It’s Peach season! I can’t wait to fill my basket with farmers’ market peaches and make peach-licious desserts! Ever since I watched “Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman”, I have been waiting for the peach season to start. I had no idea that parfaits are so easy to make. You can put anything you like. For mine, I added peach tea jello that I made with agar agar. It compliments so well with the fresh juicy peaches and greek honey yogurt.
Mother’s Day (May 17th) is just around the corner, have you thought of a gift yet? I always have a hard time thinking of a gift for my parents because at their age, they have pretty much everything. That said, I know that when I take time and effort to prepare a gift, the thoughtfulness always comes through. Often times, the thought is more important than the gift itself.
Woohoo!!! I finally made it! Bubble tea sticker for everyone! As you probably know, I am super obsessed with bubble tea / boba tea. And just this week, we got a new laser printer at home, so first things first, test out my new bubble tea illustrations! The sticker paper that I used isn’t the best quality since it’s actually made for address labels. But no worries, bubble tea makes everything better!
It’s spring cleaning season! Last year, I wrote an article called “This Is the Last Spring Cleaning You Will Ever Need to Do” and now a year later, it has proven itself! I don’t have anything “BIG” to clean! Ever since I decluttered my house, I actually use everything I own and keep things in good shape. So when spring cleaning time comes around, I just need to wipe down some shelves and clean the windows. If you haven’t read the article, definitely give it a go.
Spring cleaning with kids is a whole different ball game. It may not be easy, but if you can add a sprinkle of fun, kids might actually volunteer to spring clean! So how do you make cleaning fun? It almost sounds like an oxymoron. Well, one thing for certain is that kids love colorful things and they love activities. I got 4 colorful and fun ways to get your kids excited about spring cleaning and decluttering. These activities will help kids learn about organization and responsibility and feel empowered to do anything they want.
1. Toy Organizational Labels
Kids leaving their toys all over the place? No problem. Get your kids to color in their own toy category labels and let them stick the labels on storage bins. Before you know it, they will actually want to put toys away in the right place.
Can you imagine what heaven tastes like? Well, imagine no more, you can sample a slice of heaven at Tengoku [天国]. The name Tengoku [天国] literally means “heaven” in Japanese! Their hotcakes are made-to-order and are so fluffy that they will transcend you to heaven!
“Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman” is hands down my favorite Netflix series. It’s literally dessert porn for sweets lovers! If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a blue-collar salesman, Kantaro, who plays hooky from work to have desserts. The show is adapted from a manga series called Saboriman Ametani Kantarou (which I just ordered online!). All the sweet shops on the show are real places in Japan (mostly in Tokyo). See the list at the end of the post. Here’s the first dessert he had: Anmitsu (あんみつ):
I thought I knew how to order sushi until I went to Japan. In Japan, the fish varieties are much broader and you won’t find California or dragon rolls in a standard Japanese restaurant. The menu can be overwhelming at first but after having sushi almost every other day, I think I know what to order now, at least the most common ones . Here’s a sushi guide that I have created . Oh how I wish I knew these Japanese fish names before I went to Japan!
Konijiwa from Tokyo! It’s been two full weeks since I arrived in Tokyo and I am loving it (aside from the cold winter weather). There are so many things to share with you, I don’t know where to start. Food? Sights? Embarrassing incidents? I am going to keep the latter topic for later because I want to actually illustrate those “special” moments.
Let’s start with food. Tokyo has been very good to my belly. You can find every type of cuisine in Tokyo, from Indian to Italian to Singaporean. For this trip, my goal is to sample as many types of Japanese food as I can. From ramen to soba, sushi to sashimi, onigiri to donburi, mochi to dorayaki, bento (lunch set) to kaiseki (multi-course meal), if it’s Japanese, hitotsu onegari! (one please)
Yesterday was a glorious day. I went to the most epic food festival Furusato Matsuri (ふるさと祭り). This year, the festival is held in the Tokyo Dome where you can find food, snacks and beverages from all over Japan. I literally stuffed my belly twice over because everything was sooooo appetizing. One thing that I really like about this event is that every hour there is a stage performance on the other side of the dome so you can eat your heart out, go watch some performance to let the food digest and then go back to the food stalls for another round. Here are photos hot off the press!
Besides searching for new bubble tea joints, one of my favorite things to do on the weekend is exploring new dessert places in San Francisco. It always makes me soooo happy to just spend the afternoon people watching and enjoying a quality dessert. From a buttery and flaky Kouign Amann to a smooth and fragrant lemon meringue, if it’s good, I will take it!
Even though I love cooking and baking, I never actually made any desserts that take more than 2 hours. Well, maybe just one – canelé, see photo below. I made them for my mom as a Mother’s Day gift this year since she absolutely loves them. They turned really well with a crusty skin and a custardy center but the amount of work I put into making those little canelés is mind blowing (2 days of work! ). So my conclusion is, let the professionals do their thing and I will stick to what I am good at .
