Here’s the photo tutorial:

DIY-tutorial

If you have a Silhouette, use it! It’s a cutting machine for avid scrapbookers or crafters. The best thing about this machine is that you can design your own shapes and fonts to be cut, whereas with the Cricut cutter you’re limited to their cartridges. It’s a pricey machine at $270. I would suggest only purchasing if you’ll use it often. Otherwise the Martha Stewart cutter at $12 is a great option. Still interested? You can purchase the Silhouette here.

I was able to cut 12 circles per every standard sheet of paper easily on the Silhouette. It saved me a buttload of time!

Silhouette

I really love these garlands, so festive!

Done

Have you ever purchased these garlands? Where did you get them and what did you use them for? Is this something you can make for your next party?

With love,
Jay

  

Holly-day

I’m kind of a grandma… (couch, movie, my cat, oh yeah and my husband is the perfect night in). But the one time a year that I stay out late was this past weekend!

It was all for a good reason. My sweet Holly is getting married in June!!! Get the title??? Holly-day… Holiday!

We celebrated with a bridal shower and bachelorette party all on Saturday night. Whew, and we made it through the day. No cat fights, no injuries, and lots of memories (few that Holly can recall, winky face).

Holly is an avid baker. The theme of her shower was “Love is Sweet” to align with her skills. We had the girls play some games, and winners got baking items (like cookie cutters, tea mugs, baking utensils). We also gave away gift baggies with cookies, tea, and honey sticks. Her colors are teal and purple so ultimately those were the colors of the shower decor too!

Theme

Tassles
Stay tuned for a tassel garland DIY soon!

Drumroll please… This was the highlight of the party – the food!

Set

Yup, that’s a donut tree in the middle from Holly’s favorite donut shop.

Food
A few featured items from the party ^^^ 

What kinds of food have you seen served at a bridal shower? Anything noteworthy?

Sugar CookiesOne of the games was to decorate these cookies – same cookie cutter but it was used as two different shapes (see below)

Cookie

Then we went home, cleaned up, and headed to the city for the bachelorette!

Forbes Island
We took a small ferry to Forbes Island for dinner with a gorgeous view of the Bay and Alcatraz

Girls
A few of the girls at dinner!

And the night ended with debauchery, ah-tehehe. Bottle service at Infusion Lounge!

Server: “What kind of alcohol do you want?”
Holly: “Tequila!!!”

You can assume how the night ended!

Bottle service

Holly, I hope you had a fantastic day filled with love and xoxo. Can’t wait for the wedding!!!

What did you do this past weekend?
Jay

  

Chinese Steamed Ground Pork

Yay! It’s Friday!

and Yay! It’s a continuation of my Chinese dishes. There were many challenges growing up as a Chinese girl in Texas. I wanted the blond hair and blue eyes. I wanted to look like the dolls that I played with. As I grew older, I had to juggle Chinese traditions with American traditions. Try explaining why Chinese New Year isn’t the same as January 1 (I still can’t really tell you how that works, haha). But I’m so proud of my background now, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love being able to say I’m Chinese, I love having the inside knowledge of Chinese food, and I love that I have American and Chinese traditions all intermingled together.

For the longest time after I moved to the Bay Area, I missed my mom’s homecookin, specifically Chinese foods. I frequently called her for recipes so that I could satisfy some of my Chinese food cravings. One of the dishes we often had at home was this steamed pork recipe (now I know why because it’s so easy to make!). It’s also full of flavor because there are bits of seafood. Yummyyy!

The egg dish from Wednesday was a comfort food in many Chinese homes. This steamed pork recipe is same in that it’s another comfort food! It’s rare that my family and I would order it at the restaurants, but it’s definitely one of those things when you see on the menu, you want it. Another plus, it’s delicious with rice, which means it’s a dangerous dish. Eat with caution because when something pairs well with rice, I always overeat until my belly is bloated and screaming at me. My friends and I call this “miserably angry” because you’ve eaten to the point you’re feeling unwell… maybe it happens a lot and we needed a term for the feeling of a full belly but an angry digestive system!

