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! Continue Reading
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. Continue Reading
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.Continue Reading
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!
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.
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! Continue Reading
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…
So I came up with a simple solution for this ongoing problem – Fridge magnets! Continue Reading
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. Continue Reading
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. I don’t know what happened really, after I sketched, I had an itching urge create it 3-dimensionally. So I set up my desk and started crafting away. Continue Reading
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?
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. Continue Reading
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 Continue Reading
Spring cleaning is really a 2 phase process. First one involves de-cluttering your stuff, the second involves the actual cleaning. If you have already tidied up your house, why not try all-natural cleaners to clean your home? My husband was the one who first introduced me to natural cleaners. I remember watching him spraying down my cellphone left and right with a blue spray bottle. I totally freaked out because I thought he was going to make my cellphone all wet. But then he explained it was just a mist of vinegar and water to disinfect my phone. Vinegar and water? Who would have thought! Speaking of cellphones, don’t forget to de-clutter your smart devices as well!
Seriously, who doesn’t love labels? When I was young, I was a sticker hoarder. Every time I went back to Taiwan, I would go on a sticker shopping spree and splurge on gorgeous stickers from Japan and Korea. Basically, if it’s cute, it goes in the basket. You might wonder what I do with all those stickers, well, so many things! On my notebooks, agendas, greeting cards, camera, books, pretty much anywhere that needs a touch of sparkle! These are the patterns I created for my labels. The colors are inspired by spring flowers from Cherry blossoms (pink), forget-me-not (serenity blue), primrose (snorkel blue), pansy (buttercup yellow), poppy (fiesta red) and snowball viburnum (green flash). Continue Reading
Spring cleaning is coming. It was never something I looked forward to, but ever since I declutter-ed my home, cleaning has never been easier. We all know that spring cleaning is much more than the act of cleaning and washing stuff, it’s the clutter that consumes the most energy and time. Before you know it, your spring cleaning becomes a time sucking trap and you are drowning in stuff that you can’t decide whether you should clean or just throw away. Trust me, I’ve been through it.
This year, it’s going to be different. Spring cleaning will be so easy that you don’t even know what hit you. The Tidy-Like-A-Pro Kit is a detailed guide that will help you tidy your home at your own pace. It keeps track of where you are so you can resume when you have time. If you have read Marie Kondo’s book of de-cluttering, you will love this kit. It shares many of her philosophies with actionable steps to make this process as easy and smooth as possible. After you have tidied up your home, polish it off with all natural cleaners that are easy to make, and healthy for you!
One of the first signs of spring comes from the cherry blossom trees on my street. When they bloom, all the branches are covered with candy cotton clusters of cherry blossoms. Every time I look at them, I can’t help but smile because they just look so beautiful. Shades of pink against the blue clear sky is like the perfect photo shoot.
Unfortunately, cherry blossoms don’t last very long. It always makes me feel a little sad to see fallen blossoms scattered on the ground. So overwhelmingly beautiful yet such a fleetingly life. However, they also remind me to embrace the present moment because who knows what might happen next.
There is no better time to “bloom” and create happiness than this very instant.
Feeling inspired, I picked up my pen and started drawing. Below are 2 artwork inspired by cherry blossoms. They are available at Sprinkles Shop. Each set includes 3 formats. Circle shaped for 8x10in frame, greeting card in 5x7in and original for 8x10in frame. Pink set:Continue Reading
Have you tried boba tea yet? It’s also called tapioca or bubble tea. If you have read my other post, you probably know I am a little obsessed with boba tea. Sometimes I think boba tea actually runs in my blood because I am always craving for boba tea. I even made origami boba tea for my wall decor and created boba tea emoji characters.
Boba tea and I go way back. I started drinking boba tea since I was 6 years old. Back in the days, the lids were dome shaped and the only topping was boba. Nowadays, there are so many creative options making it fun but also intimidating to order a boba drink. Often times the menu is as extensive as a Chinese restaurant menu. Most people I know just order the standard milk tea with boba. There are some that will request for less sweet, but other than that, customization stops there. But if you have been in Taiwan, you will realize that
locals customize their drinks like they own the boba tea shop.
Trust me, once you customize your boba drink, you can never go back. Customizing is not only fun, you can control the calories while getting the same satisfying taste.
So first things first, select your tea. The tea and the boba are the 2 pillars of a good boba tea. Many milk tea is made with black tea unless you specify otherwise. If you like the roasted black tea flavor, try customizing a Pu-er (aged tea with earthy notes) or Tie Guan Yin (roast nutty character oolong tea) tea with milk. If you like lighter and floral tea, try jasmine green tea or osmanthus oolong. For those that need a bit of caffeine kick, matcha is the go to choice. It will keep you alert but calm for a good 3 hours. Check out this post to learn everything about matcha.
Happy New Year everyone! Time to make some awesome plans and make them happen! Last year at this time I spent a whole afternoon writing down my new year’s goals and planning out how to achieve them. The goal-setting worksheets I used were amazing. They helped me visualize what I needed to do each week to reach my goals. This year, I designed a new set of goal-setting worksheets that will help you kick start your new year with a bam. Continue Reading
December is here! I love this time of the year with all the colorful Christmas lights and yummy holiday feasts. But most of all, I love all the creative crafts that I get to do during this time of the year. Every year, I make my own Christmas cards and a ton of cookies. This year, I am trying a new project – making my own Christmas gift tags. Gift tags always feel like something you slap on your gift last minute because you didn’t have time to prepare a nice card. It doesn’t have to be this way anymore. If you want to get SUPER organized, I recommend this Ultimate Holiday Planner that I designed to simplify holiday planning and to be reused year after year.
Where have you (bracelet) been all these years!!! I can’t believe that I never used bracelet as an accessory until this year. Please don’t judge me~~ I think the reason that I haven’t considered bracelet as an accessory is because I used to play piano and dangling bracelets are sort of distracting. Now that I don’t really play piano anymore, it’s time to bring on the bracelets! Cling cling!!
I have to thank my sister for the inspiration to wear bracelet again. For her baby shower, we wanted to have a little crafting activity for all of her bff’s and what better idea than to make “friendship” bracelets to celebrate their friendship! But rather than the traditional braided bracelets which are quite challenging to learn in the amount of time we had, I put on my thinking hat and came up with this one of a kind gold bead bracelet that is super simple and looks amazing!It takes about half an hour from beginning to end to make one bracelet. The hardest part is gathering the right parts and pieces. In the “jewelry world”, there is a whole set of jargon like findings, spacers, crimps etc. that you have to learn first. It took me hours to master the jewelry lingo before I was ready to shop online for each component for this project.