Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Sister's Bridal Shower

So one of the reason's why I hadn't been blogging much was I threw a bridal shower for my sister, Julianne. A couple of you mentioned you'd love to see the pictures so here they are! Maybe it will inspire you to have an Asian themed party.

Since my sister worked in Hong Kong and then in Japan, Joy (one of the bridemaids) suggested we have an Asian theme. How fitting. So you'll notice our theme is Springtime in Japan (thrown in with all of Julianne's favorite foods and flowers).

I labeled all the food on parchment paper, one side in English, the other in Japanese (katakana and kanji) and glued it onto skewers. Then I stuck a daisy at the end for extra fun. 

I put the cheese and fruit on a cutting board and a Japanese umbrella over it to protect it from the Florida sun (ironically, I got that unbrella in Korea while pregnant and hiking).
I hung Chinese lanterns that I found on sale at Old Time Pottery and Joann Fabrics inside the house and outside by the pool.
The champagne had sprigs of fresh lavender and for the lemonade glasses, I bought them online at Specialty Bottle (they are actually sauce jars!). I got the swirled straw online as well. Then I tied leaf paper cutouts onto the top with hemp. Guests wrote their names on it so their glasses wouldn't get confused.

For food, we had a chocolate fountain (of course!). What is a party without chocolate?
We had habachi grills and guests grilled chicken and tuna with skewers over the coals. Yum.

I kind of went overboard on the baking with the cookies on a stick, but they are so adorable aren't they? The boys loved them.

And then, Julianne's favorite dessert, Red Velvet Cupcakes. I used Paula Deen's recipe. The frosting is heavenly. When the guests left, they all got a cupcake wrapped in a baggie and tied with yellow ribbon.
We of course had games and prizes. Julianne sat in her 'throne' to open presents.  We had gave her a memory book which made her cry. Thank you to Larissa (she's a Creative Memories consultant) for coming to my rescue and knowing what to order to make that happen! On my desk, guest could also write a message to Julianne with good wishes or advice.

It really was an amazing time. I can't believe my baby sister is getting married!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Cindy Pon!

On March 29th, Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon was released! I’m so excited because this is a book I’ve been waiting forever to be released since I finished reading Silver Phoenix.

And even better, today we’re going to chat with Cindy (love her) and I’m giving away a copy of Fury.

In case you were wondering what Fury is about, here’s a little blurb:

When Ai Ling leaves her home and family to accompany Chen Yong on his quest to find his father, haunted by the ancient evil she thought she had banished to the underworld, she must use her growing supernatural powers to save Chen Yong from the curses that follow her. Part supernatural page-turner, part love story, and altogether stirring, Fury of the Phoenix further heralds the arrival of Cindy Pon as a stellar author of paranormal romance and fantasy.

Me (drinking tea): Fury is a sequel to Silver Phoenix. What has been your favorite part of continuing Ai Ling’s and Chen Yong’s story?

Cindy (drinking boba): Although it was challenging to write, I did enjoy the sexual tension.

What was the most difficult part about writing a sequel?

Cindy: Oh, the whole thing. haha! Writing Fury was honestly one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life. I think the fact that I couldn't write and revise at my own leisure was the most challenging. I wasn't certain if I could do what I needed to do for the story (and my editor) in the time given. High pressure!

I love how you bring food into your writing. It’s like your signature. I kept getting hungry when I read Silver Phoenix. What are your favorite foods?

Cindy: Thank you! I do love to eat. But I think that food is essential to world building, especially in Xia, which is inspired by China. Food is so important in our culture for celebration and for ritual. Of course I love Chinese food like xiao long bao (soup dumplings), chow mien and mapo tofu. I also love Taiwanese "small eats" like pigs blood with sticky rice and intestines and deep fried tempura (fish cake).

One of the things I loved about Silver Phoenix is how you brought in the Chinese mythology and tales. It really adds something fresh and unique to what is on the bookshelves. What are some of your favorite Chinese mythical creatures that you brought into your books?

Cindy: Many of them were made up by me! But the most intriguing actually based on Chinese folklore would be the snake demon.

I noticed your lovely paintings on your website and read that you’re currently developing a picture book. Any gossip that you are able to share with us?

Cindy: Alas, no. Though that is my next project to tackle. I'm hoping to fill a picture book full of color and cute animals. Wish me luck!


And here are some quickies:
1. Favorite type of chocolate: Belgian pralines
2. #1 country you’d like to visit: China!
3. Favorite mode of transportation: London tube
4. Preferred writing method: my macbook!

Thank you so much Cindy!

Now fill out the form below to be entered to win a copy of FURY! The deadline is April 30th.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Missing Korea

A friend sent this video link to my husband and it brought back so many great memories of living in Korea and made me a little 'home' sick. Thought I'd share it with you. I know some of you also used to live in Korea or even still do!

And if you've been following my blog for a whle, many of those places might be familiar to you too!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Writing and Food Over at MiGs

Have you ever thought about how food could effect your writing? Or are you like me and need food while you write? Check out my post over at The MiGs on how food inspires my writing. I'd love to hear your stories too!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Writing Everyday

I make my students read at least 20 minutes every day. They even have to record their minutes on a piece of paper and turn it in every Friday. To my parents, I promise them improvement in their child’s overall reading and writing levels just from that 20 minutes. Studies prove it.

So I have to ask myself am I doing that with my own writing? Am I doing at LEAST 20 minutes every day? No. At least not this year since I’m working full time. Lately I’ve become one of those writers who writes in spurts when I can get an hour chunk here and there. But I’m not sure that’s the best for my latest WIP.

There’s something about being in the ‘vibe’ of a novel and hanging out with my characters every day. It really keeps me connected to the story I’m writing. Plus if I promise myself to just write for a few minutes, suddenly those few minutes becomes longer. Great trick, right?

But more than anything, writing everyday keeps my skills sharp, my mind focused, and my word count up (!!!!).

So I’m changing my writing schedule. I’m promising myself to write at LEAST 20 minutes 6 days a week. I’m also going to keep myself accountable by recording it in my desk calendar.

What do you think? Will I see results? I’ll let you know at the end of April!

Friday, April 1, 2011


My crit buddy, Beth Revis, along with a slew of amazing authors and book bloggers, is hosting one of the most incredible contests ever. Check out the details on Beth's blog here. Basically you can win awesome books and an iPad. Tell me that isn't awesomeness.