It's been a good Christmas this year. A highlight was the Dude playing the role of Joseph at the Christmas pageant. When we arrived at church just minutes before the program was due to start, the priest organizing the pageant asked the Dude if he'd like to be Joseph because no one else had volunteered to do it. The Dude was a good sport and joined the kiddies up on stage. It was hilarious!


It's officially winter now. Hooray! Not because it's winter, but because the days will be getting longer from this day forward. I can already smell the summer coming...yeah, I'm hopeless.

Spent the morning with the Chancel Guild ladies decorating the church for Christmas. I mainly worked on flower arrangements. I've never really done flower arranging so I was a bit nervous, but to my relief my work was approved. And there was a lot of holly left over so I brought home a bunch to to fill our little apartment with some Christmas cheer.


It seems that every year I kinda get hyper during the Advent season, especially during the times I've lived in Vancouver. So I've been getting very sleep because I keep waking up super early. As Christmas approaches I just get more and more excited. Also, all the festivities distract me from the crappy weather so I generally feel really cheerful and upbeat. I regain the energy I normally have during the summer for a short month in the dead of winter. And then in January I usually crash. But I'm going to try to avoid that this year.

It just feels more Christmas-y here in Vancouver so I totally get into it. And I'm especially relieved that this year the snow won't paralyze the city as it did last year at this time.


My etsy shop made its first sale over the weekend! Yippee-skippy!

Lotsa things happening...one highlight has been joining the Chancel Guild at church. Our group's turn came up this past weekend so I got to learn the ropes. I've been wanting to be part of the Chancel Guild ever since I attended my first Anglican church, so when I was invited to join I jumped at the opportunity. After having not been very involved in a church for the first year I was back in Vancouver, now I'm very eager to get plugged in at my new church. When I left All Saints Pasadena, which I adored, I thought it would be nearly impossible to find a church that I liked enough to settle down in. But by God's grace I did, and I'm very happy where I'm at. Usually at a new church I hang back for at least half a year before getting involved in anything, but at this current church somehow it's ended up that I've been getting plugged in pretty much from the get-go.


I finally opened up my first Etsy shop! It's called Sugarpush Vintage and it specializes in handpicked vintage goods for the home. It went live last week and it's still very much a work in progress. I have more items that need to be added and hopefully the photos will improve.

I've wanted to have an online store for a long time and finally went ahead with it. I'm very excited about it! And I really love Etsy as a place to do business.


I became a Permanent Resident of Canada! Dreams do come true...in funny, unexpected ways. The man at the immigration office was quite the jovial fellow and seemed more excited than those being endowed Permanent Residence status. Anyway...

What I really want to share about is going to see Dan Savage speak last weekend. I love that man! He is so friggin' hilarious. But what stayed with me more than his humourously delivered sex advice was a tragic story about a lesbian couple vacationing in Florida with their kids. One of the women had to be hospitalized and her partner and kids were not allowed to see her while she was dying in a hospital room. She ended up dying alone. ALONE.

Although her partner had power of attorney and all the entitlements that a spouse would have, the hospital staff ignored all the papers and refused to recognize their domestic partnership because they deemed their relationship illegitimate. At least they could have let her kids see her. But nope, the heartless staff wouldn't budge.

Dan Savage asked, "What heterosexual marriage was saved by refusing these two women to be together?" And I angrily wonder the same question. WTF? The discrimination against gay people in the U.S. is just as appalling as when African-Americans were denied their basic civil rights. I can't believe that this sort of injustice still goes on after all the social progress that's been achieved. I really don't understand.


I never heard of Dorothy Draper until I attended Interior Design Show West back in September, and some panelist happened to mention her as her favorite interior designer and recommended her book. So I searched for the book and discovered that it was published in 1939! But I read the book anyway thinking at least its quaint domestic advice would be give me some good laughs.

