Friday, April 11, 2014

In Good Company

The photographs of my incredibly talented friend, Cydney Puro - whom I've raved about before (read here) - are being featured in the too-cool-for-school online publication, This is Paper. Her work is gorgeous and rad. Take a look HERE.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


A lost mind. Doodle by yours truly circa 2007.

The French are rad, and I am not the only Muggle who thinks so. Countless books have been penned analyzing the way the French cook, dress, and rear their children. Since the French approach is so revered, I've got to ask... how do the French consume croissants?

I down at least three buttery suckers per week in public... that said, it may be nice if I were to exhibit a sense of decorum.*

The blogosphere claims the majority of Parisians rip croissants into bite-sized pieces and then dunk 'em into espresso for easy, and I'm assuming, tasty consumption. But if you've got a nice croissant, the pastry is flakey. When torn, the crisp golden crumb trail get everywhere... and if then dunked, the pastry gets all soggy. This mode of consumption makes no sense to me...

Is it so wrong to bite into croissants WHOLE?!?
I like to amputate my croissant horns before hitting the chewy center "bod".

Yes, it's stuff like this that keeps me up at night.
I think I need help.

* I can be found consuming croissants the non-French way at Proof Bakery in Atwater Village. Their pastries are worth the calories.

An Acquired Taste

Close-up of Disneylanders in Untitled (Ghost Photograph no. 209) 2013, 8”x 10” 

 Commissioned work for Amy Sedaris

Untitled (Ghost Photograph no. 32), 2012, 4”x 6” 

Untitled (Ghost Photograph no. 50), 2012, 3.5”x 5”

Thank you, Shoko, for featuring Angela Deane's charming ghost paintings on your blog. This weirdo is now inspired. Once I wrap up my existing work projects, you can best bet that I will be "ghosting" some family photographs in the style of awesome Angela. Booyah! 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Booty, er, Booby-licious

Shake Dat

Though best known for her delicate engagement ring options and Dali-esque Man Ray cuffs, Aussie Nora Kogan also offers cheekier accessory options - as pictured above. I shared my brilliant discovery with le huz yesterday, and needless to say, he expressed concern for my bizarre taste. BAH! Good taste is overrated.

These plump booties are scrumptious. 

Sleepless in Silverlake

Olive before her arrival. 
I joked that she was suffering from performance anxiety when her due date arrived 
and she chose not to make an appearance. 
For the record, the fashionably late tot was ultimately evicted from my belly based on the doc's recommendation.

I'm having trouble sleeping. I suppose this isn't the least bit surprising seeing that I'm over 29 weeks pregnant, am harboring a nasty cold that prevents me from breathing, and my "wombmate," Quinn, is in full-on disco mode at 2 in the morning. "Why you little..."

Which leads me to Amazon. To all the knocked-up mamas out there, do you own a Snoogle? I survived my first pregnancy without having to purchase this much-talked-about body pillow. Visually, it hurts my eyes, and we've got enough junk in our home as is, but I'm desperate for a good night's sleep. I've got 30 extra pounds on my frame and the added weight is taking a toll. I could use some "cuddle me comfort".

What the heck.
*Add to Cart*

I think I'll name him Thor. If he delivers on his promises, I will haul him to Maui.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Break

Photo above plucked off Pinterest.

In celebration of my husband's upcoming birthday in April and Quinn's impending escape from my womb in June, I booked the family a hopefully-relaxing trip to Maui. By the time we go, le huz will have finished launching a project at work, and I will have wrapped up two of my own. Le sigh. Of relief! A charging of spirits is much-deserved after months of hard work on the part of le huz, and a last-hurrah for the rest of Olive & Co. before the cycle of sleepless nights begins is an absolute necessity.

White-sand beaches and clear waters for Olive. Spam musubis and snow cones for le huz and me. My inner manatee* is ready to be unleashed.

* I've gained 26 lbs to date, but have two plus months to go. Eek! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Say My Name

Brunching with her Pa and Ma at the new Ace Hotel in Downtown LA

Conversations with Olive

What's baba's name? 
Olive: Josh.

