Posts tagged lifestyle
The King’s Roost: Advanced Sourdough Class

A few weeks ago, I took my very first bread class at The King’s Roost in Silverlake! It was Alex’s super thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift to me, and I was both excited and nervous because I wasn’t sure if my skills were “advanced” enough. Turns out, there was nothing to be worried about and I can’t wait to go back and learn something new.

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My class started at 1PM, and I arrived a couple minutes early to get situated. I brought my 12 qt. plastic bin that I’ve been mixing my dough in and a notebook with questions. The entrance to The King’s Roost is in the back, and there’s a small parking lot for easy access.

As soon as you walk in, there’s a small storefront full of breadmaking tools, flours, grains, mills, and other homemade goods. There’s also a long table where my classmates and I set our stuff down, and a kitchen and countertop where the class was hosted. My class was relatively small (5 women including myself) and we immediately started getting to know each other. Many of them were semi-familiar with breadmaking and grew up with a love for cooking, but not necessarily sourdough experts. One woman didn’t even realize she had signed up for an advanced class! But Roe was such a great teacher and so supportive as he answered our questions and walked us through the process.

My biggest takeaway was Roe’s deep knowledge of grains and flours and even deeper appreciation for all things handmade. As soon as the class started, he started telling us about his DIY tilapia pond, aquaponics setup, and his colorful experience with sheep herding, beekeeping, soapmaking, and of course breadmaking. As he told us more about his background, he toasted 2 loaves of pre-made bread for the class to munch on and served us coffee.

After about an hour, he started teaching the class and showed us his techniques for mixing a fresh batch of dough from start to finish. Then he brought us to the storefront and explained the uses for hard white flours vs. soft white flours, locally grown whole wheat grains, ancient sea salt, and more. Finally, we milled our own flour and started mixing our dough alongside him.

As we wrapped our dough to bring home and finish rising, Roe’s loaf was fresh from the oven and ready to enjoy. As he was slicing into it, he also whipped fresh butter on-the-spot with whipping cream and this really nifty Chef’n butter-making gadget. It was the most wholesome, fresh experience that made me love bread even more than I already do.

As class concluded, we took home some of Roe’s bread and sourdough starter. Each of us also purchased something from his store and exchanged contact info to coordinate taking classes in the future together. If you’re a maker or a baker, you must take one of Roe’s classes!

What the Heck is "Hygge"?

While everyone else is Marie Kondo-ing their homes and figuring out what sparks joy, I’ve been cozying up to the concept of hygge. It’s just another reason for me to love Denmark more than I already do (have I mentioned how obsessed I am over Nadine Redzepi and her cookbook “Downtime”?).

In essence, hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word to describe a mood of coziness and wellness. It’s about enjoying the simple things in life and embracing the comfort of home. One of the podcasts I listened to actually described hygge as a verb. While Americans tend to think of “coziness” as a noun and a state of being, the Danes think of it as something that’s actively pursued; quite literally, hygge loosely translates to “to cozy.” The word “hug” even directly stems from hygge.

Over the past month, we bought armchairs and a floor lamp – the finishing touches to bring together the living room and unintentionally boost hygge. We’re talking throw pillows, a fleece blanket with both dogs nestled beside me, a good hardcover book, an Anthropologie candle, smooth jazz on Spotify, and the recent LA rain gently pitter-pattering against the window pane. Pure bliss.

Here are my favorite ways to indulge in hygge.

Candles

Studies have shown that Danes burn more candles than any other European country. The hygge is real! After the holidays, I scored some deep discounts on candles at Home Goods, World Market, and Pier 1 Imports. And don’t forget to save your candle jars to use as pots for plants. Eco-friendly and cozy!

Lamps

SImilar to candles, lamps are an important part of creating the perfect atmosphere. The Danes take great pride in light fixtures and strategically plan where to place their light sources. It’s more important to have small pockets of intentional light rather than a central light source that overpowers your space. Keep it light but not too bright.