Title

Chinese Steamed Ground Pork

Ingredients:

  • 8 pieces of dry shrimp
  • 2 pieces of dry cuttlefish
  • 8 oz ground pork
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil

Directions:

1. Dice up the dry shrimp into tiny pieces. Peel off the cartilage from the cuttlefish (easier to do under running water), and dice up the cuttle fish.
2. Mix the seafood into the ground pork (I like to use my fingers to mix). Then mix in 1.5 teaspoons of soy sauce and a teaspoon of sesame oil. Combine well.
3. Now flatten the meat evenly onto a steaming plate, and steam for 20 minutes. Serve alongside rice for a delicious meal.

Seafood
You can find these items in any Chinese grocery store. I know, I know… it’s kinda weird but this adds so much flavor!

Diced

Mix
Mix well ^^^

Flattened
On the steaming plate!

Steaming
See how clever I am??? I’m steaming pork and egg, and that’s my meal right there!

Dinner
With a simple veggie side, dinner is served!

Have you had steamed ground pork before? What do you think of it?

What kind of Chinese comfort foods do you love and do you have a request for any simple Chinese recipes?

Have a great weekend,
Jay
—–
You can purchase my steamer from Amazon here

  

Chinese Steamed Egg

You’re in for a treat this week! I’ll be featuring Cantonese-styled Chinese dishes. These recipes are near and dear to me because I grew up eating this stuff. Today’s post will be a recipe for steamed egg, and Friday I’ll post a recipe for steamed pork. These are Chinese comfort foods, cheap to cook, and easy to make. It’s one of those dishes you order at authentic Chinese restaurants. Honestly, only someone that is well-versed in Chinese food would get it.

This dish is a staple steamed egg dish. If you didn’t grow up with it, it’s just egg to you. You don’t necessary think to order it at a restaurant, but when you see it on the menu, you want it! But it’s not just egg. To Chinese families, it’s beyond that. It’s childhood memories. It’s knowing that steamed egg goes great with rice. It’s also a craving. It’s like being able to bake french fries at home, but isn’t it so much better buying it from McDonald’s?

Anyhoo, I got this recipe off a friend who posted their dinner on Facebook. Once I saw his picture of the steamed egg dish, I private messaged him because I had to know how to make it for my husband. Egg is one of his favorite foods, and ice cream…  and steak… and pizza… and Snickers… I digress. Egg!

This recipe is super easy! Let’s do this!

Chinese Dinner

Chinese Steamed Egg Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs (straight from the fridge)
  • Half a can of chicken broth
  • Teaspoon of oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • Chopped green scallions or cilantro for garnish (optional)

Cooking essentials: Steamer, steaming plate, whisk

You can makeshift a steamer by simply adding 1-2 inches of water in a large pan, something to raise your plate (a towel, a metal stand) and then place your steaming plate on top. Basically you do not want water in your steaming plate.

Directions:

1. Beat your eggs thoroughly in your steaming plate and add half the can of chicken broth. Whisk until combined well.
2. Cover the plate with plastic wrap to prevent bubbles from forming due to the condensation.
3. Steam the eggs on medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, until mixture is not runny.
4. In a pan, heat up oil and soy sauce.
5. Once the eggs are cooked, remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the chopped green scallions. Finally drizzle the oil and soy sauce onto the eggs.

Pro-status: If you loooove clams with this dish (a-to-the-men for whoever came up with this). Steam the clams first until they are half open. Then pour the chicken broth and egg mixture onto the clams and follow directions 2-5.

Plastic Wrap

Egg

Dinner

My father in law loves this dish. And MG, he is able to eat just this for dinner and he would be happy. It’s not just egg. It’s the joy you get from eating it, a happy belly! It’s the childhood memory of your mom letting you beat the eggs for this dish. It’s about the family dinners where everyone had time to sit around the table to enjoy dinner.

Have you had this dish before? What are your thoughts?

Stay tuned on Friday for my steamed pork recipe,
Jay
—–
Special thanks to Ernest for the recipe
You can purchase my steamer from Amazon here

  

Easter and Poshmark

My weekend was basically going to Easter services and Poshmark!

I went to Good Friday service then headed home and MG, and I watched the Sex and the City movie on Bravo. Random but such a great way to end the night – a mindless movie for entertainment!

