Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2013

From Me, Clarence, and Baby Wong....


We are trusting you enjoy celebrating with loved ones and are filled with joy over the amazing gift we were given 2000 years ago...the birth of a Savior!

DIY Ornament Wreath

December 22, 2013

I've never stepped into the handmade wreath world, but this year figured I'd like to make the journey. I always see photos of cute wreaths all over my FB feed or Pinterest and, gosh darn it, I felt left out!

The first one I saw and absolutely LOVED was this:



I was a bit overwhelmed at the thought of all that hot gluing on a wreath and also questioned how well it would stay. Then I found another tutorial where you use a wire hanger. It seemed way easier and had less chance of me burning my finger off with hot glue. I can't find the tutorial I used, but here is a link to a similar one. 

And here is my finished product!



It was super simple and took only about 1 1/2 - 2 hours from start to finish. It cost me about $15 in ornaments from Dollar Tree (I bought around 100) and I had about 20 left over that we put on our tree. So in the end, I probably could've saved a few more dollars, but I'm still really happy with it! 

In case you don't want to follow the link above, the basic instructions are:

  1. Hot glue the tips onto the ornament themselves so that they don't fall off later
  2. Bend a wire hanger into a perfect circle
  3. Start stringing the ornaments onto the hanger, alternating sizes and colors and overlapping them so that all gaps are filled in
  4. Once all your ornaments are on, hook the two sides of your wire hanger together at the top
  5. Hang and enjoy!



Alternative to Pottery Barn Wingback Convertible Rocker

November 11, 2013

Who knew the search for a rocker/glider for the nursery would be such a pain? I cannot believe the price of chairs out there! I thought it would be relatively easy to find a chair that I liked at a reasonable price.

Mothers around the world scoff at my naive and optimistic outlook.

There was one chair that I absolutely fell in love with during my search. The Pottery Barn Wingback Convertible Rocker. Take a look at this beauty...


Sigh.....

At over $800 I tried to justify purchasing it but just. couldn't. do. it.

So the search continued. There were a few I thought might work, but nothing seemed to be right. I just wanted something that was nice to look at, comfortable, and wouldn't break the bank. Well, I think I might have found a good alternative, and from Walmart of all places. Now, granted, I haven't received the chair yet and things from there are always a crap-shoot, but I'm willing to take my chances for this:


Despite the hideous metal glider base sticking from the bottom, it definitely has great possibilities! And pretty similar to the chair that I love. We are even considering waiting until it arrives and seeing if it's possible to add rockers to it instead of using the glider base. If not, we can always stick an ottoman in front of the chair to help cover that unfortunate eyesore. The price?

$289!

That's pretty much the cheapest chair I've found anywhere while still maintaining a decent look. Not to mention a savings of about $600 over the Pottery Barn option. Here is link for anyone else who has been looking for a nice chair, but doesn't want to go into debt to get it. I'll be sure to pass along my review once it arrives and we test it out. One final side-by-side comparison:


UPDATE: Since this is the most viewed post on my site, I figure that there are quite a few people who also love the Pottery Barn version, but are searching for something less expensive. Now that we've been using the chair for awhile, I'm happy to report that we really like it! The back could be a little bit higher to make it easier to rest your head back while rocking/feeding a little one, but that's really the only negative. It looks nice, rocks great, and has gotten the job done for us. I would recommend it to anyone who wants the look for less! 

Dining Table Makeover

October 20, 2013

Ok, so we technically finished this weeks ago, but there's been so much going on I hadn't had a chance to blog about it.

Have you seen the pedestal table makeovers in pinterest/blog land? I've seen a ton of people turn a hum-drum table into a thing of beauty with just a little paint and stain, so I figured I could do the same. When I was still living in Singapore last year, I spotted a pedestal table on Craigslist here in Lynchburg for a mere $60. My sweet sister was willing to go and pick it up for me and her in-laws held it for me until we returned. Gotta love family.

Well, what is a dining table without chairs? Besides a catch-all for junk...really nothing, cause we had nowhere to eat for the first month in our new place. I wanted to find 4 chairs that had an upholstered seat that I could change out and Craigslist came through again for me. I got a set of 4 for only $30! Here's what it all looked like before:


Ahhh, gotta love that orang-y wood tone :) And the fabric on the chairs? Please, take a closer look...they are amazing!


Yes, 70's! They were really appropriate for the kitchen with the all mushrooms, onions, and asparagus goodness, but alas, I decided to change them out for more updated fabric.

This is a photo I snapped after finishing the first chair. I was in love :)


Now, this was the first experience I had with Annie Sloan chalk paint. I'm not sure I would use the white again. After four coats, the coverage still wasn't very good, but I honestly just got tired of painting. Maybe it was the wood tone underneath, but I think if I paint white again, I'll probably prime and then paint with a different type of paint. Personal preference.

