Category Archives: bloggers

Kal’s Bistro in Pasadena

About a week ago, I enjoyed an ice cream tasting with two fellow bloggers at Kal’s Bistro in Old Towne Pasadena. The owner, Kal whose background is working in entertainment opened this restaurant about four months ago. He invited us to try his delectable homemade ice cream (by pastry chef Barbara) and even let us sample a few cocktails.

interiors

ice creamStarting clockwise, the flavors pictured are: mint orange blossom, strawberry habanero, white chocolate chocolate chips, cinnamon bun, and lavender cream cheese. My hands down faves were the lavender cream cheese and mint orange blossom. Maybe it was the warm summer weather but I was drawn to the light almost sorbet like qualities. The strawberry habanero was an experience. Initially, I tasted the fruit and then the spicy habanero coated the back of my throat. Funny thing about spicy food is it lures me back for more! Haha…  what can I say, I’ve been addicted to spicy food all my life, growing up with Korean food.

at the bar

rocketteI also sampled the Rockette, a cocktail made of agave, arugula (also called rocket in the UK), vermouth, and lime juice. This was so refreshing and a little zesty flavor of the arugula mixed with the tartness of the lime. Great balance of flavors. I would come back to order this one with a juicy burger 🙂 Many thanks to Kal and his staff; they were so hospitable and friendly.

My new blogger friend, Mary also blogged about her experience so check it out.

Just on an aside, hasn’t Old Towne Pasadena gone under a major renovation/redevelopment? There are so many new cafes, restaurants, shops that have opened up in the last few years. Crazy! About a month ago, I stumbled into a new cafe to get some change for the meter and later realized it was a brand new cafe, Copa Vida. Such beautiful interiors (and delicious kumquat pistachio croissant btw). The ceiling reminded me of waffles (haha, food is constantly on my mind…).

copa vida

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labor day weekend

malibu

hike

group picture

hbow

The great thing about having a birthday so close to labor day weekend is having the long weekend to spend time with friends and family. My friend SH and I went hiking in Malibu (Escondido falls) early enough to beat the heat and then dipped our feet into the ocean (felt so good!). Of course the best part was indulging ourselves with brunch at 26 Beach in Venice (anytime there’s ice cream for breakfast, I’m game).

I had friends over for lunch on Monday and grilled teriyaki chicken and they graciously provided appetizers and desserts (snuck in a delicious cake). Ended a fun-filled day with naeng myun (cold Korean buckwheat noodles) at Cho Sun Ok in Buena Park.

Tuesday night, I took advantage of a groupon deal and enjoyed classical music under the stars and made a new friend/food blogger (check out her delectable blog).

Yesterday, on my actual birthday, my friend Christine of feedmysole treated me to a memorable meal at Marugame Monzo in Little Tokyo where they make dishes with freshly made udon noodles. We sat at the bar and watched the noodle master at his craft (love the rolling pin hanging racks) while savoring our braised pork belly and uni cream udon. OMG, what a difference it makes!

marugame #2

pork belly

uni cream udon

I can honestly say, I’m still stuffed and more importantly, I am richly blessed. Special thanks to my sister who helped me behind-the-scenes with her servant heart and showered me with extra love.

blogger interview: anna kim of revolving styles

I’m excited to feature my good friend, Anna and her lovely blog, Revolving Styles. Since we attend the same church, I would often notice her unique and chic style and I only later came to find out that she buys and sells vintage clothing and accessories on her etsy shop (how cool is that?). Read about her experience of creating a runway fashion show and tips for adding vintage pieces to your modern wardrobe. Thanks to Anna for letting me feature you on my blog!

Note: all images are provided by Anna and featured on her blog.

blog banner

Tell us about your blog, Revolving Styles.

Revolving Styles is a blog that shares about styles from the past, as well as my own personal vintage style, and how I juggle being a stay at home mom while running an online shop.