On Saturday, I wanted to use my $10 coupons at Kohl’s and JCPenney; it was the last day before it expired. I shopped until I could find something to buy… kinda tortuous when you don’t really want to shop. MG and I ended up with a pair of sleeping pants, socks, a card, and a pan holder, a random collection. We then went to a musical at Neighborhood Church in Castro Valley, and watched a play based on the Book of Luke. Every Easter they host musicals, and I highly recommend attending because the production is amazing. Think Broadway-type singing and very detailed sets; all for $5.

We attended an Easter Baptism at our church on Sunday. The highlight was that my roommie, Jess, made homemade Korean noodle soup. Dee-li-ciousss! Then we topped off the night with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Movie is bomb dot com (people still say that right?)! Le sigh… he’s so beautiful. If you watch it, make sure you stay for the end credits; there’s two. Sadly, I didn’t know about the second one, sad face… It’s a good movie! And did I mention he’s beautiful?

Oh yeah… and I mentioned Poshmark. I’ve been actively on this mobile app trying to sell some of my clothes, some new and some gently worn. The app receives 20% of your sale, and you keep the rest. You can join parties that occur throughout the day to market you items. The hosts of the parties pick some of their favorite things, called host picks. I received 3 Host Picks this weekend, which has increased my activity and I’m almost at 1,000 followers! If you’re on it, add me (jay_lam). I’ve purchased a few items, but I have yet to sell any clothes. I’m spending more than I’m making… oops. But if you have any advice on getting stuff sold, let me know. Also if you have clothes you want me to sell, bring them on over!

Now leaving you off with this pic. Can you spot the creeper?

Creeper
Gosh, I love that guy so much ^^^

What did you do this weekend?
Jay

  

Easter (To Me)

Easter candy? Yum. Easter outfits? Pretty. Easter bunny? Terrifying… What’s Easter to me?

Before I get started, know that this is a personal post. It’ll be about my faith and how I’ve come to know my Savior Jesus.

I was baptized 2 years ago on Easter Sunday.

Baptism

Me

Baptized

Group

I had became a believer in Christ back in college. I went to a few Bible studies and attended church a handful of times. But the day I truly became a follower was the day I asked God to reveal Himself. With a simple question like that, a serenity had fallen upon me. I felt rest in a very stressful time of school and social pressures. People ask me all the time, why are you Christian. And that’s my answer. It was simply a feeling and a calm that overcame me, a personal connection that I felt with God.

I’ve learned a few things since I started following Jesus.

Life doesn’t get easier. 

Those hurdles? Those challenges? Those bumps in life? I still experience them. Life is still hard, but I have people to share my burdens. I’m able to lean on God, my rock, to know that He has plans for me to succeed. I also have a community to share my worst but also to be with me to celebrate my best.

A different meaning of Love.

I love food. I love my cat. I love my family. Those are all very easy to understand right? But I learned a different kind of love, a love where you do forgive and forget and a love so deep that it doesn’t make sense. Think about the dirtiest, filthiest, germiest thing you’ve ever come across. Mine might be the person who spoils TV shows on Facebook, and to make things worse, he’s sick with the flu, and even worse, he’s part of hate groups that I will never understand… But that’s the people that God loves. And I’m trying to love those too (though it often tests my patience).

By no means am I a first-rate Christian. I wake up with doubts frequently and have to ask myself “Does God exists?” But there are so many times He answers this by fitting puzzle piece together, pieces I didn’t even know existed. I don’t believe in coincidences, but I do believe that God has perfect timing and perfect plans.

So what does Easter mean? Easter celebrates Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins, how he’s conquered death by rising from the grave, and how He’s set an example for how I should live my life.

What does Easter mean to you? How do you celebrate Easter?

In His Love,
Jay

  

Bacon Deviled Eggs

Two years ago, I was baptized on Easter Sunday. I was able to celebrate with my friends and family, and one of the highlights of the day (don’t laugh) were these rice krispie treats my friend made. They were sooo ooey and gooey and clearly very memorable.

I knew people made treats for Easter but I didn’t understand why. Growing up I didn’t celebrate Easter as a major holiday. We basically bought candy and hosted an egg hunt at our house for a few kids. I’ve probably taken pictures with the Easter bunny twice. That defined Easter for me.