Boyfriend Sweaters

I raided Alex’s closet and have been wearing some of his oversized sweaters to work. The baggier, the better. Just tuck it into a pair of high-waisted, fitted jeans. For those of you braving the polar vortex, don’t forget to accessorize with fleece socks, mittens, and a cute headwrap. [sources: Chellysun, Belletag/Nordstrom]

Homemade Bread

The feeling of pulling something fresh out of the oven has hygge written all over it. The warmth, the smells, the joy of sharing with your loved ones. And even if it’s not bread, any comfort food like pasta, soup, or cookies also work. Ramen pictured is from Ippudo!

There’s a fine line between coziness and laziness, but the beauty of hygge is that you can make it your own. Whatever brings those warm fuzzies to your heart and mind.

January in Review

2019 is off to a strong start – pushing ourselves at work, adding finishing touches to the living room, and tackling new home improvement projects. It’s hard to believe that at this time last year, we were just getting started with house renovations. A few highlights from this month…

We took it easy for New Year’s day. Over the following weekend, we took the dogs to get their annual checkups.

I changed my name on my driver’s license.

We saw “Wicked” for the second time.

We got a new camera to take nicer photos of the house and for our travels.

I got a new basil plant to keep indoors (my previous basil plant never flourished ever since I moved it outdoors). I also tried to rescue the lettuce in the raised veggie bed from mold, but alas, they succumbed.

I made more bread, including a stuffed focaccia. Now I’m trying to figure out how to make larger air holes in my bread now for an even better crumb.

We arranged a gallery wall of photos (motivation to finally print our wedding photos), bought a West Elm lamp for the living room, got armchairs from Amazon, and hung up a wall clock from Muji.

And finally, we celebrated Alex’s 30th birthday at Tres by Jose Andres (followed by dessert at Milk Bar), Osteria Mozza, and Dave and Buster’s.

Christmas Spirit!

Bringing home a Christmas tree was one of the things we've been looking forward to all year. It was totally out of the question last year, but now that we're settled in, we can actually make the space cozy and enjoy the season. We bought our Noble Fir from Armstrong Garden Center (with a handy $10 coupon) and borrowed decorations from my mother-in-law. This is hands-down the nicest tree I've ever gotten so we're giving it lots of TLC and photo opps.

We also stopped by Home Depot to pick up some trellises and snap peas. The goal is to train the vines across our brick fence to make the wall lush and fruitful.

And in the spirit of Christmas, we went full-on holiday mode and went to Disneyland with Léna, Diaeddine, and Rachel. It was a combination of celebrating Léna's birthday, showing them around Disneyland for the first time, and taking a day to just have fun. We really miss having an annual pass, but now all of our "fun" money goes straight into the house (see "snap peas" above). It was a very sweet, nostalgic day re-tracing our steps around Disneyland and remembering where we often daydreamed about our future house and family while waiting in lines.

Fall/Winter Reading List

Every year, one of my resolutions is to read more. Now that I’m 4 weeks into my new job, I’m establishing a new schedule with new habits like listening to more podcasts on my commute and making a conscious effort to come home every night and spend at least an hour reading. Here’s what’s on my reading list.

1. Downtime - Nadine Redzepi

I’ve been obsessed with Nadine Redzepi ever since I saw her in Ugly Delicious on Netflix alongside David Chang’s wife Grace. I guess I have a thing for chef’s wives. Nadine’s book is beautifully designed and photographed and even comes with 3 ribbon bookmarks in the binding to keep track of your favorite recipes. Her cooking philosophy is especially relevant to us now as we nurture a casual, communal atmosphere in our open layout kitchen. She also values using fresh ingredients and giving them a sophisticated yet simple twist. 10000% recommend.