We sanded the top of the table and stained it a darker color which turned out perfect! Here is the finished product:


I'd say this was a successful makeover on our small budget!

The only thing I would change is the color of the walls, but considering I've made my husband repaint every room in our townhouse except for the dining/kitchen area...I've gotta let this one go. It may not match the blue in the fabric, but that won't matter in our next place.

Up next: Projects for the baby room! Here's a glimpse at my mood board:


It's a girl!!!

October 08, 2013

Well it's been almost a week since we found out we are having a little girl. It's still sinking in. Who am I kidding? The fact that I'm pregnant is still sinking in.

My siblings have basically been a male baby production line. The first grandchild was a girl...and that was the last girl we've seen. Since she was born, we've had four boys come along. And my brother Evan found out a few days before us that his wife was having a boy too! So needless to say, I think there were a lot of people holding out hope that we'd pull it out a baby girl win.

Of course I consulted the Chinese gender predictor months ago, which said I was having a girl, so for months I've been thinking that's exactly what we were having. That thing is freakishly correct! But once Evan and Christina found out they were having a boy, I started having my doubts.

We went to the ultrasound on Thursday and I told the tech that we didn't want to know. When the baby first came up on the screen, it was a full-body shot, but I swore I saw something "wiggle" in the bottom half. I quickly thought "Was that his thing?". Obviously I think in very adult terms.

Then I was SURE it was going to be a boy. Even the ladies in the office saw the ultrasound of the face and said it looked like a boy. But THEN someone mentioned it was probably the umbilical cord I saw. Duh.

So basically by the time the reveal rolled around, I had NO IDEA what it was going to be. And honestly I didn't care. Baby Clarence or Baby Girl Clarence....both are fine with me, as long as it looks like it's daddy!

We had my parents and my sister and her boys come over along with Clarence's parents on Skype for the big reveal. My best friend, Amy, was passed the envelope with the big secret inside and went to get us two cans of silly string. We just didn't know if it would be blue or pink, but we figured we might as well have some fun shooting each other.

In case you missed it, I've posted the video below. We are both so excited and can't wait to meet our baby girl! Now we just have to agree on a name. I've already vetoed Clarence's first suggestions of Eunice. Yikes. I think we have a long road ahead of us :)

video

Military Vest

September 29, 2013

Have you seen some of the adorable outfits with military vests lately? It's such a cute look and one that I've been wanting to replicate. Here are a few I love:



I've had a hard time finding a good vest that I like and is not too expensive. Apparently they are so popular they're hard to find. Or maybe I'm way behind the trend and no one is selling them anymore. I'll blame living overseas on that if that's the case.

I found one vest online that was adorable and in my price range. It was selling on a website called Conversation Pieces and boasted that it was back in stock! Score. So I click on the link to find....sold out. Crap! Here is a pic of the vest:


Cute, right? Well too bad. So then I did want any compulsive shopper would do, I did a search on www.shopstyle.com. And I found a really good option on JC Penney's website in the junior's section (I live in denial, ok?) It was on clearance for $15 too! It was too good to pass up. Here's what I ordered. 


A little snip snip of the jewels on the collar, and I am in business! If you're looking for a vest, you really can't beat the price and style. Here is a link and it's still on sale. I plan to put it to good use! What do you think?

Our Meal Planning

September 25, 2013

Me in the kitchen does not equal MasterChef. There's a reason I never went on that show.

I don't mind cooking, but I'm not a natural. I can't take 8 random ingredients and MacGyver something together in 30 minutes time. I need a recipe and full ingredients and google nearby in case I screw up...the whole 9 yards.

So, once Clarence and I moved into our own place (and sadly away from my mother's cooking), we decided to try out something I had heard about for awhile; eMeals. Who knew that I was capable of being in love with something other than an asian? Well it's true.

eMeals is basically a meal planning service that makes your life 100x easier. You choose your meal plan, what grocery store you go to, and each week a menu, shopping list, and recipes are sent to you. It includes 7 dinners (though you can also add breakfast and lunch plans too). It's only $5 a month which is a freakin' steal. We actually signed up via a Groupon deal for $29 for a year which made it even sweeter. It's definitely worth the small price tag! On top of that, they plan the meals based on sales in the store you chose so it's affordable. You can choose the family plan or one for two people.

We chose the low carb plan (our small attempt at being healthier) and though I miss potatoes, the meals have been really tasty! There is excellent variety and lots of flavor. And if we ever get sick of the low carb plan, we can change it to one of the other plans every month if we want.

I'm not getting paid by eMeals to recruit people to use the service, I just really love it and wanted to share for others who are not kitchen-inclined like me. I much prefer eMeals to pinterest-ing dinner ideas every week and trying to figure out what to make from day-to-day. Too.much.work.

