June & July in Review

What a summer it's been here in Southern California so far. Heatwaves, wildfires, bugs. I, for one, am looking forward to the cooler, rainy months. In addition to his garden patrol and delivery dog duties, Hoku has taken it upon himself to mentally map the flow of air conditioning throughout the house and has determined that the most ideal nap spot is at the NE corner of the sofa. See exhibit A below. We have corroborated his findings with a peer review.


A few new additions to the house include a handmade raffia toy basket for Hoku (which we shared in a 'Meet The Maker' Story Takeover over on Wool And The Gang's Instagram) and also a wooden Shiba figurine from Japan (my official travel-sized Hoku companion). At home, he is the guardian of my plant propagation corner, where I've just added some pilea cuttings. The other succulents seem to be rooting nicely and I'm looking forward to transferring them into new homes soon. I guess that means I have to buy new planters.  


Another new addition to the family room is Hoku's gray pouf. I had the pleasure of working with German brand MiaCara Design and I cannot say enough good things about their beautifully designed products. Not only does the round Scala pouf fit the aesthetic of our home perfectly, it is also impeccably made and the perfect height for sitting and lounging. So much so that family TV time has humans and pup alike racing to see who can claim it first.

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As to be expected, the garden is ever evolving. In early June, we harvested our corn and cleared the stalks to expand the watermelon patch. The carrots were completely harvested by mid-July, becoming a part of tasty stews, soups and pup snacks. With an unseasonably mild early summer, our seedlings could not have asked for more ideal initial growing conditions and it was really looking to be a bountiful summer season. 

Then, an unfortunate turn of events. While we away in Seattle over the Fourth of July holiday, an epic heatwave hit Southern California and temperatures soared to 116 in our area, sadly burning much of our once-thriving garden to a crisp. (This article from The LAist explains what these new temperature highs mean for the future of growing plants in LA and be warned, it is seriously depressing.) We returned home to discover that the leaves of our yellow pear tomato had been burnt to the point of disintegrating into dust in our hands, the growth of my favorite and usually very productive sun golds had been stunted, near ripe bell peppers shriveled, and about half of the little mandarin oranges growing on our tree (to be picked next Spring) had turned into little black raisins. I almost cried. But on the bright side, we were surprised to discover which plants had managed to survive, some seemingly unscathed! The eggplant, strawberries, indigo rose tomatoes and the watermelon were the definite winners here.

And of course, I must give credit where credit is due. Their survival is largely due to my mom, who had been watching Hoku at our house when the heatwave hit. She had the sense to give our non-shaded garden a little extra daily watering in the early morning and late afternoon and essentially saved it from certain apocalyptic destruction. She claims the green thumb skipped a generation - my grandma could grow literally anything! - but I honestly think she has secret plant whisperer potential.


Have you been following our Watermelon Watch story highlights on Instagram? This little one is now 6 lbs! I think I'll devote an entire post to watermelons soon because that is how emotionally invested I am in these guys. 


In case you missed it, our patio space got a pretty big makeover. Check it out in this post here!

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And lastly, we took a weekend trip to Palm Springs when my little sister stopped through LA for a few days while her stuff made its way from New York City to San Francisco. (She's officially moved in now, so I guess it's time to plan a trip up to SF!) I've always loved The Parker and was so thrilled to collaborate with them on this post

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How is your summer going so far? I'm looking forward to some serious home-bodying in August before some light weekend wedding travels in September. 

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? :)


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!


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. 


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!


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.


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


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. 


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.