2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Mark Manson

I will always read books that have curse words in the title. Now, I don’t agree 100% with everything in this book, but the biggest takeaway for me is to not stress over the small stuff. I’m the type of person who will replay moments throughout the day in my head before I fall asleep and beat myself up over how I should have reacted or what I should have said. An hour later, I’m still tossing and turning. I’m halfway through this book and it’s an important reminder to stop caring about things that don’t matter.

3. The War of Art - Steven Pressfield

I was gifted this book by a former coworker several years ago, and it isn’t until now that I’m finally getting around to finishing it. My new job is a lot less creative than what I’m used to, but it’s also a huge learning experience with its own set of roadblocks. Reading this book is also a reminder for myself that all writing — whether its campaign manifestos, social copy, roadmaps, pitch decks, banner ads, meta descriptions, or site-wide banner callouts — literally anything with words is an artistic craft and creative challenge.

4. Manage Your Day-to-Day - Jocelyn K. Glei

I read this book years ago and loved how calm and organized it made me feel. Every office is chaotic, some more than others, and as I’m transitioning back into the startup world and learning the complexities of a tech startup, I’m finding that this book is a great way to stay grounded.

5. UX for Beginners - Joel Marsh

Like I said above, this new job is exposing me to certain areas in which I have minimal experience like UI/UX. So I’m taking it upon myself to read as much as I can and catch up to the rest of the team so I can start contributing even more. I checked out this handy book via Libby (I love my library card) and can quickly breeze through a few chapters every night. It’s a funny, entertaining light read but I also know that I’m absorbing so much information and looking at websites and apps completely differently.

Majordomo

For almost a year, we’ve been trying to get a table at Majordomo. It’s fusion fine dining at its finest. Unpretentious yet premium. Approachable but still experimental. So last weekend, we headed over at 4:30 with our friends Ezequiel and Pastora to try our luck at the walk-in line.

When you drive up to Majordomo, you feel like Google Maps lied to you. There’s no possible way that this random corner of Chinatown is home to a restaurant owned and operated by David Chang. But then you remember it’s David Chang. And once you see the bright, colorful, eclectic murals that are so undeniably David Choe, you know that you’ve arrived.

Since it was 4:30 and the restaurant opens at 5:30, we sat outside and eavesdropped on the chef’s pre-service standup as they prepped for the night ahead. We watched everyone inside hustling in the final hour before the doors opened and watched the area light up with a buzzing energy. Some people showed up in fancy long dresses and heels, others with their cute Asian parents dressed up for a big night on the town.

After all the reservations were called, we were quickly welcomed inside and escorted to a table (it was reserved for 8:30). The interior is modern industrial: high ceilings with black exposed pipes and rich wooden walls and panels. We were seated inside toward the wine cellar and more murals. LOOK HOW HAPPY WE WERE.

As you’re looking at the menu, they serve you “water kimchi” — thin slices of Asian pear, apple, and daikon in a vinegar-y brine which they encourage you to drink. It’s refreshing and cleanses the palette for the goodies to come.

I asked the waiter to tell us his favorite dishes from the menu which helped guide a lot of our choices. We started with the Bing: Honey + Foie Gras, Ricotta, & Jam. It’s basically like a freshly made pita that you dip into different spreads. The combination of honey and butter was one of the most memorable flavor combos of the evening, and one that we’ll carry with us long after we left the restaurant.

Then our Bounty Bowl arrived: fresh, raw veggies served with a koji mascarpone sauce and spicy domojang sauce. It was so simple and memorable and another dish that really stuck with us. We were even inspired to pick up fresh veggies and dips from Trader Joe’s the next day.

The heartier entrees arrived next. The Crispy Rice was a showstopper — a medium-sized casserole filled with shrimp, corn, and bacon on top of a layer of crispy rice. Then they pour broth/gravy/meat juice over it tableside. We waited a couple minutes for the rice to soak up the juices, and then we stirred the glorious bowl together.