What a year! Thank you all for following my blog and sharing your thoughts and ideas. I feel so grateful to be able to use this blog to spread joy and inspire people all around the world. As 2017 wraps up, it’s time to reflect on this year’s many events and moments and set goals for the year to come! For the last two years I have been using the same New Year Resolution worksheets so this year I decided to give them a new look and added some new things. Feel free to print out as many as you like and share them with your family and friends.
Say “I” if you want to get more organized this year. I know I do E-V-E-R-Y year. I get all pumped up and start making a list of things I would like to get done, but somehow things just fall through the cracks. I would blame the dog for chewing up my lists, but I don’t actually have a dog. So long story short, I never quite had a year that I finished all the things I wanted to do.
This year is going to be different. R-E-A-L different. In October I started searching for the perfect Christmas Holiday Planner . I found many but as I spent an hour here and an hour there, I realized time is better spent if I make my own planner that would check off all the things that I want. The key to a good holiday planner is that it HAS TO BE REUSABLE next year. Once I put in all the information in a planner, I definitely want to reuse that information the year after that especially the budget, gift list, decoration inventory, etc.
After 2 weeks of serious research, list making, drawing and editing, I have created Juju Sprinkles’ Ultimate Holiday Planner! I am proud to say, it has everything that I need and want. It even includes a Santa’s Letter template and Secret Santa Questionnaire! This Ultimate Holiday Planner has a total of 33 pages! It is organized into 6 categories with color coded banners to keep things organized. Here’s my new Holiday Planner
I am thrilled to share with you my new business cards! I have never designed a business card for myself before. It was so much fun and took no time at all! It’s funny how it happened so quickly from idealization to product. I spent 2 hours in Adobe Illustrator, went to a printing service and ordered adhesive business card magnets online. The next day the magnets came (thank you Amazon Prime free one day shipping) and my business cards are ready for the red carpet! So here’s my first magnetic business card. Since I printed it myself, I had the liberty to choose different colors.
Halloween time! Oh man, as a child, I LOVED Halloween. I would be preparing my costume weeks in advance and basically put it on everyday up til the day of to admire the complete ensemble. Then on the night of Halloween, we would always trick-or-treat until our bags overflown with all kinds of candies. Somehow just the mere act of carrying a bag full of sugar gave me a high.
As an adult I feel like I have “outgrown” the kids’ version of Halloween. The excitement of getting free candies has waned and getting dressed up has become too much of a trouble. (Unless of course, my neighbor has decided this year to give out Chocolove’s almond and sea salt dark chocolate or Alter Eco’s quinoa dark chocolate. Gosh, I feel like such a candy snob while I am typing this.)
Anyways, I still love Halloween but in a more “adult” way. Parties and spooky decorations are always a treat. I love walking by houses decorated with white cotton spider webs stretched on shrubs and handrails, zombie hands and parts strewn on the lawn, pumpkins carved with ugly faces and bony skeletons hung by the windows and doors.
One of my favorite shows is The Great British Bake off (The Great British Baking Show). If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically a baking competition with amateur bakers. Each episode the contestants have 3 challenges to complete, a signature, a technical and a show stopper challenge which all fall under a theme such as pastry or bread or something unique like botanical. They are now on season 8, and I am still fully (belly) committed to watching it from beginning to end .
There are many reasons why I just can’t get enough of it, For one, it’s a show filled with decadent treats, honestly, who can resist that? Two, it’s a feast for the eyes. These treats are baked simultaneously by multiple bakers so you get not one but many creative interpretations of the same item. Three, it’s action packed! Cracked Swiss rolls, runny icing over warm cake, under baked crust and shaky hands piping delicate frosting. Four, it’s actually educational. If you think about it, British has baking history that dates way, way back so they know what they are doing. I have learned so many baking techniques and tricks, it’s like going to baking school. Five, the show is filled with British comedy. The judges, hosts and contestants make hilarious comments and witty remarks like “I’m ganaching my buns” or “It’s just a bit bold and fat and big…” while describing a Swiss roll (32 GBBO Funny Innuendoes). Anyways, I can probably go on and on but you get the idea. If you haven’t seen it before, you can binge watch from season 1 to 7 on YouTube. Oh, how I envy you!
Here’s the link to Season 1 of The Great British Bake Off
In the spirit of the new seasons (fall baking season and GBBO season 8), I have designed a baking board game called Ready Set Bake! Every design is hand drawn and water-colored .
Apple cider, fallen leaves, crisp air, everything about fall feels cozy and warm. In celebration of my favorite season, I created another little side project to capture the essence of fall. It’s a collection of thank you notes, cards and tags that evoke fall foliage and rusticity. It’s a compilation of copper rust, bronze, barren branches, fungi, pumpkins and ginkgo. I can’t wait to use them as a token of thanks to all my family and friends on the next gathering.
The first set is all shades orange!
September is in full swing! Before we know it, the holidays will be upon us. This year, I am determined to be super organized before the holidays arrive. I spent a couple of days last week drawing up these schedule icons so I can use them on my own calendar.
