April 2018 Favorites

Here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

Reading. I’ve been working on increasing my reading time. There are too many books and too little time. I try to keep the time between dinner and bed for my Kindle. As much as I admire beautiful book cover designs, the best way for me to switch between my books is on the Kindle. Plus, I get to borrow e-books quite easily online.

This one by P.D. James and this one with Sagan. Who knew a book about a lost robot would make me cheer, gasp and cry!

Eating brioche french toast. Using my favorite Nigella recipe.

Drinking milky tea with this much needed addition. I really feel the difference.

Listening to these podcasts – Ear Hustle, Table Manners, Bloom & Grow Radio.

Scrolling through planty posts on Instagram is my new favorite thing. I got my a new friendship plant (pilea peperomioides). I want a radiator plant (peperomia rosso, in particular).

What have you been loving lately?

Friday Favorites

Work is still crazy and I have a lingering cold so that means I’m intentionally hoarding things that I love and enjoy. Little treats and moments of gratitude have helped me through these past weeks.

Cadbury Caramel Eggs – I love caramel. You all know that!

Milk Tea – made with PG Tips tea bags, full fat milk powder and raw honey. The best comfort drink.

Playing sea otters with Sagan – we have been enjoying videos of this baby sea otter and his momma, floating in the sea so he has been laying on my belly while we pretend to be sea otters.

Penelope Dullaghan’s Instagram posts of her work – love the recent pieces with blues and whites.

This book – Owls: Our Most Charming Bird – lovely illustrations. Sagan loves owls, but we never got a reference-style book and when I saw this, I knew this would be it.

Sheet Masks – finally, my face has stopped peeling and is playing nice with my foundation/makeup. My mum bought me a whole bunch of them from Etude House when she went back to Singapore, they have all worked equally well.

Fall is in the air

S is watching M drive up and get out of his car. I love this face. I am so happy that I was able to capture this expression. It truly shows how much he loves his daddy.

Yikes, my last post was about summer and now it’s already fall. Has it become that I only blog 4 times a year, around the change of seasons? Oh boy. I really want to get back into writing here. I find that it was a really good way to share my life and find like-minded friends who get what I’m trying to say. I recently met 2 blog friends who inspired me to start my blog way back in 2003. It was amusing to hear that when asked by others what types of blogs we had, we said we had blogs when people talked about everything and their feelings. It is interesting to see how blogs have evolved. I don’t want da*xiang to change, I want it to reflect my life. Things are busy right now but so very good.

Recently, I went to Design Camp with AB Chao. She is fabulous and so cool, with tons of ideas and fun tips on redecorating one’s space. Because of that camp, I have launched Project Renew Scarlett. There is a long list of things that I would love to get done but we all know that it requires time and money. I’ll have to prioritize. My initial plan was to start working on the master bedroom but that would require a lot of time than I have right now so I am going to start with some low-hanging fruit. I’ll change up the dining room – a new pendant to make the space more intimate, a new rug and some new pieces of art. My Pinterest boards should be starting to display my ideas soon.

We are still on this primal eating wagon. It’s been so good for us. We now have the required energy to chase a very mobile and destructive 14 month old. We’ve been grilling our meats but the cooler weather begs for braised goodness. I started by braising a pork shoulder in milk. Saveur has several braising ideas here.

Just this weekend, my girlfriend brought Sagan their play kitchen. He loves it and I can’t wait until he would bring me a tray of cookies or some bacon and eggs from his fry pan. To help him along, I’m going to make him some of this felt food.

I am looking forward to putting together my autumn/fall collage soon but in the meantime, I hope you kiss summer goodbye and embrace fall as it arrives. Because how else will we get to another summer.


Weeks during the summer seem to fly by more quickly than others. We are having a Seattle heat wave right now but it barely reaches 90 degrees, so no complaints! This year, we bought a portable air conditioning unit and it makes things so much better. We retreat into the bedroom early in the evening, usually after a post-workout shower. Cool air and rest after some hard work really feels good.

Last weekend, I celebrated a milestone birthday. The big 4-0. I didn’t feel traumatized. I actually felt invigorated and excited for the next decade. Honestly, I am in the best shape of my life. I have so much energy even with waking up once or twice a night for Sagan. He doesn’t keep me up but it’s sometimes hard to fall back to sleep. There is still quite a ways to go in terms of meeting my fitness goals but I feel so much stronger and fitter.

Mike and I also got done with our Whole30 this past week. It was a good challenge that we undertook together with some members of our Crossfit box. We were already on our primal way of eating but Whole30 was much stricter – no sugar, no alcohol and no dairy. I really missed my cheese. I didn’t miss my alcohol. I love a good cocktail but I did not feel deprived. Sometimes just having the option is enough for me.

Sagan turned one 2 weeks ago. He is already walking, my friends. Walking more than he crawls. How did he suddenly become a toddler? Such a big boy. He loves anything with wheels on them – trucks, cars, motorbikes, shopping carts and even garage doors. We does his rounds in the morning, opening and closing every cabinet door in my kitchen. He opens them, pulls out one or two things and then leaves them open. Most of the time, I just navigate around them and then do a little “closing” after he’s done his rounds and goes off in a different direction. I do this a few times a day. He loves to eat eggs, cheese, sausage, hamburgers, applesauce, peaches, blueberries, oatmeal, yogurt, crackers and dried apricots. He is starting to transition to cow’s milk but is still nursing in the evenings and before naps. He still is not a fan of sleeping in. He wakes up by 5.30am, raring to go. Just like someone I know, someone he calls “da-dee”. He says quite a few words now, like “da-dee”, “neh neh” (for milk or me), “ma ma” (for me or grandma – the tone is different), “pa pa” (for grandpa), “fow-fuh” (flower), “bot bot” (robot), “bux” (box), “drin drin” (rolling his Rs, when he wants some water) and “duck” (truck). He does love his daddy. I love to watch the both of them together – M would toss him in the air, hang him upside down and rough-house with him, S would just giggle and laugh with so much excitement. He drinks from a sippy cup or a Camelbak bottle. That way I don’t worry when I forget his cup. He can always take my Camelbak bottle. In fact, he prefers it. He just wants to be all grown up. I can go on and on about him but I have to go. He is being quiet and usually that means he’s having a moment that will require a diaper change or getting stuck in something.