What's your doggy's name?
Olive: Beans.

What's mommy's name?
Olive: Babe.

Olive's sitter is out-of-town this week, so I've been juggling her school and social schedule with my work schedule. Madness, I tell you. Madness! But I do realize that all the extra time we've had together these past few days is a blessing in disguise. Once the baby is born, quality time alone with my toddler will be hard to come by. That said, I'm trying my best to savor our precious moments together... with much patience!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fan Girl

Sampling of the work of DISC Interiors
See more of their work here and here.

Baby Quinn may not be due until June, but I'm already in nesting mode. Last year, le huz and I enlisted my design crushes, Krista Schrock and David John Dick of DISC Interiors to transform Casa de Olive y Beans into a comfy, yet tailored space. In all likelihood, I will be on lockdown with two little ones and a breast pump for the rest of 2014, so investing in the beautification of our 85 year-old senior-citizen-of-a-crib seemed like a no-brainer. I considered taking on the arduous task of working out the interiors myself but felt the benefits from working with and learning from my idols were worth pursuing. Luckily my frugal-but-loving-and-understanding husband agreed.

Like any good fan-girl, I performed my fair share of digital stalking of the talented duo before contacting them. There wasn't a single sampling of their work that my husband and I disliked, so it was easy for us to hand over all reigns to Krista and David - subject to a budget, of course. I loved that they understood our need for a livable space (dogs and babies roam our home) and shared my love for a classic palette and appreciation for the teeniest of design details. I actually salivate over pretty hardware. Who does that?!? During our design journey, I was introduced to artisans, materials and textiles I had only read about in glossy magazines or admired in blogs. What a treat and privilege to have had their guidance on executing our idea of the dream home. Talented, kind and unassuming, Krista and David are interior design unicorns.

Some of the pieces we ended up purchasing have yet to arrive, but the following images provide a taste of the space that lucky Baby Quinn will be welcomed into. To think that I didn't even have a decorated baby room ready for Olive when she emerged. Winston Churchill was quoted as having said, "We shape our homes and then our homes shape us." Perhaps this explains why she was so angry during her first year of life. See? All of this? Worth it.

Credits: From left to right and top to bottom
mirror by Casa Midy, console by Egg Collective, fabric swatch from Ralph Lauren
fabric swatch by Zak+Fox, sconce by Billy Cotton, lamp by Aerin Lauder

throw by Tabula Rasa, vintage Spanish cabinet from Revival Antiques in Pasadena, chandelier by Apparatus Studio 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Anything But Vanilla

Photo credit: Aileen Cheng

In my next life, I'd like to be reborn as either Tina Fey (I lurv her) or an incredibly chic gay man. For whenever I flip open an issue of Elle Decor, Architectural Digest (or when I'm feeling particularly "fahnnnncy", an issue of World of Interiors), I find it difficult not to fall in love with the fearless interior work of some gent with an eye for bohemian-luxe. Inviting rooms are layered with texture, color, print and evidence of a well-traveled life; yet nary in sight are the cheesy tchotchkes that fill up my everyday life. These fellas' lives are are carefully edited, and their homes are never short of fresh-cut flowers and fiddle leaf figs. I bet Ina Garten and Jeffrey would have me over at her Hamptons pad, like, all the time...

My natural design instinct isn't "more is more", but I'd like to think that I too, possess a personal style. Not just with respect to my closet, but my renovation and interior designs as well. I aspire to create relaxed, inviting spaces. I like embracing the traditional and old and peppering it with a little "sumthin' sumthin'". Yes. I just typed those words for the world (aka all 10 followers of my blog) to read. I appreciate clean lines, but I'm no minimalist. And not a work day goes by that I don't consider that Don Draper line, "Make it simple, but significant." That's right. I just quoted an imaginary man... 

While I have a look that I prefer, I ultimately look to my clients for final approval. I'm in the business of service, and unlike some of the fahnnnnncy decorators featured on Million Dollar Decorators (I miss that show so much), I actually care if the final product I deliver is sustainable for my clients. I can tablescape and style the heck out of a space for a photo shoot, but what good is it if my clients find their home un-liveable? 