In case you're interested, you can check out the meal plans and details and Signup here. If you do, let me know how you like it! And definitely download the eMeals app; it's amazing!

Here are some photos of some of the dinners we've had in the past weeks:







Stir crazy

August 28, 2013

Don't you just love opening a new can of paint, stirring it around, and then applying it to the wall to drastically change the look of a room? Yeah, except for when you've bought 6 sample paint colors and STILL can't find the right color for your wall. It's driving me a bit crazy; and I don't think my husband is enjoying my indecisiveness either. Actually text conversation:

Me: I got another paint sample today and I don't like that one either *cries*

Clarence: Gosh!!!

I can't seem to find the right color that is a grayish-tan without a blue undertone and not too dark. Here are the ones I've tried so far...(and excuse the poor-quality iPhone picture)


I started with the 3 colors on the left. Woah, way too blue. Then I tried the two on the far right. The far right seemed to be too "matchy" to the couch and the one beside seemed to be a tad darker than I'd like. Then today I went and bought the one in the middle....and it seems too blue too!! Grrr. It's hard to judge based off a color swatch, but the one I bought today did not look blue at all on the paint chip!

Maybe the current yellow is also throwing me off.  Should I just bite the bullet and pick one and trust it turns out well when it's all over the walls? Cause let's be honest, whatever I choose is going to be it. I can't buy 2 gallons, get my husband to paint, and then tell him I don't like it and we have to paint again. He'd be fine to keep it just the way it is...paint tests and all. If you can't tell, he has great designer sense...this is the same man who suggested we do a sponge paint technique in our apartment in Singapore. (I love you, Clarence!)

Any suggestions? Am I the only one who struggles to pick out paint?

Baby Wong is on the way!

August 26, 2013

Considering I haven't blogged since June, this post is WAY overdue! We recently made a big announcement on Facebook....


It was no secret that I was excited for when the time would come to have a baby that is part me and part my handsome Asian hubby! We moved back from Singapore in May and shortly after we returned, my last pack of birth control ran out. We went back and forth on whether we should go to the doctor now though we didn't have insurance, or take our chances and trust God to bless us with a baby in His timing. Well, obviously we chose option B. We thought it would take a few months to get pregnant since I'm already in my 30's, but we were surprised to find out it didn't! Of course Clarence contributes this to his "sniper" ability. Men.

Right as we found out we were pregnant, we also found out my brother and his wife were pregnant with their first too! To make it more exciting, we went to the doctor around the same time and found out our due dates are.....BOTH February 17th! What are the chances?

So that makes me about 15 weeks right now. I'm already starting to show, but have not felt the baby move yet. It's a bit surreal, but we are both so excited! We just moved into a new apartment and are looking forward to decorating the baby's room as I get further along. And you can be sure I'll post pictures of all that!

Because I'm so fashionable...

June 24, 2013

Since I know everyone looks to me for fashion advice (or not), here is my first post. I'm in a place where I'm trying to be purposeful about what I wear, not spend too much money, and try to mix and match my pieces. One of my favorite blogs for inspiration is Audrey's blog. She is adorable, modest, relatable, and has really great outfit ideas!

I wore this outfit tonight on a double date with Clarence and a couple of our friends. It was comfortable and also kept me warm in the typically cold dining room of the restaurant.


Jacket: Target, Shirt: Cotton On, Chevron Skirt: veryjane.com, Shoes: Target


I had been looking for just the right denim jacket that was a good wash and worn in enough to roll the sleeves. I ended up seeing a perfect one at Target, but they only had a size XL in the store. Boo! I ended up ordering this one online and am really happy with it!

Comfy and cute. I was happy with how this outfit turned out!

Girls Road Trip!

June 23, 2013

Last week my mom, sisters, and I embarked on an epic journey. It wasn't just a journey to Charlotte, North Carolina, but a journey into our past. We were headed to a concert that could've as easily been performed in the 90's as now. We witnessed this:


And I must say, we had such a great time! Hannah drove from Nashville to join us and it was the first time I had seen her since I'd been back in the States. It was so good to hug and laugh with my sister.


You have no idea how obsessed we were with New Kids on the Block when we were kids. We would put together hour-long shows for our parents, and not just the 3 girls, all 5 of us kids would participate! Don't let the boys tell you any different. Our sets included dining room chairs covered with blankets that we could pop out from behind during climactic moments of our show. It was quite the performance. We even have videos of these shows (though those will, for now, remain private). Hannah was probably three years old and was singing lyrics like "love the way you turn me on". Hilarious.