Surprisingly, though, I found Draper's ideas refreshingly simple and contemporary. I think most of her principles of decorating are timeless. And her enthusiasm was really inspiring. Although, I wouldn't go for some of Draper's colour and pattern combinations and furniture selection, her advice regarding giving a room balance is very sound and, most importantly, it yields the result you want. Moreover, her approach to decorating is budget-conscious, which would definitely speak to anyone trying to beautify their home today.


Photo by striatic

The other day while I was volunteering at the neighborhood charity thrift shop, an elderly man gruffly tells me I'm not dressed properly. Then he pulls out a red poppy and hands it to me. I smile and say thank you.

Remembrance Day is coming up and so everyone is sporting a cute little red poppy on their coats. Being that I didn't grow up with this tradition in the US, I totally dig this custom.

In regards to volunteering at the thrift shop, the best part has been the characters I encounter, many who are regulars.


The Dude and I sadly didn't dress up for Halloween this year because we were too preoccupied with other things to plan ahead. But we did end up going to the Dunbar Haunted House on Halloween eve. It's been operating for several years now, but I only learned about it last week from someone who happened to be one of the actors whose job is to scare the crap out of visitors.

We waited for over an hour in pouring rain (it's wasn't your typical Vancouver drizzle) to get inside, and I think it was worth standing in the deluge. The scariest room was the one full of clowns, and three of them consecutively jumped out at me. I screamed my head off each time. It was great fun!

We were impressed by how well the house was decorated and all the details that were put into it. The Dunbar Haunted House is actually a private home that the owner decks out in glorious Halloween gore, hires actors to play scary monsters, and opens to the public. Admission is by donation only and all of it goes to various local charities. Pretty cool.


After two attempts to buy furniture posted on Craigslist only to have the sellers flake out on us, we decided that in order to preserve our mental health we should just buy new furniture. Trying to chase down furniture through Craigslist is not worth the time and effort. This makes me sad because I really want to buy used furniture. I find it to be not only budget-friendly but also a sustainable and eco-friendly way to furnish your home, and it's important to me to reduce my impact on the environment as much as I can. I've also tried looking through several Salvation Army thrift shops and only have been successful at finding two dressers so far.

Now I'm aware that it's not realistic to get everything we need used, so we did get a few pieces of furniture from Ikea a while ago. But it looks like we'll have to resort to getting more than anticipated. And I can't help but feel guilty whenever I do buy something new. Oh well.


A little while ago I painted our bedroom walls a pale gray-blue. The colour (I'm beginning to develop a habit of spelling words the Canadian way) is cooler than I'd like it to be. Perhaps I'll repaint next spring/summer. I'm such a novice when it comes to choosing paint colours. Whatever I choose never quite meets my expectations. I'm learning a lot through trial and error, so hopefully I'll be better about selecting the right shades in the future.

I finally finished another painting project involving shelves last week. It took a lot longer than I expected. Next up is painting the kitchen. I'm going to paint the walls yellow, which will be a nice break from all the blue I've been using. I've been very drawn to blue lately, but I'm trying not to overdo it.


The Dude brought back Oreo cookies from his trip to California. American Oreos! Yes, they taste differently from the Canadian version. Significantly different. I'm going to savor each one. Mmmm...

While the Dude was in California, I went on a weekend trip to Victoria to visit a girlfriend. She and I browsed through antique shops, went yarn shopping, and ate lots of yummy food. I really like the Victoria restaurant scene.


I just finished reading this book. It's a good intro to the basics of graphic design.


I want to make this sooooo badly.

But I think it's too major for a rental apartment. Plain ol' wall shelves will have to do for now.

Thanksgiving (Canadian that is) snuck up on me this year. A lot of pumpkin pie was consumed this weekend. Yum.


Wow, we've been blessed with extremely gorgeous sunny weather for a while now. We've been so spoiled that when it all goes away and the rains come it's really going to hurt. *sigh*

I ran out of primer this morning and had to dash over to Kerrisdale Lumber, a local building supply store. It's one of my favorite stores in Vancouver, and we live a mere three blocks away from it. I only discovered it this past spring. Now I try not to go there every week (because I end up spending way too much time browsing), but there's always some need to to go to pick up supplies for various projects. The quaint old-time feel of the place has won me over. It's probably the "prettiest" hardware store I've ever been in. Although I love Home Depot very much, Kerrisdale Lumber is fast stealing my heart. Besides, it feels good to support a non-big-box-store hardware retailer.



plus this:

equals my corner of happiness:


It's the only part of our apartment that is finished. Everything else remains a work in progress.