Anyhow.... there really isn't too much of a point to this blog entry other than to share an image of my new business cards with y'all. The talented Aileen Cheng did all the dirty work after reviewing the Pinterest board I pulled together with images I felt best described the feel of my business. We decided to go with a palette of navy and warm white with matte copper foil text. I love the final outcome... hope y'all do as well.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Baby Fat

"Cake?! What cake?!"
Ay-yai-yai... The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Olive and a mini Sprinkles cupcake.
Gone in 60 seconds.

I love my baby girls - the entertaining lunatic pictured above (Olive) as well as the one who's currently incubating in my rapidly growing belly (Quinn). I am so unbelievably grateful for their presence in my life and truly can't imagine an existence without them. Life is very good, and I really shouldn't complain.

With that said...

I am having a really hard time accepting, let alone embracing, what's become of my face and body this second time around the block. Only 27 weeks into my pregnancy, I am feeling as large as I felt when pregnant with Olive at 41 weeks. My belly, as expected, is massive. It's the presidential suite of wombs! But my cheeks? Both face and ass are already huge. My already small eyes are looking smaller by the day on my pudgy face, and to make matters worse, pregnancy hormones are causing hyperpigmentation of my skin, resulting in freckles and dark spots appearing on my fat face that weren't there before. I don't consider myself a vain person, but I am a visual person, and what I see in my reflection is saddening. I don't feel pretty.

I want to be as confident and effortlessly hot as the mothers profiled on The Glow and other tastemakers' blogs, but my protruding navel, belly fuzz, National Geographic nipples, neck rolls and ooh, custard thighs have me feeling like a high-speed bullet train headed for Ugly Town. And I can't stop the ride...

According to my physician, I'm physically fine. (A relief to hear.)
So I'm supposed to be this ugly?!

The light at the end of my tunnel is knowing that I'll soon be cradling TWO baby girls in my arms. Double the crazy. Double the fun. What's a little baby fat in the meantime, yeah?

My little weirdo and her cousin, Aiden cheesing it up at Disneyland earlier today.
She makes me smile.

Monday, March 10, 2014


"Bliss only finds those with open arms."
If that's the case, Olive's odds for finding bliss are pretty darn good.
(Source of quote unknown. I found it via Pinterest)

The distance between my under-boob and top-of-crotch is a short one. So babies I incubate have nowhere to grow and stretch but outwards. As you can imagine, I am looking mighty deformed as of late. I am a pinata on legs, sporting a belly button that couldn't possibly protrude further. I actually have nightmares that my belly button knot would unravel itself and all my innards (amniotic fluids and Baby Quinn included) would gush out of the opening. Too graphic? Okay. Sometimes I overshare.

Manatee bod aside, all is well. I'm feeling as good as I can feel for a 26 week pregnant mama. Ordered a pair of ridiculous Chloe boots I've been eyeing since last summer's trip to London and made a trip to Destination Maternity after work only to haul home a dress and stretchy denim. Figure having new shoes and clothes will make me feel a sliver more attractive than I did last weekend. I had helped throw a baby shower for a friend and ended up wearing my Sunday best - tapered sweat pants. Quite frankly, they were all that I could find that (1) were clean, and (2) fit. Since I'm no supermodel, the sweats actually looked like sweats, and well, let's just say I spent a good deal of time seated in hopes of hiding the business below my massive waistline.

It helps to keep busy during the pregnancy countdown. Appeasing pregnancy snack attacks* and work aside, I've been on pee-pee watch. Olive is two years and two months to date, and we've been potty-training. She's been really good about alerting this old Ma about her need to potty, but there are the occasional "uh-oh"s. Which leads me to share the following piece of valuable info I learned from the almighty Internet with fellow brave Mamas experiencing accidents:

How to Remove Urine Stains from Upholstery
Mix white vinegar + water. Dab stain.
Mix baking powder + water. Dab stain.
Vacuum the stain.
Wait for the stain to dry. Pray while doing so.