We leave for our first family road trip tomorrow. Just a weekend to Portland where delicious eats await. Can you say Pok Pok? And Salt & Straw? Also, since S goes down to bed early in the evening, we’re packing a lovely indoor picnic when we get there. I hear the charcuterie at Olympic Provisions are to die for. Meat, cheese, olives, wine and some fruit. Perfect summery fare.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer!

Up to

I started working on my blog again. I’ve added those buttons for social media to the right menu bar. I realize that I don’t blog as much but I still spend a good amount of time on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. My blog is due for a redesign but I need to be able to commit my time to posting more often. Some days, it feels like this blog has no future. I know readership has definitely declined but I am happy that I do keep in touch with some of you on the other sites. I’m still thinking about where this blog will go.

In the meantime…

I’ve been planning my spring seeds and yesterday, I started pre-sprouting my peas for the garden. I think I’ll plant them in a big pot since the ones I have are dwarf plants – up to 18″ only. Most of my planting will be in the stock tanks this year. Trying not to overdo it. But now that we are eating lots more vegetables, we are definitely excited about our own crops. Weather predictions are not good though.

In addition to staying on the primal wagon, I’ve started Crossfit. I don’t think I’ll be super Crossfitter anytime soon but after almost 2 weeks, I think that this is something I will continue to enjoy doing. It’s something that I can share with M too. It helps when you have company. Since he has been at it for almost 3 years, he’s way ahead of me but the fact that I’m out there and trying to do something physically is way more than I could have ever hoped for. My goal is to be stronger. Eating primal has also helped – I am not as sore as I thought I would be and I seem to find the energy to get out there even though my sleep is still fragmented.

S is doing good. He started crawling last week. Not fast gecko crawling yet but soon enough I’m sure. Also, he has two little teeth trying so hard to pop up through his gums. I feel them when he nurses so it’s not long now. He’s eating brown rice, sweet potatoes, bananas, yogurt and whatever scraps I throw his way (read: little pieces from my plate – so far, noodles (from my Din Tai Fung primal cheat meal), kale, beef, carnitas. I think he will be a good eater. Hopefully. He loves to say “bababababa wawawawawa mamamaama dadadadada” but to him, I think it’s not people-specific. I’m taking so many pictures of him but sometimes I still feel like I might miss some important moment. I just hope I remember some of these when he grows older. I don’t want to document the heck out of his life though. He still doesn’t sleep very well. We have had no luck in sleep training so now he shares our bed. I love having him close by and sometimes I think I’ll never remember what it’s like to sleep through the night. Soon enough, I know.

We’re looking forward to a nice St Paddy’s Day dinner with some good friends. We don’t see each other as much these days – work, life and kids do that to you but that means we cherish our time together all the more. So, corned beef, braised cabbage (never boiled!) and beer. Not primal but necessary for the occasion.

If you are still out there and reading da*xiang, say hi, will ya?


Even though I’ve been posting more regularly since my blog came back up, I feel like I haven’t really talked to you, my readers.

Summer is upon us and in the PNW, some days it is hard to believe it. It feels like the clouds guard our city fiercely from the blazing sunshine. I am however keeping my fingers crossed that the sun will be allowed to take over for a bit.

So, what am I up to? Besides the gardening projects (some I’ve posted about, some yet to be unveiled), things have been ramping up here at work as we finally get going on a project we’ve been holding our breath for.

On Mike’s front, he’s done with his classroom year and looks forward to a fun summer, albeit with a honey-do list. His final year begins in the fall and although I can tell that he is more excited about it, for now, he’s quite exhausted from the year.

My folks who have been here since we returned from Singapore are looking forward to their trip home. I will miss them until they come back here but we have a fun-filled trip planned in 2008 (more on that later on!). It’s been wonderful having them here and I think they’ve enjoyed the kids a lot.

Anyhow, this is the season to be outdoors. Even if we don’t get all the garden projects done, we are planning to have picnics, long walks, night drives and some beach fun. You do too, ok?

Where’s Stef?

When last I left you, I was hopeful of starting my weekend off with a bang…well, it was not much of a bang, unless you consider a blastin’ fever and terribly sore throat a bang. I’m still on the edge of recovering from this – I did go back to work yesterday but today my body got mad at me, refusing to let me get out of bed.

Saturday 2/25: Still sick as a dog – my temperature would not let up, coastin’ at about 101 deg.

Sunday 2/26: Decided to go to the urgent care clinic for some stronger meds. Got the news that it’s viral and all I can do is ride it out. Drats! Still fighting a low grade temp. Good part: Ollie visited, played a little and mum is back from my brother’s.

Monday 2/27: Got my act together and went back into the office. Got quite a bit done but still felt cruddy. “Favorite” coworker is leaving – time to have a party if you ask me. Enjoyed acupuncture but coughed half a lung up at night [might be punishment for wanting a party].

Today: Bleah but feeling a LOT better. I can’t imagine I still haven’t gotten rid of this bug. I want to be able to taste and enjoy good foods again. I have however had the luxury of homemade rice porridge, mashed potates and other healthful foods. Enjoying the Weepies very much.

Tomorrow: A better day, I am sure.