Friday, June 7, 2013

Hola, Barcelona! Thing's I've Learned While Here.

2 years ago, my then-boyfriend went on a little business trip to Barcelona. I guess not so little, seeing as how many hours it takes to fly from Seattle to Barcelona, as well as it being international. I was very jealous for a few reasons:
  1. I had never been, and had always dreamed of going there after seeing some of the views of the city and landscape on TV when I was probably in the 7th grade.
  2. My then-boyfriend rarely took trips without me.  I can think of one other time, and that was to go to Alaska--Sorry, Alaska, I'm not your biggest fan. Yes, I agree you are stunningly gorgeous (yes, I've seen it in person), but growing up in Honolulu I don't quite agree with your cold temperatures. Also, mosquitos LOVE me--something I don't love, especially as the bites turn into welts on me.
  3. I was finishing up my last quarter at the university. C'mon, doesn't every one want to escape to Europe instead of finish up finals week and papers?
It was then that he (secretly) vowed to take me there with him next time. Which he then made a more public vow after then-boyfriend became then-fiance a week after my graduation.

Fast forward one year and we're married with plans to move to Barcelona for a year. Big plans for a newlywed couple!

Fast forward 8 months and we're realising we haven't planned squat for our alleged one-year abroad stint... So far not looking too good. It was then that we realised we're probably not ready for a whole year (as we had almost a whole year to plan it, but something kept us from it). Also, I realised I was going to be in a wedding in the summer, so we had to be back by then--it gave us an easy deadline.

In April 2013, my husband and I embarked on an amazing journey together that, whilst on the plane, we still could not believe we were doing it. I don't think most of our friends still believed we were doing it! But we were, and we did.

The first few weeks was hard, I'm not going to lie. I think it was a combination of terrible jetlag (we were sleeping couple hours at a time) and all of the things people warned me about:
  • Hide all your shit! It's going to get stolen.
  • There aren't any Asians or Asian food.
  • Spaniards aren't very friendly.
  • Spanish won't help you, it's all Catalan in Barcelona.
So I just assumed that all Spaniards weren't nice or friendly, that there were no Asians or Asian food, that I was going to get mugged, and that I'm going to have to figure out Catalan.

After the time I've been here now, I realise none of these were 100% true.

I haven't had any experience with pickpockets yet, nor have I seen any muggings (praise Jesus!).

While there ARE Asians, I'd have to say there aren't many compared to Seattle (but that's Seattle, c'mon now), and quite a few Asian tourists. There are many Asian restaurants--not my beloved Korean BBQ, for certain, but there are some places to get that craving satisfied. I've also found some ingredients to help me cook Asian meals for my husband at home :)

As for the third statement, I've realised that they may not be friendly right away (though many are!), they have definitely warmed up to me, and us, the longer we've been here. That may just be because they're used to having tourists come through and don't feel the need to expend the extra effort for someone they're never going to see again, I'm not sure. But we've definitely seen their friendly side!

And last but not least, we haven't had any problems with Catalan! Though, I have been learning some words here and there (since both the Catalan and Spanish seem to be printed side-by-side some places), it's never been a necessity. That is to say, unless you go to the restaurants or bookstores that pride themselves in being strictly Catalan--they aren't the majority, though, that's for certain.

There are so many things to love about this city:
  1. Walking: Barcelona is SUCH a walkable city! Not only that, but everyone walks here (or roller blades or bikes). It's extremely flat, with many open courtyards and urban parks.
  2. Architecture: Yes, yes, Gaudi. It is an amazing sight to see all of the different art in the buildings, sculptures, and monuments.
  3. Sagrada Familia: I had seen many a photo of this place leading up to our move out here, but MAN. I was blown away. It is definitely something that a photo simply cannot capture to its true beauty. What a stunning place!
  4. Sangria: One of my already favourite drinks just got better. Also, pretty affordable.
  5. Dogs: I love pups, especially a well trained one. There are so many dogs here off-leash--this may sound a bit terrifying, but it's incredible. They are all well-heeled and just adore their owners. Good job, dog owners of Barcelona.
  6. Markets: While we've only ventured to a few markets (they're pretty plentiful), I'm in love with them. Particularly my local one, Mercat de Santa Caterina. It has a beautifully sculpted roof (Google it!), and all of the amazing things you could imagine. Fresh meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, juices, breads, cheeses, as well as a supermarket inside. Also, I eat way more vegetables than the average Seattlite already, meaning even more than the average Spaniard. The guys at the veggie stand must think I'm crazy.
  7. Shopping: Yes. There are multiple shopping locations! My favourite stop would be by Avingude Portal de l'Angel and through the winding streets that start there and end at Las Ramblas. I'm not a big fan of shopping on Las Ramblas or in the busier, touristy areas simply because I hate waiting crazy amounts of time just to try on a pair of pants (call me impatient).
  8. Pastries: The same can be said about one of my other favourite cities, Paris, that the pastries are phenomenal! Probably my favourite of the moment are the lazos de azucar--I'm not sure if it gets any better than these babies!