The tutorial for the brilliant shoe rack can be found here.


I started volunteering at the UBC Farm today. And, oh my goodness, I am so pooped after working just 2.5 hours. I spent a gorgeous late summer afternoon picking beans. LOTS of beans. My fingers already have callouses on them. My respect for farm workers has quadrupled now that I know how much physical labor goes into harvesting. I will no longer look at a piece of fruit or vegetable the same way again.


It's been about a week since we moved into our new apartment, and one thing that's definitely changed is that we eat a LOT more kimchi than we used to. I've been cooking Korean food nearly every day because it's the easiest and fastest meal to make. And I discovered that eating spicy Korean soup alleviates my allergy symptoms. Hoorah! And the Dude actually enjoys all the stinky, spicy food I've been making, which is a big relief to me. It's another indicator that I married the right person :-) It takes a special type of non-Korean to enjoy Korean cuisine, especially the kind I make.


Salt Spring Island Saturday Market

We're about to move to our new apartment, and I can't help but fret about how drab it's going to look for a while. Until we become a double-income household, we won't be able to decorate our apartment in any decent manner. It's gonna look shabby (not even "shabby chic"). It doesn't help me feel any better that every day I ogle beautiful and fab home interiors on the internet. What is it about the mid-century look that appeals so much to people in my demographic group? I just can't get enough of this style *sigh.*

Anyway, I look forward to living in a completely fragrance-free space that's bright and walking distance of a commercial strip. And I'll also be able to walk to my new church. Yay.


My little tomato plant, which I got in June, has grown so much to my amazement! And the tomatoes are finally beginning to ripen. This was my first time growing cherry tomatoes, and I thought for sure I was gonna end up killing it. But that hasn't been the case, and I'm so proud of it!

This has been an awesome summer to grow tomatoes. We had so many hot sunny days. What a gorgeous summer it has been. Although the days continue to be warm and sunny, I can feel a slight hint of autumn chill in the air.


I love listening to podcasts. They have replaced TV shows. Here's a list I would recommend:

If you're into knitting:
:: Cast On
:: Stash & Burn

:: NPR: Planet Money (really good at explaining what the heck is going in the global economy)
:: Savage Love Podcast (audio version of Dan Savage, the sex columnist)
:: Stuff You Should Know (geeky-cool science show)
:: This American Life (interesting stories about people from every walk of life)

These podcasts are both informative and entertaining. All can be found on iTunes.


old chair before being reupholstered

old chair in pieces

spray-painted and varnished

stapling new fabric and foam unto seat

reupholstered chair

Things I learned about reupholstering a dining chair:

:: Make sure the foam is a little bigger than the seat.
:: Stapling down the corners of the fabric is frickin' hard.
:: If repainting the chair, don't skip the primer and make sure to sand between coats (argh, I never learn).

This was a super fun project to do, and I look forward to future reupholstery jobs.


Salt Spring Island Saturday Market

I attended a wedding of a friend from my undergrad UBC days and got a blast from the past. I saw old friends whom I had not seen in ages. They were people I knew from the church I was going to nine years ago. I had mixed feelings about seeing them. On one hand I was glad to see them again and know where they're at now, but I was also sad that these people who were once good friends of mine are no longer in my life. All of them didn't know that I had come back to Vancouver and gotten married. I had not bothered to notify them because I had lost touch for so long. Even while at Regent I barely saw much of them, if at all.

Overall it felt awkward to see them again because I wasn't sure if I should make the effort to reconnect with them again. Do I suggest that we meet up soon and catch up? In the end, I decided to just leave it at "Hi" and "Bye." Frankly, there's really nothing we have in common that would reunite us and make us a regular part of one another's lives. The only thing we share now is a history, a brief period of our lives. We had some good times back then, but I doubt we could recreate them. We've all gone in our own direction.