Miss Uh-Oh looking like she's just Uh-Oh'd and Le Huz

* Avocado toast. Haagen Daz Peanut Butter Pie ice cream. Chicken Pad Thai. Um, yes, I plan to work out like a mad person two months after delivering Baby Quinn.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mama Said Knock You Out

When not on hovering over my daughter to keep her Dora the Explorer underpants dry (we're potty training season here in the Huang household), I can be found wallowing in self-pity over my manatee state. Seriously? I don't even own a full-length mirror because for as long as we've lived in this house, I've been incubating little humans (first with Olive, now with baby Quinn). Pregnancy is not a good look for me (Snork snout bellybutton, veiny breasts topped with intimidating nipples). Seeing my reflection depresses me.

However, when not preoccupied with either of the above-mentioned, I've been enjoying myself at Refuge Design Build. Visuals of a few of the projects I've been up to:

Project Maltman. Duplex renovation. The whole shebang.
I asked the guys to take the stairs.
They did as they were told.

Photo from the first day of demolition at Maltman.
Love it.

Lower unit of Maltman.
Looking like a feature on HGTV's House Hunters Gone International.

Lower unit of Maltman. 
More framing to come down to make for an open floor plan.
Imagine Jenna Lyon's former kitchen inserted into this space.
 You know, the much-loved, much-pinned space from her Brooklyn brownstone...
Yes. It's happening.

Project West Hollywood. Single-family residence renovation. Kitchen and then-some.
Shot from cabinetry install day.
Farrow & Ball's Cornforth White is never a bad way to go, people.

West Hollywood.
Breakfast nook to come.

West Hollywood.
A masculine palette of denim, ticking stripe and linens for the nook.

In a nutshell? I've been knocking a lot of stuff down (with the help of my contractors). Finished product photos due mid-April. Just had to share some work-in-progress shots. I find perfection in the imperfection!

P.S. Refuge Design Build business cards designed by the talented Aileen Cheng are in and they are gorgeous! So thankful for you, Aileen!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Stuff I Like

While surfing the web for home renovation-related items for work-related projects, I can't help but save images into a folder on my desktop titled: STUFF I LIKE.  This past weekend, I decided to do some desktop cleaning, and came to the realization that I am a total freak. The following images will give you a taste of the stuff I've been hoarding so dearly. 

Alas, I fear for the future of my daughter.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Look Who's Talking

"Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn." 

The little booger is now a month over the 2 year mark and has become quite the talker. (I wonder where she gets it from.) My BFF, Pam, had warned me that this would happen. Not so much the fact that toddlers eventually talk, rather the fact that when they start, they just can't stop. Words that shouldn't be strung together are being strung together and come babbling out at embarrassingly loud volumes. And yes, the phrases aren't always appropriate.


I stop chewing my chicken nugget (we're at the LA Zoo). I have no words.


Olive looks annoyed by the fact that her message of alert is not processing. The look of confusion on my face, on the other hand, is. She points at a sign with a monkey. Next to it is a long, brown walking stick... Ahh. Reminder to self. Your daughter's mind is good and pure. Mine, on the other hand, is clearly in the gutter.

Ay... Kids say the darndest things.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Hopes & Dreams

When Olive was first born, she was gifted a lovely baby book. Or no. Rephrase. When Olive was first born, I was gifted a baby book. Because let's get real people. A baby book is really just mommy homework. Super moms eagerly fill them in regularly (like they're supposed to) while shitty moms *ahem*, push them to the side until their child hits 9 months of age, and then freak out. "What was the ankle biter's first word? When did she take her first step? A mini envelope to house a lock of hair from her first haircut?!" Uh-oh. I'd like to phone-a-friend...

Having forgotten all the sentimental stuff (details of who, what, when and where), I recall jumping to fill in all the blanks that did not require me to jog my memory. "Hopes and dreams for baby." Ermahgerd! I can tackle this one. I can make this up now. Felt-tip pen in hand, I scribbled, "When you grow up, I hope you grow up to be a happy non-asshole." Oh shit. I did not just curse in her baby book.

