April + May in Review

How's it going? It's been quite an eventful past two months for us. Lots of changes - some good, some not so much. But such is life and we move forward. Around here, these Spring days have been filled with 2-hour long neighborhood strolls with Hoku looking for wildflowers and entire afternoons in the garden repotting plants, chasing lizards (all Hoku) and harvesting broccoli rabe, snow peas and strawberries. 

We've also been jet-setting quite a bit. Back in April, we spent a few days exploring Portland and visiting friends in Seattle. Then in early May, I took a solo trip to Hong Kong to work on some fun, new things for Fox & Bagel. A couple weeks later, we were off to New York City to celebrate my sister's graduation from grad school. (She's a Nurse Practitioner specializing in pediatrics so if you're reading this up in the SF Bay Area, hire her! She is awesome.) And from NYC, we set off to Montreal where we finally, finally got to try their namesake wood-fired bagels. And let me tell you, these bagels are as good as they say, maybe even better. 

But wait. There's more! The traveling continues next month with Japan and a return to Hong Kong! Are you exhausted yet just reading this? I am. I know this blog is focused primarily on the adorable, furry dude, but would you guys like to see more travel posts on here, even if Hoku couldn't come with? :)

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A little garden update! We have a garden bed with 3 types of carrots, 2 types of eggplant, chives, beets, purple cauliflower, edamame, basil and broccoli rabe. We have corn stalks that started off shorter than Hoku and are now taller than us humans. In our wooden barrels, we have snow peas, jalapeños, yellow bell peppers, strawberries and 6 types of tomatoes.

And we're attempting peanuts again! We tried growing peanuts last year and it was all going well until the plant suddenly withered away due to unexplained, natural causes. (Ok fine, it was me. I killed it.) It was a goner, leaving behind only shattered dreams of what could have been an excellent accompaniment to our Friday night libations. Or so we thought. Little did we know, our peanut plant had produced actual peanuts and these peanuts that had been sitting in this bucket of old soil, getting no consistent source of water or sunlight, had grown actual roots. We plucked them out, planted them in the garden bed and boom, hello new peanut plant!

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Hoku, of course, has been busy with his garden patrol duties. See how he stealthily blends into the plants, ready to pounce on a moment's notice at any sign of illegal critter activity. The corn stalks have eyes. Adorable, puppy eyes. 

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In other backyard news, I finally took the leap and lime-washed the crap out of red brick paver patio. It has been a source of much grief but replacing these pavers with something cool like limestone or weather-resistant redwood planks just wasn't in our landscaping budget when we overhauled the yard a couple years back. So I rolled up my sleeves, channeled my inner Chip and Joanna Gaines and bought some lime-wash along with a cheap paint brush at Home Depot. All for under $100. I call it the poor man's hardscaping and I couldn't be more thrilled with how it turned out. More on this and a full reveal on the blog later!

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Some other things that made me happy this month: this little plant propagation corner aka my mad plant scientist laboratory. And also, being reunited with Hoku after ten days in New York City and Montreal...and subsequently giving him a bath just to wrap him up in a towel and make him look like a jedi. 

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March In Review

March came and went, bringing rainy days, pup allergies, human allergies, Spring cleaning, Hokkaido milk bread, green tea lattes with cat faces, and a return to the garden. In case you missed it, we took a mini road trip through Arizona and Utah, all documented in a five part blog series here. (We also revamped our Travels page!) Without further ado, scenes from March with this fluffball around these parts.

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My office/studio has been in a constant state of flux since we moved in but I am determined to finally have a shelfie worth gramming this year. Maybe. In the meantime, here is the most orderly corner of my office that I share with my favorite co-working space buddy. And because I get a lot of questions about these hanging wires on Instagram, I've decided to share my super secret source (not really) here

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One of the best things about Spring is being able to spend a lot more time in the garden even though pollen is the dust the devil. I've had this Xerosicyos danguyi (silver dollar plant) cutting in an old medicine bottle (that I found on a beach in Brooklyn) for about half a year and even though I loved the way it looked in the glass, it was getting too root bound and needed to be transplanted. Giving plant friends new homes is my favorite therapy. 

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In the garden, the yu choy and baby bok choy seeds we planted back in January had turned into beautiful, healthy veggies and it was finally time to harvest and feast! Our broccoli, carrots and beets planted at the end of February had a bit of a rough start with all the rain but are finally coming up nicely. From the garden store, we brought home snow peas, tomatoes, broccoli rabe, purple cauliflower and corn. Very excited about this year's veggie line up.  

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February In Review

Here are some scenes from a whirlwind of a chilly February! 

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David and I "celebrated" Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year by being the sickest we've both been in three years. Tamiflu, Sudafed, Mucinex DM, and Tylenol were our best friends for a solid week. Thank you Winter Olympics, for being our sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, fever, best TV you ever got with a cold. Hoku was a trooper and put up with 5 minute walks, which consisted of us stumbling down our street like zombies until he pottied. And he never left my side as I slept three straight days away on the couch, though I suspect it was to make sure I didn't sleep through his mealtimes and forget to feed him.

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After much debate, we decided on this little espresso machine, which ended up being a surprise birthday gift from my mom. Thanks mom! David has been enjoying Americanos and I have been trying (and failing) at making the perfect flat white. Still working on the basics, like getting that perfectly textured milk froth.

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In the garden, our lettuce, baby bak choy and choy sum seedlings are thoroughly enjoying this cooler weather we've been having. These guys even survived a few mornings that dropped well below freezing whereas their garden bed neighbor, our wild tomato plant, did not stand a chance. We wished it luck in our compost bin before uprooting it to make room for carrots, beets and broccoli.

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As a belated Valentine's Day treat after we recovered from the plague, I made molten chocolate cakes from scratch using these sweet, heart-shaped mini cocottes. They paired perfectly with not-made-from-scratch Trader Joe's vanilla ice cream. Should I dare to attempt soufflés next?

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I've decided to set a new goal of baking a fresh loaf of bread every week. This is my go-to recipe because it is seriously so easy and pretty much guarantees a perfect, rustic-looking boule every single time. So many other breads on my list for next month: baguettes, sesame bagels and Hokkaido milk bread!

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At the beginning of the month, we drove into Idyllwild for the first time since this trip back in 2014 for a hike up to the Tahquitz Peak fire lookout and declared it our new favorite short hike. (Sorry Baden-Powell.)

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And finally, I celebrated my 33rd birthday with a 24 hour backpacking trip on Mt. San Gorgonio that ended with a starry morning hike that still feels incredibly surreal. It's hard to believe that one year ago, the thought of spending the night by ourselves, let alone hiking in the dark, on a mountain was all too terrifying. Here's to another year of facing fears and learning new things with my two best guys by my side. 

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