So, Barcelona, I'm sorry to say that I did not enjoy you as much the first couple of weeks due to my wrong assumptions and not opening my eyes. For now I have begun to fall in love with you more and more with each day (especially your sunny days) and I am somewhat dreading leaving you (though my apartment will feel like a mansion--not to mention my shower).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Special Lembas (design by Lana Rose) Preview.

Today I have a great look for you! A little preview of our Lembas, design by Lana Rose, line that is coming soon! Currently I am taking special order and couture inquiries and orders. From one of our orders birthed this great dress: the Sarai shift dress.

This dress has all you want of a great shift: it's flattering, fitted yet loose, and keeps a great shape. It has a great wide neck, 3/4 length sleeves with zipper detail (my favourite part) and that perfect "mini" length. However, we also offer customisations.


All photos by Patrick Leung Photography (

dress: Lembas (, vest: Nordstrom (, legwear: ASOS (, Lita platform: Jeffrey Campbell (

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

black & blue allover

Seattle's weather has been a mixed bag lately. We've had some gorgeous, sunny days that are the perfect mixture of warmth and glow, yet offers that nice, fresh breeze to cool you off without lingering. As many people may not know, Seattle can boast some great weather--especially in the summer months--but it just takes a while to get there.

This was not one of those days.

But... we've had worse.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with Patrick Leung (, a lifestyle photographer from Vancouver, BC. He has a great sense of style with shooting and it was very fun to work with him. We hope to bring you another collaboration soon! For this shoot, we had some grey skies, which eventually turned into some misty rain. Again, not the worse that the Seattle skies have brought us.

So, I figured some over-the-knee stockings, leather skirt, and heavy-duty cropped turtleneck sweater would do the trick.

We ran around Capitol Hill, one of my favourite little neighborhoods in this city. It boasts some of the great tucked away bars & restaurants, as well as some great nightlife & late-night bites.

All photos by Patrick Leung.

1. cropped sweater from Vince.   2. high-waisted leather zip-front skirt from H&M   3. OTK stockings from ASOS   4. black suede booties from Sam Edelman (similar style on sale HERE)   5. black leather buckle satchel from Nasty Gal

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

San Juans.

We decided upon a last minute, impromptu getaway and all we could think of was taking a ferry out to San Juan Island's Friday Harbor.

Things were looking a bit dismal, though, as the weather said it would be cloudy with 60% chance of precipitation. Our usual way out of the city was closed for construction for the weekend as we headed out on Saturday morning in the rain.

When we reached Anacortes (about 110 minutes out with the traffic) when it started pouring! The dreamy weekend getaway started to get washed away with the pouring rain.

But alas! 3/4 of the ferry ride in, the sun peered out and soon there were no signs of the thick, gray clouds and rain. The rest of the weekend was an abundance of sunshine and its radiance on our skin: The perfect weekend getaway.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February Air

February in Seattle is that wonderful mix of cool air with bright sun. Some days more of one or the other. Lately it's been a fantastic mix of crisp air, yet enough sun to warm up your bones. I'm a big fan of sunshine, so I welcome all sun that comes our way.

It's really been great living so close to the water, as well, check out these shots of Elliott Bay. I think I may have spotted a seal or an otter, but I can't be sure!

It's still too cold out for bare legs, at least in my opinion, so these microsuede leggings are a treat! They are incredibly soft to the touch, yet keep me warm enough without being uncomfortable.

My other key to being warm is this great faux fur vest. This vest by Romeo & Juliet couture is great. I love anything with varied colours, it gives me more styling options, and this one is darling!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Be Mine, Valentine.

Valentine's Day is a tough holiday. I think we can agree that the origin (Saint Valentine) and the holiday it is today, doesn't quite come together. However, it's kind of one-of-those-things that you either have to ignore it (which is quite impossible), or go with it. So I go with it.

However, I think you can have some fun with Valentine's (or Galentine's) day! This year, a few of my coupled friends found ways that don't break the bank to celebrate, as well as single friends finding ways to celebrate, too!

I hope I don't put anybody off here... but I think this was the best Valentine's Day (in the crossover between the history of Valentine's days and the years of my life). Here's a few reasons why:
  • our first MARRIED valentine's day
  • got to pick out from the "husbands" valentine's cards (warning: they're quite verbose, I prefer simple cards)
  • pink hair
  • three words: bacon wrapped steak
  • another many words: homemade heart-shaped red velvet cookie ice cream sandwiches
  • spent the day with my grandmother (I'm so glad she's back and recovered from the hospital!)


 suede zip: Vince, favourite tank: Vince, magenta circle skirt: American Apparel, tights: Bloomingdales, hiker boots: Two Lips via Victoria's Secret, zigzag bangles: Asos, pointed gold bangle: Juillet One Three, Necklace: Cara Couture

This suede jacket from Vince is one of my favourites. First, I love that olive colour, it simply goes with everything! Also, the quality of their pieces is amazing. I also have a leather jacket that is buttery soft, and this suede is no exception. I've had this for a couple of years now, and it still looks just as stunning as it did when purchased.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Another Rainy Day.