We also ordered the Boiled Whole Chicken which arrives two different ways. First, the breast meat is served over rice, nodding to Hainan chicken. Clean and simple. Then, another medium-sized casserole dish arrives filled with a rich chicken soup, hand torn noodles, and matsutake mushrooms. Definitely not your grandma’s chicken soup.

And for the grand finale, the 45-day dry-aged ribeye served with creamed spinach and seaweed. Ohmahgawd. A+. Pure meat butter.

Heres what we ordered, listed from our most favorite to least:

  • 45 Day Dry-Aged Holstein Ribeye

  • Crispy Rice

  • Bing: Honey + Foie Gras, Ricotta, & Jam

  • Bounty Bowl

  • The Zombie (look at the cute kitty cup!)

  • Boiled Whole Chicken

We left extremely satisfied, both with the price and our bellies. Well, the 45-day aged ribeye gave us a serious case of the meat sweats, but in the best possible way.

Fall Weekend Cleanup

You know you’re an adult when you get excited about going to IKEA on a Saturday night.

But first, landscaping. We spent our Saturday morning uprooting tons of weeds in the yard.

Then we completely cleared out the garage and went through all of our clothes, pots, pans, and miscellaneous junk. We arranged almost 5 boxes of donation items and dropped them off at Goodwill.

Then we bought a dresser at IKEA! I’ve actually never had a dresser since my childhood bedroom so this was a very big deal for me.

We’re still organizing and clearing things out. In fact, yesterday we moved a floor lamp from the living room into our bedroom and hooked it up with a Wifi smart plug. Which means now we can turn the lights on by saying, “Alexa, turn on the bedroom lights.” Big, big day!

Glimpses of Married Life

Our first week back home after our destination wedding in Bali involved grocery shopping at Costco, purchasing a Roomba, baking snickerdoodles, reading new books, making arepas with Venezuelan friends, and celebrating Kristy’s birthday.

We’re also decluttering our closets, tending to neglected plants, starting to plant new seedlings after I accidentally over-fertilized our first batch from the summer, and preparing to experiment with pasta making!

New tabs on the blog for recipes, travel, and landscaping to come!

Minimalist Favorites

One of my guilty pleasures is watching YouTube videos and reading blogs about minimalism. I'm especially hooked on Rachel AustPick Up Limes, and Hello Hoku.

Becoming a homeowner helped open my eyes to my personal style, especially as we were renovating our kitchen and bathrooms and making such permanent decisions. Will we still like the tile in five years? Will this faucet match the toilet? Will potential buyers feel the same about our ultra pure white cabinetry? 

Renovating and paying a mortgage AND wedding planning also made us hyper-aware of our spendings. We're passionate meal planners, and we try our best to resist making purchases unless we absolutely need it. No splurges on bad days. No snacks. No cheap junk. It's all about functionality.

Today, I started watching Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things on Netflix, and it speaks to me on so many levels. Our lives practically revolve around cleaning and caring for our home, and our mood instantly changes as soon as we wipe down the floors or stove. And it's all the little moments in between — making the bed, putting the remote control back into the TV console, putting our shoes in a rack — that help us clear our minds and love our space even more.

Like a lot of our friends in their late 20s, we're also trying to get rid of our old, cheap furniture from college and upgrade to more intentional pieces. Here are a few that we've added to our collection, and others that are on my shopping list.

HomeDaphne Chanlifestyle
Weekend Hosting

With just a little over a month before our wedding, we had a rare free weekend to stay at home and chill. So in addition to cleaning and errands, it was the perfect time to catch up with friends!

First, Friday night was spent at the movies to watch Jurassic World. We're trying to get our money's worth with our Moviepass before it inevitably tanks. Plus, we were hardcore craving movie popcorn after I gifted this popcorn maker and flavor set to Jordan for his birthday. Nom nom nom.

Kat and Jeff came over for Saturday morning brunch, spoiling us with acai bowls and brie toast as we worked up an appetite for homemade Nutella crepes. We even got to meet their new doggy, Pepper!