We had full sized posters in our room (which I might have occasionally kissed) along with other random merchandise. I swear someone is super rich off all the New Kids on the Block crap they sold to young girls back in the day. Amazingly we still had a few things left and decided we had to take them to the concert. Hannah and I had Jordan Knight huge buttons and Leah still fit in a shirt she had made when she was about 12 years old! 


Yes, that is her and Jordan Knight on that shirt. I have one too, but considering I was 8, that sucker definitely did not fit me anymore. But for your viewing pleasure, this is what it looks like: 


And yes, that is during my mullet days. Ahhh memories. 

I was also a huge fan of Boyz II Men. And I must say, they were the highlight of the night for me. Their harmony is still amazing and the songs are classic! The night overall was so much fun. We danced and sang our little hearts out and it made it that much better to spend it with my mom and sisters. We spent the night in a hotel though we didn't get any sleep because we are party animals! Actually, because my mom snores (love you mom)! At one point during a really breathy snoring moment I commented to Leah, "She sounds like Darth Vader" to which she responded, "I am your faaaather" and we couldn't stop giggling about it. The lack of sleep might have had something to do with that.

Anyway, it was a great, though short, trip. Now it's time to find the next girl's trip concert!



House Hunters

June 10, 2013

Hi, I'm Rachel and I'm obsessed with HGTV.





Ok, I feel better now. The first step is admittance.

One thing I am really looking forward to now that we're back in the US is becoming home owners. That may not happen right away, but I'm so excited to have our own place that we can work on together and make our own!

For fun, Clarence and I will occasionally get on zillow.com or trulia.com and search for homes that we would buy as if we were on House Hunters on HGTV (though I wouldn't make such a big freaking deal about double sinks in the master bath...or a lot of other things selfish Americans seem to complain about on that show!)

If I could pick a dream house it would definitely be a craftsman style home like this:



My dream craftsman would be more of a sweet, cozy bungalow with beautiful built-ins, a porch swing, beautiful detailing, etc. One day. And ideally it would be kind of a fixer-upper. Clarence and I both hope to buy a house that needs a bit of work. Not a total gut-job (we are amateurs here), but something we could put our own style into. A little sweat equity. When we house-hunt, we are always looking for the potential. We also don't want one of those new builds in an area where all the trees have been knocked down and the houses sit on top of each other. We don't mind knowing our neighbors, but don't really want to see everything that is going on in their house. Some things are meant to be kept private, am I right?

A craftsman house on a large lot with mature trees all around...and nice sidewalks to go on family walks...and a nearby park. I'm not asking for too much am I?

What kind of house do you want?

Practice Round

June 05, 2013

It is no surprise to our friends and family that I want a baby. Clarence probably hears about this at least once a day. While he also is excited for us to start a family, he's not quite as psychotic about it as I am.

This past weekend I decided to give him a little practice in being a daddy. We kept my nephews Gavin and Caiden at our house. It was so sweet to watch Clarence play with them and talk to them. To be honest, it did nothing but make my womb jump even more. Poor guy doesn't stand a chance. Even now he sleeps blissfully unaware beside me. But really, how can you resist hilarious cuteness like this?


I mean who doesn't want to wear a bumbo as a hat?

One afternoon we had laid Caiden down for his nap and a few minutes later he was calling out my name. Clarence went up to check on him and never returned. After a short while, I went upstairs to try to find out where he went. I checked in our room. Not there. Bathroom? Nope. Then I go in the room where Caiden is supposed to be napping. He'd used his sly toddler ways on my unsuspecting husband...he pulled the old "I can't sleep, will you lay in the other bed?" routine. And my sweet, unaccustomed husband fell for it. Still, by the end of the weekend we had a lot of fun and I was so proud of Clarence. Have I mentioned I have the best one? Well I do. I'm looking forward to seeing if he handles baby poop explosions with as much grace. I'll refrain from posting pictures of that.

Here we go!

June 01, 2013

Welcome to our new blog!

You can read more about us by clicking on the welcome box over there ---->

It's been awhile since I first started blogging years ago on xanga...anybody else remember when that was the place to blog? Did I just completely show my age? Yeah well I played Atari too, so there.

Anyway, all that was way before I met and married my awesome husband, Clarence. Now that we are starting fresh with a move to the US, we're making a fresh start in the blog-world as well. I plan (and hopefully will accomplish my goal) to share some things that I love. Basically the things listed in the menu bar above. Though this first post starts off the "family" portion, I hope to be posting about much more cute (and likely barf-inducing) things like....half-asian babies! And no we're not pregnant yet.  We are just praying our kids won't end up looking like this composite of our two faces. Otherwise, I don't think reproducing would be the right thing to do to the world.


Well, what better way to end our first post than with something that will give you nightmares? But please do come back. I promise every post won't be as horrifying.


 

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