My venture into blogging seemed the fitting action to take after I started my online vintage shop on Etsy. After researching other online vintage shops, I realized that most had a blog connected with their shop. I opened up my Etsy shop in November 2009 and began blogging shortly after that.

backless dressgold designs dress

When and how did you get interested vintage clothing?

Like many teenage girls, I experimented with clothing. I went through a grunge phase, a preppy phase, a boho phase (if you could call it that) and many of the clothes I used were my mother’s clothing from the 70s and 80s. Back when I was a teenager, I had no clue that I was dressing vintage, but I guess that’s where it started.

My love for vintage really grew when I decided to start an online business while being a full time stay at home mom. I’m a very compulsive person and I decided literally in one day that I would start an online vintage shop. I went to my first estate sale, looking for electronics (random, I know), and while I was there, I stepped into a room full of vintage clothing and a light bulb went off. Right then, I decided that I could generate income by selling vintage clothing. It was that quick and simple. I’ve been selling vintage clothing ever since and I really do enjoy what I do. I always wonder who wore the piece and where they wore it to. Not only are vintage pieces constructed so well, they have history and a story behind them, which add on to their beauty and uniqueness.

anna & kids

What would you tell women who want to wear vintage clothing but unsure if it fits with their existing wardrobe?

My whole vision for my shop is to have vintage fit the modern day woman. Many of the trends and styles today have a retro spin. If you’re hesitant to wear a vintage piece, I always say start with the accessories. Vintage necklaces, belts, and bags are timeless and can be used to enhance any modern day wardrobe.

It’s also important to know which era flatters your body type. For example, if you’re pear shaped, 1950s shirtwaist dresses would be flattering. Or, if you have a long torso, finding high waisted pieces would be good to look for.

Finally, many vintage pieces are gorgeous and one of a kind. But, since they’re one of a kind, don’t be disappointed if the item doesn’t fit you perfectly. That’s what alterations are for.

dots dress

How do you select the pieces you feature on your blog and etsy shop?

When selecting items for the shop/blog, I always look for several things.

1. Would I wear it?

2. Is it in good condition or at least salvageable?

Also, I tend to look for more items from the 30s-50s since I just think those eras were the prettiest. The lines, fabric, and construction of pieces from those years were remarkable and I really do get excited whenever I find pieces from those particular eras.

floral dress

Tell us about putting together your first runway show at our church last fall. How was that experience for you?

I have to admit that I felt quite nervous when asked to put on a vintage runway show. It seemed like lots of work and pressure. It was. But, it turned out to be lots of fun, also! I was lucky enough to find willing (and some not so willing) models that looked gorgeous in their vintage dresses, while having fun on the runway.

The show lasted probably less than 15 minutes, but it took a lot more time to prepare. These dresses were dresses I was selling, or going to sell, so alterations were not an option. Finding a dress that fit took some time, planning the music (with the help of Gina) took some thought, and the actual rehearsals required lots of flexibility and time, also. I felt like a tyrant trying to tell woman when, where, and how to walk. My teacher voice definitely came out, but the women were all so nice and understanding. My apologies to the New Life women. Ha.

gold shoes

Advice for other bloggers out there on generating interesting blog posts?

I am still working on the blogging aspect of my business. Honestly, blogging is the toughest for me. I’ve thought about quitting several times because of my lack of direction. After much thought and research, I think I finally figured out the direction I want my blog to go.

So, my advice to other bloggers is to first figure out the direction of your blog and go from there. Then, just be genuine. Write posts that interest you and not what you think will interest others. I think readers can sense when a blogger truly enjoys what they are writing.

Finally, great pictures are a must. (I’m still working on this). People love pictures and tend to look at pictures on blogs, in my opinion.

interview with maya meinert of shopeatsleep

I’m excited to feature my interview with Maya Meinert of her shopeatsleep blog as she features  trendy hotspots, including restaurants, hotels, and retailers around Los Angeles and beyond.  What I enjoy about her blog is her beautiful pictures and being able to vicariously experience a variety of restaurants.