Surprise, surprise, we had another rainy day in Seattle. Luckily, it was rather light with no need for "true" raincoats.

We have been wanting to try out Manhattan for lunch (we tried their dinner) in Capitol Hill, and it was wonderful! We highly recommend their burgers and steak. We got the hummingbird cocktail for two, which was delightfully refreshing.

Afterwards, we went around to some costume and thrift shops before going to a whisk(e)y tasting.

feather crop: Mango, blouse: Vince, necklace: Macy's

leather/wool cape: Vero Moda via Asos, hat: Forever21, wax coated denim: Forever21, shoes: black Litas by Jeffrey Campbell via Karmaloop, buckled satchel: Vieta via Nasty Gal, necklace: Macy's

feather crop: Mango, leather: Asos, hi-low diagonal dress: Lembas, shoes: Lorissa by Sam Edelman via Karmaloop

on Ryan:
sport jacket: Vince, bowtie: Pointe via Amazon, button-up: Express, slacks: Express, shoes: Aldo

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Prabal Gurung for Target.

I'm sure most of you were excited for Prabal Gurung's collection for Target that became available today. If not, get on it! There are still some great pieces at the stores (depending on locations), as well as online.

Here are my top picks:

Photos from Refinery29

I love the PU collar lace blouses in the white/sulphur and the black. As well as that all floral short-suit ensemble--so stunning!  I adore the flattering silhouettes of the short-sleeve "first date" print dress and the sleeveless "meet the parents" print dress. The "first date" print is such a standout, and works well in dressier styles to more casual. I don't know about you guys, but I am always for a great shirt-dress, and this one has a fantastic print.

What did you guys pick up from the collection?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hawaiian Honeymoon.

As I've been so delayed on posting our wedding photos, I have yet to share the honeymoon shots, either! Here's to dreams of forthcoming spring and summer: sunshine, beaches, bikinis, tropical drinks, and sharing it with my love. So here's a glimpse to our take of the islands. Enjoy!

the honeymoon.

Our three-week getaway to the Hawaiian Islands. I was so excited, having grown up there, to go back in celebration of our wedding. Also, after spending just under a year planning the event, it was nice to relax :) We did three of the islands: Kona / Big Island, Maui, and Oahu.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

(healthier) orange chicken & vegetable stir-fry.

My husband and I have been trying to eat healthier, as well as trying to eat at home more often. My go-to healthy meals mostly rely on organic lean beef or wild salmon (we love Pike Place!). However, I have more difficulty when it comes to free-range, organic chicken unless it's in a soup or stew. It tends to turn out more bland for my taste, but my husband always seems to enjoy it--maybe he's trying to make me feel better.

Anyway, I lucked out today: Here's a recipe of a healthier version of orange chicken. I say healthier, because it still isn't the best way to eat your chicken, but it's better than the restaurant versions and has a nice orange flavor.

For our ingredients, I try to find the simplest ingredients. Always check the nutritional content and ingredients list. The simpler and less there are, the better. The lower the sugar and sodium content, the better. AND the less ingredients that your grandma wouldn't know/can't pronounce, the better.

  • 1 lb free-range chicken breast (sliced or cubed)
  • chopped broccoli and carrots (I'm a huge fan of veggies, so I figure the more the merrier)
  • 1/2 of chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (not from concentrate)
  • 1-2 tbsp organic orange marmalade (less ingredients/more natural the better) (amount varies upon how sweet you'd like it)
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp organic ketchup (tomato puree and vinegar, basically. possibly some sugar)
  • 1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (again, more natural the better)
  • 1 tbsp minced/crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp gluten free flour
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • garlic salt and pepper to taste
  • extra-virgin olive oil
If you want more citrus flavor, add more OJ, marmalade, lemon juice, and/or orange zest.

If you want a sweeter flavor, add more marmalade and ketchup.

  1. Mix OJ, marmalade, soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic & ginger in a bowl. Set aside
  2. Steam broccoli & carrots.
  3. While steaming, heat up sauce mixture in a pan. Once it starts to bubble, remove from heat & put in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Heat a clean skillet/wok, add EVOO and onion
  5. Season chicken w/ salt and pepper, then add to the hot skillet
  6. Spoon some of the sauce mixture (should still be hot), just a few spoonfuls, onto the chicken. Let the chicken cook through.
  7. Add steamed vegetables.
  8. Add the rest of the sauce.
  9. Add the flour to help thicken the mixture.
  10. Add in the ketchup and sriracha.
  11. While it is thickening, reduce heat to low. Simmer some more until most of the liquid has cooked off.
  12. Serve with your choice of brown or white rice.
End result? Not so much orange in color, but still tangy and delicious. Husband approved.

Again, if you want more of that citrus flavor, add more OJ, marmalade, lemon juice, and/or orange zest! Enjoy!