I did. Needless to say, I stopped filling out Olive's baby book after the third page...

Fast forward to today, my baby girl is exactly what I hoped and dreamed for. A happy non-asshole.

She is such a delight to have around. Funny and chatty. Kind and generous. Now... was I supposed to be more specific? As in, what hopes and dreams I hope for her career-wise? She's only two, but check her out. My little sous chef...

I may have created a monster...

Baby apron and utensils by Odette Williams

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

I Swallowed a Beach Ball

As is typical of my FREQUENT blog posts* I shall open with an apology. An apology for being so darn absent. For those of you raising little human beings, you understand. We have to keep the munchkins alive and healthy (the baseline for motherhood), and it's not as easy as it looks. Look at what I'm dealing with:

Ahh... The beauty of potty training. In the kitchen. 

Anyhow, Olive aside (she's a time-suckage, so a photo was warranted), I have been juggling my day job. Refuge Design Build completed two home renovations in time to ring in 2014, and is now attempting to deliver three more happy homes before ankle-biter 2.0 makes her grand debut in June. Lots to look forward to. But in the meantime...

I am looking like I swallowed a beach ball. 

I'm a mere 5 months along, but am looking the way some women look at 8 or 9 months. I suppose it doesn't help that my torso is like that of a midget. Where else is baby Quinn supposed to go?** Even Olive has taken notice of her mother's rapidly expanding waistline. 

"Mama, BIG."
"Mama, mountain." (Pointing at my stomach.) 

In the work place, I'm a proprietor of good taste, or well, one of slightly-above-average taste. I try my best to look presentable, but baby Quinn's lil' condo is hindering my usual fashion choices. I'm She-Hulking out of my go-to shrunken leather jackets, my button-ups are pulling at the chest, and my pants... let's just stay I'll be looking into our crawlspace tonight in search of the maternity jeans I wore when incubating Olive. My jeans are getting uber-tight, and the last thing I want to be doing is running down Sunset Junction chasing a button that's sprung from my beloved Rag & Bones. My only connection to fashion as of late is how similar my belly button is to Michael Kors' nasty belly button.*** WARNING: You cannot unsee what you are about to see, so look away if you don't want to scar your eyeballs for life. 

Will be posting more regularly in the coming weeks because I've been having more and more thoughts about my munchkins which I feel are worth sharing, exploring, and making fun of...

* Line should be typed out in font, SARCASTICA. 

** That's right, people. We're naming ankle-biter 2.0, "Quinn". Olive's favorite name, one which she refers to Thomas the Steam Engine by, is "Quimby." When le huz and I found out ankle-biter 2.0 would be a girl, we thought, "Why not let Olive name her future tormentor? It's only fair." So "Quinn B. Huang" it is. We've yet to figure out what that middle initial "B" is going to stand for, but are open to suggestions. 

*** I don't have an outy, but my inny (by the way, am I spelling these technical terms correctly?), but my inny is totally flipping itself inside out to become one. OMIGOSH. I'm grossing myself out.

Monday, December 30, 2013


Happy 2nd Birthday, to our beloved tormentor, Olive.

Mommy and Daddy love you.
Even if our faces suggest otherwise.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Inspired. (Click to tour Faye Toogood's home. It's gorg.)

In case you haven't heard, a couple months ago, I started a new venture: REFUGE Design Build
So it's official. I've got a logo design in the works (thank you, Aileen Cheng), which makes this entire venture that much more real.

Inspiration behind the look of Refuge - as was dictated to Aileen by yours truly:

A sneak-peek at the fabulousness that Aileen concocted for me 
(just one of many concepts she had up her sleeve):

Goofing off with cardstock options. Ooh, the possibilities!

As much as I've denied the label, I've become an interior designer. What-what?!? Yes, who would've thunk?
I'm currently working on five projects and I can't wait to share the rad end results with you all.

Bears hugs and slobbery kisses.


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