But now I can see that Easter has a different meaning for those that follow Jesus. And people make treats to celebrate this occasion and to make memories, like ooey-gooey rice krispie treats! I’m not going to feature rice krispies today (you can find my chewy chocolatey recipe here), but I am going to showcase my bacon deviled eggs!

My mom never made deviled eggs… Hello! I grew up in a Chinese household. Soy sauce eggs can be found in the fridge constantly, but none of this mayo-mixed egg yolk. The first time I had a deviled egg that I could remember was at Park Tavern in San Francisco about 2 years ago (where have deviled eggs been all my life). At $2 for half an egg, I’d rather make my own version at home. Don’t get me wrong, the smoked deviled eggs are amazing, but I don’t know if it’s $2 amazing…

So challenge accepted, and I set out to make my own smoked deviled egg. The bacon deviled egg is my result! Not too much mayo, and lots of smoked flavor from the bacon, paprika, and hickory salt.

I made these for my last LAN party and they were a hit! I actually had to save two for a friend who was coming to the party late. This recipe calls for a dozen eggs, but I’m not even kidding when I say you should make more!

Finished

Bacon Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

  • One dozen eggs
  • 6 strips of bacon*
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika (normal paprika is good too)*
  • 1 teaspoon of hickory salt (can substitute salt)
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes

*Both from Trader Joe’s. The applewood smoked bacon is amazing and the smoked paprika has a great flavor

Directions:

1. Boil the eggs. The best way to do this is to submerge your eggs in cold water and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat and leave the eggs in water for 15 minutes. Drain out the water and place the eggs in ice cold water for easy peeling. Peel all your eggs and cut them into halves, and take out the egg yolks into a separate bowl.
2. Cook 6 strips of bacon until crispy. Then set bacon aside and cut into small pieces.
3. Add the remaining ingredients to the egg yolk (mayo, mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper flakes). Now this is the money right here – add a tablespoon of bacon oil to the egg yolks. Mash up the egg yolks and mix in the ingredients until combined.
4. Scoop the egg yolk mixture into each of the egg white halves and top with a piece of bacon.

Eggs

Peeled

Yolk

One

Done

Bacon makes everything better. Agreed?

What are some of your favorite Easter treats? Do you have a deviled egg recipe that you love? Please share!

Stay tuned for my Good Friday post,
Jay

  

Hiking With Doggies!

I went camping again this past weekend! I love camping. I enjoy waking up to fresh air. Oh, and that campfire!

This was the first time I went camping with an air mattress. And damn, it’s good. I don’t think I can ever go back to sleeping pads. We went back to Bootjack Campgrounds at Mount Tamalpais State Park in Marin County, same campsite as my last trip. It’s nice that it’s an easy 1.5 hours away from the East Bay.

We got in on Friday night around 10pm, set up our tents, and went to bed. It was extremely cold that night, around 40°F. Having to pee in the middle of the night is a hurdle. But when one cannot simply hold it anymore, one has to brave the cold and squat. Thankfully I have a husband that is willing to accompany me! Makes for more fun!

We woke up Saturday morning, ate breakfast, took a nap, ate lunch, and went hiking. Yup, you read that right. Before noon, we already ate and took a nap – that’s the best part about camping!

Burger
Cheeseburgers for lunch, before the hike

We hiked to Cataract Falls and back to our campsite, which was a total 5.6 miles. Very enjoyable, and highly recommended. It’s a tiring hike, at least for me. You know your legs are tired when they fail you and you kick a rock because your feet is dragging. Then you almost eat it… Maybe that happened to me, maybe…

Fog
Look at that fog rolling in – yeah it was cold!

Hiking
Hi Jess & Bailey!  ^^^

Rest
After an uphill climb, a much needed rest

Falls
Cataract Falls

Slug
Banana slug! Slimyyyy

Doggies
Our friends Josh and Joe joined us with their doggies! Meet Bailey and Flynn

Gang
The gang

Once we got back, we started the fire for warmth and began cooking dinner, tri-tip kabobs!