The funny thing is I haven’t actually met Maya in person as we initially were connected through work as she graciously agreed to be a panelist for a workshop I’m hosting and I stumbled upon her blog (serendipity, right?).

Hope you enjoy the interview; also be sure to check out her facebook page. If you missed my prior interviews, you can find them here and here.

photo taken by christianna reinhardt

What inspired you to create your blog and how long have you been blogging? How would you describe your blog?

I started the blog about three and a half years ago after losing my last newspaper job. It was a tough time for everyone – this was 2009 – so I knew I needed to keep myself in the game somehow. Since I had been covering the L.A. retail, dining and hospitality industries at my last job, I had quite a few contacts I could pull from and decided to keep myself busy by continuing to write about these businesses on my own. At my last job, I was a business reporter, but I decided to change the focus of my blog to the consumer, which has turned out to be really fun and broadened my audience.

What is your background and how has that impacted your style of blogging?

I have a master’s degree in print journalism from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Most of my journalism career has been in trade publications, but I have experience in everything from hyper-local, community reporting to the business of law firms. I’ve transitioned into communications, and I now work as an editor and writer for the USC School of Social Work, where I write internal news articles and manage the school’s social media efforts.

My approach to blogging has changed over time, but I always strive to be as transparent and honest with my readers as possible, something I bring with me from my journalism days. If I accept a free meal and write about it (and I often do, as I wouldn’t be able to afford to try as many restaurants as I do without doing so), I’ll clearly state that in the post.

saffron pappardelle from piatti restaurant in la jolla, ca

saffron pappardelle from piatti restaurant in la jolla, ca

From reading your blog, I get the sense you’re a serious foodie. When did you fall in love with food? Do you have any childhood memories you associate with certain foods?

I wouldn’t call myself a serious foodie, per se; I just like to eat!

Growing up with a Chinese parent, food has always been a big part of my life, as it seems to be for a lot of people with Asian backgrounds. Most of my childhood food memories revolve around Chinese foods, and I find a lot of my comfort foods are dishes like congee rice porridge, soy sauce eggs, pearl meatballs (steamed pork meatballs rolled in rice) and Taiwanese pork chops.

What has been your favorite restaurant meal this past year and why?

Though this probably isn’t fair, my favorite meal last year was lunch at the three Michelin-star Jean-Georges in New York. That place deserves its Michelin stars. I’m still drooling over the confit suckling pig!

confit suckling pig

Your blog photos, especially of food, are so vivid. What kind of camera do you use and do you have any tips on taking high quality food photos?

I use a Canon G12, but you don’t necessarily need an expensive camera, though it helps, to take nice photos. Just learn how to use your camera properly. I’m still learning how to use mine! Basically, make sure you have enough light, and be sure to white balance. Also, don’t underestimate the power of the macro button.

aria hotel in las vegas

aria hotel in las vegas

What are 3 random, interesting, fun facts about you?

I’m a huge Steelers football fan, I have two pugs named Sushi and Zelmo, and I’m biracial.

At Last Cafe

I met up with Christine, fellow blogger and former roommate at one of her favorite LB joints. I actually saw them featured on the Food Network show, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. The concept is comfort foods prepared with a lot of love and an upscale touch, using local ingredients in a local neighborhood setting. This place is a gem! It’s actually a few blocks from where Christine and I used to live. Sad that the cafe started after we moved. Here’s what we enjoyed:

polenta cakes with mushrooms and cheese– so good!

yellowtail with potatoes and veggies (special); very good

their famous brick chicken – my fav!!! They actually put a brick over the chicken to give it that nice caramelization (looks almost burnt but is sooooo good!)

If you’re gonna try this restaurant, come hungry and give yourself enough time to find street parking. Reservations are recommended. The entire restaurant is about 25 at capacity, it’s intimate in a say-hi-to-your-neighbor kinda way.