I ended up making about 40 different icons! Instead of hoarding them all for myself, I want to share them with you. I hope they will add a little joy to your planners or calendar. Simply download and print them on sticker paper. You can also print on regular paper and glue them onto your schedule. Enjoy!
In my household, I am the “designated” cook. It’s not that my husband can’t cook, I just think it’s best that we focus on what we are good at rather than what we are not-so-good at .
Anyways, being the home cook also means taking on the task of grocery shopping. Luckily, our farmer’s market is a super fun place to shop. It’s a block from our apartment and every Sunday morning vendors from local farms set up stalls selling their freshest goods. The fresh produce offerings always evolve with the season and vendors often bring new varieties of vegetables or fruits that I have never seen before (tips for shopping at farmer’s market). It’s a great place to get inspired and learn about new cooking techniques.
That said, I usually need to make another run to the neighborhood supermarket to get items like milk, yogurt and meat. I don’t mind doing 2 grocery runs but it can get real frustrating when you think you have picked up everything only to find out that you forgot something because whoever finished it didn’t tell you about it. There goes a third grocery store run on my precious weekend…
It’s time to say goodbye to summer vacation and get ready to go back to school. I still remember how much I dreaded going back to school. A week before school would start, there would be a dark, ominous cloud over my head that followed me everywhere I went. But as I got older, the cloud dissipated and I began to look forward to returning to school. I would like to say it was maturity, but honestly, it was almost, definitely the shinning new school agenda that made me excited about returning to school.
The school agenda was my life. At the beginning of a new semester, every student would receive a new school agenda. The moment I received my agenda, I would personalize it from cover to index. Whether it was marking in the birthdays and exam dates, or planning all the after school activities, I personalized every detail with cute stickers and glittering pens. I made sure that my planner was bursting with colors and illustrations.
Now that I think about it, this is probably why I have a knack for organizing things. I have always enjoyed organizing stuff, from my schedule, my home to my life goals because in the process, I loved prettifying each idea or plan with personal doodles and stickers.
Divide and conquer household chores sounds like a reasonable approach. But truth be told, my husband and I struggled for years to “conquer” our housework. There was always an overflowing trash bin or dirty laundry in our apartment. We just had a hard time dividing up work fairly and keeping track of who was supposed to do what.
It feels like eons ago since I Konmari-ed my apartment. My stuff has diminished dramatically. I have become a much more conscious shopper and handier crafter. However, the one thing that still remains unchanged is my closet layout.
I have a small closet, it’s just 4 feet wide. I often wonder what it would be like to have a large enough closet where I can fit all my clothing items. On a random Sunday morning, I made a sketch of what my humble closet would look like. The sketch took no more than 5 minutes but it snowballed into a 3 week long crafting project. Here is my completed project, hope you will enjoy it!
I have a special diet in the summer, it’s called the “boba-diet”. In the hot summer weather, I drink boba tea like I would water. On my desk there’s a permanent spot with a coaster reserved for fresh boba tea. Although I drink boba tea like a fish, I don’t always order boba in my tea. What?? Yes, you heard it right. I don’t always get boba because it’s like a meal itself and I have to drink it right away. I can’t refrigerate my drink since boba turns hard and gummy. So while I was daydreaming of a boba tea that could stay fresh all day, I had a boba-reka moment!
The Big Question: Is there a boba tea that lasts all day?
Typical Answer: Nope!
Juju’s Answer: Nope, but a paper made one will! 🙂
Here’s my latest DIY project inspired by boba tea / bubble tea. Hope you will be inspired to make one yourself or try other nifty crafting projects this summer. Don’t forget to check out how to order a boba tea like a Taiwanese if you haven’t already. Did you know you can also order less boba or other toppings in your drink?!
It’s almost the end of May and we are in mid-cherry season. Last weekend, I went cherry picking for the very first time with my family. It was surprisingly fun. I always thought cherry picking involved climbing ladders and getting cherry stained. But it had none of that! It was so easy and relaxing.
All you need is a bucket and your hand! You could bring a small step ladder, but all the trees on this farm were reachable. I did jump a few times to pick some extra plumped cherries on higher branches just for fun.
I have always liked matcha as a kid, especially in ice cream form but it wasn’t until my last visit to Japan that I became a matchaholic. It all happened in a tiny tea shop in Kyoto where I had the most amazing matcha. By matcha, I am not talking about the sweetened matcha latte you get at Starbucks or boba tea shop, I am talking about the authentic matcha drink made with just matcha powder and hot water. It was paired with mochi filled with red bean and warabi mochi. A match’a’ in heaven~
After I returned from my trip, I started experimenting with different matcha powders. Luckily in San Francisco, you can find a variety of matcha powders from Japan town. So far I have finished 3 different tins. It actually takes awhile to finish a tin (typically 1.4 to 2.2 oz each). But ever since I got myself a matcha kit I’ve been able to entice others to help consume my matcha supply faster with my theatrical matcha-making performance. Just picture me whisking feverishly with a really cool bamboo whisk to create a bubbly foam on the top. =D