Kebobs

Dan

This time around before I went to bed, I brought some heat into my sleeping bag for the night. Pro-tip: Heat up water and place it into a metal water bottle. Then put the bottle into a long sock and stuff it into your sleeping bag for warmth. The sock prevents the metal from burning you. This makes all the difference!

We got up Sunday morning, cooked breakfast, packed up, then headed to church. Once I got home, I took a shower and then fell asleep on the couch. Another successful camping trip!

What did you do this weekend?
Jay

  

Simple Strawberry Crumble Pie

It’s the Friday before Good Friday! Are you prepping for Easter yet?

In my household, we’re not big on Easter candy or baskets. If we’re going to use up calories on candy, let’s go ahead and go all out with dessert. Cookies. Cake. Pie. Now I’m down for that!

After dinner, I was craving something sweet but like I said, no candy. I just want dessert. I looked around my pantry and fridge to see what was going bad. I came across these things – super ripe strawberries, almost expiring heavy whipping cream, and graham crackers from when we went camping. Hmmm, I like the combination of ingredients.

This resulted in a simple strawberry crumble pie! It takes 20 minutes to make and 1 hour to freeze and will result in an ear-to-ear smile!

Title

Simple Strawberry Crumble Pie
8-10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Whip cream (Can be purchased, but I make my own whip cream by simply whisking heavy cream until it forms peaks)
  • 1.5 cups finely ground graham crackers
  • 6 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • Brown sugar

Directions:

1. Combine the lemon juice, sugar, and sliced strawberries. Place into the fridge while you work on the other ingredients. This helps soften the strawberries and adds sweetness.
2. Combine the melted butter with the graham crackers. Press 1 cup of the graham cracker mixture onto the bottom of a baking pan. Put the other half cup into another baking pan, spread evenly, as this will be used to top the pie. Bake at 375° F for 7 minutes. Then let it cool.
3. Spread whip cream onto the graham cracker crust, then layer on the sliced strawberries. Finally, sprinkle on the remaining graham cracker crumbles. To top it off, sprinkle a bit of brown sugar.
4. Freeze for 1 hour before serving.

Macerating
Macerate the fruit so that it’s juicy and sweet

Layering
Layering on the goods

Top
^^^ This is half the recipe

Cut
Yum!

Done

It may not be the prettiest slice of pie, but it sure is delicious! It’s a nice treat for a warm day. Or a nice treat when all you want is dessert!

Is this something you can recreate? What are some good strawberry dessert recipes you love?

Have a great weekend!
Jay

  

Simple Broccoli Salad

Last week it was rainy and chilly. This week is a whole different story! It’s so warm out, reaching 80°F in the afternoon and low 70’s in the evening. We actually have our air conditioning on!

I’m still running and training for my half-marathon (happening in August). It’s such a love/hate relationship. During the first two miles I’m always questioning “Why!! Why do you do this to yourself? How am I going to continue?” Then the next two miles are usually pretty easy going. After the run, I love running and think to myself “Seriously a great work out. I can certainly do this again!”

Surely, the entire thing happens all over again, day after day! Now it’s so hot out that I can’t even run during lunch time. Evening running is great though! It’s a bit cooler, more people are out and about, and it’s right before dinner so I can be super hungry after running (yup, food is my motivation for running). No judgement.

Since we’re running in the evenings now, it’s important to make a quick and easy dinner to end the night. I’ll grill/pan-fry meat, and we’ll also have a salad. Today I’ll share with you a delicious and scrumptious broccoli salad recipe. It’s so easy; simply get the ingredients and mix it all together!

Title

Simple Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium broccoli crowns
  • 1 apple, diced*
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup bacon bits
  • 1/4 cup poppy seed dressing

*Substitute candied walnuts for the sweet-tooth

Directions: Cut the broccoli crowns into bite-sized pieces. Toss in the remaining ingredients and combine well.

Tossed

Served

Perfect bite^^^ The perfect bite

It’s extremely easy and extremely delicious! It’s also a great salad to make for potlucks because you can prepare in large quantities at a cheap cost. If you love crunch, then this is the perfect recipe for you!

Is this something you can make? What are some of your favorite salad recipes?

Crunch crunch,
Jay