Latest project is a nightstand on which I decoupaged some gift wrap paper.

And I've just embarked on my first reupholstery project! I need to go out and find some foam today to replace the one that's in the chair's seat. I'm very excited about doing this project.


The Dude and I will be moving out of the co-op house at the end of the month. Our new digs will be in Kerrisdale! The mecca for retired senior citizens in Vancouver!

We're sad to leave our awesome housemates, but we found that co-op living demands too much of our time. Our current house is very old, and an absentee landlord results in tenants doing much of the maintenance work. Also, we realized that being newlyweds requires us to put in a substantial portion of our energy and time into establishing our new marriage. Hence, we need to give ourselves the space and time to do that. Personally, I also discovered that living in a house is not my thing. I really do prefer small spaces because they're low maintenance. I rather be outside enjoying the city or exploring something new rather than working on my house. Accordingly, the Dude and I are in no hurry to buy a house any time soon.

I'll be spending a lot of time at www.apartmenttherapy.com as I fantasize about decorating our sweet, little apartment.


We're back from our honeymoon!

We went on a road trip that took us up to the Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island, and Salt Spring Island. Yes, lots of ferry-ing around.

Memorable moments:

::Watching the lightning storm from Sechelt.

::My favorite ferry ride was hands down the one between Earl's Cove and Powell River. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous scenery.

::Visiting the Old Country Market in Coombs--famous for having goats on their roofs.

::The Dude fooling around with his seaweed "whip" on the beach while we were in Tofino.

::Canoeing in Clayoquot Sound.

::Chatting it up with Bruce of Bruce's Kitchen, owner of a small cafe in Salt Spring Island that specializes in using produce from local farms. We especially enjoyed the amazing orzo salad that had delectable slices of heirloom tomatoes.


Based on the positive feedback we got, I think our wedding celebration was a success. So many guests told us what a great time they were having, and that's what really mattered to us when all was said and done. And we sure had a good time ourselves, too!

Of course, putting on the party wouldn't have been possible without the amazing help we got from our friends and family. I was really moved by the love and support people expressed.


I just finished my first carpentry project! I built a 3.5 ft. long planter for a wedding decoration project. Yay, I can't believe I actually managed to make something out of lumber! All by myself! It feels good to realize my ambitions in carpentry at last.

The other day I bought my one and only wedding magazine since getting engaged: the Summer 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Weddings. I was drawn to its special DIY (do-it-yourself) section, and I'm a sucker for all things DIY. Heck, our entire bloody wedding is DIY. Anyway, the magazine also features real weddings, and to my utter surprise one of the brides wore the same dress as mine (except with a slightly different neckline). Cool...I think. Some twisted part of me wishes that the dress I chose is exclusive to me only, but given that I bought it off the rack, I'm sure many other women have worn it for their weddings.

DIY has been the operative theme for our wedding, and I chose to do it this way so that I could make sure that things are done in the most environmentally friendly way. One of the downsides to weddings is the incredible amount of waste that's produced, not just in materials but also in energy. And even the things that we outsourced to others, we chose to work with vendors that are mostly within a 5-mile radius of our house.

But DIY comes at a price, which is that it takes more time. I'm also finding that choosing the ecological option is usually very budget-friendly, but at times it is definitely not. And I've been struggling with the challenge that being "green" may result in your wedding looking sparse when it comes to decor. It's been an interesting learning experience to strike a balance. I think the solution is to be as decorative as you want but try to use as many materials that are either used and/or that can be reused or re-purposed after the wedding.

All in all, I'm very pleased with how I've designed the wedding. Nevertheless, I'm anxious to see how it will all pan out on the actual day and if my vision of the wedding can be realized the way I had hoped.


I just came back from an invigorating bike ride. I feel so alive when I ride. Yes, I finally got a bike! It's used but in solid shape, and I got it for only $50, way below what it should have cost. I totally lucked out. The quality is much higher than the bike I had when I was in L.A., but unfortunately, it's not hot pink. Perhaps, a spray paint job is in order.