We decided to start playing Pokemon Go again so we took an afternoon stroll catching Pokemon and stalking the property value of houses in the neighborhood. Then at night, Steph and Dennis joined us for homemade carbonara, drinks, and Porto's.

Sunday morning was spent at Costco, as usual, followed by a stroll around Sawtelle for more Pokemon and a stop by Daiso for wedding supplies. We cleaned, cooked, balanced wedding deposits, and checked off a ton of things on our to-do lists. Things are starting to ramp up so we're trying to get everything in order before my bachelorette weekend (thank you, Rachel and Léna!), Mike and Melanie's wedding in mid-August, and our Bali trip in exactly one month!

July Recap

We're 2/3 done with our busy summer! 

To rewind a bit, we spent our first 4th of July by getting a ton of errands done. Cleaning, Costco, lunch at Chipotle, planning seating arrangements for the wedding using post-its on the ground, sewing flowers onto my party dress, dinner with Alex’s mom at the Westfield Century City, and fireworks in Culver City… followed by glimpses of a few fireworks in the distance from our living room windows.

We've been experiencing some LA heat waves which Chef is loving. But our house doesn't have air conditioning, so we've been cranking the bedroom fans and opening the windows for a nice cross-breeze. Ryan and Shelley also gave us an extra air conditioning unit which we've been using in the living room and bedroom. It reminds me of Eve from Wall-e, and of course it freaks Shabu out. 

I got promoted to Senior Copywriter, and to celebrate, and I another set of lobe piercings! We also purchased our wedding bands. One more thing off the wedding checklist!

Alex's mom took us out to celebrate with an omakase (my first one!) at Okumura and gifted us our first set of Calphalon pots and pans. We finally threw away all our old pans from IKEA!

Amara also gifted us this beautiful Crate & Barrel wok, and we've been using it to cook up all kinds of yummy things.

Then the big highlight of July was our Bali in Cali party on the 14th. Since we never had an engagement party, we wanted to have a celebration here in LA to spend time with those who won't be able to make it to Bali. We ordered catering from King's Hawaiian, decorations from Amazon, Ryan and Shelley set up their photobooth, and Alex and I wrote a very ridiculous speech/performance.

My dad flew back the day after, but my mom stayed for the week to enjoy time with us and the dogs, home-cooked meals, Disneyland with Leslie, and the Getty. With the convenience of the guest room in our house, it was one of the more comfortable trips my parents have enjoyed (still feels weird to say it though).

Next on the agenda, we're finalizing our honeymoon plans and paying off our vendors. We have about one month to go before we're on a plane halfway across the world!

June Recap

This summer is going to be one of the busiest of our lives, and we’re ⅓ of a way through it.

Alex’s family from Bangkok has been in town for the past couple weeks. We set up the guest room for Popo, including painting the walls in one night, cleaning and priming the wardrobe cabinets, installing our IKEA curtains, and moving Alex’s old bed into the room. We even had our very first cleaning lady stop by to help wipe down the counters, showers, and floors.

We still need to trim the curtains because they’re way too long (and I’ll use the remnants to make cloth napkins), but all my crafts will have to wait until after September.

On June 16, Ryan and Shelley got married!

This past Sunday, we took Alina to The Bazaar and went super extra by ordering the "dessert graffiti" — literally $80 worth of desserts, carefully assembled tableside on top of a mirror.

We've gradually gotten back into the routine of running, and we took our very first laps around the neighborhood!

I just finished up a super busy week at work (being on 3 pitches at once…), and Alex has a couple work trips to SF and Arizona lined up for tomorrow and next Monday. We’re also going into full planning mode for our July 14 party where we’ll celebrate with friends and family, some of whom will not be joining us in Bali. The food is ordered, the rental furniture is booked, our speech has been written, and our decorations are in progress.