The ‘Flat Stanley’ Project

In spring of 2017, I agreed to help my niece in Northern California with her ‘Flat Stanley’ project. For two weeks, I was to take Stanley to visit various places in Southern California. It was an interesting experience. Below is a list of places we visited. Yes, I took the assignment seriously.
Thursday, 4/6/17
Arrival (Chatsworth)
Saturday, 4/8/17
9301 Tampa Avenue, Northridge, CA 91324
Sunday, 4/9/17
300 E. Martilija Street, Ojai, CA 93023
KNEAD Baking Company
469 E. Ojai Avenue, Ojai, CA 93023
Bart’s Bookstore (Ojai)
302 W. Martilija Street, Ojai, CA 93023

Waypoint Cafe at Camarillo Airport (Camarillo)

740 Ventura Boulevard, Camarillo, CA
Gardens of the World (Thousand Oaks)
2001 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
Thursday, 4/13/17
Belwood Bakery Cafe (Northridge)
8735 Tampa Avenue, Northridge, CA 91324
Saturday, 4/15/17
Downtown Los Angeles (Los Angeles)
Little Tokyo
Union Station
El Pueblo
Olvera Street
Millennium Biltmore Hotel
Jewelry District
Sunday, 4/16/17
California State University, Northridge (Northridge)
Thursday, 4/20/17

The Art of Gift Giving

It is not always easy to know what to gift to show our appreciation. I try to choose something that’s meaningful and suits the recipient. And within my budget.
Arts and Crafts:
Luxurious home fragrances. All the fragrances work with each other beautifully.
These soy candles are soothing. The simply white color doesn’t compete with any decor. 
Beautiful leather flower accessories.
Robot illustrations
Charming leather creations.
Handmade Creations under one roof!
Monthly pop-up shows throughout Southern California
Cultural Experiences:
Museum memberships
tours to local places/events
concert/performance tickets
magazine subscriptions
Food & Beverage:
Le Vert thé (available through White Peony Style in the U.S.)
High quality tea from Taiwan.
Baked goods and desserts from local bakery.

Cake, macarons, and cookie from Belwood Bakery Cafe in Northridge, California.

Time Together:
This is the ultimate gift. The best part is you give and receive at the same time!
No matter what I decide to gift, a handwritten card or note is always a nice touch.

The Way I Cook

I love eating! Eating and cooking come together in my life. Cooking to me is not a chore but a creative process that I enjoy. Cooking and eating involve all five senses.
I am not a gourmet cook. I don’t have any formal training in cooking. I didn’t start cooking until I left home for college. I cook for my own enjoyment with ingredients I can get. I believe cooking has many benefits:
  1. building a connection between the food and my body/mind. Knowing what is in my food and how the ingredients come together to become a dish, my body doesn’t experience ‘anxiety’.
  2. eating exactly what I want. I have certain preferences that no restaurant can accommodate. This is important for people with diet restrictions.
  3. good for the environment. I do feel guilty when I order take out, fast food, or taking home leftovers. All the packaging that I don’t use when I cook and eat at home.
  4. quality time with family and friends. Food brings people together.
  5. save money. I enjoy going out for good food with good service but it gets expensive. I invest in good quality cookware so I get better results.
Cooking does take time, but it is time well spent. My goals is encouraging people to cook more for and with their loved ones. Through sharing recipes, I hope to create an energy of happiness.

9 dishes I made for Chinese New Year celebration with family.

2015 was Great!

Looking back, so many wonderful things had happened in 2015.
– A lovely young lady that I met through work decided to go back to school to study interior design after we chatted a couple of times. This brings me so much joy! I can’t stress enough about the importance of education. Soon, I will gain another brilliant design colleague to collaborate with.
– Back in May, a student came to the UltraGlas booth and we started talking. I found out she had years of experience in writing for television and encouraged her to use her skills to gain work opportunities with designers. Weeks later I referred this student to my graphic designer friend Susan Leinen who was looking for a writer to help her interior design clients. When the student and I saw each other again in October, she had developed a unique services catering to the design industry.
– I consulted on design of a brand new showroom this year. It will open in 2016. This is probably the most fun project that the client is open to all ideas I had.
First time attending Design & Construction Week in Las Vegas. It was convenient to attend multiple trade shows in the same city.
Waited in line for one-and-a-half hours to tour the Hollyhock House by Frank Lloyd Wright at its re-opening after extensive renovation. My last visit was near 20 years ago.
Volunteered for “Let’s Bake A Difference” charity event along with fellow members of Conejo Association of Professional Interior Designers (CAPID). It was indeed very SWEET!
Working two trade shows in one day is no easy task. I am so proud of myself for handling it well! It was an honor to present UltraGlas to local designers. Thankful for the opportunities from Conejo Association of Professional Interior Designers (CAPID) and National Kitchen & Bath Association, Central Coast & Valleys Chapter (NKBACCV).
First time going on an out-of-town trip with Eleanor Schrader as our guide/organizer. I learned a great deal and is so grateful that I work in design.
Finally had the chance to visit the famous Sheats-Goldstein Residence.
Cut off 17″ of hair and donated to Wigs for Kids. This is my 6th donation. I may attempt to do it again!
Wonderful connecting with childhood friends from Taipei Christian Children’s Choir. We got on stage and sang at the L.A. concert of one of our former members. Singing on stage with my friends once again was a blessing. Can’t believe it has been over 30 years.
2nd Le Vert thé tasting party was a success! Tea brings people together.

Hollyhock House at Barnsdall Art Park

On February 14, 2015, I visited Hollyhock House by Frank Lloyd Wright at Barnsdall Art Park as part of its celebration of reopening after years of restoration work. For one night only, the admission was waived and photographs were allowed.




Just got in line.

It was 9 a.m. when I got there. It was a beautiful clear day! After waiting for a little over an hour, I made it to the entry.


Getting closer.


Almost there!



Built between 1919 and 1921, Hollyhock House was Frank Lloyd Wright’s first project in Los Angeles commissioned by Aline Barnsdall.

The Dining Room was on the left immediately after the Entry. And the Kitchen is beyond the Dining Room.


Hollyhock House

Dining Room

On the other side of the Entry is the Music Room.IMG_8564



The hallway has low ceiling and opens to the Courtyard. IMG_8585IMG_8587


The focal point of the Living Room is of course the fireplace. The custom carpet was interesting.





I love books!

Hollyhock House



The Courtyard and the areas adjacent to it are my personal favorite.

IMG_8606 IMG_8610
IMG_8591 IMG_8588 IMG_8639


IMG_8562A few photos from the outside of the house.





Visitors were only allowed in the common areas of the first floor. That was a little disappointing. The parts we were allowed to be in all have low ceilings. Not so comfortable. Maybe that’s the way to keep the line moving.

I am not crazy about the house. It is not my style, and I can feel it tries to control me. (No doubt Frank Lloyd Wright was a control freak.) I do appreciate the attention to details, and brilliant design ideas. It was still very inspiring to see how everything was well thought out.

If you are interested in visiting Hollyhock House yourself, please click HERE.

Click HERE for a photo tour of the entire house.