Anyway, this is a good time to start riding again so that my inflated ass can be whipped back into shape. I need to fit into my wedding dress! My energy level has been hit hard by various health issues in the last couple years, but especially recently, so I haven't been as active as I used to be and the state of my derriere shows it.

I just discovered today that it's World Wide Knit in Public Day. I miss it every year! If I had known, I would have joined the group that's meeting at Kits Beach right now, but my day is already booked.


For months I've been wanting to paint our bedroom walls, and today I finally started! A while ago, I scored a quart of Ralph Lauren paint in a gorgeous gray-blue hue for $3 in the "Oops" section at Home Depot. A very lucky find! So I used it to paint one wall of our bedroom, and I totally dig it. It just livens up the room so much. It's amazing the difference a paint job can make. The rest of the walls will be in a pale yellow, and I can't wait to see the outcome.

Also, I'm going to check out a used bike tonight. I hope this one's it because I'm dying to ride again. It's been way too long since I last rode.


Whilst wedding planning, I've avoided scouring the world wide web for wedding ideas and stalking a million and one wedding websites. But there is one wedding website (www.oncewed.com) that I recently started tuning into regularly because I adore their DIY projects and the real weddings they feature. If I could plan our wedding all over again, I'd do it on a farm or in someone's backyard.

Now, I present to you The Behemoth.






My first furniture refinishing project, which I finished a while ago. My favorite feature of the whole project is the handle. Doing the bird silhouettes was a pain in the ass. The nightstand is far from perfect, but considering it was my first project, I'm pleased with it.

I'm currently on my third piece, which is another nightstand. I shall post pictures of the Behemoth (the oversized dresser) as soon as I'm able to document it.


Ugh, I've been housebound for the last 48 hours or so and going almost nuts. I got this weird flu on Wednesday that forced me to do nothing but to stay in bed. I've never had a flu that made me bed-ridden for so long. I'm so ready to go out and enjoy the beautiful weather we've been having.

The Dude's little bro has been staying with us this past week. We've taken him out to enjoy the great outdoors. My favorite activity was a hike in Squamish Valley, which turned out to be more intense than we anticipated (it involved chains and ropes for climbing). But it offered such amazing views of the valley. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere.

Tonight, we're going to take him out for karaoke. I hope I'm up for it because I absolutely loooove singing karaoke.


Because we were having some friends over for dinner last night, the Dude got a six-pack of He'Brew Genesis Ale. It was not bad! When we saw the beer a few days ago we got a kick out of it, and because of its shmaltziness, I wouldn't have considered it seriously as a beverage choice. So I was surprised when the Dude came home with it. Anyway, it's a pretty good beer, and kosher to boot.

Good times.


I wonder if I'll feel any more "married" after our wedding this summer. The Dude and I actually had a very small civil ceremony back in February, but our "wedding" is in July when most our friends and family can come and the weather is much nicer (if it doesn't rain, that is).

Anyway, wedding planning has come to the point where it's just tedious now, and I can't wait until the day of the event when I don't have to plan anymore and can just have fun. I like helping others plan their weddings, but planning my own for months has become tiresome.


I've been busy, but feeling as if I haven't been accomplishing much. And I realized that my dissatisfaction was due to the fact that I've been mainly dealing with obligations and not giving enough time to working on stuff that I really wanted to be doing. And the stuff I really wanted to work on were my creative projects. Hence, my schedule needed an overhaul.

Now two days out of the week are devoted to furniture refinishing and any other crafty project that's on the queue. The rest of the days are for wedding planning, house business, meetings, etc. This new schedule was put into effect last week, and I definitely feel that it's made a difference. I feel more productive and no longer feel frustrated with not being able to work on my crafts.

So far I've spent 3 days working on the "Behemoth" - an oversized dresser left by a former housemate. Most of the time was taken up with sanding down the damn thing.


Recent happenings:

Nerd Party! I finally fulfilled my dream of throwing a Nerd Party after many years of fantasizing about it. It was so cool that most people did come dressed as nerds.

The Dude's mom and stepgrandmother visited for a few days. I really enjoyed hanging out with them. We went fabric shopping for the Dude's shirt and necktie, which his mom is going to make for his wedding outfit. We also visited with family, which is always fun (yes, hanging out with the relatives is fun when it comes to the Dude's family). And we ate, and ate, and ate lots of yummy food!


Important things I'm learning about refinishing furniture:

- Sand, sand, SAND the heck out of the surface until it's smooth as a baby's butt.

- ALWAYS use primer before painting the surface with the main color.

Our engagement photos are up on our photographer's blog.


Home Depot is fast becoming my new favorite retailer. The customer service is excellent! I'm beginning to get into furniture refinishing, so I've been going there pretty often to pick up this and that. Currently, I'm working on a nightstand and a dresser.

And the last two days, the Dude and I have been collaborating with the Dude's uncle, who happens to be a woodworking wiz, to build a custom-designed ergonomic computer desk. It just has to be varnished, and I can't wait to see how the finished product looks.


Spring has not forgotten Vancouver. For a while, I was quite worried. I've been anxiously awaiting the cherry blossoms because I really wanted to take our engagement photos under their lovely shade. Last week the cherry blossoms trees were still starkly bare, but now they have miraculously bloomed just in time for our photo session tomorrow!


A loaf of beer bread is in the oven, filling the kitchen with that comforting aroma of yeast, sugar, and flour doing their magic. This time I used Granville Island Honey Lager. The first time I made beer bread I used Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which gave the bread a slight bitter taste.

This morning I went to the pool at the local uni to participate in their Aquasize class for the first time. I am so pooped. Most of the participants were elderly Chinese ladies. Although I felt out of place, I'm going to try to make it a regular thing. Maybe I'll try to get the Dude to come with me once in a while.


It looks like a veritable winter wonderland outside. It snowed again overnight. It's March...and it's snowing.

But the weather has been gorgeous, so I guess a little snow is tolerable.

Since I don't want anything to do with the snow outside, I'm going to stay inside and make some homemade yogurt again.


Over the weekend I attempted to make homemade yogurt, and it was a success! My first attempt at making yogurt was a failure. It happened to be soy yogurt, which is harder to get right than dairy yogurt. But dairy yogurt was a lot easier and forgiving. Our household consumes a lot of yogurt (I'm the only one who doesn't due to my lactose intolerance), and hopefully we can switch to homemade yogurt.

Also, I'm happy to report that the beer bread I baked was surprisingly good. I'm eager to try it with other beers.


It snowed again. I'm not very fond of snow, especially after the massive dumps we got in December.

I'm using the bread machine for the first time today. My foray into yeast breads continues...

I also recently discovered a recipe for beer bread, which I'm very eager to try.


cupcake flower arrangement

Lent has begun. I've been eagerly awaiting Lent since last year, which was the first time I observed it and an amazing experience for me.

Today I went to the noon Ash Wednesday service at my church. My forehead was marked with an ashen cross, which was wiped away shortly thereafter by my acupuncturist who didn't realize what it signified. I found it quite comical.


My apologies for the long hiatus. Things have been hectic...

Since the last update, The Dude and I have gotten engaged. Being engaged pretty much is consumed by wedding planning, and since ours is going to be a DIY wedding, it's going to require a lot more energy and time.

Although I'm very happy to be engaged to a man I love very much, when I think about my gay friends in California who cannot get married I feel badly...and almost guilty. If I weren't legally able to marry The Dude, I'd be so devastated and pissed off as hell at the same time.

It's been about five months since I've been back in Vancouver, and I feel a lot more settled down. Living in a house I enjoy and one that actually feels like "home" definitely helps. I feel really lucky to have found my current place, and with such great housemates, too! The Dude and I agree upon communal living as a lifestyle choice, and I hope we can live this way for a long time.

Now that I have more free time, I can finally get to wedding planning and painting the walls. (And perhaps more blogging!)